Monday, September 29, 2008


They're going to come for me and haul me down a tiled hallway as I scream "I didn't do nothin'! I didn't do nothin'!"

Here's a quick rundown of the last week:

Tanking patient snotty doctor dog fight food in fridge gone bad sick boyfriend. Another tanking patient dog fight dog to emergency vet emergency vet unavailable in surgery go back home put antibiotics in dog's eye take dog to vet in morning sick boyfriend cat vomit everywhere no clue why ah it's a hairball emergency babysitting. Get quote on doors holy shit expensive dog antibiotic dosing nap call from boss BLS due tomorrow holy shit no way to renew now sick child more dog fights doctoring dog holy shit I need a beer what the hell why is McCain still neck and neck with my man gosh wonder if Mom's okay Strider stop it that's the pullcord to the lawn mower holy shit put that down that's the cat Max stop bleeding on the rug cat vomits I haven't made the bed yet tanking patient snarky attending snotty me back prolly gonna get written up but who the fuck cares oh, finally, a day off.

And I go back to work tomorrow.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Monday, September 15, 2008

Product Reviews: Things that are worth the money and things that ain't edition.

So I had this shed kit, right? And I had it built last week by a couple of guys from Mr. Handyman, right? Which inspired this post.

Handy Home Products 10' x 10' Princeton Wood Gable Shed

Oh, Jesus. Where do I start? My Sainted Mother asked how the assembly went the other night, and I told her, "If I were blogging, I'd call it a cluster-fuck". Yeah, it was bad. The lumber was cut to the wrong lengths. The siding was of two different, incompatible types. The FUCKING INSTRUCTIONS WERE WRONG. Which is why I'm glad I had....

Mr. Handyman guys to build the thing.

They are expensive. Be warned. The cost of having the shed assembled was four times the original price of the shed kit, plus money for extra lumber and screws and so on. But honestly? Three grand for the assembly was totally worth it, because now I have a shed that won't fall down, won't leak, and that I didn't have to get drunk over on my own. Plus, they cleaned everything up, left me the usable dimensional lumber and extra shingles, and even raked up all the bits of wood and sawdust and threw them away. Nota Bene: It took a Master carpenter and a Journeyman carpenter TWENTY FUCKING HOURS to set up the shed kit. Don't say I didn't tell you.

In other news,

Borghese Crema Saponetta Facial Cleanser... not all it's cracked up to be, sadly. I spent the $$$ on this stuff after reading nothing but positive reviews on Amazon, reading another blogger's raves about it, and talking to the Italian woman at work, who has gorgeous skin. It does nothing for me. It cleans well and takes off makeup, but it leaves this weird waxy residue on everything from your face to your sink. I'm happier with the Aveeno Clear Skin Foaming Cleanser I buy from the grocery store. However!

The Clarisonic Skin Brush rocks my world. Yeah, it's bloody expensive. I consider this retribution for the fact that I didn't really have acne as a teenager or young adult, but am getting it now. The last laugh's mine, though, as I can now afford an appliance that really digs shit out of your skin and makes it smooth and even and lovely.

Speaking of things that make other things clear and lovely, I recently tried Rain-X on my windshield. Results were mixed: it worked great at keeping the windshield clear in light rain, but didn't do so well when it came to not streaking or smearing with bugs. I used it to good effect on the back window of the Honda (Note to Honda: Please Put A Rear Wiper On The Accord. Thank You.) and it worked *great*--until I washed the car. You have to be *really* careful when you wash, and make sure to get all the Rain-X off, or else you end up with weird smeary bits that don't go away.

And, finally, a Tool Review. No, this isn't a review of the latest internal medicine resident to make me hypertensive; this is a review of the Black & Decker Rechargeable Drill With Enormously Heavy Battery Pack.

Now, Chefboy likes Mikita, as they're made for professional builders (which he was, in between cheffing gigs). Mikita, however, is too rich for my blood, so I bought one o' them nifty B&D thingies from Target.

And it has held up *beautifully*. It is heavy, so be careful to switch hands when you use it or else be prepared for sore forearms. It lasted through umpteen bazillion holes drilled and screws screwed the other day as I was reassembling the kitchen, then (without recharging, I'll have you know), did a great job on ramp-building and 2 x 4 screwing. I'm recharging it right now, but I really doubt that I need to. As far as I can tell, the charge will last through building a small house with no problem.

Tomorrow I head to Home Despot to buy shelving pegboard cabinets fried eggs sardines socks hammers nails small hooks etc for the shed. I don't intend to do a PR post on sardines. I promise.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

In which Auntie Jo loses it and levels unwarranted criticism at people she doesn't know

Y'know how everybody has pet peeves? And how those pet peeves are totally incomprehensible to the rest of the world? My pet peeve (this week; it might be different later) is bad writing.

Not that I consider myself a great prose stylist, or anything, but dayum. I mostly avoid the worst breaches of English writing. Mostly. This is not something I could say about a lot of stuff I've been reading lately, both online and in print. Thus, here follows a list of the things that make Auntie Jo get out the wire hangers and start screaming about pronouns:

1. No more passive voice--EVER!

I don't recall where I saw it, but I ran across the phrase "Birth was given to the idea..." and immediately stopped reading. "Birth" is never "given" to anything. One can give birth, or one can be born, but for Frog's sake, don't use the passive voice to describe the act. Gaaah. This one sets my teeth on edge.

2. Periods are fun in moderation.

Run-on sentences can be used to nice effect, as can sentence fragments. I'm fond of fragments myself. However, if you're consistently expressing yourself outside the subject-verb framework, you might want to stop writing prose and get a gig writing bad free-verse poetry. 

3. If you're writing for a public audience, can the racist and sexist slurs.

On second thought, don't. I want fair warning that you're an asshole.

4. Paragraph breaks: We haz 'em.

This one's a tendency that a lot of bloggers have: they write and write and write and it's lovely stuff, but you can't tell where the hell you are in the essay because there are no damn paragraph breaks. 

Here's a hint: Hit enter twice and continue with a new thought. 

Yes, this is a structural complaint rather than a stylistic one. How, though, will I ever be able to follow your style--or your substance, for that matter--if I can't find my way out of one huge long unending jeebus grits where's the next paragraph column of text?

5. Adding -y does not make it an adjective. Adding -ly does not make it an adverb.

Fashion magazines do this all the time. You can't just create new words by adding sometimes-vowels to the end of 'em. (Well, you *can*, but you get my point.) I was flipping through a girly mag that somebody'd left behind in the breakroom and stopped dead when I hit the descriptor "Studio Fifty-Four-y." Good thing I carry ammonia capsules with me, as that unbridled use of the adjective-mode gave me the vapors.

6. Tame Cute.

Our local birdcage liner is bad, bad, bad about this. An otherwise serious wire story about, say, Pakistan will be headlined with a pun. An otherwise serious local story about high-school dropouts will contain clever double-entendres and wordplay. Yes, we know you're smart; you wouldn't be writing for a newspaper otherwise. That's enough.

7. There are different writing styles. One of them is appropriate for your use. Find it.

You don't have to be formal on a blog. You *can* be--there's no law against it--if you're doing a thoughtful, well-reasoned essay. Likewise, you can occasionally (VERY OCCASIONALLY) toss a little fillip into a piece of serious writing. The trick is to know, not only your audience, but the purpose your writing is filling. 

8. Spelling correctly is fun!

That's what the great gods of the computer world made spellcheck for.

9. Profanity, used in excess, can be really fucking annoying.

I kid you not: I read a blog post t'other day that was so full of f-bombs and s-bombs and q-bombs and the like that I couldn't follow the writer's train of thought. Stylistic trademarks aside, calm the hell down and try to write clearly, okay? (This is my big bugaboo, made worse by the fact that My Sainted Mother reads this blog and probably has to scrub her eyeballs afterward.)

10. And finally, please, for the love of all that's holy, have a point.

Even if it's just venting about other people's writing.

(Bonus peeve: Did I mention that plural words are NOT formed by the addition of apostrophe-S?)

Monday, September 01, 2008

This is fun.

Very Good Taste posted a list of 100 things every omnivore should eat. You're supposed to go through it and mark what you've eaten, to see where you stand when compared with the ideal.

Here 'tis....

1. Venison*
2. Nettle tea*
3. Huevos rancheros*
4. Steak tartare*
5. Crocodile (I've eaten alligator. Does that count?)*
6. Black pudding*
7. Cheese fondue*
8. Carp*
9. Borscht*
10. Baba ghanoush*
11. Calamari*
12. Pho*
13. PB&J sandwich*
14. Aloo gobi*
15. Hot dog from a street cart*
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle*
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes*
19. Steamed pork buns*
20. Pistachio ice cream*
21. Heirloom tomatoes*
22. Fresh wild berries*
23. Foie gras*
24. Rice and beans*
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper (only once, and to my great distress)*
27. Dulce de leche*
28. Oysters*
29. Baklava*
30. Bagna cauda*
31. Wasabi peas*
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl*
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut*
35. Root beer float*
36. Cognac with a fat cigar (I've had the cognac, but not the cigar. So, close but...)
37. Clotted cream tea*
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O*
39. Gumbo*
40. Oxtail*
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects*
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk*
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more*
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala*
48. Eel (I think I remember eating eel once, but I'm not sure, so I'm not starring it)
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut*
50. Sea urchin (bleah)*
51. Prickly pear*
52. Umeboshi (bleah)*
53. Abalone*
54. Paneer*
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal*
56. Spaetzle*
57. Dirty gin martini*
58. Beer above 8% ABV (duh)*
59. Poutine (Oh Poutine, my favorite food!)*
60. Carob chips (bleah)*
61. S’mores*
62. Sweetbreads (nyeah, okay)*
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs (In Louisiana, with gumbo)*
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake (State Fair, duh)*
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain*
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette* 
71. Gazpacho*
72. Caviar and blini*
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost*
75. Roadkill (you have got to be fucking kidding me)
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie*
78. Snail*
79. Lapsang souchong (my favorite tea)*
80. Bellini*
81. Tom yum*
82. Eggs Benedict*
83. Pocky*
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare*
87. Goulash*
88. Flowers*
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam*
92. Soft shell crab*
93. Rose harissa*
94. Catfish*
95. Mole poblano*
96. Bagel and lox*
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta*
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee*
100. Snake (State Fair, duh)*

Not too bad, eh? I have to credit having coworkers from all over the world and some travel for the number of asterisks on the list.