Friday, November 21, 2008

When I was a kid ...

... I never wanted to be an astronaut.
The first "I remember exactly where I was when that happened" moment in my lifetime was the Challenger blowing up. I was on a grade school field trip to the bowling alley and we were walking through the bar. (OK, a trip to the bowling alley and a walk through the bar?? On a Catholic school field trip? I dunno what the educational value was, either, so don't ask me.) Anyway, I looked up at the TV in the bar at the precise moment Challenger blew up.
Then I remember watching at work as the Columbia disintegrated on its way back to Earth.
So there are two good reasons to *not* want to be an astronaut. (Although one could argue that journalism wasn't such a good choice, either, as that seems to be a field that's disintegrating -- although at a somewhat more slow, painful rate.)
As if the fear of instant disintegration wasn't enough, now we have this:

This dandy little machine is the "Water Recovery System" and it was carried up to the International Space Station by Endeavour last week. Don't let the name fool you.

Here's a description from Wired Science:
"The machine will use a distillation process that compensates for the absence of gravity to remove impurities from urine. Then the water will be combined with fluid from showers, shaving, tooth brushing and hand washing, as well as perspiration and water vapor that collects inside the astronauts' space suits.

All this reclaimed water will go through a processing system to extract free gas and solid materials such as hair and lint. Afterward, the system will remove any remaining contaminants through a high-temperature chemical reaction."

GREAT. I would get to drink my pee, my fellow astronauts' pee, my shower water, their shower water, my sweat, their sweat, my spit, their spit ... Oh, but thank God: The lint and hair will be filtered out.

And I always thought that accidentally swallowing a mouthful of Lake Michigan water was disgusting ...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

All I wanted for Christmas ...

... Was my one (sort of) front tooth.
And I got it today. Merry (early) Christmas to me.

(Let me just say, I can't believe I'm going to blog about this. How utterly embarrassing. Read on, and you'll understand.)

So, let's start from the beginning, about a year ago in D.C. I went to my dentist for a root canal. Root canal went fine, or so I thought until I went to have the crown put on. The dentist took an X-ray and the spot where I had the root canal done was infected. He put me on some antibiotics and told me to come back in two weeks. I went back and had another X-ray done. Still infected. Like really infected. Like traveling to my sinus cavity to my brain and potentially killing me infected. He had to take my tooth. And we're not talking back-of-the-mouth, nobody-will-notice tooth. We're talking right near the front of my mouth. I refused to walk out of the office that way while I waited for the dentist to create something semi-permanent for me, so he basically cemented a temporary crown in my mouth. Then came the semi-permanent something I could stick in there until I went to an oral surgeon to have a permanent implant.
And then I moved. First order of business: find a new dentist and an oral surgeon. I found both and then found out I'd be buying the equivalent of a Toyota Camry for my mouth. And then, I managed to break the somewhat delicate semi-permanent tooth while on vacation in Arizona. I spent half a week barely opening my mouth -- not even to gape in wonder at the Grand Canyon. I tried "fixing" it myself with Krazy Glue, but all I accomplished was cementing my own fingers together. I managed to have an emergency fix done when I got back from vacation. Since then, I've *really* been waiting for this day. The day when I could eat a bagel and laugh -- and say "HA! I've eaten you, Mr. Bagel and you have not cracked my somewhat delicate semi-permanent tooth while on vacation in Arizona."
OK. So I didn't eat a bagel today, but I did get my tooth. My dentist actually serenaded me with a few bars of "Beautiful Day" by U2.
Now had I gone ahead with my plan to sue the D.C. dentist, I probably could have used his money rather than my own to complete Phase 1 of my Camry purchase.
I hate hindsight.

Monday, November 17, 2008


It's that time of year again, the time when I do all I can to avoid the dairy and ice cream aisles at the grocery store. And every year, I fail. Multiple times. Today was my first failure of the 2008 egg nog season. It wasn't enough to just get the egg nog. Noooo. I had to get the limited edition egg nog ice cream, too.
No matter how much I love this stuff, it's really a good thing I can only get it for a couple of months out of the year. Have you seen those shows on the Discovery Channel about the half-ton man? If I had access to egg nog year-round, someone could make a similar show about me.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Needed: One amusing kid

I need a kid.
Yeah, that's right. You heard me.
OK. So there is all that stuff about unconditional love and fulfilling life's purpose, but there's something more.
I've determined that kids provide perfect blog material.
Without a kid of my own, what do I have to say? What amusing stories can I share?
Just the other day I was reading my friend's blog and her story about having to pick peas out of her child's nose. How can I possibly beat that?
All I'm left with is sharing memories of stupid things I did as a kid -- and the peas-up-the-nose story reminded my sister of a similar incident. All I have to say is that I was a much tougher kid than my friend June Cleaver's kid. I didn't mess around with peas. I went straight for the wooden beads.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Gastronomical goodness

I'm under strict orders from my Mini-Me to write about the following things:
Garlic. Gyros and ribs. Ben & Jerry's.
Now what am I supposed to do with that? Not much, but here it goes:
* Garlic. I've often said that if I could have a scent piped into my living area, it would be garlic. (Vanilla is right up there at the top of the list, too, but definitely not garlic AND vanilla at the same time. That would just be strange, even for me.)
* Gyros and ribs. Specifically from Munster Gyros. If you find yourself anywhere remotely near Da Region, run -- don't walk -- here. They make a mean gyros sandwich, one that can be stretched into two or three meals. It's also nice to see that huge slab of lamb on a skewer right behind the counter. But the ribs. Falling-off-the-bone wonderful goodness.
* Ben & Jerry's. Specifically Chocolate Fudge Brownie. Eaten on the beach. Two spoons, one for me and one for Mini-Me. Best if enjoyed after an act of idiocy by a male.

Next up, a trip to the beach wearing garlic-scented suntan lotion with a dinner of ribs and gyros and a dessert of Ben & Jerry's.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Almost back ...

Think I'm nearly through the election recovery process ...
Stay tuned. I'm alive. I promise.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Looking pretty blue

OK, so this is a pretty horrible screen shot, but it gets the point across. This is from the brilliant people at The New York Times, showing the voting shifts from 2004 to 2008. And, for the record, each of the 92 counties in Indiana showed a trend toward Democrats. Pretty cool (and I don't even want to think about how long it took the Times to put this together. But I guess that's why they're the Times.)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Tonight ...

5:25 a.m.
Just got home.
In the spirit of bipartisanship, I will just say:
Glad to see history made -- for the world, for the country, for my state.
And thank you to John McCain, who gave an incredibly gracious concession speech.

Country: Let's heal and move on.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Monday, November 3, 2008

Me 'n' Joe

My Biden-mania day.
Coming after I recover from the many hours I spent in the car today ...

Sunday, November 2, 2008

I think I might be alone here

Two days left.
(It's hard to believe there are only two days left because I am sitting outside, 75 degrees and sunny, on Nov. 2.)
I'm not your *average* person about politics. I live and breathe this stuff, and I never seem to tire of watching, listening, reading about it. Some might call it geekiness. I prefer to think I'm just well-informed. Very well-informed.
When left D.C. in February, I knew one of the biggest things I'd miss was feeling like I was right in the middle of everything. Heck, I could see the Capitol from my apartment and I had senators and congressmen living in my neighborhood. I could go to my corner grocery store and run into Trent Lott or go get a sandwich at Cosi and see James Carville walk past my table. For a geek (uh, well-informed person) like myself, it doesn't get much better than that.
So it seemed perfectly logical to pick up and move ... back to Indiana. Yes, Indiana, the very definition of fly-over country. Indiana, which never matters in the political process because our primary is so late in the game and everybody already knows how we are going to vote anyway.
Ah, but not so fast. Not this year. God, did I have good timing.
We've had the cadre of Clintons here. We've had Obama. Hell, we've even had Stevie Wonder. And, I have gotten to see them all. In (gulp) Indiana. When is this ever going to happen again? Considering the last time Indiana backed a Democrat for president was in 1964, probably not again in my lifetime. I just want to soak it all in. And I don't want it to end.