Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Oh yes, it's August

Currently Reading: Spook Country by William Gibson

So here we are, FINALLY almost through with August. I'm not seeing as many smoking thermometers in the little weather forecaster at the bottom of my Internet browser, the kids have mostly gone back to school now and I can only breathe through my nose at random intervals.

You see, no August would be complete without the annual flowering of the crepe myrtles. Oh yes, very pretty trees (or bushes if you keep them trimmed up short). Lots of pretty color variations. And they totally mess me up every year at this time. Actually, they're not flowering. They've BEEN flowering for a while now but whatever they do at the end of August, that's what messes me up. Popular trees here in Memphis. Two of them right in front of our building (one right under the window in the living room). Hate them damn things this time of year.

I got pulled back into high school week. Got a message from a guy I went to high school with about our 20 year reunion. There's a site up for it now and folks are posting pictures of what they're doing these days. The people who are there aren't particularly surprising, it's the people who AREN'T there that throws you. I look down the list of names and there are quite a few missing. Guess they've decided it's better to forgive and forget :-) It's either that or they just don't have time to mess around with things that happened 20 years ago. And there I will admit I have seen some creepy things at the site. There are some people who just can't seem to let go. 20 years gone by, LOTS of water under the bridge and they still can't let it go.

And speaking of water under the bridge, my high school flooded. Seriously, I saw the video of it. Lots of heavy rains down there in Texas and even though the area is on a low hill and there's plenty of drainage, still flooded. THAT'S how much rain they've been getting down there. It's the sort of season when you discover that your house is built in what USED to be a creek bed 100 years ago.

Anyway, I saw some of the local news video. The place hasn't changed much since I went there though I did notice some fresh paint on the lockers and the gym was a little more colorful. I heard they've built on to it at some point but they never showed the building from the outside so I have yet to see what that extension looks like. According to the newscaster, they had 4 and a half feet of water on the ground floor. Because of that, the school is closed, obviously, and everyone will be bussed over to the other high school in the district. Yeah, THAT'S going to be a really popular move.

All goes well at work though it's not going very consistently. On average it works out nice and even but what's been happening lately is one REALLY busy day followed by one really DEAD day. Sunday I had 9 dogs and was turning people away. Monday I had TWO dogs and I couldn't drag people in on a choke chain. That's just how it goes.

Ooo, allergy medication kicking in. Looks like it's time for me to veg out for a while. Enjoy!

PS: Almost forgot this . . .

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Your Patronus would be a Tiger!
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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

More Adventurous Than You Think

Currently Reading: Children of Dune by Frank Herbert

Now, over the years I have taken quite a few sarcastic remarks and assorted jibes about being a picky eater. The rumors aren't true. I'm actually not nearly as bad as people say but I have that reputation because some of the things I don't like are very popular. For example, seafood. I'm really not a big seafood eater. I just don't like it. I tend to refer to shrimp as critters and I've never been all that big on fish. I will eat some of it. I like tuna and salmon and from time to time I even eat eel but you'll never have to fight your way past me to get to the all-you-can-eat special at Red Lobster.

Just to give you some idea of what I WILL eat though, to give you some idea of how wrong that reputation is, this is what I had yesterday for lunch:

Keema Matar: minced lamb cooked with fresh green peas, tomatoes and herbed spices
Chicken Curry: traditional dish cooked with boneless chicken, onion, garlic, ginger, tomatoes and curry spices
Aloo Matar: potatoes and green peas cooked with onion and tomatoes mildly spiced
Chana Masala: garbanzo beans with ginger in a specially spiced sauce

Plus rice and some sort of appetizer that I can't find on the menu but seems to be a sort of samosa. If you guessed we were eating out, you guessed right. You may have also figured that we were eating Indian food again. Yes, CC and I hit the lunch buffet yesterday at Bombay House, our favorite Indian restaurant here in town.

Bombay House is one of the places I will certainly miss when we move to Nashville. Everything I've had there has been good, EVERYTHING. Better still, we've been going there for maybe a year and a half now and nothing has changed. The food is still just as good now as it was when we first started going there. We've been to one other Indian place that's also popular but I didn't like it nearly as much. The quality of food just wasn't the same.

So, if you're feeling like something a little different, trek on over to Bombay House. Some of the dishes are spicy but I haven't had anything that's been too hot to eat. Spicy, in the good sense of the word :-)

I picked up the latest from William Gibson yesterday. He's the guy who's credited for coining the term cyberspace. Great author. Writes really complex stuff. Unfortunately, like a lot of really great authors he doesn't write quickly. He's not the type to churn out a new novel every year or every two years for that matter. It's not uncommon to go three our four years between novels, which makes them all the more enjoyable.

His subjects tend to be tech related. The only question is how far into the future (or in one case the past) he's going. His first big trilogy was set in a very high tech future. One of his short stories is the basis for the movie Johnny Mnemonic. You may have seen that one. It pops up on cable from time to time.

Not sure where and when this latest one takes place but I seem to recall it being set in the near-future. His previous one was also set in the near future and I've yet to find out if the two are related. His first three were, so were the second three so it makes sense that some minor character from Pattern Recognition will show up as a major character in this one and will carry over into a third. That seems to be his MO.

But before I get to reading that one, I've got to finish Children of Dune. And after I read the Gibson book, I'll likley head back to Arrakis for God Emperor which will bring me back to where I started some time earlier this year. And from there? Who knows. There are two novels due out in the fall that I have on my short list so I may have some more fresh material to work with soon.

Incidentally, the second of those awful Dune books is out now. It's a freaky attempt to link the whole Dune saga together with the really awful prequel and sequel novels that Frank Herbert's son has been doing. You'd think he'd have learned from the whole Chris Tolkien thing. Never mess with someone else's fictional mythos, even if it was created by your own family. Resist the temptation to try and build on that because it won't work. It would have been better if he'd taken all his ideas and just set them WAY WAY in the future. Use the same fictional world if he wants, just don't try and link up with the past like that. It always bites you in the ass.

Still hot here in the south. I'm seeing forecasts for today ranging from 104 to 107. Tomorrow it's going to cool down a bit. It'll only be 101. Then we get a MAJOR rush of cold air, dropping it all the way down to 96 on Saturday. I remember something like this happening in 2000, about the same time of year too. I was in Manila at the time visiting CC and it was actually MUCH cooler over there than it was here. I missed the entire heat wave. By the time I got back things were normal again. No such luck this time unfortunately. But that's ok. It just reminds me of summer in Texas.

Besides, it's hard to complain too much about the weather when there's actual football going on now. Yes, it's only pre-season but it's still football played by the NFL and not some lower level minor league wannabe kinda thing. I'm even getting to see maybe 4 games a week. They're playing at night and I don't work nights anymore so this is a good thing.

Well, time to crawl into the safety and coolness of the bedroom. I'll probably stay there until the sun goes down or at least until the dogs REALLY need to go out. Place just gets too damn hot here in the afternoon.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Oh yeah, August

Currently Reading: Children of Dune by Frank Herbert

So here we are, August. CC's back from Manila, things are moving at a decent pace at work, not too busy, not too boring. You think I'd be in a better mood as I sit down to the computer to post a blog entry this week.

So, what's got me all fired up this week? The weather for one. It's hot. DAMN hot. It's Texas hot. Hello, Texas? Yes, we have your weather. Please come pick it up and take it home. Seriously, this is how I remember summer being all the time and you know what? I didn't like it then either :-)

Just walking down the stairs to the truck is enough to make you break out in a drenching sweat. And don't get me started on the climb UP. Then picture all that with your arms full of groceries or similar shopping bags. Oh yeah, it's August alright. Thank goodness this sort of thing doesn't last very long.

And just for the record, I haven't gotten spoiled by cooler summers. It really IS hot here. Today it's going to be 99 or 100. Tomorrow, 101, Thursday, 101 then it may cool down to a brisk 97. All of this combines with the usual Memphis humidity. Lordy you'd think with it being this hot, some of that moisture would burn off.

You've also got to remember that we don't have the best air conditioner here in the apartment. I'm not really sure how high it's rated but it can't be rated for anything bigger than our current 1100 square feet. Honestly, I'd be surprised if it was supposed to handle THAT much space. Right now, running the usual appliances, central air on, the coolest I can get this place in the middle of the day is 85. Were I at work, I'd be obligated to shut everything down and move the dogs into a cooler part of the store. Seriously, we don't let it get any higher than 80 back there.

Because of our AC, I broke down last night and went out and got a window unit for the bedroom. I can mostly function in a warm space during the day but I have a hard time sleeping when it's this hot. I get restless and sticky. So I drove over to Target and picked up an AC to keep the bedroom cool. Funny thing is, I wasn't the only one who had that idea. When I got there they had only two left. Just two. Didn't matter what size you wanted, they had two. Now they have one :-) Like I said, it's a bit warm lately.

Now, you might say that it was a waste to get a window AC. It's only going to be this hot for a few weeks. I should be able to tough it out, blah blah blah. Yeah, well I slept good last night and after I finish this up, I'm going to have a shower and take a nap in my nice COOL bedroom. Maybe watch some TV when I wake up. Far as I'm concerned, that little AC is worth every penny we paid for it :-)

Speaking of sleeping, I had my sleep disturbed Monday night. Caught some sort of stomach virus and it really messed me up for a bit. Don't worry, I'll spare you the gory details. Besides, I'm sure at some point you've had a stomach flu or food poisoning or something like that. You know how it goes. Come to think of it, I'm still probably running a little slower than usual right now. Then again, that could be the heat.

All of this awful weather really does add to the whole Dune experience. I'm reading the Dune books again, admittedly in the wrong order, not that it matters. I read the last two in prelude to that awful new one that came out. After I abandoned it, I decided to go back and read the rest. Needless to say when the book describes someone dealing with the heat, I can really FEEL it :-)

Tomorrow is Thursday. Yes, I know, that much is obvious. Who cares right? Just another hot Thursday in August right? No, not quite. You see, tomorrow starts PRE-SEASON FOOTBALL! Ok no, again, not quite. It actually started over the weekend with the hall of fame game but unless you get the NFL network, you didn't get that game. Just as well, that game usually sucks anyway. Tomorrow night though, Dallas plays the Colts! WOO HOO! I can only hope, for their sakes, that they're either playing indoors or someplace where it's not as hot as it is here. You could seriously injure yourself playing in weather like this. Hell you can injure yourself just walking down the street in weather like this.

Speaking of injuries, why didn't anyone bean Barry Bonds before he broke the home run record? Seriously, you'd think someone would have done that by "accident" before he got it. Whoops! That pitch just slipped right off my fingers. Sorry Barry, didn't mean to slam a 90 mile an hour fastball into your knee. Darn, looks like that one might end your career. Aww shucks.

But nope, didn't happen. Why? It's bad enough the single season home run record is in question. Let's face it, even back when Mark McQuire and Sammy Sosa were going head to head for the record we all had to wonder about it. These guys sure do look a whole lot bulkier than they did a few seasons ago.

Maybe we should have TWO sets of records. One for the juiced players, one for the non-juiced players. Then again, at this rate the only non-juiced players are the ones coming in from Japan. You can tell they're not juiced. Same with some of the others actually. All you have to do is look at them when they stand next to one of the juiced guys. Remember, baseball players are NOT supposed to be built like linemen.

Ah well, I'm done with my rant. I'm hitting the showers and having a nap. Stay cool everyone. September is right around the corner!