Friday, August 31, 2007

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Velocibadgergirl's Foolproof Rainstorm RecipeTM

1. Check before work.

2. Trusting that "8 AM:  scattered T-storms; 9 AM - infinity:  sunny and clear" means what it says, and not "8 AM - 4 PM:  drab and overcast; 4 PM - 5:30 PM:  Noahtian deluge and crazy-ass lightning," neglect to pack raincoat and / or umbrella.

3. Wear clothing completely unsuitable for walking through the rain, i.e. a thin shirt, heavy jeans, or anything especially nice or not prone to quick air-drying. Bonus points if you choose the outfit because you are planning to wear it to some event after work. Additional bonus points if said jeans are your only clean pair.

4. Proceed through day as normal.

5. Curse inevitable downpour from 4 PM - 5:30 PM.

Works every time, I'm telling you.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Who are you calling a dwarf planet?

According to boingboing, it's a fake billboard. I still think it's hilarious. Thanks to Evilducky, for linking me to this in the first place.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Hope springs eternal... *

Historically, I am big on ideas and short on staying power (see:  long-forgotten knitting projects, New Year's resolutions, wedding photo albums (sorry, Mom), dozens of unfinished short stories, two abandoned proto-novels, learning to cook, getting in shape, ad infinitum). Therefore, I'm not sure why I thought it would be a good idea to purchase this cross-stitch kit to make for my dad:

I've got to be kidding, right?

I started it yesterday, against my better judgement. I haven't cross-stitched anything larger than a bookmark (as a joke for my dear friend The Untamed Shrew. It said, "You are a great friend to me and you have a lovely purple ass." LONG story, but she loved it.) since I was about twelve.

I started sorting and separating the thread at 3:00 PM. By 11:00 PM, this is what I had accomplished:

Let's take a closer look, shall we?

Well, at least you guys know what I'll be doing with my quiet evenings from now until the end of fucking time.

Also, while we're on the subject of slightly weird, geeky projects, the carnivorous plant terrarium came out of the fridge on Sunday, after "stratifying" for two months.

According to the directions, the seeds will probably take another 3 to 6 weeks to germinate. They really should put a big red label on the outside of the box warning that these things do not make a good project for someone with the patience of a gnat.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Photo Friday

Chicago:  Part Three

On Saturday, we dressed for a rainy day and headed to the Chicago Botanic Garden. It was well worth the trip! The park is divided up into smaller gardens, which made it feel very manageable and non-overwhelming.

Flowers from the prairie garden:

Pretty in pink:

I really liked the vegetable and fruit garden. They were showcasing some wacky space-saving methods for growing fruit trees (this one's a pear tree):

This section also boasted cabbages about three times the size of my head. They looked pretty menacing, really:

(photo by the bibliophile, embellishment by Evilducky)

More pretties:

In the water garden, I dropped the crumbs of my snack into the pond to feed the little fish...which caused much bigger fish to show up for their best Jaws impression:

As part of the weekend's Japanese Garden Festival, there was a bonsai display:

In the English garden:

the bibliophile, rabidmonkey, the apathetic one, and Evilducky heading into the Zen Garden

After the Botanic Garden, we went to the Heartland Cafe for lunch. Other than the terrace roof leaking on the first two seats I tried sitting in and the extra-powerful onions in my chicken salad, it was a really good lunch.

Once we got back to the house, we played a game of Set, which I picked up on my San Franciso trip for the express purpose of playing it with this group of friends. I didn't think I'd be very good at it, since it requires spatial / pattern oriented thinking, which I don't excel at in most cases. Howevah, I kicked serious ass. Final scores?
Nick, champion of all games but this one:  13
J-Dog:  15
the apathetic one:  16
the bibliophile:  20
Evilducky:  26
rabidmonkey:  29
velocibadgergirl:  54
That's right, fifty fucking four! Woot!

Set really is a brainbending game, so after we finished the game, we had to take a dessert break:

flourless chocolate torte, tiramisu, and bread pudding with vanilla semifreddo

Upon our return, we played the superfun Blokus, which I'm definitely thinking about buying to add to the home arsenal.

I think game night was by far the best night of the trip. Being touristy is great, but nothing beats a night with friends around a game table.

On Sunday morning, we went to the Original Pancake House, where we ate the best buttermilk pancakes ever and had one of those pinballing, madcap, all-over-the-map conversations that you can only have among really good friends, the kind that makes me wish wholeheartedly that one of us would come up with a working design for a teleporter, just so we could all meet up for breakfast every Sunday morning.

Sláinte, my friends! Thank you for letting me be a part of something this kickass and special. I love you all!

For more Botanic Garden photos, hit Shutterfly.

Playing:  an old mix CD

Reading:  Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch (sequel to the fantastic The Lies of Locke Lamora)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Chicago:  Part Two

I forgot to include one of the funniest things that happened on our trip up to Chicago. We stopped at a Subway / gas station for lunch, and at the point where we were almost done eating but not quite, the power went out. Everyone in the restaurant kind of looked around and joked a bit, and then, as conversations resumed around the various tables, the bibliophile deadpanned, "This hasn't been the most auspicious day." Hee!

Meanwhile, in trip recapping land, we left the Corner Bakery and headed for Water Tower Place to visit Lush. Now, before I show you what I got, I have to put in a good word for Lush in case there are any skeptics reading this. I was once one of you. I once looked at froufy fizzing bath bombs and somewhat-pricey shower gels and scoffed, dismissing them as a silly, girly, overpriced indulgence. Then, my friend Tam brought me a bottle of this stuff, and I was hooked. I'm just about the least girly girl there is, and I love this froufy girly bath stuff. If you like baths, especially bubble baths, take it from me...Lush is teh awesome.

top row:  Karma bubble bars
second row:  Sakura, Golden Slumbers, Honey Bee
third row:  Blackberry, Think Pink, another Sakura
bottom:  another Think Pink

After Lush, we took a bus down to the Art Institute to take advantage of the free Friday night admission. We saw the garden where Nick and J-Dog got hitched last summer, then stumbled upon this wicked skull detail on the side of the lion's pedestal, which I'd never noticed despite several past visits and a fascination with the lion in question:

While rabidmonkey and the apathetic one headed for the Asian galleries and Nick and J-Dog struck out with an audio tour headset shared between them, I followed Evilducky and the bibliophile to the American and European galleries. I have received very little formal art education, and never took any kind of art appreciation in college, but I really enjoyed the galleries we visited, even though I'm sure Evilducky (who has an art degree) and the bibliophile (who has an art teacher mother and a graphic designer father) recognized a lot more stuff / names.

I was less enthralled with the Impressionist pieces than I probably should've been, but I'd like to think I made up for it with my enthusiasm for the Van Goghs. And, the freaking Old Guitarist. One of my two favorite Picasso pieces of all time (the other is Don Quixote). Standing in front of that painting was a pretty amazing experience.

Some other recognizable works and new pieces that I really enjoyed:

Yellow Hickory Leaves With Daisy, Georgia O'Keeffe

"To me they are as beautiful as anything I know...The bones seem to cut sharply to the center of something that is keenly alive on the desert even tho' it is vast and empty and untouchable."

Cow's Skull With Calico Roses  &  Red and Pink Rocks and Teeth

Broken and Restored Multiplication, Suzanne Duchamp
&  The Bewitched Mill, Franz Marc

The Rock by Peter Blume

Peter Blume painted The Rock in 1948 as a commission for Pittsburgh entrepreneur Edgar Kaufmann. Kaufmann initially approached Blume in 1939 for an image of his family and their new home, Falling Water, which had been recently completed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The commission occupied Blume for much of the next decade as he struggled with physical and mental fatigue. He slowly crafted an enigmatic painting that has often been interpreted as an optimistic image of renewal in the midst of a postwar world plagued by decay and destruction. Yet evidence suggests that Blume may have painted The Rock as a piercing allegory of the creative act, in which imaginative production may promise renewal or regeneration but may also require sacrifice and result in unforeseen, devastating consequences. *

The Leap of the Rabbit, Amadeo de Souza-Cardoso

We had to rush through the galleries pretty quickly, but I'm glad we went. For a quick run-through, it was pretty kickass.

I have to say, though...this look? Works for no one:

Next time:  Chicago Botanic Garden, desserts, and game night.