Thursday, July 24, 2008

Tarred, but not feathered.

Sometimes, you just don't need an alarm clock.

This morning, for instance. This thing was in front of my house at 7 o'clock. Sounding very much like a cross between a jet engine and the propane torch for a hot-air balloon. More than enough to stir me from my slumber.

And it wasn't alone: its twin brother was right behind it, even louder.

I suppose I shouldn't complain too much: they'll only resurface the street once every 15 years or so, and I guess I can give up some sleep for that. If only they hadn't appeared Tuesday morning before 6:45 to resurface the other streets around me....

Friday, July 18, 2008

Not around for long.

Joss Whedon strikes again. It's free until Sunday, which is when it gets taken off the web and you'll only be able to see it by paying for it - download or DVD or something.

Very funny.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Seeing things you really don't want to.

Sometimes, you just can't help seeing things that you really would prefer not to have seen.

As an example, although not the one I really had in mind, there was the guy I saw this afternoon, out in the park outside my office. He was wearing running shorts. And black loafers. And carrying a briefcase. And on first glance, it looked like he was wearing mohair pajamas. (On second glance? Not so much.)

No, what I was really thinking of was the sight out on my porch yesterday evening. Awww! Isn't it cute! There's a kitten! Solid black, looked to be about 8 weeks old. When I went to open the door to greet it, it bolted: off the deck to the ground, and on a beeline for the back of the yard. And as it loped across the yard, it was followed by two other kittens, about the same age. And they disappeared into the brush along the back fence.

Man. Does this mean I'm now responsible for yet another litter of kittens? Won't be quite as easy as getting them before they're born, or before their eyes are open.

Luckily, I spotted my neighbor and asked him about them. "Oh, yeah," he said. "Those three have been hanging out at the house across the street, and the woman who lives there feeds them."

Great! I don't have to start a new class at John's Home for Wayward Cats.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

2008 Folklife Festival

I went up to the Folklife Festival yesterday. Beautiful day for it, and relatively small crowds. It occurs to me that it's probably been 20 years since I've been to the Festival, so why not go this year?

The subjects for this year's Folklife Festival are Bhutan, Texas, and NASA. Yes, an eccentric combination. I was most interested in NASA, which this year celebrates its 50th anniversary.

The NASA exhibits were interesting: lots of educational stuff and things for kids to do-and-learn. And they had a lot of exhibits devoted to upcoming projects - the space telescope that will follow Hubble, and the manned space system that will follow the Shuttle had a lot of material.

The Bhutan exhibits were exotic: they had a replica of a temple that you could walk through, an area where a sand mandala was being made, and a large stage with native music and dancers.

The Texas exhibits were eccentric. One of the largest ones dealt with Texas wine ("Fifth largest wine producer in the country!" - Really? I'd have thought that California, New York, Oregon, Washington, and Virginia all produce more. They certainly all produce better, in my experience.) I listened to 20 minutes worth of an interview with a woman who has had a winery in Texas for over 20 years; kind of cool. There was a Texas cooking exhibit - Barbecue, Tex-Mex and whatnot. Two different music stages, with a changing assortment of tunes.

One of the draws to the Festival is always the food, and this year's didn't disappoint. Sure, you could get Texas barbecue (whether or not authentic is a different issue). But the coolest Texas cuisine was the Texas Noodle House, representing the large Vietnamese contingent in Texas.

All in all, a lot of fun. The price was certainly right, too. (Free, that is, except for the food.) And afterwards, you can always go to the Air and Space Museum and touch the moon rock.