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July 13, 2008


Well, I am trying to untangle a messy dataset while listening to a rather good metal album by, ahem, Rotting Christ. The name is hell of dumb, but in my book* any band which manages to combine black metal with traditional Greek melodies is worth listening to.

*the Necronomicon, of course.

Our tomatoes suck this year, so far, but the blueberry crop was spectacular. I guess that's what 6.5 inches of rain in June will do.

Put up a new bird feeders over some hanging flowers. Aside from birds, highlights have been having racoons sit in the flowers and eat the seed and having a deer in velvet visit a feeder after the blue jays knocked off the small pole it hangs on. Squirrels are a given.

Did you stand in line with Megan McArdle?

Thank God for Hilzoy! (Metaphorically speaking of course).

But don't let the Bushies see this photo . . .or they'll use it as more evidence against those mullahs (Hell, its every bit as authentic as Saddam trying to get yellowcake from Niger).

BTW, Gary Farber has been hilarious lately.

I drove out to Geneva, OH yesterday to watch my 10-year-old niece play on her league's All-Star softball team, and saw some of the worst, most crooked umpiring I've seen in a while, including a complete misunderstanding of the infield fly rule and allowing the opposing team to put a player back in at pitcher after she'd already pitched and been taken out of the game. How are these kids supposed to learn the rules and fair play if the ump is a dimwit? Nonetheless, my niece pitched better than anyone else on her team, and had an RBI single to boot.

We've got a couple of rabbits who visit our yard regularly, giving my wife a chance to test her mad photography skillz with her new Sony Alpha 350 DSLR. It's really amazing what one can do with a 300mm lens.

I strongly recommend Wall*E to everyone. I don't know how Pixar manages to keep hitting home runs, but I do know where all the animation talent is in Hollywood. The trailers for the crappy kids' movies beforehand (Beverly Hills Chihuahua? Really? In 2008?) just make the case that much more strongly. It didn't occur to me until today that this is the first time Pixar has advertised a movie without making any mention of the voice talent involved. If Ben Burtt and Thomas Newman don't win Oscars next year for Best Sound and Best Sound Design; and Best Original Score, respectively, there is no justice.

My wife's photoblog and Flickr gallery. She only took this up as a serious hobby a few years ago, and she's gotten very good!

I'm visiting my brother in the Midwest which means the entertainment of the afternoon is woodchuck observation. There appear to be two. Possibly more but two is the most seen at one time.

This morning's entertainment was bird obsesrvatioon. We went on a hike atound a wildlife refuge and saw among other things, a whole lot of catfish, two turtles, and a sedge wren. the sedge wren is a life list bird for me so i am excited!


No DH in your niece's league?

Maybe the umpire had a bet down.


Love the nibbled-at croisssant.

I'm delighted by everyone's good news. And OCSTeve, best wishes and prayers from me and mine.

I'm taking a vacation week from blog commenting, having been startled to realize just how much I've written this last week. I've got a fantasy series I'd like to start writing and need to conserve my energy. I've done enough reading for the moment on shamanism, the Permian extinction, sasquatches, nonviolent resistance, and cave formation for now. Time to put it into prose.

I strongly recommend Wall*E to everyone.

Seconded, thirded, etc. I loved it. I'm going to have to own it, just to absorb all the goodies.

hilzoy is just getting tomatoes (hey! quit that!) and I'm just starting to rip mine out because it's too hot. We mistimed it this year, partially because we didn't get our raised beds installed until early June this year; far too hot to be starting tomatoes in Central Florida.

We're still getting green beans, though. So far, out of a 4' square raised bed, we've gotten about 20 lbs of beans. Contender beans just keep producing until the bugs eat them down to the ground.

Ditto for the summer squash, which are really more like winter squash, here.

Going in are okra, field peas and sweet potatoes. Round about September we replant tomatoes and beans, and possibly cukes and later still we put in turnips, salad greens and various varieties of peas.

I'm going to have to figure out what to do with the tomatoes, though. I've got tomato cages that go up to about 6-7', but that's not nearly good enough for plants that overtop the cage by a few feet, and overlap a few feet to either side. We're growing in mushroom compost, see, and we're having to think gardening on a different scale.


Oh, and a book recommendation: The Man Who Loved China. Great story, well told, and factual. It's not often that I get educated and entertained all at once.

I ate my first tomato of the season today too. I was worried that it might have a bug in it because there was a .5 cm hole in the top. I cut it in half and...yay no bug. It was tasty.

My tomato plants are underachievers. This is in large part because I grow them in pots on my terrace which doesn't get nearly enough sun. Still, they do grow and make tomatoes. I can't ask for more than that.

The missus and I went house hunting today. We saw a lovely, big, old, 19th century Victorian that we both loved. It's a beautiful house that's fallen into disrepair. Sadly, even if we could afford the place, there's no way we could afford the six figure renovation costs.

The housing market scares the crap out of me. I can't help but think that the real crash still hasn't happened yet and that if I buy now I'll be stuck with a place that's worth way less than I paid for it.

I'd wait until next year to buy, if I could. But there's a baby girl on the way. My wife is due in late September. I'd much rather have a house to raise my daughter in than a cramped apartment.

We’re trying a new tomato support system this season. You cut a 2x4x8 into two pieces and create a point on one end of each of the two pieces (no reason it couldn't be taller Slartibartfast). Then drill three or four holes in the non-pointy ends. Pound the pointy-end into the dirt on either side of a line of tomatoes and tie support twine through the drilled holes.

We saw this in use on a production farm last fall and it seems to be working great so far on a 30-ft span. It’s stronger and cheaper than cages and looks less medieval than pounding tree branches into the dirt like we did last year.

But fresh peas are way better than fresh tomatoes. Neither comes close to early potatoes fried whole in olive oil though.

This fall’s project is to learn to ferment and d-word (drain) potatoes. Seeking a good strain of yeast.

My mind, as well as one of the servers I have to work on, is truly boggled tonight. In the meantime, I have some very mixed feelings about this incident.

"Did you stand in line with Megan McArdle?"

No. Waited until yesterday, when I thought the lines would have died down, and brought a book. -- Also, as of Friday, I had decided not to get it, but suddenly I thought: wait, I'm about to go to Pakistan (in a little under 2 weeks), and one of the plane rides is 13 hours long (Dubai-Atlanta and vice versa), and it would sure be nice to have fun games to play...

Which is a dumb reason to buy an iPhone, but I had been contemplating getting one more or less the first ones appeared, so .. well, never mind. Excuses, excuses. ;)

My tomatoes are in pots, since my back yard is tiny, and more to the point, while I haven't gotten the soil checked, that's because I assume it's full of lead, or something equally bad for growing edible things. So I have lots and lots of pots.

And John S: yow. That doesn't seem like a good reason to take someone's kids away, whatever I think of "white nationalists." Because, well, disagreeing with me just isn't, no matter how confident I might be that, in the case at hand, I'm right.

I've got a friend who grows his tomatoes tied to tall stakes. He basically takes the plant down to two main vines, cutting back the rest, and ties those to the stake. He always has a nice crop. Dunno what he does with the cherry tomatoes, though; those just grow into a huge bush that defeats our tallest tomato cage.

Our sturdiest and best tomato cages were made from basically steel reinforcement mesh, which is about heavy steel wire tack-welded into six-inch squares, and comes in rolls about 6'x50' or 6'x100'. We used those extensively in Alabama, but we also had lots of room to store them in; we had an entire horse barn and no horses. You just take a pair of heavy fence pliers, and cut the mesh into 6' lengths (which means you're cutting across the mesh, cutting about 13 heavy wires to make one cage), which makes about a 2'-diameter tube. You then take the wire ends and bend them around to join one side of the mesh to the other, which makes the tube nice and solid. If you're lucky and have huge plants, you MAY need to stake them into the ground, but this is unlikely. A 50' roll will make you about eight cages, which is more tomatoes than you can use, really, unless you have a big freezer or lots of canning jars.

As I said, though, we don't have the room for cages that big. We might have to figure it out, though.

Lessee... started a new job, defend my PhD at the end of the week, had a romantic getaway with the gf and nearly died when I had a narcoleptic attack on the interstate. So, not a lot :)

Oh, and... is that quadruple on the Wall*E recommendation? Best movie of the year so far, hands down.

Not much for tomatoes here yet. We don't grow any, we get them at the farmer's market. We have tiny lot, and my wife has claimed all available square footage for flower garden beds.

We do have a small herb garden, and are getting lots of good stuff out of that. Had a great berry trifle with all fresh stuff tonight for dessert. Sweet.

Shifted some rock around, too. I promised my wife I'd build her some dry stack wall, which is a multi-weekend project, so I spent a little time getting my material in place.

We like summer.

My wife and I are hosting a friend of ours and her six-month old son for a couple of months while she sorts out an ugly marital situation. So part of the weekend was spent hanging out with our guests. The mom is a delightful woman, and her son is a really good boy -- happy, doesn't fuss without a good reason, goes to sleep without a big fight. We're enjoying having them with us.

No gigs for me this weekend, but I did spend time working up some simple student pieces for a marimba lesson on Monday. I'm trying to get my head around the Burton four-mallet grip, it's always fun to learn something totally new.

Fun to see that the kitty has enhanced her (or his) arsenal. Watch out trolls!!

Thanks -

that's a great picture

All this, and my I have my very first ripe tomato from the plants in my backyard.

July 13! A little earlier than usual, no?

And I've always thought that fresh tomatoes are about as good an argument for the existence of God as there is.

I feel the same way about sweet corn ....

and Funyuns.

But that's just me.

Oh, and great picture.

von, I had some corn on the cob at my mother's place on the 4th of July that was so succulent and sweet, I swear that if I got stuck in a time loop eating that ear of corn for all eternity, it would not bother me even a little bit.

As for me:

Learning a lot about pig insemination and automatic transmissions ....

Met CharlieCarp for lunch when he happened to be in town ....

Awaiting the birth of number #2 (due in November) ....

Wall-E was great; my 2.4 year old's first movie ....

Listening to a lot of music:

-- Lil' Wayne, "Tha Carter III" is brilliant ('tho Mr. Wayne probably needs an intervention);

-- The new Death Cab is also good; ignore the Pitchfork review.

-- The Terrordactyls should receive the Vampire Weekend treatment. Maybe I'm just getting soft, but their self-titled CD reminds me a helluva lot of the Violent Femmes' first album -- and seems at least its equal in quality. "I want to cry," "Decoration Daniel," "Sandcastles," and "Shipping" are standouts, 'tho the uber-twee "Devices" gets all the attention.

-- Vampire Weekend is also worth hearing, although no one could possibly live up to that hype.

-- I found the new Notwist to be good but overrated. YMMV. But I'm still listening to it (Granted, I'm a pretty solid Notwist fan).

-- Old school in the mix: Public Enemy (mostly "Apocalypse '91," but there's always some "Nation of Millions" and "Fear of a Black Planet" in circulation); The Misfits (varied); Fugazi (mostly "Red Medicine" and "The Argument," but "13 Songs" is always in the mix somewhere); Pink Floyd ("Meddle"); Foreign Exchange ("Connected" -- highly recommended); Notwist ("Neon Golden"); Interpol ("Antics"); The Mighty Mighty Bosstones ("More Noise ..."); Jawbreaker ("Unfun"); and a little N. Diamond to clense the pallet.

Yes, I listen to a lot of music; it helps me write.

I know that feeling, Phil.

Today, my wife and I went on a long walk through the Chicago Botanical Gardens. An absolutely beautiful place to go. Weather was gorgeous.

Then we came home and I spent the rest of the day on my knees weeding our own gardens.

Tomatoes may be the greatest reason to believe in God (which I do) but weeds may be the best argument for the non-existence.

I went to this Sub Pop festival today, and it was pretty cool. But I left a little early because I'm getting old. All you Obamaniacs out there will be happy to know that there was a booth. There wasn't a McCain booth, but it's the PacNW, not jesus land, what do you expect.

My life is busy in too many directions. I am getting nowhere trying to extricate myself from a very stupid house purchase a few years back -- I seem to have found a tenant, at least, which will pay for most, tho not all, of mortgage + condo fee. This postpones the problem but does not solve it, b/c the ARM balloons in a few more years. During which time the housing market will either recover, or go right over a cliff. We'll see which it is.

Anybody wanna buy a nice condo row house in the DC suburbs, cheap?

Meanwhile, in my current house, one co-houser is moving out, we may have a replacement, but not committed yet.

Plus I'm on new medication, my little boy needs throat surgery in August, I'm still getting over breaking up w/ my wife (we remain co-housing together, which is a lot easier on the kids), and I billed about 65 hours last week.


I'd like to see Wall-E, also IndyIV & Hancock, but kinda doubt there will be time.

A wedding in Malibu. Lovely time was had by all.

I've got a MacBook on the way. It left the Memphis hub this morning. I've never programmed for the Mac before.

Taken a few months ago, this is my kitten Molloy, presumably protecting the homeland.

"Tomatoes may be the greatest reason to believe in God (which I do) but weeds may be the best argument for the non-existence."

That made me think of part of a story I was working on a long time ago. The character was musing while weeding his garden:

He thought experience accumulated like bric-a-brac and ceramic figurines, religious pamphlets and high-school ribbons, all of which he hated. He thought he had sorted through it all as though his mind were an attic, discarding mostly everything but keeping objects with real beauty and utility. Beauty and utility may have been his principles, except that he discarded the whole system of classification, so that it was perfectly sensible that he could do away with human civilization and still feel the need for perfect grammar. Details, he thought, were the things he saw, not the things he didn't. No-one who didn't think of things as being made up of atoms went about splitting them. So her world was whole, no matter what was missing. He thought that maybe he had trouble convincing himself of that fact because he didn't have enough bric-a-brac to stack on it, to weigh it down and keep it from tipping over. He had a way, he thought, of having brown knees despite everything, and old religious pamphlets had a way of showing up when he thought he'd thrown them away. He'd read Immanuel Kant and couldn't very well forget it -- it left a sort of mark on him, like the dustless spot under a ceramic figurine, so that things like universality and necessity kept springing to mind unbidden. Less like earth stains, and more like the absence of earth stains, he thought, scraping forward on his knees to the next spot. Weeding. There was the apt metaphor. The idea always grew on him that the weeds he was pulling had some wondrous utility of which he was simply unaware. It was possibly for this reason that his knees became browner and the plants more rank and disorderly from one end of his plot to the other. In the end, he thought, it probably didn't matter what he said to her or didn't say. His knees were brown, and for god philosophy was all a priori. For her the word kidnap, if she ever learned it, would end up growing in the same plot with safety and comfort. Safety, he named one weed, and Comfort another, and he left them both to shadow his onions.

No tomatoes for me, though I am occasionally working to clear space for some pachysandra.

Horrible week. I had a fallback job, security guard, that was my fallback position that I was going to take if I made it to the first anniversary of my job search without landing anything. At least it would pay some bills, and give me time to study for my classes. I even had a connection that works for them in a responsible position. I got a postcard from them on Tuesday, with almost word for word the same rejection as I get from US Bank. My friend said that he'd never heard of them actually rejecting someone rather than just not calling them back. I think I made a mistake by actually providing my resume.

Down, down week. First actual depressive episode I've had in about eight months. Black. Fortunately, I went to see Mark Knopfler last night. I'd made the mistake of inviting my ex-wife, but relations have become more distant since the invitation. That went fine, though. I celebrated my Bear Stearns puts by springing for the good seats. I've never sat so close to any performer of serious magnitude in my life. Third row. I wouldn't want to do it for almost any other act, but it was perfect for him. I'm not sure that there is anyone whose music is better able to draw me out of a black mood than Knopfler. Soothing voice, and he seems so amazingly well adjusted, and basically happy with how he is.

I feel much better today.

"BTW, Gary Farber has been hilarious lately."

Thanks awfully. I like to think that I'm frequently hilarious, but that often no one seems to notice, but maybe I'm just hilarious to myself. In between the ranting and fact-checking and questioning and head-scratching and, ooh, shiny things....

Me, I've had a completely useless weekend, not accomplishing a single damn thing beyond picking up a handful of groceries. I got nothing whatever substantial read, nothing written, and spent most of time either waiting around, or restarting my computer, trying to fix any number of frustrating problems, turning blank DVDs into frisbees, losing wireless connections, and having the cable tv connection go wonky, while otherwise not getting done a single one of the either fun or productive things I'd hoped to have happen this weekend.

But, hey, I've got a roof over my head, and plenty to eat, and I've finally got internet again, and so overall, all is great, really, compared to so many other times of my life, so I got no serious complaints at all.

Oh, and I linked back here, Hilzoy, in my post that you kindly linked to, with a link to the original source of the wonderful King Kitten photoshopping, and note that there are a few other nice pics there, as well. Great kitten! (So *that*'s why Russell commented on my blog!)

Oh, and I adore blueberries, and can eat gallons at a time, practically. Everyone is invited to invite me over to pick their blueberries, and let me sneak eat more than I pick! :-)

I'll leave you some, though, because I'm really very nice.

And I'd like to see Wall-E and Hancock and Hellboy II, but the budget won't allow it, as I'm anticipating seeing, finally, The Dark Knight next weekend. I deeply loved Batman Begins: the only truly good Batman representation ever done in live action.

How much app shopping have you done so far? My g/f upgraded her iPhone Friday and is currently playing Tetris--she got the Etch-a-Sketch then. I think, though, that I found the worst new app for the iPhone/iTouch series, even if you like James Joyce.

Second try on that link? Yes. Must remember to use preview in the future.

Wall-E and Hancock and Hellboy II

If you can stretch your budget, I'd recommend Wall-E. I saw that and Hellboy II this weekend and while HBII was great, IMHO there are only a couple spots where you need a big screen. Wall-E on OTOH is wonderful. I swear, Pixar has just a magical touch with these things, very little dialog but so much expression. It's worthy of the big screen. Plus it has a great short in front of it.

PS. I understand that TDK was actually shot on IMAX, so it'd behoove you to see it on an IMAX screen if you're gonna spend the ducats anyhoo. There's supposed to be a carryover on the regular size screen, but not like on the IMAX screen.

Oh yeah, and for those who care, trades for Planey Y, Invincible and The Walking Dead came out recently. My BART ride is saved for the next week or so!

It being late, and this being an open thread, I’d like to provide some thoughts this admirer has complied from Hyman Rickover.

Rickover, in my mind, exercised legend status during a Washington DC snowstorm. His office put out to the radio stations that non-essential people were not to show up to work on that day. Those who didn’t show up were fired. You could get away with that management style in our government not that long ago.

But Rickover was one of a kind. He was working for us. Read the first address, at least.

I celebrated turning 40 with family and friends.

I'm still trying to figure out how I feel about being this age.

I've got a MacBook on the way. It left the Memphis hub this morning. I've never programmed for the Mac before.

OpenMCL! :)

Speaking of Tetris, be sure to download Quinn. Which is of course not Tetris. ;)

Took my grandson to see Wall -E He loved it. Came home and built a real life Wall -E for our living room. Grandson is in love.

BOB- I worked for HG Rickover. He was a jerk. Figures we'd disagree on that, too. I even like fresh tomatoes better than peas. Can't we agree on anything?

"... has complied from Hyman Rickover."

YM "compiled."

"Rickover, in my mind, exercised legend status during a Washington DC snowstorm."

"exercised legend status"?

"His office put out to the radio stations that non-essential people were not to show up to work on that day. Those who didn’t show up were fired."

I'm unaware that you can be fired either from the civil service or the Navy for any such thing. I don't suppose you have a cite to this? After all, such a famous story surely can be verified and linked to, right? And you wouldn't want to pass on an alleged anecdote that never happened, right? Or be unable to tell fact from fiction? So: cite?

"You could get away with that management style in our government not that long ago."

Funny, in my country the Pendleton Act was passed in 1883. What's the law like on your planet?

"Read the first address, at least."

I've read Rickover's major speeches dozens of times, starting in the early Seventies, so that would be kinda boring and redundant. I'd recommend this as a rather more informative and balanced view for those unfamiliar with him. Say, do ya think Rickover suffered many genetic defects, Bill? But of course, you must.

But, hey, the paen to Jesus at the bottom of your linked text will doubtless help endless numbers of souls!

And it's nice to know you share an enthusiasm with this guy:

Outside my family, the main person, outside of my father, the main man who has had an influence on my life is Admiral Hyman Rickover. I was one of the two young officers in the program to build atomic submarines. There were two built: the Nautilus and the Sea Wolf. I was in charge of the crew that was helping to build the Sea Wolf and building the nuclear power plant that later became a prototype. Rickover was a man who demanded absolute excellence and total dedication from all those who worked under him. He demanded as much from himself. And so he set a standard of commitment and perfection in life that I had never experienced before. He really had a great impact on my life.

The Pentagon brass officed Rickover in the lady’s room. He ended up with 4-stars back when we had a sense of Country. I’ll plant some peas for you tomorrow Oyster Tea.

Hi Gary;

Jimmy Carter hates Jews. Rickover is the reason. Rickover controlled Carter. Rickover was a bastard who did great things. Rickover’s address to which I linked was made during Carter’s Presidency after the transfer of power. Feel the love. But recognize the excellence.

"Jimmy Carter hates Jews."

Really? And you know what people think and feel, how, exactly?


I defer to his statements on Israel.


"I defer to his statements on Israel."

Defer all you like, whatever that means, exactly.

So, I take it you don't have a mind-reading machine, any more than you have a cite to indicate that your anecdote is true.

Bill, do you have any grasp of how to determine what's true from what's false, other than your gut?

I have, incidentally, some differences with some of Jimmy Carter's statements on Israel, but not only do I not have insights into his mind or heart, any more than I have into anyone's, I'm unaware of any evidence that he "hates Jews."

I'm kinda inclined to doubt you do, either, given your inability to give any cites to indicate such, as usual.

And now, g'night. Enjoy your tomatoes.

Goodnight Gary;

I've had enought of these grapes too. Another day.

But read the link. The man was brilliant.

Let me see: my tomato plants have a fair bit of fruit, but it's still green up here in Toronto. My first peppers are coming along nicely, too. Oh, and I tried No Knead bread for the first time last night (the Cook's Illustrated revision for whole wheat) and it worked out quite nicely.

Jimmy Carter hates Jews. Rickover is the reason.

Reagan hated Italians. Sinatra was the reason.

Thanks -

From Rickover's address:

Acceptance of responsibility means that the individual takes upon himself an obligation. Responsibility is broad and continuous. None of us are ever free of it, even if our work is unsuccessful.
The sense of responsibility for doing a job right seems to be declining.

Never truer than now.

"No one could have foreseen".

Thanks -

George Bush hated Texans. He sent his son there.

Tomatoes have been weak this year at the local farmer's market in Northern VA. However, the corn, the corn has been wonderful and yummy! Oh the yummy, yummy corn.

I’m emerging, maybe almost emergent.

From fifteen years of disastrous romances (2), and 16 months of never having a happy day culminating in five months of nearly total seclusion, following my father’s death. For much of the latter time ObWi has been my my main engagement with humanity. (Good place to find it.)
Painting is my vocation, and I hadn’t painted since my father’s death. Now I’m working on my fourth painting, a portrait of him immediately after his death.
Also, I live on a property with the woman to whom I was engaged and who hasn’t spoken to me since January. Did I mention clinical depression has been a dominating obstacle for twenty-five years or more?
Now the woman with whom we share ownership, an Indian Kathak dancer, who is recovering from chemo and who normally spends half her time in Delhi, has returned, and she and I have been creating a space for her to live and work, engaging construction skills from which I’d withdrawn entirely in the last worst period.
As well, for the past couple of months I’ve been pouring reflections on my circumstances into a trio of blogs, the main reason I’ve been much less present here. It’s been enormously useful in making sense of overwhelming confusions.

So while the future is still highly indeterminate, the present is a marvelous gift.

Felix culpa: Very best wishes. I know how hard that kind of un-thawing can be, and sympathize, and hope that the months coming up bring you some welcome surprises.

felix culpa: *hugs*

It's tough. I'm glad you're making it back into the world.

Innumerable thanks.
I may owe most of my sanity to you guys, after all.
And Bruce, thanks for the thought of welcome surprises. My trademark maxim is ‘Surprises is what art and life are all about’.
Welcome surprises to all.
hilzoy, “hugs” back, for all your graces.

I've had six ripe tomatoes already, all from the same plant. A friend gave me a bunch of different varieties of heritage tomato plants, and a one called "Jaune Flamme" (which are actually orange when ripe, not yellow) started producing early and often. I'm going to get more JF next year.

felix: If you lived nearer, I would probably bake you a cake.

*sends virtual cake*

Now the woman with whom we share ownership, an Indian Kathak dancer, who is recovering from chemo and who normally spends half her time in Delhi, has returned, and she and I have been creating a space for her to live and work, engaging construction skills from which I’d withdrawn entirely in the last worst period.

This sounds splendid. I'm glad. Wishing you well.

...it sounds so feeble to say that my next big adventure is going to be making bagels.

Didn't get done much of what I'd planned this weekend, partly because Wikipedia became a bit of a time sink when I started trying to improve the coverage of the DC city council.

I did see Wall-E, though. It greatly exceeded my expectations, which I'd kept low.

Still procrastinating on getting a new phone. The iPhone is tempting, but I'm not sure I'm ready to give up the possibility of phone use in the Metro, which is occasionally useful when going to meet people (only Verizon works in the Metro, but only AT&T has the iPhone). Also, the rise in the iPhone monthly fees has made it look like less of a good deal -- I'd prefer not to double my phone bill. So I still have a primitive phone with no data.

Today I have to deal with the horrors of insurance, trying to get my primary care physician's office to send a referral to a specialist that they were supposed to send weeks ago. I've received probably thousands of dollars of care under the assumption that the referral had been processed, but apparently not, so the bills have started to arrive. Universal health care now!

I picked up Darkness Visible by William Styron at the SE Library booksale this weekend. I'd highly recommend it to anyone trying to get a grasp on what clinical depression "feels like." I had no idea.

Also, Hilzoy, you grow your tomatoes in Maryland, no? And you've got tomatoes to eat? HOW?!?!? I live on Capitol Hill with a nice south and west exposure, and my biggest tomato is 1" and as green as GWB on January 21, 2001. Mind you, I planted from store-bought seedlings in May, but still...

Everett: beats me. I planted from store-bought seedlings too, in containers. There are three plants (plus the cherry tomatoes, which I wasn't counting for these purposes.) One is just barely getting going, one has little green balls, and one has -- well, ripe tomatoes. I have zero idea why. Though the back yard is very, very sunny.

The best cherry tomato in the world is called Sweet 100. None of the others holds a candle.

My opinion, of course, but I've grown a lot of different tomatoes, my wife has grown even more, and my father-in-law has grown everything that you can get seeds for, except possibly some of the more esoteric heirloom varieties.

Slarti: The best cherry tomato in the world is called Sweet 100. None of the others holds a candle.

Why would you want to use a cherry tomato to hold a candle?


They're doing the candle-holding of their own accord, J. I wouldn't want to inflict my values system, such as it is, on them.

anyone here feel like recommending things to do, places to see, good restaurants, etc, in Montreal ?

we're gonna be up there for a few days later this month...

I think the picture needs to be LOLcatted with "I CAN HAS JIHAD?"

Felix, what you write comes too close to home for me to say much more than that I send you my very best wishes, and any hugs if acceptable, and that there's far more I'd like to say that I can't bring myself too, because of my own ongoing emotional troubles. But I wish you all best with powerful strength.

"I picked up Darkness Visible by William Styron at the SE Library booksale this weekend. I'd highly recommend it to anyone trying to get a grasp on what clinical depression "feels like."

Yes, yes, yes, I've, along with plenty of other people, been recommending it highly ever since I read it not all that long after it came out.

Everyone's depression is their own, and somewhat different, but Styron gets at how powerful it can be, and makes it clear to most readers, most of whom Don't Know.

I wish everyone would read it.

"I think the picture needs to be LOLcatted with 'I CAN HAS JIHAD?'"

But is the kitty supervising the launch, or attacking it?


Try Au Bistro Gourmet

Odd name, I think, but good food. The place is small, so get a reservation.

anyone here feel like recommending things to do, places to see, good restaurants, etc, in Montreal ?

Have breakfast in Eggspectations. Plan on not eating again for at least 8 hours.

The Botanical Gardens are also good - and theyve got a fab insectarium/aquarium thing which they made from the Olympics building.

anyone here feel like recommending things to do, places to see, good restaurants, etc, in Montreal ?

You'd be doing yourself a disservice if you didn't go for smoked meat. The better-known (and more touristy) destination is Schwartz's; locals are more likely to go to Snowdon Deli. Personally, I liked both.

And Bernard, I think I may have been to that restaurant. If so, it was in fact awesome.

thanks all, for the Montreal suggestions. feel free to keep sharing :) we have 5 days to fill up.

Second the recommendation for the Jardin Botanique.

Good restaurants and bars around the Universite du Quebec a Montreal (Berri-UQAM Metro stop), along Rue Berri and Rue St Denis. Nice brew pub (Cheval Blanc) on Rue Ontario in the same area.

A walk up Mount Royal if it's not too hot. Nice churches and public buildings in the old city, if you like that kind of thing.

I didn't try the smoked meat, even though everyone said it was the thing to do. Nor the poutine, come to think of it.

But is the kitty supervising the launch, or attacking it?

Kitty is using his mighty LOL-fu to guide the missiles to their infidel targets!!


Thanks -

No recommendations for Montreal from me. I went once, for a day en route to Quebec, and all I can remember is that my sister and I were in one of those 'what the heck, be daring, order something with a name you don't understand and see what happens!' mods, and I somehow ended up with raw baby octopi.

moods, not mods...

"moods, not mods..."

We already knew you weren't a gamer.

If fresh tomatoes are evidence that God exists, then the fact that they are so hard to come by, and available for such a short time each year, must be evidence that He is cruel.

Fresh tomatoes are delicious, and they're extremely good for you. A loving God would have made fresh tomatoes available year-round, and would have made bacon a two-weeks-a-year treat.

Mmmmmm. Bacon.


I second the botanic garden recommendation. It's immense, plan on at LEAST half a day if you're in to that sort of thing.

If you're not afraid to get wet, do the Lachine Rapids jet boat tour. Be sure to take a dry change of clothes, including shoes -- you'll get soaked from head to toe, but it's a lot of fun, and scenic, too.

I agree that walking around Mt. Royal is worth doing, even if I did cringe at the tacky giant Erector set cross in the middle of the park.

My top food recommendation is a place I ate almost daily when I was there, although I can't remember its name. We simply called it "the crepe place next to Le Keg." It's on St. Paul E in Old Montreal. The dessert crepes are wonderful in their own right, but the savory crepes are out of this world.

I also highly recommend Le Frippon, also in Old Montreal. A good friend of mine goes every year when he's in town for the F1 race.

You can get a good steak, albeit quite pricey, at Gibby's, again in Old Montreal (are you detecting a theme). It's a neat place, having been built into a 400-year-old fort. But the quarters can be a little tight in the dining room.

Forgot to mention: you'll need reservations for the jet boat tour, so if you decide to go, plan it through your hotel.

Au Pied de Cochon -- classic French bistro cooking.

I think the Just for Laughs festival will be over by the time you get there, but maybe you can catch it if you come back next year.

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