Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hedgehogs in Costume

What could be better for Halloween than photos of hedgehogs in costume? I don't know who took these photos, but Toque McToque sent me this one of a hedgehog as Thor:

Banjo Player sent me this photo of a military hedgehog:

I don't have any photos of bunnies in costume to share with you, but Hardingfele sent me this photo of a bunny jack-o-lantern that looks a lot like Charlie:

Happy Halloween!

Famous Hat

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Crazy Faces Make It All Better

You know how they say bad things happen in threes? That sure seemed to be true at work today. I called for a recycle bin for someone, but they brought a confidential shredding bin instead and said they didn't have a regular recycle bin. Then someone else had his key stuck in the lock of his office, so I had to call security to come free it. And then someone shoved what looked like an entire roll of toilet paper into one of the women’s toilets, so I had to call about that too. I told Light Bright they are going to ignore the next request they get from Famous Hat.

Light Bright is a new homeowner, and she had three bad things happen too. First the drain in the basement was clogged so the whole basement flooded. Then her internet connection stopped working, so she had to spend an hour and a half on the phone getting that fixed. Then there was a bad smell in the basement so she called a cleaning company, and they found a family of dead mice in the laundry room. “I don’t want to call the biggest one a rat,” said the cleaning guy, “but it was pretty darn large.” So she is hoping that is the end of her new homeowner bad luck.

How did Light Bright and I survive the day? We went to the coffee place and got Crazy Faces, which are two shots of espresso with a vanilla flavor shot, half and half, and whipped cream. So not good for you, but so tasty yet caffeinated. That perked us right up and we were ready to get back to work and home ownership. (This is why I own a condo.)

Famous Hat

Monday, October 29, 2012

Island Hiking

I hope all my readers had a good weekend. I went to a fish fry on Friday with my neighbors A-Joz and Jackie O, since we couldn’t go after our condo association meeting on Wednesday night. (That didn’t go well; we didn’t get a quorum so we couldn’t conduct any official business.) Saturday I went to a corn maze with Travalon, A-Joz, Luxuli and her husband, and Richard Bonomo, and we got official “Maze Master” certificates for finding secret punches. (There are different shaped hole punches that are not marked on the map so you have to hunt for them.) This is the first year in a long time that Tiffy was unable to go to the corn maze – if you are reading this, Tiffy, we missed you! Later Rich, Travalon, and I went to a bonfire and spooky walk hosted by some people who go to my church, and that was a lot of fun. Sunday Travalon and I went on another mini road trip, hiking on Tivoli Island in Watertown and by the mighty Crawfish River in Columbus and by Lazy Lake in Fall River. We tried to go to several of the bars in Travalon’s book, but can you believe they were all closed on a Packer Sunday? I guess we got there too late because the game was already over, and they must close up right after that. Oh well, any day I get to hike on an island is a good one!

Update: welcome to my Canadian readers! Travalon said I should have mentioned the Greek restaurant we went to in Sun Prairie called Atlantis which was really good.

Famous Hat 

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Equestrian Rick James

I don't know who to credit for this picture A-Joz sent me, but it's too funny not to post.

Famous Hat

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Famous Hat Shoe Fund

Today I wondered once again what to blog about as Light Bright and I went to deliver the mail to the other building, and after we passed some art for sale, she said, “Why not blog about your favorite artists?” To which I replied, “I guess I don’t have to blog every day,” and she said, “That’s just another way of saying, ‘Your idea sucks, Light Bright.’” Then we laughed really hard, and I said, “Now I do have something to blog about!” She said what I should actually blog about are my shoes that are falling apart, and how I should be taking up a collection for new ones. I said, “I know, I can’t throw anything away, and I didn't even grow up in the Depression,” and she said, “Those shoes look like they grew up in the Depression!” She says she is going to throw them away some morning before I get into work. (I wear my sneakers on my way to work.) So feel free to donate to the Famous Hat Shoe Fund.

Famous Hat

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Forgot to Title this Post

Today Hardingfele sent me an article about a Russian cat nursing some orphaned hedgehogs. (This story should appeal to my Russian readership.) The photos are cute, but it is the comments on this post that really make it noteworthy. Especially this rant about same sex marriage in Ireland, which one might argue has nothing to do with cats in Russia who adopt hedgehogs:


I like the choice to write this all in caps. It drives home the writer's passion, or possibly insanity, about the subject. And for your convenience, I am including the photo that came up when I googled traffic bollards:

You're welcome.

Famous Hat

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A 420 Problem at 420 Henry Mall

Yesterday Toque McToque sent me a news item about a researcher on our esteemed campus who was busted for growing marijuana in his office. Judging by the photo of him accompanying the online story, he was doing some quality testing of the plants. The best part of the story per Toque was that the address of the building his office was in is 420 Henry Mall. (For those of you who don’t get this, 420 is slang for cannabis.) I thought this was worthy of a blog entry.

Famous Hat 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Sweetest Day Disaster

Friday afternoon I took half a day off of work, and Travalon and I went to the Crane Foundation to see all sorts of cranes, some of them as tall as I am. (Granted, not that tall for a person, but really something for a bird.) Then we went to a cheesy haunted house and cursed temple, which was a lot of fun. We were laughing so hard, especially when this guy who was dressed like a shrub kept popping out and startling us. Travalon has a book of historic bars in Wisconsin, and our favorite place, Le Tigre, is on there, so we went there as our official start to visiting every bar in the book.

Saturday was Sweetest Day, which I didn’t realize since I don’t care about made-up holidays, but Travalon gave me a small box of chocolates so that was very sweet. (Pun intended.) We ate several of the chocolates, then we went to lunch with his very entertaining mother. She has a great sense of humor! We went to a beautiful harbor and walked across a scary walkway about the width of a regular sidewalk with sheer drop-offs on either side to get to a lighthouse. Then we went to Travalon’s old hangout and had scallops for dinner; Travalon dropped a scallop and the waitresses found it, so they brought him another one. Wasn’t that thoughtful? When we got back to his house, we discovered that his dog Rodney had gotten into the chocolates, but luckily there were only a couple left so no real damage was done.

Yesterday Travalon and I were supposed to go on our hot air balloon ride, but it was too windy. The pilot said the best time to go is midwinter to avoid cancellations, so maybe I will just go for my next birthday.

Famous Hat

Friday, October 19, 2012

Early Deep Question

I don’t have much to blog about today, but I am taking the afternoon off to go hiking (or antiquing , if it continues to rain) with Travalon, so after that I will have something to say. Sorry for the lack of communication yesterday, it was not a particularly busy day but then I had a meeting at the end of the day and just ran out of time to blog. Also, I have no good Light Bright stories, except maybe this: yesterday I was once again annoyed by someone who insists animals do not go to Heaven, and a woman at my bus stop agreed with me. Who wants to go to Heaven if there are no animals there? When I asked Light Bright this question when I got to work, she groaned, “Why do you always have to ask the heavy questions first thing in the morning? I don’t even know where I stand on people going to Heaven!” She isn’t sure she wants to see the cat she had to give away in Heaven.

Famous Hat

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Difference Between Henry the Eighth

Today as my office mate Light Bright and I walked to the new building to deliver mail, I told her how I had two songs stuck in my head: that stupidly catchy Korean hip hop thing “Gangnam Style” and the old standard “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.” I said I should make a mash-up of the two songs:

“You must realize smoke gets in your eyes – Oppa Gangnam Style!”

She said that for years she has gotten two songs confused and began singing: “I’m Henry the Eighth, I am, I am, I’m Henry the Eighth I am. I’m getting married to the widow next door,” and I sang, “She’s been married seven times before.” Then I asked, “What’s the second song?” She said, “You think they go together too?!” Turns out she thought the first line was from one song and the line about the widow next door was a second song, but they seemed to have the same tune to her. She said when she had mentioned this to other people in the past, they hadn’t really responded, and I said, “Yeah, it’s kind of like asking them, ‘What’s the difference between an orange?’” She was very glad I had cleared up this mystery for her, answering the burning question of why she always wanted to sing those two songs together.

Famous Hat

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Gradations of Spring and Fall

Summer is three months of sunny, carefree days and winter is an eternity of short, cold, snowy days, but spring and autumn have different parts to them. It almost seems like a misnomer to refer to spring as one season, since there is an early, windy, muddy part that is distinct from the later part when the flowers bloom and the air is soft. Autumn has at least two stages: there is the October part, when the leaves are beautiful and the night air is cool, and then there is the less charming November part when there are no more leaves and everything is bleak. Doesn’t it seem like there should be two different names for these seasons instead of lumping them all into “autumn”? Maybe the pretty part could be autumn and the bleak part could be prewinter. I think about this with my postponed balloon ride; I am hoping to schedule it during autumn, but if it keeps getting postponed, I might be flying over the prewinter landscape, and how depressing would that be? Maybe I’d have to wait for spring, and not postwinter but the real spring that starts in late April.

Famous Hat

Monday, October 15, 2012

Balloon Ride Postponed

Yesterday I was supposed to go on my long-anticipated hot air balloon ride, the one many of you readers contributed to for my birthday back in January. Of course I had all summer to schedule this, but my procrastination paid off because then I met Travalon, and he is willing to go with me. We tried to go two weekends ago, but there was no room on the schedule, so I booked it for yesterday. Then I woke up to a steady downpour that lasted all day, so it was no surprise when the hot air balloon pilot (who, according to his website, is also a photographer) called to say he was canceling due to weather. We are going to try it again next Sunday. Not sure how late into the autumn I would want to do this; soon the weather will get really cold, and the leaves will not be pretty anymore.  Of course, this pilot flies all winter so Travalon and I could always bundle up and do this for my next birthday.

Famous Hat

Friday, October 12, 2012

Light Bright Magic

The magical properties I ascribe to my office mate Light Bright never cease, apparently, judging by the question I asked her yesterday. We had a very busy day running around, taking candidates here and food for luncheons there, then around noon we had a breather and sat talking to each other. One of the luncheons finished up at one, and Light Bright was going to go clean up afterwards and see if there was any leftover pizza. I answered a couple of emails and then asked Light Bright if she had gone to clean up the pizza, and she laughed. “I’ve been sitting here the whole time!” she said. “How could I have gone to clean up the pizza?” I plead natural blonde. But who knows, maybe she can be in two places at once. Maybe she is just that good.

A big shout out to the French readership I seem to have gained this week. Merci!

Famous Hat

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Closed Captioning

Last night I was bad and skipped choir practice to work out with Hardingfele at the health club. (Life is too short to spend every week practicing songs I know by heart, especially now that I am back to singing alto again.) (This is what happens to you when you can sing both parts – you get bounced around like a red rubber ball.) We did our usual workout in the pool with aqua barbells, but there was a class in the pool when we first arrived, so we spent some time on the stationary bikes. A TV in front of us was playing the “fair and balanced” news station, and they have the worst closed captioning either Hardingfele or I had ever seen. For example, did you realize Mitt Romney was at an autopsy rally yesterday? Really, that’s what it said. I don’t even know what they meant to say, since you can’t hear the TVs without earbuds. Our very favorite correction was a story showing a very tall tower that looked a bit like the Space Needle  tumbling to earth, and the closed captioning informed us that “workers imploded a 2-foot sh*t.” I couldn’t even make this stuff up.

Famous Hat 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Early Music Jam

Last night a member of my band invited a bunch of us over to play old instruments, but only I showed up. It was a little bit sad, like when a kid has a birthday party and only one person comes, except there was no cake. I played my rebec, which is like a small Medieval violin, and boy did I stink! It is held differently than a modern violin, so my technique was not very good, and I squeaked like a little kid just learning the violin. Also, because the neck was so small, I sometimes didn’t get my fingers in quite the right place, so my tuning was not perfect. That’s okay, the other lady is learning to play the tenor viol, and she was no better than I was, so we both squeaked along out of tune. The only person I felt bad for was her husband, when he came home partway through our squeakfest. Too bad the others didn’t come – I hope they weren’t worried that they aren’t very good at playing their ancient instruments! That was the whole point of this Early Music Jam, after all.

Famous Hat

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Dinner Adventure

Sunday after going to the winery, Travalon and I went to get some dinner. This proved to be much more of an adventure than we had counted on. Our first plan was to go to a Cajun restaurant, but it was closed, so we went to the Italian restaurant next door. And it was closed. Undeterred, we went to an Eastern European bistro down the street… and it was closed. We walked to a nearby Italian cafĂ©, and it was closed too! We ended up going to a new brew pub called the Free House which was really good, although it basically has sandwiches and burgers. We enjoyed the garlic and parmesan fries and the homemade peanut butter cheesecake, and I had a pear cider there. Yum! Sometimes when things don’t work out the way you expect, you discover something new and wonderful.

Here is a photo of Travalon, his dog Rodney, and me at Wyalusing State Park If you look closely, you can see a train going past down in the valley behind us.

Famous Hat

Monday, October 8, 2012

Autumn Leaves and a Beheaded Rose

Friday Travalon and I drove around the state: to Wildcat Mountain, through the Kickapoo Valley, over to Wyalusing State Park, then down along the Mississippi River to Dubuque. His dog Rodney came with us, and we stopped frequently to let Rodney out, but it was so cold out that we didn’t take any long hikes. The leaves were gorgeous, and I took photos which I hope to post soon. We went to a casino on a riverboat in Marquette, Iowa and a larger one in Dubuque, where we had a buffet dinner, and we also discovered a grotto in North Buena Vista, Iowa. (I have a photo of that too.) While it cannot compare with the Dickeyville Grotto, it was very lovely. We stopped in Mineral Point on the way back and had a drink at a bar that allowed Rodney inside. That’s the beauty of small town living.

Saturday Travalon and I went to the House on the Rock, which I had never been to before. The House itself has a very Oriental theme and really narrow doorways and low ceilings, and it has a really cool room called the Infinity Room which is long and tapering and all windows. The museum part had lots of dollhouses, carousels, and setups of instruments that played themselves. Practically every room had one of these spooky bands. There were maritime and aviation sections with historical documents and artifacts, like menus from old ocean liners and newspaper stories about the Titanic and uniforms like the one Napoleon wore. A lot of the stuff was from the 19th or early 20th century. In the evening we went to see a John Mellencamp cover band and then my office mate Light Bright’s band.

Yesterday Travalon brought me a red rose, then we went to a winery and sat outside in the autumn sunlight, drinking white wine. It seemed so wonderful and romantic… and then in the parking lot he accidentally knocked the top off of my rose. Typical Sagittarius – they’re known for being clumsy. I stuck both the rose top and the stem in a vase, since I wasn’t sure what else to do with the stem, and when I told Light Bright the story, she said, “You have to blog about that!” So I am.

Famous Hat

Thursday, October 4, 2012

My Most Popular Post

Today the big excitement around here is that the President is in town. From my office window, I could see Air Force One landing. Tomorrow is going to be more exciting for me, because I'm taking the day off of work so Travalon and I can drive around the state and look at fall colors. So if you don't hear from me tomorrow, I'm busy admiring autumn leaves.

As promised, today I am going to talk about my most popular post of all time, which is this one. I'm not sure what the appeal is. It is one of my typical rants about the evils of equal temperament, and nobody bothered to comment on it. Yet it has been viewed almost twice as often as my next most popular post, which is the one I blogged about yesterday. (Of course, that one's catching up, thanks to all the Russians.) Are people finding this post because they are googling Messiah, I wonder? Or equal temperament? Maybe they are googling Bbb, which is not three B's in a row but B extra flat. It's a quarter tone we don't use in Western music, at least not in equal temperament. When will we realize the Faustian bargain we have made just to be able to play songs in ridiculous keys that nobody cares about anyway?

Famous Hat

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Why a Wasp So Popular?

I have begun looking at the statistics on my blog and was surprised to find that I seem to have quite the Russian readership. The last few days it has spread to Ukraine and Latvia too. And what post, you might ask, are they reading? This one. I am not sure what the appeal is of this particular post, or why its web address is something about todays-postito-diminutive-of-post when the title is Why a Hornet. Did someone imbed something fascinating in this web page? The post only merited one comment, from Hardingfele. It is about two encounters with wasps. I really have no idea why this would be so popular (although not my all-time most viewed post; I'll blog about that tomorrow) and am wondering if it translates into something hilarious in Russian. Hardingfele, your thoughts? If you are still commenting on my posts, that is...

Famous Hat

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

New Name for Da Guy

Last night Hardingfele, Rockstar Tailor, and I went to the health club to work out, and as we lifted weights in the pool, Hardingfele said Da Guy needs a better name than Da Guy on my blog. Rockstar Tailor said that since he likes to travel, and his car is an Avalon, I should call him Travalon. This makes a certain amount of sense to me, so from now on Da Guy will be Travalon. It almost sounds like a name. Rockstar Tailor is learning to play the trumpet in band class, so after we got done working out and returned to her house, she demonstrated for us. She could actually make a pretty good sound on it so I was impressed, since I find the trumpet difficult to play.

Famous Hat

Monday, October 1, 2012

Seattle Jewelry

Da Guy is back from Seattle, and I know people are going to ask what he brought back for me, so I scanned it for your viewing convenience. Actually, this is only part of it because there is a bracelet too, but that was impossible to scan. These are a necklace and earrings with Native American designs on them, which is what the bracelet is too, only it has seahawks on it, so you can imagine what it looks like. I am wearing all of them today, and I have gotten a lot of compliments on the necklace.

Famous Hat