Thursday, March 31, 2016

Which Mid-Twentieth-Century Anglican Theologian Are You?


Sorry for the silence the last couple of days. It was a disappointing time, and I didn’t want to drag down my readers with my glum mood. However, I have gotten over it now yet still have little to say. Tuesday evening Travalon and I did join Rich, Kathbert, and Antoshka for some Easter leftovers, so that was fun. Today I got a friend request on MyFace from someone in Morocco. I was just going to ignore it, but we have four friends in common, including Rich, so I did accept his request. Not that it does me a lot of good, because all his posts are in Arabic. I also get posts in Japanese from Travalon’s college friend’s bride and her best friend, since the three of us kind of bonded in Hawaii. Most of their posts seem to be pictures of food, anyway, so they don’t really need a translation. I am just waiting to get banned from MyFace, or investigated or something, since I have to be on there under a fake name, because it won’t accept my married last name. Now the feds really have something to investigate on my wall: stuff written in Arabic! On top of my account being under a fake name! Obviously I must be someone nefarious. My most recent post was a hilarious quiz: “Which Mid-Twentieth-Century Anglican Theologian Are You?” I was William Ralph Inge, but the questions were the best, like what is your favorite 16th century motet out of these eight, or how would waking up as a pterodactyl affect your pastoral duties. After all the stupid quizzes people post about what is your song or what Disney princess are you, this one is a breath of fresh air. If you want to take the quiz yourself, this link should work.

Famous Hat

Monday, March 28, 2016

Easter Weekend


Spring finally seems to be here. Thursday it was sleeting and terrible, but this weekend was more promising. I took Good Friday off of work and spent the morning praying the rosary and the Seven Sorrows of Mary chaplet, then we had our Good Friday service just after noon, and the choir sang as usual. Afterwards Rich and I had our one meal of the day, then we went to do the Stations of the Cross on the site of the old cathedral, since it was such a lovely day. At the end we prayed a Divine Mercy chaplet. Then I switched over from religious mode to sports mode to watch the Badgers Sweet Sixteen game with Travalon, but unfortunately they lost to Notre Dame right at the end, with three turnovers in five minutes. It was a good run, anyway, and I’m so happy the new coach had such a great season.

Saturday Travalon had to work. I stopped by the Manna Café to get treats for myself and Light Bright, and the worst Sock Puppet of all from my previous job was there in the parking lot. He looked at me like he thought he might recognize me, but I wasn’t about to refresh his memory. Light Bright and I took her baby for a couple of walks, between his naps, then her husband got us all lunch from the barbecue place on Monroe Street. The baby is really cute now that he is four months old. I will freely admit that I prefer them at that age to the newborn stage. Now he is all friendly and smiley.

In the afternoon, once Travalon got off of work, he and I took Rodney to a really great dog park in the Token Creek County Park. So many dogs there, and they were all friendly and well-behaved. It made me so happy watching them being happy and running around. Poor old Rodney doesn’t really run around anymore, he just kind of walks in small circles, but he had a good time too. Then we wandered into another part of the park, which is surprisingly large, and we got quite a hike in while finding our way back to the car. In the evening I had been planning to go to the Byzantine Rite Easter Vigil with Cecil Markovitch and the Single B-Boy like we did last year, but it was canceled because the priest got sick, and not too many other priests know that liturgy. Travalon and I went to the Vigil Mass at the church near our house, and that was lovely and not too long. I heard the one at St. Patrick’s downtown was beautiful but very long, and Rich said the Spanish one at our church was crazy (in a good way), but he didn’t get a chance to elaborate at the time, and I forgot to ask him about it later.

Yesterday morning we had our lovely Easter Mass at our church, then Travalon and I went to the Nau-Ti-Gal for their Easter brunch and felt like royalty because all the people working there knew us and gave us the VIP treatment. So much delicious food! I ate way too much and didn’t even try half of it. Then we visited Travalon’s mother and took her out for a ride. Even in the rain, Oconomowoc is a beautiful town. In the late afternoon we went to Rich’s house for Easter dinner, with his delicious lamb and several amazing desserts, and afterwards I had to work off 745 calories. I was running in front of the TV until past 11:30. So tired today… But I did it! I burned them all off!

Famous Hat

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Paintings of Palm Trees


As promised, here are our palm tree paintings from Palm Sunday Eve. First is mine, and I am quite pleased with the way the ocean turned out:


Next is Jilly Moose's, with my finger making a cameo appearance:


And finally, here is OK Cap's. I think this painting was more fun to do than the cardinal one.


Tiffy gets the coolest originals to paint from. Here are two paintings she did at other paint nights with other friends in other towns. Aren't they amazing?



video


And here are some other photos. First is the giant stick that was making the horrible sounds underneath my car:


And this is a cool old Lutheran church in our neighborhood. They built a much larger, modern church in front of it and use this one for a chapel. I have never been inside of it.



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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Lent: Time to Grow in... Linguistic Skills?


This hasn’t been the most spiritual Lent for me. I was going to do a whole bunch of things but only got around to giving up music in the car, listening instead to my Irish CDs. There are only four CDs, and I have listened to each one approximately 342 times, so you would think by now I would be fluent. This is on top of doing Duolingo every day – apparently finishing the lessons doesn’t get me out of practicing skills I’ve already learned, because the owl is still sending me reminders to do my daily Irish. Maybe taking a class and doing Duolingo in tandem is helping, because I do seem to know an amazing amount of Irish, as far as reading and writing. As far as speaking and hearing it, forget it! Our teacher was reading us some stuff in Irish yesterday, and the other guy and I could pick out a word or phrase here and there, but we couldn’t make too much sense of the whole. I have noticed that translating that terrible crime novel is getting easier, so maybe that is because of how much focus I’ve put on Irish this Lenten season. Of course, the purpose of Lent is not to improve your language skills but to grow closer to Christ, and I certainly haven’t learned how to pray in Irish. One of my first desires going into this project was to learn the rosary in Irish, and I am no closer to that than I was at the start. Well, I guess there’s always Lent next year to improve in something more spiritual than my Irish skills.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Completing Irish in Duolingo


Last night I had a lot of calories to burn off, but I am growing tired of my usual “running” songs. Then I had an idea: since it was Bach’s birthday, and Baroque music is often quite frenetic, I could try running to some of his music. I had a particular harpsichord concerto in mind but thought for some reason that it was a two-harpsichord concerto, so I googled that and found one in C minor. It wasn’t the one I was thinking of, but it was definitely quite familiar, so I ran to it. Then I realized the one I like, besides being in D minor, is only for one harpsichord, and I soon found it. As conducted by Trevor Pinnock, it is definitely at a good speed for running to! I ran so hard, I easily burned off all those calories. Maybe now that I am sick of all my favorite house music and salsa music, I’ll need to run to Baroque music!

This morning I “finished” Duolingo, in that I completed the final lesson in Irish. I thought maybe something spectacular would happen, but all that happened was that a golden version of the owl (the Duolingo mascot) appeared at the bottom of the screen. What a letdown! I didn’t even get more than my usual two lingots (Duolingo currency that you can use for very little) for finishing a lesson. Still, I am tempted to try my hand at another language, but which one? Something I don’t know at all, like Welsh? Or should I brush up on Spanish or French? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section. 

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Monday, March 21, 2016

Badger Basketball Weekend


Did everyone enjoy the unusually early equinox yesterday? Travalon and I had a good weekend. We started Friday by having crab cakes at home while watching the Badger Basketball team win, then we went over to the Nau-Ti-Gal for a drink. It’s so relaxing having a place so close to home if you want to go out, and the two regular bartenders there know us so they treat us well.

Saturday Travalon was busy with the high school basketball tournaments, so OK Cap and I went to a free concert of Bach harpsichord pieces from the Well-Tempered Clavier, in honor of his birthday (which is today). Afterwards we went to Estrellon for a bite to eat, and on the way we ran into Tiffy’s sister and niece. They have an apartment in that building, so not the strangest thing to have happened. OK Cap and I went back to her place and hung out with Zoe while praying a rosary; I meant to go to a hootenanny at the Wil-Mar Center, but we talked so long after the rosary that it was time for Jilly Moose to arrive. We three went to the Nau-Ti-Gal for a quick dinner before Paint Night. This month the subject was a tropical sunset with palm trees and a sailboat. I will post our efforts soon. It was so much fun! And how appropriate, to paint palm trees on the eve of Palm Sunday. Afterwards we took Rodney for a walk, and when Travalon came home and found both me and Rodney gone, he came and found us so we all went for a walk together. There are some interesting lights across the river, like one person has a bright blue light that used to change to red and purple as well, and someone else’s windows are lit up purple.

Yesterday was Palm Sunday, so everyone else processed into church while we choir members stood on the steps singing the opening hymn in an attempt to keep everyone in the same key. In the afternoon Travalon and I went for a hike at Lake Kegonsa State Park with Rodney, since it had become a lovely, sunny day. We also took a drive along both Lake Kegonsa and Lake Wabesa. Then we got a message from Rich: a “reverse surprise party” for Luxuli! As in, she surprised us all – we knew it was her birthday, but we weren’t expecting her back in town so early. She brought a cherry pie and peach wine. Jilly Moose and Kathbert were among the guests. Some of us stayed at Rich’s for a simple dinner of sautéed vegetables and chicken fajitas, then Travalon and I headed home to watch the Badger Basketball team win at the last moment – it was a very exciting game! I screamed a little when Koenig made his basket. They are now in the Sweet Sixteen! But I have to admit that I always feel a little sorry for the other team. The players seem so sad, and even Bill Murray was bummed, because his son is the assistant coach for Xavier, the team the Badgers beat. Plus Hawaii lost, but at least they made it into the tournament. That in itself is huge.

Famous Hat

Friday, March 18, 2016

More St. Patrick's Day Festivities


Last night Travalon, OK Cap, and I went to the Nau-Ti-Gal for dinner; they were serving corned beef, but I had salmon, which is what people actually eat in Ireland. OK Cap and I did get a side of cabbage and baby red potatoes with our salads, which I suppose sounds kind of weird, but why not? OK Cap wanted a black and tan, but they had no Harp beer there, so we had a sort of “black and green” with Guinness on the bottom half and Miller Lite dyed green on the top half. Some may say that’s a waste of a good Guinness, but I wanted some Guinness without all the calories of a whole pint. Anyway, it tasted fine. Then the three of us went to the East Side Club, where a very young band called The Pints was playing. They started their set by telling some terrible jokes, although I have to admit that this one appeals to the dark side of my sense of humor: “How many potatoes does it take to kill an Irishman? Zero.” Fortunately their musical skills were much better than their joke-telling ones. We sat right by the windows, with that fabulous view of downtown Madtown, and enjoyed the traditional music. It was a great way to spend St. Patrick’s Day! Today is my brother’s birthday, and I don’t think he reads this blog, but on the off chance that he does, Happy Birthday, Bro!

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Thursday, March 17, 2016

Happy St. Patrick's Day!


Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Sorry for my silence yesterday. What happened was that when I got to work, the door was locked so I let myself in with my key, but an alarm was going off. Just when I wondered what was going on, someone told me the power was out in the whole building. I went up the very dark stairs and found one coworker in her office, reading by the window, since she couldn’t do anything else. I said I really wanted a cup of coffee, but of course I couldn’t make any, so we went to a nearby coffee shop. The power was out on the whole street, but the coffee shop had brewed coffee they had made before the power outage, so we were able to get our caffeine fix. A guy there showed us a map of the outage, and it was quite extensive. We returned to work, and by then everyone was gathered in the lobby, since it has windows so it was the one place with a lot of light, and someone said a transformer had exploded and the power company said the power wouldn’t come back on for hours. I decided to take a vacation day and head home, but just after I called Travalon, the power came back on. Oh well, c’est la vie.

Travalon and I drove to Oconomowoc to visit his mother, and he also took me to lunch at a Mexican restaurant in Hartland that he wanted me to try. It turns out the owners used to own a restaurant in Madison, and somehow they got me into a conversation about biking. How they knew I used to be a big biker is beyond me, since I have barely been on a bike for the past several years… and it shows. We returned to Travalon’s mother’s place and played a very close game of Scrabble with her; I won, but we were all within a few points of one another. Travalon had the best words, like “igloo” and “xenia” on multipoint squares. Then he and I went to Lapham Peak State Park and took a hike. My phone says I went up 26 flights of stairs yesterday, but I can only account for six of those between work, home, and the choir loft, so the rest must have been from hiking. Funny how twenty flights of stairs would be an awful thing to climb, but hiking up a hill isn’t nearly so painful. Maybe it’s the lovely scenery.

By the time we returned to town, I had to leave for choir practice, and then afterwards we watched The Good Dinosaur, a cute movie but with the usual Disney cliché of the father dying while saving the son, and I didn’t really understand the ending: the main character got an award, but it wasn’t clear why. Anyway, that is why I never got a chance to blog yesterday. The big news is that Travalon just got his genetic test results back, and he is a little bit Irish! Just a tiny bit, the same amount as I am Western Sub-Saharan African, but nevertheless he can celebrate today with a new sense of purpose.

Famous Hat

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

VRV Email Club Party


Last night Travalon and I went to the VRV Email Club party at Mariner’s Inn. VRV is the parent company of Mariner’s, the Nau-Ti-Gal, and Cap’n Bill’s, as well as the Betty Lou Cruises. They had food from all four ventures there, but because Travalon had to work late, by the time we got there some of the selection was gone. We had also missed our favorite bartender giving a demonstration of how to make a peach old-fashioned, with free samples afterwards. We ran into a couple I know from the OTHER choir I used to sing in, and the four of us went to a demonstration on how to sauté shrimp and scallops, with free samples afterwards. (The rest of the food we had to “pay for” with tickets – we each started with eight tickets, and each sample cost one ticket.) By then, some of the other things we wanted to try were also gone, but one of the owners said he would have the cooks make something for us. The perks of being known – we bought our condo from his brother. A band played during the whole party, and then when they brought out desserts (you didn’t need tickets for those), they also had the door prize drawings. We each had a number, and one of our numbers won! We got to choose from a variety of liquor selections, so we chose a six-pack of summer shandy. Some people who were leaving gave us a bunch more numbers, and then in the second drawing we won again! I offered the winning number to my pals from the OTHER choir, but they said they would wait to see if their numbers won, so I chose a sparkling Prosecco wine, and the other couple joked that they would come over sometime and help us drink it. We gave them the rest of our numbers and headed home at that point – no need to win all the door prizes, right? It was a very fun party.

Famous Hat

Monday, March 14, 2016

Early St. Patrick's Day Celebrations


I hope my readers had a good weekend. Travalon and I started ours off with a fish fry on Friday. We went to Bridges Restaurant on a nearby golf course, and it was okay but nothing too special. However, maybe I should try something else on the menu – they had quite a variety of fish available on Fridays, and possibly something else would be tastier than what I ordered, which was the “healthy” choice.

Saturday morning there was “Breakfast with the Bunny” at Benvenuto’s, which was heavily advertised in our neighborhood. It is a fundraiser for local food pantries and aimed at kids, with balloon animals and Easter baskets, but they do allow adults in, although we didn’t get any of the fun stuff. I did get a hug from the Easter bunny, or at least someone dressed like it. The coffee at this breakfast was not too good, so we got some good stuff from the Coffee Gallery and then hit the road with Rodney, driving to Mineral Point. Travalon loves the little Celtic store there, and we bought English tea and homemade soaps, then we went on a hike along the trail that goes to Monroe. It was a beautiful day, and lots of ATVs and other walkers were out on the trail. I have never seen a bicycle on it, however. We had a late lunch at Brewery Creek and then checked out a little town called Linden that is supposed to be even more Cornish than Mineral Point. It just looked like a typical little town, but it did have a very old Methodist church. In the evening the guys had “Steak Night” at a vegetarian restaurant because it is Lent, and also to accommodate Prairie Man, who always has to get the one vegetarian dish at the steak houses they usually frequent. OK Cap and I went to an early St. Patrick’s Day party at the Nau-Ti-Gal, with green beer and “shamrock shake” shots and a very loud, sort of Irish band. After Travalon went to the Chocolaterian and One Barrel Brewing, he joined us as well. We did call it a night kind of early because of Daylight Saving Time. I wish they would quit with the time changes. Either go with Standard Time or Daylight Saving Time, but don’t keep changing it on us!

Yesterday it rained all day, so we didn’t get to go on another hike. Instead, Travalon and I went to the Celtic Cultural Center’s annual St. Patrick’s Day party at the Brink Lounge, with much more traditional music than the party the night before. They also had a couple of Irish dancing schools perform, and I thought how much I would have loved wearing those cute dresses as a little girl. True Confession: I loved my Catholic school uniform. My Irish teacher organized the whole thing, and I went partly out of interest but also because I wanted to support her, not being sure how many people would show up. As it turned out, the place was packed, so our presence was not necessary, but my Irish teacher did seem happy to see us. I also saw a lot of other people there that I knew, and we didn’t know the couple sitting next to us, but they were very friendly so we got to know them. They have been to Ireland five times and are going back again this summer! No surprise, this morning I woke up from a dream about visiting Ireland again, although weirdly enough at the end of it Travalon and I went to the Faroe Islands, which are part of Denmark, and we saw lots of friendly miniature animals there, not just horses but rhinos and all kinds of things. I wonder what that might symbolize?

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Friday, March 11, 2016

Going Grammando


Last night I went to a very interesting talk on “language pet peeves” given by a professor of Linguistics from another school. She did not mention one of my big pet peeves, which is people using i.e. when they really should use e.g., but “ironically” and “literally” being used “wrong” came up, as well as the singular use of “they/their” and the incorrect use of “its/it’s.” To my surprise, these usages (linguists do not call them “mistakes” like English teachers do) are actually quite old and not something that the Millennials invented. The speaker suggested not going “grammando” on people who use “literally” when they mean “figuratively,” but just giggling to ourselves at the mental image of their heads “literally exploding” or whatever wonderful image we get from their statements. I do have to admit that I am guilty of asking people, “What’s ironic about that?” when they use “ironically” to mean “coincidentally” or even just as conversational filler. From now on I will try to refrain from going grammando on people. After all, if we understand what they are saying, there is no need to comment on their linguistic choices. Leave it to the English teachers of the world to attempt to teach people “proper” English, if there even is such a thing.

Speaking of language, today as I was listening to my Irish CD, the lesson was sports, and it got me thinking about how I used to be such a tennis fan. I used to play tennis a lot, although – and I can’t emphasize this enough – I was terrible at it, and I used to watch it on TV. In some of my novels, my characters played it. What happened? I kept losing tennis partners, it is true, and I still enjoy watching people who are good, like when Tiffy and I stayed with a couple from my choir in Estes Park, and we watched them playing with their friends. Maybe it finally dawned on me that I will really never be any good at tennis, and so I moved on to other pursuits. I’m not even 100% sure where my racket is, but it dates from the late 80’s so I’d probably get laughed off the courts if I showed up with that old thing. Just to show you how much tennis has dropped off my radar, there are only five posts on this blog that mention it (besides this one), and two are just about how Travalon’s phone changed my name to “Famous Table Tennis” while one is about tennis shoes. Hmm… maybe I should add tennis to my life in my pursuit of fitness. It couldn’t hurt! First I’d have to find a partner… Travalon always laughs about how I said in high school I used to play with one friend so much that I “almost didn’t suck.” Perhaps I could reach those heights once again.

And continuing on the language topic, today I am listening to my Pandora station that is supposed to play R&B, but it has morphed into a classic hip hop station. I didn’t really mind, since I love Tupak Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G., but suddenly it occurred to me that I was listening to music full of very bad words at work. Oops! Fortunately, nobody seems to have noticed.

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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Well-Being and Spirituality


Handy Woman went to see the Dalai Lama, and I asked her how it was. She said he sounds like Grover the Muppet and is very funny but basically said what you’d expect him to say. What she thought was interesting was what the scientist studying meditation had to say. He says that well-being has four components that have been studied and proven neurologically:
  • Resilience – how long it takes you to bounce back from adversity
  • Positive outlook
  • Attention – this is the part that meditation helps with
  • Generosity
So, gentle readers, I suppose we should all strive to be more resilient, positive, attentive, and generous. Haven’t we heard this message before? We are told to look for something wonderful about every day and be “in the moment,” which takes care of the middle two. Resilience is always a good idea, and of course generosity is emphasized right now during this almsgiving season of Lent. I am apparently more generous than I’d realized, judging by all the letters I’ve been getting this tax season that say, “Thank you for your generous donation!” Half the time I don’t remember giving to the charity at all, and sometimes I’ve given way more than I’d remembered. Oops! So maybe I need to focus most on the first one, but how do you measure something like that? It seems to me that growing in the spiritual life should help with all four of these, because a spiritually mature person would be resilient (not concerning herself with the things of this world), focused on the good God does in her life, and of course attentive to the spiritual things, as well as generous. In this matter, Buddhism and Christianity can certainly agree!

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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Progressive Yet Racist?


I am very ashamed right now because my state is apparently the one with the highest income discrepancy between black and white workers, and my city is the tenth most racist one, measured by tweets that people send. Though I am not personally responsible for either thing, since I neither use Twitter nor pay anyone, I do feel bad. How did this happen in such a supposedly progressive place? Maybe “liberals” are not really as concerned with racism as they say they are? Maybe they like to talk a good show but not actually do anything about it? Someone pointed out that most of the people using Twitter are 10-21 years old, and they often say stupid things like using vulgar racist slang, but I’m not sure what to make of the pay discrepancy. I did work with a black guy who actually got demoted, and it was completely unfair. Another guy had retired, so he took over some of his duties, and then they said because his job description had changed, he was being reclassified to a lower pay grade. This same guy was also forced to be on the Diversity Committee at that particular workplace, PLUS he was forced to take “How to Talk Whiter” classes. Which is not what they are called, of course, but only he and the other black person who worked there were forced to take this class in speaking proper English. And this was at one of the most “progressive” jobs I ever had, as far as everyone there being super left politically. It is interesting to note that the Democrats had only white candidates, while the Republicans had a black guy and two guys of Cuban descent, meaning they have a lot of African blood themselves. I’m not saying which party is more or less racist, just pointing out a fact. Maybe progressives are not as “progressive” on race as they think they are…

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Monday, March 7, 2016

Motown and Downton Abbey


I hope my readers had a good weekend. I had an excellent one, helped by the mild weather that promises spring is just around the corner. Although Friday it was snowing when I went to Stoughton with Cecil Markovitch and the Single B-Boy to see Beau Soleil, a Cajun band from Louisiana. It was an excellent show in the beautiful Stoughton Opera House, and we got our tickets too late to sit together, but the people around me were very friendly so I didn’t feel lonely. The lead fiddler, Michael Doucet, was amazing – I wish I could play like that! And he plays the accordion too!

Saturday Richard Bonomo, Kathbert, Pete the Sailor Man, and I went to Mr. Why’s grave to commemorate the seventh anniversary of his untimely death, then we convened back at Rich’s house for hot cocoa. Pete was telling Travalon about the local jazz jam, which keeps moving from venue to venue. Then Travalon and I stopped at a chicken and fish joint on the way home, where a kind of nutty guy kept telling me that Jesus loves me very much. He wanted us to go to his church, even though he admitted that he hadn’t been there in a while. When we left, he approached other people, presumably about the same topic. Travalon and I spent the afternoon walking all over downtown, stopping at the Red Elephant chocolate shop, a tavern called Rigby’s which has a 60’s music theme, and we had dinner at a Peruvian restaurant called Crandall’s. In the evening we went to Motown: The Musical, a Broadway show about (of course) the history of Motown Records. The performers were phenomenal, particularly the kid playing little Michael Jackson. Some other people who saw the show said he was even better than the real Michael Jackson had been! He sure could sing and dance.

Sunday Travalon and I went for a messy hike with Rodney in a park near our house called Lakeview, which does in fact have an amazing view of Lake Mendota. Then we went to a brewery called Octopi up in Waunakee, where the bartenders were very friendly and the beer was very potent. Do these small breweries put something special in their beers to give me such a buzz? The one in Paoli is like that too. My car had been making a terrible rattling sound that Rich felt was nothing serious, but he said he could look at it, and he found an enormous branch stuck under my car. I will try to post a picture of it soon. In the evening Travalon and I went to the house of a friend of Mamastep’s for a Downton Abbey party. It was the final episode, and we had a lovely dinner of Cornish game hens made by Mamastep, then during the show we had tea and the spotted dick and Hobnob cookies Travalon and I had brought. If you are wondering what spotted dick is, check out my previous blog post about it. If you are wondering how it tastes, it is delicious. We were all very satisfied with the ending of the show, since all the characters got a happy ending. I will miss it, though!

Famous Hat

Friday, March 4, 2016

Pandora's Weird Suggestions


Today is Vivaldi’s 338th birthday, so in honor of the occasion I am listening to my “Vivaldi” station on Pandora. You would think a station called “Vivaldi Radio” would play Baroque music, and most of the time it does, but it likes to slip Mozart in quite a bit, and sometimes it goes way into the Romantic era. Pandora is weird like that. I have a Hawaiian Roots Radio station, and it plays a lot of reggae too (I guess that's also island music), but then it will suddenly play Finnish heavy metal. What?? My most reasonable station is called “Crystal Waters Radio,” after a singer who was popular in dance clubs in the early 90’s, and it basically sticks to late 80’s and early 90’s house music. I have a salsa station that mostly plays salsa, and a flamenco station that also plays a fair bit of salsa, as well as Arabic pop music. The weirdest one was the other day, when I was listening to “Earth, Wind and Fire Radio,” which should be dedicated to 70’s funk… and then they played a terrible slow song by Firefall! What do these two groups have in common, except that they were big in the 70’s and both have “fire” in their names? Firefall is very “white” music, and very sappy, and basically nothing like funk. I downvoted that particular selection right away, and it didn’t come back, but I’d love to know how it got there in the first place. Pandora supposedly uses a formula to guess music you would like based on tempo, modality, and things like that, so why would a station dedicated to upbeat, minor key music decide to play something slow and major key? This is why it would be a disaster to have computers run things. They think they know what you are looking for, but really they don’t. Except my iPhone – I swear it is learning Irish, because when I do Duolingo on it, it often suggests the correct word for the translation. Now THAT is scary!

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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Photos of Animals


I have some photos of animals to share with you. First is a picture Travalon took of me with Rodney.


Next is a picture Travalon took of my old bunny Cashmere.


Here is a picture I took of Zoe, OK Cap's cat that Travalon and I were cat sitting.


Here is a picture I took through the viewing thing of a bald eagle in Sauk City. The eagle is on the right side of the inner circle. Ignore the reflected car in the outer circle.


And finally, this isn't a picture of real animals, but it is a car covered with rubber duckies, and the license plate even says something about ducks.


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