Friday, June 26, 2015

Do you have a flag?

Flags have been all over the news for a few days now.  Civil War memorials have also been in the news.

I've had a few days to mill everything over and now I have some opinions.

Taking the case of the Civil War memorials first....

After the fall of the Soviet Union, the statues of communist leaders were taken down all over Eastern Europe.  Some remain.  I honestly don't like the idea of wiping out all traces of the monuments of the past.  That is too much like wiping away history.  That's never a good idea.  We all know that those that forget history are doomed to repeat it.  Do I think we should remove the countless Civil War memorials?  No.

The other matter that has made the news is flags.  After the massacre in Charleston many retailers have stopped selling the Confederate flag.  iTunes has stopped selling Civil War games use the Confederate flag.  (I strongly disagree with this instance)

Some people see it as a symbol of Southern pride.  Some see it as a symbol of racism.

My feelings on the Southern flag:  If it's a symbol of Southern pride.... it's a symbol of white southern pride.  It's also a symbol that white supremacist groups and the KKK have adopted as their own.  That has never made me comfortable.

But in the end, it's a symbol.

Retailers can chose what to sell.....

In the end, we can't forget history.  We shouldn't take down memorials.  I'm not a fan of the confederate flag, but I also believe it's a free speech issue.  Retailers have the right to choose what they sell.

And can we go back to what is really important?  The other Civil War?

Monday, June 22, 2015

Busch Gardens Food and Wine Festival

Twice now, I've hit the Busch Gardens Food and Wine Festival.

The American Southwest booth had such promise.  I had roast pork that was rather leather-y.  I have dog treats that are softer.

But the chocolate lava cake is awesome!
The Asia booth is new.  I believe that between the lot of us we tried just about everything.  I loved the lettuce wraps and the dumplings.  The Thai tea was.... interesting...

the lemongrass dessert was great!
Canada is my FAVORITE booth!!!

I could eat the venison sausage and the pumpkin mousse is amazing!!
The boys got gamba fritters from this booth, but nothing else looked interesting....
The ratatouille tomato from France is always amazing!  The lemon tartlet is also great.  Sadly, I never got it.
Sadly, I didn't get a thing from here.  I was too full to try the cheesecake!!
Again, another place we forgot to get food from!
The Spousal Equivalent for the chorizo empanadas from Spain.  Sadly, this was the only booth that I couldn't catch the costumed person!
Swedish meatballs.

That's all I have to say.
Italy is a great place for dessert. My bro got panna cotta.  It was wonderful!
Ireland is another booth that I love.  The bangers and colcannon are great.  The dessert that was also good.

Of course, they had cider which was AMAZING!
Greece has baklava.  So of course I got it.

It was a wonderfully generous portion!

My overall feeling about the Food and Wine festival?

1.) it was SO hot.  Honestly, we might have stayed longer if it wasn't so bad!
2.) I was disappointing with the quality of food from the American Southwest.

Will I go again next year?

Of course!

The Trials and Tribulations of the Meryl

6/24/2015: UPDATE is at the bottom

This is our Meryl.

Meryl hasn't felt well in a while.  She had grown more and more lethargic.  her appetite had decreased sharply.

Over the weekend we noticed a significant weight loss.

Then we saw it.  A rather large bulge in her right thigh.

My first through it that she has butt cancer and we were going to lose her.

Off to the vet we went.  $200 later we found out that the cat was severely dehydrated (they gave her IV saline) and that the lump in her thigh was a fluid pocket.  It might be knee joint fluid.  Under the microscope, it didn't look awful.

Now we wait.  Tomorrow we get the results of the testing.  Tomorrow we'll know more about the fate of our beloved cat.

But right now she's eating better (she inhaled half a can of tuna when we got back from the vet yesterday).  She's spending time with us instead of hiding.

I just pray she'll be ok.  She's daddy's little girl.

6/24/2015: UPDATE
I got a call from the vet yesterday afternoon (Meryl was in for a check up) that was most discouraging.

Fast forward to 5:30.  We went to pick her up.  We got put in a room so the vet could talk to us.  That's never a good sign.

The pathology came back.

The mass looks to be a HUGE granuloma.  What does this mean?  Well, the vet is going to do research to find an antibiotic to fight it.  Surgery might happen.  It still may turn into cancer, but the results aren't as dire as we thought.

Basically this gives us time to gather some money so we can afford other options.

Me?  I cried for joy for like an hour then fell asleep during America's Got Talent.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Are you watching Sense8? You should be.

I've said all along that Jupiter Ascending would be an amazing movie.... if it was a series on Netflix.

Well, the Wachowski's did just that in Sense8.

The show is about a group of people, all exactly the same age, that are linked on some cosmic psychic LAN network.

The Sensates are (with help from Wikipedia)

  • Capheus, a compassionate Matatu van driver in Nairobi 
  • Sun Bak, daughter of a powerful Seoul businessman. A burgeoning star in the underground kickboxing world
  • Nomi Marks, a trans woman and hacktivist living in San Francisco.
  • Kala Dandekar, a university-educated pharmacist and devout Hindu in Mumbai engaged to marry a man she does not love
  • Riley Blue, an Icelandic DJ with a troubled past that made her run away to London
  • Wolfgang Bogdanow, a Berlin locksmith and safe-cracker, who has unresolved issues with his late father and participates in organized crime
  • Lito Rodriguez, a closeted Spanish actor living in Mexico City
  • Will Gorski, a Chicago police officer

from the reacp of the last episode

The sensates are from all over the world, in a variety of genders, sexualities, with a variety of skills.

Why is this show awesome?

It's got the world-building that I love.  It's also beautifully shot.  When the characters access the neural network, they appear in each other's surroundings.  The conversation can start in London, then bounce to Seoul, then to Chicago. 

The story is rather slow to unfold.  Many people have mentioned that if this were a weekly show, it wouldn't have lasted.  That was many people's issue with Lost, it was too slow to unfold the plot.  The joy of Netflix, is that there is momentum.  We'd finish an episode and roll into the next, dying to know what went on next.
What I find so intriguing is how badly these people that are spread all over the globe need each other.  Multiples times during the back 4 episodes one character would be in a bind, and other would step in.  Need someone beat up?  Sun will do it.  Driving a get away car?  Capheus.  Need to sweet talk your way in somewhere?  Lito.  The sensates call on each other in times of triumph and tragedy.  They save each other's lives in a variety of ways.


Thankfully, the show had HUGE payoffs in later episodes, and enough of a resolution (with just enough unanswered questions) to leave me anxiously waiting for a season 2.

Should you be watching it?  Yes.  But give it a chance.  The premise is way out there, and the work is amazingly dense (like many of J. Michael Straczynski and the Wachowski's other works), but worth while.

It's one of those worlds that I wish I could live in.  

Friday, June 5, 2015

The Lord told Noah there's gonna be a floody floody

This has been a long, strange week.

Spring in Virginia can be very changeable.  The weekend's heat and humidity gave way to rain on Tuesday.  A LOT of rain.

Tuesday I cashed in the Living Social voucher I had at the Dreams Day Spa in Williamsburg.  (The website plays music.  You've been warned).

On my way home, feeling all loose and relaxed, the sky opened up.  And not like a nice gentle rain either.  It was tropical storm-monsoon-ish.  I drove through puddles that I was a little afraid I'd drown in.  Thankfully the car survived the trek.  My shoulders and back didn't.  Needless to say, all the work that the nice woman did was completely undone.

Adding insult to injury, it continued to rain (but not quite that hard) up until.... right about now.

Misty's not happy.  She hate going for walkies in the rain.  The upstairs has been papered in pee-pee pads for a week now.  The novelty has worn off on all of us by now.

Today I'm working from home.  My work load decreased significantly during the summer.  My workload on a Friday in the summer is incredibly low.  It's nice to be able to work from home, and between tasks throw some laundry in.

I have coffee in my hand, sheets washing in the washer, and a puppy standing by to follow me wherever I go.  Life is good.

And a brief change of topic alert
Is it weird that I have sheets that coordinate with the seasons?

  • my winter sheets are flannel
  • my spring and fall sheets are light colors
  • my summer sheets are dark colors.  We stop putting blankets on the bed at that point and it seems vaguely hospital-like to have white sheets and no blanket on the bed.
That was your weird fact about me for the day.