Monthly Archives: November 2006

Turkey hangover

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Well, Thanksgiving has come and gone, which means that all across the country, people are wondering: how do you get the turkey smell out of the towels?

Thanksgiving was something of a moveable feast for us – cooked in our home, served across the river. We haven’t done this before, but my mother does it all the time. Took the food hot from the oven, set it into laundry baskets and swaddled it in towels. I turned on the boot warmer in the truck (yes, I live a life so blessed with material things that I can put on warm bike shoes or ski boots any time I want) for good measure, but it wasn’t necessary. The food stayed warm that way for another hour, hardly lost any heat at all. Had our wonderful dinner, packed up, came home, and noticed that some of the turkey juice had leaked onto some of the towels. So, we washed them. And washed them. And then washed them again, and they still stunk of turkey juice. It’s really not quite like any other smell, and I don’t mean that in a good way. We’ve run them through with Oxyclean, with bleach, with powdered detergent. We’re getting ready to soak them in vinegar – anything to kill that smell! Lesson learned? Next time, get some dedicated turkey towels from the dollar store (but which I’m sure wouldn’t have worked as well.)

Remembrance of things past

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Working on a photo project this weekend, the assignment was romantic shots of books. So I dug out what is not the oldest book I own, but the oldest with any personal significance. It’s an edition of “Gulliver’s Travels In Words Of One Syllable,” a promise not entirely kept, mercifully, but which constituted juvenile literature at the time, I’m sure. It was awarded to my great grandmother, Hazel Grace Cath, by her teacher W.G. Hitchcock in 1905 “as a reward for good spelling.” She would have been 10 years old at the time. I don’t know where she went to school, though Green Corners would be a decent guess, unless there was something closer to West Glenville at the time.

I don’t remember when she gave this to me, though I was quite young and have had it as long as I can remember. I also read it hundreds of times, and as a child was always too proud of the fact that I knew there was more to the story than Gulliver among the Lilliputians. The book had illustrations, too, dire, gothic cuts with a level of detail and realism not emulated by children’s illustrations current when I was growing up, which had all gone Bambi on us. The image of the bees taking Gulliver’s cake may be one of the most nightmarish images I had ever seen when I was young.

As for Hazel’s good spelling . . . her sisters always considered her the smartest among them, though I’m not sure that was true. The nicest, for certain. And she did crossword puzzles all her life. Although Alzheimer’s robbed her of any sense of her last 10 years or so, Hazel lived to be 102. The book, now, is even older.

Death of a rocker.

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Turntable 008 bwWell, at least of a rocking record player. After only 26 years of continuous service, my Scott direct drive turntable is spinning its last. Wow and flutter are exceeding acceptable parameters. I’ve taken it apart and cleaned it before, but this time I think the motor is finally failing.

I bought it at a sale at Gordon’s Electronics in Syracuse in 1980. It was $99, plus probably $45 for the cheapest cartridge known to man. The salesman was snotty in the classic manner of stereo salesmen — he was obviously beneath selling me something this inexpensive. Unfortunately, it was all I could afford, and would eat up more than a week’s pay.

Other than my Mamiya camera, I don’t think I have another working device from my college years. The other pieces of stereo equipment are all long-since dead, and our old rotary phone is, well, rotary, no longer an option in our digital world.

In other music news — Meat Loaf. I mean, what is it with “Bat Out of Hell,” possibly the corniest album of all time, that every now and then I still like to listen to this giant hunk of Jim Steinman cheese? I was driving Hannah home from dance the other night and “Paradise By the Dashboard Light” came on the Sirius, complete with the revered voice of the Scooter, whose broadcasts I still miss very much. And I was completely digging on this old chestnut — because, no matter how musically progressive you get, the songs that were hits when you were 18 are always going to be the biggest hits of your life — and we pulled into the driveway. I sat there and continued to listen until Hannah announced from the back seat, “I’m getting out of here before I go completely insane,” and she proceeded to jump out of the truck. Her punishment? When I got inside, I put the album on the turntable and she had to listen to it all over again.

In yet other music news — Joan Jett. What the hell? Why didn’t I like her when I was 20, and why do I like her so much now? It’s not just her show on Underground Garage, because everything there rocks and I reserve my worship for Andrew Loog Oldham. But all of a sudden, there’s something about her stuff that I just love, that just reeks of a kind of beer-and-leather rock that doesn’t exist anymore. When I was young, I thought she was kind of posing and just wasn’t into the image, and so I didn’t go for the songs even though they were exactly the kind of straightforward stuff I loved. And I completely didn’t dig her remake of “Crimson and Clover,” because I loved the Tommy James original, so who needed a remake? At that point I kind of tuned her out, which seems to have been a big mistake. Her covers of “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” and “Time Will Come Today” are brilliant, and her slashing of the Mary Tyler Moore theme (“Love is All Around”) is not to be missed. And, courtesy of iTunes, she teams up with L7 for a scorching re-do of “Cherry Bomb” which makes any responsible father want to lock his daughters in a closet and keep them there until the world invents a vaccine for alcohol and lust. And isn’t that what rock ‘n’ roll is all about?

Night of the Turducken

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I don’t know how it has escaped my notice until now, but I have recently become aware of the existence of turducken, and I am afraid.

Surely a land that is so rich it can stuff one kind of meat into another kind of meat into yet a third kind of meat is just asking for it. I mean, that’s just showing off. Jeez.

Would it kill me to pay my bills, already?

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Yes, the site disappeared for a couple of days. Oops! Forgot that in addition to registration, I also had to pay the hosting service. (In fairness to me, they sent me exactly ONE notice, and that was more than a month ago.) Now we’re back in the good graces of the web gods.

While failing to keep track of e-commerce, terrestrial commerce proceeds. You may hate me now — I am 97% done with Christmas shopping. There’s always the last-minute little junk we need to get for Christmas eve gifts and people we didn’t know we were going to see, that sort of thing, but everything major is purchased and in shipping. One major exception, but we just need to go and do it — a present to ourselves that may be too big to fit in the Xterra, which is saying something.

Weird weather continues, but it’s giving us days that are touching 70 well into November, and the greenest grass I’ve ever had in ANY month of the year, let alone the eleventh. Yesterday I found myself in Colonie with time to spare and didn’t feel like getting my whole bike rig together, so I took out my rollerblades and skated The Crossings, the new fabulous park Colonie built for itself. Very very pleasant, just perfect for rollerblading — mostly flat but with a few little thrills built in, a number of miles of paths and different ways to do them, and a gorgeous bathroom. What more could one ask? It was sunny and gorgeous, and maybe I’ll keep my bike tan just a little longer.

Would it kill me to post something, already?

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No, it would not. I’ve gotten very lazy about writing, but have been busy as a bee with photography and the ongoing destruction of our staircase, where progress comes in fits and starts. When we moved into the house, the stairs and railing and newel posts had been painted black, and the spindles cream, which was pleasing enough to the eye but of course showed every speck of dirt. And the paint became quite marred over time, but never quite enough to deal with. The spindles had been painted very sloppily, too, and I didn’t want to repaint them unless I could do it right and get rid of obvious drips. So for 15 years nothing happened, and then one day this summer I got it into my head that I was at least going to do the newel posts and see what lay beneath the latex paint on the banister. And of course, the next thing I know I’m in way way over my head, using every kind of stripper known to man in an attempt to get down to bare wood through at least 6 layers of paint, only the last of which was latex. The others were all heavy, nasty, lead-based oils, which give up their bond with wood unwillingly. For a while I despaired, but I took some time last week to really go at it, and again over the weekend, and now I feel like there’s a possibility that I’ll have the stairs done by Christmas. A really, really slim possibility.

Transition

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Heading into a transition period, albeit one I’ve had the privilege of knowing was coming for a long time. Needed to take the last week to clear out my head, get some things done around the house, and get comfortable with a big change in a couple of months. Overall, it’s a good thing — nine years is a long time to do a single job. But at the same time, I’m bringing to an end a phase that has been 20 years of my life, and that’s not an easy thing. The next few weeks will be interesting, as we prepare to hand over the reins.

The elections were so bad on so many levels. While I wasn’t writing here, I became addicted to Wonkette, with daily updates on Congressman McChokey and just an unbelievable array of scandals involving the cast of misfits that passes for our leadership these days, and that certainly helped me to get comfortable with the idea of change. Time to be away from all this.

What I lack in words I’ve been making up in images. Among the long-undone projects I need to do is a redesign of this terrible page, and an integration with my photography so I’ve got a true photoblog. Maybe over the holidays. In the meantime, don’t forget to love the pixels over at my Flickr pages.

Google is Big Brother

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Had a hit on my blog today for the search phrase, “blogs men wearing minimal underwear.”

Sure, everybody says I’m imagining those implanted chips — but how else do you explain Google knowing the state of my manpanties?