No, its not what’s for dinner, as the beef industry might lead you to believe. In our case, its what is dead and rotting in the creek down the road from us. Late last week as we were getting ready to leave for a weekend in Tahoe for our 2nd anniversary, we smelled the unmistakable stench of something dead. A brief inspection off the side of the road and down the ravine yielded:

I called the park service and they contacted the rancher who owns the cattle that graze in/around the park. The ranchers son didn’t sound too enthused to come and retrieve it, given that it was bloated and starting to reek – pretty much admitted that if they tried to winch it up the slope, it’d just rip apart.

So, for now anyway, we have 800+lbs of rotting beef, fouling the air and the creek. Wonderful…

The road home…

As much fun as the air show was, I was glad to head out of smoggy/hazy SoCal. Rather than take I-5 out of LA, I headed thru the mountains and high desert. Lots of little towns in the high desert – mostly sorta run down, but little towns also have unique antique shops, so I decided to stop into a few to see what stuff they had. This one place in the booming (?) town of Pear Blossom had a lot of 60s-80s ‘antiques’ – ok, well, no – not antiques – more like “various plastic junk in the wonderful colours of avocado, gold, green and brown”. But I did manage to find some old farm / hand tools – mostly stuff that was 30s-40s vintage. Like a good antique dealer, the lady cut some deals to get a sale. I got a rusty old hand scythe, a hand drill and a hay fork for a total of $40. Her credit card machine was down, so she accepted cash and amazingly enough, she gave me a self-addressed envelope to send her a check for the remainder (since I didn’t have enough cash). Its nice to know somewhere folks still trust total strangers to be honest.

The other think I like about little towns are the unique sights you see:

Yes! Atomic chickens 🙂

After wandering thru the high desert, I got back on I-5. The was a brush fire along the highway that was still burning:

It didn’t look like much, but it went for some distance along I-5 – everything blackened.

South of Bakersfield, there are still the vestiges of domestic oil production – yea, its no wonder why we don’t have much local oil given these high tech rigs:

The rest of the drive home was mostly boring, albeit stressful at times when folks were driving like nuts and tailgating at 80+mph. Idiots. One particular idiot who I first encountered around Bakersfield ended up in a fatal accident a hundred or so miles north when he/she swerved thru traffic one too many times, rolled the SUV they were driving and ended up in a crumpled mess alongside the highway. Traffic came to a standstill south of the town of Coalinga and once I passed by the accident, I could see the CHP had draped the remains of the SUV with some sheets to discourage the gawkers, but there were no ambulances on scene and the CHP was spending their time just clearing debris from the road. Natural selection I guess. I sorta wish my buddy Fraley could see this sort of scene, as it might make him chill out in the way he drives.

pig heaven

I love photography. Really love it. And I’m fairly good at it. So a new camera is a huge HUGE deal to me. We’re trying out a new EOS. I might like it, thus far…..

Q is getting bigger, he’s filling out nicely. He’s got some little problems though. Lymphadenopathy (enlarged lymph nodes) Could be stress, could be tick borne disease (he’s awful young for that though)…I drew blood and sent it in this evening. We’ll see what the lab says. And he’s got Demodectic mange. Not contageous, again, brought out by stress (all dogs have Demodex, a compromised immune system brings it out)…so he’s starting to loose some hairs and look a little bit like a well worn stuffed animal. Hmmmm. I should probably get some meds for that too. Sigh. It’s never ending with the animals up here.

Planes of Fame Airshow 2007

So, I finally made the trek down to SoCal (Chino, east of LA) for the Planes of Fame airshow. They do this every year around this time and its probably the best collection of flying WW-II era planes anywhere. About the only things missing that I’ve seen fly elsewhere were a B-24 and a B-29 (I think there’s only a couple flyable B-24 in the world now and there’s a single flying B-29 (and that one is grounded now in need of new engines). Many of the planes that flew at the show today are regulars in various Hollywood productions (like the movies Tora,Tora,Tora!, Pearl Harbor, etc). I’ll upload some video when I get home – the planes sounded great.

Oh, and by the way?

I’m guessing Jesus isn’t going to be very interested in what Jerry has to say for himself. That only leaves one option, now, doesn’t it? I hear tell the poontang in hell is some kinda hot… bad Mr. Garbage In Garbage Out won’t be getting any.

I’m thinkin’ those bitches won’t have anything to do with him after the way he behaved during his stay in the mortal world. Tsk tsk tsk, shoulda been a little nicer Mr. Falwell, shoulda been a little nicer. Kharma is truely a bitch from hell.

Another one bites the dust (a reposting from Irene, thank you, Irene)

Jerry Falwell, dead at 73.

At least we won’t have to hear him say anything like this ever again:

I am saying pornography hurts anyone who reads it, garbage in, garbage out.

I am such a strong admirer and supporter of George W. Bush that if he suggested eliminating the income tax or doubling it, I would vote yes on first blush.

If you’re not a born-again Christian, you’re a failure as a human being.

I do not believe we can blame genetics for adultery, homosexuality, dishonesty and other character flaws.

I think the Moslem faith teaches hate.

I believe that global warming is a myth. And so, therefore, I have no conscience problems at all and I’m going to buy a Suburban next time.

And the oh-so-obvious….

There’s been a concerted effort to steal Christmas.

I mostly wonder what Larry Flynt’s up to right about now. Probably fondly remembering this.

I’m thinkin’ I’m gunna be outta town that weekend….

Sunday Sunday Sunday….Milky Way takes on Andromeda…..Earth volunteers in the stompin’ line.

Astronomy and Cosmology (stars and planets, not horoscopes and makeup, people) have always fascinated me. The sheer scope of it all tends to put me in my place a little. I can lay on my back and stare at the stars for hours and it passes in a blink of an eye.

Okay, so I usually last until a bug crawls across me or I get too cold and start complaining. But you know, for the time I am able to lay there star gazing, I am in awe. My mind reels with possibilities.

I do have to say, trying to believe in this stuff is kinda like trying to believe in God or any religion.

We’re talking about stuff nobody has laid hand or naked eye on. Nebulas and galaxies that exist in numbers and formulas only, so far away nobody will ever travel there in a lifetime. They have names that conjure fantasy: Elliptical galaxies, Spiral galaxies, Peculiar galaxies, Starburst galaxies and incoherently structured galaxies that are simply refered to as ‘irregular’. (my fav? the starburst galaxies. yummy.)

Followed by a close second spiral galaxy

They mostly give them boring number names, but sometimes they get a little crazy and start giving them pet names like Pinwheel Galaxy, Sombrero Galaxy, Pegasus Dwarf, Tadpole Galaxy, Cigar Galaxy (also known as Messier 82, is one of my favorites), Black Eye Galaxy and Dwingaloo 1 and Dwingaloo 2….to name just a smattering.

They take clouds of gas and dust and plasma and give them a beautiful descriptor: Nebula.

And rightfully so, nebula are awesome. They are the tie die of the universe, the breath of life, the beginning of something.

They connect the dots with the stars and call them constellations. They give them catchy names to make us remember them and point them out to each other, to dream about the future and fall in love under.

They use terms like relativistic jets and globular clusters. They quote distances in lightyears, millions of lightyears in most cases. Do you KNOW what a light year is????? Like the Jesus Concept, I’m not absolutely sure anyone really does know…but here’s their best guess:

A light year is a unit of measurement of length, specifically the distance light travels in a vacuum in one year. A vacuum you say? Like, a Hoover or one of those nifty Orick Excells??? No, not really. Here is the definition of vacuum as it pertains to light years:

A vacuum is a volume of space that is essentially empty of matter, so that gaseous pressure is much less than standard atmospheric pressure. The root of the word vacuum is the Latin adjective vacuus which means “empty,” but space can never be perfectly empty. A perfect vacuum with a gaseous pressure of absolute zero is a philosophical concept that is never observed in practice, not least because quantum theory predicts that no volume of space is perfectly empty in this way. (so basicly all this shit is based on a lot of theories, nothing concrete. Mmmm hmmmm….. Just. Like. Jesus.)

So, if you care to believe it, 1 light year = 9,460,730,472,580.8 km (I love the .8 part, that just kills me) or 5,879,000,000,000 miles. Uh, yeah. That’s ONE lightyear. Anything worth visiting is, like, millions of light years away, at least. I’m no expert, so I’ll stick to dreaming and falling in love, believing the images they show me and watching movies about listening for signs of life and traveling to other universes in a blink of an eye (where your dead father waits for you and small balls of energy buzz around like fireflies on a hot summer night). This is my imagination, I’ll take it where ever I want to. But you can feel free to join me anytime you like. I’ll share the universe, no prob. Until it implodes on us. But like I said, I think I’ll be outta town that weekend, so yeah, bring it on Andromeda.

Caught red…pawed.

But playing it off as if nothing strange was afoot.

Art and I went down the hill to get some parts for the irrigation we’re putting in, get some ingredients for the fab Thai dinner I made tonight and to do the laundry (the washing machine is broken. I’m winning the bet that it wouldn’t be fixed for a minimum of 2 weeks). We locked the puppy up in his crate, and left the other two to their own devices with specific instructions 1) no playing with matches 2) no watching the porn channels 3) no friends over 4) no long distance calls. They are almost 3 now, almost growed up, so I was trusting them, as I have been for the past few months. Hmmm. Maybe time to reconsider this trust.

We come home, it’s dark, Art opens up the front door and both dogs make a bee-line for me (still getting out of the Jeep). I notice something around Dretti’s neck. He’s acting very normal and nonchalant, so I figure Art has secured something around his neck for Dretti to bring to me (he has been known to pull this cute trick in the past). Art claims innocence, Dretti feigns ignorance of the rather large paper bag hanging off of his neck by one of the handles and continues to enthusiasticly greet me. Hmmmm.

Upon further inspection, it’s one of the treat/goodie bags that I made to give away at one of the dog shows I went to last summer. They were in the spare bedroom. Appearantly, so was Dretti. Hmmmmm again. The bag around his neck is empty, and he is still playing dumb. The bag….it does not exist. You do not see it. (note the bag in question is empty; ripped savagely at one end, contents….nowhere to be found)

Interogation ensued, no straight answers were given. Denial was everpresent, we were getting nowhere fast.

It was getting late, everyone was exhausted.

Dee Dee claimed to know nothing, and in fact admitted to not seeing a bag around Drettis neck at this time, at any point in the recent past and did not expect to see one around his neck at any point in the future. She, obviously, had been either strongly influenced or paid well for her oblivious state of mind. I suspect the former. She was no help, so we sent her outside so as not to be subjected to the stress of the interogation process.

The scene of the crime:

When confronted with all the evidence, Andretti still played innocent. He suggested we were both high, and hallucinating.

And indeed, once the bag was removed from his neck, we could see no reason to blame him, as there was no longer an incriminating bag hanging from his handsome and sincerely pure neckline. We had to drop our case. But I will remain…….suspicious.

movies and dog racing

So…I’m on a little movie kick. Last week:

The Condemned: not bad. not GREAT. just, not bad. I mean, come on, it had Stone Cold Steve Austin in it. He’s cool.

The Invisible: two words…..Vanilla Pudding. Jezuz…just bland and yawn and wow, that chick has some nice hair, yawn, is it over yet? Yeah, it was like that. Nothing I will remember, that’s for sure.

Next on the list? I think I’ll go watch some zombies outwit the living. 28 weeks later. Again. I don’t care what the reviews are, I’m going to go see it anyways. Probly on Tuesday. Stay tuned.

Today was movie free. Dretti, Dee and I abandoned Art to yardwork and went out to Livermore to try out a little oval track racing.

It’s pretty awesome, it’s the closest to the ‘dog track racing’ that people think of when I tell them I run my dogs. It’s amateur, no betting or crowds or anything. Just greyhound, whippet, other sighthound people and their dogs having fun on a sunny weekend afternoon. Big oval course, drag lure, dogs running balls to the wall. Very fucking awesome. Watching them run is increadible. A few times I just stood there, with my eyes closed, and got a little shiver when I heard their feet pound past me. You could say it’s a sport that moves me a bit. I literaly get a hitch in my throat when I see my kids running like that, they are so powerful and beautiful in motion. The sound of the lure drives them crazy, the feel of them pulling away when I release them and the sound of their feet hitting the turf makes me a little dizzy. These dogs and I were meant to be, I’m telling ya. So we did some practice runs and then went home to work on the yard/gardens with Art. But not before I picked up some cherries for my man. Oh how he loves cherries, and how fortunate, they’re in season right now.

The sun shone warm today and the wind made it so pleasant. Chicken and corn are on the bbq. An ice cold beer is at my hand. Life is good here, oh yes, life is so very good. I wish you could all be up here to enjoy it with me. I would like that very much I think.

Tea, Interrupted

My best friend Elizabeth came over today (after Dretti and I went to see the skin doc for his buckshot face, I’ve been calling him ScabMaster for the past month) Dretti has localized bacterial folliculitis. Uh, yeah, like, I knew that. Tell me something I didn’t know? The skin doc smiled and said “It’s also known as SWAG….you’re a tech, you know what SWAG is, right?” I pondered ever so briefly and could only come up with a mental picture of an evergreen bough nailed to my front door round ’bout Christmas time. But this is May, so no, I doubt that’s what he’s refering to. I smiled and said “hmmm, no, care to elaborate?” Doering smiled real wide and said “Scientific Wild Ass Guess, I have no idea what’s causing this, but we’ll start with bacterial folliculitis and see if some abx won’t clear it up” Ha ha, he’s so very clever. SWAG. Cute. These abx will most likely give my dog the running shits, but SWAG, that’s very clever. Jas, you should use that one. You’re a doctor, you’re quite clever. It’ll sound good coming outta your mouth.

So anyways, E came over and we played with Q and loitered for a while. Then we locked the dogs up and headed down the hill for lunch, a little shopping and a movie (we were going to see The Invisible. I saw The Condemned yesterday. I’m on a two word movie kick this week. I’m gunna go see 28 Weeks Later on Friday. I know, that’s three words, but technicaly 28 is a number, so it doesn’t count 😛 )

We had appetizers for lunch at a casual-posh little place called Straits at Santana Row.

Anyways, we ate frites and towers of tartar and spring rolls and a salad called gado gado. We drank ginger lemongrass soda and mango mojitos. We people watched and talked about people we know and people we don’t know, we discussed the limits and boundaries of sanity and so on and so on. We watched Aussie Poker Championships and giggled at their “poker faces” (I really liked the old dude with the funky cowboy hat, aviator shades and a severe poker poker face…I’m pretty sure he was someone’s uber badass grandpa. The grandpa you DON’T wanna spend the summer with cuz he’ll make ya ‘learn to be a man’, even if yer a gurl)

We went to the Papersource and lingered, we went to Sur la Table and purchased cleaning spray and a TeaPosy (more on that in a minute. I wasn’t going to get it, but E reminded me that Mother’s Day is forthcoming, and I’m a mother in so many many ways. hmmm. I guess, maybe. Um. Yeah.) and a wine bottle opener (otherwise known as a corkscrew). We meandered over to Mai Do in search of something to hold my precious pens in at work. We did not find anything. We lingered WAY longer than we needed to at Anthropology, sprayed perfume, picked at clothes and bugged our eyeballs out at the prices. Then we decided the moment had passed for seeing a movie, and we went home to make tea. Yay for tea parties!

So, the TeaPosy. Um, yeah. I know, sounds little….foppish. And, well, it is. But I LIKE tea, a lot. And this was, well, kinda cool. Here…check it out and try not to wet yourself over the image of me trying to Live a Life Most Beautiful through a mere cup of tea. So like I was saying, we went home and decided to have a little girl tea party (Art was still at work). Here’s how it went down:

Open the box and remove componants of Tea Posy. Choose flavor of tea ball (E has good taste, she chose the one called Lady Fair, a blend of jasmine ‘to nip tension’ and Lily to ‘clear the airways and calm your butterflies’. I checked, I didn’t have any butterflies and neither did E, but you know, what could it hurt?)

Read instructions (tres important, people! This is TEA we’re talking about, blooming tea if you want to be specific…instructions are to be read, re-read and followed to the letter. This is where our military training and strict code of discipline came into play…wait, we don’t have that. Nevermind) Anyways, the cups were tres petite, we decided this was absolutely adorable.

Do not laugh, these are the very real instructions, I shit you not:

I boiled water, E unwrapped the decidedly unimpressive nugget of tea goodness

It is tea, trust me, not the queen-mother of all buds.

As you can see, this is the REAL Geisha-Me (E’s alter-ego) as indicated on her stylish Medical ID bracelet. Do not be fooled by cheap imitations!

Just add water and….Viola! I mean, Voila!!!!

The weird little nugget-thing grew and moved and quite frankly freaked us both out just a little bit. But it was awesome, and smelled so yummy.

The tea? It wasn’t so bad, especially as we drank it down and added more water and let it steep some more. Tea party for two, very awesome.*

Resplendant with pinky toss, of course. NOTE: the look of peace on E’s face. Mmmmmmmm, tea posy!

And we were at peace; all was well, jasmine and lily was soothing our butterflies and nipping whatever tension we imagined we might have….and then Art crashed the party. With a snake. A rattlesnake. In an empty water bottle. Which, according to him was not empty as he attempted to kill said rattlesnake in the driveway by throwing the previously full water bottle at it repeatedly until it was quite dead**. He then emptied the bottle and scooped his prey up to drag into the house and proudly display to his mistress. Hmmm. I think I had a cat that did this when I was a kid. Anyway, needless to say, party OVER.

Yeah, so, like I said, this was just a more grown up version of a boy with a crawly thing crashing the girl’s girl party. Sigh.

Neat. So E proclaimed that we, as a couple, were getting a little too weird living up here on the hill, and that perhaps we should consider moving back to ‘society’. She gathered her things, plucked up Pixel, blew kisses and trundled off to a home devoid of snakes and husbands. I’ll admit, I’m a little disturbed that my husband was out in the driveway hurling a waterbottle at a living creature, repeatedly, even if it was a nasty little rattlesnake. This is the second one we’ve killed in less than 48 hours. Where there is one, there is a nest of them. Upwards of a dozen or more. They can kill livestock (which we have) and my dogs (even though Dee and Drett have had the vaccine, oops, they need their boosters, like, yesterday), they can cause major problems. The adults, ehh, they’re smart enough to stay hidden and will usually disapear before you get close enough to get bit, but the babies, like the ones we’ve dispatched in the past two days, they’re young and stupid, they will fuck your shit UP, seriously. They strike at ANYTHING that moves, repeatedly. They are very venomous. They have a nubbin of a rattle, so you will not hear a warning rattle at all (the single rattle is still moist and solid at this age, it doesn’t rattle at all) So, when we see them, they set them loose their mortal coil (no pun intended). I do not like killing anything, but up here you do what you gotta do to keep everyone safe. It’s a shame, they really are very beautiful creatures. Albeit with a permenant scowl, it seems (although, if my last vision was a huge man hurling a bottle of spring water at my head, I dare say I’d scowl too)

As a parting thought: as you can see, this is a very small snake.

Do not be fooled by it’s smallishness; it was a very dangerous snake, extremely dangerous. Put you in the hospital dangerous.

However, I am perplexed at the thought process my 6 foot 1 inch tall size 11 shoe husband was going through as he proceeded to choose to water-bottle this tiny thing to death rather than just monkey stomp it’s head with his rather gargantuan foot. I don’t get it.
I’m drawing a Complete.Blank.

(that was a GREAT movie by the way, Gross Pointe Blank. The soundtrack rocks as well)

* For those of you inclined to wonder silently to yourselves, yes, I do have the ugliest freakin’ counter tile/kitchen cabinet combo known to man. I gag a little everytime I go into my kitchen. Fact. Ask Art.

**I really REALLY hope it was too dark for our neighbors up the hill to actually see Art doing his freaky snake-death-dance in the driveway. I suppose it sorta looked like someone swatting at angry wasps from a distance….the big dancing guy looking a little crazy as he throws the smack down on…well, the driveway.