October 29: Recovering

We had whatever is going around last week, not the H1N1 (no vomiting) but something lingering producing low-grade fevers. We're all still coughing, but feeling nearly normal. Jake's a great invalid, remaining cheerful and easily amused. He can play by himself pretty well now, and we let him watch what seemed like an inordinate amount of TV.

It's been an exciting but unhealthy month. The weekend of the MS 150, Mom had some issues, and I needed to stay here with her. Later that week there was a gallstone possibility. The cat had a stroke in September, and showed her displeasure with being pilled by, um, forgetting her bathroom habits. Then came the lurgey.

I did manage to be mildy productive: It's All About the Food has moved to Moveable Type, and been styled to look like the rest of the site. And there's some new content up (which you can see listed on the right, at the bottom). I candied and chopped the citrus peel from the last year.

As I type this, the Phils are one up on the Yankees. Jake is thrilled that the Phils are in the Series again, and I've promised him I'll buy a hat if they win. We're letting him watch as much baseball as they can play by 8:30.

Sept. 30: Why am I doing this again?

And I'm not actually sure I am doing this.

City to shore is this weekend, and since I rode the Livestrong Challenge many things have happened, just not much of it biking.

Let's see, Jorj went to Scotland, and scheduled his trip so that two weekends of training were out of the question, unless I found someone to babysit Jake from about 6 am. to noon. He's not up at that hour. I'm not up. No one is up; that's why I bike then. I did try to find a bike trailer. No go so far. Well, I find them, but they are either nearly retail price, or being sold in Churchville, or West Chester, or Pottstown.

No biking at all the week he was gone, of course.

By the time Jorj got back, my intermittent back brake rubbing had turned into full-on back brake clamped on. At least I was safe; I could still stop. Of course, I could barely get going, so I was even safer. Jorj looked at it, lubed a spring, and now I am back to my usual speeds, but have to break very, very early.

Mom had a crisis this weekend, so that and Sunday's rain kept me from riding. (Mom's fine, but she fell Monday, and needed to get to the doctor, so I drove.)

The best part, though, is that Jorj will be at a conference the week after the MS150. When did he book his flight? In the middle of the ride back. He checked the calendar but I swear that fscking thing is eating appointments, and the entry for the MS150 got eaten between March and August. Then followed a two-week scramble for a babysitter (about 8 to 10 hours, from when Jorj leaves to when I return). Finally, we realized my Mom could handle this. She'd have to cut down on the yelling, but she could handle this. Great.

The follow-up to Saturday's doctor visit is that she has anemia, and the doctor might want her to go into the hospital this weekend.

I'm going to my happy place:

[Anne, Jake, Jorj and myself
posing with radish greens and horse chestnuts. Copyright 2009 Jorj Bauer, all
rights reserved]

I'm tired of biking, and I just want to bake.

Aug. 2: The 2009 flood

So. Well. That was fun. 7 5/8 inches water in the basement, about three feet of water had filled the exterior stairwell to the basement. The basement door held for a while (three feet worth), and then the water pressur finally forced it's way around the door jamb.

I went from slowly changing out linens to frantically carrying the cat box and Christmas decorations as water crept up my ankles. Jorj was trying to find all the sump pumps, the two-meter long PVC pipes that funnel the water out of the stairwell, and all the joints to connect everything together. We've gone through this before, so all these things are together and ready to go. But Jorj couldn't find the connectors. There were tears, there was screaming, there was frantic throwing of everything out of the way. The water was draining from outside into inside, we're slogging through the basement yanking out power plugs.

Jorj did find the sump pump connectors, after the stairwell had emptied itself into the basement, the entrance carpet had been used as a dam against the outside door and the GFCI outlet for the fridge had tripped. We came within milimeters of blowing the computers.

We emptied the downstairs freezer and will be using a number of older things (at least what didn't fit in the upstairs freezer and is usable): An ancient chicken is turning into stock, dinner will probably be blueberry pie (blueberries and pie crust defrosting), wrappers and dashi may become dumplings tomorrow. We're going to eat some cookies Sarah made and left behind (sorry sweetie, I don't think they'll survive the mail). The floors are mopped and I might get to the laundry ... sometime. Humidty is down from "hi" to 75%

July 31: On downloading

I just finished listening to Stephen Fry's latest pdgram, wherein he discusses downloading and copyright. And he goes on to say that he believes people will continue to buy music, movies and other entertainment products that can be packaged for sale, even if free versions are available. And he's right. So, here's a case study:

Why I download:

Yes, there I've admitted it. Sometimes I watch things through less than legal channels.

  1. It's not available, anywhere, at any price (or at an insane price, should you find it on eBay). Let's say I want to watch some late Muppet Show. I can't. Only the early seasons are available. this probably has to do with getting all the rights and royalties worked out with the guest stars. Still, if I want it, free downloadig is the only way to go.
  2. It's not available yet in America. this covers pretty much everything recent from the BBC. New Sarah Jane? gotta wait months for it to make it to the US Amazon or iTunes. The second season still isn't out on iTunes or DVD. sometimes it can be a week (Torchwood), sometimes it can be years (Blake's 7). If it's something to just watch once, well, no one gets any money from that. If it's something I want to keep, well, we have a DVD player that's set up for European DVDs for a reason. Other options are faking a British IP address to watch on the BBC's player, and stocking up on CDs when I go to Germany (die Ärtze are not in iTunes).
  3. It's easier to watch on the computer. Jake loves television, but in our house, it's a weekend treat. However, he is allowed to watch short segments from the Electric Company before he goes to bed. As the start of the bed ritual, it cuts down on whining about ging to bed; he's learning to spell and read; when his behavior is really outrageous, it's a good threat. We watch them YouTube. I'm ceertainly considering getting the Electric Company DVDs, but even owning them it would be too much trouble to find the one segment he wanted (and I'd have to use the TV; as my CD drive is broken, broken, broken). YouTube it is!
  4. the PVR missed recording an episode of something. I'm not waiting for the DVD to come out just so I can watch that episode of Burn Notice or Leverage I missed. If it's available from NetFlix, I'll move it to the top of the queue. If it's on iTunes, I'll buy it.

So why don't we just download everything?

Downloading would be so much easier, so much cheaper, why don't we download everything?

  1. Artists gotta eat. We're programmers. Every time someone suggests giving away software for free, I wonder if they'll give us a dinner (gourmet) for free 'cause I gotta eat.
  2. Encourage more production of the things I like. How else will the production companies get the message ( and the wherewithall) to keep producing what I want.
  3. Hard copies of what I want to keep. Do you know how much Doctor Who I have? No, you don't. Do you know how many DVDs are to replace VHS tapes? Yeah, so we also don't mind ripping the DVDs to convert them into the next limited-time, playable format. We also have DVDs of some things I've bought through iTunes. I recommend Mike's Comics.
  4. It's easier. Apple has made buying music, TV shows and movies so damn easy. If you have a Mac, you don't need to know anything about the process. The software is pre-installed and works like every e-commerce site out there, except near-instant gratification. Want to watch The Closer tonight? You can have an episode in an hour. If you've used the NetFlix site, NetFlix streaming is equally easy. For free, there's the easy to find Hulu, which has fewere commercials, and doesn't require you to download 10 or 20 parts (like YouTube). You don't need to figure out what software to install, where to find it, and how to use it.

July 23: Oooh, look! Depression!

Part of the silence has been spending all our time with Sarah before she left. Part has also been a mild depression before and since she left. I haven't turned Sarah's room into a shrine (yet), but I haven't gone into it much since she left.

I'm enjoying the Tour de France (yeah, Lance IS that interesting), but it's bittersweet, as it reminds me of frantically preparing for Tobi.

Jake has pointed out that it's better with four people here. Still thinking about what to do about that.

We would like to host another student, but every five years seem to be a good spacing. Hosting too many students too frequently seems to make the students into a commodity. Hosting Sarah was fabulous, and if you'd like to host a student (and there is a shortage of host families), check out YFU. You can host for a full year, or a half year. Go on, you know you want to!

Distracting myself with fundraising and pain

Another thing you want to do is support me in riding the Philly Livestrong Challenge. (I've also signed up for the MS150 in October.) I'm riding with Team Fatty, which was started by one of my favorite bloggers, a really funny, kind man.

January through March, 2009

One-liners about bad UI, Doctor Who, and the rest of my life.

Charity rides

Pick a cause! I'm riding to raise money for cancer research and in the MS150.

What I'm reading

  • Culinaria Germany an American translation of an originally German work. It covers Germany state-by-state with lots of glorious photos. It often pays special attention to foods I consider quintessentially German (like asparagus and pretzels) and has two pages for Stollen and five for Christmas in general. Mmmm.
  • Siddartha, Hesse, original German, only a chapter a night. Hesse is the easiest of the German literary writers.
  • My Family and Other Animals Written by a naturalist about his years living in Corfu with his family as a teenager. The most shocking thing is the absence of irony and snark; this book was obviously written mid-century! He just writes joyfully of the people, animals, adventures and mishaps of his childhood.

What I'm listening to

  • Der kleine Hobbit, an audiobook of the German translation of the Hobbit. My German is really bad.

I bake too

And sometimes I write about it.