Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Down with Penguins

So.... I saw this icon today on a warning label and thought it was pretty funny. What could it mean? "Down with Penguins." "No Happy Feet Allowed." "Just Say No to Formality."

I'm opening a contest. I will accept submissions (via comments) for the next week. Prizes will be awarded for two categories: "Most creative slogan to accompany this icon" and "Slogan most closely approximating the actual warning." Enter as many times as you like. The full warning label and the winners will be posted next Wednesday, May 7. Good luck!

Winners will be selected by a committee of one, namely me, acting as judge, jury, and if need be executioner. All entries become the property of PursuingPineapple, a Division of Dancing Dog Enterprises.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Arkansas Folklore


Did I ever tell you about the time I accidentally bought a book of naughty folktales? Well, a few months ago I was at Barnes & Noble in Little Rock (wasting some time before an appointment), and I started looking at the Arkansas section for some coffee table books. I had some about Tennessee, and I wanted some about Arkansas. Well the photography selection wasn't to my liking, but I saw this book called Pissing in the Snow & Other Ozark Folktales by Vance Randolph. I bought it without reading the forward or even perusing the folktales; I got home and to my surprise, this was not the book I thought I was buying. Well, I read it anyway - the stories are not pornographic (not really), they are more, well, baudy and ribald.

One week when my K-group (small group from church) was over at the house, as we started the discussion of the Bible study, the small group leader looks over at the bookshelf and loudly reads the title - of course, that is the one book that would catch his attention. All very embarrassing.

I don't know that I can recommend that book to anyone. However, I did buy a another copy for my friend Marty, but he's a US Marshal and hears naughty things all the time from criminals - he even had a perp whose street name was "dog nuts."

I can, however, recommend the following book: Deep Down in the Delta - folktales and poems by Greg Brownderville. He is the Poet of Pumpkin Bend. No, seriously, he's from a town in Arkansas called Pumpkin Bend, and he's a poet (no really, he's won an award and everything). He's just finishing a Masters program at Ole Miss, but his undergraduate work was completed at Ouachita Baptist University (my alma mater - Go Tigers). His book is available at Amazon.

My friends Donnie and Lori (aware of my interest in family-friendly as well as adult-themed folklore) invited me to a poetry reading that Brownderville did at OBU, and I thoroughly enjoyed it (I'm usually not one for poetry readings). The poems he read from that night are being compiled into a second book. Despite having not read this unpublished second book, I still recommend it (just because the last time I bought a book without reading anything about it and it turned out to be folk-porno doesn't mean anything). Anyway, my two favorite images from the poetry at the reading are as follows (obviously they are more powerful as lines in poems as opposed to my remembrances scrawled into crazy blog posts). The first was from a poem where the characters were gathering honey and he compared the honeycomb to a "box of shells." That's ammunition, not seashells. The other image was how he described a lady singing at his boyhood church - her voice was sweet, it was "banana cream Jesus."

He also sang a gospel song, "Jesus on the Mainline," before reading one of the poems. This is a video of he and his brother performing that song:

Now, bringing this random blog back together: My friend Rachel visited this past weekend and we went to Hot Springs to see/hear the live broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor. My eyes lit up and ears perked up as Keillor and his colleagues sang "Jesus on the Mainline," and then he explained how an important folklorist, Vance Randolph, lived in the Ozarks and collected folksongs and folktales, some of which are compiled in the book, Pissing in the Snow.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Macro Monday #4


this is another attempt at being "photographically artistic." It's a picture of a green crackle glazed lamp, capturing the reflection of the kitchen chair railing, the lamp shade with it's wire armature, and the CFL light bulb (see, this picture is green in several ways).

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Tennis, Anyone?

So.... seriously, how could you say no to this face?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Macro Monday #3


Ow, she's a brick house... She's mighty, mighty.... Just lettin' it all hang out... Yeah, she's a brick house!

Suddenly Seymour

So.... I've been so busy working in the front yard, I didn't notice what was growing in the back yard.

It's a "mean green mutha' from outer space." Fortunately, Travis won't go anywhere near it; otherwise, I'd be afraid he'd get eaten.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Make your Bed

So.... I've lately been in the mood to get some yard work done. I recently posted about the day I spent cleaning out the flower beds in front of the house. Here is a picture (I so should have taken a before) of the house yesterday morning.

Yesterday afternoon's project was building a planting bed around the mailbox. My dad made my mailbox post and installed it for me last August, and it's stately elegance demanded more than the rocks and weeds that until yesterday surrounded it. Yesterday morning I went to the local tack/ranch/farm store, but they were too busy helping the pushy, mean, old biddies with their plants (and I didn't like their selection), so I headed out on the interstate, to the closest Home Depot and Lowe's. I picked out my pavers and my mulch at Home Depot, but Lowe's selection of plants was much better. After loading 120 pounds of topsoil, 50 pounds of brick pavers, 6 cubic feet of cypress mulch, and sundry and numerous annuals into my sedan, I returned home (after stopping at the Chik-fil-A drive thru).

Do you know how hard it is to shovel off the top 5-6 inches of weedy soil? Well, it's not easy. Moving said layer of muddy, weedy soil is no picnic either. Unfortunately, I don't have a wheel-barrow (yet- it's on the list), so I used one of those little bitty seed-spreader things to tote bricks and bags and dirt from the carport to the front yard to the back yard. Anyway, got the dirt up, then I laid down brick pavers, amended the soil, planted, mulched, watered, and cleaned everything up! It was a chore! Here are some after shots.

I still have to work (adjust the brick border, mulch) on the beds at the front of the house, which I cleaned out earlier in the week. The next major front yard project is building a large planting bed around those three trees in the front yard (pictured below). I want it to be a shade garden with hostas and ferns.

Here's a tip. If you lay your bricks into the ground and have them even with the soil of the yard, you can run the mower right over them without having to weedeat around that planter bed.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Gardening Annually

So.... my yard was looking pretty shabby. Now the inside of my house is approaching "showplace," but the outside has been neglected. I had read that when you move into a new place, you really shouldn't do any landscaping until you've been there a year so that you'll know how your garden looks throughout the seasons. I took "no landscaping" to mean "no yard maintenance." I mean, yeah, I mowed it when I felt overwhelmingly embarrassed, but I haven't planted anything new.

Well, I've been wanting to put a planting bed around the mailbox. I thought it would add to the curb appeal (it would also make it easier to mow that area of the yard). I planned to work on that yesterday, but I got distracted by the planting beds in front of the house. I focused my attention to cleaning them up - they probably hadn't been touched for the four or five months before I bought the house. So now after about 18 months the time was right.

So, 7 hours, 13 bags of debris, 3 armfuls of branches, and 1600 mg of Motrin (in two doses, six hours apart) later, the planters in front of my house were cleaned out. A third of the shrubbery was dead - one side of the house has only three little plants left in front of it.

The pictures really don't do justice to the excruciating amount of work I did, it just occurred to me to show a pic of the front of the house - too late tonight.

At one point I got a little excited because I found this black and metallic tube-like object. I thought it might be some sort of Ancient Klingon Time Capsule or The Cosmic Key (raise your hand if you saw He-Man and the Masters of the Universe - the live action movie, starring Dolph Lundgren and Courtney Cox - I'll let you borrow my DVD if you promise to bring it back). No, it wasn't a Cosmic Key, a Klingon Time Capsule, or even a toy lightsaber - it was a stupid ole' broken bird-feeder (which was promptly disposed of in bag #12).

Monday, April 14, 2008

Macro Monday #3


this is a picture of the top of a glazed ceramic pineapple. It sits on my mantle. The wavy pattern behind it is the edge of a picture frame.

Note: Picture posted horizontally for artistic value.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Under the Table

So.... has someone you loved ever looked at you with one of those faces that said, "Please, build me a table under which my crate will fit?"

That may not be exactly how it happened - actually, I recently got a few pieces of furniture for my bedroom and wanted something to disguise the crate (at least a little bit). So.... I cannibalized an old coffee table and an old end table to make a new one.

The bedroom may not be the best place to work on this new construction...

Outside obviously is a more appropriate place for power tools. Check out my awesome Ryobi cordless power drill and freaking awesome Ryobi Circular Saw (thanks, Dad). I'm glad you ladies weren't there, or you all would have mobbed me, possessed by my brute strength and sweaty t-shirt.

One of the more fun parts was distressing the table (hitting it and scratching it up with a hammer).

Not a fan of that lighter wood tone (which wouldn't blend with the "Exotic Fusion Look" I was going for), I decided to paint the new crate table. First Berry Red spray paint (the Valspar Spray paint has a much nicer and wider push button - I highly recommend it) and then a streak or two of gold. I then followed up with a light smattering of Satin Black; it really didn't turn out like I expected, but I started getting a wood tone/grain effect, so I went with it.

The distressing just looks like scratches in the pic. It gives a lot more character in person.

The table in place. It looks pretty good and serves it's purpose well enough. Of course, as soon as I finished the table, Travis found a better spot to hang out.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Macro Monday #2


You guessed it. Cashews - my favorite! (click the pic to see the salt!)

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Ghetto-fabulous GameCube

So.... for those of you who don't know, GameCube is a video game console produced by Nintendo - think grandchild of Super NES (remember, Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt) and predecessor to the Wii, or if that doesn't help, think: PONG begat Atari begat .... Game Cube. So anyway, some friends of mine from Murfreesboro and I got hooked on playing GameCube (after church on Sundays, or Tuesdays, or on the big projector at church on Fridays, you get the idea). I enjoyed playing so much that I asked for one for Christmas '06. My console has been played maybe a dozen and a half times.

Well I was jonesin' for a GameCube fix back in January, and after work I pulled out my lil' ole GameCube and hooked it up. The stupid thing wouldn't work - it gave some message like system won't compute - check manual. Well, the manual said, if you get that screen, contact customer support (online). Well, the website said that the machine would need to be refurbished - free within warranty or $50.00 if out of warranty. Remember that I said I got it in 12/06 and found that it wouldn't work in 1/08 - just one month out of warranty - isn't that how it always goes. So, I looked online for a new one - actually, they aren't made anymore, but still accepts orders ($100.00). My "local" Target (45 minutes away - cruel, cruel world) didn't have one in stock. I called the Wal-Mart in town, and they didn't have one. Was I to be reduced to sending my barely used but not working Christmas Gift to the Nintendo Factory to be refurbished? Well, then I remembered, right across from Wal-Mart is a strip mall (no, not the one where my church is located). You know, the strip mall every town of this size has; it has a Hibbet Sports, a Nail Salon, a PayDay Cash Advance, a Chinese Restaurant (I call ours Great Wall of Buffet), and, you guessed it, a GameStop.

So, I called GameStop, and they had some GameCubes. I could get my fix that evening! I arrived at the store and inquired about their selection. They had a couple of new ones (at $100) or they had refurbished ones (at $30). [GameCube games also play on the Wii (the newest Nintendo console), so I asked about their Wii selection, and they laughed at me - remember, this was right after Christmas] The sales folks said that I could get an extended warranty for $5, so....

Check out this awesome working $35 dollar Ghetto-fabulous GameCube pimped out with lightening bolt decals and a sweet 1-year warranty.

The first thing I did was clean the entire thing with cotton swabs dipped in alcohol.

The games to play are MarioKart and Smash Bros Melee.

MarioKart is a racing game. You have several characters from which to choose, all from past iterations of Mario Games, like Donkey Kong (that's where Mario all started), Luigi, the Princess, and Bowser - the big turtle/dragon guy you tried to beat up at the end of each level of Super Mario Bros. Anyway, you pick your two person racing team and a car, and race your way into loads of fun. Smash Bros Melee has a similar concept: choose one of the many characters from Nintendo's games (Mario, Pokemon, Kirby, Link, Donkey Kong) and street fight your way into loads of fun.