Showing posts from January, 2011

The Neon Tour of Polk County, Premier Visit

From the moment I saw the signs, I knew that I'd make the jump to DSLR. Glorious neon, lovingly maintained. That the sign belonged to a business that is very rare to find in the 21st century just made it even more appealing.

When we moved over here, we noticed many local businesses with signs created with tubes of the inert gas. It was obvious that these are at least 40 years old by the quantity of bends in them. Last I'd checked, back around 1990, neon was going for $500 a bend.

So, I left class tonight and made way over to US Highway 92. These are the first of many that I know I'll be taking of these signs.

Sunday Supper

Chef is an avowed soup fiend. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree, because there are not many soups I don't enjoy. So, the child is especially happy when I make some at home.

I had a couple of pounds of boneless chicken breasts that had to be used today (as in I'd had it in the fridge for a few days), and today's plans upon arriving home were studying, studying and more studying. I would have been happy to make something labor intensive, but I really didn't want to put an hour into making dinner.

Usually, I cheat when I make homemade chicken noodle soup in that I buy a rotisserie chicken, pull all the meat off the carcass, then boil that until it falls apart. I skim the bones out, then add veggies, chicken and egg noodles into it. The typical batch of homemade also includes copious amounts of basil because chicken and basil go together so very nicely.

I wasn't sure how much depth of flavor my soup would have without the bones, that thoughts turned to wha…

Castillo de San Marco

Last August, we spent the day in St. Augustine with Donna when we were returning from our trip to NY. That day, we walked St. George Street and visited the Castillo de San Marco. Unfortunately, the skies were threatening and lightning had been viewed in the distance, so we couldn't visit the top of the fort.

Today, the weather was gorgeous and we spent the majority of our stay topside enjoying the view.

Our arrival time was perfect for seeing re enactors set off two 6" cannons. While this docent spoke in English, the reenactment itself was in Castillan. That was pretty cool.

Watching them push the cannons to the wall looked similar to curling

Cannon powdered, loaded and fused. Waiting for inspection.

Cover your ears!

It was great spending the day with Donna and seeing a piece of history relived.

I Love When I Get a Bonus Out of Plans

Tomorrow, the kids and I are heading up to St. Augustine to spend the day with Donna. It'll be good to see my BFF and spend some time walking around the historic city. She reminded me that the last time we did this, I lamented the lack of a 'real' camera.

It'll be good to spend the day shutterbugging with my two favorite kids and my best girlfriend.

The bonus?

I was double checking to ensure we weren't going to meet insane crowds because of some event going on, and found that their Christmas light display in the historic district is continuing through the 31st. If we do dinner down there, we'll leave the restaurant to the display of many tiny lights.


Why Realtors Might Not Get Buyers

Or, "Why lousy typography is hurting real estate sales" (Or really, 'I love when something that nagged me for months dovetails nicely with my lecture topic.')

Every day, on the way to GameTeen's school, I pass this absolutely gorgeous house that has had a for sale sign in front of it since day one of school, so at least August 17th. It has great curb appeal and it drew my attention because it is a colonial that's situated on the lot in the same exact way a certain house on Ocean Avenue in Amityville, NY sits on a similar lot. You may know that house as 'the Amityville Horror' house.

I'm a nosy sort, I admit it. I wanted to see what that house was selling for. Too bad the realty sign was unreadable. Seriously, since August, I was trying to read the froufy, embellished script that was the realty's name. You tell me that you could read this, driving by a house on a busy street when you're going 35 miles per hour:I admit it, last month, c…

The Picture Duff Goldman Doesn't Want His Former Hockey Teammates to See

We went over to campus tonight to see Duff Goldman (of Food Network's 'Ace of Cakes' show) as part of the University Lecture Series. The boys and I did this last year to see Grant Imihara and Kari Byron, but I posted some mediocre pictures and had a good time. This year, Ed was with us, we had better seats and I got better pictures because I now have a better camera. Oh, and we had an awesome dinner, too.

Anyway, when Duff came out on stage, he told the audience of his first trip to Tampa: 20 guys, two 15 passenger vans and a bunch of hockey gear, all because they had a match against USF (so I'm assuming he was on the UMBC team). They thought they'd cream them, because what would a bunch of guys who live in perpetual summer know about hockey?

They got spanked.

So, the moderator presented Duff with a Bulls hockey jersey and Duff said it would be very bad if his fellow teammates see him wearing this, since they got beaten by the team so handily back then. Guess t…

Of Committee Meetings, Weather Warnings and Thesis Statments

The day started with an 'Oh SHIIIIIIIIIITTTTTTT!' I saw 7:32 on the clock, I needed to be on the other side of town at 8am and did I mention I was supposed to drop Game Teen at school, too? Thankfully, Ed took the child to school.

Yes, that committee I was on as a student representative? We've reconvened and now I'm the graduate representative. I got there fifteen minutes late and they'd already reviewed half of the candidates on our new list. About 2 hours work completed in twenty minutes, it's what happens when you are working with prepared and motivated committee members.

The end result? We've got another day of interviews set up for Tampa next week.

So, the meeting is over (in Lakeland) and you have a 5pm class (in Tampa), what do you do? If you're me, you drive over to the other campus and settle in for a day of studying.

Apparently, while I was busy reading a chapter in the textbook that touched on SIX previous psychology classes, doom an…

The Awesomeness of a Cheap iPhone App

You've seen it here many times before, the fruits of the Hipstamatic app: The addition of all the Hipstapacks has made me happy, especially for the addition of black and white. Scamp was being especially cooperative last night, thus the picture you see.

I posted another from his little session with me (I took two shots each with all the lens options with the black and white film) to my Facebook page. A friend decided he was going to have some fun in Photoshop, and posted this to my wall this morning:

It was a good segue into what I was studying today. In one class, I've got a big project in Photoshop, and it was good to see someone play with one of my images in the program to create something I found amusing.

We'll see what I come up with by the end of the semester.

Yes, I Can Act Like a 12 Year Old Boy

Tell me that you don't laugh at this:


I finally got my Paprikash today.

I've been making it since about the time that "When Harry Met Sally" came out on video and found the recipe in a Jewish foods cookbook (wish I had that sucker, it had some great recipes, but it was borrowed.) There aren't that many ingredients to it as it is simple peasant food.

Anyway, ever since, if I mention it and someone has made it, I've been told I put in far too many onions (I sliver 3, the original recipe called for six). I decided to check out what Wikipedia said, and it gave general information about goulashes in general. Mmmm, goulash.

So, I Googled recipes and found this one, which is fairly close to mine. I use the above mentioned onions, 4 cloves garlic, half the broth, and I don't use ginger or bay leaves. However, that last ingredient perplexed me a bit.

The instruction to 'eat the fudgesicle while the food cooks' was inspired.

As I took the picture, I thought of success on another front. After n…

Why Having a Good Rapport with Your Specialist is a Good Thing

I had an appointment with one of my doctors this morning. The one that no one else in the family has need for. He's got a great way of just checking up with you as a person before getting to the part of the appointment that most of us just would rather do without.

Anyway, since I hadn't seen him since last January, he asked how school was going. I mentioned that I had just started grad school and decided on a PhD. He asked what area of study and when I said that ideally, my plans were to research computer based curricula for students with Asperger's Syndrome.

It ends up his mom does autism research in the midwest. He gave me her contact info, the contact info of the other principal investigator at that university as well and told me a bunch of info about their program. Granted, I'm not going into research from the psychology side, but it IS important for me to find a mentor or a backup mentor who has worked in the specialty area I want.

He wasn't sure if that …

Photo Hound

I am a shutter bug. Okay, scratch that-I am a frustrated shutter bug.

The things I see on a daily basis cry out for me to capture them on film, or rather, in pixels. Years of viewing the world through the view finder of various Minolta cameras has me framing images wherever I go. Sometimes, I make an effort with one of the point and shoots or my iPhone.

The local obsession has appeared on the blog now and again. I am a sucker for neon. The way it glows, the saturation of color, the nostalgia it evokes. This part of Florida is abundant of tubes of colored inert gas, and I've said for ages that I want to head out with a good camera and a tripod and do a photo essay of a time gone by that still is here.

One of the locales that is at the top of my list also photographs well in the daytime, especially with the cool iPhone Hipstamatic app. I added all the lenses and film to it last month with part of a graduation iTunes gift card. Due to bright light, my detour to take these p…

This Evening's Presentation Has Been Pre-Empted

The plan: Chicken Paprikash, because my friend Ang posted this on Facebook the other day:

This scene is responsible for me tracking down a recipe for Chicken Paprikash when the movie first appeared. Of course, since she posted the clip, I wanted some. Fortunately, one child loves it, the other will eat the chicken and the egg noodles if I am thorough in removing the onions from his portion.

Instead, Chiari had other plans. After two days of low grade thudding, the throbbing announced it was there to do battle. I challenged it with a Facebook status that must have stepped up the efforts in my head. End result: Chiari 2, Suzanne 0.

So, it'll be Thursday night's dinner. Perhaps I might even add the Pecan pie.

Cat Nap



I don't know how we did it.

On the drive over to the Apple store and back, we passed field after field of luscious, ripe strawberries. We didn't stop at any of the wonderful farm stands.

Was it because Ed wasn't hungry for a Parkesdale Strawberry shortcake after having a big lunch? Was it the fact that the kids were with us, since we typically have the first strawberry treat while they are in school? I'm not sure, but somehow, we came home with empty arms and strawberry free bellies.

However, I do have sneaking suspicion that later this week, I'll be getting a flat of goodness from the Winter Strawberry Capital of the world and making some syrup, shortcake and cookies.

I can't wait.


What happens when your A/C adapter doesn't charge your laptop?

You can't do your school work.

I tried the magnetic connector both ways (it is omnidirectional), five different outlets, and both the wall wart and 3 prong attachments and no juice is getting to the Mac.

Today, I'm on Ed's machine and banging out schoolwork that doesn't require me to download stuff. This means the crazy easy classwork that's not due until February 14th is done and turned in, the stuff that I need to turn in next Monday has to wait and then as soon as I'm done reading as many tutorials as I can on this machine, I'll be sitting with my lone textbook and reading for Tuesday night's class.

I admit it, I'm a Machead now. I keep hitting F3 to toggle screens and do ctrl x ctrl c ctrl v instead of dropping the first part.

A drive over to Brandon in the morning to the Genius Bar is on tap. I fully expect to walk out ten minutes later with a new cord.

Search Engines Are Not Created Equal

For one of my classes, which is akin to "Internet 101," the first assignments are to do some studying about search engines, create an Internet scavenger hunt, post on the discussion board for the class and a few other simple things. Oh, and I've got until February 14th to do them.

Knowing my propensity for procrastinating until the very last second, and also knowing that my other two classes are more labor intensive, I figured I'd work on the simple stuff and get it out of the way until the next batch of work is doled out. Which lead me to reading about subject directories, search engines and deep web tonight.

To do the assignment, some visits to these sites are necessary. We're to write up what we found when searching our subject of choice.

As the focus of the class is educational uses, I decided to search Asperger's Syndrome. There's a method to the madness, because it might lead me to more research papers on the topic for another class project later n…

Annual Blog Delurking Day

I see you! Yes, you! Reno, Richmond Hill, Olean, Akershus, London, any number of cities in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Heck, I even see Googlebot visiting me a few times a day!

If you came to see my Unna Boot, Jim Carrey wearing Jenny McCarthy's swimsuit (which frankly, looked a lot better on him than it did on her), read my rants about Michael Savage, look at pictures of camping at Ft. Desoto, wanted a maid or want to know about foreclosure, stick around and say hello. I post pictures of food, of drinks and I don't bite. Well, not much.

If you came because any sort of word combination banned and a Disney fan website, I stopped posting about those things over two years ago-but those half dozen posts are the most often read on this blog.

What brought you here? What is your name? your quest? Your favorite color? Are you searching for the six fingered man, because he's not here?

If you've got a blog, let me know. I'll come read it.

Delurk. You know you want to!�…

Legos as Weapons

Yesterday morning, as I entered GameTeen's bedroom to wake him for school, I stepped on a lego.

If you haven't experienced this joy, probably because you experienced the joys of stepping on Barbie shoes, these hard plastic objects are sharp. They hurt. Did I mentioned that they're sharp?

Anyway, lucky for me, I stepped on the offending plastic weapon with my right foot, the edge gouging the arch of my foot. I stumbled and my right hand jammed the edge of the child's bed. Hard.

Once again, lucky for me, because I'm left handed. Forty hours later, the pinky still hurts. Thankfully, it isn't discolored or swollen, but very tender. I dodged a bullet, but it's probably sprained, since I can't bear weight or carry stuff with it.

The pinky is now buddy taped and I'll be typing a little slower.

And giving the military a call about inexpensive weapons programs...

What's For Dinner Wednesday

Even though Florida is the ONLY state in the US to be free from snow, that doesn't mean we're free of frigid temperatures. See?

With this cold weather, our Central A/C unit motor decided it would quit working, so it's a little cooler in the SuzanneCalling house tonight. Initially, I thought that dinner would be something that required the use of the oven, but a quick poll of the menfolk revealed that they had other plans. Chef got his choice tonight, Mom's Chicken noodle soup. It's a smart way to warm all of us up, especially since the HVAC repairman had to order a motor.

I freely admit I take a shortcut to homemade soup by purchasing a rotisserie chicken. Most of the supermarkets around here sell them for a buck or so more than buying a whole chicken, and it saves a bunch of time. Mine has the egg noodles we prefer, a boatload of basil and a lot less salt than what comes in a can. Then thin slicing carrots, onions and celery in the food processor takes second…