Wednesday, October 31, 2007

In hiding for Halloween

I live in a guesthouse behind someone's regular suburban house. My guesthouse sort of faces a street, but it doesn't look like an actual house--more like some weird garage or studio. I figured I wouldn't get any trick-or-treaters, so I didn't buy any candy.

Moments ago, I heard a bunch of people come up to my door. There was a knock at the door, two feet away from where I was sitting. I froze, trying to keep as quiet as possible. I heard voices:

Mom: No one's answering; maybe we should just go around the front.
Kid: No, there's someone in there!
Mom: No, no one's answering.
Kid: But if there's no one there, why is there a light on inside?
Mom: Come on, let's just go around to the front. I don't think this is really where they live.
Kid [yelling]: But why is there a peephole in that door if there's no one living there?! And there's a light on!

I thought that kid was going to break in. I almost wanted to open the door, congratulate him on his logical skills, and offer him a can of chick-peas or something. But I did not.

I am now having the scariest Halloween ever.


My iPod just started displaying this image. My own face looks much the same. The suggestions on the Apple website have not worked, so I am going to spend the evening on the internet looking for more advanced fixes. If anyone has any suggestions, let me know.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Wonderful Wednesdays, edition 3, one day late

More good things:
1. Fountain soda from the gas station. 32 ounces of ice-cold Diet Dr. Pepper for $0.79 is hard to beat.
2. H.E.B. Central Market brand Indian frozen dinners, especially Chana Masala. H.E.B. is our local supermarket, and "Central Market" is their Whole Foods-esque line of products. Indian food seems to do pretty well in the freezing-reheating process.
3. Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers. They're a band. They're good.
4. Corner Gas reruns on cable. I was first introduced to this Canadian sitcom by Squishy Burrito, and it I loved it. Now I can watch it every day. If the information I give the Nielsen people has as much impact as I think it will, there will soon be several episodes of Corner Gas on every day.
5. Pre-washed spinach in bags (non-E.coli type). Healthy and easy.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Stephen Colbert and the religious blogosphere

I came across this blog yesterday: The WORD: A Colbert Blog for Catholic It-Getters. It basically collects and discusses Stephen Colbert's references to his Catholicism on the Colbert Report. For those who don't know, Stephen Colbert is a practicing Catholic who teaches Sunday School and raises his kids Catholic. He talks about it in an interview with Teri Gross here.

Here is an awesome YouTube clip of Colbert singing (and dancing to) one of my favorite hymns from childhood. I also recommend this clip of the Colbert Report.

Some exploration of the links from The WORD revealed a couple of things:
1. Catholic bloggers LOVE that Stephen Colbert is Catholic. I sort of do too. I think there's a real lack of cool, smart, funny, and sincerely religious role models in the media, especially for the sort of people who enjoy things like the Colbert Report.

2. The Catholic blogosphere is very lame. As I looked for Catholic blogs, I saw page after page doing nothing but rehashing the same issue--can you be pro-choice and Catholic? Yes you can! No you can't! Boring. In my travels in the religious internet, I also came across the quite amazing and large Mormon blogosphere, a.k.a. the Bloggernacle (I especially liked By Common Consent, the first one I saw). I have no idea about the religious value or accuracy of the material on the Mormon sites, but they appear to contain the kind of thoughtful and diverse commentary on issues theological, historical, and social that I wish existed for Catholics.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

I have so much power.

Moments ago, I was offered, and accepted, an opportunity to become a part of the Nielsen Ratings System by recording my TV viewing habits for a certain period of time.

Finally, the American people will have the benefit of my near-perfect taste in television. You are so lucky! And I am going mad with power right now.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Breakfast Tacos

You know how, in a most offices and institutions, if there's a breakfast event, people will bring bagels, doughnuts, or pastries? When I was planning to move to San Antonio, someone from here told me that here, people will bring breakfast tacos instead. I was skeptical--that is, until my boss showed up one day my second week with a big bag of breakfast tacos. This happens about once a week.

Also, just about every other restaurant here is Mexican, and just about every Mexican place (and some non-Mexican places) sell breakfast tacos. A breakfast taco is basically a (usually) freshly made soft flour tortilla, usually with two of the following: eggs, chorizo, potato, bacon, cheese, or beans. They can be pretty tasty.

According to this article in the Denver Post, San Antonio is the birthplace of the breakfast taco.

Aunt Panda

My (and Warm Fuzzy's) little brother's wife had a baby yesterday, making us aunts! I am excited.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Wonderful Wednesdays, edition 2

More things I like:
1. Dual computer monitors. We just got these at work. Westlaw on one screen, memo on the other. It doesn't get any better than that, people.
2. Rice cookers. I didn't bring my rice cooker with me to Texas. I discovered I couldn't live without one, so I bought a $9.99 version at Walgreens. Perfect rice every time, with no judgment calls. If you are cooking your rice in a pot to save $9.99, you are a sucker.
3. The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. There's been a crime. You have the guy who did it. You know he did it. He may even admit that he did it. But we let him go anyway! What an amazing dedication to principle.
4. Suburban running tracks.
I have taken up running again. I do this about once a year. This time, I'm running on a track at the local junior high. It is wonderful! It's easy on my feet and safe after dark--I ran tonight after 8 pm without a single worry of being mugged. The suburbs are growing on me.

5. Altoids.
They are curiously strong.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Chain restaurant!

A Panera Bread (a.k.a. St. Louis Bread Company) just opened near my house. On my way to work, in fact. I am extremely happy about this. Being fairly alone and perpetually lost in a new town, it is very comforting to walk into a place that looks exactly like the place I spent many happy (and some unhappy) hours surfing the internet, reading newspapers, and studying for the bar exam. Plus, San Antonio has a bizarre dearth of free wireless internet in any places where you'd actually want to go and surf the internet. (My Chinese restaurant has wireless internet, as does the local Denny's-style diner place--who gets out their laptop places like that? It's bizarre.)

I do feel a tiny bit guilty about this--I typically try to patronize independent, locally owned businesses. I like supporting things that are a little different, to help slow our society's inevitable progress toward becoming a nation of identical strip malls with no local differences other than the content of the maps and street guides they sell at Barnes & Noble and the Shell Station.

But at least the profits on my $0.89 bagels are going to St. Louis and benefiting what will be my local economy in the future, so that's something. I just wish Panera had kept the name "St. Louis Bread Company" for its national expansion--my hometown could use some positive publicity.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Things I like

Below is a list of some stuff I like. Maybe I will make this a regular feature--"Wonderful Wednesday"? If I'm in a bad mood, it can always turn into "Whiny Wednesday." Anyway, here it is:
  • Lint rollers. If you haven't used these, they're like giant rolls of masking tape, with the sticky side out. They're essential if you have a pet or tend to dress in black.

  • The book Into the Wild, by Jon Krakauer. It's the true story of a bright and educated young man who went, alone and ill-prepared, into the Alaskan wilderness and eventually died of starvation. The book does a fascinating job of exploring the mystery of what motivated the young man.
  • Vanilla Wafers. Simple perfection in cookie form. The best are the Nabisco ones, a.k.a. "Nilla Wafers." Under no circumstances should you try to save money by getting the store brand.
  • The Reach Access dental flosser. The greatest advance in dentistry to occur in my lifetime.
  • The song "If You're Into It" by Flight of the Conchords. It has been in my head nearly constantly for the past two months. The premise is that a guy is writing a song for his new girlfriend about how he'd do anything for her--climb the highest mountain, etc. When his friend points out that he wouldn't actually be willing to do any of that stuff, he writes a more realistic song about the things he would be willing to do, like hanging out.