Escape your life for a little while — come play in mine.

Archive for April, 2010

What are Time’s writers smoking, and can I get some?

Posted by Lissa on April 30, 2010

Because that stuff must be AWESOME for them to come up with a list like this!

Lula is the most influential leader in the world?  Really?  Based on what?

And J.T. Wang is #2?  Who IS J.T. Wang?  Oh, he’s the head of Acer.  Well, um, I do love my Eee . . . oops, wait, that’s ASUS.  Also, you’re saying Wang is more influential than, say, Steve Jobs?  Really?

You know what, maybe they’re not listed in any particular order.  Maybe it’s just a group of 25, not a ranking of 25.  That would make a little more sense, seeing as how I do NOT think Annise Parker (mayor of Houston) is more influential than Manmohan Singh and Gen. Stanley McChrystal.

D’ye know who the last person in that group is?

Scott Brown.


Yes, I thought his election was a great symbol and lots of fun, but what power has Senator Brown actually wielded of late? What has he influenced?

What on earth makes him more influential than, say, VLADIMIR PUTIN or BIBI NETANYAHU or MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD or HUGO CHAVEZ or even JOE FRICKIN’ BIDEN, for heaven’s sake?  None of whom made the list.

And as for the HEROES section, well, Bill Clinton is up first, and Ben Stiller is fourth.

Ben Stiller.  Y’know, Zoolander guy.

My head hurts.

Pass the pipe to the left, Time magazine writers, and mind your bong manners, now.

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Nothing like a fire drill at 3:45 AM to dull the wits.

Posted by Lissa on April 29, 2010

Good morning all! I *had* planned on doing a Wednesday Workout post, along with my thoughts on a C25K program. Thanks to the lovely and lengthy fire drill, I instead stayed up till about 4:45 and then slept late. Coffee to the rescue!!

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Eff-You, Penguin.

Posted by Lissa on April 28, 2010

And no, I don’t mean the website about cursing at cute-ish animals.  I mean the publisher.

Apparently Penguin and Amazon are warring* about which price model to use in distributing ebooks.  Both entities are willing to earn less money — in Amazon’s case, to actually sell books at a loss — in order to maintain control and retain what each feels is the best cost structure for distributing ebooks.

Look, I’m not unsympathetic to Penguin.  They want to make sure they can still make a profit off of bestselling books and they’re nervous about losing hardcover sales, which were always the most profitable.  But the times, they are a-changing, lads; you see more and more Kindles on the T in the morning.  Not to mention the folks reading on their iPhones (me!) and Blackberries and eventually iPads.

Amazon’s model is designed to please its customers — it’s willing to lose money on sales while still paying Penguin MORE than Penguin’s preferred pricing model would.

Penguin’s model is designed to please itself — it’s trying to maintain the current publishing  business model, which thinks that people who can afford iPhones and iTouches and Blackberries and iPads will still want to drag around books that weigh five pounds.

Guess where my sympathies lie?

And yet . . . I’m just a humble book-crack-addict.  I admit it.  I downloaded the Barnes and Noble ebook app and bought the coveted book from them.  B&N’s contract with Penguin hasn’t expired yet so they haven’t re-negotiated the business model.  (I think.)

What can I say?  It was worth an extra three dollars to me to get the book yesterday instead of three weeks from now, and I need my book-crack.

*For the millionth time, I really, really wish I could draw.  Does anyone feel like whipping up a penguin battling an amazon?  With books?  It would be fun!

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Enter The Dragon!

Posted by Lissa on April 27, 2010

Good morning all!  I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before, but here at the Kitty Den we run a 50s-ish household.  For example, I do the grocery shopping each week and almost all the cooking; Mike takes out the trash and handles the finances, etc. When it comes to firearms, Mike’s job is to do the fiddling, the changing out of springs, the customization, and often the cleaning; my job is . . . to shoot them.  And shoot them well.  🙂

Regarding that firearms division of labor — I’m good at my job, but Mike is perhaps better at his.  Watch, for example, a basic Ruger 10/22 . . .

. . . turn into THIS:

Isn’t that fun???  That’s what happens when your husband takes a Ruger 10/22 — a boy’s (or girl’s) basic first rifle — and puts on a skeleton stock with a pistol grip, a bipod, a sling, and a cheap-but-accurate scope.  I call it The Dragon — and yes, Mike laughs at me, but whatever — because it reminds me of the Dragunov that appeared in Burn Notice.

We’ve only taken it to the plinking range (50 yards) once, but it was a HOOT!  We had a bunch of food cans (pumpkin, beans, peas, etc.) as well as some Diet Coke cans and two 2-liter plastic bottles.  In retrospect, we should have brought a bunch of water; the cans are too light and will often fall over in the breeze before we have a chance to snipe them.  A few inches of water in the bottom does a decent job of making them stay put, so I sacrificed some of our bottled water stash from the car trunk.

As nice as it is to punch holes in targets — especially targets with reactive spatter-stickers on them — it’s even MORE fun to make them fall over.

What a great way to spend a beautiful weekend afternoon!

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Under construction!

Posted by Lissa on April 26, 2010

Adding new people to the blogroll, adding people to the RSS feed, taking those same people off the RSS feed, emailing Blogger to find out why it automatically adds a link*, etc., etc.

Hope you had a good weekend!

*It’s seriously irksome.  Most folks with blogspot addresses have this problem — if they’re in my RSS feed, and I publish a new post, it adds a link from my new post to the newest post in the Blogspot blog.  I hate it; it keeps me from having Borepatch and Jay G and Breda and other folks in my RSS feed.  If you have advice on how to fix this, please share!

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Happy Caturday!

Posted by Lissa on April 24, 2010

Rajah says . . .

“Go back to sleep.”

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Overheard in the coffee hutch last week

Posted by Lissa on April 23, 2010

Despite my best intent to avoid politics at work, sometimes it doesn’t avoid me.

I was fetching my salad from the fridge and digging out the salad dressing when CNN began playing a clip on Sarah Palin in Boston.  I kept my head down and my expression bland while my co-worker had the following conversation with the Sarah Palin clips:

SP:  “Hello, Boston!”

Co-Worker: “Oh god, she is such an idiot!”

What I didn’t say: “What makes her an idiot?  Her IQ?  Her grades back in college? Or is it just that you don’t agree with her opinions?”

SP (approximate): “Where you have such great teams as the Red Sox, the Celtics, the Bruins, and the PATRIOTS!”

Co-Worker:  “Yeah THANKS, we don’t know who our own teams are!”

What I didn’t say: “Um, our own politicians often don’t know about our sports teams.  How about Curt Schilling the Famous Yankee Fan and Kerry’s favorite player Manny Ortez?”

Etc., etc.

It baffles me.

I’ve always liked Sarah Palin as a politician, though I can understand why others don’t, and I’d be concerned about how much negative branding she’s absorbed for the next time she runs for office.  But there was palpable contempt and disgust dripping from CW’s voice; she was genuinely angry.


Palin didn’t ban any books as Governor.
Palin didn’t say anything as stupid as “57 states” or “Cinco de Quatro.”
Palin didn’t say she could see Russia from her house.
Co-worker’s antipathy was strong enough to prompt her to have a conversation with a TV in the coffee hutch with two other people in the room.
I don’t get it.

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Things I Hope To Do Before I’m 40

Posted by Lissa on April 22, 2010

Jay turned 39 yesterday – hooray! He’s a little anxious about counting down to the big 4-0, though.

Me?  I’m not quite 30 and I can’t wait for 40.  At my current age of 29 I know SO MUCH MORE than I did at 19; I can’t imagine all the things I’ll learn by then!

Here are some of the things I’m hoping to learn/accomplish/do by 40:

  • Have a house (well, be paying mortgage on one, anyway) with a yard big enough to grow cherry tomatoes.  And a puppy.
  • Er, a yard big enough to HAVE a puppy, not to grow a puppy.  Although I wouldn’t mind growing puppies either!
  • Be mother to a couple of young Kittysons
  • Have run a 5K
  • Learn to adequately use a sewing machine; make one of these dresses for myself
  • Learn to gracefully accept constructive criticism, instead of panicking that I’ve done something wrong
  • Learn to state what I want.  It’s absolutely fine if I don’t get it, but I shouldn’t be afraid to state it for fear of imposing an obligation.  I think.
  • Learn to focus on the positive.  Someone can say ten nice things to me and one cruel thing; the ten won’t even flash across my consciousness and the one will stay with me for five years.  That’s not good.
  • Have taken an airsoft live-fire defensive pistol class.  It’s one thing to neatly punch holes in a target; it’s quite another when the target is firing back at you.
  • Continue to learn and grow in the area of cookery.  Perhaps my next strawberry pie will come out better . . .
  • Eat an ENTIRE pumpkin pie by myself.  A girl’s gotta have a dream!
  • Learn to keep a tidy house.  The battle against my intrinsic laziness continues apace!  I’d like to have a home that’s clean enough to be tidy, and messy enough to be lived-in and comfortable.  (I know, I know, all that will change when Kittysons come about.)

How about you?  What are you hoping to accomplish in the next ten years?

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A Mouthful of Ashes and Dust

Posted by Lissa on April 21, 2010

Or, Adventures In Supplements!

As regular readers know, Mike and I have been trying to increase our level of fitness here at the Kitty Den.  Since I gained weight while Mike was in Charlotte, I’m also trying to eat a bit healthier; “no lard butts in bikinis,” that’s the motto!  So far so good on the exercise; Mike’s getting used to his FiveFingers (and thanks to everyone who chimed in with advice!) and we haven’t once had to donate to the as-yet-unspecified charity.  (I still think PETA is the best choice — especially since most people who haven’t dug into the nasty side of PETA think it’s a wonderful organization, and EXACTLY the kind of org I would normally support — but I’m just not sure Mike can stomach it.)

I’ve also started tracking my food intake (thank you, free “sparkpeople” app!).  Trying to calorie-ize every bite of food that goes into my mouth led me to three results:

1) I bought a food scale

2) I realized I snack more than I thought I did

3) I decided to try and get more protein into my diet.

In line with 3), I went ahead and bought this:

I figured that I could replace my normal afternoon snack of reduced-fat string cheese and fat-free yogurt with a protein-rich snack, which would make it easier to last until dinner without chewing on my fingers.  Or the cat.  (Though cat-ears are HIGHLY nommable and protein-rich, for the record.)

Nom my ears. You know you want to.

The package arrived Monday and I optimistically chose the Mocha Cappuccino flavor, poured it into a cup of coffee and mixed it with a mini-mixer I’d bought especially for the occasion.  It foamed beautifully, looking exactly like an expensive cappuccino machine had lovingly whipped it into a frothy lather purely for my delectation.

I took a sip.

Ack!  Chalk!  Gack!

Okay, well, I expected it to be a bit chalky.  Powder shakes often are, especially protein-rich ones.

I took a bigger sip.

I chewed and swallowed.

Holy crap!  Grits!  Muck!  Drinking sand!

The whey stuff CONGEALED and after the first three sips I was trying to choke down pea-sized nuggets of powder.

I think I managed to down about six sips before the rest went down the drain.

Folks, any ideas?  Shall I mix it with oatmeal or grits and eat it with a spoon???

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Get a grip!

Posted by Lissa on April 20, 2010

Good morning all!  We had a fabulous time at the range this past weekend.  It was crowded, sure, but that was because the Second Amendment Sisters were having their monthly Saturday shoot.  I found myself lending Siguette to three different n00bs — two female first-timers and a male with his first gun — and proclaiming the superiority of Sigs to anyone who would listen.  Sigs rule!

I also found myself trying to do what Shoothouse Barbie and Dr. Boyfriend did for me in about sixty seconds, i.e., fix their grips.  All three were using a more-or-less teacup grip, which as y’all know imparts little stability during shooting.  I didn’t really succeed with any of the three — perhaps I didn’t explain it right, or perhaps they need to think about it more — but my father was interested.  He’s been using what he calls a “modified baseball grip” (I think it looks something like the last picture here) and was very interested in the high-thumbs grip (also known as forward-thumb).  Unfortunately we didn’t figure this out until after we’d gotten home, but we played around with the blueguns and he’s planning on trying it out his next range trip.

For anyone unfamiliar with the term (or the grip), the high-thumbs grip has your strong-hand thumb about as high up on the gun as your shooting finger (when up out of the trigger guard).

The weak hand thumb aligns underneath and forward of the strong hand thumb, which nests your two palms together and allows you to cover practically the entire grip between your palms.

Everyone admire the lovely scratches on my hand. Damn shelter kitties!

It allows a greater degree of control and stability. It works.

Which means, it works for me. It may or may not be the best grip for you.  The best grip is the one that you can fall into smoothly, accurately and consistently, which will put the bullets on target.  In my case, it also means that I can shoot pretty accurately with most semiautomatic pistols; the grip is always the same, so it’s just a question of getting used to different sights and staying consistent with technique.

I proved this last weekend.  The male shooter — a “Mike,” LOL — was firing a new Smith & Wesson M&P 9 mm (not the compact, the full-sized) with a teacup grip.  He mentioned that it was his first gun and so I immediately offered to let him shoot Siguette (because Sigs rule!!).  He wasn’t putting the bullets on target, though, which was sad, and so I asked in my sweetest-most-pleasant manner if offering a tip on grips would be friendly-neighbor-ish, or if it would be rude-obnoxious-mind-your-own-business-in-which-case-I’ll-immediately-shut-up.  He said that tips would be appreciated so I attempted to Shoothouse-Barbie his grip.  (He had a little better luck.)  Then, when he returned the gun-lending-favor by offering me his M&P, I shot mostly through the middle of his target and sent one through the red dot.

Was I showing off a bit?  Yeah, probably.  I’m horrible like this.  But dammit, I proved the grip worked!

P.S. And he didn’t seem to mind the showing off.  I returned the M&P with an exclamation of how ridiculously long the trigger pull was, and he shook his head in amazement and told me he’d never seen anyone pick up a gun and do that well on the first go-round.  I told him what I’m telling you — the grip works!  Thanks again, SB and Dr. Boyfriend 🙂

/ego trip

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