Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Am I a Hippie?

Rachel's latest entry about this possibly soon-to-be blog-meme made me wonder if I could even come up with enough pertinent facts about myself to do something similar. (I may find myself having to borrow some of your items, Rachel, since they're true for me, too.) So here it goes!

Is Michael a Hippie?

  1. I have an unconventional name (for a woman).
  2. My hair is long and straight, and I hardly ever "style" it with a blow drier-- even less frequently with any other hair torturing device (a.k.a. curling iron, etc.).
  3. I haven't used herbicide in our yard for well over a year.
  4. I've never shot a gun at an animal.
  5. I try not to waste food, electricity, and water.
  6. I don't wear make-up on a daily basis.
  7. My daily garb is very casual and laid back.
  8. I owned a couple pair of bell-bottom jeans, back when they were briefly fashionable again (or maybe a year or two too late for the trend). I still find boot-cut and flare-cut jeans more comfortable than the high-waisted, tight-fitting jeans of my youth.
  9. I go barefooted most of the time.
  10. My husband has facial hair.
  11. My husband plays the guitar and the recorder.
  12. I love the beauty of nature.
  13. I like some music that might be described as "psychedelic" or produced by "hippie bands".
  14. I don't particularly trust the government. (I think many of those in charge have nothing more than their own power and glorification in mind, and even when it comes to the "true believers" among them, I don't have faith that they're acting in the country's best interest-- quite simply because I think they're just wrong.)
  1. My so-called unconventional name is extremely conventional for men. (I'm no Sunflower or Moonbeam-Dancer.)
  2. I wash my hair every day and occasionally color it to cover my (premature and totally unfair (g)) grays. I have also taken to using Suave's leave-in anti-frizz creme product on a semi-regular basis.
  3. The reason I haven't used herbicide in so long is a mixture of procrastination and laziness.
  4. Once we get a "snake gun", I fully intend to rid our yard of any venomous snake I find.
  5. I try not to waste things primarily because I like to save money, not because I think Mother Earth cries when I forget to turn off the lights.
  6. I do wear make-up when I'm going into public. (Not because I think it's "wrong" not to, but because I'm more comfortable that way. If I had perfect skin, I'd probably never wear the stuff. Alas, my skin is not perfect. The make-up doesn't really completely fix that, but at least it helps.)
  7. Though they are casual, I usually wear exceptionally normal (ha ha) clothes-- capris (or jeans, in cooler weather) and a (not tie-dyed) fitted tee.
  8. I go barefooted (indoors) only because it's comfortable and because I can (since I'm home most of the time). When I go anywhere else-- or even just outside-- you can count on it that I'll be wearing footwear.
  9. My husband keeps his facial hair neatly trimmed and is wonderfully non-hippie-ish in dress. (Think button-down shirts tucked into trousers.)
  10. My guitar- and recorder-playing husband is also teaching himself to play the banjo.
  11. I don't think man-caused global warming is proven fact. (Or, er, they're calling it "climate change" now, aren't they, since some studies indicate that we're entering a cooling phase?)
  12. I eat meat every day, often twice.
  13. There is a leather couch in my living room, and I have owned leather shoes and belts. I bought my husband a leather jacket last winter. Also, I own a coat with fur trim around the hood.
  14. I remove body hair in accordance with Western tradition.
  15. I wear deodorant. (What, do modern hippies wear it, too? Sorry if I've offended.)
  16. I am politically, fiscally, and socially conservative and attended (the tail end of) a local Tax Day Tea Party, last April.
  17. I have never used recreational drugs. (I stick with candy, chocolate, and ice cream. And Dr. Pepper.)
  18. I believe it is important for our nation to keep a strong military.
  19. I don't grow my own food (though I'd like to try growing a small vegetable patch, someday).
  20. I love (the idea of) the past-- Victorian and Edwardian England, pioneering times in America, the Regency period, America in the first half of the 20th century, and so on. Period literature and mini-series are my favorite escape from reality.
  21. I am a Christian. (That's not to say that some who identify themselves as hippies are not also Christian, but there seems to be a strong emphasis in hippie culture in general on embracing Eastern religions.)
  22. I am essentially a traditionalist.
What a surprise! I seem not to be a hippie!

Incidentally, I wonder if there's something in the air right now, because just yesterday I read a blog post by someone in Australia (in a totally different circle) about how she embraces many of the principles and ideals typically be found in an environmentalist-- yet she doesn't like the idea of being identified as such. She'd rather people think of her simply as a frugal woman trying to do right by her family and God. I get the sense that quite a few people are feeling this way, lately.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

What is the world coming to?

A while back, a link from CakeWrecks led me to Jorge Garcia's blog. (He's the actor who plays "Hurley" on Lost.)

Well, a day or two ago, he posted about a recent hotel room, sharing a photo he took from the tub. (Don't worry, it's not that kind of a blog.) The reason he decided to share the photo was that he found he could see the hotel bed from the tub-- not because the door to the bathroom was open, but because the wall between the bathroom and bedroom was less of a wall than, well, a large window.

If you're intrigued, check out this post (with a photo) and/or this one (with a video).

How weird! Why in the world would anyone design a bathroom with glass walls? It seems more like it belongs in some bizarre art installment than in a hotel room. (Maybe the artist-- er, architect was trying to communicate something about how we lack true privacy in this modern age.)


Originally uploaded by MossyOwls

Because I felt guilty about my last post and had to get something else at the top of the page as soon as possible.

And because there are some new (from yesterday) photos on my Flickr photostream, in case you haven't checked over there in a while. ;o)

Is This Even Real??

Donald was watching this video yesterday evening. It's a young woman addressing the Santa Cruz, CA, City Council on May 13, 2008. She drones on and on, saying the most outlandish things. She's all over the place, from organic food and perfect pesticides to mining metals and silkworms. There's also a very interesting bit about how the East Coast has slaves.

I have to ask myself if this is even real. Could it be a joke?
Also (if it's real) why didn't her friends or family stop her?
It's cruel to let someone speak in public if you know it might turn out like this:

Please note that the video above is only bits excerpted from the original. (If you can believe it.)

In case the video "disappears", here's my best effort at a transcript:

Young Woman:
"While [or is it "Well"?] the crops are, um, growing very well, and um, they're organic and some of them have pesticides, and I think that we should make, um, a perfect pesticide for the crops, but, um, and it's good for people, and healthy, and keeps the crops preserved, too, because we need the food, because it's food and stuff, and organic food is good also."

"And the businesses downtown, um, really need to lower their rent, because if the rent was lowered, those people would really have their own businesses. They have enough stuff. They're very good at making things. They're like experts. They're really good."

"And we can really be a community, and um, make the things, and um, sell them in our stores, and I really believe that it can be a California thing-- that it can, it can really work out-- because, um, we can be rich in cotton, and mining metals, and silkworms, and we could make things-- we could make things-- cars-- the machine can make it for us. And we can have the community, and the city, and San Francisco, and we can make things and put them in the store..."

"On the East Coast, they have slaves, and they believe in slavery and made in China, but um, on the West Coast-- the New West Coast-- we don't believe in that. We believe in the Union, and that's what we are..."

"You can grow every kind of fruit and vegetable you want. That's how they do it. They have fruit trees and vegetable trees. That's where fruit and vegetable comes from."

"You freeze the fruit and vegetables. It'll last forever. You can put, you know, broccoli or strawberries in the freezer. It'll last forever. If you don't, it, you know, might go bad in a while, but..."

"People! We live in California. This is our home. This is where we live."

"Growing food is so good, um, for the people, because it's free. Alls you have to do is pay the farmers and pay for the land. But why do we have to pay for the land? The land's free. It's new land, you know. I mean, do we have to pay for the land? Do we have to pay rent? Do we have to pay? Um, the food's free, so we should just... sell it at the farmer's market."

Official Guy: "Thank you. Next speaker?"

(One person in the audience claps as she leaves the podium.)
(Am I mean for posting this? Oh well. I'm just really thankful that this wasn't from a city council meeting in Alabama...)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Honestly, I'm not keeping the very closest of tabs on the ObamaCare thing. I worry about it and am powerfully conscious of it "in the background", but I just can't bring myself to read or otherwise follow the coverage very intently-- precisely because it is so worrying, and because I feel that increasing my misery over it won't help the cause of slowing it down.

However, one thing I have heard about it (more than once) is especially troubling:

keeps saying that there's no need for us to worry. If we're satisfied with our current health care/insurance situation-- as the majority of Americans are-- then we need not worry that the rug will be snatched out from under us. The great leader has deemed it fit to allow us to keep our non-government-controlled insurance. (Excuse me while I bow at his feet and kiss his dear, sweet toes for this benevolence!)

Now, for just a moment, disregard the prominent suggestions that private insurance companies will eventually find it impossible to compete with the (unfairly advantaged) government system. Set those concerns aside. Assume that your current insurance plan remains intact.

Apparently, there's a neat little clause in the bill indicating that we are only allowed to keep our private insurance in its current state. Should you wish to change your private plan-- increase or decrease coverage, premium, and/or copay-- add new people to or drop people from your plan-- or heaven forbid, switch to a different private provider or plan (like you often have to do if you switch employers), you might be fresh out of luck. "Nope. Sorry 'bout that. Guess you'll just have to tough it out with your old plan... or just give in and enroll in the People's Health Care Plan. C'mon. You know you're gonna have to do it sooner or later."

That's right. This could mean that you'd be locked into your current plan-- locked out of any other private plan. How's that for the "choice" and "options" Obama has promised?

What would this mean if you had a child after the public plan went into effect? Would we be unable to add our own babies to our private insurance plans? Excuse me, Mr. President, but this seems like an essentially unAmerican "option".

Don't people see the potentiality for disaster in this plan? If nationalized health care is so great, why are people from so many countries with it warning us to steer clear? When has giving the government more power led to anything good?

This may all sound like a crazy conspiracy theory, but at this point it's hard to know what to believe and who to trust, but I know I don't trust most of the people presently in power.

There are many unanswered-- or at least not satisfactorily answered-- questions surrounding this bill. For instance, how will the we pay for it? (The claim that our taxes won't go up? I'm not buying it.) However, my first and last question is this: What's the hurry? The American people are not clamoring for this drastic "change"-- and even if we were, it is unwise to proceed so hastily. For goodness sake, exercise a little caution! How 'bout we think things through, first? Trust me, you do not have a public mandate-- especially not on this issue.

What is the hurry?

(It certainly seems like the hurry is "Hurry up and let's shove this thing through before people have a chance to realize that maybe it's not such a great idea"...)

"I hope to hear from you shorty."

The sticklers among us may take comfort from a recent Canadian study that reveals that correct spelling does still count for something in the world.

Though I try to avoid particularly egregious spelling and grammatical mistakes in my own writing, I find myself less troubled than some seem to be by errors in the world around me. Now, don't get me wrong. I may notice them-- even mock them-- occasionally publicly chastise and reduce the offender to tears (ok, not really that last bit)-- but I don't get a nervous tick when I encounter a sign employing quotation marks to indicate emphasis ("Thank" You for Not Feeding the Animals... We "Appreciate" Our Customers...). (I'm more likely to laugh and wish I had the camera with me.)

However, I think most of us can agree that when you're typing up your resumé, you can afford the extra time and trouble of making sure you get things right. Well, rest assured that (in Canada, at least) we're not alone. The world as a whole may sometimes seem to be losing footing on the slippery slope down to you-know-where, but thank goodness we still have some standards!

Here's the story (from Reuters):

"A survey of 100 Canadian executives showed that more than a fifth of executives said a single typo on a resume or cover letter could cost a potential employee a job, while 28% said two mistakes would kill their chances.

"But 19% of the executives said they would still consider an applicant with four or more typos on their resume.

"Common mistakes include: ‘Dear Sir or Madman’, ‘I’m attacking my resume for you to review’, ‘Following is a grief overview of my skills’ and ‘Have a keen eye for derail.’"

(Hm... Well, we still have some standards, except for about 19% of the Canadian executives among us.)

Anyway, now to the real issue-- "Dear Sir or Madman"!!

...I might be tempted to hire that person as a writer just for the chance to do the proofreading!

Friday, July 17, 2009

New Trix-Pix on Flickr

Silly Trixie
Originally uploaded by MossyOwls

Help! I'm addicted to photographing this dog!! (g)

Variety Pack

It has been brought to my attention ;o) that I haven't blogged in a while. So let's see if I can scrape together a few things to make a new blog entry. . .

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We had a Fourth of July grill lunch with my father's side of the family (or at least those who could make it). I took some photos and video of my two youngest cousins (Jacob & Olivia) demonstrating their diving ability. They're up on my Flickr and Vimeo accounts, and if you're a friend or family, you can see them there (or in the case of the photos, on Facebook). (You'll need to be approved as family/friends, though-- just a matter of asking.)

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That brings me to Facebook, which I finally got around to using. (This after joining a while back and never even uploading a photo of myself.) Well, I used it for a few days and haven't been back since. I don't know why... It's more fun than I thought it would be, but I can see it becoming an(other) obsession-inducing Internet time-waster. I'm definitely going to drop out of the whole Mafia Wars thing. I just have enough places where I already waste time, and I don't need another. (I'd rather waste my time with Flickr, Vimeo, Blogger, and my off-line time-wasters.) "Thank you" to the people who tried to help get me "set up" on it, though. (g)

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Here's one for the "Oh My" category. Did you hear about Chia Obama? (It seems vaguely familiar to me, but I'm not sure where/when I heard about it before... From Donald, I think.) If you hadn't heard of it until now, let me assure you that I'm completely serious. It's a terra cotta Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia-style bust of you-know-who, originally intended to be sold by Walgreens, but quickly yanked off the shelves when someone decided that it was potentially offensive.

Still think I'm pulling your leg? Take a look at the commercial:

(Does it remind anyone else of an Oompa Loompa, with that orange complexion and green hair?)

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Our little area's been in the "big" news more that usual, lately.

First, the nominee for Surgeon General is from a town not terribly far to our west-- Bayou La Batre, AL. (Someone had a bit of trouble pronouncing the name, but because he made the fumble-- instead of, say, his predecessor-- it won't be used as proof of idiocy. Not that I think a mispronunciation indicates idiocy-- I've made too many of them myself to be of that opinion! (g)-- but you get my point.)

Second, there's the recent news story of the double murder in Beulah, near Pensacola, FL. Back when I lived with my parents, a drive to Pensacola led right through Beulah. (In other words, it's not very far away.) This story has been dominant in the local news, but I've also noticed that the national news is following it with greater than usual interest-- and Donald told me that it was even the top story on the online Swedish newspaper he reads!

(No, no comments on the stories themselves. For the first, I don't know enough about the doctor to make any relevant remarks. For the second, beyond the typical response that it's awful and I'm curious about the circumstances that led to it, there's nothing else to write.)

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I'm still having fun with photography, even if they're just run-of-the-mill nature and pet shots...


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Frequently, when I get e-mail saying that someone new is now "following" me on Twitter, Donald comments on it. (He himself doesn't "tweet".) I try not to pay too much attention to the notifications, myself, because if I did, I might start keeping track of the numbers-- and more specifically, keeping track of when they fall.

Twitter is a strange thing, with its instant feedback. The trending topics have more than once been my first alert of a news story. I've also used it to get an immediate feel for what people are saying about one subject or another. (However, I usually find that the results are skewed strongly to the left, as is typical online, in my experience. That does get old. ...Very old. But moving on...)

I'm sure that I've tweeted things that have lost me followers-- whether because I've made just one too many boring updates on local weather and the daily doings of my dog (Though honestly, who doesn't want to know what Trixie's up to? She's pretty darn fascinating!) or because I've dared to express an unpopular (on Twitter, at least) political opinion. Either way, it doesn't really matter. The key is that instant feedback-- that constantly rising or falling value of yourself (as a tweeter, if nothing else). I'm not a fan of that aspect of Twitter (or other social networking sites), to tell the truth, which is why I try not to glance up at that upper right-hand corner with the follower count. I don't need to know how many people deem me worthy of following today, as opposed to yesterday. But thanks anyway, Twitter.

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As if to make up for the drought of a month ago, we've been getting plenty of rain lately, and we're even supposed to get a "cold front" in the next few days. Of course, by "cold front" what the weatherman really means is that our highs should be in the upper 80s instead of the low-to-mid 90s. But hey! We'll take whatever we can get in the way of cooler weather! And it may actually be in the 60s overnight for a day or two! (Woo hoo!)

So, what's the weather like in Sweden, right now? Oh, just highs in the 70s is all. But it looks like they're getting rain and highs in the 60s, coming up soon, so I bet they're not too happy with their weather, either. I'd still trade, though. Sixties with rain? Sure. Bring - it - on. ;o)

By one reckoning, I probably ought to live in the Pacific Northwest, but I don't think I'd be happy in that political climate. Besides, that's a long move away from family and the places I grew up... And maybe I would get tired of the dreariness, eventually. It's hard to know how I'd react to nearly perpetual cloudcover, having always lived in such a warm, sunny place. Sure, we usually get a lot of rain here, but it comes in downpours-- generally with sun immediately before and after. Anyway-- "Bloom where you are planted", right?

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We're still considering different paint colors for the kitchen (and haven't even really looked at potential bath colors at all). Donald picked up a few (okay, more than a few) new paint chips, last time he was in a home improvement store, and now I think we're leaning towards one of those colors. But then I start having second thoughts and wonder if we ought to steer clear of blue/aqua-blue altogether. A different shade of yellow? A rich cream? A soft sand? Aaaaaah! Indecision! At least we're not in any big rush, so we have plenty of time to dither. We'll probably end up making our choice at the eleventh hour. (Part of the fun of painting is thinking about all the possibilities.)

River Birch, Ortonized

River Birch, Ortonized
Originally uploaded by MossyOwls

I love birch bark.

I also love "Ortonizing" photos. This is definitely one of my favorite things about digital photography...

Monday, July 6, 2009

Pool Party!! ;o)

Donald found this on a Swedish website of "funnies":

Hm. I don't think I feel like swimming today, but thanks for offering!

(I assume this was found in a Swedish store, so that'd make this Swenglish, I guess...)

Friday, July 3, 2009

Crusti Croc Chips

Crusti Croc Chips
Originally uploaded by MossyOwls

Four people viewed this picture yesterday-- all coming from Google Images.

. . . I wonder if Crusti Croc was in the news, or something. . .

This led me to check out my stats on Flickr. My photos, videos, sets, collections, and photostream have been viewed a total of 170,811 times. (234 yesterday and 157 so far today.)

My most popular (most viewed) photo is one of polymer clay mini cupcake earrings-- 3,509 views to date. I have to go down to #17 on the list to get a photo that's not mini food (but it's still polymer-related), and the first non-polymer photo on the list comes in at #39-- pytt i panna, of all things! (It's a Swedish dish of diced potatoes, ham, and onions, fried together in a single skillet.) After that, the next non-polymer photo (#48) is this Crusti Croc chips picture, with 487 views, followed at #79 by the "Sad Little Traffic Light" in Säffle (330 views). (No comments or "favorites" on either of those, though. I'm so hurt! (g))

Well, as fascinating as I'm sure this is, I think I'd better stop before I get sucked into listing every non-polymer photo in descending order of views. . .

Maybe Not This Weekend. . .

Sand Piper
Originally uploaded by MossyOwls

Looking at the new photos of some of my contacts in Flickr, I suddenly thought it might be fun to go to the beach. We haven't been in a long time. I think it's been over a year, which is an especially long time, considering that we could be standing in sand in under an hour.

Then I thought-- "Oh yeah. This is July 3rd, isn't it?"

Hm. Well, maybe not *this* weekend. . .

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A Pigment of Your Imagination

A polymer clay friend tweeted something about an optical illusion that is so neat I feel it has to be passed along.

Here's the link: The Blue and the Green

And here's the illusion:

Believe it or not, the colors you see as pale blue and lime green are actually the same color-- a slightly aqua shade of green. (Click the link above to see the exact color and a magnified portion of the original image.)

The trick is that (if you look closely, you'll see) the orange stripes go over the "green" spiral, while the fuchsia stripes cross over the "blue" spiral. The juxtaposition of the dark pink or orange against that single aqua-green color tricks our eyes into seeing them as two different shades. Amazing!

There's a link at the bottom of that page linked above, leading to this other interesting optical illusion: The Spinning Silhouette. It did take a little while for me to get the hang of it, so if you don't "get it" at first, don't give up!

Ok, just one more... Here's an "audio illusion" I found on YouTube: