Friday, February 27, 2009


It's been a depressing week.

My Dad was moved to another facility again - now he's even farther away. On the days I go to visit after work, I can't count on doing anything else. By the time I get home, I eat and it's time for bed.

The raise I needed at work didn't come through, so I am actively job-hunting again. Talk about a time-suck.

I've been working little-by-little insulating my basement now that the radiant floor heat is working. Normally, I have no trouble when working with the pink insulation. I know that they say you're supposed to wear gloves and protective clothing when putting in the stuff, but it's never bothered me, so I never worried about it. Now they yellow stuff - yikes! I've learned the hard way that yellow is waaaaay different than pink.

I was putting an insulation blanket on the hot water tank that I'm using to heat my floors. The blanket is yellow insulation, not pink. I never thought twice about not using gloves or anything - Boy, did I pay for that mistake! For the next day I felt like I had fallen into a massive field of stinging nettles. Even after showering and washing what felt like a million times, my skin still hurt.

Moral of this story: Yellow insulation = Use lots of protection

It was a bad day at work today too, which didn't help my mood.

It seems that the only good excitement I had this week was learning about some Firefox add-ons that Al talked about on his blog. My absolute favorite is the IE Tab. I never have to use IE ever again! Whoever invented this is a genius :)

Other things that were new to me that I really liked:
- FEBE Firefox Environment Backup Extension
- Foxmarks
- PC Decrapifier

And then while looking around at the other add-ons in the Firefox collection, I found this one that I really liked - Fission.

Here's hoping things start looking up - I hate feeling this way.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Burchfield Penney Art Center

So this weekend I visited the new Burchfield Penney Art Center. I have to report that this is waaaay better than the Albright Knox Art Gallery which was a total rip-off in that they charge too much and took away anything worth looking at.

The only complaint I have is that Buff State needs to take down the signs that point to the old Burchfield Center. Not being super-familiar with the area, we followed the signs thinking that they were showing where we were supposed to park. We could see the new building when we got off the 198, but thought that parking was around back or something. Until this weekend, I didn't even know that there was an old art gallery - I thought the new one was just that: new.

Once we figured out where to go, the rest of the visit was wonderful. There was a nice mix of stuff that you could tell what it was, stuff you couldn't and photography. And the things there that were abstract were still attractive and made you use your imagination - they looked like someone had gone to a lot of effort to make them look like they do!

The center was open and airy and very friendly and relaxed. There were no pruned-faced old ladies telling you not to stand close to the art. There were no police-officer-wannabes telling you not to take pictures. As a matter-of-fact, picture taking was just fine, as long as you didn't use a flash.

I especially enjoyed the Buffalo ties to the art. A good chunk of the exhibits had stories next to them explaining how they were related to Buffalo, whether it was the artist or the object of the art.

Albright Knox opted to take down my favorite picture they had from when I was kid. I now have a new favorite:

Who can't love a 4-foot package of Twinkies?

The Grand Staircase was pretty cool, too. If you stand at the top and watch people walking up or down, they looked bigger or smaller than they were supposed to because the staircase it wider at the top than at the bottom. Because of that, the perspective is out-of-whack and people actually look bigger as they are going down or smaller as they come up. It was interesting to watch...

I'm really glad I went. It was fun, I feel culturally enriched and it was affordable: $7 to get in (for adults - seniors and kids over 5 only $4) and free parking. I'd go back again.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Crock Pot Experiment #2

Encouraged by my first try at using a crock pot, I decided to try something else... Potato Soup!

This project was a bit more work than the chili. This time, instead of just dumping everything into the pot, I actually had to peel, cut up and cook the potatoes first. For most people, this isn't a big deal, but to a non-cook it was quite the process :) Maybe next time I could try using the canned potatoes... those are already peeled and pre-cooked, right?

I ended up substituting the cream of chicken soup with some chicken-flavored bouillon and skipping the onion, but otherwise I followed the recipe. I imagine that this could easily be made without a crock pot too, but I have one now, so I'm going to use it :P

I'm happy to report that the potato soup gets two thumbs up! I liked it a lot and the four other people I shared it with also thought it turned out terrific.

I froze some, and the rest is almost gone. That's saying a lot, because it was 4 quarts of soup and it's only been three days :)

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Asteria Hanover posted this really fun website - The Hero Factory. Turn yourself into a superhero! It's a lot of fun. Here's me as a hero...

Cool or what? :P

As a University of Buffalo alumnus, I am sent newsletters and the like that keep me up-to-date on the university goings on. In the last email I got from the Alumni Association, there was a section called 'Research Spotlight' which had the article preview:

A desktop software package that will help reduce drifting of snow on roadways has been developed by Stuart Chen, professor of civil, structural and environmental engineering.

Wow! A computer program that will tell snow where it can and can't go? Amazing!

Obviously that's not what the program does, but at first glance, that's what they make it sound like.

Maybe I could use my new super powers and slice away at rogue snow drifts and keep them at bay - away from the unsuspecting highways and byways of mere mortals.... Hmmmm :)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

What the...???

OK, so I decided to finally sit down and do my taxes. This year they are pretty straight forward, so I wasn't anticipating any problems - except for a couple years when I had cashed in some stocks, I've usually done my taxes myself.

I chose TaxAct to do the nasty deed online, a program I've used many times before. This year, the program was pretty bad. There was way too much advertising in between the steps, but the worst part was BEFORE I EVEN ENTERED ANY INFORMATION, the program told me that I owed New York State $6!!! What the hell???? (For the record, I got a refund from my state taxes last year. It was very small, but still a refund)

I finished up putting in my information anyway, but didn't finalize anything. I had read on another blog (for the life of me, I can't remember which one) that someone had done their taxes on two different programs and got two different answers. I'm going to try another program and see what I come up there.

Hopefully I'll make out better with another program than what I did with this one - I was reminded that the less money you make, the smaller your refund is :(

Stay tuned!

Sunday, February 15, 2009


I am still angry over the fact that the Pope un-excommunicated Richard Williamson. A friend sent me this cartoon, which I thought was great - I couldn't get Blogger to make it big enough to read in the post, so you have to click on it to read the big version:

Also, I saw that on "This Day in History" the Maple Leaf Flag officially became the new national flag of Canada. I never knew that Canada had a flag other than the maple leaf. I was curious as to what the old one was. For those of you who are also curious, here you go:

Saturday, February 14, 2009


Why are gas prices going back up? I'm not aware of any travel holidays happening or hurricanes or huge new events going on in the Middle East... I haven't heard of any refineries that are out-of-commission or any other catastrophes that effect oil production. So why has gas gone up 16 cents a gallon in the last week-and-a-half?

Why do I feel like crap about an agreement that someone else broke? I shouldn't, but I do.

Why are people allowed to have those super-white headlight bulbs? They are too bright and very annoying to have coming at you or driving behind you.

Why do people have to drive like idiots? If you are driving in the left lane in a 55 mph zone, DO NOT DRIVE EVEN WITH THE PERSON THAT IS GOING 40 MPH IN THE RIGHT LANE!!!!! You might notice that there is a problem with your driving when there are fifteen cars lined up behind you. Hellooo... McFly!!!

Why can't my Dad get better?

Why can't I be independently wealthy?

And a side note - does anyone else find those Google maps that zoom in on your house kind of creepy? I first saw that function of the maps with all the media going around with the plane crash in Clarence.

I know that anyone can look at your house when driving down the street, but the idea of anyone being able to do that at home from their computer just totally creeps me out. The Google Earth views don't bother me because you don't get such fine detail - these however, get too close for comfort to me.

Friday, February 13, 2009


The local blogosphere is flooded with posts about the plane crash in Clarence.

There is not much that I can add except that I can't believe that something so horrible has happened to close to home. My prayers and condolences to the victims and their friends and families. My heart goes out to you.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

This and That

Yesterday the temperature reached 54 degrees.
This is what I woke up to this morning:

The season premier of Survivor was tonight. I think it's going to be a good season. Spencer has me intrigued. He's 19 years old. This is Survivor's 18th season (wow!). He's a fanatic and has known Survivor practically his whole life. Let's see if he can play the game smart. I think it would be great to see the youngest player ever win the season.

The Amazing Race starts Sunday. I love that show!

My sister called me.

After I said 'Hello', the first thing she said was 'Guess who's getting a rooster????!!!!'.

'What are you talking about?' I asked.

'Guess who's getting a rooster???!!!!' she said again.

'I give up, who?' I replied.

'YOU!!!!' she exclaimed.

Now, I've been planning on getting chickens again this spring (and try to keep them safer). I was planning on making sure that I only get hens this time to prevent last year's surprise when one on my hens went missing only to reappear weeks later with ten little babies.

Evidently two of the four babies I gave my sister turned out to be roosters. Along with Mr. Rooster, three roosters are too many for her to have, sooooooooo guess who's getting a rooster?

Monday, February 9, 2009


My Dad's doctor is such an ass.

What kind of doctor would tell my Mom that it is her fault that my Dad isn't getting better???

My Dad hasn't been home since before Christmas, under his care. My Mom has been doing everything under her power that insurance will allow to try and get him better and come home. My Mom (and the rest of us) has/have spent the hours and hours and hours every week visiting at whatever facility my Dad was moved to for however long the doctor has him there for. Why is it her fault? He's the one that keeps changing my Dad's medicine and moving him from facility to facility.

My Mom is so worn out as it is - She does not need this kind of crap from the doctor.

I wish that insurance did not dictate a person's health care provider. I would ditch this insensitive idiot in a heartbeat. But as it stands, there's not a damn thing we can do.

I'm so mad, I could just spit.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Chilly Chili

So my first crockpot meal was chili.

The whole process was pretty quick and painless. I pretty much just dumped all the ingredients in the pot (using veggie meat crumbles, I didn't have to worry about browning any beef) and turned the thing on. Kind of hard for anyone - even me - to mess up! Seven-and-a-half hours later I turned it off. Cleaning the crock was easy - nothing stuck inside. And the chili turned out not half-bad... Considering I made it and it's not a dessert :)

It is a bit on the salty side, but I think that is because I used the veggie beef instead real beef. Next time, I would just not add the extra salt called for in the recipe.

I had my first bowl with cheese on the top - yum!

I am going to freeze some and see how long it lasts - there was a *lot* of chili there for one person :)

Overall, I will call my first crockpot experience a success. I will not be afraid to try something else. I kind of have my eye on a cheese-potato soup concoction...

Friday, February 6, 2009


Let me start by saying that I am not a cook by any stretch of the imagination. I can make good cookies and good brownies, but when it comes to 'real' food, the microwave is my best friend. Whenever I've tried to cook a real meal using a cook book and the oven, the thing I try to make just never turns out right. One can only take so many failures before totally giving up :)

That being said, I received an email this past week with this link to a bazillion crock pot recipes. As I quickly perused them out of curiosity, I became more and more intrigued. A lot of them looked *really* good!

The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to try some crock pot recipes. Most of them look easy enough that even I can't mess them up. If I like them, they could be an easy way for me to make my dinners and lunches. They might even be healthier than the add-water-milk-and-butter stuff out of the box.

So this week I bought myself a crockpot.

This weekend I am going to try a recipe. I'm not sure which one yet - I have it narrowed down to a couple, tho'.

We'll see how it goes.

Wish me luck :)

On a side note, I'm watching They Wait right now, which I taped off the Sci-fi channel a while ago. I like scary ghost stories, and this one is really good so far. I think it's the best one I've seen since The Grudge 2 - which was really good.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Did you ever fall into that groove where things start to fall into place? Even when some things aren't doing good at all, other parts just go your way. I've been shopping around for some things that I needed to buy for the house and I really didn't think that I would be happy with anything that I could afford. You know how it is - everything you like is *just* out of your price range... yeah. However, I've really managed to really score on some important things. A good price for things I really love - yay! Also, projects are starting to move along - big and small. Soon, I'll *really* be able to make some headway on some pretty cool things I have planned around the house. I'm chomping at the bit to get working - but it's looking like I'll have to wait at least another week or two before I can really get going. I'm feeling giddy just thinking about it :)

And I heard that the Steelers won the Superbowl. A few people I know are pretty happy about that. Me - it doesn't matter to me one way or the other. I used to video tape the Superbowl every year. Not to watch the game - but to watch the commercials :) Thanks to the wonderful invention of YouTube, I don't have to bother anymore. Plus it's a lot easier to watch the commercials without have to fast forward through a lot of stuff I couldn't care less about.

I've been pretty disappointed in the Superbowl commercials the last bunch of years. You would think that for what the sponsors pay to air their commercials, that at least 90% of the commercials would blow everyone out the water. It seems like we're lucky if two or three of the commercials are memorable. Today at work, I was asking people what their favorite Superbowl commercial was. Everyone I asked could describe their favorite. Not one person could tell me what product/company was being advertised - except for the people who liked the Doritos commercial. That's a pretty sad commentary for the people who are writing these commercials. Isn't the idea to make people remember your product so they will buy it? Go figure.

And no one mentioned any Budweiser commercials as their favorite. I've always liked them the best. They always make me cry. Except the last year or two, they seem to be making a couple that are on the crude side. I don't like those.

I haven't had the chance to watch all the commercials yet, but so far a Doritos one is my favorite (this may change as I see more):