Saturday, April 26, 2008

Browser incapatibility?

The green just wasn't working for me. So I thought I'd try red. I dunno if I like it or not.

Just for the heck of it, I thought I'd look to see what my blog looks like in Explorer. Apparently the sunflower doesn't display, and the little bullets in the side panel are reduced to a slim line. Very odd. Y'all should be using Firefox anyway. It's so much better. There are so many cool plugins, like Aardvark and PicLens.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

First obstacle--and I will cave

I just checked my calendar for tomorrow, and realized my Nikon class at Wolf Camera is in the morning. Yay! Except I haven't paid for it yet. So, do I stick to my plan and not spend the cash, or do I violate my own rules that I laid out only two days ago? Yeah, the camera wins. I will go to the class.

BUT! I'm returning a shirt I bought a couple weeks ago, which will help offset that cost.

Oh, well. Exception #1. Let's hope that's the first and last!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Challenge: Use What You Have

My plan for saving was born of two needs: first, to use up some of the stuff I've accumulated, and second, to have spending money for London. I'm the kind of person who does not follow a budget. I basically spend at will, until I realize it's out of hand, then I am a penny pincher. Once the bank balance starts looking healthier, I loosen the reins, and the cycle begins anew. I'm fine with it. But it does result in the accumulation of a lot of unnecessary and sometimes wasted stuff. For instance, take my pantry. It is full. You'd think a family of four lived at my house. Yet when I open it, I inevitably think, "There's nothing to eat." Same with my freezer. There's a similar issue when it comes to toiletries. I have enough soaps and lotions and shampoos to clean and moisturize an army. Of course, the army would probably not care for my choice in fragrances--a little too flowery for the soldier types--but I digress.

Which brings me to my challenge for May. I will not purchase anything at all from now until May 20. If I think about how much I spend on clothes, meals out, etc., my eyes get big and my eyebrows go up, like in a cartoon. I like that I can afford to live that way, but I want to see if I can live without. Or rather, what it's like to live without. I know I CAN, but how hard will it be? So my plan, in all its complicated originality, is to charge nada. Nor will I use my debit card (except for gas). My goal is to save $1000 this way. On paper, it works out. What remains to be seen is the reality...

I have the highest of hopes and the most earnest of intentions. I already purchased a Mother's Day gift and a birthday gift for my niece, since both fall during the spending moratorium. For any unavoidable incidentals, I took out $40 from the ATM and will use that if necessary. The Blue Planet Run is the first weekend of May, and I anticipate needing to purchase food at the venue, since it is an overnight camping trip. But I plan to find out if bringing food is an option. (There are still so many details I am in the dark about--and it's causing more than a little anxiety. I'll be glad when it's over.)

I will keep you posted on how it's going. The hardest thing is the moment of realization--like just now I realized I won't get to have a massage for a month. Boo hoo!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


It is no secret that being president ages you. You can look at a photo of Bill Clinton in 1992 and then in 2000 and it's clear that being commander in chief is a stressful job. Same with George W. used Photoshop to "age" Obama and Hillary. The results are kind of scary! Their intent was to show only 4 years down the road, but it looks more like 8 if you ask me. (They did John McCain too, but that one is truly frightening, so I thought I'd spare you. Peek here if you want.)

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Slim Pickin's

I know, I know, this blog has been sorely neglected. Seems all I post these days are photos and videos with no more than a line or two of commentary. There's just not all that much going on. Work is slow. Hey, I'm not complaining, I am enjoying the down time. But I haven't gone anywhere interesting in quite some time. I have a trip coming up next week to South Carolina, and the following week to Virginia, but neither one promises to be exciting. I haven't flown for work in a while, but last time I did it was a disaster, so I should be grateful.

Comet is doing fine. Wants to go outside, of course, and I won't let him. I thought about getting a screen tent so he could be outside but be somewhat protected, but the cons: the tent would probably kill what paltry grass I have in my backyard, not to mention blow away in a big gust of wind. And if the neighbor cat wanted to throw down, a flimsy screen isn't going to afford much protection. So Comet will remain an indoor cat for the foreseeable future.

The London trip planning is coming along nicely. We booked our hotel--Premier Inn County Hall--as well as a weekend jaunt in the country through International Friends. What the hotel lacks in character (it's basically like a Holiday Inn), it makes up for with location--right in the thick of it all, which is exciting. It's not cheap, at about 125GBP a night, but it's central and modern and comes highly recommended on Trip Advisor. The side trip we're taking will be on a mini coach with no more than 16 people total, to Bath, Stonehenge, Oxford, and the Costwolds. We contemplated a day trip but felt having two days would be much more leisurely and give us more opportunity to enjoy these quaint destinations.

Speaking of Trip Advisor, I have been reading the London Forums nonstop. There is so much good information available, on everything from picking the best place for afternoon tea (I'm thinking the Lanesborough), to deciding which Tube ticketing option is best (I was going to go with an Oyster card, which basically functions like a debit card for subway fare, until I read that if you get the paper cards you can get 2-for-1 entry on some of the expensive sights, like the Tower of London and Madame Tussaud's. Any way we can save money is welcome!)

I'm having a get together at my house on Sunday afternoon, with people from work. I'm hoping it will be sunny so we can barbecue.

American Idol remains enjoyable. I must say, my two initial faves (Carly and David A) are starting to wear thin. Simon summed it up perfectly: she sang last night's "inspirational" song in an angry tone. She's always furrowing her brow and screaming her notes. And David, well, it's just getting to be a bit much. He does not stand out anymore, yet the judges give him much praise, and the girlie screams are neverending. I thought for sure last night's song choice would get him some negative reviews, but apparently it's the best pop song ever written?! I must admit, my favorite performance last night was Kristy Lee Cook. She nailed the song, and you could tell it really resonated with her. Bravo. Brook, whom I normally love, did just ok, and it could have been stellar because it was a good song for her. Jason Castro's version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow is very familiar to me, since it plays during the end credits of Meet Joe Black. So, fantastic? Nah. Interesting that they will still have eliminations this week, in a separate show so as not to sully Idol Gives Back. Man, it's a whopping two and a half hours long! Should be entertaining.

That's all I can think of for now. Hopefully there will be something blogworthy happening soon!

Monday, April 07, 2008


Spring is Flowers are at their height here these days, and one of the most spectacular is the wisteria. It just drips off the vine in such quantity and vibrance, it begs to be photographed. We've been plagued blessed with many rainy days, so capturing it with a blue sky background in the golden sunlight has been out of the question. It is nonetheless beautiful:

Renaissance Faire

I've wanted to go to a Renaissance Faire for a long time. They have one in Southern California, but it's always in August in the middle of the desert, which never sounded very pleasant. A coworker told me they were having one at the fairgrounds here in Raleigh, so I decided to check it out. It was a sad little event, not helped by the drizzly, grey, cold weather, and the exceedingly muddy ground. The highlight was the joust, which was quite humorous. I did enjoy using my new camera--just wish it'd been sunny so the pics would be prettier.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Oh, Google, you're so funny!

Took me a while to realize it's an April Fool's Day joke...clever!

Elephants are amazing