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4 day holiday

We're going to Shenandoah to camp this weekend, leaving tomorrow night. I want to share photos here, but won't be able to respond until I get back. I just figured out how to make sure the message arrives, so yay! It's so beautiful there. I hope you, at least one or two of you, will enjoy seeing some of it. 

homeschool emo death poetry

which is a phrase I can't imagine anyone else has typed before. 

I left in the misspellings because they're funny. 

11 year-old

Yesterday I walked in the kitchen and broke
A glass I yelled Oh Noes!
Mom said c'mon we're having sloppy joes
So when I walked outside
I triped and I died.

And then at my funeral
Urkel came and used the urinal
Then my brothers went to McDonald's
That reminded me that they're burgers were awful...

12 year-old

Death ain't painfull Death ain't Time
Death will happen once every time
When it happens it won't change me
Once you die they will see.

You can't stop it you can't stop the drum
It will keep going Bum Bum Bum Death.
Death I see you there up there
Without a care 
I see you in the soul of that little hare.

It will happen to you it will happen to me
and when it does you will see.

Death is unstopablle Death's in its prime
So it WILL happen every time.

15 year-old

What's the point of life? Why are we here?
Please lend your ear to my rhyme,
and make the shadows all go away...

When I touch your black heart, it makes my eyeballs shart,
And my cold ears hear everything your dark soul has to say...
I open up the door, my heart falls onto the floor,
I think that I just pooped inside my pants...

The skys are orange and black, it feels as though
my soul fell on a tack, had a heart attack, 
shatted out my ear holes then just died.

17 year-old

I clutched the Bible to my chest
in the corner
of my hotel room
and cried
as I readied myself
for the end.

Oh lord, how he has forsaken
in the deep
I shall die
for my own sins
at the strike
of the night...
and never

I'm challenging you, calling you out!

Okay, I was looking for poems for my kids to memorize and went to a trash heap of emo cutter verse called poetry.com. I told my kids: Okay! Right now! Write a poem about death! Make it "better" than the one I just read you, and make it fast. And by better, I mean even more pretentious and whiny, if possible.

I admit it; I was the one who wrote my paper right before class in high school and got a good grade on it because I had a big vocabulary and could fake depth. I think the teachers couldn't tell if I was serious. 

This took me about 3 minutes. You write one now, a crappy poem about "death," and submit it to me. I bet you can fake it just as well. It has to suck but look like maybe it doesn't. If you don't belong to Vox, just sign up, silly OR stick it somewhere and give me the url. I DARE YOU. Because it's fun. 

Summer decays window breeze
sneezing acrid displeasure, I
shiver in the fading light

Pressing my hand onto cold glass
it shatters at my touch
In my head at least—frame intact
solid and clear, all that broke
is my will to live

Despair in hibernation dark
huddled against grey walls
cornered by Nature's calm repose
I wait in silence for life to return

In the next post, I'm going to type out my kids' attempts at making fun of emo poetry. 

well, some of it was true

I was fondly remembering my effort at creating this two years ago, and realizing I haven't done anything this ambitious since then, though I meant to. And never did learn Esperanto.

    I am an oblique sketch of an anachronistic dilettante

    I've information useful and unorthodox that I can flaunt

    I know the capitals of states from Arizona to Vermont

    And I can spell each one from front to back and also back to front

    I'm well adjusted in the woods or in a formal restaurant

    I apprehend the transcendental logic offered by Herr Kant

    About the art of making pie I'm filled with a whole host of facts

    With many cheerful tidbits on the use of various extracts

    I'm very good at bowling and on history I can catechize

    I know the rules of Pinochle, can knit a scarf and harmonize

    In information useful and unorthodox that I can flaunt

    I am an oblique sketch of an anachronistic dilettante

    I know our TV history, Arthur Godfrey through The Wonder Years

    The theme from Barney Miller is still music to my aging ears

    I answer in minutiae like Cliff Clavin in that bar on Cheers

    I quote from The X-Files not everything is as it appears 

    Then I can write a poem in double dactylic dimeter

    And I can name the difference between scimitar and cimiter 

    I know a dozen methods to prepare each type of crucifer

    Then I can also cite the family name of every conifer

    I know how to upholster chairs and sculpture busts from crayon wax

    I make my own floor cleaner from boiled and ground up chicken backs

    In information useful and unorthodox that I can flaunt

    I am an oblique sketch of an anachronistic dilettante

In fact, when I can name the mystery toxin found on rhubarb

When I can tell at sight the male sex traits of a Fourspotted Barb

When I am adept at the art of forming witty syllepses

And when I understand the process of agamogenesis

When I have mastered all the finer techniques of acrography

When I know all the instruments used to perform ziglibithy

In short, when I've a smattering of verse learned in Esperanto

You'll say a better dilettante has never brewed homemade Pernod

Though currently my literary ouevre for which I have gold stars 

Only extends to reciting dialogue from Red Planet Mars 

In information useful and unorthodox that I can flaunt

I am an oblique sketch of an anachronistic dilettante

QotD: Run Away

Did you ever run away from home?

Not exactly. But I did always want to be a hobo, so now and then I'd tie things inside a piece of cloth attached to a stick and take long walks through the fields and over the creek, etc. I was always disappointed that I couldn't find a polka-dotted handkerchief, having to do with the usual paisley-ish pattern instead. And I never had the nerve to jump onto an open freight train, but did enjoy watching them go by over my head from the creek bank, counting the open and closed cars. 

I never saw a passenger train until I moved to New Jersey in 2000.

equinox photoshop fun part one

We went to the woods yesterday. The photos I took were not that inspired. Mostly just green. It was a pretty woods, but quite lacking in contrast, should be quite different in a month. Here are a few photos I played adjustment and filter games with, because they weren't very woodsy, were they? I have a few more to share another time, and later this evening I'll post some of the "regular" ones. Okay, I've edited this now to include befores and afters. :-)

Click, then click again to see full-sized. 

I think this house might have belonged to the person who donated these woods.

This one's mostly the same, just increased the contrast a bit before sharpening.

QotD: My Favorite Quick & Healthy Recipe

What’s your favorite quick, easy, and healthy recipe?
Presented by Intel, Sponsors of Tomorrow.Click Here

This is an odd question to me. I'm certain I don't have a favorite quick, easy, and healthy recipe. But here's something you may enjoy doing: semi-homemade spaghetti sauce. 

Heat a large pan to medium and add some extra-virgin olive oil. Um, a couple of spoonfuls? I dunno, depends on the next part. Add some chopped onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, garlic, that is, your choice among those* but definitely garlic, and a couple of spoonfuls of dried mixed Italian seasoning. (I have all those herbs fresh but this is good, trust me, especially with Costco's Tuscan seasoning.) Stir that around until the stuff is softened, then add in, oh, a half cup of wine or vermouth. Sure, red is good (not too dry, though,) but white will be fine (but not a dessert one.) It should be drinkable, but not expensive. Simmer that on low for about 5 minutes, then stir in one small can of tomato paste, and a large can of crushed tomatoes. You can use a large can of diced tomatoes instead if you like; my kids do not. Simmer this for a few minutes, stirring a few times, and you're done. You might like a pinch of salt and pepper near the end. It'll keep in the refrigerator for a week or you can freeze it. It will feed 6-8, thereabouts and is worth the time to have some for later if there are not 6-8 of you. 

*Like, 1 small onion or half a larger one, 1/2-1 bell pepper, a handful of mushrooms, 2-3 garlic cloves or spoons of that jarred stuff.

A nice thing to do is take about half the sauce and add a quarter cup or so of heavy cream to it, warm and serve that way, with some thicker pasta like linguini. 

Tthis really is how I cook most of the time and it works out fine. But I've missed sharing real recipes here, so I'm going to work on doing that on the weekends again. It's that time of year. :-)

Tweeting the Emmys

It's pretty self-serving, but I was having fun with a few friends. If you want to read this, start from the bottom. Obviously some of it is one-sided. 


Oh, always and forever! RT: @OfficeLiberator Bob Newhart. still awesome.

21 minutes ago from web

RT: @chippers87: Bryan Cranston, I'm happy for you, and I'm gonna let u finish, but HUGH LAURIE IS THE BEST LEAD DRAMATIC ACTOR OF ALL TIME.

24 minutes ago from web



30 minutes ago from web


Somebody must have tipped off Glenn Close and *that's* why she bothered to dress up this year instead of wandering in from bed. #emmys

38 minutes ago from web


Old school vampire wins. #emmys

about 1 hour ago from web


@alex_rae Yes! I am vindicated!

about 1 hour ago from Twitterrific in reply to alex_rae


@thelostdwarf I have tried coaxing @officeliberator into Mad Men many times but he has no attention span. He will after tonight, I bet.

about 1 hour ago from web in reply to thelostdwarf


@vitawash Oh, I know. She just sort of bugs me, even though she's a good singer. I can't take her very seriously, maybe I'm awful.

about 1 hour ago from Twitterrific in reply to vitawash


Oh, don't you always go "I liked that guy! He's dead? How did I miss so many of them?"

about 1 hour ago from web


Sarah MacLachlan is singing her abused pets song for the dead people. It's a bit creepy. #emmys

about 1 hour ago from web

@thelostdwarf I keep meaning to watch Big Bang Theory but then I forget.

about 1 hour ago from web in reply to thelostdwarf


Notice something derivative in those SNL clips? Hugh Laurie, did you say? And Stephen Fry? Why yes, I remember. http://tinyurl.com/4s94ox

about 1 hour ago from web


Oh, Ricky Gervais, you've gone Hollywood and I kind of love you for it. :-)

about 1 hour ago from web

What happened to Brian Williams' face? #emmys

about 1 hour ago from web


Wow, Johnny Galecki is as wee a fellow as Tracy Morgan. I'd like to see them next to each other. Like Jack Benny and Andy Williams. #emmys

about 2 hours ago from web


Oh, Jessica Lange thank you for not disappointing me, all sweet with your awkward face lift and your slightly dizzy countenance. #emmys

about 2 hours ago from web


Patty Arquette, you are the wrong height for that shoulder thingy. And also? It's just not right. You look bundled into your dress. #emmys

about 2 hours ago from web


@alex_rae @vitawash I think there are enough "unscripted" shows to distinguish between real competition and the "situational" stuff I hate.

about 2 hours ago from web


Seriously, competitions like those shouldn't be lumped in with weight-loss programs or awful date ones. They're more akin to the talk shows.

about 2 hours ago from web


I wouldn't have thought of Dancing with the Stars or So You Think You Can Dance as "reality tv," partly because they're not horrible. #emmys

about 2 hours ago from web

@alex_rae I have a hard time with sitcoms to begin with, and 30 Rock just stresses me so much.

about 3 hours ago from Twitterrific in reply to alex_rae


I'm going to go on record here and say I don't think Amy Poehler is funny. Or interesting. At all. #emmys

about 3 hours ago from web


I'm going to go on record here and say I don't think 30 Rock is funny. Or interesting. At all. #emmys

about 3 hours ago from web


Yes! Pushing Daisies was Absolutely Fricking Awesome. Congratulations, Kristen Chenoweth. #emmys

about 3 hours ago from web


Ohh, Jon Hamm. What else is there to say? #emmys

about 3 hours ago from web


Okay, young Neil. You win. And so do your writers. #emmys

about 3 hours ago from web


Really excited about Neil Patrick Harris. It could have been Craig. I might have died. But if not Craig, then who better? #emmys

about 3 hours ago from web


Oh, hey, Glenn Close. You dressed up. It's nice, really. You should go with that as a trend. Seriously. #emmys

about 3 hours ago from web


Good lord, David Boreanaz, are those your real shoulders? He just gets better and better. It's nice when that happens. #emmys

about 3 hours ago from web


@alex_rae He is marrying Emily Blunt. He almost makes me wish I was younger. But not quite. :-) And I can't be a "cougar."

about 4 hours ago from Twitterrific in reply to alex_rae


Hayden Panattiere is perfectly put together. I would enjoy being unkind to the celebrities, but they're all doing so well so far. #emmys

about 4 hours ago from web


Oh, Sarah Silverman, no. You are not Queen Elizabeth. Pockets, really? No. You look pretty from the waist up, though. #emmys

about 4 hours ago from web


Jim from The Office is very handsome in real life. A bit young for me, but still. #emmys

about 4 hours ago from web


I still ::heart:: Kevin Kline. And other than botox and a bit of hair dye, he seems to have left himself alone, so that's nice. #emmys

about 4 hours ago from web


Dana Delaney looks spectacular. I am almost never jealous of the celebrities, but I kind of am, because she's older than me and wow. #emmys

about 4 hours ago from web


Alyson Hannigan just told us to follow her on Twitter @alydenisof, so I am, because why not? Motherhood looks beautiful on her. #emmys

about 4 hours ago from web


@vitawash I'm finding it much more palatable, though it seemed for awhile that Rob Lowe took over and wouldn't let go.

about 4 hours ago from Twitterrific in reply to vitawash


@FastEddiesRetro I find the awards shows go down easier with a bit of a BAC.

about 4 hours ago from Twitterrific in reply to FastEddiesRetro


Tracy Morgan is a wee little man, isn't he? The dude with the microphone shouldn't have asked him about Ye. That was lame. #emmys

about 4 hours ago from web


@FastEddiesRetro I plan to commentate here for awhile because I usually do it in my blog. Plus, I have beer.

about 4 hours ago from Twitterrific in reply to FastEddiesRetro

I've gone with TVGN; both the Seacrest and Jay Manuel were much too much for me.

about 5 hours ago from Twitterrific


@marykir Well, I definitely want to see Hugh!

about 5 hours ago from Twitterrific in reply to marykir

@marykir Well, I was trying to determine who would annoy less, Ryan or Carrie-Ann. If there's little difference I guess it won't matter.

about 5 hours ago from Twitterrific in reply to marykir


Am I supposed to be watching E! or TVGN for the red carpet stuff? I don't wish to switch back and forth; I like a more zen TV experience.

about 6 hours ago from Twitterrific