30 January 2014

Keeping It Brief

I was researching (or 'fact checking') a different Victor Hugo quote a week or two ago when I came across this funny anecdote...in the days of pay-by-the-character telegrams, Hugo sent a hopeful telegram to his publisher to inquire about the success or lack thereof of his new novel "Les Miserables". 
His telegram contents read "?". 
The witty publisher's enthusiastic response telegram read "!"

Surprise tickets

Similar to the great "We're goin' to the game, Pop!" video where a son suprised his dad with tickets to the National Championship game a year ago, I came across this video today of a son, blowing his Mom's mind and making her year.

27 January 2014

17 Story Water Slide?

This doesn't seem right or even possible.  The video is pretty cool.  17 story tall water slide that is pretty much a straight drop.  And then a bump afterwards...which as I thought about it, you'd be going so fast (~60 mph) that how would you not take flight coming off that hump?  And the slide is open-air, nothing to hold you in! Maybe it's the weight of four people in the tube? Too many questions.  Opens this summer in Kansas City.  Who's in!?

21 January 2014

"How Y'all, Youse, and You Guys Talk"

I saw somewhere today that this quiz and accompanying map were the most read thing on NY Times last year.  I didn't verify that claim, but I did go and answer the 25 questions.  Each question shows you how your answer stacks up on the map. 
The most distinctive question in my case was the "What do you call the night before Halloween?"  That map was very interesting.  I think Des Moines must be the only city in the country that calls it Beggars Night (which I think it very dumb).

19 January 2014

1981 Lego Ad

Obviously minovia has heard me harp about my dislike for the over-pinkifying of girl marketing in our soceity.  She sent me the link to this image this morning.  A LEGO ad from 1981. 
No pink, no rainbows, magic dust, sparkles, no mention of 'boy' or 'girl'.  I know I may seem fixated on the gender role issue in marketing but I do not like what that is telling our girls and boys.

"LEGO Universal Building Sets will help your children discover something very, very special: themselves."

Yes, let them discover themselves.  Don't try and show them that they must fit a certain image, like a certain color, play a certain way.

She saw the image in this Huffington Post article

17 January 2014

Deer Attack (#1760)

Deer Attack (#1760) by regan76
Deer Attack (#1760), a photo by regan76 on Flickr.

This is just a little follow up to my post when I created these DIY tree branch suet feeders. First off I will say that the woodpeckers (both Downy and Red-bellied) LOVE this thing. The same food is in the commercial suet feeder right next to it and they ALWAYS choose this feeder.
Which made me a little upset when I saw what the deer had done to it recently. Evidently someone was hungry. From inside the house it just looked like they had eaten off a strip of bark. Upon further review, they really went after it, getting into the wood even!

14 January 2014

Ballon d'Or: Puskas award

The Ballon d'Or (award for global soccer player of the year) went to Christiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid yesterday.  Whether that was the right pick or even a justified pick, we will leave for others to debate.
I just wanted to share the goals that were finalists for the Puskas award for the best goal of the year.  While the other two were fine strikes indeed, they were not and really, could not be in the same class as Zlatan Ibrahimovic's wonderkick in a friendly match between Sweden and England.  The distance from goal, the coordination of the bicycle kick, the anticipation (he puts on the brakes and starts backing up as soon as the keeper shows he is going to head it out), the courage to try such a circus stunt goal from that distance.  Ibra has scored some incredible goals in his career for some of the best teams in the world (Ajax, Barcelona, AC Milan, Inter Milan, Juventus, PSG), but this is completely a goal for the ages.

08 January 2014

5 Songs for 2013

Woo hoo, the list is done!  I had great response from people this year and we have quite a list.  I had a wonderful time listening to everyone's songs and they come from a wide spectrum of genres.  I've already had to do some iTunes shopping and I think there is still more to come.  Thanks to all for taking part, sharing your musical tastes and hopefully you all can listening to the playlist and find a few new things you like as well.  I think it is worth noting that one of my 5 songs this year was actually one I learned of from someone else's 5 songs last year!
I was going to make a Spotify playlist this year but just ran out of time.  So, we will have to make due with the YouTube playlist unless someone else wants to put it together in Spotify.  The pdf is at this link and the YouTube playlist is here.  
I know the links to past years lists were broken on my original email so if you want to compare to past years, here they are: 2012 pdf, playlist, 2011 pdf, playlist, 2010 pdf

07 January 2014

College Bowl Pick Challenge

While it was not the finish I was hoping for, it was still a thrilling finish.  Florida State pulled a late comeback to beat Auburn for the National Championship.  Special teams play for Auburn were an eyesore throughout the game.  Still, it was an amazing run for the Tigers after not being expected to do much this season. 
In our family pool Emily grabbed a slim lead early and didn't relinquish it. 
Well done to all and only a couple of months until March Madness!

Emily - 21
middleson | homebase - 20
minovia - 19.5
stoppable - 19
NTW | ISA - 16.5


05 January 2014

2013 Book List

For the second year, I kept my book list in a document that grew as I filled it out throughout the year.  Check out the pdf here.  It helps so much when it comes time to review at the end of the year!
I had a nice mix of biographies, classic novels, children's chapter books, birding books,  etc.  Overall, a lot of great reads.  A few of the highlights:
  • A Million Miles in a Thousand Years - Donald Miller
  • Bright Lights, No City - Max Alexander
  • Yes, Chef - Marcus Samuelsson
  • A Good Man - Mark Shriver
  • Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card
  • JFK's Secret Doctor - Susan Schwartz
Past years: 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004

01 January 2014

2013 Backyard Bird List





 43 species on my yard list for 2013 at the new house.  I was hoping I would make it to 50, but I've only had one new species since July.  :(  Still, it is a pretty fabulous list.  I had not idea I would be able to see so many birds from my window, at my feeder, in the trees, etc. 

Starting a new list for 2014 and already have three species on it. 

You can also see my wildlife list on there as well.  While the bat was probably the most exciting one, it is not one we hope to have on next year's list. 

Albums

While I take a bit of time to compile all the "5 Songs for 2013", here are some of the albums I listened to this past year. 

There were a few albums (new and not new) from artists that I discovered through friends or the internet or the library...
Manchester Orchestra's "Simple Math"
Grouplove's - "Never Trust a Happy Song"
The Judds - Greatest Hits
Frankie Valli - The Very Best
Frank Sinatra - Seduction
Miles Davis - Kind of Blue 

And here are some of the albums I enjoyed by artists that I was already a fan of...
M.I.A. - Matangi
John Mayer – Paradise Valley

Keys N Krates – Lucid Dreams
Hood Internet – Mixtape Vol. 7
Lana Del Rey – Born to Die

Jack Johnson – From Here to Now to You
Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City
Pistol Annies – Annie Up