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Name: Justine
Location: Annapolis, Maryland, United States

Justine, is a little bit more than you'd expect. This is where you are supposed to put your "elevator speech". What you'd say if you were in the elevator with somebody you wanted to connect with. I don't have an "elevator speech". If I ran smack-dab into one of my "heroes" I'd just have to smile and be polite and keep my yipper shut and that's probably for the best anyway!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Digital Dust
Blogger hosting has driven me bonkers with it's slow response time.

Now I'm back to FTP hosting in the old style. I know that goes away in March.

Right now I'm cooking up a possible solution with Yahoo.

I just want click and post ease and my own control over my domain name.

I'd also like to add some pizzazz to my web page without driving myself mad with template coding.

Grumble grumble.
Monday, February 15, 2010
Round N Round
Once again OMBH has said exactly the right thing at exactly the right time. Thanks!

I was looking at clips of the upcoming adventures of Alice down the rabbit hole. Some strange similarities to characters living or dead occured to me.

Nobody, go crazy and send me hatemail or anything! I'm just posting 2 pics next to each other. Gather your own conclusions. Talk amongst yourselves.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, "Patrick Jane" continues to ramble in and out dripping with "deeper meaning". He'll just have to cool his jets and prance around in his suit. I'll pretend I'm not looking.

I dug the sketchbook out tonight and started noodling around again. I've been experimenting with Tim Holtz' Distress Embossing Powders. The embossing powder has some "release" crystals in it so that when you get done embossing part of it falls off "on purpose". It's supposed to leave a weathered effect. I think it looks like pink sandpaper. But time will tell. Below is an assemblage of a tag and a piece of scrapbook paper that I stamped and watercolored on. I found the plastic spider in the drawer while I was looking for the handle for my brayer.

Despite my best clearing up efforts, I still have trouble finding all my tools and "stuff". It's fustrating in the extreme. I need Norm Abrahms to drop by and build me a turbo charged craft studio!

Friday, February 12, 2010
Love & Darkness

Seven days snowed in alone with a camel, it took that long for me to relax into myself again.

With the housework done and no place to go with no way to get there, I came back round to my senses. I dropped the funny little mask I wear to work. I dropped into myself, solo. I took off expectations and picked up my artist supplies.

I played Tori Amos music and sat down to experiment in my draft book.

Then it struck me again, the fundamental darkness that runs through what I create. The collages, altered books, short stories, and assemblages all carry a breath of darkness through them.

It's been that darkness that's kept me from creating more. I've been afraid to be dark, to show the shadow. It sounds so trite and new agey, but it's true.

Instead of bunnies and butterflies and dreamy happy ever afters, my chapbook is filled with yellowed pages, dark mysterious men, Victorian postcard girls, soot, and smoke.

To hold it up to the light and be happy with the smudged man with an umbrella raining water upon himself is a relief.

I don't have to be cheerful. I don't have to deny anything. I don't have to keep the family secrets anymore. I don't have to smile for the family portrait, or behave as though the world was sunshine and roses when it's not. I can rise up and say dark is dark, ash is ash, and bone is bone. I don't have to call hell a sunny day in the park anymore. I am allowed to call pain by it's name. I'm allowed to react normally.

It's such a relief.

Valentine's Day is coming. I can't think of any twee little things to say about love. I can stumble around with my newly realized truth and seem silly. Truth is that for a long time what I was told was love was abuse.

If you've been taught that red is green, it takes a while to adjust when you find out the truth.

Love, to me has come wrapped in blood and bone and pain. Calling things by their right names, is enough joy for me just now. The road will unwind by itself from here.

After seven days away from florescent lights, screaming twenty year old boys, and rabbit hole red tape my tummy was right as rain and my sleep soft and deep. After the announcement came to report to work today, I spent half the night in the bathroom vomiting. Today I'm swilling Tums and Imodium. This seems to be a new truth in and of itself.

Where to next?

Calling things by their right names seems to be a very good place to start.
Back With No Slack Jack
Back to work today. They did allow us to come in 2 hours late. It's my first time out of the neighborhood in a week.

An entire row of 12 pines had come down across one of the major routes. The trees were still laying uprooted on the shoulder. The highway crews had sawn off the tops that had been across the road.

Somebody with a BobCat came through Wenesday night and offloaded snow from the intersections on my road. That made it possible to get out this morning.

After being snowed in for 7 days, it's kind of nice to see other humans in person.

OMBH, sounds like it's time for action on your computer. Maybe a shiny new webbook? :)

Thanks for the compliments on our new blue-green color.

I'm hoping to find a hosting service that will give me more room to add art work and color with their template formats.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Pardon Our Digital Dust
Blogger has stopped supporting the Tuxedo Inn's usuall way of posting & hosting.

While we sort out a new smooth way to present ourselves, we will be using Blogger hosting. You can still reach us at TuxedoInn.Com However you will notice a "Now Entering" screen while you are hooked to the correct address. Images may take a fraction of a second longer to load. If they are out of hand on your side, please drop us a line and we'll trim the page size.

Thanks for your patience!

We tried a solution using WordPress this weekend and made such a hash of things we had to back it out. Thanks for putting up with out flipping and flopping.

As a "Thanks" we've updated our color scheme to something a little less "Christmassy". It should also be wider cut down on scrolling downwards. Enjoy!
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
The Dark Hand Moves Again
This evening George Timmons, family friend, gentleman, and kind soul passed from this life.

George put a shower in my very first rental house. He didn't charge me either. He came in and rescued me when I was in dire straights.

I will always remember and appreciate his kindness and divine light.
Haunted Mansions, Haunted Doombuggies?

"Patrick Jane" lying in the street waiting to get smushed by a snow plow.

Here I must redeem myself in OMBH's eyes.

I do NOT understand where "Patrick Jane" came from either. I like the show but the character is almost as annoying as "House".

If we pared "Patrick Jane" with "HWMNBN" the conversation would be agonizing. Jane would begin to roast HWMNBN on his entire defense system.

Either HWMNBN would put a punch in Jane's yipper or Jane would reduce HWMNBN to a mass of quivering jelly. Either way Disney would make us hose the sidewalk off for sure!

If I'm going to get to get stuck with a guy in the Haunted Mansion I'm going to select either my Richard Hammond clone or my Johnny Depp clone. If I'm in a particularly self-abusive mood that day I'd pick my Jeremy Clarkson clone. I'd lay odds on the Clarkson clone to get out of the doom buggy and slowly dismantle the place to see how it worked. When we got back out all the figures would have exaggerated "gentlemen's regions" drawn on them and their costumes would be lewdly askew.

I'm sure "Patrick Jane" must be some kind of symbol for "reading between the lines" and "seeing what is really there". Or maybe he's just a bit of undigested corn bread.

In homor of our strangeness I'm going to put a little Snowy Day Play List in the blog for all to enjoy. Click on the playlist name to start the music.

Snow Day Playlist:
1. Baker Baker - Tori Amos (For Patrick Jane played by Simon Baker)
2. Paparazzi - Lady Gaga (Reminds me of HWMNBD, and I don't know why.)
3. Uprising - Muse (Nice militant shoveling out song.)
4. Fireflies - Owl City
5. Won't Get Fooled Again - The Who (Plays in my head when government types talk on TV)
6. Pretty Good Year - Tori Amos
7. Enjoy The Silence - Tori Amos
8. Strange Little Girl - Tori Amos (Our little Justine?)
The Captain Has Sailed Beyond the Horizon
It was announced Tuesday night that Capatin Phil Harris of the fishing vessel Cornelia Maria passed away from a stoke. He was 53 years old.

Captain Phil rode the Discovery Channel airwaves into my home. I appreciated his cnaodr, his honesty, his commitement to his crew, his family, and his livelyhood.

He was truly a good man who inhabitted the global village with us all. I'm sorry to see him go.

My prayers and thoughts go out to him and his family.
Momento Mori
On Monday February 8th former co-worker Steve Fischer was found dead. Presumed cause of death is heart attack. It is not believed the death was blizzard related as Steve was aware that he was not able to shovel snow.

Steve's sister had not been able to reach Steve by telephone to arrange for her family to come to his house and shovel him out. Steve's brother in law braved the travel and entered Steve's house to find him already passed away.

I have been acquainted with Steve for over 20 years. It is strange to think he will be absent from our get togethers and outings. He was cranky, outspoken, opinionated, good humored and aggravating. He will be missed.

He died alone in a snow covered house.
We've Got to R-U-N-N-O-F-T
Nobody said it better than the "Soggy Bottom Boys" in "O' Brother Where Art Thou?".

In the movie it starts as a gag where the adults are discussing what happened to a missing wife. They spell it to avoid disturbing the son. However the boy soon figures out what "R-U-N-N-O-F-T" means and he breaks the boys out of a burning barn with a stolen car.

Today I truly wish I had grabbed the Caddy, OMBH, and anyone else willing to come along and had "done run offt" before this storm hit.

The snow started again last night and continues today at 2:30. The wind is blowing and it's snowing sideways. The windows are stuck with frozen snow and seeing out is difficult.

Below is a view from my studio window. It is too cold and snow to open the window and raise the screen. I think it adds a home-detention feeling to the photo. There is snow frozen to the window and there is snow falling sideways in the background.
The yard slopes down about 3 feet to the property line. That "pipe" across the picture is the top rail of the chain link fence. The snow is up to the windowsills in the studio and is packed flat down the hill to the fence. By nightfall the fence will be covered. There's a full sized lawn size trash can buried in the snow somewhere.

We are on day 6 of our Tuxedo Inn "Oh Snap" alert. Below are a series of pics from Day 1 forward.

Last Friday at 5:30. Snow was starting to fall fast and heavy. I took this pic right after coming in from shoveling the walk and driveway. Notice the big black planters on the porch.

Above, Saturday afternoon. The sky is starting to clear and snow has stopped. The 2 1/2 foot tall black planter on the left hand side in the Day 1 photo is just barely visible in a crack in the snow drift dead center of this pic. Day 1's pic was taken from the front door. Day 2 the door was snowed closed and this pic was taken through the window a few feet to the right.

Tuesday afternoon. The black planters are lost in the snow bank on the right side of the pic.

After the afternoon weather forecast mentioned 18 more inches of snow, I braved a grocery store run. Thanks to my neighbor across the street we had a clear patch where I could back through the snow banks into his driveway and turn and come out onto the ice pack on the street. (We shoveled the street across from out driveways all the way down to tarmac so we could turn and get in and out of the drives without getting stuck.)

I made it to the main road by dropping down to 2nd gear and bouncing along on the packed snow and ice. After 3 days the main roads were not clear.I've never seen the main roads so bad after so much time. The true scope of the storm came home to me as I wobbled the car through the streets. There were ruts in the ice in either lane and everyone was banging along and behaving cautiously. Some sections of the street had crumbled and there were large pot holes that you had to slalom through. There were huge rough patches on some parts of the street, but the hot-patch was having trouble sticking to the road in the cold.

The grocery was busy but all us ladies were on our best "Remain Calm" behaviour. The guys were acting like Neanderthals. I was amazed to see that the grocery store was out of corn bread mix. That's not something extremely popular. But I suppose everyone was having chili and cornbread. I still have cornbread mix in my winter pantry. I also noticed a lot of people eyeing up the baked beans display. I think when someone mentions "power outage have canned food" everyone thinks of baked beans. I just nabbed my usual canned goods and ambled onwards.

On the way home I had one close call with somebody slamming on their brakes. I was relieved to get back in the driveway. The Caddy did admirably but she's not meant for driving on pack ice.

Today it's snowing as hard as ever. The landscape is filled with snow up over my waist. I don't' see signs of a plow having come though the neighborhood. I'm trying to relax and enjoy my "staycation". This is the longest I've had off work, that didn't involve personal tragedy, in years.

Still I'm apprehensive. Perhaps it's from drinking too much tea. Perhaps it's the feeling of being snowed in on my own with Bob. Bob is remaining cheerful and offering shoulder rubs to keep me calm.

I have friends and neighbors who keep checking on me. But perhaps this is just intensifying the loss of my mom and my aunt this year.

I've been living on my own for a long time. This is not really different from any other day when I hole up in the house and play with my crafty stuff. (Well except for the remote possibility of freezing to death.) I know that I have "yard dude" scheduled to dig me out tomorrow. I know I can work from home and that work will let me. Still it's all a bit unnerving.

I think it's that same little survival mechanism that encouraged me to get the hell out of town before all this started. It's a very good check that my instincts are still intact and working quiet nicely.

Below is a pic from a few minutes ago. We've had 7 or 8 inches of snow today. The car and walk are buried again. Remember the black planter? It's buried about 3 feet below the swirl in the snow between the window and the mailbox. I had pansies blooming like wild in those planters last Thursday. I'm thinking perhaps I should have picked the buds and pressed them.

Monday, February 08, 2010
Do What?

The character of "Patrick Jane" from the show "The Mentalist"

Happy Post Blizzard Monday night. I have a few questions tonight and I'm going to toss them out on the internet ether.

#1 What am I doing riding the Metro with Patrick Jane? Seriously? Saturday night I had bizarre dreams about being stuck on the DC Metro with Patrick Jane. And, he was lost! I, on the other hand, was trying to make it to the #14 bus to get back to my car.

#2 What the hell was I doing last night in a Doom Buggy, stuck in the seance room, of Disney's World's Haunted Mansion? Why was Patrick Jane there too? Why am I trucking around with the television character I'd most like to see manacled to "House" and tossed over a power line?

#3 Why did Love Monkey wait until 20 minutes after I decided he might be on the level and then open a face book page and start phoning and emailing his former girlfriend and ex-fiance?

#4 What is the weight load for the flat roof on the addition on my house?

#5 Whose bright idea was it to schedule another freaking blizzard for Tuesday?

#6 Why is there a dark blue band on the weather map over my house with the phrase "12 to 18 inches" written on it?

#7 Is that frozen pound of butter in the freezer still good enough to make chocolate chip cookies from tomorrow?

#8 If "Patrick Jane" looks like this sans clothes, should I be particularly bothered that he and I are stuck in a Doom Buggy in the Haunted Mansion?

#9 This is a snap of "Lemon Drop" parked in the driveway with her windshield wiper raised in terror at the snow about to fall off the roof.

Or is she secretly pointing to "Patrick Jane's" bum?

#10 Why does "Word Press" suck harder than a Hoover? Also why does Blogger insist on screwing up my domain name licensing? Should they both let me be and kiss "Patrick Jane's" bum?

I've just phone into work to see if they are going to be open tomorrow. They are closed. 4.5 days of shut downs. This is unprecedented. This is scary.

That gajillion pound bag of Toll House Chocolate Chips I bought at Christmas and stashed in the pantry is looking pretty good !
Sunday, February 07, 2010
Oh Snap!

Local TV Weather Map as of 12:30 a.m. on Saturday morning. The Tuxedo was covered by the light blue band.

Wednesday afternoon the grape vine was channeling intel from someone who works at Baltimore Washington International Airport. The scuttle coming down was that best guesses were for 30 to 36 inches of snow. Help was being called in from out of state. Flights for Thursday were being cancelled because airlines were moving planes out of the area.

When the airlines start moving aircraft, it's time to get serious about the situation.

Local television weather men were saying 12 inches. Saying "significant" snowfall. You got the overall impression they were keeping things to themselves. You could sense that, for once, they were trying to avoid panic.

I considered driving over to Lorton and putting myself and the Caddy on the auto train for Florida. You drive out of the way of hurricanes. With enough warning you can drive out of the way of a blizzard. If I'd have had the leave from work, I'd have been gone for a few days.

Wednesday night I stopped at the grocery store on the way home and did my weekly shopping a few days in advance. I stocked up on chocolate.

I also called "Lawn Dude" and booked a "shovel out".

Thursday afternoon the grocery stores were shoved full. Friday my company closed the doors at noon, well before any snow fell. They even announced they would be closed on Saturday and Sunday. (In computers/information technology/insert-current-buzzword-here those are the two days of the week when everything gets done.)

Considering the 20 inch snowstorm in December netted ZERO company closure, this was disconcerting.

On Friday the first plasticy laundry soap looking flakes of snow twizzled through the air. Then they stopped. By 3 o'clock snow was falling in a nice fluffy Christmas card fashion. It was melting when it hit the streets.

At 5:30 p.m. it started snowing hard enough that I got soaked through when I went out and shoveled some slush from the driveway. I took some photos from the front doorway so I could 'document' the storm.

At midnight I still wasn't asleep and I turned on the radar channel to see if the storm was ready to go away yet.

What I saw scared me half to death! The radar scope was dark denim blue, shades of indigo, red, orange, and electric pink. Not even a hurricane has sent the radar map that dark around here! If it had I'd have been making a makeshift float out of empty laundry soap bottles and writing my next of kin information on my body with indelible marker.

I got up to get the camera to take a snap of the doomsday radar map and by the time I returned to the screen the radar map was gone! The channel blinked for a while and then returned with a recalibrated picture. The new picture was shades of white and grey. The screen sidebar was showing local viewers pictures of lightning in the snow.

Red chunks of the map were labelled "Thundersnow" with pointers indicating 3 to 5 inches of snow falling per hour.

Bob the Camel was hunkered down in the guest bedroom on a bed of comforters and pillows. He heard me up roaming around and got up to check on me. When he saw the radar picture he took a peek out the front window.

"Looks like a sandstorm." He muttered. "I've weathered plenty of sandstorms in my day. Now, there's no place to go and no reason to go there. Back to bed with you."

I took a couple of pictures from the front door and Bob tucked me in.

It was disquieting to sit still and wait for three feet of snow to fall. Very much a reminder of how much we don't have control of anything.

Saturday morning the front door was snowed closed and the glass was covered in frozen snow. I had to go from window to window in search of a look out. The best I got was a half window in the front of the house. Snow even drifted under the porch roof and piled up against the back door.

It was still snowing hard. It snowed hard all day.

I kept trying to peak out. Bob kept nuzzling me away from the windows. He kept me concentrating on my Saturday housework. With the marketing already out of the way I made good time getting things caught up.

At 5 p.m. it finally stopped snowing. The sun came out. The front window cleared a bit. I could see that the snow plows had been down the center of the street. The plow mountains were a good 2 feet higher than the mailboxes. I took some more photos and checked my winter pantry again. I crossed my fingers that "Lawn Dude" wouldn't forget me.

"Lawn Dude" phoned on Sunday morning to check that the street had been plowed. When he showed up at 11 a.m. I felt a wave of relief.

I shoved open the back door and started shoveling towards him shoveling in from the street. I made it almost to the corner of the house and then I had to come in. I went back out in stages and he helped me the car broken free from the mounds of snow that had blown around and under the car. There was so much snow blown under the car that it was stuck in place after it was shoveled out!

It took a lot of rocking and down shifting but we go the car loose from the pavement.

I brought out my gardening spade and "Lawn Dude" broke through the four inch thick ice pack pushed down by the plows. The sun hit the tarmac between my drive and the one across the street and now my neighbor and I have room to back out and turn the car on pavement instead of ice.

The snow of the room was still teetering at avalanche point at sundown today. We got the side porch roof cleaned a bit so there's a safe egress from the house.

This has been the worst snow storm I can remember seeing.

I lived at the beach one season when it stayed cold enough to freeze the ocean on the tide line. (I've lost the pics or I'd post them here.) But even back then we didn't get this much snow.

I'll be posting more pics later. I have comparison shots from the snow fall in December and this week. We got a lot more snow this week.

The weather broadcasters are apologetically saying that we can expect to get another six inches of snow Tuesday night. I wonder if we'll even notice? Just in case I have pre-booked "Lawn Dude". Also, just in case, I gave him a nice tip just to make sure he'll come shovel me out again.

Just as I was hunkering down to watch "The Who" at half time tonight my boss phoned me and said the building is closed tomorrow.

I wonder if anybody told the IBM rep who's flying in from Texas?

OMBH, I hope you are ok. Snowed in at work sounds rough. Hopefully you'll get double secret overtime jto add to the Disney fund!

I'm looking forward to the crafty retreat. I gave up the idea of the fall cruise with Tim Holtz because it's just toooooo expensive.

No, The Haunted Mansion, would never be the same! :)

View from driver's seat of my car Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m.
Notice in side view mirror that driveway is not shoveled out to street yet.

View of passenger side view mirror Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m.
Notice back view of "Yard Dude" shoveling snow.
Wednesday, February 03, 2010
That's Quite Enough!!!!

Jeza is intervening with the weather people on behalf of Tuxedo Inn and OMBH.

Last weekend we racked up 7 inches of snow. Last night we racked up 6.

Both times the weather wizards predicted 3 inches.

Now the weather pundits are holding their tongues, trying not to set off a panic. Rumblings on the dark side are for 18 to 36 inches of snow this weekend. When all the weather sources pick up that nonsense there will be an unprecedented run on bread, milk, and toilet paper. I suspect that at the Blue Ribbon Bakery they are on double speed massive production overtime. Cows as far as Ohio are probably being sucked down to skeletons in a vain effort to flood the stores with extra milk.

Seriously? Does snow make you suddenly sit down and chug a gallon of milk and eat a loaf of bread? If it does, than I understand why you'd need a case of toilet paper.

Being as Love Monkey and I take frequent leisurely strolls through the BJ's Warehouse Club, I possess a full case of toilet paper and a full case of Kleenex. There's also a fresh 20 pound bag of ice melt lurking in the closet. There are several impulse buy DVDs I haven't watched sitting on top the TV.

I suspect I might need another loaf of bread by the weekend. I'm concerned that perhaps I should sneak out tonight after midnight to an all night grocers to avoid death by trampling.

In an effort the keep us from all being crashed on the roads, the company had a 2 hour delayed opening today. Of course, once I had jumped back into bed and gone sound asleep, I oversleep. I ambled in sheepishly later than 2 hours. As a result I am sitting alone in the office, making up my missed time.

Apparently when it goes to late opening we're supposed to all show up at 10:30 and work until 5 p.m.

I was pleasantly surprised when I stumbled out of the house to find that the sun had cleared the driveway, the sidewalk, and most of the car windows.

This evening I need to phone my lawn dude and see if I can pre-book a dig-out for this weekend. If he's unavailable, I do have friend with a Bob-Cat who does parking lots. Another 20 inches of snow would call for a font end loader for sure.

We'll just have to see what happens.

I suggest OMBH and I jump in the car and head to Disney World in Orlando for a few days until all the bad weather blows over!

If the Midwest and east are gridlocked, Disney ought to be very un-crowded. :)

I wonder if The Stig would enjoy the "Test Track Experience" at Disney?
Tuesday, February 02, 2010
Fire Up The Stiggy!

Stiggy takes a whirl in Mazda's Furai concept car.

If I'd have posted a blog entry each time I'd thought about it in the last week I'd be over space allocation by now. But the fact remains I've been off wandering around the horizon instead of communicating.

I would like to take time to collect my thoughts and reflect on the idea that OMBH and I actually are twins separated somewhere along the way. If I find out she has a collection of stuffed camel toys I'll really have to do some investigating!

We had a 16 degree day with 6 inches of snow over the weekend. Instead of feeling like expounding on the beauty of the snow fluffies outside the picture window, I settled in for a thrilling game of "Book Worm Adventures 2". I allayed my snow shoveling stress by hiring my yard guy early on Saturday. Sunday morning he shoveled and swept and had everything to rights. I didn't even have to have a single asthma attack! Very nice!

Work has picked up the pace. I'm cross training a contractor on what I've only just been given to do. It makes the time go faster and reminds me what if feels like to want to run away. :)

Today "Blogger" sent me an email saying they were no longer going to support my web site hosting type. Now I'm on the move. I'm looking at several different options that I hope will minimize the trauma of moving.

I'm looking forward to having more design options. I'm not looking forward to learning one more technical thing. The longer I work with computers the more I resist learning one more computer gadget.

However I keep looking at crafting supplies. Since I don't have a ding dang thing to scrap book, it seems odd that I keep looking at papers and tools. I'm a paper junkie! Last week was the Winter Craft & Hobby Association Show. (aka CHA) All the ink, paper, and gadget companies roll out their upcoming lines and drive us all to madness. Tim Holtz was there introducing his new line of dies and texture plates for Sizzix! He even has a new die cut machine that looks like a mini-suitcase. The whole set up is cute to the max. Below is a pic from his blog site showing all the new die cut goodies. Need I mention he also has a new line of stamps to go with them? Oh and of course he has hinges, knobs, a whatcha-ma-bobs to accent your projects.

These are all Sizzix dies!

My craft room is already overloaded and under used. Looks like organization troubles on the horizon!
Monday, January 25, 2010
Would You Move To Cabot Cove?

I spent a quiet weekend in Cabot Cove last weekend.

Well not literally. Even I wouldn't be brave enough to stop the car in anyplace named "Cabot Cove".

Every body knows if you go to Cabot Cove and visit its most famous resident you come back in a box.

Jessica Fletcher has the habit of attracting crazed psycho killers, jealous spouses, and desperate entrepreneurs. She may be sweet. She may be an award winning author. She may have the best collection of polyester separates in television land. But Jessica Fletcher is the white hot core of a murder spree that ran for twelve years.

She has returned to liter the digital landscape with corpses in the "Murder She Wrote" hidden object game.

It's a notable game. Made up of 5 cases, the game follows Jessica through 5 separate murder mysteries. Four Mysteries take place in the lethal hamlet of Cabot Cove. The fifth mystery takes place in London and includes Jessica's identical cousin.

The game play is relaxing. The hidden objects are just challenging enough. In addition to "clue objects", in each scene you earn extra points and hints by finding the vowel keys and ribbon from Jessica's trusty black typewriter. The mini-games between scenes vary and have some challenge without driving you crazy. Each case has plenty of exposition in the form of dialogue between Jessica and familiar characters such as "Doc" and the Sheriff. The mysteries aren't easy peasy and they do follow logically from the facts outlined in the story.

The game is available for an hour of free play from Big Fish Games or Shockwave. If you like the game, it's only $6.99 for a full version.

I'm hoping for more installments in the series.

On a side note, would you move to Cabot Cove? I saw one website that calculated that 40% of Cabot Cove's population was murdered over the 12 seasons of the show. Add in the trail of corpses Jessica left each time she went traveling and it seems like incredibly bad luck to be in her circle.

If you moved to Cabot Cove, would it be prudent to make a pre-emptive strike on the charming Mrs. Fletcher? What happened to Mr. Fletcher anyway? Was he murdered?

If you wound up with a house on Electron Avenue between Jessica Fletcher and Nero Wolfe would you survive a fortnight?
Friday, January 22, 2010
Fritata Friday

Artists depiction of Justine after dental procedures.
(ok I swiped this pic from Tim Holtz's blog)

Ok who is fried? Show hands!

I see Love Monkey, Bob the Camel, Justine, and that looks like OMBH over there too.

Until OMBH sent me a note today, I'd forgotten I hadn't blogged since last week.

Last Friday I hired a new dentist and got some restorative work done. My face is a lot less swollen and the infection is going away. Yes, OMBH it was a good weekend with LM. We had a Sherlock Holmes DVD festival.

I still love Roger the Roomba Robot. He hums out of his little station and roams around the house several times a week. Like his name sake he has problems with "authority", he still likes to knock over the "invisible walls" and speed on past. With Roger around my house gets vac'd twice a week. The 'builder grade' carpet is actually starting to look rejuvenated.
Friday, January 15, 2010
I Got Me Some Purty Teefs!

Gratuitous "Vince" pic from NoelFielding.Org (For OMBH)

Readers of my blog know I love to put a pretty pic someplace in each post. I especially like pretty men. Today I looked for some nice "Vince Teef" pics but I discovered that in a lot of his pics his teeth are really dirty. So I settled for his sweet photog.

I went to the "new" dentist again today. Now I have my teeth back. I'm also loaded up with Ibuprofen. This morning involved surgery to take broken teeth pieces out of the gums. All I can say is "What a difference a dentist makes!"

This dentist was able to use topical numbing agents and behave so that the needles in the front part of my mouth did not hurt. He also didn't lean on my face while he was working!

I am now free of the issues that we causing and infection in my upper jaw. I also have front teeth now.

Soooo much better!!!!!!!!!!
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Hollywood Nocturne

A Pic from the BBC America Site Pretending Like They Want American Top Gear Fans.

Ok, the above pic ain't Shelly Winters portraying Lolita. I'm not Jeremy Irons reading Nabokov's tragic tale with a measured cadence that could tranquilize a cartoon Tasmanian Devil.

Brian Setzer is lulling me with his "Hollywood Nocturne". The boozy lounge tempo makes me want a rum sour and a solitary view of a harbor at night. Neither one would soothe me today.

Today I want to be at home to do my prostadontic shopping via telephone in private.

The dentist was a disappointment. For all his claims to be able to fix failed dental work, he failed miserably himself. Today I am missing a chunk of dental work. I look like I just took a mule down out of the darkest part of the Ozarks. I feel more murderous than that. I want to go back to the jackass who put braces on my teeth way back and I want to knock his teeth out with a crab hammer. All totaled his bad orthodontic job has cost me 25 years of constant pain and discomfort. It has ended with me missing two teeth entirely. Reconstruction is not looking good either. Especially since close to 20K has been sunk in the dental work that has failed over the years.

I've just made an appointment for a second opinion with a top reconstruction specialist in Annapolis. They do not take any insurance. That's the way it goes. I have a line of credit just for dental work. My appointment with them is for this Thursday. It would be nice to get even some temp teeth back in by next week.

No amount of thinking about Disney World is cheering me up today. It's one of those days that you just 'get through' I guess.

For dinner tonight I have a nice bucket of Carnation Instant Breakfast waiting. Not to mention a pint of ice cream from Bruster's. My face is swollen and sore.

Love Monkey is coming for a visit this weekend. I hope the swelling in my face goes down before then. I look like a poster child for domestic violence and I sure as hell would hate to go out in public and have people think that I couldn't take Love Monkey in a bare knuckle brawl!
Monday, January 11, 2010
Are You Ready for a Summer in Paris?
The Summer In Paris artsy fartsy crafty retreat is on!

From the author if the "We Will Always Have Paris" blog comes a 3 day crafty retreat in Harper's Ferry VA in August.

Click the above link for more info.

Since it's close to home and looks like fun, I'm going to put in on my list.

What do you think OMBH? Is it close to your abode?

I'm still looking at Dizzney Whirled too. It's so freaking complicated to plan! Hotels, Food Plans, Ticket Combos. They should have a "Laff and Barf" plan that lets you pick the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean and ride those non stop until you barf. Then you can go back to whatever room you're staying in and feel like you've accomplished something on your vacation.

OMBH I don't know how you did it!!!!! I am looking at the links you sent though. Thanks!

I want to stay in a park hotel so I can do the night time activities. I know I am many years too late for the "Main Street Electrical Parade", but I still want to see a nighttime light parade and some fireworks.

My first choice was the hotel with the monorail in the lobby. However I'll have to hit the lotto first. (Yikes!) The New Orleans Square hotel looks nice and middle of the road. The hotels all say they don't take animals but Bob has his own ID and passport and travels as a "special needs" human.

Whatever hotel I choose it looks like I better be ready to walk twenty miles a day or die. Yikes!!!!!! :)
Is that a bomb dog or are you just unhappy to see me?

I think I've just seen a bombdog

Gratuitous "Vince" pic from NoelFielding.Org (For OMBH)

Monday mornings are almost never good. At least not Monday mornings when I have to come in to work.

With all the foolishness going on lately, security has been heightened. That is a good thing, but it also sets the nerves on edge. We are being bombarded with emails and memos to "report suspicious activity".

When I ambled through the 20 degree heatwave outside I came across a man walking a yellow lab in the parking lot. The dog was not wearing a service harness or vest, nor was he wearing law enforcement gear. The man was dressed in civilian clothes.

Dogs are not allowed on our office compound. I reported the dog to the armed security guard when I went through a checkpoint. The guard didn't seem to think it was suspicious.

This morning they've been making "report to your car" announcements for quiet a few people.

So was incognito puppy a bomb dog, a drug dog, a cadaver dog, or an unauthorized personal pooch?

Who goes out to walk a dog in 20 degree weather without a coat? Who walks a dog on a parking lot when there's a grassy field right next to it?

It's nice to think my employer is investing time and effort in keeping the building from getting blown up. But it's not so nice to think somebody has snuck through security and is checking out our cars.

Monday, January 04, 2010
Fire up the Doombuggy!

Fire up the doombuggy Maude!

Yo ho, yo ho, a tourist trip for me!

Taking OMBH's lead, I've decided to plan my dream trip to Walt Disney World. Today I've registered with the Disneyworld Planning site and I've started looking at things.

Anyone have any good resources for planning this out? Good guides, websites, books? I'd appreciate the tips.

What is the "Downtown Disney Area" location for a hotel? How is that different from being in the Magic Kingdom area?

Looking at the maps and options, I'm going to have to take Bob and a his little cart and get him to tow me around! Wow!
Boy Toyz
An update on the availability of the HWMNBN Action Figure.

In response to OMBH's question, yes there is a fully "correct" version of the doll available. A special limited edition and is available for a limited time only from a special store outlet using a special ordering procedure.

Sources tell the Tuxedo Inn that the "full on" version of the doll is available for a nominal premium fee at "Beeb Toyz" in London City Center. Go to the back door on Tuesday mornings between 9 and 9:01 a.m., knock 4 times, kick twice, and whisper "Stiggy sent me you flaming Margaret!" when asked for the password.

You will have to sign a liability waiver when you pick up your "action figure".

Tuxedo Inn has learned that the "specialized" version of the doll comes with two extra stripey jumpers not generally available as well as the "Fusker" pet figure.

Please note the liability waiver indemnifies Beeb Toyz from any and all damages resulting from the purchase of this item including, traffic arrests, alienation of affection, and mental instability.

This item is constructed on a metal armature and may require extra time to get through customs. Customers from outside of the general London area are encouraged to "ship" their figure home as it will not pass airport pre-flight inspection.

HWMBN examines a mock up of the full out correct version of his namesake action figure.

If overall sales of the toy are brisk and the accessories sell well, there are plans for a "Deep Sea" version of the doll for next holiday season.

Editors Note: The Tuxedo Inn, while a liberal establishment, is refusing lodging to guests insisting on bringing their "Action Figure" in to share their room.
Hmmm, wonder if these links are useful?
More info on my "bad girl" DVD player. It's a Phillips DVP3140 and I got it for 40 bucks at Circuit City. Amazon says they are out. Overstock has it. With a little looking, it's probably available in other locations.

Please note that the DVD player will say nothing on the box or in the mannual about turning off the region. You have to go to the web for "hack" codes for that. I reset the region on mine with a few keystrokes on the remote.

Here's a few links that mention the keystrokes needed.

Turning Off Region Codes on Phillips DVD Players?

I started looking for Region 2 players when I bought a CD/DVD combo from Amazon US and discovered the DVD included was Region 2.

I'd like to repeat that I'm viewing legally purchased DVDs. I don't have any bootlegs or rip offs.
Thursday, December 31, 2009
Christmas Prezzies Triumph & Tragedy
My secret digital sister separated at birth, OMBH, missed a certain Christmas prezzie in her stocking this year.

All new action figure! Fully poseable! Double Jointed! Stripey Jumper Wardrobe Expander packs available now! New "Home Brewery" playset on sale in January! "Fusker The Demon Cat" pet figure included in specially marked packages!
"Fiat or Ferrari" changeable vehicle set available with 4 proofs of purchase and a cat food label! Get yours now!

On the other hand for my Christmas prezzie, Bob the Camel convinced HWMNBN that if he'd just take a little ride on the space shuttle, there was free beer on the moon.

I'm sure Bob waved goodbye. I know he packed him some peaches for the trip.

Because I am not a truly evil person I have not yet told OMBH that a DVD player that you can set to watch Region 2 DVDs only costs about 40 bucks at the Best Buy. You buy a cheap model regular DVD player and find the remote control button sequence hack that turns off the region on the player.

I have not done this because it would encourage her to fall into the same bad habit that I have. I buy DVDs from Amazon.UK and watch Top Gear or Mighty Boosh items that haven't been released in the U.S.

No I don't feel bad about it at all. I bought the DVD player legally. I bought the DVDs from legal sources. Royalties were paid. Licenses were paid. Everybody got their contractual cut. I get to sit up late at night laughing at things that make no sense to my American thought processes.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Setz Daddy!
"The leopard rocks his spots!"
"Why yes this is a Bigsby tail piece. Thank you for noticing!"

Brian Setzer Orchestra :: Japan Tour 2009 :: Photographer: Naoaki Toyofuku

Brian Setzer has brought the "BSO" back to life. (Brian Setzer Orchestra not Baltimore Symphony Orchestra) Setzer launched another successful Christmas Album but he's also released "Songs from Lonely Avenue".

"His hair is poifect and I'd like to meet his tailor!"


Run, do not walk, to your nearest computer and legally download this album to your MP3 player. Now. You'll get yourself a big ole dose of Retro Surf, Big Band, Swing Guitar, and some of the best electric guitar playing since Les Paul created "The Log".

With a song titled "King of the Whole Damn World" how can you go wrong?

"Dimes In The Jar" is my current favorite in the lot. It gives the body rocking satisfaction of a great rock anthem. The lines "Now I don't know how, I'm sure in the end now, there's some place that they go to burn." and "Never got handed a dollar by no one and here is the lesson I learned" have me doing the desk bound fist pump and head nod.

There are some great instrumentals as well. "Mr. Jazzer Goes Surfing" and "Mr. Surfer Goes Jazzin'" are foot tapping classic surf guitar best.

Fun Setzer Fact: The smoking hot redition of Malaguena issuing from "The Mariachi"s guitar in the beginning of "Once Upon A Time In Mexico" was actually played by Brian Setzer. He revisits the Spanish Guitar style in the current album's track "Elena".

Fun Setzer Fact #2: On the soundtrack for the creepy Jim Carrey movie "You, Me, & Irene" Mr. Setzer does a cover of "Bodhisattva" that is available nowhere else.

Have I made my mad love of Mr. Setzer's music clear enough? Will Love Monkey declare me his HooDoo VooDoo Doll? Has Bob's tummy calmed down from its Alfalfa Fluffies overdose? Will Roger Robot survive a trip into the art studio? If I drink a Rum Cocktail with Clindamycin will my head fall clean off? If it does will I care?

The answer to those and many other questions won't be forthcoming. But, if I can get my act together, a nice Rhapsody Playlist might be.

"There's nothing like a Gretsch"

Brian Setzer Orchestra :: Japan Tour 2009 :: Photographer: Naoaki Toyofuku
Warm & Cuddly Holidays?

A dreamy pic of the Mighty Boosh Boys from NoelFielding.Org

Stripey Jumpers get thee behind me! Baby girl is sipping on a cool, rum beverage and dreaming of New Year's Eve in Trafalgar Square with a special someone. (Of course it doesn't hurt that I'm on mondo-drugs for a dental abscess.)

If I was really in the mood for freezing my can off in a cheek to jowl crowd in a national capitol, I'm only 30 miles from D.C.

It's supposed to rain, sleet, and snow here for New Year's. Love Monkey is working until 6 p.m. and then he wants to make the trip to my house. I'm encouraging him to stay home until New Year's Day. No sense in driving 100 miles in bad weather. I'm going to the dentist on New Year's Eve and will most likely have a broken crown hammered off. My idea of a party is going to be Advil and sleep.

It's been a weird two weeks anyway. I've been putting in comp time to make up for being out sick so I've been here in the evenings. Last week some nut job microwaved aluminum foil and started a fire. The fire alarms went off and those of us that were here scrambled out the fire escapes. It took 45 minutes for the fire department to control the situation and search the building. Certainly a rough week for the building manager. (Long term power outage and a fire.)

Some manager someplace read a magazine that talked about "databases" and got the bright idea that IBM DB2 for ZOS is exactly like Access for Windows. Now they've got this amazing idea that we can reset any database to any second of any day with no problems. They have even volunteered us to demo this next week. Poo is flying around the office at high velocity.

Things are certainly like normal. :)

When I saw this pic I couldn't resist reposting it for OMBH.

Dreamy! From NoelFielding.Org
Monday, December 28, 2009
Trader Vics ?
2009 is the 75th year for Trader Vics!

Ok, I can hear you asking, "What the heck is Trader Vics?"

The best way to answer that is "The original Tiki Bar". With roots circa 1934 and a Polynesian flair, Trader Vics bar and restaurant pioneered the tiki mug and the Mai Tai. Today they are still going strong in multiple locations. (There are 10 of them in the Middle East! Which is odd since they specialize in bucket sized rum drinks.)

Click on this link to see Trader Vics drinks menu.
If you're a rum fan like I am, it will make you long for a nice refreshing beverage.

A fine example of Tiki Bar ware from Tiki Farm.

How does this differ from Jimmy Buffet gear you may ask? Trader Vics is "Tiki". Tiki has the Polynesian Pacific Ocean flair. It celebrates Hawaii joining the union and casts a dreamy eye across the Pacific neighborhood. Volcanoes are a reoccurring theme. Brian Setzer has used tiki themes on some of his most popular album covers. Trader Vics has a "colonial" era refinement and no coconut bras.

Jimmy Buffet is Atlantic ocean, Caribbean flair. There aren't as many volcanoes. Buffet flavor includes many unrefined, non-colonial, and semi-nude drunks in coconut bras.

Why the heck are you even talking about this? It's Christmas week!

It may be Christmas week but I'm back at work with an MP3 player programmed by a camel looking to raise my spirits. On this MP3 player he included his theme song, "Shake, Shake, Shake". He also included Warren Zevon's "Werewolves of London".

That song has cycled through over 10 times today and for the life of me the only line I even pay attention to is:

"He was drinking a Pina Colada at Trader Vics, and his hair was perfect!"

Which leads me to a pic of the only man I've ever thought about when I heard that line.

His hair was perfect!
The impeccably coiffed Barry Gibb "back in the day".

Of course there is the memorable line:
"I'd like to meet his tailor."

That makes me think of this man.

Jeremy Irons wearing Zegna & Brioni for Men's Vogue, April 2009.
This photo from "The Selvedge Yard" in March 2009 where they named Jeremy Irons to their style hall of fame.
(I have a personal love of Zegna style. Yummy.
Yes I can forgive this man the Citroen.)

Here I would point out that when viewing Trader Vics drink menu I saw they have a drink named the "London Sour" which immediately made me think of this man.

His hair looks imperfect and nobody wants to meet his tailor!
He is the London Sour!

(Yes OMBH that pic is for you.)
Roger Robot Never Knows. . . .

Roger robot never knows!

Roger Robot has had a rough first few days in my household.

Christmas day he popped out of his box, shiny and new, and ambled onto his charging dock. December 26th he came out off the doc and ran wildly around the house until he tuckered himself out and filled up his dust cup! After a brief nap on the charger Roger took a foray into the guest bedroom. I closed the door behind him so he would vacuum the entire door alcove. A short while later I noticed I didn't hear his humming and ambulating. When I opened the door Roger was gone! The closet door was closed, he couldn't be in there. I had storage boxes under the bed he couldn't be under there. The windows were still closed and locked. His "edge clean" brushes weren't curved enough to open the window locks anyway.

It looked as though Roger had been beamed back to the mothership. (Probably crying and yowling about abuse the whole way.) There was nothing for it but to get a flash light and check behind the furniture. I slumped myself onto the floor and began my search. After several moments of true holiday amazement, I shone the flashlight under the bed and saw a faint glimmer of aluminum.

Roger had pushed the storage boxes all the way under the bed and into the wall. He had then made a left turn and shoved a folded bookcase as far forward as it would go. To top it off, Roger had nuzzled under the sheet draped over the bookcase and shut himself off!

He was hiding!

I slithered part way under the bed and grabbed him out. He let out an indignant "BEEP!" and I took him back to his charger.

Roger slept the night on his charger. On Sunday I put him to work in my bedroom. he had plenty of room to roam under the bed. He beeped and booped and ran under the bed with his blue "extra cleaning" light blazing. After 30 minutes he was still circling and whirling and I stopped him to empty his dust cup.

Not only was the dust cup full but he had popcorn, a cup hook, a candy bar wrapper, and a Sams Club receipt stuffed in his yipper. Poor baby. His bumper was dusty and smudged and he was covered with dust from snout to tail!

I let him have a snooze on the power dock for a while then I sent him back in for another round. After twenty minutes of whirring around I heard him yell for help. His snuffling brushes where entwined with long hair and he could no longer snuffle.

I cleaned him up, removed his brushes and cleaned them, and emptied his dust cup again. The poor lad had snorfled under the bed for over an hour.

So much for the cleaning service that is supposed to be vacuuming under the bed!

When I did the new years heavy duty clean in the bedroom I found enough evidence that they cleaning ladies haven't been cleaning. They have been sacked.
Friday, December 25, 2009
Yeah, I do hope this does suck, really hard......

Roomy has come for a visit!

Remember when you were a little kid and your dad did something stupid like buy your mom an iron or a rug scrubber for Christmas? Remember the palpable sense of hostility that blossomed through the air?

Well, this year I bought myself a vacum cleaner for Christmas.

Yep, talk about self-abuse.

Sort of.

I bought a Roomba. It is supposed to be "smart" enough to amble out of its docking station and vacum my house while I'm at work. Then it's supposed to be smart enough to go get back on its charger when it gets tuckered out.

"Where are your cleaning ladies?" I hear you say.

Well, the cleaning ladies have been doing a crappy job and charging more for it so they have been snort-canned. After the "cleaning" last week I discoved the headboard on the bed had not been dusted "again". So that is that. Roomy will pay for himself shortly. (I hope!)

Since Roomy came straight from the factory he comes with a 30 day return option. If he falls over, crashes into the fridge, or doesn't suck then he goes back to the factory. Tonight he is in his charger revving up. Tomorrow he starts a 7 day a week cleaning regimine.

As for my "Christmas Travels", they were cancelled. I got my annual cold.

It has been a very quiet Chirstmas day. I've slept most of it. I've had nibbles on chockie chip cookies. I've spoken with Love Monkey on the phone.

Seriously I think I'll feel a whole lot better tomorrow.

Thanks for your Christmas wishes OMBH! :)

I made Bob a batch of Alfalfa Fluffies and he is stuffed full and sound asleep.

I hope Roomy can successfully navigate around a sleeping camel!
Monday, December 21, 2009
We Fell Off "The Grid"
Every time I think I have an understanding of just how big the company I work for is, they wow me again.

We all came in to work this morning and the parking lots were plowed and the the building was running full tilt. Along about 11 a.m. they came through and somberly asked us to assemble.

In the wake of local and state government furloughs and layoffs, we all took on the pallor of those about to suffer financial hardship. Instead we were quietly told that the entire building complex had "fallen off the grid" Friday evening and had been running completely on generator power for three days. Fuel reserves had hit a break point where normal building operations had to be curtailed so that worldwide field office and customer service could continue to be supported. Fuel had been contracted for but had not arrived. We were going to have to plan for an orderly stepped shut down of the building and finally all computer operations.

As we grimly assembled to figure out what to shut off first and how to stagger outages according to time zones, a fuel truck pulled up and started filling our tanks.

A small ripple of a rumor circulated that, because somewhere in the bowels of this operation we provide a chunk of high profile service to many registered voters, someone phoned someone who was elected and a fuel depot was moved up on the plowing priority list.

For the time being we are back in the utility as well as the computer bizz.

That leaves us with the "Fell off the grid" part of the equation.

It seems that our local utility, "Underworld Power & Darkness", is no longer supplying us with power. We paid the bill. We plowed the road. We trimmed the trees. Our lines are intact and fairly new. But power, is not available.

This is, of course, double speak and their sweet way of saying "We have no flippin' idea why your power is out." As of this hour they are still "researching" the issue.

Since there are local households still without power in the area, I believe our company is being quiet and nice about having to run our generators and burning all that expensive fuel. Once "UPD" says all customers have service again I believe we will begin gnawing on them like a large carnivore on a chicken wing at a happy hour buffet.

Let me say that I have nothing to do with gnawing or the detailed info on the situation. I can say that I have lived in expensive neighborhoods that went without power for weeks at a time because Underworld Power & Darkness had infrastructure so old that it broke in harsh weather and couldn't be readily repaired.

Public outrage over rates and service deficiencies have actually made it to the legislative venue several times lately.

I have a sneaking suspicion that if "UPD" hork us up any longer than tomorrow they are going to come face to face with a customer big enough that they can't be ignored.

Reddy Kilowatt, your friend and mine!