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Whatever You Do, Do SOMETHING
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Date:2012-04-03 17:43
Subject:My Weird Luck with Habanero Gardening

A year or two ago, I planted habaneros for the first time. They tear me up, but I love the things and, used correctly in a recipe, they're not nearly as painful as you'd think.

Now, habaneros are supposed to have a sluggish flowering and production at first. Then, as the first round matures, they just explode to the point you can pull off 100 per plant. I planted 6 and had 1 survive. I suck at gardening.

That batch, the first round came out great, but there was an unexpected cold snap and the second half of the buds stunted to about the size of peas. I made chili paste out of them and called it a day.

I planted my second batch last summer. Mind you, these are supposed to have a cycle of around 12-16 weeks. Of course, this time of the 6 I planted 4 survived. Also, of course, given my suckitude at gardening, they took closer to 6 months to flower and bud into peppers. By that time, it was turning cold on the desert, and there were many nights I brought them inside once they flowered rather than have them chill overnight.

I had about 20 on the plants that flowered in the first phase and was tending them along nicely after the flowers fell and they started to form into peppers. Then Nat and I went to Quebec for xmas. Of the extensive laundry list of things I left for the house/dog sitter, one thing I didn't mention was to bring the pepper planter in if it were going to be colder than 40 at night.

Sure enough, there was a cold snap and the growing peppers stunted. Once again, they were about the size of peas. Now, mind you, this is a plant that has one continued flowering. It's NOT a perennial. It doesn't flower twice.

Despite the stunting, I didn't bother to rip out the plants because, hey, living plants are good, right?

Well, here it is, April 3, and I'll be dipped in shit if >4 months after the first flowering, I don't have half a dozen bloomed flowers and more than 200 buds showing promise on the 4 plants in the box.

I told my buddy Mario at work, who is a fucking maestro with anything having to do with chilies, that if they all come in he'll have about 120 habaneros to work with, seriously - 50 is about all I'll be able to use - and that I want 25 percent of whatever product he comes up with.

What I don't fucking get is... This is NOT the way habaneros are supposed to function. One flowering! That's it! How in the hell are my peppers lying dormant for 4 months then picking the slack back up?

Don't get me wrong, I'll take it, but this is outside the standard rules of botany, and it has me befuddled.

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Date:2012-03-27 15:27
Subject:Thoughts on the postal service.

Yes, there is still a place for it in the US, but it will never be the major entity is was even 20 years ago. It’s too big, too redundant and has been too undercut by everything from faxes to email to other delivery services.

People have long shown they’re willing to give FedEx way more money to get their items shipped faster, with less hassle and more competent tracking, and dropping billions a year to maintain Mr. Franklin’s beloved institution is just stupid.

Here’s my thought: Garbage. I generate trash every day, but it only needs to be picked up once a week. Most people accumulate mail every day, too, but the huge majority of mail isn’t something that needs daily management.

If it weren’t for the fact that my wife gets paranoid about mailbox break ins, I’d never check the mail more than once a week.

Assign residents and businesses a weekly delivery day they do with collecting your trash. That way the carrier doesn’t have to do a large route every day for little delivery at each individual place. S/he could hit Zone 1 Monday, Zone 2 Tuesday, etc. It would reduce street staff and vehicle costs, not make sorting any more cumbersome than it already is and save billions in the budget. Special deliveries like registered letters, priority boxes and parcels could be done at the door, given the amount of time saved, or you could schlep down to the PO if they missed you on the first attempt.


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Date:2012-03-16 12:05
Subject:My own take

Nothing to see here. Just needed a public link so I could show someone the Red 71 logo I came up with a hell and gone number of years ago. Carry on.

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Date:2012-03-11 10:50
Subject:The Vow (To never watch that again)

Nat and I like relationship movies. You know, not the generic romcom things but movies about how people in love go about loving each other. For example, we both wept like idiots at The Notebook even given the fact that most of the problems the people in love had they made for themselves.

So, last night being an impromptu date night, we went to see The Vow. Ugh.

First off, the premise is based on a real incident. A couple was involved in a crash. She had a pretty interesting brain injury in that she remembered her life fine up until a point just a few years prior. Unfortunately, the missing chunk included her entire relationship with her partner.

And here's where I start to shit on my fellow marketers. In the trailers, Channing Tatum's wedding vow is played promising how he's going to be there for her forever, care for her however she needs, etc. The also show a scene where he takes her on a date to some of their old haunts hoping to either jog her memory or help her build new ones to fall in love again.

That wouldn't have been a bad movie, but that one set of scenes is the only example of that strategy. Instead, we see Rachel McAdams enjoying the life and people she'd walked away from years earlier, Tatum wandering around like a 30 year old mopey Thommy Lee Jones and everybody just kind of wishing things were different. I know I did.

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Date:2011-12-10 14:50
Subject:Mormon Food Canary Raid

Looks like shit's about to hit the fan.

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Date:2011-12-02 10:01
Subject:Lily Update

Originally posted by ofenjen at Lily Update

Lily got to see a vet today and has had an exam, bloodwork and x-rays. She's been vaccinated and tested negative for FLV. All good things. Despite her injured leg, she is a healthy and incredibly friendly kitten. My sister said the vet had a hard time hearing her heartbeat because she was purring so loudly.

Now, here's the crazy part.

If you get angry easily, you better sit down for this.

The problem with her leg?

She was shot. Her tiny leg is full of shrapnel from the elbow joint down. It's likely she'll have to have it amputated.

I have no words. A kitten. SHOT.

She will have a consultation with an orthopedic surgeons soon to see what, if anything, can be done for her leg. The current estimate for surgery is $1500. That is just the surgery and does not include today's exam and tests or having her spayed, which sounds like it will have to be after her leg has healed.

In defiance of the completely heartless idiot did this to her we, my friends, will do our best to put this right. My sister and her husband are keeping Lily. She has a good home, now we just need to help her get the care she needs. I have pledged to help my sister and her hubby in any way I can so we can help Lily get better and have a healthier, happier life. Altogether, her fees look to be in the $2000 range. She is young, and other than her injury, she is healthy, and she is undeniably a people cat and is already responding well to the love and care she's receiving.

To every single person that has already donated to help Lily, I thank you and my sister sends her thanks. I can't even begin to express in words how much your generosity means to us. We've already raised $140 towards Lily's care, and that is in less than 24 hours. YOU ALL ROCK.

If you're just now finding this story and want to hear the beginning OR make a donation, you can click here for more information.


I'd like to come up with some other ways to help Lily. If you have a suggestion of something that we can do, please let me know.

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Date:2011-11-13 06:14
Subject:On politics
Mood:Rodney King

Just because you're dead wrong on a political issue doesn't mean I hate you. [;-)}>

I've been seeing this on FB a bunch, lately, which paring down of FLs because of political differences. Look, there are right around 3 people on the planet I universally agree with on politics. Everyone else, pick an issue and you will find significant ideological differences. Big whoop.

For fuck's sake, if my Heinlein-style libertarian self can be friends with jblaque, and I am, I fucking love that guy even though there's hardly an issue on the spectrum he's not dead wrong about, because we both acknowledge we're smart and capable people who are not out to overthrow the world, there's hope for all of us.

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Date:2011-10-13 10:02
Subject:Mississippi Personhood Amendment

Originally posted by gabrielleabelle at Mississippi Personhood Amendment

Okay, so I don't usually do this, but this is an issue near and dear to me and this is getting very little no attention in the mainstream media.

Mississippi is voting on November 8th on whether to pass Amendment 26, the "Personhood Amendment". This amendment would grant fertilized eggs and fetuses personhood status.

Putting aside the contentious issue of abortion, this would effectively outlaw birth control and criminalize women who have miscarriages. This is not a good thing.

Jackson Women's Health Organization is the only place women can get abortions in the entire state, and they are trying to launch a grassroots movement against this amendment. This doesn't just apply to Mississippi, though, as Personhood USA, the group that introduced this amendment, is trying to introduce identical amendments in all 50 states.

What's more, in Mississippi, this amendment is expected to pass. It even has Mississippi Democrats, including the Attorney General, Jim Hood, backing it.

The reason I'm posting this here is because I made a meager donation to the Jackson Women's Health Organization this morning, and I received a personal email back hours later - on a Sunday - thanking me and noting that I'm one of the first "outside" people to contribute.

So if you sometimes pass on political action because you figure that enough other people will do something to make a difference, make an exception on this one. My RSS reader is near silent on this amendment. I only found out about it through a feminist blog. The mainstream media is not reporting on it.

If there is ever a time to donate or send a letter in protest, this would be it.

What to do?

- Read up on it. Wake Up, Mississippi is the home of the grassroots effort to fight this amendment. Daily Kos also has a thorough story on it.

- If you can afford it, you can donate at the site's link.

- You can contact the Democratic National Committee to see why more of our representatives aren't speaking out against this.

- Like this Facebook page to help spread awareness.

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Date:2011-09-02 10:01
Subject:Ladies, ladies...

I have to say, I'm a little disappointed. Yesterday was my birthday, and only one of you remembered to send me naked pix. Step up and make with the nudity already.

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Date:2011-05-20 09:12
Subject:Writer's Block: Avast, me hearties!

If you were a pirate, where would your hideout be and what would it look like?
Somewhere in the Caribbean and operated out of a boat repair and salvage business.

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Date:2011-05-14 12:59
Subject:Writer's Block: Tobacco road
Mood:Oh fuck off already

Would you want your city to outlaw smoking on public streets? Why or why not?
Absolutely not. The degree of concession to anti-smoking idiots has already gone too far. No smoking in any non-residential building, no smoking within 20 feet of a doorway, no smoking in the presence of children all the while raising taxes to support dipshit "public health" initiatives... etc. Fuck you. I'm not even a regular smoker anymore, but non-smokers seem to think they have the right to go their entire existence without ever even catching a whiff of dreaded tobacco. Tell ya what, when I don't have to smell the wave of musky perfume coming off the obese chick in the mumu, you can have a say in not catching a microgram of cigarette smoke coming off me 50 feet from the doorway.

Seriously, fuck a bunch of that.

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Date:2011-05-13 12:07
Subject:C&R Tire
Mood: pissed off

We have a C&R Tire shop in our neighborhood. Since my old mechanic is clear on the other side of town, and since we bought a discount from them awhile back, Nat and I have used them for most of our car repairs the last year or so.

They've managed to fuck up every. single. job.

They did a full brake job for me a couple months ago. The rotors they put on were out of round.

They did a coolant leak repair for Nat a bit after that. Two weeks later her tank was dry and she nearly overheated.

Yesterday was Nat's ASU graduation day. She didn't want to attend the ceremony, opting instead that we take a hooky day and go down to Kartchner's Caverns. I knew my water pump had a pretty bad leak so, since I was taking the day off, decided to drop my car off, get that replaced, take her car on the road trip and pick my car up this morning.

That part of it worked. I picked the car up and paid the bill this morning, drove to Circle K to fill up, worked my way out of their accursed parking lot and headed for the freeway. 200 yards before the freeway entrance, my HOLY SHIT bell goes off. I look down and my temp gauge is redlined. Mind you, I'm all of a mile from the shop. I abandon my intent to get on the freeway and go to work, crank up the heat and defroster and the temp starts to drop immediately. I pull into the mall parking lot on the other side of the freeway entrance, get out and see a sea of coolant pouring out of my engine.

I pop the hood and see the coolant is running at a very fast drip OUT OF MY BRAND NEW FUCKING WATER PUMP.

I call the shop and explain all this to the manager, quite politely, I might add. "Oh. Shit." was his verbatim response. 15 minutes later he pulled in on his motorcycle, took a look and was stymied as to how that could have happened. I said, "Regardless of what your techs told you and what it says on my bill, they did not, in fact, road and pressure test the system after replacing the pump. If they had, it's pretty likely they would have noticed the river of coolant pouring out of it."

He said, "We WILL get you fixed up. I'll need to have this towed back to the shop and, if need be, we'll get you a rental for the day."

"Needs be," I said.

So, an hour later the tow arrives and we head back. The rental office they use has no cars available. Luckily, while he's on the phone trying to find another one, Nat calls. She's received my rather annoyed VM explaining the situation and offers me her car for the day as long as I will pick her up after work. Deal.

While they've been excellent in fixing their mistakes after the fact, the fact that they've fucked up three for three on pretty damn simple repairs (It's not like I've sent them after that mysterious short in my AC switch or anything that they'd have to actually track down and guess what the problem was.) makes them a solid:




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Date:2011-04-21 15:28
Subject:Useful Information

I take Prilosec daily. It comes in handy for keeping my stomach acids from consuming the rest of my body. I took the last one in my pack Monday morning, then forgot to put the next pack in my bag.

I realized this as I was driving into work Tuesday morning. No worries, I thought, there's a CVS on the way. I'll just pick one up.

I went in, thought, "Oh happy day," or words to that effect, "it's even on the front display."

It wasn't until I got to the office, opened the pack and took a pill that I noticed the expiration date: 12/10. "Hmmm," says I, "four months past expiration isn't good. I hope they don't give me any shit when I return these tomorrow."

I stopped in Weds. morning. The manager dude, an early 20 something guy, professionally dressed but with his lower arm tats still showing, said, "Can I help you?"

"Yeah, I bought these yesterday morning and didn't notice until I'd opened them and taken one they expired in December."

(Flat voice) "That's not good. Do you want a refund or to just grab another one?"

"I'll just replace it."

"Okay." Seriously, this guy's voice had all of two tones to it. He wasn't an emo sounding slack-ass, but his enthusiasm for life meter read triple 0s.

I walked over to the front counter display and he said, "Oh, dude, you should go to the aisle. Stuff on the front display never gets rotated out. I'm not surprised the stuff you bought was expired."

I looked at him like, "Uh, what?" I mean, I can understand that the candy might be a little old, but medicine?

I pulled the 4 remaining off the rack. Two expired 12/10; the other two expire 03/12. I grabbed one of the still valid ones, handed him the two dead ones and put the last one back on the display.

"Oh, thanks, sir. Have a great day. Sorry about that. Remember, only buy from the aisle."

"Uh, right."

And now I know...

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Date:2011-03-09 18:19
Mood: pleased

Aaaaaaaaand after a few hours of breaking in and practice last night, my draw from my new Galco leather thumb break paddle holster is now officially just a shade bit faster than my draw from my FOCBUS Kydex with no thumb break.


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Date:2011-03-08 15:09
Subject:It's Finally Up

Gorram Facebook. It's kind of become my go-to. So much that I apparently can forget to post exciting (to me at least) news here for a few days.

Anyway, over the weekend I finally got the website for my side business, Fete de Maison, Your At-Home Chef's Service, up and running.

And yes, if you're on Facebook, there's a page for it there as well.

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Date:2011-02-28 13:32
Subject:LOL... Whut?

I just got an email from Desert Gear. 5.11 Tactical Gear, one of the most expensive companies in the market, is raising their prices by around 25 percent pretty much across the board stating March 1. Desert Gear will maintain their current pricing until March 4.

So, I guess if you want a really overpriced pair of cargo pants, now's the time to order or something.

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Date:2011-02-28 09:24
Subject:Color me surprised

What American accent do you have?
Created by Xavier on

Southern. Love it or hate it, your accent says you're probably from somewhere south of the Ohio River.

If you're not from the South, you probably were overanalyzing the questions. Take the quiz again but don't think so hard next time.

Take this quiz now - it's easy!
We're going to start with "cot" and "caught." When you say those words do they sound the same or different?

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Date:2011-01-25 13:56
Mood: excited

I'm a happy, happy man. My DVDs of Justified arrived today.

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Date:2011-01-22 19:51
Subject:Heh heh

A couple weeks ago I was in Costco and experienced the following. (Please keep in mind that I freaking loathe Trader Joe's.)

I had just put a double pack of Kirkland's Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil in the cart and was headed down the aisle. An elderly Jewish man and his late-20s grandson were walking down the aisle in the opposite direction.

"Do you need some olive oil, gramps?"

"Let's get that at Trader Joe's. They have a good olive oil."

Me: "Actually, sir, if you don't mind my butting in, a recent poll of national chef's ranked the Kirkland Extra Virgin Olive Oil higher than Trader Joe's, and if you use it in any quantity at all, buying the double pack here is about half price what you'd pay there."

Gramps, seeing the olive oil in my cart: "If you don't mind my asking, how do you know this?"

Me, sticking out my hand" "Sorry, sir. Roland Murphy, chef-owner of Fete de Maison at home chef's service. I follow industry news."

Gramps: "Michael! Listen to this man. He's a chef. What kind did you say?"

Me: "The Kirkland Organic extra virgin. It's a double pack, but it's still half the price of what you'd pay at TJ's for the same quantity."

Gramps: "Michael! Get that! (to me) Thank you, chef. I appreciate you taking the time."

Me: "No problem at all, sir. Enjoy."

Michael (aside): "Thanks. He loves when stuff like this happens. Now he can say, 'This oil was recommended by a chef I met.'"

Me (to Michael): "No worries. Glad I could help."

So, I walked away happy to give an old man a story and happier still that I'd cost Trader Joe's a sale. Win-win.

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Date:2011-01-11 15:37
Subject:A sad realization - The anniversary of Bitz the Wondermutt's last walk.
Mood: sad

As I was driving to the funeral home this morning to pay my last respects to a dear friend's husband, it occurred to me: Today makes 2 years since I took Bitz on her last walk.

Bitz was starting to fade again after a decent attempt at a rally over her liver infection, and I'd started to accept this was it. Sydney was being particularly high energy that afternoon and Nat didn't want her pestering Bitz, so she decided to take Syd for a walk to wear her down.

A couple minutes after they left I walked down the side hall from the bedroom, toward the closet where we keep the dog's leashes. She was walking up the other side of the L and met me next to the closet, sat down and looked back and forth from me to the doorknob, the way she did when she wanted to go for a walk.

I told her, "No, Puppy Girl, we can't go for a walk. You're too sick," and petted her behind the ears the way she liked. She didn't wag her tail. She looked again and gave me the saddest look I've ever seen. It was as if she was trying to say, "Don't let the last walk we took be the last one we take. I've got one more in me, I know it. Let's go out in style one last time, just the way we used when we didn't know how many walks we had left." Then she raised her foot and pawed at the air.

What else could I do? I suited her up and led her slowly to the door. When we crossed the threshold onto the step she sat down like she always did to wait for me to close and lock the door. The sky was clear and the sunshine was warm on us both.

We made our way left, past the couple of houses and to the end of the street. Then we crossed and turned right, walking very slowly and haltingly down to the other end, about 15 houses or so. We saw Nat and Sydney walking away from us when we got near the corner, but we didn't call out or try to catch up. This was our time, the last outing of two partners who had been through hell and back together. We crossed back to our side of the street and, even more slowly, made our way back to the house.

I let her in, and she walked over to her bed in the living room. She was panting, but not out of breath. Just before she laid down for a much-earned rest, she barked. One full, loud, deep throated, "WOOF!"

I knew what she meant, "Thanks!"

No, Baby Girl, thank you for giving me the gift of that one last walk. It was your last gift to me, and I treasure that one like no other. Those 10 minutes are the one good memory I have of the two weeks it took you to wear down and leave me. I can't ever thank you enough for that.

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