YouTube Better Watch Out

…the new iPhones are coming with a new video and “send to YouTube” capability. And yes, David signed us both up for when they come out, as we’ve got 1st Gen phones, and we get a better deal because we didn’t upgrade before now. So I’m expecting somebody will be working on a WordPress plugin for iPhone-to-blog video, or maybe there’s already a way to get stuff from YouTube to post on WP blogs.


The New iPhone Breaks Ground — and News – Media Decoder Blog – NYTimes.com

iphone

In its introduction of the next-generation iPhone on Monday, Apple demonstrated a new video recording function that will turn millions of the company’s phones into video cameras. Perhaps most important, the software includes a “send to YouTube” option, suddenly making it simple to upload iPhone content to the world’s foremost video Web site.

The possibilities for on-the-scene videos of breaking news are profound. The iPhone isn’t the first platform to include a “send to YouTube” option, but it is the most popular, and it will very likely lead to increased uploading of eyewitness video.

“Mobile is the future of citizen journalism,” said Rachel Sterne, the founder and chief executive of the citizen journalism site GroundReport. “Helping people report on the ground, wherever they are, will only increase the speed of newsgathering.”

Ms. Sterne said the “send to YouTube” function is important because it “not only streamlines the newsgathering process, but educates the public on how to report.”

“Most people are still learning how to independently document news events, and there’s a learning curve,” she said. “This will support citizen journalism efforts because it trains laymen to be reporters.”

GroundReport is an official content partner of YouTube.

UPDATE: It’s getting confusing. First it’s “Oh, wait, we have to wait until our contract is up” to upgrade our 1st Gen iPhones, or we’ll pay a high fee. Then earlier today David said that from the AT&T website it appeared we were eligible for some kind of upgrade. But then there’s also this:

NPR: iPhone Cost, Service Fees Stir Upgrade Debate

Costly Upgrades

The $99 price for the base model of the iPhone, however, is far from the cost you’ll pay if you’re an existing iPhone user and your contract is not up for renewal.

But Apple’s unveiling on Monday of the third-generation iPhone coincided approximately with the expiration of the two-year contract for those customers who signed up for the original iPhone. So, they’ll be eligible to buy their choice of a new iPhone at the same price as new customers.

But if you want to upgrade early — before your current contract with AT&T expires, or if you don’t want to sign up for a two-year commitment — then be prepared to pay a higher price. (You can check your eligibility for an upgrade online.)

An early upgrade for the new iPhone triples the price to $299 for the 8GB iPhone 3G (the 16 GB model will cost $349). For the iPhone 3G S, the upgrade price is $399 for the 16GB model and $499 for the 32GB version.

And if you don’t want a contract at all, then you’ll pay $499 for the 8GB iPhone 3G or $549 for the 16GB. And for the iPhone 3G S, it will cost $599 for the 16GB model and $699 for the 32GB version.

These sky-high prices for owning the latest iPhones are raising eyebrows online among Apple aficionados.

But some people joining the online chorus are also glad to see that there are some discounts available for users with an existing contract who want to upgrade now.

Larry Stickney Has Two (2) Followers

Flickr

According to Pam’s House Blend, Larry Stickney of Protect Marriage

Washington has a Twitter follower FAIL:

Yep, two (2) followers. No SEO guys? No life coaches? No Bacon/Anti-

Bacon bots? Not an impressive showing of support for withholding

marriage rights on “moral” grounds.

Ginny

I can has iPhone?

Via: Flickr
Title: Larry Stickney Has Two (2) Followers
By: GinnyRED57
Originally uploaded: 26 May ’09, 11.10am CDT PST

UPDATE: Added the link to PHB that I couldn’t do as easily from the iPhone with the image in the mix, and while grabbing it, checked Mr. Stickney’s Twitter page. Still no followers, no new updates.  Larry has a sad.

Making Light: Nobody living can ever stop me

(Video removed by YouTube because HBO contacted them and claimed it was “infringing.” Stay classy, HBO.)
Saw this on our way back in the car, reading away on my iPhone:

Making Light: Nobody living can ever stop me

Okay, I admit it, my heart skipped a beat when I realized that Pete Seeger was really going to sing the whole song, including the “controversial” verse:

There was a big high wall there that tried to stop me;
The sign was painted, it said private property;
But on the back side it didn’t say nothing;
That side was made for you and me.

Other “controversial” but needful verses, as noted in the comments:

In the squares of the city
In the shadow of the steeple
At the relief office
I saw my people
As they stood there hungry
I stood there whistling

Nobody living can ever stop me,
As I go walking that freedom highway;
Nobody living can ever make me turn back
This land was made for you and me.

UPDATE: But nobody at HBO must be a living, breathing soul, because they stopped Pete Seeger’s inspiring performance at the end of the Inaugural Concert from being seen on the Internets.

On The Verge

Doyce, whose blog posts I read most often at one remove via the miracle of quotes and feeds, starts it off:

I’m actively communicating online all day, every day, but my main blog languishes. Why is that?

Simplicity. Twitter tweets, facebook updates, Flickr photo posting, and sharing news articles with commentary… all of those things are easier and faster BY AN ORDER OF MAGNITUDE than posting via Movable Type.

Via What it boils down to is this… – doycetesterman

And ***Dave carries it forward:

Now, I don’t do Facebook, and have never had a justification (see below) for using Twitter. But my own blogging has suffered, net, because of my love affair with Google Reader, and the “Share” and “Share with Note” functionality in same. Where, once, if I wanted to post about something cool I’m reading, I had to be at my machine, open up a blog client, write something out, do some cut-and-paste excerpting and copy over the link … now I just click on a button to Share with other GReader users — or on another one and write out a quick note.

It’s that easy. That quick, painless, seductively easy. And the result is the flood of stuff that appears in the sidebar of this blog each day under “Unblogged Bits.”

Yes, it’s that easy to use a quick and dirty method to share a link, or comment briefly about some transient insight. But it’s not sitting down, thinking, and putting words out there for all to read. It’s not blogging. It’s not writing. It’s not taking the time and effort to craft something worth doing, whether it’s for one’s own enjoyment or the (possibly imaginary) edification of others. And sure, it may be because it’s incredibly easy to just jot something quickly on Twitter, or click a Google Reader “share” link on a mobile device. It’s convenient, it’s fast, and it works.

But I, too have been blogging a lot less in the last year or so – even with all the election stuff. Oh, sure, I was copying and pasting quotes and links and posting them in the blog, but that’s not what I consider to be real, deep, personal blogging. This blog is supposed to be my Pensieve, and I just have not been pulling whispy memories out of my head with an alder wand and storing them away where they’re safe; they’ve been left to fade away into nothing. Stuff happens in my not-terribly-interesting life; funny things are said, interesting insights are had, books are read and music is heard. But you’d never know it from the never-ending cascade of regurgitated newsblather I’ve been in the habit of posting lately.

The problem is time, or specifically the lack of it, and constraints on my use of it.

The speed of posting/sharing GReader items is important, but the ease and portability of that sharing is just as important. The fact is, my life has, for reasons I’m not altogether pleased about, gotten a lot busier in the last year. As a result, I don’t do much posting from the office, and evenings are often a choice between a dozen different urgent activities, only one of which is blogging. ***Dave, ibid

Like ***Dave, I can blog on the fly, but my tool of choice is the iPhone which is never far from my hand. Using the iPhone, I can even blog with my CMS of choice, WordPress, with pictures either emailed to Flickr and bounced to the blog via an email link from there, or direct to the blog itself using one of several plugins. But the limitations of the interface are that you must tap letters, numbers and symbols out with one or two fingers or thumbs, so you can never type as quickly as you could on a full-size keyboard. Certainly, much faster than someone on a cell phone could text, but not as fast as I’m typing now. And it’s not currently possible to copy text to quote, or a url to cite in a blog post, although within some applications there are work-arounds. It’s great for posting quick photos, though. And I could set up an email-to-blog interface if I really wanted, but it would be a security problem for the main blog.

I’ve chosen to do that instead with a Blogger blog that I consider an extension called ginny’s links galore. I send links there from within Google Reader, but it’s not possible to edit them first; the email link sends the whole post. I’d have to fire up Blogger on a full-size desktop or laptop computer to get anything useful done as to editing there. It’s just a stopgap.

The real problem, as stated, is time. There’s not enough of it after work, and I don’t even have kids or hobbies. When I get home, I tend to veg out for a while before dinner, whether David cooks or I do. And then there’s TV. Might play a few hands of solitaire, catch up on Reader either on a full-bore computer or the ubiquitous iPhone, and then bed.

During work? Not bloody likely. A couple of years ago, I used to update constantly through the day – I had work tasks that left me with a lot of pending time while waiting for processes to complete, so I’d blog a lot about stuff I was reading online. But that changed with a recent “NO INTERNET DURING WORK TIME” edict, which is pretty strictly enforced (with some exceptions if you are on a “sanctioned” site for work purposes, such as looking for hotels using Google Maps or catching up on travel or weather news. Part of the policy specifically states “no updating personal websites or commenting on websites,” too.

Yeah, it’s that detailed.

So for a couple of years, no netsurfing and no blogging from work. As Wonkette is wont to say, the end.

Early last year, enter the iPhone: a handy little appliance that allows me to netsurf, catch up on email, or play games while waiting for an incoming call (so long as I’m otherwise caught up on my tasks). Google Reader, my RSS feed reader of choice, turned out to have a really slick, clean iPhone interface (complete with Share Note button, nyah! and email button). I get a kick out of reading stuff my husband David, or ***Dave shares. I need to find more people who share, too. And I sometimes think it’s a shame that the great little shared-comments scroll off so quickly, but life moves pretty fast.

More recently – the week of Blago’s arrest, actually, when I was home sick – I got into Twitter. It seemed kind of dumb, but then I started seeing hints of why some people rave about it so.

For one thing, Wil Wheaton and Levar Burton are on there, talking about interesting stuff in their real lives and not making like they’re stuck up famous actor-types. They’re people with concerns and problems and triumphs and questions. Just like, yes this is a platitude, everybody else. But because they’re famous, they’re more interesting than most and get more attention. However, I’m also just as interested in Sockington the Tweeting Cat, who is hi-larious.

And I’m on Facebook, too. It’s only recently started to get fun again; it had become a drag because there were too many goofy applications and games requests.

For a while, I had it set up that all of my “tweets” from Twitter would go to Facebook, and I’ve got both services patched into the sidebar of Blogula along with my Google Reader items, which are called “RED57’s Googlies.” But I had doubled up too much: I had Twitter set up to automatically post a tweet whenever I blogged something, and I also had Facebook set up to post a status update when I “imported notes” from my blog automatically. It’s much cleaner and more sane now that my Twitter stuff stays put, and the Facebook stuff doesn’t get all snarled up.

And then there’s Flickr. Well, there’s a ton – like MANY MANY MANY hundreds of pictures from a few recent trips that haven’t been uploaded. In some cases, the pictures are still sitting on flash cards. There’s so much volume that I can’t seem to sit down and take the time to sort through the cards, pick out the best images, and deal with them in coherent, workable batches. YET, I seem to have time for endless games of Spider Solitaire, or Gawd help me, Space Cadet. I’ve been coasting along using my cameraphone to send photos to Flickr, but frankly, some of them haven’t been that good. I’m feeling the need to pay more attention to photography again.

Really, all this tweeting and status updating and Flickring ought to be the supporting cast to the star of the show, my main blog. And the lack of original content here has been bugging me enough lately that I’ve tried to make more of an effort. Recent updates and theme changes certainly help; the new WordPress interface makes it easier than ever to do great stuff, and it looks good once posted (especially when compared to the semi-automated posts at the Blogger version). One of my sidebar gadgets is a live visitor update dealio, and it tickles me no end to see how many people are trying to figure out how old their washer/dryers are and how to do drop shadows on images with CSS.

Reading these posts of Doyce’s and ***Dave’s make me want to get off my figurative and literal ass and blog in a more writerly fashion. Sure, I will continue to use Google Reader/Twitter/Facebook/Flickr and put content from those sources on the sidebars of Blogula Rasa, especially during the work day. And it is at least possible and not difficult to do a blog post using the iPhone only (but it’s not very efficient or comfortable for posts of more than a paragraph in length). But all the new beginnings this year are working in me like yeast in a batch of bread (or better yet, in a pail of homebrew).

I want to do better. I need to make time for real blogging. I feel like I’m on the verge.

Reviewing Earth To The Dandy Warhols … Shoulda Tried Before I Buyed

The Dandy Warhols – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Dandy Warhols are a US rock band formed in Portland, Oregon, by Courtney Taylor-Taylor (vocals, guitar), Zia McCabe (keyboard), Peter Holmström (guitar), and Eric Hedford (drums), who left in 1998 to be replaced by Taylor-Taylor’s cousin Brent De Boer. The band’s name is a pun on the name of American pop artist Andy Warhol.

The Dandy Warhols are strongly influenced by The Velvet Underground, Beach Boys, Simon and Garfunkel, The Beatles, The Shadows, and The Rolling Stones as well as including implicit musical references to My Bloody Valentine in some songs. Front man Courtney Taylor-Taylor describes the band beginning as a group of friends who “needed music to drink to.”[

With a pedigree like this, I really should like this CD better. I bought it in a Dublin music store on the strength of “name recognition,” as I’d heard something by them on WXRT. Ripped it to iTunes, but never actually got around to listening to it all the way through before now. I fell out of the iPod/iTunes habit because at work I was told I could no longer listen with headphones under my headset while waiting for a call.

Wait, whut? Yes, it’s not uncomfortable or difficult to switch with the right headphones, especially the iPhone ones with the built in pause/start clicker. I could hear the caller on the headset just fine. But a VP at work saw me while clients were visiting and didn’t think it was quite the thing. Only now am I getting back into music via iPhone. So I’ve climbed back into bed with laptop, iPhone, headphones, USB cable, and tea to rip a CD… but not in the way you think.

Pause for cough. Cough over. Here we go:

Musee D’Nougat 14:46
This song is fourteen minutes and forty-six seconds’ worth of self-indulgent musical wanking. Inconsequential, pleasant New Age instrumental with fake British or German nattering and airport-announcement “found sound.” Vaguely Pink Floydish, kind of relaxing, so I moved it to my “Sleep” playlist. There’s a little bit at the end that sounds like a really annoying ringtone; if it’s bad enough to wake me up (I really do use that playlist to help me fall asleep) I will delete this waste of a quarter of an hour.

Valerie Yum 7:01
The chorus sounds like “meow meow meow meow meow.” Listenable, but only if you like cats.

Beast Of All Saints 4:47
Don’t remember. That was 10 minutes ago. The title has a vaguely churchy, vaguely evil ring to it, though.

The Legend Of The Last Of The Outlaw Truckers AKA The Ballad Of Sheriff Shorty 3:44
This song is shorter than its title. Good, though, first one I liked.

Mis Amigos 4:31
Two good cuts in a row, hope this is a trend. Sounds like “Baby Elephant Walks After Dropping Acid” and includes percussion on oil drums (not tuned), a motorcycle, and (I think) a chain saw.

Now You Love Me 3:09
Straight ahead, propulsive requited-love song. Think this is one of the songs I heard on the radio, I like the break with the off-beat jangling guitar.

Love Song 3:48
Pretty, jangly. That’s about it.

Talk Radio 5:28
Slower rhythm. Really makes the lead singer’s rough “hey I’m a rock star singing a ballad” voice kind of repetitive. Does he ever come out of this sotto voce mutter? Oh, and that musical break is totally a shout-out to Led Zep’s patented “let’s play some weird-ass time signature that’s not divisible by two or three” trick.

And Then I Dreamt of Yes 4:42
Now THIS is the song I’d heard that made me want to buy this CD. Lead singer applies the “Taco” old-timey radio filter. Voice not perceptibly different from other songs on the CD, though.

Wasp In The Lotus 4:36
Oh, good, another whispering homage to Claudine Longet. Atmospheric, though. It’s clear that I really like the instrumentation and almost like the backup singing, but I’ve really taken against the lead’s breathy faux-drama. It’s as if Trent Reznor of NIN never broke into the primal screams. The backup singing is nothing special – these guys can hit the correct notes capably, but their real talent is in playing instruments, and layering found sounds.

Welcome To The Third World 5:50
Thank goodness, whispering disco a la “Miss You” era Rolling Stones. It’s about time. Ah, actually singing in head tones now… sounds a lot like Fee Waybill. Do they NEVER turn off the echo filter??

Mission Control 2:16
A funky electronic groove; we appear to be channeling Midnight Oil‘s Peter Garrett in a slightly less scary baritone, but it’s obviously an uncomfortable stretch.

The World The People Together (Come On) 4:42
Hurray! Last song! It’s different sounding than the rest! Yay! Still a big ol’ wall of jangly, but it’s in a higher key and what a relief it is. I notice this Courtney Taylor-Taylor, the lead singer, can’t seem to sustain a note comfortably without having to “do” something; either filter it, add fuzz, or deliberately fall off the note. He’s got no resonance, no tone; can sing a little, but not that well. Doesn’t have enough color in the voice to be ballsy about it, either; not everybody can pull off a raspy delivery and overcome it with great phrasing.

Frustratingly, the next song on iTunes was “Lift Thine Eyes” from Handel’s ‘Elijah,’ a piece I sang a month or two back as part of a trio. This damn cough has made me croaky as a frog, so I couldn’t sing along for shit as a kind of musical palate-cleanser.

I’m usually not so happy to get to the end of a CD. Taken individually, most of the songs are likable enough, but listening to the whole thing (especially without skipping that fourteen minute monster at the beginning) is trying my musical patience. And every song is frustratingly familiar; I don’t have the right kind of memory to be able to cite a specific group on every song, but they all sound a whole lot like somebody else’s hit, except slower and with more jangling.

Meson Sabika: Flamenco Holiday Party

We went to the holiday party last night for David’s office. In recent years, it’s been an enjoyable enough affair, especially after they stopped booking the DJ nobody liked… but the experience we had was somewhat beyond our wildest expectations of a nice evening.

Meson Sabika was the setting, a large mansion in Naperville, which is one of the few Chicago suburbs with a sense of its own history. First settled in 1811, it’s set in gently rolling country, with a vibrant and architecturally appealing downtown, with public space and art everywhere. We drove down after work, and I was in my typically grumpy “I HATE GETTING DRESSED UP” frame of mind on the way. All that changed as soon as we walked in the door.

The Willoway Mansion was built in 1847 and sits on a pristine four-acre estate near downtown Naperville. After a meticulous renovation that brought back the mansion’s original charm as well as added modern conveniences to the restaurant, Meson Sabika opened it’s doors in 1990.

It goes without question, that the restaurant offers an unmatched dining experience. Guests can dine indoors and enjoy the grace and charm reminiscent of a European Villa or can choose to sit outdoors on the terrace while enjoying the ultimate alfresco experience underneath 150-year-old oak trees which cover the estate.

Guests will find that each item on the menu offers a taste of Spain. Whether it’s enjoying hot and cold tapas, sangria, an entrée or a vintage wine – there’s always a pleasant combination of exceptional food, friendly service, and unique atmosphere where family and friendship can live life in celebration.

The entrance is the original foyer of the mansion, with a sense of rooms and people and festive celebration taking place in rooms all over the house. The hall was gorgeously decorated, with a beautiful old wooden staircase leading to the second floor. We checked in with the staff and they took our coats away. We were ushered through lace curtains separating the former front parlor from the hall, where familar faces told us we’d found the right room. We were a few minutes late, and the drinks service had just started. Handsome waiters moved smoothly through the room, distributing glasses of wine and cocktails (open bar). It was a lovely old room, with 4 long dining tables set for dinner, in two rows with a central aisle. We filled it, with each department tending to keep to itself. So at our table, we were the Dev people, and the Sales people (always a boisterous bunch) were the next table down.

The first appetizers came out, a couple of variations on potato salad; each table got two big platters to pass down each side, serving ourselves family-style. The hot appetizers, same drill.

And then a guitarist began to play, another set of lace curtains separating the parlor from the big bar area were opened, and the flamenco dancer began to stamp out her passionate rhythms. The old wood floor was perfect for her snapping, gunshot-loud steps.

It was an extra-special evening, with a wonderful holiday mood set by the beautiful old home, the decor, and the family-style seating. I’d definitely like to return.

The food was amazing – also, they had Spanish beers and wines. My husband David’s co-conspirator had been to Spain and was really pleased to find Spanish beer on the bar list. It seemed like conversation flowed more easily at this party than at previous years’ shindigs; something about the antique-y, homelike setting put us all at ease. Even those of us spouses (or spices) who only see these people once a year.

David even won a gift card, well done. If you check the link, you’ll see the holiday menu choices for groups. We had the third option, which was plenty of food (although rather heavy on the dairy, and light on vegan choices).

I was stupid not to bring my iPhone. I thought I would be tempted to play with it “when I got bored.” That would not have been the case, and I could have gotten some decent shots of the hall and the dining room.

David took the picture of the dancer. The lighting was not optimal but this pose came out pretty well.

Via Meson Sabika’s Holiday Menu

Test Cattern

Flickr

This is a test of the Non-urgency Moblogization System. No cats have
been mobilized, there is no cause for alarm.

Ginny
I can has iPhone?

Via: Flickr Title: Test Cattern By: GinnyRED57
Originally uploaded: 26 Nov ’08, 8.44pm CST PST

UPDATE: Posting moblogged photos via Flickr works, WordPress is no longer stripping the HTML brackets!

My husband David will post a more technical explanation, but basically he set up the blog on a virtual server, and installed an older version of Linux running in VMWare on that server.

It’s complicated. Let’s just say I can now post to the blog from one of several third-party applications, and I’m going to test them all. They’re all useful, and handy for various reasons.

At the End of the Day

My life doesn’t really run to a narrative. There’s the basic “get up, go to work, come home, eat something, do something, go to bed” framework, but there’s no grand sweeping Story of my Life. It’s just a collection of random moments.

That being said, some days are a little out of the ordinary in minor ways. Today started out normal, got different, then got normal.

It was very slow at work – as in, frighteningly, “when are they going to start training us on other accounts” slow. Not terrifyingly “when are they going to start to pull in the last-hired people into a conference room” slow, though. I had left a number of messages for a bunch of different hotels in Atlanta, trying to find some block space for a group, but didn’t expect to hear back from all of them until after the Thanksgiving holiday. This event isn’t for about 5 months so it’s not a huge rush, but it’s during the time of a major convention and a large meeting-planning organization had sucked up all the available properties behind a kind of “paywall” arrangement. The person asking me to arrange the block wasn’t willing to give up a credit card number for a guarantee just to find out IF her first through sixth choices were available, at some unknown price. So I was trying to find someplace that wasn’t contractually obligated through the convention’s housing bureau. I’ve worked with the particular meeting-planning outfit running the housing desk before and frankly, wasn’t looking forward to it as they were hard to work with and this is the largest size group I handle.

At least I’m no longer covering for my co-worker, the air groups person. In addition to taking normal travel arranger-type calls, we both specialize slightly in aspects of group travel, and backing her up is not difficult, but occasionally there’s a huge spike in workload. It was mostly a caretaker job this time, though, while she was out for 3 weeks. Handled it all and got it done.

So, all that time I couldn’t avail myself of downtime when it was offered, because I didn’t feel it was right to take it when something might come up and no one else was really up lined up to back groups up.

I was just thinking “Man, TOO SLOW. Lunch in 5 minutes, seems like 5 hours.” And then a team leader came up and offered immediate downtime on the spot. Normally, it’s much more formal – there’s a sign up list, they don’t decide until after lunch, and it’s not a snap decision like that. No, today the call volume was low enough in the morning that they needed to get some people off as soon as possible.

Nobody on my team looked all that interested, amazingly enough. Perhaps no one wanted that much unpaid time. I raised my hand and said, “Well, I could go; I’m waiting for callbacks that probably won’t come in today, I don’t have anything pending, and this project is really low priority. “I can authorize you to go right now, if you like. Log out and change your schedule and it’ll be approved,” said the team leader.

Okay then, I’m out of there at noon. What to do? With the T-day holiday looming, I decided to go to Meijer’s and stock up on staples, since we’re low on a few things, and also get some of the baking supplies I’ll need for making dilly bread. And off I went, and started loading up on mostly normal staples, plus a few seasonal things texted to me by David or remembered, more or less, by me.

I had the most interesting conversation in the tea-coffee-cocoa aisle. I had a taste for hot chocolate the other night, so I was comparing ingredients on various “instant cocoa” products. I was trying to find one that didn’t have a lot of milk product in it, in case David wanted some, but then decided “what the heck, he doesn’t even LIKE chocolate, it’s all about ME and what I like here!” A woman standing there doing the same thing laughed and said “What is it about women and chocolate?” and proceeded to tell me a story about how she went to downtown Chicago and was in a very upscale chocolate place – like maybe Godiva or some other boutique chocolatier – and seeing an extremely well-dressed, posh woman with 4 or 5 little girls there.

All the girls were also extremely well turned out, and this woman was “introducing” them to fine chocolate, very deliberately. According to the lady in the cocoa aisle, they were all sitting around dressed in their finery, with freshly lacquered nails, and they had wee cups of fine cocoa and were being schooled in the niceties of properly sipping one’s drinking chocolate. She said there was something disturbing about how these kids couldn’t simply be handed an ordinary candy bar, they had to make it into some kind of special event (it was probably a birthday party). But we both pondered how one of a certain income bracket might have one’s children and one’s friends’ children properly introduced to chocolate.

“Imagine that… they couldn’t just hand the girls a Hershey bar, or even a good quality chocolate bar, and add the usual warnings about not eating too much at one time,” I said. “In an economic crisis, it’s kind of offensive to me that someone would want to ‘introduce’ young kids to such… elitist consumerism. There are people who’ll have trouble feeding their own kids and staying employed and housed.” I added something about it not being a good idea to bring up kids that take such stuff for granted. The grocery lady agreed and we chatted on for a few more minutes in that vein.

In the end, though, she and I both picked the “organic” chocolate, although it was the house brand. The “name brand” stuff was more expensive, and it was full of crap like xanthan gum. How terrible for the poor Xanthans! How do they manage to eat?

Anyway, after loading up on more stuff, yet having the nagging suspicion that I was forgetting something critical for either tonight’s dinner or Thursday’s breads, I proceeded to the checkout area. I was kind of wishing I hadn’t gone to Meier and gotten so much stuff, because I thought there would be a long line for the “live” checkout lanes, and it would take forever to scan all that stuff myself and have to stuff bags in the “loading” area one at a time. But lo! they’d installed some high-volume self-check lanes! So you can scan something, send it down a conveyor to a holding area, and immediately scan something else rather than to have to stop and bag each item. Whee!

I fancy myself as a pretty good scanner now. I bet if I had to, I could get a part time job in a grocery store. Yep. That’d last about two days until my back, knees, and wrists gave out.

So then it was Off Toward Home. But first, there was a nasty accident to pass along the way. Which begs the question… how the heck do you overturn a large SUV on a major suburban arterial, where the speed never gets above about 40-45 mph? There must have been some involvement with the central median to get some tipping action, but there it was, on its side, with a bunch of cops and fire trucks all around. And then I saw a fireman hustling himself through the opened/broken sunroof, and I realized “Holy God, there’s still someone in there.” And crossed myself as I passed by, marveling at the large number of cop cars. I mean, there were at least 5 or 6, plus two or three fire trucks. Most of the cop cars were behind the SUV in the opposite lanes… had there been a chase? Don’t know, hasn’t made the local news outlets.

Once home, what to do? Cleaned out the refrigerator a little and wiped it down. Put the food away. Had hot chocolate, played with the cat, surfed the Internets tubes.

For about an hour or so, I had an extremely bad day as I screwed up the transfer of music from my iPhone to this computer after downloading and installing iTunes on it. Thus, my pretty good day went horribly borked as I basically had to restore the phone to factory defaults… that is, wipe it clean and start over. Thank GOD, I had recently synched it to my normal iTunes install on the laptop. So, geeky angsty yadda yadda, it remembered everything and who I am and all my music and all my apps and games and I didn’t have to re-enter all my contacts from scratch or remember how to do it via Outlook. Whew.

Once David got home, it became a more “normal” day. Watched Chuck. Eventually made dinner out of the beef I originally bought to make stroganoff, because I forgot to get egg noodles. We ended up finding a kind of “easy casserole” recipe that we adapted that turned out to be… really very good. Served it over cracked Yukon Gold potatoes – next time, either smaller potatoes, or cut in smaller cubes. I’d stilll cook them separately in the same skillet I browned the beef in before we put it in the casserole, though. Beef had a really good flavor, and so did the potatoes. We’ll try that again, maybe with big sliced portobello mushrooms in the “easy casserole” mixture.

Pretty much a normal/not normal/normal day, though. Oh, and Chuck was teh awsum.

Oh, and sometime between now and Thursday morning, I need to pick up some yeast cakes. Because, yes, forgot them too. And the cottage cheese. And need to see if we already have all the other spices and herbs, too, because usually I just buy another little jar or bottle of ginger or dill weed and then get home to find that I have 2 or 3 jars or bottles already.

Yeah. That’s how I roll!

So goodnight. Maybe I’ll go shopping tomorrow.