Friday, August 29, 2008

025.3 -- Closet nerdiness

-- OR --
The time I spent all day at my library job,
then came home to catalog my own books.

Actually... that day was today. And it was a pretty good day. Sure, it took four and a half hours to unpack eight boxes of books, find the ISBNs, shelve the books, and add the ISBNs to Shelfari ... but look how pretty!

And how exciting to finally have a log of all the books Matt and I own. You know, in case we ever have to lend one! Unfortunately, I ran out of physical shelving before I could get to the last two boxes of books. That was upsetting. I must have more shelving. My books are feeling neglected :(

Saturday, August 23, 2008

394.2644 -- Bier and brats, kraut and kartoffelpuffers

Outside of actually being in Germany, there's no place I've been that's more proud of their German heritage than Cincinnati. Greater Cincinnati boasts at least seven Oktoberfest celebrations -- all on different weekends for maximum German food/beer/music/culture enjoyment. The biggest (but not the best in my opinion) is Oktoberfest Zinzinnati -- the largest Oktoberfest outside München.

Every year, downtown Cincinnati is crammed with revelers. The party usually spills over the Ohio River into Newport, Kentucky, where you will find the Hofbräuhaus. You know... in case you haven't had enough German food, drink, and music.

Anyway, so far this weekend, we have made the first of two visits to Germania's Oktoberfest, the oldest and most authentic in the area. We listened to German music, were surrounded by lederhosen and alpine hats, and oh-my-God the food. Friends joined us for dunkel, kartoffelpuffers, apfelmus, goetta, and bratwursts with sauerkraut. Yummmm!

Unlike Oktoberfest Zinzinnati, often overrun with the college crowd interested only in taps overflowing with beer, Germania's crowd was more interested in reveling with fellow German-thusiasts. Just the way we like it. Prost!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

796.357 -- Down grade

Last week, I poked a little fun at my dear husband. One of his favorite Reds players was traded, and I asked him if he was in mourning. Har har har. This week, when one of my favorite Reds players was traded, it wasn't so funny. Dunner, I will miss you... and your rockin 80s music theme songs.

I am puzzled. Despite being mired in controversies regarding strikeouts, injuries, and fielding ability, Ken Griffey Jr. and Adam Dunn are -- well, were two of the strongest hitters on the team. Coincidentally, they are the two that have been Reds the longest. Maybe they are just tired of being good on a losing team. Or maybe the management really is crazy. The guys we traded for are virtual no-names in baseball. Some are minor leaguers.

What is going on here, Reds?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

394 -- Holiday Shmoliday

A Tyson foods plant in Tennessee has agreed to swap out one of the eight paid holidays its employees receive per calendar year. As a result of a union request, the employees of the Shelbyville plant will receive Eid ul-Fitr as a paid holiday in exchange for working on Labor Day. See the full story as originally reported in Shelbyville.

Some people are really upset. Some people wonder why other people are so upset. Some people don't want to be upset, because after all, the US is a democracy and the plant voted in this holiday swap; and yet this just rubs them the wrong way for some reason. (Can you tell which I fall into?)

Maybe my discomfort with this situation lies in that they (the union, the workers, whomever) chose a federal holiday for the swap, instead of an even religious-holiday trade. Because maybe you're not Christian, and you don't celebrate Easter (for example). But aren't you still American, and shouldn't that include celebrating federal holidays? I'm just saying...

What do you think?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

628.535 -- Adventures with Radon, part 2

-- OR --
Murder by high-end kitchen counter top

I don't know that granite counter tops were ever really an option in our budget kitchen. Still, this article from urban legend debunker has given me pause. Apparently, radon emissions from some types of granite counter tops have tested at levels much higher than is suggested. And after our previous radon adventures, I'm even more fond of our cheap laminate!

And yet, an update will be in our future, because the counter tops we inherited with our house... let's just say they are showing their age. Who knew home ownership came with life-threatening design choices?!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

394.13 -- Absinthe reported today on the anniversary of the legalization of absinthe. It hasn't always been legal in the US, and for awhile it was legal in only some states. We still haven't found it in any area liquor stores, but its ready availability in Kentucky inspired a taste test at our Fourth of July party this year.

After all the hype I'd heard, I was less than impressed. After all, wasn't this the libation that had inspired the genius (?) of Hemingway, Manet and Oscar Wilde? Wasn't this the very drink that resulted in Van Gogh's "ear incident"?

Actually, it isn't. It turns out that the chemical that gave absinthe its "bad boy" image is really only marginally present in distilled absinthe. And it didn't even taste that great. Next time, I'm buying amaretto.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

770.9 -- The joys of Snapfish

I wasn't as much of a photo hound five years ago as I am today. Still, when my mom took my brother and me on a four-week whirlwind tour of the British Isles, we used up more than a few rolls of film. Not to mention several megabytes of digital images.

Last month (a full five years and one month after the trip had ended), I ordered almost 350 prints of the trip off Snapfish. Leafing through pictures with my family was like a reunion tour. I still have to put them in a photo album, of course, but at least they're developed... and in order :)

If I ever find the pics of my 2004 Korea trip, they're next!

Whitby Abbey (this is one of my favorite photos of the whole trip!)

004.678 -- The Internet

Two Google-related bits 'n' pieces I came across this past month:

The first is an article titled Is Google Making Us Stupid? by Nicholas Carr. The questions posed and assertions posited by Carr made me, for the first time, miss the scholarly debate characteristic of my college days. What did you think of the article? Would someone like to assign suggest an article that counters or expands upon this one?

More recently, the Google blog reported that their electronic search henchmen had located 1 trillion unique URLs on the Web. Surprising? Not really. Just myself, I am responsible for at least 20 of those unique markers. And considering there are over 6 billion people on earth, 1 trillion is really kind of conservative if I'd had to guess.

306.85 -- Family time

Owing to a confluence of events (namely my brother's graduation and summer vacation), much of my family was in town over July. My mom and her husband (who usually live in Hemel Hemstead, England), my cousins (who usually live in Harrogate, England), and my brother (see last post for his geographical story) all made their way to Ohio this July.

My extended family has always been pretty close, but having far flung family in town just gives us that many more reasons to get together. So for me, it was a month full of restaurants, swim parties, back yard BBQs, movies, and of course games. Because it isn't a Bresler family gathering without at least one game of euchre.

The cousins minus 2

355.10973 -- Congratulations!

Last July, Matt and I cut short our trip to Germany to be back in time for my little brother's graduation from Army basic training. That included a hot, sticky few days in South Carolina. (The AC in my car was on the fritz!) But it was SO worth it! After basic, he only got a couple of days off before heading out to Ft. Huachuca, Arizona for military intelligence Advanced Individual Training.

So this year, my mom and grandparents were able to fly out to Arizona to see James' AIT graduation and briefly tour the Arizona environs. Luckily for everyone who couldn't make it out west, James was able to come back to Ohio for a few weeks of leave before his next duty station... a bit farther away than Arizona!

Congratulations James! And good luck in Korea!

598.47 -- Penguins!

Our "staycation" this year included a trip to the Newport Aquarium in Kentucky. To make it extra cool, we opted for a penguin encounter! About half way through the aquarium, we broke from the herd to meet our behind-the-scenes guide. She took our group (about 12 people) back into a special room where we got to meet (and pet!) three adorable penguins!

Also included at the aquarium, an underwater look at the big tank, where two divers in full scuba gear talked to us over water-proof mics. They pointed out the fish, sharks, tortoise, rays and shark-rays swimming all around them.

We got to pet sharks, horseshoe crabs, and starfish, too! The glass tunnels were the most unique part. Seeing all manner of marine life swimming over, under, and around us was almost like being under water. I wanted to take tons of pics, but taking pictures through glass is not always easy.

Below are some of the pictures we took walking through the last tunnel. Amazing views! What a great day!

006.7 -- Feast or famine

Since a particularly harried July left me a long, long way from my goal of 10 blog posts a month, I'm doing a mad blog-posting dash toward my August goal. Here goes!