Saturday, June 12, 2010

Beef sprouts and bristly cows: (Saturday's Adventures, 3)

I'm finally getting around to posting Last Saturday's adventures, a process which is taking long enough that it's delaying this Saturday's adventures...

Last Saturday's Adventure was: Cows On the Concourse, a blend of cows and Farmer's market. Even though the Babies! and I had previously been to the Farmer's Market, I thought the addition of cows there was reason enough to go again.

We began by walking east on Capitol Square, with Mr F leading the way through the crowds of people who would stop suddenly to examine beansprouts or beef jerky -- both are available at the Farmer's Market. There's so much stuff there, you could probably get bean jerky and beef sprouts.

Here's intrepid Mr F:

At the first corner, we stopped to watch Banjo Guy. I was hoping he'd do a little Foggy Mountain Breakdown:

But right next to him were some balloon-twisting guys -- one of three sets of buskers who make money twisting balloons for tips that were there that day -- and Mr Bunches liked them, so we watched them for a while. They twisted Mr Bunches up a dog on a leash, which he then dropped when Mr F tried to go wandering away and we had to chase him. I went after Mr F while carrying Mr Bunches, with Banjo Guy grabbing the dog for us until we got back. (When we got back, Balloon Guy ad libbed "If there's anything else we can do for you, let us know."

Mr Bunches didn't want to carry his balloon, but I had to hold hands, and had a backpack, so we twisted the leash into a hat:

I did that on my own -- and I'm not even a trained professional. I bet I could've made a few bucks that day.

We then moved on up the street to where the fountains on Capitol Square were, miraculously, working. I'm not overdoing it with the word miraculously: Mr F loved them, for one thing -- he would have played there all day (and spent some time trying to climb on top of it, and getting mad at me because I wouldn't help him):

Plus, the fountains, which haven't been working this year, were right next to a Church, so I figured maybe there was some divine intervention that had given Mr F a reason to be damp for the rest of the trip:
While the Babies! played in the water, I listened to the sounds of the Irish-y band that was playing across the street -- music that, as always, had the effect of making me thing that terrible things were going to be happening soon.

We moved on up the road before the Titanic could break in half (or something like that) and came to the best street musicians of the day:

Those girls could really play violin. But all I had on me was a $20, so I didn't tip them right away. I told the Babies! we'd get change and come back to give them some money. [SPOILER ALERT! We didn't.]

The next street musician -- we still hadn't found the cows -- was a bagpiper. I love bagpipes. Mr Bunches hated it, though, and practically ran past:

Finally, we reached the cow portion, where there was a lady giving a speech about making butter, a tractor we could look at, grilled cheese sandwiches for sale, a mooing contest, a bunch of people doing sit-ups (yeah, I didn't get that part, either), and, of course, Cows:

We had to wait in line to get up to that cow, standing behind an old guy who was there talking for what seemed like years. Once we did get close enough to pet it, both Mr F and Mr Bunches decided that the cow was kind of frightening and didn't want to touch it. (I petted it's nose. It was bristly.)

From there, it was over to the Capitol Lawn for a snack and some relaxin':

While we watched the throngs of people buying beef snaps to the sounds of violins and bagpipes:

Mr Bunches made some friends:

But he had to leave them when we decided to go up to the Capitol Observation deck. Up four flights of stairs, around the Capitol, and then up another flight of stairs -- a tiny twisty metal spiral staircase-- and we finally got to see Madison from atop. Here's Mr Bunches looking out at East Washington Ave:

What you can't see there is that I'm holding Mr F on my lap, with one arm tightly around him, while my leg is across Mr Bunches' leg to hold him down-- because the moment we got to the top, they both tried to run directly towards the fence and I nearly had a heart attack as I pictured them climbing up it to get a better look.

Friday, June 11, 2010

It's been EVERYWHERE. (Texts From Sweetie, 2)

This just in:

[Mr Bunches] made me lick frosting off his finger...I don't know where his finger had been.

My reply:


though it hadn't any words (Friday's Sunday's Poem/Hot Actress 52)

When I was a Bird
by Katherine Mansfield

I climbed up the karaka tree
Into a nest all made of leaves
But soft as feathers.
I made up a song that went on singing all by itself
And hadn't any words, but got sad at the end.
There were daisies in the grass under the tree.
I said just to try them:
"I'll bite off your heads and give them to my little
children to eat."
But they didn't believe I was a bird;
They stayed quite open.
The sky was like a blue nest with white feathers
And the sun was the mother bird keeping it warm.
That's what my song said: though it hadn't any words.
Little Brother came up the patch, wheeling his barrow.
I made my dress into wings and kept very quiet.
Then when he was quite near I said: "Sweet, sweet!"
For a moment he looked quite startled;
Then he said: "Pooh, you're not a bird; I can see
your legs."
But the daisies didn't really matter,
And Little Brother didn't really matter;
I felt just like a bird.

About the poem: Because I picked New Zealand as the underdog team to root for in the World's Cup, I opted to see if there were poets from New Zealand, and, lo and behold, there are! Including Katherine Mansfield, who seems to be sort of a Kiwi Shel Silverstein. I liked this poem's imagination -- because it reminds me of how Mr Bunches pretends that his crayons are airplanes, and pretends that his cars are horses. Nothing is what it's supposed to be, in a kid's world, and everything is something else.

About the Hot Actress: Sweetie said I should pick Kelly Preston. So I did. Because I do everything Sweetie tells me to do. The way I see it, she married me and has put up with me all these years; she's got to get something out of it.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Swamps can be romantic. (3 Good Things From 6/9/10)

I'm trying to get back in a good 'puting rhythm, and that begins with my 3 Good Things, as always:

1. Not every place on the boardwalk was overrun by swamp. Sweetie and I tried to take the Babies! for a walk last night, in an attempt to mix a little romance with child-care. We loaded up Mr Bunches and Mr F, and drove to a nicer neighborhood than ours, where we loaded the Babies! into the stroller so that we could walk and be in love without all that "Chasing Mr F down the road" stuff that usually accompanies a walk with the Babies!

Part of the walk took us over a boardwalk that runs through a swamp -- I know, romantic, right? -- and because of recent rains, parts of that boardwalk were flooded with swampy water, leading to squishy Crocs and my decision to make it up to Sweetie by buying her an ice cream cone at McDonald's on the way home.

2. My new parking card worked! I've had troubles with the little magnetic card that gets me in and out of my parking garage, and those troubles were compounded by the parking lot's managers insisting that my card did work. We'd settled on a routine of "I will simply buzz the emergency line each night to get out of the lot" until they finally replaced my card yesterday -- so I could smoothly sail out of the lot at quitting time. Or I could have, but for the guy ahead of me who was screwing everything up and took forever to get through himself. But once he was done, I cruised on out.

3. Mr Bunches thought Mr Bubbles was funny.
This week, the Babies! have "Mr Bubble's Bubble Bath," and Mr Bunches last night kept looking at the picture of Mr Bubble and laughing each time he saw it. I've never thought Mr Bubble was hilarious, but maybe that's because the humor is too highbrow for me:

See? I don't get it.

138 Down, 10,865 to go: It's Elegance, from Hello, Dolly, the soundtrack I got because that one song was in Wall-E:

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

1001 Ways To Tune Up The World, Number 66.

66. Change the side of the road people drive on about every 10 years.

It seems counterintuitive, but in every single country that has switched the side of the road on which people drive-- going right-to-left or left-to-right -- each time, there has been a corresponding reduction in traffic accidents, sometimes for as much as two years, before the accident rate hits normal again.

The reduction may be because people are unfamiliar with the new rules of the road and have to think while driving -- so they're more attentive and drive more safely, instead of using their cars as portable restaurants/radio stations/phone booths/makeup counters. Once they get used to the new system, they relax, go back to doing their hair and shaving while driving, and get into accidents again.

So switching every 10 years or so will reduce accidents, and after the first switch-and-switch back, there'll be no need to put up new signs or bus stops, reducing the costs.

Prior entries:

13. Ban driving any kind of automobile, motorcycle or other personal vehicle within 1-2 miles of downtown in any city with a population of more than 100,000.

12. Abolish gym class; instead, teach kids to play musical instruments.

11. Change copyright laws to allow anyone to use anyone else's creative work provided that the copier pay 60% of the profit to the originator and that the copier not cast the original work in a negative light.

10. Have more sidewalk cafes and outdoor seating.

9. When you have to give someone a gift, ask them what they want, and then get that thing for them.

8. Never interrupt or finish someone's jokes.

7. Periodically, give up something you like for at least a month.

6. Switch to "E-money."

5. Have each person assigned one phone number, and then add an extension for the various phones and faxes that person might be reached at.

4. Abolish Mondays and Tuesdays.

3. Don't listen to interviews with athletes or comedians.

2. Have "personal cashiers" at the grocery store.

1. Don't earn more than $200,000 per year.

Is this working? You bet --

1001 Ways also helped change the world here!


1001 Ways also helped change the world here!


Claudius wanted to be the first man to reach the stars... but it was murder to get there. Read
Eclipse, the haunting sci-fi book from Briane Pagel. Available at and on your Kindle.


Teeter-tottering beats a clean car. (3 Good Things From, let's say, the past few days? I don't know anymore.)

I know, I've been more and more lax about posting the 3 Good Things, but that's largely due to the need to at least occasionally work, and also largely due to my being lazy. What can I say? It's summer. If you've been jonesing for some good things, though, here's a few from recent history:

1. Philly Cheesesteak Pizza and Jell-O last night for dinner. I know I said I wasn't going to put leftover pizza on here, but this wasn't leftover pizza, and it wasn't even really pizza, I suppose, although it was called pizza and came from Tombstone. But it was Philly Cheesesteak Pizza, which I bought on a whim this last week when grocery shopping and then made last night, and it was great. Plus, we had Jell-O Sundaes with them, and you can see the actual sundae by clicking this link. (Well, a picture of the actual sundae.)

(Longtime readers with no real hobbies may recall that I mused about The Best Pizza Topping, and what makes a pizza a pizza, in this post.

2. I almost ran the entire nature trail yesterday. Having gotten home from work early again, I had a chance to go running in the afternoon before dinner. Mr F and Mr Bunches didn't want to get up from their naps, so I went on my own instead of the usual pushing them in the stroller run I do in summer. And I made it almost all the way through the nearly-5-mile nature trail.

(By "almost all the way" I mean "about halfway" before I walked a bit. I'm a glass-is-half-full kind of guy. Or, more accurately, I'm a "Running just over half of the trail means that I can claim I pretty much ran the whole thing" kind of guy.)

3. Sweetie talked me out of washing the car and into a walk with the Babies! on Sunday. I was going to wash my car and clean it out on Sunday afternoon, but Sweetie suggested instead that we all go for a walk together, so she joined Mr Bunches, Mr F and I on our usual walk down to the lake to look at sailboats, then around the neighborhood, then to the little park with the Teeter Totter, and then back through the really-rich neighborhood near our house. All of which was much nicer than washing the car. I may have a messy car, but I have nice memories of going for a walk with Sweetie and the Babies!

137 Down, 10,866 to go:
Last night, Sweetie downloaded roughly fifty heavy-metal ballads, each of which was worse than the one before. Then, she played Fadeaway, by the BoDeans, a song I hadn't listened to in years but really liked.

I was going to post that, but there's no video of that song available online -- at least no good ones-- probably because the last I heard, the BoDeans were less a rock band and more a perpetual lawsuit-generating outfit. So instead, here's a song that I know all the words to, if you don't count that I've never been quite sure what "the chicken in the bread pan" is pickin' out. Dough? Gold? Souls? You got me.

The Devil Went Down To Georgia, The Charlie Daniels Band:

Want to see the Jell-O Sundae I made? Click