Thursday, April 13, 2006

Space Thursday!

Some quotes I read at lunch from my book, About Time: Einstein's Unfinished Revolution by Paul Davies.

"In fact, the Russians disliked the term 'black hole' for that very reason [that the object should actually be occupied by remnants of the dead star, not just black emptiness]. Out of earshot, they would jokingly call them 'labor camps,' since nothing can come out of them."

"When you have an infinite timewarp, one woman's microsecond is another woman's forever."

And the one that makes me want to jump out the window:

"Tall and somewhat imperious, [Edwin] Hubble had started life as a lawyer, but turned to astronomy, where he was to reveal a cosmic law that would be hailed as the discovery of the century."

Also, did you hear the news about Venus? Europe sent a probe that just arrived at the gaseous planet and it's starting to return some pretty cool pictures. Check it out.

(Thanks to Jake for forwarding me the article.)

I Am A Planting Machine

Here are the photos from Tuesday, with the snapdragon plot finished:
Backyard, Day 2
Snapdragon plot

Yesterday I had an hour, so I got the gerberas planted, with a little dutch miller as filler:
Gerberas and Dutch Miller
And the tomatoes:
Tomato starters
I need some fences for those guys so they grow up strong and happy.

And here are some random pictures. This is that pretty bell-flower plant I bought, which, after I brought it home, found out it's going to grow about three feet wide and five feet tall. Yeesh. I'm going to have to put it in the front yard I think.
Bell shrub
Bell shrub

And here's a weird/bad picture of the purple nemesia planted in the side plot next to the strawberries:
Purple Nemesia

So that's just about everything! I have two plots left, but I'm out of plants, so I'll have to make a trip to the garden center this weekend. I suppose I also need some mulch, but that sounds like a "wait until my roommate gets home from traveling and make him lift the bags" kind of job.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Vent Post

You know when you're arguing with some asshole about, say, illiteracy in America, and they get all up in your face and act like you're the one getting defensive, until you finally give them what they're asking for?

Like, "I'm just saying, it's great when people can read. I think it's our duty as patriotic Americans to make sure that every citizen can read."
And he goes, "Whoa, calm down man, I'm just trying to have a debate with you."
"Yeah, sure, and I'm explaining to you why I think illiteracy is bad."
"DUDE. Don't get so defensive! If you can't argue like a rational person, maybe you shouldn't have gotten involved in the conversation!"
"WTF! I am not being defensive!"

Yeah, like that.

This Is My Most Awesomest Garden

This is a very exciting time, people. The garden is finally coming together and it's like virtual Eden back there. I'm serious, I think I saw some naked people back there last night, running through the ferns. Saturday was the epic Home Depot run, complete with rented U-Haul pick-up truck and frigid, terrible rain.

When we left at 8am the weather was overcast and warm enough for a t-shirt, but as soon as we arrived at HD the rain was coming down in streams while the temp dropped ten degrees and hour. My quest involved hours and hours searching through greenery and bags of dirt in the garden center, which is, of course, outside. Not that I let Mother Nature stop me from reaping the benefits of her commercial cousin, the baby plant producing farm. By the end of the morning I looked like a drowned rat covered in sod mud, all in the name of my backyard beautification.

Speaking of sod mud, did you know sod comes with its own bugs? Like worms and little beetles? It makes sense, but I suppose I never thought about it before. It's cool until you're standing on a truck bed and someone throws a log of it at you with a "Watch out, that one's covered in bugs!" Which only helped foster the unfounded fear that the muddy grass rolls were crawling with tarantulas, making their way from the green depths into the legs of my pants, where they would lay in wait until I made it back to my house so they could stealthily detach from my jeans and lay 1000 eggs underneath my bed, so that when the sun went down and I was falling blissfully asleep after a hard day of gardening, they would raise their baby spider army and eat me alive. (Q: What do you get when you invoke irrational tarantula fears in someone? A: Bad spelling karma.)

Luckily, good ol' HD had everything I needed:
50 paving stones
18 striped marigolds
14 snapdragons
12 dutch millers
6 strawberry plants
5 purple & white nemesia
4 tomato plants
3 gerber daisies
1 partridge in a pear tree gorgeous bell-flowered potted plant, that turned out to be a shrub that will grow to enormous proportions. oops.

VoilĂ !
Home Depot stash

I was only pissed about one thing: I forgot the propane tank! How am I supposed to force people to come over and enjoy my garden if I have no way to grill?

So, remember my schmatics? I did a back of the envelope calculation of the number of 5.5" square stones I would need to line the plots if I placed them diagonally tip to tip, which involved a little pythagorean action (before I realized I had a tape measure, oof), and I was exactly right! I calculated that I would need 42, so I bought 50, and when I finished I had 8 left over. Not bad if I do say so myself.

I spent the entire day Sunday outside (got my first sunburn of the season!) and got about half of the yard finished. Here's pre-Eden:

I started paving the first two plots:
Backyard Garden

Then I planted the marigolds. My mother told me too late that marigolds are a natural bug repellent, so I should plant them near the tomatoes. Hopefully their bug kryptonite will work from a few feet away:
Marigold Plot

Then I went over to the side plot. Let's play a game. It's called, How Much Trash Did Heather Find In The Dirt Today? This much:
Backyard Trash
Actually, that's only a small portion of it. At least 8 bricks, five or six large cement stones, a case worth of broken glass, and some metal thing that started rusting in 1909. I put it all in my trash can out front, and now DC Public Works won't pick it up, again.

After I fished the entire fallen building out of the side plot, I planted the strawberry plants (at the far end) and the purple and white nemesia. This photo is a little dark because the sun was already down.
Backyard side plot

Finally, I transplanted some of the fern things to the front yard and finished setting the stones.

Yesterday I planted the snapdragons in the long plot on the right and the tomato starters in the plot by the shed. I'll post some pictures of those tomorrow, since it was completely dark when I finished last night.

It's starting to shape up! I've never planted anything in my entire life and suddenly my whole world revolves around getting this garden finished. But ain't it pretty?

Monday, April 10, 2006


Remember how I hate my private lender? Let me clarify:


They exist only to make my life a living, screaming hell from which there is no escape. An ugly, dank blanket that will suffocate me for the next thirty years. And then, just when I think I've got them reigned in, they have to go and fuck with me all over again.

Over a month and a half ago, when I got the raise that meant I wouldn't have to sacrifice meals in order to pay for the half-assed education that got me this primo temp job, I enrolled in automatic payments. I figure, why risk being late when I know I'll have the money, right? Right.

So I enrolled online. It doesn't go through that first month; you still have to do it manually, so I did. This month I forgot about it. Why?


Now, even though those fucking douchebags from hell have finally figured out that I've moved, my mom is STILL getting their mail before me. So after working a 12 hour day in which attorneys spat vitrol at me and my boss for not dealing with their massive overhauls of a brief in a nano-second - a brief that was supposed to be due at 4:30, and was instead filed at 9pm on our way home from the office - after a day like this, I come home to a concerned email from my mom:

"I just got a letter from [Your Private Lender] saying a payment is past due."

Oh. My. God. Someone is going to die. I will inflict rage upon my Private Lender the likes of which the world has never seen. And I will do all this in my mind, because tomorrow when I call them I will realize with anger that I cannot reach through the phone line and strangle the person on the other end.

And then I'll pay the bill, bend over, and wait for next month.

International Acclaim, Baby!

Okay, not even close, but that's what the hyperbole on my resume will say.

Did any of y'all catch my article last week on the exhibit currently showing at the Embassy of Chile? One of the artists I spoke with at the reception just emailed me with an interesting inquiry. She asked if she could translate my article into Spanish and forward it to a Chilean journalist who wants to reference it in his own article on the show. Heck yes she can!

How d'ya like me now!

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