Saturday, December 13, 2014

Welcome to Unseasonable Farm

Motto: "Why not plant potatoes in October?"

Pictured but not visible: Recently sprouted parsnips.
The favas are doing okay, but the peas are going to need some better support after the storm.

Probably the last pepper harvest, though, unless we get a run of warm weather.

Not that I'm being smug or anything. Okay, maybe a little smug.
And, unfortunately, the pickling cucumbers aren't going to be ready in time for New Years.

I wasn't kidding about the unseasonable thing.
Stay tuned for further adventures in planting things with no regard to the printed instructions.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Thanks Be To Cat

As we prepare for this holiday season, let us not forget what it is truly about: Sending your cat to board at a place where they take vaguely seasonal pictures of him, and apparently give him a collar.

What do you want from me?

Monday, December 01, 2014

Items Available For Purchase, Possibly As Gifts

As I believe I have mentioned in this space a few times before, I have a store on Zazzle, where various items are for sale with designs I produced from pre-1923* sheet music covers. If you bought one of them, I would get some money, which would be pretty cool.

This is the one that started it all, because I wanted a poster of this design and couldn't find one. I bought the sheet music on Ebay and had it scanned at a place in Berkeley that usually does much more artistic stuff, and then cleaned it up a bit in GIMP.** I think it turned out okay:


Then I learned how to do about three more things in GIMP and pulled out just the bear, and put it on a shirt:


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Lessons From A First Day of Run-Commuting

Multitasking in the Key of Ow

It seemed like a good idea at the time. The ferry terminal is only about three miles from my house, which is a doable but long walk. Taking the ferry home is nice, but it means that I don't have time to work out in the gym at work. So the solution was obvious: I should run home from the ferry.

According to the internet*, run-commuting is actually a thing, though most of the people who do it seem to be either serious racers or British. I am neither, but I thought I'd go ahead and try it anyway.

So I bought myself a backpack, broke my shoes out of their cushy life on the treadmill and elliptical, and on Monday I gave it a shot. It went okay, but there were a few things I learned, which I thought I should share.

1. When packing your backpack, do not load the keys, wallet and phone into the main compartment, where they will slide to the bottom and slam repeatedly into the small of your back.

2. Speaking of backpacks, you are going to have to cinch that sucker tight. Get it so most of the weight is supported by the waist-strap and try not to wonder if you look more like a bunch of sausages or a trussed chicken.

3. Despite its name, the MacBook Air does, in fact, have noticeable mass.

4. People are going to look at you like you're doing something weird. They are right.

5. Running outdoors with a pack engages certain sets of muscles that had thought they had retired to a life of leisure, and they will wake up cranky and confused. Calm them with regular offerings of ibuprofen.

6. When you get home, you can totally have a piece of chocolate. Maybe two.

*Motto: "Anything you can think of has already been done, and there is an official organization with fifteen pages of bylaws and a splinter group."

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


Your vegetables will look approximately 372% more glamorous if you put them in a fancy gardening basket.

Wheelbarrow optional.
On a related note, does anyone know what I can do with three habaneros? That won't kill me?

Friday, July 11, 2014

A Second Letter to Judy Wenzel of 307 N 12th Ave Wasau, WI

Dear Judy Wenzel of 307 N 12th Ave Wasau, WI,

What happened last year? This is the second time you have used my email address to book yourself into a hotel during the month of September--this time it's the Best Western on 1001 N. 14th Ave in Sturgeon Bay, WI--and I can't help but notice that you skipped 2013. Was there a family emergency? Was $377.40 more than you were comfortable spending to spend three days in Door Country's premier year-round city? Or did you perhaps decide to experiment with using your own damn email for once?

The Person Whose Email You Use To Book Hotels Near the Great Lakes in September

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Fifth Annual Cheesemonger Invitiational

Picture, if you will, a cold storage unit in Long Island City. Outside it is a grubby wasteland of featureless warehouses and tiny pieces of broken glass, with only a few taped-up signs and a line of suspiciously young and well-dressed people to mark the door. Inside, a man in a cow costume is standing on a stage, calling himself "Mr. Moo" and periodically shouting things like "If you love raw milk, let me hear you say 'Mooo!'" to a moderately responsive crowd. Around the two large rooms of the warehouse tables have been set up, some offering small samples of cheese while others serve dishes like raclette and fondue and a ploughman's lunch with a whole roast pig. Drink tickets are handed out at the door, and then promptly ignored by the servers behind the two bars, who are distributing cans of craft beer and plastic cups of wine as fast as the lines can reach them. On the stage with Mr. Moo a small group of people who sell cheese for a living are preparing to demonstrate their skills. An Australian television personality stands by and tries to make sense of it all. This is the 5th Annual Cheesemonger Invitational, and I really wish I had thought to take some photos.

We did not go to New York with the intention of having surreal cheese-based experiences. We were there to visit with friends, see the city, and maybe do a little shopping. But when the announcement of the event happened to cross my path two days before, I have to admit that I was powerless to resist. You know me.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Live-Blogging the Met

Well, live-tweeting actually, since blogger's mobile interface is, shall we say, poor. But if you feel like it, around 2 pm Eastern time I will actually be physically in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, looking at things and making comments about them on twitter, as @daisyj. I promise to try to find more interesting than uninteresting things, and while I make no guarantees, I think there should be a few available.


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Blogging the Met: Mostly Jars

They have a lot of stuff at the Met[citation needed]. Pieces of rock that might have been part of something, pieces of rock that might have been used for something, sherds, etc. But, if you are going by the things they have collected that are not pieces of something else, a person might be forgiven for thinking the ancient world was made up almost entirely of jars.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Blogging the Met: Some Interesting and Uninteresting Things

One of the problems I have with major museums is the inevitable feeling that you missed almost everything. No matter how dedicated you are, even if you wear ugly shoes, you are guaranteed to end the day tired, foot-sore and blurry-brained from information overload, and you still will only have actually looked at about 0.003% of the collection. And that's just the stuff on display. This has always made me feel like a bit of a failure, and frankly, I get enough of that in my normal life. I don't think I need to add it to my vacations.*

Which is why I was so weirdly excited to learn that the Metropolitan Museum of Art (henceforth: the Met) had put their entire collection online (395,996 items, so far). I've decided to look at all of it, and an important part of that decision has been to not do the math and see if it is even remotely possible. I've decided to go chronologically.

The earliest period chronicled by the Met is 8000-2000 B.C., which seems like a lot until you realize it's mostly jars. I'll be posting here about my discoveries and questions, and whether I ever figure out the difference between a "shard" and a "sherd." (They have both.) But first I thought it would be fun to look at some of the most interesting things I've seen so far, as well as some of the least interesting, because that's just the kind of person I am.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Blogging the Met: Fair Warning

Pictures of cats: Ancient Syrian Edition

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has put its entire collection online. Naturally, I have decided to look at all of it.* Chronologically, of course. I'm in 8000-2000 B.C. right now, and it looks like this is going to take a while.

I will be blogging as I go, of course, but if anyone is interested in playing along, I am posting a running collection of interesting and uninteresting things I encounter on Pinterest boards. If I encounter any cursed mummies, I'll be sure to let you know.

*Just the items that have pictures.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Walk-Up Music Suggestions For the Oakland A's: Weirdness Edition

Josh Reddick of the Oakland Athletics is my hero. Not because he is a talented player on my favorite baseball team; that's a terrible reason to admire anyone.* But recently, and apparently on a whim, he decided to choose as his walk-out music "Careless Whisper," that George-Michael-and-a-saxaphone classic about the long-term affects of guilt on your feet and the rhythm thereof. And I think that's great. Not just the song, which is obviously awesome, but the addition of a little random weirdness to America's Pastime. Which, like so many things, could always use a little more random weirdness.

I would like to encourage this sort of thing, so I have assembled a list of similarly-minded walkout songs for the rest of the A's position players.** Because, when you come right down to it, why not?

John Jaso, C
Let It Go, Idina Menzel
Pros: Might mess with the pitcher's release point, increased ticket sales among coveted female 6-13 demographic.
Con: The line "Cold never bothered me anyway" might be read as insensitive to attendees at 50-degree August night games.

Derek Norris, C
Yakety Sax
Bonus points if everyone in the dugout runs around, ducks through doors, etc.

Craig Gentry, CF
Bette Davis Eyes, Kim Carnes
Brief delay of game as a karaoke competition breaks out in the upper deck.

Yoenis Cespedes, LF
Take On Me, A-Ha
TV coverage breaks for an ad so the third base umpire heads into the stands to officiate semi-final round.

Josh Donaldson, 3B
Total Eclipse of the Heart,  Bonnie Tyler
In an upset, Bob Melvin takes the trophy with his surprisingly heartfelt rendition.

Kyle Blanks, 1B
MMM MMM MMM MMM, Crash Test Dummies
Everybody, hum!

Coco Crisp, CF
Tiny Dancer, Elton John
Would this song inspire more, less, or an equal amount of arm-waving as Careless Whisper? Discuss.

Eric Sogard, 2B
Hello Dolly, Louis Armstrong
You know what professional sports needs? More showtunes.

Nick Punto, SS
The Impossible Dream, Brian Stokes Mitchell

Brandon Moss, 1B
And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going, Jennifer Holliday

Jed Lowrie, SS
It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine), REM
Entire stadium: *mumblemumblesomethingsomethingLEO-NARD BERN-STEIN*

Alberto Callaspo, 2B
Take Your Mama, Scissor Sisters
Let's see how far we can take this thing.

*I am completely serious about this.
**Pitchers will have to be another post. I'm thinking maybe TV theme songs?

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Rogue Tomato Goes Rogue

Some people say that tomatoes are choosy, delicate plants requiring only the best in soils, nutrients, and growing conditions.

Rogue tomato would beg to differ.

You talkin' to me?
Rogue tomato sprouted from the seed of a fruit left to fall and sit on the ground through the winter because it was too gross to pick up. It set its roots in soil that manages to be at the same time both rock-hard and entirely composed of sand and sprouted through a layer of red rubber groundcover, spread for the express purpose of keeping things from growing. You can try to dig up and transplant Rouge Tomato to more comfortable environs, but I wouldn't advise it.


So, while the other tomatoes luxuriate in their raised bed, with their trellises and carefully composed soil, Rogue Tomato remains defiantly alive, where no tomato should be able to expect to live, down with the weeds and the slugs and the shoes of inattentive gardeners who weren't expecting to find a tomato there until they almost stepped on it.

And you know what else? Rogue Tomato is not alone.


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Rumpole Has No Time For Your Commercialized Romantic Holidays

Rumpole wants you to know that Valentine's Day was just invented to sell overpriced cards, and he is totally not going to fall for it. If you need him, he'll be over here in the corner, glowering.