Friday, June 30, 2006

A Post About Nothing in Particular

Max left for Michigan on Tuesday to spend a week back in Michigan, and I'm already bored out of my mind. And I've had plans too. I saw Superman Returns on Tuesday night. It was okay. Brandon Routh is cute as Clark but not as Superman, imo. I was feeling a little under the weather earlier so I had to miss a birthday party on Weds, but I recovered and went and played poker last night at Tyler's apartment. I only agreed to go to Tyler's on the condition that he clean his toilet, which makes me a total bitch, but seriously, last time I went to his place, I nearly got a urinary tract infection from avoiding it. As soon as I walked through the door, I spotted it and it was the worst toilet I've ever seen in my entire life. It looked like there was a layer of black tar covering the entire inside of the bowl. Ew. Seriously - THE WORST TOILET EVER - and I've been to China and Mexico. Last time, I held it for as long as possible and then finally discovered that his roommate had a private bathroom so I asked his roommate if I could use his bathroom. Yeah, the roommate who I'd never met before in my entire. Whose toilet was better, more like a typical boy's bathroom, but still not great. I mean, both these guys are gay. Aren't gay guys supposed to better about cleaning a bathroom than straight guys? Anyway, I was too chicken to ask Tyler to clean his toilet, so I convinced Amol to talk to Tyler about it instead. Tyler was actually cool and didn't seem to have a problem doing it. Still had to hover, and try to pee with minimal pressure so there was no toilet water splashing upwards, but I felt I was pretty safe.

Anyway, with Max gone that leaves me with little to do but to clean. Actually, not just to clean but TO DO RESEARCH about cleaning. I'm focusing on the bathroom and the carpet this weekend. I really wanted to buy that new Scrubbing Bubbles Automatic Shower cleaner but it didn't get great reviews. But, I do highly recommend the two following products, which got rave reviews online:

1.) Clorox Bleach Pen - oh where have you been my whole life? I applied it on the the highly mildewed and stained grout in the shower area. At first, it didn't do much but then I ignored the instructions, reapplied and left it on for about 3 hours. Came home and voila! Beautiful white grout!! Okay, you can somewhat still see where there was mildew but it's really faint. I went through my first pen in about 5 minutes so I've got to trek to the store to buy more, but they're definitely worth the money!!

2.) Barkeeper's Friend - removes rust and hard water stains. So my bathtub was really gross - all these rust stains. I guess the water out here is really hard. Bartender's Friend took the stains of the metal surfaces really easily (especially off the shower curtain bar) but it required a little elbow grease on the actual tub areas. I mean, it didn't take much to get most of the rust out, but did take some scrubbing to get the last faint traces of it out.

Anyway, that's it for now. Gonna drag out the carpet cleaner this weekend, provided it stays sunny and dry. I figure there'll be some bbqs this weekend, and I do a have party to go to tomorrow night, which is good. I love spring/summer cleaning, but after while the fumes and the cracked hands get to me and I need a break!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Warning: This is GROSS!!

Sunday morning, I woke up to the all too familiar sounds of Pig puking. It started with a gurglegurglegurglegulpgulpgulp and ended with violent wretching and heaving. I sat up and watched as she hacked up a dark mass of stuff. It was not until I put on my glasses and went to clean it up that I realized that it looked, smelled, weighed, felt (through a bag) and as far as I could tell, was a....


Now, this totally freaked me out. First off, I saw it come out of her mouth, so I knew she didn't poop in the middle of the night and then puke on it. I also knew that she didn't eat anything gross all last week, and her stomach should have been empty. And I knew she didn't poop Saturday night (no poop marks anywhere on the carpet) and then eat her poop (she has never shown ANY interest in her own poop - she hops away from as soon as it lands on the grass) and besides, why would it come up in turd-form? If that had happened, it would be all liquidy and chewed up.

So I started really freaking out. Because, as illogical and improbable as it sounds, it is possible in rare cases that poop does come out of someone's mouth. And in those cases, the person/animal is really really really sick and their insides are all just a total mess. Of course, that's what I read on the internet.

I saved the Puke-Turd in a bag and called the emergency animal hospital. They couldn't tell me anything, but I ultimately decided to wait until today since Pig seemed totally fine. Apart from the whole puking up her own poop thing. She was energetic, had an appetite, and even pooped normal poop. I saved that too, in case the doctor wanted to compare and contrast. For the most part of yesterday, there were two matching Target baggies of poop sitting outside of my front door. One came out of her mouth, the other out of her ass. I had to move them on to the balcony after a bit because they were stinking up the stairwell.

Anyway, after breaking down and crying several times yesterday because I was convinced Pig was on her deathbed, I finally spoke to the vet this morning who told me it was not possible that it was actually poop. Sometimes they eat things that get obstructed in their intestines that will come back out looking LIKE poop, but isn't. And if that happens, the dogs are really sick, don't want to eat, and just lay there. I offered to bring him my baggies just in case he wanted to check but he declined and told me considering the fact that Pig is otherwise normal, there was no need to. Hmm. He said we'd probably never really know what it was that came back up. But to call if it happens again.

So now I get to throw the baggies away, which is nice because they're stinking up my balcony. If someone wants me to, I will plug my nose and take a pic of the puke-turd so you guys believe me, but unless someone posts pretty soon, it and its cousin ass-turd are going into the dumpster.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Lottery Blues

So, I didn't win the lotto. No one did so at least I'm not alone. I did get two numbers right, but no mega number which means no prizes at all. Boo. Will have to go buy more tickets now - the jackpot is up to $82 million! Dammit, I'm going to win someday. You heard it here first. :)

I put a perfectly normal looking banana in my purse this morning and after a twenty minute walk to work in the LA heat, my banana turned brown. In my purse. Eww.

Went to Andrea's (AJ) place last night for dinner. She cooked up a storm. Good god, the food was good. My favorite was the miso salmon and the margarita fruit salad. I'm totally going to try both recipes. The margarita fruit salad seems like the perfect thing to bring to a bbq. It's made of water melon, limes and lemons doused in orange liquer and tequila. Hmm. I felt nice and refreshed and slightly buzzed after having a big bowl of it. Yep, am definitely making it for Amol's next bbq.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Back to the Non-Vacationing Posts

Well, now that I'm done with the Ireland posts, I guess it's back to the usual stuff. Some things I've been up to lately:

1.) Taking a "beer bus" to watch the Anaheim Angels play the Seattle Mariners.

2.) Going to Julia's birthday party at Daddy's and taking a ridiculous number of pics. I will post a few eventually, and although everyone else looks great in them, I look weird because I'm usually taking a pic of myself with someone else, and I'm so busy trying to frame it that I always seem like I'm looking in the wrong direction.

3.) BBQ-ing at Amol's. The first one of the summer season for me. I love just hanging out, drinking mang-mosas (mango juice and champagne), and sitting in the hot tub. Which leads directly to #4...

4.) Not working out. Yikes. I really would have liked a one piece bathing suit last Sunday. My options were bikini (glaring stomach fat) or tankini (squeezed out muffin-top fat between the too-small top and the bottom). Neither were good. I opted for the bikini and hoped I could just suck in and straighten out as much as possible, but I really wasn't fooling anyone.

5.) Watching movies - have seen two bad ones so far on DVD - Ice Harvest and Firewall.

Tonight we're going to see Superman in an IMAX theater. I heard the last 20 minutes are in 3D in an IMAX theater? Something like that.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Ireland Trip - Day Seven & Day Eight

Day 7 we ventured into Northern Ireland. Which was totally fine. No crazy terrorist activity or nothing. This was another really fun day, but long. We spent a lot of time driving from attraction to attraction, but it was all worth it.

Anyway, got up that morning and it was still beautiful outside. We really were so amazingly lucky that the weather held up the way it did. We showered and changed and headed downstairs to the dining room for the "breakfast" part of our bed & breakfast. The dining room was really cute and our food was awesome. Best breakfast of the week. Max got the usual Full Irish, and I just had the bacon, eggs and tomato, but somehow the quality of the food was higher than what we'd had for most of the week.

I loved how the brown bread came on a little linen doily thing!


After breakfast Max and I got in the car and headed north towards Belfast. We noticed a difference in landscape after an hour or so. Less green, more yellow. Must be dryer up north. And no little rock walls separating the pastures. Our first stop was accidental - we thought we were at Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge but we were wrong. Close but not quite there yet. But it was some scenic point so here are a few lovely pics.

You can see the rope bridge in the distance.

Rope bridge

Carrick-a-Rede is this scary rope bridge that was built by salmon fishermen. I guess the salmon tend not to swim through the little channel between the island and the main land, so you have to cross the bridge to get where the fish are a-bitin'. I had decided that I didn't really need to feel the thrill of crossing a swaying rope bridge a la Indiana Jones (second IJ reference in two days!)but Max was. When we saw it, we were initally disappointed. It didn't look very scary, and they had laid down boards so it seemed pretty safe. But according to Max, once you got on it, it was pretty frightening. For starters, it'd sway and bounce as other people crossed it. Also, there were huge gaps where you could fall through. I'm glad I didn't try to cross it! I was much happier taking pics of the area.

Max's perspective...

There's Max in a brown t-shirt taking a pic of me?

Now he's up on the top of the hill!

Max on the top of the island.

There he is again up on top.

Crossing back.

After the rope bridge, we headed over to Old Bushmills Distillery. It's the oldest licensed distillery in the world. It also smelled really bad - all that mash fermenting and stuff. Eww. Made me recall some rather unpleasant mornings I've had after drinking whiskey the night before...

Anyway, the tour was very interesting, but unfortunately we were not allowed to take pics. At the end of it, there was a free tasting where you could choose one of about five different irish whiskeys to try. Here's the tasting area:

Gigantic kettle thing - one of the many parts of the distilling process.

Tasting area.

Max and I decided to get some souvenirs at Bushmills, and also bought a bottle of the Bushmills Distillery Reserve Irish Whiskey, which is not sold anywhere in the world, except for right there. We figured we'd add that to AD's bar so that everyone could share.

After that we went over to Giant's Causeway. It's an area of 40,000 basalt columns and is a result of a volcanic eruption 60 million years ago. It's amazing! Just so incredible to look at. Pretty much all the columns are hexagonal. Definitely worth reading about here.


So, that was pretty much our last attraction to see. We headed back to Carlingford for the night. Pete and Niamh had already left for their honeymoon and the rest of the wedding guests had gone back home, so we just enjoyed a pleasant meal just the two of us at this restaurant called Magees I think. We started with oysters, which were a specialty in the area. Since I don't like raw oysters, we went with the deep friend ones with horseradish and arugala which were awesome!


The oysters were so good that I was really looking forward to my main entree, which was a grilled seafood combo. But sadly, I was disappointed - it came sitting in pool of butter, which made it awfully greasy. Worse than Red Lobster, where you at least get the cheesy garlic biscuits. Max fared better with his monkfish in chive cream sauce. I'm begining to think Max ALWAYS fares better at restaurants - maybe I am a bad orderer.

After dinner we went back to Beaufort house, got our bags packed, and went to bed. We had to get up really early the next morning so we had to miss breakfast which was unfortunate. The security was not bad at the airport at all, so we ended up with three hours to kill at the airport. We ate breakfast there, shopped some more for souvenirs, and then finally just sat down to wait.

And then we were home! Thode was kind enough to drop Pig off earlier that day, so Pig was there waiting for us when we got back. :)

And that was our Ireland trip!!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Ireland Trip - Day Six

So, Max and I, along with the hundred or so other partying wedding guests, woke up fairly hungover on Friday. Breakfast was only served until 10:00 a.m., but we managed to crawl out of bed and make it down there at about 9:45 a.m. There was a lovely continental buffet set out, and a long line of people waiting for orange juice, apple juice, and ice water - guess everyone was as parched and dehydrated as I was. Castle bathroom tap water, for the record, is not very good tasting...

The breakfast was not so great either. It was the usual Full Irish, but the ham was very fatty and bland, and the tomato was squishy. I forgot to bring my camera down, so I don't have any pics, but it's probably all for the best.

I felt much better after some coffee and a hot shower. And then slightly worse after catching an episode of Two & Half Men on tv. Why is that show on? Anyway, we packed up our bags, checked out of the castle (bye castle!) and headed over to Newgrange and Knowth.

I think that Newgrange and Knowth are probably the two most significant places we went to in Ireland. And possibly in my whole life. They are these tombs (so much for not playing in cemetaries), sort of like pyramids, built at around 3200 B.C. , 500 years before the Great Pyramid. That's just incredible. You should definitely click on the links I inserted to read more about them, especially the stuff about the winter solstice, and the alignment of the passageways. It's just fascinating. We went to Knowth first. It's the huge mound you see in the pics. The smaller mounds around it are satellite tombs that were built later. You're not allowed to go very far inside Knowth unfortunately, but it was very cool to be in something that had been built 5000 years ago. The tour only allows for you to go the main chamber area where it splits into different passages. The rest of Knowth is closed off.

Knowth. It's surrounded by these gigantic rocks right under the mound top called kerbstones, which have all sorts of art work and carving on them. Most of the carvings are of big spirals - no one really knows what they mean. The kerbstones are from an area about 15 miles away, so the Neolithic people had to drag them all the way to here.

"Woodhenge" - While the actual pieces of wood are a new, archeologists are fairly certain that this is what it would have looked like. This was some kind of sacred circle and they found evidence of cremated animals and stuff within. Knowth predates Stonehenge by about 1000 years I think.

Inside Knowth - you can see that we really couldn't get very far in and it was very tight and narrow inside.

One of the satellite mounds. There are all these little entrances to paths that were used as escape routes from invading armies.

Kerbstones. You can make out the spirals and carvings.

View from the top of the mound.

I normally don't wear stickers - these marked which tours we were on.

After visitng Knowth we took a bus to see Newgrange. Newgrange is another one of these gigantic tombs. The rock wall you see was not actually intact when the archaeologists excavated it. Some professor analyzed the pattern of the piles of rocks and recreated it. He would build it and then crash it down again to see if it matched. The white stones are quartz, also hauled from somewhere far away. Quartz is associated with the sun, and Newgrange is very sun-oriented. Click on links to read about the light coming in on the day of winter solstice - it's really fascinating. On the day of the winter solstice, as the sun rises, the beams of light enter through this roof door above the main entrance and actually lights up the inside of Newgrange. Made me think of Indiana Jones. Anyway, obviously it shows that the people who built Newgrange were really incredibly smart and studied astronomy. Also, in 5000 years, there's never been a drop of water that's gotten through the roof. So they were amazing architects as well - the roof is built in a way that did not require mortar or anything to seal it - it's just all about the placement of gigantic slabs of rock. They do allow people in every year to witness this winter solstice phenomenon, but currently there is a nine year wait.

Another shot of Newgrange

Entrance to Newgrange.

Another view of the entrance. You can see the "sun roof" surrounded by quartz above the main entrance.

The main kerbstone in front of Newgrange.

We weren't allowed to take pics inside. Again, we didn't get very far in, just to the main chamber, which was tiny - only fit about 12 people. Insidey the recreated the whole winter solstice thing, which was cool. There was also one of the big stone basins they talked about on wiki.

So after Newgrange, we drove to Carlingford, which is this small medieval village on the east coast of Ireland. It's on a little peninsula and most of the wedding party guests were staying there for the night as well. The place was adorable!

First, we found our B&B, which was so cute. It was run by this older Irish husband and wife couple who were so nice and hospitable. I would have taken a pic of them - they were so cute, but I thought the request would seem strange. Here are pics of our B&B:

View from the front of the house.

Our room, a little too pink for my taste, and way too pink for Max's, but it was very comfortable.

View from our bedroom. You can see mountains in the distance.

So, after we checked in and tidied up, we headed towards the town area for dinner.

On our way to the village - this place was so beautiful!

Medieval entrance to town.

Other side of the entrance.

In the corner of the entrance,there was this tiny little hole that used to be the town jail!

We had dinner at a place called Oyster Catcher. The food was so good I forgot to take pics. I had a nice steak and Max had the tempura cod with mashed peas. Both were quite tasty!

We had some time to kill after dinner. Pete and Niamh and the wedding party hadn't gotten back into town yet, so we walked back and rested at the house. Carlingford really was amazingly beautiful.

We finally met up with everyone at this little pub in town.

As usual, the pub closed at around midnight and we were pretty ready to crash, after yet another long day!