Jan 16 2014

Cookie-Cutter Tiny Houses

You know it’s a first world problem when your efforts to curb consumption are co-opted by copycats:

Are tiny houses becoming too “cookie-cutter”?

That’s the fear of Phoenix Vo-Dinh, a tiny-house renter who fears the rise of “miniature McMansions.” And she knows from McMansions: Before her current home, she lived in a Maryland house 10 times its size. The Maryland house had four bedrooms and four bathrooms in its 3,500 square feet, with seven entry doors.

Vo-Dinh now lives with her 24-year-old son, Christopher Lollar, in what she calls a “witch’s cottage” in Portland, Oregon. Its interior walls are papered over with Trader Joe’s grocery bags and pinto bean and flour sacks (coated in linseed oil); the exterior makes use of a local pizzeria’s tomato-sauce cans; and flowerboxes are made from discarded stove hoods turned upside down and poked with drainage holes.

~~~~

 “In Maryland,” she says, “the size of the house — it was too big! It was a big house with no hiding places in it! It was the weirdest thing. I didn’t know that would happen.

“And this is huge. This is 364 square feet.”

No hiding places. Now that makes me wonder about Ms. Vo-Dinh. And everybody else who thinks tiny houses are the “it” thing. Didn’t they have playhouses or the imagination to create one from blankets and a table when they were children? And just where does she think she’s going to hide from her son in that tiny, though chic and fashionable space?

And what the hell is her son thinking? Perhaps… “Well, Mom is a bit nutty, but she still controls the purse strings. And the apron strings.”


Jan 04 2014

Show Me Some Respect!

Tag: UncategorizedDonna B. @ 3:38 pm

Just a little bit (One of these days I’m going to learn how to embed youtube videos. Maybe.)

I’m pretty sure Aretha didn’t have in mind redistribution of any respect due her. I could be wrong, but I doubt it. Insty linked to that without endorsement, but observation over the years has led me to believe that the Instapundit respects Mickey Kaus in the best way possible — without always agreeing with him. Insty also linked to 6 Harsh Truths That Will Make You a Better Person, which is short primer on how to gain respect both from others and yourself. That link is NSFW and not safe at home if you have young children who can read. That warning applies to cracked.com in general.

Now Mickey Kaus was endorsing this post of Noah Smith’s: Redistribute wealth? No, redistribute respect. Neither article made complete sense to me. Neither one of them rang “always true”. Neither one of them seemed to consider respect to mean the same thing I’ve always thought it did. Basically, I feel and show respect to everyone I meet until they give me a reason not to. Those close to me, whose lives I know much more intimately, have greater or lesser degrees of respect even though my love for them might know no bounds.

On the surface, I agree that “the hard work of an unskilled laborer is considered worthwhile in social interactions, regardless of how many dollars it brings home”. And as far as I know nothing of someone beyond whether he works hard or not, he has gained my respect for his work. However, both articles leave out what comes afterwards regarding respect. The hard worker who drinks or gambles away his paycheck rather than spending it on food for his children gets no MORE respect from me. I might love that person, I might help him if I can, but I don’t respect him beyond his ability and willingness to work hard. I don’t hold him in high esteem.

Others express my discomfort with this idea of “redistribution” of respect much better than I can:

What sense does it make to talk of ‘equality’ of respect in any case? Is it equal like you have equal rights under the law? The reason you can talk about human equality in that sense — it is the only way in which it is possible to talk about humans as equals and avoid speaking nonsense — is that there is a single source for the rights you have under the law, which creates those rights the same way for every entity. Respect is not like that. Respect is not the creation of a single source, but is created (or not) by each individual you encounter. Some will elect to respect you more than others. You don’t even get equal respect with yourself: how much respect you get depends on whom you ask. (Free advice: ask your dog.)

You know the drill. Read the whole thing. And when you’re through with that, read this.


Dec 30 2013

Cobwebs, the Way I Talk, and Shallow Rabbit Holes

So, yeah… it’s been a while since I posted anything. I’ve been thinking about New Year’s Resolutions and just in case I decide one of my resolutions is to resume blogging, I thought I should see if everything is still working. It is.

WordPress is updated and it took most of the afternoon to rid the place of spam comments. I’m not sure I got them all. I also updated the spam blocker.

To get things started, here’s something that has caught my interest this week: How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk.

Big picture last q roundabout

Oddly enough, I did not answer “y’all” to the first question. It’s still “you guys” most of the time even though I’ve lived in the South for over 40 years after growing up in SW Colorado. So, the general geographic area is OK, but the shading is all wrong. I have never lived more than 10 miles east of the Texas border. I have never been to Columbus  GA, I drove through Mobile AL once about 20 years ago, and visited Montgomery AL for the first time this past September.

I was so surprised by the results that I’ve taken the test several times. My very first results were Birmingham, Montgomery, Mobile. When I answered “y’all”, I got Jackson, Birmingham, Columbus. The results can’t be compared exactly, because the questions vary a bit each time.

So many things to question about this test. First, the ultimate map puts me so firmly in the South when more than half my answers to questions were accompanied by small maps that either orange or light blue all over. Two other questions yielded maps that were decidedly blue in the area the test decides I’m from, my choice of “you guys” being the prime example.

Several cousins took the test and we compared the results on Facebook to further reduce the scientific validity of this whole thing. It was fun. Some of the results were exactly where the person lives now and has for his/her whole life, along with their parents. Where the results got interesting were among those of us who were born well away from where we now live. Even though we don’t perceive our speech changing all that much, the fact that there chinks the test noted but classified in ways that stuck us as odd is interesting. Interesting without much depth, but I am noting the results in the genealogy file just for kicks.


Dec 15 2012

The Horror Of The Connecticut Massacre

Tag: violenceDonna B. @ 5:31 am

It’s going to take some courage that I’m pretty sure I don’t have for my daughters and sons-in-law to take my precious grandchildren to school Monday morning. Of course I rationally understand the odds of this happening to one of my beloved grandchildren are miniscule… but then those odds didn’t prevent it, did they?

Which brings up the question of can this sort of thing be prevented? I, regrettably, must answer “No”.

Of course we all think of things that could have been done — but, if we are honest, we can also think of numerous reasons why those things weren’t done. Some of those reasons are very good ones.

I would like so very much to blame some universal something or some ‘type’ of human for this — but what good does that do? Should we confine every autistic individual or every schizophrenic, or… any other type of individual that we can label? Should you or I be responsible for identifying those individuals among us who are capable of this sort of violence? More importantly, can we?


Nov 10 2012

My Favorite Marine

Tag: military,my familyDonna B. @ 1:09 pm

My husband, Okinawa, early 60s.

Happy Birthday to the Marine Corps.


Sep 27 2012

Sandra Tsing Loh Should Watch Bonanza

Tag: fiction,nostalgia,silliness,stupidityDonna B. @ 3:11 pm

Apparently she thinks her Mr. XYZQ ideal man is a new and original idea. Nope. Not only that, she’s a letter short.

The ideal man is Ben-Adam-Hoss-Little Joe-Hop Sing all rolled into one. It irritates me that everybody forgets Hop Sing. If he’s not included as part of the ideal man, then what is he — the wife? Of course, wife (or girlfriend) is rather a dangerous role to play in the Bonanza script.


Jul 25 2012

Dead Corn

Tag: UncategorizedDonna B. @ 11:02 pm

Driving from Texarkana TX to Huntsville AL, this is what the corn looks like. Cornbread and tortillas won’t be cheap this next year.

image


Jul 18 2012

Hold The Lettuce

Tag: food & drink,stupidityDonna B. @ 9:49 pm

I don’t patronize Burger King much, but it’s been years since I’ve ordered or made (for myself) a sandwich of any kind with lettuce.  This story isn’t likely to change my mind about that.

“This is the lettuce you eat at Burger King,” wrote the unnamed employee on the evening of July 16. Guess he thought that was funny. Other users weren’t laughing: according to Hypervocal.com,Anonymous, the notorious vigilante hacking group, used GPS data embedded in the photo to locate the fast food restaurant’s address and reportedly contacted the franchise and FoxNews8. “Whoever this is is getting fired,” a morning shift manager named Andrea, told the Cleveland Scene.

If I were the owner of that franchise, I’d be looking closely at the rest of the crew that person worked with, including the manager. That sort of behavior doesn’t usually occur in isolation.

Hold the Lettuce


Jul 05 2012

I Need A Bigger Box

Tag: art,computers & internet,humorDonna B. @ 3:23 am

From XKCD.


Jul 04 2012

Happy Birthday U.S.A

Tag: UncategorizedDonna B. @ 10:22 am

Happy Birthday U.S.A.


Jun 30 2012

Kissable Cousins

Tag: grandchildren,my family,photosDonna B. @ 6:47 pm


Jun 30 2012

Linkables

Feline of the Damned

Just frickin’ frack it

Is it worth the trouble? For Swedish meatballs, yes. Here’s AVI’s suggested recipe.

I’m way behind on my allotted conspiracy theories.

The Conspiracy Meme

The origin of hippies. (via Assistant Village Idiot)

What? Germs don’t come from Germany?

Everything old is new again, sort of. How Instapundit is like Paul Harvey. (via Instapundit, of course) Here’s an example of how Instapundit doesn’t even try to be like Paul Harvey.

Does Justice Roberts have the Judgment of Solomon? Alas, probably not.

A visit to a small Texas town honoring a local born celebrity — Conan the Barbarian. How could anyone not want to go a festival named “Barbarian Days”?

“…don’t treat a fever.  Avoid perplexed sclerosis. And breathe normally my friends.


Jun 22 2012

Meandering Microsoft Dissing and a Public Service Message

Perhaps with a touch of maundering.

You see, trying for a few days to make sense of Microsoft instructions on how to do something induces maundering. And drinking.

All I wanted to do was download Windows 7, 64 bit and install it on hardware far exceeding the minimum standards. Now don’t go thinking I got to that point by any reasonable or common sense method. If I’d been able to get the same computer to connect to the internet running Windows XP, I’d have gone no further. What I didn’t have laying around were XP service packs that are probably available somewhere on the internet, but why go to that much trouble when it probably was time to upgrade to the latest and greatest anyway. (I’m a late adopter… sometimes.)

So, I’m using an old laptop also running XP. It hadn’t been booted in well over a year, so there were numerous automatic updates immediately downloaded (156 of them, if I remember correctly). OK… I can do some housework while waiting for all that. After all, it’s been a while since I’ve been offline when there was also electricity in the house.

Housework. Bah. I’d rather read about it, than actually do it. I suddenly remember I’ve got another laptop here and a netbook too. And my phone. And a Kindle. Alas, out of the 8 power supplies I eventually found, none of them fit the other laptop. I settle on the netbook because it’s got a bigger screen than the phone. Except… it refuses to connect to my wireless. At that point, I’m irritated enough to actually do the dishes and clean the stove.

I still have no idea what, if anything, is wrong with my wireless router. My phone connects to it with no problem. But when the old laptop was through updating, it wouldn’t connect either. AHA, the phone! I call and reactivate the hotspot on it. That call to Verizon is very informative. I’d heard they were changing their plans and data was going to be limited, but hadn’t looked into the specifics. Being the pessimistic sort, I figured it was going to cost more for less and I’d worry about that when I had to. Well… it’s going to be cheaper and the hotspot isn’t going to cost me extra. (After June 28.)

While browsing for information and trying to decide whether I wanted the Home version or the Pro version of Windows 7, the router starts working again for the laptop (it was set to prefer that connection). I even use live chat to talk with a Microsoft representative during which the specs of both the computer I’ll be downloading the file to and the one I’ll be installing it on are discussed. I decide on Pro and 64 bit. So, I go to download it. No problem… so far.

Next step: copy those downloaded files to either a DVD, a flash drive, an SD card, or a portable hard drive. DVD is my first choice since the only flash drives and SD cards I have were old and had probably been abused and I was reluctant to go digging through all those power supplies to find the one for the portable hard drive. I get an error message when trying to copy the executable — something about it was probably downloaded to a read only folder. Back to Microsoft and live chat. That Microsoft representative told me that it was because the drivers for my DVD software were out of date and I should use a flash drive.

Ugh… do I want to go surfing for updated drivers? No. So, I decide that a new flash drive is reasonable and I decide to go buy one the next day. During this trip I also buy wine and a bottle of scotch, which turned out to be the best decision I made that day. I download the files directly to the new flash drive, but when I try to open them on the computer I want to install Win 7 on, I get the same message about “read only” folders.

I’m going to leave out a few chapters here, on how I tried to use the Microsoft Store’s download manager instead of the browser, and how I had the same results trying to copy the ISO file and the storm and power outage… but I’m sure you can figure out now why the scotch and wine were such good ideas.

Now this message lead me to believe I could change a folder’s attribute to not be “read only”. Silly me — actually, I should have known… perhaps remembered it from way back in time when I used to be paid for helping people solve computer problems — that this pretty much impossible and that it’s a feature, not a bug. When you ‘uncheck’ that ‘read only’ box, it applies only to the files in that folder, not the folder. I tried changing the folder attributes as instructed (by Microsoft) here. Didn’t work.

At this point, live chat at the Microsoft Store is offline, and I’ve unloaded all my problems on my daughter who is a kind person and listened sympathetically. She’s also helpful and sent me a link to this page at the Microsoft store which explains that Windows XP users will need to upgrade and download some additional software to be able to successfully download a usable file. I wonder why the live chat people didn’t tell me those things.

The first software that needs to be downloaded and installed on an XP computer is supposedly .net 2.0. Remember that I’d just installed all the Microsoft updates on the XP laptop? It seems that .net 2.0 is “incompatible” with the version now on my laptop which was .net 3.? I think. Does Microsoft never update these pages? Does Microsoft think I’m going to uninstall a newer version of their software to install an older version so that I can download and use the latest version? And possibly screw up the one relatively full-featured computer I have working?

Hell no.

I poured three fingers of scotch and started reminiscing and… shopping. After a few moments of fond memories of Commodore 64s and the wonders of 1200 baud modems, I revisited my initial choice of PC over Apple some 20+ years ago and decided it no longer mattered since Microsoft Windows adopted the icon over text which was my initial objection. I still prefer text. It’s explanatory (unless written by Microsoft). Icons aren’t.

Theoretically, I could afford a Mac. In reality, I have more important things on which to spend the few discretionary funds available to me. Plus, I have all this PC hardware littering the house as well as one working laptop even if laptop keyboards cause me physical pain. A USB keyboard could solve that problem. It would be downright silly to spend $1000 or more to get a Mac. Even spending half that much for a new PC wouldn’t solve the problem of having a computer (with possible better hardware) that works just fine except it needs a new operating system.

Now I know that it’s a cliche that it’s men who won’t ask for help or directions, but I realized many years ago that it’s quite normal for females to also carry the genes responsible for that sort of behavior. I bit the bullet, poured two more fingers of scotch, and searched for local computer repair services. If you live around here, I recommend Paul DePringe. His rates are so reasonable, they are unreasonable. For example, for $10 he picked up my computer, delivered it back to me the next day with my software installed, and did all the bending and reaching behind the desk to hook it up. In addition, he took four hard drives and transferred all the data to the newly functional computer.

Oh yeah — that Public Service Message: No matter what Microsoft representatives tell you, no matter what Microsoft writes on their support pages, DO NOT EVEN ATTEMPT TO USE AN XP COMPUTER TO DOWNLOAD WINDOWS 7.


May 24 2012

Linkfest

What does it mean to say that something causes 16% of cancers? Not as much as journalists and especially, headline writers, might think.

Smelling like a man. Could be a good thing. Or not. I wouldn’t mind a candle with the fragrance of freshly cut wood, but one of the reasons for using a candle or room deodorizer is to lessen odors like fish, beer, booze, or tobacco.

Just watched the finals of the National Geographic Bee. I feel so inadequate now. While I couldn’t recall the name of the city on the final question, it was at least something that I “sorta knew” unlike most of the other questions where I had NO idea. Yeah… I said to my husband, “It starts with R, I just can’t think of the name.” What brilliant children! Of course they’ve studied long and hard for this. Congratulations to Rahul Nagvekar of Sugar Land, TX.

Have you eaten venison? (via Bad Data, Bad which you should be reading if you aren’t already)

In general, 65 percent of people have eaten venison. But among those who have mistakenly used the public restroom of the opposite sex, 80 percent have eaten venison.

Don’t Believe Everything You Read. Unless you read it here.

Crisis Cleaning For Last-Minute Guests. From a new site called Housewife How To’s by an old internet friend of mine. Even if you’re like me and not likely to do any housecleaning, you’ll still enjoy her writing:

The best way to deal with unexpected guests is prevention: train them to give a week’s notice before coming over. Unfortunately, some folks won’t listen.

I’m off to contemplate not cleaning my house. Later!


May 04 2012

Admitting My Weaknesses

Tag: humor,my family,sillinessDonna B. @ 4:06 pm

Let’s do this one at a time… and slowly. Next weakness to be admitted between 5/4/2032 and 5/4/3032.

Today I admit that I’m no good at driving a vehicle towing another vehicle… ever. At any time. Or place. I can do it if you make me and if there’s no one else available. But I won’t ever do it to anyone’s satisfaction.

It would be durn handy to blame this lack of ability on me being female, but I’ve witnessed males that aren’t any better at it than I am. I really feel sorry for those guys because they can’t get out of doing this as easily as I can.

Oh yeah, I do NOT mind playing the “but I’m a girl” card when it’s to my advantage. In exchange, I don’t mind guys playing the “but I’m a guy” card occasionally. (Occasionally… because I’m a girl and can also play the feminist card. See how this works? Yes… I knew you would :-)

Backstory: Our yard isn’t that big, but it has this ditch near the street. It was always a problem to mow, but since the city “cleaned” the ditch it’s much worse. It’s never been doable on a riding lawn mower. It’s been a few years since either my husband or myself have been able to mow the ditch with a push mower and now the city has made even that impossible no matter how young and strong the wielder of the mower might be.

To readers that know my husband, it’s no surprise that he tried to mow this small area with a riding lawn mower anyway.

Several times. Since the last time he tried it resulted in neighbors pulling the overturned lawnmower off him, he really has been more careful. Really. This time, he just got the lawnmower stuck and wanted me to pull it out with the pickup while he guided it around the tree guarding the ditch.

And I DID IT!!! Yay me! But before I got into the truck (after carefully surveying the situation) I extracted several promises from him. One is that he will never ever try to mow that part of the ditch. The second was that he will either get one of the (at least two, maybe more) weed-eaters that we own fixed and use them instead.

He’s off right now seeing about getting a weed-eater in operating order.

The third promise I asked for… well, he didn’t promise, so I won’t elaborate.


Apr 21 2012

Breasts, Testicles, Prostates, Men, Women, Pain, Politics

OK, I didn’t have a good title for this post. That one got copied right into the tags field. Trolling for traffic? You betcha.

One of the bad things following the passage of Obamacare and Sarah Palin’s invocation of “death panels” is that now it’s considered necessary by some (certainly not all) conservatives and libertarians to automatically assume that any research finding that might also reduce costs is automatically some variant of “rationing” or on the slippery slope to a “death panel”.

To wit – this one by Althouse, linked last week by Instapundit following a link to Dr. Helen’s rather innocuous post on rates of prostate screenings.

No matter how I look at it, I can’t see the relationship between the rates of prostate screening, pain research, pap smears, expense, fairness, and the Buffett-rule that Glenn Reynolds apparently finds obvious. So now I’m wondering about him falling for or into mere drama where anything can be taken to be “rationing”. Or a precursor of a “death panel”.

Is stretching an idea, meme, partisan point, etc., to the breaking point the same as jumping the shark? If not, it should be!


Apr 02 2012

But I Want It All

Tag: food & drink,grandchildren,my family,nostalgiaDonna B. @ 9:11 pm

All the favorites. All the traditions.

It’s hard when my immediate family is now so far apart. When we get together, we tend to try to do too much to make sure we at least touch on everyone’s favorite thing.

And try as we might, we can’t all seem to get together in one place ever anymore. Someone always can’t make it. A few are gone from us in all but spirit. In one sad way, they’ll be making more family get-togethers than before.

This Easter weekend, my daughters, one son-in-law, my sister, and of course my incredibly sweet, beautiful, handsome grandchildren are spending approximately 30 hours together at my father’s house.

My step-mom is not in the best of health right now, so us young ‘uns are doing the work: planning, shopping, cooking, etc.

Planning! How can we fit 50 years of holiday traditions into 30 hours? And that’s just the menu…

So far, we’ve eliminated fried shrimp, hash browns, and homemade bread… but  added mushrooms, steak, bearnaise sauce, and Lucky Charms. (I’m in charge of the Lucky Charms. I even volunteered for the job.)


Mar 29 2012

What’s This World Coming To?

Tag: economics,food & drink,my family,random miscellanyDonna B. @ 11:21 am

Went out for brunch with my husband (who is recovering nicely from his surgery) this morning at R.J.’s. It’s between a Mexican restaurant and payday cash loan place featuring a drive-thru window.

Yep… a drive-thru window at a payday cash loan company.


Feb 10 2012

Godsmack, Staind, Halestorm

Tag: art,music,my familyDonna B. @ 2:20 pm

My few readers will know that these groups are not my first choices in music, but y’all also know that my older daughter doesn’t necessarily share my taste.

However, I do think she’s done a fine job creating tour posters for these bands.

You can vote for them here and here.

Go ahead… click. You know you want to see them and vote for them! (I’m not savvy enough to figure out how to post the images that are also links to the voting page.)


Feb 05 2012

Overheard

Tag: health,stupidity,wordsDonna B. @ 5:49 pm

Heard by my husband while he’s face down waiting for a lumbar puncture. As the radiologist approached him, she commented to the nurse: “I didn’t want to do this  procedure today. I asked them to find someone else… I am so nervous.”

He was not reassured.


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