the further adventures of

Mike Pirnat

a leaf on the wind

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How to Entertain Cats and Silly Humans


09-19-05_2059.jpg
Originally uploaded by mikepirnat.

The attic dude is here again this evening, so the cats are locked up for their safety and the overall cleanliness of the house--we don't exactly want to find bits of insulation in strange feline gift zones. I figured I should at least keep them company, since there were going to be lots of weird noises coming from the ceiling while work was going on.

So, we played, they napped, they helped me try out different Livejournal styles that didn't have previews, but best of all, we found an exciting new game--confetti in the fan! All you need to play is an up-turned fan (the Vornado 750B is pictured), a bit of scrap paper that you don't mind turning into lots of little bits of scrap paper, one or more bored cats, and one or more bored humans. Engage cats with "Hey! Check this out!" type banter and and excited tone of voice, while partially concealing the scrap paper in your hand; they will come running to see what's so special. Toss the paper into the path of the Vornado, and BAM! Instantly amused cats and humans!

Okay, and a small mess, but oh! is it ever worth it.

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Aftermath, and Cat Photos

After an afternoon study break to see The 40-Year-Old Virgin (amusing), we set to the task of cleaning up the yard, so that the overdue lawn mowing might occur. Had lots of little sticks and branches scattered about the back yard, and one skinny branch that was probably eight or nine feet long; those all went to the forested area behind our property. Dave Trudell, our friendly and extremely helpful neighbor, gave us a much-needed assist on the front yard, bringing both his chainsaw and m4d tr33-c4rv1ng sk1llz to the party. It's quite weird now to see the yard with only two of the three trees left in their grouping. Ironically, we have been talking about massively overhauling our landscaping at some point in the future; I guess yesterday's storm just gave our time table a little kick in the butt.

The new view of the front yard, minus one tree.

The former home of Stumpy the Ex-Tree.

The carnage from the front yard, all gathered up.

Post-cleanup, the evening was almost entirely a disaster, as the washer decided to leak all over the litter box, I managed to fill the kitchen with smoke from our almost-irreparably charred steak, Julia sprinted around the house in circles with a dingleberry hanging from her butt, and Liz tripped and spilled most of a glass of red wine--partly on the carpet, mostly on her, and more than is comfortable went up her nose.

At least I have two brave cats to protect us from moths, crickets, and other night-time insect hooligans...

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Storm Damage

Well, now that we have power again (after being down about 17 or 18 hours), I can post a bit about yesterday's storm. We were having a late lunch at Moose Head, out on their new patio, as the clouds rolled in and the distant thunder rumbled ever closer. We managed to finish our meals and head out before it hit--but we escaped being completely soaked by only about ninety seconds or so; by the time we'd gotten to the intersection of Detroit and Dover Center, the rain was coming down pretty hard.

Once safely home, we watched a bit of TV, occasionally pausing to marvel at the torrential downpour outside and thanking our lucky stars that the roof replacement had already been completed. The weather got increasingly wicked, and we watched our trees thrashing feverishly in the wind amid sheets of thick, grey rain. I heard a noise from the living room that sounded like the cats getting into trouble, but nothing seemed immediately amiss.

That's when I saw that one of the trees in the front yard had snapped in half.

Gradually, the storm faded and the rain let up. Oddly, it wasn't until the sun came out that the power went. I won my bet with Liz -- I had a feeling it was going to be out all night.

Now that things are starting to get back to normal, it's time to borrow a chainsaw from one of the neighbors and take care of the broken tree. On the plus side, the storm damage gives me an excuse to test out the camera on my new phone; it's not the greatest, but I have to confess that it is terribly convenient.

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How to Survive a Brutally Hot Weekend

Our house has air circulation issues (which are, for better for worse, to be alleviated later this summer, but that's a whole 'nother post), so when the weather gets humid and oppresively hot, our second floor gets and stays painfully uncomfortable, and there's not a whole lot we can do about it. But it's not like spending a lot of time outside in the sun is much of an option either; even in the shade, it's just plain gross!

The solution to this conundrum turned out to be spending most of the day holed up in the family room, curtains shut, alternating between sleeping and watching movies. Any activity that required leaving the house could be done early enough in the morning (Crocker Park Farm Market) or late enough at night (yard work) that the air outdoors bordered on tolerable.

So! I have caught up on sleep, finally seen To Kill a Mockingbird, obtained the most marvelous strawberries from the market, impressed Liz (and myself) with the surprisingly-good Hellboy, entertained the kittens, gotten marvelous heaps of snuggle-time with Liz, and (rather inexplicably) absorbed the sordid saga that is season one of "America's Next Super Model". I blame that last one on the week of brain-melting weather that preceeded it.

The only problem with sleeping all day and being up late at night is the shift back to business hours on Monday; I'm feeling rather zombie-like this afternoon, but at least I'm a happy zombie who had a good weekend.

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Weekend Goodness

This not being at work thing feels really good.

Last night I made one of my favorite "it's sort of Indian" dishes, a mess of tomato and chicken and curry and toasted almonds, which I haven't done in far too long. It was kind of like visiting an old and long-distant friend.

Part one of our Jamie Foxx DVD marathon last night was Ray, which was completely and totally amazing. I will try to refrain from gushing; suffice it to say that if you enjoy movies, this one should go on your must-see list if it isn't already there.

We slept in today, almost decadently late. To make up for it, we got cleaned up, had a delightful lunch of grilled cheese sandwiches (prepared on Liz's new griddle), and got industrious in the yard. The weather was gloriously mild, so it was the perfect day to clean up the herb garden, cut the mint back to acceptable levels, get a head start in our battle with one of the more exuberant bushes, and rake up the last of the fall leaves that had been trapped beneath mounds of snow all winter.

Yardwork complete, we popped up to the lake for a quick walk around. I took some photos of what's left of the ice, and Liz had fun listening to the creaks, cracks, and pops as large sheets of ice melt, freeze, melt again, and butt up against one another.

After that, we did some quick errands and visited the library, where I scored a handful of CD's to "appreciate," including "Halloween Hootenanny," a favorite from my WRUW days.

Back home again, I installed a new dimmer switch in the dining room while Liz did some touch-up painting in the room-which-is-not-yet-but-will-someday-eventually-be-the-baby-room-but-must-not-be-called-such-yet-since-we-don't-want-to-give-anyone-the-wrong-idea. I really like how the paint turned out--the room looks really sharp, and it will only be better when we get the new light fixture dealt with. And I like my dimmer switch, which, with a single button-press, fades the lights up or down delightfully. It's magic!

I completely missed the boat on buying U2 tickets, completely forgetting about them until after we had gotten home from dinner, at which point Ticketmaster claimed to not be able to sell two seats together, so I think I will just have to give them a miss. I'm not spending over $100 just for the two of us to sit on opposite sides of the arena, facing the back of the stage... Lame!

But that's okay, because the cats got to smell their first spring breeze today. The looks of intrigue, confusion, and excitement on their little faces were utterly precious.

Overall, a really great weekend so far. Valetine has just hopped up onto my lap to demand attention, and to tell me that it's movie time... So, away I go!

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Ready to Grow Young Again

It's been a very nice, simple, relaxing few days.

A couple major things that I had been working on launched last week, and are so far behaving more or less as desired. Always a nice feeling.

After five years of hearing the "we believe in training and investing in our employees" line, I have finally pestered my way into actually fulfilling that promise--I am going to PyCon 2005 in DC! Hooray for persistence, I guess.

By official decree, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds' double album Abbattoir Blues/Lyre of Orpheus is the winner of my highly-coveted "Best Album of 2004 That I Failed to Buy Until 2005" award. It's been a long, long time since I've picked up anything that is in such mortal danger of having a hole burned in it from over-listening. Excellent, excellent, excellent stuff, worth at least a listen if not a blind buy.

There are new kitten photos!


Julia and Valentine find a new favorite place


Valentine and Julia, ready for their close up

Yesterday, after replenishing our spice rack at Heather's Heat & Flavor, we had a lovely date night at Players on Madison. We split the wonderful beggar's purses (filled with a lovely goat cheese and served with a mixed dark berry goop), a delicious salad of mixed greens, mobay cheese and crispy prosciutto with a balsamic vinaigrette, and shared a nummy pizza laden with smoked chicken, roasted red peppers, and chorizo. Each went marvelously with the nice, straightforward Chianti that we selected. Given the number of other things on the menu that called seductively to me, I really hope that "date night at Players" becomes a regular thing for us.

Today we cleaned out the "Baby Room" and threw some paint samples on the wall to get a feel for what we want to do, decoration-wise, in there. Thankfully, I think we arrived at a good candidate pretty quickly. We'll have to identify the source of what looks like water damage on the wall by the window, but then we should be ready to fire up the engines of renovation once more.

On a completely unrelated note, wine plus Bruce Springsteen plus cranking the volume to eleven equals immense goodness. Rock on with your bad selves, oh yeah...!

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Cat Hole, Rings, Rezzies, MirrorMask

[info]aquamindy and I (okay, mostly [info]aquamindy, but I helped) installed a cat hole on our laundry room door this week!


Julia beholds the glory


Valentine enjoys the new opening


Julia through the arch


In thoroughly unrelated news, we have tickets to see One Man Lord of the Rings in Chicago in February!! My bounces of excitement and joy cannot be tamed!! To round out our little jaunt, [info]aquamindy scored dinner rezzies at Topolobampo, which looks like it will pretty much blow my mind. (The chef, Rick Bayless, was a recent combatant on Iron Chef America.)

Even more unrelated, Dave McKean and Neil Gaiman's MirrorMask has its first review from Sundance. I am so completely and totally stoked to see this film! It can't get to a theatre near me soon enough.

Having completed my official son-in-law tech support duties for the evening, I can now wrap this up and hit the mighty POST button. Cheers, and enjoy your Friday!

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Hooray for Date Night

Had a wonderful day with Liz, the bestest wife in the world and the only lady for me!

Drove around parts east this morning and early afternoon to look at light fixtures, contemplate window treatments, replenish the spice rack, and ogle furniture. Rounded out the afternoon with napping and noodling with computers, and two episodes of Babylon 5.

Then, finding a lack of primary dinner ingredients in the fridge, we braved the rain and went out to Niko's to sample Greek wines and make a feast of appetizers. Our saganaki sparked a rush of flaming cheese orders at other tables, and we had a wonderful and thoroughly happy evening half-watching the Olympics while we ate and drank.

There is something strangely wonderful about the simplicity of happiness that I think we overlook too often.

It's really nice when life is simple. It's really nice to be happy.

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LJ IOU (OMGWTFROFLBBQ)

Can't believe it's already Tuesday (and soon Wednesday), but I suppose that's what happens when one takes Monday off from work. I have bunches to write about, but never the time, energy, or motivation.

I owe you (and myself) some posts:

  • Stratford (almost two months overdue)
  • San Francisco/Monterery (now more than one month overdue)
  • Curiosa miscellany
  • The kitchen
  • License plates
  • Fingerlakes wine country and the Corning Museum of Glass

These will probably appear in no particular order and on no particular schedule.

Enh. Whatever.

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