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In Praise Of Useless Information

January 19, 2014

In researching my jacked-up foot, I googled “transverse tarsal joint.” Muppet Labs has confirmed that the Internet is a teaching tool. Look at this page. Isn’t it cool how the little gifs can demonstrate movement and clarify the workings of the different joints?

Myyyyyyyyyyyy Way

January 18, 2014

This morning on a lark I googled “letting go of regrets.” The wisdom of the internets spread itself before me.

When they write the history of our times, assuming they can read our electrons or find print-outs of the internet, our descendants may make note of Wikipedia. I hope they will also see to my generation is like the Reader’s Digest guides of yore, providing basic explanations for the mysteries of life, construction, sewing, plumbing, cooking, and just about everything else. does not provide the internet’s most coherent guidance on letting go of regret. But they do provide better advice than Psychology Today.  For my money (based on nothing save my gut reaction), the best thoughts on this topic come from the Huffington Post and Beliefnet. I’m not proud that I’m getting spiritual advice from the Huffington Post, but wisdom is where we find it, right?

Speaking of all things Huffpo/AOL, I hope my former editors at Columbia Patch and West End Alexandria Patch fare well in the wake of AOL selling the franchise to Hale Global. I loved the idea of Patch when it first appeared – and not just because they paid me, either! I liked the shift to pushing local news of the weird and harvesting free content from the blogging public a lot less (and not just because they stopped paying me, either). I hope Hale Global does something good with it. It is a unique network of local internet news outlets and it employs some really good editors.

That’s Not Normal

January 15, 2014

I curse all establishments with televisions blaring in their waiting rooms. My podiatrist’s office is an exemplary establishment in many respects – efficient and friendly staff, free water and fresh coffee, recent magazines – but some idiot daytime TV personality is occupying the lobby every time I go in there. This morning it was someone called Bethenny. According to this Bethenny person, Mommy Makeover plastic surgery is the “new norm.” Apparently 62% of moms considering doing something makes actually doing that thing normative. I can’t decide whether I’m more upset by this stick insect lady fomenting body-image neuroses and conspicuous consumption among the daytime TV viewing public or by the overall logic fail. Then there’s the fact that the Mommy Makeover stat only came up one place when I googled it: a plastic surgery website.

Either way, that was pretty much the high point of my visit to the podiatrist. My foot is still swelling up and aching three months after I sustained my stress fracture. The doc taped it up again in some new magical shape for me to try. I spent the rest of today at home watching Mouse have yet another cold.

Oh! Speaking of kids and their colds! What is the deal with Alexandria City Public Schools and the insistence on having a doctor’s note every time my elementary school daughter is out of school? I’ll grant you that Mouse’s school attendance track record could be better, so I appreciate the follow-up from her school administration when she’s gone. But seriously, this is my third kid. There is no way I’m going to waste my time or the doctor’s dragging the kid to a doctor only to be told that she needs to rest and stay home until she feels better.

Get Out The Way

January 12, 2014

(Oh Ludacris. What are you doing these days, and why are you not doing it on my radio?)

I checked out a raft of self-help and how-to books at the Alexandria City Public Library this week. They were all about personal finance and middle age except for the one about personal finance and marriage and the one about self-defeating professional behavior. They’ve been about as good as the mid-career retirement class I took a year and half ago, which is to say that they contain observations which have the same vertiginous ring of truth as “you have manage your financial life now as if you expect to life past 60” (my main take-away from retirement class). I have a lot of getting out of my own way to do if I’m going to actually change careers and prepare for the rest of my adult life.

Well, I Say It’s Magic

January 2, 2014

Now I am officially a brony. A BRONISAURUS.

It Could Be A Trend

January 1, 2014

Happy New Year and Merry Christmas!

Christmas, like Thanksgiving before it, satisfied my conditions for a happy holiday. As a reminder, these are:

1. No one gambles away the grocery money.

2. No foodstuffs are thrown.

3. No one visits the ER.

4. No one makes me cry.

If this keeps up, I might stop dreading holidays.

Instead of blogging, here are the things I have been doing:

  • Baking bread. Holy crap, that no-knead bread recipe really works. I’ve found that adding a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in the mixing process makes it taste even better.
  • Watching “Game of Thrones.” Brother Protosaur gave us the first season for Christmas. Dino Spouse dubiously sniffed around it for a day or so before deciding to see what all the fuss was about. Our only real exposure to the show before that was the recent South Park spoof of the show. We sang the weiner song as we unwrapped the package. That was five days ago. We have been totally sucked in. We seem to have misplaced one of the kids a day or so ago but we’re planning to look for her after we watch the rest of Season Three.

Satan’s Kidney Stone And Other Baking Tips

December 10, 2013

No one in the Dino Nest has a kidney stone, nor (I assume) does my belle-mere. The title refers to the appearance of the loaf of this bread I removed from my oven Sunday morning. It was a bit labor-intensive but it did deliver a large loaf of somewhat burned but still respectable loaf of white bread in about an hour.  The key elements seem to be a double shot of yeast, a dutch oven,* and very high temperature. Podrostok came up with the name.

*I actually used a graniteware-type roasting pan because I do not have a dutch oven. I do have a crock pot (thanks, Mom!) but that’s a slow-cooking-on-counter thing rather than a shove-in-oven thing.

Speaking of bread – since a couple more days have passed and I still haven’t posted – this recipe for foolproof bread from Jezebel may be the best thing to happen to my relationship with dough ever. My mother-in-law claims – and rightly, I believe – that dough feels your moods and will not respond properly if you are not in the right mental place. I am rarely in the right mental place, so my doughs fail to rise and produce bread that resembles hockey pucks. But this recipe seems to be more forgiving of my mental state.