Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Worn Out

I walked so far today that I'm completely worn out. I'm just going to stick some pictures up here and call it a day.

Imperial Palace East Garden:











Tokyo Tower:



Nijubashi Bridge:



Wadakura Fountain Park:





Also I went to the National Museum of Modern Art. Photography wasn't allowed, but here are some postcards of pictures I saw.





Monday, July 30, 2007

Made It!

But just barely. Due to bad information from the flight attendant on the flight to L.A. I thought I was supposed to transfer to the next plane at the wrong gate. Fortunately, a beautiful, wonderful, excellent employee of Japan Airlines walked me to the front of the security line once I figured out where I was supposed to be. Then there was much running through the terminal, but I got to the gate just in time.

Also, the security at LAX discovered a knife I had inadvertently smuggled onto my first flight. I had a corkscrew in my purse (because I never know when I might need to drink wine at a moment's notice) which had a knife attached for cutting the foil. It's nice to know that airport security at DFW is keeping travelers safe from the threat of liquids and gels and not wasting its time on sharp, pointy, weapon-like items.

It was late Sunday evening when I arrived at the hotel, and I immediately called for some room service. The vegetarian meals on the airplane mostly consisted of lettuce and soggy rice, so I was absolutely starving for actual food. I picked a bento box more or less at random. Everything was very delicious, but much of it was mysterious.





What it looked like:
What it was:
Undercooked chicken
Seared tuna with garlic sauce
Giant bright reddish-orange fish eggs
Marinated cherry tomatoes
A giant bean
A giant bean
Deep-fried many-tentacled thing
Deep-fried fungus thing
Scallops
I have no idea. Some sort of potato?


This morning I set off from the hotel, and within about five minutes managed to get lost and totally soaked in the rain. I was able to retrace my steps back to the hotel and decided to find an indoor activity to enjoy, so I thought I would try the hotel's sushi bar. Again, everything was utterly delicious even though I have no idea what I was eating.

I had never been to a sushi bar before, and it wasn't what I was expecting. I ordered a combination of a bunch of different stuff, thinking that it would come out on a tray and I would eat it at my leisure. However, the sushi chef stood right in front of me as I ate, making the sushi one piece at a time and giving me the next piece as I finished each one. It made me feel very self conscious. At least it all tasted yummy.

Finally it quit raining long enough for me to see some sights.

The Hei Shrine:













New Otani Gardens:











Our Hotel:




View from our room on the 30th floor:



Saturday, July 28, 2007

I'm Leavin' On A Jet Plane

I'll be on my way to Tokyo in a few hours. I hope to update lots and lots while I'm there with tons of cool pictures. We'll see.

Everybody be good while I'm gone!

Friday, July 27, 2007

The Cuteness!

Ahhh! It hurts my eyes! So. Much. Cute. Can't take the cuteness...





Thursday, July 26, 2007

Overheard on the Elevator

"I can't be contaminated with the structural scum."

OK.....um, good?

In Need of Adult Supervision

Since The Husband has been out of town, I have not exactly been on my best behavior. I stay up too late. I order two desserts with my dinner and then eat the leftover dessert for breakfast. I don't clean up after myself. I fib to my boss about why I'm late for work. (I blamed it on the cat.)

The Husband needs to come home before I start coloring on the walls with my crayons.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Whoops

The Duckling Drinks Wine in a Box

(More of a carton, actually)



French Rabbit
Vin de Pays D'Oc*
2004 Pinot Noir
Free from Holly 'cause she's awesome

This was very tasty and smooth to drink. Tastes of cranberry and...spearmint, maybe? Aftertaste of oranges. I recommend it, and the Tetra Pak packaging makes it super convenient to take to the beach or roller derby or anywhere they don't allow glass.



*One of the better known vin de pays** regions

**French for "country wine." Officially, this is the third-highest wine quality level in France's quality control system.

Thanks, epicurious.

Gamble I'm Not Willing To Take

From time to time my reluctance to have children is completely validated.

I caught the beginning of the Diane Rehm show yesterday morning about parents of teenagers and adults. The phrase "endless despair" was used. Oh please, sign me right the fuck up to inflict endless despair on some young person. And if I could get some of that endless despair for myself as well, that would just be peachy.

Now I know that not every family experiences anything like "endless despair." I adore my own family, and I think they're the kind of people I'd like to hang out with even if they weren't related to me. But I get so completely sick of people trying to convince me that I need to have babies - that I'm screwed up or misguided if I don't want to.

Here's the kicker. I LOVE babies. I worked in childcare for seven years, and I miss being around babies and little children. Sometimes I crave the smell of tiny fuzzy heads and tiny squishy hugs and tiny little yawns on tiny sleepy faces. Teeny babies are awesome. Funny, smart, weird little kids who are learning about the whole world for the first time are awesome.

I would have one in a minute if the universe could absolutely guarantee me a few things.
That being pregnant and giving birth would not injure me, kill me, or inflict fascinating new mental illnesses on me.

That my child would be healthy enough and stay healthy enough to grow into an independent adult.

That nothing would ever happen to The Husband and force me to be responsible for another human being all on my own.

That I would always have all the resources I needed to take care of my child.

That my child would be a basically happy, well adjusted person who didn't suffer from anger or sadness that I couldn't understand and I couldn't fix.
Of course the universe can't guarantee me a damn thing, and if those are my conditions I shouldn't be a parent. I may be selfish or lazy or soulless or whatever child-having people would like to accuse me of, but I'm not ignorant and I'm not careless, and if that's the best I can do, I'm okay with that.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Fun With Road Rage

I'm driving home from work just a few minutes ago. Traffic is kind of stop-and-go, so when this guy wants to merge in front of me, I slow down and let him in. I can see his face framed perfectly in his side view mirror, and he is cussing me out. Which is understandable since I'm the nasty bitch who just slowed down and let him in.

His tantrum is so ridiculous that I just can't take him seriously, so I grin really wide at him and give him a big friendly wave. This turns him from pissy little dickhole into absolutely enraged dickhole. He sticks his hand out the window and flips me off, so I give him two big thumbs up. He's still ranting at me, so I grin again and give him the "OK" sign.

At this point he just loses it and flings this water bottle out the window. Which kind of scares me because littering is, like, so intimidating. Of course I start obviously cracking up, so he can't take it anymore, changes lanes, and zooms away - in what I'm sure was an impressively threatening manor.

I had no idea jackasses could be so much fun.

Pro-Pirate Mystery Magneteer Strikes Again

I walk down to my car in the parking garage last night and discover this.



I have to admit I'm pretty stumped by this particular caper. I took The Husband to the airport on Saturday morning, and I'm pretty sure the magnet wasn't there then. The car stayed in the garage all weekend until I went to work on Monday, and I'm pretty sure it wasn't there then either. (I don't have the best powers of observation. I'm sure it's because I'm so deep and intellectual and shit that I don't notice normal boring things.) Then the car was in the parking garage at work all day before I discovered it.

Should I be creeped out or was my car proclaiming its support of piracy all along, and I just didn't notice? Is the covert magnet-sticker-onner way sneakier than I gave him/her/it credit for?

Please Tell Me It's Satire Day on the Internet

Do people seriously believe things like this?
Clinton...
.... flaunts cleavage

Or are you going to say that "flaunts" is too active a verb? She has cleavage. Just happens to have it. Just happens to wear a top that happens to be low enough that you can see it if you happen to have eyes. Just happens to wear it to the Senate floor to give a speech about the cost of education. Are you going to say that we ought to be giving attention to the content of that speech and not to the presentation of the woman who would be President?
Or this?
Linda Carroll, 59, who lives in Crystal Springs, Miss., and works at an assembly plant, said she supported Bill Clinton and admired Mrs. Clinton for standing by her husband through their marital problems. But Ms. Carroll said she was “not ready for a lady president.”

“I’m not for this women’s lib stuff,” she said.
Yeah, we've come a long frickin' way, baby.

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Duckling Drinks Merlot

Columbia Crest Grand Estates
Columbia Valley (WA)
2004 Merlot
$9.99 Central Market

When I tasted this I was surprised that it cost less than $10. It starts off spicy - minty and peppery - and then offers up wonderful sweet dark berry flavors like mulberries and blackberries, leaving the taste of vanilla creme behind. Several of the tasting notes I looked up mentioned mocha or cocoa flavors, but I really didn't get that at all. It had a velvety soft feel in the mouth, not too dry or astringent. I very much recommend this one, especially at the price.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Secret Obsessions



I am shocked to discover that I own forty-four pairs of shoes. Forty-four! I'm not sure how this could happen to someone with only two feet and no fashion sense, but the evidence is undeniable.

While The Husband is gone I decided to spend my time productively by doing some housework and general organizing. Now, I want to make this clear that what I am about to say only reflects on my own insanity and not on The Husband in any way. I avoid doing housework while he's around because something about his presence makes me feel as if I am indulging some shameful and private compulsion, like playing with my own poo. I find myself furtively cleaning while he's asleep or at work. We both take care of day-to-day things like loading the dishwasher, but my urge to dust baseboards or wash the cabinet doors makes me feel like a freak.

Anyways, the shoe thing really is just embarrassing. Since The Husband's business trip has provided me with the privacy I need to entertain my mad desire to straighten up the house, I started with cleaning out our closet. When we moved in, we (I) just dumped a bunch of junk in there so that we couldn't even walk into our walk-in closet. As I pulled the junk out of the closet, I realized it was all shoes. Piles and piles of them.

I hardly ever wear the vast majority of them. It's probably more of a problem with never wanting to throw anything away than an unhealthy love of shoes. I did manage to identify four pairs I'm willing to part with, but it looks like the rest are here to stay whether it's crazy or not. Obviously I badly need five pairs of flip-flops, seven pairs of tennis shoes, and eight pairs of black heels. Actually, I'm starting to think that only two pairs of brown boots might be cutting it too close.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Sayonara, Sweetie Pie

I dropped The Husband off at the airport this morning so he could head out to Tokyo. I'll join him next weekend. He's there on business engineering some software or administrating some systems or something, so I'm not too jealous that he gets to go before I do and spend two whole weeks while I only get one.

Already, I miss him. It keeps occurring to me that I need to ask him a question, and I'm a little surprised to realize he's not around and won't be back for two whole weeks.

Who am I supposed to call when the internet quits working?

Do you mind if I eat your crackers?

How do I program the DVD player to shuffle tracks?

Why won't the DVD player play this CD?

Can you open this for me?

How come the computer doesn't do anything when I push this button?

Would you mind taking out this trash?

How about we go eat burritos for lunch?

Friday, July 20, 2007

Im On Ur Internet, Takin Ur Quizez

Your Score: Sad Cookie Cat

70% Affectionate, 40% Excitable, 62% Hungry



You are the classic Shakespearian tragedy of the lolcat universe. The sad story of a baking a cookie, succumbing to gluttony, and in turn consuming the very cookie that was to be offered. Bad grammar ensues.

To see all possible results, checka dis.

Link: The Which Lolcat Are You? Test written by GumOtaku on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

Worse Than I Thought

I've actually been worried about this for quite some time now. It looks like I need to step up the anti-zombie preparations.

34%

Thursday, July 19, 2007

One Year of Blogging: A Look Back

Since I've been blogging for a year now, I thought I'd look back over the past 12 months and review a life that must be extraordinary if it's worth taking up all this space on the internet.

July 2006: Let's see...I started writing in a blog, watched the Tour de France, and looked at some stuff on the internet.

August 2006: I drank a lot of wine, ate some sushi, listened to some music, shared my embarrassing intestinal issue, and looked at some stuff on the internet.

September 2006: I drank a lot of tequila and had my photo taken with an awesome mustache, got pissed off about a bunch of stuff, did my civic duty as a juror - which also pissed me off, and I tried to dry a pair of panties in the microwave

October 2006: I went to Ohio, my cat's butt exploded, and I listened to some music - only live this time

November 2006: My lung kind of collapsed, I tried to go shopping at a thrift store but it was closed, and I knitted some stuff.

December 2006: Someone peed on the toilet seat where I work, I drank a lot of wine, ate some sushi, Christmas came, and I took pictures of it.

January 2007: New Year's came, and I took pictures of it, I jogged a little bit, and that's about it.

February 2007: I didn't really like my job, I had a touch of the hypochondria, I knitted some more stuff, The Husband fell down, and some people laughed at me when I tried to buy him a cane.

March 2007: I knitted some stuff, I drank too much in public, and The Husband and I decided to buy a house.

April 2007: I knitted some more stuff, some guy I used to work for pled guilty to something, and The Husband and I bought a house.

May 2007: I watched too much television, and I developed a need for psychoactive drugs.

June 2007: I took pictures of my cat, my lawn needed mowing, I saw a weird guy, The Husband and I had an anniversary, and I didn't have a mental breakdown.

Wow! I sure am glad I bothered to publish all that for the world to see. Keeping all this awesomeness to myself would be a crime.

For Holly



Courtesy of the lovely Lola

Oh, So This Is Why People Move to the Suburbs

From our neighborhood association's email list:
Many of you having been emailing me asking about the helicopters and police in the neighborhood and surrounding areas today. What I know is this:

Earlier today the bank inside the Tom Thumb was robbed. The man claimed to have a bomb, but it was later determined he did not. He escaped into the woods around our neighborhood. The police brought out the search dogs and helicopter to canvas the area. Channel 11 had a crew on site and reported at 6pm that the man had not yet been caught, but that the police believed he was still in the area. They were also searching the DART train station. Our neighborhood is the path he would have taken to reach the DART station from Tom Thumb, so that explains why some of you had police and dogs in your back yards. I am sure that by the 10:00 news all stations will be reporting on it, but channel 11 was the only station I saw on site, so you might want to watch tonight to get a more updated report.

PLEASE take this as an excellent example of why we need to keep our doors locked and garages closed, even in the middle of the day. We live in a quiet little neighborhood that happens to sit in the middle of a very urban area that will inevitably have crimes take place in it. We cannot prevent these types of crimes from happening, but we can make the job of the police a lot easier when we make our neighborhood very uninviting to the criminals.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Pan-Pacific Bloggiversary

It's my one year bloggiversary today, and to celebrate I'm GOING TO JAPAN!

Well, not really. I mean I'm really going to Japan, just not for my bloggiversary. But, it is my bloggiversary today. Well, sort of. I mean I used to post in a different place under a different name. But, here I've been posting a year. Well, I know it looks like more than that since I put up those old posts. But, really I guess it's at very least my bloggiversary as Unruly Duckling. Really.

P.S. Squeee! I'm going to Japan!

Monday, July 16, 2007

There's Plenty of Room for Improvement

But still, holy crap! I just "ran" half a mile.

Granted, it was v…e…r…y s…l…o…w…l…y. It took me 8 minutes, which puts my pace somewhat less than 4 mph - slower than many people walk. But I kept telling myself that slow was better than not at all.

Of course there had to be an extremely fit shirtless guy practicing wind sprints on the same block I was huffing and puffing my way down. I kept focused on fighting osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease and managed not to die of embarrassment. Hopefully if I stick with this I'll also manage not to die of lots of other things, too.

Code Talking

The Husband posted this helpful link in the comments below, but here it is in more easy-to-find format.

Code for importing from TikiWiki to Blogger

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Where in the World is Unruly Duckling?

In two weeks, barring any major complications, I will be here.



More details to come when it's a done deal.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Taking Care

Now that my mental health is back up to par, I’m realizing how badly I’ve neglected my physical health. For the past five months I have shunned exercise and embraced any type of food-stuff that’s fried, cheesy, or chocolate-flavored. If I continue like this I’ll have to start washing myself with a rag on a stick before next summer.

As much as I hate the idea of being fat, I worry more about diabetes, osteoporosis, cancer, and stroke. I’m also tired of being tired. I really want to feel stronger and more energetic. So, while it would be awesome if a better focus on fitness and nutrition suddenly qualifies me to be a Victoria’s Secret model, I really just want to be healthy.

I know what works. A few years ago, I made a very reasonable plan for myself - limit sweets, full-fat cheese and dressing, and fried foods and exercise most days of the week for 30 minutes or longer. I definitely felt better, but I put too much emphasis on how much I weighed. Every time I stepped on the scale and didn't see any weight loss, my day was ruined. It actually made me cry.

Over the course of about three months I lost ten pounds. But it wasn't happening fast enough, so I got frustrated and discouraged and quit trying altogether. If I couldn't be skinny right NOW it didn't seem worth the effort. Of course I've gained back those ten pounds and ten more.

It won't do me any good to focus on that, however. I'm making this about taking care of myself. I assume I'll drop a size or two in the process, but if not I promise not to punish myself for it. What I hope to achieve is to enjoy my body. To be able to hike and ride my bike and feel good doing it.

To reward myself for the effort, my plan is to treat myself to a day at a water park next summer. I love swimming and playing in the water, but right now, wearing a bathing suit all day would be too physically and emotionally uncomfortable to bear. However, even if I do have jiggly thighs next summer, which I assume I will, I will be confident that my body is healthy and strong and I deserve to have fun in it.

I'm sure there will be times over the next year when I'll get lazy or stressed out and will put off exercising or eat too much cake, but the point will be to get back on track with the intention of taking good care of myself for a lifetime, not to punish myself with neglect and contempt.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Bloggy Blast From the Past

With much help from The Husband and Traivor I have imported old blog posts from my original Virtual-Vortex wiki blog, "Le chat ├ętourdi" and then later "The Dizzy Blog." (At least I think I'm remembering those names correctly.) They're mostly posts about my trips to Paris and the UK, with a few ill-informed opinions and links to silly websites thrown in for good measure.

The original images are missing, and I'm sure plenty of the links are broken, but there they are, preserved until the end of the internet.

Monday, July 09, 2007

30th Birthday with a Bang

As has become tradition in my family, we enjoyed an evening of blowing stuff up to commemorate my birthday. But first we enjoyed the similarly traditional Crazy Patriotic Cake of Birthday Excellence.



This cake has four delicious layers, between which are additional delicious layers of blueberry and cherry pie filling. Truly a worthy birthday cake.

Then we commenced to blowing stuff up, such as a monkey race car driver.



And a duckling so unruly it's illegal within the city limits.



We had some mighty fine explosions if I do say so myself.











Sunday, July 08, 2007

Friends Don't Let Friends Drive Drunk

On a hot tip from Sealegs I decided to call myself a Wingman after enjoying a wee bit too much wine on Friday night (and much of what was technically Saturday morning). It was extremely awesome, but I certainly paid for the privilege of such awesomeness. They charged $65 for a 15 mile ride - a little more than twice what a cab would have cost. However, I did pay an extra fee for being a short ways out of their service area. Also, after looking at their website today I realized they picked me up after the posted hours of service, so they may have charged me extra for that, too.

It's a great service, however, and under more favorable circumstances it would have been much more affordable. They picked me up within 20 minutes of my request, politely responded to my drunken small talk, and deposited me and my car safely at home at 4 a.m.

Unfortunately, I did not get to witness the fold-up moped action since I needed a ride from the vast, uncharted wasteland of North Dallas, which was too far away for them to speed over on the moped. Instead two Wingmen showed up in a car, and one guy drove my car while the other one followed.

Final verdict - more expensive than a cab, but it's so convenient to have your car the next day, it's probably worth it, especially for shorter trips that don't accumulate extra fees.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Leaning Left

In this rare case I don't mean politically.

I worked hard to fight off a cold all last week, telling myself I just had to stay well through my birthday/house-awesoming party on Saturday night. I guess my brain came to some compromise with my germs because they patiently waited until Sunday evening to attack.

Saturday night was cool and very low key, and despite staying up until about 3:30 a.m., I woke up at a decent time on Sunday morning in a great mood. The Husband and I had a very enjoyable day together. I discovered cheese blintzes with blueberries and sour cream at Cyndi's N.Y. Delicatessen. So Good! We browsed at Half-Price Books, and I bought almost nothing I intended to, but still managed to walk out with an arm-full.

That evening we went for dinner at Shuck'n Jive, an oyster bar, which had inconveniently run out of oysters. The sore throat that had been plaguing me for a week began to reassert itself, and I can now recommend a spicy bloody Mary as an effective sore throat remedy.

However, the relief was short lived, and I spent the next two days snuffling and coughing while I wasted my Fourth of July vacation lying in bed, floating in a Sudafed and Benadryl induced haze. Well, I didn't waste the whole vacation. I roused myself on Monday night long enough for fondue and birthday prezzies courtesy of The Husband.

Today I woke up feeling much better after a good night's sleep, but on getting out of bed I nearly careened into the wall. The whole world seems slightly tilted to the left. It's not too bad overall because I mostly feel better, and the disorientation has me feeling slightly giddy. I'm hoping that one of my ears is just stuffed up and I don't have an inner-ear infection or something equally unpleasant. In the meantime, I'll just lurch around and do my best not to bounce off things.