Saturday, February 26, 2011

Notes from the past week:

  • Our dishwasher is broken. Does anyone know how to fix it? I believe something shorted out in the control panel when I slammed it shut. I found some diagrams online, but I'm still not entirely sold that we can fix this one ourselves.
  • Our truck broke again. Then Rob fixed it. It's good to have a handy husband. The end.

  • We haven't done any work on the house lately. Well, actually Rob hung a different door on the spare bedroom entryway, but it didn't fit quite right. He had to get create with the dremel, but now it looks pretty nice.

  • We received around 15 inches of snow last weekend. In other words, it's no longer 50 degrees, like in these photos.

  • Some people ignore signs.

    Yes, there are two vehicles out on the ice, not too far from open water. I guess ice fishing is pretty important to some people. For the record, I don't even know if this tiny mid-city lake is stocked.

  • We are going to see the Pixies in April. Rob's never seen them, but this will be my second time. Read about why I love the Pixies.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Saturday's jam

I don't know anything about this artist or this song other than I've heard it as bumper music more than once at Minneapolis hip-hop shows. We groove to this sort of thing at the Chateau, regularly. And it sorta goes with the previous post on this blog. Enjoy.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The songs that made you feel cool

The songs that made you feel cool. You know what kind of songs I'm talking about. When you were in high school driving around with friends (or in my case, junior high age and driving around with my sister, 4 years my senior, long before my friends could drive) and a song would come on the radio that made you want to turn up the volume and roll down your windows. And you just felt cool. Do you have any songs like that? Sadly, I haven't heard music that evokes this feeling in some time.

Rob and I have been listening to Pandora lot lately. It's because we got each other a joint Valentine's Day. These:

Don't be fooled by the Bose name; they were actually a really good deal for quality computer speakers ($69 at Sam's Club).

So anyhow we're listening to music at home constantly now. We like Pandora, which is not new by any means, but in case you are new to it - here's how it works. You pick an artist or genre, and then the website builds a station for you and picks music that you might also like (based on feedback from other listeners). You give each song a thumbs up or a thumbs down, and then it adjusts your station accordingly. So you hopefully hear songs you love mixed in with new things too. I love technology.

So far, we've tried out:

  • Reggae Radio (awesome, of course,)
  • Dick Dale Radio (has a sweet '60s surf rock sound)
  • Queen Radio (great station - what "classic rock" stations should be)
But our favorite so far is the station that popped up when I typed in "Soul Coughing." Oh man, we are feeling nostalgic. Really nostalgic. So many good songs from our youth. I hope you will enjoy this mix as much as we do.

The Butthole Surfers - "Pepper"

The Eels - "Novocaine for the Soul"

Beck - "Girl" ("Loser" would be more in tune with the era, but I like this one better)

Soul Coughing - "Soft Serve"

Weezer - Say It Ain't So

Gorillaz - "Clint Eastwood"

Screaming Trees - "All I Know"

Cake - Love You Madly

Sneaker Pimps - "6 Underground"

I found so many other good ones -- some forgotten gems like Primus and Lo-Fidelity Allstars and Eagle Eye Cherry mixed in with some bands that stuck with me over the years (like Radiohead and the Pixies). I could go on posting embedded videos all day, but this seems like a good place to stop. Well... one more.

Finally - one of the best songs you probably never heard. It was not very popular. Well, it was popular in OUR house. My sister and I liked this album so much that we each bought a copy. Two Fantastic Planets in one household. We loved the sound.

Failure - "Stuck on You" (dedicated to cool older sisters everywhere)

More blog posts about music/music videos:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Great money-saving tip for home owners

Rob and I did this last year, but we never got around to posting about it. So then when I saw this recent article, I remembered and decided to finally write it here.

Bi-Weekly Payments Can Save Thousands and Shave Years Off Your Mortgage

How it works:
You just divide your regular monthly mortgage payment into two smaller payments (or just pay every two weeks for the whole year). We do one payment at the beginning of the month and one in the middle of the month. You end up saving on interest throughout the course of the year. It may not seem like much, but it really adds up over the course of the mortgage length. Also if you pay every two weeks, you typically end up paying a little extra off the principle (without noticing much) -- 26 payments total in the year rather than 24 (if you were just doing twice a month). So that ends up being an extra payment or more each year, taken right off the principle of your loan. I hope that makes sense. Plus the smaller payments are a lot easier to budget.

There you go. A great money-saving tip for the home owners out there.

Monday, February 14, 2011

If you want to hear something cute...

Sure, I'm a romantic soul. But I'm not going to go overboard this year, posting super sappy lovey-dovey this or that... like I did last year. So instead I will tell you one simple and sweet anecdote.

Photo edited with "The French Connection" actions from Isabelle Lafrance.

Last November, I started a new job. On my first day, I was very nervous. It's just my personality type. I want to do well at everything I try, and there were still so many unknowns about this new position, new company, new industry, new location, and so on. Hence I was very nervous. My husband works Saturdays, which means his weekend is Sunday and Monday. So on Monday morning, he got up at the same time I did and decided to take the bus with me downtown. He knew that I'd never taken the bus before, was not familiar with the downtown area, and he didn't want me to feel nervous about one more thing if I didn't have to.

So we rode the bus downtown, me in my corporate business clothing and Rob in a hoodie and jeans. He escorted me to my work building, grabbed a coffee at Dunn Brothers, and took the bus back home. And that's pretty much the cutest thing ever.

If you ask me.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Winter walk

This morning, I went for a walk with this guy:

and this guy:

To our usual place.

In the warmer months, the lake at the end of our block looks like this:

But in February, it looks like this:

Kinda desolate.

But that's ok. With no people at the park, we can drop the leash and let Murphy play. Rob finds a stick.

Tosses it:

And Murphy acts like its his job to bring it back as quickly as possible.

Sometimes Rob takes photos too. Even though it's 20 degrees outside (which feels like a heat wave compared to last week's -10), we still need to bundle up. For me, that means:

  • Thigh high socks (these ones)
  • Waterproof Sorel winter boots
  • Long sleeve thermal underwear shirt
  • Wool Columbia hoodie
  • Double-layer Columbia jacket
  • You know, the other stuff - hat, gloves, pants

I may be bulky, but at least I'm warm. Also check out my wing span:

"The fish was thisssss big!"

I'm so ready for spring. Who's with me?

The end.

Photo info
(I'm going to try to include this information when I remember because I know it's helpful for other photo enthusiasts)

Camera: Sony a850
Average settings: f3.5, 1/500, ISO 400 (manual exposure, auto focus)
Lens: Tamron 28-75mm f2.8
Processing with: Photoshop CS5 - some regular curves adjustments, contrast, and then an action called "Twitterpated" from Paint the Moon's brand new Blessings collection. These are some of my favorite actions. They aren't free (like most actions I post), but they are so worth the money. Trust me.

Before and after the "Twitterpated" action:

Art scheming

I just found out that (one of my favorite places to buy prints) now does photo framing and mounting.

Their prices are pretty reasonable, and I've heard good things about the quality. So now I'm scheming about some new art possibilities for the dining room.

I'm thinking of printing some of my outdoor pics and having them mounted on wood. Like this:

I'm thinking about some outdoorsy shots I took last April at Lake Maria with my Sony a500 (which is only around $400 if you are thinking of picking up a D-SLR). Here are the original pics, straight of camera:

Here are the edits I made. I wanted them to look slightly more abstract than a normal photo.

I like the new versions a lot. I was almost ready to order when I saw in the description that the photos are actually printed on wood with black finish. Rob and I have talked about keeping this room in dark brown tones, so now I'm kind of stuck. Has anyone ever had photos printed on wood before? Do you have a reputable printer to recommend? I'm all ears.

someone else's words

"Happiness comes when your work and words are of benefit to yourself and others." - Buddha

  © Thanks to for providing a great Blogger framework to remix. Hope you don't mind the changes I made.

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