June 2006

Almost a month ago to the day, we took another little dog into our lives to keep it from going to the pound. With two dogs in our household already, we figured that a third wouldn’t be a whole lot more work, and at some points she really wasn’t. Unfortunately, Lucy just hadn’t gotten much obedience training at all in her life, and at other times she was a lot of work to manage (and clean up after). Although we were managing all three dogs fairly well after a couple weeks, it didn’t seem quite fair to our two original dogs, who had been displaced a bit by the newest puppy. Because of this, TG called the local Boston Terrier rescue contact about a week back and within less than a day they’d found a great home for Lucy, with a family who does obedience and agility training.

Even though she was a good bit of effort sometimes, it was definitely sad to see Lucy go. She was a loving little dog who really, really liked to play fetch and simply snuggle whenever someone would let her. Oftentimes while cooking dinner, she’d come into the kitchen and just sit by my feet, waiting until I was finished.
In only four weeks, she managed to secure the nicknames of “Gremilin” (her crooked ears), “Snorter” (she’d make a loud snorts right before she went to sleep) “Spider Monkey” (her climbing abilities, including over a dog gate), and “Turdburglar” (affectionately, due to her *ahem* sometimes disgusting eating habits). She will definitely be missed in this household, but we know that she’s going to a home where she can get loads of attention and she’ll make someone a good pet.


We’ll miss you, Lulu.

062506_tennisball.jpgBecause we don’t have enough things to do (joke!), TG and I purchased tennis racquets this weekend. There are courts relatively close to our house and it seems like a sport that we can play together. TG had taken a racquet sports class in high-school and I’d played racquetball fairly seriously for a few years, so we figured it wouldn’t be as bad as starting from scratch.

As it turns out, I had a pretty rough adjustment the first day. Aaron and I met up on Saturday afternoon and batted the ball around and he took it pretty easy on me while I double-faulted around and generally played poorly. I did have a lot of fun, though, and was ready to head out and play again soon.

TG and I went out this afternoon and hit it around as thunderstorms threatened and I again had a good time. I made a mini-breakthrough on my serve and figured out my backhand a smidge more. I still tend to smack it into the net quite often, which I think comes from my years of ingrained racquetball baseline smashing. TG had a 3/4 angle serve that worked quite well for her and she dropped it in with some spin on an amazingly consistent basis. Had a good time, and I’m feeling a bit sore in a good way. Agassi is retiring soon, maybe I still have a chance…

Last year, TG made some mindbendingly good ice cream by combining the recipe for vanilla with 2 pints of hand-picked raspberries from a batch of plants that we have growing in several places in our yard. Somehow, we managed to get both raspberries of the red and black variety, and the combination of the two plus ice cream makes for something quite delightful.

It’s currently harvesting season, so for the past week or so, one of my nightly chores has been to take the little plastic container down out of the freezer and add whatever ripe berries I can to our ever-growing stash. Judging by the rate at which they’re ripening, we should have more than enough to do up a batch of ice cream in the next 2 weeks. I have a weakness for certain flavors of store-bought stuff, but let me tell you that nothing comes close to the three batches (Meyer lemon, raspberry, and mango sorbet) we’ve made for ourselves in the past year since we bought our ice cream maker new in the box at a yard sale for 5 dollars.

The Good War by Studs TerkelAlthough I went through my history classes in high school and managed to get A’s, I somehow either didn’t retain or simply didn’t learn about a lot of events in world history that I should have. World War II was only one of these events, and I thought that the best place for me to dive into things would be with a familiar writer that I enjoyed. The Good War is now the fourth book by Studs Terkel that I’ve read in the past year, and I honestly have no reason to want to stop. His interviews almost perfectly capture the wide range of the human condition, and his assembly and structuring makes for good reading.

While I wasn’t a complete idiot about WWII when I started the book, there were many things that I learned within that I decided I wanted to know more about in depth. Even though the big isn’t one of detailed statistics and figures, the sheer numbers and size of the war in just about every degree boggled my mind at points. Terkel talks to not only people from the United States, but people from both Allied and other positions in Europe. He speaks to those who were on the European stage, the Pacific stage, and even those on the homefront.

As always, the insight of the “common” person within his books seems to at times be some of the most profound reading that I’ve read. Words flow like poetry at times and the book spans the wide range of emotions from blind patriotism to enveloping sadness at events that have taken place. As with other Terkel books I’ve read, I would highly recommend this to anyone. In fact, it’s probably the best Terkel book that I’ve read thusfar.

On a related note, I now plan to read more about World War II. I posed the question of what might be the best semi-concise historical non-fiction tome on WWII to another forum, and I was recommended both The Second World War by John Keegan and A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II by Gerhard Weinberg. Both are supposed to be quite good at laying out the timelines and history of the war, with the latter being especially in-depth (which isn’t surprising given the almost 1,200 page length). Anyone else have any great WWII non-fiction titles they’d recommend?

When I was at the store last weekend, I was looking through the green peppers and noticed one that stuck out like a sore thumb. It was about 3 times as large as any of the other peppers, and basically looked like some sort of freakish mutant pepper. It was completely normal in all other respects, but nonetheless I had to purchase it. It was so large that it frightened our dogs., who usually enjoy eating little bits of green pepper when I’m cooking.

Elsa and the green pepper

It’s been almost a year since the last official recorded output (the Summering EP) of Marianas was released to the public. Like a lot of groups, we had a ton of songs that we worked on and never released. All the songs are in various stages of completion and people in the group all have different opinions about whether they actually like them, which are the main reasons we’ve never done anything with them.

A couple weeks ago, I came up with the idea of posting one song per week on my blog here, with the intention of getting 5 or so of the best songs out into the world, but after some discussion with the rest of the group, the idea was scrapped.

I have all the songs in my iTunes, though, and some of them manage to get pushed through the random playlist a fair amount. One of them catches my attention just about every time, and it’s not because it’s the best or the most inventive, rather it just seems nice to me.

So yeah, it’s hard to explain, but the track linked below feels like the close of spring and the beginning of summer to me. It’s a bit rough, and it’s very simple (two guitars and one organ played by Aaron G, Ryan, and I) compared to the majority of our work, but it came on again tonight and I wanted to shove it off into the world.

Download “Untitled”