Well, I crapped out for NaNoWriMo, but I did realize there are some books I should definitely be reading...

Shop Class As Soulcraft by Matthew B. Crawford

This is one I bought today, about the value of working with your hands, which fewer and fewer people do, but more and more people are needed to do. I'll report back.

There's also a history of the Replacements by Jim Walsh, and a new Nick Hornby book.

AND, if I can track a copy down, The Greatest Finnish Crime Novel of 2009!

(I'll update with links and such, but now I have to go to bed...)


Lesson learned

The leftover stuffing from Thanksgiving dinner combined with leftover sausage links from Swedish pancake breakfast makes an excellent lazy Sunday lunch. That is all.


Multimedia message

Somebody got married today.


I am thankful.

that I didn't buy a damn thing today.


Happy Thanksgiving!

the pile up, originally uploaded by doctorhectic.

From the top...
brussels sprouts
fresh cranberry sauce
mushroom stuffing
oyster stuffing
garlic ciabatta
garlic mashed potatoes
sweet potatoes
seared sea scallops
baked salmon
herby greens and cucumber on top

followed a few hours later by homemade pumpkin pie and fresh whipped cream



I am thankful.

For The Muppets™. And The Queen®.

I wept.



On Saturday we ventured northwest to the historic (everything here is historic) town of Canton, CT. Former home of the Collinsville Axe Company, among other things, this town is pretty cool based solely on the fact that they have turned most of their older downtown buildings into usable space for businesses, including the former axe factory.

We had lunch at the market/deli and then took in the Holiday Sale at the History Museum. Rhubarb bread anyone? Sorry, we ate it all already!

rhubarb bread

After the history, we wandered through the factory building that has been turned into an antique mall. Lots of fun stuff to look at, like Handy Henri, the sardine spatula!

sardine spatula

Things were a bit overpriced, but that seems to be the way here, and that's based on my Midwestern antiques sensibilities. I did walk away with this refurbished clock that I kind of fell in love with, just for it's face.


I really love the numbers, the decoration, and the embossed weaving pattern. Someone gutted the original mechanism and replaced it with an electronic quartz movement, but it looks cool and it keeps time. What more could I ask for? Most of the intact original clocks were non-functional due to being overwound, and none of them looked this classy anyway.


More pictures of the character of Canton, as well as the clock, can be seen here.


Ahh, commiseration.

My new favorite site is CLIENTS FROM HELL.

Anonymous postings from designers about designer/client discussions. I thought working in a quick print environment exposed me to the most ignorant, demanding folks, but I am now reassured that it is an industry-wide epidemic. Sigh. I guess I knew it all along.

(found via swiss miss)



...cabbage is gorgeous.


Also, delicious with chopped kale, cucumbers and sesame dressing.

Kale, cabbage, cucumber

This combo forms a "salad" that will keep, refrigerated and dressed, for a couple of days, but remain crisp instead of becoming soggy. Quick to make, too.


There is nothing...

Mamoun's Falafel Truck

...a falafel truck can't fix.

Toyota's built in falafel holders

Especially after watching a musical.



I stopped by the Goodwill for some project ingredients on my way home from work and found the following treasure, for 99¢, in a plastic bag.

A tattered instruction sheet...

Bowling dice paperwork

...from a tattered box...

Bowling dice

...that contained 10 pristine BOWLING DICE!!!

bowling dice

These black beauties each have one side with a gold ten-pin imprint. To play, you just roll and see how many pins you get. "Getting" a pin actually means you don't roll one of the gold pin sides up, so ten blank sides up is a strike. It took me about three rolls to get a strike. It's no Yahtzee™, but it's actually a pretty fun little idea. It could even make a comeback, it just needs a new sponsor...

Bowling dice promo


Word on the street...

...Elvis Costello is on the Colbert Report tonight.


Them bones

Poor guy. Or perhaps girl.

My favorite piece of decor from Olivia's Friday the 13th birthday party was right outside the back door. I love the casual "just gimme a minute to get up" pose, like there is some kind of undead La-z-boy just underneath the ground.


Oh yeah, indoor Tiki Golf!

On Saturday, because it was craptastic outside and because Dean was in town, we headed down to North Haven to check out Tiki Golf.


It was definitely NOT the greatest indoor mini golf experience I had ever had, but we had a pretty good time.

Dean between

There were also plenty of arcade games. Y'know, for the kids...

Alternate activity at Tiki golf

And there were in fact a few rough-hewn tikis strewn about.


Also a sadly underwhelming volcano.

The Volcano

Despite the disappointments, Dean came away the under par winner, and while at it was able to get some more action shots of the proceedings.

The Winner



Involved more adventures with Dean, including Tiki Golf. Indoor Tiki Golf, that is. Pictures forthcoming.




From my local bridge expert...

"Hey Alex, those are concrete pier repairs. There is an expansion joint above that pier and at some point years ago it was leaking onto the concrete below. Allot of times leaking water will weather the concrete. Water will infiltrate the concrete and cause rust to form on the reinforcing steel 2-3 inches inside. The concrete will then become hollow and delaminated. Repair crews will go in and jack hammer this hollow concrete, nail plywood forms in place and pour in grout forming these patchwork patters. The surface concrete has no structural properties; it simply protects the reinforcing steel and structural concrete behind the steel."

Awesome. Much respect to Bridge Expert Josh!


Local optometrist...

Local optometrist

...squashes the competition!


Episode 666, or FRIDAY THE 13th!

Muahahahaha! Post 666! on Friday the 13th! What does that mean!?

Nothing. Muahahahuh?



Why wouldn't you want to have lunch with Tim Gunn?


A Farewell to Fang

Halloween over!!!, originally uploaded by doctorhectic.

Decay had set in, so it was time for Fang to go to the trash. But not before a portrait on the hood of the Subaru.


Last night...

...I dreamt I was accused of having flat cheekbones.



Dalmnation!, originally uploaded by doctorhectic.

(alternate title, "Wagon the dogs")



...this must be what it's like having a ghostwriter. I was all set to post something about the weekend, but here it is, all summed up for me already.



is hard, yo. It's hard to devote hours per day to it when I already have hours devoted to interneting, napping, and cats who demand attention.

It's all "points for effort" though, right?


I Got Religion?

Well, musically that is...just returned from a show featuring Eilen Jewell and her opening act/backing band, The Sacred Shakers.

The Sacred Shakers are primarily roots Americana gospel, or something like that, ranging from covers of the more religious sounds of George Jones and Elvis to the Rev. Gary Davis and the Louvin Brothers. Great stuff if you're a fan of that gospel sound, or even the rockabilly/classic-alt-country/soul genres.

Eilen Jewell is a little more variety of covers as well as her fantastic original songs, which, to her credit, sound like they came from the same songbook as her inspirations. I picked up a CD of the Shakers and an LP of Eilen's latest work. The band even stuck around to meet'n'greet and sign merch! I had forgotten how much fun it is to meet the band and get stuff signed, especially after such a great show.

Check them out if you are a fan of, um, MUSIC.


Teddy goes home.

Teddy has been staying with our friend Margery for the last few weeks, but tomorrow he is going to his new home, up in MA! Hooray! His adoptive parents will be able to give him plenty of love and attention, and he will return the favor. He is the sweetest cat we have ever had anything to do with, and he deserved so much to be rescued.




It can be mean, but it sure is funny.



A pie is born.

I was looking for a pumpkin pie recipe, and noticed that while they all contain pumpkin and various spices, there is quite a range of egg and dairy contents, including of course the none range. I ended up using a recently printed recipe from New York Magazine, which requests both eggs and dairy, but uses brown sugar instead of white sugar. I also threw in ginger, nutmeg and cloves instead of just cinnamon. We'll see how it turns out.

Anyone got a killer pumpkin pie recipe? Anyone substituted interesting things for eggs or dairy ingredients?


Happy Dia de los Muertos (Dos)

It's day two of Dia de los Muertos celebrations, another day to remember those who have gone before us but are not forgotten, as for better or worse, one day is not enough for most people.

It is also day two of NaNoWriMo 2009. Are you writing? What's your word count? If you answered "yes" to the first question and "who cares!" to the second, then you're my kind of NoWri-er. This is my first year attempting to do anything and while I've had ideas in the past, I hope to get some stuff out of my system whether or not anyone ever reads it. It's a good routine to get into, writing everyday, as I slowly admit that I should be developing a more daily routine to my life. Makes it easier to get things done.

Gotta go write mo no.


Dia de los Muertos

Dia de los Votive

Whether celebrated today or everyday in some way, I think this is should be an important holiday for everyone. Personally, I remember friends and relatives that have died in little ways all the time, as I am reminded of things they enjoyed, or shared moments and events. I occasionally have dreams where I am having conversations with people I have known that have died. But to have a specific day not to just somberly remember but to fondly remember and enjoy the memories of those that have died is a great tradition that should be encouraged. It helps the living and keeps the dead alive in our hearts and minds.

Happy, and I do mean HAPPY Dia de los Muertos!