dragoness_e: (Default)
Keep in mind we live in the Deep, deep South.


Icicles are forming on all the eaves, the bird feeders, etc.

icicles


The cars are covered with ice from freezing rain.

ice on car


Sleet is coming down.


sleet accumulation on car

They've had to close all the bridges connecting to New Orleans because they are icy.
dragoness_e: Living Dead Girl (Living Dead Girl)
The main lesson I'm taking from all the media circus is this: if you are ever asked under oath, in a court of law if you ever said or did something that was normal and socially acceptable 50 years ago but is now considered offensive to some people: lie. They probably can't prove it if you did, and perjury is apparently less of a crime than having been a normal white Southerner 30-50 years ago.

Personally, if a freaking BANK ROBBER had stuck a gun in my face, I'd have called him a lot worse things than 'n****r', and not ever apologize for it. This kind of over-reaction is the reason many of us refer to "political correctness" with a sneer. It's also the sort of thing that makes the privileged (who haven't had the personal experience of being on the receiving end of racial slurs and abuse) have trouble taking seriously the genuine complaints of minorities who have been oppressed. Or more colloquially, worst case of 'crying wolf' I've seen in a long time.

Now, the whole racial slurs/sexual harassment lawsuit is a whole other matter, but it's ongoing. I'll wait until the evidence is in and the court or jury has ruled before jumping to condemn or exonerate.
dragoness_e: Living Dead Girl (Living Dead Girl)
I still hate Buck Moth Caterpillars and would like to see them all drown in DDT.

Today, while trying to pull a weed, I failed to notice the big fat poisonous caterpillar wrapped around the stem. I pulled a handful of poison-spined caterpillar instead.
The fingers of my right hand are all swollen up and have I mentioned the excruciating pain of these stings? This makes typing difficult and uncomfortable as well.

Yeah, me and Phylum Insecta are at odds again.
dragoness_e: Living Dead Girl (Living Dead Girl)
I also hate tent buck moth caterpillars and want to see them all die. Preferably without leaving a huge pile of twitching corpses underfoot, because they are disgusting.

Because waking up to a massive horde of the damn things spiraling up one of your favorite oak trees, and knowing that they will strip the leaves clean off the tree is just peachy. Fortunately, a strong wasp spray kills the little bastards.

Unfortunately, the little fuzzy bastards have poisonous spines disguised as fuzzy. DO NOT brush up against them. You will seriously regret it. Yet another reason tent caterpillars must die.

Addendum: we identified the "tent caterpillars" as actually being Buck Moth Caterpillars, which do not tent, but do occur in massive outbreaks and really like oak trees. And are poisonous, and like to fall out of oak trees. This can be a problem if you are walking under an oak tree at the time.

Apparently this is a normal spring thing in Lousiana, because we have so many live oaks...
dragoness_e: Living Dead Girl (Living Dead Girl)
Have I ever mentioned how much I hate fire ants? They are one species that I would celebrate the extinction of. I think everyone in the South would--massive, Mardi Gras-style rejoicing.

Does anyone know how to put them on the Endangered Species List? And then push them into extinction? If someone does, that person needs to publicize the method, and be given a Nobel Prize of some kind.

Sadly, the malevolent little psychotically-aggressive bastards with the poisonous bite are as tenacious as cockroaches. You can poison the mounds in your own lawn, but you can't cover every woodlot, pasture, and crack in the sidewalk.

Summation: I hate, loathe and despise fire ants. Kill them all.
dragoness_e: Me in the pink straw cowboy hat (Pink Hat)
We're fine. We rode out the storm at my mother's old house, and had power the whole time, though the internet got shaky.

View for the last three days...


We're on the high side of town, so I don't expect problems from storm-surge flooding beyond street flooding. (Steve went out and cleared some storm drains that were full of debris on our street, which helped the street flooding situation a lot.) However, the south and central sides of town are about 3-5 feet underwater from storm surge.

Mostly, I'm really tired of being house-bound. Becky's on her way to Dragon*Con, so I worry about her getting there safely, as she's driving under the edge of (now) Tropical Storm Isaac. OTOH, she managed to get to Dragon*Con in 2005 driving through the storm-shattered wasteland that was Mississippi & Alabama after Katrina rampaged through, so I trust her resourcefulness.
dragoness_e: Me in the pink straw cowboy hat (Pink Hat)
This is the dish I took to the family picnic last weekend. It proved moderately popular.

Chicken Jambalaya



1 1/2 c. uncooked rice
1 or 2 chicken breasts, cubed
About 1 lb kielbasa sausage, sliced
1/3 c. cooking oil
1/2 large or 1 small onion, chopped
1/3 c. parsley, chopped
1/3 c. green onions or shallots, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 c. bell pepper, chopped
1/4 tsp red pepper
salt to taste
pepper to taste
3 Tbs. soy sauce

Boil rice; set aside. Sauté onion over medium-low heat in oil until almost brown. Add chicken and cook 5-10 min (until cooked through), stirring occaisionally. Add parsley, shallots/green onions, garlic, bell pepper; sauté 5 mins, stirring. Add red pepper, salt, pepper. Add kielbasa and cook for 10 mins.

Add 2 cups water and cook for 20 min. over med. heat. Add rice a little at a time, steadily stirring, until all the rice is in. Add the soy sauce and stir until thoroughly mixed with rice. Heat over medium heat for 5-10 mins (until rice is hot), stirring occastionally. Serves 3 - 4 people.
dragoness_e: Living Dead Girl (Living Dead Girl)
It's raining down here. It's raining quite a bit, and quite steadily. And that's it. Tropical Storm Lee is a big yawner, and a great opportunity to curl up with popcorn and some good movies. Just so you know, since the national news media seems to be desperately looking for something to be hysterical about.

We're not "suffering" down here, and people aren't "terrified". As far as I can tell, people cleaned out the grocery stores of beer, chips, hot dogs, hamburger, and other Labor Day/Hurricane Party supplies. Unlike when they are actually stocking up for a dangerous hurricane, when there's a run on batteries, bottled water, canned food, plywood & duct tape. So yeah.

Tropical Storm Meh.
dragoness_e: Me in the pink straw cowboy hat (Pink Hat)
Part 1 was the fossils

Part 2, this post, is about the butterfly exhibit. If you are in Houston, it's worth stopping by to see.
flutter-bys! )
dragoness_e: Me in the pink straw cowboy hat (Pink Hat)
As promised, I'm digging out quite a few photos I never got around to posting.

Last November we took a trip to Houston to tour the Houston Science museum. There were two main features of interest: the fossils and the butterfly exhibit. This post is about the fossils.
Pictures of long-dead things )
dragoness_e: Me in the pink straw cowboy hat (Pink Hat)
Hmm, it's been a while since I posted any photo-essays. I've got quite a lot of pictures piled up that I'll get around to posting some time. I hope.
Kitchen herbs )
dragoness_e: Me in the pink straw cowboy hat (Pink Hat)
I didn't take nearly as many pictures Sunday, so there's no need to break Sunday's images down into separate posts. The crowds started to thin out on Sunday, as people went home--though the Con actually goes through Monday, most people have work or school to return to that day. The one-day Con goers mostly came on Saturday, one of the reasons Saturday is so crowded.

I spent an annoying amount of the morning trying to catch Jim Butcher when he didn't have 5000 people waiting in line to sign his books, and just missed him. (Okay, I caught up with him, but he was running late and didn't have time to sign books). I also went to John Ringo's book signing session to get a book signed, and actually did catch up with him.

Finally, Sunday I actually got into the Dealer rooms and was able to shop. I picked up some T-shirts, and phoned Steve several times to see if he was interested in some of the older GURPS books one of the booths had on deep discount--he was, and I bought them. Other than that, I mostly just looked. These days, if I want a lot of the kind of sci-fi/fantasy souvenirs, games and exotica found at a sci-fic convention, I can just order it over the internet, so I don't find myself wanting to buy everything the way I did back in the old days, when a con was the only place you could get some things. Of course, back then, I didn't have the money to buy all the stuff I wanted; now I do, and I don't want much of anything. Go figure.

Pictures )
dragoness_e: Me in the pink straw cowboy hat (Pink Hat)
I saw quite a few nice costumes Saturday, in among the vast throngs of people.

Lots of photos )
dragoness_e: Me in the pink straw cowboy hat (Pink Hat)
As previously mentioned, on Saturday, Sept 4, there was an "Avatar: The Last Airbender" costume photo-shoot, up on the 10th floor of one of the hotels. What that meant was everyone in ATLA costumes was invited to show up and pose to have their pictures taken by all and sundry.

Many, many ATLA costumes, including Becky's )
dragoness_e: Me in the pink straw cowboy hat (Pink Hat)
I buried my mother yesterday. Since Dad was a WWII Veteran, and he died 5 years ago but his ashes were never interred, I informed the funeral home that I wanted to see them both buried at a National Cemetery. Not a problem, all they needed was a copy of his discharge papers which I dug out of Mom's filing cabinets. They arranged everything.

A bit of bad comedy ensued three days ago when I checked the urn I thought Dad's ashes were in and it turned out to be (a) already opened and (b) empty. Oops. I guess Mom scattered or buried Dad's ashes without telling me. Unfortunately, the funeral and burial were already scheduled and my in-laws were already on the way down. Double oops.

Several frantic phone calls to the funeral director later, they got on the phone and checked with Biloxi National Cemetery and found out that it was not a problem; Dad would just get "In Memory Of" on his stone, and Mom would be buried there as planned. Cue me stopping panicking and having hysterics.

Yesterday was a very nice day; on the way to Biloxi, we passed many, many classic cars that were in the Gulfport/Biloxi area for "Cruising the Coast", a classic car gathering/festival. Didn't even know about until I saw the cars, so it was pure lagniappe.

When we got to the VA complex, we followed the "Funeral Procession" signs as my funeral director had instructed... and they stopped at the entrance of the Cemetery. We had no clue where to go, and drove around a bit until I noticed the pavilion and earth-moving equipment. Beyond them was what turned out to be the admin building. A-ha, this must be the place!. Also while searching for the right place, we saw a red fox hanging around the columbarium; he kept ducking behind banks of mortuary niches when we looked at him, then peering out from behind the other side to see if we were still there.

At the Admin Building, the gentleman in charge pointed us to the pavilion, and told us to talk to Becky, the sexton in charge of things. I asked about the fox, and he turned out to be a well-known inhabitant, and was apparently much annoyed from all the stirring about and setting up for a burial today. We then went over to the pavilion and talked to the sexton; Becky was very helpful, and introduced us to Deacon Henderson, who was very nice and was the chaplain to conduct the burial service. Once we got everything set up, we waited for the appointed start time, because I thought some of Mom's friends might show up, and it was a good thing I did, because Julia S., her friend and former lawyer, did show up, so it was me, my daughter, my spouse, his parents, and Julia S. there.

It was a very nice service, outside on a very nice fall day. After the brief service, we walked over and watched the urn buried. For a cremation urn, they don't use earth-moving equipment; they dig the hole by hand and fill it in by hand, all very old-fashioned. The stark white marble stones that they use in a military cemetery stand in neat ranks, and there is something profound and inspiring about those ranks, all of them engraved with the names of those who served, and sometimes those of their wives (or husbands). If you have ever served a term as an active duty military person, you are entitled to a grave in a National Cemetery, and so is your spouse. If you have [i]both[/i] served, both of you are entitled to a plot and a headstone. (Otherwise the spouse shared the headstone with the one who served).

We'll return when the headstone is installed, in a couple of months.

After the burial, after we thanked everyone--and everyone involved was very helpful and efficient and nice--we all went off and had lunch. On the way out, we got to see even more classic muscle cars. All in all, it was the nicest funeral I've ever been to.
dragoness_e: Living Dead Girl (Living Dead Girl)
Saturday was a very tiring day. Okay, they were all tiring days; just because the hotels and the mall food court were all connected indoors by pedestrian walkways did not mean they weren't sprawled over four city blocks. They were, and my feet felt it! All three days I had to go back to our hotel (which was another 3-4 blocks away) in the early afternoon and collapse for a while.

This was also the day Becky wore her Azula costume, and the big ATLA photo shoot (which will be in another post. Also, lots of costumes (another post).

Lots of pictures )
dragoness_e: Living Dead Girl (Living Dead Girl)
One of the joys of sci-fi/fantasy conventions is admiring the creativity and skill that people put into making cool costumes. Since I have a lot of costume photos, I'll be making a separate post for each day's costume pics. Also, if anyone can help me identify costumes, I'd appreciate it.

Costumes! )
dragoness_e: Living Dead Girl (Living Dead Girl)
Every Dragon*Con, Friday evening is "Evening at Bree", which is a dance and Tolkien-character costume event with live music by Emerald Rose, a Southern Celtic/Pagan folk band from north Georgia. We like their music; it rocks. Becky and I both like to attend the dance, too.

Way too many people in hobbit costumes )
dragoness_e: Living Dead Girl (Living Dead Girl)
Okay, now that I'm half-recovered from Dragon*Con, I can start posting pictures. I may be a bit slow about this, since I still haven't installed PSP9 on my new laptop, so I'm making do with GIMP. Unfortunately, the GIMP doesn't have all my presets and scripts that I normally use to speed up image processing. It's been very tedious doing it all one picture at a time. Bleh.

Way too many pictures for your dial-up; take a supper break )
dragoness_e: Me in the pink straw cowboy hat (Pink Hat)
Left out of the bird pictures from last spring was this mystery bird:



I finally dug around in my bird books and identified it. It's a Yellow-rumped Warbler.



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