Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Cat Drawing

Remember that Ace of Base song, "All That She Wants...Is Another Baby?" Well, taking inspiration from this blog, Dan and I (mostly Dan) drew the cat version of that, presented here.

If you have rewritten a pop song to add a cat to one of the central lyrics and would like it transformed into a cartoon drawing, let me know. We were thinking maybe Michael Jackson's "PYT" could be revised to reflect "PYC" (i.e. "Pretty Young Cat"). You see that we have a lot of time on our hands.

Just a few more Philly pics before I forget that I took them. I saw this yesterday morning and was really tempted to read it. Was it a fairly benign, move-your-damn-car note like, "Hey, please stop parking next to this telephone pole. This is my telephone pole!" Or was it a love note like "since you won't answer my emails or texts, I was forced to leave this letter. Meet me at the Philadelphia Airport at 8 PM EST. I have two tickets to Barbados. We never have to return." I didn't read it though--because what if the content created a moral conundrum where I had to act--some kind of a threat or a promise of harm or something really mean and nasty that I would throw away, causing the person who wrote the note to get even angrier at the lack of response and subsequently beating up the owner of the car? I decided to just take a picture.


And then this was some new family-inspired graffiti I saw on an outside wall this morning.





Monday, August 29, 2011

Lost in the City of Brotherly Love

Did you know that it's possible to get lost in Philadelphia, even if you've lived here for going on seven years like I have? It happened to me last Friday, when I decided to walk to Penn's campus via Fitzwater Street. I figured that somewhere around 24th street, I could just cut North and West and find the South Street Bridge. Instead, I found myself faced with a sudden Naval Square and jumbled streets---Catherine meeting Christian, the numbered ones suddenly seeming to veer East/West. I'd accidentally found my way into the no man's land of Grays Ferry. Granted, I have a terrible sense of direction, but it was still a weird sensation not to have any clue which street to take, especially when I knew it was only a few blocks away. I found my way back via the modern version of following pebbles along the path--I used my map app on my i-Phone--the one that tracks your progress as you're walking, which I find to be in equal parts creepy and fascinating.

So, this morning, I took Bainbridge, because I knew it was easier to find South Street from there. Here are some photos from that trip.

Tempted to take this even though I have zero interest in astronomy and the telescope is likely broken.

Christmas in August

I liked this because of the wildness of the yard.

Self-explanatory.

Woke this cat up by tapping on the glass. He still looks groggy.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Aftermath of Huricane/Tornado/Mild Thunderstorm, Irene

Well, we can still get flooding from the Schuykill River which is supposed to peak at 2 PM today. I was briefly listening to Fox News this morning at the gym and one of the reporters said, We're taking viewers' questions and the one that keeps coming up is: "If this were a snowstorm, how many inches of snow would we have gotten?" That's maybe the dumbest question I've ever heard in my life. Like asking, If this had been squirrels falling from the sky instead of rain, how many squirrels would have landed and would they have survived or just been flattened?

In any case, I categorized the devastation for you. Millimeters of rain fall flooding my street:


Recyling bins filled with inappropriately heavy material toppled.


Fortunately, the neighbor's blow up pool, which comes out at the first sign of spring and stays out until its frosted over by ice, did not fly away in the night. Little Paulie can continue to play in it rather than ever being able to go down the shore.


Trash blown across the streets--including someone's umbrella. However, it should be noted that the streets of Philadelphia look like this (and much worse) every single day.


Tiny flowerpot in window blown over.

Dogs across the city confined indoors.

And yet, the spirit of Philadelphia lives on its hardcore patriotism and love of wooden Santa figures dressed in denim.

And the love of the Phillies Phanatic.

Squirrels, please don't fall from the sky!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Disaster Preparedness at the Ernesto Household

As mom's are bound to do, mine is worried about me during this impending Rapture event known as Hurricane Irene. To set her mind at ease, here are a few photos to illustrate that, even though I have not sought out sandbags, I am still taking the storm seriously.

To wit, last night, Dan and I cleared out the entire back patio. No possibility of flying projectiles of ceramic birds or wind chimes are present to shatter my back window.

Side view. Please also note that my none of my nearby neighbors have large oak trees with long branches. 


The back patio decorations have been stored inside. I kind of like having them around and may not ever move them out again.


Cats have a full week's supply of food and back up food and two water bowls filled to the brim.



My bathtub doesn't really have a plug that works (you're supposed to fill up the tub), so we found these instead. I am not sure what I'm supposed to do with this water, but it has something to do with flushing the toilet.

Plenty of things to do, even in the dark. Two NYTimes crossword puzzles, collections of essays by David Sedaris and Amy Hempel and my journal, where I can record my musings about the storm.



Exterior view of my house. No trees availabe here either to crash through the windows. I also bought duct tape in case I need to replace a window with tape in a pinch.


Plenty of extra water, plus one Diet Coke if the coffee machine doesn't work.


3 flashlights with new batteries, plus a bunch of candles, plus extra matches stolen from Pod, plus Emma Carol's death stare X-ray eyes in case I'm without power.




No cans of corn, but I have boxes of crap to eat.

And let's not forget, I'm across the street from a church, so there's that protection.

Dan showed me how to use a piece of spaghetti to get at the hard to reach wick's of used candles.



Hopefully, this whole thing will be anticlimactic. And if the looting begins, I have a cache of freshly-sharpened knives at the ready. Don't worry, Mom.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Ceiling Fan in My Spoon

Remember that song by the Lemonheads? I still don't get what that means. In any case, here's my new ceiling fan (photo request sent in by Mother):

Light off.
If you look on the far wall by the door, you can see the fan settings--one button to turn the light on and off, and one button to turn on the fan. Very convenient. No real arm work required. The electrician who did it charged $175; I think that's pretty reasonable.
Light on. Find the cats.


Here they are. Sometimes, they can lay together nicely, and sometimes, they try to tear off each other's throats. They're huddled together b/c the ceiling fan is so effective.
Dan also finished painting the back patio. If I ever had any guests over (which I never do), I would be proud to have them outside.

The next house improvement will be the kitchen. If I can get myself to  commit to shelling out a few thousand dollars to buy the cabinets and  appliances. My friend Colin came up with some lovely designs for renovation, so I didn't even have to think of anything. It does mean getting rid of some shelving, so where in the world will I put the cat bowls? You see what a swarm they are.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

PBS on Sunday Nights

You can catch all kinds of not terrible programming on PBS, as I'm sure you know, and you can sometimes catch shows that you wish you liked more. For example, Dan and I tried to watch Masterpiece Mystery last Sunday night, hoping that it would be an episode of Zen, but instead, we got Lewis and Hathaway. Maybe we were both just tired, but it was a hard show to follow, mainly because we couldn't understand the accents (here's where Padhraig would say, "Racist") or the colloquialisms. I swear at one point, one of the coppers said, "Put a badger on the grill and smack off the what z-it." Not sure if this was an insult or a misunderstanding, but most of the rest of the show was like that--we were in need of subtitles. Later, Dan made me fall sideways laughing because he saw fat Emma Carol stretched out on the bed and said, in a British accent, "Look at you, you sack of potatoes, you like your crunchy food?"

On Saturday, we watched the first hour of A Roman Holiday starring the adorable Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, but it seemed awfully dull. I related this to Leigh Ann and she said she thinks it has to do with the fact that the films are in black and white. She said she could easily get through Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz (only in black and white half the time), but could not manage even a thrilling Hitchcock movie. I think it's also because some of the earlier movies have been redone so much that though the premises were new and fun at the time, we've now seen them 100 times over. Also, as much as I love Audrey Hepburn and her cute short haircut in the movie, it now seems to be a little on the corny side. To wit, the poster. That's Eddie Albert of Green Acres fame on the back of the moped:


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Writing Idea You Can Steal, Though I'll Sue You if You Do

I've been thinking that someone should write a story that's a modern day equivalent of the Cyrano/Roxanne story. It's so much easier now to hide your identity online--to pretend to be someone you're not and know a person for an extended amount of time just via the web versus real life. So why couldn't you write something about a woman or man who asks his/her friend to pose as him and write all of these love-causing things to the object of his/her desire? I suppose the only complicated thing about it would be that some of the ways we communicate now don't  necessarily lend themselves to deep contact; I'm not convinced that it's possible to fall for someone over text messaging or IM-ing. Someone must have thought of this idea already? After having worked for awhile as a letter writer for the President at Drexel, I toyed with the idea of writing a reversal of genders-type thing in a similar vein, but who reads letters anymore? You would then have to invent an exotic destination or some other scenario where the two communicated by letters for some reason. It's so old-fashioned now. So, let's stick with email for this premise--can you fall in love with a person over email? If they were long emails, maybe. Probably this idea isn't much more than a "Shouts & Murmurs" column using Facebook wall posts.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Photos for You: Nothing Exciting

Yes, of course I have a few cat photos to make your Friday better. Here is one.


And then his close up.


In the upper window, see if you can find a doggie.


This might be a little clearer. This dog lives on Carrie and Padhraig's street. He doesn't seem to bark much.


Cat in jail.

Last Friday, we went to dinner at a Vietnamese/Thai place off Washington and 1-th Street called Cafe Diem. I had some kind of rice paste and chicken. Very good. This is the last picture I have of Carrie and Padhraig without their baby. Carrie just had Seamus on Wednesday. We haven't met yet, but I'm sure he's lovely.


If you look closely, you will see a baby deer aka a fawn. This is the last photo I took at Dan's old house. He moved on Monday. He is in a new house now with two bedrooms, a mud room, a front and back yard, and a full basement. Goodbye to the one bedroom with no oven, mo privacy, no working dishwasher. I haven't stayed at the new place yet, but I'm sure it's awesome.


And then this was a bike outside of Chapterhouse. I mean, why are you saving the rind? Please, someone explain.