QotD: Ghost Story

Do you believe in ghosts?  Have you ever seen a ghost? 
Submitted by Nancy.

On the first question – no comment.

On the second, when we used to play Ouija board when I was in 3rd grade, we "apparently" "contacted" a "spirit"
named STU-7 who claimed to be a World War II pilot who had been shot down. Or maybe my sisters pushed the thing around to make it so.

A few years ago I saw what ended up to be a garbage bag up in a tree in my peripheral vision on the way home from work somewhere in Brookline, and the first thing that occurred to me was generic fear, and the second (comically) was that it was "a dracula". Not a vampire, not dracula, but "a dracula". I've been scared of draculas ever since.

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Just As I Suspected — Being A Billionaire Really Is Awesome

From an interview with Richard Branson in Wine Spectator*:

"I was in California promoting Virgin Atlantic's inaugural flight to San Francisco and we took all out guests up to Napa, where the Sonoma County Wine Patrol "kidnapped" me. Two guys in a helicopter with fake submachine guns forced our bus down a dirt road and locked me up in a big shed, where naked ladies were jumping up and down in grape vats. I was forced to get in there and join them. They went to enormous lengths to convert us to their wines — and it worked! I've been sold on Sonoma ever since. They are definitely less stuff."

Just as I was about to write this up, my dog found it on the floor of the bathroom and peed on the article.

*(they don't let you see the articles online without a subscrition, so I don't want to give them the courtesy of a link to their home page)

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The Track 8 Theory

A friend of mine once advanced the theory that musicians tend to put their best songs as Track 8 of the CD. Or stated differently, Track 8's tend to be awesome. Anyone care to agree or disagree?

I'm thinking I should start a project to list out some really good track 8's. Please don't run out and register track8s.com before I do. Please?

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QotD: What I Love About Vox

In honor of Vox's launch tomorrow, what's your favorite feature or aspect of Vox?

Oh Vox, you're so needy sometimes. YES, I like you. YES, I'm faithful to you and tell all my friends about our great times together. We've been through some rough patches and we've both changed over the couple months we've been together. You've really grown up, and I've come along too. Sure, we've had our disagreements and I still say sometimes when we do that little thing when you ask me a QoTD, you have this distant look in your eye, like your head is a thousand miles away and the answer goes right through that pretty head of yours. But we'll work through all that. I know we will. I've never felt like this about a blogging platform before.

Have some faith, Vox. We're going to make this work. I know, blogging platforms get weary, and jealous, and it's all so scary sometimes. But this is me, baby. Extraface ain't gonna do wrong by you.

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QotD: Weekend Plans

What are your plans for the weekend?

Homeownin' takes center stage this weekend as I try to decide what to do about a plaster wall that's giving up the ghost. What got me to where I am now with it? First I noticed some moisture issues on that and an adjacent wall. There are some cracks forming around the window, the paint (that I had put on just a year ago) was peeling in places and the baseboard looked like it needed to be replaced. Contractor number one comes in and finds the root cause of the problem, a sagging gutter and fascia board that needs replacing so that the gutter nails have something to grab on to. He does all that and I feel alright about it. But I still have the inside wall troubles. Contractor number one has other jobs to do, and moves on.

I bring in another dude to see what he can do about the wall. His exploratory surgery and experimentation looks less than promising. The drywall side is no problem, but the plaster seems to reject layers of compound put on top of it. And what's more, pulling off the baseboard reveals some rot in wood back there. Not good. There's a strong suspicion that big expanses of wall may need to be replaced at some point. It's an old house. It happens. But I don't want it to happen *right now*. Right now I just want to find a way to smooth out the wall, slap some paint on it, and live with it for a while. Here's to hoping a solution is found over the weekend that won't involve a third mortgage or weekly plasma donation. For those of you who are into vintage wall disaster porn, I'll snap some photos along the way.

Oh, and since I've been working on that wall (which is in the bedroom),
I've uprooted myself to the living room for the past few days and
that's thrown the whole place into a tailspin of unholy mess. I'll probably try to tame that.

I also need a new floor lamp to replace one I bought from West Elm that broke within a year, so i'll probably head to Victory Vintage in Decatur. Love that place.

Tonight: dinner and The Departed with friends.

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She's real fine my 409

King's 409 Dark 1st Grade
[this is good]

This is going to sound like a J. Peterman story, but the friend who introduced me to this tea was a monk from Thailand named Tan Suvit. He was one of my very best friends when I did a year's study abroad in London. More on Tan Suvit some other time. Supposedly he's vice-abbot of one of the main temples in Bangkok these days, but I've not been able to track him down with a letter or e-mail,despite several attempts.

He called this stuff "smiling tea" because the Ginseng roasted into the Oolong leaves coats your throat and generally makes you smile. In my experience, drinking it reversed many a crappy mood.

I was trying to decide between tea and booze tonight. Booze (or beer) is good to unwind with but tea soothes and gives the illusion that it's sharpening your perceptions. Or maybe it really is. Last night I had some English Breakfast before I went to bed and it kept me up longer than I intended, but it brought me to a nice relaxed, pointed calm instead of a beery, dulled calm. It's getting colder out and tea feels like the right thing say around 9 pm. Although herbal tea would make sense at night, other than Chamomile (ok and peppermint) I usually find it boring. I want the monklike focus that fruity or herby teas don't really offer.

So I'd decided on tea but wanted something other than the E.B. I have a shelf of forlorn teas up above the more commonly used ones, and up there tonight I spotted the King's Tea 409 tin. Yeah, that's the stuff. How could I have forgotten that was there? Summer, I guess.

It's expensive ($48 for a little over 5 ounces), but highly highly recommended if you have the means. It keeps forever, and it stands up to multiple hot waterings. It just might be my favorite tea of all time. If you have a preconception about what teas with ginseng are like, this tea defies it. The description on the Ten Tea site is pretty accurate:

"The steeped tea has a light
golden brown hue, roasted aroma with sweet undertones, the initial
flavor of roasted chestnuts, and a strong, sweet and roasted aftertaste
which lingers at the back of the throat."

King's 409 Dark 1st Grade
[this is good]

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QotD: This Week's Top 25

What are your top 25 most played songs? 
Submitted by Cooxie 

This is what iTunes currently has to say about the matter. I think it's lying about all the Shins songs. I've misplaced my iPod so this is just what I listen to on my computer. Car listening also excluded:

What Ever Happend to You?    Mendoza Line
I Don't Mind If You Forget Me    Morrissey
Maybe You Can Owe Me    Architecture In Helsinki
East Bound and Down (From the Motion Picture "Smokey and the Bandit")  Jerry Reed
Gigantic  Pixies   
Christmas in Hollis    Run-DMC
Know Your Onion!    The Shins
The Celibate Life    The Shins
Girl On The Wing    The Shins
In the City    The Jam
All These Things That I've Done    The Killers
I'll Call Before I Come    Outkast   
Panic (acoustic Smiths cover)    Peter Yorn       
Judy Is A Punk    The Ramones
Through The Wire    Kanye West   
My Philosophy    KRS ONE
Save The Best For Last    Me First And The Gimme Gimmes
Sing Your Life (Rockabilly Mix)    Morrissey
So Says I    The Shins
Gone For Good    The Shins
We Got the Jazz    A Tribe Called Quest
Virginia Reel Around the Fountain    Built to Spill
It's Funky Enough    D.O.C.
The Grind Date    De La Soul
Rock Co.Kane Flow    De La Soul Feat. MF Doom

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hobby assessment part 2: how about a roll call

Before I break down another interest like I did the crafting one, I'm running down the list. I'll add to this as they occur to me later:

  • crafting (check)
  • reading (yeah, it counts, and yeah, the shapes do still make pictures in my head sometimes)
  • amateur entrepreneurship/product development/world domination planning
  • cooking/baking
  • sitting around
  • vintage scooter ownership
  • homeownering
  • photography/snapshottery
  • letterpress
  • vidya games
  • extraface (awwww)
  • is skirt-chasin a hobby?

some additionals i'm considering on top of it all:

  • learning trumpet
  • volunteering my time somewhere
  • habitual gym-going
  • starting a youngish person's bridge club
  • night-putting
  • something with audio and/or video

and the ones that i've already decided aren't making the cut:

  • learning to draw
  • ebay tycoon
  • community government (i'll attend the meetings, but i ain't runnin' for office)
  • selling grit subscriptions
  • ruby on rails developer (i hereby promise to remain the only man left on earth who isn't "currently teaching myself ruby on rails")

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