Archive for March, 2012


Ninja-Cat, Master of Stealth


I am like a shadow in the dark.

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No Treat From You!


GhostDad came up with this really brilliant idea to save money on cat treats; instead of buying the small packets of treats, he bought a big bag (3 lb) of the super-premium cat food to use as treats. The first brand he used (Fancy Feast) was a smashing success and all of the fuzzies loved it. When that ran out he switched to a different brand that was “soft” food and now Simon won’t eat it.

Well, that’s not entirely true. After a few weeks of Simon eagerly arriving for treats, taking sniff of the offending food, and wondering off again, GD put a handful of the food in a bowl in the kitchen – kinda like a snack bar. Simon ate it, he went after it like it was the best thing he had ever tried. So GD offered his the same food from the same bag the next morning and … He didn’t eat it.

Simon’s picky about his food, but he will actually eat this! He just won’t touch it if GD offers it to him.

He also won't drink his cocoa unless there are exactly eight tiny marshmallows forming a happy face in it.


So we all know my brain works a bit wonky at times, right?

The other day Mother Dearest and I were digging through the big bins of toys at one of our favorite thrift stores and I found a naked porcelain doll with a stained cloth body and a broken foot. I fished it out and showed it to MD, who gave me The Look until I wondered out loud how much she could sell the head and hands for. (Hint: they are expensive.) She spent the twenty-five cents and scavenged the head and hands, throwing away the body and both feet.

I happened to look in the trash can, saw the good foot and decided to keep it.

I now literally have two left feet.

I was fiddling around with the leg and trying to think of something I could do with it. Make tiny shoes? Use it to model wee socks? While I was thinking I cruised over to eBay to do some browsing.

I like to type in random words into the search bar to see what comes up, one of my favorite to do is “haunted” because the weirdest crap comes up. All kinds of jewelry claiming to contain various spirits (and not the good kind) with all sorts of odd claims like the trapped succubus will turn you gay if you wear a particular “spirit vessel.” (Or turn you straight if you are already gay, I guess. Succubi seem to be equal opportunity specters.) Several sellers sell identical items that conveniently seem to house the same sort of spirit despite the ads claiming they are either Rare, Unique, or One of A Kind, and at least one is running a BOGO sale.

Which got me thinking … Why not sell my extra foot on eBay? With an appropriately outlandish story, of course.

Like the tiny bottle of googly craft eyes being sold as an “aid to open yur 3RD eye!” that claims to come from the estate of a real witch (All of these supposedly haunted items seem to come from the estates of real witches, they must be dropping like flies.) or the rock that the seller claims will allow you to create “healing water” on command. (Get back to me when you find a rock that will make some gin to go with that tonic water.)

Say it with me, children - "Seventeen dollars for THAT?"

There are numerous items being sold as haunted that I know for a fact that I’ve seen in bead and jewelry catalogs or websites, some are even being sold on eBay without the backstory for a quarter of the price.

At the bottom of every listing, after the seller has spent many badly-structured paragraphs attempting to convince you that this geegaw, for real and for truly, contains some mystical force, there is always a disclaimer at the bottom.

This is the one from the Googly 3RD eye bottle auction:

Legal Stuff:——— Law requirement states that paranormal objects are for entertainment purposes only; and you must be at least 18 years old to purchase. You agree that your purchase is subject to your own interpretation. This is a paranormal item that has been tested as active and we cannot be held accountable or responsible for its behavior .

So if it takes your car out for a joyride and impregnates the dog, it’s your own damned fault.

There is no law that I know of that specifically states that a “paranormal” item must be sold for “entertainment purposes only” – that’s just a fancy way of covering your ass so someone won’t try to sue you (or eBay) when the cheap piece of jewelry or Wal-Mart brand doll you sold them does absolutely nothing. There isn’t an age limit to buying dolls or jewelry, it just makes it sound that much more serious and give it a veneer of respectability.

Before someone makes a comment along the lines of “UR sew terribul!” because I’m contemplating using a fictional story to sell a doll’s foot on eBay, I’d like to point out that all of the stories selling these things are fictional. There is no such thing as vampires, or werewolves, or djinn  – all of these things are fictional creatures. I do believe there are more things in Heaven and Earth, etc – but you can’t download a fictional creature (or a real one for that matter) into an object like it was some sort of metaphysical iPod.

That said, if anyone has any ideas for a backstory for my leg, I’d love to hear it. I’m thinking a unicorn, I didn’t see many unicorns, or possibly a fire-breathing giraffe.

Holy shit, Google - really?

 


It’s time once again for Cooking With Ghostie!

Today we will be making powdered drink mix, which is super-easy. You only new a few items and there is almost no prep time. My cats could probably make this if they had thumbs. I’m sure Martha Stewart or that chick with the cooking show, Whatshername, has done this before – but I haven’t, so there.

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • approx. 1 cup sweetener of choice (I’m using sugar)
  • 1 envelope unsweetened drink mix
  • airtight container
  • funnel (optional, depending on container)
  • candies (optional)
  • grinding apparatus (optional)

Mmmm, peach mango.

Measure out about two-thirds of your sweetener into your container and add the drink powder on top, using your funnel if the opening is narrow.

It will look a bit like bad sand art.

Add remaining sweetener and place lid on container. Small jars and bottles work best, I love this one I picked out of the break room trash can because the top is wide enough for a spoon, but anything that you can close up tight will work.

Now shake! You really have to work it to get the fine powder to disburse evenly into the sweetener. You could also pour everything into a bowl and stir, but that’s not much fun.

And that’s it; just add 2-3 spoonfuls to a glass of water, stir, and you have a ready-made drink.

It's like a tiny waterfall of sweetness.

A few tips;

  • Replace some of the sweetener with ground-up hard candy – I like mixing in Dum-Dums but any candy should work. If you do not have a mortar and pestle you can put the candy in a plastic bag and crush it into a powder with a rolling pin or canned good. You can get an interesting mix of flavors this way.
  • The 1 cup measurement is just a guideline based on the instructions on the drink mix packet, you can use less if you prefer your drinks less sweet.
  • Use the mix to sweeten your tea, unless you are one of those heathens who drinks it unsweetened.
  • Make sure the container you use is clean and throughly DRY before mixing up the powder. It will clump.
  • You can make up pre-measured packets using a bit of plastic wrap, I suggest adding a “jacket” made out of paper and tape to keep them from getting punctured.

Be prepared to get some odd looks if you whip out a small packet of white powder in public.

Enjoy!

Please do not attempt to drink your monitor.


It’s storytime!

Once upon a time – around eight years or so ago (I have a crap memory for dates) I was sitting at home on a Sunday morning watching cartoons. Suddenly I heard a series of popping noises from outside. Casa del Ghostie is fairly far out in the sticks so you occasionally hear hunters shooting out in the woods. This sounded pretty close, though.

Not long after I started hearing these noises, Mother Dearest came upstairs.

“The neighbor’s car is on fire.”

So of course we had to go outside and look – the neighbor’s SUV was indeed on fire and burning quite merrily in the driveway. Several neighbors had walked out to the street running in front of our houses to get a better look, but no one was really panicking. Said neighbor was standing by his mailbox, seemingly unconcerned even though his vehicle was making intermittent banging noises.

“POP! POP! POP!”

It seems that the day before Neighbor-man had gone hunting and had left his gear – including ammo – in the car. That would be the car that caught fire in his driveway.

Then we went back inside and MD made pancakes.

Fun times.


Along with about a million other people, many who looked like they were in the same theater as I was, I went to see The Hunger Games.

Ooh, flamey.

Those who are fans of the book will be happy to learn that it stays fairly faithful to the source material and the plot is pretty much the same. There are a few minor tweaks; the pacing is much faster, the training period before the Games is shortened as are the Games themselves, and the history of the mockingjay pin is changed. The most notable changes I saw were Peeta’s injury, (which is much more severe in the book) the absence of the gift of bread from Rue’s district, a shortening of the “prim and pamper” segments, and the lack of Katniss’ brush with severe dehydration. I didn’t miss the “primp and pamper” too much, but the other parts were some of the best parts of the book.

Overall the movie was in many ways better than the book, in my opinion it even works well as a stand-alone movie for people unfamiliar with the book. The scenery was beautiful, but I’m slightly biased as much of the filming occurred in my home state of North Carolina.

More Mail!


This time it’s all the way from India.

Back in February someone on swap-bot contacted me to see if I was interested in doing a private swap since I have my name on a list of established swappers willing to help newer members raise their ratings by doing small swaps with them. We did a two postcard swap, here are the ones she sent me.

snake charmers

marketplace scene

It’s Greek To Me


I have foreign chocolate!

I was in a Chocolate Bar Swap on swap-bot and my partner sent me a ton of yummy all the way from Greece. She packed the big bars in a Kraft mac & cheese box (which oddly enough was completely in English) and they arrived in pristine condition.

The top bar is "Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds" and the bottom is "White Chocolate with Hazelnuts."

The top bar is "Almond Milk Chocolate" and the bottom is "Milk Chocolate with caramel cream and liquid caramel."

 

The Almond Milk Chocolate is probably one of the prettiest candy wrappers I have seen but the bar below it – caramel cream and liquid caramel? Why can’t we get those here?!?

I Can Do Better Than This Crap


I’ve managed to not post about my Kindle (whom I have started calling Iris since that was the name of the previous owner) for a while, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been fishing for free books over on Amazon. I have, I just haven’t talked about it.

I have noticed that the bulk of the free books are what I would call “not good” and many are very bad. Quite a few have been little more than thinly veiled (and badly written) porn. (No, I will not link to the porn. This is the Internet, you can find it yourself.) Two paragraphs of plot followed by twenty peppered with words like “turgid” and “throbbing” does not a story make. Even the halfway-decent books are littered with grammar errors ranging from misspellings to passages that rival anything I’ve seen in the Library. I think I can credit/blame my lowered tolerance of terrible writing on my time as a Librarian, if I find more than five errors in the first chapter I will simply delete the free book from my device. My time is too valuable to spend reading poorly written books when I could be writing about badly written fanfiction on the Internet.

So of course that has gotten me thinking – maybe I should dig out one of my old NaNoNovels and polish it up a bit, add a whole bunch of over-used cliches, and then see if anyone would download it. I wouldn’t even care if anyone paid me for it, it would just be interesting to see if anyone would download a terrible book just because it’s free.

This led to another idea – offering blank documents with impressive titles! It would be like those people who buy old books by the inch to decorate their office, they want to look smart so they download a bunch of erudite-sounding blanks and hide the bad porn in a folder marked “Dog Books” or something equally innocuous. It’s brilliant!

 

Everything Is Yellow


The unusual warm weather of the past week or so has had an unfortunate side effect – things are starting to bloom which means my allergies have come out of hibernation. It isn’t too bad yet, but it will be.

On top of the pollen that actually makes you sneeze, we get the lovely clouds of pine pollen. When the wind is strong enough it will boil up out of the trees like smoke and it will look like the forest is slowly smoldering.

That haze isn't smoke or fog, it's pollen.

 

Pine pollen doesn’t trigger allergies, but it does cling to every surface like nature’s hellish version of Shake n’ Bake. My car has already picked up a very noticeable coat and looks a little orangeish. I’m not going to wash it, though – for two reasons.

  1. There will just be more pollen later and washing the car only seems to make it stick better.
  2. That’s what rain is for. Nature got my car dirty, it can damn well wash it too.