Tuesday, July 31, 2007

That's hot

Dick drove to work today.

When he came home, I noticed a blue rectangle stuck on the side of his car.
Upon further examination, I saw that it said:

I roll with the hot

It's a huge rectangular magnet promoting Windows Live Hotmail, which is the project that Dick (and many of our friends) work on.

Cracks me up!

Monday, July 30, 2007

A new friend

can you ever really have too many friends?

My "new" Beloved Belindy Doll

My new friend was delivered via the USPS this afternoon. I won her off an ebay auction on Friday. (how's that for fast shipping?)

She is a Beloved Belindy doll, made in the early 1940s. She was mde by Georgene Novelties, Inc. I'm very excited to be adding her to my collection. I've never had a Beloved Belindy in my collection before. (I do have a more recent, hand-made version, but it's not quite the same as a vintage doll.)

She's in pretty good shape. Her clothes are not original, but they do appear to be vintage. The seller did not disclose this in her description, but I was able to decipher this, based on the photos.

Beloved Belindy was the Black Mammy Doll who lived in the doll nursery with Raggedy Ann and Andy (and many others) and took care of all of them. She would be considered to be quite a politically incorrect character these days, but her stories were written in the mid 1920s. She was made by various manufacturers (just as Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy were) through the mid 1960s. After the civil rights movement, Beloved Belindy dolls were no longer commercially produced. (which would explain why I never had one as a child.)

The Georgene Beloved Belindys have always been my favorite. I really love her plumpness and the sweet expression of her face.

I'm sure my new friend will feel right at home here with my other dolls.

Beloved Belindy sitting with my 1920s Volland Raggedy Andy and Raggedy Ann

Friday, July 27, 2007

The Simpsons Movie

"Say Cheese!"

In honor of The Simpsons Movie, which opens in theaters today, I present to you: The Chow Family and Friends visit Springfield.

Each of these characters were created at simpsonsmovie.com's "Create your own Avatar" section (thanks for pointing me to the site Andrew!). Each of these people (with the exception of Blane, whose character magically created itself in front of my very eyes) created their own Simpson doppelganger.

I think they all turned out well!

I thought it would be fun to take a group shot of all of us from our trip to Springfield! Right after we took this picture, we all headed down to Mo's Tavern for a Duff Beer and Donuts. Looks like we had a lot of fun, doesn't it?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Harry Potter and the Midnight Hairball

Ever since I've been on my latest Harry Potter kick, Dick has been coming up with new Harry Potter titles based on our everyday life.

I thought this one was especially funny.
(Noe coughed up a hairball sometime during the middle of the night last night.)

Monday, July 23, 2007

Woot! One Day Funny.

My friend, Blane told me about this website about a month ago. The site, "woot.com" sells one product per day at a drastically reduced price (from retail). We told my sister about it this weekend.

My sister sent me an email with a link to the site today. Those guys at Woot - they have a good sense of humor:


As we all know, the new Harry Potter book is finally on the shelves, and the whole world is amazed at the discovery that Hermione was working for Voldemort since the third book. Another great discovery is the iRobot Roomba Discovery SE 4220. With a 31 cubic inch dustbin and multiple cleaning modes this little baby hunts down dirt with the fury of someone who accidentally heard about the part where Harry strangles Snape with his bare hands after discovering that Dumbledore had been his father in disguise.

And the iRobot Roomba Discovery SE 4220 knows when to go home and relax, recharging in under three hours, just like Hagrid should have instead of getting in that fight with the Ministry of Magic after Voldemort’s mind control jelly beans turned him evil and cost him his life. Also there is stair-sensing technology, which is so close to magic it could easily be one of the final spells that Voldemort unleashes on Harry, causing him to collapse into a bloody mass in the arms of his best friend Ron, who has secretly been the real chosen one all along.

Just as sure as the last twenty pages feature Ron vanquishing Voldemort and taking his place at the side of the Tribulation Force from the Left Behind series, the iRobot Roomba Discovery SE 4220 will turn cleaning into a task that is fun for the whole family. Would we lie to you?
Warranty: 1 year



That was really good.

sidenote: Dick and I went out to see a movie (HP:5) and had dinner after I wrote the last post.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Cat Nap

Dick snapped this picture of me taking a cat nap with Noe yesterday. I had been reading the book for about 8 hours at this point, and I guess I really needed a break. (and yes, I was still wearing my pajamas!)

I read a little more today and still have about 150 pages to go!

On a related note, my Mom got her book at 1:00pm yesterday afternoon, and finished at 3:00am last night.

I'm feeling a little slow :)

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Reading update

I just got a call from my sister-in-law, Meg, in North Carolina. She and her 9 year old son, Peter, have both already finished reading the last Harry Potter book! Wow! I knew they were both quick readers, but, WOW.

I'm exactly 1/3 of the way through - 250 pages into a 749 page book.

I was up last night 'til 3:00, and woke up this morning at 8:30. I thought I was doing well!

My Mom and my sister are still waiting to have their books delivered via UPS today. How frustrating.

I think this all fairly amusing, and think it's great that all this worldwide excitement and anticipation is over a book!

I can't believe I'm blogging instead of reading right now...

but I had to share my funny experience...

countdown! T minus 1 hour

Check the time. (12:29am)
I just returned from picking up my copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

My sister and I met at the Borders Books in Union Square around 11:00pm. Unfortunately, we must have missed all of the planned events (costume contest, trivia, etc.,) and were only in time for a raffle, and to watch hundreds of people hang around a 4-story book store. Not terribly exciting, to tell you the truth. We decided to leave around 11:40pm, when they started saying that people should line up by the escalators by the order of their ticket number. My sister had pre-ordered her book online, and I was planning on buying mine at my local Safeway on the way back from the Borders event. We figured that it wouldn't be all that interesting to watch a bunch of people line up and wait.

a small part of the crowd at Borders

The boxed books at Borders

so we left.

I arrived at the Safeway on Market @ Duboce at 12:05am. It was the usual midnight grocery shopping folks - no noticeable mention of the new Harry Potter book anywhere. I inquired where the books were, and I was directed to aisle 4. I waited in line in aisle 4 behind two other customers - one who was buying vegetables, and another buying some booze. I thought this was hysterical because it was so entirely different from what I had just left at Borders.

my checkout line at Safeway

I bought my copy of the book for 40% off retail, and was out the door by 12:15am.

I'm feeling very smug at the moment.

So, I just had to jot these thoughts down before I start reading my book.

I expect I'll be a hermit for the next two days.

See you on the other side!

...and now I must read...


Friday, July 20, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

This is it: Tonight/tomorrow morning at midnight will be the release of the 7th and final installment of the Harry Potter series.

I'm such a dork, but I am VERY excited. It's been such a neat experience to be a part of this whole craze and phenomenon. I think it'll be a very long time before another book/series has this much of an impact on so many people of all ages.

My sister and I are planning to attend a book release party late tonight before the midnight countdown. My parents will be attending one in Milpitas. My sister-in-law, Meg, in Chapel Hill (who is a HUGE fan herself) is taking her two kids (Peter & Grace), and (coincidentally) my niece, Evelyn, who just happens to be in North Carolina on vacation. I looking forward to getting the report on everyone's evenings.

I'll most likely start reading the book tonight. (Meg will probably be finished with it by the morning)

I don't have any plans for the weekend - I intend to spend it reading. :)

You've gotta love the excitement and anticipation of reading a great book for the first time.

little earthquake

It's 4:43am, and I've been up for a couple of hours. (just couldn't sleep, so I thought I'd get some stuff done.)

We just had a earthquake.

I just looked it up, and found this info. It is initially reported as a magnitude 4.1. That's a decent size, really - not terribly big, but certainly big enough to feel. Looks like it was centered in Oakland.

Did anyone else feel it?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

One more day

four eyes, two ears, and a cone

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Donating Blood - photographic documentation

I'm oddly fascinated with the whole process of donating blood.

Today, with iPhone in hand to keep me company, I continued my every-two-month donation routine that I started almost 2 years ago.

I've never brought a camera with me before, and realized that i had one (in my iPhone), so I thought I'd document the experience. (I'm a little odd that way.)

my apologies to anyone who gets the heebie-jeebies from this.

My trip to the Kwik-E-Mart


Yesterday, late afternoon, I drove to the fair town of Springfield and stopped at the local Kwik-E-Mart. There, I met some of the town's famous citizens: Abu, Homer, Marge, and even Comic Book Guy. We ate pink doughnuts, drank blue Squishees, played with my iPhone, and discussed local politics.

Me and my new buddy, Homer

Okay, not really.

Here's how it really went:

Yesterday, late afternoon, I drove to Mountain View to deliver a framed poster to my hubby at work. I had read stories and seen news reports of the 11 7-11 stores around the country that had been converted into Kwik-E-Marts for the month of July - a brilliant marketing campaign for the upcoming Simpsons movie. The only store in Northern California to receive the Springfield face lift is in Mountain View. It also happens to be a few blocks away from Dick's office. On the first of day of the Kwik-E-Mart campaign, Dick and a few of his co-workers went to the store and picked up doughnuts and Jolt Cola for the group.

He didn't have his camera with him.

I left some time for myself to make a quick stop into the Kwik-E-Mart. Not surprisingly, they were virtually sold-out of all Simpson-related products. All that was left were cookies, and pink doughnuts. I grabbed a Squishee for myself (I have a long-term love affairs with Slurpees already) and took a few photos.

Kwik E Mart - Mountain View, CA

The store was pretty busy when I was there around 5:00pm. I estimate there were at least a couple dozen people buying donuts and snapping photos. When I paid for my purchases, the young lady at the register said this was actually pretty quiet.

It's going to be quite a month for the 7-11 franchise. I can only imagine how many more donuts they're selling this month, compared to all others.


My childhood friend, Terri, lives in Burbank, and took her kids to their local Kwik-E-Mart. You can see her blog and photos here.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Pretty Orchid


I don't have a good history of keeping orchid plants alive, but I do seem to keep feeling the need to try, and try again.

It's been a couple of years since I had an orchid plant. They usually last for a few weeks/months, then their flowers eventually fall off, and I'm left with a flowerless plant. I know this is what happens in between blooms, so I try to continue to take care of the plant, hoping that new buds will form eventually. That never happens.

When Christopher lived here, he said that I had a stick garden: I had 3-4 flowerless orchid plants, which never looked like they had much of a chance.

Anyhow, I was at Costco last month, and one again, couldn't resist the pretty plants. When I chose this particular one, only three of its flowers had bloomed, but it had several buds still. It's been about 4 weeks now, and it's almost fully in bloom. It's so gorgeous. I had to take a picture of it in its prime. (before it's too late!)

My friends Barry and Andrew have told me that they send their orchids off to "orchid camp" until they are back in bloom. Perhaps I should find out more about that!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

The house of crying cats

stop the madness!

It's been a long week here at His 'n Her Condos. Noe's wound is on the mend, but she still needs to wear the cone over her head most of the time. Poor Marcel doesn't know what's going on. We've been keeping him away from Noe, just in case he decides to pounce on her, or wrestle.

All of this has brought about a lot of crying cats during the past week.

Here's how it goes:

what we hear : our translation

Noe: grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr : I can't believe you're making me wear this frickin' cone on my head. This sucks! Take it off! Take it off!

(we take the cone off several times a day to allow her to eat, drink, and clean - while supervised.)

Noe: grumble, grumble, grumble : Stop following me around the house. Leave me alone!

Noe: MEOW! YOW! : No! Don't put that thing back on! Don't do it! I'll be good! I'll be good!

Noe: Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr : I hate this thing. You guys suck.

Marcel: MEOW! MEOW! : Hey! What are you guys doing to the kitten? What's wrong? Why is she crying?

Marcel: MEOW! MEOW! : HEY! I'm hungry! When's the last time I ate? FEED ME!

Marcel: MEOW! MEOW! : Noe is still crying a lot! Maybe I should cry now, too!

This should last for another week or so...

Friday, July 13, 2007

Week-plus wrap-up

It's been a busy week-plus. I keep meaning to blog about certain events, but hadn't had a chance to get to it. In an attempt to get caught up, I present to you the recent events of the past week (or so...)

Fourth of July
Baseball, luxury box seats, hamburgers, hot dogs, and Texas Hold-em

the view from our box

We spent the Fourth of July with the Chow clan. We all met at 10:30 for dim sum in Chinatown, Oakland. After lunch we all made our way to the Oakland A's game. My Dad and my Uncle Bill had purchased the 18 tickets in a luxery box for our entire family. They had "won" an auction at my niece's school's annual fund raiser. The game turned out to the a bit of a bust, with the A's losing by 8 run. We had a great time watching from our box, though!

After the game, we went to Uncle Bill & Junie's home for a Fourth of July BBQ - hot dogs, hamburgers, ribs, corn on the cob... what more could you want?

...how 'bout a few games of Texas hold 'em?

Bond, James Bond

3-007's on 07/07/07

Saturday night was Shan's semi-annual Bond Party. It's always great fun - dress as your favorite character from any Bond or Austin Powers film. Martinis, great food, and a lot of men dressed in tuxes - it's all good!

Craddock. Dick Craddock. (and some random 60s go-go dancer chic)

Noe's really bad week
Poor little kitten...

sad Noe

Our poor little kitten. Poor Noe had (and continues to have) a really bad week.
We noticed that she had a wound on her tush on Sunday afternoon, and planned to watch it over the next couple of days. By Monday night, it wasn't any better, so we made an appointment with my vet down in Milpitas.

Poor Noe had an abscess on her rump. She had to go in for surgery to drain it, cut out the bad tissue, had a tube inserted (for additional drainage) and 2 sets of stitches. To make matters worse, she has to wear the dreaded cone around her head for the next two weeks. Poor little thing. She's just miserable.

The good news is that her wound is healing quite nicely. She has to go back in on Monday morning to have the tube removed. I think she'll have to keep the stitches (and the cone) for at least another week.

a slightly less sad Noe

We've been able to take the cone off so that she can eat, drink, use her litter box, clean herself (but not around the wound) and rest with us while we supervise her. That makes her very happy.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
best. theater. experience. ever.

My Sister, Mom and I have a tradition of seeing each of the new Harry Potter films on opening day at the Grand Lake Theater in Oakland.

Unfortunately, we had to break tradition a bit this year: my sister is in Florida for the week, so she wasn't able to join us. My Mom had to work on Wednesday (opening day) but took Thursday off so we could go together.

It was really the best movie experience ever. I love the Grand Lake Theater. It's an old-school theater - huge and gorgeous inside. Plus, they installed new seats a couple of years ago. They show all the first-run films, but when we go on weekday matinée showings ($6.50 movie!) they never have lines.

We got there at 10:45am yesterday for a 12:00 noon showing. The doors opened at 10:45 (literally, as soon as we got there) and we were the first, and only people in the theater for the first 30 minutes of waiting. (yep - got the best seats in the house!) The size of the screen and the sound system are both wonderful - a great theater experience! Bonus: 4-hours free parking nearby, and FREE Popcorn!

I really liked the movie. It could be one of my favorites in the series. I actually really loved it on the whole, but was a bit disturbed that they made so many changes/alterations to the story - especially at the end. Overall: big thumbs up!

Here's a cool article on MSNBC to catch you up on all the Harry Potter characters!

That pretty much catches me up to today.

I still need to write my review of the iPhone (still love it!) but that will have to wait...

All Your Butts Are Belong to Us

one of these days, I'll stop talking about our toilet...

My sister just forwarded this article from sfgate.

It's hard to believe, but Dick and I are not the only ones talking zealously about our Toto Toilet Washlet!

Even the article title/headline sounds like something we might say:

All Your Butts Belong To Us
Forget the iPhone. What you need is a deluxe heated high-tech butt-rinsing toilet seat.

I'm pretty sure I don't have a white happy face painted on the underside of my butt.

Although, admittingly, I haven't checked lately....

Sunday, July 08, 2007


Saturday, July 7th. 2:10pm

Okay, I admit it: iCaved.

About two weeks ago, my Mom and I had a discussion about the soon-to-be-released iPhone. My Mom had mentioned that my Dad was trying to talk her into switching cell phone service providers so that she could get an iPhone.

My response?

Something along the lines of:

"Oh, the iPhone....overpriced.....over hyped....really, I just need a phone...will probably have a lot of bugs....blah, blah, blah...."

However, I specifically remember that I also added:

"But, I probably said the same thing about the iPod, so what do I know?"

Later that day, Dick came home and asked if I'd watched the 20-minute guided-tour online at apple.com about the iPhone. No, I had not.

A couple of days later, as Dick was out playing golf, I watched it....

When he came home, I told Dick I had watched it, and that I got it.

I had a newfound desire to own an iPhone.

Luckily, this was a mere 1 week before the release of the phone.

Even with all of the release hype, we decided that I should probably wait a few months for Apple to shake out the bugs, etc., Well, the iPhone was released, the reviews were (for the most part) really positive, and Dick had a chance to play with a few of them at work. The verdict: it really was as cool and amazing as we were led to believe.

So, I should add my disclaimer here:
I've had my last cell phone since December, 2003. I loved my little Samsung flip-phone, but I've always wanted to be able to sync my contact and calendar to it. Having email would be a huge bonus.

I decided to wait to get a new phone until I got a new computer with Bluetooth. Enter my new MacBook Pro - that I got about 3 weeks ago. Now, I felt ready to start looking for a phone. I was actually looking at Razrs the day my Mom mentioned the soon-to-be-released iPhone to me, and I decided that it would be wise of me to wait until they came out and to assess all of my options.

So, yeah, I watched the online guided tour, and I was pretty much hooked. The reviews that I had read by early adopters were pretty favorable, and Dick's friends who had them at work were really happy with them. There was only one thing left to do: I had to try to out for myself.

I went to visit Rob and Sharon on Friday, and Rob gave me a demo of his phone. Five minutes later, and my mind was set. It would just be a matter of time.

I was fully ready to place an order online and wait the 2-4 weeks until delivery. On a whim, I called the Apple store at the Stonestown Mall on Saturday around 1:00pm. I asked, if by chance, they had any 8GB iPhones in stock. To my surprise, they said they had a few left, and that if I came in soon, I should be able to get one. Dick and I ran out the door, and flew to the mall. We waited in line behind 2 other people, and happily, were able to buy an iPhone.

I'll write about the set-up process, and my initial review in another post. I think this one is getting long enough.

More later...

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Microsoft steps up...

Remember my problem from a couple of months ago when two of our Xbox 360s experienced the dreaded "ring of death"? Yo may recall that one of the boxes was still under warranty, but the other was no longer covered. In order to get them repaired, I had to call to have a shipping box sent so I could send them both to the repair center. The Xbox that is still under warranty would be repaired for free, but the other would cost $139.90. That's an awfully steep price for a repair that (as I found out) was a common problem with the hardware.

Reeves (who experienced the ring of death syndrome with his own Xbox 360 just a few weeks ago) sent me an email yesterday. Microsoft put out a press release on Thursday announcing that they would extend the warranty of the Xbox 360s to 3 years (up from 1 year, which is actually up from the original 90 days). The press release also stated that Microsoft will reimburse all customers who had already paid the repair fee. Another article stated that the company says it is planning to spend at least $1 billion to repair serious problems with its Xbox 360 video game console.

I gotta say: I'm impressed. I was really upset that this was such an obvious problem, causing many customers (including myself) to be very upset, and I was hoping that Microsoft would somehow step up to the plate someday and do the right thing. I'm really happy to see that they are.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

If we were Simpsons characters...

...this is what we might look like

Dick and Trina Simpson

Make your own Simpsons character here:


Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Food Quirks

I've come to realize that I have a few quirks about food:
  • I don't like to eat while walking or driving.
    I find that I can't enjoy my food, and that it's a distraction from the walking or driving. I'd much rather park myself somewhere (literally, or figuratively) until I've finished eating.
  • I don't enjoy ice cream and cake together.
    I like ice cream. I like cake. I can't enjoy them as much if they are served together. Again, I think it's because having two things at the same time is distracting, and I can't enjoy them as much as I should be!
  • I do enjoy ice-cream cake!
    I can't explain this one. Maybe it's because the cake is served cold, like the ice cream, so I don't have to worry about the ice cream melting while I'm eating the cake!
  • I don't eat cereal with milk.
    I've never been able to eat a bowl of cereal with milk. It grosses me out. It's not even just because it makes the cereal soggy - I just don't like the combination. Anything dipped in milk? Blech. I do enjoy some cereals (granola, fruit-loops!) , but since I don't eat it with milk, it takes me a really long time to finish a bowl, so I just don't eat it. Sometimes I'll eat it as as a snack. :)
I'm sure there's more, but these are things that popped into my head just now.