Let the Christmas Season Begin

With Thanksgiving day now behind us, the Christmas season has begun. And here for your enjoyment, in tribute to Fox News's Bill O'Reilly, John Gibson, and their fight against the so-called "war on Christmas," is a version of The 12 Days of Christmas.


Just In Time for Thanksgiving

Martha Stewart makes mashed potatoes with the help of Snoop Dogg. You've just got to watch out for the cognac in his potatoes.


A month or so ago, Mel noticed a mouse in our attached garage. So after sealing up the gaps below the doors to the garage, I set two mousetraps in places near where Mel had seen the mouse. For the first several days after setting the traps, I checked them fairly regularly, but nothing had been trapped. Then today while I was changing the bag in the garbage can we have near the door to the house, I noticed that the mousetrap was upside down. Upon closer inspection I noticed that we had finally caught a mouse. Hopefully this is the one that Mel had seen earlier. After disposing of the rodent's corpse, I reset the mousetrap with some more low fat peanut butter (I wouldn't have used low fat peanut butter, but it was all we have in the house).


I still can not believe that this thank-you video addressed to Sarah Palin is serious! I guess Palin is the new savior of the GOP.


Who's Captain Kirk?

It looks like William Shatner has a problem with the new Star Trek movie.

Turkey For Me, Turkey For You

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin recently gave an interview following the pardoning of a turkey in Alaska. The interview probably would not have been noteworthy were it not for the fact that her backdrop had turkeys being slaughtered in it. Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with the killing of turkeys for food. It's just a bit incongruous with the pardoning of the turkey that she had just completed.

I thought that some of the captions on screen were particularly funny, such as these two:


Also, the irony about the question about state programs being "on the chopping block" made me chuckle.


Star Trek Movie Trailer

The new Star Trek movie, directed and produced by J. J. Abrams, is set to be released on May 5 of next year. Until then, here's the latest trailer for the movie to when your appetite. I must say that this looks like it should be a good movie!


Christmas Shopping

Yesterday afternoon, we all headed over to IKEA and the Mall of America. All we really intended on buying was a bookcase from IKEA. I am planning on using the bookcase to display my Yoda collection which, for the most part, has been boxed up since we moved to Minnesota. We did end up buying a couple other things there though. Mel got a small desk lamp and Emma got a stuffed rat (MINNEN RÃ…TTA). Who would ever have thought to make a rat into a children's stuffed animal?

After shopping at IKEA, we headed over to the Mall of America. We mostly intended on just walking around and browsing a bit, but while we were wandering through the Disney Store, we found something to get Emma for Christmas. I carried that item around the store, trying to keep it hidden from Emma. Mel also found something that we could get one of our nephews for Christmas, and we also got a present for our niece. Since almost everything in the store is on sale for 25% off all week, we got some good deals.

Last night I put up the Christmas tree in the living room at home. Currently we are not intending on decorating it until we return from Mel's parents' house Thanksgiving weekend, but we decided it would be easier to just get it put up when we have the time.


Christmas Is Coming

Yes, I realize that Thanksgiving isn't even here yet, but I would like to extend holiday greetings to all of my readers anyway. Please enjoy this festive video of Mathman and his family.

Send your own ElfYourself eCards


Who Are You

This afternoon Mel and I went to the Science Museum of Minnesota. We began our visit by viewing the movie Mysteries of the Great Lakes in the Omnitheater. It was a good movie which focused on the depleting sturgeon in the Great Lakes and the measures that are being taken to repopulate the species there.

While the movie was good, the primary reason we went to the museum was to see the CSI: The Experience exhibit. It was really cool! Before entering the exhibit we were each handed a clipboard with a piece of paper on it. The paper told us which of the three cases we would be investigating while viewing the exhibit. Our assignment was to investigate crime scene number three, "No Bones About It." We started by viewing a crime scene which consisted of the skeletal remains of someone who appeared to have been shot in the head and left in the desert. We had to look at the trace evidence in the lab as well as the firearms evidence. In the photo here, Mel is attempting to determine the caliber of bullet that was in the victim's head. Next we compared the teeth from the victim's remains to the dental records of some missing people and compared the mitochondrial DNA of some dog hair found at the scene with that of dogs owned by people who knew the victim. After that we listened to the medical examiner's report. Finally, we put all of our evidence together and learned who the murder was. It would be neat to go back and try one of the other two cases that they have there.


Politics in the Bedroom

I promise that this is the absolute last blog posting I will write that is related to the recent presidential election. I saw a story this morning on CNN about merchandise related to the recent election, and there was one series of products that they reported on that I did not expect -- condoms! Apparently you can order Barack Obama condoms which sport the slogan "Use with good judgement" on the package, or John McCain condoms which are labeled "Old but not expired." The person producing these also has a Sarah Palin condom which has the slogan "When abortion is not an option" printed on the packaging. Interestingly, I could not find a Joe Biden condom for sale. The video below is a story about the Obama and McCain condoms from a local Fox station somewhere in the United States. The CNN story I saw this morning said that these could become collectors' items. However, I would warn you that if you do decide to save these for posterity, I wouldn't use them for their intended purpose too far in the future.

Flu Shot

I took a little time off from working this afternoon to go out and get a flu shot. In the past it has been really convenient for me to get the shot as I could just go up to the cafeteria at work when it was being offered. However, now that I work from home, it was a little less convenient. I did not have to go far though as there was a flu shot clinic administered by the Minnesota Visiting Nurse Agency at the Cub Foods that is located just over a mile from out house, and insurance should pay for the shot so I did not have to pay anything out of pocket. With Emma attending daycare at a daycare center instead of a private home, I figure she is more likely to pick something up and bring it home than before. She has however had a flu shot as well.



Over the past few weeks, I have written a couple of times about it snowing here in the Twin Cities, but none of these instances resulted in any accumulation. This morning however, I awoke to see a thin layer of snow covering the yard. There was even some snow on the driveway, but not enough to bother with shoveling. Although, I did have to clean snow off of the car before taking Emma to daycare. The temperature outside is slightly above freezing, so what show there is in the yard is a heavy, wet snow. While there is not much snow on the ground, it is enough to make it look nice and wintry outside.


Cleaning Out the Garage

Since moving into our house, we have been meaning to get rid of a few items, including a large entertainment center, an end table, and an extra microwave. I have meant to find a Goodwill or similar store to donate these items to, but I just haven't gotten around to it. So, when I learned about the Twin Cities Free Market website, I thought it would be just as good of a way go rid ourselves of these still-usable items. Yesterday afternoon I listed the microwave oven on the site, and by that evening someone had called asking about it. She is supposed to be picking it up this evening. I have now listed the entertainment center and end table as being available as well.

In addition to those free items, we have wanted to get rid of a couple of our spare bicycles. Since inheriting my dad's Cannondale bike a few years ago, Mel has been riding my old bike, a Univega Modo Vivere. She has ridden it on two RAGBRAIs, but it is a bit too big for her. Also, she would rather have a recumbent bike to ride. Mel also has a Schwinn Frontier mountain bike that she doesn't ride anymore either. We thought about trading in the Univega at a bike shop in town to help with the purchase of a recumbent, but they do not have Univega in their database of bikes they will take, so I have listed both of them for sale on Craigslist. I have never used that before, so hopefully we get some interest in the bikes. I also hope I am asking for reasonable amounts for the two bikes. I suppose if someone is interested and I am asking too much, they will offer a lower amount. That would be ok.


Barack O'Bama?

Among all of the questioning about Barack Obama's place of birth during the presidential campaign, I don't recall hearing anyone concerned about his Irish ancestry.


What's Norm Coleman Afraid Of?

With the Minnesota senate race still up in the air, Norm Coleman thinks that Al Franken should just concede and let him win. Apparently, Coleman does not care about the will of the voting Minnesotans. He claims that if it were him who was behind by less than 0.02% of the votes cast, he would not want the recount and would just step back to allow his opponent to be declared the winner. He seems concerned about the $90,000 cost to Minnesota taxpayers. Well, if he were really that concerned, maybe Norm Coleman could just "step back" and let Al Franken be declared the winner. Of course he won't do that, nor should he. What Norm Coleman seems to be forgetting that whoever is elected is a servant to the people of Minnesota and therefore Minnesotans should have the final say as to who represents them.

Gas Prices and Snow!

While I was out taking Emma to daycare this morning, I noticed that the price of a gallon of gas at the two gas stations nearest our house is now under two dollars per gallon, although just by a tenth of a cent. I do not remember the last time gas was this cheap! And, I can't believe that I just called two-dollar-gas cheap. I guess it is though considering we were paying almost four dollars for a gallon of gas this past summer.

Before I get to work this morning, I just want to say that IT IS SNOWING! I don't think it is supposed to accumulate at all since the ground is still fairly warm, but considering that we had temperatures in the seventies earlier in the week, it is a nice change to see snow.


Warp Speed

I found instructions online today for creating a model of the Starship Enterprise out of ordinary office supplies. I think I actually have most of them in my desk. Maybe I will have to do this the next time I have nothing to do when I am working.


Beam Me Up Anderson Cooper

Here's one last posting in regards to yesterday's election and it deals with the election coverage of CNN. Shortly before Barack Obama appeared in Chicago to give his acceptance speech, CNN's Anderson Cooper interviewed hip hop artist will.i.am via "hologram." It looked kind of cool, but overall the gimmick was just ridiculous.

Minnesota's Senate Race

It looks like the Associated Press has called Republican Senator Norm Coleman the winner of the senate race in Minnesota over Democratic challenger Al Franken. However, there are fewer than 800 votes separating the two. As this is less than 0.5% of the votes cast, there will automatically be a recount. I heard this morning that the recount will not happen for a couple of weeks though, I am guessing that it could then take a while until the over 2.8 million ballots are recounted, then we will truly know who the winner of this race is.


President Barack Obama

It looks like all of the major news networks are now predicting that Barack Obama will become the forty-fourth president of the United States. I am now off to bed. Hopefully this doesn't turn into another Dewey Defeats Truman moment.

One Last Reminder to VOTE

I saw this video online of a four-year-old telling people to go out and vote. It is just too cute!

I Voted!

I didn't wait as long to go back to my polling place as I had initially planned. I hadn't really gotten started on much for work yet this morning, so I decided I would go ahead and vote now. Besides, someone is coming to the house between 1:00 and 5:00 this afternoon to fix the dishwasher, so I need to be sure to be home then. When I arrived at the polling place this time, there was no line at all. I was able to get right in and vote. After double and triple checking my ballot to make sure it was completed the way I wanted it to be, I slipped my ballot into the optical scan machine, registering my vote for Barack Obama for President, Al Franken for Senate, and many other people for the office for which they have been campaigning. Now I should just get to work and try not to be distracted by too much political coverage on TV or the Internet today.

Went to Vote

I stopped by my polling place around 7:20 this morning with Emma before I took her to daycare. The line was very long, so I decided I would take Emma to daycare first, since I didn't think she would tolerate waiting in line for that long. I plan on returning later this morning to vote. Hopefully once the lines have died down a bit.

In the meantime. Please enjoy the song "Obama Be Thy Name" by Kenyan artist Makadem.



Last night I took Emma, dressed as Elmo, trick-or-treating in our neighborhood. We walked to the end of the block then back on the opposite side of the street. Almost everyone was handing out treats. Emma got quite a bit of candy, most of which she probably will not be able to eat. I guess that means Mel and I will have extra candy to eat.

Having only recently moved to this neighborhood, we had no idea what to expect for trick-or-treating, so we prepared by having about 250 pieces of candy available to hand out. We were not sure what time kids would start to come around either. Every community in which we lived in Iowa had set trick-or-treating hours. That is not the case here. The first trick-or-treaters arrived around 6:15. Things really picked up after 7:00, and by 8:00, there were few kids coming by, although we did hand out candy until about 8:45. I lost count, but I would guess we had about 40 to 50 kids come by. We do have quite a bit of candy left over.

Today Mel and I did some yard work, picking up leaves and mowing the lawn, while Emma took her afternoon nap. We ended up filling thirteen 39-gallon bags with leaves that had been chopped up in the leaf blower/vacuum. We also got rid of a pickup truck load of brush. We found that the city's compost drop off location is not too far from our house, which is good since it took us two trips to get everything there. Our back yard now looks much better, and the patio is suitable for use now. We will probably still have some leaves falling in our yard from our neighbor's tree, but I do not know if it will be enough that we will have to do anything about it.

Tonight I roamed throughout the house setting all of the clocks back an hour in preparation for the return of standard time tonight. We have so many clocks in the house. Besides the actual clocks, it seems like every other electronic device in the house also has a clock that needed to be changed. I ended up setting back twenty clocks tonight. I just hope I did not miss any.