Asplode!

Brooke and I were watching “House, M.D.” on Friday night in the office after Meg went to bed when we heard a loud “pop.” Not so much a “pop” as much as a “who’s shooting at us?!”

Well, turns out one of Brooke’s Hard Apple Cider bottles continued fermenting to the point where it generated enough CO2 to explode all over our dining room.  It sent glass flying across the room, including 8 ft in the air where it caught a nice, large shard in the curtains (pictured above).  We found small bits of glass spread throughout the room.

The Cider is now sitting outside in our metal trash can (sans trash, of course), where it will be a bit…safer…for everyone involved.  :-)

We had opened up some of the stuff last Wednesday night and I noted that it had lost some of the sweetness it had a few weeks ago, and the carbonation had increased.  The champagne yeast, apparently, is more hearty than we’d initially thought.  That, or the brown sugar Brooke added to “prime” the cider for bottling ended up being more than was necessary.

Either way, if you have a bottle of our cider sitting in your fridge, I’d recommend you open it and drink it immediately.  And do it over a sink.  It can get messy. :-)

“In the end, it doesn’t even matter.”

I think Brooke and I were both relatively satisfied with the series finale of “Lost” this past Sunday night. In my opinion, it provided a great deal of closure without necessarily answering many of the questions asked in the 6 season show, but I still think it ended with a good (enough) sense of finality.

Therefore, I present to you, the 3 alternate endings to the series. Those of you that have never seen the show still may find it amusing, especially the third alternate, starting just after the 5 minute mark. :-)

Thank you, Trader Joe’s lady

Friday night we took our “it’s Mardi Gras and we only have one car to use” trip to Trader Joe’s together and as we were checking out, the very friendly employee gave us this gem about the pig and the chicken:

“Sure, the chicken contributed to breakfast, but the pig really committed.”

Now, everyone go find a way to use this one in conversation this week!

Happy 40th Birthday, Sesame Street!

It’s hard to believe Sesame Street is as old as it is, and still kicking.  Today marks the beginning of its 40th season, with Michelle Obama as the guest, talking about healthy eating, amongst other things. It’s crazy knowing there are literally over 4000 episodes of Sesame Street, providing quality television for young children now for generations of people.  I learned to count to 10 in Spanish from Sesame Street, amongst all the other things.  This is a show that taught kids it was alright to be different, that reading is fun, and that playing outside is good for you…oh, and cookies are yummy.

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By the way, I still enjoy seeing celebrities go on Sesame Street.  You can always tell that they have fun with it, even though they’re standing next to muppets.

Brooke and I were hoping to ask for Sesame Street DVDs for Christmas this year, but at least on Amazon, it looks like you can only get DVD sets for the really early years, and some Elmo-specific compilations.  So if you run across any collections from the 80s, let us know.  That, or they’d make excellent baby shower gifts. :-)

Travels: Part I

Brooke and I were in different parts of the Midwest last week (or even two weeks ago, almost).  Here’s the first post relating to all that – Brooke’s will follow once she pulls pictures off the camera.

So, I went to Chicago this year for our annual Society for Neuroscience meeting (I only took a few pictures, but here they are if you care…).  We decided to take the train this time around, as something of a change from the typical “hop on a plane” experience.  To be honest, the trip up there via Amtrak was actually pretty nice compared to flying Coach on an airplane: you get much more leg room, slightly more comfortable seats, AC plugins for your laptop (if you want to watch a movie, for example…no WiFi available, sadly…), roomy bathrooms, and a full-service snack car.  The trip was a bit over 5 hours, so it was basically as long as a car ride, but quite a bit more comfortable.

Anyway, we made it to Chicago and got off at Union Station.  Once there, we found a taxi and started heading toward it.  A “gentleman” grabbed our bags and put them in the trunk of the car.  At this point, Dr. Macarthur got in the back seat, and we both noticed that the driver of said car was still in the car, making me wonder who this guy was.  He then demanded a tip.  I was, of course, rather confused by this whole situation, not being used to taxi service in major metropolitan areas, but Dr. Macarthur was kind enough to get rid of him for me.  Once we started driving, Dr. Macarthur told him “Palmer House Hilton” as the destination.  The driver was talking on his cell phone (which he wasn’t supposed to do…), and a few minutes later, we made it to the Hilton Chicago.  Not where we wanted to go.  Then Dr. Macarthur tried explaining this to him, and he actually argued with her about it.  She was not pleased about this, of course.  Long story short, he ended up turning off the meter so we weren’t double-charged, so that was a bit better…  My first exposure to “Chicago,” proper.

The conference itself was pretty good.  Over 30,000 attended, making it pretty crowded.  I wasn’t a huge fan of McCormick Place (the convention center), as it seems pretty poorly laid out (multiple levels, funky entrances, etc.) and not in an area populated by any restaurants, making lunch a bit difficult.  We saw some interesting posters and heard a talk from Dr. Francis Collins, the current head of the National Institutes of Health.  My presentation wasn’t until Wednesday afternoon, the final day of the conference, making me wonder if anyone would still even be around to see my stuff.  Thankfully, I garnered some interest and got to present it multiple times…not as many as last year, but still, much more than I’d expected.

So, we left Wednesday afternoon, again via taxi.  This time, the driver didn’t come to a complete stop at a stop sign, so we got chased by a cop on a 4-wheeler (yes, they have those in Chicago…with sirens…).  The cop was on a power trip, taking advantage of this poor Asian guy that spoke little English.  When the cop went back to his 4-wheeler to input the license and registration information, the driver made the unfortunate choice of getting out of the car to go talk to the cop, who then proceded to yell at the driver: “GET BACK IN THE VEHICLE!  DO NOT EXIT YOUR VEHICLE!”  He knows better now, I guess…  Considering how many people don’t come to complete stops at stop signs, I kinda felt sorry for this particular driver, as he was actually a much better driver than the vast majority of taxi drivers out there, weaving in and out of lanes.  How about you cops on 4-wheelers try picking up some of them, eh?

Finally, we hop on the train for the ride home.  About 5 minutes north of Joliet, IL (which is around 30 minutes outside of Chicago…), we stopped to allow freight traffic to pass by.  Well, they couldn’t re-start our train.  Apparently, one of the computers wasn’t rebooting properly (probably running Windows Vista…).  We spent 2 hours sitting there waiting for the train to get going, and during that time, we were low on power as they’d shut the engines down.  Without power, you a). don’t have lights (making reading difficult) and b). don’t have snack car service, as you can’t use the cash register and can’t use the microwave.   They never actually re-started the train, but instead waited for the next train from Chicago to come down and attach itself to us, so we ended up having two trains heading down to St. Louis, making two stops at each town on the way because there were two trains-worth of people trying to get to their destinations.  Thankfully, Brooke was kind enough to pick us up 2 hours later than planned (12:45 am…).

So, that was my trip.  There were more good things than this (restaurants, some sights, etc.), but these are the more interesting aspects to report.

Some People Are Really, Really Dumb…

Apparently, a 15-year-old girl fell down an open manhole on Staten Island recently, so her parents are suing the city for damages. The catch is: the girl was texting at the time and wasn’t paying attention when she fell. Apparently, “sewer line workers are supposed to cut off pedestrian access to work sites or at least mark them with warning signs,” and that’s the basis of the lawsuit…but still…

Personally, I do my best not to walk and text if I can avoid it, and I certainly don’t text while driving (but I will occasionally while I’m at a stop light…if Brooke’s in the car, I just have her do it for me…). Talking on your phone is bad enough while you’re driving – just hit the interstates here in St. Louis and you’ll see plenty of crazies talking on their phones, not using turn signals, and just doing a terrible job staying in their lanes. Texting is pretty ridiculous, though, and even worse when you blame someone else because you’re an idiot.

McDonald’s Feeds You on your Break?!

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Missouri State Representative Cynthia Davis (R-O’Fallon) has been making a few headlines around these here parts because of her newsletter June newsletter that stated the following:

“Who’s buying dinner? Who is getting paid to serve the meal? Churches and other non-profits can do this at no cost to the taxpayer if it is warranted … Bigger governmental programs take away our connectedness to the human family, our brotherhood and our need for one another … Anyone under 18 can be eligible? Can’t they get a job during the summer by the time they are 16? Hunger can be a positive motivator. What is wrong with the idea of getting a job so you can get better meals? Tip: If you work for McDonald’s, they will feed you for free during your break.”

A variety of “liberal rags” picked up on this, including our own Riverfront Times (where she was voted “Ass Clown of the Week”…hehehehe…), and Keith Olberman’s show, “Countdown.”

For a more amusing take on it, however, I leave you with Stephen Colbert, above. He talks about her for the first minute or so and then goes on to discuss Mark Sanford (which is also funny, but not really pertinent to Rep. Davis).

Anyway, I’m just glad she’s not my representative.

Side-Note: Davis was also mentioned in an article yesterday in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch saying that she, and a few other Missouri Republicans, have been attending meetings called by a California Dentist, Orly Taitz, that calls Obama’s citizenship into question. And even if his birth certificate is genuine, she says “he can’t be president because his father was Kenyan.” Seriously.