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Archive for January, 2010

About the banner photos

All photos and graphic designs on this site are ⓒ Sue Owen unless stated otherwise. Here’s a little more about the headers I like to rotate out:

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Photo my Dad snapped in Kerrville on Dec. 26, 2012. I still absolutely cannot grasp this Texas A&M football season. I will always love him and Coach Sumlin for giving us this amazing, unexpected entry into the SEC. Here’s how unexpected this all was: On Aug. 16, 2012, I was tweeting A&M’s press release on how to pronounce the name of our new freshman QB: “Rhymes with yell.”

I’ve lived here and loved here. Two-stepped and swung here. Cheered Buck Owens’ birthday here. Seen the Calexico horn section nearly fall off the tiny stage packed with Mavericks and los Super Seven. Loaned out my drivers license so a friend could rent a portable bar. Pondered the dusty disco ball; played pool badly; ran into a 7th-grade algebra classmate. Fixed my lipstick in the mirror here. In weirder moments, eaten breakfast here, watched the “rat highway” in the back here, rung in the New Year with Mojo Nixon here. Been a barfly regular for Toni Price, Redd Volkaert, the Blues Specialists here. Talked with Danny Roy Young about Texas music in the 1960s here.
Left my car here.
Left my heart here.
Left my credit card here.

Love this sign; it’s out near the ranch. Covered (I hope only covered) with one of those vinyl signs now, blech. Not before I got a photo though.  If you look close that’s definitely Lyndon’s nose.

The Coupland Dance Hall, a wonderful old building chock full of history, which was where I asked to go for my birthday in 2011. This particular Saturday night the crowd was small because of predicted hailstorms in the area, and also I waited for a moment when the dancefloor was pretty empty to snap this, because I liked the star light pattern on the floor. One room over, the restaurant serves real good meals; one floor up, they’ve turned former bordello rooms into an inn where you can stay 🙂

The greatest word in the entire world. In New Orleans’ Central Business District, these brass insets mark the streetcorners. And if it’s a lovely soft overcast day in January, you can smell the scent of sweet olives drifting over from the Quarter.

Hickory burger no onions, please. With a fountain Dr Pepper and a side of beans. (Ate here so often in high school that I didn’t have to say it — I just walked in and the cook said, “Hey there, hickory burger no onions!”) On the south side of the courthouse square in Denton, Texas, the best damn town anywhere.

(Edit: DCIHC closed at the end of 2013. I refuse to talk about it.)

(Edit: The one off University is still open!!)

A bunch of grocery store roses; snapped actually in the parking lot of the grocery store as a cloud scudded across a bright sunny sky.

A holy well in the Irish countryside that we came upon unexpectedly during a ramble that resembled altogether too closely the story in “McCarthy’s Bar” that ends, “Have ya fallen and hurt yourself, or are ye just afraid of the cow?” Bovines notwithstanding, this was very much the coolest moment on our trip 🙂

Hilltop in Tuscany

Farm in County Galway. We had a picnic here, with the sheeps.

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A Twitter friend drew my attention to this explanation of Amazon’s new push to offer authors and publishers a bigger slice of royalties in return for a lower price per book on the Kindle — that is, even though the e-book is cheaper, the writer gets a bigger slice.  The publisher doesn’t go to the expense of printing.  And Amazon tightens its grip on the market.

That sighing sound you hear is all the books on my shelves realizing they’re not going to be getting a lot of new companions in coming years. (Strangely, I feel exactly the opposite about DVDs – I resent the space they take up and their high price and have already gleefully embraced Netflix as a sort of remote or “cloud” DVD library.)

If and when books go the way of the CD and the newspaper, I’m sure I’ll enjoy spending less money, building fewer bookcases and not being crushed when the stacks of reading material piled on my nightstand topple. And I’ll like not having to decide which books to pack for a trip, and not having to haul them through airports or into moving vans.  Probably I’ll become friends with my little tablet device, when I finally give up and purchase one. But scanning my shelves, looking for just the perfect book to lull me into sleep, is a ritual I will actually miss.

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Aug. 11, 2013: This is the most-clicked post on the blog, which is terrific. Happy white sinks, everybody! Here’s the short version:

THE METHOD: Coat the stained part of your white sink with a layer of dishwasher paste — the thick gloopy stuff you put into the dishwashing machine, not the liquid soap you use for hand-washing dishes. Let it sit for a while (start with a short time span, perhaps). Then wash it off. Hopefully your sink’s now back to white!

CAUTION: Dishwasher paste can etch surfaces. Test it in a small area, or start out by only using it for a minute or less.

SUCCESS STORIES: Victory has been reported over ordinary grunge, blueberry stains, tea stains and other marks. Most of us had tried bleach and other cleaners with no luck. Here’s one success story with photos. Other surfaces it’s worked on: Formica countertops, the Corian-type stuff my shower is molded out of, stone-type beverage coasters that tea had slopped on, my white-enamel saucepan.

WHY IT WORKS: I have no idea. The dishwasher paste smells like bleach, but I’d already tried bleaching the stains with no luck. I’m guessing the cleaning agents in the paste are just super-mega-strong. (See CAUTION above)

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ORIGINAL POST

Accidental discovery: Our kitchen has a white enamel (or “porcelain,” as I incorrectly call it for reasons unknown) sink, and despite our efforts with bleach to remove stains from tea, blueberries, etc., gradually the sink has been getting yellower and yellower.  Especially around the drain.  Ech.

Recently I dumped out some old dishwasher soap that I’d been informed had gotten too gloopy to use in the washer. Planning to recycle the bottles, I let the soap drain into the sink, where it made a layer about a half-inch thick. It sat there a couple hours while I did other tasks. When I came to rinse it out:  White sinks!  (It didn’t remove scorchmarks, but it clobbered everything else.)

I filled the sink with water, dumped in the remaining liquid and left it for a few hours, stirring occasionally. This whitened up the sides, too.

So try coating your white enamel sink with a layer of dishwasher detergent and letting it sit awhile.  I’m sure you don’t have to use a whole bottle.  But regular hand-washing dish soap has never done my sinks much good, and this does. No scrubbing, either!

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I can now add to my previous posts about Monty Python and other great British TV shows on Netflix Watch Instantly (streaming video to your PC or Mac) two eminent figures in British entertainment: Sherlock Holmes and the Doctor.

Lots of old “Doctor Who” episodes have long been available on Watch Instantly, but now they’ve added new seasons 2, 3 and 4, which feature David Tennant as the Doctor. I loved Tom Baker as the Doctor when I was a kid, though I don’t enjoy the old episodes as much these days (exception: “City of Death,” written by Douglas Adams, set in Paris and still watchable). And I tuned back in as Russell T. Davies revived the series. But I didn’t get hooked till David Tennant came in. He is just so blinking perfect as the Doctor. Cuddly, loony, protective, erratic, brilliant, charming. These new episodes wobble around a lot in quality, but, for example, “Blink” is a jaw-dropping feat of clever plotting/writing/time engineering, as well as very scary. “The Girl in the Fireplace” is lovely and sad; “Silence in the Library”/”Forest of the Dead” are imaginative and gripping. But then “Love and Monsters” is insultingly awful. It helps a bit to remember that this is a series made for children. 

Probably the current hit movie prompted the streaming release of the old Jeremy Brett-starring TV productions of Sherlock Holmes stories, but whatever the reason, it’s good news. These are mostly filmed with a spooky or Gothic atmosphere, and Brett is widely viewed as a definitive Holmes. He played the character in these TV productions, each linked to their Netflix streaming video:

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