Filed under: — Aprille @ 3:23 pm

I have gotten done about 2% of the things I was planning to get done today.  Sheesh.

Well, maybe 4%.  That’s twice as much fat as 2% milk, if we were talking about fat.

My brain is loopy.  Is Friday over yet?


Cabaret photos

Filed under: — Aprille @ 2:03 pm

Want to see some gorgeous Cabaret photos Denny took, featuring my costume designs?

Look no further.


Adventures in duck-land

Filed under: — Aprille @ 10:29 pm

If you know me very well, you probably know how much I like ducks. I like to look at them, I like to talk to them, I like to eat them, and I like to play Duck Hunt on the original NES (I don’t think I would like actual duck hunting because I am scared of shooting guns).

There are these two ducks that hang around our neighborhood. I’m not sure where they come from; we’re far enough from the river that it seems improbable that they’ve wandered from there, and I’ve never seen ducks in the creek behind our house. Regardless, this is my second spring in this neighborhood, and this is the second spring they (or a male and female duck who look just like them) have been wandering around, almost getting hit by cars, eating worms out of the ground after a rain, and generally being cute. Because they’re always hanging out together, I assume they’re in love and I call them the douple (get it? couple + ducks?).

Tonight I was out for a jog on my street, and I happened across a male duck all alone. I grew concerned. “Where’s your girlfriend?” I asked him. He didn’t answer me, but he didn’t move away, either; he seemed to be my tame old friend. Not twenty feet away, I saw a rude-looking black cat. I took a quick look around for duck feathers, and finding none, I assumed that the lady half of the douple was just off sitting on a nest somewhere. I’m an optimistic person. I didn’t want to think about the alternative.

(Now’s the part where you say, “But you said just a paragraph ago that you enjoy eating duck. Why is it ok for you to eat duck, but you get mad at a cat who may or may not have eaten a duck?” The answer is that I do not eat my friends. If I had a pet lamb, I would not eat it, but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying a nice lamb chop. If I were in a plane crash in the Himalayas, you can be quite sure that I would eat strangers first and do my damnedest not to eat my friends. Eating your friends is absolutely a last resort. On a related note, I will do my damnedest to save my friends from being eaten by others.)

I gave the rude cat a stern talking-to (“You be good, you hear me?”). It didn’t answer, but it did look at me for a while. I hope I got my point across. I was worried but had no concrete evidence of violence.

A couple of blocks later, who did I see but the douple. Apparently the first duck I saw was not the man half of the douple at all, but rather a bachelor duck (a dacherlor?). The douple was safe and sound, chumming around together as usual. The man duck opened and closed his mouth silently at me, as if to say, “And you were so worried. Posh!”

The lady duck kept eating worms.

I hope the worms weren’t somebody’s friends.

Chilly herbs

Filed under: — Aprille @ 4:03 pm

Oh, man, I had something all worked up in my brain about what I was going to post, but then my site was down (I’m getting some space upgrades), and now that it’s back, I can’t remember what I was going to write.

You know what’s dumb and annoying?  When people write things like “I don’t know what to write!”  I’lI apologize.  I’ll never do it again.

Last night Denny and I were watching Scrubs (best sitcom in a long time; sharp, well-written, sweet without being maudlin, biting without being acerbic) and a weather warning came on.  I thought, “Oh, crap, not another tornado.”  Fortunately it wasn’t.  It was just a frost warning.  We just planted some tender little herbs and flowers last weekend, though, so we went out and covered them up with plastic.  I think they’ll be fine.  I hope so, anyway.  I have a lot of emotional investment in those little herbs.

Just because I like making bulleted lists, here are some bands/musicians I like and pretty songs they do:

  • Tom Waits, “Come on up to the House”
  • Prince, “7”
  • Beastie Boys, “Intergalactic”
  • The Pixies, “The Happening”
  • Concerete Blonde, “Tomorrow, Wendy”
  • Orishas, “A lo Cubano”

This list is brought to you by the “My Top Rated” playlist on iTunes.


Stupid comments

Filed under: — Aprille @ 7:30 pm

Geesh.  All three people who’ve posted comments independently told me that they had to attempt it multiple times before it worked.

I’ll upgrade WordPress when I get a chance.  I’ve been busy.  Sorry for the inconvenience.



Filed under: — Aprille @ 3:16 pm

When I was a kid, somehow or another I was exposed to quicksand (only through the media; I’ve never actually encountered it physically).  I seem to remember sketches on You Can’t Do That on Television in which people were trapped in quicksand.  It was something that really made me nervous; I’m not sure how I got the impression that it was a threat to me personally, but I did.  Maybe it was because I didn’t have a very good sense of geography.

Anyway, it may have been total B.S., but my dad told me that if I ever found myself drowning in quicksand, the thing to do is make slow, deliberate movements (as opposed to flailing around).  I have no idea whether this is true or not, and I’m not sure whether he actually believed it was true at the time or was just placating me.  Besides, from what I read in the linked article above, it turns out that most quicksand is denser than a human body, and therefore people float in it.  Regardless, I was very happy to have a survival strategy, and my worries were eased.

I think it was a good parenting moment on his part.  It wouldn’t have done me any good to tell me that there was no quicksand anywhere near our house.  Like I said, geography meant nothing to me, so the concept of “near” was useless.  What I needed was a concrete plan, and that’s what he gave me.

It’s not so useful nowadays, since my fears are largely rational ones (“Is that growling German Shepherd going to attack me as I jog by?”  “Should I really be picking at that?”), but having a good plan and a backup plan is still valuable.

Another of my dad’s standout parenting moments was when I baked cookies and ants got on them.  I was very sad.  He got out the ShopVac with the hose attachment and vaccuumed my cookies.  And then, I daresay, he ate them.   In retrospect, I am impressed by his commitment.


Easter eggs

Filed under: — Aprille @ 1:51 pm

Last weekend, Denny and I went to Ames to see my family.  It was a combination celebration for Easter and my grandmother’s birthday.

Denny and I dyed eggs.  Denny said he was going to make one dyed in quadrants, and nobody believed he could do it, including me.  But he showed us.  Thanks to an innovative use of crayon, he accomplished his goal.

My proudest egg was a yellow and orange one with a white belt.

What a lovely variety of eggs indeed.

My grandmother, aka Maw, was shocked when she opened her birthday present.  Ay yi yi!



Filed under: — Aprille @ 7:49 am

Sorry I missed updating yesterday; I had an insanely busy day that included a lot of scrambling around, trying madly to get done all the things I need to get done for Cabaret costumes.  They look pretty good, though.  If you would like to attend, see City Circle’s website for details.

Here are some of the reasons you might like to go:

  • Rachel Howell drinks a raw egg with Worchestershire sauce, and she’s been doing it every night in rehearsals.  See her before she gets salmonella!
  • Sexy Nazi costumes, care of yours truly.
  • A really fabulous Emcee.
  • A very stirring rendition of “Tomorrow Belongs to Me” as well as other favorites.
  • Photocopied Reichmarks (the currency of pre-war Germany) stuffed down women’s tops (another costume thing).


My dad’s rad website

Filed under: — Aprille @ 2:51 pm

Hey, everybody. Check out my dad’s cool new website for his photography business, Gary Clarke Photos. Denny helped him get it set up, including the ecommerce portion and a really cool gallery generator that Denny invented.

My dad has worked for decades doing photography for Iowa State athletics; if you’ve ever seen the big sports schedule posters around Ames, that’s probably his work. For a variety of reasons, he’s interested in branching out into youth sports, and the website will be a good delivery medium.

He’s really the best sports photographer around. We were looking at other sports photography sites to get ideas for how other people do them, and I couldn’t believe how downright crappy so many of the images are (and I won’t even get started on the terrible web design). I hope people recognize what great work he does.

Oh, I forgot to mention a funny thing that happened.  I was sleeping last night and I dreamed that Denny and some other people had done something very strange and scientific to me.  I don’t remember what it was, but I think it had to do with swapping out my regular Aprille molecules with weird molecules.  Though it was temporarily unpleasant, it was going to have a positive end.  I was mad at him not necessarily because he did it, but because he did it without asking me.  I half-woke up and said to him, “Was it against my will?”  He made some gurgly sleep noise.  I said, all grumpy-like, “We’ll talk about this in the morning.”  And then I wouldn’t let him snuggle me.


Liquor in you

Filed under: — Aprille @ 4:23 pm

I just read an interesting article about the idea of scientifically isolating the pleasure-inducing aspects of alcohol while eliminating the less pleasant effects, such as loss of coordination and hangovers. Reading that made me think about my own alcohol consumption and the motivations behind it.

I’d say 95% of my drinking is food-centric. That makes it sound like a lot more than it is; I have maybe 3 drinks a week, and that’s including the two I’ve been having at wine class. On average, I probably have four drinks a month. Anyway, when I do drink, it’s almost always wine with dinner or the occasional margarita with Mexican food. Ever-so-rarely, I’ll have a stressful day at work and grab a beer out of the fridge or whip myself up a cocktail, and now and then I’ll go out for drinks with friends. Really, though, I drink when it complements my food and not many other times. I do usually get a buzz, but that’s more a statement on my lightweight status than my lushitude.

I wonder, is that how most people’s alcohol consumption works? I so rarely drink to the point where falling down or hangovers are an issue that the idea doesn’t hold a lot of appeal for me. On the other hand, I do suffer from social awkwardness, so if I could pop a pill and feel more sociable, that might be cool. It seems like it could reduce a host of drinking-related dangers, like drunk driving, date rape, cirrhosis of the liver, and the delusion of being a talented dancer.  I don’t see it being very useful for me, though, since I mostly drink alcoholic beverages because they suit the food I’m eating, not for the side effects.


Tornado map

Filed under: — Aprille @ 9:25 am

The Press Citizen has a good photo gallery including this shot:

Thanks to Tim for the map. This is the path the tornadoes took last night. Click for larger image. We live on the east side, not in the area shown on the map.

See also pictures taken by people around the community. It’s really amazing. All this destruction, and our daffodils are fine. It’s crazy how tornadoes just rip through and destroy, but in such a narrow area.



Filed under: — Aprille @ 11:19 pm

I’m fine, Denny’s fine, my brother’s fine, but Iowa City’s not fine.  I guess the tornado ripped right through downtown, and it is a real mess.  Apparently the Menard’s on the south side of town got its roof torn off, and I guess there’s lots of damage around Iowa Avenue, Riverside, and Burlington.  The University cancelled classes tomorrow, and that never happens.  Work is still on, but we might be doing things like clearing debris out of the streets around the office instead of work we usually do.

Denny and I were at wine-tasting class when the sirens went off.  We hung out with our classmates in the lower level of Kirkwood Community College for about an hour.  It was kind of scary, especially when people started getting sketchy information about all the damage that was taking place.  Fortunately, all we got on the east side of town (also where our house is) was rain and hail, no tornadoes or heavy winds.

What’s that supposed to mean?

Filed under: — Aprille @ 11:17 am

I had two people say bizarre things to me yesterday.

1.  I was getting on an elevator to go hear a talk by Jeffrey Cole, director of the USC Annenberg School Center for the Digital Future.  The topic was the way digital access to information is changing our relationship with media, the role of multitasking in our lives, and innovations in portable digital resources.  The elevator I stepped into was already occupied by some people, including a guy I very peripherally work with.  He looked at me in absolute shock and said, “You’re going to this?!”  Um…yep.  It’s, you know, kind of related to my career.

2.  I was out for a run yesterday, and a kid of maybe 11 years old came up to me on a bike.  He said, “Hi, lady!” so I waved at him.  Then he said, “I’m younger than you.”  I said, “Yes, that’s true.”  Then he said, “A LOT!” and biked away.  Huh?  You must understand that this is a sensitive topic for a 29-year-old, and I don’t think I look all that old.  Heck, I still get carded probably 75% of the times I buy alcohol.

I am choosing to assume that he meant it as a compliment, since kids usually think it’s cool to be older.  He said it in a very snarky tone, though.  Little snot.


Who is Patrick Muller?

Filed under: — Aprille @ 9:13 am

Hey Internet, do you know who Patrick Muller is, aka Pat Muller, aka Hanusˆ of Prague? Apparently he’s an artist in the Iowa City area.  He has been displaying disconcerting behavior to a friend of mine.


Hooray for Kyle, also carrot cake

Filed under: — Aprille @ 2:57 pm

My colleague Kyle is very famous.  He did a spot on national radio about the mumps outbreak in Iowa.  You can listen to it streamed here from Weekend America’s website.

To celebrate his success, our other colleague brought in a carrot cake.

Carrot cake is so delicious, but it’s not healthy at all.  It’s funny that it even has a vegetable in its name.  It’s kind of like one of those green bean casseroles covered in cream-of-whatever soup and cheese and fried onions; I think a dish loses veg cred when there’s more fat in it than a sausage the size of your head.

But I don’t care.  I love carrot cake, especially with cream cheese frosting.  Congratulations to Kyle!


My dream job

Filed under: — Aprille @ 11:03 am

I don’t remember if I’ve ever written about it here or not, but my dream job is to write a line of travel guides that’s geared toward who are too old and wussy for youth hostel-style travel, but don’t have the kind of funds to travel in a way that price doesn’t matter. My favorite thing is to find special deals that get me awesome stuff at reasonable prices.

My most recent accomplishment in that arena: the Hotel Gabelshus in Oslo.  It normally goes for around $220 per night, but I found a deal that lets us stay for approximately half that.  It’s still a wee bit on the pricey side, but that’s Norway for you.  I’m still excited, because it looks like a cool place.  I like how their website brags about the female management.  I hope Denny’s allowed inside.


Globat sucks, sexy Nazis are better when they’re cheap.

Filed under: — Aprille @ 1:13 pm

If you’re considering a web hosting service, I most strongly anti-recommend globat.com.  They are a giant pain.  There are many reasons why they make me irritable, but I don’t feel like listing them out because who wants to spend a Friday afternoon feeling irritable?

In better news, I got an excellent deal on sexy Nazi outfits.  Amazingly, online costume suppliers have plenty of options for sexy stewardesses, sexy bunnies, sexy kitties, sexy maids, and (believe it or not) sexy Starbucks employees, but there is a real dearth of sexy Nazi costumes.  Has nobody else in the world every costumed Cabaret before?  Rather than finding anything pre-fab, I’m ending up having to piecemeal together these particular costumes, and I found one component that I thought was going to be about $20 for $6.50.  When I have to get multiple costumes for a fairly large cast on a budget of $1000, every Andrew Jackson counts.


Charlotte’s Web

Filed under: — Aprille @ 8:13 am

I’ve got to say, despite the huge overexposure of Dakota Fanning, the live-action Charlotte’s Web trailer looks pretty darn cool.

It features the voices of such big names as Julia Roberts, John Cleese, Steve Buscemi, Oprah Winfrey, Andre 3000, and Cedric the Entertainer.

On the other hand, I think having celebrities do voices on these kind of things sort of cheapens the magic and suspension of disbelief.  Yes, presumably many celebrity actors are famous because they’re very good at acting, but most of them are famous for a variety of reasons, also including good looks, roles in previous hit films, or success in other media (see Oprah and Andre 3000).  Surely there are tons of very talented actors out there who maybe aren’t as good-looking as Julia Roberts but would really relish the role of voicing Charlotte.

I guess the movie has to make money, and it makes money based on name recognition.  I just get annoyed by the whole “beautiful woman gets ugly and wins an Oscar” syndrome, when there plenty of not-so-beautiful actors who would die for those roles.  This seems like a similar situation.

But I would still like to see it.  I have such fond memories of the book and the original animated movie.  I saw it when my brother was a baby, and my mom and I thought little Wilbur looked like my pink, squishy little brother.  Maybe my little cousinito Max would like to see it with Denny and me.  He loves animals, though he would probably be disappointed that there are no lions in it.


Don’t choke on the asparagus

Filed under: — Aprille @ 9:16 am

I have an entry on today’s FitFare about asparagus and how great it is.

I just finished the book Choke by Chuck Palahniuk.  I liked it ok; his writing always gives me a lot of good ideas, but this one seemed a little bit formulaic.  I preferred Haunted and that one I can’t remember the title of about the woman who is an artist on the east coast and her weird in-laws.  Usually, the strength of his writing and interesting subplots outweigh the slightly gimmicky twist endings, but in Choke, the twist ending seemed forced and unbelievable.  Overall, it was still an enjoyable read, though.

Sadly, about five minutes into my run last night, my iPod stopped playing the interesting audiobook I had ripped.  I was worried that my iPod had crapped out, but as it turns out, there was a problem with the original files.  It turns out that almost the entire first disk that I ripped ended up as mere silence.  Arguably, this is my O.D.F. for attempting to game the system my ripping scratched-up CDs from the library.  In my defense, I always delete them from my iPod and computer after I listen to them, so it’s not really any different than just sitting down and listening to the CDs.  Or so I tell myself.


In honor of the pasta I made last night, which came out a little too salty

Filed under: — Aprille @ 2:27 pm

Would you like to learn some interesting things about salt? This comes from the Accidental Hedonist, a blog I read.

When we look at several words, we see that many of them “devolve” into having been influenced by salt.

  • Halcyon – From the Latin halcyon, From the Greek halkyon, variant of alkyon “kingfisher,” from hals “sea, salt” + kyon “conceiving,”
  • Pastrami – This is possibly is Modern Greek pastono meaning “I salt,” from classical Greek pastos “sprinkled with salt, salted.” The spelling in English with the suffix -mi probably from influence of salami.
  • Salary – From the old French salarie, from the Latin salarium “salary, stipend,” originally “soldier’s allowance for the purchase of salt,” from neutral of the adjective salarius “pertaining to salt,”.
  • Salami – from the Italian word salami, plural of salame “spiced pork sausage,” from the Roman Latin salamen, taken from salare “to salt,” which comes from the Latin word sal “salt”
  • Salad – From the Old French salade from the Roman Latin salata, translated “salted,” short for herba salata “salted vegetables” from feminie Past participle of salare “to salt,” from the Latin sal “salt”.
  • Sauce – From the Old French sauce or sausse from noun use of the Latin salsa, plural of salsus “salted,” from pp. of Old Latin sallere “to salt,” from sal “salt”.
  • Sausage – From Old North French saussiche from Roman Latin salsica “sausage,” from salsicus “seasoned with salt,” from the Latin salsus “salted”.


  • Halle, Germany
  • Hallein, Austria
  • Swabisch Hall, Austria
  • Hallstatt, Austria
  • Galicia, Spain
  • Galicia, Poland
  • Halych, Poland
  • Salzburg, Germany


  • Gauls – Part of the Celtic tribes. The name Gauls comes from Latin Gallis, coming from the Greek hal. All of those places listed above? All had (or still have) saltworks that were initially run by the Gauls and other Celtic tribes.

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