Thursday, March 26, 2009

You Name It, And Somebody's Probably Put It On a Stick

March 28 is Something on a Stick Day. Seriously. And it seems there's lots of folks out there who especially enjoy their culinary delights presented via stick. As professes: 

"...all food tastes better when it's stick-mounted..."

(It seems the site never quite took off, despite the grand plans described therein, but it's still a great quote, don't you think?) Aaaanyway, in honor of the day, I surfed around some more for a sample of what's out there.

If you're a Do-It-Yourself'er, The Food Network has you covered, with Food on a Stick, an episode from George Duran's Ham on the Street. The online article has links to recipes to make your own food on a stick: Edible Vegetable Skewers, Carmel Apple Pie on a stick, Corn Dog Variations (including Gherkins, baby corn, shrimp, mushrooms, apple slices, pineapple chunks, and hard-boiled eggs). There's even a recipe link for Gnocchi con Polpette di Manzo - and yes, that's on a stick, too.

If you'd rather have someone else serve up the goods, visit the Iowa State Fair, which boasts more than 40 varieties of food on a stick on their website - on its own special page, even: Food On-A-Stick

And if you just want to window-shop, then here's a video that's just what you need. It brings you on a virtual tour of the culinary delights of the Minnesota State Fair, whose vendors serve (at the time this video was shot) 59 different varieties of food on a stick, spanning the range of healthy to not so healthy. (Really. There's at least one healthy one in the bunch.) But don't just take my word for it:

One last note: the Minnesota State Fair is held annually over Labor Day weekend, so if you think you'd like try any of these culinary delights for yourself, you might wanna mark your calendars...and don't forget to pack your stretchy pants.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Divine Intervention - Or, The Universe Has Seen Fit to Mess With Me Yet Again

I haven't worked out for about a month. Long story, but I haven't. So anyway, I decided today to try to get back into some semblance of a normal routine. I pulled on some sweats, grabbed my sneaks and a water bottle, and trudged down to the family room and the personal virtual gym that is our Wii Fit. 

I powered up the tv, the speakers, and the Wii.

So far, so good.

I grabbed a remote, put out the balance board, and popped the disc in the console.

Still good.

I clicked on Wii Fit. I clicked on my avatar. I endured sarcastic nagging from Wii Fit: "Well, if it isn't Mommy," it said. And: "Your last workout was 31 days ago." 

As if I didn't know that.

Resisting the urge to smash The Little White Insulting Box (controlled rage is a powerful thing, and I have it in spades these days), I clicked through to begin the body test.

But instead of saying, "Starting up..." and asking me to "Step on," The Little White Insulting Box showed me The Black Screen of Death and told me my remote needs batteries. So I hauled myself upstairs and dug through the drawer in the kitchen where all batteries are kept. I found C's. I found nine-volts. I found a brand new package of like, twenty triple A's. I even found these teeny button cell batteries that I don't even know where the heck they came from. But I did not find any double A's.

OK. Whatever. 

So I trudged back downstairs and picked up a different remote that didn't need new batteries. 


But, since The First Remote was already synched with The Little White Insulting Box, it wouldn't recognize The Second Remote. 

Alrighty. So then, I plucked the supposedly dead batteries out of The First Remote to kill the connection, and tried again. Still, The Little White Insulting Box would not budge, and The Second Remote was showing signs of acute rejection issues. So I shut the whole shebang down, counted to 30, and booted it all back up again.

This time, The Little White Insulting Box accepted The Second Remote, which at that point was technically The Second First Remote, but whatever. 

Once again, I clicked to begin the body test.

No dice. I got The Black Screen of Death yet again, only this time it was the balance board that was out of juice.

And do you know what kind of batteries that balance board takes? 

Oh, yes. 

Double A's.

So I hurled some insults of my own right back at The Little White Insulting Box, shut the whole thing down and left it down, threw on a sweatshirt, fired up the music good and loud on my phone - which is always charged and which never insults me - and stomped out of the house for a long, long walk.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Yep. There's Even a Museum for That...

So, Handsome Boy and I were sitting in the truck the other day, discussing what to do over Spring Break.

"Are we going somewhere, Mommy?"

"Hmmm. Maybe."

"Well, are we? Please tell me? Pleeeeeeease??"

"Can't. It's a surprise." (Which is Mom-speak for: I have no earthly idea what we're doing for Spring Break, so I'm gonna stall for a while.)

But Handsome Boy was not to be denied, and after repeated pesterings of tellmetellmetellmetellme, I relented:

"OK. It was gonna be a surprise, but we're going to the Poop Museum."

For a minute there, his eyes were shining. "Really? Is there really a Poop Museum?" He had a huge - and immensely hopeful - grin on his face.

I laughed. "Nah. I made it up."

"I bet there is. Look it up on your phone!" he shrieked, climbing over the seats to wedge himself next to me.

So, we did. I fired up the browser, typed "poop museum" in the search box, and wouldn't ya know: there really is a Poop Museum. We were totally excited, but then looked closer and found's in Japan.

Well. That's out. It would bust the budget. But it did get me thinking, so later that night I searched for odd museums (on a much more eye-friendly laptop screen), just to see what's out there. And man, is there a lot

If you, like us here at Chez Wheedleton, have not made your Spring Break plans, and share our questionable sense of humor, here are some odd ideas for ya. Some are virtual (aka online only) and so are wallet-friendly (aka FREE!). Others are brick and mortar. Enjoy:

The Incredible World of Navel Fluff - Some call it belly button lint, but yes, it is what you think. Instead of navel fluff from lots of folks, however, this museum showcases the world's biggest collection of navel fluff (according to the folks at Guiness)...from one individual. One! It's a web page, not a brick and mortar, but oddly curious. Go on! Click the link!

Rune's Barf Bag Collection - Also an online collection, this oddity only shows pics of unused barf bags (whew!). Interesting site! One can learn the various terms used to refer to barf bags - spew bag is a funny one - as well as the story behind the various bags in the collection. You can even buy some from the Barf Bag Store link. How convenient!

Toilet Seat Art Museum - Barney Smith's museum can be found in Alamo Heights, Texas, but if you can't go, click on the link to see some pics and read all about it. Each of the over 700 toilet seats on display is his own personal design, and he's been making them for 30 years.

Gallery of Huge Beings - Another virtual collection. It is what it says: pictures of giant statues beckoning travelers from the road - hawking everything from burgers to legends to tires to tourist attractions. Go take a look, and let me know how many of them you've actually visited.

Cockroach Hall of Fame - Ewww. And it's a brick and mortar you can really visit down in Plano, Texas. It isn't your average bug museum, though. These ones are all gussied up like famous people. Hmmm. Worth a look if you're down that way, I'd say.

Washington Banana Museum - This one is virtual, but features an antiques store in Auburn, Washington, where you can see some of the things up close and personal. The online collection features some 4000 banana things: artifacts, folk art, and all sorts of odd and wonderful banana stuff. The website gives you a nice view, but it would be awfully fun to visit the store if you're in the neighborhood.

Sulabh International Museum of Toilets - Oh, yes, this one is brick and mortar, but unless you live in India, it'll be quite an expensive trip. Fear not, the website shows lots of interesting photos of the exhibits - all kinds of potties from ornate to not-so-ornate, as well as information about the evolution of this most necessary item.

Museum of Dirt - This one is a little closer to home - Boston, Massachusetts. And it is a collection of dirt. That's it. Nothing more. Just dirt. Jars and jars of dirt. But it's dirt collected from all kinds of far flung places, and who wouldn't want to take a gander at that? You can even send them your own contributions. Cool! But if you want to visit, call first to be sure they're open.

There are so many more weird and wonderful museums out there, but I'm out of space. Drop me a comment and tell me about some that you know of.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I Have to Save a What, Now?

I am no fan of spiders. You can read about my non-spider love here and here. Ever since we moved into our current home, and those big, black, hairy, sinisterly speedy wolf spiders made their presence known, it took me a full 18 months before I would sit in my basement family room without tucking my feet firmly on the couch cushions and absolutely no further south.

Well. If you look over there on the right sidebar, you will see that March 14 is Save a Spider Day. 

So, OK. I'll participate.

Well, let me qualify. If "Save a Spider Day" referred to the spider plant:

...then yeah, I'd save a spider.

Or, if "Save a Spider Day" referred to Lamborghini Spyders:

...particularly the blue variety, then absolutely yeah, I'd save a spider. Or rather, a Spyder.

Even if "Save a Spider Day" referred to the famed Webslinger himself:

...then yeah, I'd save a spider. (Or can I call him "Spidey?")

But, you and you and you and I all know what "Save a Spider Day" really refers to:

...yep. Good ol' fashioned arachnids.


But in the spirit of the holiday, I'll offer this Treaty: If they stay in the great outdoors - where they belong - I won't squish them.

If, however, they violate said Treaty and step even one of their creepy, hairy, icky eight legs into my humble home...

...well then. Ya know. Holiday or no: Squish!

Happy Save a Spider Day.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Strange Bedfellows

Add this to the list of odd things one does not expect to find in one's bed:

Oh, the joys - and surprises - of raising a small boy...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Time's A Wastin'

So, I'm meandering online, sorta wasting time and sorta looking for inspiration for a blog post. Then up pops with a post on online time wasters. Awesome! I Googled "online time wasters" and came up with a goldmine of suggestions.

So, when you're Facebooked out, when your Twitter fix has tweeted its last (at least for now), and when the Bubble Wrap page has lost its luster, check out these sites and find whole new ways to fritter away some time:

1. Falling Sand Game - Who new virtual Earth elements could be so much fun?

2. Stuff on My Cat - Totally not interactive, but so funny - especially if you're tired to the point of silly - to click through pictures of, well, cats with stuff on them. Like remote controls. Stupid hats. Feather boas. Great for a good giggle.

3. Subservient Chicken - If you've ever had the desire to make a chicken do your bidding, check this one out. The little guys will love it! Just type in what you want the person-in-a-chicken-suit-standing-in-a-living-room to do, hit "submit," and watch him do it! (And a very polite chicken it is, too. We typed, "Thank you chicken!" when we were done, and he graciously took a bow.)

4. Story - Upload a photo, choose a mouth, record your voice, and presto! Instant talking photo.

5. The Dialectizer - Enter the URL of a web page of your choice, select the dialect you prefer (among the choices: redneck, jive, cockney, Elmer Fudd, the Swedish Chef), hit "Dialectize," and the page is translated into that dialect. Useful? Probably not. Silly? Probably. OK, definitely. But who cares? It's fun!

6. Let Them Sing It For You - Type in the text of your choice, and this website sings those words back to you using clips from famous songs. No frills, but fun to do.

Give 'em a try. Then let me know what you think!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Read Across America Day

March 2, 2009 is a busy day. It marks the twelfth annual Read Across America Day, and it marks what would be the 105th birthday of that most beloved children's author - Dr. Seuss.

Read Across America Day is the largest reading event in the United States. Sponsored by the National Education Association (NEA), it is a program whose focus is on "motivating children to read, in addition to helping them master basic skills."

Lest anyone feel left out, this is a celebration for all, from the tiniest of kiddos to the most grown-up of teenagers, and everyone in between.  And the reading is not limited to the venerable Dr. Seuss's tomes.  Reading is reading - just grab a great book and get to it!

Teachers, librarians, parents and others across the country are having fun right now with their kids, participating in all kinds of activities for Read Across America Day. But if you're new to the party, it's not too late! If you're a teacher, librarian, or parent, visit the NEA Read Across America page for links to activity ideas, background on the day, resources and materials, and lots of other great ways to get involved. Teachers and librarians may also want to visit for a page full lesson plans, web links, and texts to guide your classroom activities.

And now, I gotta go. I've got two kiddos home from school on a snow day, and we can't wait to curl up on the couch with a warm blanket, some hot chocolate, and a mountainous stack of books...