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So I was looking at my “Dashboard” here on WordPress.  A pretty groovy feature, I must say.  It tells me which posts get the most hits (the ones about kindergarten art) and what search terms people are using “to find your blog.”  I put that in quotes b/c that’s what it says, but I highly suspect that the people using these search terms were NOT pleased to find my tie dyed feet and updates on Ukraian recipes.  So, if you got here by searching for (and I shall try to mess these up enough that they don’t draw MORE of this…suspect crowd), “men j@ck1ng 0ff” (and god help me, either there were 6 of you or one of you tried 6 times and still ended up here) or “pokemon @$$h0le” (seriously?  what did you HOPE to find?)  I am sorry that you will not (oh I hope) find release here at Squid Ink.  Please move along and then go wash your hands.  And to the person who got here while searching “Cartoon mom kids, ” I’m oddly flattered.

WARNING: Tash, you may want to look away for the first part of this post.

All good tidings to Imaginary Claire who persisted about the wonders of her metal straws from 7-11.  All I could think was “cleaning a straw?  I don’t think so.”  But she had not pointed out that they were colored aluminum!  Any who have seen my kitchen know that I harbor an obsession affection for colored aluminum.  So I scampered out and bought 12.  Because I needed a bouquet of them.  Behold:

And yes, my hydrangeas are insanely lovely and plentiful this year.

In other news, Steve and I went to see The Dark Knight last night.  Better titled “The Long Dark Knight of the Soul.”  Lord, that thing made “Ghandi” look like a comic short.  It was too long.  A whole character and sub-plot (Sorry, Chinese dude, I’m looking at you) could have been removed with nothing lost but a couple of over-the-top stunts.  It was big and ‘splody but really not all that great.  I didn’t hate it, or even actively dislike it, but it was getting such raves that I was expecting brilliance.  I wasn’t as wowed by Heath “Dead Guy” Ledger’s portrayal of The Joker as Steve was.  I found him kind of irritating.  Christian Bale, when he is growling out his Batman lines, looks like he has an extra set of teeth in his mouth.  Maggie Gyllenhaal, who is 30, looks 45.  And like she stepped out of 1940.  She’s beautiful, but looks like she should be playing someone in a Dorthea Lange photo.  The chap playing Harvey Dent is named Aaron Eckhart, which is relavant b/c he looks like Harry Hamlin who played Aaron Eckels on Veronica Mars.  And his chin is too big and has a butt.  The best part of the movie for me (aside from getting to punch Steve for a silver VW bug in a street scene), was that Nestor Carbonell plays the mayor, so Batman and Batmanuel were in the same movie. Which is awesome.  And it got me to IMDB to relive this classic Batmanuel quote: “‘Alone’ is a pathetic predicament.  ‘Lone’ is an aesthetic choice.”

Julianna found this on the Flip Video camera.  It may be–and I do not exaggerate–the funniest thing I’ve ever seen.  Okay, it’s in the top ten.  Can’t forget that cat that jumps up off the bed and hits the wall.

I liiiiike piiieeee!

I helped about 30 4-H kids tie dye shirts today.  Remind me not to do that any more.  Helping one or two kids–fun.  Trying to keep 30 kids from 4-12 years old from spraying permanent dye all over each other–not so much.  The upside was all the lame jokes–Okay, come over here in the grass to dye.  Well, don’t really, I’d feel guilty and your mom would be mad at me–and lord knows I can milk the mileage out of those.  But the chaos…it eats at me.  First, I bought 30 rubber gloves instead of 30 pairs of gloves.  D’oh. That meant re-using soggy gloves which is sensory hell.  Then I over estimated interest in actual TIE dying.  Mostly they just wanted to squirt dye on a shirt.  And, of course, that led to disappointing results and muddy colors, but did they listen to me?  nooooo.  And then I was covered in dye.  Most of it came off my legs, which was a nice surprise, but my hands have that lovely just-crawled-from-the-crypt blue/green tinge.  Oh, and the flies bit me.  a lot.  But I got to come home to fresh raspberry pie that I’d made this morning.

I think Japan has lulled us into a sense of complacency with their Pikachu jets, Hello Kitty, and all things kawaii.

pikachu jet

hello kitty toaster


Oh yes, soooo cute and fuzzy and cuddly. No scary race of super humans here! Please go eat your cheez doodles and drink your cola beverages! But…don’t watch G4 TV, please.

They don’t want you find out what’s REALLY going on over there. Since 1997, there has been a competition airing in Japan. It’s called Sasuke–Ninja Warrior here. For your viewing pleasure:

So twice a year, for 12 years, they’ve been finding enough people to run this competition. Which means that, given the size of the island, everyone in Japan is a superhero. My kids loooove this show, along with Unbeatable Banzuke. In which super-humaniods do stuff that’s hard for Americans on foot–but on their hands:

or, perhaps, hopping on a bicycle:

Lily watched a Ninja Warrior fall into the water on a course and exclaimed, “They should be wearing goggles! They’ll get water in their eyes!” So maybe that’s the achilles’ heel, when they attack with their giant muscles, walking on their hands and hopping on their bikes, we just toss water in their eyes. Meanwhile, my family will be in training…sitting in front of the telly, munching on snacks.

We had a guest stay over Friday night.  Lily found this little guy at our front door, unable to reach the doorbell:


baby vole, I thinkI think it’s a baby vole…but it could be a Japanese robot pet.  The eye-to-head and head-to-body ratio is a bit ridiculous.  Anyway, it was small and possibly wounded (couldn’t see anything, but it was likely dropped by a bored cat, which would suggest internal injury), so I figured we could at least give it a warm dry place to die.  Put it in a mouse tank with food, water, and a hidey hole, and went to bed.  Morning came and it was still with us, chipper and zippy.  I let her (Julianna named it Amelia) stay with us until nightfall, brought the cats in, and then let her go in the bushes.  And when the next dead vole shows up in the living room floor (thanks, kitties!), we’ll just assume it’s one with no name.  Amelia went on to eat someone else’s garden and lived to a ripe old age.

Well, the weather was touch and go, but we went down to DC.  The weatherman kept asserting that the rain would stop long enough for the fireworks to go off, so we cancelled plans to hang out for any length of time (see the Folklife Festival or meander on TR Island, or, as I now call it, Analostan) and just decided to find a place to park and watch the show.  We headed down GW parkway, found that the lot to Analostan was closed (even though we could SEE open spaces!), tried to go to Gravely Point–also closed.  Grr.  So we ended up just parking on the roof of the hourly lot at National Airport.

On the roof at National

The view there was pretty good, but Steve scouted out the terminal and found an even better spot–one with a/c and a bathroom right near by.  There was a lot of space for kids to run around and places for us to sit for the hour until the show and munch on sandwiches and carrots.

The rain mostly held off and the fireworks went on as scheduled. They were, as always VERY impressive, but we were too far away.  It was a bit like watching it on TV.  The kids enjoyed it, but I missed the loud booms and the feeling that those colorful stars might come right down on me.  Maybe next time.  As we were leaving, we were marvelling at the range of colors and nationalities around us.  Japanese (Lily: Mommy!  Those people look like they’re from Unbeatable Banzuke!), Indian, African, South American.  That’s always the best part of heading closer to the city.  You can stand in one place and hear 6 different languages.  Love that.  And where there are multiple languages, there are multiple ethnic groceries and restaurants.  Yum.  I’ll never understand the anti-immigrant bias.  Who will make your empanandas, people?  Your samosas?    And if it wasn’t for immigrants, you people wouldn’t even have your stupid Olive Garden or even Taco Bell.  Your fast food would be Toad-in-the-Hole  and Spotted Dick.  So shut up.  And Happy Independence Day.

The Fourth is one of the few holidays that I don’t resent.  I feel no pressure to do anything in particular and I LIKE fireworks, so I don’t mind that part.  There’s no tradition I have to follow, no food we must serve.  Just a day with no mail and loud noises.  Ah.

We’re planning to take the kids to see the DC fireworks tonight.  The weather is actually bearable which is nearly unheard of for July 4th.  Traditionally, it is 103 degrees with 99% humidity, culminating in a thunderstorm just as the fireworks are supposed to start.  So we haven’t seen the DC works since before we had kids.  They are amazing, though, and Lily’s nearly 6, so I think we can do it.  We’re going to attempt going to Teddy Roosevelt island…wish us luck…

ETA: I just read that TR Island link…”Analostan”?  Really?  Asshole of the Islamic world?


July 2008