Blogs in the Hood

Recently, I began looking around the virtual neighborhood and was pleasantly surprised to find that there are many more blogs in the Midland-Odessa area than I had previously thought. And the ranks seem to be growing steadily. You can click here to view a blogroll of other Permian Basin sites or just select the “Favorite Sites” tab above.
 

Pixar Presses On

Just as I was getting excited about Pixar’s new movie for this summer, Ratatouille — about a rat named Rémy (voiced by Patton Oswalt) who dreams of becoming a fine chef in a Parisian restaurant (by The Incredibles director Brad Bird) — I found out about next Summer’s release…

Pixar's Wall-E movie promo banner

Details about Pixar’s Summer ’08 movie, "WALL•E" (from Finding Nemo director Andrew Stanton) are sparse, but apparently it’s about a young robot looking for a home in outer space.

Oddly enough, with the smorgasbord of films set for release this summer, some are already wondering "How will Ratatouille fare in Hollywood’s Summer 2007 rat race?

Pixar is also rumored to be working on "Toy Story 3" for Summer ’09…
 

Big Oil Takes a Little Step

On his always enlightening blog, Ottmar Liebert referenced an article on post-gazette.com where Kenneth Cohen, vice-president for public affairs at Exxon acknowledged that their views regading the degree to which fossil-fuel emissions are contributing to global warming are changing:

We know enough now […] that the risk is serious and action should be taken.

Sure, Big Oil is the master of PR spin and you’ve gotta wonder about their motives. But still, it’s hard not to get just a little excited that the daddy of all oil conglomerates — the largest company in the world, by revenue — is talking about alternative fuel sources like solar & wind power. It may only be a teensy, tentative step, but it does seem like a step in the right direction…

Apostrophobia

The Apostrophe - Gotta love it! I was inspired by one of Gerard’s recent posts to step up on my grammatical soapbox. Or as Adrianna Huffington says, you hate to make a big stink over a little squiggle, but sometimes a small thing can have much bigger ramifications. I’m referring to the lowly apostrophe, of course.   Y’see, we’re in the midst of an Apostrophe Catastrophe!

(After all, when you’ve got one of these in your name, you do tend to take note of the way people use and abuse this punctuation mark.)

Never fear though… According to Patrick at Dreaded-Apostrophe.com there’s just one simple rule to applying the apostrophe correctly:

         "Use an apostrophe when letters are missing."

Let It Snow!

We've had that “Oh, the weather outside is frightful…” tune (complete with Dean Martin's “clinking ice in the cocktail glass” sound effect) playing in our heads all week long as the first nasty blast of '07 winter weather hit the Basin. Here's a glimpse of our snow-dusted house last Wednesday:

Winter '07 arrives in the Permian Basin

The massive winter storm that was supposed to blanket us with 4-8″ of snow this weekend sent everyone running, panic-stricken to the grocery stores earlier this week to stock up on provisions for the long hard winter days ahead…

(Cough!)

Ultimately, we had less than an hour of heavy snowfall yesterday but there's still snow on the forecast for Monday. But even without snow, it's plenty cold and our new digital thermostat is getting a good workout. The damp, cold weather also gave us a perfect excuse to whip up a killer batch of stew — one of Dede's favorite things!)

A Hint of Hope for Hip-Hop

I love music and have a fairly broad range of musical tastes, although I guess most of this is fairly mainstream. I can’t quite cozy up to some of the stuff out at the extremes like bubblegum pop junk, really twangy old country, or Trey & Linda’s fierce “growl rock” death metal.

But one main musical genre that I mostly ignore is Hip-Hop. I've often ranted on (just ask Clems & April) most urban music (Rap, Hip-Hop, or the new generation of "R&B") for being morally bankrupt and drowning actual talent with just so much “gangsta” ghetto attitude. Jamie Foxx’s “Unpredictable,” for example, could've been great, but he trashed his credible & real vocal abilities with fistfulls of guest street thugs, er… rappers & MCs spouting pointless rhymes and injecting loads of needless profanity. It's telling that the best parts of Kanye West or Snoop Dogg songs are the guest artists — like Jamie Foxx, Usher, or Justin Timberlake — guys who have soulful singing skills, but junk up most of their own songs with distracting, meaningless, and often tasteless (c)rap.

But where most Hip-Hop or Rap artists may fail to impress me much for their own musical talent, it seems that their real skill is in finding fresh new sounds to accompany them. Kanye West's violinist (introduced by Jay-Z), Miri Ben-Ari, for example, is at the forefront of an emerging variant of Hip-Hop that's really got me excited. Miri brings highbrow classical musicianship to the street. Her sound & style doesn't sacrifice smarts just to be hip. And she's kinda hot too!

Likewise, with Nuttin' But Stringz, brothers Damien & Tourie Escobar infuse Classical, Jazz, & R&B styles into Hip-Hop music that's fresh & fun.

And dreadlocked Daniel Bernard Roumain throws down a hybrid of styles that veers more towards orchestral, but features turntable scratch riffs, thumping bass lines, & some very funky violin string plucking.

And then just the other day I discovered this video from Korean group Last4One that remixes Pachelbel's “Canon in D Major” with zithers & breakdancing.

Maybe there's hope for Hip-Hop after all…
 

The Heat Is On!

A couple of weeks ago, I finally worked up the courage to replace our old crank-the-dial, manually-operated, & inefficient Trane thermostat with a new eco-friendly Honeywell programmable digital thermostat.   I’ve wanted to do this for some time now, but was a little intimidated about the whole thing…

Before

Old thermostat
After

New digital thermostat

Turns out, it couldn’t have been easier.   This model was about $65, features a nice Indiglo-style backlight; big, easy-to-read display; and allows 4 schedule changes for Monday thru Friday and another 4 each for Saturday & Sunday.   Y’know, all the whiz-bang stuff that any gadget-lovin’, techie dude would want…

Been thinking about doing this yourself?   Hesitate no longer!   You’ll be helping the environment and your wallet — you can likely recoup the expense of the new thermostat within a few months thanks to lower energy bills.   And it’s a very straight-forward swap that even a rookie homeowner can tackle.   Read more about the steps required at DIY Network’s Guide to Installing a Digital Thermostat.
 

Adoption Journal Finally Online

We’ve added a new menu tab along the top of our site for Our Adoption Journal. This is a project that I’ve had in the works for quite awhile to document our Russian adoption journey. I finally got it caught up this morning & ready to share with everyone.

Be sure to check out the “Resources” page for lots of links to useful adoption & parenting websites, books, & other info that we’ve gathered.

Our plan is to use the journal to keep everyone up-to-date with what’s going on with our adoption preparation and also update it while in Russia instead of sending out tons of emails.

Nat’l Delurking Week

National Delurking Week

In Web lingo, a lurker is someone who reads message boards, newsgroups, or blogs, but rarely participates. Lurking is a serious problem throughout the Internets. Thanks to Lea over at Quick Serve Kids, however, I discovered that there may yet be hope.

To address this crisis, Sheryl over at Paper Napkin boldly declared the 2nd week of January to be “National Delurking Week.” Okay, sure, this is the last day so I'm a little late to the party, but it seemed like a good bandwagon to jump on. After all, I'm not above a little shameless self-promotion.

According to the colorful little pie charts & graphs, our webstats say that people actully do occasionally visit 2Dolphins but don't often post any comments. C'mon now, you know who you are. As Sheryl says, “If you don't leave a comment, you're letting the terrorists win.”