Away goes the air conditioner, out comes the heater.
Away go the t-shirts, out come the sweaters.
Away goes hanging out, out comes staying in. Er. Um.
What I'm trying to say is it's movie season! Netflix, ho! *Thundercats bellow*
(which, by the way, is now out on dee-wee-dee)

Constantine = Matrix + Dogma - Silent Bob

Fog of War = Read Upyernoz's review

All Quiet on the Western Front = Take away TP's Netflix privileges.

Superman, the Movie = Classic superhero tale - good acting, good plot, and good dialogue (NB Margot Kidder's atrocious voice-over poetry that makes you want to spoon your eardrums out).

Triplets of Belleville = Breaking Away + Godfather + koo-koo-krazy animation.

The Machinist = Memento + Usual Suspects - 100 lbs.

The Story of the Weeping Camel = Animal Planet + Ugly Duckling


The Association of Pakistani Physicians of North America, APPNA, has set up an emergency disaster relief fund for the victims of the earthquake. Email: appna@appna.org

And, via DeGrouchyOwl,

Here are some websites for relief and reconstruction groups.

World Vision

Humanity First


Yes Pakistan

Develop Pakistan





I've been on some weird "Macbeth" kick lately even though I much perfer "Hamlet" when it comes to Bill's tragedies. A few weeks ago, I watched Ian McKellan thunder and rage in a 1979 RSC stage production. Black hair and a kilt, but the same booming voice of Gandalf and Magneto. Then, the other day, I saw Akira Kurosawa's version, Throne of Blood. Odd to see samurai warriors re-enact the tale of Scots warriors, but still interesting. I'd have to say, however, that my favorite rendition of "The Scottish Play" is the dark and twisted Scotland, PA. Oh yeah, and I also used to dig the now and then references made on Gargoyles. What's your favorite Shakey play?


Happy Birthday, Gunnar! In honor of your concert tonight, let me regale you with the tale of *my* one and only U2 concert, the Zoo TV tour in St. Louis featuring Big Audio Dynamite II and Public Enemy as opening acts. It was around this time of the year when my friend called me to offer me the extra concert ticket he had since his girlfriend couldn't go. Well, you know by now how much I love free stuff, so, I agreed to go. When we arrived, we encountered a make-shift enclosure (which resembled a portable toilet more than a recording booth) in which you could enter, face a camera, and say your piece to the band. We had time to kill, so we gave it a whirl.

The concert started and the crowd was well-behaved and excited. When the sun set over the stadium, the spotlights came on. As well as any other electronic, electric, blinking, buzzing, sensory-overload device. U2 was on stage along with about every conceivable type of multi-media eye-catcher including, but not limited to, a JUMBO jumbotron screen which alternated displays of the actual concert we were watching live on stage and other pop culture images.

Around the halfway point, the band needed to take a break. It's hard work singing "Sunday Bloody Sunday" while dodging television monitors. Suddenly, the jangly random images on the jumbotron disappeared and they started showing clips of the audience member's "personal messages" taped before the show consisting mostly of lavish praise, a few flashes of cleavage, and some butchered attempts at a capella renditions of the band's songs. I'm sure you can guess where I'm going with this. Without any expectation or warning, there was my 40-foot high face on the screen.

"Well, I don't really care much for U2, but I got a free ticket so . . . *shrug* . . . here I am."

My friend freaked. The people one row ahead of us turned around at all his "OH MY GOD!"s and looked at me. They pointed me out to the people two rows ahead of us. The people one row behind me patted my shoulder. I was mortified. Thankfully, the concert started up again and I was quickly forgotten. Or so I thought. The next day, I was stopped in the classrooms and hallways by people I had never met before who recognized me from the concert. It was surreal. Anyway, I have now been allotted about 2.13 minutes of my 15 minutes of fame. I hope your U2 concert gives you that and more. Rock on.


Our very own panda cub was named in an auspicious ceremony yesterday at the zoo. Don't worry, Tai Shan, you'll always be "Butterstick" to us.

Forget about those kitten wars on HB's blog, check out this overdose of cuteness.


Curse you, Jacques Pepin! You show me a delectable dessert on your PBS show, but then don't give me precise measurements OR post the recipe on your website. The only place to obtain the recipe is from your $30.00 book? Monsieur, this means war!

*takes off white glove, inserts brick, slaps Pepin*

. . .

*sneaks into Borders, finds book and writes down recipe, sneaks out*

So. Apple Skillet Cake.

Apple stuff:
Saute two (2) sliced apples
in three (3) tablespoons of butter
in a deep skillet that can operate on the stove and in the oven (i.e. no plastic).
Sprinkle about a (1) tablespoon of sugar and cook for five (5) minutes.
Turn over apple slices and cook for another five (5) minutes.
Leave in the skillet.

Cake stuff:
Add a (1) cup cottage cheese,
three-fourths (3/4) cup sour cream,
two (2) teaspoons sugar,
three-fourths (3/4) cup all-purpose flour,
and three (3) large eggs.

Stove-top part:
Pour batter over the apples.
Cook on low heat for six to eight (6-8) minutes.
When it gets kinda bubbly,

Oven part:
Stick the skillet into the oven and broil for six to eight (6-8) minutes.
When the top is browned, take it out.

Eatin' part:
Dust with confectioners sugar and/or maple syrup.
Chow down.


Owlieboots is in Kashmir now. Read all about it.


The Association of Pakistani Physicians of North America, APPNA, has set up an emergency disaster relief fund for the victims of the earthquake. You can call in your donation by credit card or send in your checks to their office. If you want to fax, you can use this donation form. APPNA is 501 C3 organizations. All donations may be tax deductible as permitted by law.
6414 S. Cass AvenueWestmont, IL 60559
Phone: 630-968-8585 or 630-968-8606
Fax: 630-968-8677


Thanks to everyone for their concern and well-wishes. I'm relieved to report that my family in Islamabad is fine, but saddened to hear about the death toll and injuries. To read an on-the-scene take on the matter, check out Chai's blog. Else, here's my grandfather's report. I hope that all you bloggers and blurkers are fine and your families are safe.


A national tragedy occured at 8.50 am yesterday when an earthquake registering 7.5 in the Richter scale struck Islamabad, Rawalpindi and cities as far as Multan and Lahore, resulting in human and material casualties unprecedented in a century. We are all safe but due to disruption in communication, I couldn't contact you. Hardly a mile from our house, a 10-storey block was reduced to rubble. I was about to start work at my desk when the cupboard door flew open, the photographs hung on the wall and the ceiling fan started swinging crazily. Sabeeha held me by the wrist and I had time just to grab my glasses and walking stick before going out into the lawn.

Everyone was out on the road or lawn, praying silently. After-shocks continued till late into the night and the unexpected thunder and lightning made things more scary. Today passed off without incident although the Met Office has indicated possibility of after-shocks of 5 to 6 strength for 48 hours. News is coming in on the TV of heavy casualties in the northern areas and the armed forces are busy with the civil administration, coping with the disaster. High-rise buildings in Islamabad have developed cracks but the rest appear to be OK. More later as I am feeling off-colour. Allah Hafiz. DND


Okay, kids, it's time to play: "What's! That! Smell!?" (interrobarf!)

There was a sewagey/rotten/garbagey smell emanating from one of the bedrooms last night. We looked all over and couldn't figure out from whence the stench was coming. You know how during Ramadan, your sense of smell becomes more finely tuned? Yeah, not such a good thing in situations like this. Luckily, we sleep in the other bedroom these days (can you believe that barking dogs can cause a neighbor to shift entire living arrangements?). This morning (6:00 a.m. to be precise), we tried our luck one more time before one or both of us "vomicked." Bingo! Was it:

(a) the rain (first drenching showers in a month) reacting checmically (and badly) with the new wood and drywall that the builders just installed to repair our roof, side of the house, steps in the back, and insulation underneath?

(b) TP's wet clothes that got soaked from his monkeying around with the sump pump to ensure our basement didn't get flooded and that he nonchalantly bunched up into a big, dripping wad and threw in with the rest of the dirty clothes?

(c) a putrified, bloated dead mouse ready to explode with all sorts of noxious mouse gasses under the bed?

(d) week old food found in the pocket of one of our jackets that we had forgotten to remove and/or throw out with the rest of the garbage?

Winner receives a clothes pin to pinch nostrils shut!


Sunday morning found us shivering from the cold. Unlike the day before, the sun was barely visible this day and Maine treated us to a chilly, gray, drizzly day. I was wearing no less than FIVE layers of clothes - t-shirt, long sleeved t-shirt, thin wool sweater, another wool sweater, and a jacket to top it off - and still I was not warm. To warm up, we walked and walked and walked. And, of course, took pix.

Really, that was all we did. Walk, eat, look for shells, walk, look for sea glass, walk, eat, bundle up and play checkers, cards, and scrabbie. Come to think of it, it reminded me a lot of our summers with the cousins in Pakistan. Except instead of escaping the blazing heat by playing marathon UNO sessions in the air-conditioned roos, we were escaping the cold playing marathon checkers in the heatless, wooden house under several blankets. I really need to teach TP how to play Rummy 500 and Three-Two-Five.

The next morning, TP tossed our leftovers out to the seagulls and we headed back to the mainland to seek shelter from the rain in various bookstores, cafes, and movie theaters. Word of advice: forgo seeing "The 40-year Old Virgin."

That's it for now. Bedtime! Ramadan Mubarak, y'all!


So, get this. New England in the fall? It's cold! I woke up with little baby icicles for earrings and one medium-sized ice-cube for a nose. When I went to wash up, I had to play the hokey pokey with the sink where there were separate faucets for the boiling lava water and for the glacial water.:

You put your right hand in (the stream of hot water and scald it), you take your right hand out (and inspect the heat blisters), you put your right hand in (the stream of frigid cold water), and you shake it all about (trying to knock off the crystal of ice that have formed around your hand), you do the screamy-screamy and you turn yourself around (and out of the bathroom, shrugging off any sense of cleanliness in favor of self-preservation), that's what it's all about. yeah!

Luckily, there was a mug of hot chai waiting for me downstairs, courtesy of TP. I took my mug and a liberally cream-cheesed bagel outside onto the porch to sit in the sun. Surprisingly, it was warmer outside than it was inside. I watched fat, lazy bees dip in and out of the morning glorys, tiny birds perform aerial acrobatics, and rocked on my rocking chair with the sun on my face. Not a bad way to start the day. Belly warm and full, I helped myself to one of my host's sweatshirts and we walked down to the beach.

We merged onto the island's version of the superhighway and walked from one end of the coastline to the other.

The sunlight glittered on Casco Bay and everything took on a warm, sparkly look. Every time I heard the seagulls, I had the urge to shout out "Are you ready, kids? Aye aye, Cap'n! I can't hear you! AYE AYE, CAP'N! Ohhhhhh . . ." Okay, I'll admit it; I did give into that urge a few times. Why not? TP, the birds, and I were the only ones on the beach. Speaking of birds, I'm not sure which one left this print, but I sure don't wish to run into it in a dark alley anytime soon.

We poked around for some seaglass and then returned home for our second breakfasts. Then, with nothing else to wash or straighten up or listen to on the radio, we went back outside to circle the whole island. We saw butterflies.

We discovered hidden World War II forts.

We climbed up said hidden WWII forts and saw lighthouses.

We looked down from said hidden WWII forts and saw the waves crashing against the black rocks below.

Finally, after the nearly three hours of hiking, we came back home. We had some leftover sammiches for lunch, a well-deserved nap, and dinner -- TP with leftover Pinchy and me with dirty old ravs. Although the day was sunny and warm, by nighttime, the temperature had dropped and so we layered up. With no television in the house, we spent the evening listening to NPR and playing Clue. It was Colonel Mustard, by the way. In the ballroom. With a candlestick. What a jerk.