Monday, June 29, 2009

We're back! It was a pretty fun weekend. We picked up the car Friday morning - they were out of intermediates, which is what I reserved, so we ended up getting a full-size for no extra charge. There ended up being no problem putting Laura on as an additional driver, for ten dollars a day. The Enterprise employee asked if she was 25, and she said no. Then he asked if she had a major credit card, and she said no. He made this face like, who ARE you? How do you exist? I was waiting for him to ask if she even had a driver's license. But he shrugged and said that as long as she could bring in proof of insurance, a bank statement, and a pay stub, he could sign her up. (I guess if you don't have a credit card, a bank account, or a job, you really can't rent a car.) We did, and after packing up, we were on our way.

If you drive straight through, it's supposed to be a three and a half hour drive. Hee, we've never made it in less than four. We made pretty good time going down, making our first stop at Osceola Cheese, which is a tradition for any drive down to Branson. They have over one hundred twenty different cheeses available (they need to update their website, heh), and about half of those, at least, have free samples available. Instead of stopping for lunch, we pretty much just eat free cheese and other assorted samples. This year, we bought tomato and basil cheddar, dill havarti, and a local mozzarella.

We checked into our hotel around four, and saved yet more money by eating a sub for dinner what we brought with us. Since we were doing the vacation on our own, scrimping and saving was paramount to making the whole endeavor happen, so we tried to avoid unnecessary expenditures. The hotel had free breakfast and free dessert in the evening, so that helped a lot with not having to pay for food as much as possible.

Saturday we went to Silver Dollar City. It was pretty much the hottest day of the summer, and the first two hours were kind of hard to endure at times. I'm pretty sure I looked like Richard Nixon during a TV interview conducted by Satan. Then we went down into Marvel Cave for the hour long tour; it's a constant sixty degrees inside the cave, so that was a welcome relief. If you click on the picture of the Cathedral Room, at the top in the middle, right around where there's really bright sunlight by the opening in the top of the cave, you'll see a tall rectangle that kind of looks like two staples stacked up. Those are the first six flights of stairs you walk down to enter the cave - that should help you get a sense of perspective as to how large that initial room is. I'm not particularly bad with heights, and even I got kind of queasy making the turns, especially since the temperature gradient created a lot of mist and fog and everything was very slick.

Once we came out of the cave, the heat seemed easier to handle, although we did go on water rides on a regular basis to try and cool off. The park did something I've never seen before: they put out regular hoses and round sprinklers, for people to walk through (and little kids to play in, which I'm sure pleased their parents, who paid forty bucks for them to be most excited about running around in a lawn sprinkler). When we left at park closing, we were pretty dead tired, and it was kind of an ordeal just to get in the car and drive to the hotel, which was compounded by Saturday night traffic and trying to find a pizza place. We made the mistake of being frugal and just bought a medium cheese, which, upon returning to the hotel, we promptly devoured in about five minutes.

Sunday we had the luxury of taking our time, since check-out wasn't till one. We stole as much from the continental breakfast as we could, to fortify our trip back home. Laura and I did the wine tasting at the local winery, and bought a few bottles, deciding to forego our planned trip to the Laura Ingalls Wilder museum east of Springfield, since it would have added two hours driving time and however long the tour was. Then we ate lunch (peanut butter sandwiches and Capri Suns) at the scenic overlook just outside Silver Dollar City, then began our journey home. Let me tell you, there are few prettier places to drive than through the Ozark mountains.

We made it home around six, unpacked this morning, and now I'm having the post-vacation blues, as one settles back into one's boring, everyday life. I'm really glad we went; we haven't gone as much in recent years, but I remember when I was a kid going every single summer, and it just feels like a summer tradition to me.

We dropped off the rental car this morning. They had forgotten to charge us for adding Laura as a secondary driver. FTW!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Laura, Sarah and I are going to Branson tomorrow for a short weekend trip. Just the three of us. It's going to be so much fun! Laura and I had wanted to go, but we weren't sure if Sarah was going to get to come with us, but my parents didn't seem to have any problem with it at all. We're having to rent a car, which is causing some problems, as Laura is not yet 25, nor does she have a major credit card, so we're not sure yet if she'll be able to be a secondary driver or if I'll be doing all the driving; it won't be a huge deal if that's the case, since it's a little less than five hours down there, and we always stop at Osceola which falls about halfway between - the Wikipedia page doesn't have much information, but it's mostly notable for having Amish buggies ride on the highway, and a large cheese emporium. Hee.

We should probably be finishing up packing right now, but I'm reading about Michael Jackson's death, and Laura's playing Nintendo. Such are our priorities.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Icons! A bit more diverse a set than my last few; still a lot of Star Trek, but also some Terminator, a few assorted other shows, along with various actors. I experimented a bit with colors on some of these, and tried to wean myself off of just slapping a light texture on top of everything.

1. 2. 3.

4. 5. 6.

7. 8. 9.

10. 11. 12.

13. 14. 15.

16. 17. 18.

19. 20. 21.

22. 23. 24.

25. 26. 27.

My favorites are 2, 10, 18 and 27. I think it's interesting that I generally prefer to icon women; I don't really know why that is, but it's something I've started to notice. Heh, and now all I can hear is Starbuck. "That's should write a paper."

Monday, June 15, 2009

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Desktop meme! Post a picture of your desktop - no fair changing things beforehand. That means if you have an embarrassing picture up there, so be it.

(Click for full size.)

Sniff. I miss my dead robot show.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

So we had a torrential thunderstorm yesterday, and it was pretty awesome. I generally like my storms to come at night, so I can enjoy them while I sleep, and also because lightning at night is much more impressive (and visible); I also like dark and gloomy summer days, though. We got a ton of rain, a smattering of hail, and lots of wind. After the storm had mostly passed through, we went outside and marveled at the fact that it was around 55 degrees outside. In June. Amazing!

I really want to see Up, but I also really don't want to leave my house today. Decisions, decisions.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The other night, I watched Quarantine, which had a scene in which an evil, infected rat came running at the cameraman with intent to attack. It wasn't the scariest thing in the movie by a long shot, but still kind of unnerving, even for me, and I'm not really particularly afraid of rats or anything, since they're just little mammals and all.

Anyway, I had a dream that night, and I can't remember most of it, as it dissolved upon waking - however, it ended with a rat coming at me. I woke up rather suddenly, then TOTALLY FREAKED OUT when I realized there was a warm, furry animal body pressed right up against my chest and underneath my chin. I may have launched myself out of the bed and squeaked. I don't even think Sasha woke up, heh.

Does anyone else have a cat that's a complete and total bed hog? I try to put him in a chair, and sometimes he sleeps there the whole night through, but I wake up half the time, like, hanging off the edge of the bed while he does his Supercat impression, stretched out horizontally. It's kind of amazing, how strong that instinct is, for us to not roll over in our sleep and crush the tiny creature beside us.