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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle. Please leave any comments there.


Early last week, an old friend and I were taking the little guy to Pan Pacific Park’s huge playground sets for a quick romp when we noticed this little drama unfolding in a tree close to us. Yeah, you might have to squint a little, they’re both...

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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle. Please leave any comments there.

Saw these in a Bay Area mall and had to share, because they were the most entertaining and colorful voting posters I’ve seen in a long time. They are courtesy of the California Museum, so I guess it’s still backed by the state, but it’s refreshing after all the texty tabloidy...

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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle. Please leave any comments there.


A tribute to one of my favorite meals when in California, a calorie-laden multi-cultural mishmash that could exist nowhere else: a Rubio’s shrimp burrito and a Lollicup Thai milk tea boba. I highly recommend trying both if you are ever in the Southern California area! (Yes, we were b...

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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle. Please leave any comments there.

Oh dear. I hate to sound like an unique American snowflake in the great socialist North, but here goes. I have been sent links to Tim Walker’s “Bad American Habits” listicle by a couple of people now. The first time, I just laughed at it and explained to the forwarder (non-American, non-Finnish, thought quite rightly that any writings by any Americans might amuse me) that while it was representative of some Americans living in this country, we came from countless different backgrounds and I happened to be from one that did not readily relate to all his points. Then I …

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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle. Please leave any comments there.

No, this is totally not one of those posts where I weigh the pros and cons of childhood vaccinations. Because really, if you don’t know by now, I’m very squarely in the “yay, science and medicine!” camp. No question about it. Rather, this is the post where I share what I’ve learned about the differences in vaccination schedules between what my kids will be getting in Finland versus what they would have gotten if they were born in the US. Also, how that differs from what I got as a kid born in Taiwan. And then I show you guys …

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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle. Please leave any comments there.

These pictures are actually from summer of 2009, but I had to share them with y’all because I really do think this is one of the prettiest spiders that I’ve ever seen. And there are people out there who agree! I caught him in the doorway of our apartment and was going to let him go in the bushes further away in the parking lot, but took the chance to try out the limit of my camera’s macro settings first. I just love the crispness of its spots and the bright iridescent face. It is a Phidippus audax, or Daring …

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Mirrored from The Velvet Kerfuffle.

These pictures are actually from summer of 2009, but I had to share them with y’all because I really do think this is one of the prettiest spiders that I’ve ever seen. And there are people out there who agree!

I caught him in the doorway of our apartment and was going to let him go in the bushes further away in the parking lot, but took the chance to try out the limit of my camera’s macro settings first. I just love the crispness of its spots and the bright iridescent face. It is a Phidippus audax, or Daring Jumping Spider, native to most of North America. Probably one of the biggest local spiders I’ve ever seen — you could even see his fur if you squinted. The former biologist in me still loves bringing home random critters to examine. T just told to get rid of the thing as fast as humanly possible :-P

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Originally published at The Velvet Kerfuffle. Please leave any comments there.

By the time this posts, I will have my new Finnish driver’s license. Apparently, that will be valid until I turn 70, so no more lines at the DMV for me! :-D I have to give them my CA DL, but that is due to expire next year anyway, so no real loss. Might just go get a new one next time I’m back in town, so that I have both options open. Did you know that teenagers getting their licenses here have to go through a series of classes and tests that end up costing $1K-$2K? Makes the few hundred spent on private driving lessons back home seem like a drop in a bucket. Then again, insurance and random automotive fees cost much more back in Cali, so it probably evens out in the end.

Anyway, in honor of my new license, a retrospective of the cars of my life. Well, mostly just the ones that I actually got to drive.

This is our current car, a ’97 white Volvo station wagon. T’s dad managed to find us an automatic, which isn’t so common out here, so that I wouldn’t be completely stranded. This car also happens to look like the love child of my past two cars, painted white. Totally not on purpose, but kinda funny.

The car that I left behind when we moved away last year, my silver ’99 Honda CR-V named Guildenstern. Yes, there was a Rosencrantz as well, but I don’t know where it went. This mini-SUV did a lot of heavy work for something never meant to leave city roads, including climbing up precarious mountain paths and driving through dusty ranches amongst cattle. The life of a crew car is not cushy :-) It also was featured in a few films earlier in its career, including Vin Diesel’s A Man Apart.

My trusty old ’80 silver Volvo station wagon, the first car ever handed over into my control. This thing went through a lot of commuting and long road trips before finally meeting an unfortunate and early end at the hands of a certain sibling. It was also nicknamed Maude, the Minute Dodo, as a nod to a certain intergalactic smuggler’s starship. Many, many apartment moves were conducted with the help of this fine tank-like motorbeast. It was also a background vehicle and stand-in for one of the picture cars in Never Been Kissed.

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pierydys: (pic#507823)

Mirrored from The Velvet Kerfuffle.

By the time this posts, I will have my new Finnish driver’s license. Apparently, that will be valid until I turn 70, so no more lines at the DMV for me! :-D I have to give them my CA DL, but that is due to expire next year anyway, so no real loss. Might just go get a new one next time I’m back in town, so that I have both options open. Did you know that teenagers getting their licenses here have to go through a series of classes and tests that end up costing $1K-$2K? Makes the few hundred spent on private driving lessons back home seem like a drop in a bucket. Then again, insurance and random automotive fees cost much more back in Cali, so it probably evens out in the end.

Anyway, in honor of my new license, a retrospective of the cars of my life. Well, mostly just the ones that I actually got to drive.

This is our current car, a ’97 white Volvo station wagon. T’s dad managed to find us an automatic, which isn’t so common out here, so that I wouldn’t be completely stranded. This car also happens to look like the love child of my past two cars, painted white. Totally not on purpose, but kinda funny.

The car that I left behind when we moved away last year, my silver ’99 Honda CR-V named Guildenstern. Yes, there was a Rosencrantz as well, but I don’t know where it went. This mini-SUV did a lot of heavy work for something never meant to leave city roads, including climbing up precarious mountain paths and driving through dusty ranches amongst cattle. The life of a crew car is not cushy :-) It also was featured in a few films earlier in its career, including Vin Diesel’s A Man Apart.

My trusty old ’80 silver Volvo station wagon, the first car ever handed over into my control. This thing went through a lot of commuting and long road trips before finally meeting an unfortunate and early end at the hands of a certain sibling. It was also nicknamed Maude, the Minute Dodo, as a nod to a certain intergalactic smuggler’s starship. Many, many apartment moves were conducted with the help of this fine tank-like motorbeast. It was also a background vehicle and stand-in for one of the picture cars in Never Been Kissed.

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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle. Please leave any comments there.

Dear Pet-abandoning Idiot – Yes, there is a babbling stream running through our apartment complex. Our apartment complex in the middle of a heavily urban area in a desert region where there are no naturally occurring streams. In case you didn’t realize, that means it is not a REAL stream, but one operated by filters and pumps. And that is not REAL water, but a toxic chlorinated cesspool that I would not touch with my toe, let alone allow any aquatic animal to marinate in. Unless you are also the type that enjoys spraying your dogs with acid for a …

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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle. Please leave any comments there.

Your postal carrier has had more botox done than most of the entertainment-types you see on a normal basis. *shudder*

pierydys: (Default)

Mirrored from The Velvet Kerfuffle.

Your postal carrier has had more botox done than most of the entertainment-types you see on a normal basis.

*shudder*

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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle. Please leave any comments there.

As I’ve mentioned before, we live next to a large park where waterfowl of all kind like to hang out. Being a quiet, closed community with lots of water features, our feathered neighbors decide to take family vacations here pretty often. Last week, this mother duck and her brood of 12 showed up splashing about in the little creek that runs by our patio. We were watching them through the window from only a few feet away, and I actually went out to feed her some bread after taking these videos. Socute.

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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle. Please leave any comments there.

So here’s one that I wasn’t entirely sure about… is this a more-obscure-than-typical reference to Potter fandom, or are these people New Age fanatics? I can’t figure it out!

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Mirrored from The Velvet Kerfuffle.

So here’s one that I wasn’t entirely sure about… is this a more-obscure-than-typical reference to Potter fandom, or are these people New Age fanatics? I can’t figure it out!

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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle. Please leave any comments there.

I understand the appeal of personalized license plates, I really do. I’d just never want one myself. The point is to make your car more recognizable, right? Which could be really inconvenient if you were trying to, say, escape the scene of a crime. Not that I do lots of things that would require a quick getaway, mind you, but I like to keep my options open. Heck, I’m still trying to convince the mechanic that installing a mounted rocket cannon, ejection seats, and an engine scuba attachment on my CR-V are all feasible everyday requests. This is NOT, I …

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pierydys: (Default)

Mirrored from The Velvet Kerfuffle.

I understand the appeal of personalized license plates, I really do. I’d just never want one myself. The point is to make your car more recognizable, right? Which could be really inconvenient if you were trying to, say, escape the scene of a crime. Not that I do lots of things that would require a quick getaway, mind you, but I like to keep my options open. Heck, I’m still trying to convince the mechanic that installing a mounted rocket cannon, ejection seats, and an engine scuba attachment on my CR-V are all feasible everyday requests.

This is NOT, I repeat, NOT the boy’s car. However, I took a picture of this particularly nationalistic car while I was stuck in traffic a couple years ago because I knew that he would appreciate it. We’re in the middle of Orange County, California, which isn’t exactly known for its high incidence of Nordic immigration, so I can’t say it’s the most common thing to see around.

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Originally published at The Velvet Kerfuffle. Please leave any comments there.

…and in the “If They Need to Put It In Their Name, You Might Be a Little Worried” category, I present Ethical Drugs of LA.

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Mirrored from The Velvet Kerfuffle.

…and in the “If They Need to Put It In Their Name, You Might Be a Little Worried” category, I present Ethical Drugs of LA.

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Originally published at The Velvet Kerfuffle. Please leave any comments there.

This sign is posted at Newport Beach pier, and we giggle at it every time we visit. Not only because the giant wave is obviously going to catch poor Stick Figure Man before he can climb up the extremely steep hill, but because it is a completely useless reference for the area. What I should have done is take a picture of the attached beach, parking lot, streets, and city stretching for miles inland from that point — which are all as flat and sea level as you please. It would take a LOT more running inland than most flip-flop clad tourists could do to get out of range of a tsunami that size.

Are we actually in danger of tsunamis here? Eh, sometimes. But honestly, I’d be more worried about the earthquake preceding it or the rioting sure to follow it. If we’re lucky, it’ll go inland enough to put out some late summer wildfires. Ah, home sweet home.

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