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50 Hours of Happiness

This is just stunning: BBC has released 50 hours of video from Earth II which they’re calling a “visual soundscape” as part of their Real Happiness Project. Nature — even nature video — has been proven to increase happiness, so they’ve put together five 10 hour videos of nature and posted them on YouTube! You can click through to all videos from this Treehugger article and add the videos to your playlists (or create a massive 50 hr playlist)! As the heat of summer increases, actually spending any significant amount of time in nature becomes more difficult—but you can now pour a cold beverage and sink into breathtaking landscapes anywhere you may be. Enjoy!!!

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Space City Comic Con

People fleeing from Daleks at Space City Comic con
People fleeing from Daleks at Space City Comic con

Check out my new Tardis header image! Will eventually put it into rotation with other images, but I’m still hyped up from Space City Comic Con Saturday. Encountered Daleks. Fortunately the Tardis was nearby. Met The Doctor.  Had a good time. Took a few pics on Instagram…which for unknown reasons were not shared to Facebook or Twitter. After many tries I eventually got a few on Facebook, but Instagram to Twitter is totally #fail. Problem is impervious to application of sonic screwdriver. Follow me on Instagram ’cause failed sharing to social networks has been happening a lot lately.  Or if you don’t do the Instagram thing, my most recent pics are in sidebar widget.

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Art Car Parade 2016

20160409_144339This past weekend was Art Car weekend, with the Art Car Parade Saturday afternoon. I love it.  Houston has the biggest and best Art Car Parade, and is home to a stunning number of Art Cars which one may see any day on the streets of the city.  Most of the entries are real street-legal cars. Some have additions, some are colorfully painted, some are towing trailers…music is a big part of the parade and there’s a prize given for best music entry. For the purposes of the parade, what constitutes a “car” is loosely defined, as there was a motorized  gurney, easy chair, and outhouse, along with numerous bikes, trikes, and less easily categorized things, but the heart of the parade are the cars.

20160409_142714The Art Car Parade has hundreds of entries by really talented artists. Check out the Art Car website which has a photo gallery from past years and a video gallery as well! The Art Car Museum is also worth a look.

 

2016-04-09 14.32.05I posted a handful of photos on my Instagram account, but they hardly do the parade justice. It’s hard to take photos, tag them, and share to social media, when you’re in the midst of watching the parade! A few made it to some of my social media accts, but in my haste none were tagged. Given the choice of experiencing something or distancing oneself from the ongoing hoopla to take photos and do the social media thing, I opt for more experiencing, at the expense of less sharing.

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Things to Make & Do: Pinecone Birdfeeders

Pinecone feeder, hanging in pine tree
Pinecone feeder, hanging in pine tree

Saturday I made pinecone birdfeeders. This is a nice quick winter project. I got the idea from the Houston Arboretum at their Arbor Day celebration. It’s really easy and fun. An excellent “things to make and do” project for kids, but not just for kids! It’s fast, easy, requires almost no prep before getting started, cheap, satisfying, pleasantly messy but not too messy. In fact, if you do this outside, the birds can clean up after you! All you need are: peanut butter (natural or not, just don’t get any with artificial sweeteners like Xylitol — or any other “*-tols*; it’ll kill your dog so I can’t think it’d be good for birds, either), a small bag of bird seed, and pinecones (my neighbor’s pine drops huge ones which I scavenged from the sidewalk while walking the dogs. Me juggling pinecones and dog leashes; it was crazy.)

Making pinecone birdfeeders
Making pinecone birdfeeders

I made them on the counter, on a long sheet of paper and some seeds did skitter off the paper. Pouring a small amount of seeds in a bowl would be a better way of doing it. (Doing it outside, spillage doesn’t matter.) Also, dip out the peanut butter and put it on waxed paper or in a bowl so you don’t keep dipping into the jar, risking contamination between pinecones, seeds, and your food.

Smear the pinecones with peanut butter. I used a knife, painting the nooks and crannies of the pinecone with peanut butter. You don’t need it to be thick; you just need it to stick. It’s a nutritious glue for the seed coating. Roll the pinecone in seeds, use the knife to work it in a bit, tie a string around it, hang it in a tree.

Squirrel follies. Hours of acrobatic entertainment!
Squirrel follies. Hours of acrobatic entertainment!

You’ll want to put it as high as you can reach otherwise you’ll just be luring birds down to dog-and-cat level. I had to raise the one I put in the backyard because the foster dog was leaping at it and almost got it!

I made two. One I put in the tree-shaded, squirrel infested, backyard where the bushy-tailed tree rodents went absolutely crazy over it. The other I put in the front yard where the birds have been pecking away at it, unmolested by squirrels.

 

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Letting My Geek Flag Fly!

Wow! It’s really been a nerdy, geeky weekend which has spilled over into the week. Friday we caught a matinee of Avengers: Age of Ultron, which I really enjoyed, then Saturday was Free Comic Book Day and I got a nice little stack of comics, and on Sunday afternoon I saw Big Trouble in Little China again on the big screen with some friends. Today is Star Wars Day. “May the fourth be with you!” 🙂 Though really, the line that echos in my head still today is: “We really shook the pillars of heaven, didn’t we, Wang?” (And if you think that’s from Star Wars or Age of Ultron, you’ve lost all your geek street cred.) Okay, enough geeking out and procrastinating…gotta get back to writing!

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An Eventful Weekend

Dogs, the morning after the storm: damp and bewildered.
Dogs, the morning after the storm: damp and bewildered.

We had severe storms this weekend. Lost power for 4.5 hours Friday night and got 4 inches of rain. The backyard was buried in tree debris, including some large limbs. Nothing hit the house, but the storms and aftermath freaked out the dogs a bit. They weren’t too happy about what the storm did to their backyard. (Me, too.) Clearing out the debris and hauling it to the curb took a while; I’ve got sore muscles and allergies this morning. It’s finally stopped raining. I’ve got antihistamines, aspirin, and caffeine in my system, so I’m ready to tackle the day! 🙂