Friday, May 18, 2007

Becoming the best son-in-law Part 2: The Bourgeois and the Proletariat

First and foremost I want to state unequivocally the following truth: NEW YORK IS FREAKIN' COLD! I have known wind chills of -70 F here! I've seen 2 1/2 foot snow storms here! I have seen trees snapped in half from ice storms in September! Any of you who read us regularly know this is (along with our repeated irrational love of our cats) a common theme here at UsAndCats. Why do I bring this up now? Well because I just uploaded our April photos to Picasa and found these pics I'd forgotten about. Please notice the date. These were all taken at Lake George.

Ahhhh Spring!!!

Now speaking of our irrational love of the cats, the kids have kept us incredibly busy of late what with play dates and everything. Can you imagine a cat play date? What would that be like? They'd either sit around licking themselves or tear apart every organic thing within the room containing them. Actually they'd probably just find a patch of sun and go to sleep...I wish I was a cat (please note that's entirely for the napping and not the butt licking). I'm guessing it would be a lot like this:

Well let's get back to my in-laws, for I have yet another post about their awesomeness. As I mentioned below, my father-in-law is one of my construction consultants. Thanks to this wonderful invention known as Southwest Airlines he is able to come up here and help me periodically with projects that are beyond my skill (meaning any project as I have no skillz).

Such were the circumstances of the weekend of the 28th. All winter long I had postponed putting additional insulation in my attic. Given what happened last time I went into the attic you can certainly understand my reluctance. After going through the winter with what is the house equivalent of a halter top and daisy dukes (maybe R-9 insulation) I decided the time was right. So with help of some good friends I put in some sub flooring in the attic to prevent catastrophic fall throughs, and I prepared the rental of an insulation blower.

Up to this point I had no idea how hard it would be to blow in insulation. For all I knew the process literally involved me blowing insulation out through a tube. Well it doesn't. Instead it is a simple process that can best be described as a fine example of class warfare.

Here's how it is done. The bourgeois elite stands down with the blower/chopper, i.e. the means of production, and ensures that it remains full of insulation blocks, while checking his stocks and sipping on some fruity drinks. Meanwhile the proletariat climbs up in the sweltering hot attic (because as a prole he's not very smart and decides to do this sort of thing on the hottest weekend possible) and controls a hose that blows small shards of fiberglass all through attic, filling every nook and cranny. Now if the prole is smart, which this one isn't, he wears long sleeves and gets a high quality face mask to prevent inhaling the carcinogenic glass fibers. Oh well proles never live long anyway.

Actually it wasn't that bad and I am very grateful for my father-in-laws help with the whole project. I'm just hopeful that this will help us save significantly on our power bills over the next year. New York's utility costs are extra high as the government just passed a secret tax on all utility bills to help subsidize the waning effectiveness of NY's organized crime. I guess the exposure of the Soprano's has put a crimp in the shake down business.

The most difficult part when any family, friends, potential investors, visit is the process of trying to convince them that they need to move to Albany. This is necessary for a variety of reasons, mostly because we're lonely (we go through friends like Bill Clinton goes through interns...okay maybe that's a bad analogy). But also because it really is a lovely place to live. As a result of this effort we took dad up to the top of the Heldeberg escarpment which overlooks the Hudson valley and to Thatcher Park which I've also mentioned before. Here's some shots from up on top of the park for you:

Aren't the two waterfalls neat? I just wish that the trees had been in bloom.

I thought this was a good father/daughter picture

Now the big question is do you think I oriented this photo right? It took me a bit to figure it out. Given how crappy our little 5 megapixel digital zoom camera is I thought this was a cool photo. (No Lissa not as cool as yours but still pretty good considering)

If you want to see the rest of the photo's check out our Spring album.

Well this has been a pretty photo heavy post for you so I'll forgo my usual obscure music video link. Plus as John points out they're almost unwatchable they're so odd. I don't think that's true, I mean who doesn't like Hasidic Jewish reggae rap?

(P.S. I did cheat a bit with those photos at the beginning. I used a European style date stamp they were actually taken the first week of April not July)

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The end of the world

There is a little known passage in the Book of Revelation (not Revelations no matter how much better it sounds) also known as the Book of the Apocalypse of John, which I feel is necessary to point out as I believe it means the world will end sometime before Friday.

The passage follows behind the bit about the "whirlwind in the thorn trees" and reads "and it shall come to pass that in the day of discord the idiot shall take up the circular saw and cut with seeming knowledge. Yeah he shall cut and nail and no harm shall befall him, and all will stand aghast". Or at least that's my understanding of scriptures.

(Please note that my understanding of the Book of Revelation is limited to some bad horror movies that I watched in the mid-1990s and Johnny Cash's "The Man Comes Around".)

Well as you can guess from that "quotation" the impossible has happened. Yes yours truly, the genius who managed to fall through his ceiling, was called upon to help put in flooring in a friends attic. Worse yet was that I was the one who "knew what I was doing".

I must admit that I was amazed that we didn't manage to injure, deface, or otherwise maim each other during this project. Still I have to be fairly confident that this is a sign of the End. So I ask you all to prepare all your things, say goodbye to your loved ones, finish watching your favorite season of the X-Files, for the rapture is HERE!

Now for music: Today we're featuring an outstanding artist from the Ivory Coast (Cote d'Ivoire officially). He'll be our second African artist here at usandcats, Tiken Jah Fakoli. Enjoy.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Becoming the perfect son-in-law: Part I

We here at lynandstew don't want to just entertain and offend (although we do quite enjoy the latter, it's entertaining for us), we also want to educate and inspire. Especially for those of you who are married, in a civil union, or in a devoted on-line relationship, our goal is to help you be as happy as we are, which of course means happier than you currently are.

After much discussion here at headquarters we've decided it is time to formalize our founts of wisdom (not to be confused with that most wonderfully sung American hymn Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing) into a quick online course of 12 easy sessions. We're entitling the course "In-laws: Curse or Blessing: an inter-disciplinary study".

Now obviously we didn't put enough colons in that to be a true academic course...we're still awaiting our accreditation. The goal is to supplement our little course titles that you might have noticed on the right hand bar of this website (if you haven't noticed I will assume it's because you hate me, no that's alright I'm used to it).

Okay maybe we're not going to do a full course on in-laws but I do want to say quite simply that in-laws can be very difficult for any spouse. "Why?", our single readers ask. Well quite simply put they're not your blood relations. Your blood relations have to love you. This is codified somewhere in the Constitution right after the amendment saying everyone has the right to fight for the right to party, and that all left-handed people can be enslaved (that second one was later revoked).

This means that your blood relations have to do things like get you high paying jobs in their company, lend you money, and donate kidneys to you when needed. If they don't do those things the whole family can publicly flog them (or at least that's what I think I read in my constitutional law class).

In-laws on the other hand have no legal requirement to love you or like you. Well some might be grateful for taking off their hands irksome children, most consider you an interloper. You are in their minds an outsider worthy only of scorn, or at most the kind of compassion you would show a three legged dog. For more information about this phenomenon please rent the documentary "Meet the Parents".

All of that said I have to admit that I have the greatest in-laws on earth. Imagine this scene. It's my first Sunday visiting my in-laws house. The whole family arises early to go to church together. While there is a bit of a mad rush as the seven of us try to use one bathroom (not at the same time for those who needed clarification) our scramble is polite and we all find ourselves ready on time. We spend a lovely morning at church. We then to proceed home. Now this is where some stories can end tragically. I know people who would force their children to continue in their Sunday best, or to read scriptures at the table together, or to turn on a cd of very corny religious pop music.

Those people are not MY in-laws though. With not a word to the other members of the congregation we rush home, change into shorts and t-shirts. All of Wife's family promptly finds a couch, cushion, or free space of floor to take a nap except for my mother-in-law. She changes quickly, turns on the kitchen tv, and starts watching football while cooking a succulent roast. (For our international readers that's football played with our hands not feet) How awesome is that?

Now you can imagine that my desire to impress these people grew immensely after this. It is to that end that I have strove (striven?) to be the best son-in-law out there. How do I do this? Well I have one simple rule. Be a completely incompetent handyman. This means that I have to rely on my father-in-law to help me salvage the mistakes I make on my own house. From putting holes in ceilings, to mis-wiring the electric without my father-in-law we'd be living in a glorified lean-to. More on this will follow.

Song of the day: So Says I by the Shins. Why such a well known band you might ask? Well quite simply because they did a song about the evils of communism and made the video of animated penguins! I mean penguins oppressing each other in a communist dictatorship! How great is that? Feel the revolution comrade!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


Just a quick note and review here. I'd like to welcome to the world of blogging a few old friends. I'd also like to point out that a few of you have been demoted from my links section for not blogging often enough (says the man who blogs only on the harvest moon).

Yes that's right, because I don't see you often enough to flog you publicly, I'm going to use my bully pulpit to reprimand you. Consider your elimination from my blog links like Seinfeld's girlfriend's use of the speed dial:
JERRY: (rising) I had like a so-so date with Valerie, now I'm number nine on the speed-dial.
Jerry moves to the kitchen, with George following.
JERRY: So? I used to be seven. I dropped two spots.
GEORGE: What, she's ranking you?
JERRY: Yeah, this speed-dial's like a relationship barometer.
GEORGE: What is a barometer exactly?
KRAMER: It's pronounced thermometer.
[Episode 154: The Millennium]

So now that you know I'm ranking you I have to bid farewell to the Lukes, Chad, and Waldo. Post more and you might just move back up the rankings. Chad does get some credit on my "to read list" as the first one of my college roommates to have a book published (I'm only slightly jealous, but my time will come and domination).

I'd like to welcome Matt, Pennsylvania Dave, and the NM Turners. Keep in mind I'm watching you all. If you don't keep me entertained you'll be beleted just like the others! You're all warned. Also you all need to read la Yen's new effort do show the world the difference between good and bad mothers...frankly it's a bit inaccessible to me. I'll never understand how these parents let their kids misbehave...our kids certainly won't.

In other news I'm no longer posting any recipes here I'm moving them all over to Serrano Sistah's Scintillating Savories. I recommend you all wander over there because there's some real treats there, including my legendary Gine's Bread.

Wow that was a link heavy blog wasn't it?

Song of the day: Well nothing exciting just an old favorite of mine...which in keeping with the last post shows I'm old. The Waterboys doing "Fisherman's Blues" circa 1986. Now that's some awesome hair...