Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year's Eve

Well folks, its almost here. In just a few hours that giant ball will drop and we'll slide on into the new year. Have you made any resolutions? Any big changes or challenges ahead of you in 2008? What are you going to do to make this new year a greener/better one? Any plans? Any ambitions? Or are you planning to keep your head down and ignore the changing of the calendar?

It may seem trite, and perhaps it is... but I do tend toward sitting down on New Year's day and evaluating my plans for the year ahead. Silly, but I have some big plans for the year – both for Naturally Nerds and my own personal life. In the afternoon, I'll share some of the plans with you folks.

Until then? Pop some champagne or chill a bottle of fizzy grape juice and celebrate. We've made it through another year, and in spite of the doom sayers and gloomy gusses we haven't blown ourselves up or completely melted the icecaps this year. Here's to hoping we make this coming year even better.

Off to insure the bubbly is properly chilled, then its a quiet night with the Prime Geek waiting for the ball to fall.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Rules of Burning

As the demo and reconstruction of our ablution chamber continues apace above me, I decided to take a few moments this cold Sunday and share a few helpful tips and rules that the kindly people at the wood burner factory neglected to mention in their brochures. The inclusion of these facts would no doubt result in a definite decline in burns, singes, inhaled soot, and various other “issues”. But, as the Prime Geek and I have finally determined – these companies MUST be in bed with the burn cream, fan, and hairdressing suppliers in the country and are trying to force us to use them.

1) When doing ANYTHING that involves opening the door of the wood burner while there is a fire within (ie – adding more wood, stoking the fire, poking logs to make them spark, and generally just messing about), the first step is in fact walking away and procuring a hair tie. Both the Prime Geek and myself have rather long hair, and while the initial jerk and recoil when sparks begin to swirl around your head may be considered energizing.... if one wants to KEEP long hair, its just best to tie it back. Burned hair smells revolting. Trust me on this.

2) Childish though it may be..... chainsaws are kinda cool. We're attempting to keep to our greening ways and have purchased an electric chainsaw so as to not pollute the air with billows of gas smoke. No doubt the initial thrill will one day soon fade, but as someone who was never allowed to work with the boys and use most power tools – this is just nifty. Took ever ounce of self control to not let out a grunt ala' Tim Allen.

3)Use fire gloves. Every time. Seriously. Yes, I know. You're only going to move the log you just set down, it hasn't even lit yet. However, having your hands on a potion of wood just as it decides to ignite? Not fun.

4) For the girls out there – Give up on your nails. Just go ahead and cut them down to almost nothing. Even the smallest millimeter past the tip our your finger can be grabbed and ripped in an instant. I have been paid back a million times for ever rolling my eyes at girls who cursed breaking a fake nail. Ripped across the nail bed and jammed back into the side of your hand? Might be a tiny injury, but it will make you curse like a sailor and temporarily loose the ability to think coherently.

5) Guys? Please keep in mind where the door opens in relationship to certain.... private areas. Singeing these will not get you much sympathy, in fact it is far more likely your loving wife/girlfriend/partner will be rolling on the floor giggling too hard to offer much help. Just a warning.

6) Serious perk that should be in every brochure? Imagine never again having a pause between the thought “You know, I could go for some hot cocoa right about now.” and being able to pour out the boiling water. Sounds like a little thing, but after coming in from -10 windchill and knowing you are always able to warm up at once - inside and out – life seems far more chipper.

7) My father calls it Amish Television... but seriously, there is something wonderfully soothing about sitting back and watching the flames dance. Heck, it entertains the cats as well!

Oops! I hear the clarion call of the bathroom brigade. Off to see if there is anything that flushes in the bathroom. Until tomorrow.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Overhaul Christmas Gifts

Sorry about the lateness of the posting today, the Prime Geek and myself are battling through a cloud of dust and debris and it was frankly only about five minutes ago I located my laptop in the upheaval. To explain – while my mother has always tended towards Christmas gifts with bows and paper clinging to their side, daddy1 dear goes for gifts with a bit more oomph. They might be odd, they may take a few moments of blinking to get your head around... but they are gonna be good. These gifts will also be guaranteed to not have been purchased in anything resembling a mall. Dad went into one of those “dread halls of the damned” once back in the 80's, and he still swears to this day that not one thing in his years as a Marine pilot come even close to the horror he experienced within its doors2. To this end, our present this year from my father was a joint one for the Nerdly Nest. Rather then more DVD's, or electrical gadgets designed to amuse and enthrall... he's giving us a bathroom.

Well. A bathroom floor, a new toilet, several days of backbreaking work3, and the ability for us to use the money we had set aside for the toilet as payment for a new vanity and sink. We replaced the shower head and faucet earlier this year... now all will be new except the tub.

Step by step, we are reclaiming our home from the thrall of some truly moronic previous owners. Each time a new job is contemplated the utter stupidity and short shift manner of “fixing” it before makes me wonder if they truly were tool using mammals. Dealing with the moronic manner the chimney was covered was haunting enough, but the nightmare PG and dad are facing at the moment makes me seriously wonder if the folks before us had opposable thumbs.

For months we have been tiptoeing around the bathroom situation. Honestly, I think we were both hoping that brownies would wander in one night and fix it for us. Several distressingly “squishy” spots in the floor, a mystery brown seepage that leaked up towards the light over night, and a smell that, at times, made me forsake my green leanings and reach for some high powered chemicals. In the last month we were reduced to cutting rubber mats to size to slide under the bath rugs if we wished to sit without fear of ooze. The Prime Geek even confessed to foregoing using his own homes toilet for any... deep thoughts, instead waiting until he got to work – or heading down the road to his parents house.

Enter my father, and the dream of a bathroom where one can read in comfort.4 The next few days until the New Year will find us battling this personal Golgathum. I'll keep you posted (and tomorrow we're back to the actual Naturally Nerdy lifestyle. Just let me get this toilet out of my livingroom!).

1Yes. I call my father daddy. I'm half southern. Deal.
2I come by my own personal distaste of the mall quite honestly.
3Before the PG chimes in with a nasty note, I'll come clean. Hard backbreaking work done by my father and the PG. So far my job has been to keep my mother as far from the house as possible so they can be free to, well, express themselves fully as they wrestle with a job worth of the labors of Hercules. Still a tough gig for me... but I'm not the one sweating bullets.
4We all have our own versions of bliss. Is it so wrong mine includes plenty of soft tp, good reading light, and a large selection of novels?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Hope It Was A Very Merry Christmas For All

Here at the nest we had a very busy Christmas, driving hither and yon to various family homes in the effort to insure each side of the Natural Nerd family got even Christmas time with the Geek and I. Presents were exchanged, fires were cuddled by, far FAR too much food was eaten, and a readiness for the new year is building.

To this Nerd's shock, her family has decided to stretch a few toes onto the Green Streets and see how they can fare. A fact that not only encourages the Geek and I, but also makes us realize we had better up our game or risk getting left in the green wake. I will NOT allow my city boy big brother to show me up in the gardening arena. I'd never live it down if the lad who was once chased three miles by a herd of cows manages to make me look bad. Nothing like the fear of ridicule and shame to motivate one.

To that end, Natural Nerds will be experiencing its own overhaul in the coming year. Both the Prime Geek and I are full of new ideas for the nest (both literal and virtual) that we can't wait to share. I will be instituting a few new weekly segments and hubby dear has even begun to murmur about wanting to write a bit more about his experiments energy savings and things that go BANG in the night. The new sections will be introduced on New Year's Day – yup, I'm bowing to crowd mentality and planning my New Year's Resolutions. So far, I've managed each year to achieve almost all of the previous years plans. I figure having them up for all to see and critique will keep me on my toes.

The next few days will find us airing the Nest, few serious matters will be covered until the first (although I have a serious crow about my town to brag about tomorrow)... so come on by and help yourself to some hot cocoa. Since the woodburner was installed, hot water is always at hand and ready to share. Now that the gift giving portion of the season is over, I'll be sharing a few of our greener attempts at sharing... along with a few embarrassing moments to amuse those who know us. It wouldn't be the holidays without someone getting red in the face.... might as well be me!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Merry Christmas

At the risk of the PC police running around shushing, I'll say it again. Merry Christmas. Oh course, depending on which friend I'm talking to - Happy Hanukkah, Merry Solstice, Happy Kwanzaa, and Merry NaBangBang (don't mind that friend... he's mostly harmless.)

It's been a barren board here at the Natural Nerd Nest for the last few weeks, sorry about that. We're going through a brief period of rebuilding, overhauling, and general construction here, but once Christmas is past we'll be up and running with new daily updates starting on December 27th. Both I and the Prime Geek have some rather ambitious plans, both for the site... and some rather nifty ones for our own day to day lives. Here's hoping I can get the readership coming back again... I think you'll be pleased with the new additions we're putting in.

Have a wonderful Christmas, and please remember. Step out of the glow of the lights, walk away for a bit from the piles of sparkly paper and mountains of "stuff" tossed at us in the next few days, and just take a few moments to take a big breath and hug your family tight.

Night all.

Friday, December 7, 2007


“You have to have a new computer, Nerd.”

“Trust me, you're going to love having a laptop.”

“Your computer is ancient... you won't have any of these problems with the new one.”


Or, to quote my wonderful... if slightly innocent, mum “Horse Apples.”

The above should really tell all there is to tell at the moment. With an internet connection that sees to be suffering from an advanced case of palsy and a hard drive that refuses to speak nicely with my software, this natural nerd is once again thinking she might have been better off sticking to the stone tablets and chisel.

Hopefully this weekend will find me in better standing with the technology gods... I got an early Christmas present of a my own little slice of Zen and I can't wait to load it up.

What is a suitable offering to the gremlins that inhabit my motherboard? Any ideas?

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Sometimes... People Just get it Right

I'll confess, I was on the verge of writing up some fire and brimstone condemnation on the state of the universe today. Between a budding cold, a looming doctors appointment, and some miserably frosty weather, your Natural Nerd was feeling a tad bad about the universe in general. Nothing like a sinus headache to make you cranky with the world around you. To add to the misery, yesterday I received my FOURTH copy of an oh so precious/pretentious/and preposterous “green” catalog (which, while it might be made from recycled paper, is coated in a nasty slick ink that means it can not be burned OR composted. Joy.) which had me frustrated. I'm all for a chance to earn an honest buck.. heck, I put on my own merchants hat whenever I can, so I understand the need for commerce. But this thing is....

Well. I'll write about that another day. As I said, the fruit of human kindness wasn't really flowing in my heart, and I had more then a slight feeling of doom and gloom regarding our species and its wasteful wasteful ways... but then an article online caught my eye.

Most of us have heard on the nightly news about the horrid drought going on in the South (compounded by fires and complications caused by Katrina) of the States. Towns nearly deserted as the water dries up, people hoping/praying/dancing for a few million drops of rain to wash the dust from throats and homes. Wastefulness, overcrowding, over polluting, and global warming have all taken their turns in the media as the root cause for the drought. Screams, groans, and tantrums take place each night in the news as one person blames another for the drought... and yet another demands those around them fix the problem. City councils who say other states “owe” them help, mayors and governors all desperately trying to save their political asses by laying blame or proffering promise all seem to dominate in the news.

It has to be someone else's fault, right? It's not the peoples responsibility to fix it, someone else is going to take responsibility... right?

For the most part, that does seem to be the view. But not everywhere. Seems one little country in Georgia took a look at the tendency for the South to be, well, hot and dry, and planned ahead. Back in the 80's they looked at possible future problems and made a course of action. Stuck to it to... which in these days of “it's not MY fault” whining, seems pretty amazing. Check out Clayton County in Georgia... and be a little more hopeful about where we seem to be as a species.

Planned, organized, and working toward the future.

Who 'da thunk it? Maybe we won't die out after all.

I know, not my normal style of post. See first statement regarding bad weather, headache, and the like. Normal nerdieness tomorrow. Til then, I'm heading back to bed.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Brain Blots

Soapstone Woodburner?


Professional Chimney Sweep Install?


Gas for cutting and shifting wood?


Tylenol and muscle relaxers for sore backs from toting wood?


78 degrees inside on one small load of wood three hours after beginning the burn while ice sleets down outside in 15 degree weather?

Absolutely frikken priceless.

Night, Everybody.