Friday, November 26, 2010

Bitter-Sweet Kombucha Love

Here is the kombucha update on its deadness.  This is the result of the first kombucha culture I tried to cultivate - didn't follow DD's finely drawn/written directions and put cheesecloth over the top instead of a paper towel, which of course attracted the fruit flies and resulted in the kombucha's untimely, moldy death.  So now it sits in our carport, festering, much like the compost I've had in the past that was decaying anaerobically in its rubbermaid container after it got too disgusting to look at.  I'll get around to dumping it out.  Right now, though, I've got two bottles of kombucha that are thriving and ready to separate into the two empty pickle jars you see to the left - unless I kill those, too, from neglect.  Ugh.

Black Friday Open Thread

Haha, I've always wanted to say "open thread" on AE; I have a feeling that's going to take a few more years, however.  Anyway, here's an "open thread" for anyone who wants to post their Black Friday Tales of Terror, if you chose to venture into the mall or big box store this day, or linkys to news stories from your part of the world.  I'll be in an out and will do my best to update and moderate comments as quickly as I can :)

Update:  Well, so much for open threads!  I can only hope that this means there were no Black Friday tragedies this year but lord knows I will be combing the internets looking for them if only to satisfy my vicarious need for these stories to show how awful Black Friday is.

In the meantime, here is a picture of an alligator we took while the fams rode bikes to campus look for alligators.  This was one found in Graham Pond, just next to the intersection of Gale Lemerand and Museum Rd.

And here's a baby gator we found next to Lake Alice:

I cross-posted this at my other, even more neglected blog, Jorts!™ The Official Blog of Gainesville™.  Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Walmart Black Friday

Just about to go with the fams (including the g-rents) to Steinhatchee for Thanksgiving seafood at Roy's (I'm not sure - one year we went fishing on Thanksgiving), but wanted to update on this Walmart flyer I got when I went there yesterday to return an item.

Notice it says on the right, "Shop while you wait."  So you can start shopping at 12:01 with special deals and hang out there for 5 hours until the Black Friday sales start at 5am.  Whole families living nocturnally at Walmart on Thursday and Friday night of the Thanksgiving weekend, yikes.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Lieberman-Warner Climate Bill and Senator Bill Nelson

I was just thinking about this video that I found awhile back; I originally used it for a 2009 post on DailyKos where I basically call Senator Bill Nelson a hippie.   The video is Senator Nelson's plea to pass the Lieberman-Warner Climate bill, which had come to the floor of the senate for debate in 2008.  I decided to show this video to my students last Thursday; our focus this semester has been on science and technology and thought this would be of interest because we've had some discussions about global climate change and a couple of the students are in aerospace engineering so I thought they'd appreciate that Senator Nelson is a former astronaut.  None of them knew who Senator Nelson was, so I think it was also a good thing to introduce them to one of their senators from the great state of Florida.  At one point in the video Senator Nelson shows a map of Florida and how south Florida will be completely submerged because of rising sea levels; I asked my students how many lived in south Florida and about half of them raised their hands.  I think it had an impact, especially when he gets to the part towards the end where he talks about his experience seeing the earth from a space shuttle and the changes to the earth that can be seen from this perspective from climate change.   

Article: Surviving 'Black Friday'

I should probably do a Google Alert on Black Friday news items, but alas and again, I am lazy.  And why I am up at this hour, I do not know.  Anyway, here is an article by Ethan C. Nobles of on how consumers are going to get through the holiday season.  He cites a recent FICO survey on how people will shop this year:

* 40 percent say their biggest worry heading into 2011 is credit card debt.
* About half expect to charge an extra $100-$500 this season – and many will take up to six months to pay it off.
* Three-quarters of people are changing their holiday traditions because of the economy.
* Only 15 percent will pay cash for holiday shopping.
* Most have not made advance preparations for holiday bills.

Nobles considers these findings concerning, but I found the fact that "Three-quarters of people are changing their holiday traditions because of the economy" to be rather encouraging. 

I'll be in and out throughout most of this Thanksgiving week - have to update on the kombucha!  So much has happened!  Please send me Black Friday stories, either first-hand accounts or news items from your neck of the woods -

I'll update if I can locate the link to the whole FICO survey.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Black Friday, it gets earlier and earlier

I don't think I did a Black Friday post last year; graduate school has been a blog's worst friend.  Anyway, I've been doing a lot of stuff like more successful kombucha culturing but I'll have to get to that in another post. 

Ah yes, Black Friday - I did my first post on Black Friday in 2007, and I think this is a topic that needs to be discussed in terms of our consumer habits as Americans and how awful this day is.  While there is a vicarious thrill at watching the unrepentant consumerism during this time of year, I do dread the news reports on Black Friday.  Looking around on the internet, there is so far one news item about Black Friday from Bakersfield Now, mostly to tell readers that some stores will actually be opening up an hour earlier!  So Targets across the country are opening up at 4am, instead of 5am, which still seems insane. 

What we need to continue to point out is that, especially with our economy in a shambles and jobless numbers continuing to skyrocket, for stores to continue this practice every year is cynical and ruthless.  This is not to say that Americans immediately fall into lock-step when it comes to "holidays" designed to make us spend more, but the temptation to consume is ever-present in our society.  Let's face it, we're broke and we've got to scale back our spending, especially right now.

I don't advocate Buy Nothing Day, even though it is a laudable goal - I find it too hard to adhere to when it comes to groceries and little odds and ends that I regularly forget to buy the night before.  My only participation in Black Friday sales is to screech yearly about how awful it is. 

I will be doing more screeching two Fridays from now, so join me with your Black Friday first person tales or news reports from your part of the world.  Use the comment thread or email me at

Got the Black Friday poster from Twenty-Four Frames blog.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Gainesville Top 10 for Farmers Markets

A good bit of news - 89.1 fm just did a story that says Gainesville is ranked in the top 10 of cities that use farmers markets, based on a survey found at livability. com.  Here is a link to the article itself.  They only mentioned the Union Street market, though, and not the 441 or Haile Markets. The point is, more people in Gainesville are buying local produce!