Today we went to a new Japanese restaurant… in our town, no less. It was very good, but our waiter was not exactly the best one could ever hope for. One thing in particular was very amusing. We requested some more tempura dipping sauce, and a few moments later we saw the waiter coming towards us. He was carrying a small bowl filled to the brim with it and I noticed that his hand was over the top of the bowl.  I was wondering why until I saw the steady drops falling from the side of the bowl.

Yep, he spilled the sauce onto the hardwood floor all the way over to our table. And when he finally was able to put it down on the table, he mumbled a simple,”Sorry for the spill.”

It was just today that I realized that one’s restaurant experience depends strongly on the skill of one’s waiter. Not everyone is cut out for it, but A for effort, Buddy :)

bassThe large mouth bass was about 8 inches long. Unfortunately, in the state of Maryland, a large mouth bass has to be at least 12 inches in order to keep it so back into the water it went.

After the thrill of actually catching something, we did what we always do when we go fishing. We sat in a canoe catching almost nothing. It’s still fun, though, for some reason.

One thing we noticed were a lot of kayaking people – kayakers? Kayaking is quite the fad now especially among elderly women, at least on the lake we were on. But everywhere we’ve been fishing this summer, we’ve seen a lot of kayakers. It does look pretty fun and relaxing, but just because it’s so trendy now, we probably won’t experience it until later.

To Punctuate Or Not To Punctuate

Posted: August 26, 2015 in Articles
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These days, are you seeing the incorrect usage of punctuation more frequently?

I am, and this annoys me because the correct use of punctuation is fairly easy to learn. Admittedly, I do find plural possessives confusing, but that is the only thing I have ever had problems with. While I do make mistakes in grammar, punctuation, and spelling, I do not have the mindset of some people that ignoring punctuation and thinking it does not matter is just fine. It does matter.

If you use no punctuation, capitalization, or incorrect grammar in your writing, you only demonstrate ignorance to your audience. When I see writing that lacks everything that makes English the language that it is, I automatically assume that the writer is lazy or stupid, or both. It may just be me, because I am usually cynical, but it is so easy to put in a comma, period, or some other punctuation mark, that anyone who does not bother to do so has to be pretty lazy.

If you do use punctuation but use it incorrectly, then you are ignorant of the rules, but at least you are trying. Ultimately, how a person uses punctuation, capitalization, etc., says a lot about them, even if what it says to me turns out to be wrong.

A more important reason to use punctuation besides keeping up a good reputation, is to make your ideas clear to the reader. If you do not use punctuation, the reader could potentially be very confused. For instance, observe the following two sentences:

“Let’s eat, Grandma!”
“Let’s eat Grandma!”

Last but not least, punctuation lends your writing to particular inflections when you are reading out loud. You see a comma and so pause. An exclamation point tells you to put more excitement in your voice. With no punctuation, the reading becomes very boring, both out loud and in your head, although I would make the exception for excellent writers. Their choice of words and how they formulate phrases seems sufficient. But for the average bloke, you only need to add a few commas, exclamation marks, semi-colons, and other punctuation marks, and your writing will automatically become interesting, even if there is nothing else in it that makes it so.

The attitude some people have now that good English does not matter is wrong. Good English is very important. So if you do not understand correct punctuation, capitalization, and English in general, pay more attention at school or go to the library and check out a book on it! Also, try to remember that a smiley face is actually not a legitimate punctuation mark :)

Take the quiz yourself and see how you score (it’s very easy)!


What Is In My Toilet?!?

Posted: August 24, 2015 in Articles
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Okay. Not in my toilet.

In D.C., the Rodent Control people got a few complaints from people who have rats in their toilets. The rats climbed through the water pipes and ended up in urban home toilets.

It’s actually kind of funny, although I really wouldn’t want it to happen to us.

The rats can get into the sewers from grates in the streets, and from there the rest seems to be simple enough for the disgusting rodents. We actually saw a rat in Philadelphia that was dead on a grate, presumably crushed by a car going by as he was trying to squeeze through.

Click the link at the bottom of this article if you want to see how a rat squeezes through the pipes and manages to come up in your toilet!

This is an article we wrote earlier about rats in Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia: Rat Hunting

Source (and video): See How Easily A Rat Can Wriggle Up Your Toilet

This year, I will be studying Botany with a focus on Wild Edible Plants, in which I will basically hunt for and find wild edible plants, write short descriptions, draw and take pictures, and, most painfully, eat the plants prepared in some way.

I decided to do some independent study before the school year begins in earnest. I found some edible weeds right here in our yard.

I harvested some poke weed (phytolacca americana) leaves, gallant soldier (galinsoga quadriradiata) leaves, and some portulaca oleracea, or common purslane.

Poke weed is normally poisonous, but you can eat the nutritious young leaves and young stems, but nothing else. I found some young plants, picked some leaves and made an omelette with them. It was pretty good, but honestly, after you cook the greens and add eggs and cheese, it all just tastes the same.

With the gallant soldier (also called French weed and alot of other things), I boiled the leaves and tender stems and then added some salt, butter, and pepper. Once again, after you cook the greens, it all tastes basically like spinach.

With the purslane, I made a small salad with lettuce, sprigs of purslane, and tomato and added a tiny bit of dressing. The weed was very crunchy and juicy and was probably my favorite of the three plants. It is also probably the most nutritious of the three, but I’d say that if there was nothing else to eat, since all three plants won’t kill you and they all taste fine, they would all be good enough for me to eat.

The only thing about gathering and eating these plants is that they are looked upon as weeds where we live. We step on them, mow them down, pull them out, etc. and so they may not seem as appealing as our cultivated plants. The other thing that bothered me was that these three particular plants are not in my text book so perhaps these aren’t very good wild edible plants, I don’t know.

Anyway, I ate my wild meal two days ago and am feeling just fine. Also, there will be more of these posts, and with any luck they’ll go beyond just greens. I should have some interesting meals to share with everyone this year!