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Ahhhhh...

I hope everyone was able to take a break, and put their feet up at least for the evening on this 4th of July.  I did, at least briefly...

Sale Time at Restaurant.com

I've mentioned restaurant.com here before.  I'm not affiliated with or reimbursed by them (or any of the restaurants named here) in any way, but as we've discussed, I'm cheap, and having purchased certificates from them in the past, I'm on restaurant.com's mailing list, so just got notice of the current 60% off sale running now.  The way the site works is that you get discounts at area restaurants by purchasing "gift certificates" which are worth a higher face value at the restaurant than their cost to you.  ( i.e.  At normal prices, a $25 certificate costs $10, so it's like getting $15 off your meal--the current sale sweetens the deal a bit, so that you're getting a $25 certificate for $4, and a $10 certificate for $1.20.)The participating restaurants offer a finite number of certificates each month, so toward the end of the month, the savings get larger while the choices are fewer due to the certificates' selling out.  Here's what's available, as of this writing, on sale around the state, with the coupon code "FREEDOM" at checkout.

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Small Arkansan Featured on Big Website

The setup gets a little complicated, but bear with me:  This photo, that Alex took of our daughter, at the Cabot Dixie Cafe, was used to illustrate an article that appeared on the fabulous Consumerist blog, which picked up the substance of its article from The New York Times.  Click the photo to go to the original page at Consumerist.com.Everyone knows the 5 second rule.

Following Up, and Reciprocating the Link-Love

The other day when I read Max's post about cell-phone use being banned in some restaurants on his Eat Arkansas blog, I thought, "Well, that's nice."  But I've never been hugely inconvenienced by folks on cell-phones in restaurants much, although it seems to aggravate my husband mightily.  And I find that my tolerance for such things is directly related to the amount of money I'm spending on the meal.Well, you know how it is, once you've been made aware of something...buy a blue car, all of a sudden everyone seems to be driving a blue car.  Get pregnant, the world seems to be populated entirely by females in the mid-to-late stages of gestation.  You know the drill.But still, it was timely to the point of being hilarious when, the very DAY that I'd told Alex about the Lilly's/Trio's cell-phone ban, and we'd discussed it, we experienced what inspired the ban first-hand at, of all places, the Dixie Cafe.We love the Dixie Cafe, does our little family of three.  For one thing, we usually go during quiet times, when service is good and the atmosphere is peaceful.  Service is quick enough so that a 4-year-old does not get antsy, and besides, she's provided with crayon-related activities.  She also voluntarily chooses vegetables to eat at the DC.  It's not expensive.  We love it.On this Saturday afternoon, about 3:30 PM, we were seated at a booth in the back, in the quietest part of a quiet restaurant.  We were the only ones in our section.  Ironically, Alex actually made a 20-second cell-phone call, leaving a voice-mail for someone to whom we were attempting to leave a partial load of horse hay.  But since we were the only ones there, and he has an exceptionally soft phone-voice, no harm.And then, a party of two was seated across the aisle from us, presumably, based on what we overheard, a 30-ish woman and her grandmother.  Just moments after placing their order, we were subjected to the following, at a volume that you wouldn't believe even if this post had sound, so just trust me that it was inappropriately loud (We never actually heard the cell-phone ring, so it must have been set to vibrate, which we ALSO found highly ironic):"HELLO?!?"  (pause)"OH, HEY.  WHAT ARE YOU DOING?"  (pause)"WE'RE AT THE DIXIE CAFE."

I Hate To Do This To You, But...

I'm going to remind you about Cotham's Merchantile in Scott, home of the Hubcap Burger.

No. Just...No.

File under: REALLY unfortunate typos.  I hope.  Just when I was certain that the most distasteful thing I was going to see in Sunday's pets/animals classifieds in the Dem-'Zette was the ad for "SCHNORKIES," this happened...
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Something Cool

Turns out, if you look up songstress Tori Amos on Wikipedia, the default photograph on the front page is the work of Arkansas' own Kris Sikes, who I understand has done some photography work for The Arkansas Times.  Yaaay, brushes with fame!

Back from Vacation With Shameless Boasting

I'm working on a post about our week on Greers Ferry Lake and the Little Red River, but in the meantime, indulge me in a bit of giddy pride.  For only the second time, a photo of mine has made "EXPLORE" on flickr.com.  It's one of the ones from last week at the lake, of one of our dogs, Delta: Ah, to be one of 500, out of a million.  Sweet!Update--I apparently don't know how to search Explore photos efficiently.

A Good Old-Fashioned Feud...Apparently?

We have no idea how it began, or what the point of it is, but we're apparently in the midst of some sort of property-feud with a neighbor we've never even met.This pretty little road is a Lonoke County Road, paved, numbered and recorded, which runs to the rear of our property, behind and way downhill from our house.  It is also the only ingress and egress to our place in inclement weather, not only for us, but for 911 Emergency personnel.  We have used it exactly once, during that Wednesday night snowstorm this past winter, when we could not make it up the steep incline to our street--the street that bears our actual address and hosts our front driveway.  Fortunately, this road was there for us, at the bottom of the hill, and we were able to get both our vehicles, and our family within, safely home after church.Right in front of our rear gate (the chain-link one, on the left here), the County Road curves off to the right, and a gravel road (overgrown in fresh spring grass here) runs from it through our gate and all the way up the back hill to our house.  As you can see, on the right, the owner of the neighboring property has gated the paved County Road, blocking access to anyone but himself.  We can only assume that this was done because no one was really using the road, so he thought it would go  unnoticed, and that putting a gate across there was cheaper and less trouble than fencing his entire property.Shortly after the snowstorm, when of course we'd left tracks in the snow that showed we'd been there, my husband discovered that our neighbor had installed a heavy chain and padlock on our gate, locking it from the outside.  OUR gate.  Which is a good two feet within our property line.  This was bizarre and shocking to us, obviously.  Alex cut the chain off with bolt-cutters, replaced it with another chain and lock of our own, locked from the inside, and put up a "Private Property" sign on the gate.  And then THIS happened.  Personally, I can't imagine expending this much effort and time doing something to property that does not belong to you, for no apparent reason.  This was just...beyond weird.  What you're looking at is where the culvert that ran underneath the road was dug up, the trench left open, and the 20-foot-long rusted metal pipe laid across our gravel drive directly against our gates.  Can you imagine?  This is what it looks like from our side of the fence.  Keep in mind that the area where that metal pipe has been placed is OUR property.  We're pretty flummoxed at this act.  At this point, Alex posted a note on the gate, sealed in a Ziplock bag, giving our name and all our phone numbers, and asking our neighbor to please phone us if there was some problem that we were unaware of, and could resolve.  The note was picked up, but we never got a response.This is when Alex researched the 911 and County maps, confirmed that the road was a County Road, and an official 911 Emergency Response access to our property, and took these photos (and several others).  We're going to be contacting the county about this, since we just don't know what else to do...does anyone have any advice, or even tips on which county office should be handling this?I'll keep everyone posted on what happens.  And if you recognize this road, and know the person who did this...ask him what we ever did to him to deserve this, because we've never met him, never troubled him, and are truly baffled.What would you do?  We really have no desire to be Hatfields OR McCoys, if we can avoid it, but we need fair access to our own property, which in no way interferes with anyone else's property..

It Must Be Springtime in Arkansas...

...because, soaking in the jewelry-cleaner in our master bathroom?Trout-fishing lures.Yee-HAW.
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Could I Resist Buying This Bumper-Sticker?

No.  No, I could not.

Reflections On A Rock Concert

Opening act Rose Hill Drive: Not bad.  Has to be a mixed blessing opening for The Who, because while it's great exposure, every single person in the arena is thinking, "GET FINISHED AND BRING OUT SOME WHO!"Rose Hill Drive members look like "Spinal Tap."  ALL of them.  Nice boys, but I expect them at any minute to start talking about how their speakers "go up to eleven."Amused at the repeated announcements offering, among other tour-related merchandise, "official bootlegs" of tonight's performance.  And a new oxymoron is born.Wishing like anything for my Sony Alpha-100, which would have taken kick-butt pictures of the whole thing.  Alas, stuck with a single megapixel in a cell phone.  *sigh*The Who entrance:  Happiest I've felt in months.  Giddy.  Holy crap, I'm looking right at "Tommy," and he's still hot and muscle-bound, with eyes as blue as the sky.Pete Townshend immediately disabuses everyone of the notion that he might have lost his powerful "windmill" guitar strokes.  WOW.During the hard-hitting part of "Who Are You?"  I CRY.  The freaking Who makes me cry.  I am getting old.  No sobbing, though, just eyes full of tears with the happiness.Impossibly young-looking drummer who replaced Keith Moon and is really getting a workout: LUCKIEST DRUMMER EVER.  Except for Ringo Starr.

The Kids Are Alright...I Hope

Let's hope the old people are, too. Mom, Alex and I are headed out to hear The Who in concert (the half that's left, anyway), and since they've been cancelling dates left and right due to Roger Daltry's bronchial infection, we're hoping we're not just in for some croaking and half-strength guitar-smashing.

You Have To Love This

Possibly a Code Pink protester, cross-dressing in knockoff hot-pink Chanel, upstaging the Plame testimony:I mean, that little stunt took dedication, planning, timing, and probably a fair share of luck.  The absolute best photos of this I've seen were taken by flickr user jahat.
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Live From The Peabody

We're enjoying a relaxing weekend, had a great dinner last night at Brave New Restaurant, which you'll hear more about later, because I freaking LOVE that place.  The Peabody Little Rock is everything it should be, even if we wish it had some technical upgrades like wireless internet (seriously, Peabody!!)

Because If I Just TOLD You About It, You'd Call Me A Liar

I give you the ultimate tailgate-party accessory, the "Cruzin' Cooler."  I am nearly speechless at the mere existence of this product.  From the website: "All the Cruzin Cooler needs is a designated driver.

Arkansas: Do You Flickr?

Why not?  Even if you don't take photos, there is so much to enjoy of the bounty that is flickr.com.   Requiring no registration to view photos, flickr has long stood head and shoulders above other photo-sharing sites, and its innovative tools, such as groups, pools, and extensive tagging system makes it just one of the greatest internet experiences around.If you have an interest, there is almost certainly at least one flickr group devoted to photographing that interest.  You name it, it's there.  I'm not sure why it took me so long, but it was only a couple of weeks ago that it occurred to me to search for photos tagged "Arkansas."  This led me to the group photo pool titled "Arkansas," and a world of Natural State beauty and interest.  The very nature of flickr-hopping leads one to make more and more discoveries.  Did you ever read the encyclopedia as a kid?  No?  Seriously?  That was just me?  OK, well, what would happen, is that you'd look up one thing, and that entry would contain something else that you'd like to investigate, so you'd go there, and be led somewhere else...with the internet, it's instantaneous and much more fun, plus, no paper cuts!If you follow a photostream to its owner's profile, you might even luck out and find new blogs and websites of interest, and people with whom you have much in common, who might be right next door.  It's an incredible world-shrinker, is flickr.  I've made my own contributions toward illustrating Arkansas life, but as you can see, I am no photographer--I'm just "journaling" in a different way (click images for details):

Live-Blogging the Oscars

I was going to do it here, but due to the quick-loading, instant-edit nature of my Blogger site, I'm stream-of-consciousnessing my way through the Academy Awards over here tonight, in a progressively longer and longer post, which will surely become tiresome long before it's over.

Think It Couldn't Happen To You?

Think again!  After the news last night, we went and checked our pantry, and THERE IT WAS.  One of the dreaded salmonella-tainted jars of Peter Pan Peanut Butter.  The tell-tale "2111" lot number stamped right on top, bold as brass.  Thankfully still sealed, unopened.Sadly, it was the most exciting thing that happened to us all day long.Our deadly jar of PB was purchased in Cabot about a week ago.  Check your peanut butter, peoples.  Back to buying the spackle-flavored "natural" stuff and doctoring it up in my mixer, then storing it in the 'fridge for me.  *sigh*

In Which I Geek Out Over Grocery-Shopping With Coupons

What? You don't?
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