Josh Humphries + Malin Roghelia (and Family)


A few months ago, a friend and co-worker of mine named Rob Cleveland sent me a link to a YouTube video. He commented that one of the actors in a show on HBO reminded him of a mutual friend. That show was Flight of the Conchordes, and that actor was the one who plays Murray Hewitt. It is an amusing video even without the context of seeing the show (which, even to date, I still haven’t seen a single episode in its entirety):

When we were in LA on vacation the other week, my sister brought up the same TV show. Unfortunately, her DVDs of season one were on loan to a friend, so I didn’t get a chance to see the show. But she showed me another YouTube video that was a sequence from the show:

I’ve since bought their self-titled album (or rather I’ve bought the MP3s that constitute that album). Malin and I even heard this song in background music of a recent episode of Chuck. Were it not for our introduction to this tune in LA, we would have never recognized it or noticed it.

Since I don’t yet have the DVDs (though I put them on my wishlist), I’ve been substituting the real thing with YouTube videos – of which there are many.

The honors for most demented Flight of the Conchordes video goes to Albi The Racist Dragon.

I would say that pretty much every musical number they’ve done on the show is genius. To save you the effort of a YouTube search, you can just click the following links. The best ones (in my opinion) are at the top, but don’t dismiss the others in the list. They are all very funny:


Apparently, I’m getting worse and worse about posting to this blog. I’ve now missed an entire month (September 2008). And I nearly missed another month…

Part of the reason, at least over the past few weeks, has been a long vacation. I’ve been lazily lounging around the house for four weeks… well, not entirely lounging actually. The company I work for has (had) a nice sabbatical policy. Starting at your fifth calendar year, you have the option of taking a four week sabbatical every three years. I took one when Will was born (that was after I had been there for five years). I wanted to save my next sabbatical to take off when the new kid comes around (next April), but rumour has it that our 2009 Benefits plan will not include the sabbatical. So I needed to take my extra vacation time before it was too late to do so. So we scheduled for me to take my four weeks off starting with Will’s vacation from school (which was only three weeks long).

The first week of vacation was the week of September 22nd. During this week, I had the clutch on my car rerepaired. The clutch pedal has been acting up ever since the new clutch was put in. When I took it in, they claimed the clutch hydraulic system needed a new slave cylinder. It wasn’t expensive, but I was irate that they were asking for more money to fix the car. The pedal had no such problems before they installed the new clutch.

It is certainly possible that they’re competent and honest mechanics. The slave cylinder could have been on its way out and coincidentally didn’t exhibit any systems until after they messed with it (they did have to flush, fill, and bleed the hydraulics when replacing the clutch). But they obviously had difficulty getting it fixed – they told me it would definitely be ready the next morning. It took a whole day and half beyond that before it was ready, and the guy explained to me over the phone how difficult bleeding the system was. That tells me that they had the same problems even after replacing the slave cylinder (i.e. this was likely a waste of my money) and spent extra time to properly bleed the system. It feels like the did major adjustments in the new clutch, too, because the pedal travel, weight, and friction-point location and length all feel very different then when I took it in…

But it appears to finally be fixed now…

That week I also shipped a case of homebrew to my sister and brother-in-law in California. That Friday, Will, Malin, and I joined that case of homebrew as we boarded a plane headed for Los Angeles.

We had a good time in LA. We took Will to the National Science Museum, the LA Zoo, and Travel Town. We had an unbirthday party (complete with balloon animals that weren’t really animals – more like abstract shapes such as intestines). We went to Little Tokyo. We had good sushi. We had so much Mexican and Central/South American food that we swore off tacos for awhile… We had an unpleasant time dealing with UPS, which decided to totally screw up the deliver of the previously mentioned case of homebrew… And then we flew home.

The following week, it was Malin’s turn to have her car in the shop. The Audi’s radiator was leaking, and it had a cracked CV boot. Mercifully, the radiator leak was fixed cheaply by replacing the overflow reservoir (less than $200, which feels cheap compared to most of my visits to the mechanic).

Her car was fixed just in time for a road-trip. We stopped by and visited my parents in Greenville, SC. We then traveled to visit friends in Durham, NC for a couple of days. On the way back, we stopped and visited some of Malin’s family in Charlotte and stayed the night with a college friend of mine, Desmond, that lives there. We spent the next day in Greenville again. Will’s grandparents took him to see Beverly Hills Chihuahua while Malin and I went to see Max Payne (which wasn’t half-bad).

And this week we’re getting back into our routine. Will started school again this week, so we’re waking up early to take him there. He’s gotten hooked to the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated show on Cartoon Network over the past month. Tonight, however, he fell asleep before it came on (so he’ll have to watch it tomorrow). In this case, it’s good that he fell asleep because this was the roughest episode yet. The target audience is definitely kids, but it’s kids that are a good bit older than Will (8-12 year olds I’d guess).

Today was my last day of sabbatical vacation. I have the weekend ahead of me, and then I must return to the office. Just like my first sabbatical in 2005, this one felt very short. It doesn’t feel like it’s been a whole four weeks… But it has been long enough that it will feel a little wierd returning to work – and a little depressing.

And one of the main things I wanted to accomplish during this four week time – fixing drywall holes left by plumbing repairs – still hasn’t been done… Man, I am such a slacker. But what the hell – it’s a vacation, right?!

I’m hoping to post some pictures and more details from both our week in LA and our road trip in the Carolinas, so stay tuned.

Musical Me

Over five months have passed since I wrote the following:

I’ll definitely post links so you can download my MIDI software and the DOSBox configuration for it to run sweetly. I’ll try to do so before another month goes by…

Well, I didn’t get it out before a month went by – but I got it out before six months went by (that counts for something doesn’t it?).

Download your copy of Apriori Enterprises MIDI Compozer right here. See below the jump for more info on this little program.

Along with finally making this program available (not that anyone has really be waiting for it…), I also have some new tracks to share. The first is actually a new track: Gray. I composed it fairly recently (past couple of months). The second is an extremely old track: A Night in Giza. In fact, this is the first full song I composed digitally. I think I was in ninth grade (’round about 1991). By the way, I did not write my software when I was in ninth grade. I used other, much crappier software in high school. I wrote my program in college because I had “outgrown” the other program (which was shareware and cost me something like $3 for a 5.25 inch disk).

I also decided to post some other music I wrote back in high school. These, however, are not digital compositions. These were recorded with an analog 4-track tape recorder using real musical instruments and microphones. I’m posting the least embarrassing tracks, but keep in mind they were all recorded around fifteen years ago. I’ve grown tremendously in my guitar-playing skills and song-writing/composition. So one of these days I’d like to get my hands on some decent recording equipment (or figure out how to turn my computer into decent recording equipment, which is probably the better/cheaper route to take) so that I can make some more recent recordings that are more representative of what I write and play.

First up is a strange little number. The recording quality is pretty low (please bear with me). You could probably tell from the unreal sound of the guitar that this one is an exercise in back-masking. Just in case it isn’t obvious from the music, listen for the spoken word (which is my old next door neighbor, Keith Groover, saying something silly like, “drink milk because it is good for you”). Without further ado: Untitled #1.

Next up is, in fact, the exact same strange little number. The recording quality is better. I kept the older one though because I thought it sounded cooler. This version is missing something (something other than the backwards voice – which also happens to be absent): Untitled #1, Reprise.

Alright – now for some real music. Here is a brief snippet from a track I laid down with three other high school students at a place in Greenville, SC called The Fine Arts Center. I went to this place for a half-day every school day my junior and senior years of high school. My junior year was spent in visual arts. I went for drawing, but I had to take other visual arts classes there so I also took sculpture. While in the drawing class I was first exposed to Adobe Photoshop, and it was love at first sight – except for the icky, one-button mouse on that stinkin’ Mac… I still have some slides of original abstract works I created in Photoshop back then. Anyhow, my senior year I went for electric guitar performance and studied jazz improvisation. This effort was a group project to re-interpret Mile Davis’ So What. Our interpretation was a kind of dreamy, soft rock fusion thingamajig. The clip is very brief because my only tape of this recording was accidentally cut short (a friend of mine borrowed the tape and accidentally taped over part of this tune).

This next piece was a spin-off of another project from my senior year at The Fine Arts Center. When studying the seven modes, we were charged with picking a mode and writing a song. I was the only one brave enough to pick the unresolvable Locrian mode. The piece was well accepted, and I got a good grade on it. I later recorded it. I borrowed my neighbor’s acoustic guitar (Keith Groover again) for this track. The name of the track is Sleeping Alone.

For music theory geeks: It feels like it resolves to B minor in the end because I essentially “cheated” when writing this song. Although you’ll not here a single F# in the entire song, it is implied. When the tonic chords are played, the diminished fifth is intentionally absent (which tends to imply F#, the perfect fifth). So the song sounds less like B Locrian and more like B Phrygian that drifts in and out of F Lydian.

I will now leave you with a final track. I have to admit that the beginning, played by a clean-tone guitar, was somewhat plagiarized. There was another student at The Fine Arts Center (Joe something – can’t remember his name; he wasn’t in my class for very long) who had written something pretty much just like this. I dug it and worked it into a song of my own. Never fear: the vast majority of the song is all original. I never named this track, so we’ll just call it Untitled #2.

Read More »

The Adventure Never Ends

The Six Foot Fence

Starting over a week ago, our next door neighbor, Pat, has been having a six-foot privacy fence installed. This should prove to be a blessing. She has the most obnoxious pack of four little dogs – they bark at everything all day long. They bark at us when we are outside. They bark at our dogs when they’re out during the day. They bark at their own shadows in the evening sometimes it seems.

The fence encompasses a huge amount of land. Her house is situated rather off-center in her plot of land. With a fence all the way around, clearly delineating the property, it looks a bit lop-sided since the fence extends so much further to the east (to the left if you were standing at the street looking at her front door) than it does to the west. Unfortunately, despite the impressive perimeter, it fails to surround the mess in her yard. She used to have two big PODS next to her driveway, but there is now only a pile of debris. The fence does not hide it from our view. So we’ll be planting some leyland cypruses over there to shield us from the unsightly scene.

Pat is the nicest person next to which a home-owner could live. She has a garden and has been very helpful in the past, loaning us her lawn equipment from time to time. But she isn’t quite as chatty as of the last couple of years. Sometimes I wonder if we’ve done something to upset her, but perhaps she’s busy with other things. Despite her beaming generosity, we have still secretly spurned her annoying dogs and her less-than-beautiful yard. So the fence will be a welcome addition.

The Rain Barrel

Last weekend we built a rain barrel for one of the downspouts on the front of our house. We have one that empties by the front porch, behind a large bush. The bush makes the perfect cover for a rain barrel:

Ninja rain barrel demonstrates stealth

We managed to build one for only $20. Unfortunately, we didn’t take pictures when we were building it – otherwise I could show you the step-by-step to saving yourself a bunch of money (apparently rain barrels can sell for upwards of $100).

We started with a 32-gallon RubberMaid trash can – only $15 from your neighborhood Lowe’s or Home Depot. We then bought fittings from the plumbing aisle: one brass faucet threaded to accept a hose on one end. The other end of the faucet was threaded, too. The threads screw into a piece of PVC, which is then connected via PVC cement to another piece of PVC that has a large threaded tail with a large flange. We drilled a hole in the bottom of the barrel, through which the threaded tail fit. A little plumber’s putty around the threads, a rubber gasket, and a very tight nut securely fasten that piece to the barrel.

Look, ma, no leaks!

We had to do some surgery to the downspout to make room for the rain barrel. It involved removing one of the elbow ends, cutting the main line (since the barrel is several feet tall), and then re-attaching the remaining elbow. You can see from the pic that we also cut a hole in the plastic lid so that the downspout reaches right in (look to the left of the blurry face):

Will, standing proudly next to his rain barrel

The weather refused to produce moisture for an entire week after we had the barrel readied. But Saturday it rained. It didn’t even rain that heavily, but the barrel filled up all the way nevertheless. It was overflowing Sunday. It probably overflowed a lot because it really rained on Sunday. It continues to rain today. Here’s the state of the barrel now – still full and overflowing:

The Mirror of Galadriel

The John Butler Trio

This past weekend we went to a concert with two other couples. One couple, Karen and Cliff Jones, accompanied us on the last concert we saw (you can re-read about those misadventures here). The other couple, Paul and Melanie Manning, are more friends of ours from my workplace. We met them in the evening at the Landmark Diner, down the road from the amphitheater in Chastain Park. From there were caravan’ed to a parking lot in the park and begun the tailgating festivities. The festivities mainly consisted of eating Chinese food (for us anyway – the Mannings brought sushi; the Joneses brought sub sandwiches) and telling tales of mischievous kids, of which we all get our fill.

After a dinner in the parking lot, we meandered to the amphitheater. The John Butler Trio was the act that Malin and I were most excited about seeing, and they did not disappoint. In fact, they were awesome. They played a good set of songs, a long set, and were really fun to watch. John Butler makes his acoustic guitar spit out truly unreal sounds with the occasional aid of a slide and an overdrive pedal. They had one of the members of Arrested Development join them on the stage during one of the songs. They rocked the house. The only regret was that they didn’t play one of my favorite songs, Daniella.

After the trio came G. Love and Special Sauce – the same act as our last musical outing. This time G. Love played a slow and sleepy set. A highlight was when he drifted into a rendition of Jack Johnson’s Rodeo Clowns. We left a little early because Malin got really tired and wanted to go. We had already seen G. Love and knew we’d survive if we missed the last few songs. Karen and Cliff also had to go to relieve their baby-sitter of duty. Karen is a huge G. Love fan, so she was more bummed to have to take off early. After speaking with Paul this morning at work, I learned that we only missed three songs. And, due to the curfews they have at Chastain Park (it is in a very ritzy neighborhood that doesn’t like loud rock’n’roll concerts going on late at night), there were no encores. When G. Love left the stage, the night was all over.

We arrived home at a reasonable hour and went straight to bed… (I’m still recovering from a cold that I’ve been fighting for over a week now)

The Lord of the Rings

Last night, the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy could be seen on network television. We weren’t sure how much of it would be suitable for Will to watch, but he was too excited by it for us not to try. It was quite a choppy evening. Even being “edited” for network television, it has still has more than enough violence in it (including the occasional beheaded orc or impaled villain). Luckily we’ve seen all three films (and even own them on DVD), so we knew what was coming. Our frequent changing of channels right when the action started going seemed to really frustrate Will, but we assured them that they were fighting too roughly for him to watch. The second film, The Two Towers, was the worst. He saw considerably less than half of the film due to the constant battling with Orcs and the long battle of Helm’s Deep.

He did not get to see the end of the film – partially due to the violence and scary sequences but mostly due to the fact that it did not end until 11:45pm.

And to think that today he didn’t want to watch 102 Dalmations (which was playing on some channel earlier today after he got home from school) because – get this – it was too scary. Wonders never cease…

The Life and Times…

A lot has been going on since I last wrote something here.

You may have noticed from Malin’s posts that we’ve gone green. Last weekend we spent most of the day Saturday working on readying the ground for a garden. Malin has been spraying grass killer for a few weeks on a couple of big, square patches of land in the back yard. This past weekend saw the legwork of preparing the ground. We rented a big ol’ tiller, tilled up the dirt, raked out the dead grass and weeds, and hoed the dirt into lanes.

Malin’s mom and her boyfriend (her mom’s boyfriend, not Malin’s) came over to help out. Since we sold the Blazer (months ago) we no longer have a way to get a tiller home from the rental store. Heck, I doubt this thing would have fit in the Blazer anyway. Randy has a trailer for his work which pulled it to our home more than adequately.

The tiller was very large and had lots o’ power. So much power that it really seemed poorly designed overall. It didn’t have the kind of features needed to easily handle the power. For one, there was a single gear shifter and single clutch (hand operated pedal) that controlled both the drive wheels and the tines. This meant that there was no way, for instance, to engage the tines without the wheels. It was possible to do the other way around, however, because the transmission offered special gear selections that did not engage the tines. Add to that the fact that there was a center open differential between the two axles. Yes, this means that when the tines were not moving at all that the wheels were moving doubletime. So, when you hit a lump of hard dirt, the tines want to stop because they can’t chew through it and zooom!!! the things takes off like a go cart as the drive wheels start spinning double speed. And it zooming around like a go cart is bad. You need it go slowly so that the tines thoroughly till the hard, virgin earth underneath. So Randy gave me a hand with it. We must have looked ridiculous: two full grown men man-handling this piece of lawn equipment. And even with both of us hanging on to it and keeping it on mission, it still tried to get away from us a couple of times.

If only it had had a second pedal for engaging the tines and wheels. Then you could engage the tines and make them dig and only engage the wheels often enough to keep the thing moving forward without letting it zoom off. A hand brake lever may have been suitable, too. I wonder if there is any money in inventing better yard machines… It doesn’t seem like it would take much to greatly improve the usability of these things – all the way to the point where even an older or weaker person could handle it without assistance.

So we got the yard all dug up. We’ve also added some fittings and splitters to the outside faucet so we have hoses that lead to the garden as well as a natural area in the front yard all on one timer, a dedicated hose to the back deck for use with an immersion wort chiller (for making beer), and two extra spaces for any additional watering needs…

Read More »

Foodie Heaven

Last weekend was our anniversary. The actual day was Sunday – on which we had a going away party to attend. Friends of ours are moving to El Paso, Texas; so there was a pool party to have one last celebration with them in town and to send them off right.

The party was a good time. Malin, unfortunately, was a little late to the party because she had a photo-shoot that had been scheduled before we even knew the date of the party, and the shoot couldn’t be moved. I can divulge more about the party later – as you can see from the title of this post, the rest of this rant is about a fine dining establishment, not a pool party.

The evening before our anniversary, Saturday, was our night to go out and celebrate. We had reservations at what we think is the absolute best restaurant in Atlanta: Quinones. It is part of the same building (and same company) as Star Provisions and Bacchanalia. Star Provisions is a little market that sells meats, cheeses, coffees, and other culinary delights and also has a sandwich bar that serves excellent sandwiches (and good desserts, gourmet pizza, etc…). Bacchanalia is a very nice restaurant behind Star Provisions. In fact, you have to walk through the shop to the back to get into the restaurant. But underneath them is Quinones. Take Bacchanalia, jazz up the menu to ultra-fine levels (not stodgy or elitist, but fun and capricious), change the a la cart menu into a chef’s tasting menu, and up the ante on the dining room decor. Now you have Quinones. I don’t mean to say that the menu at Bacchanalia is not already fine dining. In fact I’d say the opposite – it’s probably our second favorite in Atlanta (second to the delights that await one in the restaurant below it).

This meal was the best we’ve had there. Take a look for yourself here. In addition to the courses listed, the chef also sends out a “gift” – an amuse bouche. This evening it was a small sip of corn soup, a house-made pork rind, and a fancy “cheese poof”. By cheese poof I mean a delicious ball of flavorful cheese inside a ball of crispy puff pastry. Not a bad start.

The highlights were many:

  • The foie gras, blackberries, and peanut streusel was an interesting twist on peanut butter and jelly – and the summer fruit consummé was a delicious elixir that pushed the whole dish into sweet land (the shores of savory land so distant as to be unseen…)
  • The oyster was the best oyster I’ve ever eaten. Luckily for Malin, it was cooked (deep-fried – but very lightly so as to retain 100% of the raw oyster fresh-from-the-sea taste but warm and with a thin and light, crispy coating). I say that because she has expressed an aversion to raw oysters (although if she were to try one, it would probably be at this restaurant).
  • The stuffed quail: to die for.
  • The veal with crisped sweetbreads: to die for twice – maybe even three or four times.

After a long and very filling evening, we decided to make one stop on the way out. Malin had heard about a “gastro-pub” in Buckhead, and we decided to check it out: Holeman and Finch Public House. The place looked promising; we’ll have to return during the day when we have an appetite. They have house-made sausages and house-cured pork legs hanging all over the place. And Will would have been really impressed by our server.

Ecobitch Cooks

I have attempted making bread in the past – and failed about as miserably as one could possibly fail. This time I prevailed and made the most delicious bread that has ever existed: Brioche. It is more like cake than bread, but it has yeast so bread it is.

I made Monte Cristo sandwiches out of it, and then Marla (the devil dog) stole one of my sandwiches. And now we don’t speak so much (Marla and I).

On to my weekly (or perhaps biweekly) edition of “The Humphries Save the Planet”. This week we have canceled our trash pick-up service. You heard me right. We recycle and compost so much of our waste that we barely produce much trash nowadays. We have also started using cloth training pants for Will at night, so that cuts down even more. And I don’t feel like going straight to eco-hell for throwing superabsorbent polymers full of my son’s pee into the landfill (for it to sit and not rot until long after his grandchildren are in the ground, probably covered in superabsorbent polymers full of their grandfather’s pee…)

On personal hygiene: I am now willing to tell the internet I have not washed my hair with shampoo in over a month. Yes, you heard me right: NO SHAMPOO. In an effort to rid the house and myself of chemicals, I have switched to baking soda for almost all of my personal washing needs. And I have to say I really like it. I don’t smell, and my hair is not greasy or rank (or hippy dippy either). The switch to using it on my hair has taken a bit of trial and error as everyone’s hair is different, and mine is thick and long. So I use a bit more than some, and I leave it on for a full 2 minutes. Then I use a bit of apple cider vinegar as a conditioner (which really makes it soft), and I am done. Baking soda is by far the best deodorant I have ever used. Once I realized that I could mix it in some cocoa butter lotion, it is easy to apply (and I still don’t smell). I don’t mean, “hey, I don’t smell so bad!” No, I mean, “hey, I have been working in the yard all day in July in Georgia and sweating like I have been digging a ditch in the Sahara for five days, and I don’t smell!”

More info:
If you are interested in no ‘poo, go here.
How about home-made deodorant?

28 Days Later

Just like our trip to the beach in May, I have allowed four weeks to pass since we returned from Boston before actually writing about the trip. Perhaps this blog is simply cursed to always be about one month behind…

Malin took her camera along, and Will loves being in pictures (several times, he stopped and insisted that Malin take a picture of him right then and there). So this post has a decent number of photos…

Getting There

We had a bit of a rough time getting to the airplane. First, on auto-pilot, I drove towards the airport instead of towards our park-and-ride facility of choice. After doing a loop around Hartsfield-Jackson, we finally managed to get to our park-and-ride facility. And… naturally… it was full. I’d seen them full before only once – during spring break. I wasn’t sure why they were so busy now. I suppose it was just after school got out for summer, so perhaps a lot of families decided to fly to an early summer vacation destination, much like ourselves. They gave us a coupon for one free night at another facility up the road (same owners of course).

We drove up the road and parked, hopped on the shuttle to the airport, and made it all the way to the airport before realizing that we had left something in the car: Will’s booster seat. We didn’t need his seat for the airplane so much as for the rental car once we landed in Boston. The shuttle driver was nice and happily drove us back to the car and then back out to the airport.

We were finally at the airport – all of our junk in tow! The next bit of fun we had was getting our boarding passes. We had Delta e-tickets, so the shuttle driver dropped us off at the Delta terminal, and we walked up to an available kiosk for check-in. As Murphy’s Law would predict, we were unable to get our passes from the kiosk. As luck would have it, our seats were on a “partner carrier”: Continental. Even though we booked the flights through Delta and Delta and Continental are “partners”, we still had to lug all of our junk to the other side of the airport (Continental and Delta are not on the same terminal) to check-in and get boarding passes.

Thankfully, we had left home early enough to allow plenty of time in security lines. That meant we were early enough that all of the mishaps so far didn’t cause us to miss our flight. In fact, since we were lugging around so much stuff (a three-year-old and a booster seat is what really did it), we were let into the special, short security line that is intended for disabled passengers, passengers traveling with infants, and others with special needs.

The view from the plane

This, of course, is the view from the plane – somewhere over the U.S. eastern seaboard, between Atlanta, Georgia and Newark, New Jersey (we had a connection at Newark, continuing on to Logan International in Boston).

Before long, we arrived in Boston, Massachusetts. Read More »


Here we go: another installment of “The Humphries Save The Planet.” I started composting, and it is not the first time. I tried this at our old house when I had the veggie garden in the backyard. I never got the swing of it though. I went the Martha way, which is to say I had a big wire bin next to the garden and put all of our food scraps in (instructions on that method).

As you could see from the picture in the link, manual labor is a key part. And time – lots and lots of time before you can use the compost in the garden. I had lusted over these nifty things, but as you can see from the price tag I was not about to do that (even if it did give you compost in six easy, non-manual-labor-filled weeks). So I had been thinking on what to do for a while and, feeling guilty every time I emptied the coffee filter or threw lemon rinds in the garbage pail, I knew I could do something easy and cheap. I finally came up with something on the drive to the lake last week. Upon our return, I decided to look online one last time to see if my plan would work. I ran across this great video (which is what my plan mainly consisted of – except I used a drill, and my hair looks way better than hers).

I purchased my trash can from Lowes for $13.00, and Will helped me drill the holes in a pretty pattern. Then we loaded it up with the brown and green matter that we had saved over the last two days, wet it, and gave it a spin. Soon I will show you my black gold!

Here is a list of things you can compost:

  • Animal manure
  • Cardboard rolls
  • Clean paper
  • Coffee grounds and filters
  • Cotton rags
  • Dryer and vacuum cleaner lint
  • Eggshells
  • Fireplace ashes
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Grass clippings
  • Hair and fur
  • Hay and straw
  • Houseplants
  • Leaves
  • Nut shells
  • Sawdust
  • Shredded newspaper
  • Tea bags
  • Wood chips
  • Wool rags
  • Yard trimmings

One last note: I am truly amazed at how much smaller our weekly trash that goes to the street is because of recycling and composting. It has gone down by at least two-thirds and is the most obvious change we have made during this process. This week it is my goal to put up recycling bins for the bathrooms – an easily overlooked place that is full of paper products just being thrown in the trash.


A few years ago, Josh and I decided we would change a habit or a product here and there in our daily lives – in an attempt to become more conscious of our affect on the planet and to just be more conscious as humans in general. One of the first things we did was to replace most of the bulbs in the house with compact fluorescent bulbs. Now you may say, “Most? Why not all?” The simple fact is that we wanted to make these changes without compromising too much (mainly due to the fact that very small bulbs and bulbs attached to dimmer switches don’t agree to well with CFL). We are Americans after all, and if we do it this way then we can convince others to follow along. Because if it is not easy and cheap then it is not sustainable for the laziest among us.

Along the way, we have also taken this idea to the food we eat, and we have slowly been changing into more conscious eaters. This means more vegetables, more fruit, no junk food in the house, no soda in the house, eating at home as much as possible, and, finally, cutting out a whole lot of processed food. We still eat out and drink like fish (Josh makes beer after all) – we even drink soda and go to fast food joints, but only once in a while. Even then, we try our best to keep it somewhat healthy. This was probably the hardest for me as Will loves Chik-Fil-A and – I mean – who doesn’t? He still begs, but I resist.

Ok, back on topic! So this year we decided to step it up a little more: first we started recycling, and then I decided to get rid of all the harsh chemicals to clean the house. NO, I did not stop cleaning! I traded them for more earth-friendly ideas. Now I know I could have gone out and bought green-wise stuff, but I really felt that was just not being very conscious. I decided Bleach, Baking soda, and Vinegar are all I need, and I must say it has been a smashing success. I have a spray bottle with water and a few drops of bleach (chlorine free) for cleaning the counters and hard floors. Important note about bleach: you only need a few drops. You don’t even need to be able to smell it for it to disinfect your counters and what not. Baking soda is a miracle powder: it has gotten the toughest dirt out of the bottom of my shower, cleaned the grout in my bathroom, and whitened my laundry. The best part of all: it is way cheap! More info here on the wonderment of the BS. Vinegar: in a word – URINE. If you have a dog or a child then you know what I am talking about. Vinegar breaks down the enzymes in urine instantly, and dogs will not mark again if they can smell it. We could talk about all its other great features, but read this article instead. Oh, and the smell is gone once it dries.

Ok, the point of this post! I have decided to start posting about my newest experiments into going green. I am always trying something new to see if it will fit into my life and save me money (lest I remind you about gas prices). Not everything I do will sound sane or even doable by all, but maybe it will give some of you the info you need to try something new.

Next week: composting on the cheap!

« Previous Page Next Page »