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This will be our fourth night in a row below freezing. Phoenix is breaking records going back decades. Unfortunately, the cold snap is also breaking my plants. My hummingbird bush in the front yard is toast. In the back, my gorgeous eggplant with its three growing veggies has turned black-leafed despite being covered by a blanket. The butternut squash also looks like a goner, but it was going downhill before the cold snap even hit.

The lantana all over the backyard look awful, but they might bounce back. I tend to lose a few of those every winter, even when it hasn't gotten this cold.

Lowe's is going to have brisk business in about a month!


Writer's Block: ONTD Games Giveaway

Which video game character would you like to have as your real-life BFF? One random response will win a $60 Amazon gift card! [Full contest rules here.] Don't forget to share your favorite gamer moments on at 3 p.m. PST for Free For All Friday (FFAF).

I have to say Rydia from Final Fantasy IV. She's smart and practical, and won't back down if she thinks you're making a big mistake.

Writer's Block: White air

Is it snowing where you are right now?

If it snows here, the apocalypse is underway.

Writer's Block: B.Y.O.B. Holidays

What is your must-see holiday movie? One random answer will win a $50 Amazon gift card. [Details here]

Emmet Otter's Jugband Christmas.

Writer's Block: You've got the look

Which item in your wardrobe would shock the fashion police? Do you wear it in public?

I have a lot of old shirts. I have a few t-shirts I wear at night that are from the mid-90s. The oldest thing I have, though, is a sweater that I recieved at age 12 for Christmas. It was an expensive sweater--like $40 or so--showing horse heads. Some would probably call it ugly, but it's incredibly well-made. It has a small hole that doesn't penetrate a sleeve, and otherwise is in pristine condition.

Writer's Block: See the music

What's your favorite music video of all time?

"Take On Me" by Aha.

Of course, the literal version is a special sort of awesome.

Edit: I just noticed that this is my 4,500th journal entry. o____0

DQIX: Past Swinedimples

Animated slime
The subject line is no joke. Dragon Quest IX contains a Hogwarts parody called Swinedimples Academy, where all the students wear uniforms, talk like Brits, and get into mischief. The dungeon there is very short, though it contains some nasty enemies. Also, the strategy guide is absolutely wrong with the hit points number it supplies for the boss. I have all of the fyggs I was to retrieve in this part of the game, but I'm going to complete at least two quests before moving on with the next story stuff.

Most of my characters are around level 31, while my Warrior Beth lags by ten levels.


Garden: Pumpkin sprouts!

I planted my pumpkin seeds on July 20th, and yesterday, on August 10th, two sprouts emerged. I planted four seeds, so if the others pop up I'll probably have to pluck them.

I hope my pumpkins fare better than the squash. The last squash plant died this past week and they never produced anything bigger than an inch-long withered appendage. I really want pumpkins for Halloween; there aren't any farms close by, and stores charge over $10 for even a small one.

We shall see...

Also, my mesclun lettuce doesn't want to produce much in the way of leaves now. One particular variety mainly wants to flower. I chopped down most of them, though I can get another harvest of one particular plant soon.


What message would you put into a fortune cookie?


(Okay. I know several of my friends probably guessed I'd say that.)

Caterpillar warfare

I killed another caterpillar on my lettuce earlier. The plants didn't look any worse than yesterday, which means they still looked awfully chewed up.

The heat is starting to harm my tomatoes. I had five fall off the vine today, but a few weren't as ripe as they should have been. They have a definite orange cast to them. I'll still eat them, of course.