Tuesday, December 4, 2007
crackers for lefties, made in Iran
baby wipes make all the poop go away
AA batteries, now with more "A"!
Is this a girl's number? I'll kill the whore!
Once upon a time there was a beautiful princess who lived in one of the largest urban kingdoms in the land. It was her job to purchase fruit for the children of the kingdom.
She purchased fruit from many different farmers, but there was one farmer, a rich, ugly, stupid farmer named Pearson Education, who had more fruit than anyone else, and who almost always had exactly the fruit the princess needed.
The princess hated buying her fruit from this farmer. She'd order apples and half the shipment would be wormy. She'd make a huge pineapple purchase, with free kiwi fruit as part of the promised gratis fruit in the contract, then have to pester and beg the evil farmer for the damn kiwis. Lately she had gone in for a massive order of kumquats, which she could get from no other farmer. Half the kumquats arrived on time, but the rest were back-ordered. She's still receiving tardy kumquats to this day.
Recently, the Queen of the realm gave the princess $50,000 and told her to spend it on more fruit for the children. The princess knew that there was a great need for bananas, grapefruit and persimmons, and that she, once again, could only get them from Farmer Pearson Education.
So she e-mailed Farmer Pearson Education:
I plan on purchasing one zillion bananas, one zillion grapefruit, and one zillion persimmons for the children of this kingdom, one of the largest urban kingdoms in the land. What kind of volume discount can you give me?
And the evil farmer took his time about e-mailing her back, but at last she had her reply:
If you purchase one zillion lemons and one zillion limes, I can give you a free bunch of grapes for every thousand lemons or limes.
And the princess e-mailed back:
I don't want lemons, limes or grapes, I want bananas, grapefruit, and persimmons. Look, do you want the $50,000 or not?
So far the evil farmer's reply has been:
The princess is about to say "fuck it" and go buy corn chips, is all I'm saying.
Sunday, December 2, 2007
But I was poontling around in Neil Gaiman's blog at work on Monday (this is because my thyroid meds are off and all I can manage at work right now is poontling around in Neil Gaiman's blog. Fortunately, it's a fairly old blog with lots and lots of stuff to poontle. Yes, it's a word, goddamnit, because I say it is). Anyway, various reviews of Beowulf were intriguing me, so I called up my man and said, "I know what I want for our anniversary, I want to go see Beowulf."
"That's sounds cool," said my beloved, "Except I want to see The Mist."
I gave this some thought, and figured, well, if Beowulf, Mr. Magorium's Magic Emporium, Enchanted, and No Country for Old Men weren't out, well, heck, I'd want to see The Mist too. So I said We'll see, and set about securing a babysitter.
[Totally unrelated babysitter commentary:] When I called the secured babysitter on Thursday to finalize the start time -- which HWLHiJ and I had determined needed to be no later than 5:00 to make dinner and the movie -- she said, "Can't it be at 5:30?"
"I thought you got home from school at 3:15?"
I did some difficult mental math, resulting in the fact that there were still 45 minutes here to work with. I hazarded a guess, "If dinner's the issue, I'm getting y'all a pizza."
"No, it's not dinner. I just need some time to relax after I get home from school."
Mind you, this kid's in the eighth grade, not med school. Am I a horrible evil bitch for having been utterly put off by this conversation?
Anyway, we compromised on 5:15, and I informed HWLHiJ, steeling myself for a whinefest, since he does not do well with having his plans dicked with (yes, even by fifteen minutes) and he said, "Oh that's okay, I've got a tutoring appointment until 5:00 and won't be home until 5:15."
So there ya go. [End unrelated babysitter commentary.]
I really wasn't opposed to seeing The Mist, but dinner was indeed a close shave and the first theater we went to, Beowulf was well underway and The Mist wasn't even showing. I was beginning to boil here, because all I had asked for was to see Beowulf, and now it was shaping up that I was going to get to eat Indian food and go home. Yay. However, we tried one more theater, where we had missed The Mist by 20 minutes, but Beowulf was just about to start.
I would say, hey, it's not my fault that we didn't go see The Mist, but you and I both know we could have walked into the Stephen King movie 20 minutes late and still have gotten to see five minutes of trailers. HWLHiJ never seemed to work this out, and I, by my silence, became a passive-aggressive conspirator in forcing him to watch the movie I wanted to see all along. I'm admitting this to you, Inconstant Reader. I don't think HWLHiJ will ever figure it out.
Well, I knew I was in trouble as the action got started and HWLHiJ leaned over and hissed, "You didn't tell me this was animated!!"
HWLHiJ and his heavy sighs aside, I loved the movie. Yes the eyes were weird and yes the horsed SUCKED, but that is the sum total of my complaints. As I mentioned, I've read many reviews that liked the movie for a plethora of reasons. I flatter myself that my reasons are a little different:
1) The Storytelling: With an impatient man who now hates Harry Potter like DEATH because of the butchery of the first HP movie, I was worried as hell that I'd lose him to boggy plot points. (Little did I know that, upon realization that the movie was animated, I'd lost him, period, the end, no take-backs.) But anyway, if he hadn't been such a noodge about the fact that No, Virginia, they're not real people, the plot would have given him no cause for complaint.
It was clear, it moved at a fantastic pace. I found it interesting, intriguing and affecting. And anyone who knows me knows I did not read Beowulf in high school, I merely jumped up and down on the book, bullshat my way through class discussions, then went home and read Robert Asprin. But I got a huge kick out of the story and the best part was, here's this ancient epic that millions, perhaps billions of teenagers have slept through over the centuries and Gaiman and Avary never once let the story slow down. There was no room for sleeping.
2) The Language: I never expected HWLHiJ, author of the statement, "Why the hell would you want to say 'auspicious' when 'promising' says just the same thing?", to get off on the language.
As a linguistics dork, myself, I loved it. I loved the language, barely understandable to modern ears, shared by Grendel and his mom. I loved that a bard stood up and recited from the original poem, in the original language, as the fight between Beowulf and Grendel was reenacted. While the main portion of the movie was dedicated to making the story digestible to modern audiences, these shout-outs to the ancient originators were perfect touches.
Yes, I know, I am a dork.
So, my darling husband hated it. That makes me sad. I hope I don't do that to him -- I do try to be interested in what he's interested in. Even if I can't stand it, I give it a fair shake, and I've learned to like a few things along the way -- Electric Light Orchestra and epic fantasies being two examples that jump to mind. Possibly even zombie movies. Granted, I believe I can take the credit for his obsession with Great Danes and irises, but still...
It's always disappointing to try to share something you dig and have it be rejected out of hand. Especially over something as stupid as whether or not it's animated. I mean, for what it's worth, the animation (barring horses and eyes, yes) was AMAZING. What has been accomplished over the past two decades with CGI just BOGGLES MY MIND.
(My one question to the artists though, is why not just go a little Manga with the eyes? Give up on making them look real, it's not working. Just go big and limpid and at least they'll be pretty, and possible less distractlingly creepy. Anyone?)
And I don't often regret that I was robbed of all depth perception by an extreme case of strabismus, but I did in this case (and when I'm backing into a parking spot). We watched the 2D version -- and I could have physically seen the 3D version, but it would have looked just like the 2D version. As neat as the 2D version was for me, I wonder how cool having blood and spears fly out of the screen at you would have been. Perhaps my man would have enjoyed it more...
My next pathetic attempt will be to get him to see The Golden Compass. He's already up in arms because some moron on the internet said something about how the book does nothing but bash Catholics. I said, Dude, read the fucking book and then get worked up about it, and he said, I don't have to read the fucking book if I don't want to, and I said...
Seven years. Hard to believe, I know.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Fifteen years later, I'm lying on my couch (in a fabulous pair of boots) watching a half-hour documentary about the making of that video. How it was the death knell for 80's hair bands and the voice of the disenfranchised Generation X. Dave Grohl, Crist Novoselic and the guy who made the video reminisced about Kurt and the anger and passion he brought to the soundstage.
Finally, after much platitudenizing and deep searching of navels, they played the video. I lay back on the couch and tried to recapture the thrill, the throb of a song that was once the soundtrack of my world.
The Bear toddled into the room, watched the TV for a few seconds and pogoed (if forced to choose between music and animals, the Bear's head would probably just explode from the stress. Musical animals, now that's what Santa needs to bring!) then came up to me and handed me two inches of masticated banana. I handed it back and he shoved it in his mouth, creating fake banana teeth and growling (like a Bear).
I looked at the TV screen, then looked at my not-so-baby boy, his face a pastiche of potassium-rich sludge. I tried to imagine how this scene would play to my 18-year-old self and drew a blank.
Then I got off the couch and changed the TV to Cartoon Network. I've got better things to do with my time now.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
To be sure, I've actually been busy, rather than wallowing in the depths of despair. Buddy's entree into the world of edumacation has been rocky and requiring a great deal of at-home support, for which I should be canonized. A month in, his teacher was declaring she was positive he would wind up being retained. However, with a great deal of reinforcement on my part and sheer herculean effort of will on Buddy's part, he has improved substantially and, at last week's parent-teacher conference, his teacher pretty much ate her words.
The Bear, who will be two in exactly one month's time, doesn't talk much (although he has the essentials down: "Yes", "No" and "Shut up!") but the other day, in the parking lot of Super Wal*Mart Almighty, he started singing "Charlie" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, clear as day.
I was pulling out onto a busy road some time ago, and realized that Buddy, usually a conscientious wearer of the seat belt, was unbuckled. I read him the riot act, then demanded, "Why on earth have did you not get your seatbelt on?"
And he replied, "I was busy pretending I could see with my nose."
And for further evidence that he should be apprenticed to Neil Gaiman forthwith, I submit to you my two favorite pages of a book he illustrated and dictated to me. (The final pages involve his resurrection at the hands of a kindly witch and his Mom's exultation over the return of her beloved son, so, no worries.)
I absolutely adore my kids. Here's an unsurprising thing, though. I finally uploaded some photos to Flickr, and included this:
Which I foolishly entitled "Underwear Model", because he looks like a model, and yet you can see his Power Rangers underwear (obviously).
24 hours later, all of the items in my Flickr group had precisely 0 views, except that one, which had 17.
If your wondering what He Who Looks Hot in Jeans has been up to lately, well, he's been baiting liberals, thank you very much. I read the thread and had a few remarks to make about his tone, so he let me edit his parting shot. Anyway, guess which commenter I'm lucky enough to be married to and I'll link your site.
Sorry for the utter ramble, but I finally got Hot-in-Jeans out of town for awhile (hunting trip, surprised?) and got his computer (read: the one that works) to myself, so maybe I'll post again over the next days to continue the catch-up. Hell, Doxie's gone quiet again, so why not stop by and give me a read? If she's not posting, I'm the next best thing -- 20,000+ visitors at the long-defunct Mean Teacher can't possibly be wrong.
I am such a liar.
Saturday, August 18, 2007
Maybe I'm on somebody's blogroll and they'll see the update and come and visit...
I haven't missed you one little bit. But I need to get back to writing and to human interaction. In the year 2007, updating one's blog may be an important part of that.
I wasn't kidding that the infamous Wagon Scene in Zelda: Twilight Princess consumed my attention and soul for actual weeks, but I must confess even more distracting and frustrating events were going on as well.
The big problem was that I was summarily reassigned at work to go teach at the very worst school in the city. Now, I can handle teaching at a tough school, I've been doing it almost my entire career, but it's not my job anymore. I left the classroom. On purpose. So to be told to go back, and to go back to a school that has so many issues, and to pick up the pieces from a fired teacher who had done such an appallingly bad job...
Well, it pissed me off at first. But I was philosophical about it.
Then I went and did the job, and that thin veneer of good attitude was pretty much demolished by the end of 3rd period on the first day. I won't dwell, but suffice it to say, my job was the part of my life that was going well, and when this shitstorm came down the line and made all aspects of my life desperately sucky, I spiraled into a depression, stopped calling friends or checking e-mail...
Finally the school year ended and I was released back to my "real" job, which I'd been away from so long I couldn't figure out what to do with myself once back at the cubicle. Fortunately, I had a trip to New Mexico (for my grandparents' memorial service and attendant family reunion) to look forward to at the end of June. Ultimately, I was so wiped by the preceding experience, that I took a week off sick before I left on vacation.
That helped. And getting back into the swing of things at work and another weeklong beach vacation in the beginning of August also did wonders.
Meanwhile, I refinanced the house, as the ARM we were stupid enough to get into was an ever-increasing source of disastrous friction between the husband and myself and that helped a lot of things at home. It's sad to say on your way to the beach, "Hey, maybe this year's trip will be even better because you will be speaking to me this time!" It also turns out to be true.
Buddy starts kindergarten in a matter of days. Thank God I got all the other crap dealt with because there's enough stress in this operation to age me twenty years.
So, thats the short version. How's everyone doing?
The above picture is of my two boys exploring White Sands.
Oh, and? I'm applying to law school.
Sunday, March 18, 2007
As you can see, I, like apparently all other players of the Wii game Zelda: Twilight Princess, am stuck on a particularly vicious bit of gaming code and have little time to spare for blogging, eating or doing my taxes. Twilight Princess is such a fantasmagorically fun game and the Nintendo Wii is such a brilliant game platform that it has managed to suck in even me. And I hate video games.
I'm beginning to work up a healthy dislike for this game in particular. And He Who Looks Hot in Jeans is waaaaayy behind me (he's distracted by trying to win Olympic gold for the Canadian hockey team on the X-box 360), so I can't make him help me until after he's defeated the Fiery Wagon Ride of Carpal Doom himself. Which, if the forums (fora?) are any indication, he may never do either.
Meanwhile, my job sucks and I'm broke and I'm seriously considering firing my babysitter, despite the fact that I don't think I've got any other valid options for child care. Since I've sworn not to use this blog as a platform for bitching, I guess I'll just have to go one maintaining air silence. As I said, if anyone needs me, I'll be on Hyrule field, chasing that damn bimbo and her burning wagon around and around in circles.
Send bomb arrows. And a fire extinguisher.
Saturday, March 3, 2007
An obscure DirectTV channel called Ion carries VeggieTales and 3-2-1 Penguins! on a Friday afternoon network called Qubo, also available on our NBC affiliate on Saturday mornings. After the lovable Christian comestibles ran their credits, this new CGI confection came on, and I was immediately hooked. So were the rest of the Dungeons and Dragons dorks lounging around my living room getting a head start on their Friday night buzz. Buddy likes it well enough, but I bet he'll enjoy it more when he's older (he needs more explosions right now).
Anyway, things that are right about Jane and the Dragon:
- It takes place in a medieval castle, in an era of chivalry and, of course, dragons. As far as I'm concerned, every TV show, movie and book should have a similar setting. Even the ones about WWII.
- It's about Jane, a girl who wants to be a knight.
- It's made by Weta, who are singlehandedly responsible for everything that is awesome in my DVD collection so far.
- The CGI animation is well-done, but that's not a major accomplishment anymore. What is remarkable is the beautiful and extremely original styling of the animation: the colors are soft, and the backdrops look as if they've been drawn with colored pencils, and the character modeling is very appealing. Jane's hair is especially fun. Dragon's motion controls are genius, the giant reptile slithers over the walls of the castle like a skink.
- The stories are good and include a compelling moral for the kiddies -- and it's not too simplistic, there's room for discussion at the dinner table
A word to the wise, however: last Sunday I watched The Chronicles of Riddick and the Oscars, and I thought both were fantastic, so clearly I have absolutely no taste.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
If you feel it is a sodden piece of belabored crap, try to remember, villanelles are incredibly HARD, and the fact that it is WRITTEN and that it is actually a villanelle is so freakin' AMAZING that there is no need to expend further effort to judge the actual quality of the actual words.
So, with no further excuses:
I left the flakes of gold on the riverbed
Believing I'd return to find them there.
I find my treasure in your eyes instead.
The prospectors are a hundred years dead,
Deeding the gold to caribou and bear.
I left the flakes of gold on the river bed.
Named for, "Good news, it's a boy!" so they said.
Had the same "good news" so I got out of there.
I find my treasure in your eyes instead.
A vacant vale that Good News River fed
With salmon, gold and quiet like nowhere.
I left the flakes of gold on the river bed,
A new frontier beckoned with thrilling dread,
Infinite risks, prizes beyond compare:
I find my treasure in your eyes instead.
No vista bests your life stretched out ahead,
I'd give up more to have your world to share.
I left the flakes of gold on the river bed --
I find my treasure in your eyes instead.
Don't worry, he also got a Wii.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
How's your self-confidence? 'Cause there's nothing like a pre-school event -- Valentine's Day springs to mind here -- to let you know exactly how much you suck as a parent.
I thought I was the fo-shizzle, as it were, having purchased cards well in advance, and having even got cool Nerds candy cards for Buddy, with tiny boxes of candy that popped cunningly into the cards (tape and die punch not included).
Buddy came home with a bag full of cards that included candy, but worse than that, several of the candy cards were hand made, incorporating the candy packets into clever little animal designs. This is because I suck.
Also, I forgot to put together any cards for his teachers. Perhaps they did not suffer for lack of Nerds, but it's the thoughtlessness that counts.
I didn't go so all-out with Bear's cards, simply getting him a pack of Pixar-related cards with neither bells nor whistles. I had theorized that a roomful of pre-two-year-olds would not give much of a crap about Valentines. When I set down to address all the cards, I couldn't find a class list for him anywhere. Again, going with my madcap what-does-an-eighteen-month-old-want- with-a-Valentine? theory, I put Bear's name on a fistful of cards, stuck 'em in a baggy with a self-deprecating note to his teacher, and moved on with my life.
When did I locate the neatly labeled and completed list of his classmates? If you guessed "three blocks away from the school, after I dropped them off" you win the enchilada. Running Appallingly Late has been a major theme of mine lately, so all I had left to do was drive on to work in a steaming puddle of shame and humiliation.
He Who Looks Hot in Jeans got me an iPod as his token of Valentinian affection. I'm sure I'll get exactly zero sympathy from all none of you who read, but I simply cannot break him of the notion that "expensive"="awesome". I like the iPod, it's blue and shiny and tiny, but I'm going to have to commit to actual lifestyle changes before I find a use for the darn thing.
(I just spent the last forty-five minutes trying to upload my songs and calling innocent software some very ugly names.)
I got my man a cherry tree and a comforter and I fed him salmon for dinner. I'm enjoying the comforter as much as he's enjoying my iPod. If that's not love, what is?
*St. Valentine apparently got hisself martyred in this extensive fashion.
Monday, February 12, 2007
I personally would be all, "Hell yeah, I tapped that!" A career at Qantas or a red-hot-slice of Ralph Fiennes is not even a contest, if you ask me.
On the other hand, if the poor girl is telling the truth, then I'd really be annoyed, if I were her. And not simply because I didn't get to bang Ralph Fiennes.
I came to an unusual name -- let's say it was "Scarlet O'Hara" because it totally wasn't -- which surprised me because I'd already tested Scarlet O'Hara in another class. So I glanced around the classroom and spotted a girl who, sure as shootin', looked exactly like Scarlet O'Hara.
I noted this to the teacher, who said, "Oh, this isn't that Scarlet O'Hara. This is Scarlet O'Hara's twin sister, Scarlet O'Hara."
That's right, identical twins, with identical unusual names. Their middle names, which I didn't quite catch, but may have been "Thumbelina" and "Beatrice," are different, but what the hell does that matter if they both use Scarlet O'Hara. Furthermore, upon administration of the English proficiency test, I determined that Scarlet Thumbelina O'Hara didn't have enough English to pour widdle out of a boot ("How old are you?" "I am fine, thank you.") much less handle a discussion of whether or not it would be sensible to go by Thumbelina. And my Spanish, while better than even I'm willing to admit to myself, was unequal to the task.
I guess on a practical level for everyone else (their mom possibly included) it makes for less muss and fuss for them to have the same name, but I wonder, knowing how identity is such a weird and touchy subject with my identical twin husband, if Scarlet or Scarlet ever wishes people would decide to call her sister by some other name.
Thursday, February 8, 2007
I can say a lot of things to my therapist, admitting guilt, unloading rage or confessing bewilderment. We clicked straightaway, and she's done me some good, but she's got one question that still makes me quail:
What do YOU want?
I've got no answer, and that fact shames me. It does not mesh with the warrior queen image I pretend to see in myself. I have no dreams. I have pushy people on all sides of me with voices so loud and agendas so lengthy I couldn't hear myself dream if I had anything to say.
When I was a kid I had a few dreams: become a photojournalist, learn French, live in France, be a rock star. I got over some and attained the others. And good things have come my way -- living in Alaska, my kids, my job -- but, as much as I've appreciated them, they weren't necessarily my idea. Therefore they're not my dreams.
And I lament the fantasy life I seem to have misplaced. I used to go to bed and imagine: what if I went back in time? what if the aliens came and I stowed away? what if World War III happened next Tuesday? and I'd drift away into adventure and peril. One time an evil queen sat high above me and glared down in judgement. One time I died, and the afterlife was a bizarre shade of green (so there's a myth shot down for you).
Nowadays I put myself to sleep with a good book full of someone else's imaginings, and dream of small things: finding money in my purse, being skinny again, showing up at college and not knowing what to do with my kids. Sometimes I dream I'm buying donuts. Then I wake up and am sad.
My dreams have compacted under the weight of my real life. I know I've built the walls that squeeze it all down, and, when I'm not too tired, I scrabble away with my nails, trying to tear them down.
Perhaps my dream is to dream again -- as big and as technicolor as I pretend myself to be. Small dreams don't fit me.
Sunday, February 4, 2007
Then, while I was in college, Pixar raised the bar several notches higher with Toy Story. I've been a slavish devotee of CGI animation ever since, and would have declared not too terribly long ago that there was no such thing as a bad CG film.
Then I had kids, and flat couldn't wait to take them to the movies.
Then came Robots, The Wild, Monster House, Chicken Little and similar dreck, and I have to admit, I've been seriously worried.
Not Buddy. Not only has he been enraptured by all of these films, but he stops strangers in the streets and quotes lines from Monster House to them on a regular basis (I really do wish I was kidding about that). And, being four, he insists on watching anything I rent at least twice a day until Blockbuster starts sending nasty postcards.
So it was with dire trepidation that I rented Dreamworks' Over the Hedge. While Shrek was pretty damn good, I put the blame for the decline of the genre squarely on their shoulders, pointing to Shark Tale and Shrek II as Exhibits A and B (Pixar has yet to fuck up in this vein, God bless 'em, and the less said about the work of upstarts, such as Ice Age and whatever the bandwagon-jumpers at Mattel are churning out the better). So my expectations for Over the Hedge were minimal at best.
I was more than pleasantly surprised. The story is charming, well up to the beating it must take chez Mean Teacher of multiple viewings (the instant death of Chicken Little, which was clearly written by a committee). The voice work is dead-on (a real surprise, since it was the "all-star" casts of Shark Tale and Madagascar that weakened those films -- some actors look a lot prettier than they sound, like the conundrum of the transition to "talkies" back in the '40s, only the other way 'round). Garry Shandling is a particular knockout as Vern, the cautious paterfamilias box turtle, and Nick Nolte turns in his best performance in decades as the bad news bear.
But the real winner here is the animation itself. The texture people at Dreamworks have achieved new miracles with fur and foliage. Like Finding Nemo, there are nonstop roller-coaster action sequences which manage to be both breathtaking and enduringly funny. Best of all is the character control: keeping in mind that CGI is more puppetry and mime than classic animation, the facial expressions of the animals are not just engaging, they're addictive. I keep finding myself stopping in the midst of chores or reading specifically to watch Vern deadpan wearily or R.J., Bruce Willis' trickster raccoon, cock a sly eyebrow. There's real acting going on here, and the Orwellian threat that CGI will eliminate the need for SAG members to show up for work for once seems like an actual possibility.
The DVD has worthwhile extras, including the highly amusing short Hammy's Boomerang Adventure and the first informative behind-the-scenes documentary I've yet seen on a Dreamworks' Animation DVD. Also included, however, are teasers for Bee Movie and Shrek III.
They look like they're going to be awful. Absolutely awful. I'm sure I'll be in a position to let you know soon enough.
Thursday, February 1, 2007
Not that Bryson is a world-renowned climatologist, but I don't read world-renowned climatologists, and anyway, Bryson is a smart man who has admitted publicly to availing himself of a library from time-to-time and if he can't state definitively whether or not we're in the midst of a cold spell or a global Indian summer, then I'm just not going to get bothered about the fact that the Earth's climate is changing. Apparently it does that.
But, when you bring the hedgehogs into it, I am given pause. I have a particular weakness for hedgehogs, and I might actually start to feel a little ashamed of having skipped a few emissions inspections after having read this article (via Drudge).
Monday, January 29, 2007
I immediately arrived at my destination, so I was unable to wow Candy and Potter with my verbal dexterity, or find out if they actually asked people to elaborate on their summaries (or did the break simply go:
"Hi! You're on Candy and Potter!"
"More Monkeys Than Wise."
"Thank you! Hi! You're on Candy and Potter!"
"Hoping The Glue Holds."
"Fantastic! Hi! You're on Candy and Potter!"
"That's How You Were Concieved."
"Oops! Sorry, that's five words. Hi! You're on...")
But anyway, "Unwanted Guest Brings Lysol" is my summary and if I was Candy (or, perchance, Potter) I'd demand elaboration, so here goes:
Thursday morning, Buddy got up, announced he was sick, and then appeared to spit a giant loogey on my carpet.
Unimpressed, I made lunches, brushed teeth, and clothed children. At last ready to race out the door, I was saying goodbye to the Jeans Guy when Buddy walked up and... gave a much more convincing performance. Again, all over my carpet.
So I left him in his father's capable hands, took Bear to daycare, and then went on to the office. I had the second half of a Big Deal Workshop that afternoon, which I've been totally geeked to present since October, and which had already suffered Lameness and Curtailment during it's first installment on Tuesday due to 1) lack of preparation due to an all-weekend ear-infection-a-thon, hosted by Bear and 2) the fact that I had to duck out an hour early if I was going to make it to the Chili Pepper's concert on time.
Anyway, I was somewhat concerned, because I really needed to nail this presentation and now I was going to have to run home and fetch Buddy and have him sit in the corner and play Gameboy, because his dad had to go to work at four.
[At this point some readers are beginning to see the appeal of the Four Word Weekend Summary.] Short story long: get home, Buddy, who had looked fine at 8:30, now looked like unholy death, and was still spewing copiously every half hour. There was no way I could drag this pathetic being back across town to do this workshop. So, at the risk of never redeeming Tuesday's pathetic performance, I cancelled and stayed home.
When we went to the babysitter's to retrieve the Bear, another of her charges got off the school bus right in front of us, and barfed all over her driveway.
Buddy was finally fine, but by 11:00 p.m., the Bear was in business. I washed his sheets, I kid you not, three times before I succumbed myself around 3:30 a.m.
So then it was Friday, and I was obliged to take yet another sick day (two and a half in one week!) and lie on the couch and moan while the kids, who were, of course, now fine, cavorted around me and the husband offered his best sympathy: "Oh great, now I'm gonna get it."
I wasn't sick again, but I hurt, and I wanted to sleep. And stare at Scrubs reruns. Then I staggered out of the bedroom after nap #3 and found my brother-in-law (BIL) installed on my couch.
That was fucking annoying enough, because if he's on my couch, then I'm not on my couch and he's playing XBox360 and I'm not watching Scrubs reruns and there was absolutely nothing in that scenario that fitted into my plans.
But what made it worse was that he, apparently pre-warned by my ever-considerate life partner, came armed with a can of Lysol.
Can you imagine that conversation?
"Hey man, Galaga tournament still on tonight?"
"Sure thing, but I gotta warn ya, everybody in the house has had the pukes since yesterday. The wife hasn't so much as fixed me a sandwich all day, she's been unconscious so much. Plus the baby was up all night and the other one puked all day yesterday."
"Wow, sounds pretty bad."
"I'd better bring some Lysol then. I wouldn't want to catch that."
And this counts as my weekend summary because I got up around midnight last night to deal with Bear and a spectacular new diaper rash and he was still there.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
When I was 12 I saw Whitney Houston from the balcony of the Erwin Center. She had a cold and could barely sing, and her skirt was so small and tight, she couldn't walk up the steps, but rather had to be lifted onto the stage by two burly roadies. Kenny G. opened. I was struck by how incredibly tall he was. I kind of liked Kenny G., but frankly would have preferred to be at Barbie on Ice.
When I was 17 I saw the Pixies and U2 from even higher up in the same balcony. I learned that I may be fine outdoors, but I get wonderful vertigo in enclosed spaces, and that Bono's radius of animal magnetism can encompass a small city. He may have been just a distant dot, but he was a sexy dot.
I've seen Dave Matthews, or a tiny bouncing figure purporting to be Dave Matthews, from the lawn at the Blockbuster (or whoever it pimps for now) Pavilion twice. I saw They Might Be Giants at the Tremont, and Hole at a similar small venue in France. I don't remember the They Might Be Giants (I might have been stoned) and Hole was godawful. It was two days after the anniversary of Cobain's death, and Courtney was clearly off the wagon. And her rocker.
But I saw the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who I can honestly say I've loved since high school, last night from the fourth row. I had to get a little juiced to recapture that adolescent willingness to get swept away by the music, but juiced I got and swept away I was.
Periodically my 32 year old self would swim to the surface and remind myself that I probably ought to have a few Doan's and a few Tylenol before hitting the sack, as it had been a long time since I last pogoed or headbanged, and periodically that self would wonder what a mother of two toddlers was doing there, but then I remembered that Flea has kids about the same age, so it's all good. We're all just getting old together.
Gnarls Barkley opened, and, if the sound had been better mixed, they would have been pretty darn awesome, too.
He Who Looks Hot in Jeans kept analyzing Frusciante's technique and insisting he'd seen better drummers and trying to get me to rate the show on a ten point scale. "Dude," said I, "It's the best show I've ever seen, I don't care which parts weren't perfect."
"Yeah, well, that Flea guy's a pretty good bass player. But I saw better lights at Pat Methany."
"Dude, shut up!!"
We had to go to a backup babysitter, because the one we actually like wasn't allowed to stay out that late on a Tuesday. Which is just as well as we came home even later than expected. Upon arrival in the driveway, we realized we spent all our cash on t-shirts and beer and didn't have enough left for the poor girl, so I'm going to have to slope over there later today with a 20.
Got to bed by 1am, then Bear woke up at 3am and flat out REFUSED to go back to sleep. I sat up with him for two hours, glaring white-hot half-drunk glares of impotent rage as he burbled around, happier than a pig in shit to have the living room and Mommy to himself and to be on the back end of an ear infection. I passed out on the couch and woke up at 6 to find him in a similar prone stupor in front of the television, the frenetic colored light cast by Boohbah bathing his features. I chucked his butt in bed and slept till 8. Both children and self were astoundingly late.
My feet hurt, I sleptwalked through my entire morning, and I need a nap (which I won't get). We easily parted with $700 for the total evening and I could care less. I'm definitely not too old for this.
Monday, January 22, 2007
Yanno, Hot-in-Jeans and I are big (and perhaps the only) fans of Dexter, but the minute this gets the green light, I'm paying ANY amount of money for the HBO and Showtime can take a running jump: HBO Options Ice & Fire
And this item, from Drudge? Not dorky, just very, very disturbing: Documentary on beastiality premiers at Sundance Film Festival. This excerpt is the part that really has me worried:
"Zoo," premiering before a rapt audience Saturday night at Sundance, manages to be a poetic film about a forbidden subject, a perfect marriage between a cool and contemplative director (the little-seen "Police Beat") and potentially incendiary subject matter: sex between men and animals. Not graphic in the least, this strange and strangely beautiful film combines audio interviews (two of the three men involved did not want to appear on camera) with elegiac visual re-creations intended to conjure up the mood and spirit of situations. The director himself puts it best: "I aestheticized the sleaze right out of it."
Saturday, January 20, 2007
We slept in a large dormitory, in white-enameled iron bedsteads. The girls against the east wall and the boys against the west. After lights out Matron would sit in a chair by the door, her knitting needles click-click-clicking away, to make sure we didn't try to whisper or get up.
There was hardly any need. You learned soon enough not to get too close to anyone, because chances are they'd be gone within the week. I made the mistake of becoming fond of a boy named Andy, only to see him dragged away after forgetting to smile during dress rehearsal.
Besides, we were always exhausted by lights-out. We were awoken at 4:00, expected at Morning Chants by 4:15, then Calisthenics, a breakfast of Ovaltine and gruel at 5:30, dance and singing practice in the dojo until 11:00, a thirty minute break for lunch, generally some sort of stew, then rehearsal or filming for however long it took. None of the children recieved dinner until the Director was pleased with the performance or wrapped the take. One night I remember singing and dancing to "Skip to My Lou" for eleven hours straight and finally being allowed our bread-and-butter and fish sticks at nearly midnight. Most of us were too exhausted to sway properly the next morning and were beaten in the dojo.
They'd beat us for practically any reason: standing still, not smiling, dropping our eyebrows, not skipping high enough. Of course, it was also imperative to never muss one's costume, allow one's socks to droop or let a single hair go astray. When we werent needed on the set, we wore gray smocks and slippers and kept our hair under shower caps lined with mayonnaise, to maintain its shine.
Whenever Barney entered the room with his head on, we were expected to exult gleefully, whether or not cameras were rolling. However, if he entered the room without his head on, we were forbidden to even acknowledge his presence.
Years later I asked my Mother why she had abandoned me to these evil people. She gave me that indulgent smile she always offered when I tried to suggest that perhaps this had not been the best way to pass my childhood, and said, "Well honey, you were on television. You were gonna be a star!"
I don't know of a single one of us who has become a "star." I once heard that a younger girl named Samantha had landed a Public Service Announcement about airbag safety, but even that never elevated beyond rumor.
All I know now is that if I hear fife music, I go catatonic. And I can never stop swaying and smiling: in the checkout line at the grocery store, throughout endless strings of unsuccessful job interviews, during eye exams (an excellent way to get an otherwise mild-mannered opthalmalogist to yell at you). If I ever lay eyes on that purple bastard again, I swear I'll strangle him with his own tail.
Thursday, January 18, 2007
An open letter to Mr. Bill Bryson:
I am a devoted re-reader of your books, travel and linguistic alike, and was gifted for Christmas with several of your audiobooks. I am currently enjoying, for the first time, The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid.
I must admit to being a bit thrown by some of the more visceral moments in the memoir. The description of a bully's pendulous loogie was particularly awe-inspiring, as was your discussion of masticated food spraying from your Uncle Dee's trach hole, and your consequent dislike of cottage cheese.
But the topper, for me (to date, I'm only on Disc Three), was your evocation of the detritus left in your water-glass by the old man on the next stool at a diner counter.
I was in rush-hour traffic, and the instant you started in I knew what was coming, having gotten a good case of the gags from the Budder kid and Uncle Dee. I rushed my finger to the fast-forward button, but I was transfixed. I could not press it. I got the gags, and still my finger would not hit that button. The gags grew progressively more convulsive, and still I could not stop listening to this ghastly recital. I even threw up in my mouth, just a little bit. In the middle lane of Independence Boulevard.
The point of my mentioning this (oh, please God, let there be a point) is that, when the whole ordeal was over and I was madly chewing Altoids and reflecting, I had to admit: it's a powerful piece of prose that can make you barf in traffic and yet be unable to stop listening.
My hat is off to you sir.
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
It occurs to me as I slog through book eleven of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series that authors of popular fantasy series get paid by the book. That might explain why there's so many of the damn things in a series.
Especially in a series like Jordan's which establishes in the first book that the hero is moving toward a Culminating Event in which Wrong will be righted and Right shall prevail. Or whatever. But you sit back and say, "Okee-doke, we just have to get ol' Rand to Tarmon Gaidon [say it out loud, it sounds like 'Armageddon.' Betcha never caught that!] and all will be well and I can go re-read Harry Potter like I really want to."
But now, as the cast mounts into the hundreds, and the plots of each book inch imperceptibly toward the final goal while throwing up endless meaningless obstacles before the intrepid hero, I'm beginning to wonder if, somewhere around book seven, Jordan lost the love.
And can I take a moment here to marvel at the fact that every time a character (of which, I may have mentioned there are hundreds, and not one of them bestowed with a pronounceable name) enters a scene or changes clothes, Jordan assiduously describes the outfit. And every time a character changes mood, Jordan (or, I suspect, his army of sub-authors) not only describes the mood, but explains how the focal character knows that this is the character's mood.
It's positively distracting. Not that there's much to be distracted from. I'm on page 525 of this thing (with 312 pages to go) and the only significant events are three character movements and somebody getting married (and then moving). Tiny clues are added to intrigues, but, since it's been over a year since I read the last book (and swore never to invest in another Jordan hardcover again) I can't keep straight what the intrigues were pointing to or which hundredth character with which ungodly name was involved. I can't even remember which characters have revealed themselves as bad guys -- and I'm not about to re-read the other ten books to get it straight.
And the evil! What's wrong with developing a little believable evil? A little evil with motive? The big bad guys are so viciously nasty there is no reason in the world why anyone in their right mind would want to hang with them. They have nothing to offer people but immortality in a universe of utter nastiness.
To maintain and perpetuate the obstacles to resolution, Jordan has been obligated to develop some of the most stubborn, self-involved protagonist characters in the history of fiction. If they were one whit less pigheaded, they might actually solve the little mysteries that plague them or realize that they're running around with enemy empresses or whatever. But that would end the series about five books ago, and we can't be having that, now can we? Still, doesn't make them the most sympathetic folks to root for.
And the reason I won't buy another hardcover is: Tor (God bless 'em) is in such a hurry to make a gazillion dollars off the next installment that the copy editing is appalling and possibly even more distracting than the red-slashed silks with brocaded panels or what the fuck ever.
I will say that at least Wheel of Time is not as godawful as the degeneration of Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series. In the last bricklike tome I shoveled through in that series nothing at all happened -- so not kidding! Not a damn thing until, like the last page, and if that one thing hadn't'of happened, I would have been morally compelled to set the book on fire.
The trick, it seems, is to limit yourself from the beginning (the Harry Potter series, or the highly overlooked and underrated trilogy Deed of Paksenarrion, by Elizabeth Moon) or to be a little more realistic about who the good and bad guys are (everybody, a little bit) like in George R.R. Martin's phenomenal Song of Ice and Fire series so that, even though there's a Culminating Event somewhere up ahead, you're far more interested in what everybody's up to right now, becuase frankly they're just interesting people to whom interesting things keep happening.
Sunday, January 14, 2007
And I have to concede that a visual sweep of the floor yields no... nuggets... as it were.
Right at my feet the Bear is cavorting and chortling in his Bearish way. The POO STENCH seems concentrated right in his zone, but I know the stench of my baby's poo, and it is not this unholy.
I lean down to perform the traditional Baby Butt Sniff, and saw the...
... oh, God, it's just to awful to tell.
Yesterday I came home from the store and caught He Who Looks Hot in Jeans frantically scrubbing Bear's face and looking desperately guilty. At first he wouldn't tell me what happened, but when I started to lean on my brother-in-law, who was beginning to look decidedly uncomfortable, they both broke and confessed that Bear had been in the catbox.
Clearly I needed to do a better job of believing this.
Hopefully, after all of the gagging and scrubbing inside and out with Ivory and the hollering of "Bad baby! God that's NASTY!! Bad baby!!" he won't try it again. (I'd like to know what the appeal was that he tried it a second time.)
Also, perhaps, the hiding of the catbox.
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Remember answering the phone while not knowing who was calling? Remember having to tell the person you were calling who you were? Remember *69?
Remember thinking carefully about making long-distance calls because they cost a lot of money? Remember getting out of talking to your mom so damn much for the same reason?
Remember when phones were phones and cameras were cameras? Those sepia-toned days when it would never occur to you have a conversation along the lines of: "I wish I could get a picture of this!" "No problem! I've got my phone!"
Someday I'm going to tell Buddy and Bear about twisted coiled cords, staying at home in anticipation of an important call, busy signals, ring tones that were, of all things, and actual bell inside the phone actually ringing, and a better time when nobody knew the importance of being able to type with your thumbs.
They won't believe a word of it.
Meanwhile the network guys keep calling and saying if my Neilsens don't start showing a 30% market share and I can't get something done about the dropoff after the second commercial break, they're going to have to consider going all Herman's Head on my ass...
Something blogworthy did in fact happen today, but I don't wish to elaborate on it, because that would be whingeing, but I do kind of like how I put it to a colleague after I'd ransacked her Kleenex:
I was like Captain Ahab, and I was gunning for Moby Dick, but now I'm Jonah and they're telling me I have to go into the belly of the whale.
Which is not only how much It sucks, but just the aptest description ever of what It is.
Oh, and? I was saying "The cowboy fell down" in Welsh. Not that YOU care.
Sunday, January 7, 2007
Anyway, I got this link via his blog, and was immediately wowed. Nearly as wowed as I was by this guy, when the husband stumbled across him a few months back.
Perhaps I will run away from home and turn up in a faraway place doing similar...
Saturday, January 6, 2007
Christmas is over,
the goose has done been et.
Please will you stop asking me
what else you’re gonna get.
And also stop demanding
where I’ve gone and put the tree
and inquiring on the hour
how long Santa’s gonna be.
Christmas is over,
and while I’m sure it will return,
the concept of months and years
is the next thing you should learn.
Right after the Christ story
and a homily on greed
and how to use your Gameboy
and understanding those in need.
Christmas is over,
I’m glad you were impressed.
Perhaps in twenty years from now
You’ll also know you’re blessed.
As for now the bus is here
get on ere I explode.
January’s biggest challenge
is the stubborn four-year-old.
Friday, January 5, 2007
I'll link the first genius who knows what I just said.
I learned that playing with a demo model of Rosetta Stone at work. Man, if you're a linguistics geek, there's nothing on this planet more amusing than Rosetta Stone. We're pretty pleased with it and are getting the software for many of the district's ESL sites. The company's trying to sell us on the notion that we should buy a license for every kid and teacher, then offer continuing education credits to teachers for learning a second language. I'm already half-sold on the notion.
Anyway, they sell the software to mere mortals too. If you're looking for a language tutorial, I don't think you'll find much better.
Wednesday, January 3, 2007
Um? I have a few questions?
- Did it take anybody else six viewings to finally understand why Nebbercracker was always scaring kids off his lawn?
- Why did Nebbercracker come back from the hospital in an ambulance?
- I know the movie is supposed to be scary (and it did successfully scare the crap out of Bear) but do they realize it's really just disturbing?
- Is anyone else bothered by the whole Constance-the-Fat-Freak backstory?
- Does Pixar keep all the good CGI script writers locked up in a cage somewhere, so no other animation company can use them?
I did like the video-game-champion-pizza-guy voiced by John Heder (Napoleon Dynamite) -- Do you like the steel of my blade? It's so cooold! But I don't think that's enough to make me forget to return this one to Blockbuster.
To explain, briefly, I shut down Mean Teacher in deference to the fact that my husband finally, in the midst of great marital stress, decided to read it and did not care for being referred to as "Useless" and having stories told about him that made him look like an ass.
That these stories are both true and highly amusing is entirely beside the point and, in an effort to be more positive and constructive, I am resolving, both in my online life and my real life to work on that.
Y'all keep me honest, yo.
I was fine for awhile with maintaining ether silence, but fun stuff keeps popping up, accompanied by a little voice whispering Oh, I have got to blog this! and so the little voice will have her way, I suppose. But with some changes:
- I'm calling the blog Ordinary World because that's what I wanted to call it the first time. I had some valid reason for not doing so, but I don't remember it and nobody seems to be stopping me now (try it! I dares ya!) and part of the Work I Am Doing On Myself is trying to do what I want. I so very rarely even know what I want that when the opportunity arises, I'd best jump on it, no?
- I am renaming everybody: the oldest boy (nearly 5) is now Buddy, the younger (just turned 1, can you believe it?) is Bear, the dogs are BooBoo (the husky) and Boo (the great Dane) and if the cats come into the story, I'll name them as needed. This way is easier because it's what I actually call them.
- I won't call the husband "Useless." I'll think of something nice to call him and let you know -- perhaps "He Who Looks Hot in Jeans, I Just Wish He'd Wear Them More Often" or something, I'll let you know. And I'll keep my mean ugly thoughts to myself. This marriage ain't gonna improve by my dwelling on the icky bits.
- I'll be more positive in general. Last year was a very dark year and I'm so over all the darkness.
I gotta go now and notify my blogobuddies of the resurrection and try to talk Chad into making me a new, awesome template. Happy New Year everyone! I'm looking forward to it, myself.