Saturday, January 31, 2004

Is That Your Final Answer?

Mom turned 65 today, and the family took her to Disneyland. This was something of a surprise, which is why I haven't spoken about it until now. (Mom's a lurker around these parts.)

So, we spent yesterday in California Adventure (Disneyland's under-appreciated little sister) and we popped in for the 4:00 show of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire -- Play It!" Here's how it works -- they set up a "studio" to look exactly like the Millionaire set, load the audience with 625 theme park guests, throw a guy in a suit down there to play host, and let some lucky audience member play the game (for prizes -- not cash). Here's the twist -- everyone in the audience has a little keypad, and everyone plays along with the whole game. When the person in the "hot seat" finally gets a question wrong (as they inevitably do), the next person selected to play is the person in the audience who answered everything right the fastest (up to that point).

I've been to the park a bit over the past few years (what with being local and all) and I've played this maybe a half-dozen times.

Here's what I didn't know. It has groupies. Addicts. Obsessed Fans. Whatever you want to call them.

Now, let just add right here that I'm not one to judge. I've exhibited behavior most sane people might call a little obsessive here and there. (Anyone here familiar with the word "Jekkie"? No? Good.) What I'm saying, though, is I don't really have a problem with someone liking something so much they see it, y'know, REPEATEDLY. Hey, "Some good, more better" are perfectly good words to live by. As long as it doesn't involve stalking, or actually interfere with your daily life, hey, knock yourself out. Harmlessly obsess all you want.

And still, with all those disclaimers, let me just say: Dang.

I sat next to a woman who comes to the park weekly. When she comes, she comes to EVERY show of Millionaire. (Which is upwards of 5 a day, IIRC.) She knows other fans who come as often, and where they sit. She knows all the "cast members" by name. She knows that once you've been in the "hot seat," you can't go again for 30 days, and she knows (roughly) the eligibility status of all the other regulars.

But what really got me about this, was despite knowing all this stuff, what she DIDN'T know was the answer to the 4000 point question. Seems you can love the game and spend all your spare time there without actually being any good at it. Dang.

Thursday, January 29, 2004


I'm not pissed off enough about this to build up a full head of steam or anything, but could someone please explain to me why the people at Jiffy Lube are unable to close your car door and give the keys to the cashier?

Here's how it works: Cashier says, "Hey, NZ, your car is ready."

"Oh good," says I. I look out the window. I see that my car is, in fact, ready. Sitting there, outside the service bay.

Cashier offers to go over the recommended Jiffy Lube schedule with me. I take a pass.

Cashier asks for money. I give her a credit card and stand there while it processes.

She prints out my receipt. I look it over to make sure all my car's vital fluids have been appropriately topped off.

I go to my car. I walk around to the driver's side and find the door sitting there wide open. Keys in ignition. The dome light is on because the door is open. The car is pinging its cheerful, "You left your keys in the ignition, moron" alert. This state of affairs has apparently been ongoing while I was futzing around with the cashier.

Now, I figure they must leave the door open because they must have locked customers' keys in the cars one time too many. But the current plan has something of a downside. Like it must be running down my battery. Cars don't light up and ping on their OWN, you know. Not to mention it is letting all the OUTSIDE air into my climate controlled interior. (An issue that would piss me off a lot more if I didn't live in Southern California, but still.) And, y'know, it can't be good from a car theft point of view to just leave cars wide open with keys in them ready to be driven off.

Would it be that freakin' difficult for the service tech to lock the car and then give my keys to the cashier? Thereby accomplishing the twin goals of keeping my car safe and shut, and keeping me from driving off without paying. Looks like a win-win to me.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Another Oscar Thought

Did y'all know that "Raiders of the Lost Ark" was nominated for Best Picture in 1982? It lost to "Chariots of Fire," but still.

I found out this interesting fact while doing research for what was SUPPOSED to be a rant on "who the heck decides what makes a picture Oscar calibre rather than just a big summer movie?" 'Cause sometimes these decisions make no sense to me. A friend of mine questioned why "Master and Commander" was somehow special enough to be included (rather than just a nice action-adventure piece) and I've been asking a similar question about "Titanic" for years.

So, I wanted to go find a random really good hugely fiscally successful action-adventurey movie, and say, "Look, it didn't get nominated. Who makes these decisions?!" And instead, I learn that "Raiders" did, in fact, get nominated for Best Picture. So did "Star Wars." So did "E.T." ("Jurassic Park" didn't, but seeing as that was the same year Spielberg made "Schindler's List," it's more than understandable. And besides, that year they *did* nominate "The Fugitive" for Best Picture. "The Fugitive!")

Fact is, if you look back over the list of really successful action-adventure movies -- and disregard the stuff like the 'Star Wars' prequels which made lots of money but were, y'know, crap -- they tend more often than not to actually be nominated.

The Academy's bias, if anything, isn't against some sub-species of non-epic action-adventure movies, but against comedies. Your most successful live-action comedies -- even the ones we think of as "classics" -- "Ghost Busters," "Beverly Hills Cop," that sort of thing -- are completely overlooked.

So if you're asking, "What makes 'Master and Commander' the sort of the thing the Academy likes, but 'Pirates of the Caribbean' just a big successful summer movie?" the answer seems to be, "'Pirates' was funny."

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Gender Equality

Yeah, ok, we got equal pay for equal work. But I won't believe this society has really accepted gender equality until I see someone correct the huge disparity between the genders in Electric Razor technology.

Men get rechargeable. Men get floating heads. Men get self-cleaning. Men get "closest shave ever."

Women get some sad little thing with pink flowers on it.

My last foray into the sad world of women's electric razors was a little number from Remington (who I figured would know SOMETHING about electric razors). Actually "little" is the wrong word. I splurged for their big super model, with TWO floating heads and an adjustable "length trimmer," whatever the hell that is.

What that is, I learned, is tetanus waiting to happen.

It's basically a (non-electric) razor unto itself. It's metal, it's sharp, it's serrated, and (depending on how high you put it) it sits either just above or just below the nice, safe, floating heads, and (and this is the key part) it is the first part of the Remington shaving experience to have contact with your legs.

I have NEVER cut myself as badly as this thing gashed me. And then, to add injury to injury, the damn thing rusted. Despite all promises of being suitable for wet shaving. (The floating heads didn't -- it was just the adjustable length trimming thing.)

To review, then -- rusty serrated blade ripping into your skin. Niiiiice.

Where's the three floating heads that mold themselves to my skin for a close shave without nicks and cuts? Where's the self-cleaning model that I don't have to wash, rinse and dry to prevent rust forming? Give me my high-tech girly razor!

Oscar Nominations

Well, they're here. (There'd be a link if I wasn't on a Mac. But, dude, you should be able to find them.)

Yesterday, I'd been thinking I'd have to go out and see more movies, as I'd figured I'd only seen two of the Best Picture nominees, but with "Cold Mountain" getting virtually shut out, all of a sudden I've seen three of five. Not like I think "Master and Commander" or "Seabiscuit" really stand a snowball's chance in hell of taking home the big one. Given the results of the Golden Globes, it's the two I haven't seen ("Mystic River" and "Lost in Translation") that look to be the potential roadblocks for "Lord of the Rings" -- not to mention they might seriously be slugging it out for Best Actor.

Yeah, wasn't Best Actor a surprise? Yay for Johnny Depp. And Jude Law gets nominated for "Cold Mountain" but not Nicole Kidman. Surprising -- I would've thought Nicole Kidman was one of those actresses who the Academy likes so much she just gets nominated whatever she does. Nicole's probably muttering something nasty about that "Whale Rider" girl as we speak. Not that it really matters -- I think we're just talking about nominations that are their own reward -- my money is on Bill Murray and Charlize Theron at this point. (Theron, particularly, is a lock, as far as I'm concerned.)

Now, you know how I feel about Best Director. The only one I see possibly standing in Peter Jackson's way on this is Peter Weir. Not so much because I thought "Master and Commander" was particularly well-directed, but because Peter Weir's never won one yet, he certainly deserves to have one on his shelf, and the Academy has a tendency to give out Oscars on a "lifetime achievement" basis. (I mean, hell, when you get right down to it, I'm pulling for Peter Jackson on the strength of his last three pictures.)

And -- even with the relatively weak field that LOTR is facing for Best Picture -- I still wonder if the Academy has the cajones to give it the award. I pose the following question -- how often does the Academy give "Best Picture" and "Best Director" to something that doesn't take home any acting awards? Only ones I can think of in semi-recent memory are "Platoon" and "Rocky." And ( oddly lacks this information), weren't those at least NOMINATED for acting awards?

Monday, January 26, 2004


Just a little note to all the folks out there who must think I'm being terribly unsocial.

I've received an invite or two to join some journalling groups.  I've inevitably been honored by the request (since it means someone is reading me and wants my company - or, at the very least, has found me on some Master List of AOL Journals and gone to the trouble of writing).   So, y'know, I'm touched.  Insert the standard Sally Field impersonation here.

The thing is, I've always declined the request, and will continue to do so.  This for the simple reason that I have a very limited amount of time to devote to journals, and that time gets allocated first and foremost to writing entries in this journal; and, secondarily, to reading other journals.

Fact is, I barely have the time to do that.  I still haven't updated my "other journals" links, and I've fallen down on reading other journals I like (usually having one big weekly catch-up session, rather than reading daily).  I just haven't the time to chat or read messages about the journalling experience - I have to just hunker down and make with the experience of journalling.

This is not to say that I decline the friendships and casual acquaintance-ships I'm made in the AOL-J community, nor am I opposed to forming others.  It's just that I'm not looking for another construct in which to form those relationships.  I'm just a happy little journal-writer and journal-reader.   Adding another layer of discussion on top of that might be a worthy endeavor, but it isn't something I've got the time for now.

My Moment on Reality TV (1 of 2)

About a decade ago, I was meeting my mother for a weekend in New York. Her plane was late, so I had to do the checking in at the hotel all by myself. Mom had told me to ask for upgrade. I was still pretty young, hadn't travelled much, didn't think they handed out upgrades for just ASKING, and was sure they wouldn't hand one out to me.

But, y'know, I follow directions. I got to the hotel and checked in and asked if maybe, perhaps, could they... y'know...?

Well yes, they could. The receptionist called over to the bellman to escort me to my room.

This was the first problem -- I didn't have a buck to tip the guy, and had prepared to just carry my bag myself. The bellman was insistent. Escorted me up to a high floor. We walked down the hall. He then unlocked a hidden door which led to a private elevator. Took me up to a higher floor. Unlocked a room.

A huge room. A phenomenally huge room. I mean, it had a grand piano in it. WAY OVER THERE. Spiral staircase leading up the bedrooms. Dining room table for twelve. Not a small place.

OK, even *I* know there's a mistake here. An upgrade is one thing, but this is the Really Rich People Suite. I don't belong here. But the nice bellman (who graciously waved off my fumbing attempts to tip him) assured me there was no mistake. He leaves.

I want to call the airport and check on my mother's flight. There's no convenient phone book. The phone rings. I pick it up. I'm told a mistake was made. ("Duh," I think.) The mistake, they say, is that they sent my butler to the wrong room. Can they send up a fruit basket to make up for the delayed butler? Yeah, sure, whatever. I'd rather have a phone book, actually, but I don't mention that.

My Moment on Reality TV (2 of 2)

I hang up. Start looking around the room. There's something like a puppet theatre opposite the chair next to the telephone. Says "wet paint--don't touch" on it. I'm too discombobulated to actually think that even in the most expensive hotel suite, a newly painted puppet theatre isn't something that ought to be there. Besides, I still need to find a phone book to check on my mom's flight.

The lobby calls again, with some other apology and simultaneous reassurance that I belong in this room. I still don't think I do, but I have more important things to worry about, so I go off upstairs in search of a freakin' phone book.

As soon as I get halfway up the stairs, the nice bellman comes back in and tells me that yes, a mistake was made, and he'll take me to my real room now.

As he takes me in the elevator, two people have a brief discussion about whether to give me an envelope. One doesn't want to give it to me, because I didn't "sit in the chair." The other is adamant that Everyone Gets The Envelope, and hands it to me.

The envelope explains that the hotel was working with the people from "Candid Camera." It thanks me for playing along. It gives me a certificate for a free dinner for two at the restaurant in the hotel.

I eventually found my mom, and we made our way to the theatre just in time for a show that night. Got back and had a lovely dinner, courtesy of "Candid Camera." And then we went back up to our room -- our *real* room.

Which *was* upgraded. Ha.

Sunday, January 25, 2004

My (Almost) Brush With Greatness

I (almost) saw Peter Jackson yesterday.

This isn't entirely surprising. I was meeting a friend at a real swanky Beverly Hills hotel -- and the day before the Golden Globe Awards, swanky Beverly Hills hotels are going to be swarming with movie types.

So, I hand my car off to the valet, walk into the hotel, meet my friend in the lobby, and before we get on with the business of dinner, he whispers, "Do you know who you just missed? Peter Jackson." Apparently, dude just walked through the lobby.

What follows is a conversation along the lines of "No way." "Way." And he text messages a mutual friend of ours to let her know as well.

We end up eating dinner in the hotel, and they give us a nice table by the window, looking out on the front of the hotel where everyone comes in and out. At one point, my friend stops and says, "There he is. There goes Peter Jackson!" I peek outside the window and see what very well COULD have been Peter Jackson -- I can only see him from behind, but it's definitely: male, of about the right height, of about the right hair-length, of about the right not-incredibly well kempt hair look. So, yes, I might well have actually seen Peter Jackson, from behind, through a window, maybe 100 feet away. Oooo. I'll never wash these eyeballs again.

What gets me about this -- and what will ALWAYS get me about this -- is why I (and everyone else) think that celebrity sightings are kinda cool. I mean, it isn't like I exchanged words with the man or anything. I just saw him leave his hotel and head off to dinner or a party or wherever the hell famous director types go the night before they damn well better win a Best Director award. I honestly don't know why it is a noteworthy event -- why it is necessary for us to say "ooh look, there's Peter Jackson," or to send text messages or write journal entries about momentarily seeing the man walk by. There is absolutely nothing special or noteworthy about this non-encounter at all.

And yet I can't shake the feeling that it's still somehow kinda cool.

Friday, January 23, 2004

Question for the Cat-Owners

OK, be honest. Have you guys ever ... tasted the cat food?

Now before you go off the deep end, NO, I haven't done this. After my recent experience with "Is the iron still hot?" I've learned that not all questions are best answered by the, "well, let's try it and see" method. This is precisely why I'm asking around.

See, I opened up a can of Friskies chicken. (Grilled, I think. In flakes.) And it smelled surprisingly like ... chicken. I mean, it didn't have that "pet food" smell -- it smelled just like normal, people food chicken. Stands to reason, what 'cause it IS chicken.

So, I'm wondering if it TASTES like it. I mean, why wouldn't it? Cats like people food chicken, so would cat food chicken taste all that different?

I remember reading, back when I was a kid, that the cat food companies actually put something in cat food to make it taste ucky to people, so that people wouldn't go about eating cat food as an inexpensive alternative to people food. That sounds so urban legendy to me, I'm willing to not believe it -- but I do think it's possible that there's some sort of kitty nutritional additive (some protein or fat or something) that they put in there for the cat's health that might somehow have the side-effect of, well, tasting like crap.

Please. Save me the trouble. If any of you have given this stuff the taste-test, let me know the results of your experiment.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Pet Peeve #715

Y'know what really irks me? 

When I'm waiting for the light at the cross-walk, having pushed the little button, and then someone comes up and pushes the little button.

Like I'm just standing there on the curb like an idiot for no reason.

Or maybe I didn't REALIZE that you have to push the button if you want the light to change.

Or maybe they think the button has been programmed to respond faster if MORE people push it.  (That's a pretty smart button!)

Maybe even they assume I pushed the button, but they think I am not a master of their special Button Pushing Technique, which is specially designed to make the light change faster if they (a) hold the button down for a really long time; (b) rapidly push the button about a dozen times; or (c) tap out that shave-and-haircut rhythm on it.

Really, folks.  I've already pushed the freakin' button.  Just stand there and wait for the "walk" sign like the rest of us.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Fate, NZ; NZ, Fate

Let me introduce you to a little pal of mine called "Fate."

After work, I got myself a massage.  Oooo.  Very pleasant indeed.  On the drive home, I started mentally composing a journal entry about it, and, by way of introduction, it was going to start something like this:

"Oh yeah.  Productive day at work, bopping around the office, followed by a massage and loafing in a steam room.  That's the way to live.  It'll take a long time for me to come down from that."

And then I got home, and got the mail, and Fate said:

Jury Summons.


Ooo, look! I'm working!

How long have I been back?


Finally, this morning, for the first time back I was so involved in work I completely forgot to check the internet.


I like it when this happens.


Don’t get me wrong – believe me, I am no workaholic – but I like being engrossed in my work when I’m … at work.  That’s how it’s supposed to happen.  The time flies by quicker, the work gets done, and I have a cute little zing in my step that is not caused by listening to ‘80s hits on my iPod.  (Really.  ‘80s music.  You try listening to “Walking on Sunshine” without getting all perky.  I dare you.  It can’t be done.  You’ll either end up bopping around the office or strangling somebody.)


So, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going back to being productive.

Monday, January 19, 2004

A Not Particularly Original Thought on Dr. King Day

Around this time of year I always ponder how much progress we've made toward Dr. King's dream of a world where people are judged not by the color of their skin but the content of their character.

And my standard answer to this is to look at the internet and say, "not bad."

Because, really, I have a boatload of internet friends (and/or acquaintances) -- the great majority of which I didn't know anything about in a demographic sense until we'd already become pals.

I'm not just talking race here. Also gender, orientation, age, disability, class, occupation -- all them things that go into your initial impression of someone. Yeah, I hate to throw around loaded words like "prejudice" -- but I think we all tend, to some degree, to make a preliminary judgment about someone based on these characteristics. (Hopefully, we don't let it get in the way, and we're open to refining the judgment based on actually KNOWING the person.)

And on the internet, you don't have that -- not if the person at the other end of the screen doesn't want to give you that information. You instead make your initial judgment about someone based on their spelling, their grammar, whether they know how to punctuate "its," and -- and this is the big one -- the content of their thoughts. My initial impressions of folks I meet on the 'net tend to be "that person is smart," "that person is funny," "that person is perceptive," "that person is kind," rather than, "Oh, hey, a 45-year old white guy with a blue collar job."

I know that I have made friends on the internet with some people who I probably wouldn't have if I'd seen them before getting to know them. (Generally because I would have thought them too young or too old to be someone I'd get along well with.) Now, what this says about me has certainly led to many hours of self-examination regarding my own biases -- but I've gotta see the fact that I *did* make friends with these folks as a great big gold star for the internet. Because the internet shows you FIRST what Dr. King wanted you to see -- the person beyond the surface.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

It's a Wonder I'm Normal (1 of 2)

Late last night, I was flippin' thru the channel guide and saw "Shazam!" on Nick-at-Nite or TV Land or one of them other stations that reruns my childhood memories.

I haven't thought about that program in, what? nearly thirty years. But just seeing it in the listings brought back a memory I didn't know I had: running into my parents' bedroom on a weekend morning and jumping on the bed to watch "Shazam!" (and that "Oh mighty Isis" show). So, I mean, I had to give this thing a watch.

Holy freakin' cow -- this was astonishingly bad. Let's set aside the bit about the preachy moralizing -- this was childrens' television, so if they could sneak in a lesson to be learned, more power to them. But, damn, what an awful little package they wrapped it up in.

First, the effects. OK, OBVIOUSLY, superhero flight technology wasn't what it is now. (Although this does explain why that Superman movie was advertised with that "You will believe a man can fly," tagline. 'cause, boy, there's no *way* I could have bought Captain Marvel in flight. Not even when I was six.) But it wasn't just that. "Shazam!" also featured a transformation sequence -- which I recall DID impress me at age 6 -- which is this same sad little sequence they repeat EVERY time he transforms (it conveniently involves a drawn-in psychodelic background, so it doesn't matter WHERE the transformation takes place). And does anyone remember "The Elders?" Those are the people who gave Billy his special magic Captain Marvel powers. Billy apparently contacts them by reciting some spiritual words (which are slightly less plausible than "Mork calling Orson") while standing over an upside-down red bowl decorated with flashing lights. And when he talks to them -- they're a CARTOON. Nobody bothered evening hiring ten guys to stand around and pretend to be Elders -- I think maybe they couldn't afford the costumes or something. So they're all drawn -- but they aren't drawn like any real cartoon -- they all remain statically posed. Someone apparently splurged on an animator who goes so far as to make the Elders' mouths open and shut -- but I guess he didn't pass "Body Movement 101."

It's a Wonder I'm Normal (2 of 2)

And THEN -- what are the lessons the show is teaching in its subtext? A teenage boy roams around the country living in a motor home with some older guy (to whom he is not related). The boy (whose ethnicity is unclear, although he's kinda brown in color) says a magic word and gets transformed into ... a white guy!

And, of course, his crime-fighting partner (in the spin-off) is some mild-mannered eyeglass wearing schoolteacher woman, who says her own magic word and ... lets her hair down, loses the specs, and ends up dressed in a miniskirt.

Forget Barbie giving young girls the wrong idea about beauty -- what sort of crap was this teaching a generation of kids?

Friday, January 16, 2004

How Can They Stay In Business?

Just got a postcard from a new local business telling me about their service. Kinda like spam, only sent via snail mail.

It's from a company called iSoldit, that promises to sell your stuff on eBay for you. For a fee.

Let's review. Supposing I wanna sell something worth about $100, and I won't let it go for less than $80. Let's pretend I post it on eBay, with a reserve of $80, and it ultimately sells for $125.

eBay charges me $2.20 to post the item, plus a fee (based on the selling price) of $4.06. I can even take PayPal for free (what 'cause I'm a person, and not a business).

All things considered, I get $118.74 of my $125 selling price. Not bad.

Now, iSold tells me -- via postcard -- that their commission is a whopping 35%. I'd get $81.25 from the $125 sale. That's, y'know, less.

The plot thickens. I go to their website -- I am fascinated, truly, to see how this works. The postcard is very clear that the commission is 35% (or, at least, 35% on the first $100). But the website says the commission is a flat 25% of the first $1000. Plus all eBay and PayPal fees. (The PayPal fees are particularly galling -- a private seller wouldn't have to pay PayPal fees, but iSold is a business so it does -- and passes the fees on to the individual seller.)

Meaning that, on the $125 item, one pays iSold:

$31.25 commission + $6.26 eBay fees + $3.05 PayPal fees

for a net sales price of $84.44.

And if the postcard is right and they actually charge 35% commission on the first $100, the take-home drops to $74.44 -- a net of just under 60% of the selling price.

Their "About Us" explains that the idea came about when they were thinking about a school fundraiser and how everyone probably had sellable crap in their homes they'd be willing to donate -- but that nobody wants to go to the effort of selling it. And, I guess, if you're looking to donate the item/whatever-you-can-get-for-it to charity you wouldn't be all too concerned about giving someone a chunk of the money in order to handle the entire transaction and save you the trouble. But, really, if you actually care about getting the most money for your junk ... why would anyone actually use this service?

Thursday, January 15, 2004

... and the winner is

My screen name most definitely stands for:

'nother Zorb for me!

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

I Got Nothing

Ooo, journaller's block. All I've got today is more of the same -- and, really, we just HAD a stupid-embarrassing-moment-at-work story, and a my-cat-is-an-idiot story. If variety is the spice of life, it is certainly the seasoning of journalling (at least, for this journal).

So, in the absence of something to say, let's just look around this great big world called the internet and see if we can't find something to talk about.

(Why do I feel like I should be taking off a jacket and putting on a nice friendly sweater when I say that?)

So, ladies and gents, it's time for another Stream of Consciousness post.

For inspiration, I went to google and googled "nzforme." Found a few links to my journal, a link to someone's journal linking mine and ...

a message board at a website apparently devoted to discussion of the Nissan (Datsun) 300ZX. Yessir, friends. Someone is trying to find the part number for the "upper rear sturt mount" for his (or her) vehicle, and posted the question under the name nzforme. In this case, I expect the "NZ" in his handle doesn't refer to the beautiful island country just to the right of Australia -- the "Z," I reckon, has to do with said vehicle. Heh.

Acronyms are funny that way. Something that means something totally obvious to me means something different, yet equally obvious, to someone else.

I guess this means that, now that I've been to New Zealand, I can come up with something else for my NZ to stand for. A new goal, as it were.

I'm sure there are plenty of options. We got:

Next Zeitgeist for me.
No zeppelin for me.
Never zero for me.
Natural zest for me.
Nine zillion for me.
Nice zinfandel for me.
Never zirconia for me.
New-age zither for me.
Necromanced zombie for me.
Nymphomaniac Zulu for me.

Hmmm.... so hard to choose. I think I better sleep on it.

There Oughtta Be A Law

- If you are driving a Corvette, you are forbidden from driving less than the speed limit.

- Unless specially requested for a special occasion, no hair stylist is permitted to put your hair in a style you can not easily recreate in less than five minutes every morning.

- No gym can charge a "sign-up fee," "membership fee," "initiation fee," or any fee other than monthly dues for just using the facilities.

- My office is mandated to get rid of that limit on non-work-related internet usage.

- Peter Jackson will receive the Best Director Oscar, and the room will give him a standing ovation, dammit.

- The oil light on your car can only go on when you should ACTUALLY change your oil, and not according to Jiffy Lube's service schedule.

- The workday may not begin until "ten, ten-thirty."

Jasmine has asked me to add: wet food every day, and more of them little mice for everyone.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

"It Is Not Ten Yet"

Walking back to my office from the cafeteria, tray in hand, my mind starts to wander.  It resolves itself into a conscious thought, and that thought is:

"It is not ten yet."

I have absolutely no idea what this means.  I have no clue what I might have been thinking of that would have led me to this conclusion.  Clearly it means something.

I am not a psychic sort of person.  I'm a skeptical person who doesn't really believe in psychic-type phenomena, but I'll allow for the possibility that, y'know, ...more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in my philosophy.

In which case, I've clearly received a message of some sort, and I'm fairly certain it isn't meant for me.  Perhaps one of you?

"It is not ten yet."

Try it on for size.  See if it fits in your life.  Perhaps it will give you the missing the clue you need, or provide you with some level of comfort. 

Take it.  It's yours.  I'm just the messenger.



Monday, January 12, 2004

Get a load of that!

Last entry was supposed to end with

"be taught. MAYBE."

But instead, it just ended after that "b."

I apparently hit the character max and AOL decided to truncate the remaining characters, rather than give me that annoying, "Entries must be 2,500 characters or less" message.

Odd, very odd.

Brain the size of a walnut. A small walnut.

My kitten lately conquered the highest height in my condo -- the top of the entertainment center. I've seen her get up there -- she jumps to the shelf, then to the top of the tv, then one last leap to the tippy top of the whole unit.

And it isn't easy. I saw her miss the top of the tv once (scratched the side of the tv -- I was oddly not pissed off about this). She's a good jumper, but not a terrific one. (She had a broken leg when I first got her, and although it has healed, I think there's a little residual pain on the bigger jumps.)

I don't allow her in my bedroom when I'm not here. Some people might think I'm being overprotective, but my bedroom is covered with kitty hazards. About a month ago, she figured she could jump from the dresser to the top of the chest of drawers. Problem is, she can't jump back down. There's a standing lamp between the two pieces of furniture, and she can clear it going up, but not going down. I took a little stool from the bathroom and put it in front of the chest of drawers so she could jump down to it, as a small step on the way to the ground. She can do that. Barely. I now keep the stool in front of the chest of drawers for her.

Just now, she went the OTHER way from the dresser -- onto the top of a corner curio cabinet. (Ironically, I got the corner curio cabinet so I'd have a place to keep my breakables where she couldn't get to them.) Jas sat on the dresser and meowed pitifully for awhile, then leapt to the very top of the curio.

I was impressed. It's a much bigger height differential than from the shelf to the top of the TV, and I'd seen her miss that one.

I also wondered how the heck she was gonna get down. I brought the little stool over, but top of curio to stool is a VERY long jump. I stood on the stool and offered to help her down, but she swatted me away.

She sat on top of the curio enjoying the view when I began this entry.

Partway through, she realized she wanted down. I turned around just in time to see her aim for the dresser, miss, bounce off it, ricochet against the stool, and ...

I looked for a pile of hurt and confused kitten on the floor, but she was nowhere to be found. She'd dived under the bed to get herself together. I peeked under the bed and called softly to her, and she charged me, daring me to give her "aw poor kitty" on pain on teeth.

Now she's just sitting calmly on the corner of the dresser. Maybe she CAN b

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Bonus Entry: F*ck! F*ck! F*ck! F*ck! F*ck!

I just burned my hand. Sonofabitch. Ow ow ow ow ow.

OK, here's the deal: I have an iron. I rarely use it.

I wanted to iron my trousers today, so I plugged it in and turned it on. I set it to setting "4" for "blends of cotton." I realized my trousers are instead poly, so I changed the setting to "3."

In the process of flicking the little switch from 4 to 3, I noticed that the little switch felt like it was swinging freely -- I could easily move it from 1 to 7 as though it were unattached to anything inside the iron. I wondered whether it was actually having an effect on the heat of the iron.

Ultimately, something else happened and I decided not to iron (I was going to take the hem out of my trousers and iron them flat -- but upon tearing out the hem partway, I realized the edge wasn't finished so I'd have to take it to a tailor). I flicked the little switch on the iron off.

For some reason, I thought this would do some good.

Forty-five minutes passed.

Cat jumped on the ironing board.

I dove over there to grab her, because SOME part of my brain said: "Keep the kitten away from the hot iron!"

Put kitten on the floor. Said to kitten, "See? Stay away from the iron. It's hot."

Some OTHER part of my brain said: "No it isn't. It's been off for 45 minutes. Go on, feel it with your hand."

Tapped my hand against the surface of the iron. Got the distinct impression I burned my fingerprints off. CLEARLY turning the iron off had no effect whatsoever.

Unplugged iron.

As soon as it cools down, there will be a short Dumping Of The Busted Iron ceremony by the trash chute.

Long Vacations

I loved the trip to New Zealand. Loved it loved it loved it. Don't get me wrong. But I'm thinkin' that the vacation itself was a tad too long.

It was, in fact, the longest vacation I'd ever taken.

It was long enough for me to, um, get USED to not being here. Normally, when I get back from a vacation, I'm all relaxed and reinvigorated and ready to jump right back into life: work, reviewing, doing the laundry, paying bills, cleaning the litter box.

Not so this time. The first week back was a total waste. It's been about a month now, and I'm still not quite back into the swing of things -- oh, I'm productive enough at work, I'm getting reviews written, the laundry is done, the bills are paid, the litter box is duly dumped -- but everything seems a little bit off. Even my journalling seems a little awkward since I've been back.

I think it's just because I was "off duty" for so long, I'm having a little trouble getting back into the routine. I kinda got USED to waking up each morning and having fun.

I'm not complaining, mind you -- the trip was certainly wonderful, and I wouldn't change a minute of it (well, ok (glacier) maybe a MINUTE (glacier)) -- but, in the future, I think I'm keeping my vacations down to two weeks or less. Anything more and I seem to get ATTACHED to it.

And that's no good -- at least not for the next 25 years or so.

Saturday, January 10, 2004

A request

Gordy asks, "Please tell me NZ, why do you prefer Netflix versus your local video rental joint or pay per view."

Because I am extremely lazy.  I thought everyone understood that by now.

Lemme give you a concrete example.  Today I'm thinking, "Y'know, I think it's about time for a Jude Law film festival."  Now, I could go to the Internet Movie Database, search for Jude Law, write down the names of the Jude Law movies I haven't seen, get in the car, drive to my local Blockbuster, see what the odds are that they actually have a copy of "Immortality" or "I Love You, I Love You Not" (answer: astonishingly slim), get disappointed, end up renting "Enemy at the Gates" and "Road to Perdition" just 'cause they're there, end up paying ... what is up to now? upwards of $3 each? ... take them home, only watch one because I'd already seen them both, and now that I'm faced with them neither one really moves QUICK, ya know?, and then take them back in two days or face late fees.

OR... I go to Netflix.  Search for Jude Law.  See a list of 15 Jude Law movies available for rental.  Click little buttons to put them on my rental list.  Reorganize my rental list so they're right up top.  Know that (depending on how many movies I presently have out or in transit), they'll be here within a few days.  Watch them whenever I want.  Keep them till I have something better to watch.  Stick them in mail when finished.

There's something else, too -- it's sorta price-related.  I expect the aforementioned "Immortality" to be total crap.  I feel ok about renting total crap from Netflix, because it's all part of the monthly fee.  I'd feel like an idiot actually PAYING MONEY for it, but since I can get as many movies as I want from Netflix, I don't feel bad about taking chances on movies I don't have particularly high expectations for.

As for PPV -- blech.  The selection isn't that good and you can't really watch when you want.  Although I've been having some successes with early experiments with "Video On Demand" and "HBO On Demand" -- so that particular technology deserves further investigation.

Friday, January 9, 2004

DVD Extras

As a die-hard Netflix user, I frequently only order the first disc of a two-disc set, so I miss out on the DVD extras. I only get to enjoy all the bells and whistles on the few discs I actually own. And it seems to me that in this relatively new art form of the DVD Extra, there are wildly different ideas of how it should work.

Last week, I watched the extended edition of "The Two Towers." Peter Jackson's commentary was extraordinary -- it was commentary by someone who knew EXACTLY what he was doing, meant every shot, and was really excited to tell us how he got everything done. He conceded that one or two of the scenes that didn't make it into the theatrical release didn't really work -- but, for the most part, everything that he shot DID, and was just cut from the theatrical release for time considerations. And since this was the "extended edition," all the cut scenes were restored to their proper places. Watching it, I got the distinct impression that THIS was the REAL movie -- what I'd seen in the theater was just a three-hour trailer.

And now for something completely different. Last night I watched "Pirates of the Caribbean" -- accompanied by the wholly useless commentary of director Gore Verbinski (with Johnny Depp on the assist). Besides the usual "everyone on the set really got along" business, the commentary was full of Verbinski and Depp talking about members of the crew by name without identifying them, and talking about how much they kept rewriting the movie on the fly. Verbinski certainly didn't take the kind of pride in his work that Jackson did. Every now and then, Depp would say, "That's a nice shot; how'd you do it?" and Verbinski would answer with some sort of dismissive comment about how it was all fake. By the time the commentary was over, I felt like this movie was as good as it was by dumb luck -- Verbinski didn't seem to have a clue as to how the movie ended up looking the way it did.

But then I watched the deleted scenes -- and was amazed to discover several of them would have destroyed the movie. While the vast majority of stuff cut from "Two Towers" was cut because the film was too long, most of the stuff cut from "Pirates" was cut because it would have been a really bad idea to keep it in the movie. I can't say the DVD gave me a really favorable impression of Verbinski as a director, but the man sure knows what to cut.

Thursday, January 8, 2004

The List

There comes a time in every girl's life when she makes The List.

And I bet you know which list I'm talking about -- I just have to say "The List."

The date: Sometime in early 1991.
The place: My law school dorm room.
The characters: Four female law students.
The sad but true fact: We were completely sober.

One of us had read someplace that Pierce Brosnan was "probably one of the five sexiest male celebrities on the planet." I questioned the premise and posed the question to the group -- surely we can come up with five more, er, list-worthy fellows.

And so, names started being thrown around. The first few were easy and added to the list by general acclamation. And then there were the disagreements -- one person proposed a name, and the rest of us shot it down. Or, worse, the rest of us laughed. We ended up with not one list, but four. And there were rules for each list. (Oh MAN, we were such lawyer larvae.)

List One: Sexy famous dudes. Required the vote of at least two of us. (Back in 1991, this list was headed by Kyle MacLachlan and Cary Elwes.)
List Two: Famous dudes who were previously List One material, but had since, er, grown old somewhat less than gracefully. Again, a vote of two was required. (E.g., Redford & Newman.)
List Three: Men who, at one point in our lives, one of us actually thought was List One Worthy, but we have since come to see the error of our ways. (Much giggling involved in the manufacture of this list, which included such stud-muffins as Don Johnson and Dudley Moore.)
List Four: Frequently the compromise for names proposed for List One which could not get the second vote, this list was men who were List One material in a single role, but didn't quite make the cut when out of character. (Tom Hulce and Kevin Kline are on this list, although I wish I'd written down the roles.)

Yes, we actually wrote these down. And yes, I kept custody of the lists. For several years afterward, they'd get updated by phone call or email.

I pretty much lost touch with the other three women, and the List faded from existence. The odd thing is, though, I actually still use List Terminology. After a friend thoughtfully left a copy of the Vanity Fair with Viggo Mortensen on my desk, I said, appreciatively, "Now I'd consider a motion to promote him from List Four to List One," and I realized nobody knew what the hell I was talking about.

Embarrassment at Work

(Wow. John links to me after I've posted my most boring entry. Thought I'd post something else today to give the new visitors something a little more ... well, a little more likely to make them consider coming back. Welcome. Thanks for dropping by.)

Yesterday at work, by the time I left, my hair (which is usually nice and curly) was completely straight, with a tiny little pony tail hanging off the side, held in place by a scrunchie that was way too large for the job.

This because "toying with my hair" is apparently a big part of my coping mechanism when I'm having trouble figuring out how to get something written.

This was a bit of a problem when I first started this job (nearly ten years ago). I work in the chambers of a judge. There was one other judge who had this remarkable sense of timing and would walk in my office to ask a question ONLY when I had my hair on top of my head in a rubber band, or was diving under my desk in search of a renegade M&M, or something equally embarrassing.

One day, my judge wasn't at work, and I had a question that needed answering. I was advised to go ask this other judge. I was scared to death. Not because I was intimidated by the man himself -- I just had a history of never actually having a complete conversation with him without making an ass of myself.

But, y'know, the question had to be answered. Work and all. I cautiously knocked on his (open) office door, and he invited me in. Offered me a seat. I sat down on a chair, next to which his briefcase was open on the floor.

I ask my question. He answers it. We talk about other fascinating legal matters. Something in my mind says, "Wow! I did it! I got through an entire conversation with this judge without doing something totally stupid!"

I stand to leave, step into his open briefcase, scatter papers everywhere, and totter toward the ground as I hear the slit in my skirt rip to unfortunate new heights.

Wednesday, January 7, 2004


Just came back from the annual meeting of the Homeowners Association for our building.  Took two and half hours, but I think the key things I took away from the meeting are:  (1)  Dues will go up (not a surprise); (2)  There'll probably be a special assessment (also not a surprise); (3) I again dodged the bullet and did not get drafted for the Board (yay); and ... and this is the big one ... I can get shutters!

See... I have a HUGE window in my bedroom.  It makes it really cold in my bedroom.  (I'm not entirely on top of the physics here, but it has something to do with the difference between a thin pane of glass and a thick chunk of wall.)  Now, I've spent the past couple of years trying to convince the Association to let me put in new windows.  Maybe something double-paned.  Or something that, at least, actually fits solidly into the wall without letting the cold air in.

This plan has not gone well.  It's part of the whole "community living" thing.  I can't get a window that looks different from anybody else's window -- and there's only so much you can do with a new window if you have to jam it into the current frame.

So, for the past couple of years, I've just kept a space heater in my bedroom right under the window.  And complained about it.

The other day I finally realized I could approach the problem the other way.  Rather than trying to replace the WINDOW, why not just put in a window covering that's rather more insulating.  Like, say, shutters.  I thought I'd bring this up at the board meeting.  I'd need permission, because somewhere in our rules it says "horizontal blinds" or something.

As luck would have it, someone else actually raised the issue.  And we talked about how shutters don't look so different 'cause they don't mess with the "line" of horizontal blinds, and how they actually increase the value of a home, and how we can get them in a similar color to the blinds, ... and next thing you know, I have everyone's blessing to go out and get me some nice, warm, cozy shutters.

(How fascinating was that?  Man, what a letdown from the zorb story, eh?)

Tuesday, January 6, 2004


Well, no big update today. I'm toying with an overhaul of the journal (the "About Me" needs updating, as does the "Other Journals") but I didn't have time today on account of the fact SOMEONE cute and furry (I'm not naming names) decided to curl up and sleep on my lap for a few hours tonight.

Now, I've had the kitten for upwards of six months and she hasn't been much of a lap kitten -- usually content to curl up on the couch NEAR me, but not actually beside or upon my person. I just figured laps weren't her thing. But when I got back from New Zealand, one of the people who had taken care of her said that she sat in her lap all the time.

"Oh man, it's me," I thought.

I figured it out. The only time I'd been setting her in my lap is when I clip her claws -- I really hadn't done anything to encourage lap sitting. So, I started a few weeks ago -- picking her up and putting her down in my lap and petting for a little while. At first she'd only stay for a few seconds, but she started catching on and giving me a quarter to a half hour of lap time pretty quick.

We had a little backslide 'cause I had to do her claws yesterday, so she's been staying away for awhile. This evening she was back, and not only sitting in my lap, but napping there. I certainly didn't want to discourage this by getting up and going to the computer -- so no big journal overhaul.

(In fact, right now, I'm using the laptop and she's resting her head on my hand, which is the cutest thing ever, even though it makes typing a little challenging.)

Later, all. I'm gettin' me some kitten love.

Monday, January 5, 2004

The End of Civilization As We Know It (1 of 2)

I went to the gym today.  (No, that's not the end of civilization.)  While chugging away on my friend the Elliptical Machine, my eyes glanced up to the television, which was showing an episode of "Fear Factor." 

I've never actually watched this program before -- not outside of the gym.  Today's episode featured twins.  The segment I saw involved bees.  Near as I could figure -- from the closed captioning -- here's what happened:  You take one twin sister.  You paint her with bee pheromones.  You chain her to a couple of posts.  Then you cover her up with a couple thousand bees.  (Out of the kindness of their heart -- and, I expect, their legal department -- the television show has provided her with a pair of goggles.)  There are locks on each of the four chains (ankles and wrists) holding her to the posts.  The twin's sister has to dig through some boxes (also filled with bees) to find the keys to the locks, and release her sister.

Even before the timer started, sister number one started getting stung.  The bees were stinging her neck, she said.

The host counts down "3 - 2 - 1..." and apparently sister two jumped the gun and went on "1" rather than waiting for "go!"  The host chided her for her eagerness and made a joke at her expense.  Of course, nobody had told the bees they weren't supposed to start stinging until the host gave them the magic word.  So, sister number one just got to stand there getting stung while everyone worked out the timing.  Ha ha.  How very funny.

Once things got going, sister number two had a little trouble -- she dropped a key and couldn't find it.  Now, since I couldn't actually hear the program, I could only imagine the intensity with with sister number one was speaking.  The captions said things like:

"Hurry.  Hurry.  They're inside my shirt."

The End of Civilization as We Know It (2 of 2)

Someone asked her if it's as bad as she anticipated.  "It's worse," I read her say, silently on the screen, "It's horrible." 

And sister number two, in what is surely deep sympathy with her sister's suffering, says, "Well, you're the one who volunteered to be the one that was covered."

And as sister number two scrambles for the key while sister number one continues to get stung, I'm sure some TV executive is bouncing up and down at what great television this makes.  Human drama.  Real emotion with one sister being hurt and the other frantically trying to help her.  The host helpfully informs us that "twins can feel it when their twin is suffering."  Just, y'know, so we understand how painful this is for both of them.

It very nearly makes me physically ill.  That people voluntarily sign up to be tortured for our viewing pleasure.  That there is enough of a viewing audience that actually derives pleasure from this that this show remains on the air.

It reminds me of The Milgram Obedience to Authority Experiments, in which it was discovered how easily people would cause pain to their fellow human beings when an authority figure told them to do so.  And I thought, we don't even need the authority figure telling them to keep going anymore -- people will do horrible things to other people if you just tell them it will be televised.

Sunday, January 4, 2004

Yet Another Moment to Complain About AOL (2 of 2)

But that's just a minor frustration.  This was nothing compared to my anger when I signed off AOL to do some web surfing.

I opened my web browser and discovered ... AOL had taken it over.  My home page was no longer google, but  My bookmarks now had AOL at the top, and a bunch of AOL links and folders had been magically added to the list.  At the bottom was a link to realaudio (an AOL partner, no?) which I hadn't put there.

Took me a few minutes to delete all that crap and try to reclaim my browser for myself.  After which, AOL asked me (with checkboxes already marked) if I wanted it to be the default for playing certain types of media.  NO!  No, I don't!  And I didn't want you to be my default home page, or to take over my bookmarks or anything else having to do with my web-surfing experience outside AOL, but I don't recall you asking about that either.

Hasn't the software industry learned YET that people hate grabby programs?

Word to the wise, people.  If you want to keep your journal fully functioning, you're going to have to upgrade to 9.0 sooner or later (as, apparently, that's the only version that AOL is going to bother supporting).  And when you do, it will try to take over your computer.


Yet Another Moment to Complain About AOL (1 of 2)

I haven't complained about AOL in, oh, probably at least a month.  So excuse me while I take a moment and fly into a rage.

Today, I had trouble making the "Add Entry" button work.  I never had this problem before, but I remember reading that this was a problem that could be solved by upgrading to 9.0. 

I've been holding off on upgrading because there aren't any new features that I actually want, and I have a history of AOL upgrades being kinda buggy.  I didn't want to upgrade to 9.0 since it didn't have anything I actually needed.  Well, now it does -- it apparently WORKS, whereas 6.0 doesn't.  So, reluctantly, it's time for the upgrade.  (Do the words "planned obsolescence" mean anything to you?)

I downloaded 9.0.  Cranked it up. 

Let me tell you it was hate at first sight.  Why does AOL think that ALL users want more crap cluttering up their screens?  I use AOL for two things:  email and journals.  I never use AOL proprietary content, and if I want to actually surf the web, I turn off AOL and just go directly to a web browser.  (Cable modem.  Different ISP.)  So, I was pleased, at first, when AOL gives you options for personalizing your welcome screen -- but disappointed when I found that they didn't offer a "none of the above" option.  It would be so nice for me (and so easy for them) if I could just sign on to AOL and JUST see whether I've got new mail.

Is Anyone Still Playing With the Quiz? (spoilers) 2 of 2

6. What:

1 is 3.14159?

2 is back to back clothing?

3 represents one millionth of a metre?

4 was the timely creation of Louis Brandt?

5 fraction of serum contains the antigen opposition?

6 cerebral activity consists of oscillations with a frequency of 8-13 hertz?

7 is the destination of the posterior fontanelle?

8 blockade was investigated by Black?

9 project was devised by van Veen?

10 is a minimal amount?

Number 1 is "pi" (or, more precisely, an approximation thereof). Now, I'd originally thought number 3 was a "micro-meter," but what if we change that to "micron"? Which is suspiciously close to "omicron." Now we've got something to work with. Number 10 (a question which didn't make sense before) has got to be "iota."

Look again at section 8. If I tell you that "Tashunka Witco" was "Crazy Horse," I bet you can get at least one of the others right just by guessing at the pattern (for me, it was the ninth one).

I'm so disappointed that the average score on this thing is 2. It means that few of the people taking the test actually pick up on the brilliant patterns that sometimes appear in the answers. This quiz really is a work of art.

Is Anyone Still Playing With the Quiz? (spoilers) 1 of 2

I discovered something really fun about the quiz when I was looking at one of the old ones. Here's a section of questions from the December 2000 version:

i) What jingle precedes a debt of 11/4d?
ii) What lays its eggs on the Cuckoo Flower?
iii) What is black and made from young downy leaves?
iv) Where did three deaths follow attempted tenpin desegregation?
v) In which of his cases did Holmes incriminate the Ku Klux Klan?
vi) With what did a Venetian playwright inspire a Russian composer?
vii) What infamous herbicide had teratogenic effects in Indo-China?
viii) What was founded at James Sloan's Inn at Loughgall?
ix) What divides the land of the Nama people?
x) What was Burgess's mechanical device?

Now, as luck would have it, I know two of these. 5 is "The Five Orange Pips" and 10 is "A Clockwork Orange."

"Hmmm," says I, "There appears to be a pattern here." Armed with this knowledge I can take a reasonable stab at some of the others. Number 7 has got to be "Agent Orange," for instance.

I take this knowledge with me back to this year's test. Look at section 6...

Saturday, January 3, 2004

Knowledge is funny

Over at By The Way, Scalzi has a link to one of those amazingly difficult trivia quizzes (Scalzi's entry is -- imagine like that's a link).

What's interesting to me about the quiz is not that I got seven of the 180 questions right (which would have been slightly more impressive had I not looked up the prior year's quiz and done rather worse on it). What's interesting is which seven.

I mean, here I was reading this quiz, mentally checking off each question with a quick "dunno" (or even "huh?"), and then I hit the first question I would call "a gimme." I mean, it wasn't just that I knew the answer -- it was that I knew the answer without even thinking about it. And I sorta thought, "what's a nice question like you doing in a quiz like this?"

And I know other people ran through this quiz, and got their own handful of questions right -- but they were completely different questions. It isn't as though six or seven questions on this thing were OBJECTIVELY easy -- it's just that everyone's own personal smattering of knowledge is so different, given 180 questions, one or two are just BOUND to be up your particular alley.

So, I wonder if ... given a large enough population ... we could come up with all the answers to this thing -- not using research, just by using the bizarre random tidbits of knowledge each of us possesses.

.... except that ONE question everyone's going to get right -- that one's a gimme.

Friday, January 2, 2004

Cycling Memory (1 of 2)

Gordy suggests maybe I should take up cycling as my next venture in outdoorsiness.  Brought back one of my oddest childhood memories.

Couldn't tell you how old I was.  But I was visiting some friend's house and we were all going to ride bikes around the block.  The block wasn't entirely flat -- it was flat down her street, then we turned right and went up a hill, then turned right and it was kinda flat again, then turned right and went downhill, then turned right again to end on her (flat) street. 

That was the plan anyway.  I wasn't really experienced with anything hill-like, the bulk of my bicycling till then having been pretty much restricted to the end of a nice flat cul-de-sac.  But I made it uphill OK.  And then we turned downhill.  And then I started picking up speed -- more speed than I really knew what to do with.

We were on the sidewalk at the time, and the other kids jumped the curb into the street.  I didn't think I'd be able to accomplish this, but I followed (peer pressure and all that) and the bike landed as it should've and kept moving downhill with too much velocity.

Then, we approached her street and everyone turned right and then pulled into her driveway.

Everyone else.

I turned really WIDE, having no idea how to control a bike in a turn with all that speed.  I ended up turning so wide, I crashed into a mailbox on the far side of the street.  I knew I was gonna hit the mailbox -- there wasn't any doubt in my mind.  The bike was headed right for it and I had given up any attempt at controlling it.  And so ... I ended up in a cute little puddle with bicycle and mailbox.  No injuries of any significance whatsoever.  Bicycle and mailbox also escaped unscathed.

Cycling Memory (2 of 2)

Here's the weird part -- and why I still have the memory of what was otherwise a totally insignificant incident:  I could have sworn there was a soundtrack to the whole thing.  Like I was a character in some sort of After-School Special about an idiot who is convinced by her friends to ride her bike beyond her abilities and ends up in a coma or something.  When my bike was flying down the hill and I successfully jumped the curb, I started hearing that cheerful disco-influenced (hey, it was the '70s) "wow, look at her go" sort of music.  And when I crashed into the mailbox, the music quickly shifted to that disappointing music like that stuff you hear when someone gets the question wrong on "Who Wants to Be A Millionaire?"  Thanks for playing "The Bike Ride"; have some Rice-A-Roni.

I never actually thought I was just a character in an After-School Special who accidentally heard the soundtrack.  But I do tend to wonder what sort of person takes the moment before an accident NOT to let her life pass before her eyes, but to make sure the scene has the proper musical accompaniment.

Thursday, January 1, 2004

Happy New Year!

Two amazing things this morning:

Item:  Internet connection still working.

Item:  Slept till 9:00 a.m.  This is quite remarkable for New Year's Day as I live in Pasadena.  And although I'm not close enough to the parade route to be awakened by the marching bands, I *am* close enough to be awakened by the flyover (and/or the accompanying sonic boom).  I musta really been pooped last night.  Either that, or the Stealth bomber is getting much stealthier.