Sunday, February 29, 2004

Health Update

My cold is running its usual course. This would be of considerably less concern if I didn't have a ticket to London for Tuesday night (no, I did not buy cancellation insurance). I'm on schedule to make it -- but, obviously, I won't know for sure till I'm there.

Yesterday, I inflicted myself on the general public enough to buy some soup and salad. I also dropped by the drug store to pick up some more meds and (as long as I was there) a travel size bottle of hair spray, a new light bulb, and an iron. (Remember when I threw my iron out? Well, I have a lot of cotton shirts. And the drug store didn't sell any of that spray-on de-wrinkly stuff, so I had to face facts and buy a new iron if I ever intended to wear these shirts.)

I woke up this morning with my throat feeling a little sore. This was somewhat disconcerting as my cold had pretty much LEFT my throat already, and I really hate when it goes back. (Although not entirely SURPRISING -- I *always* have a relapse day when I get sick. Ask my mom -- I've been doing this since I've been little.) So, I'm staying in, eating leftovers, and forcing fluids.

This is the other thing driving me nuts, actually. I got not one but TWO little "acid bumps" in my mouth, which is limiting my excitement for orange juice, grape juice, and even Coca-cola, which have been my fluids of choice this week. So now I'm pouring tea down my throat. I like tea. 'specially when I put honey in it. But I'm on my third mug already and ... man, in one end and out the other. That's tea for you.

Going to work tomorrow. My glands are still swollen, but, basically, with meds I can give anyone the impression that I am the picture of health. Hopefully I can pull off that image WITHOUT meds very soon.

Saturday, February 28, 2004

Where Things Are Going

Where is this journal going?  Nowhere in particular, as usual.

Where is "52" going?  Someplace.  I'm actually somewhat pleased because I figured out (in broad, general terms) where I intend to take it.  What I'm aiming for is some vague internet-journal equivalent of an epistolary novel.  So you might notice a little more exposition in the entries as I start laying a little groundwork.  This is not to say I actually expect it to work -- "publishing" something on a first-draft while-it-is-being-written basis doesn't really strike me as a formula for success, but I'm still enjoying the whole concept of playing around with it on the road to failure.  Not to mention there's an odd freedom to writing journal entries as someone you're not.

Where am I going?  London.  On Tuesday.  Barring continued illness or anything else unexpected.  So I might be getting a little Traveloguey around here for awhile.  (I wrote a couple "52" entries in advance and emailed them to myself, so that should update on schedule -- at least for the first few days.  But if NotNZ seems a little quiet next week, it's because her puppetmaster is out of the country.)

Oscar Picks (1 of 3)

When the nominations first came out, I made this post.  In the month that has elapsed, a few of my thoughts have changed, so I'd like to update my picks.

I'm also going to mention HSX.  That's the Hollywood Stock Exchange.  It's a place where you "trade stock" in movies and actors based on how well you expect them to do -- except it's all fake money.  They have "options" on the Academy Awards -- and the way the Awards Options are trading is a good barometer of what people who Really Follow Movies think is going to happen.

Best Picture:  I expect LOTR: ROTK.  So do the HSX traders.  By a lot.
Possible Things Against It:  I, personally, feel no buzz for this picture.  The problem, I think, is that after FOTR came out, I loved it, and was full of all sorts of geeky excitement for TTT to come out.  And after that, I couldn't wait for ROTK to come out.  And now it has, and it's over.  It's like I'd been waiting so long for the trilogy to culminate, it had its own sense of closure.  So I'm just not feeling all that anticipatory Ringsy excitement.  Look, I still think ROTK will win, and I really HOPE it will too.  But I won't fall off the couch if Mystic River takes it.

Oscar Picks (2 of 3)

Best Director:  I expect Peter Jackson.  So does HSX, although, oddly, they think ROTK has a better lock on Best Picture than Jackson has on Best Director.
Possible Things Against It:  As far as I'm concerned, it wasn't the best directed of the trilogy, frankly.  The damn thing went on FOREVER at the end, and (despite all the promises for Pelennor Fields), I still believe Helm's Deep was the best battle sequence ever put on film.  I'm not trying to rag on the film here, I'm just saying that I don't think -- as a matter of direction -- that it was the best of the three.  I think the Academy has boxed itself in on this one by not awarding either of the first two, though -- and they will be forced to give it to Jackson on the strength of the set.  (Besides which, my concern about Peter Weir being a factor has failed to materialize.)

Best Actor:  I'm flipping here.  I said Bill Murray before, but now I think Sean Penn.  HSX has been in a tizzy over this one ever since Johnny Depp won the SAG award, and it has all three in a virtual dead heat, with Penn currently ahead of Depp ahead of Murray.  But I'm going with Penn mostly because I hadn't realized he didn't have one yet.  Here's how I think Hollywood views each of these actors:  Penn:  has calmed down from his wild youth to become one of the best actors of his generation.  Murray:  has done a lot of good work, but wasn't he that guy in Stripes?  Depp:  an extremely good young actor with lots of potential.  In other words -- it doesn't matter that Murray has been making serious pictures for 20 years, he's still also making comedies, and you can ask Robin Williams how difficult it is for a comic actor to be taken seriously enough to take home an Oscar.  And this is Depp's very first Oscar nomination.  In contrast, this is Penn's fourth nomination, all for leading actor (dating back to 1995's Dead Man Walking).  They owe him, and I understand his work in Mystic River is certainly good enough.  This, by the way, is also why I think Mystic River might be the one to snag Best Picture away from ROTK.  It will have two big acting awards (compared to ROTK's Best Director), which might give it better momentum.

Oscar Picks (3 of 3)

Best Actress:  I still think Charlize Theron, as does HSX.  I can't see a thing against it.

Best Supporting Actor:  I think Tim Robbins, as does HSX.

Best Supporting Actress:  I think Renee Zellweger, as does HSX.  Although, besides Best Actor, this is the only category HSX shows any real competition. Shohreh Aghdashloo is running at a price more than half of Zellweger's (which is a lot in HSX option terms -- most of the other picks are ahead of their nearest competitor by a factor of 10.)  I think this is the HSX voters looking for the "surprise award" and thinking it might come here.  I disagree.  I think they'll pretty much hand it to Zellweger, after having nominated her for leading actress for the past two years.  Also, since Cold Mountain did not get nominated for Best Picture, it has run an Oscar campaign that pretty much focused on Zellweger (with a secondary nod to score and song).  I expect her to win this one.

Friday, February 27, 2004

To My Non-Real-World Pals (1 of 2)


A post for my friends/acquaintances/readers in AOL-J land.

Ugh.  Just poked around and saw all sorts of posts and comments on posting and commenting and cliques and links and ... I'll say it again:  Ugh.

Here's my take on it -- which is to say:  This is how I operate.  Operate however you like.

1.  If you read my journal, and like what you read, please come back.  While I suppose it is true that, in some ways, I write for myself -- I also write to be read.  So if you enjoy reading it, please keep reading.  If you don't, thanks for dropping by.

2.  If you're moved to comment, please comment.  I like comments.  I like comments from friends, I like comments from strangers.  I like people who agree with me.  I like people who disagree with me.  If I have something to say in response to your comment, I might comment right back.  I might even make an entry about your comment.

3.  If you want me to look at your journal, please link to it (or email me a link).  I will always read a linked journal at least once.  I won't necessarily comment when I'm there, but I'll drop by.  I promise.  If I like what I see, I'll keep dropping back.  If I really, really, really like what I see, I might add you to my "other journals" links.  Please don't take it personally if I don't.  PLEASE.  I like reading journals for weird reasons -- sometimes content, sometimes style.  I dislike reading journals for weird reasons too -- sometimes I won't read your journal because it seems like I'm coming in at the middle of a story and I know I won't have time to do all the catching up.  Sometimes I won't read one because the font is something that reads too small on my Mac.  Hard to say.  But even if I decide not to read your journal because the subject matter of your posts is something I'm just not moved to read, it isn't a judgment about YOU.  It's that you and I have different priorities right now -- no biggie.

To My Non-Real-World Pals (2 of 2)

3.  I have hesitated to update my "Other Journals" links for a long time because I don't want anyone to feel bad by deing "dropped" or "not included" or whatever.  Yeah, well, now I have a Beta Journal (it's a fictitious journal, under the link to "52") and, frankly, someone's gotta go to make room for me.  While I was making modifications, I added some links to other journals I read regularly that HADN'T been listed there  (Absinthemnded and Daily Snooze in particular) -- mostly because I'm getting tired of hunting down where I last saw a link to them.  ANYWAY, the other journals are not my "friends," my "clique" or my "homies."  Many of these folks are people who I've never emailed or commented with -- I just enjoy reading their journals.  If you like reading my stuff, you might like those too.

4.  In closing, please don't try to read anything into whether I comment, or respond to comments, or link, or don't link, or anything like that.  There's no hidden meanings in what I do.  I comment if I have something to say.  I read a link because it's polite.  But whether I comment or don't, or link or don't, has NOTHING to do with what I might think of you as a person or a friend.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

The Network for Who? (2 of 2)

But MacGyver?  I don't know a man alive who admits to watching MacGyver.  Men make fun of MacGyver.  Here's one of them heroes who uses brains rather than brawn -- and he generally has a gratuitious stripped-down-to-the-tight-sleeveless-undershirt moment in the show.  This is classic Chick Television.  Chuck Norris, Clint Eastwood, Sylvester Stallone -- these are guy movie heroes.  But MacGyver? 

Frankly, I think the Star Trek thing has led them astray.  They must be thinking that, "Hey, geeky guys like science fiction, they must also like geeky guy heroes."  I'm gonna go with "no."

Am I wrong here?  Should Spike TV buy Bill Nye, The Science Guy next?

The Network for Who? (1 of 2)

Home sick.  Watching daytime television.  (I watched about a half hour of "General Hospital."  Hadn't watched that since Junior High School.  Did not recognize one character.  But the Nurses's Station set is the same.  You'd think someone would have redecorated that poor hospital in the past twenty years.)

ANYWAY, I found myself watching MacGyver reruns.  On Spike TV.  The "Network for Men."

OK, I watch a lot of Spike anyhow.  They rerun Star Trek: The Next Generation, and I never actually watched that the first time around.  (I had watched the first few episodes, decided it had potential, made a note to return to it once it settled down and got good -- and then kinda forgot about it.)  So, I been catching up on my Next Generation.

And while I am a female of the species who watches Star Trek -- and I picked up that habit from my mother, a female of the species who not only watched the original Star Trek but dragged her family to what I think was the world's Very First Star Trek Convention -- I can sorta understood how that one is on a self-proclaimed network for men.  Cause, I mean, your science fiction is, generally speaking, considered the realm of male nerds.  (It's a generalization, I know -- and boy, I hate generalizations -- but I'm willing to accept that you'd put a Star Trek show on a network for men.  In much the same way I understand how Roseanne reruns are on Oxygen.)

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Quick Story

So, the big excitement of my day was when the [expletive] fire alarm went off in my building. 

Picture me:  didn't sleep much, certainly didn't shower.  I'm wearing a sweatshirt, peach sweatpants, and big sheepskin slippers.  My hair is pointing in all sorts of directions, gleefully defying gravity.  I'm walking slow around the house, in a fog of self-pity.

The cat is on top of the entertainment center -- the highest point in my home.

And then -- the loud buzz of the fire alarm in the complex. 

Cat looks down at me with an expression I've never seen before, but which I read as, "Mommy, what's that noise and should I be hiding from it?  You go check that out."

Now, NORMALLY, this is what I'm supposed to do when the fire alarm goes off:  Get cat off entertainment center; put cat in carrier; find keys; take cat (and keys) out of unit; wait downstairs in the courtyard with all my neighbors and their pets.

Here's what I actually do:  Peek out the door.  See one of my neighbors.  The alarm is too loud to actually carry on a conversation, so I just make a "what the ??" face at him.  He responds with a shrug and a dismissive hand wave.  I go back inside and tell the cat not to worry.

Good thing the building didn't burn down.


Home Sick

I couldn't really fight being sick.  To tell you the truth, it probably came at the most opportune time.  I had just finished my last case at work for the month, and don't have anything to review until Sunday.  If I need to take a couple of days to get my health back together, I really won't miss out on much just now.  Well, excepting for a major rainstorm. 

But what I really hate is missing out on the leave time.  I have "annual leave," which means my sick time and my vacation time is the same thing.  So the more of it that I use being sick, the less of it I have left for vacation.  Sometimes when I'm sick, I can work at home, which manages to save me the leave time -- but this time I don't have any work-at-home work on me.  So I just have to sit around on my butt.

And what I really hate about THAT is sitting around on my butt not being able to enjoy it.  I feel pretty pitiful -- I spent an hour or so with a cold compress on my forehead, and right now I'm hoping I can actually keep down that piece of buttered toast I just ate.  (Ooo, I hope so.  I'd love to move up to the Tiny Bits of Turkey frozen dinner.)  If I'm going to have a day off, I'd like to actually enjoy it, rather than just count the minutes until I start getting better.

A visual aid

Otter pops, frozen state.

Does it disturb me that this was from the Unofficial Otter Pops Home Page?

Why yes, it does.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Fate -- a more positive spin

Came home from work today feeling a little "under the weather." Have now decided that I'm officially sick. Throat hurts. I don't want to talk. Ugh.

Took an Advil. Ate some soup. Made some Jell-o.

Thought about eating some ice cream, but I'm not yet certain if my current level of sickness is one compatible with milk products. And then I remembered what I bought at the store the other day...

Otter Pops.

I haven't bought Otter Pops since college. (And then, I hadn't bought them since childhood.) But they were a godsend in college -- where there were four of us sharing one of those tiny dorm fridges, with its even tinier dorm fridge freezer. There wasn't room for a pint of ice cream in there -- never mind that the four of us would never share a single pint of ice cream. No, the only way we could ALL get a frozen treat in there was if we bought Otter Pops, divvied them up among us in their room temperature state, and let each of us keep two in the freezer at a time.

So, here I am, in the grocery store, seeing a box of Otter Pops and having college flashbacks. And, for some reason, I decided to buy a box. Got home and put 'em the freezer.

So now, while my Jell-o is taking its own sweet time to cool in my fridge, I can enjoy me a lovely "Alexander the Grape" Otter Pop. A perfect frozen treat for a sore throat.

Yay Fate!

Like You Don't Have Enough To Read Already

OK, 'member back when we all went through that whole Raven Thing?  When there was a journal out there about someone we all got to know, and then the journal said that she'd died in an accident, and we got to researching it and it turned out that Raven wasn't real and we'd all been had?

(I do.)

Around the time that this happened, I started wondering whether it wouldn't be fun to do a journal for a fictional person, but (and here's the difference) make it clear from the get-go that it's fiction.  Sort of as a writing project.  But, hopefully, said fictional person would live an interesting enough life that it would be worth reading.

I thought I'd try this out -- and the release of AOL Journals Beta gave me an opportunity to give it a go.  So I've created a new screen name, made her a Beta tester, and written up the very first entry in her journal.  She's someone a lot like me, only something's happened to send her down a completely different path.

So, if you'd like to take part in the experiment, take a look at this Journal here:

One thing:  it acts like it is a private journal, but (since it is fictional, and would be more than happy to have everyone read it), it is, in fact, public.  Play along!  Act like you've been invited!


Monday, February 23, 2004

Johnny Depp -- The SAG Award (1 of 2 -- Happy Gordy?)

So.  Johnny Depp wins the SAG Award for Best (Male) Actor and everyone goes nuts over whether they were wrong about thinking the Oscar was a two-man race (Bill Murray and Sean Penn).

OK, now, I was surprised as anyone that Depp won the SAG Award, but, in hindsight, it makes a great deal of sense.

It makes sense in a little way, and a bigger way.  First the little way.  The Oscars sometimes give one award to someone in one of those motion pictures you don't generally consider Academy Award Material.  Usually, it's a Supporting Actor or Actress Oscar.  Everyone uses Marissa Tomei's win in "My Cousin Vinny" as the example, but I tend toward Kevin Kline in "A Fish Called Wanda."  It's the Academy's way of letting everyone know they aren't totally stuffy -- they give an award to a supporting performance that everyone just ADORED, even though it was in a low-brow sort of picture.

Johnny Depp gave exactly that performance.  Had he somehow been thrown into the Supporting Actor category, rather than Lead, he'd have the Oscar sewn up.  (Sorry, Tim Robbins.)  So I can see how the SAG voters (i.e. other actors) looked at Johnny and thought, well, dude, it isn't likely that you're going to get the Oscar, but you should get SOME recognition for your performance, so have a SAG Award.

Johnny Depp -- The SAG Award (2 of 2)

OK, now the bigger way -- the REAL reason why I think Depp got this one (as opposed to any other award).  Before "Pirates" came out, Depp did a lot of interviews in which he talked about how responsible he, personally, was for creating the character of Captain Jack.  He talked about how he fought the Powers That Be tooth and nail (well, tooth and hair) to give Jack the look he wanted, and the characterization he felt was necessary.  And, at the time, I was impressed that Depp went out on a limb like that -- not just going out on a limb in his performance, but also going out there and telling EVERYONE that it was all HIS doing.  And I thought, "If this movie tanks, Depp will never work again."  Because here he is admitting how much he took over the role and did what he damn well pleased with it.

I think that the other ACTORS -- who vote on the SAG awards -- are rewarding him for THAT, as much as for his performance.  That they're supporting one of their comrades who took a chance on what he thought the part should be, fought everyone who stood in his way, and ended up hitting one out of the park.

(P.S.  In related SAG Award news -- Does anyone else think it was a little out of place for Sean Astin to make his plea for moving productions back into the U.S. when he was accepting an award for a film made in, oh, where was that again?)

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Takin' a Stand

As a rule, I stay away from discussions of most things political in this journal. This is supposed to be about swimsuit shopping and trying to hike -- not about stuff that gets people all riled up. So, today's post is going to be an exception to that.

Here you go:

I am totally supportive of gay marriage.

There it is.

And rather than spend my 2500 characters explaining why I am, and explaining why I think any reasons against it don't hold much water, (which is stuff I'm sure you've read plenty of in plenty other places), I'm instead going to tell you why I'm bothering to post it at all.

When I was a kid, I remember studying various times in history when the government -- supported by the general populace -- took a position that, with hindsight, we've now concluded was PHENOMENALLY wrong. Things like, "slavery is good," "women shouldn't have the right to vote," and "races shouldn't intermarry." And there was always a small minority of people, folks who we now consider to be good and righteous, who risked public humiliation and sometimes their lives, to stand up against the majority and do the right thing.

And I wondered, reading this in my history books, that if some sort of similar turning point happened in my lifetime -- and I was a part of the majority group -- would I have the good sense to recognize it, and the cajones to stand up for the oppressed minority? Would I operate a station on the underground railroad? Would I hide Anne Frank in my attic? Would I march with Blacks in the South for civil rights? Would I stand up against Japanese-American internment camps? Would I welcome the first Black students into my school?

And the more I read about gay marriage, the more I know that this *is* one of those times, and that cheering silently from the comfort of my car when I hear on the radio about San Francisco's continuing course of civil disobedience, isn't quite enough.

We are preventing thousands of citizens from enjoying the purely CIVIL benefits of marriage, because the majority of the public has MORAL or RELIGIOUS objections to it. That's WRONG. And I should say that. So I am.

Saturday, February 21, 2004

The Facial

Andrea asks (more or less), apart from the ear thing, how'd the facial go?

Not bad really. I noticed a definite improvement in my skin. For starters, much less breakouts (although that might just be related to my stress levels at work). But, in general, my skin had been going out of control before I went in. I don't know WHAT was happening exactly, but the color started looking a little uneven (nothing as unusual as mysterious red patches or anything, but it just didn't look right) and whatever magic she did rebalanced me.

Them there was that uncomfortable moment at the end when she asked if I cleanse with an anti-oxidant. I clean my face with them Biore facial wipes. I've no idea what's in them. So I responded to her question with, "I'm gonna go with no." She then went into her stash of free samples and gave me a tiny bottle of something it looks like you need a prescription for. "Use this," she says. "It's a corrective step, so you'll want to do it after you cleanse and before you moisturize." I tried to do my very best impression of someone who moisturizes.

I've been thinking about that, actually. Do I really NEED to go out and use moisturizer? I mean, here's a woman who was allegedly diagnosing whatever is wrong with my skin (while figuring out exactly which facial masks are right for my own particular skin problems). Not to mention getting up close and personal with my pores. And she was under the impression that I used moisturizer. I figure if anyone's going to notice whether my skin is looking horribly unmoisturized, it's gonna be her. And yet, she didn't.

(And, and, and... y'ever notice on "Queer Eye" how Kyan always tells the guy what to use to wash his face after looking in his bathroom or just asking him point-blank what he uses? I mean, wouldn't it be more convincing if Kyan said, "Dude, your skin looks so dry, you must be washing with soap"?)

I'm tellin' you. I think I'm starting to stumble onto some great big skin care product conspiracy here.

Friday, February 20, 2004

I Have a Magic Necklace

No, really, I do.

I have a sort of bizarre relationship with magical/mystical things. I don't believe in them. Yet I'm not above living in a world in which they exist. Work with me here.

A while back, my parents went on a vacation to (ironically) New Zealand. And, being the charming, wonderful parents that they are, they brought me back a present. TWO presents.

A pair of wool sleeping socks, and a black pearl necklace.

I was extremely psyched ... about the sleeping socks. (Really. You haven't slept till you've tried 'em. In fact, my mom asked me to bring her back a pair when I went to New Zealand. Funny.)

Anyway, I could tell my father was a little disappointed that I seemed to be bouncing up and down in glee over the socks, but not showing sufficient enthusiasm for the black pearl necklace. Which is quite spiffy, don't get me wrong.

I was told, subsequently, that my father picked out the necklace just for me and everything.

I decided (see, I can *decide* if things are magical) that since my dad gave me the necklace, it was magically instilled with some property of dad-ness. In this case, his work ethic. I figured that if I wear the necklace on days when I'm having trouble focussing on work and getting the job done, my dad's "magic" will help me focus my attention and get stuff done.

And it does. Yuh-huh.

Mostly, I expect, because I *think* it does. When I'm having a hard day at work, I find myself fingering the smooth pearl, and thinking about how my dad is never satisfied by doing a half-assed job, and how I shouldn't be either -- and I do my damn work.

I don't want to waste the magic, so I don't wear it all the time -- only when I feel like I need that little extra push. But when I do, it doesn't fail me.

'cause it's *magic.*

Thursday, February 19, 2004


Remember the saga of my earrings? Of course not. Pretend this is a link:

So, I got my ears re-pierced with teeny little gold ball piercing studs. I've been a good little girl and put the alcohol-based cleanser on morning and night. This weekend will make six weeks, and then I'll be allowed to wear any sort of post earring, and can stop making with the cleanser.


Last week, I got a facial. I don't do this often -- this is like the third facial I've gotten in my life. But my skin was looking particularly crappy so I thought I'd seek professional assistance. And, let's face it, the bit where they put all that goo all over your face is kinda fun, in an odd sort of way.

So, Nice Facial Lady puts the goo all over my face. And she isn't particularly tidy about it, so she also puts goo on my earlobe. I don't complain about it or anything, because I know she's gonna clean that crap right off. Which she does, although I don't get to a shower for a real good cleansing for another hour or so.

You can see it coming, right? Next day, the back of my earlobe feels weird. I cautiously remove the earring so I can get a better look at it (and it still takes two mirrors) but the skin back there is peeling, like I have sunburn or something. I peel off the peeling bit and reveal some very sensitive, very pink skin beneath. I replace the earring.

I keep using the alcohol cleanser, although I am of two minds about it -- I think it might be a good thing to keep the earring extra clean, but it also kinda hurts.

Two days go by. I want to check the progress of healing ('cause it feels all rough and peely again) so I take out the earring again. (Regardless of whether I put the cleanser on my lobe, I DEFINITELY want to keep the earring -- and the back -- very very clean, since I'm still wearing it while this heals).

So, you wanna know my next genius move? In putting the earring back in, I get the angle wrong -- rather than sending it through my nice, new, clean piercing, I aim it down what is apparently the old, closed-up path. I don't stick it in their particularly far, but since this is a pointy piercing stud, I draw blood.

Which means, near as I can tell, that I'm wearing this piercing stud for another few weeks.


Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Scroll Down Memory Lane

I had an idea for today's entry, but couldn't remember whether I'd written about it before. Decided to take a little scroll through all my earlier entries to find out.

Turns out I hadn't, but I ended up with a whole lot of Thoughts On AOL-J that I wanted to post:

1. There has GOT to be a way to back this thing up. And I mean an easy way -- not just copying every damn entry into a Word Processor and saving it. I'm looking for some magical "back up journal to hard drive" button. But there's a lot in here that I don't want to lose -- the details of my trip, for instance -- and I want to preserve it someplace.

2. Which reminds me, the other day, Gordy commented ...

2.5. Which reminds me, you'd think AOL would do an upgrade that allows Mac users to put links in their journals.

2. ... that it would read easier if I posted multi-part entries in reverse order, so they'd read from the top down. I don't do this for two reasons. The first is that this journal has so MANY multi-part entries posted the other way (such as the 10-part story of my trip to Fiji), it seemed like I'd be confusing people by switching orders NOW. Besides, didn't John promise us (on behalf of AOL) that they'd be Vastly Increasing the character-limit sometime soon? Wouldn't that be nice?

3. BTW, if you click on the "link to this entry" button for the first entry in a multi-part story (and/or access the entry from the "older entries" screen), you can then just page through the multi-entry story in order. (Not to mention you get to read all the comments.)

4. There should be an "alert me when someone comments on an older entry" feature. 'Cause I found some comments I'd never read before. (Hi, new visitors!)

5. I just gotta ask -- What's so difficult about AOL-J software? I had a heck of a time adding entries from various internet cafes around the planet, and several browsers just won't access the journal at ALL. There doesn't seem to be a problem with web-based non-AOL Journals. Is there something in AOL's attempt to be so bloody user-friendly that it requires such a high-end broswer it is really user-unfriendly?

6. My cat -- still cute.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Quick Geek Test

OK, you're reading this journal. Obviously you have a computer.

Question: Did you name it?

I have a Gateway named Mariette and an iBook named Cirrus. The former is based on an extremely obscure inside joke; the latter is a nod to "A.I.," and if THAT isn't geeky I don't know what is.

I named my car, too. (Nala. Because she's "already toasty-brown.")

What about the rest of you folk? Anyone name the dishwasher?

Monday, February 16, 2004


Went shopping today.  Because, y'know, it's Presidents' Day and, as an American, I am required to go to the mall.  It's in one of those little-known Constitutional Amendments, right next to the one about hot dogs on the 4th of July.

And, because it is the middle of February, it is apparently time for swimsuit shopping.

Not fair!  Not fair!  It's FEBRUARY.  I'm still wearing my winter body.  You know, the one with the extra layer of fat for warmth?  I should so not be finding myself wearing a skimpy little thing that reveals all sorts of body parts that shouldn't be seeing the light of day for months.

But, I had to give it a shot. This because I remembered how difficult it was to buy a suit before my trip in November.  Not to mention, on that boat in Fiji, how much I really wanted to own a two-piece suit (for those days when you want to wear a swimsuit under you clothes all day, so you can jump in the water when the opportunity arises, but you STILL want to be able to actually use the bathroom without stripping down naked). 

So, yeah, two-piece.  Not necessarily a bikini, but I was willing to try one for laughs.

Laughs indeed.  Here's another little unfair fact.  Swimsuit sizes are not the same as regular clothing sizes.  So if you've just discovered that you can't squeeze your butt into those size 8 jeans without looking like a sausage, you're in for a REAL shock if you put on a size 8 swimsuit -- because you'll be needing at least a 12.  Boy, that'll help your self-esteem. 

I had forgotten this fact.  I put on a bikini top in the size of my normal wardrobe, and ended up showing so much flesh I could star in my own Super Bowl Half-Time show.

And I thought up this great marketing idea for gyms.  The local gym ought to have a representative standing in the fitting room with a Polaroid camera and a sign-up form.  Because there is nothing that makes you want to do that second set of ab-curls than seeing yourself in a too-small swimsuit.  I am so motivated right now.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Who is this stupid?

I was just paying bills.  Every return envelope has a little square for the stamp, printed with "Place Stamp Here" or "The Post Office Will Not Deliver Mail Without Postage."

Is this absolutely necessary?  How many people would just stick those suckers in the mail without stamps if they hadn't been warned about it?

It worries me that banks would extend credit lines worth thousands of dollars to people who don't have the good sense to stick a stamp on an envelope.  I'd think that would be a prerequisite to being trusted with a credit card.



Serious Improv (2 of 3)

Guy and Matt start trying to talk out how to break out of here, which gives me an opportunity to go off to the sides (on pretense of playing with an invisible friend) while I figure out what the hell is up with my character. I mean, somewhere there's a reason she's mentally flipped and started acting like a child. I need to find it. I decide it was caused by physical abuse from a parent, which caused some sort of mental reversion to a time of safety. I figure this can govern some of my character's choices in the future, but also figure there will be no way I can actually convey this idea to my fellow actors, not to mention the audience (who, at this point, I've completely forgotten about anyway).

Guy and Matt have come up with a plan for breaking out, but they need everyone's assistance. Matt asks me to help; I refuse in my very best Petulant Child manner. But Matt has a temper, so he raises his voice and grabs my arm.

And there it is. I actually paused for a second, because I couldn't believe I was so lucky that my acting partner had just handed me EXACTLY what I needed.

"Please don't hurt me, daddy," I say.

Matt tries it again -- he knows what I'm going for now, so he's more angry, more threatening. I repeat the line, then break down crying.

And right there, I've been able to establish my character and, at the same time, create a further problem the others will have to overcome in order to escape the ward and finish the scene.

Serious Improv (3 of 3)

... Eventually, our characters work together and break out. What's so amazing about it is how much we, as actors, worked together without having the chance to talk things out. I remember, at one point, for the good of the play, I really needed to get Shawna's character to do something. And I only had in mind one REALLY stupid way to get her to do it. And while my character was trying to get her character to do it, my non-existent powers of ESP were saying, "Please, Shawna, I know it's stupid, but you've gotta go along because it's all I've got." And Shawna somehow knew this, so she made her character fall for the stupid thing and go along. I'd done scenes and plays before, but -- with a script to rely on -- I'd never really recognized how COLLABORATIVE acting is, how much give-and-take there is with your fellow actors. I'd also never done that much thinking-on-the-fly before, trying to keep my character on track, but also paying attention to the others and the needs of the play. It was truly an eye-opening experience.

The other thing I remember is that by the time we broke through the door, class was over. The four of us had acted for over 45 minutes -- totally oblivious to the time. We were commended for pretty much improvising the first act of a play.

I wonder what would have happened if we ever tried for Act Two.

Serious Improv (1 of 3)

Was talking with a friend who is taking an improv comedy class, and it brought back a memory.

For two summers in High School, I took part in a local Teenage Drama Workshop -- we'd take a bunch of classes (in different areas of theatre and performance) and put on Children's Theatre plays for local kids. It was great.

One of my classes was in improvisation. We played all sorts of improv comedy games, like the things you see on "Whose Line," but one day, our teacher decided to try something different. He put four students on the stage and told them to act -- but to not go for the funny. He wanted a serious improv, with a beginning, middle and end.

The teacher called a group of students up, and I realized the first three students he picked were genuinely good. In improv, I'm about as good as the people around me -- I can rise to the challenge if my partners are good, but I can't bring up a loser. So when I saw how this group was forming, I quickly volunteered to be a part of it.

One of the girls in our group was named, er, let's call her Shawna Stanley.

We were not given any time to prepare -- we were just put on the stage. We sorta sat around in non-committal poses, and then one of the guys (we'll call him Guy), came up with a first line of, "Shawna Stanley? Is that you?"

OK, fine, I think. We're someplace where we're strangers, where you don't expect to run into someone you know. Got it.

Shawna moans in response. Interesting. Shawna's character, it appears, is not entirely with it.

So far, only Shawna and Guy are really in the scene. I enter. I'm playing a child, trying to get attention from Shawna.

I am misinterpreted by my scene-mates. I assumed my character was a child; they believe my character is a teenager or young adult who has somehow reverted to child-like behavior. OK, theatre is all give-and-take. I can deal.

The fourth guy, Matt, comes in, and displays what can politely be described as an Anger Management Issue.

At this point, the improv has found itself a location. The four of us are in a mental institution, with Guy taking on the Jack Nicholson role. Once we know who we are, where we are, and what we're trying to accomplish, the improv starts to fly.

Saturday, February 14, 2004

Fifty First Dates -- Is That All? (1 of 2)

In the spirit of Valentine's Day, I've figured out a way to yield to the demands of a reading public clamoring for dating stories, yet still retain my privacy.

A few threads down, Andrea suggests that I should try speeddating.

Waaaay ahead of you.

Let's take a moment to review NZ's dating history.

I've been fixed up by: my friends, my mother, my sister, my grandmother(!), my cousins, my parents' friends (although not yet my friends' parents, but some have made rumblings in that direction), my co-workers, and random people I sorta knew on the internet. In no particular order, some of the men I've met through these set-ups were: a thief (who stole to support his drug habit); a compulsive philanderer; a fellow with whom I had so little in common we stared at each other for two hours; a guy who called me up (drunk, I can only hope) to tell me the dimensions of his genitals; and a guy who ended our date early because he felt guilty about being out behind his girlfriend's back.

I've answered internet personal ads from no less than five different companies. Here, I've found such winners as: a guy with no car (in L.A.! Really, it's mind-boggling); a guy who lacked basic personal hygiene; a guy who spoke so softly you had to lean in to hear him but had outrageously bad breath; a guy still hung up on his roommate's girlfriend with whom he once had a three-way; and a guy who was so unlike his written persona I'd swear he sent someone else on the date (dude, where's Cyrano?). I'm currently with eHarmony -- and, believe me, they deserve a rant of their own. eHarmony is different in that you don't search ads -- they pick the matches for you, based on who they think is compatible given your answers to a personality test. I'm not sure what keys I accidentally hit when taking that test, but apparently eHarmony think I'd be compatible with insensitive jerks, 'cause that's what they keep sending me.

Fifty First Dates -- Is That All? (2 of 2)

I've Speeddated. Twice. I never actually got a date out of it, but I did pick up a free meal. The Speeddating I went to was specific to Judaism -- and I was "picked up" by a modern orthodox rabbi's wife who apparently trolls speeddating meetings and invites young singles to Sabbath dinner at her house -- partially to try to make a match and partially to sell us on modern orthodoxy. So, no dates, but a home-cooked meal with a religious sales pitch.

This is not to say I've done all that terribly well with the men I've picked out for myself without the assistance of others. Some lowlights include: a guy who subsequently came out; a cocaine-addict; a guy who took me to a romantic evening at the City Dump; a guy who took me to see a movie in which two men had an onscreen kiss, at which point he loudly made retching noises in the theater (I'm not with him, really); and two (count 'em, TWO) guys who, when trying to impress me by cooking a meal, set the food on fire (not just burning it, I'm talking actual FLAMES leaping from the oven).

So, I shall spend Valentine's Day with my cat, and maybe a nice DVD.

And, next week, I'll see who else Cupid wants to throw at me.

Friday, February 13, 2004

Peter Gabriel

I'm told by my morning DJ that today is Peter Gabriel's birthday.

I was going to say something about how coincidental that is, as I'd been planning a Peter Gabriel journal entry -- but the fact is, I'd been thinking about the entry "one of these days" for weeks now, so it isn't really that his birthday is a coincidence -- more of a motivating factor.


I have lots of albums on my ipod, but there's really one playlist I listen to regularly. It has about 45 songs on it. They are, quite obviously, all songs that I like, seeing as I'm willing to listen to the playlist nearly continuously at work. And I like all of the songs for different reasons -- some are perky, some are good to sing along with, some just have a great groove. But I've noticed lately that there's something qualitatively different about the Peter Gabriel tracks. Some of his tunes just hotwire directly into the little "happiness" part of my brain, to the point where I put down my work and just listen whenever they're being played, as little endorphins go merrily skipping around my system.

Dunno why this is, but it's really something more than, "wow, I dig that song." It really feels like an almost chemical reaction to a certain arrangement of musical notes. It's unfair to all the other songs -- apparently the oracle only spoke to Peter Gabriel. Wonder what sort of deal he had to make to be given the Great Secret of Songwriting.

Ooo, a "repeat" button. Gotta go.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

It's Good to Collect Stuff

I collect snowglobes. Not them tiny little plastic ones with the Statue of Liberty in 'em, but nice, big ones that can be considered art, as long as you're using a really, really wide definition.

It wasn't intentional. It just sorta happened. A good friend gave me a "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves" snowglobe for being in her wedding. Around the same time, I bought myself a Broadway snowglobe.

Here's something you might not know about snowglobes: They reproduce. Once you get two snowglobes together, sooner or later you'll have a third snowglobe. This isn't because of snowglobe sex -- it's because if someone happens to see two snowglobes sitting in your living room, they think, "Hey, she must like snowglobes," and they'll buy you one next time they're in the market for a present for you.

And, of course, once you have three, the NEXT person is certain to think you collect snowglobes.

I don't think I actually admitted to "collecting snowglobes" until five or six.

Today, I got number 19. (It's gorgeous. Thanks Mom & Dad!)

And while this collection of mine happened by chance, I highly recommend going out and finding something to collect. Not only are people never at a loss for what to get you for your birthday, they actually think of you when they happen upon a fine specimen of whatever it is you collect. This is a cool thing. As is my new globe. Hee!

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Queer Eye for that Strider Guy (3 of 3)

Cut to a sad little campfire.

Ted:  OK, you're eating on the run.  It's hard.  But there's no need to give up on taste and nutrition.  So what I have for you today is a Food Dehydrator.  So next time you kill a woodland creature, you can make up some tasty jerky to take with you on the road.   And also, take this little pamphlet, "50 Yummy Things To Do With Lembas Bread."  Great, now Thom will give you some design tips.  Thom?  Hey guys!  Anyone seen Thom?

Carson:  Well, Ary here (you mind if I call you Ary?) doesn't have much in the way of an apartment or anything, but I've been told he has an entire capital city that can use a little sprucing up, so Thom's gone to scout ahead and see what he can do out there.

Cut to Thom, surrounded by raging battle scene.

Thom:  Guys?  Guys!  Help!!!

The screen quickly goes blank for a moment.  Silence.  Then the "All things" theme song starts up again and the credits roll.

Queer Eye for that Strider Guy (2 of 3)

Cut to Kyan and Aragorn, having a heart to heart at a nearby river.

Kyan:  All right.  Now, what's your skin care regime?

Aragorn stares blankly.

Kyan:  Just soap and water?  Do you wash your face with soap and water every morning?

Silence.  A cricket.

Kyan:  This here is a bar of "soap."  Look.  If you put it in the river, it makes suds and a nice lather.  Now, do this to your hands first.  Then, move on to your face.  

Aragorn tries it.

Kyan:  Great!  Now, this item here is called a 'razor.'  You're going to use it to get rid of all that stubble.

NZforMe runs in from off-stage and hurriedly whispers something in Kyan's ear.  Kyan nods, whispers back, "I see your point," and turns back to Aragorn.

Kyan:  You know what?  We're going to forget the razor for now.  Let's move on to something else.  Here, take a look at this item.  It's called a 'comb.'

NZforMe starts making frantic motions from the wings.  Kyan catches her eye and puts the comb down.

Kyan:  All righty then.  Why don't you go over that thing with the soap we just learned?

Enter Jai.

Jai:  Can I have a minute?  We need to talk.

Kyan leaves.

Jai:  OK.  I noticed that pendant you're wearing.  It's a little bit larger than what Carson would normally suggest for an accessory, but I understand your girlfriend gave it to you, so it's good that you're wearing it.  But now, we've got to do some other things that will make you just a teeny bit more accepted by her family, OK?   Can I be honest here?  Her dad is a little concerned that you're not living up to your full potential.  He says that you have a perfectly good job offer waiting for you back at home, but that you're kind of running away from it.

Aragorn looks down.

Jai:  I know it's tough.  But you're worthy of it.  You've got to believe in yourself.  [Pause to allow Aragorn serious introspection.]  OK, now go talk to Ted about food.

Queer Eye for that Strider Guy (1 of 3)

Peg is right, Viggo doesn't meet everything on the list.  Come to think of it, neither does Aragon as played by Viggo who, really, is the more attractive of the two.  But we can take care of that...

The setting:  A rudimentary campsite, somewhere in Middle Earth

The lush sweeping soundtrack with vaguely Celtic overtones is suddenly interrupted by a beat-box and a woman wailing, "All things just keep getting better..."

Five well-groomed guys in pull up in a black SUV.  We hear them muttering...

Ted:  OK, here's our straight guy.  Aragorn, son of Arathorn.  Says here he has a girlfriend, way back in Rivendell.  And, Kyan, you've got your work cut out for you - says here he hasn't showered in weeks!

The SUV stops.  The five guys get out and attack the campsite, such as it is.  Aragorn stands in the center of it, a somewhat bemused expression on his face.

Carson:  OK, now, let's talk about wardrobe.  Oh!  This cloak is extremely well-made.  High quality fabric.  But it looks like you've slept in it!  We've got to take better care of our couture.  Now, I want you to use this wooden hanger and hang it on a nearby tree when you're not wearing it, ok?   [He demonstrates.  Eyes open on the Ent, with a cloak hanging from his nose.  Clearly unimpressed.]  Now, go over and talk to Kyan about grooming while I figure out what to do with all this leather.

The Gory Details of Meeting the Guy at Starbucks...

... will not be shared, despite popular demand.

The short answer why is: my mom reads this journal.

The rather longer answer why is: the guy might. Yeah, ok, he doesn't -- I know this. But many of my friends do, and I expect that any person of the male persuasion with whom I might develop a friendship or (maybe) something more will sooner or later find himself in possession of the URL. I don't want to have to be afraid to mention my journal around anyone I might be dating -- and I *certainly* don't want anyone I might be dating to come here and find me ragging on him, or anyone else.

Which is a shame, I'm sure, as I got some good dating stories. But that sort of thing is off-limits.

I will tell you, instead, since I've been waxing philosophical about it of late, what the hell it is that I'm looking for:

- A man.
- Who is at roughly the same point in his life as I am in mine.
(i.e., established in a career, has a mortgage, no kids.)
- Who gives me some sort of good reason to believe he's heading down a similar path I am.
- Who does not present himself like a "before" guy on "Queer Eye"
- Who has two brain cells to rub together and occasionally gets a spark.
- Who thinks "The Daily Show" is funny, or would if he saw it.
- Who owns a television, a computer, and a car.
- Who votes.
- Who would go to the theatre every now and then.
- Who doesn't smoke.
- Who has a favorite Beatles song, Billy Joel song, and Star Wars movie (which isn't "Phantom Menace").
- Who would zorb down a hill with me.

Oh, and, since it apparently has to mentioned, let me also add:
- Who is straight.
- Who is not currently married.
- Who has teeth.
- Who has moved out of his parents' home.
- Who does not use controlled substances.
- Who does not tell me racist, sexist, or homophobic jokes on the assumption I'd think them funny.
- Who expresses some level of rudimentary interest in my life.
- Who has a life for me to express an interest in.

and, of course, who looks like Viggo Mortensen.

Sunday, February 8, 2004

Want Want Want (2 of 2)

Item Three:  A new PDA
Age of current item:  I don't know, but the copyright on the OS says 1998.
Reason to replace it now:  It's old; it's bulky; one of the buttons doesn't work anymore; the (attachable) modem sucks battery life like a vampire; and it has shown a disturbing tendency to freeze up whenever you try to teach it something new.
Reason not to replace:  I'm not a heavy PDA user.  It still works for datebook and address book, which is all I use it for most of the time. 

So, I'm currently wondering if maybe I ought to look into one of them cell phone/PDA combo jobs, just 'cause it would be a single new toy that replaces two things on their way out -- but that's a relative new technology and I expect the little buggers will drop seriously in price over the next year or so.  But will I be able to wait that long?

Want Want Want (1 of 2)

I'm in a very dangerous mode right now -- it's what happens when I look at some toy I don't have and think, "Want."  This sort of thing has resulted in a few rather expensive purchases in the past.  Including, say, my car.  I know that once I walk down this road it is fairly difficult to stop me.

Which I don't altogether mind because, y'know, toys are cool!

The problem with it hitting at this particular moment is I've got THREE candidates for New Toy of the Moment, and even at my most spendy, I just can't throw that much cash around.

Item One:  A new desktop.  
Age of current item:  Going on 5 years old.
Reason to replace it now:  Made unusual beeping noises on startup and initially refused to boot.  Various programs keep having inexplicable errors and (for the first time) MS Word starting acting a little wonky. 
Reason to not replace:  Attached to all sorts of peripherals I'd probably have to replace too, since they're not USB 2 or whatever the hell standard new computers are using now.  Also, it is not my sole computer -- as long as it is functioning enough to support the ethernet card and router, I can use the laptop.

Item Two:  A new cell phone.
Age of current item:  Two years in May.
Reason to replace it now:  Compared to the new ones, it has no bells and whistles at all.  Also, when May rolls around, my contract ends and I can take my phone number to another provider.
Reason not to replace:  Unlike the computer, the cell phone hasn't shown any signs of inability to keep doing what it is doing.

Saturday, February 7, 2004

Stood Up ... Or Not

Was meeting someone at Starbucks tonight. He was somewhat late. While waiting for his delayed arrival, I started wondering how long you're supposed to wait for someone at a Starbucks.

I mean, I remembered that one in college about how if the professor doesn't come in 20 minutes, class is cancelled -- but what's the rule for meeting a (relative) stranger for a cup of joe?

My thinking went something like this: After five minutes of standing there like an idiot, I bought myself a beverage. This was because I figured if I was going to be waiting any significant length of time, I might as well have something to keep my hands busy while passing the time.

At about 10 minutes late, I decided that it would be proper to bail at 15 minutes -- if only I'd given him my cell phone number. Because, really, you can be 10 minutes late without calling, but if you're running 15 minutes late, you should really pick up a damn phone and alert the person you're supposed to be meeting. By that logic, I figure if the dude you're meeting hasn't arrived or called within 15 minutes of the meeting time, you've been stood up.

But as the 15 minute point went by, I rolled my eyes in frustration because I HADN'T given him my cell phone number. And I wasn't sure if 15 was enough. I figured 20 (going back to the college prof. thing) was long enough to wait, phone number or no phone number.

At 20 minutes late, I figured I'd give him another 5 minutes, because I'd hit a lot of traffic on the way, and he probably did too.

At 25 minutes late, I decided I was officially stood up, and sat there swirling the last few drops of my beverage, trying to figure out where I was going to go for dinner.

At 30 minutes late, with one final mouthful of tea on its way down my throat in preparation for my journey to In-N-Out for a sympathy Double-Double, he showed up.


Friday, February 6, 2004


Well, it isn't ALL snuggles and kitty kisses, ya know.

Take today. Jasmine is an indoor kitten who very rarely gets to go outside. I'd bought a leash for her and let her roam around with it once or twice before I went to New Zealand. i.e. November. Today I figured I'd give her another poke around The Great Outdoors.

She refused the leash. This shouldn't have come as a great big surprise, as it has been an awful long time -- but she wouldn't let me get the harness clipped and, well, she's gotten a lot quicker with the teeth than she was in November. Fine. I was doing this for her benefit anyway, so I dashed my fingers in there really quick and removed the harness before she nipped at me.

I had to go outside and get the mail anyway. I've taken her in my arms outside before, and figured I'd be able to keep a good grip on her -- in the past, she's kept a good grip on me, so I figured, "What the hell."

I got a few steps down into the courtyard and she meowed. I walked back to our door and gave her a choice of in or out, and she seemed to want to go with out. OK, fine. Back down the stairs we went.

Now, I don't know if it was curiosity, not wanting to be held that long, or the fact that I'd somehow reorganized her so I wasn't holding her the way I usually do -- but whatever it was, by the time I was downstairs by the mailbox, I had one seriously wriggling and clawing kitten on my hands.

I got us back to my apartment without her making a break for it (and somehow I had acquired and kept a grip on the mail), but, for my trouble, I also got an inch-long rip right through my shirt, and a scratch (deep enough to draw blood) running pretty much the full length down my stomach from bra-strap to waist. Yeowww!

Yeah. Love her to bits. I just wish she didn't love me to bits so darned literally.

Thursday, February 5, 2004

What's Going on in that Furry Little Head?

Yeah, ok, I love my cat. We all know this.

I had myself an opportunity to engage in a little bit of kitten study recently. I noticed that she stretches out her little toes in a full-body yawn and stretch -- and then a little while later I caught myself doing the same thing. Never really noticed that that I engage in finger-separation when I've got a really GOOD stretch going until I saw my cat do it first.

And then there's sleeping. Is there anything more adorable than a kitten asleep? Just splayed out on her back or side, with little paws in the air, bent at the feline equivalent of elbows. And then I saw a little involuntary shiver pass through her body. And I wondered, is she dreaming?

Is it one of those boring recounting-the-events-of-the-day dreams? (I saw the events of the day. She sat on top of the entertainment center and watched me work. Well, this was after a couple of Psycho Kitty runs through the house -- but still, it isn't enough to keep a healthy dream life going.) Or is she having Feral Cat Fantasies, imagining herself chasing and eating Real Live Mice?

I like to think she's just dreaming about her favorite things in life -- running down the hallway chasing the little red dot, me suppressing giggles when I see her with a big furry toy mouse sticking out of her mouth ("what? this mouse? I see no mouse"), getting scratched under the chin, and the happy sound of the wet cat food cans opening.

So I pet her a little, and she reorganized herself to snuggle next to my arm, and I thought, that's the sort of thing *I* dream about.

A Quick Word on Liquid Bandages

And that word is: Ow.

The kitten bit me on the knuckle last night (my fault) and I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to try out my recently purchased liquid bandage stuff. Because, really, who wants a big old pad over their knuckle?

Answer: I do. Which I discovered at work this morning when I smacked my injured knuckle into my desk, and there was nothing to protect the sore area from impact except a thin layer of dried liquid.

Bandages have pads for a REASON, people.

Wednesday, February 4, 2004

Sorry, Wrong Number

I've gotten wrong number calls before. Usually on my answering machine. It puzzles me why someone looking for "Bob" will leave a message after hearing my greeting (as I am clearly not Bob), but, hey, it happens. I generally feel bad for wrong number callers -- especially REPEATED wrong number callers -- 'cause they're still sitting there waiting for Bob to call them back, not having realized they never called Bob in the first place. Sometimes I'll call them back and tell them they got it wrong. Once I even called all the way to South Africa to tell someone they had the wrong number -- seemed like it was an important call they were trying to make.

But, today -- whoo boy. Got to work and had a message on my office voice mail. The message itself was a recording -- announcing a collect call from an inmate and asking if I'd accept it. At one point, the inmate stated his name, and it was garbled on my voice mail.

Now, normally I'd just think this was a wrong number. The problem is that I sorta work in the criminal justice system, and although there's no REASON at all for an inmate to call me (and no way I could think of that they'd hunt me down as a person to call) -- still, I wondered if this wasn't, in some way, someone who was, shall we say, disgruntled.

Alternatively, the fact that I work in the criminal justice system suggests that -- for some people I know -- IF they found themselves in trouble with the law, I'd probably be the person they'd go to with their one phone call. Not like I expected anyone to be in this situation, but, hey, it could happen. But the name was garbled, so I had no way of knowing if this really was a friend in trouble.

When I was getting ready to go home at night, the phone rang. It was the recording calling again, asking if I'd accept a collect call from an inmate named... Julian. A quick run through everyone I know yielded no Julian. I declined the call.

Now I'm sorta wondering about Julian. Poor guy. In jail. Tries making a call in the morning and fails. Waits all day for phone privileges again, gets his one shot at the phone and the call is declined. I hope he figures out he had the number wrong, and that it isn't that his [lawyer, girlfriend, alibi, whoever he was trying to call] is blowing him off.

But I'm still not taking the call.

What is Likely the End of the Story

So, the union's big announcement today was an offer to go into binding arbitration (and to go back to work under the old contract in the meantime).

The supermarkets responded with a slightly more polite version of "up yours," which basically means nobody is going back to work and this dispute will probably go on until the union folds. 

Of course, the Governator offered yesterday to become involved in brokering an agreement.  (The union said they'd be happy for his help; dunno what the stores say.)  I can understand why he wanted to stay out of it until now -- it looks ugly and unresolveable -- why would a brand new untested governor take this on as a high-visibility test when there's a huge likelihood of miserable failure?  But I can also see stepping in now as a good thing -- now that it really looks like the strike is going to go on until the union caves, I think the press the governor would get is bound to be good, even if the result isn't.  That is, a "well, at least he tried," sort of press.

Besides, I can see him using his celebrity to broker an arrangement nobody else can.  (Insert Austrian accent here)  "Give the workers their health care premiums and I'll shop at Vons in my next three movies."  Hey, it could happen. 


Tuesday, February 3, 2004

The Rest of the Story

Actually, there's more to the story (the one just below).

See, at first the workers had picket lines at all three markets involved in the labor dispute.

Then the union announced it was removing the picket lines from one store, Ralphs. The union even had a press release about how they appreciated that people were respecting the lines, but they realized how we all needed a place to shop. So they removed the lines from Ralphs as a gesture of good faith to the CONSUMERS. (The idea was also that they could extend the geographic coverage of the strike against the other markets -- by moving the Ralphs' picketers to Vons stores in other areas. I don't know whether they managed to do this.)

The move backfired. The grocery stores had some sort of "share the pain" agreement by which Ralphs shared the money it was now making with Vons and Albertsons. Net result: everyone who respected the lines at Vons and Albertsons was shopping at Ralphs, and Ralphs was giving that money back to Vons and Albertsons -- so Vons and Albertsons didn't really, y'know, hurt.

The union made a statement about how removing the pickets from Ralphs was probably a mistake. However, they didn't put them back. This seemed to be a decision left to each local branch of the union, and most locals decided NOT to put the pickets back at Ralphs. One local put it simply: we said we'd remove the pickets and we keep our word.

Enter the teachers union. The teachers union radio ad politely asks us not to shop at Vons, Albertsons or RALPHS, since the strike (although not the pickets) involves all three.

So, the way I read it, the teachers union comes in and asks us not to shop at Ralphs BECAUSE THE GROCERY STORE UNION CAN'T DO THAT WITHOUT GOING BACK ON ITS WORD. And if that's what's really going on here, I think it's underhanded as hell. If the grocery store union wants us to stop shopping at Ralphs again, they should come right out and picket them again -- not have the teachers union try to do it for them so they can still make like they're not going back on their good-faith gesture.

UPDATE: Am told that the supermarket employee union will make an "announcement" today that will/might bring an end to the strike. I'm sure it was my journal entries that did it. You're welcome.

A Little Too Much Solidarity

The supermarket workers are still on strike (and/or locked out). I am still not crossing picket lines.

The other day I heard an ad on the radio reminding me not to shop at the big bad evil supermarkets. The ad was not sponsored by the supermarket workers' union. It was sponsored by the teachers' union.

Exactly what the teachers' union has to do with the supermarket workers' union is unclear to me. Excepting for the obvious fact that they're both unions. But it isn't like they're fighting the same corporate masters or anything -- the supermarket workers' beef is with Vons, Albertsons and Ralphs, while the teachers' union is generally ticked about, oh, y'know, the State budget and how it affects education.

The teachers' union radio ad tries to come up with some tenuous connection about how where I shop is THEIR business. Something about how they see the kids of the striking employees and how it is making it that much harder for the kids when their parents aren't working. And also that the supermarket workers are striking because the stores want to raise the employee contribution to their health insurance, which would make health insurance unaffordable for some of the employees, and therefore come back to bite us ALL in the butt in the long run (as everyone ends up eating the cost when the uninsured get sick).

Sorry, but I'm not buying it. While I do feel for the kids of striking employees, I feel a lot worse for the kids of people who are INVOLUNTARILY unemployed -- not people who have made the CHOICE to strike rather than accept the deal their employer offered. And while I agree that we all end up paying more when the government has to step in and provide health care, I can't see where TEACHERS in particular should be getting their panties in a bunch over it. (Now, maybe if Medi-Cal were slated to take money away from schools they'd be onto something, but I haven't heard THAT.)

Again, I want to make it clear that I'm respecting this strike and will not cross a line to do my shopping. Nonetheless, it roasts my cookies that the teachers' union wants to spend some of ITS money telling me to do this. They should stick to their own damn issues.

Monday, February 2, 2004

Obsessions (1 of 2)

As long as we're on the topic, yes, I've had bizarre little obsessions over various things throughout my lifetime. Generally plays or musicals (bonus points to them what knew "Jekkies" are fans of the Broadway musical "Jekyll & Hyde"), but occasionally films. In fact, thinking back to the first time I saw something rather more times than a sane person would, it was "Saturday Night Fever."

(It is at this point that I ask you all to admit to your own embarrassing little obsessions. Y'know, to make me feel better about the fourteen or so times I watched John Travolta strike a pose in a white polyester suit.)

I've actually been thinking about this all day. (Harmless little obsessions, that is, not John Travolta. Honest.) I mean, back in the olden days, when I made my weekly pilgrimage to watch the life story of Tony Manero, I had to do it at an actual movie theater. And pay real money for the privilege. But now, with the advent of videotapes and DVDs, we can just own this stuff and watch something we like over and over again in the privacy of our own living rooms. I mean, when you think about it, the whole concept of videos and DVDs priced to sell is geared toward that segment of the viewing public for whom seeing something three times in a theater just isn't quite enough.

(And don't tell me you buy them for the extra added materials that you don't get in a theater. 'cause you could RENT them to watch those extra scenes. You must be planning on repeat viewings if you BUY the damn things. With the possible exception of the LOTR DVDs, which probably take several days of viewing to watch all the additional stuff.)

Obsessions (2 of 2)

So. A large quantity of repeated viewings is a common enough desire that there's a whole market for selling videos and DVDs. More than that, I posit that it's a natural human desire. Hell, anyone who has had to deal with a small child and a Disney video knows that there's something in our genetic makeup that just wants to see something again and again until the dialogue has long-since burned itself into our brains and has started pouring out our ears.

Do we recognize that seeing something the first time gave us some sort of emotional response (joy, laughter, cleansing tears) and figure that seeing it again will give us the response again? And when the reaction isn't quite as good, we then figure we ought to see it more and more in order to achieve the same high we got the first time?

Excuse me. I think I'm jonesing for some "Pirates of the Caribbean."