Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Moron, I am a

Put in a load of laundry today.  I put laundry soap in, and turned on the water so it would fill.

I realized I had a load of laundry I'd done yesterday still sitting in the dryer, wrinkling.  I figured I'd run the dryer again for twenty minutes or so while the wash was running, so those clothes would be less wrinkled when I folded them.

I also had a lot of other stuff to do around the house.  (The lead item involved the cleaning up of kitty puke.  Some cats eat their own barf.  Mine is way too civilized for that.)

Twenty minutes later, I emptied the dryer.  Hung up all the clothes or laid them out for folding.  Cleaned the lint trap.  Opened the washer to take the wash out and put it in the dryer.

No clothes there.

I stare at the empty washer for a second, thinking some creepy Twilight Zone thoughts, as there is no other possible explanation for the disappearance of a perfectly good load of laundry.

I check the hamper.  OK, there's one other explanation.  I just washed a great big load of nothing.



Monday, March 28, 2005

Commercials That Annoy Me (Part Two)

By popular demand (thanks, cyndygee), I now reveal the a-number-one-worstest commercial on TV.

That would be that Carl's Jr. ad for their new spicy sandwich.  The one where the (computer generated) baby in utero talks to his mom about how he doesn't want her to eat the sandwich 'cause it's too spicy.  Just in case you missed it (I understand it might not air in all markets) it ends with the baby saying something about how if she doesn't listen to him, he's gonna come out early, and "take a little something with" him.  At this point, he threateningly grabs a handful of ... well, what I can only imagine is the inside of his mother's uterus.  We see it sorta stretch into his hand, and it looks kinda globby.

It's offensive.  Nauseatingly so.  Can't imagine how anyone would think this sort of thing would make someone want to run right out and buy a fast food sandwich.  Although I wouldn't be surprised if it gave pregnant women nightmares.  Yeah, that's what you need to think about -- some demon-possessed fetus grabbing handfuls of your innards and threatening to rip them out.  Nice.

Interestingly, the Carl's Jr. website has a page with their commercials online, but it omits this one.  I can only hope the ad was pulled.

Commercials That Annoy Me (Part One)

I've been meaning to mention this for some time.  Two commercials on TV really bug the crap out of me and should be put out of their misery immediately.

The Runner-Up in this category is the latest from AOL.  Now, I've liked the AOL ads where people are "asking" for the latest computer virus.  They're funny.  Not so this latest with some dude at a cafeteria throwing jello on some other dude's sandwich, in order to illustrate to jello-covered-food-man how important virus protection is.  Two reasons this commercial is a bad idea:

First, it suggests that the only reason AOL is better than a regular broadband connection is that it comes with virus protection.  You know, you can go out and buy yourself some McAfee Anti-Virus for about $45.  That's, what? about 3 months of AOL (on the bring-your-own-access pricing).  Anyone who would cough up $15 a MONTH for virus protection is a total dork.  AOL has got to have more to offer than a subscription to virus protection.  (Don't get me wrong.  I like that AOL comes with McAfee.  It's saving me the money I used to pay for my McAfee subscription.  But it doesn't justify the expense of AOL.)  You've gotta emphasize the OTHER stuff that makes AOL worthwhile -- like the proprietary content and the fact you can have a zillion screen names.

Second, it makes AOL users/shills seem like total jerks.  Yeah, when I'm telling someone about the advantages of AOL, I pull all sorts of stuff off a cafeteria line, cover their food (and shoes) with jello, and then stick them with the bill.  Boy, that makes me (and the product I'm trying to convince my friends to buy) seem really loveable, doesn't it?

Sunday, March 27, 2005

The Evening Routine

Used to be, when I'd decide I was ready for bed, I'd run through the following quick routine...

-Brush teeth
-Use john
-Wash hands
-Go sleep

And, somehow, between getting older and getting a cat, it has turned into...

-Dump water bowl & fill with fresh water
-Clean cat box & flush clumps
-Wash hands
-Hide four kitty treats (so she'll have something to hunt at night)
-Have short play session before sneaking off into my bedroom
-Brush teeth
-Wash face
-Apply Mederma (anti-scar stuff for the kitten-attack scar under my lip)
-Apply lip balm
-Wash hands (to remove excess Mederma and lip balm)
-Use john
-Wash hands again
-Apply hydration gel (hands are now dry after all that washing)
-Go sleep

It's no wonder it takes me forty-five mintues to get into bed every night.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

This week's homework: My movie!

For this week's homework, John Scalzi asks:

Weekend Assignment #52: Congratulations! Hollywood is making a movie of your life, and you get to choose any actor you want to play you -- yes, even if they're dead (the things they can do with special effects!) Who do you choose and why?

Extra credit: Name the musician/band who will play the theme song to the movie.

Interesting question.  With very few exceptions, I tend to pigeonhole actors.  ("Oh, you need someone creepy?  Call Christopher Walken.")  Of course, the truth is that many (maybe even most) actors are capable of more range than what we usually call upon them to do.  Still, it's hard to "cast" an actor to play me without pigeonholing myself.

I think I've got it, though -- Mary-Louise Parker.  Her work always seems so honest -- like whoever she's playing is a just a regular person, with strengths and weaknesses and quirks, like anyone.  And if you were lucky enough to see her on stage in Proof, you would have seen that she's capable of playing smart without playing nerdy.

Extra credit:  Counting Crows can do the theme song.  Their music has a great casual rock sensibility, and (when they want it to), an almost surprising poignancy.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

In case you did not believe me

Visual evidence of what happens when my cat meets an eraser.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

I hate being all petty ex-girlfriendy and all, but

So, the other day, I'm looking for something in my desk, and I find this eraser the ex-boyfriend (the one who dumped me on New Year's Day) gave me.  (Yes, an eraser.  Says "Out, damned spot!" on it.)

I really can't conceive of a reason to keep it around, so I toss it in the trash can.

I wake up the next morning, and see the eraser on the floor in the hall.  Jasmine has dug it out of the trash, and used it as a chew toy.  It's very nearly shredded.

And my first thought is, "Good kitty!"

Thursday, March 17, 2005

St. Pat's Memories

When I was a kid, St. Patrick's Day was all about one thing -- wearing green, and getting pinched if you're not. 

St. Patrick's Day -- Eighth Grade.  On the school bus, I realize I forgot to wear green.  Now, some kids in this situation will just tell you they're wearing green underwear in order to avoid the pinching -- but there were some people who would then ask to see your underwear -- and it's always the ones you don't want to show your drawers to.

I investigate my bookbag.  I don't have much to choose from.  The only green thing in my possession is my Geometry textbook.  I'm not going to carry my book around with me all day.

I'm also carrying my compass.  I use the pointy end of the compass to rip a small piece off the cover of the textbook.  Very small.  I tape it to my fingernail.  Much junior high school laughter on the bus as we contemplate which nail to tape it to.  Because when people ask me, "Where's your green?" I intend to show them.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

And Now, We Plug A TV Show

Do y'all watch Monk?  I do.  I've watched it from the very beginning and I am extremely disappointed in this season.  I'd thought I would be all peeved about replacing Sharona, but, really, I have no problem at all with the new nurse.  My problem is with the scripts -- which are all retreads of earlier scripts.  Well, ok, the settings are different, but the mysteries are the same.  I was able to figure out the mystery is nearly every episode this season -- and that's just wrong.  Monk is detective fiction -- in the model of the Sherlock Holmes stories -- you're supposed to be amazed and impressed by the detective's solution, you're not supposed to get there first.

But it's OK, because I've found a piece of televised detective fiction to fill the void, in the most unlikely of places.  House.  A medical drama.  I had absolutely no expectations first time I tuned in -- figuring it would be like ER or Chicago Hope or any of the myriad other medical dramas on TV.  Yet, to my great surprise, the few episodes I've seen play like detective fiction.  The lead character (Dr. House) is actually quite Holmesian in nature, in that he is much less interested in patient care than he is in solving really baffling medical mysteries.  And since they are medical mysteries (and since I am not trained in medicine), there is no chance in hell that I'm going to figure them out before he does.  Thus: the perfect setup for detective fiction.  We're here to watch the detective work, not to try to outsmart him.

And it's funny as hell.  "Like I always say, there's no 'I' in team. There's a 'me,' though, if you jumble it up."  Heh.

Tuesdays at 9, people.  Tape it while you're watching "Amazing Race." 

Thursday, March 10, 2005

This Week's Homework: How 'bout that art?

For this week's homework, Scalzi poses the following challenge:

>>Tell us about an artwork -- painting, sculpture or other visual work -- which had a significant impact on you. Note this doesn't have to be your "favorite" piece of art, or the one you like the most (although it can be, if you want): I'm looking for the work that made you think, or affected you in an unexpected way.<<

And it is a challenge.  Although, for me, the challenging part was less about identifying the art and more about finding good photos of it suitable for posting and/or linking.  As you can see, I was only partially successful.

The sculpture in question is this one:

(Image snagged from The British Museum -- I hope they don't mind.)

That there face (according to my college Art History professor) was from one of many 2/3 lifesize figures done in relief around the columns of the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus. 

The image, however, is a particularly lousy one, as all it shows you is the face.  If you happen to find yourself face to face with it in the British Museum, you can see the rough edges of it and the smooth back -- because it was only done in relief, so there's no back to that head. 

ANYWAY, here's what I dig about this face:  When I saw it, I finally got what my Art History professor had been talking about.  I'd always been able to parrot back the differences among the three periods of Greek sculpture -- Archaic (trying to get the human form right); Classical (the ideal of perfection); and Hellenistic (overly emotional) -- but I never really understood it until I saw this piece.  In describing where Classical scupture parted company with Archaic, he'd said the Classical sculptures had life.  "If you cut one," he said, "it bleeds."

Some years later, I was lucky enough to visit the British Museum, and I found this sculpture.  (It's in a corner right next to a display case.  You have to wedge yourself beside the case to get a good look.)  And I looked at it.  And I looked at it.  And, finally, even though it was a disembodied head, and a broken one at that, I could swear she was about to breathe.  And that scratch under her eye seemed so incongruous -- because you could see the rough marble sparkling beneath her smooth cheek, where there should have been layers of tissue.  And that scratch was just so wrong because it was revealing her true nature to just be a piece of scupture, when, on the surface, she looked like she should have life.

And I started to cry, because I was just so overwhelmed by it.  I'd always thought of representational sculpture as simply trying to capture the image of the human form -- with the "better" sculptures being those that were closest to realism.  I'd never imagined what it feels like to be next to one that actually captured it.

Tuesday, March 8, 2005

International Women's Day

Happy International Women's Day!

(Click the link.  Go on.  You know you wanna.)

Sunday, March 6, 2005

... and I'll be playing for

Oh my.  So, here's me doing Scalzi's homework assignment about product/charity endorsements and I go all batty about Easy Spirit shoes when nearly everyone else who does it endorses a charity along with their product.  So, everyone else on AOL-J is nice and caring and giving, and I'm the heartless wench with the shoe collection.  Mm-hmm.

So, better late than never, eh? 

Whenever I watch "Celebrity Jeopardy" (or Celebrity Any Other Game Show), I generally think I could clean the clocks of the opposition.  Really.  They dumb the shows down for the celebs, making the celebrities look more impressive.  (I mean, what celeb would agree to be on Celebrity Who Wants To Be A Millionaire if they know they're going to tank the $300 question?)  I imagine myself going on these shows, and cleaning up, thereby winning big piles of money for charity.

And when Alex or Regis or Whoever asks me who I'm playing for, I answer: Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

It's a pretty easy call, actually.  I am a Theatre Geek, and, therefore, I support BC/EFA.  It's the Charity of Choice for Theatre Geeks -- if you've ever thrown a dollar into the basket after a curtain speech, or bought something at a performance (either on Broadway or on the road) that they've been selling for charity, chances are that the money went to BC/EFA.  They're also surprisingly easy to support, as you frequently get stuff for your money.  (And stuff is way better than a tax deduction anyway.)  Stuff like autographed CDs from Broadway performers, autographed show posters, or tickets to sold-out shows.  Every year, they have a huge Broadway Flea Market where they auction off incredible things like walk-ons in Broadway shows.  But they also sell stuff in substantially lower price ranges -- like used props, or photo ops, or an autograph or two from the "celebrity table," -- so you can pick up Broadway collectibles for a few bucks and support the cause at the same time.  Everybody wins!

To tell you the truth, that's one of the things I like about BC/EFA, which makes them preferable to other AIDS charities (and other charities entirely) that I support -- the fact that they are set up to enable people to support them with itty bitty donations.  Bugs the heck out of me to get a "send us money" letter that includes checkboxes for the amount of my anticipated donation that begin with $50 and go on up.  Even though they all say "Any donation will help," I don't like a solicitation that goes out of its way to make me feel cheap if I respond with a small donation.  BC/EFA is completely on top of the idea that if everyone in the theatre throws a buck in the basket, they've got $1500, and they go out of their way to make you want to throw that buck in.

I've been supporting BC/EFA for years -- either through straight donations or by buying stuff at the Flea Markets or online auctions.  But what really gave me the warm fuzzies was when I was able to donate something to be sold at the Flea Market one year.  Earlier in the year, I had interviewed two actors who had supporting roles in a Broadway musical.  I transcribed the interview; printed out a bunch of copies, and sent them to the actors to sign.  They sold the autographed copies for a buck each at the Flea Market that year, and I'm told they sold the lot.  :)

The Dreaded Hibernate Virus

So.  I'm having myself a lovely Sunday morning -- while still in bed, I grab my laptop and surf the net while my kitty curls up inside my arms (between me and the laptop) and kneads on my right arm.  (Always the right arm.  Never the left.  Them cats is creatures of habit.)  So, I'm reading email and burying my face in kitty fur, and about switch screen names when...

AOL signs me off; my computer "prepares to hibernate"; and then it hibernates.

I don't recall asking it to hibernate. 

I wake it up and prepare to log back in to AOL.  It hibernates again.

Now I'm frustrated.  Did I download anything that might make it hibernate all the time?  I vow to run a virus scan once I get the damn thing back on.  Or perhaps I'll need to do a System Restore to a point before where I caught this freakin virus.

I wake it up.  This time, I take advantage of my option for a full restart rather than just "waking up" from the nap.  The laptop takes a long time to start up, as it restarts every process and a little group of icons parade themselves into my icon tray.

I happen to glance at one of them.  The one that has the picture of a battery with a tiny bit of juice left in it, and the BIG RED "X" over it.  Oh.

Seems there's a very simple cure for the Hibernation Virus -- Plugging it in!

Thursday, March 3, 2005

This Week's Homework: Call Me Imelda

For this week's homework, John Scalzi asks:

Weekend Assignment #49: Congratulations! You've become famous enough to be courted for product endorsements and/or charitable cause spokespersonhood. Which product or charity would you personally endorse?

Extra Credit: A picture of yourself with your beloved product, looking perhaps a little too enthusiastic (i.e., ham it up)

When I first saw this assignment, I thought I'd go with a charity.  But then I really started thinking that I am very nearly the poster child for product loyalty.  Don't believe me?  Here's the poster:

The above collection (and it carries out of the frame -- it ain't easy doing shots like this without a cameraperson) is not, as it happens, every shoe in my closet.

It is, however, every Easy Spirit shoe.  And before you think I'm totally insane, let me quickly note that several pair are more than a decade old, and, in fact, unworn.  That's right, people, I stockpile Easy Spirit Shoes.

See that row of pumps across the front?  Them there are the model called "Feather."  It was one of Easy Spirit's first shoes, and the damn things fit me perfectly.  I loved 'em.  Had a black pair and a navy pair and wore them whenever heels were required.  And then those weas-- Really Nice People at Easy Spirit discontinued the line.  When I found this out, I went on a quest to buy out all remaining stock.  I had friends all over the country dropping by their local Easy Spirit Store and buying every available pair of "Feathers" in my size.  I've been working my way through the amassed collection for the past fifteen years or so.  What you see here are the last eight pairs.  Those cream-colored ones on the far left?  I figure I'll get married in them.

So, there you go.  Easy Spirit Shoes.  The shoes worth hoarding!

(They needn't pay me in cash for the endorsement.  They know what I want.  I'm running out!)


Tuesday, March 1, 2005

South Park Me!

If I was a character on South Park, I'd look like this:

Make your own here.  (Note:  Naughty word at that link, in the warning about not stealing the program.)