Saturday, March 29, 2008

Recycling: good for the planet, great for my blog

Best overheard quote from my trip to the recycling center:
“Mom, I found this bicycle wheel that I think we could use to wheel the cradle for the Ark of the Covenant!”
Runner-up (by the same kid):
“OK, so I’ve figured out the deal: you find stuff on the ground and it’s free! Like this rubber band! Or this spring!”

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Open Letter to Mr. Hot Cop

Thanks for coming by and being heroic on a day when I wanted to jump off the closest, tallest tall close thing. And also for being hot while you were being heroic. Your combination hot-and-heroic presence was very helpful and also a little “Whew!” (and then picture me fanning my face with a lacey, southern ‘kerchief, like I’m all hot and bothered)

I’m sorry that your possible flirting (and I say “possible flirting” because I’ve lost all ability to recognize flirting unless it comes in the shape of a cheap, crappy drink purchased from one end of a bar and delivered to the other end, along with an offer of a boob-rub in a dude’s hot tub later, whatchathinkaboutthat?, to which I’m automatically forced to reply “tell him thanks but I’m scheduled to have my head bashed in with a wine bottle and couldn’t bear to miss it.”) wasn’t responded to better. There are two reasons for that.

The first is that my Dad was RIGHT THERE and even though I know he knows that I know about sex I still prefer to be pretty much A-Sexual around him. Maybe we could have done flirting plant-style, where you get a third party (such as a bumble bee or butterfly) to rub up against you and then rub up against me, but even so let’s not have my dad be around to see it.

The second is that I was super-busy trying to make sure that I was standing between you and my license plates. My still-expired, still-out of date, still-“hey, shouldn’t this chick get a ticket for these old, sad tags?” license plates. And even though I thought I recognized some flirting from you (like the giving me your card when I didn’t ask for it or anything) it was hard to be sure, what with all the scootching and shifting and messing around and leg-contorting I had to do to block those plates. Also it was a little hard to imagine that you’d be flirting with someone who so clearly suffered from severe adult ADD with all my dashing from the front of the car to the back of the car, three steps ahead of you and your deep, liquid pools of expired-plate-identifying blue eyes. And eventually I was all out of breath and panicky and bug-eyed and just not sexy.

Here’s the deal: my plates are legal now (properly motivated was I!) so I was thinking I’ll just starting driving around town crashing into things, in the hopes that you’ll once again come pulling up, manly in your car-of-many-radios and your macho smooth head and those uber-reflective sunglasses, capable of piercing my very smooshy soul. (hold on, my monitor got all steamed up...) This time I'll be ready and flirty and girlish and much less swirly and spastic and suspicious-acting! I’ll wear girl-clothes everywhere I drive crash from now on and I’ll practice giggling at anything said and I’ll work on my light punch-to-show-I’m-feisty action. Watch for me!

Monday, March 24, 2008

How my email was kidnapped by China.

OK, so I’m just checking, but so far the things I’ve been writing here are NOT in Chinese, right? I haven’t rocked the mandarin or jammed in Cantonese, right? The reason I’m asking is on Friday my correct email password spontaneously refused to be correct, and when I traipsed, la,la,la into the “forgot your password?” part I discovered that my secret question was 母亲的出生地. Which is “where was your mother born?”, which is a secret question that I never, ever use because my Mom was born in Ames, and that’s too few characters to use. Oh, and also that is CHINESE!

That is a moment where you become very aware that stuff is not at all right. Badness has come and camped out in your front yard, smoking clove cigarettes and cooking leftover fish in your microwave oven. SO not right!

I send an email to the loving and caring people at the email help center saying, roughly, “crap, crap, help because badness and also augh because help with I CAN’T GET INTO MY EMAIL!!! And I'm NOT Chinese, NOT Chinese, I’m very un-chinese but my email is all Chinese now, which BAD, help HELP and gibbergibbergibber help MEEEEEEEE!” They replied with first the classic automated reply (“hey, you should totally try to do the “Forgot your password?” thing because that would definitely fix everything, and thanks for asking. Have a super day.”) and then a real person’s reply. Real Dude (because who knows, maybe he’s innocent and worthy of protection too?) said basically that he totally believed me, wanted oh so very much to help me and would even give me a big, squishy hug if he weren’t somewhere on the other side of the globe.

Real Dude goes on to say that they also have to be careful about privacy and security and so before he can help me I’ll just need to answer a question or two. Or 17. (not kidding even a little bit – 17 questions.) OK, that makes sense to me. So I answer the questions (what’s the email address? What’s my birthdate? What size bra do I wear? When was my last bm? If a train leaves Houston, going north, at 4pm and a plane leaves San Francisco at the same time who the hell cares?) and send off the answers, and eagerly await my email of deliverance, saving me from my hacking nightmare. But then I’m thinking “well crap, if Senior CrapWeasel has changed my password and my security information I’m sure he/she has changed pretty much everything else! So how the hell will helpful Real Dude be able to tell anything from my list? Mayhaps I have stopped panicking a little too early?

Long story short, Real Dude was totally THE MAN and he totally believed me and sent me magical links that let me back into my email and ALL IS WELL! Well, all is better. I seriously do not speak, read, understand or remotely grok Chinese, which is only an issue because that’s still the language everything is showing up in. And funny thing: when you ask for help to change the language setting everyone gives you the steps, but they seem to forget that all the buttons are in Chinese. Which (hate to keep harping on this) I CAN’T READ, so how do I tell which button to push or which item on the drop-down menu to select? Hello? Sigh. Wish me 运气.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

My road to hell is paved with obsession and pretty, pretty!

So, tomorrow is Easter. Did you get some Easter Candy? Yeah, me too. Did you decorate eggs? Yeah, me too. Did your decorated egg take you hours to complete? Yeah, me too. Oh wait, just me?

So Easter is another one of those holidays were me and my people get super-enthusiastic about the crafty part. Where as most folks think “egg decorating” and get some dye and make some really nice blue or lovely green eggs, or maybe they do a little waxing stuff or some stickers or crayons, my family shows up with boxes and BOXES of supplies. I remember one year there was an easter right after a wedding, and a friend of mine in town for the wedding was invited to join in the egg decorating festivities, but he declined. When pressed for a “why” he finally fessed up that he was too intimidated to decorate eggs with my family. “I mean cripes,” he said, “for me I’m happy when I get a really nice blue! You people are crazy!”

We’ve got crayons, pastels, colored pencils and markers, paints, drafting pens, 3-d attachments… I’m waiting for the year we finally motorize an egg. It’s coming – oh yes it is coming. Also we have these things – I don’t know exactly when we first got them, but long enough ago that I don’t remember us NOT having them, and also long enough ago that the best way to attach them to massive blocks of 4x4 wood was duct tape. (these days we’d have done something elaborate with power tools and high-tech hardware pieces. And then duct tape.)

Anyway, they’re these plastic egg lathes. They’re spring-loaded and you put the egg between the holder-bits and then you can turn it and draw and stuff and you don’t have to hold the egg in one hand while you are being creative. They ROCK! We have only three, and no matter how much time I spend on the internet looking for more of them I’ve never seen any other evidence of them. It’s like we’re the only people who ever thought they were a worthwhile idea. To which I say "just how is one supposed to draw shimmering, symmetrical scales with a forced perspective, to show movement of course,on their blowfish egg without some method of holding the egg still?" I’m just saying!

So beloved are our three egg lathes that we often have creative back-ups when folks are waiting for a lathe to free up. "No, I'm fine, I just need, NEED, to draw a perfect line around the exact center of the egg before I can finish the design. So I'll just eat some more dark chocolate M&Ms (perfect for egg decorating because of the lack of meltage upon one's hands -- nice job, people at Mars Candy!) while I wait for Aunt Whosit to finish painting Monet's Wildflowers."

This year my big plan was to bead an egg, and everything mostly went to plan, except the part of the plan where it said “expected time required to complete egg: not so much, maybe 45 minutes tops, it’ll be cool” and it apparently should have said “expected time required to complete egg: bring a sleeping bag, drink lots of fluids, don’t forget to stretch first, what the heck are you thinking anyway?” Still, at 1:something a.m. I was the happy owner of a lovely, beaded egg.

The whole collection was very cool. We’re just an artsy-fartsy bunch! So I say that if the rest of the Easter-celebrating world wants to spend this holiday with prayer and worship and such they should have a big old blast with that. And pardon me while I work on next year’s egg, which I think will be an aircraft with working propeller, landing gear and tiny air stewardesses. Made from Peeps. (You know you're jealous. Jealous of our madness!)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Not Just for St. Patrick's Day. Or breakfast.

OK, so the plan was to write a post about my best guy friend, the King. I wanted to do that both because Monday was the King’s birthday and also because in the last year and a half I’ve hardly ever written about him, so it’s SO TIME! This was the plan. The plan was also to post this on his actual birthday, and to have it be this cool post that would be all heart-warming and funny and maybe people would read it and get throat-lumpy and tell their friends “I read this post today about this one woman’s friend and it was touching and so I’m giving you my last Pop Tart to show you that I love you like she loves this friend and just… just… wow.”

These things, and so much more, were the plan.

Then again, the plan was also to keep writing regularly and be fabulous and pithy and beloved by all. And be skinny. And make grown men weep and grown women envy. And the skinny thing – did I mention this? Anyway, the point is that I don’t seem to be able to work to the plan recently, and this King post is, painfully, NO EXCEPTION.

I TRIED to write the post. I tried a bunch of times, and all of them were a stupendous combination of lame, boring and painful to read. No, painful to write and agonizing to read. A post that would beg the question: read this or gouge my eyes out with a melon-baller? Decisions, decisions…

This is the thing: The King is naturally cool. Always has been. Has always been the coolness barometer of our group, and all the groups that he’s been part of. He’s funny (officially funny, not just my opinion. He was once voted as the funniest person of all Hippyville) and smart and bright and over and over he’s the guy that everyone else wants to impress.

And I’m no exception.

I have only told a few people that I’m writing this blog. I knew he knew about it, but the day I heard he’d actually been reading it I was floored. Then when I heard that he was some level of impressed with it I preened and glowed and used phrases like “how special am I? Oh yes, so very special!” until a tranquilizer dart was required to stop me. So in trying to write an homage to this friend of decades and decades, knowing that he might read it, I just kept getting inside my own head. (a scary place, full of saber-toothed Smurfs and gravy-flavored jello and the theme from Shaft playing as muzac in a terrible loop.) It has to be as cool as he is, or else I should just bail on the whole idea and instead bake him something made of chocolate and money.

And in the end I realized that my own nerves here were my best homage to the coolest guy I know. Dude, in all the years I’ve known you and known all the people that you and I both know, you’re the only one who’s laughter makes me feel REALLY funny because I know you don’t laugh at just anything. You’re the King of Cool, and its so amazing to me that I keep getting to be your friend, because that means (at least I have decided that it means) that I’m at least cool enough to rate a place in your court. All hail the King – Long may his Coolness Reign!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008


OK, so as still a fledgling blogger (too many g’s in that combination of words – sorry about that) you’re always looking for signs that you’re succeeding; that what your doing is something you should keep doing; that you’re not just flapping wasted wings like a sad, sad penguin. I have spent my time as a stats whore, checking every hour to see “did anybody look in the last 60 minutes? How ‘bout now? How ‘bout now?” I’ve done triumphant victory dances when a comment comes from someone I don’t know. Only to be crushed when I realize that it’s some comments robot responding to some combination of words in my post. Only to be back to dancing when I realize “hey, my blog is worthy of spam comments! The robots know about me! Whee!!”

At this point, in an attempt to seem all cool and aloof and Fonzie-esque, I’ve been only checking the stats every couple of weeks, and I never really GET comments anymore so the dancing has gone way down. (which is actually good, because we all know that Fonzie don’t dance. Eeeeey!) But recently my gmail has become my new-found source of validation!

First I got an email from some industrious woman who has written a book! A novel! An author is she! And she wrote me because her book is “fresh, fun, quirky and hilarious”, and also about a lady looking for love (Like me!) who is desperate to get her ex back (Hmmm, less like me) and decides to learn how to be a fake psychic, in order to give the new girlfriend psychic readings to wreck their relationship! (...aaaaaawkwaaaaard... ) Actually, it could be excellent, and besides I say kudos to her for sitting down and actually writing a danged book. I’m totally going to do that any day now myself, just as soon as that huge tub of Red Vines is gone and I run out of 100% passive hobbies in which to indulge. ANY day now…

But here’s the thing: Ms. Authorette thought I was noteworthy enough to send me this email spam! It included phrases like “…a book I know your readers will be interested in…” which, by association, meant she thinks that my blog might attract readers, AND that my readers might like to also read books, which would make them all edumacated and smart-like! (that’s you guys!! Wave at the nice author-lady! Show her how smart you are!!) She offered to send me a review copy of the book! My blog could now get me free stuff! What says “successful” more than free stuff? NOTHING! She offered to be a guest-blogger, which I won’t be taking her up on, but still, cool that she thought that might even be worth doing! That blogging even momentarily on my space might be a way for her to promote a book. A real, bound, published by a publisher book!

You can clearly tell by my excessive use of exclamation points that this whole thing is thrilling beyond,… well, beyond thrills. But wait. There’s more.

Later, after the cool author email, I got another email from another person that I didn’t even know! At all! She said things like “Oh, you made me laugh!” and even that I brought TEARS! To her EYES! From the LAUGHTER! (At least I’m pretty sure it was from laughter. Hold on, I’d better check… Yes! Laughter tears! Back to the rejoicing!)

Needless to say I’m working on my E-Shrine to the email lady – we’ll call her Email Lady – that will go somewhere over there on the left. And I’m checking my Gmail alla time alla time. Because someone out there liked me! They really liked me! Suck on that, Sally Field!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008


(With apologies to Ziggy.)

So the first Monday of every month I change the image on my computer at work. I have convinced myself that my desktop image is a way that I can further show my co-workers just how cool I am. Most of the time it's a picture I especially love-a-love-a-love-a from, but any picture I find online is fair game. And so seriously do I take this percieved opportunity to share my inner-me with my co-workers that I even move the "This computer is locked" box out of the way, to better display my clever and entertaining desktop picture.

And if the people I work for are worthy for sharing then CERTAINLY my best beloveds are! (that's you guys -- I'll be trying out some new nicknames for you, my best beloveds, over the next couple of weeks. If you like one, shout out!) So I give you a new, monthly feature: The Desktop Picture. Enjoy March:

(courtesy of Daily Oliver)