Thursday, November 30, 2006

Nablapomo No Mo'

Then sigh not so
But let them go,
And be you blithe and bonny;
Converting all your sounds of woe
Into. Hey nonny, nonny.
*****
Say man are you down for doing something positive in the community?
No i don't think I'll ever do that again
Well ain't you worried about doing the right thing?
Well I don't care if I hey nonny nonny nonny ho nonny nonny nonny.

--Shakespeare and the Violent Femmes.
*****
Alas, Nablapomo is gasping its dying breath, begging for a bullet to bite on. It's taking its last sloppy sip of whiskey and telling us not to be sad, but to remember him going down in a blaze of glory. He looks into our eyes meaningfully and says, "Go on without me; you'll be fine." Then his head drops and his body slackens and we are left to ride out into the sunset alone, scanning the horizon for a grazing herd of ideas and sniffing the air for motivation.
*****
I plan to continue to write at least once a day, to honor the death of Nablapomo. I feel obliged to, having gained so much from the experience. Not only have I built the confidence to start a novel, but I've watched as my writer friends have also taken the challenge. I feel like I've gotten to know everyone a little more and that's always nice.
They say it only takes 21 days to adopt or break a habit, so hopefully writing has become a habit for all of us. Here is a graduation song for the occaision, Gaudeamus Igitor, with a few minor adjustments. Bona Fortuna and Valete!
*****
Let us rejoice therefore
While we are young.
After a pleasant youth
After a troublesome old age
The earth will have us.
***
Where are they
Who were in the world before us?
You may cross over to heaven
You may go to hell If you wish to see them.
***
Our life is brief
It will be finished shortly.
Death comes quickly
Atrociously, it snatches us away.
No one is spared.
***
Long live the Nablopomo!
Long live the writers!
Long live each blogger!
Long live each bloggerella!
May they always flourish!
***
Long live all maidens
Easy and beautiful!
Long live mature women also,
Tender and loveable
And full of good labor.
***
Long live the State
And the One who rules it!
Long live our City
And the charity of benefactors
Which protects us here!
***
Let sadness perish!
Let haters perish!
Let the devil perish!
Let whoever is against our blogs
Who laughs at them, perish!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A Little Something For The Fellah's

Not just gratuitous cleaveage, but also an announcement:
I've added the lovely and funny Boob Lady to the links list!
Check out her stuff.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I Rock

I came up with the numbers I needed while under the gun. Why I'm doing accounting, I'll never know. I'm not qualified, but I am too smart for my own good and a show-off. That's why I'm doing accounting. But this is how I really feel about it.

Afternoon Treat


The new Bond: just...yum.

I'm A Little Busy This Morning...


I'll update you as the day goes by.

Monday, November 27, 2006

I'm Worried About Big Orange

I'm back at work after a very busy five days off. I didn't finish my novel, but I did add five pages (I'm up to 25 now). The whole time off, we've had unseasonably warm weather. Yesterday, there was a high of 62 degrees! I hung my outdoor Christmas lights without wearing a jacket or gloves. The kids played outside with the neighbors kids for hours. It was very strange, though. When the sun set at 5:00 p.m. it seemed way too early. It had been so warm, I forgot it was November.

Even though I had a lovely five days off, there were some times in there when it wasn't all sunshine and butterfiles. Saturday, I woke up pissed off at the world. It's strange, I knew I was wound up and ready to let the next person have it but there was nothing I could do about it. I tried to keep my cool, but my usual reserves were gone.

Somehow, I managed to get the kids showered, dressed, and in the car by eleven o'clock, without too many tears. We stopped for donuts and then headed to my parent's house, where my Mom, Grandma and I were going to do our Christmas cards. Thank God my parents live only 10 minutes away. I don't know how I would have made it through the day without them there to help me out when I was feeling so angry and depressed for no good damn reason.

I can only imagine what it's been like for Big Orange these days. He's not getting any sleep. He's cranky about his job and money situation. And he's out of anti-depressants. He's also questioning/blaming God for a lot of things here recently. Sadly, his parents have passed away and his in-laws are up here by me. He and his Good Wife are on their own.

He and I speak fairly regularly, usually more than once a day. I couldn't get a hold of him yesterday evening and I would have liked to have had a chance to talk to him, if only to get him laughing. I know he loves comments. If you feel moved to make his day today, please take a few minutes and comment on his blogs. I know if we could send a bunch of love or at least smart ass remarks his way, we might just put a spring back in his step. I'm sure he'd prefer a couple of pints of stout, but in the meantime, comments will do.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Another Country Heard From

Doc, Elizabeth and I were trying to determine what our Funeral Mix would be and I jokingly played Centerfield, by John Fogerty. Put me in coach (God) I'm ready to play! Why wouldn't one be totally psyched to meet God and join the good fight when one dies. But the more I listened to the lyrics, the more I realized that this song could be the call to arms for young Christians everywhere. For those about to go to Africa as missionaries, this song would provide a very nice bon voyage. I've cracked the code; my comments are in italics...

Well, beat the drum and hold the phone - the sun came out today! I saw the light and accepted JC as my lord and savior
We're born again, there's new grass on the field. What's to add, here, really.
A-roundin' third, and headed for home, it's a brown-eyed handsome man; That brown-eyed handsome man? Jesus.
Anyone can understand the way I feel. Isn't this what all evangelicals believe?

Oh, put me in, Coach - I'm ready to play today; I'm ready to serve the Lord
Put me in, Coach - I'm ready to play today;
Look at me, I can be Centerfield.

Well, I spent some time in the Mudville Nine, watchin' it from the bench; I hung out at the 7/11 drinking slurpies and wishing I was cool
You know I took some lumps when the Mighty Casey struck out. Not sure what this means, one of God's many mysteries.
So Say Hey Willie, tell Ty Cobb and Joe DiMaggio; Hey Thomas, tell John and Mark
Don't say "it ain't so", you know the time is now. Believe.

Oh, put me in, Coach - I'm ready to play today;
Put me in, Coach - I'm ready to play today;
Look at me, I can be Centerfield.

Yeah!
Yeah! I got it, I got it! Halleluia

Got a beat-up glove, a homemade bat, and brand-new pair of shoes; I've got a new Bible
You know I think it's time to give this game a ride. Onward Christian Soldiers!
Just to hit the ball and touch 'em all - a moment in the sun; Touch them all...spread the Word
(pop) It's gone and you can tell that one goodbye! Scored another soul!

Oh, put me in, Coach - I'm ready to play today;
Put me in, Coach - I'm ready to play today;
Look at me, I can be Centerfield.
Oh, put me in, Coach - I'm ready to play today;
Put me in, Coach - I'm ready to play today;
Look at me, I can be Centerfield.

Yeah! Yeah, indeed.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Riley's World View

Riley and I were sitting at the kitchen table, coloring, while Lucy was sleeping and Doc was doing the dishes. Riley presented an idea:

"We should have a coloring party!" she said.

"Oh, yeah?" I replied.

"Yeah," she confirmed, "We could invite Elizabeth and Spongebob."

"OK," I said.

"Who do you want to invite?" she asked.

"How about Drake and Josh?"

"We can't invite them; we don't have their phone number!" she explained.

"We don't have Spongebob's phone number either," I countered.

"No, I thought we could watch Spongebob at the party," she said.

"Oh, I thought we could invite anyone in the world." I said.

"Well," she thought for a moment, "We can invite anyone in the world...just not Mexico."

"Not Mexico," I said, trying not to roll on the floor laughing. I looked over at Doc, who was still at the sink; his shoulders were quivering with mirth.

"Nah," she said, "We don't have their phone number either.

Friday, November 24, 2006

People I'd Love To Shop With: Black Friday Edition


It's going to take a team to shop on Black Friday, folks. In order to even cross the threshold of any marketplace, I'm going to need security and I'd love to have Worf there to clear a path, guard my back and to have phasers ready and set to stun. It will also be handy have him along so that we can use his access to the transporter and have our packages beamed directly home. Maybe he'd be willing to drive us in the shuttle craft, eliminating any parking problems we may face.



I'd love to shop with Celine Dion on this frenzied day of shopping. Her goofiness will keep us all in stitches as we haggle and struggle our way through the mall. She will also have a fresh perspective on what to get the person on my shopping list who has everything, though I'm sure I will have to say no over and over again to the suggestion that I pick up several ounces of her signature cologne. If we're stuck in a long line somewhere, she could entertain the masses by singing Christmas carols.

Dirty will need to come too. She is a seasoned Black Friday shopper and her mad Treo skills can save us much time by helping us to track down where we need to go to be sure to get that hot item that is hard to find. Besides, I will need someone with me who will be game for making fun of people coming and going out of Hot Topic.

And, I'm sorry I don't remember his name (please let me know in the comments if you think of it) but the guy from Barneys New York who commentates on VH-1's I Love the 80's. He's savvy about retail and fashion and he will be frank with me about the gifts I pick out, telling me when I begin to get overly sentimental. Also, I'm sure he'll be able to impress the clerks with his celebrity and coax them to get us discounts. Besides, his cutting wit and keen observations will help us greatly as we people watch along the way.

We will shop till we drop and then head over to the Martini Lounge for overpriced drinks and overly gourmet food. But there will be many hunky bartenders and waiters who will fawn over us as we rest our weary feet, satisfied with the day's purchases.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Throgsgafen!


It's 1:06 a.m. and already I've had the best Thanksgiving ever. Anything good that happens from this point forward is, shall we say, gravy. I'm lowering my left eybrow from it's heights on my forehead so that it is again even with the right. I am removing my tongue from my cheek and I'm speaking from my heart.

I am so thankful for the things that have happened in my life since the springtime. Despite the tragedy that I've faced, many things have turned around. I have a job. I have a lovely family. Doc has a job. We have a nice home in a nice neighborhood with good schools. And I have the best friends a girl could ever ask for. I've found an idea for a novel, something I've been waiting for for a long time. And I tell you, it is because of this blog and the people who visit me here that have become a more diligent and better writer, and for that, I'm deeply grateful.

So pass the corn (or have you had enough already?) and hunker down. Enjoy the bounty of food, family and football. I wish for you a lovely nap in front of the TV for a good hour or so.

XOXOX

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Five Days Off!



While I don't think there will be any waterskiing, I do believe I'll have a good time. I'm also hoping to finish my writing my novel. Do you think I can do it?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Farewell Mr. Altman

Thank you for your many great films, but let's hope your overlapping dialogue technique is buried with you.

Mother, Do You Think They'll Try To Break My Balls?

For years, I've never understood what the appeal of Pink Floyd was. When I was 11 years old, I did buy a 45 of "Another Brick in the Wall" because of it's anti-school sentiment and because they played it at the roller rink. Secretly, however, it's message scared me. I liked school. I needed an education. Also, as a child, I had an irrational fear of being an orphan. I had seen a community theater production of Oliver Twist and it flipped a switch that caused me to dream about being lost or abandoned to nefarious orphanage owners or the military. This song's children's chorus reminded me of Oliver and his friends. However, I am a grown up now. My abandonment issues are, for the most part, resolved. I shouldn't really let that get in the way of enjoying what could be one of the best bands ever.

As an adult, though, I've been turned off by Pink Floyd, partly because of the lingering feelings of unease when I listen to their music. Also, most of their music that I have been subjected to via the radio or cover bands is so sleepy and lugubrious, my brain sort of shuts down at the first few notes.

However, I have many good friends who adore Pink Floyd. These are people I've shared good times and bad with. They were all at my wedding. They are trusted confidants and keepers of cool. We have many things in common, but Floyd is not one of them. Well, they have Floyd in common, but I've kept myself staunchly off that love boat.

Genn6 & Elizabeth


Doc


And Big Orange


In the past, it has amused me to rile them up by denying the greatness of Floyd. Each one will give you many reasons why this band is worthy of worship. In fact, Elizabeth just told me that she considers Pink Floyd to be the most innovative rock band ever, even over the Beatles. But now it's time for me to grow up and face the music. Besides this morning I dreamed that I was bitten by rabid rat and it gave the day a decidedly Floydian twist. So, on my way in to work this morning, I listened to The Wall in its entirety for the first time. Here are my impressions:

Pros

  • The guitars are amazing. Sometimes they drift too close to Dire Straits territory, but over all, I found the guitars to be really wonderful.
  • One of the singers is great. He's the one who sings Comfortably Numb. Don't know his name but I like the way he delivers the lyrics. He's sensitive without being squooshy. His tone is lovely and he sings in tune.

Cons

  • Let's talk about the other singer. I'll call him either Drunken Zappa or Sober Tommy Chong. His voice is adnoidal and shouty. There is one song where he is so off key, that it must have been intentional. I understand that some edgy musicians like to write music that is atonal and therefore edgy, but they piss me off. So, I was immediately filled with hate for this joker. Cachophany and atonality need to be used with a gentle touch, in my opinion and this guy uses a hammer.
  • The length of this album is excessive. I found the overall scope of the material to be overblown and self-indulgently grandiose. Perhaps in the 80's when totalitarianism was a fear that was being shoved down our throats left and right due to the pending and ominious date of 1984, this album could have been sold to me as art or social commentary. But it edges too close to Mr. Roboto territory for my tastes. In my opinion, Revolver is a better album. The Wall has not stood the test of time.

I'm sorry my dear friends. I am no closer to appreciating Pink Floyd than I was before my rat bite. Perhaps I would have better luck with Dark Side of the Moon. However I do recognize that Floyd is an innovative band. They really pushed the envelope with what they were saying and how they were saying it, in that time. I will give them props for that.

I think what we have here, though, is a fundamental difference in music philosophy. I like my rock and roll to sound like rock and roll. I was raised on the Beatles, Led Zepellin, the Eagles, Roxy Music, Elvis Presley, and the many fine artists under the auspices of Barry Gordy in Motown: The Ronnettes, The Temptations, The Supremes and so on. I want to experience the human condition on a much more intimate level than Floyd offers. I don't want my mind to be blown, I want my heart to be blown.

When I want my mind to be blown, I'll just call one of the lovely people pictured above and talk to them.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Holy Crap!

I purchased Oasis' album Definately Maybe when it first came out in 1994. I didn't really know any of their tunes but decided to buy the CD anyway, based on the critical acclaim it was receiving. However, before I had a chance to really listen to the CD, the band quickly began to come unglued. Thinking them a bunch of knuckleheads, I abandoned the idea of even trying to give their music a listen. I'm shallow that way.

Twelve years later (gasp) I found their CD, dusted it off and loaded it up on my iTunes at work, where I have time to let music grow on me. Lo and behold: it's a pretty good album. I particularly enjoy Shakermaker and have provided you a Youtube so you can discover or rediscover this group of grab-ass playing goofballs for yourself.



A Little Late, But Still Funny


I have this cartoon displayed at my desk. It's very satisfying, wouldn't you agree?

Sunday, November 19, 2006

How I Escaped The Trekker Subculture

I became interested in Star Trek in 1992. I was dating a guy who, by all accounts, was perfectly normal, but for a few exceptions, one of them being his fanatic devotion to Star Trek: The Next Generation. When it came on, he'd turn on the stereo system attached to the TV and crank the bass up. This allowed us as viewers to hear and feel the rumble of the ships engines and to hear things in surround sound. It really drew me into the show.

The show itself is great. It represents a future you could hope for, where poverty and hunger are no longer problems to grapple with and people are free to explore whatever catches their interest. I also appreciated the diplomacy and care the crew used to explore the universe and find new civilizations. I'm a fan of this type of science fiction, as opposed to most of the doom and gloom post-apocolyptic stuff that's out there. I like to believe that the human race well evolve rather than devolve. So, I was captivated by this romantic and hopeful depiction of the future; I wanted to be a part of it.

I started buying Star Trek related items. I had a communicator badge that was very nicely made. It was silver and brass, a high quality pin. I wore it on my parka that was the same color yellow that the engineering staff wore. I had a bumper sticker on my car, on the driver's side door, that read "Official Star Fleet Vehicle." I also had a couple of ID cards.

At one point, I discovered a Star Trek store called Starbase Columbus, which sold everything you'd need to outfit yourself like a true Starfleet Academy graduate: uniforms, phasers, plates, cups, tricorders and communicator badges. It was quite a heady experience, like hitting the jackpot. There was a bulletin board where you could find other Trekkers to hook up with as well as convention announcements. I've never been to a convention, but hoped to one day.

That is until I saw the movie Trekkies. This movie painted a portrait of people's dedication to this show. Frankly, it struck me as a bit sad and unhealthy. One of the people featured was a dentist who outfitted his office like a sick bay and made his staff dress like medical staff from the show. Also, a dude rode around town in the little motorized box with just his head sticking out. This box was a recreation of prop from the original series.

My heart began to break for these people. They seemed happy with their lives, but sometimes, as in the case with the dentist, you could tell that his wife was kind of going along for the ride. But every now and then, I could see shame around her eyes, like she wasn't entirely committed to dressing as Dianna Troi for the rest of her life.

It was shortly after viewing this documentary that I put away my communicator badge and peeled the bumper sticker off my car. I love ST:TNG. I hope that we have such a future ahead of us. But, these days, I prefer to leave that future in the future and do what I can to Make It So in my own time.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Musical Memories: Journey's Open Arms



When I was in middle school, the administration would throw a Sock Hop for all of us angsty, pubescent social rookies. It was a time for all of us to come together and reveal our clique allegiances, our true likes, and our insecurities. It was an opportunity to show off our fashion sense (or lack thereof). We would get to hear the best tunes of the day played by some poor bastard whose bad luck it was to be hired as a D.J. for a middle school sock hop.

Usually, we all went "stag," except of course for those rare few who somehow managed to become a couple. These fine couples were considered to be "going together." That's what we called a monogamous relationship in middle school. So, obviously, they went together to the sock hop. My friends and I spent a lot of time trying to decide what to wear. I went with the a Ralph Lauren sweater, jeans, and argyle socks, of course.

I had a secret ambition to woo Mike Sinko at the sock hop. He and I had been in an advanced reading group together the year before and I thought he was cute, if a bit short. I also thought he would be low-hanging fruit, as no one else seemed interested in him. You see, I just wanted to go with someone (as a couple) and he would do.

I had a plan to nab him. I would go to the sock hop, be cool, talk to him every now and then, and finally, when the D.J. played Journey's Open Arms, a top hit at the time, I would walk up to him and ask him to dance. He was a major Journey fan and, as I had predicted, he came to the dance wearing his Journey T-shirt. So, I figured asking him to dance to a Journey song would be an offer he could hardly refuse.

Well, the evening didn't quite go according to plan. I did go to the sock hop. I didn't manage to remain cool in more ways than one. You see, my Ralph Lauren sweater was wool. And after dancing feverishly to the pop hits of the day, I was so hot, and not in a good way. I had failed to adhere to the one Preppy rule I have never since forgotten: layer. Had I put on a polo shirt underneath my sweater, I could have taken that wool sweater off and worn it with the sleeves tied around my neck, where it belongs. Alas, I was stuck with a super-hot, somewhat damp and odd-smelling sweater.

I tried to talk to Mike, but he'd not so subtly move away from me every time I'd try to approach him. Hmm. Those bitches I went to the sock hop with probably told him about my plan. However, when the D.J. played Open Arms, I bucked up and boldly went over to him and asked him to dance (he didn't see me coming, I approached from behind). He was too flustered to say no. So we assumed the middle school dance position: my hands were on his shoulders, elbows slightly bent and his hands were at my waist and his arms were extended completely (he was a little guy). And we swayed to the sincere crooning of Steve Perry. He mostly looked over my shoulder and I mostly listened to the words and felt their meaning spear me in the heart. This song was about us. Well, if you squint, it's about us.

So now I come to you, with open arms
Nothing to hide, believe what I say
So here I am with open arms
Hoping you'll see what your love means to me
Open arms

Living without you, living alone
This empty house seems so cold
Wanting to hold you, wanting you near
How much i wanted you home

So, long story short, when the song ended, we parted ways. We both attended an afterparty at Noble Romans, but I soon came to the realization that we were never meant to be. On the way home, my Dad had the radio going. Open Arms was playing as rain wept down from the sky and streaked the windows. Had you seen me from outside the car, you might have thought I was crying, but I wasn't. I was disappointed that Mike Sinko didn't remember the connections we had made reading Jack London together the year before. I was chagrined that he acted like I was chasing him. I felt misunderstood.

However, I wasn't really invested in him. I just wanted to go with him so that I could hold my head high among the bitches I hung out with. It was probably for the best that it didn't work out after all. Trophy boyfriends aren't all they're cracked up to be.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Seriously, W.T.F.?!?

O.J. Simpson:
Evil Genius or Raving Madman?

From Yahoo! News:

Relatives of the victims in the Simpson slayings case are lashing out at the planned publication of a book by O.J. Simpson in which he discusses how he would have committed the killings of his ex-wife and her friend "if I did it."

So, basically, it's his long-delayed confession, no?

How stupid does he think we are? Why not write about his tireless search to find the "real killers"? That would be the book that would paint him as an innocent man of his word, rather than a plotting cold-blooded killer. I think he think's he's being clever. He's using this book to get attention and prove that he's smart, I guess. However it's obvious he's bursting at the seems to tell everyone how it really happened. Hubris always goes before a fall...(one hopes).

He is truly a mad man.

One Down...


I just paid off and closed my Target Visa card. Phew. Slowly but surely, we are eating this elephant of debt one hamburger at a time. There are very few milestones, so I'm celebrating the hell out of this one.

Here's a bit of free advice: pay cash for everything, if you can. If you can't pay for something with cash (barring a house or a car), then you probably don't need it. I've learned that lesson the hard way.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Talk About Your Anticlimax

Not that I was hoping for any major damage as a result of the earthquakes off the coast of Japan, but the whole way into work this moring, NPR kept giving fluttering accounts of scientists tracking its possible effects. NPR on-air reporters were checking in with members of the Japanese government, asking about evacuation plans. This story dovetailed nicely after a story about engineers building a test house on quake tables to simulate the effects of earthquakes on the types of housing that currently exists in California. Their next test will be in Japan.

After all was said and done, the tsunamis ended up being a series of sixteen inch waves pummeling the coast. Thanks, NPR for gearing up like pros. And thanks, God, for deciding against punishing Japan today. After all, they've all been saved right?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Let's Pause For A Moment Of Thanksgiving

I'm thankful for the miracle of science that is Imodium A-D. Were it not for the potent powers of this potion, I'd still be doubled over and in bed.
****
What are you thankful for today?

Monday, November 13, 2006

Mercy, Mercy, Mercy!

I've recently found my copy of Buddy Rich's Mercy, Mercy CD and have loaded it up on my iTunes at work. It rocks. I highly recommend it.


Self-Improvement Goal 4: Send Christmas Cards

Every year I buy three or four boxes of Christmas cards. I fill them out and I sometimes even manage to address them. Since I do all of my bill paying online, I never need to go to the post office and I never have any stamps on hand. So, my pile of unstamped, unsent Christmas cards sits in a conspicuous spot, like a beggar on the corner, waiting for a little spare change for a stamp that will send them on their way. "Please, ma'am," they seem to stay, "Just a pittance so I can fulfill my destiny..."

I spend the first few days thinking, "Yeah, I'll get some stamps...I must remember to get stamps." And my good intentions will get me through perhaps a week. Then I begin to receive Christmas cards in the mail. I line them up on my mantle while glancing over my shoulder at my pile of unsent cards, which have begun to collect dust or artistic embellishment with crayon. Their unfullfilledness eminates towards me sending shockwaves of guilt through my nervous system.

By this time, I've spent my extra dough on gifts and I can't really bring myself to spend $40 bucks on a roll of stamps. All I can do is look at those poor unsent cards and feel a failure.

Not this year!

This year, I will buy Christmas cards, sign them and add a personal note, address and stamp them and drop them into a USPS certified post box or mail facility. The cards may even include pictures of my girls, but I don't want to get too ambitious.

How, you may be wondering, will I accomplish this task when I haven't been able to do it for a good three years now? I've enlisted the help of my Mom. I've begged her to help me see this through. I don't think she's ever gone a year without mailing a Christmas card and I know she will help me achieve this goal. Part of self improvement is knowing when to cry for help and that's just what I've done.

I can see us now, sitting at her dining room table with her address book open and my Yahoo! address book open. We'll be sipping wine and shaking the cramps out of our writing hands. But we will finish them. We'll stamp them and we'll drop them off at the post office. Oh, yes. It will be done.

This goal is very important to me. As much as I love online communication, I believe that writing personal messages with a pen on paper is a fine tradition to continue. If I can't be there to give presents personally, at least I can spend some time thinking about my distant friends and family and offer something more personal than what they'd get from me in an email. It's something tangible and beautiful and contains a degree of craftsmanship.

I'm committed to this goal and I believe I will be successful. I'd love to send a card out to anyone who's been kind enough to read my blog. If you'd like to be added to my Christmas list, please email your information to me at flannerychristmas@yahoo.com

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Darn It! I Do Have A Novel In Me



I'm seeing a story arc for Rick Parsons who is the central character of what started out as a short story. By golly, I'm going to write it.

By the way, my weekend posts are brief because I don't have a lot of time, not for lack of ideas.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

My Children Joined A Fraternity When I Wasn't Looking


For some reason, when my girls are done drinking from dixie cups, the crush them in their little fists and throw them on the floor. They then belch gloriously; sometimes it's fake, sometimes it's real. And they wrestle like maniacs.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Friday's Party Shuffle

Here's what my home iTunes selected for my day off today:

99 Red Balloons - Goldfinger
Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me - The Smiths
Itchy And Scratchy" - End Credits Theme The Simpsons
Make My Own Rules - L.L. Cool J With Flea, Dave Navarro and Chad Smith James T. Smith & Flea
Black Horse & The Cherry Tree (Radio Version) - KT Tunstall Black Horse & The Cherry Tree - Single
Inside the Vogon Ship - Joby Talbot Joby Talbot The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture)
Tequila Sunrise - Eagles Greatest Hits - Volume 1 1971-1975
Get Back - The Beatles
I Can See Clearly - Johnny Nash J. Nash
I Get A Kick Out Of You - Eileen Rodgers Cole Porter Anything Goes - 1962 revival
From Russia With Love - Matt Monro Lionel Bart
My Own Two Hands - Ben Harper & Jack Johnson
Love Me - Elvis Presley
Why Does The Sun Shine? (The Sun Is A Mass Of Incandecent Gas) - They Might Be Giants
Get The Party Started - Pink
Addicted to Love - Robert Palmer
This Jesus Must Die - Andrew Lloyd Webber
One Night In The City - Dio
Perfect Day - Clay Aiken
YOU 'RE STILL THE ONE - SHANIA TWAIN

Justin Timberlake Is Hott


My pals, Genn6 and Elizabeth are all coming to terms with Justin Timberlake's sudden hottness to us. Genn6 Explains it best here. I must have his new album.

Edited to add: Elizabeth takes umbrage with my statement that she believes he is hott. She affirms that instead of hott he is now no longer repulsive (see comments). Prone 2 Whimsy apologizes for this overstatement.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Earworm Memories

Walter Egan's Magnet and Steel

After I started going to school, my Mom went back to work. Therefore, I was put into the care of our neighbor across the street, Darlene, after school and in the summertime. She had two teenagers, one of whom was a young lady named Lynette. Lynette was constantly doing her hair and fighting with her mother. Fortuantely, I think I only spent one summer with this mother/daughter after school special waiting to happen.

During that fateful summer, we had passes to Lake O'Pines, a not so local swimming hole. It was a man-made lake with campgrounds. I truly hated to go there. The "lake" was brown and awful, the sand was large-grit and the kids were either malicious or indifferent.

I would wake up in the mornings we were going to the "lake" filled with all the dread a five-year-old could muster. I would wait in their living room while Darlene snapped at Lynnette over whatever was annoying her that day. We'd finally all be ready to leave and pile into their dark blue Buick. By the time we got into the car, Lynette and Darlene would no longer be speaking to each other.

Darlene would reach over and snap on the radio, faitfully tuned to WHBC, the local easy-listening station. They had a pretty constant play list and Magnet and Steel would be on as we drove down the long, tree-lined road to Lake O'Pines. I can remember the smell of the car, the chill of the air conditioning, the small silver levers that controlled the power windows, and Darlene complaining to Lynette about how vain she was. And this opera of bitchery was set to the lilting sounds of Walter Egan's plantive pipes. Ah, good times.

Ooh ooh ah
Now I told you so you ought to know
Ooh it takes some time for a feelin' to grow
Ooh you're so close now I can't let you go
Ooh and I can't let go
For you are a magnet and I am steel

I can't hope that I'll hold you for long
Ooh you're a woman who's lost to your song
Ooh but the love that I feel is so strong
Ooh and it can't be wrong

With you I'm not shy to show the way I feel
With you I might try my secrets to reveal
For you are a magnet and I am steel
For you are a magnet and I am steel

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

People I'd Love to Shop With

Inspired by this post on The Sirmarco Letters...


Famous British Author, J.R.R. Tolkein
***
I would love to shop with J.R.R. because he has a classic sense of style and an enormous vocabulary he could apply when telling me whether my butt looked too big in those pants or if my tits looked great in this top. I believe he has a fine sense of humor and is a keen observer of human nature. I'd be glad to help him find a new vicuna coat. He'd be helpful when selecting holiday linens. I'd avoid his book recommendations, however.
***
We would wander around the Tinder Box and pick out pipe tobacco suitable for Hobbits. Perhaps we would admire the dragon statuary. Then we would take that first step of our adventure circumnavigating the mall. We would stop every half and hour or so for a snack. We would slog our way through Mordor...I mean Abercrombe and Fitch. We would visit Goldberry, who now works at Bath & Body Works. We would try to out maneuver Tom Bombadil, the security guard. At the end of our journey, we would feast at Steak Escape and swap tales of our glory. I would nag him to get to the point and he would beg me for more details. I'd try to get him to restart the Inklings, this time to include women. He'd grump that he's not interested. Then he'd call for Shadowfax and we'd ride home.

It's Almost Like Bein' In Love

According to the Canton Repository, Republican candidate for Governor J. Kenneth Blackwell "conceded the race in an email last night at 8:47 p.m., remarkably early in what proved to be one of the most contentious races for the governor's office in recent memory." Thank heaven Ohio is saved from this abrasive and shallow man.

Also, that the Democrats are in charge of the house and the Senate pretty much split down the middle, I'm feeling pretty good about the future.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Brevity For The Sake Of Sanity

I've volunteered to help Big Orange with his homework. He has been tasked with creating a culture for his small group project. Even though it is very thorough and interesting, I don't think you can expect the other people in his group to read and digest this 3,398 word tome. So, I've agreed to edit it down to 500 words. I think I've been successful.

Assignment: Invent a Culture

Name: The Omegas

History: The Omegas are the last generation of humans, the race having become sterile. This last generation is markedly different from its predecessors: all are blue-eyed, quiet and super-intelligent. They reject their non-omega family members. As the population died off, most people abandoned remote locations and moved to cities, the exception being a group of Omegas called the Red Hands, who became nomadic and aggressive.

Language: The Omegas speak their own invented language. It is presumed that the Red Hands have a different but also invented language of their own.

Education: City-dwelling Omegas are apathetic towards education. They are fast learners and the last generation on earth, so they see no need for study. The Red Hands also see no need for education.

Work: Omegas prefer leisure and rely on an aging population of "regular" people to see to all the manual labor. The Red Hands' work includes attacking "regular" people.

Play: Omegas play quiet games of chance. Their sport includes challenges of accuracy rather than complicated rule-bound games like football. The Red Hands beat people up for sport.

Pets: Omegas don't own pets, rather they co-habitate with animals and livestock, in particular: cats.

Religion: Omegas don't believe in a higher power and tend to ridicule the beliefs of those "regular" people who do have faith. The Red Hands have a faith which requires them to offer "regular" people as human sacrifices to amuse their gods, it is presumed.

Sex Roles: The sexes of the Omegas seem to keep with the classical themes of art and figure drawing where women have more curves and appear to have “volume”, whereas men have more straight lines and appear to have “angle.”

The Omegas are sensual beings. It’s suggested that all Omegas are at least partially bisexual, based on how easily they touch, kiss and hold each other in mixed groups. However, in a world where no one can get pregnant and the world is dying, sex has become uninteresting, and instead flirting and being sensual has replaced sex.

Both male and female Red Hands are often only partially clad or fully naked, usually streaked with paint, mud or blood. Red Hand women are as violent as the men, perhaps even more so-- accounts of Red Hand women beating motorists to death are common Red Hand sex has been observed during attacks as a sort of ecstatic, state of consciousness experience that might be some sort of ritual.

Taboo: Anything the "regular" people do, the Omegas avoid. They also don't ask the question "What do you do?" to other Omegas; they just don't care.

Concept of Time: They spend their time as they please.

Family Ties: Family no longer holds meaning for Omegas, as they cannot reproduce and families are a "regular" people concept. They prefer the company of other Omegas.

Food: Omegas prefer the fine and fresh food and drink provided by their gardens.

Holidays: The Omegas recognize the full moon as a time to celebrate.

It Smells Like A New Car

I've received some invoices and I'm primed to process them. So, I've busted out the WordSmith 100 and I'll be damned if it doesn't smell like a new car. I've opened up the top and have removed all the packing and securing doo-dads. I'm anxious to try it out, so I'll skip reading the instructions for now.

25 minutes later...


Well, it hasn't yet improved efficency or reduced wasted resources. It's taken me 25 minutes and four attmepts to complete one three-part form with accuracy. I'd forgotten that a typewriter is far less forgiving than a PC. I blame the ease of correction a PC offers on my badly degraded typing skills. In the last sentence alone, I made seven corrections, but you'd never know it from looking at this finished product. So, the typewriter doesn't seem to be any faster than writing more legibly. However, I think that, with practice, it will be.

Besides, my finished document is clear, legible and it looks great! And I get to hear the "snap, snap, snap" of the letters on the daisy wheel hitting the paper. It's kind of nice music, if I do say so

Monday, November 06, 2006

Official Revision Of Self-Improvement Goal 1: Improve My Handwriting

Recently, I had the pleasurable experience of my annual performance review. In it, we reviewed my goals from last year, one of which has always and will always be this: Become more organized/manage time and deadlines better. I explained to my boss my own self-improvement goal: To improve my handwriting. I explained that I worried there were sometimes errors in billing because people have mistaken my sevens for ones, etc. So, I've been working on writing more legibly.

"Oh, don't bother doing that," she said, "Just buy a typewriter!"

So I did. It just arrived on Friday and it's sitting in a box in my office. It is a Smith Corona WordSmith 100 Electornic Typewriter.



I can't wait for an invoice to come in so I can start to tap away on its keys. I'm looking forward to the quaint noises it will make when I turn it on and begin to type. It will be like this: "Hummmm....zap...zap...zap... zap...zap...zap...zap ...zap...zap...zap ...zap...zap...ding! It will growl when I pull the paper out with out undoing the release lever, which I'm sure I'll do. I look forward to lining up the paper correctly so that the WordSmith 100 will type precisly 1.5 millimeters above the lines on the form. And I will treasure my pink or goldenrod copy as legibile evidence of what I ordered for future refence.

I will be reporting on my experience back in time as I type forms. In the mean time, let me leave you with this poem I wrote last March:

Ode on a Requisition Form
--after Keats "Ode on a Grecian Urn
Thou blank, crisp face with blanks to inscribe,
Thou three part NCR form; pink, yellow, white.
I tremble with anticipation and sweat with fear.
Will I complete you correctly? Will you flow through
The twists and turns of approvals and eyes?
Will you become the purchase order I desire?
***
Your fields, unscrutable, I check my codes.
The codes, byzantine and nearly uncrackable.
Is software an office supply? Or does it have its own code?
These answers I cannot divine, only uncover
With the help of the toughest teacher: experience
As you sail back and forth from clerk to clerk.
***
Still, a part of you stays with me, the pink part.
You rest in my file, chronologically side by side
With your brothers in sequential order. I protect you.
I bring out the pale copy of the original that you leave behind
To defend my word and work against those who stand against me
Tyrants in a teacup, holding their rules close to the vest.
***
Woe to the tyrant who questions your authenticity!
For I have copies of quotes and prices!
I've followed those rules I was able to uncover
And I have written them down to pass on to those who come after me.
Oh, yes, tyrant, your empire shall crumble!
Your gates will fall. And work shall be done in half the time!
***
But this requisition shall sustain me. I will sing your number,
Again and again until your metamophosis is complete
Until your items and services are delivered
Until your invoices are paid.
Thou shalt remain in the midst of other records
Boxed, archived, tallied, charted, reported and closed,
And I shall inform my replacement:"Documentation is truth, truth documentation"--that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need know.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Twas A Dream I've Had...

I was in "my" house and it was full of people. It was getting late and Doc and I and this older lady decided it was time to hit the hay. We were the last ones up and had to climb over sleeping figures to get to the upstairs. After I had changed into a white nightgown, I went into my bedroom. It happened to be the bedroom I had at my parent's house. When I got there, Shawn was asleep next to the old lady, who had lain her head on my favorite pillow.

I began to weep. Doc woke up and asked me what was the matter.

"I have to get up early for work tomorrow and that lady is sleeping in my place!"

"Well, Miss Scarlett," he said, in his best Rhett Butler, "Why don't you go see Ashley Wilkes and tell him all about it."

"I will! I will tell Ashley! Ashley will understand!" I said and ran out of the room weeping. I knew he was teasing me good-naturedly. I was playing along to the fullest.

So I headed down into the basement, which was all white and very well-lit and modern. A grandma and her grandkids were just putting away the PlayStation. I couldn't believe all the people that were at the house.

I gave up trying to get some sleep as I looked to my right and noticed that I was standing in the way of many patrons, who were wandering around the rest of the basement, which just happened to be the public library.

I found Elizabeth and we decided to head to colonial Boston to meet up with Big Orange and his Good Wife. We got into an open carriage. it was drizzling and dark. The driver, who pulled the carriage with a John Deere Tractor and was dressed as Paul Revere, took our money and told us to sit on the bench. We went down the dirt road and I spotted Big Orange and his Good Wife among the other villagers, all of whom were wearing colonial garb. The town itself, though, had the look of Tombstone.

They climbed up into the carriage and I gave Big Orange a bear hug. I released him from the hug, but kept my arm around his shoulder. It was so good to see him and I missed him very much, I didn't want to let him go. We rode to a pavillion and got off the carriage. We made our way to a spot on the grass, where several colonials were sitting on a large tarp. Big Orange lounged on his side, propped up on his elbow with his feet crossed. I saw him look up. My eyes followed his and we took in the sight of a lovely waif of a woman who had just wandered up. I turned my head as something whizzed by it. Big Orange's Good Wife had thrown a slinky at him good and hard to get him to put his tongue back into his head.

"That's how we play it around here," she said.

I took a good look at Big Orange. He now has freckles, I noted. I also noted the time. It was 7:09 a.m. Our plane left Boston at 7:30 a.m. I began to weep again.

"I've got to go but I don't want to!" I said. "Besides, I don't think we'll make our plane, Elizabeth!"

She gathered me up and we made our way down the dirt road. We began to pass several street vendor carts: hot dogs and pretzels. They were "closed" but fully stocked. One of the carriage drivers was sneaking up to one. Apparently, one of the initiation rites in this place was to steal an item of food off of one of the carts without getting caught. He grabbed a hot pretzel. He coaxed us to do the same. Elizabeth helped herself to a hot pretzel, but I demured.

At the end of the row of vendor carts, was a gangplank. We walked onto it and followed it along until it opened up into our hosts house. I looked into their office and the lady was dressed as Marie Antoinette. I told her we need to get to our plane and that we hadn't packed our stuff yet.

She nodded and called over her shoulder to her husband, "Lady Elaine, could you come out here for a moment?"

Her husband came out of the back of the room and there he was, dressed as, not Lady Elaine, but Madame. Then I woke up.










Saturday, November 04, 2006

Lunch With Lucy

Lucy's Self Portrait
Today, Lucy and I had lunch together while Riley played on the computer. We had chicken and Diet Coke. As we ate and drank, we practiced belching the alphabet together.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Earworm Memories

The past two mornings, I've arisen in the morning with a haunting tune ringing in my brain:



It has stuck with me for many years and I don't know why. I remember hearing it the first time at about 8 years old. I recall really listening to the words as I waited in a car outside K-Mart with my cousins. My uncle had gone in the store for something. It was raining and the heater was on full blast. I remember thinking the man's voice was quite nice. I started thinking about flying away myself. It sounded pretty good at the moment.

I love my cousins, don't get me wrong. But spending time with them always felt like a dangerous adventure. They were older than me and fond of pranks. My uncle, their father, was a somewhat unpredictable man, who often ran out of gas. When this would happen, he would strip to his running shorts and jog to the nearest filling station to get more gas. I'm not sure if it was because he was broke most of the time, forgetful, or just the kind of guy who liked any excuse to go for a run. Maybe it was a combination of the above. Maybe it didn't happen as often as I remember. At any rate, when I was with them, I was always at least 20% in fear for my safety.

This was a rather high fear threshold for me. I was an only child and my parents are very conscientious. I don't ever remember them running out of gas. They probably did at some point and I've forgotten because I always felt safe with them.

For many years, I resented the time spent with my uncle and cousins. I felt that my parents were being highly irresponsible, putting me in the care of mad people. But now, I look back at those days rather fondly. Without them, I would never know what it was like to just hop in the car on a whim to go to Cedar Point or Geauga Lake, to arrive when it opens and stay until it closes. I would never have gotten a glimpse of what it was like to be a teenager in the early eighties. I would never have met the cool people they hung out with.

Sure, I lost some of my innocence hanging out with them. But I got a glimpse of a life less orderly, less secure. I learned what it felt like to throw the dice and deal with the consequences, good or bad. I learned what good singing was. I discovered how good it felt to break the rules every now and then.

That song always reminds me of that day in the parking lot. I haven't heard it in years, yet I can instantly call it up in my mind. And when I do that, I'm transported to my childhood, where I sit in an overly warm car that smells of vinyl and stale cigarette smoke, watching the rain roll down the windows and wishing to fly away.

Not with the perv who wrote the song, mind you. Just on my own.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Celebrities Who Have Appeared In My Dreams, Episode 104: Josh Radner & Clay Aiken



I was attending a Clay Aiken concert with Josh Radner. I was still kind of bummed out that my fate was intertwined with Josh rather than Neil Patrick. But we had front row seats and Josh was wearing a suit.




Also, Clay looked fairly normal compared to the monstrosity that appeared on the last American Idol finale. (See below for screen shot).


By the way, I think I'd better explain that I have no idea why the cast of "How I Met Your Mother" has made such an obvious impression on my psyche. I watched the first few episodes and decided that, yes, the premise was fresh and new, however it was a business-as-usual situation comedy. So I quit watching. I had seen quite enough of Friends, thank you very much, and I don't need to waste my time, watching its clones.

Why, oh, why does the public put up with these sad reconstitutions and shun other, more deserving shows (coughArrestedDevelopmentcough)? It's a waste of my time and Neil Patrick Harris' talent.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

"Some Feel The Heat And Some Sweat When The Heat Is On"

I was in my bathroom at 6:45 a.m. this morning, fresh out of the shower. I had the space heater going and it was aimed directly at my bare legs. I was wearing two towels, one swami style on my head and the other wrapped around my torso. We keep it at about 65 degrees in our house and wear layers to ward off the chill, lest we be driven to the poor house by Dominion Gas. I had just squeezed a dollop of Oil of Olay onto my fingers when my cell phone rang. It could only be Big Orange and even for him, it was early.

As my fingers were covered with lotion, I decided to let him speak to my voice mail. I continued my morning ablutions at record speed; I had hit the snooze for nearly an hour and I need to be in my car by 7:00 a.m. if I were to arrive at work with any semblance of punctuality. I spread the lotion over my face, towel dried my hair, added mousse, turned of the space heater, dried and styled my hair with the hair dryer, applied deodorant and got dressed. I kissed Doc goodbye and wished him a happy birthday (read about his transition to middle age here, it's great) and was on the road by 7:05 a.m.

Once I had settled myself in for my hour-long commute, I picked up the phone and retrieved my voicemail. I was greeted by a taunting madman. He was rubbing it in that he had already posted his first blogcake in what threatens to be a very long month of blogging, and that he had several more in the queue, locked and loaded. He noted that he had checked my blog and noticed that I hadn't yet posted. That seemed to give him enormous pleasure.

I called him back and he gloated some more. Then we bitched about politics and education. He has a big day at work today and was about to pick up his breakfast, so we wished each other well and returned to our respective commutes.

The whole way in, I was trying to remember an idea for a post that had occured to my last night. Sadly, it was as elusive as Osama Bin Ladin. I was unable to put my finger on it.

I made my way up to my desk and logged in. And what story does Yahoo! decide I need to see first thing? An article called "The Best Entrepreneurs Under 25". Under 25?!? Jesus!

So, not only have I been bested at blogging by a neurotic fifth grade science teacher with hypographia (well played, old bean!), I'm also being lapped by the next generation vis a vis sucess. Sigh. It's a lot to swallow first thing in the morning, to be sure.

However, I am not bummed out. I am inspired. I plan on giving my all this month and really taking my writing to a higher level of quality in the areas of humor, thoughfulness, grammar, relevancy and style.

Be ye warned: It's getting hot in here...