Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Eat, Drink, and Be Merry, For Tomorrow We Die

Mrs. Wishy Washy has gained access to Social Zymurgy and has started bossing us all around. Every Sunday, Big Orange will channel her and demand we complete a writing exercise. Here is the first one from "Yoga for the Brain," number 160:

You have just finished writing your autobiography, which includes 10 different chapters. Write a title of each chapter in the book.

Here is the Table of Contents for my autobiography:

  1. Look How Blonde My Hair Is!

  2. Limelight Is My Favorite Color

  3. Pushing the Envelope

  4. Musical Me

  5. Upwrite

  6. Me and Sysiphus We Got A Good Thing Goin'

  7. Now That We Are Alone, I Can Say This...

  8. Friends in Low Places

  9. Philosophy Pie

  10. Recipes For My Potluck Wake

I encourage you to complete this exercise as well, but I'm not a ball-busting bitch like Mrs. Wishy Washy, so it is only a request. I'm interested to hear what you have to say. And, in the spirit of the Funeral Meme, that last chapter sparked an idea. I'd like to tap everyone's epicuriosity and ask you all, what hot dishes, finger foods, and desserts would you like people to bring to your wake? Here's mine:

  • Sloppy joe's, of course, with white enriched hamburger buns
  • Baked pasta, preferable rigatoni baked in a foil pan, with mozzerella and provolone melted to a crisp on top
  • Green bean casserole, not my cup of tea, but unforgivable if missing from a wake buffett
  • Broasted Chicken and jo-jo potatoes.
  • Veggie tray
  • Cheese and crackers
  • Olive Garden Salad and breadsticks
  • Devilled eggs, again, not my taste but people love making these things for wakes, so let them.
  • Norcia's rolls and butter
  • Pumpkin pie,
  • Brownies (no nuts and sprinkled with powdered sugar)
  • Chocolate cake

Friday, July 27, 2007

Personal DNA

More about me, thanks to Johnny Yen...

Yay! I Will Probably Be Laid Off!!!

Yes, folks, the writing is on the wall. Of course, we have to go through a bunch of job analysis, crying and group therapy first, but I'm pretty sure I'm a goner. But don't be sad, I've been trying to figure out a way to get out of this job for FOUR YEARS. Finally, God closed the door on this place and has opened up another one. I am Dorothy leaving sepia tones for rich technicolor.

Lucky for me, I'm in the union and at a university. When everything's official, I will have a minimum of 30 day's notice. In the meantime, if another position at my salary grade appears, I will get placed in it at the same salary level, no interviews necessary. This is called Recall Rights and I have them for 18 months after I'm laid off.

Oh. my. God. I am so thrilled I can hardly stand it. Most of you don't know what my worklife has been like because I purposly don't talk about it here, though I have provided glimpses. But, while I do worthy work, I am usually trying to do that work while everyone in the world is trying to stop me. So this is what I say to them:

Kiss my ass! I'm outta here!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

My New Hair-Do Is Worth +1 Charisma

I got my haircut yesterday. I was flipping through the style books, as I always do and came up short handed. Why do those books always seem like they ar 17 years out of date? I swear, Every one of the Designing Women hairstyles was represented, including Anthony Bouvier's. So I searched through the other magazines and pulled out the one with Daniel Ratcliff on the cover. As I was flipping through, I saw a picture of Victoria Beckham. And God descended from the heavans with his heavenly choir in tow and rested his holy index finger on ther photo. That was the haircut I have been looking for.

I haven't always been a trendy girl. Well, not for the past few years. But recently, I've become a huge fasion fan. It has ispired me to quest for my new look, a signature style that will last me at least three more haircuts. And I've accomplished that quest. The Rachel cut I was saddled with died an uncerimonious death.
I swear, I don't know why some hairdressers ask you what you want! They never do it. I should just answer that question with, "Why don't you just cut it the way you are planning to." That's what I get for getting my haircut at Walmart.

Sure, I've copied Victoria Beckahm's doo, but not identically. My hair is still dark. But I'll tell you what, I've gotten more compliments on my hair today. It's been a real boost to the old self esteem and it couldn't have come at a better time. So, thanks, Becks and welcome to America.

Look Out, Chicago!

Doc and I are coming to town. At the end of October, we will have been married 10 years and to celebrate, we are planning to have a weekend getaway in Chicago. We will be driving out on Friday, October 26th and we plan on staying Friday and Saturday night.

We would like to get together with any of you Chibloggoans who are free on the evening of Saturday, October 27th. If you all could think of a good place to meet, we'll be there with bells on. Also, if you know of a nice hotel with a good location that isn't too expensive, please let me know about it. I plan on booking a room in the very near future.

In the interim between now and the trip, We plan to study your culture so that we don't stick out as tourons. So, if there are any cultural taboos or traditions you want to warn us of, please do. We have seen the Blues Brothers and the Blues Brothers 2000, so I think we have the basics covered, but we would appreciate any advanced instruction.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

I Have Returned From The Wizarding World

I realize my posting has been minimal if infrequent lately, but I was stricken with Pottermania over the weekend, coming off what was probably the worst week I've had in a while. I have a theory about why that was, but I'm going to talk about that over at Frying Bacon later on today.

I'm having trouble coming up with things to talk about. I tried picking up the Newsweek to see if it had any new stories I could run with, but after thumbing through it and reading everything up to the "My Turn" section, I realized it was over a month old.

Frankly, though, a lot of my writing mojo has been absorbed by the Masters program I'm in. I suppose I could supply you with some of that. I was supposed to analyze a conflict in my life. This is what I came up with and it is part of the reason why my week sucked so hard:

Conflict Description: My supervisor had asked me to get information about resource needs for the remainder of the year. He needed the information rather quickly and I pulled it together. As I was presenting the information, a co-worker interrupted with a suggestion that my information may not have been complete. I returned to my office with her and we struggled to retrace our steps over the past year and tried to confirm my information. At one point, we needed to call another office to get some general information. We were on the phone with the other office for nearly an hour, ending up more confused then when we started. At this point, my supervisor appeared at my door wanting a final version to take with him to a meeting. When I explained that I was unsure of my data and had called another office, my supervisor became angry and told me that this was supposed to be an in-house document and discussion. I countered that, in the past, he had wanted me to provide the most accurate information possible and I was trying to live up to that standard, lest we run into a surprise obstacle in the future.

Major Source of Conflict: A major source of this conflict was unrealistic expectations on behalf of me and my supervisor. I wanted to uncover all potential “landmines” before I released the document to him. He wanted me to complete a task without using all of my resources and didn’t warn me in advance that I needed to do the best I could with the information I had at hand. I think we also both jumped to conclusions. I felt that I needed to thoroughly research the problem, but he preferred general information. He thought I had breached his trust and had been indiscreet. This was a perceptual conflict in that I believed I was doing what was expected of me based on past experience. My supervisor had explained that he couldn’t go into details about why he needed the information. His perception of the situation was that I was “leaking” information to another office and that this matter was highly confidential. What he didn’t realize was that I was asking for general information that was appropriate and would not indicate anything to the other office, as I had no idea what was behind the request for information.

Conflict Resolution Strategy Applied: My supervisor and I realized that we both lacked full understanding of the situation. Because there was little time to analyze the situation, we decided to go with a temporary solution. He chose to use my original information as I presented it to him initially, with the caveat that there may be unforeseen problems due to the lack of complete access to information at that time. I agreed to come to him in the future for approval to contact outside help on this particular issue. We also apologized to each other.

Other Applicable Resolution Strategies: I believe we could have also applied an interdependence Analysis, wherein we could determine for the future how to notify each other of our situations. He would need to be more forthcoming when assigning a task that this was a matter purely in-house and explicitly say I should contact no one else while getting the job done. I would need to be very explicit about what information I had direct access to and what information I needed to retrieve through others.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Friday, July 20, 2007

Meet Me At The Border At Midnight...

I can't help it. I've got to go to the midnight sale of the new Harry Potter book. But this time, I've pre-ordered and should have a good place in line, unlike last time. Hopefully, I'll be able to get out of there in good time. I've got class tomorrow morning, but I will be hard pressed not to stay up all night reading the final volume in the series.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Movie Review: The Illusionist

I'm a little rusty when it comes to picking out videos to rent. In fact, the first time I walked into a video store since the pact ended, I nearly swooned by the sensory overload. But, for the most part, I chose wisely. The kids enjoyed the movies they picked out and Doc and I failed to watch the movie I rented for us, which was Clerks II.

This past weekend I went in and rented The Illusioninst. The cover looked cool and Paul Giamatti was in it; we love him. And, of course, magici is so hot right now. How could I go wrong with what appeared to be a great cast, even though Edward Norton is such a tool?

My first clue that I had made a poor choice was the litany of producers displayed during the credits. My heart sank after what must have been a dozen separate producers and co-producers names faded in and out of the sepia toned, distressed film. Too many cooks to be sure.

It was set in Germany at the turn of the century. There's forbidden love between two people separated by class. They try to run away together but are caught. He ends up travelling the world and becoming The Illusionist. He returns to Vienna to find his true love betrothed to the crown prince, an asshole on the level of Stanly Kowalski. The CP tries to discredit The Illusionist, but is outwitted at every turn. Meanwhile Paul Giamatti, the chief inspector, pocket dweller of the CP, and an amateur conjurist becomes infatuated with The Illusionist.

Let me tell you what, watching this movie felt exactly like spinning around and around for 30 seconds, sitting down suddenly, and watching paint dry. It was boring. The cinematography was an annoying, amateur imitation of the camera work in Moulin Rouge. The actors were overwraught and saturated their performances with a melancholy, I guess, to bolster the silly script. They were shooting for taut and poignent; they got cloying and ridiculous. At one point, The Illusionist, in a flashforward, was sitting in a chair on stage in front of a totally silent audience. The camera panned the entire theater starting with The Illusionist, soaring over the seats, capturing nearly everyone's face in the audience, which must have been populated by the producers and their families, over the balcony, and back around to the box seats, returning once again to The Illusionists haggard face. Well, as haggard as Ed Norton could pull off, anyway. This scene was so long and so unnecessary, that it became funny. As the camera was making it's slow return trip to the stage, I said to Doc, "This...Is American Idol."

Now, I did not see the end of the movie (I fell asleep). But this is what I guess happened. The Illusionist pulled off his biggest Illusion ever by faking the death of his love and framing the CP for it. And The Illusionist and The Girl ran off to Albania and lived happily ever after, as the Chief Inspector became mayor and thought back fondly, in voice over, of the way The Illusionist was able to make an orange tree grow from a seed in a matter of a minute.... zzzzzzzz.... snore... what? Yeah, it was that boring.

Save your money and rent Freaky Friday instead.

Quote From A Co-Worker

After explaining a situation that made her feel righteously angry she said, "Oh, my freakin' goodness!"

Her piety cracks me up.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Monday, July 16, 2007

Draco Says: See the New Harry Potter Movie...

...or Longbottom gets it!
Seriously, this movie was very well done. They were able to compress the longest Harry Potter book into a two hour movie with style and grace. If you love Harry Potter, you will love this movie. If you don't love Harry Potter, then we don't have much to say to each other today.

Friday, July 13, 2007

I'm Sure You'll Find This As No Surprise...

I pinched this quiz from Johnny Yen...
How to Win a Fight With a Conservative is the ultimate survival guide for political arguments

My Liberal Identity:

You are a Social Justice Crusader, also known as a rights activist. You believe in equality, fairness, and preventing neo-Confederate conservative troglodytes from rolling back fifty years of civil rights gains.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Future Hot Shot

I've been teaching Riley how to play Hot Shots Golf Fore! on the PlayStation. If she uses the "everyone" club, she does a pretty good job. But she still gets frustrated that she can't beat me. No one can beat me at this game, so she really shouldn't feel bad.

Anyway, today, Doc discovered that the cable line in Riley's room works and he hooked up a TV in there, much to my dismay. He just put her to bed and came in our room and told me that Riley was in her room watching the PGA Senior Open.

"Really?" I asked.

"Yeah," he said, "She thinks if she watches it, she will be able to improve her game on Hot Shots Golf."

"Wow," I said.

"I know," he replied.

We both got a little misty.

Thank You To Pezda, My New Image Consultant

There's Nothing Like A Night In The E.R.

Last night, Lucy had a fever of 103.8 that we couldn't get under control. Bath didn't work. Popsicles didn't work. Tylenol didn't work. So at 11:15 p.m. we made the quick drive to the hospital. The triage nurse took her vitals and immediately gave Lucy some Motrin, as her fever was now at 104.3. I worried about her taking Motrin; we had just given Lucy Tylenol a half hour ago.

"You can give kids Tylenol every 4 hours and Motrin every 6; you can even give them at the same time."

That's good to know, I thought. She shuffled us off to the waiting room since she didn't have any beds. So there we sat, me in a chair, Lucy on my lap sleeping, while Dirty Jobs played on the TV's. If you know me at all, you know I'm squeamish. I really didn't want to watch this guy clean up 90 pounds of penguin shit or dig for blood worms. But that was the extent of the ickiness; the other jobs were just dirty, like concrete work.

All the while, a cross section of night creatures passed through the doors. Partiers and hookers, for the most part. I'm just guessing about hookers, but in general, people don't usually wear skirts whose hems hit right at the base of the butt cheeks. At one point, I think that a patient escaped who shouldn't have, as a red-faced nurse came running after a couple of ladies who left who didn't look well enough to walk much.

An hour and a half later, Lucy's fever broke and I went to the triage nurse and asked her if we should just go home. The poor stressed out thing hopped up and got us a bed and off we went. To wait. Eventually, a diminutive doc came in an examined her. He couldn't find anything wrong but because her temperature was so high and her heart was racing, they decided to do x-rays and blood and urine tests.

At this point, Lucy was beside herself. She wanted to go home and commenced weeping. She was too uncooperative to stand in front of the sleek, modern x-ray machine so the radiologist had to confine her in this test tube like thing. I kept telling Lucy it would be OK but she wouldn't stop crying. I swear, I was scared to death to be a partner in providing Lucy with the most terrifying experience she'd ever had to date. But once the x-rays were over and she realized they didn't hurt, she calmed down and became interested in the equipment around her while we waited for the x-rays to be processed.

When we returned to the E.R., the nurses wanted to do a "quick" catheder to get a urine sample to test for a bladder infection. I really didn't want them to do this. The said that we could try to get a sample by having her pee in a cup. I coaxed Lucy in the bathroom and praise the lord she peed in a cup.

After the tests were done, they shuffled us off into a new room until the tests were done. We waited and waited. Lucy watched the Disney channel while I read my book and prayed. It was a period of extreme uncertainty. I envisioned a future of my little rock and roll girl bravely going in and out of the hospital for the rest of her life in order to be treated for some crippling long-term illness. I wanted to cry. Eventually, a leaned over the bed and rested my head while Lucy dozed.

Finally, the little doc came in and told us it was a virus and we should check in with our doctor later today. We gleefully got her dressed and went out to the parking lot, passing a variety of freaks and goths on the way. We pulled in the driveway at 4:30 a.m. and made our way into the house, the nightmare over. I don't think I've ever been so glad to be home.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Mel Gibson Alert: Mel Gibson Reads My Blog

Mel Gibson wants to donate funds to help Costa Rica's indigenous population and is currently there working with President Oscar Arias to make it happen. He is so personally invested in Costa Rica that he also bought a house on its Pacific coast.

I find this action to be reassuring. He's taking the piles of money he made off of exploiting their history and using it to help them build a future. (gag...did I just write that?!?). I'm sure it's because he's read this post wherein I suggested he ought to try to the boost local economies of the places he exploits, kind of like the Survivor people do.

So, what can we learn from all this sincerity and reciprocity demonstrated by Gibson and Mayer? People can change, but only if faced with public humilation. Mayer couldn't possibly sing "Waiting for the World to Change" at an event that is literally trying to change the world. Gibson is doing pennance for the flack he caught for Apocalypto. In both cases, I believe that these guys were blithely engaging in a creative activity without intending to do damage, but they never seemed to stop, consider and ask themselves, "What kind of damage will this piece of artistic expression do?" They neglected Rule Number 1: Do no harm.

I may have seemed cavalier in the past over my particular distaste for Mel Gibson. I don't think I've adequately explained why I'm so against him, but I want you to know, it is not random. The reason I took him on is because, for the most part, the movies he's appeared in and directed since Lethal Weapon are misanthropic. He specializes in capturing physical pain on the screen to a ridiculous degree. To me, that communicates something, i.e. he likes seeing people in pain, therefore he must not like people very much. To revel in people's pain to the extent that Mel Gibson has done is sick and evil, in my opinion.

If I were to judge his movies objectively, I could say that they are expertly crafted, evocative, and convey the struggles of individual men during their time throughout history. But art is never viewed in a vaccum and all art has a price: the emotions it exacts at the viewing of it. I believe that artists have a responsibility for the consequences of their art, especially any damage done. What kind of artist depicts hundreds of anatomically correct death scenes? One with a real contempt for humanity, I say, and that harms us all.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Will The Real Flannery Alden Please Stand Up?

It's time for a new avatar. Which one?

1. Flannery's Slant

2. WTF?

3. Cubist Flannery

4. Flannery Lohan

Holy Shit! What Did I Get Myself Into?

I got my homework assignment posted online in the nick of time. That'll teach me to procrastinate. Yeah, right. I'm still rattled, though. This professor is a real hard-ass and I know my work isn't my best, at least on one of the assignments. Thank God my other professor is a laid-back, mellow guy.

Where's my valium?

I Wish It Were Raining

Sunday, July 08, 2007

John Mayer Reads My Blog

Elizabeth informed me that John Mayer changed the lyrics of Waiting on the World to Change to We're Not Waiting on the World to Change for the Live Earth concert. I'm sure it's because he read this post.

Your welcome.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Did I Tell You I've Been On Vacation?

On an impulse and at the last minute, I took last week off work. My boss was going on vacation and suggested that we all make ourselves scarce, since everyone else was. So I did. And being at home means very little time on the computer, so thus the lack of posts. I have also started the second half of the summer semester. Phew. So far I have an A average in grad school, but that is for one class that I designed. I'm still waiting for my ethics grade; I'm pretty sure it's an A too, but keep your fingers crossed for me.

I'm sitting here on my deck, talking to the neighbor boy and watching Lucy scoot around on her scooter. The neighbor boy just left to go fetch some snakes to show me. I just can't wait to see them. (gag).

We saw Ratatouille today at the theater. It was cute...sort of...when I wasn't gagging at the thought of rats handling food. Really, suspending my disbelief was in a word: impossible. It's been a long time since I felt like I was going to vomit during a movie. Probably not since I saw Sin City.

Anyway, it's been a good week. Expect more next week from me.

Peace out.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Independence Day

The genius of the United States is not best or most in its executives or legislatures, nor in its ambassadors or authors or colleges, or churches, or parlors, nor even in its newspapers or inventors, but always most in the common people.

--Walt Whitman

Sunday, July 01, 2007

I've Got A New Job...

I'm taking over Frying Bacon in the Nude for the month of July! I'm sure this will put me on the every watchlist held by the powers that be, but it's what you do for friends. So come on over and check it out.