Thursday, October 30, 2008

Unintentionally Funny List

I'm a fan of lists. I'm not sure when I started making them, but now I find myself compelled, so much so that I didn't realize how comical this was...

What's on your to-boo list?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Big Wicked Online Pageant

The lovely Beth has challenged us to post photos of ourselves dressed to the nines for Halloween. I've really enjoyed looking at all of your photos, so I thought I'd share some of mine. I'm a day late and a dollar short but I think I can still slip under the wire. I went searching through my parents' photos this evening and found a few that I couldn't decide on. So, I'm posting them all.


First, we have a group photo. See if you can spot my mug...


Yep, the crazed gunwoman...that's me!
A year or so later, my family and I went to a costume party...

That's my Dad as Groucho, my cousin is a hula girl, my Mom's Miss Piggy (she later threw up in that hat), and me? I'm Adam Ant, of course.

And the costume of which my Mom is most proud...

A terrorist! That's an automatic squirt gun in my left hand and a knife in my right...look out you capitalist pigs! Give me all your candy!!

I hope you enjoyed these as much as I've enjoyed yours. Happy Halloween and Trick or Treat!

Windows: Life Without Walls

I must say that the new Windows ad campaign is baffling. First all that nonsense with Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld buying shoes. Now it's this whole "I Am PC" stuff where people are being encouraged to record themselves and post dorky videos online. The website for this is I'M A PC, which looks to me like imac if you squint.

But my biggest complaint is about their new slogan: Windows. Life without walls. It sort of clanged in my head like so many pots and pans. It made me wonder, if life had no walls, there would be no need for windows, right? I mean windows should be thankful for walls, else upon what would they hang? And if you slide that argument over the virtual "walls" that divide files and folders in their software, they really should be thankful for walls and not shunning them. Otherwise, it would be a file free-for-all and it would take hours to find anything.

I mean what's wrong with walls anyhow? This anti-wall campaign is disturbing, if you ask me. Whenever walls are removed, there's trouble. Take a look at the "open classroom" structures from the 80's: no walls. What happened? They realized it was too damn noisy when there are no walls, so they had to install walls later. I realize that Microsoft is trying to promote a sort of "openness" where people would feel free to let their dork flags fly, but really. Let's not forsake the walls, especially in a society where there is far too much revealed already.

I like walls and I say, let's keep them. They keep the wind, rain and snow out. They give me privacy. They shield me from others. They give me a place to hang pictures of loved ones and copies of famous paintings. I like leaning against them every now and then. I like the way they compartmentalize things, for example, I appreciate how they keep my food away from the toilet. I also like the support they give to things like roofs. Really, they are essential.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Celebrities Who Have Appeared In My Dreams: Rocco DiSpirito


I was at a wedding reception and it was very crowded. Lots of people and kids milling around. I remember being mildly frustrated and sitting down at a long table with my friends. I was looking around the room when Rocco came up to the table and plopped down in the chair across from me.

I was momentarily surprised to see him. He was wearing a brown suit and a black tie. He looked a little bit frazzled; his hair was a mess and he seemed to be a bit sweaty. I was just thinking about how cute he is when he pulled a small box out of his inside coat pocket. He handed the box to me and asked, "Will you marry me?"

I was about to say, "Well, gee, Rocco, you know I'm already married," but before the words could form in my mouth, I had opened the light blue Tiffany's box to see a small, brown enameld grandfather clock with diamonds around the face.

I looked at him and said, "You know, this is the most hideous thing I've ever received. What were you thinking?" I was outraged that he thought I'd like this and marry him because of it. Not to even mention the fact that I was already married.

He may be cute, but he sure is clueless...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

What Should I Be For Halloween?


We are dressing up at our office for Halloween and I can't decide what to be. Can you help?

On The Road Again Soon!


I'm off to Nashville in a couple of weeks (November 10-12). Anyone care to meet? Just let me know. I guess it's the week of the CMA awards so I may get to meet the likes of Billy Ray Cyrus and those guys in that one band that not Kelly Pickler but that other blond on AI loved...she won...what the hell is her name? I can't remember...she knocked out headlights in one of her songs and she wanted Jesus to take the wheel. Seriously...I've totally blanked.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Cap'n! Man Overboard!

This weekend, I enlisted the help of a well-known Cap'n to save me from drowning in the clutter. He gamely threw me a life preserver and we were off!

The upstairs has been spanked into shape with the Cap'n's cherry spirit and my evil genius...




I'm ready to seal up this place for winter. Doc and the Cap'n rearranged the living room so that we will be able to enjoy the fireplace. Doc has the hot tub primed and tested. And the kids are ready for Hallowween.



So look out Mr. Freeze! We're eating our breakfast and are ready to kick your ass.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Don't Be Alarmed! Help Is On The Way From Canada!

A Portrait of Flannery Alden as of 10/11/2008

Yes, I have been a victim of Great Cuts, which are not "great" as in awesome, terrific, fierce, but rather great in it's awfulness, as in the Bush Administration. My hair sits on my head like an inverted birds nest, flat on top and puffy around the ears. The back is a disaster that I don't even want to talk about.

I've been meaning to march back into that salon and tell "Wanda," if that really is her name, to try again. But I haven't yet because I don't want to start shit with a person with the stature and personality of Lurch and the personal style of Edgar Allen Poe. Also, I haven't had one possible minute where I could go to get this damage repaired, what with Doc almost dying and then throwing himself gamely back to work. Plus I'm working a lot and I'm going to need some time when someone can hang out with the girls while I investigate the 2 hours it's going to take to make this right.

Fortunately, the Miracle Worker called me moments ago. My Mom made an emergency call to her last night on her cell because we had spent the evening listening to me bemoan my "Moe." The Miracle Worker, aka Renee, is my mom's hairdresser and she is FAB-U-LOUS. She's also very busy and the reason I don't go to her regularly is that both our schedules are very nearly incompatible. She is in Canada on vacation and promises to get me in on Monday or Tuesday.

Fortunately, most people are letting me slide on this moment of unfierceosity and I'll be spending the weekend cleaning with the Cap'n. I can slap on a babushka til Monday when I can lean back and let Renee make it all better.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

When You Get Caught Between The Moon & New York City

It wasn’t until our plane finally took off 20 minutes later than expected that I placed my Metro card in my book to mark the page and I started to pray. I always do this while taking off. It’s usually the Lord’s Prayer, which never fails to get me and my plane off the ground. It was dark and we were leaving LaGuardia, which is truly a pit of human misery.

My colleague, D, and I wound up our tasks for the day and dubiously hopped into a cab for the airport. We had designs on catching an earlier flight out. Yesterday, when catching a ride with a cabbie from the same company, we were subjected to a cab ride designed by Satan himself. First, we nearly had to tackle him in order to stop him from taking off without us. Our hosts had ordered this cab for us and rather than getting us promptly to the curb, they delayed us with shop talk. So, he was grumpy and expressed it through an obvious vehicle: his cab.

As we bounced along the streets of the Bronx and onto the highway, we were forced to endure talk radio and gale force winds. The driver, obviously deaf or full of hate and bile, kept cranking up the political talk and rock. Also, the window controls in the back seat were locked so I couldn’t roll mine up, causing me to absorb blasts of wind in my hair and face. While all of these assaults were taking place on our persons, this maniacal man alternatively pressed the gas pedal and the brake pedal in an erratic fashion; one would almost call it “maverick.” We were jostled enough that by the time we arrived at our hotel, we were both nauseous and suffering from the effects of inner ear disturbances.

Undaunted, we stashed our stuff in our rooms, changed clothes, and gamely hopped on a bus to take us to the subway to take us to Manhattan. It was a beautiful night and we both enjoyed the luxuriously smooth ride we experienced on both the bus and the subway. We arrived at Grand Central Station and made our way out onto 42nd Street…Avenue…I can’t remember which, but it took us right out to the Pershing Square Café, where I met Coaster Punchman, Poor George, and BeckEye one lovely night a month or two ago. I stood there for a moment, remembering. I was sad that I wasn’t going to meet them there again; it actually bummed me out a bit. Next time I’m here, I’ll make plans again. In know CP is gone, but that doesn’t mean we can’t meet without him.

D and I pressed on. I think she was looking to me to lead a grand adventure in the City, having heard of my trip here and in St. Louis. But I was just not inspired. I was actually ashamed to admit that I was hoping to have dinner at our hotel and retire to an evening reading. It wasn’t the company; I just wasn’t feeling like seizing the day. But we wandered around, checking out the shops and gasping at the prices.

As we weaved our way around, we were drawn to a well lit set of windows on a mostly dark street. It contained the Mercantile Library. We moved closer and looked in. It was a marvelous little spot. Beyond the glass, we could see several modest book shelves full of library books. Toward the back of the main room, a young, willowy librarian stood reading behind a wooden counter top, which was home to several large pieces of parchment and oversized books. I was momentarily spellbound by the scene, which could have been captured Edward Hopper and displayed right next to "Nighthawks." I wanted to go in, but I didn't want to disturb the scene. I looked away and glanced at some smaller writing at the top of the windows. It read "Headquarters for the National Mystery Writers of America." It was really cool to be standing there. Someday, I'll be a member, I thought.

Satisfied at having Seen Something Special, we decided to move along. We came upon a road side vendor selling silk pashminas for five bucks. Ah ha! Something to bring home for the girls! I know they’d love to have long, beautiful scarves to drape around themselves. It sounded good to me too so I bought three.

Cheered a bit by this we tromped off to find someplace to eat. We were headed back to the Pershing Square Café, when we were seduced by the spells of Tequilaville. As we passed by the windows we saw heaping plates of “Mexican” food and endless bowls of chips and salsa. We diverted our trajectory towards the door and found a seat. The waiter brought us menus and I went to the bar to treat myself to a Dos Equis. I brought my beer back to the table and settled in.

Unfortunately, it was loud in there. The music was loud and there was bacchanalian cacophony pulsating from a group of about 15 people sitting in the back corner. They were yelling at each other, singing Mexican drinking songs, and doing body shots. At one point, they ordered another round of tequila. I mean, come on! It’s Tuesday night! It’s not even Tiki night! These fools are going to be sorry in the morning. That gave us some satisfaction, as we ate chips and cringed as the f-bombs dropped and some hyena-woman laughed her Wipe-Out laugh every 20 seconds or so.

By the time we left, my nerves were so rattled that I couldn’t bear the thought of using the taxi voucher I had, which would mean waiting for 30 minutes for our ride to arrive. So we decided to rely on public transportation. In Grand Central station, we found a quiet spot to examine the subway map and plot our route home. Nearly confident that we knew what we were doing, we spelunked our way to the right train and headed out.

Two trains later, we had to grab a bus to finish our journey. It was my first time using a Metro card on a bus, so, of course, I put it in the wrong way. When I tried again, the bus driver (I think his nametag read "Beelzebub") snatched the card out of my hand and said, "I ain't got time for this!" and jerked his thumb toward the back of the bus.

We took our seat and held on. At one point, near the airport, the bus was stopped at a light. It was also stopped at a bus stop, but the doors were closed. Some poor guy was standing on the sidewalk, signalling that he wanted to get on. The light changed to green and the bus driver looked at the guy, shook his head and took off, laughing maniacally. D and I looked at each other in fear as our bus ride turned into Space Mountain. We zoomed around the airport and I told D, "Let's get off at the next stop, shall we?"

We made it to the Northwest terminal and slipped through the back door, happy to be alive and to have escaped a fate of being fed ramen noodles in a bucket at the bottom of a well in this guy's back yard. We called for the hotel shuttle and called our families just to hear their voices again. The shuttle picked us up and we were greeted by a cheerful driver who seemed glad to see us. He made one more stop to pick up a gaggle of Air Canada flight staff. This cheered me a bit as the flight attendants had jaunty red bows tied at their throats and I love to listen to Canadians talk.

As I listened to the dulcet tones of the Air Canada Staff talking about how they felt sorry for the crews that have the "Sascatoon Duty," I was struck by the thought that I'm having an international experience that Disney tries to make me believe I'm having at places like Epcot Center. Here I was with Canadians, Carribeans, and a Conservative, having just gotten off an exciting ride. But it was for real. The hole time in NYC, I was working and sharing space with people from all over the world and none of us was wearing nametags. I recommend the experience.


The next day was pretty routine and we took another uncomfortable cab ride to the airport. We weren't able to get an earlier flight, so we had a pretty good meal at Fig's. We waited to board and finished up the books we were reading. I was really ready to be home. I thought back over the trip and some of the disappointments I experienced, mainly the missed opportunity to hook up with some of you folks. I must say, and I know others have said it too, it's really cool to meet fellow bloggers. There's none of the dread you experience when meeting strangers for the first time, because I'm pretty familiar with the quirks that I'm likely to face, like emptying an egg carton from the edges first and making sure the eggs balance before putting them back. I was kicking myself a little bit for not being brave enough to contact Beckeye and demanding another meeting.

We boarded the plane and got ourselves situated. I was feeling kind of blue because I'd finished a delightful book and starting a new one seemed kind of pointless. I wasn't really up for meeting new people. As we ascended into the night sky, I put my book down and looked out the window. We circled around New York City and I was suddenly struck by the fact that it was very familiar. It looked just like my map of Manhattan! Oblong and striped with different colors, glittering under the moonlight. My spirits lifted in time with our altitude and I decided to whip out my laptop and get crack-a-lackin' on this post. If I couldn't be with you while I was there, I sure as heck fire could try to make you feel like you were along for the ride.

See you next time I'm in town!

Love,
Flannery

Monday, October 06, 2008

I meant to show you this a while back...


It's the watch I got for 330 Coke Rewards! Remember? Pretty snazzy, don't you think?

I'm in Queens and getting ready to take on tomorrow. I'm sleepy having filled up on brick oven pizza. My co-worker, D, and I road the bus to Forest Hills and spent a happy few hours wandering through the shops. We did find some post cards for our other co-worker, who has a quest to find the world's worst post cards:
I also found an Obama button, which I'm not 100% sure came from campaign central, but, hey, I can't get my hands on anything with his name on it for love nor money, so I'll take what I can get.
Besides, the back has a real, honest to God safety pin, so you know it's pure:
Well, kids, I'm off to bed. I'm going to finish reading this wacky book called The Matchmaker of Perigord, which has such delightful phrasings as:
Picking up the fork, the barber selected a piece of plump sausage for his first mouthful. But, as he went to spear it, he suddenly stopped and stared blankly for several minutes. Then, very slowly, he put down the empty fork. As he sat back, a warm fat tear slid down his corow's-feet, shot over a tiny scar, rattled over his stubble and came to an abrupt halt at the bottom of his chin where it hung quivering.
Lovely, isn't it?
In closing, I leave you with a kiss goodnight and a horse's patoot:



And, heck, how about a giraffe's patoot to seal the deal?

Peace out and more tomorrow!

NYC Bound

Well, I'm off in a couple of hours to NYC again...well, to Queens, anyway. I'm all ready except for my iPod, which Doc so kindly agreed to bring to me at work before I head to the airport. I'm hoping to have another travel video for you when I get back.

Wish me luck!

Friday, October 03, 2008