Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Not Exactly What The Spouse Had in Mind

Just some evidence that she will weather this just fine. The painful crying/bleeding mouth stuff has subsided and the only real reason she's being remotely pathetic is, I believe, in an effort to squeeze one more day off out of the deal. But tomorrow is Silent Day (part of the on-going 8th grade pre-graduation "retreat" experience). I think she'll be just fine for that.


Also, the sound is a little loud. Sorry about that. Stupid sound guy.

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Some Good News

I realize this blog has been way short on anything of import lately and I don't care. No one is making you read this. If you've got something better to do, knock yourself out. No hard feelings.

Meanwhile, I realized something yesterday that should be noted for the record: I got a cold, right? Ok, here's the thing...pretty much the only time I get a cold is during the transition from one season to another. I was healthy as an ox on the Vernal Equinox and all the subsequent weeks thereafter. Not a sniffle or a tickle or a coughy moment to be had.

But now I have a cold: spring has really actually arrived. Finally.

Me and Puxatauwny Phil, people. Trust.



I'm pretty much a wuss when it comes to pain. The worst physical pain I have ever endured was kidney stones. I thought I was dying. In fact, I was pretty sure of it. I had given birth 18 months before, without drugs. That was a walk in the park with a kite on a string compared to the stones. But pretty much any pain or discomfort results in me desiring for the world to stop and sit in silent sympathy as I suffer. That said, I would rather bear any pain myself than see my baby hurt.

It's not very happy around here, just at the moment.


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Shipping News

I could never have an on-line store or sell things on eBay. If I want to send a gift to someone far away and can order it on-line, that's terrific. But I hate to actually ship things myself. I hate finding a box the right size. (Yes, I know they sell boxes at the post office but it seems I rarely desire to send things the size of any of said boxes, that doesn't really help). I hate wrapping the box, assuming I find it, in plain brown paper. Mostly because I hate wrapping things. I never have packing tape. Probably because I hate to ship things so why would I stock the accoutrement necessary to that activity?

Yesterday I got inspired to deal with the mailing that's been hanging around. The first was easy. We switched our cell phones to Credo Mobile (remind me to tell you all about that, btw, because they are just superfantastic). They have a partnership with Collective Good, which will repurpose the old cell phones. Credo even included a shipping label. But the boxes sat in our room for, like 2 months, because I hate to ship things. I finally called Collective Good yesterday and the guy said I didn't have to use the boxes and could just put the phones in an envelope. We have some padded envelopes. I found some glue for the labels. It was awesome. And then I even took them to the post office and mailed them. Check one off the short list.

But I hit a wall. Remember Edy's shoes? The superfantastic shoes she loaned me for Seattle Coffee Girl's wedding nearly 2 years ago? Yeah, those shoes. I still have them. Just ship them back in the box she used, says you. That would assume I'd saved it, says me. All stoked up from my cell phone success I determined to return the shoes. I dug around in The Child's room for a shoe box (she's been hording small boxes because she is planning to build a fairy house), but, alas, found nothing the right size. So Edy's shoes are still here. Although I swear, as much as I hate shipping things, they are going back to Minnesota this week even if I have to go buy a new pair of shoes just so I can have a box the right size.

I have a book I want to send to Buck. I'll probably just hold on to it until his next visit here or mine there, whichever comes first. Because I hate to ship things.

It wouldn't bother me, this disinclination to package and send, except that I have people in my life who are just aces at it. Afore mentioned Buck, for example. Dariush ships things (although if I talk about that again he'll be all "really, it was nothing, stop making a fuss" and I can't do that to him. Because he knows how to ship things. Which I admire). Dame Judi is quite the pro at both wrapping and shipping. It is not genetic.

But for all that, I do enjoy going to the post office. We have the most darling post office, staffed by the nicest people in the United States Postal Service. And even though there is nearly always a line, it moves quickly and the people are always interesting to watch because we live in such a diverse community. I enjoy the whizbangery of the weighing and the little machine that spits out the postage label and the satisfying thonk of the package dropping into the outgoing bin. Unfortunately, I just don't enjoy it enough to seek out the experience more often.

And of course, I really enjoy receiving packages, which you'd think would motivate me to more generously ship things off to other people so that they too can have the joy of opening a surprise every once in a while.

But I hate shipping.


Considering Yesterday's Post Title, This is Ironic, Don'tcha Think?

Breaking News:

I have a cold. It was coming on all day yesterday but really flowered in the night. It was lovely. There was a production meeting of the Phleghm and Snorting Committee that went on pretty much until 5am. Which meant that I didn't sleep. So I didn't go work out with The Neighbor. And I feel kinda oogy, except that the brunt of it all seemed to happen as I didn't sleep because now I'm hardly stuffy at all and the Gland Working Group has apparently abandoned the Sore Throat Project. So mostly I'm just tired.

Which bodes not well for that to do list on my desk but oh well.

Also, The Child did not have oral surgery yesterday. Turns out that was just a $100 excuse for the oral surgeon to confirm the diagnosis of the orthodontist. So the teeth are coming out tomorrow at 7 frakking 30 in the ack emma. Won't that be fun? Thank you for all your good wishes on her behalf. They have been pocketed against tomorrow.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog post.


Monday, April 28, 2008

Can't Even Stop to Sneeze

There's a bunch of stuff I want to write about but I have to go to the post office then take some meds to The Child (she got some shots on Friday and her arm hurts) plus my desk is out of control again (because I've been on this mission relative to Sims2 and so everything that came in over the last couple of days has just stacked up and it's making me dizzy) and I have to unearth the menu for the week because I don't remember what I'm cooking for dinner and that needs to be addressed because The Child (poor little pincushion) is having some oral surgery this afternoon (two baby canines that still haven't come out) which has to be done before we can lasso her remaining teeth into braces and I have to figure out if anything needs to be thawed in advance, not that it actually matters come to think of it because The Spouse has been infected by some sort of stomach bug (unless it's a reaction to the change in his cholesterol medicine) and The Child isn't going to be eating anything but soup anyway so what difference does it make? I'll probably just make myself an omelet. Point is, there's not time for any of the thoughtful and/or humorous musings I intended but at least I guess that means I've got fodder for the week, right?

So hey there, have a lovely day and take care.


Friday, April 25, 2008

Bad Boys

I was over at Danny's yesterday and this
was playing on the stereo. Rather, the song as covered by some American Idol dude was playing on the stereo. Not that it was bad but it made me think I should go look up the original.


Did you you know that this was the band's first single off their debut effort but it didn't do well because Columbia Records was too busy promoting Bruce Springsteen's first record?

Did you know that Steve played the piano? I mean, like, ever? He just doesn't seem like a piano player type. But it's interesting to watch a performance that doesn't have him strutting all over the stage, isn't it?

Did you know that Joe didn't really care for this song because it was "too soft"? (That Joe. He's so pretty).

Did you know that I think Steve Tyler is so ugly that he turns right around the corner and becomes beautiful? I don't know what it is about him...

Interestingly, while I think his daughter Liv is lovely and seems like a very nice person I also consider her one of the most over-rated actors ever. (All the Hobbit people are going to get mad at me now).

I like this song because it does that slow build thing. And because Steven Tyler's rock scream is one of the classics in the Rock Scream Hall of Fame. And also because this is one of those rock songs that actually contains some very good advice.

Aerosmith "Dream On"

(* I totally heard Dwight Shrute's voice in my head when I wrote that).


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Artifacts in the Rubble

We sat down to a fine dinner of monkey brains (actually, they were little rolls of flounder stuffed with crabmeat, which were just delicious, but they did look like brains) and watched "Cloverfield". The Spouse and Child had seen it in the theaters, because they are into action adventure movies about monsters that smash stuff. Left to my own devices, I would have wanted to watch something with Colin Firth in it. But sometimes, in a family, you go along with what the others want to keep the peace. I figured I'd be entertained by the food and wine and if I really hated it, I could always leave.

While the monster genre is not high on my list of favs, I must tell you that I found "Cloverfield" to be absolutely compelling. ("What's that mean?" asked The Child. "It means you want to keep watching". "Oh. Good. That means you like it"). Now from what I've been told, the film was pretty much universally panned by the critics. Movie goers got sea sick in the theaters. It certainly isn't to everyone's taste but it worked for me.

The premise is simple. Dude has a video camera and starts recording snippets of his day. His girlfriend asks him to tape testimonials "like at a wedding" from all the beautiful, hip, young Manhattanites that will be at a surprise going away party for his brother. Dude hands the job off to a friend, who more or less does his job as the party unfolds and relational intrigues are opened up. The camera work is realistically jostling and jumpy. If that bugs you from the beginning, you might as well stop watching. This is a whole new take on the concept of cinema verite. In a real way, the camera is the star.

Something bad happens, an explosion of some kind perhaps. We see buildings collapsing, fires, lights going out, people running into the streets screaming. Cue the B movie action figures! In fact, as The Spouse pointed out, this is your classic bad-thing-unleashed-on-the-city movie as seen through the eyes of the bit players. You see glimpses of the monster but you don't have the perspective of the military or the scientists or politicians who are figuring out what it is and how to take it down. Instead you see the reality of the situation literally through the eyes of those on whom the horror is being unleashed. It's a pretty brilliant concept.

According to The Spouse, some of the criticism of the film was pretty stupid. "The camera was too should have been on a tripod". I repeat, the whole point of the movie is that some guy, who happens to have a camera, is recording a disaster as it happens. "Well, that's not realistic". Hello? I would refer you to the two French film-makers who happened to be making a documentary about the NYFD when 9/11 happened. Don't tell me that if you were in downtown Manhattan and the head of the Statue of Liberty came crashing down into the street that you wouldn't whip out your camera phone. 'Course you would. Assuming, you know, that you weren't unfortunate enough to be under the head. Another complaint was that no camera battery would last that long. The movie has a run time of 85 minutes. My video camera battery lasts at least 2 hours. No, for my money, the only totally unbelievable bit was that one female character ran around in heels for most of the film. That bugged me.

Some of the images of the film are horribly disturbing. This is a monster movie, after all. The film does a fine job of creating and maintaining tension and surprise, while also doing a very realistic job of exploring the crazy mixture of feeling and reaction that people in such a situation would experience. People are brave and fearful, funny and annoyed, broken and believable. Do you need to exercise a measure of suspended disbelief? Sure. A monster is attacking New York. But I also have to agree with The Spouse with his contention that just as the Godzilla movies operated as a metaphor for the nuclear age, "Cloverfield" works as a metaphor for the age of terrorism. New York has been stomped on by big creepy things throughout the history of movies but in this case the connection with 9/11 is impossible to ignore, at least in a couple of poignant scenes. Whether this was strictly intended or simply the consequence of living in a post 9/11 world is impossible to say.

While the story of the film may be over the top, the performances, mostly by unknowns, is not. It's a story about the people thrust into a terrifying situation. There is a scene where our heroes are running through a smashed up apartment...there are still photos on the walls, vases on a shelf...the artifacts of normal life glaring through the ongoing chaos. I found it a powerful image. This is the sort of film that makes you wonder how you would react in such a situation, easier to do because the characters react in such completely human and believable ways. Would I have the courage to try and rescue a friend in such a situation? I don't know. Although I'm pretty clear that I'd lose the Manolos and jack some one's tennis shoes.

I told The Spouse that the ending was going to determine how many Koihead it got. It wasn't, strictly speaking, the ending I hoped for but it was also much more realistic than what would have satisfied me. "Cloverfield" is one of those movies that you're either going to love or hate. For my part, I pretty much loved it.

The Film Czarina gives "Cloverfield"
out of 5 Koihead.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Holy Cats!

I read this article in the NY Times this morning and thought it was charming; until I got to the second to the last paragraph. Oh, fine. Don't read it for yourself. It's all about Pope Benedict being a big cat lover. But right toward the end it says that he couldn't bring two of his beloved cats with him when he moved into his papal quarters.

Excuse me? He's the Pope! Who's bossing around the Pope?

Perhaps our man in Rome, Willym, can shed some light on this for me (since I'm entirely disinclined to work it out for myself). But golly Moses, this goes directly to the apostolic authority thing. What? The Pope can be trusted with the See of Peter but not a couple kitty cats?


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Pre-Game Show

Big game tonight and that's pretty much all I'm thinking about.

Let's just clear one thing up right now. There are those who are saying that if Hils doesn't win Pennsylvania, she should drop out. Here's my analysis in the proverbial nut shell:

A) Odds are she's going to win PA.

2) She's not going to win it by a slam dunk. So she'll walk out still behind Barack in pledged delegates but she'll spin it as a victory and "proof" she can win in the big blue-collar states. Doesn't matter if she wins by 3 percentage points. That's how she rolls.

3) I saw her on Larry King last night. (Larry King bugs me but I watched for a bit anyway). Girlfriend isn't going anywhere. If Barack beat her in PA 80% to 20% maybe, just maybe, there'd be pressure on her to quit. But that isn't going to happen. She's riding this one all the way to the convention and she's counting on the superdelegates so there you have it.

My advice? Relax and enjoy the ride.


Monday, April 21, 2008

Monday Morning Notebook

First of all, thanks to all of you who played the "what sort o' elitist are you" game over the weekend. We're mostly a pack of book/language snobs. Like we didn't already know that. Except for Buck, who is an elite elitist. But we knew that, too.

Second of all, The Child's volleyball team was eliminated from the play-offs yesterday. After a spectacular performance in the first game, they ended up being, simply, out-classed by their opponents. They tried and they made 'em work for that last point, but in the end, it was the end.

Then I realized something. And I can tell you this because The Child doesn't read my blog and I would never, ever say this to her out loud. At least not at this point. But as sad as it was to see the season end, our girls didn't deserve to be champions. And I'll tell you why. Because they are a lousy team. Oh, sure, they've got skillz. They know the game. But they don't know how to play as a team. There are Hot Dogs and there is everyone else and the Hot Dogs saw to it that that never changed. Good Coach did what she could to mitigate the mindset but she had 3 mere months to undo the damage brought on by 3 years of Bad Coach. Under him, the Hot Dogs got arrogant, sloppy and even more hot doggie while the rest of them languished, not being allowed to develop to their full potential and, even when they all blossomed under Good Coach, were not trusted by the Hot Dogs to do their job.

Watching the team that eliminated them yesterday I thought there was complete justice in their victory. They too had skillz but where they excelled was in team work. Everyone was important, everyone was trusted, everyone did their job. They talked to each other, encouraged each other and generally worked together as a formidable unit. That's how you win games.

Then I realized that's why I hate the Yankees. Yeah, they win games, too, but I hate them because they are all about star power. It's about A-Rod and Jeter and all the rest of those clowns. Yankee baseball, to me, seems more about personal best than teamwork. Contrast them, if you will, with the 2001 Mariners. Did you know that in the 2000-01 season, in which they won 116 games, the cumulative batting average was only .288? The great Edgar Martinez himself batted .306 (4th time in his career he went up over .300). I'm just saying. That season was all about teamwork. Sure, individuals put up some great numbers, but it was the sweet clicking on the field that set the record. It didn't matter who a ball went to, he fielded it and sent it to whoever else he needed to to get the opposing player out. There was no showing off. Individually AND collectively, each guy did his best. And it was a joy to watch.

Anyspike, that's that and I for one will be glad to have our weekends back. Theoretically, anyway.

In other gripping news, I posted something on my food blog. Those of you yearning for bread and butter pudding will be pleased. I've really let that beautiful little site languish so I've committed to posting there, at a minimum, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. In case you care.

It's Passover and man, are we having the weather to prove it. We had hail storms all weekend (at least it wasn't burning). I keep waiting for the locusts and am thinking of slopping some lamb blood over the door posts and lintels just to be on the safe side. It's been insane. We went from a 78° day last Saturday to near freezing temperatures and hail stones this weekend. Someone in God's weather department didn't get the memo that it's spring.


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Saturday, April 19, 2008

All Questions Answered

Just in time for the Pennsylvania primary! Let's face nice as it is to know that we live in elitist states, knowing the particular brand of elitism to which we each subscribe seems infinitely more interesting.

Do tell: what sort of elitist are you?

What Kind of Elitist Are You?

You speak eloquently and have seemingly read every book ever published. You are a fountain of endless (sometimes useless) knowledge, and never fail to impress at a party.What people love: You can answer almost any question people ask, and have thus been nicknamed Jeeves.What people hate: You constantly correct their grammar and insult their paperbacks.
Take this quiz!


Friday, April 18, 2008

Ding Dong!

It's a Jukebox Friday Twofer, kids! I was just over at Hat's and she posted a cute quiz so of course I had to play. And of course, this result immediately brought to mind one of my favorite of all favorite Pretenders songs. See how that works?

Pretenders "Message of Love"

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Out and About

The weather was beautiful on Saturday. Temperatures got up to 78°, which after a spring of rainy-freezy was a very pleasant surprise. It was still warm when The Spouse and I went to the CD release party and it was so fun to see the streets full of people. The air was soft and warm so all the clubs and restaurants had outdoor seating and every joint was jumping. It felt like jazz sounds.

It's been a long time since I was downtown of an evening. We really don't go out all that much anymore (probably should work on that), probably because it's just not as convenient. We used to live downtown, within crawling distance of all sorts of night life and we took advantage of that. But now, even though there is a charming and vibrant little neighborhood called Columbia City just down the street, we tend to be homebodies.

But both of us love urban space and when we were walking around on Saturday night we talked again about a long-term plan to one day buy a condo downtown. (What we really want is a condo downtown here and one in Chicago). There is something incredible about living in downtown. The lights, the people, all the variety of eateries and entertainments. Not to mention the expedience. Once, when we were still in the apartment, I dropped the coffee carafe before I'd poured my first cup. I just put on shoes, tossed The Child in her stroller and went down to the Bon Marche, bought a new one and was home, brewing more coffee within 20 minutes. You gotta love that.

There was something rather magical about being out in the city the other night. I needed that. Sometimes I take Seattle for granted. It was good to fall in love with her again.

This video is from a Top of the Pops performance. It's worth it just for the dancers, who will likely crack you up, not to mention the classic performance. I loved this song when I was a kid. Still do.

Petula Clark "Downtown"


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Morning Correspondence

Dear Barack,

Congrats. You got the Boss' endorsement, most of the NC superdelegates and are closing the gap in Pennsylvania. Hils is running scared, which is why this whole wallowing in the mud thing is so important to her right now.

Last night, when she was talking about Republican hard ball, you were right on when you said that she learned the wrong lesson from her experience. It's like a kid who was bullied turning into a bully. It makes me sad that Hillary has decided to do that. I can't tell you how many times I yelled at my TV screen last night with an "Oh, no she didn't". She should so know better. (Good one about the baking cookies thing, btw). But, as you rightly pointed out more than once, this is the politics to which we've become accustom and the politics that you want to change. Which is why, even though it must have been annoying as frak (you were clearly chomping at the bit to get to something, anything of substance) you kept your cool. I find that really, oh, what's the word? Presidential.

David Gergen was surprised that she kept it up given the new polling. So was I. But I think you're right to play it cool. Hang in there.

Also, I'm still waiting for my t-shirt. Could you talk to someone in shipping about that? Thanks. You're a doll.

Dear Hillary,

Hey, girlfriend. Listen, I really appreciate that you and your friends (hi Jim!) keep writing me, asking for campaign contributions. Problem is, I don't have any spare change because I spent it all on lattes.

Make a note of this: I live in one of those "boutique" states your campaign keeps saying are the only states Obama can win. You know, states like Montana, Idaho, South Carolina. Did you realize that Howard Shultz got the idea for Starbucks after vacationing in Texas? True story. He hung out in all their Viennese style coffee shops and thought, "Wow, this could be huge".

Anybeans, while I was personally unaware that there are nearly 30 boutique states in this great land of ours (and I appreciate that insight) I do hope you have a strategy for winning without them should you be the candidate. Because, if it were me, I'd kinda want to know that the heartland had my back.

Dear Hillary and John,

Have you two thought about trying out for Saturday Night Live when this is over? Because you are a couple of comedic geniuses. Seriously, there is just nothing I love better than watching 2 of the richest sitting Senators talking about how Barack Obama is elitist. For sure, what could a kid who grew up in poverty and became a success through nothing but sheer gumption and hard work possibly know about the struggles of the poor and middle class? Punk. No, I'm totally going to look to you multi-millionaires with your multiple homes and special interest campaign contributions to school me about who's a snob in this race and who isn't.

Dear Charlie and George,

You suck. Thanks for wasting the first hour of a 90 minute debate pandering to the worst in American politics. Of course, I'm just a latte swilling elistist, but I don't happen to give a frak about flag pins, exaggerated sniper fire or any of the rest of it. I keep worrying about things like the economy, Iraq, Iran, health know...I.S.S.U.E.S. Heard of those? Yeah, thanks for wasting my time and giving Hillary 60 minutes to be all pot-calling-the-kettle. Idiots.

Dear Bruce,

I love you. I've always loved you. I always will love you.

Dear Howard,

As we've discussed before, I don't think the Democratic party is in trouble or that unification is an issue; of course core Dems will support whoever is the nominee. You know that I think this long campaign is an excellent opportunity for party building in all 50 states and casting a much wider net for involvement than we would have had if this thing had been sewn up on Super Tuesday. Seriously, who would be registering voters in PA and Oregon right now if that had happened? It's all good.

But I have realized that there is a challenge before us. I'm still ticked at Charlie and George (see attachment) but I just figured out why only 30 minutes of the debate was given over to issues: there aren't any major differences between the candidates. We can get picky about the different percentages at which either would limit capital gains or their ceilings on middle class income (news to me, btw, that someone making $250k is considered middle class but there you go). They both want, essentially, the same things. Which I guess is why we are going to keep being subjected to old crap about pastors and cookies and Bosnia and the fact that you don't need a Weatherman to know which way the wind blows. But let's see what we can do about making real issues at the forefront of the general election, okay? Because if either Hillary or Barack delivered on even a 10th of what they want to do, either one would be better for this country than George W. McCain.

Dear Values Voters,

Let me just be really clear about this. You are bitter about government and you do cling to hot button issues like guns and prayer in school and gay marriage, even when it works against your own self interest. For some 30 years now the GOP has seen to it that you are distracted by that sort of stuff because they knew full well that if you stopped for one minute to think about the fact that all your factories are shutting down, all your jobs are going overseas and all your kids are the ones making the big sacrifices in Iraq and Afghanistan you would never elect another Republican again.

You've been played, people. Wake up. Would you like a latte?


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Flash Fiction?

"Oh crap!" she exclaimed, suddenly realizing that the bread-and-butter pudding had been in the oven too long.

She raced across the kitchen, only to discover that the pudding was still on the counter and further, she had failed to raise the temperature of the oven from 350° (at which she'd baked the banana bread) to the requisite 400° for the pudding.

She was relieved to know that the pudding wasn't ruined but wondered, and not for the first time, if there might not be a little calcium build up in her brain.


Well, Of Course He Does

Bruce Springsteen has endorsed Barack Obama.

For some of us, that's a bigger deal than Ted Kennedy's endorsement.

Rock on, Barack.


Belated Weekend Update

Friday afternoon, actual email exchange between The Spouse and me-self:

From: Spouse
To: Moi
Subject: Check it Out

From: Moi
To: Spouse
Subject: Re: Check it Out

Did he autograph our cheese?

From: Spouse
To: Moi
Subject: Re: Check it out

No, but he autographed the crab cake cookbook I got you.

From: Moi
To: Spouse
Subject: Re: Check it out're just the bestest husband ever.

From: Spouse
To: Moi
Subject: Re: Check it out

I actually thought to ask him but what would the point of that have been other then ironic?

From: Moi
To: Spouse
Subject: Re: Check it out

Plus, the whole "never being able to eat the cheese because Tom Douglas signed it" thing.

So guess what I'm making for dinner tonight?

Friday evening was, of course, The Golden Dragon Ball. The Neighbor did The Child's hair because I'm totally inept at those sorts of things.

The Child wore the dress her aunt 'n uncle gave her for Christmas and her Grandma Eileen's mink stole. (Shut up...the poor thing has been dead for over 50 years).

This is the only boy she kissed.

I stayed home and ate pizza and watched "Atonement" just like I said I would. Only it wasn't BBQ chicken pizza because I didn't make it to Trader Joe's until Saturday. Still craving that, though.


The Child's volleyball team was finally defeated in a game. Rumors are swirling, based on a conversation one of our parents had with their assistant coach, relative to the legitimacy of the other team's strategy. See, half their players didn't show up for the game, which meant they weren't required to sub in. Consequently, their strongest players played the whole time. Hmmmm....

It was a drubbing; the other team is undeniably good-the only other one in the division with an undefeated record. And there's no debate about the fact that our girls have a weak mental game; they start losing and it messes with their heads big time. But still...

In the evening The Spouse and I went downtown for a CD release party for a friend of his. It was pleasant. I didn't know very many people and you know how I am in a crowd of strangers. But I drank a very tasty Cosmo, the music was hot and it was nice to spend time with my husband doing something other than being home. Even though we like being home. We also commented on how cool it was that we could just leave The Child home alone. I reckon that in 14 years we have spent a total of $20 on babysitting. We always had friends or neighbors who watched her for free. And then she was old enough to be alone. Score.


Final match of the regular season. Each game was "who needs a cocktail" close but our girls emerged victorious, for a final record of 6-1 on the season. Playoffs are next week. Hopefully some dark horse will eliminate St. Sneakybutt.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Geek Query

Does anyone know why I sometimes can't delete an email? I have 2 in my box right now that, when I try to delete them, pop up a message that the email was moved, already deleted or that access was denied. Except they haven't been moved, they clearly aren't deleted and why would I be denied access to my own stupid email?

I use Outlook, btw.



Down on The Farm

The Child's class is going to be reading George Orwell's Animal Farm. I'm so excited. She's reading my copy, inscribed in my halting 8th grade hand. The more things change...

I read Animal Farm when I was in the 8th grade, too, but not because my teacher assigned it. Back in the day, when my dad, Sean Connery, was still teaching, he had a summertime ritual with the head of the English department. He and Mr. N would go off to a bookstore (probably Powell's, in Portland, although I'm not sure about that). This was always a red letter day for me because daddy would come home with a huge box full of books. In that box were always a few treasures that Mr. N had chose just for me and given to daddy with a "Lori has to read this". (Yes, they called me 'Lori' back then. Don't you ever. Rainey is just fine).

Mr. N never, ever steered me wrong. If he said it was a must read, it was. Three of the most important books I've ever read came on his recommendation.

Animal Farm was one of those. I wouldn't say that my political sensitivity was that high back then. I was a product of the Cold War and necessarily hated the Russians because they wanted to kill me and make me not believe in God. (Sting hadn't yet reminded us that Russians love their children, too). I knew, then, that communism was baaaaad. It would be a long time before I would read Marx for myself and then decide that communism was baaaaad not because of anything he wrote (which I mostly appreciated) but because his adherents were such an intensely dour lot. Which is all to say that the political subtext of the book escaped me on the first read. But it was a profound parable nonetheless. Plus it had talking animals.

Mr. N is also responsible for my reading The Diary of Anne Frank. That book is forever connected in my mind with figs, because I read it under our fig tree, under the cool shade of the tree's broad leaves, the air rich with the thrum of drunk bees who wobbled about on the soft, fallen figs. I haven't read the book as an adult, and I suppose I should but I think I don't because the potency of that book for me was in the identification with Anne's teen-ness. She was grumpy and manic, crushing on boys and generally being a pain in the ass. It was the first time I read something written by someone my age. Our experiences couldn't have been more different, of course. It's not like I didn't see that. But for me that book was way more about coming of age; Anne's crazy helped me see that all my hot and cold running moods didn't make me insane after all.

After those two books I'll bet your thinking, what other classic gem of literature was your "must read"? The Odyssey? Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man? The Great Gatsby perhaps?

Nope. It was a little gem called The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare. It is up there on my list of Top 10 Favorite Books of All Time. It's the story of a girl named Kit, who after the death of her grandfather, is forced to leave her home in Barbados and live with her aunt's family in Wethersfield, Connecticut. It's a classic fish-out-of-water tale, as a young, spirited and educated young lady comes smack up against Puritanism. It's brilliant. I love it with all my heart. It was a perfect summertime read: drama, romance, politics, witch trials, more romance. I have reread that book every single year since...something like 40 times now.

A couple years ago I tried to get The Child into it. It didn't take. Perhaps I'll try again this year but for now I'm enjoying seeing her get into Animal Farm. Oh! and here's the thing. Yesterday she stayed home from school (tummy complaints...which I've since diagnosed as a serious case of "senioritis"). I played it tough and wouldn't let her play on the computer or watch TV. Instead I made her start reading the book. I had to satisfy myself that she had indeed begun it so at bedtime last night I asked her to tell me about it.

"Well, there's this cool boar named 'Snowball'...I like him...and he and his friends got the other animals to make a rebellion against the farmer...that was funny when they pushed him and his friends into the wheelbarrow...and the animals wrote these 7 Commandments and they are 'Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy...whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a animal shall wear clothes'... "

At which point I was convinced since she was reciting all this to me without aid of the book.

Know what else I'm excited about? The fact that she's getting into a book that wasn't written by J.K. Rowling.

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Monday, April 14, 2008

To Make "Atonement"

In a very elegant cocktail shaker, preferably sterling silver and engraved, combine two parts "Brideshead Revisited" with one part "The Children's Hour". To that add a jigger of the highest quality cinematography and a shot of fine acting by James McAvoy with a splash of Keira Knightly being Keira Knightly.

Shake vigorously, making sure that the storyline is not linear. Pour over ice and float a tablespoon of Creme de Surprise over the top.

Garnish with Vanessa Redgrave.

Makes one memorable cocktail.

The Film Czarina gives "Atonement" 3 ¾ out of 5 Koihead.


Friday, April 11, 2008

Making It Big

The Child and The Spouse are going to the Golden Dragon Ball tonight. What is that, you ask? It's the traditional Snow Ball except Student Council is, shall we say, less than ambitious and it took them a while to get their stuff together.

I'm going to stay home, eat a BBQ chicken pizza and watch "Atonement".

The Spouse will be home in time for "Battlestar Galactica". He was relieved about that. "It coulda been a deal-breaker, kid," he told The Child.

I have to show you how cute she looks today:
Her class is doing a unit on poetry and today they are going to create a coffee shop environment and read poetry to each other. She took our bongos so she can do a Shel Silverstein poem in the classic beat poet style. Snap snap snap. I also thinks her Gallic is showing.
Speaking of the French, today's song is. Except the chorus. This is quintessential power pop. It makes you want to bounce. I love it.

Superbus "Radio Song"

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

This Post is Boring But I Have to Get This Off My Chest

Here's something you don't know about me (unless you actually know me). I have really crappy teeth. Crappy in that they break easily and aren't very straight and also, I have a huge overbite. The overbite I don't mind. It's not like I have a horsey overbite; that would be wrong. I have what the dental types call "100% malocclusion". Which sounds horrible but it really isn't. The worst thing is that my two front teeth are actually broken and have been managed over the years with epoxy fills that look like, uh, crap. And because the epoxy is a temporary fix, every 6-9 months one of them falls out. Like the one that fell out right before Christmas. Which I haven't had fixed because I've decided enough of this crap already, I'm going to get them permanently dealt with.

I should have done that 20 years ago. It's one of those things where you figure it's going to cost so damn much that it's not worth doing right now. I'm over that. Not to mention, we're not talking about a cosmetic issue here. I mean, it is cosmetic in the sense that looking like Mammy Yokum and being forced to laugh with my hand over my face so I don't startle the children is getting old. But since the teeth are, in fact, not whole, it's a dental problem.

Also, for 20 years I haven't bit into an apple or eaten corn on the cob. I have to slice my apples and cut the corn. In other words, I can't even use the teeth the way God intended. I'm so over that.

When I was pregnant with The Child I had one prayer: "Please give this child my metabolism and her father's teeth".

And God laughed.

She got my metabolism AND my teeth. Poor thing. Actually, hers are stronger than mine but they are all cattywhompus and snaggly. Which kills me because a) her baby teeth were so perfect and 2) hello? I know what it's like to feel self-conscious about your smile and I don't want her to live with that.

I'm obsessed with other people's teeth. It's the first thing I notice. When I watch a movie or TV program I'm always checking out people's teeth. In fact, I think the reason I like British actors so much is because the Brits famously don't care as much about that stuff as Amuricans seem to. Lots of 'em have snaggle teeth and nearly all of them have an overbite.

The Cardinal once told me that he thinks women with an overbite are way sexier than women who don't. It's one of the reasons I ♥ him so.

I took The Child to the orthodontist yesterday. She had some orthodontia about 3 years ago but they mostly focused on trying to correct her bite. It didn't work. They straightened out her front teeth, a little. She wore a retainer for a while. Then she stopped. But the teeth are still OK. Her bite, the main focus of their efforts, wasn't altered in the least. I didn't want to throw any more money at that particular problem.

So the ortho, who's a very nice woman, said yesterday that The Child has to see an oral surgeon first, because she's got 2 baby teeth that still haven't come out and don't look like they are going to. Which is part of her snaggle tooth problem. Then she said, "And he'll talk to you about options relative to jaw surgery".

I gave her the stink eye.

Someone explain to me the wisdom in performing jaw surgery on a person who is still growing. It's not like she doesn't have a jaw. It's not like she has trouble breathing or eating or speaking, which are the only things I can think of that would be a reason to do something so drastic. Not to mention that my dentist told me that if The Child decides to have jaw surgery when she's an adult, it will go better if she has straight teeth. Hello? Let's all get on the same page, shall we?

Anyenamel, we'll go to the surgeon to deal with her baby teeth and when he starts to talk to me about jaw surgery I will tell him that it is duly noted for the record that he talked to me but we are not going to do that right now. I just want my baby's teeth straighted so she doesn't have to spend her entire adult life feeling self-conscious.

And if after all that the orthodontist says she doesn't want to fix the teeth without the surgery, I'll find another orthodontist. Or we'll just move to England.


Wednesday, April 09, 2008

A Thought

Sometimes I sincerely believe that there is absolutely nothing better in the entire world than a bowl of chocolate ice cream.


Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Chipmunks Don't Talk in Manhattan: Enchanted

During Easter break, The Child wanted to do something special. What she really, truly wanted to do was go to a place called "Family Fun Center" where there are go carts and skee ball and other assorted amusements. Except, and this is where I really am the worst mother in the world, I loathe and abominate such places. They bore me out of my mind and worse than that, I actually have a visceral response to them. I must have once had a really bad experience that I've repressed for years. I'm fine with that. I just hate, hate, hate those sorts of places.

Enough about me. We agreed to see a movie. Except there really aren't any movies out at the moment that we were interested in. "Juno" is still playing; seen it. "Horton Hears a Who" is at the neighborhood cinema - Jim Carrey? I'd rather stick hot needles in my eyes.

I suggested that we get some Red Vines, pick up a sub sandwich and make our own theater experience at home. Fortunately, the offer of Red Vines worked and The Child agreed. So we cozied up with our snacks and had our own afternoon screening of "Enchanted".

We own it, so this wasn't the first viewing. But it is entirely re-watchable.

The genius, and the fun, of this movie is that Disney spends 107 minutes taking potshots at themselves and their franchise. Not only do they mock their catalog (looking for the references would make an excellent drinking game) but they also tease with the whole "waiting for Prince Charming" crap that has messed up generations of little girls. It's a take that is damn near redemptive.

The premise is simple: cartoon characters find their way into a place "where there are no happily ever afters". The movie begins in full-on old-fashioned Disney mode. (And I mean 'full-on' - the animation, the graphics, the narration (by the inimitable Julie Andrews, no less) plus the full swell of a chorale...classic stuff, I'm telling you). Giselle lives in the forest and has a had a dream about the prince with whom she'll share "true love's kiss". But the evil queen has other plans and Giselle finds herself climbing out of a manhole in Times Square, suddenly very real and very far from the world, and principles, with which she's familiar.

"It" girl Amy Adams ("Junebug", "Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day) is Giselle and she is absolutely delightful. She initially plays Giselle like a cartoon character, with lilting voice, perky manner and elegantly extended fingers. She encounters Robert (played by the always yummy Patrick Dempsey) and his daughter (Rachael Covey), who take her in. Robert is a no-nonsense divorce attorney, with a very pragmatic view of relationships. He's cynical, Giselle is the embodiment of romantic. Do the math.

If ever the word "romp" is appropriate, it's now. This movie is fun. It's funny. Adams is perfection, plus she does her own singing and dancing. Susan Sarandon, as the evil queen, doesn't leave a bit of scenery unchewed. Sure, it's over the top. But "Enchanted" also manages to be a story about self-discovery (the way Adams gently sheds her cartoonish character is brilliant) and the true meaning of "true love".

The film had 3 songs nominated for an Oscar. The team of Stephen Swartz and Alan Menken were famously upset for a mathematical win by those Irish upstarts from "Once" but that doesn't mean the music isn't fine. It's actually pretty terrific. In fact, I can't keep from sharing this "big number" from the show, one of the nominated songs.

"How Does She Know"

See? Adorable.

If on principle you want to avoid "yet another" Disney musical, you'll live without this. But if you have a little time of a weekend afternoon to be thoroughly entertained, "Enchanted" makes an excellent matinee.

The Film Czarina gives "Enchanted" 3 ¾ out of 5 Koihead.


The Good Thing About the Final Four

The basketball game, in which I have absolutely no interest whatsoever even though my father, Sean Connery, was a basketball player in college and a very good one, too, pre-empted "How I Met Your Mother" last night.

So we watched "Once", which has been sitting on my dresser for 3 weeks.

What was my problem?

This little indie film, shot in Dublin and made for a mere $175,000, is a musical that's not a musical. Rather, it's full of terrific songs, composed and performed by the leads, and it is very much about music, but it's not a "bursting into song for no apparent reason and then dancing around" musical.

In brief, it's a love story about a guy and a girl. Literally. We never know the actual names of the characters. He is a busker, she is an immigrant from Czechoslovakia. They meet cute, do cute things, become friends. The main characters have dreams; he of selling a record, she of finding a better life for herself and her child. They combine forces in pursuit of these dreams.

Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova are not brilliant actors. Or rather, having not seen them in anything else, I don't know that they are. Certainly they are capable. For all I know they are playing themselves. In that way, the movie almost seems like a home movie (a device that is also used at one point in the film to illuminate some of his background). Everything about the movie, except some of the songs, is quiet - the humor, the drama, the longing. There is as much import in expression as in dialogue in this film, especially on the part of Irglova who seems to positively glow at some points.

The "home movie" quality is probably also a product of the low budget. Technically the film is hardly flawless. They didn't have a big budget for lights, which is obvious, and there's one scene where the shadows of the camera crew are obvious more than once. Except that the song that Irglova is singing at the time keeps you from caring. But what do you expect for $175k? Perfection is way over-rated.

The music, as I mentioned, is terrific. Oscar award winning, in fact. Glen Hansard has one of those gruffish Richard Thompson-esque voices, not precisely melodic but not grating, either. Marketa Inglova sings like an angel. Their harmonies are, perhaps, the one true metaphor in the film, 2 people with different life experiences, finding a common bond and becoming together better than they are alone.

But the movie doesn't invite those sorts of thoughts during the run time. It is rather formulaic in presentation; not in a bad way, it's just that you've seen these sorts of stories before and you know how it's going to turn out. The characters have just enough darkness in them to rise above the cliche, even though cliche could be right around the corner. Writer and director John Carney, however, manages to go down the other street. You root for these two kids, you look forward to the inevitable resolution.

One of the true gifts of this movie is that even though you are quite sure how it will all turn out, you aren't sure how, so you travel along with the characters, allowing the movie to unfold, lulled into quiet expectation by the formula. Which makes the tight, beautiful and thoroughly consistent ending one of the most surprising and lovely of any movie I've seen in a long time.
It both resolves and doesn't in the most satisfying way and it made me very happy.

The movie is rated R, for the simple reason that the F word makes more than one appearance (especially in the first scene). Of course, I've long maintained that cursing always sounds better in an English/Irish/Scottish accent, so if you can overlook that one bit, there's no reason not to see the film.

The Film Czarina gives "Once" 3 ¾ Koihead out of 5

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Saturday, April 05, 2008

Raucus Caucus Part Deux

On Saturday, while The Spouse was watching The Child's volleyball team hold their undefeated record, I was at the Legislative district caucus. You'll remember that I was elected as an alternate at the February caucus. Washington has a 3 tiered system: precinct caucuses, then legislative, then state. As we move up each tier the pool of delegates is consolidated until we have our final 97 delegates (13 alternates) who will represent their candidate(s) at the national convention in June.

I will not bore you with the details of how this all breaks down. Suffice to say, I had a headache by the time I left. You're welcome.

As an alternate, I wasn't even sure if it mattered if I went on Saturday. But I got a call on Thursday from a woman who was a former state representative, who's working on the Obama campaign, and she said it was important, especially as she hadn't successfully contacted all the other delegates from my precinct. She told me that if I wasn't seated I could leave.

So I went. There were probably 1000 people, filling the gym of the neighborhood high school. Call to order was at 10; it didn't happen til 10:45 because they were still signing in people. Then there were lots of speeches and procedural Roberts Rules of Order stuff, all of which was made bearable by the fact that my friend David (of David and Stina) was a delegate so we were hanging together.

There were some highly enjoyable moments, not the least of which was when a city councilwoman got up to tell us how great it was that we were all there and she didn't care who we were supporting "as long as it's Hillary", at which point the over 600 Obama delegates started chanting "O-ba-ma, O-ba-ma!". Then her mike went out so she couldn't respond and some woman ran up and slapped an Obama sticker on her. It was all in good fun. Like when the chair was talking about how we'd eventually be dividing up into our sub caucuses, with the Obama people staying in the gym "and" whispered David, "the Clinton people going to the teacher's lounge".

Right. There were over 600 Obama delegates, as I mentioned, and about 100+ Clinton delegates. Which meant that the rest of the folks in the room were alternates, like me, waiting to see if they would be seated. And what, you ask, did that mean?

If a delegate from my precinct didn't show, I'd be seated in his or her place.

And why would that matter, you ask again? Persistent little bugger, aren't you, I say. It was important because if a delegate didn't show and no one was there to fill in, Obama would lose that delegate in the count.

OH! says you. We wouldn't want that.

And that's why I sat in an overcrowded gym for 3 hours waiting to find out if I was needed. Dedicated much?

Finally all the recording and counting was done and 80 alternates would be seated. They announced the names precinct by precinct. My percinct number is up there. So I waited. As we got closer David started saying, "You're coming up! Oh, I'm so excited!" and other silly things. Then she called my name and David threw up his arms and cheered. There was much laughter in response. I whispered to him, "I think I'll just wait here for a bit". Had to let the blushing subside, don'tcha know.

Right, so then I go to get my credentials and who should be handing them out but Chickypoo. That's right. Little miss "I hate politics and think this whole process is stupid" was not only a delegate that day but working behind the scenes. So much for hating politics, eh? But she recognized me and was all excited that I was now a delegate. Whoo hoo. Whatev.

Funny thing is, by now it was 1 o'clock. We'd been there since 9. We waited for the final delegate count (there was a 10 minute "switch period" during which delegates could inform the chair that they were going over to the other camp...which I don't think happened) which was 684 Obama, 139 Clinton.

Now it was time for the pools of delegates to go to their corners, as it were, and decide who would be advancing on to the state level. Clinton people had to decide on 8 (4 alternates), Obama people had to decide on 37 (19 alternates). And what that meant was that we were going to have to listen to 30 second speeches by all the people who wanted to be delegates to the next round and then vote on them.

Dave and I were out. We'd done our part, assuring our candidate got his full complement of votes. We didn't care who was going to represent him at the next level. Unless it was us. Which it wasn't going to be because there were people with leaflets and cookies and tshirts etc. etc. campaigning for themselves to be delegates. Hard core. We hadn't even prepared speeches, let alone made bumper stickers. And with our raging headaches enduring what was likely to be at least an hour more of speeches, was simply out of the question.

So we went to his house and had sandwiches and Cokes with Stina. And my headache went away.


Friday, April 04, 2008

Sage Was Just a Toddler When It Happened

Remember the scene from "When Harry Met Sally"? Harry's dating a younger woman and mentions to his friend that it might be an issue after all:

"I asked her where she was when Kennedy was shot and she said, 'Ted Kennedy's been assassinated?'"

I get that joke. It's happened to me. I'm older than a lot of my friends. (Except for the ones who are my age. Or older. I have a lot of friends. I'm super popular).

I don't usually think of myself as being all that old. It's not like I've got brittle bones and spend my days crocheting tea cozies and waiting for "Jeopardy" to come on. But I was just reminded that it's been 40 years since we lost Martin. 40 years.

Here's what I remember. It was a beautiful spring day. I was 10. The news went through me like an electric shock. I remember walking around in the back yard crying and praying, a scene that would be repeated 2 months and 1 day later when Bobby was taken out.

It's a crushing thing when heroes fall. My generation has seen a lot of that. I suppose every generation has. And if it's not the death of a hero, it's some other defining event, some "where were you when"...Pearl Harbor, 9/11...take your pick. Every generation has its dark days, collective grief. It might be the death of a politician, a princess, the start or the end of a war. It's always something. And then we have to find our way back to the light, until the next time.

I don't know where I'm going with this, to be honest with you.

This probably should have been my video today.

U2 "Pride (In The Name of Love)"

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So Say We All

Today's video will be meaningful to exactly 3 of my readers. (Unless there are fans hiding in the shadows, in which case, hi - speak up already).

Tonight is the premiere of the final season of "Battlestar Galactica". And while the fact that the show is ending makes me sad, at least we all know it's ending and consequently it's not going to be all lame and weird like the last season of "Gilmore girls".

Mock if you will but I'll just mock back at you. BSG is one of the best written shows on television and if you haven't watched it to figure that out, shut the frak up. Or put it on your frakking Netflix list and see what all the hubbub is about. Or, you know, shut the frak up.

It bears noting: JP turned me on to BSG. He wrote a great review of the finale for season 2 and I was intrigued. I had to Netflix everything prior, including the miniseries that started it all (you totally realize that I am NOT talking about the Lorne Greene version, right?) to get up to speed but that was fine. By then, JP and I had taken our bloggy relationship to the "next level" and we emailed back and forth about it all. (Then we started talking on the phone about it). And you know what? The only thing that mitigates my unbridled joy about tonight's viewing is the fact that he won't be with me. I have to make do with The Spouse and The Neighbor. Which is fine, because I love 'em and all. Still. The good news: JP and I have already discussed being together for the finale.

Anyviper, all I can think about today is tonight so there you go. Today's video is an homage to the finale of season 3. Like I said, 3 of you care. But it was also the only video I could find of the song, which is an old classic with a fresh rendering. Which, now I think on it, is part of what makes this song a classic in the first place. Over the years it's been done any number of ways. Folks have their preferences. (I've heard many a Bob vs. Jimi debate get entirely out of hand). But it's a meaty enough song that it holds up to reinterpretation; possibly, in this case, reinvention.
So even if you don't give a frak about BSG, you could just play this while you unload the dishwasher or something and listen to the song.

Good hunting.

Bt4 "All Along the Watchtower"

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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Born Not Made

I have strong evidence to suggest that geeks are a fundamental result of nature rather than nurture and further, that the geek gene does not skip a generation.

Let's start with The Spouse's parents. His father was an engineer at Boeing from the day he graduated college until the day he died. The man owned a slide rule. His mother met his father while working at Boeing, as one of the first women engineers in the company. See? Brainy people. (I never knew these people but I do count among my acquaintance any number of engineers. I love them. But they are definitely a little geeky).

Along came The Spouse who is, without question, a geek. He was one of those guys who had a personal computer when the monitor ran in orange. He programmed stuff and fooled around and one day he loosened his tie after church, sat down with the want ads and said, "Hey, there are a lot of computer jobs in this town".

Yep. And coffee on every corner.

He also reads science fiction, watches science fiction and, for what it's worth, his aunt is best friends with the woman who wrote the Clan of the Cave Bear books.

Me? I never considered myself much of a geek. I wasn't good at math. I've read some science fiction and enjoyed it but it was all pretty mainstream stuff: the CS Lewis trilogy, Madeleine l'Engle, Dune. I even took science fiction in college, but that was because it was one of those seminar classes that was structured so geeks could take it for English credit and English majors could take it for science credit. And sure, I was a little pissed when everyone started using Windows because by then I'd figured out how to manipulate my computer world in DOS. (I still kinda miss DOS if the truth be told). But that owes more to my not liking to learn new ways of doing computer related stuff than to any actual geekiness. But otherwise, not so much a geek. I know 0s and 1s manipulate the computer landscape but I don't know how. (I know how to write the html code for italics but I don't know how it works. And I don't care. So long as it does work).

Plus, there are those (Iwanski) who call me a geek because I watch "Battlestar Galactica". Although, anyone who has ever watched "Battlestar Galactica" knows that it is a show about race, politics, religion, sex and the meaning of civilization which just happens to be taking place in space, which hardly makes it geeky but you'd have to watch it to know that (Iwanski) and besides that, anyone who ever dreamed of writing for movies/television (Iwanski) owes it to himself to watch it before he shoots off his mouth anymore (Iwanski).

So The Spouse is pretty much of a geek by all the standards commonly accepted for geekdom. (He doesn't wear a pocket protector. He does have a slide rule, but only because I bought it for him at the Rummage Sale from Hell). I am a nominal geek. (My numbers amp up a bit if you factor in computer games).

The Child comes along. A child who consistently gets Cs and Ds in math. A child who claims to hate science because "it's boring", although she thinks that growing up to be an archaeologist might be cool. Ah. The chain is broken.

Hold on there just a minute, Mr. Tesla. Not so much.

The Spouse had to stop watching "Battlestar Galactica" about halfway through last season because SciFi switched the air time to 10pm on Sundays. So we've been watching Season Three for the last week, to catch him up for tomorrow night's season premiere. That's a lot of episodes. And The Spouse gets up pretty early. So for the last two evenings we have gathered as a family in the kitchen, held hands to say grace and then The Child has taken her food to her room and we've gone into the family room to watch "BSG".

(I can't believe I just admitted that to you. It goes against my nature, against everything I believe about the importance of the family table blah blah blah. But there you go).

So yesterday The Child says to me, "You know how sometimes you really become a fan of one thing? Well, I'm really into "Star Wars" right now".

Yep, while we've been watching BSG she's been reacquainting herself with Luke and Leia. But that's not all. She and a friend have decided to start a newspaper. She's written her first article. "Aliens: True or Hoax?" in which she argues, fairly effectively, that alien life is a strong possibility. Ask her about Area 51 sometime. She can tell you way more about it than I know.

When she's been all het up about Harry Potter, with a rabid attention to detail that would serve her well were she to apply the same to academics, I just figured it was a kid thing. It is arguably the defining book/movie series of her generation...what The Wizard of Oz or Tolkien's Ring cycle were to previous generations. But now I'm not so sure. Hello? Wizards? How geeky is that? Coupled with her new found interest in interplanetary life forms, the conclusion is inevitable. My child is a geek. Like her parents and grandparents before her.

I don't know whether to hang my head in shame or get her a poster of the Very Large Array.

Carl Sagan, here she comes.

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Marshmallow Fluff

The Child wanted to be pranked bad yesterday. So for dessert last night I made her a fried egg sundae
Chocolate ice cream, of course, with marshmallow fluff for the white and some vanilla pudding with extra color for the yolk. It was disgusting. The Spouse and I had whites only sundaes. Yum.

I was talking with The Spouse about yesterday's post and the comments. It always amazes me what all y'all attach to in any given post. Some of you picked up on the trading spouses thing, and some on "How I Met Your Mother". Others of you weighed in pro or con for coconut and some got more specific relative to the merits (or not) of German chocolate cake. This could speak to a decided lack of focus in my writing but I prefer to think of my blog as a playground. Y'all climb on whatever rides you want and then we'll have a snack.

And speaking of fluff, dear Danny issued this Musician Challenge. Picking only one artist, one must answer the following questions using only song titles with no repeats.

And just because I love JP so much, I didn't use the Jonas Brothers.

1.) Are you a male or female? She Brakes for Rainbows

2.) Describe yourself: Quiche Lorraine

3.) Describe your day: Too Much to Think About

4.) Describe where you currently live: Dirty Back Road

5.) If you could go anywhere, where would you go? Downtown

6.) Your best friend is: Queen of Las Vegas

7.) Your favorite color is: Topaz

8.) You know that: There's a Moon in the Sky (Called the Moon)

9.) What's the weather like? Breezin'

10.) If your life was a television show, what would it be called? Is That You Mo-Dean?

11.) What is life to you? Cosmic Thing

12.) What is the best advice you have to give? Work That Skirt

13.) Describe your ex? Ain't it a Shame

14.) Your current relationship status? Good Stuff

15.) What's your favorite hobby? Runnin' Around

16.) When you think of your friends: Hero Worship

17.) What do your friends think of you? Keep This Party Going

18.) What does your current love interest think of you? Dance This Mess Around

19.) You always travel with: Legal Tender

20.) The best way to end a long day? Dancing Now

21.) Your occupation is? Housework

22.) When you grow up, you want to: Roam

23.) What does your family think of you? Tell It Like it T-I-S

24.) Your favorite food is: Rock Lobster

25.) You want to be remembered as: Song for a Future Generation

I think I gave it away with the first question. Whatev.

B52s "Deadbeat Club"

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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

What Foul Utterance from The Heavens Is This?

So, Dana, no fooling...about an hour after you posted your comment yesterday about snow in the spring being like a "soft, fluffy curse word" it started to hail here. Hail as in Biblical-proportions-only-it-wasn't-burning. Then there was thunder. Then The Mariners won their season opener.

I'd try to figure out what it all meant but there are 4 guys on horseback out front asking for directions.


Someday I'll Write a Post That Will Be Nothing But Parenthetical Statements

As you know, The Spouse and I have a running joke about Steve Martin being my second husband. (It's not a joke. If Steve Martin showed up at the door right now I'd grab my tiara and leave a note. I guess the joke is in the fact that Steve Martin isn't going to be showing up at my door). But this is an equal opportunity marriage. The Spouse too gets to pick a new partner. But it turns out that whereas I have pledged my undying love for Steve Martin for over 30 years now, The Spouse is motivated by a more flexible standard.

We'll be watching a movie with, say, Zoey Deschanel, and he'll say, "She's going to be The Child's new mommy". (When she was little that would make The Child cry. Now she says, "Sweet!") For quite a while there Sandra Bullock was the new mommy of choice but apparently he's got an age limit.

Last night we were (ironically) watching "How I Met Your Mother" (which, btw, included a classic Doogie Howser reference and that they've waited this long to do so shows remarkable restraint). I asked if Alyson Hannigan was going to be The Child's new mommy and he replied, "Naw. She's getting a little long in the tooth".

"But she's America's sweetheart. And besides, I want to know that the new mommy will be nice to The Child".

"Oh, that doesn't matter," he replied. "You're taking The Child with you".

Boy, was he disappointed to learn that the whole premise of the "new mommy" thing implies at least shared custody.

Remember that time The Spouse came to me and sweetly asked, "Honey, where do we keep the German chocolate cake?" That question has haunted me for months. In the first place, he claims not to be a huge fan of cake. We had apple pie at our wedding reception, that's how much he is not a fan of cake. I was sure he was joking but at least once a week now he says something about German chocolate cake.

I finally decided to make him one. Got a mix and everything. The Child actually baked it. It's been sitting on the cake plate for four days because I haven't frosted it yet. And why, you ask? Because, you, I was looking up recipes for German chocolate cake icing and, as I suspected, coconut is a major player.

Well, says you, that just sounds yummy. Coconut is awesome! Remember that gorgeous triple coconut cream pie you had for Easter and ate for breakfast for 3 mornings straight, you fat tub?

That was not kind, says me, but yes, I remember. And I also remember that The Spouse didn't eat a lick of the pie and when I asked him why not he replied, "Really not a fan of the coconut".

What? 16 years of marriage or whatever it is and I didn't know this about him? He eats Thai food, which by law requires coconut milk. I'm pretty sure I've seen him eat a Mounds bar. (Or was it an Almond Joy?) I know he doesn't care for macaroons but that's just a small character flaw. But if he is, in fact, not a fan of the coconut then what does he think belongs on top of a German chocolate cake? I sure wasn't going to commit if it meant the thing was going to sit and molder on the counter.

So last night, after we settled the whole "new mommy" thing, I asked if he was aware that German chocolate cake icing involves coconut. "Oh, yeah".

"But you don't like coconut".

"Context is everything," he said.

Oh look! Here in the dictionary, next to the word "fickle":