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January 31, 2005

what's so funny about..... [updated]

Apologies for the lame blogging day. If it's any consolation, it was lame day around the homestead, too.

I'm working on a post for the morning that I need your help with. Without letting on what the topic of the post is (though some of you may figure it out), I'm just going to throw some questions out here for you.

First, if you're posting anonymously in the comments, I need to know if you're male or female.

Now:

What's your favorite comedy movie? Favorite comedy tv show (past or present)?
Can you recite lines from Monty Python and the Holy Grail? Animal House? Steve Martin comedy routines? Saturday Night Live sketches? Ever play with a nerf gun? Tell fart jokes? Laugh at fart jokes?
In as few words as possible, what kind of humor appeals to you?

Remember, it's important to state if you're male or female (if it's not already obvious).

Thank you.

Added question:

Who is your favorite stand up comedian (past or present)?

Misty water colored memories..........

So, if I've been blogging four years now (today being the official date), it stands to reason that I've been reading blogs four years as well.

If I were to make a top ten list of my favorite blogging moments that occurred on blogs other than my own, right up there would be Juan Gato's Bucket O' Hugs.

Happy Anniverary, Juan Gato/FAD/All other incarnations

punting

One sick kid + one bout of insomnia + one bad back = Monday.

I imagine the blogging will be light today. So I'll just leave you with the contents of an email from my mother.

1. A vulture boards an airplane, carrying two dead raccoons. The stewardess looks at him and says, "I'm sorry, sir, only one carrion allowed per passenger."

2. Two fish swim into a concrete wall. One turns to the other and says, "Dam!".

3. Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly, so they lit a fire in the craft. Unsurprisingly it sank, proving once again that; you can't have your kayak and heat it too.

4. Two hydrogen atoms meet. One says "I've lost my electron." The other says "Are you sure?" The first replies "Yes, I'm positive."

5. Did you hear about the Buddhist who refused Novocain during a root canal?
His goal: transcend dental medication.

6. A group of chess enthusiasts checked into a hotel and were standing in the lobby discussing their recent tournament victories. After about an hour, the manager came out of the office and asked them to disperse.
"But why?" they asked, as they moved off.
"Because", he said, "I can't stand chess-nuts boasting in an open foyer."

7. A woman has twins and gives them up for adoption. One of them goes to a family in Egypt and is named "Ahmal." The other goes to a family in Spain; they name him "Juan." Years later, Juan sends a picture of himself to his birth mother. Upon receiving the picture, she tells her husband that she wishes she also had a picture of Ahmal.
Her husband responds, "They're twins! If you've seen Juan, you've seen Ahmal."

8. These friars were behind on their belfry payments, so they opened up a small florist shop to raise funds. Since everyone liked to buy flowers from the men of God, a rival florist across town thought the competition was unfair. He asked the good fathers to close down, but they would not. He went back and begged the friars to close. They ignored him. So, the rival florist hired Hugh MacTaggart, the roughest and most vicious thug in town to "persuade" them to close. Hugh beat up the friars and trashed their store, saying he'd be back if they didn't close up shop.
Terrified, they did so, thereby proving that only Hugh can prevent florist friars.

9. Mahatma Gandhi, as you know, walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an impressive set of calluses on his feet. He also ate very little, which made him rather frail and with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath. This made him ...(Oh, man, this is so bad, it's good)..... A super calloused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis.

10. And finally, there was the person who sent ten different puns to his friends, with the hope that at least one of the puns would make them laugh. No pun in ten did????

You know what to do.

January 30, 2005

a note to my son on his 12th birthday

Happy Birthday, DJ.

Thank you for every smile, every laugh, every hug and for being the kind of kid who is never embarassed to kiss his parents his good night.

Thanks for letting me be the mother of the kid about whom everyone says "I want one just like him."

I love you, kid. You make me proud. I hope you make you proud. Learn to appreciate yourself a bit more. And remember, girls only want boyfriends who have great skills. So get started on those nunchuck skills, bowhunting skills, computer hacking skills...

May all your dreams come true, DJ. May you be a rock star, an all-star third baseman and a certified zombie expert in your lifetime.

And may you get rich doing all those things so you can take care of your family later on.

Happy Birthday.

Election Day

Today we vote, today is a democracy birthday.


[photo property of Alaasmary]

Complete Iraq election coverage at Command Post

January 29, 2005

Songs of The Night - Hard/Soft

For anyone who feels like kicking someone.

Fear Factory - Replica mp3

And for after the kicking, the mellowing out...

And I'm sick of your tattoos, and the way you always criticize the Smiths... and Morrissey.
Brand New - Mix Tape mp3

Have I mentioned how much I love this band?

random list

Soundtracks that were better than the movie:

  • Mortal Kombat
  • Mortal Kombat Annihilation
  • Spawn
  • Judgment Night
  • Lost Highway
  • Resident Evil
  • Freddy v. Jason
  • Scream 3
  • Strangeland

[inspiration from the comments here]

Quote of the Day

And, just maybe, a Bush quote that everyone can applaud.

"As a free-speech advocate, I often told parents who were complaining about content, you're the first line of responsibility; they put an off button (on) the TV for a reason. Turn it off," Bush told C-SPAN interviewer Brian Lamb.

Link

Uwe Boll's World: Where Has-Been Actors Go To Die

I've been having a great time the past few days at the expense of Uwe Boll.

Who is Uwe Boll, some of you ask? He's a crazy German director that makes a living bringing video games to life. Sort of. I mean, he tries. but did you see House of the Dead? I had more fun playing the game itself. In a hot dog restaurant/arcade. That smelled like dirty diapers. With a broken gun. While killer bees made hives in my ears. Well, you get the idea. House of the Dead, the movie, was one of the worst cinematic experiences I've ever had. And I'm not alone in that feeling, because it is number 28 on the IMDB bottom 100.

I've acquired most of my recent Boll reading material from Joel, who seems to hold Mr. Boll in as high regard as I do. Joel pointed me to Nathan, who led me to this awesome review of Boll's latest effort, Alone in the Dark.

A horror movie about a video game. Sounds like something that was made just for me, right? Having been burnt by Uwe before, I greeted the news that he was directing this effort with skepticism. And when they announced Tara Reid and Stephen Dorff as the stars, I just shook my head in dismay. I knew where this was headed.

That's not really to disparage Dorff. I always liked the guy, though my interest in him may have more of an eye-candy angle than anything else. SFW, Judgment Night, Blade, Space Truckers...he made some great movies. Who could forget his turn as Glen in The Gate? How far his career has fallen, though, to appear in a video game-to-movie film directed by Boll. Didn't anyone in this movie see House of the Dead?

Well, we can forgive Tara Reid. I mean, where does someone go after becoming the poster girl for drunken wardrobe malfunctions? If you're going to kill what little career you already had, you may as well go down with a Boll bomb and really fuck yourself in a grand way.

As for Christian Slater (and the rest of the cast, really), the first panel here says it all:


Penny Arcade

Back to that Slant review that so many people have linked already:

Saying Uwe Boll's Alone in the Dark is better than his 2003 American debut House of the Dead--possibly the worst horror film of the past decade--is akin to praising syphilis for not being HIV.

Beautiful. But there's more. So much more. And you can find all the gems on this review page for Alone in the Dark at movies.com.

  • Chicago Tribune (1 star): [Reid's] performance as curator Aline Cedrac is horrific, with the diction of a moron, the expressiveness of a block of wood and the wardrobe of Streetwalker Barbie.
  • L.A. Daily News (1 1/2 stars): Painfully miscast as someone whose job requires intelligence, Reid plays museum curator Aline Cedrac..
  • San Francisco Chronicle: more of a drinking game than a movie, with scenes that are not only laughably bad but also repeat themselves
  • Variety: Uwe Boll should put down his joystick — quickly, before anyone else gets hurt.

Yet Boll keeps getting work - in the same genre. He's currently working on making a mockery of Bloodrayne, Hunter: The Reckoning and Far Cry.

That's three video game movies he's directing after destroying two already. What does this say about the movie industry when a man can make a career out of abject failure, where a guy whose skills are mocked by those he's supposed to be entertaining gets more work?

What, you ask, will Bloodrayne be like? Why, let's ask Boll himself!

The whole beginning of the movie, BloodRayne is like a freak in the circus, and people want to rape her, and she's like the attraction of the evening, and everybody in the arena of the circus is drunk and they throw her arms into water so the skin burns and then she must drink the blood of a goat [so] that she recovers… It's a big miracle that she recovers…


Penny Arcade

Is there anyone out there who admires Boll? I did a search for articles on him and came up with:

I do not doubt that director Uwe Boll is an excellent person with unique gifts, like making bird calls or some shit. But the stuff he does with movie cameras is a Goddamn war crime.

And this:
You're also working on 'BloodRayne,' another film with a great cast. How is that coming along? Very good. It is very dark, brutal and disturbing and not at all like a new superhero over the top piece like CATWOMAN or ELEKTRA.

This is where you instert the "polishing a turd" cliche.

Joel also pointed me to this unintenionally hilarious interview with Boll. Though my favorite part doesn't even contain a quote from Uwe:

TF: All the recent video game movies seem to be based on games currently popular. Since 1980's retro have become fashionable of late, how come nobody has yet to do any films based on some of the classic arcade games like Sinistar, Congo Bongo, Dig Dug, or Burgertime? I'm thinking there is a major kick ass, Die Hard-like kung fu film just waiting to be made out of Elevator Action. What do you think? (Foy: Boll left this particular question unanswered. Possibly because he realized it was a joke question or perhaps because he's already thinking the very same thing and was worried if he tipped us off then somebody out there might beat him to movie rights for Gorf.)

Which is what I was thinking all along, anyhow. What happens when Boll runs out of horror games to turn into inept movies? What if he moves on to, say, Animal Crossing? Or Super Monkey Ball? I can see it now - Crispin Glover. Paris Hilton. Primates gone wild!

I would start a petition or a grass movement or something, anything, to let the world know that Uwe Boll must be stopped, but apparently he's a deranged juggernaut that will just keep going and going and going because idiots keep handing him money hand over fist to make these pieces of crap. And you. Yea, you, who paid to see House of the Dead and Alone in the Dark. You should be ashamed of yourself. Just stop feeding Uwe Boll. Please, for the love of all that is good in the world of video game movies, stop making this man think he is good at what he does.

Oh, hell. It's too late. I'm just going to buy all these movies and play the Uwe Boll drinking game.


...for the love of all that is good in the world of video game movies
? Did I just say that? Is there really any such thing as good in that genre?

I smell a list in the making.

January 28, 2005

Song o' The Night - Get Up and Mosh Version

For those who actually stop by here on a Friday evening (because I know I'm not the only one sitting in front of the computer instead of engaging in debauchery), a song:

Prong - Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck - mp3

This one always makes me get off my ass.

Can They Be Stopped??*

So I'm driving home from work, just minding my own business, when this boat of a car - I'm thinking '78 Cadillac - about 100 feet ahead of me starts drifting into my lane. This isn't your ordinary pull-into-my-lane-without-using-your-directional thing. No, it was a definite drift. I was about to lay on my horn when it drifted back the other way. Fine, just an accidental drift, then.

Five seconds later, it's back in my lane, but not quite. The car is straddling the yellow line between the two lanes. We're moving at a nice clip, about 50 in a 40, and I slow down a bit and pull back because I don't want some drunk old man in a Caddy sideswiping me. The Caddy slows down, too, and swerves all the way into my lane.

That's it. I lean on the horn. Normally, I'm not big on honking, but if it's winter and my windows are closed and you can't hear me screaming a string of nasty words at you, I'll just settle for loud, obnoxious beeping.

The brakes lights on the Caddy start blinking. The driver is stepping on and off the brakes and I don't know whether it's to annoy the hell out of me or because he's just a really bad driver. But I can't get into the next lane to get around it because of traffic. Besides, I need to make the turnoff right after the next light. So I'm stuck with the Caddy for a few more feet. I survive the next bout of brake lights and swerving - there was one moment when I thought the car was going to end up on the wrong side of the road - and I'm muttering death threats under my breath by the time the Caddy pulls into the turning lane for the Wal-Mart parking lot.

So we're stopped at a red light, the Caddy on the left, me on the right. I turn to look at this person who should be banned from every driving again. The first thing I notice is not the driver, but the massive pile of paper cups, bottles, cans and newspapers inside the car. It's like a mobile recycling center in there. I can see that some of the cups are dirty. I can also see on the front seat about four Poland Springs water bottles filled with a dark, yellow liquid. I shudder. I do not want to know what is in those bottles. My imagination tries to shout "It's piss, you idiot!" but I tell myself to shut up.

Finally, I look at the driver. I let out a small scream. It's woman. And she's fossilized. Or mummified. Or zombified. Whichever it is, she's clearly been dead for at least 100 years. The light turns green but I am still gaping at this...thing in the Caddy and as the car behind me beeps impatiently, the mummy/zombie turns her head slowly towards me and gives me the most evil, vile grin I have ever seen. A chill descends down my spine as I pull away from the Caddy.

As I drive away, I wonder what this world is coming to. First they give licenses to illegal immigrants and now they're giving them to the undead? When you start handing out driving permits to people whose business it is to kill you, you're walking a god damn slippery slope to the end of civilization. First, they lumbered after us. Then, they ran. Now, they're driving. I know these are politically correct times we're living in, but this is ridiculous. I'm writing my legislator today.

When there's no more room in hell, the zombies and mummies will take over our highways? I don't think so. I don't know about you, but I'm going to start carrying albums around in my car.

*which was the tagline to.....

Ninteen Years Ago Today

Speaking of time passing...

(repeat)

Nineteen years ago today, I was sitting in my parent's house (where I still lived) playing a full simulated season of Major League baseball on my Commodore 64 with some friends.

This is how the news appeared that day:

The American space shuttle, Challenger, has exploded killing all seven astronauts on board. The five men and two women - including the first civilian in space - were just over a minute into their flight from Cape Canaveral in Florida when the Challenger blew up.

The astronauts' families, at the airbase, and millions of Americans witnessed the world's worst space disaster live on TV.

The danger from falling debris prevented rescue boats reaching the scene for more than an hour.

In 25 years of space exploration seven people have died - today that total has been doubled.

President Ronald Reagan has described the tragedy as "a national loss".

The Challenger's flight, the 25th by a shuttle, had already been delayed because of bad weather. High winds, then icicles caused the launch to be postponed from 22 January.

But Nasa officials insist safety remains their top priority and there was no pressure to launch the shuttle today.

The shuttle crew was led by Commander Dick Scobee, 46. School teacher Christa McAuliffe, 37, married with two children, was to be the first civilian in space - picked from among 10,000 entries for a competition.

Speaking before the launch, she said: "One of the things I hope to bring back into the classroom is to make that connection with the students that they too are part of history, the space programme belongs to them and to try to bring them up with the space age."

President Reagan has put off his state of the union address. He was meeting senior aides in the Oval Office when he learned of the disaster.


We will never forget them

US President Ronald Reagan




He has called for an immediate inquiry into the disaster but he said the space programme would go on - in honour to the dead astronauts. Vice-President George Bush has been sent to Cape Canaveral to visit the victims' families.

This evening, the president went on national television to pay tribute to the courage and bravery of the seven astronauts.

He said: "We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them this morning as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God."

We weren't paying attention to the television. My mother, ever the space buff, was watching the launch. I heard her gasp. I looked up at the tv. I froze.

Nobody moved for a long time. Nobody spoke. It was one of the most horrifying, saddest moments of my life. To witness that, to see the flames and sparks and the smoke, and to know that you not only just watched people die, but you were witnessing a depressing piece of history - the moment was overwhelming. I have never forgotten it. I don't even need to watch the video because it is so firmly etched in my mind.

One of those where were you moments that seem to stand still in your mind forever.

Where were you?

More at Command Post

time keeps on slippin'.....

When I was pregnant with my daughter, a cousin said to me - Savor your time with your kid. It goes so fast. One day they're in diapers, the next they're in high school. And you'll have no idea where that time went. She teared up a little as she said it. I shrugged it off as a new-parent-advice cliche. Time was a leisurely thing. Back then, at the relatively young age of 28, life was moseying along at a good pace. How could having a child make things speed up? It couldn't! I thanked my relative for her advice and chalked up the tears to her having a melodramatic midlife crisis.

But, oh how right she was. Becoming a parent leaves you with mental changes to go with the physical. Along with sagging boobs and stretch marks comes a fundamental change in how you view the passage of time. It won't happen right away. It will just sneak up on you. One day you'll be standing there, just watching your kid smear Spaghettio's all over the high chair and you'll look at his face and exclaim "When did he stop being a baby? He's...he's...a little boy now!" And you weep just a little because that infancy stage went by so fast and you feel like you didn't grab it hard enough to hold onto any of it. You find yourself looking at pictures of your son as an infant and then looking right at him and wondering when the hell that change took place, because you've been with him the whole time and you don't remember him..growing...like that. Time has sped up. You're on fast-forward from here on in.

And then they go to pre-school and the normal calendar that you've been setting your life by this whole time goes out the window. Your year now goes from September to August instead of January to December. He's in kindergarten. First grade. He can read, write, make friends on his own. His face has changed so much you can't believe that photo of the kid in the high chair with the spaghetti sauce all over his face is actually your son. Where did the curly hair go? The pudgy cheeks?

And then he's playing baseball, making his first Communion, wearing a tuxedo to your sister's wedding and damn, he looks like a little man. But that can't be, because just yesterday he was laying on the living room floor with his binky in his mouth, clutching his stuffed animal and watching Barney. What? That wasn't yesterday? You could swear it was....

And then your daughter starts middle school and your head is spinning because you could swear that it was just a year ago that she was playing the recorder in the third grade concert. Three years ago? No way.

They're having parties and you look at their little friends when they come in your door and you think to yourself, isn't that Suzie from her Daisy troop? She's wearing make up? That little girl is wearing eye shadow? And your daughter reminds you that they are in eighth grade now and they're not little kids any more.

And then you're done with the elementary school. You've got one in the middle school and one in high school and every time you drive past the elementary school, you feel wistful and weepy even though you hated that principal and the school itself because your precious time is bottled up in that building, years and years of your children growing up and you wonder if you didn't just hit a time warp and got bumped into the future because there is no way all that time has passed already.

And then your daughter is talking about learning to drive and colleges and boyfriends and your son has a hint of mustache on his upper lip and you can practically hear the roaring sound as time wooshes right past you. Suddenly you're in one of those cartoons where the calendar pages go flying to mark the passing of time. Woosh, woosh, woosh, there goes five years in the blink of an eye.

Of course, one day you sit down to really think about all this and you realize you're having a melodramatic mid life crisis. You're in your 40's now. Half your life is gone. And half of half of that life was spent watching your kids hit the fast forward button. What's left? Graduations, weddings, grandkids, retirement community. Birth, school, work, death.

Ok, so that's the morose, hardened way of looking at it. There is a lot to look forward to. But it's kind of like autumn - I wait for that season all year because it's my favorite. The cool weather, the beautiful colors, I just love fall. Yet I feel like even if I spend all day long staring at the foliage, it's not going to be enough, because no matter how long I stare, no matter how many pictures I take, that particular moment when the yellow leaf goes spiraling down into the pile of red leaves in a spectacular ballet of nature, that moment will gone. Forever.

In two days, my son will be 12 years old. Two weeks after that, my daughter will turn 15. My kids will never be 11 and 14 again. I'll never be 40 again. I just wish there was a way to hold onto time a little tighter, to slow it down just a bit, or to go back in time and really pay attention to my relative who gave me the well meaning lecture on the passing of time. But even if we do savor every single moment, they still pass us by. We can't make time stand still and I certainly wouldn't want to. I just wish it would go a bit slower.

So, in honor of the birthdays of my children, I made a vow to myself to not write about them here anymore, unless it's to remark on a particular achievement of theirs. When I started this blog, they were little kids. They're not that anymore, and it's not right for me to put on display all those goofy stories where anyone can find them, even if by accident. What's in the archives stays in the archives, but putting a story on the front page about my son wearing a dress is no longer an option. They gave me four years of blogging fodder, four years of things that are funny when you're eight, but embarrassing when you're twelve.

They were just little kids when I started this. A lot can happen in four years, and it happens with a woosh.

In the midst of my mid life crisis, I'd like to offer this piece of advice to those of you with small children:

Savor your time with your kid. It goes so fast. One day they're in diapers, the next they're in high school. And you'll have no idea where that time went.

Melodramatic, but true.

January 27, 2005

More Stupid Parenting Stories

Keeping sort of on topic....

I was going through all the old Raising Hell stuff I have saved on my computer (a now defunct group blog about crazy parents) and came across a few more stories about my kids and all things sex. I'm posting them more for posterity than anything else - I'd like to eventually get all my RH archives back up on the web again.

So here's one starring DJ and a dress (from May, 2002):

Dude Looks Like a Lady

Yesterday, I caught DJ trying on Natalie's makeup. He stood in front of the mirror, grinning and looking a bit Christina Aguliera.

So this reminded me of a couple of years ago, when DJ was about 7 years old. Natalie had taken DJ into the bathroom to "help him brush his teeth." Fifteen minutes later, they were still in there. I know you should never disturb children who are playing quietly, but this wasn't a nice kind of quiet coming from the bathroom. It was conspiratory. Hushed giggles and whispers made me open the bathroom door in a hurry, expecting to find them filling the bathtub with shampoo or wrapping each other in gauze tape.

And there was DJ, looking for all the world like the second daughter I never had. He was wearing one of Natalie's old sundresses, her flowered flip-flops and he had a zillion colored clips in his hair. And he was sporting more make up than Tammy Faye Baker at a Mary Kay convention.

They were both grinning, as if this was some masterpiece I should be proud of. So I played along. I called him Danielle instead of Daniel and he ran around the house, belting out Ethel Merman Broadway tunes and asking to have his nails done.

Justin and I watched with amazement. When Justin had enough of seeing his future stepson prancing around in a dress, he called an end to the game. DJ wouldn't oblige. He wanted to leave the dress on. He let Justin wash his make up off and take the clips out of his hair, but he would not part with the dress. Not even at bedtime.

We thought about letting him sleep in it, but it was becoming not an issue about the dress, but about DJ listening to us.

"Take the dress off," Justin said.
"No! It feels good!"
"Take it off!"
"NOOOOO!"
"Ok," said Justin. "Suit yourself. Just don't come crying to me in the morning?"
"Huh?"
"Well, if you sleep in the dress, when you wake up your penis will be gone."
blink
Dress off. Superman pajamas on.

I'll tell that story to his future girlfriend some day.

an open thread on oral sex

Write a post with the words "oral sex" in it and you'll get some very interesting email. Reading and responding has prompted me to offer this quick and dirty little survey (for both sexes), just out of curiosity:

Oral sex - both giving and receiving - : good, bad or indifferent?

Feel free to discuss at length. I'm going to drown myself in Tylenol Cold and DayQuil, so the place is yours for a while.

This time, it's personal (another movie survey)

It's yet another movie thread.

A few days ago I thought of a movie I haven't seen in many, many years. It was a tv movie that starred Stockard Channing as a woman who gets plastic surgery to become beautiful and then goes around killing everyone who picked on her when she was an ugly duckling in college.

The Girl Most Likely To was not only one of the best black comedies I have ever seen, but also one of the best revenge movies out there.

So, simple question: What's your favorite revenge movie?

sex talk and a song

I'm working on the rest of those answers, all of which will come today, none of which anyone really cares about, but which I am obligated to answer, even if some of those answers will get me into trouble.

Meanwhile, I had two requests. The first person asked if I had a mp3 of the song I linked to in the post below. Why, yes. I do. Here it is:

Brand New - Sic Transit Gloria - mp3.

Lyrics.

The other request came from someone who thought that, in light of both the post below and the celebration of ASV's fourth anniversary, that I should repeat some of the posts in which I had conversations with my kids about sex.

Ok, filler on a busy day works just fine for me.

I know there's more, can't think of them offhand. But enjoy these if you haven't already read them.

Back with the other stuff later.

TV 101: katie teaches you what you should already know

Well, damn. I missed Katie Couric's special on blowjobs last night. I really meant to watch it, because I so depend on television personalities to tell me what my kids are thinking in regards to sex and how to talk to them about it.

Couric became passionate about the subject after hearing "horror stories" of teens having sex at early ages and wanted teens, parents and experts to weigh in.

So what was the point of Katie's sex show? To bring these kids to the forefront and show all the other teens who are not aware of "friends with benefits" what they're missing?

"I think that society is so sexualized from the time these kids are small, they're quite comfortable.."

Isn't Katie just adding to the sexualization of society by bringing these teens on national television to talk about their sexploits? Oh, she's doing it under the guise of something newsworthy or educational.

Here's your education: Kids are having sex. Oral sex, intercourse, hand jobs, whatever. Call it hooking up, call it friends with benefits, whatever name you give to it, they are doing it. And they've been doing it. 30 years ago, when I was barely a teenager, I knew people who were doing it. And who was to blame then that my 13 year old neighbor was sleeping with every guy in town or my 7th grade classmate was giving out blowjobs in the back of the music class? We didn't have MTV. We didn't have reality tv. They weren't handing out condoms in school.

Yet put that same 13 year old or 7th grader in 2005 and immediately, today's raunch-prevalent, sex-soaked society would be blamed for their promiscuousness.

The only people responsible for the way a teenager perceives sex is the parents. The school district, while it may offer sex ed, should not be the sole educator to your child in regards to sex. I honestly believe - and I know some of you will call me naive - that if you keep an open avenue of communication with your child in regards to this subject, your child will not take a course of action that will cheapen them or cause regrets or pain or disease or pregnancy.

Peer pressure is an intense thing. Which is why you need to instill in your children a strong enough sense of themselves so they grow up believing they never have to exchange sex for popularity, that they never have to give up a kiss, a stroke, a hand up the shirt just prove their loyalty to someone who is going to dump them in a week's time, anyhow. It's so much more than teaching them about sex; it's about teaching them self respect.

What is Katie Couric going to do besides make you recoil in horror when you see a hand-chosen group of teens talking about hooking up with someone just for sex? It's titillating news. Shock tv. Don't let her panic you. I remember when Oprah tackled a similar subject a few years ago, when my daughter was in middle school. According to Oprah's experts, middle school girls were notoriously loose. In fact, they were nothing more than oral sex machines and you can find them behind any coat rack or music stand in the school, sucking dick for lunch money and/or friendship. A nation reeled. Parents panicked. School administrators sent a flurry of letters home assuring everyone that this was not going on in their school, despite the fact that Oprah's guests made it sound like just because it was going on in their particular town, it was going on everywhere, as if some evil force took over the minds of our 13 year olds and no one - not one single teenager - was immune to it.

Even if my daughter had, at that age, signified that she knew about oral sex (which she obviously didn't), I don't think I would have let her go on tv to discuss it. Oh look, honey. Our daughter is on a national news show talking about blow jobs! Call the neighbors!

My daughter will be 15 in two weeks. I am not an idiot. I know that as she gets older, the urges and curiosity will be there. That's why we have an open line of communication when it comes to sex. We talk about it. She asks questions, I answer honestly, and she knows she can come to me about anything and I'll do my damndest not to freak out on her. But I will educate her, as I have been doing since she first asked about sex when she was five years old.

And here's the shocker: I'm taking the abstinence route with her. Why? Because I'm her mother, that's why, and I don't want to tell my daughter it's ok to have sex as long as she practices safe sex. You can put a condom on a penis, but there's nothing to prevent the emotional ramifications that come from having sexual relations too early.

While she is educated in the field of sexual protection - because I am not naive and I know that despite my declaration that a high school kid should not be having sex, they do - there is just no preparation for what comes when you give yourself up to a person for the first time. And I don't think that at 15 my daughter is ready to determine that the boy she is currently seeing is the one she wants to give it up for. Sex is not just about sticking a penis in a vagina. There's a whole host of non-physical issues that go with it and to send your teenager out there armed with condoms and an awareness of STDs may keep them from getting pregnant or the clap, but it won't keep them from having their heart and/or spirit broken. It won't keep them from spending years beating themselves up for losing their virginity to a person they cared nothing about.

I've written about this before. Last time, I wrote:

Self-worth is sometimes all one has. To have that taken away, little by little, just so some boy who was never taught by his parents to respect girls can have a few moments of orgasmic bliss is a very sad thing.

It does work both ways. Girls can be pushy. Girls can be brazen. Girls can make boys feel as if they are worthless because they don't want to try out the latest sexual fad.

So I'm suggesting - not preaching - abstinence to both my children on the grounds that, while it may feel like you are physically ready to have sex, and you are well prepared as far as transmitting fluids go, your brain and your heart are not ready for it. There is no 13, 14, or even 17 year old who is mature enough handle the emotional baggage that comes with sharing oneself so intimately and physically with another person.

I don't look to experts on television to tell me what's going on my teenager's life. I know. I know because we talk openly and honestly. That is the key to feeling assured that your children will do the right thing. That they are doing the right thing, despite Katie and Oprah's attempts to shock me into believing otherwise.

I know that many of you will, as in the past, disagree with many of the ideas put forth here - if you do, that's fine. But please try to explain to me without being condescending why you think your tactic for your kids will work better than mine.

Update:

From the comments:

Therefore, oral sex as a substitution for intercourse is a good idea....

I wholeheartedly disagree with oral sex as substitution. In fact, it may be more detrimental to a girl's self image than intercourse is. What does a girl - especially a 13 year old girl - get out of a blowjob? Nothing, except the idea that she has served a boy. There's certainly no physical gratifcation in it for her. And emotionally, at that age, she will eventually see herself as an end to a means for the boy she is going down on. If you think oral sex is a good substitute for fucking, then you missed my point on emotional readiness.

January 26, 2005

random movie quote of the day

Someone is either a smoker or a non-smoker, there's no in-between. The trick is to find out which one you are and be that.

From one of my all time favorite movies.

the /impending violence diary, day 13

I was going to get around to those other questions today. And I had a couple of other things on the fire as well.

However, I am in the foulest of foul moods. Ever have one of those days where you take every thing said to you as insult, or where you're just waiting for someone to cut you off or look at you wrong so you have an excuse to whip out your Swiss army knife and twist the corkscrew into their eyes?

I want a cigarette so bad my hands are shaking and the only thing I want to do with my hands right now, if not grab a cigarette, is wrap them around the throat of the closest avialable asshole. And seeing as this guy is 3,000 miles away, I'll have to find another idiot to choke. Or just stay at my desk until this mood passes over.

If I was an asshole to you today - and chances are good that if you emailed me or left a comment I was - I apologize. I really thought the cravings would be gone by now, but today's jonesing is the worst it's been in the nearly two weeks since I quit. And I'm taking it out on anyone who steps into my space today.

So this would be a good time to leave work, go home, put on some comfortable clothes, curl up on the couch and make love to the remote for several hours. By make love, I mean push its buttons. Whatever. Computer is off until Idol time. Because I can't be trusted at the keyboard right now.

I certainly can't be trusted at 7-11. So I'll be going straight home instead of stopping off to get a comforting 24 oz. hot chocolate/blueberry coffee combo. Which will make me sad. It's a vicious cycle. My lungs better be really fucking thankful for this.

Perfect Endings (Filler Survey)

I'll get around to answering the rest of the questions a little later - lots of work on the desk today.

Meanwhile, a survey on a topic that caused a heated discussion with a friend last night:

Simply - Best Movie Ending, ever. Feel free to justify your choice.

And if you read the comments, you take the risk of having a movie ruined for you. I don't want to hear any complaints about that. It should be obvious that a survey about movie endings will have....movie endings in it.

The Latter Day Confessions of a Teenage Witch

When I was 13 I believed I was a witch.

I was in junior high school, just starting to come out of a misfit stage and finally feeling welcomed by the "cool" kids. Having actual friends - this was a new thing for me and I treaded very carefully, making sure not to step on any toes or say the wrong thing or wear the wrong band shirt. I was, after all, a people pleaser. And there was no one I wanted to please more than Kymber (don't call me Kymberly) and Donna.

Our school budget had failed to pass a vote that year, so we were on austerity, which meant walking the mile and a half to school every day. This is how I got to be friends with Kymber and Donna. Our paths would cross at the same intersection every day and one of those days, Donna started talking to me while we were waiting for the light to change. By the end of the week, they had let me into their little circle - I was even invited over to Donna's house to hang out on a Friday night. Big time. I had made the big time.

Truth is, I didn't even like Donna or Kymber. I thought they were obnoxious. I didn't like the way they flipped their hair constantly or openly flirted with boys who had no chance in hell with them. They were cruel, as 13 year old girls can be, but they weren't being cruel to me, and that was key if I was going to finally shake the misfit monkey off my back. I struggled with this and even lost sleep over it. Was it worth it to hang out with people I loathed just to keep from being loathed myself? At the time, the moral sacrifice was worth it.

So I mingled with the in crowd and they dressed me and made me over and turned me into one of them, completely - a Stepford friend. But I was enjoying school, enjoying life in general and this whole thing was a real slap in the ugly face to my neighbor and former friend Lori, who in sixth grade told me that while she would hang out with me at home, she couldn't be seen with me at school. That changed in seventh grade, didn't it? Lori was practically begging to be let back into my life now that I was her social better. But I told the girls what Lori had said to me in sixth grade and they shunned her. They shunned her for me. They had my back. Wow. Heady days.

I had a nemesis in those days. Her name was Susan. I had gone to grade school with Susan and she was one of those kids that my mother tried to force me to be friends with because she was "such a nice girl, from a nice family." I didn't like Susan because she made fun of my clothes, stole my milk and stealthily tied my sneaker to the leg of my chair one day. While I was wearing it. One day my mother forced a "play date" with Susan and her next door neighbor Stacy and I had to go over her house and eat her mother's disgusting tuna sandwiches with onions and celery and then sit and watch as Susan and Stacy did each other's hair and whispered and giggled while I silently plotted each of their deaths. The next day Susan told everyone that I forced my way into her house and demanded that she play with me.

When I became friends with Donna and Kymber, Susan was livid. She wanted to be friends with them. She wanted to hang out on Kymber's porch while Donna highlighted her hair with lemon juice. She wanted to be me. Hah. What's that saying? Turnabout is fair play? Susan's envious misery was my salvation.

Susan would not let it go. Desperate to oust me from the in crowd so she could take my place, Susan started rumors about me. She told Kymber and Donna that I wet my pants when I was over her house. She told them that I picked my nose and ate it. Totally uncreative rumors, stories you would tell in third grade, not seventh.

One day we were walking to school and Donna brought up the Susan rumors. I explained that Susan had it in for me since grade school and she was just making up stories to get everyone to hate me. Kymber just nodded, as if she was contemplating all the rumors, thinking they just might be true. I started to seethe. Susan was once again going to destroy my life. I muttered aloud the first thing that came to mind: "I hope she dies."

Fifteen minutes later we stood at the intersection of two main roads. We were headed north. The east/west road was a six lane highway, normally busy with morning commute traffic. Today, there were no cars coming from the west. We looked down the street and could see flares and a road block set up. There were ambulances and lots of wailing sirens. Ah, another accident. Common for this road. We crossed the street and headed towards the school. As we got onto the school grounds, we could tell something was going on. There was a nervous buzz amid the usual morning chatter.

Did you hear? Do you know? Oh my god, I can't believe it! Those ambulances and sirens? Susan was hit by a car on her way to school. The story was flying around the building, gaining momentum, and by the time we got to home room Susan had not been hit by a car, but a huge truck, and she flew about 100 feet in the air, tumbled at least forty times and then landed smack on top of the truck's hood, then fell to the ground.

I felt sick to my stomach. I knew how these stories could get out of hand, so I comforted myself with the knowledge that this was all nothing more than embellishment and Susan would walk into school the next day with a cast on her arm and maybe a limp.

During third period, they made the announcement. Susan had died. The whole thing - big truck, flying in the air - was true. I asked for the bathroom pass and spent the rest of the period dry heaving into the toilet bowl. I killed Susan.

The remainder of the day was spent in self loathing. And hiding. I avoided Donna and Kymber because they heard me mutter my death wish upon Susan. I went to the nurses's office during fourth period and my mother picked me up from school, certain that I was just devastated over the death of my "friend" Susan.

I couldn't sleep that night. In my 13 year old mind, I had really caused Susan's death. I hope she dies. I kept hearing those words - in my voice - over and over again. I was a witch. There was no other explanation. I had witch powers. I could make people die.

I went back into loner mode. I kept my head down, avoided contact with anyone and certainly avoided saying anything. I didn't want to accidently cause another death or even the maiming of a teacher or classmate.

My mother forced me to go to Susan's wake. I stood in the back of the room and watched her parents cry. I watched her friends and relatives file past the closed coffin. I so was consumed with my own selfish feelings of guilt and remorse at having killed Susan that I didn't even feel sympathy pains for all the mourners who were part of Susan's life. Every time I looked at Susan's mother, I would say to myself I killed your daughter, I killed your daughter. I worried that I would lose any grip I still had on my sanity and start shouting those words out loud, turning the wake into some melodramatic movie of the week.

I walked out of the funeral home, needing some fresh air and an escape from the cloying closeness of the viewing room. I walked smack into Donna and Kymber. I hadn't talked to them since the announcement was made that Susan was dead. I waited. Waited for them to point accusatory fingers at me and shout "she's a witch, burn her!" Instead, Donna just said "This is kinda awkward for you I guess." I stared. What exactly did she mean by that? "I mean," she continued, "she was such a creep to you and now you have to go her funeral. Ugh." Kymber pulled a cigarette out of her pocketbook, a bent, half-crushed Marlboro she stole from her older brother. "Let's go smoke."

We walked a few paces up and stood in the doorway of a biker bar. We took turns taking deep drags on the cigarette and blowing smoke rings. Kymber french inhaled, a trick she learned from her brother's girlfriend, which I thought was gross. Feeling comfortable for the first time in days, I finally let out what I had been holding onto. "Do you think I killed her?" Donna and Kymber both looked at me like I was crazy. "What? She was hit by a car, dope. How could you have killed her?" Donna was laughing at me. I recalled the conversation when I wished her dead. "Oh please," Kymber said. "I wish my stepmother dead every day and so far, nothing."

"Yea, but I wished Susan dead and ten minutes later, she was."
"Uh, hello? When we got to the corner, the ambulances were already there. So she had to have been hit before you wished her dead."
She was right. Susan, according to my parents and other experts on children being hit by cars, was probably dead way before she hit the ground. Meaning, she was most likely dead before I uttered my horrid words.
"Just a coincidence, then," Kymber said.
"Yea, coincidence."

They started laughing, snickering at first, then bellowing with the kind of laughter that makes your stomach hurt, makes tears well up in your eyes. They were, of course, laughing at me. Not with me. Donna managed to gasp out a last sentence before I left them - "I told you she's an idiot."

I turned from them and started walking home. My house was just a few blocks away and I broke into a jog at the last block, eager to get into my room, get out of those funeral clothes and cry.

And I did. I cried out of relief that my words did not kill Susan. I cried because a 13 year old kid was dead and her parents would never see her again. I cried because my days with Kymber and Donna and the in crowd were over. I cried because I let myself be fooled into thinking they really liked me. But mostly I cried because at the age of 13 I felt that death's claw of mortality. We would all die eventually, whether anyone wished it on us or not. I laid awake for hours that night, wondering when it would be my turn and how I would go. I hoped it wouldn't be like Susan. When I said my prayers much later into the night, I prayed that I wouldn't die fifty feet in the air, in the midst of a spiral towards the sidewalk.

The next week my parents announced that I would be leaving my junior high school at the end of the year and transferring to the Catholic school. I put up a fight because they expected me to, but I was mostly glad to get out of there, away from the Donnas and Kymbers, away from the specter of Susan.

Of course, that specter never went away. I still think about her all the time and I'm still sorry that I wished her dead. Just one of those things I have to live with.

--------------------------

I dreamed about Susan last night, which is what prompted me to write this today. I've never told anyone this story and I've been harboring a sort of guilt over it for over 30 years now. I know my words had no effect on what happened to Susan, but I still feel awful for saying them.

The story is entirely true; only the names have been changed.

January 25, 2005

Idol Chatter

Ok, you American Idol freaks. Talk about the show over here.

It's ok - you can leave a fake name in the comments so no one has to know you're watching. I won't even trace your IP and shove you out of the AI closet or anything.

Guitar Hero

A few people have asked for an update on DJ's progress in the guitar god business.

Here he is doing Pantera's Cowboys From Hell. He's even got the Dimebag strings on the guitar.

cfh.jpg
click image for movie

(It's a big file, but worth it. Humor me, ok? And you can't see him too well, but it's all about the sound, anyhow. And please keep in mind that he's only 11, so go easy on the critiquing)

[I also updated the Q&A post below]

Q & A Part II - Updated- 3

Questions here.

[I'll keep adding the answers here, rather than making a zillion different posts]

Why does long islanders need to stock up on so much milk when they hear snow is on the way?

I already addressed this in The Legend of Milk, Bread and Snowstorms

Now that I'm [Allah] retired, who has the most overrated blog in the 'sphere? The most overrated humor blog? Which blogger would most benefit from a thorough ass-kicking?

Overrated.
Overrated humor Ok, so it's not exactly humor, but it's overrated in the way that platform shoes are passe.
Ass kicking. He knows why.

Can I disagree with Hugh Hewitt without having to forfeit my blogger's guild card?

Disagree with him, yes. But you'll have to make up for it by spending your next three blog posts sucking his dick. Metaphorically speaking, of course.

If Glenn is right and blogs operate as one big newspaper, how come there were 800 separate death notices for Johnny Carson on our collective obit page on Sunday night?

Think of it as grade school. We believe in giving all of our children an equal chance to have their unique voice heard. So on any given day, you may find 300 pieces on the same story. But look at the way Johnny colored outside those lines - and Janey used blue for the sky while Katie used green! We're snowflakes, darling. Special, unique snowflakes. Go on, catch me on your tongue.

[I think I dodged some, but not all of those]

More on the way. Check back, if you dare.

------

More:

What's the name of that actor that everyone's always asking about when they say, "You know, that guy, the one in that movie that one time?" I refuse to believe that it's Kevin Bacon. Too obvious.
It's actually two actors. Eric Roberts and Michael Madsen. I gaurantee you that if you flip through all your cable channels right now, you will find either of them in at least one movie. Maybe even together.
1. Do you support the "Pave France" initiative?

2. When snow melts, where does the white go?

3. Does mincemeat come from gay cows?

4. What videogames do you find to be the most sublime, and why?

5. Is there reincarnation? If so, what has Billy Martin come back as?

1. No, because I'd hate to think that I'll have to spend the rest of my life saying things like Freedom Fries and Freedom Toast.

2. The white color is actually sucked out of the snow by smog. The smog then carries the whiteness all around the globe, sprinkling it over maternity wards in hospitals. And that's how white babies are made.

3. I have no idea, but when I did a GIS for gay cow, this is what I got. And I cannot improve on that.

gay_cow.jpg

4. I'll answer that in full later. Too much to write.

5. Well, I can't say for sure. But if there is, Billy Martin came back as a boil on Steinbrenner's ass.

More later.

------
As a married woman, at what point do you consider some guy flirting with you as crossing the line? Let's assume he's not married, and you find him at least marginally attractive.

When he shows up on my doorstep wearing nothing but an overcoat and a g-string, holding a rusty butcher knife.

Under what circumstances is it okay to raise the dead?

Only for good. Like when you miss your dead, dancing monkey. Even then, nothing good ever comes of that.

---

What is the best thing you have ever seen?

Monkeys at the zoo flinging feces at each other. Because, until you see that, you think it's just an old and tired cliche. And when you see it up close and happening for real, you get a strange sense of satisfaction in that not everything your older cousin tells you is a lie. They really do fling feces. That's just awesome.

bq, Why is Scrubs constantly shut out at the Emmys? Lingering resentment over Dream On?

I never watched Scrubs because I heard it's just a warmed over version of Dream On. So, yea.

That was the best show HBO ever had.

You didn't really like "Napoleon Dynamite," did you? You only liked it in a pomo, something-ironic-is-going-on-and-that-in-itself-is-good way, right?

I liked it. Really, really liked it. So much so that I bought a llama, started taking cage fighting lessons and adopted a Liger. And I would fuck Napoleon HARD. Pedro, too. Teach those Mormon boys a few things about how the outside world lives. Yea.

Really, I just liked the movie for what it was.

What do you REALLY think of me? (asked by Acidman)

I think you are brutally honest and that's something I admire in a person, even when that brutal honesty is aimed at me. You're a cantankerous hardass. You're a Timex watch. I don't hate you.

For Calvin and Hobbes Fans

This is AWESOME. BRILLIANT, even.

Via Igawana

Q & A, Walk Into The Fire (Updated)

Well, I have no one but myself to blame. I thought everyone would be, you know, nice, and not hold my feet over the fire. But that's ok. Some day the burning foot will be on the other, err..shoe. Or something.

So, let's get this anniversary party started. Just go back to the original post to see who asked what.

If money wasn't an issue, what would be your top five vacation spots (US Only)? why?

Disney World, because I will never, ever get enough of the happiest place on earth.
Tampa, to visit some friends
D.C., to spend a few days in the Smithsonian
Cleveland, to go to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Green Bay, specifically Lambeau Field

I'm not much of a traveling/vacation person.

What is best in life?

Guinness and cold pizza

This one probably counts as a FAQ by now, but (no snobbery intended or implied): Why no Beatles in the Top 500? Is it a "Just don't like 'em" kind of thing, or are there other motivations?

I once sent Ringo a marriage proposal made out of macaroni art. He never answered me. I threw out all my Beatles albums and turned to a life of heavy metal and petty crime. I haven't looked back since.

2. Have you watched any of the other Salad Fingers bits besides Spoons?

I watched Episode 5 - Picnic - and was mildly disturbed to see a Google ad for crab salad on the page. My tummybox feels broken!

None of my Freshman Comp students recognized the lines, "Who's tripping down the streets of the city/ Smiling at everybody she sees?" Should I kill them?

You should kill them just because it's not fair that they will never, ever have that song stuck in their heads the way I do now. On second thought, I should kill you. And bury you in a shallow grave of cement on which I will write, Everyone knows it's Windy!

I'll blame Salad Fingers.

More later.

----

(Later...)

What does the Voynich manuscript really say?

voynich1.jpg

Now, that, I got me some Seagram's gin
Everybody got they cups, but they ain't chipped in
Now this types of shit, happens all the time
You got to get yours but fool I gotta get mine
Everything is fine when you listenin to the D-O-G
I got the cultivating music that be captivating he
who listens, to the words that I speak
As I take me a drink to the middle of the street

Aight.

the anniversary party: Q & A

In honor of ASV's fourth anniversary (for which I was supposed to have an extravaganza of sort, but keep forgetting) and due to the fact that I have to go to some training thing momentarily and I'll need something to keep me from falling into a coma when I get back, I'm going to have an ASV Q&A session.

I figure that for four years, you and many others have been reading this site daily or so, commenting, emailing, sending links, and making this mostly enjoyable for me. So I'll do something for you.

Go ahead, ask me anything. Ask me Not necessarily about me, though any and all quesitons will be answered, even personal ones. I'm here for you. I'll give you advice. I'll cure your skin rashes. I'll help you complete that recipe. I'll help you with your geography homework. I'll teach you how to do a perfect handstand.

The only caveat is that this offer is only open until 2pm, unless I decide otherwise, or unless no one has anything to ask of me.

I'm just giving back to the community. Because your life is not complete without finding out the answers to the useless trivia questions rattling around your brain.

Answers to your questions may come in the form of lies, tall tales and unverifiable information. By asking a question, you are granting me immunity from lawsuits resulting in your taking my recipe for gasoline cake seriously, etc. All personal information given out as the result of personal questions being asked may or may not be true.

Obvious: put questions in the comments.

the diary, day 12
Blizzard Edition

By the numbers:

  • Number of days spent inside house: 3
  • Number of waking hours where there wasn't an offspring's friend in the house: 0
  • Number of mugs of hot chocolate made: 26
  • Number of times I yelled "Shut the front door, you're letting all the heat out": 12
  • Number of times I mopped up puddles of melted snow from the front hallway and kitchen: at leat 15
  • Number of times I put clothes that did not belong to my children in the dryer: 5
  • Number of gloves lent out that I won't get back: 3
  • Number of times I had to listen to a guitar/screeching vocal duet of "This Photograph is Proof": 20? 235? I stopped counting at some point.
  • Number of times I had to listen to Salad Fingers: Enough to be able to recite it by heart
  • Number of meals fed to children not my own: dozens
  • Number of cigarettes craved: 6,000
  • Number of cigarettes smoked: NONE

I am so proud of me.

And I've developed a crush on Salad Fingers.

oscar, oscar, oscar* [Updated]

It happens every January. I get all excited for the Oscar announcements, and then I realize that I haven't seen any of the movies that are likely to get nominations. This is a recent trend; years ago I used to watch the Academy Awards ritualistically - TV Guide ballot in hand, my heart racing in anticipation of my favorite movie winning a coveted statue.

That was a long time ago, when the movies I liked were the movies Hollywood liked. I wonder what happened? Has my taste in movies changed or has the snobbery of the Academy reached a crescendo, so that the kind of films I enjoy no longer have a chance of winning anything but a Razzie?

Granted, I don't go to the movies that much anymore - the cost is too prohibitive - but I do buy DVDs of good movies the day they come out (I'm going to write a poem called Tuesdays You Will Find Me At Best Buy) and I manage to see plenty of movies in a manner that requires me to not reveal it, lest the Feds come banging down my door, demanding my cable modem.

The word on the street is the following movies will receive several Oscar nominations: Ray, The Aviator, Million Dollar Baby, Finding Neverland and Sideways.

I've seen none of those movies. It's not that I don't want to - it's just that most of my movie theater money goes towards films we see as a family, and none of those would get the necessary unamimous vote needed in order to make the $500 investment in tickets, food, etc. Ok, so maybe I only want to see one of those movies. If there's an opposite phrase for movie snob, that would be me. Tasteless? Low brow?

So the Oscars mean nothing to me except a chance to see a few wardrobe malfunctions and the hope that one of the presenters will show up drunk and offer up some quality television time.

I miss my TV Guide ballot. I miss being able to check off movies that I watched from the back of dad's station wagon at the Westbury Drive-In. I miss having friends gathered in my bedroom, fingers crossed, hoping against hope that Rocky wins every award it's up for, even the technical ones.

Now, I just shrug and wonder when half the nominated movies actually were showing in a theater. I don't remember ever seeing Million Dollar Baby on the MegaPlex marquee - but I don't think the Academy really cares for MegaPlex quality movies. Too bad, they're missing out on some quality films.

In a perfect world (well, my perfect world), the ballot would have all these movies listed:

Dawn of the Dead, Napoleon Dynamite, Shaun of the Dead, Mean Girls, Shrek 2, The Incredibles, Spider-Man 2, Team America, Lemony Snicket.

Oh, I know what you're thinking. But honestly, Princess Diaries 2 just fell flat for me. I can't in good faith put it on my list.

You're also thinking that I need to get out more. Or refine my tastes, adopt a little culture in my life. I get plenty of culture, thank you. In fact, we watched the entire I, Claudius box set in 2004. If that's not culture, I don't know what is.

And I can say with pride that this year, none of my favorite movies are on the Razzies list. Even I know that Baby Geniuses 2 is awful without actually seeing it. Maybe there's hope for me, after all.

*

Update: The nominations have been announced.

Thomas Hayden Church? Wasn't he that stupid guy in Wings? Shows you how out of the loop I am. I just assumed his career died with that show.

Oh, and yay for Viriginia Madsen. I've had a crush on her ever since I saw her in the HBO movie Long Gone (1987).

Jammie Foxx: from Booty Call to Oscar. Now that's what I call career enhancement.

Ah, a kindred soul.

January 24, 2005

How...revealing [Updated]

Would you let your daughter wear this to her prom?

"I was shocked when I first saw it, but now it's one of our top 20 dresses nationwide," says Nick Yeh, the CEO of Xcite, the Stafford, Texas, company that designed the dress..

Most of the girls/adults in the interview seem just as appalled as I am, but the fact that the dress is selling well means somewhere out there is a mother who thinks her daughter looks stunning in this outfit.

Of course, that also means somewhere out there is a daughter whose destiny is pretty much mapped out for her.

Makes me glad, once again, that my own daughter prefers the baggy/oversized look.

Via Kimberly Swygert, equally appalled.

Update: I've received quite a few emails from people saying that the Post purposely had their "model" wear the dress wrong - the straps are actually backwards and the dress is a lot less revealing when worn right. But it's STILL not a dress I would allow my teenage daughter to wear.

Icicle Works

Bored. Cabin fever setting in.


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Deadly weapons, courtesty of Mother Nature.

I think I'll take the kids outside and challenge them to ice-saber fights.

Morning Fun, Version II: I Can Name That Song in Seven Words

Well, it's not much of an extravaganza, is it? I was going to have a catered affair with chocolate fountains and scantily clad bar wenches pouring Guinness, but what will all the snow, I had to cancel. Sorry.

Instead, I'll opt for playing the party games without all that trouble of actually throwing a party.

Today's game is more or less a continuation of the extremely popular (600+ comments) seven word game. The idea comes from reader Rob, who suggested that we play the same game, but extend to other categories. Sort of like twenty questions, but with seven instead of....twenty questions.

Instead of movies, we're going to do songs. Without using ANY of the lyrics in order (so words in the lyrics are ok, just don't exactly quote the lyrics).

Example: Man goes far away, woman decorates trees.

Which would be Tie A Yellow Ribbon. Now that I've got that horrid song stuck in your head, you may commence playing.

Cathy and the Worst Day Ever:
A Precautionary Tale of Bad Scientific Data When Applied to a Mentally Unbalanced Comic Strip Character

Today, January 24 has been crowned as the Worst. Day. Ever.

Is the midwinter weather wearing you down? Are you sinking in debt after the holidays? Angry with yourself for already breaking your New Year's resolutions? Wish you could crawl back under the covers and not have to face another day of rain, sleet, snow and paperwork? Probably. After all, it's Jan. 24, the “most depressing day of the year,” according to a U.K. psychologist.

Dr. Cliff Arnall went so far as to come up with an equation that proves his theory.

[W + (D-d)] x TQ M x NA The equation is broken down into seven variables: (W) weather, (D) debt, (d) monthly salary, (T) time since Christmas, (Q) time since failed quit attempt, (M) low motivational levels and (NA) the need to take action.

I'm calling bullshit on this. I think Dr. Arnell is just one of those guys whose ego would not be satisfied until he had some weird scientific/psychological mumbo jumbo released in a world wide paper that would be quoted extensively on the internet (see, previously, Scientific Formula for Horror Movies). I also have my suspicions about where Dr. Arnall was mining his data from. Taking a closer look at the variables, Dr. Arnell has zeroed in a particular kind of person; one who is constantly quitting bad habits and failing; one who always promises herself that she will do more for herself, like exercise or lose weight or get organized, yet fails to accomplish that because she can't motivate herself and her life is filled with enablers that are not helping the situation; one who spends recklessly, probably buying handbags and hats she can't afford and justifying those expenses with phone calls to family members who will just agree with her justifications; one who complains constantly about the little things she has no control over, like weather and one whose life seems to revolve around family gatherings and holidays.

From those obvious criteria, it becomes evident that not only did Dr. Arnell not really study any human beings to come up with his pharmaceutical company-friendly theory, but he based all of his findings upon one entirely fictional person:

cathya.jpgcathyb.jpgcathyc.jpg
cathye.jpg

That's right. Dr. Arnell has formed his "scientific" theory based on one of the most one-dimensional comic strip characters to ever grace the funny pages. It's obvious now that you see it all in front of you, isn't it? The yo-yo weight, the procrastination, the on-again/off-again dieting, the constant bitching and complaining about everything around her - if ever there was a candidate for the chair/noose combo on this, the supposed worst day of the year, it's Cathy.

And today really would be a good day for Cathy to finally crack up. Her overbearing parents and her future in laws (it's been a while for me, I guess - I wasn't aware that Cathy was finally getting hitched) are dominating the wedding preparations. Between her mother and her mother-in-law to be, Cathy, who (as I remember her) is always just one step away from Prozac, should be sitting in a dark room right about now, rocking herself back and forth and mumbling something about the monkey that lives in her closet.

Dr. Arnell has, in a roundabout way, helped me discover something that should have been obvious to me long, long ago: Cathy is not well. Why Irving would marry her is a question for the ages. Did she wear him down with guilt? Is he just doing it because he figures at his age, he can't be choosy? Did he finally get tired of his parents asking him if he was ever going to give them grandchildren and he figured Cathy, with her womanly hips, was the perfect candidate? Doesn't Irving realize that Cathy is that Linkin Park song?

I can imagine her driving around town in her car, a box of donuts at her side, her razor sharp rage at an all time high - this wedding shit is killing her, man. She's fat, she's going to owe on her taxes this year and she's marrying a dead ringer for George Costanza. She's pounding the steering wheel and screaming along - one step closer to the edge, and I'm about to....break! And then it happens.

It's always the little things that light the fuse to the bigger blasts - maybe someone will cut her off. Maybe her hair keeps falling in her eyes. Something will trigger that enormous anger that has been building up inside her since her mother first called her chubby back in second grade and suddenly she's Michael Douglas in Falling Down, taking hostages, crashing cars and finally, in a culmination of years of lousy parenting advice, failed diets and Irving's passive aggressiveness, she puts the gun to her own head and pulls the trigger, right in front of her fiancé, his parents and her own parents. It's January 24, man. Worst. Day. Ever.

Thanks, Dr. Arnell.

January 23, 2005

Blizzard Blogging - Part 14

Some day, Natalie will tell the story about how we were too poor to afford to go to amusement parks so we had to make our own fun in our front yard. Or maybe DJ will tell the story of how his mother was too lazy and afraid of getting cold and wet that she wouldn't take them up to the local schoolyard to go wheeeeeee down the snowy hill and he had to make a puny, shoddy hill on the front lawn with his own two hands.

Or maybe the truth - that their stepfather and their aunt made that "slide" for themselves and took turns going down it while they bribed the kids to keep shoring up the sides with snow by promising them a turn on the slide for the cheap, cheap price of 25 cents each.

This was fun.

have you seen this girl?

Actually, what I want to know is, can someone identify this American Girl doll for me? I believe it's Samantha but I'm not really sure because - as offensive as this may be to dolls - they all look kind of the same to me.

I'm going to be selling off the doll and some accessories as soon as I can figure out who she is and what she's worth. From the looks of things, she's a ho. I mean, close your legs, girl.

There's Johnny......

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1925-2005

NBC just announced that Johnny Carson has died.

More here

"Mr. Carson passed away peacefully early Sunday morning," his nephew, Jeff Sotzing, told The Associated Press. "He was surrounded by his family, whose loss will be immeasurable. There will be no memorial service."

Bio here

MSNBC story:

The day television died was May 22, 1992, when Johnny Carson hustled out of a Burbank studio, leaving tear-soaked cheeks, 30 years of memories and a void that could never be filled.

Blizzard Blogging - Part 13

Yes, this will all end soon.

Reason No. 48 to have children

Cheap labor.

More photos added to the blizzard of death gallery.

Blizzard Blogging - Part 12

The snow has actually stopped, which is a bit disappointing, as we never even got a chance to contemplate eating human flesh to stay alive. For all the dire warnings, this has turned out to be a typical snow storm. Why, I remember when I was young and the snow was up to my eyes, I tell you, and I would still have to put on my golashes and my wool hat with furry pom poms and walk half a mile to the store to get my father his unfiltered Lucky Strikes, and then another half mile to the other store to get milk, bread and eggs, which I'd have to pull all the way home, uphill, on my sled that was made out of cardboard boxes and oak tree branches. One time the snow was so deep and coming down so hard that I got lost and ended up in Trenton, New Jersey, where I sold the milk and eggs for some magic beans that did nothing except give me really bad gas, which made it hard to walk sixty miles back home. And when I got home, I got beat for not having the eggs. But I made a stew out of the rest of the beans and spent the rest of the night laughing at my parent's blaming each other for the stenchy farts.

Blizzard Blogging - Part 11

You were just waiting for the movie version of Blizzard Blog, weren't you?

[Quicktime needed]

zapruder.jpg click image to see movie

As home movies go, I'm sure that my film of the Great Blizzard of '05 will make history. There are things hidden behind those flakes that you don't really want to know about. That I captured them on film was just pure luck. Or fate. Only time will tell which one it is.

My neighbors should not leave their curtains open. Just saying.

Ok, so it's actually just grainy footage of a typica nor'easter that I thought some of you would like to see. But given some of the email I got last night in regards to my blizzard blogging, someone is bound to believe that I've caught a murder - or worse - on film. Don't be that guy.

Anyhow. I've been putting the blizzard photos over in the gallery that no one knows exists.

Fellow Long Islander Rob has a timeline photo gallery of the storm.

In a terrible turn of events, someone has spilled beer on the Fark server. I get cranky without my TF. And I'll take it out on you.

Blizzard Blogging - Part 11

There's got to be a morning after, as the line from the disaster movie song goes.

Except this isn't the morning after - The Poseidon Adventure on Ice continues today. The headlines on the local news sites might as well read "Holy Hell! It's snowing!" You would think this was some tropical island instead of New York in January. Mother nature has shoved her enormous inches up our ass many, many times before. Can't we all just be a little more blasé? Of course, if we were all blasé then I wouldn't have anyone/anything to make fun of, would I?

And let me be honest here (because blogging is all about the honesty, you know), I am loving this. The more snow, the better. I would like nothing more than to go into bomb shelter mode, snowbound, house bound, cut off from civilization with death breathing down our necks. Except no one in my family would die, because I am prepared. Dozens of blankets ready to unfurl, enough non-perishable food to feed an army and a stocked liquor cabinet for when we all start to hate each other enough to hallucinate that we're all hamburgers or hot dogs. Vodka has a nice way of tempering the desire to grill up some marinated husband over rice.

As it is, the wind is certainly howling and the snow is certainly blizzarding and the roads are unplowed, but if we had to get out to get somewhere, we could. Even though they're still telling us that we risk life and limb to do so, if an emergency came up, like my PS2 controller breaks, Best Buy is just a short snowshoe walk away.

And now that it's Sunday, my kids will spend the entire day saying will you take us to Mt. Splashmore? will we be home from school tomorrow? and eventually I'll get tired enough of them asking that I'll promise them yet another game of Apples to Apples if they will just. shut. up. Of course, I'll be rubbing my hands in glee at the thought of work being closed Monday. A whole day in the snow to frolic! Which means I'll send the kids out with their sleds and they'll join the whole neighborhood at the local elementary school, the one with the hill that seemed so damn steep when I was 12 but looks kind of puny now, and I'll stay right here in the warm house with my husband and we can do a different kind of frolicking. Until the kids come home wet, frozen and trailing two dozen friends behind them who all want cookies and hot chocolate and who leave snowy footprints all over my wood floor and the walls of the house will shake with the cacophony of 12 and 15 year olds playing video games and watching movies and throwing each other into walls. Happiness. Snowy, noisy, feel-like-a-kid happiness.

Anyhow, I'm on full Storm-o-Death 2005 alert here again, up bright and early to make sure you kids in the non-frozen states get the full effect of the storm - lies, tall tales and all. As soon as it gets light enough out there, I'll take some pictures. Inconvenient as the snow may be, it's still a beautiful sight to behold so early in the morning, when untouched by boots, snow plows and that kid who just has to pee his name across the snow.

-------------

And apropos of nothing, here's my favorite new (to me) blog. It's actually fairly new, so you can catch up on the archives.

January 22, 2005

Blizzard Blogging - Part 10

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When they tell you "do not go outdoors" around here, they really mean it.

Poor Seth Marks didn't heed the warnings of the local news caster. We were supposed to stay indoors during this Armageddon of All Storms. But Seth, being young, foolish and having watched too many episodes of Jackass, decided that he really, really needed to go to 7-11 to get some of those delicious nachos and a day-old hot dog wrapped in pizza dough. The minute he stepped out his door, the sirens roared and the flashing lights lit up the street. They cornered Seth right before he jumped the fence to the neighbor's yard. He held tight onto the Japanese Maple, but they eventually used the Jaws of Life to unclench Seth's hands and free him from the tree. They carted Seth away, bloody, handless and wishing he listened to those dire weather warnings.

[the ambulances are really out there, a couple of doors down. but the made up story is far, far better than the real one]

Blizzard Blogging - Part 9
(Watch out where the huskies go)

Song of the night:

click image to download

Blizzard Blogging - Part 8

Ok, I'm bored. How bored? I'm trying to find as many songs as I can with the words "snow" or "winter" in them. Want to help?

A state of emergency has been declared over here. Not sure what that means, except I should probably open that emergency bottle of Captain Morgan's I had stowed away.

Black Sabbath - Snowblind

Blizzard Blogging - Part 7

Cabin fever has taken its toll. DJ, gone crazy in the head from being barred from the outdoors due to the six - SIX! - inches of snow laid upon us in the Storm o' Death 2005, hit the liquor cabinet when no one was looking. He drained the Jack, guzzled the tequila and practically snorted the rum before anyone noticed he wasn't in the living room. Even though he was plastered, we decided to let him join our game of Apples to Apples. Well. I had no idea my son was such an angry drunk. We put up with him throwing his cards around, bitchslapping his sister and calling his uncle "unclefucker," but we drew the line when he stood on the table and sang "My Way" Sid Vicious style.

So my husband and my brother-in-law rolled him. Took all the candy gum and out of his pockets, grabbed his Apples to Apples card and threw him out the door into the snow.

We'll let him back in as soon as he sobers up.

Blizzard Blogging - Part 6

The lump of snow that Nat and her friend are shaping so carefully has absolutely nothing to do with the sign hanging on the telphone pole that says MISSING: ONE JACK RUSSELL TERRIER - ANSWERS TO THE NAME "ANNOYING LITTLE FUCKER"

Serenity now.

I've gotten a few concerned emails. I thought it would be obvious that everything here today - aside from the pictures - is completely made up.

Gullible bunch, aren't you?

Blizzard Blogging - Part 5

The lady on the local news channel (think Mary Tyler Moore's WJM) just said this storm is "Armageddon for Long Island."

Not Armageddon.

Armageddon. And that's the one we're prepared for.

Speaking of end times, they just made this annoucement:

THE YANNI SHOW AT RADIO CITY TONIGHT HAS BEEN CANCELLED

It's fucking pandemonium around here, I tell you. It's like a thousand Yanni fans screamed, all at once.

Blizzard Blogging - Part 4

The kid across the street is still shoveling. The father is still resting comfortably inside. Now he's eating a bologna sandwich (the zoom on this camera is really good) and drinking a Bud.

As whiteout conditions ensue, the kid will become lost in the blinding, swirling snow. He'll lose all sense of direction as he alternately screams and weeps, afraid that he'll freeze to death before he gets to prove to his father just how much he loves him by shoveling the snow non-stop through the entire storm. His future self-esteem rests on getting this done, as his father is a hard man to please and he was sure to get an "attaboy" for doing something right for a change. He finally gives up when two of his fingers turn blue and the feeling in his toes disappear. Kid tries to go back inside, but the father slides the deadbolt and tells his boy to keep on keeping on, because shit like this builds character. The kid cries and the father can be heard yelling from the living room window, Man up, Nancy! Eventually, the mother will remember the kid is still out there and she'll send out a search posse when they can't find him. I'll just sit right here and watch from my window, laughing real hard because I know that for the last hour, the kid has been playing Halo with that boy with the lazy eye that lives three doors down.

Blizzard Blogging - Part 3

We're up to about one death-defying inch of snow, though it's starting come down heavier right now.

My neighbor across the street has sent his children out in this life-threatening storm to clean his car off. You can't see him, but the father is sitting just inside the living room window, smoking a cigar and sipping cognac. He's wearing a bathrobe. The kids have been told not to come inside until every last bit of snow is shoveled off the walk and cleared off the car. Then, and only then, will he take them to the drug store for their asthma medicine.

[By the way, for the curious - I'm still not smoking, I just stopped doing daily updates]

Blizzard Blogging - Part 2 (Haiku!)


I'm going to take a picture every half hour or so.

Right now there's a dusting on the ground. This means there's still time to go buy your milk and eggs. If you're looking for a shovel you're probably shit out of luck, but then you deserve to be stuck in your house with no way to dig out if you live in the northeast and don't own a snow shovel. I hope they find you in April, frozen solid next to the space heater you forgot to buy gas for.

And now, a snow haiku

Look at my mailman
Slipping, sliding on my walk
People fall - funny!

You may play along with your own winter related haiku.

Blizzard Blogging - Part I

Why not? It's not like I have anywhere to go.

Though it hasn't started snowing yet, the local news stations are in full Storm O' Death 2005 swing. There's the usual interviews with Mr. Plow, the Home Depot salt-selling clerk and, of course, the little old lady coming out of Shop-Rite with the requisite milk, bread and eggs, even though she never uses any of those three items.

Which presents the perfect opportunity to retell one of my favorite snow storm stories (from January, 2002)
Big storm on the way. I'm mostly excited, I like the first snow of the year. But I would much rather have it during the week so I can get a day off from work.

So I went to the grocery store this morning - not in anticipation of the weather, I'm not one of those "prepare for the end of the world when a storm is coming" people - but because I had the urge to make steak tonight. I get to the store and there's a local reporter out there, questioning everyone about the snow, because you know how those news people love a good storm story. He was asking shoppers what they were buying, what were they stocking up on (come on people, it's 6 inches, not 3 feet!) and asking how they were getting ready for the weather. I see him approaching me as I walk towards the entrance. I'm not in a very good mood. Traffic was bad, I'm tired and cranky. I do not want to be on the news talking about buying toilet paper and water. So he stands in front of me, cameraman in tow, and throws the microphone in front of my face.

"So," he says, "What are you buying today m'am?"

I say nothing but this does not deter him.

"Are you stocking up on necessities for the first storm of the year?"

I look straight into the camera and grin.

"I'm buying Tampons," I say.

His jaw drops, the cameraman giggles and I brush past him and head into the store. Let's assume I will not be on the news tonight.

------

More blizzard blogging coming up - I'll post some photos when it starts to get good out there.

Prepare for Death!

As a weather/storm junkie, the first thing I did today was bring up the forecast. I clicked the scrolling blizzard warning and got this piece of alarming information:

TOTAL SNOW ACCUMULATIONS WILL BE 14 TO 21 INCHES BY SUNDAY EVENING. THOSE VENTURING OUTDOORS MAY BECOME LOST OR DISORIENTED... SO PEOPLE IN THE WARNING AREA SHOULD STAY INDOORS.

ANY TRAVEL IS STRONGLY DISCOURAGED. IF YOU LEAVE THE SAFETY OF BEING INDOORS... YOU ARE PUTTING YOUR LIFE AT RISK.

THIS IS A LIFE-THREATENING WINTER WEATHER SITUATION! PREPARATIONS TO PROTECT LIFE AND PROPERTY SHOULD COMPLETED BY NOON TODAY!

You know why they put that alarmist, over-the-top warning there? Because there are people who do not heed safety advice. They think they are invincible. They think they can handle anything. So nothing matters to them - not icy roads, blinding snow, thick fog - nothing.

I'm a precautionary person. I like to be prepared for any inevitability. I also like to make sure I don't put myself in situations where I could be in harm's way. This is why I have closets filled with non perishable canned food. It's why I keep a box of albums by my door and a baseball bat by my bed. Armageddon, zombies, maruading band of gang bangers - I'm ready for anything. And those people who scoff at warnings and omens will be knocking on my door looking for food and shelter when the bad things happen. And I will laugh. I've only got enough Spaghettio's for my family, bud. You're on your own. Why don't you try eating Johnny over there? He died because he ignored the warnings!

So my neighbors and a few of my relatives will insist on going outside when the local news people have clearly stated that you will lose all sense of direction if you go out in this storm. But no, they need to go to the store or keep an appointment or just prove that they have large, steel balls and 18 inches of blinding, freezing, wind blown snow isn't going to turn them into pussies! And they'll end up like Guy Pearce in Ravenous, or like this idiotic couple, while I'm enjoying the view from the window of my toasty warm house.

I guarantee you that tomorrow's Newsday will bring tales of stranded motorists (the woman who just had to go to Michael's craft store or the group of friend who just had to have McDonald's), massive car pile ups and people complaining that their streets weren't plowed fast enough. Where were you going to go in sixteen inches of snow, anyhow, buddy? Just sit the fuck down, turn on the tv and grab yourself a beer (I'm looking at you, Lew*). Don't give the emergency services people any more work than they'll already have just because you have a desire to be a Darwin award candidate.

Now, I'm going to secure my property and the lives of my family members. Plenty of books, movies and board games to go around. Lots of junk food to feast on. And we all have our own gaming systems so we can disperse to our separate rooms when we eventually get on each other's nerves. And that is why my emergency preparation box includes a couple of bottles of wine and a huge container of Excedrin Migraine.

I'm going to spend the rest of the day being one of those freaks who calls in reports to the local news station. The rest of you in the path of the storm? Stay home so I don't have to read about you in the paper tomorrow.

[And you warm weather people want to point and laugh at us, here's a bunch of webcams where you can watch Mother Nature take a dump on us]

*My brother in law

January 21, 2005

Bring it!

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Yes, I am excited about a blizzard warning (I'm in the red). I'm a weather freak.

Stocked up on junk food, movies and wine. We're ready for anything.

stuff

I've got a post about Mary Roach over at Idol Tongues.

Late to the party as always, I have just discovered the incredible goodness of the band Hot, Hot Heat. Wow. I am in love. Musically speaking. I'll treat you to an mp3 later on tonight.

While the movie game is still going, I'm trying to think of a similar game to play today, because I had so much fun hanging with you all yesterday instead of concentrating on my work. Any ideas for something akin to the movie game?

And the fourth anniversary extravaganza will continue soon..I have some contests coming up, so stay tuned.

Evidence: Spongebob is not teh ghey!

With all this talk about my buddy Spongebob being gay (and thus harmful to children, as Mr. Dobson would have us believe), I thought I would do the loveable sponge - and all of us - a favor by digging into my archives to put this rumor to rest.

Spongebob likes the boobs. Especially Nikki's.

Now Squidward - that's another debate entirely.

cultural elitism: your opinion sucks

The conversation starts off innocently:

"We don't own a television."

Good for you. I admire that. As a tv addict, I know how all-consuming television can be. Unfortunately, any conversation that starts off with that sentence usually devolves in about three seconds.

"We're so much better than you. We're smarter, more cultured and just better people all around. Our shit smells like roses and the sun always shines on our home."

At least that's what's implied most of the time. Most of the no-tv people I've met are evangelical about it. They preach, they rant, they try to convert you. They want to save you. Even if you don't want to be saved.

The cultural elitism doesn't stop with the people who choose not to own a television at all. There are twice as many people who actually have tvs in their home, but only use the "idiot box" to watch PBS or The History Channel. And they'll tell you that in no uncertain terms while they wrinkle their nose in disgust at the thought viewing anything else.

"Oh, Muffy and I only watch educational shows or public television. Everything else is just dreadful. We just don't understand people who watch those - what do you call them? - oh yes, sitcoms. The bane of society, I tell you." Meanwhile, the guy knows damn well that you watch not only sitcoms, but cartoons, reality shows and late night movies with gratuitous sex and violence. He's talking at you, not to you.

I don't like being made to feel as if I have to defend my choice to watch American Idol or Family Guy or any of the other dozen or so shows I'm loyal to. When the discussion about any of this comes up, anyone who says to me "I've never seen a single episode of any of those shows and I'm proud of that" is automatically labeled a prick. You're purposefully insulting me in an elitist sort of way. You are better than me because you watch eight hours of Law and Order a week but you don't watch anything on FOX? Please.

This isn't exclusive to tv watching. There are musical elitists, book snobs, movie purists. They will scoff at your album collection, laugh at your bookshelf and recoil in horror at your DVD purchases. They will think less of you if own any romance novels. Never mind that you have a PhD, you spend ten hours a week volunteering at the homeless shelter and you take in stray cats. You're a lower class of human being because you own the Skid Row box set. You'll be the scourge of the next MENSA meeting when word gets out about your Harlequin collection.

I love television. We have four people and five tvs in this house. Every tv has a cable box attached, with about 500 channels at our fingertips. Do we watch them all? Hardly. Do we watch tv constantly? No. We actually do things like play board games, read, go to restaurants. But in the mind of a cultural elitist, we are neanderthals who stare at the screen every night for eight hours or more, drooling, stuffing our face with chips and beer, and lowering our IQ by five points an hour. Smart people don't watch American Idol. Intelligent people don't even know what MTV is. Good, honest citizens have their remotes (if they have tv at all) programmed to skip over any channel that doesn't have a scroll on the bottom begging you for cash. Of course, those public channels are turned off during the day, and their kid has never even heard of Barney or Arthur. Their kid is better than yours.

I am a cultural swamp, according to the elitists. Even though my book shelf contains the entire works of Shakespeare and Poe and there's a whole section dedicated to the literature of western civilization (I was an English major, you know), somewhere in my trove of reading material is a worn copy of Flowers in the Attic and if that doesn't let me out of the culture club right there, the ten shelves of comic books and graphic novels will.

The music snobs can be even worse. You make a list of your favorite songs - 500 of them - and they come out of the woodwork to inform you that your list is shit because there's no Beatles, no classical music. You try to explain that it's your list, your favorite songs, but the snob doesn't care because he can't understand why his favorite music isn't everyone's favorite music. His is the only opinion that matters and until you get some of that High Fidelity indie music on your list, you're nothing but a corporate whore and you suck, man.

You know what? I like things that you think are crap. I'm listening to Dashboard Confessional right now and I know you are pointing and laughing, but I don't care. And as much as I make fun of Fred Durst, I think that the first Limp Bizkit album is pretty good. I've read Flowers in the Attic about twenty times. Not only do I watch American Idol, but I like Trading Spouses. I've never seen Titanic. Or Gone with the Wind. But I've seen Cannibal, the Musical ten times. It won't matter to you that I have an extensive theater collection on both DVD and CD. My love of Les Miz means nothing because the next song on my iPod after Master of the House is by a band called Anal Cunt. So if I like what you like, I'm in your little club. Until you find out that I also like what you don't. And then not only am I out, but I'm ridiculed, pointed at and told that I'm not worthy of breathing the same air as you.

If you want to be a snob about the things you find entertaining, that's your prerogative. But the minute you start unleashing your tirade of thinly veiled insults at me, I will turn you off like a bad tv show. You are the bane of my existence.

I just thought you should know.

January 20, 2005

Song of the Day (Not Safe For Fragile Ears Version)

I just wanted to thank you all for the day long entertainment I got out of this post. I'm going to take a wild guess and say that 429 (as it stands now) is a record for comments here.

And how do I thank you? With a song of the day, of course. Which most of you will probably skip right on by.

Download - Ludacris, Get back - mp3

please remember all downloads expire in 24 hours

Update: If Ludacris isn't your thing, I offer you this as an alternative:

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Introducing...

Idol Tongues.

That's right. Stacy and I bitch, moan and gossip about American Idol.

Don't lie. You watch the show. You want to talk about. And jeebus help anyone who prefaces a comment with "well, I don't usually watch that crap, but I just happen to be channel surfing and I stopped on Fox for a minute and...."

Bullshit. Man up, people. Admit to doing something that's not hip and cool for once in your lives.

And then join us here.

Morning fun: I can name that movie in seven words....

When pressed for time and/or coherent thoughts, steal from Fark.

Describe your favorite movie in exactly seven words.

Don't say what it is, either. We'll guess.

Mine: Guys go bowling, deal with some nihilists.

pssst...

There's an inauguration caption contest as well as a trivia quiz over at TCP.

Four More Years!

No, not what you think.

This week or there about marks the fourth anniversary of my blogging career. I use the term career loosely, of course.

A quick recap of my history goes like this: Tripod, Freeservers, bought my own domain, blogger, Greymatter, Moveable Type and here I am. I always find it interesting that my first day on blogger, with this domain, was September 10, 2001.

This is the longest I've ever stuck with a hobby/obsession. I usually treat my hobbies like flings, throwing them out the door the minute I realize they are taking up my precious time. What makes this obsession different? I'm not sure. But four years later, I'm still at it. Ok, maybe it's the friends I've made, the audience I've built, the give and take that comes with having comments and yes, the ad money, which isn't a whole lot but last month's take paid the electric bill.

And I guess I should say happy anniversary to anyone - and there are still some of you- who have been around since the beginning. Raise your hand if that's you. I'd like to thank you personally.

I have a "best of" list over here. And a specific subject "best of" over here. I'm trying to add to both of those lists so I can put it all together and then self publish a book of my best stuff, my own posterity and maybe so some day when I'm dead my kids can find a dusty, hastily-bound book in the attic, start reading and realize that the formative years of their childhood, they were nothing more than blogging fodder to me. And they can spend their inheritance on therapy.

For the rest of January, I'm going to be having a Fourth Anniversary Extravaganza, which is to say - there's a party in my blog and you're invited! What will I be doing? No idea. You have any ideas? I'm not a good party planner. I'd be happy to just sit here and play spin the bottle with you while doing jello shots. I was thinking of an ASV scavenger hunt, but making you all hunt through my archives for a prize seems sort of self-obsessed and it will come off sounding like one of those LiveJournal "How Well Do You Know Me" quizzes. Well, how well do you know me?

Anyhow, as I embark on my fourth anniversary extravaganza week/two weeks, what I'm asking for in the way of an anniversary present (the tradition fourth anniversary gift is fruit, flowers or linen, and if you're so inclined you can throw rose petals on my bed while feeding me grapes to cover all three bases) is simple - if you have a favorite entry of mine from the past four years that's not on either list and you think I should include in a book that only my family/bribed friends will shell out ten bucks to buy, please let me know.

And thus begins the extravaganza. Kind of.

the diary, day seven

No, I didn't cave. I just kicked the couch a few times and went to bed.

Today at 2pm will mark one week. Not only am I really going through with this, but I'm doing it with conviction, and without stuffing food in my mouth ever two seconds.

Sure, my family hates me and small animals fear me. But that's nothing new. And they'll learn to adjust.

However, today marks the day where I should move past the cranky bitch stage and welcome myself to the world of hacking up my lungs in tiny, yellow chunks. Mmm.....lung butter.

January 19, 2005

primal screaming

Have you ever wanted to stage a parent strike? Or maybe just run away? Leave the house for ten, twelve hours and not tell anyone where you're going? Sell your children into servitude? Drink an entire bottle of Jack Daniels? Ram your car into the back of the car in front of you in traffic over and over again? Stab an obnoxious stranger in the eye with an icepick? Kick your husband in the balls? Kill a telemarketer, slowly and painfully?

I. WANT. A FUCKING. CIGARETTE.

Idol Chatter

So, here's the burning question of the day for those of us (wo)man enough to admit that we watch American Idol:

Was Mary simply
a)an actress looking to get noticed
b) just another person looking to cash in on the William Hung gravy train
or
c) a mentally disturbed individual?

I'm thinking it was (b) but I know a lot of people leaning towards ©. And if the answer is ©, is that explotation or entertainment?

Oh, I'm not going to lie. I was definitely entertained by Mary. In an uncomfortable sort of way.

My favorites from last night: the Rasta guy (good voice, nice charm) and the rock guy (not a great voice but at least his back story would provide the drama that last season was clearly missing).

Hated: The chick who sold her wedding ring to pay her way to the auditions. I don't know why, just a bad vibe I got from her and her stringy husband.

Best part of last night: Ogling Mark McGrath. Hated his band, love his look.

Last thought: Is it me, or did all the singers sound no better than average? And when will someone break out of the mold and choose a really offbeat song?

Update: Is it me or does Paula seem, ummm.....subdued? No, not subdued. Sedated. That's it. No, no. Maybe like.... she's been shot with an elephant tranquilizer? Yea.

throwing vinyl at zombies

Let's switch gears, eh?

Over at Vinyl Mine (one of my favorite blogs, btw):

sotd.jpg
... I present the famous record-throwing scene (11 Mb) from Shaun of the Dead in which the vital question of all record collectors is externalized once and for all in widescreen cinema. To wit, which LPs from your collection would you choose to throw at flesh-eating zombies if your life depended on it?

He has the list of what records were thrown in the movie. I want to know what records (and for the sake of modern times, CDs) you own would destroy to save yourself from zombies.

My list:

  • Metallica - ReLoad (CD) - obligatory
  • Huey Lewis and the News - Sports (vinyl) i think everyone my age once owned this album and then later denounced it
  • Hootie and the Blowfish, Cracked Rear View (CD) - I have no idea how this got in my house, really.
  • Loverboy - Get Lucky (vinyl) you would think even the zombies would run from this one
  • Creed - My Own Prison - do you realize the courage it took for me to even admit to owning this cd? Honestly, I don't know if I would subject even a flesh-hungry zombie to this travesty.

Yours?

follow up: shopping lists

[follow up to this post]

The last time I had a "shopping list" for the perfect guy I was in seventh grade. I wanted a guy with long, curly blond hair, rippling muscles and piercing blue eyes. Sadly, Roger Daltrey turned down my marriage proposal and I was forced at an early age to lower my standards.

Rock star infatuations aside, I think your expectations of what a partner should be like - physically, mentally and fiscally - are formed at an earlier age than when you actually start dating. Society forced ideals upon you and you build off those ideals, mixing them up with the traditional norms of your family structure; what your parents see in each other and how they treat each other will have some bearing on what you look for in a mate later in life.

But there's another facet that comes into play - you know what your standards are, but are you reasonably excepted to attract that kind of person? I think most of us, when looking for a relationship as opposed to looking to build on our collection of fantasy partners for future masturbation sessions, will lower our standards to meet reality. Or, maybe that's just me, judging from some of the previous comments.

Let's go back to high school. Having not moved in the cheerleader/beautiful people crowd, I realized right away that setting my sights on a hunky, gorgeous football player was out of the question (I never went for the jock type, anyhow). Added to that was the attractiveness factor - my attractiveness. I think I set my standards in such a way that I wouldn't be let down time and time again. Shooting for the unattainable is a sure fire exercise in self esteem beatdown.

I didn't date much in high school, mostly because I didn't meet the criteria of the guys: I wasn't hot and I didn't put out. And that's probably where I learned to believe that most guys were only looking for two things in a girl; a pretty face and an easy lay.

In my early 20's I had a serious relationship with a man who caused me to rethink my priorities. Basically, all I wanted now was a guy who wasn't psychotic. Oh, he was a charmer. Good looking. Nice body. Good job, lots of money in the bank. And, as I would realize about three months before our scheduled wedding date, completely off his rocker.

After that fiasco, I met an average guy with an average bank account and the personality of a wet mop. And here I'll be completely honest - the most attractive thing about him is that he was attracted to me. After a long bout with self image demons, that was the only criteria I needed in a guy. Never mind that he was a compulsive gambler prone to wild mood swings and he was emotionally distant for long stretches of time. I married him.

After the inevitable divorce, I ventured out into the dating world again. I met one guy who, on the surface, was a shopping-list woman's dream - tall, charming, good looking, six figure bank account, great smile, good sense of humor, etc. However, upon the peeling of the veneer after he visited me several times at the restaurant I was managing at the time, I realized that this man had his own shopping list and there were just two words written on it: Italian whore. The Italian part was to please his mother. As for the whore part, he wanted a woman who would respond to wads of cash being thrown at her by spending half her time on her back and the other half in the kitchen baking him some pies. Interestingly enough, this man, like the man I almost married, was a prison guard. After I ditched him and reviewed my past mistakes, my anti-shopping list looked like this:

Not psychotic.
Not a prison guard.
Not Italian.

You would be surprised at how many men qualify on all three counts.

So is it any better to have an anti-shopping list than to have a list of specific, narrow things you want in a partner? Or am I just as shallow as the person who says they'll only date a 6'5 Norwegian lawyer?

Fortunately, I don't have to look anymore. I'm married to a great guy - and trust me on this one, I did not have a list that said "half my age, starving artist" or anything like that, but that's what I ended up with. Love comes in strange forms, sometimes. I think people who are too specific about what they want are missing out on opportunities for love. Then again, I think that some of these people aren't looking for love so much as they are looking for (as mentioned several time in the other post) someone to bear their children, provide financial stability and look good on their arm. Me, I'd much rather spend the rest of my life with a guy whose company I enjoy the same in bed and out. If I was looking for money or stability, I would have chosen the psychotic prison guard a long, long time ago. Instead, I ended up - years and lessons learned later - with a marriage that may not be overflowing my checking account, but is rich in laughter, fun and love. It's just icing on the cake that my husband happens to be one sexy man.

So I'm just wondering, for those of you who won't stray from their shopping lists - why confine yourself? Actually, I'm really wondering if the people with the specific non-negotiable lists really want a partner at all or if they are commitment phobic and set up this ideal, perfect mate checklist knowing full well that they'll never find it. Just a thought.

[And I apologize for the disjointed, rambling nature of this post - the not smoking thing is really playing havoc with my mind. My inability to concentrate or form a coherent sentence is in full effect today]

Carnival!

Totally forgot to tell you yesterday: The 10th storyblogging carnival is up. And while we're talking carnivals, the Carnival of the Vanities is up over here. Seems there are a lot of new readers coming through the doors today, thanks to the many links to the Teri Polo thing. So here's my own personal Carnival of Crap for beginning ASV readers: Best of Collection of amusing parenting stories Fiction 500 songs, annotated It's snowing. It's 11 degrees out. Next time I complain about the heat in summer, smack me.

the diary, day six

Short and succint today:

Here is something you can't understand, how I could just kill a man.*

Cranky doesn't even begin to describe it.

January 18, 2005

Hit it (Song of the Day)

I was going to further discuss this post tonight, but I'm still wading through the 175 comments and I won't have time to formulate anything before American Idol (shut up) goes on.

I do want to point out one thing: My original intent was to find out what defines sexy, in a physical way. That's why the "brains" answer is no good - I want to know what would make you look across the room at a woman for the first time and say "I'd hit it." Really, I wanted to know how many people would include "protruding rib cage" on their list.

So quite a few emailers want to know what I find sexy in a man, physically speaking. Who do I find sexy, they want to know. Glad you asked.

This is sexy.
This is hot.
I'd hit it

And this, this is the pinnacle.

Anyhow, more tomorrow. For now, enjoy tonight's song selection. Dedicated to all the men who only want a girl who wants to bang them.

Bloodhound Gang - Three Point One Four

personal responsibility

I've recieved a lot of email about quitting smoking. Most of it has been great and supportive and I thank all of you (and will eventually return the emails).

A few people wrote to say how evil the tobacco industry is (in response to my distaste of the truth.com commercials, I suppose) and that I should read that book or see this movie or read some website to find out how I've been lied to, taken advantage of and poisoned by big tobacco, the government and some clandestine cabal of fringe groups and covert operatives.

Listen carefully: I have no one to blame but myself. I knew when I was 13 and took my first drag off of a cigarette (my cousin's Winston) that what I was doing was bad for me. I knew when I bought my first pack of Parliaments (55 cents) that smoking was terrible for my health. I knew when I smoked a pack of Marlboros a day at 19 that I was destroying my lungs. I knew this when I quit smoking in 1983 and I knew it when I started up again in 1996 and went straight back to a pack a day and then onto stress-related chain smoking almost two packs a day. I knew this when I watched my aunt attach herself to an oxygen machine 24 hours a day. I knew this when I had bronchitis and held my inhaler in one hand a cigarette in the other.

I don't blame big tobacco or the government or Joe Camel for my addiction. The blame rests solely with me. I willingly picked up a habit I knew was destructive, costly and disgusting. And not just once. I quit and went back a few times, knowing full well what I was doing.

I don't blame McDonald's for my weight gain. I don't blame the makers of M&M's for my cavities. I don't blame my parents for my shortcomings. I don't blame Judas Priest for my crappy hearing. And I don't blame RJ Reynolds for my expensive, lung destroying habit.

So I won't read the book or check out the website or watch the movie or give another chance to truth.com because I am the only one responsible for my actions. And I'm not a big Russell Crowe fan, anyhow.

the guiltiest of pleasures

It's baaaack.

Tonight. 8pm EST.

I know damn well I'm not the only one of us who's really excited about this. I'm just the only one who will admit it.

sex and the sandwich [Updated -2-]

Over at Wizbang, they've posted the Playboy photos of Teri Polo (Meet the Fockers).

Now, I have a great appreciation for the naked (or even semi-naked) female body. It's no secret - if you're a regular reader - that I will ogle sexy women as much as I do sexy men (I've been called a bisexual man trapped in a woman's body and I don't argue much with that analysis). However, I'm just not that into Teri Polo. After seeing this photo of her when the movie first came out, I couldn't help thinking that watching her eat would be like watching a snake do the same - we'd actually be able to see her food sliding down into her belly. That's how thin she is.

If you're not at work or near small children or horny men, take a look at the Playboy photos. Now, be honest with me, guys; do you really, truly find this sexy? Do rib cages and bony knees turn you on?

Many years ago, I had a male friend who told me he dated skinny girls because he liked the idea of being able to lift them up and hold them against the wall during sex. Interesting criteria - well, I'll only sleep with you if I can bench press you. The funny part is, this guy was so out of shape, we used to remark that he was built like Fred Flinstone.

So what I'm really wondering here - guys, this is for you - is this: What is sexy? And I mean physically, so don't cop out and give me that "a woman with a brain is sooo sexy" line. Do you honestly like a woman who looks like she hasn't eaten since the last time the Mets won the world series? Is a woman whose protruding rib cage could conceivably pierce you during sex hot? Would you prefer a woman with a D cup and few pounds on her or an A cup with a child's waistline? Would you date a woman who is over a size 7? Over a size ten? Do you hold yourself to the same standards of physical perfection that you do the women you choose to date/pick up/marry?

I'm really wondering about the psychological reasons for idolizing a woman who weighs less than a the loaf of bread she binged and purged yesterday. Does it make a man feel more empowered, more masculine to date/sleep with a woman he could practically break in half? Is it a dominant thing? Or is it that your idea of perfection is such that the less actual substance on a body, the better?

I'm not trying to start a war here. I'm just really, honestly curious about all this. I don't hate Teri Polo because she's beautiful and I'm not disparaging her body because of jealousy. I have no problem with pointing out or even having a lustful attitude toward beautiful, sexy women. I just don't get the fascination with a naked sack of bones.

Update: Nevermind all this - I'd like to see some responses to Allah's comment.

Update2 I'm not asking if you'd marry Teri Polo. I'm just wondering why the starving-chick look is considered sexy enough for Playboy. And for those saying that she's not too terribly thin in the Playboy shoot, check out the other pic of her at Wizbang. I'm sure the Playboy pics are airbrushed. The Yahoo pics are not and those are some damn pointy ribs sticking out of her dress.

A lot of the comments below remind me of theBloodhound Gang song Three Point One Four:

You know what I really want in a girl? Me.

And yes, you deserve to know what it is I look for in a guy (or did before I found what I was looking for). More on that later.

[Guess I know what tonight's mp3 of the day selection will be]

the diary, day five

I have never in my entire life felt a craving this intense. Not even when I was pregnant with Natalie and went out at four in the morning to get those little ten cent packets of Kool-Aid because I had to have it, and then drank a quart of cherry and a quart of some green flavor and peed rainbows for the next two days, and also dreamed about the Kool-Aid guy three nights in a row.

If that Kool-Aid guy showed up now, I'd kick him right in the knees. Why? Because I woke up with my entire body set on vibrate as it waits, waits, waits for that nicotine intake. It's jonesing. And I'm not giving it what it wants. So in turn my brain is like, "Hey, if she's going to screw us out of our addiction like that, let's fuck around with her mind!" and now I'm sitting here quite sure that today will be the day where I tear somebody's head off their neck and smoke their corpse.

But I can breathe a bit better so that counts for something, right?

January 17, 2005

caption, please

[A young Mr. Gates strikes a pose - click for bigger. Via Fark]

Grandpa Simpson on Repeat:
Part of the Carnival of Stimulation Fourth Anniversary Extravaganza

In preparing for the ASV Fourth Anniversary Extravaganza Carnival of Stimulation (no, not really), I've decided to repost some of my favorite entries.

I chose this one because a) it's my favorite of 2004 and b) it is relevant to these posts by Ed Driscoll (The Kids Aren't Alright) and Stephen Green (The Problem With Kids These Days).

Originally titled I got a funny story about that. Well it's not so much funny as it is long, I thought of changing it to No Pads, No Helmets, Just Balls, then realized that I only had that phrase ingrained in my head because it's the title of the album of my least favorite band of 2004. So I'm changing the title simply to Onion Belt. Most of you will understand.

Post appears below. Now, to come up with some ideas for the Fourth Anniversary Extravaganza of Stimulation.

I kind of feel sorry for kids these days. Thanks to several things - the self-esteem movement of the early 90's; the paralyzing touchy-feely don't-let-your-kids-deal-with-reality method of dealing with life that is rampant in our public schools and the endless parade of rules and regulations designed to protect but only stifle - our children are living the life of Bubble Boy.

abe1.jpgBack in my day, we didn't worry about self-esteem or agonize over feelings. We didn't care about elbow pads and cooperative games where everyone was a winner.

We played musical chairs at birthday parties and laughed and pointed at the kids left standing. We played dodgeball without sissy rules and our gym teachers coached us to hit the other players where it hurt the most. We used the stones from hopscotch games to beat the winner senseless. Ok, no. But sometimes we would draw on her stupid pink, frilly shirt with yellow chalk. It made her sneeze. And she would tell on us and our mothers would say "Oh, stop complaining, Lori. It's just freaking chalk." Can you imagine this happening today? I'd be sued by Lori's mother for the emotional damage I caused her child and my Saturday mornings would be spent in an overstuffed chair in some dark of office of the state-appointed psychiatrist who would ask me how I feel about being so evil.

Not back in my day. There were two boys in my neighborhood who used to throw bricks at me on my way home from school. Bricks. When the principal found out that the same boys were throwing rocks at me on the playground, he took action. The boys got the shit beat out of them by their fathers and no one - not one person - blamed me for being bullied or looked for root causes as to why those children behaved like monsters. They just got detention and sore asses.

I laugh and laugh at extreme sports shows today. Extreme? How can anything be extreme if you're wearing fifteen layers of protective gear while you're doing it? You want extreme? Try powering a rickety, unstable bicycle going about 50 miles per hour - with your sister riding on the handelbars - down the steepest man made slope on Long Island, a slope which ended at a wall of pure concrete into which you would smash and die if you didn't apply the brakes with just the right amount of pressure at the right time. No helmets. No knee pads or elbow pads. We didn't even carry Band-Aids with us. That's extreme.

We played soccer without headgear. The boys played baseball without cups. We rode in the backs of station wagons, not wearing set belts and hanging out the window to wave to strangers. We walked to the candy store by ourselves. We rode our bikes after dark. We called each other horrible names and sometimes we had fistfights right on my front lawn and my mother would tell us to shut up because the noise was drowning out Dark Shadows. And when we got up from the fistfight all bloodied and scraped, mom would tell us to stop our crying, slap some Bactine on us and shoo us outside again.

Oh yea, you saw this coming. In my day we walked to school. Our district was on an austerity budget for years. Walked in the rain, the snow, the sleet and hail. Our parents never drove us because our fathers were at work and our mothers were busy preparing for the fondue themed dinner party they were throwing that evening. So we walked to school and when we got there we learned about history without the P.C. agenda that you get today. And we read books in English that would make P.C. people shriek in horror. We sang Christmas and Hannakuh songs in the winter concert and nobody batted an eyelash.

Self-esteem? We didn't exist to build up each other's egos. We were supposed to knock them down. Life was all about rivalries and competition. If a teacher back then ever told us how wonderful and beautiful and special we all were, we would have reported her to the authorities on suspicion of being a pot smoking hippie.

You know when the world went to hell? When Coca Cola decided to teach the world to sing. The second that commercial came out, a death knell sounded across the playgrounds and schoolyards of America. Parents everywhere, suckered in by the feel-good lyrics and hand-holding sappiness of the commercial felt an awakening of sorts. All those who missed the hippie train of the 60's were going to jump on the Free to be You and Me train of the 70's, and ride it hard.

Back in my day, kids weren't sheltered. We were fed the day's news raw and uncensored. Our parents took us to see gory, bloody horror movies. We were read fairy tales, grim and perverse and wicked as they were, without remanufactured endings where everyone is beautiful and everyone smiles.

We had real playgrounds with merry-go-rounds and metal slides and wooden see saws, all placed on concrete. None of this plastic adventure-in-learning crap sitting on a gentle bed of soft wood chips. We had broken noses and we had scabs covering half our bodies. The school nurse would wipe up our blood, swab us in Bactine (the panacea of our time) and send us back outside for more. Today's kids get a piece of wood chip dust in their eye and they're carried to the nurse's office on a stretcher where they're handed ten different accident and liability forms to give their parents and forced to sit through a video taped lecture on playground safety, presented by a singing, dancing, man in an elephant costume.

We learned about life with all its cuts and bruises and hurt feelings. We worked hard around the house and yard and built up a work ethic. We earned our allowance and walked half a mile to the candy store where we spent it all on sugary, fattening candy and rolls of caps for our cap guns. We would point our guns at each other and say things like bang, bang, you're dead.

Who knew that a generation later, that phrase would probably get you sent to the principal's office and an appointment with the school psychiatrist?

Sure, I lived in dangerous times. Maybe somewhere in 60's or 70's America there were babies flying out of cars or kids smashing into concrete walls and maybe death came calling to some in the form of an errant merry-go-round or a lethal dose of Red Dye #2. But most of us made it. And most of us made it without the lingering head wound side effects.

A little head wound builds character, you know.

I know, Bitch, bitch, bitch.

today's recommended reading

96c.gifIf you have children and you'd like to - in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. - discuss the civil rights movement or peek into the life of a black family during the early 60's, I highly recommend you read this book out loud to them. The Watsons go to Birmingham is a beautifully written tale. Author Christopher Paul Curtis uses delightful humor to push the story towards September 15, 1963, when the book takes a dramatic, serious turn. Curtis mixes factual history with the fictional adventures of the Watson family and pulls it off seamlessly. The book leaves you with plenty of room for discussion and further research with your children. Curtis's writing is so engaging, that one need to not have children to enjoy - and take something away from - this book.


the diary, day four

A daily occurrence which is here for my sake and which you may ignore. I've made it past the fabled 72 hours. So how come last night I suffered the worst, most intense cravings yet? I'm trying really hard to not substitute food for cigarettes, but all my nails are bitten down to the end and my CDs are already in alphabetical order, so I've got to find something else to do today to keep at bay the Hulk-like change that comes over me when my body decides to throw a nicotine hissy fit. Listening to Hüsker Dü's Candy Apple Grey on the headphones while writing (never to be sent) missives to people I hate seems to be helping. I will tell you what I'm not going to do: I will not become a militant ex smoker. I will not try to goad other people into quitting just because I did. I will never, ever join a group like this one because those people are scaring me. I will, however, always hate the truth.com commercials. And onward we go. About twenty dollars saved and, according to the stats, today is the day my breathing should get a bit easier. Which is perfect timing as it looks like I'll be shoveling snow later.

What Dreams May come: Top Ten songs, updated

An update to the post below:

New, improved, and won't make the top ten of Norm's final countdown. I swear to you, I dreamed this list, and I don't question what comes to me in my dreams. And the fact that both Will Collier (of Vodka Pundit fame) and famous author/blogger Rob Byrnes were there watching me write the list and nodding approvlingly (which they most likely not do in waking life), I had no choice but to go with it, so I woke myself out of the dream and immediately wrote down the list in my dream book. And it's really not a bad list, Night Ranger notwithstanding.

(I think the list in the dream only had nine songs. I added the Pumpkins in there, just because)

Night Ranger - Sister Christian
Hüsker Dü - New Day Rising
Smashing Pumpkins - Mayonaise
Led Zeppelin - Trampled Under Foot
Twisted Sister - Burn in Hell
Misfits - Die, Die My Darling
Sweet - Ballroom Blitz
Pixies - Where Is My Mind
Social Distortion - Story of my Life
Ronnie James Dio - Rainbow in the Dark

January 16, 2005

top ten rock songs - HELP - DEADLINE! [updated]

Remember that top ten list of best rock/pop songs of all time that I'm supposed to be completing by tonight to get in on Norm's survey? I'm running out of time. I have edited this list so many times it doesn't even resemble the ten I started out with. This is where I'm at now, after 47 revisions - keep in mind that these are in no way my favorite songs (you can find those here), but what amounts to the best songs, with many factors taken into consideration. One such factor being that I have to swallow my pride and recognize how important/good some of these songs are even if they don't make my list of favorites. [Revised ten times since first posted] My Generation (The Who) Smells Like Teen Spirit (Nirvana) Revolution (Beatles) Good Vibrations (Beach Boys) Sympathy for the Devil (Stones) Welcome to the Jungle (GnR) Kick Out the Jams (MC5) Whipping Post (Allman Bros) Mayonaise - Smashing Pumpkins The Wind Cries Mary (Hendrix) Somehow, in my haste to revise, I obliterated all recent music, save for Nirvana, off the list. Help me out here. There's no saying we can't make this a joint effort. (hoping people are around on a Sunday night before a legal holiday Monday) Update: There will be no arguments of the Smashing Pumpkins song, as it is my belief that Mayonaise is the greatest song ever recorded, anytime, anywhere, any planet. I've included Mayonaise for your listening pleasure, in the radio below.

song of the day, bitter style

This one is dedicated to two people: the friend who thinks that women are generally evil, and the friend who thinks that women were put here by God as a practical joke. Download - Ataris, Last Song I Will Ever Write About a Girl Lyrics - for that "women are evil" sing-a-long - below. I reserve the right to not comment on the whole issue for now except to say that bitter comes in all flavors. Broken heart again today The flowers that I gave to you have withered all away Just when I opened up my heart The one you used to love came and ripped it right apart Why do I never seem to learn That love is wrong and girls are fucking evil I guess I'll never figure out What womankind is all about I heard your voice again today I'm scarred by all the lies that were once promises you'd made I lie in bed awake at night And wonder what went wrong or even more just what went right Why do I never seem to learn That love is wrong and girls are fucking evil I guess I'll never figure out What womankind is all about

i could have used the word 'smoking' in the title of this post in the right context, but didn't

Far be it from me to turn this into a "I Quit Smoking And All I Got Was This Lousy Ability To Cough Up Chunks Of My Lung" blog. Here's something different for you: I'm Certain That Archie Had a Huge Cock. Me too. Now you know why I had a crush on him. There. I diversified. Happy?

the diary, day three

A daily occurrence which is here for my sake and which you may ignore. Yesterday sucked. Sort of. It seems the cravings have gotten more intense, rather than waning at all. And I think I'm feeling both the cravings and the withdrawal symptoms acutely this time because my brain knows I am not kidding around. All those other times, my quitting was half hearted. Also, the last time I quit I was already taking Wellbutrin every day, which made it easy. This time I mean business. So every single part of my body has been waging a war against me. I'm winning. When people who don't smoke or never have smoked talk to you about quitting, they don't quite understand what it's like to quit. They don't understand that nicotine is addictive. You can't just throw out your cigarettes one day, wipe your hands and say that's that. There are consequences - not to quitting, but to having been slave to the addiction for so long. Here are some symptoms of nicotine withdrawal: * Cravings * Irritable, cranky * Insomnia * Fatigue * Inability to Concentrate * Headache * Cough * Sore throat * Constipation, gas, stomach pain * Dry mouth * Sore tongue and/or gums * postnasal drip * Tightness in the chest (source) It reads like one of those commercials for happy pills where the pleasant sounding man tells you that side effects may include internal bleeding and loss of limbs, though the symptoms are not quite as daunting as what I went through with my Paxil/Wellbutrin withdrawal. Which is why I think I will succeed at this. I went through three months of experiencing a mental/physical horror movie playing out in my body and brain. I now know that I can handle the nicotine revolution my body is throwing. Another thing non-smokers don't understand is that a smoking addiction isn't just about the smoking. For many of us there are other issues at play. As I mentioned yesterday, I have an addictive/obsessive personality. Once a person like myself starts smoking, the act of lighting the cigarette becomes ingrained into your life's routine. The motions of bringing the cigarette to your mouth, sucking the smoke down, inhaling, exhaling, even stubbing the cigarette out, are all part of the mental addiction. So without all of that, a quitter will become lost, in a way. I need something to do with my hands because they are waiting for a box of cigarettes to pack against my palm, to hold one, to light one, to flick the ashes. My mouth is alive with desperate nerve endings waiting for the smoke to alleviate their cravings. So I've gone into what I call whirlwind mode. If I don't stop moving, thinking, doing, I won't cave into the desire. Yesterday was ten straight hours of moving furniture around, dusting in places that haven't seen light since we moved in, reorganizing closets, putting the CDs back in alphabetical order and cooking a five course dinner even though the kids were out for the evening and my husband insisted he wasn't that hungry. It's not a bad way to live, really, and a nice change from my usual lazy approach to housekeeping. But it's manic, and reminds me too much of the last few weeks of my first marriage, when I was trying to get my house in order because I obviously couldn't get my life in order. My world was falling apart, but my bookshelves were sorted by size and my canned vegetables were all facing outwards! Ok, I digress, but you'll have to forgive me as my mind is all over the place today. I'm making a list of things to tackle this afternoon as I wait for the withdrawal symptoms to lesson, and a list of things to do in between those things to keep me from eating instead of smoking. Today's projects will be getting the rest of my CD collection onto the iPod and then I'm going to start in on the huge box of photos in the attic, that need to be sorted, labeled, put in frames/books, etc. God help me if I start scrapbooking. I will not be a scrapbooker. If it comes down to spending five hours putting fancy borders around photos of my daughter taking her first poop, I will go back to smoking, I swear to you. Ok, scratch the photos. I think I'll take apart all my Transformers and put them back together again instead. Day three down, about fifteen dollars saved, teeth ground down to nothing, but again, the house is clean and my lungs are a bit cleaner.

January 15, 2005

the giant sucking sound of a football season going down the drain

Dear Doug Brien, I hate you. Not as much as he does, but I really, really hate you. Then again, you have only served to carry on the tradition of winter disappointment. Perhaps it was just meant to be. But you still SUCK. Sincerely, M

sex and music (survey included)

One of the things I'll do with my excess non-smoking energy is update the 500 songs page a bit more frequently. Today's songs - yes two songs - are a must listen to. Go download, read about it. They are, without a doubt, two of the sexiest songs ever. Or at least they come from the sexiest album ever. So I'm asking you, my very sexy readers, what's the sexiest song you've ever heard? Give me your "songs to make love to" list. Details, baby. We want details.

the diary, day two

A new daily occurrence which is here for my sake and which you may ignore. I passed the coffee test, I passed the beer test and I passed the "just ate a heavy meal" test. I managed to not smoke after all of them. The first day (more like a day and a half, official quitting time was 2pm on Thursday) was easier than it has been in the past. I have a feeling, however, that today will be a real will-tester. I woke up with that tingly, buzzing feeling; my body telling me it's craving something that I've deprived it of. My brain has rallied the troops and they're holding a huge protest - every nerve ending from my scalp to my mouth to the tips of my fingers is standing up, screaming, chanting and demanding another shot of nicotine. The brain is a funny thing. While it knows damn well that I'm not going to light a cigarette, it still tells my body to behave as if it's anticipating I will do just that. So my brain is undermining my will power. It's just a matter of showing them all who's boss. I want to thank everyone for their advice a few posts down, but you should know that there is no medical device in the world - patch, gum, pills, shock therapy, etc., that's going to help me through this. It's something I have to do cold turkey, on my own, or not at all. It's the way I've done it with every substance - legal or not - that I needed to detox myself from. Weaning myself won't work because I don't have the will power necessary to do that. I have a tendency to be weak and having cigarettes around will just make me smoke at my usual pace. Substituting doesn't work, either. Keep in mind that I have a lot of obsessive-compulsive tendencies, as well as an addicctive nature. So trying to replace one addiction/obsession with another is just feeding the part of my brain that I'm trying to gain control over. Besides, last time I quit smoking I started eating Sprees and gained 75 sugar pounds in about 45 minutes. My smoking addiction was more than just a nicotine habit; it has to do with keeping both the hands and mouth busy (insert innuendo jokes here). So on that end, I'll just write more, have lengthier video game sessions and, as evidenced last night, go on house cleaning rampages. The oral fixation is easy - I just amped up my other oral addiction - ice chewing. Twice the ice! is my new motto. So, to wrap up the first 36 hours or so: cranky, short tempered and my family hates me, but the house is clean, I've made it through another level of Kingdom Hearts, I saved five dollars and I'll never be in any danger of dehydration. Hey, you gotta take the silver linings where you find them. Now, to face the rest of Day 2.

January 14, 2005

Friday Fun: Cover version [updated]

Another album cover post, though not the one I've been working so hard on, but on topic anyhow. My friend Todd-Who-Doesn't-Like-Starship-Troopers just sent me this link from Boing Boing,. which led me to this album cover quiz. It's an old one, from 2003 (and I just realized that the site owner is Meg formerly of notsosoft.com) and there are no answers on the site. You must email the maker of the quiz for those. It's about 300 albums long and it has become my goal for today - at the risk of not clearing off my desk before the three day weekend - to get at least half the album covers. Some people chew gum when they quit smoking - I just find more inane things to obsess about. Or, we can do this cooperatively. If you are up to the challenge and you know any of the album covers, leave the answers in the comment and maybe we can get the whole damn thing. I'm working on my list. It's a Friday kind of thing to do. Update - answers from my first quick glance at challenge 10: (I'm going to stick my answers in the comments from now on) 10 1. Van Halen - Diver Down 2. Queensryche - Operation Mindcrime 3. . 4. Def. Leppard - Hysteria 5. Extreme - Pornograffiti 6. . 7. Lita Ford 8. Judas Priest "Rocka Rolla" 9. Aerosmith "Rocks" 10. Faster Pussycat - ?? 11. Bon Jovi - Bon Jovi 12. 13. Motley Crue - Too Fast for Love 14. Rainbow - Difficult to Cure 15. White Lion - Pride 16. Twisted Sister - ? 17. . 18. Kiss - Creatures of the Night 19. Iron Maiden - Somewhere in Time 20. Rush - Hemispheres 21. Scorpions - Love at First Sting 22. Cinderella - Night Songs 23. Whitesnake 24. Quiet Riot - ?? 25. Europe - Final Countdown 26. . 27. Wasp - ? 28. Poison 29. Pat Benatar - Get Nervous 30. Dio - Dream Evil [Some filled in through answers in the comments]

you got a bug problem, man?

This post is for one thing only - to prove to my friend Todd that I am not the only person on this planet that actually liked the movie Starship Troopers. Help a friend out. Admit you liked it.

selling myself to the highest bidder

I had a dream in which I was singing karaoke in a vast, wide lecture hall, one of those rooms where the wall/floor perspective makes it appear as if the room gets smaller as it goes farther back. I was doing a bang-up rendition of Faith No More's Surprise, You're Dead and at the end, where I'm supposed to laugh maniacally, I spot at the very farthest point of the room none other than Jeff Jarvis, standing there with his arms crossed, looking rather cross and impatient. I finished the song and walked off the stage and towards Jeff as the crowd applauded my efforts and threw cigarettes at me. After what seemed like miles, I reached Mr. Jarvis. Apparently, he wanted to lecture me about my blogging ethics. Kept yelling things about disclosure! and payola! . And I just kept thinking about how badly I wanted to pick up the thousands of cigarettes lining the floor of the lecture hall and smoke every last one of them. Simultaneously. Jeff went on to say something about hiring people to scrutinize my archives to see if I actually use all those products or like all those bands. Man, was he indignant. When he was done and I was properly chastised, the crowd egged me onto the stage again for more karaoke. Just as I decided on a Weezer song, I woke up. Good thing, too, because I sing horribly even in my dreams. The above is why I woke up thinking about blog payoffs (well, that and reading about it yesterday) and wondering why, like thousands of others, I haven't been offered one red cent from anyone in exchange for kind words about their product/candidate/sexual prowess. Were anyone to really scour my archives to see which products, etc., that I've hawked, and then look at how many posts where I cry about how poor I am, well, it's evident that I don't take cash up front. But...that's not to say I wouldn't! If Keurig were to offer me, say, a coffee machine in exchange for saying nice things about their company and its products, I wouldn't hesitate. Because I'm a consumer whore and consumer whores will do anything - mostly - for free material goods. Not even cash. Just the damn machine. Hello? Anyone out there from Keurig listening? Or the people from this site. Send me a couple of the shirts I want and I'll model them right here. Wet. No shame. None at all. (Hi mom and dad!) Anyhow, I know that some of my past entries might, in the wake of all this barely scandalous talk of blogging payola, make people think I was handed some under-the-computer-table cash, but I'm telling you in all honesty, right now, that I really do like Linkin Park and, hard as it is to fathom, nobody paid me to say that. And, no, Night Ranger does not pay me royalties every time I mention Sister Christian. So while I have nothing to confess, exactly, I'm going to be up front and completely honest about who I would accept money/product from in exchange for some complimentary blogging. * Apple - I'd take anything, really. Even one of those new mini Macs. * Starbucks - A monthly supply of Chanticos. One every 28 days would suffice, payable on the 26th of the month or thereabouts. * James Lileks - I'd tattoo the ISBN number for your latest book on my chest, right above my cleavage line, for a link or two. * Microsoft - My kingdom for an XBox. I'd turn this blog into a Bill Gates fanfic site, complete with a pictorial shrine and gushy reviews of Microsoft products I wouldn't use if my life depended on it, in exchange for an XBox, at least three games and a year subscription to XBox Live. * My local comic book/action figure store - This is obvious. Write nice things, get good product. I'd promise not to drool on the display cases, too. * Good media that I haven't gotten around to writing about yet. Example: The most recent Black Label Society album is rocking my world. But I'll wait for Zakk Wylde to line my pockets before writing about it. * Shitty rock bands who disbanded years ago and recently got back together in an effort to combat the low self-esteem that comes with receding hairlines, paunchy guts and the break up of your fan club: Cash. Cold, hard cash. For a few bucks, I'd gladly sell out and pretend that, yea, REO Speedwagon is the shit, man, and dude, Motley Crue reunion? Fucking rock on, man. Dollar bills up front and I'd write about you like you're the second coming of the first coming of your crappy band. You get the idea. In fact, just yesterday I received this magazine in the mail - gratis. It features my favorite artist (besides my husband), Mark Ryden. And I will be willing to say wonderful things about this glossy, cultural, pretty magazine as long as they keep sending it to me. It's a win/win situation, really. The smart companies will go through my archives and see what I've already written glowing things about and then send me product and/or cash to get me to keep talking. Yea, that's the ticket! Soon, I'll be rich in ways I never dreamed - Guinness beer, Coldstone Creamery ice cream, PS2 games, iPod accessories and - hopefully - cold, hard cash. Blogging ethics? I've got 'em. And my ethic is this - if it gets me free items or a suitcase of unmarked bills, I'm in. Well, I'm not a total whore. I cannot be bought by the following: George Lucas, the New York Mets, Limp Bizkit, or MTV. Everyone else, I'm yours for the asking. [crickets chirp, pins drop, etc.]

the diary, day one

A new daily occurrence which is here for my sake and which you may ignore. Day1: It's dark like midnight out here at 7:45 in the morning, the kind of AM dark that makes you immediatley want to crawl back into bed with a book and your iPod. But no, some of us have to work for a living. And some of us have to drive to work in this windy downpour and some of us will miss very much that first morning cigarette that is usually lit up at the intersection of Merrick and Jerusalem. Today's sacrificial lamb in lieu of drive-to-work cigarette: one small piece of Dove dark chocolate. The second I hit that Merrick Avenue light and automatically reach for the pack of cigarettes that won't be there, I'll pop the chocolate in my mouth and some Life of Agony in the CD player and chew/scream away my nicotine cravings. I'm ready.

January 13, 2005

on the wagon, again

Once again - for maybe the 20th time in the past three years - I am trying to quit smoking. This was a sudden decision that happened about twenty minutes ago when I reached for a cigarette and the box was empty. The desire to purchase another five dollar package of tar and nicotine was just not there. So I'm just going to quit. If I went off those meds cold turkey and made it through three months of living hell, I think I should be able to handle this. Here's hoping. I'd like to be alive when the flying cars finally get here. Hmm..I'm going to have to substitute one vice for another in order to do this. Any suggestions?

thisday.isfullofcrap.com

I'm going to ask Laurence if that domain is available. Despite the horror this day has been, I can still smile knowing that A Small Victory is both sultry and organic. Explained below. Did I ever mention my obsession with anagrams?
AAmbitious
SSultry
MMysterious
AAstounding
LLovable
LLucky
VVain
IInfluential
CCasual
TTechnological
OOrganic
RRealistic
YYum

Name / Username:

Name Acronym Generator
From Go-Quiz.com

I WISH TO DIE A FATTY DEATH

In honor of the government once again giving the food pyramid a facelift, I'm reposting my own version of the food pyramid - the Food Pentagram. It probably needs a bit of updating. Dunkin' Donuts (the bastards) discontinued the scones. I'm willing to revise, just like our big brothers of nutrition, if you have any better suggestions. Maybe I should replace the scones with the Chantico. I'm sure the food pyramid is sensible and healthy, but sensible and healthy is no way to live! Sure, I'll have to be buried inside a grand piano if I follow the pentagram guidelines, but at least I'll have enjoyed the ride there. And at least my headstone won't say:

this is not a pleasant tomorrow

Follow up.

Two hours sleep. Much anger at my oil company. Lied to, pandered to, etc.

But we have heat and we have hot water and no, I can't switch oil companies because I'm locked in at such an amazing rate for another five months and I am poor enough to sacrifice my righteous indignation in order to save money on my oil bill.

But there is an oil company owner that is going to get an earful from me today.

Also, for the curious emailers: Yes, this happened where I work, which means I can't blog about it. Sorry.

January 12, 2005

and a pleasant tomorrow!

On phone with oil company, for third time tonight:

Me: The burner just keeps shutting itself off.
Woman: Did you reset it?
Me: Yes. Three times. Each time, it blew thick, black smoke at me.
Woman: Is it on now?
Me: No.
Woman: Reset it.
Me: No. I'm not doing that again.
Woman: So, do you have heat?
Me: Uhh..no oil burner, no heat. No hot water, either.
Woman: Do you want someone to come out tonight?
Me: That would be nice.
Woman: Well, it won't be for a few hours. After midnight, for sure.
Me: That's fine.
Woman: So, ok....let me get this down - you turned your oil burner off..
Me: No, let me recap for you. The oil burner has shut down three times on its own tonight. I have reset it three times, resulting in a face full of black smoke each time. We have no hot water and we all need showers. We have no heat and it's 35 degrees out. My house smells like burned tires and I have to stay up way past my bedtime to wait for someone to come fix everything.
Woman: Ok. We're sending someone out. Have a good night!

Have a good night.

Yea.

Update: It's 2:44 am and they're still not here.

making a list to keep track of the lists i'm making
(guitar hero edition) (updated)

Bad enough I can't find the proper amount of time to devote to the 500 songs annotations (or that I can't whittle the list down to a proper 500); I also have to get cracking on the ten best rock/pop songs of all time list, and now Paul has started the greatest guitar solos of all time list. Oh, and I'm still working on the best album covers list (which probably won't get posted until Friday). Where will the madness end? Don't you people realize I can't resist the list? I'm going to put my other lists aside for the moment and tackle Paul's. With your help, of course. We've already done the coolest song parts - but I don't think I ever covered solos here, which is suprising, so let's have them: Top ten rock guitar solos of all time. Go. Update: I'll throw out my first two: Highway Star - Ritchie Blackmore Floods - Dimebag Darrel (Pantera) Also: Seven Questions for the Guitar Solo from Stairway to Heaven
Q: Is it true that you and the intro to "Stairway to Heaven" haven't spoken in nearly 30 years?

open door policy

Via Jim comes this Neil Cavuto article in which he's lambasted for holding a door open for a woman.
"Do I look paralyzed to you?" she asked. I was so taken aback that I didn't know what to say, or even what she was saying herself. She went on to explain how I had just earlier stepped out of her way on the elevator to let her off. I just assumed it was the gentlemanly thing to do. I guess I'm a bit old fashioned. But she was not and she clearly wasn't into "gentlemanly." [..] She went onto explain the door thing was part and parcel of a bigger thing: An attempt by men, she said, to make women feel like they're lesser.
Cavuto then asks: So let me ask you, ladies: Do you find it offensive when some big klutz like me opens a door that I'm patronizing you, or, in the case of this young woman, "offending" you? This woman needs to step down off her feminista soap box and look at gestures like door opening in the larger context of common courtesy. Would the woman be so offended if another female held the door open for her? Or would she accuse that female of being a traitor to her gender? I try, even when faced with the rudest of rude people, to keep my level of courtesy towards my fellow human beings on high. Maybe the idea was ingrained in my head back in the 70's when there were signs dotting every Long Island road that said "courtesy is contagious." Or maybe I was just brought up right. You hold doors open for people. You let people off the elevator before you get on. You allow cars to merge. You say please and thank you and after you because that's how civilized people behave. Yet there are women who feel coddled and like lesser beings when someone - in particular a male someone - extends a courtesy to them. I can't imagine the size of the stick that needs to be up one's ass in order to feel slighted by an act of politeness. It must be painful to walk around like that all day. And I wonder what the same woman would think if a man walked into a store in front of her and let the door just close behind him - she would probably tell him that he's insensitive to the needs of women and is therefore a misogynist. You can't win with people like that. You're either making them feel like puny humans or you're being condescending by trying to not make them feel like puny humans. If having a door held open for you makes you feel weak, then I suggest you have some deep-rooted problems in regards to male figures and your militant feminism is only going to exacerbate your already seething hatred towards the male species. Here's their core belief: Men are evil. Men who are nice are even more evil because they are only being nice in order to subjugate you. See, by being courteous to you, they are keeping you down. It is one of the things men talk about at their yearly Keep Women In The Kitchen conference, where they teach guys how to smile, extend a hand, carry packages, open doors, pull out chairs, buy flowers and say complimentary things to women in a concerted effort at undermining the self image of every single female on the planet by making them feel weak and helpless. Ah, but what about those of us who like when guys smile, open doors and pull out chairs? What about us women who don't view every compliment as a sexist put down? What about those of us who don't hate men? Women like the one Cavuto encountered believe they are doing all women a favor when they act like such boors. They're championing their own cause and furthering their own agenda and they think they're doing it for me. For you. For anyone who has a vagina. Don't do me any favors. I love common courtesy. Whether it's done by a man or a woman doesn't matter. The fact that there are polite people willing to show me some courtesy in a world full of assholes makes me smile. If these women want to present themselves as victims of oppression, then more power to them and their martyrdom. But I wish they would keep it to themselves. They're going to ruin it for the rest of us.

January 11, 2005

Limp Bizkit Choo Choo
(download of the day)

Tonight's selection comes from Richard Cheese and Lounge Against the Machine. I discovered Mr. Cheese through his amazing cover of Disturbed's Down With The Sickness featured in the movie Dawn Of The Dead. His lounge singer remakes of hard rock songs are priceless - it was hard to choose just one offering but I went with the song that cracks me up the most, just for the "Limp Bizkit choo choo" thing at the end. There's downloads-a-plenty at his site, including the aforementioned Disturbed song, which you must hear, especially if you are familiar with the original. Download - Richard Cheese and Lounge Against the Machine/Nookie-Break Stuff -mp3 Off topic: For those who were expecting me to weigh in on the Randy Johnson thing, I have only thing to say: I didn't want him here in the first place. And this shit just doesn't fly in New York. If he keeps up this attitude, the fans will turn on him in a heartbeat and it will be Ed freakin' Whitson all over again. That ain't a good thing, folks.

you people know too much about me

Guilty Pleasures: The Meme via Rox. CD I have in my car that I roll up the windows to listen to My Chemical Romance - Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge Book I read flat so no one could see the title Vaginal Incontinence for Dummies Kidding. Never be embarassed of anything you read. At least you're reading. Crappiest song ever sung at karaoke I've never done karaoke, unless you count the Christmas Day karoake at my parent's house, in which case I would have to say (although the song itself isn't crappy, my rendition most certainly was) - the Tevye's dream sequence from Fiddler on the Roof. There is no video evidence of this, so don't even ask. Bad movie I watch repeatedly Armageddon. And I cry through the whole last hour every single time. Article of clothing I love though I know it's wrong This. Don't look at me like that, my mother wants one. What I order at the bar when no one is listening Shirley Temple. Extra cherries. Fast food item I adore The big breakfast at McDonald's. I like to get my fill of grease and fat nice and early in the morning. A TV show that is a good example of the downfall of civilization that I love anyway Trading Spouses. It's fascinating on a sociological level. Yea, that's the ticket. I study the show to learn about humanity. Your turn.

1/11: Dumbest Statement of the Year Contest Officially Over

"Don't cheerleaders all over America form pyramids six to eight times a year. Is that torture?" Guy Womack, Graner's attorney, said in opening arguments to the 10-member U.S. military jury at the reservist's court-martial."
Here.

as i live vicariously through your playlist

Another incredibly busy day at work made torturous by the fact that my Launchcast just stopped working. Every time I load it up, the window pops up, the station starts to load, and then I get the annoying IE error box (Launchcast does not work in Firefox). This is killing me. The only CD I have here is scratched beyond repair, I can't get any other streaming stations to connect (same annoying window pops up) and I'm just about ready to cry. I can NOT work without music. And, of course, Matilda is home with my husband. I'll just have to fantasize about having decent music, I guess. So, what are you listening to right now?

nothing comes between me and my ipod

[Still working on the album cover thing. Soon]

We had a threesome last night. Me, Justin, Matilda. These things never turn out good; someone always gets hurt and in this case, it was me.

I took Matilda into our home. I named her, gave her life and power and shared with her, through song, my deepest emotions. Oh, I knew Justin would want her. I knew he couldn't resist her shine, her sleek curves or the way she could light up a dark room. He was awed by her capacity to take in so much and from the moment he first touched her, I knew it would be a battle to keep her as my own.

Eventually, I gave in. I realized that Matilda was able to satisfy the both of us in so many ways and that sharing her presented an opportunity for Justin and I to spend more time together. Even if it meant that time was with Matilda between us, that was ok.

So Justin shot her full of his own juices - a few GB worth added onto what I had already given her. Matilda was ready to offer us a shared experience. We could learn from each other and learn appreciate what the other has to offer.

Except Matilda had other ideas. And my jealousy reared its ugly, green head.

We took Matilda to bed with us last night. Snuggled up in the near-dark, Matilda's backlight casting a faint glow on us, we decided to play a little game with her. Oh, nothing like that. Just a little Name That Tune. With a couple thousand songs on the playlist, we could spend hours scrolling through the list, trying to guess which song is playing from the first few notes. So Justin hit shuffle and we started the game.

Not only did Matilda betray me by constantly playing songs that Justin had loaded into her, but I started to feel violated as well. Matilda was supposed to be mine. I was doing the nice thing by sharing her, but I would recoil in horror at some of the selections. How dare my husband put Use Your Illusion II on my iPod?

My personal space violated, I shuffled past Don't Cry and Matilda offered me Duran Duran. Now, I know I didn't put Duran Duran on the iPod. Justin? I stared at him, feeling like I didn't know my own husband. What else would I find out about him? And then blood froze when I realized that he could just as well find out horrible things about me! Sure enough, Matilda chose to play Dashboard Confessional next. Justin eyed me suspiciously.

I knew what was going on. Matilda was trying to tear us apart so she could have Justin all to herself. She'd play five Mindless Self Indulgence songs in a row - not that I mind a little MSI, but those are Justin's songs, not mine, and Matilda knows this. She was reeling my husband in by constantly playing his selections. I'm not good at playing Name That Tune when all the tunes were some experiment in noise terror, and I think Matilda was trying to get Justin to think less of me when I went on an 0-10 streak. Then just when he was feeling exasperated with me, Matilda would play four or more of Justin's songs in a row, topped off with something of mine like Taking Back Sunday, which made my husband scornfully call me an emo girl trapped in the body of a grown woman.

I could not let this happen. Sure, the easy thing to do would be to throw Matilda out of our bed and out of our lives. Like hell. She may be a cruel bitch who uses her shuffle mode in attempt to destroy my marriage, but damn it, I love her.

I grabbed Matilda out of Justin's hands. I caressed her shiny back and fingered her delicate wheel. I whispered sweet nothings to her. I admired her backlight. And then I hit the next button. Oh, sweet, sweet Matilda. She was playing Nick Cave, a song the husband and I both love. We laid in bed and sang, sang our little hearts out, he with the left headphone and me with the right and we didn't care that the window was slightly open and our neighbors could probably hear us. After Nick Cave, Matilda gave us Faith No More doing This Guy's in Love With You, which we sang together, and then NIN's Sanctified, which I did solo. We culminated our shared music frenzy with Fear Factory's Demanufacture, using our best metal voices - I've. Got. No. More. God. Damn. Re. Spect! until one of the kids banged on the wall to let us know we were being a bit to raucous.

Maybe I should be singing "I've got no more self respect." I lost it when I decided to suck up to Matilda. Instead of doing the right thing by taking her away from my husband, deleting all his songs and hiding her in the closet under lock and key, I gave in and joined their little love fest. I'll still cringe every time Sade comes up on the playlist, but at least Matilda and I have a better relationship now. She's learned that I can live with five MSI songs in a row as long as she follows it up with some angsty melodrama. And Justin and I have learned how to share Matilda in a way that leaves everyone satisfied at the end of the night.

Except the kids, who looked somewhat embarrassed when we all met in the hallway this morning. But it's my job to embarrass them and if I get to use Fear Factory via Matilda to do that, all the better.

January 10, 2005

freaky face morpher

I found this face morpher over at MeFi. You can upload your own photos and make someone look older (or like a monkey). I uploaded a picture of DJ - he morphed into his Uncle Sal - spitting image - right before my eyes. Freaked me out big time. I mean, it is exactly his uncle. Natalie turned into my sister. My sister turned into my mother. Weird.

TEN??

So I go through all the trouble of coming up with my 500 favorite songs of all time and what happens? Someone asks for a list of ten. TEN!

Ok, so Norm is looking for the then "greatest songs of rock and pop music" which means not so much your favorite, but the best. Because, let's face it, not everyone thinks that Shellac's Prayer to God is a great song. In fact, I'm probably the only one who does.

What's pop/rock defined as?
I won't be including country music (or jazz, blues etc.), but I will count up your submissions, whatever they are. You want Tammy or Dolly, Ella or Billie or Louis? You got it. You're free to define your own boundaries. Your songs may be either singles or tracks off albums. However, here's one restriction. I'm asking for versions or renditions - not just titles. So for example, if you were going for 'Mr Tambourine Man', you would need to specify whether it's a version by Bob Dylan, by The Byrds, or whoever.

Well, that's what you have to go with. Norm doesn't have comments, so you must email him your picks. So I ask that if you go ahead and participate, leave a comment here with your choices so we can all laugh at agree with you. And so I can have a bouncing off point with which to narrow down my 500+ songs to a mere ten.

This is going to be hard.

[Obviously, I've been meaning to link this for some time, as it was posted on Dec. 21, but you have until Jan. 16 to get your picks in.

Thanks to Dr. Frank for the reminder. And I'm pleased to see that Dr. F. has Pink Floyd's See Emily Play on his list. I caught a lot of flack for having that on mine. Oh, I'll post my list when I whittle it down to a measly ten.]

[link to wrong post fixed. sorry, norm]

working for the man

So I'm overwhelmed at work, yet I have a nagging conscience that makes me feel guilty when there's nothing going on here. I was going to write about a bunch of things today: 1. People keep telling me to stay away from the movies Open Water and the Village. I had little desire to see either, but I'm always happy for a Don't-watch-this recommendation. 2. Something about the book The Watsons Go To Birmingham and how it made DJ really upset. But he did a good book report on it. And it was a fantastic book. 3. [Insert recent photography attempts here] 4. Something about using cheat codes and walkthrough on video games, and can one say they really beat a game if they used either of those features? 5. A plea for knowledge on how to get rid of all old comment spam. 6. How Of Mice and Men made Natalie really angry. 7. Dipshit. (I boiled a rant down to that one word, so no one has to suffer through it) 8. What kind of person gets their sex advice from a magazine that features recipes for casseroles that look like they jumped off the pages of Lileks's Institute? 9. What's this podcasting thing all about and should I try it? 10. Fourth anniversary of ASV this month, looking to do something special. Ten ideas, zero posts. But I get paid to work, not to write this stuff, so condense/list/run is the best I can do today. Feel free to discuss any of the above while I toil away for the man over here. [One thing I forgot -if you or anyone you know were on Bloghosts and moved your site after the implosion to a new URL, please let me know]

yea

The post that was here (about album covers) wasn't ready for prime time and wasn't supposed to be published yet. Took me long to notice it because work is just a bit overwhelming today. Anyhow, continue on with the comments/suggestions on the post below and just pretend you didn't see anything here this morning. Posting will resume later, when my work is done. Maybe. I dusted off my copy of Kingdom Hearts this weekend and I'm all obsessed again. Where the hell is Alice?

January 09, 2005

Quick Survey Time: Album Art

Ok, here's your chance to help me with a near-future blog post. Your dream come true, I know. After seeing this post over at Dustbury, I was inspired to get started on a mega=post about the lost art of album covers. Simply, I'd just like to know - for all you who actually have held an real, live album in your hands: Your favorite album art Album art you hate(d) for whatever reason Any really strange album covers you know about (and most of us have seen this link already) Enough responses, and I'll include a poll with the future post.

green/white/gold

I never bothered to do my "Lets go Jets!" post yesterday because hey, it's the Jets. It's the playoffs. Why get all giddy and excited for disappointment, right? Well, go figure. They won (despite the "ghost of Mark Gastineau" showing up). So, like Jason, I'll stay on the bandwagon another week. I will, however, bother with my "Let's Go Packers!" post today because, even though I have somewhat lost the passion and obsession I used to have for the NFL, there is nothing that would make me happier (and I mean nothing, not even a Yankees world series win) than the Packers winning the Super Bowl. Though, I would be really happy with just beating the Vikings today. Here's the obligatory repeat of my "Why I Wear a Packers Jersey in New York" post. The poignant, touching history of why I love the Green Bay Packers, soon to be made into a Lifetime movie of the week: I have always been a football fan. My father was a Jets fan since the beginning, and we grew up watching them. Joe Namath was an early hero of mine, and when my father met him and got his autograph, we lived in this heady state of euphoria for days. We loved football. We loved the Jets. Eventually the Jets ripped my heart out and moved to New Jersey. I was pissed. I was hurt. I felt as if a long time lover had abandoned me for a sexier, prettier girl. I, in turn, abandoned the Jets. No longer was I one of their biggest fans. I couldn't look them in they eye. I couldn't stand the pain. I lost interest in football for the most part, and didn't come back to it until I joined a football pool at the local deli a few years later. I came back to the game full force, back to spending my Sundays in front of the tv, cursing and muttering and cheering. I had no team, though. I was like a man without a country. I had no banner to wave, no colors to wear, no allegiance to pledge. This went on for a few years, with me just rooting for the point spread and some extra cash. Enter Xavier. I met Xavier several years ago, when I was in the waning stages of my marraige and about to end it. Xavier became a great friend, my one man group therapy and confidant. He was spiritual without being religious, generous to a fault and dying of cancer. He was in the last stages of a hard fought battle, and he gave up on hospitals and chemo and doctors in general. He just wanted to fade away peacefully. We spent a lot of time together that fall, examining life and talking football. Xavier was a Packers fan through and through. He was from Green Bay. His blood was green and gold. His mood was determined by the accuracy of Bret Favre's arm on any given Sunday. Towards the end of November that year, Xavier told me he wouldn't make it to Christmas. He was ready to let go of whatever rope he was clinging to. He had enough. He wrote me a letter shortly after Thanksgiving, after he lost the use of his voice, and asked me to honor a few favors he had of me. He asked me to take care of myself, to be good to myself. He asked me not to settle for just anyone just because I didn't want to be alone. He asked me to always remember him. And he asked me to pledge to him that I would always and forever remain a Packers fan, so I could root for them in his place. I readily agreed to all. I told him I would try to keep most of the promises, and the last one was certainly the easiest. Xavier died the first week in December. The Packers made it to the Super Bowl and lost to Denver. Of course, I have never forgotten him. I have been mostly good to myself and no, I didn't settle. And I am still, and always will be, a Packers fan. So here's to the Packers, Xavier and keeping promises to friends. ---- Let's go Packers!

January 08, 2005

Starbucks Sex




On Stacy's reccomendation, I am at this moment drinking a Chantico.

Holy mother of god, this is good. When they say it's like drinking a truffle, they mean it. It's a liquid orgasm. Seriousy. That good. Unlike a real orgasm, I think I can handle only one of these every few weeks. Multiples Chantico-gasms would just make me keel over and die.

And I never, ever want to know how many calories is in this thing, so don't tell me. Let me just enjoy my momentary bliss.


just saying

Anyone who leaves a well-run, customer friendly hosting company because a DOS attack made their site go down for a bit on a Friday night is, in my eyes, an idiot. You're never going to find a hosting company that is totally DOS Attack proof. And you'll never find a company that is more receptive to the needs and attention of bloggers than Hosting Matters. And when that person leaving the hosting company says they are going to find a "blue state" company to host with, well, there's some other issues there that go way beyond the understanding of servers. As I do often, I'd just like to thank Annette, Stacy and all the other HM people for all their hard work in keeping their hosted sites running smoothly. [this has not been a paid announcement. it's gratitude]

Now get in the pit and try to love someone
(Song of the Day)

Kid Rock - Bawitdaba - mp3 Kid Rock - good enough to entertain the troops, but not good enough to be seen in public with. Here. And here. Eh, if the Concerned Women for America and AFA are against it, I'm for it. ----- Update; Speaking of downloads, there's a new song annotation here.

no comment

click for bigger [*]

January 07, 2005

i coulda been a contender

$80,000 a year and hero status for playing video games. I should have honed those skills instead of hiding them. Starting with Pong and working my way up. Update: If they gave out cash prizes for excellence in this game, I'd finally be independently wealthy.

the future's so bright

In the early 80's, I worked at one of the first video rental stores. My boss was very into keeping up with the cutting edge of the industry, so he often sent me to seminars like "The Future of Home Entertainment!" At one of these seminars (held in a dusty motel at LaGuardia airport), a rep from Phillips introduced us to the newest, greatest, change-your-life invention - the compact disc player. Everyone oohed and aaahed and marveled at the brilliant technology that would let you listen to crisp, clean music on such a small, easy to store disc. And the discs were shiny. Us cutting edge technology people like shiny things.

While I thought the whole premise was amazing and mouth watering, I was skeptical that it would ever see the light of day. You see, I had been wronged by technology before. I had been lied to, led on and teased for so many years by "wave of the future" predictions that I no longer believe anything put before me by electronics reps, scientists or prognosticators. Fool me once, etc.

When I was much younger, I had visions of cities in the sky, monorails, jet pack travel, houses that cleaned themselves and yes, flying cars. I read all these scientific magazines that promised these things. I read books that were nothing but glorious predictions of what our space-age future held. I watched tv shows that made it seem as if life in the 80's, 90's and - if the earth held out that long - 2001, would be a life of convenience, fun and flying cars. I sort of got stuck on the flying cars thing and I still hold a grudge against the automotive industry for failing me in that respect.

Yesterday, I came across this page, which reprints an (allegedly) true piece from a magazine in 1961 (yes, I understand this page has been around forever, but I guess it was slow in making its way to me). Whether or not the article is really from 1961 is not up for discussion here; the fact remains that these are the things I was promised. This is the world I was told I would have. These are the lies the scientists fed us just so we would fund their damn studies.

What sort of life will you be living 39 years from now? Scientists have looked into the future and they can tell you.

Just how did they "look into the future" anyhow? At one time, I thought that phrase meant scientists all had these special telescopes that allowed them to see ahead in time. But if that were the case, then they would know that in 2001, there would still be no flying cars.

You will be whisked around in monorail vehicles at 200 miles an hour and you will think nothing of taking a fortnight's holiday in outer space.

Well, I've been whisked around in a New York City cab at 200 mph, does that count? As for taking a holiday in outer space, I've got three letters for you: L.S.D.

Your house will probably have air walls, and a floating roof, adjustable to the angle of the sun.

If by air walls they mean uninsulated, drafty windows then, yes. I do have airwalls!

Doors will open automatically, and clothing will be put away by remote control. The heating and cooling systems will be built into the furniture and rugs.

Ok, I'll give them the automatic doors, but the clothing thing - that's just stupid. Would all your shirts and pants and even undies have to have little remote control chips in them in order for that to work? I can't even stand size tags, I'm not about to spend all day being bothered by a chip in my shirt just because I'm too lazy to put some clothes away. Besides, who needs technology for such a thing when you can just live out of laundry baskets?

You'll have wall-to-wall global TV, an indoor swimming pool, TV-telephones and room-to-room TV. Press a button and you can change the décor of a room.

I will? Gee, they make it sound not only exciting, but affordable. These things will not just be available, you will have them. Even if this wall to wall tv is finally here (four years too late for your prediction, hah!), it's not likely any of us are going to have one soon. As for the decor thing - I think some of those scientists may have been standing too close some chemicals, if you know what I mean.

The status symbol of the year 2000 will be the home computer help, which will help mother tend the children, cook the meals and issue reminders of appointments.

My computer has never once tended to my children or cooked a meal for me. Do Macs do this? Is that where I have gone wrong? Did Bill Gates screw me again?

Food won't be very different from 1961, but there will be a few new dishes - instant bread, sugar made from sawdust, foodless foods (minus nutritional properties), juice powders and synthetic tea and cocoa. Energy will come in tablet form.

Sawdust, aspertame, what's the difference? Close enough. Foodless foods? I think that's called Burger King.

At work, Dad will operate on a 24 hour week. The office will be air-conditioned with stimulating scents and extra oxygen - to give a physical and psychological lift.

If Dad is operating on a 24 hour week, I see food stamps in your future. Notice they don't say how many hours mom will be working. While dad is at the office inhaling sweet fragrances and getting high off of too much oxygen, mom is home sniffing the baby's diaper and getting a nice physical lift from hauling the vacuum cleaner around the house all day. Oh, she'll get her psychological lift. As soon as dad comes home from his three hour workday, mom will be in the basement huffing model airplane glue. Have you ever dealt with having a husband home most of the day?

It will be the age of press-button transportation. Rocket belts will increase a man's stride to 30 feet, and bus-type helicopters will travel along crowded air skyways. There will be moving plastic-covered pavements, individual hoppicopters, and 200 m.p.h. monorail trains operating in all large cities.

Well, there are no rocket belts increasing man's stride to 30 feet, but there are pills that will increase a man's rocket to ten inches. And really, which one would you prefer?

The family car will be soundless, vibrationless and self-propelled thermostatically. The engine will be smaller than a typewriter. Cars will travel overland on an 18 inch air cushion.

See, this is where they always got me. 18 inches, 18 miles, whatever. A flying car is a flying car and these fearless predictions of autos that hovered above the ground have amounted to a thirty year foreplay session with no orgasm in sight.

Railways will have one central dispatcher, who will control a whole nation's traffic. .

One guy. A nation of trains. No wonder we never got the flying cars. The scientists were too busy planning how to kill 5,000 people a day and destroy our infrastructure in 2001.

By the year 2020, five per cent of the world's population will have emigrated into space. Many will have visited the moon and beyond.

Ok, they've still got time for this one. And I volunteer. As long as they can promise there will be no reality tv on our moon station and I won't have to put up with these guys.

Our children will learn from TV, recorders and teaching machines.

Yes, and then we'll be told that thanks to letting our kids learn from tv, they now all have short attention spans, which means....

They will get pills to make them learn faster.

Technology gives, and technology taketh away.

We shall be healthier, too. There will be no common colds, cancer, tooth decay or mental illness.

We have a better chance of flying. In cars.

And this isn't science fiction. It's science fact - futuristic ideas, conceived by imaginative young men, whose crazy-sounding schemes have got the nod from the scientists.

Crazy? Yes. Fact? Hardly. Have you seen a running theme here? Do I sound bitter over the one simple thing that I have been promised endlessly, generation after generation of imaginitave young men making promises they just can't keep? WHERE IS MY FLYING CAR, DAMN IT?

It's the way they think the world will live in the next century - if there's any world left!

What? Suprise ending! Hahahaha, we're teasing you with all the wonderful things that await you in FutureWorld. What we haven't told you is that those crazy scientists are also working on something (besides the one guy controlling the trains thing) that will effectively destroy the universe, mwahahahaha! Suckers!

carj.JPGImagine you're the curious lad of 1961 who is reading this thing, salivating over the possibilities, getting all tingly over the idea of perfect women who stay home all day and push buttons to keep the house clean, the food warm and the kids in line while you sit in an office breathing pure oxygen until it's time to take your hovercar home, and you get to the end of the list of things that await you in adulthood and bam, they hit you with if there's any world left! You piss your pants in fear and start hoarding canned goods and powdered milk under your bed and wondering just how the world is going to end and if you'll ever realize your dream of making out with MaryKate Smith in the back seat of your flying car while parked at an outer space drive-in or will the world just abruptly end before you can reach that goal?

If I could go back in time, I would find that young boy and tell him that yes, the world will still be here in 2000. But will life be worth living then? Sure, there will be color tv and cordless phones and push-up bras, but there will be no flying cars. I'll spare the kid a lifetime of holding out hope for something he'll never attain. Not just the flying car, but MaryKate Smith.

And this is why they will never pick me for the eventual time travel experiment. Because not only would I dash that boy's dreams, but I'd tell all the women to revolt against the scientists who think that the only things a wife wants out of technology is a way make her house cleaner and her kids docile.

Update: Reader Sam reminds me that not only have I previously posted about flying cars, but someone is really working on one.

January 06, 2005

flippin' sweet



Which Napoleon Dynamite character are you?
brought to you by Quizilla
The ASV household is ND obsessed these days.

song of the day

Today's pick comes from Incubus (and I am going to try to do one of these a day/night - just remember that the download link expires the next day). I would just like to make it known that Incubus's career did not start with the Make Yourself CD, contrary to what radio stations, music tv and kids these days will have you believe. In addition to the innovative EP, Fungus Amongus, Incubus put out their best album - one of my favorite albums ever - in 1997. That album is called S.C.I.E.N.C.E. and below is the opening song, Redefine. I don't want to say the band sold out, because I hesitate to use that expression. So I'll just say that Brandon Boyd fell in love, cut his dreadlocks off, finally put a shirt on and was never the same again. Our loss. I do have a history with this song, but I'll save that for here. [download expired] Lyrics below. Imagine your brain as a canister filled with ink yeah, now think of your body as the pen where the ink resides Fuse the two; KAPOW! What are you now? You're the human magic marker, won't you please surprise my eyes? It's in your nature, you can paint whatever picture you like no matter what Ted Koppel says on channel 4 tonight So modify this third rock from the sun by painting myriads of pictures with the colors of one I'm sick of painting in black and white my pen is dry, now I'm uptight So sick of limiting myself to fit your definition Picture the scene, where whatever you thought, would, in the blink of an eye, manifest and become illustrated You'd be sure man that every line drawn reflected a life that you loved not an existence that you hated So, must we demonstrate that we can't get it straight? We've painted a picture, now we're drowning in paint Lets figure out what the fuck it's about before the picture we painted chews us up and spits us out I'm sick of painting in black and white my pen is dry, now I'm uptight So sick of limiting myself to fit your definition Redefine

the price is wrong, bitch!

I'm home with a stomach flu thing today, which gives me the chance to lay on the couch and flip channels without feeling guilty about it. Except, there's not much on during the weekday hours, is there? After running through seventeen talk shows (one with Tony Danza, when the hell did he get his career back?), I settled on The Price is Right. Now, I haven't see TPIR in about ten years, so I was expecting some upgrades in the set, maybe a few flashes of update technology or the like. No, it was like stepping into a time warp, right back to the last time I watched the show. And Bob still looks like he dipped his head in baby powder, there are still those morons in the audience who spend the entire time yelling out "bid one dollar!" as if underbidding your opponent was something they just came up with on their own and they still pick bitch contestant who will bid $801 after the guy next to her just bid $800. That's just poor form, man. Cutthroat Price is Right? I call shenanigans. I think they should have updated the rule to state that when someone fucks up your bid like that, you have the right to bitchslap them. Well, at least Bob was happy. The chick who bid $801 was a jiggly young thing with "Bob Rocks!" plastered across her chest, giving him free reign to stare at her tits and not her face. The more things change.... You know what I miss? Afternoon game shows. Coming home from school and going straight to the tv to watch Match Game was one of life's great pleasures. Even if I didn't understand the innuendos until much later in life.

wouldn't you like to be an asshole, too?

Yesterday on a website I frequent, someone asked the following question: Anyone ever get into a verbal or physical altercation with another customer while shopping or standing in line? To which I replied: This seems like an odd question to me, as it happens to me more often than not. Either Long Island has more than it's share of idiots, or I'm an asshole. Immediately a couple of instances - all blogged - came to mind. And then I started going through my archives and saw just how many times this has happened to me. Now I'm wondering if I really am an asshole or if all these stories are just a combination of my lack of patience with idiots, my being-anywhere-outside-my-home anxiety and my intense dislike for most of humanity. Which, when combined, pretty much make me an asshole. But it's not my fault I'm that way. Really. I'm sure there was a time when I was pleasant and smiling and courteous to strangers. I'm sure if I dig back a few years (more like twenty) in my mental archives, I can remember when I had more patience, when I didn't let the abject rudeness and surliness of complete strangers bother me. It all takes a toll, eventually. The places I've worked in up until now afforded me a hefty daily dose of dealing with the public. I reached my saturation level and decided at some point that I would no longer stand there and let random strangers walk all over me. I would fight back. I would no longer hold in my frustration or silently mumble insults or curses when I should be saying them out loud. I don't know exactly when this happened, but I'm pretty sure it was right around the time I realized that standing up for yourself does not make you a bad person, despite what other, dominant people would have you think. But is it all really necessary? Could I just have ignored the rude woman in Target? The rude men in the restaurant? The food hoarder at Price Club? The waitress who hit on my husband? Would I have been better off just walking away from all those situations without saying a word or doing anything that could later be construed as evil? No. I don't think so. To do so would be enabling the idiots of the world. If you let some loud, annoying woman get away with terrible behavior, you're giving her the signal that it's ok to do that. And who wants to be an enabler to that kind of person? Not me. If some day the world is overrun by the bitchy and the rude, you won't have me to blame? Why? Because I know how to be an asshole when the situation calls for it. Sometimes you just have to embrace your inner obnoxiousness in order to combat someone else's. How else will we balance the good and evil in the world? What have I learned here? That yes, I can be a real asshole. But I'm doing it for your benefit, buddy. So either join me or thank me.

January 05, 2005

2005: The Year That Sucked Immediately

He's dead, Jim. My transmission, that is. Well, I guess this would be a good time to start playing lotto. Or learning how to walk long distances. Ok, people. Pick six numbers from 1-52. Help me win 80 million dollars. That's a hell of a lot of transmissions. [By choosing six numbers for me, you agree to accept 5% of the total winnings after taxes should your numbers come in (and I remember to play), and you hereby agree not to sue me for anything more than that, or tell lies to the media about me]

melly rhymes with smelly

Yes, there's another blog awards thing going on. This one has no drama, no politics as far as I can see and two of my favorite women are up for awards. Melly, (best overall blog) who was provided with this fine graphic: vote4melly2.jpg And Sheila (best literary blog), who runs the best blog out there. So go vote for Melly and don't go to helly and vote for Sheila because umm....she'll let you feel her? No. What rhymes with Sheila? VOTE

TEN! Ten of 500!

Finally, a new entry at 500 songs. That's ten in almost a month! At this rate, I'm going to finish annotating the 500 some time in 2010. Today's selection has it all: mushroom people, politics, bad words, Christopher Columbus, a guy who looks like a serial killer, Lincoln and, of course, an mp3 for you to download.

The Big Crush

Did you ever have a crush on someone so off the beaten path that people just shake their heads at you in dismay when you mention it? Yea, that's why I hardly ever mention my celebrity crushes out loud. And it's ok to crush on someone when you're married (and it's ok to use the word crush even if you're over 40) - because it's just a harmless thing. It's not like I'm going to start sending fan mail sealed with a cherry lip gloss kiss. The last time I did that, it was for Leif Garret and the bastard never wrote back to me. I just did a GIS for Leif Garret and came up with this, which is the exact poster that once adorned my bedroom wall: lg1.jpg Dreamy, eh? Even by today's teenage standards, I think he would pash the crush test. But not exactly off the beaten path. I mean, everyone liked Leif. I even know straight guys who swooned over that half grin and those wavy locks. No one was afraid to admit they had a thing for him. But there were dark secrets I kept. Crushes that went unannounced. Pictures and mementos hidden in an old cigar box under my bed. Sworn secrecy to myself that I would never, ever let anyone know about these guys who, for one reason or another, made me have daydreams about dating them, hanging out with them, maybe even marrying them some day. And why did this make me feel embarassed or even ashamed? Because I had a crush on a comic book boy. A boy who had what appeared to be tic-tac-toe boards on his face. A boy who was so undecisive about his love life that he strung along two girls, playing them both for fools. A bumbling, dimwitted, foolish boy who for some reason made me feel all tingly inside. I think I just figured that if the two hottest chicks in Riverdale both wanted him, there must be something really special about Archie. Or maybe I just wanted him so they couldn't have him. When you think about it, crushing on a goofy cartoon kid was ten times less embarassing than having wet dreams about this guy. Yea, maybe I liked their music a little too much, but at least I didn't join their fan club or send them my panties in the mail like some of my friends. Apparently that goofy, bumbling, cartoon boy obsession is timeless, because this guy is right up there on my list of Cartoon Guys I'd Date if I Were A Cartoon Girl. He reminds me of Archie in a lot of ways, except Fry is a bit dumber, a bit sweeter. Hey, it's better than my stupid, unrequited crush on a piece of shape shifting meat. Who also happens to be dumb. Anyhow, my intention today was not to embarass myself totally, but admit to my latest weird crush. Even though he works for the most satanic company in the world, I'm still thinking about sending him a love letter sealed with a cherry lip gloss kiss. While the rest of you are getting your jollies thinking about Jude Law, I'm having fantasies that involve the phrase "Can you hear me now, bitch?" Maybe I should just go back to ogling Archie. Don't leave me alone out here, people. Confess. You've got a weird crush, don't you? I know at least five guys who dream about Kim Possible, so don't try to hide it. Oh, geez. Don't ever do a GIS for Kim Possible with the safe filter off.

January 04, 2005

song of the day

Because sometimes, some old school Max is just what the doctor ordered. Sepultura - Roots, Bloody Roots - MP3

Bogged Down in the Hall

Congrats, Ryne Sandberg. Well, deserved. Uhh..yea, congrats Boggs. To the six idiots who voted for Daryll Strawberry - go directly to jail. Do not pass Go. Hand in your baseball credentials when you get there. Same for the people who voted for Abbot. Best Wade Boggs story, ever.

your random piece of advice for the day

Pushing a lit elevator button will not make the elevator arrive at your floor any quicker. Seriously. Quit it.

Spirit

RIP, Will Eisner. .
NEW YORK Cartoonist/graphic novelist Will Eisner died last night in Florida following quadruple heart bypass surgery. He was 87. His newspaper connection included creating "The Spirit" insert for Sunday papers from 1940 to 1952. Jules Feiffer worked under Eisner on that comic feature from 1946 and 1951. Eisner received the 1995 Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award and the 1998 Reuben Award as cartoonist of the year from the National Cartoonists Society.
Eisner was a pioneer, as far as sequential art/graphic novels go. I thank him for paving the way for Sandman, Preacher, Transmetropolitan, Watchmen and all my favorites. He put the storytelling into comics. He made comics respected as art. He was a genius in his field and truly a pioneer who left an impressive legacy in his industry. [via Johnny Bacardi] Update: As noted in the comments, Frank Kelly Freas passed away yesterday. Update again: Read Neil Gaiman's post on Eisner.

Commodore Lives!

The once-famous Commodore computer brand could be resurrected after being bought by a US-based digital music distributor. New owner Yeahronimo Media Ventures has not ruled out the possibility of a new breed of Commodore computers. It also plans to develop a "worldwide entertainment concept" with the brand, although details are not yet known.
The Commodore 64 sold more than any other single computer system, even to this day. My continuing love affair with the C64 is notorious by now. There is one sitting in my bedroom right now, complete with dozens of games, waiting to be peeked and poked. I was just so geekily excited about this, I thought I'd share. And maybe bring this theme back:

Paging Bob Geldof

It was only a matter of time before the self-anointed pop stars, legends and entertainment kings and queens came out of the woodwork to show an outpouring of love, sympathy and a willingness to chip in to the tsunami-ravaged lands. I don't mean to sound cynical (wait, yes I do), but the stars and their benefits are just a bit tiresome, not to mention unnecessary. My first thought upon hearing that there would be telethons, albums and concerts all in the name of tsunami relief was where were these people last year when 40,000* lay dead in Bam, Iran? Plenty of Iranian entertainers came through, but I don't recall the head honcho of NBC planning a telethon to help out. Why the difference in humanitarian aid? I don't know. When you think about it, the amount of people and organizations rushing to donate money and goods to the hard hit regions seems overwhelmingly good, altruistic and heart warming on first glance, but perhaps on further reflection you might say to yourself - imagine if Amazon just randomly put up a front page link one day during the year for people to donate to AIDS awareness or starving kids in America? How much money could they raise for other causes? And hey, where is the telethon/album for the people who have lost their homes and businesses in hurricanes and wildfires? It's so easy to be cynical. Mega stars stumping for a cause just gives my cynicism that bitter twinge. I get a bad taste in my mouth every time a group of celebrities (or psuedo celebrities) get together to try to get you, their fans, to donate to a cause. I think, instead of spending time getting all these people together, renting a studio, writing a song, recording the song, putting the album in stores, waiting for the constant airplay to kick in and, in essence, begging their public to send money to whatever they are singing about - why don't they all just reach into their pockets and donate a cool million each? Sondra did it. Leonardo did it. It seems a hell of lot more sensible, logistically and monetarily, to just cut a check and get the money where it's going. But, no. Rather than donate out of their own bank accounts, they'd rather reach out to you - you who buys their albums and t-shirts, you who probably has $24 in your bank account at the moment and no gas in your car - to put the dollars in the coffer because, hey, they are donating their time, man. They are donating their talents. And that should be enough. Right? Any moment now Bruce Springsteen will hold a press conference, with Bono on one side and Sting on the other. They'll announce a huge show at some vast stadium, maybe two stadiums - one in the U.S. and one in the U.K. Bob Geldof will come out of obscurity to smile for the cameras and remind people that he was at the forefront of the pop-star-as-philanthropist movement. Tickets will be $50 and up. There will be t-shirts, water and food for sale at the show, as well as frisbees and beach balls imprinted with the TsunamiAid logo, which will be copyrighted and trademarked and perhaps drawn by a famous artists. The shows will be simulcast on Pay-per-View. The second the concert is over and the now broke fans have gone home, the DVD and CD will be for sale. Millions and millions of dollars will be raised. By the fans of these stars. Yet the stars will get the credit for raising the money. We don't need overripe pop stars to get us to donate. How much has Amazon raised already? How much in private donations have been given? How many people have already volunteered to go over and help with the recovery efforts? We did this all without the benefit of some guy with a hit record telling us to. Instead of putting together a big show with overhead costs, instead of dragging has been stars out of the B-movie retirement home to answer phones on a telethon, instead of cajoling, pleading and guilting their fans into coughing up more (in the guise of pop culture paraphernalia) than they already gave - why don't they all just reach into their pockets and say, here, here's a million to the cause. I don't even care if they stage a press conference where they are holding up a huge, fake check and presenting it to that scarred super model who got stuck in the tree. Give the media your best smile. Boast about how much you gave. Feel smug. As long as you're not putting on this act like you raised shitloads of money when all you did beg the people who afford you your million dollar homes to give it up for the TsunamiAid©) fund. I give it less than 24 hours before either Springsteen or Sting, flanked by the members of a reunited-minus-one Queen, announces a huge concert. And less than 24 hours after that before the website and subsequent store go up. You may commence with flaming my blatant cynicism Update: AHA! LiveAid 2, coming soon to a stadium near you! *edited

January 03, 2005

I caught you a delicious bass

By now you've probably either seen Napoleon Dynamite or realized that you have no interest in seeing it. It's one of those movies - you either love it or it leaves you staring blankly at the screen. Me, I loved it. In fact, it quickly moved up the ranks into my list of all time favorite movies. I just love the way it could have devolved into a cliched, feel-good-movie-of-the-year at so many points yet never did. DJ obviously loved it as well. Not only is he walking around doing all kinds of Napoleon talk, but today in creative writing, the assignment was to write about a pet that you either had or want. He wrote three paragraphs on the Liger. I love that kid. He's flippin' sweet. So, quick survey. Did you see the movie? Are you in the love it or huh? category? Are you any good with a bowstaff?

ASV in 2005: What Lies Ahead, What Lies Behind

Today is when the new year really begins. Saturday and Sunday were like pre-season games. Today, I'm back to work after a ten day vacation. It's a Monday. The real test of how 2005 is going to go will be on this day. Already I've spilled hot chocolate on my shirt and realized something is dreadfully wrong with my car. And the first song my LaunchCast station played was by a band I've grown to despise. So unless something spectacular happens in the next ten hours or so, today is not a great harbinger of things to come. I'm all about the omens. So, following in Val's footsteps, I'd like to give you a bit of a preview of 2005 at A Small Victory. Here's what you will not find: Political rants. Anger fueled diatribes against the left. Anything to do with Dan Rather, the plight of mainstream news outlets, or bloggers taking over the world. I wrote over 1,000 posts in 2004. In reality, I wrote about 100. It was all wash, rinse, repeat. In how many ways and words/Can you say nothing/Millions of ways and words/To say nothing/What'd I say? I'm empty. This month marks the fourth anniversary of this blog. I'm very happy to be back blogging in the way I started out. All filler, no killer. Sure, I get a lot less readers, a lot less links and a lot less comments this way, but I seem to be smiling a lot more and that's a good payoff. So, what will you see here in 2005? More of what you've been seeing post-election. Lots of posts about music, movies, books, games, comic books, sports. Not so much about my kids, as they are older and more likely to find this site through Google and kill me in my sleep when they see what I've written about them. More of the stuff you all seem to like - quizzes and contests, polls and other interactive type things. More fiction, though I don't know if anyone reads it (and that doesn't matter as it's one of the things I do for my own good). More photoblogging. More of the slice of life entries that, I think, are the hallmark of this site. Before there was war, before there was 9/11, before there was a presidential election, there was me, writing about life. So, what would you like to see here in 2005? While I claim most of the time that I "do this for me," I'd be crazy not to listen to the people who read here on a daily basis, who leave comments and send me nice emails and whose readership enable me to charge a small fee for the ads you see on the right. Speaking of which, I just made an agreement with a company to host their ad for a full year, which obligates me to post for another twelve months, which gives me all the more reason to ask you the same thing I ask my kids and husband every day: what the hell do you want from me?? But in a nice kind of way. What can I do to make this fun for both of us in 2005 and to get you stick around another for another year? I'll take most suggestions seriously. Most.

Carnival of Stories

*page has been updated to fix a few things and another story. There are 13 stories in all.

January 02, 2005

Can You hear the violins playing your song?*

Phil Anselmo emotes. (If that video doesn't work, try here) It's like watching a desperate teenager's LiveJournal entry come to life. Don't know if he's drunk or on crack or just overdosing on guilt, but this is one of the most pathetic, unintenionally funny, self-centered displays of emotion I have ever seen. He starts off by saying "This isn't about me," yet the whole damn thing, as always, is about Phil. He blames the breakup of Pantera on the "heavy metal media," but never once says anything about his self-destructive tendencies that really caused the parting of ways. The guy is obviously overcome with guilt and sorrow, but I wonder if he's sorry for the right things. He'll be dead before 2005 is over. He's living on borrowed time, anyhow. *

the high cost of living

One of my real goals for 2005 is the same goal I set for myself every year (and I say this without a trace of irony): stop procrastinating. Yet, I never seem to....well, you can figure that one out. One of the effects of my 2004 bout with procrastination is that I am out of the Dead Pool. I made my roster, but forgot to send it to Laurence, thus I am shunned by the Dead Pool community. However, I did share the prize for referrers and got a nice Amazon gift certificate out of the deal, which is a hell of a lot more than I got the year I went zero-for-my-picks in the pool. Great for the people on my roster sucks for me. Anyhow, I guess I'll play the at-home version of the dead pool this year. My roster, which means nothing now, is below. If all these people croak in 2005, I'm going to be pissed off. Jack Klugman Scott Weiland (singer/junkie - Stone Temple Pilots/Velvet Revolver) Anna Nicole Smith (self destruction queen) Phil Anselmo (former lead singer of Pantera/self destruction king) Elizabeth Taylor Sharon Osbourne (Ozzy deserves to outlive her) Muhammad Ali Red Auerbach (former coach of Boston Celtics) John Madden (token big,fat white guy pick) Bettie Page (ex pin-up model) Marion Barry (former crack addict/patronizer of hookers/mayor of DC) Fidel Castro (wishful thinking pick) Whitney Houston (crack addict/abused wife) Paul Harvey Gerald Ford (token ex-president pick)

Time and Again

Thanks to the generosity of Charles, I've been reading Jack Finney's Time and Again.

From the book description at Amazon:

"Sleep. And when you awake everything you know of the twentieth century will be gone from your mind. Tonight is January 21, 1882. There are no such things as automobiles, no planes, computers, television. 'Nuclear' appears in no dictionary. You have never heard the name Richard Nixon."

I'm only a few chapters into the book. This is a new experience for me, to read something at a deliberatley slow pace. Normally I tear through books, speed reading my way through chapters so that it takes me only a day or so to finish a novel.

There's something so profound about this book, that I put it down after each chapter - sometimes after single paragraphs - to contemplate the concepts the author has put forth.

These are things that won't be profound to everyone that reads them. But a particular theme running through the story so far has resonated with me for a reason - it's something I think about often, but trying to describe it to other people, to talk about it or explain it usually brings shrugs or strange looks in response.

I'll excerpt the book first before trying to explain myself.

He said, "There are other essentially unchanged buildings in New York, some of them equally fine and a lot older, yet the Dakota is unique, you know why? I shook my head. "Suppose you were to stand at a window of one of the upper apartments you just saw, and look down into the park; say at dawn when very often no cars are to be seen. All around you is a building unchanged from the day it was built, including the room you stand in and very possibly even the glass pane you look through. And this is what's unique in New York: Everything you see outside the window is also unchanged."

[...]

"Picture one of those upper apartments standing empty for two months in the summer of 1894. As it did. Picture our arranging - as we are - to sublet that very apartment for those identical months during the coming summer. And now understand me. If Albert Einstein is right once again - as he is - then hard as it may be to comprehend, the summer of 1894 still exists.

Time and space. Have you ever visited an historical site? Have you ever stood where Paul Revere once stood or touched a wall that Edgar Allen Poe once touched? Have you ever looked at the trees in your backyard and wondered who was here before you, when those trees were just saplings?

It's a feeling that's hard to describe, to feel the coming together of time and space, of histories, of past and present. I think if I sat in my yard long enough, facing the grouping of trees on the north side and maybe looking up, right into the branches and leaves so I can see nothing else, I could be back there, when this was all forest and woods. And if I sat just as long in the vast fields of the elementary school, at a time of day when there were no cars zooming by on the parkway that edges the school, maybe at that time of morning where it's neither dark nor light, I could see the old potato farms stretch out before me. January 2 of long ago.

My parents' house used to be an airplane hanger. Who's to say it's not still an airplane hanger, with each moment in time living on top of the other, each unaware that they ever stopped or started existing. Maybe time piles on top of itself and never really disappears.

If you try hard enough, if you are open to the ideas and tuned into the past, you can feel it when your feet touch upon a stone walk that existed in the 1800's. You can feel the existence of the thousands of other feet that walked there before you. If you put your mind in the 1800's, you can sense the people like ghosts. Except they aren't ghosts. They are the past, living in tangent with the future and the present.

As I said, it's not something that's easy to explain and it's certain to make some people think I've lost touch with reality. The idea that different planes of time can co-exist is something talked about in science fiction novels, but taken seriously by very few. I don't know anything about quantum physics. I can understand very little of the mechanics of theories put forth on this subject. For me, it's not a matter of equations and calculations. It's just feeling. It's the knowing that something existed long before you did and lived and breathed on the very spot you are standing on now. Who is to say it is that January 2, 1894, 1900 or 1776 does not still linger there? Perhaps reaching those dates from 2005 is a scientific impossibility, but that doesn't mean they aren't here, unfolding right on top of us, unseen.

I've written about this before:

See, I believe that every thing, living or inanimate, has an energy to it. A store, a car, a person. And when that person or object moves from one place to another, they leave some of that energy behind. So as I stood there I looked around me and saw not racks of DVDs and action figures, but tables and chairs and the people I used to work with. I could almost hear my name being called from the kitchen. It's as if little ghosts of all the people who passed through the restaurant were still in that place, eating and drinking and cooking....It's not a theory, it's not a scientific fact. It's my own way of connecting time and space. It's what I feel connects us with the past, because the past never leaves us. It's here, we just have to look for it.

Furthering that theory, it's not even about the people or objects leaving the energy behind. The past and its energy is soaked up in everything it touches. So those stone walkways, the brick on your house, the tree in your yard, the dirt under your feet that goes on for miles, the walls of a school, the sign on an ancient building, the Egyptian artifacts in a museum, dinosaur bones; they are all what binds us to the past, they make it possible (for me) to believe that if parts of the past remain, then past as a whole must remain also, surviving off the energy its remnants hold.

I'm sure I lost most of you a few paragraphs up and I'm sure more than a few of you are wondering if I've had too much holiday egg nog. As I said, it's a hard thought, a difficult concept to explain without sounding loopy.

But who can prove it's not a real concept? Maybe a man can walk out of 1970 and into 1882, maybe not in a physical way where he can alter things or interact, but as an invisible presence, observing, just as the past is an invisible presence to us right now. Perhaps all it takes is an open mind and willingness to see that the past is still very much in the present.

January 01, 2005

psa for 2005

January is National Reaching Your Potential Month. You have 31 days to get your act together and live up to all the standards your parents, grandparents, teachers and bosses have set for you. Of course, you can always downplay your own potential and just convince people that you were meant to do nothing more than sit in front of the tv, one hand down your pants, the other hand clutching a beer, wearing pajamas that haven't seen the laundry bin in at least a week. Potential realized. You can relax for the rest of the month. Or you can prepare yourself for February, which is Return Shopping Carts to Supermarkets Month, and March, which is National Play the Recorder Month. One of my goals for 2005 is to provide you with more informative blogging. So there you go. I'm off to a good start of realizing my potential for this endeavor.