Friday, March 31, 2006

Aneurysms and Death by Shooting

My air mattress has an aneurysm. Yes, I've been sleeping on an air mattress since I left. I don't want to hear it. I topped it off with air while I washed the sheets and when making it up again I noticed a rather unusual lump about where my knee would hit on the right side of the bed. Thinking that I simply make beds lousily (which is true) I went to smooth out the area, finding aforementioned aneurysm. I am now afraid to go to sleep for the fear that the aneurysm will do as aneurysms do, and blow. Taking me with it, of course. Either I will be taken out by flying plastic or suffocate slowly from the excess. Really, I just dread being bed-less. It would happen just as I'm about to have my first visitor. It is clearly my fate.

Actually, last week I took a 'How Will You Die' quiz. I am most likely to die of natural causes, but second most likely to die by shooting. Last week I couldn't fathom how I would die by shooting. Yesterday, I told one of our perverts that he probably shouldn't look at those websites as he was offending the weak of heart. I'm beginning to understand how gunshots might be in my future. Unless by 'shooting' they meant being photographed or vaccinated to death...

Mom will be here in approximately 10 hours!

PS - Tell me how you are going to die (I so know that you all will take that quiz - it's only fair that you tell me! Think of it as a fee for the 3 minutes of amusement I provided with the link ;).

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Elephants and Drills

It was probably not cool of me to write a depressing post and then not return for a full week, but oh well. I'm back writing and you're back reading, and we all seem to have survived, so that's good. It's been an uneventful week.

Someone finally moved into the apartment above me last night, which, as expected, gives me the peculiar sense of living in a cupboard; one of many tin cans stacked on top of one another. My particular can has dancing elephants above it. The game is to figure out if there is more than one person living up there and whether it a guy or a girl.

Mom arrives for a visit -she looks at her watch- tomorrow. I'm very excited. I'm not sure what all we are going to do, but I'm just happy to see her. I've gotten tickets to Civic Theater for Friday night, we are seeing "Private Lives." Which, hopefully, for my need to censor everything my mother watches in my presence, will be PG-13. Maybe she'll help me hang some paintings. I should go buy a drill... It just seems like a bad idea for me to own any power tools...

I've got lots of books to report, so look for those soon!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Bad Ties & Due Dates

It hit me today that it is entirely likely that I won't get home for the holidays. Certainly not both of them, at any rate. And that sucks... it really sucks. I love the holidays. Not the commercial crap, or the music and definitely not the shopping. I love my family, and seeing everybody, the ones I see fairly regularly, but especially the ones I only see a few times a year, or less. I love just hanging out and chatting for no reason other than no one has to work and it's just what you do on those days. It's a long way away, but for some reason it struck me most unpleasantly today; I came home and sobbed and sobbed, like I haven't sobbed since I first got here. It was totally pathetic. So much for bravery, eh?

Ok. My brother just told me he learned how to tie a necktie in the bar last night. I can just picture it, Matt and his buddy in some smokey, badly lit bar, surrounded with people, standing there tying and re-tying neckties. Apparently, the internet directions he looked up earlier this week didn't work out. He says he's got it now. Just in time for his interview with the fire department of the city he currently lives in. Only my brother could turn a neighbor's call to the Fire Department into a job opportunity. He's so charming. Oh, and on an even more awesome note, Matt is now officially free of the Marines. Today was his first day out. He said it was "relieving but weird." I thought that now he's got all this free time he should get a library card and read Peeps. He said that libraries are "scary." For those of you who don't know, there are four(!) degreed librarians in this family. Four. I think that he probably doesn't care for due dates. The same problem Dan and Ryan have, and why since I left, their literature intake has greatly decreased (I checked things out for them on my due date-free employee card). Ryan complained to me last week that he didn't have any audiobooks. I told him the hours of the three libraries closest to him.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Back to Enderverse

Let's start with the cover. At no point does the cover illustration actually take place. It's thought about, but never happens. I hate it when the graphic artist only reads the first half of the book.

But that's about the only thing I have to complain about this book. I forget, between books, how much I love Orson Scott Card. I really do. He can somehow make political intrigue fascinating and fast-paced, love utterly believable, and still manage not to be predictable. You understand the motives behind each of the many characters, and while able to view them with approval or the opposite, you still fully empathize with their situation - or at least, I did. I don't quite know how he does it. I never quite trust that he won't kill off those characters I care about, and that suspicion leaves open so many possibilities. Oh - wait. I do have another complaint - I never really understood the passage of time in this tome. An issue, I feel vindicated in, as he admited as much in his afterword. This has also restored my faith after Magic Street which I actually didn't finish!

Also, we are SO not done with this. The parallels may have ended, but the story is WIDE open.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

The Lake of Chicken Juice

Mom kindly sent me a Foodsaver that I received this past weekend. The intent is that I will make healthy meals all at once and then be able to just pull one out of the freezer at will, for a quick, wholesome meal. The following account is my experience with such bulk cooking, thus far.

This evening I came home from work and opened the refrigerator door to find a literal lake of chicken juice. The chicken that I was thawing had leaked through it's plastic bag and wasted formerly wonderful things like: Orange Juice - ruined because it was in a paper carton and the bottom seams of the carton looked suspiciously soaked, and Carrots, intended for my Irish Friday dinner - now swimming in a veritable salmonella pool. Thank God Mom sent me with Lysol.

There are few foods, in fact, at this moment, I can think of no food, that is more disgusting than raw chicken. It is slimy. It is at times gelatinous, and it is always germ-ridden. I can deal with the fat, and after grimacing, I can deal with the blood vessels. It's the tendons that do me in. I know that I don't want to eat these rubber bands of gristle, so I'm required to wrestle with the silvery white fibrous tissue that knows its rightful place is not in my garbage.

The idea of chicken now makes me gag and I don't know how I'll even eat what is now seasoned, cooked and frozen in my freezer. What flavors? Ginger Sesame, Italian Parmesan, and Lemon-Herb.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Ghostly Beans and Ghastly Water. Or maybe it's the other way around.

This post is for James. Jamie. Wode. Whatever. I hope it's random and disjointed enough for you.

When did we decide that flavorless, useless bits of parsley thrown atop our food made it more attractive? They're flecks of green, people! Where else in your life do flecks of green translate into attractive? Your teeth?

On Friday I managed to burn myself twice. Hours apart. Doing different things. In the same place. The first time was at work with the haunted hot water tap. It's supposed to, with the turn of a knob, spew out water heated to 190 degrees. I dropped my mug while filling it. Ouch. Later, while toasting the bread for bruschetta (yum) there was an incident with the baking sheet. It only hurts until the pain goes away, and the blister doesn't interfere with anything...

I'm guessing that you picked up on the 'haunted water tap" bit. I was sitting on break, minding my own business, reading Confessions of a Teenage Sleuth: A Parody, when all of a sudden, across the room the tap starts to spurt, sputter and spit, gradually gushing water without reason until it's a steady stream of steaming fluid flowing on its own. There was no visible presence there to twist and hold the knob as normally required. Clearly there was some sort of invisible specter. Or some engineering quirk. Either way, it's all mysterious to me. (By the way - I totally dig alliteration!)

About a week ago, I made a black bean soup. It was horrible. I'm sure someone would have liked it, but that someone wasn't me. I used all the right ingredients, but it just didn't taste good. So, I was stuck with a vat of disgusting chunky liquid. I don't have a garbage disposal, so I was at a loss for what to do with the mess. I couldn't throw it down the sink as it was too lumpy, nor could I throw it in the trash because it's soup and therefore, mostly liquid. While talking to Angela, all the way in London, she came up with the amazing idea to flush it down the toilet. You do see where this is going, don't you? Well, yes. Although I tried not to overwhelm the toilet... Good thing I had a plunger. My bathroom smells of garlic and spice. It's not unpleasant, though inappropriate for the space.

On an unrelated note, the new Volkswagen commercials with the German engineering focus totally creep me out. More than the haunted water tap.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

I'm not fair - so sue me.

Here's something you need to know about the way I select books. There isn't a whole lot of logic to it. If it got good buzz in any of the number of buzz-creating places I frequent, I might read it. If it has a good cover, I might read it. If I come across a good review or summary, I might read it - but know that I very rarely read such things in their entirety - mostly the first couple sentences and the last couple. I find that this way, I won't accidentally discover too much, while still getting the gist. Or, as with today's title, it has a curious title, I'll feel compelled to read it. Thus, The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp.

Like a crazy magnet of coincidence, this is indeed another take on the Arthur legend. Since I have that habit of not reading full summaries this was a complete surprise to me. I saw cars and helicopters on the striking black, grey and red cover and thought, "Hey! An Alex Rider rip-off! Cool!" Because, I like the Alex Rider books, and do intend to finish them someday, and who doesn't want to find more boy books? I almost feel that I didn't give this book a fair chance, I was all ready in the first few pages to love it. It was great; very fresh, very humorous. It kind went downhill from there. The disbelief that I exhibited, had there been anyone to witness it, upon my realization of the tome's Arthurian connections, would, I'm sure, have been comical. I have well expounded my unease toward the genre in this space, so I don't feel I need to go there again. The originality of the first few pages quickly turned into a boring exhibition of annoying characters and a stupid series of events that naturally places the whole world in danger of well, needing to be saved from and by Alfred. Hey - I did say that I didn't give the book a fair chance! It should go well with fans of Alex Rider, nightingale or Silverfin, and possibly Darren Shan. Boys 12+

Can I say that I'm really excited that Ranger's Apprentice Book 2: The Burning Bridge is coming out on June 15! I so know what my belated birthday present to myself will be!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Signs of the slow meltdown into crazy

I developed a disturbing habit tonight. I began to talk to the tv. Only to the good shows, like NCIS and House, and it's not like they talk back. Either way, I found myself saying things like "House you. Are. SO. Mean!" and "Ha! Way to go Sean from Felicity slash Alias, he so deserved that knee to the balls!" While this might have been behavior exhibited previously (watch how I cleverly turn this into a "woe is me" pity party), it was always with others in the room where it could be adroitly hidden under the guise that I was talking to the real people. Now... not so much.

I registered for a ceramics class in the local arts school (or so they call themselves). I expect to be very proud of some truly horrible vases. If you are very lucky, perhaps you will receive one for your birthday, or Christmas. You will, of course, be obligated to profess your love for it no matter what the glaze - even purple polka dots, boys.

There is inexplicably the smell of licorice in my kitchen. I hate licorice. And anise. And fennel, and caraway, and anything else that reminds me of licorice. It is a disgusting flavor and a disturbing smell and I abhor it. I will not buy it and I will not tolerate it in my presence (if I can help it). But Somehow, Someway, it has ferreted its evil way into my Kitchen and I cannot figure out how, but it is war.

And, no. This post has nothing to do with goats. In case you didn't notice.

Monday, March 06, 2006

By Request

It has been requested that I cover the Oscars, which I did with typical diligence watch last night. I'm not quite sure what is expected of me to say, but I was assured that whatever it would be is sure to be amusing. Of that, I'm not so sure. However, dear Sarah, for you, and only you. I am accustomed to watching the Oscars in large groups. I have thrown a party, or at least a gathering, every year for this event since well, I don't remember. There is voting, food and complaining and impatient boys, who nevertheless gamely participate. Mostly, I suspect, because I promise my girlfriends will attend. There is much I can induce those boys into with the promise of females and food. Which comes first in their minds, I do not know. I do try not to abuse this manipulative power; I'd feel guilty, but they know exactly what I'm up to.

Alas, this year I have broken my tradition. Not willingly, but I wasn't about to invite random strangers off the street into my apartment, and with the exception of my co-workers, (who at least are not random) strangers are all I know. Besides, shouldn't Jon Stewart be enough? I have learned that the Oscars are really quite boring when watching alone. There's nothing to do but suffer through them in silence when there is a lack of another personality in the room with whom to cringe at Ben Stiller with, ponder Tom Hanks involvement, and gasp at the jeans-wearing rappers taking away the statue. Idly observing to myself that Kiera Knightley's dress was the most becoming; that Naomi Watts' looked as though she'd had an unfortunate encounter with a blender in the limo; that Paul Giamatti will eventually win, someday, just isn't stimulating enough. I found myself playing solitaire on my computer, much to Darling Dan's astoundment when he called complaining that Ben was guessing the winners better than he. I suspect that he was watching specifically to continue my tradition and to be able to call me and comfort my loneliness. That is why he is Darling. Of course, if I'm wrong, feel free to fess up in the comments, Dan.

Stewart was far less entertaining than usual. The comical highlight may well have been the Lily Tomlin/Meryl Streep bit announcing Robert Altman's special award. They were in need of a slight edit for length purposes, but on whole seemed more comfortable than anyone else to cross that stage that night. Why is it that people who get paid millions of dollars to memorize lines and to go in front of people have such a hard time reading from the telepromter? You'd think they'd take ten minutes and just memorize four lines and sound like humans. I especially wonder what was wrong with Lauren Bacall, she was kinda sad. I don't think she could see her lines or something. It just made her seem old. The segments Stewart did that were pre-arranged, such as the talent attack add which was something along the lines of "Charlize Theron covers up with ugly, while Kiera Knightley dares to be beautiful - vote Kiera." George Clooney had the best speech, followed by Reese Witherspoon, but I may just not remember anyone else's due to boredom or solitaire. I hope that the Academy gives Stewart another chance, I'm sure that he would be even better next time. What did I do after the show? Watched Pride & Prejudice for the third time this weekend. Ah, my riveting and exciting life. Blame Sarah.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Red Letter

Today, I got paid. My first paycheck, to be exact. 15 days after starting. What did I do with my suddenly flush wallet? Went shopping, of course! I bought exciting things, like: Bathrugs. Kitchen Canisters. A Toaster (I am so glad to have my favorite small appliance again). A paper towel holder (a cool one). A Driver's License. A Shoe Rack (because, while I didn't know what Mom was talking about when she complained about my shoes, now that they are cluttering my life, something had to be done). Shoe Polish (because it was next to the shoe rack and when I looked down, darned if I didn't need it). "Did I buy anything just for fun?" you ask. Are you saying that stuff isn't fun? I'm very excited about having a toaster, thank you. I did wander into Best Buy, where I purchased both Pride & Prejudice and Serenity. Now I've spent too much money and can buy nothing but bread, milk and the ilk. But hey, life is just a little bit more comfortable, not to mention organized.

I attempted to hang pictures tonight. I shouldn't say attempted, as I did manage to hang two standard items. The attempted part comes in when I got to the stuff that needed to be anchored. I confess, I had NO idea what I needed to do. So, hello internet, eHow, here I come. First, I noticed that Mom was on iChat. Like any kid, I thought, hey! I'll ask Mom. So I typed my query to my all-knowing mom, then walk away to check the spaghetti bake in the oven. Two minutes later mom still hasn't replied so I say something pithy, like, "Or you could ignore me and I'll look it up like originally planed..." Thirty seconds later she logs off! My MOM ignored me!!! This does nothing for my self-esteem. lol. I'm sure she didn't see me or something. Either that or she's a whole lot meaner than I ever thought... Anyway, I find instructions and think "that doesn't look so hard, I can do that." Yeah, no. I've ruined my anchor. It's now sort of bent over and sad looking. Like the Eiffel Tower that Meg Ryan buys in French Kiss that sags at the push of a button (comically, of course, with it's implication to Kevin Klein, hee hee). I think that the serious picture hanging will have to wait until I have assistance. Or get bored enough to have another go.

Tomorrow I am going to the Democratic Caucuses. Apparently, this means I will talk with my neighbors about politics. Or, more likely listen, in my case. It should be quite the experience. I expect to be amused. Not that it takes much.

Speaking of voting related items, I'm beginning to think that someone is stuffing the ballot box for OSC. Either that, or no one is remotely interested in the other options...

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Ode to a Dying Show

I have faithfully (well, mostly) watched ER for 12 years. 12. That puts me as a freshman in HIGH SCHOOL. It is a rare loyalty. I am therefore, feeling guilty that I can't muster up a modicum of excitement for tonight's show. Despite that my favorite character (ok - Green did always give him a run for his money in my heart, but then he went and died, so whatever) is coming back, I can only seem to feel rather tepid toward it. Let's start with the premise. Africa. I realize that it's this bed of medical hell and that awareness should be raised, but this is a TV Drama that relies on the relationships between the hospital employees (ok, mostly the Drs, as only like, 3 nurses were ever deemed worthy of storylines, all of whom slept with at least one doc, and one of which they felt the necessity of actually making into a dr - meanwhile poor Haleh has now been there longer than anyone - and did they ever even mention anything about her obvious stomach stapling which, still, after however many years makes me double-take when I see the shadow that she is of herself - never has more than a recurring walk-on. Ok, back to Africa.) AND THEY DID AFRICA, like 3 seasons ago, or maybe 4, or could it have been 2? Anyway, despite my lukewarm feelings for tonight's episode, they better not kill John off! I don't care if he never guest stars again, they just better not kill him off. 'Cause I know if they do, they'll just ruin some really great song like they did with Mark Green when they played Israel Kamakawiwo'ole (yes, I had to look up the spelling). Though, really, I just want Noah Wyle to do another TNT Librarian, Quest for the Spear! 'cause that totally rocked. heh. But I mean it, it did. Total camp. It was great (yeah, probably biased).

I've verbally lamented in the past about how ER tends to take perfectly interesting and likeable characters and literally KILL their storylines and likeability while trying to make them more interesting or give them 'depth' or something. The first example of this peculiar permutation came very early on when Benton's mother JUST WOULDN'T DIE. A more recent example would be Abby's mother/brother storyline which was more stale and boring after the first ep. than "a bag of chips left open in a rainstorm" (thank you, TWoP). The current, and most INFURIATING example is what they are doing with Sam. Not only did they exchange the actor that played her kid with a way inferior kid, they transformed her from a cool, together, independent chick, to this whiny, annoying thing that just makes me flinch. But there is John Leguizamo (btw, did anyone know that he was born in Bogota? I didn't). 'Course, he's just a guest, and his storyline's going to hell, too. Oh, and Gallant, who was the one guy who might have taken John's place in my heart, and who had actually interesting story potential, yeah, totally gone. Came back to marry Neela, then poof. grr.

Or I could just be bitter that I have to watch it all alone now, and not with my boys. And Emi. *sigh* Ah, well, at least I have Grey's Anatomy. And House.