Wednesday, February 28, 2007

What is real?

I had a conversation with someone last night, in which a particular line uttered by them struck me as ao very odd that I thought I'd repeat it here and see what y'all think of it.

It went thusly:

"Those people that you know online; they're not real."

For a moment I gawped like a landed trout, not able to respond to what I thought was utter ridiculousness. Not real? NOT REAL?

Being me, my first line of mental comeback was "well, if they're NOT real, then who is doing all the typing and commenting and e-mailing, huh? Ghosts? Figments of my imagination? Can ghosts and figments use a computer? Huh, HUH?"

My second thought was to rejoin with a well-placed bit of stunned silence. Which I did, because the first response would maybe have been perceived as being a tad snotty.

The third move in my arsenal of weak replies was to mentally list out all the "not real" people I've met through this "online thing," and ponder asking the person who started this line of conversation to deny that people like Renn and Kenju and JC and Purl are NOT real. I've EATEN with them, I've heard them talk, I've seen them breathe, I work with some and work out with others - does this not make them real? How can one deny the existence of such clearly sentient beings, just because I met some of them online????

(However, I did not list and query along these lines out loud, because, again, I was assiduously avoiding any overt air of defensiveness or hauteur (read: snottiness).)

Corollary to the line of thought two paragraphs up- if I know people first in real life, and then get to know them further through their blogs and websites, does that mean that they, at some point, become UNREAL? Is there some portal through which they travel, so that when they're online, they're apparitions of reality, shades of truth, or, perhaps, are they MORE real online than they can be in real life?

My head started to spin like an exorcism victim, it really did. I think I might have been working on a pea-soup barf blast just for effect, to illustrate how upset this conversation was making me. Except, I didn't have pea soup for dinner, and, well, sorry, but beef stroganoff vomit just isn't the same, so I nixxed that idea (though the spray pattern, complete with flecks of rice, might have been impressive).

I therefore did the only reasonable thing a person who lives in a complete fantasy world would do in a situation like this: I vowed to make this topic my very next blog post, so that I can query all y'all UNREAL folk out there to see what you think.

Here's the BIG question: Do you consider me, and other online folk, not real?

I think you know my position on this just from this post, but I wonder if I'm mistaken in my embracing of the online world as a viable social and creative outlet. Was my partner in conversation correct, and am I all wet on this thing?

I'd be interested to know your thoughts. Please leave 'em in the comments.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Chemistry, brother

So, I previewed a new-to-me CD on the commute this morning; "The Chemical Brothers - Push the Button."

And, you know what? I like it!

I'm having a hard time describing it to myself, and, consequently, to other people. I was on the phone with a friend this morning, and tried to explain the "sound," and I can admit that I probably failed miserably. Syntho-dance-mix, maybe? The guys in the group are DJs, apparently (I did not know this before just now looking it up), and mix n' match lotsa flavours of stuff and artists to make and keep a good beat.

Deffo a party CD. Lots of fun to listen to, and almost NO lyrics to try to pretend I know. Believe me, this is a bonus, as I am consistently misunderstanding lyrics AND am usually too lazy to haul out the liner notes to find out what the REAL words are.

HOWEVER - this fun dancy music still doesn't topple "OK Go" from the #1-in-my-heart spot. It does, however, get "Oh No" out of the CD player to cool down from a few minutes.

Next up on the YourMusic queue is "Squeeze - Singles Under 45." I canNOT wait! We'rre going for a trip in the wayback machine! Wheeee!!!


In other, tangentially related, news - I continue my quest to become the world's best air-drummer. Poor Tinkerbell's steering wheel and gear shifter are getting quite the pounding these days, and, surprisingly, that left foot that I kick up onto the dashboard while driving is actually keeping a steady beat.

One problem with the whole "playing the drums while driving" thing is that at least one hand must be on the wheel at all times, and one foot must be working one pedal or another. This seriously hampers my ability to hit the imaginary hi hat with my right hand and work those clappy cymbal things that the right foot would otherwise be engaged in manipulating.

Also, I'm all backwards in my pretend drum kit setup, I'm sure, but if Paul McCartney can play the guitar upside down for 40 years and nobody bothered to correct HIM, then who's to say that I can't move around a standard set of gear to suit my particular wanna-be percussionistic stylings?

Nobody, that's who.


It's a gorgeous day in NC. Just thought you all should know.

Sunny, highs in the 60's. There are trees in bloom. Daffodils are starting to flower. I heard peeper froggies last night.

Dare I believe that winter is done and gone? Cause, dudes, that winter was like the LONGEST 2 weeks of my whole life.



Hmm, this whole post is rather choppy, and I've got nary a question of the day to ask y'all.

Oh wait, yes I do!

If I was going to go on vacation, where should I go? Here are the difficulty has to be in the United States, and it has to be someplace I can take the Things, who are 11 and almost 10. Please leave your suggestions in the comments, and thank you for your help.

Have a great day!

Monday, February 26, 2007

In Search of the Wild Caulk Gun, Part the Second

Y'all. My template is still screwed up, but I have decided that I simply

There are more important things for me to fret about than the fact that my list of recent posts all look like numbers signs, and yet, when you hover the mousey pointer over them, the proper title appears in the little URL linky-ma-jig at the bottom of the browser window. The way I'm figgerin' it right now, this could be the wave of the future - incomprehensible page elements! Rock on with your obstreperous self!

I consider this adaptability to be a strength. I have decided I simply do no care, and thus it comes to pass that I do not. I'll get around to fixing it at some point; perhaps after I get a new something to obsess over and let this little issue simmer on the back burner for a while.

Speaking of simmering, I caulked yesterday.

(That was TOO a segue. YOU try to knit those two topics together and see if you can do better.)

Anyhow - there are some projects that have been in a state of perpetual medias res at Casa Tiff, and as of yesterday afternoon I was fed right the heck up with all the medias and decided to make at least one of them finis, and so chose to caulk the new French door that shuts the kitchen off from the family room.

It was either that, or put away the Christmas presents that are still on the dining room table. Caulking was, by FAR, the lesser of those two evils.

I like doing this kind of thing - the caulking, Or painting, I like painting too. I actually ENJOY taping off and edging, the smell of the paint and the sound the roller makes on the wall. I also like doing tile work. And laying wood flooring (but NOT finishing or refinishing, oh goodness no). And weeding, yeah, I like weeding. But only when Wapner's not on.


So, anyhow, this being a retrofit project, there was LOTS of caulking to be done - many nail holes to fill and smooth over (and QUICK! Before the caulk skins!), many trim gaps to fill, many nicks and dings to correct. I was in OCD heaven, what with the running of the bead of caulk along a seam and the wetting of the finger and the smoothing of the line and the wiping up of the extra and the sponge wringing and the hand washing, and ohdidImentionIwasalsocookingdinneratthesametime? Oh yes, I was being PRODUCTIVE and FIXING something and MULTI-TASKING, which felt very good indeed.

Once I was done, an hour and a half later (did I mention maybe a smidge of OCD about the smoothing and wiping thing?), the door looked pretty good, if I do say so myself. I'm sure no contractor would hire me, because of the time involved, but I was proud of my work.


Second coat tonight, if shrinkage has occurred. I simply cannot wait.

Because you know what happens after the caulking?

That's right - I get to paint. Hooray! I've already got my eye on some sponge brushes to get the moldings between the panes done, as well as some nice 2" bristle brushes for the frame. All I need now is a quart of gloss white and a dropcloth, and I'm good to go.


I'm also not kidding about the weeding. I love to weed gardens. The satifsying rip of weed root from the ground, the smell of dirt, the pile of garden garbage that collects and gets tossed into the compost pile, the neat dark earth being revealed, the pleasure of working outside, all of it makes me happy.

I wonder if I can make a living at just doing that?

Possible business name:"Weed B' Gone" by Tiff.

I'll come and weed yer garden for ya, cheap! I'll take trade - fresh veg or flowers will do, though a nice glass of bourbon and cheese sammich wouldn't be turned down. Why with all the new housing developments around here, I could make a killing and get totally shitfaced in no time at all, if my clients all adhere to my payment requests!

Y'all - I think I'm totally onto something. I'm all a-tingle with excitement over this possible new career course and eating plan. Fresh air, fresh veg, cheese, and liquor - what a diet.

If I play my cards right, I'll be out of the house so much that those Christmas presents might NEVER get put away. Sweet.

You know though - I'm not sure I like my new business name - ya got any OTHER suggestions for me? Leave 'em in the comments if you do. Much obliged.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

The hunt for the wild caulk gun

For right now, this is a test. Tomorrow, this will be an actual post.

God, I hope this works.

(UPDATE (2 minutes later, after republishing): it didn't. I'm messing with my template and have farked things up but royally. I really really really want to have EACH of my posts searchable, because it seems as though my template doesn't allow people to PING right onto a post they're looking for, but instead get directed to a MONTH'S worth of posts, which can be cumbersome to scroll through.

So, I diddled around with the HTMP, screwed up my sidebars, didn't save the original template (through I do have one a cupla iterations away from the original), and STILL don't have the cool feature I want that I think I used to have but isn't there anymore.


Someone please hold me. Then save me from myself and tell me what I'm doing W.R.O.N.G.

Thanks much,

Your ignorant yet irrationally chipper buddy Tiff)

Friday, February 23, 2007

Cold feet, warm heart

That's what my mama used to say... "if you've got cold feet, then you've got a warm heart."

It still makes no sense to me.

Other things my Mom used to say to me that, looking back on it, I'm sure she made up just to keep me happy/quiet/confused:

"Beauty is as beauty does."

"A clean plate is a happy plate."

"Freckles are made by angel's kisses."

"You look so NICE with your hair pulled off your face."

That first one? Makes no sense. The pretty girls were the meanest damn things in school.

The second one I blame for my anthropomorphization of all the dishes in my kitchen. Happy plates, indeed. A ridiculous notion. Everyone KNOWS that plates are capable of only feeling satifaction or disgruntlement. It's the CUPS that do "happy." Sheesh!

The thing about freckles? Yeah, um, RIIIIIGHT. You tell that to a kid who's being called "Freckle-Faced Strawberry" by her peers at Glenwood Elementary school and see how much of that line of bull she's going to follow. (For all y'all too young to remember, "Freckle Faced Strawberry" was a Kool-Aid FLAVOR, and was used with great relish and to much cackling by the cruel children that tortured my on the playground as a child.) Angels kisses my eye, lady - those spots were the Devils work and my constant torment!

The last one, about the hair - a big fat LIE, for I am the posesseor of a five-head, a wide plain of cranial covering that, perhaps, in former times would have been called "noble," but in these hypercritical ages is what is called "a 'look' liability." Add to this fact that I have one wicked mutha cowlick that cantilevers a giant chunk of fivehead hair off to one side, and I can't even do BANGS correctly. Sigh. Ponytail most assuredly does not equal A.Good.Look.

My mother, the liar.

She meant well, I'm sure, but to me, the child whose middle name OUGHT to be "Literal," all the aphorisms did was to confuse me and make me question what the heck that woman was TALKING about!

Oh, she also used to say "love one another, sister and brother," which would engender nothing but tongue-sticking-outing and sneering-at-one-anothering-behind-Mom's-back-ing. What's a brother FOR if not to fight with and pick at and tickle until he pukes? I learned pretty early that brothers are not for drowning, so that was out, and physical violence was kinda frowned upon at my house, so the sibling warfare was generally of the psychological variety. Still, the demand to love them was not easy to take, and generally not obeyed.

These days' now that I am the Mom, I try to watch what comes out of my mouth,



On Tuesdays.

And also Sunday mornings as I drive to the Walmart past all those full churches.

I have to be very careful, because I don't want to fill the Things' heads with visions of pissed-off dishware or smooching cherubim, do I? Where would THAT get them?

It's far more important to discuss giant spotted monkeys and which Pokemon has the coolest attack and which Superhero power we would have if we could only pick one. (For the record? I'd fly. Totally) There's hardly TIME for platitudinal life lessons amongst all THAT nattering, now is there?


Two questions:

1) What inane/confusing/justplainWRONG sayings did your folks like to use on you when you were a kid?


2) Which superhero power would YOU have if you could only have one? (ex: there's flying OR super-stretchiness OR really fast running OR man-of-steelyness OR invisibility OR telepathy, OR, OR, OR, a host of other really cool abilities. You can have 1)

Plop your answers in the comments, please.


Have a marvey weekend y'all - I'll be back Monday. Oh, and check out the last installment of the guest posting week at Spiffytown - Rick's got some fine notions for BIG FUN!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Right on the money

So, anyhow, the monkey says to the bartender "You've gotta SEE the banana to know what I mean!"



Hi! Sorry you had to come in on the end of that joke. It was pretty good, but I'm not going to tell you the beginning because you've already HEARD the punchline, and it wouldn't be all that funny anymore, now would it?

My thoughts exactly.

Let me tell you another one then.

Two college girls got bored one day, so they decided to go to the zoo and wander around. They visited the birds and elephants and giraffes and other exotic animals, and wound up in front of the gorilla enclosure.

One of the girls noticed that the silverback was watching them very carefully. She told her friend that she was going to try to tease that gorilla to get him excited. So, she started wiggling around a little, and the silverback watched. She wiggled some more, and slid her shirt off her shoulders, and the silverback watched with more interest. She shook her butt at the gorilla, and at that he leapt up, grabbed her, pulled her through the bars of the enclosure, and had his way with her.

Several days later, her friend came to see her in the hospital.
"Oh, Suzy, I was so worried about you, getting pulled in there with that big mean old gorilla. Did he hurt you?"

"Did he HURT me? Of course he did. That son of a gun hasn't called, he hasn't sent flowers, nothing!!"


Careful not to split your sides at that one. That could be messy AND painful!

Heh - I've got a talking dog joke too, if you clamor appropriately for more.


Dear AC does a guest post at Spiffytown today. Yay!!


My quest for a proper accent for my kids brought some great comments yesterday. Someone suggested I play Shelby Foote tapes for them while they sleep, as a subliminal lesson in all that is hawt southern man-isms. This is a great idea.

Renn suggested that I allow our children to hang out with her daughter for a mere HOUR, and all would be set straight in the accent department. This is a temptation, of course, because not only would it generate an accent in almost no time flat, it would allow me to view the mysterious Nooze fo realz. Almost too good an offer to turn down, and so I shan't.

Wordnerd offered phonic lessons of a sort. I think if she can spell out typical southern phrases for my boys to repeat over and over again, we would get a great head start.

However, someone (Rick) mentioned that after listening to me talk on and on about a fancy house (that's not just one house but rather photos of several that my SU is using as a promo for his services), he (Rick) thought that my (tiny) southern accent was layered onto something midwestern (or, (shudder) Wisconsonian). (end of rampant parenthetical phrases)

Um, no.

Not midwestern. Let me run down the chronology of my life so that y'all can see at what point the a-nasal-ism of the north may have eeked its way into my language.
  • Born on Long Island to parents who were raised in NYC (Queens). Lived there for 5 years.
  • Moved to the Binghampton NY area. Lived there for 7 years
  • Moved to the Northern Virginia area. Lived there for 6+ years (some college vacations thrown in).
  • Moved to the Shenandoah Valley. Lived there for 8 years, including 3 as a "townie." (Side note: if someone finds me a job there, I would SO move back.)
  • Moved to Charlottesville VA for 6 months.
  • Moved to Tampa for 18 months
  • Moved to CT. Stayed 15 years.
  • Moved to NC. So far it's been almost 2 years.
That should all wind up to be some 44 years of living, during which time I've pretty much covered the east coast. I wouldn't be surprised if there's a real gmish of accent-age in my speaking. Mostly though, I favor some blend of Valley and Triangle, my own special swoop-speak that comes out as if I'd been born with it.

Unless I'm mad - then it's Brooklyn all the way. I don't know why this is, and perhaps it's best not to ponder it too deeply.

So, a question - if you're not from ONE particular place, which place have you adopted as your accent of choice, and why?

I'm hoping, once again, that this particular MO isn't my own little affliction.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

It's about darn time

Heh - I am proud to announce that after over a YEAR in NC, Thing 2 is picking up an accent.

Yeah, sure, so it's an ENGLISH accent, but I'm not one who is prone to quibbling about such matters. I mean, who really CARES if he sounds like he's from someplace to Buckingham palace?

Um, I do.

Strike that "no quibbling" I just said, because I SO want that boy to adopt southernisms....he's just BUILT for being the charming good ol' boy.

Why last week, when he kept using the phrase "That's what I'M sayin' " to his brother, my heart just about melted. I was doing virtual fist-pumps and high fives, glorying in the changes in his lexicon. Why, next he might say he's "fixin'" to do somethin! Then he might branch out to "commencin' " to ponder on fixin to do something, like maybe go tassel some corn or mess with the truck or gig some frogs.

Ah, what sweetness that would be - to have a real live southern boy in my house.

Instead, HOWEVER, he drapes the Cloak of Snob about his sturdy shoulders and begins to channel Lord Wimplechinham from Milquetoast on Trenthenbottom, or some such other personage that liberally sprinkles their conversations with "I say!"s and "what ho good man"s.

Just this morning, he opened up the car window next to him and began addressing the non-existent crowds, greeting them with such rounded elocution as would make Professor Higgins a very happy man indeed. Apparently, he was in a parade. As the star. Who needed to shout "halloooo!"s to all and sundry, and to offer "thenk yoooo"s for their attendance at the grand affair.

Sigh ...... so far away from commencin' to ponder on fixing to gig a mess o' frogs. It's clear my work with that boy is far from done.


Why, you wonder, do I not fixate on Thing 1's adoption of a southern accent? Simple answer - he just doesn't seem the type.

Oh, I could see him with a fine gentlemen's New Orleans accent, but not the G.O.B. twang of this part of NC. He's more for seersucker and fine bourbon that trucks and beer. He's tall and thin and would look totally awesome in summer suits and linen, while Thing 2 is slated to be big and broad and tall, therefore likely to be more comfy in jeans and t-shirts.

I could be wrong about this, but I don't think so.

I'll keep y'all posted on their progress as southern gentlemen as time and events permit.


As for me, it's been suggested more than once that I should change the name of this blog, because to SOME people I do have a distinct accent.

Trouble is - it changes, depending on who I'm talking to and what I'm talking about.

Therefore, for now, until the Southern wedges itself firmly into my output, there will be no change to this blog's name.

(Go here to listen to me trying to NOT sound southern as I narrate a promo spot for husband's photo biz......and tell me if you can hear any that would peg me as moving into cracker-dom. I'd be interested in getting your input!)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

This is the way we go to work

I've spent the better part of several posts whining about all the worky-workage I got going on right now. This does NOT make for interesting blog fodder, now does it? Nobody wants to hear about how I'm up to my a-- in alligators and how I had to offload one of my projects onto a coworker or how people who shall remain nameless are questioning my motives and hours billed and how I kinda got called into the boss' office yesterday morning (FIRST THING! EEEEK!) to talk over "issues."

God in heaven, NO, this does NOT make for interesting blog fodder!

So, it's time to change the subject.



As I was commuting (a tangential work reference, but you'll need to practice forgiveness) this morning, an ominous line of cars began to form before me in a place that normally does not lend itself to line-age.

Uh-oh, I thought. Something is clearly amiss.

Stuck traffic light? Construction? Accident? Deer strike?

Accident it was, as was evidenced fairly quickly by the scream of rescue equipment sirens roaring up from behind.

This being the south, everyone on both sides of the 2-lane road pulled over onto the shoulder, allowing a veritable red carpet of asphalt to appear for the day-savers in the red and white trucks! What synchrony of cooperation it was, and a beautiful thing to behold.

Three trucks roared by, blasting and hollering and flashing, then disappearing into the distance as we resumed our regular spots on the roadway while craning our necks for a better look at what was surely going to be one of the most interesting things to happen to us all day long.

Not too far after that point (oh, say, 15 minutes of a 5 MPH crawl), the flashing lights were once again evident at the scene of an accidental collision (I assume here that it was accidental) of a van and a small red car. The entire back end of the small red car was caved in, indicating that the driver of the van was simply NOT paying attention to conditions and plowed right the heck on into the back of the small red car at a high rate of velocity.

KABOOM! Kinetic energy meet inertia! Ouch.

From all appearances, no-one was seriously hurt - no stretchers or wildly gesticulating EMTs were seen, no flares or loud walkie-talkie converstaions were being had. All in all, it looked like your run-of-the-mill accidental collision between a total moron who didn't pay attention and the person in front of them.

As I passed the ambulance, I could see that there were a few people sitting in the back, looking for all the world like they were getting ready to take part in a parade. No overt injuries, no tears, just some sedate-looking folks getting ready to be hauled off to the ER for a rather differnt morning's activities than they had planned.

For a moment, I actually wished I was one of them.

Come ON, you KNOW it would be a great story, and a terrific way to get a morning off from work. A trip in the ECNALUBMA to a hospital, where you'd get a cool wristband and all the water-in-a-paper cup you could drink while nursing your sore head/shoulder/knee/pride, waiting for the Docs to come pronounce you well/sick/injured, and then to X-ray or HOME you go. No work for YOU today! Nosirrebob, you've been in an ACCIDENT, and by golly you deserve a REST and maybe a mid-morning cocktail to soothe your frazzled nerves!

Sigh - but it was NOT me, and Tinkerbell (my car) lives to see another commute performed in its usual fashion. Yawn.

Move along, there's nothing to see here.


Over at the Spiffytown guest post-a-rama, Renn declares something very interesting indeed.


And, if I'm not mistaken, today's the first day back for the WVSR in over a week. Let's all breathe a sigh of relief.....


That's all folks - I gotta go. Come on back tomorrow, when I will no doubt continue this staggerting stretch of not-terribly-interesting blog posts about my white-bread white-collar life.

I'm CERTAIN that you simply canNOT wait.

Monday, February 19, 2007

My powers of awesomeness forbid resistance

Here are some wise words of advice from a sitemeter search that landed on this here blog:

Do not eat Tostitos"

Where was the request FROM, you might ask?

Sonora, Mexico.

I sure hope I'm not the only one who thinks this is a little funny.


A new Wordsmiths challenge is up. This time, we're going to Dreamworld. Why not check it out and pile onto the bandwagon? You have until the first Tuesday in March to toot your own horn.


Updating may be spotty this week. There is much to do at home and at work, and that "much"is threatening to border on the "too much," thereby leaving me with almost no time to post or to read bloggies.

Sometimes, my life hurts my feelings like that.

However, you must know that I'll very likely have SOMETHING here every day for you, dear readers, for you are the proper tonic for my over-bizzee life, ohyesyouare! Plus, you're cute, and smell nice.

Just don't be too disappointed if most of what you see here this week is a rambling incoherent mess of nonsense.

Oh, wait.......that would be no change from the ordinary. Right then.

Just don't be too disappointed if I suddenly start making SENSE and talking LOGIC and PLANNING and EFFICIENCY (ruthless or not, it matters little).

I am battling Corportate Tiff with all my strength, but she is a considerable foe, and may take over. If you see signs of drastic change in my output, please feel free to administer liquor and naughty limericks until I recover to my usual self.

Thank you.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

6 weird things

Yeah yeah yeah.......everybody's playing the brand new interweb party game called "let me tell you 6 weird things about me so the you can either 1) love me more than you do right now beecuz you are a freak like that or 2) recognize that I am indeed a walking mass of contradictions and pecadillos and decide to run screaming into the night without even putting your slippers on first."

I'm hoping that MY list generates more 1's than 2's.

Here goes:

1) I hate "sock bunches". I wear socks little, if at all, and when I do I turn them inside out so that the seam thing doesn't rub on my pinkie toe and make me go insane within 2 hours.

2) Along the same lines - I cannot wear turtlenecks. Despite how cute I look in them, there's no amount of "slave to fashion" that can induce me to spend more than a few minutes in one, because it feels like I'm being choked, very slowly. I don't do well with choking.

3) I firmly believe that there is a RIGHT way and a WRONG way to load a dishwasher. (take THAT, Hyperion!) I will rearrange the plates and cups and stuff so that it is loaded correctly. It's more, um, efficient to do it that way!

4) Likewise - all coffee cups from a set should be placed together in the cabinet, and all the plates from a set should be stacked together, and not interspersed with OTHER plates in some kind of hodgepodge of angularity.

(NOTE: I know that the easy answer to this is to get ALL THE SAME KIND OF TABLEWARE, but they don't make the pattern I really like anymore and I don't want to get rid of them because they are a happy yellow-and-blue pattern and so we got something complimentary that stacks differently and therefore drives me a little crazy.)

I have been known to re-stack if someone else empties the dishwasher. I do so quietly, unobtrusively, because if I tell people it's because I think the plates are more COMFORTABLE that way they might think I'm odd.

5) My sense of smell sucks.

6) I believe that stuffed animals are alive. Carnivals and fairs, therefore, make me a little sad, because of all those poor stuffies hanging out just waiting for someone to love them. (corollary - I have NEVER thrown out or given away a stuffed animal. EVER. That's a sin that's up there with throwing out books.)


There you go TracyLynn - I played along! Thanks for the tag, BTW - all this soul-baring is refreshingly creepy!

Friday, February 16, 2007

The thing that should have gone here is....


Crap crap crappity farking elbonian smega-crap.

Stupid effing all-day training, I hate thee from taking me away from the precioussss of the internets and all her/his/their siren songitude.......

What's more? All this workity work is just the very shock white tip of the deep blue iceberg that is the future of my corporate professional oh-so-delusional life.....what fo-rozen icy heart is is waiting for me to ignore the poor bosun's mate that sounds the all hail from the crow's nest and .....oh......crap....y'all know.

URP - Training, work, training, work, more work, training, me spouting off about stuff I think I know while I don my Super Tiff cape and goggles and prepare for the inevitable deluge of sheep-shite that rains down from above whenever the word "TIMELINE" is mentioned.

Holy carp - I need a vacation.



Go here. Please. It's hella funny, and I'm not. Not terduckenday.

BONUS PLUS GOOD - somebody lights their nose on fire.


Thursday, February 15, 2007

You say sir-REE-brum, I say SER-uh-brum

Either way you say it, mine about to start hurting for the next three months.

See, my supervisor has placed me in a position of accepting the project management duties for a VERY LARGE PROJECT INDEED, and it's starting up. Oh, yes, the engines have been primed, the tanks filled with fuel, the preflight checks are completed, and I've got my finger on the starter button.


Anybody else do this kind of thing? Be all confident and "sure I can do that!", but when the time comes to sheep or get off the pot you find yourself clinging to the pot like it's your most favorite-ist thing in the whole wide world?

This project is kicking me out of my comfy rut, and I'm not at all certain I like the turn of events. I told a coworker this morning that "Corporate Tiff" is going to have to make a comeback, and her first response was "Uh-oh, that sounds like a bad thing. Am I going to like her?" My reply was "I don't know."

It's been a while since Corporate Tiff's been on the scene, y'all, and to be quite frank, she scares me a little. She's all on the ball and organized and focused and serious and businessy and dresees waaaaay better than regular Tiff. Why, today, Corporate Tiff made the wardrobe decisions, and now I've got on socks and black boots and actual trousers that zip and have FLARE (instead of the lazy person pull-on too big things I normally wear) and MAKEUP. I'll know it's really serious when I start reaching for the panythose.....I don't think I've worn them in the three years or so since CorpTee made her last appearance.

Heaven help us all, because pantyhose make me hella cranky.


So, let's change the topic, shall we?

Let's change the topic to something cozy and comfy and yummy.


I do love me some mac and cheese. Yeah, I know, I'm supposed to be trying to lose weight, but jeepers, when it's cold out and everybody in the house is sick with some variant of snot-producing ick, then it's time to whip out the dairy-coated pasta dishes and dig in, preferably whilst wearing an old sweatshirt and fleece lounge pants and watching reruns of "Family Affair" or "The Andy Griffith Show."

Therefore, my recipe for the world's most excellent and easy M&C. Oh! "Easy" is not meant to imply "instant." It does imply simplicity, which isn't always fast. For instance, there is NO CHOPPING REQUIRED for this dish. How cool is THAT?

For enough M&C to feed 6 people, you'll need:

10-12 ounces elbow mac
3 TBSP butter
3 TBSP flour
2 cups shredded cheese
ALSO NOW WITH MILK!!! - 2.5 cups.......thanks wordnerd, for the co-rekshun
1 and 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
tine baby pinch nutmeg (trust me)
a stove
some water

OK - start a cupla gallons of water to a boil. Once boiling, throw in about a teaspoon of salt. Bring back to a boil, chuck in mac, stir.

Melt butter in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and stir. Congratulations, you just made a roux! (you say "roo," OK?) Cook the roux for a minute over medium heat, stirring constantly, then remove from heat and add a little of the milk to temper the mixture. Stir like crazy so the roux is smooth. Add the rest of the milk, stir, and put back on heat.

Put the cheese into the milk mix, stirring every so often to be sure it's not sticking to the bottom of the pot. (Also, give that mac another stir and see if it's done.)

Bring the cheese mix to a slow boil, and seasonings, cook for 2 minutes until thick.

Drain cooked pasta, dump into a casserole dish, pour cheese sauce on top. Nuke for a cupla minutes to get the sauce all bubbly-licious. Let cool to somewhat less than molten temps, and eat.

(I add hot dogs yum.)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A love poem for the rest of us, plus one

As requested by JC last week, during my "Make Tiff Dance"-athon, a love poem.


She had lipstick on her teeth and coffee on her breath
And big pink foam curlers in her hair
She was humming a tune she learned long ago
At the Conshawken Agricultural Fair

In the pale morning light she twirled a few steps
Like she did the first night that we met
When once she was young, firm, and carefree
My perfect pale pink loving pet

Sometimes I know that she yearns for her youth
For the strength and the nerve and the tautness
Then I tell her I'll think of her always and forever
As my girl of the ultimate hotness

Fine and fair, fine and fair
She's my darling
Always and forever she'll be
Fine and fair fine and fair
Oh my darling
Won't you dance once again with me.


So, uh, maybe not TOTALLY a love poem, but, heh, when someone (who might be JC but might also not be, even though I have the e-mail to prove it WAS her) feeds you a first line like the one I might maybe have requested of her, you have to do what you can with them.....


Here's another one, a little more sexy, for all y'all that want to copy it and send it along to your one troo luv today. I give you permission to say you wrote it.

Go on, I KNOW you know that poetry and fancy words, even if they're written by someone else, totally makes you lovers' day. They're lying if they say it doesn't.

Come to me my love,
For in dreams I I see your face
And feel the touch of gentle love
The warmth of your embrace

Come to me my love,
And spend some time aside me
To touch, breathe, kiss, love,
To light a fire inside me

Come to me my love,
And let us spend these hours
In the dalliance and total bliss
Of our love, only ours'.

Yeah - you use that on whoever you love, and I'll just bet you that you git a little sump'n sump'n fer it.

Oh, you'll notice that there are no titles for either of these poems. Feel free to use the comments to suggest something. I suck at title-ing stuff....

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Stuff and Stuff

Once again, I bring you another installment of "Backseat Musings," the semi-occasional (if there is such a thing) feature here on NAY. This morning's offering goes as follows:

Thing 2: Ow ow ow ow ow.

Me: What's up, buddy?

Thing 2: I have a cramp in my back. It hurts when I move.

Thing 1: So, pretend you're a mime!

Thing 2: What?

Thing 1: Well, just don't move, like a mime.

Thing 2: Mime's don't just stand still, they do stuff like THIS (waves arms around, trying to get out of an invisible box)

Thing 1: Well, sometimes they just stand there. Hey, you know, if you pretend you're a mime, I might throw you some spare change.

Thing 2: Keep it. The cramp disappeared.

Is it any wonder that I find being a parent generally so enjoyable?


Along a similar vein, I am proud to announce that the Things have turned into quite the Monty Python fans. We watched some random episode Sunday night, and I thought Thing 1 was going to have to be resuscitated. Thing 2 was bobbing in his seat next to me on the couch, wheezing with laughter, but Thing 1 was literally throwing himself around in the recliner, flopping and twisting with glee. I'm pretty sure that this isn't normal behavior, but since it's about all the exercise the boy gets outside of gym class, I'll allow it from time to time.

Heh - wait'll I rent "The Search for the Holy Grail." I'm betting you that for WEEKS afterward there will be recreations of many a scene and recitations of many a funny line or 12.


There was to be a post today about cooking disasters, but I'm running really short on time right now. Let me just say this:

That when, as a 12-year-old child, I decided I wanted to cook tuna casserole for dinner ALL BY MYSELF, someone shoulda told me that the noodles go in BOILING water. Putting them in the cold water and letting them heat up to boiling, sans stirring, didn't go so hot.

Other than that brief foray into total and complete culinary embarrassment, I'm kind of at a loss for disasters, because 1) I'm generally a pretty decent cook (recipe for the world's best mac and cheese is forthcoming), and 2) the only real disasters occurred after maybe I had a little too much to drink, and so don't remember the actual OUTPUT except as the morning remnants of what was left in the pot(s), which, curiously, was usually not a whole lot, being as how all the people I was cooking for were usually pretty smashed too and so ate whatever was put in front of them.

And THAT, my friends, is the way to screw up in the kitchen. Just don't set anything on fire and all will be well. I promise!

Monday, February 12, 2007

No Grapefruit Spoon Required



Last week, when I was in a fit of ennui (can one be IN a fit of ennui, or is it simply too much to bother with?), I asked you, gentle readers, to come up with ideas for me to post on. True to form, you deluged me with ideas, from rage poems to posts on science to stories of cooking disasters (which I have not yet done, but am thinking of), to the one I'm going to give you today, which is from our dear dear Tracy Lynn, who wanted this:

I want a story that includes these things; college, drinking, waitressing, boys, rivalry and someone's utter humiliation. It does not matter to me who is humiliated. And you can use them in any order.

At first I wasn't sure if this story should be from REAL LIFE or if it could be fiction. Thinking on it a little more, I decided to see if memory served up a juicy hunk of humiliation/waitressing/boys/drinking/college. I trolled through the memory banks, and snagged the very thing out of the dark morass of swirling idiocy that is the bulk of what is in my brain at most times. A disclaimer: a few things may have been changed to either 1) protect the innocent, or 2) make the story more interesting. Mostly #1.

Being as how my waitressing days were fairly limited, I'll have to stretch the "college" to "grad school," for I did not work as an undergraduate student, being as how I was spending ALL MY TIME studying and acting like a very good girl indeed. If, by good, you mean attending the bare minimum of classes, discovering Busch Beer and Everclear and Virginia Slims Menthol Light 100's, cramming before finals, and sitting in the very way back of every classroom so I could chat with cute boys more easily. Because that is certainly what I mean when I say "I was a good girl."

In grad school, however, I was out on my own. The parental financial safety net had been removed at long last, and I was traversing the high-wire of graduate school and general life all on my own. I got a teaching assistantship in the Biology Department, which was half the reason they let me in at all - they needed the TAs to cover the Bio 101 labs. One problem, though....the 500 bucks a month that the school paid me to do my TA was not cutting it as far as paying all the bills was concerned, and so I went out and got me another job. Which was against the rules. Oopsie! The Dean called me into his office about 3 months after I started my 30-hour-a-week extracurricular activities, and sternly scolded me for going outside the bounds of my agreement with the school.

Yeah, right, whatever.

I pointed out to him that every other person in the Biology Department graduate program was either MARRIED to someone with a full-time job, or was LIVING with someone with a full-time job, and so they didn't have to really WORRY about things like how to pay the electric bill or whether to eat two weeks out of the month. I told him that if the faculty noticed my grades slipping or my work suffering, they could force me to quit my side job, but to otherwise please leave me alone to my hyperactive bizzy life.

So, not being able to argue with my fancy-schmancy econ 101 argumentary skillz, they did leave me alone. In the 3+ years I taught and attended class and did my thesis work, I never heard another peep out of the school about that issue. So, HA!

ANYHOW, that is a long way to say that while I attended grad school, I worked also.

This story is about my days as a deli goddess. You read that right, a DELI GODDESS.


JMs. Mid-80's. I was desperate for money and because the Iranian guys who owned the place after the former owner killed himself didn't think I was bartender material, I interviewed with the deli manager and was hired. Hooray! Money! Free food! Excellent!

My first day there, I go down to the basement to get another tub of herb mayo, and what do I see at the meat slicer but a long tall drink of water wearing scruffy jeans, a tee shirt, and a backwards ball cap. He didn't see me, because his back was turned, and so did not realize how instantly in LUST with him I was. It hit me like a ton of bricks, it did. I so totally was in L-U-S-T.

Wow. And whew!

Imagine my surprise to find out that Mister Meat-cutter man was one of the guys I'd sat in the back of the classroom with when I was pretending to want to be an audiologist. Back in the classroom he did NOT look like he did in that basement, oh no. Somewhere along the line he'd ditched the glasses and grown a beard and got all manly and stuff. I had to have me some of that manly, ohyesidid.

Turns out, we started to get friendly, in that "holy crap all my pheremones are doing jumping jacks when you're around" kind of way. Oh, there was bantering and eyelash fluttering and arm touching and smiling, oh heavens yes. There was mention of CD listening and bong usage, oh yes there was, and so the plan was hatched that I would go to his townhouse that night (fully a week after we'd met, and fully 6 DAYS longer than I would have liked) to listen to some tunes and hang out.

No pressure. We were friends. With similar interests. Like, uh, music. And pot. Friends! No interest in a new relationship! Just friends, one of whom reallyreally was hot in lust with the other one but didn't want to make any assumptions about his level of interest and so didn't say one single words about that part of her that was wild with carnality whenever he walked into a room. Friends!!!

Nightfall. Meet the roommates. Go "oh wow" over their Grateful Dead tape collection. Hurry upstairs. Get high. Listen to music. Talk. And talk. And talk....edging ever so slowly toward one another. Return trips from the bathroom find us in closer and closer proximity, until I get all edgy and nervous and sit on the floor rather than his bed. Oh yes, I was SMOOOVE....all wanting in that man's pants and getting way nervous when he gets close...

It was a long night of back and forth like that. A LONG night. By about 4 in the morning, I was totally beat, and said I needed to get going home. That's when he said:

"Do you want to spend the rest of the night with me?"

EEEeeeeeeEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeEEEEEEE! OMGOMGOMGOMGOMG!!!! Did he just say what I thought he said???!?!!!?!! OMGOMG. He's looking at me. He wants me! Did I hear that right? Does he?

He did. A lot.

And this is the part that got a little weird. We were BOTH scared to death of our attraction to one another, and so, in short order, put a horrific limitation on this budding relationship. Well, OK, I put a horrific limitation on it, because I didn't want to have my heart broken (again!), and thus I declared that we should have a relationship built on physical interaction ONLY.

And you know what? That's really really hard to do.

Oh sure, I could walk around him at work and be polite, or walk right PAST him on campus and not even look his way, but it burned me up to do so. I wanted to be holding his hand and kissing in public and showing him off, and yet, I thought that he wanted only the physical and was happy with that and so I had to hold up my end of the bargain.

Only he didn't really want to hold up his end.

Several months went by, with us fighting this stupid deal by day and having smoking hot "relations" by night. I was growing closer to him that I wanted to. I fought it. Stupid, stupid girl. Why couldn't I just let go?

Here's why: because I knew him and therefore knew that something was going to go horribly wrong, which it finally did, in the form of an art-student/waitress at a lodge on the Skyline Drive, where he gigged as the dinner entertainment a couple of night a week. Oh, the first time he didn't show up for one of our "dates" his excuse was "well, it got late and so-and-so let me sleep on the floor of her room."

Friends, THAT should have sounded my BS alert right there.

Then, there were the repeated no-shows for planned "events." The increasing amount of "her" talk in our conversations. The new fascination with art. The slow dimunition of attention, until, like smoke, he was gone.

Then she got pregnant. Then they moved in together. Then his brother and I became friends. We went to watch Mister Meatcutter sing one night, and I saw her for the first time....bloated with pregnancy and very unhappy looking. A redhead.
Young, much younger than him. My rival for his affections that he didn't know I wanted, who had beat me at my own game.

And I got over him, pretty much, right then and there, because I was still free and single and he was going to be a daddy to a baby with this very unhappy looking young girl.

Inevitably, the baby was born. My former flame was kicked out of their home a year later. Paternity tests, that he ordered, proved the child was not his. 2 years of his life led down the utterly wrong path, ending in his humiliation.

Somehow, it didn't feel as good as I thought it was going to, to see him hurting like that. Somehow, I hated her more for her dissembling and lies and for wresting him away from me on the pretense of a baby, than I was glad to see him feel bad. How DARE she? I was enraged for him, at her. NOT the reaction I expected myself to have. Perhaps I hadn't COMPLETELY gotten over him at all.

18 years later, thank to the magic of the internets - he and I reconnected. We are now friends. Still, sometimes I can't help but wonder "what if I'd done things differently? where might we be now?"

Ah well, it's impossible to change the past. All we can do is plan for the future, and enjoy this moment.

My story, she is done. Thanks to Tracy Lynn for the prompt.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

I am proud to announce...

The Christmas tree found its way to the woods at last.

I did it this morning, dragging its significantly inconsiderable weight across the frosty grass to a spot almost hidden from view of the front porch. Certainly, you need to LOOK for it to see it.

This is almost all the home maintenance I performed today. Just thought you'd like to know.


Also, in breaking news, I think I love the backstroke a lotabit.

Went to the Y to day for some pool time, and found that sometime in the last 4 weeks I've manged, finally, to learn how to flutter kick. That, accompanied with the fact that I can now use my left shoulder to nearly full extent, is jazzing me up for the backstroke, and so today I tried to go full-on with it. And let me be the first to tell you that it was most awesome. I think I had a wake going for a little while there. I was pulling so hard that I was making involuntary "ooph" noises, like a pro tennis player does when returning a hard serve. It was fabulous. Something has clicked for me in the pool, whether it's practice or the added muscle strength I've gotten through doing the upper-body weight stations at the gym or something else entirely, it's all coming together.

To wit: With the kickboard, it takes now just 18 froggie kicks to go the length of the pool. 24 breaststroke pulls gets full length. I cleared the length of the pool in 15 complete breaststrokes today, multiple times. These are big improvements. I tired myself out pretty good.

I cannot tell you how happy this makes me. Yeah, I'm out of breath and all red and prolly not the picture of feminine beauty, but when the endorphins are flowing like cheap wine at a Brooklyn wedding reception. I love me some endorphins, ohyesido.

Now, I just need to find a new suit that I like to replace the old stretched-out faded ones.....cuz the one I got last weekend does NOTHING for me. :> I do have SOME small shred of vanity, after all!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Oh my goodness

I'm number three on the Google search results for "birthday thought bible verse."

Also, as of this moment, I believe I'm ALSO number three for "Embarq sucks."

There are no words for how pleased I am to have such disparate searches yield NAY as a hit. I wonder how close to the top ten I'd get if I did a search on "scabby itch." I'm betting I come up close to the top there too.


OK GO's "Oh No" is quite possibly the best CD ever made in the history of music. Ever. Coming home from the grocery store this afternoon, I was pleased to turn a few heads as it blasted out of my Gramma car, the loverly white Kia Optima (that's "Tinkerbell" to you) that through some trick of acoustics has ungodly powerful bass speakers.

Hey, it was a sunny bluesky afternoon in the moderate 40s (perhaps upper 40's but I'm not going to go check). The moment was just BEGGING to be filled with a joyful noise, and thus I turned up the volume, opened the windows, and treated my fellow WalMart shoppers to a little "Invincible."

Hottoddysmartyjeez, that song rocks. Also, "Let's Crash the Party" has GOT to be one of the best "aw to hell with it" songs ever made.

Just thought you'd like to know.


Chez Tiff is being ravaged by dogs.

Since we moved in a bit less than a year ago, they've knocked a kickstop off the baseboard in the bathroom, scratched the inside of the powder room door all to snot due to certain irrational fears about being locked inside when a thunderstorm approaches, derailed a bifold door on the pantry in their quest to eat all the cat food they can lay their great galumphing paws on, and "antiqued" the kitchen floor with the scrabbling claws of doom.

Farking dogs. I love them, of course, but they're turning out to be a lot more maintenance than just walk, pet, feed, walk. This business of adding to the "to do" list is just a tad annoying.

However, because it appears as though I am still decompressing from whatever it is that kicked me in the head sometime in December, none of the "to do" list has been done. Eh - we'll get to it....maybe sometime after we move the Christmas tree to the woods.

I'm not holding my breath for THAT to happen anytime soon, either.

Friday, February 09, 2007

I'm Planning a Sesquicentennial Exhortation of Clinquant Omniscients

Oh my goodness. I have just been introduced to some of the funniest stuff on the internets.

And, while it's apparent that I am very late to the game, I'm still playing, and thus would like to share with you the goodness that is Dudes - while there are more ways to waste time on the internet than there are stars in the sky, and while I see this as only a good thing, some stars of time-wastage shine much more brightly than others, and this particular star is one of those white gianty masses of hot-damn goodness.

One of the most popular things on Homestarrunner (as I understand) is the answering of reader e-mails by one of the characters (Strong Bad). If you start here, and work your way UP from the bottom, there are hours and hours of hilarity to gobble down like the greedy like humor vacuums I know you are.

Not that y'all are humorless vacuums, no no NO! I simply mean that you are probably hungry for humor, hungry, I say, and need to fill up your half-empty dust bags of laughter lives with the rich deposits of ....... aw crap, this analogy isn't working. Just go, visit, laugh, and thank me later.


Somewhere on the internets there is at least one other blog with the same post title as mine today. Or will be.


Last night, on the drive home, a mailbox disguised as a deer almost jumped out in front of me.

Good thing it didn't because that would have been really weird.


Anybody still have their Christmas tree up?

Ours came down two-tree weeks ago; a dry tinder pile of resinated twigs, covered with a thin dusting of dog hair. Poor tree, all dessicated and droopy.

I didn't worry about it catching fire or anything (because I watch Mythbusters!), but I did worry a tiny bit about "appearances" should any of our nonexistent friends want to drop by unexpectedly.

(Note: if you're ever going to come by my house, pleasepleaseplease call first. I'm not a huge fan of "open house" policies due to some consternating clutter and cleanliness issues. Not MY issues, for I am not a clutter-phile, but they're there all the same and I'm the one who runs around like a rabid bunny come visitin' time, scooping up papers and socks and dog-hair tumbleweeds.....)

Anyhoo - the tree got taken apart over the course of a cupla weeks by the hard-working-for-short-spurts Things 1 and 2, and about two weeks ago the spousal unit dragged it out the front door, I THOUGHT it have a little driveway bonfire. Bless him, he even swept up the stray 3 pounds of needles that dropped when the tree was moved ever so slightly.

And, you might ask, where is the tree now?

The correct answer would be: still in the front yard!

All we need now is an El Dorado on the lawn and we've got the perfect Redneck chateau. It's darned good thing nobody can see our house from the road.

So, like I said before, if you're going to come visit, please call first. It'll give me a chance to chuck the tree into the woods, at least.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

For Utenzi

OK, here's the post I didn't really think I would have to write.


However, my friend Utenzi, a venerable scientist and uber-geek after my own heart, suggested that I write about science, and
not the easy stuff like BIOLOGY.

He wanted HARD science,
manly science, testosterone-laden science like PHYSICS and, uh SOMETHING ELSE I DON'T REMEMBER.

He did this to me because he knows that I am a scientist, first and foremost, and because he thinks scientists are hellacoolsexy.

I made that last part up.

So, Hi, I'm Tiff, and I'm a recovering research scientist.

Yeah yeah yeah, you might know me as Tiff, the lovable blowhard and provocateur of one small dark corner of the internets, but I'm here to tell you, that deep in my nerdly soul there lies the heart of a passionate biologist, who at one time thought that by parsing out DNA and upregulated genomic material, she could cure cancer and/or other pesky diseases.

In one way, I was right about that. I did do work that laid a partial foundation for some very interesting genetic studies that are now databased and housed in a general repository of human subjects (and no, there was no Dr. Mengele-type idiocy involved). I did find out that some genes are more highly expressed in hyper-immune subjects. I did track and record many thousands of base pairs of genetic code, back in the day when it was the norm to make your own gigantic gels and nervously await the pattern of march of a thin blue line down the hot plate of destiny that was the gel apparatus. I did mess around with human blood, and radioactivity and glow-in-the dark chemicals and plasmids and scintillation cocktails and Geiger counters and ELISAs and ERISAs and PCR and IgA and IgBs and IgG and monocytes and eosinophils and HL60s and all matter of things BIOLOGICAL, but NoooOOOOoooo! Utenzi doesn't want to know about THAT, because he does the same THING, and so in a fit of uncharacteristic cruelty, he switched my geekery topic straight on to (gulp) physics.

Which, as it so happens, I also love. In aPlatonic way, for physics is the vast territory of the ultra-geeks, who are largely uncomfortable with overt displays of affection.

Physics is cool! It covers all kinds of subjetcs, like atoms! and subatomic particles! How very sexy. How utterly PONDERABLE......

But wait, let's start at the very beginning.

Let's make this personal, so you can understand why the pondering is so important and "whoa"-inducing.

How personal? How about THIS?

You are you.

You are made of up mostly water. You know that.

Some of you is protein. Fine.

Some of you is other stuff. Fine.

Stick with me here.

All this "stuff" that you're made up of is made of cells, which are made up of all kinds of molecules. Molecules, in turn, are made up of single elements or elements that have bumped into one another and found one another attractive enough to stay conjoined.

Here's a periodic tale of the elements, in case you've forgotten them:

The periodic "law" of chemistry recognizes that many properties of the chemical elements are functions of the number of protons within the element's atomic nucleus. FYI - The number you see by each molecule is the number of protons it has.

With me so far?

So, to take a simple example, hydrogen has one proton. Hydrogen is the lightest element. It has a weight and number of....say it with me.....ONE!

Hydrogen is also 2/3rd of what makes up water, which makes up most of YOU.

Oh, wow. We're MOSTLY HYDROGEN! Eeep!

Interestingly, hydrogen is also by far the most abundant element in the universe, and makes up about 90% of the universe by weight.


90% of the UNIVERSE BY WEIGHT???!?!!?!!?!???



Sooooo, what IS hydrogen, anyhow?

Let's find out, by looking at the bits that make up all molecules......and those are atoms.

chemistry and physics, an atom (Greek ἄτομος or átomos meaning "indivisible") is the smallest particle of a chemical element that retains its chemical properties. The atoms of modern parlance are composed of subatomic particles:
  • electrons, which have a negative charge, a size which is so small as to be currently unmeasurable, and which are the least heavy (i.e., massive) of the three;
  • protons, which have a positive charge, and are about 1836 times more massive than electrons; and
  • neutrons, which have no charge, and are about 1838 times more massive than electrons.


Hydrogen is a bare proton, wandering about the universe, looking for something to do. Sometimes, 2 hydrogens meet up with an oxygen, and a wee manage-a-trois is had, forming a water molecule. That's most of us.

Despite that momentous announcement, there are other wonders about the simple hydrogen....

INSIDE the proton lurk yet more bits of structure...yet more fundamental particles of universal organization.......smaller than a proton, which is smaller than an atom, which is smaller than a molecule, which is, in itself, really really really small.

Here's where it gets weird.

Along with electrons of some atoms (but not our beloved hyrdrogen) there are muons and taus. There are also are neutrinos. All together, these are called the Leptons.

Sounds like a race from another planet, doesn't it? Hello, I'm from the planet Lepton and we are here to take over your world with our dynamism!!

Oddly, there are opposites of there electrically charged subatomic particles call
ed positrons; antimuon, antitau, anti-electron-neutrino, anti-muon-neutrino and the anti-tau-neutrino.

Heck, this is getting complicated. Very very complicated.

There are particles and subparticles for protons. For neutrons. They have names and cute personalities, and EVERYSINGLEONEOFTHEM has an anti-matter component that balances out their twee little bitty self and forms the twiddling balance of the universe......

And, while I do like me some bosons, I think now's the time to stop, for I have run out of words. The wonder of it all has supplanted my meager attempts at explanation. The subatomic world, like the universe, is a strange and wonderful place, and we all should take time for time to time and ponder on it's imponderability.....

Still - "bosons" is kinda funny.


Ute - I blame YOU if I lose half my readers from this post alone. I was honest when the spinny wheel of fortune landed on this particular topic, because I was SO READY to go with Tracy Lynn's subject.


It sucks to be honest....sometimes.

But.... wow.... really......subatomic particles.......antimatter......freaky.

OCDetta, Superhero

This might be too late for official entry into the Wordsmiths February writing challenge, but I'm putting it up anyhow because sometimes I crack myself up.

The challenge was to create a superhero with powers as "useless as a sack of wet leaves." I believe that my superhero is not only useless, but maybe also a little pathetic, which is always a nice twist. As always, the word count limit is 500. I believe my story clocks in at 499.

Herein then, my tale:


My name is O.C.Detta, and I’m a superhero.

I’ve known since I was small that I was different, powerful, able to mold people to my whims and wants through the use of my rich alto voice.

My mama told me when I was 4 that people would cry when I sang at church. “She’s so precious, so clean and fresh, such a beacon for our community!” they would say. My Mama would pat me on the head, messing up my hair, and smile softly. Mama knew that my beacon came at a price.

Since then, I’ve spent the better part of my teenage years locked in my room, expanding my vocal range, practicing the most moving folk songs, embuing them with the desires for peace and kindness and humanity. The mirror tells me I am wonderful, the walls echo my desires, the windows rattle with my passions. I know I am amazing and gorgeous and heartstopping; I am as near to perfect as I can be.

I make sure that my perfection is evident in everything I do. All my clothes are the height of fashion; I am conscious of it in the hours I spend at the sewing machine, fashioning the crisp white cloth my Mama buys me into starched confections. If the dress isn’t right, I start over, because a perfect superhero needs a perfect costume. The seam ripper shreds the evidence of my failure, and sometimes my fingers bleed, but they stop once I plunge them into the bleach solution I kept in a bottle in my dresser drawer. The pain is always worth the reward of knowing I am in control over base things like blood and crooked stitches.

I sing as I sew, filling my attic hideout with my super voice of power and inspiration. When I practice a new song, I sometimes hit a note that’s not quite right. Then I use the “convincor,” pure lemon oil I spray on my throat when it misbehaves. Then I sing that passage over and over until the throat knows the tune. Being perfect is important to the people I will one day save.

Sometimes people on the street will hear me sing, because sometimes I open my window and show them how I intend to change the world. They call up to me to poke my head out and sing a song for them. Sometimes I do, for the world is a hurting place and people need some hope. I put on my stiff white superoutfit, pull on my ammonia-laced white gloves and face mask, and walk on only the white floor tiles to my awaiting public.

And they adore me, for I am perfect, as always.

One day I will have everything just the way it should be, and I will be able to leave my attic and venture out on the dirty streets and save people through the power of my super-voice of perfection.

I just know I will, for I am O.C.Detta, superhero.


Why don't y'all mosey on over to the Wordsmiths site and see what other lame excuses for superheroism have been cooked up? I know I will!