Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Futhamuckit

Dudes - postage today is going to be short.

I'm uhposed to be working. Seriously working, not the usual half-assery I pass off on a day-to-day basis as work.

Plus which, I got called into the boss' office just a little while ago, and given even MORE work to do. GOOD work, but LOTS of it. Heh - one project that I knew I was going to manage just doubled in size. What's more, I get to plan out a process map before I even know what the client really wants as a deliverable.

I freaking LOVE it when that happens. It's like planning to prepare pollack for a popular plethora of politicoes, and then being told that it's a powerful allergen to all your dinner guests. Slam on the brakes, turn the wheel hard left, and do a 180, please.

So, anyhow, the work. I promised a deliverable by 2 this afternoon. Then another one by 4.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!! Funny Tiff!

Ahem.

=========================

Grapes and coffee do not taste good together. Just thought you should know.

Neither do: Orange juice and toothpaste. Chocolate and red sauce. Clams and peanut butter. Doughnuts and ginger ale. Coppertone and potato chips.

Things that DO taste good together: Cheese pizza and Diet Coke. Banana and peanut butter. Parmesean cheese and melon. Tostitos and refried beans. Salsa and bread sticks. French fries and mayo. Bourbon and anything.

Mmmm, I'm getting hungry.

What are some things you WILL NOT EAT, and some things that you LOVE that are a little unusual? Tell me about them, won't you?


I gotta go work now.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

370 is not a prime number

Ten-fold entries ago would have been prime. Warning, this entry may only be Grade A.

(Ahahahahaaaa! A meat inspector joke!)

Begs the question: What WAS the 37th entry here at NAY?

Huh - after much counting and archives trolling, I do believe it was this one.

Which reminds me to ask y'all: how the heck does one roll out more than 300 entries in the "view from" menu in blogger? I only see how to look at 300, which seems like a lot, and perhaps is the upper limit of most blogger's capacities to create the ultimate in pointless drivel, and yet I'm keeping on keepin' on with the entry thang, and just now realized that it might be nice to have a linky list to zap to that has all the entries arranged in chronological order with some kind of indexing so I can quickly look up stuff I've done or topics about which I've already posted and,,,,,daggone, this sounds like a lot of work.

Someone, please, tell me it's easy.

If not easy, then someone please tell me that a moron like me can do it in less than a dawg's age, 'cuz I do not have that kind of time. I am far too busy thinking up the next installment of the ultimate in pointless drivel for that.

========================

Driving into work this morning, I passed something that made me think.

A walker, next to the weekly trash.

Clarification - a MANGLED walker, out with the weekly trash.

What on earth happened?

Did Granny forget to put the Impala into Park when she got out and it backed over her sole mode of perambulation transport?

Did Junior get pissed at Grandpa because he refused to fork over RedMan money, again, and so flung the old man's crutch against the kitchen wall, then stole his wallet out of the back of his baggy old man pants, mocking to "catch me if you can, you toothless old porch hound"?

Did PopPop pass on, and the walker is the last sad reminder of his time here on earth, but it was taking up too much room in the combo living room/guest suite so the loving family, not but three days after his passing, chucked the shiny metal locomotion aide out with the rest of his moldy belongings?

Or, did Granny finally get the hip replacement she's been waiting for, and, once given the all-clear by the PT, stood at the door of the farmhouse and slung that freaking walker as far as she could, shouting "BITE MEEEEEEEE!" as it spun, twinkling, through the cold January air?

One does wonder, doesn't one? Please tell me it's not just me who does.

=====================

Oh, and y'all, a word of thanks is what you owe me for this entry. I was going to post something really dark that I wrote a while ago (it's a story, totally fiction, and yet......not HAPPY fiction), but thought better of it.

I'm simply not in that foul a mood.

However, the week is young. You may see it yet.

=====================

Also, and in closing, this is the last thing. A joke! Yay!

Two guys walk into a bar. That had to hurt.

Heheheheh. Why not take this chance to top that joke with a "something walks into a bar" joke of your own? C'mon, you KNOW you've got one. Or six. Lay 'em on me.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Say hello to my little friend

It's apparent that my body wants to kill me. It's going to achieve this by not letting me sleep.

This morning's wake-up call? 1:42 a.m.

Much to be done, shouted my inner Jewish Mother. Much to be done! You need to get up and do that thing for work you've been putting off! You need to get up get up!

The inner Catholic Mother joined in the chorus - Don't go back to sleep! Don't even TRY! Even though you've set the alarm for 4 so you can get up to do what you need to do, just go ahead and do it now, because heaven help us all if you don't get it done and someone complains and you lose your job and your children go shoeless because of your selfish desire to SLEEP!

So, what'd I do?

I let them guilt me into it. I caved like a moist sinkhole under the pressure of the combined force of my imaginary archetypical religious stereotypes, and got up. Stumbling to the kitchen and computer at 2 a.m. is NOT my idea of fun, but there you go. I was there. Didn't even make coffee, because coffee at 2 a.m. is asking for a world of hurt.

Blearily, I started in to the work to be done, willing lethargic fingers to write and correct and overwrite and recorrect. The harsh blue glow of the screen bathed my face in a sickly pallor, so I'm sure I looked as crappy as I felt.

One hour. Two hours. Type-itty type-y. Focus on the words. Type-itty type. One set of comments down, then two, then three, then four and five were picked up and slammed into submission. I was on a veritable roll, at 2:30, then 3, then 4.

By 4:30 though, I was starting to get the wobbly weavey head swimmy thing going on, and the words on the screen started to blur before my eyes. I was trying in vain to summon up the guilt sisters again, but they'd long since gone back to sleep, having accomplished their nefarious work for the day. "No fair!" I thought. "I'm almost done! I'm so close I can smell success!"

But finishing the work was not to be, for at 4:32 a.m. my hands, of their own accord, simply shut the laptop. I couldn't go on. I started to shiver, my hands got very cold. I couldn't finish. I had to go back to bed. Something that felt a lot like my inner reptilian was getting ready to hibernate, and I've learned to listen to it, for to ignore THIS inner voice is to invite disaster.

So, the long crawl up the stairs and back into bed was rather like climbing the golden stairs toward the pearly gate. Salvation was almost mine. Sleep, sweet sleep, was beckoning me again into its warm embrace.

And lo, it was so very good that I slept through the alarm. Again.

Sigh.

============================

TOPIC CHANGE.

Place: WalMart, by the layaway counter
Time: Sunday afternoon

Shopping with the Things for some much-needed things, it was time to hit the head for some bladder relief. That small Diet Coke from Hardee's was begging to be set free.

Left the Things in charge of the cart, and started to follow an extremely old woman wearing a dusty tweed jacket and skirt into the relief station. Was cut off by a very tall woman with obvious hip dysplasia, whose lurching gait made me sway involuntarily in time to her stagger.

Vowed to be patient with those less fortunate than me.


Tall woman was now in position #2, with old woman in the lead. We're not moving very fast, obviously, but I think it would be rude to plow ahead of them and so I shuffle along behind.

Once inside the door, old woman begins to raise her skirt. The tops of knee highs can be seen. Three more steps and the bottom of a girdle makes it hesitant way onto the scene. Old woman begins to walk in a rather wide-legged stance.

Tall woman ducks into the nearest stall.

Old woman, stooped with age and the weight of deathly determination, pushes one door open, rejects the option, raises her skirt high enough to clutch at her princess bits, and staggers onward, her uncombed silver hairdo shaking with the effort under her 50-year-old wool church hat.

At the next stall, thanks to all the gods, she finds something to her liking.

I proceed onward to the handicapped stall, not caring at the seeming incongruity of it because really, there couldn't BE too many more folks who truly qualified to use it anywhere in the vicinity, now could there? Both of them were HERE, with ME.

You know what? It's very hard to stoop and pee when you're shaking with laughter. Just thought y'all should know.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

In which I go all iron cheffy

Y'all, my kitchen smells like banana chocolate chip nut muffins right now. WARM banana chocolate chip nut muffins. It's all I can do to not tear one open and devour it, singeing my hard palate on the searingly hot chips and "woofing" in breaths of air over my burning tongue to try to cool down the nearly molten muffinry to an acceptable level. Oh yes, they smell THAT good.

To distract myself, I shall transcribe for you two new recipes I monkeyed with this week in an ongoing effort to get all iron chef on a few simple ingredients; stretching out foodstuffs from one meal to the next. This week's main ingredients times two? Pot roast and pork ribs. MmmmMMMM!

POT ROASTERY:

A) You've seen the crock pot pot roast recipe (posted, I believe, on the 18th of this month). This week, the basics stayed the same (roast, tomatoes in garlic and olive oil, water, seasonings, 8-10 hours on low, taste, make O mouth, etc.), but instead of leaving the sauce brothy, it got whizzed up with an immersion blender to a smooth gravy. Children will eat whizzed-up tomatoes when they won't eat chopped ones. Go figure.

B) The leftover now-smooth and tomatoey sauce was used as the base for beef stew. I threw a buncha cut up precooked potatoes and carrots into the sauce (yes! leftovers!), shredded up a great whack of beef and chucked that in there, and once it was heated through, thickened everything with a flour slurry (1 TBSP flour mixed dwell with 2 TBSP warm water). I made a big-ol biscuit out of Bisquick mix, topped it with some shredded cheese, and voila- dinner is served. Took about 20 minutes start to finish, and was deeeeligh.

PORK RIBBIES:

So, one night this week I was all "what's for dinner tonight?" and decided to cook whatever I grabbed when I plunged my arm into the freezer's meat section (clarification - the freezer's red meat section. I reconfigured the freezer a couple of weeks ago and now the chicken and fish have their own shelf. I'm not OCD, I'm just ORGANIZED). What I came out with was a package of country style pork ribs.

Frozen! So, in the defroster (microwave) they went while I seasoned about 1 1/2 gallons or so of water with bay leaf (4) whole mustard seeds (1 TBSP), and whole black peppercorns (1 TBSP). Chucked the still half-frozen ribs into the bubbling pot and parboiled them for 20 minutes to get them mostly cooked.

Meanwhile, I mixed up 1/2 cup of ketchup, 2 TBSP red currant jelly, and 1 TBSP of prepared whole mustard, nuked it to melt the jelly, and mixed to a smooth consistency. (Note: If you don't have red currant jelly, grape will do fine. If you don't have prepared whole mustard, regular spicy brown will do.)

The ribs were plucked from the boiling pot, placed on a cookie sheet, slathered on one side with the ketchup mix, and set to cook in a 350F oven. I put a little of the seasoned boiling water in the bottom of the cookie sheet to keep things moist. 20 minutes later, they got turned and reslathered, and 20 minutes after that they were done. A little mediterranean coucous n' peas on the side and yay! Dinner!

BLACK BEANS AND RICE:

There was about a gallon of that seasoned water left over from the pork rib boilage. I couldn't just chuck that out, so I brought out the crockpot and dumped the water ONLY in there, being careful to not add in the whole mustard or peppercorns (or, you know, the bayleaf as well).

I rinsed a pound of black beans (1 bag) and threw them in the water. Set the pot to "low" and stirred 'em about once an hour, just because I could. I found a ham hock in the freezer (from when? and why did I have that? I still don't know, but gifts from the gods are funny things sometimes) and threw that in at about hour 6. Coulda done that at the start, obviously, if I'd know I'd HAD a ham hock.

Once the beans were soft I added some cayenne pepper (tsp) and chili powder (2 tsp) to flavor 'em up. Made some rice. Put cooked rice in bowl, topped with beans and sliced leftover pork ribs, added a dollop of no-fat sour cream, and again, dinner! Yay!

============================

I'm totally into this "make two meals from one starting material" thing. Pretty soon, I'm sure, I'm going to try to stretch to three, and really irritate the snot out of my family with the "hey look! Mom's made dessert out of old pork rinds and potato peelings!" thing.

And you can be sure I'll tell you allllll about it when I do.

Well, there's a slightly less warm banana chocolate-chip muffin calling my name. I gotta go.

Friday, January 26, 2007

My banana has a melanoma, and other geekery

Whilst (!) making lunches for the assorted family members this morning, I did the right thing and plucked a banana or 3 from the bunch and distributed them amongst the coolers and brown paper bags we choose to carry with us to work/school. I then turned to other things, leaving my banana alongside the yogurt I also planned to take with me.

That's when I saw it. The banana melanoma. A huge oval of black on an otherwise perfect banana skin. A malignant looking thing, a pox in my gorgeous banana. I KNOW that there's a patch of rot under that banana cancer that's composed of seeping watery brown banana-goo, I just KNOW it.

And yet - I also know that I'm going to take that banana to work with me in just a minute. I'm going to eat around the melanoma, and then take the icky spot to the kitchen and microwave the fetid juices out of its dark black heart.

Why?

Because.I.Can. Because I feel like it. Also, and mainly, because I'm kind of interested in what happens when a banana melanoma gets nuked.

Hi! I'm a geek with anger issues. Love me as I am, or take your toys and go home.

=========================

A number of years ago, I worked as a research scientist doing "bench work" at a large pharmaceutical company. I worked for a young single PhD.

One morning, my boss came into the lab and started chatting about what she'd done the night before. Apparently, she'd been channel surfing and happened upon a 2-hour special about bats. She watched all of it, and told me all about it. She was amazed at herself that she watched 2 whole hours of teevee about bats, but was an absolute bubbling font of knowledge about the flying mammals and needed to share with someone.

Surprise surprise, she picked me.

Surprise surprise, I listened.

Surprise surprise, I was sorry I missed it, because it sounded really interesting.

Here's a tidbit about me that I'm sure you'll find both fascinating and a little sad - I'll watch any daggone kind of nature show. Last night it was a show about "The Invasive Flora and Fauna of North Carolina." Very interesting! I learned a lot! I can now tell you that the rainbow trout, starling, mimosa tree, princess tree, and yellow honeysuckle are invasive species that are crowding out the native plants and animals and changing the local ecosystems. Also kudzu! And fire ants!

I've watched shows about gigantic jellyfish invading the Sea of Japan; and believe you me, when I say gigantic I mean gigantic.....40 POUNDS apiece! Disgusting to see a whole deep sea fishing net all a-quiver with thousands of pounds of massive jellyfish, while salmon, the desired catch, swim over and around their glistening mushroomoid bodies. Gave me the heebie jeebies, that did. But, you know, INTERESTING heebie jeebies.

If there's a show on about exploring deep sea vents, I'm there. If there's an episode on about the microbiology of arctic glacial crevasses, I'll watch it. If someone chose to create a film about the life in a drop of water, I'd be all over it, because the filmstrip I saw in third grade was wicked gripping.

But,,,,,, here's the thing: if there's a show on about some kind of really gross surgery or somebody with a deformity or conjoined twins, I might have to DVR the uber-geek biology show. 'Cause, y'all, freaks of nature trump regular-old nature any day.

==========================

Got any shameful teevee watching secrets you'd like to share? Any infomercial lovers out there? Anybody addicted to HGTV (another of my shameful secrets)? Anybody wanna tell me how they've watched every single episode of "Fresh Prince of Bel Air" (like I maybe have)?

C'mon, get it out in the open. You're among friends.

(Also, if you want pictures of the banana melanoma being nuked into oblivion, let me know. I've got a digit-cam and I'm NOT afraid to use it.)

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Nirvana (my version)

I promised to tell a story today about finding a kind of nirvana on stage. True to form, a couple of commenters immediately thought that perhaps some sort of pole would have been involved.

Thanks bunches for that, y'all.

And no, there were no poles involved. At least not THAT time.

So, here we go with the story.....and no, it's not going to be funny. Go Fark yourself if you want funny, mmmmkay?

==========================

I'm a French Horn player. Or, at least, I was. I played a lot. And well. I can say that now, with the years of not really playing much behind me, because thinking back on how I played when I was playing kind of astound me now.

Mozart concertos = no problem. Beethoven symphonies = no problem. Jazz horn duets and quartets and octets = no problem. Playing music was one of the most gratifying and wonderful things I've ever done. It was wonderful to be challenged by sight transposition, to woodshed a difficult piece, to play in 7/4 time or to triple-tongue almost impossible passages or to really really learn to slur without cracking. It was pure visceral enjoyment to make something work, to get closer to perfection, to know that not matter what was thrown at me I could probably handle it.

But none of it came easy. None of it. It all required practice. Hours and hours and hours. sometimes late into the night, slaving away over Kopprasch or chromatic scales or a new ensemble piece, learning the way of the notes, the places to breathe, to spot to empty out the spit so that the horn would gargle in the next passage. Hours and hours spent in tiny practice rooms, playing to an audience of none, working to get it right.

"Clamming" was not an option, by and large. ( The clam is a species of poor playing known to most musicians, though perhaps under other names. The clam is that note that is played so very wrongly that even the most tin-eared old dust-farter could tell that you'd just screwed up in a most horrific fashion. Clams, therefore, are NOT a delicacy in the music world)

Concert times were also tough. Nerves. Jitters. No matter how well I knew what I was doing, they'd creep up and attack when I wasn't fully guarded. Usually, sometime after I'd donned the black taffeta floor length gown and was standing backstage in the stairwell with the other brass players. Maybe it was the gown that did it, now that I think of it. Maybe the bodice was a little tight, constricting the breathing. Maybe there may have been a touch too much d├ęcolletage showing, but heck, my MOM bought it for me, so that means it passed her "are you dressed like a tramp" test. But still, the nerves. Horrible. Have you ever felt your heart beating in your throat, and it wasn't because something nice was happening? Have you ever felt like maybe taking a puke-break would be a GOOD thing to do, and you weren't sick or drunk? That's the kind of stage fright I got. Usually took the first 10 minutes of playing to snap out of it.

So, you can imagine that "effortless" would not normally describe how I felt about playing. Yes, I loved it, but no, I wouldn't say it came so naturally it was like breathing.

Except, this one time.

I don't recall what we were playing the first time this happened to me. Doesn't matter anyhow. We were playing something orchestral and grand, I'm sure. We did that a lot, being as how we were an orchestra and all. I was in the black dress. I was smack in the heart of the stage, lights and people and sound all around.

And then, I wasn't. All at once I was out of my reality. I was blowing in, notes were coming out, but I wasn't really making them. There was no pressure on my lips, no sensation of weight on my right thigh from the bell, no effort at all, anywhere. I was PLAYING, effortlessly. It was divine. It was heavenly, It was nirvana, pure joy. Absolute bliss. I had gone beyond the barrier of myself to the other side, in which the music flowed as naturally from me as breathing.

It was just for a moment, a few bars, but it was a moment of transport, some small happenstance that took me beyond myself, to a place I didn't think I'd ever get. I became, to myself, a musician.

Have you ever had a moment like that? Like, maybe, skiing and realizing you're fully in control and aware? Or, reading a book and losing all track of time? Or, swimming and feeling utterly weightless and aquatic? Tell me about it, won't you?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Primate and apes and lemurs, oh my.

If all apes are primates, and all lemurs are too, then are all primates apes and lemurs?

No, because there are monkeys to consider, and some humans as well.

Just thought you should know.

========================

Ever take an online IQ test and when you get the answers, are disappointed?

Yeah, me too.

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A while back I did my astrological chart on a lark. Some ancient chinese secrets were doled out in the making of this thing, I'm sure. Apparently, by intputting the date and time and place of my birth (through not that fact that I was breech and 11 days late, because they didn't ask), the shamans and magicians of the internet were able to place me in a certain celestial sphere and read my most personal drives and ambitions and shortcomings.

I posted about this a while ago, but if you're curious as to how to do it yourself, and get a FREE 9-page breakdown of who you are (ostensibly), the check out this link and play away, playah.

You also get nifty picture of how all your aligments work together in the great "circle of life" or some such ideal. Let me just say for the record that my alignments resemble more an electron cloud than a clear path (Below is the thing itself, for your consideration). I'm not surprised by this, nor should you be.



If you DO run your chart, feel free to share the results in the comments.

=======================

The 35-pound smackdown is going well. Down 4 pounds in the 2 weeks I've been weighing. That's sustainable. At this rate, I'll be back to an acceptable tonnage by, oh, August.

That's an exciting thought. I totally can't wait to get back in a size 12. To see my collarbones. To not have the over-bra bulge on my back. To not risk bursting into flame if I wear pantyhose (the friction can be considerable). To love my upper arms again. To say "buh-bye" to that little bit of extra chin that I hate with the fire of a thousand suns.

4 pounds down. 31 to go to reach the smackdown goal. 10 more after that to reach a personal goal.

You know what? I think I can do it.

I have a coach now. JC is my drill sergeant, and as she is training for a half-marathon in April she is a gym rat extraordinaire of late. I am aping her attendance. Well, not so much APING, as being guilted into it. When JC says jump, the only proper response is "how high"? The REALLY sick part of it is that I asked her to do this to me. We've even roped another coworker into the corral of fitness, so it's a happy group that descends to the first floor of our office building on a daily basis.

The beauty part of the gym thing is that 1) it's free, and 2) we're salaried, so it's like we get PAID to go. Two very worthwhile things to focus on as I'm learning which muscles hate me the very most.

So far, it appears that all of them hate me equally.

They'll have to do better than that to stop me. Oh yes, yes, they will.

=======================

I was going to write a little about something else entirely today, and yet all of what you see above came out instead. Maybe tomorrow will be the day I tell you about the first time I experienced a certain kind of nirvana, on stage.

And, yo, if THAT'S not enough to bring you back, all a-salivating over the possible story, then I don't want to know you anymore.

Later, y'all.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Prithee, be a Smithee

One of my bloggies (there are several by now if you're keeping count, not all of which I advertise and no I'm not going to tell you even if you beg) just birthed a new baby. I am so proud, for it is cute and snuggly and smells so good I just want to bury my nose in its little tummy and breathe, breathe, breathe.

To be more to the point (and oh, there is one), the February Wordsmiths Challenge has been posted, and needs
you to help raise it to full potential.

But THIS time, there's a very odd twist. Or is it goofy? Silly? Nonsensical? Slapstick?

You decide, for should you choose to smith yourself a word baby, it's up to you how it turns out.

=========================

I was talking with a friend the other day, and the subject of undergarments made of sea creatures came up.

Y'all, you now know the kinds of conversations I have.....


It got me thinking - Aside from Ariel's scallop-shell bra (I'm thinking C cup, whaddaya YOU think?), what other things could be used to fashion underwater unmentionables out of?

Kelp skirts. Jellyfish bras (watch those nematocysts!). Sea cucumber thongs. Starfish pasties.

Why, the possibilities are endless.

So why do all mermaids (and, perhaps some mermen, if they like Merman) wear daggone SHELL BRAS? Also, why bras? They're
underwater. Boobs are remarkably buoyant underwater. Why, even the most endowed of us looks positively Anderson-esque when underwater. I just don't get the whole seashell-bra thing, I guess. Aren't they also a wee bit uncomfortable? Sure, there's less of a chance of someone telling if you've just been swimming through cold water, 'cuz who can see through a seashell (say that three times fast), but otherwise, they're kind clunky. And finding one that fits would be tough. You'd have to comb the sea floor, affixing them to see if they've got the right suction power and fit, and then find two that MATCH.....oy, it makes my brain hurt.

Then there's the question of barnacles. Yowch.

So, yeah, there must be something ELSE under the sea (sing it with me!) to make your dirty little secrets out of. You know, if you were the kind of person who wonders about that sort of thing.

========================

The second meeting of the HIRABA (
Highly Intelligent/Irrational/Insightful/Irresistable Raleigh Area Bloggers Association) meets this Thursday at 12:30 at the Earth Fare buffet, which is off of Brier Creek Parkway.

If you're in the area, consider yourself invited. We'll be the ones in that booth over there laughing hysterically while eating edamame and tofu curd-y things.

Also, and one last thing, we're considering changing the name to HITABA, for
Highly I/I/I/I TRIANGLE Area Blogger's Association, so that all y'all in Apple Chill and Durham feel the bloggerly lurve. It will be a point of conversation Thursday, I'm sure.

The one in which I declare that I am in love

Hi! Happy Monday!

It's not such a beautiful day in Tifftown, but that's OK, because I am in love. Lovelovelovelovelove. Oh yes, I am.

I blame it on the Pogues. And Thomas Dolby. Oh, and OK Go.

My recent musical additions to my largely non-existent CD library have me over-the-top with glee. They are on almost-constant play in the car, and the Things have confessed their Pogue-y lurve. "Fiesta," "White City," "Blue Heaven," "Rain Street," and "Sunny Side of the Street" have their little brains and bodies bopping. Most most excellent.

I've yet to fully sell them on Thomas Dolby, but that's only because I've not yet put it in the car for our rambles around Wake County. For sure it's in there now, because I'm pretty certain that "Europa and the Pirate Twins" will kick-start their Dolby lurve, and who DOESN'T like "She Blinded Me With Science"? Anyone? I DARE you not to start jukin' when the tag comes on right at the start. DARE YOU!

OK Go is MY personal favorite. Quite a bit of what's on "Oh No" might not be great listening material for the kiddies, but hey, they heard a Pogues tune with the Eff-word in it this weekend and only batted one eyelash, so maybe the thrash-metal-ish tunes from OK Go might not warp their wee brains too badly. One can hope, one can indeed.

There's not a bad song on any of these CDs. Not a one.

Now, the Gorillaz, on the other hand, have got to grow on me. I like half the stuff on "Demon Days," so it's a start. Heck, I bought the CD for one tune, so liking half the other stuff is a pretty GOOD start. The Eels have only gotten a cursory listen - much more dark and mellow than I'd expected. I'll save that for the next round of PMS, I guess.

=============================

Cold in NC this morning. Icicles fringed the street signs, hard drops of rain fell from sodden pine branches onto the car's windshield. Many levels of clouds covered the sky in shades of gray. As the sun came up, a pink tinge washed the thinnest parts of the clouds, and the world turned a pale shade of blue. It was very pretty, in a Scotland kind of way.

And for some reason, I thought it would be nice to ride a giant spotted monkey across the bare tobacco fields. And then I said that out loud, to the Things.

And they agreed that yes, it would be nice to do that.

They SO know how to make their mother happy.

Friday, January 19, 2007

It's 3 o'clock in the morning

Well, OK, it's 4 o'clock in the morning.

Really.

I am awake. Why am I awake? This is not time to be awake, this is a time to sleep, perchance to dream (and promise myself not to blog about it, because y'all have had just about enough of that foolishness), to unconsciously ruminate on the day's happenings in the arms of Morpheus, or some similarly-armed god of some other antiquity.

Heh - a God of dreams. Begs the question - why do we need one of them? Isn't sleep heavenly enough? Isn't that as close to god as you can get, because, pretty much, when you're sleeping you're not capable of committing any sins (and y'all can just be quiet about those "fun adult" dreams because nobody can help having them so it's not really sinning if you do)?

So, why do we need a Morpheus? Is that the god that insomniacs pray to? Is that who I should be genuflecting at right now, in order to get the sleep I need and deserve, and wanted so badly that I lay in bed a whole HOUR before admitting defeat and getting up at 3?


OK, if that's what it takes, then here goes.

Dear Morpheus,

I have heard that you're the go-to guy for getting some rest around here, so here I am.

I want to sleep. I'd like to have good dreams too, if you can score some of that for me. Think you can hook me up with some of that action? I hear your brothers, Phobetor and Phantasos, are working with you to produce some pretty high-quality dreamstuff these days, and man, if I could just get a hit of whatever it is that coming out of your shop I'd really be grateful. Your Dad, Hypnos, said you might be able to help a girl out, and said that you'd know what to do to get me back in bed.


Dude, I'd do anything right about now. 4 in the morning is no time to be awake, unless you're a morning news anchor or standing sentry or have to take a shift on a boat sailing on icy Alaskan seas during king crab season. I mean yeah, that seems reasonable, but I'm not DOING any of those things and so wasn't planning on getting up until 5:30. That's 3 and a half hours of sleep I missed; almost half a night's worth of not-sinning!

So, what do I have to do, Morpheus, old buddy? Offerings? Special grace before bedtime? Obeisance and oaths of fealty? I'll do it, just say the word.

Just don't be sending your half-brother, DEATH, to my house pretending it's you. That shit just ain't nice.

Thanks much,
Tiff

==========================

Huh. It's 4:20, and nary a peep out of Hypnos' boy.

Wonder who else I can contact about this issue? It's Google time!

Oh, hey, lookee here - Morpheus isn't actually the god of SLEEP, he's the god of DREAMS. His DAD is the god of sleep. Interesting. So Hypnos, the sleep God, has a half-brother (Death), and three sons. OK! I learned something!

The second Google page seems to indicate that sleep is given to Christians if they pray for it...so it looks like I'm on the right track. Oh! There's a Baha'i prayer for sleep - but it looks really long and uses way too many thees and thous. Pass. On page 4 there's a passage from the Talmud that indicates that sleep is a gift from God, and I could not agree more, but WHICH god? The big one? I guess if the Talmud says God, they mean the Big God, with the capital letter, and no messing around.

So, OK, here's my second attempt at praying for sleep. At 4:29 a.m.

Dear God,

Please, for the love of, well, YOU, please let me sleep. I'm no good on 4 hours a night. I know that by 2 this afternoon I'm going to be a shambling mess of a woman, gripping a mug of steaming coffee, trying to mainline caffeine in order to stay awake long enough to be coherent at the 4 p.m. conference call with an anxious client.

Why did you DO this to me? Have I not been good? Have I not promised to lose weight and started a diet and started working out to get in shape and have not yelled at my kids in days and fixed dinner every night and been kind to my husband and tried to stay on top of the laundry? I have, I just KNOW I have. Here's the thing: My usual reward for this good behavior is a nice nights' sleep. 7, 8 hours is all I'm really asking here God. Waking me up after 4 is just mean.

And you are not an angry God, you are not vengeful, because I happen to know that that God is so "Old Testament," and you are New Testament, God, you are! You are all about love, and peace, and understanding, and comfortable clothing and kicking back having picnics with 5000 of your closest friends. You LOVE me, for, um, YOUR sake, so what the heck is going on?

Let me know what I need to do. Offerings? Special grace before bedtime? Obeisance and oaths of fealty? I'll do it, just say the word.

Love (and I MEAN it),
Tiff

It's 4:35. No sign of God, or sleep.

Sigh.

Guess I'll go start that caffeine drip now.

Y'all have a great day. Poke me a good one in the ribs at about 3, would ya? I'll need to prepare for that meeting, or at least be awake for it.

Thanks much!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Sure, pick THIS moment to die

Stupid camera. Go ahead, pick TODAY to have some kind of error that prevents you from focusing. Pick THIS day to sneer fuzzily at me through your non-moving lenses, while the snow drifts down on North Carolina, blanketing us in wintry goodness. Pick THIS day to balk like a cow at the slaughterhouse door, planting your recalcitrant stance and refusing to budge, even just the tiniest bit, so that I could capture photographic PROOF that sometime, just sometimes, it does SNOW in the South.

Today, my dear digi-cam, I hate your pixellated guts, for you have let me down. You were to be my captain-at-arms, providing the weaponry with which I was to prove to the doubting world that winter DOES occur in my part of the world. You are now demoted to buck private, dear digi-cam, until I figure out what's WRONG with you.

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

So, yeah. Snow.

Yay.

A whole half-inch. Not even enough to go sledding. You know, if there were hills. which there aren't really, this being the Piedmont and therefore not so much with the hilly. Oh, I'm sure there are places I could go with the kids to throw ourselves down a barely snow-covered slope, but unless it's a hill on which one can slide for at least a minute, it just doesn't seem worth it.

There's a hill on the campus of Wesleyan College in Middletown CT that is excellent for sledding. My friend Dot took me there once with our kids. There were TONS of people, LOTS of ditches and jumps to get your bump on with, and plenty of pre-packed runs that guaranteed the longest ride possible. It was hella fun, made even more so because after we froze in the snow we went to the YMCA and basted out the cold in the therapy pool, which was kept at a consistent 88F and was only 3 feet deep. Bliss. One of the best days I've ever had.

However, the BEST sledding hill was the one behind our street in upstate New York. Man, what a great place. I've written about it before; but for the sake of the newcomers out there here's the quick description: an entire small moutain's linear footage worth of sled run. Took 15 minutes to walk to the top. Wound through a whole woods' worth of tress. Only the big kids went all the way to the top. There were numerous starting points throughout the length of the mountain, the lowest of which still afforded a good 2-minutes worth of sledding down the widest parts of the hill. The boys would get a running start and either flop down of their bellies WITH the sled, or, if they were REALLY good, would place the sled at the top of the hill and LAND on it at full tilt. The girls, sadly, were still trapped in the 60's mentailty of decorum for young ladies, and so generally pushed themselves gently off the top lip of the hill, longing for the courage to hurtle down like their brothers and boy neighbors.

Thinking on it, maybe I was the only girl who longed for that. I'll never know.

I remember putting my lips on the metal steering bar of the sled and having them stick there. I remember the taste of snow on knitted mittens. I remember the sting of wind and snow in my eyes as I raced to the bottom of the hill, praying to make it farther than I ever had before. I remember staying out in the lowering afternoon for just one more run, because when the snow started to re-freeze you could get up some wicked speed. I remember crashing into other kids, and tandem runs holding my best friend's hand across our two sleds, and the toboggan rides that were always a little like daring death, and piling three people on a sled for increased speed. I remember red cheeks and clouds of breath and runny noses and frozen wrists.

That hill was awesome.

Until some new people on the neighborhood decided they didn't want KIDS ripping through their backyard all day/week/winter long, and installed a row of pine trees right across the best part of the hill.

The best part of the hill.

Did this stop us?

No.

I believe the reaction was to flip a mental finger at the new people while hurtling past their back deck, threading the needle through their stupid trees and creating a tunnel in the pines. They were NOT going to beat us.

Until a teenaged girl up the street had the stupidity to ram into one on a tobaggan while trying to use her FOOT to stop the inevitable crash. I can't remember how many pieces her leg was in after this event, but it was certainly many more than God intended it to be in. I can still picture her chalk-white face as my Mom helped load her into the back of our family's station wagon, which was the only car she could ride in with her shattered leg splinted out straight in front of her. She was in a cast for MONTHS.

I stuck with ice-skating on the pond out back after that.

But still, what an awesome sledding hill. There's never been a better one. Ever.

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

What did YOU do as a kid in the winter? Did you sled? Ski? Skate? Stay inside and play Sega?

I want to know.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

How am I like Ron Weasley?

The natatorium in the lowest basement of the Russian hospital was almost incomprehensibly large. Low ceilings hung over multiple pools, one large shallow kidney-shaped pool in the center, several long narrow lap pools around it. In the far rear corner, back in the shadows, the ceiling opened up to accommodate a diving pool, deep and dark blue. My tour guide explained that the facility was divided into 2 parts, one for the paying public and one for the TB patients in the hospital. The part for the patients was behind a large glass wall. From what I could see of it the tile surround need to be regrouted, sometime about 20 years ago. Paint chips were flaking from the walls, the ladders were rusted, the windows had algae growing on them. In contrast, the public portion was spotlessly clean, a little worn, perhaps, but I wouldn’t have been afraid to walk barefoot on the pool deck.

As we were waling around the edge of the large central pool, I had a terrific urge to jump in, fully clothed. I quashed that desire, thinking it might take my hosts by surprise, and might get me sent upstairs to the psych ward, if there was one. We passed a series of lap pools, the guide explaining what each configuration was for, me trying to NOT jump right in. The water was so clear, and the air so warm, it just seemed like the thing to do.

We got to the dive pool and watched some spectacularly fit young people launch themselves off of very high platforms, perform aerial gymnastics, and slice through cobalt-blue water with hardly a splash. I was entranced, so much so that at last the dam of my hesitation broke. I ran toward the pool, leaping in gracelessly, my overcoat flapping like a superhero’s cape, my face in a cheek-cramping grin.

Splashdown. Bliss.

Sinking. Not bliss.

The heavy coat and boots and clothing weighed me down, absorbing water, pulling me toward the bottom. I watched the surface recede over my head, and gasped without breathing. I was drowning, and despite being a good swimmer, I was no match for the extra weight and bulk of my sodden clothing.

I decided to let it happen, and stopped thrashing, stopped trying to reach the surface. Once I stopped fighting, I reached neutral buoyancy and was suspended in the middle depth, my head 4 feet below the surface and my feet 4 feet above the bottom. With tiny motions of hands and feet I found I could rise, and by so doing I broke the surface not long after my descent. I was helped out by a team of young divers, some of whom seemed truly concerned for my safety, some of whom looked really pissed off that I had disturbed the smooth surface of their pool.

Someone had brought out three large white towels, and as I shivered with cold and fright and exhilaration I was stripped down, dried, and swaddled in them. Once attired in my new finery, my host told me we’d have to go to the laundry to dry my clothing, but that to get there we’d have to use a corridor that passed through the patient’s area and I needed to be prepared and forgiving of the condition of the facilities there. I didn’t care, I was still out of my head at my actions and near death.

At the door to the corridor, my host made an unmistakable “after you!” gesture, and so I reached for the handle, which was an odd green color. I thought it was a patina’ed copper knob. I was wrong. The handle I’d grabbed was a nesting ball of green spiders, and my touch broke the web-cradle, sending a boil of small green spiders up my arm. The spiders were not happy, and so bit and bit and bit, each tiny bite a shock, both physically and visibly. Sparks actually flew from their mouths as they expressed their indignation. Their firm legs scrabbled over my hand and arm, running for my neck and hair, carrying the thick meaty green bodies to more succulent offerings.

Needless to say, I became hysterical, spinning and swatting, leaping and shrieking, begging my host to get them off of me before they got in my mouth, before they got in my nose. She did what she could, but I was moving much too fast to get them all off of me. Many were evacuated through the centrifugal force of my wild exertions, but some remained, tenaciously clinging with the claws on their feet and the mouths that continued to shock and bite.

The TB patients pressed against the glass, watching me dance. I could see their dark horrified eyes through the smoky glass each time I spun around.

That’s when I got the idea.

Back in the pool.

Sink to the bottom.

Never come up.

Let the spiders drown with me.

Seemed like a good idea at the time.

It’s a damned good thing that this is the moment at which I woke up, because finishing that dream might have been that last thing I ever did. It was 5:06 a.m. I never did get back to sleep.

Yeah, I hate spiders. Really really really hate spiders. This is just one more reason why.

=========================

Now that I've confessed one of my irrational fears, why not tell me one of YOURS? I'm all ears!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

This is the one in which I say "sorry," then ask you to tempt me

Um, so, yeah. I'm still alive. Just not so much with the blog visiting lately.

Sorry about that.

And I say sorry because I'm sure y'all are just WAITING AROUND for me to visit you and brighten up your day with my Tiffish rays of commenty sunshine and whatnot. I know you depend on me like that. It's a burden I accept with humility, and gratitude.

So, sorry. I'm sure you've been wondering what's going on, and musing "where's Tiff been lately around these here parts? I see she's POSTING, so she's online, but why doesn't she come to see ME anymore? Does she not love me anymore? Have I done something wrong?"

It is none of those things. It is, instead, this thing: It's because I'm lazy. Lay-zeeeee.

Since the turn of '07 I've become the world laziest person. I'm not cleaning my house, I'm not sending out those "oops, sorry I missed you" holiday cards, I'm not returning e-mails promptly or answering the phone at ALL. I'm not bothered by dog hair tumbleweeds or dusty furniture. I'm not obsessing over spotty bathroom sinks or misplaced shoes or the massive pile of laundry that's waiting to be done (OK, I'm DOING it, but not obsessing over it).

This is not like me at all.

My Type A has been swallowed up by a warm cozy swarm of "B's," and I do.not.care.at.all. It's lovely.

And yet, I feel guilt. Guilt over the lazy. Guilt over the not-visiting. Guilt over the not-returning-phone-calls thing.

I guess I'll kick back and let the swarm buzz around me, and see where that gets me. I'm sure I'll get sick and tired of their incessant soft buzzing after a while, bat them away from my nodding head, and get back to who I've always been.

Just.

Not.

Yet.

=========================

Hey, I have an idea! Why not help me out by baiting me with one of your posts? Tell me a little snippet about what you're up to in your latest adventures and I'll pop on over to read the rest. For you ARE sexy interesting smoove-moving beasts, all of you, it's just that I need a little prodding to experience your awesomeness.

C'mon, comment for me, tempt me, throw a teaser in the comments to MAKE me want to come to your place to spend a while.

Help me rise above the lazy and get my cheeks in gear.

And thank you, in advance, for your assistance.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Ow.

As y'all know, The Mayor of Spiffytown and I have a little bet going that we'll each lose 35 pounds by July 4th, or else.

Else what, I have no idea. Perhaps the "else" will be to post our "before" pictures on our blogs. While that's a fine idea if BIFF should happen to not reach goal (because Lordy, don't we all want to see a "before" pic of the Mayor?), it is not such a hot idea for me, for I am not terribly photogenic to start with (unlike my younger brother, who has never had a bad picture taken of him. Ever), and have a very skewed self imagine to continue with, and have never really cared for any pictures of me to finish with, even when I was in shape and sag-less.

So, no, some other "or else" will have to manifest itself, because I cannot have any frank and honest "before" shots of me slathered all over the bits and bytes of the interwebs. Something important might break!

Where was I?

Oh yeah, the smackdown.

There's now a blog about it.

And I started working out with an exerball this weekend.

And today, we have the Ow.

Outer thighs? Ow.

Abs? Ow.

Pecs? Ow.

All the other muscles that I've forgotten then name of? Ow also.

But, you know, it's a good Ow. It makes me feel like my body isn't just a lump of flesh and bone that I use to carry my head from one place to the next. I makes me feel more alive, somehow. Ain't that somethin?

Of course, some of the Ow may have to do with the whopping 1.5 miles I walked yesterday around the local high school's track before telling myself to stop so that I wouldn't keel over and subsequently be found Tuesday morning by the track coach somewhere on the far side, over by the guest grandstand, under the pines, a light coating of chats on my sweatshirt and scrub pants, my cold fingers still clutching my car keys and now-dead cell phone.

And yes, y'all, that was both a real sentence and exactly what I was thinking, as well as a pathetic and lame excuse for distance, but it's all I've got so just sit back and take it, soldier.

I'm proud of myself. I'm glad to have the Ow. I'm happy to have walked. Today is another day, and here we go again.

Which, BTW, is the sort of the title of my new favorite song in the whole world by OK Go. Who I love. Muchly.

TOPIC CHANGE ALERT

Got 6 new CDs in the mail the other day.

Double CD set from The Eels (Blinking Lights and Other Revelations)
One from The Pogues (Essential)
One from Thomas Dolby (Retrospectacle)
One from The Gorillaz (Demon Days)
One from OK Go (Oh No)

Hells YES! I'm-a reclaiming my music, y'all. On the list that's yet to purchase (though not yet in my queue because YourMusic doesn't CARRY THEM, dagnabbit, so I must go elsewhere for the fix):

Imogen Heap - not decided which CD yet
Laurie Anderson - not decided which one yet, though prolly will be the one with "Oh Superman" on it.
Peter Gabriel - "So"
The Decemberists - the newest one
4tet - whichever one has "smile around the face" on it
Of Montreal - haven't decided which one yet

And I'm just getting started!

Question of the day - what new music do YOU suggest I get, and why? Don't be afraid to suggest something you think might not me on my playlist based on the above - I enjoy and can appreciate most kinds of music (except, you know, 20th century orchestral stuff), and love finding new stuff.

Especially if it's got a good beat and you can dance to it. Or sing along in the shower. Or car. Y'all know.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Pot roasty oasty oasty

It's recipe time again.

Because, dudes, I made something pretty tasty the other day and it bears to be spread far and wide amongst the internets...... it's easy to do and tasty and fun to eat, much like a lead guitar player or cheerleader.

Think about it.

OK - here we go with the recipe:

Tiff's O-mouth pot roast

Serves 4 with these instructions, or 8 if you double the pasta.

1 3-pound (or so) eye of round beef roast, or other "roastable" meat.
1 10-ounce can of garlic and olive oil diced tomatoes. (I use Del Monte)
2 10-ounce cans of water
salt
pepper
onion powder
garlic powder
8 ounces of long pasta (regular spaghetti works well. Stay away from angel-hair; it's not robust enough)
1 TBSP olive oil

Stick the roast (can still be frozen) in your crock pot or slow cooker. Empty the cam of tomatoes and cans of water into the pot. Sprinkle the roast with spices. Cover the pot and let cook on low for 8-10 hours (or longer) or high for 6-8 hours (or longer). Longer cooking will tenderize the meat more.

Just before serving, set 4 quarts of water to boil. Break 8 ounces of pasta into 3 inch pieces and boil until al dente. Drain and coat with a tablespoon of olive oil.

When meat is done, it will be fork-tender and shreddable. Pull single-serving sized chunks off the meat, cut into bite sized pieces.

Put 2 ounces of pasta into a bowl (you do NOT have to measure - just eyeball it for goodness sakes!). Add meat. Put 3/4 cup of broth from meat into bowl, and serve with a fresh roll or piece of warm foccacia or ciabatta (rosemary and garlic would go great here) for dipping in the broth. Shaved parmesan can be added on top, if you're feeling really fancy.

Eat the goodness of the italian post roast noodle bowl. Make O-mouth. Wipe up dribbles. Repeat.

(ASIDE - I make rolls from leftover homemade pizza dough. My inner Martha glows when I do, which is hella awesome).

Caution - do NOT try to over-season this dish. If you do the broth will taste weird. Leave the tomatoes and meat to comingle and do their thang for several hours, and you'll wind up with a nice tasty beefy broth that's soothing and luscious, that even the kids will eat.

BONUS! - there will likely be leftovers. If there are, here's what to do. Boil some rotini in the leftover broth (or, hey, why not some mini-ravioli or tortellini?). Maybe get crazy and add some sliced carrots here too. Shred a buncha meat. Throw the meat into the pot when the pasta's done, and heat it through.

There - beef soup. It's different enough from the first iteration to not get "THIS again?" comments, and if you're feeling really sexy and chef-ish now's the time to add some oregano and thyme to change the taste just enough to fool the unwary family.

Don't you just want to go buy a slow-cooker now? C'mon, they're cheap, and you can play along at home if you do.....

Friday, January 12, 2007

I think I changed my mind

NOTICE: The following post contains numerous parenthetical asides. Be aware that these may cause dizziness or confusion. The author begs your forgiveness, but is too lazy to remove them. Ain't THAT some shizz?

==============================

The other day I was talking (writing?) about what my dream job would be. (If you weren't here for that bit, feel free to troll the archives...I'm feeling far too meh this morning to link to it here, and anyhow, why weren't you HERE the other day? I missed you!)

But I think I might have to change my mind about the dream job, because I see that the first ever woman Beefeater has made the scene, and I think I want to do that too now that girls are allowed in the club. I even like beef!


I know, I know, you have to serve at least 22 years in the British military and have some number of medals and a spotless conduct record, but how hard can that be really? I could go over there, become a citizen, join the army, serve 22 years, behave nicely, let my natural leadership skillz shine like a beacon in the night for all the poor lads and lassies of the infantry, and then take a little test that'll get me into the dashing pantaloons and fancy hats!

You'll have to trust me on the pantaloons, but LOOK AT THE HAT!!!!!

Let's see, I'l be, what, um...... (counts on fingers) about 72 by the time I'm ready for the test.

Pantaloons and opaque stockings won't look so good on me then.

Hmpf. Maybe I'll just buy the oufit and parade around my house shouting things like "off with his head!" and "the ravens are flying!"

'Cause Beefeaters say stuff like that ALL the time.

===========================

I went to the Tower of London once. I even went on a tour with a Beefeater! He had a beard and a loud voice and liked very much to describe the horrors that occurred therein, with descriptive noises and active pantomiming of beheadings and mentions of gristle and blood. It was awesome. He took us to the chapel on the grounds and described some nice things that happened there (like church, and weddings), then took us right outside the door to the "private beheading area" that was used only when the highest nobility were having their noggins lopped off. Like Anne Boleyn ! (an aside; I dig the big "B" necklace she's wearing in the picture of her on the Wikipedia page - totally fly bling there, Anne!)

Most other people who were offed at the Tower of London, the lesser nobles and common ruffians, for example, were dispatched in a more public area so that the populace could come and have a bit of a show at someone else's expense. Big fun, that was, back in the day. Who knew? You do!

The private beheading area is right near the living quarters for all the inhabitants of the gaol. As a matter of fact, Ol Henry 8 built Miss Anne a lovely Tudor (hee!) home right on the grounds, right next to the private beheading area. I imagine Anna could stroll the grounds of her prison, taking in the air of the Thames (that's "tems" to you and me), pitching pebbles at the ravens (who, presumably, quoth-ed "nevermore!" each time she scored a direct hit), and decorating the plinth at the private beheading area with flowers from the prison gardens.

Isn't it a pretty thought, being able to walk circles around the place of your own death, just waiting for the word to come from on high that the executioner should sharpen his axe and you ought to maybe think about one last visit to the chapel?

Our Beefater thought so. He rrrrrreelished the telling of these stories, with rrrrrolling rrrrrs and grand pontifications. We learned about the treachery of the English monarchy, the evil done to kith and kin, spiriting people away in the middle of the night and locking them in a high tower for YEARS until people pretty much forgot they existed, then crushing them under tons of stone so nobody could find their bodies. You think I lie? Look it up. Our Beefeater, I'm quite sure, was incapable of lying, being as how he had all those Army merit badges for good behavior.

The Beefeaters and their families live on the grounds of the Tower now; their job ostensibly is to guard the crown jewels (don't call them the family jewels, the British don't care for that sort of thing), which you can see whilst (hee!) riding on a little motorized walkway in a big tan stone building (heaven help me but I think it was the armory. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong). One can even see the coronation robe that William might wear when and if he's ever crowned King. The Beefeater we talked with, who was not the one who gave us our "tour of mayhem," pretty much thought that Charles doesn't have a prayer of ever being King. So it will be William, carrying the family jewels (see what I did there? funeee), wearing a robe that's much too short for him, who walks the aisle at Westminster and is handed the orb and sceptre before sitting on the coronation throne, which is really kind of a junky looking chair that doesn't even have the Stone of Scone under it since England gave it back to Scotland (look it up!).

Beefeaters will tell you that story too, if you ask them. They're a chatty bunch.

=========================

So, the question of the day is: what's the coolest place you've ever been?

(for the record, I'm not sure the Tower of London was the coolest place I've ever been, but it sure did make an impression.)

Rrrrrrigheeee-ooo then, leave your answer in the comments!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Out of left field it flies

Let's begin with a question: Do you know what happens when you work from home for a couple of weeks?

Answer: Not much. Certainly nothing bloggable.

Unless you count a second night of really weird dreams, in which, after a series of dizzying vertical spirals over the New Jersey shoreline, a jet airplane's wings curl up like the Wicked Witch of the East's shoes after the fatal MFN blow was delivered, then spring back to shape while the captain mumbles "sonic boom" over the intercom, after which the plane levels at about 1000 feet and flies into an unexpected (and very THICK) cloud bank and the captain can then be heard saying "this shouldn't be here, I check with the Bush National Weather Service!"

And if THAT'S the kind of nonsense that is going to be going on in my brain because of an overall lack of social stimulation, then I have to say I'm ready for this at-home stint to end so I can get back to the regular bump n' grind of the workweek, because, y'all, if this is my brain in relaxation, you can take it right back. I need some stress to quench that synaptic creativity, truly I do. I can't take too many more morning of waking up with a start, eyes snapping open either in amusement (yesterday) or terror (today), and willing myself to go back to sleep, except it's already 6 a.m. and it's time to get up, so goodbye nice soft warm snuggly bed and hello Mr Coffee.

Also, maybe, a quick not-a-meme, 'cause y'all, my brain's still in the jet and it ain't pretty. (Also, Kim? Please don't be driving a tan minivan in NYC on a snowy day in rush-hour trafffic anytime soon, because after it stalls and you start taping the rude driving behavior of the other motorists who zoom by you at 60 miles an hour, I can't vouch for what happens after the first thousand of so vehicles go by, because I couldn't bear to look anymore and had to wake up. Nice cinematography work though, I have to say).
Ocean or Lake ?
Lake

Pizza or Chinese?
Chinese

Mansion or Penthouse?
Mansion, thanks for asking

Have you been on a Jet Ski?
Nope

Are you afraid of clowns?
no, I actively despise them

How many brothers/sisters do you have?
2 brothers

Favorite band/group?
Can't pick a favorite - too much out there to pick one.

Baseball or football?
Baseball

Favorite brand of makeup?
what? makeup? brand? no.

Do you have an IPod?
Nope – feel free to get me one

Bike or scooter?
Bike

Ever go in a hot air balloon?
Go where?

What brand computer do you have?
some HP thing

How many times have you been to Disneyworld ?
1

Favorite city?
London, or NYC

Do you think you are fat?
Horrible question. Next.

Ever throw up in a public place?
yes. next question please

Do you have a pool?
Yes. It holds about 8 inches of water and sits on the deck in summertime.

How many times a month do you go to the movies?
month? people go on a monthly basis?

Last movie you saw?
Saw "The Wickerman" in DVD the other night, and would have had more fun ripping out my own hair piece by piece. What a terrible awful no-good very bad movie.

How old are your parents?
70's.

What deceased person would you like to meet?
Well, if they're going to be rotting corpses, then any one of them I guess, because that would be cool. If they're going to be like they were in real life, then I'd go for Jesus, to prove to myself that he was a real person. Oh, the conversation we would have!

Do you chew ice?
Yes

Have you been to California ?
Yes

Last book you read?
Can't recall.

Do you like to go fishing?
Yes, and I can tell a spinner bait from a popper from a spoon and will bait my own hook, thanks very much for asking.

What is you average in school?
Dude, like, I'm TOTALLY ace-ing every subject except algebra......the teacher totally doesn't get me. (WTF? I'm not in school anymore)

Favorite professional team?
Of what?

Do you like mohawks?
Wish I had one

How many pairs of shoes do you own?
13

Do you floss?
sure, right before a trip to the dentist.

Do you have braces?
Used to - got 'em at 38 YO.

Do you bite your nails?
sometimes

What is your last thought before falling asleep?
"that was nice"

Do you fall in love easily?
Used to, but now that I know what love is, I don't.

Ever have a crush and they never knew?
Yes

Do you babysit?
Did

Ever been shot at?
Yes - and shot. With a BB gun, but still, that hurt!

Do you consider yourself nice?
Too.

Do you go to camp for the summer?
Yes! Well, I did. Girls Scout camp, church camp and stuff as a kid, then compaing as an adult. LOVE it.

Have you been on a boat?
Yes. Lotsa times. Big 'uns, little 'uns, powerboats, sailboats, battleships....

Ever break a bone?
Yep - not a biggie, but enough to go "ow" about a million times. Fingers, toes, that kind of thing.

What is your ultimate job?
We discussed that the other day. Pass.

Do you want to walk on the moon?
OMG yes!!!

Can you name the seven dwarfs?
Let's see, there's Stumpy, Pablo, Alfonse, Little Dude, The Terminette, Squiggy, and, um, oh crap, I always forget the last one!

Favorite TV show?
Get ready for it........."Antiques Road Show."

Apples or oranges?
Apples. Soothes my need to BITE THINGS!

Favorite model of car?
Pass

Favorite flower?
Iris

Favorite color?
Black. Or maybe that gray-green mossy color. Wait, turquoise? i used to say "blue," but I don't think that's true anymore.

Ever climb out your bedroom window?
Yes, kind of - when I was in grad school I had an apartment on the top floor, and could climb out the kitchen window onto the roof to catch some rays. Climbing back IN was always interesting - I ususally just kind of dove headfirst and somersaulted to dismount.

Do you live in an apartment or house?
House.

How many times in the last month have you had the hiccups?
None. I don't have them on principle.

Ever laugh so hard milk came out your nose?
No. OJ, yes, and it stings like a futhamucka.

How many cousins do you have?
why on earth is this question in here? OK, um, let's see....7.

Do you believe in ghosts?
Sure, why not? Who else would be making the walls bleed and knocking over my antique glassware?

If you were a bird, what would you be?
An ostrich

Ever get stitches?
Lots of them, both the surgical kind and the "help me I can't breathe" kind while running. Can't say as I care for either kind.

If you could, would you want to know what your future was going to be?
No. This one had me goign back and forth for a while, because as a curious person I WANT to know, but then as a practical person I realize that KNOWING would mean that I would then try to CREATE that future.....and that sounds like asking for a heaping helping of confusion and goal-oriented work and I can't have that.

How many kids do you want to have?
As many as I have right now

If you could change your name, what would it be?
Tiff (Ahahahahaaaa!!!!!! Woo! I crack myself up. Oh, seriously? I LIKE my regular name, though I do wish that good ol' Mom and Dad had made it a touch less gender-ambiguous so those buulk mailer people would know I'm not a "Mister." A small thing, and of no real consequence I suppose.)

Dogs or cats?
DOGS!

Who do you tell your problems to?
I gots lotsa these folks around, but I'm not naming names, because it's a secret and I'm not sure YOU could keep it. I mean, I like you and all, but, well, I don't know if I can TRUST you.

Who can your tell your secrets to and know they wont tell?
I gots lotsa these folks around, but I'm not naming names, because it's a secret and I'm not sure YOU could keep it. I mean, I like you and all, but, well, I don't know if I can TRUST you.

Do you believe in love at first sight?
No. Lust at first sight - heck yeah.

Do you go to church?
no....but I do pray, and believe in God, and hope to go to heaven when I die (as highly unlikely as that may sound), and try to be a good person, and teach my kids to be morally and ethically upstandg, and we say grace before dinner, so does that count? At all? Maybe a little?

Would you marry outside your religion?
Because I'm pretty much areligious, I'd have to say yes. Or is it no?

Volleyball or tennis?
No fair to name the two sports I can actually PLAY, and make me choose. OK, Volleyball.

Ever ride in a limo?
Yup

Ever drink champagne?
Yes. I loathe it, but I'll drink to the happy couple or to the New Year if that's all you've got.

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Added extra bonus feature - exactly 30 seconds before I went to hit the "publish" button, my internet access crashed. See, you ASK for things to happen, and they so. Amazing.