Sunday, June 27, 2010

I know how you feel, Bella

"Time had not made me immune to its perfection, and I was sure I would never take any aspect of them for granted. My eyes traced over its baked, brown features: the crispness of its edge, the undulations of its middle (promising the treasure within) . . .

I saved its chips for last, knowing that when I looked at them I was likely to lose my train of thought. They were warm, slightly gooey, and shiny with the oven's recent heat. Staring at them (and even more . . . biting into them) made me feel extraordinary--sort of like my bones were turning spongy. I was also a little lightheaded, but that could have been because I'd forgotten to keep breathing. Again."

[With (slight) apologies to Stephenie Meyers, "Eclipse" p. 17]

-- Posted From My iPhone (so, I apologize in advance for any typos I missed)

Hello again Party Month

Every year as late June arrives and July begins, my family enters Party Month. First up is Grace's birthday, then Lynda's birthday, then our anniversary, and then a brief respite before Sarah's birthday closes out the festivities.

And this year, as in years past, things are unclear and ill formed. Even though Grace's actual 7th birthday was yesterday, we are having the party this coming on Thursday (Lynda's actual birthday). I don't yet know what we'll do for Lynda's birthday or for our fifteenth anniversary the following week for that matter. And Sarah's birthday is still a few weeks away . . . so that is to be worried about later.

But, we know we're going to have a few of Grace's friends over Thursday afternoon, going to see a movie, and then reconvening here to have cake, pizza, and gifts. I hope that it all goes well. I'll give a more detailed report once we get it past us.


I can say that the weekend has been nice, active, and relaxing. I got to play a rare game of tennis with old friends on Saturday morning. I guess I didn't play any worse that I ever have and it was nice to spend some time with good friends outside of work and other responsibilities.

We've been out and about with the girls a lot on Saturday--playing in the backyard with sprinklers and water, riding bikes to a local park once the temperature dropped in the evening, playing Monopoly for a long time. And I got lots of reading done on a book that I picked up at the library at the end of the week (book 2 of Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games trilogy). Catching Fire is quite good and a worthy successor to The Hunger Games. I eagerly await the chance to read book three.

(I just realized that book 3, Mockingjay is coming out in August. Maybe I'll buy it?)

Anyway, its been a good, relaxing weekend. I hope you can say the same.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Last Night's Dream

Here is a description of a work-related anxiety dream if I've ever had one.


It starts in my cubicle at the office. I get a phone call from Neil Patrick Harris' "Barney" character from How I Met Your Mother. Apparently I work with him now . . . or at least he has my phone number. Barney was in charge of procuring a stripper for some office function and, in typical Barney fashion, he has struck me with the task of paying the stripper once her duties were performed. I try to protest, but Barney will have none of it. The stripper is coming over to my cubicle for payment.

(I also feel that there was some sort of ball-related joke here, but my dream brain mercifully decided to omit those details. Just a vague feeling remains.)

The stripper arrives and I awkwardly make payment without looking very much. Luckily, the lights in the office seem kind of dim, so not too many stray glances occur. But the uncormfortable meter is peaking pretty high.

Once the stripper has been paid and has left the premises, here comes the other part of the dream in the form of a World War II-era British military officer. He has arrived at my desk and clearly has something vitally important to ask me. The only thing is, he isn't so good on speaking those demands clearly. What follows is lots of facial gestures, oddly signficant hand-waving, and about one out of four words in a sentence spoken aloud. I am really struggling to get this guys meaning down, but it is increasingly clear that he has previously asked me to do something for him and I have forgotten what it is. His inadequate communications are now preventing me from understanding exactly what I failed to do the first time. And I am growing very tense and frustrated.

After more back and forth, (along with some pointing to a poster of British military aircraft hanging on my cubicle wall) I finally realize that I had been tasked with writing a description of this man's father's actions in World War II in the Royal Air Force to post on a company Web site. And since it was now PAST Father's Day, I had failed in meeting my deadline. And I was full of remorse in the fact that I would now have to wait a full year to adequately meet the request again.


Sigh. Work-related dreams SUCK

Thursday, June 17, 2010

How many can you identify?

This image came from this post about a t-shirt with the same design. (Giving credit where credit is due.)

I got 15 correct at first glance and there are some I'm still not sure of (specifically Z, X, Q, P, O, M, K, H, F, C, & B).

Leave your guesses in the comments.

Monday, June 14, 2010

My tech-free weekend

It was an interesting weekend. As you might have heard, I was staying away from technology from Friday night until Monday morning. And it was great . . . except that technology was all around me. And since my family was not restricted to the same limitations as myself, they didn't seem bothered by using it in front of me.

I try not to be jealous as she blogs the day away. She shouldn't be punished for the things that are happening to me, right? I'm not really as envious of her as it might seem in this photo. I promise.
Since I couldn't blog or check the internet or anything like that, I decided to go ahead and make lunch for everyone. (I don't really mind making lunch for people, no matter what this image might make you think. And the tech-free weekend was going along just fine, don't you think?)
The next day (Sunday) we went to the zoo. And normally, I love going to the zoo--even if you can't appreciate it in this photograph. I wonder what is putting me off? Maybe I was just hungry? Or maybe I was disappointed that the polar bear didnt' swim when we went over to check him out? I'm not sure what it was. It surely wasn't my bright yellow bucket hat branded with the worst chili in the world--Skyline Chili. Because, in case you didn't know . . . that is my Official Hat of Summer 2010. So, not the hat, not the polar bear, not the food. Hmm. Maybe something the kids are doing?
Lynda got to have digital fun in my absence. (And really, maybe this will work to my overall benefit because a.) Lynda got to enjoy my iPhone all weekend, b.) a new iPhone is about to be sold, c.) Lynda is going to need a new photo at some point when her renewal date arrives. So . . . maybe all of that equals a two iPhone household? Maybe.

In the end, I survived my tech-free weekend.

Though I don't think I'll bother to do it again anytime soon. The world is a technologically-driven, digital  cornucopia. And I want to cram that cornucopia in my mouth and chew it up.

So be prepared to watch me swallow for many, many more years to come.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Challenge . . . Accepted!

Earlier today I was posting this most important thought on Twitter and I noticed that my program was not responding as I confidently struck the ENTER key. Naturally, I thought it might be a problem with my ancillary Twitter-related program, so I CRTL-C'ed the tweet, shifted over to the Web and signed in to

The non-responsiveness continued and when the tweet in question did not load, I got an error message saying that Twitter was OVERCAPACITY.

Because I thought it was funny, I OVER-REACTED to this and breathlessly told my cube/row-mates that TWITTER WAS OVERCAPACITY. (Much arm-waving ensued.) As I designed, they thought this was funny . . . but the (to some degree, at least) miscalculated my sincerity. Because they immediately challenged me to a weekend challenge.

The terms of the challenge are:
  1. The duration of the challenge is from this Friday at 5 p.m. until Monday at 9 a.m.
  2. I am not allowed to view any Web sites.
  3. I am not allowed to use any social networking, i.e. Twitter or Facebook.
  4. I am not allowed to read emails.
  5. I am not allowed to play any online games.
  6. I am allowed to use my iPhone for phone calls only.
  7. I am not allowed to use my iPhone to listen to music or podcasts.
  8. I can listen to music on the radio or from CDs, but not from iTunes.
If I successfully make it through the challenge (and I presume Lynda is responsible for verifying that I do so, since my Challenging Colleagues don't live with me and are therefore not positioned to effectively monitor me), my Challenging Colleagues agree to come and baby sit for us so that Lynda and I can go on a much-needed date.

If I do not succeed, I must provide an assortment of delicious, homemade baked goods for their exclusive enjoyment.

 Really, though, the not succeeding bit is only academic because there is no way I'm losing this bet. First, they think it's gonna be harder on me than it will be and B.) did you see the part about the "much-needed date?"

Seriously . . . it's needed, okay?

I'd walk through fire to get a babysitter these days.

But ANYWAY . . .

as I said at the beginning, my friends are overstating my "dependence" on Twitter. Sure, they've made noise this afternoon that I immediately tweeted a teaser to this post. But I'm only using the tools that are available to me. And I can quit anytime.

Just watch and see.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Tom Strikes Back: 80s Edition

As you certainly know by now, the following celebrities died in recent weeks:

Gary Coleman

Rue McClanahan

and Dennis Hopper.

Mr. Coleman was "Arnold," McClanahan was "Blanche," and Hopper was (to me at least) "Frank."

The saying goes that Hollywood deaths come in threes. My saying goes that Tom Cruise's intermittant anger can never be predicted accurately. He hasn't lashed out at anyone for many months. So many months that you might have been lulled into complacency and comfort.

But the events of recent days should serve as a warning to you to never truly let your guard down. Tom may act out at any time.

"But wait," you may say. "You always have a theory. Something that ties them all together. How can you possibly tie together the chld star of Diff'rent Strokes, Golden Girls, and Easy Rider/Apocolypse Now/Blue Velvet?"

Part of the answer is right there in front of you--Tom loved the '80s and so did these three actors . . . may they rest in peace. None of them had such cultural impact and widescale success as in the 1980s, including Mr. Cruise. Sure, Tom has done quite well for himself in the 1990s and early 2000s but we all know that without his success in the 1980s we would have a better chance of celebrating William Mapother right now than Katie Holmes' husband.

So, Tom wanted to clear out some of the 1980s competiton. (Are you changing the locks on your windows Mr. Hanks?) But just as important as that, Tom was experimenting with Method acting.

Let me explain.

We all know that Mr. Cruise has been nominated for Academy Awards in the past. And we also know that he has failed to win the golden statue. Furthermore, we know that his greatest cinematic success in the last few years has been the few minutes of screen time in which he portrayed foul-mouthed studio executive Les Grossman in the movie Tropic Thunder. He won such good will for that role, in which he submerged himself into a character so carefully--and with the aid of quality makeup and other cinematic prosthetics--that some people didn't even realize it was Cruise in the role.

This was a revelation to Tom.

You see, a common criticism of Cruise's undeniably successful films in the past was that no matter who he was playing, you always knew that it was Tom Cruise on the screen. But in the case of Les Grossman, he managed to establish some cinematic distance between himself and the audience. This was such an important discovery to Cruise that he began investigating Method acting. This style of acting preparation encourages the actor to give oneself completely to the character, submerging into the fiction both on and off set until the job is done. In this way, the actor can best understand the character and present a "realistic" performance that is cinematically authentic.

As a new proponent (and a bit untested in the style), Tom's Method needs some work. And it is due to this uncertainty that Stars of the 80s were punished.

For, you see, Tom Cruise resubmerged himself in the character of Les Grossman recently to perform commercial bits and promotional moments for the MTV Video Music Awards. To get back into character, he turned his mind over to the Grossman characteristics of extreme arrogance, foul-mouthed pomposity, and general bad dude. In this guise, Cruise's nature of personal uncertainty was combined with "Grossman's" arrogance into a volatile, murderous mix.

You've been warned.

Are you a cat person, or a dog person?

I am a cat person. When I was a kid, the only pet that was mine was a calico cat named Dutchess. However, the main pet of my childhood was my brother's pug dog named Shorty. His name came from his stub of a tail . . . which wasn't always so short and stubby.

You see, Shorty used to have a longer, curly tail. But after an unfortunate driveway incident (no . . . not THAT kind my lunch companions) in which my mom backed over Shorty's tail . . . well, it had to be amputated. And his tail was forever after a stub of a thing.

None of that has anything to do with my preference of cats over dogs. (All of the Shorty driveway incident happened either before I was born or when I was an infant.) I just happen to like cats over dogs, mostly because I think they are more self sufficient. Cats don't need to be walked, thought you do have to clean out their litter boxes for them.

I guess I just prefer
1.) indoor pets


2.) can curl up in your lap


3.) I think of "DOG" as a larger animal not suitable for lap curling. (Smallish lap dogs . . . I guess they should just be cats.)

So . . . I'm exposing all sorts of vital, critical information about my inner personality. And I'm sure to be alienating a wide swath of my loyal reading demographic in the process.

So, I'm sorry. But that's my answer.

Thanks for asking.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

The ban on texting while driving just passed. What kinds of things do you think should be banned? (serious or silly)

I don't like banning things--unless it is something like passing a law such as the texting while driving ban. That seems sensible and necessary. Most often in my experience, however, when I think of banning eforts it regards censorship of art or books. I remember when I was in college and we were reading "The Last Temptation of Christ" by Nikos Kazantzakas. This was around the same time that the Willem Dafoe movie was being banned by the Catholic Church. But I don't know if the work ever ended up denting the people that would have gone to see the movie in the first place. It seems that doing so doesn't truly stem the desire to do the thing being banned. Rather, it makes the thing being banned more desirable.

In recent years, I have heard about Banned Books Week (, where authors who have had their books banned by (most often conservative) protestors who find the book's content objectionable.

Because I follow a few authors via Twitter and YouTube, I've heard the arguments of banning from the point of view of those being banned. So, I suppose my opinion is one-sided. But . . . I'm not in favor of banning things. I do monitor the things that my children watch, because I feel that is my responsibility as a parent to them. But eventually they will grow up enough to make those content decisions for themselves. And in the meantime, I'm not in the business of telling other kids what they should or should not do. As a result, I don't work to ban books.

To hear an author's position on book banning--as well as the opinion of the official Nerdfighter wizard, read this blog post by YA author (and Nerdfighter) Maureen Johnson. She wrote this and posted the YouTube video a few years ago when participating in the Brotherhood 2.0 project with John and Hank Green. While the video might be a bit dated, the mysterious views of this Central Park wizard is more entertaining than anything I could write right now.

So, there is my answer.

Thanks for asking.

Friday, June 04, 2010

to know spoilers or not to know spoilers?

A good question.

Oddly enough, I have already provided an answer to it a few months ago.

You can read it via this link to Why Won't You Grow?!:

So, that's my (previously created) answer.

Thanks for asking.