Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Lust for Life

Today I'll be telling you all about the Happy/Party CD that Loopy sent me.

She starts off with Iggy Pop which is all good in my book. The song she chose, Lust for Life, I used to absolutely love, but the recent use of it for Carnival Cruise Lines has left me less than enamored with it. It's sad that a great song can be ruined by a commercial. Go here to watch a video of Iggy on the David Letterman Show. He apparently has issues with shirts, I don't think I've ever seen him in one! And I think the Iggster was pretty excited because he shook Dave's hand for a while at the end of the video.

Next up is Feel Good Inc. by Gorillaz. I'm liking this song a lot!!! And all I know about Gorillaz is that their videos are all cartoon-ish. It makes me dance in my seat. After reading the review of Demon Days (the album I think this song came from), I'm tempted to pick this CD up.

The third song is Karma by Alicia Keys. Normally I don't go for soul/R&B, but I enjoy this song. I like the opening sequence and she has an attractive voice. I think it's a bit hip-hop/rap-esque or at least there's a portion of the song where she reminds me of Eminem, and I actually like that part, as well as the chorus.

Loopy included another Jack Johnson song for me and it's good for getting more of a feel for his music. This time it was Mudfootball (for Moe Lerner) off his first album Brushfire Fairytales. This song is a tad reggae-ish, I think. It was smart of Loopy to include two songs of Jack's, as I'm more inclined to consider buying one of his albums after hearing two songs than if I just heard one.

Song #5 is an oldie, but goodie, at least in my world. Just Like Heaven by The Cure. The Cure, along with a number of 80s English New Wave bands, will instantly take me back to my college days.

I instantly loved song #6, mostly because of the singer's voice. I can definitely see me picking this CD up! The song is a little not overly adventurous lyrically, but I think this guy could sing the Yellow Pages and I'd like it. Oh, yeah, song is The Pied Piper. Oh sure, it's a guy from the 1960s. Bloody hell. Crispian St. Peters is the guy in question. Betcha the damn CD is out of print.

Loopy hits her Pop stride with the next few songs:

She Bop from Cyndi Lauper's She's So Unusual. A reminder that I need to pick this album up.

Billy Joel follows Cyndi and I hate to say that it's probably my least favorite Billy Joel song ever. In fact, the day I got these CDs, I was going out to Ann Arbor with Ursamajor and when it got to this song, Ursa expressed her dislike for the song and would I mind please turning it off. Not a problem. I think the song is tolerable but have trouble getting past the counting exercise with which the song opens. I try to remember to hit the Pass This Song Up button before I hear it.

Tracy Chapman is next with She's Got Her Ticket off her first album. Another reminder to put her CDs back into my rotation.

I know the next song in that I can sing along and know all inflections, but couldn't have told you who sang it or the name of it. No Myth by Michael Penn. Damn, is everybody in that family talented? Although this song doesn't make me race out to buy the CD, the reviews at make me consider picking his stuff up. Gotta ask my music friends what they think.

Freedom by Wham! has me tapping my feet and wondering why I haven't picked up one of their CDs before. Another take me back to my college days band!

The Gentleman Who Fell by Milla Jovovich follows George Michael. I wonder if Loopy was trying to say something here. ;-) The reviews at are quite favorable and I would have to say that Milla's style fits in with the style of female performers I prefer.

Woohoo!!! She included Erasure. I love this band! I have a number of CDs by them and if I hear an Erasure song in a bar, I'll be on the dance floor in about a millisecond. They just make me dance. A Little Respect is all good in my book. And when in the car listening to this CD, I will sing every single solitary time!!! I think Andy Bell sings in my key! ;-)

Superdrag follows the extremely pop-synth duo with Sucked Out. I definitely knew this song which is good in my book since I haven't listened to any sort of popular radio in years. I like the song.

I'm completely in love with the next song. It makes me laugh, but I'd say it's also sing-along-able as well as danceable. I'm torn between this song and The Pied Piper as my favorite song on this CD. The song is Coin Operated Boy by Dresden Dolls. I'm definitely looking into getting a CD of theirs.

Loopy can definitely make me CDs anytime she wants to as the next song is by The Dead Milkmen. I actually have the song Punk Rock Girl on my Left of the Dial: Dispatches from the 80's Underground box set. Another sing-along and dancing song! LOVE IT!!!

OAR (Of The Revolution) is next up singing their song Night Shift. Another song which would induce me to dance. Of course, any song that includes the words "I want to go bed" works for me as I'm always tired!

I've heard of Ben Folds many times usually with the word "Five" following, but have never really been sure who or what Ben Folds was, so I'm glad Loopy included the song Army although I think it is Ben Folds Five doing this one and not just Ben Folds. Either way I want the album The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner just for the title alone! I have a number of books about/by Reinhold Messner who was the first man to climb Everest without oxygen. Back to the song, Army, any song that includes a reference to Chik-Fil-A is right up my alley!

There's zero information at on the next band, Girlyman. The pictures of the album look like they're from the 60s, but it's apparently from 2003. I liked Postcards from Mexico. Catchy tune and lyrics.

And last, but not least, my first The Flaming Lips song, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. I'm sure a number of my friends have a CD of The Flaming Lips I can borrow. I liked this song and the style, but for some reason I remember others of their songs not appealing, so either my musical tastes have grown up or I just liked this song even though it's not really danceable.

All in all, I would say that Loopy is either very good at CD mixes or we have very similar musical tastes (guess we'll find this out if she reviews the CDs I just sent her). And I hope people are clicking the links since I spent a boatload of time finding them and HTMLing all over the place!!!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

At This Point In My Life

I took pics of the kids this weekend. Clarity has kindly agreed to draw them for me, so I had to get some pics for her. Unfortunately, cats aren't the best for portrait sitting. Many of the best pics (or would have been best pics) were all blurry because the little buggers just can't sit still. And I didn't realise the work digital camera had a flash which would have been really helpful when taking pics of Igor (all black cat). So, for your sufferance, here are the kids:

Boris - it's a little blurry, but he's just so damn cute, I had to include it.

Boris sitting in the bathroom window:

Boris sitting in the bathroom doorway:

Igor standing on my exercise mat (thought the color contrast might show off his cute six-toed paws).

Igor standing in the bathroom doorway.

Friday, May 26, 2006

I'm getting political....but I think it's important.

Top 10 Signs of the Impending U.S. Police State
By Allan Uthman, Buffalo Beast. Posted May 26, 2006.

From secret detention centers to warrantless wiretapping, Bush and Co. give free rein to their totalitarian impulses.

Is the U.S. becoming a police state? Here are the top 10 signs that it may well be the case.

1. The Internet Clampdown

One saving grace of alternative media in this age of unfettered corporate conglomeration has been the internet. While the masses are spoon-fed predigested news on TV and in mainstream print publications, the truth-seeking individual still has access to a broad array of investigative reporting and political opinion via the world-wide web. Of course, it was only a matter of time before the government moved to patch up this crack in the sky.

Attempts to regulate and filter internet content are intensifying lately, coming both from telecommunications corporations (who are gearing up to pass legislation transferring ownership and regulation of the internet to themselves), and the Pentagon (which issued an "Information Operations Roadmap" in 2003, signed by Donald Rumsfeld, which outlines tactics such as network attacks and acknowledges, without suggesting a remedy, that US propaganda planted in other countries has easily found its way to Americans via the internet). One obvious tactic clearing the way for stifling regulation of internet content is the growing media frenzy over child pornography and "internet predators," which will surely lead to legislation that by far exceeds in its purview what is needed to fight such threats.

2. "The Long War"

This little piece of clumsy marketing died off quickly, but it gave away what many already suspected: the War on Terror will never end, nor is it meant to end. It is designed to be perpetual. As with the War on Drugs, it outlines a goal that can never be fully attained -- as long as there are pissed off people and explosives. The Long War will eternally justify what are ostensibly temporary measures: suspension of civil liberties, military expansion, domestic spying, massive deficit spending and the like. This short-lived moniker told us all, "get used to it. Things aren't going to change any time soon."


Did anyone really think this was going to be temporary? Yes, this disgusting power grab gives the government the right to sneak into your house, look through all your stuff and not tell you about it for weeks on a rubber stamp warrant. Yes, they can look at your medical records and library selections. Yes, they can pass along any information they find without probable cause for purposes of prosecution. No, they're not going to take it back, ever.

4. Prison Camps

This last January the Army Corps of Engineers gave Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root nearly $400 million to build detention centers in the United States, for the purpose of unspecified "new programs." Of course, the obvious first guess would be that these new programs might involve rounding up Muslims or political dissenters -- I mean, obviously detention facilities are there to hold somebody. I wish I had more to tell you about this, but it's, you know... secret.

5. Touchscreen Voting Machines

Despite clear, copious evidence that these nefarious contraptions are built to be tampered with, they continue to spread and dominate the voting landscape, thanks to Bush's "Help America Vote Act," the exploitation of corrupt elections officials, and the general public's enduring cluelessness.

In Utah, Emery County Elections Director Bruce Funk witnessed security testing by an outside firm on Diebold voting machines which showed them to be a security risk. But his warnings fell on deaf ears. Instead Diebold attorneys were flown to Emery County on the governor's airplane to squelch the story. Funk was fired. In Florida, Leon County Supervisor of Elections Ion Sancho discovered an alarming security flaw in their Diebold system at the end of last year. Rather than fix the flaw, Diebold refused to fulfill its contract. Both of the other two touchscreen voting machine vendors, Sequoia and ES&S, now refuse to do business with Sancho, who is required by HAVA to implement a touchscreen system and will be sued by his own state if he doesn't. Diebold is said to be pressuring for Sancho's ouster before it will resume servicing the county.

Stories like these and much worse abound, and yet TV news outlets have done less coverage of the new era of elections fraud than even 9/11 conspiracy theories. This is possibly the most important story of this century, but nobody seems to give a damn. As long as this issue is ignored, real American democracy will remain an illusion. The midterm elections will be an interesting test of the public's continuing gullibility about voting integrity, especially if the Democrats don't win substantial gains, as they almost surely will if everything is kosher.

Bush just suggested that his brother Jeb would make a good president. We really need to fix this problem soon.

6. Signing Statements

Bush has famously never vetoed a bill. This is because he prefers to simply nullify laws he doesn't like with "signing statements." Bush has issued over 700 such statements, twice as many as all previous presidents combined. A few examples of recently passed laws and their corresponding dismissals, courtesy of the Boston Globe:

--Dec. 30, 2005: US interrogators cannot torture prisoners or otherwise subject them to cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment.

Bush's signing statement: The president, as commander in chief, can waive the torture ban if he decides that harsh interrogation techniques will assist in preventing terrorist attacks.

--Dec. 30, 2005: When requested, scientific information ''prepared by government researchers and scientists shall be transmitted [to Congress] uncensored and without delay."

Bush's signing statement: The president can tell researchers to withhold any information from Congress if he decides its disclosure could impair foreign relations, national security, or the workings of the executive branch.

--Dec. 23, 2004: Forbids US troops in Colombia from participating in any combat against rebels, except in cases of self-defense. Caps the number of US troops allowed in Colombia at 800.

Bush's signing statement: Only the president, as commander in chief, can place restrictions on the use of US armed forces, so the executive branch will construe the law ''as advisory in nature."

Essentially, this administration is bypassing the judiciary and deciding for itself whether laws are constitutional or not. Somehow, I don't see the new Supreme Court lineup having much of a problem with that, though. So no matter what laws congress passes, Bush will simply choose to ignore the ones he doesn't care for. It's much quieter than a veto, and can't be overridden by a two-thirds majority. It's also totally absurd.

7. Warrantless Wiretapping

Amazingly, the GOP sees this issue as a plus for them. How can this be? What are you, stupid? You find out the government is listening to the phone calls of US citizens, without even the weakest of judicial oversight and you think that's okay? Come on -- if you know anything about history, you know that no government can be trusted to handle something like this responsibly. One day they're listening for Osama, and the next they're listening in on Howard Dean.

Think about it: this administration hates unauthorized leaks. With no judicial oversight, why on earth wouldn't they eavesdrop on, say, Seymour Hersh, to figure out who's spilling the beans? It's a no-brainer. Speaking of which, it bears repeating: terrorists already knew we would try to spy on them. They don't care if we have a warrant or not. But you should.

8. Free Speech Zones

I know it's old news, but... come on, are they fucking serious?

9. High-ranking Whistleblowers

Army Generals. Top-level CIA officials. NSA operatives. White House cabinet members. These are the kind of people that Republicans fantasize about being, and whose judgment they usually respect. But for some reason, when these people resign in protest and criticize the Bush administration en masse, they are cast as traitorous, anti-American publicity hounds. Ridiculous. The fact is, when people who kill, spy and deceive for a living tell you that the White House has gone too far, you had damn well better pay attention. We all know most of these people are staunch Republicans. If the entire military except for the two guys the Pentagon put in front of the press wants Rumsfeld out, why on earth wouldn't you listen?

10. The CIA Shakeup

Was Porter Goss fired because he was resisting the efforts of Rumsfeld or Negroponte? No. These appointments all come from the same guys, and they wouldn't be nominated if they weren't on board all the way. Goss was probably canned so abruptly due to a scandal involving a crooked defense contractor, his hand-picked third-in-command, the Watergate hotel and some hookers.

If Bush's nominee for CIA chief, Air Force General Michael Hayden, is confirmed, that will put every spy program in Washington under military control. Hayden, who oversaw the NSA warrantless wiretapping program and is clearly down with the program. That program? To weaken and dismantle or at least neuter the CIA. Despite its best efforts to blame the CIA for "intelligence errors" leading to the Iraq war, the picture has clearly emerged -- through extensive CIA leaks -- that the White House's analysis of Saddam's destructive capacity was not shared by the Agency. This has proved to be a real pain in the ass for Bush and the gang.

Who'd have thought that career spooks would have moral qualms about deceiving the American people? And what is a president to do about it? Simple: make the critical agents leave, and fill their slots with Bush/Cheney loyalists. Then again, why not simply replace the entire organization? That is essentially what both Rumsfeld at the DoD and newly minted Director of National Intelligence John are doing -- they want to move intelligence analysis into the hands of people that they can control, so the next time they lie about an "imminent threat" nobody's going to tell. And the press is applauding the move as a "necessary reform."

Remember the good old days, when the CIA were the bad guys?

Found here.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Justice is Served (as much as it's going to be)


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Paul Newman

I adore Paul Newman. The first part was not that interesting, but read through to the end to get my feelings about Champ Car & the IRL explained better than I can do it w/o getting hot under the collar.


The Lovely Loopy sent me a couple of CDs a few months back and I thought it was time I did a little musical rundown of what she sent me. Right now I'm listening to the Mellow Mix. She very sweetly put Jack Johnson on both CDs (the other is a Happy Mix), as I had mentioned at some point that I had no clue who he was.

First song is Traffic in the Sky by Jack Johnson and I have to say that I quite liked it and flowed quite well into the next song which was Second Skin by the Chameleons UK (who wrote one of my favorite dancing songs, Swamp Thing). The review of Second Skin (linked above) makes me want to break out my only Teardrop Explodes CD and see if I can understand what they're saying. Wonder if Script from the Bridge is still available on CD.

Second Skin isn't as much a dancing song, but I quite like it, and I'm sure I could end up dancing to it at some point. For the record, danceability is mostly how I judge a song. Kind of like Dance Fever judges, if it has a good beat and I can dance to it, it's all good. I should confess though that I can dance to things that would make most people say, "Huh?" Anybody who gets my CDs will probably do that a few dozen times. What can I say? I'm weird. And songs that most people go bonkers for at weddings and whatnot leave me standing there saying, "How the hell am I supposed to dance to this?" Word of warning! ;-)

The Chameleons song is over 7 minutes long, and that's all good in my book. When GtG and I were working on my mixed CDs, he would just shake his head at me as I would almost inevitably have picked the longest song (or very close to the longest song) of every CD.

Ah, finally, track 3. Let Me Touch You For Awhile by Allison Krauss – It starts out very prettily with what I think are fairly gentle guitar chords. She has a pretty voice and at times reminds me of Tori Amos (one of my favorites). One of those female singers that makes me ask the question "Why isn't she bigger? Yet another female with a better voice than Sheryl Crow." (I'll stop now as that little tidbit will put me over the edge as I can't stand Sheryl Crow.) Allison has a country tinge at some points, but it's working for me.

The Indigo Girls followed Ms. Krauss and it made me realise that I probably need to pick up an Indigo Girls CD. The song Loopy included was Mystery which I don’t think I had heard before, but it was quite nice and again went very well with the previous song.

Everything But The Girl. This makes me think I should have included a Dead Can Dance song on my CDs – yeah, I know the only thing they have in common is that the core is one man/one woman, but it works for me. Anyway, Mirrorball, the title of the song, makes me think of that damn Steve Miller Band song, Abracadabra (if you've ever seen the video, you'll understand), but thankfully sounds nothing like it! Sorry, Smed. I know you love SMB, but I just don't share that feeling.

Ooooh, loving the next song, Monday Morning 5.19 by Rialto. Rialto sounds like an 80s band that I somehow missed. I could definitely dance to this song!

I've never heard of this next band, Guster, but I have to say that Loopy did a fine job. I'm liking the song, Fa Fa, thankfully they don't sing Fa Fa Fa Fa too much, although I think they could have chosen the second half of the refrain "Never Be The Same Again" as the title instead. If I had any sort of musical training, I could say something about the bass vs the guitar, etc., but I don't, so the extent of my criticism is pretty much, "I liked it." "I could live w/o ever hearing this song again." "I can dance to this." Or the highest compliment ever, "I MUST dance." In this case – I liked it.

Somehow Loopy found a Tori song that I don't have which means I'm missing a CD. Must do some investigating. Hmmmm, I thought I had this CD. Song #8 is Purple People by Tori Amos. It has everything for which a Tori song is famous – off-kilter lyrics, her fabulous voice and beautiful music with her piano playing.

Gov't Mule follows Tori with their song Beautifully Broken. I had never heard of Gov't Mule until 3 or so years ago when they were playing at the Majestic (where Harry Houdini performed his last show) and the line was a mile long. YS and I were going to see The Proclaimers at The Magic Stick. I'm thinking this song might not be indicative of their sound, in general, just judging from the crowd that night, but I think that I might like their non-mellow stuff (assuming here, obviously). Not a song that would make me run for the dance floor, but it does make me tap my foot. Some interesting guitar work, and it didn't feel like a 6 minute song.

Liking the guy's voice on the next song (Luna's Moon Palace) and although I don't see it making me race for the dance floor, I can see me staying out there if it came on.

"Gorgeously melancholic" is how AMG All Music Guide described the next song, and I have to say that it fits. The song is Deathly by Aimee Mann (lead singer of Til Tuesday). The review of the first record it was on, Magnolia (a soundtrack apparently for a movie of the same name), makes me want to pick the album up. I'm too much of a Joy Division fan not to enjoy a melancholic song.

Song #12 is by Maroon 5, a band I've heard of, but couldn't name a song if you paid me $1million. Oh, the song is She Will Be Loved. This song does nothing for me. I don't hate it, but I don't see me calling up my favorite CD store and asking them to save me a copy. The more it goes on, the more it's growing on me, but I still don't see me picking it up, although I'm sure at some point I'll end up singing along after I've listened to it enough.

Melissa Etheridge is one of those female singers who I think deserve Grammys over Ms. Nasally Singing Crow. What a fabulous voice she has! The Letting Go is the song Loopy chose and I have to say What a good choice! I have two Melissa CDs, but not the one this song is on. I might have to contemplate it.

Next up is Ray Lamontagne and his song Shelter. I had never heard of him before and since according to the All Music Guide he only has one album out in 2004, I wonder how Loopy found him. AMG also compared him to a slightly huskier (singing voice) Tim Buckley. I'd say that's not damning with faint praise. I'm intrigued by this one.

Ah, Tracy Chapman. Another female singing who gets the short shrift in my opinion. Love her voice. Loopy picked At This Point In My Life from New Beginning, a CD I have. I haven't listened in a while, so this will be a good kick in the pants to break it out.

Next up, R.E.M. with Find The River from Automatic for the People. I used to be a HUGE R.E.M. fan, but I've gotten away from them over the past ten years or so. I started losing my love of them with Out of Time, but I did like Automatic for the People and this song is a good representation, I think. I have Monster and Adventures in Hi-Fi, but never loved them like I loved their early stuff, so haven't invested in their newer records.

Last song is by Radiohead from their OK Computer CD. Massive confession time: I just can't get into this band. I've tried a number of times and I just can't do it. My friend AS when he still lived here in MI would lend me CDs from different bands and generally, I loved them so much I would go out and buy my own copies (See Jeff Buckley, Nick Drake and The Dears), but this is one band and one CD that did not suck me in. I think the problem is the lead singer's voice. It's like fingernails on a chalkboard for me.

One of the things I liked best about this CD is that for the most part Loopy didn't pick the "hits" by the artist, but something else to show more of the depth of each artist. I found myself doing the same thing when picking the songs for my CDs as I figure why pick the hit as most people will know that song. Give them something else that might induce them to pick up the CD for themselves.

The Happy Mix CD will be analysed at a later date. All that linking has tired me out! Time for a nap!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Sugar & Stress

First things first, someone please tell me that getting shat upon by a bird is a sign of good luck, in some culture!!! I was walking home from work on Friday, taking my usual route, the same route I've been walking for about five years when out of the blue I got splatted. I was not pleased. My walk is a whopping 13 minutes with 7 of that inside, and probably 3 minutes outside until I reach the point where I got attacked. The last two minutes of that walk seemed to last a lifetime as I contemplated the mess on my shoulder and sleeve. And then when I got home, I discovered that the bulk of it was down my back. I was pleased. I was thankful, however, that I was wearing a windbreaker-type-esque jacket, so I was able to wipe it down. YUK!!!

I thought I was going to do laundry yesterday afternoon, but I was sadly mistaken. I got downstairs with my laundry and quarters to see the machine unplugged. I still had to walk across the room to see what was up. Yup, sign on the machine saying Out of Order. DAMMIT!!!! I called Schneider to see what was up, but he never called back. I hope it's fixed soon! I despise having to take my laundry elsewhere to get it done!

I finally got around to making the CDs I've been talking about. Actually, I made two different mixed CDs with a third one possibly being done today (I had a lot of songs picked out that I simply MUST include). It took a while to copy six of each version. I was at GtG's as he knew how to do it and had the software and hardware to do the work. I was there until 1:00 a.m., so everybody who is getting CDs from me, go there and thank him for the help, because otherwise, it would have been all talk and no action on the CDs!

After work today I'm heading over to the conference center because Katherine Legge is going to be there. I've registered for the event and even sent in two questions. At first I thought it was going to be a small event, just this Women in Business group, but then the VP sent the invitation to all Michigan employees. DARN!!! Still, I think it'll be interesting to see who shows up, how many people show up, and how many actually have watched her race. And maybe I'll have a chance to ask more questions than the one I sent in when I registered. There was only space for ONE question and that didn't make me happy! HRH wants me to buddy up to her, so that we can get a tour of PKV Racing next weekend in Milwaukee (not this coming weekend, but the first weekend of June).

My weekend was darn near perfect! Friday was hanging out with GtG, BST and AM while downloading music and making CDs. My goal going in to the weekend was not to leave my apt. on Saturday (had to make up for last weekend when I had ZERO time to myself) and I succeeded! I should have attempted to do laundry on Saturday, but just didn't have the wherewithal to put forth that much energy. I watched my new obsession all day long while making rosaries and knitting. Sunday was Mass (another 2 hours, it's ticking me off) and then I went home and watched the Atlantics race from Houston which had been broadcast at 3:00 a.m. and then I hunkered down for the Champ Car race from Monterrey, Mexico. It was a good race between the reigning two-time champion and the RuSport team. I like Sebastien Bourdais, the champ, but I was rooting for Justin Wilson. SeaBass won the first two races of the season and I thought a new winner (qualification: one I like) would have been nice, but SeaBass drove a brilliant race and his team gave him a lightning fast pit stop for his last stop which got him out in front of Justin. It's hard to beat the Newman-Haas team when it comes to pit stops! It happens, but not very often.

Sunday evening I had a party to attend for GtG's 40th birthday. As he's pretty much the best person most of us know there was a good turnout and we had four full tables of at least 8 people. The food was excellent, as it always is at "good Italian." They have bread to die for. Ooooh, it's soo good! Our table made short work of our multiple baskets and then just eyed another table's as they had a full one! A full basket of bread just sitting there!!! Guess they were all on Atkins or something! Sad, oh so sad!!! OOH! We got gift bags!!! I have never gotten a gift bag at a party, so it was very exciting! The best part (besides the kaleidoscope-y thing) was that everybody else gave me their Pixie Stix!! Woohoo!!! Sugar high here I come! The boys bags held army guys (I was a little jealous) and Michigan-legal fireworks. The girls bags came with pink plastic cups, a pink pen and silly putty (mine is red and came in an apple). Both bags held the kaleidoscope-y thing, a superball and candy. So fun! I know you're all jealous of my Pixie Stix!

I'll tell you all about the Katherine Legge event tomorrow! I'm pretty darn geeked about it. When the e-mail came out, I had one co-worker immediately forward it to me asking if I were going and then a few moments later, my brother did the same thing. I told them both the same thing – I had already registered! And earlier a co-worker stopped by to rub it in that he had been at the race this past weekend as he is a Champ Car official and had the responsibility of watching Katherine's pits this weekend watching for infractions, etc. He's going to be there as well! We're such Champ Car Geeks!!! And proud of it!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Hate The Sound of Rain

Mr. Schprock participated in wordnerd's Alphabet Soup game. Premise: wordnerd gave Schprockie a letter and Schprockie had to come up with ten words from that letter and a brief description of that word. I decided to play along and the Keeper of the Schprock Report gave me "L." If you want to play along, let me know in the comments and I'll give you your very own letter.

Lollipop – For some reason this is the word that pops into my head when I go to spell my last name. My last name is enough of a pain that when asked for it, I don't say it first, I just start to spell, because people get an idea in their head and they start writing it down and invariably they'll get it wrong. One day when I was living in SF I had called my doctor's office for some reason and had to spell my last name for the brain trust on the other end. I was doing the whole N is for Nancy, etc. and got to L and said "L is for Lollipop." The woman on the other end of the phone said, "O is for Lollipop." ??????? That was the most painful spelling of my last name ever!!! Besides the fact that O wouldn't fit into my last name there anyway, since when does Lollipop start with an "O?"

Londo - This is for my newest obsession, Babylon 5. Londo (SPOILER! First paragraph is safe as is pic, but if you don't want to ruin B5, just in case, you decide it's interesting enough to put in your Netflix queue, don't go further.) is the first name of the Centauri ambassador to Babylon 5 who is not necessarily how he appears in the first season. (Why do all the B5 websites have to use frames??? What a PITA! I'm trying to link to a pic of Londo. Thank God for wikipedia.) I despair of Londo in the third season which I'm going to finish watching this weekend. Oh, maybe I should explain more about B5. Although it's technically a sci-fi show, it's more character driven than sci-fi driven, but there's enough technology crap to excite the biggest sci-fi techno-geek, which, trust me, is not me. MW harassed me for months before I finally agreed to try it out, and I have to admit that he was right about it. There's social commentary about our world now and in the past included and it is fascinating to see the WWII references, as well as things that are happening today in our country.

Lupul - Joffrey Lupul was a rookie in the NHL 2003-2004 season. He was fairly highly touted in the pre-season fantasy magazines and he was one of those surprise picks for which GtG and DWD are famous in our hockey pool. He plays for the Mighty Ducks who will be playing in the Western Conference Finals against Edmonton. I will not say for whom I am rooting since every team I've wanted so far is done. I shall not jinx the team!

Lorax - For me, any book like The Lorax which attempts to teach children the idea of protecting the environment is all good. Too bad people lose that message as they get older and think they're smarter.

Lap - One of my greatest joys is having my cat or cats sitting on my lap. Igor is the premier lap sitter of all cats, but Boris is finally catching on to the joy of sitting on The Woman Who Feeds Me's lap. Igor isn't very good about sharing, however, so occasionally I have to teach him that if Boris is there first, deal with it, sitting next to me is almost as good. On a really good day, both of them sit on my lap purring away. One of these days I'm going to take some digital pics of them and make you all suffer. In fact, today is the day 3 years ago that I picked up my darlings from the Dearborn Animal Shelter. I was still broken-hearted over losing my Tikal the week before, but whereas some people need to take a break from having animals to get over the loss, I found it extremely hard going home as I knew there was no little furry butt awaiting me on the other side of the door. I was also pushed by a woman at work who volunteered at the animal shelter, because there were two cats (siblings) there to whom she had become attached and really wanted to find a home for them. I ended up not taking them home (well, I took one, but it was an accident because I didn’t want to split siblings up). Anyway, they made coming home much more enjoyable and still do, the big sillies.

Lariat - Nothing special comes to mind re: this word, it's just one of the first ten that popped into my head. And it's fun to say!

Lindy - There are a variety of things that come to mind when I hear this word. One: dance from the 20s. Two: Lindy Ruff, coach for the Buffalo Sabres, who are in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Carolina Hurricanes. I'm ambivalent about this match-up as I have a player from each on my playoff pool team. Lindy was also the name of one of my managers when I worked at Burger King 75 years ago.

Lackadaisical - Another word that is just fun to say, but rarely used in everyday conversation. I think we should all attempt to be less lackadaisical in our vocabulary and try to insert this word whenever possible, be it blogs, diaries or conversations with the boss.

Life - I could get all esoteric and try to define the meaning of life, but as I don’t have a clue what it is, I'll just that it's not fair or easy, but can be fun, exciting, boring, etc. I think to a certain point, it is what you make it. There are times when it takes over and seems completely out of your control, but in the end I think it happens the way it's supposed.

Lambaste - Let it roll off your tongue, and then tell me it's not better than "scold sharply."

There ya go, my ten "L" words. Don't forget to let me know if you want to play along!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

This Corrosion

As regular readers know I've been going through my CD collection in an effort to find those perfects songs with which to make a mixed CD for friends. This morning I remember that one of my all time favorites songs is Madam Butterfly by Malcolm McLaren, so I grabbed it from its place in my CD collection (alphabetical, of course) to listen to at work. I'm keeping track of how long each song is, so if I ever figure out how long a CD is, I'll know if I have too many songs or whatever. I knew I was putting it on the Atmospheric/Mellow/Not Angry CD, that was a given. I haven't listened to the CD in forever, so even though Madam Butterfly is the first song of the Fans album, I decided to listen to the whole CD because I remembered it as being completely sucky and I wanted to see if my opinion had changed. It hadn't. The only decent song is Madam Butterfly. The rest of the album sucks so badly it's mind-boggling. As the review at points out, "Look for the 12" single instead." Too true! What a complete waste of effort the other six or so songs are.

Fun House

The whack job in SF about whom I posted last week has taken the witness stand in her own defense. The second paragraph alone is worth the price of admission. She should have pleaded not guilty by virtue of insanity, not self defense.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

It's A Small World After All

I had a It's A Small World episode this weekend which I feel the need to share with you. Saturday night, as you know if you read yesterday's entry, was the Farmington Community Chorus Spring Concert. I got there before Mom and YS, so sat and read my book (Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys which I'm loving) until I saw YS walking past. Mom was in line already so I went and found her. YS joined us a few moments later and Mom decided that she should use the Ladies before the 2 hour concert. Minutes later the doors to the auditorium opened to allow the crowd in, and that's when I realised that Mom hadn't given me my ticket. YS went in to save seats while I waited for Mom to come back. She said she remembered she had my ticket as she walked away. No biggie. Mom hands me my ticket and I went to enter the Performing Arts Center and saw a woman I knew from YS's friend who is in the chorus and who is usually in the chorus herself. I even said to her, "Hey, why aren't you singing?" Graduate school was the response.

We watched the concert and enjoyed our usual criticisms of the hair and make-up (there are clowns who wear less make-up), as well as the singing (we didn't criticize the singing, we simply enjoyed the singing). Afterwards we hung around chatting with people we see once or twice a year. The woman from before walked up at one point and I asked her, "Did you knit that sweater?" She was wearing a very fabulous purple cardigan type sweater. She looked surprised and said, "Yes, how did you know?" "I knit, too." She then looked at me and said, "Do I know you?" I was taken aback and said, "Karen, I'm YS's sister. She's a friend of Chris." And gestured to YS standing a few feet away. "Oh, I'm sorry! Of course. My brain is so fried from graduate school." We laughed and then continued our knitting conversation, me mostly telling her about The Greatest Yarn Store In The World and her telling me how this was actually her second sweater and she gets compliments all the time. She said the sweater was incredibly easy to knit and that she would send me the pattern. After more discussion, we exchanged e-mail addresses. She said, "Mine's" I looked at her quizzically and finally asked, "Are you related to John Jones?" "Yeah, he's my brother." "The John Jones that went to U of M-Dearborn?" "Yes." The funny thing is that I've heard her last name before (and for the record, it's not Jones) and it just never clicked with me. I had jury duty a number of years ago in my city and had run into John there where we caught up on 15+ years of life.

When I got home, the first thing I did was send her the latest newsletter from The Greatest Yarn Store In The World. I'm still waiting on the pattern, but have high hopes that I do this. YS had asked Karen to make her one, and Karen said, "Your sister will make you one." I saw the look on YS's face which said, "Yeah, right." And I said, "She doesn't think I can do it." And the thing is? She didn't deny it. So, I'm bound and determined to make one – for myself. And if it's easy enough, one for Mom. And there ya go, my small world story.

And no, I'm not actually listening to "It's a Small World After All," I'm listening to The Stooges.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Something Wild

Last week was an exhausted week. I didn't do anything in particular, I was just damn tired all week long. I finally figured out that it's probably due to my allergies, which made me oh so happy because essentially there's nothing I can do about it. Yay!

I didn't go to the funeral for Javon on Saturday morning as I was just so bloody tired. Mom represented, though, so it was all good. She was weirded out by the kids taking pics of Javon in his casket with their cell phones. Mom's old school.

Other than Saturday for two hours, I had ZERO time to myself this past weekend. Friday was the symphony and it was lovely. The first piece was extremely interesting, Britannia by James MacMillan who also conducted that evening. Hmm, according to his bio, his present contract end Sept. 2006 which would make him available for the DSO's position. I liked his conducting style and have to admit that listening to a Scotsman talk is never a problem for me! His hair on Friday night was MUCH longer than the picture shown at his bio page. The Mozart was Mozart. The Elgar was quite enjoyable, so I might need to pick it up.

Saturday I had a b-day party for a 1-year-old to attend. It was a lovely party with a ton of food. Unfortunately (for my aching joints), it was held outside which meant the garage since it was raining. It was cold and rainy and miserable, but it was nice to stand and chat with the friends who were there. This whole getting old thing sucks though. After standing for a couple of hours, I went to go into the house and say Good-bye and found my joints a little tight and unwilling to work. I couldn't wait to get in my car and crank the heat. I hope the birthday girl enjoyed her new books as I had to leave for the sake of my knees before they got that far.

Saturday night was the Farmington Community Chorus' Spring Concert. A friend sings with the chorus and I've been going with Mom and YS for a number of years, although I seem to miss the Spring Concert on occasion. It's always worth the time and effort as they are quite fun to watch and listen to.

Attending the concert meant, however, missing the Champ Car race from Houston. I taped it, but haven't had a chance to watch it yet as yesterday was Mother's Day. First was Mass with Mom, YS, Shortstuff and Shortstuff's husband. Mass was painful in that it lasted TWO AND A HALF HOURS!!!!! Anybody who is Catholic knows that Mass is supposed to be an HOUR!!! It was insane. Then we went to brunch with Shortstuff and Hubby (Mom and me). YS had things to do. Then it was time to go to the OS's for pizza and salad in honor of Mother's Day. We also had an ice cream social and I ate too much ice cream with toppings (hot fudge, hot caramel, marshmallow crème, and Heath bar topping. Tonight I'm eating asparagus! I got home around 8:00 p.m. and went promptly to bed and to sleep. I spent the entire day with Mom and she didn't annoy me, except when she insisted on using the word "awesome" three times. It just sounded wrong coming out of her mouth. Besides that the scarf I gave her wasn't really "awesome" at all. It was exceptionally soft and pretty, but awesome was not really accurate, and since I made it I think I would know.


You Are 32% Vain

Okay, so you're slightly vain from time to time, but you're not superficial at all.
You are realistic. You know that looks matter. You just try to make them matter less.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

All Day

I can't imagine that many of you are following the Polk murder trial out in the SF Bay area, but it's worth reading the daily news articles just to see her latest insanity. Synopsis: Susan Polk is on trial for murdering her husband. She initially denied it, but now admits that she killed him in self-defense. Her first trial ended in mistrial (or something) because her lawyer's wife was murdered in the beginning days of the trial. The articles usually make me shake my head in disbelief as she is now representing herself. And no, she has no law experience whatsoever. I think the prosecuting attorney is going to need a year-long vacation after dealing with this case or detox because I think I'd be drinking in court if I were him. Go read today's latest debacle. She might not be guilty, but she sure is a nutjob fruitcake!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Zombie Birdhouse

Life sucks so badly sometimes. At church this morning, I thought about Hattie. Hattie was an 86-year-old woman with blue hair (literally). Just before we merged last year we all found out that Hattie had mouth cancer. Since then she's been staying with her son in BFE going to treatment. I was going to ask Fr. after Mass what news he had of Hattie. Then at the Prayers of the Faithful, Cherrell prayed for "Hattie who had died Tuesday." And then Joi prayed for Javon who had died of natural causes at the age of 23. And then Bill prayed for Hattie again. At the Kiss of Peace, I hugged everybody who means so much to me that much more closer as I cried for Hattie. I cried all my mascara away as I thought about how at the end of every Kiss of Peace at the old church she would attack Lee (4 years old) and say, "Gotcha" and tickle him. It always made everybody smile because Hattie was so deaf that she couldn't hear that the Lamb of God had started. The whole church could hear Lee giggling and Hattie giggling with him as she "got him."

I guess I feel so devastated for a couple of reasons. One because I haven't asked Fr. about Hattie in some months. I just kept expecting her to be back one day and I thought she'd back in the house in Detroit cutting her grass and the neighbor's who were too lazy to do it themselves. Two because she was so special. She bowled with the church league up until last year and did readings and was just a cool woman.

So, tomorrow, I'll leave work at 8:30, pick up Cherrell and then John and then head up to friggin' Keego Harbor to say good-bye to an extra special woman. And then on Saturday morning I'll drive to Highland Park and say good-bye to a young man who didn't get to make his mark on the world.

Live each day to the fullest. Or as Clarity would say, Carpe diem.

Friday, May 05, 2006

The Boy with The Gun

For those of you who write at diaryland, blogger sends me an e-mail when I get a comment and instead of just telling me that I have a comment, like diaryland, it gives me the comment. Well, I read two last night before I went to bed which essentially stated I was boring. I thought that Scott and MW (he's all locked and shy, so I won't bother linking to him) were telling me that my really long not-quite-three paragraph post yesterday was a snoozer, so I went to sleep all stressed out about my lack of interesting life. This morning I checked in at my blog and saw that they had been commenting on my Grand Prix post. Could I be more paranoid? Of course, this isn't to say that they didn't think the other post was boring, they're just much too polite to tell me so, well, Scott, at least. ;-)

Tonight is DSO night. My friend Jim had asked to go since his birthday is Saturday, but his mom is going away for the weekend and wanted to see him tonight so he bailed on me. Instead I'm going to take my friend's son, the same one I took last year. He's very very excited. I think the program might not be that exciting as they're doing Mozart, Symphony #38 and some Chopin which while pleasant might not keep us from fidgeting in our seats. I have high hopes for the showcase piece, the Concerto for Orchestra by Lutoslawski. When I lived in SF I would dread the modern pieces because the SFSO always picked the crap of the bunch, if it weren't dissonant they wouldn't play it. I do have to say though that the modern crap was usually first and therefore short, so we would just have to suffer through ten minutes or so, but let me tell you when you're stuck listening to "music" that is "repetitive and clangorous" that ten minutes can feel like a lifetime. Thank God, the DSO likes to choose modern music that has some musicality to it. It's probably not going to be melodic like Mozart, but I'll bet it keeps us awake and interested, and not wishing just for it to end!

I had absolutely no plans for the weekend other than tonight but then I e-mailed Jim to see what he was doing for his b-day. I have no idea what we're going to do but we will be celebrating his b-day tomorrow evening. Tomorrow during the day I might sit outside for a little while, if it's nice, because my legs are so white they are BLINDING!!! I didn't notice until I went to the gym this week (twice!!). Wow, but damn, I'm white! A number of years ago, I had to pick Grandma up at the airport. She sid she would take me out to dinner at her country club as a thank you. It was about 90˚F out, so I put on a lightweight sundress and sandals (no jeans allowed at the country club EVER), as my apartment was not air-conditioned. As we were sitting at dinner Grandma said to me, "Kathleen, your legs are so white. Why aren't you wearing hose?" "Grandma, it's 95 degrees outside! I'm not going to wear hose." "But your legs are so white." Hard to argue, but I figure it's partially her fault anyway, so she's just going to have to deal with my white legs.

I have been meaning for some time now (yes, this is paragraph #4, like Mr. Schprock, I reserve the right to write more if the muse strikes) to tell you all about my Grandma, and I don't think I've done it. If I have, so what, she deserves more than one entry!

I feel that there is nobody in this world cuter than my Grandma who I quite affectionally call Shortstuff. She even signs my birthday cards (and Christmas and Valentine's Day and Thanksgiving, etc.) as Shortstuff. Grandma isn't all sweetness and light and she doesn't even own a rocking chair, but growing up I always knew she loved me. When I was in grade school, I was painfully shy, even amongst family, and would spend most of my time in my room reading a book. I would do the same thing at Grandma's house, just because that's what I wanted to do. I can't tell you how many times she would come upstairs, take the book out of my hands and say, "Come downstairs and join the party, Kathleen." And she would proceed to drag me down the stairs and into the family room to socialise. As soon as I could, though, usually after she went back to the kitchen to continue working on dinner, I would escape back up the stairs to my book. I appreciated this because the paternal grandparents took my hiding in my room to read as a personal affront to them, and they literally held it against me until the days they died.

Grandma's favorite color is blue and her entire house is blue, except for the basement which is a walkout, not really a basement. That must have been decorated as the one room for Grandpa – paneling, La-Z-Boy, TV, built-in bar, etc. I've taken to saving every voicemail message she leaves. I just have to hear her cute little voice saying, "Ahem, ahem, Hi Kathleen, this is Grandma." which always makes me laugh because I think I might know her voice by now.

At her tallest, Grandma might have been 5'2" and I remember how my siblings and I couldn't wait to be as tall as Grandma when we were kids. The funny thing now is that all my cousins, nieces and nephews still measure themselves to Grandma and get all excited about being as tall as her. I like to burst their bubbles though by saying, "When we were growing up that was actually an accomplishment." Grandma's lucky if she's 4'8" these days. She's just so cute and tiny, not that osteoporosis is cute, but I can't help but hug the stuffing out of her (gently) when I see her. And I completely feel like an Amazon next her and I'm only 5'6"!

Back in December she turned 87 and is finally starting to slow down. I hate seeing her so frail as, although she's always been tiny, she's never been frail. It makes me realise that she's not going to last forever, something I don't like to acknowledge. A few years back she told all of us to let her know what of her stuff we wanted or to put our name on it. I've told her a few things (mostly stuff I've given her), but always qualify it with "But I don't want it for at least 20 years." And she laughs at me, and says, "Oh Kathleen." I dread the day that she will no longer be here. Holidays and family get togethers just won't be the same without her.

My Grandma has never said a swear word in her life and just tsks tsks at me, although I do try to be good around her. I won a black leather motorcycle jacket with a whole bunch of old punk bands names on the back. Now the black leather motorcycle jacket didn't faze her at all as I have had one for years, but the names on the back make for some interesting reading. She's seen the jacket twice now and both times she started out reading the names out loud, "The Ramones. The Buzz----. Okay Kathleen." I had to laugh, and just kissed her good-bye.

That's just a little snippet about my Grandma, as I just don't know how to express how damn cute she is and how much I love her.

This is the only digital pic I have of her and it's an older one. That's her brother which might explain why they look so much alike.

Have a good weekend, everybody!

Thursday, May 04, 2006


I just received the most exciting e-mail!!!!!! Warner Bros. has finally agreed (there was an on-line petition) to release Grand Prix on DVD!!! WOOHOO!!! My racing movie DVD collection will now be complete! I shall now weep with joy.

Turn Blue

It's very exciting today. I have worn a skirt and nobody has said anything, except one woman who asked why I was all dressed up. Yup, wear a skirt with the exact top that you wore last week with a pair of slacks/pants and today you're "dressed up." I told her that I'm hating all of my clothes which she of course understood. I have no plans for Saturday or Sunday, so maybe I'll go shopping. Although I'm feeling fat, so shopping this weekend is probably not the smartest thing, as we all know if you go shopping when you feel fat, you end up hating everything you try on and just feel more fat. Yup, I'll stay home and keep my butt firmly planted on the couch.

I had luck at the New Balance store yesterday and got a new pair of running shoes (ah ha, yeah, like I run with my knees, feet and lungs) which are sadly very much white with "raspberry." I'm sorry but raspberry is just a fancy word for "pink" which is a color I normally avoid like the plague. Still, they were the most comfortable shoes which meant that I didn't feel like my foot was coming out of it as I walked. I think this means I have to be good and get my tuchas back to the gym. I did go on Monday and 40+ minutes on the elliptical. Woohoo!

The YS had a very successful shoe shopping trip yesterday (I don't consider mine successful as I bought gym shoes and not cute shoes). She bought FIVE pairs of sandals!!! Two pairs were just very cute flip-flops, two were very cute dressy black sandals (but not too dressy) and the fifth pair was the pair we were officially hunting for, but she officially hates. YS has a wedding in Saturday and this very cute springy dress of pastel-y (but not too pastel-y) blues (teals, turquoise, etc.) and some brown. Hence, the need for brown shoes. Well, all the perfect shoes didn't come in brown. The pair she got are perfect, except that she hates them. I found nothing as I wear a size 7 which is apparently the most popular size or DSW just doesn't care much in that size. There were only two clearance racks of size 7s and they were all pretty much butt-ugly. Tons of cute shoes in the 7.5 – 8 range but they were obviously too big. Pisser!

After DSW, we went to Michael's so I could make YS pick out the color she wanted for some potholders and a dishcloth – tres exciting, non? Then it was on to Famous Footwear where they had a display area right in front with Chucks! Ooooh!!!! Yeah, I got excited for nothing. They didn't have my size in the ones I needed. Yes, needed!

After Famous Footwear it was on to Marshall's and then Payless – no luck. YS ran into Kohl's quickly where she found the PERFECT sandal which happened to come in every color but brown, of course. I was done with shoe shopping at this point so I was very glad that it was time for SUSHI!!!! The best part about sushi for dinner is that I spoil myself and get sushi to bring for lunch and that is awaiting me. Yay!!!

Yesterday I added six more songs to the Mixed CD list I'm compiling. I'm a little nervous that the list is a little too 80s/New Wave-esque. I do have a few off the wall pieces of music I'm definitely going to add, though. I just hope that I have some music that Smed doesn’t have as he seems to have every single CD ever pressed!

I've come up with three electronic devices that I really really want. I normally don't covet electronics, but at some point I will get rid of the POS home computer (much to MW's relief, so he doesn't have to hear me bitch about it anymore), get myself a digital camera (you all want to see pics of my cats, right?), and an MP3 player which would make this whole mixed CD thing easier – at least I think it would from reading Smed.

If I hadn't been 20 miles away eating sushi with the YS last night I could have gone up to my favorite bar and hung (in theory) with the Red Wings. I got a phone call (which I missed, not that I would have answered it while eating dinner anyway) telling me that all the Red Wings were at the bar two blocks from my house. Of course, if I had been home, I would have been in comfy clothes and glasses and no make-up and wouldn't have gone up anyway. I'm not very good at the groupie thing. Besides, what the hell would I have said? "Hey Shanny, I hope they let your ass go" "So, Stevie, you going to retire like everybody is predicting?" "Manny, did you really bad mouth the team to the point where everybody was pissed at you?" *sigh*

If I have figured out the next round of the playoffs correctly (yeah, I could go look, but what fun is that?) the Sharks will be playing Edmonton – Go Sharks while Anaheim takes on Colorado. Normally, I'd be saying Go Ducks! but I feel a little softening towards the Avs for some reason (Heather, perhaps?). I won't go so far as to say that I want them to win the Cup – because that would be an out and out lie, as I'm rooting for the Sharks! Go TEAL! ;-)

That was the Western Conference (asshat Bettman) where the four lowest seeds won their series. For the Eastern Conference (dumbass Bettman), the top four seeds won their series which I think means the next round match-ups are as follows: Ottawa vs. Buffalo & New Jersey vs Carolina. I'm definitely rooting for the Hurricanes as I haven't gotten over my dislike of the Devils. When it comes to Buffalo vs. Ottawa, I'm fairly ambivalent. I should be rooting for the Sens as I've always liked them and hated seeing them beat by Toronto every season for the last five years (or whatever it's been) but there's the Hasek Factor to figure in. So, I guess I won't be too sad if Buffalo does it. I think a Carolina vs California Stanley Cup Finals would be hilarious. I know it'll piss off a lot of people, but that's probably why it amuses me. At least when it comes to the Sharks, I can say that those fans deserve it as they have supported the team staunchly over the years.

How's that for three paragraphs?

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

No Name No Slogan

I have been wanting to wear a skirt to work for quite some time now (ever since it stopped being freezing butt cold), but where I work is chock full of men who act like they've never seen a woman before. It drives me crazy. I'm tired of my wardrobe. I look in my closet every morning and just think "Blech. I've worn all this stuff a million time." That's why I've been wanting to wear a skirt – just something different – but then men here can't let it go. I've worn skirts in the past (it's probably been two years) and it was just a bit uncomfortable. First, things are said and then there's the leering. And I think that going to HR is the equivalent of making a mountain of a molehill. No reason to get anyone in trouble when they're not really being threatening or anything. They just didn't get the fratboyness out in college. That's what I get for working with a bunch of engineers.

As soon as my co-worker remembers to pass along the pics she took when we went to the Zoo, I'll post all about my visit to the Detroit Zoo back on Easter Monday.

I've been culling (1st or 2nd definition) my CD collection for the past month or so trying to pick the perfect songs for a mixed CD. Smed had sent me three mixed CDs a few months back and I want to return the favor, as best I can, considering his CD collection seems to rival your local Virgin record store. I also received two from Loopy, so she's going to get one too. It's just taking me a lifetime to figure out which songs to include, although I've decided that there's going to be two CDs – one with ANGRY songs and the other with Mellow or at least not ANGRY songs. Once I figure out the songs GtG has said he'll help me burn them to CDs, as I'm absolutely positive that my POS computer is completely incapable of something so high tech. The good thing is that this is making me go through my CDs and give a listen to some I have ignored in recent memory.

This afternoon I'm going shoe shopping with the YS. She has a wedding this weekend and needs shoes. Besides dress shoes, we're going to find the New Balance store so I can get some new workout shoes. The additional 1/8" or ¼" inch of height added to my right orthotic has made it feel like I'm walking out of all my shoes, except my High-Top Chucks, of course. Even I know, however, that Chucks aren't exactly the best shoes for exercising, so I give in and wear regular tennis shoes when I work out. I was checking out the New Balance website and it reminded me that I can't stand WHITE tennis shoes which makes buying new ones really hard because 95% of tennis shoes are white. (For the record, yes, I'm old, I still call them tennis shoes.) After shoe shopping, we might do a little clothes shopping, if we have time, because we're going for sushi!!! Yummy!

I'm copying Mr. Schprock in trying to write shorter, more frequent posts. He's trying three paragraphs and he's done. I think that's a good idea, so I'm going to attempt it myself.

Oh yeah, and to answer my buddy, Dave from the comments from yesterday. A few months ago I got tired of trying to come up with descriptive titles for my posts, so I decided I would just use the title of whatever song I'm listening to at the moment. Yesterday I happened to be listening to my Gangster Fun CD. GF was a Detroit ska band back in the 90s and I loved them! The last song on their CD was called Fat Lady Skank and that's just what happened to be on when I posted. The song that was playing as I was about to post this entry was called Hey Asshole, so I thought I'd take a little longer, explain the entry titles and get to use something else, as that might be a tad offensive to some people. Actually, now that I look at the title of the song presently playing I'm not sure it's any better (Rubber Glove Seduction). Yikers. That's what I get for listening to Ministry's Side Trax

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Fat Lady Skank

It's time for the monthly feature Books and Movies Read & Watched during the past month. I decided that it would probably be helpful if I actually rated said movies and books, so watch for the smiley faces, which didn't work out, so I guess I'll go with boring old asterisks.

5 = Loved it.
4 = Enjoyed it.
3 = It was more than okay.
2 = It didn't suck completely.
1 = I hated it more than words can express.


Secret Window with Johnny Depp (N) **

M (1931)(B) **** with Peter Lorre

Alexander Nevsky (1939)(K) ***** I first became acquainted with Alexander Nevsky when I lived in SF and one of my SF Symphony Orchestra concerts included the Prokofiev score from the movie. It blew me away and I immediately bought it on CD. I now own a number of different CDs of Alexander Nevsky. I bought the Eisenstein box set "The Sound Years" five years ago as I wanted to see the movie and I knew there was no way in hell I could get it from Blockbuster and this was before I had joined Netflix (if they were even around in 2001).

Part of the special features on my Alexander Nevsky DVD was a reconstruction of a film called Bezhin Meadow which was banned and destroyed by Stalin in 1937. Alexander Nevsky had been Eisenstein's way of appeasing Stalin for Bezhin Meadow. Thankfully Eisenstein had managed to save the first and last print of each scene, so along with those and photographs of the filming process taken by an American who had met Eisenstein when he had been in the States, they were able to give an idea of what Eisenstein had in mind. I would have liked to have seen it finished.

Tim Burton's Corpse Bride (2005)(K). ***** Yes, I watched it back in February, but I loved it and wanted to watch it again, so when I had no Netflix movies at home, I put it in.

The Constant Gardener (2005)(N) *** with Ralph Fiennes.

Brazil (N) *** Talk about weird, good but weird.

Rollins in NYC (2005) ***** A friend lent me a DVD of the current Rollins tour and I have to say that I think I might be able to forgive him for the faux pas of appearing at Indy a few years back. I figure he just didn't know any better.

The Birds (1963)(R) *** Hitchcock, of course. The funny thing about The Birds is that it's probably my least favorite of the Master's films, but all of the critics at loved it. It had a 100% approval rating. I think that he crossed the genre line from suspense to horror with this one. Don’t get me wrong, it didn't suck, I just didn't love it, although I totally appreciate it and all his cool little director tricks.

Crash (2005)(K) *****

Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)(N) ****

Hitch (2005)(D) *****

Beat The Devil (1954)(K) **** with Humphrey Bogart and Peter Lorre

In addition to the aforementioned movies, I also started watching the TV series, Babylon 5. I watched the pilot movie called The Gathering, Season 1 and Season 2 (discs 1 & 2). A certain person (the one who insisted I give Babylon 5 a chance even though I'm not a sci-fi person) wants a review of Babylon 5. I'm not quite sure what to say except that I'm completely sucked in. I even really liked Season 1, even though it is supposedly the weakest season, according to seasoned Babylon 5 watchers. I was very disappointed when the captain from the first season didn't return in season two, but Bruce Boxleitner is growing on me as the replacement. And they dealt with the first guy leaving in a pretty cool way, at least I thought they came up with a good explanation.

My one issue with season two (and this will make sense only to people who have watched the show) is the transformation of Delenn, the Minbari ambassador. I liked her better w/o hair. I'm hoping that she transforms back into pure Minbari when whatever prophecy about which she talks near constantly has occurred. I'm highly disappointed in Londo's behavior in season 2. They set him up in Season 1 as a lovable kind of loser, but he's acting kind of evilly in Season 2. This is the reverse of G'Kar's treatment where in Season 1 I viewed him as a hotheaded jackass, but Season 2 is showing the softer, more vulnerable side of G'Kar. Yes, I know people are two dimensional and that we all have good and bad sides, so it's an accurate depiction of people, but I don't like it when people turn out evil after you start liking them. And could Mr. Morden be more creepy?

I watched three episodes last night and could have watched more but the Wings were playing, so I turned on the game. I should have stuck with Babylon 5 and just gone to bed at a decent hour. What a complete debacle of a game that was. I disagree completely with the call on Edmonton's 3rd goal. I would say it was darn hard for that Oiler player to score that goal without kicking it in as his stick was on top of the net. But whatever. The Wings are out and I'm rooting for the Sharks. I was so furious with the game that I didn't even go to bed right away. I watched Match Game and then the last half of How Do I Look? but it was not enough to calm me down. I got about 3 hours of sleep last night. And the thing is that I would normally root for Edmonton, but the absolute hideous behavior of the fans (chants of Detroit Sucks are rude, tacky, classless and unnecessary) has made me want to see the team lose just so their fans have nothing to celebrate beyond knocking us out. I actually like the team. There is nobody whom I hate on the team, it's just their fans who suck. So, go Sharks! And I wouldn’t mind seeing Anaheim taking out Calgary out either. Two California teams continuing on in the hockey playoffs would really piss off the Canadians and right now I'm not feeling particularly fondly toward any of them. I am rooting for Ottawa still to come out of the Eastern Conference as I've been a fan of the Sens for many years. And if the Stanley Cup Finals end up as a match-up of Ottawa vs. San Jose, I can be happy with either team winning. I hate it when the Finals are between two teams I despise. To that end, then:

Go Sharks!

Go Sens!

Oops, I almost forgot to tell you all about the books I read in April!


"From the Storehouse of Creation: Thoughts on a Lost Masterwork" by Elena Pinto Simon, 1989.
"We Can" by Sergei Eisenstein (1st published as "Mozhem" in Za Bolshevistky Film, No. 39/40, Sept. 9, 1935.
Captain Alatriste by Arturo Perez-Reverte I loved this book, but I've generally loved all of his books. The only one that did not roll off the pages for me was Queen of the South which was still ultimately a good book. It was just a bit more involved reading-wise. If you have not yet read any of his books, I highly recommend them. I have read them in order, starting with The Flanders Panel which is not a bad place to start, I have to say. I think my favorite, though, is The Club Dumas which was made into a less than stellar movie called The Ninth Gate with Johnny Depp. Trust me, read the book, it's infinitely better! In my opinion, you will do yourself a favor no matter which of his books you pick up.

After Captain Alatriste, I decided to read the Lemony Snicket A Series of Unfortunate Events books.

#4 – The Miserable Mill
#5 – The Austere Academy
#6 – The Ersatz Elevator
#7 – The Vile Village
#8 – The Hostile Hospital
#9 – The Carnivorous Carnival
#10 – The Slippery Slope
#11 – The Grim Grotto
#12 – The Penultimate Peril

I had read the first three sometime last year and although I hated the first one, I got used to the style and the awful things that kept happening to the kids and came to appreciate the humor behind the books. I do recommend them.

Coraline by Neil Gaiman. A good friend got me into Neil Gaiman years ago with his Sandman series. A number of my friends were reading the books and I was determined not to get sucked in. I have this tendency to be a little contrary and not do something just because everybody else is. I somehow agreed to read one of the books and that was it, I ended up borrowing all of them from the friend and now want my own collection, so that I can re-read them. At some point I also started picking up his books and really liking them, including Coraline which is a young adult's book. As you can see I had a Young Adult Book Month which is not a bad thing, I don't think.

So, there ya go, there's my April in movie and book form!