Thursday, July 31, 2008

That's enough of that

Whew! I thought July would never end.

Two months ago I found myself at the NaBloPoMo site and, me being me, decided that I had to give it a go*. I mean, posting every day for a month -- how could that be bad? It would be some sort of amazing growth experience; pushing me beyond my self-imposed limitations. It would set me free!

(...crickets chirping...)

Wellll... I stuck with it for two months and I think we can all agree we've had quite enough.

Thank you for your patience during this experiment-gone-horribly-lame. We will now resume our regular haphazard posting schedule, already in progress.

But be forewarned: I'm considering taking on NaNoWriMo in November... be very afraid!

* If you're thinking 'So that's why we've had to endure all those crappy weekend posts,' you're absolutely right.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Card. Would you leave home with it?

August approaches. It's a significant month for me. It was the month the Ex and I went on our first date and got engaged. On our first date, no shit. And it's the month All Hell Broke Loose 29 years later when the skeletal remnants of my 27 year marriage disintegrated around my ankles. But that's a story for another day. Maybe.

Suffice it to say that as brutal as it was, I learned some valuable lessons. As I was picking my way out of the rubble, one idea I toyed with was the Get Out of Marriage Free Card. The first time the phrase fell out of my mouth I was probably being flip and didn't even think about what I was saying. Actually, that's highly likely because that's how I am most of the time.

But the idea of The Card stuck with me and I found myself repeatedly examining the concept. What would it be like, instant freedom to just walk away; no guilt, no consequences, no questions asked?

I decided that if I had been handed one, say, three years earlier, I probably would have taken it, even though at that time I had no conscious thoughts about ending my marriage. That both startled and fascinated me. I wondered how other people in long-term (20+ year) marriages might react.

I can't help but believe that acknowledging how you really feel, even if it's a painful and somewhat menacing concept, has got to be way healthier than sticking your fingers in your ears and shouting 'LA-LA-LAAA' at the top of your lungs for the rest of your life. And honestly considering whether you would snatch The Card and run might allow you to take a step toward.... something. Which is usually better than a step toward nothing, or no step at all.

It might mean taking a chance, shaking things up a bit, and working on finding a new, better balance in the relationship. Or maybe it means accepting that in a perfect world, you would choose to move on.

And if throwing your panties and a credit card in your purse and disappearing into the night isn't possible -- or it seems impossible -- simply acknowledging it might well start a process of personal change without taking any noticeable action at all. You know, the butterfly effect and all that. If you can't change your situation, you can at least change yourself.

So what would you do if you were handed The Card? If spouse and society gave you permission to just walk away, and any concern that could possibly stop you -- kids, house, finances, family, friends, vinyl record collection -- were all magically taken care of to your satisfaction?

Would you take it?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Not an option

A customer called for help re-installing our software on his Vista machine. He confided that he had to reformat his hard drive after running Windows Updates -- something went horribly awry and the machine wouldn't boot.

Apparently he spent quite a bit of time on the phone with M'soft Tech Support troubleshooting the issue before being told he needed to reformat and reinstall Vista. Ouch.

Then the M'soft tech told him to

Never Select the Optional Updates

Yes, M'soft puts the Optional updates there, right in front of you, but that implies in no way, shape, or form that you should actually download and install them.

Remember that now.

Monday, July 28, 2008

We can neither confirm nor deny...

A no-shitter email received by Sister the other day.

She writes:
Um, do you think this is A TICKET???

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, Jul 17, 2008 at 4:07 PM
Subject: Amtrak: Reservation Confirmation - THIS IS NOT A TICKET

Thank you for choosing Amtrak. Please save or print this page for your records.

Reservation Number: 999999

This confirmation notice is not a ticket. You must obtain a ticket before boarding.

THIS IS NOT A TICKET You must obtain your ticket(s) before boarding. You can pick up your tickets at any Amtrak Quik-Trak self-service ticketing kiosk, or at any Amtrak ticket window. Please check station operating hours before you go, as Amtrak ticket window hours and/or Quik-Trak kiosk hours vary from station to station.

For important identification requirements, please visit

For important baggage policy information, please visit

Please Note: All Amtrak trains (except the Auto Train) are non-smoking.





* We recommend that you arrive at the station at least 30 minutes prior to your scheduled departure. Allow additional time if you need help with baggage or tickets.

* If you are traveling on the Auto Train you must check in at least two hours before scheduled departure.

* You may cancel (but not modify) your reservation online. Cancellation fees and/or refund fees may apply. To change your reservation, please call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245).

* THIS IS NOT A TICKET You must obtain your ticket(s) before boarding.


I wonder how many times a day conductors are confronted by passengers waving their crumpled printed-out emails saying 'But I thought this was my ticket!'

I know it's sad. But you know it happens.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Solar collectors are off-line

For someone who can not tolerate any significant amount of sun, I seem to be extremely sluggish on overcast days.

Saturday, July 26, 2008


I ran 4 miles in 43:20 today!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Can't help it

I hesitate to post this, since then you'll know without doubt how much of a total dweeb I am. But this Friday must Rock!* so I am compelled to reveal that I still think this is fun.

Macarena, Los Del Rio, Fiesta Macarena

What can I say? I'm an old white woman who's always game for a rump-shake.

And now for the question you've been asking for 12 years: What is that catchy chorus sung by the Bayside Boys? An exhaustive search by the AIWJT Research Team has revealed something approximating the lyrics:
Dale a tu cuerpo alegria Macarena
Que tu cuerpo es pa' darle alegria y cosa buena
Dale a tu cuerpo alegria Macarena
Eh, Macarena!

Which roughly translated -- by someone else on teh internets -- means:
Give your body pleasure, Macarena
Because your body is for giving it pleasure and good things
Give your body pleasure, Macarena
Eh, Macarena!

Oh, I see. Now it all makes much more sense.

Macarena on!

* Or at least get its groove on.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I know you are but what am I?

News Flash!

Evil Twin's back from vacation and has shared her Viking Names:
This is hysterical. Unfortunately, because of my hometown, most of my names sound like a Nordic stripper: Marvie the Ponderous, Vodvie the Uncombed.

However, if I change it to the town where I was born, the situation improves: Mararl the Improper, Tequarl the Impatient, Cidral the Aggravated.

Hey, it's all good. Viking can be strippers too, right?

Not that there's anything wrong with that...

If you saw the original post on Dad Gone Mad, you'll remember one of the other games was 'to decide what kinds of diseases people would be, if you could translate aspects of their personality into some sort of life-threatening ailment.' I sent my thoughts off to Sister and Evil Twin for consideration.

I figured I'm like something that doesn't have a precise diagnosis or treatment; something that's diagnosed by exclusion or a label that's slapped on when all else fails. Something not considered a life-threatening problem; something seemingly minor that you think wouldn't be so bad, but turns out over the course of many years to wear you down and suck all the joy out of life, like chronic constipation (or diarrhea), or excessive perspiration. Maybe fibromyalgia, or irritable bowel syndrome.

Sister's reply:
I think I'm a blood clot; seemingly benign but potentially lethal. Sit on your ass long enough, and I'll kill ya! Just ask Hubby.

Evil Twin responded:
As far as the disease goes, I suppose it should be something polite and easily cured, such as chapped lips, or otitis. But I really, REALLY want to be scabies.

Well, now. Aren't we just a party waitin' to happen?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Buffer overrun

Suffering a brain buffer overrun -- time to flush.


Why do I end up singing along to some of the songs I most dislike? There's a Jason Mraz song in heavy rotation on my favorite station that is driving me insane. There's something in his voice that I can't stand*, but damn, if that song isn't just plain fun to sing. Every time I catch myself doing it I punch myself in the thigh. It hasn't helped.


The other day, as I was leaving the grocery store, a woman stopped me and asked where I got my hair cut. She said she had been trying to get a cut like mine for awhile but her stylist doesn't quite 'get' it. I was stunned. My hair is pretty short** and the color is that blech brown you get as your hair is turning gray. My hair routine consists of drying it with a towel and rubbing some shiny stuff in it, then trying to make it lay down so it doesn't look like I've been licked by goats. I was flattered, but puzzled. I do not exude a style that people generally want to emulate. I must've had a rockin' hair day. Too bad I missed it.


My doctor of 10 years is getting ready to retire from the military. I am upset. He's a nice guy, about my age, and I finally got him broken in to the point where he listens to me and takes me seriously. I have this sinking feeling that finding a boyfriend was easier than finding a new GP that I can get along with.


Today's Fun Quote: "'I said Good Day, Sir!' is the 'Go fuck yourself!' of 1875." -- Gary Gulman, comedian.


Today's Fun Observation: Has anyone else noticed the similarity between certain hair products and certain personal lubricants? Check the ingredients list if you dare. I'm just sayin', is all.


Today's Fun Insight into My First Marriage: When Mr. B and I kick back on a Friday night and enjoy an adult beverage, we split a beer. On the other side of town, Ex and his SO are collecting their empty Yazi bottles to build a glass block wall in the master bath. I am not making this up.


Today's Fun Insight into My Upbringing: Sister's sig is 'Learn to expect nothing, then go through life being pleasantly surprised.' It's those early life lessons that stick with you, y'know?


Good Day, Sir!

* I can't shake the sense that he's in love with the sound of his own voice. That annoys me. He sounds, I don't know, too precious. No, I can't explain it.

** Sometimes I think I look too butch since I don't wear makeup or earrings on a daily basis, but apparently I'm not butch enough to attract that kind of attention. Why does that bother me?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Freaky Fla

Today Sister shares The Rest of the Story:
Hubby spent too much time gawking at "Feces the Frog" and the damed thing managed to escape down the toilet pipe before he could grab it. He tried plunging and flushing, to no avail (I also flushed all toilets a good 30 times throughout the day...and "held my water", so to speak).

So that night, we're having a pool party. As we're enjoying our ribs, wings and vodka tonics, Hubby appears from the house clutching a large frog in his hand and joyously announced that "Feces has reappeared!!" (he was beside himself with 6-year old glee). The frog still had a lotta life left in him, 'cause he kept leaping out of Hubby's grasp, causing the gals (especially me) run screaming for cover. I finally convinced him to set Feces free and then made him go wash his hands... with soap.

Our party theme song for the remainder of the evening: "Hello mah honey, hello mah baby, hello mah ragtime gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaal..."

Apparently they live real close to nature in Florida. Here's another pic from Sister:

This catfish was found flopping on their front walk after a rainstorm*. No, they don't live on the water. Best guess is a bird dropped its supper. She said at first they thought it was the paper. OK, that would freak me out.

Geez, the closest nature encounter at my house is the occasional banana slug on the front porch.

* I wish I could show you her hubby's face in the pic -- it's priceless. Sheer, unbridled joy. But I won't. Last thing the poor guy needs is to be associated with this sleazy operation.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Good in a crisis

Sister writes:
On Saturday at 7:30am, Hubby awoke to the sound of me shrieking at the top of my lungs. The reason?

Good thing I looked before I sat.

Hubby locked himself into the bathroom to "resolve the problem" ...and as I screamed through the door, "Don't play with it!! Just get RID of it!!! What tools do you need???", he yelled back: "GET ME THE CAMERA!!!!".

Yep...he's my li'l crisis manager!

Personally, I am impressed as hell at the condition of her toilet. I can't imagine what wonders would have to appear in my toilet to make me think taking a picture of it would be a good idea. (shudder!)

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Coming to work on a Sunday afternoon to face the mail server software upgrade I've been avoiding for three months has filled me with a very specific sort of dread.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


Apparently yesterday's rock-a-palooza was over almost as soon as it was posted. I'm starting to think YouTube is watching me. Pricks.

In recompense, please enjoy this little ditty. I'm off to toss back a therapeutic adult beverage while I wait for my blood pressure to come back down.


Friday, July 18, 2008

Let it Reign

Rock first. Talk later.

No warnings required.

'Love, Reign O’er Me' by The Who, covered by Pearl Jam at VH1 Rock Honors

Man, this is where my age really shows. This is one of my favorite Who songs. But even though -- like most folks of my, uh, g-g-generation -- I have a soft spot for The Who's music, I've never really been a huge fan of Roger Daltrey's voice. That means I'm enjoying Eddie Vedder's version all the more.

Just pure Friday's Rock goodness. And it's embeddable, too!

(I originally was going to post The Safety Dance but Cary @ LOTD beat me to it this week. Bastage!)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

In Memoriam

I saw something on my morning commute that struck me sideways. The pickup in front of me had a rear window decal memorializing the Crocodile Man, Steve Irwin. It had a likeness, dates, and some sort of platitude about how he changed the world*.


Yes, they had turned their truck into a shrine to Steve Irwin. Am I supposed to be impressed by this display of their love and caring? Am I the only one who finds this silly? Am I just a callous bitch**? What am I missing here?

I've seen these 'rolling memorials' regularly in recent years. Most often it's a decal of a rose or something with "In memory of" in a flowing script and the deceased's name and dates. It puzzles me, this notion that the back window of a vehicle is a good place to memorialize dead loved ones. Look, I'm sorry you've experienced a loss. All of us do, eventually. If we meet someday and become friends, I'd love to hear your story. But being compelled to share the grief of a complete stranger before I've finished my first cup of coffee? Nope, I'm not enjoying it so much.

Maybe it is just me. Maybe it's my Protestant Ancestors railing against unseemly displays of emotion. I dunno.

I went poking around online to see if I could find an image of the one I saw this morning. No joy, but I did find this:

I love the jaunty angle of the slightly-undersized cowboy hat precariously perched atop her piously bowed head. But you know she can't be a real cowgirl: No boots.

* Sorry, no pic. I showed great restraint and did not dive for my purse to excavate my cell phone while hurtling down the highway as 65 mph. Aren't you proud?

** Don't answer that.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Blogwatch: Mattress Police

For sheer humor-y goodness, Diesel over at Mattress Police is one of my go-to guys. I don't know where he gets his shit, but I want some.

I am particularly smitten with his occasional guest poster Grûndir the Implacable, the Meme Wraith*. I've added his 'Tag at Your Peril' badge (see lower left) even though -- what with me being virtually invisible in the blogosphere -- there is precious little threat of me being tagged for anything by anybody. But if I am, Grûndir's got my back. At least I think that's how it works....

Diesel's rant against his nemesis, Thomas Kinkade, the Painter of Light®, is a sentimental favorite because I myself have the same reaction to Kincaid's Empire of Ridiculousness.

Wow - I just realized that I never made it all the way through Diesel's archives. Wheeee! There's my afternoon, ladies and germs. I'm outta here.

Diesel is also the creator of, where there are countless chunks of funny shit ripe for the picking.

* Start at the bottom and read up. Your patience will be rewarded.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Users, Unite!

Caller ID display from a recent tech support call:

It's encouraging that they called for help; unfortunately, the type of help they need is beyond what I can provide.

Monday, July 14, 2008

This is why...

...we live here:

Remind me of this about 6 months from now, 'k?

Bailind the Annoyingly Apologetic

I found a new game for us to play! I was reading Rachel Shukert's guest post over at Dad Gone Mad and was instantly smitten by her Viking Name Game.

She writes:
'It’s simple: the first syllable of your favorite alcoholic beverage + the first syllable of your hometown, + the word “the” (in the Oscar T. Grouch sense), + your most deplorable character trait.'

It took a three-second soul search to discover that I am alternately Beind the Rationalizer, Merind the Obsequious, Ambind the Vacillating, Palind the Procrastinator, Scotind the Spineless, and Bailind the Annoyingly Apologetic, whom you've already met.

Mr B, after a little prodding, revealed his inner Vikings Guincan the Morose and Mojcan the Elitist

Sister, who needed no prodding whatsoever, brought forth Ginind the Insufferable, Cabind the Intolerant, Chamind the Self-Absorbed, and Teqind the Constant Interrupter.

The Ex presents Vora the Over-compensator and Chardra the Flatulent. I know both of them well.

Young Son (with Mr B's help) decided his is Chobre the Loquacious*.

Rachel points out that inventing them for other people behind their backs is also fun. Scotind the Spineless won't allow me to do that (in public) but I'd love to hear what you come up with.


* Not that Young Son has a favorite alcoholic beverage, mind you. He chose chocolate milk.

(Hey, I just noticed this is my 200th post!)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Drink of the gods

The unopened can of Black Cherry Citrus Fresca found washed up on the beach was dubbed Neptune's Gift by Young Son, and it proved quite tasty and refreshing chilled to the proper serving temperature.


Saturday, July 12, 2008

All Clear

I think I forgot to make the official announcement. I'll take this opportunity to present it in the style of a lovely haiku.
Mr. B is clean
No more melanoma cells
Lurking in his scalp

All we have to do is get the wound healed and eventually this whole episode will be history.

Except for that whole constantly-looking-over-the-shoulder thing, of course.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Dancing machine

Since I'm totally pissed off at the music industry right now, I'm pitching a fit and going in another direction for this Feel-Good Edition of Fridays Rock!

I'm sure most regular visitors to the interwebs have seen these already. I've run into them repeatedly myself. And every time I see them, I remember how cool they are.

So take a few minutes and enjoy 'Where the Hell is Matt?', 2008 ed.

No warnings required! Can you believe it? I know!

True Confession: I can't help it. Every time I watch one of these videos, I tear up. But I'm weird that way. YMMV.

I know you're thinking I'm going to pull up some oh-so-tenuous-as-to-be-almost-nonexistent connection here, and I really don't have one...

...unless you count the fact that he lives in The Big City. Ha! Does it get more tenuous than that? I think not.

Well, now. By my clock we still have some time left, so you may wish to take this time to enjoy his earlier efforts:

Dancing 2006

Dancing 2005, the original.

Curious as to what in the hell is up with this Matt guy, anyway? Take a moment to pop over and read all about Matt and his wacky dance.

p.s. He has a blog, too!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Art of Corpsing

Remember I told you that I suffer from HPLD*? I learned yesterday that I am not alone. My disorder may possibly be related to a phenomenon known amongst practitioners of the dramatic arts as 'corpsing'.

Sister pointed me to this blog, where I discovered a documentary on this very topic.

I am embedding it here as a Public Service Announcement to raise awareness of this apparently common and somewhat disabling condition.

Fair Warning: You know the drill; rude and suggestive language, blah, blah, blah. I suggest that HPLD sufferers exercise all due caution as this is a Class One Trigger.

Part I:

Part II:

I made the mistake of watching this at work yesterday afternoon. Risky behavior, I know, but that's part of the disorder: engaging in behavior known to bring on an attack. I got so close a couple of times that I had to stop playback and walk away from my desk.

Thankfully, the support phone didn't ring. That would have been awkward.

* OK, 'suffer' might be a slight overstatement, but the threat of anal leaking and/or asphyxiation are always present and not to be trivialized, I assure you.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Life is the art of drawing sufficient conclusions from insufficient premises.
- Samuel Butler, 19th cent British poet

I think I need to either cross-stitch that on a pillow or tattoo it on my ass. Or backwards on my forehead.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Rant: Future Cuss

Fair Warning: Lots of f-bombs afoot. Watch your step.
Dear Science Fiction Writers:

I believe with all my heart that people will be saying 'shit' and 'goddamn' and 'fuck' in the next century, and probably beyond. Why do you feel compelled to invent new cusses to substitute for the profanity we already know and love?

Do me a favor, wouldja? The next time your write a story and you want someone to say 'fuck', please just have them say 'fuck' and not some stupid-ass made up word like 'dumpit' that is absolutely void of emotional impact and just sits there on the page like a cold turd. (Yeah, I'm looking at
you, David Brin.) That shit yanks me right out of the story and leaves me feeling like I just missed a mind-blowing orgasm by that much.

(Well, OK, it's not exactly like that, but you get my point. It totally harshes my buzz.)

The only exception to the rule is TV where, for the most part, the characters can't say 'fuck'. But the actors usually can deliver the equivalent with enough emotional intensity to make us believe they just said 'fuck'. Which is almost as satisfying as the real thing.

But please, in a novel, just say 'fuck' when you mean 'fuck'. Or if you're too well-mannered to say 'fuck', a heart-felt 'crap' will do. Pretend you're translating from Russian or something and are simply using the nearest equivalent that your feeble-minded, primitive, 21st-century audience can relate to.

Please don't just make shit up. It really pisses me off.



Monday, July 7, 2008

I thought it said...

Mis-read sign on the way to work this morning:

Distraction Derby
Saturday 8 pm

Yeah, I think that just about sums it up.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Matter of priority

Even a kayak already strapped to the top of the Urban Escape Vehicle wasn't enough to get us out of the garden and onto the water today.


Saturday, July 5, 2008

How I spent my 4th of July

  • Bratwurst, simmered in beer and onions then charred on the grill

  • Squishy, white, store-brand buns

  • Mustard, pickle relish, and sauerkraut

  • Heirloom tomatoes

  • Sweet corn and butter

  • Beer

  • Strawberry shortcake

  • Vanilla ice cream

A quintessential Summer Feast from my adopted native culture in the Heartland. No matter where you hail from, those are some Very Good Things.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Celebrating Independence Day

My new favorite 4th of July tradition is watching Independence Day. Please take 1:11 to enjoy my favorite scene:

I could'a been at a barbecue! Love that.

Best yet (aw, you knew it was coming,) I have a so-tenuous-as-to-be-insignificant connection to this film. Sister went to high school with Vivica A. Fox. Although back in the day, she was known as Angel.

What's not to love?

Happy 4th!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Fly Away

I know it's not officially time to Rock the Friday, but I wanted to help you get your mind right for the holiday.

It's for your own good, seriously.

Fly Away,Lenny Kravitz, 5

How's that? Feel better now? See?

Song rocks, but I thought the video got old after about a minute. Or maybe it's just me that's old. I find most of his recent stuff less-than-thrilling but this one remains a favorite.

Wish we were 'flying away' for the long weekend but we're doing that 'staycation' thing. And eating lots of fried food.

But I'll be around, so I'll be posting.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Rant: The Big O

Two back-to-back letters to the editor from a recent issue of O Magazine*. I am not making this up.
Letter 1:
I have wasted many a Saturday buying pants that really don't fit. Your shopping advice [in the previous issue] helpfully guided me toward the best style for my shape. But $285? That's my two-week grocery bill for a family of six. Please suggest brands I can buy on a social worker's salary.

Editor's note: There are plenty of affordable pants out there, and we especially love these options: The Limited's [a], Ann Taylor's [b], Express's [c], Banana Republic's [d], and Liz Claiborne's [e].

Letter 2:
Your [recent] issue had the prettiest cover! Can you tell me the name of the magnificent red rose Oprah is holding? I'd love to find it locally so I can put it in my garden.

Editors' note: The flower is a hybrid that Oprah designed and named the Legends Rose in honor of the 25 pioneering women she celebrated in 2005.

There is so much wrong here that I can't even verbalize it. Asking O to recommend something 'affordable' is like asking the president the cost of a gallon of milk. There is simply no possibility of relating to the average American's reality. Not a single pair of those 'affordable' pants were under $50, and most were at least $70.

And how can that second letter possibly be real? Could it possibly be any more self-serving? Oprah is on every single cover -- they're virtually indistinguishable. Girl? Puh-leeze. Just put in a full-page ad for the freakin' rosebush and be done with it.

Oooh yeah, baby! C'mon, do it! You know you want to.

Am I the only one who finds this absolutely repellent? This whole Big-O-centric/elitest-consumptionist/omnimedia-circus thing? Most upsetting is knowing that there are millions of people allowing themselves to be manipulated and seduced into craving that impossibly artificial and pretentious lifestyle, thereby encouraging the entire obscene enterprise by buying into it. Hell, at least Martha teaches you how to make things. I'm smelling something and it ain't no 'Legends Rose'.

Hmmm? What's that? Why do I have a copy of O Magazine?

Uhhh... bathroom material? Yeah, that's it, I only read it for the articles.

* Red emphasis is mine, my comments/edits in [...]

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


Want to lose track of your surroundings for hours at a time? Make your own word cloud pix at Wordle! Here's one I generated using the text from 'Open letter to my ovaries':

You can also browse their gallery.

Hours of amusement!