How to Make a French Memo Board

French Memo Board (of Shame)

Never mind that the colour is off here, I keep holding back from deleting this photo because the world needs to know how not to make a French memo board.

First, making the board is entirely easy. Entirely. All you need is a big piece of fabric, some ribbons, some buttons, some needle and thread, a piece of foam board, and a stapler. Cover the foam board with fabric. Staple it to the back. Put the ribbons where you want them. Staple them to the back. Put the buttons where you want them. Attach with needle and thread. DONE!

But I was in such excited haste that I did all of the following to ruin this simple process, all of which you must promise not to do:

1. I bought four little pieces of fabric instead of one big piece because they only had little pieces of the fabric I liked best in the store, a fabric that now disappoints me every day because I want to incorporate more blue/purple into my green/neutrals design scheme, and I keep chickening out and playing it safe.

Buying little pieces of fabric is why there is a horizontal line (green ribbon) at the top and a vertical line (cream ribbon) off-center. It's to cover the parts where the fabric comes together. (Not seams, because I didn't actually sew anything together, which would have been all too sensible.) Furthermore, I was too impatient and didn't overlap properly and snipped too much and didn't feel like redoing and so bits of the fabric keep poking around the ribbon. Luckily, the postcards cover it up when they're inserted between the ribbons.

2. I didn't measure the postcards first. I decided to make this to store my postcards. Yeah, well, maybe I should have measured said postcards before making that horizontal line at the top where the spaces between buttons is about 11/16ths of an inch shy of being wide enough for a postcard.

3. I ran out of cream ribbon. I tell myself that the intersection to the right is an artsy contrast to the traditional French memo diamond pattern at left, and it's really the fault of the inadequate pieces of fabric that there is even this right section, but I could have faked my way out of this if I'd made sure I had enough cream ribbon, which I didn't.

So, my main advice is to not be half-assed about making your French Memo Board; they're just so dead easy to do, and you've no excuse now that I've made the mistakes so no one else has to. Meanwhile, I look forward to moving this one to the laundry room wall and running up a new one, a proper one, in shades of a Mediterranean seaside.


French Memo Board - Detail

09 April 2006 |

Previously: Tumble



I am about to make a French Memo Board myself, and I stumbled across your site. Thank you for your honesty! It made me laugh :-)


Haha - well, I'm happier with mine now that it is covered up by postcards. :) Good luck with yours!


What kind of foam did you use?


memo board

Mama Monique

Maybe it's a little bit late, but thank you for the tip.
I bought the fabric, the ribbin, the foam and some hardboard. Now I only have to follow up your tips...

Thank you from Holland


ha ha - thanks for keeping us from making the same mistakes - i promise you have kept me from making them. i ALWAYS rush into projects, so i totally relate to your experience. thanks again!


What about the buttons? How do you attach the buttons? Can you hand sew them thru the board? If you just glue them on, do they pop off eventually? Is the foam board the stuff that would be used to mount, say, needlework? Thanks--appreciate your advice on the things to avoid.


Hi Peggy - I sewed the buttons on through the board. If you glue them, then it won't make the quilt-like indentations, which may or may not be something you want.

I don't know if the foam board is the same as what's used for mounting needlework - I just grabbed it from a rack that was near the posterboard. :) Happy boardmaking!

Jill Hayes

Do you still live in Las Vegas? I am a Vegas resident. As easy as you make it sound. . .I don't do fabric! LOL! Actually, I don't think I have time to make this as I am franticly making cards and other items. Give me paper and I can do anthing! I actually need a large French Memo Board for a Holiday Party that I have coming up to disply all my handmade Christmas Cards on and other paper items. If I paid you, would you be willing to make me one of these boards. Since we live in the same city, I could just pick it from you? Let me know and shoot me a price quote.

Jill Hayes

HEY! I'm live in LV, too...and I am a teacher, too!! How funny! Anyway, how did you mount this on the wall? Or didn't you?


Jill: Sorry I somehow missed your comment! I'm flattered that you'd want to commission one of these, but I made so many mistakes on this one that I'd probably freak out over the idea of doing it for someone else. :) Thanks for the ego-boost, though! (Seriously, it's not hard; I'm just a dork. Give it a try!)

Cyndie: Howdy to a fellow LV teacher! I used those sticky 3M velcro "things" where one side goes on the wall and the matching side goes on the back of the memo board. They don't seem to harm the wall at all: I used the "hook" version in the laundry room, overloaded it, and sure enough - it just slid off without any damage. I've taken the memo board down a couple of times and was able to re-attach it without incident. The hardest part is placing the velcro on the memo board so each one is the same length apart as how you spaced it on the wall.


I went and did mine super fast also! I used pins all around the back instead of staples and I used like pillow foam for the layer of quilt batting. now I have a very fluffy pillow like board that I have to redue for the lack of doing a little research!!


How do you keep the board up on the wall? What did you use on the back to hang it?

Thank you...your honesty was made me horrible at crafts and thought I would try your way.

THnak you


Just a helpful hint..use an artist canvas as your background and it will be easier to sew on the buttons... :)


Is artist canvas as cheap as foam board? Can you get artist canvas at Walmart or do you have to go to JoAnn's?


Oh and when you use 100% cotton fabric does that mean flannel or will that work right?


A little hint when using the hook and loop style 3M Command wall hangers: attach the piece to the side you are going to hang, then stick the hook and loops pieces together, then press it on the wall and push hard for 30 seconds. You should be able to pull the item your hanging off of the wall without peeling the pieces of adhesive off the wall. The packaging says you need to wait an hour before putting weight back on it. I hope this helps.


You can also use the screw in type of upholstry tacks. We made a 4' x 6' board for my daughter's office. She is a graphic designer who does web page work. It gives her someplace to put her idea pages where she can thinks and compares. We had to use a very light weight board and my husband framed it because it will be leaning against a wall rather than hanging.


Seems I'm late to the party here, but I recently started making these as well. Another tip(IF using an artist canvas) is to use decorative brads. Secure tightly on other side and you'll get the same quilted look with NO sewing.


Seems I'm late to the party here, but I recently started making these as well. Another tip(IF using an artist canvas) is to use decorative brads. Secure tightly on other side and you'll get the same quilted look with NO sewing.

Post a comment

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In.



Tumble Break


mid-March 2005 - 8 April 2006

sweet marshmallow acrobat


Tumble Wants Out

09 April 2006 |

Previously: Head Weather


Post a comment

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In.

Head Weather

Dad update: He went from ICU to his own room yesterday. They were thinking he was doing well enough to get the bypass going next week, but they're back to saying next month again. Quadruple bypass, it is now. I've talked to him again. They're pretty sure he'll go home Monday.

Travel plans: In a surprise move (as in I was surprised), I've buckled to Mom and Dad's wishes and will come out for the second surgery instead of this week. (I think Dad would rather I came then and sent him the difference in plane tickets in cash. Haha. Ha. Possibly just kidding.) I canceled my frou-frou reservation. Once you're already paying top dollar for a last minute flight (especially after taking a day to think about it - big mistake), did you know it's not that much more to fly First Class? Three point five extra inches of seat width! (Thanks

Sheepishness: I feel guilty about not coming now, but both parents have gone beyond the usual politeness in pushing for a later visit. It will mean sorting out sick days and such to go later, but then again I think I'd rather be there for the second surgery, the one that will test him. I just feel bad that people are driving my mom around and such between now and when he gets home, but me coming there now would just lop a day off that so... yeah. I guess I have it all justified. I guess!

THANKS: Thanks to Heather for the vibes here and to Reese for offering the San Antonio shuttle. (Perhaps someday we can try that under more interesting circumstances.)

Maudine: So, our beautiful Maudine passed away yesterday after a quick decline. I was having to weigh whether to take her to the vet before going to Texas; her illness was going a little too long, but she left and took that decision away from me. The day before she had a feisty meal of moist tofu and yesterday she got in the wheel, which was just a sad mess to watch, but she was trying, darn it.

Forget last night's photo, her final portrait, this is the one you should remember her for, taken eight months ago when she was just a little sensible spitfire:

Maudine at the Pear Club

The French Market Buffet at The Orleans: Comfort food extravaganza. I selected vegetable lasagna, cheese enchiladas, four-cheese penne pasta, garlic bread, Spanish rice, vegetable egg rolls, pizza with black olives and mushrooms, bowtie pasta salad, potatos au gratin, and some corn and salad. And later a little chocolate pie with a side-spoonful of bread pudding and vanilla sauce. At first this place was exciting - (selection!) - but the heaviness of the food combined with a general blandness and

Gah: Got up at this point to feed the hammies and ended up taking a farewell nap with another little friend. Details to follow.

09 April 2006 |

Previously: Maudine


shari sinclair

this website has my name

Post a comment

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In.

Maudine, in her last photo
precious Maudine, mother of opals

Too Lovely for Words

before February 2005 - 7 April 2006

08 April 2006 |

Previously: This Happened.


Post a comment

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In.

This Happened.

First, an update on my dad: he's stable, but I've no clue when he'll get of ICU. I've settled on two fly-out times and will try to make a decision tonight. I talked to him yesterday, thanks to a kind nurse who brought a phone into the forbidden zone, but I won't have any more news until tomorrow.

With what I'm saving on plane fare by waiting, maybe I should buy Dad an iPod? If you just had a heart attack and were sitting around a lot, would you like that? I'd have to load it up for him, although I'm just not sure how many Staples Singers songs I can download between now and then... Plus, buying an iPod, which I don't even own, would be very life-affirming, like money isn't going to suddenly get unusually tight or worse. Or it could be jinxy - there I go with that again.

Now for the creep-out section of today's edition. I'll try to be meticulous in the telling so later Oliver Stone and I don't have to get all wrapped up in phone tag.

1:41: This is when my contract day is over and I can leave work. (Yes, I love coming in for early classes. Love it.)

1:44: When I actually left. I checked. I scolded myself for staying even three minutes late when I needed to go out of my way to get a DVD for tomorrow's M*d L*t classes that are up to the part whereI  bring the often bad but seductive era of science fiction to its climax before discussing the rising credibility of the genre in the latter part of the 20th century. (Meaning we'll be watching some Pl*n 9 from Outer Sp*ce!)

1:47: The very latest I would have pulled out of the parking lot. I park 30 seconds from my classroom door.

2:07: How long it would take me to drive a straight shot down a major street to the library holding my DVD if there was traffic, which there really wasn't.

: The approximate time I got in line at the library counter. This includes a short walk from the car to the library to see where the post office worker just went, then seeing her and turning around and going back to her vehicle (parked between my car and the library) to hand her some mail and thank her, and then walking into the library and standing in line.

2:14: The last time I looked at the clock above the librarian as I waited in line. The last time before The Incident, that is.

2:14, still: I specifically thought to myself, "I'll be back on the road within five minutes. I can be at Albertson's by half-past. I'll just run in for some pre-break treats (because a student sincerely said it would be a 'good thing,' and I'm willing to do a little celestial karma-bartering on Dad's behalf) and will get out by quarter-to. I may even be home by 3."

2:15: I look out across the shelves for a moment. I hear a loud noise, but I chalk it up to books being set down.

I look back at the clock.

2:29: This is what the clock says.

2:29, still: I "heh" to myself. My brain bleats out a snip of messaging that perhaps the noise heard a few moments before was the obviously broken clock making this giant leap forward.

2:30: There's nothing to do in line, and I'm the queen of obvious, so I say to no one in particular, "whoa, did that clock go nuts and jump forward or what?" I expect other people in line to look up, see the error, and "heh" amongst themselves.

2:30, still: People don't do this. The woman in front of me shrugs and says, "I've got 2:25."

2:30, still: The guy behind me jokes about how it only feels like we've been standing in line for ages.

2:31: I glance up at the second floor, where the clock reads 2:31. I'm weirded out.

2:35: With DVD in bag, I pull out of the lot. The rest of my schedule runs as predicted.


I'll go sleep while you explain.

07 April 2006 |

Previously: Dad Tried to Leave


Heather in Allentown

Ummm... Shari? Rod Serling called. He wants to know how it feels to be in THE TWILIGHT ZONE.....


Don't go making mountains with your mashed potatoes now.

Post a comment

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In.

Dad Tried to Leave

But he's still here. Surgery within an hour of showing up at the clinic, three stints, heart attack still going, sleeping it off in ICU, and if all goes well now he'll be home after the weekend then have a triple bypass next month.

And I'm still here, but I don't know where I'll be later. Or rather, I know, but I don't know when later is. Tomorrow? Saturday? Can I wait until Wednesday and pay $500 instead of $1000 in plane fare and not take an eleven hour flight? Can you believe how horrible I am for thinking about that? I can't. That's horrible. Let's see if I can get a sub.

I feel optimistic - Dad was joking and sounded clear and they say his colour is good - but that's jinxy talk.

06 April 2006 |



as I was going to say, I'm retired; got nothing but tiime! Check out Southwest Airlines and I can pick you up in San Antonio and drive you to Victoria.

heather in allentown



Post a comment

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In.

How to Learn Irish in... Sod It.

I forgot how engaging How to Learn Swedish in 1000 Difficult Lessons can be. Now that I've decided to ditch UNLV (pending acceptance to Cal State, who are beginning to make me nervous), which means no more distracting "I need to focus on improving my Spanish or French or something" language requirement-cum-excuse, I can return to studying Irish. What's it been... six years? Seven?

I thought about making a regular podcast and sharing this experience, but that wouldn't be useful to anyone except those devoted commenters looking for abuse-fodder beyond my appearance or personality. It's well known I have a flea-bitten ear for languages.

What would you like to hear instead, those of you who want to hear anything? Evidence of my slow descent into madness (or movies and worksheets) as spring break takes its sweet time to arrive? Sweet, like maple-syrup sweet, wavering slowly, slowly down the grooved bark and never to the bucket met? Oh god yes. Hurry up.

Tá mé corrthónach; I am restless. Lie back and think of England.

05 April 2006 |


Post a comment

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In.

Things We Didn't Do Today

    I was up at six a.m., plenty of time to run around carpeying the diems, but the adrenaline rush of having discovered that I fell asleep on my new unwired laptop was just too much. (Specifically, when I opened it up and right-clicking no longer worked.) Okay, so maybe I need an endtable next to the bed. I mean, one other than the one Tumble commands for his flying Crittership.

    Poor Tumble; he had his eyes open a bit today (the stress of diabetes keeps them closed), and I think he's gone a bit blind. He stopped running a week ago. But today he came out for a rare hand scurry. They're all so excited about the wireless, I guess. Maudine is so pleased, she's having a rash to celebrate. (I've switched her from Kaybee Soft Sorbent to Carefresh Ultra to see if that helps.) I know just how she feels, as I too have a mad rash. Strangely, water makes it worse, which creates a whole Hemingway sort of feeling when bathing. Said rash started when the antibiotics stopped. You don't need any more details. Really.

    I was going to go to Pet-a-Palooza, but five bucks for parking and five bucks to get in when it's all cats and dogs isn't a good enough reason to drive to the other side of the valley. Gambling is a much better reason: I'm glad to report that I'm back in the Station Casino family's graces, with offers of free clocks and free jelly beans and the beloved mystery cash all being on the April calendar. And it only cost me... well, about $40, which is only about as much as I'll probably get in mystery cash and earnings from free slot play this summer, but in this town you have to be happy with breaking even.

    So what I ended up doing was my homework (2-3 page paper, lots of other fiddly crap like spreadsheets and quizzes) for an online credit I'm getting in co-teaching that I've had all month to do but of course waited until now to finish. Hey, it has taken me years of deliberate relaxation to become a junior-level procrastinator. Having stuff hanging over my head drives me to drink and chocolate and chocolate-flavoured drink. Back in the day I would've whipped this class out in one afternoon - which is what I just did, come to think of it - but before I would've had it done a month ago. Which would have been nice, actually. Then I could've gone to the top of the Strat today and taken photos instead of listening to videos while playing Pogo then lying on my work log. Damn. Maybe this isn't progress, after all.

    Now it's 3 p.m. and I dont know what to do. Perhaps another bath so I can claw at my delicate flesh then have something new to photograph. (Maybe it's not the water; maybe I should clean the tub. Or maybe I should go out and pray for rain. Maybe I should go out and dance for rain - now there's an idea!)

    Maybe I'll cook something. Maybe I'll go get the mail and see if there's a magazine in there with recipes ideas that, as always, are just that much more food porn since I never seem to actually cook  them. Maybe I'll upload all the remaining photos from the latest Stripwalk so I don't have to feel bad about taking new photos. Maybe I'll backup the photos I have. Maybe I'll look for photos I know I backed up but I don't know where and all these spindles of backup CDs are so daunting. Maybe I'll clean out the car and stop inviting the karma lords to visit me with a flat tire. I've been driving around one hundred pastel plastic eggs for two weeks, waiting for the great "hide something in an egg" lesson plan to strike my head and make sense of it all.

    Maybe I'll put on my new turquoise capri pants and report back later.

02 April 2006 |


Heather in Allentown

Hey there! Sometimes antibiotics kill all the good bacteria on your bod that keep things like yeast infections at bay. So.... your rash could be a yeast infection (I'm not asking WHERE this rash is, but it doesn't always have to happen on your naughty bits...)

Hope you feel better!

*ahhhhh* feels good to comment again!

oooh... husband went out to walk the dog about 10 minutes ago and it JUST THIS SECOND started to CHUCK DOWN rain. It's pouring. He's not carrying an umbrella or wearing anything even remotely waterproof. This should be fun.


*scurries to get towels for monster shaggy dog and soggy husband*

Post a comment

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In.

Oh God, I Can Feel My Legs!

I may only have two hours of battery left before I must twaddle back to the power cord, and I'll have to harness up with the headset when Mike wakes (we go through too many to justify wireless), and the  monitor for the network adapter may be fond of reporting that "You have successfully connected to the access point, but the Internet cannot be found" even as I click across the byways of non-cached spaces, but by Josiepussycat it feels good to be using the laptop as I always dreamed: as a laptop, not a lithe desktop.

Hey, I'm typing this in bed, in flannel sheets, watching out the west window as the sun sets over Red Rock Canyon and little Tumble the sweet-faced hamster yawns beneath his ducky bottle. Can you hear me now?

01 April 2006 |

Previously: Out for Delivery


Post a comment

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In.

Out for Delivery

I'm so excited: my wireless stuff is coming early (snaps for Amazon) and the tracking page says OUT FOR DELIVERY. Is there any more pleasing three-word phrase for the consumerist gutters of the information era? OUT FOR DELIVERY. I love it.

Due to traffic on I-15 (or "on the I-15," when you're feeling local and breezy), I had ("had") to exit Flamingo and detour past Einstein Bros., which is to say directly into Einstein Bros., and I was scared I'd not beat UPS home, and then they'd leave one of those horrid notes saying they'd try again on Monday. Monday! As if I'm at all wanting to hear about Monday on a Friday! Perfiffle!

I did the little "ooo, please don't have come yet" repe-prayer as I drove home, which led to a guilty, chastened vibe because...


... and my favourite UPS guy just brought the goodies, so scratch that story, and the next time you see the sweet chirping of these keys it will come from, gods be willing, the other side of the room. Maybe even from inside my car. Cross all those toes, now!

01 April 2006 |


Post a comment

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In.

Babbling for Bedtime: The Golden Bird
This isn't a podcast because I haven't fixed my RSS yet.

This is just an mp3 of me babbling then reading a fairy tale.

29 March 2006 |


Post a comment

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In.

Random Opinion: Fat People on Aeroplanes

Isn't it fun to spell "airplanes" like that?

Well, anyway. I'm a big ole fat person but I'm constantly forgetting it, thanks to a combination of size 26 being available around the clock at at (hang head) Wal-Mart and enough self-esteem to make an idiot of myself at concerts or design a five-selection dessert sampler plate at the buffet.

Once in awhile, like whenever I want to go somewhere in a plane, like right now, as spring break looms, I remember that I'm big and will not only be uncomfortable but I might make my seatmates uncomfy, too. In the past I've always been ultra-considerate when flying: keep the elbows in, arms crossed, knees tight together, hug the window if possible and don't get up for any reason... but I think I might be bigger now. I'm not sure. I don't want to find out the hard way. I tell myself that travel should be my incentive to get into shape, but then I find myself planning road trips to southern Utah while carefully ignoring the point value of a whole jar of organic nacho cheese dip.

Hey, by the way, I'm typing this using my new laptop battery - wheee! I have everything at max brightness and I still, allegedly have almost 2.5 hours left. It's only taken me about three years to stop cursing the short lives of the new batteries I bought with the computer and go ahead and get off the AC teat once more, and I'm loving it. Maybe I'll go ahead and get another one. Meanwhile, The wireless stuff should arrive by Monday - oh, the coming bliss!

I have to finally get all this going because I'm just so much more mobile now. That, and it's a lot easier to dump a few gigs of photos onto the hard drive or a CD than it is to keep buying 1 gig CF cards.

So back to those fat people flying around. We live in a cruel society. People treat you differently when you're fat. They assume you're slow and stupid. They're indiscreet with their noises of disgust when traveling in youth-packs. They say, sometimes as a friend because they just feel that close to you, that their human compassion has to stop somewhere, and where better than with people who have two legs and therefore no excuse for being overweight? (And you have to understand that "no excuse" actually means "and is therefore asking for whatever thinner people want to dish out.")

All of that said, it's not fair for people to infringe on the highly limited personal space of fellow air travelers. It doesn't matter if it's because you're fat, because you have a baby, because you're working on a 30-page grant, or because you're just an inconsiderate ass: it's not your seat. Get out. We've had decades of simmering misery over people using more than their slim half of the armrest: do not try to push this further.

If it's truly unavoidable, as people sometimes argue, then do everything you can to let your seatmates know that you feel truly bad about it - you can apologize, you can buy them drinks, you can make a big show of saying, "hi, flight attendant, I'm afraid I'm squishing this poor person here; I don't suppose there's a more comfy seat available for him/her elsewhere on the flight?" But you really shouldn't fly, or at least shouldn't fly in just one seat.

Given that fatness is often one of the last unchecked areas of unreasonable discrimination if not downright open namecalling, I'm surprised that most airlines are taking the more politically correct route of not making people fit the size requirements before boarding, just like they on (say) Space Mountain. I'm sad that otherwise good fat acceptance groups are bullying airlines into letting people take up more than their allowed space. Yes, the airlines need to get a grip with their sardine-tin seating, but to claim some sort of entitlement to making other passengers uncomfortable is just rude. It's not how we'll win the wars against vicious public opinion or morbid obesity.

I know it's not an easy situation. If nothing else, how do you sort out who's too fat before the flight is booked up? Sure, you could have a dummy seat at the airport, and maybe at the travel agent's, but what about buying online? Do you check a little box saying "I acknowledge that if I turn out to be the jiggling majorette of the gunt parade then I'll either buy another seat or be bumped to a flight with empty seats"?

Did you know, while we're at it, that on Southwest those second seats come at a reduced rate, and you'll get your money back if the flight isn't full? Or at least that was the case in 2002.

Believe me, I hate to sound off against my tribe, but it's like people who bring crying babies to restaurants or movies. I SO don't care that bringing the infant is the only way you get to dine out or have an evening away from the sofa. Guess what? You're parents. You got your darling little poopy prize - now stay home and enjoy it where it belongs. (Or at least learn to remove it from the grown-up zone as needed.)

And it's the same with fat people. You can't afford to fly if you have to buy a second seat? Oh well. It's wrong to squish people. Whatever bastards the airlines may or may not be, that poor person whose gut you're elbowing doesn't deserve this.

I feel like a black person using the n-word now. It's okay that I say all of this because I'm fat. If you, skinny person, say it, then you're just demonstrating more of the sad hate we BB people have to deflect daily. Go eat a deep fried twinkie and just be glad I won't be sitting next to you in coach next month. (I really wanted to revisit some Mayan ruins, but did you know they no longer let you climb Uxmal? But that's My Thing!)

29 March 2006 |


Post a comment

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In.

K.C. and The Sunshine Band at the Silverton

So I went to see K.C. and the Sunshine Band. I couldn't turn down the rare opportunity to GET DOWN! GET DOWN! GET DOWN! GET DOWN TONIGHT, YEAH! I almost put on a sleeveless top and everything!

I'm 2/3 done with making lesson plans for the entire quarter (faint), for all classes (twitch), so I'll be brief-brief-brief because I also need to buy toilet paper or else tomorrow I'm going to be really mad at myself, as the toilets in these shiny new apartments don't accept two-ply ultra-soft Kleenex. As in, you have to fish it out.

  • When approaching the Silverton casino from the west, be aware that you have ONE opportunity to turn into the parking lot/side road. ONE. Miss this chance, and you will be driving halfway to the California state line before you get a chance to cloverleaf around I-15 and head back. You think I'm kidding. I'm so only kidding a tiny, tiny amount. Twenty minute detour, folks.
  • KC&TSB is often a sold-out show. Get your tickets early, or be like me and hang around the box office until showtime, acting pushy.
  • Aside: I've discovered a certain nine-line penny slot that is reliable for getting your points up on a slot card without losing much (if anything). I play it at GVR all the time, and last night I killed time at the Silverton with it. Good thing, too, as I won $3, which meant I had enough cash on hand to buy the CD after the show, which meant I could get an autograph somewhere more meaningful than my arm. Of course I'm not going to say which slot it is, but how many 9-liners are out there anymore? Exactly. Sigh. (They're the best.)
  • Fog machine, disco ball, savage lights, and glitter dust thrown into the crowd by the Solid Gold booty-shakers. Be sold.
  • If you want to dance, you need to be in the first few seated rows or the stand-around area behind the 20 rows of chairs.
  • Everyone wants to dance, really, but you may need to help them out. Clapping after the band stops but while the people in the front row are still doing it will help your fellow concertgoers relax. Eventually some of them will stop looking around to see who else is dancing after every ten seconds of swaying.
  • The Silverton pavilion is a tent over a covered pool! People were hopping around on top of a covered pool! This was the last show there, though.
  • If you're not sitting down, try some yoga breaths and gentle stretching exercises to keep from getting fidgety during the slow sequence, including a cover of Cyndi Lauper's "True Colors."
  • CDs are $10, $15, $20 (greatest hits), and $25 (25th anniversary). Black Sharpie shows up perfectly well on the red cover of the anniversary CD.
  • KC loves you all too much to do the fake encore routine.
  • The band is much more white than I recall.
  • Also, the brass section needs more light. I could barely see their coordinated toot-steps.
  • One of the backup singers/dancers is the former singer for this band.
  • The other backup singer is Italian, not Mexican, people. She was born in Italy. KC even said so. Don't stand behind me going on and on about the "hot Mexican singer." Not all dark-haired "exotic" women are Hispanic, okay? And no, you're not going to get a chance to meet her.
  • All of those creaky-looking dowagers in the audience? The ones dressed sensibly and clutching black leather purses with tidy clasps? I find it helps if you imagine them doing blow off Andy Warhol's stomach at Studio 54, thirty years ago. Then it all makes sense.
  • KC will weed out the weak before the big finale. Do not set your Boogie Shoes to the "crazy pills" setting until after the band is introduced, ok? Three-quarters of the crowd left around this time, and no matter how sad I was for them, I know how hard it is to keep the funk going, I really do. Even KC has to change his sweaty shirt four times. There were moments when I almost gave in and found an empty chair.
  • That's the Way I LIke It: every bit as good as you would hope. However, it's the penultimate song to...
  • Get Down Tonight: YEAH! Even. Better. With synched movements. I'd rave, but you had to be there. Just like the rest of the 70s.
  • And the Meet and Greet is very 80s. Efficient, practical, and in quiet recovery from the show. Don't expect much sparkle, although the man is accommodating to all and sincerely polite.

Okay, back to figuring out when to show the kids G*laxy Q*est for our SF unit.

27 March 2006 |


Post a comment

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In.

Fear of the Sunshine Crowd

I really want to hop down the block to the Silverton tonight to see KC and the Sunshine Band, but I'm plagued by two fears:

  1. I may be jinxed. Exhibit A: I left Howard Jones early. Exhibit B: I left REO Speedwagon early. What if this is the karmic backlash of all the front-row-center love? What if I am now paying a terrible, terrible price for my thrumming ticket reservation powers? Something I can only wait out until Blue Oyster Cult comes to town? (Mike got those tickets; he should still be pure and safe.) What if KC and the Sunshine Band, even from the back row, is a dud? The third light on the match? The Mother Teresa to Versace and Diana?
  2. What if no one gets off their ass? I am not going to sit politely in a glorified folding chair, hand patting the rhythm against my knee as best as it can, the meager elbow-arc allocation measurable in scraps of millimetres. (M! M! M!) I am not paying 40 bucks to offer a WASPy head-bob to THAT'S THE WAY UH-HUH UH-HUH I LIKE IT UH-HUH UH-HUH.

Ooo-oo-oo o-o-o oooo-oo-ooo.

KC has really been the theme of the weekend so far. Remember that story idea I had that I'm so obnoxiously pleased about? Okay, I still can't share it, but it led to a discussion on music which led to me confessing that yesterday I got a little too into "Play That Funky Music, White Boy" while driving to Green Valley Ranch (where I've decided the buffet is really far too mediocre for the price). I won't tell you what Mike asserted about that song, because it might shame him for the first time in his music trivia-busting career, but then later, for whatever reason, we were singing the KC and the Sunshine Band catalog. Hey, who's that comedian who used to hold up the lyric cards while playing KC? Large guy, dark skin. Not George Wallace? Who?

Then today I went to training and about fifteen minutes later I left training (see? I leave everything early! except in this case I quickly saw that the training was not something I needed in my life or career, plus my fellow teacher-friend bailed on me), and as I drove home I saw the billboard proclaiming that KC&TSB are at Silverton tonight.

And now all day, as I clean and try to make the apartment all-pretty and gay and kind of Tuscan-Rural-French-Atlantic-Modern so I can plan a weekend in Zion Canyon with a semi-clear conscience (it's really only possible to adjust the transparency on the part that isn't attached to my Quicken skillset), I keep thinking - go see KC! He's your boogie man! You wanna party! Do a little dance! Get down tonight! Plus! A whole new buffet to check out!

But I don't know. I just don't know. I could stay in and make lesson plans, thus ensuring that this final quarter of the year goes quite painlessly for all involved.

Ooo-oo-oo o-o-o oooo-oo-ooo.

26 March 2006 |


Post a comment

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In.

Marthy Spring Be Sprung

I can't remember when this site didn't open with a menu. (Whoa... and I just realized there was no tenth anniversary party. Anyway.) Now we're broadcasting in classic strident post-straight-up style. Coyness gets us nowhere in this century.

The whole leap to trendy, gentle, dilapidated green would be refreshing if I weren't relying on semi-tweaked TypePad templates instead of completely fussing around from scratch. (Which is why you see ugly trackback blurbs and words like "Main" here and there. Maybe I'll fix it tomorrow. Or maybe I'll go to yet another training. Guess which? Suffice to say I'm not done yet.)

I just wanted to post that my parents and cat are all fine. Dad's been having some computer trouble; that's it. I hope it's not catching, as I finally ordered a replacement battery for the laptop, meaning I finally have reason to set up a wireless network here, which I'll do early next week.

Mike could be writing the coolest post on "how to call Scott Bakula" right now, and I could be writing the typicalist post on "the super cool story idea I gave to Mike and if he doesn't do it I'll just be that much more disappointed in the world," but - again - another weekend of stupid sexy training. I better go get my four hours.

(P.S. Comments and archives are back. Feel free to hold hands in the vacuum.)

25 March 2006 |


HEather in Allentown

Good lord, woman. Nice to have the comments back. Hope your tonsils are better by now!

Post a comment

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In.

I figure my cat is dead.

I'm not even being funny. Ah, Phros. You were my baby, the one who meowed whole sentences and for years and years loved only me with such tender ferocity, but one of the smartest things I ever did was take you to Mom and Dad's. It was good for you (what with the psycho neighbour and tiny duplex), and excellent for Mom. Few regrets.

Or maybe you're alive and well. I hope so. The thing is, Phros (assuming you've got internet wherever you are and are reading this), on Saturday I messaged Dad to tell him about my tonsillitis. He was shown as "away," but I figured he'd see it later.

Except later he wasn't online, at least not according to Yahoo. Which is not totally unusual. Sometimes Dad logs off. I've seen it happen several times in one week. (Yeah, my parents, former owners of the once-largest - and for many years also the fastest/bestest/shiniest/wifiest - ISP in that patch of south Texas are lowrolling dialup users. They don't notice the slow speed, and the price they get can't be beat, but still. Dialup? Shudder.)

Except now it's Thursday night and Dad still hasn't shown up as online or made any reply. I've tried to call, but the line is always busy, so I assume the computer is still connected. I tried the prepaid cell phone I gave them way back when, but both Skype and Virgin Mobile say the number doesn't exist - they must have decided not to top up at some point.

Therefore, these are my guesses:

  • Dad accidentally closed the Yahoo! messenger app. Dad possibly doesn't know how to reopen it. Dad, who only messages me with YM, possibly doesn't even know it is closed. It's unusual for him to go this many days without sending me "hello?" messages, though. Surely he'd notice and reboot.
  • Dad freaked out when he read I had tonsillitis. First Mike has a brain tumor, then Mike's mom's bladder suddenly falls out (I'm probably not even allowed to type that, so this is a test to see if Mike is reading), then I go and get tonsillitis. Acute tonsillitis. Dad doesn't want to have to deal with things he can't fix. Maybe he's worried I will have to have surgery and will lose my job and then who will he come live with once he decides to get old? Maybe he just didn't want that ounce of stress that breaks the camels back. But probably not. I'm quite a bit better, by the way.
  • Dad passed away and Mom is in denial, her Aricept-saturated brain perhaps too frustrated with figuring out how to disconnect the computer to dial 911, and maybe their trusty neighbour is out of town.
  • Mom passed away and Dad doesn't want to deal with telling us all that he had her cremated the same day because putting together a funeral when you don't have any kind of pre-need plan is simply a huge amount of hassle, and calling now would just be kind of awkward.
  • Someone has broken into the house and killed both of my parents. What with central climate control, it could be a good week or longer before anyone finds them.
  • My cat is dead and Dad is hiding from having to tell me.

I think the first and last scenarios are the most likely. Phrossie will be (would be?) sixteen in a couple of months, so she's had the proverbial good run. Dad, if you're reading this (as you claim to sometimes do), break the silence. Don't make me send Mom's birthday present early just to make contact.

Update: after 10 tries, I remembered his email password. (Thanks for not changing it, Dad.) He's alive as of today, going by his registration in an online game tonight, although he hasn't read his email since Sunday. Interesting. DAD!

24 March 2006 |

Previously: Uvula and Friends


Post a comment

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In.

Uvula and Friends

A visual for why I'm not going to work today, carefully edited to shield you from the more nasty drool strands.

(Click the photo below for a little more thinking out loud.)

If I could just get more than an hour's worth of sleep without waking from dreams incorporating my discomfort, I'm sure I could manage today. (But I can't, so I won't.)


20 March 2006 |

Swyve the Chloraseptic!

First, you should know that Geoffrey Chaucer Hath a Blog (take thatte, Gower!), as seen on MeFi. I'll clap my hands in merriment and clep it four stars - A+++ - better than Pepys.

Second, the name-brand official diagnosis of acute tonsillitis is now just as miserable as every mystery bug I've ever suffered alone. I'd like to be well now, please.

Here's the thing: the doctor was really nice, excellent manner, and seemed very knowledgeable. However, I didn't understand a good 30% of what she was saying. What is it with all the Indian doctors? Aren't they all supposed to have crisply precise British accents that make me feel unwashed? Why must the stereotypes abandon me in this miserable hour?!

I was impressed that she could see "something was draining" just by checking in my left ear with that conical nub on a stick. I didn't know that's something you could see by looking in the ear. I always thought that little ear exam was just a traditional opening ritual, like the way in Bharatanatya (Indian classical dance - sp) when you apologize to the earth for the stomping you are about to do on it. (See, I'm hip to the Kali/Shiva set.)

Anyway, at one point she said that if the pain moved into my jaw, I needed to go to the emergency room. I got that part because I repeated it back to her a few times and she provided several pantomines that would still make me laugh if laughing weren't so painful right now. I didn't understand everything she said about strep (do I have it? don't I?) or gargling (lemonade and salt water or either/or?), but I did get this part.

Now hold that thought for a moment.

I've been reading up on tonsillitis and it seems that most of it is viral, so I'm not sure why I'm on antibiotics. (It's hard to say whether the nose-blowing I've done in the past 24 hours - a sign of viral rather than bacterial tonsillitis - is due to this or due to the lingering cold/bug from a few weeks ago, or both.) Which means I've lost some faith in the magic pills, but I figure I've got plenty of other residual crap wrong with me that will give the little amoxies something to do.

Here's what I was told to do: take the amoxicillin, gargle with salt water/lemonade, and use Chloraseptic spray for pain. And, as mentioned, go to the emergency room if my jaw hurt because that would be an indicator of an abcess.


You people - by which I mean everyone on the planet except for me, poor me - are always going on about the salt water gargle. Oh, it's sooooo amazing! Oh, it's the best! You people are liars and I hate you.

The salt gargle, be it Chloraseptic-brand or homemade, works for about four seconds before the intense pain returns. Sure, it's killing off the nasties, but I spent all last night waking up every 30 minutes to gargle and stagger around in agony, grabbing and crushing sturdy objects as I braced myself to swallow, with each swallow being accompanied by a small wail that prompted Mike to ask, "what are you doing when you make that noise?" I'm sure he thought that, in my delirium, I was using soft hamsters to pad my sore mouth, their captured shrieks escaping whenever I accidentally chomped down.

Chloraseptic? Numbing? Sure, if you have a cold. Nothing could numb the feeling of gloved killer hands around my neck, of a hot, coin-sized weight sitting on my throat. And "drink plenty of fluids" when you can't swallow is advice that I'd  balefire across the room if I had any special powers, which I didn't, for everything good in this world fell to the greater strengths of "freezing with the heater up to 90" and "oh, check it out, my skull is cracking open, I'm pretty sure."

So, screw you people who are clearly in the pockets of the salt gargle lobby, probably out enjoying your weekend on your sailboat graft as it preens across the salty ocean. Bring me the PAINKILLERS.

But I was afraid they might counteract the antibiotics. The antibiotics that may be absolutely pointless if this is viral tonsillitis. (It's weird the way my copy of the medical record is all blacked out except for the end-result diagnosis, the recommended prescription, and where I signed. I don't get to know my own blood pressure?)

By five o'clock this morning, after moving from bed to sofa to bed to sofa and so on not less than ten times, as the pain roared in my unswallowing mouth like all of my teeth were trying to erupt through an inch of skin, as I thought fondly of ice skates and Tom Hanks (because I have a nasty suspicion that those wisdom teeth I've let be impacted for years have a hand behind the curtain in this dark play), I gave up. I downed a couple of drugstore-brand extra-strength Tylenols and, through clenched jaw and a lazy river of unswallowed sputum, said goodbye to Mike. Farewell. Farewell.

An hourish later, I woke up. I woke up! Which means I slept! For an hour!

I was sweaty with the broken fever. My jaw, for so many hours held extra taut to fight any urge to swallow, was relaxed. After a long night of restless misery, peace surrounded me like an extra-sparkly cloud. Sure, I had rapid heartbeat and a sense of sleepy speediness, but at least now I could relax my mouth enough to let the salt gargle get further into my throat. (Buying an extra 3-5 seconds of possible relief; the gargling is still crap.)

But now back to an important issue.

The way I was holding my mouth all night was exactly the way the doctor said I would hold it if I needed to go to the emergency room. Am I only masking my symptoms with the acetaminophen? I just took another two gelcaps but I still have an awareness of my jaw that I don't like. Should I go to the emergency room, or should I go with my instict that all of this stems from long-impacted wisdom teeth, and since I really can't do anything about them until this summer (recovery time and all that), the last thing I should do is go to an emergency room, which is probably just cautionary alarmist advice, anyway?

(It's a good thing comments are currently disabled; I doubt I'd like the replies.)

But to come back around to the main topic, why didn't anyone tell me I could have painkillers? Or did the doctor tell me, but I just didn't know what she said? In the end, I fear I broke my no-doctor streak only to find out I had the magic pills with me all along. The magic pills that don't seem to be working as well as they were this morning, and that's why I'm trying to get a sub for tomorrow, but ten hours later and no one has stepped forward. (Want to become a power-sub? Come to Las Vegas! You'll work every day!)

My head hurts and my jaw hurts and I'm rambling and, oh yes, swallowing still hurts, although not as bad as before, and I'm still rambling and sharing for the sake of documentation and I'm still tired and I'm just going to let you turn out the lights on your way out and [CLICK].

20 March 2006 |

Previously: Clutch and Swallow


Christine B.

I'm not sure when you wrote this or how I stumbled on to this page, but its actually how I am feeling right now with two huge ass tonsils blocking most of my throat. Drink plenty of fluids? I don't know how I'm suppose to do that either when the whole process is very painful. Have any tips now that its probably over for you?


Hey Christine - I wrote it in 2006, but funnily enough, I just had tonsillitis again a few weeks ago. Actually, it wasn't funny at all. It was worse than last time. Grrr.

No advice here. I saw a proper doc (not the clinic) and got a course of antibiotics and he also gave me a codeine (Tylenol 3) prescription, just because I thought it might help and he's cool like that. Alas, it didn't really help, and I spent two more nights in agony, sometimes literally lying on my back and gurgling on the spit that had welled up in the back of my throat, psyching myself up for the pain of eventually swallowing. NICE.

So, sorry I can't help. Many years ago I had trouble swallowing with a mono-related infection and they gave me lidocaine. Tasted beyond horrible, but it did numb the area. However, that was more the sides of the mouth, and maybe they don't offer it for throat/tonsil stuff because they don't want you swallowing it? Dunno... if it happens to me again, I'm going to remember to ask! Anyway, sorry to hear you have Monster Tonsters - GET WELL!

Jenn Epstein

Hi Shari, I found this in webland cause I'm searching for relief, answers, ANYTHING to help me deal with this BITCH of a tonsillitis breakout. Please tell me how long it took you to get over it? When did it finally not hurt to swallow your own spit?!?! How long will I be miserable?!?!?!?


Hey Jenn, rats, that was four years ago and I can't remember now, but it seems like I ended up missing two days of work. Maybe three. Or maybe that was when I had it again two years ago. I think the horrid pain lasted about three days (or nights) all told.

I hope you're in the home stretch - sorry I can't be of any use. Even codeine didn't help last time. :( Feel better!

Post a comment

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In.

Clutch and Swallow

Let it be entered in the annals, the thick ones with all the scribbles on the front but nothing on the spine, and let it be entered in ink, that tonight I stood up, solemnly picked up my car keys, and drove myself to the doctor.

(And I actually went inside and was treated and everything.)

I wake up with sore throats now and again, but this morning I woke up with somewhat painful swallowing. Hmph. That's what I thought: HMPH. Because I was just sick two weeks ago, and the quarter ends this week (along with all of its exams and projects and presentations), so of course this isn't fair, so of course I'm going to be sick.

I had the last day of that training today and had gone home pleased the night before, knowing we'd get out around noon or one, which meant I could go to a co-worker's Body Shop party. I already ordered some things on sale (coconut scrub and cocoa butter scrub, because summer break sure is dawdling, if you ask me), but I was looking forward to hanging out and being a girly girl. Plus! I have extremely cute new shoes! Two pairs of extremely cute new shoes, actually! (Meanwhile, my black Birks are wrapped up in the freezer as I attempt to kill whatever is in cahoots with The Spleen.)

(Yes, I feel bad for patronizing Wal-Mart, but it's the only place the amazing Earth Spirit shoes are sold, unless you count where they are twice as much. Okay, I am part of the problem.)

Since I have never cared about the cuteness of shoes, I should have known there were changes brewing in Brainworks Shari Ltd.

As it turns out, I got out of training at 10:45 a.m. or so, already being rather internet literate and all that, and by then I knew I was "off" and really didn't need to go running around, not with that nasty bug two weeks ago and the nose-blowing since and then this whole past week of hardly any sleep and way too much caffeine (a 20 oz bottle almost every day - ooo!). It's not a secret that I don't take good care of myself and therefore cute shoes are completely wasted on my puffy trotters.

By 3:00 I was lying in bed, bracing myself for each swallow but too tired to do anything about it. Each hour I woke up, more tired from having dreams revolving around trying to swallow, and took my temperature. At 6:15 I shambled up, got a mild 99.8 reading, cruised Wikipedia for symptoms because I'm either irresponsible or informed like that, and then I did it. I just went. It was my Forrest Gump moment. I felt sick, so I went to the doctor.

Well, the clinic, actually. As if there are doctors open on Saturday evening! As if they'll see you for a sore throat without book an appointment for next week!

Saturday night and it wasn't that busy, and everyone was super-efficient and friendly. (Wow.) If I had to break my 11.5 year streak of not visiting the doctor (save the eye doctor and the public health department for an MMR shot and TB test), this was the place to do it. The waiting room had a low zombie percentage, too.

For all of this groundbreaking work, in partnership with my pretty darn good health insurance (blessed be the card), I have been rewarded with a diagnosis ($30) and amoxicilian (free! and yes, I know to take the whole course; I'm not a total loser).

And the winner in the category of Most Persuasive Illness is...


Isn't that exciting? I'm just like Cindy Brady, except without the more significant part where she had to have her tonsils out.

I'm quite excited to get to take antibiotics; I figure it will give me a reprieve from all kinds of little things I've let build up over the years. Three times a day will be hell on the sleep schedule, though.

And that is my story, and all of it is true, including the part where I didn't tell you worthless Chloraseptic salt gargle is when just a few seconds of gargling leads to blue bubbles running all down my chin and the front of my green flannel nightie covered in Christmas bears. So, I'm still pretty miserable, but I have the name of the demon that needs vanquishing and some magic pill s, so a happy ending is all that's left.

(Expelio Tonsillitis Acutio!)

19 March 2006 |

Previously: In a Training


Post a comment

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In.

In a Training

Looks like they've unblocked Typepad from the district computers... I'm in an "internet literacy" training right now. It's a credit! We've been plusing and minusing searches. We have not been alt-tabbing. There is no Firefox. The person next to me thinks that's funny. Okay, I have to stop typing now. I have to go to Wal-Mart and get some chocolate. Assuming we're getting out soon. Are we? Aew we? I have nothing to say. (I think that's clear.) OKTHXBYE.

17 March 2006 |

Previously: Between the Ones

Between the Ones

The hamreport is overdue. It's like when you don't write to a friend for ages and then you can't write because there's so much catching up and apologizing and grim knowledge that you'll likely be this remiss again, except I also have the guilt of not taking traditional-with-candle onesie photos of over half of our hamster population these last six weeks. Blame a combination of laziness and lingering remorse over never taking Barnard's twosie photos last year because I had the flu... last weekend was the one-year anniversary of him and Snout leaving. I'd say I miss them, but that seems selfish. All small friends go to the best places when they leave.

And now, the dutiful update!

Maudine is an old girl, but she is still a girl. For some reason she ignores the sand bath unless her hamitat is 100% fresh. She runs most nights, sleeping hammock-style in the wheel in-between. She likes corn and isn't much for the snuggling. She likes to pee in cardboard toilet paper tubes, so I hear her going scritch-scritch-scritch afterward like she can cover it up. Maudine is at least 14 months.

Henry is, of course, a marshmallow and lives in the marshmallow bin with two of his half-dozen sons. When you're wondering where some of the young ones get their sense of humour, look to Henry. He still tussles and runs and takes a great interest in the hand, being curious about the world and not threatened at all by the smell of other hamsters. Henry is at least 14 months.

Hammond has become a true brother to Helix and Owl. The other day I witnessed him and his two younger opal roommates all come out of Ambrosia's old pumpkin, one by one, and the thought of all three of these sizable lads conked out for a nap together was almost too much cuteness for me. I think he's drinking less, but I'm not sure. He's not always first for seeds anymore, and he's rumply, and he's at least 13 months.

Janet's fur is growing back! I switched her from the usually popular Kay-Tee Soft Sorbent to some Carefresh Ultra and her tummy is fuzzing up nicely again after many months. For one who supposedly gave up running in the wheel or walking normally, she can climb the bars and scoot up to her loft, although usually she stays in her little television, producing segments that traditional media fails to touch. Sweet and soft, that's Janet, who is at least 13 months.

Almond is our largest marshmallow and not at all an angry snowball, despite the amusing comments on Flickr. Being a chef, he does most of the shopping and meal planning (usually resulting in a nice seed medley with some fresh vegetables), and I always take care to consult his good opinion before choosing a buffet. He is quiet and not one to run immediately to the hand, but he is kind and happy once he makes it there. Almond turns one this week.

Toss is, of course, the other McHenry living with his father. We have many fine wheelers, but Toss remains one of the most constant, and he is still small enough to be tossed from a wheel, with the fact that he never is just proving his skills. The wheeling takes up a lot of his time, so I try not to have hurt feelings when he chooses to keep running instead of paying me any mind, but he is a polite boy and curious, and he trusts the hand on those rare occasions that it seems more interesting that the wheel. Toss turns one this week.

Tumble remains the other half of the Toss 'n Tumble set, even though he lives in the old Annie Daffodil place up the road (and on the endtable). Tumble's wheel is the Snowflake wheel, the wheel that would keep me up whenever I finally turned out the bedroom light and shut up, as Snowflake used to put it. Perhaps one day I'll get around to changing it for something quieter, for it's usually Tumble's vroom vroom vroom that limits my prized in-the-bed sleep to 3-hour naps. Poor Tumble, he pees like the Ganges and accepts a soaked existence, and it's a blue moon when he'll come to the hand, although he'll eat from it without complaint if that's how it has to be. As with Toss, the wheeling is everything. The wheeling, and the ducky bottle. He was skeptical at first, but now it's his favourite. All water tastes better with a rubber duck in it. Tumble turns one this week.

Feta is possibly our most handsome white hamster. I can't say he's the cutest or most sweet-faced, for he still has the look of a shiny, dear pig to him sometimes, but he has a certain look that would make him a sure thing with the casting agencies, right down to a Harrison Ford-like imperfection near his nose. We often refer to him as Lord Feta, so noble is his bearing. Lately he's been bulking up and sitting pensively on the log, welcome to callers, but still demanding a single nip before any conversation can take place. Once abused by the now-repentant Tumble, hence the nickname "Feta Notchear," there will perhaps always be trust issues, but after that little identification bite he is always go for smooches and scurries. Ranch Feta Clarkson turns one this week.

Elizabeth Joy may or may not be a marshmallow - this was debated earlier in the week. Can girls be marshmallows? We're not sure, and frankly? She's never going to tell. Elizabeth Joy is, of course, one half of the highly secretive pair of Henry and Maudine's first set of daughters, the other half being Sparrow (see below). Elizabeth Joy is a smooth, soft white with large, watchful eyes. Still waters and all that, for there's clearly more to this one than anyone's telling. She who used to adore Janet, she who helped raise her little brothers and sisters, she who comes shyly to the hand to sit quietly and take in the world but, more usually, sleeps tightly in a ball against her sister, two peapods in a wheel, always together. Elizabeth Joy is one of the most mysterious hamsters, and she turns one this week.

Sparrow, soulmate to Elizabeth Joy and just as commonly called Dart, is going to be nippy until the day she dies, and probably even thereafter. Little Sparrow, the only opal in a whole shoebox of white hamsters, must have suffered quite a few curious pokes in her early days for being different. That, and she and Elizabeth Joy were separated from Maudine far too young. Or maybe I'm just making co-dependent excuses for her freaking savage bites. She doesn't completely mean it, I'm sure. I mean, yes, she likes to bite things (and yes, I regularly examine her teeth), but she also likes to be petted and picked up and other things that hurt me a lot. This is one reason Elizabeth Joy doesn't get half the petting she should - the hand is always on the run from Sparrow's pert demands. But Sparrow tries to be sweet despite this bad habit, and she takes good care of her sister, and I dread the day either one leaves because we've never had such a bonded pair. Dart turns one this week.

Helix is, as the famous inscription reads, your friend, and time isn't changing that. He's an all-around good guy and reliable for sugar and cuddling. He's full-out darker than his siblings these days, perhaps out of solidarity with Hammond. He's just that thoughtful. If life is kind and keeps our cheery fellow safe, Helix will turn one next month.

Owl becomes softer and rounder by the day, making me wonder if I need to start etching tracking lines on my bottles of conditioner. Maybe it's the fourteen sand baths he takes each day; few love a spastic churn in the sand as much as our Owl, even when he's whipped the bowls (they have two!) down to little other than a few grains and a lot of wishful thinking. Owl may never be as forthcoming as his popular brother Helix, but he's always game for time in the hand and as many kisses as you have to offer. Owl turns one next month.

Milkdrop, proving to be Owl's sister, is delighted with the recent return of the sand bath to the triplet's hamitat. They used their last one, along with every available nook and pouch, to amass such a seed collection that all wheels were raised by several inches due to their millet landfills. Milkdrop is extra white these days thanks to the bath, and like her sisters (well, her litter-sisters), the hand is one of the most exciting events of the day. Milkdrop turns one next month.

Bode has a little white spot on her nose. I hope it isn't a scuffle-wound or a fungus or something vet-trippy or miserable because it's been great being able to tell Bode and Coal apart without interacting then thinking hard, nowadays changing my mind a few times before being 95% sure who is whom. (Darn that Coal for becoming more outgoing as Bode became more homey.) Like her sisters, all of them, Bode is an industrious seed archiver and, like the other two of the triplets, she finds swinging from sleeves to be great fun. She doesn't like to get involved in Milkdrop and Coal's business, but she'll hold her own if she wants them out of the wheel when it's time to run. Bode turns one next month.

Coal is now the one without the spot, the one who used to wheeze and think twice before getting in the hand. All of the triplets are vocal chitterers, but the wheezing is more rare. Coal likes wheels and hands and seed collecting and putting back all the seeds after the stupid hand moves them and squabbling of sand and other property rights. She's more likely to sleep with Milkdrop than alone or with Bode, but whenever I decide something like that, they all switch places. Coal, like the other two girls, giggles on behalf of all of us. She turns one next month.

Peter is our fine young hamster whose birthday is celebrated with Henry and Maudine's youngest, although we didn't get him until August. Back then he was cynical and kept to himself, but today he's one of our sweetest. It's a pleasure to wake from sleep and look across the room only to find Peter watching me, waiting for me to get up and deliver kisses and conversation. He always takes a taxi (one of the hand-shaped ones) from his slide to his seed dish, even when he's so eager that he's already at the bottom. It's our thing. Peter is large and soft and light and completely trusting, and he turns one next month.

Holly sleeps all day, like a traditional hamster. Unlike the others, he doesn't come running for seeds. It's like the already full seed dish is good enough, or something. Holly likes to sleep in his little house rather exclusively, waking up to vigorously wheel and play his fall-over game, patent pending. The fall-over game involves Holly running up to the almost empty loft and falling on his back. Over and over. He loves it. Sometimes he wiggles, like he's in the sand bath, but mostly he falls and falls and falls and gets so happy you almost have to take the day off work to stay up all night and cheer him on. His bottom-regions are still "not right," and if he didn't have a "dust ruffle" I don't think you could sex him, but he seems well other than being a little more sleepy and docile than we usually see around these parts. (The other day someone didn't fasten his door properly at bedtime and it came open, but in the morning he was zonked out as always in his house... whatever his story is of that night, it must remain untold.) Holly is at least four months old.

Patricia is rarely called that. She is almost always "Patricia-mouse" on account of her big ears and her complete lack of obedience. "Don't run at warp speed around the apartment, Patricia-mouse," I say, but it takes planning, skill, and a certain amount of foolish wand-waving to keep Patricia in authorized territory. She runs, she scamps, she will be up your arm and in your hair and down your back faster than you can scold, but she has developed a slight case OCD - or O seed D - where she must immediately pouch all new seeds and take them to her silo, so it is possible to pet on Patricia without first strapping her into a GPS tracking band. (Possible, but still not recommended.) Patricia is still small, and she is at least almost three-and-a-half months old.

In other news, I'm exhausted, having woken from a bad dream. Half of my lesson plans have to be redone on the fly tomorrow due to unforeseen issues. Mike's mom is having surgery in a few minutes that should be routine, but wouldn't you feel guilty if you thought of it like that then something happened? I've signed up for more training this week, now at the last minute, and I can't seem to get enough sleep to finish grading, and here comes the end of the quarter. Also, I accidentally spent $10 on chocolate pudding at Whole Foods - DON'T ASK!

I'm going to try for a few more hours - last night I woke up, saw I had ten minutes left until the alarm, and I was so glad for those ten minutes that I didn't regret getting up at all. Stupid half-full glass.

15 March 2006 |

Overrated: Zagat's, Cook's Illustrated, and the Roundtable Buffet

Finally, after waiting a few months for Cook's Illustrated to reinstate the "my account" section of their site, what with their database of personal user information having been hacked (what with CI being the losers that they are and storing credit card information for all site subscribers, but not the store shoppers; god forbid they risk losing a sale by asking you re-enter it manually when renewing), I see that my membership ran out today and was not auto-renewed. Thank goodness.

I thought it might be one of those that auto-renewed, hence CI's (old, pre-hacking) policy of saving the credit card data, and for months I've been trying to see when that might happen and how I could cancel it online, which I couldn't, what with the "my account" feature being disabled after the hackattack. So, hooray for them doing something right, even though they didn't tell me that my membership was expiring, so zero points for marketing savvy. Maybe they know their site sucks.

Okay, it doesn't suck. CI is a venerable entity, much revered by the cooking populace. Maybe that's why I'm being extra harsh with a perfectly okay site - that alleged Libran urge to balance and whatnot.
What do people see in The product reviews often sample from a strangely evasive selection. (Like, let's try 10 variants from brand C, one each from brands A and D, and let's leave out brand B altogether. I exaggerate, but.) The recipes? No better than what's for free at Epicurious (where readers' comments are often instructive), and you'll get better food science for making informed choices by cruising archived Good Eats transcripts. The equipment reviews? Ancient, missing many key items, and too often based in a reality that is not the average person's kitchen.

(For example, Cook's Illustrated hates non-stick cookware. Just hates it. They do grudgingly dabble in non-stick a few times, but I can't tell you how many reviews I read where it was dismissed entirely because you can't properly do browning with non-stick. So, good luck comparison shopping with CI if you're a non-stick heathen. I mean, I'm glad I learned why non-stick is the devil, and I think it's right that CI tries to get us all to use the best cookware possible, but given that non-stick is a prevalent evil, can it at least be thoroughly tested and discussed with caveats rather than beating us with the shame stick for considering it?)

I'm not saying CI is useless. It's definitely a fine site if you have $25 that will expire if you don't spend it online by midnight. It does contain some answers to your possible queries about recipes and products, and it delivers them in a straightforward format. I concede that CI is full of smart people who at least articulate their reasoning well in reviews - no mere thumbs up/thumbs down - allowing the reader to make up his or her own mind. (That said, there's no excuse for many - most? - of their so-called "definitive" recipes.) I'd recommend site memebrship to anyone with money to burn and weak google-fu.

Now let's cheese off whoever's left. What the freak is up with the Zagat guides?

I could weep, I'm so glad I didn't pay for Zagat's 2006 Las Vegas guide. Wow. God bless the library.

Zagat's has great marketing. Without ever seeing one, I'd come to believe that they were the reliable, authoritative source for dining out in a city. Again, wow. So not true.

I'm not saying I disagree with their ratings. But what are their ratings, really? Just numbers stuck above a pile of quotations that makes me think I'm at a bad experimental poetry reading. (This is surely the reason you can't look inside the book at

Here's my version of a Zagat-style review for the Excalibur champagne brunch buffet, where I went a few weeks ago, and by the way, don't do that. The numbers are for food, decor, and service, with 16 being the minimum for "good," and the dollar-figure is the average price.

The Round Table Buffet
12     11     16     $15
You may feel "confused, irritated, and hungry" after you "pay then slowly queue through the main buffet line" before "being allowed to sit," and "please disregard" the "menu marquee" located "by the cashier" because you can "rest assured" that there "is no vegetable lasagna" or "a third" of the other items advertised. While it's "interesting" and a "welcome change" that customers are allowed to "retrieve their own beverages," and the "hot chocolate option" is "tasty," be aware that the "free champagne" is "reminiscent of spicy NyQuil." Furthermore, you will "need a line-cutting strategy" to get a "mostly unwanted second plate," what with all the "diners who just paid and haven't been allowed to sit yet" forming the "mandatory solid wall" around the "main buffet" with its "tolerable scrambled eggs and biscuit" selections.

Actually, I provided far too much relief from Zagat's signature "strung together quotations" style. The point is that, while it's unique and perhaps even commendable that Zagat shows that their statements come from "real" patrons, it's really no more than a standard blurb with some numbers and distracting punctuation. Why would service get a 16? Food a 12? Decor an 11? Because that's how the people vote. Why did they vote that way? You just don't know. Who are the people? The ones who signed up for a free membership at and clicked the buttons of their choice.

Zagat's is not a comprehensive listing, either. For example, it's missing several key buffets. (Luxor? Excalibur? Love or hate them, they're big players for the tourist crowd. Wynn? Other Wynn restaurants are featured, such as Daniel Boulud, so it wasn't a matter of deadlines. And mon dieu, who are the three people who'd disagree with Wynn being coronated the new buffet emperor?) Why bother with Zagat's if you have the Dining Guide and a printer? Or any number of other sites?

Zagat's has its purpose if you want the convenience of a slender bound book featuring several often-unsupported opinions on several of a city's restaurants. Honestly, I don't knock it for being handy when the alternative is standing in the middle of an intersection looking dumbly up and down the Strip, trying to gauge what might be tasty and in your price range. It's smaller than, say, a Fodor's or a Frommer's, and you get more than one perspective.

But the Chicago Tribune must be enjoying their free copy when they call it "the people's choice empire" (emphasis mine), and Newhouse Syndicate (Who? The first Google result is to Zagat.) is surely running its hands through the hair of the paid blonde under the table when they claim the Z-guides are "the most up-to-date, comprehensive, and reliable guides ever published."

So there you have it. is overrated. Zagat's is overrated. And everything you've heard about the Roundtable Buffet at the Excalibur is probably true. (Plates from the Roundtable featured below - click for more information.)

Sad Plate #1 Sad Plate #2 Sad Plate #3

13 March 2006 |

Previously: REOvisited


I'd like to tell you all about the REO Speedwagon show, and why I had to leave early (but at least near the end), and how good the good parts were, and how fun some of the audience was, and what kind of gossip was gleaned and what kinds of songs were played (especially the surprisingly accessible "stuff from the new album"), and all that foddery wealth, but it's not a place I can go until I've reached the part in my head that can be stuffed to write the Hilton and complain about their security, the security that lets total assholes abuse (physically and verbally) people in the front row, lets said assholes stand in front of them (and bring their friends), lets total assholes record the whole show on their cell phone (when others had been asked to stop), and tells me "the band wants it that way" (completely misunderstanding the situation) when I try to explain what's happening.

While said assholes were most certainly cocksuckers, I guess the term might be more literal than I usually mean. It's the only explanation this former fan can conjure.

Suffice to say I left that show, early, reeking of said assholes spilled drinks, slightly paranoid about being physically assaulted if I stayed, and never wanting to go to a concert again. Wow. Call me over-sensitive, but at least I fight the people who suck. (I just never expected to have it move beyond words.) And I know this is just a teaser-rant, but I really don't want to get into it because the details get me all riled up/sad. First I'll do the proper thing of sending a real (!) letter to the Hilton to let them know how disappointed I am in how this was handled. Like they care.

But I'm not going to see REO Speedwagon again - why risk encountering this jerk again? (After all, there were plenty of the same people there from the Green Valley Ranch show.) Which is a great pity, as they're an excellent live band - very solid, very reliable, very fun. I only know their hits and I still enjoy it.

Anyway. Before the show, things were great. After work I stopped at the Tix 4 Tonight booth across from the Stardust and got half-price admission for the Star Trek Experience. T4T is a must-use resource for things like STE, Madame Tussaud's, and shows where you're open-minded on seating choices. (Often they even have Cirque du Soleil, Blue Man Group, or Broadway items like Avenue Q for around 10-20% off, and everything else is usually half-off.)

This was a wise move, and it gave me a chance to park in front of the remains of the late La Concha. (Designed by the same man who did a bunch of the spacy Los Angeles stuff in the mid-20th century. Oh, and the guy was black. Like it matters. Apparently it matters to some of my students, who think I don't showcase enough black authors. We're doing Tolk*en and fantasy all quarter and we're supposed to wedge some black fantasy authors in for the sake of it? Apparently it's not good enough for them to choose whichever fantasy authors they like for their novel presentations. No, I need to spend a whole month - February - discussing the "African-American" role in fantasy. Which, as I always say, leaves out the Brits and French and Aussies and so forth, if they're going to make me use that term, which they think is global. I'm not the one who made the mostly-dead white men the mainstream in this genre. I'm the one who encourages the independent reading. It's getting to where I don't even care if some of these students can read and write - I just want them to stop for a moment and think.)

(Stupid disclaimer: of course I care if they can read and write. They'll be out in the world next year and, if they can't wrap their heads around why some darker-skinned person in Scotland doesn't want to be called "African-American," then at least they need the skills to fake intelligence via effective  paragraph construction and being able to read the instructions for cleaning the Slurpee machine.)

(I'm probably still in a bad mood from last night. Sorry. And most of my students are quite clever, funny, and bound for great things should they apply themselves. But what blog doesn't focus on the bad apples and squeaky wheels? Conflict is the soul of entertainment, be it the writer's or the reader's, I'm sure.)

It was fun seeing La Concha, although I didn't have my camera with me. I also squinted when driving down Paradise and was able to see more remains of Wet 'n Wild. With the fourth Turnberry Tower nearing completion, this won't last. As I drove down one side street, I noted that the old Silver City Casino sign is still up and hiding behind chain link and construction. I should get a photo of that. Furthermore, I went down Riviera (St? Blvd? Ave?) for the first time and saw that the old Algiers Motel/Casino area isn't completely a dirt lot. Amidst the construction and ruin is a sad white building with funny-shaped windows. The battered sign says something about discount perfume, but I cocked my head, slowed down, and thought, "That looks like a church. Wedding Chapel?" Or maybe I even said it out loud - I get rather verbal when alone in the car, sometimes.

I looked at this 360 of the Algiers from its final days and, yes, check out that steeple - it was a wedding chapel, wasn't it? (You have to scroll right until you see the sign advertising Souvenirs, Kodak Film, Cameras, Batteries. Now look just to the left of it. See? Hey - I was just able to zoom in - it has a wedding chapel sign! I was right! This would all be more impressive if you could see the state of the building today; I was mildly clever to figure it out at the time, I tell you. And yes, you can see the El Rancho in the 360 as well. By the way, Turnberry has not fixed the sign yet.)

Mike and I did the STE five years ago when it was just the Klingons. They've since added the Borg and - whoa - it's terrific. It's so good, I can't even tell you anything about it, lest I spoil it. I'll just say that there was genuine pushing and scuttling on the audience's part at one point, we were all so nervous. Super fun. It's not a motion simulator, either, if you're like Mike and get headaches/nausea from those. I think it helps that the crew is very in character for the Borg Invasion, whereas the Klingon Encounter has (alas) become rather campy, which is too bad for those going for the first time, but entertaining for me since I'd done it before. (Other patrons in the lift made similar comments.) We had a good group for the KE, though, and we took our responsibility at the very end very seriously. (Which I can't talk about, and if you've been, you know why.)

The Buffet at the Hilton is decent for the price, my price being the appreciated 25%-off discount for locals. (So, about $13 for Friday night din-dins.) I'd give the fare points for distinction in two areas: first, complimentary beer and wine, and second, the citrus jicama salad. The former was just interesting. (I don't really like most beer or wine, but I took a glass of rosé and swished a few mouthfuls just to say I tried it. Eh.) The citrus jicama salad, however, was original and spicy-delightful; I've never had anything like it before - a keeper.

The rest of the buffet selection was blah for vegetarians and possibly even non-veggies, but the food that was there was good. The baked potatoes seemed to be rolled in coarse salt and pepper and were perfectly soft inside. The cheese tortellini was a nice comfort food. The dessert selection is inventive - so many attractive little tarts and mousses that I'm afraid I probably had a bite of each, and the Hilton doesn't stint on quality mix-ins for the soft serve (Butterfingers, Oreos, and nasty things like gummy bears that Mike inexplicably and unapologetically likes).

And the rest of my night involved either the show or recovering from it, so that's all I have to say about that. Now I'm watching out the window for the snow (SNOW!) that's supposed to hit the valley today (In MARCH! On touristy NASCAR weekend! The one year anniversary of my trip to Primm when Snout and Barnard left. March!) and thinking I need to pick up the hundredy-billion books my ambitious fingers requested for the library in preparation for grad school this summer. (Assuming I get in to Cal State, but I did think this was the one superpower a summa cum laude paper-bearer could wield. I hope.) Amongst the books is this year's Zagat guide to Vegas, so I'll probably spend the rest of the afternoon mentally shopping through that, eventually tossing it across the room (as I'm wont to do with disappointing books) when I remember that I only go to buffets.

12 March 2006 |

Previously: Say Your Pronouns!

Say Your Pronouns!

I'm watching the Oscars right now, something I haven't done in years, not since the first time Billy Crystal presented, perhaps. The reasons for this are, I'm sure, quite obvious in these cynical times.

Nicole Kidman is on right now, using her Australian accent and blue fairy hair.

We're opening with Best Supporting Actor? Really? Did we always?

I'm watching because last night I saw Capote. First, kudos to South Coast and all affiliated cinemas for reversing their draconian "no credit cards" policy. Green Valley Ranch is still my casino, where this weekend I spent $15 getting 154 points (x3 = 462!) so I will get presents and mystery cash all summer, so its theatre gets preferential treatment, but South Coast (George Clooney just won for Syriana) has a beautiful concession stand. Beautiful.

None of this queueing up to place an order. You go grab what you want, from shelves or fridges or heat lamps or the cheerful popcorn attendants (which includes kettle corn!) then take it to a cashier to pay. No more standing behind a family of eight changing their order six times. Inspired, I tell you. Plus, you don't have to have the usual garbage, there's a built-in Starbucks/ice creamery, so you can have your double chai latte, or two scoops of mint chocolate chip ice cream, or a strawberry milkshake, or a slice of cheesecake, and so on. Yes, the bottled water is still almost four bucks, but you can also get lemon-flavoured. Yum.

I decided to go for something different, choosing soft pretzel bites with nacho cheese petrochemical dip plus Red Vines. I don't know, there's just something so Capote about red licorice. And I never buy candy (Ben Stiller just came on in his jammies) at the movies, the markup being way too obvious for ordinary fare, but last night I looked at my four-dollar water and said screw it, and then purchased the nastiest, gluiest red licorice on the planet. Twizzlers, people! I needed Twizzlers!

(Ha, Stiller was funny. I'm sure he'll need defending later, though.)

However, I was undercharged (which I only realized later, or I would have said something, really, honest), so one of those items only cost a dollar, so I don't feel too bad. And now I have nasty red licorice leftover for when Hoffman wins for Capote, which he must. How anyone could make that caricature of a man both dimensional and watchable is a marvel. The whole movie was expertly paced, cut, filmed... (Who just won? Oh, Wallace and Gromit. Good. Corpse Bride was nice but samey.)

The previews looked great, too. I forget how old I was when I realized that previews often match the (what is Naomi Watts wearing?) film. (Ooo Dolly Parton! Oh my god, she's bones! Bones! She has old lady legs. And is the sound muddied up or what? Do you think she's really a lesbian?) Of course, now I don't remember what any of the previews were for... but they looked smarter than the average bear. (Which is good, because this broadcast is sucking the IQ right out of my eyes. Don't those pillars look like a blend of buttery caramel and chocolate? Is Keira Knightley sitting with Jack Nicholson? Do the Academy people make you sit in a certain seat, or can you change seats with your date? Do celebs try to sit together or do they try to use their less famous partners as a buffer? Or does the Academy?)

I should confess that I've never read In Cold Blood. This movie might be the final push I need to get the New Yorker DVD set, though. (Where they use Capote's work in the example screenshots, funnily enough.) But only if I finish half of this summer's grad school reading by the end of Spring Break. That's my carrot. No, I'm not accepted yet, but I'm hoping that a 4.0 undergraduate and graduate GPA plus a valid credit card will outweigh the increasingly-embarrassing-upon-reflection admission essay. (Ha ha on Stewart's pretend Scientology rant. Ooo - Luke and Owen Wilsons. They're so hot right now.) I really want to take this Ancient Maya course, for one thing.

But first I must read. No, first I must lay out this week's lesson plans and wash the hot chocolate out of my hair and rinse the dust out of the crock pot, where it's been idle for four weeks (since you were too tactful to ask). I should also finish the French memo board that's been nearly done for almost as long, a trial-by-pins path covering the carpet in the meantime. And here's Jennifer Aniston. She was in one of the previews last night. She's everywhere! Good for her. Oh, Geisha will surely win. Lots of good contenders, though. Hmm. HA! Told you it would be Geisha. Okay, I'm gone, GO HOFFMAN.


Here we go... wow, I'm surprised they selected that clip for Capote. Heh. Haven't seen Hustle and Flow (but I was amused by Stewart's comments on the Scorcese/whatever that band was score - yes, I'm just a terrible, no doubt racist, person for not liking the music), Brokeback..., ah - Joachim, and I haven't even heard of this last movie. Interesting.

So no, I'm not qualified to judge, but I still want Hoffman.


Is he going to cry? Cry, Philip Seymour Hoffman, you just go ahead and cry. Or babble. There you go. Oh - his mom - how sweet. He is going to cry. Or not. Okay, I'll cry for him. Wheeee!

06 March 2006 |

My Kicks are *Gotten*!

First, nasty backwards V-day Sex Pistols wave to FedEx - you just left the package at my door? In an apartment complex?

Fine, now I have my (generic, Sanrio-less, practical, tax deductible) thumb drive (did you know it's my first thumb drive?), but more importantly, I got my copy of Route 66 Lost and Found: Ruins and Relics Revisited, a carrot in my current rephotography obsession.

WOW! Wow. I love this book. I'm just on page nine - only two photos plus the introduction into it - and I can't even look at it right now because I keep getting so excited and then I can't read fast enough to keep up with my thoughts. (And I'm a fast reader.)

The author, Russell Olsen, did the same thing I'm currently doing with the eBay postcards (find, rephotograph, marvel), but of course he didn't have the benefit of eBay, at least not for most of his research period. I'm already miserable that publishing constraints trimmed his collection of photos from 400 to 75. Maybe he has some of the leftovers on the book's website? I don't know - I'm too excited to look!

What is up with me? I'm glad I'm not nineteen - I'd have to parse these feelings into a past life as a trucker.

Didn't Depeche Mode cover the Route 66 song? Tickets go on sale for them tomorrow but, $150? No. Not even with my driver's ed moolah.

Oh yeah, guess who is getting certified to teach driver's ed and gets three graduate credits for it and doesn't have to pay for the classes and gets paid for time spent going to the classes? Me! It's me! (You guessed right.) And this is just classroom instruction, not getting in the car or anything. Because that would never happen. It was one thing to drive around Michigan backroads and announce to your DE teacher that we should "pretend we're British!" (as you suddenly jam the wheel left), but I don't think I want to be physically present when teenagers are practicing taxi-dodging techniques.

But you know where would be a good place to try all that? All that and a milkshake? Yeah.

04 March 2006 |

Get Your OCD Shots Young

You know what just bothered me as a kid? Not full-on conniption-bother, just tilt-the-mental-frame  askew kind of bother.

It was how they billed the actresses playing Carrie on Little House on the Prairie. Arrrgh! Arrrgh! At last I can scream! Carrie would run (and fall) across the field, and across the screen it would read, in softened saloon-type, LINDSAY SIDNEY GREENBUSH.

But there were two actresses playing that character! Linsdsay Greenbush and, yes, Sidney Greenbush! And once I knew that - and I'm sure I was only 7 or 8 or so - I had to let part of my backbrain puzzle over that caption every. single. time. And I watched that show every. single. week. Some part of my head was always checking to see if all along I'd missed a dash, a slash, maybe even a line break with AND centered between the names, and I'd almost rather have accepted having overlooked such a thing than to keep being presented with LINDSAY SIDNEY GREENBUSH, an entity who, week after week, did not exist.

And ohmygod they never changed that intro, did they? Here I am stuck on channel 41 tonight, watching one of those non-canonical episodes where Ma owns a cafe or whatever, and Laura's having a baby and they still have the same opening sequence where Laura's in flat pink gingham with her girlhood braids bouncing behind her.

(And would they really have let her teach while she was pregnant? Laura's doing the benevolent schoolmarm thing right now - ha! lies! - whilst wearing an amazingly white frontier maternity blouse that billows over her skirt. I want to see her feet - are those swollen ankles laced into the standard leather-pinch boots? Oh good grief - I forgot about Nancy. And Cassandra. I think this is when I stopped watching, back in the day. And still they mock me with the LINDSAY SIDNEY GREENBUSH.)

Lindsey and Sidney have a website. As far as I can tell, they fail to address the crediting issue, although possibly it is the single most popular topic in their Yahoo! group. But I am not joining to find out. Whatever the reason, it will not repair years of discomfort.

But I hope they don't fix it on the DVD.

02 March 2006 |

Previously: Snap-schmappy


Add me to the list of Flickrites whose photos have been short-listed (not my term) for inclusion in a  Schmap city guide.

The sample guide I downloaded is cute, possibly even novel and immersive, but I can't help but wonder if some of us were selected for no greater reason than a clever effort to build buzz. The Vegas photos they selected were hardly my finest. In fact, some were quite crap, while the one below was completely ignored.


(Yeah, it could use some cropping, but still.)

When the guide comes out on the 22nd, we the Schmap-tapped who were brave enough to permit use of the photos (and hope no third party rights are being violated, which looks awfully grey from here) shall find out whether our photos were used (or whether it was just us).

02 March 2006 |

Featherfacts, Featherheads

Today, the coolest thing I have learned is that, okay, you know the chick who plays Linda in The Wedding Singer? The girl Robbie is supposed to marry who dumps him and wears his Van Halen shirt and all that?

Okay. That girl? She is the same girl who plays Chloe, the one Ross sleeps with when he and Rachel take a break.

Wow! No?

Well, I thought so.

Today, being the 10:45th hour, I faxed my payment authorization form to Cal State so I can drop out of I MEAN TRANSFER I SAID TRANSFER DO YOU KNOW WHAT MY UNDERGRADUATE GPA WAS OF COURSE I SAID TRANSFER I AM NOT A LOSER I AM transferring out of UNLV to get into their (CSU's) program instead.

All seven thousand of my transcripts miraculously arrived, so now it's really just a matter of seeing whether they'll tolerate my desperately sad essay written almost entirely last night after I decided to apply after all, and after taking the day off of work.

(It was not a good weekend. First there was this whole aborted workshop thing, and then a very misguided trip to the movies where I was constantly pulling icy wet balls of tissue out of my nose, for then there was the whole two days of freezing/fever/oblivion brought on by some bug, hence the extremely uncharacteristic day off, none of which matters now that I'm well and appreciative of life again, hence the decision to write then submit an essay that is, believe it or not, despite all of these commas and whatnots here, actually well-written, but that is probably way too experimental and barely clinging to the letter of the essay guidelines, let alone the spirit.)

I'm having so much fun with postcrossing. If you're not doing it, you're a dork. Or content with other hobbies. You decide. Today I received cards from Australia (an "official" card) and Kansas (an "unofficial" card where postcrossing members "tag" each other and send cards with a certain theme, such as the moon or water). I'm putting photos of my received cards on Flickr here. (I still need to add today's haul and yesterday's card from Finland. ScaryShari, I'm not photo'ing your card because it's your photo - LOL! I did try to find it online so I could link, though - you should add it to your photostream!)

I have spare postcards at the moment. If you want a postcard, send me your address, offer good for the first ten people, and no, I'm not going to harvest/sell your particulars or come to your house. Odds are I'm going to lose your address and hope you forgot about the card, and I'm only coming to your house if you've stocked it with talented rock stars who, after years of listening to the post-Maharishi Beatles, have accidentally encountered enlightenment and are now looking to embrace a more Rubenesque muse.

Really, I'm a poor groupie these days, what with being so relaxed and pleased with the weather and covered in exciting books that I'm actually finding moments to spend with Mike that aren't all about panicking over sleep deprivation. (Which I've simply learned to embrace. Four hours tonight? Sweet! I'm going to wake up every hour just to reassure myself that this good news is true! Not kidding.)

However, this did not stop me from enlisting Mike to procure my tickets for Blue Oyster Cult. He had to do it because I was supposedly at that workshop, but oh god, don't even start. I completely trusted his skills, seeing as how he just scored sixth row for Split Enz at Burswood, which is all in Perth, so don't even bother following along. And of course he came through with front row, almost center, which is even better than I did on Monday when I got the Air Supply tickets - front row, just left of center.

I can name three songs by BOC and hum two, and I know four songs by AS, which means I can hum one. (Snark!) So, I don't know if these will be festive outings; I just know that, what with all the professional development workshops and shows and concerts, I'm actually having to consult a calendar before making decisions these days.

And yet here I am, tonight, watching I Love the 70s, reading whatever tumbles past when I shift the blanket, munching tacos, and delivering nose sugar at regular intervals to the wheeling populace. Nice. And, if you'd seen the poor hammies flopped out this weekend, fur curling with the heat as I shivered in crappy "new and improved" store brand NyQuil dreams, you'd not begrudge me a bit of it.

01 March 2006 |

Previously: What Locals Do

What Locals Do

I'm making the mistake right now of reading some old alt.vacation.las-vegas posts, the mistake being that the posts are too old for me to join the conversation with prissy, indignant offerings. Frustration!

Okay, here's the deal:


Now, I've only been here 13 months, and I'm a happy-go-lucky person who always does "the touristy crap," even when I'm living in a pop 60k city in Texas or a pop 10k village in Michigan. So we all know I don't count.

True, I've had a few locals with more tenure tell me that "people who live here don't do (insert tourist activity)." A few locals. All of whom were my students and therefore aren't old enough to do half the tourist activities they claim no one is doing.

Normal mileage variances aside, anyone who tells you that "real Las Vegans don't (go to such-and-such attraction or eat at such-and-such place or gamble or drive over the Dam)" is either posturing or isn't much fun and wouldn't play mini-golf in the middle of Kansas, if you know what I mean.

Real Las Vegans do go to the Forum Shops. To the fine dining nosheries. To Mt. Charleston. To Red Rock Canyon. To the casinos. To the buffets. To Cirque du Soleil.

And yes, my god, we do go to the Strip. We do. We really do. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

It's just that we do other things in other places, too. (Much the same way those Kansans don't play mini-golf every night.)

And gambling? Don't let anyone tell you the "real" locals don't gamble, either. We've got video poker (and smokers!) in our grocery stores. We queue up for the local-wooing casino come-ons of free pies and fleece pullovers. Station Casinos hasn't become a Fortune 100 darling because people from Ohio are canceling their king-sizes at the MGM and hiking out for a stay in Henderson instead.

Oh yes, we're out there, amongst you. We hear you wondering which bus to take, and we hope you don't mind if we butt in with some suggestions. (Although some of us could really do without the hour spent convincing you that it's the right bus. Listen, you're already downtown on the edge of Fremont Street - any bus you take is an improvement.)

This reminds me: not all locals are in love with downtown. It's not "more authentic." It's fun and different from the Strip-proper and historically interesting, but the Fremont Street Experience is not your grandpappy's Vega$, and the local old timers who gamble under the neon canopy are there because they live seven blocks away and don't quite trust driving in the highway traffic around Sam's Town.

(I better add that as often as I give downtown a hard time, I do really like it. It took awhile, but then it took me almost twenty years to go from hating Las Vegas with a uniquely sour passion to choosing it over every other city in this country as the place I want to live. Anyway, there are certainly worse areas than that section of Fremont, and the bits of casinos like the old Pioneer Club that you can see from behind the FSE do deserve respect, but that whole "REAL locals go downtown, not to the Bellagio fountains" is just hooey. This is not a town populated entirely by elderly gentlemen in shiny slacks, okay?)

Our rant is drawing to a close now, and I will part with the reminder that this is only a public service announcement, and you can believe whatever you choose about Las Vegas locals. Whatever makes you happy. That's all we locals want to do - make you happy. You and, specifically, your disposable income. Or even your rent money - it's all good. Know that we're out there, probably three seats away on a 20-line Sea Monkeys slot, and we've totally got your back on the bus-thing.

25 February 2006 |

Previously: Pepsi Blues

Pepsi Blues

These are the Pepsi days. These are the inexplicable soft shards of living when you've had a satisfying six periods of schoolmarming at work and you're pretty well rested and nothing scary is on the horizon (although you do owe CSU an application essay, pronto) and the hammies are amusing and there's lots of Xena and Coupling and Good Eats on the pseudo-Tivo,



you order mediocre pizza and Pepsi - GAG! PEPSI! AND CAFFEINE! EW! - and look forward to it, because no way are you going out again today.

Which you'll explain later (summer? next year?), and you're just blogging about it now because it will be funny whenever you can get around to writing more.

(You really should hit "draft" instead of "publish" now, but you're afraid you'll forget about it if you file this post with all the unseen midnight rambles on sex, racism, mental health, politics, and laundry.)

24 February 2006 |

Thank You for Your Prayers

Thanks to, I'm sure, the virtual novenas of everyone who read the bunny post, I do not have a bunny. I don't even have first birthday photos for Henry, Maudine, Janet, and Hammond, but that's another story. (Namely, I remember how Barnard's didn't get a party this time last year because I had the flu, and getting out the birthday stuff makes me miss him. Luckily, HMJH weren't expecting any fuss.)

You should take pride, Internet Reader, in your strong mojo, for Mike looked at the Bonnie Spring Ranch photos and even he was convinced we should have at least two soft, grey-speckled bunnies. I think he also added something about how impractical this would be and how bad the cabbage and carrots smell a few days later, but I wasn't listening to that part. All I can hear is BUNNYBUNNYBUNNY and s o f t s o f t s o f t. If you've ever had to buy chocolate pudding at 9 p.m., you understand. Don't tell me about the rabbits, George, or I'll be searching back issues of Martha Stewart Living for custom-embroidered hutches.

Eager Bunnies


Rabbit Snack

Brown-Spotted Bunny

Bonnie Springs Ranch slideshow

22 February 2006 |

Previously: Blue Diamond POBs

Blue Diamond POBs

About ten minutes from my home in Las Vegas (or unincorporated Clark County land, if you want to be exact), is the town of Blue Diamond, a village you pass on your way into Red Rock Canyon (from the south).

I popped into the town to mail my postcrossing cards and happened to notice the PO boxes. And then I noticed them harder - whoa! This is what POBs looked like when I was little! How could I have forgotten?

But I had - I had totally forgotten. This really took me back. I've been thinking about getting a POB again, and now I just don't think I could I could settle for one of those cold grey steel boxes. It's not like Blue Diamond is more than a couple of minutes further than my closest PO (we're postally neglected here in the southwest part of town), but it is in a completely opposite direction from work, errands, etc. Still...

And don't you just love the windows that let you know if mail is in there? I'd completely forgotten about that part.

21 February 2006 |

Remove These Wanton Carrots

Please gather in the prayer that I will be stopped before I can buy a bunny. A beautiful bunny, warm and so lovely to hold, with soft grey spots and calm ears. Bunnybunnybunnybunnybunny!

Photos from today's excursion to Bonnie Springs Ranch and bunny-addled petting zoo to appear as soon as I finish uploading last week's photos of the Bellagio fountains and the Fremont Street Experience.

No, I'm serious. The hammies don't need the competition. PRAY HARDER.

19 February 2006 |

Previously: Passing Facts

Passing Facts

In the peace of warm basmati rice ten minutes away and Hammond's wee-garden now tidied into the bin (think sprouts), I'm in a reflective mood. A few thoughts:

Mike, despite being raised a simple atheist (e.g. religion wasn't protested, just naturally absent), loves the song "One Day at a Time." Not the Valerie Bertenelli (sp) theme song, but the one that rings out, "one day at a time... SWEET JESUS!" (So do I, actually, but in the time it's taken me to type this, WinAmp has moved on to Peter Gabriel.) I just find it amusing when he sings happy songs about other people's gods.

Mind you, it's just as much fun as when he accidentally sings "my sweet Satan" under his breath at work, a tune he picked up when looking into some alleged backward-masking... (If he were a more complicated man, I'd worry.)

Me, I keep singing John Waite's live version of "Valentine." (Thanks Wouter.) You can't get a new copy from Amazon, but the album is at iTunes. Did I mention that I was paying $1.99 per episode at iTunes to catch up on Lost? But now I have DVR and my clicky finger is powered by rainbows to match the baskets of daisies my life has become. (I swear it is a total coincidence that the first thing I recorded was a Bad English video... that I just paid $1.99 to see at iTunes.)

Another fact is that Mike and I got each other the same thing for Valentine's Day. [And here is where I got up to eat my rice and never finished this post and left it in draft mode for two days before remembering it. Oops. Short story shorter: In addition to our GMTA moment, I went for a bit extra and also gave Mike a copy of Fools Rush In - which he has now watched twice. Definitely underrated.]

17 February 2006 |

Rubens at the Gugg-Her

Whatever you may think of the Venetian, its Guggenheim-Hermitage museum is exquisitely kind to local educators. Tonight was freebie night for teachers wishing to see the Rubens exhibit, and the warm smiles from sign-in sheet to gift shop were almost as good as Peter Paul's paintings.

I always forget how much I like the Venetian. There's this interesting moment when you leave the parking garage elevators to curve around into the property, where the airless air and modern walkway makes me feel like I'm in a deserted hallway in an international airport circa about 1982. It even smells like it. If you've flown enough, which doesn't even have to be much, you know what I mean.

I also forget how insulated the property is. Everywhere else, even the Luxor or the Bellagio or name anything, you're aware of nearby exits. The Venetian keeps you close. It drops the velvet curtain behind you. It is, I suppose, less concerned with inviting in the outsiders as keeping in the insiders.

So, I am not a fan of Rubens. Obviously no fat woman worth her buttered Twinkie rejects his graces, but whenever I've seen his or his famous student's work in person (such exposure being pretty much limited to a one-off month's holiday in Spain), it suffers by comparison to other artists. You cannot put Bosch on the same museum floor and expect to sell me on the Baroque. It's very hard to trick me into Catholic pastels.

However, the exhibit was great, and mostly because the docent tour was excellent. The 45 minutes in four rooms flew by, and I would've done it all again with the other docent, but I really wanted a chocolate egg cream. (Which I did not have, in the end, but that's another story.)

Normally I'm totally opposed to guided tours - have we not all been scarred by the herding experience - but here it worked. I learned mucho, such as why it's the Guggenheim-Hermitage (because it features collections from the Guggenheim, the Hermitage, and some other place - all pieces that might otherwise have to sit in storage), how many masterpieces were produced by teams instead of individuals (all done in a studio system where, say, Rubens is Quentin Tarantino and he hires people to erect is his vision, especially people who are masters in just feet, just background fruit bowls, just strategically draped veils, etc.), and what's really going on with Marc Antony's sword in this painting (by Jacob Jordaens, not Rubens, incidentally).

I'm still not a Rubens fan, but it was a fun outing. We (the beloved teachers) got 25% off in the gift shop, so I stocked up on arty postcards for postcrossing; two of my cards have already arrived to their designees - check out the one I sent to Bootje in The Netherlands. (And what was waiting for me when I got home? A right-purty Valcard from Scary Shari featuring one of her own photos - THANK YOU!)

I also used that shopping discount to get two books that I will not look up on Amazon lest the price be half what a paid, even with a quarter off. One focuses on Vegas in the 50s with a kitschy, emphemeratic layout, and the other is a "then and now" book that captures some of what I've been trying to do (well, thinking about trying to do) by photographing the same locations shown on old-old Vegas postcards from the same distance, angle, etc.

Now to read said book whilst cracking open a bev and soaking in the pleasures of the DVR. You've just no idea what a boon to existence it is to have 80 hours of Xena standing by.

16 February 2006 |

El Rancho Rides Again!

Look left. Just another blurry photo from the top of a double-decker bus cruising down the Las Vegas Strip, no?


In 2000, the El Rancho casino, once upon a time the Thunderbird and later renamed in semi-homage to the burned-down El Rancho Vegas (think distinctive windmill) across the street (where the ground in the vacant lot allegedly still smells of the fire, 50 years later), was demolished.

I don't know when Turnberry Place, the first of several eyesore condos going up on the Strip, covered up the old El Rancho sign, but El Rancho's been an unknown entity to Vegas newcomers for some time. This past summer I stood whole minutes under the Turnberry sign, watching the canvas flutter, desperate to see a little peek of the old El Rancho underneath. It's an armchair archaeologist thing.

Now here we are in February, and last night I hopped on "The Deuce" for the first time to go downtown. Save a quick drive-by, I haven't been downtown in five years, not since I was a tourist. Not because I hate downtown, but because I'd hate to be caught near downtown at night with a car problem. I'm just an unrepentant snob that way.

So, I was on the upper deck, the thrill having worn off twenty minutes earlier and the possibility of a flat tire near Olympic Gardens looking better and better as we inched up the Strip in Saturday night traffic. And I looked up. I looked up, and for one second everything was almost-normal. No. No. Something's off. Something's... whoa.


Something has happened to one side of the Turnberry sign, and we can see the El Rancho waving from the grave, perhaps even fooling hundreds of tourists into asking, "what's that?"

It should be noted that no one else on the bus shared my enthusiasm, but that's because I was the only fun person there. I'm just saying.

It's like, as I said to Mike, looking at the Venetian and suddenly seeing a bit of the old Sands poking up through the roof. Maybe even rising from the water, forcing the gondolas to paddle around. ("That would be cool!" he said. Well, yeah, but this is cool, too. It is!)

Anyway, I'm always a little extra-fascinated by the El Rancho because of this story. And also because I'm a geek. But not so much of a geek that I stayed up until sunrise to take a properly clear daylight picture. Although, you know, it's not even noon on Sunday, and I bet they don't manage to get it covered back up today...

13 February 2006 |

Previously: Back to the Show

Back to the Show

Mike just phoned from his long-awaited (three weeks!) specialist appointment. The connection was lousy, plus he had to use his rare indoor voice, being at the doc's and all. I couldn't make out much.

His tumor, though benign, has to come out. Like, now. They want to do it next week, but no openings are available, so it will be the week after. (You know, right before he returns to university to finish his last leg of that tour.)

All I know at the moment is that it won't be the scary peel-your-face-back kind of surgery. However, any surgery involving poking around the skull is generally unwelcome.

I'm not pleased about it. He's less pleased about it. At least it's not a malignant brain tumor, the kind people mention when they're casually throwing out worse-case scenarios. But you can look on the bright side of what we've got here all day and still not be pleased about it.

Is it me, or did Australia just stand up and scramble 100 light years away? And my sceptre still stretches short of a few thousand dollars, and a few days off. Tie the cheery ribbons of impotence a little tighter, now.

More when I know more.

Update: (ten after midnight)

First doctor (specialist, friendly guy): This has to come out, period. Now. It's the osteoma to end all osteomas. Very simple operation.

Second doctor (ENT guy, cranky bastard): I don't think this is causing your headaches. If you have it taken out, your face could be numb for life, definitely will be scarred, depressed in forehead (etc.).  You should see a neurologist.

(Doctor leaves room. Comes back.)

Second doctor (ENT guy): Then again, the first doctor says it should come out, and (based on other things) I think it is causing your pain.  Never mind the neurologist. (But that doesn't mean you should have the surgery.)

I'll skip the whole part where the second doctor then wouldn't advise him, refused to discuss any relationship with eye problems, and generally kept flip-flopping. Mike's spewing. ("What did he do, go search Wikipedia then come back in the room with a new opinion?")

End result: Mike is currently putting off the surgery for three months, but he's going to talk to the first doctor on Monday about what the second doctor said. So, more then.

10 February 2006 |

Previously: Postcrossing


Post a comment

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In.


Forget yesterday's crushes, today I'm madly wiggling my giggling fingers at

This is just way cool. Remember when I said I was going to collect postcards? This led to all kinds of fun and brow furrowing on eBay last night as I tried to figure out what I wanted. (The universal question in small scale.) What do I want?

There's a big re-photographing trend that seems especially centered around San Francisco. (See this book.) Vegas seems to bring the same vibe out in people: you may be looking at the Wynn or the Venetian, but you're still driving on Desert Inn or Sands.

I started looking at the old Vegas postcards. Remember that fleeting period when Joe Brown owned (or "owned") Benny Binion's Horseshoe casino? Well, I didn't, but postcards like this (erroneously dated, by the way) reminded me that things weren't always like this. Not that I ever saw that, because by the time Mike and I visited Binion's the thrill was, literally, gone, something you'd know about if I ever got around to just posting my trip report already and not mucking around with editing. God knows we barely proofread this version.

(As always, please don't buy it. If you really care, someday I will get it all posted.)

And then today, as I detoured around a sense of slow traffic at I-15 and Sahara (completely not verified by the traffic report twenty minutes later), which road do I cross? Joe W. Brown!  There's a
street named after this guy, but how many people know who he is? That his name spent several years above the glittering horseshoe in its heyday?

And who was Swenson? Because Swenson is the street that becomes Joe W. Brown - here, in a town where you can often follow a side-street all the way from one side of the valley to another without changing names.

[We interrupt this blog entry to wonder where the hell the FedEx guy is. Thank you.]

See, it's stuff like this that makes me feel local. (And that screams "get a life," I'm sure. See last post for GaL bitterness and a flashback to the time when I was optimistic that I'd see the FedEx truck today. That DVR has been on the truck since 7:10 a.m.)

And how did I reach this place of pittypatpat research and discovery? Via postcards. And eBay. Because, you know, I've been thinking about how you could save a bunch of eBay auction images and never actually buy anything. Save them, re-photograph them, decorate with them. Just not pay $5 plus shipping for any of them. (Although I'm not sure re-photographing works well in Vegas: every before and after photo doesn't account for the twenty significant stages inbetween. Even  Silverbird-Thunderbird-El Rancho-Not Starship Orion-Not Countryland USA-Turnberry Place is more than a then and now. I was thinking today, as I drove past the sadly boarded Boardwalk - clown head peeking over the wall - that Las Vegans are pretty good about not complaining when landmarks fall - so to speak. Complaining would be like marrying Robin Williams then asking him to shave his arms.)

But back to postcards. I'm still hot to collect them, and somewhere in my throe-clicks last night I found Woo-ee! It's like Where's George, BookCrossing, 1000 Journals, and every pen pal fantasy I had when I was eleven ("get lots of mail from lots of people without the guilt of never replying soon enough") rolled into a buttered corn tortilla and smothered in chopped onions and green sauce. I am so hungry right now, and this Trader Joe's creamy corn soup with peppers isn't working. And where is the FedEx guy?

Postcrossing is a postcard exchange. You sign up. You share a little about yourself (if you like). You request an address. You get the address with a unique ID and a little info on the recipient (if they were forthcoming, and most are). You send a postcard to that person, not neglecting to write the ID on it. You can say anything on the postcard. And, hey, it's a postcard. It's small. Friendliness without a big commitment.

The recipient gets the postcard and logs the ID into the site. Yay! Now you've proven that you're a good participant, and for every card you send (that the person logs), you will get a card. Funfunfun, yes?

You're allowed to request five addresses at a time. I got my five and it seems the scriptythingie likes to make this as global as possible. I'm writing to people in The Netherlands, Tasmania, New Zealand (twice - it seems to love NZ, going by the map), and Brittany. Mon dieu - what if the guy in Brittany knows the pen pal there that I abandoned when I was 12? He could! Bretagne is not big! What was her name, anyway?

(P.S. to Mike: I remembered my Swedish pen pal's name. It was Josef. I'll stop calling him Sven now.)

There's even a postcrossing group on Flickr. Now you know it has arrived.

So, tonight I'm writing postcards and affixing two 39-cent stamps to each because I'm too lazy to buy special 75-cent stamps, and the United States Postal Service knows this. Mike and I are debating whether to send a Paris LV card to the French fellow. Yes? No? We currently favour "No." I need to go out to the Canyon this weekend to get some non-neon cards. One hates to send people something they can see on the Travel channel almost 24/7.

Not that I can watch it. FedEx: Where Are You?!

08 February 2006 |


The comments to this entry are closed.

Cultivating Poinsettias, Aloe, and Indifference

"Get a life."

I. hate. those. three. words.

Try to tell someone about 43 Things?

"Get a life."

Talk about how you successfully forced the cable company into not making you pay for days without service?

"Get a life."

Take a pro-active diplomatic stance in strained office politics by lightly commenting on how the major tensions seem to have passed and we all get along pretty well, all things considered?

"Shari... get a life."

I don't know what this life is that I'm supposed to have. One where I complain without conceding? One where I read about trends in the paper instead of having a go in the sandbox myself?

One where Cox Cable cancels my online order for their DVR service because I have to return the old unit before I can get the DVR unit, all of which has to be handled via FedEx, shipping all the way from the other side of town, meaning I'm without access to service for a couple of days, which isn't emotionally trying (I go days if not weeks without turning on the TV - hence the splurge on the DVR), but should I have to pay for service while I wait for converter units to be driven back and forth by FedEx? No. No blogger worth their ripped bag of chips could let that one go, although they surely could tell it much better.

I don't have my perfect life, but I have a life I like, and it's frickin' insulting to be told otherwise unless someone's truly just teasing. Grumblegrumblegrumble.

[Four ranty paragraphs deleted here.]

So, I'm not getting TiVo because you need a land line to set it up. (Sez TiVo. Some disagree. I've no urge to try to hack the TiVo experience, though.) Somewhere on their website TiVo notes that many people may only have cell phones, and it tells those people to remember that you only need the land line once. I don't know how that makes a difference. If you don't have a land line, you really don't have one. No way am I going to deal with the phone company to get service for one month so I can set up TiVo.

Cox Cable (not a company I'd recommend if I still lived in Victoria, but in Las Vegas they're pretty efficient and don't jerk you around half as much as they did to me in Texas, any incidents relayed in this post aside) has DVR service. No DVRs with DVD burners, but still.

Cox Cable offers DVR service for $9.95/month. Not "as low as" - it's really $9.95. Until you get to checkout, then it says $14.41. You email. They tell you it's for the service plus unit rental. (Note: you can't order service without the unit.)

Fair enough. You sign up. You choose self-installation because that's only $9.95. (Really $9.95.) Shipping of the unit is free. (Do they try to do the pricing psych-out just for the sake of it?) You're given a "first month total" of $24.36. Okay.

Then they cancel your order and do all of the stuff above. After waiting on the line, then leaving a message as instructed, then not having your call returned, then emailing, you are told you can now order the unit, which will be FedExed overnight from across town, and you can return the old unit after receiving the new one. (Again, via FedEx, because dropping it off on the way home from work might be weird, I guess.)

You re-send your order. It goes through. The confirmation comes. It reminds you that your first month total will be $32.31.

You email Cox.
You say you ordered the $9.95 special.
You say you understand why the price is really $14.41.
You say you understand why your first month will be $24.36, plus any tax/surcharges/fees, what with the installation fee.

What you don't understand, you say, is where the extra $7.95 comes from. You get a hundred bucks worth of digital cable and high-speed internet each month already, and those taxes and fees aren't this much.

Cox replies. Cox says:

"The monthly rate of $14.41 covers the price for the DVR equipment, remote and service for a customer who currently does not subscribe to the DVR service.

"Per your online order confirmation, it states, 'Prices do not reflect applicable fees, taxes or surcharges for any existing Cox services.'"

Cox signs off. You shake your fist at the first paragraph: "I know that! I know why it's $14.41!"

You boggle at the second paragraph. What does this mean - there's a 30-odd-percent tax/surcharge/fee on just the DVR? Every month? While not surprising (hello? it's the cable company), why won't they explain where it comes from? How can the fees for this one "$9.95" service be more than the rest of the whole cable bill?

Of course I'll pounce if it's in error. Standing up to shoddy customer service is what puts the raisins in my blog cookie.

Meanwhile, I suppose I'll... I'll...
get a life.

Just as soon as the FedEx truck gets here.

08 February 2006 |

Previously: Crush Alert



All TiVo's manufactured since last fall don't need a POTS line at all - they started shipping with them software 7.2 or better, which supports Network Guided Setup.

And even if you somehow got an older unit, you can take it anywhere with a phone line for the initial setup calls. Force a couple of connections until it upgrades to 7.2.1, and then bring it home.

If you did go with a TiVo, I'd recommend the lifetime subscription - better value.


Bleh - then why does TiVo lie (lie! lie!) on their website? Sniffle...

Wow, per the older unit, I just realized that I can't think of anywhere to go to hook up with a regular phone line save bothering some shopkeeper or hopping a plane to Texas to see my parents - talk about living in the future. Ish.

Unfortunately, I've sat here for the last six hours waiting for my FedEx delivery of the DVR from Cox. Poised, not going out to eat, not getting the mail, not running errands, not listening to music lest I not hear the door. The package was put on the truck at 7 a.m., so surely any moment, right?

No. At 9pm the FedEx site updated to show that delivery was attempted at 8:53 but the resident "wasn't available." I understand why the driver didn't wait 45 seconds for someone to drive by (and open the apartment gates), but 8:53 pm? Who delivers at 8:53 pm after Christmas?

Now I'm hungry, TV-less, needing to get up for work in seven hours, and wondering whether I'll get to do it all again tomorrow. All that, and now I find out that TiVo lies? Oh, this DVR revolution is already breaking my heart!

Scary Shari

If you want a chance to say "Shari, get a life" rather than having it said to you, check out my list at ;)

Then again, as a kindred spirit, writer and wordsmith, you're probably the LEAST likely to laugh at my list! (Damn, there goes my alliteration again! *giggle*)

The comments to this entry are closed.

Crush Alert

For the next twenty minutes I am having a crush on the following websites:
[via MF]
So many gem-posts beyond those mentioned on MetaFilter. Here, try this one.
[via TB]
I am particularly touched by the condolence page for the NASA Worm. My god, I never even realized it was gone.

07 February 2006 |

Previously: Bamdamnit!


The comments to this entry are closed.


That click. That BAM! That sudden understanding, skinnied from years of add-up hobbies, that a new interest is coming - I got it.

It just happened. Like, 30 seconds ago. I was looking at this guy's photos and thought, "I should collect postcards."

And damnit - bamdamnit - if it didn't "take" right then and there. I'm going to collect postcards. I'm going to scrapbook them as souvenirs of my imagination. I'm going to take them into school and let the Creative Writing kids flesh them out. I'm going to, inevitably, PayPal dollar after dollar to eBay sellers for postcards I once might've bought for a few nickels, myself.

In other news, guess who woke up at some point in the night (on the sofa) and went to sleep in the real bed? Guess who - as WE'VE ALWAYS SUSPECTED - didn't hear her alarm? Guess who overslept and managed to get dressed, scrubbed, and across the valley - normally an 18-minute morning drive if heading out early - in twenty-eight minutes?

It was me! All of my sleep anxieties came true! True!

Well, not all, because I was "only" fifteen minutes late to work (late to work!) and, more importantly, was not caught. And I had a rather nice day, what with being well-rested.

Then I got some Del Taco on the way home; this was after waiting in line 30 minutes to use the self-serve machine at the post office then going to the library to ask which book I supposedly hadn't returned, according to the website, because it says "unnamed paperback." Come to find out all paperbacks are called "unnamed" in the system. They also don't incur late fees.

But, if you don't bring them back, you can't reserve books or extend your due dates, and that's no good. I was told to donate a new paperback - any paperback - and the receipt, and they would lift the black mark from my account. I thought that was fair (although I'm 90% sure I returned everything), and I made much conversation about this and that, which means I asked all kinds of questions (I love library science and management), and me asking questions usually seems to make people think I'm questioning something - I think - and so a nearby librarian told my librarian (or are they just check-out chicks? do the ones who scan your books have degrees? why are there no self-checkout machines in the otherwise mighty LV library system?) to just take the paperback off my record. Which was generous, and I thanked them, but I think they were too worn out from my happy jabbering to enjoy the moment.

Yeah, so, I went to Del Taco for the first time - it's rather nasty. I've been kind of off WW for several days. I'm going back on, I really am, I just got caught up in some buffets and mudslides and, really, you don't want to hear about it. Look how small this font is - proof that there's no need to burden you with the details. I've made/invented some 3-bean mango mushroom chile and will eat that for dinner this week instead of dried out processed cheese quesadillas, I really will. See if I don't.

Saw Fun with Dick and Jane last night. It was fine enough. I barely remember the original. The Enron message, much as I embraced it, was a little clumsy at the end. By the way, Suncoast cinemas in Las Vegas don't accept credit cards. And they have no buy-your-own kiosk, at least not at the one at South Coast. Is that not odd? Really odd? They're an extremely popular chain here, too. They even have swipers on their check-out monitors, but it's Suncoast's policy not to take credit cards, although they do plan to have kiosks in the future. What is Robert Redford thinking? Oh, wait, that's Sundance.

I'd planned to see Capote, but I had better things to do when the single matinee showtime came around. However, now that I know they depict Harper Lee in it, I'd like to see it. I'm going to have the CW students watch part of Bre*kfast at Tiff*ny's tomorrow and Wednesday then rewrite the end on Thursday. SHOCKING CONFESSION: Like George Costanza, I've never read all of the book or seen all of the movie, but I know at least one of the students will get the Seinfeld reference. And me, I'll get a bunch of endings, personally uncolored by loyalty to the true one.

In more movie logging, I caught Nanny McPhee while killing time before the Howard Jones show. (By the way, Boulder Station's buffet is okay for lunch - they have grilled cheese! novel! - but South Coast's Sunday dinner buffet is as bland as the rest of the casino.) While McPhee was wholly  predictable, I still enjoyed it. Colin Firth + Emma Thompson + period costume = sure success.

And there was this great kite-flying scene, and I asked Mike, "did you fly kites when you were little?" And of course we both did, but neither one of us ever had much success. In fact, we remember having to run a lot to get the thing to almost stay up. And neither of us has ever even seen the classic diamond-kites with the tail full of bows, such as you always see in children's book illustrations (and in Nanny McPhee) - we both had the nylon/plastic wingspan ones.

So we got all excited about flying kites someday, really standing still and holding the bar and watching the kite play up there, but before the click, the BAM!, could settle on me, I talked about stringing one of those disposable digital video cameras up to our someday-kite, and how we could have video of us running underneath (now we're back to running) and the skyline and wouldn't it be cool? It would. But sometimes the future is very tiring, so I said we had to put it in the backs of our minds for later. There is enough pining already.

And now I will use some of my tax refund to shop for old postcards. I did my taxes on Saturday despite the TurboTax site refusing to let me free-file as soon as it found out I was a returning customer. This has happened before, hence having to create three IDs there in the past four years of filing online. I'm so confident in my retentive record-keeping and fiscal honesty that I almost welcome an audit: I'm sure they'd find me an even bigger number for the refund check. Oh, and remind me not to spend so much on classroom supplies this year. You're only allowed to deduct $250, and I thought I'd spent about $500... try $850. Ow. Damn those markers, glue sticks, DVDs, and curriculum guides. Maybe this postcard would be suitable?

07 February 2006 |


Scary Shari

It probably won't surprise you to hear that I collect postcards featuring historic oak trees, past and present, from thoughout the U.S. and the world.

It might surprise you, however, if you saw my collection -- even I can't believe how many postcards people have printed about oak trees, including cool info about them on the back! :) Talk about an eBay addiction! If not for that website, I probably would only have 10% of my collection.

I think I'll have to blog about this some time, because some of the oak trees are truly amazing, either due to their great age, great size, or some very unusual historical thing that happened at or near them.

BTW, if you email me your snail mail address, I'll mail you a postcard or two, just for fun! NOT of my cherished oaks, but of some trees and flowers I photographed myself and had printed up as glossy postcards. I have more than I could sell, so I figure I might as well enjoy sending them to other people who might also enjoy them. :)



Post a comment

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In.

Then He Eats Your Head

Front row center for REO Speedwagon... AGAIN!

Left the Howard Jones show last night during intermission. There's probably more to say about that, but I think the word "intermission" says it all. Otherwise, HJ seemed like a nice man, and leaving had nothing to do with the drunk who slipped into the seat next to me and started saying, "I'm going to kill you dead. Just wait and see."

05 February 2006 |

Previously: The Warmth of Vinyl


The comments to this entry are closed.

The Warmth of Vinyl

I was late to the compact disc revolution because the marketing made me sick. "Sure, it costs three times as much and requires new equipment, but it will be cheap-as-chips once everyone gets one, and the sound quality is SO GOOD!"

I was stubborn as the horror stories came of bad CDs muddied up by the rush of production. I wanted Digital Audio Tape to take over: it was backwards compatible with cassettes, and by all accounts sounded better. It also would piss off cubicle-packs of marketeers.

I finally gave in when a boyfriend presented me with Anything by The Damned plus a Discman. "Welcome to the 1990s," he said, as we ushered out 1994. (Not the only thing we ushered out: that he gave me a disc he already had in his own collection was quite telling.)

I still never bought many CDs, despite enjoying them for their convenience and (with reasonable care) durability, because the little suckers never dropped down in price, did they? But that's a rant
already well-covered here over the years.

As a philistine who listens to 128kbps mp3s with few complaints, a CD ought to be quality enough for my ears. I'm not an audiophile. I don't have an isolation booth where I swim specially-curved Q-tips into my ears before placing the diamond needle down on "The Look of Love."


I was in the car recently, listening to a homemade John Waite/Babys CD that comes almost entirely from ripped CDs. One of the first vinyl LPs I converted was The Babys' Broken Heart, but over the years I've replaced my "personal copy" mp3s with other people's rips. Not because I lusted for the CD versions but because sometimes I was too lazy to grab my own rips when switching computers or hard drives or what have yous.

My Babys record has a thunk-thunk, thunk-thunk in the quiet of the song's start, reminding me of that total anticipation you could only get from listening to music that required standing up and carefully lifting then adjusting the needle if you wanted to hear it again.

Young people, would you stand up and move the needle for 50-cent? For Kelly Clarkson? Would you?

Anyway, "Isn't It Time" came on, and I smiled a little: thunk-thunk, thunk-thunk. Faint, but enough to notice after the sterility between every other song.

And then I heard it.


I have no more synaesthesia than the average creative person, but I could feel a snug velvet plummet and rise with each note. Falling in love was the last thing I had on my mind... Forget watching Winamp visualizations - this was like riding one. Holding you is a warmth that I thought I could never find...

Raggedy samples, waxy ears, boxy sound system, and vinyl is still better. CDs are so nice and easy that somewhere along the way I just forgot what I settled for, that's all.

Vinyl is dark-rich: it sticky-coats you with quarter-notes and dusts you in powdery tempo. Vinyl is an utter pain and far from perfect, but it has something digital media still doesn't: sound aching down your neck isn't found in the clarity of a master reproduction; it's in those fragile grooves, that dust-pushing friction. It's read by rock, not by laser.

03 February 2006 |

Previously: How Wide This Gap


Scary Shari

Jeez woman! You go on a blogging spree right when I go on a lazy jag! *grin* I hate when I fall behind reading my favourite blogs (and yours is definitely one of 'em), because then I get all anxious about catching up. I don't know WHY I get anxious, but I just do.

Anyway, I just wanted to share a quick thought on vinyl. I remember when CDs first came out, I actually felt somewhat disdainful! I thought they were an insult to the classicness of vinyl records, and it took quite some time before I caved in and bought a CD player. I think it was when we stopped having "record stores" and started having "music stores" instead.

Ah, memories. I bet my piles o' vinyl are probably worth quite a bit these days -- at least some of them! Others may be worth nothing to anyone but me. :)

The comments to this entry are closed.

How Wide This Gap

You know that musician who was killed?
Last month it was the anniversary?

John L*nnon?

Yeah! Yeah, last month? On the day?
I baked a cake.
I did.
I had a party.
To celebrate the death of the WORST musician ever.
I'm just so glad THAT BAND can't make any more rotten music.

The Beatl*s?

Yeah! I'm just so glad he's dead.
Thank god someone killed him and put an end to that.

(Carefully neutral shaming voice)
It's hard to imagine advocating that a person be slain because somebody doesn't like their music.


Well, I'm not glad he's dead.
I'm just glad the music is over.

(turns to a fellow student)

Worst band ever! I baked a CAKE!

01 February 2006 |


Heather in Allentown

And this, THIS is what's wrong with today's youth.

The comments to this entry are closed.

S-h-o-pee-pee-ing. We're shopping. (And reading.)

We need a sniglet for that proud/peaceful moment when you memorize a new credit card number... and the three-digit security code on the back.

For example, I've been using my Disney Visa card for a few years, which pretty much paid for my three trips to Disneyland plus meals plus most souvenirs. (Leaving "just" hotel and gas. Heh.) But now, suspecting that after one trip to see the made-over Pirates ride next summer I'll be on Disney-hiatus, I use my new Amazon Visa. Instead of Disney dollars, I rack up Amazon gift certificates.

And as of today I can say (con mucho gusto) that my brain has memorized the new card number, and Mickey's sixteen digits are crumbling around the synaptic edges. It's a good feeling. It's an "I can buy this without getting off the sofa feeling." (And since my laptop is as far from wireless as it gets, it's really for the health of the machine that I try to avoid lifting it and its many, many cords more than is necessary. Truly. Also, I'm just lazy.)

Amazon is having a 4-books-for-3 sale, you know. You have to choose from a list of under-$10 books, but it's a huge list. I know - I looked at all 250 pages of ~20 items each. And then I started over again. Then I passed out. This is why I didn't lose any weight this week: book-shopping exhaustion instead of invigorating bike pedaling. And also spending all of my weekly bonus points on cookies, I'm sure.

And so, I bought:

  • Holidays on Ice - a little late in the season, but I can read Sedaris all day, and this one's always out at the library. I have visions of reading it aloud as an annual Christmas event. Who ever suspected we would praise dysfunction over plum pudding?
  • Winesburg, Ohio - I'm still an English major on the inside, damnit. (No, no word yet on whether the district will accept CSU's HUX degree, and I now have about 30 days to get all of my transcripts and apps and essays in. Why is it that all of the places where I have zero or one credit are the places that charge ten bucks per transcript, and I need two from each institution?)
  • The Novice's Tale - a medieval nun who solves mysteries? That's what I'd be if time travel were just a smidge more accommodating! I hope it's either a little lighthearted or else rich in escapist details. If not, it's one for the class library. (And therefore a write-off, yes? Yeah, right, like I didn't reach my deductible limit for the next five years already...)
  • On Writing - Stephen King's advice/memoir. This one really is for school. I have an ill-gotten PDF, and I've skimmed it from the library, but I'm determined to give it a proper read then use it with the students. Or at least display it prominently, making me look hip and committed. It's also all part of my plan to someday have so many resources for teaching that every day isn't a mad panic to get to the one working photocopier before school starts.

And then I had to get more. God, I love shopping for books. It makes me believe that someday I will buy a house and settle down and be able to stack shelf after shelf with these little friends. No more looking at books as yet another future heavy box to transport, an impractical burden easily replaced by one-offs to the library. (Insert your own "library = bordello" and "bookshelf = marriage" analogy here.) Someday.

So, I also grabbed Gone by Martin Roper. Some years ago I read an excerpt from this book, before it was published, in The New Yorker. Oooo! (I said.) It reads like Roddy Doyle! (I'm always thinking that Doyle is one of my favourite authors, but have I finished Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha? No. Have I finished The Woman Who Walked into Doors? I can't even remember. And have I started A Star Called Henry? Not at all, and I've no plans to even try Rory and Ita, but for the sake of the Barrytown Trilogy, Doyle's still in my top ten.)

Roper appears to have disappeared off the planet, but I still have such a good impression from that New Yorker story, so many years later, that passing up his book, now bargain-priced at $3.90, would be against the whirls of the universe.

I've been reading a bunch of Laurie Notaro lately. I find her so engaging that I may never write another sentence - she's doing a fine job on behalf of "idiot girls" everywhere. Alas, none of her stuff is in the 4-for-3 showcase, but looking for it did cause me to stumble upon The Thong Also Rises. (Alas, not there, either.) Since I've decided to (privately, without academic sanction, in my own hallowed fantasy halls that comprise Shari's Inner University and Dwarf Hamster Barber College) study travel literature, this one was a must. Yes, I bought a book that was not on sale, can be purchased from for less, can be taken from the library for nothing, and that I might not read again. AND IT FELT GREAT! Click it, baby, click it!

In fact, I got so excited that I also threw the first book in this series, Sand in My Bra and Other Misadventures, into the cart. If both go well, I'll get Whose Panties Are These? for a treat.

And finally, The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides. (How do you say his name? Is it like the Euripedes-pants joke?) I loved that movie. I like reading about things set in Michigan, as I once was. I saw his newer book come up on the 4-for-3 list and got to clicking and, again, like Roper, it's a matter of faith. And, like Sand and Thong, it's a matter of squealing over buying shiny new books.

Because I really do believe that someday my five (FIVE! I now have FIVE! Well, three minus one gone one day per week plus two that only come one day per week plus one pending) student aides will do all the gruntwork, and everything will be planned more than 12 hours in advance, and I will also stop accidentally assigning erotic fiction for independent reading projects, I'm taking this reading thing even further and taking advantage of some of the good magazine deals available from this eBay seller.

eBay for magazines - who knew? (AskMeFi did, and bless them.) I'm thinking I'll renew my Martha Stewart Living subscription ($13.78 versus $28) from him, add on two years of Bon Appetit plus two years of Gourmet for $13.98 (compared to $48!), and get back into the good graces (although they can be so annoying) of Vegetarian Times for $6.48 for three years. Three years! At these prices, maybe I should look into something for the classroom.

(Or give back some massive CW stories so I don't feel bad about all this non-student reading. I'm almost not looking forward to June - it means I'll have to eventually finish marking! And of course I'm too jagged from a 4.5 nap to mark now. Next year will be better. Just let me survive the next 80 working days plus exams. And let the students survive, too - this morning I went Breakfast Club on some kid who now has to read an extra story, no - write an extra essay, due Friday, no - due Thursday, now with lost participation points, no - now worth half of the other paper grade. I'm pretty sure I was five seconds away from the "You just bought yourself another Saturday" line.)

31 January 2006 |


Scary Shari

So between Bath & Body Works, and's book division, you're like a giddy kid in a candy store, eh? ;D

If you opened up your own biz, would it be the Bath, Body & Book Boutique? Despite its overzealous alliteration, I actually think that's kind of a cool name. I'd sure shop there! :)

Post a comment

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In.

Now, If It Were Plaster...

For reasons beyond explanation, once in awhile I remember that eBay seller bonbon22 is Pamela Des Barres. You know, Pamela Des Barres. (Check out her six-inch lion.)

30 January 2006 |


The comments to this entry are closed.

Jones Watermelon Soda: Smart or Not?

My love of Coca Cola's Chinese equivalent to Fanta, "Smart," and the "Smart Watermelon" flavour in particular has been amply well documented elsewhere. Perhaps when Mike does his annual blog update he'll talk about the disappointment that is Sour Watermelon Fanta. Sickly, disgusting. Likewise, I tried some micropop watermelon soda a year or two ago only to find it wan and wanting.

Even though it's a joy to live only ten minutes + parking + crossing-the-Strip away from entire yardlengths of my choice of international Coke product, complete with souvenir loopy plastic hookah bottle, it's just not the same as my dream of sipping SW as the melon saints intended, which is to say in small, comfortable sips a la the former Ice Station Cool at Epcot.

So, this week I was often at the Albertson's off College Drive in Henderson, where - I'll tell you - the plastic bags in the self-checkout lanes stick together like you wouldn't believe what. I wholly suspect frumpy checkout girls of boogering them up in order to better ensure their jobs. And guess what they had at Albertson's?

Well, they had a lot of things, including the hardest bagels on the planet six feet away from the most delicious bread I've had in month's: sheepherder's bread. And what they also had was one lonely 4-pack of Jones Watermelon Soda.

Oh, and plenty of the diet Hansen's with Splenda, which I've taken to chugging like a frat boy with something to prove. Kiwi Strawberry! Tangerine Lime! Black Cherry! Ginger Ale! Creamy Root Beer, oh god yes. Tastes like fruity swill, but until I remember to remember to remember to get some water bottles... (My living room really isn't set up for drinking out of glasses unless you're indifferent to carpet spots.)

I've been in the far eastern part of Henderson so much because I was in training there, training that equals one college credit. See, after much sleuthing (no, really, they bury this stuff), I found a jazillion 15-hours-in-three-days one-grad-credit-from-SUU classes available through a partnership with the school district, classes that count toward salary advancement without being limited (like the regular district professional development courses) to only six per salary step. (You need sixteen credits per salary step.)

Yeah! So, even if Human Resources doesn't approve Cal State's HUX master's program, I can still sign my soul away in concentrated bursts every couple of weeks and bump up the scale before next year. (And I can do it again the next year, but then I'll need that master's to go any further.) Between that, the annual experience increase, and a rare 4% raise, my salary will go up $4k next year. I'm telling you this so you'll have time to submit those grant proposals. (Please note that all requests for money must be accompanied by a $45 non-refundable reading fee.)

Anyway, that's entirely pleasing, and I got SO MUCH out of the training this week. It made me want to set up a new blog just about teaching experiences... or at least (officially) reinstate categories in this blog. (Typepad needs to get with the program and use tags a la Flickr/Technorati.) The workshop was all about analytic/holistic scoring, which I've used before, but I've never had so many juicy rubrics to sport with. The training was led by two women who read the state proficiency exams, and did you know that Stephen King wouldn't let Nevada use anything from On Writing for the exam because he wants his work only to be read for pleasure? (Should I feel bad for giving the kids "The Jaunt" last year? They loved it, at least.)

So that's why I was in the part of Henderson you pass through on the way to Boulder City, on the way to the Dam, on the way to Arizona. (I wonder how long it would take me to walk to Arizona from my apartment. Eight hours? Is there a way through the mountains other than walking on the freeway? Do we have our own hidden Moria?)

And why is going to many different classes 3-4 times a week a few times a month better than taking a steady weekly class at UNLV? No 20-page papers? No trying to stay awake in the equivalent of a board room meeting as opposed to doing hands-on stuff, like scoring papers in under thirty seconds (and feeling proud when your students make everyone else laugh - a FIVE for voice!)?

I was rather tired last night, though, and had four points left to spend. What to do? You have to eat your points; you can't let your body mope down to the wrong metabolism demographic.

Four points. One cookie and a point left over? Two cookies and spend two of my 31.5 remaining weekly points? If only I hadn't foolishly had the (absolutely delicious and all natural) mango lemonade earlier - I would have had nine points and easier choices! (But oh the mango lemonade was worth it.)

And then I remembered: I own Jones Watermelon Soda.

Two points for a whole bottle, even. Yeah! Let's do it!

Verdict? Pretty decent stuff. The sweetness is fleeting, the tartness peripheral. It gets even better as you drink. Would buy again. A+.

But, ya know what? It has caffeine. Caffeine! The devil's swizzle stick!

So I don't know. Maybe Smart Watermelon has caffeine, too. And when the excitement of heading toward a salary leap wanes, perhaps Jones Watermelon Soda will be just the thing to get me up and out of bed for another Saturday in the company of the mixed bag that is English teachers. (How can leaving the comma out before the and in a list of things be preferred? Acceptable, sure, but PREFERRED?!)

29 January 2006 |

Previously: Meme of Lies


Scary Shari

You're lucky you can tolerate the stuff they put in diet soda, like NutraSweet and Splenda. If I eat or drink something made with with artificial sweeteners, well... let's just say they "don't agree with me"! *grin* *blush*

Anyway, is the watermelon soda you're talking about the same stuff you kept recommending I try when I was in Las Vegas last fall? I'm too lazy to look back in the comments of my blog, but I think you were extolling a place called Coke World? (Too bad I never made it out of Aladdin! Mainly that was due to inclement weather and Aladdin's far-ness from most other things).

BTW, it's good to hear you're still doing the Weight Watchers thing. I know from my friends' and my cousin's experiences that it can get tedious sometimes, and tempting to "cheat", but I truly think you'll do well. :) And even if you do go over your points, at least you're still on the program. No one's perfect, and everyone is capable of losing at least some weight with W.W., cheating or not! (My pep talk for the day)

BTW, can you believe I'm selling the majority of goodies I bought at Bath & Body Works and The Body Shop? I'm keeping some, but I knew when I went on my spree that most would go on the auction block. The in-store prices were just too low not to buy with the aim of making a good eBay profit, now that the aforementioned goodies are unavailable. ;) It's all about supply and demand! (And hopefully it's not about me shooting myself in the foot!)


Splenda I can hack. With NutraSweet I actually feel the poison entering my brain and making my strongest cells weep...

Smart Watermelon is the soda of choice (from Coke World aka Everything Coke or somesuch). Jones Watermelon Soda is what you drink when you can't get SW. :)

I used my hot choc shampoo/body wash this week - which was totally defeated by the boring smell of the conditioner that followed. Oh well! I will just live vicariously through your eBay sensibility!

The comments to this entry are closed.

Meme of Lies

ScaryShari has her 69 Meme (cough) going here. I'm going to steal it and lie on half of the questions. Which half? Wouldn't you like to know!

Well, no, you probably aren't fussed either way, so why not lie and make it more fun for me? There ya go.

1. Initials:

2. Name someone with the same birthday as you.
Carrot Top

3. Where was your first kiss?
on the big toe

4. For or against same sex marriage?
Marry whomever you like. See if I care. I'm not bitter. MUCH.

5. Are you homophobic?
Back in the day - back in Austin - I got sick and quit my job and didn't go out much except to sometimes get food from the gas station or to wash my nightgown there on the hood of my car using the air/water hoses, blah blah blah, and one day this person shows up at the door in stressed-out stretch pants and wants to know if her one-armed son can make some money mowing my lawn. But first she apologizes for me because she "knows" I'm "homophobic." You know, (she said), afraid to leave the house.

But if we go with the traditional definition of homophobic, then no. Unless we're talking about gay zombies.

6. Are you bisexual?
   Nuh-uh. I tried to be cool and froody about that, and I've always said I would never shut the door on true love, whatever the packaging, but I'm one of the few females who doesn't sit around talking up Angelina Jolie.

7. Do you believe in God?
   Not spelled like that.

8. How many U.S. States have you been to?
   This many: AL, AZ, AR, CA, DE, FL, IL, IN, KY, MD, MI, MO, NV, NJ, NM, NY, OH, PA, TN, TX, VI. I left out womb/infant trips. I'm going to add UT to the list as soon as I finish spending all of my Saturdays in training. Did you know that St. George is the second-largest growing metropolis in this country? And it's right by Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park?

9. How many U.S. States have you lived in?
   Fiveish: TX, IL, NY, MI, NV. Once I spent a summer at fat camp in CA while my parents were moving.

10. Have you ever lived outside of The U.S.?
   Yes - Hungary (Budapest) and St. Lucia.

11. Name something you like physically about yourself.
My hair is nothing but split ends, but it's more fun this way. (What's so bad about split ends, anyway?) I also like the grey-flecked rings around my eyes, but I'm probably the only one who's noticed them.

12. Something non-physical you like about yourself.
I'm a good speller. I have a feeling age will take this away from me.

13. What's your mom's first name?

14. What is your dream car?
   My paid-for, generally clean car, but with a new fuel filter that's recommended for my car and not the filter I bought at Jiffy Lube.

15. If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go?
   Teleport? First class? I need to know more. The answer is probably still the Bull Creek suburb of Perth, Western Australia.

16. Have you ever had someone of the opposite sex sleep over?

17. What happened to question 17?

It's caught in a time-share demonstration.

18. Do you download music?

19. How many illegal things have you done?
   In this state? Countless incidences of accidental speeding, perhaps. Other than stealing, painting, and replacing traffic cones, I can't think of anything that isn't car-related. Even the warrant for my arrest in California is for having tinted windows.

20. Where would you want to go on a first date?
   Some place conducive to walking and nibbling.

21. Would you date the person who posted this before you?
See #6.

22. Has anyone ever sang or played for you personally?
   A student sang for me. She sang that "smile, though your heart is breaking" song. Hmm. Why, I wonder?

23. Ever been kissed under fireworks?

24. Do you like president Bush?
   More than I'd like President Cheney, less than I'd like President Me.

25. Have you ever bungee jumped?
   That will never happen.

26. Have you ever whitewater rafted?
   No, but Kevin Bacon doesn't scare me.

27. Has anyone ten years older than you ever hit on you?
   This one time? At pagan camp? My longish-time boyfriend and I had just broken up, right? And there was this guy. He was, like, 49. Maybe 48. He was older than my dad! I was 22. Or 23. Maybe 21. Yeah, and this guy? His name was Chris, but he used a Sufi name because he was way into the Sufi dancing. He was a physicist. And/or also unemployed. Once he was sort of in this cult that went around picking apples for people just to prove there are still nice people in the world. Anyway, he totally hit on me. He even offered me something that the ex-boyfriend had never offered. With a point-blank "no need to reciprocate" clause attached. I was impressed, but... Later, before I left, I gave him a roll of toilet paper from my camping stash because he "really had to take a shit" and had forgotten his own.

28. Ignore.

29. Have you met a real redneck?

30. Are you racist?

31. What song are you listening to right now?
   I just opened WinAmp and am, it seems, listening to Steve Jones' "Raining in My Heart."

32. What is your current favorite song?
   "Things We Said Today"

33. What was the last movie you watched?
   Toy Story 2

34. Why do you hate question 34?
Because I hate freedom.

35. Where was the last place you went besides your house?
   Ghost Bar at the Palms

36. Have you ever seriously vandalized someone else's property?
   How serious is "seriously"? I had an ex-boyfriend who had a shirt from his not-really-ex-enough-wife. It got ripped. I don't know how. (Seriously.) (No, not the witty usage of "seriously.") I sort of encouraged it to rip further. (Seriously.)

37. Have you ever hit someone of the opposite sex?
   I used to have the Elaine-from-Seinfeld GET OUT! thing down, but I've worked on checking it since working around young people. I find that even playfully smacking people upside the head is apparently frowned upon.

39. What's the first thing you notice about the opposite sex?
   Whether they're smiling.

40. Do you like yourself?
   Yes. I'm boring and bored and am almost completely indifferent about whether I live another five years or fifty (as long as the hamsters and fish are okay), but me and I have our share of laughs and good times.

41. What do you usually order from Starbucks?
   I have never ordered anything from Starbucks.

42. and 43. What used to be on the site of questions 42 and 43?
Opal mines.

44. Say something totally random about yourself.
I'm afraid of contact lenses.

45. Do you have an iPod?
   I have seven of various models (G4 most recent) networked together, painted chili pepper-red, and hanging over Patricia's bed like a mobile.

46. Has anyone ever said you looked like a celebrity?
   120 pounds ago, a different ex-boyfriend thought I had an uncanny Sherilyn Fenn quality. Definitely a lone gunman theory.

47. What's your dad's name?

48. Do you have braces?
   Nevah. But someday the back right wisdom tooth will fall out of my mouth and the days of having the only perfect teenage teeth in my social circle shall pass into folklore.

49. Are you comfortable with your height?
   It grew on me.

50. Do you like someone right now?

51. How tall are you?
   5' 10"

52. Do you speak any other language other than English?
   Shelta. It's just a few words, but I do speak them.

53. and 54?

55. Have you ever ridden in a limo?

56. Has anyone you were really close to passed away?
   Yes. I would feel bad for lying on this one.

57. Do you watch MTV?
   This is a trick question. MTV hasn't existed in years. I'm pretty sure it was killed by Whitney Houston and a crowd of paid sailors.

58. What's something that really annoys you?
   When people get the wrong idea about me even when I don't lie on memes.

59. What are some things you really like?
   adventuring, peanut butter-flavoured cereal, when the students are excited to tell me something, air conditioning

60. Do you like Michael Jackson?
   Thriller, baby

61. Can you dance?
   I was a dance minor once, only because my university didn't offer it as a major.

62. Have you ever surfed?

63. Do you know how to pump gas?
   This isn't Joisey. I can pump 87, 89, and 91 octane and click the dealiebobbie so you don't have to hold the spigotthingie.

64. Do you drive?
   Yes, despite having little of it.

65. What's the latest you have ever stayed out?
  Until late the next afternoon? I remember one time at Julie's house in Houston... drove there from Austin, stayed the night with her and Wendy, shot lots of incriminating video, participated in a desperate clock-watch the next morning as we waited for a pizza place to open, inhaled the delivery, hit the road home.

66. Have you ever thought that you were honestly going to die?

67. Were you ever rushed by an ambulance into the emergency room?
   No. I've never received any health services at a hospital. I went to a late-night clinic once because my throat had been slowly closing all day. I couldn't talk and had to keep spitting the accumulating drool into a paper bag. Luckily my boyfriend at the time was scheduled to come over as I was too sick to walk (mono). I sure was a pretty girl, slobbering and grunting so.

68. Have you ever been dared to do something you didn't want to do?
  No. When in doubt of your preteen friends, pick "Truth," "Promise," or "Repeat."

69. What's your favorite state to live in?
  Nevada, so far. No one here but tourists and  mountains and old nuclear testing grounds. I like it.

Even the lies are surrounded in lies - I really only lied 12 13  times.

26 January 2006 |


Scary Shari

Now you're confusing me! LOL Did you really lie 13 times, or is that a lie as well? I did read a couple answers that were strongly suspect of lie-age, but not 13 of 'em! Speaking of which, that's a baker's dozen! Which reminds me that I've been craving a home-baked batch of chocolate chip cookies -- too bad I can't do THAT in a crockpot. I'll have to buy refrigerated Pillsbury dough instead. ;) Or maybe Toll House dough. One or the other will likely be on sale at Safeway this week!

But I digress in a fit of verbiage true to the character of our shared first name. (Only this time I actually did it on purpose, rather than the other times when I ramble and don't even realize it until I'm done. *giggle*)

Anyway, I'm glad you did this meme, because I never tire of reading people's answers to them. Seriously. I don't "tag" people for memes, though, because a few folks got a little annoyed the first (and last) time I did that. So, I just post my answers and encourage anyone to participate who wants to. :) And lies or no lies, I definitely learned some new things about you. That's always cool.

P.S. Did anything in my meme shock you?


Not a thing shocked me - although much amused me. :) Is that shocking? HMmmm!

Okay, some hints: my initials were a lie, I don't share a birthday with Carrot Top, and the first kiss I remember was either the forehead (Mom, crib) or the cheek (Allen on the Kindergarten playground).

I've never lived outside the US, although when I was a teenager I used to try to count the week spent in London while we were moving a few miles down the road in Texas. Ha!

People of the opposite sex have slept over... although we'll keep the meaning of that verb deliciously vague.

My mom's name isn't Alessandra - that's her eBay ID. I don't know what happened to question 17. I do download music.

#34 is a total lie, but I'm sure I'm a racist - in the sense that I think about racial differences in a culture that would ideally be colour-blind, but I don't think one race is any better than another.

I've never been to the Palms. I'm scared Paris Hilton will be there.

I'm actually 5'6". There have never been any opal mines in this meme, that I know of, and as for Lie Number 13... well... we'll just have to leave a little mystery alive!

Heather in Allentown

But...Scary Shari, you *CAN* make cookies in a crock pot!! I haven't done it, but I have a recipe. I think it turns out to be a round brick of 'cookie' that you slice....

Scary Shari

Heather, I'd love to check out your recipe if it's not too much trouble. :) I can't imagine making a cookie (even one large circular one) in a crockpot! It seems cookies would need an oven to truly "bake".

When you have a chance, you can email me at shari516 at oakmeade dot com -- or if Shari sees this comment first, perhaps she can forward my request on to you. Thanks much! :)

The comments to this entry are closed.

Liking It Slow and Easy

I've been waiting four days to make this post, four days of "I'll reinstall Photoshop any minute now so I can tweak the photos first," and now I've still not sorted out Pshop (don't you hate it when trials expire and you have to swing from the rigging into the bowels of the operating system registry?), but you're getting the unprocessed photos anyway, because I'm half-assed like that.

It was on Saturday (a fine Saturday in the desert winter, the last Saturday of my first year in Las Vegas) that I saw this post at the overly-derivatively-titled but otherwise awesome Slashfood. And it just hit me: I need a crock pot.

It was some other Saturday, not so fine but full of holiday pep, in 1979, I think, or even 1983, or at least somewhere inbetween when my mother asked for a crock pot for Christmas. You would think that, in a family of three, where one of the members is under (or barely over) the age of 13 and another is the gift recipient and therefore out of the loop, we would all have been coordinated enough for my mother to avoid receiving one crock pot from her daughter and another crock pot from her husband. That's a lot of crock.

Mom, always sunny-sided in such matters, was delighted and over the years would reassure me that it was my crock pot she was using, and that she really was still glad to have two. I never saw her use both at once, but maybe the idea of being wealthy in crock pots was gift enough.

Really, I should be focusing on the fact that my Dad went out and bought Mom something that wasn't jewelry or flowers or her favourite kind of chocolate milk from the grocery store. I mean, something from her list. When was the last time Mom had a list? Did Dad ever have a list? Wasn't I buying the crock pot on the same Lakeside mall trip when I saw Todd K. from school and he said hi and I said hi and we were both out of context and just ourselves in the real world and it was nice? I think so.

And that was my whole experience with crock pots. Crock pots make pot roasts. Even as a pre-vegetarian I hated pot roast. (If the meat wasn't so pink it'd make your gums itch, it wasn't worth my time.) No more thinking about crock pots.

And then I saw that Slashfood post and knew I had to have a slow cooker. A slow cooker does all the work for you! A slow cooker has a hot meal waiting when you get home! A slow cooker would mean never having to get up off the sofa twice within the same hour - once to bring water to a boil and once to dump something in the boiling water. I must have a slow cooker!

So, of course I got one. The person who once blew $8.75 on popcorn and soda per movie trip could toss $19.99+tax at Target to take a chance on exactly the type of appliance likely to eventually stay in the cupboard 363 days per year. I chose Rival's cheapest model available that wasn't attractively - but clashingly - fire engine red, having dimissed their "SmartPot" after reading bad reviews and then spending my Bed, Bath, and Beyond discount flier on already-on-sale creamy flannel sheets with pillowcases instead.

But before that, being such an informed consumer, I went to the library and checked out a copy of Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker. I sat in the car, perusing it for a good three minutes before green-lighting the quest to find the crock. True, the book made a point of saying, "you can't just dump a bunch of veggies in the pot and expect it turn out well," but I could overlook that when faced with a recipe for chive-flecked cornbread dumplings.

After deciding on the cooker (which is probably not exactly the one linked above because the Target in Henderson on Sunset is ancient and dusty), I went to Trader Joe's and bought forty bags of groceries for a nickel - that's how cheap they are. I may be exaggerating, but it's amazing that you can buy a can of organic beans there for 89 cents when non-organic beans at Von's/Albertson's/Smith's are often twice as much. (Yes, I'm a bad person for buying canned beans, but I wanted to cook NOW.) I love Trader Joe's and I totally blame their ready-to-eat and hopelessly delicious "vineyard's lunch" (roll, green grapes, red grapes, brie, cheddar, some other cheese, walnuts, apple) for my "only" losing 1.75 pounds last week, even though I stayed within points, even though three choc chunk pecan cookies per day definitely violates the spirit of the WW law while remaining within the letter.

Below is the crock pot with a stack of canned tomatoes and beans. Again, sorry about the lack of sharpening and such. I did play with custom white balance - and after reading this tutorial I'm not sure I'll ever use automatic white balance again.

The New Stockpot

Yeah, mine doesn't have that "warm" setting. That's okay. I tell myself I'm getting paid an extra ten bucks (the money saved on the cheaper model) to nuke my food once in awhile.

Too bad the photos are a little blurry (no flash!), otherwise you could read the recipe for chive-flecked cornbread dumplings as-conveniently-made-in-a-crock-pot in the photo below and try it out. I didn't have that privilege because it ended up looking like a sure points violater. Instead, I made the three-bean chili, as seen simmering below.

Three-Bean Chili without Chive-Flecked Cornmeal Dumplings

Alas, I forgot to buy either chiles or chili powder. I had to use half of a foil packet of "taco seasoning" that came with some long-ago packet of taco shells. Don't do that.

Dinner, All Week

And here we are, six hours later. This crock pot thing is worth it as an aromatherapeutic device alone. I was so inspired by the scent of lightly bubbling vegetables that I manually conjured a pot of slightly sticky basmati rice. The result is 12 points of easy-peasy "needs salt and more seasoning but otherwise fine" healthy and hearty food. SUCCESS!

Even though this venture was bland, I've eaten little else for the past three days; there's no denying the convenience. And the aforementioned library book is full of intriguing recipes (including a "blueberry and peach tumble" - IGNORE! IGNORE!) - black beans with mango and spices, anyone?

And then there's the part where dumping veggies and onions and legumes into the cauldron crock pot, unsure of what will come out, makes me feel like I'm casting food spells. Truly, anything that will make fresh and wholesome food without me having to babysit it IS magic!

25 January 2006 |


Heather in Allentown

I love our crockpot. If you like split pea soup, that's SOUPer (egad, did I really just type that?) easy. Chop an onion, some carrots, some celery, toss into crock/cauldron. Add bag of split peas. (Rinse 'em first) Add 7ish cups of water/veggie broth. Salt and pepper. Set on low, cast spell, come back 8 hours later.

I usually make it with a smoked ham hock in there, but that doesn't sit well with non meat eaters. :)

Have fun!

Scary Shari

Your chili photos looked very yummy! And I loved the last paragraph of this entry. It was the perfect closure! :)

The feature writer in me always appreciates a creative and memorable wrap-up, even though in my newsapaper journalism classes we were always told to just "end" a news story with no closure. Then again, I now do just features with no news at all, and I've moved up to magazines from newspapers, so nyah! on those classes. ;)

Anyhoo, congrats on your new crockpot. I hope you get a lot of yummy use out of it. They're so handy, I don't know why I don't use ours more. We have one, but for some reason it's always something I keep "meaning to use". We even have a cool crockery cookbook (yes, I love alliteration).

One of my goals for the new year is to cook/bake more and increase my confidence in that area, and so far January's off to a better start than I thought. :) I think while I have the momentum going, I'll try the crockpot too!

The comments to this entry are closed.

Consuming is All Consuming

You know what? I've been ignoring 43 Things for so long because I thought it was the same thing as 43 Folders. The past yearish-plus of being out of the internet biz has been wonderful for my eyes but hell on my early adopter status. 43 Folders is one person's productivity blog. 43 Things, along with 43 Places and All Consuming, is a rabidly addictive social networking tool.

Not that I'm into the meet 'n greet... I just like that satisfying feeling of creating an inventory of everything I've done, read, tasted, watched, and so on in my life while conjuring a plan for everything I want to do, read, taste, watch, and on and on and on.

This is my 43 Things profile showing what I'm doing and what I've done. (If there's one flaw in 43 Things, it's that the same activity is sometimes expressed 43 different ways, and it's hard to choose between the version with the best grammar and the version with the most camaraderie.)

And this is my 43 Places profile showing where I've been and where I'm going. But best of all is the All Consuming profile incorporating all three of the sites. Amazon owns the lot of them... just like it will own all of us, and being a good 21st century American-based member of Western Civilization, I'm loving it.

[I'm also entirely too jazzed about eating 1.5 cups of Barbara's Peanut Butter Puffins along with .25 cup of organic soy milk today. Entirely.]

13 January 2006 |


Scary Shari

"'s hard to choose between the version with the best grammar and the version with the most camaraderie."

Alas, this was my same problem at 43 Things! ;( However, in almost every case, I ended up going with the way I worded the goals myself.

Whether grammatical or not, at times my goals were simply worded so UNUSUALLY that no one else matched them! *chuckle* Well, at least not when I first entered them. By now, I'm sure half a million people or so have seen my goals in the ever-changing word stream, and perhaps made them their own. (I've also gotten 2 "cheers" as well; not bad for a brand-new 43-Thinger!)

Donna Meager

Hi Shari - just wanted to drop you a quick note and tell you that Nonna received the plant. I do not know if you knew it was Dad's favorite so the thought was very kind. Thank you again and we miss you. Take Care - Donna for Nonna ( she is standing here beside me ).

The comments to this entry are closed.






Carnival Elation (2009)
Carnival Splendor (2009)
Carnival Spirit (2010)
Carnival Spirit (2011)
Carnival Splendor (2011)
Norwegian Pearl to Alaska (2012)