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Sunday, August 27, 2006

"On Your Feet Until We Score"

Last night, Honey, Bryduck, Slangred, and I went to see the Los Angeles Sparks play the Sacramento Monarchs in a WNBA Western Conference Championship game at the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim. The Sparks normally play at the Staples Center in downtown L.A., but American Idol, LIVE! had booked the Staples Center, so down to Orange County we headed. That the game was in Orange County was originally a selling point to me, because one of my favorite restaurants, Rutabegorz (tasty healthy food and awesome apple pie) has three locations in Orange County.

But, then there was traffic. So much traffic. Two hours worth of traffic. Honey and I hadn't eaten in anticipation of an early dinner. But it took us so long to get there, we needed to go straight to the game.

This change of venue was not kind to the Sparks. Only the die-hardedest of fans made
the journey. Oh and us. We came.

I like the Sparks. Honey and I used to go to games occasionally when they played at the Forum. I think we both like the idea of the WNBA on several levels. There's the whole lesbian fan thing. That's good. It's like going to a lesbian bar, but it doesn't smell like spilled drinks and everyone is wearing yellow. We also like the women athletes. Beyond that, the Sparks star, Lisa Leslie, seems beyond cool. She's well-spoken, articulate, and came to an appearance at a lesbian bar a few years ago. From all reports. Lisa is a nice person. Ashton Kutcher even punked her. Lisa is cool.

There are minor things to like as well. Sparks games are cheap. We paid as much for parking as we did for the seats. To a playoff game. And I liked the Forum. It was an old-school arena.

The Sparks, during our active interest days, were good, but kept losing to the Comets en route to the championship. The finally broke through and won the championship in 2001 and again in 2002. By that time, our interest had waned. We were both glad they had won but we hadn't gone to any games. Because at the end of the day, with all the upsides, Honey isn't much of a sports fan and I am not much of a basketball fan.

Still, while I was driving to work on Friday, the Sparks advertised the playoff game on the local Air America outlet. That and Rutabegorz were enough to get me thinking.

We settle in our seats (behind the basket) and discover our proximity to superfan. Superfan was on the club level just above our heads. She has a little megaphone. And she starts shouting through it. Loudly. Towards us. Really, it was towards us. Because this Sparks game was only attended by the faithful and we had bought tickets, we were in a section of non-true fans.

"On Your Feet Until We Score!"
"On Your Feet Until We Score!"
"On Your Feet Until We Score!"
"On Your Feet Until We Score!"
"On Your Feet Until We Score!"

None of the four of us stood. She kept shouting. The Sparks didn't play well and didn't score and didn't score and she kept shouting.

Nearby her was a woman who thought telling the Sparks what to do was her job. Every admonishment started with, "Come on Ladies!" and continued with what they should do.

The Pond, home to the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, is a nice facility. The seats were comfortable, the concourse was clean. It was, in other words, sports venue by Disney. Bryduck and I noticed that the Ducks had three banners. One celebrating their first season, one celebrating their tenth season, and one the year they made the Stanley Cup. Bryduck said they should have had a banner that said, "1995-1996, we played that year, too," just because they seemed that desperate.

Superfan kept it up. Mwadi Mabeka played relatively well in the first quarter (unlike the rest of the Sparks) and superfan liked using the megaphone to shout, "Mwadi, Mwadi, Mwadi, Mwadi, Mwadi, Mwadi, Mwadi, Mwadi" over and over and over again.

We posited (I think was Honey's idea) that the reason our seats only cost $12 each was that we had to sit near superfan.

I expressed a desire to steal the megaphone but was afraid she could catch me on her scooter if the batteries were fully charged.

"Mwadi, Mwadi, Mwadi, Mwadi, Mwadi, Mwadi, Mwadi, Mwadi"

muh waaaah deeee muh waaaah deeee muh waaaah deeee muh waaaah deeee muh waaaah deeee

Then, some Monarchs fans joined our section and I became distracted by their fan gear. One woman had her face painted and was carrying a box of Wheaties. Which she employed thusly:

I was close enough to see that she had not opened the box. So, she was in better shape than Honey or I in terms of needing/wanting to eat.

Celebratory cereal. Who knew?

At half time, I went up to throw away some trash and got a full glimpse of superfan. She then emerged to go to the bathroom. Here she is:

She may own one of everything the Sparks have ever sold.

I love sports and love being a fan. Two of the happiest times in my life were game six of the 1995 World Series and game seven of the 2002 World Series. Watching my teams win was amazing. And I'm glad superfan loves the Sparks. I really am. My attitude toward her softened once I saw her in the hall. It also helped that by this time, the Sparks were so far behind, she was less vocal.

I can't help but worry about superfan. The Sparks had 41 games this season, including pre-season and playoffs. Twenty of those games were at home. I wonder if I would want to live my life such that 20 times a year I was in my element. I guess I hope superfan has other passions.

We left before the game was over and got lost on the way to Ruta's. When we finally settled there, it was nice.

During dinner I kept thinking back to superfan and the woman who was walking out of the Pond as we were. She was on a profanity filled tirade that went something like, "I can't believe I'm in f***ing Anaheim. If we were at the f***ing Staples Center, I would be f***ing closer to f***ing home. And we rode the f***ing bus. If we had driven the f***ing car, we could leave now. We f***ing suck. The Monarchs f***ing suck. But we f***ing suck worse. F***."

I am happy, I think, once again, to close this door. I like a lot of what the WNBA and the Sparks are, but there's a bit of it that makes me a little sad. And so, I'll let it recede into my past again until it's all hazy enough to remember it fondly and make me want to go back again.

By that time, they'll be back at the Staples Center and we can go to Phillipe's for French Dips. Mmmm.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

My plastic sword

No, the title is not a double entendre. A colleague of mine brought back a plastic sword for me from Italy, where she spent a month this summer, the poor dear. In a villa in Tuscany. Don't you just weep for her woes hearing about that? I sometimes wonder about taking a 12 month position in a field where everyone else works 9 months. Tuscany seems very far away from Southern California summers. But then I remember... I wasn't exactly being bombarded with job offers before this one. Right. You gotta dance with them what brung you, to quote Molly Ivins.

Anyway, she bought the sword in front of the Coliseum, one of my favorite places in Rome. She said I'd need it in my new job. My new job which is my old job, just now mine as my boss keeps saying gleefully, "forever."

The sword is about two feet long and has a shiny silver blade and a vaguely Celtic looking handle. The Romans are not particularly interested in authenticity and never have been. When I spent time in Rome, I kept looking for evidence of the ancient city. It's not there. I mean, it's sort of there. But it's got churches built in it. Once I accepted that the best Roman architecture was Baroque, I felt better. Plus, Borromini rocks. Really. Ok, I think he rocks. Undulating buildings.

That's St. Ivo alla Sapienza. See how he uses curves and straights to suggest the classical form while also calling it into question? No? Fine. Ok, end of art history lesson. Why do I think it won't be a popular as usage lesson over at Honey's blog? Because it won't. Moving on...

I like the sword a lot and keep holding on to it in meetings. I fuss with little things during meetings, and the sword is satisfying in that way. I'm sure the Freudian minded among you have all sorts of idea about the lesbian in the big office with the sword. Go ahead, think what you must. It's probably just your subconscious telling you something.

Honey and I had a old wooden table on our back porch. It had been sent to us to accompany Red, the late great Welsh Springer, when we took him from my parents. He liked that table when he was a young dog. He'd stand on it and it was called his circus dog table. It gotten broken in shipment and we sort of propped it up and put random crap on it. Honey was cleaning random crap off the back porch and once the table was clear, asked what we should do with it.

I immediately volunteered to destroy it. I thought we had an axe and went looking for it. Whereupon I discovered that we didn't have an axe, but did have two pickaxes. (How does one acquire these things? I mean I've never purchased a pickaxe, and yet we have two).

I emerged with the pickaxe. Destroying the table was extraordinarily satisfying. Way more so than just holding the sword.

Thing is, people seems scared of the sword. I had to put it up the other day because the person I was meeting with was alarmed by it. I slid it between my devil ducks and my "See Rock City" mini-barn/birdhouse. Then it fell on my head. Handle first, fortunately. So, now it's back on my desk or my table at all times. The devil ducks don't like it, which is why they dropped it on my head.

I didn't like that we didn't have a regular axe. We may need one at some point. Sometimes, a pickaxe isn't the right destroying implement. So I went to the hardware store and bought what I've been referring to since as an "axe for girls." It's orange and black.

Oh, and did I mention it was made by a scissor company? Anyway, it seems like it could destroy stuff anyway.

I feel sufficiently armed, now. Plastic sword? Check. Axe for girls? Check. Pickaxe? Check, check. Let me know if you need me to destroy anything for you.

Oh, and if anyone is now scared of me...let me know that, too.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Fantasy Football, y'all

Blogger Fantasy Football!

Hey y'all, we're starting a fantasy football league and looking for a few good teams. If you're interested, shoot me an e-mail at sporksforall at

Give me a few days to get back to you because I'm sure the demand will be huge. :)

I'll get back to you with the details one of which will be that no matter what else happens, I get Michael Vick.


Sunday, August 20, 2006

High and tight

I've have had (and will continue to have) a bad hair life. People talk about bad hair days and I have no sympathy. I have limp, fine brown hair. It's a thing.

Honey has fantastic hair. It's thick and black and as she has started to go gray, I think it just looks even better. She likes it really short. Really short. This short.

I love her hair this short. It looks good and has a really nice fuzzy feeling to it.

Yesterday she went outside to "do some weeding." It turned out she had decided to give our datura haircut. Here's what the datura looked like this winter.

It didn't look like that before its haircut yesterday. It's been a hot summer and it sort of looked like sticks with leaves. Then Honey got out the clippers. And this was the result.

Yes, that's the same plant. Isn't our dirt yard pretty? It's all the thing out here. And since California is on the cutting edge of trends, everyone will be wanting dirt for a yard next. Trust me.

Honey and I also called the tree guys yesterday. We needed to. We live in one of the oldest houses in the neighborhood. It's in an area of L.A. that was developed after World War II. Our neighborhood used to be an apricot grove. Because the house is old (relatively speaking), we have many mature trees. Eight of them. Mature trees need to be trimmed. Especially our elms. They're pretty, the elms. But they grow branches they can't support. When we first moved in to the house, I was standing in the living room the day before my parents were to come for their inaugural visit. I heard this huge cracking sound and the back yard was suddenly full of elm branch. The whole back yard. Here's the elm that let the branch go.

Last week another elm (we have three) let two branches go on top of our fruit trees. The backyard and the fruit trees are one thing. The house and cars are another. Thus, the call to the tree guys. Honey, fresh from her datura trimming triumph, said to the tree guy, "trim them as far back as you can as long as they're still healthy." It's the honey principle. In this case, it's sound, because 8 mature trees are expensive to trim.

The front yard elm and bottlebrush got their hair cuts yesterday.

By the time this is all over, I'll be poorer and everyone but me will have a high and tight. I should warn Biscuit and the cats.

Saturday, August 19, 2006


Since yesterday, I've been thinking about warning signs. So, I'd like to offer a short cautionary tale with visual aids.

Once, there was a duck:

Who lived with a guy who looked like this:

The duck and the guy went on a trip to the ocean. Where they met the guy's friend, the squid.

It is true that the squid was a little clingy. But that was only to protect from the flying rocks in the area. They were safe on the beach, you see.

So, the squid, duck and guy hung out on the beach.

The duck and the squid really hit it off. It was true love at first sight. The guy had inter-species love issues. He started talking about what was "natural." The duck and squid swam off to be by themselves.

Then the wind shifted.

And the sea rose. This wasn't a problem for the duck or the squid. But, our friend, guy, was in trouble. As you can clearly see.

In fact, things got so bad, that there was an anti-people stance taken by the ocean. It erected a sign.

Duck and squid tried to save him anyway. But he wouldn't take their help.

The water rose and the guy swam and swam until he entered a mineshaft. He grabbed some nearby equipment. It turned out to be a bad move.

First his hand was crushed.

Then, trying to free himself, his other hand was, well, worse.

(Ok, I know they're both left hands. I can't help it, that's what the signs look like and my photoshop skills aren't up to thumb rearrangement. So a little suspension of disbelief, if you please.)

The waters receded just in time, and our guy lay on the floor of the mineshaft, bleeding and exhausted. Just as he was gathering his strength to try to get up and venture down the one tunnel that wasn't flooded and get himself some help, he noticed the most horrifying sign of all.

So, rather than take that tunnel, he just lay there. They say he was never heard from again.

And the duck and the squid? They swam off to look for new adventures and lived happily ever after, or so I'm told. They live in a land where duck/squid marriage was celebrated. They adopted some homeless baby squirrels, live in a lovely ranch home and raise orchids.

The moral of the story? Pay attention to warning signs and don't judge who others love.

Friday, August 18, 2006

At home

I'm at home today because last night I felt like the man in the picture. It was weird. It also wasn't quite that violent or dramatic. Mostly because I was in my bed. And there was no actual electricity involved. I'm thinking it was a mild fever.

Today, I've felt ok when I'm really still. A little sore/achy, but ok. I feel like I'm just on the edge of feeling really bad. Like this car:

Or at least like this car a few seconds before the sketch artist started his or her sketch. It would actually be pretty funny if road and warning signs were actually sketched. Like true crime or live journalism or something.

Here's another sign. It's unrelated to the theme of this blog entry. But I liked it because it seems to be suggesting road cleavage. And who can resist road cleavage? Not me.

Daytime t.v. is boring.

Biscuit whimpers in her sleep.

The internet isn't updated often enough (at least not the parts I go to).

The woot-off is too slow.

And now, my friends, it's time for a nap.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Teeveee thoughts

We are, as my favorite TV critic Heather Havrilesky says, in the "superficial, puerile charms of the worst that TV has to offer." In other words, the summer months. I've said before, and will undoubtedly says again: I watch too much teevee. I also talk about teevee too much. And this admission and truth is all in an era when I have stopped obsessing quite so directly over certain teevee shows, most notably Buffy, The Vampire Slayer. That Buffy has gone off the air helps considerably, but the lame-o seventh season and death of Tara were also factors.

I have also claimed, and will claim again, that our tifaux (our fake Tivo) has changed the way I interact with teevee. It also keeps me from watching baseball, an activity I enjoy and don't do much of. Oh well. Life is about trade-offs.

Now that the Tour de France is over, with such a spectacular pre and post doping scandal that cycling may never be the same again and may never get broadcast on American teevee again, I could enter the doldrums.

Instead, I have taken a few stands (with Honey), made a few discoveries, and generally feel good about my ability to make it until Battlestar Galactica season 3 (also known as Spork Christmas).

My stands:

*Jackie Warner of Work Out is hot. I could watch the show every week just because she's hot. Her girlfriend is psycho. But she is hot.

*I do not need to ever watch Big Brother again. I'm done. Forever. Buh-bye.

*Dilana on Rock Star is awesome. As Honey said last night, she could sing the phone book and it would be good. This is how much I like her. When I figured out she was going near the end last night, I was glad. It made me feel as if the show was about her. Fucking amazing. I can't believe I'm going to say this about a metal band...if they pick her as their singer, I'm going to become a fan. Of a group with Tommy Lee in it. Me. Folk music liking me.

*Project Runway is still the best reality show ever. And I don't care a little bitty bit about fashion. I like Laura, the middle-aged architect, who always dresses in crisp professional clothes. She's seems like someone from a 40s movie.

Here's the most important stand:

*I will watch Weeds. You should, too. Whether you have Showtime or not. YouTube, iTunes, Netflix, however you need to get your fix (har!), get Weeds. I admit a long-time fascination with Mary-Louise Parker. Seeing Proof on Broadway was one of the entertainment highlights of my life. Elizabeth Perkins and the rest of the cast achieves superbity, too. Though Kevin Nealon could go away and I'd be able to get through my day.

Oh, and one non-teeve stand...

*If your Honey wants to see The Descent, even if you're a scary movie wimp, go. And if you have claustrophobia issues, just go to the bathroom when they start crawling through the really narrow passage. You'll be fine, at least more fine than any of the spelunkers.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Eww, that smell

or A Series of Unfortunate Olfactory Events

I'm a big fan of Daniel Handler/Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. Let me be clear that I did not like the movie and whoever got Jim Carrey involved should be hurt. Not badly. But a little. Meryl Streep and Billy Connelly were both really funny, but it wasn't enough. The books and especially the audio version of the books performed by Tim Curry are fantastic. Handler is a good writer besides. I liked The Basic Eight and have not yet taken on Adverbs but will. While what happened at Casa de Scoutsporko wasn't as bad as what happened at 667 Dark Avenue, but it was still unfortunate.

Let's review the circumstances.

Event 1: Acquisition of Biscuit

Biscuit D. Dog was acquired about a year ago. It was a serendipitous occasion. I drove down to the pit-bulledest shelter of all the L.A. shelters. The dog I went to look at was a biter. I was standing in the hall feeling sorry for myself and saw this merry little dog walking down the hall. I slunk out to the counter and was asking about another dog. I then asked about ms. merry tail. It turned out she was a dog who had just been brought in. Her owners were moving and wanted to have her put down. The shelter took her from them and I took her in turn. Serendipity. What I knew about Biscuit (who was then called Oreo for some inexplicable reason) was that she was sweet and cute. Both things are true.

Another thing that was true was the murderer former owners had not house-trained her. At all. We found that out very quickly. She was a secretive peer. It took weeks for me to catch her peeing to praise her for doing it outside. She wouldn't pee on walks. It was a whole thing. We did manage to teach her a "go out" command. She'll pee when I tell her to. She still doesn't know how to ask, but usually if she's agitated, I let her out and she pees.

What can derail all of this? Why the squeaky football can. She loves it so much that she worries about us taking it away from her (a legitimate worry). We usually take it when she goes out. Seems less tragic that way. Last night she had it. She needed to pee. She waited until we were in the other room and couldn't take the football away and peed.

Here's Biscuit in pearls. Cutest dog ever. I'm not mad at her, despite her role in the story.

Event 2: Acquisition and use of Kaboom

I like infomercials. I find their hysteria, well, hysterical. I don't really believe them, despite Honey's contention that I am a sucker for "new technology." Which isn't really new at all. Still, I want one of those automatic shower cleaners. I also allow that some products (not the Table-Mate2) sold on teevee might actually be worth having. OxiClean is a good example. Clothes seem cleaner with OxiClean, at least. The people who brought you OxiClean make a product called Kaboom. Honey saw my interest in Kaboom. Given my propensity to NOT clean, any interest I take in a cleaning product gives Honey a thrill. So she bought me some. She might have even bought me some for Christmas.

Problem is, we ended up with the wrong kind of Kaboom. I don't know if it's an alternative version, earlier version, or a rip-off. Instead of the basin, tub, and tile cleaner, we ended up with a fabric and carpet cleaner. Which normally would be fine. But there's something very wrong with the alternative Kaboom. Very very wrong.

Event 3: The actual pee clean-up attempt

Biscuit's pee was a huge mess. We started with paper towels. I then usually finish with something like Fantastic Oxy Power or Resolve or 409 Carpet or Simple Solution and the carpet pee scrubber brush. We were out of all of those cleaning products. So Honey handed me the alti-Kaboom. Which said that it was good for "pet stains." I sprayed and scrubbed.

Even 4: The chemical reaction

I was vigorous in my cleaning approach. The result: some sort of chemical reaction that was toxic. Eyes water toxic. And it got worse as the night went on.

We went to bed to get away from it.

Event 5: Morning comes

I'm a good girl and get up to work out on my Tony Little Gazelle. (I told you I like infomercials. I should note that instead of sending Tony Little my $500, I bought my Gazelle from a guy in Hollywood who listed it on craigslist for $150). I enter the living room. Immediately every vein and artery in my head contracts. I feel nauseated. The chemical reaction has gotten worse overnight. I get some odor neutralizer. It doesn't help. Things devolve. Head hurts. Gastrointestinal distress occurs. I don't work out.

I'm not a chemically sensitive person. Though certain 98 cent stores will leave my mouth with a bit of a film. But whatever happened was unfortunate.

It won't happen again, but I may not be able to live in our house for a few days. Or I'll have to stay in bed like some Victorian swooning violet.


Friday, August 11, 2006

Everybody needs a friend

The yellow crocs were lonely.

So I bought them some friends.

They had some small talk and decided to mingle.

And all was happy in croc land. Because navy had met butter. And they liked each other.

The invisible bugs may be coming

I, despite what some who know me think, am not a hard person. In fact, I very much want to make everyone happy. And please them.

I hired a faculty member who I later decided was not so much on the preferred (culturally speaking) side of the sanity line in the sand. And while I know sand shifts and with it the winds of crazy and while I like crazy of a certain type, delusions are not so much my cup of tea.

Some years ago I was teaching a class on gender at night. It's one of those classes here at Commuter State that fills without trouble. Women liked to take it. And like many commuter states, we have a larger percentage of women in our students body than men. Anyway, because the class was at night, I had office hours at night. When it was dark. And a woman came to see me to tell me she wanted to drop the class. The reason she said she needed to drop the class was that she was unable to sleep at night. I didn't ask why. She told me anyway. She said that despite repeated attempts to rid her house of them, the invisible bugs were eating her alive. She had had the house tented five times. She was suing three exterminator companies. But none of them could find the invisible bugs.

"They're coming for you, too," she said glancing at me sideways. "the only way to protect yourself is to sleep in the car. They can't get through the door seals. Sleep in your car, if you know what's good for you."

I don't remember how I extracted myself from that conversation. I do remember glancing out into the dark hall and wondering what I would, should things get more odd. I still sleep in my bed, despite (because of?) her warning. For all I know they're still coming for me, those bugs. I'll keep you updated.

Back to today... there had been talk from the faculty member about audiences with the King of Kenya. About AIDS "babies" who were actually teenagers from Denmark who were being adopted, perhaps on the way to or from Kenya.

I was worried for our students. Today a neat solution presented itself. And I was able to "bump" the person in question. It was the right decision.

And yet, I felt bad. Pit of the stomach bad. Even though 25 students would have suffered. And complained. And maybe filed grievances.

It was the right decision. Still, I can't help but wonder, are the bugs going to come for me now? The King of Kenya could have some sway.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Liquid in the air

As I was sitting in traffic today on the notorious 405, I was thinking about liquid and flying.

I was listening to NPR and they were talking about the terrorist threat foiled today by authorities in Great Britain. For those of you who get the news from my blog, I'm sorry. But, just to fill you in, it appears some folks were planning to blow up Transatlantic planes bound for the U.S. with liquid explosives carried-on in (as my late Gran would say), hand luggage.

Gran luggage aside: Gran had this great 70s era set of hard-sided blue Samsonite luggage on which she had placed huge "M"s in yellow electrical tape. Gran did not believe in the "many bags look alike" principle. I loved those bags. They'd come banging down the carousel, their yellow M's shouting their affiliation. Her make-up case had a much smaller M on its top. Same tape. More delicately applied. I loved the way it smelled, that case. Like roses and powder.

I was thinking about all the liquid in the world that was being thrown away in the name of safety. And let's all admit it's about appearances, shall we?

Anyway, I love my ablutions. It's one way I am my mother's daughter. There are other ways. I don't talk about those. The idea of throwing away products of a liquid nature from L'Occitane or Philosophy or (horror!) Origins made me shudder right there on the freeway. Good thing we weren't moving. Why weren't we moving? Oh, because they were searching people's cars at LAX. For liquid.

I glamorize travel of a certain type like many people do. I like trains. I rode the last regional passenger train (pre-Amtrak) when I was a child. It wasn't like in the old movies, but it did have its appeal. The Southern Crescent. Doesn't it make you want to put on a Myrna Loy hat and take Asta cross-country? The Southern Crescent. New Orleans to Washington, D.C. Every day.

Buses, on the other hand, did not appeal. Greasy. That's enough.

Since I'm from Atlanta, I have a certain loyalty to the classic Atlanta companies, Coca-Cola and Delta Airlines. I know both have problematic things about them (tell me Fortune 500 companies that don't). In case you're wondering, Coke is #89 and Delta #134 on the 2006 list and both lag behind Atlanta johnny-come-latelies Home Depot (#14) and UPS (#44). BellSouth, that bouncing baby bell, beats Delta too at #120.

Coca-Cola aside: I just bought a Fresca ball cap. My life may be complete. I heart Fresca. And now my head can tell everyone without me saying a thing.

Anyway, Delta, who love to fly and it shows, will be ready when I am. I miss the days of real Delta, but current Delta, for all its problems, is still a fine airline. Until today, you could have your hand lotion with you while winging your way to Cincinnati, Salt Lake, or Atlanta. Most flight attendants still have that accent that makes mine come rushing back forward and they'll serve you a six-pack of Lance crackers after you've consumed your ENJOY! pack. Lance crackers and Fresca. Sigh.

To summarize on this day of Red terror alerts...

I am in favor of:

Lance Crackers
Electrical tape M's
The Southern Crescent
Myrna Loy

I am NOT in favor of:
George W. Bush
Greasy buses
Thrown away ablutions
Liquid explosives
Modern travel
The 405

So there.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

While I was Away

Not in South Carolina, but in meetings, today...

My old PC got taken away and replaced by a Mac. A glorious Mac.

When I started this job a little more than two years ago, they didn't think to ask me what kind of computer I wanted. They just ordered me a Dell. And I'm not a dude. I whined about it some. People felt bad.

In anticipation of my getting the job, our lovely college CFO (that's not her title, but that's what she does), ordered me a new Mac. Our college technical services department got it some time ago. At first they told me late July. Then August. Whatever.

They insisted on delivering the monitor. It's been taunting me from across the office. Actually, when the monitor arrived, I was alarmed and called the CFO.

Me: "It's huge!"

Her: "It's the middle sized one. Hold on... They come in 20, 23 and 32 inches. I didn't think you needed 32 inches."

Indeed, I did not. 32 inches would loom. 23 inches is huge, but I'm thinking of it is my big, friendly Mac face. Hi!

Mine's in the middle.

Now, if they could just manage to get my e-mail out of the PC and onto the Mac, I'd be happy. That and I'll need Firefox. And to adjust my mouse for the hugeness of the thing. But these things are mere trifles (the e-mail isn't actually, but no matter).

I may name it. I do know that my office is the better for it. A little bit of Apple joy will perk a Tuesday right up.

What brought you joy today?

Monday, August 07, 2006

What's wrong with America: A microcosm

Honey and I set out Saturday morning to drive from the coast of that ocean on the right side to Atlanta, from whence we came. We had borrowed my Dad's car, so as to better transport four bicycles. That's right. Four. Our two "out-of-town" bikes and my parents' massive sprongy ones. The ootbs are a cheap Ibex and my "old" bike that was replaced by the steel/carbon bit of loveliness hanging in the garage. The ootbs live in my parents' basement (not that anyone cares about this, but it's my blog. Skip ahead if you want).

Anyway, there are two ways to go from Atlanta to the Grand Strand in South Carolina. Freeway and not freeway. On the way in, we chose not. On the way back, convinced by an acquaintance, we choose freeway. We were pushing along I-20 at lunchtime and I suggested a stop in Columbia, SC. We saw nothing that appealed. Honey and I are trying not to eat any fast food. So, we needed them "big cities" and the glory of Columbia is found on I-26 (or so I'm told) not I-20.

So, we pushed on to Augusta. While it is true that suburban America is remarkably similar in chain stores, that can be of some comfort sometimes. For example, when Jesus is your barista, Starbucks is a welcome sight. Even a Starbucks that has been open only three weeks and you (being the scrupulously honest person you are) have to tell the cashier to charge you for an extra shot of espresso, because you don't just get four shots because you want them. Shots cost.

Anyway, we saw a sign for the Garden of Olive and pulled off figuring that where there is a Garden of Olive, similar chain restaurants will occur. Not that chain restaurants are good, mind you. They just have some choices that are ok. So we drive up and down this street and finally settle on TGIFridays.

Save our souls now, sweet Jesus the barista. What happened at TGIFridays in Augusta, Georgia is surely just as clear a sign of the "end times" as frogs and locusts falling on our heads. Ok, I'm overreacting. But only by a little.

Herewith the problems:

TV in bathroom.
There was a TV in the bathroom. Above the sinks. On commercials. Only commercials. No actual programming. Honey said she couldn't get around one slack-jawed girl of about 12 who was watching a commercial for a mortgage broker. 12 year olds in Augusta could have adjustable rate mortgages, but I doubt it.

Lack of shampoo.
The table behind us, of which I had an excellent view, had no shampoo at home. Rather than going to get some, they came to Fridays to have ribs.

Ribs, children eating them.
Children can have ribs, I guess. But a wet nap and hand sucking are not sufficient clean-up techniques. Especially when one apparently doesn't have shampoo at home. Clean will never be achieved.

Cheese, restaurant pouring on everything.
Really, does every single fucking item on the menu need liquid cheese?

Cheese, so called "grown-up macaroni and."
Which has ham and bacon and mushrooms. Still looks like mac and cheese (on the picture) to me.

Lettuce, school cafeteria style.
Honey's mother used to work in a cafeteria. The lettuce used at Fridays tasted like the bagged variety sent to the middle-school cafeteria.

Hurricane glasses, collectible.
One can get cocktails such as Mudslides and Mango Margaritas in a take-home collectible glass for just $2 more. Collect all four. Put them in a cabinet. Invite people over to see them. Go ahead.

We left as quickly as we could. There are places in America worth visiting. There are places in America that are cheese free. If anyone knows any along I-20 in eastern Georgia, please let me know.

Meanwhile, I'll be curled up under my desk. Sipping bottled water from my collectible hurricane glass. Call me when it's safe to come out again.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Building a girl--by the numbers

Honey and I took Best Niece Ever(tm) to Build-a-Bear this morning. This has been a tradition since BNE was 2.5 and we procured for her Katie the monkey. Katie now gets a birthday party and a new outfit every year.

We set off for the 30 minute drive to Myrtle Beach. Honey, who likes to call out to inanimate objects like phone chargers, got BNE laughing by calling out "Build-a-Bear" over and over again.

We arrived and went in (Honey still calling out as we approached). We went in the first door and ended up in Friends 2 Be Made. Friends 2 Be Made is the new evil from Build-a-Bear. Friends 2 Be Made was immediately rebadged (by us) Build-a-Girl. Build-a-Girl operates pretty much the same as Build-a-Bear. One buys a girl skin, has it stuffed (after some twirling and wishing on hearts). Then one picks out outfits. It's a big production. BNE is now old enough (as opposed to the birth of Katie Monkey) to appreciate the breadth of the production, though we did deliberately avoid some parts of the store (for example, the vanity mirror area), so we could get back and go to the pool.

So, herewith the breakdown:

Time to and from Myrtle Beach: 1+ hours

Weight a child needs to be to sit in this fancy and easy to deal with booster dealio: 40 lbs

Weight of BNE: 40+ (by a little)

Weight of Honies: More than 40

Number of Starbucks in the Myrtle Beach Area: 1

Number near Build-a-complex: 1

Number of shots in my nonfat iced latte: 4

Number of shots better than any produced by God (as barista): 4

Cost of monkey bridal outfit: $15

Cost of girl (underpants and heart only): $12

Cost of monkey tiara and wand: $5

Cost of girl socks: $3

Cost of girl princess set: $8

Cost of frog in princess set: Included

Length of time between purchase of frog and purchase of prince for frog to turn into: 1 year (give or take)

Cost of girl Purple robe: $5

Cost of girl Denim overall dress: $6

Cost of girl Glitter ballet flats: $5

Cost of girl Purple slides: $4

Cost of girl Princess tee: $3

Time spent in "monkey area": 2 minutes

Time spent in girl area: 45 minutes

Number of times, "everyone is going to be SOO surprised we built a girl" was said on ride home: 15+

Total cost of Aunt Sporks: $81.90

Time before BNE and Best Nephew Ever will both need prince and bear respectively: 1 year (give or take)

Need to talk to Grandpop about helping: High

There you have it. Don't say I didn't warn you. Be careful near these stores. You have no idea how high the need is for those monkey tiaras is until you get sucked into the vortex. Your latte will make you feel a little better. But only a little.