Search This Blog

Friday, December 28, 2007

The White Elephant is Knocking

...On your door! Won't you answer? She's friendly. See her early efforts here and here and here. Somebody take the unclaimed stuff!

Anyway, the elephant is big, she's white, and she made it to sporksforall.

For your consideration today, I offer a trio of pet themed frames. I love all four of our pets and have pictures of them in my office. Full disclosure: I only have pictures of Halo and Biscuit in my office. Scout feels slighted, I'm sure, especially given his legal troubles. Calif couldn't be reached for comment. Anyway, well-meaning people see my animal pictures, especially my rather large one of the late Red dog. These folks know I love my pets. And what self-respecting pet-owner companion to animals would not want desire heart with all her soul animal-themed frames?

Animal-themed frames almost inevitably feature paws. I like paws as a theme. We have a paw-themed door mat that I like. For some reason, though, I can't get my head around paw-themed frames.

Herewith, therefore, on offer...

Paw frames.

We have two of dog and one of cat. One of the dog ones and the cat one are a matched set, though I suppose I should mention, should you have regifting on your brain, only the cat frame includes a box. Cats are like that.

If you don't have a pug or a somewhat power-hungry looking white cat, never fear, these function as regular frames and the sample pictures above can be replaced with your own pictures of your own pets!

The most extraordinary of the trio is the "Doggie" frame. What's not to like about a bejeweled frame? Despite the jewels (or perhaps because of them?!), the effect is what can only be called "classy."

Nice, huh?

Now, I'm sure some of you are speciesist in your households. Cats but no dogs, dogs but no cats. I will consider splitting the frames up on that basis and that basis alone. Let me be clear, though...if you take one dog frame, you get both. If you want one dog and one cat, you have to take all three.

As with the fugly clock, feel free to insult these and not claim them. Someone, however, should feel moved to take them. Think how paw-rific your house/apartment can be!

The rules for white elephant are simple...claim the frames and I'll send them to you. All that's asked in return is that you offer something up on your blog (or Teresa can host it for you, should you be blog free) and be willing to ship it off to whosoever requests it. Full rules can be found here!

Paws paws paws paws, paws paws paws paws...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Tiki room (and related) thoughts

On Tuesday, Honey and I decided to play hooky. There simply isn't a better place for playing hooky than Disneyland. Imagine your eight year old self. You want a day off. You want to do something superveryfun. What could be more superveryfun than Disneyland? Sex. But you're supposed to be imagining your EIGHT year old self. If you thought about sex a lot then, I don't want to know about it.

Theoretical fingers in theoretical ears... Lalalalalalalalalalalalalala Done with eight year old sex thoughts.

Ok, I won't give you a whole travelogue, but here's a highlight/thought list.

*They can dress it up all they want, but Innovations (in Tomorrowland)=superverylame.

*The redo of Space Mountain is awesome. It seems faster and you can't see the track any more. It's like a roller coaster in space. Wait, it IS a roller coaster in space.

*Disneyland rides with pictures they take and then try to sell you do NOT take flattering pictures of me. Nope.

*This image is funny and is on almost every ride. I kept trying to be these people. My body won't do the things it suggests.

*Cynthia, who was having a birthday and brought her coffee onto Thunder Mountain in the pouring rain, reminded me of how great people can be. I don't even know her and we rode behind her on the ride for all of three minutes. Still, she and her friend Susan rocked.

*As a child, I was DEEPLY disappointed to have spent one of my E-tickets on 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (aka the submarines). The 35 minute wait we experienced on Tuesday did not improve my liking of it a lot. It was ok, but it was the longest wait of the day.

*I kind of loved (actually really loved) the Tiki Room. I'd never been there before. Full props to Disneyland for not tearing it out. It would not have been worth an E-Ticket, though.

*Fewer full props to them for tearing out the gallery above New Orleans Square for the new luxo-suite. I did like the Disney employee at the "Disneyana" store who described the gallery space as "having moved on to its next life." She did this all why I dripped onto the rug, having gotten soaked in the rain on Big Thunder.

*We didn't bottom out our Small World boat! I'm also pleased to report that Small World is less annoying at the holidays, because they intersperse Christmas songs with the eponymous song. I'm not a fan of either, but less of both overall makes it more bearable.

*I was pleased to do Tomorrowland first. Why we always do Adventureland first is beyond me. I'm a big T-land fan, Innovations notwithstanding.

*Bring back the People Mover.

*Indiana Jones has gotten more jerky. Panic attack inducing jerky.

* I know, I know, SOMETHING has to make you want to go to California Adventure, but why oh why can't Tower of Terror be in D-land? I heart it but not enough to pay $20 more to ride it.

*I wish we had parked on the Daisy level instead of the Mickey level. I've never much cared for the mice. The ducks, I like.

*La Casa Garcia has really good albondigas. Really good albondigas tastes especially good when you're wet.

*I would say I need a rain coat, but I live in Southern California.

*The best part of the day? All of it, of course. What's not to like? A day with my Honey at Disneyland.

I like my inner eight year old sometimes. She has good ideas.  Besides, my outer 39 year old can afford to buy her extra E-Tickets.

At the tiki, tiki, tiki, tiki room...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Select Comfort/Sleep Number cares!

I just got this comment on my blog post about my back:

"My name is Catherine, and I am a customer service representative with Select Comfort. I am so sorry to hear that you are having issues rolling to the middle of your bed. The good news is- we are here to help! There are several low-cost or no-cost things we can try to alleviate this annoyance for you. If you are interested in working through the issue with us, please give us a call at 1-800-472-7185. Please be ready with you and your name and address, you and your sleep partner’s (if you have one) preferred Sleep Number, your approximate heights and weights, and whether or not you feel like the sides of the bed are higher than the air chambers.

We are looking forward to helping you out!


My Sleep Number is 35"

She included her sleep number!

I probably will call them. There's just one little problem...we have the cheapest Sleep Number which comes with the "Non-Digital Firmer/Softer Remote." So, I don't know my sleep number. Still, the promise of low-cost and no-cost solutions to ANY problem seems worth a toll-free call, don't you think?

Thanks Sleep Number!

Friday, December 07, 2007


I usually drink lattes when I seek Starbucks in the morning. I've been seeking Starbucks in the morning more often than I should, what with the demise of Coke Blak. My stash lasted until Monday. I toasted Coca-Cola with my last one and have been in mourning since.

I'm also a little bored with my Starbucks patterns. Order latte in tall or grande, add shot to number Starbucks think is appropriate. Drink. Feel a little guilty about spending $4 on coffee.

This morning I ordered a cappuccino. It was tasty. It still cost $3.25. At the end of it, I looked into the bottom of the cup and there was a lot of really pretty foam. I looked at it a while. I tipped the cup up to try to get it to come to me. Then, I looked around, a little like that shifty eyed dog in the cartoons.

I stuck my hand down in the cup and scooped out the foam. I licked each finger and my palm.

Then, as if I had done nothing untoward, I arose from my chair, went to the office kitchen, threw away the cup and washed my hands.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

On the wall

When I was younger, I would often go into my mother's office. She has always kept Hershey's Kisses in a jar and I'd have one or two. Because of what she does, I had occasion to spend a lot of time at her workplace as a child and teenager. Occasionally, I would also go to my father's office. He didn't have kisses, but inevitably had a better view. Hers was always a ground floor office and his was a high rise office. Sweeping vistas are ingrained in the American consciousness, even if the vista in question is of other high-rise buildings.

I always admired their degrees on the wall. I read them and then re-read them. They went to the same college, so the bachelors' degrees looked the same, but their advanced degrees differed and I found their language and appearance very appealing. There was a deep commitment to education as an idea in my family, but the material culture of education also appealed deeply to me. The degrees themselves, the regalia, the places. The verdant landscapes in otherwise normal contexts.

Really, I wanted those pieces of paper. I have some of them now. Four, if you want to know. One of them has a typo. Two of them are framed. I really have no idea where the fourth one is. The "highest" one, as they say, had been sitting in its frame in a closet. I had never put it on a wall anywhere. I had it on top of a bookshelf at home for a while, but then our roof leaked and our office ceiling collapsed and, as I hauled ceiling and insulation out to the trash can, I put it away in the closet to keep it from forming some undeniable bond with the wet insulation.

This weekend, we cleaned out that closet so the house can be re-floored. I found that highest degree in the closet.

This morning, I brought it in to work. The frame had some smudges on it, so I cleaned it a little. I took down a picture I had taken some years ago of a cyclist whose name I don't know and hung the degree on my wall. I like the language on it more than any of the ones my parents have, "The Regents of the University of California on the recommendation of the Graduate Council of the Academic Senate, Los Angeles Division have conferred upon [insert name here]" Isn't that great? So florid.

It continues, "...who, by conducting original research has demonstrated thorough knowledge of [insert field here]" So, original research demonstrates thorough knowledge. Good to know. Now, with all of that, you still don't know what degree it is. Way to bury the lead, UC. Good things come to those who bother to read the whole thing. The degree comes next.

..."The Degree of Doctor of Philosophy." There it is. Whew. Took a while. "with all the rights and privileges thereto pertaining." I'm not sure what rights it gives me, but it is a privilege (most of the time) to be an Associate Professor for the same state the issued the piece of paper I'm currently discussing.

"Given at Los Angeles This Twenty Sixth Day of March in the Year Nineteen Hundred and Ninety Nine." Note the lack of "of our Lord" language. Secularity is SO rampant in, well, secular institutions. Rightly so. It's signed, by among others, the ousted former governor of the state. There's also a gold seal.

It looks nice on the wall, I have to say. It perches right above a picture of a starling eating watermelon and next to my Union Pacific Las Vegas poster. I don't know why I didn't hang it there before. I wanted it for so long and then I got it. It belongs in my office with its first floor view. Come by and read it, if you want.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Avoiding the crevasse

I spend a lot of time pretending my body doesn't exist. Oh, sure, I know it does. I glance at on occasion. I can see parts of it as I type. As a whole, though, I'd just as soon let it travel through a slightly parallel universe. I especially hate having my attention drawn to it by forces external.

Most nights I sleep by myself in our Select Comfort bed. My honey sleeps next to me in a device that protects her very badly arthritic spinal column. The Select Comfort bed was not made for one...

The upper arrow pointing to what they're calling "support foam" is actually pointing to something I call "the crevasse" which is an indentation between the two air chambers. When I sleep alone in the bed, I roll into the crevasse. I stay in the crevasse. The crevasse was not meant for sleeping in. And yet, night after night, I hear its siren call and into it I roll.

Saturday night I must have ensconced myself into it fundamentally because Sunday morning my lower back felt as if it had been slammed with a cricket bat.

See how flat those mofos are? Sleeping in the crevasse=getting hit by a cricket bat in the lower back. So what did we decide to do yesterday? Glad you asked; we decided to buy large things at Ikea. Large things that had to be loaded in the FJ and then unloaded in the garage.

Honey had this lovely massage thing from Brookstone I didn't know about and we took turns spending time with it.

Meanwhile, I was riding my bike around campus today and did something to my bad knee. I'm fine sitting. But walking, no so much.

The coporeal and kinesthetic is part of my life, whether I like it or not. Still, right this minute, I might start hitting people and things with a cricket bat if something else goes wrong.   Those mofos hurt.  Don't say I didn't warn you.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

One MILLION Dollars

So, this guy, who's from my home state, tried to deposit a one million dollar bill in a local bank. When the teller refused to open an account for him, he became abusive and they called the cops.

The United States has never issued a one million dollar bill, just for the blog record.

The two largest bills ever offered by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing were the hundred thousand dollar bill and the ten thousand dollar bill. The B.E.P. should not, by the by, not be confused with the Mint. The Mint does the coins. And has a lame gift shop.

Here's a picture of the 10K bill:

Know who's on that bill? What, you don't recognize him? Come on! Salmon P. Chase is a household name. Still not ringing a bell? He was one of the leaders of the Free Soil movement, Lincoln's Secretary of the Treasury, and later Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. While I'm sure you're now all thinking, "oh, right HIM" here's another factoid. Chase Bank. Hokay.

You may do better with the 100K:

Wilson. As in Woodrow. It wasn't really a circulating bill, so much as it was a gold certificate, though William Jennings Bryan would have me note that it was issued (in 1934) after the gold standard was repealed. It was used for interagency exchanges of money and was orange on the reverse. Roosevelt (as in Franklin) was the man behind the 100K bill.

The 10k, really, was the biggest bill ever in circulation and featured pilgrims disembarking from the Mayflower on the reverse. The 5K bill featured James Madison and Washington resigning his Army commission. History on the money!

Nixon did away with all bills larger that $100 in 1969 to try to better control organized crime. That worked out really well for him (and us). I've long been a proponent of doing away with the $1 bill. We should use $1 coins. Oh and we should also eliminate the penny. I should stop mixing Mint issues and Engraving and Printing issues. Still, those are my money opinions and I'm standing by them. Also, we should go back to the silver standard.

Ok, maybe not, but I do like the idea of being able to go and demand silver somewhere. Hey--here's a five, gimme some silver!

When I was in college, I was friends with a number of economics majors. They contended, usually when a little drunk, that the great tragedy of my life would be not taking economics in college. (My dad sometimes contends I should have taken HOME economics in middle school. I wish I had taken typing.) My usual counter argument to the econ majors was that the tragedy of their lives was not taking philosophy. I still think I'm right, but I do wish I knew a little more about economics. Oh and there have been other tragedies more significant than my lack of economic understanding. Plus, I've read Marx and Engels. Doesn't that count for something?

I'll settle, for the moment, I guess, with knowing that there is no such thing as a million dollar bill. I wish I had a real one so I could but people I love the things they want. Lately, I've been wanting to exchange bills for another metal. Why wasn't there ever a titanium standard? I'd love to trade a slip of paper for two of these (one for me and one for my honey):

The problem is, people who sell the above want those plastic card things. I learned about that once, but have forgotten most of what I know. I seem to recall you have to use the regular money to pay back what you spent on the plastic dohickeys at some point. Like in graduate school, when I took out student loans, and was required to go to a meeting wherein the main message was "YOU HAVE TO PAY BACK YOUR LOANS." I sometimes misunderstand messages. For example, Honey and I went to see No Country for Old Men this weekend. As we were walking out of the theater, she said, "so the message of that movie is that everything is going to be ok." It was not the message I got. Maybe my college friends were right. I just reread the "Cross of Gold" speech and Bryan says nothing about titanium. I'm going to have to think on this. In the meantime, if anyone has any deep thoughts on economics or moving toward a titanium standard, please let me know.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Bear Aware

The woman at the front desk handed me a sheet to initial and sign in various places. I wasn't buying a house, a car, or even a bicycle. No indeed. I was checking into a hotel. Why all the initialing? Most notably, I was certifying that everyone in my party was "bear aware." We had taken a trip for my Honey's transition into her next stage by traveling to our National Park. We've visited Sequoia on a number of occasions in our life together and have a deep affinity for the place. As we were walking around the "Big Trees Trail" yesterday, Honey said, "this is why California is so wonderful." Truth: spoken out loud.

Tree Aside:

That's the Grant tree. It was declared the "nation's Christmas tree" by Calvin Coolidge. Eh. Honey and I walked around the back side of it first. It's big, but not as pretty as I'd like. I prefer the Sentinel with its "average" size.

Back to the Bears:

My family wasn't much of a National Park kind of family. We visited a few, but the best ones are in the West. (You can deny the previous statement all you want, but denial has therapeutic value--discuss as needed with your therapist). My family did visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park a couple of times. I recall very vividly that both times we saw bears.

Black bears (ursus americanus) are found in most of the large National Parks, including Great Smoky Mountain NP and Sequoia and Kings Canyon NP(s). They're not particularly aggressive bears, and rarely attack humans. Grizzly bears (ursus arctos horribilis), their larger cousins, are typically only found in four National Parks. And, no, the St. Louis Arch is not one of them. OK, fine, the arch (properly the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial) is not an actual National Park. I just liked the idea of grizzly bears riding in that weird conveyance you use to get to the top of it.

The four Parks with grizzly bears are: Glacier, Yellowstone, Katmai, and Denali. Montana, Wyoming, and Alaska (2), for those of you keeping state score. Grizzly Bears will kill people. Black Bears can hurt people, if the people are stupid.

That's a black bear next to the trash can, by the way. They can be brown. Confusing, I admit. The real problem for the black bears, as it is with so much of modern life, is trash. Both times I saw bears in GSMNP as a child it was near a tumped over trash can.

Bears like human food trash. It doesn't distinguish them very much from dogs, now that I think about it. Until recently, many bears in many parks had learned that humans had food. Smart animals that they are; they figured that begging might get them some.

Yogi didn't help matters. Who wouldn't want to share a picnic with Yogi? Ok, I wouldn't, but some folks would.

Then Smokey was always hanging around telling us to prevent fires. He's a nice spokesanimal. Friendly bear spokesanimals are likely to produce friendly feelings about bears by park visitors.

Smokey isn't my favorite spokesanimal, though. As a person of a certain age, I feel more connection to his anti-litter buddy, Woodsy Owl. Recently redesigned (2006), Woodsy first appeared in the early 1970s. While he now urges, "Lend a Hand, Care for the Land," his original exhortation, "Give a hoot don't pollute" should bring a song about "dirty bird(s)" to the minds of many.

There are currently some licensed Woodsy pants available on ebay. It could be a new fashion trend. Think how good you'd look in Woodsy pants. The belt buckle, the weird length. Sigh.

Being bear aware dominates a lot of thinking and efforting at our National Park. The new movement at the National Parks is anti-Yogi, anti-cubs begging at woodie station wagons.

Not only did I have to certify that I was bear aware and that Honey was bear aware, we also had to remove things that might cause bear break-ins from our car. Food? Yep. Drinks? Yep. Also lotion, chapstick, lipstick, Purell. Really, anything with a scent had to be secreted away to our room. I can find no evidence that a bear ever tore apart a car for chapstick. They have torn apart cars for food. But chapstick? I'm not so sure.

Really, day visitors get left off the hook. They're told to keep "food out of sight." Staying overnight? Get that chapstick out of the car! Now.

I saw these signs all over the park. I don't want to be responsible for a dead bear. Not me. Nope. Nuh uh. I do like some of the advice the sign offers.

"Gather together and make noise by banging pots and pans."

Damn, we forgot to bring pots and pans. Are they required even when we don't camp?

"NEVER try to get items back from a bear."

Do you really mean that I shouldn't use my soft hand to hit the big bear on the head to get my chapstick back? It's MY chapstick. Who's going to buy me another stick? Also, if he takes my L'Occitane lotion, somebody is going to pay. I'm just saying.

"If you are afraid, back away and contact a ranger for help."

Mmm Kay. So, there will be a ranger nearby? Not just the pretty one in the booth an hour back where I paid my $20? That's super handy. Each bear has an assigned ranger. Thanks!

"You may see rangers using hazing techniques to chase bears away."

That is especially awesome. Do they shave their heads? Make them drink lots of beer? I do hope they get to join the fraternity afterwards.

Ok, snarky aside done. I do love the picture of the people.

Clearly one thing you should certainly do is make an "o" with your mouth. Honey and I practiced that all weekend. The problem for us, really, was who wanted which role. We had no pots or spoons, so neither could of us be the dad. I decided the best thing to do was consult the bear's ranger about what to do beyond the "o" mouth.

As we descended into the San Joaquin Valley and headed home yesterday, I thought about what I had learned. I learned a lot about sequoias, but not much about bears, really. I realize that the sequoias aren't going to break into my car, but think about if one of them fell on me. I'd be way more dead than if a bear took my lotion. It's unlikely that a sequoia would fall on me, I admit. Still I should have asked the pretty ranger how to protect myself from the unlikely. With all those sequoias, they're probably not able to have enough rangers to assign one to every tree. Standing near them, then, is a risk I must be willing to take. I'm nothing if not brave. And bear aware. I'm also very bear aware. So is Honey. I certified us.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Part of the story: Happy Birthday!

This is how this story begins:

I was a newish graduate student at a fine university in Southern California. Not the one with the good football team. The one with the good basketball team. I was helping a woman with her senior thesis. I met her through the lesbian rap group on campus. I encouraged her to present her senior thesis at a regional conference I was also going to attend. Academics present papers at conferences. It's a thing. And this woman thought she might want to go to graduate school.

I rode up to the conference with this woman and her girlfriend. I was a little intimidated by her girlfriend. She was sexy, had a shaved head, and rode a motorcycle. The girlfriend had a two door SUV and I, as the non couple person, rode in the back on the way to Davis, where the conference was to be held. On the way up, I bought a small packet of bite-sized Pecan Sandies. I dropped one and stepped on it. I didn't mean to. When the girlfriend saw this, she teased me. I thought she was mad. She wasn't.

This is part of the story too:

The senior thesis woman broke up with her girlfriend. The (now ex) girlfriend stopped by and left a note on my office door. Later that summer she gave me a large lemon that looked like a breast.

It looked more like a breast than that one does.  I loved that lemon because I loved the woman who gave it to me.  I didn't know that when she gave me the lemon.  I suspected, but I didn't know.

Later on this becomes part of the story:

The (now ex) girlfriend becomes my girlfriend. Because she knows I can, she often asks as we go to sleep at night, "will you tell me a story?" And I do tell her stories until she falls asleep.

Sometimes, when I say something innocuous (because I talk too much and say too much), she says to me, "that wasn't a very good story." She's right, when she says that. Not all stories can be good, but I should try harder to give her good stories.

So here's another piece of the story:

My honey starts a new chapter of her story today.

Here's the last part of the story for today:

When the former graduate student, now sometimes professor, often administrator woke up this morning, she saw her love asleep.  She made up a stupid song that she sang to her love in celebration of 40 years of life.  It was a silly song, that got sort of squeaky at the end.  She thought it was ok, though, because sometimes the story is about breast lemons and squeaky songs.


So, happy birthday, sweeties.  I can't wait to see how your story moves on from here.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Born to (and a Shakespeare game)

Honey and I were watching "Everest: Beyond the Limit" the other night. The narrator noted that the Nepalese were born to climb the great mountains of their country. Their hearts are bigger. Their lungs are bigger. It reminded me (and I said out loud) of the piece that I read in the L.A. Times last week about Disneyland redesigning the "It's a Small World" ride. It seems that the boats keep bottoming out. Disneyland, not wanting to alienate its visitors, has refused to blame the expanding American (and non-American) waistlines on the problem. Instead they argue that years of fiberglass build-up on the boats and water channel have made the ride less functional. The problem, apparently, is so acute, that they've built a platform near the Canadian Mounties to help people out of the boats so the ride doesn't get held up too long. Listening to that song a few MORE times than the ride normally requires may be too much for people.

At any rate, I remarked, upon hearing the narration about the Nepalese, that Americans are born to bottom-out Small World boats. My Honey laughed. I like making my Honey laugh.

I liked this Shakespeare thing. It has nothing to do with what we're born to do. Still. Macbeth would have been way different with sporks.

William Shakespeare

Is this a spork which I see before me,
Its handle toward my hand?

Which work of Shakespeare was the original quote from?

Get your own quotes:

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Workin' (or not)

I'm at home today because a nice fellow is outside working on our house. I'm also expecting another nice fellow to come by and talk about floors. The latter fellow has eight minutes left in the window he gave us. Contractors should say 9 when they mean 9, not "between 7 and 8" when they mean 9. That's true of everyone, really. I'm capable of showing up at 7pm when my class starts then. Should I choose to show up at 8:30, I should not be shocked by the absence of everyone else.

I brought work home with me to do, but, as yet, haven't done much with it. I know there are people who work well at home. I'm not one of them. Oh sure, I've checked e-mail and read a little. Only a little.

I also know people who do their own home improvement work. I admire them from afar. If I get to close, they might poke out my eye with a saw or something.

I admire the fortitude these folks have in doing their things. I also always find myself feeling odd about the circumstance of having work done on my house while I wile away the day dog-sitting the two canine-type freaks Honey and I brought into our lives.

I keep telling myself that since I'll be at home tomorrow, too, I'll get some of what I brought home done then.

It's a funny thing, this lack of motivation. I have lamented, in the past, my lack of time at home since I took on an administrative (rather than teaching) job at my fine institution of higher education. Honestly, though, I don't know what I got done once upon a time. Instead, as the day has gone on, I remember some connected moments. They have not been moments of great production. Eating some pasta, reading the paper. It's nice, I suppose. I find myself feeling at odds. Restless really.

My heart may be more restless than it used to be. I find that quite plausible. The problem, though, is how to calm the restless heart. Or at least how to get it to not beat up on itself for being restless.
The good news is that the work should be done tomorrow or Monday and we'll have two layers of dog gates, more patio next to our side door, and functional locks on all our exterior doors and the garage. Honey has suggested we invite our handyman to move in, which I'm inclined to do, as we're also in negotiation to have him rip out our carpeting, lay some tile, and fix us up with some fine faux wood laminate. "Only [we] will know it isn't wood!"

As for my restless heart, I just checked in with Newton (or Ike, as I like to call him), and he reports that it's likely to stay moving. At least for now.  So wave if you see it run by.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

A small SkyMall thought

I am well aware that the SkyMall catalog is simply a distraction that the airlines provide me with on the plane. The companies that populate it are hoping I'll buy something.

Treecup and I once played a game on the way to a conference where we opened the SkyMall catalog. Here's how it worked. I'd open the book to a particular page and pick out the item I most thought she would want, even if it was a page full of NFL pool balls. There couldn't be anything less suited to Treecup than NFL pool balls. Then she picked out the thing she would buy on that page.   Then we'd switch and she'd try to guess my preferences.  (The answer couldn't be "nothing." In our imaginary SkyMall world, you had to buy something on every page. Delta and Hammacher Schlemmer would be so pleased. Them and the NFL pool ball people.) It was an amusing and interesting exercise in how well we knew one another.

My father travels a lot and when I ask him for gift suggestions, he is likely as not to come up with something from the SkyMall like a shower squeegee. I don't feel compelled to buy him the actual shower squeegee from the catalog, nor is he hoping for it. He just liked the idea of the shower squeegee. Thusly, he is now able to squeegee his shower at will.

Anyway, when I flew home on Wednesday, I noticed a product that made me sad in the SkyMall. Not sad like the anti-gay freaks protesting at soldiers funerals. Not that sad. Still.

Here it is:

It's described as:

"Safe laser beam toy keeps your cat entertained for hours on end, so you can do other things."

Ok, I will admit that our four (how did that happen?) pets always often sometimes drive me crazy. But they're our pets. I brought them (or helped bring them) into our home. I should play with them. If the cats like laser pointers (and boy, do they), I should wield said pointer and move it around for them. Really.  With my own hands.  Even though I hurt my shoulder the other day bench pressing my honey.  I have a left hand.  It has a wrist that works.

The "you don't have to play with you cat" laser thingy is yet another example of our continuing slide into desperation.

I should note that, as I wrote this, Biscuit had cornered Halo under my desk. Biscuit is now outside and I have tried to coax Halo out of her lair. I'm not sure where my laser pointer is, though. So she'll have to make do with my petting her should I be successful in the extraction.

Monday, October 29, 2007

A few Denver thoughts

I find myself in Denver, a city to which I have never ventured before. Seems nice enough and the weather is good, I gather, for October in Colorado.

Some preliminary thoughts:

1) People smoke here more than they do in L.A. Seems ill-advised given the thin air. They'll need their lungs.

2) The Mint should have a nicer gift shop, especially since they didn't have any space left on their tour today. They make a profit on those state quarters. Cycle it back such that the gift shop doesn't seem like a trailer time forgot. There are just the two Mints, really. They could try harder. Does anyone know if they try harder in Philadelphia mint-wise?

3) If I wanted Rockies World Series gear, my timing could not be better. It's all 50% off. Now that I know the Rockies actively recruit born-again Christian players, I don't so much want Rockies gear.

4) I'm in the hotel the BoSox stayed in last night. To hear tell, we're lucky to get rooms, as the celebrated rather, um, vigorously and didn't leave when they were supposed to.

5) I also hear tell that the Packers are staying here tonight. For fantasy football reasons, I'm hoping they have no real reason to celebrate. Brett Favre especially. Plus he doesn't pronounce his name right. Ok, he does, given that he's from the South, where Ponce De Leon is pronounced "Ponse Dee Leeeon" and Cairo, GA is pronounced "Kay-roh." Still.

6) The Rockies (mountains, this time) are really pretty.

7) Ok, I'm off to dinner with my boss. I'm going to try not to say anything stupid.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Costing more

So Honey mentioned to me yesterday that our faithful laptop was conking out a few times a day. I named the laptop "pretty" when I got it. Shall we take a brief tour of my computers? Sure. Why not? It's my blog after all.

My first computer was a PC. Not a real IBM one, but an Epson with a Hercules paperwhite monitor. It served me fairly well. I upgraded it at some point and it functioned like DOS based PCs did. Well. Then Windows cam along and I lost faith.

In graduate school, I had a class that introduced me to the wonders of that magical place called Cupertino. Hypercard prefigured and guessed at the beginnings of the web. I used the internet then--e-mail and netnews--but hadn't yet seen a graphical interface. Hypercard changed that. I promptly got myself a Mac. A laptop.

Color and everything! It weighed a ton, but I was delighted to have a system that worked.

Taking a page from my Honey... to keep you going. There are baby animals here!

Anyway, we entered into the bright phase when Apple did. An original bondi iMac was complemented by the famous (from Sex and the City) iBook. We called the iBook "clam."

Swivelhead came next. I sent him packing this summer when his disc drive went out. That and he wouldn't play Sims2.

Need another baby animal picture? Honey uses them to help deal with tough stuff. I'm compensating for boring stuff. Not the same thing, really.

Pretty and Swivelhead lived together. Pretty has served us well. Even when Biscuit broke her powercord input, she bravely went to the Apple store and got fixed.

She welcomed Flathead when he came home this summer to replace Swivelhead. She chirped merrily along, all the while communicating with the spaceship (our Airport wireless router).

When Honey told me about Pretty's problems, I was worried. Pretty was nearing the end of her life, it seemed. Was it her screen? Was it her motherboard? Either way, she isn't worth fixing. She's a G4 Mac in an Intel CoreDuo world.

Honey and I discussed, looked online, and talked some about it. She's very careful, my Honey. I am a rushing-in kind of fool. Here's one thing we agreed on, though. Apple needed to stop introducing white computers and then making the non-white ones cost more. Flathead was purchased JUST before the new silver and black iMacs came out. Flathead costs $200 less than his silver and black brethern do now. $200. Remember that number.

The new MacBooks are available in white and black.

Here's the thing, though... The white ones are cheaper.

$200 cheaper.

Oh, sure the black one gets you a better hard drive. But it's so little better that it's not worth talking about.

At one point, Honey said exactly what I was feeling, "I don't want to spend $1000 on something that LOOKS exactly like what we already have." Look again, gentle reader. See the resemblance? The current MacBook and Pretty are so closely related in looks that they shouldn't be allowed to marry. They'd produce warped little white plastic babies. What? Oh, ok, fine. More baby animals...

The dolphin isn't white or deformed or anything. Happy?

Apple knows us. We both REALLY wanted the black one. It was matte black, it was smaller than Pretty. It was faster than Pretty or Flathead. I have a big presentation next week for a major nonprofit in a faraway city. Ok, it's Denver, so it's not that far away, but it is a major nonprofit. Dating back to the 19th century major.

Both of our iPods are black. It costs more. We really liked it better. It had a bigger hard drive. It costs more. $200 more. Apple knows us. $300 more? We'd have a white one. $200, we stand in the Apple Store and discuss.

It was hard to justify. We did it, though. We made it work in our brains and now own "Jelly."

Call us shallow. Go ahead. Here's the thing about Apple. They're gotten 100% on the Human Rights Campaign survey of good places for GLBT folks to work for six years. $200. 6 years of good GLBT relations. Black. $200. White.

They know us.

Jelly is a fine looking machine.

And thus endeth the story. Can I get an amen?


Friday, October 19, 2007


So I was in my vehicle yesterday waiting to turn left. I glanced over at the cars turning right onto the street I was on. It's a normal Valley street. Big intersections, plenty of room. There are advantages to living in the quintessential post-War environment. 1950s car were big and so our streets are wide.

This 1953 Studebaker, for example, was 20 feet long. And it's a coupe. My FJ, just for comparison, is about 15 feet long. A Prius is about 14 feet. Big cars of the 50s meant big streets. Frank Lloyd Wright said we needed it, you know.

Anyway, I was watching these folks turn right and I noticed they were all leaning over as the turned. How odd, I thought. Then I turned left and realized that I, too, had leaned. Not as much as the people I was watching, but I still leaned.

Now, while I'm sure we all like to keep our equilibrium, it got me to important is it to stay upright at all times? It's not like you're going to fall over in the car. And, really, if you are going to fall over in the car, you have a lot more to worry about the simple uprightness.

So, here's the question--are you a car leaner? If so, why? Be honest and share out in comments.