Monthly Archives: September 2011

Quotes From Here and There

In a twisted way, I like the would-be book burners because if I see that a book is being banned, it sends me out to the bookstore to buy a copy. I have to find out what all the shouting is about. As a result, I met some outstanding authors who I otherwise may have missed…here (via)

Frankly if I don’t smell garlic in your house I’m not sure you know how to cook.there

When your largest looming reason for continuing is concern about what others will say when you stop, it’s time to let go.here

How did this once-awe-inspiring word become a nearly meaningless bit of verbiage referring to anything even mildly good?there

Clown Paint and Self Photography

I got my hair cut Monday. I had to sit and wait so I picked up a magazine and started flipping through it. It was one of those women’s magazines that I never read. I can’t remember the name of it. It was one of the fashion oriented ones. I came across an article about a woman who did not start wearing makeup until her 50th birthday. Her story was similar to mine. Her mother didn’t wear makeup and she had no sisters so she never had the chance to play with it growing up, but unlike me, she apparently hadn’t ever experimented with it at all. But on her 50th birthday her niece sat her down and started applying makeup. She liked the result, started wearing makeup all the time, it changed her life, and yadda yadda yadda.

To be honest, that woman’s happy ending made me feel a little betrayed. As I mentioned a while back I rarely wear makeup. Not wearing makeup has always made me feel a little weird* and left out but rather than wanting to wear it to fit in I wish there were more women like me – straight, feminine women who don’t wear makeup. So here was a woman who was like me but then on her 50th birthday she joined the other side. That’s what it felt like to me. (*That’s something that annoys me about myself. I consider “weird” to be a good thing and something to aspire to and yet I don’t really have the courage to be weird or eccentric.)

As far as the haircut is concerned it was a momentous day. For the first time in over 15 years I got it cut exactly like I wanted. It’s really just a small difference from the way they usually cut it but it makes a big difference to me. For once I left the hairstylist happy, not annoyed and disappointed.

I have this new blouse I wanted to show off – my last summer sewing project this year. It’s a fitted style, which I sort of shy away from. For years I have felt that I needed to wear long loose tops to conceal the distressing fact that my top half is a size 14 and my bottom half is a size 16, but I occasionally do wear something more fitted and I found this cute pattern that I wanted to try so, overcoming considerable fear of disappointment, and fear that I was wasting a piece of fabric that I like a lot, I made it and when I tried it on and looked in the mirror I was surprised that it looks really nice. And I’ve been thinking that maybe trying to hide my shape under shapeless clothes isn’t the best strategy.

So instead of nagging someone to take a picture of me I decided to just try the self-timer, knowing that it would be be a terrible picture of me but at least I could show off the blouse (and my new haircut) and everyone knows self-timer pictures are terrible so it would be okay. It was worse than I expected. I looked hideous – really, really hideous. A couple of mistakes: I took it indoors and flash pictures are not flattering. Also I should have zoomed in because a camera’s wide angle setting will always make you look fatter.

But the thing I really noticed most, and maybe this was just because I had read that article the day before, was my face – a pale, uneven, pinkish blob with no eyelashes. Yeah, I’m over fifty, I’ve never been pretty and I’m certainly not now, but the face that looks back at me from the mirror is really, honestly not that bad. And after I had looked at the pictures and deleted them I went and looked at myself in the mirror again and still thought I didn’t look all that bad and I thought, “Why can’t I get that image in a photo?”

The experience got me to thinking about makeup again and I really didn’t want to think about it. Maybe I should be a makeup convert. But I really hate the stuff. Maybe just a little eye makeup. But I hate mascara worst of all. Once I found a very lightweight kind of mascara. (for those “special occasions” when I wear a little makeup) It wasn’t even called mascara, it was “lash darkener”. It was tolerable but I can’t find it anymore.

So anyway… maybe I’ll get a picture taken of me modeling the blouse, maybe not. I had a number of other garments I wanted to show off but never did, for the same reason. And the makeup thing? It’ll pass, I’m sure. I don’t like to take the time and I’m never happy with the result. In makeup I always look either “not different enough to bother” or “like a clown.” I don’t have a serious problem with the face in the mirror so why mess with it?

Smart T-Shirt

I saw this t-shirt (in the dead-tree catalog) and immediately thought, “I need that!” But then I realized that it would just confuse most people.

@#$&%! Link doesn’t work. here’s the URL: http://www.computergear.com/there-their-they-re-funny-tshirt.html

Occupation

I suppose I would be bragging if I said I thought of this idea years ago. (more like fantasized about it) Nice to see the rest of the world is finally catching up. Of course nothing will ever come of it because the protesters don’t really know what they want and haven’t done any thinking beyond, “Wall Street bad!” But still… sometimes just letting someone know that you’re pissed off has some value.

Random Linkage

Best blog post title of the week – Yeah, I know, it’s still early in the week but that was my first thought when I saw it early this morning and I’m still thinking it will turn out to be the best.

Captain Alcohol – Hmmmm… I can hardly wait for the movie.

Monster Brains – This blog has been on my list for a number of years but I just have to point out that it has several awesome, creepy, scary, disgusting paintings and illustrations in recent posts. Perfect for getting us in the mood for Halloween.

Strange new prank – Really stupid but relatively harmless.

Postive Posters – Depending on how you feel about such things, you might find some of these sayings trite (and I’m not a big fan of posters that tell people how to think myself) but many of the designs are interesting.

Apple support – Hah!

Cakes with teeth – Wow. It took some talent to create those.

Literary references on The Simpson’svia

I’m Baaaack

My PC had some kind of nervous breakdown yesterday morning. Fortunately, I have my own personal computer miracle worker and after he got home he fixed it in practically no time but instead of making up for lost time I spent the evening watching TV. And to be honest, I didn’t really miss the Internet all that much yesterday. I did a lot of reading, some sewing, and a little laundry. And playing with my smartphone.

It’s TV premiere season. Last night I watched two series premieres. Oh gosh, this is a little embarrassing. I watched the new Charlie’s Angels. (ABC) What can I say? I was curious. As I expected I did not like it at all. I quickly got bored and stopped paying attention. One thing – the original CA all had great hair. The new Angels all look like they just got out of bed after a rough night. But, you know… I see that a lot these days. I guess the disheveled look is supposed to be “fashionable”.

At 8 o’clock (central time) we watched another new show, Person of Interest. (CBS?) Pretty good so far; I think I might like this one. The “person of interest” in the show is this guy who is really good at killing people so of course he goes around killing bad guys. He works for this other guy who has some kind of device that uses all the security cameras and traffic cameras and such to see what’s happening and who might be in trouble or making trouble. Okay I know that’s a really lame description but it’s still early in the morning. Anyway, this one might be good.

After that we watched the two new episodes of The Big Bang Theory, which we had recorded earlier so we could waste our time watching Charlie’s Angels. It was, of course, hilarious! I love The Big Bang Theory. It’s the only sitcom I watch and might be the funniest one ever. And these two episodes were the funniest ever. Maybe. I often think that after watching The Big Bang Theory – that this was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen. So, those of you who saw it – how long do you think it will be before some company comes out with a for real long distance kissing system? I’m thinking they could probably do it right now but it would be too expensive for your average Internet pervert. Anyway, that was a really, really funny scene. And I loved, loved, loved the whole thing about the chair. That was awesomely funny.

Earlier this week was the season premiere of Castle. It was very good, of course, but I hope it doesn’t represent a completely new direction for the show. I don’t want it to be deadly serious every week. What I like about it is that it’s fun. Sure, it’s a police drama but it’s still supposed to be fun. I hope they will go back to being fun.

Some other shows will be ending soon, I think. Siffy – uh, I mean “SyFy” – has had three really good shows on Monday nights. Eureka is very silly and I never can decide whether I really like it or not but it’s just interesting enough that I get caught up in it. I’ve really been enjoying Warehouse 13 this season, and also the new show, Alphas.

Have you noticed that a number of former Star Trek actors have been in various shows recently? If you’re one of those people who loved to hate Wesley Crusher you would probably really like Wil Wheaton’s character in Eureka because he is quite hateable and he is so believable in that role. Kate Muligrew has a semi-regular part in Warehouse 13, looking very motherly, as Pete’s mother. A couple of weeks ago Brent Spiner was on Alphas. You know, he is just too good at playing the weird, creepy guy. I wish he was on stuff more often or was a regular in something. Finally, Michael Dorn was on Castle in what looks to be a recurring role as a psychiatrist.

Throwing Stuff Out – The Long Version

Number Two Son recently changed the curtains in his room. He still had the same curtains that were on the window when we moved in over 15 years ago. I had an extra set of curtains that I made for the same size window in another room and when I swapped those out I offered those to him if he would put them up himself. He took them and put them up and asked what I wanted him to do with the old curtains. I should have thrown them out because we don’t need them and probably would never use them again but I have a really hard time throwing out anything that is in any way, possibly usable, maybe someday – I’m not a hoarder; I do throw stuff away, it’s just sometimes really hard – so I told him to just put them in the dirty clothes hamper and I would wash them and put them away somewhere whenever I got around to it.

I got around to it today. They were simple rod-pocket curtains, plain, off-white, kind of ugly, some kind of silky fabric. It might have been actual silk or maybe rayon. There were no washing instructions. I have a front loading washer and I wash almost everything the same way: cold water, normal cycle and dry on either medium or low. It always works out fine. I tossed the curtains in with some other random white and light colored stuff, nothing important, a couple of t-shirts, some dish cloths. The dryer was already on low and it wasn’t much stuff so I just left it on that setting. Later I just took it all out of the dryer in one armful.

When I pulled out the lint filter to clean it – I’m really good about that by the way; every single load, always clean the lint filter – when I pulled it out to clean it there was a huge amount of white fluff. At first I just thought, “What the hell made that?” but then I thought of the curtains. They were the only thing in that load that I hadn’t washed at least dozens of times before. But they really didn’t seem like the kind of fabric that would make all that fluff so, still curious, I looked in the basket of unfolded laundry. All that was left of the curtains were strings held together by strings. (Everything else was fine, of course.)

I threw the mass of clean stringy stuff in the trash, thinking, “It would have been simpler to just do this in the first place.”

Being Picky

I think that because I can make my own clothes I have a harder time than most people accepting not being able to find exactly what I want when buying something I can’t make myself. I spent several years searching for the perfect pair of winter boots, then several more searching for a pair that were merely acceptable. All this time I went without boots. A couple of years ago I finally bought a pair that I thought would be okay – just plain, fleece lined, suede leather boots. No zipper or laces. I thought that would be a good thing. It isn’t. They’re easy enough to get on and off but I feel like I’m a little kid tromping around in my father’s boots. They are way, way too wide and deep but the length is just right so getting a smaller size would not have worked. And the tops are too small around so they scrunch down around my ankles. They’re not really uncomfortable and wearing very thick socks helps with the fit but walking in them still doesn’t feel natural. I suppose I should have returned them but they were the only boots I had found that were anything close to what I wanted so I felt that it was either those or spend another winter without any boots.

So now I am considering new boots again and I feel a little guilty about it because boots are expensive and I feel that I should live with my mistake. Actually the aforementioned weirdly sized boots were not expensive at all and perhaps that was the problem. (But seriously, who has feet shaped like that? Was the designer drunk?) But even looking at more expensive boots the choices don’t get much better. Oh, I’m sure they would fit better but there aren’t any plain, simple, warm boots. They’re all either weirdly styled fashion boots with all sorts of buckles and straps and tucks and wrinkles and tacky gew-gaws or they’re big ugly hunting boots.

I think I’ve finally narrowed it down to two choices. One is sort of a weird-looking style but not too bad and they’re lightweight and the reviews all say they’re comfortable, but they’re not waterproof. The others are more of a classic boot and they’re waterproof but I’m worried that they might be a little heavier than I like. If only I could design my own I could have the perfect boots. There was another pair I liked the looks of – a nice, simple style – and they’re waterproof but they’re “vegan”. I suppose some people will think I’m a bad person for not wanting vegan boots; I’m sorry but I trust genuine leather and I’m not going to stop eating cows so why shouldn’t I wear their hides?

Anyway, I have a few weeks before it starts getting really cold. The boot angst will continue until further notice.

Living in the ‘verse

Jaquandor of Byzantium’s Shores asks for reader questions a couple of times a year and this time I asked two science fiction questions. As soon as I submitted the second one I thought, “Hey! That would have been fun to discuss over here.” So I’ve been waiting patiently (okay a bit impatiently) for Jaquandor’s answers before I brought it up but now, I’ve just gotta do this.

The question was, “If you could live on any of the Firefly worlds for the rest of your life, which would you choose? Wikipedia has a list of Firefly planets and moons. Only a few of these were featured in Firefly’s tragically short run and a few others were mentioned. So there’s not much to go on for making the important decision of where one wants to spend the rest of one’s life. Good thing this is only a game.

I have to admit, Alliance or no, I like civilization. That is, I like living in a rural area but I want real civilization not too far away. For some reason I am attracted to Persephone. Maybe it’s the name. Or this poster, which I have hanging over my computer desk. The “heavily stratified societal structure” bothers me a bit though. Ariel does seem like it might be a nice place to live – museums, restaurants, a bioluminescent lake, excellent medical facilities. (only not boring like she made it sound) We don’t know much about Londinium but according to the Wikipedia list it is “inhabited primarily by colonists from the western continents of Earth-that-was” which interests me because that’s where I’m from (the western continents of Earth, that is) and its the location of Parliament which could be a good thing or a bad thing. So I don’t know… At my age I guess I’d better pick Ariel.

What about you, Firefly fans? Where in the ‘verse do you want to live?

Random Linkage

There’s an app for that – How to watch Monday Night Football without cable TV.

Doom manicure – Wow.

Lost ring found after forty years. – Seriously? What kind of idiot would go surfing wearing a Superbowl ring?

Sabotage Times – Looks interesting. Tag line: We can’t concentrate so why should you?

Strange ads for cleaning products – Hah! Some seem strange because they are old and things are different now. Others are just… strange.

Moscow Metro art

Loathsome Lovecraftian Lollipops – I love the sound of that, all those “L’s”. (via)

Reading

Last week I finished reading Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash. It’s not the sort of thing I usually go for but it was a lot of fun. It’s set in an alternate America in which there are no laws and the Federal government is relatively powerless – it merely exists, without any apparent purpose – and corporations, churches, neighborhoods and other organizations operate as separate nations. It’s tempting to try to find some kind of political statement in this, and perhaps there is one, but, in my opinion, the silliness of the name of the main character, Hiro Protagonist, should serve as a clue that none of this should be taken too seriously.

Hiro and friends are trying to chase down the person or persons responsible for Snow Crash, which is both a drug and a computer virus. Like other Stephenson novels that I have read, there’s so much going on in this book I almost forget that there is a story. It sometimes seems like just a lot of characters doing wild and crazy stuff, like riding skateboards in traffic and slicing each other up with swords in the “Metaverse” and working with the Mafia which, in this book, is as legal as any corporation. But it all does come together in the end and leaves the reader both satisfied and wanting more.

Snow Crash was originally published in 1992. This is apparent only by the curious lack of cell phones. At one point one of the characters has to look for a phone both. How times have changed in 20 years!

Quotes From Here and There

C’mon, live a little! You can’t always worry about the width of your hips…here

Section 1. The right of an American citizen to eat whatever he goddamn well pleases shall not be infringed.there

It’s always good for me to hear these … things I think are “all oboe” are so clearly not. Go figure!here

Nothing Better to Talk About?

I am really tired of hearing sports analysts pretending to be shocked by players’ tweets. I agree that everyone, not just celebrities, are responsible for what they post online and should keep in mind that everyone can read what they’re posting but pretending shock and outrage over tweets that are, at worst, breaches of etiquette is ridiculous. But it gets worse than that. Tedy Bruschi was seriously annoyed that Chad Johnson (I refuse to use his ridiculous new name) praised Tom Brady.

Well, okay, it is annoying to hear someone praising Brady but is it wrong for a player to say something nice about a team mate? What is acceptable for players to tweet, in Mr. Bruschi’s opinion? What they have for breakfast maybe? Oh, I’m sure there would be analysts who would have a problem with that too if they couldn’t find anything else to complain about. I think maybe what it’s really all about is just showing off – “Hey, look at us! We’re cool; we’re hip. We read Twitter.”

I Miss Oprah

I’ve never actually watched the Oprah Winfrey Show – I’m simply not interested – but it used to come on right before the local news so when I would turn on the TV to watch the news I would often catch the last half minute or so of Oprah. That was fine. It didn’t offend me or gross me out or anything and Oprah herself has always seemed like a pleasant enough person.

But now Dr. Phil comes on right before the news. I turned it on the other day and he was talking about little kids throwing temper tantrums in public and he was saying something about how you should let them know you’re listening, like, “I hear you and I understand that you want a candy bar,” and that will stop the tantrum. You know, that might work. For about five seconds but as soon he (or she, and that’s the last time I’m going to say that) figures out you’re not going to give him what he wants the screaming and tears will start again, even more intense than ever because you fooled him! You made him think you were giving in and then you said no, again!

I don’t know if Dr. Phil has any kids or not but I can tell from that little segment that I know more about kids than he does. I have two adult sons who are both employed, are pleasant to hang out with and, possibly most important, they no longer throw temper tantrums when they don’t get their way. So here’s what you need to know about kids.

Little kids will throw temper tantrums when they don’t get what they want. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad parent no matter what people say or how many dirty looks you get. There’s nothing (in the short term) that you can do to stop it. You just have to live with it for a few years. If your child is still throwing temper tantrums at 7 or 8 that likely does mean you’re a bad parent. By that age he should be in the whining and pouting phase, which will last until he gets a job and starts buying his own stuff and perhaps a few years after that. The important thing to remember is that if you reward bad behavior the bad behavior will continue. Never buy a child something just to shut him up. If you do you are teaching him that tantrums work. Just endure the tantrum and ignore the dirty looks. (and Dr. Phil) This is what you signed on for when you decided to become a parent.

Yesterday I waited until about a minute after 5:00 to turn on the TV. Better to miss that first minute of the news when they’re just telling you what’s going to be on the news tonight than to see even five seconds of Dr. Phil. But (shock! horror!) Dr. Phil was on the local news! I don’t know why; I don’t know what he was talking about. My brain just froze into a “AAAARRGGGHHHH! It’s Dr. Phil” state and I didn’t even hear what he was saying.

So maybe I should wait until about 5:15 to turn on the TV. I’m really only interested in the weather anyway.

Ready For Some Football

I am ready for football this year. Compared to some people, I’m not a huge football fan but I do enjoy watching it. I like the rhythm of the game. I can’t explain that and it would probably be pointless to try. Either you understand or you don’t. The people interest me too – individual players and coaches. It’s tempting to talk about certain players of the past but we have moved on. That’s hard for me. I get attached both to people and to “the way things are” and don’t want things to change.

It looks like there might be some more moving on to do in the near future. Peyton Manning has had what some “experts” are saying could be a career ending surgery. That makes me sad, but then I realize that he’s in his mid 30’s and probably wouldn’t have more than two or three good years as a player anyway. That’s still sad but that’s the nature of the game. After he’s retired, whenever that is, I don’t think I will care much about the Colts one way or the other.

Thursday night’s season opener was between my two favorite teams, the Packers and the Saints, so I wouldn’t have been really disappointed no matter which team won. Football is more fun when I care who wins but this was a great game. Sunday I just watched off and on and didn’t really get into any of the games. We had other stuff going on. Tonight, Monday Night Football. [sigh] I do like football but I have my limits. One or two days a week is enough for me.

Saturday evening we watched the Arkansas Razorbacks beat New Mexico. That was fun. Arkansas is the only college team we pay attention to. We don’t get to see their games very often, maybe once or twice a year and the games we get to watch are usually the ones they lose so it was really fun to see them win big.

Ten Years

I don’t have anything to say regarding tomorrow’s sad anniversary that I haven’t said in years past. Oh, I’ll probably think of something on Monday. But for now I just want to mention that every year I find a personal story that I hadn’t read before. Everyone has their own story of that day. Some people tell their stories again every year, and every year a few more people tell their stories publicly for the first time. Millions of stories, so it’s not surprising that I find new ones every year. Here’s a unique one. On 9-11-01 there was one American who was not on planet Earth. Frank Culberston was on the International Space Station with two Russian cosmonauts.

Here’s one more item of interest: NFL players may be fined for wearing “unauthorized” 9-11 tribute gear. (shoes and gloves)