April 01, 2004
One of the things I like about my gym is that they subscribe to a zillion magazines, the frivolous stuff that I feel guilty buying while I'm waiting in line at the supermarket. So I get my dose of Lucky/Jane/Glamour/InStyle while listening to my music and oh yeah, I'm burning calories too. Lady Crumpet has not yet taken to the elliptical or stairstepper, but the rowing machine could be next. She needs to strengthen the biceps so she can pour tea more gracefully. Or be able to row a boat while reciting bawdy limericks to Colin Firth. You did know our luscious Mr. Darcy provided that bit of poetry Hugh Grant's Daniel Cleaver tells Bridget, right? And, yes, nice boys really do kiss like that!
So anyway, I read about a band called On!Air!Library! whose new eponymous album drops April 6. It was a snippet of a review but it sounds interesting. Following the music link, you can eventually get to a retailer, Insound, who offers sample mp3 links so you can check out some of the songs. I like "Feb." so far.
Mighty Girl was among the earliest blogs that I found when I got started. Now she's out to make a killing with her t-shirts. I want one, but I don't know if I have the nerve to wear it in public.
April 04, 2004
Once More Unto the Gym
Have fallen off the wagon. Only went twice this week.
In the meantime, have consumed squillions of calories, many of them alcholic, chased with Krispy Kreme. Have not yet determined the proper ratio of drinks/pool-playing skills. But I can pull together a mean list of tunes from the jukebox - was not the Charlie Brown "Christmas Time is Here" inspired?
Um, ok, maybe that's just me.
My chariot...er, treadmill, awaits. Maybe the rowing machine, if no one's around to laugh.
April 05, 2004
On Eating Two Chocolate Croissants in One Sitting
I had a good weekend, really I did. LTR spills a little more bean than I have about our recreational activities.
Have been feeling dull, so the postings have been trivial and I-centered of late. I did promise to be more substantive, to look outwardly - only to falter and come up with self-absorbed twaddle. And here I am, writing about me me me all over again.
I'm doing things - going to cooking demos, the gym, the library, the movies, out with friends. Should be doing more around the house, should start reading my next book group selection, should be eating in more often, should be starting my taxes. All these shoulds, and they're seeping into my subconscious, like this morning, when I dreamed about work.
These are only the lesser things. I'm frustrated by situations I can't fix, things that are beyond my control. Broken hearts. Unhappy relationships. Illness. Shitty jobs. Bad breaks for no other reason than life can be horribly unfair. And this is just among friends and family, never mind what I read in the paper that makes me wonder how there can be so much evil and stupidity in this world.
The easy response is to not deal, to just lose oneself in the trivial and the ephemera, to treat everything like a cosmic joke because it hurts too much to care.
Colin & Kylie: Bond & Bond Girl?
Two items of note from today's IMDB studio briefing:
Colin Firth Spies Bond Role
Love Actually hunk Colin Firth has emerged as the British public's first choice to take over from Pierce Brosnan as super spy James Bond. The 43-year-old actor, who wowed the ladies as sexy Jane Austen hero Mr. Darcy in Pride And Prejudice, piped hot tip Clive Owen to the top spot in a poll by video chain Choices Video. American Psycho star Christian Bale came in third, whilst British movie hunks Jude Law and Sean Bean were fourth and fifth respectively. Eon, the production company responsible for the James Bond franchise, have yet to announce who will play the next 007, leading to speculation that Pierce will be replaced.
Minogue To Woo Bond?
Pop star Kylie Minogue has emerged as the favorite to star opposite James Bond in the new 007 movie. The sexy singer is reportedly eager to launch a career on the big screen and insiders insist she's the number one choice for the traditionally sexy Bond girl role. A source says, "It's just a matter of whether she'll play the 'good' Bond girl or the 'evil' Bond girl." A spokesman for the Slow singer says no deal has been signed yet, but adds, "She is continually being sent film scripts." Yesterday current James Bond Pierce Brosnan revealed producers were still in "paralysis" over plans for the superspy's 21st outing on the big screen, and admitted he's unsure whether he'll be cast in the film.
How to Bungle a Reference Question
So I take a call to our general line, because the one official librarian in the office today is already on the phone. It's one of the secretaries, who needs a copy of a state statute emailed to her and the attorney who needs it. She has a thick-as-molasses Southern accent, so I hear "HOSS-spittle Aw-THARH-oh-tee Lahr." When I ask her to confirm the name of the statute I just can't make out that last word, so I ask her to spell it. Turns out she wants the Hospital Authority Law.
Naturally she has no confidence that I'll be able to find this, so after successfully going into West's eLibraries and emailing the document to her, I find her here in the library looking at the statute in the book. She wants the whole article, not just the first section that I found, fair enough. To salvage the situation, I tell her I will check with the librarian, who's now off the phone, and he sends it to her.
This should not have been that hard. But because I was tentative - because I didn't want to offend her because I couldn't understand her, she must think I'm an idiot, and this will color our future dealings. Yeehaw.
April 07, 2004
Confessions of a Bag Lady
I read about a blogger who discovered that the wash-care label in his new bag had some extra text in French: NOUS SOMMES DESOLES QUE NOTRE PRESIDENT SOIT UN IDIOT. NOUS N'AVONS PAS VOTE POUR LUI. The translation: We are sorry that our President is an idiot. We didn't vote for him. I think the poor guy got too many hits, because his site is no longer up at the moment.
The maker of the bag, Tom Bihn, cheekily noted the following in the news portion of its website:
...Apparently, the message began as an inside joke among seamstresses and staff at the Tom Bihn factory, intended to poke fun at company's founder and president, Tom Bihn, who recently incorporated the company and was elected its president.
Tom Bihn, the President of TOM BIHN INC., has issued the following statement:
"I am terribly sorry that this inside joke has been misconstrued to be a slur on any other president. The joke is on me, and I think it's funny."
My bag wardrobe is more extensive than my shoe wardrobe, so naturally I had to check out their stuff. And...I gave in. I'm hoping that my medium Cafe bag in eggplant/periwinkle with the off-center buckle (and that label!) arrives before my trip to Chicago next week.
April 08, 2004
Storage, Storage Everywhere
I had heard that Google was going to offer email with 1 gig (1000 MB) of storage, and I was pretty excited. Would this finally allow me to consolidate most of my sundry accounts with 2 megs here, 6 megs there, 8 megs over there and there?
People are going ballistic with privacy concerns about Gmail's ads, which would be subjectively related to the text in each email - similar to the way text ads appear when you run a search in Google.
Email contents and usage. The contents of your Gmail account also are stored and maintained on Google servers in order to provide the service. Google's computers process the information in your email for various purposes, including formatting and displaying the information to you, delivering targeted related information (such as advertisements and related links), preventing unsolicited bulk email (spam), backing up your email, and other purposes relating to offering you Gmail. Residual copies of email may remain on our systems, even after you have deleted them from your mailbox or after the termination of your account. Google employees do not access the content of any mailboxes unless you specifically request them to do so (for example, if you are having technical difficulties accessing your account) or if required by law, to maintain our system, or to protect Google or the public. (My emphasis)Damn. I know there are trade-offs one makes, especially for something that's free, but this is a deal-breaker for me. The scary thought is whether my other accounts also have language like this buried somewhere in their policies. And scarier: what ghosts of emails past lurk in the deep and not so deep seas of unknown servers?
Librarian humor, courtesy of The Onion:
Yahoo Launches Soul-Search Engine "The new search function is even customizable. Users can set their search to plumb their souls at varying depths, to make shallow discoveries or life-changing ones. They can also adjust their security preferences to protect themselves from the dangers of baring their naked souls to the world, and parental controls can be enabled in order to prevent children from looking inside themselves."
Legal humor, courtesy of USDC, Southern District of Texas:
Oral Argument: The duel of the tongue vibrators This is a patent infringement case that goes to trial in September. "[Judge Gilmore's] courtroom will see a titanic battle this fall to determine just who owns the patent for designing a small vibrator that attaches to the tongue, presumably to facilitate the kind of activities that might still get you arrested in certain Southern states." The lawyers involved are passionate about the case; two of them got into fisticuffs during a deposition last month in San Francisco, prompting the appearance of an "army of officers." [Houston Press via ObscureStore]
April 11, 2004
Judy Blume, OMG!
Karen Glass, a senior executive with Disney's Buena Vista Motion Pictures, was working on the 2002 film adaptation of "Tuck Everlasting" when the movie's producer, Jane Startz, mentioned that she shared office space with the author Judy Blume.If, as a teenager, you'd ever read Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret, Deenie, Blubber, Forever, Tiger Eyes or any of her other books, you'd go OMG OMG OMG too.
"I said, `Shut up!' " Ms. Glass recalled in an exclamatory cadence more familiar among adolescent girls than women in their 40's like Ms. Glass. " `You do not! Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God!' So I went to Nina, my boss, and said, `Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God!' " ["Judy Blume, Girls' Friend, Makes a Move to the Movies" - Julie Salamon, NYT, 4/8/04]
@#$%&*! Taxes: A Lesson in Usability
TurboTax is a really useful tool, and does much to preserve one's sanity. But it seems unreasonable that the state disc requires you to purchase additional codes if you have to prepare returns for multiple states. Although I shouldn't complain; my sister let me use her discs. (I know, I know, bad Lady C.)
Doing Georgia taxes by hand has been more harrowing than necessary, because the official instructions and the form itself are so ill written. The 500 tax form is for use by full-time, part-time or non-residents of the state. Is it made clear which line items are applicable for full-time residents and which should be skipped by part-time or nonresidents? Ha!
Part-time and nonresidents are supposed to complete Schedule 3, which helps them to determine the amount of taxable Georgia income. There is a reference to this schedule under the general information section of the tax booklet. But on the form itself, there are no instructions or visual cues (i.e., shading or divider lines) to indicate who should complete lines 9-14 (full-time residents) and who should go straight to line 15 (part-time/nonresidents). It's only when you get to line 15 that there's a vague parenthetical reference to the schedule.
There's not a lot of space on the form for additional information, which is why clear instructions about Schedule 3 should have been included in the line-by-line form instructions. Moreover, when I go to the booklet's instruction page about this schedule, there is nothing that tells which lines to skip on the tax form. Just as I'm about to blow a gasket, I see "DO NOT USE LINES 9 THROUGH 14 - PAGES 1 AND 2 FORM 500" - on an example copy of the schedule itself.
WTF? Was this helpful, essential bit of information not important enough to mention anywhere else in the instructions? Once I realized this, finishing the form was mind-numbingly easy, allowing me this time to rant and rave about shitty, needlessly stress-inducing form design.
April 12, 2004
Henry G. Rogers, II (1949-2004)
Jenica's dad passed away suddenly. She wrote a beautiful, moving tribute to read at the funeral last week.
Thanks for sharing, J. Even to a stranger, your dad was a wonderful guy.
April 13, 2004
Off to Bedfordshire
I only have to get up in a few hours to catch a train to catch a plane to catch another train. I'm only gonna be gone a couple of days, and yet it took me forever to pack my carryon. Doubtless I'll still forget something. Oh well.
When I was in second grade I made sure that my school supplies were all carefully arranged in the StrideRite shoebox I used for storage in my classroom desk. Whenever we had a fire drill, I'd tuck the box under my arm and line up in size order with the other students to leave the building. So in case I had to escape a blazing inferno, my beloved pens, no. 2 pencils, erasers, Elmer's glue and other mundane trinkets were easily transportable.
Fastforward to today, and I am still trying to be prepared for every possible contingency, like Calvin packing a map of Montana into his backpack just to play in the yard with Hobbes. Do I have enough music? Is one book enough? What if I'm stranded in the airport coming and going? Because you never know when you're going to need something.
April 15, 2004
I haven't slept well all this week, so why start now?
Airport Woes. An early morning flight after a major holiday, during the spring break season, in addition to regular business travelers, is a nightmare. AirTran's checkin line was horrendous. Fortunately the line for their kiosks was shorter - but you still had to get into another line to check your bag.
The security line, however, was a shock. It went past the ropes, through the atrium, all the way back to the rental car/baggage claim area. If you've ever been to Atlanta's Hartsfield Airport, you might realize just how utterly fucked you are when your flight is leaving in less than an hour. Once you get through security, you have to take a train to get to your terminal, then you have to race up crowded escalators, run down the corridor to your gate. Only to find out the flight is closed and the plane that is in plain sight might as well have left. I nearly threw up from the stress, but we were placed on the next flight, undoubtedly taking the seats of people who were still going through security.
Naturally, our checked bag went missing. It should have been on the flight we missed, but we didn't get it until it was delivered at 12:25 pm the next day. The man we first dealt with was incredibly helpful and conscientious, but the rest of AirTran's Chicago baggage office at Midway can go to hell. Their lack of followup and mixed messages did much to aggravate the situation.
The Visit. We weren't really in Chicago so much as the suburbs to see Scott's mom. Sadly, it seemed much of our visit involved waiting for the suitcase while watching episodes of Deep Space 9 or reading the Trib and ranting about current events. But we still had a great time hanging out with her. We had a great Italian dinner, capping it off with a chocolate layer cake that used cannoli filling between the layers. If churches used this instead of communion wafers I would so become a Christian. (Ok, just kidding.)
Cubs Fans. On the 9:20 train to the city, we ended up sitting with a full complement of baseball fans. They were lively, especially after starting in on their cases of beer. They sassed a couple of White Sox fans who were passing through to the next car. But they were nice, offering to share their beer with us. We demurred, saying it was a bit early, prompting one girl to shout "That's what I said until I started drinking!" They also had blackberry brandy and Jagermeister, but again it seemed a bit much so soon in the day.
Phone calls. In the last few days, I got hysterical calls from each of my sisters. Our family dog has just been diagnosed with advanced liver cancer. He's too old for surgery and even medicine at this point would do more harm than good. I drove straight up from the airport to come visit. Today was a good day for him. He was alert, and willing to get up several times to pee (which is all he can do) and drink more water. But he's so skinny and frail, and he has a constant shiver - I don't know if he's cold or if his body is just losing control. It would be kindest to let him go before he suffers any more, but nobody else wants to admit it yet.
I know they have to be ready to admit it, but it pisses me off that they are thinking more about themselves than about what's best for the dog.
April 16, 2004
Very Good Chocolate Cake
On the infamous fried chicken night at Watershed, Scott and I also went for the Very Good Chocolate Cake. Perhaps I'll try my hand at the recipe at some point. Although having read Mary's experience, it looks like I need a whole afternoon, some serious equipment, and a conspirator for when things go wrong.
I'm gonna rouge my knees And roll my stockings down
Joining in on a meme I found via Jenica:
1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 23.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
"That war was not won, for the upheaval that came proved not social but technoartistic, and no one had the weapons with which to contain it - we still don't today, in fact, when upheaval is not technoartistic but social."
[From That Jazz! An Idiosyncratic Social History of the American Twenties by Ethan Mordden]
April 17, 2004
For some reason, I am particularly curious about the origins of this meme. I only found out about it yesterday, but it seems to have spread for at least a week. I wanted to see if I could find out who started this, but it's not as easy as I thought. Not everyone mentions their source, and those who do eventually lead back to some of the same sources. I've yet to find someone who claims to be the originator. Allan at chem defender was curious enough to draw up a diagram.
Anyway, here's my memetrack:
[*Added per Nat's comment, thanks!]
Heyyyy Youuuu Guyyyyyyys!
The Electric Company Digital Archive MP3s and video clips, available for downloading. Sweet!
April 19, 2004
At times, in films there are such singular moments, such memorable lines, that invoking a line of dialogue is enough to capture the essence of a film. Such as:
"Nobody puts Baby in a corner!" (Dirty Dancing)
"You had me at 'Hello.'" (Jerry Maguire)
"You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you." (C'mon, do I need to tell you this? Ok, Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice.)
It seems that more often than not, such lines may be distinct because they are so over the top (the first two examples I have given tend towards that direction). Much to my chagrin, a member of my household (who shall go nameless) finds great amusement in reciting such cheesy lines because I cannot help but roll my eyes and cringe. So it is with dubious pleasure that I bring to your attention the following.
Khaaan! (Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan)
YTMND! (Finding Forrester)
[via MeFi, whose comment thread is hilarious.]
Our duplex has new owners. Instead of agents coming around with prospective buyers, now our landlords have contractors working on
our their house. One of my neighbors was asleep when the men began work at 8 am, talking loudly and using their tools to do loud noisy things to the window by his bed.
Contractor 1: Ah say, she proDUCE! She only twenny-FI'E and she a'ready got SIX of 'em. Ah think she proDUCE ev'ry tahm she lay down!"
C2, C3: Cackle, cackle, cackle.
Later, upon recounting the story to me and Madcap Shoelace...
J: I know, right? I was, like, this cannot be happening.
[Shamelessly ripped and mixed from J's original post.]
Call Me E-Mail: The Novel Unfolds Digitally - [Adam Baer, Technology, Circuits, NYT, 4/15/04] "A former English professor who teaches executives how to write, [Eric] Brown, 59, calls "Intimacies" a digital epistolary novel, or DEN, terms that he has trademarked. The plot of "Intimacies" is based on "Pamela," the 18th-century work by Samuel Richardson that is one of Western literature's first epistolary novels." Additionally, Brown plans to market the writing software that he used so other people can write their own DENs.
The story can be read at greatamericannovel. Click on the link marked DEN, then select "Intimacies."
April 20, 2004
My minor search into the origins of the Page 23, Sentence 5 meme doesn't hold a candle to the efforts of LaughingMeme. Check out page 23, sentence 5: an autopsy. Ultimately there seems to have been a crossover somewhere from the LJ (LiveJournal) community over to the general blogosphere. Good work.
What are your colors, dear?
PANTONE birthday colors: When colors and astrology collide. Apparently you have both month and birthday colors, which may or may not be the same. I am a Chili Pepper ("Intense Passionate Transforming")/Lavender Violet ("Imaginative Builder Visionary"). There are also descriptions:
The color for the month of November is Chili Pepper. Intense and passionate, this color signifies depth and strength. People born during this month can see beyond the mundane and into the hearts of others. A little goes a long way with this powerful color. It is best to wear or work with Chili Pepper in combination with other colors that help integrate the qualities of perception with a more light-hearted detachment. Chili Pepper helps you stay inspired as you build your dreams and ambitions. You can use this color when you want to increase your perception, persistence and drive.
[Lavender Violet] You are capable of making magic. Your intuitive insights coupled with your ability to manifest your ambitions are some of your greatest assets both to yourself and others. Try not to juggle too much or be pulled toward indecision. It is best to create and take action. Wearing or surrounding yourself with Lavender Violet can help increase your confidence while reminding you to build your dreams one step at a time.
April 21, 2004
National Library Week
To drum up awareness, we've set out a book donation box for a local elementary school, the Librarian Action Figure, and a entry box for our Lunch With a Librarian contest. The winner gets a free lunch with the librarian of his or her choice. Not many entries so far, though. Would there be more if it was just a free lunch without the librarian? Another contest we're having is "guess how many candies are in the jar" and the winner gets the whole jar (and a monster sugar rush).
April 27, 2004
Home, Sweet Library
"Yes, Some Students Live in the Library (But Not Like This)" [Karen W. Arenson, NYT, 4/27/04] An NYU student, paying his own way through scholarship and jobs, didn't get the funding he needed for housing. So he spent 8 months sleeping in the 24-hour accessible basement of NYU's Bobst Library (heretofore known as a popular place for flinging oneself off one of the atrium floors). At some point, he began to write about it. On the web. Says the student: "I knew it would be interesting to the N.Y.U. community.... I just didn't know anyone else would care."
Well now that it's been covered in the NYT, he's ruined the gig for everyone else who wanted to have a go at living on the cheap at the library.
Hello, Little Man
We have another nephew, Nicholas. He was born early Saturday morning (4/24), good sized - some 8 lbs, 6(?) oz. If I were a better auntie I'd know these things. But I couldn't resist buying the kid a wee t-shirt. He's going to have tons of hand-me-downs, so I thought he should have at least one shirt of his own.
He also has two middle names, named after his two uncles. I guess Genghis Khan, which was our other nephew's suggestion, didn't make the final cut.
"The Case of the Disappearing Article"
Most interesting commentary by Tony Greiner in Library Journal about an article, "Selling the War Badly," published by Time for its March 2, 1998 issue. The article, about the public's reaction to Clinton's ordering air strikes against Iraq, also had a sidebar by George Bush, Sr. and Brent Scowcroft called "Why We Didn't Remove Saddam."
Greiner's article explains that this 1998 story was available on Time's website until the spring of 2003, just before W. ordered the attack on Baghdad. He credits The Memory Hole with the discovery and for posting a scanned copy of the article. Greiner then goes on to search various databases and attempts to contact Time, EBSCO, Bush Sr. and Scowcroft for their comments.
Free Cone Day
Ben & Jerry's is offering thanks to its customers and promoting new voter registration by offering free ice cream at select locations. Here in Georgia, the only participating shop in Atlanta is the location on N. Highland. It's only until 8 tonight, so have at it.
Don't know as I'll get to stuff my face with ice cream, 'cause I'll be stuffing my face elsewhere with my book group to discuss Steinbeck's East of Eden. Am I finished with the book? Hahahahaha.
Out of curiosity, I checked out Oprah's Book Club to see what they had to offer about the novel. I was surprised to find (though I shouldn't be) that it's nicely done. There are chapter summaries, discussion questions, background on Steinbeck, family trees for the characters. There's even a Q&A section with featured questions that people have about aspects of the novel.
April 28, 2004
Out of Time
You know it's pretty bad when even the parasites have no interest in you as a host.
My sisters are going to take our dog to the vet tomorrow. I won't be able to go with them, so I'm going up tonight to see him.
I know where this fits in the grand scheme of things. But he's been our little guy since I was 15. So he's had a long, pampered life.
I knew this was coming, but damn it!
April 29, 2004
1. My dog taking a nap in my lap, snoring like the old man that he is. It's good that he's snoring, because that means we know he's breathing despite the fluid in his lungs. My sisters and I had hoped that one day he just wouldn't wake up. But he has to be helped along.
2. On my way to the train this morning, a blue/gray/charcoal-colored cat, with pale green eyes, is hanging out in the parking lot. I call to it, thinking it won't come to me, but it does. It rubs itself against my legs and I give it a few friendly strokes, but I have to make my train. There's cat hair all over my black-trousered shins. I'm going to keep an eye out for it this afternoon. 'Cause I need more little heartaches right now.
3. Waiting for my connecting train, I see yet again a certain guy. Every time I see him, this is how he's been dressed: tan-colored tweed blazer, with dark blue jeans that are almost too long, and tan suede shoes. His dark brown hair is stylishly mussed; he looks like a hipster cockatiel. He never carries a work bag - if he did it would probably be messenger-style, maybe one by Jack Spade. He looks pulled together, in a Salvation Army vintage kind of way.
A pair of peregrine falcons, Frederick and Gracie, are nesting on one of the balconies in my office building. They have three chicks, although it looks like there's nothing to see from the webcam at this moment.
A small, blue-gray room. It's stuffy, overwarm. The single decoration on the far wall is a cross-stitch of a dog opening its gaping, oversized jaws and sticking out its tongue for the doctor.
Five hands - three sisters, the veterinarian, the assistant - hold or caress the tiny, lifeless body of the old miniature dachshund lying on a pale blue formica table.
One hand slips the stethoscope under the green cotton infant-sized t-shirt. "It's over," says the kindly voice. There are mumbled thank-yous and then we are left alone, three grown women and their dog.