Saturday, February 28, 2009

Interview Me

A few weeks ago, Melissa/Green Girl in Wisconsin posted an interesting challenge. Basically, let yourself be interviewed by someone via five questions and then post your answers on your blog. Excited to see a meme where I don't have to answer the number of times I've been skinny dipping or what color my favorite socks are, I told her I was game. Little did I know how tough it would be...

Here are the rules:

1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions. (If you don't have one, you can send me your answers and I'll post them here.)
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Here goes nothin':

1. What childhood personality trait did you outgrow or give up since becoming an adult? Was there a reason for doing so?

I was painfully, painfully shy as a child. I still am extremely shy around most people at first - I've maybe gotten it down to one "painfully." So, I wouldn't say I've outgrown it completely, but am more conscious of it. I don't know if it's a trust issue with me or what - because I'm much more outgoing with people once I've gotten to know them. But it takes me a long time.

One of the many reasons to give up that trait (besides the obvious) is I've had people tell me that when they first met me they thought I was mean or a bitch. And while I certainly can be those things at times, I am not inherently either and would never want anyone feel that way.

2. Describe 3 daily rituals that you never miss taking part in.

One: Sadly, checking the internet is probably the biggest one. So much of my life is completely dependent upon it that it's ridiculous. I am not a tech junkie, but I am an information junkie and if I have a problem or question I like to find the answer myself. Now, because of the internet, if I have a question it is answered for me almost immediately. And when that can't happen, I come completely undone. Like I said. Very sad.

Two: NPR. It was always on in our house growing up and it used to bore me senseless. Now I can't live without it and can barely stand televised news.

Three: I have this weird OCD thing I do where I rub my feet together as I'm trying to go to sleep and when I'm waking up. I know. Too much sharing. There's a line in the movie High Fidelity where John Cusack's character lists the little things about his girlfriend that he finds charming or irresistible and one of them is when she's trying to fall asleep she rubs her feet together in even numbers. When I heard that I'm pretty sure I gasped aloud in the theater. "OMG! Someone - even if she's fictional - is as weird as I am! How great is that!"

Anyway... moving on...

3. Have you become the person you thought you’d grow up to become? What part of adulthood is markedly different from what you believed when you were young?

The easy answer to the first part of that questions is "not really." As a child I was always very serious and mature for my age and frequently told that I was born a 30-year-old, or was 3 going on 30, or 13 going on 30, etc. and I think I just always had it in my head that when I got to my 30s I would have it all figured out, finally be the person I was supposed to be and stop feeling like an alien. So I lived it up in my 20s (well, for me anyway) and just waited for it to all fall into place. Not surprisingly, it has been quite the opposite of that and, I have to say, it has not been my finest decade. By a long shot. I have high hopes for 40 though. Hope. Not expectations. Hope. But we'll see. I'm going to keep an eye on Jennifer Aniston and see how she handles it (ha!).

As for the second part of this question... the biggest difference in adulthood is that it is so much more work than I thought it would be. It's just a never ending list of crap to do. All of these balls in the air that you have to keep going with time and money and there is never enough. And I don't even have kids. I think about my friends who have kids - and even the ones where there are two parents in the house - and I think "how?" How is this possible that you are my age - or usually even younger - and you are able to juggle all of this and I'm just impressed when I get my water bill paid on time and there's more than Diet Coke in my refrigerator. I also look pretty young for my age and have been realizing lately that when people find out how old I am the shock is no longer just because of how young I look - it's because I should be waaay more together than I am. Anyway... like I said... high hopes for 40...

4. Given no limitations, what would be your ultimate vacation?

I would buy a plane ticket to Istanbul with a return flight from London one month later and no other reservations or plans made in between. Well, except for a reservation when I first arrived in Turkey. Somewhere on the beach to sleep off my jet lag. I would spend a couple of days in the Grand Bazaar, then stop at a UPS store to ship back everything I bought, and then with whatever amount of money I happened to have left I would just wander in a general northeasterly direction.

I took a two-week trip to Europe by myself once with what I thought was a fairly flexible schedule only to find out exactly what a Type A Control Freak of an American I really was. And Europe - at least the parts I was in - will beat that out of you pretty quickly. I did an OK job learning to "go with the flow" but I know that my trip could have been a lot more interesting if I'd stopped trying to force an agenda on myself. So, my ideal trip would be to try it again, but give myself a longer amount of time.

5. Write your first sentence/paragraph for NPR’s “This I believe.”

This is a good one. I love listening to these on NPR and have wondered what I would write if I ever did one. I usually don't get much past singing that REM song, "I Believe," in my head though: I believe in coyotes and time as an abstract / explain the change and difference between / what you want and what you need / there's a key...

But, Green Girl didn't ask for 80's indie rock lyrics.

I've always assumed that the "I believe" was the same as "how I live my life" and in answering this question I realize it isn't necessarily that at all. For me the "I believe" is a goal. And what I believe in is acceptance. Acceptance of others and of situations. Instead of letting people or situations that aren't who or what I think they should be completely incapacitate me, I believe I should accept them as they are and then try to move on from there. I'm not saying that I believe we should accept things that are bad or dysfunctional. Not at all. I'm saying I've finally come to see that my biggest problems in life come from trying to force everyone and everything into whatever preconceived idea I had. I never fix the relationship with the person that's bugging me or fix a disappointing situation because I can't accept that it isn't what I want it to be to begin with. It's terribly unproductive. And I'm probably not making any sense. Here's the best way I can explain it: Mock me if you like, but there's an episode of Sex and the City (where Carrie needs money and has to take the side job at Vogue) and at the end she says that instead of dwelling on the bad and wasting time wishing for things to be what they're not,

"maybe the best any of us can do is play the hand we're dealt
and just accessorize the outfit we've got."

I find myself repeating that to myself sometimes "accessorize the outfit you've got, accessorize the outfit you've got..." Funny words coming from a girl who rarely even wears earrings. But it helps. And that's what I'm (trying) to believe.

Sooo.... anyone else game?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Week in Review / Top Five: The Sleepy Edition

No Rest for the Wicked: Having a bout of insomnia this week. Maybe it's because of the economy. Maybe it's because I finally started the refinancing on my house - because in addition to worrying about things when they are going poorly, I also worry about things when they are going well. I don't know. Last night I fell asleep on the couch sometime during ER with the light on and the dog door open in the mud room. I woke up at 2:00 am completely freaked out because I couldn't figure out at first what time it was, a bad storm was coming so it was all lightning and thundery outside (which scares the beejeezus out of me on a good day), there was an infomercial playing on TV with that guy who shouts, and one of my dogs was out in the yard barking at the thunder. Outstanding. I was so rattled that I didn't go back to sleep until 4:00.


Lenten Update: The insomnia has left me some time to sort out the bin of photos. They are now in chronologically-ordered stacks. Progress. The plastic thing is going OK. The good news is that two good friends / coworkers have decided to join me in the no-plastic pledge. AND at the Ash Wednesday service I picked up a nifty little mite box from Episcopal Relief and Development to collect money during Lent. So I brought one back to work and put it in my office so that way if we do end up using a plastic container, we put money in the box.

After-work mixer at web designer's office + plastic cup of beer = two quarters in the mite box

Just how dumb do they think I am?: I mentioned in my last recap/top five list that I recently aced an Oscar dress quiz on People magazine's website. Well, I also aced a follow-up quiz this week about the jewelry worn by Sunday's Oscar attendees. But wait. Before you get all impressed with my useless knowledge, let me show you just how easy this quiz was. Test takers were shown an image of a torso featuring the jewelry in question but not showing the celebrity's face. Then you were given several names to choose from. If you even half paid attention to the Oscar's you could have gotten most of them right by identifying the dresses in the pictures. But no...

This was one of the photos:

The first option on the multiple choice:


No, I'm not kidding. I'll admit that this photo was the most challenging in the quiz. It's Madonna. She wasn't nominated, didn't present and I don't really even remember seeing her on any of the pre-shows, but the biceps would have helped to narrow it down even if I hadn't been given Queen Frickin Latifah to help me cull the field. Now, I know that People Magazine isn't exactly the New Yorker of weekly celebrity-centric magazines. Hell, it isn't even the Entertainment Weekly of weekly celebrity-centric magazines. But really. I think they might be underestimating their readers a bit.

Speaking of fashion (Part A): Can't forget the rest of the Oscars, can we? I think this was one of the best years ever. Everything had such a nice 1920's / Great Gatsby look to it - from the stage to the gowns. It was as though the producers sent out a memo to all the attendees letting them know what the set was going to look like so that they could plan their outfits.

My favorite:

She just looked great all the way around - hair, makeup, jewelry, and I loved the red bag (and I love that her name is Taraji P. Henson - because otherwise we might confuse her with the many other Taraji Hensons). I saw her shoes on TV and they looked fabulous too. Not that I'm any example of fashion (Gert's outfit today: trainers, Gap kahkis, long-sleeved white Old Navy layering tee under short-sleeved blue polo from Eddie Bauer. No makeup. No earrings. My purse is cool though...) but I did spot this as a Roberto Cavali dress - he loves those ragged unfinished edges. This same dress in the hands of a lot of other designers and she would have looked like a fancy mummy.

Other likes: Anne Hathaway, Tina Fey, Queen Latifah, Marisa Tomei, and Penelope Cruz. My Robert Pattinson looked rather dashing and fit the look of the 20's with the narrow-cut bow tie, lapels and pants of his Dolce & Gabbana tuxedo. It was so kind of the Academy to seat him so that he would be in the shot every time the camera was on Mickey Rourke. I considered sending them a thank you card.

Disappointing: Sarah Jessica Parker and Reese Witherspoon. They weren't the worst dressed by any means, but I just expect so much from them. Especially SJP. I adore her. I may not have on makeup or earrings today, but you can be damn sure I'm wearing her perfume.

Speaking of Fashion (Part B): LOOK who's on the cover of Vogue!

I actually gasped when I saw this. I can't wait to buy it and see the other pictures inside. It's going in my permanent collection along with this:

Is that five? I hope so. I'm going to take a nap. Happy Friday.


My new favorite fun thing to say for no reason: Blog fodder. (see end of yesterday's post)

If you use it just for the sound itself, it works well as a curse word substitute. Handy if you happen to have given that up for Lent. Or, it also works as a dismissive. Instead of "Whatever" or "Bygones." "Eh, blog fodder."

Nice, no?

It also takes the place of my former favorite Fun Thing to Say for No Reason: Coup plotter

As in, someone plotting a coup d'etat. I heard it in a news story on NPR a few years ago in reference to some former Soviet country. You can't deny how fun it is to say. And the fact that it's a term with fairly serious implications yet sounds kind of silly only adds to the enjoyment... coup plotter, coup plotter, coup plotter, coup plotter...

Anyway. One of the many things that endeared me to the show My Boys is that one of the characters has a similar fascination and as kind of a running joke will occasionally be heard repeating a word or two to himself while other characters are talking. It's hard to explain... let's just say it's nice to have a dorky role model on television and leave it at that...

I know. It's probably not inspiring you to watch, is it?

Damn. Blog fodder.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Do they have Lenten Disciplines at Costco?

Ahhh Lent. It always reminds me of Jon Stewart and something he said in a stand-up routine about us gentiles:

"Yom Kippur - we don’t eat for one day and all our sin for the whole year is atoned.
Beat that, Lent! 40 days to one day. See, even in sin you’re paying retail."

He makes a good point.

My former priest was always an advocate for "taking something on" rather than "giving something up" when it came to Lent. She thought "discipline" shouldn't necessarily mean sacrifice and punishment, but should instead be about learning and introspection.

She's no Jon Stewart, but she also makes a good point :)

I've tried the last couple of years to do one of each - give something up and take something on. I'd like to think it's because of the high spiritual plane upon which I reside, but I don't think anyone - including me - is buying that. No, really, it's more like hedging my bets. That MAYBE this way I'll succeed in following through with one of my choices all the way to Easter. Or at least Palm Sunday Eve...

So, this year I thought I'd give it another whirl.

Giving up: Plastic bottles and containers. I'm not a big consumer of bottled water, but I do enjoy far, far too many plastic bottles of Diet Coke. And I do try to choose an alternative to plastic containers when it comes to things at the grocery store, but I eat out way too much and that often involves a plastic container of some type. Case in point - I picked up a few slices of chocolate cake from a bakery for a little Fat Tuesday celebration in the office. Each slice in a separate little plastic box. Madness. Tasty madness. But madness nonetheless.

This picture is part of an amazing exhibit by artist Chris Jordan titled,
Running the Numbers: An American Self-Portrait, and depicts the two
million plastic bottles used in the US every five minutes.

Taking on: More than a year ago I got a little printer/scanner/copier combo thing. It's very pretty and does a really good job. Well, it would if I ever used it. One of the reasons for getting it was to scan in all of my old photos. But oh the time that would take. It's an overwhelming project.

This picture is part of an amazing display by Gert titled, Procrastination:
The Unfinished Photo Scanning Project
and depicts the years between
her first Kodak Instamatic (ca. 1979) and her first digital camera (ca. 2005).
Not pictured: additional bin of photos-to-be-scanned-that-actually-made-it-into-photo-albums.

But it occurred to me... you know what else this little discipline could be? Blog fodder. So for this Lenten Season I hope to tackle a life's worth of photos AND take you on the journey with me.

That's right. For 40 days.

In this instance I think my priest might side with Jon Stewart.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

...and Blessed are the Pancakes too.

Happy Fat Tuesday and/or Shrove Tuesday. Being a Southern Episcopalian we like to dip our toes into both traditions simultaneously.

Some combination of this

and this

is how we like it - because otherwise what kind of Episcopalians would we be if we didn't take advantage of all the available pomp, circumstance and opportunity to party in the name of a High Holy Day?

I haven't yet thought about what my Lenten discipline is going to be this year. I guess I should get on that. Right now my plan is to contemplate it after I stop by church to snarf down a plate of pancakes and sausage, drape myself in Mardi Gras beads and listen to one of our retired priests and his jazz band play while fellow parishioners dance off their dinner in festive hats and masks.

God is good.

Regardless of your faith on the matter, I hope your day is as fat, beaded, fluffy, covered in syrup and festive as you would like for it to be.

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Blessed are the Chickens

If you can arrange it, I highly recommend attending a church where one of the members has an organic farm.

That way on Sundays you can pick up a little bread, a little wine, some forgiveness and absolution, and a dozen or so fresh, free-range eggs.

Not a bad way to start your week.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

February Madness

Kentucky served my beloved Vols quite a beating on Saturday. At least I had some good company to witness the carnage. You might remember her from here and here.

"Go Vols!"

"Oh no! Eight minutes in and we still haven't scored!"
"When will it end?!? Just please let us lose by less than 20 points!"

"We lost by 19... but hey, look how cute I am in this shirt!"

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Top Five Silly Things Currently Making Me Happy: The TV / Cute Boy Edition.

1. Awww, TBS, you shouldn't have!

Apparently my undying love and devotion to the show, My Boys, has become known to more than just the five people who read this blog because TBS has decided to air new episodes starting March 31st - the day before my birthday. Someone in televisionland loves me. If you're not watching it, please do. It's smart and cute and funny and the first two season are available on Netflix. Totally worth a spot in your queue. I promise.

2. Can you hear me now?

I just figured out that John Krasinski is the voice in those Blackberry / Verizon commercials. Makes me rethink my recent Pantech / AT&T purchase a little bit. And takes me back to a time when I almost switched my long distance carrier because of George Clooney...

3. I wish Al Gore really had invented the interwebs.

Because then I would be an even bigger groupie. (And no, as you can tell, he isn't Cute Boy #3. My admiration does have its limits...) Since getting DSL I officially no longer miss having cable. Had I known that almost every show I loved was online I would have ditched Comcast and my hamsternet a long, long time ago. My only beef? No episodes of What Not to Wear online. Why? Do they think anyone is actually going to purchase the entire season? Please. But regardless of potential DVD sales, the world should not be deprived of online viewing of Clinton Kelly in his complete, hour-long adorableness.

4. Eeeeddddwwwaaaaarrrrrdddd.

I had such high hopes of going to see all of the films nominated for Oscars this year. But as I mentioned in an earlier post, I failed miserably after seeing only one. I think this is my worst record yet and in my guilt and shame I briefly pondered NOT watching the awards show this year. I know. I said briefly. (I totally aced a "Who Wore This Oscar Dress" quiz on People magazine's website earlier this week, so seriously, who am I kidding?) So yes, of course I will be watching. But now, if for no other reason, than I just found out that my vampire crush will be presenting one of the awards.

5. Miiiissssterrr Daaaarrrrccyyyy.

Green Girl has been on a Pride and Prejudice kick this week and at one point incited a lively debate over who was the better Mr. Darcy - Kiera Knightly's newer model or the one and only Colin The Ideal Man Firth. I think we can all tell how my vote was cast. I also lobbied for her to create an All Darcy All The Time blog. And I was only kind of kidding. And am now wondering if the BBC or PBS has any of their miniseries available for online viewing...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

"It is the ability to choose that makes us human."

That was today's quote on my daily email from Real Simple. It is from Madeleine L'Engle, author of A Wrinkle in Time and a fellow Episcopalian who believed that God's love and grace was intended for all people. All.

Coincidentally, the email that followed it was a link to an online petition and a video from The Courage Campaign.

Prop 8, that amended the California state constitution to invalidate gay marriage, is now being taken to the Supreme Court. My good buddy, blast-from-the-past, Bastard Extraordinaire, Ken Starr is leading the team trying to uphold the ruling.

The Courage Campaign is one of the organizations trying to appeal.

Not being gay or a resident of California or knowing a great deal about law or government means that my opinion on the matter isn't the most educated or informed. But since that hasn't seemed to stop anyone else...

I will say that if you are in favor of Prop 8 AND of the political persuasion that allegedly believes in smaller government, then maybe you should think twice. Because a government that decides who should and should not be allowed to marry sounds a bit like big government to me.

And I will say that if you are in favor of Prop 8 because of your religious beliefs, then maybe you should reconsider using your God to try and make laws and change constitutions. Because I don't think you would enjoy it much if I ever used my God to do the same thing.

The only other thing I will say is that I think Madeline is right. It is the ability to choose that makes us human. So if you are human then maybe you should get to choose who you marry. And if you already get to choose who you marry, then maybe you should try acting a little more human.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the appeal on March 5.
Click here if you'd like to sign the petition.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

My Valentine

A couple of years ago I went on a casual search for a possible second dog. I wanted a young - but not a puppy - male dog that would be a little larger than Elsie and not as crafty. My wish was granted. He was listed on Petfinder as a year-old St. Bernard / Border Collie mix, which is technically what Elsie is, so I wanted to see what he looked like. Just like Elsie. And he was adorably named Oliver. It all just fit too well.

It turns out that he's actually some sort of hound with a beautiful collie coat (ergo his nickname - The Pimped-Out Hound), but the rest is exactly what I asked for. He has grown to be several pounds larger than Elsie and to say that he is not as crafty is, well, a bit of an understatement. His other nicknames are Bubbles (after the character on Absolutely Fabulous) or Five Second Delay. Here he is on vacation in the mountains lying with his head off the dog bed.

But he is very pretty.

He doesn't so much lap water from the bowl like most dogs, but instead plunges his whole snout in and chomps at the water often resulting terrible sputtering after he's inhaled half the bowl. He is afraid of the stopwatch on 60 Minutes and has what I refer to as "boundary issues." For example:

If you allow him to sleep at the FOOT of the bed, you are guaranteed to wake up at some point to this on the next pillow:

"Oh. Hello there. Were you trying to sleep?"

If you allow him on the END of the couch, you are guaranteed this:
"Oh. Hello there. Were you trying to read? Watch television? Not inhale dog breath?"

If you try to get him to move over to said end of couch, you get this:

"What did you say? For me to lay my head on your shoulder and drool? No? Why not?"

Have I mentioned that he's pretty?

But while Elsie's first reaction to a new toy is to try to dismantle it and then stash the evidence in a hole in the yard, Oliver's is one of complete amazement and joy:

And while Elsie's mantra is likely "I'm surrounded by morons." Or, "Do I have to do everything around here?" Oliver's is most certainly and simply "I love, love." He would spend his day asleep in your lap - all 45 pounds of him - rather than eat. He will try to kiss you square in the mouth if you're not quick enough to block him. Here he is on the same vacation in the mountains enjoying the lap and love of my friend Amanda.

And that is why even though we only know he was born in February, I'm pretty sure his actual birthday is Valentine's Day.

So Oliver, while my cynical self has always considered this holiday to be insipid at best, for you, I make an exception. Happy Birthday.

Friday, February 13, 2009


I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that a friend had new rain boots. In that same post I also declared that said boots were "made of awesome" and that I totally coveted them.

Well... thanks to my new super spiffy cell phone with camera (also mentioned in same post) I now have proof:

Groovy, no?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

"When a vicious creature took the jump..."

Happy 200th Birthday Charles Darwin

From one of your biggest fans here in the state that brought the world the Scopes Trial and serves as the all-too shiny buckle of the Bible Belt. But hey - at least we're not Kansas.

I learned this morning on the news that you questioned the existence of the after-life. I hope you were wrong because I rather enjoy the thought of you maybe spending part of your day today gettin' down to a little Elvis Costello.

Not a bad idea for the rest of us down here either:

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


... today is I Am Under the Delusion That Gert is My Bitch Day

a.k.a. Gert is Still Grouchy and Trying Not to Take it Out on Others Even if They Totally Deserve it Day.

Conversation #1:

Man who normally works from home for the organization that I share office space with, but who happens to be in the office today, saunters directly into my office - without even pausing at the doorway to see if I am in the middle of something - and waves a piece of paper at me.

Man: "Hey - do you have a way to make a copy of this for me?"

Me: "Oh, is the copier not working?"

Man: "Oh. Uh. I don't know where it is."

Me: "Hmmm. The kitchen."

Me to myself : "You know, the room you just walked past with the giant copier in it to get to my office?"

Conversation #2:

Woman I work with. (Not FOR. WITH).: "Do you have a better version of this map that I can use in my presentation?"

Me: "No, I don't. I'm sorry."

Woman: "Is there any way you could you find one?"

Me: "I can maybe find one on the internet."

Me to myself: "With my Super Secret Interwebs Sleuthing Device called GOOGLE!"

Woman: "Oh, that would be great. Thaaaanks."

Me (30 seconds later): "Here you go. Would one of these work?"

Woman: "Yes. Can you make a replacement slide for me? Thaaaanks."

Me: "Uh. Huh."

Me to myself: "You mean, can I click 'copy' and then 'paste'? I don't know... hey lookiethere I totally can... Amazing. Good - I was hoping to add a new skill to my resume this week. Thaaaanks."

GAH! I'm going home to soak my head in a vat of vitamin C.

Monday, February 9, 2009

A photo. And then a little rant. Because allergy meds make me grouchy.

Big moon over my front yard. It was a photo-worthy moment - even if the picture didn't turn out so well.

It was uploaded and posted whilst watching President Obama's press conference.

Now, Barack, you know I love you man, but when I don't feel well, please don't talk through How I Met Your Mother. I wouldn't have minded if this had all been quality time we'd just spent, but you took a question from someone at Huffington Post. I mean, I'm sure he's a legitimate reporter and all, but in the grand scheme of things I just don't know that it was necessary.

And Maura from NPR - cut to the chase, sister. I know you're excited to have a president who finally takes questions from the press, but you don't have to ask all of them today. He's going to be here for four years.

And seriously, dude from the Washington Post, newsflash: you're from the WASHINGTON POST. Our economy is in the toilet, no one can be civil long enough to even try to do something about it, and you asked the PRESIDENT about A-Rod's confession of steroid use?! Seriously. Sit. Down.

And press secretary guy - whose name I don't remember at the moment - personally I find you endearing, but we all know these things are at least somewhat orchestrated and this is the best you can do? Give a girl a break. Neil Patrick Harris is waiting and I repeat: I. Do. Not. Feel. Well.

Week in Review

1. Coughing up a lung or two
I'm experiencing some pre-springtime allergy issues. Constant scratchy throat for a week and now it's all in my chest and I'm all raspy sounding. I wish I sounded like Demi Moore - or even Rachel Ray - but it's a sound much more akin to Peppermint Patty. Adding to the fun is the continuous drama of our 80's era office park. They've been "working" on our decrepit heating system since before Christmas. Supposedly it's "fixed." However - the temperature in my office this past week: Monday - 80 degrees. Tuesday and Wednesday - 50 degrees. Thursday and Friday - 80 degrees. Needless to say, it's not helping the congestion. So, I'm home for at least the first half of the day. Right now I'm listening to a discussion about the mother of the octuplets on The View. Easy-bake oven office is sounding better by the minute.

2. Movies
I was hoping to get around to seeing at least a good chunk of the Oscar nominees before we find out who won what. Last Sunday I went to see Slumdog Millionaire. It's really good. This Sunday I went to see He's Just Not That Into You. OK. So, not really on the Oscar watch list. It was amusing. I do love me some Ben Affleck though. He was pretty dreamy in this movie but not in it nearly enough.

3. RIP
My two favorite-est magazines in the entire world have folded: Domino and Cottage Living. They were always full of colorful and interesting ideas for the home - real, tiny-to-normal-sized, homes. Their aesthetics were quite different from one another but provided the perfect combination of simplistic/traditional/antique and off-beat/urban/modern that exists in my house (or at least how I want it to exist). Domino was born from the pages of Lucky magazine and Cottage Living from the conglomerate that is Southern and Coastal Living magazines. From what I can tell, I'm genetically and culturally obligated to read Southern Living every month until I die (pronounced with two syllables). The problem with it though is that the homes they feature are enormous and rather beige so I am hoping that it will absorb some of the ideas from Cottage Living. We'll see I guess. I know they're just magazines. Pages of glossy, non-environmentally friendly paper. And I know that in this economy there are more important businesses to fret about. But it's just sad.

4. Dinner conversation
I found myself almost dead center of the long table of people I eat with on Friday nights. The discussions on either side of me were lively and varied and I was enjoying switching back and forth listening to one end of the table and then the other. At one point though I found myself simultaneously in - what I quickly figured out were - two very different conversations.

Guy to my right: "I don't think I would enjoy having a uterus."

Guy to my left: "You can usually find them on EBay."

Turns out the conversation on my left was about antique china. The other was not.

5. Everything I've wanted to say
My crush on Seth Meyer grows. His "Really!?! with Seth" bit on SNL Weekend Update Saturday was a perfect commentary on the whole Michael Phelps drama. Genius.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Snakes on a Plane(t)

Apparently the threat of climate change is still way on the back burner of our collective concern. Survey results I heard mentioned in the news yesterday said that it was at the bottom of the list of priorities with most people. Understandably there are things like war and the economy that are weighing on people's minds lately - but let's be truthful - concern for who will be our next American Idol probably scored much higher than the people at Pew would lead us to believe.

And I don't know how much hope I have that climate change will ever be a big concern for people. We are currently in a giant "green" trend lately and climate change isn't catching on. The looming threat of drowning polar bears doesn't even seem to be getting the job done either. And you know how much we love the polar bears. Almost as much as American Idol.

I think a new tactic is needed. If cute won't get us to pay attention then cute needs to be replaced with fear. We respond to fear. Not real, could-actually-happen fear - like more severe and frequent weather events, or water scarcity, or crop elimination. No, no. We scoff at that kind of fear. For us, the more irrational and kooky the better.

Our new administration is reportedly going to dial back the fear mongering AND use of the grammatically inappropriate phrase "War on Terror." This means that soon there is going to be a scare-tactic void to be filled and I say climate change is the perfect candidate. And the first order of business should be to get a new mascot.

So, if it were up to me...

This guy:

Totally fired.

(It's okay, really, I'm sure those penguins from that Coke commercial will save him. He'll be fine...)

Your new climate change spokesmodel? This guy.

That's right. Gigantic. Scary-assed. Snake. The fossil remains of an enormous snake have been discovered who existed sometime after the dinosaurs and who grew to oh, about 40 feet long, weighed more than a ton and snacked on crocodiles.

How can a giant extinct snake be either relative OR scary as far as climate change is concerned, you ask? Well... turns out that in order for a cold-blooded creature to be able to grow to and survive at that size, it's environment had to be really hot all the time. Hotter than they ever thought the tropics could get. As hot as the tropics could quite possibly get again if we don't start paying attention. And if it's going to get hotter there, then it's also going to get hotter here, and I don't know about you, but I for one am just fine with the current size of the occasional friendly neighborhood garter snake I find in my yard that still manages to scare the crap out of me.

So there you go. The real threat of famine and drought aren't frightening enough to get us to change to compact florescents or stop wasting gas? Fine. Whatever.

How about the chance that reptiles might grow to be the size of a school bus? Better? I thought so.

And really, when it's put that way the choice is so much more simple, don't you think?


Or this:

Seriously, people. Change your f*cking lightbulbs.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Cultural Differences

Today is the 50th anniversary of the plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens. Very sad.

Less sad, however, was a conversation that took place 40 some-odd years later between Gert and her (now former) Irish boyfriend:

Gert calls for boy several times from the kitchen and gets no response. Gert finds boy sitting on the couch too engrossed in a movie to either hear or answer her.

Gert glances annoyingly over at the television: "What are you watc --- is that Lou Diamond Phillips?!"

Boy: stares at TV

Gert quickly runs through list of movies in her head that contain Lou Diamond Phillips then looks at boy with furrowed brow and more annoyance: "La Bamba? Seriously. You can't answer me because you're watching La Bamba?"

Boy: "Shhh. I love this movie."

Gert with brow more furrowed: "You've seen it before?"

Boy: "Yeah. A couple of times. Haven't you? It's really good."

Gert: "Really?"

Boy: "Yeah. But it's almost to the end and it'll just ruin it if you've never seen it all the way through before."

Gert: "They die in a plane crash."

Boy with furrowed brow: "You said you haven't seen it!"

Gert whispering facetiously: "It's a true story."

Boy with pitiful heartbroken look on face: "What? Really? No way!"

Gert sweetly shaking her head and trying hard not to giggle and/or mock: "Yes. It is. I'm sorry."

Boy with even more pitiful, heartbroken look on face: "I can't believe it. That's so sad. I don't think I can watch anymore."

Gert suddenly feeling guilty and now rummaging through basket of movies: "I know... I'm really sorry... Here... why don't you watch The Commitments again instead... They're Irish AND no one dies..."

In honor of Dick Clark's next birthday (whenever that may be) I'll tell you about the time he discovered that the Dick Clark in the restaurant chain, "Dick Clark's American Diner," was really THE Dick Clark and that they were, in fact, really owned by him. "Yes, THE Dick Clark.... Yes, the American Bandstand guy.... Yes, the New Year's show guy... No, I'm not making it up... Yes, really, the real Dick Clark..."

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Number One. Thousand.

This week there's a pretty good chance that Pat Summitt will win her 1,000th game, bringing her record to 1,000 wins and only 186 (or 7 or 8) losses. The first opportunity is tonight at Oklahoma and the next is Thursday in Knoxville against Georgia.

Just like with her 800th and 900th wins, the critics, cynics, chauvinists, and general whiners, will start to kvetch and say that her 1,000 wins aren't the same as if a men's coach did it because there isn't the same level of parity in women's basketball that there is in men's basketball. True. And that she was only able to achieve this number of wins because she started coaching at 22 and men's coaching is too competitive for any of them to be able to start coaching at such a young age. Also maybe true.

I don't deny that these are things to consider. I just think maybe they should also consider that there is another side to this coin. That maybe there are other obstacles and other factors that some of the greatest in men's basketball coaching never had to deal with and/or probably aren't willing to do.

Because you know what else is true?

Pat Summit's starting salary was $8,900 a year. For that pay, in addition to coaching the team, her job included making flyers and posting them around campus to get people to attend the games, doing the team's laundry, and driving the van.

She went into labor while in another state recruiting a player (Pennsylvania, I believe). She got back on the plane and flew home so that her son, Tyler, would be born in Tennessee. Two weeks later she and Tyler were back on the plane on another recruiting trip.

Last year, to support the men's team in their game against Florida, she dressed up as a cheerleader and performed at halftime.

She even carpools to work.

There are a lot of other facts and figures that could be tossed about regarding game attendance, season ticket sales or championships won. Or that 65 of the current coaches in women's college and professional basketball are former Lady Vol coaches and players. Or that until this past year the highest-rated sporting event on ESPN was UT vs. UCONN for the 2004 national championship. But I'm sure they could all be countered with some wise-ass opinion inevitably arguing the superiority of men's coaches.


But until I see Coach K or Bobby Knight in a cheerleading outfit - they can keep their opinions to themselves.

Good luck Coach Summitt.

Go Lady Vols!