Friday, October 29, 2010

For the Stylish Risk-taker in All of Us.

I bought a butane refill for a candle lighter this week, and saw this:

There are butane curling irons? Is this a common thing? Because I think filling something with flammable liquid and then using it on my head sounds like a terrible idea. However, when I mentioned it to my mom (who I'd previously thought to be under some sort of biological imperative to think really highly of me), she said that she used one for years when she was young and that I was just "being a punk."

I say that when she was young they still put lead in paint, so I'll just stick with my initial assessment about what does and doesn't sound like it could kill me.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A dubious honor, but still...

I've created a new game; it's called "Businessman Chicken."

Which, technically, in the name of equality, should probably be "Businessperson Chicken," but whatever.

It works as follows: First you initiate a handshake. Then you continue the handshake way past any reasonable point. Then you start saying vaguely businesslike things to the other person. But businesslike in a 60-year-old on an 80's sitcom sort of way. Examples:

"I'll have Johnson fax you those reports in the morning."

"You just don't have what it takes to get ahead in this game, son."

"How are your quarterlies coming along?"

"I won't stand for you whipper-snappers running around like you own the place."

"You've got the steely-eyed glint of a true negotiator."

This continues until the other person either laughs or disengages the handshake and walks away, shaking their head at your inability to carry on a normal, adult conversation.

I am the queen of Businessman Chicken.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Constant Reminder

This is the Ikea TV stand we have in our bedroom.
Though it's worth noting that our TV isn't near as schmancy as that one.
The TV stand in 22 inches tall.

Sometimes, on the days that I think to myself, "I'm a perfectly reasonable height for a person to be," I look at my short little TV stand. Then I look at the scar it left a good three inches above my knee when I scraped my leg across one of the corners last month.

This make me feel short and sad.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Dance the dance of the Jess-man

You know that thing where I get kind of lazy on Friday's, but I try to make up for it by sharing something cool? It's happening again.

So you remember John "Uncle Jesse" Stamos' stirring ballad, "Forever," right? Of course you do. It set the romantic course of a generation, and has been scientifically proven to guarantee twins to any woman who listens to it within the first six weeks of pregnancy. Surely you're here only as a palate cleanser to fill the time between one journey through this musical masterpiece and the next.

The real question is, do you remember when it was a rap song with a cartoonishly Arabian-themed video?

Have a good weekend.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Bee Learns a Lesson

There is a mail mountain on the dining room table of my parents' house. It is where unwanted junk mail goes to die. But today, in that mountain of forgotten Valu-Pak envelopes, I found magic.

I found an American Girl catalog.

I'm fifteen years past being young enough to justifiably order an American Girl catalog (and eight years past the last time I ordered one anyway), and I'm the youngest girl in my family, so I have no clue how it ended up at my mom's house. But it doesn't matter how it got there. All that matters is that it was there.

And that I took it.

I spent a solid eight years of my life staring at the pages of that catalog thinking about how mystical and magical my life would be if only my parents realized that I needed, that I deserved Samantha's paint set and flower press. I'm mentally conditioned to grab that catalog as soon as I see it. In fact, I'm pretty proud that I managed to stop myself short of circling the things I want for Christmas. Besides, if I hadn't taken the catalog, I wouldn't have learned an important piece of information.

Take a good look everyone:

Because Felicity Merriman is headed for the big American Girl Place in the sky. Like Samantha before her, the Felicity doll will be no more by the end of the year.Which means that 8-year-old me has to come to terms with the fact her super-awesome table, tea set and blue holiday dress will never be a part of my life.

Note: This is not a sponsored post. American Girl is not paying me to help them clear out the Felicity warehouse by preying on your sense of nostalgia. Promise.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Down on the farm

Yesterday I was talking with a friend who is way more outdoorsy than me. By which I mean she is outdoorsy at all, and if I see more than eight trees in one place I assume that they are hiding a bear. Despite this fundamental difference, we do share one future goal: we want to own chickens. I've been giving it some thought, and chickens are, in fact, the best pet a person can have.
Check it out:
  • You can name a chicken "Edna" or "Eunice" or some other name that hasn't been used since aught-three.
  • Chickens, unlike dogs, do not have teeth with which they can rip your face off.
  • Chickens, unlike cats, do not have claws with which they can rip your face off.
  • Unlike dogs and cats, I do not have an all-encompassing fear of chickens.
  • What other pet periodically gives you breakfast?
  • When you have to muck out the coop, you can make it slightly better by playing the farm music from Looney Tunes cartoons in your head.
  • Asking someone to take care of your dog while you're away means feeding them, giving them water, walking them, scooping the poop from that walk, throwing it out somewhere other than in your house, cleaning up the revenge poop the dog left on you dining room chair, cleaning up the fear-of-abandonment poop the dog left in the kitchen, looking at the dog's sad face when he realizes you're leaving.
  • Asking someone to take care of your chickens means filling a water bowl and tossing some feed in the coop, then grabbing a few eggs to take home.
  • In what other pet-sitting job does the pet pay you?
The only slight problem is that I cannot kill a chicken. Or eat anything I've named. I have a solution though: I'll somehow magically find some friendly, small-scale poultry farmer who will let me trade Old Edna for two new chicks.

And then I'll perform an interpretive dance to "Circle of Life" and start the whole process over.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Oh weekend, I love you.

I tried to write a post. I did. But I'm more than a little wiped out this week, so it was veering very close to "you know when things happen and you say words at people? Don't you hate and/or love that?" So instead, I bring you...


First is Jim's Pancakes. He makes stuff for his daughter. Out of pancakes. Everyday. I showed my husband, and he was so impressed by the things this guy can make that it actually made him angry.

Second is Hyperbole and a Half. Specifically, her latest entry, "God of Cake". Read it, bask in its awesomeness, then read every other entry.

Finally, watch this Sesame Street Video.

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The sort of person I am

My glasses have been too big since basically the day after I got them, and EVERY SINGLE WEEKEND since I've said "we need to stop in on Saturday to get these sized." But I never do. Because even though my glasses are absurdly loose, I always forget that they need to be sized until the very second that I lower my head (either sleepily or melodramatically) and they immediately fall right off my face. Then I tell myself to get them fixed, put them own and forget again.

I've done this three times in the past hour.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Fickle as ever

Remember when I said I was trying to teach myself French? Yeah, that got shelved. Mostly because French pronunciation is basically impossible, and I lack the attention span for the BBC Languages audio course (which I do actually recommend if you, unlike me, have the attention span to focus on one thing at at time).

But I still needed a project. So I started crocheting blanket. And found a bunch of recipes to try. And I started knitting a blanket.

Oh, and a I bought a flute.

Which isn't really as random as it sounds, since I actually used to play flute. A decade ago. And, as it turns out, it's not really how I remember. For one, it really hurts your face. I would have imagine my tendency toward judgmental frowning would have kept the muscles toned, but apparently not. I was also surprised to find that when you pick up an instrument for the first time in ten years, you sound awful. Truly awful. Playing "Yankee Doodle Dandy" six times in a row in the vain hope of doing it correctly is....humbling. But the biggest thing I forgot was that flutes? Get spit in them. Not as much as brass instruments do, but enough to offend my delicate, ladylike sensibilities.

I should have just bought a violin. I could have figured it out eventually.

Friday, October 8, 2010

I'm not really good with temptation

So I made my latest nerd confession earlier this week - I'm finally entering the (much lauded) world of Battlestar Galactica. And I'm entering said world in the way I tend to prefer - with DVD mini-marathons, after the show is already over. Seriously, if I don't start watching a show by the second season, I'll usually just wait five seasons or so, then start watching it all on DVD. Then either I catch up and rejoin the weekly audience, or the show is already over and I burn through seven years of someone's career in three months.

The  problem with that is that the ENTIRE INTERNET already knows all of the answers, and you're 20 episodes from even knowing the questions. I don't really mind spoilers in articles - as far as I'm concerned it you're two years or more behind, enter the internet at your own risk. The real issue is that it's all on Wikipedia, and I know it's all on Wikipedia. So, inevitably, the day will come (usually after the second episode) that I wonder "when will this character JUST DIE?", and I'll look it up.  Then I'll find out that the character in question becomes a super-powered ninja space-doctor shortly after killing my favorite character for the magic diamond hidden in her stomach. In season five. So I spend the next 80-some episodes thinking things like "Man, you are really going to brood over this emotional moment when that guy turns on you in a couple of years". Which kind of screws up the shows dramatic arc for me.

For Battlestar I'm really trying not to look. Not really succeeding, but definitely trying. My method of choice: going to TV Tropes instead. Here's how it works: when I find myself about to Google enough information about Battlestar to make watching it completely redundant, I go to TV Tropes and start reading entries and opening tabs for any other entries that sound interesting. Then, by the time I've finished reading most of the tabs I've opened, it's three days later and I'm too weak from exhaustion/dehydration to seek out spoilers.

If you don't believe me check out a couple of tropes, and say goodbye to your weekend.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The land of Nerdom is full of slippery slopes

I just started watching Battlestar Galactica.

Though it's the new one, which I understand is considered way less nerdy that watching the 70s one.

But still, it's Battlestar Galactica. You can't say that without feeling nerdy. They're not even real words. But, the fact remains that everything I've heard - and the little bit I've seen of it so far - suggests that it's a damn good show, so I'm fine with it.

The real danger is in the trailers on the DVDs. Like, for example, the complete series of Cleopatra 2525. Everything about it, starting with the name, sounds awful. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn't think twice about it. But thanks to Battlestar Galactica, I've now seen the trailer. And now I know it has Gina Torres.

I love Gina Torres. "It has Gina Torres" is generally all it takes to get me to watch something. But we're talking about a show whose central concept is a cryogenically frozen stripper who wakes up in 2525 (as I'm sure you guessed) to FIGHT ROBOTS. That's not just a thing that happens in the show, that's the whole show. And actually I'm considering watching this. But the question is - where does it go from there? Am I ready to take myself one step closer to being a person who clears out an entire room in their apartment for a giant to-scale model of the Starship Enterprise cardboard cutouts of all 11 Doctors surrounding it?

Because, as much as I don't want to be that person (for one, I don't have the space), there's a part of that's thinking "well, just having the new  Doctors could be kind of cool."

Though of course, there are people who have no idea what mean by the "11 Doctors," who hence kind of think I already am that person.

See? Slippery slope.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Also, they have pencil-thin mustaches

Two men are sitting at a table in an outdoor cafĂ©. Both are wearing turtlenecks and smoking. The Eiffel Tower is visible somewhere in the background of the shot. They say things like, “Jean-Pierre, it is vital that we stick to the plan!” But it sounds like “Zhon-Pierre, eet eez vital that we steeck to zee plahn!” A mime mimes by on the sidewalk

Later as the argument becomes more heated, Jacques (the speaker from earlier) will gesture with a glass of red wine, a cigarette, and a large piece of cheese, simultaneously.
Jean-Pierre will jab at Jacques angrily with a baguette, or emphasize a point by donning a beret.

All of this is so that you, the viewer, will understand – it may sound like they’re speaking English, but they’re actually speaking Movie French.

Movie French is a unique language with its own unique culture (though it sounds very similar to Movie Italian, Movie Russian, and Movie Arabic). You can recognize Movie French by its similarity to English, its random nods to a cartoonish French accent, and the fact that why the hell would these people be speaking English right now?

Movie French helps when your audience is too young to read subtitles, or when you’re worried they could distract from your cool explosions. But I think the main reason for movie French is that you can’t just take an English script, pop it into Babel Fish (do the kids today still use Babel Fish?) and get a French script. You have to hire people to make sure that it actually makes sense, and that you’re not using phrases that don’t even exist in the other language. Then you need actors who speak the language. With Movie French all you need is a vague understanding of French pronunciation and a can-do spirit. As someone who just barely has either of those things, I can accept that sometimes, Movie French is the way to go.

The thing about Movie French that drives me crazy is that at some point in all off this, Jean-Pierre will remember that before they can carry out their big plan, he needs to take little Colette and Nannette to ballet. Then as he and his friend part, Jacques will say “Au revoir, my friend.”

What the hell?

If we were supposed to pretend that that entire conversation already took place in French, then what are we supposed to think they’re speaking when they speak actual real-ass French? Are we meant to assume they're now speaking some arcane, long-forgotten Mega-French? Or maybe if the English was French, then the French is English?

Or maybe, like that one a-hole in your college dorm, they figured it would class up the joint to pepper in the five to ten French words that everyone knows?

Also, do they do this in other countries? If they do, what are the English words that pop up in the middle of a ten minute conversation in like, Russian or Cantonese? I have a sneaking suspicion that either "Buddy" or "Dude" is on the list when the characters are American.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Come back, Jack.

We are now officially living in a world without Law & Order. Well, except for Law & Orders: Perv, D'Onofrio, and LA (it's too new for a nickname). But, look deep within an ask yourself: is Law & Order still Law & Order without Sam Waterston? I don't think so.

And sure, since I've only watched twice since Jerry Orbach died (once for Jesse L. Martin's final episode, and once just to shake my head in mild dismay at Dennis Farina), I'm in the "part of the problem" camp as it relates to the shows cancellation. And of course, the epic level at which the show is syndicated means that at any given time, I can probably find the dream team of McCoy, Briscoe and Green on anywhere from one to eight channels. But what about Sam Waterston? What will he do now? Now that no one needs him to swing by and inform an improbably attractive A.D.A. that you "can't un-ring the bell"? And what's the point of watching a new Law & Order if it has zero chance of reminding me of that SNL informercial sketch about robot insurance for old people?

All the new one is going to remind me of is the existence of Skeet Ulrich.

(Seriously, though - I'm not being mean. I completely forgot that Skeet Ulrich ever was.)