30 November 2009

"How can I explain when there are few words I can choose" --Erasure

Well, it is November 30th. The end of NaBloPoMo. And we've been through 30 posts in 30 days together. Freaky.

I pondered how to end this. What would continue the thrust of this month? How could I nail the right sentiment on such an auspicious occasion? I searched long and hard for the right tone. Something that expressed the right depth and feeling.

Here's what I found:

Hope I'm not over-intellectualizing.

P.S. Want more? Try "unfortunate place names".

P.P.S. h/t to Tewkesbury for her recent related post.

P.P.P.S. Thanks for your encouragement along the NaBloPoMo way. I'm totally naming my first born after you. Or eating a Hershey's Kiss (with Almond!) in your honor. One or the other. Definitely.

29 November 2009


Hi. I just got word that someone I love has died. My words could not express the breadth of her life and I am not in a position to write more than this today. So, I'm going to re-post something I wrote on death in 2007. It'll have to do. And despite my words from 2007, I'm not angry, just very sad.

29 August 2007

People Die/I Saw KN Today

People die.

Intellectually I know this. Emotionally I don't want to deal with it. But I do. I get angry. If they die suddenly and unexpectedly, like a colleague did this month at age 37, it pisses me off that I had no warning and no opportunity for closure and no explanation of why this person is suddenly gone. If they die slowly, like my boss' father who yesterday began hospice, it pisses me off that he's going to suffer and by extension my boss is going to suffer watching him suffer until he dies. As the minister said in The Big Chill "It makes me angry and I don't know what to do with my anger."

Meanwhile, I am attending a conference today and I saw someone standing with her back to me talking to someone else and I looked at the way she had her feet planted and I thought instantly that's KN. Who is KN? She's someone who used to work at my work site but hasn't been working on-site in years. I had no real connection to KN. She was high up in the hierarchy and me, I'm pretty low down in the hierarchy. We'd been introduced a couple times but I don't think we ever even worked on anything together, just found ourselves in the room at the same time and did the polite thing of introductions. I know very little about KN and don't spend any time thinking of her.

Sure enough, she turned around and it was her.

I say all this because I recognized her from the back by the way she placed her feet, and it wasn't like she was in a tree pose or anything. No one would say "Gee, look how she's standing; isn't that odd." It was just a very minor detail but it was distinguishing. And it occurred to me that if my brain stores how KN stands, such an inconsequential thing and person in my life, then how many millions of little things trigger us about the people we actually love? Is it any wonder that we can't bear the pain of separation?

I've lost a good friend this year and had some sobering news and close calls with other loved ones. I'm angry and I'm sad and it doesn't change anything.

But at least I have a place to express it. Thanks for reading. I promise to talk about something bright and chipper and completely trivial next.

28 November 2009

"We can't go on together with suspicious minds" --Elvis Presley

A few things on cheating...

A pointed commentary:


A joke:

A married man was having an affair with his secretary. One day, their passions overcame them and they took off for her house, where they made passionate love all afternoon. Exhausted from the wild sex, they fell asleep, awakening around 8:00 pm. As the man threw on his clothes, he told the woman to take his shoes outside and rub them through the grass and dirt. Mystified, she nonetheless complied. He slipped into his shoes and drove home.

"Where have you been?" demanded his wife when he entered the house.

"Darling, I can't lie to you. I've been having an affair with my secretary and we've been having sex all afternoon. I fell asleep and didn't wake up until eight o'clock."

The wife glanced down at his shoes and said, "You lying bastard! You've been playing golf!"

And a true story:

Note: The following happened in the era before everyone carried a cell phone.

Many years ago, I got a call, quite out of the blue, from a woman I'd been friends with when we were young. At the time, we hadn't been in touch in a few years, so I was pleased to hear her voice. Well, pleased, right up until the time she got down to why she was calling me.

She had told her husband she was hanging out with me that evening. In reality, she was meeting up with her first boyfriend. Would I cover for her if he called? She'd left my number with her husband, she explained, and could she leave a number for where she'd be so I could alert her if he called?


I didn't appreciate the position she was putting me in. I'm not a fan of infidelity. Further, I'd met both men and there was absolutely no reason for her to revisit the old boyfriend for any purpose.

Still, put on the spot, I agreed to cover for her. I wasn't happy about it, which came across, but I didn't say no. Not sure why. Maybe some part of me still wanted the friendship.

I spent a nervous evening, wondering what I'd say if her husband called. He never did and I never heard from this woman again.

Which brings us to the question du jour: Would you cover for a cheating friend?* Would you expect a friend to cover for you?

* No worries, I will not be asking you for this service.

27 November 2009

"A change would do you good" --Sheryl Crow

We wind up out of pocket a little longer than anticipated,* and while we are away, we spend some time with some aging relatives and see how their lives are changing, shrinking, getting much harder. Want some perspective? Spend some time with people that are up in years. Your troubles will float away.

We stop for lunch and we put down two twenties on a $27 tab. The waitress comes and asks us, "Do you need change?"

"Yes, please."

Because, if we're going to leave a large tip, it's going to be our idea, not theirs. While she is getting our change, we talk about her question. Is it a reasonable question? I point out that I don't think the woman that picked up the check is the same woman that laid down the check so this woman doesn't even know how much the check is when she asks her question.

"So, you're not offended?"

"No. I could be. But I don't want to be. It was a decent meal and okay service. Let's assume the best."

We leave a healthy tip and head out, trying to simply be appreciative for what we have and not look for reasons to get insulted. (There are so many, aren't there?)

Which brings us to the question of the day: Is asking "Do you want change?" ever a reasonable question? Should she have just brought change and not asked?

* And yet I still manage to post. How can that be? Some sort of voodoo interwebs magic, I guess. OOOoooOOOoooo.

26 November 2009

"For everything you've done, you know I'm bound, I'm bound to thank you for it..." --Natalie Merchant

Hi. Happy Thanksgiving. Yes, even as you are reading this, I am thinking about you. You wonderful you. Thanks for stopping by. Here's a few thoughts that may help you through the holidays...

The holidays can be full of ridiculous rules. Break at least one rule. With impunity.

But be cool. Don't let it turn into a blood bath.
Better to keep it on the down low, right?
Remember to spend time with the folks that bring you the most joy.

And, absolutely, save room for dessert.

Slow down long enough to appreciate those that aren't as gadget-savvy as you.

And know that you are perfect just as you are.

25 November 2009

"It's the last song I'll ever write for you" --Edward Bear


This is L. A. Cochran. Can anyone here me? Over.


On the off chance that anyone is out there, I'm going to keep t-talking. It's so c-cold here. And so quiet except for the w-wind whipping. I'm at the 50,000 foot marker. Almost to the summit. I c-can see it but I don't know if I'll make it.

At first we were all for one and one for all. We were a great team. Then, we... we ran out of food at about 30,000 feet--still early in the NaBloP-P-PoMo trek... It got a little ugly.

I had to stay warm. I had to keep g-going. I needed sustenance. Dammit! I had to think of my own survival!

D-don't look at me like that. I had no choice. You would have done the same thing. Besides, it wasn't so bad. Blogger tastes like chicken. Chicken with big chunks of *quiet weeping* gristle.



*sound of throat clearing*

There's still a few of us... trudging on... determined to make the summit... to p-plant the NaBloPoMo flag... to get a little d-d-dental floss.

But some of the others, they're eying me funny--like a KFC two-piece. I... I don't know how much further I can go. If you don't hear from me, tell--*thwack!*


*dead air*

24 November 2009

"Tell me it's the real thing" --Bo Bice

[Fake but clever.]

I had a friend who, when asked if a bracelet was real, replied "Of course, it's real." Later she said to me "Can you believe she had the nerve to ask me if my bracelet was real? It's not real gold but it is real." When I looked at her, surprised, she said, "Well, it's not a figment of her imagination! And, it's none of her business if it's real gold or not."

I have jewelry with real gems. I also have jewelry that's fake. I have no trouble telling people when I'm wearing the fake stuff. In fact, if they gush about how beautiful it is, I tend to volunteer, "Thanks. It's a pretty good fake, don't you think?"

Is it appropriate to ask if something is real? Would you share if it was or it wasn't?

23 November 2009

"These are things that I don't understand" --Coldplay

I've come to realize I am not without my hangups.*

I tend to think the husband and I break down the stereotypes of what a "man" does and what a "woman" does.** He's happy to let me drive when I want. I'm happy to let him wrap presents when he wants. It isn't that the other can't do it. It's just that we tend to be "equal opportunity" on these things.

So, tell me something... *stretches out on couch*

Psychoanalyze me...

I was just included on a "recipe exchange" email. The kind where you send a recipe to the name on the top of the list, take that name off the list, add your name to the bottom of the list and send it to 20 people. I did that. As I did it, I picked 20 women to annoy--er, include in the mailing.

Here's my issue. Why did I pick all women? I know men who are great cooks and bakers, the husband included. Yet, when it came to a "recipe exchange" suddenly I was in Witness with the men raising a barn and the women swapping recipes. Which is silly.**** Do men even "do" formal recipe exchanges? I have no idea.

If you are a man, would you have wanted to be included in my recipe exchange*****? If you are a woman and hypothetically participating in the exchange, would you have included men's names? Am I an idiot for getting involved in a recipe exchange at all?******

* What do you mean, "I know"?

** Besides the most obvious. We still stick to those.***

***He burps and scratches. I do the scantily clad pillow fights.

****I look terrible in those little caps.

*****Not a euphemism.

******I know a woman who knows a woman who has an aunt who once broke a recipe exchange and her souffles fell for seven years straight! I am NOT making this part up.*******

*******I am TOTALLY making this part up.

22 November 2009

"Fight, fight, fight!" --The Itchy and Scratchy Show

Happy Sunday! I have a few things for your entertainment.

First, a great, quirky find you should check out (but then come back!):

Oddly Specific

Second, a blatant steal from Dougintology:

Plus, a bonus funny, because you look so fine today. Mm, mm, mmm. Look at you! I love what you're doing with your... well, whatever that is. It's never looked better. Bring that over here! Yowza!

I always preferred Sylvester to Tom, but, then, I preferred Bugs to any of them. You?

PS According to a TED talk, there's a particular tiny part of the brain that's dedicated to cartoons and nothing else. Watching cartoons, drawing cartoons, all tagged to this one spot in your brain. I think that's really wonderful.

21 November 2009

"Somewhere I belong" --Linkin Park

One night at Omega, I went for a stroll because there's only so much time you can spend in your tent alone before you have to get out and do something.* There was a full moon and a light breeze, and I wandered down to the lake. There, I happened upon a half-dozen people sitting amongst the picnic tables, listening to a young woman singing and playing guitar. I sat down and listened, too. Her music was original and she was good.

After a few more songs, she said, "Wow, it's been a really magical evening. How about a group hug?"**

They all got up to do a hug and I sat there, smiling at their friendship.

When they were all gathered, one guy looked over his shoulder, with a disappointed look on his face, and said to me, "Come on... please?"

It hadn't occurred to me that I was included in that invitation until he said that. I jumped up and joined in the hug.

The thing is, I tend to err on the "I'm not included" side when people throw out a "Hey, let's get some ice cream" kind of invitation to a group.*** I don't know why. I've tried to rework my assumptions over the years, to assume "Of course I'm included" but it's definitely a stretch for me.

When a general invitation is thrown out to a group of people you're among, do you presume you are included or presume you aren't included?

* Okay, there's only so much time I can spend in a tent alone. By the way, everyone heard you.

** Yeah, that's what she said. You're getting judgy, aren't you?

*** It makes orgies really awkward.

20 November 2009

The NaBloPoMo Writing Process

The afternoon before:
Open New Post screen. Stare at blank screen. Close New Post screen.

Open New Post screen. Stare at blank screen. Close New Post screen.

Well, that's it. I am officially out of things to say. NaBloPoMo has sucked me dry.

Oh, come on. You can totally do this.

I'm doubtful.

You signed up for it. You have to do it. It's a matter of pride. It's a matter of integrity. It's a matter of discipline. Do it.

How can the Black Eyed Peas have a hit song with 40 seconds of nothing but "Do it and do it and do it and do it and do it and do it and do--"?


Open New Post screen. Stare at blank screen. Write stupid post about stupid subject. Reread stupid post and tweak it 2,344 times, rereading it after every single tweak.

Check date. Set autopost date and time. Curse the Blogger time offset. Curse my math skills. Re-check date. Re-check autopost date and time.

Trust the autopost. Trust the autopost. Trust the autopost.

Hit the autopost button and seize up, anticipating that the post has flung itself into the blogosphere. Breathe a sigh of relief when it comes up as "scheduled."

Open the post and reread it. Tweak it and reread it 31 more times.

Check autopost date and time again.

Trust the autopost. Trust the autopost. Trust the autopost.

Hit the autopost button and seize up. Breathe a sigh of relief when it, again, comes up as "scheduled."

Force self to go home without the computer.

The evening before:
Dammit! I should have brought the computer home. Wonder if I can rewrite the entire post from my phone? Or maybe the DSi, since it has a larger screen. Of course, I'd have to type each letter with the stylus--

Stop it.

It's a crappy post.

They can't all be golden. It still counts.

The morning of:
Check via phone that the post actually has posted at the appropriate time. Wonder why I am humming "I Gotta Feeling." Reread post. Notice typo that was not visible during any of the thousands of previous readings. Curse. Consider the post as a whole.

It's not as bad as I remembered. It's not *good* but I've done worse.

2 minutes after posting:

No one's commenting. Why isn't anyone commenting? Talk to me, people!

It hasn't even hit the reader yet.


20 minutes after posting:
Okay, now it's hit the reader. Nobody's commenting. God, this is a sucky post. People are embarrassed for me, I can feel it.

Shut up.

*You* shut up.

Calm down. They'll comment.

They won't. It totally sucks.

True, but they'll still comment.

They won't.


When the first comment comes in:

YAAAAAAAAAYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm not gammoned! This is great! Haha, a witty comment!

One minute later:

So, what? That's it? One comment?!

Shut up!

*You* shut up!

19 November 2009

"I wanna be high, so high..." --Lionel Richie

I can distinctly remember a college suite-mate, junior year, saying that she wanted to take a shower and then plopping down on the sofa. When one of us asked her why she wasn't going to take her shower, she said, "I have to get psyched to get wet."

Really? You're 21 and a shower is too much for you? Gotta work up a plan? Maybe limber up in anticipation of those first droplets shocking your body? Get your head in the right state for the deluge? Do a few visualization practice showers? Or, maybe, start with a little water splashing in the sink, like the old ladies at the public pool?

This was also the same chick who had a bong hit before her first class. Every. Single. Day. Her major was early education. Yeah, teaching little kids.

Assuming she did get her teaching certificate, the kids she taught should be hitting the workforce right about now. It all starts to make sense, doesn't it...

18 November 2009

"You can go your own way..." --Fleetwood Mac

I went to the store for Coke, cheese and crackers. I came home with ~$50 worth of stuff. That's not including the Coke, cheese and crackers, which I got, too.

I am the person they put the impulse items out for.

My Id: Look! Cookies with jimmies! We were just talking about jimmies!
My Superego: We were also talking about how much weight you've gained recently.

I didn't buy the cookies. But it was a close call. Even when I was on the other side of the store, I thought about circling back. Because, you know: JIMMIES!!

Yes, I go to the store with a list. But a list for me is just a vague idea of what I'm going to get. Kind of like a couple weeks back when we went to a party...

At home:
Hubby: Do you know where she lives?
Me: Yes.

After half an hour of circling, downtown, with me giving directions:
Me: What is it? You look irritated.
Hubby: You said you knew where she lived.
Me: I do. I was there last week. I'll find it. We're pretty close.
Hubby: Yeah, you've been saying that for a while, too.

After another 15 minutes:
Hubby: Does any of this look familiar?
Me: I'm not sure. Um, take a right.
Hubby: I can't take a right here.
Me: Oh. Um, okay, go around.
Hubby: What do you mean go around?
Me: The block.
Hubby: Just tell me: straight or left?
Me: Mmm, left.

After another 10 minutes:
Me: That's her building! See? I told you I knew where it was.
Hubby laughs, looks at me, incredulous.
Me: What? I got us here.
Me: What?!

Question 1: Do you have a specific list you stick rigidly to when you grocery shop?

Question 2: When you say you know where some place is, do you mean you know specifically or you have a general idea and will eventually stumble upon it? (What?!)

17 November 2009

"Hey, good lookin..." --Hank Williams, Jr.

It's strange the power that words can have to simultaneously flatter and flatten you. Sort of like the gaming that gets perpetrated these days... "You don't sweat a lot for a fat chick."

Early in my second career (computer engineer), I went with a small team (the boss and four other men) to Germany to meet with our counterparts, listen to various talks, and present information.

I was young, nervous, inexperienced. My boss was an exceptionally good boss and he encouraged me. His boss I only knew of; I'd never met him. He turned up in Germany.

At the appointed time, I delivered my presentation. It was as technical and boring as the other talks. The audience politely applauded and then the session broke. My boss and colleagues gathered around me and told me I'd done a good job. My boss' boss came over and introduced himself to me. Then he said, "You gave a good presentation. It's nice to see you're not just a pretty face." He then walked away.

My boss saw the thunder clouds in my face and immediately tried to do damage control... "Now, now, he didn't mean that. He thought he was paying you a compliment. He's from the old school of business... he doesn't know any better."

These days, if someone tells me I'm attractive, I am certainly pleased but there's still that tiny part of me that hears my old boss' boss.

Being a decoration? Not high on my list. I want to be viewed as attractive. I think everyone does. But it isn't first on my preferred list of adjectives. I like to think I am more than whatever it is you see, or think you see, when you look at me (whether you find me attractive or not.) *

The question(s) of the day: What adjective would it please you most for people to say about you? Where does attractiveness come in on your list?

* I realize many of you haven't seen me but work with me here. Suffice to say I am movie star quality attractive. Think Ernest Borgnine.

16 November 2009

"Can it be that it was all so simple then..." --Barbra Streisand

When I was a kid, my Mum would slice a lemon in half, pour sugar on a plate and give it to me. I'd dip the lemon half in the sugar and lick it. This was a treat. The original sweet-tart.

I still love really tart/tangy lemonade: lots of lemon with simple syrup and water, but I have a hard time imagining sitting down with a plate of sugar and half a lemon and going to town at this point in my life. It sounds like a strange thing for Mum to do but I have to believe it was probably better for me than the Pixy Stix and the Wax Bottles and the Zotz and all the other candies I happily ingested as a child.

[Anybody remember this candy? I always wound up peeling bits of paper off the back of the buttons. And I don't remember it coming wrapped in cellophane--just sort of dusted with cornstarch. At least, I want to believe it was cornstarch.]

I don't know anyone else who ever dipped lemon in sugar and licked it. I know people that sucked lemons through peppermint stick candy, but that's as close as I've gotten. Of course, I never put my question out to the interwebs before.

Have you ever dipped lemon in sugar and licked it? Did you enjoy strange treats as a wee bairn that you (probably) wouldn't eat today?

15 November 2009

"Don't take me half the way" --Crystal Gayle

Today marks the half-way point of NaBloPoMo and it's been harder than I thought it would be (which was pretty hard to begin with!) I had to double up on the blogger supplements*. But, hey, I am nothing if not tenacious about things that matter little.

Perhaps the hardest for me is posting on the weekends. I gotta tell ya, I'm not a fan of the weekend posting. Weekends are cold, man. Cold! Way less hits, only a few comments... it's ego deflating for sure. If I didn't know better, I'd think you only read me to avoid work.


Moving on...

There is sort of a chicken and egg thing here. (Tasty!) You don't tend to come around on the weekends so I don't put a lot of time into my weekend posts so you don't come around on the weekends so...**

Which leads to the question of the day: If there were gobs of high-quality posts on the weekends, would you spend (more) weekend time surfing blogs?***

And, thank you! Thanks to those that read! Thanks to those that comment! Thanks to those that encourage! Thanks to those that amuse! And, mostly, thanks to those that like exclamation points!

* Corn pudding and vodka collinses. Am I dedicated? Absolutely.

** Yes, it's still all about me.

*** And if you're reading this on the weekend, why am I asking you?

14 November 2009

The Interwebs is Fun

Guess what I found? I'll give you a couple hints...

Want to play? Yes, you, too, can generate error messages (this time on purpose!) that say anything you want. Enjoy!

13 November 2009

"Too many fish in the sea" --The Marvelettes

Good Frides, People. Good Frides.

Because anthropomorphizing is funny...

A classic Larson:

A cartoon I spotted this week that made me laugh out loud:

And, finally, from [Citation_Needed]*:

Which leads to the question of the day. Some people believe there is only one right person for them. Some people believe there are many right people for them in the course of a lifetime. Some people believe that there are many right people for them at any given moment. Like simultaneously.** What do you think? Is there only one right person for each of us?***

* That really is the citation. Clever, no?

I do not subscribe to this theory. Still, I've decided to find your stalking charming. Carry on. Just try not to trample the flower bed next time.

** Please say it's not Alan Thicke.

12 November 2009

"Would you like to swing on a star" --Bing Crosby

When I was little, I used to think it would be nice to be a toll booth operator. Simple, repetitive work. Plenty of time to sit and think. Your own little booth. An honest living.

I never thought about breathing exhaust all day long when I was 7.

These days, there are lots of jobs I can think of that I wouldn't want. When we are on a car trip, we will sometimes play "would you rather be a ___ or a ___" to pass the time. It goes something like this...

Me: Would you rather be an Accountant or a Ditch-digger?

Well, I play. Hubby tends to respond with: What?! Neither. Where do you come up with this stuff?

But, of course, that violates the rules of the game.

Me: You have to pick one and state why.

Hubby: Accounting is incredibly boring. Ditch-digging is back-breaking work.

Me: So, which do you choose?


Me: You have to pick one and state why.

Hubby: Why?

Me: Not an acceptable answer. You can only ask clarifying questions.

Hubby: Okay, why are you doing this to me?

Me: Clarifying questions about the professions.




Me: Accountant or Ditch-digger?

Hubby: You're not going to let this go, are you?

Me: We have over 250 miles left until we get there. What do you think?

Hubby: Ditch-digger. Then, I'd have the perfect alibi.

11 November 2009

"I remember Fanny May but from where I'm standing now, Looking at my fanny may remind one of a cow" --The Four Bitchin' Babes

[Sadly, Yogi's choice of tie only accentuates his hips.]

Careful! Don't get too close. Yeah, I got it: the internet bug that's going around. You've heard about it. You know. Not the H1N1, but the piggy virus all the same. It's the one that makes you gain 10 pounds. I can't believe I caught that. I must have swung in a little close on some of my comments. Ugh. Believe me, you don't want it.

It's true. I am up 10 pounds as of the writing of this post. I, like a bear, have put on my winter layer. Except it's a little early here, as there is no snow. And it's too early to hibernate. And, oh, yeah, I'm not a bear! *grumble* Well, I may be a bear to live with but that's a whole different post.

I am 10 pounds up from what I call "Vacation Weight." Vacation Weight is that number I traditionally get down to before I go on a (beach) vacation so I'll feel good about wearing less clothing. Usually, I am do or die about this, but this year? Somehow I just couldn't deal. Unlike previous attempts, before this trip, I got to within 5 pounds of Vacation Weight and gave up. Then, on vacation I added another 5 pounds hither and yon.

Where did Vacation Weight come from? It is a number given to me by my husband. Now, hold up. Before you blast Hubby, I'm not talking about him. Twenty-five years ago, my then husband told me the weight he thought I shouldn't go above. (Did I mention he didn't have mad skillz in the people department? Hence, the "ex".) I have been trying--and more often than not failing--to meet that standard given to me by someone I haven't talked to in over 20 years. Thaaaat's right. L. A. Cochran: Embracing the Crazy Since 1985.

I went shopping last week and I am between sizes. Size-wise, I am sort of like the equator right now: splitting down the middle (which may describe my pants if I'm not careful). Clothes I would naturally reach for? Too tight. Things I will settle for? Too loose. At least I know a good tailor.

Well, so, what to do? Do I ramp up the exercise and ramp down the calories and embrace Biggest Loser as more than a spectator sport? Or do I drift up to the next size: embracing my inner Yogi? (Bear, that is.)

Hm. I've always had a fondness for pic-a-nic baskets. Then, again, I practically wear a WWJD (What Would Jillian Do) bracelet.

So, is gaining 10 pounds reason for concern? And while you're weighing (heh) in... *looks hungrily at plate* Are you gonna eat that?

10 November 2009

"There's no regrets. If I had to do the same, again, I would, my friend" --ABBA

*whispering* Pssst, guys. Over here. Hurry up and, for godssakes, keep it down. Come on in and close the door. Is everybody here? Good. Shhh. Settle down. Narm, stop picking your nose and pay attention!

Look, I shouldn't be telling you this. I could get in a lot of trouble for sharing this information. But, the truth is, I feel a little sorry for you. For years, you've been manipulated at every turn. I... I just thought you should know. But if anybody
*glares at Mike* says one word about this to a woman, you'll never get information out of me again. You hear me?

*Solemn nods from everyone but Bowie Mike, who is softly humming Stairway to Heaven. f.B elbows him and he nods, too.*

Okay... here's the thing. You know about Cosmo being all about controlling men, right? They're obvious. They put it out there on the cover--

Narm: You can say that, again.

Fine. Ha ha. What you don't know is that there are other, more subtle means of control that the Resistance hasn't been picking up on.

Gilahi, sarcastically: More subtle than Cosmo? Huh.

Yeah, mock. But the truth is, you know that innocent looking
Good Housekeeping?

Dmbosstone: Oh, come on. You can't be serious. I'm missing a game for a report on Good Housekeeping? My mother reads Good Housekeeping. What have you got? A recipe for Lemon Meringue Pie?

Exactly my point. You've been lulled into a false sense of security by the innocent looking recipes and the articles on Jane Pauley.

*There is a noise in the distance.*

hissing* Wait! Quiet! Did you hear something?

*Everyone is still. There is no sound.*

Foggy Dew: You're getting punchy. Just tell us what you've got to say and let us out of here.

All right. Here it is. Good Housekeeping has done an article on how to get your husband to rake the leaves. And I quote:

If You Want Your Husband to Rake the Leaves...
...ask him in his right ear. Requests made into that ear, not the left, are more likely to elicit a "yes." In an Italian study, a female student asked 176 people for a cigarette in a noisy nightclub. Those asked on the right side were twice as likely (39 percent) to respond favorably as those asked on the left (19 percent). The reason for the pattern? Researchers say it could be the asymmetrical way the brain processes emotions. The left hemisphere (which gets stronger input from the right ear) is specialized for positive feelings and approach behavior, while the right side (more left ear-linked) tends to be focused on negative feelings and avoidance. So whether it's for a chore or a back rub, try to get on his right side, says Luca Tommasi, Ph.D., lead researcher.

*There is stunned silence. Jamie drops to his knees and begins to pray. Dmbosstone weeps quietly. Hammer shakes his head in disbelief. f.B pounds his fist against his chair once, furiously.*

Bilbo, dazed: Agnes was reading Good Housekeeping yesterday and I smiled at her. I smiled!

Now you know. And Bilbo, I don't care if this is the Resistance, take off that stupid beret.

*A woman's voice is heard in the distance.*

Oh my god! That sounded like Kate! Or maybe Kate!
I'm out of here. You didn't see me. We didn't talk. This NEVER happened.

09 November 2009

How not to get a job

[Applying for jobs is never easy.]

Important background information for today's story: my job is not in Staffing, so this clown is cold-calling the wrong gal. And, now, on with our show.

A Recent Call (or How Not to Impress Me)

*phone rings*

Me: Hello?

Him: Yes, do you work at [org name]?

Me: *pause* Yes...

Him: Yes, can you help me get job with [org name]? I want to work for [org name]. My name is _____ and I would like job. I am very good at the work I do. [He goes on for 10 minutes without pausing on the type of job he's looking for.]

Me: Yes, well--

Him: It is very hard to get job now. I have family.

Me: Have you applied at [simple web-site name]?

Him: I made resume at [simple web-site name].

Me: Great! Then you're half-way there. Have you searched for jobs with [org name] at [simple web-site name]?

Him: No. I lose my job. I am American citizen. I lose my job. I lose my house. I have to get job! I have children. [He goes on to tell me such a tale of woe, I wonder if his true calling is writing country songs.]

Me, interrupting him: We've actually been advertising positions lately on [simple web-site name] so you can do a search and match your resume to those ads.

Him: I need job. It is very bad. I must get job.

Me: Yes. If you go to [simple web-site name] you can search the current listings and match your skills to the ads.

Him: Can you send me the information in email of everything I must do to get job?


Him: It is very bad time to lose job. Very bad.

Me: If you go to [simple web-site name] and search for the current ads for [org name], I think you'll find positions you can apply for.

Him: I have to get job. I have family.


Him: What is your name, please?

Me: You called me.

Him: ...Well, yes... I...

Me: I have to go. *click*

Yes, it IS a terrible time to not have a job. (Is there a good time? No, but, he's right: it's suckier than usual.) All the more reason why he should work hard to make a good first impression. Based on what I heard, does he deserve a job with my organization? Doubtful.

Let's review...

Strike 1: He managed to call me versus the department he should have called and prattled on instead of bothering to ask if he had the right department.

Strike 2: He told me why his life sucked as opposed to why I should hire him.

Strike 3: When I gave him good information on how to pursue opportunities, instead of thanking me, he asked me to do work on his behalf. Not exactly showing off his can-do attitude, is he?

08 November 2009

My plan to save lives

Happy Sunday!

And now a brief public service: My plan to save lives...

Sign from the Houston airport? May I present the DC Metro escalators.

DC Metro escalators? May I present the sign from the Houston airport.

It's time you two got together.

Stand Right, Walk Left. It's a beautiful system when people know it exists. Otherwise, it's just a wistful Utopian dream.

07 November 2009

"Oh, Chick Pea was a racehorse and I wish he were mine" --with multiple apologies to Peter, Paul & Mary

Don't you love misheard lyrics? I don't need to mishear them to miss-sing them.

It takes very little to get a song in my head. Sometimes it's a turn of a phrase. Sometimes a particular word. Sometimes it's just a rhythm. Doesn't even have to be a long rhythm. I did 10 minutes on "This Train", that gospel classic that Peter Paul & Mary kicked fanny on, because I said "chick pea." That's all. Chick pea.

Chick pea don't carry no gamblers, chick pea!
Chick pea don't carry no gamblers, chick pea!
Chick pea don't carry no gamblers,
No crap shooters, no midnight ramblers
Chick pea don't carry no gamblers, chick pea!

I sold it!

Stupid? Yeah. But that's how my brain works. Stupid-like. But I can amuse myself for 10 minutes without the need for batteries, so that's something.

Does anyone else do this? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

From Lala.com a sample of the real deal

06 November 2009

Assorted Flotsam

Boss: Your tag is out. *tucking tag back into the back of my dress*

Me, irritated: That's my signature look!


Do you have a cat that looks like Hitler (a kitler)?

Or do you enjoy viewing these kitlers? Then get yourself over to www.catsthatlooklikehitler.com

So, um, this counts as an entry as far as NaBloPoMo is concerned, right?

Up high!
Aw, go on. Do it.

*grin* I knew you wouldn't leave me hanging.

Need more of a high-five fix? How about we go to the video...

PS Special thanks to whomever added yesterday's post to StumbleUpon. May your life be cupcake-rich.

05 November 2009

"Don't you know I had a dream last night, that you were here with me" --Jim Croce

Years ago, I told a shrink that I didn't think the sessions were helping and maybe I should stop. He told me that if they weren't helping, I ought to set up more sessions, not less. Irritatingly, he was right. At some point, you start to peel enough of the onion that you get to the strange stuff. And some of that strange stuff may prove important.

Or just strange.

So it seems with NaBloPoMo. File this in the not funny but maybe strange enough to be interesting column. I'll bring the zany tomorrow. Promise.

Many years ago, I was in a Master's program and got a chance to take a class with a really effective instructor. Most of my instructors knew their stuff but weren't what I'd call dynamic. This guy was interesting from minute one. I loved the things he dug up and brought in to share with us. It was a marketing class and he was chock full of studies and theories about the brain and human behavior. Great stuff!*

Early in the semester, he shared that he had been in the military and that the military had done some experiments on him and some of the drugs they used might have affected his brain. Okaaayyyy. For what it's worth, he showed no signs of kookiness or paranoia, so, I believed him. And he was nothing short of a brilliant instructor, so maybe the drugs had done him some good.

One week, well into the semester, the night before class, I dreamed about the instructor. It wasn't a sex dream but the fact that he was in my dream, outside a classroom setting, was intimate enough. In reality, the only thing I found attractive about him was his ideas. But there he was in my dream. It was what I'd describe as a lucid dream; everything was hyper-real.

The next day, I woke up remembering the dream and thinking how strange it was that I'd dreamed about him. Quite frankly, it's a little embarrassing to have strangers in your subconscious. I, very decidedly, put the dream aside and went about my day.

That night, I got to class early and he immediately walked over to me, which was unusual.

He, looking perplexed and slightly alarmed, said: L.A., what are you doing to me?

Now, you have to admit, that's a mighty strange question coming from an instructor. I could have said the truth: "Nothing." But why miss an opportunity to mess with somebody?

I smiled sweetly and said: What do you think I'm doing to you?

He looked at me for a few seconds, shook his head, chuckled, and walked away.

I didn't mention it again and he didn't mention it again.

I got the distinct impression I wasn't the only one who had had that dream.

Questions du jour:

1) Would you let someone do experiments on you that might alter your brain? For country? For bucks? For some other reason?

2) Have you ever had the feeling that someone was messing with you on a psychic level?

* (To quote HIMYM) Have you met my friend, Ted? These days, I get a lot of mind-blowing ideas from Ted.

04 November 2009

"By the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea" --Atteridge and Caroll

[Obviously, not me. Who the heck wears pearls to snorkel? That's just inviting an oyster uprising.]

"I discovered I scream the same way whether I'm about to be devoured by a great white or if a piece of seaweed touches my foot." --Kevin James

We went snorkeling in Cozumel.

Well, mostly, I went snorkeling in short bursts and the husband pretended I wasn't about to get eaten by a great white shark. He was rather convincing in pretending not to be concerned. In fact, he looked like he dozed off there on his beach chair, but I'm sure it was just to reassure me that there was no cause for concern, despite my dramatic goodbye speeches and forlorn last hand wave. Every. Single. Time. I. Went. Out.

So, snorkeling: I go out into the sea and I look around and, well, that's it. But there's some pretty amazing things out there, even without the great white or the giant squid or that thing that offed the Crocodile Wrestler.*

So, on the last day before we were to head back, when the husband said he'd do the snorkel thing with me**, I was pleased. We both went out into the sea and looked around. And there was pointing! Yes, honest to god pointing! By both of us. And maybe by a fish or two. There was so much to see!

But, here's where we differ. Where I would get a little freaked out when I found myself in a school of fish and worry that I might accidentally flipper one of them, the husband was reaching out trying to touch the parrot fish.

Anyway, even more amazing, I'm talking with an acquaintance about snorkeling in Cozumel and the following conversation ensues:

Him: Yeah, if you don't mind them biting.

Me: What?

Him: The fish bite your nipples.

Me: Whaaaat?!?

Him: You probably kept your top on.

Me: Yeah...?

Him: Every time I go snorkeling the fish bite my nipples.

Me: You're kidding.

Him: No, I'm serious. *pause* They don't bite hard.

Which leads to the simultaneously delicate and indelicate question du jour: Ever had your nipples nibbled by a fish?

* Well, he didn't really hunt them, now, did he?

** Not a euphemism.

03 November 2009

"Talk, talk" --Talk Talk

A very old joke...

A guy joins a monastery and takes a vow of silence: he’s allowed to say two words every seven years.

After the first seven years, the elders bring him in and ask for his two words. "Cold floors," he says. They nod and send him away.

Seven more years pass. They bring him back in and ask for his two words. He clears his throats and says, "Bad food." They nod and send him away.

Seven more years pass. They bring him in for his two words. "I quit," he says. "That's not surprising," the elders say. "You've done nothing but complain since you got here."

I think sometimes I could be pretty happy taking a vow of silence, floors and food notwithstanding. I go through periods of being social and periods of being downright anti-social, the latter especially when I am feeling crowded, overwhelmed, beaten down or compressed. And, so, completely burned out, I really enjoyed being quiet in quiet Cozumel, sans commitments, just hearing the waves gently lapping against the shore.

Truly, even at my most social, I am not a chatter. I *can* chat and, oh, it's true, I blather on here, for you, my cheeky monkeys. But IRL, I can, at least at times, lean toward the quiet side--you know, those times I'm not drilling you with questions. Doesn't mean I'm not interested. If you ask me something*, I'll answer and maybe even expound a bit. With those friends who like to debate, I'll go full bore. But I wasn't raised in a family that encouraged chatting for the sake of chatting.

The husband, on the other hand, is a chatter. He'll talk to anyone at any time anywhere. I notice this particularly when we are on vacation because we spend large blocks of time together then. It takes him no time at all to meet a variety of people. Where I am enjoying the quiet, he'll be striking up conversations. He'll offer to fetch us drinks and ten minutes will go by. I'll find him at the bar, with my watered down drink still clutched in his hand, chatting. He hasn't even realized the time has gone by. And it's not all on him. He has the kind of countenance that invites chatting. People will choose to chat with him all the time. His face says, "Why, yes, please tell me what Houston is like in July." While mine apparently says "Do you have a death wish?" I don't think I intentionally put a squinky look on my face but there it is.

So, it was with interest that I noted one of the Date Lab questions in this past Sunday's Washington Post: "Chances you'd talk to a stranger in a bar..." I have talked to strangers in bars. I've had strangers in bars talk to me. But it's not the norm for me. I'd say the chances are ~10%.

What are the chances you'd talk to a stranger in a bar?

* You could at least pretend to take an interest, fergawdssake.

02 November 2009

"So much that I wanna do when I dream I'm alone with you" --ABBA

True confession: I have never played Spin the Bottle. No really. If I had, I'd totally tell you. I've played Truth or Dare, which, let's face it, is a stupid thing to do. Let me get this straight: I can either tell you something I had no intention of ever telling you or do something I had no intention of ever doing? Sign me up! What could possibly go wrong with this plan?

But, alas, I was never invited to play Spin the Bottle. I've never been in a room with people playing Spin the Bottle. I've heard of people playing Spin the Bottle but I have no first hand knowledge. I have a hard time imagining ever being that indiscriminate about whom I smooch on. Suppose you do get the dog. With it's ALPO breath and floppy tongue and muddy paws* and sheddy fur and over-enthusiastic tail. The slightest encouragement and the next thing you know, this happens (Warning: strangely NSFW):

Um, no.

Do people still play Spin the Bottle? Have you ever played Spin the Bottle? And, if so, was it *nudge*nudge*wink*wink* fun?

* Okay, that's pretty hot.

01 November 2009

"It's been a long November and I've reason to believe" --with apologies to Counting Crows

[So much truth in those chickens.]

*wild eyed panic*


Why are you looking at me??!

Oh, um, yeah. I'm posting. On a Sunday. Crazy shenanigans, right? Next I'll be mixing chocolate with peanut butter.*

I... well, see, I may have signed up for NaBloPoMo.

L.A., you're going to post every day in November?


You posted a total of seven times in the month of October.


Seven times!

Which just proves I can come up with things to talk about. Like NaBloPoMo, which is pretty fun to say. NaBloPoMo. NaBloPoMo.





You're mouthing it, aren't you? I like the way your lips move when you read.


It's going to be a long November. So, tune in here daily to watch me sweat. Same Bat Time. Same Bat Channel.

* You're kidding! When? Why didn't I see this on Twitter?**

** Note to self: See? Proof that Twitter is utter rubbish.***

*** Note to self: Um, try not to alienate your readers, many of whom are on Twitter.****

**** Note to self: You're bossy.