31 August 2010

"These are the good old days" --Carly Simon

[There was nothing in the dress code about ruffles.]

Went bowling last night with a bunch of bloggers, former bloggers, and blogger wannabes* at the hipster hangout, Lucky Strike. It was a lot of fun. I gave myself the designation of "team anchor" as my score was way lower than anybody else'. I bowl like Roseanne Barr sings.. or like Paris Hilton... what does Paris Hilton do? Anyway, still, gobs of fun. This was a group that wasn't consumed with performance anxiety and I like that.

Next to us was a woman who was bowling alone, in a long, clingy dress. Did I mention Lucky Strike has a dress code? Yes, a bowling alley with a dress code ...and a proper bar ... and real food choices... but I digress. The woman was friendly and a good bowler and even offered me some advice, which took me from a Captain Hook-level-scary-assed hook into the gutter to a much less cantankerous hook ...into the gutter. Not her fault. What she said made sense.

Anyway, it got me thinking... I don't think I'd go bowling on my own. She had no trouble with it and was garnering some attention from a number of gentlemen but it didn't slow her down one bit. She was there to bowl. Maybe she was practicing for a league she was in. Maybe she'd heard there'd be bloggers around and wanted to be near us.***

I'll eat a meal on my own, though pretty much only at a few casual places. But I don't think I'd go to a movie alone or bowl alone. I'd feel like people were staring at me. But, then, maybe they're staring because they sense I'm a blogger.****

So, thanks to all the wonderful peeps who made last night so fun! I am practicing my "knock those wobbly pins over" lane dance as we speak, because my dancing? Not quite up to par with my bowling.

And now for the questions du jour: Would you bowl alone? Eat at a fancy restaurant alone? Go to a movie alone? What public activities would you be willing to do alone?

And also? It's been around awhile but I still love it:

* In my mind, everyone secretly wants to be a blogger.**

** Of course, in my mind, there's dancing purple hippos. Pretty!

*** Careful... You don't really want to be known as an illusion shatterer, do you?

**** Say 'when.'

24 August 2010

"The Internet is for porn" --Avenue Q

So, porn.

(Catchy opening, no?)

Back in the 80s, I went to Munich on business trips several times. At one hotel we stayed at, I flipped the channels on the TV and found soft core porn. Just there; no payment required. But it was soft, soft stuff. It consisted of five minute vignettes of women starting to undress. That was it. You'd see a woman in a silk robe and she'd flirt with the camera and slide the robe over one shoulder and back up. Eventually she'd drop the robe and she'd be in a bustier. Maybe you'd get to see her unhook her stockings or twirl her necklace before it switched to a different vignette. Um, okay. If that's the kind of thing that does it for you, I've got an old Sears catalog you're going to love.

These days, with porn so readily available on the Interwebs, I worry for the mom and pop porn shops.

Okay, maybe not.

Tangential questions: Do porn shops get handed down, generation to generation? What does teacher say when Billy's mummy or daddy comes in for career day and talks about the porn shop they run?

It's amazing that porn shops still exist but they do. Every city has them. The sketchy newsstand shops with the "no one under 18" back room. The movie rental stores with the blacked in windows. The lingerie stores with the back rooms, the front rooms, the display cases, the outfits, the gear. (What? I hear things.) The stripper bars. If anything, this is a growth industry, pulsing with life.*

Which brings us to the question of the day... Since we've been hanging out together for a while, tell me: How comfortable are you walking into a porn-related establishment?

* "heaving with possibility"? "exploding with potential"? Fine. Be that way.

11 August 2010

"It's the end of the world as we know it" --R.E.M.

I can't make this stuff up.

About a mile from our house, on a busy corner that I pass every day, stands a house. Originally, it was a small stone house and it was fine. Charming, even.

Then, the owners decided to build a house two to three times the size of the original house, right next to the original house, and attach the two. They didn't actually match the two houses in any way. Because attached to a small stone cottage, you want a great big, wood-sided, Aspen style, ski lodge of a house. Niiiiiice.

Grandma and Grandpa moved into the small stone portion of the... *insert Kathy Griffin suspicious look and tone here* ...family compound.

They cleared the front yard except for a half-dozen, four foot diameter boulders which they put on the corner. Different!

They made half of the front yard a driving pad. Whatever, right?

In the process of clearing the front yard, they left half a tree in the front, center. A four foot stump. Pretty!

To the four foot stump they attached a placard advertising a Christian radio station. I'll bet their neighbors were really loving them at this point.

Then, they put up chain link fencing... but not around the house. Not even up to the house. Not these people. They created a rectangular enclosure on the grass part of the front yard around the stump/sign post. It's maybe 20 feet by 10 feet. I imagined that maybe it was a space for a puppy. Nope, a chain link "play area" for their toddler. They moved molded plastic toys into the enclosure and placed them on wooden pallets instead of just on the grass. The kind of wooden pallets you'd expect to see on a loading dock. Fancy!

Then, they moved the Christian radio station sign from the stump out to the fence and affixed two more identical signs to other parts of the fence.

I try hard not to rank on people for poor taste because, lets face it, I've been known to wear quite a few regrettable outfits. But every time I drove by, I couldn't help but wonder, "Don't they care how their place looks?"

And, then, the other day, I got my answer. They don't care.

They now have an SUV parked on their driving pad, positioned for optimal viewing. It is painted/has a skin with depictions of skulls and fire and other Armageddon-like images. It also has the following printed in great big letters:

"The End of the World is Almost Here!"

Underneath that it says:

"Holy God will Bring Judgment Day on May 21, 2011"

Because we wouldn't want to wait all the way to 2012 for the end of the world, with those goofy Mayans, right?

Amazing, no? No wonder these people don't care how their house looks. End of the world? Higher priority.

Here's the kicker:
One of their other vehicles is an official Homeland Security vehicle. I kid you not. Isn't it comforting to know that the folks who are keeping us safe are of the belief that the world is coming to an end in 2011?!

I called Homeland Security to report it. I'm very Agnes Kravitz, that way.

They asked me why I was calling. I explained the two vehicles. They asked, again, why I was calling. I said I thought they might like to know that one of their employees believed the world was coming to an end and I was concerned said employee might do something strange (like, oh, I dunno, create a doomsday scenario themselves?) or at the very least they might require psychiatric evaluation. The call taker said they would look into it. I never heard back from them.

So, in the interest of blogging--I mean keeping America safe--I called Homeland Security back to find out what happened. They hedged. They gave me a website where I could submit a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and then they would provide information on the case. According to the website, by just submitting the request, I agree to pay as much as $25 for the information.

So, um, no.

Consider this your warning that we may have less than a year here. So, considering the short time we have: screw work. You may as well spend the rest of your time reading and commenting on blogs, right?

Questions du jour: What do people who think the world is going to end on a particular day do when that day comes and goes (hopefully) without incident? And--long shot here--should we be invited, what is the appropriate hostess gift for an "end of the world" party?

09 August 2010

Assorted Flotsam

Quick, what color is a yield sign here in the US?

Go ahead. Think on it.
*taps foot and hums Jeopardy theme song*

Got your answer? Good!

Did you say yellow? Me, too! *joins in happy dance*

And we're both wrong! Yield signs used to be yellow twenty-nine years ago! Now, they're red and white.

How do these mass delusions happen?

Makes you wonder what else we've been missing, hm?

You know how every exercise program advises people to consult their physician before they start it? And they never do? I think it's because they're afraid of what they might hear: "Yes! Exercise! Start immediately! I didn't know how to broach the topic but it's such a relief to hear you admit you're in terrible shape! This is exactly what you need. Can you do more than one program?"

We saw two movies in the theater in three weeks' time! This is so rare this may be a sign of the apocalypse. Best stock up on Dr. Pepper and Cheetos, just in case. Speaking of Dr. Pepper, we did the "upgrade" on popcorn and soda that was "only 50 cents more" and wound up with a soda so large I couldn't hold it in one hand. I'm serious. I could either lift it with both hands or leave it in the cupholder, lean in, and suck.*

We saw Inception and Dinner for Schmucks. No worries, no spoilers here. Suffice to say that Inception was interesting and visually stunning and hard to follow. Which is why it amazed me that multiple kids were texting during it. I know this because their screens were bright beacons in the otherwise dark theater. If you need additional entertainment during Inception, there's something very wrong with you.

Dinner for Schmucks had heart. It was sweet and funny and predictable and not an "important" movie at all. Also, if you plan to see it, sit through all the credits. We were the only ones in the theater who did. There's another 30 seconds of story after the credits finish. Which, I gotta say, I love. A little bonus!

Question du jour: Do you usually stay through the credits?

Also? We bought a gorgeous painting from a wonderful blogger who is exhibiting at the Maris Elaine Gallery at National Harbor. I also bought two pairs of earrings at the gallery and we will probably go back around the holidays as there are great gift options there that are reasonably priced. If you're in the area, check 'em out.

Disclaimer: I am not on the payroll for Judith or the gallery... just impressed!

When we were in Georgia last month, we ate at a Mexican restaurant that had a "Dirty Sanchez" listed as a menu option. Really? Really?? You know who ever got that past the owner is having a good snicker.

* As god intended.

03 August 2010

"It's getting to the point where I'm no fun anymore" --Crosby, Stills, Nash and sometimes Young

I've been stressed about work lately which means I wake up in a panic a few times a night. This means evenings look something like this...

without the lilting piano music. It's all I can do to stay awake much less be any fun anymore. I sit, googly-eyed, grateful for the comforting touch of the Hubs...

It's not pretty.

I'm feeling the need to do something to get me out of my rut. Maybe join a kickball league. You know, something to get my bad ass moving again and tire me out enough so maybe I'll sleep better. Or at least be a more toned corpse. I need a little play in my life.

Questions du jour: Does anyone as decrepit as me join kickball leagues? If I started a team, would any of you locals be interested in joining in? Have I lost my mind? And, finally, what do you do when you're feeling a need for play?