Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Miracle

I am not making any of this up.

This past September, my sister Laura had her wallet stolen at a party. Obviously, she was a wreck. Everything was in that wallet. And it was a Coach wallet, so the wallet itself was actually worth more than its contents.

Last week, Laura stayed up all night working on final projects for school. While taking a break, she started creeping around facebook. She found a folder that holds messages from people she's not friends with. She'd never seen this folder before and she didn't get notifications for the messages, so there were a handful of old messages. One of them, from September: "Hi, I don't know if this is the right Laura, but have you lost a wallet recently?"

Laura messaged the girl back: "Hey, sorry I just found this message. But, yes, I did lose a wallet back in September."

Wallet Girl: "No problem! I think I still have the wallet around here somewhere."

Seriously. This happened.

Wallet Girl then flaked out for a few days, not returning messages or texts, but my sister did eventually get a chance to meet up with her and get her wallet back. It still had everything in it (minus $20 cash), including old receipts. For real.


Laura thinks this is good karma from giving money to the charity Santas in front of stores.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Such a talented family.

This morning my sister decided it was about time Zazu became a circus bird. So she taught him how to spin. That may not sound very impressive, but considering this is the result of one day of training, I'd say there's definitely potential for Zaz to learn some fun tricks.


Thursday, December 08, 2011

Hott Pads

I'm making quilted potholders (and, depending on my ambition level, larger matching hot pads) for my mom and grandma for Christmas this year*. I decided to whip up one out of random fabrics I had lying around before I tackled the real ones. And, actually, I kind of dig it. The binding is a little wonky, and the quilting-lines aren't straight because I just eye-balled it instead of measuring/marking, but overall I think it turned out alright. I used it to get my pizza out of the oven today and my hands are burn-free. What more could you ask for?

(Apologies for the blurry cellphone pics)


Here's the back. The binding actually looks wonkier from the back, and you can better see how the lines aren't straight. But still, not bad for being whipped up in just a couple hours after work.

Once I get the hang of these potholders, I may try to clear out my fabric closet by selling some on etsy.


*I tried to make potholders for mom & gma for christmas two years ago.... It may have been a little ambitious for my skill level at the time, because I bent my needle and screwed up my machine for a while. That's why I felt I had to try a test-potholder before I went right into making the ones I'm actually going to give out. I managed to complete this one without ruining anything, so I'd say all's good.

Monday, December 05, 2011

This is what happens when I can't sleep

I start watching old Daily Show clips, and while the video is taking a million years to buffer I notice that the picture of Jon Stewart in the banner has to be at least 10 years old. It looks like they took a Big Daddy era picture of him and just photoshopped some grey into his hair. For real.




And in case you were wondering, this is the etsy page you can see in my tabs. Steotch makes me want to learn cross stitch.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Well, there we have it.

It finally happened. A combination of fever, upper respiratory grossness, and my mom's birthday made me forget to post yesterday. I made it over halfway through the month, which is not bad. Since I already failed the NaBloPoMo objective, I probably won't post much here for a little while. Let my mind grapes regain their juices.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Upper Respiratory Infection

Yep, I'm sick. Surprise surprise, the girl who never takes vitamins, hates orange juice, and may or may not frequently eat cold cereal for dinner has no immune system. In my defense, my favorite cereals are Raisin Bran Crunch and Frosted Mini Wheats, which seem like they should be healthy.

I just woke up after another nap. I was thinking, as I was falling asleep, that this infection was finally going to keep me from posting during NaBloPoMo. But, no, I'm still here. This disease will not keep me from reaching arbitrary goals!

So before I leave you to drink some more Sprite and take another 3 hour nap, I would like to ask why I'm the only person who ever looks sick in the doctor's waiting room. Seriously, today I was in the waiting room with two adorable old guys, a lady in an ill-advised but clearly not fever-induced outfit, and a guy in a suit. None of them behaved remotely like they were ill. Meanwhile I was wearing mismatched sweats, shivering through four layers, and trying not to vomit or fall asleep. This is not the first time this has happened, either. It's like this every time I go to the doctor. Is it because I only go to the doctor when I'm super sick? Or am I just such a drama queen that it's impossible for me to hide my symptoms?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I'll never let go!

Y'all, I was in middle school when Titanic came out. I saw it 3 times in theaters. I loved it so hard. I loved it so much my mom made sure I got the Titanic on VHS the day it was released. For my eight-grade picture we were allowed to bring props, and I brought my copy of the Titanic soundtrack.

Honestly, I still kind of love it. Last year I was heartbroken when I found out all DVD versions of Titanic were out-of-print, because I wanted to buy it for Abby to go with the Gin and Titonic ice cube trays I had also bought her. Well, now I know why they weren't selling the DVDs: because it's coming back to theaters!


I want to get drunk and watch this so bad. Abby, you're going to have to fly back here so that we can go to Hollywood Blvd and watch this shit.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I'm bringing my own bottle.

People who are excited that Black Friday shopping is starting at midnight this year clearly aren't planning on drinking as much wine with Thanksgiving dinner as I am. 10pm-1am are prime passed-out-in-front-of-the-TV hours, not waiting-outside-of-Target-with-a-bunch-of-weirdo-strangers hours.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Notes from a Coat Closet volunteer

Do you have coats that your kids have outgrown? Jackets that are no longer your style? Coats that are missing a button but are otherwise in great shape? Donate them to your local coat closet! There are tons of families in your town that would appreciate your generosity.

Do you have filthy coats that have been in your basement growing black mold for the last fifteen years? Sweatshirts that were most recently used as a dog bed/ pee pad? Coats that are in such bad shape I can only assume the last time it was worn the owner was attacked by a Chupacabra? Donate them to your local dumpster. Seriously, nobody wants that shit.

If you would like to help out your local Coat Closet but don't have any extra coats, here are some fantastic ways to help:
* Volunteer your time. We can always use people to sort through donations, do laundry, or man the tables.
* Do you knit/crochet? Handmade hats, scarves, gloves and mittens are always appreciated.
* Stalk department store clearance racks and garage sales during the spring/summer seasons. Coats may not come down enough in price that you'd buy one just to donate, but hats and gloves will get down to less than fifty cents a piece. Warm socks are also popular.

If you're not sure where your community coat closet is located, check with local churches. The library will probably also know where you can get involved.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Did I mention yet that I'm awesome?*

I am getting much better grades in graduate school than I ever did in undergrad. I don't think that grad school is easier than undergrad, far from it, I just think I care more. I suspect that this is true for most grad students.

Last week I got a perfect score on a midterm. I had worked really hard on it and spent the entire week stressing over it. It was a take home exam, and a coworker, let's call her L, who is in the same class (different section) and I formed an unofficial study group. We didn't share our answers, and we never saw each other's midterms, we just bounced ideas off each other for some of the questions. It was really helpful.

When our grades were posted, I happened to be at work, so went to ask L if the instructor had posted the grades for her section yet. He had, so we thumbs-upped each other to signal that we had both done well. The director at our library was standing behind us while we had this conversation, and she kind of scoffed and said "I hate to burst your bubbles, but it's hard to get a bad grade in grad school."

Yeah.

I think she meant that most of the people in the class probably did well**, which is probably true, because as I said earlier, people in grad school care. But the way she said it implied that L and I shouldn't be celebrating our good grades, because grad school itself isn't hard. I mean, her statement is factually wrong. It would have been a lot easier to get a bad grade. I could have disregarded grammar, done fewer essay drafts, half-assed my research. It would have been a lot easier to use shitty examples rather than squeeze my mind grapes. I mean, seriously- the hours upon hours L and I spent working on this midterm was hard. I don't appreciate having my accomplishments belittled.

Whatever yo, I worked my ass off on that assignment and I earned that 100%. And my mom bought me tiramisu as a reward for being awesome.

*I could not think of a good title for this post. This seemed kind of all-purpose.
**I have to do a lot of this kind of interpreting. Some people just need to think before they speak.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Dinner and Dead

I no longer get AMC since I downgraded my cable package, so every Sunday night I go over to my parents' house to have family dinner and watch The Walking Dead. Because nothing says "family bonding" like zombie apocalypse. I've taken to calling these gatherings "Dinner and Dead." When Mad Men starts up again it'll change to "Dinner and Draper."

Anyway, my dad's out of town, so tonight's Dinner and Dead was just madre and me. Kind of odd that it would be an all female audience for Dead tonight (well, in our house at least) because I feel like tonight's episode did nothing positive for its female characters. Spoilers below.

I am not exaggerating when I say that the only things the main female characters did in tonight's ep were: do laundry, make dinner, accidentally shoot a main character, and cry. And two of the male characters had a distasteful conversation that basically boiled down to "Are all these bitches PMSing?" "Don't let them hear you say that!"

And of course when Darryl was hallucinating, his brother called him a girl name to shame him. Because there is nothing worse than being female. Although, I guess that makes sense, because an asshole like Merle would totally use girl names as his go-to insult.

Now I still haven't finished the first season (shut up, I'm busy), and I haven't read the graphic novels, but I'm wondering: Is this what the female characters have always been like? Kind of useless? Also, did I miss it, or did they not show how Carol reacted to the doll? Did the other characters not tell her?

Although my judgement may be a little skewed because right before The Walking Dead my mom and I watched the excellent episode of Downton Abbey where Lady Sybil is all pro-women's rights and has the dressmaker make her a frock with pants. Lady Sybil is my favorite.

UPDATE: Apparently I'm not the only one who felt this way about tonight's Walking Dead ep. A facebook friend's status: "Soooo... basically The Walking Dead just told everyone that women should do the d@mn laundry and stay in the kitchen."

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Three Wishes

I'm super tired tonight, so I'm falling back on one of Blogher's NaBloPoMo writing prompts. This prompt is actually from yesterday, but whatevs.

"It's 11/11/11. Make three wishes."

I'm just going to go ahead and give you what my 3 wishes would be should I happen upon a Genie.

1) No more debt. Basically my only debt right now are my student loans, because I'm carrying less than $1000 of debt total across all my credit cards. So that just leaves the tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt that I'd just like taken care of, please and thanks.

2) New car. Ye olde Ford Focus is still running strong, but I worry that she's going to give out on me one of these days. I'd really like to avoid car payments.

3) More time with friends. My best friend lives several states away, and I hardly ever get to see any of my nearby friends because I'm so busy with work and school.

So there you have it. When I finally find my wish-granting Genie, I'm taking my friends on shopping in my new car.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Liz Lemon!

My dad has discovered 30 Rock.

I'm not really sure how it took him so long, but now he loves it. Apparently he's been practicing his Tracy Jordan impression by walking around his office yelling "Liz Lemon!" It's his favorite non sequitur since the Lil Jon sketch on Chappelle Show introduced him to "What? Yeah!" Y'know, it's a good thing he's often alone at his office.

He's started watching it on Comedy Central, which is showing 2 episodes on weeknights starting at 6. This is the perfect time for him, because if he's working days he'll get home from work about 5:15-5:30, eat dinner right away, and then settle down in the family room to enjoy some TGS shenanigans. If I'm joining my parents for dinner (which is often, because I'm too lazy to go grocery shopping on a regular basis), I'll watch with him. It's fun to watch comedies with my dad because he has an awesome, booming laugh. He laughs loud enough for five people.

Last night was the two-part episode where Liz has to go to three weddings in the same day. After the cold open my dad turned to me and said what might be the greatest sentence he has ever uttered. It was originally the title of this post but I changed it so as to not spoil the surprise.

"I'm gonna need a fudgesicle!"

So that's pretty much the best description of my father ever. He's a loud laugher who enjoys offbeat comedies and fudgesicles. Who can blame him?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

It's a good thing I don't defuse bombs for a living.

Well I finally remembered what I wanted to write about yesterday, and I was right. It was good. But, it's going to have to wait for another day because I have another story to tell first, which is not as thoughtful, but I'm telling it anyway.

So for one of my classes I have to read a "context" book and talk about how it relates to library science. I decided to listen to the audiobook because I'm super busy and would rather have someone else read the book to me than use my precious free time reading it myself. I had to get it on a Playaway, which is a pre-loaded mp3 player, instead of CDs because well.... that was my only option. "That's fine," I told myself, "my FM transmitter in my car has an auxiliary input, so I can still listen on my commute." After I finally got the Playaway (it took a few weeks, apparently I'm not the only person who wants to listen to The Warmth of Other Suns), and I finally found the cable I needed to plug the Playaway into the aux input, I finally started listening to it Tuesday on the way to class.

Now, I bought my FM transmitter the same day I bought my iPod. That was well over five years ago. Since I'm pretty sure electronics age in dog years, let's just say my FM transmitter is definitely over the hill. Or I guess I should say it was over the hill. It is no more. It has ceased to be. And it was all my fault.

I've known for a while that the transmitter was on its last legs. First the display started lighting up randomly. "That's okay," I said. "I totally know where the 'lights off' button is!" Then the numbers on the display (the ones that let you know which radio station you're tuned to) started fading, eventually to the point where the numbers were no longer visible. "Oh, that's alright, as long as I never change the station, everything will be fine." I seem to talk to myself a lot in the car. I also seem to talk myself out of replacing obviously dying electronics.

So on Tuesday night after class, as I'm pulling out of the parking garage, I notice that the display light on the transmitter has turned itself on again. For some reason I have a complete brain fart and I forget which button is the "lights off" button. It's one of the round circle buttons on either side of the transmitter.... but which one? What happens if I cut the wrong wire hit the wrong button?? The pressure is building as I debate between the right button and the left button, until I'm sure the car behind me is gonna be pissed that I'm not turning, so I hit the button on the transmitter's left side. It was the wrong button. Now I'm just listening to static and bits of other radio stations.

I'm going to go ahead and blame the fact that I had had a very long day and insufficient caffeine. Because, y'all.... the buttons are labeled. One button has a little light bulb next to it and the other has a P inside a circle. Had I just looked at the damn thing instead of feeling my way towards the buttons, none of this would have happened. But, no. I was sure I could figure this out, though. What could a P in a circle mean? "Power! Just hit the button again and it'll turn back on!"

Nope.

I tried hitting it over and over again, I tried holding it down, but I couldn't figure out what that button did. I've moved about five times since I bought that transmitter, so I'm sure I don't have the instruction booklet anymore. Even if I did have it, the display doesn't work anymore and I'm sure that's something I'd need after all those buttons I hit. Oh, yeah... I didn't just hit the P button. I may or may not have also hit the arrow buttons a bunch of times to change radio stations to try and figure this out. Which may or may not have been the stupidest thing I could have done, because I may or may not have already mentioned that the display doesn't work anymore. So now not only do I not know what the P button does, I also don't know what station the transmitter is tuned to.

I finally had to admit that my transmitter was dunzo. Without anything else to listen to, I turned on the radio and listened to what might be the Chicago radio version of Barney Stinson's Get Psyched mix. It was all rise. I sang my heart out to I Don't Wanna Miss A Thang by Aerosmith and some Alanis Morrisette that I was surprised to learn I still knew the words to. And when I got home, I ordered myself the cheapest replacement transmitter I could get. $11. We'll see how this works out.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

I tried retracing my steps. I tried talking to Achilles.

So today while I was at work I had a great idea for a post. It was so good, part of me wanted to open up blogger and start writing right then and there. However, my conscience got the best of me and I decided to do real work and leave the blogging for after.

I've now been off work for three hours, and I have no idea what I was going to write. None. I'm Paul Kinsey in the Mad Men episode "The Color Blue," where he gets a great idea for a Western Union ad but then falls asleep without writing it down.

I need a Peggy Olson.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Fun with Copyright Law

My professor showed this video in class tonight, and I don't have a post prepared for tonight so I'm just going to go ahead and leave this here.


Now excuse me, I have to go watch The Emperor's New Groove. And Lilo and Stitch. And Monsters Inc.

Monday, November 07, 2011

The Middle

Yesterday, in a desperate attempt to not do housework, I decided to convert some more old home videos to DVD. Christmases 1991 and 1995 are real winners.

Both of these videos highlight how my sister and I were complete opposites when we were kids. My mom used to say that she could have put Laura and me in a bag, shook us up, and maybe normal kids would come out. We were always at opposite ends of any spectrum. In Christmas 1995, my 5 year-old sister barely hides her contempt for all her gifts that were not her My Size Barbie. Contrast that with young Miranda, who shows an equal level of enthusiasm for all of her gifts. And not like a mid-range level of enthusiasm either. Every present I open is the best present ever.

Laura developed a theory based on these videos. The reason we get along so well now is because I used up all my enthusiasm by being overly excited over socks, and she saved up all her pleasantness by literally throwing presents she didn't like (clothes) over her shoulder and out of the way of the good presents. So now she's nicer and I'm grouchier. We've met in the middle where we have an equal amount of enthusiasm for life.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

That guy?

I'm pretty good at recognizing actors when I see them in other roles. I guess I have to give most of the credit here to IMDb, because mostly I just go "hey that guy looks familiar" and then jump on IMDb to figure out where I know him/her from. There are very few times when I completely do not recognize an actor in another role. But this one blew my mind:

The main character from The Walking Dead, Sheriff Rick Grimes...


... is the same man who played the guy with the cue-cards who was in love with Kiera Knightly in Love, Actually.


I did not realize that was him until someone pointed it out to me.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

A Tale of Resourcefulness and Laziness. Mostly Laziness.

On October 25th, I drove home from school in a terrible storm. I knew even before I reached my apartment that the power was out. I could tell as soon as I pulled into the neighborhood. I mean, usually there isn't a lot of activity in the houses on my block at 10:30pm on Tuesdays, but usually there is some form of life inside the houses. A TV on in the front room. A light on in a back bedroom. Nothing. So dark.

I pulled up to my apartment and arranged the things I would need to get inside. Obviously leaving my porchlight on when I had left for class that afternoon was doing me no good now. However, my go-to back-up light (streetlamp on the corner) was also dark. It was pouring buckets of rain, and I didn't have my umbrella. I had to get creative. I decided that my school bag could survive a night in the car. I doubted anyone would bust my window in an attempt to steal "Foundations of Library and Information Science." So I tucked my small purse under my jacket, right up in my armpit so that it wouldn't slip out onto the sidewalk, grabbed my cell phone in one hand and got my house key ready in the other. I pulled my hands close to my chest and made a mad dash from my car to the front of my apartment. My phone made a dim light so that I could make out the lock and open the door. I actually managed to make it inside before I got too soaked.

Mission #1: Find flashlight.
Not as easy as I thought it would be. Apparently I had used the flashlight for something else recently, and had not put it back in the nightstand where it's supposed to be. I was also unable to locate the flashlight in the utility room, but honestly I didn't look that hard. I finally found the bedroom flashlight on the counter in the kitchen, only to discover that the batteries were dead. Even if I had replacement batteries somewhere in my apartment (which I don't) I wouldn't have been able to find them because I didn't have a working flashlight.

Mission #2: Find candle. And lighter.
Super easy. I had a big jar candle on my dresser, and happened to have left the lighter lying right next to it. So convenient, I can almost over look the fact that I screwed myself over in the flashlight department.

Mission #3: Read.
I realized at this moment that I had a perfect opportunity to read something non-school-related. I've been using every ounce of self-discipline this semester to dedicate every second of reading time to school-related reading. However, I now found myself with a solid hour of uninterrupted reading time with my school books out in the car. I grabbed the book I had read the first third of on the trip home from Georgia the month before: Sex With Kings. It's about royal mistresses throughout history and it's awesome. I was so happy to get some real reading time. Finally my eyes grew tired from reading by the flickering candlelight, so I blew out the candle and went to sleep.

Sometime in the night the power came back on. Apparently at some point before settling down in bed I must have absentmindedly flipped the bedroom light switch, because the room was suddenly flooded with light. I probably could have slept through that, though. What woke me up was my printer suddenly springing to life as loudly as humanly possible. Or I guess that should be "as loudly as machine-ly possible."

Anyway, the reason I tell you this story is this: it is now November 5th, and I have not yet reset any of the clocks in my apartment. I have been solely relying on my cell phone and computer clocks for the last week and a half. Why? Because I knew that the daylight savings time clock change was this weekend, and I didn't want to have to deal with changing my clocks twice in two weeks.

Yep. I'm that lazy.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Thank the Great Pumpkin for Netflix and MST3K!

I'm only four days in and I'm already having trouble coming up with something to write about. It's really kind of pathetic. I've had this window open for a couple hours now but I just keep watching episodes of Better Off Ted instead of writing. Speaking of Better Off Ted, have you watched it? It's pretty funny. Netflix has been recommending it to me forever but I never got around to watching it until a few nights ago. I fell asleep halfway through the first episode, not because it wasn't interesting, but because I'm an old lady who can't stay awake through a 21 minute show. And by "halfway through" I really mean that I fell asleep within the first five minutes but was woken up later in the episode by all the screaming. The screaming made sense when I watched the pilot episode again tonight, but when it woke me up the other night I was pretty sure I had dreamt it. Because, seriously, I wasn't expecting the screaming.

Netflix has pretty much been on a roll recently, recommendations-wise. Everything else the company has done recently has been clear evidence of severe guano psychosis, but their recommendation system seems to be making better suggestions. At least they make more sense than they did before. Right now two of the categories Netflix is recommending to me are "Romantic British Dramas" and "Teen TV Dramas Featuring a Strong Female Lead." And the "More Like Mystery Science Theater 3000: Bride of the Monster" is just a listing of a bunch of random MST3K episodes. Which all look seriously awesome. Oh, Netflix. Nobody understands me like you do.

Speaking of MST3K, Jaccie and I watched an awesome episode on Halloween: Pod People. The movie was the worst. Which means it was a fantastic MST3K episode. For some reason I assumed "Pod People" would be sort of like "Invasion of the Body Snatchers." It's not. The episode is hilarious though. My poor mom doesn't understand the concept of MST3K, and kept begging us to switch it to something "good." We tried explaining that the movie being terrible was the whole point, but she didn't like that explanation. It's like she couldn't wrap her mind around the fact that the movie playing in the background is kind of irrelevant, and that the wise-cracking robots were what she was supposed to be paying attention to. She should be grateful we chose to watch Pod People, though. Originally we were just looking through Netflix's selection of horror movies, and were intrigued by the titles under the "campy horror" heading. Including, I shit you not, The Gay Bed and Breakfast of Terror. When we came across that one, we realized we didn't really want to watch a campy horror movie, we wanted to watch robots make fun of campy horror movies.

There, I wrote something. I'm going to bed. Peace out, y'all.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Coffee and Hairspray: The Musical

Today's NaBloPoMo prompt was "Can you listen to music and write? What song did you hear today?" I can listen to music and write at the same time. I usually don't. I heard lots of songs today, including but not limited to:

Beat Control by Tilly and the Wall

The actual music video for this song isn't available on Youtube, and all the live videos were of not awesome quality, so here's a video of a bunch of kids dancing to it. Because why not?



Beat Control has been my ringtone for years. It wakes me up every morning. It's such a peppy song, I love it. If I were ever to replace Beat Control as my default ringtone, I would have to go with this song:


Seriously, how awesome would it be to wake up to that song every morning?? It makes you want to go out, find some back-up singers, and save the world. I've listened to this song approximately a billion times since Jezebel posted it a couple weeks ago. The 112 people on Youtube who gave it a thumbs-down have no souls.

And while we're on the topic of Sesame Street, I'm just going to leave this right here:



How much do you love Sesame Street right now? How badly do you want to have kids so that you have an excuse to watch it all the time?

Before you rush off and get started on baby-making, I have one more song for you. I mentioned this song in yesterday's post, but I wanted to post the actual video here in case y'all don't have the Cartoon Planet closing credits song committed to memory.



Good-bye, good-bye, good-bye! Everybody.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

I can't eat this. I'm a foodie.

I'm sure eventually I'll come up with something to write about without using the NaBloPoMo writing prompts. Today is not that day.

If you knew that whatever you ate next would be your last meal, what would you want it to be?

Chicken Pot Pie. It's delicious, warm, and comforting, which are all qualities that will take my mind off my apparently imminent death.

Realistically, though, my last meal is probably going to be Raisin Bran Crunch. And it's probably going to occur within the next couple of days. Let me explain:

So last night, I'm lying in bed half-asleep, desperately trying to will the furnace to kick on without having to drag my ass out of bed and mess with the thermostat. Eventually I had to accept that I was not going to make my bedroom warmer via the sheer power of my brain thoughts, so I had two choices: A) try to fall completely asleep and ignore the fact that there must be some Clovers in the atmosphere or B) wake myself up and go turn up the heat. I chose option B.

So now that I've woken myself up, my insomnia takes over and is all "We're not going back to sleep now. We're watching 30 Rock on Netflix." Since I don't have to work until noon on Wednesdays I said "Alright Insomnia, you win. Let's Liz Lemon it up." Around episode three I finally started drifting off to sleep, when I heard a faint beep coming from somewhere in my apartment. I decide that I'm imagining things and try to fall back asleep.

Beep.

::just ignore it and it'll go away::

Beep.

::just go to sleep....::





Beep.

"DAMMIT!!"

So I drag my ass out of bed to take the dying batteries out of the smoke detector in my hallway. Just as I'm looking for something to stand on in order to reach the smoke detector, I hear the beep again.... coming from somewhere else. This is all too much for my poor sleepy brain. For some reason the fact that it's not the smoke detector in the hallway makes me think that something might be really wrong. Because I'm a panicker. The beep only happens once every couple minutes, so I'm slowly moving to different areas of my apartment trying to figure out where the beep is coming from. Every minute that passes is another minute my brain comes up with some completely batshit explanation for the beep. Finally I track the beep down to my laundry room, where I figure out that it's the other smoke detector. Yeah, my place is so swank I gots two smoke detectors and a carbon monoxide alarm. Jealous??

So, yeah. Now that I've sussed out that the beep was coming from the smoke alarm that I had forgotten existed, I'm able to quickly solve the problem. And by "solve the problem" I clearly mean "remove the battery." As long as the beeping stopped, I considered it a win.

Which is why I'm going to die soon, and my last meal is going to be Raisin Bran Crunch.

I eat an obscene amount of cereal. It's ridiculous. I just had a bowl when I got off work, and it might not have been my first bowl of the day. Sometimes I try to get ambitious and pretend that I'm an adult, so I cook myself a real dinner. We're at least a week away from me replacing that battery in my smoke detector, so the next time I go to make myself grown up food there's a good chance that I'll burn my apartment down and either die in the fire or give myself a heart attack/stroke once I realize I've burned down my dwelling. I told you I was a panicker.

And when I'm brought down by this panic-induced arrhythmia, there's a 90% chance that the last thing I ate will have been Raisin Bran Crunch. I would like the closing credits song from Cartoon Planet played at my funeral.

Now for something a little more pleasant. I'm really upset that they cut before Tracy finishes his line, but since I used it as my post title I'm sure you'll figure it out.



Tuesday, November 01, 2011

NaBloPoMo. Oh no.

So I decided to try my hand at NaBloPoMo, where you post at least once a day for the entire month of November. Basically, I'm doing too well at this whole graduate school thing, and I need something at which I'm guaranteed to fail. The likelihood of me actually accomplishing this "blog every day" nonsense is about as likely as me accomplishing that whole "shower every day" thing.

The BlogHer prompt for November 1st is "What is your favourite part of writing?" I'm pretty sure I speak for all grad students when I say that the best part of writing is when you give up and just submit the damn paper as-is. And then get an A-. My favorite part of blogging is writing something I know will make Abby laugh. She is my target demographic. Aim small, miss small.

I'm predicting that tomorrow morning I'm going to wake up, convinced that this was all a dream. I'll come to this here blog, read this post and say to myself "Dammit. Now I actually have to write something."

Monday, August 01, 2011

Women in Film: Sliding Doors and Waitress

I actually wrote this post about two months ago, but I've had it saved as a draft and never got around to finishing it until now.

I had a movie night with my mom tonight, and we watched Sliding Doors and Waitress. My mom liked Sliding Doors better, whereas I love Waitress. It got me to thinking about why I like the movie Waitress so much, which I will explain in detail below. Pretty much everything beyond this point is a spoiler. I'm going to talk about the movies as if you've already seen them, just so you know.




I like Waitress because in the end, Jenna doesn't end up with the guy you want her to. You know, her married doctor with whom she has an affair. Instead she divorces her ape of a husband and creates the best life possible for herself and her new daughter. On her own. Also, Waitress is a great example of how quirk and whimsy can be blended with realism to make a great movie. It is so sad that this was Adrienne Shelley's last film, I would love to have been able to see all the fantastic films she would have written and directed. A lesser writer/director would have had Jenna run off with the doctor, but Shelley was smart enough to let Jenna be happy on her own. As a single woman I appreciate that. There are so few movies where the main character ends up without a man and it's a happy ending. More please!

So. Sliding Doors.



Now, don't get me wrong. I like the movie Sliding Doors. I like the whole alternate universe angle. However, I noticed watching tonight that the writing... is not good. It's been years since I watched it and I never noticed a lot of the problems in the script before.
A) Helen's boyfriend Jerry is an absolute loser, and not only can I not see why Helen is with him, I don't see how he managed to cheat on Helen with another woman. There are two women out there who want to date this guy?
B) Helen pretty much spends the entire movie letting others make her decisions for her. It's kind of pathetic. Helen gets fired from her PR job, but it never occurs to her to open her own PR firm until her new beau James suggests it.
C) The basic premise of the movie is that you watch this woman have the worst year ever. She gets fired, mugged, her boyfriend cheats on her, she finds out her new boyfriend is married, she works two shitty jobs while her bf cheats on her instead of writing his novel, she has a miscarriage, and she dies. Ok, those things happen in two alternate universes, so they don't really all happen to the same Helen, but still. But it's strongly suggested that she ends up with the right guy in the end so it's all okay!

I really like the basic premise of the movie, that you see how life would be different based on some seemingly insignificant detail (making the train vs. missing the train), but the script is just not very good. I'm not a scriptwriter, but there must have been a way to write the characters better, with some depth. Helen is actually pretty pathetic, and she's supposed to be the hero of the movie! I think this DVD may end up in next year's Garage Sale bin.

Ultimately, I think I like Waitress more than Sliding Doors because the women in Waitress are more fleshed-out characters. Maybe that has to do with the fact that Waitress was written by a woman, whereas Sliding Doors was written by a man. Not that men can't write women well, it's just that this man didn't. Adrienne Shelley managed to make all the characters in her film interesting, including the villain, Jenna's husband (played by Jeremy Sisto, whom I've always liked, so maybe I'm biased). None of Peter Howitt's characters are very interesting, it's the alternate-universe premise that holds the audience's interest.

Basically, I consider Waitress a good film with strong, interesting female characters, while Sliding Doors is a interesting premise, but a mediocre movie (with dull characters of all genders).

Thursday, June 30, 2011

What I'm up to

I'm working on making my first quilt. Well, I mean, my first human sized quilt. It'll be a queen size when it's finished (at least, that's the current plan), and it's made from my grandfather's shirts. It's based off the charm quilt "My Charming Neighborhood," but since my grandpa didn't have 600+ different shirts, it's not an actual charm quilt. I'm calling it "My Grandfather's Neighborhood." It's going to look freaking sweet when it's done.

The idea behind the quilt is that you have alternating dark and light rows, the light rows representing the sky and the dark rows representing houses in the neighborhood. Here is my first block of 4 patches sewn together.


I actually re-did this block twice after this picture was taken. They were actually necessary fixes, I wasn't just being super anal about seams. Here is the first row of the quilt laid out. It's not sewn together yet.


I know it looks like it's going to be crazy huge, but keep in mind that you lose 1/4 inch from each block in the seams, so it'll shrink up quite a bit. My strategy is pretty much just to sew one light patch to one dark patch, and then move them around to see where they look best. I have enough blocks cut out for over two rows now. Ten or so more rows to go. This guy is my favorite block so far:

I took the pockets from a lot of Grandpa's shirts, because I could be guaranteed to get at least one patch from each pocket. And since I'm the only one doing a charm-style quilt, everybody else needed more than one block from each shirt. I love the pockets that have designs on them, but the duck is by far my favorite.

I really like quilting, because it's something creative that really compliments my meticulous and detail oriented nature. I've always liked putting together puzzles, and that's kind of what quilting is. It's a puzzle you put together, after you design and cut out all the pieces. And I know not everyone feels this way, but there is something very zen about sitting in front of your sewing machine.

I've actually already designed my next two projects. The first is a table runner I'm going to make to compliment my black, white, and red dining room:


The pattern is a disappearing nine patch, which is actually the same pattern I used in the doll blanket I made for my grandmother. It's fascinating how the same pattern looks so different depending on the fabrics you use.

The other project is a quilt sampler I'm going to make for my mother. I bought this gorgeous fabric on clearance a while ago, it's this tan background with orange and red flowers on brown branches (it'll go where the ugly floral pattern is in the design below, I just picked something with a large-scale floral to see how the layout would look). I only have a yard of it, so I don't really have enough for a full quilt, so I'm planning on making my mom a nice wall hanging. Something like this:


Obviously it's still a work in progress, but I'm really happy with it so far. I'm still getting used to using the Electric Quilt software. I really like that EQ calculates how much fabric you need of each style. It's so nice to not worry that I effed up the math. Alternately, it's nice to have something else to blame when the math is wrong. Also, depending on how sick I get of cutting out houses, I may make one of these projects before I finish My Grandfather's Neighborhood.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Spoiler Alert! You will either find this funny or boring!

Since my entire front page is now dominated by my cable downgrading saga, I'm going to post some silliness. Here's a conversation Abby and I had the other day via IM. This conversation took place on our own time and absolutely not while we were at work. The following convo is slightly edited for clarity.

[Discussing the end of The Wire season 4, and the only real spoiler in this entire post]
Me: I was also really sad that Dookie ended up on the corner. He was so good with computers! Kid had such potential!
Abby: Don't worry, you haven't seen the last of Dook. He's still around in S5. Spoiler alert, he's not a great drug dealer.
Me: I'm not sure that it counts as a spoiler if it's not surprising at all. Like Spoiler! Booth and Brennan have sexual tension!
Abby: Spoiler!! Mal's plan goes horribly awry.
Spoiler!! The most famous guest actor on L&O is the killer!
This could be a fun game.
me: Spoiler! Dt Briscoe makes a joke right before the theme song!
Spoiler! Dr. House almost kills the patient and then has an epiphany during the third act
Spoiler! It's not lupus. This really is fun.
Spoiler! The first suspect isn't the killer! (applies to any procedural)
Spoiler! Buffy saves the day/world.
Spoiler! When Maury says "You are NOT the father!" the man in question will react as hilariously as possible while the woman cries.
Abby: Spoiler!! McNulty pisses everyone off ever.
Spoiler!! Coach Sue makes .8 jokes about Will Schuster's hair per exchange with Will.
me: Spoiler! Remember what happened last week on Glee? None of that matters anymore.
Abby: Hee.
Spoiler!! Hilarity ensues because Lily cannot keep a secret on HIMYM.
me: Spoiler alert! Barney wears a suit. Unless it's a funeral.
Spoiler alert! The teens on 16 and Pregnant make bad choices!
Abby: Spoiler!! Marshall takes the Loch Ness monster/Bigfoot/other mythical beast too seriously.
Spoiler alert!! Orange Kors loves the ugly design that most reflects his own line.
me: Spoiler alert! Nina Ricci has bitchface!
Spoiler alert! Heidi Klum wears something that is at least two of the following: tight. shiny. so short it could be described as "gynecological." maternity.
Abby: hahahahha
Spoiler alert!! Tonights episode of Burn Notice features explosions.
Spoiler alert!! The good guys are sharpshooters and the bad guys couldn't hit a tractor trailer at close range! /every action flick ever
me: Spoiler alert! Shawn and Gus make pop culture references!
Spoiler alert! Blanche has sex and doesn't care if you think she's slutty
Abby: Spoiler alert! Ditto for Samantha on SitC.
Spoiler alert! Dinozzo makes movie references, Ziva misuses American slang, McGee is awkward.
me: Spoiler alert! It doesn't matter which team wins, because they all learn a valuable lesson. (Bad after school specials, or Bring It On)
Spoiler Alert! The acting on Secret Life of the American Teenager is sub-par!

Got a good one? Share.

Cable Downgrade

I've been talking for a while now about completely cutting my cable and sticking with my high speed internet. Well, I'm going with a different strategy.

I downgraded my service to the Digital Economy plans. My only concern is that my internet speed won't be sufficient for the amount of streaming video I watch. But if I find that it's not good enough, I'll call them back and change my service again. But going with this service plan means I get to keep a lot of the channels I would have missed the most (the networks, USA, Comedy Central, Weather Channel) but still save a shitload of money. Previously I was paying about $125 a month, now I'll be paying about $67. That's a savings of $58 a month, or $696 a year.

I'm watching an episode of Bones on Hulu Plus now, and I don't really notice any discernible difference. But for the amount of savings I'm getting without sacrificing too many channels, I think I can live with slower internet.

EDIT: My internet seems to have already been downgraded (according to speedtest.net), but I still seem to have all of my channels. The customer service rep I talked to did say it may take up to 24 hours for all the changes to be applied to my account, so i'll update again when it's all said and done.

UPDATE: Currently downloading the system update for my PS3. Definitely noticing the slower internet here. It's kind of annoyingly slow since I'm so used to the faster internet, but I just keep saying to myself "$700 a year." Takes the edge off my annoyance.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Brief Return to Cable

I haven't cut my cable yet, and I actually watched it for a little bit over the weekend. I have a good reason for this, and the reason's name is Scuttle.

Hey there. I'm needy, and I'm going to spit my food all over your carpet.

I was bird-sitting for my sister while she was in St. Louis this weekend. Last time my sister went out of town, she left Scuttle in our dad's care. My dad turned the light out and poor Scuttle lived in perpetual night for days. At some point Scuttle freaked out and broke two blood feathers and nearly bled to death. To avoid such a situation again, I followed all of Laura's Rules For a Happy Scuttle. I opened up my curtains in my front room for him, and also left a lamp on in the living room in case it was too dark. I made peas so that he could have some (and like a little punk, he would only eat them if I wasn't looking). So that Scuttle wouldn't feel alone all day while I was at work, I left the TV on for him. I even played Animal Planet, per Laura's recommendation. "I like to make him watch Animal Cops so that he can see how good he has it with us."

So turning Animal Planet on for Scuttle was the first time in a couple weeks that I've watched my cable. And you know what? I don't really miss it. For most of the weekend Scuttle and I watched Netflix. Specifically, we watched Hoarders, because it motivates me to clean my apartment.

And in case you're wondering, I have mostly gotten over the hissy fit I threw over the PS3 debacle. I decided not to return the Roku, though. I'm using it on my bedroom TV now, and I like not having to move the PS3 back here if I want to watch Netflix.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Cable Free Experiment: The Beginning

I haven't cancelled my cable yet, but I'm going to try not using it for a couple of weeks to see how I handle it.

My Roku arrived on Thursday. So far, I like it. I am having a weird issue where every time it comes back from the screensaver the sound goes out.... I'm assuming that it's something with how I have it set up, because Googling doesn't show anyone else having this problem. I do like the channel selection, I've added a few "private channels" that are helping me create a cable tv replacement. BTW, "private channels" means it's an unofficial channel, one that has been created by 3rd party developers that hasn't yet been approved for (or even submitted to) the Roku Channel Store. I kind of wish that they used a different phrase to describe these channels, because to me "private channel" sounds like porn.

Anyway- I'm currently watching an episode of House Hunters on my HGTV channel. The picture gets a little pixel-y at times, usually when a video first starts, but for the most part the picture looks good. I watched a movie on the Netflix channel the other night and the picture looked just as good as streaming via the PS3. I've read some complaints online about the sound on the Roku, but honestly I can't tell the difference. Maybe if I bought a big fancy surround sound system I could hear the difference, but that's not going to happen any time soon. I haven't used the Hulu Plus channel yet, but I'm assuming it's going to be the same as when I used my free trial on the PS3.

My favorite thing so far about the Roku is that it's given me a chance to use Amazon Video On Demand. Now, I recognize that I could have watched it on my computer before I bought the Roku, but I never did. I'm an Amazon Prime member, so there is a selection of movies and TV shows that I can watch for free. However, their selection is kind of weak compared to Netflix. But, if I do go ahead and cut my cable I think I might use Amazon VOD more. I discovered when I was using my Hulu Plus trial a few months ago that AMC's TV shows weren't part of the Hulu lineup. But while searching through TV shows on Amazon's website, I noticed that they have a season pass for the AMC show The Killing for 94 cents an episode. In HD. I didn't have HD with my cable subscription because I'm too freakin' cheap to pay extra for it. But Amazon had the HD and the standard version season passes for the same price (buying individual HD episodes costs more). And at less than a dollar per episode, I'd be paying less than $13 for a show I like in HD, which is much less than I pay for cable.

So far it looks like I'll be dumping my cable subscription at the end of the month. I'm starting Grad School in the fall and the city is going to raise my water bill (last I heard they were raising it by 43%). I've gotta save money somewhere, and cable, while fun, is inessential. It's not like I can cut electricity. Or groceries. I'll continue on with this experiment for a little while longer, but it looks like the Roku is a good device for me.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Forget You, PS3

I always liked my PS3, even though I'm not a gamer. I bought it on Black Friday a few years ago and I got a good deal on it. Mostly it gets used as my blu-ray/DVD player and my Netflix streaming gadget. But now I'm replacing it, because Sony has pissed me off royally with this hacking bullshit. They kept me from my Sam Waterston, and that is unacceptable.

I'm sure you heard about the Playstation Network being hacked and users' personal information being stolen. If you haven't heard about it, Abby, that's because you didn't read the email I sent you over a month ago, bitching about how it was nearly unacceptable that Sony let this kind of thing happen. But I decided I was okay, I wouldn't abandon my PS3, mostly because a) I'm poor, and b) I could still use the Netflix application without logging into the Playstation Network.

Well, all that has changed. Monday night I decided I would watch one of the movies that was "expiring" from Netflix Instant on June 1st. I examined my queue online and decided on The Killing Fields, starring a pre-Law & Order Sam Waterston. I went in to the Netflix app on my PS3 and it tried to make me log in to the Network. Only instead of giving up after a couple of failed Network log-ins, it told me that the device was deactivated and that I needed to update my PS3 software.

Ugh, ok, I updated my software. I thought maybe I was getting the "device deactivated" thing because I had just activated my Netflix account on my parents' fancy new TV. But I checked my terms of use and I can have 6 devices activated, and I only have 3. Turns out it didn't matter at all, because after the software update everything went to shit.

This time, when I went to use my Netflix, it refused to load unless I was logged in to the Network. But when I would try to log in to the network, it told me my password was invalid and that they would send instructions to my email on how to change my password. But when I went to my email and clicked on the link, I got a "Site Maintenance" error. I did a little googling and found out that Sony had to take down the password reset site because of fucking hackers.

So, I'm done. I bought a Roku player for streaming my Netflix (and my Hulu-Plus, when I get rid of my cable). I'll still be using my PS3 for DVDs and Blu-rays for the time being, but eventually I'll replace it with a cheap blu-ray player and only break out the PS3 when my sister and I make margaritas and Guitar Hero.

Monday, April 18, 2011

To keep or to cut: Cable TV

I'm thinking about cutting my cable. Now, before I get started, I am not ever going to be one of those people who is all "I don't even own a TV." Eff that, I love my TV. I love both of my TVs, even the little guy in my bedroom who isn't hooked up to cable but plays my 30 Rock DVDs while I'm falling asleep.

The only reason I'm considering doing this at all is to save money. I have a good job, but it's not exactly high-paying. And with the looming possibility of grad school and the associated student loans in my immediate future, saving $40 or so a month by cutting out cable seems like my best option. My plan is to cut out cable, but keep my high speed internet. I'm just guesstimating at my costs here, but I'm paying over $100 a month now, so by cutting out cable let's say I cut that down to $60. I already have Netflix and I can stream it to my TV through my PS3. I have the 2-DVDs-at-a-time subscription so that's $15 a month. This will absolutely be kept, because I love the selection and the instant streaming. I also feel like I have to prove that yes I can finish a queue that long before I die. Basically, you'll have to pry my Netflix subscription out of my cold, dead fingers. Now, if I cut out cable, I will add a Hulu Plus subscription for $8. I used my free 2 weeks a while ago but cancelled it because I felt like I was paying $8 extra for something I could get for free online or On Demand. Now I'm seeing how it would be beneficial to someone without cable. Yes, Hulu Plus can also be streamed to my TV through my magical PS3.

Here are some of my pros and cons:

PRO: I'm already really bad at remembering to watch stuff when it airs, so I usually end up having to watch stuff online or via On Demand anyway.

CON: If I get rid of cable, so goes my On Demand.

PRO: Glee, 30 Rock, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, 16 and Pregnant (shut up), and Teen Mom (SHUT UP) are all available through Hulu Plus.

CON: Project Runway, Mad Men, and The Killing are not on Hulu Plus. If I remember correctly, Lifetime's streaming video player is crap, which I really hated all those times I forgot to watch ProjRun when it aired. They may have improved since the last time I watched, though. I haven't watched video on AMC's website, so I'm not sure how it will work.

PRO: I'll probably get more reading done, because I won't be able to go "I could read, but there's this Criminal Minds marathon on..."

CON: I know it sounds silly, but one of my favorite things about my cable is the ability to catch an episode of Law & Order, L&O:SVU, or Criminal Minds at pretty much any hour of the day. I don't own any of these on DVD (and why would I? They're always on).

PRO: L&O is streaming on Netflix, and if I'm saving $40 a month by cutting cable, I can buy a couple seasons of Criminal Minds to keep myself entertained.

CON: My DVD shelf is already completely full, and I live in a tiny apartment so I don't really want to expand. I could buy them from like iTunes or Amazon Instant Video, but I'm a huge nerd who loves the special features on DVDs.

PRO: I'll probably get more use out of the DVDs I already own. I have movies on my shelf that I haven't watched in years, and that's really sad.

CON: Award Shows. This is my biggest con. I love that cheesy shit. I love watching a group of actors get all fancied up to pat each other on the back. If I get rid of my cable, I really think that this is where I'm going to feel it the most. As far as I know, there's no where to stream the Oscars or the Emmys online, so to watch I would either have to go over to my parents' house, or just not watch. Honestly, the idea of just not watching gives me a case of the sads.

Those are all the pros and cons I can think of at this moment. I'm going to run an experiment, actually trying to go a couple weeks without watching my cable to see if I can do it. Please leave comments and suggestions.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

There are Ghosts in my Bedroom

A few weeks ago I bought some VHS to DVD software when it was Amazon's Deal of the Day. Since then, I've been slowly going through my family's VHS tapes and transferring them. I've only finished Christmas 1986 and 1987 so far, and I'm getting started on Christmas 1997. Watching each video is strange. Of course I was expecting to see my relatives and pets who have been gone for years, but it's still a little odd when they first appear on camera. It's like watching a ghost materialize. I was surprised in Christmas 1997 when we cut from my family's living room to the living room at my paternal Grandfather's house. I thought he had already died by then, but this must have been his last Christmas with us. It's strange now to watch that scene and think about how there is now a different family living in that house.

This sort of nostalgia is to be expected, of course. You don't think about it at the time you're recording it, but the entire reason for videotaping these special occasions is so that you can look back on them later. You can revisit the past and see again those who have gone. In Christmas 1986 there is an extremely brief glimpse of my great uncle Elmer. It's quite possibly the only video we have of him at all. But the most important thing about Christmas 1986 is the fact that my Grandma Marge is there. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer's about the time that I was born, and the only clear memory I have of her from my childhood is going to visit her in the nursing home. She had no idea who I was. But in Christmas 1986, she's there, she knows who I am, and when she's playing with me you can see the type of Grandma she would have been. The Christmas 1986 video is the most important one for me, because that is how I choose to remember my Grandma Marge, even if the "memory" is really just a videotape. I would rather think of her as a Grandma who played ball with me and laughed at me when I spit on the living room carpet (long story) than as a sick woman in a hospital bed.

Ok, enough with the depressing stuff. Watching videos of yourself as a toddler is one of the most hilarious things you will ever watch. It's also interesting to watch yourself so young and see the moments where you can tell how you became the person you are now. 2 years old, and I refused to open any other presents because I had just opened a book and needed it to be read to me NOW. In my defense, it was a really cool book about the circus and those other presents could wait. That same year I had a really bad cold and my dad filmed my sleepyhead in my bedroom, where the humidifier is running full-blast. I point this out only because in 2011 I had just turned off the humidifier moments before hitting "play" on my VCR. Some things never change: I'm still a huge book nerd with bad sinuses. Watching Christmas 1997 isn't as fun because I'm 12 and I'm fully aware that I'm being filmed. My sister and I are playing to the camera, and it isn't as entertaining.

So, I don't know what you're doing with your weekend, but I'm spending mine with old friends, family, and pets, and enjoying every minute of it.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Click Clack Google Books

I think Google Books may be suffering from the same... whatever the hell it is that Netflix has. I mean, Click Clack Moo: Cows that Type and Sheep in a Jeep are great books I'm sure, but I'm not sure there's anything super techy about farm animals writing letters to the farmer. Unless it's in the Technology and Engineering section because the animals have been genetically engineered to be able to use a typewriter. That actually makes perfect sense. Carry on, Google Books, carry on.

Monday, March 14, 2011

My "Big Bang Theory" Theory*

*Not actually a theory. The title is misleading. This is what I was going to chat with Abby about today, but apparently she's on vacation so I'm going to blog about it and she can read it at her leisure. It actually ended up being really long, so maybe it's better that I wrote it here instead of in that tiny little chat box.

I heard from several of my friends that I should be watching The Big Bang Theory. Apparently they all thought it was something I would absolutely love. Okay, so one friend told me I would love it, and another friend mentioned it in passing. It really doesn't take much to make me watch TV.

So anyway. I've watched the three seasons that were available at the library. I don't love it. Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad show. It's really not. Sheldon is a great sitcom character. I am totally okay with Jim Parsons winning an Emmy for this role.

However, I'm not really sure why that one friend insisted I would love this show. A) I'm not really into comic books or Star Trek or any of the other geeky stuff the guys in the show love, so I don't get a lot of the jokes. Does this friend think I'm nerdier than I really am? B) I fucking hated physics class in high school. Well, that might be a little strongly worded. I slept through most classes, and I like naps, so I didn't hate all of physics. Three out of four of the main male characters are physicists, and there are physics jokes. JOKES about PHYSICSZZZzzzzzzzz

Sorry about that. Before I get into my biggest issue with the show, here's one pet peeve: The character Howard is constantly derided by a few of the characters because he's the only one of the main male cast that doesn't have a PhD. But he has a Master's degree in Engineering from MIT. Now I don't know a whole lot about this stuff, but it would seem to me that Howard actually has the most practical set of skills. Sheldon may be doing fancy theoretical physics equations, but he's doing them in a room in a building built by an engineer. Without lamps there'd be no light.

But anyway: my biggest problem with the show is that a painful number of episodes just seem like showcases for rampant misogyny.

The sole regular female main character, Penny, has a dead-end job is completely broke, and it seems her only reason for existing in the Big Bang Theory universe is to act as an object of desire for Leonard. And I do mean 'object.' SHE DOESN'T HAVE A LAST NAME. I have a feeling that the writers are trying to make this a Malcolm in the Middle-style "we never say the last name!" kind of joke, but it just plays like she's a less important character. And Leonard and Penny have very little chemistry, and no reason exists for them to have any chemistry. They have absolutely nothing in common except for living across the hall from one another. Penny is average intelligence, pretty, and a social butterfly. At least she was in the first season, when we still saw her hanging out with people besides the main four guys. And she used to actually try to be an actress (the character is an aspiring actress, I'm not making a dig at Kaley Cuoco, who is perfectly servicable in this role), and she would occasionally land the lame paying-her-dues type roles in weird productions of plays. I don't think it would kill the writers to either a) have her officially quit acting and pursue something else or b) score a commercial or something. But I guess that would get in the way of her relationship with Leonard, and her character has increasingly become only about Leonard. And Leonard sucks. He's a whiny jerk-ass who thinks he's entitled to Penny because he's sat around for years waiting for her to date him. He even takes advantage of a clearly drunk-off-her-ass Penny. AND THIS IS PLAYED FOR LAUGHS. Leonard is supposed to be smart; you'd think he could put together that "Ridiculously drunk to the point of making obviously bad decisions" = "unable to consent." Congratulations, Leonard. You just date-raped your ex-girlfriend. Hilarious.

So, aside from misogyny (which I'll get back to in a moment), my biggest problem with the show is that it suffers from "We're in love because the script says we are" syndrome. It's mostly seen in bad romantic comedies where there is absolutely no reason for the main two characters to fall in love except for the fact that it's written in the script. Penny and Leonard should NOT be together. They are wrong for each other in so many ways. But the entire premise of the show is that the Nerd has a crush on the Vagina across the hall, so we are constantly being told that they are, like, so in love.

So. Misogyny. HOWARD WOLOWITZ. And also Raj Koothrappali. And Leonard Hofstadter. But seriously, Wolowitz is the worst. His entire existence, outside of being an engineer, is to get laid. He wants sex. Only sex. Women are prey to him. Mindless objects that he can trick into having sex with him if he can just figure out the right pick-up line. Wolowitz is like Barney Stinson, but without the charm. You can actually see why some women would sleep with Barney. I don't understand how Wolowitz has ever had sex, unless he uses the Leonard-approved "fuck her while she's drunk and can't say no" approach. He actually dates a girl for more than one episode in the 3rd season, but it's implied that they never had sex. She's never seen again, and in a throwaway line Howard mentions that they broke up weeks ago. Did the writers not think that Wolowitz actually sustaining a relationship was comedic fodder? Of course not, they want to see their little misogynist back out on the prowl. Yes, I hate Howard. A lot. I wouldn't say it's an "irrational" hatred, though. I think I have perfectly reasonable reasons to hate him. I do irrationally hate his wardrobe though. Fucking turtlenecks and tight pants.

I may have made the show sound worse than it is. It's pretty funny when it decides to stop being entirely about getting the characters laid. And maybe the problems which are so glaring while watching the DVDs are less obvious when you watch one episode and then have to wait a week for the next new ep. I haven't watched the fourth season that's currently airing, so maybe some of my problems with the show have been addressed. Probably not, but hey, a girl can dream about sitcoms where the female characters are treated with the same amount of respect as the men.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Dream a Little Dream of Me

Normally I try to avoid writing about my dreams, because while they're usually pretty weird, nobody else cares. Well you're just going to have to read about it anyway. Or go read something else. Whichever.

So Abby and I are bank robbers (aren't you so glad you kept reading?). We're the brains behind our team, which also includes one completely random person I went to real-life high school with. I would never rob a bank with this person, I haven't even spoken to her since a mutual friends' wedding years ago. But dreams are weird, yo.

So anyway, these people = criminal masterminds.

Muahahaha.

So anyway, we're in the process of robbing a bank, when shit starts to go wrong. We're about to get caught, so I change into some businessy clothes to create a distraction so that my team members can get away. Yes, I brought a change of clothes, which Dream Abby thought was ridiculous but then when I had to create a distraction I was all "AREN'T YOU GLAD I BROUGHT EXTRA CLOTHES?" My distraction? That I'm a new employee. And yes, that totally worked. The woman who very nearly caught me committing a felony is now showing me around the bank, introducing me to people. I tell them I'm part of the new marketing committee, that I'll be in charge of gift baskets. AND THIS WORKED. (I'm going to blame the gift baskets thing on having just watched the episode of The Big Bang Theory where Sheldon gives Penny like 10 gift baskets.) Abby and Other Accomplice tried to rescue me at one point, but they were totally about to blow my cover, so I sent them on their way. I explained to my fake boss that "They're just friends. Roommates, actually. I wouldn't be friends with those people." So I work a full day at a bank I was trying to rob, and then I finally get to leave. I have to gather up all my extra clothes, because apparently I brought more than one extra outfit with me. You were right, Dream Abby. The extra clothes were excessive.

And then I had to walk home from the bank, because Abby and Other Accomplice had taken the getaway car. And even though I walk to my grandparents' house, which means I'm in a small town, I have to walk through sketchy, big-city-type neighborhoods. I'm going to blame this on watching The Wire. When I finally make it to my grandparents' house, I realize I don't have my purse with me! Either someone has stolen my purse on my walk home, or I left it at the bank. Both are bad because either someone has stolen my purse, or someone at the bank is going to look at my ID and realize that I gave them a fake name. NOT GOOD. So I'm talking to my grandpa about what I need to do. He thinks I should go back to the bank and check if it's there, and I tell him I can't do that because they would have looked at the ID by now and it would be super awkward. I should call my credit card companies first. But he needs to drive me to my apartment where I have that paperwork with the phone numbers on it.

You can stop reading now if you want this to remain a silly story about a dream I had where I was a bank robber.

I ask my grandpa to give me a ride home, but since the beginning of the conversation he's gotten thinner and weaker. Like he was before he died last year. I'm starting to realize that it's all a dream and my grandpa's not alive but he's here now and I can talk to him for just one more minute if I can just STAY ASLEEP.

But I can't, I have to wake up. And he's gone. Again.

I lay in bed for a few more minutes, trying to will myself back to sleep, hoping I can get back to the dream where my grandpa is still alive and can talk to me and make fun of me for losing my purse. There are things I need to tell him if I can just get back to that dream!!

It doesn't work, of course. I'm awake. It's over.

I pull myself out of bed, go into the living room, and double-check that my purse is where I left it.

It's there. Of course. Things that were here when I went to sleep are still here. Things that were gone are still gone.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Netflix is fucking with me.

I always knew there was something not quite right about Netflix. I love the service dearly, but seriously, Netflix, you can ease up on the damn pop-up ads. Everyone knows what you do already.

Seriously. Stop.

But now I'm fairly certain Netflix is just fucking with me for their own amusement. See for yourself:


"Hi Miranda. Netflix Recommendations here. Remember that time you liked a Demetri Martin comedy special? Good times! Based on that information, we think you'll enjoy nothing more than a documentary about whaling."


"You love Arrested Development! And when that one guy loses his hand? Hilarious! So watch Macbeth. His hand is bloody! Do you see the connection yet??"

"What? Shit blows up in Caddyshack."

"You like documentaries about dudes being assassinated!"

"Because you like off-beat comedic TV series, you'll like this nature documentary. Similarities!"

"Because you like Spaceballs, you'll enjoy Star Wars! What do you mean 'it's the other way around'? That doesn't make any sense."

"Sometimes we get high and listen to The Beatles."

"Death!"

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Wildcats, Part 2

Here's the video from the girls' stunt group competition at state. They came in 11th out of 20+ stunt groups, and the only teams that beat them were large varsity teams. So if they separated the stunt groups by size the way they do the team competitions, our girls would have come in first place for small varsity. Hell, we even beat all the medium varsity teams. Clearly, Wildcats are fucking awesome.




Morgan is the one with the black knee brace. I would post their team performance, but it's the same as the one below, and that one has a better angle.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

WILDCATS

Went down to Springfield yesterday to watch my cousin Morgan and the rest of the WHS Spiritline compete in the ICCA State Championships. They were AWESOME, more on that later. Jaccie [another of my cousins] filmed both the squad's performance and the stunt group, but she hasn't uploaded the videos yet. In the meantime, here are the girls performing at sectionals a few weeks ago.


GO CATS!!

Oh, in case you're wondering, Morgan is the blonde at the beginning who does a flip straight forward towards the camera. It'll be easier to keep track of her in the State videos because she's the only one wearing a knee brace.