Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Positively Pathetic May 2009 Book Report

Pride and Prejudice- Jane Austen- Well, there's two weeks of my life I'll never get back.

I spent the last two weeks of the month reading Austen's Sense and Sensibility. It's been such an inspiring read that I'm only half way through it. After two freaking weeks. I'm thinking of lifting my Jane Austen restriction because I have made somewhat promising progress on my synopsis and besides, I'm going on vacation in a couple of weeks and there's no way in hell I'm going to be lounging pool side in Las Vegas reading frakking Jane Austen. Just no way.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Trimming The Fat

I love music. I love all kinds of music. Really, I don't think there is a genre that I hate just on principle. I like pop, rock, metal, jazz, broadway, choral, punk, garage, folk, whatever. Name a genre and I can name at least one song I like within that genre. Granted, it might just be the one song, but still, that's something.

I like to stumble across new music. Fox's So You Think You Can Dance is back for the summer and I love this show, not just because of the dancing, but also because it never fails to introduce me to a new musical artist without whose music I could not carry on. Last summer it was Anouk and Charlotte Martin. Don't know who it'll be this summer. I'll have to ask Mia Michaels because traditionally, her routines are the ones that really get me.

I used to get a lot of music from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Veronica Mars. My music now seems to be coming from House and Bones. And even occasionally, Grey's Anatomy and Supernatural (as a totally unrelated to this blog side note, click here to go to the Offical Ghostfacers webpage!). I don't know who has the the job of finding music to accompany these shows, but they're awesome at it.

Anyway, some of you may be looking at the title of this blog and saying, "I don't get it. Why is she talking about music and not, say, cooking or dieting?" And the answer would be (mostly) that I don't cook or diet. But also because this entry is about music. And how much I love it.

I bought an iPod a while back. Last summer maybe? I don't really remember but I do remember going to Wal Mart and spending a lot of time in front of the iPod display, trying to pick out the one I wanted. All I knew was that I couldn't get a purple one because, even though I really did like the purple, Assistant Manager Heidi had just purchased herself a purple iPod and there was no way on earth I was going to have one too. So I settled on blue.

But then came the debate about what size to get. The 8GB or the 16GB. My very first iPod was a 4GB so 8GB seemed absolutely enormous but still, there was the allure of having even more space but I eventually shrugged it off figuring that I'd never even come close to filling the 8GB, so what the hell would I ever need twice that much for?

Fast forward to last night when I was adding music to my iPod and the little message window came up, declaring that there wasn't enough space.

"Shit," I said. "I need a bigger iPod."

Which, of course, I don't. What I do need is to cut out some of the music already on there in order to make more room for the new stuff. Thus the whole 'trimming the fat' thing.

But I don't know what to cut out.

I started with the videos. I have three videos on my iPod. The first is Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog. And yeah, there's no chance that's getting deleted even though I have it on DVD. It's staying. As in forever and ever.

The other two are both episodes of Robot Chicken, specifically their Star Wars episodes. They're hi-larious and I am not yet at the point where I would be willing to part with either one. Seth McFarland is a freaking riot. Here's a clip (I hope) from one of them:



So yeah. Can't get rid of the videos. That leaves the music. But, I love music. The obvious place to start is with the free music I downloaded from amazon. I liked it enough to download for free but if it comes down to my new love Mazzy Star or some random gomer I only downloaded because it didn't cost me anything (it could be said that I am addicted to downloading music...but at least it was free!), then bye-bye random gomer. I did keep the song "Talking Old Soldiers" by Bettye LaVette because it's freaking awesome. But the rest of them were gone. Well, I did also keep one song by the Benjy Davis Project because I just like it.

Then I debated deleting the music I put on my iPod to appease Joe. This is the music Joe is really into and me, not so much, but I put it on the iPod because I insist on listening to it on long car rides and figure if he has to listen to the Dr. Horrible soundtrack (also non-deletable.) or Kelly Clarkson and ABBA, then isn't it only fair that he has the opportunity to listen to Tesla or INXS. But again, if it comes down to my music or his, I mean...it is my iPod, you know?

But I can't delete his stuff. At least not yet. It goes into the reserve category.

Next are the artists who have a majority of space on my iPod. They are Ani DiFranco, The Kinks, and Placebo. Can't delete any of them either. And I've already whittled down A Perfect Circle, My Chemical Romance, Dave Matthews Band, Pearl Jam, PJ Harvey and Harry and the Potters down to my absolute favorite tracks.

This leaves me with the artists I like but don't necessarily love. The artists I end up skipping the most while I search for a song I'm really in the mood to listen to. I skip Tesla EVERY TIME it comes on, unless Joe is in the car. I skip INXS 8 out of 10 times because there are a couple of their songs I like but in a take it or leave it world, I would mostly leave it. But again, Tesla and INXS are still untouchables. I think that leaves James and The Shins. Some of those tracks are just going to have to be cut. It's not looking good for Disturbed either.

But, I guess, in a world in 8GB is all one has, then these are the choices one has to make.

Damn you, Tesla. Damn you, INXS.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Scenes From An Afternoon or Reasons Why I Have Dogs

If you read my new pen entry, you would've read the part about how I picked up my niece, Jupiter (my sister's really into the solar system...), from preschool this past Friday. Here are some selected scenes from our afternoon together:

Scene One: Setting: Preschool

Enter Melissa who stands in the classroom door, waiting patiently for the group song "The Buggy-Wuggy" (sung to the tune of "The Hokey Pokey") to conclude. The teacher, whose name Melissa does not know, looks up, smiles and waves. Melissa waves back. The song suddenly ends.

Teacher: Jupiter, is that your special friend standing in the doorway?

Jupiter looks. It is indeed her special friend standing in the doorway. Jupiter waves. Melissa waves back.

Teacher: Well, go get her, Jupiter, and bring her back to the circle.

Melissa tries to look excited at this prospect. Jupiter springs up and runs the length of the room to bring Melissa back to the circle of preschoolers. Jupiter introduces Melissa to all her classmates. Then Teacher starts up with the whole "Buggy Wuggy" thing again.

Teacher: What else does a bug have?

Kid 1 (whose name I do not remember): Wings!

The song goes like this: You put your wings in. You put your wings out. You put your wings in and you shake 'em all about. You do the buggy-wuggy and you turn yourself around. That's what's it's all about!

Melissa does the Buggy-Wuggy.

Teacher: What else does a bug have?

Kid 2 (whose name I also do not remember): Legs!

Melissa does the Buggy-Wuggy. Again.


Scene 2: Setting: Dairy Queen

Melissa and Jupiter have just successfully ordered their lunch and sit at a table of Jupiter's selection in order to eat.

Jupiter: I want a cone.

Melissa: You have to eat more of your hamburger first.

Jupiter: (taking a bite) Do you see that car in the drive thru?

Melissa turns around so she can see the car in the drive thru. It's a jeep with the top off because it's ninety degrees outside. It's about forty inside but mostly because Jupiter selected a table located directly underneath the a/c vent.

Melissa: Yep.

Jupiter: Why don't jeeps have roofs or doors?

Melissa: They do.

Jupiter: No, they don't.

Melissa: They do. You can take the roof off a jeep. And, for the most part, they have little teeny tiny doors, but they're still doors.

Jupiter contemplates this. As she does so, she takes another bite of burger and then reaches for Melissa.

Melissa: Did you just touch me with ketchup hands? Yuck. Don't touch me with your ketchup hands.

Jupiter laughs and sprays partially chewed up pickle on Melissa's arm. Melissa makes very discrete gagging noises. Jupiter decides this is a fun game and goes for Melissa's stomach next. Melissa jerks out of the way.

Melissa: I don't think so.

Jupiter: I'm cold.

Melissa: That's because you picked a seat under the a/c vent. Want to move?

Jupiter: No, I want ice cream.

Melissa: Because that'll warm you up.

Jupiter: (completely missing the minute sarcasm) Yes. I want one of those.

She is pointing to a picture of the kids' meal bag. It's a Dilly Bar.

Melissa: You want a Dilly Bar?

Jupiter: Yes.

Melissa: Fine. Have a little more of your hamburger and you can.

Jupiter takes a minuscule bite of her hamburger.

Melissa: What do you want to do this afternoon?

Jupiter: Get ice cream.

Melissa: Yes, I know. I meant after the ice cream.

Jupiter: We're going to swim in my pool.

Melissa: Are we?

Jupiter: Yeah. Did you bring your bathing suit?

Melissa: No. I didn't know the pool was set up.

Jupiter: Well, you'll just have to borrow one of Auntie B's.

Melissa: Can't I just wade?

Jupiter: Wave?

Melissa: No, wade.

Jupiter: Wave?

Melissa: No, wade. Duh (as in the making of a 'd' sound...Melissa is NOT mocking her niece...this time.). With a D. You know, when you walk around in water.

Jupiter: Oh.

Melissa: That's wading.

Jupiter: Oh. You can wave while you wade.

Melissa: (laughing) Yeah, I can.

Jupiter: I want chocolate and vanilla and sprinkles.

Melissa: In a cone?

Jupiter: Yes.

Melissa: Fine. Chocolate or rainbow jimmies?

Jupiter: What?

Melissa: Chocolate or rainbow sprinkles?

Jupiter: Rainbow.

A man enters the dining area with a dipped cone. Jupiter sees it. Melissa can predict where this is going to go.

Jupiter: I want one of those.

Melissa: (is beyond caring) Fine. Eat one more normal sized bite of your burger and you can.

Jupiter complies. She even eats two more normal sized bites. Since 98% of the burger is now gone, Melissa agrees to the ice cream. They go to the counter to place the order.

Jupiter: I want chocolate and vanilla and sprinkles.

Melissa: I thought you wanted a dipped cone.

Jupiter: I want chocolate and vanilla and sprinkles.

Melissa: You bet.

Jupiter changes her mind three more times before they place the order and once more while Melissa places the order. Melissa apologizes to the girl waiting on them. Jupiter decides on a half and half cone with rainbow sprinkles. And there was much rejoicing.


Scene Three: Setting: The pool on the back deck

Our dynamic duo has finally returned from town and have managed a successful bathroom trip and changing in the bathing suit and Melissa's mandatory cleaning of the pool water. Jupiter is preparing to get in. Melissa opts for a chair. Jupiter jumps out.

Jupiter: I'm going to the bathroom.

Melissa: Again?

Jupiter: Yes. I'll call you when I'm ready.

Melissa: (sinking suspicion) Ready? Ready for what?

Jupiter: For wiping.

Pause.

Melissa: Wiping?

Jupiter: Yes.

Pause.

Melissa: Really?

Jupiter: Yes.

Pause.

Melissa: As in your butt?

Jupiter: (totally mocking) Uh, yeah.

Jupiter runs into the house. Melissa watches her go, wondering if it's too late to run.

Melissa: No one told me I was gonna have to do that.

Then slowly, very slowly, Melissa gets up and walks into the house.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

New Pens

I love pens.

Maybe it's a writer thing. Maybe it isn't, I don't know, but I just love pens. Well, not all pens. But every now and then, I come across a pen that just begs me to pick it up and write something awesome with it. When this happens, I latch on the pen and carry it around with me everywhere because you never know when brilliance will strike (unfortunately, my brilliance, if there ever was any to begin with, seems to have gone on an extended vacation.).

Every now and then came around one evening, a couple of weeks ago, when Joe and I went out for dinner. We payed by credit card and when the waitress brought the check for me to sign, she gave me a pen. It was a Papermate clicky top pen and I didn't think anything of it until I went to fill in the tip and sign my name.

Oh. My. God.

I looked at Joe and said, "I love this pen."

Because, oh my, did it write nice. It was called the Papermate Silk Writer 1.6B (ironically, the Papermate Silk Writer 1.6B pen is not to be found on the papermate company website.), which was a very aptly named pen because it was certainly smooth. Like silk.

So, being the somewhat nice person I can be, I decided against stealing the waitress's pen, although the temptation to do the opposite was strong. Instead I made Joe take me to Staples so I could buy an entire package of my own papermate silk writer 1.6B pens. Joe, who after so many years of living with me, is used to these eccentric quirks and just went with it. He decided he could look at network storage devices while I freaked out over pens.

But this blog is not about network storage devices (whatever those are. I'm guessing they're like an off site storage unit or something. They look like little stereo speakers.). This blog is about my quest for the Papermate Silk Writer 1.6B pen.

Yeah. They didn't have any at Staples. Stupid Staples. So I made- I mean, asked politely with not at all a demanding tone- Joe drive me to Wal Mart so I could check there (My choices are limited in the Mount Washington Valley.) I struck out again at the other big box store in town and went home feeling sad.

The next day was the day I drove down to South Portland to see Star Trek. Afterward, I sucked Omar into my pen hunt. Again, without any success. And then, after that, I got busy. I know I never seem too overly busy, but it happens and I couldn't hunt for pens anymore.

Then this past Tuesday, I was sitting at the computer, staring out the window while I contemplated the ever elusive synopsis hook. This often degenerates into me surfing the internet and Tuesday was no exception. When I had hit all my usual sites, I decided to do a google search for the Papermate Silk Writer 1.6B pen.

Lots of product reviews came up. Some people, a lot of people, seemed to be as enamored with the pen as I was. One claimed to have been given it to sign a credit card slip and never gave it back. I nodded. If only I had done that.

But a long story made shorter, I ended up on the Staples website (where you can have product shipped to the store for free) and searched for my pen there. I found them. I ordered them (four packs worth...two black, two blue. Had there been other colors, I would have ordered those too. Just something to consider, Papermate.). I had them shipped to the store because I didn't really want to pay more in shipping than I would for the actual pens themselves.

And then I waited. And as you know, I am a very patient person.

The pens were due to arrive on Wednesday so the day was spent tracking the package over and over again so I could go to Staples as soon as it arrived to retrieve them. Because the sales people there would love that. I had a crazy vision of me being at the store when it opened at 8am so I could pick up my pens and drive immediately to the library where I would then proceed to write the best damn synopsis anyone has ever read.

Well, it didn't actually work out that way. If it had, do you think I'd really be blogging about new pens? I mean, I love pens and all, but I'd love a completed synopsis more. At 10:30pm, I received an email confirmation saying my order had arrived and was available for pick up (Because, as the website and the email both said, Staples does not deliver.) at my local Staples. Which was two and a half hours after the store had closed but fine, whatever.

So I went to pick them up this morning. It took the guys a while to find my package and I waited very patiently. Well, patiently for me anyway. I spent the time browsing through their catalog and found my pens listed there at a lower price than what I had paid through their website. Interesting. Decided I didn't care about that when the sales associate who had been sent to locate and retrieve my package returned with a little brown box.

I had to show him my driver's license (Interesting Side Story: I'm picking my niece up from school tomorrow and was instructed by my sister to make sure I have my license on me when I do so, in case the staff wants to look at it, because there are places that do that. It just made me laugh that I have to do the same to pick up an order of four packages of pens.) and then he asked me to sign.

"Where do I sign?" I asked, looking at the form. "Oh. Could it be where it says 'customer signature'?"

Sales Associate confirmed my line of thought. I signed and then handed the form back to him.

"I'm really a smart person," I said.

He nodded as though he was humoring me and then opened the box to show me that what I had ordered was actually inside. To his credit, he didn't laugh at all when I giggled and clapped my hands like a little gleeful girl who'd just been offered cotton candy at the circus.

"Do you want the box?" he asked.

"No," I said as I dove for the pens. "Thanks, I'm good."

And I was. Now all I need is for my muse to get back from vacation. Anyone know how to stop overthinking about something but not pushing it so far out of your mind that you, you know, don't work on the something at all?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Bob. And Marie.

So today when I went to do my errands, I brought the dogs along. I do that pretty much every day and wanted to make sure I get it in early in the week because it's supposed to be too damn hot for that sort of thing at the end of it.

We started off at the town office to register the cars. I went inside and was waiting in line, looking at all the signs for dog licensing they have hanging there. There are a lot of them. One was a picture of a very sad looking dog behind bars with the caption "Look at what she did to me because you didn't license me!"

I registered the cars and left, taking my unlicensed dogs with me.

We went to Wal Mart next. I walked around, not remembering what I'd gone there for and ended up leaving empty handed. I got back to the car and there was a woman sitting in the car next to me whose face lit up when she saw me approach.

"Your dogs are beautiful!" she said.

I thanked her.

"And they're so good!" she said next.

I thanked her again although I really wanted to know upon what she was basing her assessment. Was it just that they were sitting calmly in the car? Or had she been doing stuff to them through the crack in the window?

We left then and went up to the post office. On our way, we got to an intersection where there was a motorcycle behind us, a bicyclist next to us and a pedestrian walking a dog on the sidewalk on the other side of the street. Poor Mischa didn't know which way to freak out. She ended up not freaking out at any of them for which she was richly rewarded.

When I came out of the post office, a car pulled into the spot next to mine and the woman in it thought the dogs were the most beautiful, well behaved dogs. And they are. Except, ironically, when they're in obedience class. Go puzzle that one.

Next was the grocery store. I pulled into my usual spot. A woman in her SUV was parked next to me. Her windows were down and she looked over at my dogs. My calm, non reactive dogs. I was getting my stuff together when her SUV started to bark.

Or rather, Bob started to bark.

Bob was in the cargo area of the SUV. Bob's a black and white hound mix. And Bob liked to bark. A lot.

"Bob," the woman said. "Stop it."

Bob did not stop it. I gave Mischa and Sebastian treats because neither of them had reacted to Bob. It didn't surprise me that Sebastian hadn't reacted because he doesn't (unless we're in class, of course) but I was floored that Mischa hadn't started up. Because that's what Mischa does. Usually.

"Bob," the woman said again. "Stop it. You can't play."

I'd like to make a note that it didn't really sound like a "come play with me" bark coming from the back of the SUV. It was more of a "come here so I can rip out your throat" bark.

"Bob," the woman said again. "Knock it off!"

I treated the dogs again because they still weren't reacting. Then I thought about just moving my car. And if Mischa had been the one freaking out, I would have done just that, mostly in an effort to spare Sebastian the pain and horror of being tagged when Mischa's frustration reached the boiling over point. But since they were both behaving admirably, I decided that SUV woman was just going to have to deal.

I got out of the car and SUV woman was still yelling at Bob to shut the hell up. She looked at me, all irritated, I think, that I was leaving my car where it was. It's a free country. I can park anywhere I want. Well, except a no parking zone anyway.

Bob continued to bark as I got the canvas bags out of the back of the car and walked away. Mischa barked almost immediately. I turned around and told her (in French) to be quiet. She, remarkably, was. SUV woman looked less enthused with me. Bob kept barking. Mischa didn't make another sound.

All the way into the grocery store, you could hear Bob barking and SUV woman saying, "Bob, stop it!" You know what the definition of insanity is, don't you, SUV woman? It's repeating the same action over and over and over again, expecting a different result. I know what Bob's reason was...what's yours?

Anyway, when I came out of the grocery store, Bob was gone and so we drove home. We'd just pulled onto our street and were almost to our driveway when a van pulled out of the line of cars parked along Marie's side of the road (all the construction people park on the side of the road because there's currently no room in her driveway because of the monster garage construction. Marie and whoever is at her house have to park there too. It's delightful.). They backed up into my driveway and sat there. And didn't move.

I, of course, slowed down because although my car does have four wheel drive, it cannot drive over a van. I waited. The van continued to not move. I put my window down and started waving. The van still did not move. I figured the van was waiting for me to pass so I pointed to my driveway to indicate that's where I was trying to go. My driveway. Not their frakking turn around. My driveway. Which leads to My house.

The van finally moved. The driver had the window down and slowed up to talk to me. Because I so wanted to talk to the idiot who was blocking my driveway. It turned out to be Marie. Even better.

"Sorry," she said.

"Yeah," I said.

"I was waiting for you to go by," she said.

"I was waiting for you to get out of my driveway," I said.

"So how are you?" she asked next.

"Great," I said. "Really great."

"Isn't it nice that summer's here?" she asked then.

We had frost the night before and I had to wear my down coat when taking the dogs out this morning. That doesn't exactly scream summertime to me. But whatever.

"Yeah," I said.

"We gotta talk about cutting down trees," she said. Because I'd be so receptive to doing her a favor just then.

"No," I said. "We really don't."

"Did you get a new dog?"

She was talking about Mischa. Every time she sees Mischa, she asks if we've gotten a new dog.

"Yeah," I said. "Almost four years ago now."

"All right then," Marie said. "We'll talk about the trees. See you later!"

She drove off then. I sat for another minute and then headed for my now clear driveway. One of Marie's cats was sunbathing in the middle of it. I very generously did not run it over. Mischa, however, had herself a nice apoplectic fit. The cat, eventually, got the hint and ran into the woods. I thought about letting Mischa go after it but it just seemed too cruel. I rescued Sebastian from the car before Mischa could attempt to chew off his face.

And all was well.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Television Week In Review: The Season Finale Edition (Week Ending 5/14/09)

Sunday

The Amazing Race: Well, the final three teams head out. Ugly American Jaime and Cara, Margie and it's not nice to pick on a deaf person but we want to be treated like everyone else Mama's boy Luke, and Type-A personalty control freak Victor and his long suffering sister Tammy. Wow. Joe and I agree that the only person (notice I didn't say "team") we're actually rooting for is Tammy. The finale isn't really very interesting/exciting, not like it's been in races past and Tammy and Victor cruise to a relatively easy victory. My favorite part was Jaime's comment, "This is how you lose a million dollars." Because I thought the way to lose a million dollars was to stop at a Chinese porta-potty before getting checked in by Phil. Care to weigh in, Keisha and Jen?

Family Guy: I don't really watch much of this show but I catch it once and a while and it either disgusts me or makes me laugh really freaking hard. What else should I expect from the guys who do Robot Chicken? Anyway, I saw the commericals say that they were going to imagine the gang in three of Stephen King's novels and saw that two of them were Misery and the Shawshank Redemption and decided to watch it. It was very funny although I feel as though I should point out that "Stand By Me" and "The Shawshank Redemption (really titled "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption") are both short stories found in the book "Different Seasons" along with "Apt Pupil" and one other story that is totally escaping my memory. The Stand By Me ending was particularly funny telling what each star of the movie went off to do (like "the fat kid from Stand By Me is totally married to Rebecca Romaine (I know that's not how her last name is spelled but I don't know how else to spell it either)...seriously! Go google it!" and then the potentially tasteless joke about River and Jaoquin Phoenix. Loved the "Thanks, Stephen King...we'll see you in court" at the end too.

Legend of the Seeker: The intrepid trio heads to the library where, rumor has it, there's another copy of the book known as the book of counted shadows, a book that Rahl wants to help him take over the world but Dick needs in order to defeat Rahl. Why another copy? Well, Dick destroyed the first copy way back in the series opener. Kahlan was not pleased. Anyway, Shota the Witch told Zedd The Wizard to go to this library where the librarian (a woman named Livia) has been hard at work deciphering clues as to its location. She's so focused on the clues that she's totally forgotten about her tween son who is, naturally, becoming a street thug. A street thug who gets into trouble with bigger street thug. So the delinquent goes to James the Painter for help. James learned magic at the library (see kids, going to the library is educational!) and is able to paint the delinquent actually into a painting in order to hide him from the street thugs. James then paints Livia into the painting. Dick, Kahlan and Zedd go to the library looking for Livia but, of course, she's not there because she's in James's painting. James paints himself into the painting too because he's crushing on Livia pretty hard. But she's all mopey because the library isn't there so James returns to the real world long enough to paint the library (filled to the brim with D'Haran soldiers...nice going, James.) into the painting as well. Well, long story short, Dick and Kahlan end up in the painting too where magic doesn't work and they could have sex all day long but when Darken Rahl sets fire to the painting, they all decide it's time to go. Poor James has to stay and perish, trapped inside his own magical work (let that be a lesson to you, kids, going to the library kills.). At the end, Dick reads from the book of counted shadows and discovers that the only way he can defeat Rahl is to use the boxes of Ordin...boxes that nearly turned Dick as evil as Rahl himself the last time he tried to use them....


Monday

Dancing With The Stars: It's semi-final night and there's a song stuck in my head. It goes like this: "One of these things is not like the others. Three of these things are kind of the same. One of these things is not like the others. It's time to play our game!" Yes, I am, of course, referring to Ty Murray, a very nice guy who needs to go home. It's outlandish that he stayed in the competition and Lil Kim was ousted last week. Gilles, Melissa and Shawn deserve the three spots in the finale and I will be outraged if Ty gets one instead. Yes, I think Shawn's Argentine Tango was overrated. I agreed that Melissa's dances were lacking a je ne sais quoi. But of course I have been a huge Gilles fan since his own superior Argentine Tango. Can't wait to see what freestyle routine Cheryl comes up with. Also, note to producers, the first half hour of your show totally sucked. What the hell was the freaking point?

The Big Bang Theory: Sheldon goes to the north pole and plans to take the other three with him. Penny doesn't want Leonard to go and gives him a snuggie. This is not the first television appearance of a snuggie (30 Rock featured one although they called it a 'slanket'.)...love it! Loved Penny's comment that the snuggie meant that wine, a credit card and late night television were a bad combination. Anyway, she doesn't tell Leonard that she doesn't want him to go and the last thing we see is the geek squad settling down for a double feature in their little Arctic cabin which looks remarkably like Sheldon and Leonard's living room. It'll be a long summer...

How I Met Your Mother: Barney tries to get out of a speeding ticket and Tony tries to make things up to Ted. Loved the gang's reaction to Ted's murder room opportunity and Lily's brief reappearance but the best part of the episode was Barney...which I say a lot. Next week is the season finale...what hijinks will the gang get into next?

Castle: I really do enjoy this show and hope that it is picked up for another season. Nathan Fillion is truly fun and if I can't watch him as Captain Tight Pants or Captain Hammer then I want to watch him as Richard Castle, crime fighting best selling author extraordinaire! Bring this show back, ABC...you owe us for that totally bogus first half hour of DWTS...and sticking us with Samantha Harris for as long as you have.

House: So I spent most of this episode thinking it wasn't a very good season finale. The episode before it, I was thinking, worked much better as a finale. This episode was a good season premiere. And then we got to the last ten minutes or thereabouts and POW. Nice twist. Very nice. Curious who'll be coming out of those gray stone doors come September. Also of note: a patient with evil hand issues (an Angel reference)...awesome!


Tuesday

American Idol: The Semi-Finals, if you will. Three men enter: the vastly superior Adam Glambert, the tween heartthrob Humble Kris and the sentimental fave Danny the glasses Gokey. Paula picks a song for Danny that he's never heard of and neither has anyone else. He sings it well though. Kris sings "Apologize" by One Republic and does it well but Kara wanted him to sing a stripped down acoustic version. Which, if that's what she wanted, she probably should have said as much to the poor boy. Adam sings "One" by U2 and Simon lets drop that he had to talk to Bono and get his permission for Adam to sing the song. Adam sings it all right but it's not my favorite performance. It would, however, rank above that "Ring of Fire" thing he did during country week. Anyway, Round Two shows Gokey singing "You Are So Beautiful" and had me singing "I am so bored...by this". Kris sang a stripped down acoustic version of a Kayne West song called "Heartbreak" or something and it was AWESOME. I think I'm actually going to go out to iTunes and download it because it was that awesome. Adam closed out the night singing "Cryin'" by Aerosmith and again, it was all right, but I think he's done better. I'm kind of hoping Gokey and Kris make the final two and Glambert's out because Glambert's already done what he's needed to do on this show. The guy's going to have a great career and I kind of think whoever has to go up against him in the finals will look all weak and pathetic in comparison. Gokey and Kris are much more evenly matched. But if Adam does, then I hope Gokey goes with him because Gokey comes the closest to matching Glambert vocally...although Kris's performance of "Heartbreak" or whatever it's called is the one song I actually want to download...Anyway, we'll see how America screws this up tomorrow.

Dancing With The Stars Results: More filler and then some filler on top of that. Shawn and Mark get the encore dance I suspect because she hasn't had one yet. Anyway, after we get through all the superfluous crap, we learn that Gilles, Melissa and Shawn will be going to the finals. And the world is once again as it should be.

Fringe: What a great season finale! Seriously, can't wait for September so I can see where this damn thing is going next. Totally called the gravestone thing and the William Bell being in another reality thing...when they started to pull back from the building though...I had a feeling what was coming and WOW. I was right. Ballsy and damn cool. What was not cool, however, was Charlie's hat. Dude...what were you thinking?


Wednesday

Lie To Me: I thought the episode where Cal takes on the serial freak was a better finale than tonight's episode. I mean, it was good and set up the next season and all but the Silence of the Lambs quality of the previous episode made it more intense. Plus, I spent most of that episode not exactly sure what was true and what wasn't...that doesn't happen very often.

American Idol Results: The Ford music video featured a trio of Malinois. Woo Hoo! The show was an hour and two minutes long and really only needed to be about two minutes long. Joe says he can't wait for Kara DiaGuardi to be sent home. Jordin Sparks reappeared and sang a new song "Battlefield" that was kind of cool. Oh, and Danny Gokey was sent home so it'll be Glambert and Humble Kris in the finale. Which, I think, will be interesting. I like both guys and they're at complete opposite ends of the spectrum so I'm looking forward to seeing what they'll do. Joe says he's glad Gokey's going home because Gokey has always bored him. And Joe does not like to be bored. Boring, however, he has no problem with...(C'mon...that was funny!)


Thursday

Bones: Spent fifty nine minutes squinting at the television going, "What?" and then the last minute was spent gasping and yelling, "Twist!" It was a fun episode. Loved seeing literally everyone again, including Zack. Wendell's long been my fave lab assistant but I really do like the others too. Clark as the Kayne West wannabe was too funny. Sweets's band being called "Gormagon" also hi-larious. But then, it turns out, that it was all a story being written by Brennan as she sits on Booth's bedside. Booth has been in a coma for four days and, just as the episode draws to a close, he awakes...and doesn't recognize Brennan. Oh snap....September is too far away.

Grey's Anatomy: Tonight was a two hour season finale that was supposed to dangle the question of whether Izzie and George would live to see another season as these two actors have been complaining about their jobs. Sorry, I don't have a lot of patience for people who complain that $100,000 per episode isn't enough money and can't suck up the fact that they're not the star. The show's called Grey's Anatomy, people. Deal with it. Anyway, I knew right away that George was the bus accident guy and that the miracle cancer girl would suddenly suffer a medical setback. It's how these shows work and Grey's hasn't really surprised me in a while. Kind of interesting when Izzie gets in the elevator, all decked out for her prom night aka season two and finds George waiting for her when the elevator opens. Who will live? Who will die? Kind of hoping they both buy the farm because that might be interesting television.

The Office: It's the company picnic and Michael is reunited with Holly (kind of). They're a sweet couple and I hope they get together at some point. Jim is reunited with Charles who continues to pick on Jim. Note to Charles: you will not get far in this world by picking on Jim! Loved the opening bit where Michael fell asleep and everyone changed all the clocks to make him think it was 5pm. If only I could pull that off during my next shift. Oh, and Pam's pregnant. Totally saw it coming but Jim's reaction was just so damn sweet and loveable that who cares if we all saw it coming?? Yea, for Pam and Jim!!!

30 Rock: This has got to be the funniest damn show on television. Seriously, if you're not watching this show, you really should be. But just don't blink because you'll miss out on a ton of jokes. Too many highlights to count them all. Dr. Spaceman reappears and I always enjoy it when he shows up. Loved Jack greeting Elvis Costello, Mary J. Blige and Clay Aiken in his office and saying "Elvis, Mary, Mr. Aiken..." and then blackmailing all three of them into performing in his kidney aid concert (his threat for Clay Aiken, "Your cousin, Kenneth Parcell, already told me you'd do this."). Alan Alda guests as Alec Baldwin's father and uttered the line, "A man crying about a chicken and a baby? I thought this was a comedy show?" which is absolutely beyond brilliant and if you don't get it, I don't think I can explain it to you. It would take entirely too long. Well, all right, if wouldn't, so if you don't know why that's funny, email me and I'll explain it to you. Anyway, kudos!!

Supernatural: Oh hey look, a show that is decidedly not funny. The Winchesters are gearing up for the final showdown and boy are things tense. Last week ended with a Winchester vs. Winchester battle royale and Dean saying "if you walk out that door, don't you even think about coming back..." It's shades of Big Daddy Winchester and Bobby doesn't waste any time in telling Dean so. Dean calls Sam to say he's not giving up but Ruby, that frakking bitch, screws with the message so Sam hears Dean saying not nice stuff instead. Ruby also gets Sam to drain and drink the blood of a possessed person before he goes and kills Lillith. The only problem? Killing Lillith is actually how one goes about breaking the final seal which releases Lucifer from his prison. Castiel lets this slip to Dean while Dean's (who is, according to the angels, supposed to be the one who kills Lucifer) being held in the "green room"...loved it when Zacharius offered Dean Ginger from season two of Gilligan's Island...and offers to throw Mary Anne in as well...anyway, Castiel helps Dean break out of the green room and get to Sam. Sam, by this time, as already killed Lillith (by going all demon-eyed, none the less) and finds out the truth. Dean breaks into the room and together the boys kill Ruby and then prepare for Lucifer's coming. Hot damn.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

In Which I Become A Trekkie

So I took a break from being mad about that whole Jane Austen thing and went to see the new Star Trek movie this weekend. I'm not what one would call a fan of the show. I mean, I'm familiar with it. I've seen a couple of episodes (the tribble one and another one where the main characters were on some kind of deadly fantasy planet thing) but it's not Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Battlestar Galactica or anything. But I am a J.J. Abrams fan and since this latest Star Trek reboot is a J.J. Abrams brainchild, I was eager to see it.

So my friend, Omar, and I went to check it out at the new IMAX theatre in Saco. The show was at 12:10pm but I made Omar get there an hour early. If I could have, I would have made Omar get there two hours early. When I go see the newest Harry Potter films at midnight, I make whoever comes along get there at least two hours early. Getting there early for big important releases is vital if you want to get a good seat. It is especially important if you're seeing the movie at the IMAX because you do not want to sit in the front row of the IMAX.

So we arrived at 11am and went inside and got our tickets. We were the first ones there which was interesting because I have never been the first one in line. When Heather and I drove to Rhode Island to watch The Lord of the Rings trilogy, we were there four hours beforehand and still we weren't the first ones in line (we were, however, the only ones not in costume...). Even when we're two hours early for a Harry Potter film, we're still not the first ones in line. So being first in line, first in line for a freaking Star Trek movies, was a surprise.

We waited. What else were we going to do? We stood outside the theatre and waited. One of the employees came over and stood in front of us to make sure we weren't going to just go barging in there or something. Omar made jokes about doing just that but I made him give me my ticket first so that if he did get thrown out, I could at least go see the film. The employee explained that there was a special showing going on then, people who had won some sort of radio contest or whatever, but as soon as they were finished, other theatre employees would go in and clean the theatre and then we would be seated.

Omar and I were cool. We didn't care about waiting. We were first in line and feeling pretty impressed with our bad selves. We stood there and talked about movies. The employee guy interjected comments once and a while too. After Star Trek, they'll be showing Night At the Museum 2, followed by Transformers and something else, leading right up to Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, which will have selected scenes in 3-D.

"I'm totally going to be living here this summer," I said.

The line behind us started to grow soon after that, and grow fast. People kept coming up to the front of the line to ask the employee (I feel bad that I don't know his name. I think I shall call him Mason because he kept telling us how he was a Mason and how much he loved National Treasure because of it.) when we would be seated. Mason kept explaining what was happening. The special showing was running late and they still had to clean the theatre before any of us would be allowed inside.

"It's not like they're going to start without us," I said at one point.

Of course, I probably wouldn't have been as cool if I hadn't been at the front of the line. And, by "the front of the line", I of course mean, the very first person in it. Boo-ya. Or something.

"All right," Omar said. "You were right. I was wrong."

"Could you say that again?" I requested. "Maybe a little louder this time?"

The special showing finally came to an end and people were streaming out. Then some tech guy came by with this ginormous walkie-talkie thing and told Mason he had to do a sound check and no one was allowed inside the theatre while he was doing a sound check.

Finally, the sound check was finished and the theatre was swept and we were allowed inside. We went to the back of the room, settling in the middle of the fifth row from the back. Perfect seating. After a few minutes, we were joined by a retired couple (whom I shall call Ethyl and Norman, as in the couple from On Golden Pond.).

Omar left shortly after that to get movie snacks. As he was walking by, Norman called out "Bring me back some popcorn!" Omar laughed and said sure and kept on walking. Ethyl turned her attention to me.

"I was told you had to wear special glasses to watch a movie here," she said.

"Oh, not for this movie," I said. "There's no 3-D in it."

"But the nurse in radiation said you had to wear these big bug-eye glasses to watch a movie here."

"And you do," I said. "If there are 3-D scenes in it. This movie doesn't have any though."

"Oh," Ethyl said. "I remember the last time I wore those glasses. They looked funny."

"They certainly do," I said.

"Look at those people sitting up front," she said next. "Their necks are going to hurt looking up at the movie like that."

Which is why I made Omar get there early. If we go see Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince here, you can rest assured we'll be more than an hour early. At least I will. Any who come alone with me can come later. I'll save you a seat. Probably.

Norman made a request of Ethyl. Turns out it was for one of her peppermints. She told so afterward.

"I told him he owed me," she said and then went on to say, "This is a nice theatre."

I agreed and then offered that I was excited that there was an IMAX in Saco now. It meant I didn't have to drive to Massachusetts anymore. At least not to see movies.

"We used to live in Massachusetts," Ethyl said.

"Did you?" I asked.

"Yes. We were born there. Then we moved to Rhode Island."

I thought about saying that I'd been there to see movies too. But didn't.

"Then we moved to Virginia," Ethyl said. "And then Italy."

As I hadn't seen that one coming, I said, "Really? That's great!"

"Then we came back and lived in California. Then Nevada."

There were a couple of other states that followed but eventually, Ethyl and Norman ended up back in New England. Massachusetts, followed by Maine.

"That's impressive," I said.

Turns out, Norman used to be in the Navy. He traveled all around for that. She stayed on the base and took care of the kids. When the kids were in school, she did volunteer work.

"It's important to keep busy," she said.

"That it is," I agreed.

Norman interrupted to ask where his popcorn was.

"You don't need any popcorn," Ethyl said. "You didn't see that line."

"Was the line very long?" I asked. Because when Omar and I had arrived, there hadn't been a concession line.

"Oh, you should have seen it. It wrapped around and around right to our line!"

"And you wouldn't wait in it," Norman said.

"That's right!" Ethyl said. "I wasn't going to wait in that line!"

"Because I'm not worth waiting in line for," Norman. "I know."

"Oh, we'll get you a sandwich on the way home," Ethyl said.

I thought then about calling Omar and telling him to please bring poor Norman some popcorn. Then I thought about calling Omar and telling him not to worry about the M&Ms if the line was crazy long because I didn't need M&Ms that badly. I said as much to Ethyl.

"Does he have a phone with him?" Ethyl asked.

"Yes," I said. "But I'm pretty sure he's turned it off already. I think we both did before we came in here. I feel badly now."

Just don't tell Omar I said that. I have a reputation to maintain, you know.

Omar reappeared shortly afterwards. Norman, Ethyl and I watched him come up the stairs.

"He doesn't have any popcorn," Norman said.

"He doesn't have anything," Ethyl said.

"Where's my popcorn?" Norman asked when Omar was close enough.

"Oh, it's being delivered," Omar said.

I knew he was joking. I don't know if Norman did.

"With butter, I hope," Norman said.

Omar sat down on my right. He had the M&Ms stashed in his bag. I waited until Ethyl was distracted by something else and then leaned over.

"She hasn't stopped talking since you left," I said.

About a minute later, one of the theatre employees came in, carrying a sandwich on a plate and obviously looking for someone.

"There's someone!" Ethyl said. "Is that your food?"

"She doesn't have any popcorn," Norman said.

Omar said it wasn't his food.

"She's looking for someone," Ethyl said. As if Omar might have been lying about that sandwich belonging to him.

Omar assured her that while the poor suffering theatre employee was, in fact, looking for someone, he was not the someone for which she was looking. We watched her search for someone. Don't know if she ever found them because Ethyl distracted us again. This time it was about the advertisement playing for a local dealership.

They have a Lincoln Town car, you know. Wait, not a Town car but a Marquis. Bought it in '08. With zero percent financing. Omar and I both expressed our admiration. The story continued with how the owner of this particular dealership is always saying in his ads "Come by and see me. Have some coffee and a donut!"

"Well," Ethyl said. "He's never there when we are. And there are no donuts. No coffee. You know where they are?"

We didn't.

"They're over at the Toyota dealership. With him. That's where he is. We had to go there once to get a rental car and that's where the rental cars are. They had the coffee and the donuts and the sandwiches. But you had to pay for them."

"Really?" we asked.

"The sandwiches," Ethyl said. "If you were waiting for your car and wanted a sandwich, you had to pay for it. But the donuts and coffee were free. BUt I said to him (the dealership owner guy) he's never at the other place and you know what he did?"

We didn't.

"He said, 'I'll pay for their rental car today.'"

"That was very nice of him," I said.

"He's a very nice man," she said. "Just how you see him on the commercials, that's how he is."

Truth in advertising.

The lights dimmed shortly afterward and the pre-show stuff started. My anticipation was building and just when I thought I couldn't get any more excited, they showed a preview for Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. I think I might have hit Omar in my excitement but I can't remember. If I did hit you, Omar, I apologize. I just get so excited some times, I can't help myself. Anyway, that movie looks frakking AWESOME. I anticipate seeing it many times.

Oh yeah, and then we watched Star Trek. And it was great. Really fantastic. Lots of laughs, good special effects, terrific action sequences. Zachary Quinto makes an amazing Spock and Chris Pine is damn hot. I mean, he too was very good in his role. Everyone was good. This is a good movie. I laughed, I held my breath, at one moment, I literally jumped out of my seat. There was some loser sitting in front of us who was on his iPhone during the show. Dude, what the hell were you doing? I say again: Loser.

Anyway, I clapped at the end and looked at Omar and said, "I want to see that again!"

Don't know how Ethyl and Norman felt about the movie because they took off as soon as the credits started to roll. I always watch the credits and people with whom I go to the movies are generally good natured enough to humor me on that.

So yeah. Go see Star Trek. It's super fun. Especially if Ethyl and Norman are sitting next to you. Those crazy kids.

Jane Austen, FYI, was not, to my knowledge, at all interested in Star Trek. Just another of the many ways Jane Austen and I are nothing alike. Nothing.

Live long and prosper.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Not That I'm Obsessing Over This Or Anything...

Things That Would've Been Kinder To Do Than To Compare My Work To Jane Austen

1. Delete my Legend of the Seeker episodes from my DVR.

2. Delete my Facebook account.

3. Tell Me Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog is vastly overrated.

4. Say disparaging things against Joss Whedon.

4. Say disparaging things against Jacoby Ellsbury.

5. Make me live in a red state.

6. Make me work out.

7. Make me scrunch the denim wall.

8. Serve me a plate of over easy eggs with a side of chicken wings.

9. Give me a paper cut and pour lemon juice into it.

10. Give me a cardboard cut and pour battery acid into it.

11. Run me over with a car.

12. Throw me in the path of an on-coming bus.

13. Throw me in the path of an on-coming train.

14. Kick me off the Brooklyn Bridge.

15. Kick me off another really high bridge.

16. Lock me in a room with a wolf spider.

17. Lock me in a room with an entire family of wolf spiders.

18. An actual physical slap in the face.

19. An actual physical punch in the gut.

20. Waterboarding.

Okay, well, that last one might be an exaggeration...Good to know I'm taking this criticism so well.

Jane Frakking Austen.

My brilliant sister-in-law figured out a way for me to see the missing thought bubbles I was bitching about yesterday so I took her up on the offer and was able to see the comments this morning.

The "shit-ton" of comments were nothing. Absolutely nothing. But then, in chapter fourteen, he crossed a line.

He called my writing Jane Austen.

JANE FRAKKING AUSTEN.

Not cool.

I can take a lot of criticism. I have taken a lot of criticism. But that just seems like a really LOW blow. Jane Austen? I mean seriously, he couldn't come up with a writer I hate more (actually, is there a writer I hate more? There's something to think about.)? Did I do something so horrible to him (you know, besides constantly bitching about him in a blog that, as far as I know anyway, he doesn't read...) as to deserve a Jane Austen comparison?

C'mon! My writing is not Jane Austen. Take it from someone who has spent this month reading nothing but Jane Austen. Two hundred pages of talking about how many dinners and dances a woman and a man can share or should share before she can be reasonably assured of his good character? Seriously? You're going to compare my writing to that? To Jane Austen?

I say again: NOT COOL.

The next sound you'll hear is my head exploding.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Melissa Goes To The Library, Part One

10:25am: I arrive at the library, on a quest to write my synopsis. I'm hoping the lack of readily available internet access (mostly meaning Facebook) will help.

10:25:01am: What the frak do you mean there's no open parking space? What the hell? Don't these people know how badly I need to go to the library today?

10:25:02: I sit in a no parking zone and wait for someone to come out.

10:33: Someone comes out. I put my car in gear and nearly cause an accident in my haste to claim the spot as my very own. Don't let it be said that I don't suffer (or cause suffering) for my art.

10:34: There's a sign on the library door apologizing that all the computers are down today. Good. Even less temptation, right?

10:35am I find a perfect free-from-distractions desk, surrounded by fake oak paneling to make sure I don't cheat off my neighbor. Not that I have a neighbor because no one is in this room besides me and the librarian walking past. I smile at her. She frowns at me. Since I haven't actually done anything yet, I assume she saw my mad parking space dash.

10:40am: All my notebooks and notes are out and arranged. My iPod is playing and I am officially ready to start work.

10:41am: Dammit. My chair is broken.

11:00am: I've actually accomplished something. It's not exactly the best thing I've ever written, but it's a start, right? I celebrate my success by gazing longingly out the window at the newly emerging sun. Frowny Face Librarian Lady walks by and glares at me. I go back to work.

11:05am: They announce the computers are back online. I pretend I didn't hear that. I don't need Facebook. I don't.

11:14am: Must. Resist. Facebook. Must.

11:20am: Holy crap! I've written almost a page. And more notes! I'm on fire!

11:40am: I've taken a ton of notes (weird, I always find, to take notes on your own novel.) and written an entire page of synopsis. Must be time for a break.

11:50am: I return from my break with the intention of throwing out everything I've already written (synopsis-wise) and starting all over again.

12:00pm: No luck talking myself out of it.

12:01pm: Here goes.

12:03pm: God, I am tired. Too many late nights up watching the Red Sox.

12:05pm: Oh good. Kids. I mean, I love kids. Especially loud ones in the library where I'm trying to accomplish something.

12:10pm: I stare at the ceiling, trying to put my new plan in motion. The ceiling has a nice stained glass panel in it but my desk is directly under the air vent.

12:11pm: Frowny Face Librarian Lady walks by. I stop slouching.

12:15pm: I contemplate crown molding while Thing 1 and Thing 2- I mean, the adorable little moppets stomp around. Where's Frowny Face Librarian Lady now?

12:21pm: I suspect I may spend the rest of my life looking at the fake oak paneled barrier in front of me.

12:23pm: The moppets leave. There is much rejoicing. But not too much because I still love my new idea but still can't figure out how best to approach it.

12:24pm: I write my first sentence: "Such a small, unassuming thing is a letter."

12:25pm: I contemplate the stupidity of my first sentence. Is a letter indeed small and unassuming? Can a letter be unassuming? Can a letter be assuming?

12:26pm: My Freeze Ray from Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog comes on the iPod. I stop contemplating and dance as much as I can in my broken chair. Frowny Face Librarian Lady comes by. But of course she does.

12:28pm: I find myself in need of a dictionary. Good thing I'm in a library.

12:33pm: Metallica's The God That Failed comes on. Good thing I don't subscribe to that writer as god mentality. Otherwise I'd be tempted to be discouraged by this.

12:41pm: I take a bunch more notes and write the start to a second sentence: "Ink scratched into parchment to form words meant to inform."

12:42pm: I contemplate the stupidity of the second sentence and cross out everything after "parchment."

12:45pm: I'm staring at the ceiling, looking for inspiration, when Frowny Face Librarian Lady reappears. I feel as though I should show her my notes. Not my blog notes, though. Just my synopsis notes. They are plentiful, I swear.

12:50pm: Contemplate aborting the mission for the day. Live to fight (write) another day. Or something.

1:00pm: I bid farewell to the library to go home and play with the dogs while I contemplate the unassuming nature of parchment and ink.

WILL Melissa write her synopsis (smart money says no.)? WILL she decide if a letter is an unassuming thing (smart money's still trying to figure out what the hell that even means.)? WILL the Frowny Faced Librarian be in residence again (the odds are pretty even on this one.)? TUNE in tomorrow to find out when Melissa goes back to the library!

Techno-Woes

I kind of hate my computer.

It all started with that stupid sneaky-ass virus from last week or whenever. Everything was fine up until then. Everything was fine until I had to let Joe de-virus the computer. Since then, everything's kind of sucked.

First of all, I can no longer watch my favorite television shows online. I liked to watch Chuck, The Office and 30 Rock on NBC's site. I think I've mentioned that before...I don't have enough DVRs or VCRs to tape it live and never worried about it because I could just watch the damn episodes online but whenever I try and watch the video using Firefox, the damn thing doesn't work. Fine. Whatever. I'll wait for the DVDs, or summer reruns, except networks never show summer reruns anymore because that's when they put out their stupid summer reality dregs programming. Except for So You Think You Can Dance. That show frakking rocks.

Second of all, I can no longer manage to download mp3s from Amazon. I love downloading music from Amazon. Just ask my credit card statement. I tried to download some Iron & Wine songs the other day and it didn't work. It said I needed to download some mp3 downloader thingy so I clicked on the button that said "download now!" only, apparently, "download now!" doesn't actually mean download now. Instead it means, "Haha! This is a dead end!"

I am starting to suspect Joe of tampering with my computer all in the name of the credit card statement.

Except then there's the third thing, and I don't know what's up with that. My friend, the tortoise, who's reading my book (yeah...the one I spend time being mad at more than is likely healthy) sent me chapters. I mentioned that in my last blog. He send me a chapter and it had only the one suggestion/correction so minor, I honestly didn't know why he bothered. Well, remember when I said I asked?

Come to find out, there have been other comments made but now, for some reason, I can't see them. I saw them before in little thought bubble like things in Word. Chapter Eleven was the last one to have them. Chapters twelve, thirteen and fourteen were thought bubble free. My friend reported that chapter twelve and fourteen had maybe a handful of comments but thirteen had a "shit-ton."

I did not find this to be at all encouraging.

But I told him not to worry about it because I didn't know what to do about it. I don't know what changed between chapters eleven and twelve but something did (Though Joe doesn't think it's anything he did...thought bubbles do not affect the credit card statement.) and trying to fix it just seems like entirely too much frakking work so now I am living comment free which is fine except the more I think about it, the more I'm curious about what a shit-ton actually is.

But thanks to my frakking techno-woes, I'll likely never know. Stupid frakking technology. Lure us in with your shiny convenience and then take it all away. I hate change. I hate adjusting. I hate downloading things that never download. I hate Firefox. I hate Windows Explorer. I hate the Internet.

I also hate the phrase "shit-ton" as I cannot imagine any possibilities in which that is a good thing.

Anyway, I'm off to go live a low-tech day at the local library. I am desperately trying to re-create the success I had while sitting around a dealer's waiting room waiting for my car to have an oil change.

Viva la Internet-less!

P.S...I do recognize the irony of my railing against technology, the internet and Firefox on my blog with which I am writing with the aid of technology, the internet and Firefox.

Monday, May 4, 2009

In Which I Pull A Muscle

I pride myself on having well behaved dogs (All ass-biting aside, of course...). I pride myself on having dogs with manners. Dogs who will not dive for a piece of food that happens to be dropped on the floor (or thrown directly at them as the case may be). Dogs who do not run out of open doors without permission. Dogs who (for the most part) come when called and lay patiently and quietly in the kitchen when someone is trying to come inside. And finally, dogs who do not jump out of the car without permission.

We had a minor set back with that last one today.

I went to the Store today to (a) exchange some shirts I'd bought for my father that were too large, (b) pick up my summer uniform clothes (Bermuda shorts and tank tops...woo hoo!), and (c) pick up my paycheck, my first paycheck since like March, I think. I tend to bring Mischa into the Store with me because she needs the outlet and the socialization. Sebastian is fantastic in stores. He'll lay down and wait for you. But the second he gets into the store, the only thing he wants to do is leave. He does not want to see people and does not want people to see him. He wants to go back outside and pee on more trees. So Mischa tends to get the nod.

So we pulled into the parking lot and the whining started. Mischa tagged Sebastian. I yelled. Mischa backed off and I put Mischa's Gentle Leader on as it helps her to control her social anxiety and got ready to get out of the car. Mischa came and waited until I'd snapped the leash on her Gentle Leader and gave her permission to get out of the car.

Sebastian, aghast at being left behind, forced himself into the front seat. This is, while quite a sight to see, nothing new. Sebastian often forces himself into the front seat when left behind. He likes to lay on the horn to express his displeasure or surprise at being left behind. Some times he just lays on it and lets the horn blare. Other times he favors a steady staccato beat.

Today, however, he bypassed the horn and pushed past me to get out of the car (without a leash). I grabbed him by the collar so he could run off but I was annoyed and forgot to watch my tone of voice when I expressed said annoyance. This caused Mischa to tag Sebastian very hard in the head. My little sociopathic hall monitor. This made Sebastian cry. This made me yell. More.

Sebastian's next idea was to try and run. As in away. I was twisted and turned as I tried to hold on to both the little sociopath and the big baby. I'm pretty sure that's when I pulled the muscle in my arm but I didn't realize it at the time. I wrangled Mischa and threw her back into the car because there was no way in hell she was going to get the reward of coming with her mother. Of course, she still had the leash and Gentle Leader on, so I told (all right, maybe yelled a little...) at Sebastian to sit in the parking lot so I could get a leash to put on him but Sebastian did not want to sit. Sebastian did not want to lay down. Sebastian wanted to run, far, far away, never to be heard from again. I think he wanted to head right to his Mimi's house so my mother could pet him and tell him what a good, handsome dog he is. Mimi never yells at Sebastian. Mimi never calls Sebastian a big baby. Sebastian loves his Mimi.

I finally got Sebastian to lay down and turned to get the Gentle Leader and leash off Mischa. By the time I had accomplished this (it didn't take very long, FYI), Sebastian was up and ready to run (I think he was afraid of Mischa launching herself out the car door at him. She didn't.). I called but as I was standing next to a car containing his sociopathic sister, he didn't go for it. So I went to him.

As we made our way into the store, it was then that I realized how much my freaking left arm hurt. Our visit into the store went smoothly. We scared the crap out of the FedEx man and made the day of a little girl who absolutely loves dogs. I'm always careful to ask parents if they're (the parents) are all right with Sebastian because he is a frakking huge German Shepherd and while their kids may feel no apprehension, the parents, a lot of the time, do.

A few summers ago, we took the dogs to this party one of my sister-in-law's co-workers was throwing. Her co-workers had heard a lot about the dogs and wanted to meet them. Fortunately, the dogs needed a ride so Joe and I got to go along too. But at the party, we met a little girl, probably three years old, whose name escapes me now. She saw Sebastian and came running right to him . Sebastian, while perhaps not overly fond of children, is tolerant of kids so neither Joe nor I were concerned.

Her father, however, was slightly more so. He came running after his child yelling ,"No, Little Suzy (or whatever her name was)! No!" and practically tackled her in his attempt to save her from our overly large and obviously vicious dog.

Now, a little side note for the side note here, I am a huge advocate of parents teaching their children that not all dogs are friendly and that running headlong into one you do not know is never a good idea. I am a huge advocate of teaching kids that one should ask before petting a dog with which one is unfamiliar because you never know. My dogs are cool but not all German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois are cool. Not all Labrador Retrievers are cool. Not all Golden Retrievers are cool. Don't make assumptions based on the breed and/or size. So please, ask before you pet. You just may save a finger or five.

Anyway, back to the story. Daddy saved Little Suzy from Big and we started talking. We assured Daddy that Big was perfectly fine with kids and it would be all right if he wanted to allow Little Suzy to pet Big. He did. And it was fine. Joe gave Little Suzy some cookies to feed Big. Daddy was a little apprehensive about this but again, it was fine. We parted on excellent terms.

Later that night, Little Suzy came barreling at Big again, only this time, she was being followed by her mother, who had not met Big. Joe and I greeted Little Suzy just as Daddy reappeared and said to his wife, "Oh yeah, that's Big. He's cool."

Yes, he is. As long as you are not a dog's ass anyway.

So yeah. Sebastian greeted the kid and scared off a potential customer who was about to walk in but stopped dead in her tracks when she saw Sebastian sitting by the counter. Sebastian looked over his shoulder at her and that was enough for her because she told her companion that she'd wait for him outside. And then went to sit on a bench.

We finished our shopping and took our bag out to the car. I tied Mischa down so Sebastian would get in the car and we went on our merry way. Mischa did not tag Sebastian again. But my arm still hurts.

Friday, May 1, 2009

April 2009 Book Review

Breaking Dawn- Stephenie Meyer- Yep. Still gross. Though some of Jacob’s narrative did make me laugh.

The Love Knot- Elizabeth Chadwick- A scene I was rewriting in Effigy made me think of this book, so I picked it up and started reading it again.

All Emergencies Ring Super- Ellen Emerson White- Look, I read a book I haven’t read before! Pretty good book. I simply adore Ellen Emerson White’s writing style. Funny, smart, did I mention funny? I read on her webpage a while back that she’s working on a sequel…and now I can’t wait!

Shield of Three Lions- Pamela Kaufman- This could very well be the last book I read for a while that isn’t written by one Jane Austen and it sucked. I mean, it was written fine and all but the story did not appeal to me at all. Not even the slightest bit. It's about an eleven year old girl, Alix, whose home is destroyed and goes on crusade to find King Richard to get justice. Well, since she's an eleven year old girl, she goes disguised as a boy and ends up acting as the king's page. I took issue with the scenes where King Richard wants an eleven year old boy in his bed. Actually, younger since Alix tells everyone she's a nine year old boy. I don't care if Richard likes men, but a nine year old boy was gross, no matter the time period. I also didn't like how Kaufman portrayed Robin Hood...I'm a big Robin Hood fan. I like him more as a hero, less as a cheating whoring horn dog.

Banners of Gold- Pamela Kaufman- Oh hey look. It's the sequel to Shield of Three Lions. It's a sickness, I tell you, a sickness. This book picks up three years after the first one left off. It's marginally better than the first but it's still nowhere near one of my favorite books. Kaufman's planning to write a third book to this series. Oh joy.