Wednesday, March 31, 2004

The Tyrant's First Amendment
In all my year of blogging, I have never had to retract or amend any of my blog entries. I take great pride in accurately reporting and re-telling details with the utmost of integrity. And snark.

So in maintaining my high level of ethical writing standards, I must retract one of my own statements made in a blog entry from last week. A mistake has come to my attention, through all fault of my own. Please join me in the following tale of my own stupidity and very, very poor memory.

I wrote last week about airport postcards, making the blatant (and what I thought at the time to be accurate) observation that there are no postcards of the insides of airports. In fact, I was enamored at the fact that since we spend most of our time at airports inside the airport, there should be postcards of the insides of airports, rather than of the outsides, which we often never get to see.

During my trip to Pittsburgh last week, I purchased some airport postcards to send to a couple of my friends (apologies to friends who did not receive postcards this time, yet were hoping for an airport postcard- I'll get you next time), as this is really funny to me. I purchased two varieties of postcards of the airport, so that the chosen lucky recipients among my friends would not all receive the same card. I discovered I could afford three postcards, as I am poor. I then paid for the postcards and went on my merry way to wait another two hours for my plane to leave.

The next day I put addresses and stamps on two of the cards and sent them on their way in the mail. The third card, however, could not be mailed as I did not have the address for it, yet. A strange oversight, as I know where my friend lives, but apparently had never bothered to write it down in mailing-type format.

Last night, I received the address, and even though it has since been a week since I was in Pittsburgh, I thought it would still be funny to mail the postcard, since she knew I'd bought postcards and sent them to other friends, but she had not received one, yet. I dug out the postcard, wrote her address on it, and then turned it over to look at the picture on the front.

There, before my very eyes, was a picture of the inside of the Pittsburgh airport.

Huh. Well look at that.

It seems that I bought this postcard of the inside of the airport, arrived home, blogged about how I've never seen a postcard with a picture of the inside of the airport (completely forgetting that I'd just bought such a postcard the day before), and then re-discovered the postcard and its picture of the inside of the airport a week later.

Not only that, I realized that last night's postcard was the same as one of the postcards I sent last week, and this was the postcard of the inside of the airport. So essentially I sent a postcard of an airport inside before I wrote about never finding any postcards of airport insides.

Therefore, I would like to amend my statement that there aren't any pictures of the insides of airports to now say that there aren't enough postcards of the insides of airports.

Clearly if there were more of these airport inside postcards, I would sooner remember having seen and purchased them.


Carmen Returns
Did you hear it last night? I did. And I freaked out!!! The horror of which The Alliance has spoken is true!!

Camille Velasco is Carmen Rasmussen. Paula even called her 'Carmen' last night. I heard it loud and clear. She played it off as a 'slip', but we all know that Carmen went into hiding since AI2 and has re-emerged as Camille for AI3. Paula has confirmed our suspicions.

Unfortunately, Camille cannot sing, either. So Carmen's efforts to 're-invent' herself as Camille are in vain.

However, efforts to remove her from power are in full force. Right now.

In conjunction with my Alliance comrade, Camille is our target for this week. All of our power is being focused on getting her off the show tonight. She was sooooooooooooo bad last night, even though there were several contestants who deserve to go this week. Motown was not a good week for anyone but George. How ironic would it be for that guy to win the whole thing, when he wasn't even originally in the Top 32? Super ironic.

Camille sang poorly. She had a weird dance-step-hand-gesture thing going on. And she deserves nothing more than to sing herself down the Walk of Shame tonight.

The Alliance has spoken.


PS: My Tuesday nights are now incomplete without America's Next Top Model. I miss Tyra.

But I did manage to catch something that I wish I hadn't caught while flipping channels last night. Some really horrible sitcom on UPN (I know I have just described all of the sitcoms on UPN, but unfortunately I cannot be more specific, as it was just plain bad and doesn't deserve more recognition than that) had Adrienne Curry and Janice Dickinson on as guests. I swear I stumbled onto it, as I had just sat down that very second, and there they were on my TV.

I was reminded that even though I'm glad Adrienne won ANTM last year, she should never open her mouth to speak. She just needs to be quiet and look pretty. And remember this season when the girls had to pretend to be spokesmodels for a line of cosmetics, and Janice (aka the World's First Supermodel) yelled at them for not being able to sell cosmetics? Well, on this horrible show last night, she was selling cosmetics. And I kid you not, she could not even read her lines from the cue card she was obviously looking at off camera! She was horrible! She was much worse than any of the girls who had to pretend for the competition. Fortunately my phone rang and saved me from watching any more of this. It was so bad, I couldn't turn it off on my own. I was immobilized with horror.

I miss Tyra. But not Janice.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

News Happened Today
Lately I've noticed that headlines are really, really lame. Or maybe the lame-ness lies in the subject matter of the stories I hear or read about in the news. I'm not a big fan of the news, anyway. But I do check the news daily, just to make sure the world hasn't blown up while I was asleep or in the bathroom.

Today I read that "Consumer confidence remains virtually unchanged in March." Yeah? So? This was a lead story. Basically they're telling me that everything is the same. It's a waste of space. Let me know when consumer confidence plummets or skyrockets. Then it might be worth a minute of my time to read that story.

Last night I hear on the news that "some exercise may be good for diabetes." These kinds of health stories are the best. Is this 'some' exercise, as opposed to 'no' exercise? Isn't 'some' exercise good for just about everything, or in general? This is like telling me that standing absolutely still will not help you lose weight. Or that drinking caffeine before going to bed may keep you awake. Or that eating at McDonalds everyday may cause your kids to get fat. We know this. It's not news.

Here's another highly imformative story I saw today: "SUVs have put a dent in minivans' popularity." Really. You can't be serious. Minivans aren't cool anymore? SUVs are popular? I had no idea.

Also, in case you're wondering, "Plastic On Lawn Mowers, Tractors May Crack." But, it may not.

And, "Stock market averages struggle." I'm shocked at this revelation. Is this a new issue?

In other health news, "Survey: Children Aren't Getting Enough Shuteye," because no one knew it was hard to get kids to go to sleep. "Everyday Workouts Can Cause Hand, Wrist Pain," so be sure not to workout using your hands or wrists everyday. "Childhood Foods Not Best Choices For Adults," so make sure to stay away from the string cheese, Fruit Roll-ups, and frozen fish sticks, but only if you're an adult. Because otherwise that stuff is good for kids. But if you choose to go with fruit and veggies, beware- "Some Fruits, Veggies Healthier Than Others." Of course, some fruits and veggies are also not as healthy as others. But that didn't make the news today.

And lastly, a day isn't complete without some shocking entertainment news. So today we learn that "Tom Cruise Makes Some Life Changes." Really. Changes. Life changes.

My, what an informative news day.

News happened today.


Monday, March 29, 2004

Baby Boom . . . ers
Turns out I'm one of those single people that gets to watch all of her friends get married, one by one. But I already knew that.

Now it turns out that I'm one of those single people that gets to watch all of her now married friends have babies. Seriously, it's a baby boom around here. Pregnant people and babies sprouting up everywhere. It's great, yet a little bizarre for me to see my friends with kids. I like to think that the babysitting money will be good.

But while many of my friends are having babies, I'm proud to say that I'm having . . . parents. I like to pioneer new things. Often doing things backwards.

Yes, next weekend I will be having parents. I'll be welcoming my parents back to Texas. To live. Here. Their sphere of influence will go from several hundred miles away to less than ten minutes away. It will be a wonderful . . . adjustment.

I see good things in this move. There will be a certain comfort and peace to having parents close by again. Free house maintenance, for one thing. My dad is quite a handy guy. And of course, the food. My mom is a great cook. I may never have to cook for myself again.

But all joking aside, this is a positive thing for my family, and a blessing of an opportunity for my family to be closer again. The parents have been away for almost four years, leaving less than a year after my sister died. I have to say, though, that since the news of them moving back here became a reality, I've been a flood of emotions and uncertainty. Excitement, yes. But also struggling with the fear of another change. I've been used to how things are now. And now it's time to mix it up again.

Most of all, I'm missing my sister more than I have in a long time. It's hard to think of my family being complete again with a move back to Texas, because in reality we'll never be fully complete again.

The last time my parents moved into a new house here, my sister was here. She came up from school for a visit and to check out the new digs. It was a rebuilding time for my family, so it was strange to me to have her around again. She had been through a 'little sister rebellion stage', and as the big sister still being responsible and living near my parents, it was hard for me to welcome her back and into my world. Little did I know these were precious times.

The way I used to relate best to my sister was to laugh. We could always laugh together, a lot. And laughing seemed to remind us that we loved each other. During this visit to the new house, I brought my camera. My sister loved to be photographed, and I just happened to like to photograph things. So we took a photographic walking tour of the house and yard. She posed near and besides things, and I snapped pictures. We laughed the whole way through. We were particularly fond of an interestingly peculiar fountain in the backyard. Not being quite sure what it was, we named it LeeLee. We then documented on film both our uncertainty of LeeLee's function, and then our discovery that she was there to squirt water over a circular flowerbed with some spiritual or otherwise superfluous significance. LeeLee made us laugh. It was good to laugh.

I've been reminded of these memories lately, as I work through what it will be like to have my parents home again. The other night I happened to pick up the photo album of these pictures and both laughed and cried my way through it. It seems so fresh in my mind, which is both strange and wonderful to me since it's been five years. My memory is bad when I need it most, so I'm always glad when I can specifically remember the memories. It was only months before she was gone. I still have the jeans she was wearing in those pictures.

It will be different to have my parents here this time, as we are different people now. For that, I am grateful. We've healed and grown, and I think much has happened for the better. It will also be sad to welcome my parents here to their new home next weekend without my sister to be a part of it. It just doesn't seem right, still.

Of course, I'll also miss LeeLee to help commemorate the moment. LeeLee was special. And she photographs well.

But I think I still just don't know how to be the only one. It was definitely nicer not to be the only one. It just seemed to make more sense in the family that way.

Inheriting parents again will be an adjustment. But, at least the food will be good.

Welcome home, Mom and Dad.


Friday, March 26, 2004

Postcards from the airport
One of my favorite things about airports is the airport postcard. Every airport I've ever been in, I can always find at least one postcard touting the praises of that airport.

This is funny to me.

Are these airport postcards flying off those wobbly postcard racks, high in demand by busy travelers? How many people do you know travel through airports just to visit the airport? Does anyone make a vacation out of airport hopping? Are there photo albums of family vacations in airports?

"Aaah, here we are in the Baton Rouge airport. There was one terminal open and the bathroom was out back in a trailer. But we got a postcard. Thank goodness they had one!"

Who thought of the idea of airport postcards? I mean, someone has hit on a brilliant idea here. I wish I'd invented it. But what is the logic? I can't think of a single airport that is pretty enough for me to want a picture of it to remind me of my time spent there. And for the most part, I only see the insides of airports. Especially on a layover, I could care less what the outside of the building looks like. I'm not going to go through security unnecessarily just so I can get a good look at the outside of an airport, then hope to find a good postcard of it so I can always remember it.

Yet, I never find postcards of the inside of airports. Strange, if you ask me.

Of course, I buy these airport postcards. I think they're hilarious. I seek them out. I overlook beautiful landscape and city pictorals on postcards, just so I can find the ugly, annoying airport postcard. I send them to my friends, especially when I've only been in an airport for a layover. I like to capture the entire trip. And personally, sending postcards of airports is way more fun than trying to pick the perfect city postcard from wherever I am.

It reminds my friends that I am funny and annoying, and when they get an airport postcard from me they will be glad when I am home and not in airports where I can buy more postcards of airports for them.

Maybe I should make a vacation out of airports. So many good airport postcards out there, waiting for me to buy and send them . . .


Thursday, March 25, 2004

Finales and Flukes
I would first like to address the season finale of America's Next Top Model. After many weeks of crying and drama, and crying, and crying, the winner emerged as Yoanna, the tripping young face of perfection who can't walk or show off her mid-section. I say that only after hearing the judges deliberate and point out all of these flaws themselves, yet awarded her as the winner. I liked Yoanna from the beginning. I'm glad she won.

However, it was heartbreaking to see Lupus Mercedes not win. I liked her, too. And it was sad to send Cheating Shandi home in third place. I often feel like I'm a Walgreens girl trapped in the body of a nerd who aspires to be a Walgreens girl. So Shandi's transformation gives me hope that I, too, could one day be America's Third Place Next Not Quite Top Model.

Congrats to Yoanna. May she have as much success as Adrienne from last year's ANTM, who I hear has a fabulous modeling career somewhere in the jungles of South Africa.

Now, onto the fluke of this week's American Idol. I missed the show on Tuesday night. But even knowing nothing about the performances other than the brief recap during the results show last night, I can tell you that a mistake was made in sending Matt home in lieu of Camille. My Alliance partner is absolutely right. Camille needs to go before she becomes a Hawaiian version of Carmen Rasmussen. This just cannot happen. She must go because she cannot sing. Camille is our target for next week.

I will miss Matt. He wasn't the greatest singer, but I am slightly in love with his personality. And major props to him for singing his loser good-bye song straight to Simon. That was awesome. I hope they bring him back to do that at the end of the show every week.

I do have to comment on the Love Shack video, and implore the producers of American Idol to lay off the cheesy videos, for the sake of the kids in these poor videos. Sure, they are good for a laugh. But I was a Film major in college. And it just so happens that I have my very own Love Shack music video, produced for a class project, partially designed and performed by my own self. I can assure you, my no-talent video is 108,000 times better than the professional FOX video created for last night's show, costing money that I will likely never see in my lifetime. Our budget for Love Shack was the cost of the video tape and dinner at Wendy's, and much less embarrassment than these kids should be experiencing at the hand of FOX music videos.

Ok, my embarrassment is saved by the fact that I don't show the video to anyone. But still, you get my point. Do not besmirch the good name of Love Shack by an inferior cheesy video.

I rest my case. And Camille must go.


People who watch people. . .
Are the luckiest people. And I am one of these people.

I found myself in Pittsburgh earlier this week, a sort-of-last-minute business trip to the freezing northeast. Since spring had already sprung here in Texas, I was none too excited to get my coat back out of the closet and walk around in temperatures where I could see my breath dissipate before me.

I prefer to not see my breath, frozen or otherwise, thank you very much.

So, being trapped in Pittsburgh for a conference, I had no choice but to make the best of it. And how do I do that? I watch people, of course.

Most people I know have to be doing something all the time. Any spare moment, they are searching for a Reader's Digest or something to do to fill an odd minute here or there. Me? I am quite content to do nothing but sit and stare if that's what needs to be done. I love watching people. They are highly entertaining. And since during this trip we had lots of time to sit and wait for planes, or taxis, or for conference seminars to start and finish, I had plenty of opportunity to watch people existing around me.

Thank goodness Pittsburgh had many interesting people to watch. They kept me alive throughout this trip, I'm quite positive.

Out of the billions of people I watched, here are a few of my favorites:

1. Dirty Old Coat Rack Man-
I first met Dirty Old Coat Rack Man at the coat rack where I was actually retrieving my coat from having deposited it there earlier. After I left my coat, I soon realized that the cold was not strictly kept to the out of doors, as the convention center was freakishly cold. So, I went back for my coat at the self-serve coat rack. As I retrieved my black coat from the myriad of black coats, I turned around to see what might have been a sweet old man, had he not opened his mouth to speak to me. He chuckled and said something about thinking I was the coat check girl. When I smiled and said that I wasn't the coat check girl, he then said he was hoping I was the coat check girl because he loves to have pretty young girls check his coat. GROSS. I ran away.

Little did I know that this would not be my last encounter with Dirty Old Coat Rack Man. As I sat in a room waiting for my last seminar to begin, I made the mistake of leaving an empty chair to my left. Before I knew it, there was Dirty Old Coat Rack Man, trying to sit down next to me. He was with people. I'm not sure if they realized how much of a dirty old man he really is. He never said anything else to me, but every time he did make a comment to one of his people, he made it quite loudly. I'm guessing he had some hearing issues, speaking loudly so he could hear himself. The rest of the room heard him, too. He also coughed an old man phlegm cough throughout the two-hour seminar. And, he smelled of old man and pickles. I'm not sure why I smelled pickles, as we did not have pickles for lunch. But there was definitely an aroma of pickle. Mixed with old man. At one point he pulled an ointment out of his pocket and rubbed it on his hands. Not lotion. Ointment. Then the air was that of old man, pickles, and ointment.

Not a collection of scents I ever hope to encounter again.

2. Long-Haired Nail Biting Man.
In my first seminar, I chose a seat. A nice safe seat, I thought. Soon a middle-aged man sat in front of me. He had really long hair, pulled into a pony-tail. He also had a very long scraggly beard. However, I did not really pay him any attention until I noticed he kept biting his nails. A lot. Right in front of me. Making lots of nail-biting noise. And looking all around the room as he did it. It was like a mini-show, just for me. Giving me all the angles of nail-biting glory. It was disgusting. I hate the sound of nail-biting. I kept seeing him shake hands with people afterwards, and I was even more disgusted knowing his hands had been in his mouth for two hours. I had witnessed all two hours of nail-biting madness. The horror . . .

3. Creepy Gerry-Curl Looking Around Guy.
As if to carry on the torch of Long-Haired Nail Biting Man, during the Dirty Old Coat Rack Man seminar, I was also sitting behind a man sporting the tightest gerry-curl I have ever seen. And it was blonde hair- definitely a rare specimen of gerry-curl. The man would frequently reach up and run his hands over the curls, as though to make sure all of his tiny tight curls were still in place. I'm pretty sure that tornadic winds would not have been able to budge a single curl, yet he kept checking on them. And much like Long-Haired Nail Biting Man, he kept looking all over the room. For two hours. In front, to the side, and most annoyingly, behind. Near and around me. All of the action in the room was in front of us, yet he kept looking around, staring at people. Being a professional people-watcher, I have developed a science of looking without staring. It is imperative to good people-watching skills. But this guy was intent on looking around and staring. It was distracting. But perhaps he was showing off his gerry-curl to the entire room because he was quite proud of the curl.

It was a rare curl, indeed.

4. Large Angry Phone-Ringing Lady.
The last seminar of the day proved to be the most fruitful for people watching. Because as I sat next to Dirty Old Coat Rack Man, and behind Creepy Gerry-Curl Looking Around Guy, in the front row sat Large Angry Phone-Ringing Lady. She was large, and she wore a bright pink sweater that only seemed to accent her large-ness. Every time a cell phone or pager would go off in the room somewhere, she would spin around in her seat and glare in whatever direction the cell phone or pager sound came from. It was like she was personally offended at the sounds of wireless technology. Her face would get red, she would take a deep huffy breath, and she would roll her eyes as though the room was full of the rudest people on the planet and she was the only one who was perfectly attending the seminar, in the front row, honoring the panel of presenters with her cell phone-less presence.

Personally, I agree that it's rude to leave cell phones and pagers on during meetings or seminars. But the more this lady was flustered by the increasing number of cell phones going off around the room, the more I enjoyed watching her increasingly agitated activity in the front row. She stopped short of saying anything to anyone. But she sure put on quite a show of annoyance and disgust.

While these are people I hope to never spend time with again, I am thankful for their presence in Pittsburgh. They entertained me during a most critical time of desperation and longing to be elsewhere.

And like I always say, watch people before they watch you. The story is better that way.


Monday, March 22, 2004

Manual Labor Pains
I think it's safe to say that I did more work this weekend than I've done at work in my entire life. And strangely, I enjoyed the yard working manual labor much more than any job I've ever had.

I did the yard thing all weekend. Hours and hours of back-breaking work. There was mowing and weeding and trimming and pruning and digging and planting and moving and lifting and fertilizing.

Today there is hurting and aching and sunburn and not-so-much moving very well. My fingers actually ache while typing this.

But, my yard looks quite a bit closer to fabulous than it did at the beginning of the weekend. I moved a tree from the front yard to the backyard (While that sounds impressive, it is actually more of an aspiring tree. Currently it's pretty much just a twig. I fear it won't be with us much longer, but hopefully it's new location will re-inspired its will to live.) I planted three new shrubs in the front yard. These are my new children. I've been keeping a watchful eye over them since Saturday. I also planted begonias. And, I got after those weeds like I've never gotten after weeds before.

I own that yard. They do not.

Needless to say, it was a Home Depot weekend. Not just once, but a two-tripper. I proudly went twice. It couldn't be helped. And I'll just say it was like Christmas for me. I had so much fun at Home Depot. I've missed it.

Now I just wait for the yard to turn green again, for the weeds to wilt away, and for my children to grow and blossom and become beautiful additions to my home.

And hopefully sometime soon this aching pain that starts at the top of my head and goes down to my toes will go away so I can get out and enjoy my yard before it gets cold outside again.

I need a massage for about a week.


Friday, March 19, 2004

I've got more weed than grass.
It's that time of year again. The time when weeds grow freely and abundantly in my yard. And the time when I get to return to Home Depot after many months of Home Depot hibernation.

Home Depot . . . aaah . . .

I returned home from vacation last weekend to a horrific scene of weeds running amok on my front lawn. They were everywhere. More weed than grass. And not just an eyesore due to the sheer volume of weeds. They were also very, very tall.

It was embarrassing.

Despite the jet-lag, I immediately changed my clothes, pulled out the lawn mower that hadn't been used since the fall, and promply attacked the weeds. I mowed them right down. Ha! Take that, field of weeds.

But, as you probably know, mowing weeds does not get rid of weeds. It only challenges them to come back taller and stronger than before. Not even a week later, the weeds are tall again. It's insane.

So, this weekend is dedicated to weed. The removal and control of every last weed that I can possibly eradicate before the weekend is over. Come rain or come shine, I will de-weed.

I may not have much lawn left afterwards, but I will not tolerate free-range weeds.

The Weedinator has spoken.


Thursday, March 18, 2004

Not funny, but funny.
I guess some people just didn't get enough violence while viewing The Passion movie. They had to continue it afterwards.

It's really not funny. I shouldn't laugh.

But it's funny.


Click here for secret info
I haven't done this in awhile, but I have to say something about it. I'm highly amused.

I realize you can find a lot of good information on the internet. But I was unaware you could find secret information just by searching for "CIA and NSA Confidential Information that they dont tell us" on the internet. Who knew? I should have thought to try this before!

Seriously, do you really expect to stumble upon secret CIA and NSA stuff just by doing a Google? And do you really think that stuff is here, on my blog?? Don't you think if it's stuff they don't tell us, it probably won't be out there on the internet where we can find it anyway?

Whoever found my blog by this search, I'm glad you're here. But the only secret info you will find here is that there is no secret info here.

In fact, I don't even exist. Neither does this blog. Or the CIA.

Speak of this to no one, and pretend you were never here.


Catching up on TV
So, being out of the country for ten days put me way behind on my TV watching. I know. It's terrible, really.

But, I'm finally catching up. Taped TV is almost better than real TV because I can watch more of it in a shorter amount of time. And I always say, the more TV, the better. I'm now up to date on American Idol, America's Next Top Model, and Survivor. I can breathe again.

So, now we are down to three models on ANTM. This week's episode was chock full of drama, best summed up here by a Blog Alliance co-hort. Seriously, I believe in addition to the ridiculous amounts of superfluous risky behavior and questionable choice of photographic integrity, there was once again a tremendous amount of crying and drama. These girls ask for it by being so, so very stupid. But entertaining, of course. Literally, there was more wailing and gnashing of teeth in this one episode than in all of Biblical times.

Then came American Idol and the Top 12 Finalists. I'm not actually overly annoyed at anyone this season, which is kinda taking the fun out of it for me. But last night Leah "I have an attitude and a new last name to go with it" LaBelle went home, and I was glad. She definitely deserved to be the first to go. Although I will go ahead and say that it's pretty mean to make the two dueling losers sing again in front of everyone after they know one of them is going home because they suck. It's cruel, really. And it's not like their singing gets any better through the crying and bad attitude.

My favorite singer at this point (strictly based on talent) is probably Fantasia. She's kind of annoying when she talks, and I'm still working on accepting that we may have an Idol named 'Fantasia'. But I do enjoy her performances.

Otherwise, my overall favorite is Jon Peter, because he is so very cute and so very silly, and I do so enjoy that. He won't win, but hopefully he will get to stick around for many weeks to come, entertaining us all with that horrible dancing and silliness. I do so enjoy the silliness.

I also (against my better judgement) fell slightly in love with Matt Rogers, after his package (the judges call it that, so why can't I?). A big strong football-playing dude who also enjoys bubble baths, can grow hair on his head on command, and is good with kids?? Me likey.

Unless she literally transforms into Celine Dion for next week, I predict Amy Adams may be the next to go. But it's hard to tell this season. And it's still early enough that any of the remaining eleven Finalists can whole-heartedly annoy me.

One thing is for sure, Ryan Seacrest is still very, very tiny. How is he so tiny? Tiny.


Wednesday, March 17, 2004

A Question for the day
When is water no longer water?

This is not a science question. It is a logic question. Some say you are supposed to drink eight glasses of water a day. Others say you don't need that much. Either way, what qualifies as water?

If I bring a bottle of water to work everyday and drink what is in the bottle straight from the bottle, obviously this is water. But if I also pour some of that water into a cup, heat it, and drop in a teabag so that the eventual outcome is now some form of tea, is that no longer water? None of the water that I put into the cup has left the cup (ignoring the science of water evaporation in the form of steam). Yet now I can only call it tea, because to continue calling the now brown liquid 'water' would imply I'm drinking disgusting brown water.

By the way, while disgusting brown water may still technically be water, I'm not going to drink it. But if it's tea, I will quite enjoy drinking that.

To further the explanation of my query, the same issue exists with lemonade, or Kool-Aid, or even Tang. If I mix up a pitcher of lemonade it is at least mostly water at some point. Quite a lot of water, in fact. But then I call it lemonade because I've added lemonade mix to the water, creating an alternate form of the water previously in the pitcher. It tastes different, yet none of the water has left the pitcher. But is it still water? Or does the mix magically transform the concoction into an entirely different liquid that no longer qualifies as an acceptable beverage in the water genre? Does this still count as my water intake for the day? If I drink eight glasses of lemonade or Tang, will I still also need to drink eight additional glasses of water?

Will I then burst like an overly-full water (or lemonade) balloon? Yes. That I do know.

What about coffee? By itself, it's just a bean or a pile of grounds. Then you add water and you have a liquid that is drink-able, rather than comsuming the coffee by chewing on a coffee bean. All of the water you put in the coffee maker eventually comes out of the maker and into a pot or a cup, albeit as coffee. But does that make it any less water than before it went into the maker?

These things I wonder, as I sit here sipping my tea, staring at my half empty bottle of water, and looking forward to my Coke for lunch.


Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Not Meant to Be
So, I didn't win the Bloggie award. The prestige, fame, and fortune from this honor is just not meant to be.

But it was fun to be nominated. We'll try again next year.

Thanks for your support, votes, reader-ness, and general attendence anyway. Now cheer me up by buying something in my store.


Monday, March 15, 2004

Near vs. Far
There's nothing like time away to make you realize that you enjoy the 'away' more than the 'here'. When I'm not 'here', I'm able to think more freely, outside of the constraints of my day-to-day world. I think with hope. I see possibilities. I see new things.

It was really hard to come back to work today, more so than just the disappointment of the ending of vacation fun. I don't like being 'here'. And while 'away', it was about as far away as one could get in a week of vacation. It was nice.

It reminds me of the Sesame Street episode when Grover explains the difference between near and far. He stands really close to the screen and says 'near!' Then he runs away from the screen and says, 'far!' When he's up close, it's uncomfortable, his blue scraggly face right up in your face. When he's far, it seems better. He's cute and blue and silly and likeable. I'm sure the deeper meaning behind 'near vs. far' is slim to none on an episode of Sesame Street, but now being older and many years removed from Grover, I find near vs. far an applicable analogy to my life. In a weird way, of course. Now that I've typed it out, it seems to make less sense . . . but Grover is cool.

Anyway, I don't mean that I hate where I am physically, or even in many areas of my life. I love my house, my friends, my family. I have it pretty good in many ways. Better now than in years past. But I'm not happy in what I do. And that's a big thing.

Among my friends is one friend in particular who is good for me (most of the time) because she's honest with me about me. It frustrates me sometimes because she's right, and yet I'm slow to act on things I need to do. Eventually she will give up on me because I react as though I don't listen, meaning I often don't do anything. She'll grow weary of offering suggestions that I appear to not take, resulting in never moving from 'here' to get to 'there'. And then I'll be mad that I haven't done what I need to do, and that I've worn out another friend. But hopefully she knows I do listen, and I'm appreciative. But I'm just slow to take action.

She kicks me in the rear quite often about getting myself in gear to get something published, intending that starting the process of being published will likely lead to a way out of 'here'. She's my 'editor'. Although she has yet to actually edit anything. But that's likely because I have yet to actually write much of anything for her to edit.

Our conversations go something like this:
"I hate my job."
"Get a new one."

"I want to be a writer."
"Write something and submit it somewhere."

"I wish I traveled more."
"Get on a plane and go somewhere."

"I'm too poor to do all the stuff I want to do."
"Sell a kidney and quit complaining so much."

Ok, that last one hasn't actually happened. . . yet. But the others, well, they happen more than they should. I'm a slow-mover, meaning it takes me a long time to work up the motivation to do things, even when it's the best thing for me, and even when I am (in theory) already motivated by hating where I am. Change is hard for me, even if it's change for the better.

But what I've thought about lately is why I'm not motivated. And I don't think it's a lack of motivation. It's more a fear that a reality for me could possibly include something I really love to do.

I could be a writer. I could like it. And that is scary.

I could have a job I don't hate. I could spend my days writing and reading and being creative, and that could be my job. I can't grasp that. It doesn't seem like that is something that could happen for me.

I don't have any basis for being a writer, except that I do it often and I like it. Maybe I have some talent, or maybe I can take what I do and make it into something marketable. I could make it work. I don't know how or where to start, except to keep writing and looking and following the leads wherever they go. But it's an actual possibility of a reality.

Writing. For a living.

And that's what I can't understand. It doesn't make sense that it could happen, because it's not where I started, or where I thought I'd go. But it would be something I enjoy, and I haven't ever really experienced that in a job before. I've had jobs I like well enough, but nothing that is what I feel like I 'do' and enjoy. I feel like I'm on the verge of something, but stuck there.

Jobs are always jobs in my world. A place where I go and do stuff, and at the end of the day I hope I can pay my bills. The idea that a job can also be something I love, well, that's still 'far.'

I want to figure out how to make it 'near'.



The Guttentag After
The morning after vacation is about the worst thing in the world. I believe all vacations should come with a week of after-vacation, to recover from the affects of vacation.

It feels strange to be back at the blog today. It was strange to be away from it for so long. But now it's strange to gather my thoughts and return to the familiarity of my day-to-day existence.

So until I get myself together, here are a few highlights from a fun-filled trip through Germany:

- Berlin.
- Walking all over history.
- Museum-a-thon.
- Witnessing karaoke at the Hard Rock in Berlin.
- Lunch: Sausage protruding from a small piece of bread, purchased from a guy on the street. Possibly the best thing I ate throughout Germany. Don't ruin it for me by pointing out that I purchased un-named sausage from a guy on the street. . . more than once.
- More walking. More walking than I've ever walked before.
- Blowing my nose from my cold and the outside cold, more times than a nose should ever be blown in the history of having a nose.
- Cold. Snow. Rain. Cold. Snow. Rain. Cold. Snow.
- Buchenwald concentration camp in a blizzard.
- Coffee in cute cafes.
- Competing dollar stores. Even in euros, it's still a dollar store.
- Hostel life.
- Beethoven's pink house in Bonn.
- Trains and buses that seemed safe until we read about what happened in Madrid while standing in a train station.
- Not getting lost (despite what my traveling co-hort may tell you). I had the map.
- Worst shopping experience ever in the city that was promised to contain the best shopping experience ever- Frankfurt.
- Frankfurt airport: hands down worst airport ever.

To sum up, two thumbs up to Germany. Good times. Good people. Good food. Good vacation.

Good golly, I wish I was still there.


Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Blogging from Berlin
I have nothing to say, except that at this very moment I am blogging from Berlin.



Thursday, March 04, 2004

I say that because it is the only German word I know at the moment, even though I am going to Germany tomorrow.

You heard me. Germany. Tomorrow.

The Tyrant is taking a much needed vacation. I haven't taken a vacation of length, well, since I was unemployed for eleven months a few years ago. And that wasn't so much a 'vacation', as it was a time of 'forced involuntary reflection away from a working environment.' There's just no good way to spin 'laid-off.'

So, for the next week or so, there will be no blogging here, as I will be galavanting (yes, I do plan to actually galavant, whatever that is) throughout Germany. I don't plan to get to a computer much, if at all. But if I do I may try to blog a brief bloglet from Germany, just so I can say I'm an international blogger.

I will definitely be wearing my Cynical Rantings shirt whilst in Germany. So German fans (or fan), be on the lookout for a girl wearing a shirt with a cartoon version of the same girl on the front of the shirt. Point and laugh if you must. I'll blog about it later.

In order to pass the time whilst The Tyrant is away, here are a few things you can do:

1. Re-read everything on my blog.
Start with the archives from February, 2003 and work your way to the present. You'll see the progression from novice blogger to the polished professional blogger you see before you today. If that task is too daunting, stick to the 'My Finer Works' section. It's a list of my finer works (based solely on my own opinion), listed conveniently for you to browse and click and read.

2. Bring a friend to my blog.
This is a great time for you to introduce a friend to the World of The Tyrant. Together, you can wade through the archives. With fresh eyes on the blog, you may see it like you've never seen it before.

3. Show my blog to a publisher friend of yours, negotiate a generous writing contract for me, and have a brand new writing job waiting for me when I get back.
I would love nothing more than to return to a brand new writing job and career. You can be responsible for that. As my agent, you will certainly share in my fame and fortune, should you be responsible for making it happen.

4. Visit the blogs linked from here.
I support other blogs. They're listed to the right. Go there. Read. Enjoy. They're good people with good blogs.

5. Paint your bathroom.
See here.

6. Start your own blog.
Remember to always come back here for good blog reading fun. But if you don't already blog, start one. It's really fun.

And, the most important thing in the world . . .
7. Buy my stuff and wear and/or use it.
Simply put, go here. Buy my stuff. Wear and/or use it. I'd love nothing more than to sell lots of stuff, and return home to find my trip paid for. Since planning the trip, I have learned that I cannot afford the trip. However, the trip is mandatory at this time to save my sanity from two jobs and life in general. So go buy stuff before I have to take on a third and fourth job to pay for my vacation from being overworked and underpaid. I'll thank you later.

Be good. And, achtung.


This week on America's Next Top Model, Camille finally took the runway walk of shame off the show. The Alliance has done well, albeit taking our good, sweet time to make that happen.

What led to Camille's departure? Well, even though she pretended to be friends with her nemesis Yoanna, Camille deceptively planted a seed that Yoanna may have an eating disorder, based solely on the fact that Yoanna went to the bathroom once after a meal. So. Completely. Ridiculous.

But Tyra the Great saw right through it, though expressing concern if it were true. And even Janice Dickinson's declaration about being "the world's first supermodel" couldn't save Camille from a nice Italian boot from the show. Ciao, Milan.

And in case you didn't know, Janice Dickinson is the world's first supermodel. She says this every week, and still feels the need to say it louder every week. She's been mummified and preserved millions of years later, for the sole purpose of reminding us that she is the world's first supermodel. She is also on track to be the world's last supermodel, one minute after the end of time as we know it. Stay tuned for that.

Next week, Shandi cheats on her boyfriend again, this time with an Italian dude, and then there is more yelling and crying on the phone with said cheated-on boyfriend. Should be good TV, as usual.

And, this week on American Idol, John 'Dean Martin Doogie' Stevens and Jasmine 'It's not a weed, it's a flower on my head' Trias made it into the Round of 12. Group 4 was almost as bad as Group 2, but not quite, since Group 2 was supposed to have been erased from our memories, yet they remain firmly planted in my brain as pure torture. I don't think Doogie will last very long. And I can't think of anything nice, nor funny to say about Jasmine. Except that I hope it's not the same flower week after week. It might wilt. And not look pretty.

Next week is the Wildcard round, bringing back some of our favorites that didn't make the final cut, such as John Peter. Actually, he is my only favorite that didn't make the cut. Otherwise, the Wildcard Group is a mix of lesser annoying rejects from earlier rounds. But still not anyone that I really need to hear again.

I do kinda hope Jennifer Hudson's hair makes it to the Final 12, though. I'd vote for her hair. Otherwise, just give LaToya the crown and let's be done with it.


To clarify . . .
Since yesterday, I've gotten a lot of hits to the blog from people searching for variations on 'dated Fabio'.

Just to clarify in case there is any confusion or damage done to my celebrity image, I did not date Fabio. I've never dated Fabio. I will never date Fabio. I do not know anyone who has dated, or will ever date Fabio.

But, the Average Joe girl did date Fabio.

Let's just keep that straight, okay?

No good can come from dating Fabio.


Wednesday, March 03, 2004

This morning I found a fax in my office mailbox that apparently came while I was at home yesterday afternoon. No phone call or email accompanied it letting me know it was there. It was from an organization offering to consider us for a grant, but I have never been in touch with this organization in the past. So it's not like faxes from this organization are common. In fact, I've never received one, to my knowlege. Had I not checked my box this morning, I wouldn't have known it was there.

However, at the top of the fax, it asks for response within one business day. So that would indicate to me that this is a timely piece of paper. Yes? Yes.

But what puzzles me is that at the top of the fax, it also says "If you are unable to respond within two business days, contact our office immediately." So that leads me to wonder, what's the logic in this statement?

If I can't respond within two days, wouldn't contacting their office be responding? Am I supposed to call them and tell them I can't call or fax within two days? Doesn't that defeat the 'being unable to respond' lack of response? What if I am physically unable to respond? Should I call them before I call 911? Or what if I didn't discover the fax until next week? Two days from when? Should I respond that I couldn't respond within two days of them sending the fax, but that I can respond within two days of discovering it in my mailbox? Or do I not need to contact them if I can respond within two days? Should I keep the fax, and not call, knowing that I will be able to respond in two days, but not wanting them to think that a call from me indicates that I will not be able to respond to them within two days? If I do respond by sending the fax back, will they interpret that as contacting them to tell them I can't respond?

How can anyone know what to do? Logically speaking, that seemingly simple request is quite a conundrum.

But I guess I could call them and ask what they mean by the request. Or . . .


Something about that face . . .
I don't know if it was the delirium of my illness that intensified the moment, but as I lay at home again on the couch yesterday slipping in and out of consciousness, an unexpected bit of excitement interrupted my fog of disease-ridden existence.

I could only muster a moment's worth of energy to be excited. But alas, I did get excited. After all, these are exciting times. And this was an exciting thing. For me.

I saw the UPS man approaching my door from my spot on the couch. I heard the truck first, the sound of which pulled me out of a nap-type place of peace and tranquility, and possibly some sort of fever. As I looked out the window, there I saw the brown UPS truck. A man got out and came towards my door.

I slowly heaved myself off the couch and into a standing position, stumbled over to the door, and opened it just as he dropped a package at the door and rang the bell. Could it be?? It just might be.

It was a tiny package. Almost the tiniest UPS package I'd ever seen. It was soft, as I suspected it might be if the contents were what I thought they might be.

I found some scissors to open the package, careful not to damage what was waiting inside to greet me. I reached inside, pulled out the item, unfolded it, and stared down into . . .

. . . my face. On a t-shirt.

I'm kinda goofy looking. But it's about the coolest thing I've seen in a long time. I look great on a t-shirt. And I can actually say it looks good, not in that 'I made it, therefore I have to like it' sort of way.

The whole thing is really, really fun for me.

If you see someone wearing a shirt with a face on it that resembles a goofier version of the person wearing the shirt, it's likely me- the one person on earth who is so far wearing my stuff.

Totally worth it.


Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Shocking Twist
I didn't watch the second season of Average Joe. But after reading about the 'shocking twist', and also seeing it advertised on TV, I was curious to see what this twist could be.

Of course, I forgot about it throughout the day yesterday. But, as I sat sniffling on my couch last night (because I'm sick, not because I was sad that I forgot about Average Joe), I happened to click the channels to the Average Joe channel just as it was getting to the 'shocking twist' part of the show. What luck!

I sat up a bit, turned up the volume, and watched as Girl talked about how much fun she was having with the Joe she picked, but that she was dreading having to tell him this shocking twist. She wanted to be honest, but she didn't want to ruin their special relationship.


Well, after about the least climactic piece of television I've ever watched, Girl nonchalantly and without ceremony (or even 'shocking twist' music) told Joe that . . . she used to date Fabio.

Are you kidding me??? That is the 'shocking twist???' They had to have made that up.

I laughed. A lot. It hurt. I'm sick.

So, Girl is embarrassed that she dated Fabio. And by 'Fabio', I mean the actual I-Can't-Believe-It's-Not-Butter, hit in the face with a bird, on the cover of romance novels, Fabio. I didn't realize people dated him, but I guess it makes sense that someone had to date him at some point in his Fabio-ness.

But then, in a totally unrealistic piece of reality TV, Joe decides he just cannot handle the fact that this girl that chose him out of all the others Joes, originally chose to be with Fabio, on purpose. He is literally freaked out that people would know he is dating a girl that dated Fabio. He decides to leave. The show. Forever.

What an idiot. She totally chose the wrong Joe, and I didn't even see any of the other Joes.

And it was the most un-interesting bit of television I think I've ever seen. No drama. No build up. No anything. Shocking twist. She dated Fabio. Joe leaves. End of story.

Or I think it was the end. I quit watching at this point because I was so un-interested, and so laughing at the Fabio thing that I just couldn't take any more. She should have made up a better twist than that. Like that she used to be Fabio. Now that would be a twist. And it would justify Joe's departure.

So what's the moral of the story? Do not date Fabio. No matter what occurs, do not date Fabio. And if you have dated him, do not tell anyone. Ever. Never. At all.

It will clearly ruin your life in a shocking twist sort of way, on national television.


Monday, March 01, 2004

Home Sick
The only thing that ruins a workday at home because I'm sick, is being sick. Otherwise, I can totally dig being at home on a workday.

But, despite being sick (as I am today), there is a certain amount of fun to be had, and a certain few challenges to be faced on a sick day. Through the coughing and sneezing and aching, one can enjoy the freedom of a day with no responsibilities. I am supposed to be resting, doing nothing, getting well.

That, my friends, is something I do very well. Nothing.

There was a time in my life when I felt like I constantly needed to be doing something. It was hard to sit still. It was hard to take a sick day from work, let alone be home resting like one is supposed to do when home sick. I felt like I needed a project or an activity, or to move to the next thing. Always to be accomplishing something. On occasion, I still get that way. But overall, not so much anymore.

I am totally fine doing little to nothing. I can rest with the best of them. Wasting time is not a problem.

To me, wasting time is a matter of perspective. I've learned the value in doing nothing. Because in doing 'nothing', I am preparing myself to later better be able to do 'something', even if that 'something' is a long time in coming. If I'm constantly tapped out from always doing something, I'm never doing anything to the best of my abilities. My abilities are stretched too thin.

So, I have no problem justifying a day of nothing. If I'm sick, I have no problem about calling in to work and taking a day to recuperate. I'm much better off here at home, alone, with a day to fill on my own, rather than suffering through illness, feeling guilty for possibly infecting everyone else at work, and not really being there in mind, body, and spirit anyway.

Best to 'suffer' through a day at home, than to force a day of work out of my sick self. I always say.

However, being at home alone today has not been without it's challenges. First, there was the 'call in' phone call. I set my alarm to get up as usual, then called my boss to leave a message that I wouldn't be in today. I find this seems more 'real', rather than calling in late the night before. Even though I am legitimately sick, I always worry this call will not come off as sincere. There is a fine line between trying to sound convincingly sick, and over-doing sounding too ill to come to work. I find it best just to talk, as I am without 'playing' sick, saying as little as possible, giving as few details as possible, with the promise that I'll try to be in tomorrow. I find the less I say, yet the more legitimately non-awake I sound, the less room there is for error or speculation as to the validity of my illness. I don't call in sick very often, as I'm not sick very often. But when I do, I want my boss to feel like it was justified.

Next, there is the 'when to get out of bed' issue. When I'm too sick to even think about getting out of bed, this is not a problem. I just stay in bed. But when my illness is a cold or cough or combination (as I have today), eventually I need to get out of bed to take more medicine. The thought of getting up and out of my bed was hard today. I didn't sleep well, spending much of my night coughing with an itchy throat. Having finally gotten some sleep, this made it hard to get up this morning to get more medicine to prevent further coughing, and to progress my healing process. However, the phone call from my mom this morning to check on me immediately prompted me to get up. Talking to someone woke me up a bit, and since it was late in the morning, I decided to get up then, so I can be good and tired for a nap later this afternoon.

Then, there was the coffee issue. My rule is no coffee during workdays. I only drink coffee on the weekend. But, since I am at home and not at work, and I am sick, I decided to pamper myself and forego the rule. I made coffee, and I truly believe it helped my healing for the day. Coffee is sometimes the best medicine.

While I drank my coffee came the quandry of what to watch on Monday morning television. Daytime TV is not a luxury I normally have, so this opened up a world of exciting possibilities for me. It came down to a choice between The Price is Right (an old favorite), or Dawson's Creek in syndication. Ultimately, Price is Right won, since it was the 6,000th show, and the girl who won ended up being the highest all-time winner ever. Maybe I was sick today for a reason, to see this show. I can't be sure. But my illness was worth it (despite the lack of Plinko today), just to have the privilege of witnessing this historic television event. Next time I play Trivial Pursuit, I will be the only one who knows anything about this momentous occasion, as all of my friends are at work right now and didn't get to watch the show.

As for the rest of my day so far, I had breakfast at 11:30, took a shower after that (even being sick, I feel better being clean), and now it may be time for that nap I mentioned earlier.

I've also blown my nose 108 times, and coughed up at least three lungs.

It ain't all fun and games, being home sick today. But it'll do.