Thursday, September 29, 2005

This just in...
Sheryl Crow's new cd.

Sheryl and I are good friends. I find an amazing amount of relate-able wisdom the more I listen to her.

Well, not in every song. All I Wanna Do - yeah that's pretty much just about having fun.

But sometimes, I let her speak for me. Or more often, I let her speak to me.

from Good is Good
Love’s on your list of things to do
To bring your good luck back to you
And if you think that everything’s unfair
Would you care if you’re the last one standing there

And everytime you hear the rolling thunder
You turn around before the lightning strikes
And does it ever make you stop and wonder
If all your good times pass you by

I don’t hold no mystery
But I can show you how to turn the key
Cause all I know is where I started
So downhearted
And that’s not where you want to be

And everytime you hear the rolling thunder
You turn around before the lightning strikes
And you could find a rock to crawl right under
If all your good times pass you by

When the day is done
And the world is sleeping
And the moon is on its way to rise
When your friends are gone
You thought were so worth keeping
You feel you don’t belong
And you don’t know why

from Letter to God
What do you do
When you look to the left and to the right
And find no clue?

Well I'm sending a letter to God
How will it be when I'm gone?
And what if everyone is wrong?

I took you in
Made a bed for you
And in turn you gave me some
Words to go on
Told me I was saved
But you never said what from

What do you do
When you look to the left and to the right
And find no clues
To the questions you ask yourself at night?
Who will come through?

You'll be sending a letter to God
How will it be when you're gone?
And what if everyone is wrong?

A solid case
For the innocent
Could be made and laid to rest
They say, "it won't do
If you aren't like us
Then you've failed the final test"

What do you feel
When you look to the east and to the west
If this is real
Does it feel like some never ending test?
A finance deal
If this is my one last chance to invest
I've one request

I'll be sending a letter to God
To know where will I go when I'm gone
And what if everyone is wrong?

Spoken well.


Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Tyrant's Rule #7
I don't really recall what all the rules are between #3 and #7. But I do know that:

Rule #1 - Safety First.
Rule #2 - Never, under any circumstances, get pregnant with Ben Affleck's baby.

Rules 3-6

Rule #7 - The Tyrant does not watch scary movies at home, alone, at night.

I used to watch scary movies without thinking anything of it. I actually liked them. I think it's part of my constant state of being semi-comatose, but whatever the reason, I've never really been scared by "scary" movies. I usually find them too silly to be freaked out, and I can almost always find plenty of stuff to make fun of in your typical scary movie.

Of course, this was not a problem when I lived in a third floor apartment. That high off the ground, it is perfectly safe to watch any number of scary movies, any time of night, alone. No scary monsters or psychos are going to climb three flights of stairs to get me. Everyone knows that.

People on floors 1 and 2, however, are constantly eaten by scaries and psychos. It's unfortunate.

So, now living in a house, first floor only, I could likely be a prime target for any kind of scaries and psychos to walk in and get me. Therefore, scary movies have been stricly off limits here in the house. Especially at night. Especially when I'm alone. And at all other times, too.

But, a few weeks ago my dad emailed me to say he had just watched The Grudge, and that it totally creeped him out.

This is significant for severalfold reasons:

1. My dad is not a superfluous emailer. He doesn't email to chit chat, or be silly. Except on rare occasions. This meant the news of The Grudge being scary was highly worthy of communicating to me immediately following his late night viewing of the movie.

2. My dad is not easily scared by movies. He and I have the same sense of humor. We make fun of scary movies. We do not get scared of them.

3. When he learned I had not seen this movie, he encouraged me to rent it and watch it with Boy J.

I thought that last one was awesome. Thanks, Dad.

So, a few weeks pass. This weekend, Boy J and I decide to rent a movie. He doesn't want to watch The Grudge. Apparently he is too good for scary movies. We end up watching a movie that Boy J chooses, which is this other really dumb movie.

All I wanted to do was not feel like I was completely wasting an evening, just chill out from a stressful week and relax with a good movie. Turns out it would have been less of a waste to stare at the wall for 2 hours, and it would have been a much better film to put nothing but a wall on DVD and call it a movie. I may have to break up with Friend L over this one.

Anyway, last night I'm on my way home and I decide, "Hey, I'm still pretty much braindead from being overworked. I will rent a movie." I stop in Blockbuster, and for some crazy reason I walk out with The Grudge.

I have just set myself up to break Rule #7.

I get home, and suddenly I find myself already anxious about watching it. I can't decide if I should really watch it tonight alone, or not. I putter around my house all night, taking out trash, yada yada. Doing stuff I need to do, but mostly keeping myself busy to avoid The Grudge. If my Dad says it's scary, it will likely scare the crap right out of me. And really, I don't need anymore stress in my life right now.

Finally, I decide to stop being such a girl and watch the movie. I have watched COUNTLESS scary movies, and only ONE has truly scared me to the point of not being able to function for awhile. I was a kid, I was at a slumber party with 4th grade girls who were older than me. They all wanted to watch Watcher in the Woods (which incidentally is a Disney film, but to this day it scares the living daylights out of me).

And they didn't watch it just once. They watched it all night. Over and over. And I didn't want to not be cool, so I stayed up and watched with them until I was too scared to go to sleep. I don't think I slept all night. Or for several nights afterwards. And I couldn't look in a mirror for months after that. Or out of my bedroom window. If you don't know what I'm talking about, rent the movie. Even just looking at the picture now, I'm a little freaked out....

Anyway, so last night I get ready to watch The Grudge. I turn on a few extra lights. I make sure none of the doors to any bedrooms are ajar, so that nothing could be hiding behind the doors to jump out and grab me. I lock all of the outside doors. I get all the supplies I will need to stay on the couch through the entirety of the movie: water, snack, blanket, bathroom run before starting the movie, all three remotes, phone, flashlight, baseball bat.

You know, just in case.

I settle in and start the DVD. I am snuggled into the couch. I have a remote in each hand- one controls the TV volume, the other controls the stereo volume. I am prepared to lessen the effect of the scary parts by manipulating the volume to less scary loudness levels.

I am prepared to be completely freaked out.

Now, I will say that I made it through watching the movie alone, safely. And my dad was right, it is certainly very creepy. Those kids? CREEPY. But, it's not a great movie. It's kinda random. It has some really freaky moments, but overall I wouldn't rate this one high as a good scary movie.

So, after all of the prep and anxiety, I wasn't terrified. I didn't have nightmares. I didn't have to use my baseball bat.

I broke Rule #7, and I survived. It was allright.

Of course, the next time I see a small Asian boy, I may completely freak out.

But other than that, and other than not looking in mirrors again, I'm fine.


Sunday, September 25, 2005

I love made-for-tv movies
I can't help it.

It's been a long time since I've found a made-for-tv movie that I really enjoy. But back in the day, my mom, my sister, and I would spend many a Saturday afternoon watching some cheesy Lifetime movie. We called them B-11s, because Lifetime was on the B side of the cable box, on channel 11. We loved our B-11s.

So, imagine my excitement to find out that a tv movie had been made about Martha Stewart: Martha Behind Bars. I'm not really sure the world was waiting on the edge of their seats for a reinactment of the life of Martha in prison. But, there have been lesser reasons for made-for-tv movies. And really, the ones that we don't need are the best ones to watch.

Personally, I never really paid much attention to Martha Stewart. I'm not really a crafty/decoratey kind of person, although I do get a touch of the nesting/decorating bug every once in awhile. My mom decorates everything. Sometimes my decorating gene kicks in.

But, to make a tv movie based on Martha's time in prison?? PURE GENIUS!! Sure to win an Emmy next year.

Or at least, sure to give me something to make fun of tonight before I go to bed.

Unfortunately, I was not home tonight to catch the whole movie. And I forgot to set the VCR to tape it. But, I did make it home in time to catch a few moments from the life of Martha behind bars, as portrayed by one of Lifetime's favorite stars, Cybil Shepherd.

Here is a brief synopsis, borrowed from the CBS website:
Golden Globe Award-winning actress Cybill Shepherd stars as Martha Stewart in this movie, which chronicles the events that led to the downfall and subsequent reemergence of America's favorite domestic diva.

Stewart is ultimately indicted, leading her to stand trial alongside Baconovic. Found guilty of all charges, she is sentenced to five months at Alderson Federal Prison, nicknamed "Camp Cupcake" by the nation's media, followed by five months of house arrest. Determined to clear her good name, Stewart pursues her appeal, but asks to begin her prison sentence early in an effort to put the nightmare behind her. She begins serving her prison term on October 8, 2004.

Prison proves to be a life-altering experience for Stewart, who regularly posts messages on her personal website describing her day-to-day activities, as well as urging the government to consider national prison reforms. When the embattled domestic diva is finally released from prison to begin the house arrest portion of her sentence on March 4, 2005, the nation embraces a new Martha--thinner, more circumspect, ready to put the past behind her and start a fresh chapter in her intriguing, remarkable life.

I was able to catch a key scene in which Martha is chosen by her prison mates to lead them in a Christmas decorating contest. They think that they will surely win with Martha in charge of the decoratinos. She reluctantly shows them how to make origami swans and hang them from the ceiling. But alas, Team Martha does not win the contest, due to prison politics. They are beaten by the worst manger-scene diorama I have ever seen. The prison mates are sad, and rightly so. Martha's origami swans were awesome.

I also saw Martha whip up some apple something-or-other in an off-limits microwave. And, I saw her get in trouble for having contraband (apples, eggs, and cinammon). And finally, I saw Martha make her own Christmas cards.

Even prison can't stop decorating. Apparently.

Hands down, best performance by Cybil Shepherd as Martha Stewart in prison EVER.

The only things this movie lacked was an abusive husband, and prison mates played by fellow made-for-tv movie frequenters Melissa Gilbert and Judith Light.

Maybe in the sequel...


Saturday, September 24, 2005

A Commentary on Music and the Economics of Value
Boy J took me to see Coldplay last night. Some friends joined in on the Coldplay action. It was good times. With all the impending hurricane action headed north in Texas, it was actually a really nice night. Cool, slight breeze. Calm before the rain hits up here, I suppose.

I spend a lot of time with friends who live and breathe music. I love that about them. They are rockstars. But, I am not a music expert. I'm not even a music junkie. I go through phases of wanting to have a lot of music, a lot of cds, versus phases of not wanting to spend my money on another cd. I generally hate the radio, although lately I've been listening to it more. I get bored easily with all of the music I have or listen to. I'm always searching for the next musical entity to get me excited about music again.

But, even in spite of all of that, I LOVE music. I was raised playing music, piano mostly. I can sing a bit. I am proclaiming myself a drummer, as of late. I can say that I am musical.

I've always listened to music, either records, tapes, or cds. Even 8-tracks, thanks to rescuing my Grandma's 8-track player and 8-tracks from her garage sale years ago. I can't function in the car without some sort of music on. I used to get ready for work every morning with music playing, knowing it so well that my morning routine was timed by length of song. If the CD hit song 4 before I was out of the shower, then I'd been in there too long and I was going to be late for work.

I don't know bands very well, I can't always name the song. Most of the time I don't even know the words. I usually have to look up the words to a song to get it, because when listening to music I tend to hear the musical parts over the words of a song. But I can recognize songs I like. And I will play those few songs over and over and over until I get bored and move on to the next song I obsess about.

What I like best about music is LIVE music. I love concerts. I don't go to them very often. But you take just about any song, whether you consider it good or not, and listen to it played live? It is good, for those few minutes you are hearing it. When it's live, you can feel it, feel the song. And sometimes that's what music needs - to be felt. It's so distant on a cd.

So, I'm not a huge Coldplay fan. I enjoy them. But I don't own any Coldplay cds. I know more of their music than I thought I did before hearing their concert last night. And I have to say, it was a really good show. They put on a good act. They sound great live. They played a lot of old stuff. It was fun. You can call me a fan now.

But, as much as I love live music and concerts, I almost always leave a concert feeling like I didn't get enough. And not in the sense of "That was awesome! I want more!" But in the sense of value for the money spent on the concert-going experience.

I mean, I can spend $15 on a Coldplay cd, and then I can listen to it as much as I want, as long as I want, over and over, all day. But, spend $40 on a concert ticket, and you get maybe an hour or so of music. You're far away, often so far away that the sound is delayed from the action of the tiny specks you can see on a stage in the distance. You had to sit through a mediocre opening act, then sit around awhile longer for them to reset the stage before you actually get to hear what you paid for and waited for. You essentially pay a whole lot of money to sit and wait, then listen to a Greatest Hits cd.

Granted, the experience is usually worth it. Again, I loves me some live music. But, I feel like the concert genre needs to be reworked. If I spend that much money on someone (ie: a band, a boyfriend, my mom, etc), I want to spend time with that person. I want it to be worth it. I want more than just an impersonal allotment of time. I don't want it to feel like we are just getting started, then everything is over for the night.

So really, if $15 gets me the flexibility to spend an entire day with Coldplay on cd, I think $40 should get us the concert, plus like, lunch with the band or something. Maybe dinner after the show. The opportunity to request more songs to be played. A small group Q&A session about why they wrote a particular song. Share family photos. Maybe go to a movie or hang out for awhile. Let's get to know each other.

Or at least include a t-shirt in the price of the ticket.

It is an experience, just the concert itself. But I want even more experience value for the dollar.

I'm all for good value. And the way I see it, Coldplay still owes us some burritos, or at least a phone call.


Thursday, September 22, 2005

JBBNA - Updates

Check it.


Further proof that I'm a ninja
When I check my blog after a day that I didn't post, I'm still kinda surprised at first that there is nothing new here to read. Like, I'll click on my blog as though there should be something new here to read. But, there's not a new post.

Then I remember that it's my own blog and I didn't post anything new to read since the last post.

I'm so sneaky, I fool myself sometimes.

I'm a ninja.


Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Blog vs. Laundry
I cannot stay up late enough to post an actual blog entry, because I finally took the time to put up all of my clean laundry. And now I am tired and it is past my bedtime.

But what I've found tonight is that laundry takes away from blogging. I'll try not to let it happen again. I have several blogs waiting to be written in my head.

But at least tomorrow my clothes will come from being neatly hung in the closet, rather than wrinkled in a pile on my chair.

I'll feel good about it. But, I'd rather blog.


Monday, September 19, 2005

It's the most wonderful time of the year.
Season Premiere season.

These next couple of weeks are the most glorious season of the year. All of the things I've been waiting for since last May will now finally come back to me. How much do I depend on TV? I will tell you.

Today, I woke up sneezy, as though a cold is coming on, or perhaps allergies. Then my friend at work reminded me that Lost premieres this week, and we proceeded to talk Lost for several minutes. After this, I realized my sneezing had nearly subsided.

I am literally allergic to life WITHOUT my favorite TV shows.

So, to stay healthy, if you need me over the next couple of weeks, I will be here:

Mondays, 7:00 pm - Arrested Development
Tuesdays, 8:00 pm - The Amazing Race
Wednesdays, doubleheader, 7:00 pm - America's Next Top Model, 8:00 pm - Lost
Thursdays, doubleheader, 7:00 pm - Alias, 9:00 pm - ER
Sunday Sept 25, 8:00 pm - made for TV movie, Martha Behind Bars

These are the regular shows on my schedule, with the exception of the Martha movie. These are the shows that make it to tape if I cannot be home to watch. It's a full schedule. But, that's not to say I don't also have time for a few other favorites, shows that I don't tape, but watch when I'm home.

The Simpsons
Without a Trace
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

and many more.

It's a tough job, but somebody's got to watch these shows.

I'm happy to be somebody.


Bumble Bee Ninja Assassins - THE BLOG
Bloggin' it - big bumble style.

Check it:


Sunday, September 18, 2005

I don't care about the Emmys
I care about TV. A whole lot. But the Emmys are pretty much a waste of time that could be dedicated to reruns of Rockstar: INXS.

I made it home tonight in time to catch a few last pieces of the Emmys. I usually love awards shows. But the Emmys, well, I just don't care. For as much as I love TV, I am bored nearly to tears by the Emmys.

Tonight I caught the ending credits, as some announcer guy reads through all the credit words that are on screen. Really, why do they do this? Why do they put them on the screen to be read, and then make someone actually read them to me? No one is listening, and no one is reading. And if anyone is, does it really reinforce any important news in the credits that we all need to hear?


Well, maybe.

Tonight something caught my attention. Other than really bad dresses on famous people. I swear, I caught like, 10 minutes of the show, and I counted at least 10 bad dresses. You people are rich. Why can you not dress yourselves in clothing that looks better than the pajamas I'm wearing while I watch you on your fancy schmancy awards show?

I mean, really. Whatever cave they dug Patricia Arquette out of to do this Medium show she does now, please put her back and don't nominate her for any more awards until she can lose 20 pounds, or buy a dress that can hold 20 more pounds than she tried to stuff into the dress with herself. The dress was beyond max capacity, and trying to escape by the looks of the shoulder strap that kept trying to run down her shoulder while she gave her speech on camera. Maybe it was just embarrassed to be seen with Patricia and the rest of the dress, and it was trying to hide.

And, aside from Patricia's dress, just shave her head. NO hair would have been better than the hair monstrosity that happened to her head and made it's way on stage to collect her award. In all honesty, she was less frightening looking in Stigmata.

Anyway, the end-credit announcer guy was reading the legal jargon displayed on my TV screen, all about the technicalities of choosing the Emmy winners. It's a very official process, which I knew because the words were very tiny on the screen, and there were a lot of words filling the screen, and the announcer dude was talking very quickly to get through all of the very tiny, official words, including that all of the winners are chosen by a panel that screens each of the entries.

But, what I heard was:

Blah blah blahbity blahblah blibbityblobbity bloopydoopydoodle . . . Somewhere there is a group of people who get paid to watch a whole lot of TV and then hand out shiny trophies. . . blah ba blah blah blah.

Um, what?

I want that job.

Seriously. How does one get that job? Because I am TOTALLY qualified for any panel that gets to watch TV and then pass judgement on it. I do it everyday. I watch more TV than I have time for, and I always have watched more TV than any normal person should watch. And really, TV shows are made for me - the general public. If anyone should be judging what is good and what is crap on TV, it should be me.

I am an expert.

And, I like shiny things. I would very much enjoy deciding who gets the shiny trophies.

Someone tell me how to get this job. I would be in heaven. And, the quality of TV everywhere would increase manyfold.


Thursday, September 15, 2005

Oprah read my blog today
I can't disclose how I know this, but I know it. I have proof.

I'm hoping that by calling her out on my blog, by letting her know that I know she was here today, she will call me to be on her show. For some reason.

I'm not really qualified to do anything. Or good at anything. Or fascinating in any way. But maybe that, in and of itself, will fascinate her enough to want me on her show.

Or she could give me some free stuff. I always like free stuff.

Or she could do one of those "surpise! here are all of your favorite famous people in one show, here to sing a song for you, and talk to you, and give you free stuff, and to give a bunch of stuff to people who need stuff in honor of you, and then we'll read your novel on Oprah's Book Club."

I bet that's what it is.

I'll just wait by the phone.


Sting 'em, Bees
My church softball team is awesome. Not because we play awesomely. But because we are known this season as the Journey Bumble Bee Ninja Assassins.

Why? Well, I'll tell you.

This year we hosted a vote to name our team something. We never have a name. We are just "Journey". After careful research, I came to the conclusion that we lose so many games because we have nothing to motivate us, no "hook", no identity.

So, after compiling all the suggestions and votes, it became clear that we still had no single identity. Hence, a compilation of identities.

Journey Bumble Bee Ninja Assassins.

Awesome. And, I must say, fairly frightening in an intimidation sort of way.

Now, the question I am most commonly asked is, "Are you Bumble Bees that assassinate Ninjas, or are you Ninjas that assassinate Bumble Bees?" The answer to that is severalfold:
1. Whichever you prefer.
2. We are open to your interpretation. We cannot be contained in any one category.
3. We are whichever option is more frightening, and sneaky.
4. We are neither. We are both. We are a conversation piece.

Last night was our season opener. It was a double-header.

First game - I prefer not to talk about.

Second game - amazing.

Not only did we not let the first game's loss get us down, we rose above it to win the second game. We had a good high-attendance night for the team. We stayed in good spirits.

We were ready to bumble, and we stung 'em.

Or as Friend L said in a newly coined term I immediately love and intend to use often, we "ninja-ized" 'em.

As one-half of the coaching duo this season, I have taken a certain amount of pride in my coaching duties. I believe in taking this team to a whole new level, which (almost pathetically) we have already acheived with one win this season.

I believe in good communication. I believe in good attendance. I believe in team morale.

I believe in Bumble Bee Ninja Assassins.

Now, for those of you who may once have been a part of the team, you might read this and yearn to be part of the team spirit once again. It is exciting, no doubt.

But, not to worry. This year, the Journey Bumble Bee Ninja Assassins will host the First Ever Softball Homecoming Game and Festivities. Stay tuned for details. It's an extravaganza you won't want to miss.

Why? Well, I'll tell you.


Coach C.T.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

World Record SPAM Email
There are currently 448 SPAM emails in my Yahoo junk mail folder.

Do you think that's a record of some sort?

I simply just quit caring to even check the Junk email folder, in the off chance a "real" email was filtered into that folder. Truthfully, I kinda like that the SPAM emails just keep piling up in there. All those Viagra, weightloss, hair growth, free Ipod, mortgage rate emails going completely unread and unnoticed. It's almost poetic. I love it.

The oldest ones are deleted automatically by Yahoo periodically.

But, I hope to break 500 someday.

Don't tell me I don't have goals.


Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Musical Interlude
I ran across this song again the other day. I struggle with feeling these words and sentiments at times. Completely unjustified. I am, after all, pretty fine.

But, at times, I feel this. Insecurities raise their ugly head. And when I let them win, I get myself into a lot of trouble and heartache.

So Unsexy
Alanis Morissette

Oh these little rejections how they add up quickly
One small sideways look and I feel so ungood
Somewhere along the way I think I gave you the power to make
Me feel the way I thought only my father could

Oh these little rejections how they seem so real to me
One forgotten birthday I'm all but cooked
How these little abandonments seem to sting so easily
I'm 13 again am I 13 for good?

I can feel so unsexy for someone so beautiful
So unloved for someone so fine
I can feel so boring for someone so interesting
So ignorant for someone of sound mind

Oh these little protections how they fail to serve me
One forgotten phone call and I'm deflated
Oh these little defenses how they fail to comfort me
Your hand pulling away and I'm devastated

When will you stop leaving baby?
When will I stop deserting baby?
When will I start staying with myself?

Oh these little projections how they keep springing from me
I jump my ship as I take it personally
Oh these little rejections how they disappear quickly
The moment I decide not to abandon me


What I Learned Today
Even if you toast stale bread in an attempt to disguise the staleness, it's still stale.

It's true.

And gross.

What I Remembered Today
I want to make a movie. I majored in movies in college, and not in the sense that Friend A would say she majored in movies (ie: watching). I was a film major. I watched movies for grades in classes, wrote about movies for grades in classes, even made some movie-type pieces. And one music video.

I've been listening to the radio lately because I'm bored with all of my cds again. It's been such a random mix of music, I keep putting it to scenes in my head, like a movie soundtrack.

It's really funny, yet poignant. It needs a plot. None of the scenes in my head go together. But it reaches a wide audience. Highly successful. Yet, not a blockbuster. It would possibly be nominated for an award or two. Almost a cult classic, but more mainstream than indie, yet not too mainstream.

Too bad it's only in my head.

I tend to see my world like a movie, in scenes. Like I'm watching it. I replay things, photographically imaged in my brain. I don't think in words, which is odd since I write so much. I think in images and scenes. I even think ahead in images and scenes. Not so much planning, just anticipating, I guess. Preparing for what my world will look like as I move through it, I suppose.

However, most of my best material is spontaneous. If I think of a joke early and save it to make later, it's never as funny as the stuff I just say, in the moment, as a reaction. I'm clever on the spot, or I'm usually not clever at all.

This is probably why I haven't made my movie. Too much thinking.

And quite possibly, it only works in my head.


Monday, September 12, 2005

I never paid $3.00 for gas
I'm proud to say. I never paid more than $2.99. Take that, People in Charge of Gas Prices.

So, I may be an idiot, or just plain stupid, but I'm going to go ahead and admit that all of this gas price nonsense makes absolutely no sense to me. And I'd venture to say it makes no sense to any average car-driving American.

I don't understand OPEC. I don't understand why gas prices rise without reason, or because the wind changed direction in Drka Drkastan, Middle East. And I don't understand why every person in America can do nothing about it except be at the mercy of these OPECs or whoever is in charge of charging us relentlessly high prices for no good reason at all.

I mean, seriously. Just because New Orleans is under 20 feet of water, why does this justify a sudden price-hike for gas? Last week, New Orleans gets hit. The next day, gas starts it's climb to $3.00 a gallon, or higher in many places. Today, it's back down to $2.79 where I live. Yet, New Orleans is still under 20 feet of water.

It makes no sense.

Sure, there are oil refineries affected by Katrina. But, if we were to apply the same logic that we use to give reason for gas prices rising last week as a result of Katrina, as for any commodity that is unique to New Orleans or Louisiana, that would have to look something like this:

- All Harry Connick Jr. CDs should suddenly cost $59.00 each.
- Crawfish etouffe, gumbo, boudin sausage, and jumbalaya - now $97 per pound.
- Any jazz related instrument (piano, bass, guitar, drums, saxophone, trumpet) playing any jazz music in any jazz band across the country - we are now charging you $49.95 per hour to play, until jazz in New Orleans happens freely again.
- If you speak or understand Cajun - it should now cost you $12.50 per word to translate what you say or hear.
- Tabasco, made only on one tiny island of Louisiana - now costs $157 for one of those tiny little bottles.
- Phone calls to and from Louisiana - 139,000 cents per half minute.
- Any reference to the New Orleans Saints - $5.00 each.
- Any mention of Mardi Gras - $666 dollars each
- Mardi Gras beads, once free to those willing to flash - sorry, that will now be 7 flashes and a payment of $19.95 per strand of beads.
- Chunk of souvenir Superdome rubble - $108 dollars per chunk.

Here we are, giving of what we have, raising tons of money to give in support to the people of Louisiana affected by Katrina. Yet Gas People decide to punish us all by hiking prices. Think of how much more we could give if all of our money wasn't going straight to our gas tanks.

Katrina was just an excuse to hit the $3.00 mark sooner, rather than later.

I am thankful gas prices have gone down a bit. Who do we thank for that? But I do miss the days when it cost less than $30 to fill up the Jeep. I doubt that will happen again any time soon, if ever.

But hey, I have a few Harry Connick Jr. CDs, and a bottle of Tabasco I can sell you if you're interested. Might pay for a tank of gas this week...


Sunday, September 11, 2005

The Noisy One
I spent most of the past few days in Oklahoma. Thursday morning my parents called and said we needed to make the trip to visit my Grandma, today. This meant her health had gotten worse. A trip that was planned for next weekend probably shouldn't wait. If we wanted a chance to spend any time with her, this was it.

These last few days were spent evaluating her situation, and taking care of some details. Most of it had already been thought through between my dad and all of his siblings - the yucky stuff and words and phrases you don't ever want to talk about: DNR, feeding tube, clearing out her apartment and putting everything in storage, and all that scary stuff. We want to make sure she is as comfortable as possible, both healthwise and emotionally. She does not know we cleared out her apartment on Saturday, and that she will never go back there.

I wasn't sure what to expect when we walked into her room at the skilled nursing facility on Thursday. But, she recognized us as we walked in, and that was a big relief. I think both for us, and for her. I think it's hard on her when she is too confused to keep up with everyone who comes in and out of her room.

A lot of the time we were with her we would not consider good days for her. She's confused and worried, and not always with us in the moment. But, every once in awhile we got a glimpse of the Grandma we all know and love.

We watched a lot of Animal Planet this weekend. That's about her speed, especially when she sees a dog like her old chiuahua, Chiquita. Mostly we just spent time with her. Talking to her. Keeping her calm. Being there. I think I finally figured out where I get my strong desire for people to stay. Every time we would leave to go eat, or for the night, we would tell her that we would be back later. She would hold our hands and say, "Promise?" She seemed to do better with people around. But, that makes sense. She's used to a lot of family. Five kids, lots of grandkids, and even a few great-grandkids.

She still had a bit of the twinkle in her eye that I've always loved about her. I get my sense of humor, mischievous tendencies, and ornery disposition from that side of the family, starting with her. She was always picking on her kids and grandkids, teasing and joking, and loving each and every one of us as individuals. She had each of our personalities pegged young. She just loves her family.

And, I love so many things about her.
- Her Cream of Wheat was always lumpy. I loved it that way. Every time we went to visit, we requested that she make us Cream of Wheat. Only later did I learn it's not supposed to be lumpy. That means it was made in a hurry. I just thought it was fancy and fun. I still love it when mine turns out that way. It's not quite the same, though.

- I loved her house in Vidalia. I loved visiting there. It was safe and fun and familiar. My dad grew up there. Every room had stories. I loved when I was the only grandkid visiting. I got Grandma all to myself. One time when I visited, we went across the street to the neighbors and they gave me a cucumber from their garden. I ate the whole thing, without even cutting it up. It was a major accomplishment at such a young age. My grandma was very proud of me.

- I loved her church organ. For some reason, she had this big organ in the house that all the grandkids used to fight over playing. I would sit there even when everyone else got bored with it. I would never want the thing now. I don't think it's in the family anymore. But whose grandma has an organ? Mine did.

- I loved the AM radio that was always on the wall. It looks like an old phone. I'm glad to say, my dad rescued if from her apartment and brought it to me last Christmas. Now it is on my wall.

- I love the finger game she used to play with us. She would cross her fingers together and tell me there was a critter in her hands. I always knew there was not a real critter in there, but it was a game we would play. I would stick my finger in between her fingers, and she would "get" my finger with her thumb, hanging on to it while I squealed. She loved it.

- I loved Scrabble with Grandma. My dad, Grandma, and I are fierce Scrabble competitors. Both of them cheat, so you have to watch yourself when you play with them. It gets really ugly. We found the old family Scrabble game under her couch this weekend. I don't know where it ended up at the end of the day. But I owe my Scrabble prowess to her, I'm sure.

- I love that every time she had a house full of family for a holiday or special occasion, she was always the first one up. And for each person who got up in whatever order we wandered out into the kitchen for breakfast, no matter how early or late in the morning, she would make breakfast for each of us.

- I love that even this weekend, while she was sitting in a nursing home facility, unable to walk, being taken care of, and she hasn't cooked a meal in years, she kept telling us to eat. The woman never met a person she didn't try to feed.

- I love that she came to my college graduation. I love that my dad and I went to her 75th birthday party. He picked me up from college and we made a roadtrip out of it.

- I love that she went to Israel 15 or 20 years before I ever even thought about going to Israel a few years ago, and that the pictures she took then and the slides she brought us as a souvenir mean something to me now that I've been there.

- I love her jewelry. And by that I mean that I don't like any of it and would never wear any of it because it is huge and gawdy. But I love that most of it was real (ie: expensive), and that she wore as much of it as she could, all the time, everywhere she went. I put her rings on all of my fingers this weekend, and ran out of fingers long before I ran out of rings.

- I love that she had a gun, a very small pistol, that she kept in a firesafe in her apartment. It looks like a tiny water gun. The "case" for it was a shiny coin purse.

- I love that the first time I remember her leaving after visiting us as kids when we lived in Colorado, I cried as I watched her plane pull away from the gate. I think I cried most times we left Grandma after a visit.

- I love that she watched birds, and had bird books to identify the birds in her yard. I love that the first year I owned my house, I watched birds in my yard. I did not go so far as to get a book, and I quit when Friend A made fun of me acting like an old lady. But Grandma was definitely on to something with the bird watching.

- I love that she never liked cut-off jean shorts. They were not proper. I love that when you went to visit Grandma, you wore good clothes, you put on make-up, and you never walked around the house in just pjs that weren't "presentable". She was adamantly against ever leaving the house without being dressed properly or having all of your make-up on. Even at the nursing home place this weekend, she wanted to be covered up properly, dressed when she could be, and she wanted her "face" on.

- I love the "fancy" soaps that she always had in every bathroom in every house or apartment I ever knew her to live in. They were these purple balls and blue balls, and I kid you not, I think they were the same purple and blue balls that I first remember seeing in the Vidalia house as a kid that were still in her bathroom almost 30 years later at the apartment we just cleaned out. They never went away. I don't know where you buy these soaps. I've never seen them anywhere other than her bathrooms.

- I love that she used to be Catholic and tortured me by making me go to mass with her when I would visit. And I love that she converted to Baptist, and still tortured me by making me go to church with her when I would visit. I love that she loved Jesus, served her church, and raised all of us to know God. Maybe it wasn't torture after all.

- I love that she served everyone she could. She raised 5 kids after her husband died. She worked harder than anyone I know. Her 75th birthday party was held at the store she still owned and worked at. She claimed to still be an active Pink Lady volunteer this past weekend.

- I love that I found her bowling ball this weekend, from her days in a bowling league.

- I love that for almost every birthday she would send me $5.00. Often cash, through the mail. It was $5.00 when I was young and that was a lot of money to me. It was $5.00 even through college when $5.00 wouldn't get me in to a movie. My friends knew her as my "Five Dollar Grandma."

- I love that she never wanted a hug. She always wanted to "love your neck."

What I love most is that she still knows who I am. And not just by name or by face. She knows it is me. This visit, I had a few moments here and there alone with her. I will cherish them.

Every once in awhile she would look me right in the eye and say something that she used to say to me, or something familiar. Friday was the worst day we saw her. She was really dehydrated and very confused. But while I was sitting with her, just me and her, she looked right at me and said, "You're always so noisy. Always the noisy one." Twinkle in her eye.

She used to always call me the noisy one because I was always the quiet grandkid, keeping to myself, never saying much. The rest of the kids were pretty much attention hogs, loud, fighting over toys. I would mostly watch and not say much. I guess it was the same this weekend. Was hard to know what to say or what she would keep up with. But, she knew it was me being with her.

Being noisy. Same as usual.

I don't know if she understands why so many people have come to visit her lately. Or why she is where she is. Or if she understands that if she doesn't eat and drink and take care of herself, she will not be with us much longer. I don't know if she realizes we came to say goodbye.

But when I got up to leave her yesterday, saying goodbye for probably the last time, I leaned over her and she said, "Let me love your neck."

I loved hers. Always will.


Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Blue Pens: A Commentary
Following is a story that bored a co-worker of mine to death today.

Yesterday, my blue pen ran out of ink. I have a history of really not liking blue pens. I've always been a fan of black ink. It is serious. It is easy to read. It is what writing should be written with. Blue ink has always seemed stupid to me. You can't take blue ink seriously. Don't even get me started on green, red, pink, or purple ink.

Hate. Them. All.

But lately at work, I've been using more blue ink. I mark proofing changes on artwork and copy, and the blue ink is easier to see. It's become essential to performing my job duties. And, I have to admit the blue ink is starting to grow on me.

I'll even go so far as to say, I don't hate blue pens anymore.

However, I am VERY picky about the type of pen I use. As someone who fancies herself a writer, the pen is an essential tool to jotting down thoughts. It must be a superb writing instrument. None of this "ballpoint pen, 25 pens to a box" nonsense. I need a Uniball Rollerball.

Lately, I've tested out the Roller Gel pens. I likey.

So, today I went to Target to buy more blue pens, to replace the pen that ran out of ink yesterday. But, as I browsed the pens looking for the perfect blue pen, I discovered that you CANNOT buy a package of just blue pens, unless you are willing to settle for the crappy 25-to-a-box ballpoint pens that dry up the second you take the cap off.

What. Is. Up?

You can buy as many good black pens as your heart desires. I saw packs of 3 and 5 black pens. But, in order to buy a blue pen, you have to buy a multi-pack that comes with one black, one red, and finally, one BLUE PEN.

I just want blue pens that don't suck!

All these years of hating blue pens, and now that I am embracing the blueness of the pen, I can't even get a package of 3 or 5 blue pens that are Uniball Rollerball, or Roller Gel.

I ended up buying a pack that had TWO black pens, one blue, one red. Which means I now have an over-abundance of black pens, a red pen that I will never use up, and a blue pen that will run out of ink before either the red or black pens, which will force this whole cycle to repeat itself a few months from now when the blue pen dies.

It's pen conspiracy.

I returned to work after buying my pens today, and I told my co-worker the story above. This co-worker accuses me of not talking enough. Those of you who know me will agree that I am not much of a talker, nor a conversationalist. She is determined to turn me into a talker. For some reason, she seems to think I am a talker waiting to happen. So, I thought, "Hey, I will tell her my pen story." This will surely convince her that I have stories to tell.

After I told her the story, she told me she now sees why I don't talk, and she asked me never to talk about pens again.


Monday, September 05, 2005

Dustbuster: The Downside
I have found the downside to using my Dustbuster primarily as a Dead Bug Sucker-Upper.

Eventually I have to empty the Dustbuster that holds all of the dead bugs I've sucked up.

So. Gross.


I have absolutely no artistic fibers anywhere in my being when it comes to drawing or painting. So when I say I like to paint, I mean I like to take a gallon of paint, or a can of spray paint, and turn something that was once one color, into another color.

This weekend I decided it was time to begin my furniture painting project. I began with my coffee table.

I am on a quest to make my house less brown. In my living room, my walls are brown due to wood paneling (not the cheesy 70s paneling, but wood paneling, nonetheless), my carpet is light tan. I also have exposed brick inside the house, in varying shades of brown. And by default, the furniture I have collected over the years is by and large, brown.

It's a lot of brown.

My poor woman's way to ease the brown-ness is to paint a few pieces of furniture, making them shades other than brown. I choose this rather than buying new furniture, which I cannot afford since I am spending all of my money on gas these days. My hope is that painting key pieces of furniture will contrast with the brown walls and floor, and then my house will be less offensively brown. It should all work together nicely.

My coffee table is a hand-me-down. It has been in my family for many years. It belonged to my grandparents, who gave it to my parents, who then gave it to my sister, which I then took ownership of. It's brown stained wood, but the stain is not in good shape. I keep it covered with a cloth to hide some, um, issues.

Yesterday I woke up and decided it was the perfect day to paint the coffee table. I bought spray paint and spray primer at Home Depot. I put the table out in the yard. I began to spray.

It was awesome. And fumey.

I was a little nervous at first. It's not a fancy table, but it has been in my family for many years. It has sentimental value. I didn't want to be the one to mess it up.

I sprayed the primer, then the paint. It started looking really good.

But, once everything dried, I wasn't quite satisfied with it. However, I had to quit for the evening. I HATE having to quit a project, leaving it unfinished. It bugged me all night.

This morning I remembered I have a small can of gloss paint. I decided the top of the table needed to be evened out with a coat or two of gloss paint. So, I did that. I let it dry.

Then I decided the top needed to be sanded, to even everything out. I did that.

Last, I took a toothpick and traced the lines of the grooves in the top of the table, to get the extra paint out of the grooves. I wanted the black lines to still show through.

The finished product? Amazing.

I love it. It's white. It already brightens the room a bit. It really only took a total of about 5 hours to do. I don't have to keep it covered with the cloth anymore. And, it's like a brand new piece of furniture that I only spent $12 to create. The sentimental value is still there, but it has been rebirthed into something that works better in the room.

I LOVE PAINTING THINGS!! It may not be "art", but it's therapeutic.

Next on the list is my dining table, the four chairs at the table, and the thing my TV sits on. All of which has no sentimental value whatsoever. So, if it turns out ugly, I can chunk it and one day buy something new, with no remorse whatsoever.


PS: OK, I have to confess that because I am so OCD about some things, and because I am SO uneasy about leaving a project unfinished, I actually added the gloss coat of paint last night when I got home late after church and dinner and blog party with friends. But I did the final coat and sanding this morning.

There may be something wrong with me.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

To the Locals: Hurriance Help
If you are wondering what you can do help Katrina victims, or where to bring stuff, Local Church is gathering tons of stuff THIS WEEK. Click on link for details of what, where and when to bring.

List spelled out here:
New underwear, undershirts, bras, and socks - men's and women's; all sizes
Bath Towels
Toiletry Items - bar soap; shampoo/conditioner; hairbrushes; combs
Denim Jeans - all sizes; be sure the size is clearly marked in the waistline
T-Shirts and Blouses - all sizes; be sure the size is clearly marked in the neckline
Baby Clothes - all sizes; be sure the size is clearly marked
Children's Items - Games, decks of cards, coloring books and markers; paper; DVD's and videos

And food:
Bottled Water
Peanut Butter & Jelly
Canned Meats
Breakfast Cereal
Canned Juices
Snack Foods
Canned Vegetables
Condiments for Sandwiches

Other: Adult Diapers, Baby/Toddler Diapers, Similac Formula, Baby Food, Baby Bottles, Utensils, Pacifiers

The church collecting these items is North of The Loop. If you have stuff but don't want to make the drive north, let me know and I will meet you at our South of The Loop church for a handoff.

These items will be going to Baton Rouge to help about 850 Katrina victims being housed in a local church there.


Saturday, September 03, 2005

Um, wha??
This is another entry in a never-regular series I like to call, "Um, wha??" It's for those things in life that just don't make sense.

Tonight I am going to the big BU vs. SMU football game. In order to get tickets, I had to go to the SMU website, since the game is at SMU.

I found exactly what I wanted - $12 endzone tickets. Perfect! I bought 2 tickets.

I clicked through all the screens to get to the page where you pay, and I saw that my total amount was . . . $35.

Um, since when do two $12 tickets add up to $35? What kind of crazy Methodist math is that??

I looked at the screen. It listed the following items (exactly like this):

Tickets - $12.00 x 2
Fee - $2.00
Charge - $7.00
Total = $35.00

Of course! How silly of me! I forgot about the unidentified "fee" and the ambigiously invisible "charge", which should be standard on every internet transaction. It all makes perfect sense and is totally justified.


It didn't even explain what the "fee" or "charge" is. And really, what is the difference between a "fee" and a "charge"? I paid an extra $9 that is completely unexplained, and yet there was no way on the website NOT to pay the "fee" or "charge". That $9 will almost buy me a gallon of gas these days. Which I will need to get to the game....

SMU cannot get away with this.

They. Must. Pay.

I'm asking 9 SMU kids tonight for $1 each until I have my $9 back.