Monday, December 31, 2007

Curses! Soiled Again!

Well, I need to go back to Strasser Hardware to finish this phase of my work, so I'm done for the night.

In the process, I got covered in the most disgusting water imaginable, so I've had a late-night NYE shower... the perfect way to celebrate, eh?

Tomorrow I shall wake up early enough to go to Strasser, and I'll probably be giving someone with a functioning kitchen a call so I can prep my food that I'm taking to the traditional NYD get-together over at P&L's.

Forward motion. Forward motion.

You know, doing this reminded me (as it does every time I do some sort of handy-work around the house) that I used to use tools to do this sort of thing (okay, not plumbing, but still) on a regular basis about twenty years ago. Then I have to wonder what happened to that me, and I wonder if his life is working out for him, wherever he ended up living it.

Okay, I think I'm going to hang out for another twenty minutes or so to see the new year in, and then I'm going to go to bed and read up on my book.

Happy New Year, everyone!

I'm Going In!

For those of you who don't know, my kitchen drains have been an issue since... um... February. Yes, I have a landlord (landlady, actually), but the last time I notified her of anything that needed fixing, I heard about it for a good month. So, I have long since taken a fix-it-myself attitude toward my living space.

Anyway, this drain has been slo-go to no-go since February, and I decided earlier today that I wanted to have this problem fixed by midnight tonight.

So I've been working on this off-and-on all day. The "off" part comes when I get frustrated and have to take a break.

I'm on an "off" part now, but it's because I'm waiting for the water I'm boiling to boil. It's a thing.

Anyway, I finally decided--since anti-clog products have done little-to-no good since February--to take the advice of several people and get under the sink and see if I can clear out the U-joints.

I did that at about 9:00. Let me tell you, folks, it's no fun.

First, I could spell "LULL" with the joints that are under the sink on the right. And I could spell "LU" (if it were a word) with the joints under the sink on the left--and I think it has fewer L-joints because of the garbage disposal unit under that sink.


Just sayin'.

Anyway, the sink on the right did have some plug issues, and that's taken care of, but I think there might be a plug issue further along.

So, here's my plan (be it wise or unwise--I doubt anyone will reply in time for me to change my plan either way): I'm going to pour boiling water down the right-hand sink, in the hopes the issue is some grease-related mess past the "LULL"-joints. Also, this will help me to test that I have the "LULL"-joints tightened correctly before I move the bucket under the whole "LU" situation under the left-hand sink.

If this works, I'll have a functioning kitchen again. I'll be able to do dishes, which means I'll be able to cook... which means... well, the possibilities are endless.

I hope to be done soon. A co-worker called just as I was getting under the sink to invite me to come hear her man play in a band somewhere not-far-ish from me. I wasn't planning on going out, but if I get this sink sitch taken care of, I may have to go out to celebrate!

Oh, and the poll results:


Yes.: 0%
Not yet, but I will.: 0%
No.: 50%
Artichoke!: 50%

Two people voted.

I'm not sure if I want to keep doing a poll. Feedback?

Friday, December 28, 2007

There Went Christmas Day...

Wow... it's been a while.

Say, Leslie, Jordan and I rode back to Center with Ruth last Friday night. We had the family holiday on Saturday, and--due to the weather forecast, I believe, opted to stay until Sunday. On the way back on Sunday we counted 30 vehicles in the ditch or on the side of the road. So, all in all, good plan, eh?

Sunday night I went to Ben & Tricia's, as per the norm, and I still am not sure if this is something I already had, or I caught it that night (I've found that--more often than not--I don't catch whatever cold bug the girls might have... of course, I probably just jinxed that), but by the time I got home Sunday night, I could tell I was going to be getting sick.

Ruth and I had a plan to go to Omaha very early Christmas morning and return by 3:00 or so that afternoon, but I felt so miserable on Monday that I knew six hours in a car wouldn't be a good thing.

So on Monday I didn't do much... I didn't even get on here to change my poll. I guess I'll have to save that idea for next Christmas Eve.

So Christmas Eve I stayed at home. I did stay up past midnight, and went outside at that time (briefly, anyway). Christmas morning I eventually woke up and started my day, going to house-and-dog-sit for Ben & Tricia while they did their traditional Christmas Day traveling.

And here I have been ever since, even though they returned the following night. The cold seems to be getting better, and it hit me as I was going to sleep last night that I hadn't updated this site for a while (and that I forgot to update the poll).

Speaking of the poll, here are the results from the last one:

The original one that was too dark for the movie, even. 0%
The original one that was in the movie. ("Until then we'll have to muddle through somehow.") 40%
The more upbeat one. ("Hang a shining star upon the highest bough.") 20%
The Christian one. 20%
I dislike every version of that song. 0%
Interloper! 20%

There it is. New poll should be up minutes after this post...

Anyway, I hope the roads are okay for driving this afternoon, because I have to go home today (last night I finished the book I'd been reading), and I'd rather do it on less-slickery roads.

I hope everyone had a great Christmas... feel free to post comments and share. I need to go around and read all the blogs I normally read and see if there's any news there.

If I don't get a chance to post before, hope everyone has a safe and happy New Year's Eve, and Happy 2008!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Happy Holidays!

Here's a link to my Christmas card, in case I haven't sent you an e-mail about it yet:

If you didn't get an e-mail, check your spam folder first... if it isn't there, shoot me an e-mail. It could be in the great mini-crash of 2007 your address disappeared from my address book.

I've been meaning to share this little tidbit:

I finally got to hear the Alvin & The Chipmunks song I thought was so hilarious when I was much younger. It is their rendition of "The 12 Days of Christmas".

Let me first say that I am too old to listen to an entire A & TC CD. Not because "I shouldn't be doing that", but because it made me very irritable to hear those squeaking voices singing for 50 minutes or so.

I think I'll be avoiding the movie (which is unfortunate, because how fun to go see a movie the ads of which alone have taught young children to sing generic porn background music) because I'm irritable enough on my own. I don't need help at it.

Beyond that, the song wasn't even that much of a laugh riot. Boy, I sure thought it was great when I was in elementary school though. Who'd a thunkit? Sense of humor changes as we age.

I got to see the dentist today. Hooray!

Hey, if you go to STILL:Life and see the picture with all the comments, no worries... there's nothing controversial about the picture. Don't spend forever looking at the picture or sifting through the comments trying to find what was so commentable about that photo. Just a little late-night exchange between me and some unknown commenter.

I think I'm going to put another poll up now. Only five people voted in this last one:

Lafflines: Now that I've done them for 10 years, how should I handle them in the future? No change (but try to update them more regularly). 1 vote.
Put them on this blog, with links to your people pages. 0 votes.
Put them on this blog, but don't worry about linking them to your people pages. 3 votes.
I don't care. 1 vote.
Shoehorn. 0 votes.

I really wanted "Shoehorn" to win. Well, I don't know if I'm going to abide by the committee's decision, but thanks for the input.

Anyway, the poll that I'll be putting up shortly (I hope) will be up until about noon on the 24th. Then I'm going to put up a special Christmas poll... so be sure to come back on the 24th or the 25th so you can vote!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Coming Soon To A Stage Near You (If You're In KC, That Is)

Before I dive in, I just want to say that at some point I got all stressed out about the RULES OF CAPITALIZATION IN A TITLE and decided that I'd just capitalize the first letter of every word and call it a personal "style".

The problem is, I don't always remember to do that.

So it just ends up being stressful whenever I type a title on here. I can't get away with it. I guess I could re-learn those rules, but I've sorta joined the camp that says there shouldn't be rules, but merely a recording of the state in which the language currently resides. I guess not entirely, because it still makes me crazy when kids don't follow the basics, but the ones that I think are stupid, I think everyone should agree not to follow.

That's fair, right?

Anyway, I decided it was safe to share this on here now, since everyone that would object to me doing this has already heard from me (well, everyone currently talking to me, anyway).

I'm doing the next two Martin City shows. The first one, "Wolfman, or: Another Bad Hair Day" will open in mid-February and run until the first part of April or May (the Metcalf South remodeling/tear-down date is up in the air right now).

Then, this summer I will be with MCM&VCo. as they return to Martin City for the new show: "Shakespeare in the Dark".

I have no idea what roles I will be playing. I do know the vaudeville for "Wolfman" will be "Pet Pizazz", so if you're a follower of Martin City, feel free to post comments about that here. I have never done that vaudeville, but I've seen it.

I went to see the current show on Saturday night. It brought back the fun memories, for sure.

Yes, there's stress, but the best part is: once you start performances, it's easy money.

Well, and also the audiences for MCM&VCo. shows can be very responsive. I'm missing performing a lot lately.

Anyway, from mid-January to mid-February my weeknights will be busy again. Once the show starts, the performances are only Friday thru Sunday.

I've got some holiday thoughts to post, but I think I need to get back to sending out my e-cards. I'm still only on the "first name begins with B" part of my list, and it's alphabetical by first name...

Friday, December 14, 2007

Shaving Account

Hooray! I got to shave after school today!

Well, it's been a busy eight or so hours since I left school this afternoon, and I'll try to sum up the most boring bits to help you nap.

I stopped by the Wal-Marts on the way home and bought some shavers. Other than the one day that I shaved my neck to make it look like I was intending to grow a beard, I have not used a non-electric shaver since... well, probably the morning of June 22, 2005 (cue the "dun-dun-duh" music).

I got home and used the trimmer part of my electric razor to get rid of most of that facial hair mess, and then I had a good ol' shave.

I went to see a show at Patrick & Leigh's church tonight, and as I left my house, the first thing I noticed was how cold my face and neck felt.

It's good that I'm shaving again, however, as I was starting to think I could live with my face looking like that. I mean, I got used to the way it looks without it, so I should be able to get used to anything!

Oh, for fun.

Anyway, I enjoyed the production this evening. I have other news of a theatrical nature to share, but that will have to wait until after things are a bit more set in stone... watch this space (or above it, actually) for more information!

Three days (two of which are half days) left of school in 2007.

For some reason, I've been thinking a lot about the passage of time--the main reason probably being that I'm always thinking about it. If I wasn't obsessed with so many things, I'd say I was obsessed with the passage of time... but it's up there with a lot of other things.

Anyway, I find myself very aware that one day I'm going to be gone, and the world will keep doing what it's doing... and one day all the people I know (or will know by the time I leave) will be gone, and the world will keep doing what it's doing... and one day all the people they know (or will know by the time they leave) will be gone, and the world will keep doing what it's doing... and so on...

I mean, unless we're all gone because the planet was eaten by a giant mutant space chihuahua.

I find myself thinking about people who were around in the 30s and 40s who were around my age then. They had their now, and probably couldn't accurately imagine my now, just as I probably can't imagine the now of some people who are going to be about my age in sixty or seventy years.

And I know these are all real "well, duh" thoughts, but--like I tell the kids--the properties we learn in math are real "well, duh" thoughts, but once you have them, there's all kinds of places you can go with them.

So I guess I'm just going places.

I'll send a postcard if I get a sec.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Not Again

Today we had school. What a stress-fest!

Just a lot going on, and frantic trying-to-figure-out-what-to-do-ed-ness, and so on. One camp is like "three more full days, two half days, why try to fight them to get them to do anything", and then there's the "by golly they WILL do this work..."

I'm in the latter camp.

Anyway, tomorrow will surely be less stressful, right?

I had a headache almost all of the day. I think it was because I didn't drink much water. I keep forgetting, and I have this gigantic QT cup sitting there, waiting to be drank.

Also, I forgot The Wilders had their Christmas show tonight, and I missed it.

Well, at least I got to sit by the tree and bask in the multi-colored flashing-light-ed-ness.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

December Is Finally Here!

And this year, I went for a snowflakes applet instead of the one I usually use. When you move your mouse over the picture, you make snowflakes appear! Check it out! Oh, and if you want to skip the snowflake thing because it jacks with your computer, go to instead.

I'll get my card finished in the next few days, and hopefully I'll have my end-of-the-year letter done by then, too. Then I'll start sending out those e-mails.

According to the message left by the distrcit's automated machine (25 minutes after the phone tree call came in... perhaps this is one where technology can't beat good ol' human effort), there were several building with heat issues. Um... we always have heat issues in our building. Why are we ever going to school?

Also, side streets were apparently icy.

So it goes.

I got much done today, which is shocking. The fact I didn't go back to bed after I got the call is the biggest WOW of them all.

We absolutely must have school tomorrow. Enough is enough!


Well, it was official for me about 25 minutes ago. My alarm was 1 minute away, and my phone rang. No school again today.

You'd think I'd be thrilled, but I promised parents there would be two tests on this report card, and I'm still two lessons and a review away from that. Methinks we will be having a test on at least one of the half days. Luckily I'm part of a great an cooperative team that will be okay with all 5 of us giving the test at the same time, thus giving the kids ample time to get it done.

I guess the good news (other than not having to go in to work, that is) is that I'm still having trouble waking up at my preferred time (4:30) and getting my life together so that I'm at school by 6:00. My days are so much better when I do this. Actually, I'd prefer to wake up at 3:30 or so, walk for an hour, then get ready and go to school, but at this point that's a dream of the long ago.

Oh, I remembered what it was I wanted to mention last night. I finished The Golden Compass Sunday evening. I enjoyed the book and all, but was a bit frustrated by the ending. It was like "Back to the Future II" in that, yes, there was some resolution, but too much was left unresolved. I mean, yeah, trilogy and all, but you can have a trilogy without having so much left unresolved, right?

Sure, The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring left lots unresolved, but that was supposed to be just one huge book that got split up... or did I hear that wrong.

Well, anyway, I went on to the next Discworld novel and figured I'll read the next book in that other trilogy after Christmas or so.

Okay, well... I think I'll try to figure out what sorts of things I can accomplish today while I have the extra time.

Oh great... just remembered some Pre-Algebra kids were wanting to stay after school to re-take some tests. That's going to have to be tomorrow (assuming we have school), I guess... that or their parents will have to come pick them up, because tomorrow is the last day of the extended day program for this quarter.

You know, I know there's this whole process they go through to decide whether or not we have school on a given day, but on days like today I need it re-explained to me so I can find fault with it.

Poll results are in. With three votes, it appears that you readers don't care if I do the ornament thing or not. (One for "Yes", and two for "I don't care".) Well, that will make it easier to blow off that idea, so hurray for that, I say. Check out the new poll. This one is a big deal, so make sure you vote!

Hope everyone has a great day. I'll try to stay busy so you don't have to be bitter about my having a day off!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

And Then It Was November

It's November over at my website.

I had another poll in mind for when this current one is done (about midnight tonight), but I think I'll put that one off for a week to instead allow a vote as to what I'm going to do after my website reaches the ten-year mark.

No school today, so I stayed inside all morning. I've been a little tired today because the power went off at 3:30 this morning. One of the benefits of sleeping with a fan running year round is the sudden silence is usually a pretty good wake-up call.

Add to that the beeping of the formerly-charging cell phone and it's an almost-guaranteed wake-up call.

I used the cell phone to go downstairs to get the flashlight (which I immediately remembered thinking about taking upstairs, but then forgetting to do so), then brought the flashlight back up with me. Well, I looked outside to see if it was a typical my-side-has-no-lights-but-across-the-street-everyone-is-fine power outage, or a full-street thing. It was full street.

Then I went upstairs.

My current fan doesn't come back on after a power outage, so I flipped on the overhead light to see if that would wake me when it came back on.

It did. Or the newly-charging cell-phone did. Also, the VCR made some sort of tape-moving back-to-life noise.

It was about 5:00.

Anyway, I stayed in all morning, played some Scrabble with the computer, and reheated some leftovers for lunch.

I spoke with Jhoneric around 12:30 and learned the streets weren't icy, so I opted to go run errands.

I'm fairly sure we'll be having school tomorrow. It's not supposed to get very cold tonight. I really didn't want a snow day until after the break, but so it goes.

I will manage to adjust the lesson plans. I will survive. Hey, hey.

There was something I was going to say on here, but I've lost it (hence the rambling for however-long-it's been). I guess if I think of it, I'll come back and post it later.

Well, I should have December up on my website by the end of the weekend... and this year I think I'm going to send out individual e-mails with the link to my card. That way I can make each one much more personal than I have in the past.

That's the plan, anyway. But we know how my plans go, right?

Sunday, December 09, 2007

September Has Arrived (October, November, & December On The Way)

Well, I have September up over at my website.

October and November will be up sometime this week (I hope).

December will be up (I hope) next weekend, which means that snow scene I always put up will be the first thing you see. I'll put a link up for the "skip it" version, if the snow scene jacks with your computer somehow.

Spent hours working on my online card yesterday. I didn't mean to, but the time just flew by. I hope people like it, because I'm having fun making it (spending hours working on it today, too).

I'm thinking after December I'm going to stop doing the laffline on my website. I also think I'm going to remove a lot of elements from it. I started that site January of 1998. I taught myself html, and still type it all in directly. That makes me stupid or old or both, and maybe other things as well.

I'll keep the people pages up, but probably with a lot less information about each person, as identity theft is such a popular hobby these days.

I'm considering continuing the lafflines, but just post one a month on here. Probably sans the links to the people involved. I'm not sure. What do you think?

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Family Faux Pas

Okay, here' s something not to do when you have family in a city where some sort of disaster/terror/freakishness is happening: hear they're all right and decide they don't need you calling to commiserate about the horror/terror/freakishness of the event.

I don't know how word got to me that the "family in Omaha was okay" after that incident yesterday, but I got an e-mail this afternoon--well, I got it this evening late, but it arrived this afternoon--from my aunt, asking how I knew everyone was okay.

So I'm thinking however I received word that everyone was okay, that person must have been speaking "sister, nieces, nephew-in-law (is that a thing?), great-niece, and great-nephew", while I was hearing "family in Omaha". When I called Leslie, I figured she was speaking of the long list, which doesn't include "aunt, cousins, cousins-in-law (is that a thing?), and first-cousins-once-removed". However, I heard from Ruth not long after I spoke with Leslie, and whether or not she actually specified who she meant, I took her to mean "family in Omaha". She may have very well said, "Leslie and them," but my brain is... well, my brain. That is to say, malfunctional.

Before I go any further, I should clarify: I'm not about to say that aunt, cousins, cousins-in-law (if that is a thing), and first-cousins-once-removed includes a victim or victim of the shooting spree on Wednesday. I'm not sure if they are or not, but I think my aunt's e-mail would have had something like that in there if there was an issue. I think.

Which brings me back to the faux pas part. My aunt e-mailed me asking how I knew the family was okay, and all I can lamely reply is, "I misunderstood a message, I think."

Like it would have been the end of the world to call my aunt or Karen and say, "This is some craziness," and so on. Okay, it's beyond faux pas... it's sorta bad inconsiderateness... or worse inconsiderateness, as I'm not sure there's a good inconsiderateness.

Anyway, sorry to Rachel and Karen and... well, I can't start listing everyone because I don't have a cheat sheet with me, and plus, I don't know where Bryce is living right now... anyway, sorry I didn't call to check on you.

Everyone else, let this serve as a cautionary tale.

In other news, I went out with Say and Ruth tonight and had some dinner. We then went to Macy's, which was less of a thrill for me, but it kept me off the street. We then did a little Christmas Light tour, which included the Kryger glass people's home. It was a cool display like the one I mentioned in a recent post... Ruth tuned her car radio to the appropriate frequency, and we got to watch a sort of lawn light-show.

Odd bit: One of the tunes was The Star Spangled Banner. I don't so much think of it as a Christmas song. We decided it was how they kept people from hanging out in front of their house too long, because it certainly encouraged us to move along.

It snowed in KC today. This means 7th graders who are too cool for kid stuff will now titter and glow and giggle and daydream about all the things they've been doing in snow since they were old enough to go outside and play in it.

Ah, to not have to think about driving home in it.

Well, hope this finds everyone well... or I hope as you find this, you are well, as I'm not sending this anywhere to find you.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Getting To Know Your Friends, Christmas Edition

Okay, this is one exception to my dislike of e-mail forwards. These can be very entertaining (and sometimes very disturbing) to read, and I usually enjoy answering them. Sara sent me this one, and I thought I'd answer it here instead of forwarding it to everyone in the world. Thus, only you die-hard fans of my non-blog will get to know the TRUE me. I don't have to pretend with you guys!

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Please see my post from November entitled "Going Green for Christmas". Think globally and act locally, people...

2. Real tree or Artificial? Artificial, because all living plant life that enters my home is doomed to a slow and painful death, and I think that's wrong.

3. When do you put up the tree? Typically Thanksgiving evening or the day after. If I'm going to be out of town, I might put it up a day or two before, but not light it up until after Thanksgiving. On years like this, when Thanksgiving is the earliest it can be, I use that as a great excuse to put it off. I love getting the house all Christmased up, but I'm terribly lazy about doing things for myself. It's a struggle. I think this is turning into a "less entertaining, more disturbing" answer.

4. When do you take the tree down? One year it was after Easter, seriously. But usually I shoot for the 7th of January or so.

5. Do you like eggnog? Not enough to go out and buy some. In fact, I might really hate it. I haven't had eggnog for so long. Maybe because I've never had the boozed-up version.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? My organ. ::snicker:: No, seriously, I got this little organ after I'd been taking piano lessons for a while. I knew in advance it would be my entire Christmas. I remember playing some song like "Good Bye Ol' Paint" or "So Long Ol' Paint" over and over on that thing. I could hum the tune for you, if that would help you figure out the title. Of course, I was slightly beyond child age at that time, so I might have to revise my answer to either the Peanuts board game or the haunted house board game I got that year Santa stopped by our house on Christmas Eve while we were out at Say's house. I don't know, it's hard to say, really.

7. Do you have a nativity scene? No. I was in a living nativity once. I was the inkeeper. Yeah, there's a role you want. I don't have a nativity because if you do it right, it's very difficult to keep up. I mean, do the wise men show up on the 6th of January? On the 7th? Two years later on the 7th? I ain't tryin' to go to seminary just so I can have one of them historically accurate nativity scenes... and if it's not gonna be historically accurate, can't I just take some Marvel superhero figurines and make a nativity scene out of that?

8. Hardest person to buy for? Eddie... Okay, I've picked myself up off the floor now. Wiping my eyes... and, the actual answer: Ruth, because she's so secretive. No, I kid. Um... I don't know. Dane? Heck, I'll have to think about this one.

9. Easiest person to buy for? Kids, because I am the type of old fogey teacher relative that believes they should get books.

10. Worst Christmas gift ever received? Books. No, I'm kidding. I just had to put that after my last answer. I don't know. I guess getting to prep that dead lady for her funeral the day after Christmas could sorta count. Thanks, Eddie.

11. Mail or e-mail Christmas Card? E-mail, of course. I do have a lot of old cards from like the 80s... and they aren't as funny as I thought they were at the time. I sometimes think about sending them out for a sort of retro holiday. But I never do it.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? Saw... I kid. Um... The Nightmare Before Christmas, if that counts.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Usually the afternoon we get out of school for break.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Yes, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. Remember, I'm going green this Christmas.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Turkey, Deana Mae's biscuits, and home-made coookies. I don't get to eat the cookies for Jordan any more, or nibble at the carrots she leaves for the reindeer... Sunrise, Sunset, baby.

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Colored, individual blinking C7s. Eight colors: Red, Amber, Yellow, Green, Teal, Blue, Purple, and Pink.

17. Favorite Christmas song? It's a tie: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Good King What'sHisFace (I can't spell it, and the hour is late), and Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (the good version--see last year's rant). Also a couple of Transiberian Orchestra ditties, the titles of which are not readily available to me. The one everybody knows when they hear, and the one that guy set his Christmas lights to a couple of years back.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? I time-travel at Christmas, to a time where people weren't afraid to tell you Merry Christmas, no matter what your religious beliefs were... because, just like we wouldn't mind having some other religion shoved down our throat, people shouldn't mind having ours shoved down their... Wait, wrong post. Um... I always travel. Christmas at my house would be me looking at the fake gifts I have under the tree, feeling miserable. No thanks.

19. Can you name Santa's reindeer? No, because they already have names. And by the way, it's Donder and Blitzen, not Donner and Blitzen. Donder and Blitzen are German for "thunder and lightening". Or for "biscuits and gravy". Or something. Or maybe not. It's been a long time since I took German. I researched this once, and think it might actually be Donner. But I prefer my first ranty stance on this unimportant issue.

20. Do you have an Angel on top of your tree, or a star? Jester hat. I made an angel for our tree at home once when I was a teen. I was very proud of how nice it looked, as I'm not much of an artist. I think the rest of the family thought it was crap, though.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or Christmas morning? When I'm told.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? What, I have to choose? You want a list? I guess I'll go with "it's too busy" or "there's not enough time to see everyone I want to see".

23. How old were you when you added your twos about this whole Santa business and got four? I was... I don't remember. I know it was Wade that spilled the beans, and he was spilling them about the Tooth Fairy and threw the jolly old elf in just for extra measure... I think I was in second grade.

24. What is the greatest distance you have been from home on Christmas? I don't know how far it was, but when I was in Augsburg, Germany was probably a sure thing.

25. Hope, Peace, Joy, Love: Which best describes Christmas for you? Presents! I kid. That would have to be Peace, Bob.

Okay, I cheated and added the last three, because I thought it would make more sense to have 25 items on this list. Feel free to copy the list, type in your own answers, and e-mail them to everyone (don't forget to include me--again, this is one e-mail forward I enjoy)!

I ALWAYS Have That Camera With Me

So I'm in the... I can't remember what that grocery store is called, so I'll call it "the grocery store in Westport". Anyway, I'm at the grocery store in Westport tonight, and I come across a "SALE" sign with this information.

Boston Market Entrees
2 for $6
Regular price: $2.99 each.
You save: 1 cent.

And here I am without anyone to whom I point out this craziness.

So I did the Patsy thing, which was to tell a stranger. Well, to try to tell one stranger, who is for sure living by the "If you don't look at the crazy person who thinks it's okay to just up and talk to a stranger, he'll think he's imagining you" creed, and then successfully tell another who doesn't quite seem to get it--or, perhaps he was thrown off by the whole "stranger danger" thing, too. Or maybe he's just really bad at math.

And in case you're really bad at math, let me explain (if you aren't, skip down to the START HERE, GOOD MATH'ERS paragraph): First, who cares about saving 1 cent? Secondly, the difference between the sale price and the actual price is two cents. Finally, YOU'RE OVERPAYING THOSE TWO CENTS, NOT SAVING THEM!!!

START HERE, GOOD MATH'ERS! What an odd range of emotions to have brought up by a stupid sign. I was amused, perturbed, alone, and flustered, all at once. Let's call it amturbelonered.

Oh, and the best part: here I am without my camera, as well. I left it in the car. I usually do when going into a grocery store, and I don't know why. I should look into this mental quirk sometime... not that it's the priority of the mental quirks I have, mind you.

So today's STILL: Life isn't that sign, but it should be. Today was particularly insane for me... I felt like I was spending every hour saying two sentences to kids, and two minutes later having them not be able to just spout one of the two sentences back to me. Frustrating, difficult, and all around why-am-I-doing-this-y.

Thus, the chuckle and strangeness was fitting. And nice.

Have I mentioned that I got the lights and the tree up on Sunday? All in one day, which is almost never the case, unless I have help.

I do regret having moved the television into the living room, because I like to keep the living room my "chill out with the lights and the holiday music" room, but it is nice not to freeze to death watching television, which is what I used to do in the sun room around this time of year.

Say is in town, which means one less relative I had to be concerned about when I got an e-mail from Jhoneric about the mall shooting in Omaha. I called Leslie immediately, and she said everyone in the family was accounted for.

Which leads to that whole moment of, "Oh good, all is well--except not for about fifteen people and the people who love them."

But, just saying, if you are aware that I have family in Omaha, and were concerned, just know that they're all fine.

Okay, I must go post today's picture, make the rounds on the blogs I read, and maybe see if I can kick Maven's just-below-basic-level hind-end in Scrabble. Or maybe just go read. The evening is full of possibilities.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

He's Not A Compass

What a strange day. I should be in bed. Instead, I posted pics over at the photoblog, and then I went around to most of my "regular" blogs to get caught up.

Jordan texted me (and apparently everyone in her directory) this morning, and that confused me. I now find myself on what I would have, at one point, considered to be the wrong side of the digital divide. But I refuse to text on anything more than an occasional basis. It's how I'm wired.

Anyway, I was checking blogs, and found this post over on Andy's blog, and thought I'd link to it, for those of you who don't normally go over to see what Andy has had to say lately. I liked it. The comment section is less fun, and makes me want to post counterpoints, but down that road lies insanity and general irritation.

Before I did the blog thing, I got an e-mail forward (my FAVORITE thing in the world... the digital equivalent of ripping something out of the paper, making a kerjillion copies of it, slapping a stamp on each one, including no personal comments, and mailing a copy to a kerjillion of your "close, personal friends") that I received at school a few weeks ago. This version was a much-watered-down version of the one I got at school... but this one called for a boycott.

When I receive junk like this at school, I immediately go to Snopes to see what they have to say as to the validity of the claims. I used to do this at home, and then--on an as-needed basis--reply back to the sender with the debunking, ask them to forward my e-mail to everyone they forwarded the other one to, and ask them to forward it back to whoever sent the b.s. to them in the first place. But, apparently this is rude or offensive in some way.

So, when I got this e-mail at school, I read up on it at Snopes. What they had to say was enough to make me think, "Okay, this is a little over-the-top in the reaction department..."

Yes, atheist/agnostic author; yes, the god of this fictional world doesn't come off looking so good; yes, people on this planet often don't have the same opinion/beliefs about the world around them. Yes, snopes confirms, yes, yes.

But as for "Hollywood" wanting to take over the work of schools, offices, and Studio City... well, I'm thinking it's more about, "Hey, here's an award-winning children's book... perhaps we could make a movie out of it."

So I went out and bought the book, The Golden Compass.

I won't repeat the original e-mail against this book/movie here. The short version is something along the lines of, "Either we don't have actual conversations with our kids about what they see and read, or we're afraid other parents aren't raising their kids the way we think they should, and thus WE need to look out for what they see and read until the time their parents come around."

Okay, the mid-range version was that. The short version is "Censorship: Hurray!"

Not that there is any out-and-out censorship involved in the e-mail, I guess, but there's use of some of the familiar censorship tools: Give others your interpretation of the work while discouraging them from reading/seeing it for themselves, assign questionable motives to ordinary actions, and so forth.

You can find the version I first got if you go to Snopes.

So, anyway, I'm reading the book.

First impression: Children's book? What kid is going to read this? Maybe if he or she is pushing twenty. MAYBE. I mean, yeah, there are kids who would read something this... I guess "complicated" or "wordy" is what I'm looking for here. But I'm willing to bet those kids have already done a lot of thinking about the world and how it works. I doubt a fantasy/sci-fi/whatever-the-heck-this-qualifies-as book would turn them upside-down.

From what I can tell, this book doesn't even take place in our reality. Am I missing something here? If a series of books ended with Zeus being proved to be a fraud, would these folks be getting their panties in a twist?

Or, even if you don't agree with the message, how about read the book with your kids, then sit down and have a discussion about it? Wacky crazy idea, that.

I'm only partway through the book. I should be upstairs reading it right now, but here I sit typing about it.

The worst part is, I don't have time to go see a movie this weekend, but this most recent e-mail calls for a boycott of movies this weekend! How am I gonna find time to watch like 15 movies this weekend?

Next week: I name a teddy bear "Jesus".

Time For A New Poll

Okay, WAY past time...

Old Poll Results:

Which of the colors found in a standard box of 8 crayons is your favorite color?

Red: 20%
Orange: 0%
Yellow: 0%
Green: 20%
Blue: 0%
Violet (Purple): 40%
Brown: 0%
Black: 20%

(Five people voted.)

Anyway, as I put up the tree this last weekend, and was putting all the different ornaments up, I realized most of them were gifts and had all kinds of memories associated with them (in some cases, the memories didn't include "And the person who gave me this was..." followed by a name...) and I thought it might be fun to take pictures of them where they are on the tree this year, and post what I know of them underneath.

This would give people a chance to say, "Hey, I gave you that one!"

Of course, they could be fibbing... but if they need the credit that bad, I say we should just let them have it.

So vote. Let me know what you think.

Oh, and the last choice is for those of you who are feeling a little non sequitur when you vote.