Sunday, February 28, 2010

Parlez-Vous Olympics?

I will give major ultra mega bonus points to whomever can name the movie this blog's title references. I want to give a hint but I don't want to make it too easy. If no one can guess correctly, I'll drop a hint then.

Anyway, yeah. So the Olympics are ending today. The closing ceremonies are scheduled for tonight and no one, I think, is happier about this than Joe. I've been spending a lot of my free time the past two weeks watching whatever random event happened to be on. Including curling.

Especially curling.

I really don't know anything about curling. It seems like it's shuffleboard on ice. but my god, is it funny to watch. And yes, by that I mean "funny haha." Sorry. I know I run the risk of insulting a lot of people (provided any of those people read this blog) but I just find it funny.

The only thing funnier than watching curling is listening to the curling commentators. These people and their hard core Midwestern accents love curling the way I love the Red Sox or Patriots. Whenever one of those curlers sliding the stones (I don't know if they have a special name...pitchers? Hurlers? Sliders?) made a mistake, the commentators resembled me jumping up and down on my couch screaming "What the frak were you thinking?!?!?"

But aside from my new found love of curling, I also watched a lot of other events. It seemed as though I watched the same Nordic combined race at least three times. There was the regular hill event, the big hill event (they may have had another name for it), the individual event and the team event. And a team event on the regular hill and a team event on the abnormal hill and so on and so forth. Congratulations to Johnny Spillane for winning three silver medals for the United States, the very first medals ever won in Nordic combined by an American. This is the part where I would also congratulate the American who won a gold medal in one of the individual NC races but I can't remember his name. I apologize for this egregious error.

Watched some of the bobsledding. I seemed to have missed most of it which is unlike me because I. Love. Bobsledding. I think I have to lay the blame on Disney's masterpiece Cool Runnings.



I think I've told you this before but my younger sister and brother and I used to play bobsledding. We grew up in Maine. We made our own fun. Our mother had (well, still has. I don't think she'll ever be able to get rid of it.) a love seat and we used to use it as our sled. We were very ingenious children. Or perhaps we just ate too much paste. I guess we'll never know. Anyway, we love bobsledding. At least my sister and I still do. I don't know how deep my brother's affection for the sport runs.

So yeah, I missed a lot of the bobsledding but I did happen to tune in last night to watch the USA win its first bobsledding medal in sixty whatever years. Woo Hoo!

I think Joe vastly preferred the bobsledding to the figure skating. I didn't watch as much figure skating as I did in the years when Michelle Kwan was still competing. But I watched the ladies' free skate and was wowed by Kim Yu-Na. I tuned in to watch the pairs free skate because I really liked the team that ended up with the gold. I even watched some ice dancing although that particular discipline makes me giggle. I mean, come on. They have a move called a twizzle. That's funny. I caught the tail end the men's free skate. I've never been able to take the men's competition entirely seriously. I remember Paul Wiley back in 1992 did a program to the music of Schindler's List and that I found to be rather moving, but mostly, men's figure skating makes me giggle. They're amazing athletes, don't get me wrong on that, they're just wearing silly costumes.

Unlike the snowboarding team. I loved the denim looking ski pants the men were wearing during the half pipe competition and snowboard cross. I also loved Shaun White, after his first run had won him the gold medal, and he was left to contemplate what to do with his second run. "I dunno," he said. "Maybe board down the middle?" I even loved the inadvertent dropping of an F-bomb on live television by one of the coaches. But Shaun went ahead and did a full out second run. I also have to give a shout out to Maine native Seth Wescott and his second gold medal in snowboard cross.

Speaking of New England natives, we in New Hampshire had a few athletes representing our little state, among them Bode Miller from Franconia and local hometown girl, Leanne Smith. I unfortunately didn't get to see any of her races. NBC had a habit of showing Lindsay Vonn and Julia Mancuso but I never managed to catch Leanne. We also had a snowboarder but he's from southern New Hampshire which is practically Massachusetts, right? Just kidding.

I also spent some time watching speed skating. Both short and long track. I especially liked the short track. A friend of mine called it "NASCAR for the upper class" which I liked. What a wild and crazy sport. Did you see the video of JR Selski and the injury he sustained at the Olympic trials? The kid cut himself with his own skate and if he had done it a couple of inches in the other direction, he would have bled out in ten seconds or whatever.

Yikes.

I am currently watching the men's hockey gold medal game. USA against Canada. I normally don't watch hockey on television. I'll watch it live, but I think it loses something on the boob tube. But this is the marquis event, right? I doubt Al Michaels will be saying "Do you believe in miracles?" (mostly because he's not one of the commentators) but right now the USA is losing so who knows...maybe we'll hear it yet.

All right...I'm wrapping up this blog so I can fully focus on the game and I just have to give you a hint (because I know how much you care) so here it is:

Toepick!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Television Week In Review (Week Ending 2/26/10)

Sunday

The Amazing Race: Another season starts! Of course, it started last week but I wasn't writing the recaps last week. I am this week. Beauty Queen Caite continues to show why she's a beauty queen and not a brain surgeon. Big Brother Duo continue to show what's wrong with this country. The not undercover cops anymore pair just made it in by the skin of their teeth. The brothers claim one of them is gay and one is straight but it is Joe and my opinion that both of them are gay and maybe don't realize it yet. Not that there's anything wrong with that. I'm just saying, it seems as though they exhibit more of the stereotypical gay characteristics than say the gay brothers from the previous season. The cowboys finished first and for that I am glad because I think I might like those two.

Legend of the Seeker: Oh. My. God. This season has been on freaking fire. It's head and shoulders above the first season. Deeper and darker and definitely more tense than the first season. Loving. It. The preview for next week looks like it'll be a lot of fun.

Monday

Life Unexpected: I can't decide if I like this show. I read a review of it somewhere that claimed it was a cross between Gilmore Girls and Everwood which I thought was great because I loved (and still do love) both those shows. But I don't think it's quite lived up to that. In this episode, Lux tries to get high school QB Jones to drop the grand theft auto charges against her boyfriend, Bug. Cate continues to lie to her fiance, Kerr Smith who played Jack the Token Gay Guy on Dawson's Creek. I like Baze's character and I like English teaching roommate. But the jury's out on the rest of them.

The Colbert Report: This show is freaking killing me, it's so damn funny. His "Vancourvage" is starting off so well. My favorite interviews are the ones where the guest can keep up with the absolute insanity that comes out of Stephen's mouth. Shaun White, I think, did a nice job with that. Can't wait to find out what's happening next. The tag line "Sponsored by Verizon Wireless...they paid for our trip!" made me laugh hysterically.

Tuesday

American Idol: Hey, remember when they used to get good singers on this show? I don't know what happened tonight but the top 12 women were just not very good. My current favorites are Lilly Scott and Charlotte Bowersox (At least I think that is your name...if I got it wrong, I apologize). Here's hoping the guys do better tonight.

The Colbert Report: Today's guests were Lindsay Vonn and Bob Costas. Neither did quite as good a job keeping up with Stephen as Shaun White. Lindsay spent the vast majority of her interview in gales of laughter (like when Stphen asked her how you could tell the boy skis from the girl skis) I loved Stephen for chiding a personality lacking Costas for not knowing how to pander to the greatest audience on earth (in response to Costas's lackluster response to a question about where Vancouver ranks in the list of host cities Costas has visited.). I also loved the part where he went to the different countries' "houses" and played fondu pong (think beer pong but with pots of fondu) with the Swiss director. Freaking hilarious. I always want to know what goes on before and after these segments are filmed. Tonight's tagline: "Sponsored by Verizon Wireless...may contain some wires"

Wednesday

American Idol: Hey, remember when they used to get good singers on this show? The top 12 men weren't very good either but I have a bone to pick with the judges more than anything else. Seriously, dawgs, stop being stupid pricks. You go on and on and on about how the contestants need to take a song and make it their own by changing it up so you don't easily recognize the original song and therefore avoid the comparisons between them and the original artist. Then, when a contestant takes Kelly Clarkson's song Since U Been Gone and changes it up so that you don't easily recognize the original song, you blast him for doing that you told him to do. You're all "Oh hey man, you changed it so much I didn't recognize it and that wasn't good." Whatever, jerks. The man did something different, he did something original and you tell him it sucked. Then the little white kid gets on and sings a karaoke version of a Rascal Flatts song and you're all ooohing and ahhing over him. I don't get you. Plus, you were a panel of major jerks when heartthrob (to some, not to me) Casey James takes the stage. He's performing on a live show in front of millions of voters who'll decide his fate and you're acting like your own four ring circus while he's performing? It was so bad that Ellen felt the need to apologize to poor Casey James (who did manage to get through the performance with a straight face despite the chicanery going on in front of him) for the monkey business. Uncool, judges. Seriously. You call yourselves professionals?

Psych: I adore this show. I adore it oh so much. It's so freaking funny and just seems to get funnier with each and every outing. In this episode, Shawn and Gus join a think tank which has got to be the funniest premise of this show ever. Anyway, it's a fake think tank and chaos ensues but our dynamic duo comes out on top at the end.

The Colbert Report: Jeret Peterson and Ryan St. Onge were on tonight. Colbert asked how their parents cope with watching their children hurtle themselves through the air the way they do. Peterson answered "tequila" which prompted Colbert to end with the interview with "Jeret Peterson's mom has a drinking problem"...I'm sure his mother was thrilled with that. A fun interview. Also got a kick out of the speed skating segment. Tonight's line: "Sponsored by Verizon Wireless...now available in wild raspberry" (it might now have been wild raspberry. I can't quite remember. Sorry.)

Thursday

American Idol Results: I hate watching results shows. I really do. I'm only watching this one because there's nothing else on because NBC isn't showing the ladies' figure skating (yeah, that's right...I watch ladies' figure skating. And like it), or at least the medal contenders, until later. I can't even tell you the names of the singers who were booted except that I'm shocked as all get up that Lacey whatever her name is didn't get booted. She's the one who sang- well, is that really the right word for it? I don't think so. I think I'm going to go with "murdered"- she's the one who murdered Landslide. I don't know what the hell America was thinking there.

Olympic Games: Ladies' Free Skate: Well, I know less than nothing about figure skating. Most of the jumps look the same to me. But, in my own, completely uneducated, opinion, Rachel Flatt deserved higher scores than she got. I am thrilled that Kim Yu-Na received her gold medal though. She's amazing. Joanne Rochette has had an amazingly hard Olympic experience so I'm also thrilled that she won a medal. Mirai Nagasu, who finished fourth, is adorable. Can't wait to see her progress in this sport.

Burn Notice: I'm always a sucker for a good spy show and this is a great spy show. I especially love the episodes that end with a good cliffhanger. Except that I also hate the shows that end with a good cliffhanger because then I have to wait a full week to find out what the hell's going to happen next. Not cool, Burn Notice people, but still...awesome.

The Colbert Report: The last show from Vancouver. This guy kills me, seriously, kills me. I just find him to be so damn funny. The speed skating segment was so funny as was the opening part with Bob Costas. Shani Davis and Seth Wescott (from Maine!) were great guests.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Amazing Card Trick Guy

Saw this guy on the Ellen show a while back. Check these videos out...he'll blow your mind.




Here's his second card trick:

Monday, February 22, 2010

Boston Bound

I went down to Boston on Saturday with my sister, Wendy, my niece Jupiter and my young padawan, Omar. Our primary objective was to go to the Museum of Science to take in the Harry Potter exhibit. We also planned to go to Quincy Market because how to do go to Boston and not go to Quincy Market, and then, time permitting, my new favorite haunt, Mike's Pastry.

I met them in Portsmouth where we left my car for the day and I jumped into the backseat with Jupiter. We cruised on down to the T station and boarded the green line for Government Center. I was picking on Omar just a little bit (don't believe him when he tells you that I was merciless. He can't be trusted.) during the trip. This prompted him to tell me that he had a headache. One he picked up in Portsmouth.

This made me laugh.

Once we got to Government Center, we were going to change trains to go to Science Park but Jupiter really needed to use the bathroom so we went to Quincy Market early. On the way, Omar and I amused ourselves by daring each other to go and press our faces up against the big floor to ceiling windows at the gym (Planet Fitness, maybe?) near Government Center. I double dog dared Omar and he hung his head and said, "I'll be right back."

It was then Wendy realized that she had, in fact, brought three kids to Boston that day.

We took a slightly roundabout route to the museum of science which was all right because it was fairly warm for a February day in New England and Jupiter needed to run out some of her energy anyway. On the way, I had a conversation with Jupiter about how she doesn't care for Regis Philbin. She doesn't like Kelly Ripa either. Sorry Regis and Kelly, I know you'll be crushed.

The museum was crowded but that was to be expected on a Saturday during February vacation week. Right in the entrance hall, they had the knight's horse from the giant wizard's chess game from the first movie. You know, the one Ron rides. Of course, they had it roped off so people couldn't climb on it. Omar and I immediately began scheming how we could distract all museum officials long enough to (a) climb onto the horse's back and (b) take a picture of us on the horse's back. Unfortunately, our planning was futile. Wendy retrieved our tickets from the kiosk which included admittance to the regular exhibit halls. Since we had some time to kill before our Harry Potter entrance time, we went in search of the live animal exhibits.

Jupiter, with her mother in tow, cruised through the exhibits. Omar and I took a more leisurely approach.

They had little baby chicks, freshly hatched. One was still wet, he was so newly born. Omar and I watched him peck at a jar of water, trying to figure out how come nothing was happening.

Next, we went to the monkey room where there were three monkeys, a dad and his two kids, one boy and one girl. I forget what kind of monkeys they were but they're an endangered species located out of Colombia. The father was 11 years old. The daughter was 6 and the son was 5. They eat canned monkey food. See kids, the science museum is educational. I had no idea there was even such a thing as canned monkey food.

Adjacent to the monkey room was a woman sitting at a table dissecting an eye. Yes, an actual eye. It came a sheep. Jupiter, we found out later, was fascinated by this. Omar didn't remember seeing it at all which was my bad because as soon as I noticed what the woman was doing, I steered us both in the opposite direction.

We totally lost Wendy and Jupiter so we meandered through exhibits looking for them. On our way, we visited the history of computing wing where we mastered the old time calculator thing. I had a little trouble with the coded message sender because it was set up like an iPod Touch and I am incapable of properly working an iPod Touch. I maintain this is because the product sucks. Omar would like to go on record as disagreeing with me.

After we left the computer hall, Wendy called my cell.

"Where are you?" she asked.

"Oh, we got kicked out," I said. "See, Omar dared me to steal one of the monkeys and I couldn't just not do it so I was shoving him into my backpack- the monkey, not Omar- and the museum people kind of noticed and yeah, they kicked us out."

"Uh huh," Wendy said. "So where are you?"

"We're down by the 'science in the park' exhibit," I said.

Eventually, we killed enough time and were able to go to the Harry Potter exhibit. If you're a true Harry Potter fan and this exhibit comes anywhere near you, I highly recommend you go because it's just damn cool. They have actual costumes worn by the characters (Snape's costume as worn by the completely amazing Alan Rickman! Harry Potter's casual clothes from all the films! Hermione's Yule Ball gown!), props (the boys' dorm room, Gilderoy Lockhart's portraits, Dolores Umbridge's office (complete with kitten plates), the board from the Gryffindor common room (complete with notices) and so much more.

There was a section devoted to Quidditch where quidditch uniforms were on display. Harry's Nimbus 2000 and the Golden snitch were also around. There was an exhibit within the exhibit where one could try throwing a quaffle through one of three hoops. Jupiter and Wendy managed this task well. Omar and I had a little more trouble.

He picked up a quaffle (surprising heavy and well crafted, by the way) and aimed at one of the hoops. The quaffle ricocheted off the hoop and hit some little kid in the head. I told him he really shouldn't do that.

"Try it like this," I said.

Then I picked up a quaffle and aimed at one of the hoops. The quaffle ricocheted off the hoop and hit some little kid in the head.

"Or not," I said then.

I think the Quidditch attendant was pleased when we finally moved on.

We went to Hagrid's hut and sat in his chair. It was so big that Big the Big Brave German Shepherd could have fit nicely inside. On the other side of the hut was the Forbidden forest, complete with big frakking spider. Omar would tell you that I threw him in the path between me and the spider while screaming like a little girl but it's untrue. Really. Also in the forbidden forest was the Hungarian Horntail dragon and a couple of centaurs. I really, really wanted Omar to stick his head in the dragon's mouth so I could take a picture of it but they have this whole big rule about not touching anything and another rule about not taking any pictures.

Seems unfair.

After the forbidden forest, we went into the section devoted to the dark side of Harry Potter. There was a wax statue of petrified Colin Creevy and his camera. The wax statue was creepy. We'd gone to the Lord of the Rings exhibit a few years back and they had a wax statue of Sean Bean who played Boromir, lying in the canoe they send him over the falls in after he dies. The wax figure was so realistic that we spent so much time just staring at it, wondering if they really didn't just pay Sean Bean to come and lie in that canoe. Well, the Colin statue was the same kind of thing.

There were framed pages from the Daily Prophet on the walls and Omar and I spent a lot of time staring at them, trying to read them. The headlines were in English as was the smaller type below but the type that formed the actual article was something weird. Every now and then, you could make out a word of two but the other words were...weird. I don't know what they were but Omar and I were determined to break the code. I really wish I could have taken a picture of it and blown it up because I'm sure it was something cool and I wanted to know what.

My will to follow the rules involving touching was sorely tested when we came upon the robes worn by Voldemort in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. They just looked so damn cool and had been set up so a slight breeze made them flutter and I wanted. to. touch. them.

I didn't. But barely.

They had the proclamations on the wall (from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix) and the Bloody Baron's outfit. They had food from the various feasts and an O.W.L. exam. This was, I thought, particularly interesting because the questions were all real. I am sad to admit, however, that I did not know the answer to all the questions. We saw Fred and George Weasley's school uniforms and Fawkes the phoenix. Dobby and Kreacher were there too. The formal robes worn by Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire were also on hand. When I saw them, I did a faux faint and said in a Gone With The Wind accent, "Oh my God!!! Edward Cullen wore those!" Omar pretended not to know who Edward Cullen was.

Eventually, we made it to the gift shop where they were selling vastly overpriced Harry Potter merchandise. I was tempted by a couple of the tee shirts but they were thirty dollars and that was just too much. We left empty handed.

We left the museum after that and headed back to Quincy Market. Wendy took Jupiter to McDonald's to get her a hamburger and Omar and I went into the rotunda to see if we could score a table. It took a while, as it generally does at Quincy Market. We found seats on a bench and waited. I was watching two old ladies at a corner table that seemed to be finishing up. While I was doing do, another couple sitting at a nearby table caught my eye and motioned they were leaving. So we gladly took their table and sat and waited with all of our no food, garnering a plethora of judgmental looks from passers-by looking for a flat surface on which to eat their lunch.

"How do you do that?" Omar asked as we waited. "If I was here by myself, no one would offer me their table!"

Omar has a theory that people only talk to him when I'm near by. Because I'm such an obvious people person. But since I never met a riff I didn't like, by the time Wendy and Lina had rejoined us, the quest for a table went something like this:

So, I'm just sitting here on my bench, waiting, when, all of a sudden, these people just start coming up to me, wanting to know if I needed a table.

"Do you need a table?" they asked. "Because we'll get you a table."

Then Omar said, "I could use a table" only to be told

"No, not you. We don't care if you have a table. We meant her. Does she need a table. How long have you been sitting there anyway?"

Shortly after Wendy and Jupiter's arrival, Jupiter decided she needed to go to the bathroom so Wendy took her and then Omar and I sat at our table with a hamburger happy meal which neither of us was eating. This garnered us more looks.

Eventually, the adults got to eat too. I had macaroni and cheese pie with a side of cornbread. Omar had some Indian food he claimed was chicken and Wendy had Thai food which purportedly contained both chicken and eggs. I didn't look that closely.

We went up to Mike's Pasty afterward and waited in the longest line I've ever seen at Mike's Pastry to buy cookies and cannoli and (in my case), giant fudge brownies. We found our way back to Government Center and took the green line back to the car. Jupiter and I amused ourselves by looking at the moon through the moon roof and talking about what it looked like. A hat, a bowl, a viking ship (that one was Jupiter), a fingernail, and so on and so forth. Jupiter eventually told me how the moon was made from cheese. She then decided it was made from whipped cream and one day, when she traveled to the moon, she was going to take a scoop of moon and eat it.

That'll make one hell of a trip diary. I can't wait to write it.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Confession

Last October, I sent out a submission packet or novel package or whatever you want to call it. They wanted to read a cover letter, 3-10 paged synopsis and the first three chapters, or the first 10,000 words, whichever came first. For me, it was the first 10,000 words. The given response time was four to six months. So I sent it out. And waited.

I only told a handful of people when I sent it out because, as much as I love my circle of friends and family (and love them I really, really do), I didn't want them to know because I didn't want to have to spent the next four to six months being asked about it and, when the response came, didn't want to have to disappoint anyone by saying (over and over again, nonetheless) that I'd received yet another rejection.

I do not want to let these people down. They believe in me, maybe even more (well, some days definitely more) than I believe in me. They support me every step of the way, deal with every crazy question and mood swing...they're everything.

And I'm failing them. It kind of sucks. Disappointing myself is one thing. Disappointing others is something else entirely.

Rejection, I know, is part of the process. Believe me, I know. It's a vast, huge, seemingly never ending part of the process. It's also, unfortunately, the only part of the process with which I am familiar.

As you may have guessed, the response came back today. I pulled it out of my box and, all of a sudden, felt like there was an elephant taking up residence on my chest. The moment of truth. I thought about not opening it for a while but figured it was better to deal with it like a band-aid. Just rip it off and wince.

My project wasn't quite right for them at this time.

Figures.

So now I'm on to Plan B which involves maybe just a little bit of moping but also the building of another submission packet and another long wait. This will all be started on Monday (with the exception of the moping...I may have started that part already) provided I can afford the new ink cartridge needed for my printer. If not, I'll have to wait a week but that'll just give me more time to obsess over the submission packet some more (because I haven't done that enough already) and wonder just what it is I'm doing wrong.

How's that song go? Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again?

Second verse.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

In Which Melissa Gets Carded

I went to Wal Mart after work today to purchase a few items. My list was comprised of dryer sheets, deodorant and Nyquil. I picked up my three items and got in line to pay. There were a few people behind me and together we all waited while the cashier tried to scan the two gallons of milk the woman in front of me wanted to buy. They were different kinds of milk. One was skim and one was two percent. It only matters because the two percent milk wouldn't scan and the computer wouldn't recognize the number the cashier tried to enter into it. The cashier then asked the woman if she knew how much the milk was. The woman didn't know.

"But it's all right with me if you just want to scan the other one again," she said.

The inventory prep girl inside of me took issue with this. It is NOT okay. That's the sort of thing that screws up a store's inventory because they're not the same item. But as it was Wal Mart's inventory and I'll have absolutely nothing to do with that, I decided to keep my mouth shut.

Then it was my turn.

The cashier scanned my precious bottle of Nyquil first. The computer beeped. Loudly. The little display read "Is customer 18? Yes or No?"

I looked at the cashier. The cashier looked at me.

"Do you have your license on you?" she asked.

"No," I said because I didn't have my license on me because I hadn't been planning to do any driving actually in Wal Mart.

"Well, then I can't sell you this item," she said.

She took the bottle of Nyquil and set it on the other side of her register.

"Wait, what?" I asked. "Are you serious?"

Apparently she was because she said, "You have to be eighteen to purchase this."

"Well, that works out because I'm thirty three," I said.

"I need to see your license," she said again.

I was a little stunned. The guy behind me was also a little stunned and made a small noise of disbelief. For a moment of pure irrationality, I didn't know if I should be annoyed with the cashier for thinking I wasn't old enough to buy a bottle of cough syrup or annoyed with the guy for thinking I was.

I went with the cashier.

"It's a single bottle of Nyquil," I said.

"And you have to be eighteen to buy it," she said.

"I'm not going to get high off it," I said. "I'm not making crystal meth in my bathtub."

At least I wouldn't be making very much crystal meth in my bathtub.

But the mean cashier did not seem to care about this. She was definitely in "no license, no Nyquil" mode. Since there was an ever growing line of people waiting behind me, I stopped fighting with the woman. I took the dryer sheets and deodorant.

"Have a nice day," she said as she handed me my receipt.

"Really?" I asked.

She shrugged and started to wait on the next customer. He was buying some fettuccine alfredo box dinner. Probably didn't have to be eighteen to buy that.

I shouldn't be surprised. This is the same store, after all, that once carded me for buying the unrated version of the movie Role Models.

So, thank you, Wal Mart, for keeping Americans safe from unrated debauchery and a good night's sleep. If I need any other favors, I'll be sure to let you know.

Oh...and just one last thing before I sign off. I'd like to say hello to my new reader, Mrs. King...thanks for tuning in!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Now, That's A Gator!

Thanks to my sister for sending me this video...




My own Gator can do a ten foot broad jump...guess this spring we'll have to work on jumping over a car.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Just Another Manic Malinois Monday

Happy Monday Morning, everyone, on a day when the Colts have lost the Superbowl. I admit to cheering for the Saints but only because that's how much I hate the Colts. And no, I don't think 'hate' is too strong a word here. I go on record as saying that if the Pats can't be Superbowl winners, the next best thing is that the Colts are Superbowl losers. The third and fourth best things would be the Jets and Steelers also being Superbowl losers. My brother told me there was a poll about who do you think will win the big game and every single state, with the exception of New England and Louisiana, chose the Colts.

Suckers.

Although I feel I should say that my father-in-law is a Colts fan and if they had won, I would have been begrudgingly happy for him (not the team...him).

Joe also thought the Colts would win. When I heard this, I immediately ordered my dogs to attack him but as they both kind of flunked out of protection training, it didn't really work the way I'd hoped it might. Joe was then careful to specify that he was not rooting for the Colts but just thought they would be the ones to win the game.

Sucker.

At any rate, it was a good game. It's hard to watch the Superbowl when you're actually interested in football because there's no good time to go to the bathroom because you don't want to miss the game nor do you want to miss the commercials. Thank goodness for our DVR which made life a little bit easier.

My favorite commercials were the Robin Hood trailer even though I kind of hate Russell Crowe. Man's a jackass but damn, he can act. Plus, I'm a total sucker for a Robin Hood movie.



So it's basically Gladiator with a bow...but it's gonna be awesome.

I also liked the Doritos commercial where the dog put the shock collar on the guy.



I also liked the following Bud Light commercials (even if I'm not a Lost fan):



and this one:




I don't really remember any other commercials apart from the Betty White one (I love the fact that her career's still going stong!). I'm always left feeling like the commercials get less interesting every year. Does anyone else remember when the commercials were...you know, good? I remember the year the Budweiser frogs were introduced and Oh, the fun we had in the school hallways that Monday.

This Monday, I was not reciting any Superbowl ads. No, this Monday was spent reading my dear, sweet schizophrenic Gator Girl the riot act.

It was supposed to be different. Today I was going to write a ton of words. I had scenes in my head and I was going to get them all out and down on paper (or in a word processor, as the case may be). The Gator Girl had other plans.

The Gator Girl must have thought that today was Opposite Day because everything she's not supposed to do, she did. She threw up in the most inconvenient corner of the bedroom. She got into the trash and the cookie cupboard. She got into the hall closet where the hats and mittens live so she could shred some of those. While I was cleaning up that mess, she got in the trash again. While I was cleaning up that mess, she shredded a box of tissues from the bathroom. While I was cleaning up that mess, she was throwing up again. This time in the most inconvenient corner of the living room. So then I cleaned up that mess. That's when she got into the trash. Again.

That's when I put the Gator Girl in Time Out.

Then, because I am stupid, I put both dogs in the car to take along on my errands. We stopped off at The Store because last Friday had been payday and I had yet to pick up my check. The dogs really are good in public. Makes me think I just need to keep the Gator Girl in public all the freaking time. We went to the Book Warehouse and bought some books (Just don't tell Joe. He's under the impression that I have more than enough books already.) and then headed to Old Navy to browse the clearance racks (Note to Old Navy: $23 jeans are not clearance. $7 off your regular price is not clearance.) before returning to the car.

I put Big in the car first and then put the Gator Girl in the car. It took me maybe fifteen seconds to get in the driver's seat but it was long enough for the Gator Girl, overstimulated and psychotic, to lunge into the backseat at Big.

She tends to go for eyes and ears. My guess is because those areas elicit the biggest screams from her victims. Needless to say, I was Not Pleased. I pulled her off Big and strapped her into the front seat. I gave Big a quick once over and he seemed to be in tact so we went on our way.

Turns out he wasn't so in tact.

We went to the post office next. It's about a mile away. By the time we got there, the backseat of my car looked like a crime scene. A crime scene of a very bloody homicide. A homicide committed by a chain saw.

Dog ears bleed like a son of a bitch.

I knew this because one day, many moons ago, Big was playing with my sister's dog, Piper. They got a little heated and Big ended up (accidentally, of course) ripping poor Piper's ear. Then Piper shook her head. A lot. With the blood spatter on those walls, we're lucky no law enforcement officials came by because seriously, they would have thought some insane mass murder had taken place in her living room.

Now the mass murder was in the backseat of my car.

I said several not nice words to the Gator Girl as I sat in the backseat with Big, applying pressure to his ear. He really was unhappy by all this and was whining and probably thinking about how much he wanted his Mimi. And honestly, if I lived closer to my mother, I would have brought him down to her so she could pet him and tell him how good and handsome he is and how sorry she is that he has to live with that spaz of a sister. If she had done that, he might have held still long enough for me to apply enough pressure to his ear to get it to stop bleeding.

It did, eventually. I was just parked at the post office for a long time while I waited.

When we got home, I brought the dogs inside and started the blood removal process on the backseat. It took a while (an hour in some damn cold temperatures) but I think I got it all. There was even blood spatter on the outside of the car because Big likes to ride with his head out the window so there were big bloody streaks on the back windows. I think I got all of that too but the next warm day when the temperatures are remotely close to freezing, I'm going to be paying a visit to the local car wash.

I have since informed the Gator Girl that should she think to tag her brother like that again, she'll be riding in the back of the car in a cat carrier. A very small cat carrier.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Wii and Me...May Not Be Suitable For Children Under Thirteen

I stopped in at my parents' house this past Friday to pay an overdue visit. I managed to catch just about everyone there, including my six year old niece, Jupiter. She was fresh out of school and bouncing off the walls so my mother suggested we play Wii. There's an island cycling game on the Wii Fit that Jupiter is particularly fond of that helps her to expend some of her energy. I've never played it but I was game and so we set the system up.

It first required me to get on the Wii fit board. If you haven't been on a Wii fit board, you have to be prepared for a smart ass piece of equipment that will mock you at every given opportunity. It continuously told me how bad my balance was. I'd like to point out that when the Wii fit board was testing my balance, I was completely unaware this test was going on. So it doesn't come as a surprise that my balance was off because all my weight had been shifted onto my left side.

Then after it mocked me about my lack of balance and gave me a lesson on BMI and calorie burning, it wanted me to set a goal. My only goal was to get to the island cycling game but that didn't seem to be an option. So I set a goal to gain one tenth of a pound in two weeks.

"I'll just eat a dozen donuts before I get on this thing again," I said. "That should cover it, right?"

"Then it'll mock you for being obese," my sister, B, told me.

And it would. I believe that.

Next I had to choose my personal trainer. There was a choice between a man and a woman.

"Gee, I wonder which you'll pick," my mother said.

"I don't know," I said. To the Wii, I said, "Excuse me, sir, would you mind removing your shirt?"

It was possible I'd forgotten about the presence of the six year old. Even though she was standing right beside me at the time.

I got the "Oh, nice" look from both B and my mother.

"Yeah," Jupiter said. "He can take off his shirt. And his pants."

Just when I was thinking "Oh, damn", Jupiter continued.

"And his underwear," she said.

It's possible I got another "Oh nice" look then. Although "nice" might not have been the exact thought.

"No," I said then. "Not his underwear. Just his shirt."

Couldn't take that part back, after all.

"And his pants," Jupiter said.

"No," I said. "I don't think so."

Anyway, we finally got to the games. I did my island cycling and accidentally ran over a wii dog in the process. The dog recovering completely and quickly and spent the rest of the game chasing me. I kind of felt like a fool the whole time. There's a reason I don't go to the gym. You know, apart from laziness. That reason is feeling like everyone is staring at me while I run in place. It's a very disconcerting feeling.

After island cycling, we played some of the other games. One of them was some kind of bubble game. Your Mii character is in a bubble floating down a river. You're supposed to lean forward, left and right and whatnot to move yourself safely along the path. If you get too close to the edge, you run into a rock and pop your bubble and then the game is over. On my first attempt, I popped the bubble right away. I was much more successful on my second attempt but when my run did come to an end, I said, "Oh shit."

Yes. It's possible I once again forgot about the presence of a six year old.

Then, when I remembered the presence of a six year old, I said, "Damn."

This was followed by "Crap."

This earned me another "Oh nice" look.

So, a special apology to my sister: If your daughter exhibited some...uh, colorful language over the weekend, my bad. Though, in my defense, our father and her grandfather is a sailor so I think a certain way with four letter words is genetic and is possibly not all my fault.

A little later on while I was playing another Wii fit game (hula hoop, maybe? Ski jumping? I think it was ski jumping...at which, by the way, I was a complete and utter failure.), Jupiter got a little fresh. She didn't drop any four letter bombs but had a nice string of bathroom talk going on so my mother informed her that if she didn't stop using bad words she was going to have to leave the room.

"Does this mean I have to leave the room then?" I asked.

"No, but I have a bar of soap upstairs you can use," my mother said.

"Hey," I said. "If I had been at home, I probably would've used a different word."

I suspect this didn't help my case. Needless to say, I kept it clean for the rest of the afternoon.

So did Jupiter.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Weekend Warrior

I hope everyone's weekend was satisfactory. Mine was interesting, I guess. I came away bruised, battered, creatively renewed (I hope that part will last) and in possession of some of the high scores in Link's Crossbow Training, which is, really, the most important thing, right?

This is not another thrilling tale of how I injured myself playing the Wii. The bruised and battered part had absolutely nothing to do with the Wii. That had to do with an ill-fated play session between the Gator Girl and two of her boy toys in obedience class.

The Gator Girl likes boys. She likes boys a lot. She's known as the Class Slut. That's how much she likes boys. And, for the most part, the boys like her too. So that's why I didn't expect the after school play session to take the turn it did. But, as they (whoever they are) say, you should be prepared for what can happen, not what probably won't happen.

I turned the Gator Girl loose in the agility yard with two of her boys, Tyson and Falco. They're both German Shepherds with whom she has played with successfully in the past. I don't know what happened this weekend. I don't know if it was the full moon. I don't know if they were just burnt out from obedience class. I don't know if she just pushed their prey drive to the breaking point that day or what but they were Not playing. They were nowhere near the vicinity of playing. They were biting at her, snapping at her, boxing her in and being all around Assholes. And because of the depth of the snow, the Gator Girl could not effectively run away.

So I went to her rescue.

Joe says I'm crazy to do what I did but I wasn't about to leave the Gator Girl in the midst of that so I put myself in there. I pulled one of them off her and muscled the other out of the way so I could get her away from them. It took a while because they were pretty insistent on eating my dog. I was not okay with them. The other two dog moms, the Hens, as I referred to them in earlier blogs, finally came to get their dogs and the Gator Girl and I left the agility yard.

I was left bruised and battered for my efforts. I am now sporting a pair of very large bruises above my right knee and I tweaked my hip but my Gator Girl is safe so it was well worth it. Besides, it's not even close to my worse dog related injuries. Those would be the broken fingers. One caused by each dog in a complete freak accident.

Ah, good times.

But moving on, after my bout against the mean German Shepherds, I came home to Link's Crossbow Training. I was irritated and in need of something to take my mind of the debacle in the agility yard (Joe maintains I need to let it go. Joe says that a lot but that is the sort of thing I cannot let go. Forgive and forget my ass.) so I turned to my trusty Wii and crossbow addiction to get my mind off things. It worked pretty well. Did I say last week that I wasn't any good at this Wii crossbow experience? Because I want to take that back.

I rock.

And yes, in the interest of full disclosure, I did go online to look for cheats. Turns out there really weren't any. There was that one about the scarecrow (if you hit it in the chest eight times in a row without missing, the pumpkin head gets really, really big and then you can hit it to get 1,000 points) that I tried but, as it turns out, the biggest hint is not really a hint after all. They put in right in the game's instructions. Before you begin each level, there it is, printed for all to see. Who would've thought reading and following the instructions would be the way to go?

So now I am a crossbow genius (except for the spider level. I pretty much avoid that one like the plague.). Well, maybe I'm not a genius but I am going to call myself one anyway. So if I'm a genius, that would make Joe some kind of crossbow savant because he still managed to kick my ass.

At least he's given me a goal for which to shoot. Yes, pun intended.

Speaking of goals, we're in February now and I am one month into my yearly goals. I was a little concerned about a writing wall I'd run into at the end of last week but I think I am in the process of pushing through it. I still have no idea where that lost meandering character has gone but I have every hope that he'll turn up when the time is right.

My target word count for the end of January was 20,398. I actually ended at 43,871. Not quite a NaNoWriMo novel, but pretty damn good, I think. I like the idea of being more than 23,000 words ahead. I hope I can stay 23,000 words ahead.

I'm not alone in this hope.

On Saturday, I was talking to a friend of mine, one of the few people who has read Effigy, about Suzanne Collins's novels The Hunger Games and Catching Fire. She'd just finished the first one and immediately had to start the second.

"Just wait until you finish it," I said. "You're going to be pissed that you have to wait until August to find out what happens next."

"I hate that," she said. "I hate when the author takes forever to write a book and you're waiting to find out what happens-"

"At least you only have to wait until- Oh," I said as I realized the author to whom she was referring was me. "I'm working on it. I swear."

"I spend nights lying awake wondering what's going to happen," she said then.

"Well, if it's any consolation," I said in response. "I'm doing the same thing."

May your week (and mine) be happy and productive.