Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sugar Rush


I'm a bit hyper right now.

Blame the candy corn. And the donuts. Yes, I had donuts this morning even though I have a massive amount of candy sitting on top of my refrigerator. I'm only expected a modest amount of trick or treaters so I'll have plenty left over to usher me into the breach tonight at midnight.

Until then, I am puttering around getting things done. Dishes, laundry (still not done, never is done) and the like. Right now Joe is vacuuming. Vacuuming in our house is like a contact sport because the Gator Girl is not fond of the vacuum. She used to hide from it but one day, she decided to attack it instead. It was an event for which I was unprepared. She's hiding in the kitchen right now and has yet to strike but it's coming. All you can do is be on the lookout for it. That, or stick her in the office and close the door.

So it's Halloween and I'm trying to decide what I should dress up as. I'm torn between the two scariest things of which I could think: a Yankees fan or a Colts fan.

The only problem is I don't actually have any Yankees or Colts memorabilia or clothing because I am a Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots fan.

Speaking of which, I am going to do something today. Something that scares the ever living daylights out of me.

I'm going to let Heather in my house when the Patriots are playing. And I'm telling you that I'm going to do it.

Heather, as a general rule, is banned from watching the Patriots, not only in my house but on any television set anywhere. And I'll tell you why. Whenever she does watch the Patriots, they have a horrible tendency to lose, or to experience a terrible season ending injury.

The first time this happened was the Superbowl. The Superbowl in which the undefeated Patriots were playing the New York Giants. Needless to say, we weren't undefeated by the end of the game. Needless to say, I wasn't all that happy.

The second time was the next season's opener. We were playing the Kansas City Chiefs. Seven minutes (approximately) into the game, Tom Brady was out for the entire frakking season.

It was then I stopped inviting Heather over on game days.

There was another time when she called me in the morning following a Patriots' loss. I don't remember what game it was although I probably should because the Pats are too excellent to lose that often. But whatever game it was we lost, Heather called me the following morning with a confession. She had watched the game at her sister's house.

And we lost.

I think she may now be banned from watching the Patriots at her sister's house too. And for good reason, I'd say (Heather, you know I love you. I just want you to stop jinxing my team. Jinx the Colts. Or the Steelers. Or the Jets. Just not the Pats, okay?).

So now you understand why I say that having her over today while the Pats are playing scares me so. And now you understand why telling you about it scares me even further. Because if my beloved Pats manage to lose today, you'll know whose fault it really is.

The defense.

Happy Halloween, all.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

NaNoWriMo And More


NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) begins on Monday. I've been looking forward to this all year long and have had an idea kicking around in the recesses of my mind since probably January. And how, here it is, oh so close to the start and I am having a panic attack.

It started yesterday when I was outside with the Gator Girl. I was mulling over my story in my mind and realized that I had no plot. I have a genre (young adult urban fantasy). I have a main character name (Gwendolyn Chase). But I don't really have a plot. And by 'don't really have a plot', I mean 'don't have any semblance of a plot.'

So I started panicking about how the hell I intend to reach the 50,000 work mark by the end of November when I have absolutely no idea what's going to happen in this book.

I think that means I'm running right on schedule.

Besides, I know one thing that won't be happening in this book. No way, no how, will Gwendolyn Chase be falling in love with a vampire. Especially a sparkily vampire (vampires do not sparkle. I'm sorry but that's just lame). So that's something, right? Knowing what won't happen in the book can only help me figure out what will happen in the book. Right?

She also will not fall in love with a werewolf (no matter how chiseled his abs are). Or a zombie because that's just disgusting.

But other than that, I'm not sure what will happen.

Last year when I started NaNoWriMo, I only had a genre (chick lit) and a character name (Lavinia Pryce) and that turned out all right. I ended up with well over 50,000 words. So there's no reason to think I can't do it again, right?

Right.

A few people outside this blog know of my upcoming endeavor. The thing is, outside of this blog, I don't project myself as a writer. When asked what I do, I usually go with one of two answers. The first is "I fold jeans." The second (used when I am feeling particularly discouraged about things) is "Not much." I never say "I am a writer."

And this is probably why I will always experience an epic fail on my writing endeavors.

But that doesn't mean people out in the world don't know what I do. Some do and some times they tell others.

At school, it was the social studies teacher who would let the cat out of the bag. I don’t know how it came up. I don’t know if she stood at the front of the classroom saying something like, “today we’ll talk about the ramifications of World War II and by the way, your English teacher writes books in her spare time” but whatever she told them, a group of students would eventually end up in my classroom begging for details. I even let a group of kids read the prologue to Effigy once. Most of them really liked it. One, I recall, hated me (and, you know, the rest of the world so her hatred wasn't anything personal) was less enthusiastic than her classmates but, hey, that's life.

At The Store, it generally happens when someone stumbles across me doing something a little bit bizarre. Like the time I was supposed to be covering the fitting rooms and was instead stretched out across a folding table writing down on a paper towel a scene I’d just thought of. The AssMan then (different than the one we have now) showed up, saw what I was doing then asked what I was doing. When I explained, she very awesomely answered, “Oh. Well, do you want me to get you some actual paper?”

When they find out, they ask questions. This can be good fun but it can also be both bad and sad when you have absolutely nothing to report (over and over again) besides, "I'm working on it." But then comes the question that I have now come to dread:

"Can I read it?"

I used to say yes to this question because feedback is awesome. Feedback is critical. It’s great to have people who are not you read what you’ve written because they find the mistakes that you’re too close to the novel to see. Tim Gunn once described this phenomenon as someone who’s lived in the monkey house too long. They don’t notice the stench after a while and need someone to come along and point it out to them.

Not my favorite metaphor ever (because I hate to think of my writing and the word 'stench' in the same thought) but hey, it's an accurate one nonetheless.

And in spite of that, I don't say yes anymore when asked. I had a bad experience that's made me a little (a lot) hesitant to say anything but no.

It was an experience I thought at the time that I had properly processed and gotten over. It was an experience that every time I think I’ve put it behind me, it comes back at some inopportune time to make me feel crappy all over again.

It was an experience which cost me one friendship and damaged some others.

It was an experience I'm not interested in repeating. Once bitten, twice shy, you know?

So I say no.

Instead I apologize, play the 'it's not you, it's me' card and then walk around with this crappy feeling in my chest (although lately, I guess it could just be this lingering cough that's taken up residence there).

It sucks because as much as I appreciate feedback, and I do (even if it involves likening my work to Jane frakking Austen), I don’t want to take the chance of ruining something I have with someone else. I like my friends; I want to keep them. This is unfair to the people who have successfully read things for me in the past because I don’t even want to ask, nor have I asked, them to read anything new. Of course, they could all be very grateful to be released from such a burden but that thought actually makes me feel both weirder and sadder so I think I'll just move on.

The reason I bring this up to begin with is that the cosmos, it would appear, have banded together to try and kick my ass back in gear because this was my horoscope today:

Show your work to a wide variety of people. You will get overwhelmingly positive feedback, and you'll also learn what you might want to improve upon in the future.

I don't want to ignore my horoscope, especially when I can so aptly apply it to my life (did I ever tell you about the one that reminded me to return my overdue library book?), but I don't much want to put myself out there either.

And yet, horoscope, I see your point and recognize how nice it is of you to try and encourage me. Overwhelmingly positive feedback is really nice and I do like it when my friends call me and leave me voicemails starting with "Oh My God! I can't believe what happened in that scene! It was so awesome!" or write me emails saying, "You're not allowed to get up from that computer until you've finished writing this book because I have to know what happens next!" or tell me to my face, "I can't sleep some nights because I'm lying awake, wondering what's going to happen next."

These, by the way, are all true stories. I love my friends dearly. I hope they know that.

Anyway, if you're participating in NaNoWriMo this year, I wish you the very best of luck. If you want to friend me or follow me or buddy me or whatever it is it's called, you can find me on their site under M.J. Fifield.

30 Days, 50,000 words...

So grab the leftover Halloween candy (or just keep the stuff you were planning to hand out), sugar up and let's get this party started.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

TV Quiz Results

First, the answers:

1. Pivot! Pivot!

This is said by Ross in an episode of Friends where he's trying to move into an apartment and they're having some trouble getting the sofa up the stairs. Apparently, the boys in Joe's office say this one a lot. Why, I don't know. They don't move a lot of furniture.

2. I painted a tunnel on the side of the library. When it dries, I'm going for it.

This is said by Abed in a recent episode of Community when asked if he thought if the campus was becoming increasingly more cartoonish. I really can't recommend this series enough.

3. Keep your brainwaves off me.

Chris March says this to one of his fellow competitors (I think it was eventual winner Christian Soriano but I'm honestly not sure) in season four (the last great season, in my opinion) of Project Runway.

4. I'm tearing up more than Michael Landon during a sweeps week episode of Little House on the Prairie.

Sue Sylvester gets credit for this gem of a quote, spoken during Glee's first season. I suspect she was not be genuine.

5. More goo to go!

Bob Newhart said this on the absolutely beyond hysterical Thanksgiving episode of The Bob Newhart Show (the one where he plays the shrink). This is the one where the guys are alone for the holiday and get really drunk and order lots and lots of Moo Goo Gai Pan.

6. The Brothers Grimm were over in the corner yelling, "No way!"

Lorelai says this to her daughter, Rory, in the fourth season of Gilmore Girls. This is from the episode where Richard's mother dies. It's one of my favorite episodes of one of my favorite shows.

7. Do you think it's 'cause we're awesome? I think it's 'cause we're awesome.

Supernatural. Dean says this to Sam in relation to why demons are trying even harder than usual to kill them.

8. This is just a knock off of the other knock off of the original knock off of that other show.

Shawn Spenser says this about the reality television show "American Duos" in a very funny episode of Psych, guest starring Tim Curry.

9. You have so many unsolvable problems. Like your mouth. It looks like someone kicked a hole in a bag of flour.

This was recently said to Liz Lemon by Jack's assistant (whose name I cannot recall) in an episode of 30 Rock.

10. We're in the middle of a war and you're taking orders from a school teacher?

Bad Ass William Adama says this to his son Lee Adama in the opening mini series of the remake of Battlestar Galactica. They were talking about Lee taking orders from Bad Ass Laura Roslin, the secretary of education turned president of the colonies.

11. Are you telling me that not only did you invent a secret plan to fight inflation but now you don't support it?

This quote comes from a highly quotable show, The West Wing. This is the episode "Celestial Navigation" which is one of my favorites because it's so damn funny. The President says this to his Deputy Chief of Staff, Josh Lyman, in reference to a press conference snafu.

12. Jesus is not a zombie!

This appears in the New Orleans episode of Bones in which Booth and Bones discuss voo doo and Christianity. Booth takes offense at Bones's assessment that Jesus, who rose from the dead, is kind of a zombie.

13. I can take umbrage, I can take the cake, I can take the A-Train. I can take two and call me in the morning but I cannot take this sitting down!

Captain Hawkeye Pierce says this in the classic series MASH.

14. You're not...Moby, are you?

Ted Mosby (architect) says this in the New Years episode of How I Met Your Mother where the gang is driving around in a limo attending five different parties and pick up some creepy guy who looks like Moby.

15. I saw their production of 'Giselle' in 1890. I cried like a baby. And I was evil!

This is said by Angel in the episode "Waiting in the Wings" in the series "Angel" when he take the gang to the ballet where hijinks ensue and we meet Summer Glau. David Boreanaz's second quote in this quiz.

16. You want to wager the fate of millions of people on the outcome of a poker game?

This is arguably the hardest quote here because the show on which it appears was not on the air very long and wasn't written by Joss Whedon (therefore ensuring that it had a massive cult following). It's said in the defunct show Flash Forward when two characters who believe they are responsible for the series starting global blackout play poker to determine whether they go public with that belief.

17. I believe the appropriate metaphor here involves a river of excrement and a Native American water vessel without any means of propulsion.

The Big Bang Theory's Sheldon Cooper. So so glad Jim Parsons get himself an Emmy because he is the only reason I watch that show.

18. This mission better involve me seducing the head cheerleader.

Bad Ass Wallace Finnell says this to our much missed heroine Veronica Mars. I miss this show. I think I'll have to start watching the whole thing over again.

19. You two are the two who are the two. I'm the other one.

One of my all time favorite quotes from one of my all time favorite shows. Willow says this to Buffy and Xander in the season four episode "The Yoko Factor" during the scene where Spike has successfully manipulated the Scooby gang into a big fight. I quote this so much that even Joe says it from time to time. It makes me so proud.

20. I get it. You're terrified of small talk and birds. You're just luck that pigeon didn't want to chat you up about the weather.

Said by Cameron to Mitchell in the first season of Modern Family in an episode where a pigeon inadvertently gains entrance to Mitchell and Cameron's home on a day when Cameron wasn't home. Trust me, it was hi-larious.

And there you have it, all the answers to all the quotes.

We had three contestants in this quiz but there can only be one winner and she is on a roll. You know who I'm talking about...

Alison

Congratulations, Alison. 11 out of 20 quotes correct. And since you won last time, you already know that you get to pick the next game (whenever I get around to writing it). And yes, it will involve the collective works of Joss Whedon. Buffy, Firefly, Angel, Dollhouse AND Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog.

Better start studying now, kids...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Maybe Tomorrow...


The only thing today that worked out according to plan was that the Gator Girl was tired enough to sleep until 8am. This is a major feat and one of which I am immensely proud. Joe didn't think it could be done but I showed him. It just took hours and hours and hours of play but I made it happen.

Other than that, nothing worked out according to plan. It's all right though. I'm used to it. I got stuff done, just mostly boring housework stuff. One question: how is it that the damn laundry is never done? I mean, c'mon! It's just the two of us in this house because neither the dogs nor the cats generate all that much in the way of wardrobe. But the laundry is never done. We're just going to have to stop wearing clothes or using towels and bedsheets because the insanity has to stop. I'd really love a day that doesn't require me to run the washing machine. Maybe if I buy a ton more clothes. Then we could go longer before having to do a load, right?

I'll run that idea past Joe. I'm sure he'll be thrilled.

One other thing that has worked out according to plan is that I am now in possession of tickets to a midnight show of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One. Yes, tickets are on sale already and yes, I have already purchased mine. I'm honestly surprised that I waited this long to acquire them because I AM OBSESSED. Now the problem becomes the waiting. I really, really would like to go to the theatre now and get in line in order to get the very best seats possible but I have been told that this is somewhat...what was the word used? INSANE and thus, I am forcing myself to wait. Last premiere, my sister, B, and I arrived at the theatre two and a half hours early (it was as early as I could get her to go) and the line was already out the door and wrapping around the corner of the building and, in our particular theatre, all the good center seats were taken. The seats we ended up with didn't completely suck but still, they weren't what I had been hoping for. So this year I'm thinking we need to get there like three hours early. At the very least.

What do you think, B? Can you do three hours (or more?)?

So I did laundry and dishes and vacuuming (although not the heaters. It's still quite cool in my office.) and swept and washed the kitchen floor. I even cleaned the bathrooms. I did the grocery shopping which took so much longer than usual because the damn grocery store is in the midst of a major remodel and everything's in a different spot. I am a creature of habit and I need things to be in the same place. I hope the remodel is done soon because trying to figure out exactly where they're keeping the alfredo sauce is much too taxing.

Plus, it cut into my writing time. But because I am nothing if not marginally flexible, I have revised my plan and will spend all day tomorrow working on various aspects of various WIPs. NaNoWriMo starts Monday night (you can find me under M.J. Fifield if you're interested) and I want to get things out of the way before then. Besides, the original goal I set for myself back in January had me hitting the 200,000 work mark by Halloween. Since I'm currently sitting at 182,905 words, that's probably not going to happen. I'd say I've made my peace with my imminent failure but that would make me a Big Fat Liar.

I don't like not reaching my goals.

Maybe if I spent a little less time writing quotes quizzes (no matter how much fun they are)...by the by, I will be announcing the winner and answers of the TV Quote Quiz tomorrow (yeah, I know that's what I said yesterday. Big Fat Liar, remember?). So, until then, Live Long and Prosper. (this, by the way, did not appear on the quotes quiz.)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tomorrow Is Only A Day Away


Tomorrow I will mostly likely be posting the winner and answers to the TV Quote Quiz. Alison is currently in the lead with 11 correct answers but we're still waiting to hear from Jake...Apparently this quiz was kind of hard because Alison has requested that should she win, the next quiz be comprised of shows for which she can stay awake. The collected works of Joss Whedon it is, Alison!

Tomorrow is also my DAY OFF. I am SO excited to have a day off. And what's even better is that tomorrow isn't my ONLY day off. That's right, kids. I have ANOTHER day off. Can you feel the excitement?

I'm looking forward to it. You know, in case my use of ALL CAPS wasn't clear enough. I'm looking forward to being able to explore more fully the recently conceived twists and turns of Second Nature. I'm looking forward to being able to try and untangle the new problems that the recently conceived twists and turns of Second Nature inadvertently conceived. I thought briefly about just forgetting about the problem causing revelation but, as it turns out, I can't unthink things I've already thought.

Life would be so much easier if I could.

So I'll be working on that tomorrow. You know, somewhere in between doing the dishes and the laundry and the vacuuming and the general house cleaning that has been woefully neglected during the time spent on my sickbed (aka the couch). And while I would rather spend my day getting caught up on The Vampire Diaries or Caprica or watching reruns of Firefly (best gorram show in the 'verse.), I find that doing mindless work (meaning things about which I do not have to think) can often be conducive to problem solving so maybe I'll kill a whole mess of birds with one stone.

Or maybe I'll spend my day staring at a little blinking cursor.

Only one way to find out.

Monday, October 25, 2010

TV Quote Quiz

The rules:

There aren't any. I am going to post some awesome quotes from some awesome television shows (even some not created by Joss Whedon, as surprising as that may sound) and it is your mission, should you choose to accept it, to identify the show and the speaker. If you're really looking for impress me, you can talk about the situation in which the quote is uttered. The answers and winner(s) will be announced in a day or two. The winner will get to pick the next game which I hope involves the creation of a quiz devoted entirely to the shows of Joss Whedon because do you have any idea how hard it is to choose only one Buffy quote? Or one Firefly quote? Dude, trust me. It's impossible. So impossible I didn't even put a Firefly quote in there. Nope, saving those for my Firefly quote quiz. There you go. I've given you a hint so it must be time to start.

Ready to play? Let's begin...

1. Pivot! Pivot!

2. I painted a tunnel on the side of the library. When it dries, I'm going for it.

3. Keep your brainwaves off me.

4. I'm tearing up more than Michael Landon during a sweeps week episode of Little House on the Prairie.

5. More goo to go!

6. The Brothers Grimm were over in the corner yelling, "No way!"


7. Do you think it's 'cause we're awesome? I think it's 'cause we're awesome.

8. This is just a knock off of the other knock off of the original knock off of that other show.

9. You have so many unsolvable problems. Like your mouth. It looks like someone kicked a hole in a bag of flour.

10. We're in the middle of a war and you're taking orders from a school teacher?

11. Are you telling me that not only did you invent a secret plan to fight inflation, but now you don't support it?

12. Jesus is not a zombie!

13. I can take umbrage, I can take the cake, I can take the A-Train. I can take two and call me in the morning, but I cannot take this sitting down!

14. You're not...Moby, are you?

15. I saw their production of 'Giselle' in 1890. I cried like a baby. And I was evil!

16. You want to wager the fate of millions of people on the outcome of a poker game?

17. I believe the appropriate metaphor here involves a river of excrement and a Native American water vessel without any means of propulsion.

18. This mission better involve me seducing the head cheerleader.

19. You two are the two who are the two. I'm the other one.

20. I get it. You're terrified of small talk and birds. You're just lucky that pigeon didn't want to chat you up about the weather.


Well, that about wraps things up. Have fun and don't get too distracted from what you're supposed to be doing...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Twist!


In the (completely wonderful and amazing) movie, Stranger Than Fiction, Emma Thompson's character says, "Like anything worth writing, it came inexplicably and without method."

She was talking about the solution to a problem she was having her with novel. She spends much of the movie trying to work out one tiny little detail (well, not so tiny. It was pretty major actually) and then the solution just comes to her out of nowhere and is absolutely perfect for the story.

Well, this is what happened to me this morning. I had a couple of quandaries where my WIP was concerned that I just couldn't work out. I had to get my characters from A to B but I couldn't work out a good enough reason for them to go to B. I had a lot of lame ass reasons but I wanted a really good reason. I don't much care for Deus Ex Machina and I like to avoid it when at all possible. I had a list of possible explanations written in my notebook (in full and complete sentences, mind you) but none of them was the right one. One of them inadvertently led me to the right answer though so it was good to know that page in my notebook was not written on in vain.

As with many of my Eureka! moments, this one happened in the shower. I was somewhere between shampoo and conditioner when it struck me and I had stop myself from screaming to Joe to come running in with a notebook and a pen to scribble down my brilliance lest it be washed down the drain with the cream rinse.

And, what's more is that this one solution opened up a gateway that I thought might have been rusted shut because it's been so long since anything good has come through it. Before the shower was over, I managed to solve another problem I was having with the book. Of course, the solution for this second problem had the misfortune of creating a new problem but it's not one I have to worry about solving right away. And, if it turns out that I'm wrong, there's always tomorrow's shower.

And then, as if solving two problems (and creating a third) weren't enough, I came up with a twist. A big ass twist for the series. One that will make all four of my fans go "Wait...what?" and then when they realized what just happened, it will make them go, "Nooooooooooooooo!"

I'm really looking forward to it.

I hope I can not screw up the rest of the series so I can employ the big ass twist because I am really excited about it. I really, really want to tell you about it too. I really, really want to tell someone about it (mostly because I'm a little afraid I'll never get it written beyond the notes in my notebook stage and it's too good to waste) but I hate spoilers so I guess I'll just have to tell the Dynamic Duo about it when everyone else is sleeping.

It's a really good one. I'm not exactly sure how I'll write it yet but I am really looking forward to giving it a go because it's that good. It's exciting and it's made me excited about writing it, and writing in general. This last bit is especially good because it's been a while since I've been excited about writing.

Excuse me while I do a little happy dance.

One last thing before I go...I know I said I'd be posting my TV Quotes Quiz but magical shower writing solutions will trump Quote Quizzes every time. Better luck tomorrow...

Saturday, October 23, 2010

And The Winner Is...


Today I am going to reveal both the answers to the Movie Quote Quiz and the Winner of our game. Because we do have a winner, even if she claims she's not at all competitive and was just participating for the fun of it all...

First of all, the answers:

1. "It vexes me. I'm terribly vexed."

This is from the movie "Gladiator" and is said by Commodious played by Jaoquin Phoenix. And no, I have no idea if I spelled any of those names correctly.

2. " I don't know what brand of vacuum you're currently using but the electrolux is the biggest sucker of them all."

This appears in the comedy "Undercover Blues" and is said by Jeff Blue played by Dennis Quaid. Seriously funny film.

3. "Remember to go real slow."

This is from "Sneakers" and is said by Mother played by Dan Ackroyd. Another awesome film. And yes, Alison, the line "My voice is my passport. Verify me" is also from this movie.

4. "Look, you stupid bastard, you've got no arms left."

"Monty Python and the Holy Grail", said by King Arthur while battling the Black Knight. A hysterically funny film, if you're not Alison. If you're Alison, it's like the best sleep aid ever. Don't feel bad, Alison. Heather feels the same way.

5. "Don't forget to kill Phillip!"

"Shaun of the Dead" said by Ed (Nick Frost) to Shaun (Simon Pegg) as a reminder to kill his stepfather, Phillip, who they suspect has been turned into a zombie.

6. "I aim to misbehave."

This is obviously from my favorite movie in life, "Serenity", and is said by Captain Tightpants himself, Malcolm Reynolds as he plans to take down the Alliance. Oh, Serenity (and Joss Whedon), how I love thee.

7. "This may sound like gibberish to you but I think I'm in a tragedy."

Alas, the quote that tripped up both our contestants. It's from the film "Stranger Than Fiction" and is said by Will Farrell's character, Harold Crick. If you haven't seen this movie, I can't recommend it enough. It's freaking brilliant. And don't get turned off by Will Farrell because I know a lot of people aren't fans of his stupid comedies (myself among them) but this is so not one of those movies. I created a lesson plan revolving around this movie because I wanted an excuse to show it in school and watch it repeatedly over a couple of days. Watch it now!!

8. "Next time, Jack, write a goddamn memo."

You're right...it's from "The Hunt For Red October" and is said by Jack Ryan (Alec Baldwin) as he's flying on a stripped down oil can (helicopter) to save Sean Connery's ass.

9. "If you don't have anything nice to say about anybody, come sit by me!"

"Steel Magnolias" said by Clairee Belcher (Olympia Dukaksis). This movie is so much fun!!

10. "He really is in love with himself. I thought it was just a summer thing."

Helen Hunt says this in the movie "Twister", talking about the movie's villain, Cary Elwes. I was going to go with the line, "We've got cows!" but I thought it would be too damn obvious. My other favorite line from that movie, "This is like Bob's Road!" seemed a little too obscure.

And there you have it. All the answers to all the quotes. So there leaves only one thing left to do. Announce the winner of our game. So, without further delay, the winner, with seven of ten correct, is...

Alison

(insert flashing lights and whistles and bells and fireworks here)

Woo Hoo, and congratulations to you, Alison. We here at My Pet Blog salute you. And, as your prize, you get to pick the next game. And since you've already requested a TV Quotes game, that's what I'm working on now. I'm just having a really hard time with this one. I mean, how I can pick only one Buffy quote? That's like asking me which one of my dogs I love more (whichever one is sleeping...I mean, I love them equally, I swear!).

That's it for all. Tune in tomorrow (same Bat time, same Bat channel) when maybe, just maybe, I'll have my TV Quote Quiz up and running. Until then, stay cool.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Jupiter Is Seven Today


I'll post the answers to yesterday's move quote quiz tomorrow so if you were worried about that you can rest easy now. The answers will be coming. But today is devoted to my niece, Jupiter, because today is her birthday.

Isn't is funny how time just goes by so freaking fast? I can't believe Jupiter is seven years old today. It's amazing. I know everyone says that and then everyone says how, just yesterday, the child in question was just this little itty bitty thing but the reason everyone says that is that it's true. I have, at work, a poster board on which I pasted several pictures of the dogs and my godchildren and of Jupiter and I was looking at them the other day when I was wading my way through an endless sea of argyle. All the kids' pictures need updating because they're all so much older and bigger now but I was looking at the pictures and having that "but they were so little" moment over and over again.

And today, Jupiter is seven.

It seems like only yesterday that I was standing on a street corner in Ekaterinberg with her on my hip, pointing at a giant picture of Yoda and trying to get her to say "Yoda." She did.

Now , some days, you can't get her to stop talking and I'd fall over if I tried to carry her on my hip.




On my last visit with Jupiter, we sat in my mother's living room and she taught me how to draw a picture of an evil pig. I'll figure out how to post a picture of one here because I absolutely love it. I asked her to draw one for me in my notebook because hers were just so much better than mine.

So today's blog is going to be short, word wise. But I am going to post some pictures here of Jupiter, recent pictures that were taken this summer when she came to stay with Joe and me for a couple of days. I didn't blog about it then, probably because I was so busy trying to clean fruit roll up off everything (how do kids manage to get so sticky so very fast?) or fish her out of whatever river she'd managed to fall into this time (she had two from which to choose and I'm pretty sure she managed to fall into both). This is the same kid who once used to shriek anytime you tried to bring her near water. And now, you can't keep her out of it.

Another highlight from that visit was Jupiter seeing the television in my office (also known as the guest room). It's a little thirteen inch set that I some times have on when I want to listen to the Red Sox play while I work or if I need background noise that isn't music. It's been around forever and has no remote, a concept which was foreign to Jupiter.




"Can you fast forward through the commercials?" she asked me.

"You can't do that on this tv, honey," I said. "It doesn't even have a remote."

"It doesn't have a remote?" she asked, clearly horrified at the idea. "Well, how do you change the channel?"

A sign of the time, for sure.

Anyway, Happy Birthday, Jupiter. I hope you get everything you wanted, including that ice cream cake. And next summer, I swear I will take you kayaking.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Movie Quote Quiz


The rules: There aren't any. I'm going to list a bunch of my favorite movie quotes and if you feel like it, you can guess (or google...although that would really be cheating) the movies from which they come. If you don't feel like it, then, well don't do anything. Just thanks for stopping by and enjoy your day.

The person who gets the most correct answers wins...well, absolutely nothing except for my hard won admiration and one million bonus points that are good for...well, absolutely nothing. You will have an advantage in this game if you know me well enough to know what movies from which I always quote. Or, if you have the internet (which you obviously do if you're reading this post) and can google or IMDB the answers.

You will receive points (you know, the worthless kind) for naming the movie but you can also earn extra worthless points by identifying the speaker and describing the situation in which the quote is said.

Ready to play? Fantastic...


1. "It vexes me. I'm terribly vexed."

2. "I don't know what brand of vacuum you're currently using, but the electrolux is the biggest sucker of them all."

3. "Remember to go real slow."

4. "Look, you stupid bastard, you've got no arms left."

5. "Don't forget to kill Phillip!"

6. "I aim to misbehave."

7. "This may sound like jibberish to you but I think I'm in a tragedy."

8. "Next time, Jack, write a goddamn memo."

9. "If you don't have anything nice to say about anybody, come sit by me!"

10. "He really is in love with himself. I thought it was just a summer thing."

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Song of the Season

This morning was cold enough that I had to break out the ice scraper and do some work on my windshield before I could leave for work which means that winter is just around the corner. That's why I thought I would post the following email my sister sent me the other day. She was searching for the song "Summer is Icumen in" and found this instead:

Winter is icumen in,
Lhude sing Goddamm,
Raineth drop and staineth slop,
And how the wind doth ramm!
Sing: Goddamm.
Skiddeth bus and sloppeth us,
An ague hath my ham.
Freezeth river, turneth liver,
Damm you; Sing: Goddamm.
Goddamm, Goddamm, 'tis why I am, Goddamm,
So 'gainst the winter's balm.
Sing goddamm, damm, sing goddamm,
Sing goddamm, sing goddamm, DAMM.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Importance Of Geography: A Tale Out Of School


For those of you who may not already know, back in another lifetime, I was an English teacher at a school for at-risk adolescents . This school was located in Maine in a place where the people who live in the middle of nowhere consider to be the middle of nowhere.

If you read the title of this blog, you can probably guess why I needed to tell you where the school was located.

And, as working with kids is often unpredictable (wait, did I say often? Because I meant always unpredictable), it sometimes produced some hi-larious stories.

This is one of them.

Our kids came from all over the United States and sometimes came from other countries too. One student flew over from Jordan and had the misfortune of having to have his shoes confiscated by the airline. We had a young lady from the Bahamas who, upon her arrival, expressed a concern that her designer jeans would get dirty on our trail work that day (they did). We also had students from Germany and Thailand and they were the nerdiest little punks you could imagine. And once, we had a student from Canada.

This student was at the program over the summer and, on the Fourth of July, was dismayed by all the American flags being flown all over the place. Well, not dismayed really but it did spark something in him that prompted him to ask his parents to send him several Canadian flags and when they arrived, he proceeded to hang them all over the school. They were in the school building and the main lodge and the dining hall and the dorms. Everywhere the kid could hang one, he did.

So anyway, fast forward a bit. I don't remember how long but the Canadian student was gone but his flags remained. This apparently confused one of my newer students as we had the following conversation during some down time:

Him: Are Canadian schools all like this?

Me: What?

Him: Are all Canadian schools like this one?

Me: I don't know. I've never been to a Canadian school.

Him: But- but isn't this a Canadian school?

Me: Uh, no.

Him: But aren't we in Canada?

Me: We're in Maine.

Him: And isn't that a part of Canada?

Me: No. No, actually, Maine is a part of the United States.

Him: Since when?

Me: Since 1820, actually.

Him: Really?

Me: Yes, really. Maine has been a state longer than your state has.

Him: Really?

Me: Yes, really.

Him: Then what's up with all the Canadian flags?

So I explained to him about our Canadian student and how the school came to be blanketed in maple leafs. And then we promptly took a break from literature to learn a little bit about American geography.

Seemed the thing to do.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sick Day

As you can correctly guess from the title of today's blog, I'm still sick. I was supposed to be at work today but I actually called in. You might be wondering what the difference between calling out last week and calling out today might be (or I might be overestimating your interest in such things) and I'll tell you. Last week was Hell Week. Last week was a deluge of shipment containing the god awful snowflake sweaters and all their fairisle relatives. To call out last week would have been a disaster. Calling out today when the worst is over is nothing. So that's what I did.

I seem to have regained the ability to eat real actual food that isn't a saltine cracker which is nice because I MISS CHOCOLATE. However, in place of the stomach flu, I have apparently developed bronchitis or something akin to it as I am coughing so hard and so frequently that I have bruised my ribs and tweaked my back.

Frakking Super Flu.

So I popped a couple of cold medicine pills this morning, the kind that, for me, lead to being really stoned or really comatose. Yes, I am such a light weight where these things are concerned that I have to have the children's cold medicine if I want to be able to function. Fortunately, I do not wish to function today. I am taking an honest to goodness sick day. No dishes, no laundry, no vacuuming, no errands, no anything that isn't me lying on my back on the couch, covered with afghans and my leopard print snuggie, moaning and groaning my way through a Robin Hood Marathon followed by a Legend of the Seeker marathon.

That is, if I just don't outright pass out.

But before I head off to the couch, I thought I'd post the following video for you. It makes me laugh and I hope it does the same for you.

Happy Sick Day, everyone.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Perils of the One Day Sale


Went to work today. I made the mistake of offering my boss Sundays back in, like, March or something and forgot to make myself unavailable for Sundays before football season got started. If I did it now, she'd know why I was doing it and I have the sneaking suspicion that she would not approve that availability change because thus is the right of the store manager. Then, just to aggravate me, she would schedule a staff meeting for November 21st (the day the Pats play the Colts). There's precedent.

Whatever.

So I went to work. I had to start by changing the window signs. I hate changing the window signs because it never goes smoothly and I hate feeling that badly about myself that early in the morning. These things should be simpler and I don't know why they're not. But again, I say Whatever. There goes two hours of my life I'll never get back.

Yesterday was a Big Deal at the Store because yesterday was a Special Event. It was a Special One Day Sale. As in singular. As in the only one. Because if it was a two day sale, we would have called it a two day sale.

I say these things because the first thing every single customer asked me (I had the misfortune of hanging signs right by the front door) was, "Is yesterday's sale still going on today?"

Gather round children, while I drop some knowledge in your brains:

No. No, yesterday's sale is not still going on today. It was a ONE DAY SALE as was well documented by all the freaking signs I had to remove this morning. Signs which read, by the way, "ONE DAY SALE!" and "TODAY ONLY!"

How are you interpreting this as meaning anything other than the sale ended at the close of business yesterday? Now, go away and stop annoying me. I haven't had any frakking chocolate since Tuesday so this is not a good time to ask me asinine questions like "Is yesterday's sale still going on today?"

But, just to be safe, you should probably refrain from asking me any questions of any kind.

Thank you and enjoy your day.

Now, Let's Go Pats!!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Television Week In Review (Week Ending 10/15/10)

Sunday

The Amazing Race: The teams spend another day in Ghana and the race reveals its most diabolical challenge yet. Locate Ghana on a map. That's right, folks. A map. I'm glad Team Glee is in first place and I'm glad that the father and son came in last on a non elimination leg. Here's hoping they came make up time next episode. One other thing that's really bothering me: Where do the producers or casting people or whoever find these major jackwagons to be on the show? There are always some verbally abusive assholes who spend entirely too much time screaming at their girlfriends. It's not good television. It's aggravating.

Monday

Chuck: I was a little bored with this episode but fortunately, there was a coup d'etat and Chuck had to bust out the kung fu. I think Joe perked up when Sarah broke out the bikinis. I absolutely loved the marble statue of Awesome.

How I Met Your Mother: The gang discusses what makes someone a true New Yorker and I have to say, if that what truly makes someone a New Yorker, I never want to be one because there's no way in hell I'd kill a cockroach with my bare hands. Other than that, it was a pretty damn funny episode. I really loved Marshall's theme song and seeing Rajit (not sure how to spell his name, sorry) again. Loved all the Maury sightings and how Barney let Robin win. Question though: how would a restaurant that nice have a cockroach on the frakking table? I may never go to New York City again. At least not without a bubble.

House: This was an odd opening, too horror filmy for me. The medical mystery was also a little odd but I figured it out before House's team did. Looking forward to next week's episode though because I'm thinking House babysitting is a comedic gold mine. Or at least it could be.

Tuesday

Glee: The group sings duets. Lots and lots of duets. My favorite was Kurt's non duet and then Rachel and Kurt's duet at the end. That's the song I'll be downloading.

Caprica: Okay, so I didn't get this episode watched but Joe and I did watch last week's episode and were quickly returned to where we were when we last looked in on this series. Frakking confused. I never know what's going on, not really anyway. I only have fuzzy theories but I really love this show. It's stylistically gorgeous and I am confident that eventually I'll understand what the frak is happening.

Wednesday

The Middle: Cross country gets cut and Axl gets suspended from school. Brick locates a magic kit and makes the remote disappear. I don't really remember much from this episode. I just know it didn't make me laugh as hard as some of the previous outings have.

Modern Family: Claire and Mitch team up to tell the other's significant other the truth about Cam's bike shorts (love that they were pixelated) and Phil's lack of funny. Claire goes through with her part of the bargain but Mitch chickens out. Alex tries to make friends with the popular girl and almost pulls it off. It was hilarious to start and then sad at the end.

Thursday

Bones: David Allen Grier guested as this week's squint-ern and he was hilarious. I generally like him in whatever he's doing and I really liked him in this role. I hope he shows up again, someday somewhere down the line. No Hannah sighting but apparently, she'll be shot when the show returns from its baseball hiatus. I would care more about the hiatus if Boston were one of the teams playing. Frakking New York.

The Big Bang Theory: Raj's big ass giant desk was really damn funny. Howard's dream sequence featuring Katee Sackhoff and George Takei was pretty funny, at least the part where Katee asked George how he deals with being typecast. The rest is kind of creepy, as most things concerning Howard are.

Community: How funny is this damn show? It's a frakking riot every single week. I love their writers so very much and this week's space travel themed episode was hysterical. I especially got a kick out of the new school flag and the City College's space flight simulator's initials (CCCP). And do you want to talk about product placement? Kentucky Fried hilarity.

30 Rock: The live episode. I didn't watch it live but it was funny in that live episode kind of way. I thought the stand-ins were particularly brilliant (Julia Louis-Dreyfuss acted as Tina Fey's stand in. I don't know who Alex Baldwin's stand in was, but he was quite good looking). The Capitol One product placement was very well done and I always like seeing Jon Hamm and Matt Damon make an appearance.

Project Runway: The final challenge before the finale. The designers were supposed to be inspired by New York City. Both Joe and I were shocked that the judges loved Michael C's dress as much as they did because, as Joe put it, it was a dress inspired by a dress. And I was surprised that they didn't just put Mondo in the finale automatically as he's the only one who really deserves to be there. Much more than Two Faced Gretchen. Of course, I really don't like her so I could just be biased. C'mon, Mondo. Bring it.

Friday

Supernatural: All right, this week's episode focused on Bobby and was great for many, many reasons. I enjoyed his interactions with the next door neighbor quite a lot. Plus, Badger put in an appearance and I always like it when he shows up. But, since I didn't get to write about last week's episode, I just wanted to take a moment to talk about the "I'll be in my bunk" sighting of a shirtless Sam Winchester. The only drawback was that he was wearing jeans. At least they were low rise jeans, amirite, ladies? I was going to end this blog with a screen shot of shirtless Sam Winchester but I can't find a good one. If I knew how to take a screen shot, I would remedy this problem immediately.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Deja Vu?

Today was Day Three of the Great Stomach Flu Experiment and I was up bright and early to make it through another day at work. This was, according to Joe, a stupid thing to do, but trust me, it would have been worse if I hadn't gone to work. It's like that line in Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog: "The world's a mess and I just need to rule it." The same holds true for The Store.

But first I stopped off at the gas station to pick up a couple bottles of ginger ale (they were on special and the right size for the mini fridge at work) for my poor food challenged stomach. I used the remote starter on the car to keep it running while I was in the store because we had a nor'easter roll through down today which made everything very wet and cold. My car has seat heaters and I wanted to use them.

So when I came out of the store, I fumbled with my key fob and tried to unlock the doors. Nothing happened. I blamed the batteries in the key fob and tried to unlock the door the old fashioned way. Nothing happened. I tried just opening the door then and again, nothing happened. In my confusion, I looked up.

That's when I realized that my car was actually the next one over.

You'd think the windows free of dog slobber would've been a clue but, no, it wasn't.

This isn't the first time (sadly) that this has happened.

The first time was particularly hysterical as it occurred just after Joe and I had a discussion about not having to worry about people wanted to steal our car when the dogs were in it because no one in their right mind would try to break into a car with that big of a German Shepherd sitting in the backseat. We always figured that if someone did steal the Gator Girl that they would come back around a few minutes later and drop her off.

Anyway, this one afternoon, I had taken the dogs with me to do errands and when I came out of one store, the car was empty. I think my heart actually stopped. I stood there, stunned, for a moment and stared at the empty car thinking "someone stole my dogs! Someone actually stole my dogs!"

Yeah, they didn't. My car was just the next one over.

I drive a subaru as do a lot of people who live in the Mount Washington Valley. And apparently, we all liked that same color too because my car is everywhere. Of course, my car seems to come with a lot more slobber and hair and biscuit crumbs than the others. Someone sitting in the backseat of my car once said, "it looks like a dog exploded back here." And that would be because Big is so well, big and tall that he's really too big (and tall) for the backseat. He can't sit up properly without his head hitting the ceiling and so there's a lot of dog hair up there. It doesn't come out easily so I mostly just leave it there.

Because I am all about the easy.

And the queasy (how's that for a segue?). I'm supposed to take the Gator Girl to obedience class tomorrow morning but I'm planning on skipping it because I just need to sleep and rest and get well because dammit, I am so over being sick. I miss donuts and chocolate and macaroni and cheese and eating anything that isn't dry toast and saltines.

Here's hoping your weekend is restful and restorative.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Rules of the House

As we're in day two of stomach flu-apalooza, I'm phoning this one in. I would, however, like to take this opportunity to offer a My Pet Blog shout out to my bestest bud DC who has informed me that he too is feeling under the weather. His plan to flight the flu is copious amounts of The Daily Show as laughter is the best medicine. This is a remedy which I wholeheartedly support.

On to today's blog...Like I said, I'm phoning this one in (I'm sick and dragged my sorry sick ass and newly sprained foot through an eight hour shift. You'll understand that my creativity is a little on the lacking side.) This is an email I've received from a couple of different people now but every time I read it, it makes me laugh. I hope it tickles you too.


To All Non Pet Owners Who Visit And Like To Complain About Our Pets:

1. They live here. You don't.

2. If you don't want their hair on your clothes, stay off the furniture. That's why they called it "fur-niture."

3. I like my pets a lot more than I like most people.

4. To you, they are animals. To me, they are adopted sons/daughters who are short, hairy, walk on all fours and don't speak clearly.

Remember...dogs and cats are better than kids because they:

1. eat less

2. don't ask for money all the time

3. are easier to train

4. normally come when called

5. never ask to borrow the car

6. don't hang out with drug abusers

7. don't smoke or drink

8. don't want to wear your clothes

9. don't need a gazillion dollars for college

10. And, if they get pregnant, you can sell their children.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Home Sick


In the movie The Devil Wears Prada, Emily Blunt's character (who is, I believe, also called Emily) says "I'm just one good stomach flu away from my goal weight."

And while that line horrifies me on several levels, it also makes me laugh.

Today, however, it does not make me laugh because today, I know there is no such thing as a good stomach flu.

That's right. I am sick. I have a very aggressive flu whose only good point is that it got me out of work an hour early because I just couldn't do it anymore. Of course, since I'd gone in to work two hours early, I'm still ahead as far as hours are concerned. Not that I care about that at all because, at present, the only thing I care about is finding a hole in which to curl up and die.

I really hate October.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Is It January Yet?


Is it January yet? Because I really, really want it to be January.

January is when all the dumb ass snowflake sweaters currently flooding my stockroom will be gone. January is when all the dumb ass extra hours I've been (and will be) working will come to an end. January is when I might actually have the opportunity to look at my WIP again (and MAN, does that thought depress the hell out of me.). The crowds will be gone, the seasonal know nothing employees will be gone and maybe, just maybe, the management team will have gotten their act together.

All right, so that last one is an absolute pipe dream but the rest are true enough.

Of course, January is also the time when the stockroom will be flooded with flip flops (because nothing says January in New England like a big box of flip flops). But still, I really want it to be January.

Because October sucks. At least it's sucked so far and it's not even half way through the month. The stockroom is choked with holiday sweaters, each more ugly than the last, and the management team is at each others' throats. Then the anger trickles down onto the associates. Long time employees are thisclose to committing murder, or at the very least, quitting. Even the brand spanking new associates can feel the tension. I watch each of them walk though the doors all bright eyed and hopeful and I want to tell them to get out, get out while they can. Save themselves because it'll be nothing but shit raining down on them until January.

Oh January. How I love thee.

Anyway, this entry wasn't supposed to be a love sonnet to January. It was supposed to be some choice moments from work today. And there were some. I think.

But that doesn't much matter now because now all I can focus on is January.

I really hope I find the time to vacuum out the heaters before then.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Mr. Heat Miser


Well, it's Columbus Day here in the Mount Washington Valley (and you know, in the rest of country too) and Joe and I are experiencing the second of our unexpectedly open days. There's snow on Mount Washington now which generally means we're only a few short weeks away from measurable snow in the valley. This depressed Joe. This will depress me too if we don't get our yard fenced in soon because as much as I love my puppies and would do anything for them, I'm looking forward to the day when I can just open a door and let them outside without having to accompany them on every single bathroom run they need to take throughout a day.

Today we're celebrating this sham of a holiday by sitting around, our teeth chattering, and trying to keep warm underneath piles of blankets (it would be snuggies if only I had taken out of storage) because I haven't turned on the heat yet.

I don't like to turn on the heat until November if I can help it. I'm in the "just put on a hat or a sweater or both and you'll be fine!" club whereas Joe is a proud member of the "stoke the fires of hell because it's frakking cold in here" society. Columbus Day usually marks the beginning of our annual battle over the thermostat. He turns the heat on, I turn it off. We usually make it until the end of October before Joe gets home from work one day before I do and takes advantage of my absence to turn on the heat and keep it on.

Later on in the season, our battle will change. He turns the temperature up and I turn it down. Oil's expensive and I would like to use as little as possible. I keep the temperature in the low to mid sixties (I turn it a little higher when we have guests over) and Joe would crank it to the seventies if I'd let him. Right now, however, I think Joe would like to just set the entire house on fire so he can sit in the middle of it and be toasty warm for a change.

Because, yes, it might be just slightly on the cold side in the house this morning. All right, so maybe it's actually warmer outside the house than inside it but come on, we're both New England raised. We should be used to the cold by now, right? So what if you can't feel your fingers, Joe? It's not like you're using them for anything today anyway.

This is also the time of year when Joe starts up with the "I want to live in Arizona" (or insert any warm weather state) talk. I am always forced to counter with "We cannot move our sun sensitive German Shepherd to the land of the sun." He then switches Arizona for North Carolina which goes great until I point out that they have snow and ice storms there as well. Then Joe's head explodes.

It's very messy.

But all told, we'll probably turn on the heat today (just don't tell Joe I said that). It's not even sixty degrees in the house right now and it feels silly to open the doors and windows in order to get some warm air in here. This means the rest of my day (before agility class anyway) will be spent taking the heaters apart so I can vacuum out all the dog hair that accumulates inside there all summer long. No matter how often I vacuum (and it's a lot), there's always an insane amount off dog hair in the heaters.

And that just makes me nervous.

Hope you're all enjoying a warm and happy (sham) holiday weekend.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Fair Fare


My original plans for this (sham) holiday weekend fell through. Can't say I was all that upset by this development because, well, I really wasn't but it did offer Joe and I the opportunity to visit the last day of the Fryeburg Fair. We originally were supposed to have gone earlier in the week but it rained and rained a lot and well, we didn't need fried dough that badly.

Yes, we go to the fair pretty much to eat and eat some more. And nothing else.

But today became unexpectedly open and was sunny and even warm so together with Heather, we headed on an adventure. A food adventure.

The adventure started early when we tried to find a place to park. There are a lot of places to park and if you don't mind walking a little, you can park for $5. We opted for a lot that we thought was $5 but was actually $10. Then, because Heather has a little car, they stuck us in this little tiny spot between a large sedan and a tree. We just barely had enough room to get out of the car. Good thing we hadn't eaten everything in sight yet.

It was another $10 for admission to the fair and then we were in! Heather and I were immediately on a hunt for Tom's Giant Donuts because the Conway Daily Sun had shown a picture of the giant donuts in Saturday's paper and we were people possessed. We had to have a giant donut and spent an hour wandering around the fair looking for the giant donut stand before we found an information booth to help point us in the right direction.

Giant donuts, pre toppings (honey dipped, chocolate or sugar)


When we did find our way to Tom's, we found ourselves at the end of a very long line. Not as long as the line at the Sunflower Farm pizza booth, but still quite long. The line, however, moved quickly and it was maybe only a ten minute wait before we were in possession of two, still warm, honey dipped donuts. I know chocolate was a possible topping but it somehow didn't seem as appealing to me as the honey dipped donut. But regardless of topping, the damn thing was super delicious.

We also made a stop at the Sunflower Farm pizza booth. The Sunflower Farm is based out of Brownfield, Maine and makes their pizza dough from sunflower flour. There are three options: cheese and tomato, pepperoni and then black olive and garlic. The pieces are large and square and the lines of people waiting for a slice never shrink and there is one reason for that: it's damn awesome pizza. I've never really been a pizza fan but even I have to admit that this pizza is well worth the wait. The fair is also the only time and place you can get this pizza. Every year after the fair has come and gone, I find myself fervently wishing that they would open a pizza place because although Brownfield is about a half hour drive away, I'd drive it. For pizza.

Sunflower Farm's pepperoni pizza (the pepperoni is underneath the cheese)

This line moves quickly too, so long as you didn't want the black olive and garlic pizza. There was apparently a run on that pie early in the day and people interested in it were forced to wait a bit longer. Joe wanted pepperoni though and so we were soon on our way to find yet more unhealthy things to eat.

The fair, and this is probably true of all county fairs, seems to be a big fan of deep frying. Every time I think about deep frying, I also think of that Thanksgiving episode of Gilmore Girls when Sookie and Jackson deep fry their turkey and then literally everything else. The fair offered deep fried pickles, oreos, whoopie pies, vegetables, devil dogs and god only know what else. I decided to pass. We all decided to pass.

Next came sandwiches because, by then, it was time for lunch. Gyros and roast beef eaten in the bleachers by the racetrack where there wasn't a single race going on. Instead, we watched people jockey for position along the fence in anticipation of a race.

After lunch, we took a stroll through the animal barns. We checked out some of the dairy cows who were stabled in pairs and given adorable names like Fred and Barney and Smokey and the Bandit. One cow was sniffing her stable buddy's ass when the stable buddy decided to take a crap on her head. I apologize that I didn't have the camera ready to capture that moment for you.

We skipped the hogs. We also skipped the goats because Heather isn't really a fan of goats. She had a bad childhood experience. We did go see the sheep and had a grand old time acting like we were in middle school once again (I'm sorry but that sheep had some really big balls and it was funny. Probably because of all the damn sugar. Yeah, that's it. The sugar.). And by 'we', I mean Heather and I walked around acting like middle schoolers. Joe kind of skulked around at a safe distance behind us, pretending he was in no way affiliated with our antics. We're used to it.

After the sheep exhausted their entertainment value, we went on to the draft horse barns. I know draft horses are big horses but DAMN, these were some insanely large animals. They are also extremely gorgeous animals. I've always been a horse nut. I inherited that from my great grandmother. My niece, Jupiter, is a horse nut too.



We saw Belgian and Percheron draft horses. One of the Percherons was irritated with all of us passers by and kept kicking the stall's wall but most of them couldn't have cared less that we were there. There were a couple of babies too. One who was four months old was actually the size of a normal (non draft) horse. I asked Joe if we could get one and keep it on our new lawn. He pretended he didn't hear me.

After we finished with the draft horses, we were over by the racetrack just as they were announcing the start of another race. There were five entrants in this particular race and the last of them was a horse named Iwannahawkalugee.

This was the horse I selected to cheer for. We found spots on the rail and waited for the race to begin. Then we waited some more. Then the pace car went by and the race was on!

Iwannahawkalugee won.

But of course he did. Unfortunately, we didn't put any money down on the race because if we had, we could have financed our next and final round of food. Joe had apple crisp with ice cream and Heather had a giant root beer float. I was supposed to have fried dough but honestly, I couldn't have eaten another bite of anything. This made me a little sad as sunflower pizza and fried dough is the reason I even go to the fair in the first place and pay $10 to park and another $10 to get in. But it's all right because while Joe and Heather were sitting at a picnic table enjoying their tasty treats, I got to go to the ladies' room.

Iwannahawkalugee coming down the stretch

The ladies' room is really rather clean, especially when one considers how many people are at the fair, and the reason behind the cleanliness is the restroom attendant. She's a big, scary woman who commands obedience. If you cross her, there's seriously a chance you'll never pee anywhere in that town again. Right outside the bathroom door is a duct tape line over which you had better not place even a single toe, lest risking the wrath of the bathroom attendant (Note: that is not even remotely a joke.). After someone exits a stall, she checks to make sure you didn't make a mess (and god help you if you did because she's going to announce it to everyone within earshot) and then will call out the number of the available stall. When my turn came up, I got in just before she announced, "I don't know why all these nasty people are coming in here today. What is wrong with these people that they'll come in here and do that?"

Yikes.

For the record, I don't know what that was but I wasn't about to find out. When I was leaving the restroom, everything had come to a standstill as the attendant was shouting at a woman trying to get her baby stroller into the stall with her. I made sure the attendant witnessed me washing my hands with warm water and soap because I didn't want to risk getting yelled at or labeled a nasty person.

After that special experience, we figured out time at the fair had drawn to the close. Even the thought of eating anything else was nauseating and so we found our way back to the car where we discovered that the car parked in front of us had already gone, making it even easier for us to get out of the spot into which we had been crammed. Then, because we were taking the back roads, we didn't even have to sit in traffic. Woo Hoo!

The back roads did offer this sign:

Hmmm...somehow, that seems wrong.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Television Week In Review (week ending 10/08/10)


All right, so I've already discussed how my television watching schedule was demolished this week by my highly inconvenient work schedule. Stupid day job. As a result, this will be an abbreviated review.

Sunday

The Amazing Race: The teams travel to Ghana. Brooke is shrill and annoying but Miss Kentucky is even more shrill and even more annoying. The taxi ride scene at the end reminded me of driving around with Sergei and Boris when I was in Russia. Only add snow and ice to the mix.

Monday

Patriots at Miami: Only got to watch the second quarter of this game. And of course, during the second quarter of this game, my beloved Pats seemed determined to lose. Oh, how I wish I could have watch the second half because DAMN, I bet it was awesome. 41-14, Patriots. Oh hell, yeah. Note to Tom: I still want you to cut your hair. Who cares what Gisele wants?

Tuesday

Glee: I am really very glad that I was able to watch this show this week because I found it to be exceptionally well done. You know how I love television that makes and laugh and moves me to feel something and well, several times during the course of this episode, I was moving from gales of laughter to (yes, I admit it) tears. Lea Michele is such an amazing powerhouse singer and I love it whenever she sings, but I thought she was especially impressive tonight. Same goes for Chris Colfer whose rendition of "I Want To Hold Your Hand" was one of those teary eyed times. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.

Caprica: All right, so I didn't get this episode watched but I still wanted to list it here because I can imagine it only leads to good things for the series. I did DVR the episode though because I am really looking forward to seeing where the hell this series is headed. Loved the first half of the season or series or whatever. Hope they can keep it up.

Wednesday

The Middle: Oh my god, I was so Sue when I was in school. Kudos to the actress who plays her because she does such a good job of playing awkward. Such a good job, in fact, that I find her painful to watch at times. I also adore how she wears her cross country sweatshirt everywhere. Brick was also hi-larious tonight when he discovered that his mother some times lies. Especially when he came into the bedroom to announce that he'd been making that face for an hour now and it had yet to stick that way. And then when he said he got a ride home with a stranger and everything was fine.

Modern Family: An earthquake shakes things up. Claire gets stuck in the bathroom with a plumber and Phil leaves her there so he can anchor a fallen bookshelf to the wall the way he told Claire he did months earlier. Loved when Luke, after avoid being hit by the bookshelf, ran straight into the wall. Nathan Lane also showed up at Cam and Mitch's friend Pepper. Loved him and loved Cam and Mitch's costumes.

Thursday

Bones: A Jersey Shore boy dies and Brennan gets to amuse everyone (ourselves included) but sharing the knowledge she's gleaned from watching the documentary "Jersey Shore". Booth's girlfriend moves into Booth's apartment and awkwardness ensues. Oh, and slowly but surely, everyone is finding out about Angela's pregnancy but swears to act surprised when Hodgins actually gets to break the news.

Project Runway: Everyone has to design a look for Heidi Klum's really boring and frumpy looking New Balance line. There was an insane amount of drama, first in the workroom when Heidi offered a couple of harsh critiques (Heidi Klum is apparently a size 6) and then later when the producers were stupid enough to let Ivy back in. Talk about sour grapes. Anyway, Andy received a well deserved victory and his three looks are now available for purchase on amazon. I went out and looked at them because I really loved the zip hoodie he made. It turns out the hoodie is $158. Now I love it less.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Hot and Not


Well, it's Thursday afternoon and if you read yesterday's blog you'll know that today is my one and only day off this week. And because I am committed to NaBloWriMo, I am committed to blogging today. But the truth is that I'm tired (stupid me thought it would be a good idea to go on a three mile run this morning) and have a real backlog of housework to do (not to mention a real backlog of television to watch) and a WIP that I would desperately like to work on. So today isn't going to be anything deep or meaningful or high literature (not that anything I've written has necessarily been any of those things). It's just going to be what it is.

And that is a discussion on Tom Brady.

I'm not talking about his skills as a QB. I'm not talking about the mess with Bridget Moynahan and the fact that his son's initials spell JET. I'm not talking about Gisele or his new multi million dollar contract. I'm talking about his new haircut, if it could indeed be called such a thing because right now it kind of looks like he's got a flattened pekingese on his head (see above).

Tom, you're hot. You are. I can't deny that nor do I want to. It's just that you're so much hotter when you have short hair. I offer the following evidence to support my theory:

HOT, EXHIBIT A:

And HOT, EXHIBIT B:

And lastly there's NOT, EXHIBIT A:

Final word? Get a haircut, dude. You can afford it.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Decisions, Decisions...


So, I'm thinking about quitting my day job.

Of course, I think about this a lot, usually when I'm at my day job but yeah, I'm thinking about it. And not in a lovely daydreaming sort of way. And it's not just because I find my bosses to be grossly incompetent or the majority of my co-workers to be really frakking annoying. It isn't even because everyone and their brother is in the valley looking at leaves and trying on jeans that I then have to refold and put away. Although that is annoying, the customers have been rather mellow this week. One customer told me she'd bring me in some brown bread. Weird, certainly, but a nice gesture all the time.

But all that isn't why I'm thinking about quitting my job. It's because my day job has seriously been cutting into my television viewing time lately. And that ain't cool.

I missed the second half of the Patriots game against the Dolphins on Monday night because I had to go to bed early so I could get up early Tuesday so I could sit in the parking lot for a half hour and wait for the arrival of the AssMan who is apparently physically incapable of showing up for work on time. Interesting side note: this does not stop her from writing up associates who arrive late.

I missed my entire Monday line up of television that night and although I DVR'd most of it, my work schedule this week has been so demanding that I haven't been able to watch any of it. The same thing happened Tuesday. Now it's Wednesday night and I'm so far behind in my television watching schedule that I fear I shall never be able to catch up.

Fortunately, I have tomorrow off. TGIT, right? Thursday is my day off, as in my only day off this week. I hate this time of year. For seven months of the year, I get virtually ignored, schedule wise, and it's wonderful. Then the stupid leaves start changing color and suddenly, The Store can't live without me.

Today I was stuck in the fitting room all day long which is a problem when I have a shipment in the stockroom waiting to be processed. The AssMan gave me shit about that today, by the way. Gave me shit about the fact that I hadn't processed all the boxes that the delivery guy dropped off this morning. I'd like to say that this was new behavior for the AssMan. But I can't.

"Look," I told her, "I can't process a shipment I'm not working on and when you have me stuck in the fitting rooms all day (which, by the way smell like feet, unwashed feet), I'm not working on the shipment."

She grudgingly accepted this as truth but I did hear a rumor later that I may be written up for my bad attitude. Here's what I have to say about that:

Bring it.

Go ahead. Make my day. Give me a reason to walk out. I have television to watch, books to read and an ignored WIP to dust off. Life is too short and you are on my very last nerve.

You won't like me when I'm angry. Of course, you don't seem to like me now. About which, naturally, I am crushed. Get in line. And while you're at it, get over yourself, do your damn job and stop harassing me so I can do mine.

SERENITY NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Sigh.

So today I wanted to write something funny and clever, something witty and amusing, something to delight the masses. I was going to introduce a new segment I intended to call "Top Ten Tuesdays" which would feature a Top Ten list of my favorite whatever (episodes of Firefly, for example...unless I've already blogged about that. Oh well, I can blog about it again.) but I received some sad news yesterday and it's the latest in a series of sad news and so today, I am sad and have decided to pull you all down along with me.

Just kidding. I mean, I am sad and I am going to tell you why but my aim isn't to make anyone else sad. It's just to share.

I have a group of friends with whom I train dogs. We've all been going to same place for quite a few years now (Big is seven, after all and has been attending classes at this school since he was a year old) and so you get to know them and their puppies and you care about them and their puppies and so when they fall upon hard times, it makes you sad.

Some of these friends have had to say good bye to too many puppies of late. One is too many so having to say good bye to more than one I can only imagine is hell. It just reminds me more and more how not prepared for this eventuality I am.

Last night, I found out that a friend, Jolene, had to have her dog, Dakota put down after a heartbreaking struggle with both cancer and diabetes. This especially broke my heart because Dakota was the Gator Girl's best friend (Sorry, Ori, but it's true.).

Dakota was a big 100 pound Doberman who, in a long standing tradition among big dogs, was a big baby. He was incredibly sweet and friendly...as long as you didn't try to touch his butt because he did not care for that at all. And even if you did try to touch his butt, the most he would do would be to just jump out of your reach.

The first time the Gator Girl met Dakota, she was intimidated. She was intimidated to the point that she peed all over the floor when he looked in her direction. She got over it though and grew to absolutely worship him. This adoration led to another dog in the class developing what could only be described as seething hatred and jealousy toward the Gator Girl.

But the Gator Girl didn't care. She would play and run and wrestle with Dakota every chance she got. If she was next to him in class, she couldn't focus on anything else. Once, she jumped out of the car window because she thought she saw him in the parking lot. Of course, she was tethered to the door at the time and ended up briefly cutting off her oxygen supply all for a Doberman who wasn't her very favorite boy.

The Gator Girl is nothing if not loyal. And slightly demented.

Even Big liked Dakota and Big, as a general rule, does not enjoy other dogs. He likes them just fine if they stay far, far away from him but he always liked Dakota.

So my heart is breaking right now for Jolene and for my pups' lost friend. I am beyond glad that Dakota is not suffering anymore because I know how hard things were at the end but still, it's sad. . I wish I had a picture of him because I would post it now. However, I am sad and so I think I'll post a picture of Big wearing his super cool shades because that's a picture that always puts a smile on my face.

I hope it makes you smile too.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Welcome!


I wanted to write a welcome message because, thanks to NaBloWriMo, I've been fortunate enough to attract a number of new viewers and readers and I thought maybe I should introduce myself and thank you for taking the time to check out my blog.

First of all, I'd like to explain the name. It's called My Pet Blog and while I do, from time to time, discuss my pets, it's not a blog that is entirely devoted to my pets. So if you're thinking, "Well, I don't have any pets, nor any interest in pets", you'll have to find another excuse to not return here. I called it My Pet Blog because I thought it was funny, like My Pet Rock or something. My iPod is called My Pet iPod.

Really, I'm creative in other ways.

This blog will discuss my pets and day job. It'll also cover sports (fair warning: I am an unapologetic Boston sports fan. Red Sox and Pats all the way, baby!) television and movies and music. Some days I'll talk about my actual writing career (you know, the one going nowhere?) and the books I've read. If you're interested in an adoption story, you should check out my Russia archives (May 2010) which chronicle the story of my niece's adoption. I was privileged enough to go along for the ride. I also blog about my obsession with Joss Whedon as well as my goals and horoscopes and whatever else crosses my mind. It's a potpourri blog.

And I talk about all these things with what is probably an unhealthy dose of sarcasm. Don't get me wrong. I'm all for being nice and happy and positive and whatever but there are some days when sarcasm is the undeniable order of the day. If sarcasm bothers you, this may not be the blog for you. But give it a chance before you decide, all right?

So here are ten things you need know about me (okay, well maybe not need to know about me. Maybe might be remotely interested in learning about me? Or maybe I should just go with "Things I'm going to tell you about me"...yeah. I'll do that one.):

1. I am a writer. An unsuccessful and unpublished (though not for a lack of trying, contrary to popular belief) as of yet writer, but still, I keep at it. What's that they say about the definition of insanity? I write fiction in a variety of genres because I believe that if one wants to write a book, one should write a book, regardless of genre. I've written fantasy, chick lit and literary fiction and next month I plan to tackle young adult urban fantasy. If you're interested, you can click here to check out my work.

2. I used to read an average of sixty books a year, mostly fiction. I thought that was a decent amount until I joined Facebook and met a lot of people who read upwards of 100 books a year. It made me feel like a slacker so one of my goals this year is to read 100 books. I've read 80 so far. I blog about the books I read at the beginning of every month. Fair warning: I'm really picky about novels.

3. I am afraid of eggs. It's a residual Russia thing. Apparently, seeing a waist high stack of egg cartons sitting unrefrigerated in the middle of a grocery store aisle scarred me for like because I am seriously afraid of eggs. I won't eat them, I won't cook with them or even stand in the same room as someone who is cooking with them. Hell, I won't even buy them. I read somewhere once that Alfred Hitchcock was always afraid of eggs. Good thing to know I'm not alone.

4. My pets. I have two dogs, a 7 year old German Shepherd (we call him Big because he's, well, big) and a 5 year old Belgian Malinois (nicknamed Gator Girl for reasons that are obvious if you're familiar with the Malinois breed). I also have two cats, 12 year old Vader (so called because her wheezing is so bad she sounds like a certain Sith lord) and 10 year old Fat Cat (so called because she's, well, fat). I even have a painted turtle (age undetermined) named Speed Racer because I'm just that cool. My last pet is my significant other, Joe. Sometimes I call him Schmoe in this blog because he doesn't like things written about him on the internet. Or bathroom walls.

5. My day job is in retail. The company's employee handbook states that I am not allowed to tell you where I work (nor would I want to) so I just call it The Store. I have a freakish talent for precision folding (and boy, am I glad!) and a truckload of contempt for the majority of my co-workers (whose names are also changed because the handbook also claims it bad form to not do this...). Remember what I said about the sarcasm? It's a method of survival some days. The handbook also insists that I tell you that the opinions listed in this blog are my own and they are in no way affiliated with me. Like anyone would think otherwise.

6. I watch a lot of television. If you've read one of my weekly reviews, you're already aware of this. I make no apologies for my viewing habits. I am proudly a slave to the idiot box and my shiny silver DVR. I love shows that make me laugh and shows that make me feel something. Shows that do both are particularly high on my list. This is part of the reason why I love Joss Whedon so very much.

7. I can't stand the Fox News Network. I can't even believe I posted a link to their site. However, I don't care if you love the Fox News Network. To each their own.

8. I harbor secret (well, not so secret now) hopes of becoming an international ass kicking superspy. My role models are Sydney Bristow and Emma Peel. My other role models who are, technically, not spies but who do certainly kick ass are Buffy Summers and River Tam.

9. I also harbor not so secret hopes of becoming some kind of defensive position player for the New England Patriots. Someone whose job it is to hit the opposition hard and land them flat on their backs. I think it would be the most awesome thing ever to tackle someone and bring them to the ground. Of course, I probably have a better shot at international superspy-dom as the truth remains that the padding and helmet alone weigh more than I do. Still, a girl can dream, right?

10. I am really rather obsessed with the Middle Ages, particularly weaponry. I am honestly in the market for a double bladed battle axe and a matching pair of short swords. I think they'll fit in nicely with the rest of my collection.

Well, there you have it. Ten thing to either love or hate about me. Or, ten things about which you feel absolutely nothing. At any rate, I hope this blog made you laugh at least once and I hope that you'll come by again and see what I'm ranting and raving about now.

Until then, I have to go fold some jeans and take the dogs to agility class.