02 December 2008

Tag, I'm It!

I've been tagged! Thanks, Lisa!

The rules:

Link to the person who tagged you.
Post the rules on your blog.
Write six random things about yourself.
Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Here are six random things about me, in the order in which they occurred to me:

1. I adore really, really bad versions of Christmas carols. I blame a cassette tape my parents owned (or, indeed, probably still own), which we listened to endlessly on van trips to Steamboat Springs during the ski/Christmas season. It featured an instrumental version of, I think, "Oh Holy Night" apparently recorded by the Tinny Wavering Strings Ensemble, as well as a musical rendering of "Twas the Night Before Christmas" in which each phrase describing Santa Claus was rendered in a different US regional accent. The real show-stopper was the over-enthusiastic, fakey, corn-pone accent on "His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow!" As our mother has a beautiful and authentic Alabama accent, all three of us kids found it unbearably hilarious. This also relates to a van-borne trip as adults to see the city's best Christmas decorations -- frustrated by simultaneously attempting to drive, decipher a whimsically-scaled map printed by the newspaper, and discuss the route over the dulcet tones of the van's 1980s-era FM radio half-tuned to a station playing (terrible) Christmas music, my dad barked, to the rest of the family's hysterical amusement, "Will you turn that shit off? It just adds to the general irritation!"

2. The first concert I went to was Michael Jackson's Thriller tour in Denver. I think I was in fourth grade. The awesomeness began when my dad hopped the verge between the interstate and its frontage road in our van (for some reason, there's a lot about the van in this list so far) in order to get out of the traffic on I-25, and did not end until after first recess at school the next day, when I recounted the set list to my assembled friends. For a brief moment, I was ... kind of popular. Plus, it set off a show-going career that averaged one a week in my mid-twenties.

3. Two of my most prized possessions are black-and-white photos taken by my dad in the neighborhood of Princeton, NJ. I pulled them out of a collection of art pieces in my parents' basement because my it was my dad who first got me interested in photography, and we both went to Princeton. When I turned them over to put them into frames, I read the notes on date, exposure, and processing he had jotted on the back -- and found he had printed both on my birthdate, but three years before I was born! Spooky.

4. Every time I start a new knitting project, I think of my grandmother, who taught me how to cast on and do the basic stitches. During her final hospitalization, when she was drifting in and out of awareness, my mom showed her a pair of socks I'd made; a few days later, she reported to my aunt with perfect clarity, "Amy made socks on number one needles!" I didn't realize until then how much it meant to her that I had picked up her hobby.

5. My pet peeve surpassing all others is whistling. You will never see me fly into a seething rage faster than if someone is whistling in my vicinity. I have no idea why, but I can tell you that even typing about people whistling is putting me on edge.

6. I am kind of obsessed with Marilyn Monroe. Because of her looks, and the drugs, and the death, and the marriages, and the rumored affairs, and the media's (and public's) desire to fit her into a preconceived slot (dumb sexy blonde No. 357), a lot of people don't know how smart and talented she really was. For example: she wrote to her stepson with Arthur Miller about meeting Robert Kennedy for the first time, and said she asked him what his department was going to do for civil rights.

Tag, you're it (there are only three, because I don't know all that many blogs): Cari at Implosion Explosion, Stephanie at Dogs in the Moonlight (who probably won't respond, as she is in Madagascar), Maughta at Judge a Book by its Cover, and Stephanie at Natural/Artificial.

18 November 2008

I'm Thankful for Flying J Travel Plaza

Imagine my surprise and delight when I noted the following two items on my gas station receipt this morning:
Yes, that's right, my neighborhood travel plaza has gas at $1.94 AND holiday pies available for preorder. This really solves our dilemma of what to bring as a secondary dessert to Thanksgiving this year. And, if we can only find a spare gas can, what to bring for a hostess gift.

02 November 2008

Babies: "That High-Contrast Shit is Giving Us Headaches"

So, I recently found this awesome baby blanket pattern at Knitty that I would like to make, although I'm not sure for whom, since my fantastic nephew is over a year old now and my only friend with a new baby is an amazing knitter herself:

I especially like that it isn't annoyingly twee, and that it can be really high-contrast, since babies are supposed to like that. Which makes me wonder: how exactly do we know that babies love contrast? What if they don't, and only stare fixedly at it (or whatever makes us think they like it) because they're wondering how something so eye-poppingly fugly came to be? Or they're really gaping in horror? That would be kind of funny.

25 October 2008

You May Take our Yard Signs, but You'll Never Take our Freedom!

Like many people, I feel very strongly about the upcoming election -- so strongly that the awesome boyfriend and I have taken the unprecedented (for us) step of purchasing a modest yard sign for our favored candidate and placing it in the front yard -- or should I say gravel -- right between the one frowsy plant and that other frowsy plant. Actually, when we bought the sign, the campaign office was out of yard brackets, so we first had it taped in the front window, and then after my stint harassing voters door-to-door on Saturday, I obtained a sought-after bracket and stuck it in the yard.

And then, two days later, the sign was gone. Awesome. Way to uphold the values upon which our nation was founded by interfering with free speech. Also, way to cost me another $5 and the minor irritation of voyaging to the campaign office for another yard sign. Douchebags. My very creative friend Cari recommended that I buy 20 new yard signs and spork* the whole yard with them, croquet-course style.

Of course, it is possible that the sign was not removed by some vast right-wing conspiracy, but by A) someone over this whole election thing in general (as a swing state, we enjoy a 24-hour blanket of campaigning via all media channels -- it's only a matter of time before low-flying planes begin dropping informative propaganda pamplets WWII-style), B) bored teenagers, or C) bored 30-year-old married ladies -- one of my coworkers told me that she and a friend recently spent an enjoyable evening switching Democratic and Republican candidates' signs throughout their neighborhood.

In a related note, I am highly entertained by the frequency of radio campaign ads focused on stem cell research -- apparently, this was thought to be a HUGE issue for the upcoming election at some point before our entire economy collapsed. Whoops!

*For those of you not familiar with sporking, it is a time-honored act of minor teen vandalism performed as follows (look for it soon at wikiHow!):
Step 1: Obtain box of sporks from local Taco Bell. If desired, this can be made easier by Step 0: Befriend a disgruntled Taco Bell employee.
Step 2: Silently approach victim's house in dark of night. It is helpful to approach on foot, leaving loud vehicles down the block.
Step 3: Arrange sporks upright throughout victim's front yard in desired pattern.

11 October 2008

Problem Solved: Keep Children in Boxes, Feed with IVs

The Telegraph recently reported on a study finding that swimming frequently in chlorinated outdoor pools is associated with development of allergic asthma in children.

Combine this with widespread peanut panic, and I'm pretty sure parents will start casting a favorable eye on the Skinner Air Crib:

It's an idea whose time has come. With asthma and severe allergies myself, I kind of wish I had one. They could stick my laptop and Heroes DVDs in there instead of that little trapeze-toy thing.

P.S. I'm pretty link-happy today. This is what happens when the Fulbright application is finally in.

11 August 2008

Uncompelling Mysteries: Olympics Edition

NBC has solved perhaps the least compelling mystery of all!

Q: Why was American Olympic beach volleyball player Kerri Walsh so concerned about her lost wedding ring?!?
A: Thanks to NBC's stomach-churningly high ratio of coverage to actually interesting things to report on, we now know that it was because it was her effing wedding ring. Nice catch, color commentary guy!

29 June 2008

I am in Need of a Good Taxidermist

Receiving one of those "Yes, we're still maintaining the illusion that your generation will benefit from Social Security" pamphlets in which one learns how much the monthly payout will be if one becomes disabled now, retires at age 67, or holds out until 70 recently prompted my awesome, if dour, boyfriend to comment, "I'll probably be dead by then anyway," after which I asked, dismayed, "Well, what am I supposed to do after that?" His immediate and enthusiastic reply:

"Have me stuffed!"

Later we had a whole discussion of what attitude I should choose to have him preserved in, me favoring a tasteful full-body display in the corner of the living room, possibly in dynamic pose (hilariously disconcerting to the beaus of my widowhood), him favoring a wall-mounted trophy torso with jazz hands (he wins).

Related only in that the boyfriend suspects this guy, like him, is secretly Canadian, I invite you to listen to this specimen of hosebaggery, courtesy of the public service Hot Chicks With Douchebags:

A Picker-Up Who Clearly Does Know What Passive-Aggressive Means

Actually, dude, there IS something wrong with you.

UPDATE: It would seem he is Canadian.

16 June 2008

Uncompelling Mysteries: Solved!

Q: How does the Incredible Hulk keep his pants on?!?
A: Thanks to the good people at Marvel Studios, we now know that Bruce Banner wears outsized pants.

It's worth noting that The Incredible Hulk did satisfy a salient criterion for enjoyable films, in that it is a film in which someone yells, "NOOOO!"

Films in Which Someone Yells, "NOOO!"

For some reason, I am infinitely tickled by characters in movies yelling, "NOOO!" at dramatic moments, preferably whilst falling despairingly to their knees and/or shaking their fists at cruel fate. I think it's because someone yelling, "NOOO!" often takes the film from overblown action would-be blockbuster to campy hilarity. In addition, I am pretty sure that no one has reacted this way in earnest to adverse events in the real world ever. Thus, another ongoing blog post, this one cataloguing films in which someone yells, "NOOO!"

UPDATE 17 Jun 2008: I am informed by a reliable source that "NOOO!" is yelled in earnest in response to adverse events in the real world. And she would know, being an international corporate disaster survivor -- although notably NOT a diabolical creature of one's own creation survivor. Or if she is, she keeps it pretty quiet.

Movie: The Incredible Hulk, 2008

"NOOO!" Yelled By: William Hurt as Gen. Ross

Circumstances: Daughter in peril

Movie: Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith, 2005

"NOOO!" Yelled By: Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker

Circumstances: Encased in natty black life support system; believes he killed love of life

Movie: Spiderman 2, 2004

"NOOO!" Yelled By: Alfred Molina as Doc Ock

Circumstances: Technological know-how, hubris cause imprisonment by diabolical creation

19 March 2008

Well, Obviously

I came across the following figure in a research paper I recently read, and after reading the accompanying text from beginning to end, I still have little idea what it signifies:

Seriously, researchers: do not generate figures for publication under any of the following conditions:
1. Using a Spirograph
2. Immediately following the faculty Christmas party
3. While aboard a plane encountering turbulence
4. While under the influence of any controlled substance
5. While under the influence of postmodernism

12 February 2008

I Have Solved a Vexing Storage Problem


I've been looking for a place to keep my dangerous diseases upright, so they don't wrinkle.

29 January 2008

The World Sometime

Sorry I haven't posted for awhile. Things always go pear-shaped at the end of the semester (leaving unclear what exactly is my excuse for posting every 2 months all the rest of the year), although this semester was better than most: I got a big thing turned in before my advisor had to yell at me for procrastinating (major breakthrough), and one of my professors revised the final assignment to be like half the work that it was originally. Here's a summary of what you missed to catch you up:

Things that have happened since 23 October 27
Holidays: 4 (including Halloween, which I missed because of combined back spasm/paper due)
Blog Posts: 0
Fellowship Applications Effed by FedEx: 1

Yeeeah. I advise against FedEx, y'all. Short version: ill-informed counter person shipped my application such that it was guaranteed to arrive a week after the due date. The call center employees worked their asses off to try to fix it (I think they were concerned for my mental health, as I burst into indecipherable blubbering as soon as I got on the line with a live person there), but it was already too late, so I ended up spending several weeks and over $100 to ship a box of scrap paper overseas. I hope they at least recycle it.

Hilariously, a hapless lad from some polling company contracted by FedEx to listen to their customers bitch about their service for them called several days after all of this went down for feedback on my recent experience with the FedEx call center. Since my experience with the call center specifically was fine, I gave them high marks until the questions, "How would you rate your overall experience with FedEx?" "Would you recommend FedEx to your friends or family?" and "Do you plan to use FedEx in the future?" to which the responses were 1, no, and emphatically no. Unfortunately, this limits my shipping choices to the postal service and DHL, as UPS has already displeased me.