29 February, 2012

The Movie Whore is Back – and she’s Very Confused

I know some of you are here looking for the next installment of "Doesn’t Speak Klingon and the Transformed Non-Conformist" and I’m sorry to disappoint, but we live five states apart! Think about it logically: what news could there be? (Yes, I’m part Vulcan, what of it?) So instead, I hope you’ll chime in with your thoughts on the Movie Whore’s latest adventure.

***** 
The last we heard from the Movie Whore, she had reaffirmed a disinterest in the Oscars. Indeed, the 2012 Oscars passed her right by as she slept soundly through the night. However, a person has to be trying very hard to miss the results in the news the next day.

…and the Movie Whore doesn’t care enough to try very hard.

So she heard.

“The Artist” had piqued her interest earlier, just by the buzz. She only knew it was silent, nothing about the story. So now, as a multiple-award-winning film – not just Best Picture, but Costumes and…what, like, sound? – what a good excuse to hit the cinema again!
...Yeah. Because the Movie Whore needs an excuse.

Please help us out here: What is so great about this movie? I get it: It’s unique and daring to attempt a silent, black & white film in this day and age, and the actors have to act with their face and body, not just vocal inflection, but really? BEST Picture? And costumes? It’s black and white! Part of the beauty of good costuming is in the variety of colors and patterns. …But Best Picture?

The Movie Whore is very confused indeed. Did you see this? Is it not a darker (no pun intended) version of Singing In The Rain? Without the singing, the color, or the fun? (or Gene Kelly)  I don’t want to spell out what I mean and spoil it for anyone who still intends to see it, but think in broad storyline strokes…if you don’t get what I mean, leave a comment and I’ll clarify my thoughts there. (So, avoid the comment section if you don’t want it spoiled for you…just in case.) Suffice to say, the Movie Whore is relieved that she was able to get into an early-enough showing to pay the matinee price!

Not to mention, it’s a movie about people making movies, and only in Hollywood is that kind of narcissism awarded.

The Movie Whore is really bad at remembering all that came out in a whole year, but truly, I’ll take Cowboys and Aliens over this snooze-fest. Literally a snooze-fest. Please, if you saw this and did not hear an audience-member snore, and did not doze off yourself, let me know! Never happened. You were probably dreaming. (My eyes may or may not have drifted shut at some point.)

On the plus side, the Movie Whore saw two previews for interesting-looking movies. Something about a “…Marigold…” is full of excellent British stars, and takes place in India, which I love. Both, I mean, the British stars and India. And something about “…Noonshine…” appears to be a sweet summer-camp, coming-of-age movie, featuring Bill Murray with an axe. No joke. At least that’s what the preview showed.

*****
However, the reality of today (all movies aside) is that I am taking a genuine sick day. The scratchy throat I’ve had is moving northwards and it’s all I can do to sit upright at the computer. So with that, my dudes, I’m going back to bed. …or maybe I’ll go to the living room and watch some silent, black and white Alfred Hitchcock movies – you know, a good movie!

28 February, 2012

Of Axe-Murderers and Other Creepy Folks

Geez, people!
I finally have at least two posts pre-written from over the weekend (and one still lurking in my brain waiting for the proper mental state to voice it), and instead I have been given an incomparable opportunity to respond to the responses to a post that was based on my earlier posts full of pretend assumptions about the supposed character of my internet-fiance Brett, over at the Transformed Non-Conformist. Check out his post, here, to see the firestorm that started my post.

I’ll give you a minute...
…and another one to sort out the above paragraph.

And off we go... 
You know how you build connections to people via their blogs? Like it or not, sometimes you connect to the words from one writer moreso than from another, however much you may appreciate both? Well, Brett started following my blog from the get-go, and we’ve developed a fun friendship, including a proposal, which he ironically suggested on Valentine’s Day (in the comments of my "Your Bloody Valentines Day" post). Touche, darling, touché. After many posts and comments on both our blogs, during which I threw around the phrase “axe-murderer” a few times, he posted his character-defense, linked to above.

Just to fill in some blanks:

While it’s true that I told Brett our engagement is off if I find out he’s an axe-murderer, and it’s also true that I sort of graphically explained exactly what part of meeting an axe-murderer puts me off – the part where I’m scattered across the Midwest in a zillion pieces, of course – I was using “axe-murderer” as an obvious – or so I thought – euphemism for “anyone wishing me ill”. I do not truly expect to find that Brett is an axe-murderer. Especially because any self-respecting axe-murderer would know how to cover up his tracks. Probably I would be scattered across the cornfields and no one would ever know.

I would become an America’s Most Wanted special.
Or Dateline.
Or 48 Hours.
...You get the idea.

The "Other Creepy Folks" Part of this:

Yes, I’m cautious.
I’ve never (that I know of) had an internet stalker before, but I did have the real kind. Well, two, but one of them didn’t make me afraid, just annoyed. But the FEAR thing…There is nothing scarier than thinking you are totally alone and suddenly feeling someone’s hands pressing down on your shoulders and hearing a voice very close to your ear asking in a quietly demanding tone where you were that morning? [Dear heaven above, my heart is pounding just writing about it] Where *he* expected me to be was chapel, at my college campus. I did not go to chapel that day because I was deliberately altering my routine in an effort to avoid him.

[Okay, heart, slow back down to normal...good.]

I’m not a person with many fears. I can be surprised or startled, but causing fear to rise in me is rare (which, ironically, seems to scare my mother). I don’t want it to happen again.

This all sounds very heavy, which I did not intend. The past is the past, and it’s all good now. I’m not seeking sympathy, just explaining my seemingly inexplicable behavior.

So yes, I’m a bit cautious. No, I do not think Brett is out to get me, but the constant vigilance persists from earlier days. It becomes habit.
(I am actually feeling a bit guilty that I’m so guarded when so many of the blogs I love include generous writers who truly share who they are, and one of the semi-composed posts I have waiting includes a bit more detail, just in case anyone is wondering about me.)

Back to the issue at hand:

…Actually, this axe-murderer line seems to have started so long ago, I can’t think how I came up with it.
…I think I was actually initially checking his archives more to see if this “proposing to some random internet-chica on Valentines Day” was just a tradition. Like maybe I had simply won the luck of the draw for 2012. Talk about an idea back-firing. I’m beginning to see him as a witty guy, a devoted father, with a healthy sense of adventure, Christian morals and loving family… !@(*#& Internet. I guess the joke's on me!

In a cruel twist of fate, this whole spiel has exposed the chink in my armor:

After I wrote this out and put it to bed until today, I looked up Brett’s fb page, and was laughing so much I ALMOST commented on a tweet, but thought no, that would provide a link to my fb page, my true identity and everything, and that’s just too much.
So I very cleverly decided to email my comment to him – haha! That way he’d only get my email address, which isn’t so far from my blog I.D. Clever me.

DOH! I did not think that my real name showed when I emailed to a new address. Hoisted on my own petard. (that is too a phrase. Shakespeare, I think. I’m pretty sure it means I was killed by my own sword.)

If all my tight-knit defenses are the Death Star, then I just shot a photon torpedo into my own 2-meter thermal exhaust port. Doggone it.

27 February, 2012

It's a Major Award! (and it's not a leg-lamp)

“You like me! You really like me!” (Wasn’t that Sally Fields?) I won an award!

My dear internet-fiance, Brett at the blog The Transformed Non-Conformist has granted me the Liebster Blog award! Wow. I’m so humbled. He was the first to follow my blog, and his blog falls into my favorites, too. Be sure to check him out at the link above. (my page greys out links, so scroll over it to see it.)

I take my Liebster Blog Award very seriously. Please bear with me through this intro. I think it’s an important distinction. [and your German tutelage for the day] “Liebster” is usually translated as “favorite” or possibly “dear” or “dearest”, but I took several years of German, and see the root “Liebe” which means love, so to me a better word is “beloved”. The suffix “-ster” means “most”. A something-meister is the greatest at whatever the “something” is. (think “maestro”=”meister”) Some bloggers are genuine “word-meister”s: masters of word-usage.

Liebe (love)
+ the superlative suffix –ster (truncated meister)
= “most loved”.
Ja wohl.
(to my German reader(s), correct me, please, if I’m out of line here.)

Who, oh who, are my most beloved blogs? First there are some rules.
1.       Link back to the person who nominated me. (check) Hi Brett!
2.       Award five of my own “Liebster Blogs” and notify them on their blogs.
2a. My five nominees must have fewer than 200 followers each.

I am a rule-follower. However, not all of my most-loved blogs post their follower-numbers on their page. What to do? Besides, those numbers may be skewed; I haven’t officially linked as “follower” to all the blogs I follow…actually, I don’t think I’m technically a “follower” of the Transformed Non-Conformist! But I keep a written list, check in regularly, and if I’m enjoying a blog consistently, I add it to my blog-roll. Although I have an awfully long written list, so my blogroll would probably sink the internet if I added all of you, my Liebsters! [German lesson II: That should really be "Liebschen" which means a person who is beloved, but I'm sticking with Liebster because it's funnier. Ja wohl.]

Of those blogs I check regularly, I first want to mention Sara’s blog Sarasaur-Tangled Skein. I’ve linked to her in a post earlier, just because I love her. Sara doesn’t post often, but the girl is a genuine nut – like me. Her posts are off-the-wall funny, or deeply heartfelt, or both. She doesn’t have it easy, but seems to deal with things through humor, which is always a good thing. As I said before, if I’m ever in her direction, I’m taking this Liebster out for coffee (or something). Stop by and give her some love!

I don’t know how I found A Holly with Follies – probably trolling ya’ll’s comment sections. Holly lives on a farm she and her husband are renovating, and she describes in vivid detail some of the pride and pitfalls that go along with it… in addition to general stuff about horrible winter weather and video games and pet-issues. But...CRACK ME UP! OMG you MUST read her recent post about the guinea-hens. p.s. she posts a warning up front that she swears on her blog, but she really doesn’t do it as much as some others I love.

I regularly check the blog Confessions of a Cornfed Girl to see what Johi is up to. I admit I feel a sort of kinship with her because I, too, was a Cornfed Girl from Iowa right up until the summer I turned 10 and my family moved to the other side of the world. (literally. Sri Lanka. Check it out on a globe – couldn’t be further from Iowa and still be on the planet!) But you don’t need to be a Cornfed Girl to get it. She writes about her life with her husband and sons in Colorado, continually poking fun at herself and the craziness around her. I enjoy her stylings, and obviously I’m not alone, since she’s pretty close to the max number of followers for this award.

Here, I get into a grey area. My next two nominees do not post their follower-numbers. I can’t believe their numbers are small, but perhaps just small enough. I leave it to the gods of the internet to determine if I am in violation of the rules.

Misty over at Misty’s Laws includes a lot of funny photos of crazy people/things she sees daily. She is the original cameraphone-ninja! Check out her Weekly Whacked, if you can’t get to her site more often than that. Also, I just double-checked to see if her follower-numbers were suddenly posted, and today is her birthday! Misty, since I won’t send you my killer-bunny stapler for your birthday, just know that you are one of my Liebster Blogs! (I hope it’s a better present than a stapler.)

And last but not least I nominate Kendall at This is Not That Blog. She’s one of those blog-artistes who draws her blog…with skill and humor.  The ideas that come out of her mind are best rendered graphically, it would appear. Go on, check it out…randomly click into her archives. You’ll love it. Especially with St. Patrick’s Day coming, find her “Leprechaun Bingo” and maybe we can get a blogosphere-wide bingo game going this year!

As I said, there are others that I check on regularly, too, but for non-professional writers with under 200 followers, these five are truly "liebster"! I hope you think so, too.

24 February, 2012

Reply All = EPIC FAIL!!!

This is TOO GOOD NOT TO POST!
So, it’s late in the workday, and I got an email from someone about planning a major meeting involving several lord-high muckymucks for sometime in March, and requesting response about the better date.

The date choices offered were 3/16 and 3/23. I have plans in the evening on 3/23, which wouldn’t really be a problem, but I’d prefer the 3/16 option, since the location is up-state. (Delaware’s small, but still…) I added that some of us might even enjoy going out to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day after the meeting adjourned, since it will be an all-day affair and we don’t all see each other very often, being spread across the state.

After suggesting going out after the meeting I added the phrase, “I know, beach party animal, me” with a smiley face. Because in the state of Delaware, those of us who live near the beach are notoriously more laid-back and carefree, and presumably drink and party more than those up north. It's just a stereotype... Really... Shut up.

Because these emails are typically sent by one of my counterparts, to all the rest of the people in our same position, I hit “reply all”, as I usually do. Because I enjoy being around my counterparts and again, it doesn’t happen often, so I wanted to include anyone who might find the suggestion agreeable.

My first two replies were from people who do NOT hold my same position.

Hmm…I must have made a mistake. How did Mary and Susan know about this meeting if it was just for us? (Mary and Susan are friends of mine, who actually work in an office closer to my home, and who I have in fact gone out with. It would be great if they were there! Awesome!)

Let me just look at the “sent to” portion…

Holy. Crap-eroni! With bells on.

CC’ed to ALL the superintendents, all the administrators, some people from other offices I don’t usually deal with and who therefore don’t-know-about-my-witty-humor-and-good-nature, and THE BIG BOSS HIMSELF!!!! (who is a very nice guy, but not someone I want to go out with on St. Paddy’s)

Epic. Fail.

My office-mate and I laughed uproariously as I recited names off the "sent to" and "CC" list.

Then I attempted a “message recall”. The list of people with “recall failures” (meaning they’d already read my faux pas) is pretty humorous, too…including a previous supervisor with a great sense of humor who I’ve no doubt will have something to say!

Boy, is my face red.

I then sent a more specific email to only those I thought I was “replying all” to, explaining my thoughts on potentially going out that night. Schadenfreude being what it is, they should all get a laugh! (it’s German, look it up.)

(I know, I'm posting twice in one day. Please don't ignore my previous post, I'm still seeking feedback. Just had to get this out there.)

Asking the cosmos - Is it Bad to Boomerang?

Today’s subject has been on my mind for a while. Sorry if it's long-winded.

I briefly commented here that my dad had a mini-stroke, and it freaked me out a bit. He’s doing fine, although they still don’t know what caused it. My dad’s theory is that it is linked to the very long-distance flight he and my mom were taking at the time. Non-stop from Istanbul to Chicago. (Mom makes sure to walk the airplane aisles occasionally if they’ll be aloft that long.) Dad could be right in his guess.

Anyway, he’s getting control back over his right hand, and they are now off on a road-trip. (yeah, I got my travel urge genetically.) As I said, it had not affected his mind, his humor, or any of the important stuff that makes him so brilliant. It was just frustrating for him.

I have a fantastic relationship with my parents. I realize how fortunate I am in that. I spend vacation at their house, which I call “my private retreat in the woods”. It is awesome, and peaceful (unless my siblings are there with their families), and they appreciate me being there. (I’m low maintenance, and I get the coffee going before they get up. ...and walk the dog. ...and Dad usually has some task for me to help him with while I’m there.) Keep in mind, where they retired has never been home to me, so when I go there the only people I know are “their” people. I don’t have a bunch of other things to do. Totally. Relaxing.

On one visit a couple years ago, Mom and I had a “girls’ day out”. We went to a craft store, had lunch, and saw a chick flick. Mom confessed that Dad doesn’t like to try new restaurants. He has a couple he likes and prefers to stick to them, but Mom likes to try a wider variety. So she really appreciated the opportunity to go somewhere she doesn’t get to go with Dad. At that point I thought, “Hm…If I moved closer, we could do these things more often, and try all the places on Mom’s list!” And especially now, while they’re healthy enough to get out and about and do things. 

That was two years ago. Or maybe more.

So Dad’s stroke was like a bolt from the blue telling me to move my butt over to their corner of the world.

I’ve moved spontaneously before. Just up and left, and looked for a job when I arrived. It all worked out. But that was a different economy. It’s riskier now. A MUCH larger leap of faith to assume that I can even find a job. But that’s what I’m looking at doing. I don’t want to waste any more time. I want to have those fun days out with Mom. I want to help Dad chop firewood. I want the intellectual stimulation that I get from my family that doesn’t come from most of my friends.

And I have itchy feet. I’ve lived in Delaware for 11 ½ years. A long long long long long time for someone like me. My strongest tie here is my best friend, who continually tells me that I must not leave, and I know she would miss me. (She was my boss at one point, and has been a good reference for me since then. She hints that if she’s called for a reference for a job out of state that I’ll get a bad reference, and I’m only half-sure she’s kidding!) I’m used to moving more than she is – people come and go in life …maybe more to the point, I come and go in life. But within the last year, I’ve observed that she has developed another close friendship. At first I was actually a little jealous, and then I realized that now, at least she won’t be lonely when I move. Because I’ve known for years that I have to move.

So, Dudes, here’s the question:
Do I follow my inner prompting, move closer to my parents, and seek a job when I get there? Or do I do the “smart” thing, slowly seek a job – knowing most companies aren’t going to hire someone who has to relocate if there’s someone local – and move after/if I find a job?

I really am interested in hearing the views out there; please don’t censor yourself in the comments.

I know what I want to do, but in order to do it I will have to impose myself on my parents for an indeterminate amount of time. The way I see it playing out is like so:
  1. Pack up (sell a bunch of stuff first) and move in with Mom and Dad.
  2. Look for a job – retail if nothing else. My work history includes retail management, so I know I can do it, I just don’t love it. Part-time if necessary to start with and help with bills, until I can get a full-time job.
  3. Full-time job found, seek apartment.
  4. Apartment found, move out of parents’ house, but still be close enough to enjoy them.

Sounds simple, but could be anything but.

I don’t want to be a boomerang baby. I don’t want to mooch off my folks, but I do want to be able to enjoy their company while they’re in their prime.

Of course, the drawback of living close to my parents is that I’ll have to see the rest of my family more often…hmmm… just kidding…or am I?

...and feel free to correct me if I missed any there/their/they're spellings - there are a lot!

23 February, 2012

So now I'm Dreaming about Blogging? Crap.

To quote Holly Golightly, "Quelle Night!" (please correct my French, if you know where the accent goes.)

That’s right. Last night I had two “blogocentric” dreams. First I dreamed that The Bloggess turned me into a cartoon on her page. If you read her regularly, as I think the entire blogging world does, then you understand how this dream came about.

Second, I dreamed that I actually met my internet-fiance (blog-fiance? I still don’t know what we are…), Brett of the Transformed Non-conformist, only we still didn’t meet. That dream was kind of Scooby-Doo-ish. You know, lots of going in random doors and coming out others? …But I kept running into his son, who didn’t look like the son Brett posts about in his blog, but I knew it was him because, you know how in dreams you just know? Yeah, that. Also, random members of my own family kept popping up behind the various doors. Hmm… Parse that one, dream-analysts!

(For anyone new to my blog, check out the comment section of this post to catch up. There’s more in Brett's blog, but this is where it started.)

I should explain that these dreams occurred AFTER I awoke at 1:30 a.m., had a small dose of Angry Birds Opium and, unable to go back to sleep after an hour of trying, I finally gave up, grabbed my pillow, and went into the living room to try to doze to a movie. Didn’t really work for a good long while, but obviously I slept at some point, long enough for two distinct dreams.

It’s Karma.
The rough night is, I mean.
See, yesterday was not the first time I took a “mental health day”. I don’t do it often, but I have done it before. However, yesterday I bragged about it online. Shame on me! Not that anyone I know is on here, or even knows about this blog, but still, I tempted fate, and fate accepted the bait, Doggone it.

Since I’m not on-form today, and while I’m inserting links like …wow, there are so many great analogies for that one and my brain is just off. Pick your analogy of choice. Wait, let me know your “link inserting” analogy of choice in the comment-section.
ANYway, I would like to point you to an LOL-funny blog I found recently: Sara's  Tangled Skein is a riot - at least she tickles my distorted funny-bone, so I hope you feel the same. If I ever get out to Spokane, I am totally taking this chica out for coffee (or something). She doesn’t post often, but it’s a gem when she does. So, since I’m not making you laugh, check her out!

AND for today’s reason to celebrate:
Today is the 25th anniversary of the closest exploding star seen on Earth since the telescope was invented. (Supernova 1987A, in the Large Magellanic Cloud, if you’re counting.) WHAT? A supernova?
Awesome.
Someone needs to create a drink called the supernova…or maybe “exploding star”. Either way.
...Maybe it should have bubbles… sweet. Happy Supernova, everyone!

22 February, 2012

Playing Hooky and Proud of It!

Hey Dudes!
(Sorry if "dude" annoys you. I live at the beach, and picked it up somehow. I'm not using it to be gender-specific, if that's not obvious. I've decided that ya'll are my "dudes". Deal.)

ANYway...
Hey, Dudes - I'm totally playing hooky today. Or, as my former boss would say, "taking a mental health day". Sometimes you just need an extra day to play catch up on life, sleep, housework, and since I have no definite commitment this evening, how nice not to have to drive anywhere. You know, saving gas is VERY good for the mental health!

Yes, I'm a little sniffly.
Yes, I could with some exaggeration claim I'm crampy.
Yes, my throat has bothered me the last few mornings.
Maybe, it could be pollen-related.
No, I don't feel like I'm on my death bed and cannot move.

I called in to take a sick-day, knowing that these days are so NOT busy at work that nobody will miss me. Besides most of the management is at a big conference today. And I've had a very productive day thus far! I'd launch into a "six impossible things I did before breakfast" but they're not impossible, not all before breakfast, and probably not six.

"Mental health, riiiight..." you say? Here's how mentally healthful this is:

1. Before I even got up I had beaten that Angry Birds level I was stuck at - Yea! Body releases dopamine into my system. Good for the mental health.
2. I moved on into some of the "nickel-slot-style" easy-win levels, but successfully put down the Angry Birds even without feeling stuck on a level! Conquering an addiction. Good for the mental health.
3. After rising, I exercised (which looks spelled wrong) releasing positive endorphines. Good for the mental health.
4. Ate sugary cereal for breakfast, which takes me back to my youth, when we never kept sugared cereal in the house so it was a very unique occasion and always at someone else's house, like Grandma's. Ah, nostalgia. A little nostalgia is good for the mental health.
5. After finishing breakfast, the kettle whistled, I made my giant mug of Earl Grey and went for a walk on the beach. (Dude, it's supposed to get into the upper 60s today, how could I not?) About 45 minutes. Endorphines AND Vitamin C. Very good for the health and mental health. Also, more exercise. SO healthy! Plus meditation time, excellent.
6. When I got out of the shower, I set up a time to skype with my parents later today. We talk every Wednesday, which is unbelievably vital to my mental health. They keep me grounded.
7. I also emailed a friend for her address so I can send her birthday gift, finally. If she gets back to me today, I can wander in to the Post Office and mail it. Sense of accomplishment: good for the mental health!

...and that's just the things I've already done. I still intend to do some of that "catch up" housekeeping, and if time and energy allow, I may even get going on my "organize my house" resolution by rearranging things or at least doing the prep-work. (I've already measured the spaces I want things to go, but need to clear bookshelves in order to move them.)

If it's truly warm, I'll have a beer on my deck later, because that makes me feel like summer's coming and although I'm not particularly a summer-lover, I do enjoy my deck, and again, out on the deck I'll be getting more vitamin C, and curing some cabin fever. ...wait, what time is sunset? Maybe I'll make it a mixed drink and have a "sun-downer" as my dad calls it.

AND on another note:
Today's "reason to celebrate" for those of you who will not be partaking of the Ash Wednesday tradition (which ya can't really call a "celebration" anyway, can ya?) is "Losar" or Tibetan New Year! Excellent! ANOTHER New Year! Get out the bubbly, everyone!

21 February, 2012

I Think I'm High

(shh…middle of workday…)
So I just went to the storage room to get more copy paper, and something smells GREAT! I mean great in the “getting high from paint” – or markers, or white-out – sense. I looked around to see what it was. Someone must have recently cleaned, but it wasn’t cleaning fluid.

New rubber gloves?
This other plastic-y thing that we keep gazillions of?
Was it some lubricant the elevator guy used? He was just here and the elevator room is right across from the storage room.
Did we just get more freshly printed forms or brochures?

I inhaled deeply a few times, trying to identify the smell.

No idea what caused it, but I think I’m high.
…and I’ve been so careful to print those 42-million handouts I’ve been working on in small batches so as not to get high from the copier toner!

(Perhaps I should add the disclaimer that I’ve never done illegal drugs of any kind - not for lack of opportunity, and all appearances to the contrary. Not necessarily because they are illegal, although I’d be the one to get in trouble so it’s always good for me to stay on the legal side, but because I have realized that something in my brain makes me feel addicted rather quickly. I’ve always thought I was just weak-willed, but NPR did a story on this phenomenon recently: It’s a real thing! For anyone in doubt, just read my post about Angry Birds and you will believe!) (I guess you could look up the NPR story for actual facts, too.)

sidebar:
Since I am committed to providing everyone with a reason to celebrate, the obvious reason to celebrate today: Fat Tuesday!...I think when I get home I’d better have a few hefty drinks, just to celebrate…and because I’m halfway there anyway!

Star Trek: 2013 ...wait, WHAT!?!

I was just sure that the next Star Trek movie was coming out in 2012. Just Sure.
You know, the sequel to the 2009 movie with Chris Pine as Kirk and Karl Urban as a PERFECT Bones (fave line: "I got no place else to go. My ex-wife took the whole damn planet in the divorce. All I've got left are my bones.") I’ve been waiting, J.J. Abrams!

It suddenly occurred to me after watching Star Wars 3D recently that I’ve not yet seen a trailer for Star Trek. Hmm…so I went to imdb to check it out…2013!!! 2013 for the as yet untitled next Star Trek movie. Oh, the torture.

You mock me, J.J. Abrams!
You set us up with this really good cast and interesting new twist on the whole history of the characters, not to mention your visually striking production style, and make us wait FOUR YEARS? Nothing like anticipation, huh?

Now I don’t look up movies in advance. I just don’t follow them. I can barely remember whether I was interested in a movie’s trailer by the time the movie’s actually released, and I wouldn’t want to ruin it by reading it online before I see it.

I did not read a synopsis of the new Star Trek on imdb – didn’t even notice if there’s one listed, frankly – BUT, I am excited to see they are adding Benedict Cumberbatch to the cast! (THE best name in all of show business by the way. …and if I had a parrot, I would  name it Benedict Cumberbatch, clearly.) He’s not a household name yet, and I had to blow up the thumbnail of him to see why the name rang a bell. They didn’t list it in his credits, but the first time *I* saw him was as Sherlock Holmes in the new 2010 BBC Sherlock Holmes series. It was awesome – he’s great. Then I saw him in Tinker Tailor. He played the young guy doing all the running around for Gary Oldman’s character.

His Star Trek character was not named, but I’m thinking Klingon. He’d be a good Klingon.

So yea! Something to look forward to. …FOR A YEAR. Grr…

On a totally unrelated note, I heard an interview with William Shatner on NPR the other day, and the interviewer (I forget who it was) asked if he spoke Klingon. The answer: Yes, fluently. Which in Shatner’s words means “I spit a lot when I speak it.” Heh. Did you know Shatner has a one-man show on Broadway right now? I'm skeptical. I don't trust one-man-shows. Kind of ego-centric, and where's the fun of the banter with other characters?

ANYhoo...
I think I have to get me some other Star Trek movies. Like Wrath of Kahn. I don't remember all the details of all the movies, but I do know that the first is kind of lame, and Wrath of Kahn is AWE and then Some. If I don't stock up now, how will I make it through this whole next stinkin' year?

J.J. Abrams, you have just ruined 2012. Thanks.

20 February, 2012

To "Gift" or to Give?

For today's Monday morning rant, I just want to throw this out into cyberspace, and see what kind of controversy I can stir up.

Is it me, or have you also heard professionals using the term "gifting". (or, you know, pick your conjugation of choice.)

Hint: It's a NOUN, not a verb, people!

Now, I'm the first to argue that English is a living language and therefore a changing one. I'm not afraid to end a sentence with a preposition if that's the most concise way to say it. But "gift" as a verb drives. me. up. the. wall.

THIS is a gift:


If you do this well:

...or maybe, this...

That is a gift, too. Also, you might be considered "gifted", but "gifted" is still not a verb in that sense!

But the act of doing this:


is not (or, should not be, IMHO) "gifting"!
UGH. Sets my teeth on edge.

You can give a gift.
You can present someone with a gift.
You can offer a gift.

Somehow the new, verb form conveys to me images of whatever gift is being "gifted" being thrown at a person. Launched, like from a catapult. My pastor loves to pray, "Lord, you 'gift' us with a new day..." and it feels like a medicine ball to the gut. "You gift us...OOF!" ...Or maybe more like a piano landing on Roger Rabbit. Great. Thanks for smashing me by "gifting" me!

Also, it's one-sided. To give a gift means someone else receives or rejects the gift. "Gift"ing doesn't imply that option.

I'm sure I'm not alone, but what am I missing here? What other overused terminologies are offensive in your world? Also, if you believe "gifting" is an improvement on the old "giving", please, convince me!

*all photos came from Bing Images*

17 February, 2012

Really, a Very Sweet Story! (a heart-warmer, in case you need one)

This is my favorite story of my parents’, I think.
…and after 47 years, they have a lot of them!

Background:
My mom is musical. That was actually on my dad’s “list” of traits he was seeking in a future spouse. My dad enjoys music, but doesn’t play anything, and only sings in church. But he knows music well from the physics standpoint and has taken to refurbishing old pump-organs in his retirement. Also important to the story: to Dad, a pipe organ is the Holy of Holies.

There has always been a piano in our family house. When I was little, it was a baby grand. …and a harpsichord, actually. When we moved overseas, we got an upright. They moved back State-side and ended up with my grandma’s old spinet in their new house, which had no room for a larger one. When retirement came up, Dad bought Mom a new baby grand. Again, he doesn’t play, but has the ear to know there’s a difference, and anyone who has sat down at a grand and an upright can feel the difference in the action of the keys. What is an extravagant gift to most people just made sense to Dad.

The story:
They chose where they wanted to spend retirement, and had a house built to specs meant to last them the rest of their days, including a “Great Room”. What’s so great about it? Well, planning for every eventuality of aging, if one of them becomes an invalid or if hospice becomes involved, a bed could be wheeled into the Great Room and that person could still take part in family festivities.

When they moved in, Mom chose a corner of the Great Room for the piano and Dad said, “That’s great! Then we can put a pipe organ on the other side of that window!”

This is the piano in question. (you can see, the house isn't 100% complete yet in this picture...
the hole in the wall for the vent, the boxes, the large frame on the floor leaning against the wall.)


Mom, knowing better than to assume either humor or seriousness, defended her territory with “We are NOT having a pipe organ in the great room! If we ever got a pipe organ, it would have to go into a room downstairs.” (Their house is on a hill, and the main floor is actually the “upstairs”. Downstairs opens onto a patio slightly down-slope.)

Mom never for a moment thought that Dad was genuinely considering a pipe organ.
(This first part of the story I got from Mom well after the rest of the story happened.)

The Rest of the story:
Dad is all connected-up in the pipe organ world. (Ha! You didn’t know there was such a thing, did you?) When a smallish, “affordable” one came available, guess who bought it! Some of the bigger pipes had to be altered (a bend put in at the top) to fit in the low-ceilinged downstairs, but the whole organ – keyboard, pedals, bench and pipes – fits in one of the small downstairs rooms with no windows, that was just being used for storage.

Now, in my parents’ world, this gift of a pipe-organ is the equivalent of a gift of lingerie in the real world: The gift is given to a woman, who uses it, but the man gets to enjoy it, too!

My mom does use it. She’s one of the organists at their church, and it is genuinely convenient for her to not have to drive down the hill and into town to practice. (who'da thunk a pipe organ was a "convenience"!) Also, she has two organ students now. ...And, although she grumbles that “the kids will never be able to sell this house when we’re gone – not with a pipe organ in the basement” she also plays for fun.

My dad’s side of the story is that the day the installation was complete, he was out in the yard and suddenly “Phantom of the Opera!” (his words). I’m quite sure he’s never heard Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical, and I don’t think he’s seen the other, older versions; however I know Mom does a mean Cantata and Fugue in D Minor by Bach – I think that’s the title, you know, the one in Fantasia? – So I’m guessing that’s what he heard. Either way, this has been the gift that keeps giving, to them both.

…and to me! I just love this! I love that Mom was totally blind-sided, but couldn’t really complain because a) it was a gift and b) she had given tacit approval by saying where she would prefer to have a pipe organ! *headslap* I love the uniqueness of having parents with a pipe organ in the house. It’s just so weird! It’s perfect. Perfectly weird… for two relatively normal people such as they are.

Have you ever given or received an extravagant gift out of the blue?

16 February, 2012

Annoyance and Redemption!! - with a smile!

This is “that” day. You know the one: Random annoyances happening that don’t really ruin your day, but seethe just below the surface and make you wish you’d followed your instinct to stay home? I started two different posts, and each ended up in a rant. Not fun. To sum them up, 1) steps are being taken against the office stalker (I can’t claim him to be solely “my” stalker since he creeps out every female in the building.) and 2) I was ranting about Valentine’s day, because although the day is past, I can’t avoid it online.(grr) But I want to end the madness, not continue it, so that’s a no-go subject.

…It's not entirely inconceivable that it could be PMS.

Then I visited the blog of my new internet-fiance (I guess? E-fiance? Blog-fiance?) Future (possibly pretend) spouse? at the Transformed Non-Conformist, and suddenly I have something to write about!

First, he included me as a link in today’s post, and my most recent post was a bit of a cop-out/experiment, not my best example, so I better post something else, quick.
Second, this whole situation is just too weird! He’s right. We’ve never met, and who knows if we ever will. But it’s kind of a fun idea to have an unknown person all signed on for commitment, internet-wise or whatever. Kind of like an out-of-body experience (especially if he really knew me).

Here’s the Twilight Zone-iness: Part of my job, until recently, has involved dealing with folks planning to get married. I’ve seen it all, from the gooey-eyes to the cancellation in tears, from the extreme expectations of a grand day, to the 25 people and a priest. I have this dread that people who are overly concerned about the wedding day are expending their time, money and energy in the wrong direction when they should be saving that energy for the actual marriage. Because another thing this relationship guru (from afar, folks, from afar) has observed is that relationships are work! Why put so much pressure on one day?

So I long ago started informing my coworkers that if I ever did decide to take the plunge, they wouldn’t know anything about it until one day I turned up married.

Re-read that, in case you missed the connection...
Get it???

Lo and behold, I’m internet-engaged and nobody who actually knows me knows anything about it! And bonus: I’ve never even met the guy! It’s all out here in the blogosphere. Just you, my online homies, are in on it. Teehee. Doesn’t it feel good to be in on a giant secret? It’s awesome!

P.S. Brett, I am enjoying every minute of this. I’ll see you on January 1st. …and by the way, the irony of proposing to The. MOST. anti-Valentine’s Day person on the planet on Valentine’s Day itself, …well, I’m laughing now, but some sort of payback torture is showing in my crystal ball.

15 February, 2012

UPDATED: Having Fun at Work - WHAT? making it happen

I have an under-developed sense of professionalism, I think. I mean, my actual work is very professional; I take notes in meetings; I meet deadlines; I keep open the chains of communication, and all that, but of all the offices and cubicles in my workplace, mine is easily the most entertaining. Allow me to show you!

(Be kind, this is an experiment with putting photos in my blog, without having them settle at the top.)

First, I offer a warning...
...but it's not an empty threat!
I have a flying Monkey gun! (trebuchet, in fact)
I got a "Chicken-Chucker" (same thing with mini-rubber-chickens) for my officemate. It seemed only fair.

I am the only one in our entire building with any cartoons. I can't think why.
The Maxine says "I finally found Mr. Right. I call him up, he brings me a pizza, and then he goes away."
The other one is a cartoon called Grizzwells. As the two are digging through the trash, the porcupine says "What's this, Gunther?" and the bear says, "Don't you know anything? That's an answering machine." The porcupine mutters "cool..." then says "So where do you put in the questions?" to which Gunther replies "Beats me...I'm not one of those computer geeks..." I love it! Nobody else laughs at it. ...I'm so alone.


Okay, this is just silliness...


Here's where I hide my tea:
(It was a Christmas gift from a co-worker who GETS IT!)

This is everyone's favorite corner of my desk:
(The yellow is a Daily Affirmation Ball, the purple, a Sarcasm Ball.)

The Executive Decision Maker deserves a close-up:
(That's a photo of a baby Osprey behind the decision-maker)
This was a gift from a dear, no-nonsense friend who thinks (thought?) I'm "capricious in my decision-making". Bless her, she thought she'd help me!

Wow. The photos worked! Sort of. I'm terrified to fool with the font above, for fear of deleting the painstakingly downloaded photos. I give a lot of credit to those of you who regularly post photo-heavy blogs - what a time-consumer!

There's other fun stuff like my talking "Brian" - push a button and he says things like "Who's leg do you have to hump to get a dry martini around here?" or "Don't make me beg." Or like the bubbles, and zen-garden which are actually not front-and-center, although the flying monkeys are usually tucked away unless in use. Or my "idiot mug" of a pen-holder, and the Killer-Bunny stapler. But I'm tired of taking pictures, downloading them to the computer, then to the blog. Geez. You guys get a lot of credit!

...and this was a great diversion, and hopefully more fun to read than the blog I was tempted to write, about my stalker, who I've now taken steps by talking to his boss, so that nobody is blind-sided if this continues and I have to go to HR! But I can't write it without sounding like I'm either a martyr or on a soap-box, so I decided to just play. - good idea!

UPDATE:
Just for Misty's benefit (since I can't put the picture in the comments)...
It's from Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail, if you're wondering. I think I got it from the What On Earth catalog. (whatonearthcatalog[dot]com, I think)

14 February, 2012

Lupercalia - your REAL Valentine

Now that you all know how I feel about Valentines Day, allow me to introduce Lupercalia – a pagan holiday that takes place February 13-15, and may be the reason that the ancient Christian church decided it needed a holiday at this time (you know, to Christian-up a pre-existing party). Wikipedia tells me that Lupercalia was to “avert evil spirits and purify the city, releasing health and fertility”…sounds like an orgy to me!

Originally, I was inspired to write about books today – seeing that I can’t stop buying them, and the first thing anyone sees on entering my house is my “books purchased but not yet read” (several purchased second-hand, but still). But when the term “bibliophile” was used in my general direction as I perused The Onion's "Our Dumb World" atlas, I realized that I’d be writing a love story. And I, for one, will not write about love on February 14 (hereafter known as Lupercalia)!

Tangent:
When my dearest friend got my Christmas card and letter this year, she said “You should write love stories” …or maybe it was “You should write romances”. Something like that. Knowing my utterly non-romantic nature, I still don’t get it.
ANYhoo!

I’m glad I found out about Lupercalia. I've heard "happy valentines day" enough today to make my ears bleed. Now at least I can reply with a "happy lupercalia" in return. ...I actually got an email from a (male) friend who really should know better. The email's subject was "happy valentines day". I did not open it - figured I'll wait at least until tomorrow, because clearly this dear old friend who has known me for 15 years (ish) does not actually know me at all. Such a shame. I can only assume that he's just following "the Valentines Day rules" and not really thinking about the person he sent the email to.

For my part, I'm having second thoughts about my movie choice for later tonight. What do I have that could be construed as "pagan celebration" - 300? One of the Harry Potters? LOTR? Wizard of Oz? In a world where anything goes, what still counts as pagan?

13 February, 2012

Your Bloody Valentine's Day...

I’m not a fan of Valentine’s Day and it has nothing to do with being “alone” which is my choice, or being “reminded that I don’t have anyone” or anything like that. I don’t wear black in protest, or mourning, or whatever that’s supposed to signify.

Here’s my deal: It’s NOT ROMANTIC, homies! St. Valentine was a martyr! While incarcerated he wrote notes to the jail-keeper’s daughter and signed them “your” – as was common even in Jane Austen’s day – which gave us the phrase “your Valentine”. …at least that’s the popular one of many saints Valentine. February 14 celebrates the date of his burial. Happy Valentine’s Day, ya’ll!

Besides, if you love someone, do you really need a special day to tell them? Haven’t you already told them? Don’t you show them in myriad ways? If not, shame on you. Doing something special on Valentine’s Day is a cop-out. How much nicer when it’s a surprise for no reason!

So okay, a lot of people might appreciate a “gimme” holiday that basically tells you what to do and how to celebrate. Fine. But really? Named after - and celebrated on -  the day a MARTYR was BURIED? Let’s call it what it is: Happy “Hallmark Totally Made This Up” Day. Or, my personal favorite: Happy “Anniversary of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre” Day. Heehee. Did I mention I used to live in Chicago?

I’m wracking my brain, and I don’t think I’ve actually been in a relationship on the fake holiday. But then, if I was involved with someone who decided to “do something special” on that day, I would probably get up and walk out of the restaurant, or otherwise ruin all the careful planning. Because really, if we’re together, you KNOW this about me. You KNOW I find this holiday trite and phony and a waste of time and money. So if you have made the colossal mistake of attempting “romance” (key point: I’m not romantic, either - at least not in a traditional way) then you MUST be hinting that it’s time for our relationship to end.

I actually have a commitment – not romantic, and not one-on-one – tomorrow night, so it’s a non-issue for me. But when I get home? Sweats and the movie “Some Like It Hot” which opens in Chicago and includes reference to the massacre in question.

And maybe pizza.
And a beer.
Ah, romance!

To all those who also are not celebrating this martyr: You're welcome for the logical excuse.