Friday, December 22, 2006

Haiku Friday


Christmas is for some
But not all, for Steve can't find
Festivus sweaters

Attention: OCD Law Student Here

Here's a fun fact about me: I'm cripplingly OCD yet incredibly lazy. It's like Types A and B's love child.

I had been hoping to bring my outlines totally up-to-date by five o'clock today since tomorrow we leave for my grandparents' house. [FN1] Ha! No.

However, my administration of estates outline is 510 pages long. [FN2]

I need professional help.

[FN1] And may the good Lord help us all not to kill each other.
[FN2] For the uninitiated, outlines are the preferred method of studying for law students. Your very longest one ought to be no more than around 120 pages. EVER.

Baby Snatching


When you get to a certain age, you start coveting....Especially when they're this cute!

Anyone Need a Pair of Mittens?

I love sleep. In fact, I would say it is about my favorite-est thing in the world. Yes, I love it enough to violate English grammar like a naughty cabana boy in order to get that point across. I love it even more than Little Man (though not by much). However, lately my blissful sleep has been interrupted by something I love a lot less--my cat.

The cat and I have always had a troubled relationship--more like potluck roommates than like a a pet and its person. [FN1] First of all, from day one, she was not...the most...personable pet one could desire, and poor little Ursa has always been somewhat terrified that the cat was going to eat her. Second, though, was the fact that the cat was troublesome at night. In fact, other than the first week that I had her, she spent the entire first year of her life spending her nights in the bathroom locked up with her food and her litter box. After that, though, she seemed to level out.

Alas, it appears that my nocturnal luck has run out.

She has started pouncing on things that make, in her view, satisfying noises every couple of hours throughout the night. It's like having a baby. I haven't slept through the night in weeks. Around 4 a.m., I typically have had enough and decide to put her back in the bathroom, at which point I have to get out of bed and catch the beast.

Someone's little, furry butt is about to be demoted.





[FN1] This statement is even more accurate than it seems: The cat was a gift. NEVER give people animals as gifts. There is a lot of negative potential there about 95% of which the cat and I are realizing at the moment.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

More Sad News

What Do You Give the Little Man Who Has Everything? Part 2


O, Little Man. So handsome.

What Do You Give the Little Man Who Has Everything?

Your heart. And some spiffy Santa gear with jingle bells to bring joy to all.

[FN1] I cut out Little Man's handsome and terribly intelligent father because I figured he probably wouldn't want his face on the likes of this blog.
[FN2] That is one fine dog.

The Christmas Song

Grand fun and family friendly.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Goodbye


I've had my last gutpak. If you haven't had yours, hurry, because he closes this week.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Straight Man

I don't recommend books very often for the simple reason that time that I would be spending reading fun ones is usually spent keeping up with the federal tax code and other such head-turning legal literature.

However, Ursa gave me a copy of Straight Man, and I've made the time to read it and not been sorry--even though it's taken me a month to finish it. There are very few books that can cause me to laugh out loud, but this one did the trick. It's a delightful fictional account of one man's tenure as an interim head of an English department at a small university in western Pennsylvania. The main character is absolutely the life and heart of this book, as he lives solely to wreck havoc on the well-ordered world of academe around him for his own perverse entertainment in the middle of his midlife crisis.

The synopsis on booksamillion.com sums it up pretty well:

Friday, December 15, 2006

Uncle Bob on the Rate of Inflation

Personally I would kind of like a $42+some change electric bill.

> 1.I have a warm electric heater now. It did have a
> loose connection, but I fixed that.
> 2.Electric bill latest between $42 & $43!!!!!. That
> should tell you right there, that inflation is
> faster
> than interest-payments on CD-s. Best are
> hard-asset-type equities, like ETF-s (Exchange
> Traded
> Funds) mining shares, basic materials shares,
> precious
> metals shares, natural resources shares. Also those
> kinds of Mutual Funds, like T.Rowe Price, Wasatch,
> Etc., (No-Load kinds of Mutual funds). Best also
> are
> global & international, but those also best if of
> above categories.
> -- R.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Skwubs

Got this from Fiance today, who is nuts over Scrubs--it's reasonably cute.

Sorry the previous post looks funny. Blogger gave me a lot of trouble getting all that in on copy and paste. I don't really know why. There's also a picture of a homeless man that you can click on and maybe see. It's pretty much what Bob looks like.

I Think Everyone's Got a Crazy Uncle Bob


One of the most interesting aspects of my grandmother's newest foray into near-death-guilt-tripping is that she decided we were all going to visit her brother Bob for Thanksgiving.


I generally start stories about Bob with the words, "I have this crazy Uncle Bob," but people always interrupt and tell me that they think everyone's got one. The story usually ends up proving however, that no one's got one like mine.

First, I need to explain a little bit about him. He is cheap. He is 83 and only just got running water and electricity (the one of his sisters that allowed him to use her yard hose to bathe died a couple of years ago). The thing is, though, it's not that he can't afford things like heat and sewage, it's that he doesn't want to pay for them. He also hordes everything. We had to enter his house one person at a time because the only way to get through is to go through the paths made between his stacks of stuff. I'm not talking about paths through stuff on the floor--I'm talking about paths through the house. There's stuff piled from floor to ceiling like a hedge maze. Bob also visits the local library every day and sends e-mails like it's his job. Every e-mail he sends is cc'd to every person in his address book, no matter how personal, he has about thirty e-mail addresses (all marked "John Doe"), and he sends about three times that many e-mails a day.

So, after our Thanksgiving visit, I received a copy from my Dad of the e-mail excerpted below. Note especially numbers 5 and 8. I actually didn't delete anything there; he really just skipped from 5 to 8.

1.good visit yesterday. Thanks.

> 2.I misquoted, i.e. said wrong author for

> quatrain-verse that I e-mailed yesterday. It is by

> Joseph someone. Author I said wrote other poems on

> those same pages of that same book I was quoting

> from.

….

> 5.As to Oso, -- in Law School -- . I suppose

> pastors' children get a special deal at

> (Baptist-owned

> & operated) law school. Preacher-career is

> probably a good career. Helpful there if also a

> musician, maybe. But there is politics there too, &

> I

> think that Politics corrupts Religion, & that

> Religion

> corrupts Politics. I think Israel & the entire

> Mid-East is a prime example of that. I suspect that

> Louisiana Dry-Creek encampments = another example of

> it.

> But beware if into high-level politics, -- because

> there the CIA may assissinate her. I think a LOT of

> such killings go on in White-house & Camp David

> environs, -- & has done so for a long time.

> Maybe being a Divorce-Lawyer would also be good,

> --

> because marriage seems to be such an unnatural state

> of affairs, a legal quagmire, etc.

> Or maybe a Patent & Copyright Atty.

> 8.Most lawyers give me the creeps. I think that

> Lawyers, Beauticians, Car-Mechanics, Repair-persons

> for Cars or for Houses, & Barbers tend to have

> irresponsible & dishonest aspirations & natures...


I forwarded a copy to Ursa, who had this remark: "Uncle Bob is very kind to worry about your possible assasination. Also, I love how he compared Louisiana and the Middle East. He has an excellent grasp on reality that seems to be tightening by the minute."

Friday, December 01, 2006

Friday Haiku/Bear



I hear a loud thud
Slick floors make it hard to stop
Sometimes kittens slide

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Gobble, Gobble

Welcome back from Thanksgiving, everyone!

Personally, I am not so much a fan of the Turkey Day. For starters, I don't like turkey, However, my overall feelings on the holiday are best summed up by Fiance's statement that my family "just doesn't seem to enjoy spending time with each other." It's true. Everyone is just too independent and stubborn and involved for us to all get along for very long, and this Thanksgiving was no exception.

My father's parents are still both alive and in excellent health in their early eighties. They walk two miles every day and eat abstemiously. These are the people we spent the holiday with since they live between me and my dad and stepmother. Recently, my grandparents, and particularly my grandmother, have decided that their deaths are just around the corner, which I suppose is always true when you are their age, but there is no particular cause of death lingering nearby that the rest of us can see. The three days spent in their home were a minefield in which you might at any moment hear, "Well, soon we'll be dead and then you will feel so guilty that you didn't...."

For instance, when asked why we were having distant cousins over for dinner that none of us knew (including my grandmother) we were told, "Well, soon we'll be dead and then you will feel so guilty that you didn't spend more time getting closer to the rest of the family." When my father asked why my uncle didn't get included in all of this, she said, "Well, he calls more often." My father pointed out that we visit more often, to which my grandmother replied, "Well, your brother can't visit very often because he has a real job." Now, my father does, in fact, have a real job. It's nine-to-five and has only a set number of vacation days a year and everything. I think this is the point at which my stepmother (who had been trying desperately to behave herself) got involved and announced that they were booking hotel rooms for their stay at Christmas instead of staying there.

So, what did I get out of this particular Thanksgiving?

Soon, my grandparents are going to be dead, and we are all going to feel so guilty that we feel so relieved not to see each other around the holidays.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

This is Why I'm Marrying Him

First, he let's me use red as our wedding color, then last night he took me to Happy Feet, but today was the icing on my cake! We went to the zoo. Yes, the local zoo is a modest affair, but it has many very exciting exhibits just chalk full of fuzzy, adorable things. There were very tiny owls, otters, and BEARS. The bears even gave us a good show, swimming around in the the tank and fatting up against the glass most amiably. They even waggled their fat, furry bottoms at us. So exciting!

On a lesser note, if you take children to see Happy Feet, be prepared for a great deal of attempted penguinial tap dancing. It's worth it, just mind your feet and the ones of the strangers within a good five foot radius of the child in quesetion.

As a note, that's not really us. I'm rather grateful, though I shouldn't say so. There's more where that came from too.

Friday, November 17, 2006

This Could Be the Worst Decision of My Life


There is a reason I have been incommunicado. I bought a PS2. If there were any doubt before, it's all been cleared up: I have a compulsive personality. I haven't been able to put this stupid thing down. I'm going to have to unplug it and send it home with UrsaMinor.

Good Grief

Oddly enough, on the day that UrsaMinor and I get our Great American Novel idea, I discover that this piece of news. Who thought this was a good idea? Ick!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Also


PLEASE GO SEE THIS MOVIE. I LAUGHED SO HARD I CRIED.

It's been Too Long

So sorry that it has been so very, very long! Traveling and packing and schooling...phew!

The entire experience has taught me a couple of things. First, it has taught me that the hospitality industry is strikingly similar to the airline industry. Both oversell, and neither really cares just a whole of a hell lot about bringing back customers because they'll always be there. Second, it has taught me that I'm really not all that effective a law student. Monday (the first day of the quarter), I managed to convince myself that I did not have to class until 11:45 and managed to miss my 10:30 entirely. Tuesday was marked by a nap that ended about an hour into my 2:15 class. That made two classes missed on two separate days which happened to be the first two classes of the quarter. Fortunately (or unfortunately), I think my professors have already accepted my incompetence as a fact of life and have moved on. I'm sure I'll accept it soon, but I'm still fighting.

Meanwhile, I came home to an apartment that was an absolute mess (because I left it that way) and a lightbulb outage of 75%. I spent the better part of my first day home on a ladder or setting off bleach bombs. I also came home to about twenty unfinished projects, including a rather large painting.

Even though being home provides me with instance after instance of my glaring defects, it is still wonderful to be home!

Monday, October 30, 2006

For Angela

This Poko?

You Know What He Did?

I had almost forgotten about this video, although I'm not sure how I could have.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

WOULD YOU LIKE BEAR ON YOUR ICE CREAM?

Okay. I'm done now.

I Used to be 12(b)(6)

YOU ARE RULE 20(a)!You are Rule 20, an important part of the Federal Rules' policy of permissive joinder. You are designed specifically to allow as many parties in an action as can be tried efficiently, and you'll include someone as long as there is some factual overlap between a claim involving them and the rest of the case at hand. You are popular, out-going, and are never far from friends. However, your overly gregarious nature and magnanimous approach do make things a bit crowded--you're the reason that lawsuits are often cluttered with innumerable parties and even more numberous claims for relief. Still, despite the crowds that you attract, you can't argue with the efficiency of getting everything done at once!

Female Archetypes

Today Osler's Razor posted about a little girl in cheerleading garb waving around her Barbie dolls at a football game and had a link to this article citing Barbie's controversial nature. If Barbie has been controversial from her inception, there is nothing new about this considering the fragile self-esteem of the children playing with her. The ideal female body changes with time and varies among cultures as can be seen from the marked differences between Rubens's models and Kate Moss. As I was pondering Barbie and the hotly contested healthiness of her proportions, it occurred to me that she bears a striking resemblence to a fertility totem. Albeit this, to us, is far more aesthetically pleasing





than this (an actual fertility totem):

In my search for pictures of a more modern Barbie, I ran across the picture below. She has apparently be updated to have more realistic proportions, but I'm thinking that this isn't just a whole hell of a lot healthier for little girls:

What were they thinking? Egad! Put the boobs and the hips back on her and give the poor doll some clothes before her little plastic bits are exposed for the world to see. It's bad enough never being able to find both of your shoes! I need to see Lawyer Barbie in a really bitching power suit or at least a college Barbie who is wearing something other than a cheerleading outfit.

Moving on to the Bratz dolls, which I'm seeing more of in Walmart than Barbie these days, we're still having problems here, I think. Behold:

At this point, I'm going to just listing:

  1. Their lips scare the hell out of me.
  2. They have that lollipop head thing going on that is so common with anorexia patients. I have to say though, I'm a little more comfortable with this proportion problem, because their feet are also overlarge and so it's more cartoon-y, less, you could look like this if you starved hard enough.
  3. They're called Bratz. 'Nuff said.
  4. Some of their outfits are a little CFM for me.

Kudos though on a less severe body-type overall and on a little more diversity. We can do better though:

This is a MyScene doll. And aside from the purple metallic lips, she looks pretty normal! Those are normal-ish clothes, and fully acceptable proportions. Make-up is still a little hooker-ish, but I've been accused of doing my make-up like a drag queen's more than once, so I'll go with it. This outfit notwithstanding, I think we're on the right path here.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

School Shorts


I have two rather...interesting...stories for you today from the world of public high schools.

First, in a move that has caused shock and consternation the world over, two new york high school girls were forbidden from wearing their Captain Underpants costumes to school for Super Hero Day. The costumes consisted of nude-colored leotards and stockings and a pair of briefs and a red cape to complete the ensemble. Although the girls were not naked, and the costumes were not see-through, the girls were sent home because the principal deemed that they "looked" naked.

I really can't decide which aspect of this is the stupidest. However, I could see myself donning something similar and thinking it was a good idea in high school, so I'm going to go with the high school: This was not completely outside of a foreseeable range of possibilities. These books are very popular with school-aged children, and I'm sure the absurdity of them makes them at least somewhat popular with high school kids, at least as a topic of jokes and conversation. Narrow it further, and I don't think it's a stretch to consider students' showing up in any kind of nudity-simulating garb to be outside of the range of possibilities when you have a costume-y theme-y kind of day. Beyond that, I think it is probably standard procedure to include in a dress code down on paper somewhere that no form of underwear be visible at any time. What I'm saying, is that the school should have worked this sort of thing out before announcing the day and sent around a handout describing acceptable guidelines for the students' outfits. Handled correctly, this situation would not have become even lukewarmly debated.

Second, we have the principal who gave his student a wedgie--and wasn't fired. In fact, all he was given was a six-day suspension, and four of those days were with pay. According to this principal's superintendent, although the behavior was clearly "inappropriate, unprofessional and unacceptable," it did not merit termination.

You really should click on the link and read some of the quotes the locals managed to produce. The whole thing is entirely absurd on such a grand scale because there are people who are just as vehemently supporting the principal as there are those who are outraged.

At the end of the day, here's what it comes down to. Many people may really like this principal as a person, but he is clearly not fit to be a high school principal. One of the first things that has been drilled into people working with children nowadays is to be careful how you touch children. You don't want lawsuits. I worked in a day camp one summer, and they simply told us, "It's sad, but you can't have them in your lap because we don't want to get sued." Also, in a work environment, when is it ever a good idea to touch someone's underwear??? That principal was at work, and some schools of thought would suggest that the student was too. Either way, wedgies are, to say the least, grossly unprofessional.

But here's big thing about the principal giving your child a wedgie: It's like the state government itself gave your child the wedgie. That principal is a state employee and more often than not a state actor while at his job. Think about the intimacy that you've quietly allowed your government by not being angry over this. The state has touched your child, and thats more than a little scary to me.

Crack is Whack

I Don't Really Want to Go Here


Ok. More weird celebrity stuff that I want to ignore, but I can't because if I do I will have an aneurysm, and you will find me dead on the floor, and we will all know why.

This quote keeps popping up all over the place:

"I shocked myself," he says of his performance of a trash-talking teen. "There were parts that I wish I would have done different, but there are parts that really took me, like, 'Wow, did I do that?' I looked at myself and I was like, 'It looked good. It looked perfect.'"

That was Kevin Federline on his C.S.I. appearance, which you can see here.

Two things that bother me about this:

  1. It's not that long. This quote gives me visions of his sitting at home with the remote and poking Britney every time he notices something new about his stunning performance which he has set to play on a repeating loop. This kind of awed behavior over one's own very brief performance is only okay to admit when done so with a certain sense of naïveté best pulled off by very young girls rather than, well, K-Fed.
  2. In acting, as well as in life, K-Fed doesn't demonstrate just a whole lot of range. I don't even feel he is playing a character here--well at least not a character beyond himself. I feel we can consider his persona to be something of a character anyway, but this is still just the same one. I'm not feeling the angst. I'm also wondering just a teensy bit, where his urban factor comes from. I suspect that there might be a fake factor as well any time a white person acts like this on this grand of a scale without a tale of an inner city childhood. I tend to feel like Federline needs to authenticate some cultural ties here that I can't seem to dig up on the Internet (hard to find anything pre-back-up-dancing.) Maybe someone should send him a MySpace message about it. Might make us all feel better to know, since knowing is half the battle.

Is It Chrismuchanakwanzikuh Already?


I'm a little in love with FedEx-Kinko's, but when I called them three nights ago, they traumatized me, just a little bit. Or a lot.

"Happy Holidays from FedEx-Kinko's, this is F.E.K speaking!"
I nearly ran off the road.
Ever since I have had a deep and recurring desire to put up my Christmas tree the minute I get back home (which is Thursday.) And each time I get really confused because I start thinking, "Why the hell do I want to put the tree up already?"
Damn you, Fed-Ex Kinkos. Damn you.

Friday, October 27, 2006

In Lieu of Friday Bear

This is just the thing for those of you seeking fodder for procrastination.

Celebrity Haiku Friday


I cried at divorce
I am a little obsessed
Damn you, Newlyweds!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Curiouser and Curiouser

Last One on the Ark is a Rotten Egg

I'm writing this post from a hotel room, which would usually be a good thing because if nothing else, it would mean that I'm not immersed in my regular routine of work and school. This time, however, it is a little less exciting because the hotel, the EconoLodge, to be exact, is my temporary home. Here's why.

Monday morning, 9:30 AM: I spot a puddle in the downstairs bathroom of my apartment. It's not a large puddle, and I am not alarmed. I plan to go get tell the manager so she can have it fixed.

9:45 AM: I talk to the manager. She calls maintenance on the walkie-talkie. He says he's much too busy to come look at a leak right now, but he will be there as soon as he's free. I pass him on the way back to the apartment. In what will later strike me as fitting irony, he is watering the flowerbeds out front of the complex.

10:00 AM: I go to check on the puddle, only to find that the entire bathroom is now covered in about an inch and a half of water. The water is seeping into the (carpeted) hallway. I begin to grow alarmed.

10:30 AM: Maintenance has not arrived. The leak has spread through the hallway and into the living room. All of the downstairs carpets now squish when I walk on them.

10:45 AM: Maintenance has still not arrived. I decide to take matters into my own hands and locate the leak. I squish around checking toilets, showers, faucets, hot water heaters, the dishwasher, my roommate's bedroom, etc. I cannot locate the source of the water. The puddle grows.

11:06 AM: Maintenance arrives. I show him the water. I tell him everywhere it's not coming from. He proceeds to check all of these places, at great length, without shutting off the water. The puddle grows.

11:20 AM: I hear ripping. Maintenance has ripped up the carpet. He found more water.

11:35 AM: Maintenance gives up, shuts off the water, and calls a plumber.

12:00 PM: The plumber arrives! Hooray!

12:10 PM: I hear a lot of sawing and banging, but I take it as a good sign.

12:20 PM: The plumber goes outside. More banging.

12:31 PM: The plumber leaves without a word. I am confused, but decide that he must have gone to lunch, and I will just wait for him to get back. I email my professor and tell him I won't be in class.

1:30 PM: The plumber has not returned.

2:00 PM: No sign of the derelict plumber. I begin to grow angry.

3:00 PM: Still no sign of the plumber. I email work and tell them I won't be in tonight and I may not be in tomorrow morning.

3:30 PM: As the plumber has not returned, I go back over to talk to the management, and see if they know anything. Yes, they say. We told him to leave. Why? You have a burst water pipe. It's in the floor. We have to tear out the concrete. We've been trying to figure out where to put you. We were going to move you into a vacant apartment, but we don't have any vacancies. We're looking for a hotel. We'll let you know what we find.

4:30 PM: No word from management. The carpet, which is in a wet pile in the corner, is starting to smell.

5:16 PM: Management calls. We're moving into the Econo Lodge tonight. She doesn't know the work crew, so she suggests we take anything valuable with us. And she doesn't know when we'll be able to get back in, so we should plan accordingly. I immediately grab all the books I'll need until Christmas. I might be homeless, but I will be well read.

7:00 PM: We check into the hotel. I am fairly pleased with myself as I have decided that I would make a great refugee, should the situation ever present itself. I had everything packed up, including a week's worth of food, in an hour. If this had been an actual emergency, I'm sure I could be on the road and on my way out of the country in 45 minutes, tops.

7:03 PM: I start thinking of ways that I could make my Emerency Evacuation time even quicker. Like, I could keep a bag packed at the back of my closet, with a list of things I might want to bring along laminated and tucked inside.

7:05 PM: I decide that I really must get a passport, pronto.

This ends the Adventure of the Problem Plumbing.

So far hotel life is not so bad. The Econo Lodge boasts a fairly decent continental breakfast, except for the orange juice, which is considerably watered down, and the dry cereal selection which is pretty much limited to Fruit Loops and Raisin Bran. They have bagels, though, with individual packets of jelly and cream cheese, so I can grab several for lunch and dinner because I am refusing to eat out. And, I've found that "My Apartment Flooded and I Had to Move Into a Hotel so They Can Drill Through My Floor" is a pretty good story. It's earned me a lot of sympathy, which is sufficient to soften the blow. Plus, living in a hotel, at least for the time being, does have kind of an adventurous feel to it. Hotels are not part of normal, day-to-day life, so they make every day feel, if not special at least different. I kind of feel like I'm a step away from a rootless existance, and I could just pick up and go somewhere if I wanted, and never come back. All of this combined has given me something of an I-don't-have-to-take-this-crap attitude at work, which is probably not something that I will want to cultivate, but has been rewarding this week. My boss actually gave me a long overdue apology today.

Of course, I can see the possibility that prolonged hotel living could get old. For one thing, I have not been sleeping. People pull their little rolling suitcases along all kinds of resistant surfaces at all hours of the day and night. To complicate things, to this day, whenever I sleep in a hotel, I automatically wake up at 5 or 6 in the morning, I think because 90% of my hotel experiences have been when I was traveling with my dad, who likes to get an early start so that we beat the traffic. It doesn't matter where we are. Most of the time the hotels that we were leaving at 6 in the morning were in Joplin, Missouri, which doesn't have just a whole lot of really bad traffic.

(On a side note, starting my freshman year of undergrad, my dad bought season tickets to the basketball games at my school, and he and my brother would come down and we'd all go to the basketball game together. My family lives about two hours away, but my dad always left home four hours or so before the game was supposed to start. When anyone asked why he needed to leave so early, he cited traffice concerns. He would invariably arrive about two hours early for the game, but since I lived in a dorm, and men weren't allowed in the dorm, we ended up just heading over to the basketball game. I distinctly remember several times being the only three people in the stands, 1 hour and 45 minutes on the clock counting down the time to the game, watching people setting up for the game. My senior year I was telling a friend about our traditional early arrival, and he interrupted me to ask where we sat. He had worked there freshman year setting up audio equipment, and remembered seeing us and wondering why the heck we were there. This is the kind of powerful traffic concern that has been waking me up all week.)

I actually think we'll be moving back into the apartment soon. Somehow they were able to find and repair the leak without digging into the floor, so they're just repairing water damage, drying the carpet, and moving our furniture back in, instead of pouring concrete. It was the pouring concrete that was going to slow the process down. All in all, it really hasn't been a bad experience. It wasn't convenient, but it offered me a break from my work, a pretty unquestionable excuse, and a chance to think about what books I would take with me if I suddenly had to head for the border. And bagels. Lots of bagels.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Night of Too Many Stars

That's one way to fight autism.

Immaculate Debacle


In the words of Charlie Brown: Good grief.

I have been trying desperately not to comment on this woman's adoption, but I just can't handle it any more; it has become way too much of a circus. It's almost like verbal tennis at this point. In case you have missed any of it, I have graciously provided my own personal synopsis below.

Media: Madonna is adopting.
Madonna: I'm not adopting.
Media: You're adopting.
Madonna: Okay, okay, I'm adopting, but it's none of your business. Filthy American press...
Media: What was that?
Madonna: Oh, nothing, nothing. Pip. Pip. I'm just glad I'm British now.
Media: Madonna adopted.
Madonna (silence)
Media: The father is happy.
Father: I'm happy!
Media: Madonna got a buy.
Madonna: I did not! Everything was completely legal. And normal. More importantly, legal.
Father: So happy.
Media: It's not normal. International parents adopting infants from Malawi are required by law to live in the country for like two years to make sure they are fit to parent.
Madonna: Well, I...really?
Malawi: Everything is normal here. Pay no attention to the cones behind the curtain. People do this all the time.
Media: Who?
Madonna: I did!
Malawi: She did.
Media: The child will grow up with every comfort and lead a bright future in Britain as Madonna's newest child.
Father: Wait.
Media: What?
Father: I've been talking to Human Rights...
Human Rights: Hey y'all!
All: Hey.
Father: And...um...I don't get my kid back?
Media: Father duped. Did not understand what adoption meant.
Madonna: Even I know what adoption means.
Father: I thought he was going to come back when the good lady was done with him.
Madonna: Don't you listen to stand-up? I'm never done. It's, like, my thing. Besides, I am very committed to...OH A BUTTERFLY!
Child: Oh god.

Good Boy



He has done well. I shall suffer his presence another day.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

A Bear-y Happy Anniversary


Fiancé and I have been in cahoots for two years now, and today is the anniversary of our first outing. I did not manage to get the letter I wrote him in the mail, so I am going to post it here for him. :)

My Dearest Fiancé,
I cannot believe that it has been two whole years! It seems both longer and shorter at the same time. It seems only yesterday that you were at Bar Review in your blazer with
R introducing you as the smartest guy in the law school.
It certainly did not take long before I felt that you were a completely indispensible part of my life and of myself. I have come to love you more than I can say, and I cannot picture my life without you. Every moment with you is the perfect moment. I can think of no better way to spend the rest of my life--and no better person to spend it with. I cannot wait to be Mrs. Trudlybear-Lofatatupu-Undi.
I love you, Babies!
Your Sunbear

Friday, October 20, 2006

Ors de Vendredi!

Haiku Friday

Hotel is boring.
Fat bears don't work very hard.
I want to be one.

Culture v. Culture



There's not just a whole lot that I will miss about working in the "hospitality" industry (seems almost a euphemism for "working in a hotel," doesn't it?) For one thing, it seems that almost no one's jobs require a college degree which results in lots of employees' being in high school or simply exhibiting high school-ish behavior.

However, one of the more interesting aspects of working in this particular hotel is the clientele. It is not unusual to have several celebrities in-house on a given night. For instance, right now we have had both a legendary rock band and a famous folk/pop singer staying here since I have been here. They both have aliases, and great care is taken to check them in inconspicuously and to keep their identities and rooms a secret. M calls me at work every day to see who is staying that is famous and whose bus that is outside, but she's usually more in the know than I am.

That having been said, I generally have no interaction with our VIP guests--or any other guests for that matter. I hide back in my hidey-hole/cave (pictured here) and answer phones during most of my shift. I also go through our VIP packets and make sure that VIPs are marked as such in our computer system.

This is what I was doing last night when the Universe did grin upon me and taunt me with a great waggling of its infinite fanny in my general direction.

I discovered that John Updike will be arriving at the hotel the day I arrive back at school. He is staying with his wife under his own name and will be signing books in his hotel room. Oh. My. Gosh. I love his Rabbit books. Basically, Updike's prose has all the delicate beauty of poetry. The man could write about a compost heap and he'd make you want to roll in one. The kind of roll that's sensual. I know, I know, but just trust me on this one.

When I came home last night, I was bursting to tell M my exciting news until I realized that I was pretty sure I knew exactly where that conversation would go:

Oso: Did you hear? John Updike is coming to the hotel!
M: Who?
Oso: John Updike.
M: I don't know who that is.
Oso: Only, like, my favorite author of all time! Okay, he's at least in my top three. He wrote the Rabbit tetrology.
M: The what?
Oso: You know, Rabbit, Run, Rabbit Redux. You know, the Rabbit books.
M: You are so weird. Such a geek.
Oso(hanging head): I know. I know.
M (brightly): So did you find out whose bus that was?
Oso: No.
M(deflating slightly): Oh. You never find out anything important, do you?

I find it fascinating that what our culture as a whole seems to place the most value on is not what we designate as "culture." That is, the great marketplace of ideas is bifurcated into the loud hubbub of the popular yet ephemeral market of celebrity and catchy tunes and the quiet but diligent ongoing exchange of ideas conveyed through the written word, research, and visual arts; and we as a culture clamor for the music and the celebrities to the point that they must hide their whereabouts to avoid the mob while some of our most brilliant artists quietly check into their hotel room, unload their own luggage, enjoy a cup of tea, and then welcome whoever will come to hear their quiet wisdom and pearly words.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Nooooooooooooooooooo!

This heralds the beginning of a long night of drinking.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

It's a bird...it's a plane...it's a weenie dog

OK, I'm a little late in posting about this, but a couple of weekends ago I attended a weenie dog race. I'm told that it was the national championship weenie dog race, but I'm a little dubious on this point, and not just because roughly half of the 80 or so contestants failed to even start the race, preferring instead to turn around and lick their owners' faces.

The excitement actually began before the race (I got there about 45 minutes early so as not to miss any of the weenie fun) when Wienerschnitzel, who was sponsoring the race, sent their mascot, a giant dog dressed in a red jumpsuit with a yellow cape, walked past the constestants and they started barking like the devil himself was walking past. Or a cat. They're essentially the same thing. He walked all along the constestant area, and it was like a doggie version of the wave. (Most of them stopped barking after he passed, but a few of the particularly vigilant dogs barked until they forgot what they were barking at, and then I guess they figured they must have been barking at each other, perhaps at some witty weenie insult that had been tossed out as they came in, because they continued barking until the races started.)

Then the races started. There were 12 heats of 6 dogs each. Each dog was led onto the track by a pair of owners, one of whom held the dog while the other walked down to the other end of the track, squeaking the dog's favorite toy. (There were a lot of squeaking hot dogs, and a disturbing number of long rubber dachshunds.) Each dog was marked with a different colored scruchie so it could be identified after the race. You'd think it might be easy to identify your own pet, especially if you love it enough to take it to a breed-specific race, but even with the scrunchies, a couple of owners did pick up the wrong dog. To start the race, a man in a cowboy hat lowered his hand, which signalled to the owners that they could drop their dog. About half of the dogs figured out what was going on, or were at least really fond of their squeaky toy, and managed to run down the track. (Or, skittle down the track, a description that I decided was a little more suited to what weenie dogs actually do. I'm not sure that legs as short as theirs can acurately be said to run, although the length of their ears does create the impression of speed, as they flap out behind them, kind of like sails or one of those antena flags that you sometimes see.) The other half of the dogs engaged in a variety of behaviors, all of which were more entertaining than the actual race. A couple of the dogs broke ranks and chased each other around the arena. One of the dogs, obviously a male dog, was apparently concerned with which dog got to claim the arena, because he skittled up and down the track marking his territory on the barriers. Later, a like-minded dog came along and invalidated all of this dog's laborious efforts, but I'm not sure the first dog ever found out. (Due to the rather time-consuming nature of his efforts, he did not win the race and was not invited back for the final rounds.) Another dog, scared out of his mind by the noise and the many dogs shaped just like him, hopped the barriers, ran into the middle of the arena and took a long, nervous dump. The proceedings had to be halted until the poor little guy finished, which took a while because I think once he knew that everyone was looking at him a got a touch of stage fright.

One thing that surprised me were some of the weenie names. There were several Tootsie Rolls, which is kind of cute in a weenie way, and way too many Peanuts, which is not as cute as the Peanut-owners must think. There was one Rambo, who was easily the fattest weenie dog there and and his owners carried him like he was a newborn baby, kind of cradling him and being careful to support his head. There was one named Low Rider, which would probably be humiliation bordering on animal abuse if the dog knew how embarrassing his name really was, but since he's a dog and will answer to just about anything, I thought it was a great choice. There was only one Oscar, not as many as I would have predicted, seeing as Oscar Meyer is the most famous wiener company in the world. On a related note, while there were several dogs in outfits, and several people in weenie-dog themed apparel, I didn't see a single dog in that little hot dog costume with a bun on either side. I guess that's not what this event was about.

Now, one might ask exactly how someone hears about an event like the Weenie Dog Race "Nationals". I can't speak for everyone who attended, but I heard about this event the night before it was to take place and latched onto the idea like the universe had just given me a gift with my name on it, wrapped in weenie dog paper. I had big plans for that weekend, that involved finishing all the work that I needed to do before Monday, but the moment I heard about the race, I was graced with the most entertaining vision of weenie dogs, skittering in rows, tails wagging, ears flapping in the breeze. I was compelled to go. And, while the rational part of my brain realizes that a weenie dog race really is not a momentous life-changing experience, I felt very strongly that if I did not go to see the weenie dogs for myself, I would always wonder if a weenie dog race was as funny a sight as I imagined.

I am quite sure that weenie dog races are not what the cavalier poets had in mind when they wrote about the notion of carpe diem. I chose to ignore this fact, though, as I used their poetry to justify my attendance. I told myself that it would really be a shame if, as I lay on my deathbed, my one regret was not going to the weenie dog race. Again, the rational part of my brain, with a loud and snobby clearing of its throat, reminds me that it is highly unlikely that such an event would be my big regret in life. However, I think this event is intimately related to the types of things that I will regret, or at least the things that I regret at this point in my life. I take life pretty seriously (which I know come as a shock to the people who have read this far along, only to find me treating the subject of a weenie dog race as something of import) and there are a lot of weenie dog type experiences that I've missed because I was doing some assignment that I really should finish, or going to some work thing that I really shouldn't miss. And while missing this race would not have made my life empty and meaningless, if I never give into any impulse, I won't have a lot to talk about when I'm sitting around in the nursing home telling stories about my life. Although, if weenie dog races continue to be the highlight of my year, I'll be wanting to make those stories up anyway, so I guess what I actually do or don't do, doesn't matter so much after all.

Excerpt

One of the best parts of taking time off from school has been that I can read what my stepmother calls "worthless books." Worthless books are books that are just fun to read and don't really make you think or change the world or really redeem themselves in any kind of cosmic way. I think of them as brain candy.

You Have to Kiss a Lot of Frogs is one such book that I am reading right now, courtesy of M. I would never own such a book, but she has a vast library of them that I have been taking advantage of. Here is an excerpt from Frogs that I found highly amusing (it's actually a whole chapter):

New Year's Day
Chelsea, NYC 1992
The day after the party he called. I was bedridden, feeling comatose from the twenty-four-hour bug that had hit six hours earlier.

"I was so glad you gave your card to my sister," he said.

I'd thought his sister was his wife. They were holding hands all night.

"Can we go out?"

"Okay," I mumbled in my delirium.

"I'm so anxious to see you," Arthur blathered. "I've never been this excited before. How's Thursday? What do you like to do for fun? Am I too forward?"

"No. No."

"Do you think it's a possibility we're going to have a great time?" he questioned. "I want you to come to this date really open with positive feelings. I'll talk to you before Thursday. I can't wait. This will be the best date of our lives."

We never went out. He never called.

Arthur must have literally burst from anticipation.

The Yorkie Gods Have Smiled on Me At Last!


Ursa and I have been discussing with each other the concept of the Yorkie gods and their expressed displeasure with me.

You see, I used to be a great favorite with the Yorkie gods. They smiled on me early in life and granted me my very first job. When I was but a lowly snot-nosed brat in eighth grade, a former teacher of mine hired me to care for her dogs whenever she left town. Now, this was a very good gig for me. Mrs. A and her husband went to each and every single home game of their alma mater which was several hours away, so their absences were frequent. Also, they lived in a penthouse on the water with a magnificent view, killer sound system, plush furnishings, and expanded cable, which is where I stayed when I dogsat for her. The dogs themselves were little Yorkie darlings who were a lot of fun to play with and fairly easy to care for. Since then I always had a soft spot for the breed.

So, when M got her little Yorkie puppy, I was initially excited. That excitement faded quickly, however. She is overly excitable, still isn't potty trained, and no amount of washing can get her to stop smelling so miserably dog-like.

The Yorkie gods continued to grimace at me this week at work. A couple of our guests had brought their Yorkie with them to our pet-friendly hotel. The little dear was dressed in fully doggy couture that M and I estimated to be at least $800. And no, we weren't kidding. $800 for a black doggy T-shirt. Anyway, the guests didn't want their dog to be alone while they went around the city and saw the sights, so they left him in our office to take care of. At night, that meant they left him with me. Initially, I was excited. After all, Bad Dog had not completely soured me on the breed yet--just mostly. Well, Yorkie #2 finished that off. He yipped and cried and fussed and refused to play. he wanted to be held the entire time. I was not willing to do this however, considering that at some point before he had come into our office he had peed all over the bottom of his very expensive shirt. Meanwhile, I was still taking calls and trying to sell rooms at our very luxurious property--while a dog yipped and cried in the background.

It was at this point that Ursa asked me how and when I had angered the Yorkie gods and suggested that I go about trying to appease them.

It seems that things have finally balanced out, however. This week, M announced that Bad Dog is going to be attending doggy daycare!!! How exciting is that? There will be no unauthorized bodily fluids or canine offal to clean up until I come home at night at ten, no barking, no yipping, no crying, no chewing, no biting...you get the idea. Almost as good, last night, M invested in a Yorkie-proof baby gate and we lined the kitchen with housebreaking pads. It looks like my Yorkie luck is turning around at last....

Monday, October 16, 2006

You Gotta Love Lawyers

I totally just fell off the couch. Thanks to Lee Carver for the video.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Neutral Third Party Last Names


I have a running joke with Fiancé about choosing a neutral third party last name. For a long time, the leading favorites were Lofatatupu and Trundlybear. It's not that I don't like Fiancé's last name, and it's not that I don't like the sound of his tacked onto mine. I even like the initials alright, but the thing is that after nearly a quarter of a century with my last name, I'm a little bit attached to it. I also want to have the united front of our both having the same last name. To me, it only stands to reason that if I have to give up my last name, he should have to give up his too. Thence the neutral third party last name.

Working in the hotel has given me lots of fun new ideas. I run through the lists of arrivals each day hoping to glean a few potential winners out of 100+ guests that I can present to Fiancé. Frankenheimer, Klaubber (which I like to pronounce like "clobber,") and Cherie. All pretty good names. Today, however, I hit the jackpot. Today, I found the name that I feel sure Fiancé will proundly want to announce to the world: Undi. No umlauts. No accents. Undi. Which I am pronouncing like the things you wear under your clothes and not like "oondy."


The best part would be the introductions:

"Hi! We're the Undi family!"

What a Bunch of Ignorant Crackers....



Come closer. We need to talk about something that is apparently becoming a recurring problem: Texas students having racially-themed parties.

I'm not naive enough to think that students in other states aren't doing it too, but I'm not hearing about them, so I'm going to work with what I've got here.

First, in Spring 2006, one of the fraternities at a private, Baptastic university in central Texas held an E-Dawg-themed party. The big stir hit when pictures of the party surfaced on Facebook featuring one girl who had slathered herself in self-tanner, presumably to appear "blacker." When this came out, I read a lot of what was written and thought, "Well, that was stupid. Yawn." I mean, it was foolish, but not so remarkable. It's not a great idea, but I could see how a bunch of boys around a beer keg could decide that it was okay.

Appropriately, the school's response was fairly swift and very PR-oriented. Students received emails expressing regret and understanding and discussions were held wherein people prayed and talked about their feelings and diversity. Okay. Yawn, again. Standard fare.

Then, just recently, a group of students at the state's largest law school held a similar party themed "Ghetto Fabulous." As far as I know, no pictures have been leaked yet. I find this controversy to be far more interesting. For one, only approximately 61.54% of that law school's students are white. My guess would be that percentage was much higher in the private undergraduate institution (I couldn't find the actual numbers.) Also, presumably, a group of graduate students would be more sensitive to the implications of celebrating unflattering racial and socioeconomic steroetypes both because of age and because of education. Finally, the law students in question already had the E-Dawg example before them as proof that this sort of thing is not well received by a good many people, and understandably so. All that to say that I find it interesting that against the backdrop of broader diversity, a presumption (rebuttable, clearly) of higher average maturity and level of education, and a common knowledge of prior such incidents, the law students chose to do this anyway.

Bravo. I want you taking my case.

However, even more interesting, is the dean's e-mail to the law students. Whereas the response in the fraternity party situation was one of at least apparent remorse and attempts at understanding, it appears that the law school took a rather, well, flip view of things. The e-mail suggested that next time the students thought about having such a party they ought to "think twice" and that they would have plenty of opportunity to screw minorities once they were lawyers. Now, again, I'm not so stupid as to think she was serious in that comment or that it was a suggestion of any kind, but it did show a marked lack of respect for the sensibilities those who were offended by the party. In short, it wasn't very PR-friendly.

The dean was also quoted as saying something along the lines that in the end this wasn't about discipline but was about education. Hmm.

Mild Discomfort


I can't help but feel a little uncomfortable about this. I don't really have a good reason why, but I wanted to go on the record with that. I think it might be because they didn't do the same thing with the men.

Update: That's exactly where the ick-factor came from. I just saw the link to the men's contest, and felt instantly better about the whole concept.

Some New Reading Material


As you can see on the sidebar there, I have added two new linkworthy bloggy linkses. I ran across Sitting There Alone and Dead Man's Honda today and have spent the last hour or so giggling at them. They tend to have the same sort of luck as I have, it seems, that results in good anecdotes, and their serious posts are really good too.

Enjoy!

PS, I'm not sure what the sheep in that picture is doing, but I ran a Google Image Search on "blog," and this was the best hit that came back. I chose not to ask questions.

This Is Going to Be Awkward....



Much to my relief, my financial situation has now resolved itself in such a way that I will be able to return to law school next term. Next term, however, begins on November 6, so that puts me needing to put in my two weeks' notice to the hotel...oh...now-ish.

Here is the dilemma: As far as the hotel is concerned, I did tell them that I was here indefinitely. While this is technically true, that word often suggests a longer, rather than shorter, period of time. I don't think that anyone here had any idea at all that this could be just a month long stint. I like my manager though, and I'd like to be courteous enough to give her the full notice.

But.

After having spoken to people who have quit the hotel, there is about a fifty-fifty chance that once I turn in my notice, I won't be working anymore (i.e., I might as well have given a day's notice because I won't be working another two weeks.) I absolutely need the income for another two weeks, so I pose the question to you, dear reader: what to do?

Ought I give the full two weeks to be polite and risk losing two weeks more of pay? Or do I wait a week, and then give notice, knowing that I will have at least one more week's pay?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Kitty Cat Dance

I've been having a tough week, but then Fiancé sent this. The quality of my life has just jumped nearly ten points.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Eats, Shoots, and Pronunciates


This woman is a genius. According to her, apparently, "pronunciate," "resiculous," and "categorizable," are, like, words, yo. Words that should be said in an interview.

She is also not necessarily denying that she has wet her pants on stage.