Friday, June 03, 2011

an improbable world (Friday's Sunday's Poem/Hot Actress)

The Summer I Was Sixteen
Geraldine Connolly

The turquoise pool rose up to meet us,
its slide a silver afterthought down which
we plunged, screaming, into a mirage of bubbles.
We did not exist beyond the gaze of a boy.

Shaking water off our limbs, we lifted
up from ladder rungs across the fern-cool
lip of rim. Afternoon. Oiled and sated,
we sunbathed, rose and paraded the concrete,

danced to the low beat of "Duke of Earl".
Past cherry colas, hot-dogs, Dreamsicles,
we came to the counter where bees staggered
into root beer cups and drowned. We gobbled

cotton candy torches, sweet as furtive kisses,
shared on benches beneath summer shadows.
Cherry. Elm. Sycamore. We spread our chenille
blankets across grass, pressed radios to our ears,

mouthing the old words, then loosened
thin bikini straps and rubbed baby oil with iodine
across sunburned shoulders, tossing a glance
through the chain link at an improbable world.

About the Poem: I'm off today. I live by my rules, so I worked Monday and took today off, so while the rest of you had your summer start on a Monday... and then went back to work for four days like suckers, have my summer start on a Friday, so I got to stay up late last night playing Plants vs. Zombies and reading and sleep in and now I've got two full days off before I go into the office on Sunday to make up for the work I'm not doing today...

... wait, I need to think this through again.

About the Hot Actress: Casey Wilson, from Happy Endings, which is good enough to almost make me forget that it replaced Better Off Ted.

But she's very pretty and obviously has upstaged the other two women on the show and is also really funny, notwithstanding that in real life she sounds exactly like the kind of hipster she made fun of on the show.

Also, they're not 16, but here's how Mr F, Mr Bunches, and I will spent 80% of our days this summer:

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Lunchmeat that isn't, a scatological zebra joke, and khaki pants: This post has EVERYTHING. (Thinking The Lions.)

So... I won an award, and also I got tagged, and those two things will serve to distract me from the work I'm supposed to be doing, and also to distract me from the burning question of whether I made the right decision on going with khaki (or "tan", as they used to say in the olden days before The Gap existed) pants and my apparently-it's-kind-of-greyish Hawaiian shirt...

... which I'm increasingly thinking I did not do; I think that my original idea of black pants and shirt was a better one, but it looked wrong in the dim light in my bedroom as I got ready for work, so I went with khaki, but now that looks wrong and it's making me self-conscious.

Nobody's said anything about it yet, but maybe everyone's just being polite?

I won an award from Michael Offutt, who writes the SLC Kismet blog, and I got tagged by Rogue Mutt, who writes great novels and also writes "Every Other Writer Has A Blog... Why Can't I?"... and it made me think:

Why do we do these things?

Is there anything less interesting for you to read than a post about what I think about other bloggers thinking about me? Nobody ever wants to read a chain letter, do they? They just want to think about how exciting it'll be when someone breaks the chain and ends dying in a horrible accident and then is reincarnated as Lauren Conrad, which is (as it turns out) kind of the premise of a movie I just now came up with, a sequel to Being John Malkovich, called John Malkovich Being... in which John Malkovich repeatedly dies and is reincarnated as other famous people, which, to be honest, would probably be more entertaining than my responding to the awards and tagging, but I'll do my best.

The Award, from Michael, requires that I thank him:

I don't know who those guys are
. I got that from some free GIF site and now probably have a billion viruses on my work computer, so lucky thing I'm taking tomorrow off.

I'm supposed to list seven random facts about me, then, which is kind of the whole point of this blog, in case you haven't noticed; the past five years or so of entries are nothing but random facts about me, and now I have to come up with seven more random facts about me?

Luckily for you, I am an endless fountain of random facts; random facts are my dark matter, except that random facts exist whereas dark matter is simply a notion made up by astrophysicists so that they can take Fridays off. Which isn't fair; if they wanted Fridays off, they should have become lawyers, like I did.

Here are the random facts about me:

1. My lunch today consisted of a Snickers' bar I ate at 12:50 p.m., and a grilled lunchmeat-and-cheese sandwich I ate while reading Rogue Mutt's blog.

2. I say lunchmeat because that's actually what it's called. I buy it at the grocery store in the same section as the bologna; the maker of the sandwich meats I buy makes exactly two meats, bologna, and lunchmeat, and the label actually says "lunchmeat." I buy both, but I like the lunchmeat better.

3. Lunchmeat will set you back about seventy-nine cents for nearly a pound of it. You can eat cheaply if you don't mind that what you're eating is made up of things that were not good enough to get included in generic bologna.

4. I do not tell my cardiologist that I eat lunchmeat. I like to think it's a little surprise for her, like a contribution to her retirement fund.

5. Apropos of nothing, I will now switch the topic to the fact that earlier today, I tried to search for a website called Wisbar, but I mistyped it, and instead typed Wisbarf, and Google, smart thing that it is, showed me results for Wisbar, but asked me if I actually meant to search for Wisbarf, and I said no, but now I'm kind of regretting that and wishing I had searched for Wisbarf, because that's kind of a funny word.

6. How many people reading this wanted, now, to go search for Wisbarf just to see what comes up?

7. Don't bother. It's disappointing. But if my name was John Wisbarf, I probably would laugh everytime someone called me.

Then I'm supposed to pass this on to three other bloggers, but I'm not going to say who those other bloggers are just yet, because at the same time, I'm also "tagged" and that means that by Rogue Mutt's rules I've got to answer a series of questions, but before I answer that series of questions, I am going to ask you four questions and see how you answer them, and this is a real thing, so please do this:

1. Name your favorite song.
2. Name a song you think is romantic.
3. Name a song you would recommend someone listen to.
4. Now name your second-favorite song.

Have you done that? Are they written down, so that you can't cheat? Then here is your key to this personality quiz:

1. This tells how you feel about yourself.
2. This song tells how you feel about a person you secretly have a crush on.
3. This song tells how you feel about the person you are in a relationship with.
4. This song tells how you think other people view you.

Are you amazed at what you learned about yourself? Me, too.

My answers, for the record, were:

1. Paradise by the Dashboard Lights.
2. I did not answer this one, as I am in love with Sweetie.
3. True Companion, by Marc Cohn.
4. I did not answer this one, as I am in love with Sweetie and don't care how you view me.

Of course, I knew how to interpret the answers before I answered them, so there may be some testing bias.

On to Rogue's questions!

1. Do you think you're hawt?

I do. I really do. I try to ignore what I see in the mirror because my mental image of myself is smoking. If Sweetie could be married to me the way I picture myself, she would be a very lucky lady indeed. As it is, she's more or less breaking even.

2. Upload a picture or wallpaper that you are using at the moment.

On my phone, I have Mr Bunches' surprise! (You've seen it here.) My work computer has a picture of Mr Bunches and Mr F walking on the nature trail, but I'm too lazy to figure out how to upload it.

Moving on.

3. When was the last time you ate chicken?

I'm going to assume that some percentage of lunchmeat includes some portion of a chicken; how could it not? So about 30 minutes ago.

And -- I'm not proud of this -- the other night I had one chicken nugget from the refrigerator. I ate that about 10 p.m. to balance out the three mini Snickers bars I'd just eaten.

I'd eaten the three mini Snickers bars because they were there, which requires a little explanation: Sweetie had bought the Snickers bars, and I had brought three of them up to her in our bedroom, which I thought would help cheer her up, but she declined to eat them and instead stayed mad and watched Law & Order, and then fell asleep, and I read for a while, and then I ate the Snickers' bars, and then I was still hungry, and so I went downstairs and was going to have some of the leftover chicken nuggets, but after eating one I thought Is this really something I should be doing? and instead went up to bed and fell asleep.

In that respect, the entire episode was a triumph of willpower.

Sweetie, by the way, was mad about Oldest and/or Middle stealing a tank top from her closet. They won't confess to doing that, but she's got them dead to rights, and tonight, when we go help Middle settle into her new apartment, Sweetie is secretly going to be looking for the tank top, and I'd hate to be Middle if she finds it there, because Sweetie can hold a grudge like nobody's business.

4. What are the songs you've listened to recently?

Not Paradise by the Dashboard Lights, weirdly enough. That is an awesome song.

I've been listening, when I listen to music, mainly to Slow Club's album Yeah, So. I think the last time I liked an album that much was Paul Simon's Graceland, so it's been a long time coming.

Sometimes, when I listen to the upbeat songs on the album, I also dance with Mr F, who doesn't so much "dance" as "make me twirl him around by the arms," which is tough to do because he's getting heavier, and he never wants to quit. The other night, I spent about 30 minutes spinning him around and around, because I started it and he wouldn't quit; he kept telling me he wanted to do more, saying "I want," which he does by tapping his chest and saying "Bo bo."

I used to not know what that meant, but Sweetie explained it to me, and now I have no excuse for not spinning him again when he taps his chest and says "Bo bo," or, rather, I have
one excuse, but at four years' old he does not understand "I have to stop because I'm going to have a stroke," and so I keep going until he gets bored, which is never.

In that respect, too, I pretty much figure I worked off the three Snickers bars.

5. What were you thinking as you were writing this?

I think it's pretty obvious that I put zero thought into any of my posts. If not a little bit less.

6. Do you have nicknames?

For who?

Ha! See how I turned that around? That question seemed straightforward until you read my answer, didn't it? I'm kinda smart that way.

I have no nicknames at present. When I was little, I had a nickname, but I talked about that here and shant retell the story at this point.

I have nicknames for Mr Bunches and Mr F -- those aren't the names I call them in real life, after all. I call them by their real nicknames, and I call them by nicknames for their nicknames, too, mostly on a rotating basis. Lately, I've been calling them Huggle and Buggle. "Come here, Huggle," I'll say to one (it doesn't matter which; these aren't official designations.)

Once, I spent a whole day calling them Mr Pumpkin and Mr Pretzel, for no reason beyond the fact that it sounded good when I made those names into a song.

Sometimes I also call them pumpkins because pumpkins is a nice squishy word to call someone; it sounds like what a stuffed animal would sound like if a stuffed animal wasn't a stuffed animal at all but was a word.

7. Top eight blogger friends who shall be tagged by this:

I'm going to cheat and say that three of these people are also the three who get the SLC Kismet-spawned award. If you're one of these eight, you can just say you won the award, too. It doesn't matter if all of you claim it, in fact. Who's going to double-check?

1. Helle Tumbridge.

2. Read.Dance.Bliss.

3. Anna.

4. Abbie.

5. Scott Dunlop

6. Lisa Pepin.

7. Anna's other blog.

8. Dorothy H.

I didn't name Rogue and Michael because they've already gotten a lot of ink in this post, and Michael even got some sort of Korean boy-band thank you, so don't get all out of joint about it, guys.

8. Who’s listed as number one:

Helle Tunbridge. I don't even know how I found her blog, but it has a great entry about eating mollusks. Far more entertaining than that sounds. And with pictures!

9. Say something about number five:

He's a dad. I think. He used to write one blog, and now he's writing another. He writes short, pithy entries and is very funny, and I also think he wrote a book, or part of a book. That is, by my count, five, or maybe six, somethings.

10. How did you get to know number three?

Either she commented on here, or somewhere else, or else she followed me on Twitter, or I followed her. I don't know how I find websites. I know that she's a good reporter, and also I need friends in the media in case someday I run for President. She could ride on my bus as we go visit Donald Trump.

11. How about number four?

Again, I'm pretty sure she left a comment here or something. Zaphod's just this guy, you know?

12. Leave a message for number six.

Did you get the reference to Zaphod?

13. Do number seven and number eight have similarities?

Really, who's still reading this? Even I'm not paying attention, anymore. This is like that terrible quiz you have to take to get the free offers when you click on the link in the email that says you can make $500 simply by taking a short quiz, only the quiz never ends and suddenly your bank account is cleaned out.

Don't ask me how I know.

14. Why does number five's blog interest you?

Because he's from South Africa and has all kinds of exotic animals walking through his yard, which I think would be cool, except that if you are constantly seeing zebras walking through your yard, after a while, it's probably not all that amazing or exotic anymore, it's just commonplace, like this:

Day One: Wow! Honey! Look, a zebra is walking through our yard!

Day Seven: Hmm... There's that zebra again.

Day Twenty-Three: I'd like to go mow the lawn, but I'm not sure if zebras are carnivorous, and he's out there again.

Day Fifty-Seven: #$#*%^#&% Zebra, pooping all over my yard.


In closing, I will leave you with this actual photograph of an actual portion of me in which you can see my actual shirt and actual pants. You tell me: Should I have gone with the black? Or was "khaki" okay?

Yep, I'm taking credit again: 1001 Ways To Tune Up The World: Update

The other day I posted number 77 on the ever-growing list of brilliant ideas I have for improving the world in ways small and large.

This morning, I came across an ad for a solar-powered iPod docking station/speaker:

Which is clearly inspired by Way Number Fifty-Five. I love it when the world realizes how smart I am. It's not as great as when the world realizes how handsome I am, but it's still pretty good.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I'm just gonna have to ask you to ignore the last few seconds of the video... (Awesome Covers Of Already Awesome Songs/Life With Unicorns)

Mr Bunches watches videos all the time on Youtube; he'll start out with some video he likes, like the one we call "Funny Cats" and click around finding other videos. He landed on one not long ago in which some cats sing Dragostea Din Tei, which you know as "the Numa Numa song."

I didn't realize he'd done that until later, when I asked Sweetie how he learned that song. I'd found out he knew the song when, on the way to the grocery store not long ago, he busted out singing it, prompting me to (in a not-at-all-unsafe-way) get out my cell phone and record as much of the performance as I could:

He declined to sing anything else, and I didn't know what he was doing until later, when I looked at the video.

That's clearly the most awesome version of that song you'll ever hear, but there are some other interesting covers, like the...

...Opera version:

...The Piano version:

And the Earnest Guy With Acoustic Guitar version:

I think we can all agree that what the world really needs, though, is a version by Rebecca Black.

Click here for more Awesome Covers.

Click here for more stories of Life With Unicorns

Sunday, May 29, 2011

1001 Ways To Tune Up The World, Number Seventy-Seven

77. Directional lanes in grocery stores.

As I've noted, not all of these are going to be earth-shattering suggestions. (Actually, an 'earth-shattering' suggestion would be a horrible way to improve the world; who wants to live on a shattered planet, made up of little fragments of Earth blown apart but still orbiting more or less synchronously, with each fragment developing its own culture and weapons and identities, until one day, a hero rises to try to unite the various pieces into one planet... read Shattered Earths, the new sci-fi series I'll start writing just after I finish this.)

Whew! I'm full of awesome ideas today, like that one, and like this idea I just had: "Make sure that at least one of the Earth Fragments has dinosaurs, because why not?" and like directional lanes in grocery stores, which are necessary because I'm tired of people cutting me off, and I'm sure that people are tired of me cutting them off with my giant cart and twins riding in the cart or on my shoulders or walking behind me or, as happened last Thursday, me pushing a giant cart while Mr Bunches stubbornly insists that we go directly to the cereal aisle so he can get Crunch Berries, while Mr F tries to instead go get a bottle of water because he'd really like an opportunity to begin spilling the water earlier on in our trip, making it clear why the first version of this Way was "Give me my own private grocery store," but I abandoned that as a little impractical (just a little...), and went with this.

Grocery shopping would be a lot less annoying if we'd all just agree that we're going to, say, stick to the right, and shop only on that side, and then if we want something from the other side of the aisle, we'd go the other way (if it's crowded). It would also give us the advance-knowledge that when both me and Lady Who Clearly Came Straight From The Office And Just Wants To Get Home both enter the macaroni aisle, we'll each go to our right and that way will not almost collide with our carts in the middle of the aisle, unsure which way either of us wants to go, and I will not then get a dirty look from Lady, Etc...

... Lady Etc would be a great name for a Lady GaGa cover artist...

...see? I'm just erupting with ideas today.

... even though she obviously had no right to feel as though I was wrong because society has not (yet) decided which side of a grocery store aisle one is to walk on, and so I had no obligation to go right, or left, or any direction, so why did she assume that she was correct and I wasn't?

This is clearly a situation that needs solving, and I have just as clearly solved it. From here on out, marked or unmarked, we stick to the right in grocery store aisles, just we do when driving.

At least, that is, we stick to the right when people are around... just as we do when driving.

Comic is from NATALIE DEE
. She makes her living through her comics & selling t-shirts, so if you enjoyed the comic, go read more of hers and go buy some of her hilarious t-shirts.
Prior entries:

13. Ban driving any kind of automobile, motorcycle or other personal vehicle within 1-2 miles of downtown in any city with a population of more than 100,000.

12. Abolish gym class; instead, teach kids to play musical instruments.

11. Change copyright laws to allow anyone to use anyone else's creative work provided that the copier pay 60% of the profit to the originator and that the copier not cast the original work in a negative light.

10. Have more sidewalk cafes and outdoor seating.

9. When you have to give someone a gift, ask them what they want, and then get that thing for them.

8. Never interrupt or finish someone's jokes.

7. Periodically, give up something you like for at least a month.

6. Switch to "E-money."

5. Have each person assigned one phone number, and then add an extension for the various phones and faxes that person might be reached at.

4. Abolish Mondays and Tuesdays.

3. Don't listen to interviews with athletes or comedians.

2. Have "personal cashiers" at the grocery store.

1. Don't earn more than $200,000 per year.

Is this working? You bet --

1001 Ways also helped change the world here!


1001 Ways also helped change the world here!


1001 Ways helped change the world here, too!