Thursday, March 31, 2011

What kind are you?

My parents tell me that by the time I was old enough to walk over to the neighbor's house and play (they had 4 daughters!!), I was walking away. This pattern has not abated in the past couple decades; I am a highly social creature, who is lucky to have a lot of friends, and lucky to spend a lot of time with those friends.

And the kinds of friends I have! I have friends great for coming over and chatting by the first for hours. I have friends great for calling up at the last-minute and going out on the town. I have friends great for falling apart in front of (they're good at helping putting me back together). I have friends to gossip with, and ones to debate politics with, and ones to mull over life plans with. I have movie friends, happy hour friends, camping friends, travel friends, phone-only friends, blog friends, work friends, former-work friends, and friends who used to be enemies.

But there is a highly specific type of friend that not everyone is lucky to have, but I do... and that's the friend you can ask to take you to the airport. I'm blessed with at least two of these! And so a hearty thanks on this day to B... and sorry to add that the blog will most likely be on hiatus for a week or so... for B has taken me and John to the airport, and we're off to the 50th state!


The other night, a friend asked, "So this is your first spring in the new house, right? Any surprises?" She meant, any plant/tree/vegetation surprises. John answered, "Garlic!" And I simultaneously said, "Ants!"

Ah, ants. Apparently something many Oregonian homeowners battle, and I've joined the army with true fervor.

And though there are, oh, 5,000 reasons on the list I won't ever be a loving-kindness-breathing Buddhist compassion role model, reason 5,001 is the glee I take in watching the ants eat the poison I've put out, and the happiness I get in imagining them taking that poison back to the home nest.

And like all the people on the internet, I can attest it is true: Terro is the ONLY ant killin' brand that works!

Friday, March 25, 2011


Sometimes people ask, why do you go to church? Or, why do you go to that church? It's not an easy question to answer. I don't want to sell it, or over-explain it, or assume they agree with my standard of liberal spiritualism, but I also don't want to let the pitch go by - I want to share a little about myself and my journey, and see what kind of journey the asker is on. So for some Friday Fun... the light answer to why do I go to the church I go to.

In the hymnal for UUism in America, the songs are divided into sections. You've got Christmas, Epiphany, Palm Sunday, Pesach, Hannukah. Then you've got The Interdependent Web section, and the Words from Sacred Traditions section. You've got each of the four seasons in a section, and Solstice, Transience, Harvest/Thanksgiving, Exemplars and Pioneers.

But the other Sunday, we sang a song out of the section The Life of Integrity. And I laughed, because I am not without humor about hippie-dippiness - but I also smiled steadily. The Life of Integrity is a real and deep goal, a goal in which the only reward is in the living. And that's why I go; it's a touchstone for my personal integrity.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

YouTube Thursday: 1 min, 33 sec.

Have you seen this? If you have not seen this clip of Bill O'Reilly misunderstanding the phrase "play us out" in the context of a television show wrapping up, and then TOTALLY losing it, you must.


Because the next time we hang out, I might shout "Do it live!" or "Fucking thing Sucks!" or "Fuck it, do it live!" in response to a totally unrelated question or comment, and you will want to know why.
(This is, clearly, NSFW and NSFChildren.)

Monday, March 21, 2011

2011 Book List: Entry One

Over at The Short Years, books read and books hoped-to-be-read are tracked, and I think posting it to my friends (and possibly to any readers who aren't personal friends?) will help me both accountable for the quality of my reading and help boost the quantity of it.

So for 2011, I give you the books I have read and what I think of them in two sentences or less! Expect the next installment in another two months (or so).

New York: The Novel by Edward Rutherfurd. A guilty pleasure badly hidden in a historical novel; long, worth the read, but perhaps only if you have been to or love New York City.

Endurance by Alfred Lansing. I mentioned this earlier in the year and if you have not read it, you should go get it today. One of the best books I've read in the last ten years, hands down.

Four Fish by Paul Greenberg. This book tries to answer the unanswerable question: what seafood is OK to eat if I don't want to harm the ocean, or myself? Salmon, sea bass, cod and tuna are covered. If you want to stop eating tuna but can't seem to, read this book; it is wonderful and educational to boot.

I'm a Stranger Here Myself by Bill Bryson. It's a crime to not love Bill Bryson, and this book is as funny as Notes from a Small Island - maybe more so.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Sick Day.

I took a sick day this week, to nip a sore throat in the bud before it bloomed into a full-scale cold or flu. And a future post will be dedicated to how difficult it is to even take a sick day... and my belief they should all be called flex days, so that the many Puritan Americans like myself can be free to take one when needed (mental health, physical health, or just a "day").

But that day is not today.

Today I just wanted to note what I had around me while sick, for maximum comfort:
  • One radio remote, to turn NPR on and off the fancy Bose wave radio.
  • One Kindle with two books in which I am currently mid-read.
  • One iPod and sound dock at hand, with accompanying remote. (Sound dock is not the radio aforementioned.)
  • One laptop.
  • One iPad.
  • One personal cell phone.
  • One work BlackBerry to keep a partial eye on the vital emails flowing in all day.
And so excuse me if I am less than worried about possible radiation while in Hawaii, starting two weeks from yesterday!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Pass! Pass?!

Are you familiar with the Bechdel Test? It is a test by which you can look at a movie's treatment of women. In my experience, women talk more than men most days. (Science has proved this too.) And women talk to men, but they dearly love to talk with other women. And they talk about their fathers, brothers, husbands, sons and male coworkers... but that's not ALL they talk about.

So, the Bechdel Test requires that a movie have:
  • Two female characters - with names!
  • The two women must talk TO each other directly...
  • and at least one of their conversations CANNOT be about a man.
  • (Read more here. The Bechdel Test is a not a test that proves a good movie, it's just one way to look at films' success at imitating life, and women in them purporting to live said lives.)
It is way tougher than you think, and John and I have amused ourselves lately thinking of movies we adore that don't pass the Test. (And some that do.)

So to prove that this is just a fun way of looking at the world from a perspective different than that of generations of screenwriters, movie executives, and the Industry of Cool leaders that permeates our lives, and not a guarantee of something high-quality...

... the other night I had a serious bad movie craving. I wanted to watch a totally awful popcorn flick. An old roommate of John and mine left behind a random collection of DVDs, and I sorted through them... Sherry Baby? No. Half Nelson? No way. Blue Crush? Getting closer. Bring It On? Closer still. But even worse? And the winner?

Coyote Ugly!

And to my shock, it passes the Bechdel Test! Not once, but TWICE!

There are two conversations, between two different pairs of named female characters, about life experiences they are planning or in the midst of, that do not mention men. Color me stunned... but heck, I should remember that Tyra can do anything. Fierce.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

4-6 Weeks

That's the estimated time to be back to some normal function from breaking a finger... or fracturing the proximal phalanx with damage to the proximal interphalangeal joint.

Well, Saturday was 6 weeks and those doctors aren't kidding! I've turned a huge corner, including typing at work this week all day - and not having to take a break with the left index finger aching. So I'll do my best to be back to blogging, and even though I can't lift anything for a couple more weeks, and I only have about 60% of my flexibility back, it sure is nice to have turned the corner.