Monday, October 30, 2006

Sunday and Monday

We had a Director's Meeting at a nice little hotel in Chipping Camden called Cotswold House. This (number 17...go up a few floors) was my room. I took a long, leisurely bath in my giant tub, with a lovely fake digital fire blazing in the bathroom wall on a plasma screen. Then I went and sat on the leather kidney-shaped chaise, called my folks and read my book whilst cozied up to a nice warm fire. Slept in the plush down comfort of my giant bed. Woke to a knock on the door bearing a warm pot of coffee and porridge (steel-cut oat kind) served with scotch whisky, maple sugar and double cream and a side of delicious local organic sausages. Ate that at my little table whilst I watched the sheep on a morning herd-run in the fields above the neighbouring stone cottages and read the FT.

Oh. And we had a lovely dinner on Sunday and a business meeting on Monday, too.

My Inner New Yorker - I'm from Soho

CP is from Brooklyn. I, however, need to be on the other side of the bridge. My results tell me....


You Belong in Soho

Although you may not be a professional artist, you do dabble in one form of art or another.
And you indie culture of all kinds - from little botiques to art house films.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Perm in the water

I've always had body in my hair. It's been wavy. Just enough to give me hair that will do pretty much what I want it to. But not curly hair. Wavy hair.

Then I moved to England. There must be perm solution in the damn water. That, or little beauty elves are putting my hair in curlers every night.

Since I came here, my hair has gotten progressively curlier. We're talking curl-from-the-root, corkscrewy ringlets. It's weird, what since I'm 40 and, other than some grey creeping in (or in my case stampeding like vikings on the pillage). Worse yet, it's made my hair progressively unruly. I haven't had to manage this sort of thing before, so I don't know how. It frizzes. It goes batty askew. When you cut it, be very cautious about the layering or they will give you a giant curl helmet.

Which is what I have now. My hair was too long and needed some shape. Went to a stylist recommended by a friend. And she layered it a little too much. I look ridiculous.

If I dirty it up with product and barrettes I can make it look sort of cool. But not very.

I am very very sad. Amy!!!!!!!!!!! I need you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I love my dyson

I inherited a vacuum with the house I rent. Amy, the american who lived here before me, bought some appliances and had to leave them behind when she moved since they won't plug in back home, so she gave them to me as a welcome present. I've always known I loved the tumble dry, but hadn't really thought about the vacuum. But yesterday in my cleaning frenzy I gave it a workout. And boy, do I love that dyson.

I've used it before...I've lived here for almost two years now, so I've vacuumed a few times. (Stop that snickering. So I'm not a cleaner. Sue me.) But I'd never been able to figure out how to empty the chamber, so the efficacy of the vacuum was lost on me. It worked, but no better than any other vacuum.

WELL. Yesterday I decided I was not going to use it until that chamber was emptied. Took me about 20 minutes to figure it out, but I did. And what a difference that made! This vacuum could suck the hair off a dog. And the visible whirlwind chamber lets you watch as it picks up the dust and sand and crumbs, creating a little tornado right before your eyes. It's fascinating to watch. I vacuumed the floor, I vacuumed the furniture, I vacuumed the baseboards, the steps, and I even tried out the brush attachment along the curtains. Totally cool.

I think I've found a new hobby.

Home

It's been a slow couple of days. The miserable cold I caught a month ago is still lingering on, so I took Friday off to go to the doctor. Nothing they can do to help me...I just need to pump Vitamin C and rest. I tried to explain that that isn't possible until November...I have a full time job and finals looming only three weeks from now. Sleep is like chocolate to an anorexic to me. The nice nurse understood, but explained that if I didn't rest I would continue to cough and lose sleep and run at 75%. So I took her advice.

Took some effervescent C drink (like alka seltzer, except made with something that tastes like those chewable C tablets.) Drank some innocent drinks supersmoothie with power C. Took a four-hour power nap. Watched some Tivoed versions of the Sopranos and Grey's Anatomy. Slept another 12 hours.

On Saturday, I already was beginning to feel much better. So much so, I was sitting in my living room (or lounge, as people of my station call it here in England,) and realised that my house was a complete, total, utterly hopeless tip. As our friend Bette Davis would say, What a dump! Papers and textbooks everywhere, strewn about as I'd been writing WACs the last few weeks. Discarded issues of the Financial Times and the Economist. Dust as thick as powdered sugar on a delicious pan of lemon bars. So I cleaned.

Fired up the iPod. Decided I do too much shuffling, and have lost concept of the album, so browsed my music options. And there I found magic.....PODCASTS!

My friend Pam had blogged about the wonder of podcasts earlier this fall while she was doing one of her stints living in Austria. I'd taken the time to subscribe to quite a few podcasts but hadn't listened to many with my busy schedule. When I had, I'd been happy about it but it hadn't really struck me just how magical they really are. As of Saturday, I now realise that the podcast is the best thing I've discovered in a very long time.

You see, I've lived in Minnesota. And Minnesota has the best public radio, bar none, in the US. I believe I've blogged about MPR and how I listen to it online when I can. But that's dependent upon my schedule and plays through the tinny speakers of my laptop. Podcasts give me MPR in stereo.

Chances are that if you read this blog and were to live in Minnesota, you would find that one of the three MPR stations would be playing at least one hour a day in your car or home. In fact, many of you would find you listen to it more like 6 or 7 hours a day. Seriously. It rocks. They have your standard news and information programming, a FINE classical station that attracts both aficionados and indifferents, and a killer alternative station that plays everything from obscure speed metal to glam rock to Hank III to Woody Guthrie to the Andrews Sisters, depending upon the time of day. MPR is fundamentally cool, and it becomes the backdrop to tons of daily routines for Minnesotans...it's a huge withdrawal when you leave. Podcasting lets me access much of the programming I'd forgotten how much I missed, and I can play it when I want to, where I want to, without being tethered to an internet connection.

I cranked up the volume and made my way through the mess while I listened to back episodes of Fresh Air, the Motley Fool, Marketplace and the Splendid Table. When I decided to take a break for lunch and some C power, I relaxed with a little This American Life. Right now I'm listening to a music review show with a folk musician who's written an entire album of anti-Bush/anti-war music. This is great! (Both the podcast listening and this particular show.)

It's hard to explain the expat experience to someone who hasn't lived abroad. It's exhilarating, just as you'd expect it to be...new things, new people, new culture...and people like me really dig it. And while there are things you miss, you learn to deal with the unavailability of your home products...there is no good peanut butter in the UK and zip-close bags don't actually seal here, so you eat jam (conserve) and recycle the ziplocs you brought from home. It takes awhile, but you build yourself a pattern that turns the unfamiliar into home, a mix of your familiar habits and the influences of your new place. You stop missing things, learn to love the things you have here.

But when you do find comforts from your homeland, they are sweet and wonderful and you savour them in ways you couldn't imagine. They don't make you homesick. Instead, they feel like a little retreat to a time and place you've forgotten. Like spending the weekend with a dear friend you don't get to see often enough.

It sounds stupid, I know, but somehow the NPR podcasts made me feel like I'd just had a little trip home. And even though I know it's just psychological, it gave me a boost. My cough is almost gone now. It could be the C. It is likely the sleep. But maybe it's the Ira Glass, too.

Friday, October 27, 2006

White Duck

There is a white duck living in my pond now. I've never actually seen a white duck before. In cartoons and things, and in that Ping book about the chinese duck, but never live and in person. I got a little worried that it was a swan mistakenly raised by ducks, and soon it would have a freakish neck and start stalking me, but I looked it up. That doesn't really happen. (The part about ducks mistakenly raising swans, I mean.)

And the iPod says....

1. You Should Be Dancing - The BeeGees
2. Dancing Queen - Abba
3. Na Na Na Na Naa - Kaiser Chiefs
4. Whistling in the Dark - They Might Be Giants
5. The Fact Is (I Need You) - Jill Scott
6. White Trash - SCOTS
7. Happy (Reprise) - Jenny Lewis
8. The Lodgers - The Style Council
9. Her Dress so Green in the Moonlight - Pete Krebs & The Gossamer Wings
10. Respect - Aretha Franklin

Five Things

Group tag from dale. Five things you (or most of you) don't know about me.

1. When I was about eight I got suckered into licking metal on a cold winter's day while I was playing outside of our church waiting for my mom and dad. Sheesh. I hate that I'm gullible.
2. I have on truly abiding hatred for a woman who insulted my eyeliner when I was in college. (It was perhaps a bit thicker than was popular at that time, but I was edgy. It was supposed to be.) That sounds dumb, I know, but she was one of those women who thought she was a notch above everyone. And we had a mutual male friend who she thought liked a weirdo like me a bit too much, so she decided the fault was mine...I was a LOSER. And once she decided someone was a loser, she would say snarky things to their face with a cheshire cat smile to make her friends laugh. Hence the eyeliner remark, phrased as a compliment that made the three crows she was with snicker like a pack of Heathers. Her name was Liz. Many of my friends think she's great. I don't. I think she's a mean-spirited cow, and I wish her ill. See, I'm still mad about it.
3. I like the Lawrence Welk Show.
4. I had a temp job for two weeks at the Cato Institute. I worked on their magazine layout. I got into a fight with Jerry Taylor about recycling.
5. My right pupil doesn't dilate properly, so every picture taken of me with a flash makes me look like a pirate. Arg.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Traffic Jams

I had two quintessential English traffic jams today.

I had an appointment at Cranfield around lunchtime and I took the country backroads. When I reached the village of North Crawley, I had to pull aside to the let thirty horses and about twenty bloodhounds pass. You heard me. Thirty horses and twenty bloodhounds. It's not-hunting season. Since they banned hound use for hunting last year, there are regular displays of hunting support in the villages around the countryside. People openly defy the law, and villagers stand and wave/cheer when they parade through the town. I'd seen pictures, but never actually seen the real thing. They were all smiling and laughing and seemed to be having the time of their lives. I'm not a hunter and I hate horses, but even I wished momentarily that I could join them in their chase.

Then, midafternoon, I headed into London for an early evening cocktail/dinner thing hosted by one of our hotel chains. I got into the city just in time to cram myself into a Victoria line train to get me down to Oxford Street. It was a nice night and I had some extra time to kill, so rather than transferring to the Central, I went above ground and walked in the throngs. I love crowded streets in London. You hear every accent imaginable. At one point I even think I was surrounded by Americans. Street vendors sell all manner of crap, fascinating stuff to stop and look at along the way. Need a Union Jack thong? Got it. A dog collar with Scottie dogs all over it. Okey doke. A glass bong in the shape of a cobra. Roger that. You name it, you can find it.

Realised I'd forgotten my lipstick at home and so I popped into Selfridges and begged the nice lady at the Trish McEvoy counter to save me. Not only did she set me up with a berry lip pencil and a gloss called "pretty," she helped me touch up my makeup just because.

Ended up right on time for cocktail and dinner at the Home House, a members-only dining club that is housed in a lovely 18th century townhouse on the edge of Portman Square. It's quite unassuming from the outside, but inside it has lovely double-spiral marble staircases and frescos and chandeliers and decorative plasterwork. Dinner was delicious. Asparagus with black truffle vinaigrette, beef wellington, and a bramley apple tart with cinnamon ice cream. Fabulous wines. Gracious hosts. Excellent evening, all in all.

Even had good train karma, catching a Virgin fast train at 1040. Not only does it get you here in half the time, it's a higher class of drunk than you usual Silverlink service at that time of night. At not one person near me was eating Burger King. Always a plus.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Improbable iPod mix

We normally save these for Fridays, but the combo of last 10 songs made me laugh out loud and I had to share. There's something wrong with me.

1. Superfreak - Rick James
2. Doublewide (live) - SCOTS
3. Willow - Joan Armatrading
4. Various excerpts from Tosca - the Milan La Scala Orchestra and Maria Callas
5. Why Does it Hurt When I Pee - Frank Zappa
6. There Are Worst Things I Could Do - Stockard Channing
7. Dance the Night Away - Van Halen
8. Amie - Pure Prarie League
9. Sweaters - Lori Anderson
10. Working on a Building - Bad Livers

I am a plonker

I am reviewing my Finance Class Test because I'm meeting with my lecturer tomorrow to discuss it. Nothing sinister here. I passed. But I passed with a note that says, "This is a pass, Mindy, but I think we should talk." While it would be nice to think that he is seeking me out for my wit, charm and insight into the fascinating world of finance, it is actually because he is a nice man who is concerned that I got lucky on this test and is fearing a full-fledged hysterical fit during the final exam.

A well-meaning preemptive strike, if you will.

I have a lot of respect for this lecturer so I don't want to show up at his office clueless, to let him tell me how I should have done things differently without me even trying to figure it out myself. Therefore I am going through the items missed line by line to research my errors...I have two textbooks by my side and the idea is to open them and look up the topics I screwed up so that I can rework the problem and then verify it tomorrow.

So what does this have to do with me being a plonker, you ask?

So far, I haven't had to open a book to fix my error. I just had to read the question properly.

I can plead all sorts of crazy. It was 9 AM, and you know I'm no good in the AM. It had been a long week of classes and pressures, so I was drained and overtired. I hadn't had enough Omega3 smartacids to keep my brain firing on all cylinders. And I was an English/Art History major that traded on waffling, and have made a name for myself in my career through blagging, waffling, and charming my way into the good graces of suppliers and customers. I am known for a sense of humor, a creative/wacky streak, intuitition and good people skills. Finances, well let's just say I'm not that hot. How could you expect me to do well on this exam????

Actually, it all boils down to the fact that I am imprecise and I rush. If I'd read the question properly, if I'd taken time to outline the facts fully before working through my answer, if I'd just taken my time to think through the solution, I would have easily scored another 10% on this test.

In fact, there is only one question I don't understand yet, and that one won't be fixed by reading the textbook because I fundamentally don't understand why a customer paying late affects your interest payment. Ever the good sport, I'm going to spend some time with the accounting book to figure it out now. But DAGNABBIT! I should have done better on this dang test. GRRRRRRRR.

I can't believe how stupid I am sometimes.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

And the iPod says...

One day late, but haven't had time to blog due to school.

1. No Way to Be - Teddy Thompson
2. Race Car YaYas - Cake
3. Everytime We Say Goodbye - Karrin Allyson
4. No Woman Around - Philospher Kings
5. Clint Eastwood - Gorillaz
6. Top of the World - Shonen Knife
7. Communist Daughter - Neutral Milk Hotel
8. Comin' Back Soon - Crash Test Dummies
9. Soap Star Joe - Liz Phair
10. I Loves You Porgy - Nina Simone

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Telly Night

Thursday is telly night.

At 9, it's Extras. At 10, it's Grey's Anatomy. At 11, it's the Sopranos.

Next week we move from Extras to the next series of The Catherine Tate Show.

This season on Extras, Andy gets famous and we find out he's a homophobic hater of homeless sick children. Just you wait. And FYI, tonight's episode IS indeed a finale. Maggie's date is the best yet. Even better when she takes the handsome black man home and tries to hide her Sambo doll.

In other news, while I am sitting here watching telly, I am burning new copies of the 40@40. I just sent one off to my friend, Susan, and I finally went back to the list to see who I hadn't seen to give one to when I was home. If you are not Soni, Anne Castro, KC/Kent, KB&D, TC/Kelli, Bethany, or Ben and you want a copy, you should email me and be sure I have your mailing address.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

How could I forget THIS song that makes me laugh?

Barnes and Barnes = Funny. HA!

Stealers Wheel(s) Repair

Okay. It's 1033pm. Just got home from work. It's been a bit crazy, and it's not going to get better for awhile. As mentioned before, school and work are gonzo right now. I've got a lingering cough from the cold I caught two weeks ago, and I haven't been to bed before 2 AM in well over a week, which is less than ideal for shaking off a cold.

I've been crabby, tired, and not particularly pleasant to be around.

I came home, I sat down to a crap dinner of cold leftovers, and turned on the computer. Made a cup of tea and assumed my study position, which is on the left side of sofa A, with the iPod shuffling on the table next to me so I can FForward past any song that doesn't strike my fancy or keep up my momentum. (There's a significant dent in the cushions that needs to be dealt with when I stand up.)

On with the iPod. Switched it to shuffle (as I'd actually been focusing directly on the albums mentioned in the last post.)

First song out of the gate....Stuck in the Middle by Stealer's Wheels. And now I'm smiling.

What is it about that song that makes me so happy? I totally dig it.

Maybe it's the clapping. I like clapping. Sometimes I clap when I think something is really funny or I am excited.

Maybe it's Gerry Rafferty. I liked that Baker Street song when I was 12 because I had a crush on an older boy at Vos Resort who would put that song in the jukebox and sing along while he shot pool. He also taught me to collect crawdads. (The older boy, not Gerry Rafferty.) Plus he's Scottish (Gerry Rafferty, that is, not the older boy...he was from Illinois). I like Scots (and SCOTS.)

Or maybe it's the Reservoir Dogs link. I like a little Quentin Tarantino now and again. And sometimes I fantasize about torturing people I dislike (though usually it's not physical torture...it's more planting I've Never Been to Me in their heads for eternity or sitting them next to a total bore at a party). Plus Michael Madsen is a good dancer. And I like Van Gogh. He cut his own ear off, which takes more guts than cutting off a policeman's ear when you've got him tied up.

Regardless of the reason, this song has totally lifted my deflated spirits and made me, well, goofy happy glad. Goofy happy glad is good.

Now on with the homework.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Two albums all people should buy immediately

I got a bonus this month, and I treated myself to a bit of music. And I have discovered two of the best albums I've found in some time.

1) The Information - Beck

Talk about ass-thumpin' rock and roll. This one has it in spades. It is the culmination of all things Beck. A masterpiece. Every single track is beyond good. Every single one. It starts off with Elevator Music, with a groovy little back beat and a funky little rap remniscent of the fine days of Mellow Gold or Odelay. Moves on to melodic I Think I'm In Love, which has one of the most honest lyrics ever for those of us who are a little heartshy..."I think I'm in love, but it makes me kind of nervous to say so." You get a little dervish jive with Cellphone's Dead. And the hits just keep on coming. My instant favourite was the pressing bass of Nausea, but a few more listens has made it impossible to choose. Beck Hanson is now officially my favourite musician. And I've factored my Elvis Costello fixation and the obsessive crush on Rick Miller and SCOTS into this equation. I heart Beck.

2) Under the Covers, Vol. 1 - Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs

My friend Brad recommended this one to me, and since he's usually spot on with his musical taste I decided to jump in. Good call, Brad. Masquerading as Sid and Susie, these two brilliant minds have created one of the best cover albums ever. And I like my cover albums. Seriously, Matthew and Susanna have somehow managed to create a modern, interesting album of cover songs from 60's. It's not that surprising when you think about it. They both have a retro sense in their music, with solid pop melodies and complex rhythms and harmonies. And now that I listen to this it seems completely natural that they sing these sorts of songs. You swear you're listening to Mr. Wilson himself when Matthew sings Warmth of the Sun. Susanna outdoes the Linda Ronstadt with her version of Different Drum. Their versions of The Kids are Alright, Cinnamon Girl and Everybody Knows This is Nowhere are divine. And Run to Me is a lovely way to end the flashback. In fact, this, too, has not one bad track.

Get thee to iTunes or Tower or some site that we won't mention here for fear of legal action and get to it. You heard me. Go.

Disco House Party

After six months of having a housemate, my guest bedroom is free again. It was great fun having Kat here. We got on well, and considering we both prefer to live alone, I think we got on great. But this place is a little small for two people, I am not remotely neat and Kat is, and it was never meant to be a long term arrangement. So last Tuesday she moved into her new place.

It's amazing how quickly I have fallen into secret single behaviours again. Peeing with the bathroom door open. Picking my teeth after a meal. Watching senseless television that a normal person would never own up to. I talk to myself. I read aloud to see what kind of interpretive spin I can add, even if it's only the Financial Times. I recite poetry while I cook. I dance. A lot.

The iPod's been getting a workout, actually. We've got three major projects due this Friday, one of which I shared responsibility for and one of which is my own. And there's a lot going on at work so I've had some freaky hours and been getting a late start on work each night. So I motivate by plugging the monstercables into the iPod and going shuffle crazy to hear what I can hear. What's a girl to do when she's bored senseless by Trucking and Shipping and the theories of Time Compression when Parliament starts chanting, "Tear the roof off the mutha..." or Nausea from the new Beck CD starts a thumpin'? Get off the sofa and shake a tail feather, that's what.

I keep the curtains to the front of the house closed, but the neighbours in the bank can look right in. I'm sure they wonder what the funk is going on over here. We got us some righteous groove going down, my friends. Bust a move, baby. Bust. A. Move.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Tagged, v2

This comes from my echotopian tag earlier in the month...I am way too busy in my life and haven't had time to respond yet. But this is definitely something that requires response. One of my favourite subjects...music.

1) Music That Has Changed Your Life:

The University of Northern Iowa has a college radio station called KUNI, and sometime in junior high I was looking for somethingnew on the dial and I found it. They were playing Talking Heads, followed by some Clash, then some Police, followed by a little B-52s. This marked the moment when I transformed from misanthropic geek to alterna-chick extraordinaire. Something about the music they played struck a chord (HA!) in me. It made me see that there was a lot going on out there besides cheerleading and playing that stupid kissing train game that the popular kids played at the parties I wasn't invited to. Before I found it, I'd known I was different...I'd been bossy and opinionated and a bit wacky since birth...but I kept thinking that someday I'd be like other kids. Alternative music told me I didn't have to.

And that's served me very well.

2a) An Album That Has Stayed With You For More Than Ten Years (In a good way):

Elvis Costello - Imperial Bedroom. It is perfect.

2b) Music you're supposed to like, but you're embarassed to say you never really did:
I only like classical music when I see it live. (Opera excepted.) And I hate early blues. Bessie Smith does my head in. I am awful.

3) Music That Makes You Laugh:

Mojo Nixon (and Skid, of course.) Jonathan Richman. They Might Be Giants.


4) Music That Makes You Cry:

There's a Kathy Matea song called "Where Have You Been" that's a real weeper. In fact, there's a lot of country music that makes me ball like a damn baby. There's are a couple of Nanci Griffith ones that make me cry, too, and there's another one I heard the other day that hit me in the gut but the name escapes me.

I cry easily sometimes.


5) Music You Wish You Had Written:

I wish I were Beck. Such brilliance is enviable beyond explanation.

6) Music You Wish Had Never Been Written:

I'd be happy if Elton John went away. And I don't much care for The Star Spangled Banner, either. And I hate We Are The Champions.


7) Current Music You Like:

Hem, Beck, the Fratellis,Scissors Sisters, Southern Culture on the Skids, Arctic Monkeys, the new Matthew Sweet/Susanna Hoffs album


8) Music You've Been Meaning To Hear:

Muse, Wolf Parade, Arcade Fire, Sufjan Stevens, Broken Social Scene, British Sea Power

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Mark Kennedy is a Big, Fat WANKER

I am watching Meet the Press on CNBC Europe. Tim Russert is doing his public debate forum for key races for Senate around the country, and this week it's Minnesota's turn. Congressman Mark Kennedy and Hennepin County Attorney Amy Klobuchar are debating.

Mark Kennedy is such an oily bastard. He answers every question by saying something vague that can't really be considered an answer for the question, and then immediately tries to taint AK by portraying her as a waffler who's running away from her positions. Asked directly about running away from HIS positions (he's a 92% Bush supporter who's claiming to be bi-partisan and free-thinking), he says, "Let's talk about Amy Klobuchar's inconsistencies" No, Mark. We're talking about you right now, you smearing, lying bastard. And he is the king of inflammatory buzzwords. I wish there was a way for the TV to go into demonic echo mode when people issue phrases like, "social security payments for illegal immigrants" or "threat to the sanctity marriage".

I hope you lose big, Mark Kennedy, you colossal moron.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Advice needed

My friend Pam is coordinating a podcast of expat stories...This Ex-American Life. I really want to contribute. If you've been a reader for awhile, please feed back in comments or email on the stories you like best. I will then rework them and submit my entry. If you're new to the blog, check out posts before Jan 2006, back before grad school when I had a damn life.

Tonight the iPod says...

1. About a Girl - Nirvana
2. Weapon of Choice - Fatboy Slim
3. You Are the Sunshine of My Life - Stevie Wonder
4. The Dance - Prince
5. Boots of Spanish Leather - Bob Dylan
6. Nobody's Fool - Alex Chilton
7. Never Say Never - Romeo Void
8. Rose - Stephen Fretwell
9. Caramel - Suzanne Vega
10. My Slumbering Heart - Rilo Kiley

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Tagged - Volume 1

1) Would you bungee jump? Absolutely, categorically no. There is no reason to bungee jump. If I wanted that kind of adrenaline rush, I'd drive a race car.

2) If you could do anything in the world for a living what would it be? Host a television chat show

3) Your favorite fictional animal? Barnaby, my friend Darlene's teddy bear

4) One person who never fails to make you laugh? ONE??? That's impossible. CP, KB, the Poodle, LarryAldrich, Suebee, Bethy, El Ben, my brother....need I go on?

But if you want one, then it's Martha Dumptruck.

5) When you were 12 years old what did you want to be when you grew up? A gonzo journalist who'd scoop stories in the middle east by interviewing terrorists and world leaders and folks on the street. Or Barbie. Either would have been fine.

6) What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning? There's usually some sort of profanity involved. Mornings and me...let's say we agree to disagree.

7) Have you ever gone to therapy? What do you think?

8) If you could have one super power what would it be? Fly. Flying would ROCK.

And seduce everyone I meet with my charm, wit, and beauty. Oh wait. I can do that. Never mind.

9) Your favorite cartoon character?
I heart the Tick.


10) Do you go to church? Not right now, but I used to be on the vestry at an Episcopal church. Like three years ago, so it's not even long ago.

11) What is your best childhood memory? Watching Gilligan's Island on the big leopard pillows with my dad. And playing with my mom's fingernails when I held her hand. My mom has REALLY strong nails.

12) Do you think marriage is an outdated ritual? Absolutely not. Marriage rocks. If you find someone who laughs at your jokes, thinks you're fabulous, and you want to talk to them for the rest of your life, get to it. I'm boycotting it, though, unless they opened it up to all my friends, not just the hetrosexual ones.

13) Do you own a gun? No. I don't hunt and I'm uncoordinated. Guns are a bad idea for people like me.

14) Have you ever hit someone of the opposite sex? Yes, I have. Smacked him good and hard, too. And he deserved it. the prick.

15) Have you ever sung in front of a large number of people? Yes. In addition to the odd karaoke night, I had a solo in a ladies quartet my senior year in high school. We sang Mr. Sandman, and I wrote an extra verse to it to help us stand out....Mr. Sandman, I want a man who makes my heart pound like only he can. I want somebody who's tall and good-looking. Who buys his suits at Saks, his shoes at Gucci. Sandman, I don't ask much. I just want true love, caresses and such. Please, turn on your magic beam... Mr. Sandman, bring me a dream! Soooooo not my type of guy. But I was 17. It seemed cool then.

16) What is the first thing you notice about the opposite sex? Soulful eyes, keen wit, and kindness.

17) What is your biggest mistake? As one who has made many "mistakes", I've chosen to embrace them as part of life's secret little plan. Therefore this is impossible to answer.

18) Say something totally random about yourself. I got stopped for speeding in the driver's education car.

And I hate sitting in other people's body heat. Seriously, if a chair is warm I'll stand up until it cools down. And how freaky is this....so does my brother, and we just figured out that we shared this obsession this summer.

19) Has anyone ever said that you looked like a celebrity?

Not really. My friend Rod thought I looked like what's her name from Yaz, but he was usually high when he said it and I had a second-hand trench coat and a beat up fedora that I wore a lot in high school so I think it was really about my wardrobe, not me.

Maybe I'M a celebrity....everywhere I go people think they recognise me. And when I travel for work, people remember me from visit to visit and always call me by name. It's kind of creepy, actually, when you're at some hotel in San Jose and the bellman says, "You've stayed with us before, haven't you? Maybe six months ago?" Yes, freako. I did. Why do you know that?

There was also a guy in St. Paul who used to come up behind me and hug me at Lunds. Then he'd realise I wasn't his friend Kristen or Kirstin or whatever her name was, and he'd get really embarrassed.

20) What is the most romantic thing someone of the opposite sex has done for you? I had a boyfriend who collected those individual-serving glass bottles of ketchup and then he gave them to me for Valentine's Day. SWOON. (FYI, I hate cold ketchup. I mean, I REALLY hate cold ketchup...almost as much as I hate sitting in other people's body heat, which is a lot.)

21) Do you actually read these when other people fill them out? Absolutely.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Requiem for a Dream

Martha Dumptruck is either on malaria drugs or psychedelics. Or maybe it's something for those nagging headaches. But CP is now wrong...she is not Miss Boring Blogger anymore. If only I could leave comments.

I live for Martha Dumptruck.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Today's First Ten

Dale made reference to JustaCoolCat's decision to do a random play of the iPod or other (inferior) music device and then post what comes out for the first ten songs. You know me...I love my music and I love to make others love my music. I'm so going to do this all the time.

Sunday, 8 October 2006
Preparing to work on my tables and graphs for Managing Information Techonologies
And the iPod says....
  1. 25 December Everything But The Girl
  2. Wake Up, Little Sparrow Lizz Wright
  3. Town Cryer Elvis Costello
  4. Glory Liz Phair
  5. King of the Road Roger Miller
  6. It's Love Jill Scott
  7. Hello Oasis
  8. Idiot Voodoo The Suburbs
  9. If Only I Could Jack Johnson
  10. Hotwax Beck

I'm Back

Hi All.

Have not had to to do much reading or blogging due to work, school, and sickness.

If I were timely, I would have answered your comments in the comment section, but since I didn't I'm commenting here where people will see it.

Thanks for all of your concern and encouragement when I fessed up to being a big mess last week. I really appreciate all of your concern...even though I don't actually know most of you, it really helps.

Am no longer in danger of breaking into tears at inappropriate times. Thank GOD!

It has been a long week, but things are getting back to normal now. As mentioned the last time I wrote, I had a paper to write on the economic status and prospects of India. Very interesting, but very time consuming. There's a lot going on in India, dontcha know. Duh.

Note to self, next time pick someplace a little less complex. Reconciling the second fastest growing economy and its onslaught of able workers with the other half of the country's population that is hungry, poor, and illiterate is not exactly easy. Yes, their GDP is growing at 8% a year with all of that outsourcing and consumer spending from the new middle class, but meanwhile 60% of the population lives in villages and support themselves with subsistence farming, 49% can't read (more if you look at only the women,) and 85% don't get proper nutrition. (For those doing the math, that figure must include many of the new middle class since more than 15% of the population is participating in the economy.) Frightening statistics, really, and it's hard to imagine how they'll fix it. Their road and rail network sucks. The population is 1.087 BILLION people and only 2M of them pay taxes. Power outages run rampant. The remnants of the caste system still dictate who gets education and who doesn't. So while they have this crazy unbridled potential they've got a whole mess of ills, and the population keeps growing and those ills are only going to get worse. Sheesh. Did not come up with any earth-shattering ideas for fixing it, but I feel pretty knowledgeable anyway.

I think it's fair to say that I'm creative...imaginative, even. And though I am capable of academic thought and reasoning, I never quite make it without throwing in some total wingnut idea that makes me look a little wacky. This time round there were two. Mind you BOTH are good ideas, but they were just a bit difficult to substantiate without copious research and more than 1500 words. So I got rid of the first one and alluded to the second in a way that was stated softly enough that I didn't end up having to prove it in detail.

1) India is basically a giant pile of coal. And you really can't use coal now, what since global warming is threatening all sorts of apocalyptic consequences. So I'm thinking India should be getting into the middle of a lot of research on clean coal technology. They've got all kinds of brain power, and if they build it the world will come to buy both the technology AND the coal. And they can use it as a fuel source themselves so they don't have to import all that oil.
2) India's spending WAY too much on oil, and they try to curtail inflation (because it would really screw their economy AND their poor people) by subsidising prices internally. To help with this, they've been buying up interests in the Middle East to help with their access, and they are building a pipeline from Iran via Pakistan. Great idea. Except there's the part about how the US is bound to call for sanctions any day now on Iran because of that whole axis of evil thing, and the newfound India/US buddy system turn a bit ugly. And then there's the other part about the whole Mumbai bombings that seem to have been carried out by Pakistan. If I were a Hatfield, I'm just not sure I'd trust my utilities flowing through McCoy land, you know?

Okay, you've basically read my paper now. I wish I had something more interesting to write about, but this is all I've been thinking about lately. I promise I won't burden you with my thoughts on time compression and the supply chain next week, even though that will be the burning question next weekend in 1500 words or less.

Along the way to writing it, I managed to catch some hellacious cold...spent two days in bed unable to swallow or breathe, spent another two at school feeling like I'd been trampled by elephants, and spent most of today resting up for work tomorrow. I have a deadline to complete tonight, but have no hope of doing so and plan to go to bed. It will all be better if I get some sleep and am healthier tomorrow.

I have been tagged individually by Lulu and collectively as an echotopian, and will get around to that soon.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Still no photo

I will not have my photo until late in the week for the Little Miss Sunshine Pageant. Rats.

The damn swans are back. Migrating bastards.

On the plus side, we have a blue heron in the pond right now, as well. Him, I like. (Or her...haven't really determined the gender, what since I'm not much of a birdwatcher.)

I have asked for a quote from an agency to do a garden cleanup and another to do a steamclean of the house. It's a bit grungy around the edges from years of tenants.

I have sensitive teeth today.

I am losing my battle to find an affordable ticket home for the holidays. I hadn't intended to come, but it is now seeming that it will be better for everyone if I spend it with my family.

I am researching India for my Macroeconomics WAC and now I'm craving a curry.

I broke my left big toe yesterday when I tripped on some stuff in the living room. It is now all shades of purple, and kind of swollen, too. I also did a number on the right one, but that's mostly nail damage.

I cried at work today. Mostly because I'm really sad, but partly for some other unknown. I hate it when I cry at work.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Little Miss Sunshine Pageant

Sadly, I cannot participate in the pageant today. My parents need to email me a photo, and due to various unexpected complications we've had other priorities and it just didn't happen.

I therefore cannot impress you with my puffy hair, chubby cheeks, geeky glasses and fine collection of Rhoda-like smocks. But I will soon.

By the way, may I say that many of you are merely geeky because of your 70's wardrobe, but are emperically beautiful children? FYI, this is not the case with me. Be prepared.