Thursday, June 26, 2008

I hate chain mail

1. I hate chain mail. My friend Marina forwarded me this stupid Chinese proverb thing promising exceptional luck. Or not. I didn't forward it. I mean, those things suck.
2. The next day, I got a call from the woman I was going to move in with...the woman who was moving out had changed her mind indefinitely. So no room for me. Two nights before I was due to move in.
3. I've had some promising conversations with an alum about job hunting, and her offer of help got postponed...she's swamped, and it's going to take at least two weeks, maybe more, before she can even speak to me.
4. My work project got kind of mucked up. Not horribly so, but enough to be frustrating.
5. So I tried to think what it could be. And I remembered the chain mail. So I forwarded it on. We'll see how it pans out. I've made 20 people hate me for sending them an email of good or bad luck, but I DID warn them not to open the attachment lest they unleash the jinky.
6. By the way, I think chainmail looks uncomfortable, but I do not actually hate it.
7. I had a wonderful time with my friends Tim and Mark on Saturday. I spent the day looking at flats and then met them at 4 to hear them sing evensong. While I waited for them to change, the priest chatted me up. When they were ready, we went to the Soho hotel for cocktails and snacks before wandering into Chinatown for dinner. It was a lovely night, so we walked to Trafalgar Square, stopping for a pint along the way, and then ended up in the Trafalgar drinking bourbon cocktails and watching some very trampy girls climb all over their dates. Oh my, they were slutty. It was a live soft-core porn show. The management had to ask them to cool it. Very funny. When we had had our fill of drinks and heavy petting, we wandered down to South Bank for a picturesque stroll along the Thames by night. We got a solid midnight chime from Big Ben, then wandered back to their hotel, where we stayed up very late. I slept in a ball on the floor, giving one of Timmy's white t-shirts distinct boob stretch. The nice man from reception brought me a blanket, and I was actually quite comfortable, save for the blisters on my feet that had erupted from the miles and miles of walking. Got up early, grabbed a shame train back to MK I hate travelling on a Sunday morning in rumpled clothes and bedhead. Not that I do it a lot. Just sayin' it ain't fun, and the respectable people give you the skunk eye. It was a fabulous night out. I miss Timmy and Sparkdog. They rock.
8. At the train station I had to pee, and I went in a toilet that was so toxic from someone else's befouling that I could not breathe without retching. I don't know who was there before me, but there is seriously something very very wrong with them. I hope they get help.
9. Periodically, a very strange blistery sort of sore appears on my elbow. It hurts a lot, eventually scabs over, heals, and then a few weeks or even months later it reappears. I've often wondered about this, and then when I complained of it to the Boys the put forward a very logical explanation. Obviously, this is where the aliens put their probe.
10. I am unsettled. My future is uncertain. Expect something drastic from me.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Clarification

I've been informed by several of my UK readers that they thought the photo image to the left was actually me as a child.

Should you also be wondering this, let me clarify that that is not, in fact, me, but rather the image of Dawn Wiener from the classic dark comedy, Welcome to the Dollhouse.

While I certainly had my geeky stages and often demonstrated a strong sense of misguided fashion, Dawn does not look like me on the outside...she only represents how I felt on the inside.

If you are new to Melinda June, you can click on the label below for a visual tour of my youth.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Yesterday in London

1. When I got on the train, I sat by two East African Muslim women wearing burgandy-ish jilbabs that clashed with the hennaed orange tips of their fingers. One of them had a nubbin on her thumb that kind of looked like a tiny little extra thumb. It freaked me out a little bit.
2. A woman sitting across from me had the shiniest, whitest Chiclet teeth ever. And though she appeared to be in her twenties, I think they were actually ill-fitting plates because she couldn't seem to get her lips over them to stop the creepy smile.
3. At King's Cross, there was a family that took gender-specific coloration very seriously. The Mom and her two daughters were dressed entirely in pink and had pink roller luggage, the dad and the son were in blue with matching blue duffel bags. They were standing next to a kid dressed in beige. I've read Middlesex. It made me wonder.
4. I saw a short bald man on the tube with a massive bloody bandage on the back of his head. He was acting like it was any other day, like he hadn't a care in the world, nothing amiss. After standing next to him on a crowded train, I beg to differ.
5. I had many meetings, and then went to sit at a cafe off of Oxford Street to wait for my friend Yvonne. I enjoyed a very civilised glass of ice tea in the warm sunshine of a London afternoon. It was about 530pm and so I got quite the fashion parade while I waited. I observed the following:


  • Bubble skirts, short short dresses and belts are really in right now, often paired with leggings or footless tights. Sadly, though one in three women passing was sporting this look, one in 20 of them should have been.
  • Belts are also big literally.
  • 90% of the people walking past me were slaves to current fashion trends, but they were either not coming from work or they don't really understand what constitutes appropriate office attire.
  • Many women wear ill-fitting or impractical shoes that make it impossible for them to walk.
  • Tom would have hated all the flip flops.
  • Bangs (or "fringe", as they call them called here) are on the cutting edge of hair

6. Lots of people must have unprotected sex on New Year's Eve.
7. I killed some time reading the London Paper. They were interviewing P Diddy, and they asked him if he loves the Beckhams. He told them that he loves hanging out with David now that he's in LA, that Beckham is a great guy and even gave his son a football lesson. So then they asked if he and Victoria talk about their clothing lines a lot. He said that he has a lot of respect for how driven she is. If I were a gossip columnist, I'd take this to mean that Sean John no likey V. Beckham.
8. A woman asked me if I could spare a minute for charity. I laughed, and told her I'd given them about 18 hours a day for the last month so no, I couldn't really. I think she was puzzled.
9. On the way back to Euston, I was behind a monk in a plain brown hooded robe with a rope belt. He had on teva sandals. I wanted to ask him many questions. What kind of monk was he? Can he talk or is in a vow of silence? And if he's in a vow of silence, does it count when he's out in the world, not the abbey? Is his monk name different than his birth name? And if it is, how did he decide what he would be called? Are their monks named Colton or Brandon? Did he HAVE to wear sandals, or was that just the choice he made this morning? Does he make ale? Who's his favourite saint? What does a monk do for fun on a sunny day in London? How many monks does it take to screw in a lightbulb? So many questions. They were just flying into my brain, I tell you. Ever the polite one, I kept them all inside it. But it killed me.
10. In the UK, they spell "percent" "per cent". It drives me crazy.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Inquiring mind

1. Rather than go to the store to buy polish remover, I chose to gnaw the chipped polish off my nails last night. I disgust me. On the plus side, I won't have to pack and move the bottle of polish remover, so that's a plus.
2. Why is it so easy to get spinach in your teeth?
3. Today I saw a couple at Euston station wearing two of the ugliest plaid jackets ever. I mean abysmally ugly. Criminally ugly. And I can't help but wonder how that happened? Let's just imagine for a moment that you and I were travelling together, and when I came out of the shower you were putting on a nasty check plaid jacket that's so busy it sends a normal human eye into spasms. I would go one of two ways: 1) Tell you that your jacket was a crime against humanity and you'd best take it off, lest I start burning it whilst you were still in it, or 2) Decide to let you learn your own lesson through ridicule and public shaming, and then I'd put on something simple and unobtrusive to muffle the noise of your blazer. Under no circumstances would I look at your flashing black and white check monstrosity and say, "Hey! I have that SAME jacket except with a bit of yellow thrown in for color! Why don't I wear that?!" Obviously, this man's travelling companion is not me.
4. There were YOBs on the train. I hate YOBs. Talking all Ali G and telling misogynistic stories about women they know. Where are their manners, for pete's sake? If the Youth of Britain are anything to go by, women are all whores and sluts, too stupid to hold a conversation and positively gagging for sex. I hated these kids. They're like 16, and from the way they're dressed they looked like they come from wealthy homes, which likely means they have privilege that will get them into a certain level of power when they grow up. It disgusted me. Little jerks. They needed a good smack.
5. I sat next to a nutter on the tube today. Or at least I'm assuming he was a nutter. About every five seconds he'd smack his knee and then whistle ever so softly. Perhaps he was simply keeping time to some internal tune.
6. I had chocolate ice cream yesterday. I never ever eat ice cream. It was delicious. Yum.
7. I've had a headache most of the day. I think it comes from riding the train facing backwards before I had a proper cup of coffee.
8. I don't understand Bob Dylan's accent. He's from Northern Minnesota. What happened?
9. There are bats that swoop and dive all over the back garden at dusk. They terrify me. I have to shut the blinds so I don't see them because I freak out.
10. I could really go for some jello right now.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Random 10 for Sunday

1. I'm shocked and horrified by the flooding in Iowa. First, my hometown had crazy high waters, and though there was some damage and quiet a few tense moments, the community banded together to help and they are relatively unscathed in comparison to Cedar Rapids. Most of my extended family on my dad's side still live somewhere between Cedar Rapids and Iowa City and I've spent a lot of time down there throughout my life. It's hard to put words at how awful things are there right now. And it's unfathomable how much damage there is, and how long it's going to take to fix. Word has it that all of my family is safe, but living in a community that's been devastated by something like this is still scarring. I'm thinking about them a lot.
2. I'm also really bothered by some of the comments I've been reading on news stories. People have been jumping on stories about Tim Russert's death and making snide comments about his reporting and bias. On one of the flood stories several people used comments to bash Obama, who has set up an aid fund on his website. They're claiming he's insincere and politicking and is going to keep the money for his campaign. I think it's disgusting that people politicize things like this. Show some respect for the dead and the suffering, for pete's sake.
3. Some of my readers have gotten the idea that I don't like John McCain because he's old. I'd like to clarify that, although I use his age to poke fun, it's not his age itself that I have a problem with. It is possible to be 71 and still meet my criteria for being a good presidential candidate. My objections to John McCain surround a difference in policies (I think he's wrong about a lot of things,) and a dislike for hypocrites and disingenuous politicians (both of which I believe him to be.) But mostly, I dislike him because he frames all issues with 1980's rules/perspective. A lot has changed in the last 20 - 30 years, and John McCain doesn't seem to understand that. And I think that is dangerous for the US.
4. My weekend of dog-sitting is almost through. Wolfie gets picked up and moves to Nadine's parents house tonight, where her father will feed/water/play with him. He's been surprisingly calm, and although he follows me around the house and has insisted on sleeping with me (and taking most of the bed, may I add,) all in all it has gone well. That said, I'm looking forward to being able to leave the house for hours on end again.
5. I have a lot of packing to do. It shouldn't take that long...it's mostly clothes, bathroom/toiletries and kitchen stuff, but I still have to do it by Thursday. Plan to move one load on Friday and another on Saturday. I'm very excited about the new place.
6. I have to work today. I have a lot of niggling points to sort out, and I expect there's a good three hours of writing to do, plus an hour of organising for a site inspection tomorrow AM. I have to catch an early train for that, too, which I'm none to thrilled about. It costs a load and it means being to the station by 8. Pleh.
7. Not only do I not want to see that movie Wanted that they're advertising these days, I don't want to see another advertisement for it, either. Even under the best of circumstances I find Angelina Jolie to be a bit freaky, but in this they keep bending her like she's a Gumby toy and I find it completely unsettling. It's a shame, actually, because I like that James McEvoy, even in spite of Atonement, and I'd like to support his career.
8. I am excited, on the other hand, for Mamma Mia! Abba music, film spectacle, meaty comic characters for Julie Walters and Christine Baranski...what's not to love? Plus I love the fact that Meryl Streep is 3 - 12 years older than all three of the men playing the possible "daddy" roles. Go Meryl! And a film that has Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and that Swedish dude as the eye-candy love-interests for the female protagonists is perfect for my demographic.
9. Today is my first Father's Day without my dad. In fact, Dad died on Father's Day last year, and though the actual anniversary of his death is Tuesday according to the calendar, today is a sucky day anyway. You probably guessed that I still really miss my dad.
10. Once in awhile I kill time watching the Hallmark Channel, which in the UK means reruns of US and Australian 1 hour mystery, adventure and drama tv. One of my secret dirty pleasures is Diagnosis Murder, which is practically like admitting to watching Matlock. Today's episode was anachronistically amusing...for some reason, it guest starred all sorts of has-been actors from Happy Days and its various spin-offs. Pat Morita (Arnold from HDs) was on it, as was Erin Moran (Joannie from HDs,) the guy who played Ralph Malph, Squiggy from Laverne and Shirley, some blonde woman I couldn't place but would guess was from L&S in California, and it was all rounded out by the dad from Mork and Mindy. Perhaps Anson "Potsie" Williams directed it - I believe he was a regular influencer behind the scenes at DM. Sadly, Scott Baio had left the series by the time this episode was filmed, or it could have been a sweeps week coup.
11. Yes, 11...I'm like a Spinal Tap amp today. In the vein of odd celebrity sightings, I've had two good ones in the movies I've watched over the weekend. The first - Eric Mabius, who plays Daniel on Ugly Betty, also played the handsome dimwit Steve Rogers in Welcome to the Dollhouse. This increases Mr. Mabius' street cred for me, but begs the question of why he seems drawn to shows about unattractive heroines. Secondly, while watching The Way We Were, I realised that the skinny, young-communist anti-Redford from the days when Katie and Hubbel were in college is played by a skinny and awkward James Woods, who is, in fact, an anti-Redford in real life, too. Bless, I hear he's a member of Mensa and all, but he's not exactly a heart throb. Have you seen him in that movie with Dolly Parton? Oh, and by the way, Robert Redford is timeless. It boggles the mind.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

For dinner

I'm really bummed that I couldn't have a few of you over for dinner, because you would have LOVED what I made.

Coq au Riesling

Cut up half a pound of bacon. Heat some olive oil in a casserole, toss in some minced garlic to flavour it, add the bacon and brown it crisp.

Add a finely chopped leek and cook and stir a bit.

Add some boneless/skinless chicken thighs cut in half with a knife (probably six or so) and some ripped up oyster mushrooms. Toss them around a bit more and let it brown slightly, but not really.

Season with salt, pepper and a couple of bay leaves, add 3/4 a bottle of good Riesling wine and let is simmer for an hour.

Add just a small tidge of single cream, and serve it on egg noodles with a bit of fresh dill chopped on top, plus a spinach salad with a citrusy dressing on the side.

It is all melty and delicious, with no trace of alcohol in the flavour - if I can taste wine in a sauce it usually annoys me, and this...this was rich and succulent and vibrant.

Celebrity look-alike



Picked this up over at the Pug. Not only do I apparently look like Marni as well as Janeanne Garafalo, I look like several "celebrities", as well. I wonder if somewhere on some blog in the near future someone will resemble a "celebrity" that looks like me?

OH! And who'd have guessed I look like Lionel Richie?

Random 10 for Thursday

1. I have fabulous new hair. It is a curly, vaguely shaggy chin-length inverted bob. And it is a lovely chocolate brown with sprigs of blond and vibrant red mixed in. Much, much better than the shaggy brown-and-grey mop I had a mere two weeks ago. I feel sassy. (Technically the hair is visible in the graduation photo below, but it didn't interact well with the hat so the photo doesn't do it justice.)
2. Coldplay has a new album out. I still hate them. I'm listening to the Current online and they're playing a song from it, and it's overly dramatic and cloying. Nice to know some things never change.
3. My housemate believes that even the deadest looking plants are capable of rebirth. Therefore I have two extremely dead, turning to dust plants in my immediate line of sight. Bless her optimism.
4. She left today on holiday, and I am house/dog sitting this week and feverishly packing for my move next Friday. Wolfie, the dog, is a delightful animal but he is a bit skittish and has serious separation anxiety when Nadine is gone for even a few hours, so I am anticipating a less than enjoyable weekend. I don't mind, but I'm hoping the howling subsides by Saturday or Sunday, as I don't think I can take more than three days of constant baying in lonely torpor and bursts of psychotic hyperactivity.
5. I am working from home today and tomorrow as a result. And while I've been pretty productive, there's a dvd of The Way We Were beckoning to me. That would be a much better way to spend my Thursday. But I will resist. I will. Really.
6. Someone please name one ELO song that doesn't completely suck. Because I'm wondering why they ever achieved any fame at all. Did no one have taste back then?
7. I have polished my fingernails and they keep chipping, which is annoying me.
8. There was a herd of migrating bees in the car park at work last week. Thousands of them swarmed through, then settled on a bit of tree in a clump that was the size of a full-sized dachshound. They hung there for a couple of days, going frantic when anyone walked anywhere near them, and then one day around 2PM they all swarmed off, crossing the fence and moving onwards into some poor sucker's back yard. It was fascinating. I'd never seen migrating bees before. I tried to convince everyone that they were African Killer Bees. They didn't buy it. Sure, every bird from the continent is a bird flu threat, but masses of bees are just on holiday. Obviously Brits don't understand the concept of constant vigilance.
9. Facebook is a difficult thing. I am plagued by people who want to be my friend, but whom I don't really know and frankly don't really want to. I love the part about people I used to see every day finding me there, and how I've connected with other friends at a distance and have learned quite a bit about people I didn't know that well by reading their walls and watching their updates. But in spite of my best judgement, I made the mistake of accepting invitations from a few people with whom I have nothing in common, and now I get updates about the anti-immigrant groups they're joining and the random blokes they're picking up at MK bars on Friday nights. Teaches me to ignore my instincts in an effort to be polite.
10. The BBC adaptation of Middlemarch was a big disappointment.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Name calling, afterword

From CNN:

BREAKING DOWN THE NUMBERS
Here's how the average tax bill could change in 2009 if either John McCain's or Barack Obama's tax proposals were fully in place.

MCCAIN vs. OBAMA
Income: Change in tax
Over $2.9M: -$269,364 vs. +$701,885
$603K and up: -$45,361 vs. +$115,974
$227K-$603K: -$7,871 vs. +$12
$161K-$227K: -$4,380 vs. -$2,789
$112K-$161K: -$2,614 vs. -$2,204
$66K-$112K: -$1,009 vs. -$1,290
$38K-$66K: -$319 vs. -$1,042
$19K-$38K: -$113 vs. -$892
Under $19K: -$19 vs. -$567

Source: The Tax Policy Center

Those crazy tax and spenders. They obviously don't understand how important every dollar is to the average American. I mean, sure Americans who make less than £112K annually do better under the Obama plan, but what about all those people who make MORE than that??? Hard working Americans want an explanation for this, Mr. Obama.

Special to readers who are actually IN the +£112K-$603K bracket...I hope to join you there soon, and I know you work hard for your money. So hard for it, honey. But the $12 average increase you will have means a lot less to you than the $567 decrease does to someone at the bottom of the ladder, therefore I say "pony up". And to those in the brackets above that...you're lucky being Robin Hood is illegal.

Blowing my cover

I've been DYING to tell you all what I'm doing until the end of July...and now all can be revealed.

I have the goofiest job ever. I am project directing this.

The press, the promotion, the celebrities, the fundraising, the team interaction at my company, the branding and message...everything. It ROCKS. And if you're so inclined, show your love and spread the word...click on DONATE and sponsor us. But remember, US residents....you'd best mentally double whatever amount you enter before you click send, because it collects money in £££'s and your bank will when they debit it from your account.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Name calling

OOOOO. Don't vote for that Hussein Obama character! He's going to TAX you! (Insert old coot holler here, perhaps with a cane shake.)

Listen up, Ole John. If you're going to call us tax and spend liberals who just love to take money from the pockets of hard-working Americans to feed and house lazyasses with too many children, then I'm going to call you a money-grubbing, selfish bastard with a cold black lump of coal for a soul who is only concerned about protecting your own wealth and that of your cronies.

It's 2008, not 1988. Supply-side and trickle-down economics and name-calling are passe. Not to mention that there's no evidence they work. Furthermore, equating lowering taxes with creating jobs is risky in a culture where record profits and rising unemployment seem to be not just related but in some unholy marriage.

Get a new plan and make a real argument.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Last Friday


Graduation or Fancy Dress party? You decide.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Hater, vol 5 - let the healing begin

To all you HRC supporters, I'm really sorry for your loss. Politics is heady business. Even though you know it shouldn't be, it becomes very personal as you become more committed to a candidate, and every one of their successes or failures causes surges of powerful, heartfelt emotion. And worst of all, I know what it feels like to lose. To know deep in your heart that you were supporting a candidate who could change the world, but the rest of the nation was just too stupid to listen. You feel betrayed. You feel frustrated. Angry even. It hurts.

But losing an election cycle is not a reason to become a moron.

Something like 24% (more in some states) of you HRC supporters are vowing to support John McCain in a protest vote. Or to write in Hillary, Democratic party be damned, because your girl didn't win. And you don't care if Obama loses, because he's a pantywaist anyway.

Seriously? I mean, seriously.

You're willing to abandon your dreams of universal healthcare, sensible gun laws, appropriate immigration and affirmative action laws and fair tax codes that don't only benefit the wealthy just so you can stick it to the guy that gave your girl the bum's rush? Your pride is more important than a women's right to choose? You're willing to allow the GOP to fill the courts with activist conservative judges, continue to gut environmental laws and put corporate interests above the people's just to prove a point? You're willing to spend trillions more dollars and countless American lives on fighting a civil war in Iraq, and put another rootin'-tootin'-cowpoke sort of "diplomat" in control of our foreign policy? Just because you lost?

You've got to be kidding me. Calm down. Have a cocktail too many, cry in your beer, put Obama's face on a dart board for a night, whatever. But get over it. Move on. Did you support Hillary because of her policies or because of her pantsuits? Are you REALLY willing to let McBush do even more damage to the economy, the public welfare and the US' standing in the world just so Hillary can run again in four years?

Certainly this is easy for me...my horse won. But if he hadn't, I'd do the honorable thing and vote for HRC, even though she's practically become synonymous with the "hater" series, and she's done everything underhanded and mean-spirited that she can to discredit my guy. I mean, I don't like her anymore, but I care too much about my country to use my vote against its best interest.

Go have a think and get back to us. And if you decide to come back, we'll embrace you as though none of this has ever happened.

But while you're out, would you please muzzle that Geraldine Ferraro? She gets on my nerves.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Rats

The headline said that the designer of the Pringles can was recently buried in one. I had visions of a giant human-sized container made specially for him, and his embalmed body being put in feet first before being vacuum-sealed, capped with a snap on lid and buried. The actual story says he was cremated, and only part of him went in an actual Pringles can. Still cool, but not as cool as the original idea.

Unless they coated the ashes with sour cream and onion seasoning.

I wonder if he had a mustache?