Showing posts from March, 2005

Peep Be Gone

My poor plush Peep Bunny. I'd been practicing bridge bidding at the dining room table, and was getting sick of trying to keep it all straight. Peep was sitting there and I decided to wind him up and let him fly. Unfortunately, when the windey part was done and he'd stopped his wobbling, he kept peeping. And peeping. And peeping. I let him peep for two hours (hidden under a blanket.) I tried to shut him up. He kept with the chirping. Mom had warned me this might happen, and so I tried her trick of fiddling with the base. Didn't work. So I smashed the Peep with the heel of my red leather boot. Repeatedly, until he peeped no more. Please forgive me.


I'm sure that when my next door neighbor bought his parrot, he was excited to have a shiny new pet. And I'm sure it's fun to imagine all of the clever funny things you can teach your shiny new parrot to say..."Clive! Did you hear it?! The parrot said "kiss my arse! HAHAHAH!" And I'm sure some rainy Saturday my neighbor was watching the teley and thought, "That's a catchy tune. I should teach it to my beloved parrot." I just wish he'd considered that, in practice, you don't necessarily want your parrot to whistle the Bridge Over the River Kwai several times an hour round the clock. Every day for the 100+years it lives. Outside, so it echoes around your patio/deck that covers your entire back garden. And perhaps he should have picked the parrot that wasn't an insomniac. Oh well. Next time.

Where are the Von Trapps when you need them?

Okay, so I tried to go exploring this morning, but things are closed today since its' a bank holiday. I ended up on a long walk instead. Now I'm home and surfing and I keep finding things to blog about, hence the multiple entries today. I had finished up the Easter Bunny post, and then I decided that I'd see what's on home, you often get lucky on Easter and they air The Sound of Music . I could have played my uke with "Doe, a Dear" and spun along with "I Have Confidence." Always a good way to spend an afternoon. But the BBC has other views on classics. My choices are That Darn Cat or Thunderpants . If I'm watching Haley Mills, I prefer The Parent Trap , so TDC's not of real interest. And Thunderpants ? Yes, it's a movie about a fat kid with a farting problem. Read the review here . Perhaps this adds insight into the British fondness for The Goonies . Hmmm. That reminds me to call Tom (TDC does, not TP). And you know I'

The Easter Bunny wants Terry Schiavo to LIVE!

Skip this one, Mom. XXOO min The BBC is a fine, balanced news organization and because the UK and the US are pretty tightly aligned economically and politically lately, there is a lot of news about home here. But I still have my favorite US news sites, and I check them for headlines, commentary, etc., because the news of the world and the news at home aren't usually the same thing, even if the subject is the same. (The White House hasn't been able to successfully plant a paid-advertisement in the international press yet, but I'm sure Karl's on the case. They've got a legacy to worry about now.) Try, and then click on the "International Edition" in the upper right corner. See what I mean? Anyway, as often as I can, I go to the New York Times, The Washington Post, The Star Tribune,, CNN, and Decorah Newspapers. I check a few blog sites like Wonkette, and then I move to the comedy sites like the Daily Show with Jon Stewart and Fox New

Easter Weekend 2

Three things I forgot to mention.... Too late for the Easter basket, but perhaps it's an option for Pentacost....You, too, can fragrance your home with the scent of the Lord. Check this out. I wonder if it's sacrilegious to use it in the bathroom? The resurrection of Christ is taking a backseat to the resurrection of someone else here in the UK. Tonight is the first in a series of 13 new Dr. Who shows, this time with better sets and a Geordie lad in the title role. Of course, making better sets than the original Dr. Who isn't exactly difficult. If they're not out of cardboard it's an improvement. And the stupid scarf and crazy hair are gone, replaced by a slick black leather jacket and a shaved head. At least 21st century geeks will be better dressed. Do you know about Peter Kay? He's a comedian, and he made a video for comic relief lipsyncing Tony Christie singing Is This the Way to Amarillo . The link I have here is only a portion of the original,

Easter Weekend

I'm almost half way through the four-day Easter Extravaganza, as I like to call this weekend. Have done nothing of consequence, which suits me well. Woke up this morning to a knock on the door. It was my own personal Easter Bunny (dressed as a Royal Mail deliveryman, but I imagined him with bunny ears to make it festive.) My mom and dad had sent me a package. It had a Peep theme...yellow peep bunnies (open and getting stale for proper munching as we speak), a chocolate egg with a marshmallow peep waiting inside, and a lovely plush purple peep bunny, which when wound by running on the table, peeps and wobbles across the room. The stuffed toy is perfect...slightly misshapen like a good peep is, and with that disembodied, mouthless stare that makes even the tastiest sweet confection a little creepy. I love it. Bought my own little set of Easter treats at Marks and Spencer. M&S is a department store/luxury food emporium mix (yes, it's as odd as it sounds), and they specialize

Random Thoughts on a Wednesday

People in England are ready to kick Tony Blair out of office because he lied about Iraq, the economy is in a slump, and national health care isn't taking care of people. Now they don't trust him. Hmm. I'm sorry for her family's loss, but I don't understand why Congress is involved in Terry Schiavo's death. Why hasn't Tom DeLay been indicted? Why did the Sec. of the Treasury issue a report today telling us that Social Security is going bankrupt sooner? (Oh wait. There was also that news story about how support for SS reform is waning by the second. Never mind.) Surely Michael Jackson is faking the back pain. That's ridiculous. I like that Woody Allen named a movie after me. Twice. I don't care if the critics think it sucks. NPR had a story about the ukulele teaching physics yesterday on All Things Considered . (Thanks for the link, Heidi.) How topical am I? Have you joined Book Crossing yet? My washing machine sounds li

july 22 and I'm fine, again


Tiptoe through the Tulips...I Dare You

I am teaching myself to play the ukulele. I have always wanted to play the uke. I loved Tiny Tim on variety shows as a kid. (That could have been the freakish hair and popeyed look about him, though. You never know with me.) In one of my favorite movies as a teen, "The Purple Rose of Cairo," the sadsack Mia Farrow begins to see the beauty of life when matinee idol Jeff Daniels comes down off the screen and picks up a uke to sing her a little song. The ukulele seemed like an instrument that could cure all ills, and let's face it...there's a lot of sadness in this life so it's important to find hobbies that make it impossible to stay down. As far as I can tell, the ukulele is practically a miracle cure. Name one sad, tear-jerking uke song. I dare you. You can't, can you? That's because the ukulele is fundamentally a happy instrument. It's in a high, happy tuning. Veritable sunshine in a string, I tell you. It involves strumming. Take a moment and mime p

Whew (and a recipe, too)

It was an extremely busy week and I'm glad it's over. I was working on an RFP for a customer who decided that, although BI has always done an amazing job for them, they needed to knock us down on our pricing so they put our program out to bid. That means a lot of work jumping through hoops and trying to please them, and ultimately charging even less than we usually do for our services. I don't quite understand why customers who squeeze their customers for every little dime turn around and demand their suppliers give them everything at cost, and I really don't understand why management even considers going along with this. Have some self-esteem and charge what you're worth, for pete's sake. The week was further complicated by the fact that I was working with an unorganized client services director who was totally unavailable to review our project until the last minute, and then we had to scramble to get things done in time. Pleah. It all turned out well, though,

Small Country

People will tell you that England is about the size of Minnesota. They're right. Growing up in the middle of the US, I always knew that I lived in a gigantic country. I went on family vacations and spent HOURS sitting in the back seat with my brother. (Sidebar....My clever mother devised a game with lifesavers candy that kept us occupied...everyone would get a candy of their choice, and then we'd have to hold it on our tongues and you only won if you were the last one to finish yours. Cagey woman, my mom...exchanging sweets for silence, and we were totally suckered in.) My family traveled from our house in Iowa to every end of the country and we'd be gone for weeks. It'd take three days to get to Yellowstone and the ocean wasn't even close. I think we were gone for two weeks on the Detroit/Toronto/Niagra-and-back route. And when I moved from Seattle to Washington DC in my thirties, I drove from coast to coast and it was a two week undertaking (with a three day sto

Touring Britain

Sorry for the long absence. My friends Abby and Kim were visiting from Minneapolis, and then I had a busy few days at work getting caught up. We had a great time wandering around southern England. Neither Kim nor Abby had been here before, so they got the full dose of "the-same-but-different" that is the UK. They took the non-stop from Gatwick, and then National Express up to MK. It seems they had quite the local color on the bus, with a thick-accented driver who refused to answer questions about travel because he was a driver, not an information service. I picked them up at the coachway and let them relax at my house while I finished the day at work. Took them to the Swan, my stand-by local pub, for dinner. Kim is more inquisitive than most, and was really interested in its history. Turns out the pub was built in the late 17th century, and has been added to and remodeled to get to its current state. This is evident from the open fire and the low-beamed ceilings, but when yo

Visitors Alert!

Just a note to those who may be contemplating a visit to the UK: Dates are filling up fast, now that people are getting tax returns and have some spare cash to book tickets. I'm also starting to travel more with work...I have a trip to Oman coming up, as well as a possible Amsterdam/Copenhagen/Athens circuit. If you've got a plan in the works, let me know ASAP so I block your dates. Kim and Abby arrive today, so I doubt I'll be online until next week sometime. When I get back, we'll have stories of London, Cambridge, Bath, and The Grove. Have good weekends.

British Pop Sucks

I don't know what these people are thinking with their music. We listen to the radio at work. And you all know I'm a sucker for a good pop song. But they're going too far here. I must admit, I really like the Scissor Sisters, an American band that has taken the UK by storm. They're kind of a discofunk throwback band of oddballs from Tennessee. I'd say their album is one of the best dance-around-the-house, drive-really-fast releases I've heard in awhile. Not as funky as the Black-Eyed Peas, but perfect for a John Travolta moment in the privacy of your home (or faux privacy of your car.) Plus, it's hard to find social-commentary disco...with choruses like "You can't see tits on the radio" (about indecency police) and the song Filthy/Gorgeous which is basically a prostitute talking about how pathetic her johns are they're making a statement while they boogie. They do a disco version of Comfortably Numb, but I've been able to forgive them