Monday, May 28, 2007

Happy Birthday, Sooz!


Great friend with green eyes

Gabriel Byrne should be so lucky
I know I am blessed


I love you, Suzanne! I'm glad every day for our friendship--you are so understanding and supportive and just so damn much fun! Your voice brightens the most stressful work day and your presence makes the ickiest chores actually fun to do (like building shelves for my basement). Thanks for being here in St. Louis and letting me share your life!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Happy Birthday, Steph-e-nanie!

Top ten things I love about my sister (with a couple things Suzanne loves about her thrown in):

10. She always does all the scary life things first, making them less scary when my turn comes. (Although watching her learn to ride a bike on our gravel street put me off bike riding for years!)

9. She's always willing to play geeky board and card games with me, especially if they're Lord of the Rings themed.

8. She always let Suzanne play the girly girls in our Peter Pan games.

7. She always has time and positive energy for me, even when her own energy is otherwise depleted!

6. She has as hard a time as I do making small decisions like what to have for lunch.

5. She smiles and laughs with us when we name being gullible after her.

4. "You go tell your mama!"

3. She LOVES new experiences and broadening her horizons, which broadens the horizons of everyone around her.

2. My big brother, Matt.

1. She's just SO generous and beautiful and loving and thoughtful!

I love you, Steph! Happy Birthday!!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Haiku o' Thursday

russian music sites
tantalizing me with songs
but visa says nyet

Calvin moment

I am significant!!!!

But today is one of those days where it just doesn't feel that way looking out my 15th floor office building to an adjacent office building of floor after floor of lit offices with worker bees piddling away inside and a horizon with building upon building stretching out in all direcions after that one, each containing floors full of individuals working away (or not working away but writing on their blogs, etc.)...

*sigh*

Friday, May 18, 2007

Wisdom of the Masses

It has come up in several conversations lately and has been battering about in my brain lately how spoiled with technology we are these days and in particular how spoiled the Internet has made us (and me in particular). I LOVE the immediate gratification of having a pretty reliable answer to almost any question in the world at my fingerprints. As if the Library of Congress and all the wisdom of the ages are all at my disposal with generous cataloguing and indexing, too. imdb tells me anything I want to know about movies, allmusic about music (duh) and wikipedia starts a neverending journey of exploration into "facts" supplied by masses that somehow turn out to be mostly accurate.

And I haven't even started talking about the shopping. The convenience, the immense variety!

But I have a love-hate relationship with the biggest internet retailer I am usually in contact with (since I don't frequent ebay anymore)--Amazon. It's like reality television, I find myself bizarrely fascinated by some of the features and unable to resist them, but then often rather disgusted and annoyed after spending 1/2 an hour in such pursuits. In particular, what I'm talking about is the amazon.com community. I absolutely love the idea of having tens or even hundreds of reviews of a given book or cd so easily available, as well as all kinds of shopping list ideas in the form of the "So You'd Like To..." and "Listmania!" lists. But the lists are almost always disappointing as a real tool for finding unknown treasures or broadening horizons. And the reviews can sometimes be actually personally upsetting to me in their polarized nature and vehement criticism often lacking any social empathy or consideration for others.

As with message boards, amazon.com reviewers tend to lash out at writers of opinions opposed to their own in personal attacks rather than any thoughtful discourse on the actual subject matter. I am well aware that the nature of the internet lends itself to impersonalizing the other people we are communicating with and in the context of an amazon.com review, in which your audience is technically other readers, not the reviewer whose opinions you disdain, it is easy to just speak openly with as violently offensive language as you might desire. Forget that WE LIVE IN A SOCIETY!!! The internet has created its own uber-society in which we can all be as rude and thoughtless as we like and never feel the consequences in our day-to-day "real" lives.

So even though I like to think I "get" it about a lot of the symptoms leading to this result, nevertheless the nature of the amazon.com reviews evidencing sort of the lowest common denominator of our culture still makes me sad on occasion.

After my latest book club meeting last night, this morning I was reading some of the amazon.com reviews of the book we discussed, Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. And of course, the vast majority of reviews are either 5 stars or 1 star and each of the 1 star reviewers can't believe what idiots the 5 star reviewers are. And it made me sad.

Until it suddenly occurred to me that our book club discussion about the book had been really good and that is exaclty why I'm in a book club with the neat women I am and not with all the freakin' idiots posting reviews on amazon.com. :-) Maybe life (and the internet) isn't so bad.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Happy Birthday, Dicktar!

Happy Birthday, Jason, love of my life!

I will miss you today and look forward to celebrating your advancing age this weekend. All those greeting card things like "you're not growing older, you're growing better" seem so right when applied to you!

I love you!

Vader vs. Mario - wha-wha-what???

This morning I read a poem in the UMSL literary magazine that published Jason's short story. It was a short one, maybe eight or ten lines, the gist of which was: Yah, I'm a geek, but don't laugh I'm not such a total super-geek, oh-but-wait, maybe I am a super-geek after all. Cute. But the last line of the poem (intended to show what a super-geek the poet maybe is after all) was along the lines of "I still haven't decided who would win in a duel between Darth Vader and Super Mario."

WHAT????

I am not afraid to admit that I am such a geek that not only do I have an opinion about this but have an opinion so strong that I am completely shocked the author would even use this comparison in his poem. I even wondered if it was ironic and actually he was trying to show that he only thinks he's a super-geek after all but really deep down he's not because if he was he would know that matchup is absolutely ludicrous.

I mean, Mario??? Against Darth Vader??? You've got to be kidding! I mean, maybe Mario could annoy Darth Vader into hyperventilating to death. So here, is my responsive haiku to that UMSL student:

plumber jumping pipes
blue overalls and hammer
yoda you are not

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

More lessons in usage

It is just completely Bitterman that every time I REALLY have to pee at the office, you know--I've put it off and put it off and taken one more phone call and done one more little e-mail before finally going across the office to the bathroom--the freakin' janitor guy is in there cleaning the ladies room!!!!!!!!

Grrrr.

My choice is to walk around the beehive a bit, down a flight of stairs and around the beehive on that level to the ladies room on the next floor down, or to wait five minutes.

Again I say: Grrrr.

Arrrrrg! Ye scurvy dogs!

Pirate game of the week: Cannon Bods!

I played it twice before I finally figured out that you have to hit the same kind of pirate you are shooting! Doh!

Enjoy, Suzanne!

Professor Bollinger

Jason is actually a teacher now.

He started teaching his first solo-taught college class on Monday. After two days he is already gaining confidence and excitement about it. And it's not even a favorite topic of his. It's a condensed 4-week undergraduate philosophy course called Language & Logic. It involves Venn diagrams and disintegrating arguments and such.

I am so happy for him I can't see straight--and sort of holding my breath to see if the pleasure and excitement will stick. I hope so.

I am hoping to get a chance in a week or two to go sit in on a class if he doesn't mind, but thought I'd best wait until he was into the groove so as not to make him nervous or mess with "the groove".

Wednesday stuff

Bob Barker is retiring! Can he DO that??? Will The Price Is Right go on? And is it coincidence that this is happening at essentially the same time as Jerry Falwell dying????

Seriously, though, it does seem sort of weird--like the passing of an era. Another reminder that I am, in fact, aging. That I'm not 16 anymore. No matter how much I still feel like it inside and no matter how similar my interior monologue....scratch that....dialogue is to the 16-year-old me. I still have to constantly remind myself to focus and that it doesn't matter when people say hurtful things and that yes, work does have to come first. Or at least not last.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

LOLTREK

Teeheehee....

We not want tribbles. We does want kitties.

Check out this LOLTREK version of the original Star Trek tribbles episode.

Neighbors

I have issues.

Okay, I know. This is a really big surprise to those of you who know me. Ha!

But really, while I really LIKE people and enjoy hanging out with people and meeting new awesome people, I just have no patience of all the not so awesome people in the world. My sister is (now, as an adult) this bizarrely friendly person who likes all different kinds of people and has immense patience for anyone with at least some redeeming qualities. Would that I were so sweet.

In particular, I have no patience for our super-sweet neighbor, Willie.

Jason, whom I generally think of as not overly generous to people he doesn't know well, is just so sweet and nice to her. Willie is an older African-American Jehovah's witness, who, as with many older folks, just wants someone to listen to her talk. But we don't really want to hear about Jehovah's plan for us or what the Kingdom Hall says is the true word of God this week. However, as she is older and our yards are quite small, Jason mows her lawn every single time he mows ours. And this is a woman with a good deal of family who are often around, and I expect one of them would do it for her, but to Jason it is just nothing to do it in exchange for the good karma he feels when he does.

So in return, every single time Jason mows her lawn, Willie brings us a homebaked treat. She makes the most AMAZING pound cake ever. And according to Jason a pretty darn good sweet potato pie, too (I don't care for SPP so I'm no judge).

Jason did the yard work on Sunday this week and last night Willie brought over some applie pie for him and said she still planned to bring us some oatmeal raisin cookies, too. So sweet.

And yet, I still always sort of have this dread when I see her that I'm going to be stuck having to talk with her for a while and listen to her and I'd really rather do whatever I was doing or was planning to do.

I think I should work on that.

Lessons in Usage

It is completely and totally Bitterman that now that the sun is shining bright and it looks absolutely gorgeous outside, I am not only at work but also sick with a sinus infection or similar thing generating lots and lots of snot, congestion, runny nose and a very bad sore throat. Grrr!!! I feel completely drained and don't even want to see the feaking sun shining on the streets outside my office window.

So for those of you who were wondering whenever you say to yourself "It just figures" or "Murphy's Law" the correct terminology for what you're feeling is BITTERMAN!