bots 'r us
Is the Blogdex
bot going absolutely psycho on your page, too?
7/30/2002 07:54:51 AM
fans of Seinfeld, take note
I always find the bestest things snooping around other folks'
wish lists. Like this clever "Top of Muffin Pan."
7/29/2002 10:49:26 PM
Last month, I set up a slide show
of the new library construction site, so that my library-type friends might see it. I forgot to post it here, for you...
7/29/2002 10:29:32 AM
back to school, twice over
The first day of the first trimester starts on Thursday, August 8th. Less than two weeks away. Yay, me.
On August 5th, I'll also be starting "school" myself - at Barnes & Noble University
. One four-week class, entitled "Writing for Children."
* I've always wanted to try out an online course, where I can ask questions without being the focus of forty or so eyeballs [shudder]
* This particular course is free
* I've got no time or money for a "real" class, but this topic has always interested me. I should be motivated to just pick up the books and read them on my own, but... well. A bit of a sucker for fiction, I always have lots of it on my plate, and often need to use a mental cattle prod to shift my focus to my own damned edification
* Taught by a successful author of children's works
* Just a clever B&N marketing ploy, perhaps??? Oh, well. I'm playing the traitor and purchasing my "texts" from Amazon, where they're cheaper. Unless I don't get my new check card in the mail, like, tomorrow. Then I'll be hoofing it right over to the B&N across the road.
I'll report back on the value of this little venture.
7/28/2002 09:35:04 PM
, starring Christina Ricci...
7/28/2002 06:54:55 PM
up-close and personal
I'd really like to try the Dolphin Discovery
at Marine World.
Prohibitive: that $150 price tag, and those skin-tight wet suits. Gack.
7/28/2002 04:13:53 PM
...I've watched every episode of American Idol
so far, except one. This when I promised I would never be That Girl. The girl who religiously watches realiteevee. And then gossips about it.
I've even voted a couple of times. Eeesh.
If you watch, too - is it just me, or has Paula become kind of a biotch recently? It's actually making me feel a bit sorry for Simon. Are they prodding her to do it for ratings? And what a relief that Backstreet Boy wannabe A.J. is gone now. I thought that Ryan may have gotten the axe last night based on that one shoddy performance.
7/25/2002 10:57:00 AM
"The Stewart camp reportedly had no comment."
NBC is planning a dramatization
of the unauthorized biography, "Martha Inc." Ana Gasteyer
7/24/2002 10:55:49 PM
all hail The Chief
When I received my Chief
on Monday. D. said "It reminds me of Dirdy Bird
(of Spike and Mike fame)."
I don't know about that, but I do know that I may not be able to give him up as a gift as I'd intended. Smug little thing.
7/24/2002 11:00:59 AM
I'm a sexist pig
Today I had an eye appointment. I've been two years without one, and my last pair of contacts is really starting to show its age. Not to mention my eyeglasses were involved in an unfortunate accident about a year ago, and, while soldered, haven't been the same since.
And of course I'd never been to this place before, since my last appointment was in Michigan. I was rather surprised to be met by a female optometrist.
Maybe it's just the luck I've had. Maybe I'm a closet misogynist. I don't know. But of all the female doctors - optometrists, dentists, therapists, even gynecologists - I don't think I've ever felt comfortable with one. They've all been rather cold and/or condescending. Hardly a drop of bedside manner amongst the lot of them.
Unfortunately, this pattern was not to break today. Sigh.
On a positive note, at least the staff seemed to understand that glasses are a large-ish investment, one that I'll be stuck with for at least a couple of years, and so the choice of frames should not be rushed or taken lightly. Unless you happen to have the luxury of being able to afford a new pair on every passing whim. Or optical insurance.
7/23/2002 04:17:50 PM
people will steal anything, won't they?
I never noticed the rainbow trout in Capitol Park. Maybe this
7/23/2002 10:32:41 AM
My check card number was stolen. I don't know how, but the bastards had my address, and stole someone else's phone number. I got an invoice today from some online magazine subscription service that I'd never visited, and, sure enough, the charge was "pending" in my account.
Now I'm freaking out. Whose database was compromised? At this point, I'm guessing it was clarkcolor.com, who I'd just ordered some digital prints from online late last night. I'm never buying with my card online again from a site that I don't trust 110% (so that pretty much leaves Amazon). I'm always so careful. But not careful enough this time. Dammit.
I guess it could've been worse. I caught it quickly, before it escalated past $69.
If you, you scum of humanity, happen to be reading this, I'VE STOPPED MY ACCOUNT
, so don't bother charging anything else. I'll be without ATM for 3 to 5 business days. Happy now?UPDATE:
The magazine "company" apparently isn't staffed - doesn't answer the phone or reply to email. If I don't get some kind of reply by tomorrow... oh boy.UPDATE 2:
At least the money has been refunded to my account. I never received notification of this happening, but it's in there.
7/22/2002 08:50:44 AM
what's grosser than gross?
After putting two healthy teaspoons of Twining's English Breakfast into the pot, it becomes clear that an eight-legged pal has taken up residence there - and begun decorating.
7/20/2002 12:43:50 PM
When I'm not driving myself insane with work, my mind eventually clears of stress and worry and chaos, and raw nervous energy (which fuels the mad cleaning drive) flows away, allowing some creativity to seep in. Here are a couple of the projects I've been working on this week. 100% recycled!Magazine Envelopes
If it weren't for the folks over at Nervousness
(which has become a much nicer place to hang out now that feedback points have been instituted), I may never have learned the joy that comes of making your own envelopes from magazine pages. I had a whole stack of old Entertainment Weekly, Utne Reader, and other miscellaneous titles that I felt bad about simply tossing into the recycle bin. Turns out they're chock full of envelopes in the making! Advertisements and article intro art and movie posters. Just carefully take apart a No. 5 1/2 envelope ("Invitation Envelopes," at Staples), and trace around the edges on a piece of recycled cardboard for a sturdy template (cereal box fronts work okay). Trace around the template on the side of the page opposite the main attraction, fold as the original envelope was, and glue together with rubber cement. Ta-dah!
Utne Reader is a smaller magazine, so I had to abandon part of my template (see comparison photo
, EW envelope on left, Utne envelope on right).
I've made fifteen of these while watching the tube. They're so addictive, I may just have to start writing real
letters again. See a few of my favorites here
.Mirrored Purse Pomander Compact
When I was done with my last makeup
compact, I hated to throw it away. It was so... nice, and the mirror so large. Seemed there'd be something I could do with it. I set it aside, hoping inspiration would arrive.
is what I came up with. Here's what you need to make one:
One similar compact (must have a ventilated
A nail shaper and buffer (or ultra-fine sandpaper)
A photo or piece of artwork (mine was a magazine clipping)
Two thin, clear plastic sheets from retail packaging (from the plastic bubble the compact came in, for example)
A small button or similar decorative embellishment
Bits of scrap cardboard or cube of cork
Krazy Glue/contact cement
A small scrap of fabric (a pinked swatch sent to me by a fabric club worked great!)
A couple sprays of your favorite perfume or essential oil
1. Carefully pry an edge of the metal makeup tray away from the plastic sides and remove with pliers. Mine was only held in place with a bit of rubbery glue, so this wasn't too much of a problem.
2. Clean the entire compact completely with hot soapy water. A small toothbrush helps with the tight corners. I finished off with a spritz of window cleaner.
3. With the finest part of the nail shaper, carefully "sand" off the lettering on the lid, keeping to the smallest area possible. Buff. (At this point, you could probably paint the lid. I didn't feel like it.)
4. Measure the makeup well and trim your photo and one piece of clear plastic to size. Place the photo in the well and the plastic on top of it. If your compact is like mine, there's a rim around the top of this well that holds the photo, so no glue is necessary. Now you can hide little girly stuff in there!
5. Measure the applicator well and trim a second piece of plastic to size. This well had no rim, but I didn't want to glue anything down, because I need to be able to "refresh" the pomander. So I made a little elevated "knob" to attach to the plastic, which will hold the assembly in place when the lid is shut (no, you still can't turn the thing upside down when it's open, dammit). Glue your bit of cork or cube made of cardboard pieces somewhere near the top of the plastic, and your button/embellishment on top of that. Ideally, the button should be wider on all sides than your cork/cardboard riser, making a "knob."
6. Spritz the fabric scrap with scent, place in applicator well, and cover with plastic lid. And you're done
My new purse will smell so nice now.
7/18/2002 05:56:42 PM
I need commissioned salespeople like Barbie needs Jenny Craig
Our old vacuum is dying a slow, tortured death. We assume of heart disease, arteries clogged by a steady diet of cat fur and Jennie hair. It will now live out the remainder of its days picking up pencil shavings and contraband crumbs from the industrial carpeting in my library.
On Saturday, we decided to go in search of a replacement. Something HEPA, bagless, preferably on sale. Fry's overwhelms me. Ward's went kaput. Target can be hit-and-miss. Sears has annoying salesfolk, but offers a large selection with many models on sale right now. So off to Roseville
No sooner did we step foot into the vacuum section than we were accosted by an aggressive, angry-looking woman. "Do you have any questions about the vacuums?"
"No, we're just looking right now, thanks."
"Okay, just let me know if you have any questions."
Not more than a minute into our search, we were again interrupted by a salesman, who was similarly disposed of. Luckily he found another neck to suck. Angry woman hovered impatiently on the periphery as we made our comparisons, sweat dripping down her furrowed brow, beady eyes darting back and forth and back. When the thought of not making a sale overwhelmed her, she swooped (well, more like slogged, honestly) in for the kill. With an annoyed face and a condescending tone, she exhaled "Do you have any questions yet?
Let it be clear right now that I am completely spineless. I would, a thousand times over, rather be polite than confrontational, especially in public (and then go home and sulk and devise perfect comebacks). And I generally prefer it if my companions follow suit. D. doesn't always oblige me in this, much to my consternation.
But I was cheering inside when he looked at her and said "You know what? That's it. We're done." And we left the store.
We have a nice new Dirt Devil Platinum Force
from Target. We had to go to three different stores to find the model in stock. But it was worth it. No hassle from the clerks, and, man, does this thing suck
7/17/2002 11:44:57 AM
like martha on speed
After I left home for college, I only returned for one summer there. Jobs were - and still are - more difficult to find in the smaller Escanaba than Marquette, not to mention my mom and I were constantly butting heads after I'd been living by my own rules for nine months. Luckily I was still young enough to qualify for a Youth Corps job, which I'd also done the summer before my freshman year (I'd been part of the program as a day care assistant at the Salvation Army. A whole other story.).
My assignment that second summer was cleaning dormitories at the community college. A friend, home from U of M for the summer, was given the same. How bad could it be?
I truly wasn't prepared for the things that I saw that summer. My hall at Enema-U was pretty respectable (if you didn't count the hockey team in the house above ours). But these so-called "dorms" were actually two-bedroom split-level complete apartments, meant for four occupants. Read: excellent place to party! Especially in a northern Bible Belt town short on entertainment. Lots of holes to be patched up, screens to be repaired, and mattresses to be disposed of. One of the units had been abandoned before the last semester was finished, and I can't even begin to describe the rotting reek and piles and piles of garbage that had to be hauled away and days of airing-out before the real cleaning could begin.
That real cleaning, much to my annoyance, was always done by the women on the team. Which was a very pregnant teenager (she didn't last long), a real live modern vegetarian thirty-five-year-old hippie who I came to like very much, a chain smoking leather-tanned fifty-year-old, and yours truly. All the dirty work - cleaning ovens, scouring shower units, and, yes, even scrubbing closet door tracks with toothbrushes - was exclusively ours. This was all because of Bob. Our supervisor. A very nice, but very anti-feminist, old man. So while we were breaking our arms and breathing deadly fumes and racking up blisters, the boys (my friend Bill, a blond-haired jock, and the funniest drug addict I've ever met) were patching up drywall and spraying windows with the hose and touching up paint.
My arms were stronger than they've been before or since, though.
Bob was psycho when it came to cleaning. I'd thought my mom was crazy, but Bob truly took clean to new heights. In honor of him, I bring to you:Bob's Psycho-Sparkle Shower Cleaning Method
A dirty fiberglass tub 'n shower unit
One full can of Scrubbing Bubbles®
An industrial-strength green scrubby
A can of Turtle Wax®
Half a dozen clean rags
A strong light
Complete disregard for your own health and well-being
1. Open windows and turn overhead ventilation on. Fan should be drawing air out of room.
2. Spray section of shower with Bubbles, beginning at top. Wait about three minutes. That painful burning in your nose and eyes means it's working.
3. Don your flip-flops and get in the shower. Do NOT wear colored clothing. This stuff is bleach on amphetamines, and you will
get it on you. In fact, go ahead and get naked. We won't judge.
4. Scrub the bejeezus out of the sprayed area with the wet scrubby. You could wear gloves, but it's not recommended, because you lose your tactile advantage. If you hang your fingertips over the side of the sponge while you scrub, you can feel the progress.
5. Rinse. A shower head with hose is nice, but not in the self-punishing spirit of the game. A bucket is more difficult to manipulate, and therefore, better.
6. Now shine that light in there. Make sure you look at the surface from all angles. See any soap film? Then get in there and scrub it again! Repeat as many times as necessary. You won't have the benefit of anyone else checking over your shoulder to make sure you've got it right, so you'll just have to rely on your own conscience.
7. Repeat steps 2-6 until entire shower is spotless. Don't let that white haze over your corneas stop you! Allow to dry while you go take a few hits of Primatene®.
8. Following the directions on the Turtle Wax® can, wax and buff to a high-polish shine. Don't wax the bottom unless you've got some kind of death wish. If you weren't so high, you'd be able to appreciate the fact that you can now see yourself in the fiberglass.
9. Take a bath in Ben Gay® and get to an oxygen bar, stat.
A decade has passed. I decided to use this method on my own shower last week. Except I cheated with a detachable shower head.
It sure is shiny, I'll give him that.
7/16/2002 01:47:04 PM
chaos? you're soaking in it!
You know how, sometimes, when you start a large organization project, the first few hours make such a colossal mess that you wonder if you're really making any headway and it may just have been better to leave things as they were?
I'm cleaning out my craft/project bins, drawers, and desk. The mess has truly been a sight to behold. I figure I'll be entirely dug out in oh, about three more hours. Although many painful decisions have been made, which is quite freeing.
Guess that's what I get for using this as an excuse not to scrub the bathroom floor.
7/15/2002 02:56:05 PM
I want a vintage View-Master
for my collection. I happen to have an extra Fisher-Price Cartoon Viewer
. If you never played with one of these in your non-Nintendoized youth, I'm telling you, you've just gotta try it. I'm adding a couple of cartridges - Mickey Mouse and the Giant
, and Donald Duck's Toy Train
(which prominently features Chip and Dale
!) - if you want to trade
(near bottom of page, under "Exchanges").
7/13/2002 10:13:44 PM
all this testing
Testing again. Use it as an excuse to leave a haiku comment. C'mon, you know you want to.
7/10/2002 07:10:03 PM
Elaine Benes would be ecstatic
The contraceptive sponge
is making a long-awaited return
to the US.
7/9/2002 04:46:05 PM
here. not here. here. not here.
You may have noticed that our sites have been a bit, um, inconsistent the past few days. We're experiencing technical difficulties.
Really, you're not missing anything.
In unrelated news, see Minority Report. See MIB II if you're in the mood for complete fluff and aren't expecting much.
7/9/2002 08:51:02 AM
Testing. And all that jazz.
7/8/2002 08:46:51 AM
psstill blogging by hand...
7/4/2002 04:07:25 PM
Happy Independence Day.
We're celebrating with dinner on the grill (and brownies!), followed by the big fireworks show. Hope you're celebrating with good friends and/or family.
7/4/2002 03:58:32 PM
day three (or, look, ma! I'm blogging by hand again! whee!!!)
7/4/2002 10:17:43 AM
So much for rest, I'm already getting twitchy. Kitchen day. Scrubbing down all exposed surfaces until disinfected and gleaming. Optimizing counter space. Finally getting that wine rack as far away from all heat sources as possible.
I've still got the floor to do, but it's not going anywhere.
Rhetorical question: if you've got tightly-fitting drip pans beneath your stovetop coils, how does
that crud manage to sneak underneath? Our appliances were new when we moved in two years ago (exactly), and I'm anal about keeping 'em looking that way.
Well... except for the oven. That one's going to wait until next week.
7/2/2002 05:03:41 PM
the [sniff] list
These are the sop stories that contain at least one Kleenex moment which is literally guaranteed to have me in tears, if not a full-on bawl. No matter how many times I see, hear, or read them. Because their inherent sappiness strikes the girl-chord.
Or someone dies.
Some of the films could be considered amongst the greatest ever. But I'm not vouching for quality in all cases. Just the snot.
"The Luckiest" (by Ben Folds)
Phantom of the Opera
That episode of "Little House" when Alice Garvey and Mary's baby die in the fire that Albert accidentally set at the new School for the Blind. For some reason, far more sad than when Laura's second baby died.
The Shawshank Redemption
The Green Mile
The Wizard of Oz
Beauty and the Beast
Never Been Kissed
The Little Princess
The Giving Tree
Jude the Obscure
Oh, all right. And Titanic. Geez. Now I just feel dirty.
And Schindler's List should get it's own separate mention. A bawler, yes, but it's really above the levity I'd intended.
Woo. This ended up a longer list than I expected, but I still feel I'm missing lots. Go ahead and add your own.
7/2/2002 01:13:41 PM
I woke up at seven this morning, eager to get up and walk off an errand or two. But when D. said "104," I thought it'd be best to stay inside. It didn't take much to switch gears into lazy, pampering mode.
Here's what you'd need to re-create my Lazy Spa Day:
* Lots of filtered water
* A big comfy couch
* Controllable A/C
* A talented man
* Warm milk, olive oil, and vanilla foot bath, followed by Peppermint & Poppies
* Pore mask and hydrating gel
* A pinch of red
7/1/2002 03:17:36 PM