Friday, April 30, 2004

Having A Wild, Wild Weekend

Song (and movie) featuring the Dave Clark Five, btw.

Well, guess who is one cranky little customer today. Yes, me. After a pretty good night's sleep, I woke up to find two not-very-nice pieces of information awaiting me. First of all, for some reason, be it gravitational pull, lunar phase, or bad lighting, I seem to weigh a good pound more at my house than I do at my parents' house. This isn't logical and it isn't fair, and I adorned my scowl immediately following the news and tied it into place.

Then, after a shower and dress, I decided to be responsible and take my blood pressure, since I hadn't in several days. After having it be super low in the hospital, and higher but still good after my release, today it was high. High. Pissed me off I tell you.

So after learning I was gaining weight and my blood pressure was about to blow against the wall, where did I have to go but Wal-Mart. I'll save you the bitter details, but suffice to say it wasn't pretty. Now I'm back home, and have exactly 90 minutes to pack my bags for the weekend.

I'm going to be trying something quite daring for my particular time of being - tomorrow night, I'm playing a Sauerkraut Band concert. Now, as I've told you here, I can play the clarinet for approximately 20 minutes at a time and it's blooey from there. This gig lasts from 8pm till midnight. If you pray, please mention me. I'll need it.

At least Sherman's excited. He's got his whole Sauerkraut Band costume on (plus the hat) and is raring to go.

The best part of the weekend, though, is that Mr M is coming to get me again today to drive me to B'burg till Sunday, and who will he have in tow? Well, none other than Dave, aka the DeepFatFriar, who's coming in for a visit. He's bringing movies with him, and we're hoping for a chill and movie fiesta.

So why am I sitting here? I now have 80 minutes to pack!

Talk to you all Sunday.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Home Sweet Home

Well, believe it or not, after three weeks and three days, I'm back at the Poderosa. For good.

It was a big day, a "moving day." I actually brought one load of stuff home yesterday, clothes, shoes, my clarinet, books, all those videos.... But still had masses of stuff to bring back today. Mom and Dad helped me pack all the rest of it in and brought me back home. After everything was unloaded and sitting in my kitchen, it was time to say goodbye. My mom cried. Her greatest joy in life is taking care of people. I guess while I was at their house, she was truly fulfilled.

I knew today was the day to move, because I finally finished my puzzle. See, probably well over a year ago, I bought a jigsaw puzzle. I do this about once every three years or so. But this one was really cool. 1000 pieces, and it was every character ever to appear on "The Simpsons." (up until that time, anyway) It was very cute, until I started working it, then I realized, "You know, every character ever to appear on 'The Simpsons' bascially looks exactly the same."

I started the puzzle on the third day after I got home. At first I'd just work on finding edge pieces, and I couldn't sit at that little card table it was on for very long. But as I got better (and boreder) I'd spend more time there, until it became something of an obssession for me. And I knew I couldn't move back home without finishing the puzzle.

I almost did it last night, I got to maybe 50 pieces to be placed, 50 pieces I'd looked at till my eyes crossed, and finally left it for bed. Then this morning, I attacked it with a vengence, and around noon, it was complete. I said with zeal, "Now I can go home!"

Once I was home alone, I began by cleaning the kitchen cabinets, then went about putting away the remaining clothes I brought home today. A load of laundry, then my old nemesis fatigue set in, and I curled up in The Comfy Chair (The Comfy Chair! I was back in The Comfy Chair!) and checked out some of the cable channels I've missed since being at the folks' house.

First to get a try was BBC America. I saw where they're now showing "The Saint" in the afternoon. I watched the show, and even though it wasn't something I was expecting a big bang out of, I couldn't enjoy the thing at all. This is because I'm a pod, and things bother me way more than they should.

Simon Templar was looking for a missing scientist. He went to Germany, checked into the hotel the man had been staying at. Right off the bat he told them his name, where he was from, and said, "By the way, I'm looking for Ernest Roelling." Well, that alerted the desk clerk, who soon alerted the Ugly American who was holding Roelling hostage, and, well, it all came out OK in the end, but Jesus. Isn't the main objective of a spy to remain anonymous?

But that wasn't even what took me away from "enjoying" the episode. When Simon checked into the hotel, he was given room 315. I remember this distinctively, because I said - out loud - "geez, not very high up." Then when Simon got on the elevator and got out of his bellboy what room Roelling was in, it was room 712. Simon then made the bellboy take him to the seventh floor so he could break into Roelling's room and snoop around. (Another superb move of anonymity on his part.)

Now - for the entire rest of the episode, Simon Templar's room was - Room 712! The maid went to his room and it was 712, and it was mentioned two other times that his room was 712! Did the BBC not hire continuity teams back in the 60s? Did they not count on weird people like me watching their shows 38 years later and being driven crazy?

I want to know what happened to room 315!

Anyway, the episode was full of women fainting when the bad guys as much as grabbed their arms, and the Ugly American talked exactly like Mickey Spillane, only he called everyone "baby." And he slapped a woman in the face, and she wilted and sumitted. Boy, am I glad those days are over.

Anyway, glad to be home. Will be glad to try and get back into normal life. As soon as I find out what that is.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

The Tooth, The Whole Tooth

I spent this morning at the dentist's office.

Now, there are probably a couple of things I need to get clear right off the bat. First of all, going to the dentist doesn't bother me. I generally don't mind the prodding and probing and poking and pinching, as long as there's something for me to dig my fingers into. I accept that there may well be a certain amount of pain (which in dental speak is "pressure" - "you may feel some pressure here"), and get on with it. Having said that, it's been well over a year since I've graced the dentist's office. This is mainly due to time. They won't set me up with an appointment six months in advance when I'm leaving after a check-up. They wait six months and then send me a postcard telling me it's time for me to make an appointment. And I take that card and write phone messages from work on it, and then file it with my bills, and then lose it, and it takes me forever to get to that check-up. Unless something goes wrong.

And something had gone wrong.

I've been fighting a dodgy tooth for months. And when I say months, I mean maybe 5 months. It started being really painful when I'd chew on it, so I started chewing on the other side. Then it started being really sensitive to cold. Since I can't drink on one side, I called the dentist, it was a Friday, so I got their machine, they didn't return my call, I got disgusted, and time passed and I chewed half-mouthedly, and finally it got to where I couldn't take it anymore. I called the first of March and told them it had gotten to "unbearable" status. OK, they said. Come in at the end of next month. I know they were giggling over that one when they got off the phone.

So I got comfy this morning in the chair and awaited the arrival of Dr Guts. Dr Guts, of course, isn't his real name, but he was given this name by Taytie when T was just a little lad, because Dr Guts is a triathlete. He doesn't look like a triathlete; he looks like a glasses-wearing nebbish. But he's a very nice man, and I like him, even if he does live in a spectactularly huge house bought with the teeth of people like me.

I'm used to having my teeth cleaned, then seeing Dr Guts, having him come in, check me out, maybe fix some worn enamel here and there, remind me I need to floss more, then say, "Very good, A+," and zip out. That didn't happen today.

Dr Guts came right in and looked at my x-ray. "I think I see the problem," he said, and immediately got out the hook. I'm not fond of the hook. Not 2 minutes into probing around with the hook, Dr Guts said something that may as well have been a bullet to my heart.

"You need to brush your teeth better."

Now, I'm adult enough to admit that my feelings get hurt very easily. But this was just the most humiliating thing. I've always been prided on my teethbrushing skills. He's said it himself - A+! And now he was scraping around showing me plaque on my back teeth. He did say my front teeth looked fine, but "You need to brush your teeth better?" Why not just say, "You're a horrible person and you'll burn in hell."

So now that I was sufficiently deflated, he went on to tell me I had a cavity. I'm 44 fucking years old, how can I have a cavity? Oh, that's right, it's because I can't brush my fucking teeth, right? OK, so Dr Guts swabs my gum, then gets out the needle, and starts pumping in the novocaine. And yes, it hurt, so my hands, folded in front of me and resting on my tummy, started gripping each other with zeal. "Boy, you've really got the deathgrip there, don't you?" said Dr Guts, and I started to giggle.

While I was waiting to numb up, and in an alarming move of stupidity, the dental assistant gave me a new medical history form to fill out. Now, I need to say right here that my jaw wasn't really getting numb, though the rest of me had all but turned to jelly. Things were a bit blurred, and my hands couldn't really grip the clipboard or the pencil. But answer, I did. To "Have you ever been taught the correct method of brushing teeth?" I answered "apparently not," and to "Are you prone to fainting?" I answered "Outside of the dentist's office, no."

When Dr Guts came back, I explained that I didn't think I was numb enough for the oncoming battle, and he gave me one more shot. As I sat alone in the office and waited some more, I started to giggle. Why? Couldn't possibly tell you, but I was sitting there, giggling my insides out, and when Dr G came back in and said, "OK, we're ready. Showtime!" I started singing the theme to Rocky and Bullwinkle. He laughed. It was his fault; he should have never said "Showtime!"

The feeling of the drill isn't really pleasant. The sound is less so. But the worst to me is the smell of burning tooth coupled with the sight of seeing smoke flying from one's mouth. But I was handling things just fine, holding my fingers together and being a good girl.

But you know, there are certain things you don't want to hear certain people say. Like, you don't want to hear the guy giving you a tattoo say "Ooops!" I got to hear my dentist say two things I could have lived without. The first was "Uh-oh." And the second was, and I'm not making this up, "I don't think I've ever seen this before." Apparently, somewhere under my cavity or in some really odd spot, my tooth was starting to crack.

This discovery resulted in my having a large metal vice screwed onto my tooth (it stuck out of my mouth about two inches), a wedge of some sort pushed in there (hey drive a truck in, it'd be more comfortable), and some sort of composite thing made that may or may not hold the tooth together. If it doesn't, I have to go back for a crown. I've always wanted a crown. Unfortunately, I've always wanted one for my head, not my tooth.

After a kindly explanation (with drawings!) by Dr Guts of what was wrong, what he did, and what he may have to do down the road, I was free to go, which was all well and good, but I was still way loopy and getting out of the chair was really a fun-filled experience. I then got to make an appointment for a cleaning, and a check-up on the work done today. And although the tally today wasn't really that expensive ($120), it seems so odd to pay someone for inflicting pain upon your person.

But that's life, I guess. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go learn to brush my teeth better.


Howdy, partners! "American Idol" is over this week (they pretty much all blew), and so I know now Kellie can do her judging. And the results have arrived!

This week's Texas letters: R G E D J I D. The entries?

*Really, God, especially dear Jesus, inspires Dallas.
*Rodeo guys -- even duds -- jump inspiring damsels.
*Rio Grande envelops drowning Jose -- it's dreadful.
*Rejoice, George! Evil Devil Jeb is Dead.
*Regurgitating, God excretes Dallas, jumps in diarrhea.
*Really, guacamole eaten does jiggle in diapers.
*Remarkably greedy Ewings dispicable. JR's in Dallas
*Real Galveston "export" defined: Juan is deported.
*Restaurant's giant enchalada devoured. Justifiably, intense diarheea.
*Rio Grande ends desultorily just inside delta.
*Revolting George exited; Dallas just isn't Dallas.
*Rmemer ghe Elamo! (Dave's just insanely drunk.)
*Renegade gunowners evade deadly justice in Dallas.
*Republican goons enraging Democrats, jumbling impartial districts.
*Rebellious Gary Ewing ditched JR's inglorious dynasty.

And now, here's that purty little varmint herself, Kellie! (OK, I'll dispense with the Texasims now)

Hi Ya'll!

Well - I have been missing those cowboy hats, sangria, and real fajitas - not from El Rodeo or Taco Bell but Manuel's Taqueria in the bad part of town where no one speaks English so be prepared to eat tripe if you don't know how to point accurately. Mmmmm...

First, honorable mention goes to Lily G. with "Rio Grande envelops drowning Jose -- it's dreadful." I just feel for Jose - I don't know - it's sobering and deep and makes me feel sad.

But, on a happier note - I just still have the giggles over Michelle's "Really, guacamole eaten does jiggle in diapers." Gosh - having a kid in diapers this one is so gross - but **hee, hee, hee*** excuse me - just gives me the giggles every time I reread it.

My final honorable mention goes to deepfatfriar with "Rmemer ghe Elamo! (Dave's just insanely drunk.)" I just think this one is just so clever.

But - there can only be one winner. And being one who really wanted to know who shot JR and spent weeks fuming over Bobby's dream - I had to pick one of the "Dallas" entries - the winner and still champion is from MSAGRO who gave us Remarkably greedy Ewings dispicable. JR's in Dallas!!

Thanks all for playing and giving me some warm and jiggly thoughts of home **sniff, sniff, hee-hee-hee**

- Kellie ]:8

Well, there you have it. And thanks to everyone who played, and thanks to Kellie for judging. Anyone wanna judge next week? Let me know! Till then....

Acro Is Below - Play!

Monday, April 26, 2004

This May Border On Weird

OK, first off, I took a tip from the very brainy Krizzer, and finally changed my imood. It's been forever since I changed, and when I say "forever," I mean three weeks. (Time means nothing to me anymore.) I was sure I couldn't change it now because I didn't have my password handy, but in a freak brainflash, I actually remembered it, and now I am a changed woman. I didn't really want to put "bored," because I was thinking, "No, dear, you're not bored so much as you're boring." Then I found "dull," and said, "That's it!"

And when I tell you this next thing, I'm sure you'll all agree with me. I have a piece a trivia that's so trivial it's miniscuvial.

Those of you who peruse the Movie List may know that I'm on a bit of a Quentin Tarantino kick lately. I went to see "Kill Bill, Vol. 2" (which Stennie says you can't describe without using the word "fuck," and I tend to agree), and it rocked so hard, or should I say so fuckin' hard, that I decided to go back and watch some more QT. I went in to rent "Kill Bill, Vol. 1" for another viewing, then thought "what the heck" and got "Reservoir Dogs" while I was at it.

Now, it's no secret that I think the Michael Madsen "Stuck in the Middle With You" ear-cutting scene is one of the greatest movie scenes in modern history. Everything about it just makes me grin. So I watched "Dogs" first of all, here on the little laptop with my headphones on, and I enjoyed it immensely. And yes, I enjoyed the ear-cutting scene as expected.

Here's a rough sketch of how the ear-cutting scene goes. Michael Madsen has a cop tied up and beat up, with his mouth taped. He walks over to a table and pulls a knife out of his boot. Then he asks the cop if he ever listens to the "Sounds of the 70s" program. He leans down, turns on a radio, and a small snippet (and when I say small snippet I mean approximately 1/2 second) of Mexican music plays, then he adjusts the station to "Sounds of the 70s" and "Stuck in the Middle With You" starts, and the fun and frivolity and dancing and ear-cutting begins.

It wasn't until last night when I was loafing back at the Poderosa that I watched "Kill Bill, Vol. 1." As we all know, this movie revolves around a wedding massacre. In a little wedding chapel in Texas. There's a scene in the movie - and I think it's where the sheriff comes to check out the murder scene (my brain is so weak I've already forgotten what happens after) - that starts out with an aerial shot of the murder scene. When that shot comes, what do we hear but the exact same 1/2 second snippet of that exact same Mexican music that was on the radio in "Reservoir Dogs." Exact same! Then it goes on to some other music, which is not, of course, "Stuck in the Middle With You."

I just found that so completely weird. So, from "Reservoir Dogs" we have that snippet of Mexican music, and from "Pulp Fiction" we have Uma Thurman drawing her little square in the air (that happens in Viveca Fox's kitchen). I don't know, just caught me as wild. Then again, I'm "dull."

One last thing tonight. It's not like I've had the greatest amount of respect for our former Poet and Prophet Mr Bob Dylan. Especially ever since his music started showing up in Victoria's Secret commercials. Now not only his music but his face are showing in Victoria's Secret commercials as well! Who the hell wants to use Bob Dylan's devilishy ugly mug to sell their panties? It's beyond me.

But anyway, what were left of the cherished days of my youthful optimism are now over. There's now a cellular phone commercial out there using "The Times, They Are A-Changin'" for their commercials. Thanks, Bob. You can't tell me you're so hard up for cash that you sold your anthem that ushered in the 60s to sell fuckin' cell phones. What's next? "Subterranean Homesick Blues" to sell Pepsi? Shame upon you.


Hello, ladies and gentlemen, doggies and kitties, the washed and the unwashed, and everything in between. Welcome to another round of Acromania!

Believe it or not, folks, guess what. We have a guest judge this week! It's the wonderful Kellie - after sending us six entries last week, we figured there was nowhere for her to go but to judging status!

The rules are always the same, you know that. Everyone gets three tries to come up with the best acro they can to the corresponding letters below, which were drawn randomly from the acrobasket. Kellie will be judging at around 9ish tomorrow night, and I'll print the tally here, and the winners will dance a jig and sing and non-winners - wait, have I become that politically correct that I'm now using the term "non-winners?"

Kellie has also come up with our topic for the week, which is a perk that comes with volunteering to judge (nudge nudge). Because she's missing her old home place, the boots, the Tex-Mex food...this week's topic is "Texas." So make sure your entries tell us something about that place that's (as they say in the commercial) a whole other country. And speaking of Tex-Mex, boy could I do a cheese enchilada. With guacamole. Well, never mind.

This week's letters are:


There you have it. Now, git along little acroers!

Sunday, April 25, 2004

My Field Trip

This weekend I had a most welcome excursion - I got to go on a field trip! To B'burg, courtesy of Mr M. This was especially welcome when I realized my pedicure was moved till tomorrow (the pedicurist was sick). Mr M, in a move of true best-buddydom, came to the Poderosa to get me, then took me to B'burg to his humble abode.

Yesterday was beautiful, and we went speeding down Rt 460 east. He kept quoting lines from WC Fields (who he knows I don't think is funny), in what I hope wasn't a WC Fields impersonation. He kept saying that 460 looked so weird, but he couldn't figure out why. Finally it hit him - normally when he's driving 460 towards B'burg, it's dark. He wasn't used to it in the daytime.

I sipped pink lemonade all the way to B'burg, and when we got into town, we stopped first at the video store for essential provisions for the night. I'd originally picked out a documentary on rebellious Amish kids (wooo!), but both the actual DVDs behind the picture case were different movies. This is from the same video store that set us up with the wrong movie in the case some months ago. Anyway, after that disappointment I kept looking and found "House of Sand and Fog."

Then it was on to Kroger. for secondary provisions. Then on to Poderosa East.

Boy, was it good to be at Mr M's again. The familiar smell of pipe tobacco, the clarinets lined up in a row in the kitchen, the endless textbooks and papers stacked around, and the big leather couch. I rested up a bit after the trip, and it was clarinet duet time. I'm still woefully behind on clarinetting, though, and it was missed notes and screaming and getting tired way too soon. So we decided it must be dinner time (I mean, after all, the baby gets cranky, you feed it dinner, right?) I had some baked potato with cheese.

Then it was movie time. I really enjoyed "House of Sand and Fog," I'm not sure if Mr M did because (as always) he wouldn't sit still long enough to watch it. He kept leaving and coming back asking what happened. It didn't matter though. At this point I was already starting to hit OSM. Obligatory Sulk Mode. This happens often, it can be attributed to what I call "the same old thing," and I always let it get in the way of the matter at hand. Therefore, I sat there silently, watched the movie a little harder than I probably should have, and took it a little too much to heart.

Afterwards, in a remote control-fest, I found that the movie "The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming" was just coming on TCM (the thing Mr M has that I covet the most), so I thought, "Woo, what a hoot, let's watch this!" (I saw it years and years ago, when I was a kid.) And even though TCM said it was the funniest movie of the 60s, and even though it starred Alan Arkin and Carl Reiner, I found not much to laugh about. I was asleep about 20 minutes before the end, thus rendering it ineligible for the movie list. It was OK, though. I was bleary-eyed and needed sleep.

After I'd been asleep about 40 minutes, the most amazing thing happened. I had been sleeping with the door open, and I roused a bit to feel a very cold wind in my face. I opened my eyes to think about closing the door, and there, hovering before me bathed in a halo of light, was the spectre of a woman who appeared to be from Victorian times! She spoke not a word, but motioned me up to follow her. I rose from the couch, as if not under my own power, and walked to the door, where I suddenly became very frightened of the vision. As I hesitated and started to move backward, the apparition disappeared, leaving me confused and scared.

OK. Actually, all that was a total lie. I was just thinking about how ordinary everything was sounding, and thought maybe a nice punch-up of the story would keep yall interested. Sorry.

Anyway, this morning was more practicing, more screaming, more cursing, more getting tired, and more whining about not being able to play up to par. Then I got to watch Mr M work on one of his school projects, what amounts to a giant scrapbook of family photos he's required to make. This was all kinds of fun for me, because I love looking at old pictures, and he has a boatload of them. I watched him paste photo after photo in his "timeline" (from before he was born to the present), and got to ask him about all the photos and the stories of the people. Interesting family he has.

Like his grandmother's sister, Emma. I know all of you in your lives have heard at least once, "No you can't play with a BB gun, you'll put your eye out." Well, Emma actually got her eye put out by a BB gun. She's the reason none of us had any fun as kids!

Then it was a quick jaunt to Barnes and Noble to look at DVDs. I was looking on the offchance they might have the "Freaks and Geeks" set, but no go. As I was leaving I noticed Rhino has now reissued "Trust" and "Get Happy" by Elvis Costello - CD with bonus tracks. Still, I gave them both a pass and left empty handed.

Then it was a little more playing, a little more scrapbooking, and time to come back to B'field. It rained hard on us on the way home, so hard at times I was sure it would turn to hail. Mr M deposited me safely back at the Poderosa, where I loafed for a while and watched "Kill Bill, Vol 1" before I called Granny to tell her I was home.

Now I'm back at their house (the Annex), and, well, I'm tired. But, as they say, it's a good kind of tired.

It's a very good kind of tired.

Friday, April 23, 2004

Hey MIke

As this day winds down, let's say this about the magnificent Mr Mike:

* He knows more about Elvis Costello than any human has a right to know

* He's currently way ahead on the Movie List competition

* He's as good with a one-liner as any man alive, and never fails to make me smile

* He calls the girls of #squeeze "dames" - I like that

* He has no blog, but can come up with dozens of blog topics at a time

* He stayed on the phone with Stennie, Eric, and I on New Year's Day for around 2 hours - and said maybe 25 words.

* He has an interesting work schedule - work one day, off two days, work one day, off five days

* He Loves "Freaks and Geeks" and Bill Haverchuck as much as I do

* He knows every song ever recorded, because he has every record ever made

* He personally numbered #23: "Wait - where are you going? I was gonna make espresso."

* He is always being way too cute for the girls

* He thinks "Honey" by Bobby Goldsboro is the worst song ever written (and rightly so)

* He was born upon this very day.

Happy Birthday, Mike-O!

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Hello, my friends. Your humble blogger is coming to you live from the Poderosa!

Yep, I get to spend a night at home. It feels good. I watched "Survivor," put up some clothes, and made pink lemonade. And hit #squeeze, which was unavailable to me at the folks' house.

And I'm getting a pedicure tomorrow at 3pm. Things are definitely looking up.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Wednesday News and Notes

Back in December or so I mentioned right here about my love affair with Merrell shoes. I'd bought a pair while shopping, and have basically worn them ever since.

So I decided over the weekend I needed an online picker-upper, and since I hadn't splurged on myself in a while, I thought maybe a pair of Merrells would do the trick.

I wasn't looking for anything in particular, but right off the bat a pair of casual slip-on sandals caught my eye ("Follow the sandal! Follow the sandal!"), they weren't expensive and shipping was free, so they immediately went into the cart. Then after a little more browsing I found another pair of walking shoes, only in blue this time, and they had free shipping too, so I bit, and into the cart they went as well.

I got my email confirmation of the order and everything looked fine. The next morning I got another email telling me my order had been shipped, and it listed only the sandals. So I immediately started thinking, "Oh, no, what happened to the walkers? Out of stock? Backordered? Ignored?" And I started to wait on the confirmation of the order on the walkers. Which has still not come.

Today I received a package from the store; it was a little oversized, but I was sure it held only one pair of shoes. And I was right. I opened it to find - the walkers! Inside the box was the invoice for the walkers with no mention whatsoever of the sandals.

So of course now, you know me, it's time to start worrying about the sandals. Out of stock? Backordered? Ignored? Stay tuned, if you dare.

I spent much of the afternoon watching "The Young Girls of Rochefort," our dear Chrispy's favorite movie (he named his baby girl Delphine). It's a French musical circa 1967 and stars Catherine "Yes, I Was Always This Sexy" Deneuve, George "West Side Story" Chakiris, and Gene "What Am I Doing In A French Musical" Kelly. That said, the movie is great fun, I just loved the look of it, the colors and fashions, and the dancing was, if I may use such an expression, a real gas. There's a dance sequence involving basketball players (in France?) that goes waaay beyond gay, and George Chakiris practically has sex with a motorcycle, but that's OK. It left me wondering if the sky is always so blue in France.

The weird thing, though, I found myself, about halfway through the movie, wondering something to myself. Listening to the songs and reading the subtitles, I started to marvel a bit. "Wow, isn't it just so clever how they can make these songs rhyme in French?!" Yes, I think these thoughts from time to time, however embarrassing they may be.

Anyway, it begs the question if you're out there, Chrispy: Had Baby been a boy, would you have named him Booboo?

On the local front, I woke up this morning to pick up today's edition of the B'field Daily Telegraph (which we here in town call the B'field Daily Tell-a-lie, but that's a different story), only to find right there on the front page - my nephew, TaytieMac. Seems he ran yesterday in a long distance race called (and isn't this appropriate) "Run Obesity Out of WV." (and no, we're all in VA, so there) The picture that graced the front page is on BDT's website, but it's extremely small. Still, if you want to see my babe, go here. He's the blond kid right up front.

Tell me I'm not a killjoy. When I was marveling over this, my mom mentioned that he started this race at 8:15am yesterday. And while she was kvelling over his picture, I was all, "8:15? That means he didn't go to school! He didn't go to school? He should be in school!" And here I try so hard to be the fun aunt.

Oh well. That's the news from Betland.

PS - I desperately need a pedicure!

Tuesday, April 20, 2004


Well, well, well. Hello, you acrobabies. A little of a slow turnout this week, but I attribute that to being gone. In other words, I forgive all you crumbums who didn't play this week.

Before we get on with proceedings, I have a little of an announcement to make. I forgot to say yesterday that even though I'm still currently at the Annex, the letters we're using in this acro did come straight out of the acrobasket. I took a little day trip to the Poderosa yesterday and drew the letters while I was there. Then I wrote them on a tiny piecelet of paper and brought them back over here to use in acro. An acrochallenge without the basket? Never!

OK, now on with business. This week's letters were R E C N I E. The entries:

*Rome excluded. Cromwell's now in England.
*Removed everyone's cranium. "Nice incision Executioner!"
*Royalty's Eighth. Catherine never intended elimination.
*Rumps, Excrement, Charles' Nads - In Exile.
*Reigning exquisitely, cabesas nixed, indecents exposed
*Rulers Eat Chicken Nuggets! Incredible, eh?
*Regina Elizabeth -- crowned nicely in England
*Royal Edward ceded nation in extremis.
*Randy emperor canoodles nymphs impressively. Ejaculates.
*Royally, Emperor Cuzco Notes, I Emperor. (for the Disney fan in us all)
*Renaissance Evenings. Crumhorns. Nice Inviting Etudes.
*Really, Ernie Can Never Investigate Europe.
*Rotund English Crown never invaded Estonia.
*Roman effin' Catholicism? Not in England!
*Really enjoying crooning Noone: "I'm 'En-er-y!"

OK, first order of business of the day. Everyone please stand while I award the first-ever Acroer Rabidness Award to our dear Kellie, for her six entries this week. I've never known anyone to get so excited to get their acro seen. Crown, sash, sceptre, you win it all this week!

Now, on to the acros. Honorable mention this week goes to Michelle with "Reigning exquisitely, cabesas nixed, indecents exposed." Very good, I like the useage of 'cabesas.' 'Cabesas' makes me laff.

Runner up this week, and it was hard to choose between winner and runner-up, let me just say that right up front, but runner-up this week goes to Magnificent Mr Mike with his "Roman effin' Catholocism? Not in England!" Very very good, Mike, and on time this week!

The grand prize winner this week is MSAGRO with his "Royalty's Eighth, Catherine never intended elimination." Very good, very clever, and I liked it. Congratulations!

And there you have it, another round of acronym completed with not one lost life. Check back next week and we'll try it again!

Monday, April 19, 2004

Wait...out there in cyberspace...could it be? No, surely it coldn''s a eyes are deceiving me....

No! It is!! It's


Well, here we are at what's become known as the Poderosa Annex, and it's time for a little Acromania. We need a little acromania.

For some strange reason, the past two weeks I've caught a program on PBS called "The Six Wives of Henry VIII." Each week is a different wife. I'm suspecting there are four more episodes left, genius that I am. Anyway, I've been inspired to make this week's acro "I'm Hen-e-ry the Eighth, I Am." Give me anything, the wives, the big turkey leg, the hair (because you know Eddie Izzard's take on H VIII, "the big hairy king"), whatever you see fit.

The rules are yet the same. Everyone gets 3 entries to come up with the best acro they can to the letters below. Then I'll be doing the judging, sometime around 9ish on Tuesday evening, and the winner will be crowned - but no later beheaded, or will they! And the rest will go back to being peasants.

This week's royal letters are:


There you go. Huzzah, huzzah. Now, acro!

Friday, April 16, 2004

Stoneage Pals

Due to my present, er, condition, there are a couple of weird habits I have to be keeping for the next few months. Twice a day I have to take liquid Zantac, and may I just say a nastier proposition I'd be hard pressed to find. I have to chew a couple of Tums in the morning and at night, this has become something of a treat for me, mainly because I'm eating all the red ones out of the bottle. Times are going to turn hard when all I'm left with are whites and yellows.

And then once every morning and every evening, I have to take a vitamin. Since I can't swallow a pill yet, I have to chew. Flintstones came highly recommended.

When I was a kid, we weren't really a vitamin family. We were more of a "clean your plate, there are starving children in China" family. But oooh, wasn't it exciting to go to a friend's house, you know, the "right" kind of family just like those on TV, where the kids didn't eat Cocoa Krispies for breakfast and sit in front of the TV all day long. At those houses, right there in the kitchen windowsill in a place of distinction sat the vitamins. In their glass jars with stopper tops. The bright yellow One-A-Day for the adults, and the multi-colored rocks known as Chocks for the kids. I always wanted to belong to a vitamin family. It just meant you were doing something right.

I thought Chocks were soooo cool. Until the day I tasted one. Then I decided I liked Chocks a lot better sitting on the windowsill looking important than in my mouth tasting like iron.

Somewhere later, probably after we were all way too old to chew our vitamins, came Flintstones vitamins. They were multi-colored and inviting too, which I'm completely convinced had to do with the whole glass jar thing. Any pill in a clear glass jar looks inviting to me. Anyway, the Flintstones had arrived on the market to wipe out Chocks with their Barneys and Bettys and BamBams. And apparently, they did, because, well, do you see any Chocks out there on the shelves?

So anyway, I grew up to be a very half-hearted vitamin taker. I always have some on hand, but I only take them when I remember. I got the brilliant idea with the last bottle I bought to leave them at work. You know, I'm always at work, I'll go in and see them and always take my vitamins, right? Yeah, right. I've had the same bottle sitting there for 3 months and they're barely half gone.

But that has to change now. I have to vitamin myself every day from now on. The nurse told me I'd have to find a sure-fire reminder. She said what's the first thing you reach for when you wake up? I replied my glasses. Well, put them right beside your glasses, then, so you'll see them first thing. You mean, put vitamins under my pillow? That's where I keep my glasses. We eventually decided upon "beside the alarm clock."

But until that day comes, I bought myself a bottle of Flintstone vitamins and prepared to take a blast back into my childhood. They're not quite as bad as I remember Chocks tasting, but then again, I've been drinking liquid Zantac, too.

And of course, pod that I am, I have to go in and individually inspect and pick my vitamins to match my personality for the day. And up till now, I can tell you I've eaten every Flintstone except Fred. Fred! The most important Flintstone of all, and I've yet to find him in my bottle.

However, I have inspected, and subsequently eaten, BamBam, posing with his stick, Barney, looking every inch Barney, Betty, standing in a very sassy pose with arms akimbo, Pebbles, wearing something of a very low-rider diapie, Wilma, with her swirly hair, and Dino. Now, one morning I picked out a grape shape I couldn't place right off, and got to looking at it closely: it was the Great Gazoo! There's a Great Gazoo in the bottle!

And yet, no Fred.

By the way, Wilma is by far the nastiest tasting of all the Flintstones. BamBam is by far the best. But give me a good red Tums any day.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

I'm Coming Out

Hello. Yes, I'm coming out today. No, not that kind of coming out. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

It's this kind of coming out. Today, I am coming to you from "the other side." No, I'm not dead, not yet, anyway. "The other side" is a WLS term.

WLS means "weight loss surgery," and being on "the other side" means you've completed your surgery successfully. Yep, that's right. That's where I've been the past couple of weeks. While Betland was getting a refurbishing, I was too. On April 5th, I had gastric bypass surgery.

So, where to start. How about with, "Well, you crum, why didn't you tell us this?" I don't know, actually. A few reasons I guess. First of all, somewhere in my mind I never knew that it would come off. I mean, I had visions of myself jumping off the table while the surgeon was standing there brandishing his knives. I also, well, hell, I don't know. It was just something I didn't want to be spouting off to the world. So I kept it on the down-low, as we say, save for family and a couple of friends.

How about, "Well, you crum, is this just something you decided to do as a whim? Because you have no willpower, or wanted a few weeks off from work?" OK, I'll admit up front that the weeks off from work I'm getting because of this are a real plus (even though I'm starting to get a little bored already). But for the rest of it, let's be honest here. I'm a big gal. I always have been. I've lost hundreds of pounds in my life (this is true), and gained back hundreds more. And it finally got to a point where there was no losing anymore. And it was starting to bother me, bother me more than just the lack of self-confidence in hating your looks. I mean, you've all heard me complain about my knees, my feet, my back. My body was showing the strain of being large. And I knew it was time to take the step, however drastic it may be.

And no, it was not on a whim at all. I've actually been thinking about this surgery on and off for over 2 years. And the day I had my surgery, April 5th, was lacking 3 days of being a complete year that I'd been working seriously on having it. You know, researching the types of surgeries, researching doctors, talking to doctors, talking to people who've had the surgery. It was a very long process. I chose a Dr in Roanoke who had an excellent reputation, and was on a months-long waiting list for an appointment. But I'm glad I stuck with him. My first impression of him was not actually a very friendly one; "no-nonsense" is how I described him. But he's turned out to be a very caring and kind man. I like my surgeon.

OK. Now how about, "Well, you crum, what was the whole thing like?" Scary, mostly. Scary and painful. I got to the hospital Monday morning and waited with my family until they took me to pre-op. On the trip down there, being wheeled on the bed, every turn took me to a colder part of the floor, till I finally asked if we were gonna end up outside at some point. Once I was in pre-op I met my anesthesiologist, who was nice, and his assistant, who was not only Australian, but very charming as well, and they told me that soon they'd be putting some "goofy juice" into my IV. During their questioning I felt a distinct tug upon my toe, and looked up to see it was my surgeon. He's a toe-puller.

Before I knew it, the goofy juice did indeed take effect, and I really don't remember a whole lot after that. I remember a very brief moment of seeing the operating room, and it had those big lights above the table just like they do on TV, and I thought, "Ooh. How clean." The next thing I remember were some people hovering over me in what I thought was the room I'd originally started out in that morning, but it turned out to be post-op, which is for some reason now called "the step down unit."

This is where things got interesting, not necessarily for me, but apparently I was, um, "working through the pain" a little harder than I thought I was, because at one point a nurse came over to me and told me that I had to be quiet, that there were other people there trying to recover as well. Well, how dare them! The selfish-asses.

From there it was to a room, where I woke up in earnest, loving family beside me, and I got to consume some ice chips, and I had these wild things attached to my feet that were like massagers and squeezed and pulled. (They were to help prevent blood clots till I could move.) Now it's at this point that I know you're thinking, "Well, you crum, did you at least get some good drugs for your trouble?" and I can answer that in two ways. Here I was lucky enough to be given an actual morphine pump, and I'll be damned if the stuff didn't do anything more than make me nauseous. Therefore, the first three nights were pretty much tough and sleepless (and as Mr M said, isn't it just like a hospital to put a gigantic wall clock right across from you with a second hand on it no less), until they finally started giving me liquid Oxycodone. Now, I hate Courtney Love's guts, but I can understand why the woman has a thing for Oxycodone. It's the bee's knee's, man. I didn't realize what I was supposed to feel like till I started taking it!

So anyway, I was almost released on Thursday but when Dr Surgeon realized we had a two-hour drive back home, he said I should stay one more day to be safe. And so it was Friday when I got to go back home, literally got to go home again, because as we speak I'm staying with my folks. And yes, I miss the Poderosa. I miss it terribly, and today, on my first foray outside since the surgery, I got to take a day trip back there. It was heaven. Before you ask, "Well, you crum, how are you hooking up to the internet from your luddite parents' house?" I'll give thanks and props to Mr M for that. He's lent me his laptop, and even hooked me up with a nice dial-up setup that's allowed me the opportunity to open Betland at least a week before scheduled.

And you may be thinking, "Well, you crum, how are you now?" Very well, thanks. I'm still sore, at my incision, but I went back for an appointment on Tuesday, had my staples (all 31 of them) removed (that hurt), and floored a woman in the waiting room when she found out I was only a week and day out of surgery. She said she wasn't walking so well after 3 months. I've been promoted to pureed foods, and things like mashed potatoes. And if that sounds bland to you, I had some pureed Wendy's Chili (it's popular with the wls crowd), and it was the best thing I ever ate. And it's walk. Walk, walk, around the house, around the couch, around the tables. It's boring, but for now it's all I have. And drink. Drink, drink, drink. I'm currently enjoying a lot of Pink Lemonade Crystal Light.

And most importantly. Just in case any of you out there are thinking, "Well, you crum, does this now mean that Betland will become Surgeryland?" Absolutely not. I am not going to make this experience the writing point of my blog. In fact, I created a blog some time ago devoted to that subject and that subject only, so I don't need to regale all of yall with the boring details of what I ate and if I feel too bloated to weigh. If there's a peripheral subject that comes up (there's one in particular I'll probably blog about tomorrow), I might go with it. But this is not, I repeat not, going to turn into the Diary of a Patient. If you think it's starting to, call me on it. I beg of you.

And so. There you have it. "Well, you crum, this was a pretty long blog, wasn't it?" Yep, it was. Let's go ahead and end it.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004


Yesterday I watched the movie "Topper." It's a Cary Grant number about two mischievous ghosts who feel the "good deed" they must do to get into Heaven is to wreak havoc upon a man's life. But it's OK, the man never really objects to it, and even though there's kind of a creepy quality to the whole thing, especially when Cary Grant's ghostie wife Constance Bennett goes off to a hotel alone with the very alive Mr Topper, it was a fair little watch and throwaway movie.

But Cary and Constance were the kind of duo that lived in the movies in the 1930s. I don't know if this movie came before or after "The Thin Man," but I kept thinking they were a knockoff Nick and Nora Charles without the snappy repartee. You know, seriously rich, with no visible means of support, big cars, wear evening clothes nonstop, go to club after club dancing the night away. In other words, these people weren't friends of the Joads.

But I digress. I bought "Topper" during my VHS buying spree at some of the video stores around B'burg. So it came in its plastic case decorated with art from the movie on the front. And it's a cheery little cover, cartoon drawings of Cary and Constance, and art deco lettering, and it has the title and a few stars listed. Then in the bottom left hand corner is a little bonus, if you will. A little endorsement.

It says simply, "Frothy With Fun!"

Well, I don't know that this movie is actually Frothy With Fun. It's an OK little movie, but I didn't ever find myself thinking, "Man this film just froths with fun."

I can tell you what it was frothy with. It was Frothy With Drunk Driving is what it was frothy with! I mean for a movie about two young rich socialites killed in a car accident, this movie opened up with a completely bombed Cary Grant driving a car - with his feet. It doesn't get any better from there. I know in the 30s there wasn't much of an outcry against this, but it was a little telling that the time Cary chose to drive that eventually killed them both, he was probably least drunk of all. "See, folks? Had he been a little drunker, this tragic accident would never have happened."

I can tell you one other thing this movie was frothy with. It was Frothy With Hoagy Charmichael! The opening credits mentioned the movie would be featuring a brand new Hoagy song, "Old Man Moon," but what it didn't tell us is that when C & C enter a nightclub and hear the song for the first time, it's being playing by the Hoagmeister himself, sitting right there at the piano. Now that's frothy.

Actually, I'm thinking of stealing away "Frothy With Fun!" as the motto for Betland.

Monday, April 12, 2004

When Reality Goes Bad

Well, hello to all! Seems Betland is ready for its re-opening, well, or so I thought, until I realized I'm having a few comments problems (apparently you can send them but I can't access them at this point), and so a Monday acro is out. However, the rides are all springier, and shinier, mostly owing to the massive rain we seem to be having, and the characters are ready to be roaming the park as soon as the weather clears. Mr Snake has been particularly fetching lately, but if I were you I'd still avoid Nervous William.

While in the resting phase, I've been watching a fair amount of TV, yes, I know this comes as a shock to you all, and I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed by it. See, my shows seem to be turning on me.

I'm a sucker for the Real World/Road Rules Challenge, and so have of course been watching its latest installment. I guess I just love knowing that these unloveable losers have some sort of job security. Where there's a bug to be eaten, Mike, Coral, and Veronica will be there to chomp it. (Actually, I've often wondered if the reason I watch is not for the job security, but the removal thereof; ie, wouldn't it be spectacular if one of them fell off a wall to their deaths?) Anyway, there are certain constants of this show, that Mike and Abram are always going to be The Leaders, Coral and Veronica are always going to be The Bitches, and that they'll fill out both casts with a bunch of jesters and fools to entertain us.

Only we have a problem this year. On the Real World team, there's a new bitch in town. Toothy Mormon Julie showed up, again as forever wanting to be the hip-shootin' rock and roll wildass she portrays herself to be (And where she came up with that I'll never know - I mean, does she think she's a wildass because she got kicked out of Brigham Young University? Hell, any of us could get kicked out of BYU before you could say "Donny Osmond."), and Julie ran into an especially unpleasant brick wall in the name of one Coral. (And btw, why do Mormons have such big white teeth?)

And so, anyway, there's been much wailing and gnashing of teeth between these two. Actually, that's not quite the case; there's been much caterwauling and waving of fingers in people's faces. If one would say the sun rises in the morning, the other would have some sort of bitchy retort to start an argument about it, then the nose to nose yelling and eventual walking away and whining to the assembled throng would follow. It's very tiring.

The funny part about all this is that neither Coral nor Julie are for shit where competitions are concerned. They both, well, for want of a better word and not to put too fine a point on it, suck weenies. Then each goes into a major uproar when they're nominated for the dreaded Gauntlet, where the most expendable players go head to head to see who gets a paid one-way ticket back to obscurity.

So. The entire last episode consisted of 30 minutes (minus commercials, make that 12 minutes) of Coral and Julie fighting. Over Julie's reluctance to go to the gauntlet. And so Julie got on this kick that she wanted to wrestle Coral once and for all.

And the challenges began, and the arguments, and Coral unpolitely refused the wrestle-off because, of course, she'd punch Julie in the face and knock out her Mormon teeth and then have to be sent home. And finally, Julie admitted she was well aware that might happen, and if it did, all the better. Oh, dear.

Personally, I want them to wrestle on that upstairs balcony and fall over the railing onto the first floor patio.

Then there's American Idol. It's come to a virtual crawl lately. Its biggest problem is that it's hosted by Ryan Seacrest, but I guess there's not much we can do about that. This past week the challenge was to sing Elton John songs. And a more nauseating bunch of renditions of Elton John songs I've never heard. Sure, Fantasia and LaToya were fine, as usual, but the rest were some sorry sacks o' shit. Conan O'Brien lookalike and Frank Sinatra wannabe John sang a version of "Crocodile Rock" that made me pray a crocodile would actually appear and savage him right there onstage, and John Peter Lewis, who, God, what is it with him? His popularity is totally alien to me - sang "Rocket Man," and it made the baby Jesus cry. I have no concrete proof of this, of course, but it sure as hell made me cry. Morphine, please!

But worst of all was our dear cute Camille, who wears an expression something between The Verge of Tears and Menacing Juvenile Delinquent, and who's been floating on fumes since the whole thing started. She sang "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road." Camille has this agonizingly irritating growling vibrato that makes her sound like she's not only singing about the Yellow Brick Road, but traveling over each separate brick on a pair of roller skates.

On the just-about unbearable "Guess Who Gets Kicked Off Show" on Wednesday, they found a new way to prolong the torture of having to find out The Inevitable. They started dividing the kids up into groups, and, well, it was a mess, but Camille finally did get the ax, thank God, and sang one more rumbly verse of "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road." A new verse, that either she made up or someone made up for her, that mentioned Maui and all that shit. God, do I love to hate this show.

What American Idol needs is one week called "Moving Week." An hour-long show where they each get a couple of songs to sing, then on Wednesday, not one, but say, four people are voted off. Just send a big bowling ball through all those wannabes. Cut a wide swath right through them.

Now, as for "Survivor...." I don't know what can be done about it. I mean, these guys are playing their own game, there's just not much I like about what they're doing to each other. Boston Rob must be stopped, and if it comes down to him and Amber in the end, all I can say is she is truly one woman who can say she has a million-dollar, well, I shan't continue on with that thought, but then again, I don't think I need to.

Damn, even Airline's all drunk boarders and people who got bumped off their planes. Would it be bad taste to suggest a plane wreck? Yep, it would. Sorry.

Safe traveling!

Sunday, April 04, 2004

It's All Good

I spent Friday evening and Saturday at Mr M's. Friday night we played clarinets and ate tuna pasta salad, and watched movies.

We watched "Chaplin," which I didn't even get to add onto my movie list because I slept through so much of it. Then we watched a Ken Loach movie called "Sweet Sixteen," that had such thick Scottish accents that we had to use the English subtitles to watch it. Didn't matter, because every third word was "fuck" - or worse, if you can believe, and the movie wasn't much, either.

On Saturday we went on a VHS shopping spree and I bought 8 movies for 20 bucks. Had lunch at Famous Anthony's (you have heard of him, haven't you? I mean, he's famous!), then for "shits and giggles," as Mr M puts it, we decided to take a drive up to Mountain Lake. Which is the site of the famed Oktoberfest, but closes during the winter.

You know how you drive along the highway and way way up in the mountains you can see snow? Well, going to Mountain Lake it gets so high we were in the snow. It was cool - we started in about 50 degree weather and grass, and ended up in snow. I made Mr M stop the car so I could get out and make a snowball. Then I threw it at a "Pedestrian Crossing" sign and hit the pedestrian right in the knee. Success!

On the way back down the mountain we listened to Bob and Ray. "Lloyd Fletch and his All-Male Orchestra," one of my favorite skits.

A perfect day.

Betland's taking a wee vacation for a couple of weeks. We have all those rides that need to be re-tuned to give maximum pleasure to the customer. Need to wash the character's suits so they'll be bright and shiny. Mowing Boy and Mr Snake are looking particularly dull.

So take care, and see you in a few!

Well, the results are in in the quiz. A few valiant souls took me up on my challenge, and I commend you all. So here are the answers in the My CD Player is Still Broken And I'm Still Having To Listen To Cassettes In My Car Quiz:

Part One: 80s Mix Tapes. All these come from various 80s mix tapes I've made. These are the hard ones, people. You get even half of these, you're good.

1. We will rape and pillage in the village of his choice: "Alex Chilton," the Replacements
2. Got a zebra by the tail and a pop-gun in my hand: "Watusi Rodeo," Guadalcanal Diary
3. There's matches in the bathroom just below the stairs: "Nobody Told Me," John Lennon (and yes, I'll concede it is "Nazis")
4. Oh but the prestige and the glory: "Tattooed Love Boys," the Pretenders
5. He said, "Hey, I know it's dangerous, but it sure beats Riker's: "People Who Died," Jim Carroll
6. Brother's got a date to keep he can't hang around: "Our House," Madness
7. I'm almost home, there's the 7-11: "Rattle My Bones," the Suburbs
8. If I stop I could lose my head, so I'm losing you instead: "One Step Ahead," Split Enz
9. The lights are on, but no one's there: "Hourglass," Squeeze (and you get points, but I'll not concede it is "no one's in")
10. Exactly who am I supposed to be?: "Should I Stay Or Should I Go?" the Clash
11. I had it made like a mountain range with a snow white pillow for my big fat head: "Big Time," Peter Gabriel
12. From high on a hill came the clarion call: "The Rose of England," Nick Lowe
13. I had my eyes shut, was dreamin' 'bout the past: "A Million Miles Away," the Plimsouls
14. The love we share seems to go nowhere: "Tainted Love," Soft Cell
15. I kissed my girl by the factory wall: "Dirty Old Town," the Pogues (though Ewan McColl got points, too)
16. Everything goes when you're dead, everything empties from what was in your head: "It's Going to Happen," the Undertones
17. I could go on for hours and probably will: "A Town Called Malice," the Jam
18. I don't know how I'm meant to act with all of you lot: "Save It for Later," the English Beat
19. I take requests on the telephone, I'm on a wavelength far from home: "Mexican Radio," Wall of Voodoo
20. I tell the others "Don't bother me," 'cause when they look at you they don't see what I see: "They Don't Know," Tracey Ullman (though Kirsty McColl got points, too)

Part Two: A Fun Cassette I Found. I must have made this right before I got a CD burner. Most songs are from the mid-late 90s. These are easier. In fact, I think this section's dead easy.

21. She said, "I'm already dead": "Barrier Reef," the Old 97s
22. Amsterdam was always good for grieving: "Fort Worth Blues," Steve Earle
23. If you still don't like my song then you can just go to hell: "Little Atoms," Elvis Costello
24. And my hair will shine like the sea: "Supermodel," Jill Sobule
25. In search of truth, and some pointy boots, and maybe a few snack crackers: "Camel Walk," Southern Culture on the Skids
26. I don't know from maritime: "Red Dragon Tattoo," Fountains of Wayne
27. Lights, camel, action!: "Charlton Heston," Stump
28. I said "Pretend you've got no money," she just laughed and said, "You're so funny": "Common People," Pulp
29. Bruce and I go to the Jose Theatre, 3 flicks for 50 cents, take me to your leader: "The New John Agar," Young Fresh Fellows
30. Hit on the head with a frying pan, lives his life in a garbage can: "Particle Man," They Might Be Giants

Part Three: Grab Bag. Exactly what it says. These are songs from from everywhere, mainly tapes I pulled out and listened to that had no labels on them. They can be from any time or any genre. WooHoo!

31. I could tell you things about Peter Pan: "Smut," Tom Lehrer
32. Black skinned man give me bad deal: "Candyman," Donovan
33. The idle brain is the devil's playground: "Ya Got Trouble," from "The Music Man"
34. I didn't know much Spanish and there was no time for talk: "What Am I Doin' Hangin' Round," the Monkees
35. His tongue it could not speak but only flatter: "The Wicked Messenger," Bob Dylan (though I was listening to Tim O'Brien's version)
36. I was steamed, I was fried, but you stood by my side: "Then Came Lo Mein," Robert Earl Keen
37. What do you do between the horns of the day: "I Believe," REM
38. We're drinking, my friend, to the end of a brief episode: "One For My Baby, and One For The Road," Fred Astaire was singing mine, but anyone you named would work, probably, except Eminem
39. I have had enough, so act your age: "You Won't See Me," the Beatles
40. Put your hands up to the ceiling, bend your waist and touch your toes: "Skin and Bone," the Kinks

So there you have it! There were a couple I expected no one to get, just too obscure, #s 2, 7, 25, and 27. But the others I figured someone somewhere knew of. Anyway, because of those two flubs in lyrics, everyone got their 2 ½ points for those two.

Our winner, with 21 right for a total score of 53 (I round up) was the one and only Mike, man of mystery, movies and music. Runner up, with 14 ½ right and a score of 36 is the dishy Michelle. And Venice made me laugh my ass off with her shout from the old #trivia days of "No Cloo!"

Well, that was fun. For me, anyway. Thanks for playing, you few brave souls!

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Hard Stuff

I work at TheCompanyIWorkFor, as you all know, and there are many facets of my job. I talk to people, quote prices, take applications. I take claims reports (though I don't work claims, thank God), figure out people's bills and accounting problems when they're perplexed, and write checks to people (that was a coup - getting the authority to write checks is big cheese at TheCompanyIWorkFor). I can go out and measure and inspect your house and tell you how much you should be covering it for; then I can cover it for you. Ditto your personal property if you rent. I'm a jill of all trades.

Then, as happens when you work with the public in a small town, there are what I call the "peripheral duties." The peripheral duties include things like helping little old ladies fill out their DMV forms, or balancing their checkbooks, or organizing their bills as to which have to be mailed off and which can be distributed around town. Or calling a doctor's office because an elderly insured doesn't understand his Medicare Explanation of Benefits. Or looking up the book value of someone's car, or checking out safety ratings of cars for someone interested in buying. And sometimes the peripherals include just sitting and listening to someone who's having a bad day and needs to spout off about their job, their kids, or the fact that their back aches. And although I never ever consider myself a "people person," in fact, I always say how much I hate people, when it comes right down to it, I enjoy the peripherals. (Except, of course the peripheral that drafts me to be a marriage counselor. Oh, the marital strife I've been privy to.) I like seeing old ladies smile and people walking out of my office just a little happier than when they walked in.

Which is not to say it's all sweetness and light here at TheCompanyIWorkFor. There are the rottener times, like being blessed out because someone's bill is 47 cents more than I quoted it. Or being blamed and lambasted over claims I neither work nor settle. Or just being on the business end of mean people who are out to make anyone's life they can miserable.

But then there's the hard stuff.

When you work in the insurance field, unfortunately, you sometimes work with death. And death is not fun. And you never get used to it.

Sometimes it's just the sadness of having someone you've had as a client for years die. And having to deal with the families selling the car, or the house, and needing advice. And they come in, or call, and cry. And yep, I cry right along with them. Cause when I lose a client I really liked, well, that sucks.

But the death can also be insurance-related, like a car accident. We've had our share of those, and it's never easy to get through. I've had to be the one to take reports of accidents that killed a young mother of two, and a 19-year old boy and his girlfriend. And a very elderly gentleman who was so sweet, he used to come into the office and bring us things he liked to cook, because he didn't have anyone to cook for.

Probably the hardest it's ever hit me, though, was Prince. No, not that Prince. This was a man who was a client of ours, who'd moved here from another state, and I happened to be the one he talked on the phone the first time he called. We got along great, and anytime he called or came in, he always asked for me. (That happens in our office sometimes. A client will just click with one of us and always want to deal with that person.)

Prince was a nickname, btw, but it was apt, because he was just a prince of a fellow. Laid back, mellow, smiling. Had bunches of policies, house, motorcycles, cars, antique cars, cars for his teenaged drivers. He paid boatloads of insurance (though he didn't have a boat, oddly enough), and he'd call or drop by and ask me to figure prices if he bought this car or added another son to his insurance. And I'd give him some (usually astronomical) figure, and he'd just chuckle and say, "Hoo boy." But never complained. He was just a sweetie.

I went into work one morning and the very first call I took was from our overnight customer response center. Some disembodied voice telling me we'd had an accident reported overnight that involved a fatality. It was Prince. On his motorcycle, and another car just basically ran over him.

I immediately threw the phone receiver to the floor and said, "Someone else has to take this, now." There was some confusion, because I just threw the phone; I'd forgotten to put it on "hold." Finally someone else took over and got all the information. I sat at my desk all day and sniffed and snotted and boo-hooed. And from there on out, any dealings with the family I did myself. I figured it was only fitting. And through it, I learned what a nice wife Prince had; she's still a client of ours.

This morning, Mr C came in. He came in to file a life insurance claim for his wife. I've known the Cs since I was six years old. When my family moved into this area their daughter was my very first friend. We graduated together, and she was one of my close circle of buddies, the seven of us girls who were inseparable from Jr High till graduation. You know, those were the days when it really did take a village to raise a child, and by the transitive theory of neighborhoods, if you played with a kid, you had to mind their mother just like it was your mother. So for about 12 years of my life Mrs C was in effect my mom, too.

She died this past weekend. I didn't go to the wake or funeral. I used being sick as an excuse, though it was only partially true. Can't explain it, but at this exact point in my life, my mental and emotional health cannot stand seeing a dead person being laid to rest. It's hard under any circumstances, but I just can't do it right now. I haven't seen daughter C in many years; like all of those six girls I was inseparable to in school, I see or correspond with none of them now. Maybe that's another reason; seeing my past.

In any case, Mr C did all the paperwork he was there to do, and as he was leaving, came to the verge of crying, but stopped. I'm so glad, because it stopped me too.

But I reserve the right to cry later tonight when I'm at home by myself.

Quiz Deadline

Michelle asked. How about 2am Sunday morning. Give you all an extra couple of hours for a final cup of coffee (or glass of beer) and cramming.