Monday, January 31, 2005


Hello friends, Romans, and countrymen. Lend me your acros.

Today was to be my Coronation. And it almost was. There I was in Dr Guts's chair waiting for that golden crown upon my tooth. He put it in. It was too big. It was apparently wedging my other teeth. So he got out his tools and carved, and honed, and buffed. And now it's too little. Dammit. They now have to send it away. Will I never be crowned....

I did get a major shock, though, there in the chair. They told me up front (no pun intended) that the teeth near the back get gold crowns instead of porcelain. So when they had it in there still and were looking at the xrays, I sneaked a peek in the mirror. And it's gold. I mean, it's really gold. Of course, I had to realize I was holding the mirror up and looking down into my mouth, a view I doubt anyone but Dr Guts or someone who's trying to buy me will adopt. Still, I must come to grips with the fact that yes, I will be the proud owner of a gold tooth. And at $650 it'd better be a high quality gold tooth at that.

I mentioned to Dr Guts that I was worried that my new adornment would set me up to go on the rap circuit, and he tried to make up a tooth rap on the spot, but only got about a line into things.

Anyway, after the actual crowing, which could come as early as Friday, I shall be asking you to address me as either Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth or I'm going back to my old street name, The Notorious BET. You may choose.

And that got me to thinking about Acromania. Tonight's topic shall be, "So, Poindexter - What's Your Rap Name?" Everyone will get three entries to come up with the best acronym they can that not only matches the topic, but fits the letters below, which are randomly drawn from the acrobasket. I'll judge at 10pm est tomorrow night, and there'll be scratching on the turntables and shooting in the streets.

This week's topic: "So, Poindexter - What's Your Rap Name?" The letters:


So, you bitches and homeys alike. Get acroin'.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* I can't remember whether or not I've mentioned this, but for 2005 I'm thinking a little Poderosa improvement is in order. I want to paint the cabinets in my kitchen, I'd really like to paint the walls (since I can't re-do the tiles) in my bathroom, but the first chore is to make something of an actual room out of The Beast, aka my back bedroom. I actually made a dent in it tonight, but didn't want to give myself a hernia or a nervous breakdown, so I quit while I was still happy with my progress. Check back in December for that one.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Picture Sunday

So, I'm bringing up the rear tonight. Picture Sunday is minutes away from being late, for no other reason than I was loafing in the Comfy Chair.

This weekend was, well, to say the least, interesting. I began it driving to B'burg yesterday in an ice storm.

Things were just getting underway as I left, and I went on the theory most people around here go on: "As soon as I get out of B'field, things'll be OK." Then that changed to "As soon as I get on Rt 460, everything'll be OK." Which later gave way to "As soon as I can get out of West Virginia back to the Virginia side, things'll be OK." Which later gave rise to, "Shit, things are not gonna be OK." It just got worse and worse the farther I drove, till I was stuck in the middle, ice pouring down around me, not able to go back and not feeling too good about going on.

The only thing that saved me was the 18-wheeler that pulled out in front of me around G'Lyn. I just decided to stay behind him no matter what happened. He went up the mountains at 2 mph? So did I. But it was horrendous, and I never got over about 20mph the whole way. It's such a horrible feeling, knowing you can't go any faster, and wanting to go just as fast as you can to hurry up and get to your destination.

When I finally hit the red-lighted intersection to turn into B'burg, I got into my lane, and the 18-wheeler stayed in the straight lane, so we were beside each other. I got his attention, rolled my window down, and thanked him profusely for letting me follow him. He appreciated it, I think. But going down those last two mountains - I was sure we'd both lose it. I kept telling myself, "Hold it together, you can cry when you get to Mr M's," but I didn't cry. I had the shakes, but I didn't cry.

Needless to say, I hope I don't have to go through that again.

Then today, I was one movement away from throwing a cake in the trash can when the doorbell rang, diffusing an incredibly tense situation. Clarinet quartet began, and blew all to hell not too long after. It was the weirdest thing I'd ever seen in my whole life, and at one point, I actually felt my body leave itself and hover above proceedings like I was watching it on TV. Everything ended OK, though, and I had the shakes going back home again.

It was a pretty shaky weekend, all in all.

First picture. This is the cake that almost lost its life. And as you can see, my extremely mediocre artistic skills, when applied to a cake are, well, still extremely mediocore.

Now, for a few pictures from the archives. Thought I'd put up a few I took in London lo those many years ago. 15, to be exact. I can't believe it's been that long. The first you can use in a rowsing rendition of "But What About This Guy?"

This is the Tube. In London. After a week in the city, I finally got a seat. It was orgasmic. But everytime I look at this picture, I think of Letterman. You know, when he shows a picture and picks someone out of the background and says, "But what about this guy?" That poor man, frozen in time 15 years, holding his newspaper. Hope he got to where he was going. And got a seat.

The next one you could caption "What Kind Of Poo-head Takes A Picture Of A Bathroom?" Well, this kind, I guess. I don't know, Harrod's loo was just so impressive for me, for some reason. I've not seen a finer bathroom before or since.

Wow. A little bathroom appreciation, please.

The final picture is one for the scrapbook. I guess everyone has this one, but I've always liked it. The Tower Bridge.

Tower Bridge indeed. Look at it towering there like the structure of glory it is.

OK, and now the first recipe du jour from Series 6. And believe me folks, this one has been worth the wait. May I present to you Baked Stuffed Salmon!

Oh. my. God. Where do we start? The yellow stuff, or "dog's vomit," as I've referred to it in recipes past? The fact that they've decided to turn this into a little fish, complete with an olive eye? The parsley they've stuffed into the poor fella's mouth, as if to stop him saying, "Don't eat me! Don't eat me!"

The Card says we're supposed to enjoy a salad, Brussels sprouts (laying there naked on the tray), and whipped fruit gelatin with this. But really. I just want to sit and enjoy the artistic ambience of this one a while. Anything but eat it.

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Currently on the Music Match playlist? "Big Mama's Door" and "Illinois," Alvin Youngblood Hart, "Country Leaver," the Dandy Warhols, "Wishing Well," Terrence Trent D'Arby (guilty pleasure there), "Ariel," Dean Friedman, "Uneasy Rider," BR-549, "Judy Is A Punk," the Ramones.
* I'm not kidding. The podmobile was a block of ice when I arrived Saturday. You couldn't even chip it off with a pen.

Friday, January 28, 2005

What If You "What If" Too Much

As you well know, I'm a pod, and one of the main podly pasttimes is thinking too much. I think all the time. Which on the surface seems like a good thing. Then again, you don't necessarily know what I'm thinking about.

I was driving home from B'burg late Wednesday night on Rt 460. On the 65-mile stretch of it they should name the "Betty Bet Bet Inspirational Highway," because surely I drive that piece of road more than any human who owns a car. Or doesn't. I was taking things slow and easy. See, there was a light, partially snow/rain mix falling, and everything I'd heard all day was calling for the dreaded "Black Ice." I really hate that term "Black Ice." Sounds like it should be a Vin Diesel thriller - "Black Ice - He'll Be There When You Least Expect! [Rated R]"

Anyway, you know how you just have an icky feeling? Normally weather forecasts don't keep me home, I mean, if I have to be somewhere I have to be there, and I'll generally go if the podmobile's amenable, even if I do worry on the way. Well, for some reason, these icy indications, these frosty foretellings just got under my skin, and I was feeling hinky even on the way to B'burg, when it was not only dry, but barely even dark outside. So you can imagine when I departed Mr M's, full of coffee, frozen rain whapping on the pavement, wind blowing small animals around, on a cold moonless night.

This was going to be a thinking kind of trip home.

I began the trip thinking about just a couple of things. 1) The wind, which really was ferocious, and 2) keeping my speed down, not only for any upcoming weather conditions, but also because I'm working so hard at removing speeding from my bag of tricks. The coffee hadn't really kicked in yet, and I decided to light up a clove cigarette and take a long drag off it, for that headrush it gives. By that time I was rounding the top of Mountain One, of the two you have to cross immediately out of town. Sunday before last, on my way home I saw no fewer than three cars wrecked or turned sideways at the tops of these mountains.

And that got me to thinking about my little pas de deux on the off-ramp of 460 that same Sunday night. And that started the whole damn thing.

I know man who used a term to me once that I liked. It's "God's Choreography." Now, I'm not (as I was just saying in a conversation at Band) "church people." I don't even know what I believe, to be honest. I don't even know that I do. I think I more hope. I hope in God. But anyway, I just liked the idea of what this man said.

He was a passenger in a car when he suffered a heart attack. Turns out the car was coming upon a red light, that had a left turn lane. The driver got in it and started flashing lights and waving for help. Just so happened the first car along contained a nurse. The intersection across from the light had a shopping plaza, where a police car was in the parking lot. They alerted an ambulance from a hospital that happened to be less than a half-mile away.

In other words, everything was exactly where it needed to be to keep this man alive. God's Choreography.

It wasn't that I wasn't paying attention Sunday before last. I was - I just thought the off-ramp was snow-covered instead of completely iced over. I was minding my own business, till I saw that car in front of me start its spin, then I knew to watch out. And though I did spin, I was prepared and had time to actually think about those things they taught me in Drivers Ed lo those many years ago. And neither myself nor my car was damaged. And while in my brain I know that being prepared had nothing to do with it, and sheer dumb luck in where I was sliding had everything to do with it, still, I had to think. What if I hadn't seen that car in front of me start to spin?

And as we all know, with me at least, one "what if" and a jumbo cup of coffee can lead to a sleepless night.

It took me back to another incident, yet again on the Betty Bet Bet Inspirational Highway, about 15 years ago. My cousin Jacob and I were traveling to B'burg, I was driving, and as we topped the hill at P'broke, an accident had just happened. Turns out a young woman was walking across the highway, and a car hit her, killing her instantly. I've thought about that many times since. What if we'd left for B'burg 45 seconds earlier? What if I'd gone 3 mph faster than I did? That could have been me. What would that have done to my life? And what if all those things had happened, and it was me, but I missed her? She'd be alive now.

One cold night last year I was zipping back from Band. Coming home there's a small stretch of, yep, you guessed it, the Betty Bet Bet Inspirational Highway, that's as curvy and banked as a toy race car set. I generally love that stretch of road, because, well, it's fun to hit the gas and hug the curves.

I was zipping along without a care when I suddenly saw a truck smashed into the rocky bank on the right side. The police were there helping. "Shit," I thought, and immediately slowed way down. Once I did, blammo. I hit a patch of ice and started a slide, not towards the rocky bank side, but towards the 3-story death drop side. I did the right thing, turned my wheels in the direction I was sliding, a scary proposition since it was towards the death drop, and I got my footing back. I slid again towards the other side, and got my footing again. About 1/4 mile down the road, another car had wrecked.

What if I hadn't seen that first wreck? The flashing police lights? What if I hadn't slowed to a crawl? Would I now be fish food at the bottom of the New River, where is surely where I'd have ended up after dropping off the mountain, bouncing off the east-bound lane, and rolling several times?

And while we're at it, what about that time night-driving to Atlanta when the trailer detached from its car and came hurtling towards me, and I was just really quick and swerved to avoid it. What if I'd been looking over talking to my traveling companion? What if I'd have been fiddling with the radio?

And geez, what about the time when I was a little girl and our car caught on fire in the driveway? And Dad sent us all, Mom, sis, and me, running up the road in our sock feet while he opened the car door and tried to put out the fire? What if those flames had consumed him? How would my life have changed?

And for that matter, what if I'd decided to go away to Purdue University, where I'd been invited and accepted, instead of staying local? Would I now have a big cushy job, working in some big city? Everything that my life has been from age 18 on would have been totally different. All my friends would be different. I might not even have discovered Elvis Costello! (And yes, I actually think about things like this.)

I'd started planning to have my surgery about 2 years before I actually did. What if I'd done that - not chickened out? What if I'd chosen to go to Richmond, where I was researching, instead of staying local in R'noke, like I did? Would there have been complications, would I have survived? Would I have been as successful, or as happy?

And since I had another good 12 miles to home, what about this one? Mr M and I knew each other online for several years before we ever met. And for reasons not to be discussed here, when he told me he was moving from New Jersey to B'burg, I was right pissed off. I didn't want him living that close to me, and I didn't want to meet him. In fact, he'd lived in B'burg for at least a month before I relented. And Good Lord.

I think about the fast friends we became and wonder - what if I'd never plucked up the courage to meet this Apex of Assholishness face to face?

Well, I can tell you a couple of things for sure. I wouldn't own the Poderosa. He was the number one factor in my decision to just say "what the hell" and make the purchase. Before, I was so afraid of everything that could go wrong. I was afraid to leap.

I'd still be a third-rate clarinet player, instead of a second-rate one. I'd also probably be the same kind of a doormat I was before we met, not that I'm not one to a certain extent now, it's just that before, the doormat I was said "Welcome." "Yes, you're welcome to walk all over me, I don't mind." I wouldn't know how to fight with people, I wouldn't have come to appreciate the orgasmic joys of a good cup of coffee, and I would have missed out on a hell of a lot of laughing. In short, I'd have spent 4 years of not knowing how great it is to have a best friend.

If, if, if. My friend Sandra says "if a frog had wings it wouldn't bump its ass." (btw, the 3 of us now use our "formal," given names in the office instead of our shortened 3-letter names, for some reason)

Anyway, I finally made it back home to the Comfy Chair, and the only black ice I encountered was in my own driveway, as I was getting out of the podmobile. But I was still mighty hepped up, and I sat for awhile, watching TV and listening to my heart beat. God's Choreography? Good driving skills? Dumb luck? The way the stars align?

Who knows, and it doesn't really matter anyway. For all of the what iffing I constantly do, I think things have gone OK so far.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Obituary alert again. Our great friend Q, mentioned in my "kitty" blog of a couple of weeks ago, brought us another one. This one was right in our B'field paper last week, I can't believe one of us in the office didn't see it. This came from the obit of a woman in the area who passed. I quote ver batim: "She loved 'Jeopardy,' teapots, jewelry, the color purple, shopping, tennis, chocolate covered cherries, eating out, and Santa Claus. She hated raisins, biscuits, and prejudice."
* I love that. Sounds like a Lina Wertmuller movie: "Raisins, Biscuits, and Prejudice."
* And who could hate biscuits? Raisins, I understand. I hate raisins. Raisins are selfish bastards.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

More Thank Yous and Linky McLinks

Well, I tried something new tonight. Newish, anyway. I went back to the local community band, the one I left several years ago because it was so not fun. Well, it still wasn't very fun, but I think I'll stick with it for the Spring season, because I need the playing time, and now that I've been to the first rehearsal I hate to back out. We'll see.

You know, I've said it before here many times. In fact, I've probably said it so often you're sick of hearing it. But do I care? Not a whit. I'm going to say it one more time.

I have the coolest and neatest buds on earth.

Friday, what should appear in my morning mail but a package from the dishy Michelle containing the December issue of Word magazine. The one with John Peel on the cover and a nice "photo scrapbook" spread on Glenn Tilbrook, with no less a person than Glenn himself captioning the pictures. There was also a cool interview with Robyn Hitchcock and loads of other fun stuff. I took the magazine to my Girls' Weekend and devoured it. You rock, Mitchie.

And Tuesday, what should find itself flung upon my desk but a package from the very Jellybean herself. And I'm sure you'll all be peeing-your-pants thrilled to find that inside was not, one, no, but two envelopes filled with series 3 and 7 of the recipe du jour recipe cards! Talk about your Manna from Heaven, or at least from Washington state, which I've never visited, so for all I know they could be just the same. A million thanks, 'Bean, and you'll be seeing the fruits of your kindness for weeks to come.

Wow - two Care Packages all in one week.

Now, we must take time to get to the Linky McLinks.

Remember my Antiques Roadshow Picture Sunday from a couple of weeks ago?

Well, I was flutzing around on ebay the other night looking for anything and everything, and just on a whim I started doing doll searches. And you'll never believe what I found.

I found this.

And then, I found this!

Well, imagine my giddy swirling fountain of happiness.

However, as if that weren't enough, I hit the motherlode. I found something else. Unfortunately, the bastards at ebay took it offline this morning so I can't link it, but someone had the pair for sell. The boy and girl. Bids at 9.99 US dollars. That increases those stupid Betland Antitues Roadshow hacks' estimate by $9.92.

I'm rich!! I'm rich!!

Betland's Olympic Update:
* I'm telling anyone who'll listen. As I write this, I'm videotaping my current passion, the documentary "Dig!" Sundance is showing it one more time. Now I'll have it for all eternity. Until I watch it so much the tape breaks. That's why I'm making Mr M burn it onto a dvd for me.
* Anyone glad the weekend's coming. I sure as hell am.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

TV Tuesday

So, Johnny's gone and we're all going to miss him. Even though he's actually been gone about 14 years. This just puts an ugly exclamation point at the end of things.

Letterman was a repeat last night, so I turned over to that weasel Leno to see what was going on, and there he was waxing poetic about the master that was Carson. I hung on a little bit to find that the show last night was an hour-long retrospective about Johnny. Well, retrospectivique.

But it ended up quite enjoyable, it pains me to admit. First Ed McMahon came out, and told a few stories, and I can't help it, but he just seemed to be there to get into the spotlight again. "Johnny's dead? It's showtime!" (God, that was cruel, even for me.) Then Don Rickles, whom I hate, and Bob Newhart, whom I love, came out together and told some Carson stories. Drew Carey was there to tell how excited he was to be on the Carson show and to be asked over to the coveted chair. And a long clip of comedians followed, established stars much younger, in bad suits, their "best stuff" not holding up quite as well as you'd think. They showed lots of clips, and though they were basically all the same ones we see in the "Buy The Tonight Show On DVD" infomercials, it was still fun to watch.

Here's the deal though. Remember when Leno took over "The Tonight Show?" Remember how he didn't pay homage to Johnny, and his ratings suffered for it? Well, suffered until he had a recently blown Hugh Grant on the show to mea culpa. It was all smooth sailing after that. Remember when his manager/producer was this bitch of a woman who instituted a rule whereby if a star goes on Letterman they don't get invited to Leno? And remember when she took a nasty fall for her practices, and Leno let her drop, waved byebye as she fell?

Where's this all going? I don't know really. I just remember when Leno was one of those young comics on Johnny, and Merv, and Mike, and he was a dumb kid who seemed to be a funny, nice guy. And when he first took over The Tonight Show, he really played on that nice guy image. He was giving gifts to guests, finding out what they liked and having it there to make a show of presenting to them. He still presents himself as the ol' nice guy, the regular workaday comic, your next door neighbor who just happens to have 57 Ferraris. And when I listen to Leno's monologues, his jokes...they're mean. Not just knocks, they're mean spirited. He made Laci Peterson jokes, and Chanda Rubin jokes. And I just kept thinking, "Jesus Christ, those women have friends and family out in the world trying to cope."

Anyway, there are two things I'd like to have right now - the complete series of "Laugh-In" on DVD in my living room, and the old "The Tonight Show" on TV Land. Not the highlights, the actual, 90-minute, who-the-fuck's-this-guest shows. But those things don't happen.

And now, a word or two from our sponsors.

There's a series of commercials out right now for, well, I don't know what they're for. They're telling men to be good dads. I guess they're put out by the You Helped Make This Baby Now Be A Man And Friggin' Raise It Coalition. And though I don't know that a series of commercials is suddenly going to make a man say, "You know, I've been spending too long here on my ass drinkin' beer and readin' porn, I need to go raise my son," by and large the commercials themselves are kinda cute.

There's one where a mom's making her little girl a lion costume, and the clueless dad comes home and tells her she's a good little pony. There's one where a dad and his little girl are just dancing in the living room to teenybopper music, and one where a dad and his little boy are out in the yard beating each other up with Nerf bats, and one really good one where a dad's on the couch asleep, snoring away, and his little boy is just content to sit there and watch.

But then there's the newest one.

It starts with a man in the drug store, going up and down the aisles. He picks up a box and takes it to the counter, where we see that it's a box of tampons. The teenage boy at the counter checks him out, and we see Dad ambling out to the car, where he presents the tampons to his pre-teen daughter, who was apparently too shy to go in and buy them herself.

For some reason this commercial makes me want to go wash my hands.

First of all, she's embarrassed to go in and buy tampons, but not embarrassed to let her dad do it and then hand them to her face to face? When I was 13 years old if I'd had my dad hand a box of Kotex to me, I'd have slit my wrists out of embarrassment! Good God. And then there's that whole "this kid's way too young to be using tampons" issue, which I guess is none of my business, though I do think young girls should pay their dues by wearing pads for a certain amount of time before appreciating the convenience of a tampon. Call me, well, I guess after that remark you'd be justified in calling me crazy.

(Which, btw, why is it on tampon commercials the women always dress completely in white? Have you ever been compelled to wear a completely white outfit, in the middle of winter, in the middle of the city, whilst on your period? The latest of these, for Pearl Tampons [oh, how you've sunk Pearl, from your "She's a Pearl girl" song to this ], features the girl in white, who hasn't bled through onto her skirt, but has gotten the top of her skirt caught in her panties, telling a man his "barn door's open." Tasteful. Wonder what the euphemism for having a big period spot on your white skirt would be? "Hey - psssst - Flag of Japan.")

I wonder, though, if this YHMTBNBAMAFRI Coalition are the same people who put out the "pro-dad" spot a while back with the Godzillas? Remember that one? Godzilla and his little boy Binky (actually, I made that up, I don't know what Godzilla's son's name is) are out together, playing, romping, and blowing smoke rings from their noses. And the theme to the TV show "The Courtship of Eddie's Father" is playing in the background. Now that was a cute commercial.

And then there's the commercial for Hydroxycut. That's the weight loss product that made a couple lose 40 pounds each. To be honest, I have no idea why this commercial stays with me, it's not nearly as bad as most weight-loss commercials out there. But it features a conservatively flabby couple, in matching yellow bathing suits, walking along. He's in yellow trunks, she's in a yellow bikini. Then they show the same couple (or so they're telling us) after Hydroxycut. They're all skinny and cut now - but they're wearing the same bathing suits! If you lost 40 pounds, wouldn't you at least treat yourself to a new bathing suit? Wouldn't your old one be sag-assing? Well, maybe not, I remember when I first started losing I wore the same clothes forever and ever.

And then there's Ensure, the "meal replacement drink" that's one step away from being fed intravenously. There's a woman who - and yes, she's going to hell for this - eats a donut. We know she's going to hell for it because of the guilt it causes her, and she hides while eating it. Then she heads out to her car and pops a bottle of Ensure, to cleanse her soul and get her right with The Lord again. At this point the voiceover comes on to tell us that Ensure contains many vitamins, minerals, and "food energy." What a sad place this world is when you can't say your product contains carbs.

Having your dad buy you tampons. Ewwwwwwww.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Acrowinners this week: First of all, I was so disappointed that no one used the LK in the letters to tell us of the amazing educatedness of Leo Kottke.
Honorable Mention: Flipsycab, with Larry King: talks egregiously on absurdities.
Runner-up: Venice, with Love Kundera, Tolstoy, Einstein? Onanist alert!
Winner: LilyG, with Little kids taunt eggheads. Onerous asshats. (Which truly is the big disadvantage, I'd guess.)
Special "The Whole Package" Award goes to DeepFatFriar for his funny threesome as well.
* OK, back to TV. I'm starting to really get excited about "The Amazing Race." Tonight was particularly good.

Monday, January 24, 2005


Hello, acroers and acroees. And acroites and acroettes. And welcome to another scintillating installment of Acromania.

This week's topic came to me this very frozen morning whilst I was still in the unwarmth of my bed. (I hate waking up and not being warm.) Sometime last night, before the timer on my TV went off and after I'd drifted into what I call The Twilight Zone - not really asleep, but not really awake - I could have sworn I heard the weirdest thing on CNN. I'll swear it sounded like I heard some talking head introduced as "the overeducated lawyer." Now, it may have been my hazy brain playing tricks on me, but I remember thinking at the time it was odd, and it stayed with me enough that I woke up thinking the same thing.

So this week's acrotopic is "The Disadvantages of Being Overeducated."

You know the drill, I'm supposing. Everyone gets three entries to come up with the best acronym possible that fits the above topic and matches the letters below, randomly drawn from an increasingly happy acrobasket. (Acrobasket likes feeling useful; he's like my mom.) Then tomorrow night, let's make it around 10pmish est, since "American Idol" has started again (though judging from last week, it's going to not even be fun in a "God, can you believe this crap" kind of way), I'll be judging for winners, which I'll print here.

The topic is "The Disadvantages of Being Overeducated." The letters:


There you go. Now put your learned minds to the test.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* You'll love this: Tonight, along with my crabcake, for dinner I'm fixing - spinach! Not only because I have a taste for it, and it's good for the eyes (or so my optometrist says), but I'm going to use it as a bed to rest my crabcake on! Just like in the recipe cards! Can vacuuming in pearls be far behind?
* I'm just becoming addicted to the BBC America show "Bargain Hunt." I've always liked it, but lately I can't seem to get enough. I wish I had late lunch every day so I could watch it.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Picture Sunday

Yep, I told you there wouldn't be one, and there isn't much of one, but how could I disappoint my throngs of readers with no Picture Sunday?

As I mentioned earlier, this was our annual TheCompanyIWorkFor girls' weekend. We've been doing these for several years now, where we all go away for a weekend and basically shop and eat. In the past, the shopping part hasn't been all that great, as I wasn't much of a shopper. News is, I'm still not much of a shopper, but the long days pounding the pavement weren't nearly as exhausting as it's been in years past.

The first day was The Mall. It was fairly boring, as malls are fairly boring, and I ended up buying almost nothing. A few nail items, a lip exfoliator, and a couple of bracelets (more about that later). Then today we hit Kohl's and Target, where my money flew away like I was in a wind tunnel. Got 3 pairs of trousers, a shirt, a light jacket, socks, a couple of pocketbooks, a hairbrush (for those times when I want to de-curl), and a few small other things.

Picture number one, and an explanation about the bracelet.

This is a snippet of a picture that appeared in a Picture Sunday some time back. It featured my favorite bracelet, the one my mom bought me. Well, at dinner Friday night, wouldn't you know it - I lost my bracelet! There was a point in the proceedings where I heard something drop to the floor, but there were crayons on the table we were all drawing with, and I just figured it was a crayon and didn't give it a second thought. When I got back to the hotel, though, blammo - no bracelet. I called the restaurant that night, and they hadn't found it, and I went there in person the next day to ask, and even look around our table, but to no avail. Gone, in a puff of smoke. I was heartbroken. Still am, to a point.

On Saturday, I bought a couple of bracelets, one on a sale rack I liked, and this one, which was more expensive than my original bracelet, but still not as cute. But I got it as a kind of colorful replacement.

So, I drank martinis all weekend - well, not all weekend, just at dinner - and found myself flirting with various and sundry waiters. Ron wasn't catching on in the least, and since he was at the restaurant where I lost my bracelet, I accused him the rest of the weekend of taking it. In fact, I'd say he's wearing it as we speak. Tom, the second night, was much nicer, and I'm sure he'd never take a girl's dropped bracelet and keep it as his own. My co-workers seemed to be morbidly embarrassed by all this and spent a great deal of time rolling their eyes, to which I say, "Lighten up. Geez." Like either of these guys will ever see me again.

Now, a funny thing happened while we were gone. The Big Snowstorm of the East came through. There was no snow in Winston-Salem, but Saturday morning there was a fair amount of ice on sidewalks and in parking lots. You'd have thought a blizzard had come through town. We were watching TV - everything was canceled. Every church in North Carolina canceled their services, well, except the one who held theirs on a five-hour delay. Listen, if I have to wait five hours to go to church, you can just forget it. I mean, football's already started by then. I thought it was a little odd that a church where you go in and dance around with rattlesnakes would cancel services because of a little ice. Oh, they of little faith.

It was sunny all the way home, till we got back to B'field. Then there was snow and ice in earnest. It didn't look like that much till I went outside to snap a few pictures. Then I realized the snow was up at my calf, which I came back in and measured and it came to about 7 ½ inches. Here's the front of the Poderosa, snowed in...

...and the backyard of the Poderosa, snowed in.

But now I'm home and warm and relatively dry. (My feet are still a little wet from my foray outside, but they're by the space heater here, so they'll be toasty in no time.)

And now for this week's recipe du jour. You're here on a good day. We're starting a new series! Ladies and gentlemen, a little applause please, Series 6! And it's a pretty good series. And believe me, it excites me to no end to introduce the first of Series 6 to you, with that Stalwart of the Chinese Buffet - Egg Foo Yung!

OK. Now, first of all, they spell it wrong. Well, I think they do. I've always spelled it "yung" and though it appears as "yong" in a few places on the 'net, "yungs" outnumber "yongs" by a wide margin. Also, I'm always right, so that ends the argument.

Also, Egg Foo Yung plays into the first joke that Mr M ever told me. In person, anyway. We were in the Indian restaurant, and he actually said to me, "How do you make Egg Foo Yung? You take a young egg and you foo it." Apparently that one was really big for him in the 2nd grade or so.

As Foos go, this one doesn't look that bad - let's go to the card. OK, fresh spinach, that's so you can lay your Egg Foo Yung on it and make it look special (how come they don't just whap something down on a plate like we do in real life?), cashew vegetable salad, and mandarin sherbet (which, being the hick I am, I pronounce "sherbert"). It's a regular Chinese festival!

Happy week, all.

Betland's Olympic Update:

*Sadly, Johnny Carson has died. There was a time I watched Johnny avidly, and a time where I found his show exceedingly stale. But I guess that goes with all shows. One thing I must say though, I not only admired Johnny for what he did in his career, but for what he did after it. He wanted to retire, he retired, then he stayed the hell out of the public eye. There aren't many in the business of show who do that, they can't give up the attention. Johnny always said he wanted "I'll Be Right Back" on his tombstone - wonder if that'll happen. Bye, Johnny.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

The Coronation

Well, yesterday began the arduous task that is putting a crown on my tooth. As you'll recall, I alluded to this last month or so in another blog.

It wasn't really as bad as I was expecting, but it was an odd thing. I arrived bright and early at Dr Guts's office - it was snowing, it was cold. I went inside to find that if there hadn't been a roof over the building it could have been snowing inside. It was that cold in the damn place.

I waited my requisite 15 minutes or so and was called inside, thinking, well, at least it has to be warmer in the Tooth Rooms, away from the door. Wrong. I swear it was no more than 50 degrees in that place. I sat for most of my 2 1/2 hours there in the "cold position," meaning, I slipped my arms out of my sleeves and held them against my naked flesh. (This is a common position for me, and I've gotten to not be the least embarrassed about assuming it. I spent a goodly portion of the TheCompanyIWorkFor meeting Tuesday sitting the same way.)

After the necessary molds were made of my teeth (that's not nearly as nasty as it used to be), Dr Guts came in and administered The Needle. Once again, as with my recently filled tooth, one shot wasn't enough. I sat and waited, and when he came back my lip wasn't "feeling big" as he asks it to be - it was only "tingly." So, one more shot, and another nice (albeit cold) wait, and then he was back to start the task.

I really like Dr Guts. But there's one thing about him. He just looks so nebbishy, all skinny, with pointy face, straight hair, and glasses. (The skinny comes from being a triathlete, so I guess he's not nearly as nebbishy as I imagine.) However, with that quiet look, when he says something funny, I just tend to lose it. It happened last time when he exclaimed in seeing my hands whilst drilling, "Boy, you've really got the death grip there!"

Well, yesterday, when he came back in and checked to make sure I was numb enough, and I was, he sat down, rared my chair back, and said, "And here we go - the world's first chicken to human brain transplant!" That, plus the uncontrollable shivers, put me in complete Giggle Mode.

I should have known it was going to be an interesting experience when the assistant gave me glasses to put on. Big clear glasses like they wear on PBS woodworking shows. And I understand why. Once the procedure began, there were the most interesting things flying from my mouth - water, bits of tooth, it looked like a regular Fourth of July celebration. And every time stuff would fly up, well, I'd giggle.

Another problem I had was my pants. I have these dark gray pants that I really like, but they're not really dentist-worthy. They're more for sitting with your feet on the floor. They kept riding up, showing the piece of calf between the hem and the top of my socks. I spent the whole time while I was numbing reaching down and pulling them back taut to my shoes, an interesting sight seeing as how my arms were not in their sleeves, but under my shirt. But once the fireworks began, I had to use my feet to try and push them back down every time they rode up. Which gave the impression that I was squirming, although Dr Guts was nice enough not to say anything about it. Maybe the occasional sight of my naked calves clued him into what I was doing. I wonder what he thought of my empty sleeve hanging down about his knees while he was working.

After the drilling and biting and fitting and suctioning was done and it was just the assistant and myself left, she gave me a cup of water to rinse with. So I took the cup in my left hand, which was, remember, still under my shirt, and rinsed. And spat. And here is my confession - there may be a few small things I do well, but spitting is not one of them. And yesterday was no exception. I spat, and of course the water went halfway into the bowl and halfway onto my dental bib. That's when I broke down and came clean, and admitted that when I come to the dentist I just lose all sense of grace. It was a breakthrough worthy of the psychiatrist's couch, upon which my pants would also ride up were I lying prone as I was in the dentist's chair. "I laugh, I squirm, I don't numb, and I just can't spit," I confessed. The assistant started to laugh. (There was also a fair amount of blood in the rinsing bowl, which after all that folderol with the drill, I still wasn't much expecting.)

Then the assistant did something completely new for me. She washed my face. Well, she took a damp cloth and wiped it off, for I had tooth and red clay and yellow clay and God knows what else on it. I thought that was quite a nice and caring touch.

And so I paid my $300 at the desk (the next $300 comes with the real coronation, the crowning, on the 31st), and was on my way. It was still cold outside, but oddly driving isn't one of the things I do in the "cold position." Just as my car got warm enough to thaw out my feet, I was back at the office. Damn.

I didn't get any feeling back in my face till about 3pm. Then at 5, it was time to jump in the car and head to - band. That was interesting. A woodwind sectional at 7, then practice in earnest at 7:30. About 40 minutes into things, my lips were totally shot. I was blowing and flutzing and pbbbbting and everything else.

Oh, and the high school where we practice? It was freezing. Luckily, playing clarinet is another thing I don't do in the "cold position."

Betland's Olympic Update:
* At the first of the year, our little office at TheCompanyIWorkFor started a new practice. Each girl has to call five people a week in our client base - and simply thank them for choosing TheCompanyIWorkFor and tell them how much we appreciate them and their business. I find this a kind of neat thing to do, and I'd certainly like it if someone did it to me. So why is it so hard for me to call people? I try to call people I know will be easy to talk to, but I just agonize when it's time to call. From here on out I think instead of targeting nice people I know, I'm going to target people I know won't be home and have an answering machine.
* Tomorrow begins the annual Girls Weekend at work, the one weekend a year the boss takes us out of town to a nice hotel and buys us drinks and meals and we shop, goof off, giggle, and generally have a good time. So I won't be around for the weekend, and I seriously doubt there will be a Picture Sunday, either. Which, speaking of, I got a new set of recipe cards! I got Series 5 of the set, which contains one recipe that looks positively X-rated.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Thank You For Your Support

So, I spent all damn day today at a TheCompanyIWorkFor business meeting. I wasn't supposed to be there.

The new rule in '05 was that there's one meeting a month, 3 staff people in our office, and we rotate who goes (it should tell you something about these weaselfests that people would rather actually go to work than get a day off to go to a meeting). My first one was scheduled for March, but Miss January's car is out of comission, so I was elected to be The New Miss January.

I had to get up before dawn to get ready in time to leave for the almost 90 minute trip. I was powered by a strong jumbo cup of coffee, and made it in time, even if a little dizzy upon arrival.

It was boring. To say this meeting was boring was an insult to everything boring on earth. We didn't even get a good lunch out of it, just turkey sandwiches, which I dissected, rolled the turkey up, and at it like a little taco.

However, I did get a little something done during the meeting. It was a three-pen day.

I was feeling brickish.

Upon dismissal from the boredom that was the meeting, I decided to take the long way home and go to Fort C, where my sister had told me there was a bigass Merrell sale on. She was right. I got two pairs for $100, so I felt that was definitely worth 45 miles out of my way.

Finally got home and - oh, wait. You guys want acrowinners, don't you?

Well, acrowinners you shall have. And how heartening to find 7 enterers this week (Kellie couldn't connect via comments, so she sent me an e-mail).

The letters were I V A W M. The topic, "Acro! Man! Where ya been?" And here are the winners of the week:

* Honorable Mention: Michelle, with "I Vapidly Acroed With Men."
* First Runner-Up: Venice, with "I Voted. Assholes Won. Merde!"
* Winner: DeepFatFriar, with "In Vietnam, Avoiding Waves, Man."

Wonderful entries from everyone, and thanks for playing again. I mean that.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Current Music Match playlist? "Get Right With God," Lucinda Williams, "San Antonio Girl," Lyle Lovett, "Sweet Little Blossom of Mine," Henry Phillips, "The Biggest Ball of Twine In Minnesota," Weird Al, "The Galaxy Song," Monty Python, "All Right Now," Free, "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap," AC/DC, "You Shook Me All Night Long," AC/DC

Monday, January 17, 2005

(The New and Probably Not Improved) Acrochallenge!

Well, well, well. Well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well. Guess who's back on our doorstep. If it isn't the old Acromania.

For those who may have forgotten, here's what we're doing. Everyone gets three entries each to come up with the best acronym they can that matches the topic for the week and also matches the letters below, which are randomly drawn from a very lonely and dusty acrobasket. I shall announce the winners at 9pmish est tomorrow night, and they'll appear, probably in the Olympic Update, unless I get energetic and list all the entries and that. But I don't see that happening.

So here is this week's topic - "Acro! Man! Where ya been?" And this week's letters:


Fortuitous first letter. Everyone get acroing!

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Post-wreck medical. Decided to take my blood pressure last night after the wreck. Blood pressure was a happy 110 over 76. Pulse? 96. Ouch!
* Hot off the press! A new clarinet quartet sample! The same disclaimer, this one's from a practice, so it's recorded on a computer with a plain ol' mic, and you'll probably hear a squeak or wrong note or two. But this one's fun, I really like this song. "Fantasia on a Very Familiar Theme." (by the way, if it doesn't play - I only had Music Match or Windows Media to choose from - let me know.)

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Picture Sunday

OK, first things first, right off the bat.

It's snowing here in B'field. Proof? I wrecked on the way home!

Now, before you all start wringing your hands, there was no damage. To the podmobile nor my person. Unless you count a broken nail as injury, which I do.

It was on the off-ramp of 460 just as you're going in to B'field. It's down a long hill, and the car in front of me started sliding, into about a 180, and landed in the right ditch with its nose out in the road. I dodged him OK, but in doing so, I started sliding. I did around a 320, and landed in the left ditch. I missed a sign by about 1/4 inch.

I got out to see if the people in the other car were OK, but they never got out of the car, and rather than stand there waiting to be hit by the next car down the ramp, I got back into my car and started out.

Wow, it was something, though. After I'd done my 180, I just closed my eyes and braced myself the rest of the way. But I landed without even much of a jar. It was damn scary though, and when I got home I had a serious pee. I'm one lucky mofo, is all I can say at this moment.

You know, when I'm at Mr M's, which is virtually every weekend, there's one activity we enjoy together. No, it's not that, get your minds out of the gutter. It's the midnight showing of "The Antiques Roadshow" on PBS.

We have something of a happy ritual. We watch the people come on with their items and listen to the appraisal. (Like the man last night that had the biguglyass stoneware pot.) Then when the estimated price is announced ($65,000 - $80,000 in the case of the pot), we yell out loud, "SOLD!" Simple pleasures, but pleasures nonetheless.

I've often wondered about the Roadshow. If it came locally, what could I bring? What could I find upon my person that would make me a millionaire, never to have to labor again? I know not.

But I gathered up a few things, and I'm going to take them when the Roadshow comes to Betland. So if you will, may I introduce:

Picture Sunday - The Antiques Roadshow Edition!

ARG (Antiques Roadshow Guy): So, what can you tell me about this item?
ME: Well, it's a pillow in the shape of the Big Boy.
ARG: And how did you acquire it?
ME: My sister bought it for me at a yard sale for 25 cents, because she thought it was funny.
ARG: Hmmm. Funny. Well, you're right, this is indeed a pillow in the shape of the Big Boy. I don't know about funny, though. These were popular once, for about five minutes. It's got some wear on it, it's not particularly clean.
ME: Well, it was in a yard sale....
ARG: It's not a bad representation. Say she paid a quarter for it?
ME: Yup.
ARG: Well, if I had this in my shop today, I'd probably sell it for around 25 cents.
ME: Oh, OK. Thank you.

(*Brrrrg!* Big Boy Pillow - 25 cents)

ARG: Yes ma'am, could you tell me about these?
ME: Sure, they're my pink cordial glasses.
ARG: Mmm-hmmm....
ME: I bought them about 20 years ago from a friend of mine who owned an antique store. He sold me a set of 8 for $50, which back then for me was a lot of money.
ARG: I see. A lot of money. And you have all 8 still?
ME: Yes, I sure do.
ARG: Well, cordial glasses aren't quite what they used to be. But they're still quite nice, in good condition. Do you know anything else about them?
ME: Not really. The dealer was a nice man. He lived with his mother and used to drive Mrs Brown back and forth to Florida every year.
ARG: I see. Well, if I were to put a conservative estimate on these, I'd estimate them to be around $10.
ME (feigning interest): Really? Ten dollars?
ARG: Ten. Maybe five.

(*Brrrrg!* Pink Cordial Glasses - $10. Maybe five)

ARG: So what's the story here?
ME: Well, my friend Tina from England brought me this the very first time she visited me.
ARG: Wow!
ME: Wow? Like, "Wow as in, great?"
ARG: More like "Wow as in, she's pretty damn ugly."
ME: Well, she was never my cup of tea either, but I don't know about these things.
ARG: Heh, no kiddin'.
ME: She brought me a pair. A boy and a girl.
ARG: You know, the way you have her sittin' there, she's kinda got a Sharon Stone in "Basic Instinct" thing goin' on....
ME: Well, I can't help that. Her legs automatically spread when she sits down.
ARG: Well, not knowing much about her, and if I were to give you an estimate based on what you should insure her for, I could give you a round figure of five cents.
ME: Even for the pair?
ARG: Well, if you have the pair, and I'm hearing you say you do, that ups the ante a bit. I'd say maybe seven.
ME: Thanks, sir.

(*Brrrrg!* Dolls from England - seven cents for pair)

ARG: Now, what can you tell me about this little fella?

ME: Well, this little fella I call Pepe. My friend from Belgium, Marie-Noelle, brought him to me back in 1979 when she was an exchange student and stayed with my family.

ARG: OK. Well, I can tell you his name's not Pepe.

ME: So you know him?

ARG: No, but I damn sure know his name's not Pepe.

ME: Oh.

ARG: I also know that if he's from Belgium, he's an idiot, because he's wearing wooden shoes. The last I heard, Belgians don't wear wooden shoes.

ME: I'd wondered about that myself.

ARG: Were you wondering about a price on him?

ME: Well, kinda, yeah.

ARG: I think at auction today, this little guy might bring you - is he part of a pair?

ME: Not that I know of. If there is, I don't have her.

ARG: Five cents, then.

(*Brrrrg!* Not Pepe - five cents)

(Why was this part double-spaced? Ask Blogger, not me.)

ARG: Ahhh, I see we have some autographs here. What can you tell me about this item?
ME: Well, I got this in 1989 in Washington, DC. I was invited to a reception that the band REM gave for then-Senator Wyche Fowler at the Botanical Gardens. It was a really fun event, and my cousin Jacob and I ended up getting our programs signed by the band members. All the band members, even the reclusive Michael Stipe.
ARG: I see. All the band members, huh.
ME: Yep, all. Especially Michael Stipe, see? (pointing)
ARG: Well, you're saying all, but I see something here. Aren't there four members of REM?
ME: Yes.
ARG: So how come I'm seeing five autographs?
ME: Well, we also got the autograph of guitarist Peter Holsapple. You know Peter - guitarist for the band the dBs - he was touring with REM at the time. Nice guy. He signed too.
ARG: Weeellllll, see, we have a little problem there. He's not really a member of the band, now, is he?
ME: Well....
ARG: Is he???
ME: Well, no.
ARG: That detracts from the value, I'm afraid.
ME: So you're telling me I have too many autographs.
ARG: That's about the size of it, yeah. And this Michael Stipe autograph you're so fond of - you know, it just says "Michael." That could be Michael Smith, or Michael Jakeleg. It could be Michael Anybody.
ME: Well, that's how he was signing that night. It's Michael Stipe, believe me.
ARG: So you say.
ME: It's Michael Fucking Stipe!
ARG: OK, OK. Don't shoot the messenger here. So, how much did you pay for this baby?
ME: Well, nothing. Hmm. Technically nothing. I did have to pay $100 for my ticket to the reception.
ARG: Well, in perfect condition, which would mean only the four band members and Michael SoCalled-Stipe's last name attached, this might go for, and I'm being conservative here, around $50.
ME: And without "Stipe," and an extra member?
ARG: Well, I'd say, and I'm being conservative here, about $7.50. You paid $100 to get this? Well, I hope you had a good time, at least.
ME: Well, I did. So nanny nanny poo-poo, you psycho¹.
ARG: Well, let's not get ugly about it.

ARG: Oh, my. What do we have here?
ME: Well, this is what I call the recipe du jour. It's Sweet and Sour Chicken Wings.
ARG: Can you tell me anything about it?
ME: Well, it's particularly disgusting-looking. I know it's got a lot of sugary crap in it, and it's got kumquats thrown all around it.
ARG: Well, you seem to be right about that. What I can tell you it that it's a recipe circa 1974, and it's not a good one at that. This would have been served to a truly ungrateful family, who would have been lining up for the bicarbonate of soda shortly after. Do you have any idea as to a value on this?
ME: Well, as far as I'm concerned, there is none.
ARG: Well, you're quite astute. This is a value-free dish.

(*Brrrrg!* Sweet and Sour Chicken Wings - fraud - no value)

¹ LilyG, circa 2002

Betland's Olympic Update:
* So, is USC's band still the coolest college band in the nation? I always used to think they were. Now, I do like VT's Marching Virginians immensely, but after watching the National Championship a couple of weeks ago, I'm voting USC still has it. I mean, they're still playing "All Right Now," by Free. That alone puts them right up there. Add "Captain From Castille" to it, along with being on a real-live rock album once, and I think they still hold the top spot.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Told You

I am nerdier than 24% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Poor Boo Boo

At TheCompanyIWorkFor, we pretty much try to like everybody. And believe me it's hard, and also believe me, sometimes we don't succeed. But by and large we have a pretty nice bunch of clients, even the ones who tend to be pains in the asses occasionally.

But then we have our really good people. Our gems.

We have S, the pizza delivery boy working his way through college. We've known S (not Sherman, btw), since he was in high school, and his grin alone just lights up the whole office. We all kind of feel like we're his mothers in the office, like we've brought him up.

On the other hand, we have Boots. Boots is 84 years old, and walks in from time to time (when his wife lets him out) and sits in the office telling us bawdy jokes and World War II stories. It's funny, those jokes would offend if told to us by anyone other than an 84-year old man. We all feel like he's our surrogate grandpa. Who tells bawdy jokes.

But I make no bones about saying there's no one I like see swinging the door to TheCompanyIWorkFor open any more than Q. Q is a bundle of laughs, and there's no one on earth who can tell a story like he can.

Here's a little background on Q. This is a man who married young, had two kids right off the bat, and worked his way into a nice comfy lifestyle. Then when his kids were around 17 and 18 - he and his wife decided to start all over again. They had a little girl, then followed her with a little boy. Now, is that courageous or not?

So we get to hear stories of his kids, the 1st daughter's newly engaged, and the 1st son's newly out of college and joining the work force. The son's something of a free spirit. Money means nothing to him. And I mean this in the best sense of the word. The boy once made a trip to New York City for the weekend with $4 in his pocket. After graduation he took a trip across country. I'm assuming he had more cash that time, hopefully at least $20. The greatest joy of his life so far was finding a pair of shoes in a thrift shop recently exactly like (except with less wear) the pair he'd been wearing since high school.

But mainly Q will regale us with things he's heard, or read, or stories from The County. The County being a particular county in the area, on the West Virginia side, known for its, um, "different" way of life. ("Different:" Read - "Redneck.") He is totally justified in telling us these stories, because he's actually from The County - he knows of where he speaks. I'd try to repeat some of these, but I promise you, in print, and especially from someone other than Q, a lot would be lost in the translation.

He brought us one day an article from a County newspaper that he just had to read to us. It was about a local woman who'd been put into a state jobs program. A quote from the woman stated something like, "I'm so excited to be chosen to train for a job, because it means now I can finally get my teeth fixed." The story went on a ways, then ended with the narrative, "Miss So-and-so, known to her friends as 'Bucky,' will join the training program next month."

The last time he was by, he brought us something else. Now, I have tell you right up front that it's an obituary, so if you find nothing to laugh about in an obituary you might want to exit now. I personally do, because, well, they can be funny, especially in this area of the world. In fact, my folks and I have a running obituary joke. It's about pictures (yep, in our little burg you can have your picture right there beside your write-up, I know they don't do that in big towns).

When turning to the obits in our local, the Daily Tellalie, you'll invariably see a write-up with a picture beside it. The person may be 92 years old - and in the picture he's 25! That drives me crazy! I always wonder, is this the only picture they could find? Do they want to print that one so all his now-dead friends from 70 years ago will know who they're talking about? Were they just proud of his at-the-time shining jet black hair?

And so I'm always telling my parents that if I'd happen to go first I've left orders with everyone who knows me to not let them print my high school graduation picture by my obituary.

Then we also have the obituaries that are big on The Lord. "So and so passed through the pearly gates on Thursday and went to be with his Lord Saviour Jesus Christ in the Kingdom of Heaven, third cloud along on the left." Just once I want to see, "Mr X died Thursday at his home. Stoke up the fire, Satan, he's on his way!"

Anyway, Q brought us this obituary, and I'm going to print an excerpt of it here. Now - first of all, I'm probably violating copyright laws by doing it, but the copy I have's not very clear so I can't scan it. Anyway, I'm willing to bet that no one involved reads this blog, especially Boo Boo. Also, I'm leaving out real names. Well, people's names. Second, the reason I'm abbreviating the write-up is because the damn thing's two pages long. I mean, I'm happy the man had a nice full life, but really. I counted. It lists 24 different things he was in. It actually says, after all the clubs and fire departments and task forces and churches he was in, and I quote, "He loved woodworking, traveling, collecting eagles, and playing Santa Claus at Christmas time." Oh, that's nice. Open that one up and show it to little Timmy: "Hey Timmy, looky! Santa Claus died!"

So anyway, read on, if you dare.

Survivors: wife, A, of A Town; son, B and his wife C of A Town; brothers, D and his wife E of Another Town, F and his wife G of Yet Another Town; mother and father in law, H and I, of That Last Town, dear friend, J, of One More Town; his cats: Sassie, Midnight, Missy, Mister Moo, Baby Cakes, Boo Boo Kitty, Thomas P Catt, Molly, Pumpkin, Abbey, and Weebles; two grandkitties, Creamsicle and Butterscotch, and dog, Maggie May. Several neices, nephews, cousins, uncles, aunts, and friends also survive him.

He was preceeded in death by his grandparents, L and M and N and O, and his cat Auggie.

I love it: "Several neices, nephews, cousins, uncles, aunts, and friends, who we can't name because we spent all our money on space to name the kitties."

Now, don't get me wrong here. In the last couple of years I've grown quite fond of those of the kitty persuasion, whereas I used to not be so keen. But 12 cats? There has to be a stopping point somewhere. He may have succumbed to the overwhelming smell of cat pee.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* You know, I've tried give a lot of leeway to Prince Harry, because he smokes and drinks and smokes pot and if I was in that family I would too. But in his latest escapade, he was photographed at a costume party wearing a Nazi uniform. Now, at what point exactly in getting ready for the shindig and donning this outfit did he look at himself and say, "Yep, this is the look I'm going for?" I mean, any old Joe deserves a (pardon the pun) royal ass-kicking for showing up at a party as a Nazi. But someone as famous as The Prince? Did he honestly think people wouldn't notice?

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

It's Just Not Natural

Yes, I'm a pod, and a hinky one at that.

I do well, though, as a rule, I can live on my own and pay bills and do the grocery shopping and they let me have a drivers' license and everything. But I still have my trademark pod behavior.

I have these fears. I have these unnatural fears.

I also have what I deem to be "natural" fears, like flying, dying, North Korea, another four years under W. Floods, earthquakes, not having enough money, ending up old and alone, and splitting my pants in public.

But what follows are the unnatural ones. The ones that if I'd really take some time and think them out, don't have a lot of concrete basis.

And so, Welcome To My World (I think this classifies as an E-ticket ride as well).

Bet's List of Unnatural Fears

* Brain Tumors: This one started when I was about 20. Everything that went wrong with me I was sure was being caused by a brain tumor. I've often tried to decide if this fear has a basis (around that time, a prominent local doctor and his baby son both died of one), but even if it does, it's been around way too long and I've dwelt upon it way too much. Oddly enough, one of the best moves Mr M ever made was to diagnose my roving brain tumor, and blame it on every ache and pain I have. His medical theory is that the brain tumor causes all the ailments, but the brain tumor won't kill me. Don't ask me why it works for me, for I do not know. However, I do still have an unnatural fear of a real, non-roving brain tumor.

* Sitting In Front of a Picture Window And Having Someone Randomly Shoot a Gun, Thus Hitting Me in the Skull: Not much explanation needed on this one. I just see myself, sitting in the chair having a drink, and then suddenly I drop the drink and wonder, "Why am I not holding onto my drink?" Then, blammo, I'm in the floor dead. Which is a shame really, as it doesn't even give me time to quote Prince Albert's famous line, "Fuck it, I've taken a bullet."

* Being Saturated with Poisonous Radiation From Watching Too Much Television: See "Brain Tumors."

* Having a Pet: But I work all day! But my backyard isn't fenced in! But I'm gone a couple of nights a week! But I might not be a good enough mommy! But it might die!

* My Stove Magically Turning On For No Reason and Burning My Kitchen To Smithereens: This might come in first, even over being shot by a random bullet through a picture window, in unnaturality. I generally have burnable things near my stove - potholders and oven mitts, paper recipes in a cardboard box. And every time I either leave the house or make my way to bed, I have to make sure anything I deem burnable is moved away from the eyes of my stove (this includes the odd clothespin which seems to always find a way to my kitchen), just in case by some electrical surge or freak of nature, my stove should suddenly pop on and burn all my stuff up.

* People Pulling Out Into the Right Side of My Car at an Intersection: Now, I try not to think of this as very unnatural, because it actually happened to me once. However, it happened to me 22 years ago, with minimal damage to my car and no damage to my person, so you think I'd be over it by now. But every once in a while, I'll see a car coming to me from the right, and I'll flinch. Big-time.

* Being In A Convenience Store Late At Night While It's Being Robbed: Every time I enter a convenience store late at night, this runs through my mind. Can I get in and pay for my gas or my Tom's Hot Fries before someone comes in and blows my brains out? Or worse, robs me of my Tom's Hot Fries? There's really only one convenience store this doesn't apply to, and that's the one on Glade Rd on the way to Mr M's. It's such a cozy and friendly place, I feel safe there. I can't imagine anyone would hurt those people. Then again, the element of surprise....

* Gas Being Sucked Into My Exhaust Pipe and Making My Car Blow Up: Once years ago I was filling up with gas and the pump didn't automatically turn off. Gas spurted everywhere, on my boots, on the bottom of my pants, all along the side of my car. I was scared to death of starting my vehicle. Never mind that the exhaust pipe is on the opposite side from the gas tank. I've just heard since I was a kid about your exhaust sucking up gasoline and making your car blow up. Now twice, yes, twice, in the past month I've had gas overflow when filling up the tank. I'm almost afraid to start the podmobile at any time. And as far as throwing a cigarette butt out the window? Well, I do it, with trepidation, because my window's also on the other side from the gas tank, but I cringe. PS: See below.

* Running Over a Lit Cigarette Butt Thrown From Someone Else's Window And Having My Car Blow Up: Frankly, I’m surprised this doesn’t happen more often.

So, there you have it. Just a random selection of the thoughts floating around in la cabeza de Bet. As my friend San once told me, "I've walked barefoot through your mind. It's a scary place."

Betland's Olympic Update:
* We're beginning trial Acros next week - tell your friends and neighbors. I'll start out as judge for a while, just to see if we get enough people playing to try the rotating judge idea. Then on Tuesday, I'll announce the winners and also-rans in this very Olympic Update.
* Apparently, I'm also afraid of making people unhappy by killing Acro.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Pictureless Sunday

Well, loyal readers, I seem to have done it again.

Here it is Sunday, and I have nary a single, solitary picture for you.

I took my camera with me to B'burg. I had some ideas. I was going to take pictures around the town, to the normal weekend haunts, the video store, Kroger, the place where I fill up with gas, maybe a few from town. Well, that was just boring.

Then I got the idea to take pictures of people's feet. My feet, Mr M's feet, the other two quartetters' feet, the video store clerk's feet. Well, that was just dumb.

And so, on the way home, pictureless, I got the idea to just go through some of my snapshots from the days of yore and post a Pictures Archive kind of a thing. But I got started watching what turned out to be a dog of a movie, and that didn't get done either. And so here I am, still pictureless.

Movies, movies, movies. I'm five movies into 2005 and haven't seen a memorable one yet. Sure, "Kitchen Stories" was cute enough to get 3 1/2 stars, but didn't knock my socks off, or even get them down past my ankles. Since then, it's been one stinkrag after another.

I had no intentions of renting "The Life of David Gale." I picked up the box that was behind the Late Night with Conan O'Brien's "Triumph the Insult Comic Dog" dvd, thinking, of course, I'd be watching something good. For me to poop on. When I got to B'burg last week, Mr M asked me, "What's this 'Life of David Gale' movie?" Huh? Well, we watched it, and it stunk.

But then there's stunk, and there's reeked. This weekend we got a French movie called "Le Fils" (the son), and, well, it was so breathtakingly bad - remember in the old, old days of "Saturday Night Live" when Dan Aykroyd was Leonard Pinth-Garnell doing "Bad Cinema?" Well, this movie was just made for Leonard Pinth-Garnell. Before that we watched "McCabe and Mrs Miller," which I had no idea was directed by Robert Altman, and if I were Robert Altman I'd do my best to make sure it was expunged from my resume. I pretty much hate Warren Beatty (its star), and the songs by Leonard Cohen didn't help. Songs by Leonard Cohen seldom do. (Although I can remember as a kid in the 60s loving the song "Suzanne," and thinking the Noel Harrison version was just, well, fab.)

So, good movies, where are you?

Had quartet practice for the first time since our concert, and it was sightreading all around. Found some good music and some burners (as in, "Keep it?" "No, burn it!"). My lips were shot about an hour into things and we played about four hours. I drove back home to B'field totally numb, like a slack-jawed idiot.

Quote of the weekend? Me: "You know, if you eat a handful of pecans then drink a coffee, the coffee tastes all pecany."

And I guess it's appropriate that we only have one picture tonight, because - this picture has a story attached to it!

Back around the first of November or so, I got a random email, at my regular email address, from someone in Canada. He said he knew that I'd won an auction recently for some recipe cards, and his girlfriend was desperate for one of the recipes in that set. He offered to pay me if I'd email him the address for it.

I largely ignored this email for some time, thinking it was a hoax and if I answered goons would come to my door and beat me up. Or something. Especially since I looked through my prize cards and the recipe was not one of them. Finally, I thought I'd be nice and email the guy back and just tell him I didn't have the recipe. So I did.

Imagine my surprise when I noticed about 3 more cards of my current set under a stack of cds on my computer desk. Well, that's not a surprise, because my desk is such a shambles I wouldn't be surprised to find Jimmy Hoffa hidden under something there. But the surprise was, there, looking me in the face was the recipe the guy had asked for. I felt so bad about the whole thing I emailed him with the recipe, and not only was he grateful, I got a nice email from the girlfriend too.

It was the least I could do. I mean, if someone actually wanted the recipe to this, then they have more problems than a nice gesture from me could help them with.

And so, without further ado, here we go, with the recipe that sent goodwill to Our Friends North of Us, Maria's Meatball Soup!

OK, so I don't see Maria, but I do see two meatballs, and it is a soup. And there's some pasta in there too, but I personally can't get past that ring of onion in there that looks vaguely like a plastic ring. Nice plates though. I'd be proud to serve you another kind of soup in those plates.

But here's the best part, and Mr Guy's Girlfriend and I even shared a joke over this one. Here's the serving suggestion for the soup: meatball soup, a fresh fruit platter, and - burritos! Burritos! That Maria, she's a card.

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* You know TV has gotten boring when even I quit watching. I've been listening to music lately here at the computer instead of having the TV on. My current Music Match playlist? "Moses," by Coldplay, "Take Me Out," Franz Ferdinand, "The Scarlet Tide," Elvis Costello, "I'm a One-Woman Man," George Jones, "Come to Jesus," Mindy Smith, "All At Sea," Jamie Cullum, "Won't Be Home No More," Old 97s, "Heroin," Dandy Warhols, "Jumpin in the Morning," Ray Charles, "Maybe the Last Time," the Reeltime Travelers, "California Stars," Wilco, "The Only Living Boy in New York," Simon and Garfunkel.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Oooh, Look At Me, Playing in HTML

So. I've been toying with the idea for a couple of weeks of changing the font in Betland. Think of it as painting the Tilt-A-Whirl green instead of red. I tried the Comic Sans font and it just didn't fit at all, but this is Georgia. I kind of like it. (I guess I'm like the old Brian Jonestown Massacre right before they got arrested; all complimentary about Georgia and shit.)

Opinions, anyone? Hate this? Like it? Care for me to try something else?

Other than that, nothing much to report. Had a late night pedicure. Toe color? Red Red Rhine, part of OPI's European Collection. Susan, my beautiful pedicurist with the wonderful hands, is doing fine. She's about four months along in her pregnancy and the doctors have told her she's having a girl, but she's not taking total stock in it yet. Even though I think she wants a girl.

Oh, and to the pedicure I wore - my pajamas. As I was sitting letting my toes dry, I heard a lady getting a late-night manicure up front say, "I should have just worn my pajamas here, then I could go home and go straight to bed." I yelled, a disembodied voice, "I did!" When I walked up front, the lady started laughing, astonished that I really did wear my pajamas.

Oh, here's another idea to mull over for the weekend. I'm contemplating bringing Acromania back in 2005. Back months ago, someone (and I think it was Venice or LilyG) suggested a rotating guest voting system whereas the person who wins one week is automatically the judge the next week. That way a different winner is guaranteed each week. I'd be amenable to that if you all would.

Any other ideas? Do you like the topic acros? Do you particularly need the whole "build up" to the winners on Tuesday (with all the entries listed again), or would you be happy with the winners announced in the Olympic Update? Or should I just let Acro die a quiet death and use the acrobasket for apples?

I've also got a bid in on Ebay for a new volume of recipe cards! The picture's quite small, but I think it's a different set than any I've used so far. I should know next week if I get them, though I can't imagine anyone would want them but me.

And that's where the blog ends and the weekend starts. I just had a jumbo cup of coffee, so I'll probably be up late, which is good, as maybe I can catch an episode of "The Name's the Same." By the way, when I blogged about it, I mis-named the host. He isn't Roger Q, he's Robert Q. A thousand apologies. And guess what. The episodes of "What's My Line" I've seen of late are not sponsored by Stopette (Poof! There goes perspiration!). It's been Remington shavers. Fuck Remington shavers. I want Stopette!

Betland's Olympic Update:
* I've been spending way too much time lately trying to devise what my ideal Match Game panel would be. I have two problems: the first chair on the lower tier, and do I want Avery Schriber or Orson Bean. (See, Fannie Flagg and Patti Deutsch use the same chair.) So, if it's a perfect world and I could move one of the ladies, I guess it would be: top tier: Avery/Orson, Brett, Charles - bottom tier: Fannie, Richard, Patti. If I had to choose and put one of the "regular" first chair bottom rowers in, I guess my bottom tier would be Sarah Kennedy, Richard, and Patti. Sarah Kennedy. I don't know, I just like her. She's kicky.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

The (Band Name Generated) Clarinet Quartet

OK, so Mr L of the quartet gave me this link to the Band Name Generator. It's completely addictive, and it's come up with all kinds of great names for the quartet. No, really, some of them are pure genius, and I'd be happy to have them as our name. However, since it's not up to me alone, I thought I'd list some here and see if we can get a groundswell of support for one name or another.

Seriously bitchin'ly good names:
* Copious Benevolent (that's genius)
* Woodwind of the Balance
* Negative B-Flat
* Winds Faction
* Clarinet Outlook

Funnier ones, but I'd still be proud to have them:
* Symphony Licorice
* Woodwind Maneuver (it's not guns that kill people, it's maneuvers)
* Faithless Clarinet
* Woodwind Satire
* Clarinet Tentacle
* Four Players Fifth
* Morbid Steady
* Licorice Tofu

Still funnier ones that I'd just like to see on a Marquee:
* Conflict of the Woodwind Enemy
* Four Players of the Insecurity
* B-Flat Pod (that actually came up)
* Quartet Jello and the Midwest Flag
* Irish Woodwind of the Moody Catapult
* Clarinet Arse (Mr M is a huge fan of this one)
* Clarinet Loser (isn't that redundant?)
* Clarinet Pressed of a Different Moth
* Four Players of the Adjacent Critical
* Woodwind Father and the Nudist
* Milky Winds and the Horned Reject
* Woodwind of the Coma ("Woodwind in a coma I know, I know, it's serious")

Now, from almost the first, Mr L had suggested The _____ Clarinet Project, with something in the blank. I kind of liked the Glade Clarinet Project, since we practice on Glade Road. However, when I punch in "clarinet" and "project," well, look out:
* Fictional Clarinet Project
* Roaring Clarinet Project and the Pocket
* Clarinet Project Curse (that's appropriate)
* Personal Clarinet Project
* Motivated Clarinet Project of the Cola Qualm
* Catholic Clarinet Project
* Groovy Clarinet Project (I don't think we need go any further)
* Morbid Clarinet Project of the Exploding Gnat
* Undead Clarinet Project

Well, I could go on all day.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Well, the Hokies may have sucked wind Monday night in the Sugar Bowl (how they got out with only a 3-point loss is beyond me), but the night did have its moments of excitement for me. My buddy Drew, who's a freshman at Tech and a trainer/manager for the team, got no fewer than four national TV close-ups! Four, count them, I know you won't. Seems like every time they drifted off the action on the field I was yelling, "Drewie!"

Monday, January 03, 2005

Well, I Dug It

Today's blog is a story, a review, and a recommendation all rolled into one.

I mentioned it once on my 2004 Movie List, and once in my blog on New Year's Eve. But maybe it's time I talk more in depth about it.

It's a movie called "Dig!"

"Dig!" is a documentary that tells one hell of a story. It's the story of two rock bands. One is The Dandy Warhols and the other is The Brian Jonestown Massacre. Now, The Dandy Warhols I knew of and liked, in that way that one likes a band with a cute lead singer and a good song they know (in this case, the song "Heroin"). The Brian Jonestown Massacre I'd never heard of, but thought with a name like that they must be a force to be reckoned with.

Now, the Dandys and the Massacre start out together, trying to make their ways in the Big Bad Music World. They are all friends and comrades. Ugly, obnoxious, hedonistic comrades. I mean, these guys take drugs like they were dinner mints.

And at the center of all this is the friendship, as it were, of the bands' respective lead singers, the Dandys' Courtney and the Massacre's Anton. Courtney's a cute, loveable sort of a slug, a slacker, able to charm his way in and out of life. And he writes good songs, too.

Anton, is, however, a madman. And not even a good kind of a madman. He's a meglomaniacal, emotionally and mentally unstable wacko. He's also pretty damn near close to genius as a songwriter.

And so the bands begin their trip down life's passage into fame or oblivion. They do the talent showcases, they play clubs, they do touring in the broken down cars and vans. Eventually a record company exec or two take notice of the Dandys, and offer them a deal and their Big Break.

The Massacre, however, can't catch a break. This is because every time opportunity comes knocking at their door they either 1) have just gone out to get cigarettes, 2) are too stoned to find the door, much less answer it, or 3) go to the door and tell opportunity to take a flying fuck at a rolling donut. Oh, sure. They play the talent showcases just like the Dandys do. Only during their sets they inevitably do everything they can to screw it all to hell. "Screwing it all to hell" can mean several things, but it generally means one thing: fighting.

This band loves to fight more than a drunken football hooligan. And they don't just exchange displeasantries, they go at it. They knock each other down, throw punches, hit each other with instruments, walk offstage, and then walk back onstage so they can fight with a member they forgot to fight with before.

And of course, record company executives generally don't go in for this sort of thing. As a rule.

And so the Dandys get a record deal and get to make a real record in a real studio with a real video attached to it and everything. And while this is going on, the Massacre are doing their thing as well. They make (I think the total was) five albums in one year. Each with a budget of approximately $5.49. And they're brilliant records. And Courtney knows this, sitting in his real studio making a real record.

Now, while Courtney, who is buddies with Anton and the Massacre, but also deeply envies Anton's songwriting talents, is languishing away in his real studio, he and the Dandys are beginning to realize something: a big record deal is not all it's cracked up to be. Because all those things that the Massacre do sitting in their living rooms making $5.49 albums that make them so brilliant, a record company won't let a band do.

So, here's where we are: Courtney loves his buddy Anton, but is jealous of his genius and his band's freedom to do what they want. And Anton loves his buddy Courtney, but is jealous of the fact that they got signed to a deal and now make videos where they wear makeup and have women dancing around them.

And then there's that thing we have to remember: Anton is a wacko.

As sometimes happens when someone is (and I think this is the correct psychological term) fuckin' nuts, the story tends to take some really interesting turns. Soon Anton and his jealousy cross to the, well, the hinky side. Strange things start happening. Like, the Massacre record an anti-Dandys song called "Not If You Were The Last Dandy On Earth." And then Anton decides he's going to show up at a Dandys concert to give free copies out to Dandys fans. On roller skates.

There's nothing quite like seeing a crazy man, high off his ass, armful of albums, in the middle of the city, on roller skates. Especially when he can't skate.

But that's not where it ends. Anton comes to a Dandys concert, and throws a Dandy a box. In it are all kinds of random items, each attached to a threat. Most of a bodily harming nature.

Meanwhile, the Dandys, realizing that a record deal isn't the be-all and end-all, go north to take their own sweet time recording their next stuff, and the Massacre keep doing more of the same. Writing, recording, fighting, and screwing up any chances they get at success.

Then the Dandys discover something: while their US record company isn't doing a damn thing to promote them, they've become superstars in Europe! So they tour abroad where the press and the kids alike adore them.

And the Massacre struggle. And fight. In fact, now people are coming to their concerts just to see them beat the hell out of each other. If they don't, the crowd will pelt them with bottles, food, and garbage, trying to provoke one. And they're generally successful.

At this point in the film, there's a scene that pretty much sums up the whole Dandys/Massacre experience. The Massacre, who've got something of a record deal from a small upstart label (they sent a member other than Anton to do the meet and greet), are traveling through the States in a van and what looks like a 1985 Oldsmobile 98. Somewhere in the wilds of Georgia, they're pulled over for speeding. Anton, who's driving, doesn't have a license. The police ask to search their vehicles, and he graciously says, "Why yes sir, you look at anything you want." And while everyone piles out of the van and the members are telling the police that Georgia is the loveliest state they've ever seen, the police find a bag of marijuana. (Only pot? That's a miracle.) And so the whole lot of them are hauled off to jail. The record company bails out Anton, but leaves the rest of the band to languish in the Grey Bar Hotel.

The Dandys, however, are in France, where they're almost on a level with Jerry Lewis. They get caught by the French police enjoying some of the illegal leaf as well. Their punishment? A lecture from the police about how they can't do that in France, and a fine approximately equal to the price of two Dandy Warhols t-shirts - and they get to keep the pot!

Poor Brian Jonestown Massacre.

Eventually, while the Dandys make their way back home and learn to live with their level of success (they open up an Andy Warhol "Factory" type establishment for themselves and other bands), the Massacre disintegrate. One last concert where the fighting gets to a level where there's just no chance of making back up. It's over.

As the film ends, Anton is going it alone. We see him onstage, there on a stool in his poncho, strumming away. About four bars into his first song, someone in the crowd angers him. He starts yelling. He gets hit with what looks like a tomato. He storms off, leaving his accompaniment still there wondering what to do.

So, it was a long story. It's a long movie. The damn thing took seven years to film. Yep, the director followed these guys for seven years.

I'm sure that if "Dig!" isn't out on DVD yet (I caught it on the Sundance channel), it will be before long. Please, I beseech you, if you only rent one movie this year, get this one. You won't be sorry. I promise you won't.

Now, a postscript to all this.

When we were in New Orleans, we ducked into a Tower Records and Mr M, nice guy that he is (though you didn't hear it from me), told me to pick out any CD I wanted. I thought, "Hmmm, what's something I'd like that I'd never normally buy for myself?" And then I made my way over to the Brian Jonestown Massacre. I picked a "greatest hits" (a misnomer if there ever was) collection and took it home.

Then my first day back at work after the trip, I received a surprise package in the mail from Mike, man of mystery and movies (please keep a movie list this year Mike, we're begging ya). Inside what should I find but "13 Tales From Urban Bohemia," by the Dandy Warhols. I put it in my car CD player on the way home, where it not only stayed, but caused me to find long alternate routes home from work so I could listen and groove out.

Thursday night when I got home, heady with the realization that I didn't have to work on Friday, I started cleaning up and puttering around the house. I got out the BJM CD (which is called "Tepid Peppermint Wonderland") and played it. It's some trippy stuff, and it's great. It's a shame that a band so good were also so bad, and at the same time, if they hadn't been so bad, they wouldn't be so damn good. If that's not a vicious circle, I don't know what is.

So, see "Dig!" And listen to the Dandys. And the Massacre. And I was going to say keep a good thought for Anton, but I have a feeling Anton may be pretty much doing what he wants.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* As per instructions by Mr M, I must give credit where it's due for the line "take a flying fuck at a rolling donut." That would be Kurt Vonnegut.
* And speaking of bands, Mr L of the Unnamed Clarinet Quartet gave me a link that, I'm warning you, is completely addictive. It's the Band Name Generator. Go here and have a ball. I'll tell you later some of the great names it's come up with for me.
* May I publicly apologize for the fact that while in New Orleans I made a small joke about the tsunami being in a place called Phuket? This is before I knew there were any deaths at all, much less 155, 000. I'm not a mean person, really.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Picture Sunday

Yes, it's back - and even on the right day! Welcome to Picture Sunday: The New Orleans Edition:

Yes, it's now almost a whole week since I was back home. But I thought I needed to relive some of those heady New Orleans times right here in my blog.

First and foremost, and without any further introduction, yep, you asked for it, you got it. Me and Mr M and a giant shrimp.

This was at Bubba Gumps, which sounded totally unappetizing to me at the time, but their food was good, and the atmosphere was fun. As long as you didn't look at the TVs, which run "Forrest Gump" from daylight to dark. I wonder how much you'd hate that movie if you worked there. (And hey, that giant shrimp has a dirty t-shirt.)

Our second picture comes from the same night and the same place. And I'm breaking my sacred rule of putting people's pictures in my blog without permission. It's just that I love this picture, I wanted it in, and, hell, my sister's never even seen my blog so I doubt she's going to put up much of a fuss. See, one of the cool things about Bubba's is that if you sat by the bar you could play stuff like Rockem Sockem Robots. Which is just what we did. Here's my sis and Taytie.

That was Christmas Eve. Then came Christmas (as it does), the canceled Jazz Parade, and the iced over and lonely streets of the Big Easy.

It was somewhere in between getting back to the hotel and getting to the Green Bar to get sloshed on martinis that the snow began to fall.

Then things warmed up and we went exploring on the 26th. I took a lot of pictures of me, Mr M, and Sherman in the French Quarter, but because I'm still a shitty photographer at this point and don't particularly like any of them, I'll give a pass to those. (You're not missing much - me on Bourbon St, me and Sherman on Bourbon St, Mr M and me and Sherman on Bourbon St....)

It was the night of the 26th that we had dinner at Mulate's. Big ol' tables with plastic tablecloths, lots of seafood, music, dancing, and what is undocumented but has to be the world's biggest-ass accordion. Here's the music and the dancing.

And here's the bigass accordion.

Oh, wait - here's a picture of my boy taken from the 26th. No, he's not drinking it. He's just peeking in to see what I'm drinking.

And soon enough it was time to start home. The beads in the photo above were given to me (for a kind donation of change) by a street person. Sherman took to them, and even had some fun with them on the way home. A little bead bondage music, maestro.

And a good time was had by all.

And here we have for your epicurial bemusement, our first recipe du jour of the year! And it is indeed unfortunate for us all, as this could be the most boring card of any in the recipe deck. It's that party trick that'll make you snore, the ol' marinated vegetables.

OK. This is called "pickle some vegetables and line them up on a tray." Really, not much more to say about it than that. In fact, the "recipe" as much as says it, only they tell you how to pickle them. No serving suggestion, just an earnest telling that this works in a salad or as a snack, and makes a beautiful addition to any buffet. I don't know. The green beans look especially limp. Nothing says "party failure" like limp green beans. And I think I see an eyeball in the jar of carrots.

Happy week, happy year!

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Did everyone begin the new year by saying "rabbit rabbit?" I did!
* Went to the Sauerkraut Band New Year's party on Saturday. It was fun, if subdued compared to last year's. Saw no naked people (granted, we weren't the last to leave), but it was good company, good eats, and good beer. And I only took baby shots of Jager.