Monday, February 28, 2005


Yeah, you thought I forgot, didn't you? Well, I didn't. I was just finishing up a movie.

Welcome one and all to another pee-your-pants-with-excitement round of Acromania. This week we're going "old news." Everyone knows the Oscars were last night. There were a couple of watchable moments, but no surprises, no wild people, no, well, no fun. But this week's topic is gonna be "The Oscars." You can comment on who won, who didn't win, the show, or just the award itself.

Everyone gets three entries to come up with the best acronyms they can that match the topic and the letters below, which are randomly drawn from a very dramatic acrobasket. I'll judge around 10pm est tomorrow night, and the winners may give acceptance speeches. However, if the losers just sit there smiling and clapping like they don't care, they will be shot.

So the topic is "The Oscars." The letters are:


So what are you waiting for, Christmas? Start acroing!

Betland's Olympic Update:
* An Oscar note: does the academy think there's only one singer in showbiz now and it's Beyonce? I mean, shit, three songs of the five? Then again, the non-Beyonces were an embarrassingly aging Counting Crows (as I read someone write today, "When did Sideshow Bob join the Counting Crows?") and poor old Antonio Banderas butchering that nice song from "Motorcycle Diaries." I'm so glad the winner sang a few lines of it himself. I hope he meant it as a "fuck you" to the producers of the show.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Picture Sunday

OK, so I'm sitting here watching the Oscars, which so far has pretty much sucked ass. But I wasn't expecting anything less, so I won't go into a big diatribe about it.

Now, may I just thank everyone who wished me well upon my birthday. I love my buds.

I had a nice day, went to B'burg, hung around with Mr M, went out for a while shopping, then went out to dinner with the self-same Mr M, plus M from clarinet qua - sorry, trio, and her parents, L and my new buddy E.

You know, it's funny, sometimes evenings aren't what you're planning on them being, and they turn out to be such pleasant experiences. Sitting around the table having Indian and giggling was just such an evening. Then it was back to Mr M's, where we watched a movie ("Still Crazy," a movie I'd been wanting him to see for some time, I'm not sure why), played clarinets, and where I indulged in a little celebratory Goldschlager. This is why I'm glad Stenns decided against an Oscar drinking game this year - just couldn't take it two nights in a row.

And so, without furter ado, and folks, you're going to be seeing more pictures of me than you ever cared to, I promise, may I present Picture Sunday - The Birthday Edition.

First of all, it's not a party unless you bring the gang. So what would my birthday be without S, P, Huckie, Mr Peanut, Gossamer, and my little good luck doll Lily (who Gossamer ate on the way home).

Then it was the time for a "me getting drunk" picture. There've been a fair share of those, sitting on that same couch at Poderosa East. This was about glass #2.

And in case you're wondering, my shot glass says, yep, wait for it - "Fuck Off, It's My Birthday."

The night wouldn't have been complete without a picture of me and my best bud, though.

And look who snuck in, unbeknownst to us. That Mr Peanut, he's a card, isn't he?

Finally, a little photo of some of my birthday swag. The beautiful roses were from my friend M, her mom E gave me a Blockbuster card so I can rent just what I want, and earlier in the day, Mr M told me to pick out any CD I'd want, and I couldn't think of anything so I opted for a Napster card. I'll just download a various amount of stuff with it.

And that concludes the "My Birthday" photo essay.

And how odd is it that this week's recipe du jour should be - a bigass cake! I didn't have any myself, didn't miss it a bit, but here's a very white Walnut Cake.

OK, first of all, the person who made this cake doesn't know how to frost very well. And second of all, this picture looks very evil to me. There's Big Evil Cake, getting ready to try to take over the world with his minions of Little Chocolate Cupcakes. "Go! Go rot their teeth and give them sugar highs, and I'll take over EVERYTHING!"

There's no serving suggestions here, but really, when you have a bigass evil cake and his cupcake minions, you don't need anything else, do you?

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* OK, Jeremy Irons has had the line of the night so far: "I hope they missed."
* And speaking of the line of the night, Mr M had the line of the weekend. I was (as I do) watching women's gymnastics on TV. The girls were doing the floor exercise, and as one girl was out there flipping and flying, Mr M said: "I've got a great idea for a new sport. Combine women's gymnastics with skeet shooting."

Friday, February 25, 2005

Some People Are Never Happy, or That Was The Week That Was, or Fuck Off, It's My Birthday

OK, so it's not officially my birthday yet, it's not till tomorrow. I'm just prematurely telling the world to fuck off.

I did celebrate by taking today off from work so I could have a nice lie-in, go to the DMV for a drivers license renewal, go have my tires rotated (now there's a dirty sounding phrase if there ever was one), go hither and yon, and generally enjoy thinking about those schlubs at work toiling away without me.

But let's go back in time a little. Here's a phrase I use often in #squeeze: This week has kicked my ass. I've probably used it here, too, and sometimes I feel like the little girl who cried wolf, because when I have a week like this one, that really seriously kicked my ass, then it loses a little of its oomph.

It's been something of a rebuilding week for me, and yes, if you've heard me say that before then you know it comes after a particularly depressive period. I guess I should have known they wouldn't stay away forever, and frankly, it's amazing to think that I really haven't had a Major Mood Slump (MMS in Betland) since my surgery. That's 10 months of a pretty even keel of functionality. That's also a damn record, so I shouldn't complain. But you know me, I'll always complain.

I'd felt it coming for about a week or so, and it all manifested itself last weekend. Saturday was bad, Sunday was worse. Sunday was, in fact, so bad that I indulged just a little too enthusiastically in the self-flagellation department (no, that wasn't dirty either), and ended up doing myself a mischief. I, um. Well, I.... I beat myself in the leg, OK? So badly that not only did the pain travel from my thigh down through my knee and into my shin, but I am also currently sporting a blue thigh. So there. I said it.

Sunday night was Catharsis Exhaustion (CE in Betland), and Monday morning was surprisingly non-depressive. I've also spent a major portion of the week reading a book that addresses some of my "issues" (that was especially for you, Mr M), and things are looking back up.

So on Tuesday I had to go from dealing with the emotional to the physical. And this was other than the painful blue thigh.

I was suffering from the headache only a non-caffeinated day can bring. So when I got home from work I gave in. I had about ¾ cup of coffee to settle my head. And what happened? Mr Pouchy said, "Ohhhh no. No, I don't think so." And I began to be very nauseous.

Then I did one of those truly podlike things. After dry-heaving over the bowl for 20 minutes, I came up with a brilliant idea. I decided I was going to practice the clarinet!

And so I began to blow into the horn, and after about five minutes my hands were numb, my fingers wouldn't move, and I felt myself falling off my nice red practicing chair. And so I gently put the horn down and tried to move to the Comfy Chair. And I almost didn't make it. And it was only a distance of about 2 feet.

I talked to a few folks online who said I was a victim of low blood sugar. This is not an uncommon occurrence among surgery patients. You don't eat enough (remember, the nausea had rendered me eatless) and your chemistry goes gonzo and voila, you're in the floor. So I was told to drink some orange juice, or eat a sweet pickle, or grab a piece of candy. Well, I don't keep any of that in my house! So I ended up forcing in a protein bar (well, it tasted sweet, anyway), and some salami and cheese. That was around 1:45am. I was finally starting to feel human again around 2:30. So I made it to bed and finally fell asleep around 4.

Wednesday night it was supposed to snow. Lots. I went to Band, then went by to visit Mr M a while, but left early to hopefully beat the snow and sleet. The snow and sleet that never came. But by that time, I was in no mood for bed, so I sat up and watched TV till about 2:30am.

Thursday at work I fell asleep, which was kind of embarrassing since someone was talking to me when it happened (it's OK, it wasn't a client). Thursday night was my pedicure, which I drove to - in a driving sleet and snowstorm, which wasn't predicted at all. In a stunning move, however, I capped off Thursday night by, for the first time in my life, touching a pregnant woman's stomach. I've never felt compelled to touch the unborn before, but my beautiful and strong-handed pedicurist had just grown so much since the last time I saw her, only three weeks ago.

Which brings us to today. When I took the day off work so I could have a lie-in and do all those things mentioned in the second paragraph of this ever-lengthening diatribe.

First order of business after the lie-in was the DMV. And you know you can't go to the DMV without having a good story, right? It's not possible.

So I arrived at the DMV - and let me just say I haven't been to the DMV since my last license renewal, some 7 years ago - and found it quite changed. It was very "futuristic science fiction movie." Everything gray and automated, some pleasant disembodied voice saying "Now serving D414 at window 7, D414 at window 7." It was, well, it was creepy is what it was.

Things were (don't faint with surprise here) moving quite slowly at the DMV today, and call me crazy, but I'm suspecting it may have been because of the twelve stations in the building, only four of them were manned by actual people. So I took a seat on the front row in front of one of the empty stations, and waited. 5 mintues became 10, which became 20, and 40, and I finally was called after a 45-minute wait. In the meantime I sat and looked at the empty station in front of me. Its nameplate said that in a perfect world, Megann Hurley would be working there, helping to keep us all from growing gray. I kept thinking about Megann. Megann spells her name dumb. Wonder if her mom spelled it that way when she was born, or if she started spelling it that way in Jr High to be cute. Then it hit me. Megann Hurley. Holy fuck. She could be related Tammy Hurley, the bitch whose trash found its way all over my yard! They could be sisters! Twins, even! Then I became convinced that's why Megann wasn't at work today. She was holed up somewhere with Tammy, and they were slathering Cover-Girl makeup all over themselves and building up another big bag of trash to disburse upon some poor unsuspecting person.

Then a little old lady got called to a window.

The little old lady got up and started tottering to her station. She had one of those 3-pronged canes, but she didn't really use it, she just lifted it up as she walked along. I could tell this wasn't going to be a zippy transaction right from the get-go.

She was there for the same reason as I - drivers license renewal. They took her card, and made her look into the eye test tube.

"Could you read the letters on the first row please?"

"What letters?"

"On the first row. You have to put your head down more, ma'am."

"I don't see any letters."

"Ma'am, your head makes the letters come on. You have to put your head down."

"I have to put my head down?"

"Yes, ma'am. No, you have to put it down more. Lean on the tube. No, more than that."

"But I don't see any letters!"

"Lean your head down a little more."

"Oh! I see the letters. O D S, no wait. Q O S H X Z."

"There are some more letters ma'am."

"On the screen?"

"Yes, ma'am, there are letters all the way across the screen, you have to read them all."

"I don't see them."

"Put your head down, ma'am."

"O Q S H X Z. R L T..."

"Ma'am, I need you to read the letters on the first row."

"The first row?"

"Yes, ma'am. All the letters on the first row."

"Q O S H X Z. R L T..."

"No, ma'am, you're switching to the second row, I need the first row."

And at this point I was contemplating screaming "You fucking morons, she doesn't know one row from another! You think she can go out and drive home without killing somebody?!"

But luckily, by the time I could get up, she finished her row. And I won't keep you on the edges of your seats here, they didn't like her eye test. And so they sent her to the other end of the room to take a written driving test. On the computer. And that involved some sort of a system whereas she was on a phone receiver while she was also pushing buttons to answer the questions. It looked confusing to me; I don't know how she did it.

And after a long interval she went back and said, "Well, I missed that darn sign. I failed." And after the DMV worker asked her how many times it was she'd been there now, she said, "Three."

Well, we're all safe for a little while longer. At least till she memorizes her signs and learns how to not only turn the eye testing machine on, but tell one row from another. And I don't see that happening any time soon.

And that leads me to this. Why was I even there? You know, here in VA you can renew your license by mail, phone, or internet. In fact, when you get your renewal card, those are the choices you get. "In Person" is not one of the choices. I just went in person because I wanted a new picture. I've done a fair amount of changing since my last one, and I've been waiting 7 years to get rid of the picture I had. That would be the "you look like you just sat on a tack" picture. That picture replaced my much loved "you look like you've just been arrested for heroin possession" picture of 10 or so years ago. Ah, I had such a soft spot for that picture.

About 2 years ago my dad, who was on the verge of being declared legally blind, renewed his drivers license by mail. He still holds a valid license. We're just all lucky he finally realized he couldn't see to drive; that came after he was in an accident, by the way. I have a friend whose father-in-law is in a nursing home, he has senile dementia. He got his drivers license renewed by mail.

The toddly lady at the DMV today could have saved herself the trouble, had she been able to know which row of the keyboard was which, and renewed via internet. Then gone out tonight and taken out the whole front row in the grocery store parking lot.

I know it's a busy world, and it's all about convenience. But there are some things you give up convenience for. You know, you can't call the DMV and get the most basic of information from them about your registration; you have to go in person. But you don't even have to show up to prove you're friggin' alive to get your license renewed.

So anyway, it finally became my turn, and I gave in my card, put my head down the right amount, read the entire second row - that was the row I was told to read - and got sent to get my picture made. It's a pretty shitty picture. I mean, it's the DMV, I wasn't expecting Scavullo or anything. But I seem to have taken on a slightly Philippino-ish look to me. Like a middle-aged Philippino lady. Who was just arrested for heroin possession.

Somehow, it's not as endearing.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* I'm adding a new link to my blogroll at right. It's "Query Letters I Love," a blog by someone in the movie biz who reads many query letters people submit wanting their scripts read. It's an absolute hoot. Be sure and read the comments too; they're as funny as the movie ideas.
* Sorry about the length of the blog. But I had a lot to say. Anyway, it's almost my birthday, so, well, you know. Fuck off.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Whistlin' Dixie

Well, actually, that's one I don't whistle.

But for a person who for the first 25 years or so of her life didn't have the ability to whistle, I seem to be one whistlin' fool now. I just puckered one day and had the ability, and I've never looked back.

I whistle to the radio ("to every hook she catches," thank you Squeeze), driving along in the car, pushing my buggy through the grocery, and at work. Especially at work. The girls I work with can attest to that, with clenched teeth and rolling eyes.

So what do I whistle at work? Anything that catches my brain. When I come back from lunch after having watched that Vonage "Woo Hoo" commercial three or so times on TV, I'll be whistling that. If someone mentions they went to Puerto Rico, I start to whistle the beginning of "America" from "West Side Story." You know, "Puerrrrto Rrrrrico, you lovely iiiiiiisland." If someone calls to say they want to insure their antique car, a GTO, I'll spend the next hour whistling "Little GTO." And so on.

I whistle lots of band songs. Community Band songs. Lately I've been whistling "Crown Imperial," that's the coronation march, maybe my toothy crown's been on my mind. And "Immer Kleiner," a little number Mr M will be doing a solo on for the Spring concert. Extra catchy number, that one is. And one by our writer-in-residence, an arrangement of "Daughter of the Regiment" that's nigh on impossible to play on the clarinet, sixteenth notes in the highest of high registers. I can't play it for shit, but I can whistle it like a mofo. Which I do.

But for the past two days there's one little ditty - well two lines of one little ditty - I can't seem to stop whistling.

Sunday night I caught some bits and pieces of the "Saturday Night Live" anniversary thingie on NBC. And there was an old skit they showed - when it started, I kind of remembered it, knew I'd seen it, but didn't really remember how it all went. It was an audition for a prison musical. Some "Broadway types" at a table while the prisoners came in and auditioned. So in came Garrett Morris in his black and white prison outfit (shades of my last dental visit), and said for his number he was going to do a little something that kind of summed up his philosophy about life.

Then the piano went "Da da, da da da DAH!" And he started to sing, "I'm gonna get me a shotgun and kill all the whiteys I seeeeee, I'm gonna get me a shotgun and kill all the whiteys I seeeeee."

Well, I can't help it, but I thought that, there after 30 years, that was about the funniest thing I've seen on TV in, well, in about 30 years. I was howling with laughter, doubled over, rolling back and forth in the Comfy Chair, wiping tears from my eyes.

And since bright and early Monday morning, I've probably whistled the first two lines of that song a hundred times. At least. Like I said, ask the girls at work. If they haven't already quit yet.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* It's time for Acrowinners. Get your red hot California Acrowinners here:
Honorable Mention goes to MSAGRO with "Rain storms odd. I'm from Anaheim."
Runner-Up goes to LilyG with "'Rilly?' 'Schweet!' 'Omigod!' I'm fully assimilated."
Winner goes to Flipsycab with "Resplendent silicone obfuscates impish female actresses."
Very good entries all. Thanks for playing!

Monday, February 21, 2005


Dang, where does the time go? I'm late with Acromania yet again!

Mondays. Mondays, Mondays, Mondays. Some of you bastards didn't have to work today, and for that fact I am truly resentful. A coffeeless day and a bad mattress had left me at work, with a headache and a backache. Then I had to go shopping afterwards. Where's the Calgon tub when you need it?

But I wanted to get this week's acro up and going. I told you I'd be trying something new, and let's do it and see what happens. If you don't like it, remember, it was all Mr M's idea.

This is going to be a State Acro. I pick a state for you, and the acro topic will be to acro about the state. Now, the rule is, though, that if the first letter of the state comes up in the acro, you can not use the name of the state. Like if it's Alabama and an "A" comes up, you can't use "Alabama" as your "A" word. This is starting to sound like a car trip game, isn't it.

So we'll start out easy. The state you're acroing about is California.

All the rest of the rules are the same. Everyone has three entries to come up with the best acronyms they can that match not only the topic, but the letters below, which are drawn from Ms. Acrobasket. I'll judge around 10pm est tomorrow night, and the winners will be in a state of bliss, while the losers shall be in a state of misery, and yes, folks, I'm as embarrassed to have written that pun as you are to have read it.

So our topic is California. The letters:


And there you go.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* "American Idol" has started in earnest. Let the losing begin!
* I can't believe no one pointed out to me that in yesterday's recipe du jour, I apparently gave Louis a sex change, calling him Louisa not once but twice. Shame upon me. It's a very feminine dish, though. I mean, not that I'm intimating anything or anything....

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Picture Sunday

Well, I'm getting closer. I took my camera to B'burg this weekend, but it never made it out of my bag.

It's been a very tiring weekend. No details will be given. Just let me introduce an incredibly embarrassing Picture Sunday: The Doodling Edition.

First picture is one of my favorite doodle subjects. Cars and cities.

The next is a watercolor doodle. Call it a portrait, if you will.

Well. Enough of that.

Now it's time for the recipe du jour, which, no, I did not draw. Everyone gather round for a lovely dish of Shrimp Louisa Salad.

So who is this elusive Louisa, and what makes her damn shrimp salad so special? Is it something exotic in the mayonnaise spread upon the salad? Is it the variety of crackers there? Is it the flowered placemat or the iced tea? No - it's chives! Apparently this recipe just goes wild with chives.

So eat up, with the suggested potato soup and peach shortcake as your sides.

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* My legs are in pain.
* I promise I'm going to try and take some pictures for next week. Really.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

What I Dreamt In The Comfy Chair (With Footnotes)

So. I was all happy*, and with my cousin Jacob at the Poderosa^. We were watching some really bawdy British comedy on BBCAmerica~. And laughing our asses off.

So all of a sudden, I got notification of a problem with the Poderosa. It wasn't mine anymore! It wasn't mine! There were ownership problems, and someone else also owned it. And they were coming over to stake their claim.

So, it was a husband, a wife, and a little girl. And as they were crossing the street to come over and horn in on my Poderosa, the husband got hit by a car`. I watched smugly out the window as they hauled him onto a stretcher.

So, the wife and little girl entered the Poderosa, all smiling and happy. And you know why they were all smiling and happy, besides the fact that they were horning in on my humble home? Because they were filled with the love of The Lord! They were fucking religious fanatics¤!

So, the very first thing I found out, other than the woman, who wore glasses‘, wouldn't fucking stop smiling, was that the little girl was one of those "touchy" kinds. She ran through the house touching everything I owned. And I said to Jacob, "If she touches my computer, I'm gonna kill her." "If she touches Sherman, I'm gonna kill her!"

So² then who should appear in my house but the husband. Completely healed. Maybe via The Lord. He was wearing a red Prussian army helmet, you know the kind with the point on the top³? And he talked briefly with his smiling wife, then went and - disconnected my cable! Apparently what we were watching on TV was dirty and not-at-all Godlike. And he was walking towards me getting ready to present me with my cable box and I just started screaming.

"This is my house! This is my house! This is my house!°"

And then I woke up.

* If I was happy, be assured it was a dream.
^ Jacob never visits me, or even calls.
~ The TV was on BBCAmerica when I fell asleep.
` Serves him right, the bastard.
¤ I had been watching "Inherit The Wind."
‘ I fell asleep in my contact lenses.
² I'm making sure I start all my paragraphs with "So."
³ On Sunday I watched "All Quiet On The Western Front."
° I made my house payment today.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* I find it quite odd that a lot of Mayberry's townspeople on "The Andy Griffith Show" show up as townspeople in movies. Tonight it was "Inherit the Wind," which contained Clara, Emmett, and mean old Ben Weaver in its cast. The cast must have hired themselves out many times as movie townspeople as well.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Why Can't I Be Mean?

OK, I really hate to keep harping on this, but I'm more than a little hormonal, so you're going to have to deal with it anyway so you may as well listen.

What did I have to deal with again today? Trash. I noticed a piece or two in my front yard this morning as I was leaving, but didn't have time to get all red-faced and flustered and deal with it. Then as I came home for lunch, I saw the culprit. That bag of trash - the original cheap-ass bag of trash I tried to secure under mine yesterday - was lying by the side of my house, its guts open and littering the whole of my life.

"When it gets dark tonight, I'm gonna take that bag and fling it into the road," I promised myself. It was about all that kept me going today.

And so, where was I at 10 tonight? In my pajamas, in my yard, in the dark, in my gardening gloves. I was going to pick up that bag and hurl it for all it was worth.

Then I stood there. Stood there looking at the make-up containers lying in my yard (apparently you're a whore as well, Tammy Hurley!), and the half-full drink cups, and the snack bags and wadded up paper towels. And I went inside and got a better trash bag. Came back out, picked it all up, tied it neatly, and brought it inside.

If I throw it into the road it'll just end up back in my yard. And the neighbors who leave me alone but are also very unfriendly have in fact become so unfriendly that they seem to have moved out of the house. So it wouldn't do any good to unload a random bag of trash upon an empty house, the same empty house that used to hold my sweet friend Shirley.

Who knows, maybe the so-unfriendly-they-moved neighbors were the Tammy Hurleys. Or maybe Tammy Hurley lives far away, happily wearing her Cover Girl make-up and drinking her Dairy Queen drinks while she eats her Hardees' hamburger, all comfy in her Carefree pantyliners.

Anyway, Mr M said if I'd go through what I picked up yesterday and find her address, we'd look her up in the phone book, and he'd call her. Call her up and give her the ol' Mr M treatment. Which, believe me, is not pretty. I speak from experience.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* It's Swedish Meatball Acrowinner Time!
First of all, MSAGRO, it was so good to see your acros again, I almost cried! However, you left out a letter, so I must disqualify you. But for this round only! Please come back and play with us again!
Honorable Mention: Flipsycab, with "Oh, wait! Uncle Lars never leaves extra!"
Runner-Up: LilyG, with "Only we understand -- little noodles lack excitement."
Winner: Kellie, with "On worms? Ursula loves nice little earthworms."
Thanks to everyone for playing!
* The Director of Betland Security has changed the Betland Security Alert Level to Orange, or "Hinky." Repeat, Orange. Yes. It feels quite hinky around here.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Oh, And By The Way...

Picture Acrochallenge!

OK, let's get this straight out of the way.

Tammy Hurley, I hate you. I don't know where you are, and moreover, I don't know who you are. All I know is that you don't know how to properly secure and/or dispose of your garbage, and twice in this blessed day I've been out in my yard picking up your shit.

I guess the first time was my fault. It was lunch. I thought I'd pick up all the crap you had in your flimsy unsecured excuse for a trash bag that winded its way into my yard. So here I am putting all your stuff back into your cheap bag and trying to secure it under my properly set up trash bag. I'd no more gotten inside and bitten into my salami when I saw it all go flying through my yard yet again. So I left it for after work.

And so after work I went at it again, trying at first with a straightened out wire coat hanger so I wouldn't have to touch the stuff. But of course, the ground (and your crap) being all wet, that wouldn't work. So I found myself chasing and picking up envelopes, bills, pretzel bags, Hardees' hamburger wrappers, the protective strips that cover the adhesive on a pantyliner, invoices - and the piece de resistance, your signature on a credit card receipt.

See, Ms Tammy Hurley, I could really get back at you, couldn't I? But I'm so nice that not only do I pick up after your ass, but I'm not going to max out your credit card. Though something tells me that the kind of people who let their trash fly all over someone else's yard probably don't have a lot left to max.

It's so Monday here.

Well, please forgive me my babies, I had no pictures for you, not even old ones I could get excited about, and so therefore I just flat-ass ditched Picture Sunday. I needed a little me time, anyway.

So this week we're going to do something we did a while back. Maybe last year or so. The topic of tonight's acro is going to be to acro about the Recipe Du Jour, which I shall picture forthwith:

Now there's a pile of meat. In little ball-like spheres.

Everyone knows the acrorules. Everybody gets three entries to come up with the best acronyms they can that not only match the topic above, but also match the letters below, which are randomly drawn from the acrobasket. I'll judge around 10pmish est tomorrow night, and the winners will dance around happily and praise the day I was born, and the losers shall sit around hoping I choke on a Swedish Meatball.

By the by, if anyone needs some acroinspiration, The Card says here that our meatballs should be served with buttered noodles (pictured), pickled beets with onions (pictured), braided coffee cake (not pictured), and dilled zucchini (also not present at picture time). It doesn't mention that boat of brown stuff, but I imagine it's Swedish Meatball Stuff, not unlike the substance that forms when you put water on Gravy Train.

So our topic is "Swedish Meatballs." The letters:


Grease your minds, and begin acroing please.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* I'm going to be trying a new wrinkle in acro next week, and maybe incorporate it in from time to time, if you like it. It was actually Mr M's idea, which is odd, since he never acros, but I kind of liked it. So I guess you'll just have to hang around till next week, huh?
* My embochure is kaputfinito. I lost it somewhere. My lips are shot. My clarinet playing days are over.

Acro is coming tonight, I promise. Please be patient. Bet had a hard day.

Friday, February 11, 2005

I Want To Be Undeserving

My buddy extraordinaire Stennie and I were just talking about it last night. We're in a rut.

Well, actually, we're not in the same rut. We're in different ruts, but the ruts are pretty much the same. Same old boring job, same old stress, same old needing more money, same old wanting a new car, same old needing to say "fuck you" to the world and get away.

And that was when Stennie, in her infinite wisdom, said, "It takes too much work to be happy, anyway."

And that's true. Evidenced by my sister. She's happy, and she doesn't stop moving long enough to take a breath. Oh, it's always dinner with friends, a party here, a dance lesson there, a cruise this week, a trip to some sporting event the next. Personally I don't see how she has the time to, well, to sit in the chair all night and watch TV. Imagine.

It kind of reminds of what a friend of mine said years ago. "Only boring people are happy. Think about it - think about the people you know who are happy and content. They're people you don't want to spend more than an hour with." And to a large extent, that's true. Maybe it's because they're working so hard at it.

But then, there's the other side of that same coin that I wonder about. Mr M seems to think there's a great deal of luck out there associating itself with certain people, and it follows them the whole of their lives.

So hmmm. Is happiness a result of hard work, much more hard work than apparently I am ready to take head on, or is it the result of dumb luck landing in the laps of people who are definitely not myself?

Frankly, I don't know. All I know is that I'm on my second day of giving up coffee, and my head hurts. And thinking about that too much isn't doing me a bit of good. Or making me the least bit happy.

Now, speaking of happy, unhappy, working, and dumbly lucky people, there's a TV trend that's just about to get on my wick. And that's people getting something for nothing. Every TV show nowadays seems to want to give plain old undeserving schlubs something they neither worked for nor deserve.

This does not apply to some reality TV. "Survivor," "The Amazing Race," even the dreaded "Fear Factor." At least they have to invest a little something. You know, run a race, eat a bug, build a fire, win some money. I can handle that.

I'm talking about crap like what's been going on on the "Today" show this week. People wrote in and wanted romantic new bedrooms. And they got them! They just fucking got them. Of course, they had to have a conversation with the odious Katie Couric to do so, so maybe some of you out there are saying they paid their dues for their new digs. But I think they got off way too lightly.

And crap like Oprah giving away all those cars. I mean, really. All she was doing is showing us all how rich she is. So she went out and bought a shitload of Pontiacs (not exactly the most glamourous car in the world, btw) and started handing them out like Elvis on a good day.

Another example is that "Extreme Home Makeover" show on ABC. Now, let me be the first to admit that I've never seen this show. But I've seen the commercials. And I've read several articles about it. And based on that, well, not that I ever would have watched it anyway, but I'd certainly not watch it now.

This is a show that takes a family that needs a new home. Say they're poor. Or a stiff wind blew their roof off and they've been living under the stars. Or they have a handicapped child who needs a wheelchair ramp.

Well, they go find these families - and build them a fucking mansion! I mean, I saw the house they built for the wheelchair kid. It had terraces and patios! It had a fucking swimming pool!

Now, I see nothing wrong with a company pulling down as much cash as ABC is, what with "Desperate Housewives" being such a big hit and all, taking some of that and fixing up someone's house. But why can't they do that? Why can't they fix up 12,000 houses that need repair for poor people instead of giving one family a mansion with a fucking swimming pool?

Because that's not exciting, that's why. I'm not that dumb, OK?

So apparently the American Public, or at least the TV Public, tends to lean towards the "dumb luck falling in your lap" theory of happiness. And that's fine. I guess it does find its way to some peoples' houses, no matter in what state of disrepair they may be.

I still hold with the "lots of time-taking hard work" theory of happiness. I just don't know if I'm willing to do the work necessary.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* So Corey Feldman's now speaking out against Michael Jackson. You know, it might be a lot more believable if his career wasn't two or three levels below the skids.
* And the "baby tossed out of the window" story has been found to be a hoax. And people are outraged. They're outraged because a woman didn't want her baby and took it to a safe place with a weird story. They're outraged because they'd rather be outraged that the baby was actually tossed out the window.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

It's (*yawn*) Thursday

And a snowy Thursday as well. Just kind of snowing sideways though - no accumulation to get excited about.

Well, as I'm sure you're all peeing your pants with excitement and anticipation, the Coronation came off without a hitch yesterday. I was only slightly disappointed to see approximately none of you there cheering me on, but I hope you at least caught the live coverage on CNN.

There was a bit of a worrying time when the new crown was still a little big and Dr Guts again got out his honing instruments. But a magnificent job this time, and all is well. I now have a mouthful of bling, as the kids say.

One interesting moment, though. I opened the door to the building, and as I started over to the reception area something caught my eye. I had to look over, and when I did what should I see but a county sheriff accompanying a prisoner. A real live prisoner in the dentist's office. How did I know he was a prisoner? Well, mainly because he was wearing one of those honest-to-God prison outfits. The big baggy black and white striped suit, just like in "O Brother," and "Cry-Baby." He didn't have the hat, though.

I, as I would, took the seat farthest away from them and tried not to look. But I could hear them, the sheriff and his ward, having a nice old conversation like they were lifelong friends. Then Mr 108297 got called inside, and when he got up, there he went, sheriff beside him. He was in handcuffs! He had to go to the dentist in handcuffs!

I'd been in the chair for an extremely short time when I saw out the window, yep, the sheriff and Mr 108297 walking out to the car already. Seems, and get this: the prisoner got all uppity at the dentist's office! Apparently the county will only pay for certain treatments (like an extraction) and he didn't want that, he wanted something else. So when it was explained to him if he wanted something else it wouldn't be paid for, he stuck his incarcerated nose in the air and stormed out.


Anyway, band practice last night where I worked very hard. It's made me think about my addictive personality, that. I pick something and work on it till I get sick of it, then *pffft.* Would that be "addictive personality disorder" or "can't finish anything you start disorder?" Anyway, I'm working at it.

Had the afternoon off and spent it doing absolutely nothing. Sat in the Comfy Chair and watched TV, drank Crystal Light, and napped.

Had a rather interesting and embarrassing moment, though, when the phone rang. I almost let the machine pick it up, but I thought I'd be brave and answer, still half loopy from the nap. The voice at the other end said, "May I speak to the lady of the house please?" And I just couldn't think of a good answer at that point. So I replied, "I'm sorry, there's nobody home" and hung up. I Panicked.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Thursday night - Monty Python night on BBCAmerica. Poor Graham. I underestimated him so much when he was alive. It's only in my adulthood that I see what a comedic genius he was.
* Oddly enough, one of the songs we played at band last night was "Crown Imperial: A Cornonation March."

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Acrowinners and Tuesday Thoughts

Well, I write tonight with a load off my mind. We had B'field Community Band practice tonight, and - I turned in my music at the end of it! I'm free and untethered! I was starting to stress over it, because our Spring Concert music for the B'burg band is quite hard this year and I've made a promise to myself I'm going to tackle it head on and play it the best I can.

Then when I got word that they scheduled the B'field Spring Concert on a night I won't be available, it was the flashing red exit light I needed. I turned in my music, so no more stress about that. Guilt maybe, but no stress.

Well, guess what. It seems that the real and actual Coronation is indeed tomorrow. My brand new gold tooth is in and I shall be crowned around 9:30am. If you want to be there in person, just head down Rt 460 and look for the banners and marching bands; if you can't, I think live coverage starts on CNN around 8:45 or so.

I'll be expecting my presidential phone call around 10:30 - I'll be calling him a bastard and hanging up on him around 10:31.

Finished watching "The Amazing Race" tonight - those shitty models Freddy and Kendra won. They were one of the "baby" couples. With two couples, everything was "baby" - "Come on, baby," "You're doing great, baby," "You can do it, baby," "You're my hero, baby," and et cetera till you want to perform a human sacrifice. I feel akin to Franz Liebkind in "The Producers." "Vat is vit dis 'baby?' Der Fuhrer never said 'baby.'" (By the way I'm not a Nazi though, like Franz. I spit on Nazis' filthy graves. Baby.)

Other than that, my neck hurts today. Must be the pleurisy.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* We have acrowinners!
Honorable mentions go to Kellie, with "Definite Ego. Attracts Nymphs. Ignores Basses," and LilyG with "Damned eggheads. Always nattering in Bb."
Runner up goes to Flipsycab, with "Dizzying, enigmatic arrangements naively involving bassoons."
And winner this week, Mike, with "Definitely egotistical, and none into BR5-49."
Thanks to all who played, you've all done very well.

Monday, February 07, 2005


Hello, hello, hello to all those out there who acro. Yes, you know who you are. You can't see a series of letters without making a tawdry phrase out of it. You snicker in the car and at your desk at work while your companions give you the stink-eye. This little corner of the world's for you.

I've been practicing my clarinet. Yes, I know it's hard to believe. I've been going over band music, and frankly, I find some of it as offensive as a broadcast of "The Man Show." Ridiculous key signatures, weird time signatures, thirty-second note triplets, and, as in the case of Community Band's composer-in-residence, notes that don't exist on a clarinet. In sixteenth notes. I've marked those passages for long breaths and cosmic trips to the bathroom. Or I'll just cross my arms in protest, I don't know.

Anyway, that brings me to what's going to be a musical round of Acromania, and turn this into an entire musical blog. This week's topic is - "Why Composers Should Be Shot." And believe me, there are plenty enough reasons to go around. Style, substance, ego, looks, or the way they wield their batons. You pick 'em.

The rules are the same. Everyone gets three entries to come up with the best acronyms they can that match both the topic and the letters below, which are randomly drawn from the happy acrobasket. He's happy because he doesn't read music. Nor do I, much.

The topic is "Why Composers Should Be Shot." The letters are:


And a-one-a, and a-two-a, now acro.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Well, not one comment on the piece of music I put up online yesterday. I hope everyone who came by to see me in the last 24 hours listened to it, because I'm going to tell you the other thing about this piece of music. So here it is: It was written for the quartet by MP, our bass clarinet player. She's a 17-year old high school junior. That blows my mind. When I was seventeen I barely knew how to write my name. A little applause.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

(Almost) Picture (-Free) Sunday

Hello, hello my dear friends. I'm finally back at the blogging board, after drying up for a while after it was suggested to me that my blog had become "oppressively negative." No, no, that was purely a joke, I haven't blogged because I was just devoid of ideas.

Luckily, well, normally luckily, a Picture Sunday can work wonders in that department. However, I really need to start taking my camera along with me more often, but more about that later.

First of all, may I just say this has been one of the more interesting weekends I've ever, um, endured. (Let's try to take a positive look at it.)

Yesterday was a beautiful day. I actually got up fairly early, cleaned the kitchen, got showered, and began to pack for B'burg. I was looking forward to doing my normal weekend thing, spending the night at Mr M's, maybe with a movie, and having clarinet quartet practice today. Only with a treat thrown in. MP, our bass clarinet player, was in the All-District band, and we planned to go to their concert and have an afternoon out.

And all that happened. I got all packed up and actually on the road early, zipping down the Betty Bet Bet Inspirational Highway right on the speed limit, and actually arrived at Mr M's a little early. Then about fifteen minutes later, I had a revelation.

I'd left my quartet music back at the Poderosa.

Now, this is a big deal. In a quartet, there are four parts, all different. I couldn't look off someone else, and even though I'm just a lowly third clarinet, my part is as important as everyone else's. So Mr M gave me a choice; if I wanted to head home and get it, that was up to me, or we could email the others and cancel practice. And I really didn't want to cancel practice.

So after the band concert, I took Mr M back home and hit the, yep, you guessed it, BBBIH. Which was a shame really, because MP's parents invited us out to dinner after the concert, and I thought that not only was that very nice of them, it would be kind of fun as well. And I had to weasel out.

So, I was driving along, hit the Poderosa just long enough to grab my folder and pee, and let me state that I did go to the bathroom for that, I didn't just stand there in the kitchen holding my folder and wetting myself, and popped back in the podmobile for the 65 mile trip back to B'burg, where Mr M would have dinner waiting for me.

Then about fifteen minutes into my trip, I started feeling sick.

Now, this has only happened to me once before, and I actually remember blogging about it. I had nothing on my stomach; there was no logical reason I should be sick. But sick I was, and I could feel the fiery drool building up in my mouth. I fumbled around my car for a napkin, and finally found two in my car's armrest. I spat, (and this is where things get ugly), completely drenched two napkins, plus drooled all the way down the front of my shirt.

Luckily there's a rest area in P'ton, which was the next town over, and I held things together till I got there. Then I went in a stall and heaved and retched and generally had a not very good time, especially considering that my puke was 1) basically mucous, and 2) also halfway on my shirt. I leaned against the stall till I thought it was safe to travel again, then got in the podmobile and hit the road.

I made it as far as G'Lyn. Then the whole thing started again. There was no place to stop - I was desperate. I finally found a public landing where people put their boats in the New River, and pulled over. No more got my seatbelt off and the door open and it started again. Only there was actually stuff coming out. I can't tell you what it was, unless it was my protein bar from breakfast 8 hours previously, but it was coming out. And may I just publicly apologize to anyone today who took their boat to put it in the New River.

I limped my way into B'burg, where Mr M did indeed have dinner waiting for me. But my first order of business was to change into my jammies, since, as a rule, I don't like wearing vomit-covered shirts. He was a concerned buddy, and said maybe I needed food on my stomach, and why didn't I try a couple of crackers, which I did, but they made a final repeat performance.

So then I curled up on his comfy couch with my jacket over me. And slept.

That was 9pm. It felt like I'd been asleep about 10 minutes when I was awakened by Mr M putting a blankie on me, and I asked what time it was, and he said midnight. That must have been the hardest sleep I've ever slept.

I was rubbing my eyes and trying to get my wits about me when I heard Mr M yell something at me from back in the computer room. I turned down the TV and asked him to repeat, and he came up to the living room.

"That's it. Clarinet Quartet is over."


Now, if you'll recall in last Sunday's blog, I made a small mention about practice "blowing all to hell," but I honestly thought things were over. They were for me. But apparently not for everyone. And it was an exceedingly short announcement for an exceedingly long story that I won't go into here. I guess I should have seen it coming, but I didn't.

I guess I'm over the initial shock of it all, but I'm still bummed out. Quartet playing was becoming so much more fun to me than playing in a larger band setting, but I guess "fun" is the operative word here. If it was going to turn into not fun, no reason for me to continue on anyway.

But like I said, that's another blog for another time and place.

Now, back to the fact that I'm horrendously short on pictures. I think I'm going back to that "People Around Town's Feet" idea I was harboring a while back.

So I thought I'd throw in one picture for you, one I keep on the movie rack in the living room.

See, about a year ago or so, I arrived at Mr M's, and he sheepishly told me he'd done something wild and crazy on an impulse - he'd gotten a tatto. With a mix of horror and disbelief I started grilling him about it, and he finally showed me his arm. Well, of course it was fake, but I was a little disappointed. Everybody should have a real tattoo like this.

I'd be proud to have S on my arm, if I didn't dislike tattoos.

And speaking of dislike, check out this week's recipe du jour - another beauty from the "weight control" file, Chopped Chicken Liver Paté!

Now, it's funny, because when I picked this up I thought, "Well, this is dull, it's just some kind of pie." Then I read what it was. Everyone repeat after me: blecccch!

Breaking tradition with the normal cards, this card has no serving suggestion of accompanying items with it. Now that's the perfect weight control, handing someone a plate of this and nothing else.

I remember reading the book of misheard lyrics a long time ago and one of them for "Live and Let Die" was "Liverman Pie." So I'm retitling this dish "Liverman Pie."

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* I'm putting up one more sound file for you to listen to. And I really hope you do, for two reasons. The first I'll tell you now, that I guess it's the last of this quartet you're going to hear. The second reason I'll tell in Acrochallenge tomorrow, after you've listened to it.
(The only apologetic disclaimer for this one is this is only the 2d time we'd played it.)
* The Super Bowl is on. Ho-hum. I was much more interested in something I saw advertised on the Animal Planet - The Puppy Bowl! Interesting though - I was talking to Mom and Dad in Florida during halftime, and their halftime show (which I could hear in the background) was running about 3 seconds ahead of mine. We decided it was because they were closer, down there in Florida; I was hearing it after it traveled all the way up to Virginia.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

It Can't Just Be Tuesday

Yes, so I know I'm a nattering nabob of negativism. Tell me something new.

But sometimes it even gets a little much for me.

Something happens to me every once in a while that brings me back, and it's generally when I say the line that makes me wince. I said it today.

After working in an office with half the staff, wrangling with computer problems and the fact that I wasn't given all the steps to do something I was supposed to do and subsequently failing, fighting traffic all over town to pay some bills, wrangling with our crazy doctor client and his crazy doctor friend who, well, who are both so crazy there's really no wrangling with them without going crazy oneself, I found myself saying it.

"God, I hate this day. I hate this day!"

Then I felt bad. I feel bad damning a whole day. How do I know what may lie ahead? It may get better, my life may be suddenly saved from the Jaws of Death. So I tried to reign myself in.

And after suffering through the afternoon, it happened. A phone call from the nephew to thank me for the birthday present, and to talk about stuff going on in the life of a 16-year old. And of all the things I stuck in his birthday bag (including a wad of cash), what did he rave about the most but a handful of bumper stickers I had lying around and slid into his birthday card. Kids.

Then it was home, then to visit my beautiful and strong-handed pedicurist, and back home to watch "The Amazing Race." I knew it would be a non-elimination round.

In another wrong move, I had a few minutes free at work and went back and read some of my old blogs. Some of the really old ones, from back in 2003. You know, back when I was talented. I don't know where it went, but someone out there has it and is blogging with the wit I used to have.

Oh, and I think I have a raging case of pleurisy. More on this story as it develops or I am diagnosed, whichever comes first.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* We have Acrowinners! Very good entries this week. Very hard to judge.
Honorable Mention: We have two - Mike's "Thoughtful, Reflective Yachtsman," and Michelle's "Tazizzle Razissle Yazizizzle"
Runner-Up: Flipsycab's "Tricktickler Reverend Yesilicious"
Winner: For the 2d week, LilyG with "Tre Rude, Yo"
Thanks everyone, for playing!