Sunday, July 31, 2005

Picture Sunday

OK, boys and girls, Picture Sunday is chockful of goodies for you tonight, lots of pictures, so I'll try to keep the yah-yahing to a minimum.

This weekend - yes, The Egg was completed. Mr M worked incredibly hard, and beautifully too, might I add, to bring my vision to life. The painting was completed yesterday, and today was the massive clean-up. Not of the paint and that, but of the getting everything clean and back to its rightful place.

To start out with, two pictures of the old kitchen. And I mean the old one, folks, these two pics were taken, sans digital, when I first moved into the Pod and thought I was really going to like that green. Little did I know that after about four weeks....

Teehee...remember those old cabinets?

Not so teehee...remember those clean floors?

Well, welcome to the new version.

And another view...

And yet one more view...

Well, I like it, and that's all that counts, right? It's bright, it's cheery, and with a few pictures on the table-side wall, it'll be an egg any woman can be proud of.

Also, and pay attention, there may be a quiz later, while Mr M was working dilligently on the painting yesterday, I was working dilligently as well - on the "hasn't been updated in over 15 months" Comfy Chair website. I started small, although the changes took me almost the entire afternoon.

First of all, I just went wild with Georgia. Flipsy's talking about fonts made me realize that a font was a good way to change the look of things, and so that's where I started. Then I refurbished the links page (Here), took out some I no longer go to and updated lots of urls, so that if I ever linked you and you were out of date, you won't be now. Then - I really worked hard on the Galerie de Chien et Garçon (Here), gave it an introductory page, organized it better, and opened up a brand new wing, the Mr M Inspirational Wing. That's where his artwork is displayed. And I urge you to go there and see some of the goodies. He works hard and deserves his appreciation before he's dead. Oh, or you could just go to the updates page (Here) and read about it.

And now all this talk of kitchens makes me ready to present the recipe du jour to you all. It's from the old "weight control" file, everyone loves that one. Say hello to Herbed Chicken and Artichokes!

OK, so it's ugly, we were all expecting that. And it has some slimy looking chicken, some gray mushrooms, and it's in a presentation bowl. But grapes? Herbed chicken (the card says thyme, parsley, and a bay leaf) and grapes? Now that's just icky. Plus, my "you're supposed to weigh 110 pounds" doctor says of all the fruits, grapes are about the worst you can eat. Maybe they didn't know that then, or maybe a doctor who thinks I'm going to end up weighing about what my skeleton weighs doesn't know his fruits, either.

The card also says we'll be having this dish with canned peaches and a green salad with buttermilk dressing. Buttermilk? OK, I'll shut up now.

Happy Week.

Betland's Olympic Update:

* I also need some suggestions, my faithful friends. I'm looking for a new feature for The Comfy Chair, since I don't update the True Hollywood Story or Behind The Music anymore, and since we haven't made a movie since God was in the third grade. Mr M suggested "What's Up At The P?" where I'd take pictures of things at my house and talk about them, and that's not bad. Anyone have anything else they'd like to see?

Friday, July 29, 2005

Help! There's A Dog On My Head!

Help! There's Another Dog On My Head!

Help! There's Yet Another Dog On My Head!

Betland's Olympic Update:
* I'm awash in doggies!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Entering The Egg

Well, thanks to Mr M, the painting on my kitchen has begun. I've only had one small nervous breakdown, and Mr M's only threatened to impose bodily harm upon me once.

I'm not one for "theme rooms," though I had a definite theme in mind when picking out the colors for the kitchen. With the white cabinets and appliances, I chose a sunny light yellow for three walls, and a light gray for the fourth. My theme is, "The Boiled Egg." Why did I pick this? I've no idea, I don't even like boiled eggs, save for the yolk, but the colors just appealed to me when they were beside each other.

Anyway, I fear the project may take on the long-lifed time frame of my cabinets, but I'm trying not to fret over it too awfully much. Too awfully much. I'm sure there'll be at least a couple more nervous breakdowns.

But since we're talking kitchens, and since I did promise some people I'd participate in the questionnaire, here we go. But don't say I didn't warn you...

--Total number of cookbooks I own: 3, I think, 4 if you include the one I made myself out of compiled recipes I wrote into a blank book.
--Last cookbook(s) I've bought: The old Searchlight cookbook, off ebay. Circa 1948, it's the exact same cookbook my mom learned to cook with when she first got married.
--Last (food) book(s) I read: I couldn't possibly tell you. I really couldn't.
--Five cookbooks that mean a lot to me: Well, that's hard, since I only own 3. Oh, I don't have to own them. OK. Well, first is the above mentioned Searchlight for the above reason. I can remember that book being in my mom's kitchen drawer my entire life, in fact, it's still there, all torn up with pages crumbled. It's where her to-die-for fudge recipe came from, and her potato salad, and I can even remember making my own thousand island dressing from a recipe in it when I was just a teen. Have I used it since I got my own copy? Of course not. The other would be the recipe book I mentioned above, recipes I wrote into a blank book. That's because I took recipes out of other books and from TV shows and made my own cookbook right before I first struck out on my own. It was going to be my "survival guide" as far as cooking went - and you know, for a while I did use it. Just not a long while. I still have it though, after all these years, so it must mean something to me. The only other cookbook I can think of that meant a lot to me is one I don't even have anymore, called "Meals for Two." And that's just because I was young, the recipes were easy, and it contained the meat loaf recipe I used for years, the one that became "my" meat loaf to all those who knew me. I doubt I could even make that meat loaf anymore. I use a different recipe now, one that Mr M says is too heavy on the mustard.

So there you have it. My sad and sorry cooking history. There are a few things I do well, and I wish I had that Betty Crocker gene that allowed me to be freer and more experimental in my cooking. I guess the key there is to not care about failure. And wasting food.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Yes, yes, yes, it's time for Acrowinners! It's Summer, and time for "Movies."
-Honorable mention goes to Jellybean, with "Oldies featuring some lame ass cast." Seen it!
-Runner-up goes to DeepFatFriar, with "Obviously faked stunts leave audiences cringing." Yep, I cringe.
-And this week's winning acro goes to Michelle, with "Obviously, Fassbinder sucks, like, ass. Capiche?" Cracked me up, but Crisp is gonna kill us all.
Congrats to everyone, because everyone had at least one entry that could have landed upon the winners list. Thanks for playing!

Monday, July 25, 2005


Well, hello to everyone who survived Monday. I'm almost not amongst that contingent - busy busy day at work today, then to the paint store afterwards. But enough of that, let's get ready for another happy round of Acromania!

Ahhh, summer. Summer means a lot of things, but to me one of the things it means is movies. Big summer blockbusters, drive-ins, a way to spend a rainy day on vacation. I want to see the penguin movie, but mainly I've been watching a bunch of old stuff I've bought on ebay starring some actor you've never heard of.

This week's acrotopic is "Movies." Simple enough, right?

The other rules are all the same. Everyone gets three entries each to come up with the best acronym they can that not only matches the topic above, but the letters below, which were randomly drawn from the acrobasket, who worked his way through acrocollege hiring himself out as set decoration. Then I'll be doing the judging at around 10pm est tomorrow night, and the winners will get to make acceptance speeches, and the losers will have to smile and clap like they don't care.

Again, the topic is "Movies." The letters are:


Now - get your popcorn and acro.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Keep a good thought for Mr M tomorrow - he's beginning the paint job on my kitchen. You don't have to keep a good thought for me, I won't be doing anything. But he'll have to not only be doing the painting, but dealing with my whiny ass as well. He'll need good thoughts, if not valium.
* This is to Flipsy and everyone who took her tagging challenge. I am going to try to answer the questions posed in the survey. But see - I don't really cook as such, and my ownership and knowledge of cookbooks is mighty slim. It'll be a total bore, but keep tuned, I swear I'll participate.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Picture Sunday

Good evening ladies and gentlemen and everyone in between. It's Sunday, so that must mean it's time for some pictures!

Tonight I'm bringing you: Picture Sunday - The Road Edition!

Well, as you may know by now, yesterday was a fateful day here in Betland. I drove original podmobile one last time, to the dealership to say goodbye to him forever. It was a nice drive, and even though I was cautious, I can't say I was scared my steering wheel would take flight again and I'd be drifting off the road with no control. I played some of my favorite CDs, even though I should have played some cassettes, as I guess I'll never again own a car with a cassette player in it. Betland Trivia: What was the last song ever played in original podmobile? "Shubbee's Doobie," by Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. Remember that in case there's a quiz later. Anyway, Sherman and I said our goodbyes in private, at Mr M's, before we took him back. "One Last Kiss."

Sing along with me to the tune of "Last Kiss:" I was out on a date in the podmobile, and then I lost my steering wheel, there in the road straight ahead, I couldn't steer, I knew I was dead....

Insert your own lines after that.

I thought by way of a little podmobile tribute, as a way to gain some closure so I can begin loving podmobile2 and grooming him into my new trusty, stalwart, valiant friend, I'd show you some pictures of places I've been and things I've seen in my old green automotive friend. And, oh, some of the things I've seen. Unfortunately, those things I didn't have a camera with me for.

A few years back I took a trip to DC to see Glenn Tilbrook. In the offing I met several of my online #squeeze friends, and it was a great time. And on the way back I was feeling meanderous and decided that instead of zipping back via interstate the whole way I'd take a detour onto the Blue Ridge Parkway and drive a good portion of it home. This photo comes from that trip. I guess this would be titled "Somewhere in Virginia."

Wow, that's a big picture.

Next, if you read my Friday blog, and if you didn't why didn't you, you know that when I go to Atlanta there are two things I can count on, and one is the Big Peach.

See, apparently Gaffney, South Carolina is a big peach center. I know that off I-85 you see a shitload of peach trees everywhere you look. You also see this, the town's water tower. But we know it lovingly as the Big Peach.

It really is a magnificent sight. However, if you look at it in just the right light it looks like someone's ass. With a leaf on it. But it's cool, not only because let's face it, people, it's a giant peach, but it also means that you're getting oh-so-close to the end of your trip to the Big City.

Our final road picture comes from somewhere local. Well, ish, anyway. W'ville is a town about 40 minutes south of here. They have something so magnificent you all should see it. In person, too, why don't you all come down and visit.

This little landmark has been around for as long as I can remember. In fact, when I was a little kid we used to ask my folks if, no matter where we were going, they'd take us there via W'ville so we could see the Big Pencil. The Big Pencil governs an office supply store. It's such a sight to behold, whether you're a little kid or a big kid.

Believe it or not, the side entrance to the store has giant scissors over it, but they're not nearly as big or bright as the Big Pencil. Long may it wave.

And that brings us to to our recipe du jour, which has nothing to do with the road, really, unless you take into consideration that some would hit the road to avoiding eating it. Say hello to Fruit Barbecued Cornish Hens.

Well, well, well well well. When I first looked at this picture I saw chickens with sticks up their butts. Turns out the chickens were unharmed, except for being killed and cooked, and it's the fruit with the sticks up their butts.

What can I say? I'm not a fan of meats and fruits cooked together, so I'm biased from the beginning, and Cornish Hens always look so dirty, laying there with their legs spread out, and holy shit, there are bananas on that skewer! Who wants bananas on a grill with their Cornish Hens? It is a hell of a nice touch, though, those little single cherries lovingly skewered at the end of each fruit stick.

The Card says have this with rice and asparagus and ambrosia loaf. I don't know what ambrosia loaf is, I don't want to know what ambrosia loaf is....

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* I watched "The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming" last night. I now have the immense urge to yell, "Emergency! Everybody to get from street!"
* I got some floor mats for podmobile2. They're very nice except for one thing - they stink. I mean, they really stink. I'm leaving my car windows open tonight to see if it helps, but thanks to them, goodbye, new car smell.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Radio Daze

I had to go to Charlotte last night. The folks were arriving at the airport, back from their jaunt, and I was the designated picker-upper.

I took their van, because I knew they'd appreciate the extra room to stretch out, and more than that they'd appreciate the fact that after five hours in the smoke-free air, they could smoke like chimneys all the way home. (podmobile2 is no-smoking so far - I want to preserve the new-car smell as long as possible.)

So I was zipping down the road in the van, which I hate to drive although it's a perfectly fine vehicle, playing CDs, drinking pink lemonade, and eating a bread-free sandwich, if there is such a thing. And after about 2/3 of the trip, I got tired of paying more attention to the CD player than I was the road, and so I started listening to the radio.

I hardly ever listen to the radio anymore. Occasionally on trips to B'burg I'll listen to NPR, classical music or the news there, and even less occasionally on the weekends I'll listen to our local "classic rock" station for a few songs. I just don't get excited by the radio much now.

But I was close enough into Charlotte that hitting the "scan" button became pretty interesting, and I heard a little country, a little jazz, and a little oldies.

I sometimes make trips north (can you believe it?), and those trips usually involve hitting I-77 North to C'ton, the capital of West By-God Virginia. It's a reasonably-sized city, but once you get about about 25 miles north of there, you're back in the country. And there's a strip of that interstate, about 15 miles long it is, where there is no radio to be had. It's always funny, never fails to amuse me, and I do it every time I'm on that piece of road - "it" being hitting the scan button and watching it scan, scan, scan, from the 80s at the left of the dial to the 107s at the right, without hitting nary a station. It just goes, over and over, and I guess it would go the whole 15 miles if you'd let it, and I'd probably be happy to watch if it didn't involve endangering myself and whatever nearest and dearest happens to be in the car with me.

Down south, well, now there's a different story. My sister, my cousin Jacob, and various friends have made a multitude of trips to Atlanta. There used to be one thing we could always count on. Well, two things, actually. One was the Big Peach, which you may hear more about at a later date. The other was that somewhere around Spartanburg, South Carolina, there was a station down on the left of the dial that played nothing but classical harpsichord music. We all called it the "Lurch Station," because it evoked such wonderful memories of "The Addams Family." We'd even go so far as to do Lurch imitations for the 18 or so seconds we'd listen to it. I haven't been to Atlanta in a couple of years; I don't even know if it still exists.

I love going into Atlanta, on I-85, that big six-or-so lane highway that leads into the city. You can listen to anything you want there, they've got it all, and there are two college radio stations there to die for. University of Georgia's is alt rock all the time and Georgia State's is full of the weirdest stuff I've ever heard. Songs that involve wild saxophones and car horns. And cattle.

Late late one night a carfull of us were heading into the city and found an all-reggae station. And when I say all-reggae, people, I mean it. Even the commercials were reggae. And one of the commercials was, and I promise you on my stack of Alan Arkin videos this is true, for Ex-Lax. A reggae Ex-Lax commercial. Does it get any better than that?

I can remember the summer day my sister and I were making that sad and long trip home from Atlanta. Coming back from Atlanta is always a depressing thing for me. I think it's something about driving up the map instead of down it, though I could be wrong. Anyway, the temperature was rapidly rising, and it was hot. I mean, hot hot. Inside the car (where it was frosty cool), the outside temperature gauge was telling us it was 98 degrees, then 99, then 101, and it finally topped off at 103.

We hit the scan button on the radio and after a while hit a Public Radio station. It was playing "The Skater's Waltz." It segued from that into "Winter Wonderland," and from that into "Sleigh Ride." It was an all-snow program! Which was psychologically very nice, especially when we stopped at a rest area and were brought to our knees by the outside heat.

Another great weather-related memory is from 1989, when Hurricane Hugo made it up to my little town and wreaked more than his share of havoc. It was a Friday morning, I remember it well, I was going out to my car to head to work, and literally had to dodge flying tree branches and trash can lids to make it to the vehicle.

I got in my car and started it up. On the radio, the NPR station out of R'noke, along came the strains of "The William Tell Overture." Not the "Lone Ranger" part of the Overture, but that part before it that goes "DAAAAAH! dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dahdah(dahdah) dahdah(dahdah) dahdah(dahdah), etc. I'm sure you know that part, especially from my rendition there. Anyway, that blast of music, with rain and wind and the lids and trees and small animals and children flying by, well, it couldn't possibly have been planned any better.

You know, mornings at 9am are my buddy Sethie's shift at NPR. I didn't know him so well back then, but I'd love to know if it was indeed he that played that piece of music, which I was convinced was put on the machine just for me. I like to think it was.

Anyway. That's what radio should be. The real soundtrack to your life.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Well, folks, tomorrow's the day. Tomorrow I drive (yes, I know, it'll be scary) the original podmobile back to the dealership and say goodbye to him forever. It'll be sad. We went 120,293 miles of happy road together, well, maybe 120,292 if you take the whole steering wheel incident into consideration. It's still going to be very hard to part. I loved original podmobile. Trusty, valiant, stalwart podmobile. I might weep.
* By the way, I had the nephew (who was looking for pocket money today) clean him inside and out for his trip. I was told by Mr M that this was completely flat-out pod behavior. I don't know that I agree, but there you have it.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Oh Fuck Off, Betty

We all have them. Those everyday annoyances that come from living in the 21st century. People standing beside you at the grocery store on a cell phone, wondering to the person on the other end whether they should get the large can of lima beans at 89 cents or the small can at 59. Being chewed out at work because someone's bank or internet provider or computer maker went toe-up and it caused their online bill paying to stop and they're getting second notices from TheCompanyIWorkFor. Having 151 channels and still not being able to find anything on TV to watch except "Becker" or that movie where Michael J Pollard plays Billy the Kid.

Then there are the things that aren't so much annoyances, well, they're annoying, yes and no mistake, but I prefer to categorize them more as "invasions."

Spam emails at your regular isp's email address. The address you don't give to anyone, not even family members, until they've taken a blood test and passed a security check. Spam snail mails, which fill up your mailbox and cause you great distress when you lope to the post office to see your take of letters and packages for the day only to find a reminder from the optometrist and 26 offers to get a credit card.

And telemarketers. Telemarketers who call you while you're eating dinner. It doesn't matter what time you're eating dinner, it could be 5:30, it could be 10:00. Telemarketer phones have a special food-sensing device that automatically rings you as the first morsel is shoveled into your mouth. Apparently the phones have a sleep sensor as well. That's the only explanation I can come up with for the calls I get weekend mornings at 8:30.

I try to be nice to telemarketers even as I'm telling them to go from my life. I know it must be a hellish job, even worse than the one I have, and so I'm sympathetic. You know, I guess in the grand scheme of things my job isn't so horrible, it's just that it's miles away from my dream job, which I'm supposing would be couch tester. I used to think my dream job would be movie reviewer, but then I came to realize that after the actual watching of the movie I'd have to come up with something to write about it, then the pressure would be on me, and what if it was a movie like "Memento" or "Mulholland Drive" that I was too dumb to understand, and, well, eventually I'd become The Movie Reviewer Who Went Insane And Shot Up A Theater. But I've drifted from my original idea here.

I discovered a great fact about telemarketing calls - they're not immediate. That means that when you pick up the phone with a cheery "hello," there's a distinct pause before the person starts yammering. So after my own personal cheery "hello," if there's more than a speed-of-light's worth of silence, I simply hang up the phone. You may want to remember that fact if you ever call me. However, occasionally I get sidetracked and forget, like the time a couple of months ago when the phone woke me from a sound nap and I was still rousing as the person asked to speak to the lady of the house. If you'll recall, in my still-fuzzy panic I answered, "Sorry, there's no one home," and hung up the phone.

We've started getting telemarketing calls at work with alarming frequency. It used to only happen once in a blue moon, when I was a lot more timid and still quite shocked at the fact that someone had the audacity to use their work time to call during my work time. In those days, I'd quietly explain that this was a business and that I wasn't allowed to make any decisions for myself, my co-workers, or TheCompanyIWorkFor, and so I was going to have to hang up, even though I'm sure they were a very nice person and had a wonderful product to hawk. Until that fateful day. That day the telemarketers got ugly.

I got a call from a magazine-selling woman. I explained to her that this was my work (somehow I'd think answering with "TheCompanyIWorkFor" would have tipped her to that fact), and that I couldn't talk to her. But she was having none of it. She just kept on asking me what magazines I liked, which ones I subscribed to, and you know me, the eternal softie that I am, I just couldn't find it in my heart to tell her to piss off. When she started asking me wouldn't I just love a subscription to Working Woman magazine, or Southern Living, or Better Parenting, and I kept saying, "No, I wouldn't, and I couldn't read them anyway because I'm at work, though I'll be home without a job if I keep talking to you," finally she asked me the golden question. "Well, what magazine would you be interested in having a subscription to?"

"Oh - MAD," I answered wistfully. And there was a dead silence, after which the magazine lady said, "Well, we don't have that one." I started to say, "Then how about High Times," but I figured I'd fired the fatal shot already and said, "Then I guess you can't help me," and things were over very quickly. And I was free.

And that story leads me to this - they're all that rabid nowadays, and so I find no conflict at all in saying, at the first hint of telemarketism, "This is a business, we can't take this call." And if the next thing I hear isn't an "Oh, so sorry, goodbye," the goodbye will come from my hanging up the phone.

However - however!

This is now the 21st century, remember, and even telemarketing has become more evil. Now here at work we get the pre-recorded message. The Canned Telemarketer.

The Canned Telemarketer is simply a recorded message hawking a product - magazines, real estate, office products, investments, and the like. After about a two-minute spiel, the voice will ask you to press any series of buttons if you're interested in this or that, but they sadly do not give you the option of pressing a button to tell the company to piss off, or even one where you can press and listen to a man imitate a duck.

Now, the Canned Telemarketer pisses me off in two distinct yet totally opposite ways. First of all, it pisses me off that companies have become so cheap, and so lazy, that they won't even pay college students and the nongreencarded a minimum wage to humiliate themselves, they give a fee to a nice voice-over guy and everyone else be damned. That's on a parallel with sitting on the sidewalk in a lounge chair and expecting people to throw you money, this is if in fact you're stupid enough to believe that anyone would buy anything at anytime from one of these pre-recorded telemarketing calls in the first place. Which of course they wouldn't.

Second of all, it pisses me off because in the Logical Mind, one would think the Canned Telemarketer would be way easier than the Real Telemarketer on the Poor Telemarketee. You don't even have to argue. You don't have to worry about being nice, or dealing with the guilt of telling someone to piss off out of your life forever. But believe it or not, the Canned Telemarketer is not easy to get rid of!

This is because of the Golden Rule of the Telephone. "He who makes the call has the power." The Canned Telemarketer called you, and so if you hang up, and he doesn't (which believe me, folks, he never does), he's still there on your line the next time you pick up your phone to make a call. Still talking away, like you were actually interested in anything he had to say the first damn time you picked up the phone.

And so you have to hang up the phone and wait for the Canned Telemarketer to finish and hang up. And that means he's won. He may not have gotten you to push a button (though I'd push one if they had that option where a man imitates a duck), but he's interrupted your life and your work and made you prickle for at least a few seconds.

(In a stunning move of Technological Annoyance Advancement [TAA], there's also a form of the Canned Telemarketer wherein if you hang up, your phone immediately rings and they start the whole message over. I don't know what nazi thought that one up, but believe me, when his time comes I'm sure he'll have a special bed of nails in Hell with his name right on the headboard.)

Anyway, this very morning I was sitting at my desk at work trying to muddle through any number of things stacked in a pile marked "Still Need To Do." There was someone at my desk, not a client, but a person from another office of another branch of TheCompanyIWorkFor.

The phone rang and I picked it up with my cheery "hello." It was the Canned Telemarketer. "Hi, I'm Betty, and I'm inviting you to the warm beach at Hilton Head South Carolina!"

And I answered that call in generally the same manner I answer all the Canned Ones nowadays. A calm, "Oh, fuck off, Betty." And I hung up the phone.

The look on the face of my TheCompanyIWorkFor friend, who knew nothing of the kind of call I'd just taken, was priceless.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Well, take a wild guess what I did today. I drove the podmobile - the original, trusty stalwart valiant podmobile - back from the shop to my house. Frankly, I was nervous. The steering is weird. It's hard, it's sluggish, it's like there's no power steering. Of course, I know it's all in my mind. Maybe that's what the steering was supposed to feel like all the time? If so, why doesn't the steering of podmobile2 feel the same way? Is there something wrong with it? It that steering wheel gonna come off now? It's OK, I'll calm down in a little while.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

No Blog, But Acrowinners

Yeah, yeah.

I'm lazy. It's the humidity.

I'd gotten into a nice habit of knowing I had to have a blog on Tuesdays so I could post acrowinners afterward. And here I am without.

I'm blaming it on two things. Work has been extraordinarily busy lately and so I haven't had any "blog topic" thinking time, and the constant rain has rendered me swimless. When I swim I basically do this, in my mind, not out loud, if I did it out loud I'd drown:

"Onnnnnnne (up the pool), Onnnnnnnnne (down the pool). Twoooooooooo, twooooooooo. Threeeeeeee, threeeeeee." I know that it's either do that 45 or 50 times, or think up the beginnings of a blog.

So here I am fumbling for words and not having a blog, and I'm terribly sorry, really, although I did give you two on Friday and that was above and beyond the call of duty and I hope you all appreciated it, even if you didn't say so.

So there.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* OK, let's get these acrowinners announced so I can get on with laundry folding and call it a night. So, what makes summer a bummer?
Honorable mention goes to Flipsy with her "Nasty June fog. Oy!" (Reminds me of the Eddie Izzard bit about San Francisco. And the "oy" was a nice touch.)
Runner-up goes to Kellie with her "No juicy fish outside." (Which begs the question, are there any inside?)
And winner for the second week in a row, yes, it was Mike and his "No July Fourth orgies." (I never seem to have those, and I'd also like to say I've never been to New Jersey so I cannot confirm or deny anything about his first entry.)
Thanks to all who played!

Monday, July 18, 2005


Hello boys and girls, if it's Monday it must be Acromania.

And how are all my little acroites today? I'm hot. And no, don't take that the wrong way. I'm just damn hot. It's been hot here in Betland, not the good summer sun-on-your-face hot, but the bad it's rained every day for 20 days straight and the rain just makes it hotter and steamier hot. I don't like that kind of hot. I'm sweating, red, and my hair looks like I stuck my fork in a toaster.

Which brings us to the acrotopic for the week. With me it's the rainy hot humidity. But for you, "What Makes Summer a Bummer?"

All the other rules are the same. Everyone gets 3 entries to come up with the best acronym they can that not only matches the topic above but the letters below, letters drawn from a sunburned and mosquito-bitten acrobasket. (He went camping over the weekend.) The acroing will end at 10pm est tomorrow night, after which I'll be judging; the winners will be guaranteed a good rest of the summer and the non-winners, well, it won't get any better for you, I'm afraid.

So the topic is "What Makes Summer a Bummer?" The letters:


There you go. Now put on that spf and start acroing.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* My dad's birthday is today. He's in Reno, having fun. When I spoke to him earlier, he was getting ready for cocktail hour. Good thing I called when I did. Anyway, he's never read my blog and he never will, but Happy Birthday Anyway, Dad!

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Picture Sunday

Hello to all out there in computerland. It's Sunday night, and you know what that means - another round of boring pictures from me!

Tonight's Picture Sunday is actually titled "Picture Sunday: The 99% Retro Edition."

Ever since the "Big Mother" blog this week, I've been thinking about old pictures. And looking at them. Sadly, I didn't find the photo in question, and the reason for that could be that it's sticking somewhere in my mind that as a present one year I framed that picture of Jacob and our turd-colored metal friend and gave it to her. That would explain my distinct absence of that particular picture.

But I found some other stuff, and some of it I may be using later on for when times get rough here in Picture Sunday. Like next week.

Anyway, our first picture this week is not retro, it's completely recent.

I hope some of you saw my Bonus Blog of Friday, where I told the story of my nephew and how I learned not to care if someone took my toys away from me. At the center of this blog was my teensy weensy Gumby, long gone now, a forgotten doo-dad in someone's drawer. At best.

Well, last night as Mr M and I were playing duets, who should pop in (scaring the absolute hell out of me - why was I so jumpy? was it the 47 cups of coffee I had?) but our friend ESP. She sat down in a kitchen chair directly behind me, and announced she had a little something for me. I turned around and screamed. I absolutely couldn't believe it.

Seems I'm not the only one who had a teensy weensy Gumby. Apparently it was one of her family's "bath toys" at one time, and she saw fit to bestow it upon me. Which is about the nicest thing I can think of. My Gumby! Thanks, E - you made my night.

Now to the retro section. I scanned several pictures of those oldies I found, and put them into two categories. One was "Famous People I've Seen." Our first of these is called, "Yes, I've Seen Elvis Costello (Many Times). What Of It?"

That was the first time I saw Elvis solo, with T-Bone Burnett. At University of Virginia. Great concert. Well, they all were.

The second of the old photos is called, "Yes, I've Seen REM (Many Times). What Of It?"

Can't tell you for the life of me where this one was taken, seen REM way too many times for that. Judging by the hair, I'd guess this was in the "Life's Rich Pageant" period, that was, what, 1986? Anyway, I just liked this one because of the demonic look on Michael's face. Believe me, folks, it's a lot more demonic if you can see the picture in person.

And speaking of demonic, let's take a look at the recipe du jour. It's a little something from Satan himself, the evil Beef Biscuit Pie!

Well, we have some beef, some celery, some pearly onions, well, one, anyway, and what might be some carrots, all topped with square bread with an "x" on top. And for the second week in a row the recipe du jour has reminded me of the Manson family. (Remember during the trial when they all burned an "x" into their foreheads?)

Not the worst dish I've ever seen, really. I just don't consider "pie" to be something with little bits of bread to be laid upon it. That's not much of a crust, really.

For those of you who yearn (and you know who you are), the serving suggestion says have this with a lettuce wedge with Russian dressing and apricot delight. But what if I want Italian - sorry, house vinaigrette - dressing with it? And what exactly turns an apricot into a delight?

Discuss amongst yourselves. And Happy Week.

Betland's Olympic Update:

* OK, I really didn't think it would ever happen, but this weekend Mr M was right not once, but two different times. He encouraged me to eat and not hate some corned beef, and I watched a WC Fields movie that actually made me laugh. I hope he doesn't get a big head over it. Well, bigger than it already is....

Friday, July 15, 2005

Hurricane Emmy

OK, Emily may be storming up and down the nation, but I've just been damaged by a different Hurricane. Hurricane Emmy.

Seems the Emmy nominations came out yesterday. Now, there would have been a time when this was a big deal for me. I used to care about TV shows. For as much TV as I watch these days, and believe me folks, it's a lot, I don't place a lot of emotional stock in it. Sure, I cared that Rob and Amber didn't win "The Amazing Race," but that's about as far as it goes. The cancellation of "Freaks and Geeks" was probably the beginning of that descent into apathy, or it may have come before then, I'm not sure.

Anyway, this year I kind of cared. Why? You mean, you have to ask? Well, I'll tell those of you who hadn't already guessed. There was a possibility my very own idol Alan F Arkin (that's Mr F Arkin to you) could be nominated, for his guest-starring role as Grace's dad on "Will and Grace." The show isn't much, but you tell me Mr Arkin isn't much and I'll have to ask you to step outside, I'm afraid.

Well, to make a very long story very short, there in the "Guest Actor in a Comedy Series" nominations, there was a distinct lack of idols named Arkin. I was dejected, especially since of the five nominees, four of them came from that cesspool known as "Will and Grace." Four? Four people who've been on that show could be better than Mr F? I don't think so.

Anyway, since I was at the site that had the complete nominations, I decided to give them all a scan. Boy, are there some weird categories in which a person can win an Emmy.

Choreography for a TV show, that one's interesting. I don't think of there being that many musical numbers in the box, especially since "The Drew Carey Show" went off the air. But they found five instances to nominate, even if one of them was an ice show.

They give awards for editing, now, that's OK, they do that in the movies. However, even the movies don't give away awards in six different categories. Seems anyone with a pair of scissors can get a nomination in the world of teevee.

Hairstyling. That's a fun one. I think of that as being frivilous, but the more I've pondered it, I'm wondering if actually the Oscars shouldn't do that one as well. Many movie stars' entire careers have been made and broken over their hairstyles. And as for make-up, they've got that category as well, along with a separate category for prosthetic make-up.

Can you type? Pick out fonts? Title design is a category as well.

As far as sound mixing, eight different categories. If you have a pot, pan, or can squeeze your hands through a bowl of potato chips, you're in like Flynn.

On the plus side, there are two categories I liked. Best commercial, that should definitely be a part of the Emmys since it's all TV is anymore. The only problem I have with that is that, and I know my commercials, people, I'd never heard of any of the five nominated.

And probably my favorite category of all is Best Casting. I think that should be right up there with Best Series and Best Actor. A TV show basically lives and dies on its casting, and I can't believe they relegate it to the "we read these award winners really fast while we're going to commercial" space. (BTW, in doing some research, I found that the aforementioned "Freaks and Geeks" was nominated for this award, and was happy. What a perfect cast that show had.)

And so, there you go. Will I be watching when the awards are broadcast? Of course not, I haven't for years and I'm not starting now.

I am, however, writing Alan Arkin and telling him to learn to make sound effects with his hands in a bowl of potato chips. He may get his Emmy yet.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Original podmobile may still be dead in the shop, but at least I got the "money" portion of my new car transaction completed. Turned over all my worldly goods and got my $22000 personal check back I left with the dealership on Saturday. See, when I told you they gave me this car on a bad check and my good looks I wasn't lying.
* And now, for you - looky! A bonus blog!

A Bonus Blog

Something I was just thinking of last night as I was cleaning away on my now very clean kitchen.

When we were shooting The Poderosa Movie lo those many years ago, I brought a huge box of toys to Mr M's, where they remained many years after the shoot had taken place. In fact, I just brought them home about two weeks ago, where they've sat, in that self-same box, in my kitchen floor ever since.

Last night I was cleaning them up, separating my office toys from Taytie's long-abandoned Playmobil cowboys and indians, and I found something. I found Pokey.

I have a Pokey, no, not your regular-sized bendy Pokey, but a tiny (about 2 inches high) unbendy rubber one. He's alone now, an orphan whose Gumby was taken from him at a young age.

See, I know I've told you many times the story of my wonderful nephew coming into the world. I basically didn't want him to. I'd never been around kids, didn't like them, and wasn't ready to accept one into my life. (Ah, those carefree cynical days....)

I've always loved toys, always had them, and just knew that the day would come when this new little being forced upon me would start fondling, stealing, and breaking my toys. Sure, the expensive Barbies were behind glass, but the rest of the stuff, well, it was strewn willy-nilly all over my pad. I'd seen kids touch them before. Pick them up! I grimaced and smiled to their mothers like I didn't care. Oh, but I cared. How I cared.

But on the whole, Taytie was very good about that. He was never that destructive about his toys, save for his "My Buddy" doll Jacob gave him when he was about one. If you'll recall, "My Buddy" was a boy doll for a boy to play with. He was inordinately large, about 3 feet, and had a baseball cap, tennies, and was, if I may be so bold, not supposed to be gay-looking so dads wouldn't care that their sons were cuddling a doll. DJTayMac played with his occasionally, and that play generally consisted of beating the hell out of "My Buddy," thrashing his head on the floor, swinging him round in circles by his feet, and hurling him as far as he could throughout the house. I don't know who "My Buddy" eventually ended up with when the early toys were given away, but I'll bet he sure did love his new home.

But one day, when the nephew was but a Tayter Tot, I came to his house with something I'd just picked up at a local store. It was a teensy weensy Pokey and Gumby, the Pokey mentioned above and his equally small green friend. Tay bounced over to look at them and was immediately taken with Gumby. He coddled him, balled him up in his fist, squeezed him, put him in his mouth, simulated walking him over all the furniture, fit him in various pants pockets, and generally wooled him into an immediately "used" condition.

Occasionally I'd ask, "Where's Gumby?" and Tay would produce him, but when I'd go to take him back, the fist would ball up and his hand would swing away from me. He'd decided Gumby was his, and that was that.

I ended up spending the night with my sister, I don't remember if the stay was planned or not, it may have been due to drinking or just hanging around too long to go home. Anyway, I'd decided that before the end of the night, I was getting my Gumby back, dammit, and he was going home with me and Pokey the next morning.

And so I tried and tried, but to no avail. And finally I just kind of forgot about it, which leads me to believe that maybe drinking was in fact involved in the reason I stayed overnight.

Anyway, Taytie was long in bed, and now my sister and I decided maybe we should turn in as well. As I was getting ready for bed there in the guest room, my sister came and got me. "You've got to see this," she said.

Seems she went in for a check of The Boy before she turned in and noticed he was sleeping with one fist all balled up. She looked, came and got me, and I looked. He was sleeping away; and there in his two-year-old hand, gripping for all it was worth, was Gumby.

My heart warmed about ten degrees in that very moment. I knew I wasn't getting Gumby back, and I didn't care. I also came to a very quick realization that I was ready to pretty much give up anything I had to that little tow-head with the puppy dog eyes. And I didn't care.

And I was right. And I still don't care.

Pokey seems to be happy alone, anyway.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Big Mother

My folks are currently in Reno. (Or Reeeeeeeeeeeeno, as it's known to some.) They're there on a trip, celebrating, yep, count them, I know you won't, 50 years of wedded bliss. They're both so nutty. They're a perfect match.

I hope their trip goes well. I hope it goes a damn sight better than a trip I took some years ago.

See, when I was driving back to A Major Car Rental Company on Saturday to return Temporary Podmobile, I got to thinking about this little foray down south I took about 20 years ago. I remember telling you last week I'd never ever rented a car in my life. And that's still true, I hadn't. But I was involved in the act of someone else's renting a car.

Back during the mid-or-so-80s, when my cousin Jacob and I were thick as thieves, and my sister wasn't quite as rich as she is now and was therefore a lot freer and more fun, the three of us decided to take a weekend jaunt down to the Durham/Chapel Hill area. See, my folks were out of town, my sister's husband was out of town (this was pre-Taytie by several years), and Jacob really had no one to speak of to be in or out of town, and so we all decided to do a "bachelorettes on the town" kind of thing. We were going down to hang out, do some shopping, walking around, clubbing, and having general fun.

It was during the summer, it had to be because I remember it being very hot, and we all piled into Jacob's nameless automobile, a sky blue Ford Escort. (She was always disappointed her car hadn't acquired a name in the time she'd owned him.) And off we went.

About 10 or so miles outside of Durham, the Escort started having some problems. It decided, for some strange reason, that it didn't want to run anymore. Anytime Jacob got the car out of about 2d gear, it would die. We were on I-85, a busy little piece of concrete real estate indeed. And we were forced into going a top speed of around 31 miles an hour.

Now, we were young, and not the cool, calm, and collected people you see before you today. And so we were pretty panicked at the situation we were in, Jacob driving on the side of the road, her engine grinding, toodling along in the 30s while traffic was whizzing by us.

We finally made it to an exit that had a gas station with a garage, and so we inched our way towards it. (The uphill off-ramp was interesting.) We putted our way into the garage, only to be told that it was Saturday, and, well, people aren't supposed to have engine problems on Saturday, so we'd have to wait till Monday before anything could be done.

And we all had to be back home by Sunday night.

Now, remember the reason we were even on this trip - everyone we knew at home was gone elsewhere. Normally it wouldn't have taken more than a frantic call home to have someone on their way to haul our younger asses back to Virginia, but that was a luxury I'm afraid we didn't have this time. And so we did the only thing we knew to do. Pool our money and rent a car.

And that's just what we did.

And so someone at the garage gave us a ride to a local used car dealership where we were told we could get a rental - if anyone was there on a Saturday. But there they were, and Jacob and my sister went to the rental desk to do the honors.

After a while they came outside saying we had a car for the stay in town (which was growing shorter by the hour - we'd already wasted ½ of our two days standing and waiting) and also for the drive home. When Jacob's car was ready we could bring the rental back. We were happy and relieved - they were apparently "prepping" our rental and would drive it out to us shortly.

A lot of prepping. We waited about a half-hour, and finally, out came our rental. There was a short moment of silent staring disbelief, then the sound of three young women simultaneously bursting in hilarious fits of laughter.

Our car was a gigantic Chevrolet. I'm thinking it was a Caprice Classic. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was the biggest auto Chevrolet made at the time. It was probably about a 1982 model, approximately the size of a three-bedroom ranch style home, and was, well, to be perfectly honest in my description, a shit brown. It was magnificent in its heinousness.

We climbed inside, and it was really a shame there were only three of us because approximately 300 of us could have fit in, and started off to our hotel. There are things one notices about a car, and the first we noticed was that, here on this hot day, we had no air conditioning. We were supposed to, all the controls were there, we just didn't have any working. It wasn't until we were back on I-85 that we noticed we also had no speedometer to speak of. And when I say "to speak of," I mean, of course, we had none at all. Well, we had one, but it had no needle telling us how fast we were going.

It was very quickly that "the moment" came. I think it was as we were pulling into the parking lot of our hotel. My sister was the one who first uttered the phrase. "Here's the hotel. Now let's see if we can get this big mother in a parking space so we can get our room." And at once we all started to giggle. Big Mother. Never had a name so described a car. (And never will one.)

"Shit!" Jacob yelled. "I've had my car for five years, and it still doesn't have a name! We've been in this one 15 minutes and it's already got one!"

And so, for that weekend the three of us girls bonded with each other, all the while being intertwined with that huge turd-colored piece of metal, Big Mother. It's one of those things you just know is going to make you laugh years down the road, you're just not sure if you'll live that long. I mean, we laughed about it all that weekend, but it just didn't seem that funny while we were laughing, you know?

The trip home was fun, 4 hours of interstate driving with no speedometer. The windows, all four of them, were down, we had to yell at each other to be heard, and it was still hot enough to fry an egg on Big Mother's brown leatherette seats.

But she got us home, and even made it back for her return trip home to North Carolina.

Somewhere I have a photo of Jacob at the wheel of Big Mother. It's so old I don't know if I could ever find it now, but I'm tempted to look. It might make a great addition to Picture Sunday.

Oh, and after that trip, Jacob finally came up with a name for her sky blue Escort. L.B. L.B. stood for "Little Bastard." She traded him off not long after that. You'll never believe her choice - a brand new blue - Yugo. Who soon became Y.B. - Yugoslavian Bastard.

She was never lucky with cars, our Jacob....

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Well, the moment has arrived, and we have acrowinners. And so, what were yall worried about lately?
Honorable mention goes to Venice, aka bitterspice, with "You dented our neighbor's Subaru." Don't know why she'd worry, but I guess she's just the caring type.
Runner-up goes to DeepFatFriar with "Young Dervishes on noisy subways." Actually, you'd be surprised how I've been worrying about that lately.
And in a stunning move, a tie this week between Mike and - Mike? Yep, I generally try never to pick more than one entry per person, but he had two this week so good I just thought I'd let him tie himself. Which I'm sure he does at home anyway. And so...
Winner this week is Mike and Mike with "Young Dr Oppenheimer's nuclear studies," and "Yes doing only newer stuff." Actually, I worry more about the second than the first.
Thanks to all who played!

Monday, July 11, 2005


Hello, world, and welcome to another it's-Monday-so-she'll-again-be-dipping-her-hand-into-the-nether-regions-of-the-acrobasket round of acromania!

I've been a little worried lately. As you might have guessed. I was almost dead lately (three different ways but I promise I'll shut up about that now), I had no automobile lately, and I now I have an automobile but will be in debt not only lately but way into the forseeable future and beyond. Hey, anyone smell an acrotopic?

Yes, this week's acrotopic shall be, "So, What Are You Worried About Lately?"

All the other rules are the same. Everyone gets three entries to come up with the best acronym they can that not only matches the topic, but also the letters below, which are randomly drawn from the acrobasket. And just for the record, the above was a joke. I've never once touched the acrobasket's nether regions. His wife wouldn't approve. Then tomorrow at around 10pm est I shall be naming the winners, who won't have a care in the world, and, well, the rest of you can sit around with your furrowed brows.

So, this week's topic is "So, What Are You Worried About Lately?" The letters:


OK, guys, don't worry - acro!

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Commercial alerts: First up, Always maxi pads seem to have yet another wrinkle of modern technology attached to them (will the wonders of maxi pad improvement never cease?), some sort of comfy blankie atop the pad that will make a woman think her special area is floating on a cloud. But along with the new & improved pad comes a new & improved catchphrase for Always. "Always: Have a Happy Period." Now, I know that blankie may be comfy, but come on....
* There's another commercial out there for one of the heartburn pills. Tagamet, Prilosec, something. One of the over-the-counter ones. It's a fast talking, fast walking guy telling us how he doesn't have time for anything normal. "One-hour photo? Too slow. Fast food? Not fast enough." So he doesn't have time for your normal run-of-the-mill Rolaids or Tums, he has to have this new wonder pill for his heartburn. And while the announcer talks up the pill and they're showing the box, above the box in small letters it says, "Take 30-60 minutes before meals." Yeah! That's fast!

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Picture Sunday

Well, hello, bloggers, blogees, and the blogless altogether, and you know who you are. And what a weekend it's been.

I started the weekend on Friday night, aka Chill Night in Betland. It consisted of doing absolutely nothing save for watching two Alan F movies, one of which was a TV movie so I can't record it on the Movie List. That would be "...And Starring Pancho Villa As Himself," a really fun movie. One of the few examples of a Paper Movie that actually worked! And Mr Arkin (that's Mr F Arkin to you) played a crusty old mercenary with a "Mother" tattoo who not only loses his arm (the tattooed one), but his eye as well.

Then it was on to Saturday, a very big day indeed here in Betland. Up early, packed for B'burg, then it was off to drop Temporary Podmobile at the rental company and say a fond farewell. He did me well in the podmobile interim, and it was with a twinge of sadness that I said goodbye to him. (We did decide he was a boy, didn't we?)

From A Major Car Rental Company it was to the Betty Bet Bet Inspirational Highway, past B'burg, and to C'burg to Original Dealership, where I was faced with the daunting task ahead - a new podmobile.

I'd narrowed down my choices, in my mind, to either blue, white, or a goldish color. When I got there and started looking and driving, I made a move so bold and surprising, well, it's still hard to believe. See, the blue was too dark (almost black), the white was too white (you know when people have their teeth whitened and they're just too white? think that), and the gold wasn't on the lot. And one little car kept calling to me, just like that puppy in the litter you know you're going to take home because it keeps tugging at your leg and being overly cute.

And so I chose that little puppy. My new podmobile is - gray!

This is an astonishing choice for me because not only was it not one of my choices, but I hate gray/silver cars. I'm always telling people that - a silver car is the same as having a car with no paint at all. In fact, had someone asked me before yesterday, "OK, you crum, we know what you're considering, what color do you know you won't get?" my answer would have been an unequivocal, "Silver or gray." But there you go. I liked it best of all. And so I got it.

And so, ladies and gentlemen (and you know who you are), may I proudly introduce to you the brand new podmobile2.

So there he sits. My new friend. It makes sense, you know. My house is gray, my car is gray, and as Mr M said, normally my mood is gray. There's just a lot of grayness here in Betland now.

Speaking of the Poderosa, here's a picture of my new gray car at my not-so-new gray house.

You know, it's been approximately 7 years since I bought a car, and I really don't remember it taking as long as it did yesterday. Somewhere around 3 hours or so. I guess my last car purchase doesn't count because it did go very quickly indeed - in fact, I went to the lot having no intentions whatsoever of buying a car, then bingbangboom I came home with original podmobile. This time there was a lot of paperwork and discussion, possibly due to the fact that I was trading in a car that was lying dead in another city. I still have to take him to Original Dealership when he's fixed, along with the check from TheCompanyIWorkFor Bank. So I kind of feel like I've been given this car for nothing at the moment.

In fact, when Mr M asked me if he could drive podmobile2, and I said no, and he then said he wouldn't light his pipe once inside, my response was, "Until I can get my old car back there and give them the check, I'm not even blowing my nose in this car." And I haven't yet.

And so that's a capsule (though a very long capsule) story of my new podmobile. Long may we travel.

(Oh, and things took so long at the dealership that I actually missed out on playing a band concert Saturday evening. Without a warning to any of the clarinets that I wouldn't be there. Sorry, guys!)

Hey, here's something I'll bet you didn't know. July 4th was the birthday not only of our great nation, but of my favorite little boy as well, Sherman. He's 10 this year, and I thought I'd give you a photo of my birthday present to him.

See, Mr M and I for years have been toying (hahaha, "toying," get it? I kill me) with the idea of the latest film for the Comfy Chair Cinema - "Sherman of Arabia." We even bought a camel a long while back. Well, truth be told, we bought two, but DeepFatFriar fell for one of them and we gave it to him. But there was one thing Sherman didn't have for his starring role - a costume.

Well, as of his birthday, he's got one!

Hope you can see the sandals there on his little tennied foot. The sandals were an afterthought, but one that I thought worked very very well.

And now let's wrap things up with a particularly interesting recipe du jour. Sometimes I'm glad these things are labeled, for if they weren't, I'd have no friggin' idea what the hell they are. This week is one of those times. And here it is, the very mysterious-looking Chicken Goulash.

Now I'm no expert, but I always think of something called "goulash" as being served all mixed up in a bowl. That doesn't seem to quite be the case here.

This is more what I'd call Chicken Parts Covered With Some Kind of Reddish Paste and Laid Out Upon Some Stuff. With A Garnish.

Anyway, it is indeed chicken parts, and the paste seems to be a flour/tomato sauce/paprika type thing, and the bed is apparently cooked noodles. Nice serving fork. Every time I see one of those I think of the second night of the Manson Murders, and I'll say no more about that at this time.

Anyway, nice fruit bowl there, and the peas are just this side of beautiful.

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:

* My clarinet playing this week, well, sucked. My tone reeked, and my embouchure had no idea what it wanted to do. Maybe it's a good thing I missed that concert after all.

* Acro will be making his return tomorrow, he's informed me he's ready to work again.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Post-Holiday Blog

You know, there's a thing about holidays. I don't know exactly what that thing is, but I'm sure there's some sort of a thing.

I think the current thing is that the holidays have given me a little time to, well, not to put too fine a point on it, loaf.

No acro means no acrowinners, which means no Tuesday blog leading to the acrowinners, which means...well, you know what it means.

Plus, as you may have guessed, I seem to be under a little stress. Steering Wheel Cleanup has not gone as smoothly as I was expecting. And to be frank, I wasn't expecting it to be very smooth.

But I got a little energetic last night and cleaned around the Poderosa, changed my bed linens, did some laundry, made some tuna salad, looked at my pictures from July 4th, and tried to be fairly productive. And get ready for today, aka my afternoon off, when I'd be having to deal with SWC in earnest.

Here's what's happened since I last left you to loaf. Good ol' Dave, at the dealership, called me to tell me why I, at 65mph, suddenly had the astounding ability to lift my steering wheel over my head. Seems there's something called "a nut" (I'm getting technical here, so bear with me) that holds my steering wheel on. And for some reason, that nut decided to back itself off the rod that kept my steering wheel where it's supposed to be, a good 12 or so inches below my head.

On that first phone call, Dave tried to tell me that the nut (again, hope I'm not being too technical) came off because it had once been taken off and replaced and not replaced very well. I had trouble with this explanation right off the bat because 1) I've never had any work done on my steering before, and 2) it just felt a little "passing the buck"ish to me. But I left it at that because as we all know, I'm a weenie and just couldn't bring myself to argue.

Enter Dad.

Today Dear Old Dad went with me to the dealership to help me get more stuff out the podmobile, talk to Dave face-to-face, and look at new podmobiles. When I went to get the keys from Dave, the real Dave (my dad) decided he was going to discuss this further.

And so the two Daves had a talk, and this time the story changed a bit. This time it wasn't a done deal that the nut (it's called a nut, you know) was replaced badly, it could have come from the factory like that. That seemed even a little more "passing the buck"ish to me, or at least more "I'm talking to you face-to-face now, so I need to do some fancy footwork here since you know your steering hasn't been worked on and if it was we're the ones who did the work"ish. And so I left one Dave, with another in tow, not knowing what to think or feel.

Real Dave and I then went over and looked at podmobiles and other cars too, and the prices were, well, in a word, outrageous. And I decided then and there that no podmobile of mine would be coming from that dealership. So I told my dad, "Hell, let's go home, call Original Dealership (where the podmobile was actually purchased), tell them our sad tale, and see what happens."

And that's just what we did. And we got a really nice Darrin on the phone (or was it Durwood. or Drebbin. or Darwin.). He told us about podmobiles in stock, price ranges (a good - get this - $8000 cheaper than what we were looking at - and these were 2006s instead of the 2005s we'd seen earlier), and what was the best route to go via the not-completely-dead-but-definitely-limping original podmobile.

So the decision was made. Saturday I'll be schlepping it to C'burg to get a new podmobile. We're going to have the original fixed and use it as a paltry (but anything's better than nothing - and remember that thought for later) trade-in.

In the meantime, today I phoned up my new friend Hope at Podmobile Inc. I wanted to make a last-ditch effort to see if anything could be done via the hell that my June 28th became.

Hope told me what the dealership told her, and that they basically had no idea why my steering wheel went gonzo on me. She said there'd been no prior reports of this happening, which could have been because anyone else it happened to was dead and couldn't make the call, but I didn't say that out loud. She said she took the case to her manager and he said the same thing. There was an uncomfortable silence, and since I didn't know what else to say, I told her I was trading the vehicle off, and had been toying with the idea of trading it off even before I went drifting into a guardrail with tractor trailers flying at me.

She then asked me if I was going with Inc. for my new vehicle, and I told her yes. (And please don't ask me why - I can't help it, other than the fact that I almost died in it, my Inc. vehicle has been the easiest-to-own and best vehicle I've ever had.) So my new friend Hope told me that if I did indeed buy a new vehicle from Inc., she'd make sure I got a check for $500 for my trouble. Which will just about cover the repair on the original podmobile.

So I guess if anyone asks you out there what a human life's worth, $500 should be the answer you give. But to be honest, I feel like I've scored a small victory, because to be honest again, ever since that first Dave phone call I've been expecting a big fat nothing as far as any kind of "goodwill gesture" is concerned. (Hope even used that term yet again for me, "goodwill gesture." I think I'm going to start incorporating it into my vernacular at TheCompanyIWorkFor.) So once again, I guess anything is better than nothing.

And that's where things stand right now. Stay tuned for any new announcements. $8000 cheaper for a vehicle a year newer. Wow. And I'll be poor for the next four years, but I've been preparing for that, so I'll try not to whine about it.

Oh, and tomorrow's Friday. This is one week I'll be happy to see the end of.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* On July 4 as I was loafing when I should have been getting ready to go to B'burg, I caught an episode of everyone's favorite tear-fest, "Little House on the Prairie." Normally, I give this show a very wide berth, but who should I see immediately after turning it on but Chuck McCann. Chuck played Antonapoulos in "The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter," that wonderful movie starring none other than Mr Arkin (that's Mr F Arkin to you). Mr Antonapoulos was a deaf-mute. And in this episode of "Little House," Mr McCann was playing - a deaf-mute! Was it an homage? Is it all Chuck can play? Is he really a deaf mute? (No, I know he's not.) Anyway, the town was up in arms over having a bell for their church, and everyone was fighting everyone else over it, so Mr Antonapoulos on the Prairie, who just happened to be a tinker, went away while everyone was fighting and dammit, he made them a bell. And everyone cried.
* Oh, and speaking of Mr F, he's supposed to be on "Will and Grace" tonight. I can't believe I'll have to watch that show, but I'll be there, baby.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

(Before you ask, no acro tomorrow. Acrobasket has informed me he does not work on July 4th, Christmas, or his birthday.)

Picture Sunday

Hello out there, all you holiday weekenders. Welcome to another installment of Picture Sunday.

And may I just say we have an assortment of lovely pictures for you this week.

As you all know by now, I almost died this past week (three times), and the podmobile is lingering between life, death, and being traded off because I'll never feel safe in him again. And while I'm in the process of finding out which of those three he shall be, I'm in the Temporary Podmobile. I've actually driven him surprising little, which is a shame, really, seeing as how I have unlimited mileage. I should just get in that sucker and take off for parts unknown. Anyway, there he sits, taking it easy in the driveway. In fact, I caught him there this way.

I don't know. Truth be told, that looks more like a lady podmobile substitute than a man, but what do I know about sexing a car?

What else has been up? Well, for those of you who have it, I'm sure you know BBCAmerica's showing a Monty Python marathon. Now, this is going to be hard for me to say. Because BBCAmerica may well be the favorite channel I get, and God knows how I love the Pythons. But they're starting to make me - yes - a little sick of that show. They show it all the fuckin' time! 4 and 5 episodes at a time, a marathon every few weekends. I love the stuff, but give us a break! Spread it out, make us appreciate it a little more!

Anyway, Mr M was down yesterday, and we were watching, and so of course he asked me if I'd put on the closed-captioning. As you know, I've had some fun encounters in the world of closed-captioning. But yesterday's may have been the most fun yet.

See, when the titles came up for every Python, a caption would tell us that [Sousa's "LibertyBell March" is playing]. Then at the end of the titles we'd get [Music ends with a raspberry], or [Music ends with a squawk], and once I even saw [Music ends with a rude noise]. But on a few rare and golden occasions (two to be exact - one yesterday and one today), we'd get this.

Can they do that? Well, I guess they did.

Both yesterday and today I got to have a little quality time in the pool. I hadn't mentioned it before, but I'm back on the swimming treadmill, if in fact there is such a thing. I'm currently at 45 laps and hoping to increase, of course.

But what's the good of having access to a pool if you can't have a little relaxing fun there? Well, that question was not mine actually, it was posed to me by someone very special, who sees a swimming pool as an opportunity for fun and not work.

Don't worry. He's wearing spf 250. He also did a little relaxing by the pool as well, since my swimming created some waves and he was under strict orders from Mr You-Know-Who not to get his clarinet wet.

Finally, it's recipe du jour time. And this one comes from the "weight control" file, and why not, if I was served soup that looked liked Rachael Ray's garbage bowl, I could probably keep my weight down too. Look out below, it's Cioppino!

It's just like the soup version of paella! All those shells and bones and shit floating around in there. I don't care what it tastes like, it looks like garbage. Get it out of my sight! Well, no, bring it back here and at least let me have the broth, because the serving suggestions are a relish bowl and ginger pears. Guess who's going to bed hungry tonight....

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* In an effort to raise the level of sophistication around here, and to keep Mr Peanut off the booze, Peabody has started a reading club amongst the characters in my house. He and Peanut are reading "War and Peace," Sherman's reading "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," Huckleberry Hound and good luck baby Lily are reading "Dick and Jane at the Seashore," and Gossamer ate a magazine.
* I've watched two - count them, I know you won't - movies in one week that had the same song as the opening credits song. That would be "So I Married An Axe Murderer" and "Fever Pitch." The song would be "There She Goes," originally by The Las.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Friday Night Me

Tonight's Friday night, and that means Chill Night In Betland. You don't even need a ticket, "E" or otherwise, to enjoy.

Nothing new on the podmobile front. I got home from a particularly harrowing day at work, around 6:00, only to find - a message on my answering machine. From the car dealership. Now, may I just have a small moment of ranting here to explain why this pisses me off so?

It's not just the dealership. It's anyone. The doctor, the dentist, the cable people, anyone. You need something, they ask for your home and work phone. You give them. And you say, well, I don't know what you say, but I always say this - "During the day, please call my work number." I even make a little joke: "I'm always there." And so what do the bastards do? They call me at home, leave a message on my machine, and I get back too late to do anything about it.

And that's what happened to me today re the car dealership. So I'm sure there's some sort of news about Steering Wheel Hell, but I couldn't tell you what it is. And with the holidays, I probably won't know till Tuesday. (I don't have to give money to Aimee Mann for typing "till Tuesday," do I?)

So fuck it for now. I have the rental, and it's Friday night. I thought I'd give you a little Picture Friday, actually. This is called Chill Night In Betland.

Yep. Got the coffee, the jammies, the footies, and tonight, the paints. I'm just goofing around though. Experimenting with my new masking liquid. No Picasso, me.

Betland's Olympic Update:

I think I'm going to take the "Three Things" challenge. Stennie took it, took it from Kirsten K. I looked at the questions, and some of them looked quite hard for me. But I'll give it a go. And hey, I published a picture, so of course Blogger's spacing will go all fucky for me. So hope you don't like everything too close together!

Three screen names that you have had: "betula," (it was Halloween - Stennie was "Frankenstennie"), "be3t," (the 3 is silent), "MrSinger" (ahhhh, I love Mr Singer)

Three things you like about yourself: I'm nice, I keep secrets, sometimes I'm stronger than I think

Three things you don't like about yourself: My looks, my timidity, my defeatist attitude

Three parts of your heritage: Since I know nothing about my roots (other than "cousins marrying") I'll say stubbornness, love of music, and an accent

Three things that scare you: Flying, nuclear weaponry, and snakes

Three of your everyday essentials: Crystal Light pink lemonade, a protein bar, blog access

Three things you are wearing right now: Turquoise pajamas (but no motorcycle hat), white footies, a really nice bra

Three of your favorite songs: I'll pick a random 3 I was just listening to: "Caleb Meyer," Gillian Welch, "Heathen Town," Elvis Costello, "It's Late," Ricky Nelson

Three new things you want to try in the next 12 months: Re-entering the world of car payments, being a bold sightreader, riding a bike up a big hill

Three things I want in a relationship: Someone who likes me. The other 2 don't matter.

Two truths and a lie: I've met a Beatle, I once ate dog food, I've thrown a pie in someone's face

Three things you can't do without: Music, family, friends

Three places you want to go on vacation: LA, Chicago, Ireland

Three things you just can't do: Play a nice high G, make tuna pasta salad, get over dog ownership fear

Three kids' names: Taylor, Andrew, Brent

Three things you want to do before you die: Live, live, live

Three Celeb crushes: Alan F Arkin, Marcello Mastroianni, David Strathairn

Three people you want to know these things about: Anyone, but I doubt three people want to know them about me.