Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Oh, The Shame

As you all know, for if you don't you definitely haven't been listening, I am a Text Twist addict. I play over and over, during my lunch hour from work, when I get home while deciding what my evening's work activities should be, and often late into the night. That's not what this is about, though. It's not the problem. I can stop anytime I want to, really I can.

What the problem is is that Text Twist is part and parcel of a website that stays afloat by ads. Not pop-up ads and thank God for that, because as much as I love playing Text Twist I couldn't do it if pop-up ads were a part of it. To me, pop-ups are like flies, and just knowing one is in the room will make my blood pressure start to boil.

Sure, there are the "banner ads," the ones at the top of the site which I can use my scroll to move off the screen. That saves me from looking at them. Unfortunately, that doesn't save me from the fact that some of them (thank you, oh-so very much, Microsoft and Hewlett Packard, you bastards) "break" the game, which doesn't necessarily mean the game's broken, it just pauses for anywhere from 4 to 12 seconds at a time, the letters won't move on the screen, and when the clock starts moving again, those seconds are forever lost. When this happens three to four times during a round, you'd better have your six-letter word already in mind, because time is, well, going to be of the essence.

Then there are the ads that take the screen while the game is loading. Normally I don't mind these so much, as ads go, anyway, because they don't last long, and I can check my email or do other surfing while I wait. But they're annoying ads. And I'm sure all of you, on some website or other, have seen these ads. If not the exact ones, then a thousand just like them.

"Win a free dinner from The Cheesecake Factory if you can make a tic-tac-toe!" And the small boxed ad has a tic-tac-toe grid and the three Os are right in the center, holding up their little O arms screaming, "Here we are! Here we are!"

"Win a free dinner from The Olive Garden if you can find the word "free" in this grid!" And there's a small grid of letters, all Xs, Vs, and Zs, with F-R-E-E right in the middle of the grid, in red, flashing, with arrows pointing to each letter. (Shouldn't you have to be able to find the word "Ciao" to win dinner at the Olive Garden, though?)

However, the most annoying, and therefore the best, of these little box ads are the celebrity ads. "Who is this Hollywood Couple?" And there's a picture of Brad and Angelina, in all their glory save for pixelated faces, and we get the choices to pick from: 1) Brad and Angelina 2) Brad and Jennifer Anniston, and 3) some really off-the-wall pick like Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis.

Or "Who is this celebrity?" And it's a high school photo of George Clooney, or Bruce Willis, or Tom Hanks, or even Michael Jackson (giving you a couple of white guys as the other choices for him, which is funny, as high school was the only time Michael Jackson was actually black). These old photos of the famous are either incredibly obvious (Tom Hanks was the same in high school save for a more embarrassing hairdo), or they're the same old celebrity high school pictures we've all seen a hundred times before. (With George's money, you'd think he could get rid of that one high school picture of himself.)

Speaking of Angelina, there's a photo contest for her - "Who is this actress?" And there's a picture of Angelina in all her glory, as that girl from "Tomb Raider," and it's - well, it's a picture of Angelina Jolie with a small black strip over her eyes. The body's there, the hair, nose, and well, the lips. I mean, they'd have fooled more people if they'd have let her eyes go free and put the black strip over her lips. Anyway, the choices we have to choose from are Ms J herself, blonde and buxom Jessica Simpson, which that doesn't so much tell you that's the incorrect answer as the fact that the contest says "actress," and someone else, and it doesn't really matter, it's someone just as ludicrous as Jessica Simpson, and the whole reason I even mention this, other than the lips, is because of that "Tomb Raider" outfit. That "Tomb Raider" girl wears a silver belt with something engraved on it I swear is a brain. And that's just rather odd, if you ask me.

So anyway, the whole reason for this little entry, and for my undying shame. Yesterday, I came home from lunch and brought up Text Twist, hit all the right buttons, and came to my small box ad while the game was loading. And it was a celebrity quiz I'd not seen before. It was a "Who is this actor?" game, and there was a picture of a curly-haired smiling guy, and I got the choices of Tom Cruise, George Clooney, and Adam Sandler.

And I didn't know who it was.

I know it wasn't George, because it wasn't that awful picture of him (with the bad haircut) we're used to seeing. But was it Cruise? The hair was wrong, but the nose was right. Was it Sandler? The eyes were wrong, but the hair was right.

And I still don't know.

And I'm embarrassed to admit that, and even more embarrassed to admit that I care.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Acrowinners, we have acrowinners. A night late, but we have them. And so, what about corned beef.
- First of all, to Duke, who refused to play, in this instance "corn" does not refer to the yellow stuff, but it is a verb meaning, "to ruin." Actually, it means, "To cure the hell out of with salt and other stuff." What I don't understand is why there isn't corned chicken and corned ham. And corned hot dogs and corned potatoes. And, well, corned corn.
- Honorable Mention goes to Kellie (with an ie), with her, "Eat Slowly. Devour, Oh Righteous Dinner."
- Runner-Up goes to LilyG, with her, "Eat-Slim diet? Only radish decoration."
- And this week's winner goes to DeepFatFriar, with his, "Eat some, drool, order recurring dishes."
- Thanks to all who played - you've all done very well!

Labels:

Monday, August 27, 2007

Acrochallenge!

Yes, it's back, and more acroey than ever. After a week's absence, let's do another delightful round of acromania.

Tonight's acrotopic comes courtesy of Mr M. This is what happens when you have a Mr M in your life. You say, "Quick, give me an acrotopic," and the answer comes. "Corned beef." So there you go. "Odes To Corned Beef."

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 above, but also the letters below, which are randomly drawn from the acrobasket. The acrobasket loves a good Reuben sandwich. Then tomorrow night at 10:00 est I shall be reading the entries and naming the winners, who'll get a lifetime supply of corned beef. And forget what the non-winners get - after that winning prize, who'd want to come in second?

So, the topic is "Odes To Corned Beef." The letters:

Oh, shit. I've lost the acrobasket. No, here he is. The letters:

E S D O R D

If you can give me an ode to corned beef with those letters, you're a genius. You've been challenged. Now, acro!

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Arms update. Still jello. Worked out, though, and now they're leaded jello. I'm healthy! Really, I am!

Labels:

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Picture Sunday

Hello, end of weekenders, and welcome to another round of Picture Sunday.

Well. Aren't I just Betty Homeowner. As you all know, last week I decided to take up the gauntlet thrown down my previous Mowing Boys, who all left me to go off and have lives, and I bought my own little mower and decided the time was right for Mowing Girl. And so I mowed once, and was awfully impressed with myself, so much so that I mowed again the next week. That second mow was this past Thursday, it was 90 degrees at 7 pm, the humidity was hovering around 100%, and I thought I would die. I didn't, but I missed the first 20 minutes of an episode of "My Name Is Earl" I hadn't seen, so it was almost the same thing.

So, the thrill is gone after two mows, or at least till it cools down a little around here.

Anyway, Betty Homeowner. Not only have my own lawn mower, but my own shed to put it in.

























Oh, but my dear friends and blogees, that wasn't enough. Of course not. As Betty Homeowner, I also had to have something to trim those hard-to-reach places in the yard. So last night while I was in B'burg communing with Mr M and the DeepFatFriar, I just went hog wild and pig crazy and bought a weedeater.

























It's an electric model, which is fair enough for me, seeing as how I don't have a single electrical outlet on the outside of the Poderosa. But the electric had two big things going for it. It was cheaper, and it was lighter. I bought a big extension cord and prepared to let the good times roll.

Good thing I got the lightest one, because that weedeating isn't the easiest job around. After trimming around the driveway, front walk, house, and flower bed (which is completely devoid of flowers and very void of weeds), my left arm felt like jello. And it still does! I have a jello arm!

And so, please be happy that I'm becoming a responsible member of my neighborhood, even though it's not really much of a neighborhood to speak of. It's more of a road. And stay happy when I tell you you're going to be disappointed in the recipe du jour.

I've been in a bit of a recipe du jour crisis. You see, before, in my past crises, it's been the work involved. The coming up with ideas, making the dishes, turning them into cards. Right now my crisis seems to be that I can't take a decent picture of anything to save my ass. You know this. Look at the carrot pudding. Look at last week's, the absolutely stunning Lemon Meringue Pea. That dish was a million dollar dish, and I took a 2-cent photo of it.

So I've spent most of the evening not so much working on a dish, but working on combinations of camerawork and Paint Shop Pro work. The dish? Well, it's the end of the weekend. What did I have around? What do I always have around. From the "Protein Plus" file at cardland, please say hello if you dare to Chicken a l'Orange Crapius.






















Yep, take your basic boneless skinless chicken breast, stick it in the oven, then about halfway through the baking, mix up a batch of Orange Crapius protein drink to pour over it and finish baking. And my oh my, doesn't the Crapius take on an interesting texture when baked? It's a wonder, that stuff.

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* I've decided that as a way of sending mail to the nephew, I'm going to start making him postcards of recipes du jour.
* Really. It's jello.

Labels:

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Confessional

I'm a big fan of PostSecret.

For the uninitiated, PostSecret began some years ago as a simple project by its creator, Frank Warren. He's a man who came up with an idea wherein people write their deepest darkest secrets on a postcard and anonymously mail them to him. That way they can literally "let go" of their secrets. He placed a few fliers around his town, and on a local college campus, if I'm not mistaken, and sat back and waited. That was three years ago, and the postcards are still pouring in.

There is a PostSecret website, which posts new cards on Sundays. And I can be honest when I say there are but two things that make Monday worth getting up and heading out of the house for. One is knowing I'll record the hucklebug podcast Monday night, and the other is knowing that when I have a few minutes free on a busy Monday at work, I can check out the new secrets.

The secrets range from the heartbreaking to the hilarious, from the ridiculous to the sublime. They know no bounds. I have two of the PostSecret books. They contain postcards with everything from "I had gay sex at church camp" to "I ate dog in a foreign country (and liked it)."
People confess their abortions, molestations, secret crushes, embarrassing moments, and just things they want to say. Like, "I'm finally happy," or "When I pack my husband and kids off for the day, I dance around my house naked."

In this week's new blog crop of postcards, the one that caught my attention was "I want to throw my $12,000 cello down a flight of stairs."

At my first discovery of the whole PostSecret phenomenon those years back, I did what I guess everyone does. "Hmmm. What would my secret post card say?" For a long time I had two secrets. Well, I still have those two secrets and always will, and I'm not telling you them here, so don't hold out any hope. One was a "deep dark secret" I hated having, and the other is just something about me that no other person knows.

But as time goes on, and situations crop up, and I see some of what other people have chosen to share, my ideas change. As do my list of secrets. I've always thought I could make a pretty good Secret Card, because I like to do creative stuff like that. But what to confess. Oh, what to confess.

Here's the running list of confessionals.

* I enjoy watching "DeGrassi: The Next Generation." I'm in my forties. (Unfortunately, very unfortunately, that secret was revealed sometime back in a weak podcast moment.)

* Had I known the last time I saw both my grandmothers would be the last time, I'd have paid more attention to them. (Sad, but true.)

* God, do I want to just scream once in a while, "Shut the fuck up!" (To many people. I never will.)

* I'm afraid to own a dog. (Embarrassing, but true.)

* I've never regretted having kids, but I'm afraid I will one day. (I've been afraid of this for quite a while, though, and it's never come to pass.)

* Until about three years ago, I could not make myself puke. I learned, and it was quite empowering. (And very convenient at times.)

* I have horrible practice sessions with my clarinet because, even alone in the house, I can't stand to make a mistake. (It fills me with embarrassment.)

* I feel one of my best talents is pretending to listen to people while I'm actually listening to conversations going on up to ten feet away. (This may get me invited to a lot more parties!)

* When my sister wears her black leather open-toe sandals with the the sling back and the rope wedge heels, I want to stomp on her feet until they're bruised and bloodied. (These shoes are so ugly, they actually make me angry.)

* I hate to set an object on top of a photograph because it makes me feel like if I do, something bad will happen to the person in the photograph. (I'm not superstitious, but I can not help but feel this way.)

* For two years after seeing "Night of the Living Dead," I was afraid to look through the blinds on my bedroom window. (Such a cheesy movie, but I swear, I couldn't stand the thought of zombies walking through my back yard towards my house.)

But through the somber and the funny, the embarrassing and the angry, there is one secret above all that keeps coming back to me. Why is this? I do not know. But it was in the first round of secrets to pop into my head those years ago, and it's never left.

So I'm confessing to you.

























Why is this the secret I need to "let go" of? I guess because I feel bad about it in so many ways. If I didn't like any potato salad, I wouldn't feel so bad. But that's not the case. I just don't like Mom's. If she didn't go to the trouble of making me a special batch, I wouldn't feel so bad. But she does. I've tried to politely tell her I like the "other kind" of potato salad ("other" being anything but congealed mustard and sweet pickles with mushy potatoes), but she hasn't caught the hint. And I feel bad about wasting food. But I am. And it's gone on for years. I mean, years.

By the way, no one in my family reads my blog, so I'm not in any danger of breaking Mom's heart, or escaping another Tupperware container of egg white-less potato salad.

But it's out now. You saved me the price of a stamp.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Well, we had a few takers in the Caption the Picture contest.
- Runner-Up goes to LilyG, with her, "I know my mother always wanted a girl and put me in this sari and put this bindi on my forehead, but couldn't I at LEAST get to play the saxophone or the drums?"
- And this week's winner goes to Duke, with his, "Man, the belly dancers here at Dave's BBQ sure suck."
- Thanks to those who played!

Labels:

Monday, August 20, 2007

Unacrochallenge!

Hello, Monday gamesters. Yes, you're normally all acroers, acroees, and acroites, but I thought maybe tonight we could stray from the acropath and play something new. Might work, might not.

I was thinking we could play a little round of "Caption the Picture." I was throwing away some old catalogs at work today, and I happened upon that wildest of periodicals, yes the magazine money-back guaranteed to cure insomnia, The Clarinet. I remember when I first received this issue. The cover made me laugh. It's just so completely opposite what their covers normally are, that would be your stuffy clarinetist portraits in black and white, often from the 1940s.

























So how about captioning the picture? We'll do it just like acromania. Everyone will get three entries if they like to come up with caption. The acrobasket will sit around and twiddle his handles for a week, and at 10 pm est tomorrow I shall read the entries and name the winners.

Now, what are you waiting for? Caption the damn picture.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* I'm really tired. I have absolutely no reason to be tired, but I'm tired.
* My nephew began his first day of college today. Awwwwwwwwww.

Labels:

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Picture Sunday

Hello, end of weekenders, and welcome to a recipe-only round of Picture Sunday. Hey, you got a picture on Friday. Consider it a bonus.

Things were fairly back to normal this weekend, went to B'burg, played some clarinet duets, then went to the town's local summer musical, for which Mr M played in the orchestra. It was "Bye, Bye, Birdie," and it mixed the quite good with the horrendously bad. Oh well, it was a night out.

I've been spending the past week, besides mowing, trying to get to the bottom of my ever-disappearing funds in the bank book problem. (Remember that blog a couple of years ago?) I'm determined to prove to myself that it is in fact me and not the bank. I'm not sure why I want to prove that it is me and not the bank, but I do. Maybe I just want to trust my bank.

Anyway, because all of this, I have no pictures, and I don't really care. Because I have a recipe du jour I'm sure you'll all enjoy so much you won't even notice the lack of pictures elsewhere. It comes from the "Fancy Desserts" file in cardland, and please say hello to it now, Lemon Meringue Pea.



















Lemon Meringue Pea combines the wholesome goodness of pie with the wholesome goodness of peas. It's your basic lemon meringue pie recipe with a few peas thrown into the mix. Just a few though - you don't want to overpea things. Bake, then refrigerate, and top with a single delicate pea.

The most important thing about the recipe du jour, though? I want to stress that I do not - and I repeat this, I do not - have any pink walls in my home. That picture was taken against a white door. I have no pink walls.

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* The best part of "Bye Bye Birdie?" Hugo Peabody. Played by a kid probably 13, looked about 9, but damn was that kid good! A 9-year old Olivier, I'm telling ya. Oh, and Mr M's solo in "Shriner's Ballet" rocked.

Labels:

Friday, August 17, 2007


This is a Good Lawn! This is a Mother's Angel!

A little catch-up blog for a Friday.

Today, my dear, sweet, funny, and tender-hearted nephew left for college. I got to see him for a while yesterday, where we talked a lot about the movie "DiG!" and his recent dental experience. On Monday, he had seven, yes, count them, I know you won't, teeth pulled. Four wisdom teeth, a regular tooth at the back, and two "extras." He had the beginnings of an extra set. Like a shark.

My sister told me that on the way home from this excursion, the boy, who was still way under the influence of whatever put him under, kept telling her the same story over and over. That the surgeon's ceiling had a panel in it that looked like an aquarium and had all the characters from "Finding Nemo" in it. And this panel had the feature of, as you've got a needle in your arm, starting to move around, and finally Nemo waved his little fin at you. She had no idea if any of this was true, but he sure seemed to like telling her the story.

Taylor went back for a checkup later in the week, and confirmed that there was indeed a panel on the ceiling with the Nemo characters in it, but that it was sadly incapable of springing into action and letting Nemo wave his little fin. Shame. I liked the "stoned" version better.

Anyway, I'm not so much losing a nephew as I am gaining a college student. However, I am losing a Mowing Boy.

For those of you who may not have been around so long to know the storied history of the Poderosa, I have had a series of Mowing Boys. The first, the original and never to be replaced Mowing Boy, came to my house the Spring after I moved in. He'd mowed for the previous owner, and wanted to mow for me, too. And I jumped at the chance, jumped with such enthusiasm I think I scared the poor boy, but for over two years he was my dear, brave, valiant, and stalwart Mowing Boy. He mowed, unearthed snakes, destroyed bees' nests, walked into my house by mistake a couple of times, and saw me answer the door once wearing nothing but a towel. I'd like to think I prepared him for this thing called life.

After Mowing Boy graduated from high school, I inherited his father. Mowing Dad. Mowing Dad had a regular job, in a bank, but liked mowing yards and being outside, and I was keen to have him continue in his son's footsteps. He did a fine job with the yard, and was a nice fellow, but he just didn't have that "special something" his son had. And then he decided he wanted to slow down a bit and dropped a few yards, of which mine was one. No hard feelings, bye bye Mowing Dad.

And then I found my next Mowing Boy. Found him right under my nose, I did. It was my dear, sweet, funny, and tender-hearted nephew. He was a different kind of Mowing Boy. He was the kind of Mowing Boy who had an aunt for a client. He mowed just fine, but he didn't make regular rounds, didn't sweep or rake, and had the funny but not quite endearing trait of not bothering to pick things up out of the yard. I swear as God is my witness, if a jet engine part fell from the sky and into my yard, he'd run the lawn mower right over it rather than to kick it out of the yard. I've found shredded paper bags, shredded paper cups, shredded aluminum cans, and shredded who knows what else in the yard after his visits. I have to sweep the grass off my driveway and front walk after he's been there. But damn if he's not the cutest Mowing Boy I've ever had, and I couldn't help but go all warm and fuzzy sitting in the house and hearing him outside, plugged into his iPod, singing away.

And now he's off to go live his life. He found two friends of his to take over his yards, but I declined. I found a new Mowing Boy for the future.

Me!

Yes, I'm about to enter the oh-so exciting world of lawn care. I've always loved those little, as I call them, "pbbbbbbt mowers," but they're actually called reel cut mowers, and I started reading up on them. Made better now than in the old days and better for the lawn. I told my dad my plans, and got the same answer I get from him anytime I let him in on a plan of mine. "You can't do that!" Ever the encourager, my good old dad. Sometimes I listen and sometimes I don't, and this time I didn't. I decided to be my own Mowing Boy, and that was that.

So after doing a little pricing and research, I went this week and bought a reel cut mower. It was fairly inexpensive and easy to put together. It has a bagger, but I didn't attach it during the put-together Wednesday, simply because it was getting late and I wanted to try it out. I hauled it outside, and gave the yard a mow. It was easy, only took 45 minutes, and if I may say so myself, didn't look half bad.

Next time I'm hooking the bagger on and letting the good times roll. And in defense of the nephew, by the time I was on my last couple of rows, I think I would have mowed over a jet engine part as well.

So Mowing Boy is gone. Long Live Mowing Girl!

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Not much to report. Just Friday Chilling.
* By the by, the nephew's an Obama man.

Labels:

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Lost Again

Since I didn't post a Picture Sunday this past week, maybe I can make up for it tonight.

As those hucklebug listeners out there already know, as it was my "lowlight of the week" last podcast, every year in August our little town of B'field celebrates something called Lemonade Days. It's a very small-town type of a thing. See, since the 1940s, if ever the temperature gets to 90 degrees, it is declared that the next day the town gives its citizens free lemonade. Several years ago the town decided to celebrate this little oddity we've created for ourselves by having Lemonade Days.

Free lemonade, a parade, fun and frivolity, and of course, the annual window-decorating contest. All the businesses in the town are obliged to enter. And so TheCompanyIWorkFor does. Every year. And every year we lose.

Now, TheCompanyIWorkFor is at a definite disadvantage in this contest. We have three tall, slim windows. We don't have display windows with floors in them like shops in the town have. So there's not a hell of a lot we can do by way of decoration, but we try to use our imagination and do the best we can.

Last year we used our little window space to make the Lemon Art Gallery, which you can see if you go here (Aug 6, '06), and when judging time came the judge, a local TV weather guy, stood, looked, laughed, and - did not judge us the winner.

This year, we decided to go with another gallery, this time we chose the Evolution of Lemonade. Again, the judge, the same guy, stood, looked, laughed, and - did not judge us the winner. We didn't even place this year.

He told us he loved our ideas, but we just didn't use enough decorations. I guess the whole "we don't have a store front with a bigass window and all" theory is lost on him.

Anyway, I thought I'd print this year's crop of lemon portraits for you tonight. The Sunday after the judging I rescued these from our windows, in their little gold frames, in a driving rainstorm, so please excuse some of the splotches you may see.

So let's begin the Evolution of Lemonade. Beginning with the earliest known evidence.



















And how about those clever Egyptians?





















Ahhhh, it was a grand day, the first public sale of lemonade. Too bad Russell Crowe was there to ruin it for everyone, throwing things, pouting, being, well, Russell Crowe.



















And how about that Leonardo Da Vinci? He was a genius.



















"Ahhh, this is the land our God has brought us to," said the pilgrims. Little did we know until now just why they picked Plymouth Rock.



















Prohibition. Nasty time. But we made do.


















And finally, a little epilogue of the ways to mine lemonade.



















And.....scene.

Next year we're making a giant lemon to paste over our three small windows, engraving it with the legend, "Suck this."

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Acrowinners, we have acrowinners. So, why do firemen wear red suspenders?
- Honorable Mention goes to Michelle, with her, "Groping harlots keeps veins jumping!"
- Runner-Up goes to Kellie, with her, "Green Had Kitschy Velvet. Joke!"
- And this week's winner goes to LilyG, with her "Goofy headgear keeps vests jiggling."
- Thanks to all who played, you've all done very well!

Labels:

Monday, August 13, 2007

Acrochallenge!

Hello, Monday acroers, and welcome to another round of acromania.

I did a lot of laughing over the weekend. I did more laughing over incredibly dumb things. So, let's do some dumb giggling for this week's acrochallenge. Just answer the question - "Why Do Firemen Wear Red Suspenders?" Simple enough.

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 above, but also the letters below, which are randomly drawn from the acrobasket. The acrobasket doesn't wear any color suspenders, but he has two small handles. Then tomorrow night at 10:00 est I shall be reading the entries and naming the winners and non-winners. And probably giggling.

So, the topic, "Why Do Firemen Wear Red Suspenders?" The letters:

G H K V J

And there you have it. Hike up your pants and acro.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* I can't seem to get caught up on my sleep. It's all I've done since Sunday morning, and all I want to do.

Labels:

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Please Excuse Bet...

...from a Picture Sunday this week. She had all good intentions and even a recipe idea, but is apparently too old and infirmed to stay up all night on Saturday and do a Picture Sunday today.

Hello, end of weekenders, and welcome to pictureless Sunday blog. As anyone who has 1) read this blog in the past week or two, or has 2) had to endure my begging for donations and pledges knows, I spent all day yesterday and all night last night with Stennie (via a Skype internet hookup) participating in our Podcastathon to raise money for the American Cancer Society.

I don't see how it could have gone any better, and I had a blast.

Well, truth be told, I guess it could have gone better had I arrived at my computer on time.

It all started at 9 am Saturday, which meant I was supposed to be at my computer at 8:45 to record our first podcast to be uploaded at 9. I set all alarms, and brought out the big guns, the ironclad alarm clock, I had my mom call me at 8:15. I popped out of bed, stretched, splashed some water on my face, and it was so nice and cool in my house I thought, "Hmmm, I'll have a little sit in the Comfy Chair." And oh dear, I grabbed my little purple blankie and threw it over me.

I woke up at 8:55, and then had to face Stennie. I wasn't sure I'd live through the first podcast.

She got over it quickly, though, and we spent the next 24 hours talking, laughing, drinking coffee, eating junk food, laughing, singing TV theme songs, playing Fact or Crap, laughing, playing $25,000 Pyramid, trying to stump but not be stumped at movie quotes, watching Eddie Izzard's "Dress To Kill," laughing, playing the clarinet and guitar, taking text pages online and reading comments from people, watching "Cash in the Attic," "Bargain Hunt," and "Life On Mars," laughing, and, did I mention we laughed a lot?

We also raised a very nice sum of money for the ACS.

We had a long line of friends and listeners joining us with emails, comments, pledges, and messages of goodwill. We even found a way to have some special guests via remote hookups, Michelle the Dishy joined us and sang the TV theme "The Electric Company," Mr M played clarinets for us, Duke came on the show to tell us all about his new television guilty pleasure, "Johnny Socko and his Giant Flying Robot," and Mike came along around the 4:30 am shift to, well, to not get to say much at all.

LilyG wanted to join us on the show but couldn't get the software going, but was there at the very beginning, during the day, and when we finished up. And Michelle also tried to hook us up with her party full of Germans, but it didn't work because of their internet capabilities. Kellie (with an ie) joined us via computer and fancy-ass cell phone, during which time she sent the Podcastathon into mobile mode and took us paddleboating with her and the family. The DeepFatFriar was standing by to compose limericks for pledges. Then we heard from a large contingent of Stennie's friends from Washington.

And so, here's the world's biggest thanks to LilyG, Kellie (with an ie), Michelle the Dishy, Mr M, Capt A (who is never in the same room as Mr M), Duke, Mike, the DeepFatFriar, Marla, Alisa, the Former Flipsycab, and ThePete, Stiglitz, and ScottyDude (who all wished us well).

And even tonight, the pledges are still coming in. My cousin Jacob, whose mother was the coolest aunt in the world, just got my email, and lent her support.

Hours 19-24 were the hardest. From about 3:30 to 5:30 we had almost no listeners, and had to entertain ourselves by watching television. For me, it became very difficult when the sun started coming up, because I knew it was getting close to the end, but that I couldn't leave till 9:00 this morning.

When I did the Blogathon a few years ago, I had a strange occurrence when I signed off for the final blog, went to bed - and was so wound up I couldn't sleep. It was miserable. This year, we signed off for the final podcast, I turned off the lamp, washed out my coffee cup, went to bed - and was out like a light within 10 minutes. I slept till about 2:45 this afternoon.

And now it's over, I have my life back, and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that what I often say to anyone who'll listen is true. I have the coolest and most generous friends on the planet. And I love each and every one of them.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Maybe we can do a picture blog through the week.
* And I'm not posting those podcastathon instructions anymore! However, if you haven't pledged and still want to, head to the blog below.
* Thanks again, everyone!

Labels:

Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Headset Made A Ridge In My Skull!

And that was only 1/3 into the fun and frivolity. Thank God for caps.



















Yes, I'm right here at the Podcastathon. Well, I'm not at it, it's here with me. And it's over there with Stennie. People are listening, people are commenting, people are donating, and people are giving us challenges and topics.

Want to hear us sing your favorite TV theme? Well, just ask. Want us to tell you our favorite of anything on the face of the earth? Well, just tell us so.

And if you're reading this before 9:00 Sunday morning, by all means, join us at www.hucklebug.com. Those who have haven't regretted it yet!

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Contrary to popular belief, if you look at the picture, anyway, I am not bored.

Labels:

Friday, August 10, 2007

Having A Wild, Wild Weekend

It was 85 degrees in my house last night. I kept hoping when I finally went to bed, well, not to bed but to couch, for I decided to try a sleep in the living room of my heat pumpless home, that it would at least cool down to 80 or so, but not to be. It was 85.

I was lying on the couch, panting, sweating, and wide awake, at 2:40 am when out of the blue, a thought found my head and hit it like a brick. My car's state inspection sticker expired in July.

I can't believe I forgot, and I can't believe I never got caught. Especially since I've driven all over town for over two weeks, back and forth to B'burg several times, and all the way to Elkton, VA and back. I guess I've been lucky, well, in that respect, but I knew now my lunch hour was pretty much shot today while I went to the garage to be inspected.

I fell off to sleep at about 4:15, woke up, in a sweat, and got ready for work. Lunch hour did in fact consist of state inspection duties, and I found out during this that I need two new front tires. Badly. Badly and baldly, because the garage fellows told me my front tires were so bald they should actually have rejected me instead of giving me a sticker. They like me, though, and said that if I promised them I'd replace those tires within the week, they'd pass me on through, and I did. And I will. I don't want to be traveling around on bald tires.

From there it was to the bank, a trip during which I had to pass by the Poderosa. Imagine the squeal of delight that threw itself from my body when I saw the Furnace Man's van in my driveway. I figured I'd have just enough time to go to the bank, come back to the Pod, bat my eyes and say, "My Hero!" to the Furnace Man, and grab something to eat before heading back to the office. However, when I arrived back home from the bank, the Furnace Man had *whoosh!* taken back off on his way to help out some other poor soul, and I was left alone.

With a wonderfully cool house.

It completely changed my outlook on life. I spent the afternoon at work full of energy, shopped after work, came home, cleaned up the house, made dinner, and watched a movie. And now I'm ready for bed, to wake up early tomorrow and begin the Podcastathon.

For some strange reason, I'm looking forward to it. I think it's going to work, and I hope you'll all join Stennie and I as often as you possibly can. We'll need buddies and moral support.

I have my Podcastathon Preparedness Kit ready, too.




















Yes, there's my coffee, coffee filters, which are holding some Tylenol and Soltice for head and neck aches, snacks like Nip Chee crackers (which we call Nabs around here), peanuts, and protein bars (I'm planning on gaining 10 pounds in 24 hours), Tums, and a list of Podcastathon topics sent in by our kind listeners.

We'll be posting the first podcast at 9:00 tomorrow morning, and going, twice an hour, till 9 am Sunday. Everyone is welcome - the time has come to help us kick cancer's ass!

Betland's Olympic Update:
* One last time, if you're interested in helping us raise money for the American Cancer Society, please read on:

1. Go here, to www.hucklebug.com.
2. Read all about it.
3. It will direct you here, to the American Cancer Society online donation site. It's very user-friendly, and will even let you make a donation in memory of someone, or in someone's honor, and it will send a card for you, too!
4. If you don't feel happy with online stuff, go here. It takes you to a page with the American Cancer Society's address for mail-in contributions. Write a check, stamp an envelope, and let the good times roll.
5. Then - and this is very important - Go right back here, this is the hucklebug.com site. Click where it says "comments," and let us know how much you contributed. You don't have to sign up, sign in, leave your name, or anything else. If you want to be anonymous you can, but you can advertise your generosity to us in all capital letters if you like. We need you to do this so we can keep track of how much we're raising for the American Cancer Society.

OR!

If you want to make a pledge and follow up on it after you know we completed the podcastathon, just go here, to the hucklebug.com site, and say, anonymously or not, "I pledge so much." Then when you know we were successful, contribute online or by mail.

Labels:

Thursday, August 09, 2007

*Tssssssssssssssss!*

Yes, it's that hot. The Air Conditioning Fan Part Gods did not in fact smile upon my sad person, and I'm still stuck here in mid 90-degree heat with no air conditioning. Sleep was pretty much a joke last night, with my lying in bed uncovered save for a swath of bedsheet over my nether regions. I felt as if I must have looked like Jesus.

My ankles are swollen, and now I'm left with the lingering fear that the part for my heat pump won't even arrive tomorrow, and that I'll have to do the Podcastathon in the crackerbox in which I live, which has been renamed from the Poderosa to the Africa Memorial Hothouse.

Since this is indeed Podcastathon week here in Betland and I told you all about my favorite aunt in the world, Nadine, on Tuesday, I thought tonight I might give you a slight update on my dad.

Dad had a cat scan today. This is because last week, he - finished his chemo! (I'll pause for thunderous applause.)

However, now begins the round of radiation. And frankly, this scares the bejesus out of me. (I'll pause for pats on the shoulder.)

Radiation just burns the body. That's all there is to it. I've seen people go through it, and see what they look like afterwards. I've seen all the other ailments that accrue while the radiation is being burned. But he has to do it, five days a week, and all I can hope for is that he does as well as he did with the chemo.

Well, truth be told, what I hope for is that today's cat scan says, "Hey! You're all better, Dad! You can go home now and live your life!"

But in the harsh world of reality, I know that the radiation will come, and that I'll have to see whatever it brings for Dear Old Dad, good or bad.

However, let's focus a little on the positive. I could not possibly be any prouder of my father. He's been an exemplary cancer patient. And I must admit, at first I was worried. Not only about the disease itself, but about his reaction to it. I saw the effect his macular degeneration had on him, and was afraid finding out he had lung cancer would be the blow that would just send him to the corner, curled into a ball, waiting out his life.

But this has not been the case, my friends and blogees. He took the cancer news way better than the macular news, and he's gone through it like a champion. His outlook is great, he's so positive and upbeat, I've watched him joking around with the nurses at the doctor's office, and about his loss of hair. He's been more active than he was even before the diagnosis, mowing the yard, doing odd jobs around the house, getting out and shopping and visiting with Mom. He's complained about the fatigue from chemo but fought through it, and to be honest, the only thing I've actually seen him get the least depressed over is the traveling back and forth to the doctor over and over.

In fact, I have to say that until radiation came knocking at the door, I've been more worried about my mom, the caretaker, than Dad. (I'll pause for good thoughts towards Mom.)

Anyway, it's been an odd thing. I grew up thinking my dad was The Man. I lived in a family that never fought much, we all get along, and I thought my dad was the strongest, most generous, hardest-working man around. After he retired, I watched him slide into a real decline. He became depressed, and losing his vision depressed him even more. He didn't want to do anything. He didn't want to go anywhere. He was often cranky. Real cranky.

Now that he has cancer, I have my old dad back! He's active, and has a purpose, and has fight in him again. Happy Hour has become one drink, and he no longer smokes.

And he's full of hope. I like hope.

So please, if you can, join us for the Podcastathon, starting Saturday at 9 am and going till Sunday at 9 am.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Once again, the Podcastathon instructions, and remember, I am going to keep printing these till everyone pledges!

1. Go here, to www.hucklebug.com.
2. Read all about it.
3. It will direct you here, to the American Cancer Society online donation site. It's very user-friendly, and will even let you make a donation in memory of someone, or in someone's honor, and it will send a card for you, too!
4. If you don't feel happy with online stuff, go here. It takes you to a page with the American Cancer Society's address for mail-in contributions. Write a check, stamp an envelope, and let the good times roll.
5. Then - and this is very important - Go right back here, this is the hucklebug.com site. Click where it says "comments," and let us know how much you contributed. You don't have to sign up, sign in, leave your name, or anything else. If you want to be anonymous you can, but you can advertise your generosity to us in all capital letters if you like. We need you to do this so we can keep track of how much we're raising for the American Cancer Society.

OR!

If you want to make a pledge and follow up on it after you know we completed the podcastathon, just go here, to the hucklebug.com site, and say, anonymously or not, "I pledge so much." Then when you know we were successful, contribute online or by mail.

Labels:

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

A Hot Time in the Old Pod Tonight

Ahhh, the Pod. The Poderosa is my home, and I love it.

No, really. I do love it so very much.

Last week I made mention of the fact that when I pulled out this month's water bill to pay it, I noticed it was over double what it was last month. I checked it against last month's receipt, and saw that the town had me as using 6000 more gallons of water than I did last month. As I stated then, I'm clean but I'm not that clean, and the clean that takes 6000 more gallons of water would in fact wash all the skin right off one's body.

I called the Treasurer's office and began my wonderland of communication with Barbara. Barbara was a very nice lady, but never seemed to have an answer for me when I called. "I know they've checked the meter, but then they went off duty, call this afternoon." "They told me the meter was running when they checked it, but that's all they said, I'll know more tomorrow." "I talked to our manager and he mentioned someone with a water usage problem, but I can't be sure it was you, so I'm not sure. Call back tomorrow."

All those tomorrows ended up to, "We'll have an answer for you on Monday." And I'm sure they did, I have complete faith in them that they were standing there waiting on me to call so they could give me my answer. However, we were so busy at work Monday I never got the 4 minutes free it would take to actually make the call and ask. So I called back yesterday.

Barbara spoke to me yesterday and gave me the news that couldn't have made me any happier than if we would have been slow enough at work that I could have called Monday. The men came to dig, found a leak, it was on the town's end of the line, they fixed it, all is well, and they were adjusting my water bill.

I left work happy yesterday, and came home to sit and write last night's blog. Which was long, and took a good while to write.

Somewhere about midway through the tappity tap tap of my blog, I heard a sound. The best way to describe this sound is to say, well, imagine a 1929 aircraft was getting ready to fly across the Atlantic, and decided to take off from my back yard. I got up and walked around the house, and realized where the sound was coming from. I went out into the back yard to confirm.

It was my heat pump.

Yes, the Poderosa has a heat pump, an air conditioning heat pump. Heat is gas heat, air is heat pump. It was making a sound quite like I'd never heard in my life. Like the heat pump equivalent of a 76-year old man with emphysema running a marathon in the middle of August. No wheezing, just rattling, but giving it all he had.

I came back in the house, and all that rattling was still producing results, for I had nice cool air all around the Pod. I hiked the temperature up a bit, though, to keep him from automatically coming on so quickly, and hoped for the best.

This morning everything was still cool, and the 1929 aircraft was still in the back yard, preparing its trip over the briny. I got to work and promptly called The Furnace Man.

Yep, he's actually called The Furnace Man. His vans have a superhero on them, with a big "F" on his chest, flying in to help some unsuspecting homeowner.

The Furnace Man is Junior, and the business consists of Junior, his son (Junior Junior?), and a couple of other son-aged fellows. They are all incredibly nice and honest, polite, friendly, and I just love the whole Furnace Man experience. They've been out to check Mr Heat Pump a few times in the past, and I've never had a problem with them.

They said they'd come out and have a look today, and true to their word, they arrived while I was still home from lunch. They solved the mystery very quickly.

Bad news - one of the blades on my fan had broken off, and was in the heat pump's innards, rattling around as it ran.

Good news - the blade had not damaged the motor, so it was fine and I don't need a new one.

Bad news - the part for the fan has to be ordered and and won't be in until tomorrow or Friday.

Good news - as soon as it arrives, they'll *whoosh!* zoom right into the Pod to put it on and have everything fixed.

Very bad news indeed - until then, the heat pump is not safe to use.

Now, listen. I know it's hot where you are. It's the middle of August, for God's sake. But it's so hot here right now, downtown B'field consists of people running up and down the street looking for the first air conditioned building to go inside. We've had people come into the office in the past week saying, "Just stopped in to say 'hi' and get cool awhile. So - how yall doin'?"

For a person who keeps her home at a happy 64 degrees, the prospect of a broken heat pump is, well, in a word, even if it's one I made up myself, hinkifying.

I had to run some errands after work today, in the heat, and ended them by going by the folks' house and picking up a nice oscillating fan of theirs. I figured when I got home the house would still be fairly cool from where it was closed up and still had some cool air hanging around.

Wrong! Where the thermostat fan had been on, but the heat pump turned off by The Furnace Man (*whoosh!*), the vents had been blowing tepid air into my house all afternoon. I walked into the Africa Memorial Hothouse. It was oppressive. I immediately set up the fan, hit the "on" button on the kitchen ceiling fan (the only ceiling fan in the house, and I've used it about twice), and it immediately cooled things off a bit. I put up groceries, washed a few dishes, and gave myself leave to do absolutely nothing the rest of the night, for fear I may melt or explode.

It's hot, but I'm managing. I'm not forseeing the world's best night of sleep for tonight, though. Sleep's a rather dicey proposition with me anyway lately, and I need all the sleep I can get in the next few days to stay awake 24 hours for the Podcastathon. (Did I tell you Stennie and I are doing a Podcastathon this weekend to raise money for the American Cancer Society? Surely I must have.)

Hopefully the Air Conditioning Fan Parts Gods will smile upon me, and the part will be in tomorrow.

Cause, you know, I'm hot and all.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* OK, the nephew has coughed up $10 for the Podcastathon cause. Are you going to let a teenager show you up? I think not! Instructions below, in case you've forgotten:

1. Go here, to www.hucklebug.com.
2. Read all about it.
3. It will direct you here, to the American Cancer Society online donation site. It's very user-friendly, and will even let you make a donation in memory of someone, or in someone's honor, and it will send a card for you, too!
4. If you don't feel happy with online stuff, go here. It takes you to a page with the American Cancer Society's address for mail-in contributions. Write a check, stamp an envelope, and let the good times roll.
5. Then - and this is very important - Go right back here, this is the hucklebug.com site. Click where it says "comments," and let us know how much you contributed. You don't have to sign up, sign in, leave your name, or anything else. If you want to be anonymous you can, but you can advertise your generosity to us in all capital letters if you like. We need you to do this so we can keep track of how much we're raising for the American Cancer Society.

OR!

If you want to make a pledge and follow up on it after you know we completed the podcastathon, just go here, to the hucklebug.com site, and say, anonymously or not, "I pledge so much." Then when you know we were successful, contribute online or by mail.

Labels:

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

A Woman Who Rocked

I've been thinking this week about my favorite aunt, Nadine. Not Nuh-Deen, but Nay-Deen. She was my cousin Jacob's mother, my dad's sister. I've said this before, both here in the blog and out in the real world, when I became an aunt some 18 years ago, I set my sights on modeling myself after Nadine, for she was the ne plus ultra in auntly behavior. She was a tiny, short little woman with big hair, and she packed a lot of personality into that little frame.

Now, I have one sister, but when I was growing up it was a trio, my sister, Jacob, and I. We were inseparable, we three granddaughters of Mamaw Bowles. My sister and I of course lived with our mom and dad, and Jacob with Mamaw and Papaw Bowles (at least till Papaw passed on), and Nadine. Nadine was a divorcee, was left by her husband before Jacob was even born, and that just proves how stupid the man was, because really - who would leave Nadine?

So anyway, as I've said many, many times, Nadine was the "cool aunt." She liked the same kind of music we did, and knew rock and roll, and bands, and movie stars, and the lyrics to all of our favorite songs. She'd play games with us, and take us out driving around town to get ice cream and look at cute high school boys. She didn't dress like an old person ("old" being, to us kids, of course, anyone over 30).

She had a dark blue 1965 Ford Mustang, and it rocked. She always had the radio station tuned in for good music, and she also always had adornments for the ledge above the back seat of her car. It was usually a matching pair of pillows, but I can remember she once actually had a dog with a bobbing head! I remember this because I used to love the feel of it. It was at once both incredibly soft and kind of stubbly, made of fake suede. She worked from time to time at the local Celanese factory, and they made cigarette tow, and sometimes the car decorations would be little snowmen or people or animals made from the tow. Oh, the driving around we did in that car. We also sometimes went out in Papaw's car, an old boxy Nash of some sort. It was industrial blue-green. And it was ugly for a while.

Although to me, Nadine did most things well, there was one thing she was not so good at. Driving. We used to joke with her about it, but I remember vividly an experience we had in the big boxy Nash.

She had just taken us, my sister, Jacob, and I, out to eat, and we were in the parking lot preparing to turn out onto the highway. She pulled out right in front of a tractor trailer who was barreling down the incline that ended right at the restaurant's lot. To this day I don't know how in the hell she and the truck driver missed each other, but they did, and for about the next 10 minutes she was driving along, with the three of us now in the floor of the Nash screaming our lungs out, honestly wondering why we were so upset.

If Nadine was expected home at any time and was more than about 15 minutes late, Mamaw would start wringing her hands, and the three of us girls would sit looking out the picture window, waiting, just knowing this would be the time she'd been in an accident. And you know, I don't think she ever was. I don't even remember so much as a scrape on the bumper of the cool blue Mustang.

If there was one thing she excelled at, though, it was cooking and running restaurants. Before the Celanese shifts, and the days of interstates and four-lane highways, the truck stop was in fashion. And there were many in and around N'rows, where they lived, and she probably worked at, cooked at, or managed all of them. She was in high demand, and when she left one, there was another wanting her services. And of course, wherever she worked, there the three of us were, and she'd make us free lunches and dinners and let us play around the restaurant all day long.

I'll tell you a little fact, and you can believe me or not, I don't really care. Jacob and I are convinced that Nadine invented the taco salad. When she worked at the really big truck stop (in reputation and size - this place was massive), she concocted a dish that was basically a taco on a plate. Corn chips, cheese, and a hamburger/tomato/chili combination on it. Garnished with lettuce. We'd never seen the like of it before, and it took years for us to start seeing actual taco salads in restaurants.

Oh, and speaking of cool - Nadine used to always bring us the discarded records from the jukeboxes of wherever she was working. The jukebox-changing men would always tell the kids the records had to go back to the jukebox place, but Nadine found a way to wrangle them from him and bring them home to us.

For a time, and it was a very good time in her life, Nadine actually rented a space right on Main Street in N'rows and opened up her own restuarant. It was fantastic. It had a lunch counter, and semi-circular counters on the floor, then various tables and chairs. There was a jukebox (and we got those records, too), and the back of the restaurant had some pinball machines. Then - then! - there was a room in the back that had pool tables. Kids were not allowed to go back there, because of course it was filled with pool-playing grown men, but after the restaurant closed down at about 11pm, she'd let us go back there and look around and shoot some pool. It was as much fun to look around as to shoot pool, simply because we were in the "forbidden area."

But time passes and things change, and the great restaurant came and went, and it was back to the Celanese for good for Nadine. She and Jacob lived with Mamaw Bowles for all that time, in the 124 houses in N'rows Mamaw decided she wanted to live in. (Remember, moving was my grandmother's favorite activity, and she probably lived in 50% of the houses in N'rows. My dad always says that when he was a kid his biggest fear was coming home from school to find that Mamaw had again moved, and he wouldn't be able to find her.)

There were a few years in that, though, where Nadine actually married again. To Stewart. I hated Stewart with a passion. He had an air of superiority, a hair-trigger temper, two completely odious snotnosed kids from a previous marriage, and a batty old mother. And although it was never spelled out in front of the kids, I have a feeling a serious drinking problem. The worst, though, is that he took Nadine away from the three of us girls. Stewart ended up taking his own life, and though while that's always a sad thing, I'm a little embarrassed to say I never missed him for a second.

Nadine was still so young, probably younger than I am now, when she was diagnosed with lung cancer. The doctors found a spot, did a biopsy, and the news came. That was in March of 1979. She died in June, 1979. When they told her the news, they gave her six months, and they were right. Six stinking months left to live, to live a life that consisted of hospitals and surgery and doctors' visits and pain and even being reduced to traveling in a wheelchair. But she was brave, braver than I've ever seen this single woman who raised a child by herself and worked her heart out to be. She kept up hope, even when there wasn't any. But towards the end, she asked her doctor, "What would have happened to me if you hadn't done that biopsy and discovered this?" When he answered, "Well, one night you would have just died in your sleep," she said, "I wish that's what would have happened."

I visited Nadine in the hospital the day after she was diagnosed. She was tired, but happy to see me, and gave me a great big hug from her hospital bed. And she told Jacob and I to go to the local mall to get out of the hospital a while while she napped. We found ourselves at that mall having our picture made with the Easter Bunny. Jacob on one bunny thigh, me on the other. We were smiling, but we weren't happy. I can remember what I was wearing. Jeans and a blue and white striped blouse. I hated that picture, though, because when I looked at it all I could see was finding out about Nadine's cancer. I finally threw it away.

Those six months passed quickly. We knew the end was coming, she'd been taken back to the hospital. We were in B'field when we got the call that they were giving Nadine her last rites. We all got in the car to head to N'rows, but by the time we got there, she was gone. We were all numb.

And remained so during the whole funeral process. After the wake, though, Jacob, my sister, and I went to one of the old haunts where she used to take us and all had an ice cream sundae.

My mom told me that the last time they saw Nadine in the hospital, the day before she died, she was in and out of consciousness, and would repeat occasionally, "I'm sorry. I'm sorry." I never understood that. I never understood what she could possibly have to be sorry for. She was my idol, my heroine, my buddy, my surrogate mom, and all things warm and fuzzy to me.

That was close to 30 years ago, and she got six months. I can't help but think she was somewhere smiling when the doctor who told my dad he now has lung cancer said, "It's possible you have as many as ten good years ahead of you."

We all could have had a lot more fun if Nadine would have gotten ten years.

I'm doing the podcastathon with Stennie for a lot of people I know, but mainly for my dad and Nadine. If six months can turn into ten years, then that can turn into twenty, and that into, "Here, take this pill and it'll go away." We can hope, anyway.

I'm printing the directions again for making pledges and donations to our podcastathon. If you've already pledged or know them by heart, you're free to skip ahead. I just don't want any new readers to be left out.

1. Go here, to www.hucklebug.com.
2. Read all about it.
3. It will direct you here, to the American Cancer Society online donation site. It's very user-friendly, and will even let you make a donation in memory of someone, or in someone's honor, and it will send a card for you, too!
4. If you don't feel happy with online stuff, go here. It takes you to a page with the American Cancer Society's address for mail-in contributions. Write a check, stamp an envelope, and let the good times roll.
5. Then - and this is very important - Go right back here, this is the hucklebug.com site. Click where it says "comments," and let us know how much you contributed. You don't have to sign up, sign in, leave your name, or anything else. If you want to be anonymous you can, but you can advertise your generosity to us in all capital letters if you like. We need you to do this so we can keep track of how much we're raising for the American Cancer Society.

OR!

If you want to make a pledge and follow up on it after you know we completed the podcastathon, just go here, to the hucklebug.com site, and say, anonymously or not, "I pledge so much." Then when you know we were successful, contribute online or by mail.

Thanks!

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Acrowinners, we have acrowinners. So, besides kicking its ass, what can we do with cancer?
- Honorable Mention goes to LilyG, with her, "Help every lovely oncologist."
- Runner-Up goes to DeepFatFriar, with his, "Healthy eating: Lotsa oranges."
- And this week's winner goes to Kellie with an ie, with her, "Halt. Execute. Level. Obliterate."
- Thanks to all who played, you've all done very well!

Labels:

Monday, August 06, 2007

Acrochallenge!

Hello, acroites, acroees, and acro-others. And welcome to another round of acromania.

Yes, this is Monday, and post #2 in my promised week of Podcastathon blogs. Please remember, everyone, that Stennie and I are doing a 24-hour Podcastathon starting at 9am this coming Saturday. 48 podcasts in 24 hours. And, to paraphrase the little girl in the old Shake N Bake commercials, "You can heyallp!" Here's how:

1. Go here, to www.hucklebug.com.
2. Read all about it.
3. It will direct you here, to the American Cancer Society online donation site. It's very user-friendly, and will even let you make a donation in memory of someone, or in someone's honor, and it will send a card for you, too!
4. If you don't feel happy with online stuff, go here. It takes you to a page with the American Cancer Society's address for mail-in contributions. Write a check, stamp an envelope, and let the good times roll.
5. Then - and this is very important - Go right back here, this is the hucklebug.com site. Click where it says "comments," and let us know how much you contributed. You don't have to sign up, sign in, leave your name, or anything else. If you want to be anonymous you can, but you can advertise your generosity to us in all capital letters if you like. We need you to do this so we can keep track of how much we're raising for the American Cancer Society.

OR!

If you want to make a pledge and follow up on it after you know we completed the podcastathon, just go here, to the hucklebug.com site, and say, anonymously or not, "I pledge so much." Then when you know we were successful, contribute online or by mail.

Thank you ever so much, and let's get on with the fun and festivities.

This week's acrotopic - "What Should We Do With Cancer, Along With Kicking Its Ass?" Sure, we're doing the podcastathon for the ass-kicking, but what else does it deserve? Stuffed in an airtight jug? Blown to smithereens? Made to spend the rest of its existence watching celebrity poker on television? You tell me.

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 above, but also the letters below, which are randomly drawn from the acrobasket. The acrobasket thinks you should pledge to the Podcastathon. Smart piece of wicker, that acrobasket. Then tomorrow night at 10pm est I shall be reading the entries and naming the winners.

So, the topic, "What Should We Do With Cancer, Along With Kicking Its Ass?" The letters:

H E L O

There you go! Start ass-kicking, pledging, and acroing.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Time to podcast!

Labels:

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Picture Sunday

Hello, end of weekenders, and what a short weekend it was. But it's over, and welcome to another edition of Picture Sunday.

Now, before we get to that, I have an announcement to make. Tonight begins what I'm calling Podcastathon Week in Betland. Read now, and read every night this week, for I'm making a solemn pledge to blog every night to remind you.

On Saturday, August 11th, Stennie and I will be doing a podcastathon. We've both participated in the Blogathon in the past, and had planned to do that a couple of weeks ago, with the exception of podcasting instead of blogging. However, schedules couldn't be worked out, and I don't know if the Blogathon folks even allowed non-bloggers to participate.

But it doesn't matter. We are taking it upon ourselves to do a 24-hour podcastathon. From 9am Saturday morning till 9am Sunday morning, we'll be doing a short podcast every half-hour on the half-hour. Yes, folks, if you hate to count, that's 48 podcasts in 24 hours. And we need your help and support.

We're raising money for the American Cancer Society, because we both hate cancer and think it's about time we kicked its ass. It's a cause very close to both of us. And should be to you, too - I know very few people in this world whose lives haven't been touched by the disease.

Here's what you can do to help us, yourself, and your friends and loved ones.

1. Go here, to www.hucklebug.com.
2. Read all about it.
3. It will direct you here, to the American Cancer Society online donation site. It's very user-friendly, and will even let you make a donation in memory of someone, or in someone's honor, and it will send a card for you, too!
4. If you don't feel happy with online stuff, go here. It takes you to a page with the American Cancer Society's address for mail-in contributions. Write a check, stamp an envelope, and let the good times roll.
5. Then - and this is very important - Go right back here, this is the hucklebug.com site. Click where it says "comments," and let us know how much you contributed. You don't have to sign up, sign in, leave your name, or anything else. If you want to be anonymous you can, but you can advertise your generosity to us in all capital letters if you like. We need you to do this so we can keep track of how much we're raising for the American Cancer Society.

OR!

If you want to make a pledge and follow up on it after you know we completed the podcastathon, just go here, to the hucklebug.com site, and say, anonymously or not, "I pledge so much." Then when you know we were successful, contribute online or by mail.

I've always known my friends to be very generous and cool people, and I hope you'll all help us in a fun way to raise some money for a good cause.

And of course, please feel welcome to join us at any time on Saturday through to Sunday to listen to some podcasts. If you've not been there before, it would be a good time to start. A warning: there is salty language in the air, but we're nice people, we rarely bite, and sometimes we even make people chuckle.

Thanks.

Well, I had one of the more bizarre experiences of my Hackensaw Boysing days on Saturday. Mr M and I traveled to the tiny town of Elkton, VA, to see them ply their trade.

They were playing at something called Field Day. I'd gone online to see if I could find any information about the show, and found a website with a nice picture of a park, and thought, "OK, this'll be a nice night out."

When we arrived in Elkton and finally found the venue, it was - well, it was - well.... Imagine the Hackensaw Boys playing at your local county fair. It was in this huge expanse of field, much of it hay-covered. There was a carnival. There was a horse show going on.

We walked around until we found some Hackensaws, and found out they were starting at 7:30, they'd play, some "awards" would be given out, another band would play, there would be (and no, I'm not making this up) a flatfoot contest, and then they'd play again and wrap things up. We got our lounge chairs, and set them up on the front row, ready for the hoedown.

Oh, and by the way - when we arrived in Elkton at 7pm? 96 degrees.

Anyway, the Boys started, and they were rocking the very unHackensaw-like crowd. Just playing their hearts out to a bunch of people sitting in lounge chairs with their arms crossed. Then about 2/3 of the way through their first set, about 50 hippie kids came from out of nowhere, I mean, they must have been on the late bus or something, and sat down front in front of the stage. A couple of girls got up to dance.

















After the set ended, Awards Time rolled around. Trophies were given for - the oldest man in the audience, the oldest woman in the audience, the fullest beard, and hog calling. This is true. I can prove to you this is true, because I have a picture of Ferd holding the hog calling trophy.




















As happy as if he'd actually won the hog calling contest.

Then the second band, a bluegrass band who were very competent but incredibly boring (Mr M, did they ever move? I didn't see it) played forever, and there was a - remember, I'm not making this up - greased pole contest. And the Hackensaws took the stage again.

This time the hippies were happier, and it was no longer 96 degrees, and I started dancing and they started dancing, and ... there was a lot of dancing, because it was time for the flatfoot competition. For which the Hackensaw Boys provided the tunes.

And for what started like something out of the Twilight Zone, I ended up having an absolute blast. Sure, it was a place where you had to leave your cool at the door, but I figure I don't have that much cool, anyway.

Salvage and I met under the Smoking Tree. Well, it didn't smoke, but we did.
























And that was it.

So, how about a recipe du jour?

Yeah, how about one. I almost didn't have a recipe for you all, I've just been a lazy sod today. But I finally ambled into the kitchen, opened the fridge, and found - well, not much. But I did have about a half a bag of carrots, so I present to you, from the "Healthy Desserts" file in cardland, Carrot Pudding.





















This dish smells wonderful. It's just rice pudding, only with carrots instead of rice. I have a feeling carrot pudding actually exists somewhere, and then I guess the joke's on me.

Boy, that sucked. I'll write you all a note.

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* I'm not kidding. Hog calling, flatfooting, and a greased pole contest.

Labels:

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

A Random List of Things Not of Particular Interest To Anyone, Not Even Me, Save for the Last One

* Friday seems to have become "White Pants Day" in my world. I haven't really planned it, well, not till now, but every Friday for the last four or five weeks, I've worn a work ensemble that includes the same white pants. Now I can't stop. I might disappoint people.

* Ever since a client of ours who was wounded in Iraq was telling us about his lack of health insurance, we've been playing a little game in our office. What should we do with W, Cheney, and Rummy? Ideas have run the gamut from the obvious "drop them all in Iraq without so much as a pocket knife," to "turn them over to Michael Vick to be doused, electrocuted, then pitted in a caged deathmatch," to "send them up in the shuttle with drunken astronauts," to "dip them in molasses and roll them in ants," to "force them to pay for their own colonoscopies and pacemaker battery changes," to "have their motorcade commandeered by Lindsay Lohan."

* There is a house I pass every day on my way to work and back, and the lady who lives there has plastic flowers in her yard. She has actually planted, in the ground, plastic flowers. And I have to see that every day.

* I've mentioned many times how I think celebrities are terribly stupid. This mainly comes from watching "Celebrity Jeopardy," and, well, reading the headlines. But after watching "Celebrity Jeopardy" this week, it finally came to me why I'm left screaming at my television. It's not so much the stupidity, well, it is to a certain extent because celebrities don't know things your average everyday Joe does, like what a Subaru Tribecca is or that there was a book called "The Da Vinci Code," but it's because they're so damn slow! They don't realize that time is a factor in playing the game. They just ring in, look around, fumble, hem, haw, and then the buzzer sounds and they lose money. This is why during "Celebrity Jeopardy," half the answers are still on the board when a round ends. However, during the interview segment when they talk about themselves, they're very eloquent.

* I finally saw that Levitra commercial I blogged about a couple of weeks ago, and paid enough attention to see what golf magazine contained their ad. Imagine my shock and horror when I discovered it wasn't a golf magazine at all. It was This Old House magazine. I'm sure there's a really dirty joke in there somewhere, but I'll be damned if I can find it.

* And may I just add to that that the new commercial for Viagra, where a bunch of middle-aged men have formed a band and are playing in some abandoned roadhouse, singing about how they all have erectile dysfunction to the tune of "Viva Las Vegas," is about the most sickening thing I've seen on television in years.

* Today I was paying my water bill, and noticed it was over double the amount it was last time. I couldn't imagine that much of a rate change, so I waited until lunch, got in my car, and checked my last month's receipt. These receipts stay clipped in my sun visor because I put the bill there and forget about it and drive around for two weeks with it until I remember to pay it. Anyway, when I looked at last months receipts, I was shown as using about 3700 gallons of water.

This month, it was 9700.

Almost 10,000 gallons of water!

I'm clean, but I'm not that clean. And so when I got back from lunch I started calling the treasurer's office, and having tete a tetes with Barbara, who was a very nice lady but even so, she still tried to convince me that a five-day vacation by the meter reader caused a 6000-gallon increase in my water usage. Then she got to looking and realized that my water meter had been checked twice last month, because the first reading was so out of order it necessitated the second. She sent someone over again.

Again, it was high, and "the meter was running." Apparently "the meter is running" means the same thing in the water world as it does in the taxi world. Water's gushing into my lines and I'm getting charged.

So, where's it going? I know not. I have no leaky faucets, nothing's wet in my yard or floor. But it's going somewhere, and frankly, I'm just the tiniest bit worried about what's ahead. I would be majorly worried, but I figure at this point it's done, the water's going somewhere, and there's not a damn thing I can do about it.

The water men come to my house tomorrow to do a little digging. I hope a little is all that's required, because I don't have the money right now to start putting new water lines into my property.

Ahhhh, how I do love the Poderosa. (You know, it's been over a year since anything happened here, I should be grateful.)

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Acrowinners, we have acrowinners. Well, we have two. Even with an extra day, no one wanted to tell me what they saw on vacation.
- Runner-Up goes to the DeepFatFriar, with his "Risen Christ Jesus riding Siberian antelope."
- And this week's winner goes to LilyG, with her, "Royal Canadian Jesuits -- red sashes, Amen."
- Thanks to all who played - you've all done very well!

Labels:

Oh, By the Way...

As you can plainly see, I am a careless, careless blogger. Because I didn't blog last night.

Therefore, everyone has an extra acro day!

Play up!