Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Thing

We'll call it The Thing.

I'm going to do another Granny blog, but do not despair, dear readers, for it's not my complaining about Mom's condition or her emotional well-being. And this is because she's actually feeling some better, and that new medication and the wet wraps she did last week have stopped the itching and helped the redness in her skin. I'm amazed.

As was Dr SuperSkin, who I took Granny to see on her follow-up appointment yesterday.

Granny, Paw, and I headed down in the morning, and after only a small snafu in the directions department, found our way there and got to the office. After a small wait, she was called in, and I went along.

And here's the part of the story where I have to travel back to last week.

[wavy fading lines]

Last Wednesday, after the first wet wrap, I got a call from my sister. Seems my dad had called her in a panic, saying that Granny did her first wrap, then got in the shower to rinse off, and when she got out she was the proud owner of a pus-filled blister on her leg. Dad was all atwitter because the very first skin doctor she saw, all the way down in Florida back when they used to be able to travel, told her if she ever got a pus-filled blister she needed to go to the hospital immediately. My sister said she was heading over there to check it out and see what was up.

She later called me back and said, "It's nothing. It's a spot, about the size of a quarter, looks like a blood blister, and she's probably hit her leg, and it's raised, but certainly not pus-filled. They said they'd call Dr ITalkJustLikeHuckleberryHound and ask him about it."

Which they did. And then went to see Dr ITJLHH because he said he wanted to see the thing, and he pronounced it just where some water from the wrap or shower had gotten under one of the many psoriasis spots on her leg, and he wrapped it up with some gauze and said to keep it wrapped till she saw Dr SuperSkin.

[wavy fading lines]

So there we were in the little room at Dr SuperSkin's, and first a nurse came and asked if she'd done the wraps and the medicaton, Mom said yes, and when the nurse asked how that went, Mom's reply was, "Awful." And I just jumped all over that and said, "It was not! You said it really helped your itching and everything!" So she went on to say that the awful part was the process of doing it, when Paw piped up and said, "I'm the one who did it, you just sat there!"

Then the nurse was typing all this into Mom's electronic chart on the computer, and Mom mentioned this new wrinkle of the spot on her leg. So the nurse elevated her leg and took off the bandage, and, well, I can't tell you what happened to me when I saw my mom's leg.

Contrary to my sister's relaying of the spot, this place was huge. It was about three inches in diameter and looked like, well, all I could think of is that it looked like a strawberry tart that was baked too long and the top got burned.

The reason it was raised is not because it was blister-like, but because the layer of it right above the skin was a good half-inch of congealed blood. Then the top of it was black, dead, hard skin. The gauze patch it was wrapped around was bright pink, as was the liquid dripping from it. It was horribly ugly and yet the most beautiful and intriguing thing I'd ever seen. I kept wanting to touch it but was afraid to since Mom gets infections so easily. Mostly I wish I'd have had my camera.

But since I didn't, I thought I'd try to draw you a little picture. First, the front view.

And now the side view.

Boy, I wish I was a better artist, so I could give it its full value of stupendousness.

When Dr SuperSkin and his associate, Dr BoyAmICute, came in, they both said, "Hello, my God! What is that?" Both professed they'd never seen anything like that, and Dr SuperSkin himself said he wished he'd brought his camera phone in with him, that this would go over really well at seminars.

By the way, Dr SuperSkin and Dr BoyAmICute are both incredibly nice and friendly guys, and they were amazed that after not one week, as it took a day or two to get the prescriptions filled, but only five days, that Mom's skin had improved so much. They told her to continue with the medication, and that she could now use the salve that goes with the wet wraps but she didn't have to wrap, she could just spread it on her skin as is. (I spoke to her tonight and she did just that last night and said she didn't itch at all. Boy, I can't tell you how great that makes me feel.)

Then they looked some more at The Thing, and Dr SuperSkin said it was probably a ______ (insert some medical term I can't remember), which was a result of where - well, let's say you and I would bump our leg on the end of the bed and not think twice about it, someone with Granny's skin would do the same thing and because the layers of the skin are so thin, a hematoma will form, and that she needed to keep it very tightly wrapped it would go down slowly. They were so friendly and nice I couldn't help myself and pleaded with them to take it off so I could watch, and though they laughed at that - my mom said at that point, "This is my other daughter, by the way," and Dad chimed in, "The weird one," they said they couldn't remove it because it would be more of a hazard to start removing stuff on her skin and risking infection than to just leave it there and let it go down by itself.

And they gave her some high-powered antibiotic as a precaution, and said she was good for three weeks before she had to come back.

Mom will have to go in a few days to get the bandage changed, and now I want to go with her so I can see The Thing again. Possibly with camera in tow.

Then again, I like watching brain surgery on TV. God, that PBS show where they did an operation on some kid where they sawed a triangle in his skull and lifted it off, exposing his brain, and then lifted off the bridge of his nose and there was all kinds of goo in there....

OK, so I am the weird one.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Acrowinners, we have acrowinners! So, what are some things to do in the car?
- Honorable Mention goes to Mr M, because he always wants to win acro but never plays. (and a third person didn't play this week)
- Runner-Up goes to LilyG, with her "Driving zanily, especially under Fred." (I just want to see Lily driving under Fred.)
- And this week's winner is Duke, with his "Driving zee European Union, Fraulein." Good one, Duke!
- Thanks to all who played this week, you've all done very well!


Monday, June 29, 2009


Hello, lovers of letters, and welcome to another round of acromania.

I spent a lot of time in the car today. So let's make this week's acro "Things To Do In The Car." After all, vacation time's coming up, you'll need some suggestions.

The rules are all the same. Everyone gets three entries to come up with the best acronym they can, one that not only matches the topic above, but also the letters below. The letters are randomly drawn from the acrobasket. The acrobasket gets car sick. However, being a basket, he can catch his own puke. (That was over the line, wasn't it?) Then tomorrow night at 10:00 est I shall be reading the entries and naming the winners.

So, the topic? "Things To Do In The Car." The letters:


The dreaded Z! So there you go, rev it up and acro.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Took Granny for her follow-up appointment at Dr SuperSkin's today. They were mightily impressed with the results after just four days of wraps and medication. Interesting side development, though. Stay tuned, I'll tell you tomorrow.


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Picture Sunday

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

Well, what a weekend it's been for me. Besides being on Granny & Paw duty, it was to be "Fun on the Outside" weekend here at the Poderosa. See, once a year I trim my hedges and plant flowers in the pots that came with the house. I kind of wish those pots hadn't come with the house, because then I wouldn't feel obligated to plant flowers in them. But it gets me out, and I get all happy when they grow, and all upset when they don't, like the one last year that was pulled out by some unknown varmit two days after I planted it.

Anyway, my hedges had gotten shaggy over the last year.

So I knew it was time to trim. I borrowed my dad's electric hedge clippers. I've been doing that the past couple or three years, because until then I'd done it with regular manual clippers and suffered heat stroke and rubber arms for the rest of the night. It's tough with manual clippers.

And so I began. It was going smoothly except the plug kept coming out of the unit and I'd have to stop and re-plug. I got two hedges trimmed...

...and the plug came out again. I re-plugged, picked up the clippers and started back in on it, and yeeeeooooooow! Yes, ladies and gentlemen, and don't ask me how because I have no idea, I had a finger somewhere in the clipper blades. At first it just felt like it had ripped a fingernail. I looked down and saw no blood, and I was a little hazy because I was just standing there thinking, "Those things completely tore the top of the finger off my work glove." It took a second to realize I probably needed to take the glove off, and when I did, blood was streaming out of the top of my finger. I ran inside to the sink and began rinsing, but the damn thing wouldn't stop bleeding long enough for me to see the wound, and I started to get the sinking feeling that I may well have torn the end of my finger off.

I rinsed a while, then got a cloth and wrapped my finger and went outside, applied pressure, and held it up in the air. (I remember the doctor telling my mom that once when she cut her finger, minus the sitting outside part.) I bled through the cloth very quickly, and started contemplating another trip to the ER, but gave it a try with more rinsing and a second cloth. After about an hour it finally began to trail off, so I rinsed it in peroxide and bandaged it up tightly, and it didn't seem to be bleeding out of the bandage, so I figured I could skip the hospital.

However, late into the evening, I realized that the last time I had a tetanus shot was sometime during the Clinton administration. And I started to worry.

I spend a short time the next morning looking for clinics that were open on Saturday to keep me out of the ER, but it was not to be, and so off I went. When I got there I was the only person in the waiting area. I waited in the waiting area for two hours. When they finally called me there were about 20 other people in there waiting. I got my shot, a new bandage, and some take-home antiseptic, all from nurses, and I'm completely convinced there was not a doctor in the ER on Saturday. Our local hospital is famous for that.

Anyway, I'm OK. My finger hurts when it touches something, so typing's a little dicey, and the cut is deep but I will survive. However, I spent the rest of the weekend in a decidedly hinky state realizing that because I just wasn't paying much attention that I could have cut off my finger and never been able to play the clarinet again.

So after getting home from the ER, the rest of my Saturday was spent doing absolutely nothing.

Today I had to take my dad to the grocery, and he offered to finish up the hedges for me. However, I'm a lucky soul, and someone had already taken care of that for me.

He's a wonder. While that was going on, I'd also gone to get my flowers, and, well, you know Sherman - he can't keep away from gardening of any kind.

An interesting thing, though. I tried something new this year. Anyone out there watch "Dirty Jobs?" Remember the episode where Mike Rowe went and worked with the poo pot makers? There was a company that made pots out of poo and plant sets were put in them, so you don't have to de-pot a plant when you put it in the ground. You just set the whole thing in the soil. Well, I don't know if I got the original poo pots Mike worked with, but I went that route.

Oh. There's Paw in the background. OK, he did help Peabody out a little bit on the hedges. Those clippers got pretty heavy after a while.

And now, a recipe du jour. Hey! It's summer, did you know that? I did! And what does summer say to you? Well, if you didn't answer, "Canteloupe and Jello," then something's seriously wrong with you. Tonight's recipe is for those who really want to impress at those backyard barbecues. And it's apparently low-cal as well! From the "Weight Control" file in cardland, will you please say hello to the incredibly classy Emerald Canteloupe.

Well, I just had to look and see how this is made. I mean, it defies gravity! Apparently you peel and cut your cantaloupes in half. Then you mix up the greenest Jello you can find, and chill it with some, and I quote, "pineapple tidbits." You let that harden - well, you do it you're you, if you read my blog, then you know I can't make Jello, and therefore it will never harden - then you cut the halves in half and roll the outside out of the canteloupe with some crunched up rye crisp crumbs with sugar and cinnamon. And serve, taking in the oohs and ahhs of assembled guests.

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* I feel quite odd that on the day BILLY MAYS passed, I finally got out my OxiClean to see if it would work on ink. See, I seemed to have written on myself at work this week, and thought I'd use my shirt as a try-out before I used the stuff on Sherman. And it works! My boy is next. And bye, Mr Mays. You got on my nerves like nobody's business, but I sure didn't want you to die.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Mile in Her Shoes

I'm sitting here trying to devise a short version of what I'm thinking. I don't know if you, my fine blogees, get tired of reading about my mom, but I know sometimes I get tired of writing about her. Not the woman herself, for she's a wonderful woman with a lot of stories in her, but about her situation for the last 18 or so months.

So let's see if I can get out what's in without rambling for paragraphs on end.

See, Mom had a welcome doctor's appointment yesterday at Bowman Gray Hospital in North Carolina. It's a fine establishment, and we'd been trying to get her referred there by her local doctor, Dr ITalkJustLikeHuckleberryHound, for some time. There's a dermatologist on staff there who's one of the leading men in the southeast US on the subject of psoriasis. When Dr ITJLHH called on Friday, they said they could take her sometime in July unless she could come at 8:45 Monday morning. We grabbed that and growled.

OK. Let's go through my mom's current list of health woes. I'll try to get them all in while also giving you a picture of what my once vibrant, optimistic, happy, funny, and on-the-go mom has become.

1. She has psoriasis so bad she looks like a leper. Her hands and feet are the worst, but she has it everywhere except her face.
2. She has heart problems. Two blocked arteries, one fixed, but one unfixable. She was also diagnosed with congestive heart failure.
3. She has had since childhood scoliosis. Never bothered her till this past year, when she was diagnosed with small stress fractures in her lower back. She was fitted with a fancy back brace to wear during the day, and at night if she wants, because of this.
4. About 9 months to a year ago, she had a blood clot in her lower leg. It was dissolved by cumadin, which, if you're familiar with the drug, you must take for years after it's worked its particular magic on your clot. Because of this, her blood is so thin she bleeds at the drop of a hat. I mean, really, the breeze from a dropped hat makes her bleed. If she'd ever suffer a cut or fall, she'd probably bleed to death.
5. Because of the psoriasis and the cracks and openings it makes in the skin, she finds herself in the hospital every three weeks because of skin infections, or cellulitis. This takes up residence in the lower leg, because the blood clot has weakened the vein there and that's where the infection finds its way each time it sets up.
6. For any or all of the above reasons, probably the cumadin, Mom is always cold. When I was there Sunday their house was approximately 95 degrees, and she was covered up and wearing a sweatshirt and fleece sweatpants.
7. Because of the heart problem and possibly exacerbated by the psoriasis, she retains fluid quite badly. She's supposed to keep her legs elevated as much as possible.
8. She suffers a fair amount of incontinence, which I'm sure she'd be mortified if I told you about, but there's nothing to be ashamed of. She's in her mid-70s and sick.
9. She is very depressed and can focus on nothing positive at all. She talks only about what is wrong with her and often says she just doesn't know what she's "going to do."
10. She has a world-class enabler in my dad, who in a strange turn of events has done a 180 degree personality turn as well and lost his balls, and does everything she wants him to. If she doesn't feel like reaching out to get a glass of water, he will drop everything and go to her to get it and hand it the two inches to her.

I love my mom. Really, I do. And I know she's sick. But here's what I'm also dealing with in regards to the top ten above.

1. She's been given a prescription for the most current psoriasis medication there is, one with real hope behind it. She's been given it by one prior specialist, and told by two others she should take it. She won't, because some friends at the beauty shop filled her head full of the side effects she might encounter.
2. She still smokes (not as much, or so I thought, till I looked in her trash can today and saw around 90 cigarette butts) and eats lots of fried foods.
3. She has worn, in the 3 months she's owned it, her back brace approximately five times. She doesn't like it. She doesn't like it even though she was told she has to work her way into it by wearing it two hours, then three, then four, until she gets used to the feeling of wearing it all the time. She says it pushes her breasts out.
4. She has a list of foods she can eat that will help to some extent to stave off the bleeding. Certain greens, condiments, etc. She doesn't eat them.
5. She continues to slather Vaseline out of a tub onto her skin at about 30 minute intervals. Her two daughters and at least one doctor are convinced this is not hygenic, that Vaseline is in effect a drying agent and it holds in the germs on her skin and harbors germs from her hands in the goo in the tub. She was asked to, if she must use the stuff, use it from tubes. She will not, because the tubes are too small and she doesn't like that.
6. Nothing much you can do about this one, if you're cold you're cold, I guess. As a forty-something woman, I guess I just can't imagine being cold all the time, so I included it.
7. She will not sit with her legs elevated for more than fifteen or so minutes. She says it makes her back, her unbraced back, hurt. She instead sits hunched in a chair all day, but with her feet usually floor-bound.
8. We've bought her those discreet adult care panties, but she won't wear them. She doesn't think she needs them. Until, of course, it's too late.
9. I guess I'd be depressed too, but my take on depression is to just act like I'm not depressed when other people are around, because people would like to have pleasant conversation. I guess not everyone feels that way.
10. She complains about my dad mother henning her.

So, there you go.

Monday's appointment, which was manned by my sister, I get next Monday's follow-up, was apparently quick and thorough. They took biopsies of all the different spots on her body to make sure some of the smaller spots were also psoriasis or something else. She was prescribed (again) and told to take the fancy medication. She started to protest and was told by the assistant "Dr SuperSkin is the leading dermatologist in the southeast United States and was there when they were developing the drug. If he says you can take it, I suggest you take it." End of story.

They also told her she has to, every day, do what are called "wet wraps," where a salve is spread on the skin, then your body is wrapped in wet towels or wet pajamas. This has proven very effective for the itching, which is a godsend because with the thin blood the itching is normally the main cause of the bleeding, Mom-wise.

I found myself today after work at the folks' house. Dad had said at her latest bloodletting this afternoon at the hospital (you have to have constant blood tests to diagnose how much cumadin you need on any given day), she was told she was very deficient in protein. He asked if I could come up with something, and I told him I seldom do Orange Crapius anymore and Mom was welcome to all I had. I took it, along with some Crystal Light to mix it up in, and got there and showed Mom how to do it. The Crapius is pre-measured in a little packets, so it's really nothing more than mixing it in a liquid and drinking. I stayed there till she'd had a whole one. She said it tasted fairly decent. I'll be interested to see if that's the only one she'll ever drink.

They had not taken the medication, which they'd gotten today, nor done the wet wraps. They decided that because Mom's skin had bled today they shouldn't do the wet wraps. They were going to call the new doctor tomorrow and ask. I don't know what they're going to ask about the medication she didn't take, because they have no excuse for that one.

And that's really what all this is about, and what I can stop thinking about tonight. The fact that my mom, enabled by my dad, will not do anything she's supposed to do. I've said probably 500 times in the last 18 months, "Well, if it was me...."

But what if it was me? Would I do what I was supposed to?

I've been having quite the clash lately with my vitamins. I go in phases where I don't take any of the seven or eight different vitamins I'm supposed to take daily. I get tired of doling them out. I say I'm too busy. I forget. I know I feel better when I take them regularly, but I don't. Then I let it get to be a big deal and focus on it way too much and turn it into some herculean task like climbing a mountain. They're just vitamins. But I find myself fighting to take them.

Vitamins make me feel better, but they're certainly not central to my survival. If I was in Mom's position, would I find a way to make all that just as huge a task?

I don't know. All I know is that I want to scream at my mother not to complain if she won't do what she's supposed to, that I won't listen to her anymore.

But I'm her daughter. I can't do that. I'll listen anyway.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Acrowinners, we have acrowinners! So, what did the butler see?
- Honorable Mention goes to LilyG, with her "Long operas and theatrical revues. Exciting!" Well, exciting's in the eye of the beholder, Lily.
- Runner-Up goes to Marla (marlamarlamarla), with her "Lisa Over At The Restaurant, Eating." I don't know why I kept giggling at that, but imagining it in a view machine was all it took.
- And this week's winner - it's winners! We have a tie, two I loved equally. They are Kellie (with an ie), with her "Last Oboeing Alligator Trilling Rather Effortlessly," (I want to know how an alligator can play the oboe without breaking the reed with his teeth - I guess that's why he was the last one), and the DeepFatFriar, with his "Leonard ogling a tasty raspberry eclair." Leonard, meet Lisa. Lisa, Leonard.
- Thanks to all who played, you've all done very well!!


Monday, June 22, 2009


Hello, lovers of letters, and welcome to another round of acromania.

Topics, topics. Let me think.

[long empty space of silence]

OK. Here we go. How about "What the Butler Saw?" You know, in England for about a century they've had big clunky machines you look through and little baby machines you look through, and they're inevitably called "What the Butler Saw," and when you look through them you generally see some sort of vaudevillian debauchery. But the line itself is all-encompassing - the butler could see anything, depending on who made the machine. So in your machine, what does the butler see?

All the rules are the same, everyone gets three entries to come up with the best acronym they can that matches the topic above and the letters below. The letters are randomly drawn from the acrobasket. Living at the Poderosa, the acrobasket has seen things you just wouldn't believe. Then tomorrow night at 10:00 est I shall be reading the entries and naming the winners.

So the topic, "What the Butler Saw." The letters:


And an electrical outlet plug cover. But it didn't have a letter on it.

So there you go. No need to peer into a machine, just acro!

Betland's Olympic Update:
* I didn't do Picture Sunday last night, did I? Oh, well. I spent the day baking and making dinner for my mom and dad for Dad's Father's Day. I was tired when I got home.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

La Cinema Vita

Hello, blogees. A few paragraphs. Sorry about the lack of acro, but the flu has indeed taken me over. It arrived in the middle of the night Sunday, I lurched around like a zombie all day yesterday, finally realized I had lost, and so I stayed home today and curled up in the Comfy Chair with a heating pad. Luckily while I was lurching yesterday, I lurched to my eye appointment, where the doctor took one look at me and wrote me a prescription for a z-pack while he was giving me my next year's contact lens take.

I'll be better soon. I'm chalking it up to dancing to the Hackensaws all night, then riding home with the air conditioner pointed at my face.

I don't know why I feel the need to write about this, other than as an example of problem-solving. Maybe you can use it in the future; maybe when I get bungled up on my next project I can come back and read it.

It all has to do with the latest Comfy Chair Cinema movie. If you've gone to the Comfy Blog, you read a little about the making of the movie and how it didn't go as planned. But I didn't really give you the whole painful version.

See, it was truly amazing when the DeepFatFriar and I got that moving background footage, and I have to say that was all his idea. My only idea was to crouch in the back of my car and film out the back window, which I knew wouldn't work because I'd have glass reflection and lines from the rear defroster. DFF was sure we could affix the camera to the top of the car and keep it safe, and by damn, he was right. The footage was beautiful. It was also funny, because the original footage had the sound of the wind flipping over the microphone for 25 minutes.

Anyway, I was sure that would be the hardest part of my movie, and boy, was I wrong. That was, pardon the wind pun, a breeze. The hard part was everything that came next.

See, the first time I tried it, I was at home. I'd put the already speeded-up footage on DVD, got Sherman in his car, and put him on a table where he'd be level with the TV. Then, because the original film was going to have different Poderosa characters getting in and out of the car, I threaded invisible thread through Peabody, Chilly Willy, and Hokie Bird (who was to jump on the car while it was tooling around Virginia Tech). I affixed the thread to skewers so I could easily lift and set them into the car. I got the camera exactly where it needed to be.

My hope was to do it all in one take. Start up the DVD, know who to pick up when, lift, tug, pull out, jostle the car back and forth. It didn't take me long to realize that this all wasn't really a one-person job but still I had at it, messing up, starting over, cursing, rewinding the DVD, cursing, messing up, cursing.

The first problem was that Mr Peabody has, if you'll (and he'll) pardon me, quite the large ass. He just wouldn't fit into the car without being pushed in, and I couldn't do that without my hand appearing in the film. He was fired from the production and replaced by Hermey Elf who, after about four tries, finally made it into the car. Sadly, newest Poderosa boarder Chilly Willy suffered the same fate when he kept sliding off the back of the car. He was replaced by Good Luck Baby Lily. I filmed a bit, it was fair at best, and when I loaded the film into my computer, that's when I realized something. The "rolling" problem.

When you film a TV screen, you get a horrible "rolling" effect. I went online to research this and found the only way to overcome it is to film off an LCD screen. That's when the whole project moved to Mr M's Thursday night. He had the right TV, and he certainly had a needed two hands, and so I put things off a few days.

Once in B'burg, things didn't get much better. First of all, and I know I kept losing my patience and it wasn't his fault, Mr M is not as into all this as I am. He doesn't have the patience to try something time after time after time, watching it fail over and over. He also didn't realize that I talk to myself while making a movie, and so I'd be saying, "Just wait a minute! Wait a minute!" and he'd think I was yelling at him when in fact I was telling myself to wait a minute.

At Poderosa East, Hermey was quickly replaced by Good Luck Baby Lily as the passenger seat-holder when Hermey refused to go in the seat, but it didn't really matter, because when it was Hermey's time to then hop onto the back of the car for the rest of the trip home, he would not hop. He fell off, he knocked Lily over, and we just couldn't get him lofted down onto the back of that car.

Mr M had ideas that involved completely re-threading him, but it still didn't work, and finally he came up with the idea of hanging him on a wire coat hanger to set him on the car. Now, you and I both know that a coat hanger is not invisible, but at that point I realized that if you're going to cheese something up you may as well go at it full-bore, so I agreed.

It still didn't work.

So we just made another cheesy move, lifting Hermey onto the car with the hanger, then stopping the film, getting him fixed upon the car, then starting it back up. A rather gaping edit, too, it was, when I watched it back.

And so, as I said in the movie blog, I ended up with a movie over 7 minutes long once titles were added (I was hoping to keep it under 6), and it just wasn't much. And even then, I was convinced this would be my movie. That I would publish it, apologize, and promise to do better next time.

That original night of filming at Mr M's, I'd also brought Sherman's Vespa, just to see if I could record a minute or two of him in front of that same background footage and stick it on the blog just as a little extra. We didn't have time to do it because we spent over two hours filming the original car footage.

But Saturday I was back in B'burg for clarinet quartets with Mr M and his students, and I brought the Vespa with me again. And my camera. And Sherman. While we took a break and the others were looking through music, I excused myself and set about the task of recording Sherman.

Oddly enough, the only difficult thing about it all was moving enough lamps around for lighting - Mr M has some damned heavy lamps. Once they were in place, I affixed Sherman to his Vespa, turned on the DVD with the footage, and filmed. It took maybe 30 minutes. Maybe.

When I got back home I uploaded and looked at the Vespa footage and loved it. It was so simple - all I'd done was just jiggle the board the Vespa was taped to so it would look like he was dipping back and forth on the road.

It was also just 3 minutes long. And I realized that this would be the Comfy Chair movie.

My first thought was to use "Born to Be Wild," or some other rough and tumble motorcycle gang song, then it hit me. Vespa - Italian. I went looking for my "8 1/2" soundtrack, and recorded enough of the main theme to fit the film I had.

Then it hit me that since I was using music from "8 1/2" - remember, if you're going to cheese something up, go at it full-bore - I'd make it black and white. Then it hit me that if I was going to use the music from "8 1/2" and make it black and white, I'd try to do the titles in Italian. (A look at the credits for "8 1/2" and an English/Italian film site helped there.) I'd have Sherman in his own Fellini film! And I have to tell you, when I thought to put "Fine" at the end, I was pretty damn proud of myself.

And so that's how "Ciao!" came to be. It was about 1% of the movie I'd set out to make. I thought outside myself. And that's why I like making Comfy Chair movies. For those times I do what I'm sure I can't.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go cough a little while.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* A thousand thanks to those of you who gave me ideas about how to de-ink Sherman. As soon as I feel like mingling with the great unwashed I'm heading out for some Oxy Clean. I'll certainly let you know the results!


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Picture Sunday

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

Wow, what a weekend. No, wait. Wow, what a weekend!

My Friday Chill became a Friday Trip when I decided, quite late in the afternoon, to travel up to Lewisburg, WV to see the Hackensaw Boys. Believe it or not, I'd been waffling back and forth on going for some two weeks. I hadn't felt good, I was tired, I didn't know what would be going on with my mom and dad, I'd never been to the place before.... I just couldn't make my myself get excited about going.

Finally on Friday afternoon I decided that, since the Boys were heading out west soon, I probably wouldn't get to see them all summer, so I finally said "screw it" and bought a ticket. And headed out after work.

The venue was a nice coffee shop with a stage at the front window. It was called the Wild Bean, but I also saw them listed as the Wild Brew, so I thought maybe coffee and a microbrewery. This was not to be. It was coffee or nothing, which didn't bother me in the least. I can drink coffee till the cows come home.

I arrived early and got a chance to speak to some of the boys and, yes, pour myself some coffee from the many flavors they brewed. By the time the show started I'd worked my way onto the floor, telling myself I'd dance a while till I finally gave out, then roam around and take some pictures or videos, then maybe find a seat.

It was hot in that place, and there was no air conditioning. Hell - there was no air. But when the Hackensaws started playing, their special magic took over, and suddenly I'd forgotten all about the past six or so weeks. All the aches, pains, nervous breakdowns, family troubles, work crap, it all left me and I started dancing and didn't stop till it was over. I, ladies and gentlemen, had a blast.

I got one more cup of coffee for the road home, said goodbye to the Hackensaws I found, and hit the trail south. It wasn't as long a trip as I'd thought, so I was back home by 1:30 am. It was a great night.

I've said this so many times before, but the Hackensaws are so talented, and such nice boys, and they just play their hearts out. If they're ever in your town, I urge to go see them and say hello.

Like I said, I was busy dancing around like a madwoman, but there was a point in the proceedings where I noticed the banister leading up to the stage, and well, you know Sherman and how he likes to get into Hackenaw pictures....

The only down side of the whole evening was that I got a hand stamp while entering the venue that was so thick of ink I didn't think it would ever dry. After the show back in the car I turned on the car light and realized that where I'd sweated I had blue ink from basically my fingers to my forearm. I cannot believe it didn't get in my face, or on my white blouse, I don't know how I escaped. However, someone else wasn't so lucky.

If anyone knows how to remove ink from a little stuffed boy's face, please give me some ideas.

Saturday I got up early and headed to B'burg for clarinet quartets with Mr M and two of his students. It was fun, lots of playing and laughter, then Mr M made dinner for us all.

Last week he visited a local music shop that's going out of business because its owner is retiring. He bought lots of musical bits and pieces, some tambourines, cymbals, clarinet accessories. But he also bought a box of clarinet parts. I thought it would make an interesting picture.

Then it was back home last night to record the Hucklebug podcast with Stennie, and work some on the Comfy Chair movie. Which didn't go swimmingly. I stayed up till about 5:00 this morning, but not out of obligation, out of having fun working on this and that and listening to music.

Then today it was loafing around the house. Where, wonder of wonders, I had an epiphany of the highest order and the Comfy Chair movie came into being. And I'm really really proud of it, so please head over to see it.

There's no recipe this week because I'm lazy and don't feel like getting out the scanner. Sorry to the recipe fans, but there'll be one next time.

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Again, the Comfy Chair movie is up for viewing at the Comfy Chair Cinema website!


Thursday, June 11, 2009

By Request!

You know, my buddy Duke's been putting up some pretty damn good blogs lately, ones that make me laugh. He's done his food blogs, about hot dogs and barbecue in different places, and now he's on to movie blogs. His talk of the "embiggened bug" and the "rubber suited monster" (RSM) genres had me rolling in my seat.

A couple of his blogs have tweaked my memory, and one of his early requests was "just stuff about your everyday life or your take on the latest crummy TV commercials." So Duke, this week's request blog goes out to you, there in that state beside mine.

Now, one of Duke's more recent blogs was about shoppers, and how there were two kinds. Grazers and Darters. The Grazer goes in to look, ponder, compare, contrast, write an essay, read it back, sleep on it - there in the aisle - wake up, read the essay again, then make a choice. The Darter knows what the purchase will be beforehand, where it will be from, at what price, and darts in to get it.

I'm a Darter. And I once went shopping for a get well card with my cousin Jacob, who is a Grazer. Jacob stood in the aisle of a Hallmark store for upwards of 45 minutes picking out a get well card for a co-worker. And while I don't fault Jacob for this, I mean, it's certainly to her credit that she wanted to pick the exact right card that said the perfect pre-written, pre-thought hokum in it, I, as a Darter, wanted to take a match and set fire to every damn get well card in the store.

Grazers and Darters should never shop together, unless each is wearing a watch and they split up to shop separately, then meet at a central point later. That way they can meet up after 3 hours, where the Grazer will show up with a nice pair of shoes and the Darter will show up with 4 books, 2 CDs, a DVD box set, a television, and a good buzz where there were 2 ½ hours left over after the Darter's shopping and he found a bar.

However, there's another little wrinkle mentioned in Duke's shopping blog, and that is the "buying in bulk, thus getting a better value" conundrum.

And this is what caused Mr M and I to nearly come to blows, and I mean knock-down drag-out physical brawling, in the B'burg Kroger one Saturday afternoon.

See, Mr M had to go to the grocery to buy some ingredients for a meat loaf he was making us. And one of those ingredients was mushrooms. And so along we loped to the mushroom aisle, carrying our little tote basket provided by the store, and Mr M suddenly started poring over the mushrooms. Yes, my friends and blogees, Mr M, a Darter from way back, had transformed in a minute's time into a Grazer.

Now, on his behalf, this was when he went back to school for another master's degree and was a lowly poor student instead of an unhappy wage-earner, but still. He stood there varying back and forth between two containers of mushrooms. The glass jar and the small can. The small can was very cheap. The glass jar was more expensive. But somehow Mr M became transfixed on the fact that the more expensive jar had more servings, and therefore, a cheaper PPM©. (Price Per Mushroom, a phrase I coined right there in the aisle and would come to use so often in the conversation passersby were ready to stuff giant portobellos from the produce section into my mouth.)

OK, I'll readily admit to being kind of obnoxious about it, now, anyway, but at the time I was incredulous. Mr M was making one meat loaf - he needed the mushrooms for nothing more than that loaf. Why would he want to buy the larger jar of mushrooms just because it had a better PPM© when he could save money by buying the small can with the worse PPM©, but it would be all the mushrooms he would need anyway?

There was a point where, because he's a pacifist, not a gentleman - ie, it's not that he wouldn't punch out a lady, but that he wouldn't punch out anyone - that Mr M turned from me and walked away. And every time I caught up to him he turned and walked in the opposite direction. It became a game, almost. I caught him hiding behind the suntan lotion display, crouched in the bakery with rolls on his head, anything to escape me.

One of our more fun grocery store jaunts. And I was a little much that day. I was right, but a little much.

Oh well, such is our happy friendship. Let's go on to commercials now.

Duke mentioned my take on the latest crummy TV commercials, and there are a lot of those out there, Sham-wow, are you listening, but I thought I'd mention some commercials I like. This is because I've been thinking a lot lately about one of my favorite commercials of all time, and how I can't find it on the internet.

I'm completely enamored of all the Frosted Mini-Wheats commercials. You know them, you should, anyway, because last year or so I blogged about them. They're the commercials with the little mini-wheats helping people do better at school or in their jobs, and I blogged about how I wanted my own little wheaty friend to help me through my day. After that blog they introduced all kind of new flavored wheats, and little bitty kid wheats, one of which still makes me laugh when he falls over because his back pack is too heavy. The latest one is a wheat helping his human friend who works at a coffee shop.

If you go to the Mini Wheats website, you'll see the wheats everywhere. In fact, as the site opens, it's a hoot to see a wheat walk out and pat his foot impatiently. But if you go here, you can view a couple of their commercials. Prepare to fall in love.

(An aside: I'm trying something new in my quest to learn a little more html. Hopefully, all these links will open in a new window so you can go there and not worry about the cumbersome back-and-forthing from commercial to blog. Because I care. No, wait, because I'm trying to learn some more html. And I care.)

There's a commercial I like that's current, I don't really know why. It just makes me smile. It's for Shredded Wheat, not the frosty good kind but the hay bale, unsugared kind. It's a man who asks what progress has done for us, and his answer is "nothing." He goes on to name every crappy thing about progress in the last hundred years, then tells us that's why Shredded Wheat has remained the same for a century. And he declares that Shredded Wheat put the "no" in "innovation." What makes me laugh is that he's in his big open office space and in the background you see someone at a 60s era desk playing solitaire. Not on a computer, on a big green board. If you haven't seen it, you can here.

Now, I'm going back to Duke's blogs, because when he wrote about the rubber suited monster (RSM) movies, it immediately made me think of a commercial from a few years ago I adored.

There's some council out there, the Why Don't You Get Off Your Lazy Ass And Be a Halfway Decent Father Council, who make commercials about how you don't have to be a superhuman to be a good dad, just spend time with your kids. Problem is, a dad who won't get off his lazy ass to spend time with his kids ain't gonna be moved by one of these commercials, cute as they may be.

However, here are two rubber suited monsters (RSMs) having a nice father-son outing. Love it!

And speaking of which, the WDYGOYLAABAHDFC has put out another commercial that's probably my favorite commercial in the last few years. You may have seen it, and therefore know the punch line already, but I can remember the first time I ever saw it and the total warm fuzziness that came over me at the end when all was revealed. I think it's adorable, and you can view it here.

And finally. The commercial I fell in love with at Christmas some years ago, that my Dear Nephew and I quoted like mad for years after, that was on You Tube at one time but has now vanished because of copyrighting. Boy, do I know what that's like.

Anyway, it was the Staples Sno-bot commercial, where a robot has been created to help people with their Staples Christmas shopping. He tells a shopper of several great buys and the shopper shows interest in a printer. The robot tries to steer the shopper in a different direction, but the shopper's mind is made up. Then the robot blurts out, "You can't have her - I love her!" As the commercial ends the printer is bought, and the robot says, in his monotone machine voice, "Weeping - weeping."

Boy, I miss that commercial.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Finishing this up on my afternoon off, and now headed to B'burg to work a little more on the Comfy Chair movie. Might come off, might not. Wish me luck.
* Remember, anyone, anywhere, anytime can make a request for a blog!

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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Blogless Again

I've been sitting here for some time trying to come up with something sparkling and witty. I'm dry.

I've said it before, but I wish there was some sort of sleep school I could go to. I don't sleep. I lie in bed for hours and hours, then finally fall asleep at around 5 am. Then I sleep so hard I can't get up.

Sometimes I sleep less than two hours a night. And you'd think I'd just fall right off the next day, right? Either during the evening, or when I go to bed the next night. But I don't. Again, it's just looking at the ceiling.

I'm afraid to take something, because I'm afraid 1) it won't work and I'll have wasted my time, 2) it will work, but will work so well I'll never wake up, or 3) will work so well I end up taking it all the time, or depending on it.

I know several women my age and many of them have the same problem. I'm thinking maybe my next Comfy Chair movie should be "Attack of the Zombies" and should be middle-aged women roaming the streets, wide-eyed, bumping into buildings and walking out in front of cars.

And to end the blog, I'll show you a picture. It's just in from the photographer.

When Sherman and Peabody visited the White House a couple of weeks ago, they had one more picture taken - well, it was a portrait, actually. It's lovely. I'm having one framed, I think.

So that's the Tuesday blog. Such as it was.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Acrowinners, we have acrowinners! So, tell me about your scout badges, folks.
- First of all, I have to say that the DeepFatFriar gave me an idea about a kind of 'bonus' round that would increase winners and be kind of fun, and I was completely up for it, then I realized that not all the entries would be eligible and that wasn't quite fair. Next time the acro is a list, maybe we can try it.
- Honorable Mentions go to LilyG, with her "Drunk, unruly, naked, eating velveeta cheese," (is that four badges, Lily, or one? I like the idea of a velveeta cheese badge) and Kellie (with an ie), with her "Dusting. Unicycling. Nondairy. Emptying Vacuum Cleaner." (There should so be an emptying the vacuum cleaner badge.)
- Runners Up go to the DeepFatFriar, with his "Dementia, Unitarianism, nudity, ecdysisam, viniculture, curare," (I've seen his Unitarianism badge!) and Marla (marlamarlamarla), with her "Darning Underwear, Not Eating Vegetables, Carpooling." (Those are fine badges, and I'm currently working on my not eating vegetables badge.)
- And this week's winner goes, simply because it was, for me, the best combination, to Stennie, with her "Douchebaggery, Undertaking, Nymphomania, Electronic Vehicle Construction." I was so hoping someone would use the "N" for Nincompoopery, but Douchebaggery might be even better. You have a wide range of talents, Stenns.
- And Marla, I have some underwear that could use some serious darning. Interested?
- Thanks to all who played, you made me laugh and you've all done very well!


Monday, June 08, 2009


Hello, letter lovers, and welcome to another round of acromania.

I don't have much time, seeing as how I've spent the night working on the latest Comfy Chair movie. And I'm still working on it. And I already see a gaping mistake, and I'm growing tired of what began this weekend as a blissful project. Humbug.

Anyway, let's go back to my scout badges. Let's see, I had Lawncare, Movie Quotes, Swimming, Sightreading, well, read below and you can see.

This week's acrotopic? "What Scout Badges Do You Have?" Are you an expert debater? Gossiper? Master laundry doer? What are your badges for?

Everyone knows the rules by now, three entries each, best acronyms you can think of, random letters drawn from the acrobasket, who has his English badge and his Table Accessory badge. Then tomorrow night at 10:00 est I shall read the winners.

So, "What Scout Badges Do You Have?" The letters:


There you go - try for your Acro Badge!


Sunday, June 07, 2009

Picture Sunday

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

I had a really nice weekend. It began with my mom, aka Granny, being sprung yet again from the hospital on Friday. I went by to visit, then headed home for a Friday Chill Night, which led to a Hucklebug podcast recording, and a shitload of Goldschlager shots. I probably drank an entire flask of Goldschlager. And you know what? I got drunk, and I needed it, and I was happy and didn't even have a hangover the next day.

Then on Saturday I headed to B'burg and Mr M's, where I actually got to do the two things I most wanted to do. I worked on the beginning of the next Comfy Chair movie, and went to the movies, to see "Up."

Now first of all, the Comfy Chair stuff was amazing, and I am forever indebted to the DeepFatFriar for helping me with it. Man was a genius. However, you won't be seeing the movie for a little while because - I have to make a movie over this movie. Yes, I'm getting more and more advanced in the world of film.

And second, I really enjoyed "Up." It features one of the cutest cartoon boys this side of the one who lives with me at the Poderosa. His name was Russell, and he was a Wilderness Explorer scout. He was trying to get his last badge to be promoted to senior scout.

And it got me to thinking about my scout badges. You did know I have scout badges, didn't you? Here, let me show you my sash.

Yep, there they are. I'm quite proud. I've also advanced to senior scout, but only by age, not by number of badges. Let's take a close-up look.

OK, row one from left, there's my Podcasting badge, got that a couple of years ago, and my Drivng badge, I rack up lots of miles so that was easy, and my Friend to Cartoons badge. The boys at the Poderosa helped me get that one.

Row two, that's my Sightreading badge, Mr M helped me get that one, my Planting badge, that came from planting flowers the last few years and having a peace lily that's lived 17 years, and my Getting Shouted At badge, I got that one at work.

Now, I'm quite proud of my Lawncare badge, I survived a lot of bee stings for that one, my Photography badge, doing Picture Sunday helped me get that one, and my Movie Quotes badge, that came from a lot of years practice.

Then I have my Swimming badge, I earned that through summer laps, my Movie Maker badge, the Comfy Chair Cinema brought me that one, and my Doodling badge. I've been a doodler from way back.

And finally, there's my Dancing badge, I got that from countless (really, I've stopped counting) Hackensaw Boys concerts, my Blogging badge, though I'm in danger of having that taken away, I fear, and my Television badge, the first badge I ever got.

So there.

Recipe du jour? You bet! It's not much, but it's what I pulled out of the envelope.

You know, summer is here. And summer is the time for a nice cool salad. Of any kind but this. From the "Natural Foods" file at cardland, will you please say hello to Alfalfa Sprout Salad.

Well. That's certainly an alfalfa sprout salad, I guess. Thing of it is, alfalfa sprouts have no taste at all. This is why there's all that crap underneath the sprouts. You have some lettuce, pine nuts, cucumbers, carrots, and avacados. It's served with what looks like some of the heaviest bread I've seen (wear your truss!), and all placed nicely on a wrinkled tablecloth.

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Unfortunately, I don't really have an Olympic update. Or any other kind.


Thursday, June 04, 2009

By Request!

Well, hello there.

I asked for requests, and I got requests. And don't think for a moment I'm not grateful. I'm writing them down, and I'll get to them all.

But let's start with the first request I got. Some others asked for it too, but Mr M wanted this and this alone, so for Mr M out there in B'burg, this blog is your request.

Ever had a bad case of bed head? I'll bet you've never had one this bad.

Hey, did I ever tell you about the time I auditioned for the part of The Tin Man in "The Wizard of Oz?"

I look none too happy about it, too. I figured it would go to Buddy Ebsen.

AAAAAA! Babyhead! Babyhead!

Hey, that's the baby from my epic "2001 (Sort Of)."

And finally, how about Pee Wee Herman on my head?

Life's always better when Pee Wee's on your head.

Well, there you have it. Things on my head.

Happy weekend.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Sorry about my hair. 100% humidity and a day of rain will do that.
* Remember, you may make a request any time, any day.


Tuesday, June 02, 2009


Hello, loves.

First of all, all apologies for no acrochallenge last night. I'd planned one. I'd planned to have a week of stuff, Picture Sunday, Acrochallenge, Tuesday Blog in Earnest, and then a Request Blog.

Then Monday went all to hell.

It started when I came home from work. My instructions were to wait for my dad to call, and I was to go over there and help him pay bills, since Mom's still in the hospital. See, because of his sight, he can't write checks, and I was going to go help him do all that.

Which I did. But while I was waiting for him to call, I sat at the computer, checked my emails, and played a little Text Twist, a game with a bright blue background that involves tiles of letters moving around on the blue. I kind of got involved in it all and forgot to turn on the lamp that stands behind me.

So the call from Dad came, I got up to leave, and - well, I almost fell down. I was really dizzy, and noticed I had a dull thudding ache at the base of my head. I shook it off, chalked it up to a computer monitor in the dark, grabbed my keys, and went to the car.

Where things didn't really get any better, but I soldiered on and got to Dad's.

Now, forgive me for saying this, for I know this will be me someday if I live long enough, but I was kind of expecting to get there to a pile of bills for which I'd write checks, and that was about it.

When I got to Dad's, he was at the kitchen table. There was a place set for me. It had the check book and two pens, one erasable and one normal. I'd brought my own pen, because I'm a pen and pencil geek and I like to write with certain kinds of pens. Dad did not like this; he wanted the checks in his pen and the register in the erasable. I said, politely, no.

Anyway, I sat at my assigned place, and bill paying consisted of Dad picking up the bills, struggling to read them, telling me who the checks were to be written to, and for how much. It was frustrating and took a long time. He took his lighted magnifier and pored over every check I wrote.


Then, about halfway through, he leaned over to where I was writing and actually asked me, "You are writing all this down in the check register, aren't you?"

And I looked him square in the face and said, quite seriously, "No. I thought I'd let you all wing it this month."

And he got all upset, and I had to assure him that I was in fact doing this just like I do in my own check book, as I've been writing checks for 30 years and no one's confiscated the book from me yet.

Anyway, it lasted over an hour and I still had the horrible dull headache and felt - well, not dizzy, but just "not there."

I came home at 9pm and thought about dinner, but I just kept feeling worse and worse. I fell asleep for a little while, and when I woke up, I was a complete mess. Head in pain, short of breath, feeling like I was on the verge of passing out. I took my blood pressure and it was quite high, certainly high for me. I kept trying to talk myself out of it, but the symptoms were like no anxiety attack I'd ever experienced, and finally I just held out my arms and said, to no one in particular, "I'm at a loss here. What do I do?"

And something told me to call 911. So I did.

And so now I was the one heading to the ER.

To make a very long story a little shorter, my sister met me there. She told me she'd told Dad he couldn't come, a fact for which I'll be eternally grateful. No offense, Dad, but you're a pacer, hoverer, and worrier, the last thing I needed.

Oddly enough, I found myself with a very kind nurse and a very kind ER doctor. The doctor said, after asking all the requisite questions, he was pretty sure I was having a bit of a freakout, but he was going to do tests, chest x-ray, EKG, bloodwork. They hooked me up to monitors. The very first blood pressure reading was something like 102/60, so at that point I realized it was indeed me not handling the pressure, and that I'd wasted a perfectly good Monday evening.

Anyway, after the tests, and lying in bed intermittently giggling and crying with my sister, I got the OK. The doctor said I was very healthy, heart was great, blood was great, chest x-ray perfect, and that my liver was, and I quote, "fabulous," which made both my sister and I laugh and plan a good night of drinking.

And I got home at around 3:30 this morning. And felt like shit most of the day, sleepy, tired, and like I'd been hit by a bus.

But I'm better now. And am learning to repeat, "There's nothing wrong with you. Your liver is fabulous. Take a deep breath and relax."

Anyway, that wasn't even close to what I was going to write about tonight, so let's leave all that and move on.

I've often said my iTunes has a personality. That's the only way I can explain some of the things it does to me, often in the dark of night, things that creep me out. Like playing two artists doing the same song back-to-back, or playing six straight songs about geographical locations, or the latest one, playing two songs about San Antonio right together.

Now, over the weekend, I caught "2001: A Space Odyssey" on cable, and I found myself quite amused by Hal. Every time he spoke I seemed to giggle, especially after he was caught killing Gary Lockwood and was was pleading for his life to Keir Dullea, saying, "I am all better now."

It reminded me of Friday night, when I was convinced my iTunes was trying to drive me crazy.

I was looking for a group of CDs. They were CDs of blogs I'd recorded, ones I'd lost from iTunes somehow during the Big Computer Switchover of last year. I wanted my Barbie blogs, and my Musical Version of "To Kill a Mockingbird." And I was having a lot of trouble finding the CDs holding them.

Now, I have to admit that I'm a mess where CDs are concerned. I'll make a CD that contains one song, if it's a song I've just discovered and want to pop it into the car player to play over and over while I tool around town. Or I'll record one episode of the Hucklebug podcast for a trip. And I normally do all this on the fly, so I don't label the CD, so I have stacks of CDs with no label and I have no idea what's on them.

So I found myself on Friday night popping many a CD into the computer to see what was on them, to label and hope they might contain my old blogs.

Most of these CDs had about 9 or 10 mystery tracks. You know, Track 1, Track 2, and the like, and I'd listen to one track and say, "Oh, yeah, this was my Beatles trip." A few had 20 tracks, and so I knew they were CD Mix Exchange prototypes.

But I slipped one CD into the holder, and got a shock. Apparently, or according to the window at the top of the iTunes screen, I had a CD of the UA Cup Final, whatever that was. It was an hour long. It turned out to be a Hucklebug podcast.

Then I put in another. The iTunes window flashed that was I about to play "AR on City Folk WFUV mgr 2001." And I braced myself for the fun, and it was a CD on which I'd recorded one Sufjan Stevens song.

I had no idea what was happening, but it was intriguing me, and so I started to pay close attention to the iTunes window. I wondered how many rogue selections had slipped up there earlier without my ever noticing it.

My CD containing one track by the Hackensaw Boys, a live version of "Sweet Petunia," came up in the window as Kal Hyonim. One containing two Gillian Welch songs showed up as "Neat," by N-eat.

A track I'd recorded onto CD of a practice by Mr M and Jude the Corruptor doing one of my favorite Peter Schickele pieces showed up with the title "24/7," by Nid Paheim.

And Hucklebug podcast episode 10 was now titled "The Best of Laura Pausini." Which is rather sad as there was only that one track, and that made me feel kind of sorry for for Ms Pausini.

So is my iTunes messing with my head? Is it plotting to drive me crazy, so it can drain my bank account and then take up with a younger, prettier iTunes listener?

I do not know. But I'm thinking of unplugging my computer when I go to bed.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Remember, I'm taking suggestions for Request Blogs. Doesn't matter if you've suggested something already, I'm writing them all down. Can be anything!
* I found the blog CDs, by the way. Mainly because they were labeled. I also found Stennie's recorded blogs, and laughed late into the night.