Monday, April 28, 2008

Quality time with the spousal unit

Last night Ken took some time away from schoolwork long enough so we could see a movie. We watched Forgetting Sarah Marshall. There were some cute parts and funny parts and raunchy parts, and the Englishman was hysterical, but as a whole it wasn't cohesive as I would have liked. There were a ton of penis shots, which I found funny but annoyed Ken.

Soapbox: Jason Segal wrote the script and plays the male lead. He's naked a lot, which I think is supposed to be endearing because he's goofy and a little doughy and not at all buff and the two female leads (Kristen Bell and Mila Kunis) are both predictably skinny and hot. For me it just pointed out the sexist nature of Hollywood--sure, guys can be shleppy and headline a Major Motion Picture, but a goofy, less-than-perfect woman (think Judy Greer or Jeanne Garafolo) will usually be cast as the snarky best friend.

It's not nearly as good as Knocked Up or Superbad, probably because Judd Apatow only produced it, he didn't direct it. If you see it, either go to a matinee or wait for DVD. Definitely don't pay full price.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

I went and did it

I bought the textbook I'll need to study for the Specialist in Microbiology ASCP exam. It ships May 1st. Between now and next spring I'll be doing one of three things with my spare time: writing, studying micro, or reading fiction. Oh, let's be serious, one of four things: gotta add "playing Guitar Hero" to that list.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

It never really goes away, does it?

So today I had the day off. It's a gorgeous day, beautiful, sunshiny, no humidity, slight breeze, around 80 degrees. (Yes, Bridget, I know it's like that every day in LA. Shut up.) I colored by hair, finished a short story, contemplated getting Chinese food for lunch but then convinced myself to way until mid-afternoon, and got a manicure. I went into one of those strip-mall places full of Asian women who barely speak English because those type of nail places give better manicures that salons that charge twice as much. I allowed myself to enjoy being pampered for a half-hour. I tipped the woman generously, and left to enjoy the rest of the afternoon.

I got about halfway to my car before I mentally flayed myself for spending $17 on a frivolity. "Self," I said, "You could have spent $8 on this exact nail polish at the mall and used it for the next two years."

Why, why, why, do I feel guilty about spending money on things that aren't essentials? Why can't I get it through my head that just because I grew up poor doesn't mean I am now? Why can't I understand that I work hard for my money and so it's okay for me to have nice things?

I don't always feel this way. I'm fine with buying a computer or an iPod, and I have no problems paying for a gaming platform or a few books or a gym membership, probably because I know I'll get my money's worth out of them through use. But getting a manicure seems like such an indulgence that I beat myself up about it.

New Music Wednesday

For those of you who don't know, I'm a movie soundtrack junkie. Grease, Chicago, The Village, it's all good. Hell, I even own the soundtrack to Twister. If some crazed fan ever sent me the Last Action Hero soundtrack on CD, I probably wouldn't have them arrested. So, I'm getting ready to buy the soundtrack to Forgetting Sarah Marshall, mostly because Jason Segal from How I Met Your Mother is in the movie and performs on the soundtrack, but also because I plan to go see it this week. The first song on the album is "Love you Madly" by Cake. It's a spry little number, and it makes me wonder why I don't own any Cake albums. I said all of that to say this: if you had to buy only one Cake album, which one would it be? (That's right, I'm lookin' at you, Innuendo, but anyone can chime in.)

Friday, April 18, 2008

What's shakin'?

Everything, as it turns out. We had an earthquake this morning, 5.2 on the richter scale. Around 4:37 this morning, I felt the bed shake and a clinking noise. The noise was Ken's glasses hitting a drinking glass on his bedside table (I think) and the shaking was, um, the earth. Actually, my first thought was, "Is Kahlua having a seizure?" because, well, that's basically how Bailey died in front of us, and we all know how disorienting waking up from a dead sleep can be. I looked at the foot of the bed, but Kahlua wasn't there; he was sitting in the middle of the bedroom, minding his own business. Morgan lay sleeping at my side, and Moonshine was nowhere to be found. I said, "Is it an earthquake?" and Ken said, "No, it's the glasses clinking," because he had that whole disoriented thing happening, too. I was more "WTF?" than scared. It lasted I dunno, maybe 15 or 20 seconds, then it stopped. Ken promptly fell back to sleep. I lay awake for a bit thinking about the New Madrid fault line. I grew up in the St. Louis area, and they taught us about it in school, so of course the thoughts running through my head was "Holy crap, St. Louis is in ruins" and "Hope my family's okay" and "Ken's too busy with finals to be dealing with this now." (Ken works for an agency that coordinates Illinois law enforcement in an emergency.) This is the seismic zone that caused the quake today. If I have a handle on the way these things work, if New Madrid had a big quake, this fault line would be affected, too.

Don't worry, everyone is okay here. It was a weird 20 seconds, though. Clearly, the end is near.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

This and that

So, today I mowed the yard for the first time. We had waving fields of grain, we did. I feel like I need to go bale the trimmings.

So I'm procrastinating from writing by watching Ghost Hunters. I love this show. These paranormal investigators go into a "haunted" place expecting to disprove the haunting. Sometimes they find actual abberitions, though. I particularly like it when they catch a spirit's voice on tape. It's usually disembodied and barely understandable, but always creepy. Good times.

Cubs are on. They are winning. Life is good.

Tomorrow I go to cycling and finish a short story. Friday I have dinner with friends. Saturday I may help a girlfriend with her daughter's slumber party. This weekend I start another short story. May is taken up with fixing and finishing my YA project.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Answers to your burning questions

1. Have you ever killed a man?
Um, no. Why do you ask?

2. With your own hands?
If I were to kill someone--and this is purely hypothetical here--I would use biological means. A little botulism toxin goes a long way, you know.

3. What, in your opinion, is the best way to transport contraband across state and country lines?
I would never transport contraband. But if I did, I'd have to say "Pay a mule to do it." Why get your own hands dirty? Wasn't I plain enough about how I feel about that in question 2?

4. Even if you're transporting explosives?

5. Really?
Yes, really. Sheesh, people.

6. Have you ever stolen a library book?

7. On purpose, or only because you found it under your bed years after you reported it lost and paid the fine?
Neither. I'm as clean as a preacher's sheets on this one.

8. Where were you on November 1, 2007?
Uh ... probably at work. Or at home. Possibly both, but not at the same time.

9. Can you prove it?
No. Dear God, now that I think about it, I may have been out of the country.

10. You had to think about that, didn't you?
Yeah. That's actually kind of a scary question when you really think about it. What if you really did need to prove what you did on a past date?

11. How much is it worth to you for me to pretend I didn't notice?
Not much, actually. I'm not easily embarrassed.

12. Have you spent years building up an immunity to iocane powder? (And if you know a faster method, will you share it?)
As a matter of fact, I do know a better way, but it involves a land war in Asia. You don't want to hear about it.

13. Name three different ways to start a fire.
Um ... hmmmm. A match. Dropping a chunk of pure sodium in a bucket of water might work to get some sparks going. Flint and steel.

14. Now try to convince me you only know that because you were a Girl/Boy Scout/Guide once.
I'm not even going to try. Anyone who knows me knows I'm no girl scout.

15. How many digits of pi can you recite from memory?
3.14 .... so, the first three.

16. Did you have to count out the digits on your fingers to answer that?

17. Did you check online to make sure you remembered right before answering?

18. Does all this talk about numbers make you uncomfortable?
Oddly, yes.

19. Or are you just wondering what it has to do with the rest of the meme?
Well, that, too.

20. Seriously, where did you bury the body?
Dude, I'm not telling you.

21. Where were you on March 16, 2036?
I'm definitely not answering that.

22. If all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you jump, too?
Hell, no. I'm probably the one that pushed them.

23. What is the ninja replacement score for your life?
Oh, jeez. At least three.

Neil Patrick Harris is my hero

Just read this over at All I can say is, right on, Neil. Right on. I am one of those fans that looooooove HIMYM, and if the producers and studio fuck it up with stunt casting, I'm going to be severely disappointed. As far as I know, CBS has not picked it up for the fall line-up yet; if this show gets canceled, I'm waging a yellow-umbrella campaign. For those of you who hadn't heard, Jericho got canceled by CBS last year; the fans brought the show back by sending in thousands of pounds of peanuts. (Peanuts were an allusion to a "don't give up" anecdote in the show.) True, the seven episodes of the second season sucked pretty hard, mostly because I think CBS had no intention of keeping the series going; they merely wanted to wrap things up as quickly as they could. Anyway, if HIMYM gets canned, I'm so sending CBS a yellow umbrella. (Apparently a yellow umbrella figures heavily into the story of how Ted eventually meets the mother.) Who's with me?

ETA: Looks like Neil may be in a bit of hot water. I think I understand what he's saying: hey, Brit didn't do a bad job, but we don't need to rely on stunt casting because it's a damn fine show without it.

Sunday, April 06, 2008


Today was a perfect spring day. Sixty-five degrees, breezy, sunshine-y all day long. Absolute awesomeness. I got some laundry done (yay), made a new crock-pot lasagna recipe (needs a little tweaking but yummy anyway), cooked no-bake cookies (always excellent), tried baking seven-layer bars (still cooling so the jury's still out), cleared the dead perennials from the flowerbeds (exposing new growth underneath, bonus), grocery shopped with Ken (double bonus) and walked around the woods near our house with Ken (triple bonus). All that plus I've made a little headway on the short story that's due May 1st. I honestly don't know what could have made this day any better.

Okay, okay, maybe an e-mail from an agent wanting to see a full manuscript. Other than that, though ... nothing. And, hey, the day's not over yet, am I right?

As Ken and I walked through the woods earlier today, I realized again how much I need to live in the country. We always talk about buying a house in the woods, and today just completely reinforced that notion for me. Friends of ours live in the country, and a few times a year they have bonfires. We go and eat food and drink wine and listen to the quiet and look at the stars and as we do all those things, I can actually feel my soul become peaceful, like I've found a piece of me that's missing. Today was a good way to recharge the batteries.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Recently discovered cat facts

1. Moonshine is almost brave enough to go into the shower when its running. Ken even shoved her in the other day and she didn't freak out too bad. Once she takes that plunge that will make us a two-shower cat-household. (Morgan's been taking showers for almost two years.)

2. Morgan loves to lick the glue on envelopes. He doesn't discriminate against old envelopes, either; if it's paper and it has glue, he licks it. This always makes me think of the Seinfeld episode where George's fiance Susan dies from licking too many cheap envelopes.

3. Kahlua doesn't chew his food. He also yodels before he barfs. It's an odd sound to hear at four in the morning.

Spring is in the air ...

... and so I'm getting the urge to redecorate and plant flowers. It's this time of year that I always curse myself for not planting bulbs in the fall. It's also the time of year that I tell myself this is the year I'm actually going to do the back flowerbed and plant lots of annuals and actually have a decent lawn. It might really happen this time. I can't really plant any flowers until around Mother's Day--they'll just get frostbitten otherwise--but I can repaint the master suite in the meantime. I'm thinking brown walls in the bedroom, teal blue walls in the bathroom, and curtains/bedding/accents with a mixture of both colors. I've found towels and curtains I like a Target; finding new bedding could be an issue, as could finding a shower curtain. I'll search around until I find something, but I forsee a weekend soon where I'm up to my elbows in paint. I can't wait. And then maybe we'll be grown-ups and buy an actual bedroom furniture set. Right now it's a mish-mash of childhood, garage sale, and hand-me-down furniture.

I've also been pondering re-doing Ken's den. He's actually just turned our spare room into his office; I'd like to surprise him with new paint and a few cool asian-feel pictures for the walls. I think he'd really appreciate that, and it wouldn't take much effort. Maybe the next time he's away on business.