Archive for January, 2010

Here Comes The Bride

January 29, 2010

Today is a happy day indeed. Ariel’s niece, (and mine, too, in a manner of speaking; I’ve known her 22 of her 24 years–man that makes me feel old) is getting married. The ceremony is scheduled for one in the afternoon and I’ve been working seemingly around the clock to clear this afternoon and it looks like I’ll be ready to go with time to spare. I have just over three hours to finish out my week. So, that’s the big news of the weekend. For those of you who won’t be there, don’t fret, you have a choice of celebrations today. It’s National Puzzle Day and National Cornchip Day. Or National “Fit Pieces of Cornchips Into a Puzzle” Day. You decide.

I’ve got some free time this weekend because earlier this week, over my morning coffee before I got started working, I filled out my 2010 wall calendar and not a moment too soon otherwise I might have missed recycling day. So I don’t know what to do with myself. One thing, I’ll be playing plumber; the replacement parts for my toilet came in yesterday so I’ll be attempting to work on that. And I will be prepping the next McGinty for Monday and tomorrow is our weekly weigh-in. And I’m still trying to remember what that one effect high blood pressure has, but it keeps going out of my head.

Newark Airport security breach guy, Haison Jiang is scheduled for a February 9 arraignment on a misdemeanor trespassing charge. He faces either a $500 fine or 30 days in jail. I still say all the people he inconvenienced should let him have it.

What can I leave you with to contemplate over the weekend? How’s this: A story about Jessica and Laura. Jessica is pregnant and is due to give birth to a baby boy next month. That’s not so out of the ordinary. But what if Jessica and Laura both had sexual reassignment surgery and now live their lives as transgendered couple Scott and Thomas Moore; Jessica and Laura respectively. They’ve been together since 2007 when they met at a support group for transgendered men. In 1999, Thomas began taking testosterone and in 2004 had his 44GG breasts removed and his “snails and whales and puppy dog tail” is made from the flesh of his thigh. He also has two children of his own from a prior relationship with a female who later passed away. So, was he a lesbian at one point? I’m confused on that point. But Scott, whose birth certificate still lists him as a female, also still has female reproductive parts and he became pregnant by a donor.

Have a great weekend.

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The Ban On…, Er… The Ban On…

January 28, 2010

Everyday you hear of something that’s being banned; smoking, runny eggs (every now and then), long hair in schools (“tater tot”), talking on a cell phone while driving, the dictionary. Well, there was a ban on the dictionary, the Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary-10th Edition in a California school but that was so last week. This is a new time and the dictionary has been restored to its evilly influential vitality.

It was at the Oak Meadows Elementary School in Menifee, California that parents were outraged over the definition of oral s-e-x. These people find the act itself unnatural and because within the pages of the tome it was defined to readers what it was, they demanded the book be removed from the shelves and it was.

But the ban has been lifted for students whose parents chose to sign a permission slip. Those that would rather their angels’ eyes didn’t fall on such provocative terms, can opt for alternative dictionaries.

You know what’s funny? I happen to have that edition and I cannot find oral sex at all. The entries go from ORAL, to ORAL HISTORY, to ORALISM, to ORANG (short for orangutan). Hmm. The “F” word is in there, though, along with it’s origin, which is taken from the Dutch word “fokken” which means to breed (as in cattle) and the Swedish word “fokka”, which means to copulate. Did you know the word was first used in the 15 th Century? But somehow those parents seemed to overlook this one. Very useful tool, this dictionary. I’m gonna go see what other smut I can find.

I was also wanted to say something about how high blood pressure can have a long-term effect on memory, but I forgot what I was going to say.

 

Someone’s Been Sleeping In My Bed

January 27, 2010

It’s a cold night and it’s time for bed and don’t you just hate crawling between those stiff, chilly cotton sheets on your bed? You do this on a nightly basis and now that you’re on vacation, let’s say, in England, for instance, and it’s not so much fun. Vacation is supposed to be a getaway from all the normalcies of the day to day, a time to pamper yourself a little.

Lucky for you, you’re in England and you’re even more fortunate that you’re staying at a Holiday Inn, perhaps one of the three in Britain that offers a bed warming service; a human bed-warming service. Yes, that’s right, someone to tuck himself (or, herself) between your covers and warm up your bed to a satisfying, cozy sleep inducing 20 degrees Celsius. That’s 68 degrees Fahrenheit.

This bed warmer, says a spokesperson from the hotel chain, would be fully dressed in an all in one fleece jumper, including having his or her hair covered, get your bed all toasty warm and slip on out of there before you, the guest comes to occupy the bed.

So, what? How does this work? I mean, how soon before you get to your room is this person there? Do you call on your way from wherever you spent your evening and tell the front desk to send up the human water bottle? And once the bed is at the correct temperature, does the person leave, allowing your warm little sanctuary to start cooling? Do he wait for you and you pass each other at the door? Does he wait until you are completely ready for bed, thus putting the kibosh on any pre-bedtime…well, you know…?

Wouldn’t electric blankets be just as effective? Or turning up the heat in the room? Or perhaps bringing along your own human bed warmer?

It’s just kind of creepy to think that someone was in your bed just moments before you climbed into it for the night. Oh, I know, if you really want to examine it at length, it’s kind of creepy to think about who the guest was the night before who slept in that same bed, but by then the linens have been changed, so you take a leap of faith that nothing too weird occurred that a fresh set of sheets can’t disguise. But even though he’s securely sealed into his own job uniform, what if your bed warmer guy passed gas in your bed?

A Day Late, A Celebration Short

January 26, 2010

Oh, snap! Or rather, pop. No crackle, though, is this case, but plenty of stress relief. Yesterday, Bubble Wrap turned 50. I was so frustrated that I neglected to report it, I went to my basement, threw myself against the wall and made a full body impression of myself in my bubble wrap. No, I’m kidding. There was no bubble wrap on the wall. But that doesn’t mean it might not have been. What are you talking about, Brian, you might be asking yourself. And I shall be happy to oblige with an answer.

Originally, when bubble wrap was first invented, it was intended to be a textured wallpaper–which would be great if it would re-inflate itself so you could just keep on playing with it–but the failed trend led to an ideal way to wrap fragile items for shipping or packing away. The idea for that came to one of its inventors, Mark Chavannes, (his partner was Al Fielding) when a flight he was on was coming in for a landing in Newark. He noticed how the clouds seemed to be cushioning the plane and he thought his sheets of sealed air would make a perfect cushion and Bubble Wrap, as we know it, was born. Sealed Air, whose headquarters are in Saddle Brook, NJ,  is now a Fortune 500 company and Bubble Wrap is a pop culture phenomenon. Clothes, painting on and with (for a unique faux finish), wrapping, shipping and of course instant stress relief are among this versatile products uses. 

            

2010 is the tenth annual celebration of Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day.

Lately though, I’ve been seeing those new “air pillows” in shipping cartons, that are about 5×7, well, pillows, of air that really take up a lot of room, but since they are set size, they are hard to mold around items you want to protect in a shipping box. Plus it’s only one bubble so once you pop it, it’s over.

And speaking of popping, here, work out some frustrations. In the normal mode, you click on each individual bubble, trying to pop as many as you can in the time you set for yourself. In the addictive mode, you simply glide your mouse over the page to pop as much as you can in the time allowed.

Trickle Down Theory

January 25, 2010

I had a few things on my weekend to do list that didn’t get done (I’m not surprised!); my wall calendar, picking up a mass of broken tree branches from the lawn (it was dreary and drizzly and cold and now this morning it’s very blustery; I’m sure more branches will be down before all is said and done) but one thing I didn’t think we would do was discover our toilet is an original 1954 model, which, coincidentally, is the year my house was built. The other night, even over the blasting volume of the TV, there was this tinkling sound of water and it turned out to be the toilet. The tank had filled too high and was trickling into the overflow tube. I flushed it to lower the water level and watched as the float rose with the water level and stop. Satisfied, I put the tank cover back on and resumed my TV. During the night, showing off how light a sleeper I am, the trickling had started again and the sound of it reached all the way upstairs and woke me up.

Ariel stopped at Home Depot, after having his truck serviced Saturday morning, to get replacement parts, but being that it’s a one piece toilet, they don’t carry them. He found the exact model on the American Standard website and we have to order the parts. And, to ascertain it was the right model, #2000, he found the molded in stamp, along with the date, January 13, 1954.

For some reason, even after the tank is full and the float cuts off the big rush of water, it actually keeps running, very, very slowly, but eventually fills enough to rise above the overflow tube. So, I have to keep the water supply shut off until we get the parts to fix it.

Speaking of trickling down, Ariel and I had our weigh-ins on Saturday morning and I am pretty pleased with our results. Ariel dropped 5 pounds and I took off 7. That much of a drop in the beginning was probably mostly water weight, due to the drastic and deliberate omission of salt. Even my socks don’t leave 1/8 inch indentations, already, a week in. I may not lose that much again this week, and I’m fine with that, but that first big number is such an incentive boost!

I capped off my weekend with something I haven’t done since I was a teenage. I slept Sunday morning until about 11:30 in the morning. Oh, I was in and out of consciousness, but the phone rang and woke me up. It was my mother coming to drop something off and she was calling from the driveway. She visited for a few hours and then we plopped in front of the TV, until it was time to make dinner and then resumed with the TV. Oh, and why all the laziness? Too much caffeine before bed on Friday plus listening to the trickling toilet and then we were out late Saturday night. No hangover, just a late night.

But, it’s Monday and that means it’s time for a brand new McGinty. Please enjoy.

     

 

 

       

A Chill Over The Rainbow

January 22, 2010

I was doing a little preemptive research on something we tentatively have coming up in a few months (I’m sure there will be pictures) and I came across an interesting article. A question had come up about Dorothy from The Wizard Of Oz and what her middle name was. Well, any Wizard Of Oz afficionado should be able to rattle off that information in less than a heartbeat. Do any of you know it? Well, just in case you need to think about it, I’ll let you think while I tell you about that article.

Lyman Frank Baum, the author, who prefered the initial “L” as his first name, was married to Maud Gage and together they had four sons. They lived in Chicago. That really has nothing to do with the story, other than just an FYI. They never had the daughter Maud always longed for. Maud’s brother, Thomas Clarkson Gage and his wife, Sophie, who lived in Bloomington, Illinois–again, not relevant–had a baby girl in June of 1898 and they named her Dorothy Louise. Dorothy Louise Gage was only 5 months old to the day (June 11-November 11) when she died. Maud Baum was grief stricken over the loss of her niece.

As the story goes, when L. Frank Baum was putting the finishing touches on the classic story, he found a way to both comfort his grieving wife and immortalize the family’s loss by naming the book’s heroine, Dorothy and he dedicated his masterpiece to Maud.

Any number of reasons could be possible how Gale became Dorothy’s last name, but there is one that rings with a great deal of chilling romanticism. It may have been an intentional alteration of his in-law’s surname, Gage. Perhaps the second “G” in the name was replaced by an “L” (for Louise), thus forever giving life to an unfortunate baby girl. And curiously, the name Gale wasn’t used until Baum’s second book of the series.

It’s a wonder then, what name we might be calling our beloved cyclone-swept Kansas farm girl had Baby Dorothy Louise Gage lived.

Okay, pencils down, Dorothy has no middle name.

Let’s see, today is January 22 and I still have not marked up my 2010 wall calendar. Perhaps I can steal the fifteen minutes it will probably take me at some point over the weekend and get that taken care of. I can only imagine what important events I might have missed up until now. Well, nobody’s called to chew me out about anything so I guess I’m safe, but I know we have our first weigh-in after our first intensive week of Project Rejuvenation. Have a great weekend everybody.

 

Note: the information above about The Wizard Of Oz, was taken from an article written by Elaine Willingham found in the Archives tab on Beyond The Rainbow To Oz.

A New Coloss…al Joke?

January 21, 2010

Okay, quick update on Tyler “Tater Tot” Pugh, the boy with the long hair, the one that’s getting way too much media attention than is really necessary, but at least I have something to blog about from this story. The last I told you, his mother, Elizabeth, refused to cut the boy’s hair and refused to braid it the way the school board wanted it because his scalp would eventually bleed, so she went through all kinds of machinations to get a Pebbles Flintstone “do” on the kid so he could return to school. Well, I’m here to tell you that now, both Mrs. Pugh and the school board have come to terms and the boy is now wearing not one, but two, french braids. Says Mama Pugh, “He looks like Princess Leia,” (I’m sure Papa Pugh must be proud as a peacock with that comparison) and she hopes the procedure goes faster, as she gets more practice at it, than the hour it took her to twist up his hair. And she also intends to appeal the district’s decision to the state commissioner of education. She doesn’t want this to happen to another child. This ridiculous issue is just the gateway to deeper issues for this kid if the parents continue to invoke such a skewed ideal as it’s okay to break the law.

What’s 151 feet tall, would cost approximately $150M and would stand in Charleston Harbor in South Carolina? Why, it’s the male version of the Statue Of Liberty to represent the freedoms achieved by the Civil War. The base of the statue would house a museum about South Carolina’s role in that war. This is just one of many ideas presented for consideration but so far the Patriot’s Point Development Authority hasn’t taken any action on the proposal. I don’t know about you, but wouldn’t that be A) a ridiculous venture in these economic times and moreover B) an insult to Lady Liberty herself and what she stands for? Kind of like awards shows for specialized groups to ensure a win. I think it’s stupid.

And this is not your father’s pink Cadillac. No, it’s the new Lexus LFA. And it can be all yours for a mere $350K…and a passing grade on a test given by the manufacturer. Yes, they want to make sure the buyer is “cool” enough to drive this new baby around town; going to the right restaurants, driving on the right roads and not just having it “just because”. Lexus will decide on who can buy the car based on the above criteria as well as where the person lives, how often and where he or she drives and what other cars they drive. Only 500 cars will be manufactured (20 over the next consecutive 25 months) so put your order in now. The only thing missing is a little “m” and a little “o” in the car’s name: LmFAo, which we all know is cyber-speak for Laughing My F*cking Ass Off.

And then there’s the next installment from Herbert and Shazz!

Nothing Ventured, NOTHING Gained

January 20, 2010

I went to that “how to get published” seminar thing last night. I shouldn’t say it was a complete waste of my time, but all in all, it pretty much was. The event was hosted by 3 published authors, one of whom is the author of 24 books. The other two women are newly published authors and all three were pleasant enough. The audience was made up of about 30 or people, most of whom came in just prior to the beginning of the meeting, and some close to an hour in. They quickly touched on several topics such as self publishing (don’t do it), e-books as opposed to regular books and the profit differential between each, that one should have an agent and submitting queries to same. Several useful websites and books were mentioned that range in topics from helping to find what markets are selling to how to approach agents/publishers. But none of the topics was discussed in any great detail.

One certain audience member kept insisting on asking questions about how to get poetry published, even though he was told more than once, and rather politely to be sure,  the main topic for the meeting was fiction. I raised my hand finally, tiring of hearing the same questions in his broken (read: slaughtered) English hoping to get back to the topic of submissions, by asking first, of all three hostesses, what the time frame was between submission to publication. 3 months was the general consensus. Really? When I told them I was there to hopefully find some helpful hints on how I could possibly tweak my query yet one more time on top of however many incarnations it has taken over the last five years, I was told “tweak” was a good word and it was on to another question.

I really think this group was geared more for people who have little or no prior knowledge of just how tough it is to get published. Quite a few of the publishers they mentioned have already rejected me. Most of the websites that were mentioned, I already have saved in my favorites in my computer. And I could wallpaper my house with the pages from the books and magazines I’ve gone through they suggested reading. I really didn’t come away with any new useful information that I haven’t already encountered these past years, but it was worth a shot. They really should have had someone speaking who was in a similar predicament like me, someone who can’t get the time of day from an agent or publisher to exemplify the bumps in the otherwise smooth road they were talking about; do this, this and this and you’ll get published. Well, all I got out of it was that they were trying to paint a more flowery picture of the world of publishing than it really is, although they did admit to one caveat; that it’s very competitive.

Well, nothing ventured, nothing gained, they say, and that was true last night. Nothing gained. But how would I know if I didn’t go?

Here’s  last night’s American Idol.

 

Remember Baby Picture Monday?

January 19, 2010

This was day two of being back out on the street for our four mile walk. Don’t worry, I won’t be reporting that every day, just a weekly progress report of how much weight we shed. I have a personal goal of 30 lbs by May, most likely by Memorial Day weekend, our first camping trip. I’d like to be able to navigate the hills without crying from the pain in my feet. I’d also like to work the zipper on my tent without getting short of breath. When I dropped those 35 pounds 2 years ago, I began in January with a waist measurement of busting out of 36. By April, I had space for two fingers in size 34. I’d be happy with 34. Any words of encouragement would be greatly appreciated.

Quote of this past weekend: “Do you think there could still be snow?” Let me explain. Saturday, while we were each busy with our own tasks (fighting with the computer, taking down Christmas), I saw that the mail had come and being that I had a piece of mail from the day before that belonged to my next door neighbor, I’d take it with me and walk it over to their box while I was out there. Since it was obvious they already brought in the mail, I ventured down the driveway to leave it on the car in the garage. Off to the side of the driveway, was a fairly large bank of snow. Now, that “blizzard” we had was before Christmas and we really didn’t get as much as other areas, so I thought it odd that this snowbank was there, and rather sizeable. I came back in the house, after picking up a fresh batch of garbage (a beer can, cardboard, newspaper, pizza parlor fliers, plastic bottles, an orange) off my lawn and then my own mail that fell onto the garage floor when I came in to get my garbage poker. I’m not touching that crap on the lawn. I said to Ariel, “There’s a huge snowbank on the side of Barbara’s driveway.” And, after describing how big it was and how stunned I was at seeing it, I immediately followed that up with “Do you think there could still be snow?” to which he replied, “You just saw it, there must be.”

So, look at this, I had a leftover baby picture I completely forgot about. I came across it the other day while looking for something else and since it’s Baby Picture Monday (on Tuesday) I thought I’d show it to you.

Tonight is that long awaited “How To Get Published” meeting and you can bet I’ll be reviewing that. Who knows, maybe there will be that one thing that gets talked about that will make all the difference. And, no, I haven’t begun working on the book again, even though I said I was going to after the holidays were over, but I haven’t been able to work out a schedule yet. But, on the positive side, we did say we were going to get back to walking and generally taking better care of ourselves and that finally got off the ground, so there’s hope for me yet.

230 + 213 = Time For Change

January 18, 2010

Whew, it’s Monday. Finally, I can take a break. All I have is work today. Friday night, we went out to dinner with Janet, a friend of mine since we were both kids, and Meg, who we know through her. The last time we did that was, oh, man, it has to be well over a year ago, which is a bad thing, but it was like we picked up the conversation from where we left off the last time and before we knew it, four hours had passed.

On Saturday morning, while I continued fighting with my computer and the web server for my main website, (a fruitless task until it was time to go out the night before) Ariel took down Christmas by himself until I was done (I was setting up the new chapter of McGinty, which premiers today) and then I helped as much as I could with the dismanteling until we had to go to his sister’s house for dinner, where we learned his niece is getting married and is also having a baby and due in August.

But yesterdy, we finished off Christmas, which, by the way, now gives us the right to make fun of all those who still have their decorations up. We did laundry, shopped for groceries, cleaned out some cabinets in the kitchen made chicken soup and ate a pizza.

Now for some big news. It’s been a while that we’ve been hemming and hawing about it, but we finally got ourselves up and out to start up our daily 4-mile walks again. Today also starts our renewed regime of sensible eating. We had our official weigh-ins on Saturday morning before watching the history of breakfast foods on The History Channel (which prompted me to go out to McDonald’s for an Egg McMuffin and stuff) and I clocked in at 230 pounds and Ariel at 213. I’m right back where I was 2 years ago when I went to the doctor for the first time in 20 years. It was after that initial visit I began a life-changing regiment that lost me 35 pounds. Unfortunately, it all went back on since then, but now it’s time to reverse that again. So prepare yourselves for weekly updates on our progress. And we’re going to reward ourselves with something, yet to be determined, for every 10 pounds we lose until we achieve our goals.

On that note, and without further ado, it’s time to unveil the long-awaited return of McGinty Monday.