Saturday, August 30, 2008

Yard sale post #3

So I'm looking around my living room and have come up with some more stuff for the sale. Namely: Ye Olde Adobe Illustrator 8.0 and it's pal Ye Olde Adobe Framemaker 6.0 and their mutual friend the Adobe Creative Suite Bible from 2004 (never opened!). I'm also going to add to the pile the PS2 guitar and a few CDs (2 electronic dance, one waterfall sounds, 2 of local artists, and one of Irish music, after I pop Greensleeves into my iTunes). I also found a bunch of vases and a zip-up Day-Minder.

This is lots of stuff and I really haven't even been into the basement yet! I guess I really do have a lot of crap. But I take solace in the fact that lots of other people have lots of crap too -- including MB, my sister, my parents, my friends, my coworkers, etc. Everyone has crap! I am going to make the prices so low that hopefully everything goes, even if it means giving it away for free after the sale. Anything that doesn't will go into the dumpster. Hallelujah!

Friday, August 29, 2008

All hail Barbie!

In addition to my other interests, I collect Barbie dolls. I came across this article about the Barbie vs. Bratz war.

For the most part, Mattel’s issue is sour grapes. Sure, Barbie sales went down after MGA’s Bratz dolls were introduced. 50 years after Barbie was born, little girls are different! They don’t care about expertly designed and well-made clothing. They want “sassy” dolls of all colors – silicone-lipped, bare-midriffed, urban-styled, doe-eyed dolls that look like they have a secret… and they’ll tell you later…

Don’t get me wrong, $779 million in Bratz sales since 2001 is significant. But is it about the money, or about the dolls? Mattel is receiving $90 million in damages related to breach of contract, and only $10 million for copyright infringement. Sounds like it’s personal to me. Mattel also has a lawsuit pending against MGA regarding trade secrets, not to mention MGA's reverse lawsuit against Mattel’s My Scene dolls (Barbie-sized, but with a distinctly more urban look).

People. This is the same problem the Barbie line was faced with when it first hit the market. Ruth Handler basically copied the German cartoon working-girl Bild Lilli doll to design a toy that looked more grown-up, with grown-up clothes doing grown-up things, like dating and modeling. Mattel bought the rights to Lilli five years after Barbie was launched, good and fast, and cornered the market. Now they’re on the other side and don’t like the way it feels.

To me, it’s silly. They are not alike at all – although both female, they are of different ages and have completely different looks. Bottom line: despite both dolls' screwy body proportions and overly-made-up faces, there will always be Barbie collectors. Bratz dolls already look like Barbie’s malnourished, under- privileged cousins with cheap plastic surgery. In another 50 years, no one will even remember them.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Yard sale post #2

So I am adding to the saleables the following items: men's motorcycle jacket, some women's clothes and shoes, an old round Ethan Allen coffee table, a set of dishes (missing a small plate), a green Lenox platter and pitcher (Summer Terrace pattern), an old scanner, some books, a gaudy golden picture frame from Paqui's Alley, a stenographer's chair with green vinyl seat, a set of "Thinker" bookends (Barnes & Noble), and possibly half of a sectional sofa with pull-out queen sleeper (if a friend doesn't claim it). I'll update the list as I locate more items.

Yard sale a'comin'

And a dumpster is included! Now is my chance to get rid as much stuff as I can. The list includes: the dining table and chair set, a small brown bookcase, old Rollerblades, a CD tower, a tabletop CD holder, about a million silk and velvet flowers, some shoes, and various small items like never-worn hair clips and earrings still on their backings. I’ll put as much as I can on one of the folding tables. Maybe I will see if anyone will take the 40 or so plastic buckets that cat litter comes in. Ha! Someone will want them, right?

Also, I have two rolls of bulletin board paper, some rolls of wallpaper border, the silver hairbrush and mirror set that really isn’t my style anymore, and a bunch of baskets. I have some other stuff too, I just can’t remember it all right now.

This is really gonna be great. Hopefully a lot of this stuff will go away and I will get a little cash for it all. Good luck to me!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Free translations

I really like free web tools, especially for language. Here's another one!

I have been using freetranslation for years, for small translations into Spanish (for whispering sweet nothings into my honey's ear) or for translating menus into French (to make them sound "fancier"-- read: sillier). Sometimes it doesn't work so well, though. Case in point:

Original English:
The Clever Cat's poached salmon
Savory fragrant rice
Light and bright green salad
Choice of adult beverage
Ice cream with fresh fruit

Their French translation:
Le saumon braconné de Le Chat Astucieux
Le riz parfumé savoureux
Allumer et la salade verte brillante
Le choix de boisson adulte
Glacer la crème avec les fruits frais
Their French back into English:
The poached salmon of the Clever Cat
The perfumed rice savors
Light and the brilliant green salad
The choice of adult drink
Freeze the cream with the fresh fruit

You can see their French translation was not what I meant... and it's even funnier in the other direction. "Light and the Brilliant Green Salad"? Sounds like a Tom Robbins novel... but it's fun, and it's free. And fun and free works for me!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Hippity hop, I love you

Though you once were the best bunny at the Playboy Club,
You're getting to be a rabbit with me.
I just sit there and stare as you hop from shrub to shrub.
You're getting to be a rabbit with me.

When I proposed to you that evening last spring,
You said you'd be my mate.
So I went out and bought a two-carat ring,
And both of them you ate!

Then your ears grew an inch, and your nose began to twitch,
And I noticed your tail was attached permanently.
So I keep you in the backyard in a wooden hutch
'Cause you're getting to be a little too much like Bugs Bunny...
You're getting to be a rabbit with me.

I feel like something's switching, it's all so strange and new --
Egad, my nose is twitching... I'm a rabbit too!

I'm getting to be a rabbit -- hippity hop, I love you!
I'm getting to be a rabbit like you!
Move over honey, and pass the lettuce...

Ever since I was a little girl, this song has always cracked me up. Don't ask me what suddenly made me want to listen to Allan Sherman -- I guess I keep thinking of that 2-carat ring…

Dance! online

I have been waiting a long, long time (months!) for the developers of Dance! online to fix their code so I can actually dance online. My metal Cobalt Flux dance pad is just about the best home platform available, and I have been jumping around on this thing since December of 2007. Before that I used a V 3.0 soft pad with high-density foam since the previous December. Right now that one is packed away in its happy little carrying case.

But I digress. I am waiting for them to fix the software. I really enjoy playing alone (the calorie count on the workout section is probably way off, but who cares?), and sometimes my friends come over and we chill and jump around and basically act like crazy kids. But when that doesn't happen, and I want different songs, or want to try my skills against someone else, I should be able to do that easily by logging in and well, just doing it. It worked a year ago! But not anymore.

To be able to play online, I have had to use Joy2Key to map my dance pad to the keyboard. That causes delays since the game is already optimized for the keyboard and I'm unable to time it right. I can only hit 55% of the keys this way, and I usually have at least an 82% hit rate. If you can believe it, most of the people who log in to play online actually use the keyboard to play. That's right, they sit on their asses and tap their fingers on a keyboard or a game controller, when the whole point of a rhythm game is to get up and actually move around. Lazies.

Aaaaaaanyway, at long last, I have found out that the developers in China are setting up the fix for the dance pads. When that is done, there will be a lot of happy dance pad users who won't have to sound off in the forums anymore! I can't wait. Although I have to play alone now, I will keep you informed about when the fix is implemented. Yay!

1,000,000 monkeys

Have you heard of the infinite monkey theorem? According to Wikipedia, it states that a monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter keyboard for an infinite amount of time will almost surely type a given text, such as the complete works of William Shakespeare.

And so is born One Million Monkeys Typing. On this collaborative story-telling website, you and others read snippets of stories and are presented with three paths. If you like one, rank it high and keep reading. If you come to an end, just graft your own snippet. Straightforward, right?

Here's where it becomes interesting -- basically, publish (and be liked) or die. If your snippet is rated well and has enough shoots, it stays. It not, it withers and -- well, snippet gets snipped.

Please read my first snippet (under The Clever Cat, naturally! See Project Name: Random), sign up, rank highly, and if you like, write one of your own! I'll do the same for you. I'd love to eventually start my own tree, but I'll need a seed first...

Monday, August 25, 2008

Not so sanitary supplies

Pet peeve #79. Not being able to easily dump used supplies!

I work in an office. There are five women and eleven men. We share two individual bathrooms. Each bathroom includes one of the well-designed Workplace Essentials sanitary disposal boxes. These boxes are useful since they include an odor neutralizer, hide the enclosed used supplies when opened (by using one's foot), and do not force women to flush their used supplies and possibly clog the plumbing. What's even better is that the boxes actually work! However, they are very difficult to use from a seated position if they have been pushed to the back wall behind the toilet. I discovered this today.

I didn't check where the box was because I had to pee, badly. After, I removed my tampon in preparation for replacement, expecting to easily toss it into a properly placed receptacle. Must I explain the supreme ghastliness of wanting to remove a bloody tampon from one's fingers as soon as possible, only to discover the box cannot open from the seated-on-the-toilet position? ew! Ew!! EW!!! If I had a hinged foot I could have opened the box. If I had an extendable leg I could have opened the box. If I had a third arm I could have done it too. But I don't have them, because I am human.

I did have two choices. Choice #1: flush the offending item, take care of the next one and be on my way. This action had possible consequences of blocking the piping and forcing the toilet to back up and overflow onto my apricot suede slides with white stitching. I would have to then (presumably wearing sodden shoes) ask for plumbers to fix the pipes. Not a winning option. Choice #2: somehow wiggle said shoes around the box and pull it toward me, all the while still holding the bloody cotton by the string.

Well, I tried it. And I succeeded! I kicked the box forward to the proper distance, and felt so proud and satisfied. I saved the day! Unfortunately, I wasn't able to tell anyone in the office about it, because that would be, well, just a teensy weensy bit sickening. So ding ding ding! Reader, you are the lucky recipient of this strange but true story. I hope this never happens to you, but if you do find yourself in this uncomfortable position, just keep your cool and know that you can prevail. Good luck, and don't get stuck!

Wonder Woman!

"Beautiful as Aphrodite, wise as Athena, stronger than Hercules, and swifter than Mercury."

Remember Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman, back in the 70’s? I’m lucky enough to know some people who like Wonder Woman as much as I do.

I went to a friend’s house on Saturday and the plan was to watch a marathon of the tv show.The marathon never happened, but we did watch the pilot episode. Turns out I never actually saw that first one, since by the time it was off the air in 1979 I was a measly six years old, but hooray! 29 years later, she is still my heroine, and always will be. I remember reading the (old) comics as a kid, and the pilot followed the story pretty well.

None of the guys (including MB) seemed to enjoy the show as much as the women in the room. I found that pretty amusing, since although she can basically do anything, at the very least she is absolutely, unequivocally, undeniably gorgeous. If she can’t grab a man’s attention, what hope is there for the rest of us?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Space ropes

Bubbles from a 1,000,000-year-old elliptical galaxy pull colder gas outward behind them in the form of the trailing filaments. Some extend in lines from the galaxy center, while others are shaped as horseshoes. Apparently these individual threads appear to stretch about 20,000 light years! Kind of wonderful…

Friday, August 22, 2008

Humpback suckles yacht

This is hard to believe. If I hadn't seen the picture of an abandoned 5-ton baby humpback attempting to suckle a yacht, I would never have thought something like this could happen. I feel really bad for the wayward whale that lost his mama (he is an orphan! he is lost! he is scared! he is in danger of dying!!!), but a teensy weensy part of me is laughing my butt off thinking about the whale whisperer. Poor whale!

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Well, I have found another useful and free tool -- this time, for all you rhymers. This comes in very handy if you need to burst into song, which I do quite often.

Just place your search word in the box and click on the automatic dropdown for the choice you want. I used twinkie and found dinky, inky, kinky, pinkie, pinky, slinky, and stinky. Love found dove, glove, Gov, of, (and about 100 phrases for), as well as my personal favorite, shove. It did not include "above". Kitty: bitty, chitty, city, ditty, gritty, MITI, nitty, pity, pretty, Smitty, twitty, witty, New York City, fat city (whatever that is), inner city, nitty gritty, one on the city, sitting pretty, and what a pity. It didn't include Sex in the City or shitty, but it could, since as a wiki it is user-edited. Shitty would require the "Star Treatment" though... you know, "sh*tty". I might just have to join and edit the list!

Pluots for you-ots

Have you tasted the pluots this summer? They are amazing!

For all the sadly deprived children out there who have not tasted this amazingly sweet, lip-drippingly juicy, and gorgeously colored fruit, a pluot is a hybrid: 3/4 plum and 1/4 apricot. They come in many different colors and have eyecatching dappled skins, and some of them are shaped like hearts. Another plus: their names. I mean, really -- who wouldn't like a fruit named Flavor Grenade?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Sui mai for me

Ah, dear reader, so sorry for the delay in posting. Lots of stuff has happened and a month later I finally have some time!

So. I have the craving for sui mai (omitting the shrimp and replacing the pork with turkey, naturally -- no peas!) and am going to make them. I found a few really great and easy recipes and will take pictures of the final product. Good luck to me!