Friday, July 31, 2009

Judges score... 2.5 out of 10

Are you pondering what I’m pondering, Pinky? I think so Brain, but where will we find a Slip ‘n’ Slide at this time of day? (I just love Pinky and the Brain… my sister is Brain and yes, I get to be Pinky!)

It has poured most of the day, and all I can think of is flume rides and Slip ‘n’ Slides! (I must be feeling better, after 4.5 days of sick time for stomach ailments, half a bottle of ibuprofen for menstrual cramps, and innumerable frozen pea packs along with the resultant iced-out crotch for a pulled groin muscle thanks to Wii and the love of a cat named Butchie. I think this logs Wii injury #3.)

Curious about this happenstance? Of course you are. What happened was…

I was playing a really stupid Wii game named Dancing with the Stars, which actually involves more arm flailing than anything approximating dancing. I had almost beaten the game in about 2.5 hours (it was pretty weak, and I have since returned it to the store for credit) and there was a particularly busy patch of jabbing and wiggling and shaking and left-ing and right-ing and upping and downing, and I was concentrating, and Butchie (Big Handsome. Twinkie is Pretty Little) wandered into the living room to see what all the fuss was about. But I didn’t know it, and when he began winding in and around my legs, looking all fluffy and snuggly and purring and generally being his good-looking, eye-catching self, he startled me, and I lost my balance. He continued looking up adoringly at me, but I was falling, and he was still winding, and the music was playing, and I was about to tip over, and he must have gotten bored because he began to saunter away behind me, and I was afraid I would fall onto him and squoosh him to death. So I shot my left leg out pretty far behind me to steady myself, and the next thing I know, there’s a loud pop! somewhere in my right, I dunno, groin, and I suddenly had an unexpected feeling in that general location. It took me a minute to even figure out what had happened. (I’m not the most athletic person in the world, have I mentioned?) Then I realized I was in a little pain and that I couldn’t really walk properly.

Let me give you an idea of the kind of scrapes Butch gets into (and gets me into). Firstly, he is not the brightest bulb in the box. This is the cat who somehow managed to get stung by a bee on his furry kitty butt inside the house (he brushed up against a curtain that had trapped a baby bee in its billowy white clutches. The bee was dead at the time it stung him.) He burned a forepaw on the electric stove in an old apartment when my back was turned for a moment. He was the one who jumped into an open toilet, as a kitten. Once, he twisted his rear leg jumping down from where he was showboating and strutting back and forth atop a bookcase (that was a fun emergency trip to the vet). He nearly jumped into menorah flames to see what it was all about. This is the one and only Butch. Also, (and this was probably part of the issue, at least this time) his eyesight is not so good anymore (he has kitty-racts.)

Coincidentally, all this happened at the end of the song and so I was left there standing uncomfortably in silly, deeply dipped “jazz hands” pose, with a popped crotch (ooh, that sounds sooo gross) right as the song ended. It was like that scene from Not Another Teen Movie, at the end of the “Prom Tonight” musical sequence, except I was hurting.

Anyway, it turns out the injury was not so very bad and I am already getting psyched for the beginning of salsa lessons again, in August! And perhaps I will set up my very own slip and slide in my bathtub later…

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Julie and Julia


By Julie Powell, and coming soon to a theatre near you.

I wasn't thinking that I would enjoy this book so very much. It had been sitting on my bookshelf awaiting a second glance for about a year, after I picked it up at Border's on clearance for $3.99, way back when I had at least a smidgen of extra cash (I have always been inclined to spend on books and makeup).


Anyway, I figured that since the movie would be coming out in August (and although I have no desire to see it on the big screen -- this is a DVD rental for me), I should probably read it. So I did, in the past three nights, home sick. And I liked it!

Interestingly, I am less entranced by Julie herself than I am by her friend Isabel. Although Julie and Eric sound like fun (and sure can do some damage to a bottle or ten) Isabel sounds totally cool. I would love to know more about what happened to her after. And of course I am captivated by Julia Child, Amazon Queen of All Kitchens. I bet she was a blast to hang out with. Do you remember watching her show? I was a little kid when I saw her originally, but she always seemed larger than life, and she contributed to the excitement about cooking that my mom instilled in me. When Julia was on Emeril a few years ago (you know, before she died) she was still charming and hilarious and sharp, and I really liked that.

I had not been a reader of the Julie/Julia Project, and so I never knew Julie had written a long blog post about lobsters. I felt a kinship with her since I wrote them about too. Also, I am looking forward to making Concombres au Buerre. Who knew you could bake cucumbers?

Pros:
  • I liked hearing about the apartment in Long Island City (it reminded me of my first apartment in Astoria. I'll tell you about it one day.
  • Engagingly written
  • Cute cover (sad egg whisk, bowl full of meringue)
  • I loved the foodie talk and I felt like I was cooking along with her.
  • Excellent descriptive passages, and they were not always about food
  • Not too mushy, and although thoughtful, the book was not bawl-your-eyes-out-poignant
  • Best parts, hands down: the dinner parties. The paragraph where Julie describes her Bavarois à l'Orange was especially lyrical. Moments like those are the ones people live for.
Cons:
  • Lots of "fucking" language (not that I mind -- hey, you need to use it, go for it) but not nearly enough real screwing. If you're gonna plant that seed (trussing, anyone? I loved that!) be ready to deliver.
  • Too light in certain places, too wordy in others, and entirely too much mention of the sofa and the Czech/Croatian movers. Who cares?
  • Certain parts read as if they had been written by someone else.
All in all, I enjoyed the book. I wouldn't buy it again, but I will definitely read it again. And when she publishes again, I will read that too. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Reminder

There are just three days left for the Activeion contest. The deadline is July 31st. So get those entries in, people! Best of luck...

Chopped

Who besides me watches this show?

Having been home sick the past two days, I've caught up on many of the shows on my DVR -- Bizarre Foods, Man vs. Wild, Life After People, Lie to Me, others. And I watched about 12 episodes of Chopped.

Remember Ted Allen, from Queer Eye? He and his rectangular glasses have been busy, and for some reason he doesn't seem any more comfortable on camera now than he did back then. I like him just the same. He was always solidly in my top three of the Fab Five (sometimes top two, but no one beat Thom).

So if you're not familiar with it, here's the deal. During an hour-long show, four chefs compete for $10,000. They prepare an appetizer (usually in 20 minutes), an entree (in 30 minutes), and a dessert (in 30 minutes) with surprise, typically unrelated ingredients (for example: chicken wings, soba noodles, celery, and string cheese on 3/17/09) for three judges. Each course has different surprise ingredients and competitors also have access to a basic larder. If their dish doesn't stack up, they are chopped (get it?) and do not go on to the next round. By the end, just two chefs are left to prepare dessert. At this point, the judges ruminate on the full meals and pick a winner. As far as I can tell, there have been no ties yet.

Now on to the judges. I feel fine making a few somewhat snarky comments about them, since they do it on the show to the competitors. Here goes.
  • Alex Guarnaschelli. Quit narrowing your eyes at people and frowning, chickadee. Your face will freeze that way.
  • Geoffrey Zakarian. A lot of the world actually enjoys pepper and spice, although you can't seem to... at all. *cough. cough. pretends to choke* By the way, you bear a resemblance to Kevin Nealon, and you sound like him, too. Weird.
  • Chris Santos. Listen, you are very cute and you seem kinda cool and I have read yummy things about your food, but coming down from the high horse that you've ridden to the set could serve you well. (Ted introduces this guy as a "rock star," but I don't get it. He's another bald chef with an attitude and lots of tattoos, but tattoos and attitude do not a rocker make.)
  • Amanda Freitag. One word -- crispy. We know you like it, babe. Stop whining when food isn't.
  • Scott Conant. You're another one who needs to stop giving everyone the fisheye. It's less intimidating than it is boring, at this point. And you ain't no Masaharu Morimoto. (Remember how he never smiled on tv, for years and years? When the world finally caught a glimpse of a smile, it was like, who is this man? Ohhh, Morimoto... cooool... you're not a robot after all....)
  • Marc Murphy. He's just mean.
And finally...
  • Aarón Sánchez. Crush!!! He actually provides constructive criticism, without feeling the need to constantly frown. I could listen to this guy all day. I'm so glad we'll be seeing more on him on The Food Network on that new Chef vs. City show. I'll sure be watching!
I would like to tell the judges a few more things. Geoffrey, who cares how many trips the chefs make to the pantry, if the food tastes good? Alex, please do not make judgment calls about the stress level of the chefs. Amanda, if you can't watch them plating in the last three seconds, don't. And finally, none of you (with the exception of Aaron) seem to enjoy your jobs! Why not?

Aaanyway, despite the silly judges and their (mostly) silly comments, and despite the fact that few competing chefs on the show have impressed me, I am totally hooked. I love this crap! Up to this point, my favorite episodes have been the ones where the winners were unconcerned with winning the 10K, feeling that the cash was just a bonus to the title. I especially liked Jason Zukas (Queens in the house, holler! This guy really had style), and Roshni Mansukhani was also cool, because they were so focused on proving their skills and choice of career.

So who knows what tonight's episode may bring? (Well, I do... it's "Pods, Grills and Sticky Fingers!" Yum...)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A guarantee on love? Uh, okay

So last night I completed the first of six months of the "embarrass-yourself-five-times-to-strangers-you-find-at-least-somewhat-attractive-to-make-sure-you-are-still-following-the-rules-to-get-six-months-free-at-Match-if-you-don't-meet-someone-special" thing. Of note: there are interesting men out there, but not interesting in the right way -- for example, one "match" fairly screamed out in his "About Me" section that he likes to have lots of sex, and he did so... three times.

Hey, I'm all for enjoying sex and lots of it (wahoo!), but three times in two paragraphs, without even having met the person you might actually be doing it with? That's nasty -- and not in a good way. There are other ways to get the point across. I guess he didn't exactly have a way with words? Poor thing. I rewrote my own profile when I rejoined, and since I know myself more and more as I get a little (gasp!) older, it really reflects who I am (for better or worse...)

So as another writing exercise, I've decided to put together a profile of all the men I've dated, if they were rolled up into one (I am not counting onesie-twosie-dates, but anything over 6 weeks is fair game). Please remember, this is a lifetime of men, not any one person in particular. And oh, I'm not counting stuff about their looks, since that would just be mean.

About Me:

I'm a stubborn jerk who will make your mom and dad cringe and your cat run away. I enjoy withholding attention when things don't go in my favor, and I grimace when I pay the dinner check. Although I make a lot of money (lots more than you, nyah nyah), the odds are good that I won't spend much of it on you. (What if we break up? Then I will be out a bunch of cash.) I am a sports enthusiast who prefers watching them alone to joining you at most of the activities you enjoy. I'll monopolize the conversation and talk about things that put you to sleep, and do it with a voice that varies in pitch and intensity.

I don't know how to compliment you and I fly off the handle for no reason. I act like a child and my parents never taught me to share, so babysitting experience is a plus. As an adult, I have no imagination since my mom ridiculed me about it when I was younger, but she will always be the number one lady in my life. Also, my balance is really bad and I will constantly bump into you when we walk next to each other. My coworkers refuse to sit near me, so I have no personal space boundaries. In addition, I won't remove my pubes from your soap when I shower, and I will eat your entire dessert without asking.


What I'm looking for:

I seek an energetic girl who will make me appear smarter. She must work out five times weekly, have long hair, and be between 5'6 and and 5'8. Short chubby chicks need not apply. It doesn't matter if you're smart or funny, because I won't be listening anyway. Also, she should want sex all the time, but not expect to actually get it very often. Bonus points if I can place unreasonable demands and restrictions on you, in your own home.


Looking forward to you making the first move.

I could go on and on -- some of these stories are actually funny! But for readers who think I'm being too harsh, despite their shortcomings these men had at least one good quality each (sometimes more). Here's the profile for my ideal man:

About Me:
Hi! Thanks for stopping by.


I'm (insert name here) and I look forward to getting to know you. My friends describe me as witty, friendly, and smart; but I describe myself as loyal, hard-working, and balanced. I have other good qualities too, but listing these is a good start.


I can think of a lot of ways to spend free time: reading, video games, travel, time with my family, taking you shopping (I'll carry the bags!), dancing, or just a leisurely stroll... with you. I love to eat, and am willing to try just about any kind of food. I like to make things with my hands and am proud of my latest project -- a modern-looking dining table made of birch. I have a Ph.D in philosophy, and I enjoy my work -- I write for a living, and people seem to like it, since I'm compensated well... but that's just a bonus... and I'm very willing to share. :^)


I would like to find a kind, intelligent woman who wants marriage and kids, and soon -- I'm ready for a family, and I love the idea of my wife being a stay-at-home mom. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so I'm not stuck on height or weight. I believe that chemistry is key for a romantic relationship, so let's meet somewhere easy to see if we have it. Also, please have a decent sense of humor! I make a lot of jokes, and I want to know that you'll make some of your own. ;^)


If you smiled after reading this, please contact me. I'll be sure to respond soon.


I smell novella! (Heh heh.) So, what do you think? Do you have horror stories, and what are your ideal qualities? Comments are welcome.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Our very own memory hole

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/18/technology/companies/18amazon.html?_r=1&hp

It’s so ironic that this has taken place. But there are some things I just don’t understand:
  • How and why was MobileReference able to add books to the Kindle store if they didn’t have the right to? It’s a simple verification check for Amazon (even with a self-service function) and that was a major mistake.
  • The customers who were surprised that wifi can be used to remove a file from their Kindle unit need to wake up. That said, I wonder when the Kindle servers will be hacked…
  • “Amazon’s published terms of service agreement for the Kindle does not appear to give the company the right to delete purchases after they have been made. It says Amazon grants customers the right to keep a ‘permanent copy of the applicable digital content.’” So even if Amazon installs the correct copy of each file to replace the ones they removed, they have lost credibility with existing customers, as well as showing non-users that the unit itself, Amazon, and who knows how many publishers can’t be trusted.
  • “Retailers of physical goods cannot, of course, force their way into a customer’s home to take back a purchase, no matter how bootlegged it turns out to be. Yet Amazon appears to maintain a unique tether to the digital content it sells for the Kindle.” Now this just seems wrong. Don’t publishers have the right to the digital content they have published in paper form? Isn’t it theirs? Not Amazon’s? Did they sell it to Amazon? This Kindle thing is turning into an evil genius.
  • And finally, I wonder what Ayn Rand would have to say about this…

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Deep thoughts... by a 3-year-old

He may be silly most of the time, but Nephew is definitely growing up and has been having a few deep thoughts. He took a few moments while he was sitting on the toilet to ask some questions and to chat about God (out of the blue, in a restaurant, in the ladies’ room, with his high-pitched voice).

“Do we know what God looks like? Are there any pictures of God? I think I saw a picture of God once. No, that was Moses. Do Moses and God know each other? It’s a mystery how God made flowers and machines and everything, right? Does God know everything?” (Surprisingly, one thing he didn’t ask was the standard kiddie question: “If God is everywhere, is he in the toilet?” which would have at least been somewhat appropriate, given the venue.)

There may have been more questions, but I wasn’t there for most of them. My sister was, though (as was one of the waitresses who sure picked the wrong time to pee) and she had to come up with answers to them. Later in the car, my mom ended the conversation by stating, “Yes, it is a mystery (with special emphasis on “mystery”) about how God made everything. No one knows how God made everything, but he did.” And the case was closed, at least for now. I guess that’s what happens when you discuss “manifestations” with a three-year-old and a six-year-old! (Hey, at least I am able to say that this time I didn’t plant the seed…)

Something interesting, though – I don’t remember Neph ever using the word “He.” It was always “God.” I liked that, and not from a gripe-y, whiny “Why is God always referred to as a male?” point of view. I liked it because it was clear to him that God is neither male nor female. Or at least, that’s how I interpreted it…

Video game injuries

I have golf shoulder!

I played Wii Sports golf with my sister last night, which I had never done before because I have an aversion to all things golflike. Well, turns out I had a really good time and between that and tennis, my shoulder really hurts. I don’t think I’m supposed to be in this much pain, but it could also be because of the rain and the fact that I woke up sleeping on my right side with my arm squished beneath me. I took a Tylenol. We’ll see.

And speaking of Wii Sports, does anyone plan on getting Wii Sports Resort? With the Motion Plus? It comes out in five days. If you get it, would you please let me know if it’s any good?

Rum balls

Remember those? Little round chocolate candies with flavored liquid inside? I have a craving, and I scoured the Internet for them, but I couldn’t find any locations to pick some up. All I could find were recipes on how to make them using “leftover” cake (ha!) and rum and condensed milk! That’s not right at all. Are they called something different than rum balls?

A little boo-boo

I had a slight waxing incident on Saturday.

I have been going to the same place for about two years for waxing/beauty treatments (and I recently started getting haircuts there too). I tried a few waxers (waxists? waxwielders?) there and decided to stick with an awesome, knowledgeable aesthetician who is a genius with my strong, question mark brows (and I trust her with everything else, too). We have had a good client/waxer relationship for a year and a half. She is an aesthetician magician! But for some reason, things didn’t go as well as usual this time. In my defense, I did mention that the wax felt a little hot, and she said that was unusual. She fiddled around with the pot a little, but I was facing the other way and besides, my eyes were closed so she could have been undressing and I would have been unaware.

If you were to draw straight lines both horizontally and vertically from the right corner of my mouth toward my chin and side of my face respectively, that would be the area that I'm describing (but not all of it, thank goodness!) Anyway, a bunch of layers of skin went bye-bye. The boo-boo was a little over an inch long and about 3/8 of an inch high, and it totally killed! Plus there were a few spots on my chin. Actually, my entire face was pretty red on Saturday night. But there had been no other skin removal.

Aloe came to the rescue on Saturday night and Sunday which was good, but of course Monday I had to go to work. The area looked a lot better, but not exactly attractive. I stopped by the salon that night and they gave me a bottle full of some French “emulsion’ liquid to pat on it that apparently was formulated for burn victims! (It certainly wasn't that bad.) You just put a few drops on some spa-type fabric strips and place on the spot for 10 minutes twice a day, but I dripped it directly from the dropper. It looks much better, but I think the aloe really helped it on its way in the first place. It’s about 1/4 the size it was originally, and pinkish now instead of in the horrible brownish/mauve family of colors it was on Sunday. I think it should be gone by tomorrow night, which is just fine with me since I expect to enjoy my weekend and not look like I was involved in some freak fire-eating accident.

Anyway, I also received a gift certificate. Which of course I will use. I could use a free spa treatment, but it would have been nicer if it hadn’t been because of a problem…

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Knock knock jokes

All this serious talk can be turned around to silliness by falling prey to Neph's newest "knock knock" joke. Here's my favorite one.

Knock knock!
Who's there?
Bertucci's!
Bertucci's who?
Ber-TUSHIES!!!

So what if he sometimes forgets proper "knock knock" form? His jokes still manage to provide the right function. And you try to resist a three-year-old's giggles! Let me tell you, it ain't easy...

Love and karma, part 2

"Yeah, she’s great. I love her... oh!
Um, well, I mean, not love like a family or anything, I just really, really like her. As another person.”
“Oh yeah Auntie, like the way I feel about T!”
“Yes! Exactly, beauty-pie.”

I had innocently mentioned the “love” statement Tuesday night in reference to one half of a great couple who are friends with my parents (remember the Gordon Ramsay dream? Also the dancing one) since the fam (sans moi) would be visiting their house the next day for an afternoon tea party. I was afraid she would take the "love" statement too far in her head, so I wanted to be totally clear about what I was saying because of what had happened with "karma."

And then it was like the floodgates opened. I heard all about Niecey’s best friend and how she is a year older and that sometimes they have an argument and stop being friends for a while (a day, sometimes less), and then they realize that what they fought about had not been important, and they make up, and are friends again. And how they were never, really, not friends, just disagreed on certain things at those moments in time. And how as one gets older, one matures. And how she knows she is maturing (her words, not mine.) And how she has recognized that as one matures, one typically takes on more responsibilities. And that although sometimes greater responsibilities go hand in hand with extra work or tasks, the rewards are so worth it. I had to agree. (And she was the one who got this convo started.)

Yipes! That there’s some big talk for a six-year-old! Ok, sweetie, let’s slow down a little…

Love and karma

We’re talking big stuff, here! They’re not the easiest things to explain to an adult, but I found myself talking to Niecey about them this past Monday. (She is like a long blonden sponge thirsty for thoughtful discussion, and by the way she is excellent at conceptual thinking.)

I was feeling like her mum should be the first to discuss reincarnation with her eventually (although I believe in karma and other lives, I don’t know if she does – and I am NOT going there – at least, yet), so lacking that background I had to compare karma to the Golden Rule (which she also didn't seem familiar with, which I found surprising). I didn’t want to keep using the word “bad” since it seemed too broad, so as I explained “good vs. bad karma” in three sentences I mentioned malicious and other actions and how they relate to personal energy. (Granted, I know there is a lot more to karma, but I thought that was a good start for her.) Interestingly, she had learned the word “malicious” from Wordgirl (I love that little speller!) Then she changed the subject, so I thought that was it.

Anyway, the reason I bring this up is because after I lightly mentioned the karma thing she was all worried about a penny she had just found in the room where she sleeps when she visits, since she tried to give it to me but I had said, "Sweets, keep it, put it in the Secret Closet or something" but she didn’t want to and was adamant that I take it, so I took it and put in in my pocket since she was getting very worked up about it. I figured, why should she get stressed out about it? I'll just do as she requested and we can work it out the next day. After her story (Who’s Got the Apple? I actually don’t like this book because of all the misunderstandings that could have been avoided if the shopkeeper had not been playing a trick on a customer), I put the coin on the bookcase downstairs since I figured it belonged in the house. But the next day she was still upset!

She told my mom about the penny and asked what had happened to it. It turns out the coin was from a collection of my grandfather’s that had been there in one of those coin collection books, now in my father’s possession (I think he is looking to sell them). So I explained that I had left it and showed her where. She was so relieved that I had not taken the coin. And my mom said that she had been crying about it. Uh oh.

I wondered about it during dinner. Why was she so upset? And then it hit me. Karma!? She probably thinks she’s going to bring "bad" stuff down on her! So right before bath time I asked if she was stuck on the karma thing since she looked a little teary. She was. I explained that she had nothing at all to worry about (the coin went nowhere wrong, she had not stolen it, perhaps we had misunderstood each other in the first place, no one had been hurt, etc. etc.) and you should have seen the weight that lifted! She’s a good kid, but sometimes I feel like she's got too much going on inside that head of hers. (Also, she's very particular about peace.) Luckily she relaxed in the warm tubby and then I explained about placing a cool washcloth on her eyes to calm them down. She liked that.

Anyway, she has not been stressed about it since then (as far as I can tell). And I am sooo glad! Unless she does, I certainly won't bring it up, for a looong time...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

So who wants an Activeion unit?

People!

I've completed my review of my cool new cleaning tool, and the awesome folks at Activeion would like to do a giveaway to my readers. That means you. Feel free to tell your friends about it, too. It will mean more traffic for me, and having real people explore the product means a lot to them. The links follow, if you've not yet seen the posts.

http://theclevercat.blogspot.com/2009/07/getting-your-clean-on.html
http://theclevercat.blogspot.com/2009/07/how-it-fared-part-2.html
http://theclevercat.blogspot.com/2009/07/how-it-fared-part-3.html

Anyway, did you say you wanted one of these? Now is your chance to impress me with your talent as a poet. An acrostic (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acrostic.) in any style, dedicated to… yours truly! Or if you find writing me a poem embarrassing (are you kidding? You think no one ever wrote me a poem before? You are not the first, so get over it) you may write in reference to a blog post you like, or something you’d like to see me write about, or a response to a post. Anything along those lines. Here are two samples.

This is what I
Hear about The Clever Cat, from
Everyone who matters:
Cute and smart and bright and witty
Likes to shop in New York City
Easily bursts into ditty
Valuable on your committee
Equably won’t treat you shitty
Really charming, also pretty
Cuts right to the nitty gritty.
And last, but certainly not leastie,
That she loves the kitty beastie!
Theclevercat.blogspot.com!
Her postings are for reals, da bomb!
Each line exciting, clear and true
Crafty tips up the wazoo!
Life experience is to be shared,
Even a heart may (somewhat) be bared.
Vastly, hugely underrated,
Elegantly understated,
Rightly shares what she has learned;
Curling iron got her burned.
A life without her? Misery, that --
To go without the writings of The Clever Cat!

Humor will be rewarded. (Tongue-in-cheek is ok -- see example #2 -- but try not to be mean, willya? You won’t win the bottle, and I won’t like you, either.) And may I bring your attention to the right side of the page – you will find a rhyming dictionary and various other useful writing tools.

Other contest rules (I made these up, so if you don't like them, don't enter):
  • No more than two entries per person via email (theclevercat@comcast.net), so make them good! You can also post your acrostic in the comments if you want to share it (no email needed there). Include your mailing address. I certainly won't be sending correspondence to anyone, so don't be worried about extra paper mail.
  • The winner must be willing to share their cleaning experience with the Activeion group. I'll send along your contact info and they will send your prize directly to you.
  • The winning poem will be posted in bold letters on this blog with a congratulations (and the winner's name, but only if they want).
  • No entries will be accepted after July 31, 2009.
  • And oh, just for kicks, somewhere in your email, include the thing(s) you look most forward to cleaning. (Not only is this cat clever, she's also curious.)
Best of luck, everyone... and have fun!

A Sturbridge birthday

So yesterday was Sister’s 33rd birthday!

I took a day off from work (wahoo!) and we went on a family trip to Sturbridge, MA where I had no idea it would be so much fun. The kids had a good time, too… up until the moment Niecey dropped her new sunglasses down the outhouse chute. We consoled her by telling her about the time Dad dropped both his cell phone and beeper into the toilet, and the time Butchie jumped in as I was flushing it. She bucked up, but poor thing -- she seems to have such bad luck with sunglasses (this is the third pair she’s lost, but the first pair that committed suicide). So she borrowed my Mom’s mirrored sunglasses for the rest of the day and ended up looking like the world’s youngest motorcycle cop.

In my ‘umble opinion, the most exciting part of Sturbridge was the working sawmill. I just love big machinery! And water! The worst part was the idea of wearing heavy woolen stockings each and every day of one's life. Yuck!

After, Sister wanted to go to Friendly’s for her birthday dindin. (Just like in a recent dream!) I had some kind of grilled Supermelt with fried chicken tenders and bacon slices loaded with cheese, swimming in sweet-ish barbeque sauce shtoomphed between two thick slices of grilled bread smothered in butter. And crispy, golden fries. I asked for wing sauce for dipping instead of ranch. In retrospect, I could have asked for the whole shebang on plain toast, which would have been fine, and also without bacon, and all the sauce-ages on the side. But don’t worry. I didn’t finish the bacon and left almost half the bread/butter/cheese combination sitting on the plate, with the remaining sauces (from what was left of scraping the extra globs off) and plenty of fries. I estimated 700 calories for the sandwich and 450 for the fries. Not so bad, considering we walked for four hours and all I’d eaten was a kiddie turkey sandwich from D’Angelos and a chocolate chip cookie for lunch, and a homemade fruit smoothie for b-fast.

Anyway, it was only the best (heh heh) for her birthday dinner at $9.99 per adult with a Happy Ending (love that name) sundae built into the price. I had a Reese’s pb cup with Cookies ‘n’ Cream and Forbidden Chocolate ice creams. It was yummy. Calories be damned! I have no idea what the b-day girl chose since I was concentrating so terribly hard on mine.

Yesterday's family comments:
  • "No! I DON”T WANT a picture of a giant bug!"
  • "Ohhhh! I think I just stepped in ox poo!"
  • "Hmm. I wonder how soaking cloth in urine would remove a stain. Wouldn't it just make another stain?"
And my favorite:
  • "Ok. Now point your penis so it doesn’t go splashy-splashy..."

Sunday, July 12, 2009

But I don't wanna go home

It's just too soon!

Even though I'll be seeing my sis and Niecey and Neph very soon, there is nothing like Maine to relax me. The crashes of the waves, the warmth of the sun, the gorgeous sunsets, the salt air, the wind, the walking, even the shopping all come together -- when they call this place Vacationland, they sure aren't kidding. Even not quite 1.5 days is enough to calm someone down.

I've been staying with a friend at their adorable housie a block away from the pier (lobster boat races yesterday, and a two-hour block party complete with contra dancing and fiddle playing -- sounds a little over the top, but I had an awesome time), and by the way I can see the water from where I sit in the living room (actually, from almost anywhere in the house). Did you know it stays light until about 9:30? The sun starts to show its face around 4:30ish (I know, because I was up reading -- that's what happens when you start reading The Green Mile at midnight. I finished it. Good ol' Stephen King -- can you believe I never actually got to this one?)

One of my favorite things is to be around water (typical Aquarian, I suppose) but the best thing about being here is that although the sun can be blinding during the day, the air turns cool at night, just perfect for sleeping. And I do have trouble sleeping... even when I'm not reading.

I think I'm in love. With Maine! I just feel so happy and lighthearted here. (It may be one-sided, but a lot longer than my romantic relationships... and that includes my marriage.) It's like coming home. Maybe I lived here in a previous life...

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Poems

You know what I’ve been missing recently? Some good poems. Here are two of my favorites.
What do you like?

i carry your heart with me, by e.e. cummings

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
                i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

Also:

Ozymandias, by Percy Bysshe Shelley

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal these words appear:
'My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings,
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away."

Friday, July 10, 2009

Milk Chocolate Flipz



Omigod. These are freakin’ delicious. And really dangerous...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

PODGE!

Tonight I visited a friend and we did some decoupage. I made a switchplate with a pinup on it surrounded by a lavender border (picture to come later) and she did a bracelet. She made dinner (veggie burgers. Yes, that friend) complete with her special Mambo Madness shake. (I might have the name wrong.)

I showed her some salsa moves. Then we watched tv and made snide comments about "So You Think You Can Dance." Then she had her very first Whatchamacallit. How can someone be in their thirties and never have eaten a Whatchamacallit? Crazy. Anyway, it was a very fun night. Can't wait to do it again soon!

Brains + brawn

= yumminess, squared.

This past weekend I shared that I was rejoining Match and on Monday I did it. And I am now talking with a very interesting man, who seems totally cool and with a good head on his shoulders. Not that I'm counting chickens before any hatching takes place, but his profile clearly states that he wants a family, and he has an entrepreneurial spirit also (which I respect. And so does my Mom.) Plus, very nice guns. (Heh heh.) I actually think I saw him on JDate a while ago. (I've said it once and I'll say it again -- timing is everything!) My family is trying to figure out why he is single. Guess I’ll find out. We're doing the first conversation thing tomorrow since this weekend will be very busy, at least for me (work-related stuff Thursday night, then off to Maine on Friday and returning Sunday for the family visit. Wow!)

But! I’m going to try something new -- I won’t discuss with blog readers! I guess I just feel like I've matured this year. But don't worry, there's still plenty of immaturity in me...

Have a nice cup of ice.

http://www.weightwatchers.com/util/art/index_art.aspx?tabnum=3&art_id=53601&sc=3030

Um, on what planet am I supposed to enjoy “a nice cup of ice”? Are they kidding? I’m unlikely to buy a huge cup of Coke anyway, but to have the audacity to tell me to enjoy ice is just nuts. Wacky Weight Watchers!!! Good thing I'm not paying them for "tips" like this.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The most important orchestral instrument...


...is the triangle!

During tonight's Boston Pops concert, the musician dinged his triangle with a face of seriousness the likes of which Elie Weisel couldn't have managed. Anyway, Happy Independence Day, USA.

Some other stuff:
  • Sleep has not come easy to me recently. Last night it didn't swing by until 5:15. AM. Sigh.
  • The new sanitary box in the office is verrry noisy. When you dump your junk, it makes a really loud clunk. (Hey! I'm a poet and I don't even know it!)
  • My sister is coming! My sister is coming! And she's bringing Niecey and Neph! It's happening in about a week. Hooray! I miss them so much.
  • And last but not least, my parents are giving me a present. (Happy Independence Day, indeed. They always have had a good sense of humor!) Six months of match.com... and I have promised to be aggressive (not merely assertive) in my search for the right man. Although fun (for the most part), my three most recent dating escapades have not yielded the desired results. This time I really, really need luck. I'll take everything I can, people. No joke. Send it along! I'm collecting...

So anyway...

Shamefully, I never got around to adding a few more favorites to my blogroll after asking the writers if they were cool with it. (Shannon, Stephanie -- I am sorry.) Readers, please do check them out.

I posted about Shannon's sometime in April, but Stephanie Lenz's most recent blog (she has/had? a few) is named "So anyway..." and it's a little bit of everything.

Not that we've met or anything, but I like her a lot. She leads a very interesting life. She's not easily intimidated (after her pitsie bopped along to Prince's Let's Go Crazy and YouTube took down the friends-and-family-accessible video after Universal claimed the song was not put to fair use, she sued. The judge backed her up), she is an amazing writer and is all-around creative, and in addition, she appears to have a balanced life! She also recently had cosmetic liposuction (on her chinnychinchin) and is very cool to be sharing the story. That's a lot to handle. I would say she is my girl crush of the moment...

Friday, July 3, 2009

"So let's go!"

Before I forget, I want to mention a movie I also watched this week that was so funny I howled with laughter. I hooted with mirth. My stomach actually ached from laughing so much at Adam Sandler's antics. It's "You Don't Mess with the Zohan." His Israeli counter-terrorist character can kick your ass 37 different ways... but all he wants is to cut hair at Paul Mitchell's salon. (And he's in decent shape in this movie, too. Little Adam Sandler is all grown up!)

From his accurate Israeli accent to his lust for sex to his Jew-fro at the start of the movie to his swagger throughout, to every other Semitic stereotype you can think of... and some that I didn't even know existed... this is one of those movies you can turn on and just enjoy (like Happy Gilmore, one of my all-time favorites!)

Sure, there was some standard slapstick Sandler stuff, but all in all, this was a feel-good two hours. Plus, it has a happy ending. It's also free on Starz onDemand (on Comcast) for another week. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Hmm. I think I'll watch it again this weekend, just for giggles!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Good movie, bad movie

This past week I watched a few movies, with a friend and alone. They were Batman Begins and The Dark Knight (which I had already seen and were of course a lot of fun) and A History of Violence. I thought A History of Violence would be good, based on Viggo’s performances in other movies (Eastern Promises, Hidalgo, A Perfect Murder) but I was wrong, so very wrong. IMDB’s writeup, as follows: "A mild-mannered man becomes a local hero through an act of violence, which sets off repercussions that will shake his family to its very core."

The plot caught my attention, but the movie itself rambled and was disjointed. His wife (Maria Bello) was annoying, his son and daughter were afterthoughts, and the best part of the movie was Ed Harris’ character, who knew Viggo’s character Tom from his previous life as Joey Cusack, a member of some mob in Philly who was "always the crazy one.” A hot love scene was included, but it was… well… violent. Plus, I was so surprised that I burst out laughing when his wife emerged from the bathroom after, naked under her flapping robe. Whuh huh? I was so not expecting bush! Gratuitous nudity ain't always good.

Sure, I enjoyed watching Viggo. The man is hot! But he is so much better playing darker characters. This “mild-mannered man” was almost painful to watch. He needs a character he can really sink his teeth into.

Apparently the movie won a bunch of awards, but in my opinion, it can just be tossed in the trash. What was David Cronenburg thinking? Granted, this movie was made a few years before Eastern Promises (which was AMA-ZING! Plus, we get to see him totally naked -- in that case, gratuitous nudity works for me) but if you have the chance to watch this one, take my advice, and let it pass...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Activeion, continued

A few days ago I wrote that cities are filthy. But hopefully not if you have the Activeion cleaning solution!

The cool people in promotion just made my day by sending one to review. And I cannot wait to get started! (This is the absolute most I have ever looked forward to cleaning, in my life. EVER!)

The bottle is made from lightweight, opaque, thick plastic, and is not too heavy, especially for all the interesting machinery inside. We will see how heavy it is when I fill it. It's also easy to hold, with a great design (it almost looks like it's smiling at you when you face it).

Review a'comin. So wish me luck! This weekend I will be a lean, green cleaning machine! (Oh wait, that's Activeion, not me...)