Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Birthday Bash!

Yesterday I turned the ripe old age of twenty-nine. Twenty-eight felt weird the whole time, so I'm hoping twenty-nine feels a little more comfortable. I sometimes feel like I'm meant to be in my thirties or maybe even my forties, so I guess I just have to wait until then.

My birthday-day was a bit lame as I had a ten hour day at work, eight of which was spent in a project management workshop (basically eight hours of people saying things like buy-in, deliverables, and responsibility matrix - plus I got eight more hours of it today. I can manage the fuck out of your projects now). After work was much better as Dr. Mystery presented me with a case of beer and a mix-CD that he made for me. I can't really explain how great the mix-CD is. We have been together for 6+ years and the guy has never made me a mix tape even though he is constantly producing mix tapes (he has probably made 500 mix tapes since we met). He's always said he thought it would be cheesy, which it kind of is, but it is still totally nice. And I really don't think anyone has ever made me a mix tape before ever.

Other things I got for my birthday:
1. Three e-cards, two nice emails, and two happy birthday comments.
2. A bookcase from my parents.
3. A rockin paper-mache cat and a shiny fish mirror from tjd. I hung the mirror up in our kitchen way up high in an interesting spot that needed some shinyness and the kitty is in the living room so I can look at it all the time because I love it.
4. As yet unknown presents from my two sisters, one of whom actually has the same birthday as me since she was born on my sixth birthday. I lamely didn't get her anything but love this year, but she got me something anyway. What a good sport.
5. Three birthday phone calls.

So, overall, the day was a success. I was able to apply my learning and creatively manage the 29th birthday project. Yay!

Monday, November 28, 2005

Neligh Namechecked

I had a very productive long weekend, reading-wise. Not only did I blast through five magazines in my increasingly out-of-control magazine pile, but I also managed to read Nebraska, a book short stories by Ron Hansen. Josh read this a couple of years ago and really liked it, so it had been on my radar for some time. I expected that I would enjoy it, particularly since I'm from Eastern Nebraska, just like Hansen, and the towns and scenery and people that I know are featured throughout the book. I ended up really really liking the book, however, and not just because familiar rivers and cities popped up every couple of pages. The stories are generally ambiguous and dark, and sometimes kind of sad or happy in the regular way that life is. They take place across a 100 year period -- as early as the big blizzard of 1888 (maybe my favorite story in the book), and as late as the late 1980s when the book was published. They include historical-fiction, ghost stories, 1940s gangsters, and old dudes who play golf. Plus Hansen is a nice Danish dude from Omaha, and who wouldn't like that. Thumbs up on this one.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Well dog my cats....

Can you believe that all these Romanian stamps were on one envelope?

I picked the two cutest ones for the purpose of blowing your collective minds. Consider yourself blown. Blown by cuteness.

Saturday, November 26, 2005


"Operatunity" -- say it with me folks, "Operatunity." Not only is it a hilarious pun and lots of fun to say (go ahead, say it again), its also a BBC reality show from a few years ago that acts as a kind of American Idol for opera singers. My love for reality shows where people sing and/or dance has been proven before, but would I like a reality show where people sing opera? The answer: if I can say Operatunity a few more times, I love it.

This show originally ran as a four or five part series, and was released on DVD with an additional "where are they now" episode. I saw a condensed version of the series on PBS the other night. Several things made it so much better than usual reality shows:

1. Everyone was a grown up.
2. No one tried to be mean -- they didn't show the "bad" performances (at least in this shortened version), and no one made snide comments.
3. Everyone was British and had nice accents.
4. No commercials (in the PBS version), so it didn't have that irritating build-up / re-cap cycle that so many reality shows fall into. This also resulted in much less filler.
5. The prize wasn't a million dollars or a recording contract or a new life, it was a chance to sing a role in a professional production of the English National Opera.

They ended up picking two winners who split the lead female role in Verdi's Rigoletto. I don't really know anything about opera at all, but they both did a really excellent job. And from what I can tell from their websites, they are both giving a go of singing careers and have each released solo albums.

The show also made me want to learn a little more about opera -- do any of you know anything about it? I saw a production of Carmen when I was in college that I liked, but I felt like I didn't know enough about it to really get everything that was happening onstage. Opera is kind of intimidating, but less so when you see nice grocery store cashiers, blind housewives, and investment bankers with British accents singing it.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Take that, turkey!

Josh and Kristy Thanksgiving 2005 was a resounding success. Either one or the other of us was cooking for about five hours straight (I made molasses spice cookies, Josh made the beautiful pork/onion/apple stuffed poblano peppers with walnut cream and chile colorado sauce pictured above. Oh yeah, also really good black beans). Then I spent a good chunk of time cleaning up -- almost three loads of dishes, we used just about every pan we had. We had morning beers to help us cook, then tons of food, then a drive over to Mt. Bonnell (which we thought would be empty but was actually more crowded than I've ever seen it), then home for movie watching, wine drinking, and Monopoly playing. I give this Thanksgiving five thumbs up.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


I recently finished reading The Mammoth book of Golden Age Science Fiction: Short Novels of the 1940s,(1989) edited by Isaac Asimov. I loved every story in this anthology with the exception, strangely, of the Asimov story, which was the one I was most interested in reading. It was taken from his Foundation series, and I felt like I might have liked it better if I was more familiar with the other stories about the Foundation. A little too much intergalactic politics.

The complete table of contents includes:
Time Wants a Skeleton, by Ross Rocklynne
The Weapons Shop [Isher], by A. E. van Vogt
Nerves, by Lester del Rey
Daymare, by Fredric Brown
Killdozer!, by Theodore Sturgeon
No Woman Born, by C. L. Moore
The Big and the Little [Foundation], by Isaac Asimov
Giant Killer, by A. Bertram Chandler
E for Effort, by T. L. Sherred
With Folded Hands... [Humanoids], by Jack Williamson

A surprisingly (or maybe not so surprising) awesome story is Theodore Sturgeon's "Killdozer!" about a bulldozer that becomes possessed with some kind of ancient kill spirit with a vaguely science-oriented twist. It is obvious that Sturgeon worked in construction in his past with the lovely descriptions of operating and repairing heavy machinery, and yet none of this drags the story down or makes it any less exciting than you would want the story of a killer bulldozer to be.

Other stories include space travel, the mix-ups possible with time travel, robots, mutant rodents, robots, futuristic political systems, and more robots.

There is something about the pulp stories from the forties that really appeals to me, be they detective stories, romances, westerns or science fiction. Its like these guys are really real writers with typewriters and cigarettes and a whole industry of cheap magazines to publish their work. And science fiction in the 1940s has this great atomic power / distrust mixed with total excitement about the power of science and space travel and such. So good.

Me and my Shadow

My building is along a street that runs parallel to the interstate at a point where part of the interstate is raised up off the ground and part of the interstate runs below. At a certain point every morning, my window (which faces East) and the sun line up perfectly so that the shadows of the cars on the upper deck of the interstate make really fast shadows all through my office and trees around my building. Usually I don't notice it, but whenever I do it makes me a little nauseous. Guess I'd better go home early....

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Rub a Dub Dub

A guy just walked by my window and I would have sworn that he was wearing a nice fluffy bathrobe. I thought, how strange, maybe he forgot something at work and he is just running in before he has completely finished his morning routine. Then he walked by again and I realized it wasn't a robe, it was a coat. The moral: If your coat can be mistaken for a bathrobe, it is time for a new coat.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Hic Hic Hic Hic Hic

I've got some nasty hiccups this morning that won't go away. Even my tried-and-true, works-every-time solution of drinking water upside down isn't working. This is very irritating. I'm I to be cursed with work hiccups all day? Someone come scare me or something....

Saturday, November 19, 2005

A Recipe for Fun!

200 beers for dinner = an excellent idea!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Fruity gift idea

Wondering what to buy me for any occassion? Try any kind of paper made out of fruits and/or vegetables. I'm particularly fond of the Kiwi paper and the cucumber paper. I will also accept anything from this page. Oh yeah, I suppose people besides me might like these too, but do they deserve them as much? Of course not.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Splish Splash

This is freakin' awesome, except that you just know it will be overrun by irritating college kids. Makes me almost want to get a recreation pass... Almost.

Scroll down for the best part of the website - an interactive Flash layout of the complex. When you hover over different areas of the map, you hear the associated sounds. The people in the reception garden sound like real assholes. And why doesn't Storage sound like anything? I want to hear boxes shuffling around or something....

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

My New Band

And the most recent perfect band name from the archives is:

The Rainbow Pipeline

(this one from an oddly named oil company effort from the 1960s)

If this doesn't work out as a band, I'm planning to license the name to a GLBT group of some kind. Or a series of porn movies.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Another year of reading!

I know you have all been sitting on the edge of your collective seat just waiting to find out what I was reading eight years ago. Ah, 1998. It was a good year. I was a junior/senior in college, it was my last year of working at Barnes and Noble, and I apparantly spent most of the year reading books.

Lets take a look, shall we... (oh, and you can click here to get a more readable version of page one, and page two of the list)

Observations from 1998:
1. Still in college, so still a lot of school books. I took some awesome classes in 1998, though, including a history class where we read all about witches and saints and crazy ladies and an independent study on novels of sexuality. Hot.

2. Got a little royalty in there with Divorced, Beheaded, Survived, and I still remember which of Henry VIII's wives died how by the little rhyme from that title (the whole thing is divorced, beheadead, died, divorced, beheaded, survived. I think. Maybe I'm remembering it wrong.)

3. Apparantly in 1998 I could read whole books in Spanish (I was, after all, a Spanish minor). I don't think I've read any books in Spanish since 1998. I bet I could do it if I really tried though...

4. When I looked over this list a couple weeks ago I was surprised to find that I had read Masuji Ibuse's novel Black Rain. I saw the movie based on this book recently and had no idea that I'd ever read the book. I still don't remember reading it -- I don't think it was for a class, and I know I don't own it. And I don't think I ever bought it. The movie is really good, and I'm assuming that the book was too, although I'd really have to read it again to be sure.

5. I remember really not liking Julia Penelope's Speaking Freely, and yet for some reason I wrote it down twice on my list and had to cross one of them off. I must have been really glad to be done with it.

6. Junebug loaned me all those Dave Sim Cerebus books. Those were awesome. He only had the first four or so volumes, though, so I never got past those. I would like to reread these guys and catch up with all of that crazy pig's adventures.

7. Wuthering Heights is so good. I really want to read that again.

Have you read any of these books? Did you read any of them in 1998? If so, perhaps we are the same person! Or else we took some English classes together....

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Miss Congeniality

After several unsuccessful attempts to engage me in the apparently enthralling subject of my height ("Wow, you're tall." "How tall are you?" "You're taller than me!" "Do you play basketball?"), this dude in line behind me at Walgreens asks me "Do you think that being taller than other women has given you any advantages in life?"


I thought I was just standing in line at a drugstore buying an economy sized box of tampons, but I must have inadvertently stepped into some kind of Miss America pageant. Luckily another register opened up before we got to the swimsuit competition.

I heard that.

Five things I love about Christopher Walken:
1. The dignity
2. The voice
3. The humor
4. The dancing
5. The unsettling hotness

Saturday, November 12, 2005

"Get to the airport, Toma, and find out what the hell is happening!"

That's right, everybody, I just finished reading Toma #2: The Aiport Affair by the fictional character of David Toma and the second-billed writer Jack Pearl. Little did I know when I purchased this book that it is actually part of a series of books inspired by the ABC television show "Toma" (1973-1974) staring Tony Musante as Toma, the loner New Jersey detective who played by his own rules and was also a master of disguise. His superior officers didn't always respect his methods, but you know they always respected the results. I think now would be a good time to take a look
at Toma himself. Don't forget to listen to his theme song.

Now that we are all in the mood, lets take a look at the back cover (the aspect of the book that originally attracted me) [oh and a more readable version can be found here]. The book is basically your standard undercover cop story -- in this case Toma is infiltrating a mob fencing ring at the airport that keeps stealing diamonds and fake plane tickets. Does Toma get his man in the end? You'd better believe he does, but not everyone likes the way he does it. No sir. This was actually very readable and pretty fun, with a few neat twists. The only really silly bits are when Toma puts on his costumes (which actually isn't as much as the back cover might lead you to believe). He dressed up as a hippy a couple of times and later dressed up as an Indian woman for a long chase scene at the airport that ends with this lady getting her head knocked off by an airplane.

Here's a trivia tidbit for you all -- when Tony Musante wanted to quit the show, the producers decided to cast a certain Robert Blake as Toma. Blake didn't want to be a Musante replacement, however, and insisted that they retool the show and give it a new name. That was the birth of the "Baretta" that we all know and love.

Shine on you crazy diamond... Shine on.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Completely unnecessary

My random work-related browsings brought me to this site where you can view, among other treasures, a record sleeve embossed with the same song as the 45 housed within the sleeve. Pure genius.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Watch out for that cactus!

Find this and other fantastic action shots from my parent's visit this past weekend here. Make sure you don't spend all your time just looking at Josh's pratfalls -- you should also take a look at my awesome new birthday bookcase. Plus many shots of nature.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Off with her head!

You may be wondering what on earth I'd been doing with my time since finishing The Wind's Twelve Quarters oh so long ago. Well, folks, I've been reading a super gigantic biography of everyone's favorite Catholic martyr, Mary Queen of Scots, by Antonia Fraser. I also interspersed it with some magazine reading, since I have to do my best to keep up with all my subscriptions, and sometimes the tiny print in my 1971 mass market paperback would be too much for my tired eyes.

As you may know, I love royalty, and Mary Queen of Scots is great because she fits right into the Elizabethan period, which happens to be the part of English history that I know the best. Mary is also particularly wonderful because she was really tall for the period (actually even pretty tall for nowadays) at 5 foot 11. I just love tall ladies. Her story is also very salacious and ends with a dramatic execution. So the outline goes something like this:

Mary's father, James V, dies just a few days after she is born. She is his only child and becomes the queen of Scotland. The nobles tussle over who she should marry for awhile, eventually sending her to France to be married to Henry II's son, Francis, the heir to the French throne. She grows up there and marries Francis when she is a teenager, but he is in poor health and dies after about a year. They had no children and many historians question that they ever even had sex. Mary is shipped back to Scotland (a place she hasn't been since she was 5 and her mother has since died). She's got all kinds of problems because she is Catholic and her subjects are Protestant. Henry the VIII dies in England and they run through the short rule of Edward, the bloody rule of Mary, and then stick in the Protestant rule of Elizabeth for most of Mary's life. Mary desperately wants to meet Elizabeth, partly because Mary is really the next heir to the British throne if Elizabeth dies with no children. Elizabeth doesn't really seem to like Mary for this and many other reasons (especially the Catholic stuff).

Mary marries this cute young guy that she loves, but no one else likes him and he ends up being kind of a playboy and a gambler. They have a son (the future James VI of Scotland and James I of England). The Scottish nobles plot to kill him (probably without Mary's consent) and do, then the main conspirator kidnaps Mary when she is moving from one castle to another (possibly with her consent), "ravishes" her, and forces her to marry him. Pretty much no one likes this. Mary gets a bad reputation with her people and the nobles, and ends up fleeing to England at the age of 25 for Elizabeth's help (which she promised to give). Instead, Elizabeth puts Mary in jail for the next 17 years before executing her on a trumped up treason charge.

And I know this has gone on for way longer than anyone is probably interested in, but let me give you a taste of the execution from Fraser's book: "The time had come for Jane Kennedy to bind the queen's eyes with the white cloth embroidered in gold which Mary had herself chosen for the purpose the night before. Jane Kennedy first kissed the cloth and then wrapped it gently round her mistress's eyes, and over her head so that her hair was covered as by a white turban and only the neck left completely bare... The queen without even now the faintest sign of fear, knelt down once more on the cushion in front of the block. She recited aloud in Latin the Psalm 'In you Lord is my trust, let me never be confounded' and then feeling for the block, she laid her head down upon it, placing her chin carefully with both her hands, so that if one of the executioners had not moved them back they two would have lain in the direct line of the axe. The queen stretched out her arms and legs and cried 'Into your hands O Lord I commend my spirit' three or four times. When the queen was laying there quite motionless, [the executioner's] assistant put his hand on her body to steady it for the blow. Even so, the first blow, as it fell, missed the neck and cut into the back of the head. The queen's lips moved, and her servants thought they heard the whispered words: 'Sweet Jesus." The second blow severed the neck, all but the smallest sinew and this was severed by using the axe as a saw."

Very exciting, folks. It makes me really want to see the movie from the 1970s with Vanessa Redgrave. Plus Glenda Jackson as Elizabeth? Awesome.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Getting younger?

I only have a few gray hairs -- they started showing up about a year and a half ago, and they really only pop out sometimes depending on how my hair is parted. I kind of love them because they are so cute and different, but yesterday evening while I was brushing my hair, the longest and cutest of the gray hairs just fell out. Poor little guy. I'm going to have to work on growing him some replacements....

Friday, November 04, 2005

Eat them up, yum!

I just heard the song Fishheads by Barnes and Barnes on the internet radio station I've been listening to at work (Dr. Yo) and it made me really happy, even though in the past the song has really annoyed me. Why do you think that is? Am I more open to fish heads now than I have been in the past? Is it because I probably haven't heard the song for ten years and it brought back happy memories? Is it because I have a big plate of roly poly fishheads here on my desk just ready to be eaten up? The mystery continues....

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Constant Cleaning

I just spent a solid 90 minutes just on cleaning our tiny kitchen. That is one clean room. The occassion? A parental visit, starting tomorrow. So don't be sad if there isn't too much blogginess as I will be entertaining through the weekend. Of course, my parents do go to bed early, so who knows, perhaps I will type away into the night. Stay tuned to find out! Shazam!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


While we are on the topic of commercials that infuriate me for no good reason, we should mention the horrible Gatorade commercials where people sweat out brightly colored Gatorade sweat. Ew. Josh can verify that these commercials make me cringe, almost cry, and have to shut my eyes or leave the room. They really go beyond irritating me and enter the realm of making me physically sick. Why have they been playing these forever? Do people like the idea that they are drinking so much Gatorade that their sweat is no longer water-colored but Gatorade-colored instead? I certainly don't like that idea. I also don't like Gatorade, and thanks to these commercials, I like it even less. Yuck.

In fact, now that I think of it, I probably shouldn't have put one of the offensive sweat-pics up here as I will now no longer be able to look at Spacebeer until the picture has moved off the page (even that picture of the toilet paper from yesterday puts that irritating bear-butt-wipe jingle in my head instantly). I'll have to be tough. I hope you all appreciate the sacrifice.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Oddly Troubling

I can't explain why, but the animated toilet paper commercials that feature bears singing about wiping their butts really disturb me.

Sample lyrics include: "Hey little fella gotta change your touch / What you thought was enough might be too much," and "A deeper clean you can get behind"

Very disturbing.