Living Below the Pied Piper

Tomorrow, NaBloPoMo starts a month of kindness. But that's tomorrow.


Today, I once again turn my eyes upward in search of blog inspiration. And lo, the clouds part, and from above comes the sound of ...a flute?

The identity of the wind instrument in question is still up for debate. My first guess was a flute, but WM thinks it sounds too plasticky. His money is on the recorder.

Whatever it is, it is not pretty.

I heard the first screech when I sat down to dinner on the couch, and initially I thought one of the new dogs next door was howling.

Or dying.

10 solid minutes of piping, and, I swear, she never managed to hit a single note. And then? Then the duet started. Upstairs Parent on piano, Upstairs Daughter on the pipe, playing some unrecognizable tune. And amidst the (thankfully) short cacophony, WM leans over a whispers:
"Why does everyone think all Chinese kids are musical prodigies? Do you know why there are so many Chinese musical prodigies? Because there are 2 billion people in China. They are bound to have a few geniuses."
I almost spit out my bite of chicken sandwich.

WM is always good for caddy. :)

Posted at 9:21 PM
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Christmas Time is Here

This afternoon I hauled out the Christmas tree and started the messy process of getting in the spirit of the season.

Fortunately, I happen to be dating a Winged Monkey who, as it turns out, enjoys putting ornaments on Christmas trees. This fact is rather serendipitous, as I happen to be a Wicked Witch who has this quirky little tradition of getting a Christmas ornament from just about every city I visit every time I travel. After more than 20 countries, and lord knows how many cities along the way, and the return trips in recent years, my tree is pretty full...of memories.

I've got everything from a drunken golfer from Edinburgh to a scooter taxi made out of a beer can from Bangkok. A Murano glass gondolier from Venice and a painted egg shell from Prague. The pandas from the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. and a re-purposed key chain from Stonehenge, where they didn't sell Christmas ornaments at the time I visited.

The collection is eclectic, as are the stories that go with each piece. Like how I found the paper mailman-on-a-bicycle in a stationary store on the square in Copenhagen where I watched the World Cup match between Denmark and Brazil on a jumbo tron while surrounded by 5,000 drunken vikings. Or how I carried the ship-in-a-bottle ornament in my coat pocket all over Brussels while we were looking for the Mannequin Pis, and then for 5 countries after that because I was afraid it would get broken in my 60 lb. backpack. Or how the French really have a poor selection of Christmas ornaments, so my two trips to Paris are commemorated by a Santa on the Eiffel Tower (à la King Kong) and a glass ball painted with Van Gogh's Starry Night, which is neither a portrait of Paris nor is it housed in Paris, so I'm a little stumped as to the logic of it, but it was the only non-Eiffel Tower ornament I could find.

Needless to say, I get a bit nostalgic when I put up my Christmas tree, and anyone around gets the verbal version of a vacation slide show.

But it could be worse. I could be tearing up over a toilet paper tube Santa with a cotton ball beard or a string of tin foil jingle bells. That's when I will have crossed the line from quirky to my mother, who every year cries for hours as she hangs all of our childhood ornaments on her 9 foot, rotating, musical Christmas tree.

Wait'll the Winged Monkey gets a load of that monstrosity. Makes me look like an amateur.

*Thank you to the other bloggers who stole pics from Charlie Brown Christmas to which I could link.

Posted at 9:04 PM
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SyFy Channel and other misspellings

This afternoon, the Winged Monkey and myself stumbled upon what has to be one of the worst movies I've ever seen: Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus. At first, I thought it was some Animal Planet virtual death match show. But no. This was an actual film. Supposedly made for the purpose of entertaining its audience.

And it was entertaining.

To begin with, it starred Deborah (formerly Debbie) Gibson. And she didn't sing. Or act, for that matter, because it was pretty painful to watch the once fresh-faced teen pop sensation try to pull off her role as a renegade marine biologist. (Which makes me giggle just typing that phrase.) Deborah watches helplessly as a glacier breaks apart releasing back into the ocean a prehistoric mega shark and giant octopus who had supposedly been frozen mid-fight ten million years ago.

Please remember that this is fiction, people. Therefore, the idea that the two creatures would have died after having been frozen for ten million years must be cast aside in favor of the theory that they would simply wake up really hungry and really pissed off.

This explains why the octopus immediately takes out an off-shore oil rig and the shark takes down...wait for airplane. That's right. Apparently prehistoric mega sharks were able to jump 20,000 ft. out of the water, folks. No one is safe, I tell you. No one.

Something, of course, has to be done, so in steps the military, led by none other than Lorenzo Lamas. (Insert Falcon Crest flashback of your choice here.)

Even Lorenzo and his trademark ponytail are unable to stop the two monsters, who seem impervious to modern weaponry. The scientists, must therefore come up with a solution, or else, Lorenzo will go nuclear, wiping out ocean life as we know it.

Enter Capt. Sulu.

O.k., fine. It wasn't the actual Capt. Sulu. I have no idea who he really is, but he quite obviously adhered to the Star Trek method, favoring melodrama over, well, talent. After spending a stressful day pouring colored water from one beaker to another, side by side with Ms. Gibson, the two find themselves in love and in bed together where, in the afterglow of their harried copulation, they realize that pheromones are the key to catching the two deadly creatures.

I don't want to spoil the ending for anyone who hasn't seen this cinematic classic yet, but don't worry. Ms. Gibson and her man will live to make a sequel. Of that, I am relatively certain.

In the meantime, I will try to reclaim the 40 IQ points I lost in those 2 hours. Maybe then I'll be able to figure out why the SciFi Channel is suddenly the SyFy Channel. Perhaps that's why they have to play such mind-numbingly crappy movies. Maybe they're hoping to lull their audience into such a stupor they won't notice that the new network name is dumber than the lineup.

Posted at 8:11 PM
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Raindrops keep fallin' on my head

11:00 p.m. last night, I was sleeping peacefully on my couch, listening subconsciously to an episode of Law & Order, when I heard the dripping. Again.

The next half hour was spent placing bowls and buckets at strategic points in my kitchen to catch the downpour coming from the Upstairs kitchen. Again.

Another half hour was spent moving all of my dishes from the flooded cabinet into the dishwasher. Again.

This morning I got a call from my Crazy Landlady's husband, who said he was sending over a plumber. Again.

And then I spent two hours disinfecting my entire kitchen. Again.

The plumber says the problem with the Upstairs drain is really fixed this time. Again.

And now? Now Upstairs is running their dishwasher and I am holding my breath.


Posted at 9:03 PM
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Men of Few Words

So, just after Thanksgiving dinner this afternoon, Youngest Nephew made an announcement to the whole family. Since he is only about 8 months old, he broadcast his news via a pre-printed onesie that read:
(On the Front)
May 20th
Save the Date

(On the back)
Future Big Brother
Needless to say, everyone was surprised, and everyone cheered, and the grandmothers cried a little, and there was a lot of hugging. And then? Then my dad turned and looked at my sister-in-law and said:
"Don't you people have a TV?"
Dad may be a man of few words, but the ones he utters are pretty much guaranteed to be priceless.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! May all of your families be as fortunate as mine. :)

Posted at 8:38 PM

One Hit Wonders

Tonight, my regular Wednesday night crew won third place in our weekly trivia game at a local bar. We've been going to trivia night there fairly regularly for the past 5 or 6 months, but this was the first time we've ever placed. Sad, since we probably only won this week because we tripled our team size by bringing lots of extra friends (who, unfortunately, will probably never be able to come out with us again since they only made it this week because of the holiday).

Even with the reinforcements, the music round still kicked our ass. In fact, I think we did worse on that round tonight than we had done on any other week. And the saddest part? The entire round was 90's music. And all of us were teenagers in the 90s. We should know our 90s music.

In our defense, many of the songs they picked were one hit wonders, so while we were able to name the title, we had a hard time with the artist's name. And so, I leave you with question number 5, for your listening pleasure (and definitely not your viewing pleasure, since the shirt is completely early 90s hideous):

(And a special shout out to Austin City Limits. It doesn't get much better than that.)

Posted at 4:19 PM

Early to Bed...

In honor of the Thanksgiving holiday, I am off for the next three days. Then I have the weekend. That is 5 entire days without work. I'm not quite sure I know what to do with that much time off.

A good chunk of it (I hope) will be spent sleeping, an activity I plan to partake off in the next 30 minutes or so, to be honest. Lately, however, I've been having a hard time sleeping well--tossing and turning quite a bit. This morning's outburst from Upstairs Mother at 5:30 a.m. didn't help much. I'm not sure what she was screaming about (understandable, since she woke me up out of a dead sleep), but I did make out the words "responsibility" and "that's it" before she came charging down the back stairs to let the dog out for the morning. She screamed at him a couple of times to hurry up and then clomped back up to stomp around some more.

This was a very unpleasant way to wake up. It may even have been worse than the alarm clock, since I had never mistakenly set 5:30 a.m. as an appropriate time for such loud noises and Upstairs Mother apparently doesn't have a snooze function.

I also think I need a new pillow, as mine has lost all ability to support my weary noggin'. I actually looked at pillows today when I made a stop into Macy's. Imagine my shock when the pillow I picked ended up being $60...on sale. It was part of their Hotel Collection, and my overwhelming thought was: Does it come with maid service for that price?

Needless to say, I did not buy the $60 pillow. I figure it will be 6000% ff in a week or so, the way Macy's does things. Until then, I'll just keep wadding up what's left of my current one and make the best of it.

In fact, right now, even that flat crumpled mess sounds preferable to this couch, so I think it's time to turn in.

Posted at 11:14 PM
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Cliff Diving with the Undead

I just got home from seeing New Moon, and I have to say that, believe it or not, it was just as cheesy as the first one.

Edward still sparkles with too much body glitter, Jacob still can't act, the background music is still melodramatic, and the camera work still makes me dizzy.

Now, I am not anti-Twilight. I read all 4 books, and I enjoyed them, if not for the writing, at least for the story. But the general consensus this evening was that the books don't really lend themselves to film. At least, not a word-for-word adaptation. Because the words themselves were rather trite, and, unfortunately, so was the movie.

What was entertaining, however, was the 50-year-old man who sat in front of me. He had come to the movie with his wife, and his chuckle every time the teenage girls squealed at the shirtless werewolves-in-training was one of the best parts of the evening.

And you've got to appreciate any husband who would sit through a Twilight movie with his wife.

That is a devoted man.

Posted at 9:58 PM
Sitting on the couch with Winged Monkey, dueling computers, The Patriot on the TV. A few minutes ago, Mel rode across the screen carrying a tattered American flag. Now? Now he's melting down the last of his sons' toy soldiers to make the bullet with which he will kill his nemesis.

WM and I have enjoyed another lazy Sunday afternoon, and after having watched several episodes of Criminal Minds and Law & Order SVU that Truman had recorded earlier in the week, we decided to take a break from all the serial killers so we could watch with incredulity as the British and Continental armies line up to fire at each other. And we both have the same question.

What genius thought up this tactic? I mean, seriously, people. There is honor and then there is stupidity, and if you ask me, the whole "let's march out into an open field...line up 30 yards apart...and fire at each other?" Well, I don't see much honor in mass suicide.

So, I guess I respect Mel's decision to go all guerrilla and hide out in the swamps and use trickery to win his battles. And how could he lose, what with all the American flags waving in slow motion all around him and his men? After all, what Australian actor worth his salt wouldn't rally his fictional troops at the site of the good ol' Star & Stripes? And he's got to win the war so he can make it home to his new wife...who happens to be his sister-in-law.

The more I watch this drivel, the more I understand the popularity of reality television. With writing this bad in Hollywood still producing a blockbuster, I'm not sure the absence of writing would really be noticed.

Thank goodness for my Kindle. 60 seconds to something smart and funny... completely without the melodramatic soundtrack.

Posted at 9:06 PM
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Tappin' Out

I'm having to blog from the Winged Monkey's iPhone tonight...because we're out watching UFC. Now, I'm not your typical UFC fan, but there are several things about fight night that I find rather entertaining:

First of all, WM's friend D is a wonderful host. He usually has a Cosmo or an Us Weekly mixed in with his Playboys, and he always burns a candle in the bathroom, so his bachelor pad is pretty chick friendly. And one of my favorite pizza places is in walking distance, so dinner is always yummy.

And the fights themselves?

Let's start with the nicknames: The New York Bad Ass...who just got his bad ass kicked. Little Nog, as opposed to his brother, Big Nog. And Christmas. Named after the character in Dumb & Dumber. There's a role model for you. Even the commentators had to say something about that one:
"Christmas" is original. We don't need another "Pitbull" in MMA, after all.
Then there's the announcer who, according to D, models his announcing style after William Shatner. His overdramatic movements keep throwing off the cameramen. He looks a little like a chubby Frankie Avalon, so I keep waiting for him to work in the phrase "Beach Blanket BIN-GO!" in his announcer style. Apparently he is the little brother of a more famous voice; I think the one that coined "Let's get ready to RUM-BLE!" Talk about living in a shadow.

And the outfits.

Tonight's fighters all seem to be sponsored by Venum, which despite the spelling, still makes me giggle when it's written across their crotch. That, coupled with the giant eyes across their ass, makes watching them bouncing around the ring pretty entertaining. And all of them have their own clothing line, or items featured in someone else's clothing line, so they walk through the crowd on their way in in one t-shirt and then they put on a different one when they are getting ready to talk to the host after the fight.

All of the shirts look pretty much alike: kinda of like a cotton version of a Harley Davidson. And they all have one word slogans, like Affliction or Punishment in tattoo style letters across their chest in shiny foil ink. Personally, I think the foil ink is a bit over the top, but I would never say that in front of the fighters. They are after all professional ass kickers.

But they do have hearts. They keep dedicating their fights to people. One guy dedicated his win to his grandmother who died of cancer a couple of weeks ago. That one I thought was touching. Not so much the guy who tried to dedicate the fight he lost. If I were the dedicatee, I think I'd be a bit embarrassed by that one. I imagine a lot of heckling going on on the other side right now.

The best part, though, has to be the fact that I am watching with two martial artists, which is kind of like watching a cooking show in Ramsey's living room. The conversation is 90% martial arts jargon (which, eerily enough, I am actually beginning to understand a bit), and every move is broken down and analyzed. Then the guys are yelling out move suggestions, as if the fighters can hear them through the TV. And finally, my favorite part, the guys will occasionally get up and act out what the fighters should have done. Two grown men. Wrestling in the living room.

Further evidence to support my theory that men stop maturing at 17.

I repeat my assertion from an earlier post: Cuteness makes up for a lot in this world.

Posted at 10:48 PM
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Laundry Room Etiquette

Dear Upstairs Neighbors-

Not all of us are fortunate enough to be able to hire a maid to come out once a week to make a lot of noise vacuuming your 1400 square feet for 2 solid hours (usually when I come home for lunch) and to make a mess behind the fence by trying to pile all of your juice bottles into one recycling bin instead of using one of the other three that are on the ground beside it...empty. I'm not even sure how you are able to afford her services, since, like me, you are renting from Crazy Landlady because you can't afford to buy a house. But I guess I understand the need, since Upstairs mom works 3 days a week at a pre-school, and, therefore, obviously needs someone because her other 2 days a week, home by herself while your daughter is at school, couldn't possibly be enough time for her to vacuum and take out the trash herself.

I do not, however, understand your paying your maid to start the laundry while she is here, but then to leave 2 loads unfinished: 1 in the dryer, waiting to be folded, and the other sitting in the washer, still wet, growing mildew.

But mine is not to question why.


Your maid has done this every Friday for at least the 18 months I have lived here, so I do question the fact that you all seem to forget about these clothes every week, leaving them in the laundry room for up to 2 days, and preventing the other two tenants on the property from being able to wash, well, ANYTHING.

You three may be able to live without clean towels up there, and your daughter may not need her pink jeans for the next couple of days, but I need clean towels and socks and my favorite Saturday jammies.

Maybe you could ask your maid to leave your laundry basket (which is obviously not being used while all the clothes are in a holding pattern in the washer and dryer) in the laundry room. That way, I could move them out of my way so I can get my laundry done. I promise to put them back into the washer and dryer, and since you won't be going into the laundry room for a couple of days anyway, you really won't even notice.

Just a thought.

Posted at 6:32 PM
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I Give Up

I do not understand men.

Which is funny, since I rather like them.  One in particular. And I spend a lot of time with that one. And, more often than not, I quite enjoy all that time spent together.

And then?

And then I realize that I still don't understand them.

And apparently they don't quite get us either.

Which makes one wonder how the hell the race has survived this long if the two key components have such a difficult time communicating.

All I can figure's a good thing we find one another so darn cute.

Cuteness makes up for a lot in this world.

Posted at 10:05 PM
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Drinkin' the Kool-Aid

Half of today was spent in a meeting concerning school improvement, the main question being "How can we make the work we give our students more engaging?"

I'm all about the engaging work, but the last time this group met, one of the members later pointed out to me that lot of the buzz words being thrown around sounded very cult-like. So, today, I had to stop myself from giggling several times when I heard phrases like:

"motivational framework"


"It's all about the marketing"

or my personal favorite:

"recruitment and induction"

Reminded me of when my friend LW discovered Meeting Bingo (aka Bullshit Bingo) a few years back. She would show up at faculty meetings with cards printed out with educational terms in each square. I never won, but it sure made those meetings fly by.

Google it people. You won't be sorry.

Posted at 9:32 PM

Random Tuesday Work Stuff

1) Breakfast in the school cafeteria is one of my favorite parts of my job. For $1 I can get eggs and two slices of bacon. And this is good, old-fashioned, thick sliced, slightly chewy bacon. A couple of years ago, the head of food services tried to replace the eggs with an "egg-like product." It was supposed to be lower in fat and cholesterol. It was also much lower on the yummy scale. breakfast sales went down, and then? Then the principal, who is also a fan of the cafeteria breakfast, complained. Real eggs returned and there has been no discussion of "egg-like product" since.

On Tuesday and Thursday, the bacon is replaced by sausage patties that, while good, are no match for the greasy bacon. For this reason, my usual Tuesday/Thursday breakfasts are usually supplemented with a "morning glory" muffin: carrot/raisin/walnut + about 20 grams of fat.

Today was a muffin day.

2) After picking up breakfast, I usually head upstairs to my office where I inhale my food while reading the overnight emails and the usual morning "HELP!" messages, 90% of which are often the result of something being unplugged. Power cables, people. Check them.

3) The football team is currently making its way through playoffs...again. Part of their winning strategy apparently revolves around all the team members getting mohawks. For this reason, I really have quit noticing odd haircuts on the young men in the building. Until today. Today I found myself walking behind a young man who obviously was not a member of the football team, as he was foregoing the sporty mohawk for what has to be the best example of a mullet found outside Alabama since 1984. We're talking textbook. And the absolute best part? He had on a football jersey style shirt , but instead of a name across his back shoulders, it said "MULLET MILITIA."


4) This afternoon, I had to stay late for Child Abuse/Sexual Harassment compliance training. What did I learn?

*If I suspect a student is being abused, it is my responsibility to report it.

*If a co-worker is harassing me, it is my responsibility to tell him/her to stop.

*Most of my work friends and I are lucky we have found one another, and, apparently, we must be careful who we let hang out with us, as we violate most of the sexual harassment rules that were discussed today. Except the ogling. I don't really think I hang out with any oglers, and I'm pretty sure I've never ogled anyone myself.

Nope. We are ogle free.

Posted at 8:00 PM
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Dear Steve Jobs--

I have yet to join the ranks of iPhone users, not because I don't want one, but because I currently have an amazingly cheap cell phone plan that I share with Good Old Dad on one of the many networks not currently hosting iPhones. In fact, my cell bill is literally half what it would be were I to have an iPhone. And I currently have unlimited...everything.

Switching to AT&T's ridiculously priced iPhone data plans isn't really a viable options for a lowly teacher-type like myself who'd someday like to be able to afford a house of her own. Which is why I've been anxiously following the rumor mills about when Apple's exclusive agreement with AT&T might end. And that rumor mill keeps saying that day may be soon. Like possibly in the next 6-7 months soon.

So, I am waiting...patiently. But tonight? Tonight I learned that they have a Target app. It actually helps you shop by giving you the weekly ad, gift ideas, and even item location within your store.

WM was nice enough to download the free app. for me, but, since he avoids Target like the plague, it's not likely that I will soon be able to test out the item locator in the actual store. Not that I need it, since I pretty much have my Target memorized, and meandering around the store is part of the whole Target shopping experience anyway, but still...I'd like to have the option.

I would have thought that someone who started his company in a garage would understand being on a budget. Think back to those days, Mr. Jobs, as you look to the future of your famed device. Because I want that Target app, Mr. Jobs. I need that Target app. And right now? Your little deal with AT&T is the main thing standing in my way.

Posted at 11:07 PM
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Hello, Fall

One of the most confusing parts of living in Texas is the lack of clear seasons. You have hot, wet, or cold, and any of them can come at any time, though the cold is usually reserved for December through February, and even then, it is broken up with hot.

It's not unusual for New Year's day to be in the 70s, and I can't remember the last time we had snow on Christmas.

That's why this weekend shouldn't have made me blink, but I was still a little surprised when it reached almost 80 degrees today. And I was somewhat amused when I was perusing my weekly Target ad online, looking at artificial Christmas trees and inflatable yard ornaments while my neighbors were playing with their dogs outside...wearing shorts. Surreal.

And now? Now it is raining. Has been off and on for a couple of hours, and according to the forecast, this marks the beginning of a cold front. Tomorrow? Tomorrow is supposed to be 20 degrees cooler.

Of course, due to the inclement weather, I have put off doing laundry. Because who wants to slog through the rain to the laundry room in the backyard? So I'm not sure what I'll be wearing to work tomorrow.

Yet another reason for one of my lifelong goals: To find a job which would allow me to wear my pajamas all day long. Because how can you be in a bad mood in your pajamas? And if it was cool enough? I could break out the flannel. And who isn't productive in blue polka dot flannel pajamas, I ask you? Who?

Posted at 8:14 PM
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I do (again)

This afternoon, the WM was gracious enough to get all gussied up in his jacket and tie and escort me to a wedding.

The bride? Mime 3's mom.

The groom? A nice gentleman she had met on

The venue? A Unitarian church just two blocks room my house.

The wedding planner? My oldest friend, Beebs.

Most memorable part of the ceremony? When the minister told them they were husband and wife, and he couple went to kiss, the minister started clapping with his hands above his head, and WM leaned over and whispered "Touchdown!" in my ear.

Best outfit? Mime 3's bridesmaid's dress. Adorable.

Most memorable hair? Tie between Mime 3's younger cousin with her black hair with giant hot pink streak running through it and Bride's best friends fire engine red, waist length naturally curly hair. (I swear there was more hair than woman on that lady.)

Worst outfit? Again, a tie. WM liked the gold, wedding-cake-tiered mini dress (complete with "after market" double D boobs) on one lady; I found the oversized grey rhinestone-studded sweater (think Flashdance) with matching leggings and black patent stilettos to be the most interesting.

Line heard most often? "This is the last time, right?" (Because this was, after all, the Bride's third wedding, and even Mime couldn't disagree when two different guests said that to her in a 10 minute span.)

But even with the overly obvious jokes about "third time's a charm," I had to admit that the Bride? Well, she's a brave soul. In her 50s, two previous marriages and who knows how many other break ups under her belt, and yet...she still believes in love and in making a commitment. That's more than a lot of us who have lived through a lot less are able to do.

Here's to hoping that they find with each other a partnership that lives up to such high expectations. Salut!

Posted at 10:23 PM

Not to whine...

...but could they please make the Victoria's Secret commercials shorter or something? Or maybe they could just play them less often? I'm not one to have a lot of body image issues, but I also get tired of watching the nearly naked women prancing around in their new push-up bra that adds "up to 2 cup sizes."

Here's a shocker: most super models don't need to add 2 cup sizes. That's one of the reasons they are supermodels. Especially the ones that got the Victoria Secret gig.

And what happen to the Dove "real beauty" ads? It was nice to see normal pretty women for a change, as opposed to the airbrushed types. (Which, btw, can now be achieved at home with the airbrush makeup I saw in the latest Sephora email.)

Because I don't know about the rest of the women out there, but I don't spend a whole lot of time draping myself across satin chairs or high-heeling it in a bra and panties through the ballroom of someone's mansion.

I sleep in cotton pjs...on flannel a home minus a ballroom...with cracked linoleum in the kitchen.

Linoleum can be sexy.

Posted at 7:15 PM
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Another one bites the dust...

Poor Joss Whedon. His latest FOX network show, Dollhouse, has apparently been canceled. When will he learn to find a new network?
Granted, I'm biased. I am a complete Buffy the Vampire Slayer freak and I love Firefly, too. And Dollhouse? I thought the first season was great. Even WM enjoyed watching it with me. Not as certain about the second season, but knowing how Whedon plans huge story arcs well in advance, I was willing to trust him. Besides, most of the other shows on TV were beginning to all run together into one big courtroom/emergency room/doctor/lawyer/police officer drama.

Oddly enough, on my quote of the day iGoogle widget, Joss & Co. were one of the featured quotes:

Sometimes people are layered like that. There's something totally different underneath than what's on the surface. But sometimes, there's a third, even deeper level, and that one is the same as the top surface one. Like with pie.
Joss Whedon, Zack Whedon, Maurissa Tancharoen, and Jed Whedon, Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog, 2008

See why I like this man? Who doesn't like pie quotes?

At least there's still Glee...for now. (Fingers crossed.)

Posted at 6:47 PM
Tonight was trivia night again, and our team managed to add two new members to the mix. Our standings, however, remained pretty much...abysmal.

While I knew Doc Severinsen and Doc Hollywood, no one at our table knew Dr. Tim Whatley from Seinfeld. We knew what color the 2 ball is in pool, but none of us had a clue how many stitches were on a regulation baseball.

Moral of the evening?

The bulk of my knowledge is so useless it's not even good for trivia night.


And I'm beginning to get a little testy about the fact that these tables of 19 and 20-year-old college kids are skunking us every week. They apparently know every useless fact out there.

I thought they were all supposed to be on drugs. Or at least so drunk they can barely stand up, much less identify which President was the first to attend a Major League baseball game in Canada.

Maybe there is hope for this world yet. Maybe, just maybe, the fact that these kids know that the average American uses 57 sheets of toilet paper a day will encourage them to recycle to save the toilet-paper-making trees.


Posted at 10:17 PM
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I want to be smart, like Jasper Fforde

Being the bookish Daisy that I am, I get email alerts from most major book chains. Of note this week? Half Price Books mailed out coupons for their big sale this--50% off a single item on Sunday, etc., and they announced they were opening at 7:00am the day after Thanksgiving. I could handle that early in the bookstore much more easily than I can handle that early in a toy store (and don't think I haven't done the latter...more than once. I am a Wonderful Aunt, after all).

Even better, Barnes & Nobe sent out a notice that I can now order the latest from Jasper Fforde. Fforde is one of those writers that makes me love writing, makes me think writing a novel would be fun, and makes me feel completely inadequate as a quasi-intellectual.

I love him for all of these reasons.

If you haven't had the privilege of reading The Eyre Affair, and if you happen to be a lover of British classics, then you really don't know what you are missing. The whole premise is that people and fictional characters can move between the real world and the fictional world, and the British government has an entire division of literary detection to help investigate crimes resulting from the bending of the line between the two. The book is smart. funny, and, above all, original.--a rarity in most new fiction as far as I'm concerned.

The sequels are just as good, and now? Now Fforde has taken up a new idea...a colortocracy. His newest novel, Shades of Grey, looks to be the usual Fforde absurd satire that I so envy and that I, of course, can't resist pre-ordering.

So, yeah, I'm a successful product of marketing. But if it means 400 pages of witty fun? I don't mind so much being a statistic.

Posted at 8:05 PM
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Tricycles and Buffalo

So, D came over for dinner tonight with the Winged Monkey and I. I fixed an great pot roast courtesy of a recipe posted by Uncle Bill. We ate. A lot. And then? Then I fell asleep. Because that's what Daisy does when she has eaten a lo and had a glass of wine.

But before and after my nap we watch recordings of Derren Brown, a British mentalist. So far I have seen him find a hidden necklace in Venice, predict the word associations of a waitress and a psychiatrist, foresee the bright shoes of the female accountant who guessed the correct number of jelly beans in a jar.

Maybe it's my sleepy state. Maybe it's the wine. Maybe it's the pot roast hangover that's already begun. Whatever it is, I'm rather impressed. Especially since Mr. Brown is very up front about the fact that he is not psychic, but rather that he is reading all sorts of subconscious clues his audience are giving out or that he is planting suggestions when he speaks to them.

Wonder what it would be like to date him? No more excuses about not being able to read your mind. And you would always get what you wanted for your birthday.

And he has that cute British accent.


Posted at 11:06 PM
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Weathervanes and other fashion choices

This evening,the Winged Monkey and I went to see Law Abiding Citizen with WM's friend, D. D knows about my crush on Gerard Butler, so he had no problems with my drooling over Gerard's ass shot or giggling like a school girl over the ab shot that followed. (Oh, those abs.)

Other than the token skin shots, the movie itself was rather unremarkable. A bit gory in parts, a bit slow in others, occasionally surprising, annoyingly aphoristic. The crowd in the theater was far more entertaining.

First there was the transvestite-wanna-be I saw as we were walking into the theater. His bleach blond pixie haircut actually came strutting out of the women's restroom carrying a black patent leather tote bag. The problem was he is still very obviously male, so at first I thought maybe he had just robbed someone.

Then there was a little old man in a baby blue sport coat outside the men's restroom. He'd was a victim of the bowing over process that begins around age 65, and by the looks of him, he'd lost that fight years ago. He looked like he was permanently bowing his head to say grace, the bald spot in the center of his head reflecting the overhead lights straight into the eyes of innocent passersby.

Finally, there was Ugg Girl and her Calf Boot Friend. These two young ladies could not have been more than 16, and yet, they were doing their best to resemble two 28-year-old Canadian street walkers. I especially liked the fur-lined boots paired with the denim Daisy Duke shorts and white t-shirt. Because, lord knows the boots are gonna keep your ass warm.

I don't think I will ever understand that kind of fashion choice. Call me crazy, but I like to pick a season and stick with it throughout the entire ensemble. And aren't Uggs over yet? I though we were done with that already? I wanted to tell her: "You're not skiing. You're not surfing. You're not an Eskimo. What's up with the furry footwear?"

Instead, I laughed as D ogled their derrieres. And I wasn't the least bit offended. Anyone dressed like that is begging to be looked at, almost as certainly as they are asking to catch a cold. ;)

Posted at 8:38 PM
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A little happy to start the day

In my role as Wonderful Aunt I kind of started a Halloween tradition with my nieces and nephews. Every year (with the exception of 3 when we couldn't manage to coordinate it) for the past 15 years, we have decorated pumpkins. I say "decorate" because we don't carve. I refuse to be responsible for one of the munchkins losing a finger, and there's a very good chance that I would cut off one of my own, so early on we decided painting and gluing were the way to go.

We have had cowboy pumpkins, cheerleader pumpkins, vampire pumpkins, clown pumpkins, fisherman pumpkins, construction worker name it, we have pumpkinized it.

This year?


Youngest Nephew as Pooh with his friend Tigger-pumpkin.

I love being an aunt. :)

Posted at 8:11 AM
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World Edict #1

When I finally become Supreme Daisy of the Universe, my first order of business will be to outlaw alarm clocks.

Now, I know many people out there are shaking their heads and thinking of the current violence in the Middle East, famine in Africa, the plight of homeless children, and the myriad of diseases that for which the world desperately needs cures. But I am telling you, alarm clocks have got to be the first order of business if any good is ever to come out of this world.

You see, all of those other issues? They require thought. And empathy. And creativity. And the general desire to do good. None of these is possible when one is jolted awake mid-dream by the cursed alarm clock contraption.

The human mind and the human body require sleep. Millions of years of evolution have tweaked the circadian rhythm to insure optimum performance. And yet? Modern man has decided to chuck it all in favor of some backlit LED display with a snooze button that most definitely results in the loss of that all important gray matter housed in our little skulls.

And I don't think it makes a difference if you are forcefully pulled from your pleasant slumber by an obnoxious beep, or Steve Inskeep's Morning Edition croon, or the oinking of digital pigs a la Laurali Gilmore. Anything that usurps your body's own control over when it decides it is time to start the day must be deemed evil, and these devices must be annihilated.

Trust me on this. Blow up the alarm clocks, and world peace won't be far behind.

*Image stolen from, and I have no idea where they got it from.

Posted at 7:16 AM
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You know I love you when...

1. I let you eat the leftover pizza when it is a variety I actually like.
2. You are allowed possession of Truman's remote control.
3. I happily share my favorite chenille woobie with you.
4. You regularly get to drive Twiggy.
5. There is beer in my fridge.
6. I find your snoring cute.
7. I am willing to watch multiple episodes of Locked Up Abroad.
8. I enjoy kissing you even after you've just eaten herring.
9. I buy granola (for you, of course).
10. I let you wear a pair of my fuzzy booties to keep your big ol' feet warm, and I don't email a picture of you in them to all of your friends.

Posted at 9:59 PM
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Reveille and Other Morning Tragedies

I had planned to wake up early and write a blog about Reveielle. More specifically, I was going to write about how Upstairs Dad has decided it's cute to wake up Upstairs Daughter every morning this week by playing Reveille on their new piano.

I don't find it cute. I find Reveille on the piano at 6:30 a.m. to should I say this? Oh yeah. OBNOXIOUS. Especially when you can't even play it right. It's supposed to be fast. Peppy, even. It's supposed to get you moving. It is not supposed to sound like someone shot the horn out on a car.

Anyway, I shall spare you my Reveille rant because I couldn't hear the song this morning. It was drowned out, quite literally, by the sound of running water. In the kitchen. Where said water was running out of the ceiling and on to my floor. Again. :(

And Crazy Landlady? Well, she has abdicated all responsibility which means I had to talk to Squirrelly-Eyed Landlord Guy about the 5 gallons of water pouring out of the overhead light fixture and the dish cabinets.

This is the third time in 18 months that this has happened, and Landlord is just getting the gist of the issues with the plumbing here. He thinks we should hire someone to come out and take a good look at the pipes in the house. You think? I've had three kitchen floods and 3 calls to roto-router in the past 18 months.

In the meantime, I've mopped the kitchen twice, had a couple of drinks at dinner, and am sporting my favorite red fuzzy booties. Here's to hoping the booties stay dry!

Posted at 8:40 PM
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Work in Progress

This weekend I had the brilliant (read that with a sarcastic tone) idea to look for a new template for the blog.

I did a little Googling and, low and behold, I discovered thousands of free templates . A click click here, a click click there, and tada: the new and improved Daisies Don't Have Thorns.

Of course, I am leaving out the part during which I stayed up until 4:30 Sunday morning working out some of the resulting issues. And the part during which I spent Monday afternoon tweaking the sidebar. And the part during which I spent the better part of 2 days trying to figure out how to get the timestamp to display the way I wanted it. And the tags. And the menu bar across the top. And the little RSS feed button at the top of the page (which wasn't "little" enough originally).

And I'm still not done.

Has me thinking:

When I was in the 1st grade, my teacher called my mother to request a conference about my performance in class. The teacher tried to tell my mother that she was concerned about the amount of time it was taking me to complete my worksheets and handwriting assignments. Turns our I was having issues with mistakes. As in I didn't want anyone to think I made them. So, of course, I couldn't stand erasure marks on my papers. So I didn't erase. Ever. If I made a mistake? I had to start over. Completely. No matter how close to being finished I was.

A bit obsessive? Maybe.

I remember my teacher pulling me aside and telling me that it was o.k. if I had to erase because just about everything we were doing in class was practice, and practice is the time when you are supposed to mess up. It seemed so simple when she put it like that. Made perfect sense.

May we never forget that most of our life is practice, that mistakes are part of the learning process, and that ignoring or, even worse, hiding our mistakes only makes us forget just how far we have come.

Posted at 9:27 PM
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My family are not tattoo people. As far as I know, neither my parents nor any of my siblings has ever given in to the call of the inking needle.

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against body art. Most of my close friends have sat in the chair and come away marked with everything from a compass rose to Rosie the Riveter.

Still, when the Winged Monkey was looking through this gallery, I had to wonder if tattooing might not need to be outlawed. At the very least, people should have to take a breathalyzer and a drug test before they are allowed to have Jimmy Carter emblazoned on their ass.

Or Judge Judy.

Or...Michael Moore?

There should be laws.

*All pictures from Metromix Chicago.

Posted at 10:25 PM
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Old Habits Die Hard

Time was when I spent the majority of my nights snuggled up with my laundry. Never very romantic, but I was a very single Daisy and being the petite flower that am, I really had very little use for the entire queen size bed. And being disinclined to folding my laundry after I washed it, I saw no reason why the giant pile of clothes shouldn't find repose on the empty side of the bed.

This was also the same period when I was perfectly capable of functioning just fine on 3-4 hours of sleep. Mime 3 and myself would venture out to concerts or movie previews three nights a week, usually making a stop for pancakes or late night Mexican food on the way home. I'd tumble into bed around 2 in the morning, only to be up by 6:00 to be teaching by 7:20, and I never felt I skipped a beat.

Apparently, in the last 10 years, I have gotten old.

This fact was pointed out to me yesterday afternoon during my first visit to the rock climbing gym in a month. The first run up a route, and I screwed up my back reaching for a hold.

I hurt my back.

The quintessential old guy joke was playing out on me, and all I could do was lie down on the mat a pry for the cramping muscle to relax so I could possibly stand back up again.

My back ached most of last night, contributing to my staying up until almost 5:00 a.m. Unlike my post-concert mornings of yore, however, I have had a sleep-deprived headache most of the day, and I'm going to be struggling to stay awake through dinner this evening.

And the laundry? Well, the Winged Monkey takes up a lot of space when he stays over, so the laundry has been relegated to the dresser. not in the dresser, mind you, but rather a giant pile on top of the dresser. Apparently laziness is something one doesn't outgrow, a fact that I find somewhat fortuitous, since otherwise I wouldn't be able to find my socks since I can't really bend over at the moment.


Posted at 6:32 PM

Daisy's Tweets

My Momma Taught Me To Share

Tag, you're it!