Thursday, August 31, 2006

Bragging and laughing that under his wrist is the pulse.
and under his ribs the heart of the people,

The Chicago trip was quite fabulous. On Thursday, we went to the Museum of Science & Industry to see the DaVinci exhibition and Frogs! A Chorus of Colors.

We had a little trouble getting into the museum at first, due to a lack of any kind of signage indicating the way to the entrance. We were looking for something that would lead us to a grand, impressive entrance, sort of like this:

But could only find this:

Doesn't really instill confidence that one is about to have a memorable experience, does it?

Once inside, things started to improve. The DaVinci exhibition was HUGE, and really fantastic. They'd built replicas of dozens of his inventions, presumably based on his original sketches, and had lots of information with each invention. I've decided that the next time I have to take one of those dumb email quizzes that include the question "If you could have lunch with one person, living or dead, who would it be?" I'm going to choose DaVinci. I always knew that he was brilliant, but I don't think I ever really thought about the scope of his imagination and creativity before.

Here's a picture of a mill wheel that was allegedly in use in Vinci while Leonardo lived there, and supposedly might have been watched by his eyes:

The frog exhibit was also spiffy. It was actually better than I expected. We looked at every single terrarium and I learned lots of cool facts about frogs.

Before we left for the day, we headed over to the chicken hatchery, just because.

We stopped by the Fairy Castle, too, and for the first time it wasn't packed full of people.

After leaving the Museum, we took a bus up to Michigan Avenue, where we eventually met up with our friend / hostess / college roomie J at Lush. Body wash mission: complete.

The next day, we headed back into the city to go to the Field Museum. We toured the King Tut exhibition, which was awesome if very crowded, and went through the Underground Adventure, which was cute but definitely geared toward kids.

That evening, I met up with a very dear friend and her hilarious family, and got to hang out with her delightful one-year-old. Good times!

On Saturday, the bibliophile, J, J's husband N, and I all went to the Notebaert Nature Museum in Lincoln Park. It was really, really cool. The best part of the whole experience was the butterfly haven.

An old friend from high school met up with us at the Nature Museum, and ended up joining us afterward for lunch at a cute Mexican place, ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery, and our attempt at dethroning N the Game Champion later that evening back at the ranch. The coup was not successful, as we did not realize beforehand that N was a lit major in college. Curses! However, the sheer obscurity of the game held him to a single pie piece for at least an hour--a new record!--and at one point he actually said, "Is this what it feels like for other people when they play Trivial Pursuit?" We counted a partial victory.

On Sunday, the bibliophile, J, and I went to a small food fair hosted by Whole Foods, which turned out to be a nice, relaxing way to end our visit, as well as a great opportunity to procure free snacks for the train ride home.

For a few more frog & butterfly photos, check out Shutterfly.

Laughing the stormy, husky, brawling laughter of
Youth, half-naked, sweating, proud to be Hog
Butcher, Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat, Player with
Railroads and Freight Handler to the Nation.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

MB just got done watching a movie on the Oxygen channel

You know, that channel for women? Yeah. I didn't laugh at him, though. I couldn't, because he was watching Ten Things I Hate About You, and if I laughed he'd probably change the channel, and hello? Heath Ledger = The Hotness:

Julia Stiles rocks, too.

Then the movie ended, and MB flipped through all seventy billion cable channels, finding nothing to hold his interest. The following conversation ensued:

MB: Would you put in a movie for me?

VBG: Sure. *Gets up and goes toward television* What do you want to watch?

MB: Really, I want to watch Law & Order: Criminal Intent or SVU, but neither one is on right now.

VBG: Seriously? Not on any channel? (there's usually a marathon of one or the other or both on at any given time)

MB: Nope.

VBG: Huh.

MB: *listlessly flips through a few more channels* Wait. Never mind. Bob Ross is on.

VBG: You're going to watch this?

MB: *utter disbelief* It's BOB ROSS!

VBG: Hey, that's cool. Embrace it, man. Happy little clouds.

So my husband is now watching Bob Ross. And just now? This happened:

MB: Look! It's a squirrel!

VBG: *whips around to stare at television* He's not painting a squirrel. *TV shows close-up of squirrel* Oh.

MB: It's in his hair.

VBG: *thinks MB is kidding, laughs*

*shot widens to show squirrel actually wandering around in Bob Ross's hair*

VBG: Wow. Um.

Here's some proof that I did not hallucinate: Bob Ross Feeds a Squirrel (YouTube)

Happy little clouds, ya'll. Remember, there are no mistakes; just happy accidents.

Reading: Meg Cabot's Mediator series. It's young adult fiction, but very good, and I have a serious book nerd crush on Jesse the complete hottie ghost. I read a review indicating that the sixth book in the series is the final book, which makes me sad.

Playing: The Haunting by Clandestine

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Come and show me another city with lifted head singing
so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning.

Tomorrow afternoon, I'm hopping a train with this crazy character to spend an extended weekend in Chicago with J, one of our old roommates from college.

I am fully and gleefully prepared to get my geek on. On Thursday, we're going here, where my head will probably explode from the combined joy of DaVinci, frogs, a 3-D movie about Mars, an Omnimax film about ancient Greece, and baby chickens.

On Friday, we're going here to see the King Tut exhibit and go through the Underground Adventure exhibit, and to see my homegirl, Sue.

At some point, I'm hoping we can visit the planetarium. We're definitely going shopping at Lush so I can stock up on my most favorite shower gel of all time. It's an addiction, folks, and I probably need help.

While we're there, the intrepid bibliophile and I are also going to challenge J's husband (hee! congratulations, you guys!) N to a game of Trivial Pursuit: the Book Lover's Edition. N is good at every game we've every played as a group. He pretty much always wins, and usually by an embarrassing margin. We figured the somewhat obscure (but enjoyable for huge geeks like us) Book Lover's Edition would be a good test of his apparent superpowers.

I'll be taping tomorrow night's episode of Project Runway so I can watch it when I get home on Sunday night. I'm crossing my fingers that I won't get hit by any spoilers before I have a chance to see it!

Monday, August 21, 2006

I is for Ichthyosaur

"Is your baby a nerd? Of course not, there's no such thing as a nerd baby and everyone knows that labeling children is bad and wrong. But if you're a nerd or a geek or heaven forbid a chemical engineer, there's a good chance that your baby will grow up to be at least a little bit nerdy. I mean, the genetics are there.. so why fight it?"

I long for these. I lust after them. I may, in fact, need them.

Can't you picture these hanging on the wall in a playroom? a playroom belonging to the offspring of a geologist and an engineer. A playroom that will probably be filled to the brim with really geeky educational toys.

At least our kids will be upholding a fine family tradition...I was going through some old photographs at my parents' house last Friday, and came across a picture from Christmas morning the year I was three. I was unwrapping some kind of toddler-appropriate construction set. How cool (but nerdy) is that?

My heart is happy.

After writing about the Christmas photo, I dug out the other pictures I brought back with me from the house. Here is one of my very favorite photos of all time:

The caption on the back, in my mom's handwriting, reads: "May 1983. Dad (32 yrs) & Velocibadgergirl (26 months) doing paperwork."

Every evening, my dad had to fill out paperwork for his job. I wonder how many times I insisted upon sitting beside my dad while he worked. I wonder if he remembers this night.

Reading: The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett

Playing: Drunken Lullabies and Within a Mile of Home by Flogging Molly

I promise I won't talk about this movie forever

All Your Snakes Are Belong To Us

It runs a little long, but it's funny in a really random, bizarre way.

Also, if you fear snakes on a plane, how will you handle bears on a submarine?:

Friday, August 18, 2006

I think my cat has anger issues.

Last night, I was poking around on the internet, reading blogs and generally minding my own business. MB was sitting on the couch behind me, watching a movie on TV. Suddenly I heard this weird howl-y noise that didn't sound like it came from the TV. I said, "Was that you?" and MB replied, "No, it was the cat." I turned my incredulous stare to the cat's backside, which was sticking out between the curtains that cover the sliding door to the tiny patio and backyardlet. Just as I said, "Kitters, was that YOU?" he let out another howl. It was sort of a mix of sounding like a dog and sounding hella creepy. I knew, just knew, what I would see when I opened the curtain. Sure enough, I flipped on the outside light, whipped the curtain aside, and saw The Nemesis sitting in the grass just beyond the patio.

The Nemesis is a scruffy orange tabby tomcat, somewhat smaller than Kitters. I feel sort of bad for him, because he's all scruffy and lives outside and shit, but this guy must talk some mad smack when he comes around, because whenever he does show up, Kitters becomes absolutely incandescent with rage.

The Nemesis was also involved in a scene that I can accurately say ranks in my Top Five Stupid Moments of All Time. On August 1st of last year, Kitters was at the sliding door, freaking the hell out, just like last night. When I opened the curtains, I saw The Nemesis sitting on the patio, mere feet from the glass, and he was hissing at my cat. I was PISSED, let me tell you. Coming in my cat's yard? Sitting on my cat's patio? Hissing at my cat THROUGH HIS OWN WINDOW? Hell no! (Ahem. Sorry. My mom says I attribute too many human feelings to my cat, but shit, unfair is it that he should have to put up with this disrespect simply because he's not allowed outside?)

So I, great genius that I am, decided that I'd slip out the door and chase the cat away, after waving, yelling, and banging on the window didn't work. I figured that Kitters wouldn't even notice me opening the door, since he never tries to go outside. (I can hear your mocking laughter, by the way. You could at least try to stifle it.) You can probably guess what happened next. As soon as the screen door was open a few inches, Kitters went barreling out into the yard. The only thought in my mind as I saw him shoot by me was, "Oh my God, I've just lost my cat." I was horrified. Our building and back lawn abuts a busy street and we're buffered by one building in the front from the damn highway, so I instantly figured Kitters was either going to get mauled in a fight or run out into the path of a car.

As soon as Kitters came roaring out, The Nemesis jumped the fence and took off. Luckily, blessedly, Kitters didn't understand the fence, and dove into the bushes at the base of it, where he stomped and thrashed and yelled for a few minutes. I was shouting at him the whole time, yelling stupid things like, "No, bad Kitters! Bad! You are NOT allowed outside!" (I really wonder sometimes what the neighbors think of us.) He came over to me and looked up at me with an expression like, "Oh, shit. I'm in trouble," so I figured he understood. I reached to pick him up, and he bit me on the arm. He had turned his head away and didn't see me reaching for him, and so when I grabbed him, he probably figured I was the other cat, attacking. It hurt SO DAMN BAD, too. I'll post a picture at the end, if people promise not to ralph or anything. It's not that bad. Or it wasn't, until it turned all pink and infected a few days later and I had to go to the urgent care clinic to get antibiotics and a tetanus shot. Ooooops. Gah.

So, lesson learned: Cat + Rage + Yielding Flesh = bad, bad things.

Tonight I managed to chase The Nemesis away with exaggerated (and probably painfully comical) arm-waving and foot-stomping. I think Kitters was embarrassed out of his anger. I don't even know why I'm typing this all out. I have a feeling it'll be one of those entries that no one really reads because it's really not that interesting, except in my head. Ah, well. At least you all will know that you'd better not come around my house, sitting on my back porch and hissing and shit! Cuz if you do, boy-howdy, you'll GET IT! From KITTERS! Or from me! Waving my arms and stomping! Take that!

I think Snakes on a Plane is a terrifically awful movie title.

But this made me laugh:

"So what will happen if this “animals on a vehicle film” really takes off? Here are some predictions:

‘Badgers on a Hovercraft’

At some point Hollywood is going to run out of either vehicles or animals and that's where Roger Corman steps in, executive producing this “we'll never be out of animals or vehicles” knock-off. Did anyone besides me see “Dinocroc”? Corman can do anything. Besides, badgers are both mean and dangerous on land. Hovercrafts make them extra angry."

I hope you're still reading, because this is so beyond fabulous:

My favorite bibliophile sent me a talking greeting about Snakes on a Plane.


I got it right after I finished typing the part about the cat and while I was writing the part about the movie. He said, "Quit obsessing over your pet," and I was like, "It's true! Samuel L. Jackson IS God!"

So, anyhow. Snakes on a Plane, everybody! And my grody arm!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

So, Project Runway.

Don't read this if you haven't watched this week's show, obviously. Or if you don't care about Project Runway.

This episode was a little bit brutal, I thought.

As much as I've liked Kayne in the past, his catty bitch act is kind of wearing on me. Don't get me wrong, I'll gossip with the best of 'em, but he's just been mean-spirited on the last few episodes. I did have to say I appreciated his relieved bolt from the runway at the end. Maybe he'll dial back the drama next week and make me like him again.

As much as I really REALLY dislike Jeffrey, I was surprised he didn't win. He acts like he knows better than the judges. I just want him to SHUT UP. But his dress actually was a bit more impressive than Michael's winning piece and definitely illustrated a good understanding of the materials he chose. He can keep his attitude, though. I don't really want to see him rolling his eyes and acting all shitty when the judges compliment the other designers.

I dig Uli, but I don't think she has demonstrated much range. I'm sort of surprised the judges haven't called her out for it yet. Granted, she produces absolutely stunning halter dresses...but what would she make if pants were required? Or sleeves? I'm interested, but cautious.

I've just started to really like Laura lately, so it was kind of unpleasant to see her being sort of bitchy. Not that I totally disagreed with her, but I don't feel like she really needed to call Kayne out to his face about his style or harangue Vincent about his (yet again) awful dress (though I wonder if Vincent was talking shit about Alison before Laura went off. Oh, and Kayne? You don't want to be "degraded" on camera? Suck it up, spend every moment outside the workroom talking smack about somebody. If you can't take it, stop dishing it.)

I feel bad for Alison. She seemed very sweet, and most of the stuff she did in earlier episodes was really nice. I guess it was just her bad luck that the judges weren't quite creeped out enough by Vincent to send him packing. That Minnie-Mouse-looking bow was TERRIBLE. She really should've found a way to make her original striped paper idea work. It also pisses me off that the judges were ragging on Alison for being a female designer and yet being "so careless with the female form." Pot, Kettle; Kettle, Pot. To a show that calls (with tones of regret) that stick of a model "larger" and says (somewhat disdainfully) that the dress makes her look "like a plus model," I got a finger for you. Guess which one.

Vincent. Dear God, make him stop talking. I eventually would've recovered from him saying twice that he "got off" on the dress during his pre-runway voiceovers. I could've convinced myself he was being metaphorical. But when he told the judges that the model's geisha-shuffle turned him on, let's just say the look on Nina Garcia's face pretty much said it all for me. He's a serious freakazoid.

I have decided that I want Michael to win the whole thing. I'd like Laura to make it to the top three for sure, but Michael really and truly seems like a nice guy. He's funny, he's extremely talented, and he isn't catting around behind everyone's back every second of the day. He may yet have reserves of untapped Asshole Potential, but I'm hoping not.

I am insanely impatient for next week's episode. Is it Wednesday yet?

P.S. Happy Birthday, Rabid Monkey.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Apparently, there's a leak.*

Edited to add this helpful timeline:

6:45-ish AM Discover puddle. Replace sopping towels. Fume a bit.

6:50 - 7:10 AM Photograph puddle. Transfer, resize, and upload photo.

7:13 - 7:15 AM Post photograph in two different places on the internet.

8:00 AM Arrive at work. Reflect on the absurdity of posting a photo of the puddle in two places on the internet before actually calling the landlord to fix the cause.

8:12 AM Call landlord and leave a message.

3:15 PM Talk to MB on the phone. Learn that the puddle above was caused by the cat, who knocked over the bucket that had caught most of the water that leaked in during the storm last night. Think uncharitable thoughts about spoiled felines.

3:24 PM Talk to MB again. He has spoken to the landlord. Apparently there was a tree branch on the roof that was "channeling the water" down the side of our building. Surmise that nothing was actually done to fix the leak. Look forward to the next time we get to do this.

8:15 PM Edit this entry.

The day wasn't a total bummer. I found out this morning that a pair of dress pants I assumed I'd become too chubby for not only fit, but made my ass look spectacular. MB cooked dinner and it was delicious. We had baked chicken, shells 'n' cheese, green beans, and corn. It really started with the corn, because:

I finished the ninth book for my reading project today, which means I'm five reviews behind. Good and bad.

Henna feet are just plain good:

Reading: The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett (starting tomorrow)

Playing: Celtic River, Plans by Death Cab for Cutie, the Garden State soundtrack

And last of all:

Which Sesame Street Muppet's Dark Secret Are You?

Look, everyone knows you two are lovebirds. Why not do the brave thing and admit it to the world? The times are kinder nowadays. There may be the odd ultraconservative bigwig or overprotective mom, but so what? Piss on 'em. Come on out of the closet. It's ok.

Take this quiz!

Does this happen to anyone else?

Any time I hear or read a word that I've never heard before, I look it up. (Hi, my name is Velocibadgergirl, and I'm a huge dork.) More often than not, I'll see the word again at least once within a week or so of learning it. I used to explain this away by telling myself that the word of the week was actually common, and that I'd just never noticed it before. That didn't really make sense, though, because Hello, I'm a huge dork, and I would've noticed and looked up the word if I'd seen it before. So there is some kind of phenomenon of weird words appearing twice or three times.

Then there's the fact that certain street lights in town and fluorescent lights in stores will go off EVERY TIME I walk or drive under them, no matter what time of night / day it happens. Upon hearing my theory that I somehow cause this, some people will try telling me that many lights are set to go off at intervals. Sure, but I find it hard to believe that 1. they're on a completely random schedule and 2. their completely random schedule coincides perfectly with my completely random schedule.

I know, neither of these are very impressive. This entry isn't really about large, impressive things; it's about a whole string of little things that, taken all together, seem sort of peculiar.

Over the last week or so, there have been a lot of these inconsequential coincidences (Damn, it's hard to spell "coincidence" right after slogging through "inconsequential.").

#1: The Random Song

My car is old enough to legally drive itself, and thus does not have a CD player. The tape deck, sadly, doesn't work. I have to listen to music while I drive or the ADD takes over and my mind starts wandering, so I never drive without the radio playing. Talk radio and commercials are more wander-inducing than silence, so I have all the stations I like preset, and all the second-tier stations memorized so I can flip down to them...Nothing on 103.1, 107.5, or 97.1? Click down through 102.3, 101.9, 107.1, and 96.9. It's not unusual to hear the same song twice in one drive, because so many radio stations play the same stuff (especially currently hot, sometimes crappy stuff). However, if I hit the random satellite station and hear a song that I loved when I was in 8th grade and that I usually only hear once every few months, and then flip to the small-potatoes non-Clear Channel country station and hear a cover version of the same song playing at the same time...that's weird.

#2: The Random Artist

Last week during my night shift at the record store, a guy asked me and a coworker if we knew who sang this song that he couldn't remember the name of, but went something like this. (This happens all the time. At least he didn't offer to hum.) I could almost hear the song in my head, and I knew that I'd looked it up before, but I was drawing a blank. It suddenly clicked, and I figured out that it was the song "Mad World," from Donnie Darko. The other guy working remembered who sang the version in the movie (Gary Jules), and I made a mental note to see if the public library had a copy of they guy's album. They (it?) did, and I checked it out. Three days later, I went to check my MySpace page and there's random Gary Jules as the featured artist on the log-in page. I wouldn't have even recognized his name, if not for the record store guy asking about him.

#3: The Random VHS Tape

A friend of mine is expecting a baby girl in September. She and her husband have a (fabulous, bright, adorable) two-year-old son who is growing up speaking English and German at home. Today I found out that when the soon-to-arrive girl and her brother are older, my friend plans to teach them French as well. I went to my record store shift tonight and saw a copy of Pooh's Grand Adventure on the 3 for $12 video table, alongside a copy of E.T.. Since I have Issues and stockpile things for the children MB and I have yet to conceive, I began looking for a third movie. During my search, I stumbled upon a copy of Disney's Beauty and the Beast on sale for $7.99. A sweet find! And then I noticed that it was the FRENCH version of Beauty and the Beast. If I'd found this tape last week, I'd have been disappointed. Instead, it felt sort of like serendipity.

The Random Observation With No Segue

Sometimes I really feel sorry for Pluto. I was under the impression that scientists had already voted and decided to keep Pluto on the list of planets. Apparently a conference convened in Prague today to discuss that very topic. This article does not paint a very bright future for poor Pluto.

Continuing the theme from above, here's an interesting coincidence. The photo they use on the first page of the article is on my business cards. I think it's mis-captioned, though. They state that this is an artist's rendering of the solar system, including Pluto. Clearly, Pluto is not represented:

In fact, if you asked my friends about this, they'd tell you that when I got my business cards, the first thing I did was show them to everyone. The second thing I did was issue a disclaimer stating that I was not in support of the exclusion of Pluto from the card.

Insert Inappropriate Joke Here

"Frozen Sperm Revive Jurassic Park Dreams"

The best part: "The researchers also tested whether frozen male sexual organs could be transported internationally via shipment on dry ice. In most cases, the extracted sperm produced normal offspring."

How do you explain that one at customs?

Playing: rock playlist on the computer

Reading: too much into things

Friday, August 11, 2006

Gah: Redux

So the alternator was bad. The old battery might've fucked it up when it died. $222 for parts and labor. Worse than we hoped for but way better than we feared.

OH! But surprise...the front tires were so bald that they were basically riding on the steel belts inside. That'll be another $200, please.

And the alternator burned out our 2-month-old battery with a 3-year-warranty.

BUT the mechanic knew a guy at Auto Zone where the battery came from, so he drove MB to Auto Zone, where MB got our money back for the killed battery and then bought a brand-new one with a 2-year warranty and I think saved 5 bucks on the whole deal. So THAT was really good.

And MB asked them if they could fix the driver's side window, which hasn't worked in like two years.

Oh, AND? There was some problem with the rear "castings," whatever the hell that means. Wear and tear and unsafe and not up to specs and blah blah blah mechanic-speak blah.

We either go to the most conscientious auto shop ever or we have "SUCKER" tattooed on our foreheads. I don't doubt that the tires were bald and I knew about the window, but I can't help but feel a tiny bit suspicious when they managed to add not one but THREE things to our list of repairs, to the tune of $644 over two days. Somebody's baby got new shoes! And probably a pony, too.

We so did not need to spend almost $700 on the car right now. I will say that I'm immensely grateful that we actually had the money to fix it. We didn't have to put it on the credit card like we probably would've a year ago. THAT feels good, in a sick way.

This is super cool, but so very weird.

Roadkill as art.

Here's my favorite piece, Gilded Squirrel:

Click the site's links at your own risk. Some of them are pretty icky.

And then I became a character from a chick-lit novel

After I dropped MB off at work this morning (at six-fucking-thirty), I went to my favorite donut place and picked up breakfast for me plus some for my parents and sister. I also picked out a few things with the specific intention of sharing them with someone else.

In case you can't tell what he's eating, here's another shot:

Dudes, I totally picked out donut holes for the CAT. (Because he likes donut holes, obviously.) As I stood in the bakery mentally tallying up donut holes, I think I knew in my heart that I was having a Crazy Moment: "Six that's 3 for Little Sis, and 2 for me if I just give one to the cat..."

Tell the truth, though...could you say no to this face?

I didn't think so.

Reading: The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, Eric by Terry Pratchett

Playing: Plans by Death Cab For Cutie

Obsessed With: Project Runway! Last night's episode was FAB. Also, somewhat: Zach Braff. Blame her.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


We put a brand new battery in MB's car on June 23rd.

This evening, as I was driving out to the country to kidsit, the battery light came on for no apparent reason.

As I drove home, the indicator lights came on one by one until the dash was lit up like a fucking Christmas tree. When I parked it outside our apartment, turned the engine off, and tried to restart it, it wouldn't start. MB got it to start five minutes later, but the battery light is still coming on so he's taking it to Pep Boys tomorrow afternoon.

At this rate, we'll be lucky if we get a house before 2010.

I'd cry if I wasn't so pissed off.

The best part of all? His car is the GOOD CAR. It's the one we're counting on to last another five years at the very least.

I'm crossing every appendage that this turns out to be a very simple and very cheap problem to fix.

P.S. This makes me feel a little bit better:

Don't tell, but I totally heart Zach Braff.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Holiday! Celebrate!

It was a big weekend for celebration around here, and it seems a good time was had by all. On Friday night, MB hung out with one of his friends and I went out shopping with some of my friends. It was fabulous and I managed to escape the Target Vortex mostly intact. Score! On Saturday night, one of my best friends celebrated her 25th birthday with a make-your-own-sundae get-together followed by group gallivanting at the playground while wearing glow bracelets. I had SO MUCH FUN. I sometimes think that the world would be a better place if everyone took time out to swing every now and then. Somehow the frolicking ended with the whole group sitting around on a piece of playground equipment and telling ghost stories. I can't rememeber how that even started, but once the cops came around and booted everyone out of the park (what party animals we are! Woooo!), we went back to her place and continued with the spooky stories until 1 AM.

I had arranged to have the whole weekend off from work. Originally, I was supposed to go to an outdoor festival with my dad on Saturday, and spend the day with MB on Sunday for our anniversary (observed). Then my dad's work schedule got completely FUBARed and he wasn't going to get off work until 15 minutes before he was planning to pick me up for the festival. It felt sort of like serendipity, so even though I was disappointed that I didn't get to spend the day with Dad, I plucked the carp*, bailed on the festival altogether, and spent the whole weekend hanging out with MB. It was a very laid-back celebration, but I think it was just about perfect.

We ended up lounging on the couch a lot. Over the course of two days, we watched the first season of Scrubs (on DVD; LOVED IT.), The Exorcism of Emily Rose (Better than we expected, but our hopes were not high. More of a legal drama than a proper thriller, and definitely not a horror movie) Dark Water (oh, was terrible. TERRIBLE. Boring and not even remotely spooky, even to a wuss like me, AND the almost-end felt like a cheap rip-off of The Ring. I say "almost-end" because after the cheap-ass resolution, there are like 5 fake fade-outs and a cheesy twist that I didn't even care that much about after being bored for at least 2/3 of the movie.), and finally The Replacements, which is not a brilliant film, but was a lot better than I remembered, and definitely helped salvage the evening, movie-wise.

It's been 2 years since we got married and 6 years since the day we met. To my hero, my rock, my lover, my very best friend, my husband...Happy Anniversary. Here's to forever.

I was going to post a sappy yet non-identity-revealing wedding photo, but I think this better conveys the depth of wonderful of this life we've made...goofy, frequently hilarious, sometimes bizarre, not for everyone, but perfect for us:

"My Nintendo."

(Yes, there is a backstory, but I somehow doubt
anyone really cares. Just enjoy the cat photo, ya'll. ;) )

Reading: Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett

Playing: Drunken Lullabies by Flogging Molly, August and Everything After by Counting Crows

*According to MB and his Latin & English dictionary, carpe diem actually means "pluck the day," as carpe apparently comes from a word meaning "to pluck, pull off, select, choose out; and so to enjoy." For some reason ever since he told me that, I translate it as "pluck the carp." Maybe it's best not to ask.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Alive, Smelly, and Decidedly Overbooked

In backwards order. First, am I ever over-booked (har har har). Every few months, I find myself with towering stacks of library books to read and no time for them. Here's what I've got checked out right now:

>>Maybe Baby: 28 writers tell the truth about skepticism, infertility, baby lust, childlessness, ambivalence, and how they made the biggest decisions of their lives (it was on the new book shelf next to Mommy Wars, so I grabbed it on a whim, even though MB and I are definitely in the Babies Someday camp.

>>All the Clean Ones Are Married: and other everyday calamities in Moscow, sent to me by one of my favorite bibliophiles (P.S. Happy Birthday!).

>>In Her Shoes by Jennifer Weiner

>>Getting stoned with savages: a trip through the Islands of Fiji and Vanuatu, which I picked up because the title caught my eye.

>>Apprentice to the Flower Poet Z: a novel. Apparently I'm all about books with subtitles right now.

>>The Devil Wears Prada

On top of this, I've got a stack of used books I've purchased (but not yet read) over the last few months, plus a half-dozen borrowed books, and I just signed up for the online Barnes & Noble discussion group for The Lovely Bones. Oh, AND I'm three book reviews behind on my summer / fall / possibly-into-winter reading project. Oogh. Must try to catch up soon.

Heat Wave + Personal Hygiene = Not the Best Bedfellows

Recipe for sexy deliciousness:

1. Put on flip-flops at beginning of 8-hour workday, to avoid irritating obnoxious mosquito bite-horsefly bite extravaganza (more on that later) with the indignity of a sock.

2. Take flip-flop-y feet to second job at 5:30 PM. Slather bug bites with ammonia-based itch eraser to compound the fragrant-ness that already exists. Swaddle feet in socks and hot shoes. Remain on feet for next 4 1/2 hours.

3. Dress in black pants and non-breathing polo shirt.

4. Stand in direct sunlight filtered through westward-exposed floor-to-ceiling plate glass windows while the sun blazes in from arrival until about 7:30 PM. Sweat profusely.

5. Marinate until 10 PM.

Aaaah...scrumptious. I hope no one stood close enough to me to notice. I swear, I just took a shower last night!

And Finally...

MB and I survived our camping trip, despite the weather's best attempts to the contrary. BoMB (Brother of MB) didn't get to go with us, but we had a good time in spite of it. The first evening was downright pleasant. It was a bit drizzly when we got there, but the rain stopped before we'd even set up the tents. I got a really fantastic campfire going with just one match (okay, I used one of those firestarter bricks. You would, too, in 85% humidity), and the guys cooked chicken breasts and some fantastic steaks. Even I liked the bite I tried, and I'm not much for big slabs of beef. Both MB and his friend agreed the steaks were better than the ones they usually get at restaurants. The chicken was delicious, the sweet corn was highly decent, and we were too full to care that the potatoes refused to cook.

It rained that night, but our new tent held up beautifully, and it was actually very relaxing. It was still gray and a little bit cool in the morning as we got ready for our scheduled 12 mile hike, but it got hot fast. And humid. Oh dear Lord, the humidity. About 2 miles in, MB's friend decided that we shouldn't really go 12 miles. Obviously no one argued. The first half of the hike wasn't awful. It was beastly hot, but we had plenty of water and the terrain wasn't too rugged. Just before the halfway point, we ran into some guys who'd spent the previous night catching bats in mist nets and putting radio transmitters on a few endangered ones they'd caught. Pretty cool.

As we reached the part of the trail that was going to cut our 12 mile loop down to a 6 mile loop, we moved out of the forest and onto a gravel road with very little shade. If I'd known that the rest of the hike was going to be like that, I'd have suggested that we turn around. Unfortunately, I had no clue, so we slogged along miserably for three miles in the horribly hot sun. Poor MB was wilting, since (unlike me) he lacks the capacity to produce gallons of sweat and because he was carrying something like four full Nalgene bottles in his pack AND wearing jeans. We all made it back to camp, miserably hot and tired, and sat around for about half an hour before we could muster the energy to take cool showers and change clothes.

The fire didn't light so well that night, but it went well enough. MB's friend made the BEST DAMN BURGERS EVER by slathering them with barbecue sauce halfway through the grilling process. The few other campers at the campground seemed to be in high spirits despite the heat. An RV down the road on one side blared a rock radio station for a few hours, while a guy down the other way broke out his electric guitar. Seriously, though...who brings an electric guitar camping? Acoustic, sure..."Kumbaya" and Joni Mitchell and all that. But "Smoke on the Water" and "Stairway to Heaven" with an AMP? He was pretty damn good. I still regret not having the balls to yell "FREE BIRD!!"

That night, there was a bat program down at the little tiny open-air amphitheatre, so we all went. It was so much fun to be with three other people in their mid-twenties, and to have all of them glad to go to a bat program with me. I actually learned lots of cool things about bats. For instance, bats are the only flying mammal. (Flying squirrels don't count, due to the fact that they actually glide, as I hazarded during the True or False portion of the program.) Bats also can live to be 30 and only have about one baby each year.

I think MB and I went to bed around 10 PM. Our friends had to leave at 6 the next morning, but we didn't wake up until 10:30, when it was already miserably humid. We were in foul moods and pretty much bitched and moaned through the entire duration of camp-breaking. Thank goodness no one else was there to hear us. At least I hope no one was around, especially while I, always ladylike, cussed out the horsefly that kept biting me on the legs. (Motherfucker. Bit me on top of a mosquito bite, too.) Then we got into the car, turned the AC on full blast, and felt pretty sheepish about our behavior. Apologies all around, except to the damn horsefly. He can burn in hell for all I care.

Reading: Mommy Wars (Nearly a month after starting it. Go on and mock me if you must. I deserve it.), Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett

Playing: Stabbing Westward (warning: there is sound), Modest Mouse (more sound), and my latest damn earworm