Lent-o-licious

So, all right, for Lent this year I’m giving up:

  • Chocolate in all forms (this includes "white" chocolate, unless it’s specifically referred to as "white confection’s blah blah blah)
  • Nuts (including peanut butter, boo)
  • Unnecessary carb shit (chips, crackers, cookies– wait, I thought I wasn’t giving up cookies this year? fuck– and, yes, cereal. Which is just as well as I never eat breakfast anyway and this way I’ll actually start eating REAL lunch food and REAL dinner food.)

It’s not exactly wandering through a desert for 40 days and nights on an empty stomach, but it’s a bleak enough proposition for me to make me wonder just why it is I do this every year when I’m not really Catholic. Seriously, why do Lent and Girl Scout Cookie season have to overlap? That’s the worst sting of all.

And Natalie revealed that Lent doesn’t have to be about giving up something, but can also be about doing something good. Hence, I’m stealing her Lent resolutions:

  • Take my multi-vitamin every day
  • Go to the gym, if only for a piddly 30 minutes, every goddamn day

It’s-a Lenton season!

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Just can’t stay put

Two things:

First– insomnia makes you do random things, things like, oh, I don’t know, start a new blog and smarmy up a brand spankin-like-a-monkey-in-a-sock new design and then flood that blog with the pissiest attitude you can muster, which is pretty darn pissy considering you haven’t slept in a very long time, and also, you’ve just spent FOUR consecutive hours hunched over a bag, slaving away with needle and thread as you sew stitch after stitch the prehistoric way.

But this blog, you’ll love this blog from its first few seconds of conceptualization. The design? Dark. Annoyingly dark, to the point where you have to do the squinty-eye thing in order to make sure you’ve read whatever it is you’re reading correctly. And about not liking the color orange, right, yeah, that part of you was totally in the bathroom when the other two parts were participating in the CSS votes.

This blog, it loves to showcase the word "fuck" almost as much as bunnies love to do the verb. It’s like there’s a connection, the "F" in February and the "F" in every satisfying variation of this inimitable swear word. Or like there was some vast, expansive quota of expletives you were supposed to use up during this month of "F!" and oops, you forgot all about it till now. Four days left, 145,338 instances of swearing to go.

This blog, it’s here: my official STFU Annex. It makes me giggle naughtily. I am happy, albeit madly sleep-deprived.

Which sort of ties into:

Second– I am leaving bright-n-early tomorro’ mornin’ to go to Ventura County! It’s exciting! Because of friends! And the ocean! And proximity to Pasadena and the better-than-orgasms focaccia rolls!

Actually, just L.A. County in general, with the grand finale flourish to be traipsed away in Santa Monica. And then I’ll be back late Monday morning, or maybe Monday afternoon depending on [insert something clever here], and HEY! There’s a movie screening for "Night Watch" Monday night! And I have tickets-sort-of! And I really want to go! So, you know, if you live in Vegas and are free Monday night, you should come with! Because (I) = (1) and the (tickets-sort-of) = (2), and (2-1) = (1), and YOU COULD BE THAT ONE (1)!

And then Monday night I leave town again and I’ll be back (fingers crossed fingers crossed) alive and happy and well, by Wednesday morning. By when I will be a full two days into Lent 2006. Which is going to be super-ass-shitty this year. Bah. I’m done careening, all those caps and exclamation marks done wiped me out and I need a nap. Like, a 10-hour nap.

Happy happy weekend, ever’one.

The awesomeness continues

Not too thrilled about my own current state of affairs at present. For one thing, my chest hurts like I’ve been suffering from smoker’s cough for 10 days straight, except I’ve never even smoked a ham and I haven’t actually been coughing.

Anyway. Hence, more linkage. Happy Friday!

*****

Related to my previous ramble on upcoming slimphones (damn! I thought I made that word up [1], but apparently the *real* mobile review sites have been using it already): Samsung’s also in the process of unleashing the z560, which has a 2 megapixel camera (get this: with auto-focus) and an expandable memory card slot on the side of the phone, all in virtually the same package as the z510. Downside? Supposedly only for the European market, though this may change if Cingular gets their 1900 HSDPA network up and running. Consistently, anyhow.

The LG P7200 has been on the market for almost 6 months now. I’ve never seen it, so I guess they went through T-Mobile. More or less the same darn thing as the z560 except in terms of appearance. The LG’s measurements indicate it’s slightly smaller than the Samsung and once open, the LCD screen can be rotated around a full 180 degrees and then closed back down (to make it feel more like a camera). But I’m a little more partial to Samsung’s rotating camera (present on the z510, not on the z560), if anything because it makes fueling the little narcissist in each of us, a little easier.

As it stands, I think I’d take the z510 over the z560, anhow. The keypad is cuter (I’m a girl, the cute factor matters) and I’ve been doing just fine with a 1 mpx cameraphone. Plus, hello, rotating camera?

*****

I love David Cross. Not like I love Dane Cook, but the love is definitely there. His letter to Larry the Cable Guy was enchanting and his latest entry, excerpts of James Frey’s upcoming new memoir, "Lesson Learned," is just too awesome for any amount of hot dogs to properly describe. Read it. Go.

Also, as mentioned below, sometimes the comments are as delicious as the actual posts:

  • "Rita" says: I have heard of Larry the Cable Guy and since I had never even heard of
    you I can’t comment on who I think is funnier but the fact that I had
    never heard of you speaks for itself.
    (If it does, it speaks more about your lame taste in what you consider to be humor.)
  • "mb" says: You know that not everyone from the south is a redneck moron.
    since larry the cable guy is not originally from the south i, and many
    others, feel misrepresented. maybe you could create a character mocking
    his act. something like randy the potato salad vender.
    (from the first set of comments)

I would totally pay money to see Randy the Potato Salad Vendor.

*****

I love Natalie Dee’s artwork and her Dairyland. Not a big fan of her "Ask Natalie" bit, maybe because I expected more snarky humor and less actual, down-to-earth advice, especially when the questions aren’t even funny, they’re just your run-of-the-mill love/life problems as such.

Still, this caught my eye:

  • The only thing you can do is just take the fucking leap. You know you love her, you want to spend the rest of your life with her, that is good enough. People have based relationships on less. You will never ever be able to know what is going to happen, you just gotta make decisions based on what you KNOW RIGHT NOW. Even if there were trombones and rabbits and confetti and all that, you could still get the shaft in 10 years. That’s why life is awesome.

*****

Part of me adores the site design for Very Big Blog. Part of me thinks it’s too busy. The rest of me just doesn’t care for the color orange.

This was interesting, but in my case, only to look at and only because I’ve been fascinated by hieroglyphics ever since that one art project in 4th grade where we learned how to write our names using the symbols, then carved it into a little clay tablet. Or maybe that was a science fair project I did. In 5th grade?

Regardless, I try to be a fair person whenever possible, but it takes time to drain bitterness from my system, so I still hate "Lost." Specifically, the first season of "Lost," available on DVD. I refuse to watch it or the second season or any season henceforth, mostly because to start watching now would mean having to inevitably watch the first season in order to properly understand the slow-ass drama, MY GOD THE SLOW-ASSNESS OF THAT SHOW’S DRAMA. (I’ve never watched it, no, but I’ve heard it going on in the background. There’s a lot of silence.) [3]

*****

The first crack in my social-moral-whatever ground appeared when I became hooked on camera phones and Bluetooth. While I’ve yet to give in to the temptation of buying an iPod [4] (admittedly, the temptation isn’t even very strong, though the iPod nano? Even that stupid commercial couldn’t emphasize just how ridiculously tiny that thing is. It looks snackable), I have…

…started subscribing to podcasts. Because when you’ve finished gorging yourself on all the episodes of BBC’s original "The Office," when you’ve finished drinking in every episode of "Extras"– even when you’ve consumed all the episodes of NBC’s "The Office" because he did have a hand in that show’s production– you’re still left feeling starved for more more MORE RICKY GERVAIS. And Ricky Gervais has a podcast.

Homestarrunner has a podcast, too, but it’s just old episodes of StrongBad E-mail, albeit some of the best ones ("Japanese Cartoon," "Dragon," "Caffeine"). Never having seen "Virus" before, I now understand how and why Lappy became a fixture of the shows.

*****

I wish Alice Bradley were my older sister. By which I don’t mean I wish she were my older sister instead of the older sister I actually do have, an older sister who is Cooler Than Cool and somehow knows, armed with Cooler Than Cool Older Sister Ultimate Wisdom, how to get me to smile and laugh even when I’m on the floor weeping incessantly. Or locked up in a hospital ward. Or both.

No, I just wish Alice Bradley were a supplemental older sister. Or maybe just a really cool aunt. The sweetness she manages to exude in her blog is almost too gentle and beautiful and, well, sweet to bear. That she can comingle her sweetness and her snarkiness so flawlessly is equally endearing. Behold!

  • Last week, I was down to five granulettinos of Effexor; this week I am officially drug-free. Last week I was merely crazy and unhappy; this week I am crazy and sick and miserable. Perhaps this makes me more entertaining. Whee! Look at the crazy lady! Is she wearing an oven mitt on her head? No, that’s her hair. Has she ever heard of a hairbrush? (full post here)

I would link to all the posts I’m currently loving to death but that would entail linking to every single post dating back to Nov. 2005.

Other people I’ve been reading way more of these days:

And now that kottke.org is back on the shelf as a hobby-of-sorts, I’ve become deeply invested in BoingBoing‘s lookie-heres.

All done!

*****

[1] Well, I did make up "penicular" [2], upon viewing of this background image

[2] GODDAMMIT.

[3] Other touchy subjects include: snowboarding. Don’t mention snowboarding to me unless you’re inviting me to go, in which case, hell yes and when? Also, I will glare witheringly at you if you start talking about fucking CineVegas. I am but human with but human vices.

[4] Given my oft-professed rapture with all things Apple, you’d think I’d have been on the iPod bandwagon before it even became a bandwagon. While I do love me some music, however, out-and-about I prefer listening to the sounds of the world, as pukingly cheesy as that sounds. The only time I’ll allow myself to wear earphones is at the gym, and those 1-2 hours of running on a machine hardly seem worth buying an iPod when my mp3 CD player suffices quite well.

Felinus cahoots

Sometimes, it’s just all about the blog. Other times, it’s all about the comments:

One day my dad was in the kitchen breading some porkchops for dinner,
when two of the cats came into the kitchen and sat, stock still, next
to each other. Next thing I saw was the third come running, full rip,
into the kitchen, charge up their backs and leap into the air to bat a
pork chop out of my dad’s hand. Needless to say, this cat was smacked
to the ground. The fourth cat was poised at the door to run in and grab
the pork chop when it fell. Then all four of them ran off to share it.

Like my freedom from A&F, except waaaay better

Hey, *fuck* Motorola! Them and their V3i-couldn’t-care-less. Say hello to the Samsung z510:

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I’ve been steaming ever since CES, having learned there about the A900. Sprint? Who uses Sprint or their shitty Digital PCS network? They may have teamed up with Nextel, but Sprint is more or less the businessman’s no-frills network, and the last time I checked, music players and cameras were frilly-phone features. What was Samsung *thinking,* putting out a phone like the A900 with Sprint?

I still don’t know what they were thinking, but at least now I *do* know that they haven’t completely lost their minds over there. The Moto RAZR is finally getting its due: form-factor copying, done by a company that has *such* a better UI. And a better grasp on the concept of "Calls List." And status lights. Well. Most of the time.

The z510 claims to be a better phone– boasting, among other things, a 1.3 megapixel camera, a whopping 1/10 mpx advantage over the V3i. No iTunes, but it does have its own music player (word has it Moto’s working on their own independent music player, too [1]), and while it doesn’t have an option for expandable memory, it does come standard with 138 megs of storage space on-board. Seeing as how the V3i’s memory card slot is placed in perhaps the most inaccessible place ever– underneath the battery– I don’t see its existence as being sustainable enough to claim any victories here (the V3i comes standard with 128 MB [2], internal) [3].

Bluetooth? Yep– I wouldn’t have given this phone a second thought if it didn’t. External LCD has been disparagingly commented on as "too small," but it’s no smaller than the V3i’s– Moto just made the shiny black surface surrounding the external LCD much larger. And the fact that the keypad is a normal one, with normal individual buttons, may be a boon; one of the few reasons my sister won’t even consider buying the RAZR (any version) is the laser-cut keypad:

  • I don’t like the keypad.  It’s one sheet of metal-like thing… I like buttons.  I think I also didn’t like the funny noise it makes when you push the buttons (like bending a thin metal sheet sound).

I’ve heard, and read, similar opinions from many others. I personally thought the V3’s keypad was, if anything, aesthetically pleasing, though in retrospect, I did have some issues here and there getting the sensors to recognize just which key I was trying to press.

If I had to gripe about something, maybe it would be in the key of tri-band-versus-quad-band. On the one hand, how hard is it to make a phone operate on the 850 Mhz band? On the other hand, does anyone really still *need* that band? My last three phones were tri-bands and I never had any related issues. It’s just, "quad-band" SOUNDS so much more impressive [4]. Like saying your phone has the OPTION of carrying 512 additional MB of storage, but not mentioning the fact that it’ll piss you off so much to get that memory card in and out of your phone that you may never use it for anything. The most impressive and marketable features of a phone often tend to be the least-used, anyhow.

Actually, I might bitch a little about the casing. The original V3 really had that advantage: a sturdy, for-the-most-part scratch-resistant casing. The V3i looks even hotter– *brushed* aluminum (anodized, whatever)! Why people threw themselves into such a tizzed-out dance over the plastic black RAZR, I’ll never understand.

In my experience as a consumer-level cell phone whore, Samsung phones hold the dearest spot in my heart. Their camera features are reliable, their battery life is decent, call clarity has always held up to expectations, and I know their menu systems inside and out. Plus, they come standard with the cutest little ringtones, even though now I don’t give a darn about stock ringtones, having sufficiently freed myself from that worry.

So this is a good thing. I was making some serious sacrifices in contemplating the purchase of the V3i (I wouldn’t expect it to be on the market until early in Q2, though you never know– Cingular’s selling the L7, finally, but never made a peep about it), and now it looks like I may not have to (z510 also slated for Q2). Yay Samsung! I heart you. Now bring back my goddamn status light.

[1] According to Motorola’s official PR on the V3i— note the expected release date, what a bunch of hokey BS– North America is *not* one of the markets receiving phones with iTunes. Why even both with the ROKR2, then?

[2] ::snicker:: Um, never mind. The V3i comes standard with 10 MB internal memory.

[3] The Panasonic x800 has it right (so, strangely, does the Moto SLVR L7): external memory card slot on the side of the phone. Too bad it’s not my type of phone; ever since a bad experience with Moto’s MPx200, I’ve avoided "Smartphones" like the plague. Still, not a bad form-factor (FOR A SMARTPHONE) and it doesn’t insult itself by running on Windows Mobile (yaaaay, Symbian), and also it’s a couple hundred bucks cheaper than the other two slimphones mentioned here. But, really. Panasonic? Panasonic cell phones? I thought Panasonic made, like, *headphones.* Meh.

[4] Speaking of "impressive" phones: the Nokia 8801 will run you $800, and that’s before taxes and shipping. The stupid thing is, it looks like any old phone. I told Sidney, who admitted that the phone is primarily a status symbol– it’s not like the damn thing has $800 worth of features– that a phone that expensive should at least come encrusted with diamonds or maybe flecked with platinum. Or maybe just a T-shirt that says, "I paid Nokia $800 and all I got was this lousy cell phone."

Catherine, called Bird

This was my Best Valentine’s Date ever:

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Her mother calls her Bird, short for "Honey-bird"– nothing to do with the book (which I love, it’s fantastic, I bought it in Berkeley)– *my* mother calls her "Little Girl," and I just call her Kid. Or Kiddo. I love her TO DEATH and would have smuggled her back here in my suitcase, except after 9/11, Honolulu International changed its policy and it was no longer legal or overseeable to export cute kids.

She’s three, absolutely gorgeous and a genius to boot. Probably. Her parents both have off-chart IQs and she’s been a chatterbox since she was two-years-old, I think, though she only recently became actually comprehendible (little kids, they let words spill out of their mouth without making the effort to form actual sounds of the English language). When she went to see Santa at the mall this last Christmas, the one thing she asked him for was a new bathing suit for her doll. Did I mention she’s only three? And absolutely gorgeous? And a genius to boot? Probably?

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She currently enjoys: Dora the Explorer, dark chocolate and coloring/drawing. And "Chicken Little." She’ll talk your ear off about "Chicken Little," though most of the conversation will be expressed in high-pitched squeals and giggles. And she has a bunny, "G Bunny." I don’t know what the "G" stands for. I don’t think, actually, it stands for anything.

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She’s one of the most well-behaved kids, EVER, surprising given her accelerated intelligence. I can’t possibly convey her cuteness, not even through pictures. She’s the kind of kid that makes *you* want kids. I have to actively keep myself from just eating her whole when I see her, but it’s hard because THAT MUCH CUTENESS all bundled up in one little package? How do you resist?

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Love that kid like a rabbit loves to run.

Property and properness

A woman accidentally lost her digital camera, along with the hundreds of pictures she’d taken with it, during a vacation to Hawai’i– apparently, the people who found her camera have contacted her to basically let her know that they have it and are keeping it.

The blog entry has purportedly been featured on BoingBoing and Worth1000 (I accessed it via Kottke) and thus has generated a shitload of comments, most of them indignant and outraged at the Canadian finders-keepers but a good remainder telling the rightful camera owner to just let it go. For those of you who aren’t bothering to read the actual story, the justification the Canadian family gives for keeping the not-theirs-in-the-least camera is this: the 9-year-old son has just been diagnosed with diabetes and finding the camera has made him very happy.

Some of the more vicious comments theorize that there isn’t even a child, let alone a sick child (also, it’s never disclosed whether it’s Type I or Type II). But one comment, which for the most part sided with Judith (the camera’s owner), ended with this:

now be honest: if they had been smarter and said that their kid was
dying of leukemia and they had taken him to hawaii on a grant by the
make-a-wish foundation, and couldn’t afford to buy him a camera …
wouldn’t you have let them keep it?

And it made me wonder. Would I have let them keep it?

When I first read about the incident, I was pretty pissed at the family and the bulk of the comments echoed my own thoughts: bad parenting, what kind of lesson are they teaching the kid, why even contact this poor woman when they have no intention of giving her camera back, etc. But that one comment– how much is someone else’s happiness, someone else’s peace of mind, worth? And how much are you willing to lose in order to try and secure it?

It’s an issue that hits home deeply with me. I got my ass reamed by various sources when The Guy and I broke up, over the things I’d left in his possession– particularly the cat. It had been agreed on a month or so before we’d actually broken up that, in the (unlikely-or-so-we-believed-at-the-time) event of our breaking up, he would get to keep The Cake. There were several reasons why I made this decision (yes, it was left up to me to make the final decision and me alone), but the major one was, this way, if we broke up (swear to god we never thought it would happen), he at least wouldn’t be left to deal with life completely on his own in that house of his.

That house was my justification for everything, actually– or at least, the stress that house gave him was [1]. In my muddled mind, the monetary value of all the crap I left there– the bed (king pillowtop mattress + box + frame + lifts + effing expensive sheets + pillows + dust ruffle + comforter + duvet + matching pillowcases + featherbed mattress pad) and the food (mostly freezer stuff, though I was petty enough to take all my spices and baking ingredients)– was nothing compared to the monetary loss he was going to take in selling the house. And he was majorly stressed over that loss, so why contribute to it? That’s why I said nothing about the bed when I moved out. That’s why I severely underestimated the total cost of the cat (he wanted to "pay" for her). Why cost him more money?

It all seemed like my fault, anyhow. I bought that bed and everything for it at my own whim and I chose to re-house it with him after I moved out of Anthem. I bought the cat and everything for her at my own whim and chose to turn full ownership over to him. No sense in punishing him for my expensive taste, right?

Not according to some. I was, literally, hollered at for, in their opinion, choosing to take losses because of a mistake that I didn’t make, a mistake that was in no way my fault. I didn’t buy that house, I didn’t tell him to buy that house, I didn’t tell him to decide to sell that house, so why the hell was I taking responsibility in the least for the stress connected to that house? Tonight’s round of yelling ended with this bit of loveliness: "Why do you care about him? He clearly doesn’t give a damn about you." Which is another story altogether, which I’m so not going to go into because I’m going through enough boxes of Kleenex as it stands already, what with this goddamn cold that just won’t effing go away.

But: I don’t know why I care. I don’t know why it matters to me, to make this little bit of probably-unnoticed effort to make his life a little bit less stressful. I just do and it does. I would make a shitty businesswoman with this heart of mine, softer than rotten fruit and just as prone to falling to messy, squishy bits.

I’m sure, if I were to hash it out with my shrink, it comes down to the self-esteem thing: I don’t consider myself worth standing up for, something to that degree. It really doesn’t matter because I’m never going to ask for anything back, not even the two boxes of unopened frozen fake (soy?) chicken strips that I bought the day before we broke up and that he’s probably never going to use and most likely has simply tossed out by now. Albertsons will have a sale on Morningstar Farms products again. Life moves on.

On a sort-of related tangent, that Keith Urban song– one lyrics site claims he’s saying, "Take your cap / and leave my sweater," but I always hear, "Take your cat / and leave my sweater." Is this just me?

And on a not-at-all related tangent, my crazy delicious Gevalia green tea smells like Skittles. Mmm.

Anyway. In that woman’s case? She doesn’t know this family at all and doesn’t owe them diddly squat. I, for one, am skeptical about the sick kid’s mere existence and the mom just sounds like an amoral bitch. Hopefully it all works itself out properly.

[1] Also, it’s hard to ask for a giant-ass bed and all the stuff "bed" implies here, while you’re moving out with only a two-door hatchback to transport said belongings. Furthermore, I was afraid of sounding like a materialistic whore. Further furthermore, at the time of moving out/breaking up, I really did believe that in a few months (like, four to six), life would be miraculously better for both of us and we’d get back together because hey, he totally owed me that birthday gift/promise/whatever you want to call it.

Let’s get this shit started

Yahoo! Launches "Yahoo! That Bitch!" Campaign to Combat "Google" As Verb

Sounds like a winner to me. I’ve always had some hesitation to use "Google" as a verb, since I next-to-never use their search engine, but I guess it’s kind of like calling that crap stuff stocked in public restrooms "Kleenex." Or calling any adhesive bandage a "Band-Aid." Xerox, Wite-Out, Zip-Loc, etc. Generalized names which really only serve as 1) free product brand advertising and encouragement, 2) degredation of smaller companies who are trying to offer alternatives to the overpriced brand-name leaders so as to prevent the formation of a product monopoly, 3) indication of a lazy linguistic society that–

I digress.

In any case, while I’m all for this campaign, I don’t quite know how well it would go over to, when my mother asks me a question about something, simply tell her to "Yahoo! that bitch." But then, there’s no sense in telling her to Google it because I don’t think she knows quite what that means, either.

Anyhow. Go read about the campaign and help spread the word, yeah?

  •   YOU: I missed the Olympics last night.  Did that dude from Texas win the super long speed skating race?

      ME: I dunno, why don’t you Yahoo! that bitch?!