June 1, 2006

HULK MAD!!!: Mad about Slovenia

Speaking of travel, Larry (who’s going to Slovenia with his dad in August) got his passport the other day. Now, I’m probably the single least photogenic person on the planet–seriously–so I hope you keep that in mind when I say that Larry has the worst passport photo I have ever seen in my entire life. Really, it is that bad. He looks like the Hulk–pissed off and a disturbing shade of green. The color distortion isn’t actually that surprising. I look a bit celery-colored in my passport photo as well. But what I can’t figure out is why Larry looks so incredibly angry. He looks like he’s about to kill someone. His reaction was, “Huh. I thought I smiled.” See this is why we don’t get Girl Scouts trying to sell us cookies–Larry frightens them all away with his “smile” of the damned. I won’t be one bit surprised if Slovenia refuses him entry and just ships him right back to America in a crate marked Beware the Beast.

On an unrelated note, Kenneth told me I need to update my exclamation generator. Who am I to refuse a loyal reader? ]

May 25, 2006

Hey London: That’s right, I’m comin’ for ya’!

Well, it’s official–I’m going to London. I’ve booked
my ticket and my hotel and everything. I’m sure if I’d been left to
my own devices I would have kept talking myself out of it indefinitely. Luckily,
Larry knows how to play me. He’s a smart fellow, Larry, a lot smarter than
he gives himself credit for. He knows that I’ve been eagerly awaiting the
upcoming new album from a certain British band that I adore. And being the quite
clever boy that he is, Larry realized that Brit band + new album = London concert.
And wouldn’t you know that concert just happens to be the day I wanted to
go to London, which Larry casually dropped into conversation Saturday. And so
we can blame my London excursion on Larry’s extreme cleverness and my age-old
weakness for The Pet Shop Boys (who have a permanent place in my heart right next
to John Cusack and Mallow Cups).

So I’m going to London and I’m going to see The Pet Shop Boys and
my hotel room has a TV so I won’t have to miss the new episode of Doctor
Who
. All is right and good and shiny in the world. Well…almost. On
my long list of personal peculiarities and neuroses is this: I am intensely
uncomfortable with the idea of spending money on myself. I always have been;
you can ask my mom. I was the queen of allowance frugality. So even though I
can rationalize this trip–I have the money, I got a raise, I’m
always so damn careful–I can’t help but feel guilty about going.
Because really, isn’t there something more important I should be doing
with this money? Something more financially responsible?

Which leads me to part two of today’s story. Monday morning I got an
email from a woman in our Finance department (whose name sounds suspiciously
like Janis Joplin but who looks nothing like her) asking whether I knew what
had happened to a paycheck I was issued on 12-1-05. Apparently I never cashed
it. I figured it must have been accidentally filed away by Larry. See the problem
with my excessive frugality is that it is actually possible for me to misplace
a paycheck and not notice any immediate ill effects.

When we got home Larry pulled out one of his mysterious boxes of things “To
File.” (Where the hell does he keep them? I always imagine that warehouse
from the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. But I digress.) As I dug through
the box of various papery treasures from December ’05–ooh look, a
receipt from Guatemala, a letter I wrote Kim, a Christmas list–I came
across several pay stubs but no check. When I reached the bottom of the pile
I heaved the mighty sigh of the defeated and started to close the box. But then
my hand touched an envelope that had gotten stuck to the inside of the box.
I grabbed it and something about the undisturbed quality of the envelope told
me that I’d found my missing check. Sure enough, still attached to the
stub was a beautiful, pristine, uncashed paycheck. As I started to let out the
huzzah of the triumphant I stopped short. In that moment I recalled the immortal
words of Helen–Ha ha, sucker! Because the check wasn’t
from 12-01-05…it was from March ’05. Suddenly that period of time where
I seemed unusually short on funds made so much more sense.

I never did find that December check (Larry probably has it squirreled away
with Jimmy Hoffa and the Ark of the Covenant) but the lady who isn’t Janis
Joplin said no worries, they’ll reissue it. And Larry’s response
to all of this, aside from a prolonged fit of laughter and the suggestion that
I sign up for direct deposit, was to say, “See, now you can really
afford to go to London!” Like I said, the boy is clever.]

May 16, 2006

Today We Celebrate: The briniest holiday of the year

Happy International Sea-Monkey Day!

Nope, I’m not making this up. It’s a holiday, second only to Talk Like A Pirate Day. Proof that the average American has too much time and too much money. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time until you’ll be able to buy a Hallmark card for it. Anyway, I’ve included a couple of links below so you can learn everything you ever wanted to know about Sea-Monkeys. Enjoy!

Sea-Monkey

Sea-Monkeys

Sea-Monkey Worship

The Truth About Sea-Monkeys

Sea-Monkeys on Wikipedia

Sea-Monkey Mania

Now get out there and celebrate!]

May 12, 2006

London Calling: Can’t fight the wanderlust

Lately I’ve been suffering from a wicked case of wanderlust. All day long I think about places I want to visit and how I can possibly go there. So I’ve decided to go to London. I’ve always wanted to go to the UK and Larry and I are hoping to go for a couple of weeks next spring, but I really needed to go somewhere new NOW. So I’m going to London, just for a short trip, sometime soonish. And Kenneth was kind enough to make me the following list of Ten Things to do in London!

  1. Camden Locks market
  2. A show (Mary Poppins, I kid you not, is supposed to be a good
    one, or Billy Elliot, but maybe you’d rather see Footloose.)
  3. St. Bride’s, Fleet Street
  4. Neal’s Yard Dairy and the rest of Covent Garden while you’re at
    it.
  5. British Museum (especially the Great Court and the old circular
    reading room, but also the Sutton Hoo hoard)
  6. St Paul’s Cathedral–both the dome and the crypt–or Westminster
    Abbey or the Tower of London
  7. National Portrait Gallery
  8. The Original London Walks (you can get one of the multiples above
    by combining one with this)
  9. British Library
  10. A free concert at the Church of St.
    Martin-in-the-Fields

So yeah, when (not if) I go I’ll be sure to give you all a full report. ]

May 5, 2006

The Mind is a Terrible Wasteland: Ten facts you never needed to know

Last week Librarianna announced the start of a new feature on her site: Fun Fact Friday. I haven’t seen the new one for this week yet, but last week’s was pretty excellent. So in honor of Librarianna, and as a ploy to make you all look at her site so she’ll keep doing it, I present for the betterment of your minds Ten Facts You Never Needed to Know.

FACT: You can make diamonds out of peanut butter.

source

As docsmartypants thoughtfully eyes the nearest jar of extra crunchy Skippy, shakes head, and then reaches for a spoon.

FACT: Ohio is extremely weird.

source

Note to self: If traveling to Ohio make sure to be fully stocked on cornflakes by Saturday night.

FACT: There are people with stranger phobias than I have.

source

Lutraphobia is the fear of otters, and Arachibutyrophobia is the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth. Sooo…is Arachilutraphobia the fear of otters sticking to the roof of your mouth? (Just kidding, even I know the arachi bit means “peanut”– sheesh!)

FACT: Iceland is home to the world’s only known penis museum.

source

Wow. Just…wow.

FACT: Technically the Queen still owns the sturgeons, whales, and dolphins in the waters around the UK.

source (see #79)

And technically I still own all of the fishsticks in my freezer.

FACT: Oprah Winfrey’s name is a typo. It was actually meant to be Orpah, from the Bible.
source

Is it just me, or does Orpah sound like the noise a seal makes?

FACT: The flushing toilet was invented in 1591 by Sir John Harrington a British nobleman and godson to Queen Elizabeth.

source

I demand that there be a holiday in this man’s honor.

FACT: Crayola totally can’t take peer pressure.

source

In 1958, Crayola changed the name of the crayon from “Prussian Blue” to “Midnight Blue” because teachers complained that kids were no longer familiar enough with Prussian history to recognize the reference to the famous deep-blue uniforms of Prussian soldiers. Here’s a thought–try teaching the kids more history!

FACT: Russians are even more obsessive compulsive than I am.

source

In Russia, you should send an uneven number of flowers in a flower arrangement except for funerals or sympathy arrangements, which must be composed of an even number of flowers.

FACT: Presidents have always been a little bit nuts.

source: June 2006 issue of Atlantic Monthly.

John Adams, Teddy Roosevelt, and Lyndon Johnson had Bipolar disorder; Calvin Coolidge had social phobia, depression, and hypochondriasis; Abe Lincoln had depression with psychotic features; Ulysses S. Grant had social phobia and a phobia of blood; many of them were depressed; and Washington? Well, he just had some freaky damn teeth.

Now, if you haven’t already, go check out Librarianna’s site because she actually knows things a person should know. ]

April 28, 2006

Hey, Mr. Film-Literate Snootypants: You forgot ten! (give or take a couple)

To follow up my previous
post
about the 102 Movies You Must See Before You Die (“the movies you
just kind of figure everybody ought to have seen in order to have any sort of
informed discussion about movies”) and why it is inherently flawed, I present
the following list of ten (plus two) such films that might have been included,
but were understandably left off to make sure there was enough room to include
Pink Flamingos.

Rocky (1976) John
G. Avildsen

The Seventh Seal
(1957) Ingmar Bergman

The Matrix (1999)
Andy and Larry Wachowski

Raiders of the Lost Ark
(1981) Steven Spielberg

Midnight Cowboy
(1969) John Schlesinger

American Graffiti (1973)
George Lucas

Office Space (1999)
Mike Judge

King Kong (1933)
Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack

Greed (1924) Eric
von Stroheim

Night and Fog
(1955) Alain Resnais

And for my bonus two (since he got 102) I’ll throw in:

Clerks (1994) Kevin
Smith

The Russians are Coming,
The Russians are Coming

(1966) Norman Jewison

And you know what? The list is still full of gaping holes. ]

April 27, 2006

Dr. Smartypants or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Blog

This morning Kenneth, asked if I’d
seen Jim Emerson’s list of 102 Movies You Must See Before You Die, suggesting
that it might make an interesting topic to blog about. (A hint, perhaps, that
I’ve been slacking?) So I looked up the
list
. Emerson says, in his intro, that it isn’t his list of the best
movies, or his favorites, or the most important or influential films, but those
he felt were “the movies you just kind of figure everybody ought to have
seen in order to have any sort of informed discussion about movies. They’re
the common cultural currency of our time, the basic cinematic texts that everyone
should know, at minimum, to be somewhat ‘movie-literate.’”

So I took a look at the list, and I counted up the ones I could honestly swear
to remember having seen all the way through (64 if you’re curious, I’ve
marked them with an *). How sad that a film fan such as myself would only have
seen just over half of the list. I guess I am not as movie literate as I’d
suspected. And yet, I would argue this: Who’s to say which 102 films are
the must-see films that make you movie literate? Why Fargo and not
Office Space? Why Bambi and not Snow White? Or Akira
for that matter? Why Rashomon and not Dreams? Who is he to
say that Rocky isn’t as important as half the things on there?
Or Clerks? Or Amelie? Or The Awful Truth, or The
Seventh Seal? I would argue that Better Off Dead could be
viewed as a brilliant piece of symbolic postmodern cinema. Well maybe not, but
it has its moments. I guess what I’m really saying is that lists like
this are inherently flawed because they can only do one of two things: mimic
the same tired old lists from every Film 101 class since the dawn of time, or
try to supplement them, which is doomed to leave glaring holes of omission.
That being said, here’s his list for better or worse. Oh, and one last
thing, I’ve seen Pink Flamingos, and if I could summon the resources
to build myself a time machine to go back and change just one day in history,
it’d be to stop myself from renting that film. (Or, y’know, I’d
bump off Hitler–one of those.)

*2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) Stanley Kubrick

The 400 Blows (1959) Francois Truffaut

8 1/2 (1963) Federico Fellini

Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972) Werner Herzog

*Alien (1979) Ridley Scott

*All About Eve (1950) Joseph L. Mankiewicz

*Annie Hall (1977) Woody Allen

Apocalypse Now (1979) Francis Ford Coppola

*Bambi (1942) Disney

The Battleship Potemkin (1925) Sergei Eisenstein

The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) William Wyler

The Big Red One (1980) Samuel Fuller

The Bicycle Thief (1949) Vittorio De Sica

*The Big Sleep (1946) Howard Hawks

*Blade Runner (1982) Ridley Scott

Blowup (1966) Michelangelo Antonioni

*Blue Velvet (1986) David Lynch

*Bonnie and Clyde (1967) Arthur Penn

Breathless (1959 Jean-Luc Godard

*Bringing Up Baby (1938) Howard Hawks

*Carrie (1975) Brian DePalma

*Casablanca (1942) Michael Curtiz

Un Chien Andalou (1928) Luis Bunuel & Salvador Dali

Children of Paradise / Les Enfants du Paradis (1945) Marcel Carne

*Chinatown (1974) Roman Polanski

*Citizen Kane (1941) Orson Welles

*A Clockwork Orange (1971) Stanley Kubrick

*The Crying Game (1992) Neil Jordan

*The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) Robert Wise

Days of Heaven (1978) Terence Malick

Dirty Harry (1971) Don Siegel

The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972) Luis Bunuel

Do the Right Thing (1989 Spike Lee

*La Dolce Vita (1960) Federico Fellini

*Double Indemnity (1944) Billy Wilder

*Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) Stanley Kubrick

*Duck Soup (1933) Leo McCarey

*E.T. — The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) Steven Spielberg

Easy Rider (1969) Dennis Hopper

*The Empire Strikes Back (1980) Irvin Kershner

*The Exorcist (1973) William Friedkin

*Fargo (1995) Joel & Ethan Coen

*Fight Club (1999) David Fincher

*Frankenstein (1931) James Whale

*The General (1927) Buster Keaton & Clyde Bruckman

The Godfather, The Godfather, Part II (1972, 1974) Francis Ford Coppola

*Gone With the Wind (1939) Victor Fleming

GoodFellas (1990) Martin Scorsese

*The Graduate (1967) Mike Nichols

*Halloween (1978) John Carpenter

*A Hard Day’s Night (1964) Richard Lester

*Intolerance (1916) D.W. Griffith

*It’s a Gift (1934) Norman Z. McLeod

*It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) Frank Capra

*Jaws (1975) Steven Spielberg

*The Lady Eve (1941) Preston Sturges

*Lawrence of Arabia (1962) David Lean

M (1931) Fritz Lang

*Mad Max 2 / The Road Warrior (1981) George Miller

*The Maltese Falcon (1941) John Huston

*The Manchurian Candidate (1962) John Frankenheimer

*Metropolis (1926) Fritz Lang

*Modern Times (1936) Charles Chaplin

*Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) Terry Jones & Terry Gilliam

Nashville (1975) Robert Altman

*The Night of the Hunter (1955) Charles Laughton

*Night of the Living Dead (1968) George Romero

*North by Northwest (1959) Alfred Hitchcock

*Nosferatu (1922) F.W. Murnau

On the Waterfront (1954) Elia Kazan

Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) Sergio Leone

Out of the Past (1947) Jacques Tournier

Persona (1966) Ingmar Bergman

*Pink Flamingos (1972) John Waters

*Psycho (1960) Alfred Hitchcock

*Pulp Fiction (1994) Quentin Tarantino

*Rashomon (1950) Akira Kurosawa

*Rear Window (1954) Alfred Hitchcock

Rebel Without a Cause (1955) Nicholas Ray

Red River (1948) Howard Hawks

Repulsion (1965) Roman Polanski

The Rules of the Game (1939) Jean Renoir

Scarface (1932) Howard Hawks

The Scarlet Empress (1934) Josef von Sternberg

*Schindler’s List (1993) Steven Spielberg

The Searchers (1956) John Ford

*The Seven Samurai (1954) Akira Kurosawa

*Singin’ in the Rain (1952) Stanley Donen & Gene Kelly

*Some Like It Hot (1959) Billy Wilder

*A Star Is Born (1954) George Cukor

*A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) Elia Kazan

*Sunset Boulevard (1950) Billy Wilder

*Taxi Driver (1976) Martin Scorsese

The Third Man (1949) Carol Reed

Tokyo Story (1953) Yasujiro Ozu

Touch of Evil (1958) Orson Welles

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) John Huston

Trouble in Paradise (1932) Ernst Lubitsch

*Vertigo (1958) Alfred Hitchcock

*West Side Story (1961) Jerome Robbins/Robert Wise

The Wild Bunch (1969) Sam Peckinpah

*The Wizard of Oz (1939) Victor Fleming ]

April 14, 2006

Me? I’m a Peeple Person: An Easter Friday 10

Easter is this weekend and I think it is important that we all remember the reason
for the season—Peeps.

1. http://i-mockery.com/minimocks/peep-game/
Awesome Peeps computer games!

2. http://www.lordofthepeeps.com/
Lord of the Peeps!

3. http://www.warmanphotography.com/kent/Peeps/passport.htm
Travelin’ Peeps!

4. http://www.auricular.com/AIM/features/peeps/peeps3.html
Peeps from Hell!

5. http://www.peepresearch.org/index.html
Peeps research!

6. http://www.millikin.edu/staley/fluff/peep_research.html#Anchor-Th-56460
Research about Peeps doing research!

7. http://www.marshmallowpeeps.org/pcn.html
Peeps factory tour!

8. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQzBs_fXpwE
Expanding Peeps video!

9. http://www.topoimagery.com/peeps/index.html
Cooking with Peeps!

10. http://www.x-entertainment.com/articles/0889/
The Wham-O Marshmallow Peeps Maker!

]

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