The Couch

For those of you who have not yet experienced The Couch - here are some cozzzzzzinesssssssssssss-ooozing pictures to make your eyelids droop with a sudden inexplicable heaviness. Shannon is depicted here inactively proving the awesome snooze-inducing powers of: The Couch.

Even the orange Christmas lights surrounding the painting (that, yes, I actually paid money for) are drooping in weariness.
This picture was taken 3.2 minutes after we moved The Couch into our apartment.

LaLa - you're not the only one who's adversely affected by the Templarszzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

Thank you again, Nepster!!! You've provided about half our furniture, and Mu and Shannon won't have to fight over The Chair anymore!


Religious Pride

Jews, Buddhists and Catholics all showed their pride on June 25th:

Roller Grrlzzz at the Pride Parade

At long last, and with Shannon's help, I've finally gotten my pics from the 2006 Gay Pride Parade off of my Elphish camera. There were quite a few pictures on this memory card, so apparently 512 mb of memory is a wee bit much for my rarely-camera-sportin' self. There were pics from from New Years, and last Christmas, my 16th birthday, some fuzzy ones from around the time of the Kennedy assassination, and some from the 3rd crusade those DaVinci code wackos would just die to get their hands on, including a really rare shot of Richard the Lionheart giving Salah al-din the bunny ears, followed by one of Salah al-din holding up the decapitated head of Reggie deKerak with a classic "WHOOPS!" face. Heh heh heh! What a couple of nutters!

Most of the pics were of something cool, colorful, and/or shiny, partially obstructed by the back of The Nepster's head, so in addition to learning how to download, I also learned how to use the delete button.

I'll start with the cool Nepster-head-free shots. Here are a couple pics of the Windy City Roller Grrrrrzzzzzz, especially for The Peepster:

Rorschach Bruise

Is it an ampersand? An apostrophe? A man with dreds dancing wildly to reggae? The Virgin Mary?

I have no idea how I got this bruise on the side of my leg, so it must mean something! Maybe you can figure out what it is! I've taken it slightly out of focus so as to free up your mind a bit, like a Magic Eye painting. It's not out of focus becuase my camera's too advanced for me or anything.... Heh heh heh.... Okay FINE! You got me! It probably IS too advanced for me! But it had a cute name, so THERE!

Elph. Heh heh heh! I wonder if they make them in orange with even more features that I'll never master....

Party Ferrets!!!

When the ferrets are loose you have to remain alert and ever vigilant as they get into EVERYTHING. They are the most curious creatures I've ever encountered. Shannon's not sure whether they're really really clever or really really stupid, but they are absolutely fearless.

The surest way to tell when a ferret (or three) is causing trouble is when you listen and hear...Nothing.

Silent ferret activity is the most frightening. Our ferrets often work in cahoots with Donnatella making the noise of three ferrets while Max and Umberto silently get into the worst of mischeif. With Donnatella making all that racket, we often won't realize that Max and Umberto have disconnected the stove until we wake up from our carbon monoxide haze to find the firefighters breaking down our door.

One Friday night, however, Donnatella got drunk on her watch and we discovered the three of them partying their stinky butts off.

Donnatella (Versace) savoring a tasty cold brew on a sultry night

Max staving off the munchies

Umberto (Eco) just ca
n't handle his liquor


Unlikely "Goblet" found!

Last month the Rev stated his belief that somewhere, unrealized, there exists a Vessel that Never Empties. We all speculated it's form and content. Some thought it was a goblet or a jewel-encrusted chalice, some a sippy cup, some a Super Big Gulp from 7-11, maybe a German beer stein. Whatever the form, this vessel remained full of whatever nectar the one holding it most enjoyed. For me it would be either Guinness or a Ben and Jerry's Black and Tan Ice Cream and espresso shake.

My hopes and dreams of finding this container were dashed this week as I realized - I have it! I have had it for what seems like 700 years, though it's only been a couple of months. I unwittingly bought the vessel at Whole Foods and its contents have not depleted in the least since doing so although I've been ingesting them regularly.

Thinking it would be a good idea to have healthy snacks at work that would keep me away from the constantly replenishing junk food that magically appears in both kitchens at my job, I purchased two boxes of meal bars. I was delighted when I found Odwalla had food bars as I love their juices. I bought too kinds - the healthiest two I could find - knowing, just KNOWING, they'd be ultra-yummy.

They are not.

Now, despite the fact that I choke down one or two a day, both boxes remain full.

My dream of finding the Vessel the Never Empties has been realized, but the contents, oh the humanity! the contents are NOT Guinnessy goodness, either caffeinated and cool or room temperature and foamy. In fact either of these would seep through the cheap cardboard. I am doomed to live out my days choking down healthy food bars that taste like they're, well, healthy food bars.


How I Got Motivated to Go to the Gym

Some people are just go-getters. They have no trouble focusing on why they have to exercise. They are motivated by will alone, by the knowledge that they will feel awesome, or by the fact that if they stay true to their routine and get all buffified, they'll be able to finally be deemed hot enough to set foot on the sexy beach after having sand kicked on 'em last time they even glanced at it.

We've had a membership our neighborhood gym for almost 2 months, but have managed to go only a handfull of times. Twice a week at most. This week I'm determined to go 4 times. Why?

Because if I go 4 times this week, I get to eat chocolate cows on Friday and yell out "RUN AWAY!!!!!" every time I get one on my spoon!!

Bet you didn't realize that part Shannon. Bet you'll be turning off the alarm so I don't get up in time, but I've set my own alarm! And I've hidden it well. BWAH-HAHAHAHA!!!

Being the Python fan I am, I cannot go another week without trying this ice cream.

Okay, it's true, if it weren't Ben and Jerry's, I might be able to hold off, even allow myself to try it after only 3 days at the gym. But Monty Python AND Ben and Jerry's?? That match made in heaven will get me to turn myself into a newt, much less get my butt to the gym a measly 4 days.

I have no idea what I'll do next week...Probably whinge alot. My M.O. on gym days.


As I was driving along the 94, a woman merged ahead of me at the Lake Street ramp. Now you really shouldn't really find it all that surprising that I actually let anyone get ahead of me. I'm actually pretty good about feeder ramps, although the later I get out the door, the more likely I am to at least consider speeding up just in case the guy I'm about to let ahead of me drives slower than an orange-triangled farm vehicle. Also, remembering how terrifying I found feeder ramps when I first started driving, I'm always tempted to prove to "New/Student Driver" on the ramp just ahead of me in the right lane, politely signalling and timidly angling into MY lane, that the expy REALLY IS THAT SCARY!!!!!! by speeding up, cutting halfway into the left lane to cause as much horn and brake noise as possible and then swerving back in front of him inches ahead of his bumper. You know, just to freak him out. Better than a cuppa joe when it comes to wakin' you up in the mornin'.

I never really do this. Consider it a character flaw if you will. It's sad to have dreams that you never actually realize. *tear*

ANYWAY, Woman In Blue Ford Thing-bob merges smoothly ahead of me, while I was still thinking...."I'm not late, but I could easily get ahead of her, she's driving slower than I am" (ie: under 80 MPH in the right lane), when I caught a whiff of perfume. I look around me, thinking maybe I'd had a bottle of perfume in my bag. No perfume. In my bag or on my person. My eyes slowly creep back to the car newly ahead of me and horror dawns as I realize the perfume scent is coming from her car. And I can smell it. At 50 MPH. On the Edens.

adies, (and you Joop-wearing gents for that matter - I can scent-spot you at 200 yards and I agree with outlawbitch that the foul stuff should be carefully labelled toxic, collected and destroyed) ladies, the rule of thumb is: if you can smell it on yourself, you might be wearing too much. I'll be a bit lenient here and say that if you can smell it, say, 15 minutes after you put it on, you might be wearing too much. That means, if people in passing vehicles can smell it on you, 45 minutes after you've left the freaking house, you may have overdid it a TAD.

Perhaps your thought was that you leave at the same time every morning and have had a hard time merging onto the Edens, so you thought you'd try to reproduce a pheromone-like effect - one whiff and the targeted driver in the right lane would ease up and calmly let you merge without any incident thinking you are some seriously hot stuff! But hold on! you thought as you realized you weren't sure if you'd encounter a male or a female driver...So you covered all bases by breaking out your husband's Joop and mixing it with your Ciara, then you spritzed away for a good 45 seconds each for definite and total coverage and maximum radius. I'll admit, I was wondering why I was so calm as you slowly merged into my lane. It worked. But it won't work again. Being someone other than Shannon, you're just not my type Better change your combo to a light eau d'toilette and a Porsche, my friend, if you want to get ahead of me again.


Catch you with another man that's the end'a, little girl

I was always more of a fan of John Lennon's Beatles stuff than I was of Paul McCartney's. Paul's contributions were too cute and poppy for my taste, while Lennon had more of an edge to his lyrics and instrumentation. George didn't write as much for the Beatles as Paul or John did, but what he did write for them ("Here Comes the Sun," "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," "Something") was just beautiful. His solo stuff was even more gorgeous and uplifting. He and Cat Stevens remain among my favorite singers of all time.

And Ringo was the drummer.

Friday afternoon I was driving home listening to the radio and "Run For Your Life" (1965) came on the radio from the amazing album Rubber Soul (followed closely by the even more amazing Revolver in 1966, but I digress. How unusual for me, I know.). I know the lyrics to "Run For Your Life", have since I was born. But I never. Really. Listened to them:

"Well I'd rather see you dead, little girl
Than to be with another man
You better keep your head, little girl
Or I won't know where I am

You better run for your life if you can, little girl
Hide your head in the sand little girl
Catch you with another man
That's the end'a little girl"

I'd never listened because, due to the poppy, head-bopping beat, I'd assumed it was a Paul song and therefore the lyrics were really just too stupid to pay any attention to.

"Well you know that I'm a wicked guy
And I was born with a jealous mind
And I can't spend my whole life
Trying just to make you toe the line

You better run for your life if you can, little girl
Hide your head in the sand little girl
Catch you with another man
That's the end'a little girl"

I think the reason the lyrics finally registered for me as belonging to John's darker voice on Friday - they, in fact, made my blood freeze and the made hair on the back of my neck stand on end a bit - due to the fact that I have been incredibly disturbed for over a week by the brutal murder of Samaira Nazir in London:


25-year-old Samaira was brutally murdered in a revolting ritual described as an "honor killing" by her own brother and her cousin for falling in love with the wrong man.

"Let this be a sermon
I mean everything I've said
Baby, I'm determined
And I'd rather see you dead

You better run for your life if you can, little girl
Hide your head in the sand little girl
Catch you with another man
That's the end'a little girl"

Perhaps there has been a serious miscommunication in translation, because "honor" in English means "High Respect" or "Esteem", not "Brutal, Horrific, Cold-Blooded, Terrible, Hateful, Bloody MURDER Perpretrated By Trusted Loved One." Honor killings may not be written into the law, but they are sanctioned in many countries.

"I'd rather see you dead, little girl
Than to be with another man
You better keep your head, little girl
Or you won't know where I am

You better run for your life if you can, little girl
Hide your head in the sand little girl
Catch you with another man
That's the end'a little girl"

Occasionally, through a book like A Suitable Boy or in an expose on the situation Middle-Eastern or Indian women one will catch wind about honor killings - the sanctioned murder of a woman who has brought dishonor to her family by falling in love with or marrying the wrong man, sometimes even looking the wrong man; having sex, or by getting themselves raped by a stranger, someone known to them, or a family member (some cultures actually believe that it's a woman's fault no matter what the circumstances. She asked for it somehow). An honor killing is performed by male members of her own family to clear the family name of the dishonor.

"Dishonored" women are sometimes pressured to kill themselves to clear the good family name. There was a story about one in Turkey in last week's NY Times.


Imagine being 17 years old and receiving this text message on your cell phone. From your uncle.

“You have blackened our name. Kill yourself and clean our shame or we will kill you first.”

It seems so incredible that so brutal and horrible a custom could possibly be sanctioned by anyone ANYWHERE, that my admittedly Western mind has a REALLY hard time imagining this practice being not only practiced, but approved of, authorized by any culture. I hate to slight any culture, think of anyone's practices as backwards, try to be open-minded, accept people for who they are, and accept that their beliefs may be different, but no less valid than my own, but I CANNOT accept this. Once again, I think how fortunate I am to have been born in Chicago to loving parents. I am so lucky. Women in many other countries around the world, as well as here at home, are not.

"As of 2004, honor killings have occurred at the hands of individuals within parts of various countries such as Albania, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, Germany, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Morocco, Pakistan, Palestine, Sweden, Turkey, Uganda, the United Kingdom and the United States. Honor killings are more common among poor rural communities. In Europe, honor killings have mostly been reported within some Muslim and Sikh communities....Britain's Crown Prosecution Service stated that the UK has seen "at least a dozen honor killings" between 2004-2005." (Source: Wikipedia)

"I'd rather see you dead, little girl
Than to be with another man
You better keep your head, little girl
Or you won't know where I am

You better run for your life if you can, little girl
Hide your head in the sand little girl
Catch you with another man
That's the end'a little girl"

Thankfully, many Muslim women have started to band together through the Webbernet to allow their voices to be heard, and to demand this abhorrent practice be stopped:




I'm glad those who feel persecuted or frightened are starting to find a voice on the Web. And that they realize how absolutely unacceptable this practice is. I find it even more disturbing when women feel that practices against their gender are acceptable.

"Na, na, na
Na, na, na
Na, na, na
Na, na, na"

I promise to blog on something far more upbeat, but this has been weighing on me for days. Thanks for letting me vent.

The Libertine

This past weekend was, to use The Peepster's phraseology, ridiculously, retardedly, and stupidly hot with temps rising to a heat index of 114 on Monday. Shannon and I only have one window unit in our bedroom, so we holed up in there for most of it, leaving only to play tennis in the early morning before it got too hot, use the washroom, or to grab an icy drink from the fridge.

We watched alot of tellie.

We subscribe to Netflix (rant on Intelliflix to follow), but we were a day too late in mailing out our movies so we only had Batman, The Animated Series and The Complete Dennis Leary - neither of which we were in the mood to watch. So we trecked out on Saturday, randomed to our neighborhood independent video store Dark Star Video on Lincoln just south of Montrose, and picked up three films to get us through the dog day afternoons, evenings, and mornings - Little Fish, The Libertine, and The Heist.

The Heist was okay. I love a good Hackman flick, and it's a Mamet on top of it, but the ending was weak, and the actress playing his wife (Rebecca Pidgeon, also in State and Main) was supposed to come off as mysterious, but came off in the end as vacuous, which was disappointing as her character was great until the end.

Little Fish with Cate Blanchett was anything but a feel good film, but it was really well acted, with Blanchett as a recovered heroin addict who's past comes back to haunt her. After 4 years of being clean, she finds herself tempted time and time again to take up the needle and spoon as after suddenly half the people she loves - some from her present and one from her past - are using.

Finally, the Libertine. Johnny Depp and John Malkovich in a 17th century period piece - who could ask for more??? Depp plays John, the 2nd Earl of Rochester, and Malkovich plays King Charles II who tries to get Rochester to show his support for the monarchy by taking his place in the House of Lords and using his talent to write brilliant shiny things about him.

(Oops, I apologize - that was actually a picture of Rupert Everett playing Charles II in Stage Beauty - a film I HIGHLY recommend. Here's Malkovich in one of my all time favorite movies, and here he is in another.)

Shannon and I agree that Malkovich must have secretly wished to play the part of the libertine, the Earl of Rochester, as it wasn't a far cry from his role as Vicomte S├ębastien de Valmont in Dangerous Liaisons. The acting was superb, but this is truly a drama with very little levity. "I don't want you to like me" John (Depp) warns us before the film begins. Then he asks at the end, "Do you like me now?" You truly don't know how to respond. He's been SUCH a bastard throughout the film, but at the end of his life he himself goes through so much of the pain he's caused others, you almost feel sorry for him.

Again, the acting is wonderful. You pick up early on, before any of the physical symptoms exhibit themselves, that Rochester has syphillis. Depp doesn't overact the addled brain syphillis causes, but there's just a touch of oddity there in the beginning that you wonder...then it gets a bit more pronounced....then a bit more....then his nose falls off and AHA! I KNEW he had it! I knew it all along!

I'll never eat again.

Wonderful diet plan, by the way.

Unlike most of Depp's characters who can look sexy even if it looks like they haven't bathed in weeks, or haven't slept in a few weeks, or they have long, blonde hair, or they have long red hair, or they wear boas, or maybe they have sharp pointy surgical instruments for hands, The Libertine, though he starts off gorgeous, ends up looking a little less than hot:

Teach your kids safe sex folks.



In the New York Times Book Section dated July 9th, 2006 there was a story printed based on an interview with JK Rowling concerning the eagerly awaited As Yet Un-named 7th Book. In this article she hints that two of the main characters will die in book 7 (hinting that one may even be Harry himself!). This teaser didn't surprise me. There had been one loooooooooooooong before Book 6 came out, after all, saying that one of the character's would die and it upset Rowling to tears to have to do it. Flashback to Book 4 when she said the same thing about another of Harry's friends. What surprised me was the audacity of the author of the article referring to Dumbledore's death in Book 6 - Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.

This revalation surprised me a great deal, because , though I have read it, it seems to me not EVERYONE's read book 6 yet. I mean, Book 7's title has not even been revealed yet! Perhaps there are hundreds of people waiting to crack open book 6 in two weeks on their summer vacation family trip to the north woods, and it was the ONLY thing they were looking forward to doing up there, locked in a cabin with their siblings and their "AFAMILY'SGOTTADOSTUFFLIKETHISTOGETHERALLATIME!!! ISN'TTHISFUN??? GIVEMETHATDAMNCELLPHONE! YOUCANTALKTOYOURFRIENDSWHENYOUGETBACKNEXTWEEK!!! THEYWON'THAVEGONEANYWHEREASFUNASTHIS!!! YOU'LLHAVEPLENTYOFSTORIESTOTELL!!" dads while it rains constantly and they can't go outside because the mosquitos "WISCONSINSTATEBIRD!!! HAHAHAHA!!! GETIT??? WHAT'SWITHYOUANDYOURCRUMMYATTITUDE???CHEERUPORI'LLGIVEYOUSOMETHINGTOCRYABOUT!!!" will pick their bones clean before they can make it to the lake.

Brings a lump to my throat. I feel for those guys. I really do. The one thing they were looking forward to was reading Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, and now some smarmy slick NY reporter who lives nowhere NEAR enough to UpNorth Wisconsin to have been dragged their year after year by well meaning parents had to go ruin which of the Inner Circle of Harry's friends was killed.

Side Note: I love the Harry Potter books, and find them highly entertaining. Although it may be argued that events are sometimes easy to predict, Rowling tells a gripping tale and has a gift for sustaining a story for not pages but books. Long books. The only books I've ever seen my neice or nephew read. My very favorite of her clever touches is the name of Dumbledore's phoenix, Fawkes. Fawkes is named after Guy Fawkes who was burned at the stake for treason after he and his Catholic co-conspirators were caught rolling barrels of gunpowder under Parliament in an attempt to blow it up, and the protestant King James I of Scotland with it. Every November 5th the English celebrate Guy Fawkes' night, where an effigy of him is burned at the stake surrounded by a roaring bonfire and lots of celebratin'. Of course, Fawkes the phoenix dies in flame, only to be reborn anew. Fawkes is similarly immortal in that every year he's remembered and his effigy burned.

The pope at the time, Paul V, made a statement that Guy Fawkes did not represent the views of all Catholics when he tried to blow up Parliament, by the way. Bad press for the Catholicism, I tell you what.

Incidentally, V from "V for Vendetta" is wearing a Guy Fawkes' mask.

Remember remember the 5th of November....


It's hot. Too hot.

I'm too hot and too tired to rant today, so I'm going to Fafblog's archives for Giblets' rant on the hot ol' sun. Enjoy while I immerse myself in an alcohol bath.

Welcome back (again!), Fafblog!


Move to Grayslake! (And Buy a Dog! (o;)

Laura, Fernando, Trinity, and Kevin

My dear darling friend Laura Gielow and her awesome beau Kevin Bloss will be opening a Doggie Day Care in Grayslake this summer, fulfilling a dream they've been kicking around for over three years but were afraid to consider seriously because it was "too risky." I'm thrilled and excited to say that, after deciding less than a year ago that it was worth it to at least seriously consider the feasibility of realizing their dream, they're about a month away from opening their doors - all of their effort, time, work, and planning are about to show fruit. I have the utmost confidence that if anyone can make this work, they can. Both of them are 100% invested in making their endeavor a success. They are about to join the 10% of us who actually love our jobs.

I've never met anyone who dotes on their pups like they do, and their support of eachother is amazing. I wish them the best of luck, and encourage you, if you can't actually move to Grayslake, please let your friends and relatives there know that Kevin and Laura will be there to take excellent care of their dogs while they're working. They plan to open by the end of August, and I'll of course keep you posted on the exact date.

Here's their website:

I wish you both the BEST of luck!!!

The Mackenzie Crook Quiz

Which of Mackenzie's characters said the following?

1) "I don't normally do sloppy seconds, but i judge everything on its individual merits, so we'll cross that bridge when we come to it."

2) "Poppet."

3) "Bootstrap's Bootstraps."

4) "I can read women. And you’ve got to know their wants and their needs, and that can be anything from making sure she’s got enough money to buy groceries each week to making sure she’s gratified sexually after intercourse."

5) "I dunno. When they go down to the DSS to make a claim, they should set off a fake fire alarm so everyone legs it out of the office, leaving them there. If they're fake, they'll be up and running with you. If they are real, they'll be left there screaming for help. Then you just come back in and say, "It's alright. Don't cry. It's just a test. You've passed. Here's your money." "

6) "This is just like what the Greeks done at Troy. 'Cept they was in a horse instead o' dresses.
Wooden 'orse. "

7) "We go there every Wednesday night, and it's a fun place, but it's full of loose women. My own problem with that is venereal disease, which is debilitating right, especially for a soldier. And it's irresponsible to the rest of your unit as well, right. You've been under attack for days, there's a soldier down, he's wounded, gangrene's setting in, 'Who's used all the penicillin?' 'Oh, Mark Paxson sir, he's got knob rot off of some tart.'"

8) "To blazes with the code."

9) "Yoo-hooo!"


My Camera is Totally Pants...

....compared to this one:
I don't know why "pants" is such an effective Brit slang term for "something bad". "Pants" means "panties", and, though they may throw the "f" word around left and right in polite company, you'll get a blush out of a good English girl if you call something "pants" in front of her. You're essentially saying "That's underwear!" which should elicit more of a confused look than an embarassed one.

I learned real quick to call pants "trousers" after my friend Oona almost fell off her chair choking on her Cap'n Crunch sandwich when I'd asked her if she'd like to accompany me pants shopping as I wanted her opinion on a pair at Whistles that I thought were pretty snazzy.

Don't get me started on "fanny".

Kudos to the London Toll

(That white line is the centre lane)

London has reduced traffic within the city centre by about 19% since implementing a toll of 8 pounds (that converts to be about $567.54). Now officials are considering raising the toll to 25 pounds (amount incalculable in 'merican dollars - my calculator is still smoking) for SUV 4X4 offroader Earthfucker mobiles like the Dodge Destroyer, Ford GaiaSlayer, and Chrysler Excessive, and the Infinity XHJ5879628546543.2.

Critics argue that this higher toll will keep families from visiting London, making day trips cost-prohibitive. I find this argument really really weak. With gas costing about 1 pound per LITER (there are, what, more than 4 liters per gallon?), I don't think the drivers of autos that get about 6 MPG are hurtin' for cash. I'm of the opinion that there should be a special lane for these SUVs, manned (what is the gender-neutral term for "manned"? "Personned?" "Humanned"?) by an attendant who can physically count the occupants of the vehicle.

I can count the number of SUV's and huge-ass SUV's containing more than one person on one hand during my commute in either direction. 99% of the time it's a lone occupant, usually seated on the driver's side, wearing hyperexpensive shades and chatting on a cell phone. In an extensive study conducted earlier today during half of my lunch break, in a test area to and from PetSmart, I counted 76 SUVs on the road, 14 of which were bigger than, say, the moon. Of these 14 moving vehicles, 3 had occupants that I could see - each containing only one occupant per vehicle. My view of the occupants of other other 11 was obstructed by a passing weather satellite.

My vote is for London to implement this higher toll, and I really don't believe it will effect that many drivers. They could choose to make exceptions for vehicles of the huge-ass variety that are actually transporting families, or at least more than just one person - like a car-pool exception. For those solo drivers who really don't want to pay the 25 pounds, Coventry had a fabulous shuttle service in and out of the city that London could imitate if she hasn't done so already. In Coventry it cost a small fee to purchase a parking sticker plus a pound fifty to take the bus into the city. Having driven through Coventry at rush hour, I can't tell you what a great idea this was. It greatly reduced my stress level, and kept the population of the town intact, its inhabitants safe from my driving skills which in English cities of any population are reduced to prayers, loud cursing, closed eyes, and heart palpitations.


Catty Jo Gets Spritzed

First I want to say my boss is awesome. She doesn't know that this blog exists, so that statement wasn't made to get myself promoted (wouldn't work with her anyway - I'd have to actually do a good job for that), but because she's really a singular woman. Come to think of it, I've really had amazing luck with my bosses, and over the past 8 years they've all been women.

My current boss returned today from a business trip with many stories to tell - mainly about her travel experiences. Within about half an hour I had enough material for an entry into a travel guidebook. The one that gave me the most pause did so because it made me think about myself and my inclination to judge a certain type of person - rich, apparently privileged young people - especially women (I know I know - "meee-OW!!!!") - it gave me pause.

My boss was sitting next to a young, obviously rich, woman in her mid-twenties who was chatting away into her cell phone while the plane was getting ready to taxi. "Daddy won't give me the Leer jet this weekend!" she was complaining (and I'm not making this up). "I'm so mad at him right now, I don't think I'll speak to him."

My reaction to this conversation would have been to roll my eyes and diminish her to a princess who felt she was entitled to everything, never had to work a day in her life, handed everything on a silver platter, blahblahblah...

if i didn't know what had transpired 2 minutes before.

The ramp had been removed from the plane and the crew was getting ready to take off when the ramp was suddenly returned. A man who had almost-to-no use of his legs, wearing thick, heavy leg braces dragged himself up the ramp with his heavy crutches, refusing the aid of a wheel chair, determined to get to his seat himself. My boss was the only one with a seat open next to her, so she moved over to the window.

When he got to the top of the ramp, it became obvious that he would not be able to make it to where the open seat was. It was located about halfway down the small, narrow jet, and the aisle was too narrow for him to maneuver. The flight attendant asked if someone in the front row (mind you this is coach seating) would mind moving.

Apparently, they all did mind, because nobody moved. They left this guy standing right in front of them, holding himself up on his crutches while they avoided his eyes and waited for someone else to speak up. Someone did, but it wasn't one of them.

A young woman on her cell phone in first class spoke up and offered him her seat, stood aside so he could get past, and made her way to sit next to my boss while resuming her conversation as though this were the most everyday occurence...

Now mind you, if I'd been sitting in the front row there's no way in hell I'd have left that guy standing there, and I'm sure there were many apalled people sitting further back who were wishing they were sitting up front because they would have gotten up immediately upon seeing him struggling up the ramp to offer him their seat. This woman is not a saint, but she certainly is graceful, and the fact that her daddy with the Leer jet won't be hearing from her this week will probably cause him no small amount of regret. He raised a good kid. She certainly taught me a lesson in grace.


Jo Gets Religious

No wonder I haven't found God - S/he's in London! Looks like I'll have to move to England to save my soul. Darn!


Couch Gefunden!

The Germans rightly capitalize the word Couch (which means, um, couch, BTW). Shannon and I didn't have a couch, but had deluded ourselves into believing we didn't need one, "we have a perfectly good futon after all", and that we didn't have room for one even if we did.

(what we'd envisioned our apartment
would look like if got a couch)

That didn't keep us from eyeballing couches left deserted in scary alleyways or abandoned at the curb.

(similar to one of the nicer couches we've seen while
"random"ing ("Riordan Death March"ing))

Our superfriend The Nepster challenged our belief by offering us her "old" couch as she was getting a new one. Note I didn't say better. Sure, it's beautiful, but sorry Nepi! I had to wait until we got it safely home before telling you WE GOT THE BETTER COUCH! BWAH-HAHAHAHAHAHA!. Oh! And THANK YOU!!!

I seriously have to learn how to download pictures from my little ELPH so I can show you how incredibly comfy this couch is. It will absolutely oooooooooze comfy waves to you through your computer. I predict Shannon will be living out the rest of his days on this couch, so expect any pictures of him to show him there, labelled "Shannon on Couch" 1 - 190,987,013.

Gesucht and ye shall gefund. Or something like that.


Why else would I be up at 3:30AM?

I feel like I'm back in high school. We just got back from seeing the midnight viewing of Pirates of the Caribbean - Dead Man's Chest (Shannon and I took tomorrow off mainly so we could do this then sleep in). I'll admit, I wasn't expecting much. I thought the first movie was highly entertaining, and that this one would be silly and fun, but lacking in substance. Seeing as the movie was over 2 and 1/2 hours long and I wouldn't have minded it going another hour, I'd say it was pretty compelling after all. I was totally hooked, and Johnny Depp, even with a festering wound on his chin, was totally stunning.

I kept catching myself thinking that if this movie were shown after, say, Creature of the Black Lagoon (1954), the audience would have run screaming the effects were so amazing. My favorite parts of the movie involved the crew of the Flying Dutchman, including Bill Nighy as the captain, Davey Jones.

Oh, yeah - Keira Knightly and Orlando Bloom were in it, too. Ms Knightly was looking dangerously similar to BrittanySpearsJessicaSimpsonJLo in a few shots on the Black Pearl, but you be the judge:

I HIGHLY recommend this movie. It will remind you of all the things you loved about the movies when you were a kid - action, adventure, a great plot, excellent music, heroes, villians, and lots and lots of disgusting giant squid guts. (Johnny Depp manages to continue to look hot while covered in monster mucus, BTW).



What Line From a Song Has Been Running Through My Head All Freaking Morning:

"I remember when, I remember, I remember when I lost my mind
There was something so pleasant about that phase..."

-Gnarls Barkley

I honestly can't remember when I lost my mind, which makes me pretty darned certain it's really gone.

"Boys Are Smelly."

My husband proves to me on a daily basis that I have made no mistake in pegging him as THE ONE!!!, but on Saturday he confirmed that he has mastered that most tricky of marital trials:

Picking out the perfect gift without even the slightest of hints.

Mind you, he's an awesome gift giver, but I make it pretty darned easy when every time we pass, um, anything, I comment on it in the positive or negative. "Cute skirt!" "Nice shoes!" "I couldn't pull off that top." "I don't think the looks she's after is the look she's acheiving. I should tell her." Kind of a GlamorDosandDonts in action, but I don't really have that much fashion sense. If it's orange, it's awesome! If it's not, I evaluate it on a case-by-case basis.

Last weekend while I was out introducing my sister and her two teenagers to the Riordan Death March* Apparently feet are simply not used in Arizona (no air conditioning), so I heard a LOT of "ARE WE THERE YET??"'s and "I HAVE TO GO TO THE BATHROOM!!!!"'s and "You do this almost EVERY DAY?? Are we really related to you????"'s. I returned home to find that the better half of Shalene had made an excursion to the superhip Clark and Belmont area with The Rev, and had returned with a gift of sleepwear, not from Taboo Tabou or The Alley, but from The Sports Authority. It's a pair of pajama pants featuring an boy reminiscent of a Tim Burton character but much more lively. He's surrounded by fumes and wears an innocuous expression on his face, and sports the caption: "BOYS ARE SMELLY".

My husband has a gift for making me laugh, but I find these bottoms so amusing, not to mention comfy, I want to wear them everywhere. So I do.

Monday, having the day off while he worked, I did just that, albeit unintentionally. I mean, I didn't intend to go to Starbucks after dropping him at the El, it was just there (as Starbucks tends to be). I was pretty groggy when I ordered my skim mocha (yeah, I'm pretty convinced the skim milk counteracts the 15 pumps of chocolate they put in those things), so when the barrrrrEEEEEEEEEEstahhh (sp?) sniffed and said "WhatEVER. Girls have cooties." I was like "....What the...????" I caught on eventually and we had ourselves a good old fashioned (as in from back in the days when I was 7) drag down argument of whether it was more true that boys were smelly or that girls had cooties. I think I won when I started using my neice's "Are we there yet???" whine artfully mixed with her 15-year-old-talking-to-a-superold-aunt-in-her-30's "whatEVER."

My sister and her kids have counted up their collective blisters - 8. Jeez. When The Entity Known As Shalene first started dating I had that many on each foot. Wimps.

*A journey lasting a minimum of 6-miles round-trip, preferably in >85 degree weather, where the only source of transport is your own two feet.


No, no! Just one more call! I can handle it, I swear! *hic!*

My husband informed me upon my return home from work Friday that he will no longer talk to me on my cell phone while I drove home from work thanks to a tiny study done at the U of Utah.

The 40 participants were put through driving simulations 4 times: sober, w/out mobile phone, sober w/mobile phone, sober w/mobile phone via earpiece, and drunk (0.08 BAL) on vodka and OJ. The cell phone users, driving with or without hands-free headset - performed as poorly as the drunk subjects.

My promise to actually charge my Jabra before tossing it in my car - and my promise to actually use it - fell on deaf ears. My argument that I actually drove more slowly when on my mobile was a bit more persuasive as I tend to be pretty aggressive when I drive alone. I take on the persona of Inconsiderate Bastard Driver Gadfly. God help the SUV driving soccer mom who cuts me off on the Edens - I will track her down and follow her too closely for miles, coldly glaring at her from behind my orange-mirrored Oakleys until I can see the beads of sweat form on her brown in her rearview mirror. Or the 20-something testosterone drenched Camaro driving boy who tries to pass me on the shoulder, so help me I'll see him in the ditch before he gets ahead of ME!

Unless I'm on my cell phone.

I don't even clench my teeth when SUV Soccer Mom and Camaro Boy are jockeying for position 1/8 inch in front of my grill. I slow down, maybe move into the next lane to give them more space to resolve who's got the more bitchin' alpha engine while calmly discussing with my friend that "it certainly IS wrong that too-low-rise jeans, the ones that show off one's hip bones, only look good on girls under 18 or models who look like they're under 18! I mean, my GOD! What kind of message is that sending??? And what kind of perv is checking them out?? Thank GOD I don't have a daughter! I'll wait until the MuMu and baggy shirts are the hot styles for fall before considering having kids, blahblahblah orange...."

Anyway, my Jabra's charged, I'll just have to wait and see if he'll pick up. If not, beware the green Honda when you're driving erratically on the Edens...