Friday, March 30, 2007

Updating your template is not blogging

The Blog Muse has gone on Spring Break. I was afraid it was me who had, but rounds of my immediate blog-world tell me the same. There's been a dry spell. I just updated my links to the left, and only to remove some, which I realize is not blogging. And don't I know you have precious time to kill?

It is 11pm and I am not in bed in spite of being wicked tired and a little over-extended. I don't even have time to write to you, so here's the run down of what's happened over the last 2 weeks. [I had to bring up Outlook to do it]

Down-the-mill, things have gotten completely ridiculous. Which is saying something. I have been wanting to write about the office cake, but there is nothing to say Elaine Benes didn't already say. I also have a Finishing School essay simmering, whose working title is "How I Went All Bartleby on the Boss's Ass." But I have mostly been avoiding him. (This is Big Sweaty) I had to attend his morning staff meeting today because my own Boss was out, and this was 8:30 in the morning, which wouldn't be hard if I hadn't been driving down from Rockport in last night's clothes.

I'll pause here so you can have a chance to think I might be interesting for a minute.

I was doing my taxes at some friends' house (because that is how we roll, son). I will blog about the mill on the mill's own property, but they don't get the upload of my tax info. We - the Rockport posse and I - will now refer to it as Diesel Tax. After arriving at 7, and enjoying a lovely pasta dinner (spinster lady well-fed by friends) and only 1 glass of wine, because no, really, I can't stay tonight... we started loading the software at 9. At 10:15, 1 hand of gin and 1 hand of rummy later, I managed to start. "Time me!" I said. Then, "and make my bed and pour me some more wine!"

Things I could not declare:
The Straddle - "not this year, anyway," I quipped, with wiggling eyebrows and air cigar.

Alcohol as Fuel - "Hell yes," said Sam, "Keeps me going every day."

Affected by Katrina - though it was very sad.

I was done in under an hour. My tax form is as dull as my medical intake. "No." "No." "Noooo..." "Ew. Really? No." Collapsed in bed. Up at 5:30, on the road at 6, driving PAST the mill at 7:15... Home. Changed. Back into the office by 8:20am. He likes you to be IN the room. All the better to splash you with.

This was just another night away from home, or as I now think of it... the hamper.

I was out of state visiting the goddaughter, who may not now, in the eyes of our LORD actually be my goddaughter. The 1st Church of the Sincere Pumpkin Patch where her parents attend church is notoriously disorganized (from last Sunday's pulpit announcements - "the yard sale will NOT be held next weekend." Seems someone forgot to advertise it). On a whim, the church leaders asked my baby's parents if they wanted to have the dedication such-and-such a week, since the grandmother was in town, and being raised a Baptist, my baby's mother thought this must be something else besides a christening, and heck if I know myself, but I don't live there.

The next thing she knew, everyone was sanctified.

She bravely confessed this had happened without me before we left the restaurant for home, in case I should smell the scent of some other christian woman on my precious lamb's head. This was after I had already fallen down in the parking lot of the restaurant. So it was all balancing out.

People are moving away, and more of you will be depending on better updates than these to keep you informed about what goes on in this corner of the universe. I can plant secret messages if required.

I must get to bed. Another early drive in the morning. Tomorrow is up to visit Dr A. and JB for some of the academic infusion, and NH sugaring. No one will finish this laundry when I am gone. I think new neighbors are moving in this month. Look forward to hearing more about that -- not that there is ever anything to write about the neighbors here. We enter and exit through our garages.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Online advertising...

...kind of a crap shoot.

Check out this unfortunate editorial juxtapositioning.
ok..not any angle.

Refresh the page, and watch it get worse.

Feel free to stretch out. We moved the dead woman.

I guess nothing looks good next to that headline.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Another Snow Holiday

Somewhere right now in Massachusetts, a woman is wearing a lapel pin just like this...
Last time we had a snowfall, I was goofing through a work-at-home day by blogging about Valentine's Day. And here we are again. It is, to be fair, my "lunch hour," and I must stop in the middle of yet another ACTION LOG (let's start a comic book called ACTION LOG LEAGUE) to watch the snow fall and wish this were not a work day.

The spring Nor'easter really has a fierceness all its own. I just dashed to the mailbox without the proper 4 layers and truly regretted that. Fortunately it is not far. And there are buffalo tenders in the oven. I have a conference call at 1pm or there would also be something frothy in the blender. Perhaps even green and frothy.

I am not a fan of St Patrick's Day. Certainly you know I am not a fan of most holidays, as obligatory fun gives me the willies. Required colors just make that worse. Here is your user's guide to the heart o' St Patty's country.

The St Patrick's Day breakfast: Massachusetts pols have 2 big breakfasts: MLK and St Pat's. And you don't want to get these confused, because the former is reverent and respectful, and the latter...not so much. Especially when your governor is Deval Patrick. But O-be-garsh-n-girlie, to have a governor named Patrick at the St Patrick's Day breakfast, which is a Dean Martin meets Don Rickles meets your Uncle Sully so biting that this year they had to publicly state the rule that jokes about the First Lady's clinical depression is off-limits.

The St Patrick's Day parade: There are several, of course. This should be spelled THE St Patrick's Day parade - the Southie parade, mysteriously held this year last weekend, as if someone knew this one would be a bust. Perhaps the weeeeeeee folk had a hand in it. [this whole conceit is much funnier if you could hear my O'Shaughnessy-Shaughnessy brogue] Anyway, here's 2 minutes o' daht.

Oh, we're sooo proud. [Shout-out to Emerson College]

The Irish Singalong: This is mostly for the tourists, but the regulars certainly will sing along to the Shins and the Dropkick Murphys (Murphies?) and the Floggin Mollies, and god bless Jim Plunkett. The Purple Shamrock one, not the Oakland Raiders one.

Click here for the whole damn unicorn song. And don't blame me if you can't get it out of your head.

Boiled Dinnah: ew...ew...ew. You have to be so wet-sweater rain-soaked "it's a fine soft day" Irish, so New England you say "b'day-da," to even eat boiled dinner, and if you say you like it, you're a liar (YOU aa'!), you just say so because your mother worked all day on it and she's a saint, and she only did because it's the only thing her poor old fathah can enjoy anymore, and frankly...he's lying too.

Evacuation Day: So yes, St Patrick's is actually a State Holiday. Not because of the snakes, or even the pols, but because Washington scared the British out of Boston from the top of a hill in -- where? -- South Boston, so it all does fit together nicely. And the banks are closed, so drink up, laddie.

Leprechaun Roundup: This is strictly the folly of my own town, where town leadership honors those who give service to town interests by naming them into the Leprechaun Society. Quite an honor, actually.

That is not one. [smoking does indeed stunt your growth] He and other children have been enlisted to round-up the wee folk in the town square and escort them into the Hall for the ceremony. This is difficult, see, because they are so wee the' can'na be seen by nay but chil'ren. [that might be scottish] It took some doing to drawn in a picture of this, but you are worth it. And I stole it off someone else's page, so let's see how long that lasts.

The yellow rope is the corral that holds the wee folk in. Nah, ya can'na see 'em, ya doomb bastid. They're weeeee.

As I was writing this, Pete Malloy, my authority on these things, sent this. That ought to hold you till the sun comes out.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Where the Boys are

My newly-single friend asked, "Where am I supposed to meet men, anyway?"

I said, "Well I can tell you, but you'll have to get up early."

The bachelors get up early -- even the young ones -- and take care of their tasks in a mostly bachelor world. I know it because I do too, and for the same reasons they do -- to get it done before the families and children are underfoot. (This is not a shot across the family bow. We love you, really, but even you will admit you are not the most efficient unit on the field.)

So stop sleeping in, single gal. Take your nap during the game, like the bachelors do, and get out there.

Dunkin Donuts - The men who go to Starbucks are meeting each other. Sorry to tell you. Boys who like girls do not spend money on themselves. This is why women buy their clothes and vegetables. Expensive coffee will be your idea after you land one. See also diners, below.

Laundromats - Before 10am on a Saturday, everyone in the laundromat is a single man. Except me, and I finally got a washing machine. On Sundays, you generally have until the after-church crowd. After-church laundry people have 5 children a piece. The rules of the laundry are also different at this hour, and Man Law says it is ok for you to use multiple machines at once as long as there are enough to go around.

Car Wash - Cleaning is a great morning activity, and the wash stalls are also men-only before breakfast. This enclave is not exclusively muscle cars and pick-ups, but mostly. Car Washing and laundry also do not take place on the same day. That would smack of housework, rather than just doing what you feel like. The married men are here too, and washing a car is a great reason to not wear a ring, so proceed with caution. Married men never do the laundry; they tell their wives they are going to the hardware. Which bring us to...

Home Depot - natch. Early morning Home Depot are the real contractors and they are on the job, so you won't get much out of them. It's more like a catalog to shop from. By 10am, the female couples arrive, having finished their pancakes.

Diners - They eat at the counter, all the better to chat the waitress, unless they are in groups, in which case they prefer the booth. No one can talk in a line, and you can't all compete for the waitress in that array.

the Tire Store - frightfully dull, but they do love the tire place. Go into a Bridgestone 8:30 on a Saturday and the vinyl sofa is full. I don't even think most of them are buying anything. It's the new general store.

Car Dealership - The men who go to the car dealership rather than a local mechanic know less about their cars, and they can't fiddle around in the bay with Eddie while he does his job, so they are a little bored and the coffee is bad. They are going to start a loud irritating cell phone call unless you talk to them.

Transfer station - You'll catch the divorced dads here, on the hilarious errand of taking their kids to the dump. A married man never makes it to the dump, until he is 60 when it becomes his new tire store; and a true bachelor doesn't care about recycling unless he volunteers there handing out "Get out of Iraq" pamphlets (in which case, he is a viable prospect). But weekend dads need all the entertainment they can get. And Cute Dads can be an older girl's weakness.

Yawkey Way - Need 'em-need 'em-got 'em On a game day, you're just waiting for the guys who aren't going to get in, unless you feel brave enough to throw in your cash and get 2 together. Off days, the pre-dawn line is Mantown. Dress warmly; it will be winter. And you'd better know your baseball, because that's all you'll talk about. For hours.

Glamorous? no. I never said it was.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Shameless Plug

I've been meaning to write to plug a book that was recently on the Nightstand list (see left) but has since been replaced by something else (oh... a corporate biography about chocolate it appears).

I don't usually write much about what I'm reading, since the truth is I do prefer reading to writing, (and movies to either). And I read a lot of other people's personal reviews without ever acting on them. But one should plug books by writers they know personally, and this slim memoir holds a special place in my heart.

Rob Sheffield, critic, commentator, observer of popular culture, presents a Love Story-ish valentine to his first wife, and a sweet/sad remembrance of their brief young marriage and a relationship that has never waned. I had the amazing good fortune to know this couple, and was in fact in the wedding that kicked off the second act of their story.

[Amazon advises these related searches: Rob, please write back and explain!]

I had lost track of Rob some years ago. Honestly and plainly, he explained that he needed me to fade away with the things that were Renee's, and that we had no relationship without her in it. I've never begrudged him that. It was a loyalty to Renee and the weight of having witnessed their vows that nagged me into checking in on him. He let me off that hook, and as I now know, went on with his grief and his life. If you're wondering how long it takes to be able to express heartbreak... about 10 years.

This book kicked off a spate of grief books for me, I am afraid, and I will recommend them all:

The Year of Magical Thinking

A Cure For Dreams

The Wars

Read this book. Then go do something your spouse likes more than you do. And be grateful.

And Rob - you've googled yourself this far. Drop a line. My love to your bride.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Watch Now

or... one more way to beat the Throttle.

Guess what appeared recently on my tab selection: Watch Now -- an entree to streaming video, included with my membership, that works simultaneously with my queue.

That is to say, views selected to "Watch Now" are not deducted from my monthly allotment (the overt one we've agreed to or the covert one Netflix enforces in its limit setting).
In my workplace, they are fond of the word "decrement," as a verb, even though no such usage exists outside of this workplace. But that's not the story I'm telling.

How it works
For each dollar you are spending on Netflix per month, you are granted an hour's worth of online viewing from their available library of on-line titles.

Junk, though, right? Like Shirley Temple shorts?
This is not like the BOGO selection of frames at Lenscrafters, or the free literature on Librivox, but a decent selection of titles you would like to see and perhaps not like to wait for by the mailbox. Netflix will also show you titles available from your queue, and in my case, this included the eclectic range of "Funny Face," Korea's "Memories of Murder," a documentary about the Gardner Museum art heist, "Chinatown," and "Reality Bites."

Do the hours roll over if I don't use them?
No, but Netflix has figured out that they save on postage and overhead, (and ok, jobs etc) if they eventually get rid of the DVDs at all. 60 Minutes recently reported that Netflix is now the Postal Services single greatest customer. All without actually buying stamps.

Do I have to download something?
Yes, the Netflix movie viewer.

Is it spying on me?
Oh, probably. It will get bored with you, don't worry.

Do I have to be on line?
Yes, it is streaming video, not a download. This is no good for you travelling business types unless the internet connection is free. You may still want your wallet of DVDs for that.

I don't see this tab. What's up with that?
You have to be in the account owner's profile to see the tab. Those of you on secondary spousal accounts will have to hold on to the main password, and the system won't suggest films from a secondary profile's queue. So flick back and forth.

Thanks Netflix Guru! You've saved my viewing schedule again!
Anytime, citizen. Anytime.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Bono for President

I saw this happen live. You may not include the NAACP Image Awards in your spring must-see award roster. But you need to watch this whole thing. He goes from silly rock star to humanitarian to civil rights leader to revolutionary in under 10 minutes.

This is what we want to hear from a podium. Go Bono.