Sunday, July 30, 2006

Cutest niece! Rockingest pig roast! Best July ever!

That incredibly cute niece I'm always carrying on about? Here's links to a few pictures.

Hangin' at the Acres
Girl About Town
Friday in Red Wing
the Pig Roast


Saturday, July 29, 2006

wuv, twu wuv

Yesterday's wedding of Sifu and his beloved was splendid for numerous reasons — the love, the friends, the celebrities, the food, the renewal of my faith in my art — but mostly for this:

Did you hear the one about the two antennas that got married?
The ceremony was nothing special.
But the reception was fantastic.

Monday, July 24, 2006

mmm, chewy

Did you know candy canes can get stale? It's true! I'm finishing off my Christmas stash this afternoon, and the dregs are downright chewy.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

a quart low

Dear Internet,

Please excuse Jugglernaut from posting anything coherent today. She donated blood this morning and is running a quart low.


The Bloodmobile

I’ve learned some important things today. Such as:

  • I am a positive role model of dental hygiene for CNE. Yay me! Geez, even her teeth are cute.
  • A box half-full of Styrofoam packing peanuts (what my Dad called ghost poo) can amuse a toddler and her aunt for a very long time.
  • I can copyedit with one hand while donating blood from the opposite arm.
  • Freelance MST3K-esque movie commentary is now downloadable, for a nominal fee, online at www.Rifftrax.com. The site is still in beta test, but I’m going to try it. The first movie to get riffed is Roadhouse, “starring Patrick Swayze at his most shirtless,” according to the blurb. What could be a higher recommendation? I’m on it!
  • If you remain dateless long enough, dating services will proactively call you. I’ll explain next week if you can stand the suspense.
  • If you ignore work projects long enough, some of them will actually go away.
  • Speaking of going away, my weekend begins at 4:30 today and will be largely devoted to the hog roast and CNE. Try to struggle on without me.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

today's topics

Today’s topics:

  • Cuteness. My niece is cuter today than she was yesterday, and that’s some serious cuteness. You all are just going to have to stop by my house sometime and see the photos. I have photos of her blowing bubbles, patting the kitty, playing at the playground, clowning in the bathtub, lounging with me in the hammock, balancing on the big blue ball, having a tea party, sleeping . . . and the week is only half over.

    The new nickname bestowed upon me by CNE is Duckie. It’s sort of “Auntie,” but I think it’s also a reference to the plethora of rubber ducks in my bathroom. I don’t mind being Duckie at all — but Grandma isn’t really thrilled about being called Gaggie.

  • Integrity. I’m referring here to the definition that reads steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code, i.e. doing what you said you’d do when you said you’d do it. Taking responsibility for your words and actions. Elementary, right?

    Apparently not. There’s been a lot of discussion about integrity, and lack thereof, around the office lately. Do other people find this to be a problem?

    Moreover, a few years ago, I spent a wretched long weekend in a Landmark Forum ( Remind me to go off on this some other time.) that was basically three solid days of trying to pound this apparently alien concept into adult Americans’ heads. I was horrified by the number of people who absolutely do not understand what it means to keep one’s word. People! It’s not that hard!

  • www.bloglines.com. A rerun, but one that bears repeating. This RSS aggregator is a great way to keep up with new posts on numerous kinds of websites, including many blogs, news feeds, podcasts and some message boards.

  • Doydus. What does this word mean? What do you think it means?

Monday, July 17, 2006


The Cutest Niece Ever and her parents arrived late Saturday night (a change of plans from arriving late tonight, for which I am grateful). I could use up all the bandwidth on the ‘net enthusing about how adorable and funny and smart and sweet this little girl is. She’s the apple of this doting auntie’s eye. *Sigh.* I don’t feel comfortable posting images of her for the entire www to see, but next time you bump into me, ask to see photos. I’ll have plenty.

While CNE and her parents were out visiting yesterday, Mom and I went to The Devil Wears Prada. It was quite all right. The script’s in-your-face avoidance of subtlety made me think the target audience was tweens and teens, like star Anne Hathaway’s Princess Diaries. The story carries a very “Stand up for yourself and your dreams, girl!” message. And that’s cool by me. Girls and women can never hear too often that’s it’s okay not to be a doormat — to, in fact, both possess and use a spine of one’s own.

However, I’m afraid many of the movie’s charms were lost on me, as I am congenitally fashion-impaired. I imagine that me watching a movie set in the world of haute couture is a lot like my non-martial arts friends sitting through kung fu flicks with me. (I couldn’t guess the difference between Prada and Channel if you paid me, but if you want to discuss the iconic differences between pa kua and hsing-i in The One, I’m your chick.) Which is not to say that I didn’t enjoy seeing pretty people in pretty clothes. I always do. I just wish I’d had an interpreter along. Perhaps the DVD extras can help me out.

As for Meryl Streep: She rocks. Always. Her ball-busting Devil character is the complete opposite of her down-home, Keillor-loving folk singer in A Prairie Home Companion.

And I want her Devil hair. Yes, friends, it’s a true sign of aging when you skip over the young heroine’s string-straight locks (been there, done that, called it adolescence) to the coiffure of a woman of a certain age. So very chic. So very executive. This, of all parts of the movie, may actually be within my grasp.

But the best part of the movie was the location: New York City. It was fun, when certain landmarks appeared onscreen, to poke my mother’s shoulder and whisper, “I saw that when I was there in May.” Thanks, Laura!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

tea for two

Until the Cutest Niece Ever arrives later tonight, I'm hanging with these guys. Then we're going to tea party like it's 1999.

Those in the know will realize that CNE's new tea set bears a striking resemblance to Auntie's good china. It's amazing what you can find at Ikea.


Friday, July 14, 2006

'taint the season

It's 95 degrees outside -- but it's always Christmas in the mall.


Thursday, July 13, 2006

first time

Remember your first time?

Remember your shaking hands? Your fumbling touch? Your nervous giggle?

Remember worrying about how your body felt to your partner, wondering if you smelled okay? Were you sweating too much? Remember easing slowly closer? Saying oops, backing off, trying again?

Remember getting the hang of it then? The grunt of satisfaction when it all fit just right, the pride in making your partner respond. The sweet rush of actually pulling it off. The desire to do it again right away.

Remember your first?

Yeah. Hand-to-hand self-defense drills. Good times.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

the circle of life

I'm sitting at my new patio table, feet propped, trashy detective novel open, soaking up the evening's warmth. Behind me, I hear the jing-jingling of Warren Peace's collar bell and tag as he returns to the yard. It's a reassuring sound: my kitty is coming home safe in the twilight.

As he gets closer, I hear him mrrowing in that throaty, muffled way that says, "Behold! The mighty hunter brings meat to the pride!" Resignedly I turn around, and sure enough, he's jogging toward me with head held high, a young rabbit dangling from his jaws. He has it by the stomach, so the head and tail dangle toward the ground to form a final frown.

While Warren looks for a place to deposit his kill, I duck back inside for a shroud. I emerge with a plastic grocery bag over my hand like a glove. I join Warren as he displays the rabbit to my other cat, Sprite. It appears to be well and truly dead, for which I give thanks, as this is not always the case. Praising the cat to distract him, I ease between him and his prize.

I grasp the rabbit's foot, no symbol of luck now, between my slippery thumb and forefinger. The body is still warm, the skin sliding loose on the skeleton. I feel rather than hear the crinch of small bones breaking as I lift the body at an unnatural angle. I pull the plastic down, like husking corn in reverse, until its handles flap around around the rabbit's ears. When the rabbit is completely covered and my hand is not, I tie the loose handles together.

I conduct a brief and silent funeral at the garbage can and wonder where this places me in the food chain.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

paper or plastic?

Query of the Day: Paper or plastic?

I know I should choose paper because it's biodegradable, but I take plastic almost every time. Why? Because I use plastic shopping bags to throw out the filled receptacles from my cats' self-scooping litter box. Paper just doesn't stand up to the moisture.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

truth, justice, and the American way

Superman Returns. I caught the matinee yesterday. Overall I enjoyed it. However, it left me bemused on a few counts, not least of which were:

What could Supe possibly see in Lois Lane? She is 100% personality-free, literally nothing but a stick figure in this chapter of the story. I don't know if that's Kate Bosworth's fault or the screenwriters'. But she's definitely lacking the compelling depth of, say, Spiderman's Mary Jane.

Also, her little boy's hair? Needs a wash and a cut, stat! You can't tell me a prig like Lois Lane would not have her darling boy barbered every two weeks come rain or shine. Seriously. The sooner Hollywood gets over this "exceptionally bad hair = adorable child" fetish, the better. Gag me.

And wasn't Lois's boyfriend Richard played by Cyclops from X-men? And did anyone besides me read actor James Marsden's name in print and, wishfully, see James Marsters instead?

And why didn't any of Lex Luthor's henchmen speak a word, especially the very interesting Kal Penn? It's not like there was no budget here to pay actors. They got Kevin frickin' Spacey, for heck's sake. They could have slipped Kal a few bucks to be as slyly funny as he was when he starred in Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle.

And Supe stalking Lois home and using his x-ray vision to spy on her family? Just plain creepy, and out of step with the Man of Steel's moral code.

Anyway. Brandon Routh, as the new Superman, delivers exactly what's needed here, which is a damn good Christopher Reeve impersonation. He does a fine job and looks swell doing it. Routh should have a lock on the role for as long as he can fill out those tights.

Visually, this movie has it all: a handsome hero, excellent production design and top-notch special effects. The action sequences are also good, if a little too choppily edited for my taste. Music: grand, and the "Chopsticks" scene is unsettling.

Story-wise, it's also pretty rich, with plenty of juicy Supe-as-Jesus imagery to chew on. Don't worry, you won't exactly have to dig for it. Just picture Superman, spent with the effort of hoisting an enormous chunk of rock into space to save humanity, falling back toward Earth, feet together, arms spread. And don't forget the blood on his hands and the stab wound in his side.

But the tone? The tone is off. The Supe/Lois scenes are all about twice as long as they need to be. He's believable as a brooding, multidimensional hero, while she's just . . . flat. I'm not buying the relationship between them, so it's a yawn to watch them on the screen together. And that's too bad, since their relationship is the foundation of the entire movie.

Anyway. Overall grade: 1.5 thumbs up. Good matinee fare. It's nearly a full 2 hours long, so plan your soda consumption accordingly.


daily bread

Query of the day:

White or wheat?

I prefer white bread, like all children of the 70s do, but I almost always choose wheat because it's allegedly more healthy. It's generally not much different from white, as we all know; brown bread is simply white bread with a tan. But I still eat it so I can pretend I'm eating health food.