Thursday, July 31, 2008

dumb junk du jour

  • When’s the last time you awoke to the sensation of a tongue in your nostril? For me, it was 5:30 a.m. today. Presto was ready to play. Thanks, cat.
  • Does anyone out there use Twitter? I really don’t see what the big deal is. All explanations welcome.
  • The other day I watched an episode of ReGenesis on Hulu.com. It’s a TV show best described as House + Bones + 24. Key ingredients: obnoxious but brilliant protagonist, science-based prodecural, and time pressure, respectively. One ep was enough. It’s the obnoxious protagonist that puts me off. I know “love to hate ‘em” antiheroes are fairly popular, but when I watch TV, I don’t want to hate, I just want to be entertained. Hate is too much work. Well, I’m willing to hate a villain, but not a main character.
  • When I’m working on campus at the U in our bunker of an office space, my iPhone experiences a signifcant delay in synchronizing e-mail and picking up voice messages from the outside world.
  • I made a rare run through a McDonald’s drive-thru yesterday. Even though I know that smoking a pack of Ebola-laden cigarettes would probably be less unhealthy for me than eating an Extra Value Meal #3, I have to admit it tasted pretty good. Especially the fries. * Sigh * I hate it when that happens.
  • I just finished reading David Sedaris’s new book, When You Are Engulfed in Flames. You should read it, too, so I’d be happy to lend you my copy.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

when it rains, it pours

After a couple quiet weeks, the work floodgates are opening again. The magazine I used to work for needs some on-site help a couple days this week, and I’ve got a phone message waiting from another party interested in my resume. Plus, that new client I’ve been waiting on has sent me several informational documents in preparation for work to begin next week. So I guess vacation time is nearly over.

Last night I had a dream in which I kept receiving checks in the mail. I didn’t really want to wake up from that one. And then today I’ve found money in two different places. Granted, it was only a penny each time. But found money is found money. I think these incidents portend good things to come.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Sloth Day: partial success

Yesterday’s attempt at a Day of Sloth was only partially successful. I ended up having some work tasks to do after all. But I did manage to hang out at a bookstore and see a couple matinees before the work and enjoy reading after the work. So it was good.

So what did I think of the much-hyped Dark Knight? Mixed reaction. The Batman character doesn't do much for me: all dark and broody, period. The movie was very true to the comic book character as far as I know, not being a comic reader, so I guess it gets an A for accuracy. But the unrelenting dreariness gets, frankly, boring.

The Harvey Dent character had some interesting dimension, though. He set up the moral dilemma nicely. And the Joker was just plain scary. True insanity, true unpredictability, is truly terrifying. Well played by the late Heath Ledger. (And no, I still haven’t seen Brokeback Mountain. Why? Because I knew gay men existed as Real Live Human Beings even before the movie came out. [Came out—get it?])

Action and gadgets: also okay, but the action editing was too MTV-choppy for me to follow much of it. But Batman fights dirty. I like that in a dark knight. Sadly, we didn’t get to see much gadgetry. Too busy racing from one apocalypse to the next.

And speaking of all those apocalypses, the movie is about half an hour too long. Just a few emergencies, more fully realized, would have been more interesting to me.

And I HATED the way women were portrayed in this movie. HATED. There were only three of them in a cast of thousands, with about 12 seconds of screen time apiece, and they were all blubbering victims. Not cool. At all. This is the 21st century, for crying out loud. If we can handle gay cowboys, I think we’re almost ready for women with spines.

On screen Maggie Gyllenhaal, the normally gorgeous actress who played Rachel, looked awful, as though something had been sucking out her soul. Probably the hypocrisy of pretending this was a good role.

All things considered, Kung Fu Panda kicked Dark Knight's hiney. The story was easier to follow and the hero was much more inspiring—something ordinary people could actually aspire to be. Cinematically, KFP was the opposite of DK: bright and beautiful and hopeful.

I’ll buy KFP and watch it several times more, maybe with my niece. We’ll talk about how anyone can become a hero by using her own special talents, like Master Tigress and Master Viper—neither of whom sheds a single tear in the process of fighting evil and helping her friends. And we’ll dance to the soundtrack.


Monday, July 21, 2008

day of sloth

The recession, which once lived in a different city than me, has now become an impolite neighbor tossing its garbage over the fence into my yard. Two of my freelance clients have hit the economic skids and informed me this month that they won’t be sending me any more projects “for a while,” which I take to mean “ever.” That takes an uncomfortably large chunk out of my monthly income.

This came as no surprise, especially since one of those clients was an Internet start-up I never expected to stick around for long. The other client had me doing a regular project I found to be a pain in the butt, so I’m actually sort of grateful it’s off my plate.

And I remind myself that this fluctuation is all part of the freelance game, one of the tolls I pay for riding the freedom trail. Heck, a recession might even work in my favor if companies start outsourcing more tasks.

Still, the mortgage must be paid. So I went ahead and landed a new client last week—amazing how these things show up just when I need them; amen—and we’ll start trading labor for pay soon. If things go well, this client could nearly fill the financial gap left by the other two.

Plus I’ll begin teaching more T’ai Chi classes in September, so there’s a few bucks. And the client is already talking about booking classes for 2009.

I also have a bid in at the U to increase my hours by taking on a part-time tech support position in my department that will open up in mid-August. The guy who’s currently doing this job does it from off-site, which means I could, too. So let’s keep some fingers crossed for that.

Ideally, adding those responsibilities would increase my hours enough that I’d qualify for health benefits, too. Ideally, I say. My department manager is amenable to the idea, but she has to run it through the vast and lumbering bureaucratic channels all U employees know and love. My niece could well be enrolled at the school by the time an answer trickles down, so there will be no counting of unhatached chickens. But I’m hopeful.

In the meantime, I’m in a lull. One might almost say a doldrum. There’s nothing I have to do today. So I am declaring a Day of Sloth. Today I will not:

  • go to the gym
  • mow the lawn
  • clean the house
  • do laundry
  • go to T’ai Chi

Instead, I plan to spend the day reading In Odd We Trust (a graphic novel in Dean Koontz’s Odd Thomas series lent to me by Sister-san) and going to matinees. Yes, I plan to actually see movies in a theater! Can’t recall the last time I did that. Right now Dark Knight and Kung Fu Panda are on my agenda, so I’m sure to get plenty of fight-scene action despite skipping my own martial arts class.

When I tire of those exertions, I will catch up on watching Burn Notice on Hulu.com, and if my brain hasn’t fallen out yet, I might even try an episode of The Fall Guy.

But I will not perform work, and I will do my best not to think about work. And I’m tossing that recession trash right back over the fence.


Sunday, July 20, 2008

not another cat photo!

I've been chided lately for posting only cat pictures to my blog. To prove I'm not quite a crazy cat lady yet, please view these pix of some equally cute two-footed creatures who came to visit Sensational Acres this weekend.

Link to photo album: http://picasaweb.google.com/Jugglernaut1/BrownsVisit72008


Friday, July 18, 2008


Presto has refined literary tastes.


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

New toys! Close encounters!

Mom sent Presto a new toy that dangles from the doorjamb. He's having the time of his life. Sprite, so far, has managed to resist the allure.


ready to play

It's hard to take a good flash picture of Presto because he shuts his eyes when the anti-redeye blinky light comes on. Here, it just makes him look nearsighted.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008


The camera loves Presto, and Presto loves the camera.


Monday, July 14, 2008

clean bill of health

Presto had his first vet visit today and came home with a clean bill of health.

He's about six months old, the vet said, so my estimate of three months was way off. He's old enough to be neutered and will have that done next month. His teeth, ears, and coat look great. He tested negative for FIV and feline leukemia.

Most important, though, Presto is chipless. I held my breath while the tech scanned him for a microchip that would indicate someone had already claimed him, afraid I'd have to return him to his first home. But no chip was found. He'll get one when he goes in for neutering so if he's ever lost, he can be returned to me.

Presto hated the car ride to and from the vet, but did fine while he was there. He charmed the staff with friendly head bumps and did not scratch, bite, or poo on anyone. It was a good way to start the week.


Wednesday, July 09, 2008


Here's Presto! with one of his favorite toys. He actually likes the
bare end of the stick better, especially when it disappears under the

Monday, July 07, 2008

Presto says hi!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

kitty seems happy

My new kitty has a cheery disposition and already knows how to flirt and cuddle. He appears to be laughing and smiling in these photos. That's Sprite's toy he's playing with. She does NOT appreciate him being here.

I'm thinking of calling him Presto! because he appeared in my life as if by magic. Also, he's wearing a tuxedo like a magician on stage. What do you think?



Oops. I accidentally adopted a kitten last night.

My friend Lisa called to tell me that some neighbors had been feeding a handsome stray, but it was time for him to find a forever home or go to the Humane Society. She invited me over to meet him, and he came home with me. I hadn't intended to adopt a new kitty for several months yet, but there this guy was, ready to pounce and play and purr in my lap. What could I do?

Sprite is not happy about the new arrival, but I hope she will remember that she's still the boss of the house.

Meanwhile, I need to figure out what the new guy's name is.