Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sack o' Potatoes

I think I've written once or twice about my Las Vegas uncle and his child bride. He's my mom's elder brother, and will turn 62 in June. He is a survivor of the Vietnam war and a recent brawl with prostate cancer, and a dentist who specializes in doing work on and for the elderly. His diet is maniacally healthy, his main sources of exercise are regular walking and tango dancing, and he takes enormous pleasure in using "shocking" language and wearing garish shirts that appear to be imported from a Hawaiian tailor with dreams of outfitting the mafia. Basically, my uncles is a nice old guy who despite his basic goodness enjoys acting like an asshole.

His wife of several years is not yet 30, and a year older than my cousin Z, my uncle's up-to-this-point only child. See, when my uncle discovered he had cancer, he and his wife (who really is a very nice person, and who plainly loves my uncle very much--something I find confounding, but comforting) decided to take steps to ensure that no matter what might happen with his cancer, they could still have a baby if they one day felt it was right for them.

Fast-forward a year or two, when my uncle nearly choked to death swallowing one of his post-cancer horse pills, and his wife collapsed next to him on the kitchen floor realized tearfully that she wanted very much to have his child, to have something left of him in the likely event that he dies before she does.

He assented, and thanks to the wonders of medicine and technology, my newest first cousin was born--fully 25 years after my last first cousin. The Boy finds it hilarious that I have a cousin who's 40 years my junior, and I have to agree. The baby was born premature, weighing only three pounds, but healthy and gaining weight by the hour. She'll be able to leave the hospital in a month, and her parents are ecstatic. My mom is dubious about the event, feeling that her brother was irresponsible to give life to a child he won't see grow up, but had to admit I was right when I reminded her that no father can ever guarantee that he'll live to see his child grow up.

I'm happy for them, and am knitting a baby cocoon and hat combo for the wee thing. The yarn is a much nicer cotton than I normally knit with, silky soft, and I love the colors. As it's knitting up, though, I've noticed that while the word cocoon sounds lovely and snugly and made for swaddling, I am essentially knitting a sack to stuff a baby in. Congratulations on your tiny miracle--here's a bag you can shove her into! Mazel tov!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Strange Things Afoot at the Circle K

Remember how I said I was so in love with the Ninth Doctor? Well . . . that's kind of over. He's now someone I look back on fondly, like an old flame. David Tennant, however, has lodged himself into my head and heart as the Best Doctor Ever, and is now on my list of Secret Boyfriends, ahead of James Marsters, David Sedaris, and Alan Bennett. He's running neck and neck with Nathan Fillion, in fact, and would be a clear first if it weren't for the fact that the Fillion character I love so much is HUMAN, and therefore more accessible to me than Tennant's Time Lord. Yes, that's how these things get decided. Shut up.

I'm through the fourth season of Doctor Who, and now I have the series of specials to watch. I have decided that I won't be watching Season 6, as I don't like the looks of the kid who plays the Eleventh Doctor. He's too young, for one thing, and much too smirk-y, and he just rubs me the wrong way. I'll happily read about what happens, but I don't think I'll be watching.


These two photos are of a single full-page ad in my local newspaper:
What an opportunity for romance! You GO, Denny's! You go! Can't you just feel the romance? Can't you hear Barry White in the background? Don't forget the coupon!


I took this photo at the grocery store yesterday, as The Boy and I were standing in line at the deli counter. I noticed it first and pointed it out, and we both reached for our phones at the same time, to take a picture:

These were lovingly made with a label maker, and pasted carefully onto the handle of this shopping cart. Why? Some kind of public service announcement? I don't have a girl, so I couldn't punch her even if I did smoke weed. And where was Jerry Stone? Was he hiding amongst the produce? Was he spying on us? Or was the message meant for The Boy and me especially? My sister and ex-husband both shop at the same supermarket--maybe one of them was trying to tell us something? Or was it a secret code, meant to lead us to untold riches hidden behind the toilet paper?

The world may never know.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Lucy Locket Lost Her Pocket

And I found it! My old wallet--I think I'd had it for five or six years--finally fell apart, and had to be replaced. Look how cute this new one is! It's the same size as my old one, which was important to me, because it fits in my pocket so I can go out without a purse if I need to, and it makes me happy whenever I see or touch it.

In other, non-wallet news, I went to Barnes & Noble today and came back with Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People, because I love Amy Sedaris and her completely wackadoo way of looking at things, and Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, which jumped off the shelf at me. I couldn't think of why at first, but it's because BableBabe is reading it.

Both books and the wallet were paid for with gift cards I've been holding on to since Christmas, which means I got to go on a mini shopping spree without spending much money at all. Merry Christmas to me!

Conspicuous consumption aside, I don't have much going on these days. I've started watching the recent (2005, Ninth Doctor) run of Doctor Who on Netflix, and I'm really enjoying it (thanks, P!). The Doctor from the first series is wonderful and brilliant and fierce and dorky all at the same time, Rose is smart and brave and feisty but far from perfect, and the stories are fun and very well told. I'm well into the second series, and while it's kind of fun to see The Doctor played by the adorable (and I really do mean adorable) David Tennant, I haven't developed the love for him I have for his predecessor. P assures me this will change, and the show is so much fun that I'm happy to wait.

An incidental Doctor Who character I've really enjoyed (Harriet Jones, former back bencher MP for Flydale North and current Prime Minister) just showed up on Downton Abbey, which my friend K recommended and which I've been loving. Click the link, and you'll know immediately whether it's your cup of tea. If it is, you'll love it.

It seems I would consume no media unrelated to football, The Boy, or Joss Whedon if it weren't for the recommendations of my friends. I'm lucky they have such good taste.

Other than reading and watching endless good television, I've been writing a lot. The success of NaNoWriMo has given me the confidence to start another book, and . . . this one actually seems to be going somewhere. It's not pouring out of me at the breakneck pace of the NaNo book, but it's coming. And it's a hell of a lot more readable and interesting, let me tell you. Fingers crossed that I can keep up with it--because for me, it's all about having the discipline to sit down at the computer and work on it everyday. It's HARD. I'm LAZY. But this is important to me, so I think I can handle it.

Cross your fingers for me!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Stuff & Nonsense

I don't quite understand The Guardian Project. Is Stan Lee a big hockey fan? And while the guardians that I've seen look pretty cool, the Penguin turns me off because I never liked Cyclops from X-Men. How Jean Gray could prefer him to Wolverine always baffled me.

More important than my feelings for the Penguin, however, is my curiosity over some of the other teams' guardians. I mean, how tough can a Toronto Maple Leaf be made to look? Or a Blue Jacket? Or a Senator? Or a Duck? Or a . . . Blue? I suppose the Blue could be a bad-ass blues guy, with Dealt with the Devil-type powers. Or something. I dunno.


Example #4,589,628 of The Boy making me proud: He was the only kid in his Spanish class who knew what a pince nez is, and how to pronounce and spell it. I'm pretty sure this has to do with our listening to Jim Dale read the Harry Potter books, because I think that's how I learned how to pronounce it.


Oh! Happy New Year! It sounds weird to say that, since all the holiday stuff feels so long gone, but the year is only eleven days old, after all.

I will be 40 in six days. It sounds kind of weird to say *that*, too, but whatever. Maybe I'll finally start feeling like a grown woman? Maybe I'll wake up on Monday with a mad desire to wear pumps and lipstick? Time will tell.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Silly Ladies, with their Cute Little Hoop Dreams

I am not a basketball fan. I can appreciate the grace and athleticism required to play the sport well, but I’m content to just admire the players via Sports Center highlights. Maybe it’s because Pittsburgh never had an NBA team, or maybe it’s because I don’t like to hear rubber-soled shoes squeak on a gym floor. Maybe it’s because the idea of having sweaty, barely-clothed strangers getting into my personal space is a total turn-off, but whatever the reason, basketball just isn’t for me.

That said, I’m happy for the UConn Huskies women’s team, who now hold the longest winning streak in NCAA basketball history. That freaking rocks! Records are fun and interesting, pretty much regardless of circumstances, and winning 89 games of anything in a row is impressive, to say the least. The whole thing to me seemed to be a nice story. I was pleased to see a women’s team getting national attention, and pleased that my fourteen-year-old son knows and cares who Maya Moore is, even though we aren’t a UConn or basketball household. Up until yesterday, I was under the impression that the situation said a lot about the positive state of women’s sports in general.

That all went out the window when I turned on my local sports-talk radio station after work and heard the afternoon drive team arguing over whether a decent high school boys’ team would be able to kick the UConn women’s collective ass. What brought this on? From what I could pieve together from the discussions on the radio, it seemed the Huskies’ coach had made some kind of crazy remarks the other night—before the record had been broken—and people were just furious.

I like a good scandal as much as the next loser, so I couldn’t wait to hear what Auriemma, the coach, had said. Did he say that . . . what? That John Wooden’s mother wore combat boots? (The late Wooden was a beloved basketball coach whose UCLA men’s team formerly held the record.) I couldn’t even think of something scandalous enough to have merited so much ire.

Here’s what he said (copied and pasted from Sports Illustrated's website):

"I just know there wouldn't be this many people in the room if we were chasing a woman's record," he said. "The reason everybody is having a heart attack the last four or five days is a bunch of women are threatening to break a men's record, and everybody is all up in arms about it.
"All the women are happy as hell and they can't wait to come in here and ask questions. All the guys that loved women's basketball are all excited, and all the miserable bastards that follow men's basketball and don't want us to break the record are all here because they're pissed. That's just the way it is.
"Because we're breaking a men's record, we've got a lot of people paying attention. If we were breaking a women's record, everybody would go, 'Aren't those girls nice, let's give them two paragraphs in USA Today, give them one line on the bottom of ESPN and then let's send them back where they belong, in the kitchen.'"

Now, okay, maybe he could have left out the ‘miserable bastards’ comment, but beyond that, what’s the problem?

I don't see why everyone is so angry about this. Is it because people feel guilty for not caring about women's sports, and the guilt makes them defensive and inclined to lash out? Or is it because some people are petty enough that they're truly upset about women breaking a record set by men and they have to be disparaging?

This is from a local sports guy's blog:

The UCON women’s basketball team is about to break the UCLA men’s record of 88 straight wins.

You would have trouble filling a Prius with the men (other than those related to the players and/or coaches) who care.

He was on the radio this morning, and he said something like, "Even if I were in prison, and in solitary confinement, and the warden said I could come up to the prison lobby to watch a WNBA game on TV, I'd pass." Really? And the guys from the radio--both the hosts and the callers kept trying to just tear down the women, talking about how even though the team might have incredible fundamentals and shooting skills, any decent male team--even a middle school team--could beat them because men are bigger and stronger. This may or may not be true, but WHAT DOES IT MATTER? How is that valid in discussing their accomplishment and the coverage of it? How is that anything more than mean spirited?

Some of the guys this morning were talking about how nobody cares about women's basketball, and the only reason it gets televised as much as it does is because of Title IX, anyway. (He was like a little kid in detention, kicking the ground and mumbling about, "Stupid teachers, always making us have stupid homework. It's not fair.") And I may be wrong on this, but I'm pretty sure Title IX doesn't have anything to do with what ESPN, ESPN2, or ESPNU, etc. puts on their air.

Sigh. Just when you think something nice is happening in the world of women's sports, which is a nice thing for women everywhere, whether they like sports or not, guys have to find some way to tear it down.

Oh, the plight of the poor, disenfranchised, white middle class male. No wonder they're so insecure!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Secret Agent Super Random

I've been on a Mystery Science Theater kick since Netflix came up with a slew of them to watch instantly, and I can't get the Secret Agent Super Dragon song out of my head.

The Boy turned 14 yesterday. He received his favorite dinner (chicken nuggets and fries from McDonald's) and red velvet cupcakes, as well as some cash, gift cards, a tremendous piece of luggage, and Cuponk, which he freaking LOVES. I have to admit it's pretty fun, and kind of addicting.

If you get a chance and can watch this year's Family Guy Christmas Special, please do. FOX has evidently lost all control over Seth MacFarlane, and just lets him work out his emotional issues during Animation Domination. Have you ever seen the creepy Invader Zim Christmas Special? Here's my favorite bit:

The Family Guy special makes this one look like an episode of Barney.

I can see Paradise by the dashboard light.

I should be knitting my mother's Christmas afghan, but I don't WANNA. I don't FEEL like knitting. Whine! I feel like going to bed at 9:00.

Speaking of being an old lady who wants to go to bed at 9:00, yesterday I sat in a seminar learning to be a notary, and when I pulled my knitting (the dreaded afghan) out of my bag, out fell some hard tack candy. BECAUSE I AM 90. In my defense, the hard tack is a tasty and wonderful gift a co-worker's mother makes every year, which I'd been carrying with me because the cinnamon and wintergreen flavors are especially kind when my stomach gives me trouble. But still: Notary training (which means I'll have my very own embosser soon), knitting, and hard tack. I might as well have been wearing Depends and a wig.

Steven Page, one of the former front men of the Barenaked Ladies and one of my secret boyfriends, has a new album out, and I like every single song from it. He writes great, catchy songs, but they aren't confusing and/or meaningless (Hi, Ke$ha), and he has an awesome voice. Plus, the album is called Page One. See what he did there? Steven Page? Page One? Oh, those Canadians and their crazy humor! But seriously, if you were a BNL fan, or like a fella who can sing, check it out.

That's all I have. Lucky you.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Hello. My name is Get Shirty, and I like Band Aid's Do They Know it's Christmas. There. I've said it. Before you throw something at me, click the link to watch the video. Look at how young and healthy everyone was in 1984! Boy George is glowing, Bono's eyes are readily available, Simon LeBon is luscious, George Michael is bursting with hair and good health, and Sting is right around the peak of my love for him. Plus, that guy from Spandau Ballet is SO PRETTY!

Anyway, I like the song. I was thirteen in 1984, and I was really starting to be annoyed with my family. I remember very clearly sitting in the backseat with my sister, being driven from my dad's parents' house to my mom's parents' house on Christmas Eve, and really listening to the lyrics when the song came on the radio. My parents were toasted and beyond embarrassing, my sister was a brat, and then all of a sudden, Bono sang, "Well tonight thank God it's them, instead of you," and I really heard him. It seemed somehow wrong to thank God that someone else's misfortune wasn't mine, like I was somehow saying that God preferred me. But I *was* grateful. I still am. Sigh. Can anyone feel as much guilt and angst as a thirteen-year-old middle class American Catholic girl on Christmas Eve when a bunch of earnest pop singers from the UK are being all earnest and emotive? I really don't think so.

And so, for making me cry in the car on Christmas Eve, I love Band Aid, and I love their song.

So sue me.