Tuesday, February 28, 2006

In Which I Save the World with Mardi Gras Beads

So the U.S. has a service economy these days. Then where is the service?

So everybody wishes people would treat each other the way they would treat themselves, just like in the good old days. Well, who’s going to start?

I am about to give you The Way to Make People Behave. Not all people. Some people will always be asshats no matter what you do. Don’t let them stop you from trying The Way to Make People Behave.

I’ve noticed that people will do just about anything for a string of plastic Mardi Gras beads, including exposing parts of their body that they normally keep covered even in the locker room. I’m not sure if they know that they can get them by the dozen at the party store. Let’s not tell them, because this craving for Mardi Gras beads is vital to my plan.

Here’s the plan: say a grocery store checker notices that there is one of those coupons attached to your package of bacon which would give you an extra dollar off if you had seen it, removed it, and handed it to your checker. She takes the coupon off herself and gives you the dollar off.

I know. This would never really happen, but imagine. Or maybe she finally puts the eggs on top in the grocery bag instead of under the gallon of milk.

People need to know that you appreciate the little things. “Thank-you” won’t do, because it has become a preprogrammed response, like “did you find everything all right?” So here’s the plan: when something like this happens, reach into your pocket and pull out a string of Mardi Gras beads and give them to her with a short explanation. Tell her to put them on, and pass them on if somebody does something nice for her.

Soon all the nice people will have beady badges of honor around their neck, and everyone else will be trying to earn their own beads by being nice too.

I know. They are cheap and easy to come by. Asshats could buy their own. Yeah, but they won’t be the same and everyone will know. The fact that they are cheap will just make it that much easier to get everyone involved in giving them away.

Incentives don’t have to be expensive or useful. Think of the points that kids play video games so hard to accumulate. Can they buy anything with them? Are they good to eat? No. But it hasn’t effected the popularity of video games any, has it?

Eventually, with my plan fully in effect, everyone will be nicer and everyone will be more colorful. And the Mardi Gras bead making plants in China will experience a happy boom in business. There’s no downside.

So hit the party store tomorrow. The Mardi Gras beads will probably be on sale.

You’re welcome.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

If you're in Baja and you're dirty, look for Capt. A

Whew. He’s gone. Now we can talk.

Okay. You know that really sticky-sweet commercial for Disney with that little Welch’s-Grape-Juice-commercial-type kid (you know the kind – fat cheeks with dimples all trying to “act cute”), who can’t sleep the day before the big Disneyland day, because “I’m too excited to sleeeep.” That’s what it’s been like around here for the last week as Capt. America has packed and re-packed for his three-week-long dirt-bike-apalooza down the Baja peninsula with a bunch of other fire dudes.

There have been lists of things to bring, lists of things to do to the bike, lists of what to put in his day pack (item #9: lip balm), lists of who’s bringing GPS equipment, who’s bringing first aid, and who’s bringing the satellite phone (safety first – these are fire fighters, after all).

For each list, count two or three trips to outdoor stores, motorcycle shops, grocery stores, and bicycle shops. Then another for the one thing he forgot, or that they didn’t have. For each list, count two or three attempts at packing or attaching packs to his bike. For each list count two or three phone calls to consult with his fellow travelers.

Believe me or don’t, but a couple of days before they left, they all got together for a “packing dry run.” It sounds funnier than it was, I guess. They just wanted to make sure all the bikes fit in the truck and trailer. But is that not as cute as a Welch’s Grape Juice kid?

Believe me or don’t, but I saw two different types of “personal wipes” laid out for packing. I’m going to say they are for his first aid kit, or maybe for wiping the Baja dust out of his face after a long ride, because I just can’t imagine that he, all of a sudden, got so concerned about needing them for some “personal” use. Sorry about any unbidden mental images there.

So he’s gone and I have two Humane-Society-reject collies and a bad-tempered cat to keep me company. I have heard from a few women who would not even allow such a long trip. I say bring it on. I have lots of stuff to do around the house, a poetically large new shipment of paints, and after today’s excursion, a tank full of gas, thanks to the kind folk in Oregon who refuse to bend to the pump-it-yourself trend and allow me to steer clear of a phobic meltdown at a self-serve gas pump.

But I guess that’s a topic for another post.

Friday, February 24, 2006

An ode to the luscious 37 mil. tubes of Daniel Smith paint that came in the mail today

[Sound of snapping fingers and clinking coffee cups]

[Intense stare inside a black turtleneck and beret approaches the mike....]

Buff Titanium!
Hansa Yellow Light!

Burnt. Yellow. Ochre.

Phtalo Turquoise!

Ultramarine. Blue. Deep.

Lemon Yellow!
Cobalt Blue!

Cadmium. Red. Deep.

Cascade Green!
Raw Sienna!

Mediterranean. Blue.

Burnt Umber!
Payne's Grey!

Ivory. Black.

[Finger snaps. The sound of respect and awe.]

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Recovery Through Cuteness

Depression is best treated through massive cuteness injections. I like this website, because he occasionally captions his photos with veddy English-y comments like this: "This one is cute almost to the point of being horribly ugly. Like drowning in pony brains." Now that's entertainment.


We Are NOT All Made of Stars

Sorry, Moby, but the proof is in the "Next Blog" button. If we are to be judged by the company we keep, than you can put me down under the "loser blogger who mistakenly thinks her life is worth reading about" column. O. M. G. I am seriously bummed. What should I do? Accept my fate and keep prattling on? Never hit the "Next Blog" button again? Oog.

Here. Since I can't write while bumming, I will "treat" you to another picture: my first commissioned work. I finally remembered to photograph a painting before giving it away. Anyway, this is what my oils end up looking like (although every other one is of some sort of bear - hard to explain that, so I won't).

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Me no words got

There's nothing inside my brain today that needs to come out, so I thought I would give you a picture to entertain you until such time as I think of a thought.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Mmmm, warm.

You know what warms the cockles of my heart? Watching someone else chop wood for me. Mmmm...warm cockles...

There's a cold front coming. Button up.

Friday, February 10, 2006

My life is flashing before my eyes

My life is flashing before my eyes. Only this time, my future is really awesome looking. And I’m not me. I’m my son. Wait. Back up, start over.

My son is making some really crazy parallels to the life that Capt. A. and I started over 25 years ago, and it makes us look at each other and shake our heads. Is it the genes, or crazy fate?

Like us, he found someone in high school who, despite the odds of it, fit him like a puzzle piece. Like us, it wasn’t long after that he realized the fact and gave her a ring.

Here’s where our paths are probably going to deviate, because he is going to have many more opportunities than Capt. A., and she is smarter and braver than I am and is going to take the opportunities that are open to her.

I think they will be really, really successful and happy.

Proof That I Am 1/2 Nerd

I blame my nerdly tendencies on my dad, who got his degree in Forest Engineering at Nerd U (Oregon State to the ignorant among you).

With that said, I feel free to recommend to you Klingon Recipes by Mike Richardson-Bryan, currently featured on McSweeney's Internet Tendency (aka Dave Egger's thingy) http://mcsweeneys.net/

P.S. I also may have inherited from him my inability to leave a telephonic message that is not, in some way, inadvertantly funny.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Seattle got robbed.

Seattle got beat by the refs. Were the refs from Pittsburgh too? Or was it something more sinister? I did read in the paper where they don't get paid all that much...at least on their W-2s...oooh, I feel dirty just suggesting such a thing. Bad me.

I'm not a rabid fan of the Seahawks. You might notice that this is my first mention of them here. But dang! If you give back the touchdown they bogusly took away from the Seahawks and take away the one that they bogusly gave to the Steelers, then you've got a different Super Bowl winner. Let alone the Hasselbeck pass to the 3-yard line they took back for a non-existent hold, and a tackle (by Hasselbeck, no less) that they took away for another penalty they pulled out of their keisters...

Okay, yes, I'll go lie down for awhile. Sorry.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Crude drawings will have to do today.

Spent all day avoiding painting and then actully doing some painting, so I have little to say, except that this is what it is like walking a bouncy, bouncy toddler-dog and a middle-aged crabby dog who hates rain, wind, and bouncy toddlers. Okay, maybe I fudged a little bit on waistlines for us girls, but you get the idea.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

What's wrong with people?

In a world where people are having trouble deciding whether torture is a good idea or not, the Medellin drug cartel brings you a new brand of depravity.

Colombian drug lords are smuggling heroin into the country by sewing it into puppies. Those puppies that make the trip with the bags of poison intact often die of infections from the incisions.

I hope there is a special hell for these people where they spend eternity being eaten by packs of Chihuahuas with Piranha teeth.

As for people who prey on their own kind, I must have faith that God has a reason to allow it, an appropriate punishment for the perpetrator, and an appropriate consolation prize for the victim.