Thursday, February 28, 2008

A Brave New World Covered in Paper

Remember when our computers promised to usher in the Paperless Office of the Future?

We made six hotel reservations online last night. Between the print-outs of the reservations and the print-outs of the confirming emails (all highly urged for our protection), I just printed out the last of 35 pages of important confirmational information. And that is being careful not to print out any of those empty pages with one line of web-garble.

End rant.

Note: Did you pay any attention to what you just read or are you too busy wondering why that computer has an enormous steering wheel? Because that would be the correct response.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Public Service Announcement No. 2

As fans of The Phantom comic strip might already know:

The Pirate Party's about over.

Your Oscars Recap

I know you’ve come to look forward to my Oscar Night recaps (shut up, you do too), so although I was otherwise engaged for most of the telecast last night, I dutifully curled up on the couch this afternoon and slogged through it out of a sense of duty.

Here are my thoughts:

Just about everyone wore safe, lovely gowns, which starves important journalists like myself from important snarking opportunities. Only more fuel to our hatred.

I would have given Tilda Swinton the Worst Dressed award for wearing a black silk garbage bag that she put on sideways, but for two crucial things: One, she is fierce - no, she is fiercely fierce, and two, she was beaten out by Rebecca Miller, wearing parts of three outfits and a bow pasted onto her chest that I'm pretty sure she dug out of the Costco bag-o-bows that I picked up last Christmas.

Only one (one!) last thing to say about fashion: Nicole Kidman, take off that Christmas tree garland right now!

I know, I left Diablo Cody out because on anyone else, I would have fainted dead away at the (choose as many as applicable): a Britney-Spears-exiting-a-limo scary skirt slit, snazzy animal print, “flowing” attempt that landed closer to “puffy,” rhinestone Bedazzler™ neckline feature, and/or skull-and-crossbone earrings, but it was Diablo Cody, and it’s all real. Thank God for people like her.

Best speech:

Glen Hansard (Once), co-winner for best song (in a wicked brogue):

"Tanks! This is amazing. What are we doin here? This is mad. We made this film two years ago. We shot on two Handycams. It took us three weeks to make. We made it for a hundred grand. We never thought we would come into a room like this and be in front of you people. It's been an amazing thing. Thanks for taking this film seriously, all of you. It means a lot to us. Thanks to the Academy, thanks to all the people who've helped us, they know who they are, we don't need to say them. This is amazing. Make art. Make art. Tanks."

Most thankful thank you: Marion Cotillard (La Vie En Rose), who thanked life and love itself, and then revealed herself to be the last person alive who might believe that there are actual angels in Los Angeles.

Most helpful presenter: Colin Farrell, who pointed out a slick spot near the podium by sliding across it. Unfortunately, two later presenters slipped on the same spot. I guess the guy with the mop wasn't watching the Oscar either.

And thank God for Jon Stewart, who tries to remind us that the bejeweled and besurgeried were just kids from drama class in high school who lucked into great jobs, which helps the rest of us feel a little less like we are from a lesser planet.

Public Service Announcement

Olay is now offering spackle.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

What I Did on my Presidents' Day Vacation Part 2

Looking for agates on Agate Beach.

Jellyfish are best behind glass.


Fishies live in here.

What I Did on my Presidents' Day Vacation

The Oregon Coast. Keep it to yourself, though. There were enough yahoos down there this weekend.

T-shirt: I got crabs at the Oregon Aquarium!! Needs another exclamation point.

T-shirt: No puffin allowed!! I got a million of 'em.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

An Important Pop Culture Breakthrough

Cake is hard to categorize, but I think I have found a niche to put them in. They are way, way too white to be called rappers or hip-hoppers. But they often indulge in this talky, let's-not-go-to-the-trouble-of-moving-our-voices-up-and-down faux-singing. I hereby categorize them as Rex Harrison-style talk-singers.

Check out the eerie semblance.

I told this joke last night so badly I had to try to redeem it in You-Tube form. I'm not sure it worked.

It was worth a try...

I Feel Somehow Obligated to Post This

I saw a link to this article on Kyrie O'Connor's blog. Being an editor of a major paper, she knows some important news when she sees it.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Saturday, February 09, 2008

The Precinct 446 Caucus Explained

I know you have always wondered how caucuses are performed.

I suppose you think there would be a lot of efficient looking people with tables and smiles and forms and pens, and that those people would ask you questions, hand you the proper forms, and point you in the right direction.

That may well have happened somewhere, but not at Chinook Elementary School.

In the Chinook Elementary School gym, there were four precincts caucusing, with approximately 100 people per precinct, and of those 400 or so people, two were aware of how caucuses were run. And what they knew, they had gained from caucusing in the last election when approximately a third of that number of people showed up. So in the absence of actual knowledge, this is how the caucuses were performed today:

  1. As we came in the door, we were asked what precinct we lived in. "It should be on your voter card in your wallet." Who carries their voter card in their wallet? I'm from Oregon where they mail your ballot to you, and when I moved to Washington, I opted to have absentee ballots mailed to me. I can't remember the last time I voted in person. And furthermore, who, other than maybe Dennis Kucinich, carries their voter registration card in their wallet? Luckily, they had maps available so that you could identify your precinct. That didn't keep the woman at the door from schooling us that "It would make it a lot easier if you carried your voter card in your wallet." Bitch. Once we knew what precinct we belonged to (The Fighting 446th), we were directed to the back corner of the gym. There were about twenty chairs arranged there in a circle, all spoken for. We found more chairs and sat down. More and more people filed in, looking for chairs, and finally just jostling for floor space.
  2. Then we waited for awhile while more people (presumably with voter cards in their wallet) file in.
  3. Then we waited some more while the ambient noise level in the gym started to hover around "jet engine."
  4. Then a nice woman whose voice was not up to the task of shouting over the sound of four precincts milling about, after giving her agenda a quick once-over, tried to convince some of us to be the Caucus Secretary and the Caucus Something Else That I Couldn't Hear. She finally drafted some people by physically pulling them out of their seats. It turns out that their jobs weren't too hard, and mainly consisted of passing out sign-in sheets. As the sign-in sheets had room for only four voters per sheet, and we were all milling about in no discernible pattern, there was a lot of "Have you signed a sheet?" and "Do you have a sheet?" and "Who wants the completed sheets?" and "Who farted?" Maybe that last one was just me. But it was close quarters.
  5. Then the nice woman looked at the sheets and noticed that many people had not written down their choice for candidate. (Isn't that why they came?) Some, it seems, did not realize that they were supposed to mark that right on the sign-up sheet. You know, where it said "Your choice for candidate." Like I said, it's a little hard to throw out all those years of secret ballots just like that. Or maybe they were just unable to follow instructions.
  6. Then after a quick pep talk from one of the two people who had successfully performed a caucus in the past, we were instructed to elect a caucus chairperson and told that we should have already appointed a caucus tally-upper. Oops. A tally-upper was drafted. Now for a chairperson. Just as the nice lady with the tiny voice was about to accept our unanimous apathy as a vote for her, Some dude in the back said, "Oh, okay, I'll do it," like as if we had all begged him. So that's how you become a caucus chairperson.
  7. Not that it has anything to do with the caucus system that I am illuminating here, but our new chairperson had a large lump on the right side of his forehead up where he might have had hair as a boy. It wasn't discolored or anything. In fact, it was kind of shiny. But I couldn't help but hope he had had it looked at.
  8. Once we had a chairperson, and those dumbasses who had not written down a candidate had done so, they counted the sign-up sheets and found seventy-something for Obama (including Drew and me), and thirty-something for H Clinton.
  9. Then we re-arranged ourselves by candidate. Obama people on one side and H Clinton people on the other and five undecideds in the middle.
  10. Then the chairperson invited people to come to the middle of our little drum circle and speak for one minute each to attempt to sway the undecideds and anyone from the opposing candidate's camp to come to their side.
  11. This started civilly enough, but got ugly there at the end (i.e., "if you don't think this is about gender, you are wrong!"), and nobody from the opposing camps were swayed in the least.
  12. It seemed like some people were really ignited by the process and spoke from the heart on behalf of their candidate, and we picked them to be our delegates (Obama got eleven and H Clinton got four from The Fighting 446th) to go to the county-wide shindig in March, where, I guess they will get to do some advanced caucusing.
  13. Most of us felt crowded, hot, and impatient, and thought that in a state that holds a perfectly good primary in a few days, this is the stupidest way to apportion our state delegate count ever.
But we did it. And we were counted. And if the rest of the country leans like The Fighting 446th, we can all start chanting Yes We Can.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Here We Go A-Caucusing

Tomorrow is caucus day in Washington. It will be my first. As a mostly Oregonian, caucusing seems like an awfully public way to vote. I picture a pep rally with fatter, uglier participants.

Stay tuned for important updates.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

How Many Piglets Does It Take?

I know I've left that annoying YouTube thingy on the top of my page for way too long, but I have been crippled (yes, crippled) with a headache. (Shut up.)

Now that I am relatively free of pain, I would have had more time to write, but I had to change a light bulb. Removing the old light bulb took one bar stool, one rubber pot holder, three sets of pliers, one plastic bag, one hammer, and two potatoes.

I tried to remove the light bulb two weeks ago, and could not get a grip on it to twist it loose. It's one of those floodlight-shaped bulbs that you put in those can lights that look fabulous and put out just enough light to read your watch by if you are situated directly underneath one. But that's what the bathroom (yes, the bathroom) has for light, so that is what I will maintain until the day we are free of debt and young-adult car insurance payments and can replace them with sane fixtures.

Drew tried a week ago, but he gave up too. The trouble is that you can't get your fingers around it because it fits so snugly in its little round "can," so you have to try to will your fingers to be sticky like a gecko to the top surface to get it to twist. But it was in there good. Drew tried to take the whole fixture apart to find a back way in, but the thing is surrounded by an impenetrable sphere of bad taste.

Today I had the time to go all in on the thing, so I placed the bar stool underneath it, got on my tippy toes on the bar stool, thought "gecko fingers" and cranked it.


So I gingerly climbed down off the bar stool and went to the kitchen for my magic silicone pot holder, thinking that maybe it might be just sticky enough to get the thing moving.


So I gingerly climbed down off the bar stool and looked for some weapons of destruction. I decided that we would never be able to get our fingers around the thing, so I had no choice but to take it out and unscrew the pieces. Back up on the tippy bar stool. Back up on my tippy toes. I covered the bulb with a plastic bag, and whacked it through the bag with a hammer. Voila, shards of glass in the plastic bag, none in my eyes directly below the action. Brilliant. Now to get what's left of the bulb unscrewed. I grabbed for my silicone pot holder, but it wouldn't fit in the damn hole.

So I gingerly climbed down off the bar stool to find some more weapons. I found some adjustable wrenches and pliers in the garage and padded back in to give them a shot. It turns out that when you whack a light bulb with a hammer and then take a wrench to it, more shards of glass rain down on you from above.

So I gingerly climbed down off the bar stool to find another weapon. I remember reading something, probably in one of those Hints from Heloise things that used to be popular when there were people who devoted their lives to cleanliness, that if you had a broken light bulb, you could get it out of the socket by cutting a potato in half, sticking the cut end of the potato into the glass-sharded end of the bulb, twisting and saying Ta-Da.

Two cut potatoes later, I had two potatoes with lovely swirls cut into their ends by highly sharp glass shards, and a light bulb still stuck in the socket.

So I gingerly climbed down off the bar stool to find another weapon. I was out of ideas, but I still had a pair of pliers I hadn't tried. I already had glass in my hair and on the floor, so I was no longer in fear of a little glass up the nose. By the time my face was glittered up enough for the junior high prom, I had worried the end of the bulb out of the socket by twisting it up with my pliers. An inelegant solution, but a solution nevertheless.

So I gingerly climbed down off the bar stool, shook myself off, threw away the bulb along with the potatoes, and vacuumed the floor.

So what did you do today?

Saturday, February 02, 2008


Here: a sports drink ad that has approximately the same qualities that we have come to expect from Super Bowl Sunday.