Saturday, January 31, 2009

I Got Yer Garddam Herons Right Here

Like I said before, the first time I took Scotty down to the Salmon Creek trail since the Mean Lady Episode, the great blue herons, who can be coy at times, were just RIGHT THERE in my face. Unfortunately, I had no camera, so I could be lying to you right now. 

With a new mission of capturing the herons on film, we returned soon after to find no herons. None herons.

Not to be toyed with by a couple of googly-necked birds, we went back down with my camera on Wednesday and came back with these:

Okay, it's a heron and everything, but it wasn't being particularly picturesque, so we continued down the trail. Saw some cute ducks, took their pictures just so they wouldn't feel like they weren't as important, then turned around and noticed this in a tree.

In a tree! Weird, huh?

On the way back, the first heron took another stab at being picturesque:

Okay, and then today, down at Salmon Creek again, thinking I've got all the heron pictures I need for a while, we ran into a snow white heron, being all sorts of picturesque.  


Although I didn't have my super-scope camera, I did have my trusty raspberry, so I snapped this. It might not be picturesque, but it's evidence.

You are excused.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Delicious Super Bowl Hype Snacks

And don't read this Slate article where Charlie Pierce goes all batshit over his disappointment that the Patriots didn't make it to the Super Bowl.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Argument Starter of the Week: My Favorite Movies Today

I'm just going to start by saying I'm sorry there is no Godfather or Citizen Kane in this list. Both are super movies, but they are not my favorite. So shut up about them, cinephiles.

I think I've written this list before, but I'm not going to look it up until I complete a new list. It will be interesting to see how it has morphed over the course of a couple of years.

Here are the runners up:

  • Groundhog Day (the best of Bill Murray)
  • The Terminator (naked Arnold. Duh.)
  • The Thin Man series (William Powell and Myrna Loy are the definitions of sophisticated, charming and witty. If you haven't seen them, then get with it.)
  • Pirates of the Caribbean (Johnny Depp being sexy and funny simultaneously)
  • Zoolander (good for a baker's dozen of useful catch phrases)
  • Dracula (the one with Keanu Reeves - the best bad movie ever)
  • Ace Ventura Pet Detective (Dean became Ace Ventura for a good two years beginning when he was about ten)
  • Austin Powers: Man of Mystery (the first one - the best of Mike Myers, the best spoof of groovy late-60s/early-70s spy movies)
  • Anchorman (the best of Will Ferrell and the best riot amongst TV news crews ever filmed, and the best loving look at the phenomenon that was the 70s)
  • Young Frankenstein (one of the best of the late great Madeleine Kahn - see also The History of the World Part I)
  • Shakespeare in Love (Joseph Fiennes: the best male eyelashes on film.)
  • The 40-Year-Old Virgin (A really sweet love story. Really.)
  • Trading Places (the best of Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy)
  • The Piano (the best of cinematography and naked middle-aged Harvey Keitel)
  • Star Wars (the original. A cultural touchstone.)
  • Ghost Busters (the funniest of Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd together)
  • Fletch (the only movie that may have been better than the book)
  • Gone with the Wind (best overacting)
  • The Sound of Music (best soundtrack and best use of Nazis)
  • Juno (best mix of witty dialogue and pathos)
  • Saturday Night Fever (my first R rated movie! Very influential.)
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (the best of Jack Nicholson, but if you have to choose between the movie and the book, go with the book)
  • Jaws (da-DUM da-DUM - doodley-DOOO)
  • Casablanca (um, its like a classic)
  • Pale Rider (best of Clint Eastwood)
  • Edward Scissorhands (best of the Tim Burton-Johnny Depp team)
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000, The Movie (um, I forgot to include this TV series in my top TV list.   It wouldn't have made the top eleven, but it surely would have made Honorable Mention.  I love the movie based on the series even more (don't get me started on the "Joel vs Mike" controversy).  I would explain the plot, but you wouldn't believe me. It's why the phrase "Normal VIEW" is so funny to me.)

11. Excalibur.  This was our favorite movie in college, so it keeps a place in the top eleven list, even though it would not, in a righteous world, belong in a top ten (or eleven) movies list.

10. Animal House. This was filmed at the University of Oregon in 1978. I arrived in 1980. Oh, the legends already in place. If this film does not appear on your top ten list, you did not attend the U of O in the late 70s or any time in the 80s. And its funny.

9. Some Like It Hot. Guys in drag. Marilyn Monroe playing a caricature of herself. Gangland slayings. Tony Curtis doing a dead-on Cary Grant impression. And a killer script.

8. A Fish Called Wanda. The best of Kevin Kline. Plus John Cleese and Michael Palin. But Kevin Kline as Otto - I still aspire to equal his driving skills. 

7. Caddyshack. Chevy Chase at his best. Rodney Dangerfield at his best. Bill Murray at his funniest. Ted Knight at his Ted Knightiest. This movie came out in 1980, the year I graduated high school. It was a tough bar for future comedies to hit.

6. This is Spinal Tap. The best of Christopher Guest. Who hasn't said at one point in their lives, "but this one goes to eleven"? Certainly no one at my house. David St. Hubbins. Nigel Tufel. Derek Smalls. Tiny Stonehenge. Midget Druids. It's got all the makings of funny.

5. Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It doesn't matter that the guy skipping along, making horsey noises with coconuts is there because they didn't have enough money for more horses. The point is, it's funny. And so is the phrase (in a French accent), "I fart in your general direction." And so is the word "nee." The best example of the word "silly" in film.

4. Amadeus. This movie is beautiful. And sounds beautiful. And the acting is okay too.

3. Blazing Saddles. The best of Mel Brooks. And so, so politically incorrect, it would be impossible to make today. But this movie brings out the genius in Harvey Korman, Madeleine Kahn, Gene Wilder, and Cleavon Little. A comedy classic. And not just for the farting scene.

2. Singin in the Rain. I used to watch this movie every year on my birthday. I have lapsed on this habit in the last few years, but I'm still amazed, every time I see this, at its agelessness. It manages to be dated and fresh at the same time. Really. It's a little miracle.

1. The Princess Bride. Talk about miracle! This movie has everything: a love story, a dashing swashbuckler, a giant, a genius, a wizard, a six-fingered man, a prince, a beautiful princess,an impressive clergyman with a speech impediment, screaming eels, revenge, Rodents of Unusual Size, and a young and perfect Cary Elwes. If I could only have one movie, it would be this one.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Wonderful and Ridiculous

Ladies and gentleman and Dean, I give you the Cotton-top Tamarin. Aren't you glad you live in a world that has some of these? There are still about 6,000. If you see one, tell him (or her) I said hi. And don't laugh.

Where's The JamFrakas?

General Mills has recalled their JamFrakas Peanut Butter Snack Bars. If I had seen such a snack item at my market, I would certainly have become a complete zealot for them, no matter what they taste like. JamFrakas, people! JamFrakas! Where can I get me some JamFrakas? Where do they market such a groovy, groovy-named product?

I'll be saying that for the rest of the week, just so you know.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The D Word and The Answer

There's a story on Reuters that our local news picked up, alerting us all that the current recession could be the worst since World War II. Unless I wasn't paying attention in history class (and I wasn't), the nation was not in a recession in World War II, but was actually climbing out of the Great Depression.

So I'm guessing what they mean is that this recession may be the worst since the Depression. I can imagine the editors sitting around, wondering what to do with this stink bomb - just come out and say it? It's news. You gotta report the news. But there must be a gentler way to say the D thing without saying the D thing. Isn't it odd that World War II is a more positive thought for the American people than the Great Depression? I'm thinking that the War was way more deadly, and yet not so much of a bummer, with all the us-against-them rallying. That's what an economic disaster is missing - some juicy us-against-them feelings. 

Wait a minute - didn't Hitler attempt to cure Germany's economic and cultural woes brought on by World War I and the Great Depression by stirring up some serious and seriously messed-up us-versus-them trouble?

Maybe if we need a good us-versus-them to get us back on our feet, we should start now, so it doesn't get all Reich-y. What if we personify, or if you will, anthropomorphize, this recession so we could all fight against it like the action-loving tribe we are. We could make him up like a comic book character.  

We should start with a name. Like Dr. Subprime: The Credit Killer.  Or Darth Greenspan: The Bank Buster. Or Attack of the IndyMacadon: The Job Crusher.

Or, you know, something better. I welcome your suggestions.

One More Day

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

It's really happening! Can you believe it?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

This Post 100% Heron Free

I saw some beautiful great blue herons on my walk on the Salmon Creek trail yesterday, so today I took my camera.  No herons, naturally, but I took these photos instead.

If you look really hard, you can see Mt. Hood in the background of the second shot. 

Snapshot of a Sunday

Right now, Drew is in the office on Facebook and I am watching the Pittsburgh-Baltimore game.

Just saying.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

And I'm Spent

I spent all day on the Collage of Life 2008 (fifth in an annual series), where I try to recap the year in pictures, cartoons, and bits of paper. 

Here's how it looks so far. Even though it's not quite done yet, it is already not a big favorite of mine. I had a lot to work with, but it just didn't come together seamlessly like it does some years. 

I am pooped and this is practically all I did all day. Then why do it? Dunno.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Universe Is Speaking. It's Saying, "Pick Up the Poop."

First this morning, only days after complaining that my dermatologist, in an effort to stave off further deadly melanoma, has made me look temporarily less appealing, the Oregonian prints a teary story about a 24-year-old melanoma sufferer who died after a valiant and notably unwhiny struggle.

Secondly, as Scotty and I were rounding a corner of the local park trail, Scotty dropped a poop, I went fishing in my pocket for a poop bag and came up empty handed. If there had been no witnesses, I might have just kept on moving, as we were in the park and illegal poops litter the place like cylindrical mushrooms. We were not. Yet, before I could panic, I looked to my right and noticed, not two feet away, a plastic shopping bag that looked like it may have dropped out of the pocket of an earlier dog walker. I picked it up and fulfilled its destiny.

Water into wine. Narcissism-killing newspaper articles. Magic poop bags.

The Universe speaks. It says, "Ask and you shall receive. Until you die."

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Back at Work

I can tell Dean is back at work.  Criterium Bicycles' website is suffused with the smell of burritos.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Argument Starter of the Week: Best of TV

I Like Lists.  Here's my list of the week.  My ten favorite TV shows of all time.  As a yardstick, I tried to ask myself which shows lent more catchphrases to my daily life.  Which shows did I end up quoting until I annoyed myself?  And, of course, which shows affected my life in some way or another.  I like TV, so I had a long list to whittle down.  Here are some that did not make the top ten:

  • WKRP in Cincinnati
  • Carol Burnett Show 
  • Scrubs
  • 30 Rock
  • Green Acres
  • I Dream of Jeanie
  • Bewitched
  • Frasier
  • Cheers
  • Cosby Show
  • Welcome Back Kotter
  • Muppet Show
  • Mary Tyler Moore
  • Boston Legal
  • M*A*S*H
  • Magnum P.I.
  • Northern Exposure
  • Twin Peaks
And now, may I have the envelope please...

11. Revision alertDean reminds me that South Park should be somewhere on this list. It was a bit of a thrill watching this with a middle schooler, who, in a more parental household, would not have been watching such a filthy and profane show, but it wasn't anything that he wouldn't have heard in school the next day anyway. "No, kitty, that's mah pot pie," "respect my authoritah," and "screw you guys, I'm going home" worked its way into the family lexicon.

10.  Friends.  I know, it's not cool to give Friends any respect, but do you know what a "laminated list" is?  Can you sing "Smelly Cat"? Can you say "How you doin?" the way Joey says it? I rest my case.

9. Simpsons. Homer Simpson's "Doh." Bart Simpson's "cowabunga." Mr. Burns' "eeexcellent." Nelson Muntz's "HA-ha." The Simpsons are part of the family.

8.  The Daily Show.  Thank God this week our long national nightmare came to an end. I'm referring, of course, to the long Christmas vacation taken by The Daily Show. Jon Stewart says the stuff that I would say if I were a lot wittier and had a staff of writers. There have been so many talented "correspondents" come through that show - Mo Rocca, Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell (remember Even Stephven?), Ed Helms, Rob Corddry, Demetri Martin.  I am very, very fond of John Oliver and hope he doesn't become a former correspondent. I am very attached to this show.

7.  Star Trek.  This show is cultural common ground.  Everybody knows what "Beam me up, Scotty" means and where it comes from. Can you replay in your head the great fight between Kirk and the Gorn, where Kirk fashions some gunpowder from stuff he finds on the ground? Or the duel between Kirk and Spock during Spock's spawning season? Me too.

6.  The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.  When I was in my teens, I thought the only worthwhile life goal was to get on this show and hang with Johnny. I was hoping to be the next Dr. Joyce Brothers. I am not making this up.

5.  Seinfeld.  Sponge-worthy. Soup Nazi. Puffy Shirt. Master of your Domain. Shrinkage. Serenity Now! Festivus. Newman! This show was the 90's.

4.  The Bob Newhart Show.  This is the Chicago psychologist one, not the later Vermont Innkeeper one.  This show effected the course of my life, and not necessarily in a good way. Here was a timid, slightly stuttery guy, who was living a glamorous life in Chicago, riding the El, living in a swanky apartment, and hanging out with funny patients who didn't seem all that mentally or emotionally problematic. Hey, that could be me!  I'm timid and stuttery. I like psychology and big cities. I'll leave you to pinpoint the flaws in this logic. Still, it was a funny show. I especially recommend the Thanksgiving show from Season 4.

3. Blackadder. I argued with myself over whether English shows should be included in this list, but since it's my list, and a list of shows that especially affected me, English shows stay. This is a lesser-known English comedy, and a lesser-known work of both Rowan Atkinson (of Mr. Bean fame, which I do not find particularly funny) and Hugh Laurie (of House fame). Each season presented Edmund Blackadder in a different age, beginning with Medieval times and ending in World War I. My particular favorite is Blackadder III, set in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, during the reign of George III.  Hugh Laurie plays a lusty, empty-headed Prince George to Rowan Atkinson's long-suffering butler, Edmund Blackadder.  As opposed to Mr. Bean, Blackadder is filled with smart but silly wordplay in the English tradition.  A small sampling of phrases in the Tracy Household jargon from Blackadder:  "thick as a whale omelet," "luck, luck, luck, luuuck," "I have a cunning plan," "horse's willies" (sausages), and "floppelly-doppellies."

2.  Monty Python's Flying Circus. We used to have a VHS tape of Monty Python at the Hollywood Bowl, which we wore down to shreds.  It had all the best stuff: the Parrot Sketch, the Spam Sketch/Opera, the Spanish Inquisition, The Lumberjack Song, John Cleese in drag selling albatross (It's an albatross. No bleeding flavor. Bloody albatross flavor. Bleeding seabird bleeding flavor.), Australian philosophy professors, and Silly Walks. I'm a little giddy just writing all this down.

1. Saturday Night Live. I was 13 in 1975. Thirteen! Is there a more impressionable age to watch Chevy Chase, John Belushi, Jane Curtin, Larraine Newman, Garrett Morris and Gilda Radner make a new kind of humor? Okay, but it was certainly new to me. There was no punch line. There was no rim shot. Now, there's a possibility for humor in anything. I could be living in a humor sketch right now if I wanted to make it one. Oh, the opening of the eyes. Chevy Chase was himself and I was not.  There was a Land Shark. And a Bass-o-matic. The Coneheads. The Wild and Crazy Guys.  And Dan Aykroyd said "Jane, you ignorant slut." Nothing was the same after SNL. And everything is a little bit funnier.

I'm tired and that's my list. Good night and have a pleasant tomorrow.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Another Anglo-Celtic Lifetime Milestone. Yay.

Mommas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cancerous

I keep tasting blood from the hole in my lip where a bump used to be. Whereas the burnt-off spot on my cheek merely makes me look leprous.

I've had my annual dermatologist visit, which always means curtains for the mole that wins the Most Like Melanoma award.

It's been like this since I made the record books in 1980 as the youngest melanoma patient ever treated - at least in Longview. Once a year, I go to the dermatologist, get the once-over, and anything that looks the least bit suspicious, whether it turns out to be a plain old mole just minding its own business, or some jam from breakfast, gets the knife. If you notice a surgical scar on my face, neck or body (and there are plenty), a dermatologist has caused it.

This time, though, was the first time I was relieved of an old person's skin bit. I know about them because my parents have been losing bits of their skin to this business for years now. It seems that I have just started early, something that I tend to do with my skin cancer schedule. It was one of those actinic keratosis ones. The ones that the doctor calls "precancerous." It's so "pre," though, that they can burn them off with that freezy thing, so they are pretty "pre."

My doctor always asks the same thing in a tone that does NOT mask the judgment therein, "did you get a lot of sun when you were a kid?"

Well, duh. It was the 60's and 70's. What did we know about skin cancer? Sunscreens were called "suntan lotions." And we lived in Longview, Washington. When the sun finally came out in July, we would celebrate by playing outside all day, baking ourselves until we were flaky, and worry about the pain the next day.

And now I sit in a dermatologist's office once a year and stare at a poster of a wrinkly old woman's face on a lovely young body with the caption that says in part, "80% of all your skin's sun damage is caused before age 18."

What am I supposed to do with that now? The horse has left the barn. And the county. And now I'm getting old people skin cancers. Okay, another type of old people skin cancers.

Well, at least I have that lovely young body. As far as you know.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

My Career Path: a Twisty, Unkempt Trail

It seems I've been tagged and my mission is to list the jobs I have held up to now.

Although I hear many stories of the Life Planned and Purposeful, it has never been in my nature to think long term. Yes, the teachers-slash-counselors who found themselves, for whatever reason, working in the pungled-together education approximation that was Vernonia High School did their best to administer the career aptitude tests of the day (anyone remember the one where you answer questions by slipping pins into holes in a stack of cards representing careers, and as you answer the questions, the inappropriate jobs slip out of the pile, leaving you with a few Perfect Career Choices?), but my high school self was not one to accept suggestions, although I was one to latch on with jaws of shark-like intensity to the career workshop that was 1970's situation comedy television, namely Bob Newhart. Hence my bachelors degree in psychology. Unfortunately, by the time I had my bachelors degree, I knew enough about psychology to realize that to be effective, I needed a prescription pad and to get a prescription pad, I needed an M.D. and to get an M.D., I would have to work way harder than I was willing to work.

What did the card-pin test tell me? Surveyor. My teacher-slash-counselor thought a bit about that result and decided that most of the world had already been surveyed, so that was probably a loser idea. Vernonia High School. There may be a reason that God keeps flooding it. I did not just say that.

Where was I?

My life in jobs:

  • Strawberry Picker. I learned that I daydream a lot and can't seem to stay on task, even if it means making more money. Maybe I have improved in these areas since I was 12, but I wouldn't bet on it.
  • Kitchen Staff, Perry's Basketball Camp (since sold and reborn as Larry Steele Basketball Camp). I learned that you can get a lot more mustard out of one industrial-sized can by adding a quart or so of vinegar. I learned that employers do not care to take suggestions regarding HR practices from 15-year-olds.
  • Dairy Queen in Forest Grove, Oregon. I learned that the proper DQ ice cream cone has a swirl on the top that goes CLOCKWISE, NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND.
  • Millworker, Longview Fibre Company paper mill, graveyard shift. My dad got me this job, and the mill workers knew it. I lasted one night. I could have gotten all Norma Rae on their ass and stuck it out, but, well, I wasn't into that. I learned what I would not do for money or my parents' approval.
  • Weighmaster, Clatskanie log sorting yard. Yeah, my dad got me this job, too, but I wasn't bad at it, and I didn't have to shovel sawdust off plant rooftops in the middle of the night. I weighed log trucks as they entered and left the log yard, and made sure they didn't bump into each other on the one-way road into and out of the yard. It kept me busy during college summer breaks and made my resume look all hardcore. I learned to use truck scales and a CB radio. I did not learn how to tell the creepy guy at the log scaling shack to get lost.
  • Research Assistant, Psychology Dept, Univ. of Oregon. I started doing this for research credits, but I ended up getting paid for it, because it was better for the study to have consistent scoring of infant affect. I would go on, but I would rather not have you harm your keyboard when your forehead falls onto it. Actually, I enjoyed it. We worked in groups and looked at videos of babies for hours. I'm not sure that I learned anything.
  • Retail Clerk, Motherhood Maternity, Austin, TX. The best post-college job I could manage in 1984 with a face that could pass for a middle-schooler and the confidence of a hamster. I learned that I when someone big and scary-looking comes in and wants to buy a bunch of clothes and then pays with a suspicious looking check, I will not force the issue.
  • Nursing Education intern/assistant, (Red Cross volunteer), Bergstrom Air Force Base, Austin, TX (Drew being in the Air Force and stationed here). After I got pregnant by working at the pregnant ladies' store, I bided my time on base, helping out at the hospital.
  • Mom, Austin, TX. This one was a little more intense than I bargained for. I was a typical first-time mom. Very protective and worried that Dean was going to be the next Jessica Down the Well. Turns out he's still alive, so job well done.
  • Office Manager, Decoratique interior decor and window coverings, Vacaville, CA. I learned a lot about running a business (hint: hire installers who can complete their workday sober). I bet I can still measure, order, install, and repair a mini blind.
  • Correspondent, Longview Daily News, Longview, Washington. This is a really good small town paper. I don't know why they hired me, but I'm glad they did. I learned a lot covering the even smaller towns surrounding Longview, attending city council meetings, school board meetings, elections, and the crime beat. I loved seeing my byline in the paper.
  • Staff Writer, Central Oregon Business Journal, Bend, OR. This was a good job and I would have kept it longer if they could have paid me decent money. I learned how to cut and paste the old fashioned way with hot wax and little divider tapes. With the advances in computerized publishing since the early 1990's, this is a skill I will, sadly, never need again. It was my favorite part of putting together a newspaper.
  • Research Assistant, FIT Ski Boot Consumer Research, Bend, OR. A part-time job with an odd little niche-based start-up company. I learned what to do and what not to do when starting a company (helpful hint: don't go into business with your ex).
  • Lease Administrator/Supervisor, Hollywood Video, Wilsonville, OR. My job was to make sure our landlords built our stores right, gave us any money that they were contractually obligated to do, and then to make sure that we paid them as little as we were contractually obligated to, and at the last possible minute. Need I say more? Actually, I stayed in this job for longer than any of my other jobs. The people I worked with were Good People, and not themselves all that ethically challenged. And it paid well.
  • Volunteer, Humane Society for Southwest Washington, Vancouver, WA. I walked dogs and got thanked for it. A good deal, I think. I still help out when I can.
  • Legal Assistant, Law Office of Cynthia Horenstein, Vancouver, WA. My current position. I use my writing skills, my contract and legal savvy, and my love of solving puzzles. And it gives me time to paint and/or sit on the couch regaling you with the twisty, page-turny plot that is my career path. It fits pretty well.
Where has your career path taken you?

New Year's Eve vs New Year's Day: NOT an Omen

We took a quick trip to the beach over New Years at the invitation of some dear friends (much dearer now that we know what an awesome beach house they have).  

This is how the dogs roll in the Prius.  They get more leg room than we do.

This is a sign at the fish place where we had lunch.  We totally parked there any way, must or no must.  That's the kind of rebels we are.  Besides, our attack dogs were on guard duty.

When we arrived on Wednesday (in 2008), the weather was cool, dry and calm.  Perfect weather for a walk on the beach.  Which we did.  Which was good, because as soon as the ball dropped Wednesday night, all hell broke loose.

Wind: we got it. Rain: we got it. Sideways rain: Got that. Big awesome waves: as much as you want. Coffee: affirmative. Hot Cider: yes, ma'am. French Toast: oui. Bowl Games: Yep. It was storm-watching-in-jammies time.

I took a quick snapshot out the window, but you can't see the sideways rain.  You'll have to trust me on that.

By the time we left Thursday night, there were already reports of highway closings due to high water.  Luckily, none were between our car and our driveway, but it wasn't a fun drive.  Rain so thick sometimes it looked like a dense fog.  This is what it looked like from my cell phone, once we got back into the Portland area. The weather here was better than it had been in the coast range.

I'm sure this little weather phenomenon is not an omen for the new year, as December weather was pretty sucky around here as well.

Friday we woke up to an inch of snow that had melted slightly and frozen to make an ice rink-style surface for the convenient placement of fresh bruises.

Happy New Year!