Sunday, August 31, 2008

Weekend project: from door panel to chalkboard



Getting ready to paint

The first coat

Waiting four hours between coats

The pause that refreshes

Second coat

Finishing up

The result

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Product rave: Apple in-ear headphones

My workday walk to and from my car is the perfect opportunity to listen to music. I love my iPod Shuffle for this -- it's tiny, holds ~500 songs, keeps a charge for quite a while, and tucks away easily in my purse when not in use.

But the headphones that came with it were just terrible. I mean, no worse than any other freebie headphones -- foam-covered little dealies that you stick in your ears. They weren't a great fit, though, so outside noise was still really audible over the music at nearly any non-eardrum-bursting volume. Add to this that when I use my Shuffle while working out, the foam would absorb sweat, leaving the earphones manky and gross.

Enter Apple's in-ear headphones. They also go in your ears (duh) but come with three sets of thin, different sized silicon sleeves that slip over the little speakers to ensure a better, personalized fit. A better fit means better sound quality. And the silicone doesn't absorb sweat, so if you use them while exercising, there's no grossness.

These cost $39 at or the Apple Store. I can't recommend them highly enough.

Friday, August 29, 2008

What does it mean?

Fortune acquired tonight at dinner with Cora. I can't seem to figure it out.

In case you can't make it out:

It's nice to be remembered, but it's far cheaper to be forgotten.

Any ideas?

Any idea what this plant is?

I walk past it every day in Capitol Park as I walk in to work. I have no clue what it is.

The photo lacks anything to really use for scale, but the Plant in Question is quite tall. And at the top are yucca-like blossoms.

I couldn't get a better shot of it because there was a gardener person with a leaf blower just out of frame, eyeing me suspiciously.

This made me laugh

Both presidential candidates' websites have areas where you can buy various forms of paraphernalia to profess your undying love and devotion. Or, just a T-shirt, if that's how you roll.

Sen. McCain's site* features specialized sections in its web store, one of which is geared at students. Talking Points Memo grabbed this screen shot** of an item for sale in that section this morning. As a lover of both irony and bad punctuation, I had to post this:

* This is not intended as a political dig. I am sure Sen. McCain clearly understands the difference between plurals and possessives.

** The photo has been corrected/replaced since this screen capture was originally posted.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


To: Older man who jogs around Capitol Park every morning
Re: Attire

Every morning you run past me on your daily jog. You wear running shoes, but the rest of your clothes are street-ready -- dress slacks, a collared golf shirt, a belt. Do you not have sweats or shorts or something else to wear to run in? Some of your shirts are so worn that I can nearly see through the fabric.

On top of this, you look like the guy in the Six Flags commercials. So much so that it freaks me out a little.

To: Boo
Re: Quit yelling

Every morning it's the same thing: you scream at me until your can of wet food is opened and put out for you. Every morning. I can't go to the bathroom, I can't let Daisy out or get the newspaper first. Well, I can -- if I want to listen to your screaming for that much longer.

Have I ever once not fed you in all these years? No. Have I ever forgotten, or had some other focus once out of bed beside feeding you? No, I haven't. Not that it matters.

To: Crying Yelling Neighbor Lady
Re: Early to rise

The only mornings I don't wake up when you do are when I have the A/C or heat on. Otherwise, your crack-of-dawn yard puttering, complete with the dragging about of patio furniture and running of hoses, is more reliable than my alarm clock.

Why you don't do whatever it is you're doing out there at a decent hour of the day, I'm not sure. But what I really don't get is what you're doing in the garage. With the door wide open, you heave enormous heavy things in and out of the trunk of your car every day. I can hear you grunting with the effort of lifting them, whatever they are.

Are you hauling off the bodies of your victims? Do you moonlight as a bricklayer? If whatever the things are that you're toting around are so heavy, why don't you just leave them in there?

To: J Crew
Re: Knock it off

Just stop it already with your fall catalogs shot in Prague or where ever and your sales and your bracelets with acorns on them and your argyle socks.

Your jackets, while adorable, are overpriced, as are your flats. I love your jewelry, but it too is ridiculously expensive.

I will not fall prey to your siren song this season. I won't I won't I won't.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Home sick

I woke up in the middle of the night with some sort of a bug. So my churning stomach, pounding head and I stayed home from work today.

That meant lots of time on the couch, dozing and forcing fluids. And of course I had a couple of nursemaids to make sure I was on the mend:

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Monday, August 25, 2008

Saturday, August 23, 2008

More fun with LOLCats

Poor kitty. At least he got the last word...

Friday, August 22, 2008

I may be a little too excited about the soda thing

I won a $50 Visa gift card in a raffle hosted by my office building this week. That, coupled with my newfound ability to drink carbonation, led me and Lynnie and Lindsay to Vallejo's for lunch today where I had my first fountain soda since The Topamax Years. Or sodas, really, because the glass was refilled a few times.

Here it is, in all its glory -- my first fountain Pepsi. I prefer Coke, if truth is told, but beggars can't be choosers:

Ah, it was good. Sweet cold bubbly cola goodness.

And gone too soon.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Little victories

I haven't been able to drink carbonated beverages for the two years I've been on Topamax. One of its (many, lovely) side effects is that it makes sodas and other bubbly things taste flat and metallic. And warm, which is really strange.

Not being able to drink Coke was, at least at first, the single hardest thing about the medication. I was basically addicted to it, drinking it throughout the day for the caffeine and sugar high. Giving it up, trading it for water and lemonade, was painful.

So last night, I decided to see just how detoxed I am: I opened up a Coke, a Coke that'd been sitting in my frig for two long years, and tentatively drank a few sips.

And it tasted like Coke -- sweet and bubbly and cold and delicious. Just like I remember.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Yesterday was my first completely Topamax-free day -- and the first I've gone without some sort of migraine prevention medication in at least six years. Topamax has a long half-life, so I probably won't feel the full effects of being without it until sometime today.

The past nearly two weeks have been interesting in a lot of ways. I'd read that going off this medication was difficult, in great part because it's an anticonvulsant and acts (in part) on the frontal lobe of the brain. Along with doing whatever it did to my brain to supposedly reduce headaches, the Topamax is also somewhat sedating -- which was a good part of the reason I resisted going on it in the first place.

Weaning off the drug has left my poor nervous system without that protective covering of dopiness. Between that and the other chemical changes, I am jumpy and anxious. Like my nervous system is on the outside of my body. Some of this has come from being in pain as the drugs have worn off, but a lot is just plain old detoxing.

I know I am an excitable person by nature anyway, and this has served me pretty well overall. It's what helped me survive the grind of the legislative calendar for 12 years, got me through the nightmare of my mom's protracted cancer treatment and eventual death. I think it's part of what helps me be creative and funny.

It's like the medicine (or lack thereof) has taken what was an asset and turned it on its head, leaving irritability and crankiness behind. I pray this is temporary. I don't want to think I need to be doped to be fit to go out in public.

Monday, August 18, 2008

A blog after my own heart

Via Christina and David, the Interwebs brings us The "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks. The blog features signage and notes with, appropriately enough, unnecessary quotation marks. Which are but one of the many forms of bad punctuation that make me a little crazy. Ah, I do love the Interwebs.

Here are a few items for your consideration:

The birthday person in question may or may not be named Ann, or may just be posing as someone named Ann. We aren't sure; therefore, we'll put her name in quotes just in case.

Ah, this is the exit you take in case you're not sure if you're experiencing an outright emergency or not. If the situation makes you want to use air quotes, go that way.

Then, my favorite (though the blog goes on and on, so I probably shouldn't say that):

There is a "Criticle" Toner Cartride Situation here, people. Bret is on his way (thank goodness). I do not know how else the person who left this note could have connoted the urgency of the printer problem. Capital letters? Check. Bold face? Check. Underlining? Check. Desperate misspellings in the face of a copier crisis? Check.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Song of the day

From Carolina Liar.

I must be turning into an old lady, because although I love the song, I find myself thinking, "Would it kill him to shower?"

Friday, August 15, 2008

I don't have a lot to say, but this movie looks entertaining

So, yeah. The whole "going off my meds" thing? Pretty much sucks. I don't really want to talk too much about it, since I don't have much good to say, but that's why I haven't been posting a lot these last few days and when I have posted I haven't had a lot to say. Complaining is boring, so I won't, but it's sort of crummy and I basically can't wait 'til I'm past this and feeling a bit more like myself and less like a constantly cranky, irritable, nauseated, headachey version of myself. I'm sure the people around me are looking forward to that as well.

Moving on. This movie, "Burn After Reading," looks like a good one. George Clooney? Brad Pitt? John Malkovich? In a Coen Brothers film? Bring it.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Wait -- what?

Three hunters allegedly discovered the dead body of a Bigfoot (is that supposed to be capitalized?) in Georgia, packed it in ice, shipped it to (where else?) the Bay Area, and are having a press conference tomorrow at a hotel where it will be unveiled for the press and other official gawkers. Pictures of whatever-it-is have already been leaked on the Interwebs, of course.

Here's the story from BoingBoing, but there's also ongoing coverage from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (whose reporters have to be wondering right about now why on earth they paid all that money to go to J School):

Loren Coleman of Cryptomundo writes about the Bigfoot body purported to be discovered in the woods in Northern Georgia. The guys who claim to have discovered it are holding a press conference in Palo Alto on Friday.

Is it real? It certainly looks like the real deal, and with a surprising variety of features.

The hominoid (please note, not hominid) body, found in the Georgia woods, is now in a secure location, under armed guard, and set to be examined by a battery of academic scholars, skeptical scientists, Bigfoot researchers, and debunking writers.

Who is to say the discovery of Bigfoot won’t happen this way?

With offers of millions of dollars, just for the photographs of the body, Loren Coleman and Cryptomundo was given one copy of the first image to share with you, our readers.

The body doesn’t look exactly like people thought it would, because the Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot has been the model in our minds. However, this looks as if it is an actual apelike primate. Indeed, the gorilla-like facial features, the robust lack of canines, and the grinding surfaces shown in the teeth suggest a bulky vegetarian with a mixture of higher primate characteristics.

Will further tests and the proposed live capture of others prove beyond a doubt that Bigfoot is a new species? Stay tuned.

Editor's note: I didn't include the picture of the thawing alleged critter because it's sort of strange (if a bit like an ape suit stuffed in a beer cooler). If you're interested in seeing it for yourself, click here.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

My new parking place

My work parking spot is a CADA space. Up until a couple of weeks ago, it was an uncovered space about a mile from the office in a lot adjacent to a weekly rental hotel. Several times I arrived to park for work to find another car parked in my space; sometimes they'd move, sometimes I'd have to get them towed. It was a bit of a hassle. Parking in the sun was also a drag in the heat of summer.

Luckily, a covered space opened up for just a bit more per month than my prior space was already costing. Even better, it was right next to David's space and a bit closer to the office. I quickly snatched it up, sight unseen.

It turns out that it's underground, beneath an apartment building. Which is wonderful for keeping my car cool and for safety, since it's gated with remote-controlled sensors.

An added bonus: the obstacle course aspect. Which isn't immediately apparent on first glance.

Here's the entrance to the lot. Innocent enough looking:

Then, the gate cranks open, you turn down the driveway and it seems a bit more perilous:

Here's my car, successfully parked in its narrow space (see up front by the hood). I have a small car, so it's fine. But it's getting out that's the challenge:

And here's the driveway one gets to back out of to exit the garage/parking space. It is something. The first few times I backed out, I literally prayed the entire way:

On the day I took these particular pictures, I don't think any of my fellow parkers were over the lines on their spaces or had their bumpers hanging out into the driveway. But that's not always the case, and those little infringements make the exit all the more exciting. My car has reverse sensors on it that beep as I near objects; I've rarely used them, but boy, I'm sure grateful for them now.