Saturday, September 19, 2009

Song of the day

kd lang's voice is just so beautiful. So lacking artifice, so unadorned -- and just wrapped perfectly around the lyrics. And few people write lyrics as spare, lush and poignant as Leonard Cohen.

Here she sings his "Bird on a Wire." So beautiful.

Friday, September 18, 2009

On the mend?

A few thoughts, in no particular order, as The Week That Was winds down.
  • Lots of medical stuff here Chez Something this week: migraine Saturday through Monday; doctor visit to assess said migraines on Tuesday; icky oral surgery on Thursday (which Sweet Colette got me through with flying colors); icky oral surgery recovery day today.
  • I am now the proud owner of two prescriptions for migraines and three prescriptions for oral surgery recovery. I am basically taking pills like it's my J-O-B.
  • If any of you see me driving a car before, say, Saturday at noon, please effect a citizen's arrest, because the odds are very good that I will be altered by some sort of pain medication.
  • Of course, all these drugs have different dosing schedules. Which, since one of them is for pain, I basically can't keep straight (see Bullet #3 re highness). My current medication strategy is to take at least one pill of some kind every time I wander into the kitchen. So far, so good.
  • The mouth stitches come out Thursday. It will be nice to bite and chew again, but I can't really argue with the flatness of my stomach today.
  • The new migraine drugs should kick in within a couple of weeks. I say "new," but really they're old -- I was on them several years ago for a long time and they worked well for me then. Right up to the point they quit working. Maybe they'll do the trick again after a few years' lapse. I have a follow-up doctor appointment in late October and, if things aren't better, I'm off to the neurologist.
  • I'm also scheduled for an open MRI of my head near the end of October. I hope I behave myself this time.
  • I am so looking forward to getting out of my pajamas, running errands and doing chores -- rejoining the world.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

I must own this

Via the geniuses at Shelteriffic, a must-have for those of us who love Harry Potter and gadgets: a magic-wand-slash-TV-remote-control!


It's not cheap at almost ₤50, but The Wand Company says it will perform 13 "magical functions," works with nearly any device that uses a remote and takes minutes to master. Shipping is free in the UK (₤10 to the US).

It officially goes on sale October 1 but is available for preorder now.

Friday, September 11, 2009


To: Crazy Bay Area environmental lobbyist on the phone
From: Harried legislative director
Re: Slow your roll

So, let me get this straight. You've tried for six consecutive years to get a bill through the Legislature and have failed. You have a sense that the sixth time will not be the charm and are calling offices to try to shore up votes. I'm with you so far.

Your strategic error, may I be so bold to say, was when you told me that I was a "personal disappointment" to you when I shared that I didn't think my boss agreed with your position or your bill. You need to get through me to communicate to my boss what your concerns are; insulting me personally when I have a policy difference with you (a difference that the majority of lawmakers have shared for six years) is not perhaps the best political strategy.

To: Secretary in the elevator
From: More prim and proper than I thought
Re: Cover yourself

I get it's the last day of session. I get that it's hot. I get that we're going to be here a long freaking time and it sucks to to be stuck in uncomfortable office wear.

But, hey -- clothes! That are opaque! And cover all your erogenous zones! We won't even talk about what's appropriate for the Capitol vs. what you'd wear to a picnic or to wash the car.

I think a good operating principle would be that if both your panties and your bra are visible, you're not quite done getting dressed. Just saying.

To: Tourists visiting the Capitol today
From: Someone who truly enjoys working for taxpayers
Re: Please, please let me get past you

I know you're not here all the time. I know you don't understand that this is the busiest of days for us, that literally hundreds of things are happening at once, and that while, yes, absolutely, this is your building, it's also our office.

We're glad you're here. We hope you see how hard we work, how much we care about what we're doing, how intensely committed we are to a better state, better education, better roads and air and even better football stadiums. And -- the fact that you're here on today of all days is really a good thing.

But please -- PLEASE. If you see someone in serious office wear, her arms full of binders and folders and clutching a BlackBerry and several pens, literally running in high heels -- could you just step aside a little to let her pass? Please? You're on vacation or at least a Friday off work. Will that 15 seconds really mean as much to you as it does to her as she's trying to get to the floor or committee or Leg Counsel or where ever? And, one more thing -- if you could manage not to roll your eyes and/or say something crappy about politicians/Democrats/how we're all thieves or crooks, that would be the icing on the cake.

Have a pleasant stay.


Monday, September 7, 2009

New favorite thing: Emi hair dryer by Remington

Anyone with curly hair knows that it is a bit of a challenge. I think that's probably why most of us wind up spending years straightening with blow dryers and hot irons -- smoother hair is a bit more predictable, at least, and the time we spend fussing, while not a lot of fun, tends to produce more consistent results.

When I stopped straightening my hair and embraced its curl, I still had some work cut out for me. Product is critical, and I'm lucky my stylist pointed me in the right direction there. A good cut is also really important -- my hair's fine, but there's lots of it, so I need some layers to avoid looking like the triangle-haired woman in "Dilbert" and also let the curl lose a little weight and be a bit springier.

Last, and for me most important, was the dryer. My curly hair, like I'm guessing most people's, isn't uniformly curly all over my head. Some places are almost kinky; others, mostly straight; and then there are patches with some wave but that, without coaxing, just lie there. A diffuser helps coax out some curl, but doesn't do the whole job.

I read about the Remington Emi blow dryer on a message board, and I really had some doubts. It basically sucks sections of hair into a tube-like attachment on the nozzle, spinning it and drying it into a corkscrew shape. Behold a German YouTube video that shows the basic routine:

Longer hair is left with something like dreadlocks, which can then be broken up into waves. For shorter, layered hair, like mine, the spinning action sort of activates my hair's natural curl, giving me more uniformity all over.

I love this thing. The weird nozzle can come off, too, so you can use it like a normal dryer.

The ceramic version (whatever that is) is $29.99 on and, but my non-ceramic one came from Target and was like $23. It takes some practice (my first couple of times using it, I couldn't really leave the house...), but if your hair's curly or even wavy, it may be a good tool to add to your hair arsenal.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Good night, sweetheart

Like the disembodied woman's voice says in the video, I wouldn't have believed if I hadn't seen it for myself.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Ways to tell that it's near the end of session

Bills are not so much "legislation" as they are "zombies."

The answer to everything is "Sure!" followed by a slightly hysterical giggle.

You don't know what day it is. Because it doesn't matter.

You accidentally use lotion in in place of hair gel in the morning and your hair looks the same.

A matching outfit is one in which everything you wear is clean.

Lots of crying. Lots of yelling. Lots of door slamming.

You are an expert on an issue 15 minutes after you hear about it for the first time in your life.

Caucus caucus caucus.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


So I was driving home after work yesterday, minding my own business, exceeding the posted speed limit by a... smidge. It had been a hairy day, so the stereo was turned up pretty high, and it was pretty warm too, so the A/C was cranking. My mind was a dozen places, trying to wind down, thinking ahead to a night of chores and a hopefully early bedtime.

Out of the blue, completely without warning, I heard an enormous WHOMP! sound. And the back end of the car bucked.

The WHOMP! was followed by thud-thud-thud-thud noises and the smell of burning rubber. I was in the middle-right lane -- I'm still grateful for that small fact. The rear end of the car seemed sluggish, a bit unresponsive as I put on my hazards and worked my way to the right shoulder. After climbing out of the car on the passenger side (fun in work clothes), I peeked around the back of the car to assess the damage. The rear driver's side tire was basically gone.

So there I was, tireless and perched on the edge of I-5 South, inches from the lane of traffic on the side of the car needing its tire changed. Well, dang.

I had no sooner hung up the phone with the AAA operator that I heard someone's steps coming up behind me in the dry underbrush of the shoulder. A Highway Patrolman. "Great," I thought, "Now I'm going to get a ticket!"

But no. He asked me (I guess he was talking to me; he kept calling someone "ma'am," and my mom was nowhere around) if he could please change my tire. Uh, pardon? "Yes, ma'am, I'd really like to do that for you." Uh, well, thanks, I guess, but I have AAA on the way. "Yes, ma'am, but it's not safe out here. I'd really prefer to do this for you." Uh, thank you (have I entered some sort of parallel universe?), but I'll be OK. Shouldn't you go help someone who doesn't have AAA or help on the way? "Ma'am, please. Call and cancel the tow. Please, ma'am." Oh all right. Can I help at least? "Yes, ma'am. You can stand over there on the shoulder where it's safe." Um, OK then.

Next thing I know, a tow truck pulls up. Not the AAA-requested tow, but a truck associated with the Sacramento area Freeway Service Patrol. These lovely young men apparently drive around area freeways during commute hours, looking for folks who have broken down. They then assist them with getting their cars up and running and back on their way.

Long story short, out came orange traffic cones, the two men changed my tire (and I had a full-sized spare, as it turns out. Love the Ultimate Driving Machine!) and sent me on my way. No charge -- NO CHARGE! And I didn't even have to cart off the remnants of my tire -- they left them on the side of the road. CalTrans picks them up once a week or so, they said.

So inside of 25 minutes, I was back on the road and headed home. I thanked the kind men profusely and promised I'd do what I could about the furloughs. And marveled at the kindness of strangers.