Friday, January 28, 2005

Things I've Learned...

I've learned that you cannot make
someone love you. All you can do is
stalk them and hope they panic and give in.

I've learned that no matter how much I care,
some people are just assholes.

I've learned that you can get by
on charm for about fifteen minutes.
After that, you'd better have huge boobs.

I've learned that you shouldn't
compare yourself to others - they are
more screwed up than you think.

I've learned that you can keep vomiting
long after you think you're finished.

I've learned that we are responsible
for what we do, unless we are celebrities.

I've learned that regardless of
how hot and steamy a relationship is at
first, the passion fades, and there had better
be a lot of money to take its place.

I've learned that 99% of the time when
something isn't working in my house, one
of my kids did it.

I've learned that the people I care most
about in life are taken away too soon
and all the less important ones just never go away.

**someone sent this to me via email, and I thought it was worth posting.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Disgusting Food Stuffs

Have you ever noticed the amount of food products that are just gross? I’m not referring to my mother-in-law’s dried-out roast beef and boiled rutabaga dinners here. I’m talking unnatural, AKA “not found in nature”. Here’s just a few:

  1. SPAM (not to be confused with the Viagra e-mails)
  2. Spreadable cheese “products” (often spelled Cheez, as they contain no actual cheese)
  3. Pickled eggs (for the love of all things good and holy, why was this invented?)
  4. Creamed corn (blech!)
  5. Pickle-flavored Doritos (regular flavored Doritos are bad enough)
  6. Canned spaghetti (even my kids won’t eat this)
  7. Actually, the whole Chef Boyardee line-up.
  8. Easy Mac (I liked Mac & Cheese as a kid, but as an adult, I’ve lost the love)
  9. Kraft Lunchables (a box full ‘o’ nitrates)
  10. Fillet ‘O Fish (does anyone order these anymore???)

I imagine there are those of you out there who like some of this stuff. Try to convince me why I should, say, give creamed corn a second chance.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

It's all about the ending...

Arthur and I have taken to watching the original films of recent re-makes (like The Manchurian Candidate, The Italian Job, and Ocean’s Eleven). I have to admit that the pace of these movies is a little slower than I’m used to (being brought up on Sesame Street and Nintendo), and the dialogue isn’t as snappy (having become accustomed to Guy Ritchie and Quentin Tarantino), but I have to admit that the endings kick ass.

There’s no happy ending in any of these movies. I didn’t think there was a better ending than the one in the original Italian Job until I saw the original Ocean’s Eleven. These aren’t typical Hollywood endings. I think Guy Ritchie’s movies come close to achieving the same kind of endings, if I’m not giving too much away for those of you who haven’t seen some of these movies.

Anyway, if you hate a typical ending, I suggest you check out some of these original movies (or a Guy Ritchie flick, for that matter). While the plot and character development seem to drag in the originals, the filmmakers had a sense of humor when it came to the final scenes.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Carmi! Shhhhhhh!

Be quiet! The western economy will completely collapse if the masses ever realize that buying useless crap won't make them happy!

The Great Train Adventure

So, while working at home today (the car's in for a check-up) I planned out a little day trip for the kiddies and me while Arthur goes on an ice fishing trip with the Retroboy and Eddie.

I remember when I was about Frankie's age, my favorite uncle would take us to the Ex (Canadian National Exhibition) in Toronto every summer. He didn't drive so we would take the VIA Rail and I always loved it. It was almost the best part of the trip; I liked being able to walk around and buy 7-Up in a glass. So, of course, Benjy and Frankie are desperate to go on a train, too. Trains and hotels hold a special appeal for them. Some kind of exotic, romantic notion. They've done the hotel thing, and loved it, so they're holding out that the train must be great too. I hope they're not disappointed.

I've booked tickets to take the train to Toronto, where we will then take the subway and then the bus to the Ontario Science Centre. It should be fun if I don't get lost. It will cost about $40 more than if I took my car, but then I don't have to drive in Toronto by myself, and the kids get to do the train thing, which will be cool for them, especially since they don't have to wear seatbelts and they can buy food (What is it about kids and buying food? Why is it better than bringing food??). I'm not sure what they're going to think about the subway or the bus (I can't say I love them, but I'm not 9 or 4).

I'm very excited and can't wait to tell the kids when they get home today!!!!!

I thought about calling the other Ice Fishermen's wives to see if they want to go too, but I haven't for two reasons:

1. Frankie is much older than their kids and thinks little kids are "lame". (Actually, Benjy is older than all of them, but one as well). He always gets the shaft in these matters, with him pouting and me scolding, so I thought it would be nice if I didn't have to do that this time.

2. The whole train thing makes it seem like an adventure, and maybe it's selfish, but I don't really want to share it. I'll be the only adult, so that means we can go by my rules, which involves traveling light and moving at a pace ideal for my kids. Once in a while, it's nice when you don't have to accommodate anyone else. The bigger the group, the more difficult it becomes for everyone to agree on the same thing, or to make a decision.

This isn't in anyway a blast against my friends - I love them. It's true of anyone, and if they invited me somewhere, they'd have to make the same accommodations. Everyone does. I'm just not going to for this trip. It will be our special little adventure (until I get lost on the subway - then I'll wish I had another adult with me!!!!)

Thursday, January 20, 2005


Testing. Is this thing on?????


I lost 8 lbs during the month of October, and then found it again over the Christmas holidays. I've been counting calories and doing a little more exercise this week, and if the scale isn't lying, I'm down three pounds. Woo hoo. Seven more to go before I get to the weight I was complaining about before! Good times.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Quote of the day

Found this while I was looking for something else (story of my life):

"Become a hero in a no one cares sorta way."

Heh heh heh. Hit the nail on the head on that one. I've been involved in a few software evaluation and acquisition projects, and no one cares (unless you pick the wrong app).

A wee bit more of "The Novel"

I was going to post the whole chapter, but having not yet put it to paper, it's difficult. Anyway, our intrepid main character is at a trade show in Vegas where she's helping her boss, the VP of Nothing (as she likes to call him) show off the company's CRM software to the tradeshow vendors. They have no booth themselves, as the company is too cheap, so they're just showing up and opening up their laptops. Our main character, Mel, is nursing a significant hangover from the previous night...

My mobile is ringing. I search the laptop bag and answer it, clutching my head and shifting my weight from foot to foot, in an attempt to avoid the sizeable blisters that are forming.

So, I’m recognizing now that the three inch heels weren’t the best choice for tramping around at a trade show in Las Vegas. On top of my absolutely pounding headache, my unpredictable bowels, and my queasy gut, I can barely walk from all of the blisters on my feet. But I look great (apart from the green skin).

My job today involves secretly showing the company’s CRM product to as many tradeshow vendors as possible by running around in an obscenely short skirt with a laptop ready to go. So far, everyone I’ve approached has found me to be an annoyance, and has unceremoniously ushered me away.

“Mel Tucker,” I say into the phone, with as much enthusiasm as I can muster. Why the hell did I drink so much last night? Gawd, I can’t remember what even happened after I left the club with What’s His Name with the nice hair. Please, oh please, let me not have slept with him.

It’s the VP of Nothing on the other line. He’s come up with a rather strange and unethical plan that I’m apparently to be party to. Urgh.

I’m standing at a competitor’s CRM kiosk, nonchalantly clicking through their version 8 Web-based release. It’s my job to click through the screens, while trying not to obstruct the view of the kiosk window from the VP of Nothing, who’s 100 feet away, taking pictures with a 10x digital zoom camera from the mezzanine. This is not one of my proudest moments. My instructions are to not block the screen, wait 10 seconds between clicks, and to avoid helpful vendor reps who might want to “walk me through” the app. So far so good, but I’m only a quarter of the way through the screens.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Deja Vu

I'm not one to base a post on rumor and conjecture (work with me, people), but a son of a neurologist once told me a theory about deja vu that I thought was pretty reasonable, so I'll pass it on. I'm repeating it in layman's terms, and not with any scientific accuracy.

So, we all know what short- and long-term memory is. Short term is "in use" memory - something our brain stores for immediate use, and is generally quickly forgotten (like RAM). Long term memory is the storage of memories that we can recall much later, and is stored for long term use (like hard disc files).

Simon says (yeah, I'm not kidding) that deja vu happens when your neurons misplace a short term memory in a long term memory spot in the temporal lobe. So, instead of filing it as something we are in the process of using, it is instead filed as a long term memory, causing us to feel like we remember the experience from our long term memory, when in fact, it just happened.

I don't know if it's true, but it sounds good. As a "devout" Athiest, Douglas Adams would have appreciated this theory, as it does away with all the hocus pocus, previous life theories, and takes it down to the bare bones. One of my favorite quotes from him goes like this:

A man didn’t understand how televisions work, and was convinced that there must be lots of little men inside the box, manipulating images at high speed. An engineer explained to him about high frequency modulations of the electromagnetic spectrum, about transmitters and receivers, about amplifiers and cathode ray tubes, about scan lines moving across and down a phosphorescent screen. The man listened to the engineer with careful attention, nodding his head at every step of the argument. At the end he pronounced himself satisfied. He really did now understand how televisions work. "But I expect there are just a few little men in there, aren’t there?"
-- Douglas Adams, a parable spoofing creationism that Adams often told, as retold by Richard Dawkins in "Lament for Douglas" (14 May 2001)

Monday, January 17, 2005

Trophy Wife locates missing corks

I should admit to you all that the wine corks are back, along with the vase. Arthur pointed them out to me, sitting on the book shelf nice as you please later that night. I don't know if the wine impaired my ability to see them, of if "someone" put them back on the shelf in a stealthy manner. I have no way to ever know, although I suspect the former.

I shall think hard about the wine cork pictureframe/message center idea that Steve, AKA Martha Stewart pitched.

Mom, the Cat Killer

I just got off the phone with my son’s school principal. Apparently Frankie was crying hysterically in the schoolyard because “My mom’s going to kill my cats!”

Backing up….

No one likes to clean the cat litter. Certainly I don’t. But we’ve made it a condition of their receiving allowance that the children clean the litter daily. Rarely does it get done daily, though. I usually end up having to clean it. (Arthur, who doesn’t want the cats to begin with, would NEVER do it).

Well, it had been about 3 days, and the litter had still not been cleaned, so I sent Frankie down to do it before he went to school. Well, the level of pissing and moaning and griping all the way down the stairs annoyed me to no end this morning. I grabbed the bag from him and told him that I was sick of hearing it, that I’d do it, and that he wouldn’t be seeing any allowance ever again. And then, (because I am a drama queen, a slave to my emotions, and the champion of Catholic guilt) yelled up to Arthur, “Just get the cats put down today. No one wants to take care of them here, and no one wants to adopt them*. Just get rid of them.”

I admit that it was a horrible, horrible thing to say. Arthur knew that I didn’t mean it, and I was sorry the minute it escaped from my mouth. But, I didn't apologize, and I should have.

Well, the school calls to tell me that Frankie is in hysterics that his mom is going to kill his cats, that they won’t be there when he gets home, and that it’s all his fault. He’s also not impressed that he won’t be getting any allowance. He is, as you can tell, as dramatic and emotional as his dear mother.

I had to “talk him down” by assuring him that, indeed, I wasn’t going to have the cats killed, and that I was very, very sorry that I had threatened it. I kept saying “Mommy’s really sorry” over and over again, while my co-workers killed themselves laughing.

He informed me that he thinks of the cats as his “sisters”, which makes sense, because he doesn’t treat is human sister very well either.

So, I’ve learned a valuable lesson today, and expect to be on the school’s blacklist of bad parents. I’m wondering if I’ll be getting a visit from Children’s Aid. I'm mortified and feeling like one of the worst parents (and pet owners) ever.

*Arthur and I have agreed that these cats are not what you would call "pets" - they are skittish, feral things, with one being slightly more tame than the other. Pets don't hiss at and claw you when you try to pet them, or try to escape out the door every time you open it. We have been trying to find a farmer who will adopt them as barn cats, but we haven't had any success yet. We have talked about putting them down, but I haven't been able to stomach the idea of doing this.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Trophy Wife Suspects Foul Play

I can't help but notice that my vase full of wine corks is no longer on my bookshelf. I have strong suspicions that my housekeeper broke it today and is hiding the evidence. But, I lack proof, which is the cornerstone of Canadian justice.

Yes, it's true. I employ a housekeeper. Not full time, just once a week for three hours. It's well worth the money, as I can't expect Arthur to take care of the children, pay the bills, make dinner, AND clean the house. Clearly he needs help. I could be a trophy wife. But, as Arthur would be quick to point out, "Trophy wife? What contest in hell did I win to have you as my trophy?" (This is a shameless lift of a TV sitcom quotation. Can anybody name it?)

Still, with three glasses of questionable Gewurztraminer in my gullet, I'm pretty torn up about the wine corks. They were a tactile history of special moments in the history of Arthur and Trillian. Yes, sadly, most of our most memorable moments seem to involve alcohol. Don't judge.

I've interrogated the children, who for some odd reason, like to take my corks (children like to horde anything in large quantities), but to no avail. Frankie, the bigger liar of my two spawn seemed to be telling the truth. But what do I know? While taking out the trash last night, I found a stash of apples that he'd evidently thrown into the garbage in the garage so that we wouldn't know he hadn't eaten his lunch. Then, when confronted, he feinted* ignorance. I don't know if I'm more upset about the fact that he lied, or that he didn't compost the damn things!

*I'm sure I've spelled this wrong, but Blogger is giving me the green light. This from a program that thinks Blogger is wrong, but has no suggestions for replacements!!!!

Now THAT's Irony

Talk about IRONY.

Trillain is at an impasse

As May 6th draws nearer, I am inevitably compelled to change my online persona. For those of you who don't understand, shame on you: clearly you have neither read enough mid-seventies British comedies or kept on top of current events. As an H2G2 purist, I understand the origin of my moniker, but I fear that once the movie is out, I will be seen as a) a big giant poser taking advantage of a recent hit-movie character, or worse b) naming myself after a character in a huge flop of a movie.

Either way, I'm seriously thinking about changing my blogger name, but will have to think about it some more. I am not taking suggestions on a new name, as the irony of having other people choose my persona is too rich, even for me.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Pop Culture and Mediocrity

I’ve been noticing a popular culture trend over the last decade that says that mediocrity is ok. Basically, movies, books, and commercials have made jokes about us every day people who think about becoming great, but generally succumb to our pettiness and remain mediocre. It’s typified in the whole Bridget Jones franchise.

I was (and still am) a huge fan of the whole genre for quite a while, including Bridget Jones, every woman’s everyday girl. What I don’t like is the general trend in marketing that I’ve seen recently that jumps on what used to be a humorous commentary on the pettiness of our Western society, and turned it into an “it’s okay to never think about things bigger than ourselves” mentality.

In particular, I was reminded of this whole trend by a Tim Horton’s commercial where two women are in the drive-thru and talking about their 2005 resolution to become better people, write a novel, and make great change. They settle, instead for getting the newest muffin and bagel on the menu. While it’s meant in jest, the underlying message is that you needn’t ever rise above your do-nothing mediocre life, so just spend your money on more trivial, unhealthy crap.

I know many of you will say that I’m reading WAY to much into franchise commercials, but this one really hit home. And now, I bet you’ll find evidence of this trend everywhere you look in popular culture.

Monday, January 10, 2005

You know when....

You know you're watching the youngest child when....
They zip across the kitchen floor, arms flailing, calling "LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME!"

You know it's the oldest child when you hear....
"I'm sorry, don't tell mom!"

Saturday, January 08, 2005

The Holy Grail and other things that don't exist

One of the things that it's taken until my thirties (shockingly) to realize is that everyone is flawed. And by everyone, I mean everyone. The entire planet is filled with damaged goods. That's made it a lot easier for me to form relationships with people. When you don't start with them on a pedestal, it isn't too far to come down when you realize they're not perfect.

It makes it easier to deal with family, too. Since you can't choose your family, self-preservation dictates that you love them despite their flaws, and you move past it, hopefully.

One of the luxuries of friendship, however, is that you get to choose your peers. You get to sift through the scratch and dent bin and pick the people who's scrapes and scars don't bother you. Sometimes, if you're lucky, you can find a hidden gem whose wounds you actually love. Hopefully, you have the foresight to marry them rather than tossing them back into the pile, looking for something a little shinier.

And periodically, you might look over your treasure of scratch and dent finds and realize that a vase you thought was a Louis XIII original turns out to be just a scratched up piece of ceramic made in China. It's a disappointment, sure. But, sometimes you can love it anyway. And sometimes you realize that you don't "get it" anymore. Or need it. Or respect it.

Sometimes you look at someone and wonder "What did I ever have in common with this person?" And then you realize that they haven't changed at all. You have. And while you don't care that they don't see the similarities between the Bay of Tonkin Resolution and Weapons of Mass Destruction, you do care that they don't even know what the resolution was. And you could forgive that if they at least cared about something bigger than themselves.

And then there are the other finds that you got because they were a buy one get one free deal. And you never really looked at it or thought that it was much of anything, until you accidentally scratch it, and realize it's gold right through. That doesn't happen very often, but it's nice when it does.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Friends and Blogging

I've been "out of service" for a while: both in terms of writing posts, as well as reading "my regulars". I fear I won't be able to catch up, given that my reading circle is continually expanding.

Two of my bestest, bestest buddies have joined the blogging circle in recent times. Retroboy, thankfully, keeps up his posts about as well as he looks after the rest of his life, so I can literally go for weeks without having to fear that I've missed some pithy insight from him. Eddie, on the other hand, will likely be as neurotic about his blog as he is everything else, so I'll have to make a special effort to keep on top of that.

I am currently holding Retroboy's Piglet hostage until the safe return of Sgt. Bear and Mr. Lizard (both our children have been lazy about ensuring all stuffed animals are with them before leaving for home after New Year's Eve festivities). I wonder if I can expand negotiations to include more consistent posting on his part? His level of apathy leads me to believe that this is an inherently lost cause.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Away from Blog Auto Notification

Thank you for your interest in Paperback Writer. No one is here to take your comment. I will be away from my blog for the rest of the week due to a lack of planning and time scheduling. (Where the heck is a gantt chart when I need one?)

Thank you all for your kind wishes. We did, indeed have a great holiday and are plump and happy.

I will return to my regularly scheduled blogging as soon as I can dig myself out of my work commitments.

Best Regards,