Friday, April 29, 2005


Well, as you are aware (and those of you who aren't: shame on you), Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy (the movie) opens today. I have mixed feelings on it. I was really excited when they were filming the movie, but my optimism has been taking a downward spiral the last couple of weeks as reviews have come in. I'm taking M.J. Simpson's review with a grain of salt at this point. I read the biography he did of DNA, and quite honestly, the man has no sense of humor.

I also have to keep in mind that the books were different from the radio plays, which were different from the t.v. shows, which were different from the records, which were different from the radio play scripts. Each incarnation of HHGTG has been different, and so we cannot expect the movie to rigidly adhere to the books. Also - DNA wrote most of the script, so this is his vision. Also - it's just a f@#king movie.

Arthur and I will be going out tonight to see it. If it's appropriate, we'll take Frankie, as he loved the books (and he thinks Mos Def is the 'bomb' ever since he saw the Italian Job).

Here's me crossing my fingers, and hoping for the best.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Cat observations

Frankie has adopted the mantra "Stupid, Stupid Rat People!" for expressing his exasperation with people and things that don't meet his expectations. It gets directed at the cat quite a bit. She is not the intellectual giant we had hoped she might be. She tries to crawl through his pajamas while he's still wearing them - which can be both annoying and painful, depending on the pant style.
10 points to anyone that can name its origin (without Googling it!!)

Benjy took it upon herself to decorate the cat with sparkles yesterday. I will admit that she did look nice, but I'm not sure the cat agreed. Benjy was surprised to find the cat sparkle-free this morning. I took the opportunity to educate her on the hazards of sprinkling non-digestible items on an animal that licks itself. She seems to have absorbed the information with understanding and grace.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Give and Take

First off - so sorry for my lack of posting. I've been working really hard at writing stuff offline and also, my real life keeps getting in the way of my virtual life, and well, it's higher on the triage.

Topic of the day: Givers and Takers. Which one are you?

As a librarian, I'm innately predisposed to categorizing things. One of the things I've noticed (working in a predominantly sales-oriented company) is that you can categorize people as either givers or takers. Sure, there are those that strike a nice balance between giving and taking, but I find that most people tend to lean further one way than the other.

While this is a horrible generalization, I find that sales people tend to be takers. Which is fine, that's just the way it is. People in support roles tend to be givers. Women are usually givers more than men, but it's not always true. I've also found that being a mother doesn't seem to make you more predisposed to being a giver, either.

So - what's a giver and a taker? I think you can likely figure it out.

Givers tend to want to help people - to solve their problems. They supply more than they demand. They tend not to ask for much, even if they actually want or need something. Givers are not necessarily nicer people than takers. They can be resentful and nasty, and often dole out large plates of guilt. They are more sensitive to the words and actions (or inactions) of others, and generally expect more out of (and are usually more disappointed with) humanity than takers.

Takers, especially when it's most extreme case, take everything they can from the system. They will find every loophole they can to get more, and they don't mind asking for things if it will help them out. Takers don't usually think about how their actions might affect others. They also tend to be less sensitive to the world around them. Again, takers are not better or worse than givers, they're just different. They tend not to expect as much from humanity, as a whole, and have a "look out for #1" attitude as a result.

As I mentioned, some people are able to strike a nice balance. Most are not. I, for one, tend to fit the giver model more, although I have found that as I have taken on some taker qualities over the years. Arthur, on the other hand, is a classic taker, with some latent giver qualities that pop up at unexpected times. It seems to work well for us (most of the time).

In my household, a classic giver-taker debacle creeps up every year around this time. My birthday is quite near. One thing that will make or break my day is to be told "Happy Birthday" the minute I wake up. I know - it's pathetic. But my mom, a classic giver, never disappoints. She calls first thing in the morning - often before Arthur gets up, to wish me a happy birthday. Then my older sister - another classic giver, will call within seconds.

Arthur has struggled with this for years. He often doesn't think to wish me a happy birthday until after work (at which point it doesn't count, in my opinion). He doesn't expect a first-thing-in-the-morning happy birthday greeting himself, so in typical taker style, it doesn't occur to him that I would. Of course, being a giver, I'm hyper-sensitive to his actions, and read more into his non-birthday-wishing than is actually there. 'Clearly', goes my irrational logic, 'my mother and sister love me more than Arthur, who is still selfishly curled up in bed'.

One might think that my recognition and rationalization of this whole scenario would bring a more enlightened and jovial perspective to the big day. Sadly, this isn't the case. I believe Arthur's answer to the problem this year is not to get up earlier to wish me a happy birthday, but to unplug the phone before we go to bed! Whatever works.

Anyway - I put the question out there - which are you: a giver or a taker?

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

I love deadlines....

I write articles (among other things) for IT publications for a living. One thing I’ve finally learned is that I’m highly deadline-motivated*. If there isn’t a defined deadline or milestone, you might as well forget about receiving output from me. I finally made the mental connection that my novel will never get finished if I don’t put some real deadlines with hard consequences in place.

To this end, I’ve committed to producing 10 pages per week, due every Monday. The consequence for under- or non-delivery is the revocation of my debit card. Harsh, I know. But the thought of not being able to have my morning Timmy’s or a Wendy’s Mandarin Chicken Salad might just be the impetus I need. Last night was the first day of the new rules, and I produced my required 2 pages. Not the best quality I every put out by a long shot, but my plan is just to spew it out and then edit it. If I get caught up on every adjective and metaphor I’ll never get through it.

Wish me luck!

*Which leads me to my favorite Douglas Adams quote: "I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by."

Monday, April 11, 2005

Women learn so early

My saintly Tai Bo instructor battles with her 3rd bout of uterine cancer (after she goes to camp with her severely disabled son and has surgery on her eye - a complication of her diabetes) - yeah, I'm not kidding. She remains the most inspiring and motivational person I know. Yikes! I want to be a better person just for knowing her.

Until she recovers (which she assures us she will) I have taken up power walking with my friend and neighbor. We only go 5km right now, but I'm hoping to up it in another week. We go every night at 8pm. Last night, while I prepared to go, I realized the true extent of the guilt power my 5 year old daughter possesses. She looked at me all sad eyed, and said in her little angle voice, as she reached her hand out to mine "Mommy. Why do you like Vanessa more than me?"

Yowzer! Kids perceive things so differently than adults, don't they?

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Me, me, and more me

Like most women, I like it when a conversation is focused squarely on me. I'm not that picky on what, exactly, we talk about (me), just as long as the main focus is yours truly. Last night, while sitting on the couch with a nice Merlot chatting with Arthur, I could feel the conversation moving swiftly away from my favorite topic. In order to pull it back, I had to do some quick thinking. I needed a topic that addressed Arthur's vast opinion buckets, while still focusing mostly on me.

"What about me really gets under your skin?" I blurted out.

Arthur smiled the knowing smile of someone who knows that they are about to step into a pit of angry rattlesnakes, but does it anyway, for kicks and giggles.

"Not a lot," he replied, "but you do leave your shoes all over the house."

I thought, for a moment, about getting angry and denying it, but realized that:

a) I'd introduced the topic, and
b) It might be true.

I did a quick walk through of the house, and found no less than 6 pair of shoes laying around where they didn't belong.

My casual mules were in the kitchen.
My running shoes were on the stairs.
My once great, but now mostly for gardening Pradas were in the foyer.
My favorite black backless pumps were laying in the library.
My slippers were in the hall.
My black boots were in the laundry room.

All but the slippers should have been resting comfortably in the front hall closet. Apparently, I'm no longer allowed to angrily accuse people of leaving their shoes out where I can trip over them.

I hate it when Arthur is so smugly correct. On the bright side, I got to spend the better part of 20 minutes thinking solely about me.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Some heavy thinking masked as jovial levity

One of my colleagues is a very spiritual person. Actually, several of them are, but this one in particular is very educated, very spiritual, very Christian (in the true sense of the meaning), and has a level of faith that I'm not accustomed to seeing. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him, even though we don't agree on a number of issues. We inadvertently began talking about the existence of God the other day (I know, I know: how incredibly inappropriate to discuss at work!), and something he said made me think for a second. He said that the world was very obviously purposefully and deliberately created by a higher power, or something to that effect.

I knew there was a flaw in that statement, but of course I couldn't come up with it at the time. So in true George Kastanza form, I'll give my very late come-back now:

One of my favorite Douglas Adams quotations, from Richard Dawkin's "Lament for Douglas" goes something like this:

. . . imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, 'This is an interesting world I find myself in - 'fits me rather neatly, doesn't it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!' This is such a powerful idea that as the sun rises in the sky and the air heats up and as, gradually, the puddle gets smaller and smaller, it's still frantically hanging on to the notion that everything's going to be alright, because this world was meant to have him in it, was built to have him in it; so the moment he disappears catches him rather by surprise.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

And in the world of geek...

I'm a professional Librarian (even though I've never actually worked in a library), so I'm allowed to make fun of them.

I saw a number of good April 1st pranks out there last Friday. Motley Fool had a funny bit about a FoolsLottery, and Star Trek had some funny stuff on their site, too. Google, of course had the Gulp.

This is what passes for a prank among Librarians. It's hard to buck a geeky steriotype with this level of librarian tomfoolery. Long live the geek!

Friday, April 01, 2005

Happy April Fool's Day

I was hoping that the 10-20 cm of snow called for tonight was a prank, but it appears to be legit.

However, I did enjoy reading about Google's latest beta, GoogleGulp, the refreshing drink that changes your brain chemistry via DNA scanners, electrolyte neurotransmitter smartdrugs, and wireless transmitters. Strangely, this is not available from the site...