Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The eternal (rhetorical) dilemma

Go to yoga or drink beers on the back porch with my neighbors and my new dog?

Rove never sleeps, apparently

When I went to my local chichi dog supply story this weekend to purchase a George W. squeaky chew toy, I was enraged to discover that they were only carrying Hillary squeaky toys. You can rest assured that Polkadog will be receiving a strongly worded letter about the dangers of mixing pet supplies with partisan politics.
Tuesday, May 30, 2006

It's never too late to emotionally scar your child

Despite being a girl, I'm not prone to idle screams. If I'm on a roller coaster, I usually suffer in silence; if a mouse runs by, I usually say, "Hey, look, a mouse."

But this weekend, for reasons I cannot get into lest the bile rise too high or too quickly, I had occasion to see a photo of my father in the altogether save for a strategically placed bowler hat. And dear reader, I'll have you know that I screamed as I have never screamed before. Twice.

I would have also covered my eyes in vomitous consternation, but thankfully my retinas were instantly seared and I was thus saved the trouble.

Warning: Dog in blog post is much cuter than he appears

Doherty/Seamus/Alvy/Theodore/Lewis/Mr. Pickles was located on Saturday and gets picked up this evening. Prepare yourself for regular saccharine doggie posts over the next 15 years....
Wednesday, May 24, 2006

If you don't want to get smacked...

don't carry on a half-hour conversation about the "American Idol" finale right behind me, especially one that includes the statement, "For such a skinny girl, she has quite a little belly." Thank you.
Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Gore owes me one

I already knew it, but my home-computerless existence over the past two weeks has confirmed the fact that the Internet has ruined my life.

Yes, yes, it’s ruined everyone’s lives. But it’s ruined my life an extra lot. I have two big interrelated flaws: one, I spend way too much time comparing myself to others, and two, I care way too much about what other people think of me. Both of these add up to a huge inferiority complex, which I can suppress during everyday social interactions but which triumphs over the Meaghan human spirit anytime I’m trolling alone on the Web. Every day, I let what I read, see and watch online remind me over and over again that I do not work/present/live as well as others, and that professionally/aesthetically/economically I am lacking in irrefutable, unsolvable ways.

A lot of this defeatist web surfing occurs at work, but work has been busy, which means in the last few months I’ve upped the off-hours online self-flagellation considerably. But now thanks to our robbers (who I hope at least wore black newsboy caps and eye masks and carried off our computers in big white sacks with dollar signs etched on the sides), I am both computerless and Internet connectionless (yep, they took our modem and airport too).

So what have I done these past two weeks? I’ve gone to 6:30 am yoga classes instead of eating my cereal in front of the computer, checking news headlines and reading email. I’ve read long-form magazine articles instead of blogs. And this weekend, when I spent 48 straight hours offline, I ran errands; I watched a Sox game; I hung out with the local dogs and local kids at my local park; I read a book (eep!); I went dog-shelter shopping; I wine, dined and socialized at new venues; and, yesterday, I ate hot dogs at a street fair, got caught in a downpour, and spent the next few hours with my companion huddled in an oyster bar, drinking wine, eating soft shell crab and catching up on a few weeks’ worth of backlogged dialogues both great and small. And it was late into that particular afternoon that I took sudden internal pause and realized that, for the first time in a good while, I felt content rather than anxious, self-satisfied rather than self-nullifying, and fulfilled rather than lacking. I didn’t want for a thing; spiritually, for once, there was more than enough there there.

By 10 am on Monday morning, I had 11 Internet Explorer windows open in a panicked bid to catch up on all that I’d missed. Nic Cage is buying a private island in the Bahamas??
Thursday, May 18, 2006

Misplaced social anxiety

I'm always crushed when paper-towel dispenser motion sensors don't sense my presence.
Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Robbery musings, part one

In 1982, my father brought home an exotic new Betamax machine, along with three cassettes: Star Wars, Westworld and Blazing Saddles. (My sister and I were not allowed to watch Westworld or Blazing Saddles, which explains why, in adulthood, I've attracted nerds the world over with my line-by-line recall of Luke and Obi Wan's first meeting.)

The machine itself was hideous, a 50-pound mess of huge knobs and black-paneled levers; at the time, however, its unseemliness seemed a reflection of its dynamism. It was the waterbed of home viewing machines.

The Betamax became our ticket to popularity. Classmates begged for sleepover invites; babysitters held Blazing Saddles viewing parties while my sister and I were left alone to grab hot pot handles or almost drown in the bathtub.

Soon enough, however, the sleeker and more readily available VHSs came along, and in short order our Betamax supplanted the Intellivision as the centerpiece of my family's objets d'obsolescence collection.

Then, in the early 1990s, our house was robbed and stripped bare of all electronics, from microwave to TV to computers. The one piece of household machinery not taken? Good old antediluvian Max. He consequently basked in a brief resurgence of love and attention, until we bought another VHS and poor Max reassumed his Velveteen Rabbit status. He still lives on today, perched in a dark corner of my father's office next to an equally vital item: a dusty photo of my six-year-old self posing with the kid from The Black Stallion.

Post-Thursday's robbery, I've been wondering what unstolen item or items will be playing the role of Betamax. Frontrunners include a shoebox of cassette tapes (replacing our 15,000 digital music files) and a dozen or so unread books (replacing my nightly E! online reading fix).

But today I've been contemplating the Radioshack TRS-80 I know is snuggled deep in my father's garage. If memory serves, you just plug that sucker in and you're good to go! It would let me do everything I'd need: word-process, play typing games, even write a computer program to draw a triangle. Why, I'd barely miss my five-month-old Mac G5 at all!

Or maybe I should dig it out and place it in my dad's office where it belongs. Max would so love the company.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006

I'm expecting an anvil to fall on my head any minute now

Thanks to all for the robbery and vandalism sympathies. Blogging will resume once the universe stops sticking out its foot to trip me unawares -- tomorrow or the next day most likely.

And thanks for the birthday well-wishes!
Friday, May 12, 2006

Another Friday

... another day spent Googling "Ashlee Simpson nose job."

The empress has no (unstained) clothes

I recently got two pairs of pants back from the cleaners that boasted those “we tried so so hard but couldn’t get this stubborn coffee stain out, which is pretty much your fault anyway because you waited three months before bringing the pants in to be cleaned” notes. Which actually worked out quite well: when I spilled coffee on both pair of pants on concurrent days, I didn’t care in the least.

Those fleeting, freeing moments got me to wondering if I sometimes put too much stock in the clothing-related presentation of self. What would it be like to be my biologist friend, who has declared our friendship to be good for her because it proves she can like someone who carries a purse? Or my father, who has never met a free corporate giveaway T-shirt he didn't love and who once wore a treasured Ronzoni Pasta sweater seven days running during a family trip to London some years back? How would it feel to stare at my closet's offerings and choose function over form every morning--to wear actual rain gear, say, on a day that it's raining, rather than a cute sweater that apparently does double duty as a sponge?

These questions cannot easily be answered, especially the last one, especially today. But I will have you know that it's a really, really cute sweater.
Thursday, May 11, 2006

Oh, that's just fantastic

I just sent a not-entirely G-rated email to my husband... and an old LA coworker, thanks to an errant elbow. Oh well, she always seemed like a bit of a tight-ass; maybe this'll loosen her up. Enjoy, J.!
Monday, May 08, 2006

Petty lane

Like Twain, I can go two months on a compliment; unfortunately, I can also go years, even decades, on a perceived insult or slight. I've avoided attending high school reunions in part because I don't want to bump into teachers I feel done graded me wrong; I'm happily married but can still while away an evening pouting because an objet de crush from years back didn't return my affections.

So though I don't think about it much, I'm still annoyed at my previous employer for screwing me over on the telecommuting dealie six months back. And today, when I got an email from one of my old bosses asking me a completely inappropriate question about an ancient work assignment, I spent the next half-hour working my way through some low-grade apoplexy.

But of course I answered her question graciously, peppering my response with many gratuitous exclamation points for good measure. And I'm glad I did: my obsequiousness earned me the admission on her part that my replacement quit two weeks after she was hired and that they haven't been able to fill my position since.

I know that living well is the best revenge and all that, but stepping off a slowly sinking ship and then occasionally checking back in to gleefully gauge its rising water levels isn't bad either.
Friday, May 05, 2006

Thank heavens for being a girl

I took the car to a garage this morning to get an inspection sticker, today being the last day I could do so before facing a penalty. After getting a kindly finger wag from the mechanic for four of my five brake lights being out (oopsie doopsie), I was beckoned into the garage once more to take a look at my broken front headlight panel. The mechanic sternly explained that a car could not be passed with a cracked or broken light panel; he then told me that I would have to go to a Toyota dealership to get that part and that it would take some time.

This monologue was followed by a wink and the smiling assurance that they would pass me anyway. Tee hee!

(Anyone else need an inspection sticker for a suspect vehicle? I'll take care of it for a nominal fee....)
Thursday, May 04, 2006

Why dogs are vital to our survival

For a host of reasons, yesterday was a bad day, and so this morning I woke up suffering from a bad day hangover. Feeling drained, I absently looked out the window and saw my sister-cum-neighbor in the park across the street with her two dogs. I opened the window and called out to her, but she had her iPod headphones in and couldn't hear me.

However, her beagle Riley, a dog I often dogsit and adore more than anything (my sister says Riley's head always smells like my perfume after a dogsitting stint because I kiss her there so much), heard my voice and ran over to the park's stone wall, expecting to see me on the other side.

When she didn't spot me, she jumped onto the top of the wall, swiveled her head around a few times, then jumped down onto the sidewalk and started wandering across the street looking for me.

Convinced she was going to get hit by a car, I ran downstairs and opened the front door just in time to see her tentatively climbing the front steps. She saw me, squealed in the way that only hounds can squeal, ran over and started licknig me furiously, tail wagging all the while.

This morning was a lovely morning.
Wednesday, May 03, 2006

A dictionary definition of the term "broken reverie"

As I neared home last night, I got stuck in a rain-induced traffic jam. Restless, I let my gaze wander over to the large plate-glass window of a pizza place to the left of me; inside, I saw a man inside staring at himself in a large mirror, completely motionless. There was something captivating about his still preening, and I revelled in the innocent voyeurism of the moment.

Then the dude started picking his nose.
Monday, May 01, 2006

Orange you glad this thing hasn't caught on?

I love bananas, but I abuse them. (Or maybe I abuse bananas because I love them?) Almost every day I throw a banana into my bag before I leave for work, and every day when I go to take my fruit break, I'm confronted with a blackened, battered oblong of mush that usually goes straight into the trash.

So imagine my intrigue when a friend told me about a product called the "Banana Bunker." This portable, inexpensive device protects your banana from bruising or peeling, allowing you to transport your yellow friend to school or to work safely and with ease. I was so excited that I immediately went over to the Banana Bunker website to catch my first glimpse of this wondrous engineering marvel:

Dear lord.

Kind of makes me wish I had school-aged children though -- they would get bananas in their lunches every single day. Until the day they got expelled, at least.