Monday, March 23, 2009

Better. Better Bring a Bucket List.... with apologies to Monty Python

Plinky asks what the top five items are on my bucket list... soooooo easy.

Go to Venice
It's sinking and I want to eat up some of that yummy food and sock away several bottles of fine Italian wine to help them lighten up the place. Buoyancy is good.

Have hair to my knees
I was "Twiggified" as a child. This can have serious and lasting detrimental effects on a gurl,* which resulted in such a complex that I ended up making my fortune designing hair jewelry specifically for long hair; however, even *I* have my length limits. I say I want hair to my knees but every time it reaches the bottom of my butt (what is known as "Classic Length" in the hair biz... can you believe we have our own terms for this stuff?), I wuss and get several inches cut off. Why? Because hair to your butt is a pain in the ass (pun intended). It involves such lovely consequences as snapping your head back when you go through a screen door and your hair does not; suffering the embarrassment of people running up to you at stoplights to let you know your hair is hanging out the car door; becoming a way-fun chew toy for the dogs at any opportunity; and actually getting in the way when you have to do anything that involves said butt (yup, went there). My tolerance level is not that high.

*You can read all about my deep-rooted (pun intended), hair obsession here.

Own all the Bichons
I have four. I want them ALL. Gimme.

"Look what followed me home Sweetie! Can I keep all eight million of 'em???"

Have George Perrier come to my house and cook a gourmet meal just for us
He'd have to clean up his mess, tho. I'm just sayin'.

Ride the Batman rollercoaster
I took my Sweetie to Great Adventure for his birthday several years ago. Little did I know I was married to a "Coaster Wuss." I had this great plan to start out on the little coasters and work our way up to what was my own personal goal, "Batman." By the time we got to "Rolling Thunder," third on our list of oh, about 472 coasters, I could tell by the strange whimpering sounds emanating from my husband that I wasn't going to get too far. When the train on the neighboring track got stuck at the top of the hill and we were stopped a hundred yards or so from the station, I decided now would be a good time to torture hubby and tell him that we would have to go around again to get the other train down. You might say he was less than thrilled with the idea (mothers hurriedly slapped hands over children's ears and gave my husband menacing looks). Needless to say I got to stand on the ground and look longingly at the terrified faces of those lucky enough to get their sweeties on Batman.

Friday, March 20, 2009

See? Isn't That CUTE?

So, I pop off an email to my hubby to see if he has read Reality Check lately. His response?

"Are you spying on me? Why aren't you watching that LOSER Blake Skelton on CMT? I'm busy trying to implement custom code in our Colleague system. I would try to explain it to you but it is far to complicated for you to grasp. And yes, I enjoyed *most* of the Blog."

My poor sweetie. So cute when he's jealous O:)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Best Prank Ever? BWAHAHAHAHA! Give up now, I *so* win...

My new and first bagpipe! by Tae Sandoval Murgan

Many years ago I was a guide on AOL and I worked very closely with an American-born Scotsman named Rocky. He was really into SCA and was just beginning to learn to play the bagpipes when we decided our online chemistry was strong enough to warrant an in-person meeting.

I get on the plane to Indianapolis and sitting next to me is a bearded gentleman. About halfway through the flight, he pulls out what appears to be a recorder and some sheet music, and begins to silently "play" the instrument in his lap.

Me: "You can play, I don't mind."
Him: "Oh, I'm just practicing my fingering."
Me: "Ah. Recorder?"
Him: "No, bagpipes."

I don't think my eyes could have gotten any bigger or my devious brain could have worked any faster than they did. This was too good to be true. "Scary" too good to be true.

It took me a few minutes but I finally decided I was going to shoot for the jackpot. I explained to him that I was going to meet a guy I had worked online with for some time, who *just* happened to be a Scotsman and *just* happened to have recently started learning to play the bagpipes. And then I asked him, given the odds that I could find myself in this situation, if he would be willing to do me a favor. He was floored by my story. He also loved my idea. Ka-CHING!

We land in Indianapolis. My flight-mate pulls his bagpipes from the overhead and we head out into the debarking corridor. *Everyone* on the flight walks past us as he assembles his instrument and I just know Rocky is standing at the gate thinking that I wussed and didn't come. We wait jussst a few seconds to make him think no one else is debarking. So wrong.

Do you have any idea how loud bagpipes are? Do you have any idea how loud bagpipes are in a narrow corridor?

Yes, I was actually "serenaded" off the plane by a bagpiper. The look on Rocky's face as I finally reached the gate was beyond priceless, not to mention the crowd that immediately gathered 'round as soon as they heard the pipes a playin'. This gurl KNOWS how to make an entrance.

Alas, Rocky and I turned out not to be a true match (so much for Karma) and I ended up marrying my beloved German geek a few years later. But I am absolutely positive that Rocky, the bagpiper and I will remember this one for the rest of our lives.

True story.

How do I Vice Me? Let Me Count the Ways...

Glass of Red Wine with Cork by TheBusyBrain

1. I smoke. I love to smoke. BACK OFF BUCKO!
2. I indulge in good red wine on an almost-daily basis
3. I live on gourmet food and cook with such good-for-you ingredients as butter and heavy whipping cream. I am known to celebrate "Tuesday" with prime rib and black truffle pasta
4. I swear constantly. With elan.
5. I spend way too much money on precious gems, shoes and handbags. And art glass beads, but those are tax deductible. It's called "justification."
6. My hip-length hair is my fortune and I spend a fortune on it (say it again, "justification")
7. Blake Shelton. I am not exactly a country music fan, but I am definitely a Blake Shelton fan. The man is the most gorgeous thing to ever walk the face of the earth. Extreme yumminess. And my husband is so cute when he's jealous (not that I would take advantage of my obsession to drive him nuts or anything, no... would *never* do that). Is it okay if I drool?
8. CNN. All the time. Even when Rick or Wolf (but generally not Larry) are on. "Happening NOWWW..."
9. I Plink or blog when I should be working

What would make me give up my vices? Are you kidding? I *live* for my vices and have absolutely no intention of giving up a single one. Nope, my plan (should I begin to believe in such nonsense) is to slide feet first through the pearly gates with a cigarette in one hand and a glass of Banfi Cum Laude in the other, hair tousled and feet adorned in my favorite Marc Jacobs boots, exclaiming "Man, WHAT a FUCKIN' ride! Where's the foie gras???"

Monday, March 9, 2009


Comments are fixed.

[I will test everything, I will test everything, I will test everything, I will test... ]

YOU are Gonna Give ME Advice??

I don't know what it's about or the context in which it will be presented, but two seconds ago I saw a teaser on CNN about a story in which Hillary Clinton is going to talk about "falling in love." Can you imagine? I mean c'mon Hillary, I love Bill too, but I'm not married to him so it's okay that *I* love him. You on the other hand, should have conducted some exceedingly slow surgery with the use of a butter knife, lemon juice and a whole lotta salt, then asked sarcastically if he wants you to "kiss the boo boo." Then YOU would have gotten my vote (not that I'm complainin').

Sunday, March 8, 2009

There are Ghosts in My Room...

Plinky asks about my favorite room...

My entire house, every other room, is decorated in "Contemporary Eclectic Asian" and I'm not shy about doing some pretty over-the-top stuff throughout. There's certainly no question an artist lives here. But my study? Ah, yes... my study.

Stepping into my study is like stepping into another world in another time. It is a very small room and two of the walls are lined with bookcases. But it is not the books that make it my favorite room, much as I do love the company of a good book.

The pieces of furniture in this room, old and eclectic in their own right, are the keepers of my memories. There's what was my mother's favorite overstuffed easy chair. The antique brass torchiere lamp that belonged to my grandmother on my mother's side. An unusual end table that my mother's father refinished. An extremely old chiffrobe that my grandfather on my father's side made for my grandmother decades before I was born, beautiful in its disrepair. My father's cherished trophy that he won in the 60s after bowling a very respectable 279. An antique vase that belonged to my father's mother, the glass fogging with age. My treasured wood secretary that worked its way from my grandmother, to my aunt, to my mother, to me.

When someone else enters this room I feel uneasy, as though a very private conversation has been interrupted by an outsider. No one living is welcome here. My study is my room of ghosts. It holds the shadows of my past, where I can be with them all once again, feel them again, smell them again.

It is my room. My room.

Ya Got That on Vinyl?

My husband is (according to him, was according to me) a musician. In the 80s and 90s he played guitar and bass in such well-known [koff] bands as The Rocket Scientists, False Idols, The Disillusioned Minds, The Bug Eaters and The Mutations. No, you never heard of any of them, but that's not the point. The point is that Richard to this day cannot hear any even slightly off-the-wall phrase without declaring, "That would be a great name for a band!" I'd make a list of examples here but I tend to purge them from my brain cells as quickly as possible after the groan has escaped my lips. It's a self-preservation thing.

Anyways, the meme of the moment is to use Wikipedia to name your band. The concept is to go to Wikipedia and click "Random Article" in the left column. The first article you hit is the name of your band. The next step is to go to Wikipedia's random quotations and find the last quote on the page. The last four or five words of the last quote are your album title. The third and final step is to go to Flickr and click explore the last seven days. The third image is your album cover. No cheating!

With a little help from Paint Shop Pro and a ridiculously large collection of fonts, here are my new releases. Hubby is set for life and I'll never again have to hear how "The Popping Boobs" would be a great name for a band:

Enemies Accumulate

The Power of Intention

Nine Lives
An Inferior Priest

Utopian Dances
Where I Needed to Be

The Joncels
Defense Against the Universe

Born Out of an Intention

This works so well it's almost disturbing.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Variety is the Spice of Life

Awww, c'mon! You didn't think I was gonna stick with the horrendous Blogger template, didya? Still needs work but an improvement, no? I call it "Easter Goth."

Thursday, March 5, 2009

No, I Don't Want any Friggin' Fries With That!

Waitwaitwaitwaitwait... I don't get it, why is everyone so friggin' upset about the woman in Florida who called the cops when McDeath's tried to rip her off? Am I missing something? Is no one listening to what happened here or is it just me? She didn't call to complain that McDonald's didn't have Chicken (sic) McNuggets, she called to report a crime. Granted it wasn't a life or death emergency but last I knew, 911 is what you use to report a crime. Any crime.

I will be the first to admit that I wouldn't have handled it the same way. If I ordered food (sic) at the big scary clown with the speaker in his mouth, paid for my gourmet feast at the first window and was told at the second window that a) They don't have what I ordered and b) No, I can't have my money back, ohmiGAWD... *ballistic* would be an understatement. It wouldn't be about the lack of McNuggets, certainly if I can convince myself that eating at McDonald's is a wise choice, there are a million other comparably wise choices just down the road. No, my angst would be all about the incredibly crappy customer service and the fact that they think it's acceptable to keep my money when they couldn't fulfill their part of the implied business agreement. It certainly shouldn't be that I have no other option but to choose something else from their menu of gastronomic delights.

I do understand that for most people this issue was not at a level that warranted getting the police involved. I certainly could have created more than enough, errr... "commotion" on my own inside the restaurant (sic) to have them willingly shovel large bundles of money and freebie coupons at me to "just shut the hell up and get out." I also happen to realize that not everyone is quite as willing as I to make a public spectacle of themselves in order to get satisfaction for what they perceive to be an injustice (whereas I tend to classify this sort of thing as "sport").

Latreasa Davis did take the first step in the "How to Bend the World to Your Will" handbook by going right to the top and speaking to a manager (never waste your time with a supervisor when you are trying to resolve a dispute with any company, last week they had the job of the person who is the source of the problem and you are bound to still be perceived as the enemy) and still did not receive a refund. She called the police and calmly explained the problem. Granted, she may not have been the most eloquent in her attempt to get the point across, but I certainly got that she wasn't complaining about McDeath's not having McNuggets, she was complaining about being ripped off. So, keeping these facts in mind, does Latreasa Davis deserve to be dragged over the hamburger grill by every media outlet in the nation and even worse, ARRESTED? I think not.

McDonald's is the guilty party here. To put it simply, they stole her money. They have even made a half-assed attempt to own the guilt by releasing the following statement:

"Satisfying each and every customer that (sic) visits our restaurants is very important to us. Regarding this isolated incident, we apologize for the inconvenience caused. In the event that we are unable to fill an order, a customer should be offered the choice of a full refund or alternative menu items. We regret that in this instance, that wasn't the case."

Yeah, okay.

McDonald's not only owes Latreasa Davis a sincere public apology (apologizing for nothing more than her "inconvenience" effectively serves to discount the public humiliation this woman has had to tolerate as a result of their unacceptable actions), not to mention pay all her legal fees. If I were the one doling out justice, I'd also insist that corporate should have to eat only McNuggets for the next month as punishment, but that would be beyond cruel and unusual and even I can't go there.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

White Shows Dirt

I actually posted this in my forum on LongLocks a couplefew years ago, but since my puppies were groomed today and they will actually look like the top pic for five minutes or so, I was reminded of it and inspired to share it with Reality Check readers as well.

Bichon Frise. Small fluffy dogs that are commonly referred to as "walking stuffed animals," almost unbearably cute. Perennial favorites at national dog shows and fabulous pets that shed hardly at all. A French breed, they are recognized by their pristine white coat, manicured appearance, and are even known to take pride in their "do" when freshly groomed.

This is what a bichon is SUPPOSED to look like:

But does my angel, my tiny Petunia, my sweet little baby, look like this?

Of course not. Or as the French would say, au contraire.


THIS is MY bichon:

Mud? What mud? There's mud?

Yup. Soooooooo mine.

[additional sighing]

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

It's Good to Have Friends

Ode to Ann(no e, hyphen)Marie:

I Am Sooooo Unloved

I informed my husband a short time ago that my head is going to explode because I still have a horrible headache I've had for two days. I told him that he was to make sure he cleaned the brain matter off our sheets when this happened. Do you know what he said to me??? Do you??? Well, DO YOU????

Of course you don't, which is why I am going to tell you. He said:
"The puppies can take care of the brain matter, though I do not fully support them eating junk food."

Now I ask you... is that supposed to make me feel LOVED? Is it??? Well, IS IT????


Monday, March 2, 2009

Random, Meaningless Thoughts of Absolutely no Importance to Anyone

Who came up with the idea that grinding up horse hooves and connective tissue, throwing some food coloring and flavoring in, and then marketing it to the world as Jell-O would be a good idea? I mean, I'm all for eating big slabs of rare, red meat (show it a book of matches, bring it to the table) but this goes far beyond the call of carnivorous duty. Whose mind actually *went* there and who's the marketing genius who made this an acceptable, much-loved staple of the American diet? How the hell did that ever happen? It boggles the mind.

I want Rush Limbaugh to succeed. Rush rocks my world. You keep doing what you're doing Rush, the liberal thinkers of the nation are eternally indebted to you and your constitutional right to effectively divide the Republican party and create conservative chaos. You go dude, I got yer back! Rock on! Please, please rock on!

You do realize that nothing *really* matters, right? We're smaller than a nanospeck of dust hurtling through space on a marginally larger nanospeck of dust, among a galaxy of nanospecks, among a universe of billions and billions of nanospecks. Eat what you want. Really, it's okay.

Reality is relative.

Snow Event Horizon Part II (or It Never Snows on Me)

Predicted snowfall for East Nottingham, PA: 9-12"

Snowfall totals (directions in relation to East Nottingham, PA)
  • East Nantmeal, PA (north): 8.0"
  • Wilmington, DE (east): 9.7"
  • Middletown, DE (south, former snowless home base): 6.2"
  • Lancaster County, PA (west): 7-9"
Snowfall total for East Nottingham, PA? I can still see grass. Yesireebob.

Snow Event Horizon?

I actually wrote this yesterday and for some reason it is what inspired me to finally get off my unblogged butt and share my view of reality with the world. Welcome to the abyss.

Anyone who knows me well knows I love snow. Snow rocks. When I lived in DE, I was always unhappy when the snow would make it to the C&D canal and not come down to me, which too often seemed the case.

Then we moved north to PA, to the fabled “west of the city” region where the snow was always predicted to fall whenever we longingly watched the local news from our snowless Delaware abode. We got lots of snow the first winter we were here and I was in heaven. I even bought R a snow blower for XMAS the following winter in anticipation of the many storms to come. That was five years ago. He has used it exactly *once*. East, west, north, south (including Middletown, DE, of course) get snow. Significant snow. Who doesn’t get snow? I don’t get snow. No matter where I happen to be and how much is actually predicted to fall where I *am*, where I *am* is the edge of the storm and the snow is jussssst outta reach of my outstretched, welcoming arms. I literally get snowed “around.” Always.

So this morning R and I sipped our morning mugs of the Elixir of Life, gazing hopefully out the window watching what they predict will be the one and only significant snowfall we get this year do its thing outside the bedroom window. A good, solid dusting of snow has already covered our and our neighbors’ rear lawns as far as the eye can see through the multitude of bare trees, bringing the hope, with less than my usual, well-earned dubiousness, of good things to come. At least it’s getting off to a good start and I can’t help but get excited. It’s actually snowing! On MY stuff!

Then I get up to, well… pee.

I walk into the bathroom and look with anticipation out the second story window to the front of the house, expecting to see an even bigger stretch of landscape blanketed in my beloved frosty white. But noooooo. What do I see surrounding me for acres and acres? Brown, barren, ugly dead grass. Mebbe a sort of “frosted’ look here and there, but otherwise absolutely nuttin’. Zilch. Nada. Zippo. Naught.

So it seems, as fate would so elegantly have it, that I have literally arrived on the snow event horizon, *possibly* about to be sucked into the black (white?) hole.

Or not.

Deposit of Reality Check #1001

Reality check, testing one, two, three...