28 February, 2006

The Bible Tells Me(me) So...

As promised, I have decided to use today to start a Bible Meme. Although since as the Good Book itself says, there is nothing new under the sun, I imagine there is already one floating around out there somewhere. Oh well. This is mine. For the record, I'm referencing the Christian Protestant (sans Apocrypha) Bible, but feel free to do otherwise.

1. Who is your favourite Biblical personage, other than Jesus?

For me that would have to be Peter. I appreciate the fact that he's headstrong, stubborn, loyal, faithful and full of self-doubt--all at the same time. Let's just say I relate to him.

2. What is your favourite book of the Old Testament?

Probably Exodus. There's so much humanity in that book. I also constantly learn from the way Moses and the Israelites react to the provisions of God.

3. What is your least favourite book of the Old Testament?

That'd have to be 2 Kings. As a child I was struck by the gruesomeness of the cannabilism. As an adult I get frustrated by the litany of kings and their failures.

4. What is your favourite non- gospel book of the New Testament?

This is hard for me, because each of the books has real significance to me. I'd have to say that it's probably a tie between Hebrews and 1 Peter. Both strongly emphasise faith and grace in the real world.

5. What is your life verse?

1 Peter 1:6-8

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have suffered grief in all kinds of trials.

These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.

6. Tag 5 people who might want to play

John C.; Malia; Big Orange Michael; TV On The Fritz; Lacy

Of course anyone else who wants to join in, feel free!

27 February, 2006

Paging Kat

This is my lucky Monday. I've been tagged by Sarcastro. (Frankly, it surprises me, because he doesn't usually go in for the Meme thing.) Is there anything better than being tagged when you want to blog but don't have anything really cheery that you want to write about? Okay, so there are probably a thousand things that are better, but why quibble?

The best part of this one is that I've already answered the first question in detail.

So...on to the juiciest, happiest meme I've had in a long time.

1. Name 5 of your favourite books

Check it out here..

2. What was the last book you bought?

The Exile by Allan Folsom.
It's the best "light read" I've had in a long time. It's suspensful and fast-paced, but still dense and intelligent. It's also on my kitchen counter, waiting patiently to be read by Tim.

3. What was the last book you read?
Just finished re-reading The Winds Of War. I need to buy a new copy of this book, hopefully one printed on better paper. The edition I have now is one of those that leaves black smudge-marks on your thumbs when you hold it open. I feel like I've been arrested.

4. Name 5 books that have particular meaning for you.

I'm not gonna say "The Bible" because that's just a cop-out. Yes, the Bible does have particular meaning for me, but honestly. I get so tired of everyone always saying "the Bible". I think I will start a Bible Meme later, though. You know what...yeah. I'll do my own Bible meme tomorrow. Anyway...

Mere Christianity
Hah. I probably should have just gone with "The Bible". In all seriousness, I love this book because it presents such an eloquent and intellectual defense of the faith. There are different types of Christian, and so much of the paraliterature of the Church of the twentieth century was written for and directed by the emotional side of the faith. In this book Lewis turns Bertrand Russell topsy-turvy. I'd actually recommend reading both books back to back for a good formation of the central intellectual argument regarding Christianity.

A Girl Of The Limberlost
When you grow up in Indiana you are pretty much convinced that nothing interesting happens there aside from car races and basketball. This book is a must-read for any little girl who grew up there. It celebrates the beauty of an Indiana that has mostly disappeared. It's also one of the best stories ever put to paper. I try to read it once a year, but I'm in the sad position of not knowing where my copy has ended up.

Tom Jones
I waded through so many of those sprawling depressive epics that try to suss the nature of love through the lens of despair that I actually wanted, several times, to wash out my brain. When I found Tom Jones I was thrilled to find a book that examined the same themes so worn by the Russians, but with a decidedly Celtic joviality.

Anno Dracula
I'm not one for the whole "Vampire Chic" that became so popular with Anne Rice. On the whole I think vampire literature (aside from Bram Stoker's original) is goofy, self-important and sexually infantile. I don't know how or where I found this book, but I read it because it featured Sherlock Holmes. It's one of the most inventive and well-researched pieces of populist fiction I've ever read. Why does it have particular meaning for me? I don't know, other than it provided some much needed entertainment during one of the most dull periods of my life. And any book that features Sherlock Holmes, Mycroft Holmes, Jack the Ripper, Bram Stoker, Dracula and Queen Victoria all coexisting happily is always going to be in some "favourites" list of mine.

The Complete Sherlock Holmes
This is a cheat, because it's me including 4 books and 56 short stories as "one". But if the Conan Doyle estate can do it, so can I. I came to Holmes late--I read A Study In Scarlet when I was 14--and was enthralled by the language as much as anything. I admit, though, that I fell a bit in love with Holmes. He was such a jerk, but he had all the physical attributes I find attractive and he was smart as a whip. Come on. You know I'm not the only woman to fall in love with Holmes. Honestly. Stop rolling your eyes.

But the glory day was when I first read The Greek Interpreter. That's the first time we hear of Mycroft, his brother. Myrcoft Holmes is smarter, fatter and older. He solves mysteries from his comfy chair in the Diogenes club while Sherlock does the legwork. In short--Mycroft Holmes is my idealised fictional self. Yes I know he's a fat old man. No, I have no idea what that says about my psychology. I just know that when I started programming in BASIC at 16 and had to have a cool "hacker name" just like all the other 2600 geeks, I chose Mycropht. (Also in partial tribute to Heinlein's The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress) Hence my blogname and all the other stuff just floating out in the ether for the last 20 years with that sig. So, yeah, the Holmes canon are significant to me.

Three books you are dying to read but haven't yet.

Harry Potter Book 7

Angels by Marian Keyes
I'm kind of saving it for a rainy day.

I honestly can't think of a third one, but I'll take recommendations. I'm kind of in a book lull at the moment.

Who's Next?

Lee; Connie Lane; Kerry Woo, Amy, Muffy


Here's a little hint.

If you're already slightly blue about the passage of time, the cloudy Monday and your bad hair day--DO NOT LOOK THROUGH OLD PHOTO ALBUMS.

26 February, 2006

Where'd You Get That Idea?

When I was a kid my mom subscribed to Good Housekeeping. I didn't realise until this evening how much the articles I read all those years ago influenced my thinking.

I was 9 years old when Jean Harris shot Dr. Herman Tarnower. Since the case involved money, drugs, sex and death it was natural fodder for a magazine. It seemed to me--very young at the time--as though that was all anyone ever thought about. Stories about the murder were in almost every issue. The issues that didn't feature Scarsdale Murder coverage carried letters to the editor about the Tarnower coverage in the previous month.

I was a little girl in a fairly homogeneous community. We were white middle-class midwesterners who went about our business. There was nothing like the Scarsdale murder in our boring town (at least not for a few years, anyway. More on the Osbornes another time.) My love for stories compelled me to cannibalize all the details as printed in the Ladies' Magazine.

Except that I was a little kid.

I came away with definite ideas about men, drugs, women and murder. In short, don't date anyone cruel, arrogant, dismissive or unfaithful. Don't take any drug unless you know what it is and what it is supposed to do. Don't get a fancy job (such as the headmistress of a school) because it can only lead to trouble. Sometimes there are people that flat out just need killin'.

I had learned all these things from the Good Housekeeping coverage of the Scarsdale case, and over the years forgotten where I had learned them. But I kept them in storage as part of my worldview. Some of them are good ideas, some of them are not such good ideas (like the "killing people"one, for instance). Which leads to my main question about myself.

I was allowed to read anything I wanted. I read so much that I think my parents were probably powerless to keep up with me. I read my first murder mystery (Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None) when I was 7. I've never given it much thought one way or the other. It's just what I do. I read.

But now I'm beginning to wonder. If I have a child of my own, will I let that child enjoy the same unfettered reading style that I had? I mean, is it really good for a ten year old girl to have such negative imprinting? It freaked me out today as I watched that HBO movie and realised that my lifelong insistance that I know everything about EVERY MEDICATION I TAKE stems from a few magazine articles I read as a child. It further freaked me out that I realised I had long ago made a negative mental correlation between having a career (as Jean Harris did) and being abused by a man (as Jean Harris was). Is this a good thing? I don't know. I know that everyone gets their ideas from somewhere, and I know that I was an unusual child. Heck. I'm still an unusual child.

I think I'm still Pro Information. I'm just pretty gobsmacked by what my kid mind did with adult information all those years ago.

25 February, 2006

Conversation In The Garage

Tim, examining the new bike he inherited from a friend: "Well, the components are mostly shot, but the frame is pretty decent. If I strip it down I could build up a pretty good single-speed."

Me: "For yourself?"

Tim: "Yeah...."

Me: "ooooh! What are we gonna name it?!?"

Tim: *Rolls Eyes at my insistance that every object in our lives have a nickname*

Me: "OH! I know! Since it's a single speed, how about 'Lance'"?

Tim: Silence.

It's tough being a biker married to a smart ass.

24 February, 2006

Outing People

The only person I believe should be outed is Tom Cruise, and only because he's so insufferable about everyone else. Once you start talking crap about people with a real disease it's time for some truth-tellin' from your bench.

For the record, I know who Aunt B. is. I know where she lives. I know where she works. We've met face to face on two occasions. We agree on almost nothing, but I do like her.

I have no idea what your problem is with her. I could venture a guess.



Sarcastro, another mostly-anonymous Nashville Blogger has politely volunteered to pound you into oblivion. (See comments below.)

I've met him too. He could do it.

Battlestar Galactica: Looming Questions

Since the Olympics have devoured TV programming, Tim & I spent the last two evenings rewatching the BSG miniseries. It was interesting to revisit that bridge, with so much water having passed under it. It does raise some questions though.

1. What happened to Boxey?

Not that I mind, but he was front and center during the mini. He was also a BIG part of the original. I sort of miss the idea of having the Ship's Mascot be a little boy. I don't miss the robot dog, though. In general I think robot dogs are tiresome. With one exception.

You wanna know what's sad? The kid who played the original Boxey has grown up. The highlight of his life, according to his IMDb Bio is apparently that"He has tended bar at several LA clubs and has several tattoos." Child stars. What a parable of joy attained and subsequently dimmed.

2. Abortion. Really? Are we gonna go there for the rest of the series?

Someone, somewhere likened this new version of BSG to "West Wing in space". Maybe it was Big Orange Michael. I honestly can't remember. So far I've made my peace with it, even thought I'd like to see more well-done civilian stories. (But you can feel free to keep your Black Market Mob stuff to yourself.) Honestly, though, I don't think I want to see any more Earth-based controversies given the Pigs In Space treatment. Yes, the birth rate has to be a concern. The whole "start having babies" line of Roslin's turned into the impetus which swayed Adama's entire thinking about the war in the miniseries. Given the fact that the Dry-Erase Board Of Life is an everpresent part of the ship I cannot believe that prior to this moment the government hasn't incentivised childbirth. How dumbass IS this schoolteacherpresident? They've already dealt (badly) with the shadow economy of the black market. Now they're outlawing abortion. Take those lemons and make lemonade, you jerks. Pay people to have babies. It's an economic reality that they must be born for the species' survival. So follow through. I get that the abortion issue was all a Maguffin to make the Crazy Masturbator a serious political candidate. But they can stop now.

3. Are we still even looking for Earth?

There's a map. There's a genius but crazed scientist. There's a need for resources and land. Plus, there's the entire premise of a show behind the search. I get the feeling we've stopped looking for Earth, now that there's a map. Which seems bassackwards, if you ask me. It's like losing the desire for sex once you find the condom. Highly unlikely.

4. Speaking of sex...

Aren't there other men who are capable of having sex besides Apollo? Does he have to inseminate every woman in the fleet? Granted, perhaps he's making a play for Repopulation King, but it's still getting ridiculous.

5. Thirteen at dinner...

I'm frankly quite stupid at times. It just struck me during the re-view of the mini that there are 12 colonies AND 12 Cylon models. They are looking for the missing 13th colony (Earth), and awaiting the birth of the Miracle Baby. The thirteenth cylon. I see all kinds of interesting parallels to be drawn here.

6. Wouldn't this be a cool plot?

With the Resurrection Ship vaporised, that puts a lot of Cylon bodies offline. What happens when there are more downloadable Cylon consciousnesses than available wetware to house them? How about a Cylon plotline where we see multiple consciousnessess struggle for ascendency in the same body? That could be cool.

23 February, 2006

Snow Crash--Or How I Lied

I didn't mean to lie. I just didn't realise that I would have more to say. Not that it matters in the great scheme of things, because what I think about the operation of the major theatres of the world has really proven to not matter in the least. People still go to prison for years and have their homes seized because they choose to cultivate illegal plants. Yet we will hand the keys to our front doors--and by extension a vast majority of economic well-being--to just any guy with a company. I worked for an importer for several years, and wasn't a big fan of the idea of the Ports being managed by anyone outside the government. When I first heard about it the infrastructure of the ports from a man I worked with I was floored. I had just assumed that being ports of entry and all that the government was in charge. Hah! Naive girl.

Yes, I'm a libertarian. But that's the thing. There are things I think are the business of the government and things that I think are NOT the business of government. What you grow, what you smoke, who you sleep with and what you watch are not the government's business. Protecting the safety of the nation is. Face it. Ports have dual duty. Because we are a vastly more "butter" nation than "guns" right now, the ports are vastly more Butter in nature. That in no way alleviates them of their Guns responsibility. A port of entry is still a strategic asset. Contracts should be awarded solely to U.S. firms on that basis alone. Sure, these other fellows may run crackerjack operations.

I. Don't. Care.

Israel has a great army. I still wouldn't outsource our armed forces to the Israelis. Britain once had a great navy. I don't know anymore, because I don't follow the Navy. But I still wouldn't outsource our seafaring operations to them.

In Neal Stephenson's excellent Snow Crash he describes a near future where the U.S. is a loose confederation of corporate fiefdoms. Stuff like this port deal continues to convince me that Stephenson's world is frighteningly prescient. Everything will one day be a business, we'll cease to have any pride in ourselves or our workmanship, and the only voice individuals will have is inside a computer-networked Metaverse.

Yeah. Like that'd ever happen.

Just HOW Out Of Touch Is The Postal Service?

I received in the mail not one but TWO full-color flyers advertising the ease of buying stamps online.

Some things to note:

--Two? Why need I two useless ads?

--Although touting the ease of buying stamps, neither flyer actually bore a stamp. Ironic?

--The ad featured the timely comic strip Cathy. Lest you fear that our grande dame has entirely sold out, worry not! She still has her famous "anxiety sweat droplets", viewable in Panel Two.

I anxiously await the 5 circulars that will come next month, no doubt featuring a pantsless Ziggy.

New Flavours Of Pinko Commie Goodness

It is to my everlasting shame that I engage in the occasional missionary-eating. That's right. I buy Ben & Jerry's. Yes, I know they are flannel-clad communists bent on destroying our way of life, Sarcastro.. Yes, Hubby, I realise they burnt Bush in effigy. But I have decided that if I continue to purchase their product I will yet woo them to the glories of capitalism while at the same time enjoying delicious frozen treats. Hence the "missionary-eating." *** For those who didn't grow up in Campus Crusade/Youth-For-Christ culture, "missionary dating" refers to the act of a Christian dating a non-Christian. The rationale is that the Christian will convert their beloved (usually hot) non-believer amour. The reality is that the Christian usually ends up either pregnant or getting the non-Christian pregnant. Depending on the gender of the parties involved.***

I have decided that although it is extremely unlikely for me to turn Commie after a few pints of B&J, I still do wince at funding El Revolucion. Mildly. But not a lot.

As for the new flavours for 2006, I'm excited about some, less than thrilled about others. Beer Ice Cream? No thank you. Vanilla Ice Cream with Turtles and caramel swirl? Sign me up, Che.

22 February, 2006

Katylon 5

Rex L. Drugs tagged me for this. I love tagging. Except I've been afraid of this meme because of how dull it'll make me seme. Seem. Whatever.

What Were You Doing 10 Years Ago?

Working the 4:30-1:00am shift in Quality Control at a travel agency. This meant a lot of running the UNIX servers, handwriting backdated tickets to avoid the ARC penalty and other geekitude and law breaking. Not my favourite job, but certainly one of my best sources of personal anecdotes.

What Were You Doing 1 Year Ago?

Associate Brand Manager, Licensing and Catalog Coordinator. All fancy words that translate to "rolling a stone forever uphill while simultaneously earning just enough scratch to pay Charon's fee." I should also add that I was seriously contemplating quitting.

Five Snacks You Enjoy

1. Asparagus
2. Cadbury Eggs
3. Fresh Pineapple
4. Rolos
5. Red Vines

Five Songs To Which You Know All The Lyrics

1. The French Inhaler
("How you gonna make your way in the world/ When you weren't cut out for workin'?")

2. The Battle Hymn of The Republic
(seriously--best lyrics ever. "I've seen Him in the watchfires of a hund'red circling camps/ They have builded Him an altar in the eve'ning dews and damps")

3. Ya' Got Trouble
("Ragtime! Shameless Music! It'll grab your son--your daughter--in the arms of a jungle, animal instinct! Masstyria! Friends, the idle brain is the devil's playground....)

4. Desperadoes Under The Eaves
("And if California slides into the ocean/As the mystics and statistics say it will/ I predict this motel will be standing/ until I've paid my bill.")

5. Hallelujah
("And I'll stand before the Lord of Song/With nothing on my tongue/but "hallelujah!")

Five Things You Would Do If You Were A Millionaire
1. Pay off my house
2. Put in a pool
3. Provide for family members
4. Establish a foundation that would underwrite mothers who want to stay home to raise their children.
5. Diversify

Five Bad Habits
1. Procrastination
2. Cracking my knuckles
3. Worry
4. Leaving the bathroom fan on all night
5. Leaving the basement door open all night

Five Things You Like Doing
1. Writing
2. Reading
3. Knitting
4. Weight Training
5. Strategy Gaming

Five Things You Would Never Wear Again
1. My Wedding Dress
2. Size 8 Jeans
3. My NBC Bank "Casual Day" shirt. What is "casual" about a stiff collared button-down shirt? Nothing. And it makes me look not heterosexual.
4. My Bob & Tom t-shirt. (I won it in a dance contest. And it's fugly.)
5. Any underwire lace bra. The underwire always pops out and gouges my mammarian flesh. That hurts.

Five Favourite Toys

Okay, I have the feeling this is one of those "Sex and the City" type questions, but I'm much more dull than all that.

1. My all-in-one-Needle sizer/guage counter/project length ruler. A handier piece of metal has not yet been invented.
2. My iPod
3. My iMac
4. My TiVos
5. My stuffed monkey collection

So who are my 5 victims?
Roger Abramson, Sharon Cobb, Pink Kitty,Fried Apple Blurbs and Jason Y.

None of these people will ever do this, of course, thus fulfilling my long-standing tradition of being the Tag Dead-Head.

All I Have To Say On The Port Deal

Heath Ledger's Gay Dog

So there I am, laying on the couch and hating the stomach flu and the Olympics. Why does all the good television have to be replaced by people shusshing down ice--especially during the week when I could use some distraction? But, since all the good TV has given up the ghost for the duration, I TiVo'd some junk. (Like I need to see Predator 2...again.)

And there, eight minutes into The 50 Best Chick Flicks, is an EXACT carbon copy of my gay dog on Heath Ledger's lap. Of course, I know this is a coincidence. Heath's public appearance with my Gay Dog's twin has no bearing on either his sexuality or his future Oscar hopes. (Heath's, not my dog. Quinn's Oscar is firmly locked in place. No one acts sadder when they don't get a bite of cheese.)

But let me just say this...I have no idea if that was his dog, or a prop dog or the dog of his girlfriend. I do know it was an old interview, back from when he was doing press for 10 Things I Hate About You. I also know that any search for Heath Ledger in Google is now leading to more colourful results than in years past. When you add in the word "dog" it becomes a land of XXX badness. So I have no way of discovering the rest of the story behind Heath's American Eskimo companion.

It's driving me nuts.

When will the Olympics be over? I didn't have this kind of difficulty with episodes of My Name Is Earl.

21 February, 2006

If The Blue States Left The Union

I'm probably too far gone to post on politics, but I say that there's nothing quite like delirium to serve as a good foundation for political thought. Yesterday Glen and I went back and forth on the merits and demerits of our 16th president. Glen takes exception to being compared to Booth. I understand and apologise. However, I still take exception to the posthumous drawing and quartering of my second-favourite American leader.

In the course of that conversation, Glen announced that "if the Blue States left the Union he would throw a party."

Is this what has become of us in America? That we are so divided politically that we wouldn't mind if part of the country split off?!? Have we gone stark raving mad?

Look, I personally am not a "blue-stater". I tend to be very fiscally conservative and don't think the government needs to concern itself with any facet of private life, whether that is funding the arts or keeping Howard Stern off the air. I think the New York Times Sunday Magazine is largely a bunch of self-important nonsense and I'm more at home picking strawberries in a truck patch than acting fusty at a wine bar.

But I don't want anyone to leave America. This was supposed to be a melting pot. Later it became a stew or a salad or whatever the food metaphor for retaining one's individuality is. But it's still America. We are the land of dreams, the land of equality, the land of promise. Telling people they aren't welcome because of their politics or lifestyle is precisely the tyrannical style that the revisionists hate in Lincoln.

Aside from all this high-flown flag waving, let's look at the facts. The so-called "blue states" include much of our Northeastern Atlantic Border, the Port of New York, a good portion of our heavy industry, 80% of our continental Pacific Border, ports in California and Washington, a large part of our heavy timber industry, all of the ports along the Great Lakes and countless other assets. What kind of fools would we be to say "you drink Chai Latte, so we celebrate your defection from the U.S.!"

So no. I don't want the Blue States to leave the Union. And I'd be happy if they'd consider us poor Red-Staters with our farmland, fossil fuel mining and strategic placement an equal part of the country.

20 February, 2006

This Just In

Okay, I'm just finding out about it...thanks to my sister.

The Grey's Anatomy writers have a blog.

As soon as I get over my fear of updating my blogroll, they'll be on it. As will Roger Abramson.

With Malice Toward Glen Dean, Apparently

Glen Dean takes the occasion of President's Day to align himself with John Willkes Booth in calling Lincoln a tyrant. Booth's words upon shooting A. Lincoln, like a coward, in the back of the head were the Latin phrase "Sic Semper Tyrannis"--thus always to tyrants.

So, yeah, I think it's a dastardly thing to call Lincoln a tyrant.

I realise that I'm in the South now, and that people view Lincoln through a different spectrum down here. Be that as it may, the man was not a tyrant.

With Malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds.

I want it said of me by those who knew me best, that I always plucked a thistle and planted a flower where I thought a flower would grow.

This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or exercise their revolutionary right to overthrow it.

Tyrants don't say such things, tyrants don't believe such things. Lincoln took an oath of office and fulfilled it to the best of his ability. His fulfillment of that oath cost him his life. As he feared it would.

I mourn'd--and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring.

Back On The Chain Gang, Baby

Brittney asks my opinion on the chain restaurants' propensity to shut down.

Given the fact that right now all thought of food is making me, er, rather disquieted, I'm not sure I'm the best defender the Restaurant Beast has today.

But of course I'll try.

I've lived here 15 years this June. The restaurants I LOVED that have quit me include The Texana Grill, Cafe Lylla, 32nd Avenue, Rio Bravo and Red Hot & Blue Barbecue. Two were chains, two were not, one (Texana) I'm not sure about. I never liked or disliked them based on their ownership and never got the feeling that an Idaho Home Office was the only thing keeping them alive.

I do like some chain restaurants. I abhor others. I love many locally owned places, but think that others can take a flying leap into The Gulch. What are my current favourites in the Nashville environs?

1. The Mad Platter (L)
Great atmosphere, best food you can get. Haven't been there in a while because I'm not in the mood to take out a second mortgage.

2. Ellendale's (L)
Like the MP, it's got great food. Unlike the MP I can get out of there for less than a c-note. Plus, it's twenty minutes closer to my house. I love that place, and it's the best brunch in town.

3. Maggiano's (C)
This place is the GRUB. I've written about it at length. If I weren't sick as a dog right now I'd be begging for a takeaway box of their asparagus, which is drowned in butter and garlic. I could live on that stuff.

4. Demo's (?)
I mean, they're locally owned but there are about 5 of them now. Does that make them a chain? Doesn't matter. The food is delicious and two people can eat a full meal for $25.00. I also love that they don't have you pay at the table. Turns the tables faster and lets you seperate the relaxing dining from the drone of commerce. Best steak in town for under $15.00

5. Monell's (?)
Again, locally owned but monolithic. Still it's the best "meat-and-three" for 500 miles. And I'm including the (much overrated) Loveless Cafe in that.

6. Bistro 215 (?)
Have no idea who owns them. I do know their portabello sandwich is sublime. And they offer an artisan cheese plate. Sell me bunches of cheese and I'm yours.

7. Carabba's (C)
It's good Italian food with a bit of modernisation to make it more "American" while still tasting fabbooo.

8. McDonalds (C)
I'm so kidding right now. I can't even drive by that place without getting a major case of the trots. Sorry to be so graphic, but what happens to your digestive system once you hit 30? I seriously cannot eat here any more. At all. Okay, occasional PMS cravings will drive my to do something stupid, but as a general rule this isn't food, it's a custom.

9. Sitar (L) for Lunch, Taste of India (L) for Dinner
Both of these are uber-locally owned, as far as I can tell. They're the original curry-house dives (although Sitar has dressed herself up a bit lately.) The food is superb at both. Sitar's lunch buffett is better quality, which is offset by HIGH dinner prices. So we save $10 by doing ToI for dinner. Still good food.

10. Anatolia (L)
Locally-owned as far as I can tell, and the best Turkish food you can get. Which is good, since House of Kebab betrayed me so greviously by selling to someone who undercut the quality.

11. Longhorn (C)
They're everywhere. They have call-ahead seating. They have good steak. They have fried cheesecake. It's good food in a relaxed atmosphere. It's also the last meal I had before getting stomach flu so I won't most likely be able to eat there for several months. Still, I used to love them.

Also, lest anyone start thinking that the Locals are your love which is here to stay, allow me to point out the prime example of why that isn't the case.

Faison's. And all of the carousel of opening/closing/opening "Faison's Family of Restaurants".

Sprite Is The World's Nastiest Beverage

Thursday morning my back hurt really bad. By Thursday night I couldn't move. I'd already put in a 70 hour week on a work project, so I assumed that I had just overdone it and would be fine after a couple of Aleve and a hot shower. I wasn't. By Friday I couldn't really move without help, but still tried to work and write. I didn't do either very well, plus I seemed to pass my funky disease onto Blogger.

Friday Night some friends asked us to go to dinner. Since we'd already cancelled on them once (last weekend when Tim was sick) I felt we should be sociable. Besides, they blow things up for a living. I make it a practice to not cross people who blow things up for a living. I was in pain the whole time, but managed to eat. I think almost passing out in their living room was a good sign that I needed to leave. So we left. The whole way home I was delirious. I kept thinking we were going to visit my family in Indiana, or that we were on a plane or that we were going to the hospital. I wish we had gone to the hospital. Instead, we just went home.

I proceeded to spend all night Friday complaining about how hot it was and making repeated trips to the bathroom. The food I ate did not remain inside my body for very long. Saturday was the church's dinner theatre, which I've missed every year for one reason or another. I was determined to not miss this year, but since I couldn't really make it from the bed to the bathroom (a distance of about 6.5 feet) I didn't think I should go sit at a table with a woman who had just given birth and two people who are very big on avoiding germs. I was a germ factory, a germ planet, a germ solar system. Thankfully my parents bought me a little DVD player and Tim bought me Grey's Anatomy Season 1 on DVD. I laid in bed and thanked God that at least I didn't have some kind of brain tumor. Or did I? I mean, I couldn't walk, had persistant nausea accompanied by diarrhea and vomiting, and blurred vision. I just knew I had a brain tumor when they hit the "blurred vision" part. Then I realised that my glasses were broken.

Today I've been able to make it up and down the stairs (with Tim's kind help). During my various periods of lucidity I've watched the Arrested Development Season Finale again, the Grey's Anatomy Superbowl Episode again and a goodsized chunk of Revenge of The Sith. Trust me. ROTS is no better when you are delirious and sick.

Why am I even writing about this? I have no idea. Probably because I have 1/2 a can of Sprite I have to finish before I can go to sleep.

19 February, 2006

Ground Control To Major Tom

Yeah, I hate that song.

But I'm trying to trouble shoot my blog. Hello, fair blog.

How are you today? Will you retain this post or will it fall down the memory hole?


It looks like every new post deletes the one before it. That's weird.

Blogger, What Have You Done?

Okay. My posts keep disappearing. Comments to posts keep disappearing. New comments can't be made on new posts.

What has happened to my little corner of the world?

17 February, 2006

Taking The Ferry To Gayhead--Or What Has Happened To The Girls?

Hey. Did you guys hear that Dick Cheney shot someone?

But that's not what I'm rambling about this morning. I've said all I have to say in some comment threads at NiT and TV on the Fritz.

The reason this post is not at AATW is because the guys that frequent there would probably run me out of the blog on a rail. They love the Girls. They think both mother and daughter are Teh R0x0r or whatever the kids call it these days.

But I want to know what happened to my beloved Gilmore Girls? The easy answer, of course, is "Daniel Palladino". Whenever he writes an episode I grit my teeth because I know it's going to be puerile and pointless. But I watch anyway. (Someone rang the bell so I felt that I had to).

I knew we were in trouble this week when he was not only the writer but also the director. Hmmm--somebody won himself a write-off on a Martha's Vineyard trip. Good for you, Danny Boy. So--get to the point, Kat. It's Friday.

1. Rory has become more spoiled than a tub of mayonnaise in the Sahara. She actually has people fighting to underwrite her (very expensive) Yale education. Poor girl. The stress of being caught in the middle of two wealthy groups who want to shower you with riches must be unbearable.

When she started yantering on about the jolly jaunt through Asia I so badly wanted to reach through the TV screen and stick Miss Thing back on the trash crew. The only thing--aside from the obvious--that stopped me was my pity for those poor convicts. They don't need her yenting them through their miserable lives. I think maybe we're supposed to feel sorry for Richie Rich since his mean daddy is making him fly to London to work. But I just have no sympathy. Oh my handsome young blond male friend. You know that dab penthouse you're living in, with the plasma screen and the pool table and the bathers who clean the royal whatsis? That kind of luxury comes with a price. Being yelled at in the beach house isn't the price. Hard Work is the price. So sorry that reality is catching up to you.

But Rory doesn't need to worry about Asia. I'm sure she'll have Daddy or Grandpa pay for that.

2. Lorelai is a Twit. I'm finding it very hard to sit through endless repetition of the cutesy dialogue when there are real conversations that should be happening--but aren't. I don't think Daniel Palladino can write for grownups. His previous gig was Family Guy. That show's humour comes from broad satire mixed with sophomoric scatology. Daniel does that kind of stuff very well. Witness the COMPLETELY BEYOND STUPID little monologue Lorelai excretes this week. She does what I can only assume is supposed to be a bizarre homage to Tarantino's sexualized verbal riffs. Three minutes (!) of nattering about pulling off, spermicetti, lighthouses and taking the ferry (fairy) to Gayhead. And she wonders why Luke would rather spend time with his 12 year old science geek daughter?

So, we get long jokey scenes perfumed with tastelessness and are supposed to feel sorry for her that Luke doesn't understand her feelings? Luke left his Kreskin kit at the Rennaissance Fair, Lorelai. How can you expect to spend a lifetime with a man when you won't tell him what's on your mind? And it's not like we fans want to see this handled like an adult relationship. We'd much rather hear more of DP's craaazzzeee comic stylings, as performed by Lauren Graham.

It strikes me more and more that The Girls are becoming like a warped vinyl 45 played at 331/3. They don't get anything done fast enough, and the dialogue hits those painful hills and valleys. If only I were satisfied by just watching hot women, everything would be okay.

16 February, 2006

Harry Potter Is The Devil If You Want Him To Be

Since I can't remember my TypeKey password I can't leave this comment on Mark Rose's blog. So I'm leaving it here. Besides, people come here from all over the world (whoopdedoo) to read about Harry Potter. In other words, if you want blog hits on purpose just write a post called "Harry Potter Book 7 Predictions" and people will hit your blog from all corners of the world.

I say that not to brag about the maybe 11 people who've come from afar, but to point out that Harry Potter is so universally popular that it will drive someone to read a stranger's blog in Tennessee just because they want to imagine what may happen next.

Yesterday, Dan The Baptist's daughter announced that Harry Potter was the devil. Today, Mark Rose reiterates and expands upon Dan's comment to me. Parents are the ones responsible for their children's upbringing and have a right to teach them whatever and however they choose.

Of course, I agree with this entirely. I'd be a crap libertarian if I didn't.

But here's the thing. I'm not a big fan of demonising anything in popular culture. When I was a kid it was Rock Music (boo-hiss). When my mom was a kid it was the internal combustion engine. Or playing cards--one or the other. I do understand the reasons behind decrying these types of things. It's not always the things themselves but the company they lead to or the corrupting influence they may have. And as Christians we do need to take that VERY seriously. But why start teaching that the thing is wrong, instead of explaining that why the situations or ideas behind the thing are the wrong/bad?

I'm of the opinion that this is a problem because it doesn't teach true discernment. It's a shorthand way of raising a young mind. Granted, you can't explain the nuances of evil to a three-year-old, but by the time they turn 7-8-9, children are capable of understand deeper significance than the stove-hot-don't-touch approach . I used to have a close relationship with some children who were brought up from cradle to voting age with this singular rearing tactic. Beer is evil, rock is evil, cards and PG-13 movies are evil. When these boys got out into the world and drank their first beer without going straight to hell they naturally began to doubt everything about the faith. Wouldn't you? If an essentially neutral but tangible object wasn't really evil, wouldn't you start to wonder if Jesus was really God? If our evils are (mostly) harmless doesn't it follow that our goods are mostly useless? If a child thinks that Harry Potter is The Devil and then reads the books to discover an innocuous children's story what are the chances that the 18- or 19- year old will think that Jesus is an innocuous children's story as well?

Funnily enough, both Mark and Dan admit to not having read Harry Potter. Which is their right as well as their loss. Even more funnily, Mark admits to reading the Chronicles of Narnia and Dan admits to reading watching The Wizard of Oz. So clearly the problem isn't with fantastical use of magic and wizardry in fiction. The problem with Harry Potter seems to be the fact that it is the backmasked rock music and playing cards of the Aughts.

*YAWN* (I Just Do This For Fun)

My gracious. Is every story in New York Magazine designed by the makers of Ambien? Because, honestly, this new piece on the Blogosphere takes six densely worded pages to say this:

It is almost impossible to get rich and/or famous by having a blog.

Well, thank you, cognescenti. I'm glad we have you (remotely) around to keep us informed of the latest news.

I never started blogging to get rich. I never started blogging to earn any money. By my count I'm up a couple hundred bucks at least, thanks to NiT. That's a good chunk more than I ever expected to get from this gig. I just figured it was slightly less insane that yelling at the tv all the time. Really. That's it. I like to write, and this is a way to write whatever I want on an immediate topic without having to craft a larger story scenario. It's a way for me to write about things I care about, what's on my mind that day. It's a way to be loosely a part of the world, to meet new and interesting people. I think back in the 1950s this sort of thing was called a 'hobby'.

And Now A Word From Our Sponsor

We're a good bit of the way into 2006, so I decided it was time for a new corporate logo for my in-home company, C graf'iks.

Hey, what good is being a graphics/desktop publishing company if you can't come up with your own logo?

It's always fun to do after doing someone else's.

So anyway....

Here we go! Here's to a good year for 2006...

15 February, 2006

UPN Reads Our Blog...Kinda

Check out the full story over at All Along The Watchtower. Big Orange Michael scooped the UPN people. He's kinda cool that way.

Can Somebody Answer This?

What the heck is Long Tall Sally about, anyway?

Sad Sci-Fi News

Michael is talking about it over at All Along The Watchtower.

You Can't Fly, You Can't Fly, You Can't Fly!

One of my childhood terrors actually happened.

This is bad, because I've spent years comforting myself with the idea that these terrors were too weird--too out there--and just in my imagination. But no.

Somebody slipped on the conveyer belt at the load queue for Peter Pan's Flight at Disney World. He was pinned under one of the giant boats.

14 February, 2006

Questions Billy Joel Makes Me Ask

I've had BJ in the background for VD because I stole the idea from S&F. Although I don't think that's what he meant. Whatever.

Anyway, there are things I wonder about when I listen to Billy Joel.


--Who is "Captain Jack" really, and how will he get me high and get me by tonight? Tangentially, where exactly is my special island? Is that something I should see a doctor about?

--Weren't there worse things in VietNam, really, than not having soft soap? I mean, bullets shooting through your body might be a little harder to take. For me anyway.

--How on earth can anyone befriend a professional clown? I don't care if it's in the interest of world peace. Dude. He's a FRIGGING CLOWN!!!! Frankly, the Russians never scared me more than when I realised that they were churning out clowns.

--How did he land Christie Brinkley when he apparently has such abysmal taste in women? On the bright side, he likes 'em crazy. So there are plenty of chicks out there who could find a soul mate after all.

--Did anyone in the music industry of the 70s and 80s actually use the term 'Beau Brummel'? Somehow that seems highly unlikely. Then again, Warren did find a use for brucellosis. But that was in a song about (partially) a man who went crazy in Viet Nam. Probably from lack of good soap.

Logo Hell

One of the things people pay me money to do is to design logos.

I do this pretty well, most of the time, although I'm sure there are a few that are better left unmentioned.

The good thing about logo design is that you get a kick from seeing your work on packaging, letterhead and business cards. There are few things as satisfying as opening a magazine and seeing one of your logos in the ad. That's only happened to me twice, but both times it was a kick.

But there is a bad thing about logo design, and that is the fact that--like everything else in Marketing--everyone is an expert. The accountants are experts, the shipping department are experts. In a way I can't blame them. If you have spent more than 18 months in any capitalist society, it is impossible to be unaware of corporate branding and the logos that have permeated the ionosphere.

And that is the problem. When professionally designing a logo you should have three things in mind: brand identification, brand differentiation and simplicity. You have to envision the thing on tiny business cards and blown up on company t-shirts. Even if you are designing for a mom and pop company you have to imagine that you are designing for Coca-Cola. If it won't look good on a billion boxes or bottles, it's not a good logo. Period.

Here's where the problem comes in. All the non-design "experts" in other departments of the company think that the best logo should actually be nearly identical to other logos out there. Those are what they are comfortable seeing everyday. A new logo--a good logo, one that makes the company stand out--is not familiar and therefore is not what they want.

An art director I worked with actually submitted logo designs to product managers with current logos snuck alongside. They always picked the current logo, even if it's for a muffler shop, a troubled boys' home or a microbrewed ale.

So please, everyone out there. If you are ever in the position of needing a logo designed, please trust your designer with at least 65% of the creative process. It'll give you a far better brand build than having to explain to people that "no-we're not soft drink company, we're the law firm."

From Side To Side

I'd been at my desk all day, surrounded by computers flashing fish and stars and RGB colour palettes and ribbons of cards. I was interrupted for the basest of needs and went from reaching far through the world back into reaching self. The light is on in the bathroom and it isn't soft and Bondi blue but bare Edison yellow. I am scared for a moment because I see an old woman standing there with grey brittle hair and pale dry skin and crooked glasses and chapped lips and I think "who are you?"

I am not her, because I am still riding in fast cars past the corn that needs detassling and I am still laughing at television and eating frosting from the plastic can and shorting the cake. I am not her because I haven't had babies yet and I haven't gone to oxford to debate the origins of the bard and I haven't made love to a confused yet handsome priest in the vatican library.

I know she is catching me because she picks out my clothes and makes me say please and thank you and is bothered by violence on television and thinks that teenagers wear slutty t-shirts. Sometimes other people make the mistake of thinking she caught me because they call me her name without realising that I am called Kath or Kat and not Maam. I can't explain that she only lives in certain places like the bathroom mirror and my brain at 3:00 in the morning.

13 February, 2006

Fresh Meat, Nashville

I'm bad about maintaining my blogroll, because I don't like going into the Template and monkeying with the HTML. I'm drab that way. So if I've never added you and you want to be added, forgive me and let me know. I'll add you.

Anyway, I'm doing something I swore I'd never do (for a blog I don't directly participate in). I'm shilling for a stranger's blog.

I literally stumbled across it looking for something else, and was so dead impressed that I've spent 20 minutes there so far. In blogyears, that's a lifetime.

This guy is all about movies and music and has the whole thing wonderfully researched, fully linked and very well done through and through. His best feature is Musical Monday, which lists and links the tunes played in shows like Grey's Anatomy and Veronica Mars.

So, go check out Silly Pipe Dreams. It's fun.

Extreme Home Makeover Snark

I love this show on two levels. Obviously it's wonderful to see people get their dreams fulfilled in a weird way. But honestly, I love it just as much because it is so snarkable.

Last night was no exception.

--How cruel was it for them to fly those two able-bodied dancers to the poor lame woman's studio? She may have been "dancing in her heart", but I'd bet coin of the realm she was also a little bit jealous.

--Easy money says she got chosen because of her connection to Paul. Oh well. Pays to know somebody, I guess. Still, I admire the guy for running follow-spot during ballet. Follow-spot is tricky enough during a stage play. It'd be a bitch to run it for dance, especially the ballet he did it for. (If I recall correctly and he did it for The Firebird.

--Again with the themed rooms. Come on already. They're cute, but man. That bacteria bedspread on the microscope bed was much gross. Also, don't ever watch someone do a themed room about bicycle repair with my husband. The bicycle enthusiast and repairman. You'll get such choice observations as "they only need metric tools" and "those aren't Park tools."
Of course, Park Tool isn't a sponsor of the show, and Sears (makers of Fine Craftsman Tools) is. But just so you know, readers of my blog, if you want to get in the bike biz, buy Park Tools. It will make Tim feel better.

--Could they have been any prouder of building on a flat surface? They must have mentioned that there were ABSOLUTELY NO STAIRS about 500 times.

--The Zen room was cool, but as a person who has periods of limited mobility I can definitely say that Tom Cruise Lite built the "meditaton bench" too low. Even for transferring from a wheelchair. Still, I want the rock waterfall.

--If you're gonna get advice from The Mayo Clinic about homes for people with MS, I suggest you do that before you start building the house. Cause even after Dr. McNerdly told us all about high counters, she still got low counters.

--Okay, this is like, what? The fiftieth time they've had Weather Drama that sets The Team behind? If it's a two-hour show, you can bet there will be Weather Drama. I think it's about time they invest in a big tent to cover the worksite. Check with either a circus or an exterminator.

--I'm getting old, because I'm really bothered by the constant refrain of how people "deserve" their nice home, themed rooms, big-ass TVs and whatnot. Everyone's a Beautiful Person who really Deserves this. Since when does being a cute kid with a big smile and a sick mom or parents with mold in their house or a strange mother who rescues horses mean that you "deserve" a bedroom made to look like a recording studio?

It also bothers me that they don't say "Move That Bus, Please", and that in all of the shows they have never once even come close to Moving That Bus right over Ty Pennington.

12 February, 2006

TV OD (Spoilers for Grey's Anatomy)

Well, okay. Three of the four best hours of television in the last five years were on this weekend. The fourth best hour was last Sunday night, with a rebroadcast Thursday.

Movies may suck out loud, but man! Television is coming back around.

Arrested Development bowed out with two of it's best hours ever. In a series brimming with greatness, that's saying something. And just as I'd recovered from watching Michael and George Michael sailing into the sunset, along came Grey's Anatomy.

I'm still soaking it all in, with the climactic ballad Breathe [2 AM] on an infintity loop in the iTunes background. There are too many favourite parts to list, but I must say that the bookending shower scenes were what pushed me over the edge. The two-part episode opens with an erotic shower scene between Meredith, Christina, and Izzy. It's George's fantasy, it's the Three Graces, it's the abandon of risk-free sex. (I have a theory about the appeal of lesbian erotica for the heterosexual male. I think it's so popular because it portrays the sensuality of sex unhampered by the threat of pregnancy and thus mortality.)
And of course, the reality of the shower at the end. The same three women, this time in the form of a baptism, an absolution, an immolation. What begins as sex ends as death.

I have ultimate respect for the writers of both Grey's Anatomy and Arrested Development because they understand that in many ways television is the new epic medium.

The clincher I-bow-to-thee moments are in two tiny throw-away lines. At the opening of last week's episode when Meredith refused to get out of bed, she finishes her litany to Christina by saying that "her conditioner stopped working" and she thinks she has brittle bones. Both things seem like typical woman-having-a-bad-day complaints. Then at the close of two intense hours of television, McDreamy tells her he remembers the flowery smell of her hair. "Lavender. It smells like my conditioner."

The same conditioner that quit working on the day she quit being able to remember her last kiss with the guy. Yeah, it's sappy as heck, but it's beautiful writing nonetheless.

Jason and Erin need to get their TV back in working order for this show. Or pick up the Season 1 DVDs on Tuesday.

And of course the big thanks goes to Lacy for getting me hooked on the show in the first place.

11 February, 2006

Netflix: The Saga Continues

What have I gotten myself into? Apparently the exact week I decided to join Netflix makes the news with their new-ish shipping policy.

Netflix typically sends about 13 movies per month to Villanueva's home in Warren, Mich. - down from the 18 to 22 DVDs he once received before the company's automated system identified him as a heavy renter and began delaying his shipments to protect its profits. ...
The little-known practice, called "throttling" by critics, means Netflix customers who pay the same price for the same service are often treated differently, depending on their rental patterns.

Aha! I understand what they're doing, because every business has a profit margin they have to protect. It IS America, after all. But I do have a serious issue with the company advertising "unlimited" rentals, when they definitely have a system in place that limits certain people.

I'm still in the two-week trial, but my queue has 37 movies in it--the entire Babylon 5 and War and Remembrance. I'm betting that a queue that long identifies me as a "heavy renter". Maybe not, but I still think some things are suspicious. They sent my first two DVDs out of sequence, thus creating a day's "delay" in viewing time. They also have not recorded my first returned movie, even though it's been two days. Without showing the movie as 'received' in their distribution center, they are able to withhold my next movie shipment.

According to the linked article, each movie shipped costs $.78 in postage. By my calculations (okay, the calculations done by my calculator), if Netflix sends me more than 19 movies a month they've lost money. That's just on postage, and doesn't take into account salaries, product and other overhead. I'd imagine that they probably lose money on me if they send me more than 10 DVDs a month. That assumes, of course, that they are operating on a standard retail profit margin of fifty-percent.

Believe me, I understand. But what chafes is the unlimited they advertise. Why not just admit they have to cap all rentals? The marketing pro in me knows the panacaea of the word "unlimited" and the full impact it can have when someone is making a shopping decision. But the customer in me doesn't like to be lied to.

The linked article says the throttling practice is made clear in the Terms Of Use. I've read it, and it is made perfectly clear, in the same way that my mother made the reasons for my various groundings perfectly clear. It's a long paragraph about service usage that basically says "suck it up, people." Not the most customer-friendly of tactics in my opinion.

What do I think should be done? Well, personally I think that any of the uses of the word Unlimited on the Netflix website or any Netflix mailers should be asterisked, with a direct reference to the Terms Of Use page. Because, frankly, saying that something is unlimited and then imposing an algorithmic limit is truthiness at its best.

For more information on the nature of the algorithm used by Netflix, you can visit the Hacking Netflix website.

Update: Programmer Rod Hilton looks at the possible types of scheduling algorithms and has a few additional thoughts.

It's Time To Finish The Party We Started Three Years Ago

I don't think there has been a better comedy than Arrested Development in the last five years. Tonight's two hour swan song was perfect--all except for the finality of the last half hour.

I was going to "liveblog" it, but I realised that would probably be too pathetic. Even for me.

Highlights, off the top of my head (And yes there are Spoilers, Miss B.)

--Franklin's T-Shirt in the first half hour: "George Bush Doesn't Understand Black Puppets"
--Franklin's arms, shrunken in the wash.
--Judge Reinhold and William Hung
--Pete Rose, sliding headfirst into second base, over and over again
--Girl Michael
--The Holy Trinity gag, and its awesome conclusion
--The Skip's Scramble celebration buffett
--The C Word

There are so many I can't list them all. But I've got the suckers TiVo'd and will be watching them over and over again.

I was sure hopeful for Showtime's resurrection pass, but the last half hour kind of seemed pretty well wrapped up. I think this may be the end. I'll have to be satisfied with never knowing what happened to Baby Buster and the Loose Seal.

10 February, 2006

Friday Brain Drain

The Sims 2

I've played this for the last 3 evenings. Which, given the number of times it has crashed means that I've gotten a good two hours of gameplay in. Why is it so addictive to watch your computer people eat, sleep, bathe and dress themselves? I mean, I can watch myself do those things any old day of the week, and have ceased to be fascinated by the process. But man, it's addictive to watch the fake people do it. And I have the cutest batches of kids, too. The only problem is that pretty much everyone in Pleasantville is related to either the MacKennas or the Goths. I will soon begin spawning six-fingered sims.

Home Office

Tim has pretty much settled into his office upstairs. He works upstairs, I work downstairs. We are actually contemplating Skype to talk to each other. I'm thrilled because I now have free use of his comb-binding machine. I love comb-binding machines. It's like I'm my own little Kinko's down here. I'm thinking about making myself wear a blue apron.


I love it. The movies are incidental. It could be the jelly-of-the-month club, really. I just love to get things in the mail. Fun things--not bills. Or those stupid ShopWi$e circulars. They could stop sending me those. There is no way on this earth I will ever need that many coupons for Dominoes and Mrs. Winners. I don't need return address labels with little kittens on them, and I don't want LaSik, even at $399 per eye. But I do love finding a new Babylon 5 DVD in its bright red envelope.

I've spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to maximise my per-month rental capacity. When I was going into the vast story-problem with Tim (about how I calculated maximum potential DVDs at various levels of membership, lost days without DVDs, etc.) his eyes glazed over. I think I'm over-thinking it. Too much time playing strategy games, I guess. But I've now got a mission because once all the B5s are watched, I'm slated to get the War & Remembrance DVDs. I own Winds of War, but have never seen W&R priced to own. Well, I suppose if you wanted to buy a set for onboard viewing on your YACHT, then maybe. But me--I'm not giving $200 for them.

The Sounds Stadium

I hate baseball. I dated a pitcher in high school and spent far too much time in the back of pickup trucks in Woodburn, Indiana trying to watch my boyfriend convince himself he could Be A STAR. To me baseball is cemented tightly to the concepts of mediocrity, failure, cruelty and boredom. Last I heard, the boyfriend had a job laying pipe for his father and was out on disability. It's like that Bruce Springsteen song--which was a hit when I dated Mr. Sixty-feet-Six-Inches. Sadly, he thought it was a good thing, and didn't realise that Bruce was making fun of the guys in the bar talking about their Glory Days. I guess they will pass you by in the wink of a young girl's eye if you're completely oblivious.

So I'm blocking all news of the stadium mentally. The only thing I know for certain is that I'm of the personal opinion that the city doesn't need to build another sports stadium. We've already got several, don't we? Why don't we build a lower sales tax or something? Oh well. Erection fever.

The Movie/TV/DVD Blog

It's doing pretty well, but I'd seriously love it if more people would want to be contributers. (Misspelled in honour of poor John Carney who had to put up with it that way on the site. I can not believe I was a spelling bee champ once upon a time. I have the worst problem with vowels. Maybe I should go on Wheel of Fortune where I don't need vowels to spell. Or maybe I should re-take Hebrew. They don't use vowels either. But it does read right to left, which hurts your eye muscles if you aren't used to it. Speaking of Hebrew, Lydia got me a very lovely Chanukah present.

Anyway, please consider contributing to All Along The Watchtower. It really has nothing to do with Jimi Hendrix, Jehovah's Witnesses, or VietNam.

My Book

I've gotten precious little done on it this week--unintentional vacation--but had some really good news yesterday. My father had collected oral histories from distant relations and their friends about one of the central topics and settings of the story. I had no idea, but it's the best resource I could imagine. I've been at a standstill because I'm waiting on oral histories from the Library. But this is even better. I'll be able to supplement the library accounts with actual familial experience. Now comes the fun part--seeing if my father can find the letters and papers in his office. He's the only person on terra firma whose desk is messier than mine.

Fort Wayne

Man. This is a small world. Nashville Knucklehead spent some time in the Summit City. Of course he didn't grow up there, so he has no full comprehension of the thrill of driving really fast from Fort Wayne to Woodburn on SR37 with Meat Loaf blaring. I still think half the reason I dated 60'6" was because he lived far enough away to give me an excuse to drive.

I have always thought that Fort Wayne could be the model for Stephen King's Derry, Maine. There are so many wierd coincidences, and so many odd people who passed through there--myself (and Stephen King) included.

Someday I'll write about Fort Wayne. Then again, I think I always write about it in some way or another. It's my Yoknapatawpha.

08 February, 2006

The Gremlin Who Shot JFK

I was born in 1970, so needless to say I don't remember where I was when John Kennedy was shot. Technically half of me was dormant inside my mom, half of me was somewhere within my dad's genetic code. By the time the two got together, America had pretty much figured out that Kennedy was dead, Viet Nam wasn't going well and music probably wasn't going to get any better. The number one song for the week of my birthday was "American Woman" by the Guess Who. Thank heaven for small favours--it could have been "Horse With No Name". Yet somehow being welcomed into the world with the words "stay away from me" and "I don't wanna see your face no more" just seems wrong.

Having failed to sparkle someone else's eyes, I remained in Northern Indiana--where the single goal of older people appears to be the confusion of their young. I don't know when exactly I first heard about the assassination of Kennedy. I was probably three or four, perhaps five. I remembered being surprised that such things were still done. In my mind assassination met its apex with Lincoln, and at that age I was still certain that Lincoln, Saul of Tarsus, Jesus and Ben Franklin were contemporaries. They were all people we heard about at church and the dinner table. All were equally real and equally distant. I remember my mom's confusion when I asked her why we had pictures of Lincoln but not of the twelve disciples. She apparently hadn't reckoned on my child's concept of time. Clearly I was already confused about the fact that we hadn't moved past shooting presidents, and when I pressed my mother to clarify it got a lot worse.

"Mommy, did John Wilkes Booth shoot Kennedy?"

"No. It was a man named Lee Harvey Oswald."

"Did he shoot him at the movies?" (I hadn't seen any plays yet, so the only things that happened in a theatre were movies. It may or may not be coincidence that soon after we became season ticket holders of the Fort Wayne Youtheatre.. )

"No, he shot him from the Texas School Book Depository."

Okay. There it was. The problem that plagued me for years. It was my own Fermat's Last Theorem. How on earth did anyone shoot a person from the Book Depository? I mean, I could see hiding there because it was obviously perfect for concealment. But you certainly couldn't stand up, and there would be no way you could fit your rifle through the slot.

See, they built the Georgetown Public Library in 1972. It was about six miles from our house and we went there often. Probably because my mom understood that she had to take me to the mothership periodically to recharge my batteries. Either that or it was a way to get a few minutes peace and quiet from her increasingly large and inquisitive brood. We checked out a lot of books, and whenever we brought them back, we put them...in the book depository.

Yep. That's right. For years I assumed that Lee Harvey Oswald hid inside the drop box at a Texas School library. I had an elaborate theory worked out about him being a dwarf just like the guy inside the R2-D2 suit and having a special gun with a periscopic sight. But no. He was just some guy in a tall building.

Life is just never as interesting as it could be.

The Answer To Jason's Question

Poor Jason. He had to go and ask the question. And of course I have to try to give him a passable answer.

What is your favourite book? Top 5?

This question is harder to answer than it seems, because different books speak to me at different times. Loving a book often says as much about who you were when you first read it as it does about the quality of the story between the covers. The five books that top my list currently are the ones I cannot imagine living without. They're the ones I'm compelled to reread on a regular basis, and the ones I regularly beg people to try.

A Prayer For Owen Meany

I have never read a better book than this one, and I doubt I ever will. It's about faith. It's about doubt. It's about finding meaning and redemption from what appears to be the random cruelty of God. It's about sinners. It's about saints. Most of all it's about two boys growing up in America. If I ever have a son he will be named Owen, and it will be in tribute to this book.

Gone With The Wind

Scarlett O'Hara is a bitch who isn't all that pretty. Or at least that's my paraphrase of Margaret Mitchell's opening paragraph. This is the book that made me a feminist, and the book that made me want to be the Melanie Wilkes brand of feminist. I'm more like Scarlett in that I'm not much to look at but I'm stubborn as fire. But when Melanie Wilkes has the baby without help and then rises from her sickbed to shoot the Yankee you see the steel within her kind heart. Reading this book is like visiting all the parts of who you were and who you want to become. Everyone in the story is in a type of bondage--black slaves under the lash, white women in the cutthroat petticoat battalions and men who are slaves to a dead code and a dying honour.

The Winds of War & War And Remembrance

I love epics, I love history and I love the study of the strategy of war. These two books--I consider them two volumes of one book--are the perfect storm of literature for me. It's grand history through the eyes of normal people, which is how History happens for the largest part of the world. It used to be a tossup between these books and Marge Piercy's Gone To Soldiers, but I think Wouk won out for two reasons. The first, Pug Henry, is a gallant hero, but vastly unlike what you'd expect. His short stature, taciturn nature and plainspokenness make him the perfect surrogate for the reader as he meets everyone from Churchill to Hitler. The second are the interstitials from fictional General Armin Von Roon's account of the Nazi strategy of war prosecution. There are many novels about WWII, yet they all seem to forget that the War itself was a compelling character. These are the only WWII books I've read that give equal weight to personal stories and the arching strategem of the global conflict.

My Life And Hard Times

I'm not allowed to read anything by James Thurber around other people anymore. The first time I read anything by him was when my 8th grade English class read "The Night The Bed Fell" aloud. I was so caught up in the story and my visualisations of it (aunts throwing shoes down the hall at imagined intruders) that I started laughing uncontrollably. I ended up being sent into the hall until I could control myself, which never happened. Not only did I miss the whole class period, I had the biology teacher coming into the hall to see why I was in hysterics. No one believed it was because of the story. To this day my 8th grade English teacher marvels at it--she had never before seen anyone laugh so much at anything. Since she's my mother she brings it up a lot and periodically buys me Thurber stories. The last time I read a Thurber story around another person I was in bed with my husband. For awhile. He kicked me out when I about broke the bed in laughter. He still says "Perth Amboy" to me occasionally to set me laughing.

And finally....

Harry Potter

Before Harry this spot was occupied by Les Miserables, a book I first read (ironically) because the women read it in Gone With the Wind. But Harry has most of the best elements of Hugo's book without being so completely French. Both books have mistreated orphans rescued by the kind hand of fate. Both books have greedy, asinine comic villains, earnest students and tragic dead mothers. Both books have kindly religious leaders who are almost saintly in nature. Harry has unicorns, mermaids and a dry sense of humour that Hugo checked at the door.

The legend of Hugo has him submitting the manuscript for Les Miserables to his publisher with a simple cover letter that read:


The publisher is said to have responded with a letter that read: !

I imagine if the same publisher were responding to Harry Potter, he would send a letter that said: :-) !!!!


There are the five books. They're all fiction. I've got non-fiction favourites, but those I like for other reasons and would be apples to the oranges on this list.

07 February, 2006

Dear Netflix

Dear Netflix:

I applied for membership in your Augusta National Film Club this Saturday. Here I am, three days into my 14-day trial period, and already disgruntled.


Well, the first thing I did after signing up was request Babylon 5: the entire series on 30 DVDs. I understand I am allowed only 2 DVDs in my possession at any one time. This is fine with me because I also have books to read, TiVo to watch and blog entries to type.


What on earth has possessed you to send me Disc 2 BEFORE you send me Disc 1?

The Alchemist's Daughter

Alchemy is big right now. It combines a whiff of spiritualism with a dose of scienceishness and leaves you feeling erudite but not too troubled by boredom. In our continued quest to marry the natural world with a search for higher meaning there are alot of people who find that alchemy suits them right down to the ground.

I have a passing interest in it because of the Harry Potter texts, which use a great deal of alchemical imagery. [The current argument is whether alchemy is employed by J.K. Rowling to be merely a style element or because Rowling is the reincarnation of Helena P. Blavatsky and using Potter to guide true seekers to God. Guess which side of the discussion I take.]

The Alchemist's Daughter by Katharine McMahon is a beautifully written book. Its characters are compelling and the parts set at Selden Manor are evocative. But the book has frak-all to do with alchemy or the plot as described on the jacket flap.

At its heart the book is a tretise on feminism, childbirth and a woman's right to choose. McMahon has done a fair job of grafting the modern sensibilities about these issues onto the title character without being too strident. So any dislike I have for this book--and I do have some--should be placed squarely on the shoulders of the book's marketing team. Oh, okay. Mine too. After all, I'm the one who went into this expecting scrying mirrors and hidden secrets and high fantastical drama. Rather than being central to the plot, any alchemy is used merely as an amplifying device for the heroine's self-discovery. This is the first time I've read any book featuring magical elements that was at its heart thoroughly unmagical.

A more accurate title for the book would be Emilie And The Age Of Reason, but I suspect it wouldn't sell as well.

06 February, 2006

Where Have All The Flowers Gone?

It's official. The blogosphere is turning into a giant MySpace account. It reminds me of those old movies where a plague or an army takes over and the map gradually fills with the spill of black ink.

I personally like all sorts of blogs, from the very esoterically political to the personal diarist and everything in between. A quick flip through my blogroll will get you anything from a conversation about Christ to an argument about the West Bank to a cute picture of someone's kid. But it appears, with the latest departure, that soon (in Nashville at least) we will be left without the gravitas which normally weighs down that end of the teetertotter.

We've already lost Sharon Cobb, Bill Hobbs and Roger Abramson. All three were reasoned voices writing about politics within the scope of the world of blogging. It's becoming increasingly difficult to find any discussion of politics--local or national--without the added sand of invective. There's definitely a food choice out there for anyone who wants to read about Dim O Cracks or Rethuglicans, to discuss the errors of the Bushie camp or to muse about the upcoming advent of Hitlery. Those blogs are all valuable, all part of the fabric of Nashville. But they're all like beef jerky--chewy, dry, salty. Where do you go for the lean meats and greens?

I, personally, am going to miss having a place to go for regular political opinion that is both reasoned AND respectful.

Perhaps they're right. Perhaps the blogosphere is unable to rise to that next level. Perhaps the future of citizen journalism lies in an as-yet-untapped venue. I'd like to think not. I'd like to think we can find the better angels of our nature right here. But if not I suppose I'll just do politics the old-fashioned way and just blog about my dogs.

Wake me when it's over.

Kat's Football Observations

Our Sunday School Class had a football-watching party, but since it involved not only the watching of football, but also the driving across all of Nashville and most of Franklin to hang out with many people eating beans, Tim and I decided to stay home. 48 hot wings and an episode of Veronica Mars later, we tuned it to parts of the game.

I now know why Tim never really cares if I watch football with him or not. My running commentary:

K: That guy's really big.
T: That's why they call him "The Bus"
K: Oh. I thought it was some cool football term like "sacking". I didn't know it was his name.

K: If I played football I don't think I'd let my hair grow long like that guy. I'd always be afraid someone would pull it and break my neck. It'd be like Absolam. Why don't they make him cut his hair? You can't read his name on his shirt, either.

K: Oooh. Roethlisberger. He's got a nice German name.

K: Are there really only 47 seconds left in the game? Why are they (Seattle) even bothering? What a waste of energy.

K: That guy may be an athelete, but he's really out of shape. (Thinks to self: Dude looks 8 months pregnant. If that's the physique they're letting in the NFL I may try out next year. Especially if I can pull guys' hair.)

K: Is that man really sweaty? If so, that's gross.
T: No, they just dumped the cooler on him.

K: Well, they already paid to have those hats made up. Good thing they won. I'd hate to have to have all those hats on hand if they lost.

K: (on seeing all the confetti shoot out of the cannons) Who is gonna clean that *expletive* up??!?

T: You know, it's gonna be awhile before your show (Gray's Anatomy) comes on. Did you wanna go play your game (Sims2) or something?

And that would be why we don't go to Super Bowl parties at other people's houses....

04 February, 2006

Wherein I Throw Effort After Foolishness

Yeah. What of it? So I'm starting another blog...

It's your fault.

Here's how it happened.

So, Glen Dean starts Tangled Up In Blue, which of course I have to join. Not only because it's a group round-table blog, but really also because I'm a freak whose favourite Dylan song is...Tangled Up In Blue. (Sorry, Quinn. Your song is #2. or #3. okay....maybe number 4. Whatever. I named you after a frickin' song. Get over it.)

Anyway, so I really love Tangled Up In Blue, and meet lots of new people and a ton of new music through the conversations over there.

And then I start whinging about Babylon 5, assuming "hey, it's Friday. No one is even gonna read this." How wrong I was, because not only did Exador read it, he commented as well. Poor Exador. Allkindsof people have been after me (subtly or overtly) to join Netflix for awhile now. I have steadfastly refused, because we initially joined back in the day (we were charter members) and fell out of the habit of using it. Little did Exador know I would walk across broken glass a slightly bumpy surface to see all the Babylon 5 series in order. So, because of him I rejoined Netflix today. The first two B5 disks should be here Tuesday.

Anyway, as I'm looking through the Netflix offerings I think "boy, it'd be great to get recommendations from people." And then I think "everybody likes to talk about movies." There are some people who are fantastic, professional quality reviewers and some people who who just like to spout off about what they watch.

Either way, I think we can have another successful group metablog, and I'd like to try. So, I've started All Along The Watchtower to be the film and TV companion blog to Tangled Up In Blue.

Please, everyone who is even remotely interested, either comment in the comments or send me an email and we'll get you added. It'll be fun.

03 February, 2006

Gang Of Four

Lacy hit me with this one. Yay! I love tagging.

Four places I’ve lived:
Fort Wayne,IN
Upland, IN
Nashville, TN

Four jobs I’ve had:
Phone Survey Administrator: Calling people on the telephone to ask them if their phones worked. Really.
Ice Cream Scooper @ Bresslers: I actually got tendonitis from this job.
Dishroom Line Worker: It was nasty as all get-out, but it's where I met my husband. So, I guess, yeah. It was nasty.
Travel Agent: You haven't lived until you've had someone pay for a cruise. With their Sears Credit Card. (Dave Ramsey may be on to something.)

Four movies I can watch over and over

The Right Stuff
The Godfather

And about a dozen others.

Four contemporary authors that I read everything they publish
Well, there are really about thirty, but heregoes:

Carol O'Connell
James Rollins
Margaret Atwood
Dean Koontz

Four current TV shows I love:

Arrested Development--It's not officially over until next Friday. BASTARDS!!!!
Veronica Mars
Grey's Anatomy

This was easy. I just copied Lacy's list and added my own whinging.

Four places I’ve visited/vacationed:

Disney World (a lot of times--I love it there)
Buda Pest (Mom, should I count this as two places?)
The Mitchell Corn Palace
Churchill's War Room

Four of my favorite dishes:

Asparagus--fixed any way. It's my utterly favourite food.
Cheese. Not a dish but a lifestyle.
Chicken Shish-ke-bab
Puppy Chow

Four sites I visit daily:

Television Without Pity
Authors On The Web

Four places I would rather be right now:

The Pool at the Wilderness Lodge, by the place where the river empties into the deep end.
Holding my own newborn baby
Playing with a Bernese Mountain Dog Puppy
Reading Harry Potter Book 7

Who do I tag?

Honestly, everybody I know except Jason, Patrick and Ivy have done this, I think.

That Day

You don't wear pants or makeup. I play cards and watch R-rated movies. I dunk and you sprinkle. We've never seen each other. I live here. You live there. You voted for the Other guy.

But there will be That Day. We will see Him together, and I will see you and laugh with joy because you are my brother, my sister, my eternal family. We will be changed from the Old Creatures that we are, and sit at His feet in whole unbroken bodies and say "thank You for what You did." And the light from His face is the Sun and we're all at home.


Heck yeah!!!!

That's some fine television right there.

Ron Moore, you are 1000 times pardoned for the Black Market mess.

And can I just say, Kara--honey--live in the now. Seriously. Because, girlfriend, a bird in the hand and all that...