Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Arrested Development, Development Arrested

Arrested, Thanks for the memories...

AD is dead.

We'll always have DVD.

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This is how Isaac Asimov said it started, right?

After I mentioned my husband’s fascination with a robot that mops the floor, thorn_stevens sent me some informative links. Thanks, thorn_stevens. Your info really helped us.

Our biggest concern was cost and return on investment. Would this baby give us what we wanted without incurring additional costs in the long run? After some researching and debating we made our decision.

I'd like to introduce you to Scooby.
Here is Scooby in his box:
Here he is upside down in his box:
What Lrudlrick and I loved about the Scooba was how they made it pretty much idiot proof. Notice that even the part numbers are labeled clearly on the body of the robot.
Open-mouthed Scooby. "Feed me, Seymour!"
So why did we get it? My biggest concern was that we were choosing geekdom over functionality. What one us over was the cost calculations and the idea of clean floors nearly all the time.

We have two dogs. One dog has allergies. Many of you know she’s allergic to ragweed, pollen, dust, dander, everything under the sun. Well, we live by the park and well things can get tracked in.

Lrudlrick and I are sticklers about no shoes in the house and wiping the paws of the pooches but stuff can float in.

Well the notion of cleaner floors for the spring allergy season won me over. That and the $100 dollars off coupon thorn_stevens told us about.

I don’t have the patience or time to make a sweet video with Kraftwerk soundtracks like other Scooba owners have but here is a snippet we took during Scooba’s first day out:

Knowing how our dogs feel the vacuum and steam cleaner are works of evil, we wondered how they would react to a self-propelled mopping robot. Note: Our dogs do not seem phased by the Dyson Animal. I’m not sure if it’s old age or the quiet cyclonic action but I’ve had to shoo them away areas so I could vacuum. Well, check out P-man’s reaction:

Yes, if you were wondering we rolled up our rugs and moved our furniture to clean all our floors. Who knew we’d be that excited about mopping! I’ve got a jump start on Spring Cleaning and I didn’t have to kick myself to do it!

Mopping with the Scooba is simple. You fill the clean water tank with a measuring cup full of Scooba juice (from Clorox) and fill the tank to the top with lukewarm water. Then you put the tank in and press Clean. Scooba whistles a tune and starts cleaning.

Scooba cleans a 200 square foot area in 45 minutes. When it’s done, it whistles a tune that I have consistently finished with a ragtime ditty whose origins currently alludes me. Lrudlrick hums the Darth Vadar theme.

In our experience, on a fully charged battery, Scooba can run two full cycles.
I will preface that you shouldn’t think Scooba will take the place of sweeping or vacuuming your floor. You will need to do the preliminary sweep that you normally do prior to mopping. You’ll also need to move any wires that may get caught off the floor.

It’s been 3 days since we became owners of a robot and Scooba has cleaned every floor of our apartment at least twice, except for our carpeted bedroom. In fact, Lrudlrick has gone home early just so he could mop the floor!

We’re officially hooked on robots. In fact, we’re adding a sibling to the family. We’re picking up the Roomba Scheduler (to be named Shaggy) tomorrow evening Gotta love sales!. We’re planning to schedule the vacuuming in our foyer and entranceway to alleviate the constant chasing of tumbleweed dog hair. We’re a bit nervous on how it will perform with two hairy dogs. I’ll let you know how that turns out.

Oh, on Sunday we also purchased the Scrubbing Bubbles self cleaning shower doodad. It’s kind of cool but the Scooba usurped it’s coolness. Still, if you have a shower and you use that shower clean stuff, check out this thing. It beeps for 15 seconds then sprays a fine mist of shower clean 360 degrees. Now after every shower , I don’t have to hold my towel up while trying to spray my tub. I think there is also a $5.00 coupon available on the scrubbing bubbles’ site.

If you’re looking for info on Scooba, check out this links below:
thorn_stevens’ site
Scooba manufacturer’s site
Scooba blog
Chat forum on everything Scooba and Roomba
Technical info from a Scooba fan
First impressions from the maker of the Kraftwerk Scooba video

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“I’m Getting Too Old for This S#%@.”

Today’s 24 afterthoughts are dedicated to Aaron Pierce, as Lrudlrick put it, the Danny Glover of the Secret Service. Aaron’s expression as he’s drove off with the wounded Wayne was classic. Oh, and can someone tell me where and how Wayne obtained the scope gun? Even the writers felt plausibility of Wayne taking down a special ops person was slim and saved us from a visual.

Lesson #82: When Chloe is nice to someone, that person has issues.
Nice and Easy Girl sure isn’t nice and easy. She’s more Anti-Touchy Feely Girl. The girl needs to spend some time on a NYC Subway and rethink her personal space standards.
Oh and anyone who thought for a moment Miles the Smiles was sexually harassing Nice and Easy needs to check their gaydar. I hate him and his high pitched smarminess but he isn’t the sexual harassment type. He’s a slithering snake but he’s no dirty old man.

Continuing with our ‘Hair’ theme…

I must say, I’m liking Julian Sand’s new do. It suits him well. Julian, no more long straggly Draco Malfoy hair. Stick with the short crop.

Audrey. Man, I thought I’d enjoy the torture more but I just felt bad. You have the wounded kitty look down to a science. With the stringy sweat drenched hair, you looked like a wet cat.

Plus, I don’t know about you but if I was tortured with chemical agents because of a man who put me here in the first place, I wouldn’t be all dreamy eyed about him rescuing me. Sure it’s Keifer but I think sucking face would be the last thing I’d want to do after being injected with pain inducing drugs.

Someone get the Gas Man a new pair of pants. Mr. Supervisor, by the grace of Julian Sand’s schnoz and fire extinguisher Model #FH223M you weren’t killed. Consider yourself one of the lucky and few. Thanks go to Blogs4Bauer for mentioning the fire extinguisher's demise and posting its id card. Lrudlrick and I laughed for a solid 5 minutes as it hissed it's last hiss.

Nice. If you can’t stop the toxic gas, blow up the entire natural gas plant that’s holding the Sentox. I guess that sounds like a good idea. I’m not sure what the environmental people think of that plan but I enjoyed the giant Roman candle.

Speaking of bombs, do all agents carry exploding SD cards and timer bombs? Keifer has more stuff in his canvas European carry-all than Mary Poppins carries in her carpet bag.

Anyone else laugh when Buchanan and Black Jack stated matter-of-factly, “He’s going in.” Hells yes, he’s going in. He’s Jack Bauer. The man doesn’t sit idle. Lrudlrick points out Black Jack had the classic ‘Jack is one crazy white man’ look that everyone does at least once during an encounter with Jack.

You have to give Bauer credit though. He has incredible work ethics. He’s not currently employed at CTU. Heck, who knows if he’s got any health insurance yet he doesn’t think twice about running into what is essentially a powder room that Bugs Bunny just threw a match into.

Now, I’m not jinxing anything but the only way Jack survives that blast was if the cop car has an underground panel. That or he hid himself under Julian Sand’s schnoz.

Kudos to everyone who though FLOTUS' crazy assistant was the weakest link. I’m not saying she’s the mastermind but I will say she’s not the brightest bulb. She’s the girl that goes to Ecuador and thinks it’s ok to swap luggage with a complete stranger she met 2 days ago.

Finally on a non-related ‘24’ note but continuing on the topic of hair, what the hell is wrong with Ernie Anastos’ hair Monday? It was like a mini pompadour. What were the stylists thinking? Let’s give him a waxy glow and a pompadour. Watching the news preview I thought I was watching a simulated broadcast from Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum.

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Monday, March 27, 2006

I did not know that…

20 things you and sometimes I did not know about myself:

1. I monitor grids of elevators when I’m at an elevator bank. If there are two elevators that will arrive almost at the same time, I always take the second place elevator because I secretly hope to be the only one in it.
2. I also secretly hope that it will go express to my floor.
3. If it does go express, I do a giddy happy hop when it arrives on my floor.

4. The naive pantrygirl wants to send a mix tape with The Carpenters’ “Hurting Each Other”, WAR’s “Why Can’t We Be Friends” and Eric Burdon and The Animals’ “Let’s Live For Today” to warring factions. They’re classic karaoke songs with a message. You can’t help but sing along.

5. I fear that I’ve been in the workforce for so long, that I have become complacent. Don’t get me wrong, I love project management but sometimes I ask myself, why? What’s the point?

6. I can’t stand how lately my emotional side gets the best of me when I see a cute baby or a kid. It makes me question myself and my temperament.
7. I also try not to show it to my husband if he’s around because I’m afraid it will lead to discord.

8. If I’m in a particularly good mood, you will see me walking down the street with a smile on my face and a Mary Tyler Moore the-world-is-my-oyster attitude.
9. This sometimes annoys passer-bys, especially in Penn Station.

10. I’m pretty oblivious to my surroundings, a New York defensive mechanism. That’s why my celebrity radar is non-existent.

11. NYC is the easiest place to get around in, traffic and all. Every time I leave the city, I complain about the lack of a grid system. This makes me feel shallow and self-absorbed.

12. My iPod usually has a David Bowie song playing at any given time.

13. I can type 72 WPM but I still haven’t mastered the iPod wheel.

14. I can type on my tiny Treo keyboard relatively fast but I still have problems with my iPod wheel.

15. Even though I love my shoes and 70% of them are over 4 inches high, I would gladly wear sneakers if my company allowed it.

16. I’d skip lunch just to take a nap.

17. I’m freakishly good at remembering where my husband leaves odd objects yet am average when it comes to those ‘What is different’ games in Highlights.

18. I’ve just learned that I have no idea how to be truly ‘selfless’ and feel betrayed by my mind that I thought I did.

19. If I had to live on one food and one food alone, I’d choose pasta.

20. At my old job, some people perceived me as ambitious and a ladder climber. In actuality I felt and still do feel fairly happy letting someone else deal with political schmoozing. I’d much rather have prefer a job that allowed me to play at my computer with minimal contact with others. Still it looks as is my personality has lead to invidious comparison. I wish I knew what I did so I wouldn't do it again.

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I want me some Categories and I want it to be fairly simple!

I’m trying an experiment. See, I like Blogger but I think my patience waiting for them to develop categorization abilities has worn thin.

So I had this brilliant idea, ok, maybe brilliant, to use technorati or Google to search my bloody blog for related items.

I started by making categories and adding them to the bottom of my entries. Yes, including this in every entry will be laborious but this is only an experiment and besides, I’m secretly hoping that labelr or someone else, heck even Blogger might have a more viable solution soon.

For this experiment I added categories into each entry for this month and made a list of said categories on the right. Now I just need to find out which search engine will best suit my needs.

Now, I would have created a account and done the same or even used a JavaScript but I’m going to be honest. I was bored and lazy. Plus, I have a work schedule that is time consumming, leaving little time to fiddle significantly in here. So I’m using what has already been established.

Here’s my problem. I’m not sure how often the spiders search through and update any changes to blogs. So is it better to use Google or technorati? Anyone? Anyone? I think technorati has a limit as well. Has Google expanded its search past 2005? Just curious.

Oh and if by chance you have some kick butt categories how-to or product you need beta testers for, email me. My OCD is making me itchy for categories.

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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Internal Memo: CTU Corporate Retreat to Disneyland has been cancelled.

The Nose is the Mole?
If Audrey is the mole, my dog is an Interpol operative.

I don’t believe it. What does she get out of it? She doesn’t need money. Her dad is the Director of the DOD. Daddy got her the job in DOD and she’s pretty much set for life.

I don’t believe for one minute that she’s doing it for patriotic or avengence reasons either. That's too manipulative for her. The only reason Audrey would do something wholeheartedly is for the love of Jack but in a White Oleander kind of way.

And then there’s the fact that she doesn’t have the versatility to play a bad guy. She’s constantly the injured woman. She’s a walking Lifetime movie, ‘Why Do Men Leave Me?: The Audrey Raines Story’.

Sure, the rule stands, never trust a woman who can’t run in high heels or doesn’t have logic skills to take off said shoes to bust a move with her karate chopping dad but there’s no justification for making her the mole, except to enforce the women-are-evil sentiments. Jack, when this is over, go back to the red headed girl and her smells-like-teen-spirit son. You'll be happier.

Still, if I was in CTU, I’d ask to administer the hyocene pentothal to Audrey. Aw, heck, tell Burke to pull out the sensory deprivation devices for old time sake.

Anyone else think Burke gets a little freaky in the bedroom? I wouldn't be surprised to see Burke visiting Lady Heather for a little slap and tickle.

Mmmm. Eurotrash.
He’s not my type but Eurotrash German dude is hot. Did I mention that he is hot? I think I just got the vapors.

A self-destructing SD card? Now that’s technology I want to see James Bond have. Although I heard Q may not have a significant role in Casino Royale.

Jack, pissing off German Intelligence isn’t a good move, especially since the Chinese are probably still after you but I must say that was a nice hand played. I loved the added bonus of Homeland Security moppet, Karen Hayes, shitting a brick about the WET list.

BTW, what the hell is wrong with her hair? Is that really her hair? It looks like wet straw?

Taking it on the chin. This man needs to write a self-help book.
Other leaders would question their authority but Buchanan is just rolling with the punches. The White House keeps bringing in incompetent people to usurp his department and he’s still standing strong. First The Hobbit. Now The Scarecrow Mrs. King. The man must be listening to Stuart Smalley.

BOB isn't going to take the fall for this, no siree.
Damn you Leland, you make all Vice Presidents look bad on 24. I wanted to think you were just a Mussolini or had a Napoleon complex but you're just another power hungry politician who wants the spotlight and the glory. Wait a minute... And yes, you will always be Leland to me, you possessed daughter rapist/killer.

I don’t know how President Weezie picked his cabinet. Did he decide keeping his enemies closer might be the best route?

And the Employee of the Month award goes to...
Aaron, you single-handedly saved the First Lady and the President and First Lady of Russia. You were in an ambush that caused the vehicle you were in to roll over. You were also shot at. I think the Secret Service would be ok if you took the rest of the day off. Somehow or another you get yourself into a pickle next week because you didn’t want to blemish your attendance record.

I have one thing to say to the ‘24’ writers, if you kill Aaron, you will see more hate mail arrive than when you killed Edgar PuffnStuff. Don’t kill Aaron! Let the man retire and live the rest of his days with his wife and kids for gosh sake.

He ain't heavy. He's my deceased ex-employer's brother...
There are some people that arrive on the scene and you know trouble and death are ahead. Cougarbait is one. Wayne Palmer is another. The man just seems to swim in trouble. Did he think he could slip into the Brady Bunch ranch hut that the President is staying at without being stopped?

And I’m not a super spy but if a van with black hooded, machine gun toting men drove up to me, I’d pull my parking brake and do a donut and drive the other way. I’ve been playing too much Burnout Revenge. I’d also have my cellphone speed dial to Jack so he can hear what’s going on.

Does anyone remember what Palmer had encrypted into his memoir? Who decrypted it? Chloe has been too busy assisting Jack that she hasn’t had the time to work on it.

Snark wars: Chloe vs. Miles. Let the Sourpusses commence.
Props go to the actor who plays, Miles the Smiles. From the moment I saw you, I hated you. Well done. That smirk you made when Chloe was reprimanded not held on espionage but given a slap on the wrist for hacking into NSA’a archives was classic. I hate you so much I smile in Grinch delight. Here’s hoping Chloe bitch slaps you soon.

At least Warlock was playing on cable last night.
Bierko. Poor Bierko. You and I have been led to believe you were the uber-bad guy but Robocop trumps Warlock. Here’s to another episode where airtime for your giant schnoz was less than 15 minutes. If Audrey is dirty, maybe you and her can spawn little uber-Pinocchios and live out your life in some Russian province where everyone speaks with a British accent.

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Monday, March 20, 2006

Scooba, Scooba doo, where are you?

It’s 1am, early Monday morning. One would think good citizens should be preparing to rest up for a full day of work. Instead, Lrudlrick and I were fascinated by this:

I’m sure you’ve seen this already. During the holidays and this year’s CES, this baby was advertised everywhere. This baby is the Scooba, Roomba’s sister who mops floors.

It’s not that we’re lazy. It’s that we’re anal retentive that makes us want to get this thing. See, we have two very hairy dogs. Dogs that shed so much that we’ve gone through at least 1 vacuum a year, until we got the behemoth, Dyson Animal.

In addition to the tumbleweeds of hair we contend with, my husband and I have concerns about our furry babies tracking in unwanted organisms from the park. Sure, we wipe their paws and booties before they make it inside the house, but I’m sure we miss things trapped in their lower fur.

That’s why the concept of having this spinning disk mop our entryway every few days excites us. Sure, I’ve got to dump the nasty water afterwards but at least periodic pass-throughs with this doodad will lessen the sweat equity we put in every time we mop the floors.

I’m not sure this thing is a reliable spill cleaner upper but for occasional passes, this baby may do wonders.

The only thing holding us back from picking up this bad boy is the price. At $400, I can’t justify purchasing this to lighten the aggressive mopping we do. If anyone hears of a good deal on this baby, pass it on.

If you have a Scooba or have seen it in action, let me know your opinions?

For those who have big brother, Roomba, here is a site that sells slipcovers for them. At last you can have a pig sweeping up your floors.

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Thursday, March 16, 2006

Dogs Do It. Cats Do It. Even Educated Fleas Do It. Let's Do It. Let's take a nap.

It’s been three months since I’ve adopted my new work schedule. With the new work schedule comes the new sleep schedule but it also changes my productivity cycle.

My productivity in the past picked up steam from 2pm-9pm then bounced back up from 11pm-1am. After monitoring the new changes, this is what I’ve determined to be my new productivity cycle:

5-6am – Stop the world, I want to get off. Find man who invented alarm clock and kill.
7am – Semi-cognizant of surroundings. [May require assistance from caffeine goodness.]
8am – Morning meetings. Appearance of fully functioning human requires serious concentration.
9am – Able to read emails and check voice mails but not respond. Making to-do list for the day trying. God help you, if you have brush fire you need my help to extinguish.
10am – Engine fully warmed up. Prioritize and begin tackling to dos.
11:30am – The wheel’s on fire and rolling down the road. God help you if you’re in my path. A stampede could pass by my office and I wouldn’t even know.
2pm – ADHD begins to kick in. The hamster wheel begins to slow down. Must grab lunch. Yes, I eat very late, folks. Always have. Breakfast at 9-10. Lunch at 2. Dinner at 8. You can still call me a tramp.
3pm – Digestion and ADHD continue. Shiny objects fascinate me. Best to avoid conference calls.
3:30-4pm – Second wind picks up. Finish to-do list and begin preparation of the next day.
5-7 – Evening meetings or depending on the strength of the second wind, I stay to finish or jump start on work.
8-9 – Fuel Pit Stop
9-1am – Home and Personal Time. Lately, I’ve had to push physical and mental projects to the weekend. Weeknight projects must require minimal effort and exertion.

So by my guesstimation, I’m no longer an evening person. I’m not a morning person either so I guess I’m a some-of-the-time person.

Fortunately, my meetings now fall either in the early morning or late evening. That means when my productivity peaks during the late morning and late afternoon, I can fully concentrate on my work.

I know that meetings are part of my work but I’m sure many of you will agree 6 out of 10 meetings, especially if they require more than 4 people, are not as productive as they should be. I find that if I’m revving to work, I get rather uppity if I’m stuck in a Working Group or Task Force discussion. I much rather be semi-aware at a meeting than fully-aware. It lessens the pain.

Now this cycle is ever-changing. Depending on the day, the projects, the brush fires, my energy can stay up all day or be at an all time low for hours on end. That’s why I honestly think a required naptime for all would be beneficial to productivity.

I’d be a George Costanza and nap under my desk if I could. Unfortunately, under my desk is a plethora of wires and surge protectors that make me believe the only possible death I could receive at work is death by electrocution.

I want a nap folks. I want an after lunch naptime. How can I start spreading the word? How can I put a do not disturb sign on my office door and shut the lights off for a 20 minute interlude?

You may say that you’d like the idea but find napping in a strange place unrealistic. I’ll have you know that I have a gene, hereditary in both my brother and my opinion, that allows us to sleep anytime, anyplace, anywhere and in any position. We’re like babies and could if needed sleep for 16 hours.

I once fell asleep on the subway and woke up with a line of spittle falling from my mouth. That was back in the days when I had to commute to the WTC which took nearly an hour and a half.

To get this movement going, we should start small. If there can be a National Talk Like a Pirate Day and A National Take Your Dog To Work Day, there can be a National Take a 20 Minute Nap at Work Day. For 20 minutes, all phones, emails, pdas and meetings will be suspended. Everyone shut your lights off and nap in your cubicle/office. It will be good for you. A Puppy pile is optional.

Addendum: There is a National Napping Day and it’s coming up! April 3, 2006 is National Napping Day.

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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Mommy, why do people say Americans are fat?

Yes, for those wondering that is a bacon cheddar burger encased between two glazed donuts.

The image alone has caused an artery blockage. Muthafunga, I am not eating that. The idea of the sweet bun mixing with the salty bacon, sharp cheddar and greasy beef patty makes me queasy.

Kottke has more information on this concotion.

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I’ve Seen All the Good People

Blogs4Bauer's kill count set to stun.

Palmer. Dessler. Lispy. Almeida.

All gone. Spirits in the Sky.

Kim. Audrey. Logan.

Alive. Why?

I’m not sure what this pattern signifies but for Pete’s sake, can Jack have one good thing happen to him? Just one thing. Maybe someone should send him a pick me up bouquet or something.

At least The Hobbit redeemed himself at the very end. All curled up in the fetal position. Rest in peace old hobbit. If that didn’t get you a pass card into Shire Heaven, I don’t know what will. "Rest well and dream of large women." On a side note, why did the writers have to make me feel bad for the death of a red coat? Honestly, adding the call to his daughter was cruel.

Julian Sands at this point is questioning the writers. “I’m the bad guy. Why is my pointy nose spending so much time away from the camera?” The writers heard, Julian. Lucky for you they’re tired of the nerve gas storyline and have decided to release them all at once in some unknown location in LA. Anyone have ideas where casualties could exceed 200,000? Unlucky for you, this means that after that’s done, you’ve got nothing so you may be facing hand to hand combat with broken rib Jack. You better practice your Warlock moves.

Speaking of 200,000 casualties, martial law will probably increase the estimated death tolls but hey, I could be wrong. Besides, now that the red coats have all been killed off, the extras need new roles. Fans, say hello to the Men in Black. Riot footage should be interesting. I'm picturing a Mad Max vs. Escape from NY dark scenario.

Hey President Weezie, do you dress yourself in the morning or do you need a team of advisors to help you with that too?

By the way, did you notice that most of the employees of CTU have a Bachelors in English? And if the President has a Bachelors in History, wouldn't he retain some type of knowledge of errors made by past leaders? I took a class once that focused on historical leadership and ineptitude and that was a pre-req.

C. Thomas Howell isn’t looking very well these days. Soul Man looked pasty and wrinkly. I guess being trapped in a government building surrounded by lethal gas would make anyone look pasty but wouldn’t his breathing exercises help with circulation?

I’m not happy with Kim’s decision to abandon her dad but I could understand. Man, whenever the two are together, death and destruction are abound. Are they ancestors to the horsemen?

I’m going to admit it. I held my breath. I held my breath when Jack went into the contaminated areas and I held my breath when The Hobbit went out. Conclusion: I have no lung capacity whatsoever.

I'd like to state that it seems awfully convenient that a tool box with a entire roll of duct tape was right near the opening to the vent. Honestly, I can’t find my tool box when I really need it and most of the time when I know where it is, it’s crammed behind so much crap in my closet, I give up and decide whatever is broken doesn’t really need to be fixed at the given moment. And is nerve gas filled with acid chomping goodness going to be foiled by duct tape? I know duct tape is multi-functional but I didn't know it could stave off seal eating acid.

I will state that I do keep a pair of pliers and a screwdriver in every room of my apartment. This was a lesson learned after my husband accidentally locked me in our bedroom on a workday without a phone and with two dogs that had not been outside to do their business in over 12 hours. For those interested, do not underestimate the power of bobby pins, a cuticle cutter and nail pusher. Now that’s a storyline 24 should use.

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Asking me not to cook is like asking a dog not to lick himself.

Indigo asked, ‘What did you give up for Lent?’

I wasn’t going to bring it up but she asked and it got me thinking. I normally don’t give up anything for Lent. I feel that if you want to give up something, you should. You shouldn’t feel obligated to do so because of guilt. Plus, there needs to be an intention associated with your sacrifice to really mean something.

Everyone says, “I’ll give up soda” or “I’ll give up chocolate” but have you asked your selves, why? Why do you give up something? If you can’t give yourself a convincing answer, you’re not doing it for the right reasons.

I also don’t think it’s strictly a Lenten ritual or tied to any other religious event. Everyone in their life should give up something and not because you are forced to but because as a human being you have that luxury to.

I was about to not give up anything when our priest, Father Francis, said something that struck a cord. He essentially said what I said about intentions but added that the point isn’t simply if you can abstain from something but why and how what ever you sacrifice or do will bring you closer to yourself.

Just like the Taoist teachings I was brought up with, it’s all about enlightenment and self-enrichment. Honestly, how can you contribute to society without taking care of yourself?

I don’t consider my Lenten sacrifice a giving up of anything in particular. Instead, I’m stepping back from my day to day. I’m trying to get back to society. I live within my own world all the time. I need to step out of my normal day to day and realize that I’m taking things for granted. This year, I’m focusing on food.

I take for granted the accessibility and my passion for food and cooking. For 40 days, I’m imposing restrictions on what I can eat and cook. No more marathon cooking sessions. No more recipe tweaking and testing for hours and days on end. No more eating whatever I want whenever I want.

It’s the simple life for me. For the last few weeks, I’ve eaten simpler foods. I eat my regular meals but without the fillers.

For example, instead of a heaping slice of wild salmon, garlicky greens and wild rice, I choose steamed fish with ginger and white rice. Instead of my weekly Italian mama pasta feast, I make tomato orzo soup with a slice of whole grain bread.

The point is to simplify. By the way, this whole simple life thing is much more difficult with the Fresh Direct people always delivering to my building. Neither rain, nor sleet nor dead of night will stop these purveyors of good eats from delivering sustenance to gleeful food fanatics. Honestly, I see more FD trucks in my neighborhood than UPS trucks.

So how’s it going? Well first, I miss my spaghetti and meatballs immensely. I miss the fresh pasta with chopped herbs and thin shavings of parmesano reggiano. Second, I never realized how many times I’d eat during the day. I pass a kiosk or shop that sells food at least every hour. I still purchase eats and don’t deny myself if I’m hungry but I second guess myself now before I automatically ask for the triple venti latte with banana pound cake.

It’s only been a few weeks and I’m already realizing how much I take for granted when it comes to food. I’m not a food snob by any means. I’ll eat anything but I tend to obsessive over food for periods of time. I’ll make 5 meringues within a week just because I didn’t like the way it looked or tasted. Mind you, nothing gets wasted. If I can’t finish it, my co-workers and my husband’s co-workers gladly pitch in.

If you add up all the ingredients and time spent on the 5 meringues, you realize that you’ve spent a lot of money on this obsession. It’s not wasted but it’s still something that shouldn’t be taken for granted.

So I guess my Lenten sacrifice is to simplify and for me it starts with food. I’m not totally giving up the crazy cooking but I hope by refraining from it now, I’ll appreciate my next opportunity to go crazy in the kitchen.

Addendum: So what do you plan to do after your self imposed sacrifice? I plan to have a gargantuan, button popping piece of strip steak, medium rare, served with a large portion of garlicky mashed potatoes and a large leafy green salad with lemon vinaigrette. Don’t forget the larger than life glass of red wine and giant slab of raspberry chocolate ribbon cake.

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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Can you actually miss the distinct stench of Smelly Train Guy or the uninvited gropings of an alta cocker? I need to get out of the city more.

Yesterday, I had to go to Philly for a meeting. There once was a time when out of town travel for business was exciting for me. That has since gone and past. I’ve now officially been apart of the workforce for so long that I run the danger of being complacent. Philly is a little over an hour from NYC via Amtrak Acela so it’s sort of like a normal commute for most suburban folks. I can see why some people I know live near Philly and commute to NYC. The cost of living I suppose is just slightly lower than in the NYC area.

I’ll be honest; I’ve never taken an Amtrak train before. This was my first excursion into rail travel. The MTA subway doesn’t count in my book. Any romanticized notions of rail travel flew out the door for me. Geez. Where was the taffeta? Where was platform 9 ¾? If Anna Karenina was alive today, I doubt she’d throw herself onto the Amtrak train tracks.

First, there is the whole getting around Penn Station thing that throws me for a loop. How anyone can find the appropriate track beats me. My platform, track 5, was tucked behind the police station booth. The most romantic thing that happened was the 30 seconds I had to make it onto my train before it departed. After that the romantic ideal disappeared.

Train platforms are dark, dirty and dank. There also seems to be a lot of construction work being done in various parts of the station. I don’t know what it is but the rail platforms seem dismal. NYC Subway platforms look bright and cheery compared to the platforms I stood on Monday and that includes the stench filled areas on 42nd Street, Canal Street and W4th Street.

The train ride itself wasn’t bad. It was like a regular subway commute except with larger chairs that recline and more legroom. I was surprised to see so many industrial areas though. I know that New Jersey and Pennsylvania have large industrial areas but it’s not like I drive to these areas. If the scenery wasn't an industrial park, it was of swamp land. Huge tracks of swamp land.

Industrial areas, to me, are like giant geometric puzzles. Everything seems to be a distinct shape or pattern. Power lines, Silos, Tanks, Freight cars and Highway overpasses flow into constructivist works of art. Cold and precise, this living art blazed past and became whirls of shapes. I felt like I was playing a game in Highlights where I had to locate 5 triangles in a picture.

Where air travel feels compressed, rail travel feels cold and desolate. I know this doesn’t make sense but I felt less connected to my surroundings on the train than I’ve ever felt on a plane in flight. Maybe it’s the lack of personal space one feels on a plane and subway car that makes it slightly more comfortable for me. I live in a city where personal space is a luxury and now I’ve gotten to the point where too much space feels eerily creepy.

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Thursday, March 09, 2006

'V' is for 'The Vapors'. Everybody sing now.

Ok, What's the difference between this

and this?

This photo, by the way, was borrowed from a Japanese site I found through Google. Thanks for the cute photo. I would have added a personal one but I don't have a picture of myself doing the 'V' nor do I plan on doing the 'V' although I've slowly started assimilating to the 'Hello Kitty' culture.

For one thing, I added red highlights to my hair. You can't see them though because my hair is dark, shiny and black. Any change in color would require bleaching which scares the poop out of me. So in the sun, my naturally brown highlights look red now but since I'm like a groundhog and rarely go outdoors, I'm the only one that knows they are red.

Also, my fondness for cute things invented for the sake of cuteness not functionality has expanded. For instance, I really want this:

It's not functional. It doesn't even fit my phone but it's so darn cute. Did I mention the slippers are screen wipes?

Going back to The Cube and the ubiquitous 'V', when Ice Cube does it, it's not all 'What the hell is that?' When Asian people do it, everyone has to ask, ‘What’s that all about, man?’ Being Asian and within the vicinity of said inquiry, I usually get asked about it.

Here is my answer. Dude, I have no idea. I am the last person you should be asking. I’m a banana. A Twinkie. Next to my brother, I’m the whitest Asian person you can find. Bro, I don’t know who wins out in this competition. I may have the scrapbooking but you’ve got Dave Matthews and Hootie.

This is my theory on the ‘V’. As a whole, Asians are fairly quiet people. We’re not rebel rousers but this doesn’t mean we don’t have our opinions. We just repress them most of the time. The ‘V’ is a passive aggressive gesture of insult. It’s not directed to the picture taker or the recipient. It’s just there to blow off steam. It’s the ‘I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore’ for passive aggressive types. Ah, but Pantrygirl, the palm is not facing away from the camera. Yes, the traditional ‘Victory V’ and smiling with a slight head cock enhance our passive aggressive nature. We make this angry gesture into something less aggressive and demonstrative. Plus, not all palm facing ‘V’s are insulting. Otherwise, Ice Cube would have been saying something completely different to my husband when he asked to take the above photo.

We let out some steam while looking cute albeit strange.

This could explain why I have not used the ‘V’. Yes, most of the time I avoid confrontation like a child raised by British overseas citizens would but I also grew up in America in the Bronx. Like Ralph Kramden, I got a big mouth and I don’t always shut it when I should. Hence, I may be passive aggressive on some things but on others I’m pretty vocal. I don’t need to mask my disdain for something. It shows in my face. I’m pretty transparent.

Lately, the popularity seems to be waning. I don’t see many people doing it anymore. More and more people aren’t afraid to speak their mind which could explain its waning. Who knows the real reason behind the ‘V’. I’m sure it was something really silly and an inside joke between two people that became a cultural phenomenon. Maybe I’ll start up an ‘M’ movement or a ‘T’ movement. If you see a girl in Manhattan holding up a ‘T’ while her picture is taken, say ‘hi’.

Disclaimer: Yes, I'm lumping my people up for the sake of a humorous, satirical theory. I'm lumped everyday people. So are you. Don't believe me? Then why do people have market research budgets?

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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Happy feet! I've got those happy feet! Give them a low down beat and they begin dancing.

I can't explain how hilarious these things are to me. I'm running on 4 hours of sleep for the last few days, folks. Bear with me.

If my cat was still alive, she'd go nuts with these things.

Thanks to Manhattan User's Guide for pointing these babies out.

Check out the video.

Maybe I should buy a pair for the local homeless guy. His slippers look like they should retire.

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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Jinx, you're it

You know how some people just walk around with a cloud over their head? No matter what they do, they can’t shake that cloud. For some reason they attract chaos and catastrophe. My mom is like that. I don’t believe she was always that way. Maybe she was and I was too young to see it. Who knows? All I know is that things just don’t come easy for my mother.

Things that should be simple become complicated. I don’t think she means for it to be difficult. Circumstances arise and choices are made that lead to the long and winding path verses the straight and clear path.

Some people might say her lack of organization leads to things becoming complicated. Others might say it’s her logic that leads her to choose the long road. Some say it may be fate.

I think there are many factors that effect the outcome, some not of my mother’s design, but the one factor that makes things harder for my mother more than anything else is her lack of communication. She bottles everything inside, afraid her opinions and choices will be criticized. She puts on this air that she knows what she’s doing in everything she does but doesn’t ask for help or advice when she should or could.

Even with her children, she doesn’t share any information. I think the fact that we are her children complicates the fact. She doesn’t want to look like she isn’t in control of things. Honestly, no one can be in control all the time. To think that we are in total control of our environment is a bit presumptuous.

I guess like most people, my mom doesn’t like criticism. She can dish it out but she can’t take it. Honestly, if you strapped a self esteem meter on my arm and monitored it while I talked with my mother, you would see it plummet to borderline depression levels. In fact, I’m sure it’s Pavlovian now and just the mere site of my mom’s number on my caller id sends that needle down to the 90th floor. I suppose it comes from her mother’s criticism. It is funny how many of us can take criticism from outsiders, even brothers and sisters, but when we hear it from our mother it’s like a bullet straight through our heart.

My mother’s intolerance for criticism is so severe it lead to a 1 year disownment (for lack of a better word.). My husband’s remark made her go into a tirade about how I disgraced my family by taking my husband’s side by not defending her. Call me cold but if you ask someone what their opinion is on your actions, you’re asking for criticism.

Anyway, now that we’re in speaking terms again, I get the regular panic calls. Panic calls are calls to ask me for obscure numbers without full explanation. For example, she’ll call me to ask me for the number of the Canadian consulate and U.S. passport office. I’ll ask her why and she’ll say she needs to go to China. If I inquire more, like why the Canadian consulate if she’s going to China, she’ll tell me she can’t discuss it now.

Another time, she called me to ask me for the phone number of a health insurance company so she can buy insurance. I’ll ask her what happened to her husband’s insurance and she’ll tell me it’s complicated.

Today, she called me to tell me that she needs to fix something on her credit report and she needs a phone number for the credit bureau. I tell her the number should be on the credit report and that she should also call the company with the incorrect statement to investigate and request expungement. She tells me the report doesn’t have numbers and I question the validity of the report and ask her if she obtains one at least every year and from whom. She immediately tells me that she’ll find another way and tells me to go back to work. Oh, did I mention she calls me at work for these conversations? I think it’s because she’s home alone and the hamster wheels run overtime when she’s by herself.

I can’t get back to work after these types of conversations. All these questions come into my head. What type of error is it? Where did she get the report? Why won’t she tell me things to try to help her? So I wind up spending 30 minutes researching information on a general level to print and send to my mother via mail hoping that she’ll open it within the next few weeks. My mother does not check her emails, voice mails or regular snail mail. Pieces of mail have been known to sit for weeks on my mother’s coffee table untouched.

I just printed out information regarding disputing an item on a credit report and I just dropped it in the mailbox.

Now, I know, I don’t like criticism either. I get that from my mother. I think I’ve gotten better with taking it but I occasionally still get upset but I don’t lash out at anyone. Not a word, Lrudlrick. Remember, for better and worse. I just sit on my couch in my pjs with a pint of Haagen Daaz banana split and wallow until I feel even worse for eating a pint of ice cream and start cleaning the house and running around like a mad women trying to burn off the calories.

Everyone has to deal with being judged. Everyone has to put the brave face on sometimes. Everyone has moments where they question their decisions. We just have to be self confident and stick by our choices or learn from them. No answer is right for everyone. That’s what makes life so unpredictable. The best we can do is to continue learn, adapt and share.

How do you get through that barrier between child and parent? How do you deflect that bullet that is aimed straight through your heart? If everything between a child and parent is done with the best of intentions, why does it hurt that much more when criticism comes from each other?

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2 hours of '24' and I'm energized for more. Is that a sign of addiction?

So how many canisters are left?

Is Julian Sands starting to feel like Wile E. Coyote, The Monarch or Lrrr? You kind of feel bad for him. Julian, maybe you should take a Learning Annex class on hiring the right staff. Then he kills Lispy and you hate him again.

Am I the only one who can’t help but complete any sentence that mentions ‘Omicron’ with ‘Persei Eight’?

The following were thoughts in real-time: (summarized by character/location/by order of appearance)

TONY: Tony's awake. I wonder what integral piece of information he will have. Anyone remember who the potential client was Michelle and he was supposed to meet with before they went boom? Or is that moot point? Can a person really walk after being in a coma for over 10 hours? How about being nearly blown up? Man CTU has shoddy security, even on their pc. At my job, we’re required to log out when we leave the workstation. My pc also locks out after 5 minutes. I guess Tony is going to fall off the wagon again.

AARON: I’m glad that Aaron is okay. If I need someone to ever protect me, Aaron is my first contact.

FLOTUS: If my husband committed me once, tried to commit me a second time and then did nothing to try to save my life, divorce papers would be drawn up as fast as I could dial 1-800-LAWYERS. “You didn’t stand up to them.” Damn straight, I wouldn’t want my weasel husband touching me either. Logan, your new name is Weezie.

THE COKEHEADS: How does one get in touch with terrorists? It’s not like they’re in a phone book under ‘Terrorists’. Well, I guess THE HOBBIT won’t have to worry about his sister anymore.

JACK: Man, 10 hours into it and Jack doesn’t seem phased that he has a broken rib. That rib is holding up fine but I guess after being shot at, stabbed, tortured and killed, a broken rib is nothing. Lrudlrick: Jack needs to learn how to shoot to wound not kill. He keeps killing them before they can be interrogated.

PRESIDENT WEEZIE: Lrudlrick: Man, POTUS is good at self incrimination after the fact. “The President needs you.” No, Mike. What the President needs is to grow a spine. Lrudlrick: Does the president have earring holes? It looks like he has three holes in his left lobe. I think he’s right. Freeze frame in the scene where FLOTUS comes back to Weezie, right after Carrie leaves the main floor to investigate the system warning. Tell me what you think.

McHOBBIT: “Lynn’s been relieved of duty.” “Ok.” I love it. No questions. Even off site, Jack knew McGill was a douche bag. Hobbit, now is the time to tell them about the damn key card because your wallet will be in your dead sister’s apartment. Damn straight, come clean. “Why didn’t you report this?” LOL. Because I’m a giant head afraid to admit my fallibility. Lrudlrick: Lynn’s been a class A fuck up today. Only later would we truly find out how he royally messed up. I wonder if he made it. I don’t recall them showing him dead or alive. Anyone see him in the situation room or upper offices?

CTU: Seriously, the uniforms for CTU security are right out of Star Trek: The First Generation. If you’re an extra on ‘24’, you better pray to Guy Fleegman your role somehow gets meatier. Lrudlrick: Doesn’t CTU have a flag against The Hobbit's access? Seriously, if he’s in holding, wouldn’t they revoke any of his privileges? I’d think the first thing they do is deactivate his security and ask for his card back. Evacuation time. I like the big giant ‘E’ for evacuate plastered over every LCD screen. Everyone knows the clinic is going to be sealed off but what about the holding cells? Did Lynn survive? Sweet, holy crap. Now that’s a Ziploc seal.

HOSPITAL: Oh man, the hospital. Is that how Legionnaire’s got into New York Presby? Man, how do you evacuate a major metro hospital and where do you move ICU patients? What about NICU? When will they show the high risk pregnancies waddling out?

ROBOWIFE: She is just too calm. Lrudlrick: She’s hard core, man. Jack’s wife couldn’t handle it. I wouldn’t trust her. Oooh. She’s good. Trying to get to him with the mention of Kim and Teri. She reminds me of Behrooz’ mom. What the hell is to her right? She keeps looking over her shoulder. Oh just hit her Jack. Seriously, just smack her. Can she really be that blind? I guess love can blind. Jack, I said smack her not shoot her! Holy crap! Holy crap! She’s a tough cookie. I’d be crying like a wee baby if I was shot. Man these writers just love sticking it to women.

ROBOCOP: Jack, you’re not going to check the handcuffs? Man, Robocop is cold. Robocop and President Weezie should form a He-Man Women Haters Club. It is men like them that Lifetime movies exist. Oh man, Robocop and Tony are going to have it out in the clinic room. Cripple fight!

TORTURE ROOM: Goody, Jack wants an interrogation room. Let the torturing begin. Darn, the torture is pretty tame. I guess after last year’s endless injections, sensory deprivation and electro-shock treatments, it’s hard to top or even devote any more time to torture. Audrey’s watching Robocop’s torture like a seasoned pro. I love it.

ON THE SUBJECT OF BLUEPRINTS: Are blueprints that easy to get a hold of? Honestly, I’ve requested blueprints for work and I have to jump through hoops to get them……… Again with the floor plans. Who can honestly tell me that they constantly have up to date floor plans? Unless you’re an architect, I doubt you are using the most up to date floor plans for your facility.

MADBOMBER #62: Lrudlrick: Why? Why would you set it for 10 minutes? If you were committed to die, wouldn’t you just set it off right then and there? Obviously Viktor wasn’t a high level operative. He ran and died faster than crewman no. 6. Yes, I watched Galaxy Quest over the weekend.

BLACKJACK: You know Curtis said an expletive when he saw the canister was armed. And my theory of Black Jack continues. Run Black Jack, Run! Run like the football quarterback we all know you were in college. Tuck that canister under your arm like a pigskin and haul ass. Holy crap, they didn’t hurt Black Jack! Thank you! Curtis, don’t forget to ask for 2 extra weeks vaca when you get back to CTU. I’m also available in May if you need company.

COUGARBAIT: Every time Kim’s in CTU, something happens on-site. This should have been the first sign something may be up. “I swore I’d never come back here.” Yeah, but you’re here which means someone is going to die. Hope you have a good shrink.

MUSSOLINI: What did the Veep do last season? I can’t recall what happened last season. Man, working groups. I hate working groups. Sadly, I’ve had to create working groups. So we have a non-elected president that is a spineless weasel and a Veep that wants a totalitarian regime. Guess who Weezie is going to side with? Geez, I think I could actually sell Weezie the Brooklyn Bridge.

DR. SOULMAN: Who is this Barry dude? Isn’t he a bit too old for her? It’s like he’s a shrink trying to be the ‘father figure’ in Kim’s life. “I don’t care what you think?” – Jack responding to C. Thomas Howell’s comments. HAHAHAHA. Oh great, he really is a shrink. Isn’t there an ethics oath you take to not date your patient? Man, I hope doctor/patient relationships don’t happen as frequently in real life as they do in television. The intellectual caught up in something beyond his comprehension. The look C. Thomas had when he was shuffled into the situation room was classic. “What’s going on?” What’s going on is you got yourself into this pickle sleeping with your patient, doc. Ha-ha. Lrudlrick: Well, a mole has to survive. If it’s C. Thomas Howell, Kim is going to be really messed up.

CARRIE: Carrie is going to die. Bye Carrie. Carrie, we barely knew you yet I still found you annoying. Lrudlrick: Edgar is going to feel so bad. He’s just a big teddy bear. He is going to cry.

MADBOMBER #63: Lrudlrick: Let’s see how long they set the timer for on this canister. 10 minutes? 15! Of course! Pantrygirl: Scott, you just don't get it, do ya? You don't.

POTATOFACE: You finally gave attitude to the right person. That’s right Kim, cut your dad some slack. Chloe, you’d be a terrible parent to a toddler but a great mom to an angst filled teen. Chloe will have to live with the knowledge the last words she said to Lispy weren’t “I love you” but some snarky jealous remark. Chloe crying. Who knew Chloe had feelings under that bitter, snarkiness. Someone give her a hug.

LISPY: “Where’s Carrie?” “I want to see what’s taking Carrie so long.” Edgar, you’re smarter than that. Don’t go alone. Send one of the red guards to check on her. They're expendable. Your talents would be best on the main floor. Get out of the building now and he looks for Carrie. Man, Edgar is going to die. RIP Lispy. We're going to miss you. Send your condolences at his online wake.

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Monday, March 06, 2006

My 2 cents: The Oscars

We’re not Oscar watchers. In fact, we generally don’t watch awards shows but so far this year we’ve seen two: The Grammys and The Oscars.

Are the Oscars always so slow paced, choked with montages and self-aggrandizing?

What was up with the teleprompter? It was like it being cranked by a monkey. At one point I couldn't tell if Lauren Bacall was having a seizure of if she was having a hard time keeping up with the prompter.

Jessica Alba, eat a frickin’ sandwich. Watching you hurt. I felt like your body was screaming for sustenance.

I don’t know who the chick was who announced the technical awards that were given last night but her outfit was autrocious. The bright yellow and bedazzled belly emblem trapped me like a dear in headlights.

Honestly, who writes the banter? Poor Lily Tomlin and Glenn Close looked genuinely relieved after they finished their spiel.

Reese? Really? I love Reese but from the contenders she wasn’t on my high choice list.

Jon, you were nervous in the beginning and even the audience seemed to be a bit uneasy but you did good. It wasn’t your normal audience and you did fine.

Did anyone understand a word that group who one best original song said? Honestly, I think the closed captioner didn’t understand it. I think my CC read, “I have no clue what they are saying. ???????”

What was up with the announcements on one mic and the speeches on another?

Finally, Jessica, holy cow, eat something. For God’s sake, eat a sandwich.

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No, I didn't beat my husband up to get him to marry me.

Some people have asked me so I’m going to explain the image of my husband’s forearm in the collage photo.

We flew down to Louisiana a few days before our parents and friends arrived to assure our plans were going as scheduled. We also figured we could take in a bit of the city before the craziness of the event took hold.

We took in a few parades and had a great time chatting it up with locals on things to do. The one thing that surprised us was the freedom to drink on the street in Louisiana. In New York City drinking in public is a no-no. You can’t even have an opened container of alcohol in your car. So we freely enjoyed a glass of spirit or two while watching the parades.

Now what they don’t tell you but I’m going to is that the first weeks of Mardi Gras are fairly tame and quiet. If quiet means you can walk down a city street without pushing your way through. Therefore local hotels, bars and restaurants are fairly lax about letting you use their facilities.

However, the last weekend before the actual Mardi Gras day, everyone locks down entry so you need to be a patron to use their public bathroom. This goes for every hotel, every bar and every restaurant. This includes Burger King and Wendy’s. BTW, all fast food chains close their bathrooms to the public and patrons during this weekend. We learned this the hard way.

So the rule of thumb is if you have a weak bladder, get a hotel room within the major parade routes you plan to see. You’ll get a wrist band that will allow entry back into the hotel.

Our place was not within the major routes. We figured we’d want a quiet place to relax after the hectic to-dos of Mardi Gras and our wedding. Our friends and family hadn’t arrived yet either so we couldn’t sneak into their hotel rooms to tinkle. So we did what we had to do. We ordered a small item at a bar and used their facilities. Think. What small item could be ordered at a bar that can be consumed rather quickly?

Yes folks, Lrudlrick and I wound up doing shots so we could pee. Now one or two shots are fine. Even with a few beer chasers, it’s ok but when your bladder is the size of a lima bean, one or two shots aren’t going to get you through the night.

Long story short, the night before our parents arrived, we got completely trashed. It wasn’t purposely done but nevertheless, we were hammered. Oh I have to also admit that I was a bit upset that night because during one of these pee-breaks, I asked Lrudlrick to hold my bag which contained the photos of our grandparents that we planned to display on the tea ceremony table during our wedding. Well, Lrudlrick wound up making friends with some guys from Upstate New York and left my bag on the street.

I thought our original photos would be lost forever. A week later, a good Samaritan mailed us the photos she found on the street. There are good people in the world, I tell you.

So I was a bit upset so I may have imbibed a bit more as well. Somehow or another we made it back to our bed and breakfast. Lrudlrick dragged me face first up to our second floor room and threw me on the bed. Bored, Lrudlrick decided to surprise me by returning home with more beads for me. At this point Lrudlrick should have remembered the golden rule about drinking, always stick together. Lrudlrick’s side: I forgot the golden rule but if you had reserved a room with a television, this would not have happened.

So Lrudlrick left at 3-4am to find beads. From this point on, I can only report to you what I was told by Lrudlrick. Remember, I was at this time I was drooling on my pillow.

Lesson #1: Judgment is severely impaired when you are inebriated.
Lrudlrick spent the night walking the streets of the French Quarters and stopped by what he later described to be a balcony covered in beads. Every balcony in Louisiana is covered in beads during Mardi Gras.

Lesson #2: Alcohol makes you forget hold old you really are.
Apparently there was a particularly shiny set of beads that attracted his attention. He said there was a tree within distance to the balcony and thought he could climb the tree and swing over to the balcony to get the pretty beads.

Lesson #3: Alcohol wrecks havoc on your ability to determine spatial relations.
So he attempted to do a George of the Jungle and at some point while in the tree, while swinging is our guesstimate, he fell. He fell right into the private property of the house he tried to climb.

He must have been very high because the force of his fall caused a car alarm to go off. Lrudlrick later said the force knocked the wind out of him. The car alarm and the imminent danger of being caught by the cops woke Lrudlrick up. Flight or fright kicked in.

I’m going to stop and explain what facilitated his urgency to escape. See, during Mardi Gras, if you do anything remotely illegal or questionable, you are detained until Ash Wednesday, the day after Mardi Gras. There is a no tolerance law in effect during this time to keep everyone safe during the festivities. I’m sure that Lrudlrick feared having to explain to his parents, his fiancĂ©e and his friends the reason he missed our wedding was because of some shiny $.99 beads.

So Lrudlrick decided to run as far away as he possibly could from the scene of the mishap. For some reason that I don’t understand Lrudlrick said the only logical thing to do was not to jump the fence back out of the private property but to run further into the private property. He said it had to deal with cops checking the front perimeter first. Lrudlrick explained this as a fact that you learn growing up in the Bronx but I think this is a bit of hooey. Every time I see a snippet of ‘Cops’ the perpetrator is caught in someone’s backyard in a bush.

So he ran through into the backyard and ran smack into a brick wall. Obviously influenced by Jackie Chan, Lrudlrick decides if he runs fast enough he can scale this wall. According to Lrudlrick this wall was also on an incline so it took about 3 tries before he managed to scale the wall and make it over.

Dazed, confused and pumped with adrenaline, he hobbled home. He peeled off the bloody, dirty clothes and decided to shower and go to bed. Realizing that his parents only had his cell phone number as a contact in NOLA, he decided to charge his phone. When he reached into his pants pocket to find his brand spanking new cell phone, he had the sickening idea that he may have lost his cell phone in the private property he fell into.

Sure enough his phone was gone. What if the cell phone is in the property? If the cops find it, they can trace it back . What if the cops show up during our wedding to arrest me? How can this be explained to our parents?Obviously, Lrudlrick and I would be lousy criminals.

Lrudlrick decided he needed to go back to the scene and find his phone. At 5am, he changed clothes and hobbled back onto the street with my cell phone in hand hoping he would be able to hear his phone ringing.

I’m not sure if it was a possible concussion or Lrudlrick’s poor navigational skills but he couldn’t find the house with the balcony filled with shiny beads.

He returned home battered, bruised and defeated. At this time, I woke up with a vicious hang over to find my then fiancé a bloody mess. Groggily he grumbled a terse explanation involving lack of entertainment, trees and phones and passed out.

I spent the rest of the morning nursing a hangover and hoping that my husband didn't have a concussion. Lrudlrick spent the afternoon traveling to Verizon stores throughout the area to pick up a new phone. We also fielded calls between our parents and thought it wise to allow us one day of recuperation before meeting with them.

The photo in the collage is of his forearm the day after our wedding. Photos cannot show how gruesome his arm looked. It was swollen with fluid and went from shades of vamp black to burnt sienna yellow. He couldn’t lift it too high and bending it was painful. We went to his doctor when we returned and he said that nothing was damaged and that he was lucky he didn’t break his arm.

By the way, my husband wasn’t the only one with bruises on our wedding day. The day before my brother landed on my forehead while attempting to catch beads. Mind you this isn’t the first time my brother left a welt on my forehead but that’s a story for another day. It left a giant welt on my left side of my forehead that turned greenish black. I swear the make up artist must have thought Lrudlrick was beating me.

On our wedding day, we privately joked that we had to be beaten up to get us to walk down the aisle.

So that's the story of my husband's bruised arm and how you should never think doing shots to use a bathroom is a smart idea.

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Sunday, March 05, 2006

Happy Anniversary. Happy Anniversary. Happy Anniversary. Haaappppyyy Annniversary.

I guess I'm rubbing off on Lrudlrick. He surprised me with a homemade card. This is the front. It's a photograph of a chalk drawing he made on our annoucement board. The inside included a cute photo of him and a romantic note. He even had something printed in the back. I have to say this truly is the best present. He took the time to design it and make it which beats any store bought card hands down. It sort of reminds me of the little love letters he used to send me when we were dating just a bit more graphic. Get your mind out of the gutter.

Yummy gloves Lrudlrick gave me. They are soft leather and can replace my ragged looking ones I've been sporting.

Remember I said Mothra had a brilliant idea for Lrudlrick's card? Well, this is it. I used an image of our announcement, added pairs of things, glued it to some cardstock and created a puzzle card.

Lrudlrick's gift. Just like my gloves, his messenger bag was in a sorry state. This one fits his laptop perfectly and he can do the messenger cross over without it protruding too much to the side.

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Thursday, March 02, 2006

03.03.03 at 3:30. There is no way my husband can forget that right?

I know that wedding anniversaries are important. I know they are considered the valid anniversary date. To be honest, it’s a special date for me but not as important as society tells me it should be.

I guess it’s because I was with my husband for so long prior to getting married. The only significance to this date is that we officially became legal. I’m not sure what the fringe benefits are but apparently they are good enough for millions of people so why not us.

After a 2 year engagement, we finally did it. On March 3, 2003 at 3:30pm we officially became man and wife. We had an intimate ceremony. We both agreed that going into debt wasn’t the best way to start a ‘happily ever after’ story. We also agreed that either one of us would be taken away in handcuffs if we attempted to have a traditional wedding.

A traditional wedding in our family would have consisted of a church and reception area the size of Yankee Stadium. Sure our immediate families are small but our extended families are huge. Our relatives come from the working-the-farm rules of having children. It makes for great get-togethers when you’re a kid but hell when a wedding has to be planned.

The bar tab alone would have set us back from buying a new home. Then there is the whole clash of the traditions where my family would probably get insulted by something stupid and Lrudlrick’s family would have no clue why a line of whole pigs is paraded around the reception area and then given to each table to gorge on. Or the need to hire security guards for a gaudy Mr. T inspired piece of jewelry. Oh, and there was the my-dad-can’t-sit-next-to-my-mom scenario.

Plus, in Chinese cultures, there is an added business element to the whole deal. Business associates of the parents of the bride and groom are invited. “But mom, I don’t know them. Why would I pay for an $80+/head dinner for strangers?” “They’re not strangers. They are your ‘aunts’ and ‘uncles’. Besides, you’ll get a wedding gift.”

Anyone thinking that a wedding is a break even event is misguided. If you are planning a wedding and hope to recoup the floral arrangement costs, think again. You’ll come back from Morocco, sort through your gifts and at some point will say, “Third cousin Bertha, husband Bert and their three teenage line-backer sons gave us $40.00? The floral arrange on their table cost $99.00!”

Chinese weddings are like funerals. They aren’t for the guest of honor. They’re more for everyone else. Ok, I’m going to be honest; they are for the mother and father of bride and groom. See traditionally, the groom's family are supposed to pay for a Chinese wedding. Hence my mother would tell my brother and me that I was required to marry a Chinese man and my brother was required to marry outside of Chinese culture. My mother was joking folks. I don’t want to hear my mother received a call from one of you asking her if she was serious.

A wedding is a way of showing one’s worth and not losing face within their circle of friends. The more who attend the better.

Sure, I would have loved a banquet feast that lasts 6+ hours. I love to eat. Sure, I would have loved the traditional changing of clothes nearly every hour for the bride. I love shoes. Sure, I would have loved the getting drunk while going to every table and sharing a shot of XO. I love alcohol. But those things are just material items that would have faded and mixed into every wedding I attended.

What we wanted was something that would be remembered by the special few that got to experience it. If we were going to make our relationship legal, we wanted to do it our way.

Tired of being asked when we were going to finally make it official, we set a date. Our close family and friends went down South to watch us become Lord and Lady Lrudlrick. We ate and danced the night away. Merriment was felt by all.

We kept some traditions to make my mother happy like the combing of my hair, the tea ceremony and the changing of the clothes. We also incorporated photos of our departed grandparents and my father into our ceremony. Lrudlrick even wore my dad’s favorite tie during the reception.

Looking back, it was a special day for us but I still feel the same; in the grand scheme this day won’t be the pivotal moment in our relationship. The pivotal moment was the day that we realized that we had something special. Something about each other clicked and we knew for better of worse, we wanted to share our life. Marriage doesn’t make you one entity. When it’s right, it just happens.

Lrudlrick deals with my cranky pants and I deal with his cranky pants. We drive each other crazy sometimes with our behavioral ticks but we don’t scold each other for them. We accept each other warts and all and still look forward to coming home to each other.
That’s what matters most to me not the day a government document united us.

Still tomorrow is our day and I must get home to wrap his present and make his card. Lrudlrick will probably come home late tonight because of some last minute shopping which should give me some time to shellac his card. I’ll explain later. Mothra had a ‘brilliant’ idea.

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