Wednesday, August 31, 2011


I got fewer pictures than I wanted with the worst of the storm hitting my area in the wee small hours of the morning. The storm itself was pretty boring though...boring enough I managed to fall asleep without drugs, so pretty boring. The aftermath was the most interesting part.

Mick & Debra should be getting power back today...a previously unmentioned friend of the family, Truck, is still without power as far as I know-- but everyone else's lives seem to have returned to normal, thank goodness.

While, compared to other people and other parts of the country, our overall experience is little to nothing, it's still the worst flooding we've seen in at least 40 years.

This is what it looked like at about noon.

This is what it looked like 4 hours later.

That is water making its way up my neighbor's driveway.

There was a bit in front of our house, creeping up along the curb, but that was as far as it got. By 7 o'clock, though, the water was waist deep in front of the trailer.

Public Safety Announcement: Ladies and gentlemen, while most flood water is fresh water from the storm, an amount is made up of sewer water, through which flows raw sewage. It's poop, people. And I know it makes you feel cool and important to walk around in it, but you're running the risk of developing serious infections (particularly women, since most of us have microscopic cuts on our legs from shaving). You are also at risk for electrocution as, with the constant wind and rain and the earthquake a few days before, the wires and telephone poles are under stress. Should a wire or pole fall, when you're knee-deep in water, you will not get out in time to know, death.

Be smart, please, and be safe.  And don't stalk me.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Pre-Aftermath & Spoons

Apologies about the lack of posting, it's been a rough couple of days.

Janet and Arthur only ended up spending a couple of hours without power, but Mick and Debra lost power Saturday night and it hasn't come back on yet. They've been staying with Deb's mother, but they're coming here for dinner tonight.

My street experienced the worst flooding its had in at least 40 years, the water was waist-deep in some areas, I have pictures and will do a whole post on it later, but not today, I'll explain in a minute. We never lost power, and truthfully, the wind was at its worst on Sunday after the storm had already passed.

From the sound of it, Gayle and Mr. Yikes made out better than even we did.

As to why the real aftermath post will be later, I'm in a great deal of pain. 10 being excruciating, 0 being no pain at all, yesterday was an 8 and I ended up taking a Vicodin and spent the day slipping in and out of sleep. The pain's only a five/six today, but with Mick and Deb and Manny coming I need to hang on to as many spoons as I can.

This is the Spoon Theory and it sums up life with a chronic illness absolutely perfectly. 

Mick, Deb, and Manny are here, gotta go. Wish me luck.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Category 1 Saturday Summary

Category 1: It's just raining here in Jersey, still, things won't start to get interesting for a few hours, yet. Arthur and Janet live in Maryland, between the ocean and bay, so we're pretty nervous about them but we've been in touch throughout the day and they're just getting wind and rain so far. Gayle lives in an area that has been evacuated, but she says as far as she knows nobody's been leaving...Mr. Yikes, the father of the man I was named after (The Name of a Hero) lives in another evacuated county three blocks from the ocean and like, 1.5 from the bay and he's refusing to leave.

Lots of reason to be nervous. Especially since I heard the wind and rain pick up as I typed this. Again, no knowing when the next post will be as New Jersey has already been designated a federal disaster area before the storm even got here, and massive and long power outages are likely. Nothing to do but wait.

And take pictures. I just started documenting now as the wind is starting to get stronger and gusty. (4:30 pm, Eastern)


Nostalgia Gone Wrong: Have you ever seen those old timey newspapers you can get printed for, generally, older people? Well, old-timey as in they're the person's actual birthdate's local newspaper? I saw an older gentleman reading one the day I went to visit Gayle. He was sitting in front of me so I was reading the reflection of it in the window from my seat. I like doing that. Anyway, I thought it was weird, because it's not like they remember anything from then, it's not like they can be nostalgic, remembering when that story about the bank robbers was a big deal because they were too busy being born that day to look at the paper. Maybe if they got copies from like, their 5th birthday or something, it might spark some memories.

Like, I remember clearly that Operation Desert Storm started on my 3rd birthday, January 16, 1991, because we were having my party in the kitchen and my mother yelled at my father because he was watching TV instead of joining the party. And I remember the TV was all in shades of green because they were showing night-vision footage, so for me that newspaper, or even the day after, would be a memory for me. You know, people dying and stuff.


Intelligent Design: Returning S&O fans will notice some changes in the comments and that the background no longer looks like the childhood bedroom of Jackson Pollock's daughter.

It turns out that Blogger/Blogspot's commenting system seriously sucks. Comments aren't threaded or threadable and difficult to manage, so I switched to DISQUS commenting which looks a lot better now that the bugs are straightened out, like when the comments' font color was automatically set to the background color, rendering the comment itself invisible and the thing wouldn't let me change it. Tyler at DISQUS is awesome and I'm thankful for his help straightening all this out.

And yes, the background is much more sedate and not so vomit-y. I'm still struggling with the header, though, it and I are having it out. I'll win. Eventually.


Intel Inside: Have you seen those Windows commercials where they're like, "Susan doesn't think she needs to update her 4 year old computer, so we built a PC store in her house!"

Seamus here, my laptop, is 5 years old and still as awesome as they day I got it. Yeah, people need to update, but don't be silly with this every couple years crap. You don't fool me for a second.

(Think it worked?)


Mad Me: Talking about popcorn again.

I think Orville Redenbacher is missing out on a major selling point of their pop-up bowl idea. It's really convenient and I enjoy them and use them, but they're not telling people the hands-down best part of the whole deal.

The top and bottom panels of the bowl are transparent. You can actually watch the popcorn popping when it's in the microwave instead of just on slow-motion YouTube videos. How do you not mention that to people? "Not only does the bag turn into a bowl, but you get to watch your popcorn actually popping!"

I should go into advertising.


The wind and rain have died down again. (5:00 pm, Eastern)


Corporate Slime: They're seriously making a Charlie's Angel's TV show. A new one, I mean. Why? For the life of me I can't figure it out. I can't understand why executives, because that's who I blame, do these things. What does this say about us? No wonder the world thinks America has no culture of its own, it can't stop copying off itself for two minutes. The best revamp so far is the latest Star Trek movie, but damnit, that's even more of a continuation than anything else...

I know for a fact there are people with legitimately original ideas in the world, in this country. I have to put my faith in the fact that art will find its way through the muck's still a depressing state of things. (Point Blanc)


Not Depressing: Another from the wonder that is mental_floss: Pygmy Shetland Ponies!!!


( 5:30 pm, Eastern) Arthur and Janet lost power.


A Little Project Runway: And I wanted drama! Holy crap. Ugly, ugly clothes and ugly, ugly people. I'm very disappointed that Josh turned out to be such a douche, I was beginning to really like him.


Clever Girl: Disney is re-releasing The Lion King in 3D for a couple of weeks, which is such a great idea for them. Take a classic, a movie people love, and put it in a format that people hate so you know for sure it's the format of the movie people don't like instead of it possibly being just the movie itself. Clever. Problem is it's still not going to go well, because even if people liked those stupid glasses or things cheesily popping in your face like Star Tours or Muppet*Vision 4D, it's waaaay too expensive now.

It's a valiant effort, though, Disney.


Last Complaint: Anyone else notice the trends on the Food Network anymore? Two in particular: lemon and panko breading. Yes, a little lemon can really brighten up a dish, and yes, panko breading is wonderfully crunchy-- but holy crap, they're putting whole lemons into every single recipe anymore. It's just too, too much.

And I do enjoy panko breading from time to time, but let's be honest, it cuts your mouth like ground glass. Or Captain Crunch.


Upcoming Posts: Just "English Food I Miss" and Hurricane Irene pictures. Please feel free to send your own images and stories to

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Three things can be counted on to make my pain worse: stress, weather, and my cycle.

My credit card has been suspended (thanks, Bitchface!), I'm going to get my period in like, 3 days, and we've got thunderstorms today-- a nice little prologue for Hurricane Irene.

Irene's looking like a real bitch:

I need another nap. I hope to have a better post for you tomorrow-- definitely by Saturday, but after then who knows if our house will have power, let alone internet. We'll just have to wait and see.

Batten down the hatches, kids. Stock up on water, non-perishable food, and candles. Be safe.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Queen's Fool by Philippa Gregory

The Queen's Fool is the third book by Philippa Gregory I've read, the first two being The Other Boleyn Girl and The Boleyn Inheritance. They were much better.

The thing that I most enjoy about Gregory's work is how historically accurate they are-- of course, no one can know exactly who said what to who and when, but when we have so much information about what happened and who these people are it's not too much of a stretch to infer what may have been said. Like in the Elizabeth movies starring Cate Blanchett. Gregory really brings these long-dead people to life.

But what made The Queen's Fool different from the other books I read was that this was the first one where the main character was a complete fabrication. And a very unrealistic one, at that. The title character is Hannah Verde, a Spanish Jew on the run from the Inquisition with her father after her mother was burned as a heretic. Hannah has the gift of "Sight", having random premonitions of the future. After seeing an angel accompanying Robert Dudley and his tutor as they entered Hannah's father's bookshop, Dudley "begs" her for a fool to the ailing King Edward.

I don't have any problem with this. I especially have no problem with anything involving Robert Dudley as, being a fan of Cate Blanchett's Elizabeth, in my mind he's played by Voldemort's studly younger brother, Joseph Fiennes.

The problem is that, after Edward dies, Hannah's career goes off into "What the hell?" land. Being paid by the Dudleys, Hannah is implanted into the service of Queen Mary. Immediately Mary takes her into her trust and inner circle- regardless of being a person of no standing and paid by Mary's enemies. It only gets worse from there as the Dudleys launch their plot to get Mary's sister Elizabeth onto the throne instead, with Hannah passing messages between the plotters and Elizabeth...and the whole book is like that-- Hannah is doing all of these treasonous things, the plotters are all in the prison in the Tower of London, but Hannah just gets away with everything. It only gets more complicated, treasonous, and heretical as it goes on but Mary and Elizabeth trust the girl implicitly, both divulging extremely personal and valuable information without so much as a second thought.

I understand why Gregory chose to do it this way-- Queen Mary's reign was an incredibly turbulent time for England and she needed a character on the inside with everyone regardless of their politics and that just didn't exist. It wouldn't have existed. It couldn't have. So instead of having the story come from several different points of view, like The Boleyn Inheritance, she created Hannah.

Hannah also serves the purpose of representing the underground Jewish families at the time, hiding from the Inquisition and fighting to keep their traditions and way of life alive while pretending to be good Christians.

I understand wanting to tell that story, it's an interesting angle of an interesting time and I wish Gregory had divorced the story of Mary's reign from the story of Hannah and the Jews and made them two separate
books. Perhaps Gregory was afraid to break her royal formula, but I think it could have worked. Or worked better, anyway.

All in all an entertaining read, but not of the quality I've come to expect from Gregory's books.

3 stars out of 5.

See Blauthor, Blauthor! for more of my reviews!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Natural Disaster Rag

So, my first earthquake was awesome. Infinitely more so because there were no fatalities (reported so far)! Take that, Mother Nature.

I told my mother I was really glad the earthquake happened after my doctor's appointment. Imagine that PAP smear. Phew.

So yeah, survived an earthquake. I was sitting on my bed, eating lunch after getting home from my appointment when my bed started shaking a little. I thought, "No big deal, my dad is hammering something or they're packing up the car or my neighbors are doing something..." The first little bit wasn't bad. Two seconds after it stopped it came again, and I thought it was my dad again, but then a part of me thought it was a ghost.

In my defense I watch a lot of movies, and I'm 98% sure my house is haunted, and 100% sure my neighbor's side of our duplex is haunted.

But then I thought, if my dad is hammering something in the kitchen, directly under my room, why isn't there any sound? So I yell out, "What are you doing?!" A few seconds later my mother screamed up the stairs, "What are you doing?! Are you alright?!" So she thought it was me until she realized it wasn't. The house was still shaking as I got up to go downstairs.

My dad gets home from work at about 1:30, so we were all home-- but nobody else on our street was! We thought we were crazy at first, but then my mother decided to call the police and got a busy signal-- so we were glad it wasn't just us.

My cell phone service was interrupted for a little bit, but once it got back there was a flurry of texts-- most people enjoyed it and everything was fine. Herbert said we should have earthquakes more often, and I quite agree.

Eagle-eyed readers will say, "What were her parents packing?" I thought they were packing the car, as my brother Arthur and his wife Janet had rented a beach house in North Carolina for this week and my parents were driving down to join them, stopping overnight in Maryland, and getting to NC Wednesday.

But the Outer Banks of NC, where they were going, are beginning evacuation at 5 am Thursday morning because Hurricane Irene will be hitting Saturday.

S&O has become a natural disaster blog: earthquakes, hurricanes, and hobo weddings.

So my parents have decided not to go. I was so looking forward to my time alone...running errands, cooking tasty food (meat and vegetables were going to touch each other!) and baking tasty treats (homemade cinnamon rolls...) was going to be fun. Oh, well.

Now to the original purpose of this post: the GYN appointment.

My mother said before I went in that it was like going to the dentist. And she was right, in a weird way...there's really nothing else that compares to it like going to the dentist. It's awkward, it's uncomfortable, you're laying down...but it's not as devastatingly awful as I thought it would be, and over much, much faster than I would have thought.

Seeing the various absorbent coverings on the examination table made me realize that they've probably seen horrifying things and learned from experience-- and nothing horrifying was happening to me externally, so damn. It can't be that bad.

And it wasn't.

Do I have a diagnosis? Of course not. I need many, many more tests before that happens. What comes next is an ultrasound so...that's what I'm doing next. My dad was like, "What do you mean nothing's wrong?" so I had to explain to my father that my problems are deeply internal and not externally visible. "OH, got it." Yeah.

Did he give me pain meds? No. Jerk. He said he doesn't like treating until he knows what's wrong. Clearly he doesn't know that I like punching when people are being toolbags.

So, that was the deal for today. Hope yours was as interesting as mine.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Just Keep Swimming, Just Keep Swimming

I make it a point to be as honest as I can on here because if I'm going to lie I might as well not doesn't do anything to help me and it certainly won't help anybody else who could be going through the same thing, for sure.

So here it is: I'm a 23 year old virgin that's having her first gynecologist appointment tomorrow to see if the symptoms I'm experiencing are due to endometriosis. And I'm freaking terrified.

I'm kind of glad for my stomachache today. It's not bad, but it's a reminder that it's a problem and that next week or so it'll be much, much worse, and that's why I'm doing this. It's why I have to go. I have to find out what this is and get it treated, if only so I can wear my clothes again.

Wear my clothes again? Yeah, wear my clothes again. My abdomen is so distended none of my pants fit because they're too tight in the waist, and none of my shirts fit because they don't go over my 5 months pregnant looking belly. Clothes that fit well enough 20 pounds ago don't anymore.

I'm doing my best to get ready, but there's so much to keep track of: different symptoms, different dates, different appointments, different medications, different procedures...I mean, I started noticing something was weird in February-- it's a lot to keep track of.

And I know the anticipation is much worse than anything that's going to happen tomorrow, but goodness knows that knowing that doesn't mean a thing in terms of anxiety. The nurses that take my blood pressure always comment on how fast my pulse is...I tell them it's because I never got good news in a doctor's office. They laugh, but it's true.

In fact, it's one of the reasons I took so long about getting to the GYN-- it was the one thing that never had any problems. Never a yeast, urinary tract or bladder infection, I'm not sexually active, my periods (were) light and regular with very little cramping (I'd just be really hungry), and there's no history of any kind of gynecological disorders in my family. So why go?

You know how nervous I am? I involuntarily shuddered earlier. Like an actual shudder.

I'm going to have a cup of tea...I need to relax.

Maybe I'll have a glass of wine with breakfast. I mean, really, it's just grape juice...

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Oops...Sunday Summary

My bad. Completely forgot what day it was yesterday.


Baked: I've been baking eggs daily now, God, it's so fact, I think I'm going to do a recipe post and see how that goes. Lisa has a cooking blog, by the way, and it's awesome. I don't read it as often as I should, but to be honest I end up missing her too much. Give it a look, though, she's a charming girl that makes tasty food. She hasn't baked eggs, though...oh, man, now I want an egg. A baked one.


What Upppppp: Salami & Orchids is now a full-fledged member of the Blog Catalog!! See our shiny new badge at the bottom of the column on the right-hand side. I definitely need a header picture now...I'm working on a few designs, I'd like to get something up in the next month or so.


Project Runway!!: Holy cow, Nina's a bitch. Did you see it? The new episode's challenge was to make a dress for Nina Garcia, who wears essentially the same 2 things over and over again in one of maybe four different colors. So after the designers had time to sketch they each had an individual meeting with Nina herself where she changed everything about the designer's designs and, I think, didn't give them enough range to actually design anything! Heidi was a much, much better client The poor designer's choices were reduced to "sheath dress" and "pants and blouse" with sedate colors and patterns. Complete snooze fest. Especially since there's so little drama this season! The "coming next week" commercials show more clashes between the designers, and while I'm not looking for another Wendy Pepper I'd like somebody to show a little personality.

And can I just say that Anya is freaking awesome or a total liar? According to her she only learned to sew 4 months before starting Project Runway? She's either a genius or she's faking it...I mean, really, it doesn't make sense, "I never dyed fabric before but I just managed to turn a nasty mustard fabric to a gorgeous, rich chocolate"..."I don't really know how to sew but let me put out perfect pieces every time." I'm kind of excited to see how this ends, is she really a prodigy or is she Project Runway's biggest fake ever?

Sometimes, when I'm really stressed about my lack of job and job prospects and plummeting financial situation (got a letter yesterday from my credit card company...apparently I'm not allowed to make charges anymore, so add that to the list of Internship from Hell fallout), I wonder about just pulling out another student loan and going to grad school for either fashion design or library/information science...things are going to get worse before they get better anyway, so why not pretend to have a little freedom? I mean, if I did the online course for library/information science, I could still substitute during the day and make a little cash...I don't know. I don't know. I don't know what to do. Anyway, at this point I'd have to wait until the spring semester, so I guess I'll just see how this semester goes before I make a decision...anyway....


Air Supply: The Hershey Air Delight/Aero bar is killing me, knowing it's out there so freely available and I haven't had it yet. I'll have the next week, I swear I'll have it. Don't know what I'm talking about? Here (7th paragraph) or here.


Comedy's Guardian Angel: There's a couple of celebrity deaths that get to me every once in a while, and Phil Hartman is one of them. I forget if I StumbleUpon'd this or what but it made me cry. Phil sent this letter in response to a fan that had sent a letter and tape of his stand-up in 1997, at the height of his career. The fact that Phil took the time to listen and respond like this just underlines the fact that we didn't just loose an incredible comedian, but an amazing human being as well.

Plus his analysis of amateur comedy matches that of mine and Blanc's (Point Blanc), and I can't help but feel a little proud of that. Here's the letter, and it's handwritten, to boot.

Oh, Phil, wherever you are, you're missed.


Skunk Update: Holy crap. We've now caught 6 skunks, my neighbor's dog (Eppy) was sprayed the night before last (the night we caught the sixth skunk), and last night we saw two more. Two more. I can't even tell you how bad the back yard smells since Eppy got sprayed. It's like the stupid wilderness out here.

My mother taped a car freshener to the wall of our porch.


I Blame Jesse Eisenberg: Whoever put games on Facebook was an evil genius. And you know who the evilest of those geniuses is? Zynga. Zynga Games actually hired a behavioral psychologist to ensure their games are addicting. And not like as a consultant, I mean they have a behavioral psychologist on staff. Time Magazine did an article on it here. Farmville, Cafe World, FrontierVille? Designed to be addicting and they produce their own publicity as gamers need to ask their friends to send them "items" a hundred times a day in order to advance in the game-- that or pay cash to buy those "items". Actual cash.

Evil. I wasn't kidding.

But, believe it or not, there are games on Facebook that don't require the harassment of everyone you know in order to progress in the game. My favorite is The Secret Plant Society, a farming puzzle game where you don't need friends. Seriously. You don't have to have a single friend and you can play the exact same game as those people with a million friends playing. The good news is that it's not annoying. The bad news is that since it doesn't generate ridiculous amounts of crap all over people's newsfeeds it doesn't get the attention it deserves. Really, give it a try.

Also, friend me! Plum Jo now has a Facebook account, and you can bet she plays The Secret Plant Society. Sooner or later I'll come up with perks for Facebook friends because you'll totally deserve them.


Catinca Untaru: First off, how awesome is that name? Catinca Untaru. Anyway, if you haven't seen The Fall you absolutely should for the incredible cinematography, the absolutely gorgeous scenery (and I'm not just talking about Lee Pace, who couldn't possibly be more adorable), and for Catinca Untaru.

There has never been a performance like hers in the history of cinema. She was nine years old during filming and she delivers the most natural characterization...ever. She makes Gary Oldman look like a ham and Tom Hanks a scenery chewer.

If her performance is so great, you say, why wasn't she nominated for an Oscar? I'll tell you why. She's Romanian. A film's producer fills out the forms that get a film recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, who then send the producer's...let's call them nominations, to the members of the appropriate branch of the Academy who then vote on whether or not the producer's nominees are actually nominated.

Here's where Catinca's nationality comes into play. How many Hollywood roles can you think of that call for a young girl with a Romanian accent?


So the producers don't want to give her the free publicity of an Oscar nom because, really, what could she do with it? Better to give it to an actress they may be able to use again and therefore use the "Academy Award Nominee/Winner" title where they can get some mileage out of it.

Which is sad, because if anyone deserves it, it was her.


Speaking of movies, Blanc's got a movie review theory that's just genius. To paraphrase, why not have different critics per genre? An Oscar bait sucker isn't going to like the latest superhero movie, and the two really shouldn't be judged by the same criteria. Read the awesomeness here.


Upcoming Posts: I will get the FC analysis up at some point...I will. And a review of Philippa Gregory's The Queen's Fool, and the baked egg recipe because I have to share the deliciousness. The world deserves to know how to get the tasty.

Have a beautiful week, dolls.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Getting in My Own Way

I saw a counselor for a little while in college. The woman was a complete moron, though she did make sense a small, small handful of times-- which is understandable since even a broken clock is right twice a day. One of those very few times she was right she said something about my being a perfectionist and I laughed.

Me? A perfectionist? Hardly. My attitude, generally, is "screw it."

But then she suggested that it was the reason I procrastinate. That I put things off and then if I don't like them then I have a reason why.

Which is probably part of it. Another part of it is that I'm majorly lazy, but a good portion of it is I'm afraid of screwing it up. It's why I haven't worked on my novels in a while. It's why I don't proofread or edit these posts, I just write it out and then post. It's why I can't seem to get this Fight Club post done.

Bloody hell.

I'm going to wallow in my artistic misery for a while. Then maybe I'll get some work done.


Friday, August 19, 2011

I Live with Luddites.

My parents were born in 1954, making them the last of the baby boomers.

And they really, really suck at computers. Like, hardcore suck at computers. Not that their age has anything to do with it, because my mother's sister who's almost 10 years older than her does well enough with technology to work from home. And want an iPad.

I myself am pretty bad but they think I'm amazing, so I have to tell them that the fact that they think I know a lot shows how pitifully little they know.

Now I could go into detail and describe a hundred instances of all the stupid things they say and do, technology related, but I'm having one of those days where everything online says what I'm thinking 100 times better than I ever could, so here's a link to a story where an older gentleman uses a computer for the first time ever: Joe's First Computer Encounter.

Wait-- here's one story from just last night that isn't covered anywhere else in this post because that's how bad it is. My father, who's had a computer in his house that he's used daily for twelve years asked me, when I told him to select a file, "Left-click or right-click?"

May I fall down dead if I'm lying.

See? Still here.

This one came up on Cracked today: 6 Reasons the Guy Who's Fixing Your Computer Hates You, and I assure you, he does hate you in those moments. Really and truly.

And now, my favorite Rage-type Comic:

Story of my life, man. The story of my life. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I'm So Hungry

I know, I know, "Fight Club"'s coming, I swear. It's just been a tough week, health-wise, but I'm feeling strong today so I think I'll get some real work done.

Part of the reason I'm feeling good was my tasty, tasty breakfast. Tasty. Tasty tasty. I did a riff on Almost Bourdain's Eggs Baked in Tomatoes and I'm thinking about doing another tomorrow, it was so good. I'm so pissed though: I can't find my ramekins. I had three (Gayle as the 4th) light blue ramekins and I can't find them. It's driving me nuts. I loved my ramekins. Anyway I fried up some onions a torn up a piece of ham cold cut (and a few drops of Worcestershire sauce) and put that in the tomato...then halfway through the 15 minute pre-cook I put in some cheese, and then when the 15 was up I cracked in the egg and baked that until the white was solid but the yolk was runny. IT WAS SO GOOD. A little wet, though, I'm going to put a little flour in the tomato tomorrow, I think, to help soak up some of the juice. My mother suggested a little piece of bread in the bottom, but I hate soggy bread.

You know what I REALLY hate, though? Mayonnaise. And don't think you're fooling me, chefs, I know what "aioli" is: mayonnaise. You'd think I wouldn't mind so much because I love eggs in about 99% of they ways they're prepared, and who doesn't like oil? But I hate everything about mayonnaise. Just thinking about it makes me a little nauseous.

Anyway, the tomato and egg was delicious.

I'm so hungry. Like, massively hungry. All day. I'm like a bottomless pit. Anybody else get like that when they ovulate? It's almost as bad as PMS...or MS...MS being "menstrual syndrome" which isn't really a thing but it should be so people will stop confusing "pre-menstrual syndrome" for the issues related to the, you know, actual thing itself. You know what I mean.

Not the point. The point is I'm crazy hungry.

OOOOH, you know what's awesome? I saw it today in Wawa, Hershey is making a new candy bar: the Air Delight! It's an aerated chocolate bar, and I used to eat them all the time when I was studying abroad in London. According to the Huffington Post, aerated chocolate is a $500 million industry-- it just hadn't made its way here yet. And I'm so excited! It's another thing I can cross off my list of "English Foods I Wish Were Here", first was Sweet Chili sauce at McDonald's (yummmm). In fact, that may become a post because there are many, haha.

The commenters on that Huff Post article are pretty bitchy. I'm not sure why. A surprising number are freaking out about air being incorporated into the bar that they're paying for-- but it would work out to a fraction of a penny, OR not even any, because an aero bar is taller than a normal bar.

God, I miss London. If I could walk there, I would. Just...stroll across the ocean.

Cheers, folks. Go buy yourself an Air Delight.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

White Oleander by Janet Fitch

When I like a movie that's based on a book I have to read the book because the book is usually so much better. Sometimes they break even, and rarely does the movie kick the book's ass. White Oleander is a case where the book and movie break even, because certain elements of the story are done better in the book, and others in the movie.

White Oleander is the story of Astrid Magnussen, the daughter of single mother and poet Ingrid Magnussen. One day Ingrid murders her boyfriend so Astrid is put into California's foster care system. The book follows Astrid from home to home, detailing the various horrors she faces and her relationship with her mother.

The book, of course, goes into greater detail about the relationships between characters and Astrid goes through more homes in the book. The biggest thing that the book does better is Astrid's relationship with her mother: how her feelings change, how even an absent parent shapes your life and who you become, and recognizing when the relationship is toxic and needs to be ended.

One thing the movie has over the book, though, is that the movie doesn't have Astrid's constant, annoying, and unnecessary narration rife with ridiculous similes. Had Fitch removed half of them there would still be too many. Astrid is an artist, so I understand wanting her to view the world in a specific and referential way but holy crap. Too, too much.

I kind of wish I had found this book in high school, it would have meant a great deal more to me then. I would have identified with Astrid's alienation and survival, and it would have helped me relax and live a little freer. Now I wish it were a little more refined, and that it didn't try so hard.

I give it 2.5 stars out of 5-- 2.5 being my "Guilty Pleasure" rating, I know it's not great but damn if I don't end up reading it again every few years (or if it's a movie, watching it on those rainy afternoons when there's nothing else on-- you know you do it, too).

See Blauthor, Blauthor! for more of my reviews.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

What Not to Say

So sorry about the lack of posting these past two days. 

Sunday I tried to post from my phone, using texts, but blogspot didn't mention in the feature that oversized texts couldn't be posted-- which is why, if you tried to view posts I made that day, they were gibberish. I've deleted them. 

So Sunday I was visiting with Gayle and a couple of our other friends as Lisa had come up from Florida. It was a great time, and I really love my friends, but it was a very long day for me and I've been recovering. Hence the non-postage. 

This has been floating around for a while and was posted recently on Deb's Fibromyalgia Blog, and here it is at Care2. I don't think it could be stated any better, and I kind of want to make a line of T-shirts and tote bags with this list on it- "If You're Thinking About Saying ANY of These Things to Me, Please Don't"...or taping it to my bedroom door for my parents to see every day. And I understand and appreciate if you're just trying to help, but sometimes help can really hurt (and we're in enough pain as it is!):

10. We all get more aches and pains as we get older.

The pain of fibromyalgia is much more severe than the normal aches and pains associated with aging. Little things that shouldn't hurt at all can be excruciatingly painful. Plus, most people develop FM long before they should be experiencing age-related aches and pains.

9. I think I have that, too – I'm always tired.

This statement shows a basic misunderstanding of the severity of the fatigue associated with FM. The fatigue of fibromyalgia is so much more than just being tired. It is an all-encompassing exhaustion. You are drained of energy – like someone pulled your plug, cutting of your source of power. It's kind of like taking the batteries out of the Energizer bunny.

8. My friend has fibromyalgia and still manages to work. Maybe you just need a job (hobby, etc.) to take your mind off the pain.

Translation – you must be lazy. The fact is, the severity of FM symptoms varies. Some people have fairly mild symptoms and are able to continue working. Some continue working longer than they probably should because they have no other choice, but they suffer tremendously. Others are so disabled they are confined to a wheelchair much of the time. While getting involved in a project can help to distract your mind from the pain for short periods of time, if you have a more severe case, it doesn't work well enough to allow you to consistently work a 40-hour week. And it doesn't help dispel the extreme fatigue that usually accompanies FM.

7. My doctor says fibromyalgia isn't a real disease; it's just a wastebasket diagnosis.

First of all, this doctor obviously hasn't kept up with the latest research, which clearly demonstrates that FM is a very real, physical disease. Also, to date the FDA has approved three medications to treat fibromyalgia and they generally don't approve medications for imaginary illnesses. There are a few doctors who will tell patients they have fibromyalgia if they can't figure out what is causing their symptoms and just want to get the patients off their back, but I have to question the ethics of a doctor who would do that.

6. If you got more sleep, you'd feel better.

Well, duh! One of the major problems with fibromyalgia is that something prevents the body from going into the deepest stage of sleep, when the body naturally restores and replenishes itself. Even if you manage to stay asleep for several hours, you're most likely not going to awaken feeling refreshed. And most sleep medications do little to help you achieve that deep sleep. They may help you get more hours of sleep, but probably will still not give you the deep sleep you need.

5. I read about this new product that cures fibromyalgia.

This can be one of the toughest comments to deal with because it is usually said by well-meaning friends or relatives who genuinely want you to feel better. The products are frequently some kind of “natural” supplement being sold through a multi-level marketing plan and are very expensive. If those making the suggestions are casual acquaintances, I generally just tell them I appreciate their concern and will look into the product. However, if it's someone closer to me who is likely to keep asking if I've tried the product, I go on to explain that there are dozens of products out there claiming to cure or at least improve FM and I just can't afford to try them all. Read Let the Buyer Beware for tips on how to evaluate product claims.

4. At least it's not fatal.

My first thought in response to this comment is always, “Yeah, but sometimes I wish it was. At least then I'd know there was an end to the pain.” I rarely say that, though. Of course I'm glad it's not fatal. But that doesn't help reduce the level of my pain or the depth of my fatigue. Nor does it help to raise research funding or bring attention to the needs of FM patients. Understandably, people tend to be more interested in preventing death than in improving the quality of life. Maybe I should start actually saying what I'm thinking when someone makes this comment. At least it might get their attention.

3. You just need to exercise more.

Often this is another way of insinuating that you're lazy. This comment in particular has always bugged me. Perhaps it's because I used to be a dancer and aerobics instructor. If more exercise were the answer, I'd be all over it. Yes, exercise is an important component of any fibromyalgia treatment plan, but it's only one part and it has to be approached slowly and carefully to avoid triggering a flare. Read Fibromyalgia and Exercise for more information on how to incorporate exercise into your FM treatment plan.

2. But you don't look sick.

This comment puts the FM patient between the proverbial rock and hard place. If we let ourselves go and show how we actually feel, people are uncomfortable and don't want to be around us. On the other hand, if we manage to fix ourselves up and put on a brave face, no one realizes we're sick. If you think about it, most chronic illnesses are invisible. My dad had heart disease but looked great until the moment he died from a massive heart attack. My mom had pancreatic cancer but looked fine. She didn't even know anything was wrong until it was too far gone to treat. She didn't “look sick” until the last couple of weeks of her life when she was confined to bed. Just because someone doesn't have visible sores or a crippling deformity doesn't mean there's not a serious illness just under the surface.

Ta Daaa...... Here it is - the number one thing you should NOT say to a fibromyalgia patient:

1. It's all in your head.

This is the all-time worst and most insulting thing you can say to someone with fibromyalgia. I used to launch into an explanation of how FM is a very real physical illness, complete with symptoms, etc. Now I simply say, “You're right, it is in my head. Researchers have found that there is a problem with how my brain processes pain signals.” Enough said. 


Really, all this can be summed up in just one: trust that the patient knows more than you do

And now it's time for a nap!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Another Saturday Summary!!

Diving right in...

Squeaky Clean: Have you ever had two liquids next to you, one drinkable the other probably poisonous, so you keep one on either side of you so you don't get confused, but one time you reach for the wrong fluid and either drink it or think, "Oh, no, have I been drinking the wrong one?" I did that the other day with iced tea and Windex. Scared the crap out of myself- "I would've noticed if I've been drinking Windex, right?"


Amish Fostered Prison Baby: Oh, man. There was a prison special on Oprah's network, OWN, called Babies Behind Bars, all about being pregnant and giving birth while in prison. This one woman's family couldn't take her baby, and she couldn't keep her baby because her prison's baby-keeping policy doesn't allow violent offenders to enter the baby-care housing unit and the woman had been to juvie as a young teen for a violent offense she technically counted-- which isn't entirely fair, but kind of makes sense because what if she was 20 and had gotten busted at 15 or whatever, that's only five years. Anyway, so this lady was giving birth but her family couldn't take the baby and she couldn't keep it, so she was put into contact with this Amish family that takes inmates babies and raises them as foster children until the mother is released. The craziest part of this, besides the fact they were actual electricity-free horse-and-buggy Amish, is the mother was like, "Oh, they don't seem that religious. I mean, lots of people go to church on Sunday."


Lies in Advertising: Ever see those commercials for Almay Smartshade makeup? There's a new one with Kate Hudson. Let me tell you about the bullshit they're shilling there. I'm very, very pale and I really, really hate makeup and I have strange combination skin. So I get the Smartshade Smart Balance or whatever it was called, it was supposed to match my skin tone exactly then dry the oily spots and moisturize the dry spots which, I mean, really, too good to be true. I do attempt to be pretty on occasion so I thought I'd give it a try. Lies. The stuff itself is plain white lotion which, okay, yeah, whatever, it's not going to dry anything but whatever. As I was "blending" I realized that there were tiny bits of pigment in it that got broken by the "blending" action and that's what made it change color. Clever, but it was still too orange and not remotely what they claimed it to be. It also made me break out. So screw you, Almay.


Elton John is probably the coolest guy ever. That's all.


Creature Feature: My dad's been doing battle with the local wildlife. To hear me say that you'd think I lived in the middle of the woods, but I live in the suburbs and we are freaking overrun with creatures. Because they're doing so much construction it's taking away the natural habitat for skunks, and because nobody really locks their garbage cans the skunks go through the neighborhood like it's a smorgasbord. We didn't really mind at first, it was kind of cool to sit on the porch and watch everything run around, but it became war when the creatures started eating the vegetables out of my dad's garden. Opossums, skunks, and squirrels have been having a grand old time eating our tomatoes and corn so my dad's been trapping them and driving them away and letting them loose in the woods a couple miles away so they don't come back. Not like it makes any difference.

One squirrel was eating my dad's corn-- and this is the first time he's ever grown corn-- and leaving debris all over the yard. Kernals, leaves, the cob, it's hilarious because it's so bad it almost seems like the squirrel is doing it on purpose. My dad made little cages out of chicken wire to keep the squirrels from getting to the ears as they're growing so the little critters actually gnawed through the stalk itself, knocking the whole thing down and the little cages off.

Every once in a while, when I walk by the back door, I tell my dad a skunk or squirrel or whatever is eating out of the garden and he gets all mad and stomps out, ready to bust some rodent rear. It makes me laugh. A lot.


Danish Invasion: Last Monday Salami & Orchids had, for the first time ever, another country beat the United States in page views. Congratulations, Denmark! In one day we had 20 page views from Denmark alone- the US only had 14! Tak Danmark- kom igen! that right? It seems too much like English to be another language, like it's just English words spelled offense intended, Denmark. Blame Google Translate.


I'm an Animal Lover, But...: On a darker note, I'm really sick of these ASPCA and Humane Society commercials showing images of abused animals. If I can't comfortably eat and watch your commercials at the same time, I'm not giving you any money. Not even-- if I can't comfortably watch your commercials period, I'm not giving you any money. Especially if some of that money is going to fund more, and similar, commercials.


Good News: Project Runway is back! They really need to make a bigger deal of season premieres, man, I had no idea it had already happened. Expect more Project Runway posts.


Upcoming Posts: I'm almost done the Fight Club analysis, it's going better than I thought it would so I want to make sure I nail it. It'll probably be up Tuesday or Wednesday. Also coming is a review of Janet Fitch's novel White Oleander...and I'm going to Gayle's house tomorrow as she's throwing a party for a friend of ours, Lisa, who moved to Florida after graduation. In all it'll be six hours worth of travel, so I may be doing several mini-posts from my phone tomorrow just detailing things seen and heard on NJ Transit. During The Internship from Hell I spent a ridiculous amount of time on the rails and I can tell you it's always eventful.

Tak igen, alle. Hold dig smuk.

...I think Google Translate is playing a trick on me.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

They didn't shoot the 16s! I'm so glad I didn't miss it.

And, you know, that everybody's alright and stuff.

Fireworks Daughter

Short post today because I'd like to get my Fight Club post up tomorrow. 

My father, Dan, The Fireworks Man, began shooting fireworks before I was born. He was a member of the prestigious Garden State Fireworks company throughout the 70s and early 80s. He stopped when his friend died, which seems to happen to my dad a lot. 

He has a show today with the company he joined about ten years ago, International Fireworks. I wanted so badly to go to the show tonight, I even gave up hanging out with Blanc for it, because the I.F. warehouse wants to get rid of their stock of 16 inch shells and tonight's venue is one of the few places that's possible.

The larger a shell is, the larger a firework is, the more space you need around it, legally and logistically, space without people or trees or structures. The National Fire Protection Association's code number 1123, the regulations for fireworks displays, requires a minimum viewing distance of 70 feet for every one inch of shell size. So for the 16 inch shells they need 1120 feet of space. 

That's a radius of 1120 feet. You need almost a half of a mile for these things to be launched safely. The largest shell my father's ever seen lit was a 12 inch-er in a show he did. He said that it left a 4 foot circle on the ground, that it pulled all the grass surrounding it towards itself for four feet. The shells they want to launch tonight are four inches larger. 

Average shows consist of mainly three to six inch shells. The biggest shells in average shows are 8 inch-ers, and there's usually only a dozen of those, if that. 

I hope they don't do it. I hope it's not tonight. For one thing, it's a gigantic fucking bomb they want to light, three times the size of the bombs they usually handle. And because I rrrrreeeaaaallllllllllyyyyy wanted to see it, but I'm not well enough to go. 

Good show, boys. Come home with all of your fingers and toes. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

My Guiltiest Pleasure

I like puns. That's not my guiltiest pleasure, but I do really like a well-crafted pun. My favorite is from the movie Cars, when Lightning McQueen finds out Doc is the Hudson Hornet, so he goes to Flo's to tell everybody and he's like, "He's won three Piston Cups!" and Mater goes, "He did what in his cup?"

That gets me. Every time. But no, not my guiltiest pleasure. 

My guiltiest pleasure is prison. Any show having anything to do with prison or jail or correction officers or...anything. Life on the Chain GangBeyond Scared Straight...there was one, I can't remember what it was called, but it was women in prison discussing their crimes. I like jail, too, don't misunderstand. Jail has been showing on Spike TV and it's pretty fabulous. It's got the hilarious (though sad) drunks, junkies, and nutbars (I say this affectionately) of COPS with some really incredible and emotional stories-- like the young girl getting picked up with her shoplifting drug-addict mother or the anorexic altering medical records in order to go back on a drug that worked better for her. 

Especially anything taking place in Maricopa County, Arizona, like Life on the Chain Gang, Police Women of Maricopa County, and any specials about prisoner life and the Tent City. But maybe I shouldn't say "especially" since most of the shows are from Maricopa anyway because their sheriff, Joe Arpaio...I don't know, supports them, I guess. 

Arpaio's a controversial figure in corrections-- there's been claims his practices have been unconstitutional and inhumane, like limiting inmate food to two meals a day and the fact that temperatures in Tent City are extreme, it being Arizona and all. He's extremely strict. Which makes for good TV, but isn't doing anything about the recidivism rate which matches the national average. 

Which is a shame. I'd be all for it if it did something about the insane number of incarcerated we have (almost 2.5 million in 2008), but it isn't. 

I think my fascination is something like rubbernecking a car accident. It's not that I get some kind of sick pleasure in watching people suffer, it's just that in those moments I want so badly to have their point of view. That's why I look at car accidents, anyway, I wonder what those involved are thinking-- what they saw, what they heard. I've got the same draw to school shootings: any movie or TV show or book about them and I'm sucked in. Hostage situations, too. I'm so curious about the terror, what goes through people's minds and how they handle it. I'd love to know what was going through O.J. Simpson's mind while he was running from the police. 

I don't think that's so different from everybody else if they really thought about it. We've all got that dark side...I guess it's just how we choose to indulge it that makes the difference. 

Oooh, DEA's on! 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Defying the Odds

In June of 1971, a couple of high school senior girls wanted to go swimming, but none of the girls had their bathing suits. They were at one of the group's house, but the resident's older sister said they couldn't swim in their clothes. Another girl knew of a party that was happening at a house with a pool, so the girls decided to go there. 

Upon arriving at the party, a young male attendee pushed one of the girls from our original group into the pool. Because he thought she was cute. 

Their first date was their high school graduation-- it turned out they'd been in the same class and didn't know it. 

On August 9, 1975, they were married. 

36 years later they have three children, two grandchildren, and are still married. 

They're my parents and they're proof that a long, happy marriage is possible for anyone. It hasn't always been easy, or pretty, but if you believe in it and work at it, it can be done.  

Happy anniversary, Mom & Dad. 

And take that, Herbert. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Etsy's Fauxbo-gate

There's an interesting battle being waged between crafting website Etsy and its...mockers... at Regretsy

Etsy's a place for artists and crafters to set up their own "shops" to sell their work online. A lot of the sellers have real talent and make some beautiful things. At the same time, a lot of people try really hard and make some...interesting things. Or...crazy...things. I mean, the internet's pretty depraved so you have to imagine that some of those people made their way to Etsy, you know? There's also a lot of people that buy things super cheaply online then mark up the prices and resell them on Etsy-- which is against Etsy's policy and those shops are shut down, but then are just reopened under a different name. 

Regretsy is a blog run by voice actress April Winchell; she posts screencaps of the most...unique...items on Etsy. Recent posts include this quilt of the USA:

And this necklace:

See what I mean by "unique"? Unique. So commenters respond and mock and have a little fun at the creator's expense. Most of the crafters take it pretty well but there's always the group that takes extreme offense and threatens legal action and then they really get made fun of. 

Regretsy also holds monthly sales for charity to benefit an Etsy artist in need, ones that have been hit by hard circumstances and are essentially supporting their families with their shops. 

So here's the situation. One of the blogs Etsy runs is "Handmade Weddings" and it features posts by Etsy artists on handmade wedding ideas and their own handmade weddings. On August 1st, Etsy posted THIS, a post describing an Etsy artist's "Depression-Era Hobo" themed wedding. 

Let me bold that for you. Depression-Era Hobo Wedding. 

And the Etsy-ers went nuts! And not in the way you'd think! The comments were pouring in on this, about how cute and unique an idea it was. 

April Winchell, aka "Helen Killer", posted this in response and rightfully reamed Etsy, the posters, and the commenters for the unbelievable insensitivity and poor taste shown by throwing a party with a homeless and starving theme. 

I understand standing up for the couple's right to celebrate how they wish, and I understand they had their feelings hurt by a section of the internet, but you really honestly can't expect that people will all react positively to everything you say. 

Oh, no, wait-- on Etsy you can. Critical comments are not allowed and if you are caught making one your account is deleted. But that doesn't stop Regretsy, and it doesn't stop me, the whole situation is disgusting. It would be like making your wedding theme WWII Refugees. 

So the happy couple's family and friends turned out en force to support the theme-- on Twitter, on Facebook, maybe even other places I don't know about-- which is totally understandable, their feelings were hurt and they felt like they were protecting people they cared about. Unfortunately, those people were wrong. 

On August 3rd or 4th (after removing the most negative comments) Etsy added a blurb to the top of the blog posting saying that they understand some people were upset. And...uh...that's it. Good work, Etsy. 

On August 5th a news site called The Atlantic Wire posted this, an editorial detailing the battle and siding with those against the idea of celebrating poverty and starvation. 

British News source The Guardian posted this, an article giving a short overview of the details above, then going on to describe the outrageous cost of weddings anymore. 

Here's the real kicker: the hobo-chic wedding costed $15000. That's not a typo, that's the truth- fifteen thousand dollars. Because, according to the bride and groom, they couldn't afford to do much. Hypocrites. 

I'm not sure what I want to come out of this. I sort of want the bride and groom to apologize-- which they might have, I don't have confirmation on that-- but I guess ultimately I would like people to think about what they do before they do it. No, I would love that. Think about what you're doing. Think about who it could hurt. Think of all of the possible outcomes and implications. Be sensitive. 

Err on the side of kindness. 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sunday Summary!!

In no particular order...

Big Brother is Spamming: Salami & Orchids' first follower, the young woman who I have decided will be my Gayle King should I ever become rich and famous, had to close her Twitter account last week because it was hacked by some sort of spammer that actually sent me an "@landofgilli" (LandofGilli) tweet and also sent out a general tweet. How creepy is that? Assuming her password wasn't "Password" who takes the time to hack someone else's account just to post some spam? Or if it was a machine, what the hell? It scrolled through every combination until it hit? My passwords are now going to be the maximum length with letters and caps and punctuation...


Bleeding Gums Murphy: Those couple of teeth that are probably fractured (Show Me Your Teeth) are killing me slowly. Now they're starting to ache more often...I retrained myself to eat so I don't touch them, thereby avoiding the lightning strike that is biting into something with them, so now I don't know for sure if it still hurts that badly and I sure as death don't want to find out. God, I need a job. 


In the Land of the Blind...: How awesome do 24 hour, 30 day contacts sound? What does that save a month, 58 insertions and removals? And you only have to buy 12 pairs a year! I get away with wearing my two-weekers for a whole month so I  can make do with only buying a 6 month supply, but I still have to take them out every night because they get too dry otherwise. Preliminary cost analysis sets them about even-- hoooooly crap. That's probably about as close to being normal-sighted as I'm ever going to get without surgery.

OH, and can I just say that people sound like morons when they say "I'm legally blind without my glasses"?! Being "legally blind" means that your vision is worse than 20/200 WITH CORRECTIVE LENSES. WITH. Having vision problems without corrective lenses just means you need corrective lenses. See? Pun intended, damnit. 


Honesty in Advertising?:I saw a commercial the other day for Crest Invigorating Mouth Wash. I'm pretty sure "invigorating" is a euphemism for "burns like whoa". 


Pointless Whine: For some reason my "G" button has been deciding not to work, so every time I use it I have to make sure that it actually appeared where I wanted it to. It's extremely annoying, and I just wanted to complain


Herbert: Herbert and I talked for almost 5 hours very early this morning... we've both been so sick and I've been so depressed so I'm reaching out to him but it's hard for him to respond because I can't be relying on him so hard to pull me out of these funks, and he doesn't want to encourage my being even more emotionally attached to him because we disagree so much on marriage and children. Part of me wants desperately to meet someone else and to fall so incredibly in love with them that the Herbert thing becomes irrelevant...but part of me knows that even if that does happen it won't change the fact that Herbert and I truly have incredible chemistry. 

I just need to accept the fact that when Herbert says he loves me he doesn't mean what I mean when I say I love him, and there's no hope of anything changing between us any time soon. 

I just wish it didn't hurt so much. 


A Series of Shocking Surprises: I was at Dunkin Donuts the other day and the cashier gave me 3 free donuts when I was only buying 2, for a total of 5 donuts. Just for me. Fat admirer, much? And who'd've thought free donuts would ever be annoying? Not me. Don't get me wrong, I ate the hell out of them, but that's not the point. 


Pop Into: Orville Redenbacher popcorn is vastly superior to PopSecret. PopSecret uses larger kernels which, while producing a nice, fluffy popped-- what's the singular of popcorn? Is it still kernel?-- piece, it leaves bigger bits of shell to get stuck in your teeth and gums. I read that microwaving a bowl of water before you microwave popcorn helps produce fluffier pops because of the increased humidity. I love popcorn because anything that's a vehicle for butter is fine by me.


Ever wonder what Bitchface from The Internship From Hell looks like?

Augrah from The Dark Crystal. I'm not exaggerating as much as you'd think-- it was absolutely the first thing that came to mind the first time I saw her. Bitchface was just paler and with cheap black hair dye. 


Posts to Anticipate: Etsy's Hobogate or "Faux-Bo" Controversy, My Guiltiest Pleasure, and an analysis of Fight Club from an angle that, believe it or not, hasn't already been analysed to death. In fact, preliminary research for this particular post has proven...slim. It should be good, if I don't screw it up. 

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Name of a Hero

Arthur, Janet, and Sean are coming up from Maryland, 3 hours away, for Manny's birthday party tomorrow, so I won't be doing tomorrow's Saturday Summary, but I'll make up for it with a Super Sunday Summary, and it will be chock full of random. Chock full. 

It's funny, 9 times out of 10 I post these things the day I write them, and I usually start just by rambling and then either the topic comes out of that or, more commonly, a topic comes out of thin air and I have to delete my rambling and post the real story. That's what happened today. I started out rambling, but then a phone call from my mother's sister lead to the perfect story. 

How I got my name. 

Late at night, 25 years ago yesterday (I would have posted this yesterday, but I always thought it was the 18th or 19th for some reason) there was a fire in a bar.  I don't know exactly why the two firemen entered the blaze-- if they were looking for anyone trapped or if they knew that there was someone there or what, but after finding a man or the man they tried to escape, but what they thought was the exit was actually the door to a stairwell and all three men died. One of the firemen was my parents' best friend, Joseph. There was a memorial yesterday and it made the front page of today's local newspaper here, on The Times of Trenton website. The whole article isn't available though, which is a shame, as I'm sure it contains details of that night that I was never told, for obvious reasons. 

Good came from this, though, as now it's a law in New Jersey that businesses must submit floor plans to the responding firehouses to avoid another tragedy like this one. And Joseph's parents became my "grandparents" in a way that my biological grandparents never did. My first daughter's name will be Genevieve, after Joseph's mother, regardless of my husband's opinion, haha. 

I have a deep love and respect for those that willingly risk their lives to save others. Firemen, police, military-- honoring their bravery is ingrained in me, and in the very letters of my name. 

And another good thing that came from this is that my parents didn't name me Sandra. "Plum Sandy" doesn't have the same ring as "Plum Jo." 

Thursday, August 4, 2011


I can not believe today's Manny's fifth birthday. 5. FIVE. Five years...he's starting school in September, I feel so old! It feels like it wasn't that lon ao I was giving him bottles and singing "Golden Slumbers" to him as I put him to bed...and Elton John's "Daniel"...and Fountains of Wayne's "Hey, Julie" but I changed the words to "Hey, Daniel" when I was feeding him because it was difficult to get him to eat unless he was distracted by something else. 

I lived with Mick & Deb & Manny from the time Man was 9 months old to his first birthday. 

Today he told me he was my #1 fan. And gave me a black eye. 

I had picked him up to give him a birthday hug and my father started tickling him over my shoulder. Manny wiggled and accidentally slammed his head into my sunglasses, which pushed them hard into the side of my nose and under my eye. It's bruising nicely. 

He doesn't really "get" birthdays and holidays. He knows exciting things happen, and he's excited other people are excited, but that's about the extent of it. 

Like at Christmas, he'd be as happy with 1 present as he'd be with 100. My brother jokes he takes longer than any other kid in the world to open his presents because he opens one, and he's thrilled with it, and then you have to remind him there's more. Woe to you if the second-through-the-last presents aren't as interesting as the first, because that's the one he'll keep trying to go back to. 

He doesn't understand games, either. I got him CandyLand a few years ago because every kid should have CandyLand. I shouldn't have even written "because" in there. So anyway, I got him CandyLand and he just doesn't...he doesn't get it. He doesn't understand following a set of rules to achieve a goal-- everything must be immediate gratification. His birthday last year was torture for him because he found out there would be cake and he couldn't think of anything else until he finally got the cake. 

He's totally obsessed with cars. And I mean obsessed. He knows every car on the road, make and model. It's given him a few cool chances, like when fancy car owners hear him get all excited over their cars they invite him to sit in it, but then he sits like a lump because he doesn't care to pretend to drive or honk the horn or anything. Then it's awkward for a minute but the owners are gracious about it...I guess they see something's wrong. And, the other day actually, Deb took Manny with her to go get a pinata for his party on Saturday and when he picked it the store associate handed it to him and Manny said, "Whoa, look at that Dodge Charger!!" Or Challenger or... Charlemagne, I don't know, doesn't matter, and the associate gave them a 15% discount on their order because of Manny's awesomeness. 

He's a sweet boy...I wonder what he'd be like if he weren't autistic/Asperger's. I wonder where he is under those layers of distance and detachment...I wonder who he is under it. 

Either way, the Manny I have is better than the Manny I don't, and I adore the Manny I have. 

Happy birthday, sweetheart. Aunt Joz loves you.