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bad news, emily!

Monday, October 31, 2005

Celebrity Watch: Mike Schupbach

Time to brag on a friend of mine, Michael Schupbach.

From his humble beginnings at The Muppet Workshop, Mike has been working on some really cool stuff - see his website www.michaelschupbach.com I only just heard about his current show "Johnny and the Sprites" from a mass email he sent out today. Last Christmas I saw some of his puppet sketches for this project and now it's a big success!
Check out this show he co-created and designed:
www.playhousedisney.com and click on the "Johnny and the Sprites" button on the left to see all five episodes. It's totally cute.
Or you can catch it on the Disney Channel weekday mornings at 7:25am right after Little Einsteins. There are five, three-minute "Johnny and the Sprites" shows, each featuring a song by a Broadway composer, and lots of brand new, furry creatures designed by Mike.

(Note: The photo isn't of one of his characters... it's Mike himself.)

Friday, October 28, 2005

Is "ok" Okay?

I have a favorite kind of ballpoint pen at work: the Pilot G-2, blue. It's truly a beautiful pen. Being such an enviable pen, and being located at the front desk of my office, these pens often get stolen and are never seen again. This morning I found myself without my trusty blue G-2. So I got another one from the office supply shelf and am now constructing a tag, made from the sticky part of a neon pink Post-It note, to affix to the pen so as to be recognizable as not-one's-own to anyone who borrows it. As insurance, I decided to write a little note on the tag - something along the lines of "this is Sarah's - do not steal" or "stealing is a crime" or something like that. In search of a synonym for "steal," I went to thesaurus.reference.com and was shocked by what I found. The definition of "steal," as provided by Roget's New Millennium™ Thesaurus, reads "take without ok." I don't think I've ever seen the official definition of a word include the word "ok."
Though my credo is "language is dynamic," this was a truly unexpected find.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Gettin’ a Whoopin’ on NPR

I heard a bit on NPR a little while ago that keeps popping back into my head. It was a young black man giving a monologue of sorts about his experience with discipline in his family and how glad he was that his mama “whooped” him a lot growing up.
He spoke candidly about how he thought it was the best way to discipline a child - beyond just a basic spanking. I have always believed that yelling at and yanking and hitting kids is the wrong way to handle discipline, and that it’s damaging to the child. There is a quote from the book Little Women that I can agree with for the most part: “If you hit and humiliate a child, the only lesson they will learn is to hit and humiliate.” It has always scared me to see parents yelling at and yanking their kids around in public. I still panic a little when I see it now. It’s scary to witness something like that and feel like you’re not allowed to say anything to the mom. Sometimes I wish I had the courage to. My parents spanked us and I think it did us good. I deserved it every time I got it. But I think there’s a line that a lot of parents cross.
But here was a young man who made his case for how that kind of extreme physical discipline was effective and that he appreciated it.
What surprised me the most was that he went on to talk about how at the grocery store he laughs at "those ridiculous white women” who try to talk and reason with their children when all they really need is a good whoopin’. In his personal experience he sees it as a racial difference in the way people discipline their children. His monologue made me think about my own observations of public discipline. Have I observed any "racial" differences? It's hard to evaluate in retrospect, so at this point I would only claim observing cultural/sub-cultural differences (referring to Americans, and not international cultures), recognizing that sub-culture often does fall along racial lines.


Personal Space Is Contextual

I think about this when I ride the bus to & from work.
Personal space rules and comfort levels tend to vary according to one’s surroundings. On a bus that is nearly empty, if I were to sit down in the seat next to someone, it would feel awkward, too close, and a little creepy. However, if the bus is totally packed and there is standing room only then it’s socially acceptable to be all up in each other’s space.
At the end of the workday the busses are always packed and if I’m lucky enough to get on one I usually end up with my face pressed up against some tall dude’s backpack with someone else’s arm reaching around mine to hold onto the hand bar.
It might be physically uncomfortable, but it’s completely socially acceptable.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Oldie But a Goodie

This one goes out to the girl who said it didn't exist.
Senior year: in bed sipping a raspberry Cider Jack through a straw.

Fitting People with Characters

"From the first moment she had set out on her travels, it had been one of Sally's principle amusements to examine the strangers whom chance threw her way and try by the light of her intuition to fit them out with characters and occupations: nor had she been discouraged by an almost consistent failure to guess right." - from "The Adventures of Sally"

My friend Rachel and I used to sit on benches on University Avenue in downtown Palo Alto during our high school days and make up stories about the people passing by.
It's people-watching, only better.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Spontaneous Five-Day Weekend

There's something to be said for taking the day off from work to do nothing of consequence. I took 3.
I watched a lot of movies, TV, TV on DVD (shout out to Netflix) Gilmore Girls, 24, West Wing...
Ate pizza, tiramisu, Eggo waffles and drank orange juice, root beer and Mudslides.
I wore trackpants everyday.
Cuddled with my cats.
I scrapbooked A LOT.
I spent Friday night hanging out with some dear friends I never see. I spent one leisurely afternoon wandering around Super Target, and spent a good part of one day looking at apartments. I did everything very slowly. On Saturday I woke up at 2:30pm even though I had gone to bed by midnight. Woke up at 11:00am on Sunday and missed church. Woke up at 7:00am on Monday, got dressed for work, drove to the park & ride lot, and decided to take the rest of the day off... again.

Why did sitting on my bum feel so healthy?
I guess I just needed a little down time to get re-energized. Re-boot.
Save for the chilling draft wrapping around my ankles under my desk, I feel great!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

My Influence for Good

“The gentleman who sat at the speaker’s end of the table acknowledged the tribute with a brief nod of the head. It was a nod of condescension; the nod of one who, conscious of being hedged about by social inferiors, nevertheless does his best to be not unkindly. And Sally, seeing it, debated in her mind for an instant the advisability of throwing an orange at her brother. There was one lying ready to her hand, and his glistening shirtfront offered an admirable mark; but she restrained herself. After all, if a hostess yields to her primitive impulses, what happens? Chaos. She had just frowned down the exuberance of the rebellious Murphys, and she felt that if, even with the highest motives, she began throwing fruit, her influence for good in that quarter would be weakened.”

-from “The Adventures of Sally” by P.G. Wodehouse

It seems that Sally and I are not so different. There have been many instances in which I have chosen to hold to my influence for good when really all I want to do is throw things at people.

The Girl in the Mirror

Recently I have been entertaining my mind with the idea of buying a townhome and doing away with all this apartment renting nonsense. It would be a great investment. Just thinking about it all makes me feel grown up.
Silly, I know, but I think that if I owned a home I would take myself a lot more seriously - I'd feel more grown up than I feel now. I think the whole hopping from one apartment to the next has stunted the growth of my picture of myself as a mature adult. Hmm... I never really thought about that before, but I think sometimes I feel like it's just an extension of dorm-living, which affects the way I think of the stability of my life as a person approaching 30. When I sit and reflect, I really do often view myself as a non-adult. And in terms of the professional 'working world' that people my age are expected to be a part of, I consider the idea of wearing suits and high heels to be one of the worst things I would have to endure. I'd feel so ridiculous in that kind of getup. I real ought to just follow my bliss and become a professional ceramicist and that way it would be perfectly respectable to be wearing a "Vote for Pedro" t-shirt and jeans all covered in clay.
Ahhh, that's exactly what I'd like to be doing right this minute.

The Queen Does Not Fancy Kansas

(a coworker sent me this forward, but in the interest of time and space I will just give highlights)

From John Cleese
To the citizens of the United States of America:

In light of your failure to elect a competent President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately. Her Sovereign Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths and other territories (excepting Kansas, which she does not fancy).
Your new prime minister, Tony Blair, will appoint a governor for America without the need for further elections. Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire may be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed.

To aid in the transition to a British Crown Dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:
1. The letter 'U' will be reinstated in words such as 'colour', 'favour' and 'neighbour.' Likewise, you will learn to spell 'doughnut' without skipping half the letters, and the suffix "ize" will be replaced by the suffix "ise."
2. There is no such thing as "US English." We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take account of the reinstated letter 'u' and the elimination of "-ize."
3. You will relearn your original national anthem, "God Save The Queen".
8. The Former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you have been calling "gasoline") -roughly $6/US gallon. Get used to it.
12. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as good guys. Hollywood will also be required to cast English actors to play English characters. Watching Andie MacDowell attempt English dialogue in "Four Weddings and a Funeral" was an experience akin to having one's ears removed with a cheese grater.
13. Further, you will stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the "World Series" for a game which is not played outside of America. Since only 2.1% of you are aware that there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable.
14. You must tell us who killed JFK. It's been driving us mad.
15. An internal revenue agent (i.e. tax collector) from Her Majesty's Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all monies due backdated to 1776. Thank you for your co-operation.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


7) 3 Musketeers


Yes, the drilling and wiring crap is still going on in my office.
But I have one consolation.
My boss refilled the candy dish with mini candy bars.
I guess by this point in the day it has become more like 8 consolations.
1) Twix
2) 3 Musketeers
3) Twix
4) Twix
5) Krackle
6) Twix
Okay, well maybe it was only 6. Then again, it's only 3:26pm.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Complaint of the Day

As if I didn't have enough reasons why I'd prefer to be at home rather than at work right now...
More wiring crap, more drilling crap, more loud & annoying wiring and drilling people. And I have no door I can close to keep them out. Sheeesh!
This one dude keeps laughing like an ADHD hyena at his own jokes or at nothing at all.
And it's not like they're trying to be discreet. They're making so much noise yelling and laughing and yelling and arguing and yelling.

They're riding my last nerve.

Will it never end!?!?

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Pancake Shout-Out

This is a shout-out to my sister who makes awesome pancakes.


More Strange Dreams

Maybe it’s the result of having restless nights due to being sick, but last night was one of the most active dream nights I’ve had in a long time. I had about 9 different dreams packed into the night and each of them seemed to last an hour long. But by now they’re all starting to blur together and melt away in my memory. I’ll do the best I can.

Reality: I went to bed wondering if the apartment across the way was a one-bedroom apartment and if I could just move in there instead of moving away because I’m pretty happy with the location.
I moved into that apartment and as soon as I did there was a father and teenage son who seemed to have been living in my old apartment for years. I was with someone and we had been watching them because we suspected they were working on some top secret project. Then we finally met the kid one night when his dad was out and he offered us some ice cream from their huge freezer and there were like 10 different kinds to choose from and we agreed on super fudge chunk. Then he agreed to let us in on his top secret project. Then my mom appeared and gave me a laptop which looked like a Casio electric keyboard in a zippered cover. At that point the room looked like the computer room from 6th grade summer school.

Another dream:
I was poor and moved into a poverty-stricken part of some old town I didn’t know (it almost felt like it was more like the 1930s or 40s - it was in black and white) and I was looking for a place to live. I had some friends who were also poor and near-homelessness and the group of us girls had to beg this slumlord to let us all live in this big abandoned building.
It was dark and cold and there were cots all over the big room with some bunks stacked 3 high. It was all women and it felt like we were all there as a last resort and at the mercy of the slumlord, but thankful for a place to live. There was one bathroom for maybe 50 people and not much lighting but we all seemed to form a kind of sisterhood, helping each other find jobs and comforting each other. I sort of buddied up with two other girls, who are friends of friends in real life, and we were looking for a real apartment to move into together because one of them had a daughter who she didn’t want to raise in that old building. We found a place somewhere that looked like the Penrith neighborhood and we were amazed by how beautiful and clean it was. At some point one of us got a job working in a clothing factory and we all celebrated.

And another:
I was in a subway station, very clean and bright and shiny. There were very few people there. I was supposed to be traveling somewhere with a friend from college (in reality he is traveling all over India right now) and he got through the ticket turnstile fine, but the security officer stopped me to look at my ticket. It was an old receipt, like from Kroger, and down at the very bottom was a series of numbers that worked as a subway ticket. The security officer couldn’t really read it because the ink was smudged and we kept arguing about what the numbers were. My friend kept urging me to just jump the turnstile because we had to run to catch the train, and I kept trying to suppress my giggles because the guard was clueless about how the ticketing system worked. Finally he let me through and my friend and I linked arms and sprinted for the train, passing places that resembled my middle school halls and then the Portland airport curb and then on to our adventure.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Moving Dream

Yesterday a friend had a dream about me moving, and then last night I found myself having a dream about me moving.

Scene 1:
I’m driving out to Rhode’s Furniture on a Saturday to take advantage of their going-out-of-business sale but realize when I arrive at 6:00 that they had actually closed at 5:00. And the storefront is at the base of a gigantic tree so it is really just tiny furniture. “The furniture has to be at least…three times as big!”
Scene 2:
I’m supposed to be meeting up with friends who are going to help me move into a new house and I was stressing. I get to the house and find that everyone has already moved all of my stuff and unpacked and decorated and everything. The first room I see is my bedroom, which is up a floor and a half in some loftish style. It is very, very small but has real, matching furniture in it. (In real life all my furniture was either found/free or bought at Wal-Mart) The rest of the house had a Winchester Mystery House feel to it – the architecture: secret halls and doors and rooms, not the dark, spooky stuff. I notice there are keys in a couple of the door locks with cute little tags on them. One says “Amy” and another “Sarah” – someone had even gone out and made copies of the keys to give to my usual apt key-holding friends. I felt so loved and taken care of – touched by my friends’ thoughtfulness. I went downstairs and was trying to figure out where to put my couches. Apparently the previous owners hadn’t actually moved out completely so the living room was full of ugly wall hangings and wallpaper and fake plants and gaudy couches. I was disappointed that the room was so oddly shaped that couches didn’t fit well. I remember thinking to myself “I should have thought of that before I bought the place.”
Scene 3:
Everyone had left and I heard lots of noise outside. I walked out the front and realized for the first time that I had a huge porch that wrapped around the house. “Wow, that’s cool,” I thought. I walked out and found about 20 college kids playing Ultimate Frisbee right up to my porch. Apparently there was a big neighborhood park in my backyard with no fence. The guys shouted a “hey, how’s it going” to me and went on with the game. They were very stereotypically fratboy-ish and obviously didn’t realize that I was an adult and was the new owner of the house. I think they wanted to have a cookout or something but I was annoyed that they weren’t taking me seriously and thought I was just another college kid when I was really a real adult.
Scene 4:
I found myself at the intersection of what seemed like Franklin St. and S. Columbia but it was bigger and all the cars were gone and there were crowds of people approaching the intersection from all sides. Then everyone stopped and I looked and people were in formation and started singing this song/anthem and doing some kind of choreographed dance, like it was something everyone knew if they were a resident of the town. Like singing/dancing the national anthem or something The person next to me elbowed me to join in but I had no idea what was going on and felt like I was going to get into trouble for it.

Then I woke up to find Applejack trying to monopolize the limited space on the couch.

I Don't Have Scarlett Fever

I know this comes as a great relief to everyone. And it's not smallpox or measles or mumps or rubella either. Here's a little trivia (Melanie, you are correct): people my age are likely to have gotten a second MMR vaccine upon entering college because about that time there were studies showing that people needed more than just that one shot at 15 months. Now they give little kids another shot when they're still little. Who knew?!? Apparently my sister did.
So, it's not scarlett fever, much to Melanie's disappointment (we were coming up with all the different things I could have). It's just some wacky freak rash thing of unknown origin that primarily strikes young women on their entire torso and it just goes away on its own after 6-8 weeks or so.
So I won't be playing out Beth's death scene from "Little Women" anytime soon.
And that's Good News, Emily.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Where I Lay My Head

I‘ve been thinking about something in the last few weeks. I’ve never really decorated any of the apartments I’ve lived in. Right now I have one poster that’s tacked to my bedroom wall with thumbtacks, some picture frames with photos of friends that sit on shelves, and a bulletin board with miscellaneous papers and photos attached. I have a set of cheap Walmart curtains that are currently folded up.
Why haven’t I decorated? I realized it’s because I feel that “home” is a temporary place. “Home” in terms of a physical place is still just an unsatisfied idea. I’ve lived in 4 different apartments in 5 years and I’m about to move again. But thinking back even further I realize that I haven’t had a consistent place to live in nine years, counting the 5 dorm rooms I lived in during my college years. To sum up: I haven’t lived in the same place for more than two years since 1996.
No wonder I don’t bother to decorate or buy real furniture. I have no reason to feel like I’ll be where I am for a long time because my entire adult life has been transient. Granted, I’ve lived in only three different zipcodes in the last 9 years, but still. Where are my roots? My roots are in relationships, not in any apartment. This means that I definitely call Durham my home, I just float around within the city limits.
Still, it would be nice to eventually buy my own place and buy some real furniture and something nice to hang on the walls.

Insufficient Conviction

It’s amazing how a seemingly non-sinful thing is sometimes more convicting to me than the really obvious sins.
Whenever I take out the trash to the dumpster, and sometimes when I just put a piece of trash in our trashcan inside, a strong feeling of guilt washes over me. It’s quite strong and it hits me when my arm makes that arc to swing the trash bag into the dumpster. “There’s so much trash on our earth and I just contributed a whole bagful to it.” And I picture a monstrous pile in a landfill consisting solely of the bags of trash I personally contributed to it and I feel a twinge of nausea.
And yet, the more morally wrong and sinful things can often not even faze me. A mean thought about someone, a “little white lie”, borrowing something without asking.
(Granted, the overarching concept of piling up trash in landfills is irresponsible in our stewardship of the Earth and therefore sinful in it’s own right, but then you get into the whole “that’s just how it works in the society I live in” debate and it gets messy.)
So, my point is that I should be more sensitive to the other junk in my life than I am to the junk I take to the dumpster.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Cat Out of the Bag?

Wow. I think I have truly entered into the world of crazy cat people. I decided to give Zoe & Applejack their own pages on Catster and in the last 6 hours they've already gotten 65+ visitors to their pages. They're so popular! (Note the links to their pages on the right)

From A to Z

I've hesitated writing about my cats because I was afraid that once I got started, this blog would turn into a diary of "funny things my cats did today" and I’d loose my readership.
But I can't help myself.
Applejack and Zoe are the loves of my life. Brother and sister, all cute and orange stripedy-swirly.
Here are pictures from their first week at their new home. They were just 11 weeks old. (Applejack is in the blue collar, Zoe in the red)

So… there’s this website called Catster, which is a feline version of the website Friendster where people get connected to each other in varying degrees of separation. Do Applejack & Zoe deserve their own pages? Am I becoming one of those “crazy cat ladies” I swore I would never be?

Renewed Faith in Security Officers

Last night I went to Target, bought some stuff, paid for it, and made my way to the door. The security alarm went off when I passed through it so I turned around and headed back to get inspected. I approached the security officer who said “Let me just see your receipt, ‘cause really I just don’t even care anymore.” I looked at him incredulously. Was he for real? The apathetic look on his face and the way his head tilted back a little as though it had become too heavy for his neck confirmed it. He really didn’t give a crap if I was stealing. I started pulling my receipt out of my wallet and he didn’t even bother to wait for me to show it to him when he said, in a loud voice so everyone could hear “alright, thank you ma’am, you’re fine.” Bewildered, I stood there for a moment as he returned to his post next to the shopping carts. As I gave him one last look he said in the same booming voice, “Thank you for shopping at Tar-zhay, come back again.”

Monday, October 03, 2005

Office Haikus

Oh the day is long
though the candy dish is full
I sit here restless

* * *

Now whirring mercilously
Die copy machine!

* * *

No hesitation
Beeline for the candy dish
Twix is the bestest

* * *

Stop talking to me
Why do people bother me
With such stupid things?

* * *

Student employees
Funny kids are fun at work
Now losing their jobs

* * *

Mysterious stuff
Budget cuts and grumbling words
I’m the last to know

* * *


NPR - A Rocky Relationship

While I don’t listen to it all the time, these days I find myself tuning to NPR or other talk radio stations just to hear what people are thinking, whether I agree with them or not. Funny thing is that in high school I thought NPR was just for old people who couldn’t stand that crazy rock ‘n roll stuff that was playing on all the other stations. Then in college I thought NPR was just for granola liberals and all the people who grew up in D.C. and knew everything there was to know about politics and would talk about it and make me feel stupid.
There was this chick I named “NPR Girl” in college who would always have NPR playing on the radio in the ceramic studio during off-hours. It annoyed me so I always tried to get there before her so everyone could actually listen to music while we were working. (It was funny whenever “Unchained Melody” would come on the radio - anyone working on a wheel at the time would look around and giggle with each other. I’d giggle, but I always felt just a little bit awkward, as though the lump of clay and I were both embarrassed to be there with each other. If clay could blush, it did.)

We Make You MOVE with the M to the E-N-T

It’s interesting how music can unite people.

The other night I was filling up my gas tank at Kroger
and the guy in front of me shouted to a guy on the other side of the station who was blaring some rap, “Hey, is that Cross Movement?” “Yeah, man” was the man’s reply, and they went off on the different albums and which ones were better than others, had they seen them in concert, etc. That connection between strangers was fun to watch, especially because I share their opinion: “Cross Movement all the way.”

(Note: That is most certainly NOT a picture of the Kroger I got gas at. Gas hasn't been that cheap since 1988. It was courtesy of my fun friend Google Images)