The Blog and Pony Show

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Candy Store Rock

I feel very unusually hip to things today. I Googled, Wikepedia'd, even Urban Dictionaried the phrase "Photo Whoring" but did not find any actual definitions or commentaries regarding this phenonmenon, in spite of the fact that there are plenty of kids out there who list this as one of their hobbies.

Ladies and gents, I shall now present to you, for the first time anywhere, my own attempt at defining the term "photo whoring":

photo whoring: Sometimes called "picture whoring". v. The act of bombarding a website or board, yours or otherwise, with many photos of oneself, or one's favorite subject that show one or that subject in the most favorable possible way; usually to elicit a favorable response from others on the site or board. Often, these photos will be touched up and cropped to highlight the subject's most desirable features while drawing attention away from any defects. Example: "If it wasn't for my avid photo whoring, no one on the internet would have noticed that I dyed my hair pink, or believed that it looked good for ten minutes last wednesday night."


This is one of those "internet phenomenon" that I just can't wait for the right journalist to get a hold of. They'll do some piece about the depravity of vanity that the internet has inspired in our ten-second, tell-me-I'm-cute, soul-imporverished youth. Time Magazine will do an obligatory cover story, with an accompanying side piece on the irony of how the internet was supposed to make us all anonymous, and that we would no longer be judged by our appearance, age, etc. Time would also remind its readers, of course, that Oprah will air a program on the subject next Tuesday at 4pm. And who will be on the panel? Some concerned parent's group advocate, a bunch of insolent teens, one snazzy adolescent who has found a way to save starving babies in Iraq through photo whoring and yours truly for breaking this new and disturbing trend in youth culture and submitting it's definition to Wikepedia (that's MY entry. Remember to give Gretchen at Blog and Pony show my due props!).

See you next Tuesday at 4pm...

Friday, March 24, 2006

Wherein we Discuss Spike

Internet, this is Spike.



Spectacular, isn't he? Spike is our four-year-old English Bulldog. Let's watch him in action:




Breathtaking. It's almost as if he moved. A few choice stats about Spike:

DOB: July something of 2001
Adopted: September 15, 2001. He's our September 11 dog. Michael happened to be in NYC the day of, not far from Ground Zero, or as we call it "The Smoking Hole". He's one of the people you see scurrying away from the falling buildings in the CNN file footage. Upon his triumphant return to SoFla, he announced that he would either buy a gun or a puppy, you know, to show the terrorists. That Saturday, we went to a gun shop and took a look around. Then we walked down the strip mall to "Puppy's [sic] 'R Us", where we didn't meet Spike. BUT, the manager told us they had two bulldog puppies at their other location, 15 minutes away. That's where we met Spike. And on many occasion since, Michael has wished he'd gotten a gun instead....
Weight: 55 lbs.
Balls: In tact
Odor: Strong
Vocabulary: "Wanna eat?", "Outside?","Cage","Bath".
Loves: Tail scratches, wrestling, left-overs
Hates: The air-duster can, attempts to cut his nails, toddlers invading his space
Sleep habits: Constant. Barks in his sleep.
Place he poops when he can't hold it anymore: The stairs. I really need to get a picture of that... I can't figure out how he keeps from tumbling down the stairs.
Work Out: Free-form Digesting
Currently: Sleeping at my feet.

He's a good boy.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

God is Not in These Details

Okay, kids, gather 'round... time for a book review!! This week's book review is The Beatles: The Biography by Bob Spitz.

So round about before Christmastime, I was surfing NPR.com when I learned that yet another author had undertaken to record the rise and fall of the Beatles. In addition, NPR published the entire first chapter of the book online. Pretty kewl. I read it and was pissed off when I realized I couldn't read anymore. So I did what any smart girl would do right before Christmas: I added it to my Amazon wish list. And my dear loving sister purchased said book for me for Christmas, b/c she's just that kind of girl. Also, she lives in Seattle, which is as far as you can get from Miami and still be in the continental U.S., so ya know, ordering from Amazon is just a lot easier.

Anyway, back to that first chapter. Basically, biography of John Lennon, going back to his grandparents. Pretty fascinating. By which I mean, very detailed. Unbelievably detailed. I mean, the author must have made some of it up sort of detailed. It wasn't so bad with the first chapter. But then I read on and... okay, here's what I mean by details: The color of sofa in John Lennon's apartment. Every house Paul McCartney ever lived in (and every move). How his mother broke down in the phone booth and huddled up in a fetal position when she called her husband to tell him that she had been diagnosed with stomach cancer. The first time George Harrison's mum went down on his dad, etc. The details are mind-boggling. And somewhat distracting. I just want to learn more about, say, the circumstances that brought about the White Album. But just finding it in the book requires some research on it's own.

Then there's the cursing. No, it's not particulary offensive, it's just that I get the feeling that Spitz throws it in to try and shock his readers. Only, it comes off as a mediocre comedian trying to get a cheap laugh by working the "F" word into a knock-knock joke. El Lame-O mucho, gracias, senor!

All that being said, I'm kinda of plowing through it anyway. It's entertaining to see what bizarre detail this guy's gonna pull out of his ass next ("... Then Ringo's great-grandmother, Martha, blew out the three white candles on her pink and yellow birthday cake and clapped her hands in an unusual rhythm that Ringo himself would later incorporate into "Helter Skelter.") It's a bit strange thinking that I now know more about each Beatles' ancestry than I do my own husband's; then again, Michael hasn't managed to make so much as a gold record yet.

Hmmm.... it would be kinda cool for Michael to become the next King of Pop. We'd finally be able to afford his rock-star lifestyle, and people would voluntarily research his ancestry to boot. He probably wouldn't mind all the groupies that much either.

What's up with this Fly Lady thing on the side?

So a few months ago, I was looking through the BabyCenter boards and someone started talking about FlyLady.net as being a good website for housekeeping suggestions. I have never been a stellar housekeeper. The house never looked good for long because, gosh darnit, I didn't make the mess so why should I clean it? I was PISSED OFF all the time about my house looking and smelling so dreadful. So I went on the website and... Hrm. It was not what I had expected. I thought there would be schedules for cleaning and the most efficient way to get sliding glass doors clean, or keep the stove top sparkling, or how to clean the floor without actually having to do anything. You know, practical stuff. But that's not what I found.

FlyLady.net is by far, the CORNIEST website I've ever frequented. It does not jive in the least with my bitter, cynical, and scornful government lackey attitude. It's all tears, and blessings, prayers, and lovies, and testimonials that couldn't even be matched by Oprah Winfrey personally handing her left kidney to six-year-old orphan girl from Pakistan whose family of 14 lives on .52/week - not counting the camel. So why do I love it so? Because FlyLady actually teaches you that housekeeping is a lifestyle choice. If you want a clean house, you have to clean it. Or at least arrange to have it cleaned regularly. Most importantly, you're not allowed to whine about it because, hey, you're the one who wants the clean house. You can't expect the kids to care, because they're kids, and you can't expect your husband to care for much the same reason. You can't bark at your kids to go clean their rooms if you don't even know how to keep yours clean (blinding insight, huh?) And that's what it addresses: Most people know how to clean things, they just can't figure out how to keep things clean w/o killing themselves.

So after 4 months of FlyLady, does my house look perfect? Uh.. no. But it looks much better. I no longer break into an anxiety attack at the thought that someone might drop by unexpectedly and see the squalor I live in. At any given time, the house is about 15 to 20 minutes of cleaning away from having company over. Because I'm no longer embarrassed or anxious by a nasty looking house, I'm a much more pleasant person to be around and I find that Michael and the kids are more likely to help me with chores. Sometimes even voluntarily. And I get to enjoy my family because they're slovenly ways don't piss me off anymore. Sometimes I worry that I have all to easily accepted my lot in life as she who cleans the entire house; but then I realize that no... I'm just learning how to keep this house nice so I can eventually teach the rest how it's done, and how much more comfortable the house is when it's clean. I'm getting them addicted to a clean comfy cushy house and organized lifestyle, and teaching them that they, too, deserve and can aspire to NOT live in squalor.

So, anyway, yeah, Fly Lady.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

When Cousins Meet


DSC_0074
Originally uploaded by gretchie74.

Finally, after much bru ha ha, all the Olmsted grandchildren were assembled safely under the roof of Aba and Grandpa. Click the pic to see the whole set of pics. The girls got along quite nicely (so far) and Veronica didn't even mind when I held the little one. Then again, Grandpa, the man of her dreams, was in the house, so what is Mama compared to the end all be all of grandfathers? Dog food, that's what. Natalie found it a bit unsettling that Grandpa would want her to share his lap with Veronica, and Vivienne was downright anti-social - all she really needed was the mobile. People seemed to annoy her. Except the Mama. The boobiful, boobiful Mama, who smells like chocolate chip cookies, for heaven's sake. More on to report in the coming weeks.

Working for The Man

Not that I would ever do something so vulgar as update my blogs at work, no siree, never, not me

BUT

I am taking 5 minutes from my workday to bitch and to moan to the world about how much better this job would be if it weren't for all the freakin' users!

Oh my GOD. They won't leave me alone to solve their problems!!! I'll be working on some hideous thing, like this:

if($checkdate1<$sesastatdate){ unset($switchpcn); if ($sesafbidate2){ if($checkdate2<$sesastatdate){ $error.=" $checkdate2 *Something happens here";
}elseif($sesafbidate1>$sesafbidate2){
$switchpcn=$sesafbipcn1;
$switchdate=$sesafbidate1;
$sesafbipcn1=$sesafbipcn2;
$sesafbidate1=$sesafbidate2;
$sesafbipcn2=$sesaswitchpcn;
$sesafbidate2=$switchdate;
}
}else{
$error.="
*Something else happens here.";
}
}

Which, ok, isn't that hideous, but sweet mother of Krispy Kremes, not the sort of thing you should get distracted from, and someone will call to ask me if it's possible to add another item to a drop down menu in an entirely different part of the app. Then, I have to explain to them that all things are possible, but not in the same day; and that I must prioritize and that every mother loving moment I spend on the phone talking about their problem creates a delay in fixing said problem.

So I ignore the phone, right? No good. They will physically remove their bodies from their chairs, boldly leave their offices and come find me here hoping that I will drop everything because their problem is the most important problem ever.

And why is it so FREAKIN' cold in here today? Why can't the A/C ever work this well in August?

Sunday, March 05, 2006

It's a BABY!!!


DSC_0009
Originally uploaded by gretchie74.

I went to Andrea's baby shower today... here's some proof. Andrea *glowed*, and fun was had by all. We played all the silly games, and Nilda obsessed over the word search one by actually finding another sheet and continuing to work on it long after the winner had collected her prize. Hey... and I won a prize too! A glade candle thingy in "Orchid", which is odd, because I've owned orchids, and they don't smell like anything. Well, they did when they died, but that's not what the candle smells like. I won this for playing Baby Bingo, a game in which you they hand you a bingo card with possible baby presents written into each block. As the baby-momma opens the presents, you are supposed to mark the presents that appear that happen to be on your card. Many women today were disappointed that Andrea did not receive any electronic baby toys for her baby. Nilda tried to peek in the gift bags as we played. At this point Missy threatened us all. "If I have to I'll take away your cards" she warned sternly. Wild and crazy bunch, these ladies are. But, seriously, doesn't Andrea look totally cute? And she has the best hair. Beautiful.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

With Liberty and Simpsons for All

According to this article, the "average American" knows more about the Simpsons than about the First Amendment. In a poll, only 1 in 1000 could name all 5 freedoms guaranteed by the bill of rights, but 220 could name all five Simpsons! Wow!!

I'm happy to report that I am that rare American that can name all 5 freedoms guaranteed by the the First Amendment (speech, press, assembly, petition grievences, and the other one, oh yeah, religion), all five cartoon Simpsons (Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, Maggie), and all three semi-cartoon Simpsons (Jessica, Ashlee, and Joe). I am also capable of pointing out that due to the First Amendment, The Simpsons is still on the air. Alas, due to the First Amendment, we're still subjected to Jessica and Ashlee Simpson.

Our Civics Lesson for Today: In a democracy, sometimes you have to take the good with the bad.

(No fair asking about the 4th Amendment, ok? I missed that day in Civics....)