Wow, it's been awhile. Nothing big has happened, but life isn't always big. So here are a bunch of small things instead.
First is breaking news. Our good neighbors Mike and Anna very foolishly went to Mexico on vacation -- just after swine flu started making headlines here. As I told aurora_z
, there's not panicking needlessly and then there's playing fast and loose with your chances. Tery said we now have two new cats (theirs, which she is watching for them). She just added, "Alas, Mike and Anna Takagi won't be joining us for the rest of their lives." (Recognize it? It's a variation on probably my favorite line in Die Hard
. There'll be a quiz later.)
Working out is still...working out, with or without Ryan (who has started making excuses). My only complaint is that no one ever makes eye contact with you, and forget about a smile. All those endorphins raging and people working to better their health, and you won't see a grumpier group of individuals. What I like about it, however, is it doesn't matter how obese or out of shape someone is -- they're at a gym and they're trying to do something about it, and that makes me refreshingly nonjudgmental (unlike the contempt I feel for F-booms that sit around stuffing their faces when they should be working (e.g. the majority of Tery's workforce)).
Except this one guy. Granted I'm not an expert on gym etiquette, but what's this all about? Ryan and I had done every machine in our routine but one. However, this guy had spent the last 15 minutes or so sitting on the machine next to it, occasionally doing a few reps but mostly just sitting there. Ryan thought he was waiting for our last machine. I agreed, but I also thought if you're waiting for a machine, you shouldn't be hanging out on another machine, creating the illusion of using that machine, while waiting for a different machine. So when ours became free, I darted in and finished my set quickly. Sure enough, as soon as I left the guy finally got off his ass and boarded it. I still didn't feel bad though, because his workout "method" (if you can call it that) involved the occasional 2 or 3 reps followed by a whole lot of sitting there staring off into space, veeeeeeeery similar to his "waiting" mode. In fact, he was still at it when Ryan and I had finished our quick cardio about 15 minutes later. Me, I have things to do. I'm not interested in spending more time at the gym than I have to.
I've figured out the trick though. Some exercises are unique to only one machine. Others have three or four machines that all do very similar movements. The trick is to get the unique ones done first, so if it starts getting busy you can finish up on the ones with more choices. Gym smarts...I haz dem.
I've recently resurrected my interest in biking just in time for summer. I went on one ride, but then our final freak snowstorm hit two weekends ago (80 degrees one day, six inches of snow the next. Only in Colorado) and that was that for awhile. I was going to go the following Monday when it cleared up, but when Ryan bailed on me again I decided a day on the couch relaxing sounded more appealing. Tery flipped out on me, as if it was my last chance rather than my first.
Then Wednesday was Earth Day. I wanted desperately to kill two birds with one stone (probably an inappropriate metaphor when discussing Earth Day): Bike to the grocery store. Exercise and shopping in one! However, sadly I didn't need anything that weighed less than 10 pounds: kitty litter, laundry detergent, gallons of milk, tub of butter (fortunately we were set for concrete blocks and lawn furniture) -- big, heavy bulky things that would be impossible to secure to the bike, never mind pedal back two or three miles with. So I very begrudgingly took my car instead. Sorry, Earth.
I consoled myself with the knowledge that for me, every other day of the year is Earth Day. I walk (and now bike) whenever possible, recycle as much as possible, shop with canvas bags, refuse to drive an ecosystem-devouring SUV. So why do I still feel guilty? Because those of us who care need to go that extra mile to make up for the many, many who don't.
Our galley-style kitchen is quite small, and necessitated us keeping our garbage can inside one of our lower cabinets. Unfortunately the combination of something forbidden being shut away out of reach was irresistible to the ferrets, necessitating installing childproof locks on the door. This proved quite perplexing to our occasional guests, and so annoying to Tery that she preferred the trash lying around the house. So we've decided to try a low-profile can in the corner.
Obviously a more visible can should be somewhat nicer-looking, which means stainless steel. I've never priced stainless steel trash cans before, so had no idea anything bigger than an office bucket gets up into the $100+ range. One hundred dollars!! For a trash can!! And not even a 13-gallon. The biggest I found was 10-gallon, and required special bags from the manufacturer. Any bigger and we were looking at closer to $170. For a garbage can. Tery wanted it for her birthday, and she spared no expense for me, so I was willing to consider it (the $100, that is).
I was therefore pleasantly surprised when I stopped into Target and found a 13-gallon option for only $40. That was more like it. It was Target brand rather than SimpleHuman (the most popular brand I was finding online), but hey. The price was a lot easier to stomach, and Tery said she didn't mind a more reasonable option.
Upon getting it home, the reason for the price difference was immediately apparent. The "retaining ring" meant to hold the bag in place was flimsy and could barely hold itself in place. And the lid didn't have the tiniest bit of cushioning (unlike SimpleHuman's patented "LID SHOX" silent hydraulic lowering system), making it clang loudly with every closing (Tery has taken to exclaiming, "Ancient Chinese secret, huh?" with every gong-like report).
It seems crazy to me that for these little extra touches you need to shell out an additional 60+ bucks. I would happily say as much on Target's product review site, except suspiciously this particular can doesn't show up in any searches. Clever, Target. Very clever indeed. But it is pretty nice to throw trash away without stockpiling it first on the counter to cut down on opening the cabinet repeatedly. And now Tery is giddy with the possibilities opened up by regaining that cabinet space.
Okay, I lied. Something exciting DID happen to me. JeffyJeff sent my birthday package, a magazine, a CD sampler, a card and a nondescript piece of paper. I read the accompanying letter first, where he described how a student of his attending a West End play spotted Alan in the audience and acquired his autograph that now sat in my hands (there was no mention of how Jeffy got it from the student. However, since she addressed Alan as "Professor Snape," I suspect she's not the president of the Rickmania Fan Club). I.....WHAT????
I shakily unfolded the scrap of paper, and yes indeedy, it was Rickman's autograph. The original too, not just a photocopy:
Well, THIS is a photocopy
My eyes literally filled with tears. I couldn't believe it. Normally my opinion on autographs is what's the point if you can't meet the person and get it face to face, but I will most definitely make an exception in this case. Tery even recommended I keep the extraneous layers of scrap because Alan had touched them.
But now the quandary of displaying it. Problem #1: Despite my enormous cache of Alan photos on my hard drive, I didn't have a single nice glossy print to frame. Problem #2: I didn't have a frame designed for displaying a photo and autograph. There were several nice ones on eBay that contained cheap reprints of photos and autographs of famous people. But much as I loved the idea of buying an Elvis Presley autograph (reprint) and discarding it for Alan, with shipping it came to $20. I thought I could do better at a local hobby store.
I thought wrong. First stop: Michael's, where I found no less than two aisles devoted to shadow boxes for every imaginable collectible you'd ever wish to display -- except, naturally, autographs. Flags (the most popular). T-shirts. Baseballs. Record albums and CDs. Watches. ANTIQUE KEYS. Autographs? Nothing. Hobby Lobby had even less, so long story short I settled on a frame with a diploma display (8 x 10") with a smaller cut-out for a 5 x 7" photo that was only $10 on sale.
Even more frustrating was trying to find some kind of preserving agent. My first internet stop after receiving the precious document was to search for advice on how to protect it. The site I found recommended a spray that would neutralize the acid in the paper to prevent yellowing and breakdown. I thought I'd have no trouble finding such a thing at a craft store.
At Michael's, I asked the guy in Custom Framing, who said it was called an archival spray and they no longer carried it. Have you ever set foot in a Michael's? They carry hundreds of thousands of products. They couldn't possibly fit in one more?
Still better than Hobby Lobby, where the girl had never even heard of such a thing. Disgusted, I took the initiative and ended up in Scrapbooking, where I found a can of something called, helpfully enough, "Make it Acid-Free!" I brought it back to the girl, who I doubted appreciated my attempt at education.
Anyway, now I'm good to go. I found some delicious publicity glossies on eBay (no film stills or shots of the side of his head as he scurries away from paparazzi), and got three after not being able to choose. I'm displaying actually a photocopy and squirreling the original away in an acid-free pouch into my fire safe. It may very well be my most prized possession, even more than my Dan Radcliffe Equus
Eat your heart out, Robert Pattinson. I like to think he was wearing something similar to this when he signed my paper
Now for some movies: ( ::Untraceable:: )
I don't know if I'm just getting old. I sat through all five Saw
films with barely a flinch, but this movie made me positively queasy. Not just the torture murders, but the message perhaps hits a little too close to home. I often participate in the online culture that occasionally victimizes others (to my knowledge not killing anyone though). It turns a cold, unforgiving light on the phenomenon. The problem is the movie isn't really good enough to be as effective as it should be.
A far better movie is the classic suspense thriller ( ::The Bad Seed:: )
Well, I've gone and flouted the hilariously dated plea that appears before the closing credits imploring people "not to divulge this film's truly shocking ending!!!" Bad Seed
, meet my friends The Crying Game
and The Sixth Sense
. But seriously, for a 50's movie based on a play, it was very well written and well acted. I normally can't stand such an obvious stage script, but this movie deserves the title "classic." I even watched it a second time with commentary, that's how much I enjoyed it. It was apparently the first time anyone had suggested a possible hereditary factor in sociopathy, and I found the psychobabble pretty fascinating. Not surprisingly, this movie is also pretty popular among teh gays, probably because it isn't hard to see the metaphor in a parent turning on a child after discovering their true nature. 5 out of 5, I think. At the very least worth a rental.
Finally, the last widely available Rickman movie I hadn't seen (oops. Besides Bob Roberts
), ( ::Michael Collins:: )
Alan plays Eamon "Dev" De Valera, the president of the Republic -- which sounds very important, except in a movie about Michael Collins. However, there's a scene where he's dressed as an altar boy (my heart just about stopped beating) and yet another where he breaks out of jail by dressing as Michael's auntie, and yet another where he delivers a rousing revolutionary speech to a town square full of Irish extras (in which he sounds more like Rasputin than De Valera). Damn you and your movie-stealing abilities, Alan!!! So, I guess I'll be sitting through all that other boring historical crap repeatedly for these scattered gems.
I'd like to dedicate this post to my dear JeffyJeff, not only for his amazingly thoughtful and wonderful gift, but for giving me the kick in the ass I needed to finally finish this post.