Monday, October 27, 2008


I am prepared to do some pretty extreme things for the person who would get me this:

"Kindle your child’s curiosity for prehistoric creatures and make-believe adventures with his very own "real" baby dinosaur. You may have seen “talking” and “moving” toys before, but chances are your dino-loving toddler has never seen a prehistoric “pet” that comes to “life” with realistic electronic sounds and motion. It’s fossil-sized fun standing just over 2.5 feet tall. A hidden handle helps kids hold on once they climb onto the dinosaur’s back. Realistic stomping sounds add to the make-believe fun as kids bounce in place on the spring seat. Talk to KOTA the Triceratops and he roars back with expressive tail, head, eye, mouth and horn movements. Touch his nose with your hand and KOTA “sniffs” it! In fact, it’s easy to trigger all of his sensitive spots – try tickling his belly or chin to make KOTA “laugh”. And when you think this pretend dinosaur has worked up an appetite, be sure to “feed” KOTA his leafy snack – it really sounds like he’s munching on it! Four different adventure-themed tunes set the mood for your child’s wild imagination as he embarks on a dino-filled "rides." But don’t worry! A convenient volume control switch lets you adjust the level or turn it off. KOTA the Triceratops may look thick-skinned, but just one stroke on his scaly-like fabric “hide” will prove he’s really a soft and snuggable playmate who’s ready for all of your child’s dino-roarin’ escapades."

Do you have any idea what I would have done if such a plaything existed when I was a child? I loved my Teddy Ruxpin so much he sustained heavy wire damage from being dragged everywhere. Chances are, with Kota by my side, i would have withdrawn completely from society and created a world for just him and me, plus all the D batteries needed to last a lifetime.

Tag, but not the body spray.

My old friend Lola posted a writing exercise on her blog to write 5 habits/quirks that people might not know about me. I decided this was a mighty good exercise that I should engage in.

1. I can tap dance.
2. I was OBSESSED with animals as a child and read every non-fiction book associated with animals that I could get my hands on. This combined with my love of nature documentaries gives me a geek-like knowledge of zoological trivia. When I read/see something I do not know, I get WAY too excited about it.
3. I have always hated brushing my teeth for as long as I can remember. I hate everything about it. When I was a kid I would go in the bathroom, close the door and let the water run to fool my parents into thinking I brushed. Now, I do actually brush, but I hate every second of it.
4. I am completely unable to commit to watch any syndicated television show on a weekly basis.
5. I had a lazy eye as a child and had to wear an eye patch for years. When asked about the eye patch in kindergarten, I lied and said I was a pirate.

The "share something people might not know about you" was a popular way professors/teachers have the class introduce themselves. I always said the bit about tap dancing. I haven't tap danced seriously since I was 16. I should get some tap shoes to make sure I never forget how to tap dance, and also just in case a talent show with a large cash prize ever presents itself.

Monday, October 20, 2008

What's that in your pocket?

I have to vent after looking at some fall fashion trends.
The biggest look in pants for fall?
Pleats, harem pants, pleather leggings and stirrup leggings.

What the hell? It's like the major fashion houses got together and said "Let's bring back all those styles that look absolutely terrible on absolutely everyone!"
The latter three I could dismiss as looking interesting sometimes on rail thin women who are also very tall, but pleats? PLEATS???

Look at how huge these pants make this model look! She weighs probably 100 pounds and those pants are giving her hips for days.

Plus the looks in the Urban Outfitters catalog catalog are stomach-turning. Grunge is back, only this time heroin-chic includes looking like you forgot to put on pants under the sweater you ganked from your grandpa.
At least dark tights are better than pleated pants.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Comfort food

I'm watching "Fat Pets" on Animal Planet.
Apparently half of cats and dogs in England are overweight. It has correlation to the lifestyle of the owner, but I can't believe my eyes and ears.
These owners can't help themselves, they just keep feeding them more and more junk!
It's shocking and sickening. Sure, I let Max gain an extra pound last winter, but once his vet said something I made sure he lost that pound.
But on this show, their vets tell them their dogs are going to die if they don't lose weight. They don't listen, they keep feeding them and feeding them. It's so sad.
Just look at poor Bodelle:

She weighs over 200 poundsand the owner refuses to put her on a diet.

Do you think the SPCA should be able to remove these pets from their owners?
I think they should.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Hold your horses!

Did you know Alec Baldwin has a blog on The Huffington Post's website?
That's pretty darn respectable if you ask me.

The Shadow Knows!

Top of the morning

On the weekends or other times when I'm not dressed in all of my biz-caz glory, I like to wear hats. This saves me the trouble of blow-drying or otherwise styling my hair, plus I look cute in hats and that can't be said for everyone. Or at least I think I look cute in hats, so that's really all that matters. The hair styling thing isn't a very good excuse because my hair is very short, but I'm lazy and refuse to leave the house without makeup on, so, it's my only time-saver.
Unfortunately, my favorite hat has seen better days. It's a black cotton twill newsboy cap I bought when I was working at Hot Topic in the Natick Mall four or five years ago. (Yeah, Hot Topic. I told you I'm a geek.) It's a little faded, and the Velcro adjustable strap on the back is starting to not hold very well anymore.
I bought an olive drab cadet cap at Hootenanny, and it's good, but doesn't look good with absolutely everything like my black hat does. I also bought a black woven fedora, but it was too trendy when I bought it and now I'd just look like I missed the boat but I'm still waving my ticket in the air and running on the dock.
I know I'll just end up scouring the Internet to find an exact replica. At least winter will be here soon and I can take refuge in knit caps until then.

In the past two days I have seen two men urinating in public. One was just a few minutes ago when I was walking Max. The man was peeing in a bush outside an apartment building. I might not have noticed if that distinctive pee-hitting-dry-leaves sound wasn't so loud. Yesterday's peeing man chose the side of the church near Harvard Square, in broad daylight. I was in a car with three co-workers, we were coming home from our all-staff meeting in Devens. I saw him and I was so shocked I just said out loud "That guy is peeing!"
The ladies in the car just shrugged it off, I was astounded by his bravery. Sure, he was obviously homeless and had long ago stopped being concerned with the trappings of proper social behavior, but peeing on a church in broad daylight? That takes guts, my friend. Not just anyone could urinate in the hustle and bustle of Cambridge on a Friday afternoon, let alone on the side of God's house. Not being religious, I couldn't help but wonder: If God exists, would he be upset if you peed on the outside of a church? Or is God more of a "when you gotta go, you gotta go." sort of deity?
We need pissoirs like in Europe. They may be smelly and disgusting, but hey, so are some people and it's not like we're getting rid of them, is it?

What's that sleeping on top of my couch, you ask? No, it's not a cat. It's my dog.


Saturday, October 11, 2008

Sinus cavaties

Mine are stuffed up. I have a head cold. Today is better than yesterday though. Yesterday, I was slugging DayQuil out of the bottle on the commuter rail out to Lawrence. Today, Mucinex Sinus will do the trick.
The most miserable part of a cod or flu for me is that my throat feels like a hot gravel pit. It's always the first symptom I experience, and for me, it's the one I hate the most. Nothing makes it go away. Every other cold or flu symptom is manageable with over the counter medication. Decongestant relieves my sinuses, pain reliever quells the aches and reduces any fever, but the scratchy throat... nada. The pan reliever makes it feel slightly better, but it's still there, making every breath feel like a burst of hot ash. It makes sleeping impossible. In my daily activities I might be able to ignore it, but in the hush of my bedroom, I have nothing to preoccupy me. For the first time last night, I rubbed Vicks Vaporub on my neck. This was wonderful, combined with the Tylenol Severe Cold Multi-Symptom Night, which I like to call "The coughing sniffling, sneezing, knock your ass out for the next 12 hours" medicine, I was out for the count in a matter of minutes.
I know I used a lot of brand names, but I do it for a reason- These brands would never have to pay me to advertise their products. I get sick all the friggin' time and I would have killed myself if it weren't for the effectiveness of the the above-mentioned products.

I got Pumping Iron through NetFlix. It's an excellent 1975 documentary following the contestants in the Mr. Universe and Mr. Olympia body building competition. Two of the contestants are: Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno. The Terminator and The Hulk. This is the documentary that propelled them to fame. This documentary is text book. It's incredibly well made, and it really draws you in. You root for your favorite and by the end, you feel like you've learned something about body building. Dan insisted he didn't want to watch it, he said it wouldn't be entertaining. Five minutes in and he was hooked. That speaks volumes about the quality of this doc. It makes you a believer. Watch this documentary, it's fantastic. Even if you don't like jacked-up, muscle head guys (which I most certainly do not) you will still be greatly impressed with all they do to be champions.

Yesterday, in my wacked out, DayQuil-induced stupor, I was thinking about J. Wellington Wimpy from "Popeye." I looked him up on Wikipedia, which is how I know his full name. I also read about Popeye, and in the article about him, I found the best description of Popeye I have ever read:
"...with a gravelly voice and a casual attitude towards grammar..."
A casual attitude towards grammar. I love it.
Here comes the weird part. I leave work, walk to South Station and get on the Red Line heading towards Park Street. A group of young men are loudly conversing:
"Yeah, Wimpy's a guy from Popeye. I'll gladly give you a dollar today for a hamburger, you know?"
One of his friends them surmises that Popeye must have abused Olive Oyl because she was so skinny. Another then asks:
"What does how fat or skinny a girl is have to do with getting beaten up?"
"She's too skinny, she clearly has depression issues."
I was creeped out. What are the chances that a cartoon character I randomly look up on Wikipedia will surface a few hours later in the overheard conversation of a fellow public transportation passenger?
Something strange is afoot in the subway system.

A blue jay has decided that the fire escape outside my living room window is the perfect place to perch and bray at the world. It's very loud. My cat couldn't care at the least.

My fire escape is a funny thing. It has no ladder leading to the alley below. It's more like a metal balcony with no decent floor. If my building was on fire and I couldn't escape out my door, I'd have to climb out the window onto the fire escape, wait, and hope the fire department sends some help around to the back of the building. So, in reality, it's a fire stranded, not a fire escape.
I heard once the reason these back bay buildings have no ladder on their fire escapes is to reduce break-ins and people sleeping on the fire escapes. With all of our modern technology, is there really no solution to this problem. Like say, a ladder that can only be extended to the ground from the fire escape? Maybe I should buy a rope ladder just in case. I also need to buy renter's insurance.
I also need to go clean the apartment.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Animal medicine

I brought Max to the vet Thursday and left armed with antibiotics, medicated wipes and a special shampoo. The regimen is as follows:

  1. Antibiotics twice a day after meals

  2. Shampoo twice a week, fill a pan with water with quarter amount of shampoo, let feet soak for 10 minutes

  3. Wipes are used whenever I see him licking his paws

The major problem with such a regimen lays in the shampoo. Dogs don't like to stand still in water for 10 minutes. it's not natural to them. Luckily, we bathed Max once a week or more when he was a puppy to get him used to it. Max doesn't fight the bath, he doesn't enjoy it either. He stands in the tub, looking defeated and pathetic. So last night I was in my bathroom with Max in a roasting pan, ankle-deep in the shampoo and water. For a moment I couldn't help laughing. I imagined how strange this was, like I was training him to willingly stand in a roasting pan, marinating, only to be cooked later. Max would not be good eating. He has skinny little legs and not much meat on the torso either. Next time we're performing this cleansing ritual, I'll take pictures and post them. UPDATE!

Today is the second time this year I attempted to make apple crisp. Last year I made pan after pan of delicious cinnamon-y goodness. This year, I've lost my touch. The first one, i used oatmeal, and it didn't cook for some reason. I left it in the oven for 40 minutes hoping the oatmeal would brown. It didn't. I was left with applesauce with dry oatmeal on top.
The apple crisp I made today turned out better, I used crushed up Life cereal. It still wasn't as good as the graham cracker ones I made last year. I'm done experimenting with it. I know what works, and I'm sticking to it.

I've been thinking more and more lately how animals have learned how easy it is to survive my manipulating humans. I was out to lunch today with Dan and my father, sitting out on the patio of a delightful little Italian place on Newbury Street called Bottega Fiorentina. I looked to my side and saw some sparrows hopping around looking for food. One of them made eye contact with me, and then hopped towards me. She looked up at me, cocking her head, and twittering. She knew I would think she was adorable and that I would throw her some crumbs. She has seen humans do this before, and knew just what to do to get me to respond. Eye contact, twittering and moving towards me. It was just what Max does when he's begging for scraps. Eye contact, soft noises and moving towards me. The sparrow has no idea that I think she's cute and that's why I feed her. She just knows some humans respond in a certain way when certain behavior is displayed. She's been trained by experience and by learning from other birds.
Technically, most pets are social parasites. Most modern pets do not complete the tasks that historically made them valuable to humans. Most cats don't catch mice, most dogs don't have to herd, haul, or hunt. They give us affection, behavior natural to their pack driven instincts, and we give them food, shelter, water and affection. For them, it's a free ride, just like being a kid, except pets won't carry on our genes. I hear so many pet-critics complain "I hate when people refer to their pets as their children." Why? Our maternal and paternal instincts plus our natural desire for affection is why we choose to keep pets. It's fulfilling a need we have would normally have to fill with a child, but since children are markedly more expensive and difficult to care for than animals, some of us choose animals. Our instincts demand we treat them as our young, why shouldn't we refer to them as such? I just seems to make sense.

I learned today that although I was taught to think it's traditional to serve sake warm. Apparently, it's now theorized that sake only started to be served hot around WWII when the quality of sake went downhill due to scarcity of traditional ingredients. However, sake is still served hot, warm or cold because it is up to the drinker on how to consume it, although higher end sakes are recommended at room temperature or chilled.