Monday, November 06, 2006

Don't Know Just What To Do With Myself

I had a really, really great shopping outing on Saturday. One of those, "everything you see is adorable, marked down to 30% of its original price, there's only one left, and it's your size," kind of shopping outings. You couldn't slap the shit-eating grin off my face for hours afterwards.

Unfortunately for me, I was so pleased with myself this morning when I was getting ready for work that I decided to wear a disproportionate number of my new purchases today -- all at once, whether it went together or not. About noonish, I looked down at myself and thought, "Self. It possibly was not the best call to wear this navy silk dress with your knee high boots, tux front tank top, ruffly cardigan, pearls and romantic, falling-in-your-face hair. Yeah. A little much." Good thing I proceeded to top it off with my red trench coat, so that most everyone who saw me coming or going would assume that I was either (a) an extremely famous person who could get away with looking like Olde Englishe Casuale Worke Weare exploded all over her, or (b) a meth addict.

I'm guessing most people went with (b). Sad.

Monday, October 30, 2006


This is the view from a big bridge about 20 miles west of the city. The leaves were perfect this weekend -- all turning absolutely gorgeous shades of red, yellow, and orange, and very few fallen yet. It was one of those "happy to just be alive" mornings. The picture really doesn't do it justice.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Hell Hath No Fury

I received this email on Friday. It really brightened my day.

This (see below) is a portion of the first page of a jury pool list for Davidson County, my fair county of residence. A friend in the clerks' office over there emailed it around, with a special instruction to scroll down to the highlighted item.

The part of the list that you're seeing is just the columns listing the jurors' employer, their occupation, and below that, the occupation of their spouse. The juror in question is presumptively in the middle of what appears to be a very amicable divorce.

Your employer....................Your occupation/
.......................................your spouses'

Yes, I know his real name. Yes, I googled him. There's even a picture. I love it. I felt a little bad forwarding the entire page with real names around to my friends, so here's hoping that this guy's wife really IS a disciple of satan, because, as we all know, truth is a defense to the tort of libel.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Bachelor: Why I Love to Hate It

[I've been recapping the episodes for my Bachelor Survivor Pool. I'm not going to catch you up, but here's Week Four.]

In past seasons, I've been embarrassed for the girls, their families, and even, on occasion, the hapless bachelors. This season, I'm even embarrassed for the producers, the bagel boys, and the lighting crew... basically, anyone associated with this farcical parody of a reality show. The premise was far-fetched to being with -- find true love on TV! -- but in past seasons, we've been at least a *little* suckered in by the hopes of a "real connection." Not so this season. No one is even really trying. Oh... a couple of girls are squeaking out some tears, gnashing some capped teeth, and tossing their long blond hair in anguish. But no one's really that excited about Lorenzo, and it doesn't appear that Lorenzo is really excited about... anything, except maybe applying his frightening, anteater-style lips to the face of whatever unsuspecting bachelorette is parked on the wall/bench/patio chair next to him. I seriously can't watch the Hoover in action. I have to cover my eyes.

I wish they'd quit bringing Erica back. They should just make her the next bachelorette, and stock her bachelor pond with pool boys and Best Buy employees. Now, *that* would be a ratings romp, and a riches-to-rags story in the making. Wouldn't you love to see Erica married off to a farm boy from Kansas, and be splashed across the front of US Weekly for the next year or so (ala Trista and Ryan) knee-deep in hog slop? Why doesn't anyone ask ME how to run a successful reality show?

So, apparently, Lisa really is an evil alien from the planet Hose Beast, and the other girls hate her. I take back what I said about her being smart. She's perhaps fooling Lorenzo (Congratulations! You've outsmarted a man who demonstrates the wherewithall of a puddle of snot!) but it's going to bite her in the ass in the long run. She'd better start making nice in a hurry. Jumping in the pool nekkers with Desiree didn't do her any good, either, as her little partner in streaking is now off of the show... BABY. (This further demonstrates her instability. Did anyone else see that coming?)

So, Sadie gets a one-on-one date, and she really still couldn't be any cuter. I'm still a little befuddled that she's from California. She is definitely giving off a more "Southern sorority girl" vibe, but I guess that breed is not unique to the South. The next big question about Sadie is whether she's some sort of fundamentalist Christian who attends a church so large that people call it Six Flags Over Jesus. Let's hope this is true, and that several key scenes of the upcoming hometown date are filmed there, perhaps in the baptismal hot tub.

How hilarious was the scene where the "date box" arrives, and Desiree, Agnese, Jeannette, and Lisa all start cooing about their group date, and it takes them a good five minutes to figure out that this means that Jennifer gets the second one-on-one date? Someone's little light bulb goes off, she lets out a loud squeal and shares her brain sprinkle with the rest of the girls, Jennifer collapses in a heap, stricken with the vapors, and Agnese is in the background, hitting her head against the wall. Speaking of the group date... no, let's not. I can't really take it. We'll leave it with a key phrase from the web site: "The togas come off to reveal bikinis underneath." SHOCKER.

Jennifer was so naively enthusiastic and crazily-grinning on her date that it was difficult not to be cautiously happy on her deluded behalf. I spent the first part of the date wondering if she had an IQ of oh, niner, but by the end, was convinced that even if she's a little dim, she's sincere, which should definitely count for... I don't know... something! Given my recent comparison of Lorenzo's mental acuity to a nasally-emitted bodily substance, this could actually work out.

Desiree, Desiree... I know that many were shocked to see you go. But, in the future, when you're saying something like, "I'd love to spend the rest of my life with a guy like you," and the horse's pazoo across from you is literally laughing in your face, it's time to pack up what little dignity remains after repeated booty-waggles, bed invasions and other assorted nationally televised shenanigans, and head back to Mormon country, hang it up, and make some seventy-year-old really happy.

So, Lorenzo's going home with Lisa (who may, at any moment, peel her face off to reveal the green skin and googly eyes that lie beneath), Jennifer (Whee! Let's meet some 8th graders!), Sadie (I really hope it's HER dad with the shotgun, which will confirm my suspicion that she is, in fact, really from Mississippi), and Agnese (who is going to TRANSLATE for Lorenzo and her family... this is gonna be good). When I think about Lorenzo and Agnese, I so want them to be like Colin Firth and that Portuguese chick from Love Actually. (CF: You learned English? PC: Just in cases.) But, sadly... Lorenzo is no Colin Firth. Sorry, Agnese. We can only hope that your mother puts some sort of exotic Italian curse on him and your father calls him all manner of terrible things in Italian, which Big Schnoz mistakes for inquiries about the Cardinals' chances in the World Series, and hilarity ensues.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

What Shadows Lurk in the Hearts of Men

If you ask someone if they're a racist or if they dislike homosexuals, chances are, you're not going to get a straight answer. And not everyone lies to cover up the truth; many of us just don't even admit to ourselves that these biases exist, or that they color our judgment and influence our actions.

I just finished reading Blink by Malcom Gladwell not too long ago (a book that I really, truly DID like, for a change), and part of this book discusses people's inherent biases and the ways to identify them indirectly, given the unreliabilty of the self-reporting method. In the context of this discussion, Gladwell references some research done at Harvard, and gives the web address for a test called the IAT: Implicit Assocation Test. You can learn more about it and take any number of versions of this test online.

I love this idea, and this really very clever mechanism for measuring inherent bias. I am particularly intrigued by its implications and potential uses in the law, litigation, and even more specifically, jury selection. Imagine if you could have potential jurors take a five-minute test on a computer and produce accurate indicators of their attitudes and potential biases. Have you ever sat through voire dire in a capital case? It's fascinating, and almost voodoo-like in its convoluted attempts to judge people's inner beliefs and biases. And it wouldn't be useful just in capital cases. Think about your typical felon in possession of a firearm, or drug dealer. Chances are, they look, act, and live a little differently than the majority of your jury pool. Jurors with extreme biases could be outed and excused, and jurors with slight biases could at least be informed of these latent attitudes and be better equipped to make a fair decision. This is, in essence, what our system of justice calls upon us all to do. It does not demand an unbiased jury; it asks that we set aside our prejudices and consider the evidence. Awareness of those prejudices could be a powerful tool not just in the hands of counsel, but in the hands of the jurors themselves.

Take the test. Take several. See what you think. (I have a slight bias for European Americans, and no measurable bias as between hetero- and homosexuals.)

Nothing Says "Honey, We've Finally Made It" Like and Inflatable Cartoon Character in Your Yard

My roommate, Frogger, and I were driving to the gym last night when we passed a yard with one of those horrific, gigantor inflatable lawn ornaments in the shape of a happy pumpkin or some such ridiculousness.

Me: This inflatable decorative lawn ornament trend is really unfortunate. What are these people thinking? "I have a million dollar house... I think I'll park a spooky, eight-foot, inflatable polyester GHOST right in my rhododendrons!"

Frogger: I know! My neighbors at home got a snow globe taller than me last year, and my brother almost died when he saw it. You'll know it's time to shoot me if I ever get one of those.

Me: Why have people embraced the gigantic inflatable movement? What seems like a good idea about these things? It's like a couple years ago when everyone and their brother got those icicle lights.

Frogger: Yeah. At least those are pretty.

Me: Tasteful Christmas house illumination is one thing. But a giant inflatable Snoopy...

Frogger: They're just straight up gonna regret that later.

Monday, October 23, 2006

That's RYan Adams

Ryan Adams's song Life is Beautiful reminds me of Walt Whitman's poem I Hear America Singing. Shades of 9th grade lit... but really! Something about the way the drummer makes the cymbals sound like a hammer on steel... It's a beautiful song. You'd have to listen to it to get the idea, but I couldn't find a readily-accessible audio file on short notice. iTunes it. You'll like it.

Side note: Am intrigued to discover that Whitman was apparently a notorious homosexual. The things they didn't talk about in public schools, circa 1996. Damn.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Little Sister Don't Ya

Saturday was a Little Sister Day. I picked her up at 1:00, and she handed me the latest in her series of drawings of the two of us. I think it's so fantastic that she draws me pictures. I can tell that this is her way of attempting to keep things even in our relationship. She's aware that I spend money on her, and I think she draws me pictures to "contribute." It's a great trade. This one was actually folded into a little book, with several drawings of the two of us, and on the last page, it says "The In" and (heart) you. I heart her, too. What could possibly be more precious than a very smart (if a little homonym-challenged) and sweet six-year-old girl?

We went to a kids' science museum, which pleased me immensely. I love that stuff, and I'm so glad to have an excuse to run around like a... well... six-year-old, stomping on the giant piano, swinging from ropes, and climbing up a giant vertebrae ladder. Renee had fun, too. She made friends with a tiny and beautiful Asian girl, and I felt like a crazy PR ad when the three of us were laughing like idiots, trying to navigate the small intestine maze. Good times.

On our way home, we went by Target. Her mom had mentioned that they have a hard time finding shoes for Renee, because most of their clothes come from others. A sweatshirt is one thing, but little girl shoes that fit are entirely another. Anyway, I told a small fib about having won a gift certificate from Target and asking if it was OK if I used it on Renee. Mom was fine with this.

Renee was mystified by all the trying on, and was quick to say that any and every shoe fit, even if it was clearly 3 sizes too big. We picked out some white tennis shoes (with rhinestones!) and some black church shoes. I strong-armed her into getting some tights, too, though she seemed either reluctant to push it, or totally unfamiliar with the shopping, "can I have this, too" routine that seems like second nature to so many kids. I got the total at the register and realized it was probably the least amount of money I'd spent at Target, ever, even when I just go in for things like shampoo. $30. $30 for two pairs of shoes that fit this child, and realistically will carry her through the majority of her activities -- school, playing, and church. It sort of puts things in perspective. I wish I could do stuff like that for her all the time, but I know it's a bad idea. (I have a sort of recurring fantasy wherein I take her to Toys R Us and turn her loose.)

Anyway, if she's learning things from me, it's not nearly as much as I'm learning from her. If you're not a Big, you should be.