Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Henna 'n' WHAT?!?

I went to CVS today to pick up a prescription for Super Ninja, and whilst I waited for the pharmacist to do her thang, I perused the hair care aisle. Since dandelion fluff springs forth from my skull, I like to keep up with the latest frizz taming ointments. And that is where I saw this Frankenproduct:
I would love to know who said to herself, "Know what I think would be awesome for my tresses? Placenta. Yep, I'm going to get me some placenta and rub it in really well."


I Am a Relationship Expert (well, Google thinks I am)

An inordinate number of readers come to this site via Google searches using a combination of the words/phrases "man," "woman," "questions," and "don't ask." Based on my stat counter, many of them leave after zero seconds, so they figure out pretty quickly that I have no idea what I'm talking about and they must go to other fun links, like, "Asian man/black woman dating question? - Yahoo! Answers."

Sidenote: WHY would you go to Yahoo! Answers for some advice on that topic?

I'm suffering from blockage (AGAIN), so you get to hear all about my blog stats. Because you will love that information, and absorb it, and dissect it over your own dinner table later today, won't you? WON'T YOU?!?

Meh. It's a beautiful day. Methinks I will go stomping around the 'hood and see if any misadventures lay themselves at my feet.

Friday, April 25, 2008

I Owe My Life to Robert Culp

Who's Robert Culp, you ask? Philistine! Among many other fine roles, he played Bill Maxwell on 'The Greatest American Hero,' one of the greatest live-action superhero television TV series of all time.

Last weekend, I was hanging out at my parents' house, and I infiltrated my father's Bat Cave. His den is in the basement, and the perimeter is completely covered with books. Top to bottom, left to right, covered in books. Even the windows have been bricked over with books. Pulp noir, science fiction, psychology, history -- really, every genre is represented. And, as I am wont to do, I plucked a tome off of the shelf and thumbed through it. My discerning choice? A Big Little Book. David Copperfield, I believe it was.

My father saw me flipping through it and told Super Ninja and me a little story I'd never heard before... One night in the mid-seventies, Dad was kicking back watching the Tonight Show. Robert Culp was a guest, and if my IMDB detective work is worth anything, he was likely there to plug his latest project, "Inside Out." But the real meat of the conversation centered on Mr. Culp's latest collecting obsession -- Big Little books.

My Dad's ears pricked up, for he too was a collector of Big Little books. So what did my entrepreneurial/needing-cash Pop do? He wrote a letter to Mr. Culp, care of the Tonight Show, to say that he had a load of Big Little books, and would Mr. Culp care to purchase any of them? Mr. Culp wrote back that indeed, he was interested. Dad sent his list of 70 books to Mr. Culp, who ended up buying fifty of them for $500.

"And that $500 paid for," Dad said, "you!"

Howzabout that? My genesis was paid for by books. I should've known, what with all of the reading and the writing. And the being big and little at the same time.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

I Finally Found a Perfectly Sized Desk and Chair!

Only problem was, it was in an elementary school. That's right, I was lurking in an elementary school today. Lock up your kids!

Why was I hunched over a mini-desk? I was filling out paperwork 'cause the Boy is ripe for schoolin', and as responsible parents, we are investigating the options. Today's adventure was in the local public school. It doesn't have such great ratings on unreliable "recommendation" sites like, but it's percentage of students proficient on standardized tests is decent. Of course, that system is crazy flawed as well...


The school has a new principal, so I figured I'd reserve judgment until I see a Pre-K class there. But yikes, do they require a lot of paperwork. Pre-K programs in public school 'round these parts are a rarity, and they need ironclad proof that you live within the school's boundaries. I think they were thisclose to asking me if they could follow me home. We'll find out in a couple of weeks whether we made the short list -- earnings are taken into consideration when deciding who gets to go to Pre-K at the school. So, Super Ninja and I may actually make too much money to be able to send our kid to public school. WHAT?

There's a Catholic school option that's on the table, but I think I told you that I had a visceral (not good) reaction to God being infused in every aspect of education. Me, I like compartmentalization. That's not the only reservation I have about Ye Olde Catholic school. The classrooms were former nun cells (no, really, that's what they call dorm rooms in religious living quarters!). The school knocked down walls in between the cells, so they have these oddly shaped, long, skinny classrooms that don't seem all that conducive to learning. Oh, and there was the one classroom were four-year-olds were doing an arts and crafts project (semi-unattended), and there were scissors the size of hedge clippers on the table. If the Yakuza crashed through the windows, the kids would be prepared, I guess.

I'm scheduling an appointment at another joint, but it's a daycare center/Pre-K facility. And those places confuse me, 'cause the whole point of sending the Boy to Pre-K is so that he can associate with other four-year-olds while he's ciphering and graphing.

Gah. I would SO much rather be watching a stupid movie than trying to figure out the first formal stepping stone in my precious tot's educational career.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Laurel Ink

I'm all tatted up. A tiny Incredible Hulk decorates my left bicep. Look how hip I am!

Okay, okay, he's a temporary tattoo. The Boy got it in some birthday party favor cornucopia a few weeks ago, and I thought it would be somewhat hilarious to paste it on my own mudflap of an arm. I didn't slap it on the Boy because there was an excellent chance that he would freak out about it, and I have NO idea what "temporary" means in this instance. It would be more appealing to burn off my eyelashes than watch the Boy scratch at the tat until it came off.

Since I became the Illustrated Woman, though, the weather in the Mid-Atlantic has been delightful. Which means that one could (and should) wear sleeveless shirts under cardigans or some such. Here's the pickle: my office gets magma-hot sometimes (the HVAC system can't keep up with the weather). And in those moments I would like to shed my sweater. BUT I CAN'T BECAUSE THEN EVERYONE WILL KNOW MY INCREDIBLE HULK SHAME.

Ugh. I just want the thing gone, but several showers and steel wool sponge baths later, it's still there. I always knew that I wasn't that tattoo sort. Not because I favor a Pottery Barn-ish style of living, but because there isn't much that has been such a constant in my life that I can see permanently decorating myself with it. I mean, sheesh, if I went with what I loved at 14, I'd probably have a big fat Depeche Mode logo on my ankle. At 24, something John Cusack-y, like the outline of Lloyd Dobbler holding up the boom box in 'Say Anything.'

Cringing. I would be cringing if I had to stare at those images on my vessel.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Buy My Junk!

So, I'm hawking stuff on eBay. The amount of time this can take up is outrageous, because I have to do Very Important Things like weigh a MEGA Meatwad "action" figure so that I can accurately calculate its shipping cost and not be accused of being a robber baron by the anonymous denizens of eBay land. Friggin' ratings system.

Selling this stuff is Part the Second of my spring cleaning, about which I posted a particularly scintillating entry. I got the idea from cable TV shows with a mission to teach you how not to be a complete and utter slob/packrat. They make participating clutterbugs create three piles: keep, trash, sell. Into each of these categories ALL of your junk must fall. Over the years, there's a random assortment of stuff we either (a) have but don't use, (b) received as gifts but never used, and (c) were part of the wages of the toy company for which we worked. I'm using the Royal We for Part C.

The thing is, the stuff the sells the best is the stuff that I earned while working for the toy company. But when theres's some interest in "my" stuff -- clothes that I never wore, or shoes that I only wore once or twice -- I find it strangely validating. Weird, eh?

Sunday, April 13, 2008


Back in the day, when I was bleeding Hoya blue, I took a playwrighting class taught by the legendary Donn B. Murphy*.

Anyhoo, he taught me many things about writing, and three of them really resonated:

1) Anything -- a play, a novel, a short story, a screenplay, a comic book -- should be able to be summarized in one sentence. That's not to say that plots can't be complicated, but if you can't express the gist of it in one sentence, then the plot is probably too complicated (or the way you are thinking about it is too complicated).

2) An audience automatically feels warmly toward a character who gives a gift. Well, okay, if the gift is a head in a box or something like that, the character might not get a lotta love. But you get the idea.

3) SPECTACLE. Donn B. seem to be all kinds of tired of talkity-talk-talk with no spectacle in the theater. He said that you don't need a July 4th's worth of fireworks or anything like that, but you do need a moment that's bigger than the normal humdrum of life. His emphasis of this point could have been a result of his having taught college students for decades, whom I have to imagine wrote incessantly about "unique" experiences, like being dumped or being away from home for the first time. Ugh. These wunderkinds probably set all of their plays in waiting rooms or dorms, too.

But anyway, that last one is all kinds of true, and BOY HOWDY did Teller (of Penn & Teller fame) deliver on the spectacle in the Folger's (now closed) run of "MacBeth**." Floating knives, streaks of blood manifesting on Lady MacBeth, people disappearing and reappearing in (seemingly) plain view, blood gushing from neck wounds, well, YOWZA. Call me a rube for not appreciating the lyrical stylings of Shakespeare by itself, but all of these sleights-of-hand and redirections really amped up the performance. The actors were stellar, and not overshadowed by the trickery. So now, I want to see a bunch of other plays in the Shakespeare catalog get Tellerfied...The Tempest, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Hamlet...all are ripe for the glamours, I think.

*If you do not know Donn B., trust, he is legendary. In his late seventies, he would careen around the streets of Georgetown on a Hog. His partner is always -- and only -- referred to as "The Colonel." Another is that he threatened to castrate Super Ninja if Super Ninja did not return the gong (that's right -- gong) that he was borrowing for his theater troupe's production of Camino Real.

**Since I didn't refer to it as the Scottish play, I need spin around in a counter-clockwise circle or something, right?

Friday, April 04, 2008

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Rise of the Dead

I'm an incredible snoop. Blame my childhood, wherein I had zero personal space. Seriously. I shared a bed until I was nine. Which, when you think about it, was probably worse for my older sister.

But anyway...

In this age of interwebs, my snoopishness has really only gotten worse. I really shouldn't have the opportunity to investigate what's happening with friends or acquaintances. If they wanted me to know, they would've told me, right? I suppose I could just not snoop, but if shelved a favorite pasttime, then I probably wouldn't have found the greatest exchange of comments on IMDB ever.

I'm not going to tell you who my acquaintance is, but some of my tens of readers will know the person. Besides, I think we can all enjoy the comments on Rise of the Dead just the same.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Emerging from the Wreckage

Wow, that sounds dramatic, doesn't it? Super Ninja and I moved into our manse* four years ago. That was pre-Boy and Girl, whose accouterments made the storage areas in my basement look like the Death Star's trash compactor. For all of you who are not familiar with the Star Wars oeuvre, let's just say it was a wee cluttered. Actually, it looked like a maniac had been in charge of organization and storage chez moi. And, this is true.

For the past four years (i.e., while I was pregnant, post partum, nursing, repeat) Super Ninja has been in charge of finding places to store stuff. The only problem with this? He likes things to be done, and likes them to be done NOW. And little things like being able to retrieve things that have been chucked willy nilly into a closet? PAH! Those concerns get in the way of immediate completion of a task. It matters not that hurling a baby walker atop a teetering stack of Christmas decorations is a recipe for a concussion.

But I am not in one of my childbearing cycles, and I'm feelin' pretty energetic. And dismayed, chagrined, and all out annoyed by the junked up "style" of parts of my home. Couple those things with the fact that Tetris is my all-time fave video game, and I was just itching to commence a royal de-clutter.

I can't say that the two days I dedicated to this endeavor have been quite enough. Nay, the are not nearly enough. But I'm almost there. I've got two shopping bags and a box going to the Salvation Army, another box going to Friends of Libraries, a huge bag o'goodies going to my infant nephew, and two 60-gallon trash cans filled to the brim. Oh, and did I mention the eBay piles? That last bit will probably just confirm that my junk is only special to me, but you never know.

So, anyway, just wanted to let you know why my posting's been a bit sparse lately. If you are good boys and girls, p'raps I will soon bore you with tales of home renovation! Ooh! Aah!

*By "manse," I mean a 3-bedroom, 2.5 bath townhome. With 1700 livable square feet. Boo-yah!