30 December 2008

And then the week seemed short

My bro and his family stopped by for a brief visit Sunday morning, loaded up their gifts and then hit the road for the long drive home. The days post x-mas went by fast.

My they are a talkative bunch. I kept thinking, "No wonder I was so quiet as a kid. If he talked as much then as he does now, it's amazing I ever got a word in," and also, "Was I quiet by nature or in part because of him?"

After a couple days, shifting my sleep schedule to accommodate them started to get to me. I didn't succumb to my niece's wet hacking cough, but my throat was on the verge of being sore. I could tell if I spoke a lot that it would get sore, so that sort of worked out for the best. Then getting 1 word in to my bro's, SiL's, or niece's 9 words didn't bother me. Of course now I don't feel like I said much of anything the whole time they were here.

What else? One of my favorite things about my 5 yr old niece is that she said "Thank you" to strangers who held open doors for her. Also when she said, "It was very nice to meet you" to my Mom's best friend that we'd stopped by to see.

Also much to everyone's amazement, she bowled a 197 for her first game of Wii bowling. Much dancing and jumping around ensued after each strike or spare she got.

If you've ever made a Mii on the Wii, you know the little tune that plays as you make your avatar. Mom had brought up my bro's xylophone sort of drum that our Grandddad made and my niece starting playing along to the tune.

Delayed gratification and five year olds don't mix though. The poor kid was so ready to bust with xmas excitement, I wanted to say let's just open it all now. But we were all good though she was pushing the limits of her secret holding abilities as well. If she couldn't open stuff, she wanted other people to know what they'd gotten.

Rock Band 2 is a whole mess of fun. My niece was determined to play and though the guitar was way too hard, she did pretty well on drums. Watching my dad on guitar and her on drums was hilarious. My bro can join my band any time. He intuitively kicked his guitar into overdrive and racked up lots of points. I'm better on drums but my guitar has vastly improved too. Whacking the drums is really satisfying though. If I start playing harder difficulty levels, I'll get an upper body and right foot aerobic workout.

As they were leaving, my bro and SiL both urged me to come visit them. I'm still not sure about it but the fact they are both finally quitting smoking has improved the odds tremendously. It was really nice not having to wait around for them to have an after dinner smoke nor having that smoke saturated smell in everything of theirs to contend with.


2 years ago on TTaT: I will

29 December 2008

Jinxed

DVD manufacturers, particularly those of multi-DVD sets, should standardize their packaging to one of the designs that isn't prone to breaking before it ever reaches the store. Or maybe they just need better quality control.

Though I'm a perfectionist, I do have some tolerance for flawed packaging; last year I resorted to a rubberband and paper sleeve rig to hold an errant dvd in place in its set. This year, however, the hinged middle piece holding 2 DVDs on either side of it had a completely broken hinge and missing teeth for one DVD.

Mom and Dad were driving up to storage so I decided to tag along to help and then head up to the mall with them so I could exchange the DVD set and look in Target for some bras on sale. This meant assuming pretzel form to sit behind the front seats of the pickup truck, but I figured I could manage for a short time.

Unloading the truck was a snap, but when we got back in after less than ten minutes, it wouldn't start. Mom walked to the office to see if someone would give us a jump since we knew that would be faster than AAA. While we waited for Mom, Dad and I both confessed that it'd crossed our minds that the truck might have trouble. (Sometimes it won't start if it hasn't been driven for a while, but it'd been fine just yesterday.) We'd jinxed ourselves.

Mom had been gone for a while and I commented that every time I've stopped to sign in at the office there have been at least 5 people in the office which was making me start to think they were a bunch of jerks if not one of them could spare under 10 minutes to drive over and give us a jump.

After 10 to 15 minutes, Mom came back somewhat disgusted. As soon as she'd asked if someone could give us a jump, everyone in the office made themselves look really busy. The boss had pointed to one guy to do it who was on the phone. When he got off, he filed something and then someone transferred another call to him. No one gave her a definitive answer. Or offered to let her call AAA, or to wait in the office (hello, it's cold out) while we waited for help. She ran into a worker outside who'd just pulled up in a van and asked him and he said he'd ask the boss.

So she came back and we called AAA who said someone would be there within 90 minutes. Dad left to wait for them at the entrance while Mom and I played tic-tac-toe on the steamy passenger window.

About 10 minutes later, a small van pulled up. It was the worker Mom had asked on her way out of the office. He'd just gotten off work and was nice enough to come back by to give us a jump.

Then we called AAA to cancel our order. Dad wanted to drive home and then take their car back out to the mall, but I told him that I hated the idea of backtracking all the way home without having accomplished anything I'd wanted to do on the outing. My stops would be quick and Mom had a return also, so Dad just dropped us off and drove around to pick us up again.

Best Buy's exchange policy is pretty simple. They stickered my DVD set at the door, so I could find another copy and then head to the return desk. Only problem was they didn't have another copy of season 1 of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. So I got in line for the return desk.

They had 2 people working, but 1 was stuck with an old guy the whole time I was waiting while people slowly filtered through the other person. After ~15 minutes, it was my turn. I explained that I wanted to exchange it because the case was broken but they didn't have any in stock. He opened it and looked at it, looked at my receipt, consulted with someone, and then came back.

Under state law, they can't refund open software (movies fall under this category apparently) due to piracy concerns. They have 6 on order, which should be in in a week or so (and still within my return window), so I have to go back when they have one in stock. As I walked out of the store, I realized I'd jinxed myself a second time today buy saying I wanted to accomplish something on our ill-fated outing. Of course, Target was also a wash. Not surprising though as ours is small and doesn't have the same variety and level of selection larger ones have.

Sigh.

Home without further incident now though, so that's something. Time for a pre-dinner cookie now methinks.


A year ago on TTaT: Snowprints

23 December 2008

Today was better

I discovered that I can maintain my calm if the ratio of introvert to extrovert is 1:1. In that scenario, I can even participate in conversations.

Mostly it was my SiL's assume-the-sale approach to 'asking' favors that got on my nerves. Her approach tends to elicit the reaction she's prsesumably trying to avoid. It also makes everything seem like a bigger deal/commitment than it is. Sigh.

I did go sledding with my bro and niece today. Opted for pajama bottoms under canvas cargo pants since I don't have long johns. Think I would just stick to jeans in future since we weren't out that long. SiL made it sound like a big deal outing, entertaining the niece all afternoon, which to me sounded like going somewhere else to sled for a few hours. We just made use of a small hill in the backyard though, so getting wet wasn't a big deal.

Located more bows and ferried piles of packages downstairs in lieu of wrapping which suited me well. I really dislike wrapping--I don't think my family appreciates that. Also, I didn't bust my ass wrapping all my gifts before bro and his family arrived just so I could wrap their packages. I already wrapped a couple for mom.

I just want people to stop volunteering me for wrapping. If the counter was: then you won't get as much stuff, I would be OK with that.

A'right, I should go. I have ornaments to stuff and glue shut for my SiL so my niece can decorate them tomorrow. Man, I'm tired.

Finally tried an Indian restaurant we've been meaning to though, and it was very good, so that's a groovy find.

Hope everybody's enjoying their fams as much as possible this week. ;)


A year ago on TTaT: Rebel icicle

22 December 2008

It's going to be a long week.

My brother, sister-in-law, and niece arrived today.

More than anything else I was struck by the fact that I am a quiet contemplative person. With many people I know, I can be quite chatty, but when confronted by extroverts, I don't have the energy to compete for air time. From the moment they arrived, at least one of them was always talking. And not just talking, but amped up chatter that requires speaking above my normal volume to interact with.

A pause here or there but my parents filled those. My conversational contributions were cut off or diverted several times.

My sister-in-law (SiL) enlisted me by way of assumption into wrapping my niece's gift from Santa. She asks for favors in a way that doesn't leave room to say no. Kinda bossy actually. All I had time to say before 5 yr old niece bounded back in was, "Santa wraps at your house?" He never did at mine. He set everything out in front of the tree on xmas eve after we'd gone to bed.

I've also been volunteered for sledding tomorrow. Fuck man, it's only going to be 23 degrees at best tomorrow. I don't own snow pants or long johns or even sweat pants, or for that matter, snow boots. I'm game for a few runs but I'm not equipped for hours. It's the presumptiveness that bothers me more than anything though...

Having comments from you guys helped though. Leave some more and help me get through this week!

P.S. I'm so glad they have a hotel room.


A year ago on TTaT: A new favorite, Bowties: not so tough

21 December 2008

Or theist, if you prefer

Bear Winter Card

Last minute wrapping tips

These tips assume you know the basics of wrapping and are meant to make the process a little easier and the results more satisfying.

1. Work on a large, hard, flat surface.
A table is ideal, so you can sit most of the time while you work. Your bed may seem tempting, but it is too soft if you want to make those crisp wrapping paper edges. Put a board on it, you say. OK, but make sure it's hard. I used one of those large, thick cardboard things for cutting sewing patterns, but the folds in it caused me all sorts of trouble since it didn't lie completely flat. Also, standing and bending over the whole time will wear you out in no time.

If you don't have a table that will work, make plan B the floor but avoid carpets with a thick pile.

2. To make your wrapping look neat, don't cut too much paper for your package.
This is the main key to avoiding crumpled, sloppy edges.

Make sure you have enough paper to cover your package end-over-end on all four sides plus a couple inches.

Then for the other 2 sides, you want a little more than will cover 1 of those sides completely. (When you wrap the paper around the package the long way, it will effectively double up so both sides will get covered. Just be sure to center your package on the paper left to right.)

3. Don't cut too little paper for your package.
If your cutting goes awry as it inevitably will when the hour is late, don't go crazy starting from scratch if it's just missing by a small amount. Cut a strip of paper large enough to cover the gap and place it under the seam where the paper was supposed to meet. Then place your tape from one edge, across the strip, to the other edge and it will hold it all together.

If it will look neater putting your bandaid strip of paper on top, do that, but it will take a lot more tape to hold in place.

Wrapping purists and perfectionists may disagree with the patch theory, but when the hour is late and the paper is short, this is the way to go.

4. If your package is slim and vertical, wrap it on its side if it's OK to rest it that way.
I know from experience that it's a lot harder to wrap these sorts of things standing upright. Avoid it if you can. If not, I refer you again to #1.

5. Crease the edges for a sharp look.
Once your package is wrapped, but before it is bowed, run your knuckles along each of the edges to give the paper more of a crease on its corners. (E.g., one knuckle on the top while the other runs next to it on the side.) Make sure to run your knuckles over any seams in the direction that won't rip the paper. Doing so will also prevent potential paper-cuts.

6. Even if you finish wrapping early, you may not be done.
It's likely family members will enlist your help wrapping their gifts. If you can't get out of it--or want to be nice--offer to help with the stocking stuffers. Roll stuff up in tissue paper, fold over the ends, tape and you're done. In my house at least, stocking stuffers need not be neatly wrapped. Failing that, offer to wrap a few packages but leave the bows and ribbon to them. Gift garnish is a real time and momentum killer.


Those are the main things that come to mind without getting into a full-on tutorial. Share your own tips and revelations in the comments. Good luck!


A year ago on TTaT: This is what happens...

19 December 2008

The snow began

Yesterday was so productive but today as soon as it started snowing, my brain completely shut off. I still have stuff to do. I NEED to concentrate.

Maybe I'll try to get wrapping done today... it needs doing before my bro and his family arrive on Monday. Damn, I was gonna say: what the hell was that? but I know what it is... a snow plow heading up the street.


2 years ago on TTaT: Previously un-freakin'-heard of

17 December 2008

The Hustons

47. The Hustons by Lawrence Grobel (3.5/5)

When I pulled this book off my shelf and started reading it, it didn't immediately register that it was nearly 800 pages, but it didn't take long for me to realize I was reading something epic. The author did over 200 interviews and an impressive amount of research to present a Rashomon style look at the Huston family. Everyone ever involved with John Huston who was still alive when the book was being written (or left diaries or letters) had their chance to speak in their own words. I usually prefer autobiographies, but this book appealed to me since it felt true to all of these myriad people's takes on various events.

Though the book focuses on film director John Huston, it also covers much in the lives of his grandparents, parents, and children (yup, that includes Anjelica) as well as his wives, lovers, friends, and business associates. A crazy but fascinating life: multiple wives and affairs, an estate in Ireland, a house in Mexico, making war documentaries during WW2, collecting art, and movies made all over. The broader scope of the book lets one discern repeating patterns of behavior.

If you're not going to read it over a fairly continuous stretch, I recommend drawing a family/relationship tree for yourself to help you keep track of all the names. You're going to need a big piece of paper though.


2 years ago on TTaT: Level-headed and responsible

12 December 2008

Quick ways to donate even if you have no extra funds

Consider Melissa:
Because there are so many worthwhile charities that could use a shot in the arm this year I will choose the top three mentioned here and send each of them $1 for every time they receive a vote from you (up to $150 each).

You can vote for the charities you love in her comments. The three with the most votes get the donations from her. She hasn't established a deadline yet, so get voting and increase those donation totals!

I'm quite fond of World Wildlife Fund, Equality Now, V-Day, Heifer International, and Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. Read through the comments on her post to learn more about these and other charities. Also, you can vote more than once, so be sure to bookmark it.


Play Free Rice and sponsors will donate 20 grains of rice through the UN World Food Program to end hunger for each word you correctly define. If you're not into vocabulary, you can pick another subject: world capitals, geography, art history, multiplication tables, chemistry, foreign languages. For each multiple choice question you get right, that's 20 grains of rice.

If that's too time consuming for you, visit The Hunger Site. Just click the "Click Here to Give - it's FREE!" button and sponsors will donate 1.1 cups of food to the hungry. Visit their sister sites via the tabs at the top of the site and click to help women in need get mammograms, children get healthcare and books, to save the Rain forest 11.4 square feet at a time, and to have sponsors donate .6 bowls of food each day to rescued animals . You can click on the button for each site once a day; I do it every day my computer is on. Rest assured, Snopes says it's legit.

So, get clicking and commenting!


2 years ago on TTaT: Bad equation

10 December 2008

Double your Heifer Internation donation- today's the last day!

Author Patrick Rothfuss is matching donations to Heifer International until Dec. 11. I read that as meaning today is the last day.

For every 10 bucks you donate, your name will be entered into a drawing for lots of cool stuff. Signed books, posters, etc. from lots of authors. Check out some of the swag here and here.

As Patrick Rothfuss says:
Heifer International is my favorite charity. It helps people raise themselves up out of poverty and starvation. All over the world Heifer promotes education, sustainable agriculture, local industry, and clean water.

They don't just keep kids from starving, they make it so families can take care of themselves. They give goats, sheep, and chickens to families so their children have milk to drink, warm clothes to wear, and eggs to eat.

Read up on how to donate and get your name in the drawing here.

If you decide to donate and would like to do me a solid, donate towards a goat! That's what I'm doing. Let me know in the comments even if you donate towards another animal. Thanks!

UPDATE: Unfortunately donor pages don't give you all the same animal and shares of animals options the full catalog does, so I couldn't earmark my donation for a goat unless I donated the cost of a whole goat, $120. I was torn since I can't afford that right now and wanted to donate towards a goat, but I couldn't pass up a chance to double my donation.

So if you're looking at this Wednesday night, get clicking to meet that double-your-donation deadline.

If you're reading this later and decide to support Heifer International, consider a share of a goat. Why goats? Well, there are pygmy goats that live not far from me, and any day I see them is always the happier for it. Besides, it's fun to drive by and bellow, "Little goats!"


2 years ago on TTaT: GGggrrRR

09 December 2008

And then there was calm, at least temporarily

Honestly, I didn't feel much better after writing last night which I found both disappointing and a little suprising.

Before I went to sleep though I felt like I had the answer. Picking 20 photos would be easy, I'd do that. I felt settled and relieved and went to sleep.

Upon waking, my brain went 180; I would just submit text. This too felt reassuring.

Part of the difficulty I've been having is in the planning of what I'd work on for a year starting 6 months or later from now. Some of what I'm doing now should be done by then, so what would be next? I don't tend to think this way, though perhaps I should.

The answer came to me while I was in the shower. Before I started this application, I felt like what I was working on would be more than one project. So there's the next project, duh. Just stick to the plan.

gotta jet.


A year ago on TTaT: Words + Rice

08 December 2008

Long Shot

My brain's been in overdrive for a couple weeks. As of today, my holiday shopping is pretty much done, so that's something. There's still the fellowship (for aspiring artists) application though, and that's the bigger anxiety trigger. Having seen little bios of previous winners, I feel like it's a real long shot for me to win, so applying shouldn't be a big deal. However, when I convince myself I have a chance, that I could deserve it, I get stressed out with the particulars. Who can I get for references? What project should I pitch for the fellowship year? Writing or photography or both? Or something else entirely: lamps/furniture/sculpture? What should I submit? And their stupid PDF file won't let me type stuff in. Grr. Unfocused is not the way to win this.

It's almost funny because I was looking at a copy of an application I submitted for this same fellowship 10 years ago, and I only just a month ago started working on what I pitched back then. I'm sticking with almost funny rather than horribly depressing.

When I first finished grad school, it seemed inevitable that I would eventually win this fellowship offered by my undergrad alma mater. I'm not sure how many times I applied before (3-5?), but I've skipped several years recently with little in the way of good listy stuff to show for it, and now here we are at my last year of eligibility. Last chance long shot. No wonder 35 always seemed like such a weighty year to me.

It's stressing me out so much I feel like quitting, but I've got to see it through.


A year ago on TTaT: You've seen them

06 December 2008

Auditorium

Auditorium is a cool symphonic online game.

It'll suck you in, but in a soothing way.


2 years ago on TTaT: the other side of Santa, Owls really are nocturnal, Wrapping faux-pas

05 December 2008

Dear ABC execs: Don't cancel Pushing Daisies

Pushing Daisies is whimsical, fun, and has mysteries and intrigues that keep me coming back every week. There's nothing else like it on the air right now, and that's a great thing. I do not have it in me to watch another doctor, lawyer, or dramatic crime show; and I never had it in me to watch reality tv.

The bit where Kristen Chenowith breaks into song from last night's episode of Pushing Daisies was brilliant.

I want to see more of that. Please renew Pushing Daisies.


3 years ago on TTaT: Beauty Parlor Nostalgia (part 1)

04 December 2008

New Neighbors

They go to bed early and own a Hummer.

I kind of want to climb on it.


2 years ago on TTaT: Cheapest coffee in LA and other [mis]adventures

03 December 2008

Prop 8 - The Musical

"Prop 8 - The Musical" with John C. Reilly, Jack Black, Allison Janney, Neil Patrick Harris, Margaret Cho, Maya Rudolph and many other famous people is unquestionably AWESOME. Watch it now.




A year ago on TTaT: Here's what's in it for you

02 December 2008

Men's

Though I haven't been watching lately, I've absorbed enough What Not To Wear and the like to keep me from buying clothes that are totally wrong for me. I'm not prepared to make the sorts of changes Trinny and Susannah would espouse, but I do at least have improvements in mind. To wit, closer fitting long sleeve tees. Classy, I know.

Anyway, I'd been wanting to go to an L.L.Bean store for a while to try some on, and get a feel for size. Alas, today I found the small men's was still too big for me. It was a disappointing blow. Women's sure, makes sense, but the colors suck.

Walking through some department stores, considering gift options for my brother, I saw so much that I liked. All men's, too large, and wouldn't fit flatteringly anyway. If I were still essentially me but a man, I'd be such a goddamn snazzy dresser. Bring on the Perry Ellis. Even the casual wear would look better. I love men's clothes: the cuts, the colors, the patterns. It's not fair.


A year ago on TTaT: Handcuffs or chess?

30 November 2008

Post-wash

After I snag my brassieres from the washer, I hang them on my bedroom doorknob to dry. Once they are dry, they... um... stay there until I grab one to wear.

I need more drawer space, but I think that the hanging bras really indicate that I'd rather have more closet space, preferably in the form of a walk-in.

Do you think Santa could help? He got that house for Susan Walker after all.


2 years ago on TTaT: 40 & 41

28 November 2008

Tofurkey haiku

for Cheryl:
Vegetarians:
tofurkey substitute, so
many side dishes!

27 November 2008

The return of Thanksgiving haiku

Happy Thanksgiving!
Balloons in Macy's parade
are my favorite

Missed seeing Snoopy
in the parade. Made me sad.
Huzzah for the web!

Brown leaves cling to oak
tree. Grey skies with peeking blue.
Bright diffused sunlight.

Ooh, I love this song
"Walking on Air" by Kerli.
Jigglin' in my chair.

From 2006:
Curried fruit is done
Already the house smells great:
Anticipation

What's up with mincemeat
pie? No meat? I might like it
if not for its name.

From 2005:
Dad is shoveling
while Mom is throwing snowballs
up at my window.

In reply, I stuck
out my tongue and waved at her.
It looks cold outside.

Check out the comments on those posts for more T-day haiku from other bloggers, and feel free to leave one here. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


A year ago on TTaT: Once upon a time in San Francisco

26 November 2008

pre-thanks

When I was growing up, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving meant half-days at school and leaving to visit relatives. A drive that could be done in 9 hours under ideal conditions would take 11 on this day, sometimes 12 if the weather was bad.

It might not have been quite as long if I'd skipped the half-day, but by middle school all my teachers made a point of covering something pertinent, and I hated having to make work up. Once my brother left for college, we didn't drive down for Thanksgiving as often.

Part of me misses the long table with all the people, but the last time we were all down at the farm 10+ years ago, my brother and his wife were late and my aunt kind of wrote them off. Now my grandparents are dead, I don't much like those cousins, and I'm sick of being stranded while my cousins, brother, and his wife go out to smoke, or to a smoky bar, or most enviously go home while I remain for days.

On that note, I'm grateful that I'm not in a car right now enduring all the extra hassles of traveling on this particular day. Also, I'm thankful that I'll be with my parents tomorrow enjoying my quintessential T-day meal.

Have a pleasant tomorrow, everyone.


A year ago on TTaT: If you want Buffy...; Shocking I know, a post before 1 PM

24 November 2008

Life images online

In the realm of damn cool, Life magazine has put their photo archives online at Google Images.

My new favorite search (within Google Images) is:
source:life

The totally cool thing is that you can narrow that search with a category or person's name. E.g.,
source:life Katharine Hepburn
source:life war
source:life home
source:life airplane
source:life Ansel Adams

Clicking on a thumbnail image will provide details about the photo's content, where and when it was taken, who shot it, as well as enlarging it.


A year ago on TTaT: Stoked

23 November 2008

Free Dr Pepper TODAY ONLY

A little over 7 hours left on the countdown clock, so if you'd like them to mail you a coupon for a free Dr Pepper, get clicking.

Free Dr Pepper!

You need a US address, and it looks like the offer ends at midnight Eastern time.

Cheers!


3 years ago on TTaT: Chip, chip, chip

22 November 2008

21 degrees in November?

In early afternoon?

You know, that's into negative numbers in Celsius.

Uf.


A year ago on TTaT: post-turkey

19 November 2008

#11-15 (omg, so good)

40-44. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 8, Volume 3: #11 "A Beautiful Sunset" by Joss Whedon, Georges Jeanty; #12-15 "Wolves At The Gate" Parts 1-4 by Drew Goddard, Georges Jeanty (5/5)

Loved it. Can't wait for the next five issues to come out in volume 4.

And now, hitting 'publish' and stepping away from the distraction.


Three years ago on TTaT: Mr. Rogers' moment

17 November 2008

$50 for general admission?!

They've forgotten that general admission is supposed to be on the cheap side.

I was thinking about when I might visit a friend of mine in LA and found myself tempted by the Xena Convention at the end of January/beginning of February. I scrolled down past the fancy weekend packages looking for the cheapest single day ticket that would let me see Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor only to find that it costs fifty bucks.

I know it's been several years since I've been to any conventions, but I think $50 is outrageous for a non-reserved seat way in the back. Also, it doesn't include the $7.25 shipping and handling fee that I'm fairly certain they charge you even if they don't mail you the ticket because you're picking it up at will call.

Creation Entertainment runs all the major fan conventions including Star Trek, so they've got a monopoly and they know how to exploit it.

So... $57.25 to see Lucy from 100 feet away? I think I'll stick to watching stray clips online.


Two years ago on TTaT: 39

13 November 2008

Onto something?

Possibly.

I may be scarce-- well, more so than usual-- for a time.


A year ago on TTaT: CEOs describe the uncertainty of the net's impact

10 November 2008

See one, Do one, ...

...Teach one?

Even if more of my photos had come out (damn P&S was mistakenly set to M instead of auto), I'd still recommend seeing this done in person before trying it. Think of this more as auxiliary tips if you decide to give it a try. E.g., having a cohort around for that first attempt is handy.

It's generally my habit to watch repair guys at work to gain insight into how to fix things myself the next time. About seven years ago, my dryer stopped working. I was surprised when I saw how relatively simple the inner mechanics were: the drum that you put your clothes into is surrounded by a belt placed over a drive motor and pulley. My belt had broken so he replaced it and that was that... until this weekend.

Mom complained of a sound her dryer was making, so I offered to take a look. I remembered that the repairman had pulled off the top first, and it looked like hers would do the same. I opened the dryer door and on the top of the door frame found two screws which I removed. top screwThen I popped the top off and looked inside. [If you're going to do anything to the interior, you should unplug the dryer or flip its circuit breaker off. In fact, it'd be a good idea to this before popping the top.]

The belt wasn't broken but it did look dry which might've been causing it to slip. Dad mulled over whether to have it fixed professionally or to buy a new one while I tried to remember what the next step was.

Then I noticed two screws that seemed to attach the front to the left and right sides:
left screw right screw

Dad decided to pick up a replacement belt locally and let me give it a shot.

I removed the 2 screws I'd found and the front came loose. However, there were three wires running to the left side of the front piece that I didn't recall. (I highly recommend letting less than 7 years elapse between seeing one and doing one.) Removing them would not be simple and reattaching them would require soldering. That's when I remember I only needed to swing the front out of the way while leaving the wires attached.

We couldn't see much inside the dryer and there was still a low front panel in the way. Do not take all the myriad screws out of this low front panel as you will discover you can't remove it anyway. Instead, only remove the two left-most screws that are holding the left side panel of the dryer from it. There was also another screw near the top dryer controls that also connected to the left panel. Remove that.

It's worth noting that this whole process will be A THOUSAND TIMES EASIER if you have easy access to the left side (as you're facing the controls) of your dryer. We couldn't pull this one forward because doing so would probably break the ventilation duct extending from the back.

Around this time, I remembered that the repair guy had angled my machine to the right so he could access the left side. I had a laundry room/storage space in those days which allowed for that maneuver as opposed to the laundry closet my parents have.

Anyway, I was able to pop the left panel open a little bit which gave us enough room to see the pulley and reach an arm in.

Although, we'd looked at diagrams of the machine online as well as threading patterns for the belt, it turned out they were all drawn backwards to how we were viewing it and didn't really represent our machine though they said they did. Dad pulled the belt off the idler pulley so we could remove the drum, but once he'd taken that step, it was impossible to see what the threading pattern had been.

Instead, I recommend drawing a diagram of what you feel the belt doing with regards to the idler pulley and drive motor as well as its relation to the drum before you remove the belt.

Once you slide the belt off the back of the drum, it just lifts forward and out. This is a good time for vacuuming up any lint deposits within.

Check the parts for obvious signs of wear. If you find none (other than the belt), make sure the rod the idler pulley is on has plenty of grease.

Make sure you understand how the belt goes back on, and then loop the new belt over the drum. Grooved side of the belt goes down. Slide the drum back into place, it fits into a notch on the back. Then thread the belt. Without full access to the left side of the dryer, this is challenging. My left arm wasn't strong enough, and it took my Dad a while to get.

Once the belt is threaded, or you think it is, lift up on the drum a little bit and rotate it. There are fins on the lower front of the drive motor that should rotate if it's threaded correctly. Once you're sure you've got it, replace the screws that attach the left panel. The front panel only has two screws but there are notches which must line up correctly for it to pop in place. Once it has, put the screws back.

The top similarly has tabs and notches which must align. Line up the holes at the back by the controls first, then lower. You will need to pull forward slightly so it won't catch. Then as the panel gets closer to horizontal, you need to give it a shove towards the back before it will click in place. (If you're having trouble, look at the top panel from the side as you lower it. You'll be able to see what it's hanging up on.)

Then replace the screws that extend from the door frame to the top, turn the power back on, and check your handy work.

In my case, so far, so good. The dryer works and isn't making the weird sound anymore, so I'm well chuffed.


A year ago on TTaT: The Man of Mixed Signals

08 November 2008

And now for some things random...

Elisabeth tagged me the other day with the following parenthetical aside: "one of the most interesting bloggers on my blogroll, but whom I do not feel I know very well." How could I pass that tag up?

Six Random Facts About Me meme rules:

1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
5. Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Random fact #1: I'm right-handed but left-eyed. This means that any time I look through a camera's viewfinder, I use my left eye if possible. Most motion picture cameras are designed for right-eyed people. It took some getting used to when I first started shooting in college.

Random fact #2: When I get an epistaxis*, blood only pours out of my right nostril.

Random fact #3: I was a DJ in college. During pledge week one year, I worked the phones during the reggae show that came on after mine. One caller's Jamaican accent was so thick, I kept asking him to spell stuff for me until in frustration, he asked me if English was my second language.

Random fact #4: There are tv shows I watch now that have been on longer than the five years my niece has been alive. That kind of blows my mind.

Random fact #5: I couldn't reliably tell time on analog clocks until 7th grade. Quelle heure est-il? The delay in my answers was not because I didn't know the French. I just had a hard time deciphering the analog clock pictures that had no numbers on them in our workbooks.

Random fact #6: If the interwebs had been 7 years further along when I was living in LA, I might still be there.

(Consider yourself tagged if you'd like to play along.)

*FreeRice in action, baby.


A year ago on TTaT: What idiot thought this was a good idea?

06 November 2008

Ooh

I just found my grad school diploma. Yea for finding items that weren't where I first expected them to be.


Two years ago on TTaT: I'm the crazy one

05 November 2008

All but one

So... those photos I've been looking for for over 4 years? Not in the hot pink notebook I've yet to find. However, all but one and several I'd forgotten were in a folder from a box I snagged out of storage yesterday.

A few gems:
hot & sexy girls
Lingerie Modeling, Hot & Sexy Girls!

moving dolly track
My guys adjusting dolly track

G at Disney World
Disney World!

Diner foursome
Some crew as extras

Rooftop quartet
Shooting rooftop production stills

Regarding that last photo, I still can't believe I never got to see any of the shots I took for production, at least a few rolls worth if not more. The shot I was taking in that photo, it would've been pretty damn sweet.

Tempered

Though I'm proud of us for electing Barack Obama, all the measures against gay rights that passed have tempered my optimism. We are still a deeply divided country.

Some day we will all have to understand that equality is equality, you don't get to pick and choose to whom it applies if you really believe in freedom. I don't comprehend what is so threatening about gay marriage.

May we all be less insecure in the future.


A year ago on TTaT: Is this you?

03 November 2008

Read your ballot carefully...

...and don't forget to vote for Obama!

Tomorrow, Tuesday, November 4th.

Look up where to vote with Google maps voting info. To be safe, you might want to verify it with a call to your city or town hall.


Two years ago on TTaT: Suspension of disbelief?

31 October 2008

My kind of costume parade

I'm a little in love with everyone who dressed up as someone from The Venture Brothers right now.

To all the women who had the confidence to don the skimpy attire of Molotov Cocktease and Dr. Girlfriend/Dr. Mrs. The Monarch: Brava!

Happy Halloween, everybody!


Two years ago on TTaT: Trick or Treat

30 October 2008

And that's a picture wrap on Fall




From yesterday morning.

29 October 2008

Fleeting

The cute and for that matter only boy at the library addressed me by name for the first time yesterday, and not just once. It was before I handed him my card, so I knew he actually knew it. I've been in numerous times to pick stuff up since he started working at the beginning of summer, so it's about frakkin' time.

When I said, "I think I've got the trifecta to pick up today," he grinned and said "Great use of 'trifecta.'"

Of course, I blanked on what his name was. We've never been formally introduced. He's scanned my card and seen my name as well as heard co-workers address me at least a dozen times. Despite the fact that the library finally has staff wearing name tags, he never wears one. Based on two or three instances of hearing him referred to, I'm reasonably certain his name is Nick. This even occurred to me before our exchange was done, but I wasn't certain enough to try it out.

I just need to say, "Nick, right?" next time.

He was wearing jeans, a t-shirt with some sort of graphic, and a hoodie. Guys have always gotten away with slack attire there; having worked there a million years ago, I was jealous, and incidentally wearing the same thing plus a jacket.

He's probably at least ten years younger than I am and he works with my mom's best friend and a couple of other women I know there, so it's probably best if he just stays the cute boy at the library.

Still, it's nice that he finally knows my name.


A year ago on TTaT: Pinky pain

28 October 2008

Your free clicks help donate mammograms, really

Go to The Breast Cancer Site and click now to help donate mammograms to underprivileged women in the US.

According to Snopes, it's legit. There's no cost to you, no sign-up or registration to fool with. Just click the button that says "Click Here to Give – it's FREE!"

Clicks are worth double this month, but you can only click once per day (or per ISP address, I suppose). If there are enough clicks in October for 500 mammograms (Snopes says 45,000 clicks = 1 mammogram), their premiere sponsor this month, bare necessities, will donate an additional 200 mammograms.

Right now, they are at 91% of their goal. Click today and the rest of this week, and get your friends to do the same to help them get those additional 200 mammograms donated.

Five o'clock water tower

WS water tower profile
MS water tower
WS water tower

A year ago on TTaT: The Off-Season Vacation (part 3)

After 4 years

If I remember what the photos I've been searching for look like, why is it so important to me to find them?

Nothing gets under my skin like not being able to find something I know I have. When more than half your life is in storage however, keeping track of it all gets more complicated.

My latest inspiration was the spiral-topped notebook with the hot pink cover and diagonal elastics on the bottom corners. Over four years ago, that might've seemed like a good place to put some 7 or 8 stray photos for the drive cross-country. Shoulda kept them with the rest of the small wall items; I found those.

Anyway, I know the hot pink notebook is in storage, but even though I cut open and searched several likely boxes, I did not find it. Maybe I repacked that box with the plastic crate from even older storage. It might be there.

This is evolving into an obsession.

Sigh.

27 October 2008

4:53 by the tracks

WS factory
MS factory
MS roof supports
MWS barn

Two years ago on TTaT: 37

24 October 2008

Trick-or-Treating, at the mall?

At the mall the other day, I noticed some signs that said some stores would be giving out candy for Halloween some upcoming afternoon. I'd seen pictures of my niece doing that where they live last year (or maybe the year before), but it still seems totally strange to me.

Did any of you do that?

Where I lived, we didn't even have a mall until I was in high school, and I'm pretty sure no stores gave out candy back then. I would've been out of the 6-12 age range in any case.

I get that it's for safety, but trick-or-treating just isn't the same if it isn't dark and you always have to have your parents along.


Two years ago on TTaT: The Road is my Favorite Place: Day 9

23 October 2008

22 October 2008

Sheep farm revisited, part 1

WS sheep farm
sheep and fence
MS sheep
sheep with mountains in BG

A year ago on TTaT: For real

21 October 2008

Note to self, ed. XIV

When buying bathroom curtains, sheers are more transparent at home than they appear under store lighting.

Milkweed

Milkweed MCU
Milkweed MS
Milkweed WS

Two years ago on TTaT: Better and better

20 October 2008

It could've been a good Monday

Instead, though the scientist within knows better, I feel a bit like I'm being punished.

I was dragging when I woke up this morning, so I stayed in bed for a bit trying to convince myself to get up.

Five minutes. Less even. If I'd just gotten up five minutes earlier, I might've been rewarded: I might've seen bears.

Instead, when the frantic yelling began, I'd just gotten out of the shower. The exhaust fan was still sucking up steam, so I wasn't even sure the yelling was aimed at me. If the house was on fire, it seems clear now that I wasn't awake enough to care. Then my brain pieced together two words from the vocal barrage: "Claire" and "bears."

I was dry but naked. Though I'm not surprised, I learned that in a moment of crisis, modesty prevails (when I don't know where everyone is). I grabbed a black towel, but it was too short, so I yanked the larger pale blue one off the rack and wrapped it around my waist. I immediately reversed the towels because I did not want to risk staining the pale blue with blood. By the time I manged to clutch both towels relatively shut and open the door, I heard, "I lost sight of them. ... Yup, they're gone."

I closed the door and resumed my routine. Within five minutes, I was dressed, save for socks, menstrual blood held at bay. If I'd been a man, concern for blood dripping wouldn't have been an issue and one towel would have been enough.

Knowing I'd missed the bears felt worse than not knowing they were there. I told myself: It's nice to know they're around at least. And even if I'd reacted instantaneously I still might've missed them because I couldn't understand most of the yelling, including where to look.

Just yesterday, I emailed someone about the bears' appearances last spring. I've never seen them in autumn. Though it's irrational, part of me feels like thinking about them yesterday conjured their appearance today. My reason, however, takes it as evidence that I should keep an eye out for them.

Maybe next time.


A year ago on TTaT: Misunderstood once

19 October 2008

Curvy Clock & Counter-clock Lock

curvy lock of hair






Natural can be odd.

It's not as clear in the photo as it was in the mirror, but the curl changes direction about halfway down.








Two years ago on TTaT: The Go-To Name

17 October 2008

Horizontal or vertical?

Or maybe by color, then size...

horizontal
vertical
Curious what light does, isn't it?


Two years ago on TTaT: Fine, be that way!

16 October 2008

If you don't understand...

...why someone straight would stand up for the rights of someone gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered, then keep an open mind and read Dave2's excellent post on the topic.

Then,
If you live in California, vote NO on Proposition 8 and make this world a better place.

If you live in Arkansas, vote NO on Proposition 1 and make this world a better place.

Dave2, thank you for supporting the rights of LGBT people on Blogography.


Two years ago on TTaT: The 11th Dimension is Time

14 October 2008

Autumn

cows and autumn colorsMWS autumn mountainMS autumn mountain

Two years ago on TTaT: 36

13 October 2008

Under $3 a gallon

I actually saw gas for as low as $2.87/gallon yesterday. Alas, I was not in my car at the time, and all the gas stations with prices from $2.87 to $2.99/gal were much too far away from home to be worth the drive.

Sigh.


A year ago on TTaT: Knuckle burn

11 October 2008

Dudes on pointe

What more could you ask for?

Tutus?
Check.

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo

The Trocks, as they are fondly called, are a group of male dancers with a sense of humor about ballet. Camp, silliness, and technique. On stage, the dancers are clearly having a good time making sure the audience is having fun.

They tour internationally, so see if they turn up near you.


A year ago on TTaT: The Off-Season Vacation (part 1)

07 October 2008

10 Second Mystery

The day after the gas man came to do yearly maintenance, I took a brisk cold shower despite turning off the cold tap entirely.


3 years ago on TTaT: Nate Cushman (part 2 of 2), Seven words I despise

06 October 2008

Coruscation

sparkling leaves 1sparkling leaves 2sparkling leaves 3
It means "sparkling."

The photos don't do justice to that first moment I looked out. Just shy of blinding, the droplets reflecting the sun on all those quivering leaves was mesmerizing.

However, I do like how the photos seem like abstractions of color.


Two years ago on TTaT: The Road is my Favorite Place: Day 6

05 October 2008

Anne Hathaway has Julie Andrews' number

Hilarious.

Search Anne Hathaway SNL skit where she plays a Julie Andrews character.


Two years ago on TTaT: Breast cancer awareness and resource links

04 October 2008

I believe it

From Mark Vonnegut’s introduction to Armageddon in Retrospect by his father Kurt Vonnegut:
“If you can’t write clearly, you probably don’t think nearly as well as you think you do,” he told me. If you ever think something he wrote was sloppy, you might be right, but just to be sure, read it again.

A year ago on TTaT: Pink!; Awe, is that the right word?

03 October 2008

Armageddon In Retrospect

Killing time at the library while waiting for someone the other night, I perused their display for Banned Books Week (September 27–October 4, 2008). I was pleased to see that I'd read nearly all of the books in the case.

I've got stuff at home that I'm reading so I wasn't really looking for anything, but then among the new books I saw one by Kurt Vonnegut. Ah, serendipity! The author of Slaughterhouse Five made an excellent choice for Banned Books Week.

38. Armageddon In Retrospect by Kurt Vonnegut (4/5)

Armageddon In Retrospect is a collection of 12 previously unpublished non-fiction and fiction writings about war and peace by Kurt Vonnegut with a very good introduction by his son Mark. The non-fiction portions, including a letter he wrote to his family after he was freed from being a POW during World War 2, provide so much insight into the author and his fiction stories. The destruction of Dresden by American bombers, which he witnessed from the ground as a POW, clearly had a profound effect on him and his writing. The story "The Commandant's Desk" is as relevant to today as it is to WWII.

It's a quick read, definitely worth checking out.

According to the American Library Association (ALA),
The 10 most challenged books of 2007 reflect a range of themes, and are:

1. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
Reasons: Anti-Ethnic, Sexism, Homosexuality, Anti-Family, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group
2. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Violence
3. Olive’s Ocean, by Kevin Henkes
Reasons: Sexually Explicit and Offensive Language
4. The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman
Reasons: Religious Viewpoint
5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
Reasons: Racism
6. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language,
7. TTYL, by Lauren Myracle
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group
8. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
Reasons: Sexually Explicit
9. It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
Reasons: Sex Education, Sexually Explicit
10. The Perks of Being A Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

The most frequently challenged authors of 2007

1. Robert Cormier
2. Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
3. Mark Twain
4. Toni Morrison
5. Philip Pullman
6. Kevin Henkes
7. Lois Lowry
8. Chris Crutcher
9. Lauren Myracle
10. Joann Sfar
Now get out there and read some banned books!

3 years ago on TTaT: The top of the hill, tip of the week- electricity, Nerves a-twitter

02 October 2008

What are you wearing?

37. The Hakawati by Rabih Alemeddine (4/5)

A book of fiction that masterly interweaves a family's history with myths and stories within stories. Most of it takes place in and around Lebanon at different periods which is compelling to read about in and of itself. This paragraph has been on my mind for a couple of weeks:
So my boy comes up with the wisest thing. He said, ‘Everything here is too big for me. I couldn’t grow into it.’ At first, I thought he was talking about his physical size, so I tried to reassure him–it can’t be easy being small. But then I realized he was talking about something else. He really couldn’t make those clothes fit him. In his mind, the Boss suit was made for that blond model, not him. And that’s the secret. Never wear clothes that are bigger than you are unless you intend to grow into them. If you want to wear a great suit, either you believe it belongs to you or you’ll look like you’re thirteen and wearing your mother’s clothes. Doesn’t that make sense? It’s the same in life. Never live a life too big for you. You either grow bigger to encompass it or shrink it to fit you.
Fashion, tailored clothing, the look of it has always appealed to me, but it's never been something I've sought out to wear (which typically leaves me in a bind for weddings and funerals). I don't feel like I have the life for those clothes. Besides, who wants to hassle with dry cleaning if they don't have to? Despite my education, my outlook is pretty blue-collar when it comes to clothing.

Still, What Not To Wear and its US version wouldn't be the successes they are if there wasn't something to the idea of changing from the outside in.

But then there's Henry David Thoreau's argument in Walden:
I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes. If there is not a new man, how can the new clothes be made to fit? If you have any enterprise before you, try it in your old clothes. All men want, not something to do with, but something to do, or rather something to be. Perhaps we should never procure a new suit, however ragged or dirty the old, until we have so conducted, so enterprised or sailed in some way, that we feel like new men in the old, and that to retain it would be like keeping new wine in old bottles. Our moulting season, like that of the fowls, must be a crisis in our lives. The loon retires to solitary ponds to spend it. Thus also the snake casts its slough, and the caterpillar its wormy coat, by an internal industry and expansion; for clothes are but our outmost cuticle and mortal coil. Otherwise we shall be found sailing under false colors, and be inevitably cashiered at last by our own opinion, as well as that of mankind.
Change first, then change the wardrobe. This is more my route at present which mostly means I'm talking myself out of buying stuff similar to what I currently wear. There are stray garments in my closet that belong to the sassy fashionista within, but I very rarely wear them because most of the time, they don't metaphorically fit. Talking your brain out of self-consciousness is not so simple, especially when you're not convinced you want to be noticed.

The clothes I wear reflect the life I'm leading at present; I just envision something different for myself, bigger. However, even in this life, the clothes I've relied on for so long are losing their appeal. What to replace them with though?

Do your clothes fit your life, or the life you want to have?


Two years ago on TTaT: Time for college

01 October 2008

Non partisan PSA: Don't Vote!


If you're not registered to vote yet, you need to do it right now. Deadlines to register are as early as Oct. 4 in some states.

Name that mythological monster

Going through old boxes, I recently rediscovered these clay creations of mine, part of a social studies project from middle school. If there was a way to use art to get out of or reduce the amount I had to write, I was all over it.*

A. What a handsome fellow!
George front George back
Ooh, just look at that fine hair detail!


B.
Alex frontAlex back

*In tenth grade, I drew a poster illustrating differences between W.E.B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington for US History. For English that year, I painted a representation of the themes in Shakespeare's Macbeth. I still dig that painting actually.

The real trick of it is that they were right to give me credit for that artwork even though I feel like I managed to get away with something. Just because it's art doesn't mean it's not work.


Two years ago on TTaT: Amen

30 September 2008

Twice, seriously?

Last week the water main broke so the theater was closed.

This week, at a totally different theater, there were problems with the film so the showing I wanted to see (and the one after that) were cancelled.

Third time's a charm?

27 September 2008

McCain's treatment of POW/MIA issues

If you're concerned about the treatment of our country's men and women in military service, please read Dave2 of Blogography's excellent post on the subject and check out the information source links he provides.


A year ago on TTaT: My feed reader is already out of control

26 September 2008

Life's soundtrack

I try to say goodbye and I choke
I try to walk away and I stumble
Though I try to hide it it's clear
My world crumbles when you are not near
When I belted this out as I left LA for the first time, I poured all my frustration into it making my voice hoarse.

It took longer to pack my car than I'd expected, so I got a late start, hitting afternoon rush hour. To make matters worse, it was raining which stops most everything in LA. I'd planned to drive the 379 miles to Phoenix, but in 5 hours I hadn't even made it halfway. At the end of the night, I didn't even make it out of California, surrendering in Indio, a mere 132 miles away.

However, about an hour into my slow slow journey out of LA, I saw a rainbow ahead. And beyond that, clear skies. The drive would be long, but I was free.

That was 8 1/2 years ago, but when I heard that song again yesterday, it brought that day back in detail.


A year ago on TTaT: My missing appendage

24 September 2008

bowling, bowling, bowling

When we walked into the bowling alley, all the pins across the entire long room were dark because no one was bowling. It didn't even seem like they were open. All of the scoreboard screens within view of the counter displayed a golf tournament. An even ubiquitous male voice stated the conditions of the course and the rankings of the competitors.

Once my eyes adjusted to the dim hall, I saw the guy behind the counter. Getting shoes wasn't a problem; he even had 9.5s for me albeit with velcro closures. Lane 10 was about 2/3 of the way down. Instead of the typical curved banquette, there were just oblong tables and chairs on a slightly raised, carpeted area. We put on our shoes and started looking for balls. The pins in our lane lit up in invitation.

The last time I actually bowled was 5 or 6 six years ago. In those days, I used an 11 or 12 pound ball and my second game was typically better than my first. The closest thing I've done since is Wii bowling. In the video game, I've broken 200 both right and left-handed, and I regularly break 170. We typed in our Mii names for inspiration.

Since I hadn't been lifting all that much lately, I found a suitable 10 pound ball and stood at the back diamonds on the floor trying to remember how many steps to take. My form wasn't too bad for my first throw until BAM! It was the loudest bowling-ball-meets-alley crash I'd ever heard. It was so loud that I thought it was going to leave a dent. The sound reverberated across the whole room, and I looked nervously over at the counter. I didn't see anyone giving me the evil eye, so I threw my next ball, attempting to be more gentle without much success. I turned around and said, "I'm going to find a lighter ball."

"The ones down at the end are lighter weights," Gina said.

About halfway down I heard another crash. At least I wasn't the only one bowling loudly.

I spun a couple balls around on the rack, so I could see if my fingers would fit until I found a suitable fluorescent orange 8 pound ball. When I got back to our lane, it was my turn again. I stood just behind the marks and tried to remember between which two arrows I should aim on the lane. I rolled my shoulders back and straightened up. It wouldn't be until halfway through the game that I'd notice I was bringing my posture into perfect alignment while semi-consciously visualizing my throw.

After knocking down a few pins, I'd jog back to watch the animated bowling tip for making the spare. It was the first time I'd ever seen that. So very cool. After my second throw, I'd watch the silly animations on the screen and look for how fast I'd thrown the ball (~12.5 mph).

A kid's birthday party showed up, taking over the bar with balloons and decorations as well as the far end of the lanes. When they arrived, the golf tournament went off and the music came on. "...Baby One More Time" by Britney Spears.

Though I was aiming for the 1-3 pocket, I hit the 1-2 pocket, making the strike that always seemed so improbable in Wii bowling. "Yes!" I held my arms up in celebration. In the next frame, of course, I only knocked down a total of 3 pins.

A cute bearded guy took a lane a few down from us on our right. He didn't walk much, or at all sometimes, but he held the ball so far up behind himself it created a huge arc enabling him to hurl the ball very fast. I tried lifting the ball back higher for a bigger arc but had nowhere near the strength or flexibility he had.

Then a couple young guys took a lane over to our left. They were just messing around, but one made sure we heard, "That's why we practice."

Shortly after their arrival, the overhead lights went off and flashing, rotating colored lights came up. I had long wanted to try disco bowling, but in the actual moment, I didn't really care because I was focused on trying to bowl better, enough so that I didn't find it distracting. (It'd probably be cooler if the pins and balls glowed in the dark.)

I finished the first game with two strikes and a total of 96. In the old days, I would've at least broken a hundred, but my abysmal score was still enough to put me in first place by 20 points.

My arm was getting tired, but we were having fun, so I punched '2' on the keyboard to start a second game.

This time, my second game was much worse and I came in dead last with around 74. However, I made two spares which I was actually more proud of than my strikes. With every first throw, you're trying to hit the 1-3 pocket for a strike (if you're right-handed), so you're practicing that motion at least once every frame, but spares are often different each time. I understood what I needed my body to do for the most part, I just need to be stronger to have more control.

I was sore the next day, but it was so worth it. It won't be another five years before I go back.


A year ago on TTaT: Oh sacrilege, how you make me laugh

23 September 2008

I'm not for public spitting, but...

"Here's your Cabernet, your Michelob Ultra, and your ginger ale." Ashley the waitress placed a straw in front of me and then rapidly rambled, "I should warn you the ginger ale is disgusting. Pepsi sent us a new batch and we've tried different packages of the mix, but it's still awful. Everyone hates it. I guess I shouldn't have said that." I laughed, and she concluded, "You might like it, but if you don't, I'll bring you something else."

I unwrapped the straw, slid it in the drink, and took a sip.

And did not swallow.

She wasn't kidding. It was horrible, tasting nothing like ginger ale. I glanced around, considered the straw and my very full glass, and then spit it back into the glass as discreetly as possible. "Sorry," I said to my dinner companions and Ashley. "That's awful. It tastes like club soda."

"Tonic water," Ashley offered.

"Yeah." I wasn't sure what the difference was between those but knew I hated both. "I'll take a Dr Pepper."

"I'll bring it right out."

"Thanks."


Two years ago on TTaT: Tyler plus one

22 September 2008

Nap time

sleeping piglets WSsleeping piglets MCUsleeping piglets WS

Two years ago on TTaT: The Next 15

21 September 2008

playlist: BIRTHDAy, part 2

Part 1 of the list

Part 2:

Shelter From The Storm – Cassandra Wilson

Mama Told Me Not To Come – Three Dog Night

Shake Your Groove Thing – Peaches & Herb

Our Lips Are Sealed – The Go-Go's

Laid – Matt Nathanson

This Love – Maroon 5

Lovely Day – Bill Withers

Cry Me a River – The Cliks

Be My Yoko Ono – Matthew's Minstrels

(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction – The Rolling Stones

Not Enough Time – INXS

Oh Yeah – The Cliks

Tangerine Speedo (Album / Explicit Version) – Caviar

We Are Family – Sister Sledge

Here Comes The Sun – The Beatles

Flagpole Sitta – Harvey Danger

Breathe Me (Four Tet Remix) – Sia

I Can't Take My Eyes Off You – Melanie Doane

Feel Good Time – Pink & William Orbit

Boom Boom Ba – Metisse

Start The Commotion – Wiseguys Feat. Greg Nice

Glycerine – Bush

Cobrastyle (Featuring Mad Cobra) – Teddybears

Four Leaf Clover (Live) – Abra Moore

Bittersweet Symphony – The Verve

Speed of Sound – Coldplay

Song For The Lonely – Cher

Thank You – Home Made Kazoku

Whip It – Devo

Everybody Got Their Something – Nikka Costa

I Melt With You – Modern English

Crazy – Alanis Morissette

Blush (Only You) – Plumb

Smile (Radio Edit) – Lily Allen

Birthday – The Beatles

Let's Groove – Earth, Wind & Fire

Good Thing – Fine Young Cannibals

20 September 2008

playlist: BIRTHDAy, part 1

In no particular order because when I tried to pick up where I left off yesterday, it shuffled the songs into a new order. D'oh! The first song was the first though.

Tunes I selected for rocking out on my birthday yesterday (and beyond since the playlist is almost 5 hours):

Hit Me With Your Best Shot – Pat Benatar

You Keep Me Hangin' On (Almighty Mix Edit) – Diana Ross & The Supremes

Lola – The Kinks

Tempted 1994 – Squeeze

Love Song – Sara Bareilles

Back On The Chain Gang (2007 Remastered LP Version) – The Pretenders

Never Can Say Goodbye – Communards with Sarah Jane Morris

Just Like Heaven – Matthew's Minstrels

Spinning Wheel – Blood, Sweat & Tears

God Is a DJ – P!nk

Alphabet Street – The Accidentals

Into Dust – Mazzy Star

Everybody Dance Now – Joseph LoDuca

Brighter Than Sunshine – Aqualung

Let's Dance to Joy Division – The Wombats

Wonderful – Adam Ant

In Your Eyes – Peter Gabriel

Porcelain – Moby

My Number – Tegan & Sara

Mercy – Duffy

Hometown Glory (Radio Edit) – ADELE

Where Does The Good Go? – Tegan & Sara

Betterman – Pearl Jam

September – Earth, Wind & Fire

Pinball Wizard – The Who

Digital Love – Daft Punk

Saving Grace (Theme) – Everlast

Baby Love Child – Pizzicato Five

Never Got Off the Ground – Alison Krauss

Tears & Laughter – Tall Tree 6ft Man

Diplo Rhythm – Diplo, Pantera Os Danadinhos, Sandra Melody & Vybz Cartel

Good Vibrations – The Beach Boys

She Wants to Move – N.E.R.D.

Happy Together – The Turtles

Love Will Come Through (Album Version) – Travis

Don't You Forget About Me – Simple Minds

Edge of the Ocean – Ivy

One Line – PJ Harvey

Tonight's the Night – P!nk


Two years ago on TTaT: 33 Things