Saturday, September 26, 2009

Photographic Memory #9 - Wild Weddings

Being surrounded by church musicians, I had a lot of exposure to weddings and the planning thereof. It would be no surprise then that I had elaborate weddings for my stuffed animals. (That's no surprise, right?)

The first was Sarah and George. I had received Sarah as a birthday present and decided she was lonely. So I made George myself and then married them off. Date on the photo is August 30, 1992.

See, made a wedding dress and even a wedding cake.

I'm not sure of the exact order, but there were many other weddings including snails:


(This is obviously not their wedding picture since they have a child, also "Martha-made.")

and cats:

We went all out, invited all the other stuffed animals, set up an aisle, altar, the whole shebang.

We even "sent" invitations:

and had bulletins:

Good times.

Yes. I know I'm weird.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Oscar Recap

(Winners are in Red)

Performance by an actor in a leading role
Richard Jenkins in "The Visitor"
Frank Langella in "Frost/Nixon"
Sean Penn in "Milk"
Brad Pitt in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
Mickey Rourke in "The Wrestler"

My thoughts:
Well, I guess it’s a little unfair to Mickey Rourke that I didn’t watch his entire movie. But this would have been a hard decision. They all did pretty well, I’d say. Not to make less of Sean Penn’s win, but I could have seen this go to any of these guys.

Performance by an actor in a supporting role
Josh Brolin in "Milk"
Robert Downey Jr. in "Tropic Thunder"
Philip Seymour Hoffman in "Doubt"
Heath Ledger in "The Dark Knight"
Michael Shannon in "Revolutionary Road"

My thoughts:
First off, I admit I don’t really even remember who Josh Brolin or Michael Shannon played in their respective films (politician and crazy neighbor, right?) Doesn’t bode well for them… As I mentioned in my “review” of Doubt, Philip Seymour Hoffman always seems to overact, which bothers me. That said, I’d like to think that Heath would have won regardless of his untimely death, but I guess we’ll never know if that influenced the decision or not.

Performance by an actress in a leading role
Anne Hathaway in "Rachel Getting Married"
Angelina Jolie in "Changeling"
Melissa Leo in "Frozen River"
Meryl Streep in "Doubt"
Kate Winslet in "The Reader"

My thoughts:
The Reader was one of my favorite films of this year’s lot. I can’t complain about this outcome. I love Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway, but it was Kate’s turn.

Performance by an actress in a supporting role
Amy Adams in "Doubt"
Penélope Cruz in "Vicky Cristina Barcelona"
Viola Davis in "Doubt"
Taraji P. Henson in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
Marisa Tomei in "The Wrestler"

My thoughts:
Once again, not a good sign when I can’t remember who two of the ladies were… And I hardly saw Marisa Tomei so I can’t judge that performance. Amy Adams has gotten herself pigeon-holed into a certain type of character (see: Enchanted, Miss Pettigrew, Julie & Julia) and she needs to break out of that ASAP or her star is going to burn out really quickly. Doubt was really no different than those other movies. I can’t stand Penelope Cruz, but at least most of her dialogue was in Spanish. And man, can she yell!

Best animated feature film of the year
Kung Fu Panda

My thoughts:
I must be getting soft in my old age – I almost cried during two of these three movies. I can understand why WALL-E won, but I think Bolt was a close second.

Achievement in costume design
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Duchess
Revolutionary Road

My thoughts:
No reason to expect this would have gone to any other film. People tend to like the drama of period pieces. Corsets and frilly underwear is a lot more interesting than pencil skirts or purple-paisley shirts. (Yes, I just quoted a Goodwill commercial.)

Achievement in makeup
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Hellboy II: The Golden Army

My thoughts:
Yes, yes, it took a lot of effort to age Brad Pitt. It was creepy actually. But isn’t it more fun and interesting to create imaginary creatures? Eh. Can’t win ‘em all.

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (score)
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Slumdog Millionaire

My thoughts:
I thought it was wonderful, the use of Hello Dolly! in WALL-E. Although I suppose that didn’t count in the score part, huh? I guess I don’t really pay attention to background music too much…

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (song)

Down to Earth from "WALL-E"
Jai Ho from "Slumdog Millionaire"
O Saya from "Slumdog Millionaire"

My thoughts:
I still find it hard to believe that there were no other original songs this year. And wasn’t “Jai Ho” written for a different movie? Why wasn’t it disqualified (see: “Come What May” from Moulin Rouge)?

Best motion picture of the year
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

My thoughts:
I just wasn’t that impressed with Slumdog. It won so many awards… If these were my five choices, I’d go with The Reader. I also really enjoyed The Visitor.

Achievement in visual effects
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Iron Man

My thoughts:
I don’t know about this one. What visual effects were in Benjamin Button that didn’t involve Brad Pitt’s appearance? Both Dark Knight and Iron Man had so much more cool CGI action stuff.

I’ve got no comments on these categories (mostly because I'd have no idea what I'm talking about):
Adapted screenplay
Original screenplay
Achievement in art direction
Achievement in cinematography
Achievement in directing
Achievement in film editing
Achievement in sound editing
Achievement in sound mixing

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Proof That Ted Exists

Here's the fat cat of the bunch - although, honestly, I think Carly would give him a run for the money pound-wise at this point.

Here are some related pictures:

JC in his favorite position - on his back up against the wall. Oooh, that sounds dirty!

Connor staring creepily at me from down the hall:

Ted ruining yet another picture by walking away as the flash goes off:

(PS - Do I really sound like that? Geesh. It's like Fargo up in here!)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

While Blogging...

I turned around and this is what I saw:

How can creatures this cute be so:


8 Sights

I saw this article on MSNBC’s travel section.

Here are the 8 sights every American should see:

1. Sears Tower (now known as Willis Tower)
I’m pretty sure I’ve been there at some point. Quite awhile ago – perhaps while on a school trip? I really don’t remember. All tall buildings are pretty much the same. Give me the Eiffel Tower anyday.

2. Gettysburg
Been here too, on that same 1996 trip I was telling you about a little bit ago. I wasn’t that interested. I think we took a bus tour, but really, it’s fields, markers. I’m not a big war history fan so perhaps the deeper grandeur was wasted on me.

3. Pearl Harbor
Haven’t been here. Although, if I were taking a trip to Hawaii I’m not sure I’d include this stop in my itinerary anyway. Once again, not such a war history fan.

4. New York Harbor/Ellis Island
Haven’t been to NYC at all. We’ll see if my first planned foray there next May pans out.

5. Monticello
Yep, been there. It’s a lovely place.

6. Yellowstone
I’d love to go here – make it a monster trip and throw in the Grand Canyon on the way. I just tend to gravitate eastward when trip planning.

7. Graceland
Hmm. This one seems a little out of place. I don’t know that I’d be interested in going here. It’s probably ridiculously touristy and some Elvis fans are kooky. And I can only imagine how many impersonators there are…

8. Ebenezer Baptist Church (MLK Jr)
Not sure I’d make a trip here. It’s a church. I understand the importance in civil rights history, but I’m not totally convinced. I’d much rather go see Notre Dame in Paris or the cathedral in Chartres.

Places I’d add:
The Grand Canyon
Mount Rushmore (really, how did this not make the list?)
The Badlands
Mitchell Corn Palace (it’s so cool!)
Niagara Falls
Mammoth Caves in Kentucky
Pike’s Market in Seattle
Denali National Park

I'm sure I'm missing some obvious ones - what places in the US do you think everyone should be sure to see?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Cleaning House

We had the carpets in the pet room, office, and living room cleaned yesterday. We figured it was time - what with Carly using the carpets as her litter box for awhile there. (Side note: Getting rid of the enclosed litter boxes seems to have cured that. Yay! (Knock on wood))

Carpet cleaning necessitated the moving of furniture which activated the "let's reorganize and rearrange the house" mode in Adam's brain. Coupled with the fact that JC has been jumping up by the TV and pushing it all over the place, it was pretty much inevitable that we'd be moving things around.

So, after the carpets were cleaned yesterday morning, we went out shopping while they were drying. Here are the results of (mostly Adam's) hard work:

Living Room:



He hung the TV on the wall, replaced the TV stand, and got rid of the media racks.

I can't really find a good "before" picture...


The bed has been taken down to the basement - I mean, who ever visits us? (Hmm, we must be hard to tolerate. Bwahahahaha.) We made the room into a kind of "library" or "study." We replaced the bed with two chairs. We moved the TV stand from the living room into here. We took the big bookshelf downstairs and brought up two smaller ones for our books. We also moved one of the media shelves into this room for our DVDs and VHS cassettes. (On a side note: we took the majority of our DVDs to Media Xchange this afternoon and what we got for them pretty much paid for the new TV stand. Woo!)

Pet Room:



Nothing too shocking here. We just got rid of the rolling boxes and got some cheap Walmart ones. We also replaced the spill carpet and vinyl runner.

So, not too shabby for a day or so of work. Once again, mostly Adam's work. I...supervise. And alphabetize.

The cats of course were a nuisance throughout the whole thing. They love to explore places that were previous inaccessible. Or off limits. Or both. Connor does seem to be enjoying the new set-up in the office:

I just picture him in a smoking jacket, reading a book, smoking a cigar, and drinking brandy. He gives off that distinguished kind of vibe. Or I'm just nuts. That's a possibility as well...

Cut for a Cause - Heads of Time

I just got my hair cut, but if you'll be due for a trim on October 24th, think about stopping by and helping a good cause.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Literary Worm

I don't know about you, but it looks to me like this worm has a thing for Jane Austen.

(from my Cute Overload calendar, of course. I've purchased a "Kitten and Friends" calendar for next year so fear not - plenty of cuteness for the future!)

Monday, September 14, 2009

You Know You're a Dork When're sitting at a red light and a car pulls up next to you, radio blaring some awful permutation of Kanye or T-I or Jay-Z or whoever else is popular right now (honestly, they all sound the same)

and you're rocking out to Vivaldi's Gloria.

Yeah. True story.

Although I admit that sometimes it is the third movement from Mozart's Horn Concerto #2...

That one's a head-bobber for sure.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Carly's a Real "Witch"

In the midst of all the shopping we somehow ended up doing today, we were lured into Build-a-Bear by their new purple "Kooky Spooky Kitty." We thought it would be perfect (or "purr-fect" if you will) as a new companion for Carly. She constantly jumps up on the bookshelf that houses most of the other bears in our family. And this one would be a witch cat.

(Note the broom and cute cat trick-or-treat bag.)

Just like Carly. We actually named the stuffed version "Carly". Last name "The Witch." Because there were children around and it wouldn't have been right to write what we really wanted to on the birth certificate of a stuffed cat.

Anywho, we get home, take "Carly" out of the box. JC is instantly fascinated by the dress, trying to eat it. Carly (the real cat) on the other hand had no interest in it whatsoever. I had to put it up on top of the fridge next to her for her to even notice it. Even then she just sniffed it and then tried to eat its foot.

Some distraction from Adam (while he held JC at bay on the counter) and I managed to get a better picture of Carly and Carly.

I thought I'd be pushing my luck to try and get one with the hat on the real cat, but I might still try that one. *evil laugh* We'll see if she likes her new friend the next time she jumps on the bookshelf.

Photographic Memory #8 - Jefferson's House

During the summer of 1996 my mother, sister, and I took a trip east to visit a variety of landmarks and tourist destinations and attend a family reunion. Perhaps unsurprisingly I have very few pictures of people - mostly buildings and animals.

One of the stops was Monticello. Being the strange child that I was, I had this obsession with US Presidents. Philandering with servants aside, I had always liked Jefferson. It didn't hurt that, like George Washington, his wife's name was Martha. So I was ok with this particular stop on the itinerary. It's a lovely place. I ended up taking a picture of the house that was eerily similar to a post card I picked up:

Not bad for pre-digital photography by a complete amateur. Perhaps I missed my calling...

Friday, September 11, 2009


To the lady in the bathroom this afternoon:

I heard you in the stall blowing your nose. Sounds like you have a cold. That sucks.

I also heard you leave the bathroom without washing your hands. That sucks too.

Gross. Just gross.

That, my friends, is how diseases are spread. Duh.


That is all.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Categorized Updates

Saw Defiance. I knew absolutely nothing about it until one of the guys in it came on Conan to promote a different film. When I learned it was about WWII and was made by the same guy who did Blood Diamond I was almost certain I was a goner. Then I saw it was almost 2 ½ hours long. I was pretty sure it would beat me. But no. I watched it. All of it. Well. Kind of. I made lunch while I was watching it and just let it run while I was in the kitchen. But I listened to it. Honestly, not so bad. Plenty of violence, yes, some bad accents, yes, but still watchable. But I’m glad Adam wasn’t around while I was watching this one. I did a whole lot of yelling at the TV. Not so embarrassing when the only ones around to hear you are the cats.

We also rented Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Cute, although that Alexis Dziena chick needs to start looking for better roles. Unless she likes being cast as the stuck-up bitch all the time… It had its funny moments, its gross moments (hello piece of gum dropped into a toilet full of puke!) but all together, not a bad way to spend 90 minutes.

All that’s left of my Oscar list is Gran Torino, which arrived today. Not looking forward to it. But I know it’s one Adam wants to see so I’ll probably end up suffering through it. After that’s done I’ll do a final recap.

Bells started practicing a little early this year because St. Mary’s 150th anniversary year culminates in a big hoopla concert/mass thing this Sunday. We figured if we wanted to be part of it we’d better practice a little beforehand. Even though we’re playing three pieces we’ve played many times before, it can’t hurt to polish them up a bit since we’ve been away from the bells for a few months. We managed to recruit two new members. We’ll see if they stick around. We’re a full crew now and Nancy can direct and not ring. One of the new ladies seems to be picking it up pretty quickly. The other suffers from what I like to call “silly syndrome.” In talking with her before the first rehearsal we learned she reads music, played the clarinet. But put two bells in her hands, stick her down at the bottom in bass clef, and all that knowledge seems to disappear. She misses notes, plays when she’s not supposed to, and giggles about the whole thing. *sigh* Hopefully that will stop once she catches on. I seem to still be stuck in my previous position. No one wants to move. Boo. I think it’d be fun to switch positions each year, but with the number of people who survive simply because they highlight and mark the heck out of their music I don’t think that’d be too popular of an idea.

Our first IMA meeting is next Tuesday. We changed the RSVP deadlines a little so we’ll see how many people I catch this first time. It doesn’t help that the newsletter was wrong… The editor plans to send out an “oops” email with the meeting reminder on Friday, but I hope it doesn’t cause any problems. We’ve got some good programs this year. Just one meeting not completely confirmed yet. We’ll see if we can improve on last years’ dismal chapter rank.


Carly had a vet appointment today. Nothing special – just her yearly wellness/distemper deal. (We joked that perhaps they should have doubled or tripled up on the distemper and maybe she’d be nicer.) She’s still crabby. She still hates everyone. She still pees outside the litter box. Since we’re having the carpets cleaned pretty soon we’re trying to break her of that last thing. Adam brought back the old-school box we had downstairs and we’ll keep it in the closet and take it out only when she’s alone in the cat room. We’ll see if it works. I get tired of cleaning up cat pee.

She also managed to create quite a mess the other morning. I put her in the cat room around 1, when she woke me up by parading up and down my body. I went back to get her when I woke up again around 3. (On a related note: I’ve been getting no sleep lately.) At first I didn’t notice it since I was looking for pee spots, but when I turned around to pick her up I saw that she had somehow broken into the container of catnip and dumped it all over the floor. She had also been rolling around in it so it was all over her fur. Argh. So I scooped up as much as I could back into the container (didn’t want to vacuum at 3am – you’re welcome Adam), brushed her off, but decided to leave her in the room since I didn’t want to A) bring her back to bed all hopped up on catnip and B) didn’t want the other cats all hopped up on catnip. Sometime around 4 Adam went to go get her so I had to get up again and explain the situation. It’s never dull.

After almost two years, Ted has finally started to warm up to me a little. Under normal circumstances, he still runs away and avoids me. But it seems we’ve got a new routine. Every night I empty their litter boxes before I head to bed. For about a week now, Ted follows me around while I do that and then I sit on the floor in the cat room and he’ll let me pet him. He does laps around me, rubs his head on my knees. He still is a little skittish if I move too quickly, has a tendency to drool, and bites me sometimes, but it’s progress. Adam’s still had little luck with both Connor and Ted. But at least someone’s able to make some contact with them. They’re hard nuts to crack.

JC is a nut of a completely different type. For some reason he likes rough-housing with Adam. He likes being tossed around, man-handled, rubbed vigorously. He purrs up a storm when Adam bounces his head around with his foot. It’s weird. But I figure as long as he’s purring, he’s having a good time. He seems to have lost interest in being in any way cuddly. I guess it’s too boring for him.

Seafood Fest is this weekend. It looks like we’ll be going Friday night. If you’re in the area (that’s Menasha in case you don’t know) you should stop by. It’s good food and the prices are reasonable. Hopefully the weather isn’t too bad.

We went to the comedy club again last night – Adam won free tickets this time. We’ll be regulars in no time. We’ve already got our tickets for Mitch Fatel. We’re going December 3rd (that’s a Thursday) so if you want to come with us, get your tickets now. I expect it will be a full house.

We’re throwing around ideas for our holiday party. Seeing as how our attendance has been…unimpressive…we’re thinking about how we could improve on that. My idea is to have it early. Before every else has theirs. Before people leave town. We’ll see what ends up happening. After last year part of me just kind of wants to forget about it. But I like the planning, the cooking. I just don’t like the disappointment and leftovers. It’s a balancing act. Tentative date is December 5th. Perhaps we'll make this the last ditch effort and if it doesn't go well we'll throw in the towel for good.

That's all for now. This has gotten a wee bit long. :)

Monday, September 07, 2009

Whiskers' Adventure

During the recent trip to my mom's house she took me upstairs to go through all the stuff she still had that was mine. I found the book I wrote in third grade for PACE. (Don't ask me what that stands for - I have no idea. It meant I got to skip out of class and play on computers though so that was cool.) It was actually put in the school library for awhile. And people other than me checked it out. Awesome.

So, in an effort to preserve history, I give you Whiskers' Adventure. (PDF)

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Not-So-Silly Questions

From GAMES Magazine, November 2009 issue:

Likely to make you feel pretty stupid... I only knew 5 1/2 for sure...

(click to enlarge)


She's so cute

... when she's sleeping.

Weekend Shelving Project

Thursday evening Adam decided he hated the front utility closet and it had to be changed. So Friday after work he stopped at Menards to use their closet design station to see what our options were. He was cleaning the closet out when I got home from work. We went out to dinner and stopped back at Menards afterwards. We picked up all the hardware and equipment and went home.

I can't find a "before" picture anywhere so you'll just have to imagine it...

We moved all the stuff that had accumulated in the closet to the office and Adam went to work removing the wood that had held the previous shelf up. He managed to punch a hole (or two) in the drywall with the hammer (and pry bar) in the process. Oops. So this necessitated a patch and paint. Nothing is ever as easy as it should be around here. Pretty much everything we've taken on so far has led to the discovery of a half-assed quick fix sometime in the past by the previous owner. So frustrating.

Anywho, so Adam patched the holes and we left it to dry overnight. We woke up Saturday morning and Adam painted the closet so it could dry while we did our normal errands. We stuck a fan in there while we were gone to help it along since we had to close the door so the cats didn't get all up into the wet paint. It was pretty much dry when we got back. So Adam set about measuring and marking for the top support thing. There was some...irregularity... with the stud finder so he decided to skip that and just use drywall anchors. Except the anchors he had were too small for the screws needed to fasten the tracks to the wall. So he made a trip back to Menards to get bigger ones.

When he returned he put the bigger anchors in and found they weren't going to work out either. And we ended up with another hole or two in the wall that had to be patched. And painted. So, after determining where the studs were (very scientfically - by tapping on the wall and then drilling where he thought they might be) we ended up moving the whole thing over a few inches so the tracks could be screwed into studs.


Once that was all worked out it went pretty quickly to get everything up and affixed.

Adam put his tools away and I put everything back into the closet.

We even got hooks for the broom and mops.

And we got these LED lights so we can see into the closet at night. They're definitely bright enough!

Of course, we couldn't have done it all without JC's help.

We've got carpet cleaners coming in a few weeks so now we need to get our act together and start cleaning up the other two closets. And the bookshelf. And the computer desk. *sigh*

Photographic Memory #7 - My Super Sweet Seventeen

The crew at hand for my seventeenth birthday party in February of 1999:

Jess, Sara, Megan, Lelah, Lisa, Jessica

Now I didn't have some big name rapper or give out invites in blocks of ice (I don't watch the MTV show. Really. Heh.), but...

We channeled our inner Pam Anderson:

Did impromtu stripper pole dancing:

Worked some corners:

Played some truth or dare:

(Bonus if you got the Better Off Dead reference there...)

The word of the day: Classy.

Saturday, September 05, 2009