Sunday, September 25, 2005

Blown Away

I was skeptical when I read about the T3 Tourmaline hairdryer in, of all places, Budget Living magazine. What business did a bi-monthly devoted to cheapskates like me have reviewing a $130.00 hairdryer? That's an order of magnitude pricier than your average everyday blow job.

Now I'll admit I'm a beauty product whore. I watch the latest scientific developments on skincare with rabid interest. And there have been phenomenal advances, most of them available in very affordable drugstore brands. I could go on and on although I've concluded - within the private boundaries of my product testing laboratory - that the most important contributions to that healthy, youthful glow come from diet and attitude.

Back to the T3. According to this article, this was in fact a budget item because it gives you salon quality hair at home, saves time and will eventually save you a bundle of cash because it leaves hair so soft and moist you can toss out that pricey conditioner. Oh, you'll also achieve unparalleled shine.

Off I trot to Beauty Depot. The teenagers behind the counter assured me their mothers were obsessed with the T3. But all I cared about was whether I could return it if it failed to meet my now enormous expectations.

Oh. My. God.

Suffice to say there is now a little altar in my bathroom where I'll kneel everyday and pray to the hair gods to keep producing this device.

This'll be the first in a series of occasional blogs discussing truth in advertising and beauty products that work. It's a subject dear to my heart because I waste more time returning stuff that doesn't work, and liars bug the holy living hell outta me.

Why should you suffer like I do?

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Saturday, September 24, 2005

Friday, September 23, 2005

Men's Fashion Disasters: A Dorkumentary

Ya'll can thank Fabdame for sending me this very worthy Friday Feature Presentation

Be sure to take the clothing tour!

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Thursday, September 22, 2005

All about Eva (or the bits I remember)

I've often wondered if Eva habitually hung out at the motel, aware she could pick up a game once in a while. Or if she'd already heard through the grapevine that a little girl her age had hit town. After watching Northern Exposure, I decided it was the grapevine. But I'll never know for sure unless she's out there reading this blog. Wouldn't it be awesome if she was?
Anyway, the next morning there she stood, scuffing her toe on the patio by the pool. My father alerted me to her presence.
Eva was thin, gangly and very blonde. She wore a red cardigan and pale cat's eye glasses. I have no idea what we said to each other but we bonded in that mysterious, quick way kids have. My next mental snapshot is of her house and its vast, echoing emptiness.
She and her little brother Benjamin didn't have a bed. They slept on sleeping bags over hardwood floors. The living room had pale green carpeting. Her mother was young, thin and attractive with brown hair. Benjamin had one toy - a plastic model horse. I don't know what Eva had.
I recall these things as a grown up, but none of it seemed strange or unsettling then. Although my father made good money, we didn't live like he did. We didn't have alot of stuff and neither did our neighbors. No one did.
I remember being blown away by the one material thing they had in abundance - parkas. Eva threw open the closet door and the breadth and scope of winter gear was staggering. Stuffed to the gills. Giving a clue about her life in the frozen north.
My next memory is walking in the warm sun through a field of tall grass. Up ahead was a tar paper and corrugated metal shack. She asked if I wanted to go see her friend and I said yes.
Inside the one-room shack sat your stereotypical forty-niner - scruffy beard down to here and a big toothless grin. He wore a torn, thin tee shirt, suspenders and old-man slacks. The room was crammed with knickknacks and assorted oddities. But, gloriously, amidst the mess, his prized posession wiggled - a perfectly primped and coiffed pomeranian dog.
Don't ask me it's name. I couldn't tell you.
On the way back to her house, Eva picked wild mushrooms and gave them to her mother, who sauteed them and served them on toast. She asked me if I wanted some but I'd never seen anything so gross in my life.
Now I wish I'd eaten them.
Today it would be too dangerous for two nine-year old girls to go wandering. I'm so thankful I grew up before now. And I mourn that my children will never know the kind of true and blissful freedom that comes from strolling the Alaskan wilderness with a brand new friend.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The best place I've ever been

While doing that test in the previous blog, I started thinking about the best place I'd ever been. At first I was going to list the foreign countries that touched me the most. But then I thought about the trip to Fairbanks I took with my dad in the spring of 1969.

Back then they hadn't yet introduced the jumbo jet. Long range, non-stop flying was still a dream the Boeing engineers were on the cusp of bringing to fruition. As a result, my dad would fly his 707 to Fairbanks where another crew would board, refuel, and fly to Tokyo and back. This left my dad in Fairbanks for a weekend layover.

That weekend he asked if I wanted to tag along. Pan American, at that time, was strictly an international airline. Regulations forbade it from picking up passengers in the US. Therefore, the flights within the US were inevitably empty. I had the whole jet to myself.

707s were beautiful, graceful airplanes. Long and lean with four engines on the wing, I could always recognize one in the sky. They also came equipped with circular lounges in first class. This is where I sat for the journey, eating vanilla ice cream. Besides being the only passenger, I was the captain's daughter. Talk about star treatment.

What I remember most about that flight is the eternal sunlight as you head west and north. Alaskan springtime meant twenty hours of sunshine. So it was light when I left New York and it didn't get dark until I came home on Sunday. Pure magic.

In the late sixties, Fairbanks was a one horse town. Yet I made a friend there, and I'll tell you all about Eva tomorrow.

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Pieces o' Me

1. WHAT COLOR ARE YOUR KITCHEN PLATES? 
Assorted Fiestaware - yellow, red, turquoise and orange.
2. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW? 
The WIP, the whole WIP and nuthin' but the WIP
3. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? 
No mouse on the laptop
4.WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE BOARD GAME? 
Mancala
5. FAVORITE MAGAZINE? The New Yorker
6. FAVORITE SMELL?  The inside of an ice cream freezer or
 the inside of a vintage airliner. Orgasmic, both of them.
7. LEAST FAVORITE? Vomit
8. WHAT'S THE FIRST THING YOU THINK OF WHEN YOU WAKE 
 UP IN THE MORNING? Don't trip over the dog again.
9. FAVOURITE COLOR? yellow
10. LEAST FAVOURITE COLOR? beige
11. HOW MANY RINGS BEFORE YOU ANSWER THE PHONE? two
12. FUTURE CHILD'S NAMES? Dammit
13. WHAT IS MOST IMPORTANT IN LIFE? Appreciation
14. DO YOU LIKE TO DRIVE FAST?  Sometimes
15. DO YOU SLEEP WITH A STUFFED ANIMAL?  Yes. My husband.
16. STORMS- Cool OR SCARY? Totally cool
17. WHAT TYPE WAS YOUR FIRST CAR?  1966 VW Beetle, red
18. WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE CELEBRITY? Don't have one.
19. WHAT IS YOUR SIGN & BIRTHDAY? Capricorn, January 11th 1961
20. DO YOU EAT THE STEMS OF BROCCOLI? Love 'em
21. IF YOU COULD HAVE ANY JOB WHAT WOULD IT BE? Author
22. IF YOU COULD HAVE ANY COLOR HAIR WHAT WOULD IT BE? 
Pure white and silky, and it wouldn't wash me out either
3. FAVORITE MOVIES?    
Fifty First Dates, Psycho, Witness, Jaws, Romancing The Stone,The Godfather, 
The Thin Man series. Too many to list.
24. DO YOU TYPE WITH YOUR FINGERS ON THE RIGHT KEYS? yep
25. WHAT'S UNDER YOUR BED? Terror
26. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE NUMBER?  5
27. WHAT IS YOUR SINGLE BIGGEST FEAR? Being unloved.
28. SAY ONE NICE THING ABOUT THE PERSON WHO SENT THIS TO YOU: 
I would if I knew who sent it.
29. PERSON(S) MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND?  me, obviously
30. PERSON(S) YOU SENT THIS TO WHO IS LEAST LIKELY TO RESPOND?  
Someone with better things to do. Unlike moi.  
31. FAVORITE CD? The Wall, Pink Floyd
32. FAVORITE TV SHOW?  Any of the 80s Thursday night line-up. Vintage SNLs
33. KETCHUP OR MUSTARD? Mustard  
34. HAMBURGERS OR HOT DOGS? hot dogs, if I must.
35. FAVOURITE SOFT DRINK? Diet cherry vanilla Dr. Pepper
36. THE BEST PLACE YOU HAVE EVER BEEN?  In a 707 my father was piloting
37. WHAT BACKGROUND IS ON YOU COMPUTER RIGHT NOW? My book cover
38. BURGER KING OR MCDONALDS?  neither. I'd rather starve.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Do you wear what I wear?

I might be in more trouble now than I've ever been in my life. And I mean trouble. Big trouble, or, as my mother used to threaten, lot's of serious trouble. Whatever that meant.

See, there's this boutique in town that sells European clothing. And, good American clothing.

I've never been a shopper or a clothes horse or anything even close to resembling a girly girl. My husband has no clue what his life would be like with a high maintenance woman - one who goes to salons and gets nails, facials and highlights. One who has a closet full of shoes, purses, jewels and pricey foundation garments.

But of course he insists I'm high maintenance.

He's about to learn exactly what that means.

'Cause I took one look inside that store and decided I deserved to wear nice clothing. Forty-five is closing in and I need all the help I can get! Well-fitting clothes made of quality fabric with quality construction might make me look better constructed. Or at least halfway decent for my age.

So I'm doing it! A piece at a time. Starting with this Juicy Couture jacket and these Hard Tail pants and this Michael Stars tee and these Red Engine jeans and....Oh, hey, look! I'm in the $500 club already? Get OUT!

Like I said. Trouble.

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Monday, September 19, 2005

Gobs and gobs of greasy, grimey brownie guts

While not exactly Susie Homemaker, I do bake quite a bit and am fairly Kitchen Appliance Literate. The children have acquired this genetic talent and tonight they decided to make brownies. Sounds easy enough, right? Except child number one misread the ingredients and added 1 and 1/3 cup of oil instead of 1/3 cup. The mistake became apparent during the mixing process, when the batter took on the consistency and appearance of the tide in Valdez.

No cause for alarm. These things don't upset me. Just dump it out and start over.

The girls would've been fine if I'd stayed at the computer and minded my own business. Unfortunately, I got altruistic and wandered in to help. Why I have these moments I'll never know. Probably latent guilt. But I went in, pulled the mixer out of the sludge and pushed the button to release the thingamabobbers.

Guess I pushed the wrong button.

The thing went on full speed and oily brownie juice splattered everywhere.

Everywhere.

And the more we danced around trying to turn it off - while screaming helpful hints like Turn it off! Turn it off! - the more we got sprayed.

Faces, legs, clothes, purses, sunglasses, car payments - all available counter space. Nothing in the brownie's path was spared. It was like a freakin' movie scene. One that would make me roll my eyes because that would never happen in real life. What a cheap laugh! What a dummkopf of a mother!

But you heard straight from the dummkopf's mouth. It can happen. I know. Because it happened to me.

Now say goodnight, Gracie.

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Sunday, September 11, 2005

It's all fun-n-games until someone regurgitates a lollipop

NIAGARA FALLS, Ontario (Sept. 2) - An enterprising young killer whale at Marineland has figured out how to use fish as bait to catch seagulls - and shared his strategy with his fellow whales.

Michael Noonan, a professor of animal behavior at Canisius College in Buffalo, N.Y., made the discovery by accident while studying orca acoustics.

First, the young whale spit regurgitated fish onto the surface of the water, then sank below the water and waited.

If a hungry gull landed on the water, the whale would surge up to the surface, sometimes catching a free meal of his own.

Noonan watched as the same whale set the same trap again and again.

Within a few months, the whale's younger half brother adopted the practice. Eventually the behavior spread and now five Marineland whales supplement their diet with fresh fowl, the scientist said.

"It looked liked one was watching while the other tried," Noonan said of the whale's initial behavior.

The capacity to come up with the gull-baiting strategy and then share the technique with others - known as cultural learning in the scientific world - was once believed to be one of those abilities that
separated humans from other animals.

But biologists have since proven certain animals, including dolphins and chimps, do this.

"This is an example in which a new behavior spread through a population," Noonan said. "We had the opportunity to see a tradition form and spread in exactly the way that cultures do in humans."

He first shared his research earlier this month at the U.S. Animal Behavior Society Conference in Utah. Since then, he said, his phone hasn't stopped ringing.

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Saturday, September 10, 2005

Can't Costcope

The children persuaded me to go to Costco today. I hate that place. The exit fee is consistently in the vicinity of $200.00 and more than anything else, it's the not knowing what's going to happen to me when I walk through the doors that's upsetting.

Will I suddenly develop a burning need for a gallon jar of button mushrooms? A box of tampons with a population large enough to absorb Lake Erie? A giant holographic Christmas train?

As I walk down the aisle, people in hazmat suits shove lab samples, I mean food, at me. What're those suits protecting them against and why do they insist on handing it to me? And no, I don't need a cubic yard of peaches. I'm not spending more than fifty bucks today! I just want to get in, buy a hundred Slim Jims for child number one, and get out.

But look. Two quarts of maple syrup for $15.99! The Guiness Book of World Records! And this, and that and...

Exit fee: $189.94.

I didn't buy the button mushrooms. But I wanted them.

I can't costcope with this.

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Friday, September 09, 2005

Karen Scott does a capsule review of Coffee, Tea or Lea?

"I enjoyed Ann Wesley Hardin’s Coffee, Tea, or Lea?, immensely. I like her books, mainly because I dig her characters, and her heroines don’t make me want to stick a rocket launcher up their arses."

Please God, let my heroines always please Karen.

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Thursday, September 08, 2005

Yes Virginia, There is a Bat Dame

You know you've made it when you're considered an Urban Legend. Here is one person's testimonial:

"Bat Dame *is* a real person. I used to think she was an urban legend too, even though several friends claimed to have seen her in the flesh. Yeah, yeah, I was skeptical -- who wouldn't be? Date rapists who steal your kidneys, serial murderers hiding in the backseat, and bat dame leading a group of malcontents through misery. They just seemed to fit together, ya know?

And then, one day -- this is totally true, I swear it, and it happened to me, not to a friend of a cousin of a boyfriend -- I'm standing there talking to the PI chapter president about all things smutty. And this woman walks up and says, "Hi, I'm Ann Wesley Hardin."

Just like that. Pleasant as you please. "Hi, I'm Ann Wesley Hardin."

A Real. Live. Person. Not smoke and mirrors, or a trick with a fake email address. I know -- I hugged her and got drunk with her.

So now all you misbelievers out there can proudly say, "Of course BD exists. A friend of mine actually met her.""


hehehehe
blunder


(editor's note: Blunder is the carefully guarded Cave name of a highly talented author-to-be)

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

A Day in the Life of a Writer

This blog post will be updated throughout the day, just to show you how much of a life I actually have. Check back often for the exciting details!

5:00 - wake up, trip over dog, limp downstairs, feed dog, read email, make eggs for child number one.

7:00 - kiss off child number one, read emails that've collected since 5am (four) Respond to two.

7:30 - call child number two out of bed.

7:35 - tickle child number two's feet to get her out of bed.

7:40 - give up on child number two and assemble her lunch.

7:45 - threaten child number two.

7:46 - throttle child number two.

7:48 - light explosives under child number two's bed.

7:50 - child number two awakens and wonders why there's smoke in the room.

7:53 - child number two is so cheerful from the extra sleep my bad mood dissipates.

8:30 - Post this blog. Kiss off child number two. Check blog stats. Think about writing.

8:44 - Think about writing.

8:58 - Thoughts about writing interrupted by incoming news of a recent sale. Can't write until details are provided.

9:10 - Alexis Fleming sold another story to Changeling Press! Open WIP (work in progress). Think about writing something in it. *tick* *tock* *tick* *tock*

9:48 - Pause to fan face from recent scribblings. Check mirror for afterglow. None present.

10:13 - Ack! Ack! Missed ten o'clock smokebreeeeeeeeeak! Oh yeah. Don't smoke anymore. *sigh*.

11:15 - Word count on current WIP: 4,203. Closing in on nookie time!

12:25 - Wake up from power nap. Check email. Pop tab on first diet DP of the day. Ahhhh! Think about writing.

1:50 - Where does the time go??? Inner editor clicked on. Current word count: 4,149. Child number one due home shortly. Won't get to nookie today.

2:30 - Inner editor on a roll! Spiced up scene leading to nookie. Let the games begin!

My work for today is done.

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