30 August 2008

Life and Limb vs. Other People's Crap

I already pointed this out to Misty. Every time they talk about McCain choosing Palin as his VP candidate they always phrase it "John McCain tapped little-known Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to be his vice presidential running mate." I said it then and I'll say it now: they really could have phrased that better.

I was driving around this morning, mostly killing time until Peanut's naptime (I'm not the only one who does that, am I?) and I saw an ad for a yard sale. Now, I'm all about yard sales, but the street this one was listed on as made me pause for a minute. This is the same street that on the handful of times I've driven down it every single person standing outside glares at me in my little white-bread car and seems to say, "Just what do you think you're doing here, Cracker?!"And those are the white people! It's a scary street. I decided to brave it anyway to see what kind of trash this yard sale had (and what stuff they were selling, too). You know you're in trouble when you drive down a street that has only one yard sale but you can't tell which house is actually hosting the event. The only way I was able to determine which house was the house I was looking for was the group of people crowded around the card table on the front lawn were all looking at me with wistful eyes, hoping I'd buy the various crap scattered about their yard (or just fling money at them and scamper away), as opposed to all the other houses with groups of people crowded around card tables on their front lawns, glowering at me, hoping Ms. White Girl P. Minivan would be on her way and quit looking at their crap scattered across their front yards like she's going to buy it. It should surprise no one that as I drove past the yard sale house with my doors locked and windows rolled up, that I did not see anything for sale that was worth risking my children's lives over.

Throughout these past Olympics the only thing I really concentrated on was the Olympic Rings. You know, the five various colored rings that interlock? Those. At one point in my life I had heard that each ring represented one of the participating continents. As most of my more observant readers will likely point out, even after I've already said it here, there are seven continents on this earth and only five Olympic rings. Assuming penguins are no good at table tennis, we can logically cut out Antarctica. That left one continent that was getting shafted. I asked everyone I could remember to ask who they thought was being left out. No one knew. So I finally went to the Online God of Trivial Knowledge, Wikipedia, and briefly discovered that the rings supposedly represent values, namely "passion, faith, victory, work ethic and sportsmanship." What? Well, whatever. But this leads me to wonder who told me that the rings stood for continents. I have finally concluded that it was my ever-imaginative next-oldest brother, Andrew, who I never hesitate to blame for such errors. This is the same brother who, as a child, retold and beautifully reenacted the increasingly dramatic tale of Lincoln's death, which, according to Andrew, involved a glorious shot to the chest shortly after delivering a moving rallying of the troops at Gettysburg. Imagine my disappointment upon learning the "textbook" version of history in elementary school. By the way, this is the same man (my brother, not Lincoln) who is running for office this year. Oh, did I neglect to tell the story again? Well, no time now. Remind me later.

Post script: upon further review of the Wikipedia article (like, two sentences later), which contradicts itself I should add, the Olympic Charter supposedly claims that the five rings do in fact stand for five continents with Antarctica being intentionally excluded. The continent getting shafted? South America. And don't tell me that whole "one ring stands for both North and South America to create a The Americas continent." What a load of bologna (which is very heavy from what I've heard). We all know North America rocks South America and S.A. is clearly riding our coattails in the Olympic Rings Dispute. Get your own damn ring, South America!!

Further Evidence

While Peanut tolerates bananas the most, apparently cold bananas most certainly do not rock his world.

But really, can you blame him?

Now, I realize that many of you out there think your children are attractive, and I have no reason to disagree with you. But gorgeous? Not like mine:

Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

25 August 2008

It's Nice Not to Have to Actually Think

Why yes, I am being lazy and substituting other people's funny for anything I should be writing myself. What of it?

Janie had a great Onion video on her blog that reminded me of my favotite Onion video feature:

NASCAR Coach Reveals Winning Strategy: 'Drive Fast'

And my favorite onion article was admittedly funnier when he was alive, but whatever.

Christopher Reeve Placed Atop Washington Monument
October 2, 1996 Issue 30•08

WASHINGTON, DC—One of America's most beloved landmarks, the Washington Monument, became all the more stirring and inspiring Monday with the addition of disabled actor Christopher Reeve.

Over 300,000 gathered at the Washington Monument Monday to watch Reeve's official bolting-in ceremony. Said Greensboro, NC, resident Cal Brewer: "I wish I had the courage to be crippled like that."

Reeve, 44, paralyzed below the neck after a tragic equestrian mishap last year, was bolted to the pinnacle of the 555-foot monument and affixed with display spotlights for night viewing. He will remain there permanently, on 24-hour display.

"Christopher has shown himself to be a pillar of strength and courage who brings out the best in us all," said John Beaumont, Director of U.S. Parks and Services. "He was a logical addition to this already impressive monument. Once the idea was presented, nothing could stop us: not logistical problems, not budget constraints, not even the teary objections of Mr. Reeve."

The former Superman actor and his electric wheelchair were hoisted up the side of the towering obelisk by a tractor-powered cable pulley. Reeve was then welded to the pinnacle, facing east toward the Capitol, and bolted in place with iron slugs made from a cannonball fired at the battle of Yorktown.

A bronze plaque at the foot of the monument describes Reeve's history and dimensions. It reads: "We elevate you to the heavens, so that future generations may know of your courage and your almost total paralysis."

A crowd of almost 100,000 people, including many of Reeve's closest friends, gathered to watch the heartstrings-tugging installation. "It was so beautiful," said Jane Seymour, star of TV's Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, who co-starred with Reeve in the hit 1980 film Somewhere in Time. "As the final welders were blasting away, the sparks were flying everywhere, and then they set off those fireworks. I honestly cried."

"We brought the kids here to try and teach them about the courage and fortitude Washington showed at Valley Forge," said Cal Brewer, a father of four from Greensboro, NC. "Now, with Christopher Reeve up there, the whole scene just speaks for itself."

Added Brewer: "I wish I had the courage to be crippled like that."

"You can fly... you belong in the sky...," sang celebrity guest Bette Midler, in a musical prelude to the formal dedication and attachment ceremony. "Once upon a time, my dear friend Chris flew into our movie houses and into our hearts as the Man of Steel, soaring above the highest peaks. Though today he's wearing several hundred pounds of life-support equipment instead of his old red and blue tights, from the top of this monument he shall forever soar."

Midler, who performed "Love Theme From The Movie Superman" to a standing ovation as the final weldings were secured into place, was a last-minute replacement for scheduled vocalist Margot Kidder, whose current whereabouts remain unknown.

Though Reeve was unable to speak at the commemoration due to an intense fear of heights, no one was more moved by the ceremony than the actor himself. "Please let me down," the visibly touched celebrity said to reporters. "I'm cold, and I miss my family."

Upon Reeve's natural death, he will be removed from the monument long enough to be encased in acrylic plastic, then reattached.

Reeve's installation, planners say, will give him a new ability to touch and inspire people 24 hours a day as a public fixture, rain, snow or shine. "Christopher touched us all with his heartfelt speeches at the Oscars and the Democratic Convention, but he just can't be everywhere at once," Beaumont said. "As it is, the Republicans have had to cripple their own actors to gain a comparable amount of emotional impact."

Republican actor Tom Selleck's spine was shattered by the GOP in August, gaining him many standing ovations at Republican fundraisers since.

President Reagan praised his fellow acting veteran in a telegram read at the ceremony: "Uhhh... blanket. Muhhh."

This is not the first time a showbiz notable has been added to a Washington, DC, attraction. Comedian George Burns spent the last few months of his life in the Smithsonian Institute's Museum of Arts and Industries, in a glass case between Fonzie's jacket from Happy Days and the original Kermit the Frog puppet. Bob Hope now occupies the case.

In light of the project's success, The U.S. Department of Parks and Services is considering similar additions to its attractions. Plans are already being drafted to have hearing-impaired actress Marlee Matlin bolted to the Lincoln Memorial.


Ode to SatireWire

For the record, if all y'alls are ever looking for funny stuff to read, I recommend SatireWire with all my heart, lungs, and pancreas. Unlike The Onion, there was only ONE guy, Andrew Marlatt, running and writing the entire brilliant shebang (he finally had a work conference with himself and decided to close up shop in 2002). You probably remember him for his article entitled "The Axis of Just as Evil," which made its way around the internet a few thousand times. My favorite article in all eternity is "AUSTRALIA GETS DRUNK, WAKES UP IN NORTH ATLANTIC: Tired of Being Isolated and Ignored, Continent Isn't Bloody Moving." The last time I read it was years ago and I will still suddenly think of it and start laughing out loud. Also, it never hurts to make fun of Canadians. Repeatedly, even (also one that never fails to crack me up when I think about it; basically what I'm saying is SatireWire had an inordinately huge and probably devastatingly unhealthy effect upon my life).


I can't resist more from the Onion video catalog:

Bush Tours America To Survey Damage Caused By His Disastrous Presidency

The end is the best part here (and amazingly prophetic, I must add):

Mitt Romney Is Candidate Most Voters Want To Get Into Bar Fight With

And one for heidi:

Californians Gather To Celebrate Annual Wildfire Tradition

20 August 2008

Scientists Were Right

It IS contagious.

Especially when it's crazy people:

Or making fun of skinny people:

You're right lady, Europe IS funny:

And this just made my day, especially the snort:

18 August 2008

Sweaty, Sweaty Sunday

So the air conditioning wasn't working in church yesterday, resulting in a very moist experience for everyone. For some inexplicable reason I offered to play the organ in church a long time ago and was finally asked to do so yesterday. Apparently I had forgotten how much torture and personal distress is involved in such a commitment, much like how I forget why I don't swill Tabasco sauce more often. Anyway, not only was the experience uncomfortable per my usual experiences with it, but the heat in the building made my fingers so slippery that they kept sliding across the keyboard and hitting several wrong notes. Fortunately, I wisely chose every wrong stop setting I could manage, making it impossible for me to hear my own playing and to know exactly when I was making these mistakes. So it all worked out in the end.

From there I ran to Primary, dragging Peawhistle behind me. Fred and Ethel (you remember Fred and Ethel) had lovingly agreed to watch Peawhistle while I played the organ and they would get their chance once again since they were forced at gunpoint to teach the four-year-olds in Sunday School (or at least I only assumed they were threatened to do it as I cannot envision any other possibility in which they would do so willingly). Surprisingly and gratefully enough, the Primary room was not nearly as hot as the chapel was. That, or running between locations either cooled me off or miraculously caused me to shed several pounds of weight. Given my unchanged girth, I'll have to go with my first assumption.

Here's the thing about playing the piano for the Primary. It's easy to focus when you're forced to pay attention to the words in the verses you're singing. Playing the accompaniment, however, presents a slightly different situation. Sure, you have to pay attention to what you're playing or you'll play the wrong notes (more on that in a bit). However, the song never changes for you, the pianist. You play the same tune repeatedly, regardless of the verse. And when I say repeatedly, I mean repeatedly, because, you know, this is Primary. So I'm usually alert and ready to roll for the first few times through the song, but eventually my mind begins to wander a bit because I start to get a little too confident, having played the same song 16 times within the last 30 minutes. This is when I always make a mistake. I forget where I am on the page, where my fingers are on the keyboard, what key I'm playing in, what song we're singing, and why I'm playing in the first place. After several wrong notes, I catch up and pretend like I totally meant to do that. And two songs later I do the exact same thing. And what am I thinking about that makes my mind wander? If yesterday was any indication of the norm, which it absolutely was, probably Batman. The next time you hear me make a mistake that I hadn't made before? Batman.

Back to Fred and Ethel. Primary was proceeding fairly smoothly when my crime-fighting reverie was disrupted by a very familiar and grating sound: whining. If there is one child-related activity that I absolutely cannot abide, it is whining. And if there is one activity that Peawhistle excels at, it is precisely that. Peawhistle's whines typically start low, as most children's do I imagine. Low and unalarming. At the first hint of resistance, the sound gradually escalates to a full-blown siren's wail, ending finally with the Screaming and the Crying. Peawhistle's sound had begun low and had gradually taken on some volume by the time I recognized her voice. This will not do. I stood up from the piano to see over it so I could confirm that in fact my progeny was the one making that dispicable noise. Fred, the silly man, was attempting to reason with the child. (Such inexperience....) I caught Peawhistle's eye and, shaking my head, gave her the most powerfully disapproving look I could muster, indicating to her that The Whining Would Cease to Commence Immediately. She came up short and sat down, hopefully terrified. I certainly know Ethel was terrified, given the look on her face at that very moment. I can only equate her expression to the reaction you would expect if I had quietly stood and announced that I was the anti-christ foretold in the Bible and that the mass slaughter of innocents would begin momentarily. I ignored Ethel's horror and sat back down, satisfied that the hole in the dam had been plugged, if only temporarily. I think I heard more minor Peawhistle-related whining some time later, but it ended abruptly, possibly with Fred offering her cash if she'd shut up.

My time at church ended on a high note in the parking lot as I was preparing to depart in my vehicle. The bishop, who had been visiting Primary that day to hear his youngest son, Peter, give his first Primary talk (which was quite possibly the best, and definitely most exuberant, Primary talk I've ever heard, ending with a very decisive "AMEN" at its conclusion) stopped me before I could leave.

"That was a great Evil Eye you gave your daughter in Primary."
"Did you like that?"
"Yeah, I did. That was awesome."

While I detected the finest hint of sarcasm in his end of the conversation, I instead decided to take him, the Grand Poobah of Scowling himself, at his word and was instantly flattered.

And people act like parenting is so hard or something.

13 August 2008

Randomness I've seen

Back when I lived in No. Virginia ages and ages ago, I frequently went to the IHOP in Alexandria with my friend, Teri. Actually, there were two IHOPs in Alexandria, but once we discovered the second, we never went back to the first. Sure, the first one had good pancakes, but the second. Well, the second one had dinner and a show for the same price! She was there every night we went, leading me to surmise that she simply lived at work, possibly in a stall in the bathroom. She was our Crazy Waitress and we looked forward to seeing her every time. Crazy Waitress would wander from table to table taking people's orders while simultaneously carrying on her own long-running conversation with herself. "I told him, I tells him, hi ladies, can I take your order? I tells him "If you think I'm working this Sunday, you've got another thing coming!" and I'm afraid we're out of that drink, how about a Coke instead? and my boss continues to yell at me so I tells him, you want that with the pancakes or the hashbrowns ma'am? OK, so I tells him that if I don't get off Sunday I'm finally quitting! and how would you like your eggs done? I'm telling you, your order will be out shortly, I'm telling you I'm not doing this anymore!! We'll have words and...." And the conversation would fade as she moved on to the next table of enthralled, incredulous customers. When Teri moved away I never went back to that IHOP, but I sure hope Crazy Waitress patched things up with her boss because I would hate knowing the establishment had thrived without her.

I was at the mall the other day munching on a slice of pizza in the food court. We sat right next to one of those Tetris-like stand-alone games called "Stacker." The prizes you can win ranged from crappy, cheap stuffed animals to PlayStation 2s. I was entertained by two young future juvenile hall candidates who were thrilled out of their brains that they could possibly win a PS2 just by playing a lousy mall game. I was even more entertained noting that they didn't bother to notice that the PS2 box they so lusted after was twice as big as the prize claim chute and door they would supposedly retrieve it from. How can such a thing not totally make my day?

I saw a bumper sticker on a car in the mall parking lot one day. It said "Fat people are harder to kidnap." I've pondered the depth of this statement and have come to the conclusion that truer words have never been communicated via car appendage. I'm going to switch from eating donuts for breakfast to serving them for dinner instead.

I had a friend in elementary school named Joey. He was a delicate, sensitive boy, and the only boy among several sisters; he was spoiled like crazy. Joey, the little flower, had a penchant for passing out when he saw gross things. In 5th grade we were watching a film of a woman being X-rayed while eating an apple. When the apple began to move through her digestive system, we heard a loud SMACK on the floor. The teacher turned on the lights and we all crowded around the limp form of Joey sprawled out on the floor. The teacher, an elderly lady (she was our 6th grade teacher's teacher back when he was a boy, if that's any indication), grabbed his hand and dragged a newly conscious and confused Joey down the hallway to the nurse's office. The next year, we were watching Eskimos gut a seal when, again, a loud WHAP disrupted our fascination and turned it toward Joey's body. Andy had the sensitivity to inquire if Joey was dead this time around. The teacher, a fairly large and fit man, kindly carried poor confused Joey to the nurse's office. I think Joey got notes from his mom after that. Later, his mom confessed that Joey frequently passed out while watching TV at home, which only raised even more obvious questions like "What the hell are you letting your son watch at home?" and "Why are you letting him watch it?" *Sigh* Poor sensitive, girly Joey. He's making a dollar-a-minute as a concert pianist now, so I guess it all worked out for him, especially considering the comparative lack of gross things associated with piano-playing and all. And I guess classical concerts in general.

And finally, Stephenie Meyer. Ah, Stephenie. Do you hate us that much? Or did you just get bored and decide to stop writing? You know, before the last Indiana Jones film came out George Lucas said he knew some people would hate the ending. I said at the time, "Well I refuse to be one of those people!" Well, I hated it. Before Breaking Dawn came out, Stephenie Meyer said she knew some people were going to hate how it ended. I thought, "Well I'm not going to be one of those people!" Again, I hated it. I've come to the intelligent conclusion that I am in fact "some people" and "one of those people." I think I should just start listening to folks when they tell me I'm not going to like their work and take their word for it.

12 August 2008

My Own Personal Edwards

I apologize for my brief hiatuses. For those that don't know me well, it should prove interesting to know that I talk on my blog precisely as frequently as I talk in reality. I'm still unsure how I have friends at all since I rarely, if ever, speak to them. Shockingly, I was actually talking to one of them yesterday and we mused over our penchant for emailing friends who live two minutes away. Myself, I like to change things up once in a while. Sometimes calling them, sometimes emailing them, sometimes showing up at their houses unexpectedly and demanding answers, and sometimes writing my questions in their front lawns with gasoline (pricey means I love you!). Regardless of the vehicle, I only talk when something needs to be said.

I've discovered that I subconsciously seek out chatty friends. I have very few friends who are as quiet as I am; otherwise, the conversation transforms from the obligatory small talk to a perpetual staring contest. We have to be Made For Each Other for me to be friends with a quiet person and obviously, my list of that type of friend is short. Otherwise, I seek out talkative friends who can carry the conversation for me so I can nod and express my interest through a series of grunts and raised eyebrows. Don't get me wrong; if you ask me a direct question, or if I have something to add that is pertinent enough to the conversation you're engaged in, I'll say it. Aside from that, don't expect me to say much, if ever. It's not that I don't like you. I just don't like people and talking to them. See? We're still cool, right?

On to today's business. It has come to my marvelous attention via my personal informer that there are several people out there who either know me only vaguely or not at all who read this blog on a regular basis. My source also tells me that these people seem to be embarrassed by this because they don't know me well and don't want to be seen as "creepy" or "stalkerish." First of all, it's obvious that they don't know me because it takes a lot to scare me. Commenting on my blog is not only not creepy in any fashion, but also very fun for me. I do not think you are a stalker simply because we have not been properly introduced. Perhaps if you were to secret yourself away in my window well, or maybe mail me Hallmark cards made out of bullets, well then, I might be a tad concerned and suggest you save those well-thought out activities for someone who can appreciate your time and talents a bit more. But reading and commenting on my blog? Please. Nothing would give me more joy. (Please note the stress I'm placing on the word "comment." There's a reason for that. Go do it.)

Second of all, have you looked at my sidebar recently? The one titled "Websites and Blogs I Regularly Stalk"? I am so not kidding about the stalking part. And that's not even all the blogs I frequent, just the ones I think large audiences would also be interested in visiting. I have a ready list of total and complete strangers that I keep up with. Why? Because I stumbled upon their blogs one day and had to come back to see how it turned out. I even comment on their blogs when it strikes me to do so. They may think it's weird, but who cares? If you don't want me reading your blog, then switch off the option that allows your blog to be found via search engines (you can do that you know). Anyone who enables that option clearly doesn't mind visitors. I take full advantage of that invitation.

And lastly, I especially love knowing that there are people out there who know me but pretend they don't know I have a blog they read despite the contrary. They think because they weren't specifically invited to this party that they are unwelcome. Pfft. I specifically invited about three of my readers personally--the rest came by word-of-mouth. Obviously I'm fine with it and I even encourage it in a passive sort of way. So for all of my neighbors named Melissa who live three doors down who think I don't know they read my blog but probably shouldn't have told Stephanie if they wanted to keep it a secret, I love that you're here. The fact that I'm watching you right now through your front window should indicate just how much. Oh, I'm not there? I probably just went on a bathroom break. I'll be right back so just hang tight. Next time you could be a little more supportive and offer your own bathroom so I don't have to walk so far and lose my concentration.

Please, by all means everyone, read away. If I didn't want you here I would make my blog private so all of three people could read it. If I didn't want you to comment on anything I would turn off that option. If I didn't want you as friends I would never talk to y--...wait, scratch that. Point is, stay. Feel welcome. And for the love of Michael Phelps, comment when you have something to say, OK? Don't make me come to your house to get what I want. Gas is so expensive these days.

07 August 2008

Curse You, Whitney!!

Here I was, completely settled and happy that finally I would be able to take a brief nap while Peanut took a long one of his own. I decided to quickly check my email before retiring and what did Whitney (you remember Whitney) send me? Only a link to the Best Blog In The Universe! Behold, I give you "Cake Wrecks," a blog dedicated to horrifically gone-wrong professionally decorated cakes. Oh my goodness, the laughter and the tears were mighty in the reading and the seeing. By the time I finished the blog (it's not terribly long) I had a headache from all the laughing and the crying. Don't forget to stop by my favorite post as a whole, "Drew's Birthday Wish," which is rendered perfect by the writer's accompanying "explanation" of the creepy birthday cake meant for a nine-year-old. Also, don't be afraid to follow the author's various provided links within posts--you will never regret it. Oh my goodness, you will never, ever regret it. I found "I'll Take My Chances" doing that. Go cry for yourselves. Go now. I'll wait.

And also linked from the site is a fun blog called "The 'Blog' of 'Unnecessary' Quotation Marks." Not as funny as the cake one, but still pretty entertaining. Enough so to make me miss the last 1/2 hour of my would-be nap.

Thanks Whitney.

No seriously, thanks.

05 August 2008

Won't Someone Think of the Children?

Ken Jennings, the Wonder Boy, has a new post on his blog about an impending trip he and his family are about to embark upon. Most of the post is posted below:

"I hereby apologize to anyone flying an afternoon Delta flight from Sea-Tac to Salt Lake City today. It’s right during Caitlin’s usual naptime, and I predict trouble. Squirming if not squeaking. Hopefully no squawking or squealing. Something that starts with “s-q” anyway.

"Which reminds me: how people react to a screaming baby on a plane is, I sometimes think, a perfect mirror of the human soul. People who smile ruefully and try to help out the poor bedraggled parents are The Good. (Guess what, genius: the parents are typically more unhappy and stressed than you are about the situation, not less.) People who make a big show of scowling and rolling their eyes and otherwise venting at the parents are The Bad.

"People who stop the poor parents on the way off the plane and tell them what terrible people they are, as once happened to my sister-in-law, are The Ugly."

What do you call people who only scowl to themselves, offer no help at all, and alternate thoughts between "I'm so glad that's not me and my kid" and "Please kill me now before I take an innocent child's life"? Moderately attractive and vaguely unhelpful?

Children perplex me. Even growing up I was never a fan of kids. Babysitting was torture. Babysitting jobs usually wound up with me pretending a lethal intruder had broken in and was ransacking the children's homes. If I liked the kids, I finally let them in on the joke before I left. I didn't typically like the kids.

Since having obtained children of my own, I've relaxed somewhat around their kind. I have a vague idea of what they want, but even that is fleeting at times. I still have no idea what to talk to them about. After taking a cursory inventory of their immediate interests and pets, my mind is thoroughly depleted of ideas and I turn the topic towards the economy (which usually results in the outcome I'd initially prayed for: that they'd go away and play by themselves). "Playtime" with a child feels oddly like how I imagine waterboarding to feel like. Any positive opinion of any of the children I presently know has been gradually earned on a strictly case-by-case basis; absolutely no free passes allowed just because a creature is short and cute. I barely tolerate my own children for crying out loud and Society demands that I love everyone else's too? That's just asking too much.

Naturally, I know enough to keep children out of danger and have their physical and medical needs met. I am surprisingly patient when it comes to teaching them and other academic-like endeavours. Aside from that, I know that children in general are plotting and conspiring against me to drive me towards new levels of crazy. The perfect child, to me, is one who doesn't demand that I entertain him or her constantly (or at all, but I know that's impossible), keeps to himself, doesn't destroy anything, and asks as few questions as possible. Essentially what I'm looking for is a middle-aged midget.

So watching parents struggling with their own children on a flight doesn't bring out the kindest thoughts in me, but I don't hate them for it. I pity them with all I can muster, but I pity myself even more. Unless a parent asked me directly, or unless the child was in danger in some way, I cannot even fathom offering to help in a situation like that. The most you would ever get out of me would be a polite smile followed by me going back to whatever it is I was doing before your child kicked me. If I've ever helped you willingly with your child, without being asked (and even when I have been asked come to think of it), it is because I adore you and I'm willing to sacrifice every shred of sanity to see to your happiness.

You're welcome.

04 August 2008

My Birthday Wish Came True!

First off, my many thanks to my parents for my new digital camera. It allows me to finally show you my photos in near-real time!!!

Friday was my birthday. I spent it well enough, mostly looking for things to buy with various gift cards I'd legally acquired. I found myself at Barnes & Noble. They were advertising the Twilight Saga book release party for Breaking Dawn. I asked a few questions. Nah. Amusing thought, but nah. However, with my curiosity now piqued, I drove to Borders Books and found a couple of more helpful employees who were decorating for their version of the party. Now, Borders I had a gift certificate for. And I'm a member of their thingy or whatever. And they told me I would get 40% off the book price if I bought it that night. Hm. "Is it going to be a bunch of 16-year-olds and me? 'Cause I refuse to be the old freak there." No, they assured me that "other old women" would be there, too. Well that was a load off. I made up my mind regardless. The reduced book price, combined with the winning formula of a teenaged debate over Edward and Jacob and a sure-to-be-awesome costume contest, and how could I not go?

I mulled over exactly who would be willing to accompany me on such an excursion rife with possibilities. Of the friends who had read the book(s), I could only find two who were willing to go on short notice (the rest of the people I considered are dead to me now. DEAD!). Jody read the books and enjoyed them. She's also too nice to say no, especially on my birthday. She agreed to go. Lisa read the first book and hated it. She's not too nice to say no, but fortunately I have guilt working on my side that forced her hand. Her excuse was something about her getting away from her family, but I know deep down that she only came because 1) it was my birthday 2) she DITCHED MY BABY SHOWER, and 3) SHE DITCHED MY BABY SHOWER. So she agreed to come. I was giddy with anticipation. Our mighty trio was unstoppable.

And then we got there. Jody and I arrived together first and just stared at the unholy mass before us. This mass was in the midst of a painful trivia contest led by one of the fearless employees I had spoken with hours before. Jody and I stared at each other. I instantly thought to myself that this was a big mistake. Gah, two more hours of this?? What was I thinking? Fortunately, it didn't take long for the quiet observations to begin, and when Lisa arrived those observations stopped being as quiet.

Lisa brought me a giftbag for my birthday (I think there was something in it--I can't recall now). As she arrived during the Heated Debate portion of the festivites, I used my new bag to announce my preference for Team Mike, mostly in hopes of irritating some fans. Instead, mostly it just amused them to the point of one girl even asking if she could take a photo of my bag and the Volturi-chick high-fiving me. Sure, whatever, just take my joy from me already IT'S ONLY MY BIRTHDAY.

Over the course of the evening I offered $5 to Jody if she would get up in the middle of the debate and make a solid case for Mike over Edward or Jacob. I also offered $5 to Lisa if she would get up to the mic and tell the entire crowd exactly what she thought of Twilight. Sadly, neither took me up on my offer. Should I have offered $10?

Speaking of the Heated Debate. When I read the evening's program (organized, aren't they?) I was pleased to learn about the Edward v. Jacob debates and what that would entail. I was disappointed to find that instead of the orderly panel discussion that Jody and I had envisioned, it was a screaming free-for-all. Now, don't get me wrong. That was entertaining in its own right certainly. I especially loved the fiesty black mother who got up and yelled, "I'd rather have my daughter bring home a dog than a dead man!" Not surprisingly, this comment was met with much enthusiasm from the crowd, including Jody who applauded comments in Jacob's favor, and also Lisa, who was screaming loudly and applauding any comment from either side that she could hear or not hear. I've never been so entertained.

The costume parade was next. Most of the books' female vampires were represented, with my favorites being the Volturi member and "Rosalie." Of all the freakshows, Rose was the nicest and gladly let me take her photo. Imagine my joy when I discovered yesterday in conversation with Gwennifer that she actually knows the girl in the photo. Seriously, what are the odds?

While the "vampires" were getting their photo taken I attempted to sneak up behind in hopes of recreating my favorite photobomber photo:

Instead, Lisa saw me creeping up behind them and announced in a very loud voice, "My friend, Abby, LOVES your costumes! Can she be in the photo with you?" So I had to actually pose with the lot. Thanks a million, Lisa. At least I made up for it a little by mustering as much visible stupidity as I possibly could for their photos.

The evening progressed with various activities to keep us from trashing the place and ending up in prison (I'm assuming that was their goal anyway). Borders employees handed out buttons and stickers that said things like "I was bitten by Breaking Dawn," "Breaking Dawn left me breathless...." and "Bella & Edward 4ever." They also handed out stickers for Team Jacob and Team Edward with the respective actors' faces on them. I still regret not getting a photo of the girl who had covered her entire upper body in Jacob stickers.

Most of our conversations with strangers happened to be with mothers of daughters in the crowd. You know, since we looked old and safe. But by and large the most enlightening conversation we had took place with a couple of mid-teen girls. One of them expressed her fondest desire to live long enough to see the creation of an Edward/Jacob Rock 'em Sock 'em game. The only thing that she would love to see even more, as it turns out, is a topless mud wrestling match between the female characters in the book. When we didn't respond (what do you say to that?), she defended her wish by stating that no one would be more interested in such a match than teenage girls. We stared at her until she went away.

As 11:30 approached, the Event Staff (aka Book Event Law Enforcement) raffled off the first place in line (a raffle I was informed I could not enter because I hadn't had the foresight to reserve the book last week--and yet, a different lady said I could do whatever I wanted. I'm sure she knew it was my birthday. Mostly because Lisa and Jody kept telling her it was.). We didn't win. So we got in the back of the line and got pushed around by obnoxious, intentionally oblivious teens. As midnight approached, we began hearing brief screams from the front of the queue. We finally decided they screamed at the top of the minute as the time approached midnight. We got to hear two countdowns from the crowd, the first being a false alarm since the crowd forgot to take into account that the books only could be sold at 12:01, not midnight.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Jody and Lisa for going to a function they certainly didn't need to attend, all for company's and entertainment's (and Guilt's) sake. They didn't even buy a book and yet they waited in line with me until nearly 12:30am until I acquired one of my own, cheering me on and reminding the crowd yet again that it was my birthday. Smart-alecs....

You wish you had friends like mine. Well, two of them anyway.

DEAD! Do you hear me? DEAD!