Thursday, March 31, 2005

Luke, It Is Your Density (or, What's the Matter Colonel Sandurz? Chicken?)

No diet in the world could keep me away from these, even without the wonderfully silly "trailer" (I especially like M&M Chewbacca).

Note that both a good Star Wars parody and dark chocolate can trump all fears of talking food.

Speaking of which, has anyone seen the latest round of Perdue commercials? In one of them, Jim Perdue (you're no Frank, my friend) is on some sort of call-in show, and he takes calls from...chickens. The chickens cluck, of course, and Jim can understand them, answering their questions with statements such as, "Yes, it's true, we never give our chickens hormones or steroids!" So it would seem that the chickens are calling to ask about the quality of life and/or the quality of product of Perdue chicken. And that's just WRONG. Because either the callers want to come live with Jim and eventually be killed and eaten, or they're out buying Fit 'N' Easy Skinless Breats themselves. To the commercial's credit, the host of this bizarre radio show appears shocked and confused as well.

In another spot in the series, Jim walks through a gym where chicken puppets (Gonzo's harem on The Muppet Show looked more realistic) lift weights. What the hell is this, a chicken prison yard? Jim would have us believe they're enjoying it, working out to become fit and trim -- so we can eat them! I don't know, to me that bench-pressing chicken looks terrified, and seems to be lifting more weight than she can handle.

Is it supposed to be cute? Is it supposed to convince vegetarians that meat isn't murder, but the natural achievement of every ambitious chickens life goals? Personally, I'm a big fan of the Food Chain, but I don't think chickens really give it very much thought! All I know is it creeps me out immeasurably. It's not the chickens so much as it is Jim. Something is wrong with that man. If he were obsessed with chicken dishes that would make sense, given his line of work, but he seems to have an awfully unhealthy attachment to live fowl, which is especially disturbing when you consider that he sits at the head of a company whose purpose is to kill and dismember them. I think maybe he shouldn't be allowed near food slated for mass distribution.

But I digress. Where was I? Oh yes: Mmmmmmm...dark chocolate....

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

It's Spring! Stupidity is in the air!

I think they got the full moon wrong. It was supposedly last Friday, but this afternoon everyone around me seems to have gone crazy. Either that or there's a conspiracy afoot to drive me out of my mind. And really, I'm already close enough to walk.

Because I'm at this company to do a project, and not filling in for a regular employee, my desk is in a little cluster of cubicles reserved for "consultants." There are a few regulars, and a few cubicles that are empty 90% of the time except when someone's visiting for a day or two, and the whole thing is removed from the rest of the floor in a way that leaves me relatively free of supervision, and generally very quiet. I like this very much.

But today my fortress of temp solitude was invaded, not once but several times, each remarkably stupid and more annoying than the last.

First, the very nice, older, orthodox Jew from across the way, with whom I've exchanged pleasantries but don't actually know, asked me if the guy I replaced here still worked for my temp agency. This wouldn't be such a ridiculous question if he hadn't already asked it my first week. "I don't know," I said again, "I've never met him."

"Oh? Really? Oh. Well, I just wondered where he went."

What, do you have a crush on him or something? "I just know he got another job and left, on rather short notice. I assume not with the agency because they wouldn't do that." In fact, I know a great deal more than this – that it was definitely not through the agency, that his wife works for the agency, and that my manager will never hire him for an assignment here again – but none of that is really any of my business (my manager likes to gossip with those of us she likes), so it certainly isn't this strange little man's, and anyway he seemed to want an even more specific answer. Also, as he himself noted, "One day he was here and the next day you were," so I'm confused by his insistence that we must know each other. As if our international agency of hundreds of part-time, freelance workers has regular drink nights or something. I've told him before that I never met him, having started after he left, but his befuddled response was still "Oh. I thought you might know."

A little while later, this same man was talking to a female colleague in the next cube over. I wasn't listening so I don't know how it started, but they got to talking about 9/11 and then I found it impossible not to listen. Now, while this isn't exactly a pleasant topic, I'm usually pretty okay with it, and working just a few blocks from the Trade Center site I've gotten used to it sort of being in the air. But this guy was telling his story of the day, which was highly mundane, as those stories go, and making odd observations that would make me cringe, such as, "I couldn't get on a Staten Island Ferry because they were saving them to use for casualties or bodies. Of course there weren't many; no one expected people to just dissolve like that," and my favorite, "My boss' husband was killed. They found an arm and a torso." Along with speculation about how many other buildings, including ours, the towers might have hit if they'd fallen differently, I found it all highly distasteful and disrespectful. Mostly, I cringed at the educational tone in his voice, as if he was saying things everyone didn't already know. Had he been more emotional, or perhaps had the monotone of someone who's spoken about tragedy so much as to be numbed to his own story, it wouldn't have bothered me. But instead it was like, "An arm and a torso, isn't that fascinating?! I mean, wow, it's like an episode of CSI!"

The woman, though, sounded like she might not already know it, apparently living in a cave (an inappropriate metaphor, perhaps) for the past 3-and-a-half years. I wondered if she was dumb or extremely good at feigning interest, until she added to the conversation that this company moved to this building after 2001 (which isn't true at all, as I worked here in 1999) from "...oh, I forget the name of the know, where the bull is?" Um, you forgot the name of Broadway???

Soon after that, thankfully, they stopped, but just a few minutes later two other men decided to have a long conference outside my cube, leaning on the file cabinets where the printers are. Now, as is clear from the length of this post, I'm not overly interested in doing my work, but this is just rude, especially since they both have desks just feet away. Conversation from over there is just background static, but from 2 feet from my head it's a serious distraction. And I was working on something that required concentration at the time (whether it was the work for which I'm being paid is neither here nor there). I kept glaring at them but they were oblivious. And since I spend much of my day on the phone (as quietly as I can manage, but who knows how sensitive people are) I didn't want to say anything and risk opening a can of double-standard-loving worms. But as their agitated talk continued, and one of them quoted Glengarry Glen Ross (I shit you not) the urge to throw something became too great, so I got up and headed to the lobby for a Diet Pepsi (there are vending machines on the floor, but then I can't cheat).

The elevators in this building don't stay open for very long, which is intensely irritating because it’s a big building with many elevators, and the ding comes from a central speaker, so often by the time you figure out which car has opened and get to it, the doors are already closed or closing. It's like a traffic light that's only green long enough for an average pedestrian to get halfway across the street. And the bays are narrow so you're almost always approaching a car from the side, so you can't even really blame other passengers for not holding the Door Open button for you since they can't see you, and anyway half the time the thing is empty and closing for no reason.

I usually try not to let this bug me since I have no particular fear of elevators and more trust than I should in whatever magic it is that makes the door open when it encounters an obstacle. I can usually get there in time to throw my arm between the doors, wait patiently for them to close gently on me, then reopen. So I did this just now coming back from the cafeteria with my Diet Pepsi (and free iTunes song), and when I stepped into the elevator the woman inside, with bad hair dye, an ugly coat, and a nasal Lawn Gyland whine that made Edith Bunker sound like Judi Dench, said "Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't see you – but be careful with these elevators."

Trying to be cordial, but not wanting to have a conversation, I said, "Well, they close quickly, but they're pretty gentle."

"No they're not," she said emphatically. "I was... on the other side... wait, which one was it? ...Yeah, it was over there..." (not so emphatic) "I stepped in and the doors just closed on me, right on my shoulders. It didn't hurt at the time, but the next day – muscle spasms!"

I didn't know what to say. The woman looked – how should I put it? – sturdy, and in my life as a temp I've worked all over the building and have never seen an elevator close chomp down on a worker with the intent to maim. And yet here I was, trapped in a small box with Debbie Downer. Fortunately, I didn't need to respond, because she kept on talking – "I guess something was wrong with the eye maybe..." – and then we were at my floor. It seemed rude not to say anything as I left, so as the doors closed behind me with merciful swiftness I called out, "You should sue!"

Then I came back to my desk and ate a mocklate bar in an attempt to suppress my desire to go on a killing spree through the building.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Roomba Revealed

Click the photo for video of Roomba and Radish!

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Maximum Overdrive (Belated Gadget Reviews)

My friend EK was in town a couple of months ago and stayed with us for a night. "This place is like the Jetsons house," he commented, and while that's a bit of an exaggeration, it's true that Boy and I have acquired quite a few gadgets and even one very special robot since moving in together. This is not the least bit surprising to anyone who knows us, as we're both big nerds and tend to be early adopters and easily distracted by shiny things. But on the other hand it was just over a year ago that we were afraid of the DVR, and it's been less than a year since we were attacked by a litter box, so the fact that we've allowed machines that move and get very very hot to invade the home is at least a little bit of an about-face.

I've put off reviewing the Roomba because I got all ambitious and wanted to throw together a little video of the robot in action for y'all in iMovie (a project that apparently turns me Southern), but that still hasn't happened and it's clear I need to get over it. Someday I'll post it, I swear.

The good folks at iRobot claim that "At the point of contact on the floor, Roomba has as much suction as a standard upright," and frankly I have a hard time believing that just based on what little I know about how vacuum cleaners work. Usually there's some sort of exhaust fan and a way to make a, y'know, vacuum. But anyway, in addition to whatever magical suction is going on, there's a rather intricate system of brushes under its little crab-like body, including my favorite, which spins out from the side to get things along baseboards.

Some more things you should know about our friend the Roomba: The Roomba is not quiet. Yes, in the commercials they'd have you believe that you can put your feet up on the couch and watch TV while your army of robots cleans the house for you, but in fact, you won't be able to hear much of anything because the little fucker is loud.

The Roomba will not clean your house for you. Though I believe there are some models that can be set on a timer (and if not, it's only a matter of time), the Roomba is really a maintenance tool, and is not a substitute for real cleaning.

The Roomba requires care. There are places Roomba cannot and should not go. There are surfaces the Roomba cannot handle. Changes in surface seem to be especially tricky for it (for instance, there's one rug in our living room it can't climb up on at all because the rug is too thick, and another it can handle just fine, but whenever it gets down off the thinner rug, it drops some dirt from its little belly). Fortunately, the Roomba comes with "virtual wall units," little pods that emit infrared beams the Roomba can sense – creating a barrier the Roomba won't cross, so you can keep it out of areas it shouldn't go. The manual is worded (with adorable illustrations) in a way that makes us feel like it is our duty to protect the Roomba from things that might harm it (fringe is especially dangerous). It is at once creepy and endearing.

Now, all of that said, we love our Roomba! I mostly love the way it gets under shelves and the bed and the sofa, so we can hopefully avoid using the cat as a broom. And it really does do an awfully good job, as long as you pick up any large obstacles and place the virtual walls around things that might trip it up. Truth be told, it takes the Roomba much longer to sweep a room than it would take me with a broom – and that's not even counting getting the room ready for the Roomba. But I don't care, because I hate sweeping. More importantly, I love multitasking. I can turn the Roomba on and go do the dishes or something. It's two chores in one!

Rather than running and hissing like we expected, Radish generally follows the Roomba around, maintaining a healthy distance. We're not sure if he's trying to make friends or protecting his territory. Sometimes the Roomba will make a sudden turn and send Radish hiding under furniture, but they generally coexist peacefully. I'm waiting for the day Radish tries to pounce on the Roomba and loses. That'll be fun.

Boy got some good kitchen stuff for Chrismukah. I'm not much of a coffee drinker, but I'm a big fan of the Melitta One:One Coffee Maker, which uses little "JavaPods" to make individual cups of coffee or tea. This plays into both the "cool" factor and the lazy factor. There's not really any cleanup involved, you just dump the little pod. No filters, no grounds, no waste. Rinse the spout every once in a while and you're all set. On the cool side, it's just fun to push two buttons and have coffee. Curiously, Radish seems more frightened of this than the Roomba. It's a little noisy while brewing, and he runs from the room every time.

We also got The Next Grilleration George Foreman Grill. Boy had an old Foreman in his old apartment and it always kind of skeeved me out. There didn't seem to be any good way to clean it, and I have a weird phobia about submerging electrical appliances even if they're unplugged. Boy cooked for me on it a few times, and the results were always tasty, but I never got the hang of it myself and never quite trusted it.

So right off the bat I was a fan of the ridiculously named Next Grilleration because the grill plates are removable, and can therefore be thrown in the sink and properly washed. Our model is also big enough for two. We have a shiny new stove with a terrific broiler, but I've found I prefer the NG for things like burgers and chicken breasts. It's faster, and cooks a little more evenly. I tried steak in it once and it was dry and bland, so that still gets cooked with real fire, as does fish. But it's true, quite a bit of fat and grease really does run right off the thing and into the little tray. Fun! One piece of advice: Never ever start cooking and forget to put the little tray in. That is very very bad.

Moving away from the kitchen, I got the lovely Altec Lansing inMotion 3 for the bedroom. Calm down, they're just speakers. From a design standpoint, this is my favorite iPod accessory. The speakers sound great, and can be used with the iPod's dock connector or through a 1/8 inch input jack on the back (so you can plug in pretty much any other device too). If the iPod is docked and the unit is plugged in (it can also run off batteries), the iPod charges rapidly. You can also attach a dock cable and sync with your computer. Best of all, the whole thing folds flat to about the size of 3 iPods and comes with a spiffy carrying case. Open, he iM3 looks very similar to its predecessor, but the mechanics of folding it up are much simpler now, the power adapter is sleek and portable, and it comes with a remote that controls volume and, if the iPod is docked, can play, pause, skip and reverse. The remote is adorably tiny, and fits into a slot on the main unit for transport. It's all rather ingenious. Very sleek and space-age. Though I wish someone would incorporate an AM radio into one of these things so I could listen to the news in the morning without getting out of bed, this pretty much eliminates the need for a stereo in the bedroom.

Finally, there's the very shiny Palm Pilot T3. Over the last year or so, I found myself doing more and more with my old Palm m130, trying to really get the most out of what it could do. Unfortunately, it couldn't do much due to its tiny memory and slow processor speed. When the screen started to fade, I decided it was time to move on to bigger and better things. I'd started using Documents to Go a lot to get work done on the train or just to have things handy for reference, or read articles I'd downloaded from the web, so the stretchy screen was a big draw. Unlike on older Palms, the writing area is generated on the screen, not printed on, so you can make it go away for maximum viewing real estate. You can also tilt it on its side for viewing, say, a spreadsheet that's wider than it is tall. And because the whole unit expands, it's not any bigger in your pocket, or if you just don't need it to be. The T3 also has a crapload of memory (I've got everything from my old Palm and expansion card and then some on it and I've still got about 50% free) and it's wicked fast. It has a voice recorder built in, and can play MP3s and videos. I've been using it much more than I used the old one, and not just for Scrabble. Wow, actual productivity from one of my toys! As always, it's the little design things that get me, so the expanding stylus makes me stupidly happy. It's held into its slot by a magnet, and when you push on the back it extends so the tip pops up and you can easily pull it out for use. Click it again to compress it and put it away. I protect the whole thing with a very sexy RhinoSkin case, and I feel very Sydney Bristow. I do kind of wish I'd held out for the new T5, since as neat as the expandability is, I worry about the mechanism holding up over time. But I'll jump off that bridge when I come to it.

So yup, a whole Jetson House full of gadgets and not a LitterMaid in the bunch! Shocking! Now if the Roomba people could just invent something to clean the bathroom, we'd be all set.

Monday, March 21, 2005

(Bridget) Jonesing for Carbs

I celebrated the 4-week/10-pound mark of my diet yesterday by eating a bagel for lunch, Chinese food for dinner, and not going to the gym. Oops. It wasn't even so much that I craved those things, but that I didn't want much of anything. Dieting has numbed me to food, in a way. It gets boring. I suppose I'd have more options for variety (and sweets) if I were doing a less restrictive but more math-heavy diet like Weight Watchers, but this seems to be working for me. I made a point last week of shopping well and cooking stuff to bring to work for lunch so I'd break out of my rut, but then yesterday morning came along and I just knew I couldn't face another egg or Atkins muffin (which are surprisingly good).

I've been especially slothful today, though I haven't ingested any sugar, and I think my little slip has actually re-inspired me. I'm going to go out later and buy some more muffin mixes and breakfast bars. There are a whole slew of diet programs available for the Palm Pilot, and I've downloaded some demos to try. I already track every penny I spend, why not do the same with food? It might help me get a better sense of what calories mean in my daily life, since I really have very little concept of that. Just by tracking things I might be able to see a little better what, for example, a day's worth of calories ought to be for me.

I mean, really, 10 pounds in a month is pretty damn good, especially considering how little I've been to the gym. And truthfully I've been less hungry in general, and eating far less (carbs or not) as well as spending less money on food. My pants are a little bit looser, though they're still my fat pants, so that doesn't mean quite as much as I'd like it to. But it's a start!

I wonder how many calories I burn doing laundry. Of course that only works if I get off the couch....

Friday, March 18, 2005

On a happier note...

I discovered yesterday that you can totally see under the caps of Pepsi bottles with the iTunes promotion! I'm pretty sure I look like a complete asshole doing it, but hey, free song!

Another reason to avoid the gym

Way back at the dawn of Judgment Call, there was some debate over whether the first word of this blog's title should have an e in the middle of it or not. One of the pieces of pro-E evidence was that the slogan for Crunch gyms is "No Judgements" (which the Microsoft spell-checker is furiously underlining on my screen at the moment). In the end we learned that while the extra E is not technically incorrect (whatever Microsoft says), judgment is the preferred and customary American spelling.

Why am I recapping, you ask? Because the fitness chains are out to get me. Last night I was at the gym (not Crunch, which, incidentally lies and is one of the most intimidating places on earth) and I was staring fairly blankly at one of the TVs playing the in-house "Sports Clubs Network" of bad music videos. There'd been a strange block of not-quite-hits from the 80s that pulled my attention away from The Golden Girls, and then a commercial for New York Sports Clubs came on. This was strange, since I was already there, but it's a funny campaign so I watched it and laughed.

And suddenly I stopped laughing when I realized, after months of working out here, that their slogan is "There's a million reasons to join." I was confused for a second. Could "a million" be singular? Like "a million" is a thing unto itself? No, the "a" is really just standing in for "one," and any way you slice it or spell it, it means "1,000,000." You'd never write "an eight" or "a two." And the s on "reasons" was a clear giveaway of plurality anyway. There are a million reasons to join. And there's no way around it.

I'm going to have to find another gym.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

The Other Other Sister

There's this very weird ad campaign for PFLAG in the subway stations of New York (and presumably elsewhere as well) with big pictures of celebrities and their gay relatives. Seems like a good idea, but where did they find these people?? Let's start with Cyndi Lauper and her sister. Cyndi looks hot. How old is she? 45? 50? She may have had a little work done, but who cares? I'd do her. Her sister, meanwhile, could be an illustration in the dictionary next to bull dyke. Okay, sure, it's PFLAG, and she should be out and proud and be herself and all that, but if I were being photographed for a national ad campaign, I might think about not cutting my own hair for a change, and perhaps invest in a shirt with sleeves. This woman makes the Indigo Girls look like runway models.

Then there's Ben Affleck and his cousin, who appears to be severely mentally challenged. Also, I just read on the site that the cousin is 26. I'd just assumed from the photo that he was around 15. That is some strange and inappropriate touching for two related adults. Maybe he's just screaming, "No, don't make me watch Bounce again!"

We have Congressman Meeks, who is definitely not a celebrity (and I live in his county!), and his brother who needs to either grow a proper ponytail or get over it, and retire the hippie dress.

And I had no idea that Fyvush Finkel was gay, let alone that Barbara Cook was his mom!

It's like the Gephardts are the only ones who bothered to shower for this event. I always knew I liked Dick!

I guess I should be happy that they're debunking the myth that's been Queer Eyed into us that all gay people are thin and gorgeous and well-groomed, but this is not who I want to look at during my morning commute. I get enough of that actually on the subway with me.

Kiss Me, I Like My Sweater

I wore green today by accident, and now people keep wishing me a happy St. Patrick's Day. Honestly, I just like this sweater, I didn't realize it was a holiday at all until I got to work. I'm not virulently opposed to St. Patrick's Day like I am to Valentine's Day, but it's a holiday I've always completely ignored. I'm fond of the Irish as a general rule (I'm a sucker for a fun accent), but I have no desire to appropriate their culture. And saying "Everyone's Irish on St. Patrick's Day" is like saying "Everyone's Jewish on Yom Ha Shoa."

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

A Quest

You Judgment Callers are a pretty tech-savvy bunch, so I put my current dilemma to you for recommendations and advice.

I am on the hunt for the perfect iPod case (for my 40 GB click wheel model) and it's harder than you might think. This is undoubtedly largely because I'm incredibly picky, so here are my criteria:
-It needs to protect my precious reasonably well.
I carry my iPod pretty much everywhere, and once bulky-jacket-with-big-pockets weather is over it will mostly be on my belt. This means it will inevitably get jostled and bumped and perhaps even dropped, and I just don't want to have to worry about it.
-It needs to have a belt clip.
See above. And it should be a clip, not a loop that requires you to actually take off your belt to thread it through (or, for that matter, be wearing a belt).
-It shouldn't be too bulky.
-It should be fairly easy to get the iPod in and out of it.
I use speakers with dock connectors at home and at work, so while most cases have a way to get a cable into the slot, I like to actually remove the Precious and sit it in the dock.
-One thing I don't need is particularly good access to the front panel, since I use a remote for the basic controls most of the time.

I started out with iPod Armor, which fit all my criteria pretty well, though it was a little heavy and large. When that got lost/stolen, I decided to try something new, and got the Xtremity - same basic form as the Armor, but made of much lighter plastic, a little slimmer, and I like the clear cover that you can see the screen through. But after a few months, I'm really unhappy with it. The white and light grey parts are filthy and the clear cover is all scratched up. The iPod itself is getting pretty scratched too, which seems to defeat the purpose of a case.

So I'm on a mission. I was very excited about the Speck Tough-Skin and actually bought one online. It's gorgeous, not nearly as bulky as it looks in the pics, and the flip cover over the wheel is genius. The only problem is, once the iPod is inside it really doesn't want to come out again, so getting it into its speakers at work every day is a real bitch. I immediately put it back on Ebay.

I like Marware's new TrailVue very much, but so far those are only out for Minis and 20GB models. They also make the SportSuit, which is cute, but it has that weird protruding bubble on the front flap.

I just found this one, which I like, but I'm skeptical about the exposed controls.

Who knew this would be so complicated? I suspect I'll wind up going back to the Armor, or maybe waiting around a while to see what Marware comes out with, but if any readers have fabulous suggestions of cases they just love, I'd love to hear them!

Monday, March 14, 2005

My cat doesn't hate me. I think.

Radish and I made up. I didn't quite get the apology I feel I deserved, but when I came home on Friday he seemed awfully contrite. I try not to project emotions onto the cat too much, but he really looked sheepish and kept his distance. Then we had a lovely weekend of playing without claws or teeth, and he was all kinds of snuggly with both Boy and me. I guess, in the scheme of things, I'd rather have a cat that demands attention by nipping at my knees than by peeing on the bed.

And who could stay mad at this face?

Friday, March 11, 2005

My cat hates me

I know how stupid it sounds to say I've been arguing with the cat, but that's exactly what's been going on. Radish has always had an aggressive streak, but it's always been cute and kittenish. He hunts, he gets playful, but we never feel like he's attacking us. We keep little spray bottles of water around the house to discourage him on those rare occasions when he goes too far and really gets one of us. We're pretty forgiving, since he's still under a year old and doesn't always get a ton of playtime.

But lately he's been leaping up and getting the exact same spot on the back of my right thigh, just above the knee, several times every morning and every night, usually right before or right after I go to bed, so I'm not wearing any pants. It's happened every day this week and it's starting to feel very calculated! Boy thinks it's just because I haven't been home much and Radish wants my attention, but he doesn't do it to Boy with anywhere near the consistency, so I'm beginning to think the cat may hate me. It's not like I've done anything but spoil him, but he really seems to have it in for me.

I know it's irrational, but this morning it made me very sad. I'm also fighting off a cold and can't believe it's fucking snowing again. So I'm in a crabby mood and that's why you're reading this instead of the funny post about lesbians I had planned for today.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

In like a lion, out like...a very tired lion

No, this isn't a post about how I'm over winter. Though in case anyone's wondering, I am SO over winter! More snow tomorrow?? Can someone please buy god a calendar???

Anyway, no, it's a quick update on my ever so exciting work life. I landed a temp gig that will probably take me straight through until I leave town for the summer, which is very exciting for my financial well-being. The bad news is, it's still at Huge Financial Company, so the commute is a bitch and it's a little too corporate for my taste, but the people I'm working with directly are laid back and fun. The other male temp even frequently wears cargo pants and leaves his shirt untucked, so I have high hopes of actually dressing comfortably for the spring...if it ever arrives. The worse news is that I'm here to do a very large and tedious project. This is good because I know for sure that I'll have work for several weeks while we slog through this thing, but it doesn't leave me much time to write.

Of course, one of the few things I like about temping in this kind of huge, faceless, corporate environment is the astonishingly low expectations people have of me. Last week I was putting together information packets of some sort -- basically just collating -- and I was fairly slow about it. I made some phone calls, checked my email a couple of times between sets, that sort of thing. And when I brought the finished packets over, my supervisor was all, "You're done already??" I honestly don't know how I could have done it slower without simply not doing it. Later I was complimented on my speedy copying skills. I wanted to say, "Don't thank me, thank the machine. I just pushed start and then stood there until it finished." But instead I just muttered "Thanks" and started calculating how much I got paid, per minute, to stand and watch the copier sort and collate for me.

Anyway, point being, I'm sure I'll be able to find some time (like now) to blog, but it won't be like last week's embarrassment of paid free time.

Meanwhile, before this assignment came through, in a bit of a panic about what I was going to do for work this spring, I put out a bunch of feelers for stage management sub work. Typically, none of those actually led to anything, but two friends did come through for me, so I've been on one show all this week, and I'll be on another for the last two weeks in March. So I can kiss my evenings and weekends goodbye for this month, but I do need the money and the health weeks, not to mention the contacts and the credits, so again all is well.

So it's all good, but I'm a little bummed that I just got the blog back on track and now it's probably gonna slip again. Please keep checking back, 'cause I have plenty to say as soon as I find the time to say it!

Tuesday, March 08, 2005


My own review and video of the Roomba is coming soon, I promise, but in the meantime enjoy this highly entertaining Roombadventure from Tomato Nation.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Picture it...

I think I've reached my gaypex.

Tonight I went to a very schmancy branch of my gym (stockbrokers apparently must consume conspicuously even while sweating) that has more channels on the little TVs than most. Which means I had Lifetime. Which means I worked out while watching The Golden Girls.

Of course, I'll still never be as queer as this man, but he's sort of made it his life's mission.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

And another thing...

Why the hell is Fresh Direct advertising all over my neighborhood if they don't actually deliver there yet? And why the hell don't they deliver there yet, since their warehouse is in Queens and much closer to me than many of the Manhattan areas to which they do deliver. Grar!

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Lost in the Wilderness

To elaborate on my cryptic Lost post (though still cryptically for those of you who TiVoed and haven't watched yet), the latest episode provided exactly what was missing from the show for me, but still fit the bill for slowly-building and complicated that's so important to us all. Technically, no big questions were answered (unless you consider Hurley's backstory a big question - and I don't, but I was starting to wonder if we'd ever hear about it), but we got more pieces of the puzzle to fit into place. We still don't know what's under that hatch, but we learned something new about it; we still don't know what's up with the French woman, but we learned something new about her; nearly every major storyline or character was touched on (the raft, Shannon and Sayid, creepy Locke, angry Sawyer, about-to-pop Claire, druggy Charlie, the Koreans, Frenchie and the hatch, and someone at least mentioned the monster). Things move forward. New information only raised more questions, but in a way made me angry that next week is a rerun because I'm excited and want to know more. That's what I want in my creepy, mysterious and vaguely supernatural television. Yay, JJ!

Assorted Rants (4 Flavor Variety Pack!)

Just a little hodgepodge of quick things that have been on my mind lately...

First of all, you all realize that being a bitch isn't actually a criminal offense, right? I keep reading that Martha Stewart "got what she deserved" or, better yet, "she got off easy." But none of this has anything to do with the crime of which she was accused, it's just that people don't like her. I mean, if I could convict people for that, our prison system would collapse. Get over it, folks. And remember she wouldn't be successful if there weren't clearly a huge market for her product and image. And the more you talk about her, the more you help her fame. (Personally, I'm fairly indifferent to Martha, since she's never been mean to me personally, and I'm not into doilies.)

On an entirely different topic... there was yet another article in Entertainment Weekly asking how Fox could be so short-sighted as to even think of canceling Arrested Development (they're not canceling it yet, but they've cut back on the number of episodes this season, which is never a good sign). Now, I appreciate Arrested Development (though I'm not "into it" and don't watch it regularly), and I'm the first to condemn a network, and particularly Fox, for canceling good shows before giving them a proper chance to find an audience through word of mouth and good reviews. I'll rant for days about Wonderfalls and Andy Richter Controls the Universe. But you can't really say that Fox hasn't given AD a chance, can you? It's in its second year, in a prime timeslot, won an Emmy, and has been written about endlessly. And not enough people are watching it. And when not enough people watch TV shows, they get canceled. Bummer. Now, the EW article did suggest that a cable net pick up the show, and that seems like a lovely idea, since "not enough" broadcast viewers can translate into a very nice number for cable. I'm just saying, we have no one to blame here but ourselves, the viewing audience.

Why do Atkins Advantage Bars taste like crap? I think PowerBars and all their kin taste like crap, but there's this weird, totally unidentifiable taste to the Advantage Bars, no matter what flavor they are. I like a lot of their products, particularly the sauces, which I often use even when I'm not dieting because there's such an absurd amount of added sugar in most condiments, but anything starchy – the breakfast bars, the cereal - all has this same weird flavor to it that sticks in my throat. Don't ask me how a flavor can stick in my throat, but it can. What the hell do they put in there? Also strange, their pre-packaged bread is pretty good, but I tried to make some from a mix and it was like a sponge. I don't understand why there would be such a difference. I actually prefer to diet without all the fake-sugar products, since a big part of it for me is about killing cravings and bad habits, and eating mocklate (surprisingly good) doesn't help me want chocolate any less. But after two weeks breakfast has become a tedious problem, and if I look at another egg I might kill myself, so I'm exploring my options. Also, I've been somewhat inexplicably craving ketchup.

Finally, I know I'm a little late with this, but it happened during my blog's fallow period, so can I talk about the hockey strike for a minute? What's the deal? I'm sure it's disappointing, but why did the press act like someone had opened fire in a preschool? This is not a tragedy, people. Of course, I loathe professional sports, but if they cancelled a season of television (a fair comparison, I think) I'd take it as a sign that I should get out of the house more. Or finally watch Popular and Freaks and Geeks on DVD and catch up on my Netflix.

I don't know the specifics of the hockey situation, but I believe that anyone who can afford to take a year off work without changing his lifestyle one iota really doesn't need a labor union. I say that as a member of an artists' union, which, while I'm grateful to have it, feels incredibly silly most of the time. And what about the people who are really affected? All the stadium workers – concessions people, Zamboni operators, ticket-takers – whose incomes will actually suffer? Not a word. No, but the fans feel betrayed. Like it's the first time they've realized that professional athletes are overpaid and spoiled.

Okay, that'll do it for today. Sigh. When will the world start revolving around me like it's supposed to?

Friday, March 04, 2005

Land of the Lost

Now that's what I'm talkin' about!!

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

90210 vs. The OC

I can't believe I'm about to post a link to ESPN, but ME sent me this and it's damned funny. Click here, then search for "90210" to bypass all the icky sports stuff.

Why am I always the asshole?

About halfway through the first leg of my commute this morning, a woman sat down next to me and proceeded to cough, loudly and wetly, about ever minute-and-a-half. Now, I'm not very germ-phobic (you can't be in a big least not if you start thinking about how many people touch the things you touch every day), and I get that it's cold season, but this woman was hacking away just inches from me and she wasn't covering her mouth.

I fumed for a while, making irritated noises and glaring at her every time she barked, but she was undeterred. Finally, I turned to her after a particularly gross outburst and said, "Lady, would you please cover your mouth?" It was harsher in my head, involving a raised voice and a "for god's sake," but even so she looked at me with a good amount of shock.

"I mean, I'm sorry you're not feeling well," I added, still irritated but quieter, "but you're coughing all over everybody."

She just looked at me for another moment, then said, "It's not contagious."

"I didn't mean... it's just gross, is all. If I had a lozenge I'd offer you one."

"I have one. It's not contagious, it's an allergic reaction. To perfume."

"Oh. Um, the subway must be really hard for you then."

"Every morning."

"Oh. Sorry."

And, of course, then I had to sit next to her for another 15 minutes. Though I have to say, she didn't cough once for the rest of the trip.