ice cream making and ranting

Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween

After gorging on Halloween potluck food, and winning 2nd place ($30-- I was robbed, but not as robbed as last year) in the costume contest today, I'm in no mood to think, blog, or even be awake.

It's a good thing Beth has blogged for me. Scroll down for pictures

This weekend: You can skip past the bloody finger story. There's a reason Beth and Ryan have been together for 500 years, bloody fingers is one of them. She didn't like my idea to forgo the flapper dress and come as the bloody finger.

Last weekend including Rap Snacks

Happy Halloween everyone! I hope I go out tonight, but right now I feel pretty bleh.

Friday, October 28, 2005

7-11: 1 -- Starbucks: 0

Usually I listen to Zack on food related issues, except for his love of curry and hatred of coconut, we’re usually in sync. Other matters, not so much, but food and drink, pretty right on.

But I didn’t listen to his advice. I’ve heard people raving about the Starbucks pumpkin stuff. And I was supremely curious. So I put my $3.30 where my mouth is. While it’s not the most awful thing ever invented, it’s not very good, and definitely weird.

The thing is, it actually tastes like pumpkin. As established before, pumpkin is not that good. And it’s a rather disturbing pumpkin mixed with coffee color. I’d believe there’s actual pumpkin in it. And the spice part isn’t there so much. The pumpkin way overpowers any bits of cinnamon, cloves, ginger or nutmeg that might or might not be there. If I had tasted it before I walked away, I would have added the spices myself.

Also, I have a sweet tooth, but this thing to too sweet, for not having any of the spices to match. And I think it’s thicker at the bottom, and unless someone makes some coffee quick so I can mix it in, I think I’ll throw my bottom half away. It' s probably what I deserve after watching that perfectly good pumpkin pie be violated by Sandra Lee, and enjoying it.

It's a good thing I bought the pumpkin frozen yogurt to cleanse my palate.

Now with 50% more bubble!

Remember how fantastic my hair looks when it’s curled. It looks that way now.

It makes me about 70% dumber though, and 50% more bubbly. It also, apparently, causes me to make up percentages.

How ever will I make it through the day? I don’t think I can. I need to get out of work and into Halloween. It’s been a long week.

Happy dressing up and drinking!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Blogs on the job

US workers waste millions of hours online

Trade paper reported this week that US workers would waste the equivalent of 551,000 years during 2005 reading blogs, online web diaries and gossip sheets, which have exploded in numbers in recent years.

Around 35 million workers -- one in four of the labour force in the United States -- spend three-and-a-half hours, or nine percent of their working week on blogs, the survey found

No surprise to me.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Giant Calculators

Librarians are great. And the good ones are all over the internet.

At this weeks Internet Librarian conference, which ends today, the presenters were all given giant calculators. Really, nothing says librarian like a giant calculator the size of your head. The librarians are really buzzing about this gift.

And before the thing even ends there are 31 photos on flickr (and counting, possibly). Granted, most of them were uploaded by the same guy.

This is why they invented the internet

UPDATE: In addition to pictures there's also a Haiku

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

I am dumb

With all of my assignments due at midnight, there seems to be no call for all-nighters anymore. This is good, because with my advancing age, I do progressively worse with little sleep. This is bad, because it cuts out very productive time, and it’s less satisfying when your sense of urgency comes at 11pm rather than 4 am.

I finally (almost) realized my greatest fear yesterday around 6pm. Ever since the start of these damn online classes I was desperately afraid I’d miss a deadline because of some fault of technology and it’s lack of permanency and driving home due dates. Turns out that my assignment was due yesterday at midnight, not Saturday, like I thought. It’s a damn good thing I did most of the part of the assignment that required a trip to the library last week, while I was trying to see and be seen.

So, I put the finishing touches on and turned in the assignment that I knew was due yesterday (that I was avoiding because it bored me). And started straight away on the other. And since I was under the gun, I actually got work done. I’m pretty sure I won’t get an A on either assignment, but it’s not bad enough to not get the obligatory B. I’ll make up for it with the term paper. I haven’t picked a topic yet because there are so many things that interest me. And I’ve finally realized how much of a difference my interest level makes in my work.

I can’t believe I almost missed a deadline. I was almost too embarrassed to post. But that’s what blogs are for, right? Portraying yourself in an awful light?

According to this guy who writes for the NY Times, "Clinically speaking, the dream of forgetting to take a final exam, or of forgetting to attend a course until that fateful day, does not qualify as a nightmare because it does not wake the sleeper. Yet, like any recurrent fear, it tells a society something about itself."

food porn

I was going to claim I saw the most amazing TV this weekend, but then I saw that Hello Kitty video.

Sandra Lee of Semi-Homemade with Sandra Lee, the person that everyone with taste loves to hate, really out did herself with her Halloween Special

I wasn’t fully watching it, I was flipping back and forth between something good, maybe Rugrats. She had a different costume for every commercial break, and they seemed to get progressively more feminine, from regular witch to super princessy princess. And let’s not forget the hairpieces!

But, the best moment of TV, possibly ever, was watching her make her Pumpkin-Cheesecake Petits Fours

Lets forget for a moment that both pumpkin pie and cheesecake are much easier to make than tart shells. So she rolls the dough, cuts it out with an empty can (Semi-homemade cutters too!) and puts it into the tart pan to bake. No big deal, so far. Then she takes a store bought pumpkin pie and proceeds to scoop out all the filling with a spoon. And when you think it can’t get any better she takes a store bought cheesecake and scoops out the cheesecake into another bowl. Never in my life have I seen anything like it. It was a train wreck, too fascinating to turn away from. Scooping the insides out. Then she proceeds to add a bit of cream to each bowl, and puts the mixtures side by side in a piping bag, and pipes the newly formed train wreck into a miniature shell.

I am dying to try this! Unlike most of her recipes, she doesn’t really add anything bizarre to ruin this one. And, more than anything, I’m dying to scoop the insides out of a pie. If they started a scooping the insides out channel, I’d probably watch. I guess it’s kinda food porn. It doesn’t sound interesting when I repeat it, but if you saw it, you’d know!

She first invented her "semi-homemade" approach not to sell products or cookbooks but simply out of necessity: She was working and had a limited budget and needed ways to cut corners. But her first project wasn't cooking -- it was home decorating…. She started out by selling some home decorating accessories in a booth at the Los Angeles County Fair, but it wasn't long before she went commercial, creating product lines for Wal-Mart, Target, Michael's Crafts, Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores, QVC and other retailers. Eight years later, she has created 157 different products.
Sodergren, R. (2004, March 11). Semi-homemade cookbook cuts corners to extend other dining pleasures. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, p. F1. Retrieved October 25, 2005 from LexisNexis.

Hello Kitty Wedding!!!!!!!!!

Watch this video. No really, watch it now! Seriously, now. It's indescribable, unfathomable, and impossible to turn away from. I'm having trouble forming sentences right now because it's so fantastic.

I don't have sound on this computer, but I imagine the clip has sound. But I doubt it could get any better.

UPDATE: From Hoovers: A cute cat called Hello Kitty and a bad-boy penguin tagged Badtz-Maru anchor the lineup of the mega-merchandised world of Sanrio. Sanrio makes what it calls social communication gifts and greeting cards (accounting for 90% of sales); operates restaurants and two theme parks in Japan; produces movies; and publishes books and magazines -- all based on its multitude of cute characters… CEO Shintaro Tsuji founded Sanrio in 1960

Monday, October 24, 2005

Sunday Miscellany

I spent a happy Sunday afternoon, drinking, baking (yea pumpkin!) and gossiping. It was a lovely way to spend a Sunday, even if it did put me a bit behind in the homework department. I tried Soho lychee liqueur. It was as crisp and refreshing as I imagined it would be. I don’t have the energy to look up info for this company. Since I don’t have the bottle in front of me, I can’t verify the company info. And a quick LexisNexis and internet search doesn’t help me. I’m sorry, I’m going to be a horrible librarian.

And what better way to end the day than with a particularly good episode of my favorite current network TV show, Greys Anatomy. Not only was there surgery in a broken elevator, the 3 main female interns are not having much luck in love. And they stand against a railing, looking down at the hospital below and one quips “boys are stupid.” And the other two concur. As if I didn’t love Sandra Oh enough already.

In other ABC news: Mark your calendars, tomorrow at 8 ABC is showing It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. November 19, 1952, Lucy held a football for Charlie Brown for the first time.

Kraft Cheese

Kraft makes a shredded cheese blend that is mostly American, mixed with cheddar and something else. I found out by accidentally bringing home a package, because I didn’t read it. I’ve never had shredded American before. And mostly, it tastes exactly the way you think it would. So, be forewarned.

As you likely know Kraft is owned by Phillip Morris (now Altria to lose the cigarette stigma). What I didn’t know was how many subsidiaries there were, which makes for very tricky financial data readings. Recently Kraft sold the Altoids and LifeSavers brands to Wrigley. Also, they’ve launched the Tassimo Hot Beverage System to be competitive in the high end specialty coffee maker market. Who knew that was a booming market? Kraft started in 1909 with the Kraft brothers opening their own cheese company

Best of Shel Silverstein

I found out about this recent Shel Silverstein album, and heard a track from it on a compilation CD. I thought it might be cool to have, it’s reasonably priced and it mixes some of his Light in the Attic stuff with some of the more adult things (I got stoned and missed it) and features the likes of Johnny Cash. But I’m hesitant to buy it because of the amazon reviews. Aaarrrrgggg with the DRM. I don’t think I want it bad enough to buy it and rely on myself to remember never to put it into my computer.

This CD is published by Sony. Sony music has about 10, 000 employees and is the #2 record company in the world. “In 1997 Sony Music Entertainment spent $800,000 on the rights to distribute the soundtrack to Titanic. The deal helped propel Sony Music Entertainment from fifth place to first place in terms of US market share”


RapSnacks is a private company, and it is also hard to find info on them. According to their tagline, it’s the “official snack of hip-hop.” They were founded in 1994, I don’t know where they’ve been all these years. They have a large handful of flavors, many based on BBQ (because that’s apparently what the target audience likes. Insert your own stereotype joke). I picked up a bag of “back at the RANCH” potato chips with the slogan “Education is knowledge.” I also got a bag of “Honeydew” cheese puffs that say “reading is fundamental.” And, as one would expect from a boutique chip (and not really expect from a rap product) they’re really good! The ranch chips were good, more like sour cream and onion than cool ranch flavored. But the cheese puffs were markedly different from anything on the market. They were pretty much bbq flavored cheese puffs, and after the initial confusion of flavors in your mouth, they really grow on you. There is no honeydew in the puffs, but there is honey. Is honeydew slang for something in the rap world (besides the obvious)? Or maybe rappers are just confused? Confusion or not, I will to try more flavors of RapSnacks. They are yummy and maybe I’ll learn a thing or two.


Oilily is a dutch company, and it’s hard to find info in English about them. They sell very ugly high end clothes. This is particularly unusual because a lot collection is for babies and children. The babies don’t have typical baby looking clothes. They’re more in line with the adult collection for that season. My co-workers bought a $95 sweater for a co-worker’s new baby. It’s pretty ugly, but there is an adorable patch of cotton material on the back of the sweater. I think it’s details like that that keep the thing in business. The site is annoyingly flashed, but rather cool to look at. I'm looking forward to visiting the trainwreck of a store next time I'm at South Coast Plaza

According to their press release: Founded in 1963, Oilily is a premium international fashion label focused on creative independent women and also includes a range of exceptional collections for children.

Friday, October 21, 2005

I think I might mail this

WM Wrigley Jr. Co
410 North Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611, USA

Dear WM Wrigley Jr. Co.,

After a long break of not buying gum, I purchased a 5 pack of Juicy Fruit. I was very excited, it is one of my favorite flavors of gum. But I was severely disappointed with your new formula.

Certainly your company has come a long way since that fateful day in 1915 when Mr. Wrigley mailed gum to everyone in the US. And you didn’t disappoint your customers by producing an inferior product during WWII when quality gum ingredients were impossible to get. Certainly things have to, and are expected to change. But why mess with a good thing?

Have you noticed how many types of sweetener there are in your gum? There are 5. There are more types of sweetener than there are other ingredients in the gum. Sugar, corn syrup, dextrose, aspartame, sucralose. Does your sugared gum really need to contain aspartame and sucralose? And even so, shouldn’t you announce it to your customers somehow? This is not Juicy Fruit C-2. It’s the regular Juicy Fruit that I’ve come to know and love, and now it’s ruined. I usually read ingredient labels for new products, but I never figured I’d need to read the ingredients on Juicy Fruit.

I see that you haven’t ruined Spearmint or Big Red yet. So, I guess I’ll move on to Spearmint. But I have a hard time with brand loyalty whem, obviously, you don’t care about your customers enough to inform them of the change.

It is hard being an adult in today’s market and avoiding artificial sweetener. Artificial sweetener is popping up everywhere. I have to say, just because sucralose is manufactured with sugar, it does NOT taste like sugar. You know, they use chlorine in the manufacturing process, right? That stuff is bad for you. Sugar, corn syrup and even dextrose are perfectly acceptable. But aspartame? Sucralose? Shame on you! Please, manufacture your sugar free Juicy Fruit—I’m sure many people will welcome it. But why? Why, why must you ruin a perfectly good thing? Do you hate me?


P.S. Good luck with your recent patent on biodegradable gum. Maybe soon people will stop about the legends of swallowed gum etc.

P.P.S. Extra good luck with the Sildenafil citrate gum patent, I can’t wait until it’s put into recreational chewing gum. Get that blood flowing!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Cucurbita pepo

According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica the names pumpkin and squash are applied inconsistently. But the pumpkin is a type of squash, and squash is a type of gourd.

I’ve tried a number of squash, and pumpkin is, by far, the least interesting when unseasoned. In fact, I’ll go as far as saying plain, cooked pumpkin is pretty gross. And raw pumpkin is so disgusting I can’t believe someone would ever thing to make it into something as fabulous as a dessert. Add some spices and a bit of sugar, though, and pumpkin is a force to be reckoned with. My mom makes a kick ass zucchini bread, but pumpkin kicks more ass.

Since I have no scientific knowledge of food, I must conclude that pumpkin + spices causes some kind of magical reaction that turns into scrumptious. Pumpkins are shrouded in mystery. They are supposed to scare off evil spirits, or something. They’re not very good businessmen though.

Pumpkin has the market cornered on false, false-scarcity. And for no reason at all. Girl Scouts understand false scarcity, their cookies can command such ridiculous prices because they’re only available a few weeks a year, even though they could be made and sold year round. Pumpkin IS available year round, often times not fresh, but if you wanted to, you could get it. And who would want fresh when canned is available? Year round. Reasonable priced, packaged to survive in your air raid shelter. Why should pumpkin only be associated with fall? Why not turkey and pumpkin pie for Easter? Memorial Day? Flag Day? Some days I feel like Libby’s is mocking me. “Ha, ha,” they say, “we make enough money during the fall that we don’t even bother with the rest of the seasons. Try to change us, bitch!” And I buy into it. I’m perfectly aware that the day I got my ice cream maker I could have marched out to the store, bought myself a can of pumpkin and started churning away. But I waited till fall, because that’s the thing to do. And, now I have no kitchen, and one giant pumpkin craving.

In even worse pumpkin news, Bols, seems to have manufactured a Pumpkin Smash Liqueur at one point, but doesn’t anymore. A prize to anyone who can procure it for me. It doesn’t seem that library school has made me much more able to find things.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Magical Endcap

I am going to have to start tracking how much I spend at 7-11 this month. It doesn’t feel like much at the time, and it brings joy to my otherwise dreary workday. But I’m afraid I’ll break $30. Why didn’t anyone ever tell me how great 7-11 was? It sure is a good thing I got rid of my ex, because he knew, but was never able to share the magic with me.

On Beth’s sage advice, I checked my 7-11’s magical endcap. And there they were: Platinum Bar-B-Que Rap Snacks with Master P on the bag. (who he is, I'm not entirely sure, and am less sure every second ever since my satellite stopped giving me MTV) I’d love to give a product review, but something terrible happened, and everything on the magical endcap of magical new products was dirty. Not just a little dust, but gross and dirty. I was also going to try the apple ginger ale, but alas---dirt. I’ll have to try another 7-11. I have to say, I feel a loyalty to my 7-11 that I’ve never felt before ever since I had a conversation with the guy about the pumpkin latte.

Not dirty, was the frothy hot drink machine (maybe I should look up what that thing is actually called). And next to my beloved pumpkin latte (which turns out to be perfect in a ratio of 3:1 or 2:1 pumpkin latte and cinnamon coffee) was spiced apple cider. More fall! The cider, while no pumpkin latte, is surprisingly good considering it comes out of a strange machine next to very unsimilarly flavored beverages. It’s almost as good as the spiced cider from Trader Joe’s, and it doesn’t taste as cloudy and gross as it looks.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Disney launches vintage bling for grown ups

I'm sorry for introducing the word "bling" to my blog, can you forgive me?

Good news for my Mary Blair craving. Bad news for my pocket book.

When that begins to happen you just have to pay attention to the call of what's going on in society," Dennis Green, senior vice president of marketing for consumer products, said at the company's Mad Hatter Tea Party on Sunday.

Disney has licensed Alice and other Wonderland characters from studio art done by Mary Blair and David Hall for lines of fabric, tableware, carpet tiles, decorative pillows and throws, jewelry and clothing.

They had a "Mad Hatter Tea Party" and I wasn't invited! hmmph.

ign live

I don't know what this is, and I'm not about to read through the whole thing, but they've been bombarding the radio with commercials. It's a video game convention or something. They say lots of stuff that goes way over my head. And in the mess I hear something about Wil Wheaton celebrity poker, and prizes for dressing as your favorite video game character.

UPDATE: I just heard this morning. There's a $1000 prize for best costume.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Love and Hate

Someone loves and appreciates me (and Cinderella and Fraggles) even if you guys don’t! Unfortunately, it seems, he’s married. All the good ones are. He also seems to know a lot about Disney. So, Mr. John Frost, if you have any insider info on the upcoming Shag event , please toss some my way. It will be my first trip to Disneyland this decade.

And there’s also hate for me in the blogging community. It seems my post from August 8 was picked up by LA Blogs on Sept 25. I don’t want to start a war or anything, so if you’re interested follow the link from my previous post. In defense of myself, the only thing on the site at the time was a list of blogs on the sidebar. There was no other content. In fact, seeing the site now, I would retract what I said and call it a promising upstart which has potential to unite a blogging community. But if they’re going to be mean, whatever.

Top 1000

Top 1000 books held by OCLC member libraries.

This includes pretty much every library in the US and some in other countries.

And a FAQ

Hurrah for lists!

Friday, October 14, 2005

Groups Threaten to Boycott American Girl

Some people should just turn Amish and get themselves out of the general population.

Having run out of obscene things to complain about, the American Family Association has started to jab at the good, pure and patriotic.

American Girl, a subsidiary of Mattel Inc., said the "I Can" initiative supports three specific Girls Inc. programs — building girls' skills in science and math, developing leadership skills, and encouraging athletic skills and team spirit.

"All of these aims are appropriate to our 7- to 12-year-old American Girl fans," the company said. "The American Girl brand exemplifies the values of wholesomeness and responsibility that we would expect any organization to commend."

But, the AFA thinks differently. By supporting Girls, Inc., the American Girl company is apparently supporting abortion and lesbians. Because there is a lot of pressure for 7 year olds to have abortions?

Top 100 Global Brands Scoreboard

From Business Week, a list based on some actual calculations.

I'm not sure what to comment about. It' s just interesting in itself. Some of the things considered giants in the US just don't cut it globally.

Pumpkin is in

As I write this I’m enjoying a pumpkin spiced latte from 7-11. I do have an affinity for drinks that come from frothing machines. I plunked down many a $1.09 for the toffee drink from the ASUC. But this pumpkin thing takes the cake. I don’t think it even pretends to taste like coffee. The only way it could be better is when sipped in front of a fire with a significant other on a brisk autumn night (as opposed to the 85 degrees and sunny that it is right now.) I can’t imagine the Starbucks drink could taste better than this 7-11 one.

In sad news, the 7-11 I go to raised their prices on hot drinks by 4 cents. 4!! If this latte was any less good I’d be angry now. $1.25 was a perfectly reasonable price. Pull out a dollar and a quarter, and that’s it. Now, for exact change you need a minimum of 6 things. Hmmph. And they don’t even have a jar on the counter to donate to muscular dystrophy, or anything.

I don’t know why I ignored 7-11 the entire year I lived next to it in Berkeley. There are so many wondrous things inside. Next time I might try the “apple ginger snap” Big Gulp soda in a 20oz bottle (I didn’t check to see if they have it on the fountain)

A little over a month ago I was lamenting the end of summer, especially the great finds at the farmers markets, and all the horrible fall colors of clothes in the stores. And orange, uggh, why did they even invent that color, it's so ugly. But I’m cool with fall now. I love the cinammony-nutmeggy spices of fall that lead into Christmas. Usually I hate weather under 72 degrees, but I bought so many jackets and coats in the last year, I’m dying to wear them.

Pumpkin is in, and I couldn’t be happier. Pumpkin is the new black! Pumpkin is king. All hail pumpkin.

UPDATE: As I tend to wonder, I've been thinking this might be good with a shot of rum. I think I'm out of rum though. So I'll have to keep wondering.

Books and Bars

I came across a mention of the Books not Bars program. At first, I was a bit put off, because in my line thinking, “bars” mean places where you drink alcohol. And really, I can’t condone that. There’s nothing wrong with books and drinking. Turns out, the idea is, education keeps people out of jail. And education should be used instead of jail to rehabilitate the youth.

I think my concept could be used successfully in some indie rock and yuppie type downtown areas. Books and Bars. Each participating bar could choose a different book and that could be the theme for some weekday night. (much like my previous banned book week idea). The theme could be book talks or book groups or buy named author a drink night. Or it could be purely decorative and symbolic or a combo, or anything really! The possibilities are endless. I’m sure half the people I know would go to a dress like Harry Potter party at a bar. Florida already has the yearly Hemmingway impersonator contest. I think there might be one for Mark Twain too.

Really, more books and more drinking would do most people a bit of good.

McDonald's in Japan Offers Shrimp Burger

I don't know why this is a top news story.

But, Ryan, I expect a full review forthwith.

Coast Guard Tightens Rules on Tattoos

Just so I'm clear. If I ever get drafted, I don't have to get pregnant to get out of it?

I just have to get a large tattoo of porn on my face?

Or do you think a Rainbow Brite star would work?

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Last Laugh for Howard U. Student Humor Magazine

Another humor magazine has died

Although I guess it wasn't really around very long. But it had a famous name attached

But there is a happy ending:

the cost of The Illtop "became prohibitive" for Rock. The comedian kept his eye on the larger goal, though: This summer, he got Comedy Central to offer an internship for college students to learn from pros like Rock, Al Franken and Conan O'Brien

Pumpkin Spice

I went out to Party City today, just to kill some time during lunch. What a miserable experience, so many children trying to get costumes, and so much whining. I have to say their wig selection is very much lacking. However, if you’re looking for ears on headbands and tails they have 3’ x 9’ devoted to them. Never have I seen so many options for ears on headbands, with mix and match tails.

Next door is a Vons. I was going to pick up a frappucino from the Starbucks inside, I am only 1 away from getting one free from Vonsclub. There was a line like I’d never seen, and packed with old people. And I couldn’t justify going to the next door Starbucks and not get vonsclub credit for my drink purchase. I was sure I didn’t eat enough for lunch, and since I wouldn’t be eating again till late, I figured I could do with a few more calories, and a bit more caffeine wouldn’t hurt either. But who needs caffeine when you have pumpkin spice frozen yogurt??? No one, I say. Yum! Apparently it’s the first day they’ve had it this year, and the lady who sold it to me was nothing but excited. She wouldn’t shut up! She waited all year for it. Yes all women love pumpkin pie spice, and the yogurt is fat free…. So I took mine as quick as I could and left. I may go back tomorrow. And as soon as I get a kitchen again I’ll be making my own pumpkin ice cream--- as fat full as it comes!

Next time, I’ll probably try a pumpkin latte from Starbucks. I also hear that 7-11 has a pumpkin flavor coffee, but I can’t confirm it.

Who wants to go to Helsinki?

Helsinki throbs to Europe's only heavy-metal karaoke

"Karaoke can be embarrassing but here it's great because people don't care what you sing," said the hoarse-voiced, 20-year-old Tatu Kairi, who had picked -- you guessed it -- "Stairway to Heaven" from the bar's repertoire of 300 songs, all of them in English.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Sanitized and the City

A few weeks ago they replaced my 11pm showing of Friends with Sex and the City. While I didn’t really watch Friends when it was new, it was just what I needed to unwind and numb my mind before drifting off peacefully to sleep on my fantastic memory foam pillow. (I’ve noticed that I like sitcoms a lot better in syndication. It must have something to do with the lack of pressure to be new and exciting.) Now my pillow is starting to age, and my sitcom has moved to 11:30 and sleep has not been so peaceful.

Here is how I frame the shows:


A mixed group of 20-something friends (who started out younger than I am now, I should add) trying to find themselves—careers, love, other personal relationships. They’re young and in that transition period of their lives, so it’s ok that they’re not established. And there are various animals and nasal-y ex girlfriends to keep the mood light. And the show is a comedy, sometimes even bordering on farce.

Sex and the City:

A group of 30-something women who have very little in common, yet have a very strong bond—this is actually refreshing. These women are well established with fantastic careers and apartments, yet their love lives are disasters. As Miranda said in an episode last week (before she stormed off because she didn’t have a boyfriend), they’re bright and interesting, yet all they can talk about is men. It’s horribly depressing, the show is all about problems and unhappiness. I figured all my young person problems would magically disappear at age 30 or so, to be replaced by old person problems.

At the height of popularity, or maybe still, it was vogue for gals to compare themselves and their friends to the show’s characters. The KTLA commercials reinforce this. Everyone wanted to be Carrie. And I said from the beginning, being Carrie is exactly what I don’t want to be. (and I never found Sarah Jessica Parker to be that attractive)

Carrie is the most neutral, and the leader, and everyone thinks they want to be leader. But, she has the most money issues, least stable job, worst apartment, most trouble with men, and a retarded addiction to shoes that you can’t walk in. I haven’t seen the last season, but I’m sure the resolution with Big will be completely unsatisfying for me.

Once you get rid of all the nudity and swearing it turns out that this show is horribly depressing.

I used to like Sex and the City. But, I don’t think I should continue to watch it before bed, it’ll probably start giving me spinsterhood nightmares.

UPDATE: I did have a spinsterhood nightmare!

Steaming Cup of Mud

I’ve found out why the coffee at work is sometimes horrible. It turns out that we have one offender who instead of washing out the urn and making more coffee will leave the dregs in the urn, leave the used grounds, and add another packet of coffee and more water, and let the whole thing cycle again. I, not being a coffee connoisseur, can tell when this happens, and it’s unpleasant. The connoisseurs puzzle and posture and tantrum. I haven’t told them my discovery yet, I’m sure this info will come in handy someday.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

I want to go to Disneyland

But going by myself seems like a very, very, very sad thing to do. Someone, please come with me!

I will spend a lot of money, but I want to go on Nov. 12 for the Shag event. He's not as cool as Mary Blair, but much more alive.

He will be signing cool stuff.

More cool Disney Shag stuff

Honestly, how often does Disney endorse the word shag? I would think they'd make him change his name before he could do art for them.

Cosplay in Space

Lydia, you've done some good stuff. But this guy has dedication. I heard the commercial space flight story, but what I failed to pick up the first few times was:

If he gets Russian approval, Enomoto said he wanted to dress up on the trip as "Char Aznable", a character in the popular "Gundam" hero robot series of animation whose name is inspired by French singer Charles Aznavour.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Gaucho Marx

These girls in my belly dancing class have been wearing (what I looked up just now and found out are called) gaucho pants. They look like they’re jersey knit, and super comfortable. Also they make your ass look fantastic, even though the pants are rather dumb.

Do you think I’m a bad person for wanting them? Does it make a difference if I promise only to wear them while dancing and never on a public street?

They range in price from Target’s $6.50 to Urban Outfitters $34 to Nordstrom’s $185. Apparently they're very popular with the kids today.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Leave the sewin’ to the women, you go get the trimmin’

Or, Score: 1 Target, 0 Environment

I don’t have a best buy reward zone card, and I’m not paying for one. So I popped into Target to get Cinderella (and some much needed nail clippers, I seem to have lost mine). This is the first time I’ve ever told the cashier “I don’t need a bag,” and she made me take on anyway.

We just had an Oktoberfest party at work (sausages and beer, yum!) to celebrate our sales figures for September, and I was just about stuffed to the brim. So I didn’t need to worry about dinner interrupting my Disney bliss, and settled in for over 4 hrs of Cinderella goodness. I have to say, I’m in a very good mood today, and I’m sure it’s because of her.

The Target package of Cinderella comes with a shoe necklace. It’s blue and sparkly. It doesn’t look much like a glass slipper, and it’s not really something I’d wear. But it is less crappy than I imagined it would be. And when faced with buying something with a prize or without, I’m sure you know what the decision is.

Getting this DVD into the player was an exercise itself. There is the cardboard sleeve with the Velcro flap over the plastic DVD box (like the rest of the movies). There is shrink wrap adhering the shoe necklace to the plastic DVD box. There is shrink wrap around the plastic DVD box itself. Then there’s that retarded sticker on the top that says the name of the movie. And finally, they won’t just settle for a regular DVD box. There are two clasps on the dumb thing (like a briefcase?) that have to be undone before you can snap the thing open. I don’t remember that from any other packaging.

I watched the extras disc first. And oh my goodness, were they extras! Not to say that they were perfect, I could have done with less repetition of/about the songs. It turns out that Cinderella was crucial for Disney, if it wasn’t a huge success he might have had to stop making movies all together, and he thought that marketing the music as stand alone music was going to help tons. There’ s fantastic footage (think Beatles) of young women rushing into the music store with an ecstatic look when they get their hands on a copy of the sheet music for “the work song.” What a different time it was back then. There’s also some footage of the Perry Como show, in which some back up singers dress in absolutely indescribably horrid mouse suits.

There’s a short section where we meet the artist responsible for each character. Old people are pretty cute.

As it turns out, to save money (not quite sure how that works) the whole movie was shot in live action with the voice actors acting and dancing, and the artists traced over copies of that to make the final product. This necessitated all of Cinderella’s costumes to actually be made in real life. CINDERELLA’S OUTFITS ACTUALLY EXISTED!! And there are s few clips of Ilene Woods on different shows, wearing these outfits. In a clip from the Mickey Mouse Club she wears the dress, and then changes into the remains of the dress the mice made after the stepsisters tear it apart. THE TORN APART PINK DRESS ACTUALLY EXISTED!! It doesn’t get much better than that. I’m thinking about making myself the pink mouse dress for next Halloween. I guess it wouldn’t be very recognizable, but if mice can make it, I certainly can.

But that’s not the best part. There’s a small “Art of Mary Blair” documentary. And, as it turns out, I love Mary Blair. Most notably she worked on Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Cinderella, and later in her career the Small World ride. Her art is fantastic as stills, but they have to soften it a lot for the cartoons. I’m going to buy her book. What I’d really like are some prints of her art-- not just disney stills, but my preliminary research doesn’t show much available. I’m ready to get a job in the Disney archives and just start stealing.

There’s new footage too. A music video with today’s Disney Channel stars covering “A Dream is a Wish your Hear Makes.” There’s a segment where we learn how to pick a Tiara with Isaac Mizrahi, How to give you room a princess makeover by the extreme makeover: home edition team (Ty suspiciously absent), and how to act like a princess and curtsey with some real princess who sounded an awful lot like Olivia Newton John (I have my doubts about her pedigree, because a real princess would NEVER wear Ugg boots on tv).

I haven’t played the DVD-ROM yet, but it involves room design, dress-up and uploading your photo.

At this point I was debating if I should watch the actual movie or do my homework. I was in much too good of a mood, so I figured I’d go for it. Cinderella is the first Disney platinum release that I actually watched as a child. It turns out there were bits I forgot about, but other parts I remembered perfectly. Unlike all this new stuff where, I don’t know, the girl has a mind of her own. Cinderella is just perfectly obedient. It’s not through struggle and fighting for equality that she becomes princess, it’s because she’s beautiful both inside and out.

The next Disney Platinum release will be Lady and the Tramp at the end of Feb. It seems to me they could have stepped it up a bit to be released before Valentines Day, but that’s just me. I can’t wait for some old Peggy Lee footage.

And, just when you thought they’d done all they could with Cinderella, they’re releasing Cinderella III in 2007. (Because II was such a hit???) And, like the early trailer for II, they don’t actually have any new footage, just old footage with a new voiceover. It seems that III will not be retarded vignettes about mice and pudding and cats in love. It will be something about life if Cinderella doesn’t go to the ball and meet the prince, or something. Lady Tremaine, (the stepmom) seems to have evil magical powers, (and sounds A LOT like Maleficent) and sees to be able to counter the good fairy godmother magic. Or something. I was led astray by II, but I’ll stay cautiously optimistic about III. I’d love to see a legitimate treatment of a great Villainess, but since the stepdaughters are comic figures, I doubt it’ll happen.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Nothing's better than Friends!

Oh my gosh. I can't even process this information. I haven't decided if it's good, or bad. But I definitely know it's news (for me at least).

I almost didn't read this article.
Graphic novels are drawing in kids...
Another article about the benefits of graphic novels I thought. But, I'm really bored today. And there it was, midway down the page-- with a picture!

Next April, Ann M. Martin's "Babysitters Club," a popular tween series of the 1980s, will get a graphic-novel makeover.

A Dream is a Wish your Heart Makes

Usually I pay attention. I’m the one in my house who reads the fine print to find out how much shipping you have to pay in the book club, what hoops you have to jump through to get off the list, etc.

But I was blindsided by Cinderella. Dreaming, maybe. I got up Sunday morning and tore to the newspaper. I painstakingly pulled out the ads and started going over them. It’s the same price everywhere, as I would have guessed (except Wal-Mart, I hear. But I can’t confirm for myself). But, it’s the prizes that make a difference. Why would you get it from K-mart when Target will give you a free “glass slipper” necklace? And why the heck would you want a cheap necklace when you can get a lithograph from Best Buy. Well, as it turns out, it’s because you have to be a reward zone member to get the prize. I’ve never noticed this to be the case before. I got my best buy edition of Fraggle Rock without the card. I got my free (yet incredibly ugly) Thumper without the card. I know there were more prizes I got without the card. But, Cinderella requires the card. Hmmph!! And I didn’t find that out until I stopped, already late from returning from lunch. Hmmph! I didn’t really want it before, just kinda. It’s not like I’m going to display it, and I don’t need more stuff to store. I just love my prizes. But, now that I can’t have it I definitely want it more. If my dad can’t find his card, I’m just going to have to give in and get the necklace from Target.

Speaking of Target, I got the new Hilary Duff CD for $10 on Sunday. Review forthcoming.

Spooktacular Sodas

Also, speaking of Target, they have 4 special Halloween Jones Sodas in 4 packs of 8oz cans. Rather than make sense and package all 4 in 1 pack, you must buy them in 4 packs of a single flavor. According to “These cans feature two new flavors, Candy Corn and Caramel Apple, and two old standards renamed as Strawberry Slime and Scary Berry Lemonade.”

I can’t possibly describe it better than these people or these people but I’ll give it the old college try.

At $1.49 +CRV per pack, I figured I didn’t have much to lose. I bought Candy Corn and Caramel Apple. I debated also getting berry lemonade, because I don’t think I’ve tried it. I would have bought it if I knew what a fantastic color blue it was, but I wasn’t buying because I thought they’d be good. I was pretty sure they would be awful (although I had secret hope for caramel apple, because I do like the regular Jones apple flavor)

Luckily, on Sunday, I saw half the people who read my blog and they could join me in my experimentation. I'm hoping Zack with be game for a try next weekend.

I popped the top of the Candy Corn first. I knew it would be the weirdest one. It smelled like one of those brown sugary flavors of jelly bellys. Good for a Jelly Belly, not so much for soda. Then I poured the pee yellow solution into a cup. It had a rather disturbingly bright candy-corn-yellow foam that you just don’t see with soda

Caramel Apple smells like sparkling apple cider. You can smell the sparkles. It’s rather apple juice color is decidedly undisturbing.

And then, the tasting...

More than anything Candy Corn tasted really, really, really sweet. Kenny noted that it tasted a little like cream soda. I objected, because I like cream soda, but conceded that cream soda may be a little too sweet, like Candy Corn, which is a lot too sweet. Conversation ensued about what candy corn actually tastes like. Maybe it does just taste like sugar. I think it’s more about texture than taste. If any one knows, please weigh in. Notably, it wasn’t vile, it wasn’t even actively bad, just kinda not very good

Caramel Apple was even more unremarkable, and smelled familiar (apple cider). And tasted like a less good version of Martinelli’s. Where is the caramel I ask? But there was no answer. It was fine. But, since beer is about the only carbonated beverage I seek out and don’t mind paying money for, I won’t really be getting it again. Lydia liked it, and I would have gladly sent it off with her, if she could carry it.

I think the moral of the story is clear. If it sounds like a bad idea, it is. Although I would have been much happier if it was shockingly awful, because that least that’s a story. Between the 4 of us, I doubt we drank 8 of our 16 ozs. Now I have 24oz of each flavor left. I’m tempted to leave it on a curb and post it on craigslist. I might make best of.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

'Manga' publishers see cell phones as the future


Iwamoto noted that growth in cell phone use is in inverse proportion to that of cartoon strip readership, as mobiles sap the time and money that young people in the past spent on reading printed matter.