Thursday, April 30, 2009

Mystery solved...sort of.


Remember this? Well, look what I found today:

Mystery solved?

Now I know where the cards were coming from. But questions remain: where did it all come from? Why was it left outside? How did the top of the box wind up in the alley all of a sudden? Was it blown down from somewhere? But where?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

You know you live in a folksy news market...


You know you live in a folksy news market...

(4.24.2009)

...when the shaving of the TV weatherman's beard merits a live studio audience...of Cub Scouts.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Reading/Watching/Etc.


READING:


Flannery: A Life of Flannery O'Connor by Brad Gooch
I just started this today...more thoughts next time, perhaps.

CRAFT Magazine
So thick and juicy--spendy, but there's enough in there to justify it. (It also helps that it only comes out four times a year.) It's the craftier cousin to
Make Magazine, which I also enjoy, but this is more up my alley--Make gets a little too geeky-technical for me sometimes. The stuff in this magazine, I might actually be able to make.

Rob Sheffield/Rolling Stone
At this point, I honestly have very little interest left in most of the music that
Rolling Stone covers. And just about the only reason I'm riding out my subscription is Matt Taibbi's barnburning political coverage, and the glorious return of Sheffield from the smoldering ashes of Blender. Good grief, he's funny.


WATCHING:

Dead Like Me: Life After Death
On the one hand, it was cool to see these characters again, and I liked the idea of exploring what would happen if they broke "the rules." On the other hand, it felt kind of undercooked plot-wise, and the absence of Mandy Patinkin's character Rube left a huge (unexplained) hole in everything. Without him, it all seemed a bit unmoored, and I think that took away the emotional grounding that made the show so special.

Confessions of a Shopaholic
Pretty shallow. I mean, I wasn't expecting anything particularly deep, for pete's sake, but even for a silly throwaway sort of movie this didn't have much meat on its bones. Isla Fisher is charming, but the character she plays is so self-absorbed and trite that it was hard to give a crap about her. Hell, I would've rather seen a movie about her parents. (Speaking of which, while I love John Goodman & Joan Cusack, in what fantastical genetic lottery do their seeds come together to produce Isla Fisher??)

Push
On the whole, I liked it--it has its weak points (the ending, for one thing, was left too open-ended and seemed to force a sequel when one maybe wasn't really necessary), and the plot could've used a bit more fleshing-out, but I thought the visual effects were great and I liked the pacing. Fairly derivative of the X-Men franchise and other sci-fi from the "mutant" vein, but it had some interesting ideas of its own & was imaginative enough to find its own voice along the way.

Monsters vs. Aliens
This is the first Dreamworks animated movie that's gelled with me. Yeah, Shrek was funny, but sometimes these Dreamworks flicks groan under the weight of their attempts at hipness. It's one thing to try to entertain the grown-ups watching these movies along with the kiddos; it's another to throw in so many gratuitous snarky references that the stories get as disjointed as an episode of Family Guy. Anyhoo: I thought this one had a solid story, some great animation, and while I'm not a huge fan of 3-D, this one integrated it well into the plot and didn't go terribly gimmicky with it (other than the obligatory ping-pong paddling bit in the very beginning). Still, a little redheaded-stepchild compared to the Pixar canon, but better than another Shrek sequel. (Oh, sweet jesus, no.)

Coraline
This is the one I really wanted to see in 3-D, but even in plain ol' 2-D, I still got a kick out of the visuals and thought they were extremely well-done (particularly the sequences in the garden). Very imaginative and spooky.

Bones - Season 3
There were a couple of jump-the-shark moments in this season--Booth's fake death and the conclusion of the Gormagon mystery, for starters--which is a shame, because the writing wasn't bad and the addition of Dr. Sweets added a new dynamic to the formula. I'll have to wait and see if things got back on track in season four, whenever that hits DVD...

LISTENING:

Richard Swift -
The Atlantic Ocean
The Minus 5 -
Let the War Against Music Begin
Fiona Apple -
Extraordinary Machine (official release)
U2 - No Line on the Horizon


MAKING:


The usual--baby blankets--plus some cross stitchery, and I'm taking my first baby steps into embroidery, too. I've been thinking about making a crazy quilt sometime after I get comfortable with the basic stitches and that sort of thing--might be a good project for next fall/winter.


FINDING:

More and more of those Fact or Crap cards on my way to and from the office. Today I found seven blowing through the alley...
where are they coming from?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Toivo the Wonder Cat.





Toivo, in his endless pursuit of food, has discovered that if he turns the light off, people are likely to get up to turn it back on. And, by extension, to go into the other room and feed him.

Secret genius, that Toivo.


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Things found while cleaning my grandma's apartment this weekend:


A rock-hard cupcake inside a crock pot in the closet.
Tylenol Sinus pills with an expiration date of 7/97.
A packet of sweet & sour sauce from McDonalds that had morphed into a solid mass.
Two petrified grapefruit.
A Mason jar full of playing cards under the bathroom sink.
Three charred French fries underneath the burners on the stove.
A crock pot coated with a gelatinous layer of what once may have been sauerkraut.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Fact or Crap, Lost and Found.


I've found these, one by one, over the course of the last year.

"Fact or Crap."

When I find them, they're almost always in the alley next to the building where I work.
Once in a while, one'll show up in the parking lot behind the building...but usually, they're in the alley.

"Fact or Crap."

Where are they coming from? Is there a stack of them on top of a building? Are they blowing down, one at a time? Why are some in pristine condition, but others are all grimy and gunked-up?
Is someone playing a very elaborate, very drawn-out joke on me? Fess up!



Thursday, April 09, 2009

Leftovers.


A few pictures left over from the weekend that didn't neatly fit into the twine ball/water-skiing squirrel narratives:

Dude, I am NOT 5'5".

Whoa--I am not 5'5". Maybe I can pull off 5'3" on a good day, or early in the morning when I'm still stretched-out, but never anything beyond that. Fat lot of good this picture's going to do if I get kidnapped.

The following was particularly amusing because about five minutes before we got into K-Mart, we'd been talking about Designer Imposters and wondering if they still made that crap. Bingo--they still do! And I was laughing about how when I was little, I'd buy my mom some form of Jean Nate at Woolworth's every year for Mother's Day, and it wasn't until years later (and a bathroom cabinet full of unopened spritzers, body lotions and powders) that she told me she hated the stuff. "Mom, why didn't you tell me? I would've gotten you something else!" "Oh, no, I was just so glad to get anything on Mother's Day that I didn't want to ruin it."

"You'll love our Sexy Thang."

Maybe I should shake things up this year and get Mom some Sexy Thang?

I don't recall ever seeing one of these in shortpants before:

Nevernude?

Apparently Dr. Tobias Fünke has had some success lobbying for the "never-nude" community.

Lastly: have I mentioned that it was ultra free sample day at Sam's Club last weekend? And that non-members could get in? And eat samples? And get FREE KNIVES (retail value: $5.99)? And not actually buy anything?

FREE KNIVES!

A glorious end to a glorious weekend!


Is that a squirrel down your shirt, or are you just happy to see me?


You'd think I would've had enough crazy for one weekend after visiting the World's Largest Ball of Twine on Friday evening...but sometimes, when the crazy rains, it pours. And when I found out that Twiggy the Water-Skiing Squirrel was making a return to the Twin Ports this weekend (she was just here two months ago! THAT'S how popular she is!), I was going come hell or high water. (Or, well, as high as water in a giant wading pool set up on the floor of the DECC ballroom, anyway.)

Is that a squirrel down your shirt, or are you just happy to see me?

In fact, we were treated to not one, but two water-skiing squirrels. Twiggy the Sixth was making her final appearance before retirement; her protégé, Twiggy the Seventh, was there for her first headlining gig.

Twiggy the Water-Skiing Squirrel.

The crowd goes wild!

After the show, the Twiggys stuck around to meet their fans.

Brush with fame.

I was tickled to meet Twiggy the Sixth, and also very happy not to be pooped on.

"Always wear your life vest.  Love, Twiggy."

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The World's Largest Ball of Twine.


It was everything I dreamt it would be, and so much more!

Happy Birthday!

"I am the greatest living smartest born JFK God ever made as a real dump man and twine man..."

Hand-made postcards.

19,875 pounds!

30!

Lots more pictures over here.


Tuesday, April 07, 2009

As seen on TV.


When I woke up one morning last week and had to pry my heels away from where they'd Velcroed themselves to the bedsheets, I knew it was time. The pumice stone in the shower? Kind of useless. The Gold Bond Triple Action Relief foot cream? Fine, but without the proper canvas to work with, there was only so much it could do. No, it was time to break out the big guns:



Oh, I was skeptical. Extremely skeptical. But after a long, dry winter, shoving my feet into boots on a daily basis, they needed some TLC. They needed bold, decisive action. They needed to be run over with a glorified miniature cheese grater.

And you know what? It really freakin' worked. My feet are as smooth as a baby's butt. Or maybe as smooth as a baby's feet. I'm not sure where particular baby parts fall on the "as smooth as a baby's ______" spectrum, but hey--my feet are smooth. And I no longer run the risk of wearing holes in my fitted sheets. Score!


Friday, April 03, 2009

The Big 3-0.


One night last November, there was a story on the news about a guy in Lake Nebagamon and his gargantuan, hand-rolled ball of twine. It's so large, so MASSIVE, that it may very well be...the World's Largest Ball of Twine.* Wow! Right down the road in Lake Nebagamon! And people say nothing exciting ever happens around here.

And, as if that's not enough of a reason to go there, what really caught my attention was this soundbite from the interview: "I started working on the ball of twine April 3rd, Tuesday, 1979..."

Ladies and gentlemen, I have a birthday twin, and it's a giant ball of twine. Aw!

Right then & there, I knew where I had to be come April 3, 2009: I have to meet this ball of twine.

Artist's rendering of the celebration to come...
Artist's rendering of what may unfold this evening at 6:00.




*This is the subject of some controversy, as rival balls in Minnesota, Missouri and Kansas are also ridiculously huge. But regardless, JFK's ball of twine is definitely the largest in Wisconsin, and that's good enough for me!