Bouncing

Say it out loud. It sounds good to say.

Carboard sword.
<a href=http://www.salon.com/news/wire/2005/01/25/fcc/index.html>FCC rejects 36 indecency complaints over "Friends, " "The Simpsons."</a>

WTF,
mate? I'm glad the FCC realized how silly this is, but still. It's silly. It's silly, and it makes me mad.

Here's a quote:
"In what community in America are graphic terms for genitalia decent?" said Lara Mahaney, a spokeswoman for the council.

What's the difference between graphic and medical? One of the complaints involves an episode of "Friends" where a scene in a medical office where the conversation is about fertility options. I found the script, and here's the offensive part:

<em>Chandler: (To the nurse at the nurses' station) My specimen is in the room and I just want to thank whoever knocked on the door while I was in there. Really helped speed the process along! (walks towards the common area and sees Janice is still there) Janice! You're not… gone?

Janice: Oh! Sid is still in his room. I don't allow porn at home so this is like a vacation for him. So did you do it? Did you make your deposit?

Chandler: Yeah! yeah… The hard part is over!

Janice: That's not the hard part honey! The hard part is what comes next, I mean aren't you worried about the results?

Chandler: I haven't… I haven't even thought about the results yet… I just assumed that everything was gonna be ok.

Janice: Oh! Well, you know what? It probably is.

Chandler: (Slightly panicky) Yeah, but what if it's not? What if there is a reason why we can't have a baby?

Janice: Oh, Chandler, look. You and Monica are meant to have children. I am sure it's gonna be just fine.

Chandler: (smiling again) oh, oh, yeah, ok, thanks. I can't believe I didn't even think of that. I guess I was just so worried about having to… come here and do… 'that'…

Janice: What, you can do it in the parking lot of a Taco Bell, but you can't do it at a doctor's office?

Chandler: (stares at her intently, then yells) It was a "Wendy's!! "</em>

A complaint over "The Simpsons," which airs on Fox, included a scene from a November 2003 episode in which students carried picket signs with the phrases "What would Jesus glue?" and "Don't cut off my pianissimo."

I don't even know what that's referring to. I must have missed the episode. In any case, the whole thing is hilariously out of control.

It's great that in our Republican-dominated government, we're adding more and more control, (which, I believe, is not the Republican credo) and completely ignoring the fact that this really wouldn't be a problem if parents monitored their kids' TV consumption, and maybe didn't let them watch TV all day. What if we smashed half the TVs in the US? I think there would still be plenty left.
Reading "Eats,
Shoots, and Leaves" has done me in. Even though I think the author mentioned that there was a difference, I absorbed the British way to end sentences that involve a period and a quote.

In American, it should "always be like this."
In British, it's 'like this'.

Wow, huh. I mean, I've been fixing people's work to conform to British puntuation rules. How embarassing.
Last night I watched Garden State. Jason and I both enjoyed it thoroughly. The Green Test of a Good Movie is whether or not you think about the movie the next day.

I'm still thinking about Garden State. I wonder if the absence of brain drugs accounted for the main character's ability to fall in love. I wonder how much of his attraction is due to the change in his temperament. I wonder how old Natalie Portman's character is supposed to be. I wonder if the couple will stay in New Jersey,
giving the main character an opportunity to create a better relationship with his father.

The intrigue of the movie is that we're not given all of the information we need to wrap everything up. If it did,
it would be contrived. If there was less information,
it would be one of those "oops, you're going to have to imagine for yourself how it all works out" endings that piss me off because I can only think of the inevitable contrived ending anyway.

Soundtrack-wise, Iron and Wine's version of Such Great Heights packed great impact. I've been used to hearing Postal Service's version of the song for so long that to hear it slow and acoustic aroused great emotion. I don't know if I can listen to the Postal Service version again without feeling just a tad jumpy.

Last night I had a dream that I was fishing with Anton, Alena and Uncle Marlon. The river was engorged with rainwater, but not flowing deadly fast. We were wading in the river as we fished, and Marlon was laying on a tree trunk that leaned out over the deeper side of the river. Lena had cast badly, and I was demonstrating how to properly cast. I flicked my hook out into the river, then turned to Lena to explain my technique. As I finished, I realized that I had aimed my cast into the deep pool on the other side of the river. I also realized that during my test cast, I had caught something. I couldn't pull my line back, so I waded out further, and ended up swimming out to Marlon's perch with my rod and reel held above the water with one hand. I could see an arm-sized catfish come to the surface and dive back down. Marlon looked exasperated that I couldn't net the fish by myself. I climbed up onto an adjacent branch over the water, and Marlon grabbed my line to haul the fish in. He did so successfully, and slapped the catfish up on the limb I was on. It was huge – not Uncle Jeff sized, but definitely as big as my arm, and with a head the width of my hand. Marlon stuck a knife into the base of the catfish's head to sever the spinal cord, and handed the knife to me, explaining that I had to field strip it right there on the bark. I was having trouble getting the skin off, and I was trying to pick every bit of skin off instead of grabbing the majority of it with some pliers and yanking.

Then I woke up. The dream wasn't unpleasant – Marlon was acting like a gruff uncle, which he is, and I was supremely happy that I had caught such a huge fish.

I think I need spring, and a river to fish in. Maybe this is the year that I try fishing in Lake Michigan.
OK,
not in my life,
but my best day at Abbott yet. This is not due to high praise for something I accomplished professionally, nor because it's pizza day. Today, from an open doorway down the hall, I heard the magic words.

"Showgirls".

Two of my co-workers were discussing the merits of this movie. I added that I, too, was a fan of Showgirls. From his chair, one co-worker reached up into a cabinent and pulled out a copy of the script. My heart sang with joy.

That moment replayed in my head at least a dozen times before lunch. How often do you find someone who is willing to talk to you about the famous "you don't have your period" – "yes I do. check" – "oh I guess you do" dialogue. Especially at 8:45 in the morning.

I did my famous move from Showgirls, and had the crowd rolling on the floor.

Just last week we were discussing how there isn't any sexual tension in corporate public affairs. I mean, affairs is in the title, yet everyone is happily married or happily engaged or happily in a relationship, or unhappily single. All those single are women. None of them are gay.

So there's been a quandry of how to make work more interesting. I believe the problem has solved itself for the time being.
Correction to the recent post about the Parent's Television Council's complaint about a Friends episode. As it turns out, the PTC is witchhunting use of genital-related words, not references to masturbation. Apparently,
somewhere else in the scene, someone explains that they're leaving for "an invasive vaginal exam".

I was hoping to rant on this last time (alas, led astray by my desire to post quickly) that it's one thing to not want your children to hear about explicit sexual stuff (even vaguely referenced), but it's quite another to shield them from reality. The term is medically correct. Unless in the context of the scene they're actually referring to sex, I don't see how the quoted text isn't a phrase used by medical professionals.

I mean, come on. I have no patience for people who insist on referring to their genitalia in stupid kid terms. Don't tell me that if you grew up hearing that you had a 'wee wee' you wouldn't look at your now-grown body and think of that term at some point.

I don't see why we have to use euphemisms. It's not like 'penis' is sexy or anything.
I have a proxy statement to edit,
and green tea to drink, but I can't help but snerf around the web. It's become a habit, creating a schedule to my day.

First thing in the morning, it's the Gmail.
Then I'll leave the computer alone.
Then I'm back on, checking <a href=http://www.jeaun.com>Jeaun</a> and <a href=http://www.jakemohan.net>Jake's blog</a>.
Then, depending on work load, I'll bounce through Jake's list of blogs.
After I fetch my lunch, I religiously read <a href=http://www.salon.com>Salon</a> and check <a href=http://www.nerve.com>Nerve</a> for the weekly "Scanner" summary of all hilarious news. If there's a Scanner, I usually then post something related back on <a href=http://www.jeaun.com>Jeaun</a>.

It's a wicked cycle. I also use Nerve to pick up unaware software programmers from their personals section.

Then there are the sites I forget to visit, and only check every few days. <a href=http://www.chronicd.com>Jason's blog</a> is one, but only because it rarely changes. Same with <a href=http://www.blogger.com>Blogger</a>, because my homies just don't post that often.

If I'm really having a decadent day, I'll go through the list of pure sugar:
<a href=http://fuggingitup.blogspot.com/>Fugging It Up</a>
<a href=http://viceland.com/>Vice Magazine's Dos and Don'ts</a>
and my favorite seasonal knitting website <a href=http://www.knitty.com/>Knitty</a>.

So that's my meta-post about posts.
I'm wearing new cords today,
and I forgot why I loathed them so much the last time I owned a pair, in 1990.

I have to walk bandy-legged to not make a fairly alarming corduroy pants sound. See, this is why you should always get your pants second hand from a friend who has already worn the sound out of them.
Since my birthday (ahem,
Monday if you didn't know) is during the Chinese New Year, my mom would make homemade egg rolls when I was a child. It was the only time the DeWitt grocery store had the ingredients. To this day, I believe her egg rolls are better than any restaurant I've been to.

Since Anton and Alena celebrate their birthday so close to Christmas, and Christmas is practically ruined for us anyway, I've also decided that my New Years (as far as resolutions go) shall coincide with my birthday. It gives me a full month to take ideas from other people, and maybe the gym will be less crowded.

<strong>My Chinese New Years Resolutions </strong>
1. Work out more. I don't want to "feel it" in my legs after climbing three flights of stairs. I remember a day when this was the case. I remember.

2. Become tolerant of caffeine. I have been drinking decaf coffee for the past few days, and I'm hoping I can make my body tolerate low levels of the stuff, so maybe I won't die if I eat a chocolate-covered espresso bean.

3. Come up with the next phase of my life. I've given up on the "career" path for now, and will be happy if I can find a next project to throw myself into. This may very well be a masters of Library Science. If not, don't be surprised if I start talking about the Peace Corps again.

Now, come on over for my birthday party this weekend in Waukegan. We're going bowling.
I know,
I know, leave it up to <a href=http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2005/writers/stewart_mandel/01/31/grinnell.preview/index.html>Grinnell to come up with a fancypants way to play basketball</a>, but I like the part where everyone gets to play. Jason told me about the strategy before, but somehow SI, well, illustrated it better. This sounds like a fun way to play, especially if you're handicapped by your lack of scholarship kids, and the weight of your brain.

I do have to say that this makes me want to watch some sports on tv – any sport – specifically at my aunt and uncle (Rathje)'s house. They have a wood-paneled ground-level basement with a wood-burning fireplace and a leather couch. Now give me some cheddar flavored popcorn and a Guinness (the only beverage allowed) and I'd be a happy camper.
Although it's already started badly, I swore today that I would not use the internet as a source of amusement at work. After reading <a href=http://jakemohan.net/index.php?m=20050203>Jake's post</a> responding to <a href=http://www.livejournal.com/users/sundaykofax/2005/01/31/>my post about the internet</a> as a source of novocaine for the soul,
I realized that I should wean myself a little. This is an exercise in fortitude and mental strength. Yeah.
Indeed,
it is again February 7th – the day I proclaim as mine and smile when people say the date, even if it is for scheduling a dentist appointment.

I predict that 26 will bring some slowing of the wunderlust, as I shed several more ideas of what I want to be when I grow up. I will move again, undoubtedly, but hopefully not four times like this year.

On Saturday morning, I went Goodwill hunting for a whisk, a kettle, a bowl for chips, and even though there's no point because I don't have a truck, a couch. Miraculously, I found all of my desires. Not only did I come away with a perfectly good kettle, but I found a papasan COUCH that I could cram in my trunk and tie rope around and around for the trip home. Bliss upon bliss.

As for the celebramos, I invited a whole Evites-worth of people up to Waukegan to my apartment, and for bowling next door. I have to say, I was not expecting the sheer number. It makes me gleeful. It was nice to see the place packed with peeps. Previous to the party, there had never been more than two people in my apartment at one time.

I'm not going to lie, folks. I don't host much, and I think I kept myself at a stress level of orange all night. Are my friends from work going to play nice with my other friends? Where's the other bag of Bugles? Why hasn't Abbie come back from picking up Kandy at the train station?*

*answer: because I gave them directions to two separate stations.

By the end of the night, I was tuckered and spent. I think I need to practice hostessing more, or maybe just give up and take it on good faith that my friends will all float on their own. I'm such a hen sometimes.

As for my birth DAY, I plan eating sushi with Jason, watching a movie, and waxing nostalgic on the phone tonight as I beg my parents to tell me stories about when I was born.

This came in an email from my mother this morning:
<em>26 years ago your dad was outside hurrying through chores because his wife was inside the house in labor. They were pretty excited. Love, Mom</em>

Best parents ever.
Today's lunch cost $1.60. That includes a turkey sandwich on rosemary bread and chocolate pudding. You really can't beat that.

The opposite of a cheap,
good lunch is a .gif that won't stop looking crappy no matter what I do. Ah well,
I'd rather have the good lunch.

I think that <a href=http://jakemohan.net/index.php?m=20050204>Jake's post from Friday</a> was even better than my lunch. Amusement is like a balloon filled with oxygen. My explanation of that analogy is both tedious and long winded (and a bad pun). Anyway, I was amused – genuinely amused through the piece. If Jake's post was something tangible, I would hug it to my chest.

Oh, I'm sorry, you wanted to know what I did for my birthday last night? I used Yahoo Local to find a sushi place nearby and instructed Jason to get off the Metra at the stop closest to the restaurant. Located in a Lake Forest strip mall, it is called Sushi Kushi. Although it was swank looking, and the waitstaff asked as to our contentment about 27 times, the sushi was sub par. The most disturbing thing was that my favorite roll, spicy tuna, was presented as a sort of pate, or puree really, within the confines of rice and seaweed. It really changed the texture, and I was disappointed. Now you know. And we all know that that is half the battle.

Back at Casa Pequeno Verde, Jason and I had our choice of Das Boot or Basic Instinct for the movie portion of our date, thanks to Netflix. I'll let you guess which one we watched.* We drank White Russians and ate Bugles while sitting in the coziest place ever: the papasan couch.

*hint: it did not take three hours to watch and there was a lot of stabbing
I've begun reading a book called Eleanor Rigby,
by Douglas Coupland. I'm 14 pages into it, and I want read it all night long. I kind of can't stand being at work right now, because I would like to be reading it instead. It's like Wally Lamb's <i>She's Come Undone</i>.

Man, I love straightforward novels. The opposite of this would be <i>Mrs. Dalloway</i>. I hated, loathed, and despised that book, nevermind the fact that it was required for a class. Rar.

That class was good though – "Fiction to Film". We read a book then watched the movie. The class met once a week, right after dinner. My best friend and I would pop popcorn for the class on movie night. The concept was great as was the instructor. I hear they dumped <i>Mrs. Dalloway</i> for <i>Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas</i>.

Book clubs are a fine institution, but I would love to have a Fiction to Film club. You could read the book, then all get together to watch the movie, then afterwords discuss both. I wonder if this exists somewhere. It almost certainly must. <a href=http://www.jeaun.com>Hmmm, what would I put on the list</a>?

I suppose the ruiner would be if you've seen the movie before you read the book. Then the magic is gone, and all the characters would look like actors in your mind's eye and the changes from the original text would probably bring some to tears. (Jurassic Park, hello?)
Hot chocolate mix with coffee. (Note: until I tell you,
you can assume that when I say "coffee", I mean "decaf coffee".)

I worked out last night. I go for the treadmill – there's nothing better than running in place while watching the Simpsons – but this, um, out of shape woman boarded it just before I did, and began walking <i>very slowly</i> for the entire time I was there. Instead, I chugged away, suspended from forward motion, on the elliptical machine until I was all sweaty and bored, then went to play with the weight machines. Thanks to my AmeriCorps days, I no longer fear weight machines or the people who use them. I did more reps on the benchpress then I ever have before, and when I got home, I couldn't lift my arms.

It did remind me of the favorite joke from my team in AmeriCorps:

"Hey, did you get tickets?"
"Tickets to what?"
(flex arms) "The gun show."

I laid that one on Jason, and the look on his face was a combination of confusion, horror, and confusion.

Yeah yeah.

I'm skipping my usual volunteering at the library to go down to the city tonight. I drive to Champaign tomorrow to check out the library science school, and I'll be that much closer to my destination if I stay at Jason's tonight. Yeah, that's why I want to go.

Oooh, maybe Clucker will be around and I can rube his ass at dominoes. Yes.

Anybody know how to stretch so a rib head pops back into place?
Desultory. This was my word-of-the-day word,
and it seems to describe my career wanderlust.

Oh, you'd like to know how my trip to Champaign (fign cham-pan-gya) was? I went to Champaign, Ill., to visit the Library Science school, and meet with a few people.

I got there 40 minutes early (I left at 6 a.m.), so I didn't have trouble parking. I sat in on "History of Information and Culture", which was a dry, monotonous, incredibly complex lecture. Yes. I fell asleep.

Not a good start, eh? I felt really bad that I couldn't stay awake, but the latte I had wore off before I got to Champaign. Don't worry, the story gets better.

After that, I met with an admissions rep. I wasn't clear on what the meeting was for, other than to size me up, and I was still groggy, so I asked a few question and answered a few questions. I was not particularly charming or witful. The woman pointed out the library library (how deliciously meta) and I took a campus tour by myself. I'm pretty sure that was supposed to be part of the deal, but whatever. It was nice to get out and clear my head. I went over to the library's library, which is full of books for librarians. It was mindboggling.

I had lunch in a coffee shop that could have come from Iowa City, Madison, or Lawrence. The barista had a red mohawk. I sat and knit till I had my final meeting – the big meeting – with the head children's library professor.

Betsy Hearne is my new role model. She chairs the Caldecott Awards, for pete's sake. I had gotten her name from someone I interviewed who had attended the program. By far, my best move was setting up an appointment with Betsy. She asked me intelligent questions about what I was hoping to accomplish in the program. She was delighted that I wasn't determined to fast-track my way through in a year. After I described how varied my interests were, she announced that I would probably be happiest getting an advanced degree. It could be called Took All the Classes Degree. I agreed. She was pleased that I had design, proofing, and publication experience. We had been chatting in her office, and she said that she'd show me the children's library (every year, this library gets every children's book written in English – think about it). She introduced me to the woman who publishes "The Bulletin", the (quarterly?) summary of the cream of the crop. Betsy told the woman that I'd be a perfect candidate for a graduate assistantship position because I had so much publication experience.

A GA position would pay for tuition, and I think pay for enough to live on.

Pretty amazing, eh? Betsy and I went back up to her office, and I told her that I was afraid that working as a children's librarian might be too 'fluffy' for me. She said that Youth Services is more the middle school/high school range, and I'd probably be happier concentrating on that age group. As we talked, she referred to WHEN I was a student, not IF I was a student.

I have to say, my application isn't exactly stellar. I wrote horrible essays. I became nervous that she thought that my resume reflected my awesomeness-en-persona. She asked me if I had any other questions or concerns. I decided to tell her flat out that I wasn't sure that my application did me justice. In person, I'm a prime candidate for the program, but without meeting me, it sure doesn't look like it. Betsy said that she understood what I meant, and said that she'd put a word in with the committee.

That greatly increases my chances of acceptance. Permit me a small shriek: EEEEE!

So that's that. I drove back to Chicago in pure bliss. Now I just have to wait a few more weeks before I'll know if I got in.
I remember being a little girl,
sitting at the kitchen table in the morning on a Saturday, and seeing that there were doughnuts.

(I must interject here: I never got to eat sugar cereal. I think Kix was the sweetest cereal I was allowed. Having any sort of delectible breakfast scrumption was a BIG DEAL.)

I remember knowing that I had to play my cards right. If I did this well, there might be more doughnuts for me in the future. Dad asked me what I wanted for breakfast, and I casually listed a few things. Oh, orange juice, some yougurt, granola, maybe a doughnut …

He asked me what I wanted first, (I remember doing this with the precision of a pro) I looked up at him with the giant blue eyes (they were freakishly large as a child – I looked like an anime character) and told him matter-of-factly that I would have yougurt first to put something nutritious in my tummy before eating something like a doughnut. I knew it would sound all cute and endearing. I was aware of my conniving!

Obviously, this was my first step to learning to wrap men around my finger.
Today really requires two posts,
because I have a lot to say about Valentine's Day.

I'm going to start with how I am annoyed that this holiday makes single people (and some couples too) feel really bad about their status. Since there really isn't anything else between Christmas and St. Patrick's Day,
you can't ignore the red and pink hearts plastered everywhere. It's exclusionary, and it's awful. I don't want to flaunt the celebration of my relationship in the face of people who are single, or especially those who have just broken up. What wrenches you more than a fucking end-of-winter reminder that your heart is not healed?

Somewhere along the way, my desire for Valentine's Day to be something it is not led me to defiantly make/send gifts to my friends. I want to love Valentine's Day the way I did as a child – one week after my birthday – vivid red and heart shaped. I want to bake chocolate chip cookie bars in a heart-shaped pan. I want to make valentines out of construction paper, folding the paper in half to cut out a heart. I want to wear red underwear …

So that's what I do. Last night I bought dark chocolate-covered espresso beans, ginger, and peanuts. I made boxes out of red-to-pink colored paper. I filled the boxes with chocolate, tied them up with red string, and today at work, I handed out valentines as tokens of my expression of light affection. Hardly more important than buying an extra bag of Shrek-sized M&Ms at the vending machine, but the point is I spent two hours last night enjoying myself as I folded, cut, and gluesticked (it's a completely different procedure than gluing, therefore it needs its own name) my way to craft happiness. I'd almost say it's more about me than them. If only I could make stuff for people without them freaking out that I spent time creating something to give them.

In any case, I plan on continuing to make my friends feel special in righteous defiance to a stupid holiday that creates economic revenue.

And if you're wondering, my Valentine is Jason, but my Valentine's Day plans involve GoodWill hunting, chocolate cake, a movie, and a friend named Angela.
First off,
before we get into today's Thoughtful Rant,
I have to say that I'm enjoying my attempt at looking less frumpy. See,
there's this fine line between hip-librarian-looking and frumpy. I'm taking a step away from that line. I think the key is to not wear the same cardigan every day. Today I kind of look like Angus Young, but without the boy-shorts. Also, I'm drinking Oragina (or, angina) and I'm spizzy. (It's a carbonated drink that requires shaking. What's not spizzy about that?)

OK, so on to the thought of the day: I have a co-worker, named Tom, who sends me Smoking Gun links to the updated information for all the rapist-teacher women who are going to jail or getting out of jail. I can see why Tom is fascinated by this phenomenon. It's not particularly rare, and as an average person, I cannot fathom how the situation happens. These women are not unattractive. I don't know anything about common personality traits, but even if you have low self esteem and you're teaching seventh grade language arts, what are the chances of a student being to one to make you feel special? Is that it? Low self esteem? Reverse reverse Lolitaism?

It's not hard to imagine students having crushes on teachers. That happens. That happens every day. I think it's safe to say that it's the teachers who are supposed to keep things professional. Kids are supposed to have crushes on teachers.

So, we have these teachers who find the attentions of a student flattering. I can understand that. I've had a five-year-old smitten with me. It's a form of adoration that is more pure than any other flattery. I read an essay once about a new teacher who finally understood the attraction that teachers can feel toward students. I don't remember all the points, but I finally understood that a young person with an uncomplicated crush on you could affect you. There's something to be said for personalities being attracted to each other, despite age. I myself have had a relationship with someone years younger than me (albeit legal) and never thought once about age. Other than not knowing who the Treehouse Gang were, he was just as mature and emotionally developed as me, and much more mature than most men my age.

I think it's a bit different when the young person is 12. Twelve-year-olds are assholes. They have severely underdeveloped senses of humor (I'm talking about farts, folks) and they barely understand how to interact with adults, let alone females of any age. At 12, you're losing baby fat and not crying so much anymore – you're not a child. At the same time, you're not complicated, nor have you figured out how to play the games that men and women play. Every once in a while, you'll catch a glimpse of what kind of guy a boy will turn into, and maybe that's what draws these women in.

I'm torn – I can champion for people who recognize their love despite age, gender, ethnicity, location, etc., and I want to file this phenomenon away as love that doesn't fit with our culture. I also don't think that college professors and graduate students should have relationships. Perhaps on an individual basis, a sensei and grasshopper situation, affection can be free to roam around the boundaries of love. In institutional settings, where there is one teacher but more than one student, I don't think it can work.

I also don't think that I've figured out all the facets to this phenomenon. I'm willing to change my mind, with more insight.
<h2>A Cold</h2>
For the second night in a row,
I stayed up too late,
and had to wake up and go to work groggy. I blame reading late at night. I just finished <i>Eleanor Rigby</i>,
which I equate to a grown-up [character] version of <i>She's Come Undone</i>. The book starts at about the age that <i>She's Come Undone</i> finishes at, and although the story is shorter, it somehow seems more flushed out. I think it's more interesting, and the main character provides a lot of the observations instead of the reader discovering them. That sounds like a bad thing, but it's not. You don't end up crying for the character – you wait patiently to see what happens next. That's my style, I guess.

Due to my late nights, I'm getting sick. I can feel it in my nasal passages, and I'll spare you the details of mucous color. Let's just say that I know I'm ill. [Mucous=license?]

So what does a girl do to combat this oncoming tragedy? Why, she drinks a glass or three of <a href="http://www.a1nutritionproducts.com/buy/alacer_corp/emergen_c">Emergen-C</a>.

What is it, you ask? It's this amazing powder that you mix with water. It fizzes and it has a rediculous amount of the vitamins and junk you need to be healthy. You know, stuff like zinc.

My friend Pebbles [Emily] was the one to introduce me, and although it sounds like a crock, like that weird vegemite stuff my really religious friends had to eat, but I don't care. I don't care if it's psychosomatic. I always feel better.<a href="#1">(<tt><cite>1</cite></tt>)</a>

[According to Pebs, the best way to drink it is out of a wine glass. I follow this suggestion religiously.]

Weird – I just Googled Emergen-C to give y'all a link, and I'm finding all sorts of hilarious testimonials from the likes of Chuck Norris and Fran Drescher for Emergen-C. It's referred to as the "Champagne of Nutrition Drinks". I thought this was a granola/hippie thing. Now I feel weird talking about it like next you'll be wondering if I take creatine.

<h2>And a Review </h2>
Last night Jason and I went out for Chinese. A friend told me of a place in Gurnee that wasn't too shabby, so that's where we went. We were there to test it, to critique it, and to try it out. The best way I've found to figure out how good a Chinese restaurant is to order their egg rolls, spicy tuna sushi (if available), and an entree. This gives you a good spectrum to base strengths and weaknesses.

First the sushi – much like Sushi Kushi <a href=http://www.livejournal.com/users/sundaykofax/2005/02/08/>[of birthday-meal fame]</a>, the spicy tuna roll was made of a puree. Insult to injury was that they didn't use sushi rice – they didn't even use nashiki – the bastards were using what seemed to be a long-grained rice on the roll. [Doesn't this sound pretentious? It's just that I love rice, will eat it at any opportunity, and learned about rice lengths at the Greatest Grains health food store in Davenport.] Overall, the sushi was not good. Jason and I still had a good time eating it and briefly hurting ourselves with the wasabi. Oh, that's good fun.

Next, egg rolls: Now, I am an egg roll aficionada. I maintain that my mother makes the best egg rolls I've ever had. Papajin [<a href="http://metromix.chicagotribune.com/dining/26386,0,818837.venue">1551 N Milwaukee</a>] egg rolls taste the closest to my mom's, and Ms Eggroll Number 2 [<a href="http://centerstage.net/restaurants/ms.%20eggroll.html">6966 N Glenwood</a>] up in Rogers Park has a very different tasting, but definitely delicious egg roll. I think it's the peanut oil they use, among other secrets.

In any case, last night's egg rolls had a slight peanut oil taste to them, but they did not match in overall taste, texture, or wrappage. The spicy mustard was pretty good, and masked the egg rolls mercifully.

I chose the szechwan garlic pork, and Jason had chicken and vegetables. There are a lot of ways a restaurant can make these dishes badly – the meat can be a range of sub-par, the sauce can be made of mostly corn starch, and the vegetables and whatnot can be slimy and overcooked. What we had last night was by no means stellar. Jason's dish was bland and the chicken was boring. Yes, boring. The veggies were all right. My entree was better. The pork was tasty and didn't look like it was low quality. My vegetables were good too, and the whole dish was prepared in such a fashion that the food was all of the same approximate width and height. [That's important when you eat for texture.] We both ended up eating my meal, and abandoned the plate of chicken left over after Jason picked out the veggies.

So that was the meal. Oh, the fortune cookies were chocolate-flavored. I was pretty sketched out at the color until I read the label. Our fortunes were not above par.

[Angela had a good fortune when she was there, and I thought perhaps the company invested in a high-quality fortune cookie vendor. I guess Angela was just lucky.]

<a name="1" id="1"></a><cite>(1)</cite> I was not paid for this endorsement.</span></p>
I've now gotten the hang of <a href=http://www.bloglines.com>Bloglines</a>,
and now I'm hooked on insta-info. Today,
on <a href=http://www.lifehacker.com>Lifehacker</a>, there was a really really really great <a href=http://mamamusings.net/archives/2005/02/02/useful_household_tips.php>blog post with a bunch of kitchen/household tips</a> that sound amazing (if not implausible). Just thought you'd want to know.

[My favorite trick is putting an apple in with a bag of potatoes so they won't sprout. Who knew?]
I just realized/remembered that a photograph does not necessarily have to stand on it's own, visually. Sometimes a relatively mundane or uninspiring image becomes admirable when context is added.

I shouldn't forget this. I should start writing captions.
My life was enhanced by six arbitrary units last night. <a href=http://www.specificobjects.net/wordup/><b>Joe</b></a> came over,
and noticed that he and I share the same model of cameraphone. He said he had been dowloading ringtones that day. We experimented with the phone-to-phone bluetooth and infrared capabilities. I gave him a photograph of some Shrek M&Ms,
and he gave the Britney Spears Toxic ringtone. He mentioned that he downloaded MIDI files, which are free.

I mused on what ringtone would best reflect myself. I recalled the scene in Beetlejuice, when Juno is talking to the Maitlands, and her beeper played Mendelssohn's Death March. I mentioned this, and Joe admitted that he didn't remember that part. I explained the scene, complete with all the dialog (a little-known Sonya fact).

I've never understood one line Juno says. After the Maitlands exclaim about having been away for three months, she says "You should thank God you didn't die in Italy."

Joe said he thought that it's because Italy is wrought with bureaucracy, and in purgatory, it would have taken longer to have their information processed.

I'm completely satisfied with this answer, although I read on recentlydeceased.com, they mused that "Betelgeuse" is Italian and there was some sort of connection there. Balderdash.

Either way, I have the Beetlejuice theme as the ringer for when any of my family members call (except Anton – his is Black Water by the Doobie Brothers) and I am happy.
Something about <a href=http://www.jakemohan.net>Jake's post today </a> made me start thinking about being in 6th grade (year of the first sloppy war) and my thoughts turned to recess. We played a lot of jump rope,
and did a lot of hand-clapping sing-song rhymes, and it reminded me that every few years I ponder how those jump rope, handclapping, etc. lyrics are so (nationally) universal.

<i>Miss Suzie has a steamboat, the steamboat has a bell,
Miss Suzie went to heaven, the steamboat went to
HELLo operator, give me number 9,
and if you disconnect me, I'll kick you from
BEHIND the fridgerator, there was a piece of glass,
Miss Suzie sat upon it, and broke her little
ASk me no more questions, I'll tell you no more lies,
Miss Suzie was a good girl, and so am I.</i>

(Somewhere along that last line, there are at least three variations I can think of, one involving boys zipping up their flies-are in the meadow, the bees are in the park; and another about washing something down the sink-sink-sink.)

Come on, who doesn't know that? I'm sure there are more variations, but it's just amazing that so many kids from lots of different places know about it.

There are other handclapping rhymes that seem to be familiar to a lot of people (at least females). My sister and I could burn through "See See My Playmate", both the clean version and the naughty version, in about 10 seconds.

So how does this work? Kids transferring schools? That cool cousin you have from Illinois?

And what about the "tune into Tokyo" thing? Everybody freaking knows that. Is it that in middle elementary school we're just beginning to be aware of boobs and swearing, and these says and rhymes appeal to us like we're chubby lightning conductors?

<i>Milk, milk, lemonade,
Turn around and fudge is made.</i>

You know where to point as you read this, didn't you.

Wow, now that I've accessed the Rhymes and Games folder of my brain, I'm starting to remember all sorts of things. It's amazing that they seem so old-timey and oral traditional, but they're practically a fact of life for elementary school recess. I wonder about kids nowadays. Do they still utter the words "Me Chinese, me play joke, me put pee-pee in your Coke", or have they been groomed to not utter such non-PC statements. I need an observant elementary school teacher, STAT.

Right. I've decided that I have a more-than-average awareness of these playground ditties because I attended Girl Scout camp. There, we were able to compare lyrics and perfect the backhand slap.

Interesting Sonya Fact: At Camp Conestoga, I also learned a whole bevy of songs most people haven't heard of and, if challenged, can sing a song about almost anything. I recently sang a song about aardvarks to Jason, and he gave me the most horrified look.

I suppose church campers might have a similar story, but somewhat God-themed. Girl Scout camp songs were very random, and a larger than necessary portion of them were about death.

Anyway, I now need to know if kids are still singing these songs, if there are people who never heard of this (debunking my 'everybody knows this' statement, and what, if applicable, rhymes boys had that I'm not aware of.

1, 2, 3, go.
When I got home from work Friday night,
I fetched my mail,
and found there in the mess of circulars and missing children/insurance ads the Letter I had been waiting for. It was a letter-sized envelope from the University of Illinois. Now,
a large envelope would have given it away, but this little bastard was thin and small, so I could not instantly ascern my fate.

Upstairs in my apartment, with my coat still on, I opened the letter with a crochet hook. Indeed, my fate is to become a graduate student at the University of Illinois for library science.

I proceeded to call a select number of people who really needed to know, picked up Jason at the train station, went to the movie Constantine, and then broke open (almost nearly literally) the bottle of champagne (get it – chamagne for Champaign) that Kat gave me for Christmas. Woot!
"Moving forward is a very good thing."

… said Kat's dad to me in an email reply to my 'I got into grad school' email I sent him today. Indeed,
Steve, you are correct.

Another fine quote I heard this weekend came from a cooking show on PBS called <a href=http://www.americastestkitchen.com>America's Test Kitchen</a>. One of the chefs was making a banana pudding, and explained that he put Saran wrap over the compotes before refrigerating so they didn't harden on top. Then he said, more or less,

"My brother always said that if he became rich he would pay someone to make him pudding skins all day."

It's kind of gross when you say it, but the concept is one that I agree with. Pudding should be made in 1/2" baking pans, to increase the amount of surface area.
Woo! It's the first day of March,
and I'm scraping snow off my car this morning. Is it March that we get to say "In like a lion,
out like a lamb?"

If so, we're going to have some mighty nice weather coming up. Really, that's all I want for March. I want one weekend day to be at least 50 degrees, so I can go outside and run around and get my shoes and the hem of my pants muddy.

A very strong cyclical memory for me is playing outside in March. After acclimating to winter temperatures, 50 degrees felt so warm, and I could go out with a hoodie on – which felt so so so much freer than a winter coat. The whole yard would be muddy and wet, and I would run about gleefully in the dead grass (not yet recovered from being covered with snow). I'd go out to the corn crib to check out what had changed with the cats and all. There would be boards to stack and corn flour (found on the grinder, where the metal cracked) to make into flat thick patties. My knees would be soaked, and my hands would be covered in muddy corn water. I'd get really cold because 50 degrees is not warm enough to make being wet comfortable.

When I think of March, I think of my hands achingly cold, but not caring because the sun was shining stronger than ever, and I finally had my outside playground back. That might be the strongest feeling of satisfaction I've ever felt.
I was once told that my normal face is one of almost smiling. That really struck me – I've always thought of myself as one who's default setting was 'happy'.

<a href=http://www.timesonline.co.uk/printFriendly/0,
,1-523-1491935-523,00.html>This article</a>, found in Boing Boing, from the Times Online, provides some straight up data about how smiles are different, and what can be inferred from the smile.

You know when you say or read a word over and over and it stops working as a symbol of whatever it is (yogurt yogurt yogurt) and becomes a series of sounds or letters that become completely foreign? As I was reading this article, every time I saw the word 'smile', I couldn't help but smile. I think it's because even when the word is stripped of meaning, it still visually looks nice. So I kept smiling as I read about smiles, then smiling more when I realized how aesthetically pleasing the little letters looked together.

See, somewhere along the line, I decided to be happy all the time. This is what you get. It's a bucket of sunshine, and I know you kind of want to kick it over, but if you do, you'll just loathe yourself a little more.
This is the role my sister plays: she's like a mirror that I look in,
and I get to see a slightly cynical but realistic view of myself. In fact,
I've mastered the power: just thinking of her,
I can suddenly see myself with a critical eye. It's not always pretty, it's not always nice, but it certainly never hurts in the long run. (This sounds kind of awful, but it's because I have more self esteem than your average bear, and sometimes I get a little carried away.)

This doesn't keep me from making poor decisions anyway, but it's always there. (This is just one of the many benefits of being Alena's sister — the others involve playing Harry Potter trivia, and getting tea and homemade scones.)

The point is — THE POINT IS — I like to make new plans. I have a severe case of wunderlust, and I like to be in a constant state of upheaval. As I was talking to Lena last night on the phone, I was telling her about this camp I want to work at this summer, instead of staying at my high paying job in Waukegan, before going to grad school in the fall. I knew as I was explaining it to her that if it were a plan made of wishes and dreams (something that I see as quick-crete solid) she would point out the flaws immediately.

I still want to be at a camp this summer … it's the opposite of working at a cubicle for a pharmaceutical company.

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