Sunday, May 30, 2004

We interrupt your regularly scheduled blogging for this special announcement.


Friday, May 28, 2004

Lone Wolf and Cub

DVD - Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance

Buy it at

This is a weird but beautiful Japanese movie based on the long-running Lone Wolf and Cub manga series (Amazon has 18 volumes available, but I believe there are many more in total).

Ogami Itto is the official Shogunate Executioner (the man who decapitates Samurai who perform seppuku). After his wife is killed and he is sentenced to death (for what are probably very simple reasons but feudal Japan is not my area of expertise - simply put, he pissed off the Yagyu clan who in turn framed him for treason), he chooses to walk the path of evil as an assassin for hire. He gives his infant son a choice between joining his mother and walking the path with his father. Daigoro chooses his father's sword over his own toy and the two of them set out on a path of revenge and solitude.

This first film in the series of six is burdened with flashbacks and explanations, which are probably necessary but made it difficult for me to follow. Originally released in 1972, it is violent without apology but the gore is rather silly - in one shot you may think that you see the tube from which copious amounts of bright red "blood" shoot out of a man's wound. There is another rather distressing scene in which a group of outlaws literally rape a young woman to death as her father watches, protesting. In fact, I don't recommend this one for anyone with tender sensibilities regarding women, as every one who appears in the film ends up dead (his wife, the raped peasant woman), crazy (in the beginning of the film a young woman, mad from the loss of her own son, mistakenly claims Daigoro and nurses him while her family explains to Ogami her circumstances and asks to pay him for the "rental" of his son; he refuses money, saying that Daigoro was hungry anyway), or...well, I'll get to the whore.

Honor is one of the primary staples of Japanese culture, and never moreso than in the time period during which this film takes place (the first half of the 17th century). When Ogami and Daigoro wind up in a small village populated by outlaws, the men threaten to kill a whore (and presumably Ogami as well) if he does not have sex with her. He lies with her in an utterly passionless scene, after which she praises his ability to get it up under such pressure and his willingness to cast aside his honor to save her life (there is no doubt that he could save his own, with or without his sword...the weapon, that is).

As I said, this movie is difficult to follow and the flashbacks and convoluted plot make it feel longer than it is. Nevertheless, I do recommend it.

DVD - Lone Wolf and Cub 2: Baby Cart at the River Styx

Buy it at

In the second movie, there is far less to keep track of and the storytelling is more linear. There are two basic plots: the leader of the Shadow-Yagyu hires a small, female branch of the clan to assassinate Ogami; men from the Awa clan hire Ogami to kill a man who is being escorted to another village to sell their secrets of indigo dyes (the escorts are, of course, three renowned brothers called the Gods of Death - more on them later).

There is a ridiculously comical scene in which the women prove that they need no backup from men: they literally chop the strongest male ninja to bits as he attempts to get past them. I just about laughed my head off, which, if I meant that literally, would have been appropriate.

To my delight, Daigoro is a little bit older in this film (though not more than 2) and participates a good deal more. We learn that his perambulator is not just a wooden cart. We rewound three times to see the look on his face as he flipped the 'switch' to release one of the many blades hidden in it as an assassin rushes him. In a tender scene when Ogami has been injured, Daigoro runs to the river and tries to bring his father water by making a bowl with his hands. Of course he fails, but he doesn't give up and his solution is clever and adorable. It is a lovely bit of insight into how self-sufficient he is, as well as the true bond between father and son. When he is later kidnapped by the Yagyu he is perfectly calm as Ogami tells them that he will go be with his mother, and follows an imperceptible direction from his father to help save his own life.

When we get back to the Gods of Death, they are on a boat headed to the meeting point from which they will escort the Awa traitor. The boat is filled with bumbling assassins as well as the one surviving woman, still bent on killing Ogami. The three brothers use unique weapons including a set of claws that fit over the (I presume) eldest brother's hands and are just wicked cool. They too follow a strict code of honor, fighting only those who attack them first or stand in the way of their tasks. One of the assassins onboard sets the boat on fire, and we learn that the baby cart floats. The woman, whose name I wish I knew as it would be easier to refer to her that way, attempts to kill Ogami as he is pushing the cart toward land, but he disarms her and winds up saving her life. There follows a very interesting scene in which it appears that he is going to rape her.

The final confrontation with the three brothers takes place in the desert (I need to study Japan's geography - I had no idea there were desert areas) and contains one of the absolute coolest ambushes I have ever seen.

I liked this one far more than the first - it even kept me awake! Having seen them in order myself, I can't say whether it would work to come into the series at this point, so I'd advise watching the first one first. Besides, you just might love Sword of Vengeance.

The rest of the series

Lone Wolf and Cub 3: Baby Cart to Hades

Lone Wolf and Cub - Baby Cart in Peril

Lone Wolf and Cub - Baby in the Land of Demons
Also available at DeepDiscountDVD

Lone Wolf and Cub White Heaven in Hel


The DVD treatment of these films is astounding. The transfer is so beautiful that the movies could have been shot yesterday. The cinematography is outstanding, making the crisp, clean transfer all the more enjoyable. There are two subtitle options; the full subtitles include explanations of select words to help the viewer understand what is going on and, to some extent, how the society was set up. The liner notes, available both in the traditional form and onscreen, explain the class system in great detail and reference sources that were used for the notes as well as in the translation. I can't say how the sound is, other than clean, because we have lousy speakers.

These are short movies - under 90 minutes. And they are really freakin' neat (if disgusting in places). Go! Rent or buy them! That's an order.

I wonder why Wonderfalls fell...

According to one rather unreliable source (AICN) and one vaguely more reliable source ( by way of WHEDONesque), a DVD release of Wonderfalls is looking likely. This is good news for those of us who thought the series was clever and entertaining.

But, while searching for the referenced statement that Tim Minear supposedly made about it, I found this Google cached page from I know that viewership (is that a word?) dropped after the second week, but it doesn't seem possible that the decision to cancel was made completely spur-of-the-moment, so I can't help but wonder why the FUCK Fox sited the ratings as their reason for cancellation.

From the site, dated only two weeks ago*:

WONDERFALLS had a solid sampling in its first 2 weeks, averaging 4 million viewers. The series delivers its best performance among teens on Friday night, ranking #1 in its time period. WONDERFALLS is also popular with young men, ranking #2 in its time period among Men 18-34.
One wonders how far it could have fallen in its third week, since the decision to cancel was announced mere hours after the fourth episode aired.

I'm not necessarily criticizing Fox's decision. It was, after all, theirs to make. I am just questioning their reasons.

*a few more clicks reveal that the current page has the same information on it.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

In keeping with a theme

Today's question: What color are my eyes?

The catch is that I'm not going to show a new picture. Granted, you could look at any of the photos in the last batch. But it's almost certain that your answer won't match my driver's license - only one person has ever thought my eyes are the color I think they are without being prompted (by me) to look closer. Much closer. (In case anyone doesn't know, you fill out your own eye color and hair color on the form when you get a license.)

In other news, I dreamed that Xia was visiting and I let him make omelets while I made potatoes. I was very hungry in the dream.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004


Not the god-awful movie, but rather mine.

Here's the deal: When I was born my hair was black. It never fell out. When my sister was born her hair was red. It fell out and grew back in blonde. Her hair is now dark blonde or light brown or whatever you want to call that hair-colored hair color. Mine, on the other hand, is a mystery. It got lighter as I grew up and was fairly red by my first birthday:

On the other hand, by age six or so it was dark, dark brown:

Around 16 I started obsessively dying my hair (I wonder how many pillowcases and towels were destroyed due to the combination of me and Manic Panic).

Not Manic Panic but how I looked in college (only bangs are dyed - plenty if you ask me):

I continued dying it on and off until a year or two ago. I've grown out a very short cut and have not dyed once. So the question is, What color is my hair? At a glance, I'm a brunette. But if you look closely at the individual hairs they are pretty damn red. And, to complicate things further, there is a blonde streak above my left eye.

A recent picture:

And now that you've all seen how very pretty I am, I will repeat the question because I'm sure you got distracted: What color is my hair? Wish List Wish List


Tuesday, May 25, 2004

And now for something slightly different.

In the interest of not driving my future husband completely mad, I thought I might post about something other than my internet trials and tribulations. (As an interesting note, I had to look up tribulations because that phrase is the only context in which I have ever heard it. Turns out the phrase is slightly redundant. That seems fitting.)

I can't think of anything to write about, though. I could mention that I'm working out and every inch of my body hurts, but, well, I hurt too much to talk about it. I could wax poetic abut the joys of Deadwood, but it would be easier to just link to suki's blog (AdventureWorld on the sidebar). I could discuss the latest wedding snafu (which is actually ongoing), but that might make me ill and anyway it isn't an issue for the wedding itself and therefore possibly Not Of General Interest.

Have any of you read The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants? I picked it up in an airport in transit to or from my Grandfather's funeral last September. It's Young Adult literature, which is hit or miss, but this one is a hit. It's being made into a movie which is either currently filming or about to start. There are four girls whose stories are told in the book, and Amber Tamblyn (Joan of Arcadia) is playing one of them (Tibby). According to imdb, Alexis Bledel is playing another. The other two, as well as a fifth girl around whom Tibby's story centers, are actresses I am not familiar with, though one was in Real Women Have Curves, which I kind of meant to see. The imdb listing is here, though of course they are generally unreliable for unfinished movies. Anyway, my point - and I did have one - is that I really enjoyed this novel and I wondered if any of my readers had picked it up. If not, and if you are not allergic to stories about teenage girls, I do recommend it. (There is a sequel, but I am not going to read it until a trade paperback is released.)

That was nice and random, wasn't it?


Now that I've written "Testing" I feel that I ought to blather on about something completely unrelated to testing. WDers have warped my brain.

Anyway. I am trying out Jamie's suggestion of using color (rather than my old standby, grey) for my links. First I tried bolding them but it looked retarded. It seems really blue to me, but I'm opening it up for comments before I try anything else. (I might see if I can make the sidebar links a different color - probably the original grey - and leave the post links blue-grey. So that is one possibility if I don't just keep it like this.)

Also, my FTP issues have been resolved. I was right - I fucked something up on the server end of things. They fixed it for me. The support email was rather chiding. Honestly, for their prices, do they think they have computer geniuses using their services? Or any kind of geniuses? Oh well. Fixed now.

Monday, May 24, 2004


The new version of Blogger offers new templates. I played around with one in my test blog and decided that I liked it, so I am trying it out here. I'm also trying out the Blogger-hosted comments, which is why you can no longer see comments on any old posts. (Edit: it appears that if you click on 'Comments' and then refresh the post page, you can leave a comment on older posts.)

If the blog looks the way you're used to, please refresh the page.

Then leave a comment telling me what you think of the change. I haven't decided yet, and the old template is saved in case I decide to go back to it.

Yes, this is a form of procrastination.

I am a failure.

I have succeeded in many areas in the last few days:

  • delicious pizza (so good that when Saturday's supply was exhausted I made more)
  • new blog template (see above post)
  • configuring email (it sounds easy, but it wasn't)
  • getting started on getting in shape (weights, crunches, etc.)


  • reading stuff that isn't on the internet (books! Remember those?)

But I am still a failure. However, I suspect that it might not be entirely my fault.

Here is the situation: I have a web host. I have SmartFTP (the free version). I uploaded some files to my server, including an image folder and the pages you can see if you go to I opened SmartFTP on Saturday and none of my files were there. They are obviously still on the server, but nowhere to be found on the FTP program. I figured I had a couple of choices: download them from the server, which I don't know how to do; ignore them and continue adding new files; or upload them again, overwriting my previous work.

I think I chose the wrong option (the last one), because now nothing is working. Except the website itself, except that it's showing the old versions of the pages (I modified two of them and overwrote them on FTP after re-uploading them).

I found a SmartFTP tutorial online, but it only covered getting started. So, before I got started on this folly of mine, I checked to make sure ALL of the settings were correct. They appeared to be, so I went ahead with the upload. But as I said, the files don't seem to be going anywhere. As far as I can tell, I am not in fact overwriting the information that is already on my server, but I don't know why. I'm looking through the forums at SmartFTP, but so far only one person has posted with a similar problem and no one has replied. I'm going to try the FutureQuest forums next.

I just want to cry because this is so not my area of expertise. Put me on Iron Chef and I'd probably be fine, but this? Hopelessly lost.

NEW INFORMATION: I have received a telephone call inviting me to go on Iron Chef.

No, hang on...that wasn't it. But I may have figured out the problem with my FTP program, which may not have actually been the problem at all. It seems that I may have fucked up my admin permissions with my web host. I submitted a fix-it request to my host and have already received a response, though it appears to be automated (and I hope it is, since I think about three people work at this company).

Please cross your fingers that this will take care of the problem.

Saturday, May 22, 2004

I do whatever the P@rix tells me to.

1. Take five books off your bookshelf.
2. Book #1 -- first sentence
3. Book #2 -- last sentence on page fifty
4. Book #3 -- second sentence on page one hundred
5. Book #4 -- next to the last sentence on page one hundred fifty
6. Book #5 -- final sentence of the book
7. Make the five sentences into a paragraph

I am using the Wild Cards series, books I through V. I know I didn't have to specify, but I did anyway. It should be noted that I have only actually read the first two books.

"Years later, when I saw Michael Rennie come out of that flying saucer in The Day The Earth Stood Still, I leaned over to my wife and said, "Now that's the way an alien ought to look." It took a moment to sink in, but when it did, Jube knew he had his answer. The late summer sun was soothing on her bare arms and face. The camp was only part of it. Joey laughed."

Boy, does that ever not make any sense. Even for science fiction.

Bloody Outlook...Bloody Hell...

Do me a favor, please. Shoot me. Shoot Outlook Express. And shoot my web host. Possibly not in that order.

Anyway, I have new email set up. It took a consultation with Cassie and another consultation with my daddy and I still don't have it the way I wanted it, but it'll do.

I can now be emailed at Theoretically, any user name will work, but if it is personal mail you can send it to annika. My watchersdiary mail still works and will indefinitely (and should be used for anything Buffyguide related), but I am phasing out my crappy msn account and plan to use it only for messenger.

The first couple of pages of my website are up in test form. More will be up soon, but as soon as I got Outlook working my FTP program went all womlu on me. It would seem that I cannot catch a break. If you like, you can take a look ( Like I said, only a few pages are up and some of them will be changing. At this point, since the content is all up in the air, I mostly just want aesthetic feedback. Comments here or email to feedback at would both be most appreciated.

You are all rock stars.

Friday, May 21, 2004

"I'm afraid my love, it must be true..."

I don't know if I mentioned it before, but Darren is planning to move here. He has a "two year plan." This is a Good Thing, even better than anything Martha could come up with (and I love Martha). D's situation is complicated slightly by his 14-year-old daughter, so I was, frankly, not counting on ever living in the same city as him again (unless we lost all of our marbles and moved back to Pittsburgh). But he is saving his pennies and it looks like it is really going to happen. He called us twice yesterday to make sure it was really all right with us. I believe it is time for a rousing chorus of "Duh!"

It is my fondest dream to start a production company. It's a while down the road, but I want to develop some of the television ideas we've got, and maybe movies as well. The three of us (Will, Darren and I) are all of a creative bent, though the boys are miles ahead of me in sheer creative energy. They worked together (with some input from me) on our first TV idea a few years ago. Whenever Will and I have talked (idly, I admit) about starting this company for real, Darren is the first name that comes up. We have several friends we'd love to work with in one capacity or another, but he is the one we can't do without.

I am trying not to get my expectations up. I don't know how long it will take for Darren to get out here, and I don't know where Will and I will be at that point (not geographically, just life in general). But damn, it is hard not to plan.

Our digital camera was put to use quite a bit during D's visit a few weeks ago. The results can be viewed here. Please take a moment to admire my handsome boys (and, oddly, my feet: there seem to be two pictures of them).

Thursday, May 20, 2004

What I'm Reading, part 1: Online

Inspired partly (in a roundabout way) by Jess's Reference Library posts, I've decided to make a post of links to sites that I enjoy reading. I don't intend to include any that I reference on a regular basis (e.g. CHUD), though a few may slip in. Some of these are daily reads, some weekly, some on an as-needed basis; but all of them are worthy of a look.


  • Alas, a Blog: A lefty, feminist political blog. Started by Barry Deutch, aka ampersand, a brilliant comic author. There are now three other contributers. All of them are brilliant. A daily read for me.

  • I Don't Think: Emily's personal blog. I don't know Emily, but I think she's smart and funny and I love her blog.

  • Sassypants: Sarah and Emily are friends, and everything I said about Emily is true of Sarah. I can't remember which blog I started reading first, but I think it was this one.

  • PORNBLOGRAPHY: Dude. Do not click this link if you are under 18. Or if you find porn and the discussion thereof offensive. (By the way, if the latter is true of you, why on earth do you like me? I loooooove porn.)

  • Cubic Hell: This is one of the most genius blogs on the web. It is anonymous and has several members. The posts are work-related bitching and complaining that cannot be done anywhere but an anonymous group blog.

  • Annika's Journal: No, not me. I don't remember how I first stumbled across annika-with-a-lower-case-a's site. I do remember being surprised at our similarities and differences: we are like evil twins in so many respects. We have the same name, for one thing. I go by bettie sometimes; her best friend's name is Betty. I'm moderately to the left, she's a conservative Republican. We both live in Los Angeles but grew up elsewhere. I'm a lazy housewife, she's a law student. I disagree with her on many issues, but she's always good for an intelligent post from another viewpoint. Plus, sometimes she's really funny.

  • Creature Corner: I pimp out CHUD all the time. Creature Corner is CHUD's baby sister, a site devoted entirely to horror.

  • Irony Central: Jeff is a computer game designer. I think he wants to run the world. Most importantly, he has a two year-old daughter named Cordelia who he writes about. Start with "The Story About The Baby." Go on to "The Story About the Toddler." New installments monthly. Pee-your-pants funny.

  • Union Muse: This is my dad's site. He's been a professional musician for 30 years; about ten years ago he worked for the Musician's Union. Now he works as an advocate for musicians who are being screwed over by the union designed to protect them. Probably only of interest to union musicians, but what the hell. It's my papa, look at it anyway.

  • Tomato Nation: You know Television Without Pity? Of course you do. This is Sars's site. The Vine is her advice column which I have attempted to rip off. Very good stuff.

  • OneLook Reverse Dictionary: Dude. A reverse dictionary. Type in the meaning, it gives you the word. Not perfect (I have found that it is not capable of narrowing down the choices enough for my taste), but for someone like me who is constantly finding the right word "on the tip of my tongue," it can be a lifesaver.

  • Project Gutenberg: Free e-books (generally text documents) of nearly everything in public domain (which is generally anything written prior to 1923). Thanks to Jess for turning me onto this site.

Enjoy. Part 2, my non-internet reads, will be up soon.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Notice to WDers

BuffyGuide/WD site/forum downtime


This is just a warning that you're going to be seeing (starting
already) some downtime and some "roughtime". The hard drive on my server is
going bad and has to be replaced. This will mean downtime while my
hosting company does the replacement and then while I move the data over and
reconfigure everything. And since I can't do this stuff from work, and
I don't have a lot of time during weeknights, it may take a few days.
Once the site and forums are back up, things still may be a little bumpy
at first while I'm installing and configuring everything. Bear with me!

If you like, you can subscribe to the site mailing list by sending an empty email to bgupdates-subscribe @ lists.watchersdiary .com -- I will send notice to all subscribers when the site and forums are back up, or if there are any other major developments.

Those of you who have friends who visit the site or the forums, please
pass this info on to them. If you have a blog frequented by WDers,
maybe you could post this info?

Thanks for your patience,

Jamie Marie

Dear Senator Kerry,

This is a difficult letter for me to write. I have every hope that you will be the next President of my country, and I do not wish to disappoint you.

Thank you for your letter. It was so kind of you to call me "Friend."

My concern began in the third paragraph, when you referred to "our Party," and was exacerbated in the fourth when you stated that "[I] have stood with [y]our campaign through thick and thin." I don't know how to tell you this, but I am not a Democrat. I know I voted in the Democratic Primary Election this past March, but I am registered Undeclared and have every intention of remaining that way. Frankly, it would take a great deal more than you are offering for me to consider aligning myself with either party. Also, you should know that I voted for Howard Dean, despite the fact that he'd dropped out of the race. I truly felt that he was the best man for the job, and wished to show that with my vote. Rest assured, however, that I will vote John Kerry in November.

I hope this clears matters up. You seem like a very nice man, but I will be spending the $35 you requested at the supermarket, or maybe even the bookstore.

Hugs and Kisses,

I forget what I was going to write about.

So I will just mention that yesterday, between 9:00 in the morning and 6:00 in the evening, gas went from $2.35 a gallon (regular unleaded) to $2.39 a gallon. We're currently at about a third of a tank, which means that we will need to fill up fairly soon. I believe the appropriate reaction is "Oh crap." I am trying to remind myself how much more expensive gasoline is and always has been in Europe, but it isn't very consoling when you live in Los Angeles.

On the Good News front, SUV sales have apparently dropped significantly since gas prices started rising.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

What's wrong with this picture?

(Other than the quickie black bar job. I need some practice.)

By the way, I think the guy saw me taking a picture of his truck, and I don't think he was pleased. The things I do to amuse you people!

This is very important.

First, you have to pretend that you are me. Go on, take a moment to admire your fabulous new rack.

All set?

More than a year ago you installed the software for the digital camera. Last June you know that you had the software because you brought it with you to your papa's place in case it was needed to use the camera with his Mac (it wasn't). You know you brought it back home because you called yourself an idiot a few times on the plane for putting it in your carry-on bag. Man, that bag was heavy - remember?

Anyway. Last week you installed a new operating system, making it necessary to reinstall all of your programs. Good job on that, by the way, but if you don't find Norton soon it is your fault that the computer will die.

Today you took a photograph of a hi-larious license plate/license plate cover/bumper sticker combination. Thanks for waiting until traffic stopped, by the way. You went to upload the photo to the computer. XP informed you, in its shiny happy way, that it had detected new hardware. You grabbed the two discs that came with the camera and installed everything on them. It didn't work. You ran around like a chicken with your head cut off looking for the mysterious third disc that was obviously the problem. You came back upstairs to whine to your blog about it when you couldn't find any more discs.

Now, the question, you-that-is-me, is not where the third disc went. You and I both know there never was any third disc. The question is why, for the love of god, did you run disc two twice and ignore disc one? Man, you're dumb.

Buco thinks he is a sportscar.

Alternate title: Adventures in driving in Los Angeles.

We drive a 2000 Mazda Protege. It's a great car. And it's metal colored, which means that the months and months between visits to the carwash don't show until it gets really gross. It's an automatic, but it doesn't seem aware of that. It has terrific pick-up, better than some manual transmitions I've driven. I love stopping at a red light next to some tricked out car whose driver is revving the engine, because nine times out of ten I can get up to full speed faster.

That was nearly my downfall today.

You see, Buco and I like to drive fast when the Weezer is playing on the stereo and the windows are down.

Today I was driving across 3rd in the right lane. I stopped at a light. There was a nice big white and black sedan next to me. The light turned green. My foot said "GO!" In the knick of time, my brain said "COP!"

More stories to come.

I have writer's cramp already

and I haven't even picked up a pen.

Today I went to Staples and picked up some nice paper and matching envelopes (matching as in the same paper weight - it's all just plain white). Then I went to the post office and got 100 revolting "I You" stamps because I found them slightly less revolting than the pink flowery stamps. I wanted monkeys, but they sold out of those in five seconds. Go figure.

So now I have to print and photocopy the save-the-dates (only two months later than I meant to), address somewhere between 75 and 100 envelopes, and then die. Or cry. Or just take a really long nap.

Why didn't I buy the nice Avery address labels? Template already in Word! Stupid Annika.

EDIT: Nice Avery address labels back on the menu. Hee. "Menu."

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Fast food tastes better at 1:00 in the morning.

The all night drive-thru: not so good for the obesity problems; damn fine when your sweetie's had a few and wants a greasy burger.

The staff was slow-moving and unhappy. I don't blame them. I said "thank you" to every person I spoke with. Twice.

One stop for "burritos" for me. One stop for fries and "chicken" "nuggets." One stop for a burger. Yes, this is our regular routine, though we altered it as Burger King is not open all night (we substituted Carl's Jr).

The food doesn't even have that fast food smell.

The bags don't get greasy on the drive home.

The fries are vaguely warm.

The burger tastes like a heat lamp.

The burrito - actually, that tasted exactly like they always do. Three cheers for reconstituted beans and cheese made out of plastic!

Everything was wonderful. Better than when it's fresh.

The way I see it, eating food that was prepared six hours ago by someone who hates their job is better. It's like adopting a rescue dog instead of getting the purebred puppy: This food needs you to eat it. It tries extra hard to please.

Friday, May 14, 2004


OK. I know html and I have a pretty good understanding of CSS. I have no freakin' idea what perl, mySQL and CGI mean (well, I know what they mean, just not how they work), and FTP confuses me.

So what the fuck am I doing with this paid web hosting?

This is going to be the most basic website on earth.

(I'm just venting. I am actually quite certain that I can figure everything out as I need to.)

As soon as I figure out how to upload files, I'll need some test readers. Leave me a comment if you want to volunteer - but please be aware that I'll need more constructive feedback than "it's fine" or "it looks nice" (not that I don't want to hear that, of course). Just know that I'm asking for a little more of your time.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Public Service Announcement.

Dear Prospective Parents,

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD! Look up what your baby's name means before you make it official.

Thank you.

I got a hit earlier from a search engine I'm not familiar with. The search was for "annika," a search that I sometimes find in my referrers, and I wanted to see what page my hit was on (I think I'm on page 15 on google with that search term). I never did figure it out, because the results pages were not numbered, but I did find a geocities site for an adorable baby named Annika Grace. Lovely name isn't it? There's just one teensy problem.

Annika means Grace.

This is extremely distressing.

I went to look at one of my favorite - but not read nearly often enough - sites, Food Porn, only to find THIS in its place. Hacker? Incredibly strange mistake? I don't know. The top of the page says that it is, which leads to the same page.

Further research (a search on who owns the domain "") indicates that it is owned by the owner of - so what happened to my favorite food site? Why, God, WHY?

What's it worth to you?

Positive Liberty: The Price Point Game

I found this wonderful blog via a link in this Alas, a Blog post. The post I've linked to above pretty much sums up everything that is wrong with consumerism, and all in a fun pseudo-hypothetical.

Thoughts, anyone?

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Good stuff.

Yesterday I bought the juiciest, reddest, ripest strawberries on earth. About half a flat of strawberries, in fact. This begs the question, what am I going to do with them? The answer is either eat them as quickly as possible or freeze some of them - I haven't decided yet. I have managed to make a mighty large dent in them already. Deeee-licious.

Also yesterday I cleaned the kitchen. I didn't quite finish the dishes (there were a lot) and I swept the floor but haven't cleaned it yet. It's pretty gross and I think it requires the hands-and-knees-with-a-sponge method, which I wasn't quite up for after scrubbing all of the counters and completely cleaning the coffee machine.

I've been cleaning up (er, more figuratively) both computers as well. Didn't know we had two computers? That's OK, I usually forget. The other one is a laptop that didn't work very well or have any useful programs on it. I uninstalled almost everything, and installed Office (Thanks, Jenn!), and it is already running better. Now if I could only figure out the weirdness with the mouse. It has a built-in mouse, of course - one of the nubby ones in the middle of the keyboard - and an external laser mouse installed. Jimmy suggested that the pointer might not slide around like it was on drugs if I disabled the built-in mouse, but I can't figure out how. By magic, the external mouse worked perfectly this morning when the power cable was not attached, but the battery drains very quickly and when I plugged the AC back in, the external mouse stopped working altogether. I tried to read the User's manual for ideas on fixing the situation, but it was useless in regard to mouses. It did, however, give me some free therapy:

If problem-solving is taking a long time, take a break.

If you have been fighting to solve a problem for a long time, you are probably frustrated by now. Stand up and take a deep breath. Often, you can find a new solution to a problem just by stepping away from it for a few minutes.
It's the Kinder, Gentler Toshiba: It holds my hand but isn't very useful.

Excuse me, I have to go register for a breadbox.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Note to self:

Yes, the wine tastes better straight from the bottle.

NO, that is not license to drink several bottles' worth.

Stupid cow.

Friday, May 07, 2004


MSN House & Home - Low-Carb Salads

Why do people need a recipe for a low-carb salad? It's lettuce! Zero carbs! (Oh, excuse me, it's apparently 2.5 carbs.)

I know some people who have done really well on Atkins. You know why? They followed it properly. This obsession with the idea that low-carb everything will make you lose weight and bring about world peace, however, is BULLSHIT.

All that said, the salads look pretty tasty.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Ewww. Time to clean my keyboard.

It's been that time for a month or more, but nevermind.

The computer is running better already, but I really think that the XP design is Windows for Retards. And those of us who got used to the old versions are the retards now, because I sure as hell can't figure out where anything is. I needed the assistance of a hot lesbian just to figure out how to import my IE favorites from CD. (The fact that she's a hot lesbian is irrelevent; I'm just bragging.) Either everything is more intuitive or it is all totally the opposite (counter-intuitive, I guess that would be), but either way I expect to get used to it. I had a hell of a time getting it to recognize my speakers, but that has nothing to do with Windows and everything to do with untangling the mess of wires behind the desk to un- and re-plug them.

If the Teletubbies or the Rugrats jump out of my monitor, though, I have a Windows 95 disc ready. It might seem extreme, but all of these bright colors are freaking me out! (And yes, I know that I can use "Classic Windows," but that would just make it take me longer to figure everything out. I would be lulled into a false sense of security.)

To make the transition smoother, the first thing I did was put all my pictures back on the machine. My new desktop image is a photo of Will and Darren making funny faces in our bar in Pittsburgh. If I start to worry about anything, I can just minimize all of my windows.

A bomb might work better.

But as I haven't got a bomb, I'm going to try a clean install of the new operating system.

This ought to be fun.

Please leave comments telling me how pretty/smart/clever/[insert your own compliment here] I am.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Happy May Fifth!

(Yes, I can say it in Spanish. It's funnier if I don't, because in English it's meaningless.)

We didn't watch last week's Angel, but I got John to fill me in on the most important stuff.

I think I am looking forward to tomorrow's Friends finale more than tonight's Angel. So sad. But you see, Friends is like comfort food. I don't always (or even often) feel like watching it, but when I do, it's exactly what I needed.

I really haven't got anything to say today. I bought a bathing suit that fits. I washed the sheets. It's almost dinner time and I have no idea what I'm going to make. Maybe we have some skabetti (which is not a play on my former Rude Girl leanings but rather the way my stepsister said spaghetti when she was little).

Tuesday, May 04, 2004


Not to brag or anything*, but I made a truly terrific dinner tonight. I decided to use the rest of the garbanzo beans** I had for hummus, and had already taken out some chicken to thaw for Will, so I made a mini-Mediterranean feast. I cooked red onion, garlic and red bell peppers, removed them from the pan, and browned the chicken. Then I added apple cider and covered the pan. When it started to boil away I added a chopped tomato and some sun-dried tomato. When the chicken was mostly cooked I removed it and put the onions, etc., back into the pan with olives and artichoke hearts. I cooked that for just a minute or two, removed it again, and finished the chicken, pouring everything else into the pan with it (except for a reserved portion for myself because I don't like chicken). Served it all with pita. Dee-lish.

After we ate, Will played Tenchu and I went online for a little while. After about an hour, I decided that it was high time we got some use out of the building swimming pool. I'd kind of wanted to a few times this winter, but it isn't heated. We dug up our swimming suits and went downstairs to play. (I have added a new suit to my shopping wish list, because it turns out that when your old one is even the tiniest bit too small, your tits tend to try to escape.) I am not a very good swimmer. I can do the breast stroke and a modified dog paddle that is actually much faster and more effecient than my many attempts at the crawl, and I can tread water like nobody's business, but I do not put my head under. Any water up my nose and I freak the fuck out. I am also one of those annoying people who hates to be splashed and goes into the water about an inch at a time. I was very brave and went in up to my waist immediately, ducking under to my shoulders within a few minutes. (I eventually go totally under, usually, but I have to hold my nose.) Will is a fish! It's so cute, and rather astonishing that I am the water sign. Somehow in six years we have never been swimming together. We played for about half an hour and had a very good time, though next time I will try to remember to take off my engagement ring and glasses before we leave the apartment. Even though we were the only ones in the pool, it made me nervous to have them sitting on the concrete.

The only real downside I can see to this newfound pleasure is that Ol' Blue Eyes*** doesn't react well to chlorine, even the low levels in our pool. I am going to get him some goggles, since it's his eyes that take it the worst. I think his skin will get adjusted to it more easily.

*Who am I kidding? I love to brag about my cooking.
**chick peas, for the uninitiated.
***I obviously mean Will. My eyes are also blue, but with a lot more green in them than his. I don't actually understand what eye color has to do with it, but Will seems pretty certain.

Excuse me.

I have to go lay down.

Monday, May 03, 2004

That's enough of that.

No more moping. Not on Rex Manning Day!

[spoiler for this week's Alias]
When Vaughn and Sydney get to the complex and Vaughn checks the dead guard, he then takes the guard's rifle. So he puts away the CIA issue pistol that he was holding incorrectly and uses this rifle, without even checking to see if it's loaded. What a freakin' moron. Will wanted to blame Michael Vartan and his forehead for that moment of idiocy, but I blame the witless director, seeing as later on when Sloane is drugging his daughter, he doesn't get the air out of the needle before injecting her.

Also, I am willing to accept all of this Rimbaldi bullshit, but I cannot accept that in Alias-land the CIA has Magic Helicopters with "whisper mode."

I almost died when Lauren used the LAW (light anti-tank weapon). I am not exaggerating - I was laughing so hard that no oxygen was able to get to my brain.

The rest isn't even worth comment.

Except maybe the end, when Vaughn proves once again that he doesn't have enough training to carry any firearm on earth.


Wedding Update.

(See what I did there? Aren't I clever?)

I have always found the cost of a wedding to be outrageous. In the U.S., the average is around $20,000. For that amount Will and I could move into a lovely home and own it outright in no more than 30 years. Or we could buy a second car, cash. Or travel the world, probably twice.

While I feel that the wedding is an important entry into marriage, it is nonetheless only one day. And not even a whole day.

But we started planning ours, and costs of regular items triple when they are for a wedding, and we've already spent thousands of dollars, without any food decided on yet. And I hear food isn't cheap. The problem is (not with food, just in general) that once you begin planning a wedding you get caught up in the things that you never cared about and they become important.

Location: For 1/4 the price of the other places I looked at, we're getting married in a movie theater. Pretty damn cool. Still a lot of money.

Food: See above.

Clothing: Spent over a grand for my sister's and mine together. Had heart attack over it. Calmed down when realized that included jewelry (not something I planned on) and shoes and was gift from mommy. (My dress only cost $250, which I understand is simply unheard of.) Still looking at stuff for Will, but looks to be somewhere in the $300-400 range, plus about the same for new boots. Darren ordered lovely $100-something jacket, will need shirt, tie, etc. (They may wear jeans - it depends on whether Will gets a suit or frock coat.)

Flowers: Just eliminated unnecessary items that I was somehow talked into, knocked price down from over $900 to about $350. Still feel that I am being had. Wonder if I should go back to that crazy idea I had about doing them myself.

Photography: No idea. Might cry.

Ceremony music: Want strings, hate price. My father says it is reasonable, but I am not happy abut the amount that has already been spent. Plus, Will is undecided. We might just have a pianist. I feel that we ought to have some sort of live music because it is a silent movie theater. Reception music will just be CDs over the speaker system.

Cake: Apparently wedding cakes are priced per slice. FUCK THAT. I think we will get a couple of those berry cakes I had for my 24th birthday. No decoration required. Delicious. Expensive, but not priced for a wedding.

Invites, etc: A friend of ours does beautiful work with a letter press. It won't be free, but she's giving us a terrific deal.

Favors: Still torn on this. Are they necessary? Definitely not, but they're a nice touch. If we do them, I'm just going to bring some cash to Chinatown.

There's some other little things, like parking and/or shuttle service and incidental rentals (like umbrellas and linens), some of which are optional.

The amount of money is just staggering to me. I was feeling so confident about everything, and today suffered a total setback. Right now I am thinking of going to City Hall. But some of the money has already been spent and besides, I want to share the event with people. I just can't help but think that the money, while nowhere near the 'normal' amount, would at least pay for closing costs on a nice house.

I've already got more suggestions and advice than I know what to do with, so I'm not asking for more. I guess I just thought I'd share. Of course, I thought it would be a quicky "ARRGGHH" entry...

Sunday, May 02, 2004

Weekend Update.

Let's see...last post was Tuesday. And oh-so informative.

On Wednesday Will took Darren to work with him and I drove to Santa Monica where I met Pat and Stephanie and Saren and Harper. We went to the Puzzle Zoo on the Promenade, which is a very cool toy store. Harper got a fairy and Saren got a zebra and I got a little Hellboy toy for Will out of one of those bubble machines. It cost a DOLLAR! Outrageous. Harper was being very shy, but Saren was her usual talkative self. We walked to the Pier and went on the Merry-Go-Round. I sat next to Harper and she grinned at me as we went up and down. When we walked back out onto the pier she trotted up next to me and took my hand. It's not like she didn't like me before or anything, but she has always been more into Will (or Mama and Daddy) and it was just the sweetest thing ever. We walked down to the end of the pier and had lunch in a mediocre Mexican place. It had this weird well-like thing into which you could throw pennies. There was a lamp/bucket hanging down and below that was the ocean. Very weird. We walked back up the pier and looked at the rides but didn't go on any of them. Saren tried the binocular thingy and then we went down onto the beach. I sat with Stephanie while Pat and the girls played Chicken with the waves. Saren and Pat got soaked but Harper was too quick. Harper let me carry her back to the car and pointed out every single taxi (taggy) on the way. She is so sweet that I could just die. (I don't mean to make this so Harper-centric, but Saren and I have been fast friends since we met and it was very new and exciting for me to chat with Harper so much.) I drove back to Hollywood and picked up the boys and we went out for Indian food.

Thursday Will took the day off. If anyone from his office asks, we did wedding stuff all day. If you are not from his office, we went to the desert (though we did stop on the way to look at clothes for the boys, so we weren't totally lying or anything). We went to our usual spot, The Devil's Punchbowl in the Angeles National Forest in the Antelope Valley, north-east of here. I fell asleep in the back seat on the way there and slept with my face against the window. I have a lovely sunburn to show for it, because I only put sunscreen on my arms. Doh. I had a hat, but apparently that only works if you wear it. We took the hike through the punchbowl. We also took pictures. I have not taken them off the camera yet.

On Friday I went back to Santa Monica, this time with Darren. He had never seen the Pacific, so we rectified that. Friday night we went to a party for Ludek's birthday. It was very nice and I had a nice time, but I am just not a party person.

Saturday was our lazy day. We played video games and sat around a talked. I made Chile Verde for dinner and Will's friend Bill came over (he lives in San Francisco and was in town for the weekend - otherwise we wouldn't have seen anyone, as it was Darren's last night here). After Bill left we stayed up all night playing one of the best games of Deadlands I have ever participated in. I was a ninja. NINJA! Fell asleep around 5:00 and forced myself out of bed a little after nine. Darren had a noon:something flight so we had coffee and then drove him to LAX. I am totally depressed that he's gone.