November 2007 archive

(48 entries)

November 30, 2007

You can talk and talk till your face is blue, but they still do just what they want to do!

I think that I will not post today, just so that I can lose NaBloPoMo at the eleventh hour!

Oh wait. So much for that idea.

Despite all my pleas to give someone else a chance, it appears that the winner of the musicals quiz will be my sister. Now to devise a terrible, terrible prize for her to have won!

srah | 4:58 PM
Tags: nablopomo, nablopomo 2007

November 29, 2007

Yes, it came direct from Paris, France

Paris, je t'aime is a ridonkulously huge collection of famous directors (Joel and Ethan Coen, Gurinder Chadha, Wes Craven, Alfonso Cuarón, Sylvain Chomet) and actors (Steve Buscemi, Other People Who Aren't Steve Buscemi) in a series of short films about Paris. I actually wasn't expecting much, just because I find short-format films pretty hit-or-miss, but it was a cool mix of subjects and directing styles. It's hard to say which one was my favorite because there were so many good ones.

The last film is about a lonely American mail carrier who's studied French for two years in preparation for a six-day trip to Paris and who spends a lot of time wandering around Paris and reflecting on her life. It made me cry, because she was so foolish and ridiculous but it was all so true and realistic to the Parisian tourist experience, because I think we're all that foolish and ridiculous, no matter how hard we try. She had some really great observations on life and love and Paris, but no matter how profound they were, they were all presented in terrible classroom French. I really lost it when she said:

J'ai vu le tombe de Jean-Paul Sartre et Simon Bolívar. Mon livre dit que ils étaient deux fameux écrivains français et que ils s'aimaient beaucoup et c'est pourquoi ils sont enterrés ensemble.

I even almost liked the film about mimes (plural mimes!), because one of the mimes was Mme Wallace from Amélie and because of the use of the insult "fils de mime!" Fils de mime! You're a fils de mime! You're all fils de mimes!

Also, it didn't have a drunk Nick Nolte in it, which I'm pretty sure the following one did.

srah | 7:35 PM
Tags: mimes, movies, nablopomo, nablopomo 2007, paris, reviews, steve buscemi, travel

With a dreamy far-off look, and her nose stuck in a book

What's the deal with polyjuice potion, anyway? In the movie version of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the Crabbe/Goyle-polyjuiced Harry and Ron speak in their own voices, though they try to just grunt in true Crabbe/Goyle fashion so that Draco doesn't suspect anything. In the audiobook for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (a seriously over-polyjuiced book, by the way), Fleur sounds like herself when she's been polyjuiced to look like Harry, Harry sounds like himself when he's "Barny Weasley" but they all get new voices when they're polyjuiced into Mafalda Hopkirk, Reg Cattermole and Albert Runcorn, or when Harry and Hermione are impersonating Muggles in Godric's Hollow. Since they talk in the voices of the people they're polyjuiced into even when they're talking to each other, it seems like the voices are magicked in place, rather than being affected as part of their disguise.

So what's the verdict? Does polyjuice potion affect your voice or not? I'm hoping not, because I would love to see the movie version of the Seven Potters scene with Fleur's, Ron's, Hermione's, Fred's, George's and Mundungus' voices coming out of Daniel Radcliffe.

srah | 12:58 PM
Tags: harry potter, harry potter and the chamber of secrets, harry potter and the deathly hallows, nablopomo, nablopomo 2007, polyjuice potion

I'm full of vitamin A, say!

Make that "C." Isn't it convenient that cold season and clementine season fall around the same time of year?

Suspiciously convenient, I'd say.

I'm on to you, The Clementine Industry!


srah | 6:30 AM
Tags: clementines, nablopomo, nablopomo 2007

November 28, 2007

I had a dream! A dream about you, baby

I dreamt last night that I was invited to a dinner by a college friend I haven't seen in years. It was a huge dinner and I think it was held at my mom's church. At one point, my college friend attracted everyone's attention and got down on one knee to propose to his girlfriend. "This is stupid," I loudly announced, "They're already married." Then I stomped out of the room.

They are married in real life, but they weren't in the dream, and apparently my dream-self was more in touch with the real world than with the dream-world. I went out and sat in the car and pouted (I don't know exactly why I was so upset, except that it was so stupid for him to propose and for them not to realize they were already married), and eventually people started coming out and yelling at me for ruining the proposal, but I couldn't get any of them to see my side of the argument because we were apparently existing in two different dimensions.

srah | 11:16 PM
Tags: dream, nablopomo, nablopomo 2007

Arabians learn Arabian with the speed of summer lightning

I am fascinated by the idea that the words for beautiful (جميل, jameel) and sentence (جملة, jumla) come from the same root in Arabic. Beautiful sentence! This is especially confusing to me because when I hear جملة I keep translating it into French in my head, and I wonder why the topic of jumelles (twins and/or binoculars) keeps coming up in class.

Alas, my progress this semester has not been up to the standards of previous semesters. I think that part of this is due to the content: It's a lot easier to make progress when you're starting from nothing. It's easier to look impressive when you start with nothing and can suddenly use new letters and words. It's less impressive when you go from one-clause sentences to two-clause sentences and start using pronouns.

I think it's also due to the structure of the class. I work a lot better (and I think languages, in general are easy to learn) when I have class every day (or Monday-Thursday as it was last year). This year it's Monday-Wednesday-Friday, which gives me more opportunities to slack off in between class sessions and save my homework till the last minute.

And finally it's due to my lack of motivation, which mostly comes from the previous two AND the fact that I am not taking the class for credit this year. Last year, for some reason, I was taking it for credit that I was never going to use, and paying hundreds of dollars to do so. Now that I'm auditing, I don't have as many impressive things to show off, I'm not working as hard and I have no financial pressure to succeed, so there isn't much motivating me to study.

The end of the semester looms frighteningly near. Classes are over next Friday, then I suppose it's on to Arabic 202 (if I pass!).

srah | 10:37 PM
Tags: arabic, in arabic, nablopomo, nablopomo 2007

November 27, 2007

And we want you to sleep well tonight

I'm tired and I have a cold and I'm tired and also I'm tired. No blog post tonight with any actual content to it! I can't remember thinking or doing anything blogworthy today, except sneezing a lot and drinking more tea than usual. So you just get this lazy cop-out post and a chance to guess another musical.


Some actual content tomorrow, hopefully!

srah | 11:03 PM
Tags: nablopomo, nablopomo 2007

November 26, 2007

For he might have been a Roosian, a French, or Turk, or Proosian, or perhaps Italian

I am 2-0 over the last couple weeks in Guessing Whether Someone is Danish or South African. I don't know why I get those two accents mixed up, except that they both have the combination of very good English spoken with a Germanic-type accent. You would think South African and Dutch would trip me up more often, but they haven't so far. I narrowed the Dane down to either South African or Danish before making my guess a couple of weeks ago and did the same with the South African today.

If you extend the game to Guessing Whether Someone is Danish, South African or Neither, my statistics are much better. There are a whole lot of people around here who are neither Danish nor South African.

srah | 5:05 PM
Tags: accents, nablopomo, nablopomo 2007

November 25, 2007

They're gonna recognize my eyes, my hair, my teeth, my boobs, my nose

When I blogged about how I'd always wanted to Become A Regular Somewhere I completely forgot that my family are already regulars for Sunday brunch at the Sheraton in Ann Arbor. I probably forgot it because I am always trying to forget it. It would be nice if it were because we go there frequently, but it's because we've become recognizable.

A few years ago, I was to meet my family at the Sheraton for brunch. They arrived before I did and the host was amused to watch as they danced around the table, trying to decide where they should sit, based on where I would insist on sitting when I arrived. They explained to the host that I was afraid of sitting with my back to the room because I thought I was going to be attacked by the Mafia. This wasn't so bad or unusual, because my family has a history of oversharing with complete strangers. Usually it's okay, because we never see that person again.

The horrible thing is that it is now always the same host for Sunday brunch at the Sheraton, and that he now recognizes my family and asks, "Is she with you today?" Then he snickers at me when I come in. I'm pretty sure that some of the servers recognize us now because word of my neurosis has spread throughout the staff. It's a good thing the breakfast is delicious enough for me to put up with being a laughingstock!

srah | 9:44 PM
Tags: ann arbor, brunch, nablopomo, nablopomo 2007, neuroses, srahfam

November 24, 2007

Play with appropriate passion

We went tonight to see the second annual Jeff Daniels and Friends concert at the Michigan Theater, which was basically a huge love song to the state of Michigan. The artists were all from Michigan or had some Michigan connection, and were singing or pattering in between songs about their love for Michigan. We were a couple of rows back from the governor.

I didn't realize that Jeff Daniels was so into musical performance, in addition to his acting and playwrighting. I'm always rather proud of him, because he's managed to stay true to his Michigan roots and his love for our state despite his celebrity and success in the entertainment business.

srah | 11:25 PM
Tags: jeff daniels, michigan, music, nablopomo, nablopomo 2007

November 23, 2007

A mezzanine seat to see the flickers

Every year, my mom, my sister and I go to see a movie on the Friday after Thanksgiving. When we first started this tradition, the theaters were almost deserted, but I think more and more people are taking advantage of the opportunity to get away from the Black Friday shopping insanity.

This year, our movie was Enchanted, where an animated Disney Princess accidentally finds herself in live-action form in New York City and has to deal with the problems of the non-fairy-tale world. Disney is a pretty safe Thanksgiving Friday choice for us, but after seeing Shrek 3 this morning, I wondered if Disney would be able to parody their own movies as well as Dreamworks has taken the Disney movies on. The approach is certainly more subtle than Dreamworks', but the final product was great. Here's a scene where, in proper Disney Princess style, Giselle invites all the "woodland creatures" of New York City to help her with the housework.

I expect most Disney movies to amuse me and make me smile, but this one actually made me laugh out loud, and at one point I was actually crying because I'd laughed so hard. So go see it!

srah | 11:50 PM
Tags: movies, nablopomo, nablopomo 2007, reviews

November 22, 2007

I have often walked down this street before/ But the pavement always stayed beneath my feet before

My family walked in our first 5k walk today. If anyone had asked us - which they didn't - we were prepared to call ourselves ¡Team Holt!, which had the dual advantages of sounding like ¡Steve Holt! when we shouted and raised our arms in the air in celebration, and also might have led people to believe our name was Holt, lending us an air of anonymity that would have helped when they were shutting down the race route before we were finished.

Before the race

¡Team Holt!

srah | 11:22 PM
Tags: nablopomo, nablopomo 2007, srahfam, walking

November 21, 2007

In the opinion of this court, this child is depraved on account he ain't had a normal home

A couple of weeks ago I commented on an annoying-slash-hilaaaarious conversational habit of mine. I picked up on another one that my sister and I do while we were grocery shopping today:

1: Where is the [X]? (Or brings up [X] in some other context)
2: You're an [X]!
1: I'll [X] you!

Such as:

Alfie: Where are the cheese and crackers?
me: You're cheese and crackers!
Alfie: I'll cheese and crackers you!

Then when we went to drive home, Alfie unlocked the car and let me in. I reached over and grabbed the keys off her lap and joked, "Ha ha, sorry for grabbing your crotch."

"Are you going to blog that?" asked Alfie, who seems to be paranoid/hopeful that every moderately amusing exchange we have is going to end up in the blog.

"No," I responded. "There aren't really a whole lot of musicals with people grabbing crotches."

"Maybe Rent," said Alfie, who hasn't seen it.

"Yeah, you would think that if a musical was going to have cratchgrobbing, it would be Rent."


"Cratchgrobbing. That's a funny word. You're a cratchgrob."

"I'm gonna cra-- wait, no."

srah | 3:58 PM
Tags: alfie, conversation, nablopomo, nablopomo 2007

November 20, 2007

'Tis makin' me kind o' sick


Staying home sick from work on Monday.


Hearing on Tuesday morning that there is a case of bacterial meningitis running around campus somewhere. They've contacted all the students who would have had contact with Student Zero, but I have a feeling that the don't ever ask about grownups whose office they went to and coughed on.

I don't have any of the primary symptoms (high fever, headache, and stiff neck) but I did have a few of the secondary ones (nausea, confusion, and sleepiness). My first thought was "AIEEEEEEEE! I have it! I have to go get diagnosed!" Then I read that it is diagnosed via spinal tap. You know what? I think I will hold off and see if I develop any actual symptoms. Spinal taps are the hypochondriac's kryptonite.

srah | 6:40 AM
Tags: health, hypochondria, nablopomo, nablopomo 2007

November 19, 2007

What's that? Another picture post?

NaBloPoMo Photo #3

(Guess the musical whose lyric is represented by the picture.)

srah | 5:50 PM
Tags: nablopomo, nablopomo 2007, photos, tea

November 18, 2007

I can neither sew, nor cook, nor read or write my name

This was one of the most productive Sundays I've had in a long time. It helped that I had multitasked by folding laundry and tidying the living room during the football game on Saturday, so that meant I could spend Sunday doing whatever I wanted. I decided that I wanted to make meatloaf, and ended up making meatloaf, mashed potatoes and muffins. If someone would come and do the dishes for me, that would be great. I may be feeling productive, but I'm not that productive.

The meatloaf was an interesting adventure. I found the recipe online but there was an excessive amount of improvisation and mistake-making involved so I can't tell you what that recipe would taste like. First, I decided that I was going to make a half-batch rather than what was written in the recipe. Unfortunately I forgot two ingredients in that I was doing this. So I used 1 lb of ground beef instead of 2 and 1 egg instead of 2, but then I added the full amounts of bread crumbs (I did half bread crumbs, half leftover french fried onions), ketchup (I don't even like ketchup!), horseradish and Worcestershire sauce. Then I went back to read the recipe again and caught on that I had messed things up. So I went back to half-doses for the pepper, mustard powder, garlic and parsley. Once I got it all mixed together, it seemed too wet, so I just threw in a bunch of bread crumbs. I don't know how much. I just dumped some in until it seemed like a good consistency.

Then it was time to cook the darn thing and I suddenly decided that I wanted to make meatloaf muffins instead of a meatloaf, so I had to guess at an appropriate cooking temperature and time.

This is a horribly-angled photo

Well, they tasted good and I'm not dead so far, so yippee! Srah can cook!

srah | 10:49 PM
Tags: cooking, food, nablopomo, nablopomo 2007

I have dreamed thee too long, never seen thee or touched thee but known thee with all of my heart

I had a two-layer dream last night where I dreamt (within the dream) that I was at the opening day of a Beatles museum and I was some kind of special guest. John gave me a tour and a very young George made eyes at me. One of them was in love with me, but I don't remember now which one it was. I must have seen Paul somewhere too, because when I "woke up" from the dream within the dream, I told my mom that I'd dreamt I'd seen all of the Beatles except Ringo.

I didn't remember any of this until I turned on the radio this afternoon and found out that it was Beatles Weekend on the local oldies station!

srah | 10:17 PM
Tags: dream, nablopomo, nablopomo 2007, the beatles

November 17, 2007

I'm just a girl who cain't say no

One really exciting thing about the writers' strike is that I will be freed from my enslavement to the TV. Once they run out of new episodes, I won't have to worry about what to watch and what to tape and what to watch or not watch online. I started to think, at first, that this would be a really exciting time for me, so that instead of this¹:

  Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
8 Shouty Man Shouting Into a Megaphone Shoutily (ABC) The Barney and Marshall Show, Also With Other Characters (CBS) A Very Special "Social Experiment" Brought to You By Ashton Kutcher (CW) Pushing Daisies is on at some point on Wednesdays but I always forget to turn the TV on. The Cliff and Marc and Kenny Show, Also With Other Characters (ABC)   There is nothing worth watching on Fridays. I know that you have a differing opinion, but it's wrong.  
  Stupid Stupid Nerd Show That I Have Watched Once or Twice While Waiting For... (CBS) Blurgh (NBC)  
9 The Predictable, Repetitive Show With Nice Old Timey Music (CBS) Mutant Adventures in Medieval Japan! (NBC) Mister Cranky Doc (FOX) I Am Tired of Jim (NBC)  
  Hit Or Miss Doctor Show (NBC)  
10         Doctor Show That I Only Watch When I Haven't Bothered To Turn The TV Off (NBC)  
            SNL happens later ↓

My evening schedule would look like this:

  Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
8 Learn enriching new things Smell flowers Serve nourishing gruel to Dickensian orphans² Leap and hop and skip and jump Cure cancer Finally get around to cleaning my apartment Learn to knit
9 Institute World Peace Think important thoughts Read a book
10 Eat whirled peas Write a novel Cook an actual meal

Unfortunately, my sister has lent me the third season DVDs of Quantum Leap. I thought I had kicked my Quantum Leap addiction once I got to see John Cullum playing Don Quixote in season 2, but it would appear that's not the case. So my new schedule is going to look like this:

  Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
8 Quantum Leap Quantum Leap Quantum Leap Quantum Leap Quantum Leap Quantum Leap Quantum Leap
9 Quantum Leap Quantum Leap Quantum Leap
10 Quantum Leap Quantum Leap Quantum Leap

¹ The greyish ones are my must-see shows, the others are what I'd watch if the TV were already on.

² Sometimes I feel like my blog doesn't have enough Dickensian orphans in it.

srah | 4:14 PM
Tags: charles dickens, nablopomo, nablopomo 2007, quantum leap, readers' choice, tv, writers' strike

Underneath, your blood is blue!

Hail! to the victors valiant
Hail! to the conqu'ring heroes
Hail! Hail! to Michigan
the leaders and best
Hail! to the victors valiant
Hail! to the conqu'ring heroes
Hail! Hail! to Michigan,
the champions of the West!


powered by ODEO

srah | 12:05 PM
Tags: football, nablopomo, nablopomo 2007, university of michigan

And if we all could spread a little sunshine

My most recent listen-in-the-car endeavor is The Lovely Bones, which is an interesting story but very strangely told. I'm not sure now if I would have liked it better if I'd read the text version rather than listening to the audio book, but I suspect that's the case. I have a feeling that the flowery and metaphorical language that bothered me might have been less noticeable if I had read it rather than having it read to me. For example:

She asked for coffee and toast in a restaurant and buttered it with tears.

- "Snapshots"

What? Did she butter the coffee, the toast or the restaurant? I like to think that it's the restaurant, since that's the last noun used.

So did she literally butter the toast with her tears? Did she catch the tears with her knife and spread them on the bread? No, that's probably not what the author meant, but this line just leapt out at me. I actually talked back to my car tape player and said, "Oh shut up. No she didn't." There was no spreading of tears on toast. She cried and she ate toast. Did the tears lubricate the bread in some way and make it easier to eat? Did they flavor the bread like butter does? Did she spread them on? No? Then don't use the verb "buttered." She didn't butter anything, so stop trying to be all poetic about it.

I was well over halfway through the book when this line came up, but it's really ruined the rest of the book for me, because now I'm listening more intently for nonsensical and/or stupid lines.

And when I wasn't watching I could hear the others talking to those they loved on Earth: just as fruitlessly as me, I'm afraid. A one-sided cajoling and coaching of the young, a one-way loving and desiring of their mates, a single-sided card that could never be signed.

- "Seventeen"

First of all, I'm pretty sure that it's impossible on Planet Earth for a card to be single-sided. A postcard only has one side for writing on, but is still a three-dimensional object. That's mostly me being nitpicky, but if it can't be signed, what difference does it make that the card is single-sided? A one-way conversation is one thing and a single-sided card is quite another thing. They aren't just interchangeable terms.

And then, just before she began walking toward them - for they all seemed suspended and immobile for the first few moments, as if they had been trapped in a viscous gelatin from which only her movement might free them - she saw him.

- "Nineteen"

This isn't really a nitpick with the language, because it's clearly supposed to be a simile. I just like to imagine the whole family trapped in Jell-O like a stapler.

srah | 12:04 AM
Tags: books, nablopomo, nablopomo 2007, reviews, the lovely bones

November 16, 2007

She's not only merely dead, she's really most sincerely dead

Warning #1: If for some reason you haven't seen The Sixth Sense yet and have managed to get through the last eight years without having the ending spoiled for you¹, you might want to stop reading now.

Warning #2: The following post makes me sound like a crazy person. I kind of am.

I've known more than one person (it's not just you, Jennie) who saw The Truman Show and became convinced that their entire life was a reality show created for others' entertainment. For me, it was not so much The Truman Show but The Sixth Sense that had this effect. Yes, I still have my suspicions that I am just here to amuse you, but I am much more suspicious that I died somewhere in the past and just haven't noticed it yet.

I usually get this feeling after a near-death (or near-injury) experience: For example, I slip on some ice and catch myself, then a few minutes later I start to wonder, What if I didn't really catch myself? What if my body is still there on the sidewalk and I just kept walking and my brain created this catching-myself memory because I'm in Dead Person Denial? I know it's crazy, but sometimes I have to look back, just to be sure I'm not lying back there somewhere.

srah | 12:38 PM
Tags: imagination, movies, nablopomo, nablopomo 2007, the sixth sense

November 15, 2007

Overnight, there's been a breathless change in you

Well hello, and welcome to my living room blog. It's a Multi-Stanza Weather-Haiku Extravaganza! And you're all invited!

Last night: wore no coat
This morning: need light jacket
Right now: OH GOD, SNOW!

Forty-one degrees
Where the hell did that come from?
Should have brought a hat

What be these white flakes?
Be it snow, or do the gods
Need Head & Shoulders?

Accident'ly punched
the microwave. Unrelated
to weather, sorry.

My hand is bleeding
Next time I'll punch you HARDER!
Curse you, microwave!

Oh, back to weather.
Now they're forecasting showers.
We'll be wet AND cold.

I'm not crying or
Making lasagna; it's just
My tear ducts melting

(Note: I thought I was inspired to haiku about the weather by something I saw on Twitter but now I can't find it anymore. But it turns out it's some kind of haiku day today.)

(Second note: I wrote this earlier today and forgot to publish it. So here it is, although it's now 43°F instead of 41°F.)

srah | 10:56 PM
Tags: haiku, health, nablopomo, nablopomo 2007, poetry, weather

Another photo post!

Once again, the clue to the musical is in the picture, not in the title. I think this one might be a little harder than last time, but what do I know?

NaBloPoMo Picture Post #2

srah | 12:42 PM
Tags: nablopomo, nablopomo 2007, photos, tea

November 14, 2007

To the matter that you mention I have given some attention, and I think I am sufficiently decayed

Best. Quiz. Ever. Srsly.

Your Score: Michelangelo / Rose

Your ki is made up of 35% Vigor and 41% Wisdom Michelangelo/Rose
You're not the Golden Girl who is most inclined to action, but take heart! At least you're not part of the brainiac patrol, either. You are the party animal of the Golden Girls / Ninja Turtle team. Carefree and often lazy, you're the one who will invariably be chosen for the most dangerous duty whenever a zany scheme calls for it. You crack jokes yourself and are the butt of many more, but your actions show that you are capable of being the bravest member of the team. Also, if it weren't for you, Rafael wouldn't have anyone around that makes her feel smart. With twirling nunchuckas in hand, you clobber even the stoutest of foes.

Link: The Which Golden-Girl/TMNT are you Test

[via fairmer]

srah | 5:37 PM
Tags: golden girls, nablopomo, nablopomo 2007, quiz, teenage mutant ninja turtles

November 13, 2007

Sometimes when someone has a crush on you, they'll make you a mix tape to give you a clue

Not that I have a crush on Tiff. It's all part of the NaBloPoMo game, folks. ... or is it¹?

Anyway, it's time for Volume 2 of Tiff's Great CD Swap. I found myself unable to make one good mix CD of love songs, so I've made two bad ones instead. The first follows my November theme, and the second one is full of the most clichéd and/or sappy love songs evar. Read on for playlists!

¹ Yes, it is.

srah | 12:22 PM
Tags: cd swap, music, nablopomo, nablopomo 2007, track listing

This is what the British population calls an elementary education

Well, that's a bit disappointing.

cash advance

srah | 7:02 AM
Tags: blog, nablopomo, nablopomo 2007, quizzes

November 12, 2007

Yet there's the bold, brave spring of the tiger that quickens your walk¹

I am now in training for My Very First 5k Walk, which I will be doing on Thanksgiving morning with the rest of my family and maybe my best friend and her boyfriend and my cousin and her wife.

And by "in training" I mean "I bought some new shoes! I will probably spend most of the next two weeks 'breaking them in' while sitting on the couch."

New shoes
¹ Oh, I should mention that I may repeat musicals this month. Which I may or may not have done above. Surprise!

srah | 8:38 PM
Tags: nablopomo, nablopomo 2007, srahfam, turkey trot, walking

Beautiful girl, you're a lovely picture

We had our yearly photo session this weekend to take a picture for the family Christmas card, just as we've done for the last 28 years. Wow, that's a lot of years when you write it down!

As usual, Alfie and I insisted on taking some joke pictures and messed up many others by having no idea what we were doing. Hansel and Zoolander we are not.

As usual, we fervently wished that our parents would choose the joke/outtake photos over the serious pictures.

And as usual, the parents prefer the serious ones. So we'll be sending out this one:

Selected for our 2007 Xmas picture

No matter how much Alfie and I advocated for this one:

I really wanted this one to be picked.


srah | 12:17 PM
Tags: alfie, christmas, holidays, nablopomo, nablopomo 2007, photos, srahfam

November 11, 2007

Today all my dreams will come true

I dreamt last night that I was in a Catholic church, dressed in a frumpy dress and a choir robe, and everyone was expecting me to help with Communion. I don't know why, because I'm not even eligible to take Communion in a Catholic church. I complained loudly about this but no one cared. Someone asked me if I was a novitiate¹, which offended me no end. I shouted, "No! I don't know why I'm dressed like this!" Then later they made me hand snacks out to the old people and children in the congregation. These horrible kids took all the raspberry jam cookies so I never got one.

Then I woke up and had to go to (Methodist) church with my grandma. I didn't get any raspberry jam cookies there, either, but at least I didn't have to help with Communion.

¹ The Internet tells me that they should have asked if I was a "novice" rather than a "novitiate" but apparently even my subconscious didn't know that.

srah | 7:33 PM
Tags: dream, nablopomo, nablopomo 2007, religion

November 10, 2007

Rip! Rip! Rip the chipmunk off the field


Go Blue!

(No, there is no real content to this post. What am I, a football blog? Kittens!)

srah | 8:04 AM
Tags: football, nablopomo, nablopomo 2007, sports, university of michigan

November 9, 2007

Hey mister, she's my sister!

If my sister loved me like she ought to, this is how our conversations would go:

Me: Do you like sibling?

Alfie: I don't know, I've never sibbled.

Ha ha ha ha ha!

Instead they go like this:

Me: Do you like sibling?

Alfie: ... no.

srah | 10:06 PM
Tags: alfie, nablopomo, nablopomo 2007

November 8, 2007

What's it gonna take to stop the scabbers?

'Tis Thursday and I am therefore struck with the weekly conundrum: do I watch 30 Rock tonight and watch Ugly Betty online this weekend or do I watch Ugly Betty tonight and watch 30 Rock online this weekend?

But now there is the added complication of the writers' strike. In the interest of supporting the writers, shouldn't I make a statement to the network by avoiding the online content for which they don't get paid? Geez, I think I'm actually going to have to find a blank tape and use my VCR like some kind of caveman.

What have you brought us to, studio execs? I can't stand this mental torture! If this heinous VCR-use goes on for much longer, you're going to break me, and I'm going to go cross the picket lines to be a scab-writer. In fact, I'm already coming up with some great dialogue, ABC. Let me pitch it to you: "Oh my [Prehistorical Deity]! I can't believe people equate VCR use with cavemen! That is such a stereotype! You're such a racist! I totally use TiVo!"

Call me.

srah | 7:31 PM
Tags: cavemen, nablopomo, nablopomo 2007, tv, writers' strike

November 7, 2007

I started life as an orphan, a child of the streets

Every one we capture says he's an orphan. The last three ships we took proved to be manned entirely by orphans, and so we had to let them go. One would think that Great Britain's mercantile navy was recruited solely from her orphan asylums - which we know is not the case.

-Frederic, The Pirates of Penzance

But what if it were the case? I like to imagine the Pirates of Penzance capturing the HMS Pinafore, only to find that it is crewed by orphans from the workhouse in Oliver!, all barely able to dance a proper hornpipe because they're suffering from the terrible nutritional deficiencies of a gruel-fed childhood mixed with scurvy. Or possibly the spunky little orphan girls from Annie.

Why yes, I have a very overactive imagination. Why do you ask?

srah | 7:15 PM
Tags: annie, gilbert and sullivan, hms pinafore, imagination, musicals, nablopomo, nablopomo 2007, oliver, the pirates of penzance

What's that playing on the radio?

It looks like WOMC finally read this post I made back in 2005 and bowed to my wishes.

Too bad for them that I've moved to Ohio, almost exclusively listen to NPR and have developed new local radio nemeses down here. Someone come down here and get the Shrieking Woman off my pledge drives!

srah | 5:26 PM
Tags: djs, nablopomo, nablopomo 2007, radio, tom ryan

November 6, 2007

Well-bred and mature, and out of her mind!

If you ask me "Where does [X] come from?" even (or especially) if [X] is an inanimate object or an abstract concept, there is a 95% chance that I am going to respond, "Well, when a mommy [X] and a daddy [X] love each other very much, they hug each other in a special way..."

It's just what I do. Your only hope, your only savior from this predetermined line is that I might actually know some piece of trivia about where [X] comes from and feel a need to tell you the real answer. Only my love for trivia trumps my love for annoying people with unhelpful non-answers.

It must be fun trying to have conversations with me.

srah | 5:26 PM
Tags: nablopomo, nablopomo 2007, trivia

Kind Captain, I've important information

I have been tagged, so I bring you:

7 Random And/Or Weird Facts About srah

  1. When I was in elementary school, our music teacher, Mr McDonald (who had an imaginary friend named "Boo-Boo McGillicuddy") was the one who introduced me to Oliver! (and therefore to my first fictional-character crush) and I have the impression that he had us sing an awful lot of Three Dog Night. I don't know if it was part of the district-mandated curriculum for elementary-level music classes, if it was in our music book, or if Mr McDonald was just a huge fan of Three Dog Night. It wasn't until a few years later that I discovered that we had learned a censored version of the song:
    Jeremiah was a bull frog
    Was a good friend of mine
    I never understood a single word he said
    But I helped him a-drink his wine we always had a mighty fine time
    And he always had some mighty fine wine we always had a mighty fine time

    Joy to the world
    All the boys and girls, now
    Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea
    Joy to you and me

    If I were the King of the world
    Tell you what I'd do
    I'd throw away the cars and the bars and the wars
    And make sweet love to you have a good time with you


    You know I love the ladies
    Love to have my fun
    I'm a high night flier and a rainbow rider
    And a straight-shooting son of a gun
    I said a straight shootin son of a gun

    I think we did "Black and White" too, but that one didn't need to be censored for an elementary audience. Every time I hear "Joy to the World" I feel like the lyrics are wrong, somehow. I like to think that Mr McDonald is to blame for all of my lyric-confusion later in life.

  2. I think that the reason I get more excited about Halloween than any of the other grownups (or college students) around me is that I really, really like wearing costumes. If I could wear costumes every day, I think I would. Even in my everyday streetwear, I sometimes like to pretend that I'm dressing up as something. "Today I am French!" "Today I'm from another era!" "Today I am dressed up as someone who remembers to brush her hair!"
  3. I think it's been pretty well-established in this blog that I am not a coffee drinker. In fact, I can only think of two occasions where I've ever tasted it. The first was when I spent Easter with my host family in an abbey-turned-hotel near Dijon. All of the meals were served family-style to our enormous extended-family group, so there were just pots and pots of coffee sitting out on the table. So I decided, in the interest of Being In France and Trying New Things and Having Cultural Experiences, I would pour myself a cup. YECHHHHHH! No matter how much sugar I put in, it was not palatable. The second time was when I went to Baskin-Robbins and decided to buy one of their frozen coffee drinks, with the idea that I love coffee ice cream, so a frozen coffee drink full of sugar and milk/cream must be just as delicious. It was not. It tasted like coffee. It's quite possible that there is a coffee drink out there for me, since I love the smell of coffee and coffee ice cream and Mocha Cappucino hot chocolate. I guess I'm not that interested in finding it out, though, because my coffeeless existence is quite comfortable as-is.
  4. Pretty much the same thing for beer, except that I don't think I've had beer-flavored hot chocolate. If I were trapped on a desert island and it was a choice between drinking beer or dying of thirst, I guess I could drink some Guinness, but if I have a choice of other beverages, I'll take lukewarm tap water over beer.
  5. People frequently think I'm wearing fake eyelashes. That would be kind of weird, because I don't really wear any other makeup. I know there are people who don't wear any makeup other than mascara, or other than lipstick, but to put on false eyelashes and nothing else seems pointless.
  6. I have had a stuffed clown named Clown since I was two. This is surprising for two reasons: 1) I hate clowns and 2) I can't believe I couldn't come up with a better name for a clown than Clown.
  7. I'm pretty sure I have telekinetic powers and I just haven't figured out how to turn them on yet.

srah | 12:16 PM | TrackBack
Tags: beer, clowns, coffee, fashion, hot chocolate, ice cream, lists, lyrics, makeup, memes, music, nablopomo, nablopomo 2007, study abroad, super powers, three dog night

November 5, 2007

You, you will be mean/ And I... I'll drink all the time!

I just came across this video on the preparation of absinthe (how do I find these things? I don't even remember) and it reminded me of our parties back when I was living in Vichy. I tasted some absinthe at one of those parties, but it didn't make much of an impression. For one thing, about 4.5 years later, I don't remember what it tasted like. For another thing, even when I came home from the party that night, I blogged about tequila and Michigan accents instead.

It all seems like so much work, with the special flatware and the sugar cubes and the searching for dancing fairies in the sugary drink as you dribble water into the glass, drop by drop. I don't think I have the patience for that. Absinthe is a little too high-maintenance for me. I do not need to drink anything that involves a ritual.

Except tea, of course. Obviously.

srah | 10:51 PM | TrackBack
Tags: absinthe, alcohol, assistantship, nablopomo, nablopomo 2007, tea

I couldn't care less what she'll wear or what she looks like/ It all depends on what she cooks like

I made brownies this weekend, and they got a little overdone, which makes me sad. Why is it that when you burn brownies, it's the edges (the best part) that get burnt, and the middle (the second best part) is just fine? I am going to invent brownies that finish cooking in the middle first, leaving tender, chewy delicious edges no matter how long you cook them for.

What's that? My baking ideas aren't based in reality? Well, um... LOOK OVER THERE!


srah | 5:43 PM
Tags: baking, nablopomo, nablopomo 2007

He tucks it right under his chin

I don't really have a preference between sleeping on my left side, my right side, my back or my stomach. I've slept in all of those positions at different times, and done just fine. When I was a kid, it didn't matter what position I was sleeping in, but it did matter very much that the covers were covering my neck and both of my ears. In any kind of weather, I would wrap the covers around my face so that they tucked under my chin, and then I would be safe. I'm not really sure what I was afraid of, because it seemed to be the back of my neck that I was concerned about covering. It's not exactly the prime location for vampire bites, nor Mafia garrotings. Maybe I was concerned about earthquakes and pieces of ceiling falling on me, so I had to curl up and cover my neck. Who knows? It made sleeping in a sleeping bag really weird.

I've gotten better about it. Sleeping in different situations and cover-types and temperatures forced me to get over the need to always have my neck covered, but given the choice I still prefer to sleep in a cold room, all tangled up in the covers, with a blanket between me and the vampires.

Totally faking it

srah | 7:05 AM
Tags: nablopomo, nablopomo 2007, sleeping

November 4, 2007

And a fellow would know that his darling/ Had heard ev'ry word of his song

This is another one of those posts that probably only one of my readers will understand and/or care about, but here goes. In the song "J'en ai marre" by Alizée:

There's a section of the chorus that goes:

J'en ai marre de ces cyniques
Et dans les prés les colchiques
J'en ai marre d'en avoir marre

(I'm fed up with these cynics
And the flowers in the prairies
And I'm fed up with being fed up

The song is about Alizée listing off all the million different things she's sick of, and talking about how she's only happy when she's in the bathtub with her goldfish. What? Are Britney Spears' lyrics any better? Shut up.

Anyway, every time I hear "dans les prés les colchiques" as "dans les prés de Kashyyyk" (in the prairies of Kashyyyk). I really think that it would improve the song if Alizée were upset with everything on this planet and on fictional ones full of Wookiees.

srah | 10:23 PM
Tags: in french, misheard lyrics, nablopomo, nablopomo 2007, star wars

The clue is not in the title this time!

It occurred to me this morning that my breakfast came from a musical. So you get a visual clue today instead of lyrics. I'm shaking things up around here. Guess away!

I photographed steam!

srah | 9:02 AM
Tags: food, nablopomo, nablopomo 2007, tea

November 3, 2007

Something has changed within me/ Something is not the same

O hai.

I decided to change the rules again. It's now no longer "best out of 30" but "best out of however many NaBloPoMoLolCatted posts there are by the end of the month" because it occurred to me that I might want to write posts with titles from musicals more than once a day. Um... like I just did.

So have at that.

srah | 10:12 PM
Tags: nablopomo, nablopomo 2007

Chicks who did kicks aren't kicking anymore/ They're doing choreography

I went to the Diwali festival tonight to see the festivities and eat the food. The dinner, which was heavily subsidized by Associated Student Government funding, only cost $2 to ticket-buyers. So while not free Indian food, it was pretty darn near to free Indian food.

I was almost moved to tears¹ by the Classical Fusion dance done by the Rec Center class. I have been taking the half-hour per week classes offered by Employee Health and Well-Being², and these ladies (a different class, but with the same teacher) meet for an hour a week to learn and practice their dances. Looking at the progress we've made, I was only expecting twice as much progress from them (so rather than elephants running into each other and bursting out laughing then forgetting the whole routine the following week, they would be very graceful, nimble elephants tittering in a ladylike fashion and forgetting half of the routine the following week) but they had a whole routine and choreography and were very graceful and good at what they were doing. It was amazing to see what they'd learned in less than a semester!

I am still glad that I am in the half-hour class, though, because I got to watch comfortably from the audience instead of running into everyone on stage dancing in front of everyone.

¹ This is not that hard. I am having both PMS and flu-shot reactions right now, which means that I am hot and cold and weak and on an emotional roller coaster. It's fun times.

² srah and EHWB, sitting in a tree...

srah | 7:37 PM
Tags: dancing, employee health and well-being, nablopomo, nablopomo 2007

Ceci n'est pas un NaBloPoMo post

All you musicals-lovers looking for another outlet for your talents might want to head over to my sister's blog, where she is hosting her Musicals Quiz VII. My mother is already stomping me into the dust, it would seem, so go over there and give her the competition that I am evidently unable to!

srah | 11:15 AM
Tags: alfie, links, musicals

November 2, 2007

A person can develop the flu/ The flu, a hundred and three point two

[Note to those of you who have suggested themes/lyrics: I am going to try to use your suggestions, especially when my everyday life doesn't inspire me. Just because I haven't used them yet doesn't mean I won't. Keep suggesting!]

The yearly question once again raises its head: to flu shot, or not to flu shot? I've gotten by without flu shots for my whole life so far and don't usually get hit very hard in flu season (just enough to take a sick day off work and some time to take care of myself), but on the other hand, I have a lot of college students trafficking in and out of my office, who all live in close quarters with each other and spread disease and germs wherever they go¹. And I also just wrote "I've gotten by without flu shots for my whole life so far and don't usually get hit very hard in flu season" which means that I have attracted the Wrath of the Gods and should protect myself. In the interest of scientific experimentation, I have decided to give it a try this year. What's the worst that'll happen? I'll probably die after a prolonged, painful illness from some supervirus that an evil mastermind has injected into the vaccine. So, you know, what the hey?

I got the shot at about 2:30 this afternoon (for $5, thank you Office of Employee Health and Well-Being²). Before I left, I asked my colleague, who is wise in the ways of flu shots, whether it would hurt. She said it wouldn't.

"It had better not," I threatened. "If it hurts, I'll have to come back and hurt you as much as it hurt me!" I am not in the habit of physically threatening my coworkers, but fortunately she hasn't reported me to Personnel. ...yet!

I went and got my shot and it hurt! Yes, it was over very quickly and yes, it didn't hurt that much, but it was still painful! So I went back to the office and informed my colleague that it hurt as much as I imagine being decapitated would hurt, only without the sweet release of death. I was exaggerating slightly, but I wouldn't be nearly as interesting if I just told the plain truth all the time.

So far I haven't died or sprouted horns. I will keep you posted.

¹ I don't actually work in a Victorian-era tenament/sweatshop where everyone is coughing cholera-germs onto each other while dying of consumption, but I like to imagine that I do. In my imagination the students are all wearing flat caps and fingerless gloves, too. I wish I had more power over campus fashion.

² I am seriously always talking about Employee Health and Well-Being. I think I have a secret crush on Employee Health and Well-Being.

srah | 7:10 PM
Tags: employee health and well-being, flu shot, health, nablopomo, nablopomo 2007

OMG! A contest! OMG!

Since all of my NaBloPoMo post titles will be lyrics from musicals this year, I have decided that I will also have a little contest to encourage commenter loyalty and return visits and ROI and consumer cromulence and other boring business terms that I am pretty much just making up now. So on each NaBloPoMo post (identified with the Official NaBloPoMo Lolcat), you are invited to guess the musical that the title comes from. The person who guesses correctly (first) wins! Yay for you! Then at the end of the month, whoever has won the most days out of the total 30 posts will win an Awful Awesome Prize To Be Determined. It could be anything! A wizard rock mix CD! A postcard from my trip to Chile in 2002! A picture of your head photoshopped onto a cheeseburger! A basket of kisses! A certificate to print out and hang on your wall! YOUR VERY OWN NAME announced on THIS VERY BLOG! It will be as much a surprise to me as it is to you! And that makes it very very exciting! You want to WIN! I can sense it already! I love exclamation marks!

srah | 4:57 PM
Tags: contest, nablopomo, nablopomo 2007

November 1, 2007

My future, I hope, will be/ In the home of a brave and free male

As you may know, if you are stalking me and/or following me on Twitter¹, I went to Indianapolis for a conference last weekend. At the conference, I went to a session about why more females than males study abroad, and how this can influence study abroad marketing efforts. This session has been bothering me ever since, because the presenter had interviewed female study abroad students and had discovered that one reason a lot of females (at her university, anyway²) study abroad is that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do so.

This is one thing that we try to point out to all students, male and female. After graduation, you may have the opportunity to take your two weeks of vacation time and travel as a tourist, but once you're out in the working world you're less likely to have the opportunity to live abroad for an extended period of time and get involved and integrated into a foreign culture. Not to mention that you take classes that count toward graduation, so you're making academic progress at the same time you're having this international experience³.

But what her research found was that female students considered this a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel at all. She asked them about future plans and - apparently across the board - their future life plans involved graduating, working, getting married, having kids and quitting work - all by age 30. Most of them hadn't given any thought to life after 30 - just to all of the things that they had to cram in before that fateful age arrived. Apparently this is linked to a sort of vague awareness of the link between maternal age and Down syndrome.

They also said that while men have the opportunity to go gallivanting all over the world, marriage/children or no marriage/children, women will be busy caring for the children until the kids are out of the house and they're too old to travel anyway (48?).

It was all very depressing for me.

  • First, as far as we've come in terms of loosening strict gender roles, there is still the idea that men and women can't be equal partners in child-raising and the woman is always going to sacrifice her career in order to raise these theoretical children.
  • Second, a lot of these women's life plans depend on outside influences intervening within a short period of time. If they aren't married with children by 30, are they going to feel like they've failed, no matter what else they've accomplished for themselves in other areas of their lives?
  • Third, I don't really have a life-plan at all... even one where my life ends at 30. I suppose I should get one of those.
  • Fourth, I am 27 and apparently I am supposed to get married and have kids in the next three years or I will have FAILED! Even though I don't take it seriously, I can already tell it's just going to be sitting there in the back of my mind, popping up every time my mom suggests that I go catch a bouquet or sleep on a piece of cake.

I am hoping that this is just a peculiar concept that exists at that university for some reason, and that it isn't college-aged women everywhere who have this idea of 30 as a deadline around which all of life's plans must be made. On the other hand, if this is the reason that women are studying abroad, maybe we should be working harder to convince students of both genders that they need to study abroad as a last-ditch effort to have some adventure in their life before they turn 30 and their lives and bodies start falling apart.

¹ Not mutually exclusive.

² Alma mater of a famous gap-toothed TV host.

³ Have I sold you on studying abroad yet?

srah | 5:20 PM
Tags: international education, nablopomo, nablopomo 2007, study abroad, women

National Very Busy Month

If I am going to participate in National Blog Posting Month (post every day for the whole month of November) I am going to need some help around here. Any ideas? I've got a post brewing for today (and hey, doesn't this one count?) but you may have noticed that I don't necessarily come up with something to write about every day.

So suggest away! What has worked in the past that you'd like to see more of? What are you dying to know more about?

I still haven't really decided whether I'm doing National Novel Writing Month this November as well... it could be a very busy month. Good thing I don't have a social life to interfere in my creative enterprises!

Update: Alfie's mention of her next musicals quiz has inspired me. All blog topic suggestions must be in the form of lyrics from musicals. Heh heh. So if you say "Somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have done something good" I will write about something good I did in my youth or childhood. (I am free to use this as an example without later kicking myself for wasting it, because I have never ever done anything good.) Or if you write "76 trombones led the big parade" I will... have to be a little creative.

srah | 7:18 AM
Tags: nablopomo, nablopomo 2007, nanowrimo, nanowrimo 2007

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