Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Pop Quiz, Hotshot! It's Quiz-A-Rama time....learn more about yourself, your role in the world and which Care Bear you most resemble.

Which Care Bear are you?
Which Harry Potter kid are you?
Which John Cusack are you?
Which They Might Be Giants album are you?

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

From the "Am I Just A Giant Freak Or What?" files, I raise the topic of lists. Not grocery or errand lists, I'm talking life lists -- the Things To Do Before You Die type of lists. Things I've Never Tried Before lists. Things To Do Before I Turn 30. Those lists.

I mentioned the idea of these lists to someone the other day and they looked at me like I was from another planet. I've been making those types of lists for six years now. I love them. In 1998, my fresh-scrubbed self made a list of things I had never done before and wanted to try out in the next year. It had things like "get a massage" and "drive a convertible" on it. I made little boxes next to the things so that I could tick them off when accomplished. Yes, it does run the risk of being a little on the Sark-y side. But putting something down on paper seemed to legitimize it, like a contract. Even if they're ridiculous things, knowing that there's an unchecked box next to a "to do" item can be awfully motivating.

And so it continued for many years. Some things keep getting transferred from one list to the next. The lists are always a combination of big goals ("pay off credit cards") and small ones ("try to drink more green tea"). Once I read that Elizabeth Hurley had always wanted to drive across the country alone before she turned 30 and suddenly that got added to the top of my list. What an awesome idea! I ticked that one off the list two years ago, although I only got as far as Minneapolis, but half way is better than not at all, eh?

I'm now in the process of putting together a Things To Do In Your 30s list. It's a little overwhelming. Suggestions welcomed over the next ten years.

Monday, March 29, 2004

For breakfast this morning I had a Go-Gurt. I find the whole concept of these things totally bizarre. Really, you're too busy to use a spoon? Really? Is yogurt really that time consuming of a food to eat in the first place?

So I tried finding some amusing web sites mentioning Go-Gurt and it was sorely lacking. Strike that. It pulled up 848,000 sites (God bless the Internet) but they were WEIRD or perverse or nutritionally related. No legitimate humor sites about this? What's wrong with our world?

Sunday, March 28, 2004

This really has been my most active weekend in recent memory. Saw The Triplets of Belleville tonight. What an amazing film. Adorable. Hilarious. Adorable again.

I think the best part of it was a short film they showed at the beginning called Destino which was a collaboration between Salvadore Dali and Walt Disney. A-Freakin'-Mazing. It was bizarre and surreal and unlike anything you have literally ever seen before. My jaw dropped. My hand, filled with oily popcorn, was frozen in midair.

Clearly there's something to be said for this whole "leaving the house" idea.

Saturday, March 27, 2004

I finished Dry by Augusten Burroughs this morning. Towards the end, there were actually tears streaming down my face. It was just. So. GOOD. Phew.

I sauntered out for a drive and ended up at Half Price Books which is always a happy place. At one point, looking through the writing guides section, I looked up towards the window and felt the sun on my face and felt like a warm happy kitty. Sunshine? In a bookstore? Is there anything better?

And then. It happened. These two girls, college aged, came up around me and they were talking in full outdoor voices. I was so annoyed. I guess I never paid attention to it, but I clearly have a rule against speaking in bookstores and certainly against using your OUTDOOR voice in them. It's like being in a library, people! Or church! This is a quiet space where people can reflect and read and escape and celebrate words. It's not for yammering on about your plans that night or your love of gothic fiction.

I scurried downstairs. MORE outdoor voices. Two older couples guffawing and chortling about running into each other. WON'T YOU ALL JUST SHUT UP? WE ARE IN A BOOKSTORE, PEOPLE!

Only saving factor was that I found the book on Sundance/Miramax that I was looking for in San Francisco. I am SUCH a bookstore geek.

Friday, March 26, 2004

Are there adequate words to describe how much I hate the suburbs?

I feel a little hypocritical ranting against suburbia because a.) I grew up in the suburbs and loved it and b.) What started this all in the first place was a self-imposed trip to the suburbs, so I guess I brought it all on myself.

So there I am. At a shopping center in the suburbs. On a Friday night. And first of all, I am struck by the sheer mass of humanity that is OUT at a shopping mall on a Friday night. Then it hits me that most of these people are under 20, which I don't see a lot of in my insular little hipster world. The teens, they are a changin'. They have more money than my parents and they look MEAN. So that's annoying.

As for the adults, everyone is out in their SUV/Minivan/Hummer wearing plush track suits pushing their $300 jogger strollers. I don't know why I find that so loathesome. No one is walking fast. Or driving fast. Everyone seems to be migrating towards the Claim Jumper for dinner.

There's no THERE there in suburbia -- I think that's my problem with it. It's all mass produced chain stores/restaurants with no imagination. The people start looking less like people and more like cattle. What pisses me off is that five years ago (or whatever) these people were, in all likelihood, hip singletons who lived in the city and went out after 9 p.m. and explored art and music and weird movies and here they are now in the burbs walking around the Sunglass Hut on a Friday night. It just seems a little defeated. And I'm there too, with them, so I can't judge.

But let's just say I breathe a sigh of relief after I cross over the water and back into the city with its homelessness and its litter and its lack of parking. I'm home.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

As I continue to read about blogging and checking out cool blogs from which I can steal ideas -- oops, I mean gain inspiration from -- I have come across one of the more popular and successful blogs around -- Wil Wheaton Dot Net.

Yes, the guy from Star Trek. And Stand by Me. Yes, he blogs too! And it's a great site. He actually got a book published based on his blog which I need to check out if only so I can learn how to do it myself. Join Wil as he celebrates geek culture and hawks his wares.

You go with your blogging self, Wil Wheaton!

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

More frequently asked questions:

Q: Beth, I've been thinking of coming to Seattle for a visit. Why should I come there when I could spend my limited vacation time in, say, Belize at a yoga retreat or in Paris with an exotic lover?

A: Two reasons. The Washington Banana Museum and the World's Largest Frying Pan. Need I say more?

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Hey Kids! It's time for Frequently Asked Questions!!

Q: Beth, again I have to point out that your blog clearly states that it features the adventures of Thomas the Wonder Cat, but I find those adventures to be sorely lacking. What's up with the freakin' wonder cat?

A.) Thomas continues to rage against the machine with his bad-ass orange self, but his adventures consist primarily of eating, bathing, pooping, barfing, snuggling, sleeping and purring. Perhaps "adventure" was a bit much to expect from this wonder cat.

However, you can catch up with additional, more adventurous wonder cats such as Sparky the Wonder Cat, Roscoe the Wonder Cat, and Misha the Wonder Cat. In fact, a search for "The wonder cat" online provides over 3,000 sites, which is both cool and slightly alarming.

Monday, March 22, 2004

Given yesterday's lengthy post about puttering and being housebound, I've decided to see what I could find about puttering on the good ol' Internet. In my search, I came across the Ladies Against Feminism site. There's an excellent description of puttering found here, but that whole idea really gets sidetracked once you get onto the site. This is one helluva group of ladies. Apart from the fact it goes against everything I stand for and believe in, this is a site worth spending a few minutes on. A few. Not too many.

For one, as much as I hate to say it, the site is intelligently written and it provides an incredible volume of resources and information which makes me give it a little credibility rather than making me immediately dismiss it as backwards conservative misogynistic bullshit.

For two, in the words of Voltaire, I may not agree with what you say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it.

For three, this is a terrific motivational tool to encourage proud, beautiful, powerful, intelligent feminists -- and that includes both women AND men, folks -- to donate money or time or resources to the National Organization for Women, Planned Parenthood, Emily's List or any other pro feminist organization. Get involved, be informed and know the issues!

Sunday, March 21, 2004

Truly, my capacity for puttering around my apartment seems endless. February and March 2004 are going to be marked at the Months of Puttering. Sunday is drawing to a close and once again I've spent two days inside tidying up, reading and being general antisocial. I did leave briefly to go downstairs and pick up my mail and that was only because I knew I had Netflix movies waiting for me. Katusha will totally relate to this.

What's worse is that I'm generally pretty content about the state of my weekends. Downright happy about it. Fridays roll around and like everyone in the world I think about my weekend ahead...and truly nothing makes me happier than to have the next two days lay ahead of me with nothing planned, no one to see, no where to go. Where I know I can just shut my door, nestle inside and be cocooned for two solid days. Is that sad? Something to be concerned about?

It's not like I'm laying in bed drooling (okay, so I did that for a while) or watching bad TV informercials for a "6 Second Ab Machine" (okay, I did that too), I mean I'm cleaning, organizing, talking on the phone, reading, knitting -- doing stuff, it's just that it all seems to take me two straight days without leaving the building at all.

I don't think its about poor time management either. It's not that I'm unorganized -- as I mentioned, I spend two straight days getting organized --it's that I just don't have much of a desire to get out. So am I just lazy? Bored? Depressed? A victim of social anxiety? Maybe all -- or none -- of the above. To be certain, there is an element of apathy and disfunction required to nurture this type of behavior -- I just don't care about going out. It's not a priority, it's not particularly fun for me. When I am out at a bar or club I just feel removed and out of touch, as though I'm invading someone else's high school reunion. Maybe I'm just in a (really long) phase of my life where I need to be alone. Maybe I just enjoy solitude.

I have friends that are extraordinarily active (which isn't hard, compared to me), who go out 5, 6 nights a week. To whom a night in is the exception rather than the rule and for whom that one night in is usually just to do laundry to prepare for the week ahead. They're drinking at hip bars and going to shows until 2 in the morning on a weeknight, going to gallery openings and film retrospectives and living the Carrie Bradshaw life. And I sometimes wish my life was more like that -- it seems wasteful to be this young and this urban and to spend my weekends inside all day and all night. The alternative just doesn't feel right to me though, it feels more like work. Like you're working two jobs where one is your day job and the other is your night job which involves every bit as much preparation and coordination and relationship building and image management.

I didn't used to be like this, either. I used to make a point to go out every day, even if just to walk around Target for hours on end. Looking back though, it can argued that's how I got into credit card debt -- the hours of wandering through stores/restaurants/bars for lack of something better to do.

I'm overthinking. The night is young. There's more puttering to do while I have the chance.

Friday, March 19, 2004

I. Hate. My. Car. So. Much.

Driving home from work night, I noticed white smoke coming from the engine. What's next, flames? Locusts shooting out of the tail pipe? Oh wait, that's not possible because two weeks ago, my rusty tail pipe FELL OFF, officially placing me into white trash territory.

Nothing good can come of this. I'm feeling more and more like the little car needs to be put out of its misery. Surely being a downtown dweller I could survive without a car (let's not forget national biodiesel day, folks)? I could master the bus system and pretend I'm living in Europe, reading my New Yorker and/or hip paperback novel on the way to the market/cafe/art gallery. I could cab around town like the gals from Sex and the City.

Overidealize much, Beth?

Thursday, March 18, 2004

I recently visited this Website with all sort of goofy daily holidays on it. Today, as I'm sure you're all aware, is: Absolutely Incredible Kid Day, Awkward Moments Day, Companies That Care Day, Forgive Mom and Dad Day, National Biodiesal Day and President Grover Cleveland's Birthday.

SOOOOOOO -- Here's to a day where we drive vegetable-oil powered cars to work, with our incredible kids, where we yell at them for not paying attention to what mommy's saying, making everyone around us feel embarrassed and awkward, only to have them forgive us later at the company barbeque for employee appreciation.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Spring in Seattle. Siiiiigh. The flowers are blooming, the sandals are poking their heads up in the shoe stores, the rest of the world is starting to talk about the "sun." Today its freezing and totally overcast and I'm wearing sweaters/coats with no end in sight. I feel like a pale, out of shape bear that is still in hibernation.

New Orleans is six weeks away and I would like to be 1.) tanner 2.) thinner 3.) blonder 4.) perkier by then. It's entirely achievable as well, there's ample time for a total spring makeover.

Okay. So I just re-read that sentence and I realize how much I sounded like a PR girl just then. I'm apologize to you all. The thing is, PR girls are brutal. For one, they all look the same and they are FIERCE with their highlights and their black suits and their glimmery eyeshadow and their trendy handbags. And the idea of going to a show where I'll be surrounded by hundreds of these women is...kind of...overwhelming/depressing/scary and it manages to destroy any sense of self esteem you might have. That's really the worst part of PR -- it really is all about image and appearance.

Heading to now to look for some shimmering makeup. I need to get into battle mode.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Ah, New Orleans. Looks like I'll be going back there for a trade show at the beginning of May and have also managed to tack a few vacation days onto the end of it. Go, Beth, Go! It will be good to relax for a few days and sit at Cafe Du Monde with my friend Stacy and people watch over beignets.

I have mixed feelings about New Orleans -- it's not my favorite city in the world, but much like Vegas its decadence lures you in and doesn't loosen its grip until you step onto the plane and head back towards home. I'd like to see more of it this time around, to see more than just the French Quarter and the convention center. Time for research!

Monday, March 15, 2004

God I love Augusten Burroughs. LOVE HIM. Last fall I read Running With Scissors and fell immediately for him. I started Dry this weekend and the madness over his writing continues.

I was flipping through the channels yesterday and stopped at BookTV on CSPAN because Neil Pollack was speaking at the Miami Book Fair. I had seen him speak a few years ago, but wouldn't have recognized him. Next up though! Augusten Burroughs! The audience looked like it was full of hipsters and cranky retired people and it was half full. Sad.

Is it wrong that I'm spending my weekends watching CSPAN and organizing pictures all day long?

Sunday, March 14, 2004

Classic Beth weekend in which I start a project thinking it will only take an hour or so and it ends up sucking away the entire afternoon: I get it into my head to organize all of my photos chronologically. I took every picture I had out of the photo albums, threw them into a giant pile and then organized them once and for all into order.

I don't know what the hell I was thinking. They were 75 percent organized to begin with and that's far better than the rest of the world that keeps their pictures in a shoebox under the bed. But it's one of those projects that once you start, you can't give up half way through. After you've got 30 years of snapshots laying in a heap on your floor, there's really only one way out.

So I sat for three hours staring at vacation pictures and asking myself "Okay, was this trip to San Francisco in 1998 or 1997?" Siiiiigh.

I have to say, however, it was immensely enjoyable. Kind of amusing that after everything got filed and organized, there were about 10 pictures that I couldn't place anywhere. Most were of the cat...I mean, it's tough to determine if a picture of Thomas on my floor is from 1999 or the summer of 2000, you know? Some were of generic beach shots. Could have been Italy. Or Seattle. Or anywhere.

Time for a long bath and then to bed. The week looms ahead of me.

Saturday, March 13, 2004

Good, good things:

1.) Two cosmopolitans and the lettuce wedge with blue cheese at Sam's Steakhouse on Eastlake. I feel a little self conscious sipping a cosmo after Sex and the City made them so trendy, but DAMMIT they're good. Sam's brings them to you in a tall glass with ice and strains it at the table. They're hot hot pink and cooooool goin' down. It's not a hipster type place for drinks, but they're always nice and accomodating and there's a giant patio for sunny nights.

2.) Finally starting my laminated list. After two cosmos, Beth found a newfound determination to create the perfect laminated list of men. So far:

* Hugh Grant
* Robbie Williams
* Phillip Seymour Hoffman

Okay, it's not complete. Have to find a copy of People magazine or something. Suggestions? Who am I missing?

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Swear to GOD its another one of those two-left-feet kind of days. Can't do anything right to save my life. Siiiiiiigh.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Make. Peeps. In. Your. Own. Home. With this! Head to Peepsville here for more information than you ever thought possible about the peepalicious world of Peeps. Need I say more?

Actually, yes I do.

While I'm on the topic of Easter candy, I also need rave about these funky Hershey's Swoops candy thingys. Despite a really, REALLY annoying TV commercial, these things are incredible. Shaped like Pringles, but made of Reese's/Hershey's/Almond Joy/etc. Something about the texture and shape just works PERFECTLY. All too addictive.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

I have decided -- once and for all -- that I am going to do the Race For the Cure this year. I have signed up for this event twice since moving to Seattle and just never followed through with it. Race day would come and go and I would just sit in my apartment thinking "Dang, I should really be there now..."

It's on June 6, 2004 and I'll be registering this weekend. I'll put a link up with my pledge sheet (that is, if I can figure out how) so that all of y'all that are interested can drop a few bucks my way.

Monday, March 08, 2004

So today is Labour Day and "Eight Hours Day" in Australia and Tasmania, according to my World Wildlife Federation calendar. You can read more about both holidays here. According to this site, "The Eight Hours Movement had its beginnings in the maxim of British socialist, Robert Owen who believed an ideal life was based on 'eight hours labour, eight hours rest and eight hours recreation'."

Kind of makes you think about how your current day is divided up, eh? I for one can say an 8 hour work day is sadly a thing of the past, and I certainly don't get 8 hours of recreation in every day. I can however totally confirm the 8 hours of sleep each day...often many more.

I want to try and focus more on the idea of balance -- to stop looking at work and play as diametrically opposed forces. They're both a necessity in life, like it or not. Part of the balance idea is to embrace both work (which I feel I've been slacking on) and play. And then also engage in a good 3 hour nap every now and then to nurture the sleep part.

Sunday, March 07, 2004

Cranky. Bitchy. Annoyed. Bored. Restless.

Pick one, pick a few -- they're all describing me today. Can't even really say why, but I'm just in a foul mood. I've been in hermit mode again this weekend, which is FINE -- but then around six tonight I decided to leave the house and return some books to the library and what happens again but the old temperature gauge on my car heads up to the H level. Made it home safely...all was well, but it just added to my pissiness.

I felt like a whiny little kid all afternoon -- I was bored but didn't know what I wanted to do so I just stomped around the house feeling bored and angry because there wasn't anything to do.

And can I mention that my cat has -- for lack of a better word -- the sniffles? Do cats get colds?

Siiiigh. Here's to hopefully a better week ahead...

Saturday, March 06, 2004

A nice leisurely Saturday. Nothing planned. Nothing to do. Nowhere to go. Was awakened at 8:41 in the morning by an "unknown" caller which means a telemarketer, which means....grrrrrr.

I have finished HP Number Five which means the obsession can move to the back burner and I can get back to reading "real" books. Think I'm going to spend the afternoon knitting and getting some progress done on another scarf. Does this officially make me a weird 80 year old cat lady trapped in a 30 year old body?

Saw Peices of April today and thoroughly enjoyed it. However, I found it hard to buy Katie Holmes as a former druggie/abusive/runawaydaughter -- not with those soulful giant doe eyes from Dawson's Creek! -- and even harder to believe that Oliver Platt was supposed to be her suburban dorky FATHER. I think that stems more from the fact that I have a giant crush on Oliver Platt and it disturbs me that he's being cast as someone's DAD. We is all gettin' older, clearly.

Friday, March 05, 2004

An open letter to Harry Potter:

DAMN YOU, HARRY POTTER! Damn you for being so darned addictive and entertaining! Damn you for taking my notions about popular fiction -- popular CHILDREN'S fiction at that -- and turning it on its head.

Since meeting you just a short month ago, I can't get enough of you. I spend my weekends reading about you. My eyes hurt because I read all day long about you and your wacky adventures. Today, Harry, I read that JK Rowling might publish an eighth book about you and I was GIDDY. Giddy, Harry.

This is most unlike me. I am usually the biggest book snob in the known universe. I sneer at people (I imagine I look at like Snape with I do this) in airports with their mass market paperbacks and take joy in curling up with the latest in comtemporary literary fiction.

But Harry, you've changed all of that. I've fallen victim to your charms. I am a victim of Pottermania and I cannot read about your adventures fast enough.

I thank you for showing me the joy in popular fiction and the benefits of jumping aboard a literary bandwagon, albeit about several years after the rest of the universe has.

I remain yours -- a loyal and devoted Muggle reader in Seattle.

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Feelin' smug because I have worked out THREE DAYS IN A ROW. It hasn't really transformed me into a supermodel, but it's the thought and the effort that counts, right?
I'm using these tapes from Leslie Sansone, which are helpful because I'm very clumsy and they don't involve a lot of coordination. You're pretty much just marching in place.

Also, my lovely friend Lizzy has shared some Weight Watchers recipe cards from 1974 that are hilarious. Enjoy.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

I love the BBC's The Office so freakin' much. It's subtle, it's cruel, it's British. It mocks employee training sessions.

First off, it takes place in a paper company in Slough. Which is amusing because several years ago I was on a 3-week business trip in England and got to spend some time in Slough. It's not real glamorous. (Okay, so it felt super posh and glamorous to me because I was in England, but that's beside the point. I'm sure if I lived there permanently it would be like working in Tacoma.

Second off, I have forgotten what it's like to work in a big company. Maybe that's for the best.


Monday, March 01, 2004

So last week I was assigned this project at work. Which I completed. And today I found out I totally missed the boat on the project and clearly didn't do it correctly or adequately.

It's the old "sometimes you're the windshield and sometimes you're the bug" type of day.

I feel all squashed down and small.