Friday, April 30, 2010

Ignite Ithaca

The other night I went to an event called Ignite Ithaca - it was one of these events and was lots of fun. You can see some of the presentations I saw here.

One of the presentations was called "Childhood Dreams: Why They Are Important". I was reminded of it the other day when, standing in the line at the grocery store, I picked up a children's book about horses just because I (still) like to look at pictures of horses.

More on the McDonalds Ban.

"Since you've worked with the people that this ban would effect the most, I'm not sure why you think it's a bad idea. You know that some people don't have the mind to be trusted with decisions of this magnitude."

I don't think getting rid of Happy Meal toys will stop people taking their children to McDonalds or stop their children eating McDonalds ("Sunnyvale blogger said that once her child tasted fast food, it took years to coax her back to the healthful variety"). I think getting rid of McDonalds will stop people taking their children to McDonalds (and I'm all for that). I say that based on my experience working with those people.

Consider neighbourhoods where there are no grocery stores. The only choice people have is convenience store food that they have to purchase through a glass window or fast food. Banning Happy Meals is not going to stop people who grew up in that world from going to McDonalds or taking their kids there. And here, in Ithaca, there's no way my students would have stopped eating crappy fast food because their kids don't get a toy. One student used to put her 7 year old to bed at 5pm so she could be rid of him and then would make runs to fast food places throughout the evening.  Even the "healthier" options at McDonalds are not going low enough in calories to be allowed to include a toy.

The legislation is aimed at an entirely different demographic and a demographic that should know better at that.

A far better option would be to legislate what can actually go into a meal that's marketed to children. We ban tobacco for underage kids, why not fast food? It's addictive and will kill you too. And the children who grow up eating meals with lower fat, salt and additive content will develop a taste for healthier foods. 

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Banning Happy Meal Toys

As much as I hate McDonalds, I think that Santa Clara County potentially banning the toys in Happy Meals is an exercise in legislating common sense, and therefore stupid.

If you don't want your child to be rewarded for eating crap with a cheap plastic toy that people "end up recycling or they end up getting left in the car" then don't take them to McDonalds.

Why is that so hard? I ask that question without any attempt at facetiousness (okay, maybe a small attempt). I really want someone to tell me why it's hard not to take your child to McDonalds, or at the very least not order a Happy Meal, if it's the toy you find so abhorrent.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Friends of the Library Book Sale.

I was really, really hoping to make it to the Friends of the Library book sale this year, but I found this article in the Ithaca Journal yesterday. I think the only person who will find local theatre actors shouting lines from Shakespeare (sorry, "reciting the works of the Bard") more unendurable than I will is my husband. 

Ways to Start Arguments in Bars I

If at a bar and you're interested in antagonising strangers or friends of friends that you may never see again, say this:

"I don't think the Beatles are amazing."

This is not to say I don't like the Beatles' music. Well. Some of the Beatles' music. It's just a really great way to piss off a stranger, I've discovered.
The conversation will start out on some musical discussion and then someone will, for some reason, mention the Beatles and then you say, 

"I don't think the Beatles are amazing."

Which is followed by an askance stare and then someone saying, "Whoa, whoa, whoa. The Beatles? They're, like, the most influential rock group of all time." 

And then, you can say, "Yeah, well, as far as the early Beatles goes, I think the black people they were ripping off are a lot more interesting."

At this point, you have made a cardinal sin. Because you are asking them to accept that the Beatles weren't entirely original. And this shatters a deeply held belief that they have probably been holding close to their heart since the first time they heard "Ob La Di." 

Then, you can start with attacking Ringo. Because he wasn't all that great, in the grand scheme of drummers. And his songs? The worst ones. Well. Unless you're 5. When I was 5, I thought "Octopus's Garden" was maybe the best song ever written. I also thought the Sound of Music was the best movie ever and trying to see if I could put my toes in my mouth was a good idea, so that might tell you a little something about my tastes as a 5 year old. 

At this point, you have thoroughly convinced them that you are one of those people who just likes being contrary because everyone likes the Beatles

Also, at this point, for me, I have started to pretty much disregard any musical opinion the other person might have, Beatles related or otherwise. Why? 

1) because they just abjectly love things without having much reason, or at least have failed to give me any satisfactory reasoning, beyond, "They're the Beatles. How can you not like the the Beatles?!" 

2) they are usually shouting at me at this point or at least looking very, very irritated. 

I was at the Phone Booth in San Francisco when a man told me I was a bitch for having this opinion. 

"Man, you were, like, not even born in the 60's, so how the hell would you know?"

"Well, according to what you've told me, you were born in 1967, so how the hell would you know? The Beatles weren't even touring then." 

"You're don't know what the hell you're talking about. You're just a bitch." 

Like I said before, I don't dislike the Beatles. I understand that they were very influential, particularly with regards to recording and creating. They have some really pretty songs. I just think their early songs are pretty cheesy and annoying and the people they were copying don't get enough credit.
Do not, however, get me started on the Eagles. I hate the fucking Eagles. 

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Dog Ages

Just a note to people that refer to their pets as their children:

This morning, I was sitting on the floor by the bed. Ryan was sitting on the side of the bed, his legs hanging over the side, drinking a cup of tea. Jeeves was between me and the bed and Barnaby was lying on his back in front of me.

I scratched Barnaby's belly and he reached up and grabbed Ryan's toes with his mouth, causing Ryan to squeal and almost spill the tea. Jeeves leaned over and licked the side of my head. The thought occurred to me that if I had children the ages of 11 (Barnaby) and 40 (Jeeves), while chewing on someone's foot might be considered okay for the 11 year old, licking the side of my head would most certainly be unacceptable for the 40 year old. So would crying and screaming during thunderstorms and being unable to share.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Joke's On Me

After receiving further text messages and one phone call from the aforementioned strangers, I got a text message this evening from my friend Casey. She texts me from her husband's phone because she always loses hers. I have neglected to save her husband's phone number, mainly because I'm afraid I'll call or text him, trying to reach her and he'll be at work in an important meeting or something (in fact, I think I've actually already done it).

Her husband's number and the aforementioned strangers number are quite similar.

You can guess what I did (at least I wasn't rude).

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Random text messages cont.

I did get a response.

"So this works as a form of communicating?"

"Well. In some respects. Although I don't think you're texting who you think you're texting. I believe you are texting a wrong number."

"If this is a wrong number, then how are you receiving my texts?"

Pure gold.

Random text messages.

I received a random text message the other night. It read:

"We're here. Are you?"

I knew it most likely wasn't from anyone I knew, because it was sent from a bay area area code. I still have a bay area area code, so when I get random calls from 607 (Ithaca) numbers, I know that the person is very likely trying to reach me, as opposed to random calls from the bay, which are almost always wrong numbers. Like that woman who left me 3 messages for her son, trying to get him to call her back.

I forgot about the text, until this morning:

"Got your phone on?"

To which I responded,

"Yes. Who is this?"

The response an hour or so later,


My father doesn't use the word papa. He doesn't even use the word "dad". I call him by his first name and always have. He also doesn't use text messaging.

Just now, I got another message from the same number.

"I mean, Joe's Bar."

To which I responded (of course),

"Okay, Joe's Bar. See you there."

I'm not expecting a response, but I really hope I get one.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Absent Minded Ninny.

I am an absent minded ninny. I also suffer from "anxiety".

Today I left the house to go on a trail ride at Kathy's. An hour after getting to Kathy's and three minutes before I was supposed to get on, Casey mentioned something about the fresh bread we have been making everyday. I remembered the huge bowl of rising bread dough sitting on the counter and I remembered this story. I could not remember if I had put it away. I assumed that because I did not remember putting it away and because I am an absent minded ninny, that I had not put it away. I called Ryan, frantically, asking him to run home.
Fairly convinced that I had killed Jeeves (Barnaby goes in the crate when we are out), I handed the pony off, jumped in the car still wearing my half chaps and helmet and drove home, as fast as I could considering the state police station on the way and the big storm that slowed the traffic down.

Ryan called me when I was 5 minutes away (the drive should be half an hour from Kathy's, it was longer on account of the conditions) to say, "You put the dough away. All he got was a spatula."
Ryan says I shouldn't beat myself up about my absent mindedness, that instead, I should use positive reinforcement when I'm not absent minded. The problem with that is that I don't know whether I'm going to forget something until I've forgotten it. I can't pat myself on the back for remembering to do things that any normal adult would remember to do. 

Monday, April 12, 2010

Throwing Bricks at Rothko.

Here's a silly little joke my husband and I share:

Before we got married, my husband's Crazy Ex Girlfriend sent him several emails escalating into a final you're-a-terrible-person, your-mother-must-be-so-devastated and I-never-want-to-speak-to-you-again essay. This was all because he told her he was getting married. I could go into further detail and discuss the circumstances that led up to this, in order to satisfy my claim that she is indeed crazy, but you'll just have to take my word for it because I don't have the energy to go into it and also I have to take her possible feelings into consideration. I mean, does she really want the whole world to know that she took a bath with another one of my husband's ex-girlfriends and then called my husband's mother to tell her about it?

It was a strange thing to happen but we've somehow managed to glean some humour out of the whole situation. One of her main complaints was that we hadn't been together long enough, particularly long enough to have had a "real" fight:

"Have you guys even fought yet? I don't mean a mild disagreement either. I mean the kind of fight that makes you want to hit the other person with a brick for just a split second."

(I found that quote by searching for the word "brick" in my email)

Now, I don't know about anyone else, but I have never, ever wanted to hit anyone with anything, let alone a brick. At the time I thought it was a weirdly violent thing to say (and still do) and pointed it out. Then one of us suggested that maybe we couldn't get married because we didn't have any bricks to throw at each other and that we would need to obtain some bricks in order to be able to have a proper fight. It's a nice way to bring out the real absurdity in her statement. Ryan's mum's in on the joke too.

We see bricks lying on the side of the road and one of us will say, "Hey! Should have a fight? I see some bricks." or, we'll start a small argument about something and one of us will say, "Whoa. We can't do this. No bricks on hand."

Today on CL I noticed that there were free bricks available in Lansing.

me: Someone's giving away free bricks on CL.

Ryan: Maybe they just had a break up and don't need them anymore

me: I read the ad. Apparently, they are overwhelmed with responses.

Ryan: like, "We're getting married in May and don't yet have our bricks. Could you deliver them?"

me: "I really want to buy an expensive piece of equipment that my wife thinks is unnecessary. Are the bricks still available?"
"I'd like to bring up certain things about the way my husband puts his pants on in the morning, but I ran out of bricks last week discussing the way he takes the garbage out. How many bricks do you have to offer?"

Ryan: "I really need your bricks. man. I am totally sick and fucking tired of the way she picks at her toenails."
"My wife thinks I am lazy. I think she's fat. I can pick up and haul away as many bricks as you can offer."
"My wife spends money like its water. So, obviously I can't afford to pay much for the bricks, but as you can see, I really need them."

me: "I'm planning on asking the woman of my dreams to marry me. I want her to understand how committed I am to her and this marriage, so I'd like to stockpile some bricks."

Ryan: "My husband and I have been in a wonderful, loving relationship for 8 years, and we just recently ran through the last of our wedding bricks. Not having bricks to hand has been a real strain on our relationship. Are your bricks still available?"

To date, Ryan and I have only had two real arguments. Neither of which resulted in us wanted to cause bodily harm to the other. One was when Jeeves got too rough with me and grabbed at my head with his paws, getting his claws right in my scar. I curled up in a fetal position and tried not to vomit (I don't like people touching my scar, let alone digging their claws into it) and Ryan instructed me that I had the wrong reaction, that I should have disciplined the dog. He's right in some regards, but in the other, more pressing at the time regard, I was in too much pain and too upset to deal directly with the situation. He came around later, when I explained to him exactly what had happened and showed him the scratch marks.

The other big fight was in the Tate Modern, with extenuating circumstances. It takes some amount of talent to have a huge fight in a museum and we never resolved. Rather, we just agreed to joke about it instead of fight about it from then on with Ryan periodically sending me Rothkos that he made with Microsoft Paint. 

"The border didn't turn out as well as I wanted it to, but my three minutes ran out."
My Own Rothko
by Ryan

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Dizziness and Flonase.

Picking up my Flonase from the pharmacist yesterday, I chuckled at the big sticker on the box of that showed a nose, accompanied by the words "FOR THE NOSE". The pharmacist asked what I was chuckling about. I pointed at the sticker and she replied, frowning, "You'd be surprised."

The Flonase is because I've been having dizzy spells for a week or so. Last week they were so bad I couldn't really get off the couch. It was compounded with a nasty cold, so that might have been another reason I spent the morning working from a horizontal position. Ryan came home early to look after me, which was really nice. He does nice things like that a lot, so I forgive him for giving me the cold.

Anyway, the cold left but the dizziness is still on and off and this, compounded with a recurrent pain in my ear that has been going on for about 6 months resulted in me going to the doctor. I say doctor, but actually, because my health insurance is through a university and thus crap, I went to see the nurse, who, although very, very, very (very) nice, did about as good a job as I can do at home. Except she looked in my ears, which I think would be difficult. I think she actually knew less than I do about the way the ear nose and throat works. I have great respect for nurses - there are many members of my family that are nurses. THIS nurse however just told me I had residual effects from my cold and it would go away in a few days. To which I responded NO, it's not. This is something that has been exacerbated by the cold, but it is not the same thing as the cold because I had it BEFORE the cold and it is now AFTER the cold and I still have it.  

"Do you want some antibiotics?"

"I thought you said it wasn't an infection."

"I'll go and talk to someone else."

The nurse practitioner came in after a bit and looked in my ears. Turns out that I have a small amount of fluid in my right ear possibly caused by inflammation due to allergies. And now I have a small brown phial of generic Flonase. 

I'd like to have health insurance that results in me being able to see real doctors with some regularity. In college I went in for a physical examination, done by a nurse practitioner. I had been talking to her about trying some birth control methods (this was before I knew birth control pills made me nuts). She wanted a pregnancy test before she gave me a prescription for anything. Some old lady volunteer took my blood - stabbing me many times. It resulted in nerve damage that lasted six months and made it almost impossible to do up a girth - which I had to do every day, several times a day as it was part of my job.

The nurse practitioner who did the exam got my test results back, shouted them across the waiting room. When I returned to her a week later, complaining about my arm, she squeezed my arms a few times, looked perplexed and said that nothing could have happened when my blood was being drawn, that fit the description of my symptoms. I didn't believe her, but not being the person I am now, I didn't say so. She was wrong, by the way. I checked with an IV nurse. 

Friday, April 2, 2010

This blog is so old it's become self referential.

For lack of any better material, I'm going to point anyone interested to an old entrry (of mine), from back when I was more interesting. Cheap, I know, but it was one of my favourite entries, mainly because of the title.

Have a read.

And then read the follow up.