Saturday, February 28, 2009

A freezer to remember

So my folks bought us this chest freezer. (No, I'm not freezing anyone's chest so don't go there.) It's kind of something they've been talking about doing for a long time, but my father is nothing if not a great bargain hunter so he waited for just the right deal to come along. Also, the fact that they were having getting half a cow (he and his brother bought a whole cow from a locker) and they were giving half of that half to us probably lit a fire under him to get us some proper storage for the meat. My dad called me several times to give me updates for apparently the price on the freezer was changing daily and he had to make sure he acted at the most opportune time, which led me to believe he was buying the freezer out of the back of the truck somewhere.

Anyway, it was delivered on Tuesday and this is where we put it. In the basement. Next to Madonna.

(I put the bucket of paint on the dehumidifier for dramatic effect.)

Anyway, the guys that delivered it were sports because there's still snow on the back steps and they managed it without too much difficulty. One of the guys took one look at that poster and said "Damn, is that Madonna? She's hot." The other delivery guy agreed and they asked when that photo was taken. It was 1995 and they said "Damn, I was 12."

And I thought "Damn, I'm old."

It's still one of my favorite photo shoots, even though the nose ring is a bit distracting.


The freezer is full of beef now. Which I guess means it got the cold beef injection as opposed to the one they talked about in The Breakfast Club.

Sledding

It's one of those nights where I am exhausted but can't turn my brain off long enough to lose consciousness. So rather than fight it, I got up and read The Perks of Being A Wallflower while listening to October Project. It was a perfect combination, for some odd reason. I am enjoying this book immensely. It is very Catcher In The Rye-ish, which I read relatively late in life (I think I was 20) and while the similarity between the two would be annoying to most it is endearing to me.

This passage caught my attention tonight at 1:52AM, such that I put off bed for a few more minutes to come here and blog it.
I walked over to the hill where we used to go and sled. There were a lot of little kids there. I watched them flying. Doing jumps and having races. And I thought that all those little kids are going to grow up someday. And all of those little kids are going to do the things that we do. And they will all kiss someone someday. But for now, sledding is enough. I think it would be great if sledding were always enough, but it isn't.
Indeed.

For whatever reason, that hit home. I have no idea what the fact that it hit home means. But there it is.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Truth in fiction

A few weeks ago, when I finished reading Revolutionary Road, I declared myself temporarily through with books with sad endings. I wasn't even in the mood for a bittersweet ending. After the run-the-hot-water and prepare-the-razor-blades emotional roller coaster that was Revolutionary Road, I was ready for a reading experience that was going to make me feel good.

It was for this reason that I picked up Frank Anthony Polito's debut novel Band Fags - a work of fiction "based on a true story" but, according to Polito is "only about 30% factual." Regardless, it starts off strong and never really lets up.

I had purchased Band Fags for Heidi as a Christmas present. It was wrapped in the same package as this book (which she had been wanting for quite some time) and ultimately it was the "make the Yuletide gay" part of her Christmas gift (all of her gifts were themed this year.) I can't remember where I first heard about Band Fags, but I am pretty sure it was via Matthew Rettenmund's blog Boy Culture. The more I read about the book, the more I was convinced I wanted to read it. I think the fact that it featured main characters going through their teenage years at roughly the same time I did was the most appealing part. Even though I don't look back on my high school experience with a great deal of fondness, there is no doubt that the pop culture icons from that time period had a powerful effect on me. And besides, the title was completely irresistible.

Band Fags (which gets its title from the name given to the kids in the band clique) starts in the fall of 1982. John "Jack" Paterno and Brad Dayton are Best Friends as boys can only be in junior high before discovering girls. Only thing is, although neither of them are quite aware of it yet, they're not going to discover girls, at least not in that sense. What follows is a cornucopia of 80s pop culture references (Tangina from Poltergeist was the first one of many, and the point at which I was sure I would like this book) and a coming-of-age story that would be at home amongst the best John Hughes movies.

Polito has a strong voice for Jack - which stands to reason since the character was based on him. He has taken some criticism for the amount of 80s pop culture references dropped in the novel, but when asked about his response is "When you're a teenager, you just KNOW those things. They are your world!" Which I agree with. Pop culture references still are my world. The narrative is strong and you really get to know Jack. By the end, even when he is being deliberately obtuse about his sexuality (and a lot of other things), you have a lot of empathy for him because you've been allowed to get to know him.

I really don't want this to be a review of the book per se. It's hard to distill this book down to a few paragraphs because the experience of reading it is really where it's at. But as a straight guy, I recognized that I was probably not the target audience for this book. When I asked Frank who the intended audience for the book was, he replied that it "was people our age (mid-to-late 30s) because I knew they would appreciate it. But I have found that younger people also enjoy it, because the 80s are 'in' right now and for them it's like a history lesson." And I would agree with this sentiment. Anyone who grew up in the 80s that paid attention to the minutiae of pop culture would enjoy it. You do not have to be gay to enjoy this book. I'm sure that a lot of gay men can see themselves in Jack (or Brad for that matter), but oddly enough, so can I.

For me, the book speaks to a larger issue, perhaps not entirely intended. What I found myself plugging into more than anything else was the friendship between Jack and Brad. It is, as I said, the type of Best Friendship that really can only be experienced in that pure form when one is young. I think a large majority of men had a version of this kind of friendship during their teenage years. It is also something that most men talk themselves out of wanting or needing once they hit adulthood, get married, have children, etc., much to their detriment. I think a lot of that has to do with a baseline fear-of-being-perceived-gay (which I think is different from homophobia) that many straight men feel, whether they will admit to it or not. I've certainly been guilty of it. As I've mentioned before in these pages, there was as time in my life that I was very hesitant to admit my Madonna fandom to anyone as it was tantamount to hanging a sign around my neck saying "I'm gay!" I'm ashamed of that behavior now, as it's a slap in the face to all the good friends of mine who are gay.

But it's more than that. I think there's also a fear of intimacy that many men are unable to overcome. And that's really too bad. I realize that men in general are not programmed for that, but I think there is a lot to be gained for overcoming all that evolutionary programming. As Paul Monette wrote in 1993: Heterosexual men have told me for years that, since college, they have no male friends to talk with. The emotional isolation caused by fear of intimacy is indifferent to sexual orientation.

And it is because the emotional isolation caused by fear of intimacy is indifferent to sexual orientation is why Band Fags transcends sexual orientation. Yes, it is a book about growing up gay, but it is also a book about growing up male. I don't think for one single minute that the instant we turn 22 or get married or have children means that we immediately stop having a need for the kind of Best Friendship we experienced as teenagers. Granted, it will not be the same. For one thing, you can't go back and it will be filtered through the prism of marriages/significant others/kids and it will never be the simple joy that it was then. But it is there, just in a different form. Someone once told me that finding friends like that is a numbers game - the more you try, the more likely you are to succeed. That used to piss me off, but I think I was angry because I knew it was true. Since then, following that advice has reaped me some great benefits.

So that's what I got out of Band Fags. It may not what Polito intended and no one else may get that either, but that's the beauty of art. It can mean anything to anyone. So do yourself a favor and read it.

Finally...

...a book Heidi and I can both get into.

The Classic Regency Romance—Now with Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem! Or so says the tag line. Although I will admit that it could be absolutely terrible, you know I'll read it!

Monday, February 23, 2009

90%

So tonight we went out to North Grand Mall to hit JCPenney because I was really in need of a new pair of jeans. My "good pair" of jeans is fraying at the cuffs and my "bad pair" has holes in the butt, so yes, it's time to splurge and get a new pair.

But in addition to this, I found not one but TWO pairs of cords for work on the clearance rack. Dockers, no less, marked down from $60 to an unbelievable $6.97. That is nearly a 90% price reduction. The only way they could have been better is if they had been flat front instead of pleated front, but at 7 bucks a pop, I was not about to be picky.
At prices like that, they could have been splattered with blood and I probably still would have at least seriously considered it.

One odd thing that did happen tonight. When I was in the changing room trying the pants on, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and damn but I have gone gray over the last few years. Not that I mind, of course. For someone who got his first gray hairs before he was out of his teens, it doesn't really bother me all that much. But still, time marches on. If I have any brown hair left by the time I am 40, I will be shocked.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Keane, Minneapolis style

I found out via Facebook tonight that Keane is playing the Myth nightclub in Minneapolis on May 15th. While I'm not a huge and over-the-top Keane fan, I do enjoy their music enough and they probably put on a good live show. The venue looks pretty intimate (even though looking at floor plans it suffers from a lack of seating - or perhaps not, it's hard to tell.)

Still, it's bad timing. We're saving for a trip to Phoenix/L.A. in June and that is really requiring us to pinch pennies. That, combined with the fact that I am bound and determined to keep paying down the credit card rather than adding to it, make even a quick trip up to Minneapolis pretty much out of the question. And I don't even know what tickets will run, although I doubt they will even come close to Sticky & Sweet prices.

It just goes to prove my theory: if I lived in a major metropolitan area (even Minneapolis or Chicago will do), I would be flat broke from going to live shows all the time.

And besides, it's not like I could talk Heidi into going to Keane! They are not really her cup of tea anyhow.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Not the morning I expected

I had grand plans for this morning, which should have been my first clue that things would NOT go according to plan. I did manage to get a couple of e-mails I've been meaning to send sent out, but beyond that, nothing. I have a blog post cooking that I am very eager to write - one that I intended to start this morning. Did not happen. The problem with blogging is I always get the urge and inspiration to write while I am at work. That is decidedly not happening. Ever.

I did do 15 minutes on the bike this morning while I watched an episode of The X-Files. The episode was "Small Potatoes" in which a man is able to change his appearance at will and eventually turns into Mulder. It was obviously fun for David Duchovny to play that dual role, but I thought the writing was predictable and boring and it has made me not want to get the next disc in the series right away. I think I am going to get the Tina Turner biopic What's Love Got To Do With It which I haven't seen since college and I have kind of been into the song "I Don't Wanna Fight" recently.



So as the Eddie Izzard joke goes, the best laid plans of mice and men. Exactly which mice plans was he really honing in here on? But my plans did definitely gang aft aglay.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The beauty of the playlist

When Apple introduced Genius playlists a while back, I thought the move was a stroke of, well, genius. I was completely enamored of Genius playlists for a while. But, like most everything else, it was a crush and when the glaring inadequacies of Genius playlists became more and more apparent, I became much less fond of them. I do like how they have a tendency to pull songs out of your library that you have either forgotten about or have not heard in an age. With nearly 20,000 songs in my library (note: not 20,000 unique tracks), that can be a positive thing.

But the problem with Genius playlists is that they are really not all that smart. For example, in response to my brief re-flirtation with 90s club music, I made a Genius playlist based on Corona's "Rhythm of the Night." And while it did manage to pull "Rhythm Is A Dancer", "Another Night", and "Pump Up The Jam", it also rather inexplicably put Annie Lennox's "No More I Love Yous" and Christina Aguilera's "Genie In A Bottle" in the same playlist. Those are two songs that, had I been building the playlist myself, would have never even been considered.

So ultimately, I am much happier putting my own playlists together, even though using Genius is a good way to grab 25 songs on the fly and put them together. One of my favorite playlists to listen to right now was one inspired by the book I am currently reading (and close to finishing) Band Fags. Each chapter is named after a pop song from the 80s, a snippet of the lyrics of said song serving as a brief introduction to the chapter. I had a good 95% of these songs already, so making the playlist was not hard. Here it is, for your perusal. (Click to make bigger.)


There are a few songs missing. Currently, I am missing OMD's "Secret", Timex Social Club's "Rumors" and a song I had never heard of called "Bless You Boys" (which I think has something to do with this.) I had to buy a handful - including that Rex Smith song which made me twitch a little bit when I bought it ("I can't believe I'm paying 99 cents for this!") but it's amazing how well the songs blend together. Even the Michael W. Smith song which I thought would stick out like a sore thumb fits in well with the rest of the music. (Mary/Heidi, I can still hear old what's-her-name at Fairfield singing that song!)

So I guess the bottom line is, when it comes to playlists, Genius is nice but I'd rather have them on my own terms. Kind of like I like the rest of my music. There's a reason I don't listen to the radio anymore.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The difference between Friday and Sunday night

When I got home from work on Friday night, even though I worked an hour and a half of overtime and was completely exhausted, I felt like I did many weekends in college. The weekend was full of potential and the possibilities endless. It made me want to cue up some 90s dance stuff - something like Corona's "Rhythm of the Night" or Snap!'s "Rhythm Is A Dancer" or Real McCoy's "Another Night." I did just that, and it sounded amazing.

It's Sunday night now and while I'm sitting here listening to Corona. It does not have the same boundless energy that it did on Friday, even though it's the same song. It must be because it is Sunday.

Still, you can't help but love this stuff.

Milk

Yesterday, my mom and dad came over to watch Anna, which allowed Heidi and I to escape the clutches of parenting for a few hours. Don't misread me - I love being a parent, but, like everything else, there are times that you can use a little diversion. So we actually got a chance to have a real honest-to-God date. The fact that it was Valentine's Day was purely coincidental. We don't really celebrate it much, not because we are vehemently opposed to a holiday being thrust upon us by greeting card companies, but just because we don't need a holiday to remind us to appreciate each other.

Anyway, we ended up going to see Milk. We wanted to have seen at least one of the movies up for an Oscar (besides Wall-E) and of all the ones nominated, this was the one we wanted most to see. I knew the story of Harvey Milk pretty well. The story of his election to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors is told (in condensed form) in Randy Shilts' And The Band Played On (still one of my all time favorite books) and I still remember the year that the documentary The Times of Harvey Milk won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature even though I was only 12. So most of the details of the movie were not news to me, although I will admit to having forgotten about the Twinkie Defense.

But just because you know the story (and that the story ends tragically) does not mean that the movie was not worth watching. I mean, how many of us went to Titanic multiple times? The story is exquisitely told, even if I thought that the pacing of the movie was off, but that was largely because a big chunk of time was distilled down into two hours. Sean Penn disappeared into the role of Harvey Milk which is to his credit. He was cast completely against type, but when they ran footage of the actual Harvey Milk at the end of the film, it was hard telling the difference. This was also the case with most of the rest of the cast. Additionally, the recreation of the Castro in the 70s was amazing - you felt like you were there. It's attention to detail like that that is to be commended.

I'm not too worried about spoilers because pretty much everyone knows the premise of the movie and how it ends with Milk's assassination. And even if you didn't know that, you find out the ending within the first 10 minutes. Heidi commented that it reminded her of the set up of Moulin Rouge, where you find out that Satine is doomed in the first five minutes which makes her death at the end of the film that much easier to handle. Otherwise, you'd have walked out of the theater pissed off because they dared give you an unhappy ending. Wanting to take no chances on that, Milk does much the same thing.

Much has been made of the timeliness of the movie, especially in light of the passage of Proposition 8 in California last November. There were eerie parallels between Prop 8 and Prop 6 (aka the Briggs Initiative) that was proposed in 1978 to ban gay and lesbian teachers as well as those who supported gay issues. It was disturbing how little the rhetoric used in the movie to support Prop 6 had changed from the rhetoric that Prop 8 supporters used. It reinforced in my mind that while gay rights may have moved many miles since Stonewall, there is still a long ways to go. The fact that the same arguments that were used to attempt to ban gay schoolteachers could be used over 30 years later to ban gay marriage is shameful. We should know better.

The movie moved me tremendously, much more than I thought it would since I went in knowing most of the details. The recreation of 30,000 people marching on City Hall the night of Milk's assassination (which was a mixture of real footage and that filmed for the movie) was something to behold. The take-home message I got out of the movie was that these people believed in something. They were authentic and stood up for what they believed in, even when it was an uphill battle, which it was for most of the time period documented in the film. May we all strive to be as authentic as they were.

Ultimately, while the movie ends tragically, it is not sad. The movement was bigger than Harvey Milk, gained steam after his death and continues to this day. Heidi mentioned that you have a better understanding for the disappointment that the organizers against Prop 8 felt because they were following Milk's model. Perhaps it was the fact that it was marriage and not simply "jobs" that made it different this time. But, as one of the characters said in the movie, the minute you take away the rights of someone else, you have no leg to stand on when they come to take away your rights. That is what we should be remembering.

I had been struggling with what I wanted to write about Milk for most of what needs to be said has already been said in other places. But today, as I was watching The X-Files, Scully said something that I thought fit in well with the theme of the movie. Mulder had bought a key chain for her for her birthday that had an emblem of the Apollo 11 moon landing on it, and at the end of the episode she says:
Scully: [holding an Apollo 11 keychain] I actually was thinking about, uh, this gift that you gave me for my birthday. You never got to tell me why you gave it to me or what it means, but I think I know. I think that you appreciate that there are extraordinary men and women and extraordinary moments when history leaps forward on the backs of these individuals, that what can be imagined can be achieved, that you must dare to dream, but that there's no substitute for perseverance and hard work and teamwork because no one gets there alone; and that, while we commemorate the... the greatness of these events and the individuals who achieve them, we cannot forget the sacrifice of those who make these achievements and leaps possible.
Milk was one of these men, and I couldn't agree more with her sentiment. Although Mulder responded with "I just thought it was a pretty cool key chain."

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A Blossom fell

Heidi just told me the news that jazz pianist/singer Blossom Dearie died Saturday at the age of 82. This is truly sad news.

Blossom Dearie has the distinction of being the first (and, so far, only) artist whose music I started investigating thanks to hearing one of her songs while being on hold at work. The song was "Rhode Island Is Famous For You." (stream it here)

Dearie's baby-doll voice has been referred to as not being able to reach the second story of a dollhouse, but I always loved it. She is known to members of our generation as the voice behind the "Unpack Your Adjectives" and "Figure Eight" Schoolhouse Rock shorts. And until as recently as 2006, she was performing at Danny's Skylight Room in New York. That is one hard working octogenarian. Sadly, she was not performing when I was in NYC in 08. She was on my short list of artists to see live before I (or they) die. It's one that will go unfulfilled.

Dearie's albums that she recorded for Verve in the 50s are top notch and worth seeking out. The work that followed is a bit more hit and miss. Regardless, she was a one of a kind voice that may be silenced but will live on in her recordings forever.

And for those of you who don't give a shit about Blossom (even though you should), here's food for thought - in 2007, Kylie Minogue cited her as one of her primary influences.

RIP Blossom.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Attention to detail

I'm reading the book Band Fags! right now on Heidi's incredibly solid recommendation (although I had heard of it prior to her reading it - hell, I bought it for her!) The thing that is just killing me about this book is the incredible attention to 80s detail that the author pays. Everything from differentiating Sue from Clyde to watermelon Bubbilicious is inserted with TLC into each scene.

But the laugh-out-loud scene from tonight? The main character (who is ostensibly straight but I have my doubts) being a member of the Kristian Alfonso fan club. I mean, Hope from Days of Our Lives? One of the perks of being a member of the Kristian Alfonso fan club is a T-shirt with the image of Ms. Alfonso on the front. I am seriously having trouble getting my head around an 8th grade guy wearing that shirt. But it's all good.

I'm only 50+ pages in. It's a keeper.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

A glimpse into my brain

This morning, I made a long overdue visit to UUFA and during the service, someone mentioned the Fuller Brush man (it's Unitarians, believe me, it was relevant to the discussion.) Anyway, because I am me, this is what I thought of: (warning - shirtless Burt Reynolds trying to sing.)



Specifically, the line "I like lots of cash on hand/And dirty jokes about the Fuller Brush man."

It's how you know it's still me, and, as Heidi so frequently says, that I haven't been replaced by a pod person.

Post Coraline post

So we managed to make it down to Des Moines yesterday for the 3D presentation of Coraline, and it was very much worth it. We were once again reminded of why first run movies for the three of us are special treats/big splurges and not every day occurrences. We took out $55 for the day prior to leaving. The tickets were $8.50 each (even at matinee prices!), so there's $25.50 and we've just walked in the door. We bought a couple things of candy (they had bulk candy that you could self serve) and a blue raspberry Icee for Anna and that ran another $15-17 (I wasn't there for the food purchases.) So for the three of us to go to the movie, it was the better part of a $50 dollar bill. Outrageous. I don't know how people can afford to do it. Granted, we saw the movie at Jordan Creek Town Center which is the most expensive place in the area to see a movie, but still, it's the principle of the thing.

Anyway, Coraline is really quite good. Overall, I liked the book better but that's not surprising. It's about the best adaptation of that book that we're going to get. My biggest gripe with it was that I thought it took forever to get off the ground, whereas with the book, the first chapter was like a gunshot -- "and, we're off!" But that's a minor point. In the end, it was faithful to the book in the most important places and expanded on the book in places it had to. The best example of that was the introduction of the secondary character Wybe to be a foil for Coraline. Not present in the book, but he became the recipient of the great amount of internal dialogue that Coraline had in the book.

It is actually a little bit scary as well. There was one point at which Anna climbed up on to Heidi's lap and took off her 3D glasses. And before bed last night, she was talking about the things that scared her. And the other mother was very scary as well - reminding me of the Queen Alien at many points (except no one ever said "get away from her, you bitch!") The dog bats, which I thought were going to be very scary, were actually a huge let down - not scary at all!

After the movie, we hung around the mall some, got our MacBook looked at (it has been acting sick) and then went back to Caryle's for supper and laughing at stories we have told a thousand times but never cease to be funny. All in all a good day.

And finally, here's a shot of my "other daughter." Those are the 3D glasses they gave us! I guess the paper ones are so last season. She insisted on wearing them through the mall, giving her the look of a Hollywood starlet trying to evade the paparazzi. But she didn't mind posing for her dad.

You know those moments in which you get a glimpse of the teenager they will become? As Barbra Streisand said in Yentl, this is one of those moments.

Friday, February 06, 2009

A word about 25 things

I came across this article on the Huffington Post tonight that is basically a rebuttal to all the people that are decrying the "25 Random Things About Me" meme that has spread across Facebook faster than gonorrhea at an orgy.

I wanted to stand up and applaud when I finished it.

Here's the thing. Lists like that are by their very nature narcissistic and masturbatory. So is blogging for that matter. I mean, seriously, I've been at this for five years and do I really think that even 25 people give a damn about what I think about Madonna or want to hear about the latest thing I did with my daughter? No, I'm no fool. (I've killed the boss. You think they're not going to fire me for a thing like that?) And even most of the people that I am friends with on Facebook are likely not interested in the 25 things that I listed.

But it interests me. And in the end, that's all that matters. And while Facebook is a bit different from blogging because it is much more interactive and social, whereas blogging sometimes feels more like journaling with an audience (however small it might be), the same thing applies there.

A lot of the anti-25 things rhetoric is very much focused on people sharing stuff that they probably shouldn't. And yes, there should be a certain amount of thought put into the stuff you put on the internet, even if it is on Facebook which is semi-private. But what is to stop one of your "friends" from airing your dirty laundry, especially when many of us have work friends on Facebook? People that don't have a certain amount of propriety will almost surely be bitten by it at some point.

The other argument that the anti-25 things folks are griping about is that it is mundane. Well sure it is. But it certainly wasn't to the people that wrote it, although I will admit to liking the ones that are well-written. And they didn't write it for you. Ultimately they wrote it for themselves, whether they realize it or not. The entire 5 year history of this blog could fall into that category: I didn't write it for you. I wrote it for me. And while there are certain posts that were inspired by certain folks or that I wrote hoping to get a rise out this or that person, in the end, it was all for me.

Yes, I'm a selfish bastard. In the end, the truth comes out.

A comb, perhaps?

I think that Diana Krall forgot to do her hair before shooting the album cover of her new CD.


I do love Diana, but I'm a little bit unsure about the Brazilian stuff - it has never been my cup of tea. And the promise of blending ballads with bossa nova, well, it sounds kind of sleepy for me. The last time she did sleepy, it was The Look of Love which I never really got into. It is perfect for listening to in bed, when you want to go to sleep! I much prefer her peppier stuff, and her The Girl In The Other Room album is her piece de resistance.

Perhaps I'll be wrong. I would love to be wrong. If I am wrong about the new album being sleepy and boring, I will publicly eat my words in this very forum. But I am much more interested in news that she is producing Barbra Streisand's next album. The possibilities are endless. (even better post here.)

Thursday, February 05, 2009

I find your lack of posts disturbing

But Lord Vader, there's a reason for the lack of posts. Actually several. But really, at this point I would have been strangled by the Jedi chokehold, right?

I have been sick for over a week now. Not knock-down, drag-out sick. Not sick enough to miss work. But sick enough to be so fucking annoyed by it I can't even begin to describe it. I wake up every morning feeling pretty good, but it's a downhill spiral from there. About midday, my legs and arms start hurting and by the evening, my eyes are hot as if I have a fever. But, as we all learned from House, tests don't lie and I am not feverish. Last night, I woke up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat. So I'm hoping that I have turned a corner. I mostly just want to feel better and, as Heidi pointed out this morning, my biggest problem is just that I am the most impatient sick person there is. We'll see how tonight goes.

We lost our internet service for approximately 30 hours this week. It was kind of like the night the lights went out in Georgia only without all the murder and lynching and whatnot. A bad modem was to blame - after 5 years, it decided to give up and went to modem heaven. We now have a brand spanking new DSL modem that Qwest expressed to us (for free, no less) and after some initial issues with getting it hooked up, we are all reconnected. Of course, the Macs found the network right away and had no problem. My PC, on the other hand, continued in its tradition of being a gigantic pain in the ass and refused to see the wireless network. I stood on my head and sprinkled pixie dust and moved the wireless antenna a fraction of an inch and suddenly, there it was. The night we were without internet gave us a close approximation of what it must have been like for Ma & Pa Ingalls on the prairie. (btw, if anyone can tell me WHY the lights went out in Georgia that night, I would be forever grateful. It has always been a mystery to me.)

Someone referred to the extension of the Sticky & Sweet Tour as Sticky & Sweet 2: Electric Boogaloo. I love it!

We are all shuffling off to see Coraline in 3D this weekend. I finished the book last night (I was the only one left in the family to read it) and it sounds like it will be worthy. It was scary in parts, but not too scary for Anna. She is over the top excited for the movie. Even though it will be expensive, what a fun family outing it will be.

I did that 25 Random Things meme on my Facebook page, and one of them detailed how I am still a little bit scared of The Exorcist, especially the scene toward the end of the movie during the exorcism when for a few seconds, there is an image of Father Karras' dead mother sitting on the bed bathed in white light. It is not scary (certainly not as scary as Regan turning her head all the way around and cussing at her mother) but it has ALWAYS creeped me out, such that I usually avert my eyes when the scene is coming up. Well, thanks to this isn't happiness, I saw the photo of that scene (see it here, I can't bring myself to put the picture on the blog) quite unprepared to see it. It's like someone sneaking up on you and punching you in the back of the neck. (Heidi, if you saw this picture, you saw the scariest part of the movie.)

And to wash that nasty picture out of my brain, here's a great photo of Madonna that I had forgotten about. How I loved the cowgirl phase.