Saturday, January 31

A rare Saturday Evening Post! Har!
Anyhow, I'm home alone this evening, working on my freelance project and also listening to music really, really, really loud. I have a huge playlist cued up on the Media Player and I've put it on shuffle. I'll share with you what I'm listening to and what memory it invokes.

Jane -- Barenaked Ladies
This is one of those songs that shows up repeatedly on mix CDs that I make to get me through the 40+ minute commute to and from work. Usually sung at the top of my lungs while tree after tree on the Ohio Turnpike get left in the dust.

Ain't No Stoppin' Us -- Jason Mraz
Just a cool tune by the M-R-A-Z. One of many on this playlist, off his album, Waiting for My Rocket to Come.

Ain't No Stoppin' Us -- Jason Mraz
Apparently the computer likes this song, as it has chosen to play it again.

Daniel -- Elton John
Daniel is travelin' tonight on a plane
I can see the red tail lights
Heading for Spay-e-yay-yain
This song reminds me of being in the dentist's office when I was little, but other than that, there's a cool version that he did with Ryan Adams that's probably going to come up on this mix somewhere that I downloaded illegally (ahem -- I mean, obtained through totally legal means.)

What a Fool Believes -- Doobie Brothers
Everyone always makes fun of me for liking this song. This reminds me mostly of my childhood, when my mom would blast this song on the stereo and we would dance in the living room and cause my dog to go spastic. We'd grab her front paws and make her dance with us.

Gettin' Jiggy With It -- Will Smith
Before Owen and I started dating, back in early 1999, I think I played this song on a jukebox at a bar we were hanging out at. It must have been my impeccable taste in music that attracted him to me. You can't help but bob your head to this Fresh Prince tune.

Hard to Make a Stand -- Sheryl Crow
This is a song that Owen's band is covering when they play live. I had never heard it before that, but it's a pretty cool song.

Marvin Gaye -- Josh Rouse
This song has absolutely nothing to do with Marvin Gaye. But it's very cool nonetheless.

For Once in My Life -- Stevie Wonder
This song reminds me of my senior year in college. It was one of those winter days where the temperature actually rises to the 50's and people appear outside in short sleeves. My housemates and I were out on our fabulous front porch and the hippies who lived across the street were jammin' to this song. It has become one of my all-time favorites, until Justin Guarini ruined it -- almost.

Best of My Love -- The Emotions
Reminds me both of the beginning of the movie "Boogie Nights" and of the first few months when Owen and I first started dating.

Love at First Sight -- Kylie Minogue
This song was on the mix CD we created for our wedding reception. It is also one of Owen's favorites.

Seven Days -- Craig David
This is another one that ends up on a lot of mix CDs that accompany me to and from work. Sounds better the louder you play it, and also at that volume, it drowns out my pathetic attempt to sing along.

Hot in Herre -- Nelly
Now we're rockin'. Nothing accompanies writing about jojoba oil like a little Nelly. That's what I'm discovering. Is he saying "I got a friend with a phone in the basement?" And if so, what does that mean?

Answering Bell -- Ryan Adams
The song which introduced me to Ryan. And easily my favorite of all of his songs.

In Da Club -- 50 Cent
This song was ruined for me when it was played at the office Christmas party and people were shakin', shakin', shakin' like a polaroid picture (sorry, wrong song)

Love Vibration -- Josh Rouse
Off his newest CD, 1972. This has recently become the song that I'll play when I'm stuck in traffic and I can feel the rage building (which is a lot these days).

Strange Condition -- Pete Yorn
God, I love this song. I don't really understand the words, but it's fun to sing and easy to play on guitar.

Idiots Rule the World -- Ryan Adams
I'm not sure where this song came from. It's another one that I completely legally got off the Internet. Except not.

Closet -- Pete Yorn
I swear, there are more than four artists on my playlist. The computer must be feeling my Pete/Ryan/Josh vibe, though.

Only Heart -- John Mayer
Add to that my other favorite main man, John Mayer. If John Mayer and I had gone to college together, he would have been the guy in my senior year Creative Writing class who I kind of had a crush on but kind of hated because he was a better writer than I was.

Extraordinary -- Liz Phair
I like this song, because it's about stalking someone. I love the chorus:
"I am extraordinary, if you ever get to know me
I am extraordinary, I am just your ordinary
Average everyday sane/psycho supergoddess"

Rich Girl -- Hall and Oates
Say what you want. I like Hall and Oates, and I'm not afraid to admit it.

Had enough? So have I. Besides, I think I've put in a solid chunk of time on my freelance project for the evenin.

Friday, January 30

Food Friday
Grace has deemed today's Food Friday topic to be eggs.
I know no good recipes, other than a good old egg sammich.
The key to this is timing.

Here's how I do mine:
Heat a pat of butter in a medium frying pan on medium heat
When butter melts, do these things in succession:
Crack egg into pan, and use fork to shoosh up the yellow part (that's a technical term)
Put two slices of bread in toaster.

Cook egg to desired consistency. For me, this is crispy around the edges, yellow is completely cooked. Reduce heat to low. Place one slice of cheese (American for me) on top and allow it to melt slightly.

Butter toast and serve it up!
My favorite Saturday morning breakfast.
Recommended Reading
I'm currently about 1/8 of the way (which translates to approximately 150 pages -- it's a huge book!) through Angels & Demons by Dan Brown. I think I called it "Gods & Demons" in that now-infamous e-mail thing that Grace sent that we all hit "reply to all" on.

Anyway, this book is the predecessor to The DaVinci Code which everyone in my immediate sphere of influence who has read it, has raved about. And which I have not read, but is on my bookshelf, awaiting its turn.

The premise thus far, is that there is an ancient secret society called the Illuminati, a group of scientists (I think -- this science stuff sometimes is too much for my pea brain to comprehend) who oppose the Catholic church, even though they both seek to answer the same questions (e.g. "What is the meaning of life?" "What is our purpose on this earth?") So this rogue group steals this highly destructive agent known as anti-matter, which is the opposite of matter (again, WAY over my head but I think I get the gist of it enough to follow the story) and infiltrate Vatican City and plan to have it explode during a conference between all the cardinals in the world to decide the next pope. So, as you can imagine, this plot MUST! BE! STOPPED!

It would make a great movie. This is not heavy reading by any stretch of the imagination, and supposedly the Illuminati really exists or existed at some point.

So if you're looking for a way to kill some time, about 700 pages' worth of time, that is, go out and get it. I can vouch for it, at least the first 1/8 of it.
I got the information for the freelance job that I'm doing. The woman I'm doing for work is trying to start her own business of soaps and lotions, and she thought it would be helpful for me to be familiar with her product to be able to write about it, and so lo and behold, I got all kinds of fun soaps!

This should thrill my husband to no end. Our linen closet already resembles a retail shelf at Bath and Body Works. One of these days, I will humiliate myself and give you a HWG-style listing of all the lotion in my possession. It's shameful. And yet, I feel fairly confident that someone will be able to outdo me.
New mantra
I think I am going to adopt Bad Lady's universal catch phrase for everything work-related:
"It's not my problem."
This seems to get her off the hook for doing everything from a last minute ad (which I do all the time, thank you very much, it's what I am employed to do, as is she) to doing anything she deems as too much work, or that would require her to actually do some independent thinking (e.g. writing her own copy, which she never does).

Sorry to vent, but I hear her on the phone with clients saying her mantra to them, and I think to myself, "Why am I not using that line? It seems to be working well for her."
What was I thinking
What am I thinking about this morning? Here's a sampling.

Deadlines. Because I consider myself a courteous person, I always try and get people the things they need way in advance of deadlines. However, on the flip side, when I try and invoke a deadline, almost no one gets me what I need, when I need it, causing me to scramble to get my own work done.

Babies. Lots of pregnant people in my life right now. Two people in my department at work, another good friend. My husband and I aren't quite ready, yet, but soon. Our families are all ready. My grandma has even purchased a baby outfit for her first great grandchild (she's had it for over a year).

Hairstyles. I'm getting my hair cut tomorrow. I had actually forgotten about the appointment, and had planned on coming to the office tomorrow. My hair is getting kind of long -- at least for me. Once it goes down past my shoulders, it's time to cut it. I don't really have a hairsyle, rather, it just kind of hangs. But I'm afraid to do anything. I don't really spend that much time on my hair, just kind of blow dry it and occasionally put a little anti-frizzing stuff on the ends, and a once over with the hairspray, but that's it. So while I'd love to go for something stylish, I can't commit. And no, T Diddy, I'm not getting a femullet or a rat tail. Because I know you were thinking it.

February. The first month of 2004 has come and gone. And while I have cursed daily, multiple times, about the snow, this month has actually gone rather quickly. Feburary is going to be a blur, because it is my busiest month of the year. And this month, we have the added bonus of Leap Year! Whoo!

Shoot. I think Incompetent but Likeable's birthday might be on Monday. I'll consult the birthday list.

MacGyver. My husband unfroze the lock last night. How'd he do it? By rigging up the giant-sized, orange 20000 foot extension cord through our kitchen in order to plug in my hairdryer, which he then blasted at the lock. It worked. He's a regular MacGyver, that man.

Thursday, January 29

It's so cold outside.
How? Cold? Is it?
It's so cold that the lock on our side entry door to our house froze. I can't even get my key in there. Luckily the front door hasn't frozen... yet.
OK, so my Mole pick was just blown out of the water last night. I admit it, I was wrong.
Now I have to scramble and make another pick.
I'm going to go with Mark Curry. He has been acting so strange of late. I don't think it's Tracey. Dennis is too weird to be the mole. His double-pierced nose gives me the heebie-jeebies; just thought I'd mention that as well. And would they really make the supermodel the mole twice in a row? I think not.

So put all your money on Angie to be the mole.

Wednesday, January 28

Real Dumb
On last night's Real World, two cast members were arrested on the same night, at the same bar, for two separate incidents. It was great. Both incidents basically had to do with other bar patrons making fun of them for being on the Real World. Which made it even funnier.
Scary doctor
So this morning was my annual trip to the gynocologist, a.k.a. the Scary Doctor. I went to a new S.D. because my old doctor retired, and I had decided, even before he (yes, I had a man) retired, that I was never going back there again. This is because at my appointment last year, they were playing the Christian radio station. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not anti-Christian. But I think that in a place like a gynocologist's office, you may have some women coming in there who have very tough choices to make. And I believe in a woman's right to choose. So... that's a slight conflict of interest there.

Anyway, my new doctor was really cool. She is probably in her 30's and bears a striking ressemblance to actress Tracey Gold, currently showing on Celebrity Mole: Yucatan. I kept wanting to ask her how Kirk Cameron was doing these days but decided, nah.

Tuesday, January 27

The message light is blinking. Out of the corner of my eye, I see it. I glance at it, then look away, and then look back. Message. Must retrieve message.

No! I put my "do not disturb" button on my phone for a reason. The reason is for me not to be disturbed with phone calls. But someone called and left a message. What if it's urgent? Must retrieve message.

No, no, no! I'm up to my ass in work, and this afternoon I told myself that I would focus (that's working well -- considering that I'm blogging).

Blink. Blink. Blink. Must retrieve message.

Gah! I can't stand it anymore!

I have no self-control. Absolutely none. Stupid DND button.
Ice, Ice Baby part 2
I have to say, though, that there is someting satisfying about chucking an island-sized piece of ice off the hood of the car. Or breaking an icicle and having it shatter to the ground. Maybe it's just me, and I have some aggression issues to work out.
Ice, Ice Baby
Number of minutes it took me to get home from work last night: approx. 80
Number of minutes it took me to get to work this morning: approx. 60
Number of minutes during said trips to and from work that I contemplated the warmer climates to which I should move: every excruciating second.

Monday, January 26

Today has been an interesting day so far. Highlights:

1. Bad Lady came clean about her personal life. This has long been an issue because she has been keeping secret from all of us in the department (except for one, and that one person told us, so it hasn't been so secret) that she a) got divorced; b) met someone new; c)sold her house; d) bought a house with new guy; and e) was going to marry new guy in February. Yeah. This has been going on for over a year. The divorce was finalized in August 2002. I've known since prior to that. But up until today I had to pretend that I didn't know. So she pulled Jonesy and me aside and spilled the beans about everything. It was hard to pretend that this was all news to me. I guess that the wedding is postponed though because something about her 16 year old not getting financial aid for college if they're married. You got me. So anyway, the cat's out of the bag, as they say.

2. Incompetent but Likeable referred me to one of our managers who was looking for a freelance writer/proofreader for a job for his wife, who is starting her own business. Since I'm kind of looking for that type of work, I jumped at the chance. I don't expect this to launch me into a freelance career but it's a nice resume builder (right there under photography director -- LOL.)

3. So far the Snowstorm of the Apocolypse has not hit. But I'm thinking that there's a few minutes before I go home, and it should hit right about then.
The countdown begins...
Less than one week til All-Star Survivor!
Can you feel the excitement!
I am going to be the nasty wife who drags her husband away from the Super Bowl party so that we can get home in plenty of time before it starts.

ETA: I just want to add that Tracie is my new hero, because she met Rupert this weekend.

Sunday, January 25

Oh no!
Ryan Adams broke his arm during a concert.
Thank you, drive through
After determining that there was absolutely nothing of interest to eat in my house, I decided to treat myself to a Wendy's baked potato while running my errands this afternoon. At the first drive-through window, where I paid, the teenage girl gave me my change and said, "Thanks! See you tomorrow!"

I thought to myself, she obviously has mistaken me for someone else. A Wendy's regular, someone who frequents the fast food circuit.

Then at window #2, where I got my baked potato (and chicken strips, I couldn't resist), the teenage girl at that window also said she'd see me tomorrow.

OK, I thought. Either I really resemble one of their favorite patrons, or this is some kind of new gimmick that Wendy's has come up with.

It doesn't matter. It just made me feel weird, either way.

Friday, January 23

Captain Kangaroo died!
Another icon from my childhood, gone.
Truth be told, I thought he had kicked the bucket a long time ago.
Go about your lives
Thanks to Green Tuna, and, I've been informed, Grace, I now am featuring the terror alert level in my sidebar. It's very cute while being very informative.

This just in
to my inbox:

Friday January 23, 2004

Happy 2004! Here's the latest news from QE-HQ.

. . . . . NEW EPISODES RETURN FEB. 17 . . . . .

The drought is almost over! Look for a batch of all-new
make-better adventures to begin brightening up your Tuesday
nights starting February 17. In the coming months, get ready
to meet:

...Ralph, a strip-club DJ and '80s rock enthusiast
...Kevin, a lover of '50s lounge & Tiki culture
...Warren, an up-and-coming musical theatre composer
...Rob, a telephone engineer whose look is off the hook


Are you ready for some Queer Eye? In a marathon so big that
it takes two networks to hold it, we're bringing you a Fab
Five-filled super Sunday on February 1, 2004. Start on Bravo
at Noon ET/PT with John V. and keep going throughout the
afternoon with George K, Josh D., Tom M., Alan C., Jeff T.
and Richard M., plus *two* airings of What's That Sound: The
Making of the Queer Eye Music Video. Then hop over to NBC
for three more hour-long episodes, beginning at 8pm ET:
John B., Ross M. and Andrew L.
And more blah
Kind of a slow day here in Kat-town, er, Cleveburg. So, what shall I share with you? Ah. Well.

Had an interesting conversation with Incompetent but Likeable last evening about what he called "realism" television. He said that on Wednesday night, he was using the "clicker" to channel surf, and on every channel he was distraught to find these said realism shows. You have to understand, this is a man who watches only Fox News, the History Channel and Country Music Television. He didn't understand the appeal of the realism genre. But he was remarkable able to ask, "Didn't one of the American Idol contestants make it big? What's her name, Kelly...?" So even in his isolated little reality -- I mean, realism -- that nugget of pop culture knowledge found its way in.

And, after 500 tries, he finally e-mailed an attachment without my supervision. At least I think he did.

I also taught my boss, who is not quite as computer illiterate but close, how to burn a CD.

In another shocking development here at the office, Bad Lady seems to be getting along with New Girl. I have to say, this is so refreshingly rare for her to get along with anyone, it's scaring me. I guess I'll enjoy it while it lasts.
It's always disappointing to me when my apple isn't as tasty and sweet as I think it should be. And unfortunately, today's just didn't cut the mustard. I ate most of it, but it was sour and full of bad spots.
Ground control to major Tom
We've lost contact with the Mars rover. *cue eerie music*
Now we won't be able to go online and say "look -- a rock!"

Thursday, January 22

The Chill One has come out with a spoiler on the Final 4 of A.S.S. If you want to know, go here. If you don't want to know, don't.
The joke's on me
Yesterday I learned a very important lesson in business: even if you aren't doing anything important, if you look like you are, it might fool the right people.

Remember a couple weeks ago when I had to organize that photo shoot and run around like a freak trying to get people to come get their picture taken? Other than finding people and forcing them to say cheese, there really was nothing to this job. It just ate several hours of my day, and I did a lot of standing around with my notepad, watching the shoot and trying to figure out who to get next.

Anyway. My boss called me into his office last night and told me that one of the big presidents of our company, who was one of the people who got photographed that day, hired our photographers to come to Pittsburgh to some convention they are putting on. And she also said, "get that girl who was directing the photo shoot [me!!!] to come and direct it here, too."

Hee. So standing around and looking official has bought me a two-day trip to Pittsburgh. I guess I should be flattered that she thought that I was "directing." Actually, I find the whole thing comical. I mean, I had nothing to do with the photographers other than bringing them their subjects.

I guess I can add "photography director" to my resume?

It's kind of an "Office Space" moment.

Wednesday, January 21

It's the year of the monkey, y'all.
My new most-hated sound is Bad Lady chomping into a carrot. Worse than nails on a chalkboard, I'm telling you.
The wait is the hardest part
How much damage can one do in fifteen minutes in CVS? I have no self-control when it comes to that place. I went last evening to get a prescription filled and decided to wait, rather than come back for it. So I make a beeline for the makeup aisle. Now, I don't need another lipgloss. I have plenty (although after reading Heewig's list, my collection seems pretty tame.) But I'm tempted, every time. Last night I talked myself out of it, but bought something even worse: candy. I left the store with a big bag of JuJu hearts and a big bag of Starburst. They are stashed in my desk drawer for mid-afternoon sugar binges.

And I think I got some stuff I actually needed, too. I'm not sure. It's all a blur.
My assessment of what the doctor would do was correct: he took my pulse, poked me in the rib cage, and said what was wrong with me was just a pulled muscle. And I didn't even get any painkillers. What a waste. But it feels better today, so that's good. And I got to leave work early. Bonus.

Tuesday, January 20

Reality TV
American Idol was just as funny as ever last night. Where do these people come from? Skat girl was obviously just prematurely released (or is on the lam) from psychaitric care. That one dude who rapped in Korean was out there, too.

My favorite, though, was Scooter Girl. She's from Jonesarelli's hometown, too. I should talk. Cleveland has spawned not one but two Average Joes. (Fredo and one of the new "hot" Joes.)

And let's not even discuss My Big Stupid Fat Jackass Fiance. *yawn*
Health update
After talking to the very helpful nurse at the 24-hour careline that my insurance company provides, I have scheduled a doctor's appointment for this afternoon. She said words to me like "pleural lining" and "musculoskeletal" and so I decided that I needed to get into the doctor's office, stat. She also asked if I could possibly be pregnant, just like they did when I called for my wrist pain. I know they have to cover all the bases, but I don't see how A + B = C in that scenario.

The doc will probably just take my pulse, listen for a while with the stethescope, poke me in the ribs a few times and call it a day and say nothing's wrong with me, but supply me with a few kick-ass painkillers.
This was also forwarded to me today, it's amazing how many of these I could relate to...

YOU KNOW YOU GREW UP IN THE 80's or early 90's IF-
1. You've ever ended a sentence with the word "PSYCHE".
2. You watched the Pound Puppies.
3. You can sing the rap to the "Fresh Prince of Belair"
4. You wore biker shorts under your skirts and felt stylish.
5. You yearned to be a member of the Baby-sitters club and tried to start a club of your own.
6. You owned those lil Strawberry Shortcake pals scented dolls.
7. You know that "WOAH" comes from Joey on Blossom.
8... Two words: M.C. Hammer
9. If you ever watched "Fraggle Rock".
10. You had plastic streamers on your handle bars.
11. You can sing the entire theme song to "Duck Tales".
12. When it was actually worth getting up early on a Saturday to watch cartoons.
13. You wore a ponytail on the side of your head.
14. You saw the original "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" on the big screen.
15. You got super-excited when it was Oregon Trailday in computer class at school.
16. You made your mom buy one of those clips that would hold your shirt in a knot on the side.
17. You played the game "MASH" (Mansion, Apartment,Shelter, House)
18. You wore Jordache jean jacket and you were proud of it.
19. L.A.Gear...
20. You wanted to change your name to "JEM" in Kindergarten.
21. You remember reading "Tales of a fourth grade nothing"
and all the Ramona books. Ramona completed in 1st grade.
22. You know the profound meaning of "WAX ON, WAX OFF"
23. You wanted to be a Goonie.
24. You ever wore fluorescent clothing.
25. You can remember what Michael Jackson looked like before his nose fell off...
26. You have ever pondered why Smurfette was the only female smurf.
27. You took Lunch Pails to school.
28. You remember the CRAZE, then the BANNING of slap bracelets.
29. You still get the urge to! say "NOT" after every sentence.
30. You remember Hypercolor t-shirts.
31. Barbie and the Rockers was your favorite band.
32. You thought Shee-ra and He-Man should hook up.
33. You thought your childhood friends would never leave because you exchanged friendship bracelets.
34. You ever owned a pair of Jelly-Shoes.
35. After you saw Pee-Wee's Big Adventure you kept saying "I know you are, but what am I?"
36. You remember "I've fallen and I can't get up"
37. You remember going to the skating rink before there were in-line skates.
38. You ever got seriously injured on a Slip and Slide.
39. You have ever played with a Skip-It.
40. You had or attended a birthday party at McDonalds.
41. You've gone through this nodding your head in agreement.
42. You remember Popples.
43... "Don't worry, be happy"
44. You wore like, EIGHT pairs o f socks over tights with high top Reeboks.
45. You wore socks scrunched down.
46. "Miss MARY MACK MACK MACK, all dressed in BLACK BLACK BLACK"
47. You remember boom boxes vs. cd players.
48. You remember watching both "Gremlins" movies.
49. You know what it meant to say "Care Bear Stare!!"
50. You remember watching Rainbow Bright and My Little Pony Tales"
51. You thought Doogie Howser was hot.
52. You remember Alf, the lil furry brown alien from Melmac.
53. You remember New Kids on the Block when they were cool.
54. You knew all the characters names and their life stories on "Saved By the Bell", the ORIGINAL class.
55. You know all the words to Bon Jovi - SHOT THRU THE HEART.
56. You just sang those words to yourself.(didn't you)
57.You remember watching Magic vs. Bird.
58.You cut your t-shirts in half and wore it with your homemade Levi shorts..(the shorter the be tter)
59. You remember when mullets were cool!
60. You had a mullet!
61. You still sing "We are the World"

Making the rounds through my e-mail today...

And another one...

I woke up this morning with a horrible pain centered around my ribcage on the left side. It hurts to breathe deeply, or reach out with my left arm, or cough, or make any sudden movement. No idea what it could be. Contemplated staying home, but we'll see how it goes. If it is still bothering me by lunch time, maybe I'll make it an early day.

Monday, January 19

Don't say you never learn anything here
I dropped an entire dozen of eggs on the kitchen floor yesterday as I was unpacking groceries. It was one of those slow-motion moments where I tried to stop it from happening, and then "oooooooohhhhhhhhhhssssssssshhhhhhhhhhiiiiiiiiiittttttttttt" as they hit the floor, one by one.

Owen, who was outside shoveling the driveway, happened to come inside seconds later, and to my utter shock (and awe!) , he was the face of calm, and said he knew how to handle the situation. He poured salt on the mess, and it solidified the yokes, making them easier to clean up. Sure, it was gross, but it was a lot better than trying to mop up yoke.

I married the right man.
If you aren't watching "The Surreal Life," maybe you should be. A bunch of washed-up celebrities living in a house together for two weeks! And forced to do activites together such as taking brownies to their neighbors, working in a restaurant for charity, and getting shitty drunk. The show features Trishelle, my most hated Real World skank ever, Vanilla Ice, or as he likes to be called now, Rob Van Winkle (I think), Erik Estrada, best known for being Ponch on CHiPS, some Baywatch babe, porn legend Ron Jeremy, and last but not least, Tammy Faye Messner, best known for her facial spackle. And who, by the way, has a voice that could call a dolphin from 25 miles away.

In last night's episode, guest "star" Gary Coleman was their manager as the gang had to work in a restaurant, Mel's Diner, for a five-hour shift. All proceeds went to charity. Gary was the taskmaster, yelling, screaming, and yet still being just so cute you could pinch him! The celebs, not accustomed to doing such hard labor, were slow, screwed up orders, and generally pissing off the customers. But the straw that broke the camel's back was when Todd Bridges, Gary's co-star on Diff'Rent Strokes, came to the restaurant to dine, and Vanilla Ice tried to get Gary to say "What you talkin' about, Willis?" Gary refused and walked off the job.

Back at the Surreal Life house, the drinking commences and sexual tension erupts between Baywatch chick and Ron Jeremy. Uh, ew? How many women do you think Ron Jeremy has schtupped in his lifetime? Not to mention, as all men in porn movies are (so I've heard), he is overweight, greasy-haired, anti-attractive. But he's got a rather large... personality.

And next week, Trashelle claims, while drunk, to be in love with Vanilla Ice.

The Surreal Life airs, where else, on the W.B. Sunday at 9 and then reruns Monday at 9. So watch tonight!

Friday, January 16

And this should give Lifeonhold some hope... or not... this is my cat Molly from about a year and a half ago. This is pretty much the relationship I had with her for the first six months. And she's still not exactly the most social animal you've ever met. Life, I think you're ahead of the game with Honey!

I was going through my files and trying to delete what I no longer needed, and I came across this gem that I thought I'd share with you. This is a photo of me, about moments away from saying something completely assinine to Jim Thome, former Cleveland Indian (he is the guy sitting on the left). I am the one on the far right of the photo, turned to the side. This was at one of our "Turkey Giveaway" days from a couple years ago. I was there volunteering, as usual, with Incompetent But Likeable (who unfortunately is not pictured) and a couple other people. At the time, I was fanatical about the Indians, so upon encouragement from my co-workers, I went up to the Thomenator and asked for an autograph. However, what I said to him was, "Look, Jim, I wore my Indians sweatshirt today!"

He nodded at me like, well, great.

Then I think I mumbled something else, he gave me an autograph, and I have not lived it down to this day. Thank God he doesn't play here anymore or I'd hear about it more often.
Food Friday
Cheese, cheese, I love cheese. Grace's Food Friday featured food is cheese! So I will reprint my favorite recipe involving cheese, which is Southwest Cheese 'n' Macaroni.

I got the recipe out of Betty Crocker's Vegetarian Cooking, Lori Fox, ed. New York: Hungry Minds, Inc., 1997.

Southwest Cheese 'n' Macaroni
Prep: 5 min; Cook: 17 min.
6 servings (or 4 if you're me)

Betty Crocker offers this editorial info: If you're on the lookout for recipes to please teenagers and younger children who don't eat meat, give this newfangled version of mac-and-cheese a whirl.

1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup green salsa (my store doesn't have this; I use green taco sauce and it works fine)
1 can (15 oz.) cream style corn
1 can (11 oz.) whole kernel corn with red and green peppers, drained (I use Green Giant "Mexicorn")
1 package (7 oz.) elbow macaroni
8 oz. process cheese product loaf, cubed (in lay person's terms, Velveeta)

1. Mix all ingredients except cheese in 12-inch nonstick skillet. (I prefer the large pot I use to boil spaghetti noodles). Heat to boiling; stirring occasionally; reduce heat to low. Cover and cook 10 to 14 minutes, stirring frequently, until macaroni is tender.
2. Add cheese, stir until melted.

1 serving: calories 405 (calories from fat 135); fat 15g (saturated 9g); cholesterol 40mg; sodium 1060mg (eep); carbohydrate 53g (dietary fiber 4g -- the corn i'm assuming); protein 18g.

So there you go. Enjoy!
To Jonesarelli, who officially took title as Advertising Director in our fine little workplace today. And for finally being above poverty level. Woot!
Auntie KJ
Tonight I get the enormously fun task of kitty-sitting! My husband and I are watching my sister-in-law's cats for a few days. She has three (even though she's only supposed to have one in her apartment, which is a story for another day). But anyway, I want to abduct ("catnap") one or more of them and have them come live with us. She has this little tiny kitten named Smokey Joe who I can scoop up with one hand. He can't weigh more than 2 pounds. If that.

That will be my evening. I'm going to spend a few hours there tonight while Owen's at band practice. I'm looking forward to it!
Going to the moon
So Bush wants to put people on the moon. So do I. Here is a list of people who I'd like to send skyward:

Entire cast of “Paradise Hotel”
Johnny Fairplay
Buddy from Buddy’s Carpet
Andy Dick
Fran Dresher
Regis and Kelly
Rush Limbaugh
Bad Lady

Feel free to add your own.

Thursday, January 15

The Nuge
Ted Nugent has injured himself with a chain saw.

So how come I didn't know that there was a reality show centered around Nugent? This would have been a goldmine of hilarity.
Wish me luck
Whenever I design something that I think looks really cool, it gets shat upon. Whenever I design something that I personally wouldn't line my litterbox with, it gets praised.

I'm about to get shat upon. I think.
The Mole
I still think it's Keshia. Although it could also very well be Tracey. I just think Keshia is being too coy. And as far as trying to sabotage the game, she hasn't had to -- Angie Everhart has done that job for her!

Dennis Rodman is acting pretty sketchy, but he's too flashy to be the Mole. Also, what is wrong with him? (Aside from the obvious.) The man seems to have no personality whatsoever.

Wednesday, January 14

Suffer with me
Currently playing on Bad Lady's radio: the UB40 classic, "Red Red Wine!"
In case you need a refesher on how the lyrics go:
Red red wine you make me feel fine, make me feel fine, all of de time
Red red wine (unintelligible) monkey (unintelligible) on the street car line
The line broke, the monkey got choked, all went to heaven on a little row boat

Feel free to curse my name as this song stays with you for several hours.
On the Simple Life reunion last night...
Lots of fake hugs, lots of people saying, "[Soandso] is great. I love them!" Lots of bad outfits and bad makeup. Then, OK, Arkansas family, you put up with our crap, here's an SUV. Sorry for the inconvenience.
So, yesterday I decide to get lunch from Quizno's. I'm waiting in line to pay, and the cashier is talking to the guy in front of me, for a LONG time. Finally the guy leaves, and she says to me, "I'm so sorry. He works in this plaza and we were just talking about how the Hong Kong Buffet was on the news last night for 'Dirty Dining.'" The Hong Kong Buffet is two doors down from Quizno's. "Dirty Dining" is one of those hidden camera investigative reporting pieces where reporters go into restaurants and look for health code violations.

The Quizno's cashier tells me that the Hong Kong Buffet was reported as being "filthy" and that "the entire plaza is infested with roaches." But she assures me that it is definitely not true, and that she is insulted that the report would say that.

I nod my head and empathize with her but I'm getting more and more uneasy, even though I pay for my sub and leave.

Hmm, I say to myself, do I really want to eat this sub after that information has been divulged?
The answer is yes.

Tuesday, January 13

Let's all get a subscription.
Creative my ass
I hold the title of "Creative Director." However, in the past two weeks, maybe even longer, I have not done one creative thing at work, or even had to use my brain at all. My working day has been reduced to putting a giant clip art star on a piece of paper and printing 1000 copies on our color printer and then cutting the sheet into four sections on the paper cutter. How did this happen?

Adopt a Can
This is the latest harebrained idea to come out of Cleveland Mayor Jane Campbell's office. Adopt a trash can! You know you want to! The city is in a shitload of debt, so part of the mayor's brilliant plan to catapult Cleveland out of financial trouble was to contract out the trash cans to whoever wants them. That's right, for a modest fee, you can adopt a trash can and be responsible for emptying it, replacing the trash bag, and removing the trash, preferably out of city limits. What do you, the adoptee, get out of it? Aside from doing your part to clean up the city, nada. You don't get to put your company logo on the trash can, you don't get a sticker that says "This trash can emptied for you by Joe Blow," na-freakin-da. Sounds like a great idea to me. Where do I sign up?

I left my lunch on the kitchen counter again. So I have to go out and get something. Subway? Those "Atkins-friendly" wraps look kind of good. You know, the chicken-bacon-turkey-cheese-mad cow sandwich? OK, maybe not.

Monday, January 12

Freud, please?
I just remembered this very strange snippet of a dream I had last night. I had this pet bunny that was a light tan color, kind of like the wild rabbits we have around here. Anyway, I went to pick it up, and was holding it, and it bit down onto my arm with these huge-ass, fanglike teeth. They almost resembled tusks, as they wrapped around the entire width of my arm. It was hanging off my arm and I had to pry it off of me. My arm was deformed when I finally got the bunny to let go.

I'm thinking that this has something to do with the fact that when I pick up Domino, he tolerates it for a few seconds, and even purrs to make me think that he's enjoying it, and then without warning, he will dig his claws into my shoulder, and chomp down as hard as he can on my arm. Then when I try to set him down he won't unhook his claws from my clothing.

That little bastard.

Yet my husband can pick him up and hold him like a baby for a good few minutes before Dom will start to squirm. I'm pretty sure that Dom's idea of who ranks from top to bottom goes like this:

1. Owen
2. Domino
3. me
4. Molly (our other cat)

And, at times, I may even be at the bottom of that list. I clean their litterbox, after all. I am the shit remover. I must be the lowest of the low.
The long and short of it
Birthday extravaganza weekend went well. My husband loves the MP3 player I got for him, and I love the earrings he got for me. We had dinner at P.F. Chang's on Saturday, which was awesome. We had a reservation for 8 and people were walking in and told that there was a 2-hour wait. And waiting! I had the double pan-fried noodles with chicken. I could eat that every day of my life.

Yesterday we had a low-key celebration for Owen's 30th. Just his family. Except for more drama from my sister-in-law, whose life in a week has more action than a Jackie Chan movie, it was quite uneventful.

Also: I received both a card and a phone call from my mom. It was really nice to hear from her. She seems to be doing well. She's home, going to outpatient therapy, and she said she bought a computer and is addicted to checkers, "to keep her hands and mind busy." Then I got an e-mail from her this morning from work. So things seem to be getting back to normal with her, and I couldn't be happier about that.

All hell is breaking loose at work. We have a big event coming up on Wednesday, and I have to print raffle tickets, certificates, and a bunch of other crap, all last minute. I don't know if I've shared this about myself, but I absolutely HATE last-minute projects. I am the opposite of a procrastinator (an anti-castinator?). I can't stand waiting until the last minute, it makes me nervous. So getting these projects thrown at me at the 11th hour really throws me for a loop. Not to mention the last minute stuff for last week's meeting that I had to do. I swear, most of last week for me was spent printing out crap for that meeting. And not getting any of the 14 other things done that I need to do. Good thing we have an extra person in our department right now that I can give work to. Even Bad Lady pitched in to help.

Now, back to printing raffle tickets. Whee!

Friday, January 9

Entertainment news
I have heard tell that American Idol reject Justin Guarini has a new manager: Tommy Lee. Yes, that Tommy Lee. Insert your own punchline here.
Rah Rah
Just when you think you've heard everything... there's a big meeting today for all the managers of our company (this is about 50 people). Apparently, our company had its best year ever last year (which is the topic of the meeting), and so yesterday I spent much of my day making posters and signs proclaiming the greatness.

We found out at the end of the day yesterday that one of our managers somehow finagled the Cleveland Cavaliers cheerleaders to come to the meeting.

The whole thing is sickening. Not even from a standpoint of being demeaning to the women in the room (which I think it is; and a majority of our managers ARE women), but sickening from a standpoint of being wasteful. They will tell us to our faces that "there's not enough money in the budget" to give us decent pay increases or to get something that we really need for our department, but they'll blow wads of cash to get the cheerleaders to come to a business meeting.

Addendum: My day was made when Incompetent but Likeable came over to my desk and did an awkward version of the old cheer "2 bits, 4 bits, 6 bits a dollar!" I told him he should have been the head cheerleader.

Thursday, January 8

On a side note...
I think Keshia Knight-Pulliam is the Mole.
There's a hole in my yard, dear Liza, dear Liza, there's a hole in my yard, dear Liza, a hole.
Then fill it, gas company, gas company, gas company, then fill it, gas company, gas company, fill it!

Our front yard was the epicenter of a major digging project by our local gas company last evening. Some houses around us were without gas, while ours seemed to be working just fine. So logically... it would follow that they would begin their investigation right in front of the house that has no problems. Utility trucks swarmed upon our house for the second time in three weeks, blocking our driveway and jackhammering well into prime time television-watching hours. Ka-CHUNG Ka-CHUNG Ka-CHUNG went the jackhammer.

I'm beginning to wonder if my house has some bad house karma or something. First the mailbox, now this...

Wednesday, January 7

And back at home...
The gas company woke up my husband on his day off. At 10. Let's all shed a tear for him. Anyhow, the skinny with the gas is that it's all kerflooey. Which we didn't know. Our furnace didn't shut off last night but we just naturally assumed that it was because it's negative 8 billion degrees outside. Well, apparently, the REAL reason is because there's water in the gas lines, "or something," as the helpful gas company man explained. They weren't real sure about much of anything. So we got that going for us.

THEN, the Service Director from the city we live in (a village, actually; and a snooty one at that. We probably have the lowest annual income in the village and are also probably the youngest people living there). Apparently, someone called to complain that our trash cans were on the curb. Where do YOU put your trash cans? When it's trash day, we put them on the curb. Always have since we've lived there (albeit only 6 months). According to the Service Director, this is against a city ordinance. We are supposed to leave them by the garage for pickup. OK. Good to know. We have apparently sullied the appearance of the neighborhood.

I'd like to, just because I'm bitter, propose an ordinance against lawn decorations. Such as, those gigantic, motorized blow up Christmas decorations that appeared this past holiday season. Or geese that have costumes for each month. Or gnomes (sorry Boo -- got nothin' but love for ya). Or those wooden lawn ornaments that are supposed to look like someone's ass crack bending over. Or those deer statues that sometimes make me hit my brakes when I'm driving past. That ought to cover it.

If I'm going down because of my trash cans, you're ALL going down! Every last one of you snooty village people! Ha. Village People.
This link is overflowing with cuteness. I thought I'd share it with all of you.
Speaking of B.L.:
Bad coworkers is the topic of this article. Bad Lady fits under every category except, to my knowledge, #4, "Office Thief." Oh wait, no, she actually IS an Office Thief. I didn't read it correctly -- she steals ideas ALL the time. She has yet to have an original thought.
A jumpsuit is a jumpsuit is a jumpsuit
My unusual lack of posting yesterday was due to the fact that mid-morning yesterday, my boss threw me a curve ball in the form of: "The photographers are here. [To shoot headshots and some full-length poses of four, count 'em, four, people]. While they're here, why don't you have them take headshots of (insert names of twelve other people not on the original list). Take a lead role on this." And then he disappeared into a portal, never to be seen again until 3:30. So I had to find all these people, tell them they had to come NOW to have their picture taken (which went over so well, let me tell you) and then stand and watch the photo shoot so I knew when I had to scramble to find another person. So that, pretty much, was my day.

I do have this semi-funny story to report about Bad Lady: she was pissed off at me all day yesterday, I mean, every time I came into her line of sight, she made this nasty, scrunched up face, even nastier than usual, and it's all because I called her outfit a "jumpsuit." It was this burgundy, velour...ish thing that looked like something you'd wear on a Saturday afternoon when you're cleaning the toilet. Seriously. So I was like, "Oh... look at you and your jumpsuit!" That's always the neutral comment when you notice that someone has new clothes, but don't necessarily think they are cute.

So she gets really snippy, makes the cat hacking up the hairball noise, and says, "It is a JACKET and PANTS." And then glares at me.

Pardon me for my ignorance. But seriously, I don't even think this outfit would pass on our Not-So-Casual Anymore Friday.

Tuesday, January 6

At least I got some exercise
So far at work this morning:
1. Walk to printer.
2. Stare at printer.
3. Fiddle with manual feed tray.
4. Go back to desk.
5. Hit print.
6. Walk to printer.
7. Stare at printer.
8. Jiggle printer.
9. Stare at printer.
10. Fix paper jam in printer.
11. Stare at printer.
12. Pick up printed invitations for some stupid bigwig breakfast thing that I'm not invited to.
13. Go back to desk.

and repeat about 20 times.

In other news...
I got a birthday card from my boss today. Mind you, my birthday is Saturday. The message printed on the inside of the card said, "Wishing you all the fun one birthday can hold!" but my boss crossed out the word "birthday" and wrote "monkey" instead. We have a weird sense of humor around here. But I do love monkeys.

Monday, January 5

This article has some harsh words concerning BB4 and Survivor. But, *sobs*, Burton is sooooo cute!
Minor milestone
The Sketch Factor got its 2000th visitor yesterday. I don't know who it was, but I suspect it was probably someone doing a google search of the Rich Girls, Jaime and Ally. Or of Rupert's Survivor farewell speech. Or of platymapus shirt. Which apparently was something that Jessica Simpson wore in a video. Speaking of -- new season of Newlyweds is starting soon.

Anyhow, 2000th visitor, whoever you were, I salute you.
Change is bad. Bad! I get cranky when my pen runs out of ink and I have to find a new one. Major change really puts me out of whack. Well, today at work, we have a new person starting. (mental note: be on best behavior for rest of day) It's just always weird, adjusting to a new person, and people are moving around desks, and it just throws me off. Even though it won't directly affect me, it will just take some getting used to. Also: my computer just told me that my password is going to expire in 10 days. WTF? I just changed it over a month ago, after having the same password for 3 1/2 years, and just got used to the new password. Now you want me to change it again? Jeez.

Grumble. Traffic sucked as well. It always follows that when I leave the house early, I will inevitably get stuck in a huge traffic jam and not get to work any sooner than if I had left on time or late (as I usually do).

Hopefully this day will get better. Soon.
Here comes the bride
Britney Spears got married in Vegas Saturday night. *coughpublicitystuntcough*
That whole kissing Madonna thing didn't sell enough albums for her so why not stir up some controversy! What a novel idea!
Uh, sweetie? Your music? Sucks.

Sunday, January 4

Word to the wise
Contrary to what you may have thought, it is possible to eat too much french onion dip. Take my word for it.

Friday, January 2

The weekend...again
Wasn't it just the weekend? Anyway, this total waste of a work day is grinding to a halt. The half hour of actual work that I did today is officially over. Kaput.

Tonight: we were allegedly having people over to watch the Fiesta Bowl (Ohio State vs. some other college team, who cares?) but now everyone has bailed due to illness or unknown causes. Fine with me. I wasn't about to watch that stupid game anyway. But we have all this food -- Owen's making his famous chicken wings, we have chips 'n' dip (French onion, which I could bathe in), so we're ready to rock, guests or no.

The rest of the weekend? The band has another gig tomorrow somewhere in downtown Akron. Owen has already said that he doesn't want me to go, due to the sketchiness of the bar. If my sister in law goes, I'll go. But if I'm there alone, I'd rather stay home and watch Gigli on pay-per-view. OK, so maybe not.
Testing... testing ...

I found a new free image hosting site today, so this is my first experiment. Me loves the monkey.

It's in case anyone is interested. I had been using Village Photos, but their server went down last year (ha!!!) and hasn't come back up yet, and has thoroughly pissed me off.

Woo! Not to mention how crystal clear the photos all are.

So I hereby dedicate this photo to Village Photos. Buh-bye.
An honorary Sketch Factor award
goes to the bar where my husband's band played on New Year's Eve. It was a combination of a Kent State student/ townie bar, and since the students were on break, it was mostly townies. Not any townies, mind you. Kent borders on a very rural, shotgun-totin', Confederate flag hangin' area. The crowd was mostly comprised of those kinda folks.

Tickets were $12 and featured the music of three bands. Owen's band was #2 for the evening. A "buffet dinner" was also included. Now when I think buffet, I am thinking, sneeze guard, serving dishes, line up nicely with your plates, wait your turn, etc. Nah. Not here. The buffet consisted of several crock pots lined up on a table. Plus another table with a veggie tray and a third table of chips, pretzels and nachos.

The crock pots really skeeved me out, but faced with the prospect of it being 8:00 and not eating until 2004, I threw caution to the wind.

The food actually ended up being really, really good. There were these fried chicken legs that were to die for. The meat was so tender, it was falling off the bone. And they were cooked in a crock pot -- which was a novel way to cook them, at least I thought. Then there were these meatballs, which provided the major humor for the night. As my friend Amy and I were helping ourselves to the crock pot buffet, we noticed that this guy, who himself resembled a meatball, was piling the meatballs onto his plate and nothing else. We both looked at each other with a "what the hell" expression, but thought nothing of it. I got a couple of the meatballs out, and when we got back to our table, I sampled them and they were outstanding. "What was with that dude with all the meatballs?" she said. "I don't know, but they sure are good," I said. And that was that.

Maybe 20 minutes later, we decided to go up for seconds. I went to the meatballs immediately and joked that "I better get some before they're gone!" Then I move on to the other crock pots o' goodness. No sooner did I leave the meatball area then here he is again, Meatball Guy, filling his plate with MORE meatballs! I swear, he must have taken 20. So I nudge Amy and both of us bust out laughing uncontrollably. It was one of those situations that I immediately felt bad about because I'm pretty sure he knew we were laughing at him. But it was just too funny. Dude sure loved his meatballs.

And it was even funnier when we saw him get up to make a THIRD trip to get more meatballs and come back with even more!

Then after that, he disappeared. I surmised he was probably on the toilet. Amy guessed that he probably died of a heart attack. So no one knows what became of Meatball Guy. And no one else thought it was that funny, except for us.

Now, the bands. As I said, Owen's band played second. The first band, whose name escapes me, but it was something hippyish, was a complete train wreck. Individually they had some talent. The bass player was pretty decent, the drummer was good... the "singer" was... interesting. Together, as a band, though, total disaster. It was obvious that they had all been involved in some passing of either a joint or a bong prior to going onstage because the singer rarely, if ever, sounded like he was actually singing. It was more of a rap/talk/grunt thing that he had going on. And his lyrics were comprised of every hippie cliche that you can think of: peace, love, and understanding; forget the hate and love each other; legalize marijuana; sunshine, flowers, mushrooms, etc. People (and when I say "people," I mean "people who haven't showered in quite some time") came up to the dance floor area and did the equivalent of the Peanuts dance where you stand in one place and nod your head from side to side. And then, Crazy Dancing Old Guy, who has shown up at one of Owen's gigs before, would occasionally rush to the side of the stage and turn on the fog machine, and then rush out to the dance floor and do his own special interpretive-style gyrations.

Owen's band seemed like an anomaly, then, because the headlining band for the evening was also of the hippie persuasion. Although, they were really good. I would almost want to see them again. Almost. Crazy Dancing Old Guy dressed up in either a Father Time costume, or the wizard dude from Lord of the Rings (sorry, I'm not up on his name), and introduced the headlining band while standing on a chair on the stage. It was all very random. But entertaining nonetheless.

The evening also featured a random smashing of a pinata in the form of the Scariest Clown Ever. Already having a severe dislike for clowns and mimes of all kinds, particularly but not limited to Ronald McDonald, this pinata could be smashed fast enough, as far as I was concerned. They gave a cute blonde girl first whack, as it were, but she did little damage. Suddenly, this dude who could be James Gandolfini's body double strides up to the pinata, is blindfolded, and proceeds to whack the shit out of it. Why would you give a guy who probably kills people for a living a blindfold and a big stick in the middle of a crowded bar on New Year's Eve? Anyhow, the head breaks off the clown, candy flies everywhere, and then everyone kind of walks away. So the headless clown came to live at our table. And provided me with about 55 Starbursts, which probably weren't such a good idea after all the crock pottage.

At 12:01, I was climbing the walls ready to leave. Not that I didn't enjoy myself -- I did. But that was about all we could stand of the place, the smell (of bad incense), the people, the weirdness. But it will be a New Year that I will remember for many years to come, that's for sure.
Nothing like blowing a little cash
to raise the spirits. I just spent about $300 on a present for my husband's 30th birthday (the countdown begins! almost a week away) and some stuff for me, since it's my birthday, too. Whee! Obviously I can't say what I got for him, other than, it's a gadget, and something I think he will really enjoy. It's not a puppy. (Which is what I thought he was getting me for Christmas -- I got a coat instead, which I'm quite happy with, and I don't have to take the coat outside to pee, or feed it, or walk it...)

What did I get for me? Well, I got some more books that I've been wanting to read, for starters. Current reading material: Bushwhacked by Molly Ivins. I got this from my mother-in-law for Christmas, and so far, it's a very frustrating, frightening look at the business dealings of Gee-Dubya, as well as some of the legislature that he has vetoed thus far in office, and the bills he has passed which benefit the wealthy instead of us working class schlubbs.

I got a video game for my Game Boy Advance, which is an excellent way to piss away the hours during these cold winter nights of reality t.v. drought.

Next week, though, we have a full roster of bad programming, of which I'll be a joyful viewer:
1. The Apprentice, a show in which contestants compete to become Donald Trump's assistant;
2. My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance, Fox's latest twist on the "marrying a complete stranger for money" genre;
3. Real World 223: San Diego, with a whole new cast of attention-whores

and I think that Average Joe 2, Celebrity Mole: Yukatan and American Idol 3 are all slated to begin in January. Can I get an amen?

Meanwhile, back at the office, *zzzzz*. It's Friday but feels like Monday. I'm all screwed up. My circadian rhythms are all discombobulated. My shizzle is not on the fizzle. Or something like that.
Good news
My mom is getting help.

On New Year's Eve, I got a letter from her, no return address, postmarked Cleveland. Inside, a photocopied page addressed to my aunt and to me. The sentences were choppy and the lettering was not her usual chicken scratch -- they were also spaced out unevenly. Basically, she said she checked in to "detox" on Dec. 26, the day after Christmas. She said she "couldn't put us through anymore" and was going to stay away until she was "better." She said she was ashamed and sorry.

So I guess until I hear from her again, I can just hope for the best. I don't know where she is and I doubt she would even want to see me right now, nor is it likely that she can receive visitors. She is going to miss my birthday, she missed New Year's, and she also probably missed Michigan in the Rose Bowl. (That's probably a good thing.) But I hope when it's all said and done, that it's worth it and I will have my mom back. The one who is my friend and my biggest supporter.

And I'll be right there to support her when she is ready.