July 31: Science question

Grrrr... I have three huge mosquito bites on my shins. So shaving my legs would be a bad thing, right? I would hate to risk slicing the top of the bite off, exposing myself to possible infection and gangrene and death. That could kinda suck.

I occasionally get normal mosquito bites; they're small and itchy for a day or so and then they disappear. And sometimes everyone around me gets a bunch of bites and I don't any. But usually I end up with these huge bites that look like I've been sleeping in a nest of spiders. Here are 40-some remedies for these very annoying summertime afflictions. I don't know if any of them really work so you can try them out for yourself and get back to me.

Which reminds me, here's another reason I won't go camping: I have been bitten by a mosquito TWICE on the eyelid, both times while sleeping outside in our "great" nature. Pffft.

And here's a really dumb mosquito killing game.

Now, how long can I use the mosquito bites as an excuse not to shave my legs? I mean, I might as well get some kind of good out of this.


July 31: Festivities

Happiest of birthdays to my big seester. I love you more than all the candles!


July 30: Ashland trip report

If you’ve been paying attention you know that the 2007 Girls’ Weekend™ was July 20-23. Our destination was lovely southern Oregon, where we saw a variety of Shakespeare’s works performed. Here, finally, is the trip report I've been promising.

Friday morning April got to my house and we picked up Debi at the airport. We headed to Bridgeport for a delicious lunch at California Pizza Kitchen. (What, no more Pear & Gorgonzola pizza? They took it off the menu! Our server said people have been complaining so they might put it back but that didn’t do ME any good today. Bummer.)

Next stop was the Woodburn Company Stores. April had left her hanging clothes in Seattle so she needed to buy stuff to wear for the weekend. Debi and I just felt like spending money. We shopped for about an hour, made a Starbucks stop, and continued the drive to Medford.

We got to my mom’s house around 10 p.m. She wasn’t home. She was out partying with her homies at the Jackson County Fairapalooza. We waited around until she staggered in and then everyone went to bed.

Just kidding about the staggering, of course. But seeing Mom fully awake at 11 p.m. was a first for me.

Saturday morning Mom prepared a delightful breakfast for us. We weren’t in much of a hurry to get anywhere and it was nice to sit around and chat. Once we finally got moving, we went to Jacksonville for some shopping. Found a very cool toy store—in a brief moment of insanity I almost bought Jack an accordion—and some fun artisan shops. Ate lunch at Bella Union, where Uncle Paul performs regularly, and sat outside on their lovely vine-covered patio. We purchased some delicious souvenirs in the huge Harry & David store when we returned to Medford.

We went back to Mom’s to get ourselves ready for an evening in Ashland. Debi and her sharp eye noticed Jen’s idiot mistake: our play tickets were for 2 p.m., not 8 p.m. We had missed our show. While I checked the Internet for a solution, Debi called the box office and a lovely woman transferred our tickets to the evening performance. Hooray! However, even though she assured us there was another show that day, we started checking around and could find no evidence of it. We headed to Ashland, not sure how we would be spending our evening, but confident by then that we would not be seeing a play. Sure enough, “Distracted” was matinee-only on Saturday. I went to the box office as instructed and found that the lovely woman who transferred our tickets actually put us in a September show. Odd, hm? I wasn’t sure I’d be able to make it back to that one—April and Debi almost definitely wouldn’t—but I took the tickets and decided to figure it out later.

We drove a couple miles further into Ashland and saw the movie “Hairspray.” There’s something wrong with going to a movie in a city like Ashland, especially in a cinema that looks like a supermarket, but at least our evening wasn’t a complete loss. Debi and I had seen both the original non-musical “Hairspray,” as well as the Broadway musical version, so we critiqued it from that snobbish point of view. Except for John Travolta, whose portrayal of Edna Turnblad nearly ruined the movie, we agreed that it was very well-cast. April (who was probably rolling her eyes in the back seat listening to our Siskel & Ebert-like review the whole way back to Medford) said she liked it too.

When we got to Mom’s around 11 p.m. she was still out. She had gotten her hands on Doobie Brothers concert tickets and staggered in soon after we got home. How on earth did my mom end up at a Doobie Brothers concert? I’m still trying to wrap my head around that.

During brunch Sunday morning I got a call from the Shakespeare Festival box office; the woman who had promised us tickets for the previous evening’s nonexistent show apologized profusely and refunded our $$. We thought that was very generous, as it was my own stupid mistake that we missed the show in the first place. Moral of that story: people in Ashland are nice.

Just before the play on Sunday afternoon we had a so-so lunch at Martino’s. “The Compleat Works of Wllm Shkspr (abridged)” matinee was fabulous. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys laughing. Here’s a spot-on review.

Shopping in Ashland was fun and walking through town was almost bearable in the heat. We found some nice little gift shops and purchased some souvenir goodies. We had dinner reservations at Cucina Biazzi. I had never tried flash-fried sage leaves before but April made us eat them and they were really quite tasty.

Our evening entertainment got off to a horribly horrible start (in my opinion) when we stood in the Festival Courtyard for the Green Show, a performance of renaissance music and dancing that made my ears and eyes bleed. While I’m sure that a lot of the people there enjoyed it, I was definitely not one of them. Fortunately things improved from there; “The Tempest” was very good. I had never seen anything on the Elizabethan Stage before. And except for the guy behind me that started snoring loudly during the second act, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Prospero was incredible.

Monday morning I woke up with a terrible headache. April and Debi both felt yucky too. The drive back to Portland was quiet-ish. We made a quick return visit to the Woodburn outlet mall and then took Debi to the airport. April and I went to the hospital where she was to meet her mom and sister, and I took off to Clackamas to get Katie to her swimming lesson.

For anyone that isn’t me, April, or Debi, it must suck to be you. So sorry. Our memories of the 2007 Girls’ Weekend™ will be of a marvelous few days full of entertaining entertainment and edible food. As you know, that’s what Girls’ Weekends are all about. FYI, they are not about pillow fights in panties or anything remotely like that, much to some husbands’ dismay. Although after all that high-brow entertainment of the Shakespeare Festival, we do have culture and sophistication pouring out our collective arses (to paraphrase a song from “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” not to imply we have food poisoning).


July 30: I guess I'm Disney-evil

Katie and I were walking through the front door after taking Jack to Safety Town this morning.

"I'm going to watch TV in your room," Katie said as she started to run up the stairs.

"Can you let the dogs out first?" I asked (fine, demanded).

Katie stopped halfway up the stairs and turned to me.

"Okay, Step-mother," she yelled.


"You make me do everything so I'm calling you Step-mother."

I don't even know what to do with that.


July 29: Happy Birthdays

Join me in wishing my first husband a very happy birthday, won't you? And his brother too... They are 43 and 37 today and that, my friends, is old.

Today is also Scott Neil's birthday. We haven't talked to him in a long time but we still remember him. Well, I remember Scott. Vic's so old he's probably forgotten him. I'd ask but he's taking an old-guy nap right now.

To celebrate Vic's extra-special specialness, we saw the Simpsons movie this afternoon. It was like a really long TV episode but on a ginormous screen. Not as many celebrity cameos as I expected--really, just one--but overall it was not a waste of $9.50. We later gathered for a delightful dinner at Darlene & Wellington's house and ended the day with a be-candled birthday cake which Katie, Jack and Presley fought over. The grown-ups weren't too interested in cake after the kids "helped" with blowing/spraying out their dads' candles.

Spittle cake and all, it was not too shabby a day 'round here. Hope yours was good too.


July 28: Notice to all pets

To be posted VERY LOW on the refrigerator door, pet nose height.

Dear Dogs and Cats:

The dishes with the paw prints are yours and contain your food. The other dishes are mine and contain my food. Please note, placing a paw print in the middle of my plate and food does not stake a claim for it becoming your food and dish, nor do I find that aesthetically pleasing in the slightest.

The stairway was not designed by NASCAR and is not a racetrack. Beating me to the bottom is not the object. Tripping me doesn’t help because I fall faster than you can run.

I cannot buy anything bigger than a king sized bed. I am very sorry about this. Do not think I will continue sleeping on the couch to ensure your comfort. Dogs and cats can actually curl up in a ball when they sleep. It is not necessary to sleep perpendicular to each other stretched out to the fullest extent possible. I also know that sticking tails straight out and having tongues hanging out the other end to maximize space is nothing but sarcasm.

For the last time, there is no secret exit from the bathroom. If by some miracle I beat you there and manage to get the door shut, it is not necessary to claw, whine, meow, try to turn the knob or get your paw under the edge and try to pull the door open. I must exit through the same door I entered. Also, I have been using the bathroom for years; canine or feline attendance is not required.

The proper order is kiss me, then go smell the other dog or cat’s butt. I cannot stress this enough!

To pacify you, my dear pets, I have posted the following message on our front door:

To All Non-Pet Owners Who Visit & Like to Complain About Our Pets:

  • They live here. You don’t.
  • If you don’t want their hair on your clothes, stay off the furniture. That’s why they call it “fur”niture.
  • I like my pets a lot better than I like most people.
  • To you, they are an animal. To me, he/she is an adopted son/daughter who is short, hairy, walks on all fours and doesn’t speak clearly.

Remember, dogs and cats are better than kids because they:

  1. Eat less
  2. Don’t ask for money all the time
  3. Are easier to train
  4. Normally come when called
  5. Never ask to drive the car
  6. Don’t hang out with drug-using friends
  7. Don’t smoke or drink
  8. Don’t have to buy the latest fashions
  9. Don’t want to wear your clothes
  10. Don’t need a gazillion dollars for college, and...
  11. If they get pregnant, you can sell their children.

This is a good one, Kath! Thanks for sharing.


July 27: What coffee drink are you?

I guess coffee is the subject of the day again. Here's a highly scientific test to determine what kind of coffee drink you are, if you were indeed a coffee drink, which is highly unlikely, but you never really know, do you?
Take this test at Tickle
Jennifer, your coffee drink is sweet
A kind and caring soul like you is as warm and comforting as a hot cup of sweet coffee. From parties to book-club meetings to backyard barbecues, you're friendly and welcoming no matter if you're playing host, mingling with guests, or just chilling out with good friends. You've got a big heart, and you're not afraid to share your feelings and let others know how much they mean to you. People know your friendly smile and fun personality can brighten up any occasion. Sound sweet? A dash of sugar is just your style.

What Kind of Coffee Drink Are You?
Brought to you by Tickle

Don't forget to share your results.


July 26: Animator vs. Animation

Check out this animation art. Just when I think I'm pretty handy on a computer I see this kind of stuff and feel like a moron. Here's assuming you will too! Click this link and then click PLAY.
Animator vs. Animation


July 26: The Way I See It #230

This morning when Vic woke me to say good-bye he said he hadn't made coffee because we were out of creamer. And then he ran out the door so's not to suffer the consequences.

I hate when we run out of creamer. I especially hate when we run out of creamer when I'm finally on the verge of getting rid of a severe headache I've had for four days. Caffeine sometimes eases my headaches a bit. Not having caffeine is guaranteed to make them much worse. So I was left with no choice but to go to Starbucks this morning.

You might be thinking, "But Jen, you could have dranken the coffee without creamer..."

And I would respond, "Dranken is not a word, you dummy. And I like my coffee beige, like my men."

Venti nonfat mocha, please. Thank you.

The quote printed on my cup this morning, courtesy of Joel Stein, a columnist for the Los Angeles Times, made me chuckle: Heaven is totally overrated. It seems boring. Clouds, listening to people play the harp. It should be somewhere you can't wait to go, like a luxury hotel. Maybe blue skies and soft music were enough to keep people in line in the 17th century, but Heaven has to step it up a bit. They're basically getting by because they only have to be better than Hell.

And that is all I really felt like saying this morning because I'm still a little pissed about the creamer status in our house and it better be different tomorrow morning.


July 25: Party like it's political

You Are 60% Democrat

You aren't a full fledged Democrat yet, but it's likely the party that fits you best. You probably consider yourself an independent Democrat. You usually support the party, but you also think for yourself!

You Are 0% Republican

If you have anything in common with the Republican party, it's by sheer chance. You're a staunch liberal, and nothing is going to change that!

You Are 20% Politically Radical

You're a very traditional person and perhaps a little resistant to change. In a few more years, your beliefs will be so old fashioned that they'll be radical!

You Are 24% Capitalist, 76% Socialist

You tend to be quite wary of businesses, especially big business. While you know that corporations have their place, you tend to support small, locally owned shops. As far as the rich go, you think they're usually corrupt and immoral.

You Are a Conservative Democrat

Frankly, the way most other Democrats behave embarasses you greatly. You pride yourself on a high level of morals, and you have a good grasp on right and wrong. It's likely you think America needs to get back to its conservative, Judeo-Christian values. Why aren't you a Republican then? Because you believe the goverment helps more than hurts.

Your Political Profile:

Overall: 30% Conservative, 70% Liberal
Social Issues: 50% Conservative, 50% Liberal
Personal Responsibility: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal
Fiscal Issues: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal
Ethics: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal
Defense and Crime: 75% Conservative, 25% Liberal


July 25: Seattle-ite

Why am I posting this list of “You Know You're a True Seattle-ite when...”??? Because a lot of the same things apply to Portland and we've spent enough time in Seattle that we feel qualified to take the quiz. The red ones are the yes answers for us, either here at home or up north. This list originally appeared at seattlepi.com and was copied here (I mention that both to give credit where due and as a disclaimer for spelling and punctuation errors!).

You Know You’re a True Seattle-ite when...

1. You’ve scraped your icy car windows with a credit card.
2. You’ve “shoveled” your driveway with a whisk broom or dust pan.
3. You don’t think twice about wearing Teva sandals, blaze yellow Gortex, rip-stop pants to a nice steakhouse.
4. You don’t go to work for a whole week if there’s 2 inches of snow.
5. You take your dog to play at a special park just for dogs.
6. With all the microbrews around, drinking a Bud is like drinking Folgers.
7. You have a lifetime REI membership.
8. You sometimes frequent outdoor gear stores more than the grocery store.
9. You have tire chains and actually use them to get to your favored outdoor activity even if you “can’t” get to work.
10. You’ve seriously taken a class on avalanches and how to survive them in the backcountry.
11. You know what NIMBY’s are.
12. You ARE a NIMBY.
13. You think Taco Del Mar is pretty good Mexican food.
14. You wanted a piece of the demolished King Dome.
15. You think there should be MORE Starbucks.
16. You think there are too many Starbucks.
17. You have an I.V. line of coffee dripping into your body at all hours.
18. You go to a small concrete/glass enclosure on an annual basis to watch fish desperately swim against the current.
19. You know what “Keep Clam” is from.
20. You think Copper River salmon is WAAAAAY tastier than the rest.
21. You’ve driven to Vancouver, B.C. to shop.
22. You don’t know that driving 60mph is SLOW in most parts of metro America.
23. You stop for pedestrians because you know they don’t even look before stepping into traffic.
24. You’ve visited all major fish ‘n chips restaurants and know which is best for which seafoods.
25. You own at least one of the following: an S.U.V., a Vanagon, or a hybrid.
26. You know which house is Bill’s.
27. You’ve kayaked past “The Sleepless In Seattle” house.
28. You own some weird figurine made out of Mt. [St.] Helen’s ash.
29. You’ve hiked in a lava tube.
30. You’ve eaten a fish taco.
31. You recycle everything possible and think people who don’t are criminally irresponsible.
32. You’ll always like watching the fish throwers at Pike Place.
33. You don’t wear high heels/hose or neckties, pretty much ever.
34. You’ve experienced firsthand the difference between “water-resistant” and “water-proof” clothing.
35. You know Seattle actually gets less annual rainfall than NYC and that summer is amazingly perfect.
36. You don’t tell too many people because than it will get even more crowded here than it already is.

37. You’ve done one of the following: dug for clams, fly fished, or raised a crab pot out of the ocean.
38. You personally know someone who owns a boat.
39. You think people who drink Maxwell House on purpose are out of their minds.
40. You’ve been to the original Starbucks location in Pike Place.
41. You’ve seen Howard there.
42. You think beaches are just fine at 65 degrees with ankle-numbing water.
43. You don’t carry an umbrella.
45. Your kids play in the rain and don’t care.
46. When Mt. Rainier appears on a sunny day, you are always amazed.
47. You have a giant moss carpet outside your house, not a lawn.
48. Your bathroom has black mold somewhere.
49. You don’t iron your clothes.
50. You’ve seen one of the following in your neighborhood: bear, coyote, buck, mountain lion.
51. You’ve tried lutefisk.
52. You don’t need to call a computer specialist for home computer problems because you or someone you know can fix it.
53. You give directions like this: I can’t remember what that road’s called, but it’s just past the hill, after the Shell station. If you start going up another hill, then you’ve passed it. I think there’s some kind of plant nursery across from where you turn, so look for that.
54. You know someone who retired extremely wealthy before turning 40.
55. You don’t listen to the weather forecast anymore - you just stay prepared for whatever weather hits.
56. Your kids play their entire soccer season in the rain.
57. You have flex hours at work.
58. You can’t believe Boeing moved it’s HQ elsewhere.
59. You eat at least one kind of Asian food on a regular basis.
60. You are regularly sobered by the power of Mother Nature, whether that be noticing tsunami escape routes in Ocean Shores, experiencing earthquakes in downtown Seattle, hearing about volcanic activity, or seeing rapid flooding of our local rivers.
61. You do one or more of the following: catch rainwater in rain barrels, compost, and/or use organic pesticides/weed killer.
62. You don’t think it’s strange that there’s a Bavarian village an hour and a half outside Seattle.
63. You can repeat word-for-word what that robotic female intercom voice says on the circle drive outside Sea-Tac Airport.
64. You want to smash that intercom when you’re waiting to pick up someone at the airport.
64. You know the phone number to report carpool lane violators.
65. You’ve been in four completely different weather systems all in one day.
66. You’ve “packed it in and packed it out”.
67. You have at least three friends who are working “contract”.
68. You’ve been in subterranean downtown Seattle via “The Underground Tour”
69. You’ve been on most of the ferry routes and missed ferries by just a few seconds.
70. You’ve had a “Nordie bar”.
71. You’ve had pets in counseling.
72. You expect people to come to complete stops in highway merge lanes.
73. You enjoy having “help out to the car” with your groceries.
74. You’re polite with people but not too personal.
75. You email way more than you phone anyone.

76. You’ve visited The Troll, Lenin, and Hendrix.
77. You’ve driven to the western edge of America on a whim, and it took a really long time to get there.
78. You’ve gone camping on a whim.
79. You own your own tent and about a hundred other camping supplies.
80. You sort of do but sort of don’t “believe” in the existence of the Sasquatch.
81. You’ve seen the Seahawks play in Qwest Field.
82. You’ve seen the majestic beauty of old growth forests.
83. Your family’s taken the tour of Safeco Field and been in the players’ lockerroom (really cool tour).
84. You’ve “met The Man”.
85. You’ve changed clothes in your car for any of the following activities: cycling, skiing, boarding, camping, fishing, hiking.
86. You’ve seen the summer wildflowers at Mount Rainier.
87. You know Baker has the most snow the earliest.
88. You’ve driven up to Whistler to ski or mountain bike.
89. You wonder what would happen at the Canadian border if you admit to transporting homegrown tree fruit.
90. You have Canadian coins in your house or wallet.
91. You’ve considered buying a powerful propane torch to kill weeds in your yard, chemical-free.
92. You’ve bought something really good from Value Village.
93. You’ve seen bald eagles and orca whales in the wild.
94. You know University of Washington is known as “udub”, not “u of w” or “uw”.
95. You know where all the free wireless is.
96. You never have a real tan but you do get badly sunburned at least once every year.
97. You own one of those lamps that simulates sunlight.
98. You’ve eaten aplets or cotlets.
99. You think the recently suggested state slogan, “Say-Wah” is about the dumbest thing you’ve ever heard.
100. You know you’re living in one of the most beautiful parts of the world and you try hard to experience it, appreciate it, and take care of it.


July 25: How ‘Oregon’ are you?

You are 82% Oregon

You are a native, but you still have a few things to learn! Get out and smell the bark dust. Go to Blue Lake. Play with the nutria.

How Oregon are you?


July 24: Martin, my explanation

Wow, four days is the longest I've gone without posting in a long time. There's a good reason, though: I spent the past several days with two of my favorite girly-friends on our bi-annual/semi-regular/much-too-infrequent Girls' Weekend™. We are all back where we belong, and our trip report is one of the bazillion things I hope to get done today.

Yesterday morning I woke up with a killer headache and after an hour or so behind the wheel, finally asked Debi and April to drive the rest of the way back to Portland. When we got home I took Katie to her swimming lesson and then went back home, took some very powerful drugs (apparently) and went straight to bed. I remember very little of the evening. I vaguely recall CSI: Miami being very loud on our bedroom TV, an announcement about Drew Carey's new job, and giving the kids their goodies from southern Oregon. I woke up this morning when I fell out of bed. Really. It hurt. As soon as Vic made sure I hadn't broken anything, he laughed. Big meanie.

I still feel all disoriented, but except for missing my girls, there's no place like home. If I improve throughout the day I'll get our trip report posted. Otherwise you'll have to wait, Martin. Solly.


July 20: Too much hairspray

The movie version of the Broadway musical Hairspray opens across the country today. I hope to see it this weekend.

I got the movie soundtrack last night. I was disappointed that there's no "The Big Dollhouse" but otherwise it's fairly similar to the Broadway cast recording. The last song on the CD is "Mama, I'm a Big Girl Now," with Ricki Lake, Marissa Jaret Winokur and Nikki Blonsky singing the three girls' parts. There's also a special uncredited line from Harvey Fierstein. Genius!

I wanted to burn a copy for my upcoming road trip so I did a Google image search for a Hairspray graphic I could put on the CD label. There were a lot to wade through, and I thought there'd be no harm in making Link Larkin (Zac Efron) my desktop wallpaper. I mean, the image was there, and I couldn't not right-click it... right? And look at that boy! He's just dreamy. Vic now thinks I'm a perv. He thinks that if he put a girl that age on his desktop wallpaper that I'd make fun of him. He's so very right about the making fun. But I am not a pervert! I probably shouldn't tell Vic that last night I had a dream about meeting Zac Efron and he fell in love with me before I could tell him I'm old enough to be his mother. I hate when that happens. In that same dream, Chris and Sonya bought a TiVo that played oval DVDs and they were just sure oval DVDs were the wave of the future. Hm.

I did finally find a good image to use for the CD label. I know you were wanting to know how that all came out.

I also found a lot of other images that were under the category of "hair spray," like this very scary one:

That's right, altogether now: YIKES.

To paraphrase Taylor, no more hairspray words.

July 19: Swim champs!

Today was the last day of swimming lessons. The kids think the coolest thing about the last day of swimming lessons is that they get candy from their teachers. Parents know it better as the pass/fail day.

Drum roll, please... (thanks, Jack)...

I am very proud to announce that both Katie and Jack passed their swimming classes! This is, of course, not a huge surprise in Katie's case because the girl loves the pool and has zero fear. But Jack was a bit of a question mark. As I wrote earlier, he's made great strides over the course of these nine lessons, and I'm oh-so-proud of my boy.

Being a completely fair mom, though (or at least attempting), I've made a big deal about both of their successes. They didn't really care, as the Dum-Dum lollipops from their teachers were apparently much more meaningful than Mom's bazillion hugs and high-fives and "way to go!"(s). Oh well, I tried. Sometimes you just can't compete with candy.

Next week Katie will start Level C and Jack will go on to Level B. Hooray for my swimmin' kids!

Smell ya later,


July 18: More new pics

Hear ye, hear ye.

If you e-mail me pictures I will put them on this site. I will probably also make fun of you a little bit, but that's the price of Internet fame.

These people know the drill: Deanna and Martin.

July 18: New caricature

Martin e-mailed me a pic of the Simpsons version of himself. I'd like to publicly (not pubicly) thank him for playing along with my little game. Sometimes I think I write this stuff and no one gives a crappity crap crap. Sometimes I think no one even reads it. Sometimes I think maybe no one cares about my recommendations, or follows my awesome suggestions. Sometimes I think I'm all alone in the world. [sob!]

Any-hoodle, I don't know if this Simpsons dude looks more like Martin than Flanders does, but what we see when we look in the mirror is a lot different than what others see. When I look at Martin I just think Thomas Magnum. 'Course, I haven't seen Martin in a long time. Maybe my memory's fuzzy.

Remember, you can make a Simpsons character of your very own at the Simpsons Movie web site. And then you must e-mail it to me. So says I.


July 18: I ♥ San Francisco

I just gotta share this fun little site full of San Francisco shtuff. DailyCandy describes themselves thus:

DailyCandy, a free daily e-mail newsletter and website, is the ultimate insider’s guide to what’s hot, new, and undiscovered — from fashion and style to gadgets and travel. As useful as it is entertaining, it’s like getting an e-mail from your clever, unpredictable, and totally in-the-know best friend. The one who knows about secret beauty treatments, must-have jeans, hot new restaurants — and always shares the scoop.

There are DailyCandy editions for other cities, as well as one that's got nationwide goodies. But if I didn't link you to the San Francisco one, then I wouldn't have a good excuse to put this picture here, and it's just too darn cute to keep to myself. I ♥ San Francisco, after all, and I'll just bet you do too.

Click the image and you'll be taken to DailyCandy San Francisco.

Enjoy! Many lovies--


July 17: Best skylines

Check out this list of the world's 15 best skylines plus 15 honorable mentions. Complete with picture goodness. The criteria?

  • List built upon earlier version
  • The city must have a recognizable man-made vertical set-up or design in an urban area, visible against a horizon
  • Historical and modern architectural recognition and feats in each city
  • Total height of the city's structures
  • Polls taken on accredited sites (e.g. Skyscrapercity.com) for personal preference
  • Statistics and facts from emporis.com (the most accredited architectural site)
  • Uniqueness of topography and/or city planning
  • Geographical representation. There is an attempt to represent cities from every continent
  • Skyline improvement rank, based on known developments in the city
  • Urban population includes all surrounding regions associated with the city

This is kind of like reading the placemat in Spaghetti Factory with their worldwide locations, isn't it? These are the skylines I've seen for myself (because I know you care):

#2 Chicago
#15 Seattle
#19 San Francisco
#24 Las Vegas
#25 London

If just being in that city's airport counts, I can add two more. And if knowing someone who's been to the city counts, 13 more. And if seeing the city on the Travel Channel once, well, you can probably count almost all of them. And I saw Rio on CSI: Miami and The Simpsons.

My two cents

  • San Francisco belongs much higher on the list
  • London is a mish-mash of ultra-modern and zillion-year-old buildings. It's hideous, skyline speaking. And that big-ass Ferris wheel there now doesn't help. I would much sooner put Paris on the list than London.
  • Las Vegas is not nearly as impressive during the day--dark vs. light ought to account for something, oughtn't it?
  • Sonya lives in Shenzhen. I love the list dude's comment: With 13 buildings at over 200 meters tall, including the Shun Hing Square (the 8th tallest building in the world), Shenzhen is a marvel of lights after sunset. You can’t help but ask yourself if you are in a video game or in a real city.
  • Sonya has actually lived in a lot of the cities on this list. Why do we like her again?

Where have you been?


July 16: The Manullaaaaaaangs

You, too, could be a Simpsons character. Make your own avatar at the Simpsons Movie web site.

July 16: The Landlord

Debi told me about this movie and I would just like to say that while neither of us condone the teaching of filthy language to children, it's still pretty funny.

The Landlord

If you can't get the video to run here, click this link.

July 16: Boise's where it's at

I spent this past weekend with Debi and Deanna in Boise. Except for being god-awful hot I had a marvelous time. The kids are absolutely adorable and were definitely the highlight of my visit. I already can't wait to go back, but not until it's a leetle cooler or I am less fat and sweaty.

In honor of my trip, I Googled "Boise is" and here's what I found.

Boise is...

  • booming
  • at an elevation of 2704 feet (824 m) above sea level
  • fluttering with bright colors thanks to a butterfly exhibit
  • not San Francisco
  • here. Captain Poop to the Rescue!!!
  • good, it’s clean and people are friendly
  • diverse and vibrant
  • waiting for a check
  • a great summertime destination
  • second to none for all your computer repair needs
  • as green as Dublin
  • near the bottom
  • absolutely for real
  • too far from where you are
  • online!!!
  • smaller than Portland, yes; but the goth scene is almost the same size
  • aging me
  • in Idaho
  • not bulletproof
  • a lot like Honolulu
  • adorable
  • being dodged by the traditional powerhouses
  • pronounced "Boi-see" and not "Boi-zee"
  • a great guy
  • cursed
  • the capital of Nowheresville
  • not a large city with as high of a demand for marijuana as Los Angeles
  • indeed blue
  • the perfect city for a memorable visit

July 16: Yo ho ho...

There are a bunch of diet beverages these days that are vitamin-fortified. Like breakfast cereal, but with cancer!

This is what the Coca-Cola company has to say about their new Diet Coke Plus: In addition to providing great, refreshing taste, Diet Coke Plus is a good source of vitamins B3, B6, and B12, and the minerals zinc and magnesium. Each eight-ounce serving of Diet Coke Plus provides a good source of Niacin (vitamin B3), vitamins B6 and B12, zinc and magnesium (15% Daily Value [DV] for Niacin, B6 and B12, 10% DV for zinc and magnesium).

I don't know about you, but I like the idea of the stuff I mix with all that rum to be healthy. Because when I'm drowning my sorrows, I still care about vitamins. Thanks to you, beverage companies, we will all soon be staggering Popeyes.

Have a great week, y'all--


July 14: Flop from the top

I'm pretty much once-removed from being a redneck myself (whatever that means) so don't accuse me of being racist or judgmental, mmkay? Here's a video of the Redneck Games in Georgia, and they're hilarious. Football with a beer can, dunking for pigs' feet, mud puddle belly flop contests, horseshoes with toilet seats... does it get any better than this? The video's about eight minutes long, but worth it.

Here's a page of pictures from the games too.

And remember, I love you more than fishin' with dynamite--


July 13: Legitimate theatre

Last night we saw the musical Dirty Rotten Scoundrels at Keller Auditorium. We both really enjoyed it. The cast was entertaining and the music was a lot of fun. My favorite number was "Great Big Stuff," so I present you with a clip from the 2005 Tonys in which the original stars, John Lithgow and Norbert Leo Butz, perform it.

BTW, YouTube has tons of bootleg Broadway videos. Search for a show title, song title, or performer names and you're bound to find just about anything. So naughty!

So ends our 2006-2007 Broadway in Portland series. It was the first time we'd done the whole season and it was sooo worth it. We started with a pre-season run of Hairspray (loved it way more than we expected to), then saw Wicked (perfectly fabulous), Sweet Charity (Molly Ringwald was disappointing overall, but we enjoyed the music), The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (surprisingly hilarious and very unique), and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. We were on a cruise during Annie (Katie and Grandma Kiyomi went and loved it) and skipped The Light in the Piazza.

We've got season tickets for 2007-2008 and our first show, Spamalot, is in August. I wrote several months ago about the other shows for the season.

That's enough culture for today. Back to our regular crass-itude soon.



July 12: Critter hater

I love animals. They’re cute. They’re cuddly. They’re sweet. They’re all those things people always say about animals. In my lifetime I’ve had dogs, cats, hamsters and even a chick as pets. They’ve always been part of the family. Even L.C., my bitchy cat that moved to Dad’s, is, to me, a sweet girl.

My sister says she loves animals too. I’m not really sure. Y’see, she’s got a history of slaughtering them, or as she always corrects me, “putting them out of their misery.” She thinks she’s doing the right thing. But if they end up dead, does anyone really win?

One time she attacked her kid’s pet tarantula with a shovel. Boy, did the hairy legs fly! Humane thing to do, my butt. (‘Course, I kinda have to side with the murderer on this one, as I don’t know why anyone would keep a spider as a pet. Not a fan o’ the creepy crawlies.)

And another time she ran over a bunny repeatedly and ON PURPOSE. She missed it the first time, so she backed up and tried again. Poor panicked bunny rabbit, probably dropped more than a few pellets each time the tires came oh-so-close. Probably died of a heart attack before the ultimate flattening actually occurred. Bunny’s wife and kids were probably watching from behind a yucca plant at the side of the road.

“Mama, why is that crazy monster lady with the glowing eyes and sharp teeth scaring Daddy? And why is that boy standing in the road yelling, ‘Missed again, Mom…’ over and over? Why isn’t he helping Daddy?”



“Never mind, Mama…”

Whenever I think about these two events—and they’re the only two I know about, but there are probably pa-lenty more she hasn’t admitted (people that intentionally smash animals tend to be liars too)—I have to ask myself why I think my sister is so neat-o. Because neat-o people do not kill living creatures (except non-pet spiders and earwigs). Neat-o people don’t make excuses for their fits of insane rage. Neat-o people seek help.

Kath, please seek help.

And somebody needs to warn Shelby and Molly. It’s just a matter of time before the crazy monster lady with glowing eyes and sharp teeth strikes again.

Watch your step, critters…

P.S. Rumor’s that she’s tried this extermination thing with her kids’ friends too. Hold them close, people. Hold them close.

July 11: Another book review

I spent every moment of my free time yesterday with my nose in a book. Having already finished the Laurie Notaro book, and not quite ready to start on her next one, I picked up Armistead Maupin’s latest novel, Michael Tolliver Lives.

My friend Ed introduced me to the Tales of the City series about ten years ago. I loved it; I think I read all six books in a week’s time. Being set in San Francisco is probably what appealed to me most in the beginning, and then falling in love with the quirky, hilarious characters was just an unexpected surprise.

Ever since the series ended in the late 80s, fans have been asking Maupin when he’s going to write the next chapter. He’s always been pretty non-committal about continuing the series, and wrote a few other books in the meantime. I think a lot of people had probably given up on a seventh book. But surprise, surprise! Last month the newest volume was published in Michael Tolliver Lives.

This latest book has all the familiar faces of the original series. The biggest difference is that it’s written in the first-person voice of Michael Tolliver. Of course, everyone has aged nearly 20 years too, and much of this new book revolves around that.

I thought one of the funniest moments was a conversation Michael and Ben have with another gay couple they meet in Florida. The couple says that they were married by their pastor; Michael is surprised to hear that a church in ultra-conservative Orlando would be open to performing a commitment ceremony. One of the other guys says,

“We quit that congregation. The pastor started preaching about how all religions are the same and how they’re all just guidelines for goodness and the Buddhists are just as good as we are and shit like that. Well, call me old-fashioned, but when I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal savior I didn’t sign up for no Buddhism. I mean, can you imagine such a thing?”

Michael finds their narrow-mindedness appalling, but still tries to be kind:

“I think I see what you mean. If you join a spiritual discipline ... whatever it is ... you expect to be given the purest version of it.”

Thank you,” said the shorter one. “I told that pastor we wanted all Jesus all the time or he could just keep his damn collection plate. We’d rather spend it on shoes.”

Later, the couple is telling them about their plans to move to the Gulf Coast.

“The beaches are fabulous. White sand as far as you can see. And white people. It’s the whitest place in the state. Call me old-fashioned, but I could use some of that right now.”

There was dumbfounded silence from the two of us, so the taller one looked at me earnestly and attempted an explanation. “Our Miata got broke into last week.”

I loved this book! It had the charm of the first three Tales, and that’s the highest praise of which I can think. If you have not yet read the Tales books, I encourage you to meet some of the most interesting characters ever created in fiction.


July 10: Laurie Notaro again

This morning I wrote about an author I recently discovered, Laurie Notaro. This evening I was looking around the 'net for more info about her and found out she lives in Eugene (Lori, I hope you won't hold that against her). The cool thing about this is that she may do more frequent readings in this area on her current book tour. I love going to author appearances; my favorites so far have been Armistead Maupin and Sarah Vowell. I'm hoping to see David Sedaris when he's in the northwest in October. Now Laurie Notaro's on my list too. Yay!


July 10: Reverend pride, HA!

Big news in celebutard world today: Tori Spelling is now an ordained minister. She says, "I am now officially ordained. Yep, thats right....Reverend Tori Spelling! I did it last week online and my official certificate is in the mail. I'm so proud. I can't wait to hang it."

I would just like to say that if Tori Spelling's ordination was as non-grueling as mine was, I don't know why she's making such a big deal about it. I mean, "I'm so proud"??? If she were to accurately complete that sentence it would be, "I'm so proud I have an e-mail address and Internet access." Because that's the criteria for online ordination.

This just cheapens the whole thing. Pfft.

July 10: Car talk

In Laurie Notaro's book, The Idiot Girls' Action-Adventure Club, she tells about running over a gas can that then gets wedged under her car. She doesn't know it, though, and calls AAA because surely such a noise means that her car is about to die. Before the tow truck arrives a policeman stops and discovers the gas can. He gets it out from under the car and leaves laughing. Laurie is humiliated.

As I read this I thought, "Oh yeah, she's an idiot girl, all right." Because I probably would have done the same thing. I mean, I can't imagine how she ran over a big gas can without realizing it, but I could identify with just about everything else.

I cannot change a tire. I know what a flat one looks like but I don't know the first thing to do about it, especially if it's raining. If you asked me to point to my battery I might be able to do that because they show car batteries on TV commercials. Spark plug, whuh? I don't know what a carburetor does or looks like. Because I live in Oregon, I'm not allowed to know how to pump gas. And while traveling out of state I make someone else do it because I get gas all over my hands and am pretty sure I would not-so-spontaneously combust if I don't clean it off properly. I wouldn't know where to check my oil if you held a gun to my head. And if you asked me to point to my clutch I'd have to think about it for a little while before I remember I drive an automatic (they don't come equipped with clutches, right?).

My dad would be so ashamed. I made it a special point to not ever mention any of these things to him while he was alive. Right now his ashes--which are on top of my china cabinet--are creating a tornado, I'm sure; otherwise my china's rattling around for a totally different reason.

I know how to turn on my hazard lights. I have AAA. I pay my membership fee every year and the only thing I have ever asked in return is that they give me some travel guides and maps. So I think calling one of their dudes to come change a tire for me wouldn't be such a bad thing, especially if it's raining. Vic is incredibly ashamed that I think that. I try to not ever mention my lack of car knowledge to him because he'll drag me out by the hair and make me change tires until I can do it like a pit crew.

I pull the "helpless and naive idiot girl" card when it helps me most. Don't we all?


July 10: Join me, idiot girls

I have just recently discovered the hilarity that is Laurie Notaro. This morning I finished reading her first book, The Idiot Girls' Action-Adventure Club: True Tales from a Magnificent and Clumsy Life, and am ready to start the next one. She has great titles:

  • Autobiography of a Fat Bride: True Tales of a Pretend Adulthood
  • We Thought You Would Be Prettier: True Tales of the Dorkiest Girl Alive
  • I Love Everybody (and Other Atrocious Lies): True Tales of a Loudmouth Girl
  • There's a (Slight) Chance I Might Be Going to Hell: A Novel of Sewer Pipes, Pageant Queens, and Big Trouble

The first book appears to be a bit autobiographical. She reminds me of a cleverer, American Bridget Jones or a non-NYC Carrie Bradshaw with less raunchy friends. The chapters are short and sweet and I think every one of them made me laugh out loud. Apparently Notaro is a columnist for a newspaper in Arizona and her books are based on some of her columns.

If you're looking for a fun read that's light on true crime, check out one of Laurie Notaro's books. You totally trust my judgment, right? (Even if I do not yet love your next husband, Lori?)

Fine. I love you anyway, just a little less.


July 9: Funny 911 calls

OK, don't think about how these idiots might be tying up a line for a real emergency. You just have to enjoy the calls.

July 9: My little trooper

Jack has never liked getting his face wet. During his first bath at four days old, he was fine until we started to wash his face. Things have not improved over the years. Although he enjoys our little backyard pool, he goes in freak-out mode if someone dares to splash him.

At two years old, Jack (and Vic) did a two-week Daddy & Me swimming lesson. Jack insisted on being held the whole time. The next summer, when he was old enough for regular swimming lessons, we knew on the first day that it wasn't going to go well. One of the few things they learn at that level is how to blow bubbles in the water. That necessitates one's face is in the water, of course, and as soon as Jack realized he would have to get his face wet every day, he was out. Last summer I didn't bother registering him for lessons because I didn't feel like the daily struggle. Instead he sat and watched Katie in her lessons for a month. I hoped it would make him wish he was in there. It didn't.

So this summer I had to make a deal with him. He wants to go to Safety Town, a program that Katie attended a couple years ago. I told him he could go ONLY if he went to at least one session of swimming lessons (they're two weeks long). At first he said he would do it. Then he decided he'd only do it if he didn't have to put his face in the water. I told him no, that wasn't going to work. It took a few weeks but he finally agreed to the deal. I have to admit, though, I wasn't sure if he'd follow through.

Swimming lessons started this morning. Katie's like a fish. The only thing I ever have to remind her about is to pay attention; otherwise she won't stop doing underwater somersaults. But I was extra concerned about Jack today. He seemed nervous and he looked so little next to the other boys in his class (they're obviously several years older than he is, so who are the real delinquents, hm?).

About ten minutes into the lesson Jack's teacher was having them blow bubbles. OH SHEET. I stiffened, knowing what was about to happen. Jack's face came out of the water and his fingers went straight to his eyes and I thought for sure he was going to cry. He turned around and paddled back to the wall and stood there for a second. I just knew he was planning his escape from the pool. But then he put his face in the water again, for a good five seconds or so. I was amazed! He came up and rubbed his eyes again, but then he went back underwater again, over and over and over! My sweet little boy; he was trying so hard and he hated it, but he also knew he had to just get it over with.

I expected him to complain about the class but when we got in the car he said, "That was SOOO fun!" I went on and on about how proud I was of him. I really am. He was so brave. For Jack, this was really a big accomplishment.

One lesson down, eight more to go...


July 9: Memories that make me smile

Last week Kirsten reminded me of a WWC memory and I thought it was time for a new list, one that wasn't all complaints or making fun of others. It was hard to know where to stop with this; I'm sure I could go on for pages. But here's what I came up with this morning (only rule: wedding, kids' births, graduation, etc. are off limits):
  • Me and Kirsten throwing glass jars at a brick wall at the end of our last year of college. It was such a mess—jam, mustard, salad dressings—but felt oh-so-good to be so destructive. (1991)
  • When April hit a girl. Okay, so I wasn’t even there, but if you know April then you know why this is such an unbelievable story. (1988?)
  • When I told Ed about how I used “Ask Jeeves” to look up a term I read in a book. I thought he was gonna die laughing. (1999?)
  • Telling my dad that I was pregnant (1999)
  • Turning on the radio and hearing myself singing (yes, I got some radio play for a few months back in 1996)
  • Friday nights at Kim & Kari’s apartment (1987-89)
  • Grocery shopping with Kathy when we lived with Dad. We turned a truly boring experience into something hilarious. We can do that with just about anything, of course! (1983-85)
  • Every time I have walked into Disneyland and passed under the sign, "Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow, and fantasy”
  • The first time my mom let me bake Snackin’ Cake all by myself (1975)
  • The birthday party Karen and I threw for April and me. The guests ranged in age from little kids to people in their 80s, and we played traditional birthday party games. It was an absolute ball. My favorite picture from that day is of April’s grandpa tying a balloon to his ankle. He was determined to win that stomping game! (1994?)
  • Spending a day in San Francisco all by myself (1994)
  • My kindergarten graduation at Bear Creek Park (1973)
  • How proud I always felt to see my sister perform with her choral group in academy
  • One night at Red Robin in Federal Way with Sherrice’s family and other people I didn’t know. It was one of those I-laughed-so-hard-I-peed-myself kinds of nights. (1994?)
  • The smell of scorched coffee and something yummy baking at Grandma & Grandpa Saltmarsh’s house
  • April’s wedding (1991)
  • Driving over to Vic’s house in my brand new car (1996)
  • Going for Sunday drives with Mom, Dad and Kathy. Mom would sit in the front and file her nails while Kathy and I fought over space in the back seat. I think Dad kept quiet except for the occasional warning that he was this close to turning the car around. (1970-76)
  • My Grandma Saltmarsh teaching me how to sew (1980-83)
  • “The Marcia & Karen Show,” a variety show that my friend Christi and I performed regularly in her backyard, to little acclaim (1977-79)
  • Richard Scarry books—love that Huckle

What memories make you smile?

July 8: Credit card prank

Check out this link to a hilarious story of credit card signatures. Credit Card Prank. The author describes his experiment like this: In my lifetime, I have made nearly 15,000 credit card transactions. I purchase almost everything on plastic. What bugs me about credit card transactions is the signing. Who checks the signature? Nobody checks the signature. Credit card signatures are a useless mechanism designed to make you feel safe, like airport security checks. So my question was, how crazy would I have to make my signature before someone would actually notice?

He's got pictures of his signed receipts, all showing "signatures" that are not even close to his name, or in some cases, text.

So how are we supposed to protect ourselves against identity theft when the people responsible for making sure we are who we say we are don't pay attention??? Yikes.

I love you, no matter how you sign your credit card receipts.


July 8: My new favorite word

celebutard (suh.LEB.yoo.tard) n. A celebrity who is or is perceived to be unintelligent. This fine coinage combines celebutante and retard to form a most useful insult in this age of people who are famous only for being famous. The word celebutante was coined in 1939 and is itself a blend of celebrity and debutante; it refers to a person who is a famous socialite. (definition courtesy of Word Spy)

What makes an otherwise normal person a celebutard?

Well, it's the giant handbags...

the ridiculously huge sunglasses...

the underage drinking...

the constant, very public shopping...

and the dogs that get dressed up and taken everywhere. Betcha a nickel celebutards don't bag their dogs' poo, either.

It's also a lot of other things, like thinking you're above the law, assuming everyone cares what you do every minute of your life, believing you're intelligent enough to write your own blog or even post short messages on your web site (if you can't spell, ask for help! GEEZ!), exiting a car while knowing full well that pictures of your lack of underpants will be taken, soliciting sympathy when your ex sells your sex tape, and so on.

Don't be one, mmkay? Thank you.


July 8: Uruguay? How gay?

So, they say everyone is at least a leeetle bit gay, right? There's nothing wrong with that, of course. Take this test to find out exactly how gay you are.

My results, which I'm really okay with:


You're a straight-laced girlie girl with just a hint of your
butch side sometimes popping out!

July 8: A 'Hairspray' mystery

Y'know how your aerosol hair spray sometimes gets all gunked up and sprays in a totally different direction than you aim? Yesterday I sprayed myself right in the eye. Twice.

I decided right then and there that I hate hair spray and I'm not going to use it again until I need it.

The movie musical version of Hairspray opens in a couple weeks. I liked the John Waters movie with Ricki Lake and Divine. I loved the Broadway musical version with Marissa Jaret Winokur and Harvey Fierstein (though I saw it on tour with lesser stars). And when I first heard they were making a movie of the musical I was immediately confident I would love that version too.

Until they announced John Travolta would be playing Edna Turnblad.

I have never been a John Travolta fan. Although I watched Welcome Back, Kotter, it was really in spite of him. I never understood why girls swooned. I never tore his picture out of Tiger Beat and put it on my wall. When his career took a dive I didn't really notice or miss him. And when it came back after he appeared in Pulp Fiction, I didn't really care. I think he's incredibly unattractive, can't stand the sound of his voice, and don't see him even remotely close to being a sex symbol.

I'm really not trying to be mean. I'm sure he's a perfectly nice guy (although being friends with Tom Cruise is cause for concern) and he seems like a good family man. I guess he's a decent actor. But personally, I've never understood all the hype.

This new movie seems almost perfectly cast (click the poster pic for a big version): Christopher Walken, Zac Efron, Michelle Pfeiffer, Brittany Snow, Amanda Bynes, James Marsden, Allison Janney, Queen Latifah, and a newcomer in the role of Tracy. There will even be some smartly cast cameos. So why someone decided it was a good idea to dress up John Travolta as a woman, this woman, is beyond my comprehension. Sure, it's worth a chuckle to see the picture, but a whole movie? Where he'll actually speak, scream, sing and dance?

I'm not saying Divine and Harvey were gorgeous women, but they pretty much just gave them curves on their already big frames to look female-ish. John Travolta in a fat suit looks all soft and squooshy as Edna, like a guy in a fat suit trying to play a woman. Me no likey.

I'll still see the movie because I love the music and the rest of the cast. And I'll probably not hate the new Edna as much as I've planned to. But I still want answers. And no one in Hollywood is returning my calls.




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