Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Picture Post: Backlog Edition

Let's see if this works.

I was dressed as a hippie, FYI. It's lame, but it works. The dust on the mirror made it look like some 70's-era Vermeer's work for which, yay! But apparently, that's all I get, so saith Blogger. I had more fun ones to post, including the obligatory pictures of our resident black cat, but I've been trying for two hours and nada.


Monday, October 30, 2006

The Curse of Blogger

Blogger hates me. It's official. I can't seem to get a single image to upload right now and I have Pumpkin Party pictures. Yeah, as in, pictures taken whilst carving pumpkins. THIS IS IMPORTANT, BLOGGER! THESE PICTURES MUST BE ENJOYED BY THE PEOPLE!

Fruitless pleas aside, I had a okayweekend. Went to the dentist where I discovered the nightguard which keeps my jaw from shattering and my teeth from being worn down to nubs from the relentless clenching I do at night, yeah, it's gonna be $600. HE-llo. Oh, and hubby needs a root canal AND a crown. Big fun! Also, big bucks.

Aside from that bummer, not much happened. Hubster made a fantastic catch when he found out Hugh Laurie was going to be on SNL, so we watched the show, all the way through for the first time in months (maybe years). It's because we're total groupies, really. He was hilarious, but the sketch material was only so-so. The non-Laurie sketches were mostly boring. Sigh. Still, we got to see Hugh. And I searched for "hugh laurie" on YouTube to find a video entitled "Hugh Laurie The Panty Peeler." I was too busy giggling to watch it. Instead, I found this performance of a song he did on SNL but which YouTube can't broadcast. This performance is old, and the timing was even better Saturday, but it's still hilarious.

I'll try posting pictures tomorrow. Because pumpkins? Are important.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Sssh! Be vewy, vewy quiet. I'm hunting content!

Sometimes I think I let this thing run my life. After almost two years straight of blogging every weekday or feeling extreme guilt when I didn't/couldn't, it can be rather tough to yank out anything worth reading.

I complain about this regularly enough, I guess, but it bears repeating: sometimes, I want to do anything but this. I hope you can't tell when I'm "phoning it in" from my end. Heck, I TELL you half the time, so I guess I'm shooting myself in the foot. It's not that I'm out of imagination or conversation or stories; it's what happens when I sit down to write at my desk. The story was funnier earlier and I can't find the best words. I'm posting about the cats. Again. Or I'm posting about something that not even I can bear reading.

Sometimes it's that I'd rather pursue one of my other hobbies. I had time yesterday, so I started my new library book, John Le Carre's The Constant Gardener. I loved the movie, so I thought I'd go to the source, especially after enjoying Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy so much. Today, I'm all tapped out. The time I could steal is being dedicated to this post.

And so it goes.

I think the difference between this hobby and my other ones is you. There are other people taking part in this whole debacle, and that means something. If I were sewing a purse for a friend, that would probably take a bit more precedence. If I were in a book club, the book would jump up the priority list. It's all a balancing act, and you guys matter to me.

That's probably why I keep ekeing these puppies out. I wish the quality were higher, the insights more frequent, the photos more copious (and just better). It gives me great joy to do this, and I'd do it just for myself at least sometimes, but you keep me coming back. Your comments, your related stories, your links and personalities. Your blogs, for those of you who have them, are also a big part of the fun.

I have a lot of reasons to shoulder on, it seems. But just in case, I think I'll ask for this book for Christmas. Can't hurt.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Linking Wednesday

1. This won't be of interest to anyone except my philosophy buddies, but man, is it of interest there. Analytic Versus Continental Philosophers on Fashion. He's a fairly interesting philosophy blogger in general, so check out the blog, too.

2. This is just so cool. Motors powered by bacteria? We've certainly got no lack of those, hand sanitizers notwithstanding. Wonder when this will be more than a lab trick.

3. Stephen Colbert is hilarious, and remains so even through this seven-page monstrosity of an article at New York Metro. Fun stuff.

4. The Fug Girls strike it rich again. Delicious!

5. I'm not sure I've ever linked to A Dress A Day, partially because I enjoy a good discussion of vintage fashion, but I'm not sure you do. Still, this piece is funny and apropos and the dresses are crazy. Oh, and this piece is more topical than she usually gets, but it's a good reminder: "You don't owe prettiness to anyone. Not to your boyfriend/spouse/partner, not to your co-workers, especially not to random men on the street. You don't owe it to your mother, you don't owe it to your children, you don't owe it to civilization in general. Prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked 'female'." Word.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

StatFest 2006

Wanna tip on how to drive up traffic on your blog? Host a heated comment feud and then follow it up with a very public breakdown and your traffic will rocket. Last Thursday, I had 244 hits. To give you some perspective, I've averaged probably closer to 50 pageloads per day in the last several months and for several days, I was averaging well over 100. Um, wowsers.

Honestly, when I finally got around to checking my stats, I didn't believe my eyes. I hadn't been keeping track really. I had only a few searches find my blog, probably more but my log file was overhwhelmed by the refreshers amongst you, and I failed to check it frequently enough to see the few searches that got logged. However, whoever it was that searched for "Graphic Clipart Jesus is the reason for the season," I salute you. I've always thought that clipart had great devotional value, but I guess I'd never realized that Graphic Clipart Jesuses are the entire reason for Christmas. By clicking on my site from that Google search (which were buried after almost 300 search results - you patient soul!), you've gained another convert. Bravo.

I know all these bigger blogs that do regular posts roughly summarized as "You found my while searching for this stuff, suckah!" I never have enough searches for that, but I've had some funny ones over the year plus, so here goes:

sadza glycemic index - Yeah, I used the words, but I wasn't too helpful, was I, Captain South Beach?

filosofo jeans peace - I haven't really heard of a Philosopher's Search for the Jeans of Peace or anything before, and I always figured philosophers were more the khaki-wearing types, anyway. Perhaps tweed . . . ? I'm out of the loop - check the grad student blogs next time.

tobias + "booyah"+ arrested development - I'm honored, but you should have started here anyway.

why is the death of a girl such a fixation in the U.S.? - I get the general drift, but it does sorta look like someone doesn't care about dying girls. Mostly, it's just a bit odd that this person thought they'd get an answer out of all the generic words they typed in. Got a name there, hombre?

my kitten ate a lizard what are the symptoms - Dude, I don't know, but I dodged the bullet, and I try not to think of it.

MICOPLASMIC PNEUMONIA - First, STOP shouting. You and everyone else who's found my blog under a similar search (or for other medical reasons) should know that I'm not a doctor who can explain symptoms or describe treatment. I'm a drama queen who likes to complain. Slight difference there.

Amidala my cat that I got while in college - haven't seen her, mate. Sorry.

Loki Presents Simply Sudoku - Ha! Heehee and HA! My mentally under-endowed cat and a logic puzzle. That's rich!

lineage 2 erica blah - This person clearly doesn't want any results. Or they know me and know I say (and therefore write) the word "blah" a lot. Hey, friend!

rainbow "rainbow dresses" - Someone in India is really disappointed! I have no rainbow dress. I don't even have "rainbow dress." It bothers me, too, bro.

"pees her bed" - Obviously, I'm doing something right here.

On a serious note, I got a comment from Louisa, an college friend with whom I'd lost touch on one of my recent posts. I had no idea she had ever struggled with depression. I find it hard to believe that I helped, as she said I had, but it made me so happy that she is seeking her way out of the well. God bless your search, Louisa, and email me if I can help in any way. My address is "fyfdom@gmail.com" and it's always open to any of you, be ye Louisa or no.

Okay, I should run along to do responsible crap. Oh, believe me I'd much rather be discussing stupid searches, but (non-blogular) duty calls!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Shoulda Woulda Couldn't

Hubster and I are listening beautiful, reflective, sad music. I was going to write a long recap of my weekend, especially the part about the International Gold Cup (yeah, I know we're totally selling out to the elitist, Horse Country Man, WHATEVER), but I can't. Mostly because this song is so beautiful, I might burst.


Oh, and I already know the song appears in Donnie Darko, and no I haven't seen the movie, but my curiosity is definitely piqued after this sucker. Can't. stop. watching.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Wanna see my bug collection?

Thanks for any and all thoughts, communications and prayers. I've made relatively large leaps since last night, so yes, thanks for that. I threw on a bathrobe and trudged downstairs last night as a sort of last resort, but it reminded me again of what an ally words can be for me.

I tend to think in metaphors, so here comes a whopper, and I'm sorry if this one is stretched thin but I'm sure anyone who's really bothered by badly-done conceits has stopped reading out of sheer frustration by now.

My observations became a pin that secured this particular episode onto a display and added it to my collection of pests. Over the life of this blog, I've done this several times. I'm getting a tidy little sampling of tough mental episodes. Knowing that they're mine, that I've captured some of their essence and studied each terrifying angle, each logic-shattering feature of these funks makes me feel a little more of that elusive hope.

There's something about "facing one's fears" that's important when you're in that well. Quantifying, classifying, understanding the pain is key for me because that's how I am with anything. I want a big picture, and I want to know everything about something before I have to do/believe/act on/challenge anything. It took an hour from start to finish to write that post - the damn thing kept buzzing out of my grasp - the sorrow obscuring my thoughts. I kept thinking, though, that the best way to capture the pest was to do so while it was still buzzing around my head, unlike the rest of my posts which came from the other side, from a safe distance away. Maybe, maybe not, but between the concerted effort to understand and my prayer, I was able to climb back upstairs and sleep.

Hubster thinks I do battle with these bugs because I "have greater emotional range than most people." I tend to think my highs would be higher if that were the case. I really have no idea anymore. Ironically, I went out for lunch with KL the afternoon before and mentioned that I'd been having a rough patches for the past few weeks, but things had been getting better recently. I'm starting to think that though "pride goes before a fall," it's more often hope that comes before my falls, and that's more than a little terrifying. But these intimate posts help me feel like hope is not futile - the pain may return, but I can still fight it.

Look I'm tired, and I've still struggled today to find purpose, peace, strength of some kind. I want to this to be better, but I'm too tired to keep cranking this out. So instead of punishing myself, I'm going to keep myself going with proper rest and hope that you might want to see my bug collection another day. Good night, friends.

Notes From Underground

It never ceases to amaze me how easy it is to climb back in the well. Ever since I read those words, I can't think about much else. My mind turns in circles, reaching out in all directions but finding the walls solid and unyielding to the logic of hope. I spent the first half hour afterward sobbing, almost uncontrollably. Every time I'd think I was making headway, quieting myself down, the vice grip of anguish would seal my heart, my eyes and my fate to keep shaking and sobbing and desperately trying to think of something other than my utter despair. After all, even if I couldn't get out, I wasn't doing anything productive but crying "like a little girl" (the phrase comes unbidden; it's engrained), and making mock arguments that sounded alternately convincing and spiteful and hypocritical and stupid, and ultimately futile. My thoughts remain a club on which are emblazoned the words: "I am a worthless Christian, worthless adult, worthless woman, worthless human."

I don't blame the comment for serving as a trigger. It was just there and all my backstory formed it into a bludgeon.

Eventually I got up from my chair and tried to move. I thought to distract myself and gain some kind of perspective. But I couldn't stop crying and shaking, the will going out of my knees, the pain finding me on the ground, barely breathing. I tried to catch my breath and my thoughts all night, but here I am, 1 AM, bleeding tears and pumping despair through my veins.

I won't make Hubster get up when he's exhausted and I'm unlikely to make any headway even with his help. Earlier he held me as I sobbed into his work clothes, always responding that he loved me whether it was the first of fifth time I had to hear that tonight. He staved it off through bible study and dinner and a relatively normal evening. I tried to hold out until sleepy oblivion ushered me to tomorrow, but my thoughts had no competition as I wrestled with my pillows, and pretty soon I had to go cry in the bathroom where there were tissues.

This is it. This is my particular brand of crazy - out there for the world to ridicule or ignore. Out there for me to dissect again and again. Out there, period. Unlike my last post, there's no persona here. I'm not the Queen of the Inane defending Her Pathetic Realm here. I'm telling it like I currently see it, and all I can say is "God of Joy and Despair, God over all, Forgive me for losing all sense of you and for slipping back to this place. Forgive all my sin and raise me up or I perish."

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

My blog asplode.

I wasn't really expecting to ignite a firestorm over whether "Evangelicals are thoughtful" or whether "the Roman Catholic Church's stance on contraception is counterculture" over my link to Prosperity Theology articles, but there ya go.

Fortunately, I'm listening to Bach cello sonatas so it's all good in the Fyfdom.

Before I wax poetic about just how off-the-hook Johann's tunes might be I will address one teensy thing that's been bothering me. To the commenters most embroiled in the discussion: ENOUGH WITH THE PISSING CONTEST ANGLE. Seriously. You've both said you'll stop insulting each other whilst diving OFTEN IN THE SAME PARAGRAPH into another ad hominem attack.

This is my blog, and I make the rules. I may be capitulating to my culture here, having been raised as a conflict-avoiding female of the American species called "woman," but I will now declare that you have to PLAY NICE.

I haven't posted anything because I've been intrigued to find out what happens here and nothing kills a conversation like lengthy descriptions of my groan-worthy daily activities. (Also, I'm lazy and tired.) Hy-evah! I am not above closing comments. You can feel free to continue dissecting, but I think you'll get further if you don't waste valuable debate time on barbs and instead focus, oh, I don't know, ON CONTENT?

Lastly, I happen to know you both and as you're both Christians, I must appeal to your shared faith and brotherhood. Make Jesus happy! Be ye kind one to another!

Oh, and listen to Bach.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

(Relentlessly) Linking Wednesday

1. Old-school McSweeney's: Ikea Product or Lord of the Rings Character? The author even included answers. I got them all right, because I'm a junkie for BOTH those things.

2. An article from Entertainment Weekly online entitled "Six Ways for Hollywood to Stop Alienating Women." Some good ideas in there. This point was interesting:

Keep counting after the opening weekend.
Women, unlike men, generally don't feel the need to be first in line on opening night. Quite the contrary, a lot of female filmgoers prefer to be coaxed into the multiplex by good reviews, an intriguing subject, and strong word of mouth; that's also true for all moviegoers over 40, another demographic group that the major studios bizarrely insist on treating as some sort of obscure minority even though they make up 43 percent of the total audience.

But that sort of foreplay isn't exactly Hollywood's forte these days — studio marketers are more slam-bam-sorry-that-was-over-so-fast types. However, shrugging off that audience by assuming they'll catch up with your movie on DVD is getting an entire generation of moviegoers out of the habit of going to movies — and that's bad business. . . . And by the way, it wouldn't hurt to make the kinds of movies that generate good word of mouth, which means less money spent on digital effects and more spent on script development and rehearsal time (yes, it actually helps).

3. I'm bad at keeping up with my friend's blogs sometimes. I freely admit I don't hit most of them everyday, but then again, most of you go quite a while before updating, so checking once or twice a week is just about right. I just found this post by neil about going back to Grove City two weeks ago, and it was a great post. The parts about feeling a disconnect from the alma mater really hit home. See, Hubster and I have guests this weekend, so Homecoming back at the Grove is right out for the second year in a row. I know I'll be missing lots of peeps, but I also know that going back is bittersweet in a way that surprises me. How can it be that hard when college itself was awful for large sections? I don't even think I feel that way about high school, but then again, my high school's building someone else's church, and I still see the people, so I guess that's different even if this sentence is a run-on. Whatever, his post was good and also adorable, and I wish him the best at sorting through it all.

4. This post by sbp is also quality. She also has some lovely poetry up right now. I miss having first crack at her drafts on our freshman hall. Sigh.

5. Another template site for ya. It's all in Italian and English, but his designs are nice, so wade through it and you might find a gem. Also, I haven't seen any of them before, so you won't have a unique site, but it'll be almost as rare a design.

6. I'm been giving ABC's episode player a workout lately. I arrive home from choir too late for the start of Grey's Anatomy, so I just watch the episodes when they go live on their free online player in the next couple of days. The screen size/streaming quality is quite decent if you're got fast broadband, and you only have four 30-second commercials to endure. Until Hubster gets the FauxVo(tm) up and running, this'll do quite nicely. NBC has a similar player(you'll never quess which show I'm watching on it) and Fox is supposed to have one soon on MySpace (ewwy), so hurray for networks getting with the program! And HURRAY FOR THE INTERWEB!

7. This is a wee bit antique by net standards, but here's TIME magazine's feature article entitled "Does God Want You To Be Rich?". It focuses on the Prosperity Theology folks, and it's fairly well done. Honestly, when I try to boil down my emotions on the subject, it's mostly just revulsion hanging out at the bottom of the pot. Mind you, that's revulsion at the leaders and the elites in those churches, not the common man who just wants to be free of hand-to-mouth living, but yeah, yuck. I wish I had something more enlightening to say, but you can add your brilliant analysis in the comments.

Okay, no more sharing. EAP OUT!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Busy (Not-So Holiday) Weekend

So the visitors arrived and just before they did, Hubster found the Roomba filters in a quite logical place. Much eating of crow was done by yours truly, but all was well and the carpet was vacuumed. YAY! It was especially important when we discovered that the menfolk in the family were allergic to cats. Fortunately, both did well all weekend, although how they managed to avoid petting our adorable little deities is beyond me.

Our guests left us to our own devices Saturday for the daylight hours, but we tagged along as their "Tour Guides" for their Sunday tour of the National Mall including most of the monuments and stopping short of the capital on accounta kids. They had friends drive up from Richmond so we were a crew of 12, half kids and half adults. Big fun until the batteries wore out. Still, we had dinner at the Old Ebbitt Grill for the first time in ages, so it was worth all the complaints and discussions of school projects. We really had a great time. Of course, we've got the pictures to prove it:

I love this picture because, although it's speculation on my part, I can imagine that these men are either veterans or friends of veterans. I wonder what it's like to stand there, sixty years later, and share the experience together.

Hubster took this one at the apex of the Korean Memorial. Isn't he brilliant?

This is my youngest cousin interacting with the Vietnam Memorial. Those flaxen curls! Excuse me whilst I photoshop myself having blond curls. I'll be back. Probably in tears, but you know.

This is a lovely quote and image from the FDR Memorial. The integration of stone, water, metal, and words is really well done in this monument.

Aunt, Uncle, and kids all left Monday morning for home. I worked while Hubster watched MythBusters mere feet from me, so I get a gold star for being productive under duress. Mr. T and Southwest came over for dinner, bringing spinach artichoke dip, dessert, and an excellent Argentine Cabernet Savignon (Antigua Cava, 2004 - can't seem to find a link with more info, sorry). I made a Butternut, Rosemary and Blue Cheese Risotto, which was, frankly, scrum-diddily-um-dum-tious. It was also quite easy because you get to cheat on the liquid absorption - no standing and stirring while slowly feeding in liquid for twenty minutes. Southwest is a vegetarian, so I made it with vegetable instead of chicken broth. I also skipped the heavy cream and that was fine. Lastly, the store was out of fresh rosemary so I substituted sage like some of the other commenters, and it was good, although I'd like to try it with rosemary sometime, too. Keeper!

Now if you'll excuse me, my freshly cut fabric calls to me. It says "Maaake mee a puurse. Mmmmaaaake meeeeeeee a puuuuuurse!!!" I should heed the call before this rampant vowel abuse continues.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Domestic Crisis

In about five hours my uncle, aunt and three cousins are driving down from Conneticut to hang out and see the sights. So of course my house isn't ready for them.

Monday, in a bid not to procrastinate for a change, Hubster and I ran the Roomba overnight in the basement. The amount of dirt collected was mildly frightening, and the already used filter was unsalvageable. (Hubster would argue that filters are just a gimmick to keep you spending money, but he also thinks sheets need to be washed once a semester, so what does he know?) I threw it out with Monday's trash pickup and then started hunting for the rest of the replacement filters that came in the box which Hubster had moved to install the new cabinets.

He seems to have thrown them out.

I mean, it took me over a year to convince him to BUY the filters in the first place, and now we paid $15 for the one we used and we're out the rest. Lovely. No doubt our planet will sustain a nuclear winter before my husband resolves to buy those again.

But like I said, CAN'T TALK NOW TOTALLY GOTTA CLEAN. Good thing I don't have enough time to strangle my husband and hide the evidence!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Because ya'll are here for these anyway.

Little stretches out before curling up for a long, hard nap. Though, 'twould appear it's time to trim Her Pointiness' claws a bit methinks.

I particularly like one of the Tiny. It shows off her her beautiful fur. My old camera rarely captured any variation in it at all, but now you can see more of her true coloring and personality.

Her personality says, "what's with shoving things in my face?"

P.S. I am having a much better day today. Hubster was an absolute doll, I MEAN "STUD." He's helped me do all those piddily projects and been very encouraging and sweet. Also, hott. I enjoyed choir rehearsal tonight, too. I managed to acquit myself well on a soprano solo part, even maintaining a long high A all by my lonesome. Good thing I'll have a couple of other sopranos with me for the performance, though.

Okay, you've had your fix. You may return to your regularly scheduled surfing.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Listing Wednesday

This list brought to you by BadMood Erica - Now With More Grumbles!

1. Today was not a good day. I found out I double booked my boss for events. Horrendous error, and I haven't had many of them, but I am so very ready to drop this job like a bad habit, especially since the person taking it over is so capable she'll do MUCH better job than I am. The countdown reads something like two weeks. Praise the Maker, but BLECH what a day.

2. The story of the Amish schoolroom rampage has been in the headlines for days, but this USAToday article takes the cake. The entire mess is so horrible with the overtones of misogyny but the fact that he took advantage of the Amish, some of the most peaceful people on Earth, makes it positively sickening. God bless those grieving - including his wife who must be FREAKING OUT right now. Kyrie Eleison.

3. The E Coli Spinach Debacle, I know, I know, but this article talks about some different stuff. The author shines a light on bad agricultural practices and the other options available to us including eating local. It includes an honest discussion of the difficulties with those options, so it was illuminating. Check it out. Oh, and continuing with the crankiness theme, we're all gonna die of bad health food.

I'm tired so you only get three. And they're dark clouds on your day. Apologies. I'll try to be back to my usual sunny, scattered, and superfluous self by tomorrow.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Baby's First Pictures

My baby, it takes really good pictures:

Persephone preens prettily and poses perfectly.

Loki languidly lurches the length of the living room.

I call this one: Fun for the Whole Family. (Too bad the resize for blogger's upload makes the pinks/reds look like pixelated death!)

Leaves on a statue by Savage Mill.

Antique wrought iron, this season's falling leaves.

I love my baby!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

The (Big) Switcheroo

So, uh, I changed my mind.

Hubster found a fantastic deal on a D70s in MINT condition from a guy who'd had it for a year and used it very little. We still didn't have a lens for the 20D, so we returned the body, the batteries and we'll resell the charger (which we didn't even use), and now I have a (practically) brand new Nikon for $50 more than what we spent on the Canon body alone. And? IT'S GORGEOUS. He gave us a nice, multi-lens case and a not-so-nice tripod, along with all the usual kit amenities, including the kit lens. My bro had already given us his nice tripod anyway, so the whole shebang's gonna cost me fewer birthdays than I thought. The royal accountants are busily figuring that out right now. (Read: Hubster's deciding how much of a miser he wants to be - LOVE YOU, HONEY!)

Anyway, Hubster and I went out and shot with it today, and I had to prevent myself from swooning at every snap. I can't wait to check out the images! Coming soooooon.