Sunday, July 27, 2008

What's Up With Being a Cinema Chicken?

Let me just get this right out in the open:

I'm scared to see the new Batman movie.

For a couple of reasons.

First of all, the Joker is in it and I'm anti-clown. That's right, I'm a rabid anti-clownite and I'm not afraid to say it. Why am I anti-clown? Because clowns are just WRONG.

They walk funny, they have a tendency to exaggerate, they have questionable hygiene and they travel in tiny cars. They are intentionally misleading. They allow themselves to be in way too many bad oil paintings. They are related to mimes. (Don't get me started on mimes.) They are forever linked to calliope music.

I know they mock me behind my back.

Mostly, they are big fat fibbers with those painted faces that mask what they're really thinking and feeling. (Hey, if I want people wearing tons of make-up to lie to me, I can visit the cosmetic counter at Neiman-Marcus.)

So, starting from this position on clowns, let's add homicidal intent and the big screen and Dolby Surround-Sound...and what have you got? Sitting at home on my sofa on a Saturday night, nibbling on a Pop-Tart and watching reruns of Mayberry, R.F.D. (That Barney!)

Reason #2 that I won't be seeing the new Batman movie: I can't handle scary movies.

It all started when I was a little kid in Houston, hanging out in the house during the summer while my babysitter Leatrice made fried baloney sandwiches and ate salt from the palm of her hand. I watched a lot of TV in the summer (90 degrees + 98% humidity = instant human troll doll), flipping through our four network and two local stations. Which was how I ended up watching the movie about the creepy, murderous little ventriloquist's dummy who, sure, looked quite dapper with his little tuxedo and monocle and sprinkling of freckles across his button nose and WAIT, HE'S KILLING ME WITH A GINSU KNIFE!!!!

Ventriloquist dummies: clown-adjacent.

No one in our house slept for approximately one week after that.

I've missed many "great" movies over the years, like Psycho, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Nightmare on Elm Street and, of course, the grand daddy of them all: Silence of the Lambs. [shudder]

Not long ago, I happened to sit next to Anthony Hopkins at one of my favorite little breakfast places around here. He was gracious, charming and, my goodness, that man has some stunning blue eyes. I have to say, though, that as he tucked into his meal, I was relieved to note that none of his breakfast meats were still wearing, say, a watch or a wedding ring. And I haven't even seen the dang movie.

Now, I'm not a chicken all the way around. I can do things. I can ride a horse, perform on a stage, go off the high dive, drive on the 405. You know, the usual stuff. But the movies just get to me...I get sucked in and worked over.

So, as cool as the new Batman movie looks, I won't be seeing it. I mean, I thought I might give it a try until my friend the kickboxing trainer - who can kill a grown man with his pinkie toe - said that after he saw it, he spent the walk home from the theater nervously looking over his shoulder.

That was all I needed to hear. I can't go back to that place of not sleeping for a week. There already are enough people in this house up walking around in the middle of the night.

Geez, don't get me started on zombies.

Friday, July 25, 2008

What's Up With The Runaround?

This morning I have my treadmill stress test.

(For the background on the series of tests being done on my heart, please take a look at my post on LA Moms Blog.)

I'm pumped. This is going to be great.

I'm sure excitement is running high at Cedars-Sinai right now and preparations are in full swing. The technicians are buffing the chrome rails of the treadmill with lambskin cloths. Neon orange cones have been set out to protect my parking space from poachers. Fresh copies of Yacht Management and Highlights have been fanned out on a small table for my enjoyment.

But I have questions.
  • Should I bring my own copy of the "Chariots of Fire" soundtrack (which sounds uncannily like this) or will they provide one?

  • Will there be a qualified MT (massage therapist) standing by in the event of a calf cramp?

  • Will my suite have a whirlpool bath?

In the end, of course, I'm sure all the fretting and preparations will be worth it. And as I dash in slo-mo across that (rotating) finish line, smiling at the cheering doctors and nurses and brushing shimmering confetti from my tear-filled eyes, I will know that this brief journey has brought me one step closer to the ultimate challenge.

Completing the insurance paperwork.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

What's Up With The Fort Worth Crease?

So I'm reading NORWOOD by Charles Portis right now (excellent) and I run across a little passage describing the protagonist (the aforementioned Norwood) sitting on the back steps of his house wearing a black hat with a Fort Worth crease.

What's this? A Fort Worth crease? Qu'est-ce que c'est?

I go straight to Google (heard of it?) and slap "Fort Worth crease" into the search box and whoop! Hat crown heaven!

Now, from what I can tell, this is a Fort Worth crease:

According to my research, it's also called the "Hapalong." There are at least a dozen other specific crease names, including the Horseshoe, Rimrock, Centerfire and Two Dot. For the complete list, check out Dave Brown Hats. Good stuff there. According to tradition, the shape of your hat crown telegraphed your political stance to the rest of the world. A flat top crown announced that you held conservative, law-and-order (republican) or Monarchist views. Those at the liberal/democrat end of the spectrum wore rounded crowns. Every hat I had growing up had a Cattleman crown:

This included my favorite-ever navy blue felt hat that I wore to school on Go Texan Day in 4th grade - the same day we got to do special square-dancing on the blacktop and run across to the chain link fence on the far side of the soccer field to squint past the Katy Freeway and see the covered wagons and horses of the Salt Grass Trail Ride pass by on their way to kick off the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

The blue hat was special, too, because it was the first time I was allowed to have the little post card tucked in the inside band that read "Like Hell It's Yours! This hat belongs to:" with my named typed in all capitals on the manual typewriter behind the counter at Potter's Western Wear out in Columbus, Texas. It was kind of like this one:

I had a parent-approved card in my hat with a curse word on it. Clearly, I had crossed a threshold of some kind.

I never had another cowboy hat that I loved as much as that one. They steamed and blocked it right there in Potter's, turning the crown from a Hoss Cartwright into a cattleman before my eyes. I wore it as long as I could stand it (my melon was growing at a pretty rapid rate in those days) - until I'd still have a rather disturbing-looking crease of my own running across my forehead two days after I'd taken it off.

Now that I notice it, if I run my finger reeeeal gently up and down my forehead, I can still feel that crease.

What can I say? It's a dandy hat that makes a lifelong impression.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

What's Up With The Personal Stylist?

This is a little video that I made with the young 'uns as part of a montage for LA Moms Blog.

Many thanks to my daughter (who shot it), my son (who co-starred in it) and my husband (who often pretends he doesn't know us).

Monday, July 21, 2008

All Hail TV-B-GONE! (Product Un-Review)

Does this scenario sound familiar to you?

You're trying to relax at your favorite nail salon after an exhausting week of a) sheep shearing, b) kelp farming or, c) forwarding emails of heart-rending photo slideshows set to synthesizer that beseech you to take a moment out of your hectic day and consider that you've selfishly burned through every moment of your blessed life so far without a single thought for those around you...and you're just starting to get into the neck massage that you were bullied into buying off on BUT comes some lame-ass news show on the TV that's mounted up in the corner of the salon, cranked up to full volume and squawking about the soaring price of gas and the Middle East crisis and global warming and Lord knows what else and HELLO, CAN'T YOU PEOPLE SEE THAT I'M TRYING TO RELAX HERE?!?!

It can happen anywhere: ITVE. Involuntary TeleVision Exposure. At the airport. In the grocery line. At a restaurant.

Enough, already. If it's not "Mannix," I don't want it forced on me.

And now I don't have to put up with unwanted television buildup because I carry TV-B-GONE.

Seriously, this thing is cool. It's basically a tiny little universal remote that only turns TVs on and off. It'll "talk" to almost every TV in the US (there's also a Euro version) and it works from across the room.

I carry mine in my purse at all times (along with a lot of other things that I'm not going to tell you about) and, let me tell you, I have used it, most recently in the waiting room at the car repair place because I just couldn't take the fake-happy chatter of the morning co-anchors ONE MORE MINUTE. (No, I had not had my morning coffee yet. What's your point?)

But that's only one example of how TV-B-GONE can enhance your lifestyle. Here are a couple more:

Hate men? Park yourself at a sports bar on, say, NCAA finals night. Wait until the critical moment in the game, point your TV-B-GONE at the TV (it pays to be nonchalant here, ladies, and keep what you're doing on the down low)...aim...and...BZRT! TV's off! (If you're not sure how basketball works and hence unable to identify the crucial moment of the game, click here.)

Hate your roommates? Drive them insane wondering why the stupid TV malfunctions every time they sit down with a bag of pork rinds to watch "Petticoat Junction." BZRT!

Hate your smug newlywed friends? Save yourself and others from their insipid wedding video including the bonus footage of their cliched honeymoon cruise to Ensenada. BZRT!

Hate yourself? Allow yourself to get caught doing it.

Note: Team LJKGW's Product Un-Reviews are ALWAYS unpaid and unfettered by any obligation, financial or otherwise. We talk about stuff we like and/or find in our desk drawers around deadline time.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

What's Up With Trashcan-O-Vision?

Oh, man.

Now they're going to want one to watch at home, too.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

What's Up With Myorenda?

All right, so I've joined Have you seen this site? Am I the last to know about it? (That would be kind of embarrassing.) It's really quite lovely. The day flows along graphically in a wide timeline that reminds me of a river (probably because it's blue), and my little events/observations/ gripes/whatever appear in their appropriate little spot on the river of time (hey, that's pretty good) alongside my tiny little photo icon (more on that below) and my plurk nickname:


Huh? Myo-what?

OK, well, I'm one of those people who requires personal significance in all that I do. I will agonize for days before committing to a user id on eBay, a catchy Yahoo email address or even a four-digit ATM access code. If it is something that strangers will see, it can't give the impression that I am, for starters, uneducated, small-minded, boring, lacking in creativity, dishonest, skanky or kidding myself. (Note that "cheesy" is not on that list. I got no problem with cheesy.) If it's a private code (like a password), the issues are a little different: it needs to be clever to me and easy to remember. Needless to say, I spend a lot of time hitting that little link on most websites that says something like, "Forget your password?" (The "moron" is implied.)

So...back to I needed to come up with yet another nickname that all can see (if they go there). Argh. Cue the sizzling snap of scorched synapses as I squinted with creative effort at the ceiling.

Then I remembered the faded, unassuming book tucked away on one of my shelves: THEY HAVE A WORD FOR IT - A Lighthearted Lexicon of Untranslatable Words and Phrases by Howard Rheingold. I love this book. Each time I pull it off the shelf (not often enough), I find something amazing...and almost impossible to spell. Some examples:

razbliuto - A Russian noun that captures "the feeling a person has for someone he or she once loved but now does not." (Snap.)

mamihlapinatapei - A Tierra del Fuegan noun meaning "a meaningful look, shared by two people, expressing mutual unstated feelings." (Awww.)

koro - A Chinese noun meaning "the hysterical belief that one's penis is shrinking." (Does this happen so frequently that they needed a easy, four-letter handle for it?)

When I came upon the entry for this Huron word, I knew I was on to something:

orenda - "The power of voiced, focused will - the opposite of kismet or fate."

My orenda. My voiced, focused will. My little icon will not be tossed willy-nilly by the random whitecaps of the plurky river of time, no sir. It will frog-kick its determined little way past rocks, around discarded cans of Mr. Pibb and through forbidding currents to reach its desired destinations (the details of which I will spare you at this time).

As for the photo icon that accompanies my plurk nickname...well, that was just random.