Archive for February, 2007

Babble Babble Kerflop

Wednesday, February 28th, 2007

hydro.jpgFor those who care, got here, smooth flight next to nice couple my age. Navigated the BART without a hitch including getting *to* the BART so 😛 to any doubting Thomases. You know who you are. Culture shock. And shell-shocked. I *hope* I can make myself get a little nap. I’ve never been a good napper. Well, except for those cool, sunny, windy kinds of days on the beach. Random image captured by Zombie Woman.

Baggies and Plastic Sequins

Wednesday, February 28th, 2007

“They won’t let you take certain types of makeup (lipstick, etc.) on flights now, it’s part of the liquids ban.” So wrote Val. My meager little supply of makeup made it through with flying colors. I haven’t worn lickstick since I became a *serious* flootist back in about 7th grade. I was a little nervous at the last minute about the sequins on my skirt but I think sequins are made out of plastic these days and they did not set off any alarms. The biggest problem was scrambling around getting my shoes and sweater (metallic zipper, remembered that at the last minute) back on and my Macbook repacked. I suppose maybe I could put my gold chains back on now. Chill out, Kayak Woman.

Say What?

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007

Okay, hopefully my blahg is so obscure that nobody from the gov’t’ll find it and kick me off my flight tomorrow but say what? There are these little videos on the tsa site (scroll down) that supposedly illustrate a “business” woman and man putting things into the security screening bins. The woman puts in her little baggie of make-up and crap. The man puts in his little baggie and THEN, he also puts in a LAPTOP COMPUTER! C’mon you guys, this is 2007. I *wish* I could call myself a “business woman” but I don’t have any paying gigs at the moment. I *do* have a baggie but there’s almost *nothing* in it. And I *also* have a laptop computer! I’ll bet I’ve been schleppin’ one o’ those around longer than a lotta men! So, is the “business” *woman* going to do her business presentation with the aid of her little baggie of cosmetics? I suppose you could use a mascara wand as a pointer or whatever. Kee-reist!!!

(tsa, if you find my obscure little site, don’t kick me off my flight, HIRE me to help you with your website content!!!)

Space Case

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007
  • I think I am packed.
  • Except for my electronical crap.
  • I have my baggie.
  • I have the clothes I’m going to *wear* tomorrow all figured out.
  • I am *not* taking my ratty old ski jacket.
  • Or my 50-cent mismatched KMart knit gloves.
  • I do have a couple of books.
  • I *think* the rolling contraption I have packed in will qualify as a carryon.
  • And it has a case inside it which looks just about the right size for a laptop computer.
  • Apparently I can take a laptop case aboard in addition to my carryon.
  • I am traveling really, really light.
  • If I forget anything, I will just use my debit card when I get out there.
  • That’s what debit cards are for.
  • Unless I forget my Macbook.
  • But I won’t.
  • I am working up the courage to print out my eticket from home.
  • Hoping that I don’t screw it up somehow.
  • And I am reviewing the detailed instructions I have for taking the BART.
  • I do not mind winter in Michigan.
  • It is how it is.
  • You just deal with it however you can.
  • And ski when you get the chance.
  • But I find myself looking forward to a few days in another kind of climate.
  • One where I won’t need my ratty old ski jacket.
  • If this week’s forecast is accurate for The Planet Ann Arbor, I don’t think I’ll miss anything.

Gimme a Break!

Monday, February 26th, 2007

socks.jpgOh wait! I am *on* a break! It is my school spring break. So that’s why I am working like a dog trying to get all of my homework and projects done. Or at least I am *talking* about working like a dog trying to get all of my homework and projects done. The problem is that I keep getting distracted. Looking up what time I have to be at Metro on Wednesday morning. Figuring out what I need to take and what to pack it in. Wondering if that awkward rolling luggage contraption of the GG’s can be carried on. Reading up on security stuff and wondering if my shoes or my glasses or, what the heck, the silver in some of my teeth will set off alarms. And what to do with my computer and my phone and my camera and all of the associated plugins that go with them. And how to take the BART to Berkeley once I get out there so I can save The Lizard the trouble of shuttling across town to pick me up.

And I’m feeling kind of rocky today. Not the full-tilt-boogie, flat on your back sucking ice cubes on the couch that’s fifteen feet away from the blue toilet kind of rocky. More like I ate too much and drank too much coffee. The coffee was yesterday but I’m still feeling it. The food was this morning when I met Sandy for breakfast. I’ve had bacon on the brain ever since I read Sam’s carbonara entry, so I ordered a pretty standard egg/bacon breakfast. It was good and I’m sure there was nothing wrong with it. It was just toooo much, even though I didn’t come close to finishing it. And I drank decaf. But a bowl of dry Cheerios would’ve been a better choice today. And then there’s the fact that I haven’t walked in a few days. Because I’ve been trying to use every spare moment in the day to work on homework. I know that I function best on a *lot* of exercise, so this is not a good thing. Today I am going to go for my usual afternoon walk homework be damned and I bet I’ll feel a whole lot better by the time I get back.

At least I am not traveling to Africa for two months and having to make decisions about whether or not to take a headlamp and other assorted potentially useful items. Speaking of Africa, Aimée leaves today, headlamp in hand if it stayed in the packing corner long enough to make the final packing list. Bon voyage!!! Makes my fussing and fiddling around about my short little hop seem pretty ridiculous in comparison.

Ten Minutes

Sunday, February 25th, 2007

It did not look good. The play that Mouse directed this quarter was in performance this afternoon and just when we were about to leave for Kalamazoo this morning, the sky started to pelt ice at us. *Lots* of it, not just the occasional pellet or two. I thought we were crazy to even go over there and rather vociferously expressed that sentiment but I did still get in the vee-hickle. Slush and water and ice flung various vee-hickles into the ditches and median until we got past Jackson and then, mercifully, it was just wet. Very wet but not icy. On the way home, things were mostly just wet and sloppy. That is, until we hit the Grass Lake area and it was so dark I actually entertained a fleeting thought that the world might be ending. There was a also pervasive smell of smoke in the air, we both noticed it. What was it? It wasn’t our vee-hickle and it was almost wood-smoky. I spotted a fire engine slowly making its way along the ice covered surface road adjacent to the freeway and then a structure completely engulfed in flames. We couldn’t tell what it was. The GG guessed possibly a McMansion-style home. Anyway, back to *our* home. Tired and too much caffeine today. Wish I had one o’ them thar fake logs to burn tonight. Grocery list.

The plays were really fun though! There were seven ten-minute student-written plays, each directed by a student, a different student than who wrote the play. I could identify with the play Mouse directed, Mrs. Ballen’s Cardboard Box. It was about a family who took a small boat, prob’ly a pontoon boat judging by the coolers on board, out onto some body of water to dispatch someone’s ashes. Hmmm, been there done that! I bet our little kayak adventure to dump some of Jim’s ashes out by the Pickle Finger would make a good play. Complete with a close encounter with a lake freighter, the St. Clair, to be specific. In hindsight, I bet my bro’ had a hand in that adventure. A year later when we had more ashes to deploy, The Commander decreed that there would be no further ash-dumping expotitions to the Pickle Finger. A much earlier episode to scatter Duke’s ashes might also provide some play-writing material. I wasn’t present on that one but, from what I’ve heard, it involved a canoe and some of Gitchee Gumee’s best breakers. And an apparent intervention by Duke, who always loved a good water adventure, particularly when it was happening to someone else! I’ll have to blahg some of that stuff some day.

All in all, today was a fun day. Ten-minute plays are just perfect for my attention span. I have never been that good at sitting in a dark theatre with nothing to keep my hands/brain busy. The Winter’s Tale was probably the worst. Three dern hours and my older daughter had a leading role so I had to watch it. This stuff always sounds strange to those who know that I spent about a gazillion years working for/with a theatre guild. “But *how* could you be involved with “the theatah” if you don’t like to watch plays?” In those days, I was always on the move. Backstage laughing with Madame Producer or working the box office or schmoozing with the parents, etc. I’d sneak into the back of the theatre and watch my kids do their parts.

Liz, I forgot to tell you on the phone that I *did* get flowers for Mouse. And, y’all, if you want to read about a truly successful day, one in a million style, check out Karen’s blahg for yesterday. Nice to reconnect with my bro’s old and dear friend Matt and his wife.

Earthquakes and Cyclonic Storms

Saturday, February 24th, 2007

3.4 on the Richter Scale. My grandmother* Bolette once told me a little story about her childhood. The gist of the story was that her early childhood was spent in Iowa, where there are some pretty good tornadoes. The family moved to California at some point and of course there are earthquakes out there. Duh.

Eventually, her dad (who I *think* was some sort of preacher, MacMullan folk please correct me if I’m wrong) had an opportunity to move to the Detroit area. The family was pretty happy about that. No earthquakes or cyclonic storms! But during the first year they lived in Detroit, they experienced *both* an earthquake and a cyclonic storm.

Around here earthquakes are pretty wimpy. I’ve experienced one or two. I would think, why is it taking that big mac truck so long to drive by my house? Tornadoes? Huge F5 ones are rare but we’ve had some pretty scary storms. In Michigan, it’s difficult for a tornado to gain the momentum that it might get traveling across one of the big flat western states. But we do get some killers. I don’t like tornadoes. I’ve been in one. In my car. They are not fun.

* The Commander’s mom was Emily, who I am named after (middle name). She died at a young age (forties) in a car accident. It was the Christmas season and The Comm was almost 16. The Comm’s dad, “Funny Grandaddy” (I used to call him that when I was a little kid) married Bolette a year or two or three or whatever before I was born. Bolette always treated me as if I were a real person, not just a stoopid little kid and I loved her.


Friday, February 23rd, 2007
California report:

Received a rather explosively frog-hued package this afternoon. Couldn’t understand the strange noises coming from the back room of the post office until I got it home and opened.

Earthquake around 3:45 – 3.4 on the Richter scale. Have not yet found a better way to ascertain that I am a Michigan girl through and through. Boss’s eldest daughter (visiting from New York) was heard to say “It does feel a little different when you have a baby to worry about. Hm, bet that one was about a five.”
Lot’s o’ love!

P.S. Excited to visit now, mama? Mouse?

Imelda Marcos Lives Here

Friday, February 23rd, 2007

chacos.jpgIt was time! The Commander will be overjoyed to know that I bought new sandals the other day. Boy what an ordeal. I went to Bivouac and the young whippersnapper clerk was nice enough but why the heck can I not buy a new pair of sandals without going through a whole bunch of technical crapola. I’m gonna *walk* in these shoes. It’s a low-tech activity. I’ve been buying Tevas for about the last umpteen gazillion years and they’ve always been just fine, well except when I totally wear them out like I did with my most recent pair. Now all of a sudden they are apparently passé, replaced with Chaos Chacos and Keens and what-not. I was subjected to a long discourse on the springiness (or whatever) of each brand’s sole and forced to test them all out with my hand. I could tell a difference but I could not for the life of me figure out whether it would have anything to do with my feet! I think he liked the Keens the best. I didn’t share his opinion. They had closed toes. I like my toes to be flapping in the breeze. I’m so hard-core that Rifka once kicked me out of the set shop at STAC for wearing sandals in there. I’m the one who used to harass the set construction folks about making sure they wore closed-toed shoes in there. Anyway, after a bunch of futzing around that I can’t even begin to describe, I settled on some Chacos. I put them on. Whippersnapper had to go and talk to the *manager* because he didn’t think they *fit* me right! Something about my instep being too high. WTF? *Maybe* it was because I was wearing great big thick polartech socks.

Anyway, I now have four pairs of shoes: my new Chacos, some cute little black shoes with beads, “dress” sandals The Comm sent me once, and green sequined flip-flops. I think a male Imelda Marcos is filling up the other 7/8ths of the closet with shoes.

And the Chacos fit me just fine and I love walking in them. So there.

Oops. I have *five* pairs of shoes. Forgot about the purple crocs standing at the ready by the back door.

Africa Bound

Thursday, February 22nd, 2007

I haven’t been told this in any official capacity but according to Mouse’s blahg, her application to spend a semester abroad in Senegal next year has been accepted. Not that I thought that it wouldn’t be since she is anything but a screw-off at school. I do not know any of the details at this time. She’ll be leaving in the fall, that is all. If you want to know more, check with her. 😉

Another traveler to Africa leaves in the near future. My cousin Aimée is taking off soon to Zimbabwe and other points. She’s an accomplished mbira player (she plays a good assortment of other musical instruments too) but that’s not her only reason for heading over there. Grok grok GROK! No, Froog, you *definitely* cannot go to Zimbabwe! Kee-reist! Just settle down there in your laundry basket!

Anyway, African-bound gals? You go!!!

All the leaves are brown (doo doo-doo-doo doo-doo) and the sky is gray (and the sky is gray-ay)

Wednesday, February 21st, 2007

Okay, I may not be gonna make it to China this year. But next week I am going to break my long-time travel routine of bouncing up and down the I75 SUV Speedway from The Planet Ann Arbor to da Yoop (say “ya”, eh?) and head out to Cally-forny. grokgrokgrokGROK!!! Excuse me a minute. (No, Froog, you canNOT come with me. I am traveling *light* this trip. Okay?) Sorry about that little interruption.

Anyway, I am charged with researching the San Francisco area and coming up with some things to do “so we’re not going ‘uuuuuuh’ when we’re trying to decide what to do every day. ok?” So, I will do some research. But I’m also asking y’all if you have any favorite things to do out there on the left coast. In the Berkeley/SF area primarily. We won’t have time for any major expotitions to distant parts of the state. Heck, just getting me *out* to the left coast is about like moving a mountain.

The one activity we have planned already is a drive up the coast and that’s absolutely one of my favorite kinds of things to do since I love hanging around by big water. I am really not much of a shopper. Maybe later this week I’ll blahg about the little shopping adventure I had this morning. I know that the Gumper’s old ship The Hornet is out there. Honestly, growing up with Grandroobly meant spending a good share of my childhood touring old World War II airplanes and boats and submarines and things. Air show at Kincheloe? Destroyer moored below the locks? And a few lake freighters thrown in there too. Let’s go! Not. I’ll throw a salute to the Gumper but I’ll probably skip the boat. My favorite things to do involve being outside moving around. Lots of walking, etc., nothing extreme, no ice climbing or anything like that. I don’t like to sit, although I have been known to slug around on the beach or in the coffee shop or, oh you know, in front of the computer.

So, any ideas? What are *your* favorite things to do? Dum de dum de dum. Grok grok grok. Oh no. What could *he* be planning? Green Guy, watch for him!

Out! Grok grok!

Tuesday, February 20th, 2007

Grok grok! This is ree-dickyoulus! Ol’ Baggy is outta milk, orangutang jooce, ‘n’ frog jooce all at once. ‘n’ she fired me from ‘er prodject ‘n’ she sez I can’t go t’ Callyforny! I shouldda stayed up there with th’ ol’ Commander.

Wham! Wham! Wham-wham! Wham!

Monday, February 19th, 2007

Don’t mind me. I’m just beating my head on about six different walls right now! Check back tomorrow!

February 18th Trivia

Sunday, February 18th, 2007

Okay, first things first! Happy belated birthday to one of my favorite cuzzints: Jane! Late AGAIN!!! Her birthday was the 13th. She’s 8 years younger than I am, you do the math. Happy birthday TODAY!!! to Karen! A few years older than Jane, not too many though. And, do NOT neglect to scroll down and read the first entry from my newest guest blahgger, none other than The Commander herself. She asked if she could blahg any time she wanted and I told her of course she could but if she started blahgging ten times a day, I’d kick her off.

I don’t have a lot to say since I have been futzing around all weekend learning a new technology (for me), namely Flash, and hanging around with The Commander. And skiing, etc. Here are pics from two of our adventures: driving downriver along Grandroobly’s favoritest roads and skiing the Algonquin trails. And, for those who want to know, the Algonquin trails are just about cross-country skiing’s best, at least for those of us who are mainly into a quick morning or afternoon ski. Eight miles total (you can do shorter loops but we did the eight) of gently rolling hills. You are always going up and down but not extremely so and with the snow we have right now, there’s plenty of chance for gliding in between. All in all, when you are in condition for that many miles (and it takes me about two days to get there) it is a beautiful and fast ski. And it is only a few miles down the street, so to speak, from The Commander’s house. We can ski it in two hours, which gives her a nice little break from us.

Click the pics for slideshows: warning, they are in Flash, you may need Flash player 8. I’m experimentating!

B Flat

Sunday, February 18th, 2007

Not being a musician I thought B flat might mean go take a nap, or sit down and think, or don’t fall on the ice. No, it’s a lot more complicated than that, so I think I WILL go and TAKE a nap………..zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. No. 1 blagh

Octohouse Convo

Saturday, February 17th, 2007

“Would you like some quiche for dinner?”

“We didn’t eat lunch yet.”

“Oh, you already had lunch?”

Yeah, I know. You had to be here. 🙄

Burpin’ Tregurtha in B Flat

Friday, February 16th, 2007

“Alligators.” That’s the first thing that came to mind when they started talking on NPR about the universality of musical note pitches that belong to the class commonly known as b-flat. I once read a news story about the alligators in some guy’s basement. His wife’s sewing machine operated at a b-flat pitch and every time she ran it, the ‘gators would start bellowing up a storm. Yes, I really did read that somewhere.

I have a long history of my own with b-flat. When you are in a wind band, that’s the pitch that the instruments usually tune to. Orchestras and some of the snootier flootists (and other musicians) tune to A. 440 or 442. Take yer pick! And there are no less than three stable, commonly used fingerings for b-flat on the flute. Just another bit of trivia.

According to the NPR story, b-flat is now showing up all over the universe. A black hole has been emitting a great big, trenormous b-flat 57 octaves below the b-flat just below middle c on the piano for the last umpteen billion years. Sorry, I can’t duplicate that one for you with GarageBand. A stairwell hi-jacks a humming piano tuner’s b-flat and echoes it for minutes after the tuner stops humming. Scientists study whether the noises that accompany various bodily functions occupy a b-flat spot on the spectrum of pitch. And, yes, alligators really do bellow upon hearing b-flat. Not g-sharp or c-flat or d or any other note.

When I was a kid and first learned about atoms, I used to sit around and wonder if the solar system was an atom within a molecule that was in turn a part of some unimaginably gigantic person somewhere. And conversely, what if each atom in my body was actually a little solar system with planets in it with people on them. So, what if b-flat is the basis of the universe? Is there some gargantuan entity somewhere playing a big piano and we exist because he’s currently playing a b-flat? What if that b-flat is part of a run of thirty-second notes and what happens when he switches to the c or a or whatever note follows it? Do we disappear in a big poof of smoke? Or do all the rules of physics that operate in our universe switch instantaneously to something we can’t even imagine? Which might effectively mean we disappear in a big poof of smoke. What about parallel universes? Do they operate on a different note? g-sharp maybe? Yikes, that might be an interesting place!

And, finally, the big question. When you burp Tregurtha, does it come out in b-flat? Anyone know? Sounds like a good experiment for a bunch of trombone players to me!

klutzy mom is here again

Thursday, February 15th, 2007

It wasn’t the most terrible day on record but it was more or less non-stop and too much of it was *not* spent doing homework. I hope it wasn’t my Flash project that made the teacher’s computer start making that loud mooing kind of noise. Because my Flash project was the last project to play before the noise started. When I first got to class, I was terrified to realize that the teacher was planning to play each student’s project in class but overall I understand what she was trying to accomplish and I enjoyed watching other students’ animations. We have some amazing artists in that class and I can’t anywhere in my dreams, hmmmmm, approach their level on the visual side. They did some mindboggling things with very little knowledge of Flash. But I did have sound in mine. But then there was that mooing noise. So. I got out of class and then I had a whole bunch of little nit-picky errands to do: put gas into two vee-hickles, pick up dry-cleaning, mail a letter, buy booze. Laundry and packing and a little bit of homeworky type stuff, but after something like eight days of doing nothing but homework, my brain just plain shut down on that stuff. I guess I just needed a break for a few hours. I hope it doesn’t end up biting me in the you-know-what, but it prob’ly will. Fed my favorite cats, Sarah and Jacob, got back in the car and headed over for my night class. Oh, wait! I had planned to drive the salt-encrusted green vee-hickle over there but when I got about half-way there, I came to the shocking realization that I was in the cute little blue vee-hickle. It’s Thursday and Thursday is when I have a morning class and an evening class and a lotta time in between. Therefore, it’s late and I am a basket case. And yes, this is boring and all of you, when you take your car to one of those quick oil change people, do *not* let them sell you anything you don’t need!!!!!! If your car was running fine when you took it in, you definitely don’t need anything more than an oil change.

Happy Birthday, Grandma Sally!

Wednesday, February 14th, 2007

A much better holiday than Valentine’s Day!

Fire Drill

Wednesday, February 14th, 2007

Two out of the three Landfill vee-hickles are in dire need of gasoline. One of those two (the cute little blue one) cannot currently be filled up because I cannot get the door to the gas cap open. It feels like the lever doesn’t work. Is it frozen? I don’t know. It could be. The salt-encrusted green vee-hickle is also out of gas but I *think* I can open the door to the gas cap. I have no idea whether The Indefatigable needs gasoline because the gas gauge hasn’t worked in a couple years. So the firedrill was:

  • Put on a whole bunch of winter gear including ski band, scarf, snowboots, and gloves.
  • Double-check to make sure there are *two* keys to each vee-hickle in the basket. Just in case those vee-hickles randomly decide to lock themselves while they’re sitting out there running to heat up the windows and melt some ice.
  • Grab a key to each vee-hickle.
  • Start the salt-encrusted green vee-hickle, turn the front and rear defroggers on and crank up the heat.
  • Start the cute little blue vee-hickle, turn the front and rear defroggers on and crank up the heat.
  • Shovel the sidewalk, part of the driveway, and the next-door neighbor’s sidewalk.
  • Brush a few inches of snow off of the windows of each vee-hickle with a broom.
  • Back the cute little blue vee-hickle out into the snow-filled street.
  • Put the flashers on in the cute little blue vee-hickle and leave it running in the snow-filled street.
  • Run up the partially shoveled driveway to the salt-encrusted green vee-hickle.
  • Back the salt-encrusted green vee-hickle out into the snow-filled street.
  • Put the flashers on in the salt-encrusted green vee-hickle and leave it running in the snow-filled street.
  • Run through the snow-filled street back to the cute little blue vee-hickle.
  • Drive the cute little blue vee-hickle up the partially shoveled driveway, shut it off and lock it.
  • Run down the partially shoveled driveway.
  • Get into the salt-encrusted green vee-hickle and slide and slither off down the snow-filled street.

I’ll be laughing about this by about an hour from now, I know. But at the moment, I just feel stressed out and tired. And we won’t talk about some of the other firedrills encountered today.