Friday, October 30, 2009

Kindle: First Impressions

Well, let me say that I was pretty much dancing on the sidewalk as the Fed Ex lady walked up the path. Unfortunately, she got here just before the kids got home, and we had a school carnival to attend before I could settle in and fiddle with it.

Since then, I have done a little fiddling. So far, the screen seems good. I know that some people have complained that it's too grey. For my taste, I think a bit more contrast might be good, but I know that too much contrast can be hard on the eyes even if it seems easier to read, so I'm okay with it.

It's awesome for instant gratification. Want a book? You can get it in 60 seconds. Also, I downloaded a two-week trial of the New Yorker, and it allows me to go straight to the cartoons and scroll through them.

I do, however, feel a lack of orientation. When I start to read something on the Kindle, I don't get a look at the cover. So far, it seems to me that the cover of the book doesn't download with the book. Instead, the Kindle shoots you straight to the first page of text. You can skip back to the title page, etc., but I haven't been able to go to a cover. Similarly, with the New Yorker, I haven't found a way to just look at the Table of Contents page. Maybe it's there, but I haven't found it yet. I know that the page numbers would be moot, but I still would like the orientation aspect.

Typically, when I pick up a text, the cover, color, size, and texture all serve to cue my brain to what I'm getting ready to read. In contrast, the Kindle plops me right into the writing, and it's hard to make the mental shift to what I'm reading. Perhaps this will come in time. Nevertheless, I do wonder why the Kindle doesn't flash the cover before it takes me back to my reading page. It would be a great cue to my brain.

More feedback to come as I actually start to read books on it . . .

edit:// Okay. I spoke to soon. I found a way to display the cover and the TOC. Yay! I really like the way the grey scale images look--like beautiful sketches or something.

Scary Movies

We're talking about Scary Movies over at Ink's place. Here are some that top my list:

Burnt Offerings (1976)
Tesis (1996)
Halloween (1978)
Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

perhaps Salem's Lot (1979)? I liked The Others a lot, too. I don't know if was the scariest, but it had a great balance of the creepy, the scary, the beautiful, and the mysterious.

and the hand movie that I mentioned in the previous post--perhaps it was The Beast with Five Fingers (1946)?

What am I forgetting?

And perhaps I should make another list: Movies that were so scary I didn't see them.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Bits and Pieces

  • Had a mammogram today; happy birthday to me! This is my first post-40 mammo, but I had two others in my early adult years because of a lump (which turned out to be nothing). But I am pleased to report they don't really hurt anymore. The one I had today was barely even uncomfortable. Of course, that could be because my bubbies (which are the smallest anyone has ever seen--even smaller than Kate Hudson's) are much more, shall we say, squishable than they were before I nursed two children.
  • I got carded at the grocery store yesterday!
  • I ordered a Kindle, and it arrives today. I never thought I would want one, and then, suddenly, I wanted one very badly. Hubby got it for me for my birthday. I am very excited, and I hope that I love it.
  • I bought some Dansko boots today (thanks, Mom!), and they are very "kicky."
  • I love what Inktopia is doing over at her place (favorite scary books and movies). Check it out! Mwuahahahaaaaaa . . . .
  • Does anybody remember the Sammy Terry TV program that showed scary movies? Do you remember the one about the hand that crept around the scary house? Gawd. I couldn't go to the toilet by myself for days.

Monday, October 26, 2009

From the Mouth of Someone Else's Babe

At the school playground on Sunday, my kids were playing with a couple of other kids. One of them, a little three-year-old boy, found two army men in the grass.

My Girl: Hey, those are from Toy Story!

The little boy: No.

My Girl: Yes.

The little boy: No.

Me: Oh, yeah, sweetie that's right. A whole group of army men like that green one. Good memory!

Boy: Unh-unh.

Me: Yes, I think so.

Boy: No they weren't, WOMAN. You IDIOT.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

How I Can Tell I'm Older (if not Totally Old)

  • It's hard to read small print close up.
  • Sometimes kids guess my age to be 65 or 70.
  • My hips ache after I sit on the couch for more than 25 minutes.
  • I am never carded.
  • I need yearly mammograms.
  • My students, in evaluations, sometimes call me a "nice lady."
  • Rich foods cause me GI trouble.
  • I love NPR and PBS.
  • Leaving the house after 8:00pm feels so strange.
  • I think a lot about retirement (even though it's probably over 20 years away).
  • The other night, I was brushing my teeth, and I couldn't remember whether or not I had peed right before I brushed my teeth. Only about 90 seconds had passed, and I could not remember. I had to just sit on the toilet and try again in order to find out.
  • I'm turning over 40 this week.

I am sure there are more things. But since it's past 10:00pm and I'm old, I can't remember the other things.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Conference Bound

Dear Conference Panel Leader,

Thank you SO much for accepting my paper within 24 hours of me sending you the proposal. Such great turn around! And thank you for saying you are enthusiastic about my paper.

What you don't know is that it's been about 11 years since I've presented a conference paper, and there's still a lot I don't know about my area of study.

So, now I will start researching the topic in earnest so that I can write a decent paper and avoid being the ignorant asshat who drives your panel into the ground.

Thanks again!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

On Two Wheels!

The Boy rode his bike without training wheels for the first time today! Woohoo!

I wasn't there, but thank God hubby made a video (while also spotting the boy, which is impressive).

When I got home, did the boy jump up and down and brag? No.

Boy: Mom, guess what?!

Me: What?!

Boy: I found a baby walking stick!

Me: Cool!

Boy: [gives details of finding bug]

Me: How was bike riding?

Boy: Great. I rode without training wheels.

Me: Really?

Boy: Yes.

Girl: He did! I saw him!

Me: That's so great!

Boy: Come see my bug!

He clearly was not as impressed as his parents were. He decided to do it, and now it's done. No big deal. For him, that is.

He's six, and it took him a while to get into bike riding. He has always cared much more about fishing and visiting tide pools. Once he started riding with the training wheels, we'd see all kinds of younger kids riding without them. We tried not to push him, told it was no big deal. Secretly, we wondered if we should push him.

We are now feeling much more comfortable with the reality that the Boy will do things when he's ready. Swimming, bike riding--they come in time. The same will happen for other necessary milestones, I'm sure. Like reading and surfing.

Happy bike riding everyone!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Out of the Office

I have a guest post over at T30SB today. Stop by over there if you feel like it.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The God-Pod

Let's move on from that last post, shall we? I've realized that the title is very disturbing.

So, over a year ago, my husband helped his friend move. As a result, he received an old i-Pod from his friend's fiance. It had belonged to her old boyfriend, and she didn't want it anymore because didn't suit her tastes and because it was an unnecessary reminder of the ex.

This i-Pod has over 3,000 songs, and my husband dubbed it the God-Pod because of the quantity of songs along with the nature of the music. We have found it to be a great road trip companion.

Just today, as I drove into town (to bring in hubby's leather satchel, which he left by the front door) and back, the following artists popped up on shuffle play:

Elton John
The Presidents of the United States of America
Michael Jackson
Alice in Chains
Elvis Costello
English Beat
Neil Young (live)
Rod Stewart
The Go-Gos
Lucinda Williams
Quiet Riot
Culture Club
Escape Club

I'm forgetting some of the others, and it's worth mentioning that I skipped some of the songs (but I did not skip Quiet Riot, oh no I did not). That is one problem with the God-Pod: you sometimes have to skip stuff. But occasionally, I'll be driving along and, suddenly, T'Pau is playing, and I'm like, "OMG, it's T'Pau!"

The other problem is that it doesn't seem to have much music from the past 10 years. But if you went to high school in the 80s? You'd love the G-Pod.

Finally, does this picture of Quiet Riot (circa 2002) disturb you as it does me?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Oatmeal, Tomatos, and Vaginas

Well, here I am, at the coffee shop, with at least seven hours ahead of me to read and write! Yee-ha! Of course, I am starting off with procrastination-by-blogging. I have three unrelated things to tell you, so blog unity is now out the window.

1. I am eating oatmeal (with milk, raisins, and brown sugar) and drinking a chai latte. These things make me happy (although there is slight sugar overkill, so I will seek out something savory for lunch).

2. I haven't blogged much about my sustainability/simplicity enterprise. With all of the travel and preparations for TSB's wedding, home and hearth haven't been in the forefront. But soon, I will post a few photos of my very meager harvest. You will be impressed by it's meagerness.

3. Conversation over crafts yesterday afternoon:

Me to Hubby: It's going to take me a while to figure out what the heck I'm doing [not sure what I was talking about--could have been anything].

Girl: You said, "What the heck."

Me: Yes, I did.

Girl: You could say, "Holy Vagina!"

Hubby: [Laughter}

Me: Yes, I suppose I could.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Moon Pies and Marriage

I just ate a Moon Pie. The only bad thing about my Moon Pie was that it was a mini-Moon Pie. I wish I had more.

I got the Moon Pie pie from one of the Out-of-Town bags (fondly known as OOT bags) lovingly prepared by the Thirty-Something Bride for her OOT guests. As we check into the hotel, were were given the OOT bag, which contained all manners of schwag, the best of which was the bottled water and the Moon Pie. There was only one Moon Pie, so I kept it for myself, saving it for today when I was home alone while the kiddies are at school and the hubby is at work. Don't feel bad for them. They have never had a Moon Pie and have no idea that they have missed something grand.

The wedding was absolutely fabulous, and I did my best to serve the beautiful bride as her MOH (a.k.a. Matron of Honor, or "Mo" if you prefer). Mostly, it was just great to see her wedded to her tall, charming, and funny Southern man--to see her so happy.

As for the travel with the kids? They were fantastic and totally up to the challenge. Granted, their brains have turned into a yellow, spongy matter from all of the Sponge Bob they watched, but that's really not so different from the pre-Sponge Bob state of their brains, so I guess they are fine. Oh, and there was also all that candy. And now I'm thinking about this.

Tomorrow, I begin dissertation work in earnest. I mean it. I have two months to crank out a chapter (after I research it first), draft an article, submit and write a conference paper*, and generally figure out what the hell I'm doing. Sounds promising, no?

And now I have to leave my cozy little Moon Pie moment and face the coastal winter storm (i.e., rain and wind) to go gather my little ones from their respective schools. Although I love seeing their little faces when I pick them up, I wish I could hunker down for a few hours of rainy day research. But that will have to wait for tomorrow.

*Although if it is not accepted, I won't have to write it. Sounds win-win to me!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Rites of Passage

Today I will drive 3.5 hours to LA, in rush hour traffic, with my two kids. They will have no one to hand them snacks, get out the art supplies, or pause the Pink Panther DVD, as I will be driving 75-80 mph on the 101 and the 405. And I am not stopping every 15 minutes, so I have advised them that they will need to be self sufficient. They will need to be like Survivorman in the backseat of the car.

Tomorrow the three of us will fly to Nashville for Thirty-Something Bride's wedding, and I will be flying solo with the chirren (Southern speak for "children"). I have purchased an entire season of Sponge Bob on DVD, and I have a portable DVD player with two sets of earbuds. Since the kids don't have cable, and they haven't seen Sponge Bob since summer, it should work wonders on the long flight.*

Hubby will follow us on Saturday.

We're all very excited about the wedding although the boy is a little apprehensive about all of the kissing that might be going on, along with having to stand around and get "shhhed" a lot. But I have given him some indication of the centerpieces at the kids table although they have not seen this picture:

As for me, I've been focused on last minute shopping and packing. It's not easy to pack for six days for three people who need a variety of casual, dressy, and formal clothing (I am the MOH, the girl is the Flower Girl, and the boy wants to "dress like the President")--in suitcases that I must be able carry by myself while keeping hold of my kids in the airport!

As for the flight itself, I have purchased an entire season of Sponge Bob on DVD, and I have a portable DVD player with two sets of earbuds. Since the kids don't have cable, and they haven't seen Sponge Bob since summer, it should work wonders on the long flight.

Time for me to get cracking! Three hours and counting before departure and our grand wedding adventure! It will be great to get there and begin the festivities for Thirty-Something Bride and the Candyman. Woo-hoo, y'all! Time for someone to get hitched.

*As for those of you who would attempt this adventure without such entertainment, you are clearly beyond the "good enough" realm of motherhood and in some other realm--a realm of which I have no understanding, a realm in which I have no ability.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Vaginas, Again

At dinner:

Girl: Mom, how did I get out of you?

Me: Um, well, mommies have a little tunnel and--

Girl: Did I come out of your butt?

Me: No, girls have a tunnel between the butt and where you pee. That tunnel is where babies come out.

Girl: I'm afraid a baby is going to shoot out of my vagina!!! [with lots of hand movements towards the ceiling]

Me: Well, yes, that's where the tunnel is, but no, it doesn't quite shoot out, and you don't really have to worry about that.

Husband (interrupting): So, you guys get to go on an airplane with mommy this week!