Friday, July 31, 2009

Maybe I should lay off the scifi

I have spent the last 11 months soaking up scifi like a slice of dry alien bread. Last August I signed up for a DVR and Internet package that included the SciFi (now SyFy) and BBC America channels, which I haven't had in years. Since then I've watched every one of the following shows from beginning to end: Firefly, Doctor Who, Torchwood, Battlestar Galactica, Stargate: SG1, Stargate: Atlantis, Primeval, Moonlight, and Enterprise. I'm also keenly interested in the upcoming 2nd seasons of Fringe, Sanctuary and Dollhouse, and after just one episode I am riveted by Being Human.

I'm starting to notice a problem and I think it's directly related to the scifi saturation. Regular life bores me. I'm becoming depressed that I'm not an astrophysicist like Samantha Carter or a plucky policewoman like Gwen Cooper. Why? Because if there was a secret space alien program I wouldn't stand a chance of being selected for it. I mean, really, my only shot is a one-in-a-million chance of being in the right place (London) at the right time (when the Daleks are attacking) and bumping into a Time Lord with a blue policebox who just happens to be looking for an ordinary gal to tag along and see the galaxy. Not very likely, is it?

I've also read a lot of scifi and fantasy books over the last year. I come out of them feeling lost because I've never seen giant sandworms in the desert, I don't know where any dragon eggs are hatching so I can bond with a newborn dragon, if I do have a daemon it's invisible, and I'm pretty sure the Three Laws of Robotics have not been programmed into my vacuum cleaner. Oh, and automated cars on tracks would solve a ton of traffic problems so why don't we have them?

I totally believe there's life Out There. The universe is too big for us to be the only ones. I'm impatient. I want adventure! And then I'm back to being depressed because I know I am in no way qualified to be part of something like that. So pass the Cheetos and I guess I'll start watching Eureka.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

My last name is control

I tend to be more than a little controlling. I'm trying to work on that; trying to stop telling people what to do, trying to relax when my pre-scripted scenarios don't go according to plan. I think owning cats has helped in a way because you just can't control a cat. Not that it's stopped me from trying.

The cats and I have power struggles over a few things, most of them food-related. One of them eats all of the food while the other two sit by passively - then come whining to me that they're hungry. I've tried chasing the cow away after she's had her turn but she always sneaks back in to gobble whatever she can get.

One of the cats has a birth defect that prevents him from eating a lot at once. I hide extra food for him on top of the medicine cabinet. The third cat caught on to this scheme and started jumping up there from the vanity, so I put a huge bottle of hand soap in her way. Now the only way up is to jump from the toilet seat to the top of the shower door and step over to the cabinet, which she's too short to do. It doesn't matter. She tries anyway.

Saturday morning I woke up to a clattering sound and something like a quick hailstorm, closely followed by a rip and a bang. A split-second later I saw her streaking out of the bathroom. When I walked in I found the overhead fan had been torn out of the ceiling. I think she tried to jump around the soap bottle and missed, then in desperation grabbed for the fan and tore it loose. Somewhere in that mix she knocked over the bowl of cat food and sent it all over the bathroom. Never fear, the opportunistic gobbler was standing by to clean up the spilled food while I pondered what to do about the fan.

I read this article recently about cats controlling their owners. I scoffed at it. My cats don't control ME! No way. I am the Master, not the servant. But then I started noticing things. When I come home from work I immediately put my shoes in the closet and hang up my purse because my male cat will tear them apart if I don't. I'm constantly tripping over the large pet bed I put on the floor in my room to stop them from pulling out the 12 inch tall fence that I put around the frame to keep them from going under the bed and inside the box springs. I taped down every vent in my house to keep them from pulling them up and crawling inside the ducts (which they have done twice). Everything in my house is arranged around the cats and their activities. Who's in charge, again?

I finally admitted defeat the other night at 11:30 when I was trying to fall asleep. A few minutes before I went to bed the boy jumped up to his food stash for a late night snack. No big deal, he can find his way down - or can he? Here's the conversation:







I staggered out of bed, stomped into the bathroom and lifted him off the medicine cabinet in the dark, just to make a point that everything was in exactly the same place it had been 10 minutes ago when the lights were on. I put him down and he bounded off into the darkness. Cats have extraordinary night vision, after all.

I'm so their servant.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Mama's fallen angels

I took Eightofadozen and Tenofadozen to the Cheap Trick/ Poison/ Def Leppard concert last Tuesday. When I bought the tickets in April I was planning on a girls' night out with Eight and Nine, but Nine is still staying with Four so I took Ten instead. He just turned 16 and he was very excited to go to a concert, even though he and Eight weren't too familiar with any of the bands. They seemed shocked and relieved to find out we had actual seats on a balcony and we wouldn't be subjected to crowd-surfing or mosh pits. I'm so glad they came! We had a great time.

Cheap Trick was up first. We got inside the arena right at 7 and we were scurrying to our seats when they were being introduced; "Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the best f***ing band you will ever hear live!" After an introduction like that they had to be good. They were fabulous. Before March of this year I only knew a couple of their songs, although "I Want You to Want Me" is, in my opinion, one of the best damn rock songs out there. They sang "Southern Girls", "Surrender", "The Flame", "Dream Police" and a few others. I figured out during their last song that if you plugged your ears the music sounded much better and you could actually hear the words, so I feel like I missed out a little. I definitely will be buying their greatest hits album!

Up next was Poison and I have to say that after seeing Poison live I can understand why girls would follow them around. Bret Michaels puts on a hell of a show! They had a lot of pyrotechnics in their set, which was exciting. They rocked the crowd with classics like "Unskinny Bop", "Nothin' But a Good Time", "Talk Dirty to Me", "Your Mama Don't Dance" and of course "Every Rose Has Its Thorn". Every now and then I typed out the words to the chorus in a text message and showed it to Eight and Ten so they could sing along. At one point Bret thanked the crowd for tuning into Rock of Love to watch the "drunken debauchery and ridiculousness that is my dating life." Hilarious. During the last song his pre-teen daughter joined him on stage, which was adorable.

Def Leppard was phenomenal. Those guys know how to rock! They used the stage really well and they had fantastic video effects accompanying the music. They all performed instrumental solos, including Rick Allen who was just amazing on the drums. I heard tons of my old favorites like "Photograph", "Rock of Ages", "Armageddon It", "Animal" and "Love Bites". Some of the moments that stood out were the crowd singing the chorus to "Bringin' on the Heartbreak" and going crazy for "Pour Some Sugar on Me". Eight and Ten got up out of their seats and danced for that one! After 5 or 10 minutes of cheering the boys came back out and did an encore number with "Let's Get Rocked". What an awesome show!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Nephews, nephews, everywhere

I forgot to post about the most exciting event of the year: my nephews were here! Twoofadozen, her husband and their boys came to visit a few days before Independence Day. M will be 4 this month and B is 1 1/2. They are a blast. I had so much fun chasing them around at the playground and pushing M on the kiddie zipline.

On their first day here I gave M a 5 gallon bucket and turned on the hose. He was so excited to spray things outside - including his brother, who didn't share in M's enthusiasm. Here he is taking a "sippy" break:

I very much enjoyed being treated to delicious barbecue from three local restaurants; Oklahoma Joe's, Brobeck's and Arthur Bryant's. My brother in law is a barbecue connoisseur and I was eager to redeem myself after taking them to KC Masterpiece on their last visit.

We stopped for lunch at another local legend, Grinders, where I took this picture of our delicious pizza pie:

That evening we went to a Royals game and I took a panoramic shot of the stadium. It's my first panoramic picture; I didn't know my camera could do that!

The boys made it through 3 hours of baseball and were rewarded with a fireworks display at the end of it. M was thrilled! B was tired.

I'm so glad they came! It was wonderful to see everyone. I gave the boys big hugs and kisses when they left. I wish I could see them more often. If I lose my job here I will definitely apply for something closer to them.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Unexpected Day Off

My car died at a stop light on the way to work. Boo. I called AAA and waited over an hour and a half for a tow truck to drag me 5 miles up the road to my mechanic. Now I'm home with nothing to do. I tried to arrange a ride into work but no one was available to take me home again. Ah well. At least I have vacation days.

Now, what should I do with my free time? I'm thinking Super Mario Galaxy. I beat that game months ago and I'm trying to unlock a new galaxy. I have to collect 13 more stars to do it. I've been hammering away at the same level for 8 hours. I have to collect 100 purple coins to finish the level and collect a star but Mario? He no jumpy so good. Two areas are driving me batshit (crazy). On one I have to do a complicated crouch jump + spin on top of a very narrow rock in the middle of icy water. If I fall in the water I have about 3 seconds to get the heck out before dying. Nice. I have managed to grab the coin 3 times out of 100. The other area is another crouch jump + spin onto a ledge where a spinning star is waiting to shoot me towards the final 20 coins. There's a lot less danger involved but it takes a lot more work to get to that point and so far I have made the jump... never. Grrr.

Here's a video of someone else beating the same level. It looks like he's using a different technique. Hmm, I must try this....

Okay, I could also work on my resume since my job is at risk, but I prefer to ignore the things that scare me and hope they'll go away. There's a small chance I'll be kept on in the new company. I'm clinging to that hope. Besides, it allows me to pursue my purple coins guilt free. Almost.