Random Stuff from My Life

Friday, November 30, 2007

It's beginning to seem a lot like Christmas

Well, we had our holiday party planning meeting at work yesterday, and tonight the secretary and I rolled the tree out of storage to its place of honor by the front counter. Although we have no fear of (or hope for) a white Christmas here along the coast, the nights are getting down below 40 now. So it's beginning to feel slightly festive. Tonight the Husband and I went to Target and used a bunch of coupons that were expiring on 11/30 to buy food for the holiday food drive. And we stopped at the dollar store and bought a faux pine garland because I don't want to go to the trouble of putting up the tree (the new TV is temporarily in the front-window spot that the tree occupied last year). We came home and strung the garland over the hallway door and put ornaments on it. Tomorrow night we have a holiday party, so we got a poinsettia to take as a hostess gift (a real one at Target, not a fake one at the dollar store).

In other holiday news, I somehow got on the mailing list for Barneys New York. They sent me a Christmas catalog that makes Needless Markup look positively sane. There's only one thing in this catalog I would want to own, and one that I could afford--and they're not the same thing. Seriously, who pays $805 for a shopping bag? Of course, if you don't like that one, they have another for $1,390!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Well, Mom & Dad made it home safely. This week has been pretty stressful at work. I feel so far behind and with no prospect of even getting things done that I HAVE to get done, let alone all the other stuff that I merely NEED to get done. But tonight I paid bills and finished up the Christmas cards, so that gave me a sense of having accomplished something this week. While I've been on the computer, I somehow found myself looking through old pictures. We've seen some pretty neat stuff over the past couple years, and some of the most beautiful pictures have been taken literally right in our backyard. Looking at pictures from Tucson was good for my stress level, too; it calms me down just to look at a picture of Tucson.

Oh, we hooked up the new hi-def TV the other night. We don't have any hi-def signal to watch on it, but we popped in a DVD and there really is a noticeable difference in picture quality.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Well, that sucked

This has been a long trip to watch the 'Cats LOSE. Have they no respect for my time? Yes, it is all about me.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Black Friday

The Husband and I decided last night NOT to get up at the crack of pre-dawn to hit the fabulous after-Thanksgiving sales. There were a few things of interest in the sale ads, but nothing that warranted sleep deprivation. So, we watched "All About Eve" on the laptop DVD player in our motel room. Excellent movie.

Then, at 4:09 a.m., a train went by the motel and woke me up. When I didn't fall back asleep within 10 minutes, I decided this must be a sign. I'd just go BY Target and--if the line wasn't TOO long--I might stop. Thus I found myself standing outside a Target store for an hour and 12 minutes to purchase a new TV.

Since then, there's been a shower, a bagel and coffee, some more shopping (no purchases), a rendezvous with Mom & Dad at the airport, lunch, a LONG drive (more coffee), check-in at the motel, lousy pizza, and more shopping (some purchases). Tomorrow K-State (hopefully) kicks ass!

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Ugh. Drive to SFO. Get on a plane. Fly to Wichita. Drive to Mom & Dad's. Get up the next day. Drive to Manhattan and back. Drive back to Wichita. Get back to SFO at 7 p.m. and drive the six hours home. Get one decent night in your own bed. Drive back to Oakland. Drive home, again getting in at midnight. And look forward to next Thursday... driving to Fresno and back!

I haven't been doing much else besides being in the car. I didn't take the laptop to Mom & Dad's, just the Q. I was pleasantly surprised to have Internet on the phone, even though I'm roaming there.

Looks like for the second year in a row we will have a friend here over Christmas.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Changing the civic discourse

First, an aside: Iowa State? They can't beat Iowa-frickin'-State?!

Okay, I'm better now. What I really want to talk about is the great success of the pro-life movement.

We recently watched Fast Times at Ridgemont High. It was in our Netflix queue because it's one of those iconic movies--like E.T.--that I never managed to catch when I was a pre-teen. Twenty-five years later, it's actually a pretty tame movie. You see more teenage angst and sexuality on basic cable these days than at an R-rated movie in 1982. What's most shocking--other than the fact that L.A. tore down a mall (the Sherman Oaks Galleria, where the interior shots of the Ridgemont Mall were shot, has been replaced with an office park according to the DVD extras)--is the casualness with which a 15-year-old getting an abortion is handled.

Now I don't know how it actually is in high schools these days. Justin Timberlake albums notwithstanding, it's been many years since I could relate much to 15-year-old girls, particularly on a subject as sensitive as unintended pregnancy. It is entirely possible that there are high schools out there today at which going to the free clinic to "take care of it" would be no bigger deal than it was in fictional Ridgemont. I don't know.

What I DO know is that these days no major-studio movie script--even one by a pro-choice writer/director--would deal with abortion in such a cavalier way. There'd be a huge drama surrounding the "choice" and maybe some moralizing about how difficult it is to tell one's parents (required under notification laws) or find a clinic that performs abortions at all. There wouldn't be a casual acceptance like that portrayed in Fast Times, where the biggest tragedy was that the father of the fetus didn't come through with half the cash and some wheels.

That, it seems to me (even more than the parental-notification laws or the dearth of abortion clinics) is a major victory for the pro-life movement. Roe v. Wade hasn't been overturned, but the civic discourse has shifted radically. I'm not making a judgment about whether that's a good thing; my personal views on the morality of abortion have gone through more mutations than Mitt Romney's. I'm just saying that this was the one thing that stuck out to me as proof positive that we are living in a different age. Sure, Sean Penn and Forest Whitaker have aged and turned into "serious" actors. Fashion sense has changed. Chain stores (and even the malls that house them) have gone out of business and been replaced by others. But the biggest difference between now and 1982--at least as portrayed in the movies--is, IMHO, the civic discourse on this topic.

Anyway, speaking of movies, we are going to Sundance. (The film festival, not the ski resort; we've been there.) Or at least we have plane tickets to Salt Lake City and a hotel, on dates that coincide with the opening weekend of the festival. It remains to be seen whether we'll actually get into any of the movies, but I have plans to register for the ticket lottery. (I never could have convinced The Husband to go to Utah in January without the festival as an excuse. If we don't get tickets, I can always go skiing.)