frogg files

"She could never be a saint, but she thought she could be a martyr if they killed her quick." --Flannery O' Connor

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Breathing

There is something in the air lately. I don't mean the heat. Today, in fact, has been remarkably cool—a startling change in the weather. But there is this sense of anticipation, of the fulfillment of waiting... but what am I waiting for?

Have you ever had a dream that was so real, when you awoke, you didn't realize at first that you had? And then the dream stayed with you, in pieces, haunting you the rest of the day.

This feeling is kind of like that. Except... I have not had the dream yet. Only the premonition of it.

I can smell rain, tonight.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Ode to Summer

Ah, summer! How is it that thou art so cruel,
To come with such heat, to take away cool
weather forever—or at least up until
the winter doth steal in with all of its chill?

Yet still do I love thee, for all of your art!
Shall I count all the ways
Thou hast ravished my heart?
With ice cream and beach trips and long, lazy days.
With laughter and friends, and a deep golden haze
on Sundays, and afternoons (before evening draws nigh
and the stars take their place in the dome of the sky).

So will I forgive thee! So will I proclaim
That Summer is gorgeous and not to be blamed
for the terrible heat, the oven-like baking
That covers the land in a cursed forsaking
of all that is holy—but it's not Summer's fault
that the world in general to Hades has shot!
Yes, the heat may be dire, but there are plenty of perks
so I'll say once more, "I love thee"—

and now I'll get back to work.

(c)2006 grackyfrogg

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Hasselhoff: the Musical?

Whatever you may think of David Hasselhoff, the guy has to have some kind of a sense of humor. I'm not saying I know what kind, exactly, but first there was that intriguing (to say the least) "Hooked on a Feeling" video, and now this.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Grouchyfrogg

I am in a bad mood today.

Maybe the latest heat wave has something to do with it. Over the weekend, it hit 120+ in the Valley, and guess where I live—yup, the Valley! In other news, on Saturday I took a little trip to Hell, aka "my house (especially the top floor) when the power has gone out."

It really is pretty much the same thing, believe me—even down to the darkness and gnashing of teeth.

If that sounds sacrilegious, I don't care. Bad mood, remember? Grrr.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Moonlighting

Today I am a restaurant reviewer.

(Or go to this link if my review has moved off of the first page--at the time of this writing, it's at the top.)

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Ugh

I hate writing.

I've spent the past two days frantically working on two articles, both over 1000 words, while simultaneously battling terrible waves of self-doubt about my ability to be remotely coherent, let alone informative, in either piece. I've slept little, and badly. I've written and rewritten and revised and tried to decipher my illegible notes that I took during interviews over a month ago, and never transcribed. I'm sick of it all. I'm done. I don't want to write anymore. In fact, if I have to write another word, I'm going to throw up.

Wait a second. I'm writing right now! Oh no!! Bleaaahfahahhhhadhafahwerghakkkk.

Sorry, that was me barfing on the keyboard. Um, I'm going to bed now.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Procrastination is a Wasting Disease

Is it possible to be addicted to procrastination? Because I think I am.

Ever since I can remember, I've been a procrastinator. But only about some things! Namely, things that were not fun. Like homework, when I was in elementary school. Or like research papers, when I was in college.

Or like newspaper articles, right now.

Hmmm. The less things change, the more they stay the same.

But when I was younger, I think I believed that I would conquer my procrastinatory tendencies as I matured. With age comes wisdom, so they say, and with wisdom ought to come the ability to prioritize. At least, that's my theory. It doesn't seem to be working out so well in my case, though.

(Which could be a good thing, actually. Because if I'm not getting wiser, it must mean that--I'm not getting older either! Ah, nothing like a silver lining.)

At this very moment, I am in the throes of a particularly bad bout of procrastination. Over a month ago, my editor asked me to write two--just two!--articles for an annual magazine published by the newspaper. Two very simple pieces. They are both due on Thursday, which is in fact four days past the initial deadline. They are both severely and thoroughly not finished.

Now. I know, from vast legions of past experience, that those articles will get done. But it will probably cost me a certain amount of stress, not to mention those unforunate souls who live under the same roof with me and have to put up with the manifestations of that stress. The cost will probably also involve lots of lack of sleep, and coffee-drinking, and avoidance measures (e.g., I will suddenly be enthralled by the idea of cleaning).

Why, oh why, do I do this to myself? I always say, "Next time will be different," but then it never is! Woe is me.

So yes, I think I am addicted to procrastination. I'm sure I need to get some sort of help for this terrible malady, and I will. I promise.

Tomorrow.

(I know, I know! You saw that one coming, didn't you? Ha!)

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Gotta Love Baseball Games

The hot weather has finally kicked in, with a vengeance. This morning I woke up, and broke a sweat as I walked the 10 steps from my bedroom to my bathroom. It must have been 80 degrees outside already, and it wasn't even noon!

It almost was, though. Noon, I mean. Because I overslept, big time.

Went to an Angels game last night, which was more fun than I would have imagined, considering the fact that I'm not what you would call a baseball fan per se. It's not the most exciting game in the world, but then again, after seeing cricket a few times in New Zealand, I have to say it's also not the most boring game in the world. So there's the plus side for baseball!

But I have to say, actually going to a game is kinda cool, because it's a whole different experience than, say, watching it on TV (when it is just mind-numbing, to me). For one thing, you're surrounded by other people who are actual fans, and they can be very amusing. Like the drunk guys who sat four rows down from us, right on the field, and kept heckling this poor guy on the opposing team (Tampa Bay), named Carl Crawford. They kept telling him how much he sucked, and how terrible he was. Which made me feel sorry for him, but at the same time struck me as funny, because after all, no matter how terrible Carl Crawford is (and he didn't seem terrible; I mean, he caught a ball or two when they came his way, and that's his job, right?), he is still the one on the field raking in millions just for picking his nose in the outfield, while these guys in the stands are... well, not.

So that was funny.

Also funny was the bag of Cracker Jacks we bought during the game, because it seems like the good folks who make Cracker Jacks have decided that peanuts aren't really necessary to the Cracker Jack experience anymore. So for the entire first two thirds of the bag, I didn't find a single one. Which, actually, was less funny than annoying, because I really like the peanuts!

Finally we found a few, at the very bottom. And when I say "a few," I mean "a few." As in, "hardly any." As in, PUT SOME MORE PEANUTS IN THE CRACKER JACKS, CRACKER JACK PEOPLE!

Pretty please.

Oh, and let's not forget that I also had the opportunity to sit next to The Most Annoying Boyfriend in the World. No, he wasn't mine! But that's what I called him in my mind, because he was with his girlfriend, and if I were her, that's how I would feel about him, if I weren't blinded by that peculiar brand of love that would leap to his defense, saying, "He's not loud and obnoxious! He's vocal and opinionated!"

Trust me, he was loud and obnoxious. And he also had nothing good to say to poor Carl Crawford, who really had my deep sympathy by the end of the night.

Thankfully, Carl had a whole two fans in our section, who thought he was just great... and hot, even! I know this because they wore shirts that said "I (heart) Carl" and held up two signs that, when put together, said, "Steal me, hot Carl!" They also screamed for him a lot, which was brave of them, considering they were rather deep in Angels territory.

(The Most Annoying Boyfriend turned to me when they were cheering for Carl once, and said, "What the hell? Last place!" Complete sentences? I think not. What a surprise.)

Anyway, for those who are interested, the Angels won, 9-2. Yay!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Melancholy

Some nights, I can't sleep.

I don't know why. I guess I think about things a lot. I have never quite figured out how to shut my brain off in the dark.

Around 4am, I finally drifted off. I woke up in a melancholy haze that I still can't shake. Too bad, because it really is a beautiful day outside. Clear and warm. I read a book at lunchtime while lying in the sun on a concrete wall over at the Warner Brothers Studios building. Somehow, though, the good weather and niceness of the day just makes me more depressed.

So I'm sorry, but no funny stories today. Unless you feel like telling me one, of course. That would be nice.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Meditations On My Own Anality

In November, I'll be starting a graduate program in creative writing, and the other day, I had to buy a book that has been assigned for reading before the semester begins.

Of course, this book was only available in hardcover. And of course, I was too impatient to shop around, and found out later that I could have gotten it for about half of what I paid. Of course, I bought the book at Cody's in Berkeley, which is not a chain, and therefore I can't return it, unless I feel like driving six hours back to the Bay Area, at which point I'll have paid what I would have saved anyway, in fuel costs.

But all of that is really tangential (surprise) to today's post, in which I want to explore the reasons why I always feel compelled to buy books instead of borrow them. Borrowing would really save me a lot of money, after all... but then I wouldn't be able to write cryptic notes in the margins of the books I read, and I love writing notes!

"Well," I can hear someone pedantically saying, "why not buy the books used, at a discount?" And I say in return: Because I can't stand it when someone else has marked up a book ahead of me with their cryptic notes--and they usually mark passages that are completely unremarkable to me, and then I get all flustered and annoyed trying to figure out why they marked that passage in the first place. Or, they use some ugly highlighter color, and don't even try to keep a straight line--like in a book by Descartes I had to read for a philosophy class, in college. I would frown every time I got to a page with the sickly puke-green highlights that squiggled aimlessly through paragraphs like a drunken snake.

By the way, you know how they say, "Don't judge a book by its cover"? I actually do that all the time. In fact, if a book is published by two different publishers, I will get the copy with the cover (and text font) that I like better, even if it costs more.

I particularly like covers on books published by Vintage Press.

Wow. I never really thought I was so... anal.

Alright, so I'm anal. But in my defense (if it can be called defense), I'm not so anal about things other than books. And that's good, right?

Well, hmm. Actually, I do kind of wish I was more anal about, say, paperwork and filing. Or cleaning. Maybe even learning to cook, or being less single.

But then, if I were anal about all those things, I would probably be pretty good at them, and have nothing left to make fun of myself about! And that would be bad for you, my legions of fans. (See how I am always thinking of you?)

Although I guess I could make fun of myself for being anal.

Which I guess I kind of have, in this post. I think.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Leo is Gone!!

And no, I didn't kill him. But yes, I am rejoicing!

The cowgirl finally came and got that demon-in-cockatiel form, while I was away this past weekend. What delight to come home and NOT hear him screeching! How inexpressibly wonderful to wake up this morning and NOT be greeted by his nonstop, piercing whistles! Ecstasy! Bliss!!

I must say I'm glad that I didn't have to resort to murder in order to rid myself of his growing annoyingness. Because it WAS growing. Every day he got worse. I fully believe that he was trying on purpose to irritate me. He hated me, too, after all. Sometimes, when I came near his cage, he would open his sharp little beak and hiss at me.

Of course, that might be because I once tried to suck him up into the vaccuum cleaner, but I don't care. He deserved it.

But he has gone to a better place now, and without dying, so he must be pretty stoked. I hope he sang about it the whole way home with the cowgirl. I hope he was sitting right next to her in the car, so that she could get the full benefit of all his wondrous musical ability that she has not heard ever since she moved away. I hope she now fully appreciates all that she's been missing.

I, however, will thoroughly revel in the appreciation of not missing it at all. What joy!

Friday, July 07, 2006

The Cowgirl's Really Bad Day

So, after all my lunatic rambling and ranting in the last post, about how I'm driving to the Bay Area tonight, not Saturday, I... changed my mind. I am going on Saturday!

That's right. What are you going to do about it?

While you are thinking of some sort of suitable, no doubt witty, response, I'd like to share my sister the cowgirl's story of her really bad day yesterday, because it's pretty funny and made me laugh. (Probably because I am a mean older sister, otherwise I would have been all sympathetic noises and sweetness.)

The cowgirl is in a horse show this weekend, in Temecula, and yesterday she started the long drive down from her home on the range (i.e., a horse/cattle ranch) in the northernish wilds of California. This is how her day unfolded:

1) As she prepared for the trip, she told herself over and over again not to forget her riding boots before she left. Then she got in the truck and drove away--without the boots.

2) Realizing (thankfully quickly) that she had forgotten the boots, she went back. Got out of the car, and saw her boots on the ground, looking strangely flat. She had rolled over them. Oops.

3) Spent awhile reshaping the boots, then went back to the truck, only to find she had a flat tire.

4) Upon examination of the tire, she realized that the flat tire was a direct result of rolling over her boots--because the boots had her spurs on them.

5) Finally, finally she got on the road, only to sit in stop-and-no-go traffic somewhere in the vicinity of the Grapevine, because of a fire on the side of the freeway. (Of course, she also had to go to the bathroom.)

6) She called the house around 9pm, because after who knows how many hours she was still not at the barn where she had to unload her horse before finding her hotel, and she wanted to hear some sympathetic noises. Unfortunately, she ended up talking to me instead of my mom.

7) This morning, I get a voice mail on my cell phone, from last night. It's the cowgirl again, sounding very depressed and resigned. "As if rolling over my boots and spurs wasn't enough, I get to the hotel and everything that can go wrong here goes wrong, too. Like, I put a dollar in the soda machine, and do I get my water that I pushed the button for? No. It just stays in there. I cried right then." Click.

Wow. You cannot tell me there isn't a country western song in there somewhere.

Ah, the lives of cowgirls are tough--but, rather amusing for their mean older sisters.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

So... Sleepy...

Exhausted today. In fact, I am so tired that I didn't even complete a sentence I wrote on one of the projects I corrected at work today (for new "frogg files" readers, my alter-ego is a quiet, unassuming, fulltime proofreader at a direct marketing agency--and at least ONE of those adjectives is true!). The Account Executive had to come over and ask what I meant by scrawling, "What about Af" underneath an image on a page. And in fact, I didn't even finish the "f"; it was just a line with a crook on top, only there is no key on the keyboard that would make that symbol, to show you. The POINT is, I had meant to write "What about Africa?" because... oh forget it. This story is already taking too long.

In other news, I made a bunch of my co-workers watch the David Hasselhoff video at lunch yesterday, on the big screen in our large conference room. Good times.

In still other news, I am going to San Francisco for a friend's wedding on Saturday. I mean, I'm going to San Francisco on Saturday for a friend's wedding. No, wait. I'm going on Friday night to San Francisco, because the wedding is on Saturday! Gah.

I really, really need some sleep.

Especially before the long solo drive to San Francisco. On Friday night, mind. Not Saturday.

*deep breath*

Why am I so tired, you are probably asking. Or rather, you are probably asking, "Why is SHE so tired?" Unless YOU are tired, and you're trying to figure out why. (Are you?)

Well ANYWAY, in answer to the question you may or may not be asking, the answer is simple.

It's becau

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

David Hasselhoff's "Hooked on a Feeling" is Magically Delicious

I have never done drugs, so I can only imagine what a "trip" is really like. And I imagine it's something very akin to this music video by David Hasselhoff, in which he sings... "Hooked on a Feeling."

The phrase "high on believing" in the song really speaks for itself.

I'm very rarely at a loss for words. (Some of you are thinking, "More's the pity," but I am ignoring you.) In the case of this video, I'm more at a loss for putting all the words I desperately want to say into some sort of cohesive order. Because there really is so much that begs to be said! Watch it and you'll see what I mean. For example:

1) Why the "Ooga Chaka" African base line to introduce the song, and then support it throughout? (Is "Ooga Chaka" part of an African language? There are scenes of David jumping around happily with Africans, but I just don't know.)

2) If you're going to sing to a girl you're supposedly in love with, shouldn't you be singing to her, instead of other images of yourself (which is what David does throughout the video)?

3) What's up with the little dachsunds that meaninglessly appear with David in various scenes?

4) Not to mention the very strange alien that bobs across the bottom of the screen occasionally?

5) Why does he bite into a giant fish at the end?

I could go on, but I don't want to steal all the questions you will doubtless want to ask once you've watched the magic of David Hasselhoff flying through the air in a black trench coat while proclaiming his delighted amazement at being loved.

This video is three and a half minutes of surreality that would have Dali drooling with envy, if he weren't laughing himself to death.

Come to think of it, the clip really should probably come with a Surgeon General's warning of some sort--if anything out there can really make someone die from laughing, this is it.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Taking A Walk Down Yearbook Lane...

So yesterday the uncles, aunts, and cousins (most of them) came over to my parents' house for an evening BBQ. One of my cousins recently graduated from high school and brought his yearbook.

In the words of the The Princess Bride's Man in Black, "I've never seen its equal."

I couldn't get over the volume's sheer, incredible size. To say it was "huge" is an understatement of scientific proportions. It wasn't "huge" so much as "colossal." Or "Brobdingnagian," if you prefer.

In still other words: It was really, really, really big.

I tried to lift the book and felt bicep muscles kicking in that I never even knew I had (being a girl, who doesn't need them nearly as much as guys do). That, of course, was after my cousin used a miniature crane to bring it from his parents' car to my waiting hands.

The massive tome, at $85, was more expensive than the most expensive book I bought when I was in college, which was Janson's History of Art. The yearbook also weighed over 10 pounds and was thicker than the biggest book I ever bought in college, which, coincidentally, was also Janson's History of Art--a fact which prompted my smart-aleck brother to remark, "Well, I guess more happened in one year of K's high school than in the entire history of art."

So it would seem.

At least my cousin's behemoth container of teenage nostalgia won't get buried and subsequently lost in a drawer or desk somewhere, like most people's yearbooks have a tendency to do--probably because it just won't fit.

Back in my day, when we had to walk to school in the frigid winters of California's first and only Ice Age, while wearing animal skins and bones in our noses (hey, it was all the rage), yearbooks were designed to actually be carried around. The reason being, of course, that other people had to sign them. That was the whole entire purpose of a yearbook's existence--all the photos and indexes and other pages were simply backgrounds for notes wishing one "a great summer!" or expressing the observation that it was nice "getting to know each other" and "you're a great friend."

Well, all this talk of yearbooks has now prompted me to dig mine out, the one from my senior year in high school. I flip to the back and find this note:

"G--, I've really had fun in pre-calculus this year. (And if you believe that!) Anyway, I'm glad we got to know each other this year. I hope you have a good time at Occidental. (heart), Mary"

Hmm. Mary sounds nice. I wish I remembered who she was. I have no recollection of her whatsoever. I do, however, have many unfortunate recollections of pre-calculus. They will haunt my dreams forever.

Someone named Casmir (I think, the writing is a little hard to read) enjoyed "having me as a friend" and then thanked me for "being a great friend." He added as a P.S. "I love you!"

I don't know who Casmir is, which strikes me as sad now, considering his love for me (which I'm forced to assume was unrequited).

A girl named Bell wrote in her P.S., "Friend forever, RIGHT?"

Er, well. Oops. At least I remember her, though.

But my favorite yearbook note of all time has to be from a boy who literally took up an entire page, in the smallest handwriting I have ever seen, either before or since that time, and told me, in rather a lot of sentences, that our souls "matched." I recall being flattered, but slightly uncomfortable, mainly because he had a girlfriend at the time, who was one of my good friends, and I thought that might be just a tad awkward to explain to her.

I wonder whatever happened to that boy? Or for that matter, his girlfriend/my "good friend"? I'll probably never know.

Since that is, after all, what avoiding high school reunions is for.

Ah, high school. The drama, the angst, the bubbly writing, the hearts, the K.I.T's, and the "Friends 4 Eva"'s... I can't honestly say I miss any of it. Still, I guess I'm glad, in a sort of nostalgic, thank-goodness-it's-over kind of way, that it happened to me. In the increasingly distant past, where it can gather dust between the pages of my easily forgotten (but somehow never thrown away) yearbooks of normal, non-hernia-inducing size.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Sunday Afternoon Bad Movie Alert!

I'm absolutely delighted that one of my favorite bad movies is on TV this afternoon! Torque is the name, and really impressively bad dialogue is the game, set against a backdrop of street-bike racing that would wow you if you could see it through the tears of laughter streaming down your face while you choked on your disbelief that such an incredibly awful screenplay could actually be used for a movie that ended up in theatres (briefly).

I first saw the movie in New Zealand. Flipping through an old journal I kept at the time, I find the following insightful, if a little short, review of the film:

"Torque is one of the worst movies ever."

A succinct observation which tells me that:

a) I thought Torque was one of the worst movies ever; and,

b) I used to be a lot more economical with my words.

Anyway, here's a sample of the sort of quality verbal repartee that ensures Torque's standing as a completely forgettable cinematic experience, from early on in the film:

Street-bike punk to street-bike punkette: Nice bike.

Punkette: Nice ass. [N.B. It's unclear whether she means her own, or his.]

Punk: You got a name?

Punkette (flipping long black hair and licking her lips in a sultry manner): Yeah.

And that's the end of that scene. We never find out her name (not like it matters to the random string of scenes that loosely defines itself as "plot"), because someone gets thrown through a glass shop window just then, for no apparent reason.

It's awesome.

Another thing that makes me laugh about this movie: I really love that there is an evil villain biker guy with very bad hair (a "skullet," if you will) whose name is (I can't get over it): HENRY JAMES.

The author of the same name must be gagging in his grave.

Not only that, but honestly, couldn't they have thought of a scarier, more chilling name than "Henry" for the evil dude (overplayed to perfection by Matt Shulze, who has a penchant for playing unremarkable bad guys, as his role in Transporter proves--although at least he had better hair in that one).

If they'd asked me, I'd say, "Call him 'The Magic Shadow Killer.' (Come on, that's a great name!)

But they didn't ask me. Of course.

A shame, really.

Anyway, all this to say, try to avoid Torque if you can. It's really, really lame.

But if you need a laugh, go for it. Because it's also pretty hilarious. For example: the scene where two women on bikes are fighting and their bikes actually rear up like wild horses during the conflict. If you don't laugh out loud at that, you must have fallen asleep from all the boredom that came before. But believe me, that scene alone makes the movie priceless (as in, it can't be priced cheap enough.

And now, I leave you with this last bit of dialogue, which truly sums up Torque:

Good guy biker: I live my life one quarter-mile at a time.

Good guy biker's ex-girlfriend: That is the dumbest thing I've ever heard.

I couldn't agree more.