frogg files

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

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Home Sick

Daytime TV is really a good reason to never get sick.

Unfortunately, I am sick. Which means I'm stuck at home watching "King of the Hill" reruns. I think I can actually feel brain cells leaking out of my head into oblivion.

I tried to find a lame movie to make fun of, but no luck.

Oh wait, "Elf" is on now!

Awesome. Bye bye, brain cells...

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Why Grammar Matters

I found this intriguing sentence while browsing around on the Web site for a well-known university:

The English Faculty at [XX] and the Graduate School are the largest in the United Kingdom.

Hmmm. I guess the English Faculty ought to lay off the bangers and mash...

Happy Feet

This blog is dedicated with deep gratitude to Aunt B, who treated me to my first-ever pedicure before I left Maryland. I don't know why I waited so long to have one, but it may have something to do with the fact that:

1) I hate my feet; and

2) See previous.

I've had issues with my feet ever since I was a young, impressionable teenager and I was told I had feet "like a duck." This is actually true in a way: My feet get wider the further they get from my heels, and they have large spaces between all the toes. If I focus, I can spread them out almost like fingers. It's very weird. I used to hate wearing flip-flops because people were always commenting on the big spaces between my toes, as if I didn't know about them. "Oh look!" they'd say. "You have such big spaces between your toes!"

It was like telling me I had brown eyes. Believe me, I already knew.

So my feet were sort of a sore point for me, often literally. During my backpacking adventures in New Zealand, I lost not one, but three toenails. They eventually grew back, but then I went to the Middle East, and spent a good portion of my short time there walking around in shoes that fit badly (a prevailing theme of my existence), meaning that I ended up with cuts and blisters all over my feet. Those eventually healed, in time for me to again damage my podiatric extremities by running a half-marathon last year which claimed yet another toenail (after bruising it very unattractively).

My feet, in short, have looked pretty bad for the past few years, and the absolute last thing I ever wanted to do was subject some poor stranger to the awful task of touching them and making them presentable.

But when Aunt B suggested it, I had to admit I was interested. My toenails were (finally) all present and accounted for, and I thought that maybe it would be nice to have my feet massaged and pampered a little. After all, I've put them through a lot in my life. They'd more than earned some TLC.

So we headed to a spa called (a little presumptuously) "Paradise," in Mt. Airy, Maryland. I guess it's called that because there are pictures of palm trees painted on the walls inside. And palm trees, as we all know, are a paradisiacal requirement. Anyway, they were able to take us immediately, so first we had to choose a nailpolish color (I almost didn't, being utterly overwhelmed by about fifty different shades of red alone). Then we sat in massage chairs and our pedicurists got to work.

I was a tad anxious about the fact that the pedicurists started out wearing surgical masks. But the massage chair made it hard to stay worried about anything for very long (no doubt that's why they have them).

Finally, after a blissfully relaxing half hour, my toenails were trimmed, smoothed, and colorful, and my feet felt minty-fresh and soft. Just in time for getting on the plane back to southern California...

Now here I am, back home and in bed at 2 in the afternoon, nursing a sore throat and determinedly not doing all the reading and writing that I am already behind on for my graduate program.

But at least my feet are pretty!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

Well, it's that time of year again, when we determinedly set ourselves the task of being dutifully thankful for all the things that annoyed, frustrated, or disappointed us during the year: family, friends, our jobs, our lives, the universe, and everything.

Kidding, kidding.

I actually like Thanksgiving a lot. I like it more than Christmas, in fact, because even though Christmas is about the birth of the Lord Jesus and other things that are deeply important to me, it's also (sadly) about going crazy trying to buy the "right" gifts for people and not forget anyone who might get mortally offended and never speak to you again. There's a lot of stress attendant upon Christmas, and quite frankly, the last thing I need in my life is more stress.

I admit, though, that I do not cultivate a grateful spirit throughout the year as a rule, so when I get to Thanksgiving and start trying to make the requisite list of all the things I'm thankful for, it's the mental and emotional equivalent of running a marathon when you've spent the year eating Big Macs and avoiding all exercise that does not involve sitting on the couch in front of the TV. Suddenly, I'm trying to flex gratitude muscles that I never knew I had. And it's tough. Watch, I'll show you what happens:

I am thankful for my family, who have supported and encouraged and loved me... but sometimes they get on my nerves. I am thankful that I have a job that pays my bills... but it's kind of boring at times. I am thankful that being single allows me to live fairly freely, going where I want when I want... but I'm sad that I'm missing out on being in love. I am thankful for my health, but... hey, I have no "buts" about that! I am very healthy! YAY!!!!

Whew, I was getting depressed.

But you see what I mean? Everything I am thankful for has a Dark Side. The thing I like about Thanksgiving is that it's a time to forcibly shake off the darkness, and really make an effort to focus on the light that fills my life. And I do wonder what it would be like to work at this focus throughout the year, instead of waiting for a particular weekend in November to roll around. If I were to make a New Year's resolution, that would be it. (Unfortunately if there is one thing I am not thankful for at all, it's the concept of the New Year's resolution.)

So today, I'm thankful for Thanksgiving itself. I'm thankful for a holiday that reminds me not to give in to the Dark Side. I'm thankful that I have people to celebrate the holiday with, and lots of food to eat (and believe me, there are no "buts" about that, either!).

And most of all, I'm thankful that it is not Christmas yet, because I still haven't done any gift shopping. Yikes!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Superfast Update!

I am in Maryland now! More to come...

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Still Kickin' it in Kentucky...

I have been absolutely swamped this week, but I'm coming up for air long enough to tell you all that I am still alive. Overwhelmed, slightly stressed, and severely sleep-deprived due to the fact that my inner clock still hasn't clicked over to East Coast time--but alive.

Most of my days are taken up by the writing program, but today I did manage to leave my well-worn two-block territory and venture further afield into the city, thanks to a fellow student who lives in the area and has a car. He acted as a tour guide for me and a few friends, driving us through the Historical District of Louisville, with its huge old mansions and quiet streets, and then on to the center of religious fervor in the Bluegrass State, otherwise known as Churchill Downs. We got there just after the last race of the day, but had the chance to see the thoroughbreds being walked along the track back to the stables.

We also learned that box seats at the Kentucky Derby can easily go for $10,000. Wow.

Highlight of the Day: the free Smashmouth concert staged at Fourth Street Live (the hip restaurant/shopping area of downtown), outdoors in the freezing cold. Random, I know.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Bluegrass Blues

So here I am in Louisville.

Er, I mean Loovle.

I'd like to tell you all about the city and describe my impressions of it, but unfortunately, I've only seen two blocks of it so far. I am becoming very familiar with those two blocks, however. There are brick buildings, which is cool. You don't see those in California, because of the earthquake codes. There are also autumn leaves on the ground. You don't see those much in California either, mostly because our leaves don't fall til sometime in January, which doesn't really count as autumn.

I also saw a billboard advertising gas as a great gift idea.

Oh, and here's something funny. Remember a post or two ago, I was worried about the weather and what to wear? Well, I arrived all bundled up in a coat, scarf, and Ugs, prepared to face the worst--and stepped out of the airport terminal into a balmy 70+ degree day, with humidity to match. What a surprise. I wish I could say it was a pleasant one.

Naturally, based on yesterday's experience, I woke up this morning and dressed in a T-shirt and jeans, and wore a light fleece jacket--which meant that temperatures dipped right down to the 40s. I believe a wind chill was also involved. Hahaha! Imagine my amusement.

But enough about the weather. I'm happy to report that I am settling in well to the writing program, in spite of the fact that I lost my welcome packet the same day I got it (i.e., yesterday; thankfully I found it in the office today) and the printout of my schedule for the next two weeks, which I had brought with me from home because the administration had made a point of telling us to (had to get another one from the office). I also missed a lecture, a fact which only came to my attention when I was talking to the professor who gave it and he happened to ask if I'd attended. "Your lecture was today?" I asked.

So yeah. I'm doing great.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Keep Dreaming

In my wildest dreams, I am this incredibly organized person, who looks wisely to the future so that she does not perpetually find herself doing things at the last minute; like packing and shopping the night before departing on an extended trip, just as a totally random example.

Then I wake up laughing. Assuming, of course, that I get any sleep in the first place. Which I haven't for the past three days, due to the aforementioned last-minute shopping and packing I've been doing. Tomorrow night, I get on the plane for Louisville. I have no idea anymore if I am taking enough clothes, or whatever else I think I need, and I don't much care. All I know is, if I don't sleep during the flight, I think I'm going to die.

Or at the very least, be extremely unpleasant when I arrive. Which could mean someone else might die.

Just kidding. I hope.

Well, considering how much packing I still have to do, you are probably surprised that I would take valuable time out to write this incredibly unmeaningful blog. I wish I could say I was surprised, too. Unfortunately, I know myself all too well.

I think I was sort of hoping that my packing would just start magically doing itself, actually. I am very depressed that this is not, in fact, happening. What wouldn't I give for Mary Poppins' powers of finger-snapping her chores to their completion right now.

Sigh. One can always dream...

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

What Weather Shall I Wear?

I found out that the story I mentioned in the last post actually started floating around awhile back. As in, 2002 (I think). But I don't care, it's still funny.

In other earth-shaking news, yesterday I went out and bought my first real raincoat.

Yes, I mean ever.

I am a true Southern California girl in a sartorial* sense, which means that my wardrobe almost entirely consists of tank tops, T-shirts, flip-flops, etc. Summer clothes, in other words. My "cold-weather" clothes amount to a few sweatshirts, one coat (which I never wear) and jeans. But that's ok, because summer never really ends here. In fact, today the highs are supposed to hit upper 80s-low 90s (late 20s-early 30s for the Celsius lovers)! Nice.

However, in a couple of days, I'll be leaving Summerland and going to a state where they have weather that actually dips below 65 degrees. And rain. And that mysterious element known as a "wind chill factor." All these things add up to the need for an entirely new wardrobe, a wardrobe that includes items I barely ever have occasion to even pronounce out here on the West Coast--scarves, gloves (!), and boots.

So, as you can imagine, I am freaking out (like, totally).

The thought crossed my mind that perhaps I should just take my snowboarding clothes and wear them the whole time, but they would probably take up too much room in my suitcase. Boo.

*"Sartorial" does not, unfortunately, translate to "fashionable." For more details on the distinction, click here.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Winner of the Frogg's "I'm Stupider Than Jerry Rose" Award

In one of the more bizaare criminal-incident articles I've ever read, a man gets caught robbing banks because, much to his surprise, he is not, in fact, invisible.

As an added bonus, this story features a fake wizard.

Fav excerpt:

The man's ill-fated heist attempt started to go wrong shortly after he entered the bank, as he started snatching money from the hands of customers. For some reason, rather than being terrified of the mysterious invisible poltergeist stealing their cash, the customers quickly overpowered the hapless thief.

I can hardly stand how funny that is.

(Via Dave Barry's Blog.)

Winner of the Frogg's "Oops, Did I Say That Out Loud?" Award

If he ever finds himself playing the "What's the stupidest thing you've ever done?" party game again, I bet Jerry Rose will have a slightly different answer.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Death Becomes Him

The cowgirl was home this past week, and one night we were sitting in the living room chatting over cups of tea, when she turned to me and said, "Did you hear that Leo died?"

I stared at her. The words were too magical to be believed. "What? Really?"



"I don't know. The lady I gave him to said she just found him dead one morning. He'd been singing his heart out the night before."

I glowered. "I bet." I was all too acquainted with Leo's "singing."

The cowgirl and I then fell silent for a moment, and I'd like to say that I felt a twinge of conscience for all my Leo-hating now that I knew he had kicked the bucket, but I would, of course, be lying. I am not sorry at all. If I had known how to dance a jig, I would have. But I didn't. So I contented myself with inward rejoicing. Of which there was plenty.

In the midst of my doubtless unholy glee, though, I was also a trifle annoyed. I had wished for Leo to die many a time when he lived here, but would he oblige me? No! Not on your life! At last, after ages of enduring his demonic, achingly painful shrieks, the cowgirl FINALLY takes him away from this house, and gives him to some lady who only has to put up with it for a couple months before he just... keels over one day. Peacefully, with no complaints or resistance. Argh, that jerk (Leo, not the lady)! Even in death he mocks me!

I guess I'd better watch what I say, though. I would hate to have that little avian Fury come back to haunt me. Gah. What a horrible fate that would be.