Friday, August 28, 2009

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Monday, August 24, 2009

Musicals I like (a very short list)

I'm not a big fan of musicals. This seems strange to me. Something tells me I should like them, but I don't. In fact, I think I'd usually rather clean toilets than see a muscial.

Oddly, I often enjoy the music from musicals, just not in the musicals. I used to own albums of Andrew Lloyd Webber's music and I still know the lyrics by heart, but I have trouble actually sitting through a performace of Cats or Phantom of the Opera (even with Gerard Butler in it), no matter how much I love the songs.

Here is the short list of musicals I actually enjoy watching (and will even watch over and over)
  • The Sound of Music - This has always been and will always be one of my favorite movies. Period. I used to drop everything to watch this when it came on about once a year. Mary Poppins was always "that movie with Maria Von Trapp in it." :)
  • Moulin Rouge - I didn't really expect to like this, but I did. It's made up of all those songs everybody belts out in the car when they're driving alone.
  • Mamma Mia - I like this one for pretty much the same reasons I like Moulin Rouge. Plus it's just a fun movie - one that you can turn on while you're cleaning the house or something and it'll keep you moving.
  • Labyrinth - It never occurred to me that this is a musical until recently when someone else referred to it that way, and I still don't really think of it as one. It's a movie. There's singing. There's dancing. Nope, not a musical. ;)
Okay, you can start throwing the tomatoes...and if you have any suggestions of musicals I might like if I just tried them, tell me in the comments - I promise to give them a shot. And if any happen to make the list, I'll let you know.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday Fun: Have you tried turning it off and on again?

Here's a clip from my new favorite show, The IT Crowd, which is set in (you guessed it!) an IT department:



There are more clips here, or if you have Netflix, you can rent or stream the first two seasons.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Yesterday's timesinks

This is what I was doing yesterday, instead of things I should have been doing, like writing blog posts, working on my WIP, cleaning the house, scanning slides/negatives/old photos/family history stuff, reading from the TBR pile...

I watched the Crazy Horse blast. I love that they tweet imminent blasts with a link to their webcam (and then post it on YouTube)...



...And I kept One & Other open in one of my tabs most of the day (It's addicting!)

Knitting on the plinth 2

You can find out more about the One & Other project here. Too bad Kate M didn't explain in her bio why she was knitting with giant needles in a tiara and ballgown, but you can re-watch her hour - maybe she talked about in a moment I missed (after all, I don't watch it constantly, I do try to have a life...sort of).

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wednesday Pic: Balloon


DSC_0014, originally uploaded by mdesive.

From last year's Nebraska Wine and Balloon Festival. The night we went to this year's, it was too windy for them to put the balloons up :(

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Do you still shake the thermometer?



Beloit College has released its annual Mindset List, which for some reason didn't make me feel as old as it usually does (except for the knowledge that most college freshmen this year were born when I was a junior in high school). One entry in the list really caught my eye, though:

#17. They have never had to “shake down” an oral thermometer.

Now, tell me. How many of you shake the digital thermometer, simply out of habit? I used to catch myself doing it almost every time.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Back-to-school memories

It's back-to-school week in our household, and that got me thinking about my own school days. They were very different from my daughter's. She goes to a pretty typical suburban school, where her grade is split into several classes. Several hundred students attend her school. It's just small enough that she can usually put a name with each face, but not always.

From Kindergarten through 8th grade, I attended a one-room rural school. My daughter has more people in her classroom than I had in my entire school.

It was a very different experience. We all went to recess at the same time, ate lunch at the same time (brought from home, there was no hot lunch program), did most of the same extracurricular activities, and we all went on the same field trips at the same time. While the teacher gave lessons to one grade, the others worked on their own assignments or did group projects. Some grades had a single person (one of my brothers was his entire class through most of grade school), other grades simply didn't have anyone. I had two classmates most years. My daughter has a hard time imagining this. So do a lot of adults I meet. Little House on the Prairie only goes so far as a frame of reference. Here's some visual help:

This was my school house:

School

And this was the entire student body when I was in Kindergarten, plus the teacher and teacher's aide.

Mary kindergarten
(That's me in front, in the green sweater vest)

By 8th grade, there weren't even this many students. Sadly, the school is now closed.

A strange thing I just noticed (I don't know why I never did before): I'm the only student who isn't related to any other student in this picture. Everyone else has at least one sibling, and some have cousins. In fact, half the students all had the same last name.

One of my most vivid memories is from the beginning of the day when everyone stood up to say the Pledge of Allegiance and I had no idea what they were doing. I don't even remember there being a reassuring "We're going to do this now, but don't worry, we'll teach it to you later today." It just happened. I didn't know where to look, or anything. I think the rest of the day must have gone pretty well: My only other memory was not being ready to go home at noon, since Kindergartners only went half a day.

I still get a bit awed at the different experiences my daughter is having in school. Every child in her classroom is at roughly the same level. They're all getting the same instruction at the same time. They don't overhear the older kids' lessons, don't necessarily see the older kids' books (which seem magical when you're little and there's a little disappointment when you reach that grade and find they're just regular schoolbooks like the ones you've had before). They don't get the passive review of the younger kids' lessons, either, and maybe don't have the same little chances for mentoring.

At the same time, she has resources at her fingertips that I could only have dreamed of, and I'm not just referring to computers - she has an entire library complete with a librarian, a school counselor, and actual gym equipment (I remember our "home base" was always a round piece of metal, roughly the size of a Frisbee, which had long ago come off some piece of farm equipment). I didn't feel deprived at the time, and still don't think I was, but sometimes I wonder if my daughter will ever understand just how good she's got it.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday Fun: Kiss a wookie, kick a droid...

The Star Wars saga, set to the music of John Williams...wait, wasn't it already??



Just don't blame me if you watch this five times and are humming it the rest of the day. (Or am I the only one who does that?)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A writer's friends

A good friend will visit Mount Moriah Cemetery with you...






...A really good friend will lean out over the edge of a cliff to to take pictures so you know how to describe it when your heroine falls off.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Monday, August 10, 2009

Is that Zac Efron, or...???

I was flipping through a magazine the other day and came across a picture from the 1968 version of Romeo and Juliet. I was shocked, shocked, I tell you! "Zac Efron was in that movie? I KNEW he looked familiar!"

Okay, so it wasn't really Zac Efron, but you can't deny that he looks uncannily like Leonard Whiting. In fact, when I Googled Whiting, several of the top hits were for sites comparing him to Efron, so I guess I'm not the only one who has noticed.

Here's a video I found which compares the two. I think it's a little scary.



Just for the record, LilGirl, who is firmly in the High School Musical age demographic, doesn't think they look all that much alike.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Tyler is Trending Topic on Twitter

Some of these are funny! Others are where I expect your thoughts would go, given recent events. RecW Mary: "Did you see where Steven Tyler fell off the stage?" Jim: "Did he land on his lips?"5 minutes ago from web

melarimo I think it's entirely possible that Steven Tyler was feeling no pain. And if he was,there were prob women lined up to offer comfort...4 minutes ago from web
steven421 Almost fainted when i saw "Steven Tyler" as a TT, thought he died, he only fell on stage, i hope he's ok :(3 minutes ago from web
tropicalthought The Tour of Pain continues: Aerosmith's Steven Tyler falls off the stage. This give new meaning to The Tour of Pain.2 minutes ago from web
MisterWhitie Saw "Steven Tyler" as a trend and thought he was the next celebrity to die and I was like "Nooooooooooooo!"3 minutes ago from web
pitawindstar Steven Tyler fell off stage last night apparently....man I wish I was one of the fans he fell on!! XDhttp://tinyurl.com/mqayb72 minutes ago from web
MLCrom can't help but check everytime a celebrity is a TT on twitter, because she thinks they might have died. Not Steven Tyler!1 minute ago from web
More here

STURGIS!!!! Well, virtually...

Okay, so I'm not in Sturgis, but I'm having a much easier time attending "virtually" this year than ever before. And no, I don't ride, but I wish I did (note to self: learn!). Technically I don't even qualify to participate in the ride/trailer debate.

Either way, Sturgis is a people-watcher's paradise. You can just sit still and watch humanity go by, from the bikers who live the lifestyle to those who are doctors or lawyers in "real life." They're all interesting. For a taste, you can check out my best find for a virtual Sturgis people-watching fix so far: The Sturgis Sidewalk Cam.

I've also been following mentions of Sturgis on Twitter, and there are lots of photos on Flickr (but a bit of warning there, many are NSFW)

We spent an afternoon at the Sturgis rally in 2005 - I took lots of photos and even met Paul Sr. and Paul Jr. from Orange County Choppers. Here are a few pics:



Of course, last night, I missed out on all the big excitement when Steven Tyler fell off the stage during Aerosmith's concert at the Buffalo Chip. I woke up to a text message from my brother and a ton of tweets. Geez, just when you give up for the night because you think sleep might be an important thing...


Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Timewarp: My first venture onto the internet

I documented the beginning of my addiction in the Feb 15, 1996 edition of The Eagle, my college's student newspaper.

Discipline? What's that?


(click the article for a larger view)

And I'm still happily surfing! :)

Monday, August 03, 2009

Odd art, revealed



While reading this article on hidden art today, I was reminded of a painting I saw in the Norwich Castle Museum years ago. The paintings in the article were a second canvas meant to fit over another, while this one was actually partially painted over, but it still has an interesting story.

Frances Mathew Schutz in his bed, by William Hogarth, was apparently commissioned by Schutz's wife "to remind him not to party too hard" (as I wrote it on the back of the postcard I bought at the time). According to the Tate Britain website, "The canvas proved too indecorous in its imagery for Schutz’s Victorian descendants. They hired an artist to paint in a newspaper over the chamber-pot; only a recent programme of restoration returned the painting to its original state."



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