Mean Girl to the Rescue!

How'm I gonna save the world when the world ain't ready?

Monday, October 31, 2005


That most awful of awful things has happened - the goddamned transit strike. This means I have to drive to the nearest regional rail station, desperately search for parking, hoof over to the station and, finally, pay double what I would normally pay to chug along to work next to a frowny lady doing a crostic and only allowing me to displace her comfortably seated handbag when I specifically ask her to move it. Oh, and then walk 6 blocks to work (not that I don't need the exercise).

The plus side: the glorious weather we are enjoying in the Mid-Atlantic right now makes for a pleasant walk. Sunlight dapples the train parking lot macadam as I trudge across it. The leaves are starting to change color in earnest now. I don't really miss the unmistakable "hot urine" smell of the El platform. I woke up early and actually arrived at work on time.

I'm not altogether pleased about the strike, but what's lame is the way the local media chooses to portray it: Septa workers are being accused (in a veiled sort of way) of being grasping, Union-coddled goldbrickers who want a free ride. The truth is, however, that Septa management has been lining its pockets while negotiating with its workers. Also worth noting: the management-to-worker ratio is nearly 1:1. Not to mention that the workers have given up sick pay. Booby almost took a job that offered zero sick time. I say almost because the lack of paid sick time was a dealbreaker.

Here is what the local news has to say about it.

The strike went into effect last night at midnight. We went online at 12:15 to see what was up since we had missed the news update on TV, and only one local site had the information. All the other local news outlets couldn't be bothered. Thanks, Action News.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

I Love the Smell of Impound in the Morning.

So, yesterday, I went to my knitting class straight after work, and Booby worked and slaved until I was done, and we went home together. We were both exhausted, looking forward to a little ANTM, some leftover pizza or whatever I could scrounge up for a meal, and then falling into bed so as to achieve glorious lack-of-consciousness.

But it was not to be. Booby went out to collect whatever tomatoes we had so they wouldn't be frostbitten overnight, and noticed something not as it should be: our car was missing.

We immediately assumed "gone" meant "stolen," but I was perplexed: who would steal a '93 Saturn that needed some paint on the front end, and possibly a new trannie? We called the cops, and as it turned out, we had been towed. For blocking our own driveway. And apparently part of the alleyway through which the township recycling truck was driving yesterday, and which the garbage truck had successfully navigated the day before.

I won't say I dislike all cops, because I am sure that there are a few nice ones. I'll just say that I am resistant to their particular brand of authority. I had a bad experience. Or ten. So a swaggering meathead of a cop walking through my house at 9:30 at night? Rubs me the wrong way. The short version of the story is that we had to go to the police station (where, thankfully, Officer Fitzpatrick was not a swaggering meathead and was actually very nice), show proof of ownership of the car, and receive a release slip. Did I mention it was raining?

Then, this morning, Booby had to ride his bike out to Drexel Hill (next town over) to pick up the car. He called ahead, as instructed, but even so it took over two hours. "In the end, I begged. I begged them to please bring the car," he told me on the phone. But even begging doesn't work on Republican, ex-military repo men. Now that we're $145 (cash only, please!) poorer, I think I've learned my lesson about improper parking. I just better not be home the next time that recycling truck comes through my alley.

Introducing Batgirl!

The other night I hit the local Sears, thinking it would be a hotbed of sale merchandise, since they're merging with Hideous Corporate Giant, Kmart. Well, it wasn't. But I did find something that I've been looking for half my life: the Batgirl(TM) Barbie Doll. I can't tell you how many times I've trawled Ebay, wishing someone made an affordable Batgirl doll, and cursing Mego for their high collector's prices. It's hard, too, to find a Batgirl not modeled on the awful Alicia Silverstone role that turned Batgirl from a fiery, sharp redhead to a tepid, whiny blonde (not that there's anything wrong with blondes, I'm just a traditionalist. And a hater of Alicia Silverstone [scroll down for crap photo]. Except in Clueless, where whining was kind of the point).

And she was on sale.

You can buy one here. But I can tell you she's a mere $12.97 at Sears. The one in Upper Darby, anyway.

She also comes with a Batcycle (sweeet!). I totally want that. Wow, I am really a nerd.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Squirrelly want a cracker

Stolen from Booby's blog, to accompany last post.

Monday, October 24, 2005

A new floor! Only slightly carcinogenic.

I had my first experience with a contractor today. We're having some of our floor refinished, because we tore up the carpet to get to the lovely hardwood underneath, only to find:
  • cat piss stains (courtesy of my cat, who now lives in her own kitty apartment in one of the spare rooms)
  • paint stains, everywhere, because the previous owner decided to paint before he laid the carpet (nice job, previous owner! If I could sell the hundreds of yards of speaker wire you left looping from the floor to the cellar below, maybe we'd be even)
  • one of the closet floors had been, apparently, jigsawed into many pieces in order to thread phone wires downstairs "unobtrusively"
  • gaping holes on the stairway where a railing had once run before aforementioned previous owner added a paneled wall (our living room is rather, er, masculine, what with the paneling and all)

Anyhoo, Floor Refinisher Guy was supposed to show up between 9 and 9:30.

8:30: I emailed work to let them know I'd be a little late, but I was expecting to be in my ten, tops. I had slept in a bit, had some leisurely coffee. Life was good.

9:15: Floor Refinisher Guy calls to say he is running late - he left his truck lights on last night and is recharging his battery. "What time will you be here?" He tells me 10 at the latest. I settle down and watch some Eastenders on the TiVo. Pat is shtupping Frank on the side. Silly cow.

9:30: Make toast. Wonder when he'll get here. How long does it take to charge a battery? Don't jumper cables take, like, two seconds?

9:45: Wrangle all the cats, their beds, food dishes and litterboxes into basement. Am haunted by plaintive caterwauling/desperate door-scratching until I leave the house.

10:00 Turn off TV. No sense in watching more English TV if he's going to be here soon, right?

10:10: Turn TV back on.

10:20: Should I leave? But then how will he get in? This is asinine.

10:25: Write note to Floor Refinisher Guy. Tape to door.

10:30: Head to work, leaving door unlocked. Try not to have panic attack or think about house across the street that was burgled last month.

I can tell that when we start having work done on the basement, it'll be even better! Ah, contractors. Gotta love 'em.

Warm the cockles of your cold, dead heart

... with this heartwarming tale.

My husband and I are into squirrels in a big way. I even trained our favorite neighborhood squirrel to take peanuts (or crackers, or garlic breadsticks) right out of my hand. It makes me feel all Snow White. So this story of squirrel domesticity really made my day (especially the photos - sickeningly cute, maybe even if you think squirrels are vermin because they are forever digging up your tulips).

Photo courtesy of the Disneyana Exchange.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Thrift scores aplenty!

Anyone who knows me knows how I luurrrve the thrift store. I hadn't been in a while, so today I woke up nice and early and headed down to K&A to the wondrous Village Thrift. My haul:
  • 3 piece suit for husband (half off, a mere $5! and in excellent shape too. Perfect fit.)
  • gray v-neck sweater for same
  • light blue raincoat
  • tweed jacket
  • stripey brown cords
  • DKNY jeans (someone took a seam ripper to the ankles, but I can either leave 'em that way or take them to the tailor for minimal cash)
  • socks with little acorns on them (I do admit to some trepidation over the socks, though in my callow youth I would buy not only socks, but also shoes and hats without a second thought)
  • a red velvet skirt with a trife sequined butterfly sewn to the bottom (which I plan to remove. a mere 40 cents)
  • a little gray sweater with blue trim
  • a black and white floral cotton pullover blouse (House of Old Navy)
  • red patterned cotton capris
  • a TST Steubenville platter (hello, Ebay!)
  • funky gold plastic 1950s drinking glasses that look very diner-y. Will post photo later (they need some quality time in the dishwasher)
  • a hardback Dalziel & Pascoe mystery for my mom

I passed over: a Bisou Bisou dress, several suits (husband, damn him, is ridiculously picky - though I suppose the fact that he'll wear a secondhand suit is a plus), several items that were not on sale, and several items that had shoulder pads and made me look like Linda Evans in Dynasty. All in all, a good trip: I only spent $28.53 (!) and I quit while I was ahead.

Check out Thrift Score for more thrifty fun.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Ken Gets Queer-Eyed

Ken is looking ... different. Holy crap, Carson - what have you done?!

Via Truth, Beauty, Love, and Elisa.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


Right now I'm reading Prep, by Curtis Sittenfeld, and it's better than I expected it to be. I picked it up on a whim at the library; I think I'd read something about it in Publisher's Weekly, and I guess I was expecting it to be a vain, silly novel, maybe sort of like A Secret History but without the intrigue and murder.

So far it has proven to be very evocative and well-written. I don't completely understand Lee and her desire to be liked by the upper crust of Ault, but I do relate to her on some misanthropic level.

Addicted to groceries

So, apparently not only am I a food nerd, but I also have a problem with the grocery shopping. I love it too much. I can't help myself but read the circulars obsessively to see who has what on sale. I even belong to a coupon trading group on Yahoo. A coworker once told me she liked that I had this weird hobby, because it was endearingly nerdy (nerdy? She should have been privy to my high school years).

It does make me feel a little like a compulsive hoarder, though, this need to have a full fridge and a Y2K pantry. We did actually clean out the basement over the weekend, and I filled many a milk crate (which Chris hoards irrationally) with packaged goods in the process of emptying out our "pantry" [read: old metal kitchen cabinets repurposed by previous owner]. I felt all virtuous and Tightwad Gazette.

I talked with my sisters about this recently and discovered that they, too, enjoy a calming sensation and feelings of escape when they set foot into the supermarket. It made me feel a little better to hear that maybe it's genetic, and follows a chain along with the potential breast cancer and type II diabetes that we're staring down the barrel of (not to mention the already-present blinding headaches we inherited from mom!).

Cat People

There are a couple of catlets who seem to live down the street from us. They look so alike we thought they were both the same cat, albeit sometimes collarless. Booby has taken to calling them "Kid Handsome" and "Kid Gorgeous."

Kid Handsome hasn't been seen for a while, but Kid Gorgeous comes by for breakfast and dinner most days. Her owner doesn't let her in, and the neighbor we spoke to said the cats rarely get fed. She really is gorgeous, though -- and very loving. If we didn't have a houseful of pussy we would totally take her in.

Monday, October 17, 2005

I love him and I love him.

So, Booby went to the Philebrity anniversary thingie last week, and when we met up after my knitting class (he'd quaffed but a single beer and then cabbed up to meet me), he had the following conversation to report between himself and a sort-of female friend:

Her: "Hey! Hey, so how's married life?"
Him: "Um, it's really good."
Her: "Is it any different?"*
Him: "Nope, it's pretty much just like living-together life."
Her: "Hahahhahaha-- next you'll be having babies!!!"
Him: "Well, yeah, we're trying."
Her: "Oh. Um, heh. [pauses] Did I mention I got a dog? I got a dog and I love him I love him I love him. And I love him."
Him: " ..."

I might feel bad for this chick, if she weren't a grown-ass woman who stalked her ex for 4, count 'em, four years. God knows why. Maybe there were mitigating circumstances of which no one has apprised me.

Cheer yourself up with random funny.

*Without a doubt, this is the most often-asked question for both of us.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Your retro fantasies have come true!

Whoa. If you're like me, and like old things, then this is the site for you.

I'm afraid to email them and ask how much these things cost.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Kitty Torture

I'm weirdly into Hallowe'en, but hopefully not in an obsessive, Martha Stewart kind of way, so I found these pumpkin carving templates to be kind of cool. My brother used to make really extraordinary jack o'lanterns back in the day - one year he made Bugs Bunny, using broomstraws as the whiskers.

But maybe the best part of the site is the Hallowe'en costumes for babies, cats and dogs (!). We have a 3-legged cat whom we once considered calling "Captain Hook" (and my husband went through a phase in which he called him "DJ Magic Three Paws" - don't ask), so the idea of dressing him up as a pirate with, say, a little wooden leg in place is a compelling one. This outfit comes closest to making my shameful dream of doing so a reality.

Maybe the only better place on the net for cat-dressing shenanigans is CatPrin. Much of the fun there is derived from the fabulous engrish it presents in the form of cat conversation: I need it for my new class! This is the uniform of the "Saint CatPrin College"! proclaimeth the section devoted to dressing your cat as a uniformed high school student.

Ahem. Anyway, this weekend looks set for pumpkin carving, chili-making (in my spanking new crockpot courtesy of Marisa and Kevin), and starting to clear out our cellar in preparation for its eventual transformation. Anyone know a good contractor in Philadelphia?

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

'Cause it's a steady job

So, I guess I've been living under a rock or something, because I didn't realize until the other night that Liz Phair is "modeling" for the Gap. I've seen those ads, Joss Stone telling me, in a confidential, yet innocent manner, that her favorite song is God Only Knows. It wasn't until I was in the store itself (in GapKids, in my own defense*), that I saw the giant poster of Liz leaping around in her "favorite" straight boot cut jeans, displaying her muffin top with gleeful abandon.

Oh, Liz, why have you forsaken me? I guess I shouldn't be surprised. I expect this sort of thing from Alanis Morrissette and maybe even from Jason Mraz. I think the thing that got me the most is the quote from her:
"Gap is the definition of American casual style. They are the mavens of confident cool." They are? Confident cool? Seriously. Let's lay it on the line, here: Gap has become cookie cutter. Gap invents a trend on a seasonal basis in order to boost its sales. Gap owns a host of casual clothing shops (Old Navy, Banana Republic and now Forthe & Towne), each of which caters to a core group's presumed fashion needs, but delivers the same level of quality to each group. Is this really the company that embodies "confident cool"?

She didn't even get her song on the CD. Is that because she has a terrible agent, or because she can't hit the notes for Cheek to Cheek?

*Let the record show, however, that I do own a Gap card, and I recently bought some things for my husband there.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Oh! Starling

The field I walk past on my way to the bus stop has been full of chatty starlings lately. They make great sounds, like little robotic machines. I have always thought that theirs is the sound referenced in The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle.

For an example of what I mean, check out this awesome website. And for real bird nerds/history buffs, here is some info on Sturnus Vulgaris in general. It really makes me want a pet starling, despite that fact that our cat, Bailey, would probably make quick work of it (Bailey is purported to be a serious mouser, though we have yet to have a mouse problem indoors).