Monday, August 25, 2008

Starbucks-Crossed Lovers

Taylor the Latte Boy, by Kristin Chenoweth:



Taylor's Response, by Some Guy (whose stage name seems to be "Brian Harden"):


With thanks to @MegCanada

Saturday, August 23, 2008

It looks like I'm back to videos again...

Here's another video from the gang at College Humor.

It's funny in and of itself, and Sarah Schneider's Clarice Starling impression is spot on: "Hey, Pay-at. Have yew seen Say-am? Ah thank he haz mah pay-encil." And Sam Reich's Hannibal Lecter is eerily accurate. (Interesting side note: Sam Reich is the son of former US Secretary of Labor Robert Reich.)

But "The Silence of the Sams" is even funnier when you realize that these are co-workers at CollegeHumor.com who have taken time out of their day to create this Silence of the Lambs parody (original scene here, which if you haven't seen, you should totally watch first), making very creative use of their glass-walled conference room.

"Let me re-state it: keep it G-rated. DON'T CUSS!"

Join the No Cussing Club by watching this video:



I am not kidding when I tell you the following things:
  1. This video did make me re-examine my stance on swears.
  2. I feel really, really, really sorry for the kids who made this video, although I think they'll have fun watching it fifteen or twenty years later.
  3. I had no idea the City of South Pasadena was so committed to clean living.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Vice Presidential Texting

I still have not received my text from Senator Obama, who the media thought was going to announce his running mate today. (Sorry, Mom and Dad. I love you, and I'm still voting for the Democrat.)

As I was venting and trying to learn more online, I found this hye-larious political cartoon from cartoonist Nate Beeler:



It's funny because it's true because nobody knows what Morse Code is anymore.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

OK, come on.

I demand to know who, exactly, are the people who found my blog by specifically searching the phrase:

songs made even more hilarious when performed in the style of ethel merman

Which, admittedly, is a 13-word phrase that I have, in fact, used on this blog in the past.

There've been 23 of you in the last month (actually, all from July 26 - 31), as proven by the Goog:


Do not deny it. I know you're out there.

And you are freaks.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

TAGGED!

I got tagged by Troy at GoodHome to share six random things about me. I am honored to be included in Troy's blog-orbit -- so honored that, despite the fact that this entire blog is random things about me (794 random things and counting), I shall oblige. Now, let's get to the rules:

1. Link to the person who tagged you. (CHECK!)
2. Post these six rules on your blog. (DONE AND DONE!)
3. Write 6 random things about yourself. (SEE BELOW.)
4. Tag 6 people at the end of your post and link to them. (SEE BELOW.)
5. Let each person you have tagged know by leaving a comment on their blog. (WORKING ON IT.)
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is posted. (WILL DO.)

Here are my 6 random things about myself:

1. I was recently (less than three hours ago) accused of not talking about my gifts freely enough. Therefore, to set the record straight, here are some things you might not know about me, gift-wise: I speak Spanish; I play the viola; I'm pretty good at tennis; I love to sing and dance and do both almost every day; I've got a good eye for high-quality, high-value artwork; I'm an excellent baker; I am hilarious; I am a creative problem-solver; I am almost always grammatically correct; and I am a certified Expert at Microsoft Word (prestigious!).

2. I floss my teeth at least once every day.

3. I'm over the word "so." Both "So," as in "Um" at the beginning of a sentence ("So guess what happened when I went to get frozen custard at Ritter's today?"), and "so" as an adverb of scale for words that don't really come in different gradations ("You're so fired"). I only respect the sovereignty of the word "so" when it is used to indicate "therefore" ("I was cold, so I put on a sweater") or to indicate scale for words that do come in different gradations ("Dumb Dora is so dumb..." "How dumb is she?!" "Dumb Dora is so dumb, she's been in kindergarten so long, she's the only girl with [BLANK].").

4. I cannot, for the life of me, understand why anyone would ever want to do one sudoku puzzle, let alone a Big Book of 620 Sudoku Puzzles for the Frustrated Fanatic.

5. I prefer entertainment with an ensemble cast: 21 Jump Street. Thundercats. West Side Story. Voltron. Things like that.

6. My earliest improv-comedy memory is Chad Hazelrigg doing his impression of Grimace trapped in a hot-air balloon with Ronald McDonald, Mayor McCheese, the Hamburglar, and the Fry Guys, based on a literally unjustifiable poster in our 7th grade pre-algebra classroom. Honestly, Mr. Magnuson, what the hell? But Chad Hazelrigg, if you are out there, I have remembered "Duh, gee, Ronald, uh, gee" and "We are the Fry Guys" for lo, these 24 years.


Without further self-disclosure ado, here are the folks I’m going to tag (in the morning -- it's almost 1:00am and I have to be at the office in about six hours and be marginally functional for the boringest meeting ever)...

KT at LuckyGirl-LuckyDog
Esmerelda at Esmerelda's Book Thing
Scott at Fishsuit
Renu at Renu's Week
Amy at 4th Frog

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Coveting... I WANT THIS CHRONOTEBOOK

Just a few days ago, I was lamenting my need for a paper-based planner-type thing that was more open for creativity and not as linear. Scott Dierdorf suggested the fine line of Moleskine products, of which I am now a fan.

BUT!

Today, I opened the Men's Journal magazine I inexplicably purchased at full newsstand price and the first page I opened it to featured this wondrous miracle of time management accoutrement:


The Muji Chronotebook doesn't have lines the way your typical planner/calendar does. Rather, it has two clocks in the middle of each of two pages per day (the lighter one for the AM hours, the darker one for PM hours). So, as in the example above, you just draw a little line out from the clock at the appropriate time, and you've got all manner of white space available to you for notetaking, brainstorming, doodling, whatnotting.

This just makes so much sense. Why did we not think of this sooner?

Sadly, this magical piece of personal assistance seems only to be available in person at a Muji store, which means I'm going to Paris, Tokyo or any of 90 other Muji Store locations, only four of which are in the US (all in NYC).

Or, I'm going to swipe the idea and totally make my own (not for resale) Chronotebook.

I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Go. Here. Now. -- THE PRODUCERS at Beef & Boards

Last night, I had the opportunity to enjoy great conversation, great food, and a terrific performance of the Mel Brooks musical, "The Producers" at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre.

One of the shows stars, Eddie Curry wrote several blogs about the production leading up to the show's opening (from which I swiped the pic at right).

What Eddie didn't mention is how awesome he is! In his role as Leo Bloom, the mousy-accountant-turned-flashy-Broadway-producer, Eddie shines as the show's highlight. His comic sense and superstrong singing voice support this production of the bawdy, rowdy musical and provide great leadership to the other strong performers.

The performance was great all around, with hilarious singing and acting throughout. From Doug Stark's downtrodden Broadway producer Max Bialystock, to Curt Dale Clark's, um, shall we say, flamboyant director Roger Debris, to Jeff Stockberger's Nazi-turned-playwright Franz Liebkind, the cast is top-notch and hilarious. The talented and beautiful Elizabeth Broadhurst rounded out the featured cast as (deep breath) Ulla Inga Hansen Bensen Yonsen Tallen-Hallen Svaden-Svanson. The show was really great -- well acted, well sung, well done!

Of course, at Beef & Boards, the other part of the evening is the eating experience. The pre-show buffet was great, as were dessert (I had the berry tiramisu, which was awesome) and intermission drinks (the Burnt Almond is a definite winner).

"The Producers" is not your momma's night out at musical theatre. If you're looking for the wholesome Marian the Librarian, you'll need to look elsewhere. But if you're up for a fun, hilarious, irreverent evening, check out "The Producers" at Beef & Boards -- and bring a friend! You'll be glad you did.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Doing the iTunes shuffle

While the rest of the world has been rocking their iPods and iTuneses for the past several years, I've just been using iTunes for about 18 months, and I just got my first iPod for Christmas last year. So, like normal, I'm a little behind the curve.

BUT!

Oh my gosh -- have you used the Shuffle feature in iTunes or on your iPod? HOW FUN! I've heard songs that I forgot I had...as well as random MP3s of funny sounds that I had forgotten got loaded on when I first downloaded iTunes.

I have iTunes on both home and work computers and have played with the Shuffle feature at home and work and in the car on the iPod the last couple days.

Here are two things I've noticed:
  • I have a lot more classical music and opera than I thought I did.

  • The universe would like me to learn to love myself. Within the first five songs of activating the Shuffle feature on each of my devices, Whitney Houston's "The Greatest Love of All" came up.

Snot is dead ... Long live Snot

Remember when I went to the RenFaire? And I told you about the comedy duo Puke & Snot?

Well, I have sad news to report: Snot has died.

There's not a lot of detail, but I will share with you the weird way I found out. Because why would I know, within a day, when Snot died? I'll tell you why: I looked at my Google Analytics today and I had a big jump in visits for some reason yesterday. So I looked up the traffic sources and found that the 10th most popular search phrase resulting in visits to my blog yesterday was "puke and snot died". So I performed the search and found the sad news.

And I've learned more since then, including the interesting fact that, apparently Puke & Snot were quite the act back in the day, to the extent that at one point, their opening act was Penn & Teller!

So, anyway, pour out a forty of mead for Snot, and say a prayer for Puke.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Liveblogging the Olympic Opening Ceremonies -- Refresh frequently

10:49 Aaaaaaaaaand, I'm going to call it. Time of death of this liveblog -- 10:49. Almost made it three hours. I simply cannot take another cheesy ad, nor can I endure any more of Lauer and Costas's banter.

10:43 Now that USA is past, really the only thing anyone's waiting for is China and then the Torch.

10:37 Costas believes USA will face tough competition from China. Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity label Costas unpatriotic.

10:36 USA! USA! USA! USA!

10:35 All-out warfare in Russia/Georgia...the Olympians don't know it, but President Putin does. (Except this was all 12 hours ago, so I imagine they know it by now.)

10:34 Jim4 and KT both remark on the stamina of the cheerleaders. Those poor girls must be exhausted.

10:30 US is coming up. Why does Puerto Rico have its own team? (I mean, I guess if Guam does, PR can, but that's weird... Did you know there's a movement to get Washington, DC, its own Olympic team?)

10:29 What the hell is Poland wearing? Bad call.

10:26 The US is 20 countries away at this point.

10:24 I am not kidding. I'm seriously considering either abandonment/surrender of the liveblog or at least a little break for a nap.

10:20 Costas says we're halfway through the Parade of Nations. I die a little on the inside.

10:17 The bagpipes, my God, the bagpipes!

10:15 I think it would be cool to be one of the researchers who feed Costas and Lauer their Parade of Nations Fun Facts®.

10:12 Effing Guam. Why did I not trust my instinct on "Millionaire"? IT'S GUAMANIAN! If only I had that time machine...

10:08 Costas gets pessimistic-er and pessimistic-er. I know it's a reality that many of the athletes will go home...with nothing. But there's still hope right now, right?

10:05 You go, Liechtenstein!

10:01 Here's what we know: the US is about 2/3 of the way through the Parade of Nations. Here's what we also know: We have not yet seen the US. Therefore, we are not even 2/3 of the way through. I am fading fast.

9:58 Canada didn't win any medals at either of the two Olympics it has hosted.

9:57 Lauer's head snapped when he heard Alexis Arguello was going to carry the flag for Nicaragua. (I'm sorry -- his head snapped?)

9:56 I realize that Joshua has been killed, abducted, or otherwise disappeared. What gives?

9:54 President Bush checks his watch, Mrs. Bush looks embarrassed. Admittedly, he's not the only one checking his watch. (Neither is she the only one who's embarrassed of her husband.)

9:45 Paraguay's flag is different on the front and back. I did not know this.

9:43 Something about soccer. I, and the rest of the world United States, do not care.

9:40 Sergei Bubka is a fun name to say. Sounds like bibbi babka.

9:37 Costas: "Benin probably won't win any gold medals at this Olympics. But they were the first ones to arrive at the Olympic Village..." So, there's that.

9:34 Japan has a 64-year-old Olympian! This is his second Olympics; his first was in 1964!

9:33 And now we've moved from bagpipes to mariachi. No comprendo.

9:32 "Jamaica: The Cradle of Sprinting," proclaims Costas.

9:31 Ecuador has a very promising racewalker.

9:28 Aaaaand commercials.

9:24:30 Malta's flagbearer looks as though she might cut you. Cut, or eat.

9:24 I am baffled, utterly baffled, by the presence of ... bagpipes?

9:23 The president of Turkmenistan approved the green, lapel-less dress uniforms.

9:21 Lauer, explaining the order, which is typically alphabetical: "There is no alphabet here. It goes on the number of strokes in the Chinese character that represents the country's name." Really, Matt? There is no alphabet here?

9:20 The Parade of Nations starts. Greeks first, host nation (China -- have you not been paying attention?) last.

9:19 Jim4 chimes in from some time in our recent past (DVR delay) to remark on the Tron-like starpeople costumes.

9:18 So. Many. Commercials!

9:16 I think we're done with the first part of the ceremony. Costas promises the Parade of Nations next.

9:13 The blush may have faded from the original Christine Daaé's rose, but she's still doing OK, and a sea of little kids faces great us. Awwwwwwwwwwwwesome!

9:12 Mu Huan and Sarah Brightman sing at the top of the globething.

9:11 People running, dancing, cartwheeling...sideways!

9:10 What your people call astronauts, my people call maize taikonauts.

9:07 Lauer's mouth writes another check I'm afraid his butt won't be able to cash. Something about how he'll tell us more on how that painting will have a much longer life than right now.

9:05 Où sont tous les athlètes olympiques? Is it not time for the Parade of Nations?

9:04 The Tai Chi guys are pretty cool. My mind is blown when the Tai Chi guys run in front of the camera. Gotta get DVR.

9:01 Josh and Matt expect us not to know what's going on right now. So Josh narrates about what the hell is going on. The message here is very clear: the harmony between man and nature, the harmony of the Tai Chi master is the only hope for the future of China. (2,008 Tai Chi masters do their thing around a bunch of school kids.)

9:00 Must Lauer continue to refer to the scrim as a "membrane"?

8:59 Ooh! Tai Chi!

8:58 Bank of America promotes their America's Cheer site, which I referenced before.

8:57 Milo comes out from under the couch to say hello. Quickly scampers back under the couch.

8:55 Commercials! Lots of those...even more than in the SuperBowl pregame.

8:54 Matt, Josh, and Bob are quiet as a dove made of starpeople turns into the birds nest. Costas points out a big kite, from which dangles a little girl nicknamed Chao Chao who, presumably voluntarily, is attached to the kite 100 feet over the stadium floor.

8:50 We have moved from ancient Chinese secrets to modern China and a very talented Chinese pianist named, I'm pretty sure, Long Long. (JJ's inappropriate commenting has rubbed off on me.)

8:48 I learn that the Joshua in question is someone named Joshua Cooper Ramo, one of China's leading foreign-born scholars.

8:46 Costas tells us this is China's "coming out party." Really. Lauer begins to ooh and ahh over the fashion show. Hmm.

8:41 Very dramatic music and sea imagery. I long for the Parade of Nations.

8:40 JJ signs off just as Lauer calls our attention to a membrane, or scrim, on which is projected an image of the sea.

8:38 A woman dances on a floor carried by a couple hundred dudes over their head. There is symbolism: one dancer being supported by many. Apparently, China is a land of contrasts: loud and soft, black and white, one and many, mushu and pork, szechuan and hunan, fortune and cookie.

8:37 Against my better judgment, I approve JJ's latest comment.

8:36 A check of the comments indicates that only my brother is tracking the liveblog so far. The Superbowl liveblog netted at least four or five followers. JJ is very focused on the headgear.

8:35 AHA!!! I KNEW IT WAS PEOPLE!!! (I'm like the guy in "Soylent Green.") Sorry if I spoiled that unintentionally.

8:34 And now the Great Wall, built as China tried to keep barbarians out. The Great Wall is brought down and replaced with cornflower, the Chinese symbol of openness.

8:33 I wonder if there are people standing up and sitting down inside the moveable type things.

8:31 Hooray, wind! Hooray, harmony! Josh tells us that President (Prime Minister? Head Dude?) Hu Jintao talks constantly about "ho-shwin-shwo-hay" (or whatever) -- the harmonious something something.

8:28 Confucius travels, as 810 disciples of Confucius appear with scrolls of some sort. Joshua tells us that Confucius lived 2500 years ago. Lauer provides an irrelevant piece of info about Chinese history...China invented paper and printing. Except not so relevant after all (tricky, Lauer!) as he introduces Chinese moveable printing blocks.

8:26 A Budweiser ad, hearkening back to the SuperBowl...

8:24 Lauer tells us the scroll is one of the world's largest LED screens. Also pretty cool.

8:22 A massive scroll unrolls as we are reminded that the three great brush arts of China are calligraphy, painting, and poetry. Dancer-tumblers are drawing on the scroll with their feet. Pretty cool.

8:20 Costas pessimistically advises us to "Get used to hearing the Chinese national anthem," as they're basically going to medal-screw everyone else for the next two weeks.

8:19 We sing the national anthem of China. Canada is the only other national anthem I know, so I do not sing along.

8:18 Hu Jintao, China's head of state, claps. I am reminded of the bad guy in Rush Hour (the first one), named Juntao.

8:17 From the children to the soldiers, the flag is passed. The unfamiliar voice, I learn, is named Joshua.

8:15 Fifty-six children, representing the 56 ethnic groups of China carry in a Chinese flag while an adorable little 9-year-old moppet sings a nice song. Awwwwww! President Bush and Vladimir Putin are talking to each other; Lauer surmises they're talking about the drummers, while I surmise they're talking about where the beer guy is.

8:12 I realize how much I've written already and decide to pace myself better. I still don't know who that other voice is, telling us about Buddhist iconography and the flying rainbow ladies.

8:11 Lauer invites us back to see the Footsteps of History, some computer animated something something.

8:10 Do Olympians really eat at McDonald's?

8:09:30 "It's time for a little sweat," and also "It's time to get busy," "It's time to do something you've never done before," and "It's time to dream big." "It's time to start. The Home Depot is proud to employ more Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls than any other company in the world." That's actually pretty cool.

8:09 Commercial break. The games of the 2008 Olympiad are brought to us by Budweiser, Visa, McDonald's, and The Home Depot.

8:08 "Awe-inspiring and perhaps intimidating," says Lauer, "but they told these performers earlier to smile and that would help take the edge off." Kind of a lame punchline to that three-minute promise, Matt.

8:07 So far, the drumpeople seem very well choreographed and in synch. I kind of wonder if the ones who screw up will be executed.

8:06 The drumpeople perform an elaborate drumdance while some voice I do not recognize tells us about Chinese history.

8:05 Matt Lauer and Bob Costas remark on the drummers' precision. Lauer promises: "We'll make note of their smiles later on."

8:04 Aaaaaand we're off: fireworks, flashes, colors, trumpet fanfare, a giant tribute to Johnny Cash.

8:03 They're counting down to something...using the drum people as counterdowners.

8:02 Just a little seizure.

8:01 Lots and lots of people on the field. Lots of blinking lights. I have a seizure.

7:59 I'm in place, the President of the US is in place, let's get it on.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Sentences I've actually said aloud, which still make me laugh, offered sans context

  • "There's no time for Ring Pops!"
  • "I have once again returned triumphant."
  • "I do not know anyone of the Clan McBroom."
  • "I'm sorry, have we met? I'm Florence Henderson."
  • "Whatchoo talkin' 'bout, random person next to me at PF Chang's?"
  • "No Hansen, No Dancin', No Vera Wang."
  • "The re-animated corpse of Billy Barty."
  • "If only I had a flux capacitor and, you know, science ... like, science knowledge ... or whatever."
  • "Either Scarlett LeBomb or Honey DDijon."
  • "Yes. OK. See ya!"
  • "Excuse me...were you Cousin Larry?"
  • "NOT! TODAY!"

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog is made of awesome

When you have 43 minutes, watch this:

Cookbook Corner

This will not. at. all. be a regular feature, but because dozens of one readers have has literally begged asked politely for the recipe of Harry & David Molten Chocoberry Volcano Muffins I prepared for my guests at 3:30 Saturday morning before they left for the airport at 4:00, I shall post the v. complicated recipe here:

You will need:
  • One storebought muffin mix (I used the just-add-water kind -- don't even need an egg!)
  • 3 - 4 oz. Harry & David Chocolate Blueberries for every six muffins you're making
  • A little bit o' lemon rind (more than a pinch, less than a teaspoon)

To prepare:
  1. Mix it all up.
  2. Bake according to the directions on muffin mix pouch, but you'll need to bake at the high end of the cook-time range. Muffins will not rise, but oh, sweet Lord, you won't care. The Molten Chocoberry center more than makes up for the lack of muffin tops.

Yields:

  • Whatever the muffin mix you're using yields.
It's so easy! It's so easy I can do it! It's so easy I can do it at 3:00 in the morning!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Millennial Awe

Where do we find wonder these days, anyway?

I went to Symphony on the Prairie again last night. The music was "meh" -- but that was largely due to song choice. The program was Pure Beethoven this week, but it didn't include any Beethoven classics: no "Dun-dun-dun-DUUUUUN! Dun-dun-dun-DUUUUUN!" or anything comparable. But because I was not distracted by the music, I experienced the evening in a different way -- fading in and out of shallow sleep on a picnic blanket on the hill.

When the sun finally went down, I watched the stars come out, and for the longest time, I could only see one star. I had been wearing my nonprescription sunglasses (don't tell the BMV!) at the beginning of the concert, but had removed them, so I was left with my natural binocular vision (right eye near-sighted, left eye far-sighted, which, my Costco optometrist assures me, will serve me in good stead in 30 years) and all of a sudden I could do weird things with the single star I was watching, just by concentrating on focusing my eyes differently. I could make it move around, and make two of it appear and then make the two move away from each other either directly opposite from one another or on a perpendicular vector. I think I figured out the secret to doing stereograms, which I could never do before ... and I think the secret is I have to be on my back.

Anyway, what I slowly realized was that while I had been focusing on that one star (right eye, left eye, both eyes, left eye mostly with a little right eye...), the sun kept going down and other stars had become visible. I wondered how many people were pondering any of the stars above us, let alone the vast multitude I was witnessing at that moment. If not for my random choice to lay on my back instead of sitting up, I'd have totally missed it.

And I wondered where we make room for AWE in the Internet Era. What blows our mind the way an eclipse would have, even four hundred years ago? What inspires a sense of "No. Effing. Way." the way the friends of the first caveman caveperson to harness fire would have responded? What challenges us to identify our place in creation while also giving us hope for something bigger, letting us experience wonder like the folks who witnessed the Aurora Borealis before we understood what caused it?

This afternoon, I completed my Very. Hectic. Slothing Agenda:
  1. Sleeping until 10:30,
  2. Eating leftover improvised Harry & David Molten Chocoberry Volcano Muffins -- whose recipe I may or may not publish at a later date,
  3. Reading Chuck Palahniuk's lame novella "Snuff,"
  4. Reading a spoiler synopsis of The Dark Knight,
  5. Watching the first five episodes of Stephen King's new web-based graphic novel series, "N."

Then I spent another half hour on the back porch listening to my iPod and just watched the pond lake loch. I met a new turtle I hadn't met before (quite a fast swimmer, that one, whom I shall name Flash, pronounced "Flaysh" like Roscoe P. Coltrane's dog on The Dukes of Hazzard), and I watched the sun sparkle on the water's surface in a way that was reminiscent of the stars' dance last night. And, again, I was overwhelmed with the notion that there's all this beauty around me that I don't even realize.

Which moved me from wondering where we make room for awe in the Internet Era to wondering what I can actively do from now on to appreciate the beauty of Nature, the Universe, Creation, Whatever You Want To Call It.

Ideas? Suggestions? Swift kicks to the head? I will also accept comments and analyses regarding the fact that all my examples have something to do with light: stars, eclipse, fire, northern lights, sun bouncing off the water...