Monday, December 22, 2003

Merry Christmas, Here Have a Yule Log

Today I was talking with somebody and happened to mention the words "yule log." I believe the context was, "if he does that again, I'm going to bludgeon him with a yule log." I was hoping that this verbiage would convey my anger and resentment, instead it spurned responses of outright laughter and traditional sayings like, "now this I gotta see...." Which lead a few of us to speculate on what exactly a yule log is. I guess I've always thought of a yule log as something Rudolph may leave on your roof, even though most think of it as some kind of a pastry or such.

The origin of the word (what would we do without google?) comes from the Scandanavian. The story goes that the natives would burn a giant log in an attempt to appease the great God of the sun, Thor (I am, in fact, NOT making this up.) The giant log was called a Yule Log and the time of year at which they burned this great beast was referred to as yuletime, which is today what we refer to as Christmas or the greatest shopping travesty that ever was invented. (Google it if you don't believe me. )

Granted, I am by far not an expert on all things Scandi (having thought Danish too was indeed a pastry) but this little tale has me wondering. If the great and ever so pissed-off Thor really did exist, did your ancestors really believe that burning a gigantic log would appease him? In case you're wondering, my ancenstors were busy being decadent in the South of Europe and were far too busy being non-Hungarians to worry about the Scandi's. (They had wine to drink so the only great Scandi's they knew were giant pink elephants who came from the north on special occassions.)

And I can't help but wonder what ever happened to the great Thor? Was he, in fact, the 9th reindeer? Come to think of it, this would explain a lot of yule logs. But don't worry. Our ancestors will be too confused wondering who the great God "goole" was to worry about all the extra yule logs we found on the roof.

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Now That's Exotic

So, recently I was talking with some friends, as I always seem to do, and the talk turned to the exotic. "Why do you always like exotic stuff," he asked. I couldn't really answer at the time. I suppose it's safe to say that I've a long running daydream (fantasy if you will) of flipping everybody the proverbial (ok maybe not so proverbial) bird and running away to some far away place. The ultimate adventure to me would be to run off someplace, yes, exotic, and enjoy myself, instead of staying all cramped up in a small office typing all day long. Maybe it's the tantalizing aspect of being able to see the sun from where I sit but never getting to feel it on my face. I don't know. There's just something wild and free about running away to someplace fun.

Some folks speculate that the word "exotic" is what you say when you don't want to compliment but you don't know what else to say. "She looks exotic" Isn't that really a euphamism for "she's ugly but I don't want to call her that.?" I suppose some think of exotic as foreign, queer, or just quizical. There's nothing inheritantly nice about the exotic, unless you are somebody, like me, who craves all things different. To me, I just can't seem to get enough of all things "exotic" and so the moniker does not carry with it the usual negative connotations.

The trouble comes in when you start to actually experience things. Growing up in NY, I used to think of Mexico as "exotic" now it's commonplace. Just like social boundaries the label "exotic" is really a moving target. What was obscene yesterday, you can now safely say on TV. So what happens? When you go to Mexico for the four hundredth time does it suddenly become "non-exotic?" Familiar perhaps? I guess. Still, I've got only about 350 more times to go before I can lay any claim to "familiar" at all and I'm determined to really enjoy each and every one.

Australia anyone? How about French Indo-China? Maybe outer space? Or back in time? Hmm. Now *that* would be exotic, even for me.

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off.



Monday, December 15, 2003

It's Not MY Accent You're Talking About

Sometime last week, I was speaking with some friends about my accent. Some folks say that I still have a heavy NY accent, that I talk like a "long guyland girl" while others insist I speak like a native Texan. The truth, I suspect, lies in between. Which leads me to blog about all that which is "in between."

If I'm part Texan and part New Yorker, I would think that the world were full of big cities but wide open spaces. The New Yorker in me loves big pretzels, the smell of roasted chestnuts, a Mets home game, and Christmas in the city with all the lights. The Texan in me loves the underdeveloped prairie, mesquite trees, the bluebonnets in the spring, and really good tex-mex food. I suppose both halves like salsa and smooth jazz. Both sides of me love downtown lofts and upscale restaurants (although a snack at the park is just as fun.)

So all this talk of my past lead me to ask, "why did I come here?" I've a good friend (Steve, in case you were wondering) who came to Austin to get his degree. He wanted a masters degree or a PhD so that he could "go off" and teach for a living. I suppose, in hindsight, you could say that I've come here to photograph, although I did not know it at the time. I didn't really come to Austin with a purpose. I just wanted to get out of the cold weather and I was up for a change. It's the change of pace, the new scenery, the different surroundings that drove me to Austin (although, quite literally I flew with a one way ticket on a westbound plane.) I don't miss New England, although I sometimes think about where I would go if I weren't here. I do miss some of my friends, including some of my old X's, which is really quite sad. I guess I'm a hopeless romantic at heart, even though I look cold and calculating on the outside. The facade does serve it's purpose, I suppose.

Some suggest places like Tuscon or Santa Fe. "I could see you retiring in an adobe house," says Steve, "somewhere near a riverbend. In a nice little brown adobe cottage filled with artwork and lace curtains." Me? Lace curtains? Well, I suppose when I'm old and grey anything's possible. But I definately don't think of myself as a "lace curtains" kind of gal.

HE thinks I'll move someplace exotic, like Madagascar, Morocco, or Florence. "I could see you in Marakesh," HE says, "sipping a cup of tea in a cafe reading some bootleg copy of the 'Post." Yup. Now there's a middle that's more like me. But still, it makes me wonder. What in the hell kind of accent would I end up with if I moved to Marakesh?

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off.


Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Rats! It's a Giant Pez Dispenser

Wouldn't it be cool if I could write a blog that consisted entirely of other blogs? I could produce a sort-of infinite loop of bloggers. I was thinking about this and so I started writing down titles of blogs I've come across to keep for my future fun blog. The entire text will consist of nothing but titles from other blogs. That and maybe a few conjunctions thrown in for fun. I mean, how could we live without a good conjunction, right? I think the only part of speech I can live without is an exclamation but could you imagine what life would be like if we took the "Rats!" out of Charlie Brown? Sure we could live but it wouldn't be much fun.

Speaking of Charlie Brown, the other day I went shopping for a small gift for the inevitable gift exchange when I happened upon this giant, talking Charlie Brown Pez dispenser. Thinking at the time that this was "way cool" and was just a purchase without which I could not live, I grabbed Mr. Pez and headed for the door. So, I'm waiting in line to pay for Sir Chuck when I happen to notice this really great looking guy in front of me. I'm checking him out and thinking, "hey, he's kinda cute" just as he moves up to the register. I happen to notice that he's buying all sorts of chi chi stuff like, quite literally, caverne sovigernoine (sp?) and herbal tea. Suddenly feeling rather self conscious, I try to hide the giant Pez dispense and try to strike up a conversation with Mr. Hot Buns. But, what exactly do you say in a situation like this. "Mmmm. That's a good year," just doesn't have quite the same impact when you're holding a giant Pez.

And then, to make matters worse, Mr. Cutie Pie takes his purchases, moves up a bit, and stops in front of me. So I shyly place Sir Chuck on the counter, hoping that Mr. Hottie just won't notice, when the clerk grabs the big honking Pez boy, holds it highly up in the air, and exclaims, "Oh Wow! These are so cool, aren't they?" completely ruining any remaining glimmer of hope I had with Mr. Hot Stuff. Sigh. I guess I'm just destined to be single forever. I suppose it would have never worked out anyway. I mean, truth be told, it wasn't a very good year and sometimes I'd rather have pizza and bear instead of a well-aged mellow red.

Pez for your thoughts?

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off.

Monday, December 08, 2003

Carol's Little Rules

I've been getting a few requests as of late to re-post my rules. Yes, it's true; there are indeed rules to this chaos. Of course, they change slightly every time I post them, but I try to abide by them somewhat in the course of my ramblings. So, in no particular order, here are the rules:

* Carol's Little World is a narcissistic blog. I write about what I want to write about when I want to write about it. You are more than welcome to make suggestions by emailing me, and frequently I do cover topics folks have suggested, but I make no promises. Content is strictly enforced by The Evil Dictator Carol and all of her decisions are FINAL.
* I have not yet and probably won't anytime soon, reveal the identity of HIM. (No, you didn't miss it, I just won't give it up.)
* I do not actively try to route traffic to Carol's Little World. Yes, it's a public blog, but I don't go around advertising it. Conversely, I don't try to block traffic either, and I'm not "upset" if anybody happens along to sneak a peek. It's a public journal and anybody is more than welcome to view it. (If you don't like what you see, allow me to introduce you to Mr. BackButton.)
* Carol's Little World exists because I'm cheap and I like easy things. As long as blogger is free and easy to use, I will continue an occassional post to this site. My "real" job is as a database programmer and so, as soon as maintaining this site becomes too much like "real work" or my "day job," I will stop.
* Carol's Little World, if you couldn't tell from the title, is self-indulgent. I make no apologies for this. This site exists to help improve my communication skills and for my own enjoyment. I find it rather cathartic to post to an on-line journal. As long as it's fun, it doesn't hurt anybody, it doesn't cost any money, and I have the time, I will continue to post.
* Carol (that's me, in case you weren't paying attention) can change the rules at any time. I am The Evil Dictator, the Wizard behind the curtain, the Lady with the Big Stick, etc. etc. Nobody else posts here but me. (Charlie hasn't figured out how to type yet.)
* In case you did not notice, Carol cannot spell very well. I do not edit my weblog entries and I do not spell check them. Carol is a very "WYSIWYG" kind of gal. Once I post it, I move on in life and go do something else (like read a book, play with the dog, etc. etc.) I will refuse to respond to any email that contain tidbits like "there's a typo...."
* I try to remain honest and true. While I do post an occassional verse of prose or song lyric, most of the content is the inner musings of my mushed-up mind.
* I cannot alter my writing style. Several people have written to me and suggested that I try to make Carol's Little World sound "more formal." This is the way I write. I have accepted it, learned to live with it, and I'm happy with it the way it is. Sure, it'd be great if I were the reincarnation of William Shakespeare but I'm not and so I prefer to think of myself as something closer to J.D. Salinger or something that's entirely unique. I like being myself. The world would be a very boring place if we were all a bunch of Williams.

That's all I can think of for now, although I'm sure there are more, including some I have yet to define.

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off.

Friday, December 05, 2003

My True Identity

Many folks have been pestering me recently (again?) as to why I will not reveal HIS true identity. "It's been some time, since you've last blogged about HIM," one reader writes me in a recent email, "When are you going to reveal HIM?" I take objection to this kind of response. I mean, in some ways, I already have.

You already know a great deal about HIM. You know that we're not currently dating (nor ever have). You know he has sandy hair, is tall and dresses sort of "preppy" although he has a confirmed wild side. You know HE likes snowboarding, backgammon, and chess. You know HE's a photographer with his own darkroom. You know HE wears leater jackets and despises the game of golf. HE's a closet environmentalist and a world traveler. Must you really know his name? How much more do I really have to give-up? And isn't a name really just a tag we give ourselves in an attempt at establishing an identity of our own?

Sometimes the essence of the fantasy is better than the actualization of reality. Sometimes it's better to keep the dream alive in your imagination rather than dealing with the harshness and possibility that it may one day fade or die. Sometimes it's better to leave a little under the covers; to keep 'em guessing, as they say, rather than to reveal all upfront. This is one of those times.

Several of you have posted asking what would happen if HE stumbled upon my blog, as if to speculate this is the reason why I won't reveal anymore than I "have to." I reveal all about HIM that I feel is relevant. I'm not pretending to post a "hidden" web log or write anything that contains a secret hidden adgenda. One of the little rules I follow in creating and maintaining this web log is that it will always be somewhat true and that I post what I feel like when I feel like posting it. I've never really thought about sharing it with HIM, although I certainly wouldn't be hurt or ashamed if HE happened upon it. I could imagine the two of us, sitting in a little internet cafe, somewhere in the wilds of Mexico, laughing at some of my prior posts. If you think HE would take offense to any of this, or that HE would even take it all too seriously, well, you don't know HIM as well as you should. I suppose I take blame for this. The one unexpected result of continuing this web log is the fact that HE exists to you only through my eyes. If I've painted him with an incorrect brush, or protrayed him in an unfavorable light, for this and this alone, I am sorry.

One of my friends, Ken, insists on pestering me to find HIS identity. I've told Ken, several times, "but you don't even know HIM. What do you want to know HIS name?" His response is always the same, "I just do." I suppose, in that sense, we all just want to. But, I can say this to Ken....if you were to meet him....if you were to sit down for three hours, have dinner and "chat" the end result probably would not stack up to your imagination. No matter what you think of HIM, the reality of it is that HE wouldn't be like "that." It would never stack up to all the fun you've had laughing at my blog or all the conversations we've had where we discussed HIM and why I won't tell you HIS name. And so, in the spirit of not ruining your fun, I shall maintain the secret of HIS identity. But I will say, after having read my blogger, you must admit, you do know a lot more about MY true identity. And that, if anything, is the secret "little truth" contained inside of Carol's Little World.

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off.


Tuesday, December 02, 2003

A Turkey for your Leftovers

I ate too much for Thanksgiving. I mean, not like a little too much, I mean like way the hell, what where you thinking too much. I just kept gobbling down the mashed potatoes, stuffing, chicken, and cranberries. I don't know what possessed me, but I sure stuffed myself. Chicken, you ask? I'm allergic to turkey. And, in case you were wondering, no I don't miss it. It's tastes to me a bit like plastic. Imagine if you will some little green men landing from mars who come into your house, announce proudly, "we come in peace" and then start munching on those little plastic cases we humans use to store video casettes. "Hmmm," you might say, "I don't really need those since most of my stuff is now on DVD but I find it a bit odd that they actually chew on and like to swallow such an object." That's how I feel when I watch you eat turkey. Sure, I *could* chew some myself, but it wouldn't be like eating anything that resembles food.

Speaking of eating food, I sure was good at it over the Thanksgiving break. For those of you overseas, Thanksgiving is this yearly, um "feast" where we stuff ourselves with "traditional" foods like turkey, ham, stuffing, potatoes, cranberries, etc. and we all go home to spend time with our collective families and chow down for one gigantic meal, after which we collapse on the couch. It's really quite a popular holiday. Supposidly, the historic significance is that it exists to mark the anniversary of the pilgrims pigging out with the Indians, although many of us find this historical perspective more than a bit slanted and rather hard to believe. Pilgrims pigging out? That had that much food? And they cooked and ate it after laying down the axe and inviting the Indians, those previously thought of as wild heathens, in for a sit down meal? Still, we schlep ourselves all the way home, gobble down our turkey (or chicken in my case), run out to the mall to shop it off, and then we schlep back to work on Monday morning.

Another custom is that Thanksgiving is, like Easter and unlike Christmas, always on the same day of the week. It's a Thursday and it usually occurs at the end of November. It used to be said that you knew you had a good job when you got to take the day after Thanksgiving off and go shopping. Either that or you are a doctor in which case, you are very smart but you don't get to take many days off.

The day after Thanksgiving (a Friday in case you weren't paying attention) marks the "beginning of the Christmas season" and is usually celebrated by mass shopping in malls across the 'States. Some poor woman was actually trampled at a Wal-Mart near you. It's insanity. At least I, a consummate mall-a-phobe, sometimes view it as the beginning of the end. I can actually envision myself, after death, standing at the gates of Hell, and, as the devil himself swings them open for me, exclaims, "come in, dear Carol. Everything today is 50% off. Hurry, get your famine and pestilence while they last." Oh joy, the wonders of the beautiful holiday season. This year I opted to avoid the malls entirely and slept on the couch. A wonderful Thanksgiving it was indeed. I am truely thankful for the couch.

I did get to see HIM this weekend. HE's doing ok. Just finished a release at work and got back from a trip overseas. Hasn't been playing chess all that much and is sorting through pictures from France and Germany. He was also not-so-secretly coveting a trip to the great white north to go snowboarding but, alas, he cannot afford to take the time. I never saw HIM as much of a snowboarded, so it's probably all just as well. It's really horrible when reality ruins a perfectly good fantasy and, in this case anyway, I'm also thankful it didn't.

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off and being thankful.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Why bother?

Kate Breakey's book is out. It's called Small Deaths and it's available now at a bookstore near you, I suppose.

One of the earliest memories I have of Kate is working in her darkroom. (She used to live and work in Austin, long before she went "NY" and garnered a book deal.) I'm certain the book does not do her prints justice. They are approximately 4 feet by 4 feet in size and quite striking if you see them in person. I can remember standing in her darkroom "helping" although, at the time, I didn't think I could possibly be much help. At the time, I wasn't very good in the darkroom and I was quite unsure of myself as a photographer. She prints her work on canvas, later stretches it out, guessos it, and then spends many days (even months) painting on top of her photographs. The word "painting" doesn't even suffice. She spreads layers upon layers of paint on them, much like plastering or applying putty. The end result is indeed quite striking.

I can remember standing in that darkroom with four other photographers, pulling one of her canvases out of the chemistry. Her prints are so large, she uses kiddie pools to develop and produce them. I remember thinking her entire process was quite labor intensive. Once we (all four of us) produced the print, she was happy. She proudly announced that, "now she can spend countless hours painting on it." I asked her at the time, "why bother? I mean, if you are going to call yourself a photographer and paint so much on your end prints, why not just call yourself a painter and do like the rest of them. Get a projector, zap your artwork on a canvas, trace it out in pencil, and then paint. Why not call yourself a painter and just go for the paint instead of calling yourself a photographer and going through this big ordeal?" She never did give me a straight answer. But, a few years later, I had an opportunity to see her work in a gallery in Austin and I knew why. Sure her process is labor intensive, difficult, seemingly impossible at times. Sure it's a lot of work to produce something that may or may not sell. Sure she's photographing dead things which sometimes relegate themselves to the obligatory "eeewww" response. But, I will never again ask "why bother?" after having stood in a room full of them. Her work is beyond compare and her artistry is entirely unique. She ownes her process and she's mastered her vision.

If you ever get a chance to see an original Kate Breakey print, do yourself a favor and grab that opportunity. You won't be disappointed. You may ask many questions, but you will not come away asking, "why bother?"

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

My Entirely Non-Boring Blog about a Grilled Cheese Sandwich or How Not to Blog for Beginners

So I was reading this article written by some lady who critiques web logs for a living (yes, I actually just typed that) and, in the article, she declares something along the lines of, "One should never blog about food. I mean who wants to hear that you ate a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch today?" This made me stop and think (which, in itself is rather hard to do, but that's a blogger entry for another day.) When I was but a youngin in a drunken stupor, ahem, I mean "college," I was told by my creative writing teacher something along the lines of, "a good writer can write about anything and make it sound interesting. A bad writer will write about something interesting and make it sound boring." All of this leads me to today's bloger entry devoted to grilled cheese sandwiches everywhere.

She was too small to actually reach the stove, but she could tug on the kitchen towel, hanging from the refridgerator door, just hard enough to swing open the icy vault and peer inside. Standing on her toes, she peeked into the meat compartment to glare at the yellow cheese. Today was a special day. She aced her math test and Mom was going to make her a fancy treat to celebrate. The butter slid around the worn frying pan, carefully coating the edges as it glided around, melting slowly from the heat. The toaster popped out several slices of bread, which were slightly darker on one side, but still not dark enough to be burnt. The cheese was placed between the toast and a pancake flipper pressed the bread down into the butter. After a few minutes, she watched as Mom flipped the sandwich over and she turned towards the table to wait for her snack. The bread pulled apart easily even though the innards of the sandwich were all warm and gooey. The butter thinly coated the outside of the bread evenly and the cheese was cooked just enough to bubble out as she bit into it. She ate her grilled cheese sandwich with a smile, enjoying every last morsel. No need to pressure her to join the "clean plate club" today, she gobbled her lunch down and ran outside to play in the snow.

I love grilled cheese sandwiches. Always have. Ever since I was a kid. I can remember eating them in the kitchen of our family home in NY. Especially on a cold winter's day, there was something about the heat coming off the hot buttered frying pan, something about "helping" Mom in the kitchen with the "cooking" that made me feel all grown-up, yet still delighted as a child to enjoy the finished product. Sure grilled cheese is familiar and that may make it boring to some. And I guess some would relegate me unto the world of the "boring" but, in Carol's Little World, grilled cheese is the official sandwich treat. Always has been always will be.

Makes me wonder how long the "web critique" lady will be gainfully employed. And really makes me wonder whatever happened to that creative writing teacher. Hmmm. Come to think of it, I think his name was like John Grisham or something. (Just kidding, just kidding.)

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off and grilling cheese.

Monday, November 24, 2003

It's a HOT Topic

So, I got this new coffee pot/coffee maker thing over the weekend for the office. It's turned into a hot topic as of late. We're on this quest, you see, to brew the perfect brew of coffee. I don't know how it started, but we're off, and we're not about to stop anytime soon. At least not until the caffeine drip has perked me into the next millenium.

We started talking about how the existing coffee pots were too far away. How we had to walk down a loooong hallway to get way "over there" where the coffee lives. About how the coffee at work just tastes so....well....BLAH. Then one day we turn around, and nothing but the finest arabica will do. Yup. Welcome to the land of the coffee snob. Where only the finest Colombian will suffice. Say Hello to Mr. Juan Valdez himself as you stroll past the printer and into my cluttered office. You would think that, if I actually had access to Mr. Valdez, that I would not need post it's everwhere and I might be able to actually find my car keys, but that's a blogger entry for another day.

So, I got one of these coffee pots that take little bags called (don't laugh) Java Pods and turns them into coffee (I can hear you laughing. Stop that.) The one concern that we all seem to have is that availability of these (don't laugh) Java Pods (stop it, damn you.) But, I've googled it and it turns out that the sell the pods (Stop It!) at Amazon, Wal Mart, and Starbucks. Which kind of makes them "ordinary pods" I suppose (Enough already!)

And, speaking of google and Amazon, did you know that Amazon has turned into a googlewhack! Yes, it's true. Do a search for amazon.com in google and note that only one result comes back. That is, if you don't count this blogger entry. Which could sway your actual results, so the usual disclaimer about "actual mileage may vary" applies to google as well as it does to the automotive industry. Ah yes, the automotive industry. The place where they sometimes build "real" pods. (HA! HA! Fooled you.)

To add to the list of things you are not supposed to do: bad coffee. Sorry but life's entirely too short for motor oil disguised as java. And don't try to search google for Java Pod. You'll end up with all kinds of programming results. Stuff like "How Java and C++ interact with SMTP" kind of stuff. Definately no googlewhacks there. I guess Java, in whatever format, really is a HOT topic.

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off and not doing it.


Thursday, November 20, 2003

What not to do and How not to do it

Am I the only person on this good green earth who believes that Paris Hilton deliberately planted those tapes because she has a new TV program coming out and she doesn't want you to miss it? I'm really starting to think so. But, just in case it really was an "accident," I'm dedicating this blog to all those things you are not supposed to do.

You are not supposed to drink cheap tequila. Nope. Can't do it. Sorry.

You are not supposed to tape yourself having sex. You may want to run for a senate seat someday. Not only that, if you should happen to become rich and famous, somebody will someday use that sex tape against you. Not to mention the fact that you were once a senator. Audio tapes are permitted, provided you disguise your voice well enough.

You are not, under any circumstances, to wear white after labor day. Some of my friends are not allowed to wear white at all. Although, I do have to wonder. Now that Johnny Cash has died are we all supposed to wear WHITE all the time? Hmmm.

You are not allowed to make suggestions for a road trip locale if you are not intoxicated. Sorry but, it's just no fun that way.

You are not to program your computer, subsequently call me, and ask for advice regarding your printer. I will kill you. And, since you're not smart enough to fix your own printer, let me explain this to you. The act of me killing you probably will hurt.

You are never to craft an apology containing the word "but..." You either apologize or you don't. There just are not buts.

And, speaking of butts, you are not to mention the size of any posterior. Ever. Don't care if it's big or small, fat or skinny. I just don't want to hear about it. Unless you are Nelly. Then you are too cute, and you're allowed. (I can issue "hall passes" in Carol's Little World because, well after all, I am Carol.)

You are not to provide fodder to the tabloids. Ever. Let them dig through my garbage if they really want it. Make them work for their money.

And finally, whatever you don't do, you should be sure to enjoy it or, in the very least, don't do it well. Hey, don't blame me if it goes wrong either, I'm just the blogger.

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off and not doing it.




Wednesday, November 12, 2003

I'm not as boring as I think I am

OK, I admit it. I'm boring. Not just boring, but really, really, king kah-ma-a-ma-ah, living in suburbia driving a mini-van boring. Nevermind the fact that I don't actually have a mini-van, stick with me on this. My three favorite topics are Trading Spaces, high technology, and my dog Charlie. If you should happen across me at a coctail party and start to socialize, I would mention one of these three topics and you would cut a bee line for the patte or the open bar faster than Grant took Richmond. I know it's true, but I'm relegated to the fact that I'm boring and I can be a happy boring person. Here I sit, all happy and content in my boring suburbia driving my boring non-mini van, drinking my cheap tequila, and playing an occassional game of snooker, which is incredibly boring unless you are the eight ball.

Is it even possible for somebody like me to be so totally socially unacceptable yet still quite so spectacularly boring? I think so. I think being creative and having a really great creative outlet does not negate ones "boringness" if such a thing existed. Yes, it's true. You can be creative and spontaneous and fun-loving, while still cultivating an ever so boring side. But, at least I'm not crazy. OK, maybe not THAT crazy. Sound better?

But then I look around and I see folks who are way more boring than I am. I mean, I do get out and I have all the pictures to prove it. So how do you explain this boring factor? How do you rate somebody on the boring scale? What exactly makes boring, well, so boring? Is it a lack of interest? Don't interesting people lose interest in some things? If so, how can you say they are boring? Is it because I'm not on the Atkins diet? Is being a vegetarian innately more boring than being Atkins? Is it a lack of knowledge on all topics current? How does knowing current evenings make one "non boring?" Is it the type of music you listen to? The type of car you drive? The dwelling in which you choose to live? Your wardrobe?

All of this boring talk has me wondering. Kind of like that old "if a tree fell in the forest..." dealio, it has me asking...if a really, really boring person bored a bunch of other boring people, would anybody really be bored at all?

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

BOO! It's the Northern Lights/Where are my Dreams?

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. You get to eat too much, you get to party too much and you sleep too little. This year, it was made extra-special by some weird kind of sonic solar storm, which drummed up all kinds of mad cosmic happenings. I got to see the Northern Lights.

Now, I'm not traditionally a big fan of the northern lights. I mean, when I lived in Postdam, they were around all the time and I just sort of took them for granted. But, there's something about seeing them in Texas, where the sky is big and the sun is warm. Something about getting to enjoy the great northern lights without having to wear a coat, without having to put up with the cold, that really gets me. I mean, I love them when they are just decorations in the sky, but I guess it's safe to say I didn't like them so much when they came with a wind chill factor of 20 below.

One of my favorite TV shows, Northern Exposure, once had a great episode prominately featuring the Northern Lights. In this episode, the natives believed that the Northern Lights would steal your dreams and that you and your neighbors would all swap dreams when the lights appeared. Needless to say, the folks in that Alaskan town had some pretty strange dreams. I do wonder if there's some truth to it. Is it possible that the Northern Lights spurs on dreams? Maybe it makes them easier to remember? Or perhaps it instills some added creativity into all of us, which manifests itself in our dreams. I suppose we'll never really know. But we can still enjoy the lights, especially without the winter coat.

They were out a bit again last night, although not as spectacular as Halloween. Still, I could see them peeking out from behind the clouds, casting an eerie glow on my boring suburbia. It was kind of cool, if only for a brief moment of autumn. Hey Mr. BigSky, is that an aurora in your pocket or are you just all that happy to see little old me?

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off.

Thursday, October 30, 2003

I'm So Selfish, it's all about me

Today I didn't even sign-in to GAIM or Trillian to check my instant messages. And I found out that my floors will probably be installed next week. They are coming here, to Austin, from Memphis. I suppose they do have a lot of trees in Memphis. I just never thought of it as the hardwood capitol of the world, but that's where the floor's coming from, so I suppose the title holds. My office is all nice and blue and I'm just about ready for the floors to get installed so I can get my home back together again and start doing my office. I can hardly wait. I really want to finish it and start enjoying it.

There was a story on Slashdot yesterday about a guy who was working at Microsoft. He happened upon a pallat of G5's being delivered to the MSFT world headquarters and took a picture of this monumental event. He later put the photo in his blogger and was, ahem, "let go" from the evil empire. I like to think that my blogger is mine, and that nobody really cares about it. I mean, there's not much here that's really riveting, is there? So why would my employer get all hopped up about the subject matter of my blogs? But, I suppose I should be careful.

I actually almost never really blog about work, it's just not that interesting a subject matter and I figure that you've heard it all before. Plus I really blog to get away from the day's events. To seek solace from the daily grind, which can really get you down if you don't have some kind of a release. But I've always thought that this is my little world and, as such, I can blog about whatever I wish, without concern. I suppose, in this day of electron gadgets, GPS, satellite monitoring and the like, I should resolve to start being more careful. But what I really want to know is, why would MSFT care about a load of dual-proc G5's and what's the real harm if it got out that MSFT had them? I mean, their products do run on the Mac, so what's the harm? I just don't get it.

I can hardly wait to go out photographing this weekend. I want to get out of the house, enjoy the nice weather, and go do something, instead of staying around, moping and not enjoying myself. Plus it's been a while since I've really done a lot of pictures. I plan on bringing about 10 rolls of film and just going to town. I probably won't be able to afford to get them developed for six years but what the hey?

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

My Answers to the 20 Questions

OK, so somebody wrote in and asked me to update the 20 questions with my answers. Here goes:
* A profession or trade I would choose to be? Hands-down, a hooker. I mean, think about it. You get a lot of sex, a lot of money, and you don't have to put up with any crap from anybody. Provided I could avoid the prision sentence, that is. Seriously, I would probably be an architect or a travel photographer. But not one who has to deal with sharks. Or customs officials. Come to think of it, I'd take the sharks, provided I had a semi-safe-ish cage and a long lens.
* Something I hate....Hmmmm. Maybe motivational speaker or aerobics instructor. Professional sky diver or somebody who plays with insects.
* Three items I would purchase if left alone in a WalMart supercenter with infinite $$$? Easy. A gun, a stereo, and a camera. Probably in that order too. Then, I'd use the gun to steal me a mars bar and I'd hightail it to Mexico.
* Drugs, booze, porn, violence or cheating? Hmmm. I probably choose the better living through chemistry if given the option. (That's dope for you kiddies who don't remember the 60's.)
* MAGENTA MAGENTA MAGENTA. I'm getting a complex. I'm starting to really HATE magenta. Give me Cyan anyday.

I went out for lunch today. Went to Subway, sat outside, enjoyed the sunshine and cool breeze. Almost got attacked by a swarm of killer bees. But almost only counts in horseshoes and handguns so I still had a good time.

So I've survived another birthday intact. Or relatively. Haven't been home much and I still feel caffeinated from yesterday's fru fru coffee drink. Almost bought another one today. It's hard being an addict. Please pass the caffeine.

I'm going to Llano this weekend to take some pictures. I'm kind of scared of this place, actually. Last time I was there, I ran into a ghost who was not very friendly. If there's a few things I've learned in life, a few little "lessons" or things my mother tought me, it was to always say "please" and "thank you" and never mess with ghosts or anything that has an afterlife. It's just not a good idea, ok? I mean, I don't want to pick a fight with a spirit, ok? Especially not an already pissed off one. Something tells me that, in the great cosmos of the universe, that would just not be a good thing. Call it a hunch, ok? Boo.

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off.

Monday, October 27, 2003

It's Yer Birthday, Have a Funky Chicken

So, today's my birthday, which makes it a special day in Carol's Little World. Yes, it's true, I believe I'm turning 29 for the seventh straight year. And, believe it or not, I'm only like 40 pounds heavier than I was the first time I turned 29. Isn't that cool?

To mark my less than spectacular day, which also happens to be on a Monday this year, I stopped off on my way to work at Seattle's Best Coffee and got myself a giant fru-fru coffee drink. A white chocolate mocha to be specific. I even got whipped cream and white chocolate on top. Wow! I'm caffeinated. And it was good too. I decided to mark my birthday by drinking a fru-fru coffee drink, rather than the usual swill we have lying around at work. I don't know why, I was just tempted and deided to do it. And I wasn't even all that late for work this morning, so I could drive slowly and sip. There's something special about fru-fru coffee. It makes me all warm inside.

So, I get to work and my friend Craig has sent me this hilarous virutal birthday card link. I almost fell out of my chair. It had this chicken talked about birthday's and sending me wishes, telling me to make something special of my day, "before those terrorists at KFC take me away." HA! Believe me, when you're day is going badly, a funky chicken can cheer you up big time. I'll have to remember this next time somebody I know is feeling bad. I mean, I wasn't all that sad, but I was laughing uncontrollably at the funky chicken. Everybody should have a funky chicken on their birthday. It's just like par for the course or something.

And speaking of funkiness and chickens, Halloween's coming up. It should be fun as it's on a Friday this year. I used to hate the fact that my birthday was just before Halloween, now I'm loving it. I get to actually enjoy and orange and brown birthday cake and party like it's 29 again on Friday night. Oh joy. Maybe I'll even shake the tailfeathers off of the funky chicken.

Cluck, cluck.

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

20 Questions

Ok, so it's been a while since I've posted any questions. Here are some for you to ponder:
* If you could become any profession or trade, what would it be? What would you choose to do?
* Name one profession you absolutely HATE, that you would never do.
* Name three items you would purchase if left alone in a WalMart supercenter with infinite $$$.
* Which is better, drugs, booze, porn, violence, or cheating? If somebody held a gun to your head, which would you do first?
* What color do you hate the most (and please don't email me "magent" get your own!!!!)

So, I saw HIM the other day. HE was puttering around my neck of the woods, and I just happened upon him. HE'S still working, although really hating his job, like the rest of us left in high tech, I suppose. He did say he was playing chess again, so I'll probably have to dust off my chess set and teach myself all over again. It's pretty sad what I will do to get close to him, even though we never really were all that close and I'm not all that desperate. Makes me think it's the memories that I'm clinging to, but it could be HIS green eyes, fancy car, and white silk scarf. And his acumen for chess. Something about HIM still makes me hot and bothered, even though I've moved on, he's moved on, and we both know it would be nothing but trouble and misery. It's like we both know we're doomed from the start, still we can't help running the race to see how far we get. It just leaves me feeling a little odd, but still oh so wistful. I wish I could get over it, but I probably never will. HE didn't mention a new girlfriend but somehow I just knew. Ah, the sweet misery of unrequited love, isn't it grand? Makes me want to write him a letter, spelling out just how I feel, and then tear it up in my shredder. No, I'm not going to go out and get a cat. I'm too chipper for that kind of animal. And besides, Charlie would just try to eat it.

I went to Chuy's for lunch today and ate way too much. I also had a margarita to wash it down. I just had to take a dip in the old swill to see how it felt. I can remember going to a crappy Mexican restaurant, ordering a fishbowl, and drowning my sorrors. Fortunately, today I'm a bit happier than that and I didn't have a fishbowl, I just had a pink swirl. But I still enjoyed my drink.

Now I really need to take a nap.

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off.



Wednesday, October 22, 2003

I'm Tired

OK, I admit it, I like to complain. I mean, nobody listens and it's probably a very unattractive trait, but still there's something nice about getting it off your chest and all. I don't know what it is, but I sometimes enjoy it. I bitch and moan about all sorts of things, without respect for whomever happens to be listening. I just do. Don't know why, maybe I've always just done it that way, but there's something cathartic about complaining. It makes me feel better. Like, somehow if I can channel my problems onto you, I won't feel quite as bad.

Lately, I've been surrounded a lot by complainers. Everybody's always complaing to me how they hate this and they hate that. Like I'm a giant crying towel, I just sit, listen, and take it all in. I suppose it's the price of admission for dishing it out for so long. I mean, truthfully, I've still dished out far more complaints than I've had to take in recent months. But lately something's happened to me. I find myself not wanting to complain myself so much. Maybe all the chatter from other folks has finally made me realize how unattractive and childish complaining really is. Maybe I've finally jumped through all the mental hoops to realize that, if you sit there and complain without doing anything about the problem, you don't really solve anything. I don't know. But lately, I've had this incredible urge to just walk up to people and say, "quit yer bitchin and moaning already. Go do something productive with your life, while you have the chance." Maybe it's maturity or just stupidity. I don't know. But I want to stop complaining.

So now that I've meta-blogged about all my complaining, what am I going to do? You guessed it; complain. OK, so here goes....

I'm tired. I think this past week of painting my house really did me in. Between staying up all Saturday night, moving furniture and boxes, and taping off my room, plus actually slothering the paint all over the walls, I'm tired. I haven't been sleeping well and I'm grouchy, but I'm actually too tired to be grouchy. It takes some energy to be a grouch and, right now anyway, I don't have any energy to spare. I really just want to sleep in all day. Do nothing more than put on a pair of sweats (or shorts! It's been nice outside) and lounge about the house pretending to eat bon bons and play my guitar or something. Maybe watch Jerry Springer and Trading Spaces re-runs all day long, without leaving the house, and without actually doing anything. Maybe I've been too productive and I really just want to kick back and snooze for a day. Can I do that? Do I have your permission? Gosh, I hope so. I mean, I don't even have enough energy to even complain really. I'm too tired. Although, I guess in hindsight, I'm not too tired to blog about it. But then again, typing just involves moving the fingers and they never get tired. At least not as tired as the rest of me.

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off and contemplating catching some serious Zzzzzz's.




Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Some Prose and the new Queen of Cyan

OK, so I gave you some prose to read. Are you happy now? Wasn't that just exactly what you were waiting for? Isn't you life just so much more complete now that you can read this crap? Didn't you know there's a reason why I'm not a real writer, I just play one on TV? Anyway, it's down below for you to enjoy, snicker at, scarf up, or use as lining for you...um...I can't say it, not after that story (see below for the gory details.)

I painted the office yesterday (actually Sunday technically, seeing as the clock rolled officially almost two hours ago.) It's a nice blue. A little intense, but I'm liking it. It was driving me absolutely batty to live in a completely white house for more than two years. I was going crazy. And speaking of crazy, I heard a great quote the other day, "Craziness runs in my family. It pratically gallops." So true, I can relate.

Haven't been getting much sleep as of late. And I was really depressed up until I started painting the office. Winter's coming and the light's getting crappy. Just when I really want to shoot, the light starts getting crappy. And, when I'm under the weather or just not in the mood, bam, great day with pufty clouds. It's just my luck, or lack thereof, that causes this. I suppose I should just get some hot lights and stay indoors to do some polaroids. I can always do polaroids. But, seriously, I think somehow I'm allergic to pufty clouds. I mean, I love them and all but I can't seem to get my lazy caffeine deprived butt outdoors to take any pictures when they are around. And they never seem to stay for all that long.

Speaking of crazy, I'm starting to develop this complex. It has to do with the color magenta. Sure, being an artist and all, I'm not opposed to any specific color on the wheel, and I've learned to work my mojo to make the most of a lot of them. But lately magenta has been giving me grief. It started when I tried to print some of my own stuff to send into a competition. I would put a sheet of paper in the shoot, press a button and out would pop a magenta photograph. I'm not talking a cast here, it was fully and nothing but magenta. But I got over it.

Then, this Sunday, I head off to Home Depot to purchase paint. So I put my order in for two gallons at the counter with the nice, friendly orange aproned home decorating demi-God and I'm checking out the power tools for five minutes. Since I'm financially challenged, my foray in the power tools lasted but a few brief seconds before I went back to paintland. So Mr. Orange Apron is pulling paint from the mixer. I notice one gallon come out of the shoot with the Ralph Lauren suede label (mine, mine, mine!) and it's got the name "CAROL" scrawled across the top. Ok, so I found one gallon, the second must be right next to it, right? So I put my hand on mystery gallon number two and what do I find? Um, you guessed it. Magenta. So I pull my hand back and kind of "yeow!" when the demi-God says, "lady, don't worry, that paint ain't open yet." I didn't have the heart to tell him of my newfound fear of all things magenta.

For now, I'm going to file this in the "you can run but you can't hide" department. But, if it should happen that magenta and I cross paths one more little, sneaky time....so help me...I'm telling you now. It's trouble. I mean, where's that damned cyan when you need him most? And please don't tell me "it's not easy being green" because I've heard it all before.

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off.





I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

When I was walking down the garden path, I happened upon a scarlet bird sweetly singing in a sycamore tree. She sang so freely, her song delighted my senses, filling my sonic landscape with melodies heretofore unheard. I came upon the realization that I was so enchanted with her belling melody, I rendered speechless. Reaching my hand to greet her, she flew off into the night, longing to escape my reach, swooping away the grips of my reality. She was not of my terrain. Rather she lofted up towards the heavens where she would lend her voice to an unheard choir of angels, late for the sky. Her presense was mesmerizing. Gone was my sorrow, sadness, and loss; restitute with the romance of capturing her heart for it to hold.

Escaping back into my reality I began crafting. I carved of wood, I forged metal and steel, fashioning with gold and silver, bedecked with jewels and bedangled with crystal prisms. Each crystal teardrop captured light fancifully, but none could match the blissful glee of the song I knew would soon be mine. I longed for the day when I could capture her heart and harvest that golden melody. The slighest notion of her made me giddy. I flourished, knowing that she soon would be mine. No one would share in my delight, I would rejoice with her.

I waited anxiously upon her arrival, but no sound escaped. She cried in silence until her death. Only the hollow emptiness belled from her feathered perch. The carillon was quiet, she cried silently. The boughs before her, the metal and steel of her gilded cage, silenced her extraordinary symphony.

I know why the caged bird sings. We relegate freedom as priceless, yet we are enslaved through our passions and captured by the shackels of our golden handcuffs. Love and freedom form a strange kindred. Yes, I know why the caged bird sings. She has a voice that echoes about you and me.

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off.



Friday, October 17, 2003

A Morning Blog/Here's Blogging at You

I never really thought of myself as a night owl, although I'm definately not a morning person. When I look back upon my life, all the things I've done, all the people I've met, places I've been, all the important stuff seems to occur in the evening. At least, that's where all the fond memories are anyway. So, I suppose I should find it not too unusual that I tend to blog more in the evening. There's something about the end of the day, the accumulation of the day's events that increases my desire to blog, I suppose. Today brings a rather unusual morning blog. I'm actually blogging over coffee. Coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee. We don't have the best coffee at work, but it's tolerable. Bad coffee is better than morning email by a longshot, so I always make certain that I can sneak away for my daily shot. Some days I don't get to escape until after 11:00. I don't enjoy those kind of days. Those are the kind of days that your monther warned you about. Those are the kind of days you wish you'd slept in until afternoon.

Today is shaping up to be a good day, actually. I got in the car and happened upon a Steely Dan set. I love Steely Dan. I felt like I had just won the lotto or something. It's been nice out lately. I had the windows rolled down in the car, the sunroof open/pop top up, and I was feeling alright. Most Steely Dan songs have just enough of a sardonic twist that I can enjoy them without feeling sad, and just enough of a complicated melody that I feel like I'm almost listening to jazz. It's not bad jazz, just sophisticated pop, I suppose.

I guess one possible reason for this out of the ordinary morning blog is that I had a very strange dream last night. I had this dream that I was having tea with a bunch of dignataries. I was having tea in this chi chi restaurant and enjoying myself, but I was complaining about the artwork on the wall. They had some priceless photograph on the wall, but I was complaining that I did not care for the frame. I turned to the person on my left and said, "Don't you think that should be in a wooden frame? Have you got a point driver?" And he said, "Why yes, yes, I do" and proceeded to help me re-frame the artwork. Very odd dream, it was. Usually I don't remember my dreams. I just wake up and assume that they happened. That somewhere, in the deep dark, bowels of my brain, they exists and I only occassionally hear of them through the network news or by means of attack carrier pidgeons who hover above my bedroom, in my dreams, of course. But this dream stuck in my head. Which is actually rather hard to do. Nothing seems to stick anymore. So now this has me wondering. Why? What's next? What will this evening bring? It's all very strange. An odd new world of dreams. At least, it's new to me, as this is the first one I've remember in a long time.

Speaking of the more mundane, I'm possibly painting the office this weekend. Finishing cleaning, possibly painting, and getting ready for the wooden floors. It should be fun. I can't wait to get it over with so I can move in there and enjoy it.

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Eye Candy for the Blind

OK, so I'll admit it. I like using AIM, Instant Messanger, trillian, or whatever they are calling it this week. It's easy, convenient, reliable, and relatively fast. It beats the crap out of walking down the looong hallway to get up and actually talk face to face with someone. I wasn't always this way though. There was a time when I HATED instant messanger. I hated the annoyance of the gleeful pop up message and that stupid little yellow man running around my desktop. I mean, I would be all working hard, really into the middle of doing something when, BANG, an IM would pop up. It got so I couldn't even stand the sight of that little yellow man. Damn him. Damn him and the horse he road in on. I just HATE anything that things it can run around on my desktop, anything that might obscure MY code, and anything that looks even the slightest bit "happy" or eye-candish in the least. Eye candy is for stoopid users who need balloon help.

But then, something happened. I realized that, despite all of it's privacy invasions, IM actually allows me to talk LESS. Yes, it's true. I don't have to answer as many questions, read as many emails, talk to as many people, etc. thanks to that cheery little yellow man. And I'm not talking Jackie Chan here, OK. Sure, he's a little too chipper and he still reminds me a bit too much of that, GASP, horror of horrors, the dreaded, gosh I can't even bring myself to type it, PAPERCLIP. UGh. (There I said it.)

The person who invented that silly paperclip should be executed. By order of Carol in Carol's Little World, I say, "off with their dick! I know they don't have a head cause, if they did, they wouldn't need a damned paperclip. So cut off something they actually use! And no, I'm NOT passive aggressive, DAMN YOU!" Sure the paperclip is obscene, nobody can stand it and it's not even good for a laugh, but I'm starting to like the little yellow man. I mean, he's growing on me.

There used to be a time when computers had to be unfriendly to work. You expected punchcards, there was no such thing as a "user interface" and the person who wrote the code sure didn't have any time at all to contemplate the "user experience." That was a bunch of crap propagated by English majors. They were REAL programmers damn it. Their code worked and they didn't care if you or anybody else could actually USE it. You were fortunate enough just being in the presence of their code. These people are now all laid off, looking for work, dialed in from India, or in prision. The rest of us embraced, in one form or another, the GUI. As much as I hate it, and try to avoid it, the GUI is here to stay. Even with the little yellow man running around reckelssly though my desktop, I'm proud to say I'm actually starting to embrace eye candy.

Eye candy. It's not just for stoopid users who need balloon help anymore. Just watch out for the little yellow man. He might throw a brick through one of your windows.

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

My New HEB

It's pretty sad but, these days, the most I get excited about is my new HEB and the 20% off all special-order flooring products sale at Home Depot. But, yes, it's true. Last night I went grocery shopping and just HAD to stop off at the new HEB. So there I was in the fruit and nuts wondering where the beer was, when I ran into not one, not two, but three people I knew. What is everybody doing shopping at 9:30 at night? Hmm. I don't know. But, I do know they all seem to love the new HEB as much as I do. Must be the fruit and nuts.

My craving for a G5 has me drooling. I never thought of myself as a "geek" but lately, I'm finding myself dreaming about the G5. It's true. A UNIX box with a mac front-end and a cool flat-panel display. Not to mention that it's got a dual-pro 1.2 GHz horsepower behind it. Wow. I want one. I want one now. Right now. I've resolved to buy my scanner this weekend, and then try to figure out how to order the G5. I'm forcing myself to clean out my office and unpack before I actually order it. Just because I want to have room for it and have my office all ready for when it comes.

Which brings me back to the Home Depot sale. So, I'm cleaning out my front bedroom, thinking it would make a GREAT office. And I'm thinking it would be really nice if it were painted blue. Yeah, blue. A nice, medium/dark royal blue. So I'm thinking, "ok, how can I paint? That would put the G5 off at least another week or more?" Then, I watching TV and there goes the ad. Home Depot is having a sale on special-order flooring, including all hardwoods. Special order. That's like all the rare Brazillian KOA crap that they never put on display. Hmmm. Wonder if that rare Jarah wood would match my lovely shade of blue? Maybe I'll stop at Home Depot on the way home from work and checkout the lumber. Come to think of it, they are opening a new Home Depot right next door to the, you guessed it, new HEB. Be still my heart and watch my wallet, Brazillian KOA here I come.

Until next time, this is, ah screw it, I'm off to shop....

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

I Almost Forgot

Oh...and another thing....I got a new watch. It's a Swiss Army watch. It's rather comfortable, doesn't have all the features my old Timex did (no Indiglo) but appears to be keep quite accurate time. I decided to splurge at Nordstrom's and actually spend a bit more than the twenty or so odd dollars I used to dump into the Timex every year. Although I still think there is something to be said for buying something crappy and tossing it at the first signs of a bust.

I guess I found a good compromise between quality, price, and patience. And, hey, it can't be too bad if it makes you feel good, right?

My Favorite Tempest

So, I've been listening to tunes at work and I work in this "extra" shielded building, which has some sort of tempest protection that does not allow easily the passage of radio waves. What's interesting is that, at first, this really bothered me. I mean, poor radio reception is a clear indication that you have approached the end of the world, right?

But lately, something strange has happened. I'm finding I actually like having a limited array of stations from which to choose. At first, I found that I really missed the smooth jazz station. Now, I appreciate the "easy listening" station and recognize fully the differences between these two types of music. (I used to think that smooth jazz were merely the yuppie suburban term for "easy listening.")

The discussion of radio stations brings me to a larger sentiment. It's easy to complain or to find fault, but much more difficult to enjoy what you have. You would have thought that I would have learned this durning the recent economic downturn, and that I wouldn't need a lack of radio stations to remind me, but I find reminders in the little things. And a radio station really is a little thing, when you think about it. I mean, I don't need to listen, it's just a nice perk, right?

Plus there's just something really nice knowing that I'm protected from those big bad radio waves in the sky. I have my own little safe harbor, since my office is at the end of the hallway, I can see the sun and enjoy the view out the window, but I'm also protected from virus scan, UV rays and various radio frequencies. I feel safer already, don't you?

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off.



Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Have you ever met a Crazy Person?

I mean, a really CRAZY person? Somebody who busts the bell curve on whacko and who's completely off the freak scale? Somebody whose only purpose in life is to make people like Jeffrey Dahmer and Freudian thumb-sucking lunatics looks normal? Somebody who's so far out of left field, they'd had to rent a telescope just to see it ("Look! I think I can see left field from here! If you squint really hard...")

I know a lady like this. Whoa! totally nuts.

It all started several years ago. She was working as a member of the world's oldest profession. And, for my computer programming friends out there, I DON'T mean she was a Cobol programmer, Ok? So, she meets this guy and after a long tempestuous relationship that lasted an arduous two weeks, she decides she wants to marry. Trouble is, she neglects to mention her, um, shall we say "way of life" to him.

So Terry and I go to the wedding and we're sitting there joking about it. "Can you imagine," he says to me, "what tomorrow morning will bring? 'Do you like your eggs fryed or scrambled and oh...by the way...I'm a hooker. Would you please pass the salt....' How scary!"

Indeed Terry is right about one thing. You never do know what tomorrow will bring. And you really do need to salt your eggs before the crap hits the air circulator.

But, that's all just my opinion. What do I know? I'm not even all that crazy. Although I must admit, she does make me feel better. I gain a certain comfort knowing that, somewhere out there is a total lunatic and my, shall we say "left of center" leanings don't even measure on the whacko Rhichter scale. Nope. Not me. Not even a blip on the big crazy meter. It's strangely comforting being, um, "normal," I guess. Makes you think that, in this big, crazy world, there's room for all types.

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off.

Thursday, August 14, 2003

Bad Art and Timex Watches

OK, so what is bad art anyway? Isn't art supposed to teach us that there is no "right" and no "wrong" only what we feel or perceive. Our viewpoints, however incorrect someone else may label them, are our own. We cherish them and celebrate them; therefore, they are the vision that we possess. If we were to admit to being "wrong" it would be like criticizing our inner child. He's never WRONG, he's just there and sometimes it's better for both of us if we ignore him.

So as not to get too philosophical on you, I will now change the subject to something completely shallow. Tomorrow is the grand opening of the Nordstrom's store in Austin, TX. It's a big day for some people. They have a piano player there and a coffee bar. Plus it's like the world's biggest shoe store. Hmmm. I'll be going, but only for the social aspects of it. A group of women I work with are getting together in a mini-van and going down there to check it out. I think it will be fun, if only to spend time with my co-workers. I'm not really interested in the store, although I could really use a new watch.

Speaking of watches, I used to buy a timex and keep it for ages. Recently, my Timex, which I purchased last year, broke. It's not supposed to do that. I thought Timex were the watches that "take a licking and keep on ticking?!?" If that's the case, then why must I invest in a new one? And, if I do invest in a new watch, should I really get another Timex? I'm really at a loss here because, Timex is one of the least expensive watches you can buy but should I really support their shoddy quality buy continually buying watches that break? And I say this knowing that I am exceptionally hard on watches. I think there is a pet elephant somewhere who's had the same Timex for like 20 years. And, being an elephant, I bet he never forgets what time it is and doesn't really need at watch anyway.

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off .

Sunday, July 13, 2003

The Sun always Shines in CyberSpace

So, I've been working for Sun for almost a month now. Still liking it. It has somewhat of a "big company" feel but there is also a sense of start-up. It feels like I'll be able to actually contribute to a project, instead of just putting along with one that's going out the door. I always felt like I was never actually contributing to the bottom line of a project at other big comapnies where I've worked in the past. I have always felt sort of "puttery," especially at really big shops, like IBM.

Speaking of IBM, I guess there's a big article in the paper this morning about the Beamer-factory. I'm guessing that it's not called "The Folks who Ate Tivoli and Spit out Dot Com Seeds" but it was enough to send my sister, Ellen, into a tizzy. Now I actually feel like I must read this, to find out what all the fuss is about. I'm guessing our useless media rag has determined that it is time to kiss some high-tech booty, so they have decided to portrait the Beamer-factor in a rather favorable light. What's it like to really work there? I'll never tell. I disavow any knowledge of their existance.

It's still been hot here lately, although the hurricanes are beginning to stack up in the gulf. I always feel ambivalent this time of year. I mean, is it selfish to want a hurricane to come this way so I can get some rain, while the folks at the coast get clobbered? Hmmm. I'm hoping that this will be a "good" one in that it will only be like a category I and not do any actual damage to the coast, just turn into nice, soaking rain showers, which would be good for everybody. Maybe it could take out a boat along the shore, just to provide the news media with something to do. Yeah, that's a plan. Take out the boat of somebody who can afford a new one anyway. But not one of those old wooden ones. Those are too cool.

Speaking of wooden boats and the coast, you may know that my initials are in fact "CJ." When I was a child, I used to sit by the ocean and dream of a great bird that would migrate towards the sea and swoop down to guard all the boats. I thought there was a bird called a "seajay" that flew out and about, and maybe hugged a cliff or became a sentry along the coast. Just imagine some impressive plume of feathers flying out like an albatross, standing watch, and maybe resting on a lighthouse somewhere along the shore.

Turns out there *is* a bird called a "seajay" but it's less than six inches big and it's basically a poop machine and a general annoyance to anybody within a 50 mile radius of the ocean. Ah, another childhood dream gone the way of the slinky.


Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off and refusing to grow up despite the birds.

PS I have successfully rid myself of the swallows but purchasing a rather large and ugly plastic owl which is now a semi-permanent resident of my front porch. Ain't that a hoot!?!



Sunday, June 01, 2003

Slow Down at the Bomb Factory

So, things have been kind of slow here in River City lately. The big news this weekend was the biker ralley. It was so hot, I didn't even bother to attend. It's just been too hot as of late to really feel like going outside to do anything at all.

I have a nest of swallows in the front of my house and can't seem to get rid of them. My vet says that I can scare them away with an owl. I'm not sure that I actually want to do this though, as she also says they eat a lot of bugs, like mosquitoes. I hate the bugs that they eat but they are like little poop machines, making a mess of my front porch. Which is worse? Being the statue or being eaten alive buy the bugs? Hmmmm.

I was talking with somebody who was ranting about her inability to order, even on-line, high top sneakers. It seems the new crop of Brittney Spears loving "teeny boppers" don't DO high-tops. How sad. Our current fashion trends are dictated by people who have multiple piercings and think that Avrigl Lavinge is a sophisticated lyricist. Too bad. They just don't know what they are missing. Ooops, I didn't do it again. And you can quote me on that.

So all the Hollywood types are ranting about Saddam and his lack of Weapons of Mass Destruction. Sure Bush is a war monger but, hey, we knew that before we elected him. I'm fairly certain Saddam had the WMD's hiding and has successfully snarfed them out of the country. I'm also fairly certain that we are actually losing the war on terror. Think about. We've yet to capture UBL or Saddam, we haven't found the WMD, and public support for the war is at an all-time low. Al Queda has been reforming in what's left of Russia and Saudi Arabia, and plans to attack us again, with a vengenance. All that and I don't hold much hope for the new Dixie Chicks album. On the whole, I think we should strive to be more like Switzerland. That way, nobody would be pissed off enough at us to blow us up and we wouldn't waste our money on financial contributions to the likes of France and Russia. If they are really starving, well, let them eat cake. Or we could always just send them a few extra bombs, which they can trade for food. You know, the ones the war mongers have been turning out in droves? Hey, I guess somebody's got to arm the world. Make it safe for the terrorists and all.

I haven't heard from any ex-Ci2i folks in a while. I'd almost like to do another BBQ, but it's already gotten too hot. It's coming close to the 2 year "reunion" of the folding of Ci2i. What a shame. One good thing that came out of the dot com era was the sense that we were really building something. Something that could be used for a better tomorrow. Software that people used, that was creative and new. Lately, it just seems like the same old, same old. Maybe something fun will rise from the ashes and we will all be better prepared, having lived through the dot com years.

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off.


Thursday, May 08, 2003

What is Creativity Anwyay?

So, I was talking, actually, chatting with somebody online today and they told me, "that's so creative." This got me thinking (which, in itself, is a difficult act to perform) about creativity. If you are a painter and you are "creative" does that mean that your paintings are not "pretty" and that the person enjoying them just doesn't know what else to call them? Is it kind of like calling a woman "exotic?" You say this because you want to be polite and say something nice but she really isn't all that attractive, perhaps. She's definately not "pretty" otherwise you would have called her that instead.

It seems to me too that some cultures (and sub-cultures) value creativity more than others. Some feel it is a threat to their existence, to their very way of life, while others foster it. There are stereotypes surrounding all those "creative" people too. How many gay people are said to be "creative?" How about left-handed people? And it's more associated with some professions than others. Meet any creative garbage collectors recently? How about writers? But, what exactly is creativity? If you could examine it's core, what would it look like? Is it really different every time you see it?

Perhaps you could define creativity by what it's not. It's not doing the same thing in the same way. It's not same as it ever was, but rather something different. It's the difference that makes it special, if you want to call it that.

For me, in Carol's Little World, creativity is fun. It's fun getting to do something differently than before. It's fun seeing the same things in a different light. Enjoying something that nobody else sees, or seeing something that nobody else enjoys. I don't know if I can actually define it but I think I'm destined to enjoy it. It's what separates us from the farm animals of the world. That and thumbs. Nobody, as far as I know, has ever walked up to an oxen and said, "hey, that's so creative. And, by the way, nice thumbs."

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off.


Wednesday, May 07, 2003

Greetings from Madagascar

What would you do if you won the lottery? Would you pack up all your stuff and move into a bigger house? Would you pay off your bills? Would you travel the world and then some?

When I left New Hampshire, a lot of folks that knew me well speculated that I would not stay in Austin. Don't misunderstand, it's not that Austin is a bad place or anything. Neither is it that they couldn't see me liking it here in River City. It was more a question of my wanting to travel. I'm not the type of person most people envision staying in the same place for one time. Fast forward 10 years and, look, I've been in Austin for 12 years and I've no intentions of moving. It's not that I don't like travel. It's not that September 11th scared me into not wanting to do it. It's just that I have not had much of a chance to actually get out there and go. Real life gets in the way, and I enjoy my sense of exploration while staying in the same place.

Case in point, the east side of Austin. There's a lot there to see and do. I enjoy making it over that way. I love uncovering hidden areas of the city in which I reside. Even if they are not entirely "wild" or "exotic" I enjoy them none the less. It's the art of exploration, the chase, the sense of adventure, of uncovering new things. It's not so much about the travel per se. You can stay and home and still be far, far away. Travel is a state of mind as much as a sense of being. Or being "away" as the case may be.

Conversely, you can travel and still be safe "at home." How many people pack their entire wardrobe with them when they travel? How many people frequent the same damn hotels over and over again? Do they really think the Holiday Inn in Peoria is really all that much different from the one in Orlando? The mere act of getting out and seeing the world is as much contained in the physical trip as it is in the attitude. Those who have open minds and a sense of adventure can find new and interesting things in their own backyards. Those who travel like robots, hopping from plane to plane, living in plastic bags and jumping from cab to cab do not necessarialy enjoy all that the world has to offer. You can traverse the world with blinders, end in the same place in which you began, and still fail to see the beauty in the trip. "Carol's Little World" may not be all that little. But, it's mine and I define what makes it "exotic" and "far away."

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off.






Wednesday, February 12, 2003

Let it Snow?

It's official. We had two inches of snow in Cedar Park on Saturday. It was a great day. I went out and did a lot of photography. I shot two rolls of film before 9:30 in the morning. It was fun getting out in the cold and snow. It's been so long since I've seen snow that I'd forgotten what it feels like. I forgot that it's wet and I got some on my camera. No big deal, I actually enjoyed the little droplets of water forming on my filter, watching them land and melt away in the glass. I forgot how quiet everything seems when it snows. Sure, it's cold, but it makes you appreciated your nice, warm, heated home all that much more. My parents HATED the snow with a passion. My mother was like, "I moved to get away from this." My father slept entirely through the snow storm and was happy when we hit a balmy 80 degrees on Sunday. He kept saying, "Only in Austin can it be snowing one day and 80 the next." I heard the NH has had an especially hard winter this year, and they have all the snow to prove it. They keep getting hit with more and more of it, and the weather is just not warming up for them. Poor folks, but I guess they like it.

I sent my film away to the Fuji lab in Phoenix so I'm not sure when it will come back. I was hoping soon, but I think it's already been 10 days. I'm not in a really big hurry but it just feels like the first rolls of film I shot have been in the mail for more than two weeks, and I'd like to start looking at them. I cleared out some old slides and got a new box to house the new stuff, once it gets here. I'm actually trying to get organized, it's just the mass laws of entropy that are working against me at this point. Maybe someday I'll have all my slides organized and labeled, but I doubt it. It's too easy to go out and shoot instead.

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off.

Friday, February 07, 2003

Mural for the Internet

There's been a lot of hoopla recently about the Pope naming the Patron Saint of the Internet. There's also been a lot of talk about the Internet being spelled with a capital "I" (as in Internet vs. internet.) I vaguely remember the days of old when the 'net was a big deal, and we pronounced the Internet would always have a big "I" to distingish it from LANs and other networks. We also used to abbreviate the 'net as "the 'net" rather than "the net" as it is now. All of this talk made me wonder. What would a mural for the internet look like? Would it be some kind of mural for the masses and try to encompass all who embrace technology? Or would it be something simple? My best guess is that it would be something small that could interconnect easily. Much like a triptych. Some form of art that would be insufficient to stand alone but would work better when, excuse the pun, interlocked or "netted" together. Interesting concept. I wonder which artist has already done this. (Whenever you come up with an interesting concept, it's always safe to assume that somebody's already done it somewhere, in some form anyway, already.)

So, it's supposed to snow today in River City. Not much, maybe just like an inch. I haven't seen snow for like 10 years or more, actually. Maybe a little the first few years I moved here. I think my family is going to freak out though. My Dad has seriously started to enjoy the snowstorms back east, because he does not have to drive through them. My Mother has, like me, acclimated to the Texas heat, and feels that, once it dips below 40, she no longer exists. The other day she was complaining about it being 65 degrees outside. "It's freezing," she said, "are you crazy? You want to sit outside?!?" Hey, it was below 70, I had long pants on, I'm allowed, OK? My sister has taken to eating bon-bons and staying at home. The "big" event for the day is getting the mail. I wonder if she'll even notice the flakes falling from the sky, or if she'll just bolt for the unemployment check, that comes her way faithfully ever week. Whatever the case, I hope, for her sake anyway, she's wearing long pants, because, baby, it's cold outside.

Maybe I'll put a snowflake on the mural.

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off.


Monday, January 20, 2003

Eat it if you can
The home show was a blast. We walked all around and looked at stuff in all the booths. They had some really cool garden displays. We sat through a few "celebrity" talks and then I went over to Kathy's opening at the new gallery. We saw this "wall wizard" guy who, when referring to paint as a toxic chemical said, if you can eat it, you can wear it. This became, somehow, the motto for the day. I suppose my retort would be "dude, eat it if you can!" Ty said some funny stuff too. His hair was, um, spikier than usual, which I didn't think was gravitationally possible but, hey, if you can't eat it and you wear it, I suppose it might make your hair stand on end. Moral of the story: bring your own snacking items and wear it well, baby.

So, here are my answers, in no particular order:
1. Any web page...probably would be photography-related. Somehow. Dunno exactly what. HE said he would design "the world's best GUI." Cool.
2. The road to Machu Pichu (sp?) In a convertible. It'd be a death wish but, hey you only live once. And I'm dying to go there. HE said the autobahn in a Ferrari. Typical. A little too typical for HIM. Maybe he's getting bland in his old age.
3. London. Or maybe Rome. HE said NY. (I'm from there and I can't cheat on my own questions!)
4. HE said Jesus. Actually HE said, "Jesus, I don't know..."
5. Somebody in my family, if I could. HE said his Mom.

So, I went downtown last week and it's making me want to photograph more. I'm always mentally photographing, if for nothing else than the practice. I see birds in busted out windows. I see fire escapes. I see inner city dwellings with silent signs of life. It makes me want to photograph for real. But yet, I cannot. I have to wait until the precise moment when the pressure from the desire has built up. For it's only at this moment that I will produce my best work. And I do feel that, while my work is improving, my best work is yet to come. It sits in a place, deep down inside my sub-conscience, waiting for me to release it. It's there, next to my strong, imbred desire for Doritoes and all things mod. Really, it is. Speaking of Doritoes, I'm hungry. It's time for dinner. Maybe I should put a pot over my head. If you can eat it, you can wear it, right?

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off and eating more than her share.

Sunday, January 05, 2003

Questions, Questions, and more Questions

I did Tai Chi today. It's almost like exercise, except it's kind of relaxing. I got every Sunday to the temple and practice Tai Chi. I've gotten to where I have almost started to learn the form. At least I can remember parts of it. I kind of feel like, in a few more iterations anyway, I may actually remember some (or all) of it.

It's been unseasonably warm in Austin this year. It's back to being in the 70's and mild. This is probably because I've heard that some of the cast of TS is going to return and appear at the Home & Garden show. I'm probably going to go, being the addict that I am, but it's lending credence to my theory that there's some bad add mojo in those Winnies. I know you won't believe me but, I really want to go to the Home & Garden show to check out a spa and new deck for my home. I have to do something about the backyard. 'Course it doesn't hurt that Ty Pennington will be there, signing autographs and cheerily posing for pictures with fanatical fans, like me. Say CHEESE, Ty.

So, I have more questions. In no particular order:

1. If you could design any web page you wanted to, and have it be a "success" what would you do?
2. If you could drive any road in the world, in any car, what and where would you go?
3. If you had to live in one city, for the rest of your life, and you could never leave, where would you live and what would you miss (assuming you could not live in your current home)?
4. If you could gain all the talent, knowledge, experience, intellect, and insight of one person, who would you pick and why? What would you hope to experience?
5. If you had to help one person, just one, who would you help? Do you think that you would be a better person because of it? Or would the other person come out ahead?

And, some answers:
1. If I were on a deserted island what would I take with me:
My dog Charlie (even though he takes up more than half the bed), a can opener (for the coconuts, silly), my Eric Clapton CD collection (along with the usual yada yada about a boombox and a lifetime supply of batteries).
2. Books?
The Complete William Shakespere, Charles Dickens, and JD Salinger.
3. Movies?
Nope. Would prefer to take more CDs. Besides Clapton, I would go for Bach, M Davis, and Hendrix. OK, OK, if I had to pick a movie, it'd be Buckaroo Banzai (don't laugh, it's funny), Rocky Horror, and the Year of Living Dangerously. And maybe American History X and something by Bernando, for the visuals.

My "luxury item" would be a camera and a lifetime supply of film and paper. In fact, I would probably opt to take this before everything else. Except for maybe the can opener.

And, in case you are wondering, I'd kick any survivors, bachelors, Joe Millionaires, or any other "reality TV stars" right the Hell off the island. Hey, it's my joint. Get your own damn can opener, fool.

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off.





Friday, January 03, 2003

I Resolve

Happy New Year! It's a new year, a dawning of a new day, a new beginning....you know...all that crap. Anyway, for the new year, I have decided to post my resolutions. Here they are, in no particular order:

1. I resolve to do more photography in 2003 than I did in 2002. This should not be difficult as I did very little actual photographic work in 2002, as I was too busy sulking over the economy or stalking Trading Spaces to actually care.
2. I resolve to travel more. I did not travel at all in '02 (see note in #1 above) but I will more this year. I'm already planning a trip to New Orleans and may even fit in a trip to Santa Fe for a photo workshop. Why not kill two birds with one stone if you got the stones, right? *wink*
3. I resolve to finally complete my IKEA nesting instinct and finish up stuff around my house.
4. I resolve to stop making resolutions and get out to actually live my damn life. Life is there, waiting for you. Grab it by the cohones and go, before it leaves. I already rented the video, I want the damn reality. Give it to me now, ok? That and all the choloclate you have and nobody will get hurt. Oh and, Ty, if you should happen to read this...first your money, then your clothes.

Notice there was nothing about losing weight. OK so I'm fat and I just don't care. Too bad. Love me the way I am, take me as is, or just get the hell out of here. It's my little world and I can make it BIG if I want to.

I'm having a Trading Spaces party on the 25th and we are going to finally get to see the episode we saw them film. Yippie! I'm going to make the 'ritas and it's going to be a blast. I would resolve to drink more in '03 but I've already resolved to stop making resolutions. And I think I drink enough for one year.

Bah Humbug. The holidays are over. Get your lazy butt back to work. Oh and resolve to stalk the TS cast more than I did in 2002. It's fun. Just watch out for the winnebago, ok?

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off and coming un-resolved.