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.