Monday, September 27, 2004

The Artful Omelet

The Artful Omelet

I happened upon this link to an incredibly funny website, detailing the trials and tribulations of a would-be philosopher turned cook. It features such classic lines as, "During the judging, the beaver became agitated and bit Betty Crocker on the wrist" and:
In an attempt to reach the bourgeoisie, I taped two fried eggs over my eyes and walked the streets of Paris for an hour. I ran into Camus at the Select. He called me a "pathetic dork" and told me to "go home and wash my face." Angered, I poured a bowl of bouillabaisse into his lap.
I never knew that bouillabaisse could be quite that funny but, then again, it is bouillabaisse after all. We all know it has an incredibly funny name for a stew.

As an aside, does anybody know exactly what is in bouillabaisse? Are we all collectively afraid to ask? Do we just eat it and pretend to know? Can that many fish in one stew be collectively all that bad? (I believe, although I'm not quite certain, bouillabaisse is some kind of fish stew.)

In other, more, ahem, "serious" news, the Vatican is asking for 2 million lira to fund the restoration of two of Michelangelo's frescos. According to the folks at Art News Blog, "The Vatican is hoping to raise £2m to fund the restoration of Michelangelo's last two frescos, which are hidden from the public in a chapel where the Pope prays and reads mass to private audiences.

The frescos - the Crucifixion of St Peter and the Conversion of St Paul - are faded after being exposed to dust and soot over centuries of candlelit prayer in the Pauline chapel, close to the better-known Sistine chapel."

If Michelangelo had only made bouillabaisse instead of frescos, we wouldn't have to go through the trouble of restoration. But then, there's that pesky beaver he'd have to contend with. Not to mention the likes of Betty Crocker. And, I honestly do wonder if there exist any Michelangelo frescos that depict images of fish.

The mind boggles as the fingers google.

Until next time...

Friday, September 24, 2004

Mr. Technology, Please meet Mr. Art

Mr. Technology, Please meet Mr. Art

Now shake hands and come out fighting. Here's a cool link I found describing an art project (technology project) called Sky Ear. Sky Ear is an evening "art fest" where folks in England launch a cloud of cell phones and helium balloons into the evening air and then viewers get to "dial into" the art project, making it (ring and) change color. Some of the pictures are pretty cool on that site.

Of course, having said this, if I were to one day happen upon "1000 extra-large helium balloons that each contain 6 ultra-bright LEDs (which mix to make millions of colours)" I would probably have a conniption. Gosh, I hope they notify the neighbors (or neighbours as they are called in Britain) before launch time. I'd hate to come home drunk one day, only to have my sleep disturbed by 1000 ringing cell phones attached to helium balloons. This would make those damned Serta sheep look like girl scouts.

Imagine how many "can you hear me nows?" this works out to be.
Would somebody be so kind as to answer the damn phone already? Geesh. And here I always thought it rude to answer your cell in a movie theater, restaurant, or a cloud. Guess I was wrong. So, now, they've made the cloud socially acceptable.

And speaking of cell phone technology, why don't they have a mini-TV in mine yet? Come on, guys, give me some really ubercool stuff I can use. I mean, don't get me wrong, playing tetris in an otherwise boring meeting is great but, I'm missing Law and Order here. Can I have a fix please?

Until next time...

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Lost Socks, Big Burritos, Politics, and Me

Lost Socks, Big Burritos, Politics, and Me

There's a new book out, penned by a self-described naturalist, Dr. Pedale, called (I'm not making this up) The Meaning of Lost and Mismatched Socks. supposedly, in his new book, Dr. Pedale investigates, in a quasi-scientific yet laughable tome, the disappearance of socks. One must suppose, after reading a description of this book, that Dr. Pedale spends a lot of time with dryer lint. Better him then me, I suppose. At least he's a scientist and he gets paid for doing so, or perhaps he gets to enjoy the prestige of his recent publication. Either way, the man must know his tubes from his athletics.

Today, we went for lunch at Chuy's. We had an engaging conversation about politics over big burritos. It was actually quite nice, especially since it's been rather nice outside. It beats sitting in and slumping over a computer all day. And the burritos were good.

Tomorrow, we are having yet another send-off at work. I'm actually starting to enjoy them, despite the fact that, this week anyway, the send-offs have all been for "worker bees" rather than "middle managers." What's the difference, you ask? Well, that one's easy. Worker bees are folks who actually DO something. "Middle management" represents the feudal class of the
bourgeoisie; they are folks who are "slightly privileged" but not terribly important in the grand scheme of things. Carol's third rule of layoffs states that, if they start laying off the "middle management" you know it's bad for the company but good for you, while, if they conversely layoff the worker bees, it's bad for you but good for the company. Either way, you seldom get to pick your poison.

But then, what am I complaining about? I don't even own a dryer so, in theory anyway, I should not fret over lost socks. I enjoy big burritos, all politicians are just plain scary, and I'm still here.

Until next time...

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Dude, Hang Ten

Dude, Hang Ten

I knew it would be just a matter of time before stuff like this came out of the hurricane season. There's already folks taking clips from billabong and pawning them off as video from Ivan (or Charlie, or Jeanne, or whatever named storms we will have in the gulf this year.)

Did you know that there was a hurricane "Carol" once? Actually, those who've met me can probably attest to the fact that there's been more than one (but only this one has a fondness for Doritos.)

Strange thing about hurricanes and twisters too-you always seem to have the best weather the day before and the day after. It's almost like BAM! the world trashes down on your doorstep one cruel day, without warning, only to then blow out of your life as quickly as it came. I suppose modern day weather equipment has advanced to the point where we can sort of "predict" where the storms will be, in as much as we can "predict" anything (my weather man consistently tells me I've got a 20% chance of rain, and I can assure you, he's right about 20% of the time, so, yes, Virginia, 20 is a "good number" if you are a weather man.)

A lot of folks say things like, "why do they keep building homes in tornado alley?" or "why do they keep building condos along Florida's Gold Coast, when they know the storms will come?" I think these observations are related.

When I was a child, I once went sailing to the southland. I remember going through the Chesapeake area, and along Cape Hatteras. At the time, "the Cape" seemed beautiful, peaceful, and serene. It wasn't until I got home, weeks later, that my Dad told me, "did you know that Cape Hatteras has some of the worst weather in the world?"

It's true (Dad's always right.) If you look at it on the map, you can see how it juts out into the ocean, how it "lands" right at the point where the tides change, the temperatures in the ocean shift, and the storms smack into the land more often there than (almost) anyplace else. If that's true, why does it seem so peaceful?

I guess, with weather, you just don't know what's coming your way until it really smacks you in the face. That peace and serenity can lull you into thinking you'll be one of the fortunate ones "missed" by it all, when, in actuality, you've got a bulls eye on your back and don't even know it. And mother nature is very good when she takes target practice.

I guess too that logic doesn't always dictate our actions. Sure, it's easy to look at a map, chart a course, sail off into the sunset but, those who know sailing, like those who know a lot about life itself, will be quick to tell you that "all this reality stuff" kind of gets in the way sometimes. If you play it safe, if you try to duck "the Cape" and sail out into the ocean, you've got your own demons to deal with, so you might as well take a shot at the peace and serenity while you can. You've got about a 20% chance and, as any weather man will tell you, that's not really bad odds for the likes of us.

Until next time...

Friday, September 17, 2004

No, No, No, Not me, I'm not Negative

No, No, No, Not me, I'm not Negative

People usually associate bad things with negative words. I suppose there's a reason for that, although we seldom collectively look at the good words, which just happen to be negative.

Unbound, unbroken, unchained, unbridled, disengaged, unopposed, obtuse, unconditional, these are all negative words, although I might agrue that they are, in fact, "good" words that just happen to be negative. Kind of like that cartoon a few years back, where the animated character kept insisting she "wasn't bad but was just drawn that way," these words have kind of a negative draw, although more often than not, our meaning is derived from context, and there's nothing inherently negative about them.

All of this talk of negativity got me to thinking. Can something really be truly negative? What does "negative" really imply? Isn't negative really different from "bad" which is what we are trying to avoid? Is it all just the polar opposite of "positive" anyway?

When you go to the Doctor's office, usually, a "negative" test result is what you're hoping for. So, does this make the "negative" really a positive? All of our electricity hinges upon negative electrons orbiting the atom, wouldn't this again make the "negative" something "positive" (I mean, we do put electricity to very good use, don't we?) Truth is, there's so much positive about being negative, but we seldom recognize it.

A lot of folks have told me recently that my attitude has grown quite "negative." I suppose, on some level, I should take this as a compliment. But, I don't. And the reason I don't is that, while I agree that the negative isn't always what it's cracked up to be, I don't consider myself "negative" all the much in the first place. I mean, sure, I've been sort of downtrodden as of late, but this is all part of the natural cycle of life's little lifts, bumps, slides, grinds, and passions. I take it in stride for, perhaps as soon as next week, I shall be back to my old chipper self, and may actually miss the pratical realist that was once me. There's nothing negative about that now, is there?

No, quite reading my danged blogger and get back to work, you big naught.

Until next time...

Testing

Carol/Female/36-40. Lives in United States/Texas/Cedar Park, speaks English and Spanish. Eye color is brown. I am what my mother calls unique. I am also creative. My interests are photography/art.

We'll see if this works.


Thursday, September 16, 2004

Wrestle Mania

Wrestle Mania

Yesterday, we had one of the many "send offs" we've been having at work lately. A "send off," for those of you who don't know, is when somebody announces they are "leaving" (note that RIFs, layoffs, forced resignation, contract expiration, firing, etc. counts here) and we decide that, despite the fact we're all going to be miserable, since now we have to do his job too, we go for lunch. We went for lunch/happy hour yesterday at Cool River.

Cool River is some sort of a chi chi pool bar high-tech hovel that's become quite popular in North Austin as of late. I don't know why. They have a big humidor there. It's actually one of those "walk in" types, where you can don a "smoking jacket," sit and pretend you do nothing but smoke cigars all day. Most folks in high-tech Austin don't smoke. They wear ratty clothing, they're married and their wives won't let them near the house with a smelly cigar. I don't know why they seem to exhibit this strange preference for going to places, pretending to be something they're not, and then coming back feeling refreshed, but that's what they do. Who am I to buck this trend? Besides, it's right down the street and the beer is cold.

So, yesterday, we're all sitting in Cool River at Marty's "send off," feeling quite like riffraff, eating chi chi h'ourdourves, pretending to fit in with the scenery, when Marty decides that it would be cool to arm wrestle. It wasn't just cool, it was outright funny.

It started out innocently enough. He arm wrestled with Sumon, who lost handily. It was no big thing. Then the fun and indoor sports rang up. Paul sat down. We moved the wine glass, the beer bottles, and the little plates. It wasn't too long before Paul and Marty were off like the races.

For what seemed like five minutes, neither arm moved an inch. Both faces turned RED. Both men started to grunt strange noises, the likes of which I'm sure the chi chi Cool River-ians have never heard before. Everybody started to watch, and those who were watching from the beginning started to laugh. By the end of it, we didn't even care or remember who won, it was just one of those so funny, guess you had to be there, moments we will remember. Both men were grunting, turning red, struggling, but neither arm moved an inch.

Back where I come from, we have a name for folks who arm wrestle this this. We call them: "lefty." I bet they're both hurting today. I'll be sure and needle them each next time I run into them in the hallway, by the water cooler, or just somehow. It's just too good an opportunity to pass up. Besides, I have an advantage, I'm already a lefty and so I can't arm wrestle but I have a built-in excuse.

Until next time...

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Turning Pro

Turning Pro

Today, over smoked chicken quesadillas at Cool River Cafe, I was asked an intriguing question. What was the strangest wedding you have ever attended?

Have you ever been to the wedding of a prostitute? I honestly can say that I have, it was quite the comic relief, and it 'fesses up to be the strangest wedding I have ever attended.

I grew up in NYC. Land of the strange. Land of the strange things that make the strange look almost normal. I knew a prostitute once. She was actually quite a nice lady. Well, I guess, in hindsight, especially so to those who "knew" her, and those who were male and were willing to pay for it. But, all kidding aside, she was nice, although more than a bit misguided.

She met a man. She met a tall, dark handsome stranger. After a long arduous tempestuous relationship, that lasted all of two weeks, she agreed to marry her "banker man." She neglected to tell him that she was, in fact, at that time, a card carrying member of the world's oldest profession (for my computer programmer friends, I don't me she was a COBOL programmer, ok?) She neglected to tell him she had a child. She neglected to tell him she was in treatment for methodone. She neglected to tell him a lot of things. She had the ring in her sights and that quest for the perfect mister right had blinded her so, she could hardly speak a word. "He's seen my car, he's seen my place, that's all he needs to see," was her motto of the moment. Guess it worked for her.

I can remember sitting at the wedding. Sitting with Terry. Terry raised an interesting point, "imagine what they're conversation's going to be like tomorrow morning," he said to me, over his shrimp cocktail.

I replied, "honey, do you like your eggs scrambled or fried and, oh, by the way, I'm a hooker."

It was a strange wedding indeed. It'll go over real well with the kids. Sunny side up anyone?

But, I guess the real jokes on Terry and me. It seems, the lady with the eggs, the lady with the methodone, the lady of the evening who reformed and reeled in her "banker man" is still happily married. Sometimes, when love turns to gain, I guess it isn't all bad. Sometimes, good things can come from bad mistakes. Sometimes, we just get lucky.

At least, it makes for interesting conversation over cocktails at Cool River anyway.

Until next time...

Monday, September 13, 2004

It's the Paperclip from Hell

All of this talk of typewriters, typeface fonts, Bush memos and the like got me to thinking about the annoying little paperclip icon from Microsoft. How long will it be before he gets dragged into this entire mess? How long before it will be before I have to look at the likes of him again?

For those of you who don't know me, learn this much about me today. I hate the "annoying little paperclip icon" thingie from Microsoft. I hate it with a passion. I find it to be the singly most annoying icon of the 20th century and the mere sight of it makes my blood pressure rise by about 20 points. It's safe to say it here: I hate that damned paperclip. I hate it, I hate it, I hate it. I more than hate it. I want to kill it. I want to squeeze the life out of it everytime it pops up on my desk, I want to squeeze it until it's stupid little beatie eyes pop out of it's annoying little headless-top.

So, today I came across this website, which had this picture of the paperclip saying, "It appears that you are writing a hoax. Would you like to: email CBS news?" While this is rather amusing, it still doesn't beat the funniest paper clip encounter I've had.

The funniest paperclip encounter I've come across has to be thisLink one. Yes, it's true, the paperclip for vi, vigor, still gets the prize.

Speaking of "prizes," am told today that Ivan is still in the Gulf. I always feel a bit guilty during hurricane season. If they come up the Gulf, as they sometimes do, the end up pounding places like Cuba, Jamaica, the Cayman's, the Keys, etc. but the good folks in Central Texas end up getting rain. We like rain. We need rain. But, I feel guilty asking for rain when it costs the lives of so many others. I hope most folks can get out of Ivan's path before he does too much more damage. And I hope we get rain without having to pay the ultimate cost.

Until next time...

Friday, September 10, 2004

I'm AdSensing Ted will Celebrate Indian Summer

I was born of Indian Summer. It's that time of year when summer warms us with it's last gasp of heat, about the time of the first frost-that brief, fleeting period of glowing autumn serving to remind us winter is fast approaching.

I can remember well Indian Summers of the past. I spent one in Vermont once. I remember the red barns, white silos poking up to the blue sky heavens above, and the gently sloping, rolling hills punctuated with the bolts of color autumn in New England brings. There's something almost romantic about Indian Summer although, in actuality, it's quite boring, as it's celebrated more as the time of year the farmers tend to the late season crop.

One Indian Summer in particular, I remember wearing a heavy flannel shirt. We always dressed in layers up in New England, that's just how it was back then. I remember having to peel off top layers of clothing, sweating in the almost summer-like sunshine, wondering when the frost would hit the pumpkins. That's one thing we all knew all too well. If Indian Summer were here, winter wasn't far behind.

We don't get Indian Summers in Texas. At least, I've never experienced one. Winters here are mild and pleasant, with the notable exception of a few passing ice storms. There's something I almost miss about New England and the North Country. Indian Summers were always fun. I guess, because we have a mild winter here, there's no need to celebrate the last hot day until Spring.

On an entirely more mundane note, I wonder if anybody has told Ted that it's now possible to make money by blogging? Yes, it's true, folks. Seems the great people at the great googly moogly have added AdSense to blogger, so it's entirely possible to not only create and maintain a blog for free but, now they may actually pay you for doing it. I've yet to add it to Carol's Little World, but this is due more to personal laziness, rather than lack of desire.

I wonder how long it would take Ted to start blogging if he thought there was money in it for him? Probably not even as long as the typical 2-day Indian Summer in Vermont. I wouldn't bet on him letting any frost get on the pumpkin, that's for sure.

Until next time...

Thursday, September 09, 2004

The Left One Rides the Train

I'm listening to the radio, which is playing a new song by REM. There's a line in this song, "it's easier to leave then to be left behind..."

Near where I work, actually physically near my office, is a set of train tracks. Several times a day, the train goes by. Sometimes, when work is tough, or my attitude sours, I fantasize about that train. I used to joke with one of my co-workers, telling him how I would just leave one day. I'd jump on the train, like a hobo, climb aboard the rails, in search of better circumstances, flipping the bird (with both hands) back at my office.

I think the time is coming when my job will go away. Work here has pretty much dried to a slow trickle, and it feels as if our days are collectively numbered. I fully expect to be gone by the end of the month, and feel completely useless and tired.

Lately, I've been fantasizing about the train a lot. About how I'd ride the rails, where I might end up, how I'd love to flip the proverbial bird to all those I'd leave behind. Somehow, I never thought I'd be the one left behind but, I suppose, sometimes you leave and sometimes you get left behind. Like the song says, it is easier to leave. It would be easy to just walk out, flipping everybody off in my path, and move onto greener pastures. You never want to be the one left to close the lights, shut the door, and wonder where everybody went but, in this case, it's the right thing to do. Leaving would be easy, but getting left behind, in this case, is what I really need to do.

Until next time...

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Tobias, Noun

Etymology: Greek Tobias

1. A Jewish hero who with divine aid marries his kinswoman Sarah in spite of a jealous evil spirit and restores his father Tobit's sight
2. A dog with really really big ears who now resides with Carol and Charlie.

Welcome to Carol's Little World, Toby.

Tobias, Greek God of Big Ears

On Friday, I was reading the newspaper and happened upon an add for a "free to good home" cocker spaniel. Toby, is two years old, is black and white, and a little big bigger than Charlie. Interesting thing about Toby, he has big ears. Not just "big" as in typical cocker big, no these are honkingly large two pounds apiece wads of leathered skin dangling from the sides of his head. It's quite strange how he can lie down and make his ears pop up. They are so large, they pop up when he sleeps, as if they defy gravity. Poor thing, now has a new home and has to sleep with the likes of Charlie and me.

I painted my house this weekend too. It was actually pretty easy, made especially so by the fact that nobody offered to help. You see, I'm a slow but meticulous painter, being an artist and all.

The first time I painted a room in my house, my folks tried to help me out. My mother came over and immediately started getting blue paint on everything that was supposed to remain white and missing all the spots she was supposed to cover with the blue paint. At one point, she turned to me and said, "where's your rag?" I responded, "what rag?" She was like, "you have to have a RAG when you paint?" I was like "why?" She replied, "well, what do you do when you make a mistake?" I told her what I'm telling you. I don't make mistakes when I paint. I don't need a rag. I barely edge the room out. Sometimes, if I'm really "sloppy" by my standards, I use an artists brush, to make a more even edge. That and sometimes I stick my thumb into the corner of the paint lid. That's the closest I get to "mistakes" when it comes to painting.

This weekend, I painted an entire room. It changed from white to brown. I got one brown spot of paint on or near my elbow, and I got half my thumb brown. No rags, no help, it was wonderful. I'd do it again in a minute, even with Toby barking in the yard.

Until next time...