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So I’m reading this USA Today article about how the University of Nebraska wants to ruin my life, and I get to the bottom and see this:

I keep trying to think of a funny connection here, but it's just wrong. Wrong wrong wrong.


I’m not sure why I referenced Danny Zuko and not, um, a character that Kelly Preston played. Like . . . well there was that time . . . wasn’t she in . . .

Oh right, that’s why.

Give me a call when she becomes an American cultural icon.

Aren’t old trailers hilarious?

I’m going to try to sleep and not think about a world where my two favorite teams are in the same conference, or worse, ending up in the friggin’ Pac 10.

I’ll try to write again soon, but you know how it is, rockin’ and rollin’ and what not. I might just not be able to squeeze you in, so be cool baby.


As a general rule, I don’t go into water inhabited by things that can eat me.  I grew up on a lake.  The biggest dangers were zebra mussels and E. Coli.  In 2002, I spent two months living on the Gulf Coast 100 yards from the beach.  The day we got there, one of my friends had an encounter with a sting ray.  I shuffled through the surf for the rest of my time there.  I completely freaked out one day when I saw fins, and was promptly told by a world-wise and oh-so-amused local that they were porpoises, not sharks.  (pause) But that the porpoises were dangerous too.  Rays, jellyfish, fish with pointy things, porpoises, sharks, and the ever-present fear of coming across a body thrown off an oil rig.  No thanks.  It really was pretty, and WARM water was totally new to me, but I’ll stick with lakes, thanks.

When I saw this today.  My heart stopped.  (but thankfully, promptly started again)

No, no, no, no, no, no!

No, no, no, no, no, no!

I read the NY Times article and was relieved to find out that “Marine biologists for the state of Massachusetts, [are] working with a commercial fisherman who is a talented swordfish harpooner,” but what they really need is a shark catcher.  I know comparisons to Jaws are obvious and uninspired but heysoos, sharks! here!  on the 4th of July!  Or, um, Labor Day, one of those holidays where we celebrate American’s plucky rebellion.

Thanks to “stubles22” for this observation that sounds JUST LIKE THE MAYOR OF AMITY!  “Really a big to do about nothing….sharks have been around Chatham forever, especially since the seal population has exploded. Closing the beach is silly; you’re more likely to get hit by lightning. Another media driven event!”

Revkin, A. (2009, September 6). White sharks cause stir on Cape Cod. The New York Times.
Retrieved from

Yes, I get that it’s a good story, we all have internalized Jaws.  Maybe some people have a more “rational” understanding of sharks than I do.  I grew up on Nova.  I remember seeing a Nova episode on sharks where a researcher went into the cage and down into the sharky deep.  She was wearing the marine version of chain mail.  A shark came up to the cage, bit at it, mangled the bars AND BIT HER THUMB.  It was all bloody and had dangly things.  I have an unfortunately vivid memory of this.  Possibly because I watched it dozens of times, but still, it’s terrifying.

Speaking of Nova.  I’m also terrified of alligators and crocodiles.  Damn public television.  It’s not fear of the teeth and the bone-crushing biting, it’s the barrel rolls.  So it would bite me, then try to (well, not try, it would) drown me.  So, I imagine that I would be bleeding profusely, going into shock, spinning around under water and seeing flashes of light above the water then murkiness, then light then murkiness.  I find prospect of seeing the light every rotation terrifying because it would be this flash of life/hope, then dark/dirt/death.  I am SERIOUSLY terrified of alligators and crocodiles.

My friends and I went camping in a place with all kinds of deadly snakes, but no alligators (there aren’t crocodiles anywhere near here, but there ARE alligators in this state).  We were too far away from the coast to be in alligator danger, but I decided that the place we were going is a place that alligators would go if they got lost.  Sort of like the manatee that ends up in the East River.  It happens.  Before we went, I read all about alligators, and viewed the alligator-hunting statistics for the entire state.  It showed how many alligators had been killed in each county.  Yes, I am REALLY afraid of alligators.   I learned from public television that alligators have a hard time changing directions, so if you HAVE to run from an alligator, your best bet is to run zig zag.  So, when we went camping, in this alligator-free county, I would NOT wear flip flops.  Because, how the heck do you run zig zag in flip flops?  What if an alligator floated on up the river, climbed up the steep bank and into our campsite?  I was in sensible Tevas with an ankle strap and ready to zig zag away.

I really like to be prepared . . .

I think I’m going to watch Jaws.

Have a safe Labor Day!

So I’ve been thinking about John Hughes, and even though I am exceptionally fuzzy-headed today, his influence on my life is still clear.

John Hughes created my conception of adolescence.  I wasn’t even a tween when the brat pack dominated the movie scene, but I think this contributed to the potency of Hughes’ influence.  I was learning how to be a Hughesian adolescent at 7.  I watched Ferris Bueller’s Day Off weekly as a kid, and I am confident that this directly led to a) my desire for a Barbie Ferrari (seriously, coolest thing ever) and b) the unholy amount of school I skipped as a teenager.  (Sorry, Mom.)  I wanted to be Sloane.  I wanted to be the pretty girl to rock the white go go boots, but I was always more of a Jeanie (although, dude, she got to make out with pre-2.5 men Charlie Sheen, nice.)  But it was Jeanie Bueller, Samantha Baker, and Allison Reynolds that were weirdos, insecure, not rich or even wholly sane,  that spoke to me and permitted me to be the insecue, not rich, not wholly sane weirdo that I am.

We’ll miss you Mr. Hughes, thank you for your humor, and thank you for Shermer, Illinois.

1. Vibrating Mascara. Apparently this is so last year, but I guess I am behind the curve in the vibrating cosmetics world. But this is great, because what I really want to do, is take a shaking stick with black goo on it and put it right next to my eye!

Because what I really want to do, is take a shaking stick with black goo on it and put it right next to my eye.

2. Why does Toyota feel compelled to inform the public that this is a dramatization?

Are they trying to avoid this scenario?

Dear Toyota,

I took my new Prius for a drive in the country, and let me just say, there was NO rhythmic vocal soundtrack, the grass didn’t sway in my direction, and not one flower looked up at me with a baby face. I declare false advertising, and I want my $23,000 back.

Al Gore

3. Why I didn’t see the “from URL” tab when I tried to embed the hulu clip of Alec Baldwin as Gary, the oldest Jonas in this post.  I tried the embed code, then looked around online, but a lot of stuff I found was for WordPress installations on your own server, not I was ranting wildly about “so-called web2.0” where social sites are supposed to integrate and connect not be irritating and stupid. It was a well-thought-out and eloquent rant for sure. Also, it was just in my head, as I was home alone with a cat, and I am not ready to be “she-who-yells-to-her-cat-about-the-Internet.”

But, seriously, look at this:

I didn't have my glasses on.  (Although they are only for "baseball games and movies" according to the doctor that first diagnosed me with notbeingabletoseefarawayism.

I didn't have my glasses on. (Although they are only for "baseball games and movies" according to the doctor that first diagnosed me with notbeingabletoseefarawayism.)

4. Why it took me two weeks to properly format this post.

I have about 20 screenshots hanging out on my desktop waiting for meaningful file names and a purpose. I’m trying to figure out where to start (as addressed in the subject line), and I can’t really think of anything more topical than Michael Jackson.

I know everyone and their second cousin twice removed are talking about MJ right now and how he changed their life, but dudes, he did. I started to wade through my own bank of Jackson memories, and had a great conversation with my mom about us gathering around ye olde television set to watch the Thriller video. I was four when the video debuted, and I’m not sure if this memory is from the day that MTV first played it, or just the first time WE saw it. Either way, I was no older than five. The video is terrifying. It’s one of two beloved pop-culture phenomena that have scarred me for life (the other being Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, more on that in a future post). I made it about two and a half minutes into the fourteen-minute video. When were-Michael looked up with his yellow eyes and yelled, “GO AWAY,” I did. For years, YEARS, I had nightmares about this, and not just nightmares, but also hallucinations. I used to sleep with my bedroom door open and we had a yellow-tone light in the hallway, at night, I would look up and there he’d be, were-Michael, in his red jacket, hunched over about to pounce, yellow eyes glowing and claws ready for the attack. Years. We moved out of that house about seven years later, and the hallucinations stopped, but I still would have occasional nightmares.

Unlike Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, however, I love Thriller. Love. it. Do you all remember all those Michael Jackson marathon’s MTV used to do? When he came out with Dangerous in 1991 I was glued to MTV. I wore that tape out. I grew up listening to Bad and Thriller on vinyl, my parents learned to disco to Off the Wall. The Jackson Five are on all of my “cheer up” or “shake your booty” playlists, also, some of my wallowy playlists, and definitely on “Lea Sings in the Shower: Songs to make the neighbors break their leases.”

I think what has been most difficult, is to me, and I’m sure to many people of my generation, it felt like Jackson died a long time ago. Our MJ was gone, and these increasingly bizarre iterations appeared every couple years or so, but now, we are all celebrating all that he’s done, the many people he’s been, and the staggering legacy of FORTY years of music.

As you may know, I recently watched The Queen, about how Queen Elizabeth II dealt with the public’s reaction to Princess Diana’s death. I keep going back to that, just watching how the mourning swelled, how millions of people were affected, and see that happening for MJ too (but on a astronomically larger scale). I am pleased that the MJ events are celebrations of his life and his art. I can’t wait to hit up a few myself – friends and I went to the MJ singalong for my 25th and I highly recommend it, if you can get tickets.

I also love that Michael Jackson broke the Internet. That is just so amazing to me. He crashed Twitter and AIM, freaked out Google, blew up Wikipedia, and appeared in millions of Facebook status messages. The latter was incredibly powerful for me. My Facebook friend list is comprised of people from the many different phases of my life. There was just something about seeing my elementary school classmates, summer camp friends, fellow former Cleveland-area alternateens, college and grad school folk, just really everyone I’ve ever known – all react to the same event – it just made me think about the universality of Jackson.

Oh man, MJ, I want you back.

MySpace is streaming tons of Jackson songs and videos, here is one of my favorites The Way You Make Me Feel.

What are your favorites?

If you don’t know where to start, may I suggest this?

I wish it wasn't :(

I wish it wasn't 😦

Audiobook (so, listening to instead of actually reading) – Stockett, K., Lamia, J., Turpin, B., Spencer, O., & Campbell, C. (2009). The help. [New York, N.Y.]: Penguin Audio.

  • I’m really enjoying this, I’m about halfway through. This is from multiple perspectives like My Sister’s Keeper, but does a much better job of it. I love that the voice actors imitate each other. So Minnie tells her story, and another voice actor will mention Minnie and do her impression of Minnie’s voice. I’m not sure why I think that’s awesome, but I do.

Jacobs, A. J. (2004). The know-it-all: One man’s humble quest to become the smartest person in the world. New York: Simon & Schuster.

  • I’ve warmed up to this. I didn’t love it at first, but I’ve made peace with the A-Z format, and I’m more in the mood for factoids then when I first started reading it.

I finished watching The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe today. I started watching it over the weekend, but my disc froze at the 12th scene. Damn you, Netflix! I loved it. I read the books when I was a kid and don’t remember much about them except that I liked them. I tend to be a purist and get rather irritated at movies that adapt (read ruin) my favorite books (*cough*harrypotter*cough*). I’m not sure how I’d feel about this one in a side-by-side comparison, so I’m glad I don’t remember anything about the books, and I think I will watch the movies before I reread the books. Also, Netflix, you don’t know me as well as you think you do:

Not quite, Netflix.

Not quite, Netflix.

Johnson, M., Adamson, A., McAlpine, D. M., Moore, P., Steuer, P., Peacock, A., et al. (2006). The chronicles of Narnia. The lion, the witch and the wardrobe. Burbank, CA: Walt Disney Home Entertainment.

Lewis, C. S., & Baynes, P. (1950). The lion, the witch and the wardrobe; A story for children. New York: Macmillan.

What a lame post! Although I did find a screenshot to stick in there . . .

I didn’t quite know which song to go with. I need a super sappy pop ballad. Like the kind I listen to when I’m driving really late at night and get sleepy. I crank up the soft rock, roll down the windows, and belt. it. out.

Anyway, Kelly would say that she’s been waiting a lifetime for a moment like this. Whitney would just beg for that one moment in time where all her dreams were a heartbeat away.

This could be my moment:

Dear Lea, I think you're brilliant.  Please, come be our new consigliere. <3 Ira

Unfortunately, it was a mass email wherein Ira asked me for more money. Alas. However, if you all listen to This American Life, then you should head to the site and donate $2. Unless you want Julie Snyder to roll up in your hood on her single-speed Schwinn yelling ” I WANT MY TWO DOLLARS! TWO DOLLARS!” Really, it’s up to you.

Oh, and Whitney wins, 1) because she’s Whitney, and 2) hellloooo 7th grade “One Moment in Time” clarinet section feature. I’m sure we were fantastic.

I love Netflix’s recommender system because it comes up with the most bizarre categories, like:

Aren't all weddings emotional?  I mean, SOMEONE must emote SOMETHING at every wedding.

Aren't all weddings emotional? I mean, SOMEONE must emote SOMETHING at every wedding.

I also love that somehow Father of the Bride and Rachel Getting Married constitute a category. There are white puffy high top sneakers in Father of the Bride, father-daughter basketball games, and a narrator for goodness sake. Rachel Getting Married is an emotional movie, and there is a wedding, but I don’t know that it’s an emotional wedding movie. Still, I love that Netflix created this category, and you should too because you got to read 100 words of me blathering on about it!

At 8 am on the dot Fed Ex came to my door to drop off my beloved Macbook. I had no idea who in the world would be at my door at 8 am, and my Fed Ex carrier was rather petite so I didn’t see her through the peephole. I was walking away from the door when I heard strange beeping, got kind of creeped out, looked through the window, and saw the Fed Ex logo on her sleeve. I had no idea what she was doing there – well I knew she was delivering a package – but I had no idea what it was. She had to tell me that it was my computer. Did I mention it was 8 am?

She didn’t actually wake me up. I am a chronic insomniac and had JUST gone to bed when she knocked on the door. It was seriously at the precise moment my head hit the pillow. I tried everything to sleep last night. I finished reading My Sister’s Keeper, which I ended up hating. I yelled at it at when I finished it at 5 am (sorry neighbors). It was just not my cup of tea at all. It was three highly implausible story lines weakly tied together. Any one of the story lines would be enough for a ridiculous book, but the three of them together? The only way that book would be redeemable is if it was a true story. It’s too unbelievable to be fiction, but would be remarkable if it was true. Maybe she should have just passed it off as the truth . . . Frey? Frey? Frey?

(When Cameron was in Egypt’s land)

Woo random movie quotes!

I also watched The Queen, I thought for sure that a movie full of British accents would knock me right out. Nothing against the British, I find the accents soothing, especially when they’re thick, and I have no idea what they’re saying. It’s really easy to drift off in that situation. For those of you that have seen the movie, it’s super low key, kind of slow, and not a lot happens – it seems like the perfect movie to lull you to sleep, but I only missed one scene.

Tonight I started the Golden Girls from the beginning. I took all kinds of nerdy notes in preparation for the episode guide I first mention on day one of Macbooklessness. If the insomnia continues, I’ll be done with all seven seasons before the month is out.

Anyway, my Macbook had all kinds of stuff done to it. I got a new bezel (had to Google it), a heat pipe, a new CD/DVD drive, and my monitor works now! I was holding off on repairs until that pesky thesis was done, because I could not go five days without my laptop during hermit/writing time. It’s good to have it back, but there seems to be some pixel damage at the bottom of the screen. My hunch is that I got a refurbished screen. I know it’s not the one I sent in because the chip is missing, unless they buffed it, but I don’t think people buff Macbook screens. I’m really impressed with how fast Apple got it back to me. I dropped it off at 8:30 pm on Wednesday, and got it back two business days later. That’s pretty fantastic. See! I’m not just a hater. I hated on two things, and loved two things, so I’m fair and balanced. ;)

A few days ago (probably on Macbookless – Day Two) I remembered what right clicking is. I kept automatically alt clicking and not knowing why nothing was happening.

Have I mentioned that this laptop has NO battery? There is physically a battery in it, but it doesn’t do anything. If the power cord disconnects for more than two seconds then the whole thing shuts down.

I think I’ve figured out the limits of this computer. I can have at most two programs open (Firefox and Pidgin, although I did open Adobe Reader once, that was a trial in patience. I am not Job.) In Firefox I can have four tabs, but none of the pages can have embedded audio or video – java and flash are the kiss of death. Usually any sort of moving or singing thing will crash my browser, but it doesn’t crash quickly. It freezes, and when I try to force quit it takes another 5 minutes or so. If I have more than four tabs open, I get the virtual memory dump balloon. I’ve uninstalled the memory sucking programs that run secretly in the background, but I guess I either have missed a few, or there really is just not enough memory to handle five tabs.

I stayed away from the PC today, mostly because of a killer migraine, but also I started to get into the Picoult book. I still don’t love it. I realized one of my problems with it is I picture Cameron Diaz every time there is a chapter written from the mother’s perspective. I have a love/hate relationship with Ms. Diaz (Being John Malkovich = love, There’s Something About Mary = hate, her political and social activism = love and hate – it’s kind of endearing because she seems to be trying so hard, but it also feels like she’s that girl from your high school that suddenly became really passionate about something because she saw it on Oprah). I know this isn’t fair to Ms. Picoult, but I can’t undo it now, and I doubt I’d like the mother character anyway. Sometimes I like when chapters are written from different character’s perspectives, but it’s not really working for me with this book. I find myself dreading chapters written by certain characters, and the whole thing just seems overly dramatic. I keep getting a sense of “this is really serious you guys!” underneath all her writing. I get it, it’s serious. Quit trying to convince us and just keep that plot going. I think the 23-hour headache has made me overly harsh. I understand that Ms. Picoult has an often-hospitalized child of her own (just from the book jacket, I didn’t do any other research, I’m not ready to hear her story because I don’t want it to influence my impression of the book), and I guess that if I was a person who had an experience similar to the mother in the book or Ms. Picoult then I might feel differently. I might feel that affirmation that comes from reading a story that expresses the thought and feelings you can’t, but I don’t feel that way.


Upon reviewing my post, I realized that the Oprah comment was unnecessarily snotty. Although I’m not all about celebrities telling us that we can be fabulous if we’d just make all the choices they do – Gwynnie, I’m looking in your direction – it’s unfair of me to criticize the catalyst for one’s politicization. As a feminist, and a person who has formally studied gender for the past decade, it is especially heinous for me to make such a meanie-pants observation. So I apologize. Go ahead, become politicized through Oprah, but please, do some more research – like listening to NPR, because as all good liberals know – everything on NPR can be taken as gospel. 😉

*tweet tweet*