I5BOTD 3/31/05

Today's Indie 500 Blog of the Day is:

Dr. Laniac's Laboratory

Lots of good links, and some amusing pix.


I5BOTD 3/30/05

Today's Indie 500 Blog of the Day is:


because he's a musician! And even more because he's untrained, just like me.


Guilty pleasure

I was initially a vehement opponent of reality television. "I prefer to be entertained by trained professionals" was my line.

But I was flipping through the channels one night and I saw some people in a maze, and I found myself glued to The Amazing Race 5. It was the final episode of that series, and I was hooked. I watched Season 6 even though it sucked, according to long-time fans of the show.

Tonight was a 2 hour long episode, and it was mostly edge-of-my-seat exciting. In the first half, we had Gretchen falling down in a cave and cracking her head open. In the second half, Brian & Greg had a car accident that moved them from 2nd to last place. But they got another car, and they managed to catch up to the team right ahead of them, Ray & Deana. Ray is an ass, so I was rooting for Brian & Greg (who, while maybe not the brightest guys out there, seem like genuinely good guys), and they did it - they outraced Ray & Deana to the mat, and avoided elimination.

In some beautiful poetic justice, Ray & Deana, who spent the past two episodes insulting and berating Gretchen & Meredith (although not to their faces) were eliminated before Gretchen & Meredith - that was nice.

I'm posting this here even though I feel a little guilty about my addiction to this show because TWOP forums are down, so I have no one to share my excitement with. I'm totally rooting for Brian & Greg or Uchenna & Joyce, the two teams who seem like the nicest people (that's me - I don't care if someone has great skills as a racer, if they are a jerk, I'm not interested in rooting for them). I like Alex, but Lynn is kind of annoying. I thought it was great that Lynn & Alex, who were right behind Brian & Greg, stopped and tried to help when B&G had the accident, but then Lynn was acting all superior about it, and that's just annoying. Rob - ugh - every time he starts to win me over, he gets smug and ugly and I'm back to hoping he gets eliminated soon.

Okay, I feel better now that I got this off my chest.

I5BOTD 3/29/05

Today's Indie 500 Blog of the Day is:

Blue Meme

authored by Dr. Bloor


I5BOTD 3/28/05

Today's Indie 500 Blog of the Day is:

Mike the Mad Biologist

because I love the science guys.



I sang at a Maundy Thursday service this evening, and I could barely keep my eyes open during the scriptural readings. Now it's after 2am, and I can't sleep, I feel completely wired. At least I don't have to work tomorrow.


Sometimes you see yourself reflected in your kids, and you can only apologize

Next week, I see my orthopod to discuss hip replacement surgery. Depending on when he is able to do the surgery (he already said it's up to me, that my hip is ready to be replaced), I might be taking my remedial math class this summer.

On remedial math: one of my great regrets in life is not learning math. I found it so tedious that I just stopped paying attention. I can do arithmetic, and I can figure out percentages, but that's about it. So when I went back to school and took the math assessment test, I did so poorly that I don't even qualify for Remedial Algebra - I am in the lowest level class they offer. I have to take 2 remedial math classes before I can take a credit math class. I'm just deficient in the subject, despite the fact that I always tested well for math aptitude. Thank goodness I have Loki and Sio, both of whom lurve math - I expect they will offer me some support when I am groaning over my homework.

Monkey is following in my footsteps - she takes timed tests on math facts at school, and she has taken to just randomly filling in numbers. We had a conference with her teacher yesterday, and we are now intervening so she doesn't fall behind. Sio's ex-boyfriend has volunteered to tutor Monkey, he has lots of ideas for making math fun for her. We are also engaging in bribery, which has been very effective in the past at motivating Monkey - when we do flash cards, she gets a penny for every right answer, and a penny for every right answer on her timed tests.


I5BOTD 3/23/05

Today's Indie 500 Blog of the Day is:

Polemic Propaganda

Because I like cupcakes, too.



I'm still sick, with a bug that is sweeping the capitol region of Connecticut. 5 days or so of horrible flu symptoms, and then about 2 weeks of coughing, swollen glands, sore throat, and general yuckiness. On the plus side, I've only got about 1 more week of coughing to go, if Loki's recovery is any indication.

I5BOTD 3/22/05

Today's Indie 500 Blog of the Day is:


Read and enjoy.


Nearly human

I am beginning to feel almost human again. I'm not quite there, but getting there.

I wanted to encourage everyone to join me in a Guinness to celebrate the day, but I don't think my stomach is ready for food yet.



Loki has been sick for over a week now - coughing, sneezing, aching, fever, chills. I thought I escaped it, but no, today I wake up with the same symptoms. I feel like I could not get warm even if I was roasting over a spit.

But I came to work anyway, to minimize my time off (which I'm saving for my hip operation). Now I'm being sent home, because no one wants my germs. I consider this a victory because I look like a dedicated employee *and* I get to go home and go to bed.

I5BOTD 3/14/05

Today's Indie 500 Blog of the Day is:


Another blogger who reads unpleasant things, like George Will's columns, so you don't have to.


Who needs sleep?

Tonight Monkey and I went to see Sio's high school production of The Mystery of Edwin Drood, which holds a special place in my heart because it's the last musical I did before I had Monkey. In fact, I was 5 months pregnant when I played Princess Puffer.

The show was great, as always - I am always amazed at the talent of these kids. There was an impressive dance scene in Act 1, when John Jasper, while high on laudanum, witnesses a pantomime of himself killing his nephew for the object of his rather perverse desire, Rosa Bud. And the music director won my heart by including the quartet reprise of the song "Moonfall", which is a number that is almost always cut.

If you aren't familiar with the show, it is based on Charles Dickens final novel, of the same name. The audience is given the opportunity to vote on several key events that Dickens never wrote about - who the murderer is, who the detective is, and who the lovers are. The conceit of the show is that the audience is watching the Music Hall Royale of Drury Lane in London present their performace of The Mystery of Edwin Drood. (Are you following? I have had about 3 hours sleep in the past 48 hours, so I may not be entirely coherent.)

At the performance tonight, Bazzard was chosen for the detective, Reverand Crisparkle was chosen as the murderer, and Princess Puffer and the Deputy were the lovers.

When I did this show, I was chosen as the murderer once, and I was the female lover at every other performance. At the final performance, due to heavy persusion from the cast, the gentleman playing Neville was chosen to be my lover. The guy who played Neville and I were old friends, and so in rehearsal, we always went way overboard in the love scene. So I primped and made sure my cleavage was extra visible, and he slicked his hair back and sprayed some binaca in his mouth, and we went to town. Oh, man, I used to love doing theater. I can't do it now because of my hip and work and school, but I WILL play Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd before I die. Oh yes, I will.


On an entirely separate topic, I can't stop drinking Gatorade. I don't like the original flavor or the fruit punch, but the grape? I can't get enough. Is there something in there that is addictive? Is it salt? I drink almost nothing but water, (well, coffee in the morning & tea in the evening), but every so often, I like to have something soda-like (soda-ish? soda-y?), so Gatorade is it.


Friday afternoon daydreaming

Where I am*

Where I'd like to be

*Oh, yeah, it looks pretty, but after 5 months of it, I'm ready to move on.


One year ago today, the city of Madrid was rocked by a coordinated attack.


Dates, dates, dates. There are dates where you go out to dinner and a movie, dates that you look for on a calendar, and dates you eat. This story involves two kinds of dates. (Verrrry interesting link found via Shakespeare's Sister.

I5BOTD 3/11/05

Today's Indie 500 Blog of the Day is:

The Green Knight

just because I like him.



Today is Laughing Wild's first anniversary, and as a special present, Blogger is fucking falling apart today. I had a post up earlier that I attempted to edit, but the whole thing just disappeared. Also, I had a funnier title, but every letter I typed into the title box brought up an error message, so I decided to keep it simple.

In the meantime, I would like to thank my regular visitors for occasionally dropping a note in the comments. I mostly write for myself, but I get a little thrill when I see a number greater than zero in the parentheses behind the word "Comment".

Upcoming events you can expect at Laughing Wild:

- more complaining about random people I meet on the bus
- more stories about Sio & Monkey
- a post about SEX
- blogroll updates
- more linky goodness (I really don't link enough)
- PICTURES! (well, maybe)


I5BOTD 3/9/05

Today's Indie 500 Blog of the Day is:


And I'm going to answer the question she poses in her current top post:

The teachers who changed my life were Mrs. Smallidge, Mr. Walsh, Mr. Quitadamo, Dr. Bartlett and Mr. Mirakian.

Mrs. Smallidge was my first grade teacher. I loved her so much that I gave her a hug every morning when I saw her and every afternoon when I got on the bus. She played the violin and read us great books. After my mother sent her a note telling her that I shouldn't bring home any library books, Mrs. Smallidge started buying me books that I could keep in the classroom. She made me feel loved and special.

Mr. Walsh was my 10th grade English teacher. He saw right away that I was a lazy student, getting effortless A's in English, so he started giving me extra projects. They weren't all brain challenging - one extra assignment he gave me was to document every simile and metaphor in The Great Gatsby - but he made me work hard enough that it became habitual for me to exert some effort. He also wouldn't let me sit quietly in the back of the class - he made me (and all my classmates) stand when we spoke, and challenged us to defend our views.

Mr. Quitadamo had to be in last couple of years of teaching when I had him for Public Speaking. He had polio as a child and walked with the aid of braces. But his enthusiasm for teaching hadn't dimmed one iota. He encouraged me to learn about topics that weren't immediately interesting to me - which is how I ended up giving my final exam speech, a 45 minute long speech, on etymology. And he made me feel valued at a time when I was feeling very poorly about myself.

I had Dr. Bartlett for Contemporary Issues, but she really taught critical thinking. She taught us how to read newspaper articles, how to determine the veracity of the news we saw on TV, how to look for the basic questions journalists are supposed to answer, how real events of history get muddled, how major events of the 20th century were ignored by history books (we were each given 6 different history textbooks, and when we studied a current event, we were also given similar events of the past to research in each of the history books. Of my six books, all published in the early 80's, only 4 of them mentioned Watergate, and only a cursory mention at that.)

And Mr. Mirakian was my high school chorus teacher. He changed my life because he showed me compassion, he showed me I deserved respect, and he made me feel like I wasn't such a bad singer after all.

Yes, I would like some cheese with this whine

I've got some complaining to do:

- Yesterday, the temperature plummeted from the mid 40's to the low 0's with lots of wind chill, so our rain turned into horrible snow. I decided to ride the bus home rather than risk driving with Loki (love the guy, hate his driving). Due to the weather, the traffic was ridiculous - it took the bus an hour to drive the mile from my office to the Old State House bus stop. That's okay, I had music to listen to.

But then the batteries on my portable CD player died. And then we picked up a guy who spent the rest of the bus ride bitching and moaning about how slow we were moving, complete with lots of swear words*. In my imagination, I stood up and said "All right, Mr. Potty Mouth, is your attitude going to make the snow stop? Is your constant swearing going to make the cars move faster? No? Then please do us all a favor and shut up!" (in my imagination, the other bus riders would then applaud me.)

Instead, I maintained my New England distance and didn't say anything. A woman who was sitting across from him did tell him he was being a jerk, and I'm happy to say that he calmed down a bit after that, and his complaining was expletive free for the remainder of the ride.

- Last night, I managed to get to bed at a reasonable hour, but the wind kept waking me up. I kept visualizing chunks of my roof flying off into the wind, or my neighbors tree falling into my garage, or our little Saturn flipping over. That made for a rough night.

- This morning the kids had a delayed opening. Ordinarily, this would put a smile on my face as I went back to bed for an hour, but I couldn't risk getting to work late today because I had a bid opening. So I took the bus to work this morning. At the next stop after mine, the bus picked up a guy who WOULD NOT STOP TALKING! He started by asking to bum .25 because he was short. A woman gave him a quarter, so he sat down next to her. Then his monologue started (my comments in parenthesis):

"It's so nice to see a friendly face like yours first thing in the morning! Yesterday I said hello to a guy and he blew up at me. It's different down south. Talk to a guy in Virginia for 10 minutes and he'll invite you home for dinner. People in Connecticut are cold, man. Just like the weather. Hey, you know what I wish? I wish it were even colder this morning! Heh, heh! It's not quite cold enough, you know? Hey, you ever been to Boston? I gotta say, that is the cleanest city I've ever seen. Not like New York. I mean, in New York it might look good when you're on a main street, but you go down some of those side streets and you're knee deep in trash. But Boston, man, that place is clean. But I just got back 2 weeks ago, and hey, do you work at one of the insurance companies? Yeah, you must, everybody in Connecticut works for an insurance company. Which one you work for?" (He allowed her to answer this question) "Travelers, huh? That's the one that's right downtown, right? Hey, do you know what the building is behind that building, the one with the big glass foyer? You know, you go up these stairs and then there's this round thing with glass, an entryway? And right behind that is this brick building with the rich and shameless go all the time? I always see these guys in tuxedos and ladies in fancy dresses going in and out of there. You know, it has valet parking? (Once again, he allowed her to reply "The Hartford Club?" she suggested) "No, not the Hartford Club. You know where that castle building is, I think it's an Art School?" (again, she answers: "The Wadsworth Atheneum?") "Maybe. The building is right behind there." (Calmly, she says: That's The Hartford Club, like I already said" - I bet she was really regretting giving him a damn quarter) "Okay, maybe it is the Hartford Club. Hey, remember a few years ago, the help got murdered there? Some lady who cleaned there got killed - you remember that? (I fully expected him to take credit for the killing)....

He kept going, but I closed my eyes and drifted off until we got downtown. People like that guy are why I will continue to stand by my New England standoffishness. It saves me from engaging with people like Chatty Cathy.

- When I got off the bus, the sidewalk was basically a sheet of ice. This is problematic for all pedestrians, but it is worse when you walk with a cane. I can't imagine how wheelchairs navigate when the sidewalks are that bad.

- I was standing in line for a coffee (which I needed not just because of the caffeine but because it was about 30 below zero), and I was blowing on my hands to warm them up when I felt something on my face. I pinched my fingers together and pulled. It was a hair. A long white hair. Growing on my face.

- I get on my transfer bus and sit down for the quick ride down the street to my office. As the bus takes off, I hear a voice behind me:

Hey, you ever been to Boston? Man, that is one clean city. Not like New York...


I5BOTD 3/8/05

I know, I'm jumping the gun, but I anticipate a busy workday tomorrow and I want to get to bed before midnight, because these last six minutes* will make all the difference.

Anyway, the Indie 500 Blog of the Day is:


Because of the pretty, pretty pictures.

*actually, it will take me about 6 minutes to climb the stairs, because I am in so much fucking pain. Jeebus, I need some narcotics! I swear I would not get addicted like certain lying liars do, because instead of making me feel high, they will simply make me feel less horrible.

Oh, go look at the pretty, pretty pictures.

Jailhouse Pop

I refuse to apologize for the poor quality of the title pun. I've been awake since 4:30 in the morning. It's the best I can do for now. Sorry. No, wait, I'm not sorry, I'm just fucking exhausted.

My father is currently in his second month of a 4 month jail sentence for drunk driving. This is the second time he's been incarcerated for driving drunk - the first time was for 6 weeks, and he was a changed man - for about 3 months. Then he went right back to his old ways. It's nearly miraculous that he's never hit anybody else while drunk driving - he's wrecked more than 15 cars, but the only person he's ever physically hurt is himself.

Psychologically, emotionally....it's hard to have a father who behaves like a child. I mean, he's a man in some ways - he set a great example of work ethic for us. No matter how much he drank, he was always up at 5am and never missed work. He worked for a construction company M-F, and on Saturday, he built decks or stairs or did roofing projects. He was tough in a way that made us feel kind of proud of him - no one picked fights with him.

He was also gentle in surprising ways - like when he found a nest of baby rabbits that had been abandoned - perhaps the mother was killed by a dog or cat or coyote. He scooped them out of the unprotected nest, tenderly holding the tiny rabbits in his massive hands, and took care of them until they were big enough to be on their own. He was vehemently opposed to hunting, an activity he associated with the English (and he hated the English on a general basis, but specifically, he is fond of a great many English people). If we had a splinter, he was the one who could calm us down and take the splinter out without hurting us.

I'm a naturally optimistic person - while I have many moments of self-doubt, I ultimately feel that eventually, I will achieve my goals and be the person I want to be. But looking at my father, I wonder if I'm not just deluding myself. He's a person who had a lot going for him - skill, intelligence, strength - and he just kept making (keeps making) terrible choices. I am like my father in so many ways, I wonder if I share his weaknesses - he doesn't like to deny himself what he enjoys, even when it's bad for him; he lashes outward when he makes a mistake; he loses his temper and says and does horrible things*, only to suffer from tremendous guilt afterwards - but never attempts to rein in his temper, so it's a neverending cycle - rage, abuse, guilt...rage, abuse, guilt...rage, abuse, guilt, ad infinitum.

What keeps me going, ultimately, is my fear at starting down that spiral. If I start to give in to all of my little desires - one more ice cream cone, I'll just surf around the TV dial for one more hour, I'll just buy one more pair of shoes (all of which are things I deserve because I work hard and I live with so much physical pain, so shouldn't I get to have these little things that give me fleeting moments of pleasure?) - I feel like I will just keep sliding downward. Fear can be a powerful motivator, even though it doesn't feel very strong to admit that I can't have one more ice cream cone because I'm afraid I won't be able to control myself.

My dad is going to turn 63 while he's in jail. I look at him and realize that wisdom doesn't come automatically with age - one has to make and acknowledge mistakes to gain wisdom, and he can't admit that his mistakes are his fault, something he did to himself. So what else can I do, but try to learn from his example, even if his example is of what *not* to do.

*I usally only say and do horrible things in my imagination, where it can't hurt the people I love.

Other people's children

As I mentioned on Friday, two of my nieces slept over on Saturday night. L is 5 years old and no trouble at all, and M is 4 years old, is developmentally delayed, still in diapers, and is just an odd kid. Sweet, but odd.

They arrived around 4pm on Saturday. They had a great time. Loki walked with them down to Cumberland Farms to get some snacks and picked up a pizza at the neighborhood pizza place. They played hide & seek, lots of pretending and dress up.

At around 9pm, I started rounding them up for bed. This is when we started to have problems. M started crying "I want to go home! I want my mom!" Monkey actually did a great job of calming her down, which is good, because Loki went to work and I had no car, so M couldn't go home.

And then, the whole evening almost fell completely apart when we couldn't find her Pep. M, like many children, is obsessive compulsive. And one of her obsessions is Pep - she cannot go to sleep at night without Pep. Pep is a small plastic dog. Monkey and I tore the entire house apart looking for Pep before we found him in a plastic bag in the dining room. (Unfortunately, my house is messy enough that trying to find anything can be difficult.) By then, it was nearly 11. I laid out some sleeping bags, and tucked everyone in.

An hour later, I was awakened by M, because her diaper had leaked and her pajamas were soaked in urine. So I had to locate some new jammies for her - I gave her a pair of Monkey's, which were way too big, but they had the Power Puff Girls on them, so M was pleased.

Sunday morning, Loki got a chance to be alone with them while I was singing at church. They had breakfast and did a lot more playing, and SIL showed up to get them about 1:30pm.

Call me a horrible, mean person, but I was so glad to only have my own children in the house. I don't like handling other people's children.

I5BOTD 3/7/05

Today's Indie 500 Blog of the Day is:

Consolidated Truth

a group blog written by students at several different universities.


I5BOTD 3/4/05

Today's Indie 500 Blog of the Day is:

Rayne Today

she's a great writer, with a really interesting perspective.

(This will probably be the only blog I highlight for the remainder of the weekend, because my two nieces will be sleeping over my house tomorrow night, and I can't imagine that I will have time to get on the computer.)


I love Jesse

but the current line-up on Pandagon is amazing. Lindsay Beyerstein from Majikthise, Amanda Marcotte from Mouse Words and S.Z. from World O'Crap are kicking ass, and even though I am very fond of Jesse Taylor, and have been reading his blog since he started it, I am loving the tenor and quality of the posts these women are publishing while he's gone.

I will be updating my blogroll soon!


Appy polly loggies

I've been working like mad the past couple of days, so I haven't had time to surf through the I500's looking for a new blogger to highlight, and I haven't had time to think much about anything political, and I haven't really spent enough time with the family to have any stories about my wonderful children. There are a few posts brewing in the back of my skull, but I'm too sleep deprived to get to them today. Plus, we've had crappy weather and my bad hip hates crappy weather, so I've been asking my husband if he knows anyone who can get me some quality narcotics to dim the pounding, exquisite pain (but not seriously - I am not a law-breaker, I can't do it, I'm just too much of a good girl - plus, who wants to be like Rush Limbaugh? Not me!), and okay, that's enough excuses. Back to work - I think I can actually see some desk peeking out at me!