wolfpangs: (bammer)
One last time and then I'm closing the lid on the worst part of last year.



See you later, 2011. Onward and upward.
Tragedy is like a branding iron. Everyone who lives through it becomes a product of that tragedy. You realize you’re just a slab of meat. You might continue living your life in a fairly normal straight line, but that tragedy knows to whom you belong. You have its smoldering mark on your body.

At first the idea of grief counselors seemed absurd. "I was like, grief counselors? Really? But this is doing something to me." And that's it. It's difficult to put into words, but in the aftermath of the storm, you could feel it on you. Something had been done to you. And though I don't think of myself as seriously affected, there is a part of me that still becomes frantic when the power goes out. The anxiety is a rat racing up my nerves. It's part of the reason why it's taken me so long to write this, the followup to the storm. I don't like to think about it. I don't like to talk about it. I don't like to go back to it. But I will, just this once, and then it can't touch me again for a long time.

Read more... )
Regarding Duh Aficionado Magazine: Tim James, Nominee For Governor Of Alabama, Is An Asshole--

A) I'm sayin'!
B) I love that he has a plantation accent like my own. It makes "[T]his is Alabama--we speak English" so much more compelling, especially since increasingly fewer people speak English exactly like us.
C) Alabama is not an English word.
D) The driver's license exam is offered in so many languages to meet standards for federal funding. If Alabama did not comply with the standards, it would lose money, not save it.
E) "Does it to you?"
F) Why is there a businessman in him?

I don't know why I decided to go to a tea party. I needed to go to the library anyway and I'd be passing by the courthouse (where the tea party was held), so I thought I'd check it out as I went by. The Facebook group for the local branch had 9 people RSVP-ing "yes" to attending, so I wasn't expecting that many people to be there...and they weren't. I'd estimate about 100 or so, at any given time. That's why I was surprised to see that the local paper said 600 were there. I'd find it interesting to learn that there is enough parking downtown to support that number of people, especially since the party started at 4PM.

Clean cups! Change seats! )

*Is he holding an uprooted tree? What is going on?


Today's TeeFury design almost makes up for my missing out on the Leia the Riveter tee (no, it doesn't).
wolfpangs: (bammer)
I miss my grandmother a lot and sometimes, it really gets to me, but times like today...I really wish she could've seen this game.

Magic city.

Mar. 6th, 2009 02:03 pm
wolfpangs: (bammer)
"Baxter Wahl" in Birmingham did a a very Goreyesque series called The Highland Avenue Mystery Mini-Series and I'm in love with it. Everything is great, but I would love a print of this one. (For those of you not familiar with Birmingham, see here for an explanation of that one.)
First of all, RIP Konrad Dannenberg. Don't know who he is? Well, he's one of the men who put a human being on the moon! See When The Germans, And Rockets, Came to Town, a favorite article of mine, for more details in general and NASA's own Legendary Rocket Pioneer Visits Kennedy. Or you know, any of the articles shooting across various news wires today.

"In an interview with The Associated Press on the 30th anniversary of the first moon landing, Dannenberg said of all the rocket launches, the test launch of the V-2 on Oct. 3, 1942, stood out the most. It soared 53 miles high, just past the 50-mile point where space begins. It was the first rocket to break that barrier."

Can you imagine what that felt like?

How did I learn about Dannenberg's death? From Twitter, of course. My favorite tweet this week (from Quest while at a gentleman's club): "lol @ 6 people outtin me on twitter like this is some gossip girl ep: SPOTTED AT STRIP CLUB W/ 4 HONEY DIPS, DR AFRO LOVE LOL"

I am down to Scumdog Nixon as my last Best Picture nominee to watch, having finished The Curious Case of Benjamin Button the other night. I thought I kind of liked it, but when I wrote a capsule review on Facebook, this came out: Lovely and well-acted, but based on an absurd premise that provokes more questions than it answers. Worst of all, the inclusion of Katrina is not only hamhanded, but cheap and offensive--it's the real curiosity considering Pitt's work with Make It Right Nola.

Um, thumbs down?

Urgh, I hate this story about the chimp in Connecticut, particularly all the "Ooh, what could have caused it? Could have it been Xanax or the Dow or the position of the moon?"

Or was it the fact that THE CHIMP IS A WILD ANIMAL? Have you heard about Frodo, the on-and-off alpha male at Gombe?

Frodo seized the position of alpha male in 1997, taking advantage of his brother Freud when the latter came down with mange. By then, however, his instinct for dominance had already produced a series of violent run-ins with prominent Homo sapiens. In 1988, for example, "Far Side" cartoonist Gary Larson was the target of Frodo's belligerence. Larson walked away from the tussle with only bruises and scratches, but his caricatures of primates as malevolent geniuses gained a sudden authenticity. A year later Frodo jumped on Goodall and thrashed her head so thoroughly that he nearly broke her neck. In the wake of that incident Goodall has consistently refused to enter Frodo's territory without a pair of bodyguards along for protection.

Oh and what happened after those incidents? "...Frodo snatched and killed the child of a Tanzanian park worker." To quote Cracked (on the subject of the dingo, but still), "It took 7,000 years of breeding and training to make your pet dog. This is not your pet dog." And hey, look--that post is where I learned about Frodo in the first place.

In other news, I fulfilled a cheese dream last weekend. I finally got some Rogue River Blue and it is everything that I hoped it could be. I was a little nervous when I was perusing the cheese counter and the guy asked me if I needed help--I didn't want to have that awkward conversation where you have to be like, "Actually...I already have a cheese advisor." [As per our previous talk, I also got Gjetost. As I was raised by Norwegians (on my dad's side), I am charmed by it. As a person who likes cheese, I am unsettled by it. I'm going to have to do some more experimenting with it, maybe try it in some recipes. "The Norwegian game sauce suits excellent game meals as for example reindeer." No, not that one.]

Speaking of food, I have to bounce 'cause it's dinnertime, but first--a conversation I had with my grandmother.

Me: Oh, MIA had her baby.
My grandmother: Oh, I knew that already.

PS: I don't care what anyone says--I am psyched about Inglourious Basterds.


President Barack Obama signs the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law, 29 January 2009.

How did your representatives vote?

Senate
House

Yay, Artur Davis! Go fall on something, everyone else.

(And then right after this picture was taken, Sen. Leahy was all, "We're not intimidated by thugs.")

O...Bama.

Nov. 29th, 2008 08:51 pm
wolfpangs: (bammer)
So today is the Iron Bowl, aka the most wonderful time of the year, aka the day of the Alabama-Auburn game. Now this year has been particularly delightful, because Alabama has gone unbeaten while Auburn...has not. (Their 17-34 loss to West Virginia was particularly schadenfreudelicious.) I continued my this season tradition of making it to Alabama game time and then comatosing through the game, so I had no idea of the outcome when I awoke this evening. My telephone blinked blue. There was a text message.

Now when you receive a text on the Sidekick, it displays the first few words of the message on the text jump screen. This read, "Ber [my sister, who sent the message]: Auburn may have w--." Emotionally, this is just under the equivalent of receiving a text on November 4th that read, "John McCain may have w--." I clicked through to the message, which read in full, "Auburn may have won the past 6 years, but like Barack Obama said, 'It's time for a change!'" YES, WE CA--wait, what? My sister is a Republican and not a politics geek, so she doesn't know all the catchphrases and you know, I don't remember his saying that at all. In fact, that was Tom Dewey's catchphrase, and if you recognize that name, there is probably one reason why. So I went online to puzzle this out.

On election night, I was watching the news coverage but switched to the Daily Show when the news got me too keyed up. Soon, even the Daily Show was too much and I started listening to music, while I had the Daily Show on mute and an electoral map open in a tab. I would occasionally refresh it, but it hadn't really changed in a long time. [This "long time" was probably ten minutes.] All of a sudden, around ten pm, I refreshed it and there was a check mark next to Senator Obama's name. I stared at the screen in confusion. The map hadn't been updated yet with the most recent totals and again, it was ten. I could no longer remember an election night with a bedtime. I turned the TV volume back on, just in time to hear this:



[I still feel like the little boy in glasses and the Home Alone pose at the top of this pic when I see that.]

That required checking a few more thousand sources just to make sure. I didn't require nearly as many for the outcome of the Iron Bowl. It is again, not the same as finding out the outcome of the election, but when I saw it, I couldn't help but exclaim, "Oh!" Among my prayers this year, two have been that my grandmother would live to see her beloved Alabama win again and that she would live to see the election of a President with more than one vowel in his last name (to steal a phrase from Jeffrey Eugenides). President...done. Alabama...oh. It's been an interesting year. I'm an aunt! That still blows my mind. Sadie is just now starting to engage with the world--she's social smiling and she'll watch people/animals around her (she's very bemused by the dogs). She's fascinated when people sing to her. So for her, here's her favorite song right now:



(I do not know what's going on with the Chief in this video--apparently he is reaching a higher plane of existence.)
Man, the Armory was covered up with cars today. Oh and tents, too?



What this means: I'll just be settling in for my sleepy time in a few hours enjoying that blissful hour of sleep I'll get before next door's GOOD MORNING IN AMERICA!.

Eh, I suppose it'll be better than yesterday, when I left the Chiller channel on while I was sleeping* and woke up to Bob terrifying some woman.

*Okay, like I ever change it off the Chiller channel.
From al.com:

As Scott Register left the air this morning, officially announcing the format changeover to Live 100.5 in Birmingham, he told listeners, "It's been a long time coming. I'm excited about it."

Here is the first hour's worth of songs from the new station's playlist:


1. Bruce Springsteen - Radio Nowhere
2. R.E.M. - Radio Free Europe
3. Death Cab For Cutie - I Will Possess Your Heart
4. Pearl Jam - Daughter
5. Coldplay - Viva la Vida
6. New Radicals - You Get What You Give
7. KT Tunstall - Suddenly I See
8. Spoon - Don't You Evah
9. The Killers - All These Things That I've Done
10. U2 - Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses?
11. Jeff Buckley - Hallelujah
12. O.A.R. - Shattered
13. Feist - 1234
14. The Police - So Lonely
15. Duffy - Mercy


Y'all. I may cry.


Yesterday I saw The Dark Knight and it was magnificent. Seeing it in IMAX was exactly the right decision: during every action sequence, I watched with eyes wide open like a child. (As opposed to several times during the non-action sequences when I cried like a child.) It is a masterwork, a gloriously moving epic that earns its place as a new highwater mark in comic book movies.

I was actually a little late for the movie, which technically was okay since I'd already seen the first scene online. However, I'd really wanted to see that sequence on the real big screen, if only for that first look at the Joker's face, a shit-disturbing few seconds that's scarier than any horror movie I've seen in a long time.

But don't take my word for it. You could take the word of the 94% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes if you wanted but really, see it for yourself if you want and if you don't, just pass it on. I was already anticipating the people who'd have the lack of balls to give it a bad review and by that, I don't mean people who actually disliked it or found it flawed. Rather, I mean people who just want to be contrary. All-purpose trolls, if you will. Entertainment Weekly called them pop culture bullies and I'd say that's accurate. I recognize tendencies in myself (and the internet tends both to reward and to foster those tendencies) but I've got a friend who is a textbook Insulter and let me tell you, internets--it is so tedious. Anyway, like what you want. Unless it's certain jambands.

What made the experience sublime is that I saw it at the Space and Rocket Center. After the requisite purchase of astronaut food, I was walking down the hallway to exit when I was struck by a painting on the wall.



(Enjoy my surreptitiously-taken-with-my-phone photo.)

It was done by Fred Freeman (it took me a few minutes to puzzle out that signature), who did a number of illustrations regarding space research for magazines like Collier's and who also illustrated a children's book Wernher von Braun wrote called First Men to the Moon. Unfortunately, it seems to be a task to find Freeman's art online. Even eBay had only one print. I must do some more searching. I don't know what it is about his work that I like--it just speaks to me for some reason.

Also, it was Reunion Weekend so Space Camp alumni were there, as well as the Saturn/Apollo team members who made the impossible dream of space a reality. Cheers to impossible dreams.

And speaking of things that move me, here is a video clip.. Lemme say beforehand that you may get distracted so we'll just mention it now--yes, Harrod's apparently had an Exotic Animals department. Thought about it? Okay, good.



What? I'm not crying, you're crying!
wolfpangs: (I am available for translation as well.)
WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT?! Maybe it's the blast of ozone I just took to the face (and thanks to whichever employee left it on the 'on' switch, by the dubs) but I don't think I'm hallucinating this. Why was I not informed?

And I thought the biggest kerfluffle in his tenure as AG was going to be when 41 out of 42 district attorneys in the state approved a statement criticizing what he did to Robby Owens. The 42nd has a brother working in King's office. But hey! Maybe King could have gotten him a job at one of the community colleges, like he did for another employee's mother, leading King to have to recuse the whole AG's office from the current investigation into the community college system. Or maybe he could have taken him to see the Braves, like that time he took his friends and family on Alabama Power's dime. Hey, AG King, aren't you supposed to represent Alabama Power customers? Whoops!

It's so hard to choose. Thankfully, Daily Dixie was kind enough to post a list of his greatest hits earlier this year. In addition, the Wayback Machine has the editorials he wrote for the Crimson White when he was a law student. They are hilarious now. "If homosexuals on this campus are not ashamed of their lifestyle, then I challenge any of you to step out from behind the cowardice of the written word." You first!
wolfpangs: (bammer)
I go to Calhoun for school, which I'm not sure I've mentioned here by name. It's a community college but it's huge for one. (Here's a picture I took as I was leaving the Math & Science Building--where I took uh, French--last semester--and that's like, a fourth of the campus.) In fact, with the two other campuses in addition to the main one, which I attend, it's the largest 2-year college in Alabama. Anyway, it was named after John C. Calhoun, the seventh veep of these United States, who was kind of a handsome fellow in his younger years and apparently went into carnival spookhouse work when he was older. No one really seems to know why he's the namesake--he was a South Carolinian and his links to Alabama are pretty flimsy. I know he had some relatives here but still, it's not like he had an enormous influence on the state. So that's kind of a mystery. But whomever named our mascot had a funny sense of humor. Um, if you're an American history geek. Now Mr. Calhoun, if you don't know, [WARNING: NERD ALERT] and a group of his colleagues in the Twelfth Congress were way into war. Their fervent calls for war against Great Britain, which did indeed lead to a tussle that became known as the War of 1812, earned them the nickname War Hawks. So yes, we are the Calhoun Warhawks. (By the way, it was Virginia Congressman John Randolph who coined the term "War Hawks." But to be fair, he had apparently just gone through puberty so he was probably having lots of mood swings.)

Anyway that was all to say that I bought a Calhoun Warhawks t-shirt today so that I may bask in American history nerdery. I am not ashamed. (It looks like this--I got one like the ones in the basket, charcoal with hot pink lettering. Because nothing says let the bodies hit the floor like hot pink script.) I also defined phallic for the THIRD time in psych class today. It's amazing. Some of these girls are barely out of high school and already have toddlers, yet they won't say "penis" in the classroom.

Then I went to buy a cheap saucepan, because my very successful break-most-of-the-ones-I-own program has drawn to a close, and I have dreams of making tea AND soup at the same time. I went to Fred's, a discount store, and after I found the saucepan I looked around because sometimes you can find interesting stuff in there. Like this. Is your soul bland? I also bought a little bottle of 4711. It's billed as the "original eau de cologne" and they aren't lying (almost)--the phrase "eau de cologne" was originally created to mean water of Cologne, as in the German city where it was first created. This isn't the first FIRST company to make a scent in Cologne but it's up there. Anyway, the bottles are lovely and classic and they were a whopping $1 each at Fred's.

Muelhens created 4711 in 1792. It is the result of the following top fragrance Notes: bergamot, lemon and orange. The middle notes are: rosemary and rose and the base of the fragrance is: musk, petitgrain and neroli.

It's...interesting.

Saturday was the 65th anniversary of Bicycle Day, which I completely forgot about. I also forgot that the Chief would be appearing on a special on the History Channel that night called "Peyote to LSD: A Psychedelic Odyssey." It will repeat on Saturday at 5PM (est, I'm assuming). Yes, I set my Tivo.

Today, of course, is the day of the Earth. So on that note, and speaking of the Chief, here is a gentleman and scholar, a raconteur and rogue, my Chief, my friend* Mr. Bob Weir and the rest of Ratdog doing "Ashes and Glass." Er, after a brief segment in which he tries to complete an interview as certain people who are definitely not anything like your upstanding hostess, work diligently at distraction behind the interviewer's back.



[Part 2]

And if that roll takes us to France
Teach them Froggies how to dance
Keep on dancin', sing the tune
We'll be dancin' all around the moon

And if that big old moon go bust
Well ashes to ashes, baby, dust to dust
Baby it's time for one last rave
Keep on dancin' on our own graves.


*Also, a guy I keep forgetting to email. Oops. Tonight. Tonight I will do it.
wolfpangs: (bammer)
So I just got this letter in the mail:

Dear Voter:

Enclosed you will find a new Voter ID card. There has been a change in your Polling Place because of a past error. We have recently found these mistakes through our new computer system as well as finding that we had maps with incorrect Precinct lines.


WTF. I don't live in a metropolis. My regular voting location has been city hall. I can drive to city hall, check in and vote, and be back home in ten minutes. Apparently this new location is pretty close--it's just in an area I never visit--but I am slightly befuddled and mostly bemused that we are big enough to need multiple polling locations.

Then there's the small matter of MY NAME IS NOT SALONA. I get to go to the Board of Registrars tomorrow! Oh and even weirder, they sent my sister's new voter ID card in my envelope.
wolfpangs: (Weir and Barlow)
Hey, guys! Remember two years ago when I worked at that spa and the owners were always off at their restaurant or their pharmacy, basically leaving the spa to a bunch of giggling girls and we spent most of our time just sitting around laughing at Myspace or whatever but we still made a ton of money? And then all of a sudden, it just mysteriously closed?

So yeah, about that then.


PLEASE BE READY TO EXECUTE YOUR SAFETY PLAN.
wolfpangs: (bammer)
Watching the 20/20 special tonight, I had two thoughts in rapid succession:

1) Joran van der Sloot is almost certainly telling the truth to his buddy Patrick. Maybe I'm way offbase but I don't see why someone would bother correcting a minor detail like what phone he used if he were just making up a story.

2) I could kick this douche in the face with one of [livejournal.com profile] start_0ver's boots and not feel a moment's regret.

And then one more kick for the honor of Alabama.
I meant to post this a month ago when I read it but I forgot. So, here it is now! When the Germans, and Rockets, Came to Town, a piece in the Times about the effect of the space program on Huntsville.

"In 1950, this cotton market town in northern Alabama lost a bid for a military aviation project that would have revived its mothballed arsenal. The consolation prize was dubious: 118 German rocket scientists who had surrendered to the Americans during World War II, led by a man — a crackpot, evidently — who claimed humans could visit the moon."

I love this kind of stuff. Not just the fact that it's about Alabama but the extraordinary vision and hope that von Braun (the "crackpot") possessed. Then again, it was what probably fueled him through life in Nazi Germany. And now I want to see The Good German. See, if I were teaching American history, this is the kind of thing we'd be talking about. Or I could just do like some people and try to see how many classes straight I could use the word "weltanschung." And vade mecum, come to that. But that's just me!

Speaking of American history, I just watched The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. I loved it. It is very long, yes, but I like being in the world of the movie. One of the things I like the most about it is that it shows that we don't change much. We like to think that we invent the world as we're born into it but really, we live with the same old archetypes...and try to create new ones. There has probably always been those who would try to shortcut their way to fame and there's probably always been a prurient crowd eager to exploit the famous. (That picture link might be spoilery, I guess, but really the spoiler is in the title so you kind of have to see it coming.)

It's also interesting to me how James was a murderer and a robber but how the fact of that seems to be outweighed by the fact that he was killed in a cowardly fashion. James's epitaph, which his mother wrote, reads, "In Loving Memory of my Beloved Son, Murdered by a Traitor and Coward Whose Name is not Worthy to Appear Here."

Another fun fact: James and I (and [livejournal.com profile] gannet_guts!) share a birthday.

I also saw The Brave One this weekend and it was pretty much what I expected it to be. One unexpected thing--unless I missed it, no one mentioned Bernie Goetz the entire time, which I thought was sort of unusual, given the subject matter.

Speaking of movies, I'm back on Netflix so if you want to be friendly, here's my link.

Now I'm going to watch Across the Universe and let's bring this post full circle by mentioning that my watching this movie is just in time for tomorrow, when NASA will beam the song itself toward the North Star, Polaris. If you want to play along, it will begin broadcasting at 7pm EST.

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