update

so, my team won. average of 104.2, and the next best team’s average was 102.9

close one. and that’s when i left.

productive afternoon of laundry and making cookies. chocolate chip. perhaps my most successful batch ever.

now, for some quasi-mindless entertainment. i really like these videos, even if they are a bit on the racy side:

i’ve watched a few other videos of this duo. they’re funny. all deadpan; it’s great.

now, snl’s version of dora the explorer. the comic pauses in this one are great:

the rest of my weekend waits…

Haul it table

So, there’s this thing I do when I bowl.  Yes, the sport with the ball with three holes and the long, oily lane with 10 pins at the end of it.  It’s a little ritual; I’m not sure what else to call it.  When it’s my turn, I walk up to the ball return.  If the area has those little blowing fans, I hold my right hand over it for a couple of seconds (otherwise I shake my fingers in front of my mouth while I blow softly on them), then I spin my ball with my left hand to where the holes face up.  I have to minimize the oil on my bowling fingers.  I pick up the ball with my right hand, using my bowling fingers to check the grip, then I gently, yet quickly drop the ball in the crook of my bent left arm as I find my position on the approach.  I stand with the middle front dot between my big toes. My feet are together.  With the ball cradled in my left arm, I vertically slide my bowling fingers down into the ball.  I flip the ball over with my left hand and bring the ball close to my body, so that my right palm is facing up and the ball is resting on my hand.  I gently rock the ball up and down a few times, to get a feel for the weight.  I look up at the pins. I sight the middle arrow, and my eyes follow the lane to the “pocket.”  I bend my neck to the left, and I raise my right shoulder to remind myself not to lower that shoulder when I release my shot.  I take a deep breath.  I bend my knees, keeping my aim between the middle dot and its immediate right neighbor at the foul line.  I step forward, left foot first, then right, left, arm swinging back, then right as I swing the ball forward then slide on my left as I release the ball, hopefully with enough momentum.  If I don’t lower my shoulder or turn my wrist, and if my wrist doesn’t fall limp, the ball pretty much stays the course I visualized for it, and I don’t do too shabby in the frame.

It’s not a pretty approach – I don’t extend my right leg all the way back while my left leg executes the perfect, simultaneous bend-and-slide while my upper body stays still with a smooth follow-through with my arm as the ball leaves my hand.  However, once I find a rhythm, this little ritual is effective.  That doesn’t mean I’m the best bowler in the world.  I’ve never broken 200, but  I’ve never not broken 37.  I think that was my first ever score as a 6 or 7-year old.  It does mean I’ll be pretty consistent throughout the game, with marks (strikes or spares) in about half the frames.  

There is an exception to this, however.  If I overthink it, I promise you I will choke.  Part of every game is mental.  And 60 feet is a long way for a ball to decide to go haywire and spin off the lane into the gutter or miss the pin by a googolplexth of a picometer. 

Of course, luck plays a huge part in bowling.  That last pin can teeter and fall, or it can find its way back to upright just as easily.  Those are especially frustrating, but also fun to watch when the bowler is at the foul line.  No matter how much he jumps up and down or leans his body over or air-kicks the pin from 60 feet away, he’s not going to change the pin’s mind.  The bowler is at the pin’s mercy; the pin is the grand arbiter of the universe for those few seconds in seemingly random frames during a game.  It sucks.

So tonight, during our department holiday bowl (that was a pretty tough Mad Gab – see title) this evening, let’s just say I demonstrated the perfect balance of technique (that’s the word!) and bad luck in two separate games.  In game 1, I did decently and felt good about contributing strongly to my team’s efforts in winning.  Game 2 was a choker.  Most of us did badly, and we were worried that other teams would crush our average.  You see, the team with the highest average in the two games wins half a day off tomorrow.  The SVP was on our team during game 1, when we performed well.  He left before game 2, and since we didn’t score as high we thought the SVP would be mad at us for throwing our lead.  At the end of it all, it turned out we squeaked by with a higher average than the next best team, by 3 points.  So, I call our game 2 “performing poorly enough to keep the stakes interesting.”

Once we finished game 2, and all pressure was off, we decided to keep bowling until the end of our allotted time.  Dang, I wish I’d had that attitude during game 2, because two of my first 3 frames were spares. Then, our time was up and the lanes shut down on us.  Just as well.  Luck, technique.  Bah. 

That’s as in “…humbug,” not “…baa black sheep.”

And do you know what they called me when it was my turn to bowl?  Do you know what they chanted?  “All-the-way May!  All-the-way May!”  I cannot have that sort of reputation at the office, and not have it be true.  So I’ll get working on that.  Come hither, wink-wink.

Just kidding.  

I hope no one screwed up the math and I get to go home early tomorrow.  Non-bowling fingers crossed.

(Title Placeholder)

It seems when I get my mind set on a thing, my mind is really set.  Remember those plaster-of-Paris molds you used to make of your hands?  Maybe I decided to let the cement dry.  Sometimes that can be good – running has treated me well; other times the obsession proves to be a merciless distraction.  So, yes, I’ve been reading up on the writers strike.  A lot.  I’ve been checking in daily at pamie’s.  She links to many of her colleagues’ sites, which are also quite interesting.  The WGA East site posts upcoming pickets and rallies.  They also have photos and resources for support and information.  I clapped and cheered at yesterday’s rally.  It seems to me the guild’s conditions aren’t all that unreasonable.  

It appears I’m creating quite a bias for myself.  I support the writers, even if it means I’ll be mourning with the rest of America when nothing but reruns are showing.  Well, we all can pretend it’s summer when that happens anyway, or we can succumb to the (stupid) reality shows that will rise from scripted television’s smoldering ashes.  Don’t reality shows come alive during the summer as well?  And don’t I occupy my time otherwise during the summer?  I can live without tv, I promise.  I’m not so far gone I’ve lost self-awareness.  Yet.  I figure before the mob mentality gets the better of me, I should take a look at the organizations I’m connected to and see where fairness and solidarity fit.

I live in the United States of America.  The Constitution supposedly provides laws that create fairness and justice and freedom.  We come to America to pursue such freedom and numerous and unique opportunities.  Much greatness is in this country, but sometimes it’s difficult to appreciate with crime still rampant and the entitlement people flaunt when they’ve done nothing to deserve it.  Yes, I’m being judgy here.  For all the unity this country offers, individuals still want to set themselves apart from and above others in a way befitting the harshest and most loathesome termagant.  Or man-diva.  I don’t discriminate here.  Just judge.

I work for a corporation.  Big Business.  Ten thousand little guys working together to make the dozen or so members of the board the mondo moolah.  The mega moolah.  Moolah so vast and ridiculous it actually red-shifts.   It sure does seem to be a universe of its own.  If my forty hours a week can help maintain the ten-figure revenue the company generates, then by golly, I should be very, very grateful for my pat on the back.  I know, it’s not like I’m working for peanuts.  My benefits are excellent, but I’ve had little reason to use the majority of them. I’ve used my insurance mostly to help pay for therapy, where I have discussed my spurts of boredom and overload in my cubicle. (The paper piles are red-shifting, too!)  I stand up from that white couch and march out of that zen-like office, ready to do it all over again.  No, they don’t hypnotize me there.  140 Broadway, 40th floor:  that’s where they hypnotize me.  Us.  United.  One common goal.  Yes, master.

I am a member of a family.  I am a daughter and sister.  I am a stepdaughter and ambiguously adopted daughter.  I am a half-sister by blood.  Families grow and develop and nurture.  My mom, dad, brother and I were inept communicators at best within our unit.  We hardly ever saw eye-to-eye.  I wanted to leave the house as quickly as I could, with my own notions of life and fairness and relationships.  But it took me a very, very long time to realize those very notions were influenced by my family’s dysfunction.  Now, years later, all original family members are separate, no longer under the same roof.  We seem to understand each other better.  Where we talked and heard before, we actually say stuff and really listen now.  We’ve matured beyond our own perceptions and unrealistic goals of our family.  We’re more united now that we’re apart.  Like the USSR.

I am a member of a church.  Organized religion.  Every member of my church has similar expectations of worship.  We believe in God the same way.  We subscribe to the same doctrines; we agree on the same principles, and here we base the ordinances we perform and the covenants we keep.  Families gather at church.  It magnifies the sense of community and belonging.  Easily, this could swing to either extreme.  I don’t think everyone who doesn’t believe the same way I do is going to hell.  At the same time, I’m not that naive – life isn’t all sunsets and daisies and cute kittens swatting at dandelions.  I would like to think most of the church members have a similar attitude.  We’ve figured out a way to live and serve and find happiness and peace amidst the turmoil and heartache.  The thing is, while the principles are constant, the ways individuals attain these goals could be quite different.  It’s fascinating and awesome and beautiful.

If a good writer can help it, he’ll try and succeed at writing something no one else has.  Or, at the very least, saying it in a new and peculiar way.  Good writers keep this objective in mind.  It is their doctrine, more or less.  They are united in this cause of keeping the audience’s attention; connecting, making their stories relatable.  I mean, they’ve formed this guild, a union, to help with paying rent and other bills and organize a semblance of medical benefits.  If writers have the union to discuss matters such as fair compensation and benefits, solidarity would seem pointless to mention at rallies and picket lines.  They already have tremendous support from multifarious other unions; it’s quite impressive.  If writers want to discuss solidarity and unity as actual beliefs, existentially then pragmatically as it applies to “pencils down,” why don’t they just come to church?

It works for me, in my family, at my job, making my way in this country.  Why not?  

Looks like that mentality I feared did mob me, and I didn’t realize it.  It won’t change anything.  So, looks like also that bias isn’t going to budge.  

1076

If you eat a pound of cherries in a single afternoon, you will have painful gas.

That is a fact of life.

Speaking of, don’t you think that one contestant from America’s Next Top Model looks like Tootie Ramsey?  I know you know who I mean.

“Whatever it is I think I see, becomes a Tootie Roll to me!”  Not quite.  Wouldn’t it be funny if a Tootsie Roll went around in roller skates asking for Mrs. Garrett?

I was at Washington Square Park today.  I didn’t see anyone in roller skates.  The person leading the rally said two cleverish things:

At the end, he said, “If any of you want to play chess or Scrabble, you can play the guys in the back, there.  They’re really bad.”

Also, “It’s so great so many creative people have gathered here in Washington Square Park. … Not buying pot.”  To which, a guy standing near me replied, “Speak for yourself!”  And, “Not good pot…”

I have pictures!

Pencils down!   Ah, a good shot of a sign ...

I know no one here.  I was standing on a bench, near some directors, presumably, because they cheered when they were shouting out to different unions and acknowledged the directors.  I think I stood right beside a famous midget, who knew these directors.  I know that his name is Mike.  I hope no one shot an amusing photograph of us.  

How about those puffy eyes!   That's totally Danny Glover.

Two famous people here.  1 – Me, of course.  Notice that I’m wearing my strike-red turtleneck.  2 – The zoom on my camera is lousy, but that’s really Danny Glover.  Read up on that link on different names for a clam.  I had no idea.  Oh, I was walking up to the rally just in time to hear Gilbert Gottfried’s speech.  I did not see him, no.  But I heard him.  If you’ve heard him before, that’s pretty much all you need to hear.  That voice is hard to mistake.

More nameless heads ...   Yes, Tim Robbins

The crowd was decent.  It was nice for Tim Robbins to show up and say a few words, too.   The best speaker of the day, though was a congressman whose last name is Weiner.  Anthony Weiner.  His thoughts flowed really well, almost naturally.

The leaves were nice, so I had to include a couple of those:

Trying to include the drug-dealing chess geniuses   I like the red.

So, since I’m discussing the strike (sort of), I have to link to a story I discovered through the Strike Captain whose blog I’ve been reading. It’s one of the funniest things I’ve read in a long, long time.  The language isn’t malicious, violent language; it’s reaction cussing, and there’s no f-bombs.  It’s quite funny; I couldn’t stop laughing out loud in my cubicle today.  I know that’s rationalizing, but I trust that’s how the story went down.  I hope you enjoy it.

No, I didn’t not eat a pound of cherries, this afternoon.  But I’ve done it – of course when cherries are in season – and I strongly advise against it.

1075

okay, let’s say a major insurance company provides insurance for major broadcasting networks.
and the networks’ premiums go toward the insurer’s employees’ salaries.
let’s say a particular employee is sympathetic toward the writers’ strike.
and this employee feels a bit conflicted because major networks are contributing to the profitability of their insurers, and that revenue trickles down to that employee’s level on the totem pole.  however deep it can spread to its 10,000 employees.  probably not very.
and the major networks profits come a variety of ways, one of which is supposedly jilting the writers guild.
totem pole. it wouldn’t kill the directors and officers of the insurance company to trickle a little more down.  not that this particular employee is feeling overly entitled, but the bottom rungs of the corporate ladder work mega hard.
anyway, that employee is thinking of joining the wga east rally on tuesday, during lunchtime.
this employee will probably shoot up on ‘roids and demand millions of dollars added to the salary, which is usually accomplished via corporate sponsorship, which same corporations pay the broadcasting networks millions of buckaroos to advertise on their channels, and the networks take a chunk to pay their executives, take another chunk to pay their insurance premiums.  
gosh, this employee should be grateful to the broadcasting companies, right? they’re paying for the employee’s livelihood, right?

whatever.

Request

If anyone out there has video footage of the Middleburg High School Bronco Marching band any time from 1991-1994, would you mind posting it on YouTube?  I crave that nostalgia.

Firetrucks have pulled up to the Marriott Residence Inn on 6th Avenue, between 38th and 39th Streets.  Four full-sized trucks now.

The Meal

The table looked stunning.  Good china, good silver, pretty napkins.  No one bothered to count the dishes, but everything looked – and smelled – irresistible. The carnivores looked hungrily, just a few feet away.  Drool dripping, hearts pounding, poised to attack the table; no inhibitions.  The blessing had been offered, and they stood in line with their plates.  Everyone heaped his plate, while I grabbed a bite-or-two of each dish, figuring I would come back for seconds.  Seconds is mandatory, in case you didn’t know.  Oh, to be grateful. Nothing like it.

After the damage is done ...This is after the pies have been shifted to the front.  From the front:
Sweet potato pie
The turkey, white and dark meat, and crispy meat, which was awesome
Mashed potatoes (the mound of white in a brown glass dish)
To the left of the MP, corn; behind, gravy
Behind the corn, green beans, then carrots
Two types of stuffing
Green bean casserole (yes, with the cream of mushroom soup and onion crunchies)
Two types of jellos – cranberry, and a lime with marshmallows
Three pies – pecan, pumpkin, and apple
The kids made believe squirting the Reddi Whip into their mouths. Pretty cute.

One woman did all this.  Once everyone had eaten, she prepared her own plate and ate quietly.  She still couldn’t quite relax.  If she saw someone needed more water, she tended to that.  Once everyone had pie, she finally sat in the big cushy chair and put up her feet.  I thought she might fall asleep right then.  She’s a legend.  I’m thankful she invited me to dinner.  I hope she’s sleeping in right now.

1072

breakfast:  poppy seed bagel with lox, tomato, cream cheese; two (2) helpings of pomegranate salad (pomegranate seeds, whipped cream, chopped walnuts, apples, celery and probably something else i don’t remember); apple spice cake with sauteed apples and nutmeg whipped cream; orange juice with frozen orange juice cubes with a mint leaf in them, garnished with a maraschino cherry at the bottom and a slice of lime on the rim; good company, lots of cameraderie and laughs.

so, that stretched out my stomach for dinner.  here i go… !

Counting

it’s warm here.  55 degrees.  i remember meeting 

 for the first time, thanksgiving 2004.  can that be right?  it was incredibly warm that day, too.  i also met his daughter, emily.  we strolled into a starbucks and sipped on warm beverages on that mild day and more or less observed the once-only virtual friendship cross over into real life.  irl.  lol. it was a great experience.  he and i have met two other times since. 

now, let’s see.  

  we’ve met twice.  once was memorial day 2004.  she was on her way overseas and connecting at jfk.  so i met her there and found out following signs isn’t as simple as it seems.  then we waited for her flight to board by watching an episode of buffy the vampire slayer.  aww yeah.

now who’s left?  

and

.  one of these days, you guys.  one of these days.

okay, seriously.  it’s starting to get loud outside this morning.  here’s a view of the neighborhood at rush hour, which isn’t now:

37th Street6th Avenue   

and now, people are casually strolling along, finding a place to stake for the parade:

Yes, folks.  That's Macy's...Yep.

those last two are the view from the kitchen.  all sorts of barricades and and police cars and buses of the parade participants.  for some reason, people are cheering loudly.  performances haven’t even started yet.

everyone, have a wonderful thanksgiving.  I have much to be grateful for.  
family, biological and otherwise
friends, who may as well be that “otherwise”
fall leaves
sunshine and blue skies
steady rains
(i forgot to mention it snowed on monday morning, around 7am, at least up in inwood, for about 3 minutes)
the wonder and electricity and frustration of new york city holy crap i live in new york city it seems so surreal sometimes this place
great roommates
creative people
strong people who stand up for what they believe
toothpaste and dental floss
pilgrims
the spanish inquisition and renaissance and reformation
ancient egyptians, persians, romans and greeks
asian influence on western culture
art
music, classical and not-so-much
(and by that i mean folks like patty griffin)
(right now in my mp3 player i have patty, lucinda williams, and norah jones.  it’s a great mix)
butter
fresh food and farmers markets
the green movement
good childhood pets, namely: stinky poo, perry, sam, cleo and sparky, kiki
rabbits, past and present, namely: yoshi, chase, chicken and pig
great movies
wide open countryside and breathtaking mountains
ocean sunsets and sunrises
yogis
church and religion
byu, for what it’s offered me
my brother’s sensitivity
my parents’ doing the best they could

i’d better cut this list extremely short.  it’s the undeservedly abridged version.  you do know though, i could go on.  i’m not even going to try counting.

i’m headed up to a breakfast in inwood this morning. we’re encouraged to wear our pajamas.  i know, i’m right in the middle of the action down here.  but i need to see my old friends, some of the first people who welcomed me to church up there.  long-term friends, for sure.  i might head back down in time to catch the tail end of the parade.

1070

so, on sunday, i was talking to an elderly, filipina sister at church.  she’s an artist and she invited me to an exhibition for her art at the philippines center in midtown on december 4th.  she’ll be turning 89 in december, and she’s this beautiful, elegant, sophisticated-looking woman with the most generous heart and even-tempered voice. her silver hair was pulled back in a bun, and she really didn’t look like she experienced nine decades on this earth.  during our conversation, she asked me if i was married, and i said no.  and her response was something to the effect of, “hmm, that’s strange, because you’re very pretty.”  blush.  that’s nice to hear.  a couple weeks ago at stake conference, i wore a black, medium-length dress, a little bit of makeup, and i’d pulled my hair back, and it happened to be a decent hair day.  i sat in front of a couple of friends, and one of the guys who was in the group told me i looked pretty.  of course i countered with how dashing he looked, because he did.  seriously.  to my other friends i comment on how great he looks on a bicycle, but i don’t know if i could actually tell him that to his face.  i’ve had other good guy friends call me “gazeable” which is extremely, extremely nice.  this weight gain probably has some benefits, but that’s been hard to acknowledge, since very few of my pants don’t fit quite right these days.  eh.  what do i do.