Friday, April 28, 2006

I am a glutton for punishment

I knew it was going to be bad. Horrid even. In this case "horrid" would be the NICE way of describing "American Pie 4: Band Camp".

I've said that good sequels are rare, but it is SO hard to resist renting them sometimes. Especially if you went to Band Camp. Which I did. All four years.

Here's the story: Stifler's little brother wants to become part of his brother's porn business. After a senior prank (where he pepper sprays the mouthpieces on the band's instruments right before graduation), the counselor (the Shermanator) determines that the most appropriate punishment is for the Stiffmeister to join the band at Band Camp. He continues to be a jock (and a jerk), but plants surveillance equipment to record "Bandies gone wild!" He's an asshole throughout the whole movie, but redeems himself in the end, becoming their leader. Isn't that sweet? The "cool" guy saves the band after screwing everything up!

Now, this could have been a good movie; after all, his brother redeems himself in American Wedding. A personal epiphany (though unlikely) isn't impossible. There is one line, where the drum major points out his pathological need to impress everyone with his coolness, where the audience thinks it may be a turning point, but it never quite comes to fruition.

Nothing really redeeming, the marching band culture is completely missed, and lots of gratuitous T&A. So very bad. Unless you like gratuitous T&A. And lots of fake T.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

My L.A. Plan

Some people have a "Vegas" plan (mine is to win a million dollars, that's all), so for your reading pleasure: my L.A. plan.

I have a one-hour layover at LAX on my way to Maryland Sheep & Wool. During the time that I am in L.A., I am going to be discovered. Grace wanted to know what I would be discovered for, and I think that's a pesky detail. I said acting (talent is another of those pesky details), or writing (because I'm not an exceptional writer- but you know that already).

So here's how it's going to happen:

Jasmin: [strolling to her gate in LAX, with Mom and Cynthia]

Casting Person: You there! With the curly hair! [points at Jasmin]

Jasmin: Me? [Looks around]

Casting Person: Yes, you! You are EXACTLY what I need for my next movie. Don't worry, it's not a hobbit role. You'll be the short, curly, lead in my show [insert show here]. Alternative line: [You'll be the short, curly, supporting actress on my show!]

Jasmin: Okay! But I have to go to Maryland now. Have your people call my people.

See how easy that is? If only.

Fun Stuff

There are a couple of huge boxes in front of my office. I'm tempted to drag them inside, build a fort and answer my phone "Fort Shanty".

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Making My Degree “Worth It” & FO!

It's no secret that I don't get along with my father. We have a mutual dislike of each other. I'm too masculine for his taste, and I think he is the moral equivalent of a laughing hyena's hindquarters**. Nothing I do has ever been of any value and all of my decisions have been bad. Now, having said that, here is the discussion that we had last night.

Dad: How are you?

Me: Tired. Sick. [Explain current gastro-intestinal malady. Exaggerate a little bit so that he doesn't come over for dinner.]

Dad: So, my friend Reza's son is having problems in school. He's in 7th grade and doesn't write very well.

Me: That's too bad. [I think to myself "Lazy brat."]

Dad: He wants to get his son a tutor. He'll even pay for it. I thought since you went to college for writing, you could tutor him.

Me: [I think to myself, "I got my degree in Lit, not Comp. But whatever."] Dad, I really don't have time to tutor, paid or not. I'm working overtime and I have things at home that have to get done. I come home so tired that I can't breathe. The nights that I could tutor, I have to get dinner ready while Andrew is at school. I just can't take the time. You should offer it to Sam, his writing is really good, and tutoring is flexible with school.

Dad: [huffy] Well. I just thought that I would give you the opportunity.

Me: [tired] Thanks for thinking of me Dad, I just can't take the time. ["and even if I could, I wouldn't tutor any of your friends brat kids."]

After this little exchange, he talks to my mother, who all-too-happily tells him that her rate for private instructions is the market rate of $25/hr. My father tells her that she's overpriced. I just think it's funny. The two people he treats the worst are the ones who have the "marketable" skills here, because after all, this is how it would go down (because I've been volunteered before).

I would show up, tutor the kid for a couple of hours, my father would call and tell me not to embarrass Dad by asking his friend for money, that my dad will pay me instead. When I lived at home I had to baby-sit for free (same thing, "I'll pay you") or incur the wrath of my father.

I don't live at home anymore, and he's reneged on all the promises he made to help us pay for the house. I figure if I let him control me any more, I'll snap. I was so worried that he would "take back" his "generous gift" ( it's not generous if you haven't given it, and he would routinely "take back" things I had been promised) that I wrote the letter to immigration to get my aunt's visa. Which I shouldn't have done, because she is the sister of the moral equivalent of a laughing hyena's hindquarters. Making her genetically predisposed to behave like it. [I TOLD YOU SO, MOM.] So, I blow him off and I don't worry anymore, because I HAVE THE POWER!!!! Mwah ah ah!

Major FO!

That's right, I finished the Eucalyptus throw! Early, even! Now I'm back to the Sunshine shell.

**Phrase Courtesy of Aunt Constance.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Saw II, or, the Attack of the Implausible Sequel

I am a crazy masochist when it comes to movies. If I liked the original, I'll watch the sequel, most of the time. I shouldn't be surprised when they're terrible, but I find myself drawn to rent these atrocities, time after time.

Don't get me wrong, there have been some great sequels, like X2 and Austin Powers 2. Saw II? Worth skipping if you liked the complexity of the original.

Unlike the first movie, they spend WAAY too long building up the relationship between Eric and his son, Daniel. Now, because I didn't care about the demise of their father/son relationship, I spent the whole time saying "Is that Mark E. Mark?" No ladies, it's his little brother, Donnie Wahlberg, of New Kids on the Block Fame.

Anyway, a handful of unsavory characters end up in an abandoned house (where does one find SO MANY abandoned houses?) with their instructions on how to "beat" the game. Of course, only one of these characters knows what is going on- Amanda (played by Shawnee Smith, who is on Becker), because she survived the first movie. She is the only one to have EVER survived "Jigsaw" 's game. My first questions was why he would capture her again, she "passed" the test.

Ah, but the twists. Mostly everyone dies, because they're miserable bastards, except for Amanda, Daniel, and this crazy huge WWF guy. They end up on the set of the first Saw movie, and the bodies are there, decomposing, since none of them escaped. Daniel does this crazy move with a saw, kills the huge guy, and you expect the "hero" (Donnie Wahlberg, I know, I laughed at this idea too) to come bursting in and let them know they're saved.

But alas, Jigsaw is 15 steps ahead of everyone, as usual. Pesky Jigsaw. It turns out, Amanda has this crazy version of Munchausen syndrome, and not only is she GREATFUL for her near-death experience, but she has taken on her captor as the father-figure she was lacking. So watch out, ladies. If you had bad or absent fathers, you too may find yourself with a serial killer as your paternal substitute.

Jigsaw dies of cancer, Amanda takes over the "family business", and Donnie Wahlberg sets up the third sequel. Oh, and the son lives happily ever after.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Attack Tisses

I am guilty of being a creature of habit. We take to the dog parks as often as we can (sometimes, we get them to the park four times a week). Elphie isn't much for playing with other dogs, most of the time, but she's warming up.

So, in order for her to get a little tuckered out, we have to get her warmed up. Niki will run and romp and play with other dogs as soon as we walk into the park, but Elphie needs prompting. So here is the "warm-up" we do with Elphie.

Step 1: Chase Elphie, squeaking "I'm gonna get'cha!" When we do it, Elphie knows it's a game, so she takes off at a sprint.

Step 2: Take a few steps back, squat, wait for her to turn around, call her to come. Elphie comes at a dead run. When she gets close, repeat steps 1 and 2.

So, Andrew is halfway down the park, and I'm at the far end, and Elphie is at the opposite end from me. I squat, and call her, and this beagle BLINDSIDES me with attack kisses. Or "tisses" as we call them, when they come from puppies. This beagle LOVES my dogs. Niki chased the beagle, the beagle chased Elphie, fun was had by all.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Some Body Image Distortion, for your reading pleasure

Yesterday it was practically tropical, not only outside, but inside my office. Especially while I was courting the * other * photocopier. You see, they took my photocopier, my close and personal friend, which you know if you're a regular reader here at Better Than Yarn. They took it away, and now I have to sweet-talk another one.

So, I'm photocopying away, and it is getting warmer and warmer. I'm in a long-sleeved blouse, jeans, wool socks, and boots (since it's been Arctic in Silicon Valley). I start to feel… squishy. I slog back to my office, take off my shoes and socks (which helped some), but it was so warm I felt like peeling off my clothes and hoping nobody noticed (unlikely, my door has a full-length glass panel in it). I make it home, change into something more comfortable, and decide to wear a dress today.

I get dressed, in a cute spring dress, light sweater and sandals. I've worn the dress before; it's cute, I look cute in it. However, as I walk up to the doors at work, I look a foot tall and five feet wide. I have concluded that we have "fat glass" at work; glass that reflects a much fatter version of one's self. For the first time in my life, I thought I looked simply huge. H-U-G-E.

Memory Montage Scene

This reminded me of Stitches West '05. My mother pimped me out to Rick (for a t-shirt) to be a dresser for the fashion show, since they had lost one. Rick and I had spent the entire previous summer together, during my internship. Good, bad, or indifferent, he knew I was reliable and found my mother first.

February 15th, 2005 was a huge day for me. I got hired for my first job out of college that day, and we brought Niki home from the rescue. I knew ahead of time that we were picking up Niki, but I didn't know about the job until that day. My day started at 7 AM, where I got up and met the girls for breakfast at Starbucks before the show, and ended at 11:30, when Andrew picked me up after the show- with Niki in the car.

These women were all six feet tall, and they weighed MAYBE 110 lbs. Now, I'm 5' 1 ½" and between 110 and 125 lbs (I don't believe in scales, so we don't have one at home). Compared to these "women" (they looked more like aliens, with big heads and skinny little bodies), I felt like a hobbit; short, round, and complete with furry feet.

The sad thing was that the models had these sad, sagging little "breasts" (it's a mystery of physics how so little flesh can sag), and no butt. This is the standard of beauty that I should aspire to?

Sure; as we speak, I'm trying to grow to be six feet tall. Once I hit six feet, then I'm crash-dieting to get to that perfect weight of 110 lbs. Not one second before. Until then, I'll cope with my hobbit status.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Don’t Hate on the Dixie Chicks

The Dixie Chicks have said some controversial things. Who hasn't? But some people got all bent out of shape over their opinion on the War on Terrorism. Most people who disagree with their opinion think that the Chicks should stick to singing and stay out of politics.

Now, I understand that since they are in the public eye, they have given up their right to the same privacies that regular people enjoy as private individuals. I didn't realize that being a singer meant giving up the rest of one's constitutional rights as well.

Part of being a good American (according to the Constitution, people!) is to speak out against the government if it is not working for the people. It's written in there! You're a bad citizen if you sit back while your rights are siphoned away. Should they not be allowed to vote because their opinion isn't popular with some?

I think it's very important that people in the public eye speak out for what they believe in, whether or not I agree with any of their opinions, they have the right to voice them. People in the public eye have access to the media that activists DREAM of.

So don't hate; the Chicks are just doing their civic duty. Shame on you for being anti-American and censoring the right to free speech that the Forefathers fought and died for.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

More Placenta, Please!

The topic of eating placentas came up on KnitFlame, so for your reading pleasure, here is my Evil Plan for the Andrew/Jasmin baby placenta.

Step 1: Have the baby. Bring it home, with the placenta.

Step 2: Invite over all of Andrew's siblings and their families.

Step 3: Serve a stew that looks like it could be placental stew.

Step 4: While they are eating, casually mention "placental stew".

Step 5: Mention all of the health benefits of aforementioned placental stew.

Step 6a: Let them wonder if they just ate placental stew.


Step 6b: Jump up on the table and sing "Ha ha ha ha ha ha, made you eat PLACENTA!" (to the tune of the "Made you eat your parents!" taunt that Cartman sings in "Scott Tennemann must die".)

Monday, April 17, 2006

Just Stuff and FO’s! (Yes, they’re socks.)

So, I started having sleeping problems about 3 years ago. They were exceptionally bad back then, so bad that I started taking a magical, mystical medication that I would take, and BOOM! 15 minutes later I was sleeping like the dead, all night, and I wasn't groggy when I woke up.

As with any medication that works really well, prolonged use of it is bad for your whole body, but specifically the heart and liver functions in this case. So, I stopped taking it about a year and a half ago, when I stopped being stressed out over school. I thought that the hard part was over. And it was, sort of. But the problem is, that every time I would get stressed, I couldn't sleep through the night. My blood sugar would crash at about 3 AM, and it would take over an hour to get it settled down and try to fall back asleep.

So, this problem got really bad for a while when I was at my last job. Now it's comes and goes, but Mom seems to think that it's due to a protein deficiency. I've never been good about eating meat (I tend to not like the texture, or meat in large amounts), but I usually make up the difference in calories for the rest of my diet by eating carbs So, like Atkins, but backwards (very little protein, lots of carbs). I am a veritable carb FIEND.

As of Friday, I've been supplementing my diet with eggs. It appears to be helping. Don't ask how I'm eating them, just hum the Rocky theme and envision me running stairs. Because that's only going to happen in your imagination. And some of you are squeamish.

As far as work, it's going well. There has been a lack of firemen parading down my hallway; I assure all of my readers that I am planning to write a strongly worded letter about this drop in aesthetics for my floor. I'm sure there's a study out there that says having good looking men parading up and down the halls dramatically increases productivity and workplace satisfaction.

That's right, baby! Three pairs of socks finished in ONE day! No pictures, I'm still trying to figure out where I'm going to store the photos on the internet, since the handful of pictures I've loaded have eaten half of my allotted space. Bastards (blogdrive, not the photos) .

Major WIP:
So, I'm stressing over this throw that I'm supposed to have finished by the first week in May. I got the yarn a week ago, cast it on, and got started on it. I'm hoping that all of this knitting in front of the television will mean that it's done for the show, but I worry that I'm just rotting my brain and I'll have a half-finished piece. There isn't usually any pressure put on me for show knitting, but I feel like I've been set up for failure with this piece, and that's discouraging.

It's not that I'm a particularly slow knitter, but I'm trying to figure out how I can knit 1100 yards worth of throw in under a month. It's a big project, so I can't really carry it around with me easily, but it's all I'm working on at home, so in theory, it just might get done. I keep telling myself that it's a huge project, and I have four pairs of socks that can be displayed at the very least.

Things I hate:

I hate people who are inflexible. And the busy signal. Who thought up that sadistic rejection, telling you that the person that you're trying to call is WAAAAY more popular than they should be?!! Not only does it make you have to call back later, but the sound itself is harsh.

Things I love:

When someone screws up and they make pirate noises to convey their frustration. HIL-arious! Also, I love the word "underpants". Kumquats; delicious AND fun to say!

Rage for the Boys

So, the boys are basically being booted from the DMC because the owners of the house want to sell. They moved in about 6 months ago, tops. This sucks something fierce; because moving sucks, and the house is SWEET! Hopefully the owner changes their mind; this year isn't really a great one to sell.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Being a Cosmetologist is harder than it looks

So, Andrew and spent some quality time last night waxing his back. I found that waxing someone takes some serious muscle. I also don't have the mad hairdresser skills required to straighten my own hair, or cut anybody's hair. This includes the dog's butts, which get shaved/trimmed down a couple of times a year. It always looks pretty bad at first, but gets better as it grows out. But still, I lack those mad skills, yo.

Yesterday was a beautiful day, the sun was shining and it was a little over 70 degrees. This means I was driving with my windows down, sharing my gift of song with the world. Today was looking like it would be another such day, a day of music and sunshine. But then I made plans for the sunshine and jinxed it. Damn.

Anyway, since it was the first sunny day in ages, we took the dogs to the dog park, and there were mostly small dogs there- which is great for Elphie, since she's a little intimidated by the huge dogs. So, we're getting Elphie warmed up, chasing her around, it's great. This woman and I start chatting, and she was fawning all over how cute Elphie is. Because she is the CUTEST dog that ever lived. Seriously. Her cuteness is staggering.

I blog this, only because I'm a braggart, and in addition to being beautiful, my dogs are SMART!

Andrew and I have been working with them (classical conditioning) to overcome Elphie's history of abuse, which seems to be mostly dealt with and over (except for when she has nightmares and barks in her sleep). She walked up to a woman at the dog park and let her pet her head yesterday, and didn't duck away. This is tremendous growth for a dog who would hide in the backyard under a shrub when people came in the house.

How do we know the conditioning is working? The dogs go CRAZY when we put them in their harnesses. Because harnesses = FUN! (Or trips to the vet, but those have gone really well, so it's all the same to them.)

My Desk is Cooler than Yours.

My desk has a crank to make it higher or lower. I wish EVERYTHING had a crank to make it higher or lower. In the world (sub-terra) that I live in, everything is up way too high. Or too long. I've bought 2 pairs of pants that didn't need hemming in my entire life; both were "petites" from NY & Co. As in, "Special for the short and dainty." Not the norm.

Papercuts hurt more than they should. Seriously, I've broken toes, and it hurt less. This makes ZERO sense to me. Oh, and lemon juice on an open would really does hurt. I went home with papercuts on my hands, and (not thinking about it), because to squeeze a lemon over my food, and OWWW! Pain! In case you were wondering, I busted that freaking idiom wide open. I'm going to start a show called "Idiom Busters" in which we will see if a bird in the hand is actually better than two in the bush... and similar idiomatic mysteries.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Rampant Cultural Imperialism- and Some Particularly Delectable Man-Candy

So, last night I watched Criminal Minds- my new favorite show (as of about 2 weeks ago, when I started watching/Tivoing it), and the rampant cultural imperialism that was embedded within the context of the episode was staggering.

"Machismo" (the name of the episode) takes place in Mexico, where there is a serial killer targeting elderly women. Now, besides the blatant mono-linguistic attitude that pervades the BAU [Behavioral Analysis Unit] team (excluding Elle's character)- where the only a grasp of basic high-school Spanish is found in one member of the team- Dr. Reid, who does a literal translation for the idiom "doghouse" [as in, "In the doghouse"] as "la casa del perro".

Since I only have a couple of years of high school Spanish and some minimal conversational skills (which I realized when I was having an actual conversations with people from Spain in the Tehran airport), I just about died laughing. First, because idioms rarely translate effectively (hence the need for multi-lingual environments, to better express oneself), second, because it was exactly the right thing for his character to say.

Now, Dr. Reid rocks my socks off in EVERY way. [The actor, Matthew Gray Gubler, is pretty awesome, too.] You could say that the character is an exact definition of what my nerd fetish is about. Now, having said that, there are some problems with how these characters are written. Dr. Reid has 3 Ph.D.s, according to the background given on the show. How can you have that much education and not understand that idioms don't translate? Or have more than a Sesame Street grasp of Spanish? Maybe it's because I've grown up in California. Who knows?

In any case, each character has a specialty; but nobody does linguistics? Language and word choice/semantics are how people express themselves and can make a major difference in how things are interpreted. This has been further impressed upon me in the three episodes that I've watched; one specific thing that an "unsub" ("Unknown Subject of An Investigation", defined by Wikipedia) says often breaks the case. Not like the writers will ever read this, but in my opinion, adding a linguistics expert would be a great choice. Especially if she's 5' 1 ½", brunette with wildly curly hair, and is, well, me! (Hope springs eternal, I'm not holding my breath, but I think there should be more short people on television, and I could/should be one!) Or at least let me help write dialog. (Dialog is really difficult to write, but I have extensive experience speaking. I talk ALL THE TIME! I am so very qualified for this job!)

I've wandered off of my original issue with the episode- Cultural Imperialism. The writers seemed to not take notice of the fact that machismo and modesty go hand-in-hand, culturally. In a religious community, where virginity and purity are the measure of a woman's "goodness", women are discouraged from speaking out against rape, and discussing sexuality of any kind- consensual or not, would be very awkward. In this episode, the rape victims all came forward and appeared to be at complete ease describing their attacks to the mostly male BAU.

Stop for a minute and think about this; in America, women who are raped have a difficult time reporting and describing their attacks to the police officers who are supposed to be helping them. American culture is much more accepting of promiscuity, and part of the cultural method of dealing with the psychological damage caused by rape is to talk about it with a trained professional. In the US, the victim is also not considered somewhat responsible for her attack, which isn't necessarily the case in heavily patriarchal cultures. Women who were raised not to talk about sex would not be comfortable talking about it with another woman, never mind a man whom they have just met. Additionally, none of the BAU men speak Spanish! How would they effectively be understanding what is going on??!! Suspension of disbelief, yaadaa yaadaa. This isn't "Charmed" where you can make stuff up as you go, people!

The episode also portrayed the Mexican police as stupid and ineffective. I haven't had any personal experience with the Mexican police, but I found it more than a little improbable that a precinct that couldn't afford a crime lab (more than a fingerprinting kit from the '80s) could afford to have a BAU. Yes, profiling is important, but it's not exact or as easy to determine as DNA or fingerprints. It's like icing on the cake; that's why it appears that America has one BAU to the majillion crime labs across the country (take for example, the three different incarnations of CSI). When the DNA is wrong, you know you have the wrong suspect. When a profile is wrong, they stop and think more. Which doesn't solve cases quickly, except in the rapid-fire profiling on Criminal Minds.

Don't get me wrong, I get all flustered when they geek out, but the lack of cultural research and consideration was a bit bothersome. At the beginning of the episode, the main police officer tells Gideon that his lack of cultural knowledge made his profiling ineffective anywhere but the U.S.A. Then what happens? Everything falls together perfectly, the crime is solved and the BAU ride off into the sunset.

I truly do enjoy the show, I just feel like they should stick to domestic psychos. In their favor, with the package bomber episode, they didn't immediately jump on the "we hate towel-heads" bandwagon. Which is awesome.

And Matthew Gray Gubler is a stone cold FOX!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Get your own damn coffee!

So, I've been feeling kind of crappy as of late. Squishy, even. One of my co-workers suggested that I'm being affected by the Seattle-esque weather. Which makes sense.

I broke down an added a splash of "rocket fuel" (aka, coffee made by one of my co-workers, strong enough to curl your hair and send you hurtling down the hallway at light speed singing along to Jekyll & Hyde. It happened to m- my friend) to my morning hot chocolate. A ghetto mocha, if you will. This is a really big deal, since I've been off coffee and tea since the Lump Scare of '05. I felt AMAZING. It's always been true, and I don't know why I've tried to deny it: caffeine is my narcotic of choice.

Since I have my entire life invested in California real estate, I am going to take a moment and bitch about the weather. I love rain. I do. But if I wanted Seattle weather, I would have bought a house in Seattle. The dogs are slowly losing their furry little minds, and I'm keeping a hawk's eye on the sky looking for a long enough break to take them out to run like crazy. However, the angst-inducing weather has inspired me to listen to a bunch of Gothic musicals at work (Jane Eyre, Jekyll & Hyde, Marie Christine, Phantom of the Opera, etc.).

Some Knit Content

This dreary weather has provided lots of knitting time, and I am working on a wrap/shawl for Tess Yarns which will [hopefully] be done in time for Maryland Sheep & Wool. Which is the first weekend in May. * demented giggle* But, despite being the most reluctant designer who ever lived, I am writing down the wrap as I am knitting/designing it. It's in a rather lovely seafoam green (which I look like death on a biscuit in, but looks great on my sister-in-law) superwash merino which is simply HEAVEN to knit with.

I took my sock samples back from the shop, since we haven't carried the yarn in over a year, and I'm going to up my "FO" numbers by knitting the second sock. But I have recently decided that I HATE the heel that I did on them, so I'm going to do the heel differently on the second sock. Probably. I'll jump off that bridge when I come to it, I suppose.

Elphie keeps trying to foil my attempts at being productive, and I am weak. Every time I sit down to knit, there she is, in my lap, demanding love. Since knitting will wait, and Elphie will age and lose interest in my love, she always wins. I don't have this problem with Niki, since he decides when he wants to be loved, and then climbs up on your lap to get snuggles. This was easier when we had first adopted him and he was 30 lbs. Now he's at 45 lbs. and takes up all of my lap and arms. In the winter months this is great; I have a lap full of warm, fuzzy, love. In the summer months, Niki tends to keep his distance and bask in the A/C.

What's going on my Ark…

In light of this Biblical amount of rain, remember your toothbrush when you're loading up your own ark. Then you can visit mine.

Stapler related injury

Remember how I swore at my stapler last week, for sucking? It struck back at me today. We were working away, la la la, got my rhythm going, and then SNAP! My stapler jammed, recoiled and sprained something in my hand. This is the worst pain that ever did pain me! I'm standing there, in shock (both from the pain and the sheer stupidity of the injury), and I realize exactly what has happened.

My stapler has gotten its' revenge.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Why Self-Defense is a Joke for Petite Women (alt. title: Why Jasmin Should Carry a Gun)

I took a class in college called "Self-Defense for Women". The first day of class, I walk in and there are about 25 women and three men. One guy was this muscle-bound Mexican guy (just COVERED in tattoos)- obviously there to meet chicks. The second was Mr. Martial Arts, in the class to show off his mad skillz to the ladies (I was not impressed that he was trying to show off in a beginner class).

The third was a heartwarmingly geeky guy who looked like he STILL got beat up for his lunch money, even in college. (I LOVED him, but anytime any woman would approach him he would blush, look at his feet, and mumble an answer. Men like this are my KRYPTONITE. I find myself powerless to resist them. My forward nature tends to scare them away, or you know, turn them on. In this case, he maintained his distance.

So, for the first three weeks, all we did was practice screaming things like "FIRE!" and "STOP RIGHT THERE!" and "NO! DON'T COME ANY CLOSER!" (or in my smart-ass case, terrified shrieking of "SHARK!"), since nobody will come and help you if you scream "HELP!" because you may be in the process of being raped, and that is messy business for an innocent bystander. Property damage is what gets upstanding citizens to come and lend a hand.

So, after having people repeatedly running out of the showers (since they could hear screams of "FIRE!"), the teacher decided to teach us some actual self-defense maneuvers. There was one move that stuck in my mind, where the assailant grabs you (the Damsel In Distress) from behind around the throat with both hands. The teacher showed us this neat whippy-around move to remove the hands from your throat so that you can scream and run away to safety.

After class I went STRAIGHT to Andrew's house, aiming to kick his ass with my newfound self-defending skills. Because I'm 5' 1 ½" and he is 6' 3" and badly in need of an ass-whooping, of course.

Instead of doing the smart thing, and just kicking in the door and kicking his ass, I say to him, "Hey, grab me around the throat from behind!"

He does, half-assedly, and I easily do my little move and I'm free. Since I'm brilliant, and eager to test this new trick (since I'm ALWAYS being grabbed from behind by the throat), I say to him, "Now, REALLY, grab me around the throat like you mean it."

So he does.

I try my move. It doesn't work! My life flashes before my eyes while I gasp for enough air to hiss "let… me… go!" and there are light handprint bruises around my foolish little neck. I was furious.

I went into class the next day, spitting mad

"Why didn't this work on my 6'3" boyfriend?" I ask angrily, "I was practicing at home, and I told him to really try, and it DIDN'T WORK!"

What did the teacher say? "It only works if your assailant is your size."

I say, "How many hardened muggers and criminals top out at 5' 1", ma'am?" So I dropped the class, since I obviously can't protect myself unless I'm being attacked by an exceptionally shrimpy kindergartener with the skills this class had armed me with.

So how does a woman protect herself? Pepper spray means he has to be within eight feet of you. And this girl has an itchy trigger finger, since it's not fatal. (Yes, I threatened to pepper spray a guy in class once, but he threatened me and was being stupid. So I pulled out my pepper spray and said, "It's 8 AM and you are pissing me off. You DON'T think I'm going to pepper spray you?")

But if someone is seriously threatening you, pepper spray only makes them angry (according to my all-knowing father). So remember kids, pepper spray is for fun, not self-defense.

So, I casually mentioned to my father that he should take me to the shooting range so that I could learn how to safely operate firearms. He was outwardly enthusiastic, but I could tell that he was entirely uncomfortable with either (a) my inappropriate gender behavior (girls shouldn't shoot guns), or (b) me operating firearms, safely or otherwise.

He blew me off, never took me, never bought me a gun. This is the man who, after a VERY casual comment on my part about perhaps, maybe wanting to start mountain biking, bought me an expensive mountain bike. For my 18th birthday. Which I have yet to ride. In my defense it was dark when I left the house and dark when I got back, and when it wasn't, I was up at Mills, where an expensive bike was a liability. I'll really start riding it. Really!

So anyway, since hand-to-hand combat is out for me, I thought "Maybe I should carry a gun."

It seems like a good idea, but there are problems with carrying a gun. For example, sometimes I can't find my cell phone in my purse. Now, it's a good deal smaller than a gun, but the phone vibrates and glows when I need it. If I had a gun in my purse and I was accosted, it would go like this:

Assailant: "Give me your money, lady! Or I'll kill you!" or "If you scream, I'll kill you."

Me: "Hang on one second…. [digs in purse] Where is it…"

Assailant: "Give me your purse! Stop digging!"

Me: "Screw it." [Hits Assailant with purse, knocking him unconscious. Steals his wallet.]

You see, sticking the gun in my purse wouldn't work. So I would have to wear it. Since I would want my holster to match my belt and shoes, I would have to get one in brown AND one in black. A girl has got to look good defending herself.

Then there is that whole issue of my accident-proneness. I would be shooting some vandal, and I might burn myself on the gun. Or something. Ok, so maybe no gun.

So, after great thought, I have decided to keep carrying anvils in my purse.

Proof that I Spend Too Much Time in an Office

I noticed that staples out of a regular staple have little bumps on the back. Documents out of the photocopier that it staples are flat. One only notices this when you have two piles; one lays perfectly flat and the other one has a hugely raised corner.

I'm sure that the reason for this is that I don't have the vast strength of a thousand pound machine. Imagine that. At 5' 1 ½" and I don't have super-strength. So unfair. And the staples mock me.

Monday, April 10, 2006

What do you do with a B.A. in English?

You go through 2 bad jobs, land an okay job, but you don't live out your dream of being an editor for St. Martin's press because you chose marriage and family instead of a dream job in New York.

You buy a townhouse that is dark all the time next door to chainsmoking rednecks, and since it's California, you have a house and no fun. Because there is no money left for fun when you're a single income family in California. And your single income is earned by a woman with a B.A. in English.

I have two pairs of jeans that are wearing out at the inseam, by the crotch. My favorite two pairs of jeans (same style). I haven't bought yarn since Stitches. I've been finishing projects like crazy.

There are a lot of good things, so I shouldn't be unhappy, but when you feel lousy, all you can see is what your life could have been if you'd made better choices.

Saturday, April 8, 2006

There is nothing like a nerd...

I'll admit; I have a serious nerd fetish. My first crush was Doogie Howser, M.D., and as far as TV crushes have ALWAYS been the nerdy type.

I love painfully smart men. Men so smart that they are socially inept. I find it charming.

When I was in high school, I would scope out the local drum corp boys (the Santa Clara Vanguard, if you're in the mood for the uber-band geeky type). My mother is of the opinion that I over fished that pond, since I had 3 successive boyfriends in a row from SCV… Does that make me a groupie? I don't care. Nerds are where it is AT!

I find their enthusiasm/ obsessing over something refreshing; it's great that they're interested in something, and they don't care if everyone knows it. Many of them have low self-esteem, but a clear idea of their personal identity.

At some point, they resign themselves to being nerds and become more comfortable in their skin. These are the guys who decided to be in choir, band and plays in high school. No matter how much teasing and taunting, they did what they wanted to do and had a great time doing it. They were smart; choir and plays are where the chicks are, and if you've seen American Pie, you know how those band girls are. [MOM: I was a nice girl in band. Additionally, I did not march flute. Those flute girls are sissies and whores.]

I'll take both the Reluctant Nerd and the Self-Aware Nerd. I don't want to make them over, I want to revel in their charming nerd-ness. This is why I enjoyed the Vicki Lewis Thompson "Nerd" series. These nerds were my friends, co-workers, and the men I actively lust after. (Passively lust after? It's a thin line.)

Which leads to my opinion on Beauty & the Geek. I liked that there were some genuine nerds getting some airtime. I did not like the "makeover" side of it for them. They didn't need to look like they were in a boy band; they won over all the superficial bimbos they were teamed with by being themselves. All of the throwaway popular culture stuff that they were expected to "learn" and embrace won't be remembered in a year. To be honest, the only popular culture knowledge I have is from reading magazines while I'm waiting for my hairdresser.

Smart men are where it's at. Joss Whedon put it very succinctly when he had Willow's character state the truest truism ever, "I'm not ashamed, It's the computer age, nerds are in."

New Hair!

I woke up yesterday and realized that my hair was too long. It was on the verge of being frumpy. At a decent hour, I called her, telling her that I was desperate to get my hair cut.

She scheduled me in for 9:00 AM today, so I went in. We chatted, and I said that I wanted the same cut as last time; just about chin length with long layers in the front.

Going to the hairdresser is a full-service thing for me; any beautification that is in need of doing gets done in one trip. So, first and foremost, she managed to find a face on me after removing all the excess eyebrows. I love how she shapes my eyebrows, because they still look natural without that whole weird-shaped-bushy issue. Too bad I'm too lazy to perform eyebrow maintenance more regularly. This means seeing Suzy is a MUST for me. Otherwise, my face disappears under my eyebrows. It's a Persian thing.

So, my hair gets washed, we chat about how things are going, we talk about my parents, and then we go to The Chair.

The Chair was a place of much contention for me as a child. You see, Suzy has been cutting my hair since I was at least six years old. She cut it exactly how my mother wanted it done, rather than the way I wanted it done. This is how I kept a fairly classic hairstyle throughout the 80's , and didn't get my initials shaved into the side of my head like my best friend Ryan.

I shaved my head at the beginning and end of 7th grade (waaaay before it was cool), then took control of my hair when I hit high school. From then on, it has been my way, and I've been happy ever since.

Suzy is a great hairdresser; I have never walked out looking anything but smashing. I often forget this when I'm in the chair.

So, my hair is in the middle of being cut, and I think, "OH MY GOD! IT'S TOO SHORT!"

Too short isn't really a big issue if you have straight hair. But for those of us with rebellious curly hair with a mind of it's own, it's a huge problem. You get into this weird, frizzy, afro-y place, and it's just not cute. Then I panic that I'm going to look like a Beatle, but weirder. Or just a long-haired boy badly in need of grooming- with breasts. I'm agonizing over how long it's going to take, whether I am going to need to wear some sort of hat to hide my shame…

…and it's perfect. It's magically EXACTLY the length I had hoped for and the style is fantastic. We're going to get pictures (because I can never do my hair the same way she does it), and I'll try to get a picture with it curly. If I get to it.

Friday, April 7, 2006

Something I noticed...

McDonalds has started putting the nutrition information on the wrappers of the food, as well as a little icon of Ronald McDonald jumping or skipping (basically, being active) and text that encourages people to get off of their butts and move.

Now, let me give you my fast food background. When I dated Zak, I ate at McDonalds almost everyday. If it wasn't McDonalds, then it was Jack in the Box, Taco Bell, Wendy's, whatever. I'm not saying that in that 2 ½ years all that I ate was fast food with him, but it was about 90% of the food we ate in each other's company.

Having said that, when I was dating him, I was grossly underweight at 90-95 lbs. (less when I was stressed out), so this whole "fast food makes you fat" thing wasn't working for me. I was working a desk job 30-40 hours a week, and going to college full time. The year and a half while I was in high school dating Zak, I was working 15-20 hours a week, and was super-involved in marching band, choir, and whatever else I could fit. Although I should have ballooned the instant I graduated high school, or in the year afterwards when I maintained la vida teenager, I just didn't.

Maybe it was my teen metabolism, maybe it was because being super-active (physically), especially while I was in marching band. As soon as I stopped dating Zak, I swore off fast food for about a year. Now I eat at fast food places 4-12 times a year, which won't make me horribly sick or fat. Here's where I find the lawsuits/ change in packaging painfully stupid.

Everyone knows that fast food is bad for you. Just like smoking. Maybe there should be a Surgeon General's warning on everything in a fast food restaurant, like on cigarettes. I'll even give two options, like the Surgeon General does for cigarettes:


SURGEON GENERAL'S WARNING: Eating fast food has been proven to cause obesity, heightened blood pressure, and elevated cholesterol levels.


SURGEON GENERAL'S WARNING: Fast food contains high sodium levels, fat, and processed sugars.

Now, I understand that personal responsibility is not encouraged in mainstream American culture. This is why there are legal defenses for EVERYTHING. I'm not an extremist; I think in some cases these defenses are necessary, but Twinkie defenses are an absurd abuse of the legal system. Everyone gets a little crazy when their blood sugar plummets low enough. Some of us are even dramatic enough to shake and faint after yelling at people. (All the Hypoglycemics in the room please stand up, please stand up. [Okay, I know I'm not cool enough to quote Eminem on my blog, but it's better than me trying to pull off "Hypoglycemics, holla!"] )

What is even less excusable is someone deciding to breed and "not having time" to prepare real, nutritious food for their whelp and feeding them fast food more than once a month. Why have children if you don't take care to raise them properly? This is where the veritable list of excuses arises: high costs of living, etc. There is always time and there are things that you certainly can live without if you choose to have a child.

I'm not saying that poor people shouldn't have children, I'm just saying that proper planning (both family planning and meal planning) can prevent childhood obesity. And teen pregnancy. And Bird Flu.

Ok, maybe not Bird Flu. But who knows; maybe it can. * Raises eyebrow suspiciously *

I eat fast food, too. Just less than most people. It's the fries, man! Salty, potato-ey, goodness!

On a less socio-political note, we're seeing Gypsy tonight. Strippers + Musical theater = AWESOME!!! It's high-culture meets low-culture!

Thought of the day:

My labelmaker looks like an original Star Trek phaser. How cool is that? So, I set it to KILL! and then I make labels. Qapla!

Thursday, April 6, 2006

I dream in color

I dream in color. My dreams are always vivid, whether they're really fun or absolutely terrifying.

I had this awful dream that we were transporting this woman to a battered women's shelter, and there were like 10 cars driving there (so that we could lose her husband on the road, she could switch cars, etc). But the van I was driving died. So I had to pedal to get this huge van to move, and I could see her husband in the rear view mirror. So I am pedaling (like a bicycle) to get her to the rendezvous point (a bubble tea restaurant in Oakland), where I sit with the Saturday knitting group and have a leisurely tea.

As the husband was walking in to intercept us, I wake with a start. To find Niki sleeping LENGTHWISE in my spot, head on my pillow and EVERYTHING. And then he yawns in my face with butt-breath. Blech.

So, I cuddle up to Andrew, hear my radio turn on (because the buzzer startles me and gives my morning a harsh start), and think to myself, "Just 5 more minutes…"

I overslept. By about an hour. So much for what I thought was 5 minutes.

Anyway, I was only 20 minutes late to work. Explain how I could manage to get myself out the door in 7 minutes when it normally takes five times that long.

In other news:

My [allegedly] paternal grandmother is having alleged cardiac problems. There is true and reasonable doubt on both counts. Here is why:

(a) My aunt and uncle joke that they found my father in a shoebox on the front stoop. They treat him like it, too.

(b) He doesn't look like ANYONE in his family. No resemblance AT ALL. Sam and I look like him, but he is the odd one out. If I get around to it I'll scan the "family" photo that we all took when we went to Iran in 1991. Sam, Dad, and I all stick out. And nobody looks like us.

I also doubt that she is actually having cardiac issues NOT ONLY because I am admittedly an evil bitch, but also because my grandmother is a hypochondriac for attention. If one person is sick and getting attention, so too is my grandmother. Insensitive of me to say so? Yes. True? Also yes.

I LOVE MY JOB! (Part 1,000,000)

A parade (15) hot firemen just strolled by my office. If they start dancing and taking off their clothes, I may never leave here. Ever. I am magnanimous enough to volunteer some stripper music (the stuff from the Full Monty will do, right?), if they're in a dancing mood.

Thought of the day…

There isn't a word in English for a man whom a married woman is having an affair with. I propose "Manstress". In Spanish, the term is "Sancho." Vote "yes" on "Manstress".

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Inanimate objects are out to get me

Today was an unusually quiet day. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, this means I get to catch up on all of the administrative stuff that isn't time-sensitive. Like filing. Hole-punching. Making photocopies. Dealing with the e-mail system to make the search functions all that they can be.

So, needless to say, I can do all of these tasks without utilizing 100% of my brain. This leaves me to daydream, make lists in my head, plan my weekend, whatever. Oh yeah, and sing.

Yes, I sing in my office because I CAN! I sing softly, because the walls are so thin that if I were to fart, you could smell it in the offices next to me. This does not mean that I farted in my office and then ran next door to see if I could smell it, I am using hyperbole. [Mom: I NEVER fart. I am the PERFECT example of what a lady should be. You have not failed as a mother.]

So, while I'm alphabetizing stuff for easier filing, which is a necessity at this point. If you saw how much filing I have to do, you would cry. I am 5' 1 1/2", and the filing I have to do, if I were to stack it all on top of another is ALMOST as tall as I am. Good thing I'm not that tall, right? (Just for the record, there is enough work to keep me working 20 hours of overtime a week, MINIMUM. But I LOVE my job!)

Anyway, I'm singing the alphabet song, because I am so lame that I can't place the letters without it. Like, I know "U" comes before "Z" but what are the letters right before and after?

I bet you're singing the song, too. We've all been indoctrinated since preschool to sing this song. So enjoy it; I do.

So, I get up to go and wash my hands before I go home for lunch and I turn on the water. I find out that it is SCALDING hot (!) as I put my hand in it. My hand did a terrific impression of a lobster, post-boil, and turned an angry shade of red. From being under the water for a fraction of a second. Ow!

Ok, fast forward to late afternoon. I go to my friend, the photocopier. We've spent hours and hours and hours together. We are the closest of friends. He works hard for me, I refill his paper. It's a mutually satisfying relationship. So, today's job for Mr. Photocopier (we have a working, professional relationship) was a bunch of short copies; all 3 pages, stapled. Not hard, right?

About three quarters of the way though, my stapler runs out of staples. (I have to staple the originals, since the feeder won't staple them when they're done being copied.) I reach for the magical supply cabinet of goodness, and find these wierd, bent-in-the-middle staples. I reload my stapler, staple one original, and then - I'm shooting blanks! There are staples IN the stapler, but none of them are coming out!

I look at my treacherous stapler, and begin to swear softly under my breath [Mom: I NEVER swear. Ever.] I take the staples out of the stapler, and while I am putting the staples away, ready to call it a day at 5:45, I see the BRIGHT RED box of "standard" staples. I put them in the previously treacherous stapler, and he begins working just fine again. It turns out that I am the stupid one, not the stapler. Damn! [Mom: read "Gracious, me!"]

So, I drive home, and my Tivo isn't working. How does one live without Tivo? I shudder at the thought. I call Tivo tech support, and we fix the problem in less than 15 minutes. What was the problem?

I turn on the TV to catch up on some Law & Order, and there is a yellow screen, with cartoon pieces of paper blowing in the wind. But paused. It was all very abstract and post-modern. But alas, nothing was paused and none of the Tivo functions were, well, functioning.

The solution? Unplug the Tivo. Wait 60 seconds. Plug the Tivo back in. Problem solved.

At least my shower wasn't evil. It was just the right temperature (aaahh...), and my laptop seems to be operating normally.

Ok, time to eat and watch Criminal Minds.

Monday, April 3, 2006

I don't write poetry

I like to read. I like to write (poorly, as you can find for yourself throughout the archives of this oh-so fine blog), but for the life of me, I can't write poetry.

I was blog-surfing and found tomes (virtual tomes) of angsty teen poetry. I missed that one; I was more into singing angsty Broadway in the shower. Still am. Part of me just wonders why I don't really delight in writing poetry.

The sad thing? I don't particularly enjoy most poetry. I've heard a few verses here and there, but give me witty repartee between well-developed characters anyday. The writing on the early seasons of West Wing have this feel. Extra Jasmin points [to be awarded a special prize... eventually] for multiple musical theater references.

Instead, my "talent" (if you could call it that) is re-writing words to showtunes to make them suit... well, whatever. A glass of port adds to my "lyrical genius" [my own words, dripping with sarcasm].

I love deconstruction. Deconstruction of texts, movies, TV shows. It's so much fun. But not poetry. Except for limericks, which are the BEST!

A Sidenote:

Why is good fanfiction so hard to find? I mean, I could write it myself (and have in the past), but I just don't want to. Not when I'm in a reading mood.

Also, watching Hugh Jackman get beat in a belching contest (on the Kids' Choice Awards) with Justin Timberlake is shaming. I can't believe that scrawny little twerp beat him in a belching contest. A display of manhood, if you will.

I think it was rigged. There is no WAY that Hugh could have been out-belched by a little kid. Just so you know, I was utterly devastated when they announced the winner.

Not that I need to justify myself, but I watched the Kids' Choice awards SOLELY because Jack Black was hosting. I didn't realize that so many adult celebs were on it.

For my fans:

Tonight I will be performing from "Little Shop of Horrors" in my most frequent venue. Seating is limited, so run- don't walk, to a shower enclosure near you.