five

Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Meme

Bunch of memes to end the weekend.

Sunday Stealing:

One Thing …..
that makes you smile:
Puppies.

that makes you cry:
Expressions of kindness.

that you love to do on the weekends:
Sleep in.

that you do for only yourself:
I’m going with swimming at the beach, even though I haven’t done much of that since the end of January.

that you have in your underwear drawer that’s NOT underwear:
Cobwebs. I don’t put my clothes in my dresser anymore; it’s only got clothes in it that I haven’t worn in years, plus a few spiders.

that you do before going to sleep:
Set the alarm.

that you do within the first 15 minutes after waking:
Check my phone for messages and notifications.

that’s in your purse:
I don’t have a purse, but in my backpack there is a phone charger, among a few other things.

that you actually LIKE to clean:
I like washing my hair after a swim.

that you DETEST cleaning:
Ah. Windows.

that other people would find odd about you:
I hate getting food on my hands, so I eat potato chips from the bag in a peculiar way: usually with chopsticks.

that you would buy if I handed you a $100 bill:
Food first, since this has been a Weekend of Extreme Frugality.

that you feel you HAVE to do before you die:
There’s one thing that leaps to mind but I think it’s inappropriate for this space, so I’m going with publish a novel.


I changed my mind. I feel like writing, but the memes don’t really interest me right now, and there isn’t anything on my mind worth jotting down here. Maybe I’ll just type whatever I’m thinking for a few moments.

My former boss gave me Season 1 of The Newsroom for Christmas and I finally got around to watching the first six episodes (of ten). It’s quite good. I’d seen Alison Pill in a few things before, but I had no idea she had this in her. She’s the frenetic center of a great cast, including Jeff Daniels and a surprising Sam Waterson. Looking forward to finishing the season, then watching it again with the commentaries. Then probably getting myself Season 2.

The new Yes album was scheduled to be released July 8, but Wikipedia says July 16, and Amazon says July 22. So darn. I’m really looking forward to it. The last album was great, one of my favorites, and this one’s got a new singer. Sometimes a thing like that is what a band of old guys like Yes needs in order to jolt it into something fresh.

I’ve had the same two Netflix DVDs in my possession since the middle of March. I decided, when I rejoined the service a couple of years ago, that I wasn’t going to stress about getting my money’s worth, because that’s what ruined the experience for me the first time. I don’t want this concept of getting my money’s worth to dictate what I will watch or when I will watch it. Just having access to the service is worth the few bucks per month it costs me, the way you pay for the availability of cable television even when you don’t watch it. Still, four months is kind of ridiculous. I finally just ripped both movies (Tiger Eyes and About Time) to my laptop and I’ll watch them sometime this week (then delete them, of course). Time to get past this stasis and get something new in my mailbox. Satisfaction (with Justine Bateman) and Winter’s Bone (Jennifer Lawrence) are up next.

I recently finished John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars (I read Looking for Alaska a couple of months ago) and look forward to Shailene Woodley in the main character’s role in the film. Green is a good writer, but boy is his style ostentatious. I’m re-reading Lynne Rae Perkins’s Criss Cross, one of my favorite books, and it is reminding me of what I want to accomplish as a writer. It’s funny, because my writing partner made me read Looking for Alaska, so I made her read Criss Cross. Neither of us likes the other’s book nearly as much as the one we each recommended.

Almost 1:00 in the morning and the laundry is finally done. About to hit the sack. Here’s to a good week.

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I Like to Smash the Noodles Up, Then Pour the Hot Water over Them in a Big Mug

Man, it’s been an exhausting few weeks. I expect the madness to continue for one more, and then I expect a sudden, dramatic silence. Three days a week, I teach these courses and it’s all I have the mental and physical energy to do, despite a four-hour break between classes. I had grand visions for how I’d be using that time, but I was way, way off.

I have to admit that, except for the six hours three days a week I’m teaching class, the summer’s been a bit of a slog. My spirits are down because I’ve been stuck on these last couple of financial things I’m trying to take care of, and the situation at work isn’t helping.

I’m having one of those instant-ramen-for-breakfasts-and-lunches weeks, which I mostly don’t mind: I like instant ramen, and before this week, it had been quite a while since I’d had any. This realization was a neat thing, because I suddenly felt kind of blessed. It’s been more than two years since I had to have a week THIS frugal, and believe me, it’s not because I was rolling in cash. Somehow, I’ve managed to avoid hitting the lower tiers of my famine menus. It really gave me a good attitude, one that I’m still feeling today, a couple of days in.

You hear that sound? That’s me taking a deep breath and just sucking it up.

Friday 5 from here.

  1. What’s your favorite tomato thing?
    Grape tomatoes in a fresh salad with papaya-seed dressing. Number two is probably canned whole tomatoes.
  2. What’s your favorite celery thing?
    I do not like celery, but in very small amounts, it’s pretty good in tuna salad.
  3. What’s your favorite broccoli thing?
    Just plain, blanched broccoli alongside cheesy mashed potatoes. Broccoli is one of my two or three favorite foods.
  4. What’s your favorite eggplant thing?
    I really like it in roasted veggie dishes, like with cauliflower, zucchini, and squash. I think, however, I like even better this stuffed eggplant dish they have at the Chinese restaurant near my house. Yummy.
  5. What’s your favorite spinach thing?
  6. It’s tough to beat spinach artichoke dip! I also really like this Japanese preparation for which you blanche the spinach, then put it in the fridge, then chop it up and mix it with goma ae no moto, a powdery sesame-seed mixture. Oh man, it’s delicious.

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The Sun Shall Not Smite Thee by Day

I’m behind on everything because I’ve had a cold all week. I’m almost better so more deep thoughts by me are just around the corner.

It’s time for the annual Friday 5 Scattergories-inspired questions.

What random letter was generated by the online random-letter generator (this doesn’t really count as one of your five questions)?
I rolled a V. Just great.

  1. What article of clothing, whose name begins with the letter, have you never worn?
    I can’t say for absolute certain that I have never worn a veil, but I honestly can’t think of a time when I would have. So veil.
  2. What book, whose title begins with the letter, are you looking forward to reading?
    Oh, this one is easy. I have so far read only up through T is for Trespass in Sue Grafton’s alphabet murder series featuring Kinsey Milhone. The books have been a great escape for me over the years, and I look forward, when I get there, to V is for Vengeance.
  3. What mode of transportation, whose name begins with the letter, seems like it would be fun?
    My first thought is velocipede, since there are many I have never ridden, but I have ridden bicycles, which are velocipedes, so I guess I can’t really claim that I haven’t ridden one. Oh, you know what? I have never been in a Volkswagen Karmann Ghia and I really want to own one someday.
  4. What form of exercise, whose name begins with the letter, have you recently engaged in?
    How about vigorous housecleaning? Sorry, it’s the best I can offer. But you know, I’m talking about don’t-slow-down, dedicated housecleaning. It’s a workout.
  5. What fictional character, whose name begins with the letter, would be good company on a long trip?
    I’m going way, way off the board here and taking Vicky Austin, the main character of four books by my favorite writer, Madeleine L’Engle. She’s smart, she’s pretty, and she’s the sort of girl I’ve been looking for my whole life. Interestingly (or not), the plot of her second book, The Moon by Night (my favorite in the series), involves a cross-country family car trip, so I already know I’d enjoy spending the time with her because I sort of already have. About twenty times.
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A Couple of Memes

Sunday Stealing.

  1. Last time you had butterflies in your stomach?
    Probably about a year ago when I interviewed for this job. I was nervous and spoke WAY too much and altogether too quickly, but my boss said I did okay.
  2. What was your last alcoholic beverage?
    I had a beer Friday night, some orange-flavored Blue Moon variety. It was extremely drinkable and pretty tasty. Would have been a good breakfast beer.
  3. Who can you trust?
    I trust almost everyone. It’s the only way to help people be trustworthy. And the world is a better place when we trust each other; I sincerely believe this.
  4. Where was your first kiss with your current significant other?
    I don’t have a significant other, but my first kiss with my most recent significant other was in Tennessee one summer.
  5. Favorite Band?
    The last time I answered this question, I think I said Spock’s Beard, but that was several years ago. Now I think it’s the Choir. Their new album, which I will be reviewing in this space before too long, is amazing.
  6. What is something you’ve learned about yourself recently?
    I’ve learned that I’m still capable of making myself feel the kind of stress that makes it impossible to turn my head in either direction, a debilitating stress I haven’t felt in a very, very long time. I kind of thought I was past that.
  7. Do you like anyone?
    I do. I’m very fond of an elementary school teacher I know, someone I’ve been friends with for about twenty-three years. I have a very strong suspicion that she knows about my fondness and is trying to discourage it. I plan not to be deterred for a while. Once I get up enough courage to make an earnest move.
  8. Do you know anyone who is engaged?
    I did, but they got married this past weekend. I’m trying to remember if there’s someone else and I’m not coming up with anything. How about Leonard and Penny?
  9. What’s your favorite number?
    The worst thing about these memes is that those of us who’ve been doing them for a long time get asked the same questions. Over and over. And over. My favorite numbers, in order, are 12, 32, and pi.
  10. Who was the last person to make you cry?
    Gregg Popovich, when he was interviewed by Craig Sager, Jr. Popovich is the head coach of the San Antonio Spurs, and he is notorious for being curt, abrasive, and downright rude during in-game courtside interviews (and I don’t blame him; those interviews are so stupid and they never really reveal anything). He has a talent for making even the most intelligent interviewers look stupid. But Craig Sager, Sr. had been in the hospital for a couple of days, fighting leukemia, when this interview took place, and when Pop did this, I got teary-eyed the first twenty times I watched it.

  11. Did you ever go to camp as a kid?
    I was a Boy Scout. Camping is the whole reason for being a Boy Scout. In some ways, I feel more comfortable in a sleeping bag in a tent than I do in my own bed.
  12. When was the last time you cried?
    When I watched that interview with Popovich and Sager Jr. Aren’t you listening?
  13. What is one thing you miss about your past?
    I miss being completely certain I was right, even when I was wrong. I miss being R’s friend. I miss being in the classroom. I miss my friend Ryan. I miss Mark Heard and Gene Eugene. I miss the metabolism I enjoyed when I was young.
  14. What is one thing you’ve learned about life?
    Ugh. What a stupid question. For today, I’ll go with this: I’ve learned that there is no reason not to keep smiling, no matter how things are turning out. The people around you deserve a smile and can be encouraged by a smile, so why not give it?
  15. Are you jealous of anyone?
    Jealousy is one of the least-productive emotions in the book, and I do my darndest not to go that route. I have felt twinges of jealousy in recent years, but I would like to believe I have risen above those twinges and stayed positive.
  16. Is anyone jealous of you?
    Ha. For once in my life, I think I can safely say no. There is much about my life to be envied, but I think the people around me have no need to be jealous about any of them.
  17. Has a friend ever used you?
    I suppose, but I like being used by my friends. That’s what I’m here for. Use me. One of the worst thing you can do is tell someone you’re his friend and then never ask anything of that friendship.
  18. Has anyone recently told you that they like you more than as a friend?
    Wow. No. It’s been eons. I don’t think Mochi Girl even told me that.
  19. Who was the last person you drove with?
    I took Anto home from his birthday dinner at Chili’s. That was about a month ago.
  20. What are you looking forward to?
    I’m teaching a couple of computer classes beginning next week and am itching to get started. Also, I’m going to try to get some long-overdue bodywork done on my car soon, and I’m really, really looking forward to getting that checked off my list.

These won’t publish until several hours from now, but here’s the Friday 5 a little early.

  1. A breakfast sandwich is typically made with some kind of bread with egg, cheese, and some kind of breakfast meat. What’s the best variation on this theme you’ve tried, or what variation would you like to try?
    I’ve seen this in a couple of places (Carl’s Jr. and the recently deceased Byron’s Drive-In) and it always puzzled me that the fast-food places don’t offer it regularly: a breakfast hamburger. Also, when I make a breakfast sandwich at home, I like it with a nice, yolky, over-easy egg, and I don’t understand why the fast-food places don’t offer that as an option.
  2. A sandwich cookie is typically made with two thin cookies with some kind of sweet, creamy filling. What’s the best variation on this theme you have tried, or what variation would you like to try?
    Can’t remember the name, but I really used to like those slightly thicker flower-shaped sandwich cookies with the hole in the middle. Also, the only Girl Scout Cookies I ever really liked were the All-Abouts, a vanilla sandwich cookie they discontinued a few years ago.
  3. A melt sandwich (such as a tuna melt) is typically some kind of bread with some kind of filling plus some kind of cheese, grilled or fried until the cheese is melted. What’s the best variation on this sandwich you’ve tried, or what variation would you like to try?
    I’m a big fan of the Monte Cristo: a turkey and cheese sandwich between slices of French toast (or dipped entirely in French toast batter and then griddled), with grape jelly on the side. Holy, holy moly. I would like to try a Monte Cristo with thin, Philly-style slices of steak and provolone.
  4. If all you do is smear some peanut butter and jelly between two slices of bread, you have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. What do you do in order to make yours just a little better?
    Have you ever had Uncrustables? Man, those things are great. So although I’m a crust-eater, for PB&J, I like to cut the crusts off. Also, I’ve taken to making my own peanut butter in my food processor, and the difference is astounding. This might be cheating, but I also prefer PB and honey, so that’s usually the route I’ll go.
  5. What are your thoughts on sprouts in a sandwich?
    Sprouts——especially alfalfa, onion, or radish sprouts——make a good sandwich great. I freaking love the freshness they add, and that little bit of bitterness and that little bit of crunch. Lettuce on a sandwich? Boring. Sprouts on a sandwich? Exciting!
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A Movie Meme

From here.

A Movie Meme

  1. What is your all-time favorite “costume” movie or period piece?
    Not sure if this link to my Criticker ratings will work, but according to them, my highest-rated period pieces are Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (set in 1779) with a rating of 94 and Les Miserables (set in 1815) with a rating of 93. Those are some pretty good representatives. I love costume dramas. Other faves are Dangerous Liaisons (92 rating), Little Women (rating 91, the one with Winona Ryder and Kirsten Dunst), and Sense and Sensibility (91, with Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet).
  2. What classic film would you nominate for a remake?
    You know, as much as I love Key Largo, which stars my favorite actor and favorite actress, I’ll bet a movie like that could be a great remake with the right actors and director. Maybe someone like Sam Rockwell in the Bogey role and Julia Stiles in the Bacall role?
  3. Name your favorite femme fatale.
    Boy, it’s tough to beat Barbara Stanwyck in Double Indemnity, but I also love Kathleen Turner in Body Heat, a film I remember almost nothing about.
  4. Name the best movie with the word “heaven” in its title.
    I’m going way off the board here with Made in Heaven, a forgotten 1987 film with Kelly McGillis and Timothy Hutton, and one of the neatest romantic films I’ve seen. Cameos by Ric Ocasek and Tom Petty are cool too.
  5. Describe the worst performance by a child actor that you’ve ever seen.
    I actually dislike most performances by child actors because I think few of them are actually acting, according to my understanding of the concept. I’ll tell you what, though: a lot of people loved Jonathan Lipnicki in Jerry Maguire, a movie I hate, and I thought he was awful in it. Sorry Jonathan if you’re reading this; it’s not your fault. I just really hate that movie.
  6. Who gets your vote for most tragic movie monster?
    Does the Beast in Beauty and the Beast count? Because if he does, I’m going with him. Shout-out to the original King Kong, too.
  7. What is the one Western that you would recommend to anybody?
    I think I’ll go with John Wayne’s The Shootist (1979), which also stars Ron Howard and Lauren Bacall. There’s something sweet about this film, and the Bacall/Wayne dynamic is charming.
  8. Who is your ideal movie-viewing partner?
    It was R, but I guess we’ll never see a movie together again. Penny’s good because she’s always down for a good conversation about the film afterward. I have this other friend, who shall remain nameless but probably knows who she is, with whom I have seen several late-night movies over the past couple of years, and she’s great but I wish she’d sit just a little bit closer to me. She’s the only person I leave that armrest up for and she never takes advantage.
  9. Has a film ever made you want to change your life? If so, what was the film?
    This is one of the cinema’s greatest gifts: the ability to inspire us to be bigger and better and nicer and realer than we are. More than escapism, more than enlightenment, this one aspect of a great film is what makes me love film. Off the top of my head, in recent years I can name Akeelah and the Bee, Juno, The Hobbit, The Impossible, Groundhog Day, and Cast Away.
  10. Think of one performer that you truly love. Now think of one scene/movie/performance of theirs that is too uncomfortable for you to watch.
    Boy, I’ll tell you what: Anne Hathaway’s “I Dreamed a Dream” scene in Les Miserables is a beautiful thing, but it’s very hard to watch.
  11. On the flip side, think of one really good scene/performance/movie from a performer that you truly loathe.
    I know there are actors I loathe, but they escape me for some reason, so I’ll mention two I’m not especially fond of who recently surprised me. Benedict Cumberbatch, whom everyone just adores, is so ubiquitous and overrated. He has this way of overacting that I think passes for underacting somehow, but I’m not fooled. But man, he’s really, really good in August: Osage County. As I mention in my review of that film, I just did not think he had that in him. I’ve also never been a fan of Rob Lowe, and while he’s not outstanding in About Last Night…, it’s a strong movie and he does a pretty decent job.
  12. What movie has the best soundtrack?
    Best soundtrack, as in a list of the songs that are played in the movie, is Inside Llewyn Davis. Best score, as in all the music you hear during the film, is easily Ennio Morricone’s of The Mission.
  13. Favorite actor with a mustache?
    I’m assuming mustache means without a beard? It’s tough to beat Wilford Brimley. That mustache should be nominated for a lifetime achievement Oscar.
  14. Shadowy film noir from the 1940s or splashy colorful musicals from the 1950s?
    No contest. Give me a noir almost any day. There’s a reason Humphrey Bogart, and not Bing Crosby, is my favorite actor.
  15. Favorite classic Disney?
    Pinocchio among the first wave. Beauty and the Beast from the second wave.
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Gee, Our Old LaSalle Ran Great

Might as well finish this, since it’s a part two. Taken from here.

  1. Talk Shows. Do you watch daytime talk TV? If so, do you prefer the calm shows like Oprah or the wilder side like Jerry Springer?
    I have never cared for these, not even in the pre-daytime wars days, when Phil and Oprah were still respectable. Oh, with one little exception: Ricki Lake. I can’t help it. I just love Ricki. I always have, since first seeing her on an Oscars telecast the year she did the original Hairspray. Hated her show, but loved her.
  2. Which daytime talk TV show would you like to be on? What would the topic be?
    I guess Rachael Ray, because I’m into cooking. She’d better watch out, though, because I will charm her right off her feet.
  3. Before talk TV took over game shows ruled the airways during the day, which do you prefer? Or are you a soap opera fan?
    I have never cared for daytime soaps (‘though I was a rabid 90210 fan for a few years in college), but game shows are an entirely different story. Language-based and trivia-based games were always the best, so the $25,000 Pyramid and Password Plus were favorites. I really, really, really hated Press Your Luck and even though the actual gameplay of Card Sharks was lame, the questions they asked were very cool, the kind of thing that interests me even today. I guess for that reason I always like Family Feud, too, for which I experienced a re-awakening of my passion one year when Richard Karn was the host. I even wrote briefly about it here. Last paragraph.
  4. Is there a game show (past or present) you think you would do really well on, as a contestant?
    I would love to see how I’d do on Jeopardy, or its short-lived VH1 cousin, Rock and Roll Jeopardy. As I have mentioned in this space before (boy am I getting tired of starting sentences with that phrase), I was on one of the major, super-popular TV game shows when I was in college and did pretty well.
  5. Who is your favorite game show host? Who is your least favorite?
    Richard Karn on Family Feud is way, way up there. I’m also fond of Pat Sajak, mostly because in recent years, he’s been a great guest on some of the sports-talk radio programs I love. I think there’s something appealing about Regis Philbin on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, but boy did his shtick get tiresome once they went to five nights a week. I guess maybe we all felt that way. Oh wait, does Iron Chef America count as a game show? I’ll take Alton Brown if it does. I guess among my least favorite is Rolf Benirschke, who I really wanted to see succeed on Wheel of Fortune, but boy was he boring.
  6. Marathons. Have you watched any TV marathons? In part? In whole? Is there a show you’d like to see run an all day marathon? On the flipside is there a show you’d avoid in marathon?
    Yes. I’ve watched a few Twilight Zone marathons in my day, and one summer Nick at Night did a Cosby marathon I watched all of. In these days of streaming series and whole-season DVDs, all-day marathons are easy to create for yourself. I’ve binge-watched a lot of shows, including The Simpsons, Mary Tyler Moore, the Muppet Show, MASH, and the Big Bang Theory. That last question is stupid because all it’s asking is what shows you dislike. I guess a better question would be, “Of shows you actually like, which would you avoid in a marathon?” to which my answer would be something that’s a guilty pleasure. You get to a point where the pleasure wears off and all you have left is the guilt, so something like 90210 would probably be a good answer.
  7. Out of curiosity, what’s the longest you’ve ever watched TV in one stretch?
    Probably 24 hours, or something in that vicinity. One of my longest sessions was the live broadcast of Live Aid, but I’m sure I’ve surpassed that more than a few times in the years since.
  8. On the whole do you feel most Special Reports are really that special? Or are they simply annoying? What special report has affected you most (9/11, Reagan being shot…etc.)?
    There was a time when it took something major to interrupt regular broadcasting. But now, with 24-hour news on TV, nothing has to be that special, and it seldom is. For me, the turning point was the low-speed car chase the day O.J. Simpson went nuts. Nothing’s been the same since, in all the most negative of ways. Affected me? It’s affected us all, and not for the best.
  9. What is the (pick one: stupidest, saddest, silliest, most disgusting..) thing you’ve ever seen on TV?
    The silliest thing I’ve ever seen on television (because I prefer to keep this positive) is a guy snorting milk up his nose and then shooting it out of an eye on a segment of Stupid Human Tricks on The Late Show with David Letterman. Numbers two through ten are probably things I’ve seen on Jimmy Fallon just in the past year; his show is so brilliantly silly.

  10. What’s your fondest memory of something on TV?
    It’s probably Super Bowl XVIII, the year the Raiders dismantled the Redskins.
  11. What’s the first show you remember watching regularly?
    Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers’s Neighborhood. Still two of the best shows ever put on the tube.
  12. What shows would make up a perfect night of TV viewing for you?
    You could give me a whole evening of MASH and I’d be pretty darned happy. I have already spent multiple nights this way.
  13. You get to create one show to put on the schedule, with any stars you choose. Who and what would it be?
    Give me Bob Costas and his old show Later, and give him the freedom to interview anyone he wants, and let it be free of commercial interruptions. If you need a more original idea than that, how about this: You have a rotating cast of hosts who travels to different cool places, walks around, meets people, and interviews them, famous and not famous. Kind of like what Craig Ferguson did in Paris and Scotland when he made his trips to those places. Give me Ferguson on Mondays, Costas on Tuesdays, Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann on Wednesdays, Julia Stiles on Thursdays, and maybe someone like Connie Chung on Fridays.
  14. Canceling or Not. What show(s) would you cancel without a moment’s hesitation? Is there a show (previously canceled or just no longer airing) that you’d bring back, original cast and all?
    This question is lame too, because wouldn’t we just cancel programs we dislike, or have some kind of moral opposition to? Honestly, I don’t care if shows I dislike are on as long as nobody’s making me watch them, so why should I cancel them? For canceled shows, I’d really like to see the return of Joan of Arcadia, which I think could have been great and was never really given a fair run. I protested the cancelation of Arrested Development, but then it experienced that little rebirth, so now I don’t have to feel so ripped off about it.
  15. What’s the best series finale you remember?
    The final episode of MASH was the most-watched episode of TV in history, and it held that record for decades. I think it has since been broken a few times by the Super Bowl. It was a great, great, great series finale. I kind of liked the last episode of Cheers, too.
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