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Archive for December, 2009

Brooklyn, Brooklyn take me in

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

My plan for today was to write a best of 2009 post. Or possibly a best of the decade post. Or mebbe possibly a worst of the decade post.

However, I am sick as all get out. I have had this damn cold since Sunday, when I quite amusingly (according to the boy) lost my voice. My voice is back, but it came with a cough that’s somewhere between hacking and hacking me in the chest with an axe. Good metaphor, huh. Yeah, I’m all about the awesome right now.

So instead of looking back, I’m going to look forward and talk about my resolutions. I don’t usually make them, because as everyone in the world says, they’re motherfuckin hard to keep. Fortunately, I’m only making, like, seven, and they’re all easy.

1) I will not get sick in 2010.  I’m not kidding. I have been sick like 50% of this year and seeing as how there is nothing major wrong with me, that is bloody ridiculous. I take vitamins, I work out, I get enough sleep – really, the only thing left to do is apply the strength of my mind. Well that or quit my job to reduce my stress level. Since that would rapidly lead to me living under a bridge and begging for pocket change to feed my expensive dog food habit, I’m thinking that’s probably not going to make me healthier. So mind over matter, man. That’s the plan. NO SICKNESS IN 2010. I would chant it out loud, but that would lead to a coughing fit. (Since I’m guessing I’m not going to feel better first thing in the morning, I of course mean no sicknesses started in 2010.)

When I told the boy about this resolution, he said he is resolving to learn how to fly. I said fuck you buddy. Then I gave him a big germy kiss. Being sick makes me funny.

2) Stop obsessing over cutting my damn hair. When it’s short, I want it long. When it’s long, I want it short. I’m going to go to my hair place sometime in January, have them give me a cut that doesn’t rule out a ponytail but doesn’t turn into an unruly mess when left free, and roll with it.

It's fine short.

It's fine long.

I’m drinking in both pictures for continuity. No, really. Otherwise you may think ‘gee, I like her long hair better but she surely does look cute with a beer in her hand’ or vice versa, and I’m all about fair tests. Also, see resolution #6.

If the aforementioned mid-length ponytail ready yet still tamable cut doesn't exist, I'll do this. Yes, this is totally me. What, you think this looks like Natalie Portman? Aww, that's the nicest thing you've ever said to me.

3) I will stop buying non-consumables. There are exceptions – things I may need for derby, for example. But no purchases of stuff just because I want said stuff. Period. No, really. Yeah, it’s gonna suck.

4) I will blog a minimum of five days a week. You’re welcome.

5) I will work on building strong friendships with women who want the same thing. Women who tell me things about themselves, and want to know things about me. I have a few lovely girlfriends (dears, you know who you are) and they’ve shown me what having a good friend is like. It’s like a big squishy hug and a macadamia nut cookie all rolled up into one (with no white chocolate, OBVIOUSLY).

6) I will perfect a smile that I don’t mind being photographed. That’s right – 2010 will be the year in which not every photo of me is of me laughing or holding a drink to my mouth. I must have a smile that doesn’t make me look like a deranged six year old, somewhere inside me. I realize it will probably always be crooked (what is that about, really?) but there must be a way to tone it down a little bit.

Yeah, this smile. I would run away from someone holding a drill, smiling like this. This is literally the only picture I could find of my honest smile that I haven't deleted or hidden away in some folder. It's several years old.

7) I will be a grown up in the ways that matter, and postpone growing up as long as possible in the ways that don’t.

See? Easy-peasy.

Your turn.

thursday morning quarterbacking

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

I’m going to preface this by saying I really have no idea what I’m talking about. If that offends you in any way, please move on – I’m too sick to fight today and if you’re mean I’ll probably end up crying in a corner. Seriously. (Also, I’ve been watching Season 2 of Grey’s and dude, did you realize that’s where our (my) culturally (personally) compulsive use of ‘seriously’ as a standalone statement came from? Yeah, me neither.)

You’ve heard about Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab and his underwear bomb, right? If you’re the tiniest sprinter, you probably haven’t, because you don’t do news, so I’ll do a one sentence summation. A jackass-murderer-type from Nigeria got onto an airplane with explosive powder hidden in the crotch of his underwear and tried to explode it during the last hour of a flight into Detroit – at which point his pants caught on fire, a fellow passenger tackled him and put the fire out, he was arrested, and everyone was fine.

These are his actual exploded underwear. Seems like an uncomfortable place for a fire.

President Obama, who I love wholeheartedly, is pissed. He is demanding a full report by today on how this happened, and in a speech he gave on Tuesday he said:

“Had this critical information been shared, it could have been compiled with other intelligence and a fuller, clearer picture of the suspect would have emerged,” the president said. “The warning signs would have triggered red flags, and the suspect would have never been allowed to board that plane for America.”

The critical information he’s referring to is this:

“CBS News has learned that as early as August of 2009 the Central Intelligence Agency was picking up information on a person of interest dubbed ‘The Nigerian,’ suspected of meeting with ‘terrorist elements’ in Yemen. Sources tell CBS News ‘The Nigerian’ has now turned out to be Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. … CBS News has learned this information was not connected until after the attempted Christmas Day bombing.”

This is where my lack of knowledge comes in. Having never worked for the CIA, I don’t actually know how much intelligence is generated. However, if you assume that they’re sifting through direct intelligence from people in the field, overheard intelligence from monitoring that they’re doing, and intelligence passed on from other gov’t agencies and your average person on the street, it seems like it’s probably quite a task. Then add in the fact that NO one wants to be the person that failed to report some half-assed info that in fact pointed to the next act of terror, so every single thing that has anything to do with anything will be handed over.

That’s a lot of information. For every single piece of information that comes in that points to ‘the Nigerian’ meeting with ‘terrorist elements’, I have to imagine there are 20,000 pieces that point to ‘the Swede/Saudi/Iranian/Turk/Czech/South African/Canadian’ meeting with ‘Al Qaeda/the oil conglomerates/Bill Gates/Saddam Hussein’s psychotic son/Joe Lieberman/your mom/the leaders of the revolcion’. I’m being glib, I know. It’s intentional because I bet that some tips are on par with ‘hey CIA, did you know my neighbor is hiding Elvis in his basement and he’s plotting with the aliens to blow up the Space Needle?’

Yes, I think it’s truly frightening that this man made it onto an airplane with an explosive in his underwear. I applaud his complete failure in building a working bomb and I hope he goes away (to an actual prison, not some freaky land-of-the-lost torture facility) for a VERY long time. Like, forever.

But honestly – who knows what the CIA knew and when they knew it. If they heard a rumor about a Nigerian four months ago, I’m not sure what Obama expected them to do about it now. Stop every Nigerian that’s getting on a flight bound for America? Do we even have that kind of authority in international airports?

Full body scan me next time I go to the airport – I don’t mind. But if I were to do something stupid and terroristy (WHICH I WILL NOT BE DOING), don’t point to this blog post and ask the FBI why they didn’t put a 24 hour watch on me. Because there is a lot going on in a world of 6 billion people, and there is no way to track it all. Security is an excellent goal – omnipotence is going a little far.

CIA, I got your back. And if the FBI does in fact now put a 24 hour watch on me, I’d appreciate it if you’d have mine.


P.S. If you do full-body scan me, can I keep my scan? I'll hang it next to my MRI.

paranormal activity

Monday, December 28th, 2009

Theoretically, today is film club day. I picked the movie to fit with the season – Santa’s Slay. Looks classy huh.

When I picked it, it was the only Netflix Christmas related horror movie that was supposed to be available immediately and that and the scary ass Santa cover was enough for me. However, Netflix has foiled me yet again.

Not that Pieces, Ginger Snaps, and MST3000 weren’t fabulous, but seriously, Netflix? I suspect they have but a single copy, and because the remainder of the movie club beat me to it, Andrew did manage to review Santa’s Slay, and I have it on good authority that Sam will have posted his version by Monday night, so go check em out. I will eventually review it (perhaps), but today I’m going to review Paranormal Activity instead because that’s what was available at RedBox.

If you weren’t aware, this film was something of a social media darling. Facebook and Twitter got it a release many many times larger than it could have gotten on it’s own, considering it’s rumored budget of $15,000. It earned over $100 million in the box office. Locally, the only time I could have gone to see it was at midnight. I am so glad I didn’t.

This movie is fucking terrifying.

Katie and Micah (which I’ve always pronounced My-ka but in the movie is pronounced Mee-ka – freaks) are a couple in San Diego with a really nice house and a demon that has been bugging Katie, on and off, since she was 8 and may or may not have burned her house down. The movie opens with them purchasing a video camera to record what happens, and to prove to themselves that they’re not imagining it.

They are normal people, and that’s what makes this so insanely freaky. Katie is a little pudgy and has great hair and is mostly nice to Micah, and Micah is mostly sweet to Katie but is also sort of a frat boy I-can-fix-anything type. Which apparently the demon takes offense to, judging by the escalating level of his activity in their house. The action is never blood-on-the-walls floating-knives stuff, it’s all slow, walking around in the dark, nightmare stuff. I can’t even quite explain it.

There were people who found it overrated and not at all frightening. To those people, I say “have you no soul? Are you not human? Did you NOT WATCH THE LAST 30 SECONDS??”

To everyone else, I say – if you’re a big fan of sleep, you might want to skip it. Just an idea.

angels in the architecture

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

You may remember I shared my Christmas list some time ago (before I discovered the miracle that is Stiletto Spy School, of course). Since I felt it was appropriate to share my list of desires with all you lovely readers, I’m sure you’re dying to know what I actually got. Rest assured, it is nothing but gigantic piles of awesomeness.

From the boy. This is Angel Boy, by Jeremy Charles Burns. I have loved this painting since I first saw it, and apparently the boy was paying attention (three gold stars). It's now hanging at the foot of my bed.

Street Fight, from my genius mother. This is not a painting I requested, just one that she knew I'd love - and she hit the nail on the head. With a force I wouldn't have expected from such a tiny lady.

My dad got me Derek Shepherd, because he's a bloody genius. (Ok fine he got me the Grey's Season 2 DVD - but why quibble over details?)

My father also got me this super-nice-teeny-tiny-two-spout All-Clad saucepan. All-Clad calls it a butter warmer - they must know I'll be using it to melt butter to pour over Derek Shepherd's naked bod... wait, what was I talking about? I've already used it to make hot cocoa. Three times.

Gift from my family of the heart. Very similar to the picture except purpler. Which is totally a word.

Me enjoying the quite lovely sweater I received from the boy's parents. And enjoying some Irish Coffee.

There was of course more. There were books and cookies and laughter and honestly, if the tiniest sprinter had been in town, it would have been the best Christmas ever. It was as close as a girl can hope for, anyway.

Merry Christmas 09, loves. Soon I’ll have to start on my best of the year/decade lists, because heaven forbid I be the only one who doesn’t create them ad infinitum, you know?

I'm going a milking, sir, she said

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

I am hereby retracting every item on the Christmas list I previously distributed and replacing them all with this:

Fuck yes Stiletto Spy School!  I DO have a daring, confident, gorgeous secret agent inside me, and I absolutely need to go to New York to learn how to let her out. I’m fairly sure her name is Ekaterina, although I suppose I won’t know for sure until I meet her.

When someone awesomely signs me up for this class, I will learn:

  • Threat elimination

This is clearly code for killing someone.  I love that they put it first on the list – ‘we’re not fucking around here, sisters’.

  • Martini Mixology

A crucial female spy skill. No one ever suspects the bartender.

  • Awareness training and breath control

…. for when you’re supporting yourself on the ceiling and the bad guy is directly below you. If he hears you breathe, you’re kaput. This class is apparently taught by ‘a master of ancient Russian martial arts’. I was not aware that the Russians had martial arts, but I’m in.

  • Seduction and flirtation

Pshaw – like I need any help in these categories. See also: Modesty.

  • Wine pairing

This one sounds like a business skill snuck into spy school. “Bring the perfect wine to your next dinner party, have more confidence when perusing the wine list at restaurants, and end the worry of wondering if you chose the right wine when entertaining.” I know for a fact that spies don’t entertain, because that would involve giving out the address to the batcave. (Yes, I’m aware I’m now mixing spies and superheroes. I don’t care – Ekaterina is both.)

  • Perfect poker skills

My-my-my-my-my-my-my poker face….Sorry, where was I? Oh right, poker. This class will obviously consist of two key recommendations. First, tell the waitress that when you ask for a vodka tonic you’d really just like club soda. Second, create and bare as much cleavage as possible. Then just let your opponents hand you their money.

  • Sizzling Argentine tango

Which is different from the regular tango that one would find in Argentina. Probably.

  • Etiquette

This I could use. Really. I eat with my elbows on the table, for heavens sake.

  • “McGuyver” survival skills

I’m not sure why they felt it was necessary to put “McGuyver” in quotes. I realize they probably will not actually have McGuyver teaching us (not in the least because he’s fictional), but they’re probably also not going to give us “perfect” poker skills. Also – McGuyver survival skills. Hellooooo best class ever.

  • Extreme stunt driving

I might have to sit this one out. I am not a good driver, and teaching me how to drive in a more extreme manner would likely not help.

  • Knife fighting skills

Yes please. This will also help when I end up in a horror movie (see yesterday’s post).

  • Salon time

I love that they put this in here. I can just picture the trainers thinking…. ok, knife skills – check, poker skills – check, ability to rappel down a building using nothing but floss and paper clips – check. Now let’s make sure they know how to look damn hot while they do it. Because that’s how Stiletto Spies roll.

  • Full firearms and SWAT team training

Do I even need to comment?

  • Orienteering and navigating

Not only will this come in handy when the boy and I go bareback boating (am I saying that right? Sounds kind of dirty. I mean when you rent a boat and don’t take any professional crew.), I’m sure it will help when I’m kidnapped by an international megacorp owner after I discover the location of his secret lair by tricking him into thinking I’m the girl of his dreams. He’ll take me out on a boat with the intention of feeding me to sharks, but I’ll fashion an escape boat out of floss and paper clips (what, that’s all I have in my purse) and land on an island and then hike across the woods for several days, sleeping in a tent made out of floss and paper clips, and then report him to the proper authorities. And then have a glass of champagne.

There happens to be a class the weekend of my birthday. You know, just sayin.