Monthly Archives: July 2008

What just happened?

One of the headlights is out on my car. I know about it, but it’s the kind of thing that I don’t think of during the DAY, when the auto parts stores are open.

After a somewhat terrifying drive home from the airport on Sunday night, down an unlit road that also happens to be under major repair, I most certainly remember once daylight comes around. And so, on my home from work on Monday night, I stop off at a local parts store.

A pair of new bulbs in hand, I walk out to my car in the store’s parking lot and decide to take a look at what I’m going to be dealing with. I’d changed the bulbs a number of times on my previous car, but this one is going to be a first for me. (As an aside, I should note that I am on my way to dinner with friends, and am wearing a taffeta party dress. With pockets!) I pop the hood, look around to figure things out, and then get a rag out of my console so I can get down to business. Suddenly, I’m interrupted by the man who has just finished fiddling with his pickup, parked next to me.

“What are you doing?”
“I have a burned out headlight, I need to change the bulb.”
“Do you want me to get that for you? You’ll get your dress dirty.”
“It’s black. Nobody will see it! (shared chuckle) They look like they just plug in. It shouldn’t be too hard. But if you’d like to help…”
“Have a nice day, then.”
“… oh! Well, thank you.”

I have to admit, that catches me off guard. I very much would appreciate his help, but I was raised to put up at least a little fuss when someone offers their personal time. (If a parts store employee had offered, I would have accepted right away. That’s work time, and they know what they’re getting into.) There’s a running joke that excessively polite Minnesotans will refuse an offer three times before finally accepting. And yet, just as I am giving this guy the go-ahead, he walks off.

Well, alrighty then.

I replaced the bulb without anyone’s aid (the two parts store employees who were busy assisting other customers in the lot when I went out there both went back into the store while my head was under the hood), but it sure would have gone faster if a stronger hand could have unclipped the old bulb from the tiny electrical harness for me. I suppose the next time I’m in such a situation, I’ll jump like a vulture on any offer of help that I may get.

What would you do?

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detour

This is supposed to be where I write Monday’s post, but I’ve just returned from a whirlwind weekend in Minneapolis, and I’m tired. Besides, my friend Jason over at Moist Production posted these on Sunday, and there’s nothing I can write that’s better. (He doesn’t mention it in that post, but you can buy a yolk-less limited edition Yolkel from his online store. Or, if small sculptures aren’t your style, he also sells t-shirts and prints and one of his designs is also available as a Gelaskin for your iPhone, iPod, PSP, or laptop.)

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Addendum

Yesterday’s post stirred up a tiny pot of controversy with a few of my friends. I think I need to clarify one particular point: If you already know my name, you can find me all over the ’net. I know that. And that is exactly why I try to keep my name out of my blogging and “social networking” (ugh) world. Also, I daily appreciate the effort that my friends make to use assorted noms de plume when referencing me on their blogs/social networking sites.

As for “my” Facebook page? The one that my real-life friends kept telling me was in their collection of Facebook friends? You’d been had. It wasn’t me. I have never had a Facebook profile. I eventually convinced the folks at Facebook to take it down, since none of my friends ’fessed up as building a “fan” page for me. If it shows up again, please let me know.

Totally unrelated note: The “Tin Man” miniseries was nominated for an Emmy? Seriously? Were there not enough shows to go around this year?

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The Bathroom Wall

444-1673.

That was my family’s phone number when I was a kid. That is, it was until we started getting an increasing number of anonymous, often late-night, calls, presumably from a misguided boy who was interested in my sister. It reached a point where the phone company tapped the line, in an attempt to determine who the culprit was. I don’t know if anyone was ever charged with any kind of crime, but we did get a new phone number.

And this time, it was unlisted.

When I was old enough to have my own phone number, I didn’t bother with an unlisted line. Heck, I was young and sociable and hanging out with my friends (and their friends) all the time. I wanted people to be able to find me. That continued for years, until a low-paying job couldn’t quite keep up with a combination of rent/car payment/utilities/student loan payments/credit debt. At that time, being “found” by bill collectors was considerably less pleasant. Still, there was no reason for an unlisted number. For one thing, it costs money. For another, the bill collectors already had my number.

Fast forward a few years: My debt is long payed off, and my credit is once again good. I no longer feel like a criminal. The only unwanted phone calls I get are mis-dials or from folks looking for the previous owners of my phone number. But now, email is prevalent. And I’m starting to get messages from a cranky old friend who fell off the face of the earth some time earlier, and apparently took a trip through Crazy Harassmentland before coming back to electronically visit me. While I’m able to build a spam filter so I don’t have to read the email, I’m still a bit creeped out. This guy knows my name, where I live, and a number of ways to get in touch with me. And this is someone that I was friends with. I can’t even imagine how scary it would be if this were a complete stranger.

In the years since I last participated in a voluntary conversation with this guy, I’ve acquired a new phone number, new email addresses, even a new car. Also, I developed a healthy respect for privacy. I don’t use my real name anywhere online. Not on my blog, not on Twitter, not on flickr, not on MySpace. (I do use my real name on business sites that I do not cross-reference to my blog.) My phone number isn’t published, and I use an alternate number when filling out profiles that require it. I have a fistful of email addresses; people I trust have my “real” address but strangers get alternate versions that safely forward to me. A blogger I know (who shall remain unidentified in this tale for obvious reasons) was recently “stalked” by a fan who meant no harm, but whose enthusiasm came across as more than a bit frightening to this mom who received photos of her family in the mail.

It seems to be a cultural shift. My peers understand my desire for privacy, and find nothing at all unusual about it. However, many of my younger friends, the “kids” who grew up with computers and the Internet from an earlier age, think that my attempt at anonymity is unrealistic. I compared someone else using my (unusual) real name in an online forum recently as akin to writing my name and number on a bathroom wall. After all, you’ve just given my name to countless people who have a way to contact me. When I described it that way, I was scoffed at. But another friend, also young and even tech-ier than the rest, pointed out that my analogy was underreaching: it’s doubtful that a million people will wander through a particular bathroom stall.

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Boston. Finally.

Okay, let’s see what I can remember a week after the fact!

Friday, the 4th: As instructed, I called KT when I was on my way to Baggage Claim at Logan. It turned out that Teddy was already at the airport, so she told me to look for a silver car. I already knew what the personalized tags would say, so I saw Teddy before he saw me… which meant that he didn’t get a chance to wave the Colorado state flag that he’d purchased in anticipation of my arrival. He was able to work through his disappointment, and still had a chance to wave a set of New Mexico flags when picking up the THREE carloads of people who were to arrive a couple of hours later. We all spent the afternoon gabbing and drinking fancy Belgian beers and slurping spiked slushies in the backyard, and then it was time for a gluttonous FEAST of steamed lobster and grilled steak. (Yeah, I had neglected to mention my vegetarian tendencies. I knew that it would be rough on this crowd of foodies who were being so gracious as to house and feed me, so I reverted to omnivory.) Then Ted and KT brought out an American flag cake, AND a cheesecake, and we all found room in our bellies for just a little more. Feeling stuffed, we worked it off by walking the few blocks down to the local yacht club for a good view of the fireworks.

Saturday: We started the day with a walk around the perimeter of Deer Island. We saw lots of boats, and met lots of dogs. This was followed by more schmoozing around the backyard, and then we all walked back to the yacht club to await our golden chariot: a cruise around the harbor with Ted’s friend Larry on Larry’s boat. Larry traps lobster for a living, and his boat was large enough to haul 18 of us around in spacious comfort. We spent a few hours on the water and were getting ready to wind things up when Larry decided that he may as well pull a string of his traps out of the water and show us city folk how things are done. It was great to see Larry and his wife, Sandy, at work. There’s a poetry to the efficiency of movement that he’s developed over the years, and his passion for his work was evident. In fact, as we were later finishhing up a dinner where we celebrated Ted’s birthday with an intimate gathering of 34 people (complete with magic show performed by our Ordinary, Everyday, Magical guest of honor), Larry mentioned that even after 30 years, he was looking forward to getting up at 4am and getting back to the boat. That is, he was looking forward to it until we exited the restaurant into a blanket of fog. Everyone stumbled back to the Tiger Mews for dessert (of course!) of not one, not two, not three, but FOUR homemade pies, and leftover flag cake and cheesecake.

Sunday: We made it into Boston proper for a walk through town. By which I mean we took the T into town, walked about three blocks, and stopped at the Union Oyster House (oldest restaurant in the U.S.) for drinks. Feeling refreshed, we walked a few more blocks into Chinatown, and enjoyed steaming baskets of dim sum for lunch. We then headed back downtown and a few of us were lucky enough to get tickets for a Duck Tour! The “conDUCKtor” of our DUKW amphibious vehicle, South End Sara, was Jailbird George, and he did a terrific job. After a day in the sun, we headed back to the Mews for a delicious paella, and fresh coconut cake. And pie. And flag cake. And cheesecake!

Monday: We splintered into smaller groups of Shopping and Sightseeing, and while I know what you’re expecting, I actually joined the folks heading to the aquarium. And what an aquarium! Definitely a sight to see, with hauntingly beautiful jellyfish and electric eels and “shaaaahks” and rays and and and! We had just enough time to work our way up and down through the throngs of kids before we had to find our way over to Boston Beer Works, where we were regrouping for an early dinner before the game at FENWAY PARK. Yeah baby, first row in the grandstand, right behind home plate. Just a little bit of heaven. Of course, after last year’s trouncing of my Rockies by the Sox in the World Series, I had a hard time getting behind the home team. That didn’t diminish my joy at being in one of the last truly historic ballparks in the country, though. The Citgo sign! The John Hancock neon! The Big Green Monster! Oh, yeah, and (sigh), the Sox.

It had been 14+ years since I’d been to Boston, but I’ll try to get back a little sooner next time.

Tons of photos if you click on the one below.

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Filed under family, food, friends, sports, vacation

Craptastic Weekend

Yeah, yeah, yeah, what about the Boston photos? Well, I kinda took the weekend off, and am only getting around to uploading them now. Soon, kids.

So, this weekend. Yeah. Well. It starts with my friends, Dave and Jessi, who have been planning on moving to Chicago this summer. “This summer” very suddenly became “Friday” due to an unexpected interview opportunity. So, along with the masses, I got up at 4:30 am on Friday so that I could spend some quality time with Dave, waiting in line* so he could buy a new iPhone. He and Jessi left for Chicago, with my goddog, Oscar, and Oscar’s “sister,” Maddie, shortly after we returned home.

On Friday afternoon, I visited Greg over at Tribal Rites so he could try to fix the color on my tattoo. An hour later, covered with a layer of the lilac it should have been in the first place, it was looking a lot less blue. It still wasn’t the color I had originally intended, of course, but a good improvement. Jay and Alison saw it Friday night at a screening of Hellboy II, and gave their nod of approval.

Saturday morning, and the color was right back to where it started. I’m not real familiar with tattoo ink, but I didn’t think that was possible. Alison and Jay saw it again on Saturday, and were as surprised as I was by the shift. I guess it really wants to be blue. Which is too bad, because I HATE IT. HATE. I spent a YEAR obsessing about this art before committing it to my flesh, and teal blue was NEVER part of the plan. I am too upset to even think about what to do at this point. Saturday didn’t start off on the best note, and then:

The rest of the day was filled with laughter and tears as the remaining crew got together to help load up Erin and Tim’s belongings into their moving truck. I was given the oh-so-important task of holding the Door Open button on the elevator, while a flurry of people efficiently moved boxes and furniture from the third-floor apartment into the giant Penske truck waiting below. We all shuffled out in the afternoon, and Tim and Erin hit the road to Oklahoma a short time later. The only thing keeping me together is the promise of a visit from them at Halloween, our most favoritest of costumed holidays. I spent the afternoon trolling around online for costume accessories for a variety of ideas. I wonder which one will pan out!

Sunday was spent hanging out with Timber, driving around and visiting a (small!) car show and hitting up REI (we both bought nothing, but interestingly, ran into Alison and Jay). I bought a cute little vintage hat at Flossie McGrew’s. I tried and failed to troubleshoot Timber’s newest computer, an old iMac G4 which he found, fittingly, abandoned near a Dumpster. The monitor wasn’t coming on, and I don’t think the hard drive was spinning up (the fan was working fine, though!). He replaced the air filter in my car in the time it took me to make three trips into the basement looking for assorted cables and connectors as I attempted to hook the iMac up to either my MacBook or an LCD monitor to see if I could access the drive. No luck. I am troubled at my failure to diagnose and fix the problem. At least I have a bright, clean new air filter. :D

Four more days at the office, and then I get to fly out to see MANDY, which will help take the edge off. Even if all we do is hang out on the sofa and catch up on DVDs (with the occasional foray to Sebastian Joe’s for a scoop of something interesting, and Edina Grill for pierogis. And the St. Clair Broiler for the great signage and a good malt!), just being able to spend some time with Mandy will be a much-needed weekend.

Tomorrow: Boston. I promise.

*I have been reminded that the rest of the world waits IN line for things. Only New Yorkers wait ON line. I confused a friend, who thought I was talking about buying the iPhone online. I shall henceforth try to amend my communication.

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Clecktions!

I know, I still owe you kids the final post about my trip to Boston, with links and pictures (with circles
and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one was). But you see, I didn’t realize that I’d taken 400 photographs, and I only got through my first edit on Wednesday night.

Instead, here’s an interview that I did with Sabrina, the charming blonde mannequin over at Holly Gab (the blog arm of Lucite Box Vintage). I took the photos myself, and in a terrible rush, so they’re not, how do you say, “good.” On the other hand, I don’t have fancy lighting equipment and I didn’t want to drag everything to the level of my studio lights, so… deal with it. :)

Now, does anyone know how to clean white canvas espadrilles?

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Filed under collections, fashion, shoes, vacation, vintage