Saturday, June 29, 2013

Leonard Wants to Give You Stuff!

It's true!  I promised to give stuff away when we hit 1,000 hits, and dammit we're at 1,022!  Since there was basically one vote for each item, I'll let the winner choose from:
  • a piece of knitwear from my stash
  • a commissioned Strongly Worded Letter
  • a short fiction written in their honor
Here's how it works:  if you see this link on Facebook, click "like."  If you're a Tumblr follower, reblog the post, and if you're on Twitter, do what the cool kids do and retweet.  Once the winner has been picked, I'll be contacting you regarding your choice of prize. 

Now let's make it to 5,000, people!

Friday, June 28, 2013

We Did It!

As of this morning, we are at exactly 1,000 hits!  It's an even number; Mr. Monk would be very proud.  I have to work today, but details on giveaways, etc. forthcoming.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Take THAT, Caramel Coloring!

Who remembers clear Pepsi?  Okay, it was actually called "Crystal Pepsi," but who else remembers it?  I loved that stuff.  It was Pepsi, but without the dark coloring.  My teenaged mind thought it "felt" a little less "heavy" because of that.

Now up until the writing of this post, I assumed that was the only difference (the caramel coloring).  Apparently, I was totally misinformed as a child (no surprise there).  According to Wikipedia and Whit's Blog, Crystal Pepsi was also a caffeine-free soda.  What?!?  That's not the same at all!

Crystal Pepsi, during its brief lifetime (1992-1993), was marketed as a caffeine-free soda, in addition to being clear.  Moreover, according to some people, it tasted differently than regular Pepsi, too -- specifically, that it tasted like ass.  I don't remember that at all.  I remember liking it immensely.

During the early 90s, I did a horrible summer camp thingie where Monday through Friday we would live on a college campus, take classes, etc.  We only came home on the weekends.  Every Friday afternoon, the bus would drop me off at our apartment, and my mother would have stocked the fridge with (Crystal) Pepsi and the cabinets with Cheez-Its before she went to work.  I would lie on the couch directly in front of the window A/C unit and bask in the glorious coldness with my snack.

It's one of the few good memories I have from that stupid camp, and now you're telling me that I was hardly drinking Pepsi at all?!?  Curse you, Wikipedia!  And you, too, Whit's Blog, for ruining my childhood.

Fun fact:  Coca-Cola responded to Crystal Pepsi with its own new soda.  Are you ready for this?  They marketed Tab Clear for a bit.  Hahahahahahaha! 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Only 88 More to Go!

Leonard is this close to 1,000 hits!  Considering we've only been in publication just shy of one month, I think that's a pretty big deal.  So thank you. 

Thank you!

When we reach 1,000 hits (and, oh yes, we'll get there), Leonard should throw some sort of party or celebratory post.  What would that involve?  Lots of the blogs on Tumblr do giveaways, but what would we give away?  Free knitwear?  Leonard's autograph?  A short-fiction piece written in your honor?  A personally commissioned Strongly Worded Letter?  We'll have to think on that some more.

In the mean time, thank you for reading and keep clicking!  Remember, if you like what you're reading, please reblog, repost, and share the links with your friends and families.  Conversely, if you don't like what you're reading, share the links with all of your enemies, those fuckers.  (Leonard's not too picky.)

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Movie Review: The Words

We play fast and loose with the word "review" around here.  As with the Castle episode I wrote about, I will probably use multiple bullet points because I'm too enraged to deal with whole paragraphs.  Also, as with that episode, this contains spoilers.  Cross the River to read all about it.

Friday, June 21, 2013

And the Kharmic Credit Plan Award Goes To...

I just resisted throwing an object back into my jackass neighbor's yard that they had clearly just thrown over the fence into my yard.  On the upside, said object is a Spider-Man water gun, and it is now MINE.  I fully plan on using it.

In other news, we're still in the Top Five Most Dangerous Cities!  Leonard doesn't lie.  *pointing to the blog header*

 Sadly, it was not this water gun.

Or this inappropriate and vaguely homoerotic one.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Moral of the Story: Don't Ride Roller Coasters

In 1983, TSR and Marvel Productions started a cartoon called Dungeons & Dragons, based on the role-playing tabletop game.  Yes, long before other game-to-movie abominations like Battleship hit the screens, TSR and Marvel already thought it was a good idea to turn games into TV shows.  As the show was canceled after twenty-seven episodes, leaving the finale (which would have wrapped everything up) un-produced, I'm going to say no, it's not a good idea.  And sorry, hard-core RPG fans, there are no dice, characters sheets, or hit points in this show.

A group of kids, aged 7-15, go on a "Dungeons & Dragons ride" at an amusement park.  Where are their chaperones?  Who lets kids just run amok at an amusement park??  D&D the cartoon may actually be a commentary on laissez-faire parenting.

As you can see from the opening credits, this roller coaster of doom transports the children into a scary, magical land, complete with unicorns who jump into your arms.

In each episode, the kids would have a "quest" thrown at them, and at some point they would have to choose between helping other denizens of this realm or going home to the real world.  Invariably, the good-hearted children would help the others, sacrificing their chances to return home.

I remember thinking these children were idiots when I watched it.  In one episode a character could only make one wish:  go home (alone) or save his companions.  I thought, "You moron.  Simply say 'I wish to go home with my friends'!"  (Even at this tender age, Leonard was all about semantics.)

As mentioned earlier, there are only twenty-seven episodes.  The series was canceled in 1985, leaving the finale episode unfinished, although word on the street is that you can find the script floating around on the Interwebs.

The moral of this story, of course, is don't ride roller coastersI didn't ride roller coasters until I was at least fifteen or so; I'm pretty sure this show is what instilled the fear in my young mind.

Here's the first part of Season 1 Episode 1 "The Night of No Tomorrow."  Enjoy all the 1980s animated feathered hair.

Monday, June 17, 2013

I Need an Adult!

Today at work, I was standing in front of the sea lion habitat.  Two families (with a total of five children) were about to take a picture of the kids in front of the habitat.  I said, "Oh, use these!" and pulled the sea lion and harbor seal (yes, Virginia, there is a difference!) stuffed animals out of my bag for their photo op.

After the photo, the kids asked if they could play with them.  I said sure!  The stuffed animals are also puppets, which they soon discovered.  The kids played with the puppets while I explained something or other about sea lions to the parents.  I was talking with my hands as I am wont to do, and one of the kids -- a boy around 8 or so probably -- chomped on my hand with the sea lion puppet ("Rawr!").  I played along.  "Oh noes!  I'm being eaten by a sea lion!"

Then said eight-years-old-or-so male child "chomped" again with the puppet directly on my boob:  "RAWR!"

My immediate reaction was to push his hand away and say, "Hey, watch yourself there!"  Then I got the puppet away from him as soon as I could without ripping it off of his hand.  The parents apparently didn't see because they didn't say anything.  I'm sorry, but at that age, that kid knew what he was doing, and being fondled by a child was not how I wanted to start my day.

On the upside, later in the day, a little baby grinned and held out his arms to me, and I got to hold him for a bit.  I wanted to steal him.

Why I Don't Say I'm an Actress

It took a number of years, but sometime between 2006 and 2008 (after my first paying gig or two) I stopped calling myself "an actress."  I call myself "an actor," even though some people try to correct me (usually older gentlemen, sometimes foreign).  Friend and fellow actor Anna quoted her own mentor as saying that in the original French "actress" is not simply the feminine version of "actor"; it's the diminutive form, meaning smaller, less important, even a little cutesy and condescending.

I trace it back to quote I once heard from Whoopi Goldberg:

"An actress can only play a woman.  I'm an actor, I can play anything."

I think she nailed it.  The word "actress" for me conjures up images of working as a waitress while not necessarily accomplishing anything.  In fact, some people automatically assume "actress" means "starving, out of work actor," like our dear Penny here:

The only thing worse than "actress," in my opinion, is "starlet."  A "starlet" may be working, but she conjures up images of casting couches, looking pretty but being dumb, and not being taken seriously.

So like Whoopi said, I'm actor; I can play anything.  To date I have played:

  • 5 men
  • 3 nuns
  • 3 nurses
  • 2 fast-talking Hollywood producers
  • 2 Mormons
  • 2 Upper East Side WASPs
  • 2 fairy tale characters
  • 1 Hollywood B-movie star
  • 1 teacher
  • 1 drag queen
  • 1 homeless woman
  • 1 bored Egyptian housewife
  • a slew of chorus girls, dancers, and maids
  • and 1 multidimensional hermaphroditic angel


Saturday, June 15, 2013

Found Objects Part 2: Electric Bugaloo

I've finished Life of Pi.  I loved every bit of it, except for "Part Three" (the last thirty pages of the book).  But Life of Pi gave me one other surprise, besides its ending:  another found object.

Tucked in between pages 144 and 145 was this little doodle:

From the same girl who left her bus ticket receipt?  I don't know.  My instincts say "no," but I don't have a huge frame of reference for found objects from which to draw.

Cloud Atlas is my next summer reading book.  So far, it has proved devoid of found objects.  (And, so far, it has yet to really captivate me, sadly, but that's a different post for another day.)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Satan Lives in the Electrontrics

Today's Throwback Thursday is dedicated to two very different 1980s electronic devices.  First up, the Speak & Spell:
The Speak & Spell debuted in 1978 from Texas Instruments, they of the calculator fame.  We had the 1986 model featured here.  The Speak & Spell had a variety of spelling-type games, the original being "Say It," where the child would have to type the word after hearing it "spoken" by the machine. 

Here's the thing about the Speak & Spell:  if the disembodied computer-generated, inflection-less voice wasn't bad enough, when the batteries started to die, the whole thing sound like Satan was living in your spelling machine.

But that was only when the batteries were running out.  Other than that, it was a perfectly friendly, untraumatic children's toy.

Nope, still creepy.  Plus, they used it in E.T.!  That movie freaked me out as a kid.  Speaking of things that freaked us out as children,...

Meet Satan, err, Teddy Ruxpin.  He debuted in September of 1985 to the horror delight of children everywhere.  You inserted a tape (yes, a cassette tape) into his back, and he would "read" the story (about himself, the narcissistic bastard) and talk to you.  His mouth would move; his eyes would blink; his head would rotate 360°.

My older brother and sister and I have one rich relative, a great-aunt in LaJolla, California.  She usually sent us for Christmas the popular, expensive, "must have" toy that year.  So in 1985, Teddy Ruxpin arrived...

...and freaked our shit out.  The mechanical parts that caused him to move his eyes and mouth, etc. made almost as much noise as Teddy's speaking "voice," so it was hard to hear.  More than that, he was just weird.  His eyes are slightly crossed and always focused on something just beyond you, like he's having a seance whilst speaking, channeling other Satanic electronics.

Oh sure, the stories were about friendship and love, and he even had a cartoon for a while.  But then there's this:

 Teddy Ruxpin:  the stuff of which nightmares are made.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Did You Know?

Leonard's on Tumblr.  It's true.  I wouldn't lie to you!

So far we're just using it for smaller things, random photos, and the occasional Tweet from Joss Whedon, King of the Nerds.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Finding Hope

So, I didn't win the NPR short story contest; didn't even place.  The winning story is,...well, damn.  It's really freakin' good.  You can read it here.  I'm almost ashamed to even post my story after that.  Perhaps you should read mine first (after the jump), then the winning story, rather than the other way around.  "Save the best for last," as they say.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Rockin' Robin (Tweet! Tweet!)

Leonard is considering joining the Twitterverse.  What do you think?  Tell me (in the comments section) all of the things you love and hate about Twitter.

And, while you're at it, please also tell me how to use it.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Girl Problems

Me:  "Sonofabitch!"
My Unit:  "What?"
Me:  "All of my make-up is at the theatre!"
Her:  "Oh noes!  You don't have any here?"
Me:  "Some powder and a lipstick."

Five minutes later, after applying said powder and lipstick...
Me:  "Wow.  That looks weird.  There's nothing on my eyes."
Her:  "You're sure you don't have anything here?"
Me:  "Yes!"
Her:  "Not in any of your bags?"
Me:  "I already looked.  I found one other lipstick."
Her:  "I don't believe you."

Two minutes later, after rifling through the bathroom cabinet...
Her:  "I can't believe you don't have any back-up make-up."
Me:  "It's all in that tackle box at the theatre."
Her:  "You're not very good at being a girl, are you?"

Friday, June 7, 2013

Say What??

It's hell week/opening weekend, kittens, which means I'm tired as all fuck.  The posts are going to slow down a bit as I open this wonderful, beautiful, surprisingly difficult, 90-minute show.  In the mean time, here are some lovely out-of-context quotations we like to call "Overheard at Rehearsal."

  • "I'm not gonna tap dance for you!"
  • "I think this might be a little 'Mrs. Garrett.'"
  • "Do you think we're going to extend?"
    • "Most of the audience will be filled with little old ladies hoping to see the nudity."
    • "I'm not going to be naked."
    • "I thought you were going to be naked?  I was promised nudity!"
    • "He's just wearing shorts; Paul is going to be naked."
    • "Speaking of extensions..."
  •  "Can we fold the napkins differently?  Unless, of course, it's offensive to your delicate sensibilities."
  • Director:  "Is it really 10:28?  That can't be right."
    • Me:  "Well, you talk a lot."
  • "'Mensch' was yesterday's word of the day." 
  • "The higher the hair, the closer to God!"
  • "If you have to cough, just take a drink of water and let it drop through your balls.

And, of course, one last one from my Unit just this morning, words of wisdom for us all:

"Don't go to work with your hair like that.  You'll be fired." 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Throwback Thursdays: Hugga Bunch

Aren't they adorable?  Just wait, they'll get creepy in a moment.  (And if you already think they look creepy, they're going to get creepier).  The Hugga Bunch dolls were a franchise started in 1985 by Kenner and Hallmark Cards.  Each fuzzy, candy-colored doll came with a smaller doll, called a "huglet," which they would, well, hug.  The dolls had velcro on their hands (hey, it was the 80s; velcro was still a big deal) so they could "hug" the smaller doll or even each other, I guess.

Please note the shiny material on the dolls' dresses.  The velcro could catch on this fabric and then leave nasty snag marks when you ripped it away (as I often did).  My mother noticed this imperfection and made an angry phone call to the manufacturer.  Soon I had a second set of Hugga Bunch dolls.  You didn't think I came by my habit of Strongly Worded Letters all by myself, did you?

Because Hallmark Cards was involved, they made a Hallmark family "made for TV" movie of the Hugga Bunch called The Hugga Bunch.  Apparently the title/marketing department had no cash to come up with a better name as the entire movie was produced for $1.4 million, "making it the most expensive TV special ever produced at that time."  Presumably most of the money was spent on "special effects," as it earned one Primetime Emmy for "Outstanding Visual Effects."

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

NPR Reject

NPR has a short story contest they call "Three-Minute Fiction."  Stories can be a maximum of 600 words with the idea that each can be read in three minutes.  A "famous" (read: "published") author is the guest judge for each round, and s/he submits the writing prompt.  My Unit sent me this just in time for Round 11.  Guest judge Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia! and St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, said the prompt was to "[w]rite a story in which a character finds an object that he or she has no intention of returning."

Each week NPR reads some of their favorite entries; the winner is picked in a month or two.  So far,  my story has not made to the "favorites" list.  When I've read my "competition," sometimes I think, "Yeah, mine was crap," and "Really?  They liked this??"   Here's the list so far.  As in anything online, it updates at least once a week, so you'll have to check back anxiously and often like I do.

Also, as with anything on the Interwebs, people feel free to comment and give their unsolicited advice.  And even though this is NPR, these people are still kind of assholes.  Not the same assholes and trolls that you find on Facebook posts or newspaper "articles."  These assholes try to pick apart the stories and use all their words and their sentences are (mostly) grammatically correct.  But damn.  Whether they're armchair editors or fellow submitters with a case of sour grapes, I can't tell, but they're still highly negative and judgmental.

Oh, you're probably wondering about my story.  Well, I'm going to give NPR another week or two.  If my story doesn't show up, I'll post it here.  I'm already wondering if my silly subtitle killed my chances (I knew I should have left it off!).  Here's a hint:

Monday, June 3, 2013

Your Lotion Smells Like Poo

The new blog's first Strongly Worded Letter (SWL).  It's not my best work since I wasn't frothing at the mouth when I wrote it, but the hippie organic company deserves to know why they will no longer be getting my (non-hippie) money.
Dear Avalon Organics,
I have been a faithful user of your Peppermint Body Lotion for five years now.  Recently, I’ve noticed significant differences in the product; namely in its texture, consistency, fragrance, and overall effectiveness.  For example, the lotion now just sits on top of my skin, rather than being absorbed.  Its consistency is thinner, and worse, after attempting to use your product,  my skin just ends up feeling sticky and rather gross, rather than moisturized.  When I’m done attempting to use the lotion, the fragrance has changed as well.  It no longer smells like peppermint, but something else entirely unpleasant.
I compared the list of ingredients from an “old” bottle which still worked and one of the “new” bottles; the only change I can find is that you’ve now started using safflower seed oil (Carthamus Tinctorius) instead of sunflower seed oil (Helianthus annuus).  As you can see from the list above, this one small change has made a large (negative) impact in the effectiveness of your product.
Until such time as you change your formula back to the original, I am afraid my family and I will have to purchase lotion from another company.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

I Flunked Geography

Whilst having sushi with my Unit, she mentioned a protest she had read about -- somewhere, in another country, people protesting over the building of a shopping mall in the ONE remaining park the place had.  "It's in Istanbul, I think," she said.

Fast-forward to the next morning, she shouts from the next room:  "Yep, it's Istanbul!  Where is Istanbul?"
Me:  "I don't know, but it was once Constantinople."
Her:  "Very funny."
Me:  "I've been waiting since last night to use that joke."

FYI, Istanbul is in Turkey.  And on a more serious note, here is the protest that is happening. You should read it.

Why Castle's Season Finale Pisses Me Off

River is correct.  This post contains spoilers.  Read after the jump at your own risk.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Found Objects

I went to the university library to find and check out Life of Pi by Yann Martel.  I found the book in the correct location.  Tucked inside of it was a folded up piece of paper.

I am ashamed to admit I almost didn't check out the book because of this piece of paper.  It's hard to explain, but my train of thought went something like this:  Someone left this paper in here because they didn't finish this book.  They didn't want this book.  Only ridiculous people leave pieces of paper in books; I'm going to look silly checking this book out of the university library.  Everyone else has already read this book.

Somehow, that one folded up piece of paper that no one had bothered to remove (and it's actually about 3 sheets of paper folded into fourths, so it was rather thick and obvious from the outside of the book) was judging me.  I said it was ridiculous, but sometimes that's how my brain works.

And then I said, "Fuck it.  I want to read this book.  Let's see what goodie this person left behind."

At some point I want to create a book of the marginalia I've found in various textbooks and library books.  I love writing back (in pencil, of course) to people who've left notes before me and then returning the book, carrying on some strange conversation with someone I'll never see.  This piece of paper is like that.

I finally unfolded it.  This person bought a one-way bus ticket from Des Moines to here.  I wonder how soon after arriving she returned this book?  Did she even finish reading it?  If she was using the paper as a bookmark, the answer is no.

I know it's a "she" because the pieces of paper have her name, address, telephone number, and confirmation number of the bus ticket.  It even lists the times and stops the Greyhound bus makes.  Out of respect for this careless individual, I'm not posting any of that here (she also wrote "password" and then a phrase as well *tsk tsk*).  Plus, it takes some of the mystery out of it.

She arrived on March 16; the ticket was purchased on the 15th.  Was it a last minute trip?  Or just someone forgetting until last minute to purchase their ticket?  If I was really creepy, I could look up her name (and/or address) on Google or or something.
But I'm not.

Am I?