Sunday, December 24, 2006

New Lyrics to White Christmas

I thought of these in the shower. Because that's how I roll.

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas;
So white with fog you cannot see!
Where the tree tops glisten
And children listen
To hear them shining through the murk!

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas;
The kind that closes Heathrow down.
May your days be merry and dim!
And may all your Christmases be fogged in!

Monday, December 18, 2006

But HE was the cheerleader!

So there's this awful picture of Dubya & Laura in People magazine (available here) that's totally creepy. Mom pointed it out to me; it made us feel gross. There's something about it that's just not right. We surmised that it's the "football hero corners cheerleader" vibe that's just so totally wrong for the fawking President of the United States of America. Especially as HE was the CHEERLEADER!

The gross feeling it gave us is very specific. Mom has a friend whose family has come up with a name for this specific feeling, the feeling you get when someone is doing something really stupid that's totally going to backfire on them or make them (or you) look like an idiot. When mom reported this name to us, she reported it as "the tardwillies." (Yep, tard willies.) That wasn't exactly correct, but it's way better than whatever her friend actually came up with and it's become common parlance in our household. We have, in fact, created an entire echelon of names for related sensations. Unfortunately only one other stuck: the jerkwillies, when someone is being a total asshole for no reason (like Dr. House on TV's House, for instance) and you feel anxious in your tummy because you know that it will result in no good! No good, I say!

So this photo totally gives me the tardwillies. And so does most of Seinfeld and I Love Lucy, which is why I can't watch them. It's nice to finally have a name for my particular illness, which I'd heretofore been forced to describe as "an overabundance of empathy." No no - it's just an overabundance of the tardwillies.

Anyway, I think everyone should start using "tardwillies" and "jerkwillies" in their daily goings-on.

(Yes, I did consult Pete about spellings. We decided to use compound words instead of hyphens or two words because ultimately hyphens are almost always dropped, making hyphen users look like weirdos. I mean, who writes e-mail any more? Or builds a ro-bot?)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Nastiest Bush In the World

So Pete and I went to visit my cousin at work the other day, and in her parking lot (well, that of her place of employ - she is in no way responsible for this) was the nastiest bush ever. Seriously: it was so disgusting. We took pictures.

Mom says that when these bushes are allowed to grow freely, they're loose-leaved with lovely bunches of shiny orange berries. Apparently when they're shorn into boxes, they become the most God forsaken shrubberies known to mankind, with hideous bunches of nasty orange maggot-berries. I'm not sure these pictures do true justice to how fully and utterly horrifying and disgusting this bush was. Hugghh... I shudder to even look at them now. I post them as a service, to you, the community at large. As a service and a warning! Hire a trained landscaper, and listen to them. Certain plants were not meant to be hedgerows. Heed this warning or face the peril that is... NASTY BUSH!!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Jury Duty

Yes, that's right, today and yesterday I had [duhn duhn duhn!] JURY DUTY. Yesterday I showed up downtown at the Multnomah County Courthouse to fulfill my civic duty at 8am on the dot. Each potential juror was checked in at a little desk and given a plastic tag that said "Juror" on it and had a barcode associated with your name. The jury room was really nice - comfortable chairs, clean, flat screen TVs with cable, work stations and internet access, a kitchen area, microwave, vending machines, private "jury only" bathrooms, board games, puzzles, books, magazines... I'm not saying the hour I was there before anyone said "boo" to us wasn't boring, but it was nicer than expected. Then there was half an hour of "here is how this works," and then another half hour of boredom before they called THE GRESHAM JURY. Yes, because Multnomah County is so populous and (I suspect) so weirdly shaped, there is a second county courthouse in Historic Downtown Gresham (I'm so not making that up) that holds short trials, whose jurors are selected from the same pool as the main, Historic Downtown Portland Courthouse. At ten to ten or so, they called sixteen (or so) names of people who would be let go for the day, but asked to show up at the Gresham Courthouse the following day. As soon as I read the words "Gresham County Court" on the little "Juror Handbook" they gave us as we checked in, I just knew I'd get called for it. As soon as I went to the "Kitchen Area" to get a soda and ran into a talkative old vet - of the mostly deaf, jovial, retired, disabled, everyone's grandpa variety - I knew that he'd be called for it too. I don't know how I knew, but I was just certain of it. When they started calling names for that jury, I walked out of the kitchen without buying a soda so that I could shout "here" when they called me. Keep in mind, there were like 150 people there and only 16 were going to Gresham. And I thought about warning the old guy, but that seemed weird.

So this morning I drove out to Gresham after dropping Pete off at work. And it was a fully surreal experience. It was like visiting another world. I also realized that I've never actually been to Gresham before. I've driven through it on Powell (Hwy 26) on my way to the mountain, but I've never actually been to Gresham. I couldn't find a Starbucks. I didn't need to be at the courthouse until 10, I dropped Pete off at 8, and found myself tooling around Historic Downtown Gresham at 15 mph around 8:30am. And there was no Starbucks. Checking Google Maps, I can now find two or three, but Gresham is a big-ish place, and none of them were on my path. We found Starbucks in Cody, WY and in Rapid City, SD - to find one's self in a palce that ostensibly has no Starbucks, Peete's Coffee, Boyd's, Stumptown, Coffee People or Seattle's Best at all is like finding one's self in a parallel universe. Gresham is not interesting enough to offer anywhere else to go, so I just cut my losses and showed up an hour and fifteen minutes early at the courthouse.

I had a feeling I'd be waiting a long time, so I was prepared. I had my iPod, a book of crosswords, a book of number puzzles, an actual book, paper for letter writing and my cell phone (games) in my satchel. I also had my purse. When I got through the door, there was a metal detector and a guard sitting at a little table next to it. I said, "Hi, I'm here for jury duty." He said, "Um, you really need both those bags?" I said, "What?" He said, "Yeah, um, I'm gon' have to ask you to git rid'a one'a those, 'cause we don't have a scanner or anything here, so I hafta check'em by hand, and it takes a while, so if you could jus' git rid'a one'a them, that'd be great. K, thanks." And then he looked past me. Into the empty vestibule. Into the empty parking lot. Dude! I'm the only one here!!

I was as mean to his as I could be: I rolled my eyes. And then I complied. Oh, and I pushed the door extra hard when I left. Yeah! That'll teach him to make silly demands! I crammed all the stuff in my purse into my satchel and went back in. Now there was a second guard standing next to the first one. The first guard bore a striking resemblence to my mom's brother, Rick - it was just eerie. The second guard was a woman with a beautiful round face and pink cheeks. The uncle-resembling-but-not-at-all-avuncular guard started pulling stuff out of my satchel. He handing the clipboard thing I keep my stationary in to the female guard and said, "We hafta look through everything." It's essentially a letter-sized plastic box with a clipboard clip attached to it, and a little pen holder at the bottom. "You want me to open this?" asked the female guard. "Mm hm," said the male guard. She opened it, and carefully rifled through my paper. "Oh, these your Christmas stamps?" she asked. "Yep," I said, while the Not-My-Uncle guard finished emptying out my bag and began haphazardly shoving everything back into it.

I checked in, and the woman at the window told me to go make myself at home in the jury room. Unlike the Historic Downtown Portland Courthouse, this was not a spacious room with new chairs and fun things to do. It was a room the size of an Associate Professor's office at U of O (maybe a little longer) with two beat up old conference tables and exactly 17 chairs. There was a tiny sink, a non-functioning coffee maker, an old postal pin (those white, plastic/cardboard things they use to move mail around in an actual post office) filled with old magazines and a single deck of cards. There was no microwave, there were no vending machines, there was no TV. I played several hands of solitaire before the second juror showed up at 9:15. Around 10, the other jurors started showing up and I filled in some crossword puzzles. Around 10:30, the final juror - Old Man Chatty Pants - arrived, but there was no sign of any court official. Two of the middle-aged ladies talked and talked and talked. Old Man Chatty Pants challenged everyone to a game of gin and ended up playing solitaire. Everyone else was quite and read, worked on their computers, played Nintendo DS, did crosswords, or listened to music. Or napped while pretending to read, which is what I did. At 11:15 they finally brought us into the courtroom. And the judge, who was super nice and had a great speaking voice, told us to go home. They had gotten new evidence and it just wasn't going to happen to day. So I drove the 200 blocks back down Powell Blvd, the 20 blocks up 39th, and the 60 or so blocks up Broadway, over the bridge and up Lovejoy to eat leftovers for lunch.

I have done my civic duty, such as it is, and am now free to go about my business for at least 24 months. Huzzah?