Sunday, October 28, 2007

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Meme of Twos

Tagged again! (I'll get to the dream one soon...)

Two names you go by:
1. Mommy.
2. Sandy. Not my real name, but enough people are starting to know me by it that it's sticking.

Two things you are wearing right now:
1. socks
2. I said socks. That's two things.

Two of your favorite things to do:
1. Drone on and on and on about how the deleted scenes from Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith should never have been deleted; the plot really could've used some substantiating in places, and Padme's character was up to more than we're led to believe in the final version, which is a long-ass movie anyhow, so why cut these scenes? Why?
2. Laugh.

Two things you want very badly at the moment:
1. my mother's recovery from back surgery
2. a good night's rest

Two favorite pets you have had/have:
1. Cat I had as a child, Mittens. Nice lil' kitty.
2. Cat I had as an adult, Sam-I-Am. He would not, could not, in a box.

Two things you did last night:
1. Made a Jamaican chicken stew that got mixed reviews. My Dad always raves about my cooking, but tonight I made pasta from a box with sauce from a jar, and he raved about that too, so I'm beginning to suspect he just loves being fed :). Mr. Sandy said eh, it was OK, but there are better chicken recipes.
2. Took the first step in my quest to see everything Daniel Craig did before James Bond: I watched Layer Cake. Review forthcoming. In the meantime I've just realized that the last time I went on a cinematic quest like this, it was Liam Neeson's fault, and Netflix hadn't been invented yet.

Two things you ate today:
1. Apple pancakes. Mr. Sandy makes 'em every Saturday morning. He is the best husband in the whole damn universe.
2. Ham and provolone sandwich on wheat bread with honey mustard.

Two people you last talked to:
1. The Peanut, who woke up crying and said her foot hurt(?). I'm guessing she had pins and needles. Or, as Steven Wright says, "I hate when my foot falls asleep during the day -- that means it's gonna be up all night."
2. Mr. Sandy, who asked me for magnets for something he's devised so that I won't have to keep the kitchen timer on the counter. Keeping the kitchen timer on the counter doesn't bother me in the least, but whatever. I did have magnets, so we'll see what becomes of them.

Two things you're doing tomorrow:
1. Visiting my mother at the rehab hospital.
2. Going for a walk by myself.

Two longest trips taken:
1. Mediterranean cruise.
2. Two weeks touring around Scotland.

Two favorite holidays:
1. Thanksgiving.
2. Labor Day.

Two favorite beverages:
1. Water. Really! I know, yawn.
2. Red wine. But not Greg Norman's Shiraz. Pffffft.

Two more people who will fill this out:
1. Donald Rumsfeld -- I've been tagging him for years, and he's flat out of excuses.
2. This means you too, Alberto Gonzales. I'm not taking no for an answer this time.

How 'bout you? Let me know if you do.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Dinner, or Supper?

Which is it in your house? I guess to some folks "dinner" is the midday meal. I always grew up with "dinner" and "supper" as synonyms for the late day meal, but calling it "dinner" much more often.

In any case it's been a while since I told you what we've had for dinner, and I can tell you're dying to know but you're too polite to ask.

OK, maybe not. But here's a quick, easy meal that my girls love:

Rotini with Prosciutto and Peas

1/4 lb. prosciutto -- I get the least expensive kind, cut in one slice. Some deli folks are better than others at judging how big a slice makes 1/4 lb. It doesn't matter precisely how much you end up with. A "heavy quarter" or a third is fine.
3 T extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
14.5 oz box rotini -- I use Barilla's multigrain. Other brands come in 1 lb. boxes so in that case just use more of everything else or not quite all the pasta.
1 cup coarsely grated Parmesan cheese
1 T lemon juice
10 oz. package frozen peas

Put the water on for the pasta.
While it heats, cut the prosciutto into tiny cubes. Brown it in a skillet.
Add the oil and garlic to the skillet, cook until garlic browns a bit.
Meanwhile cook the pasta. When it has about 3 minutes left, dump the frozen peas in with it. Drain all that and put it back in the pot.
Mix in the prosciutto, garlic, and oil, and add the cheese and lemon juice.

Voila. Not fancy, but tasty, and I like dishes with the veggies already in 'em.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Out of it

Hi. I've been out of it. But not as out of it as my poor mother, who had back surgery on Monday and has since been loopy on pain meds which have not always been working. The short version: it was bad. It's slowly getting better. There's a long road ahead.

In the meantime, I'm going to start a post category for "dreams." I remember a Dilbert cartoon in which the first frame has Alice talking in excruciating detail to someone (intern Asok?) about a dream she had; in the second frame, Asok (yeah, I'm pretty sure it was Asok) says there is nothing more excruciatingly dull than listening to another person talk about their dreams; in the third frame, Alice is gesturing animatedly and saying "but this was no ordinary grape, it was a seedless!..." and Asok is trying not to slit his wrists with the staple remover thingy. Or something like that.

None of the probable truth of that sentiment will stop me from relating this dream of the Bean's. She came into the bathroom this morning in her sheep PJs, arms outstretched, bottom lip quivering, holding back tears. I held her on my lap and she told me she'd had a bad dream, in which "we were in a parking lot, and [Peanut] took some steps backwards, and a red pickup truck was coming out of a parking place and it hit her, and she fell down. Then a man came out of the truck, picked up [Peanut], put her in the truck and took her away."

Poor Bean! She was so upset, it just broke my heart. I know precisely how she felt -- her dream sounded a lot like the kind I sometimes have. The kind I have to work out of my system by crying in the shower till I can face the day without holding my babies so close they'll wonder what the heck's the matter with me and why I'm squashing them and sobbing.

So we tiptoed into the Peanut's room to watch her sleep, so the Bean could see she was fine. That seemed to help. Then she was all about pretending to have blue hair with her PJ top pulled back over her head.

Me? I'd just woken from a dream in which I was flying around the country with Barack Obama, managing his campaign. Won't I be proud if he wins!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Meme, myself, and him

I have been tagged for a relationship meme. I'm an easy mark for this kind of thing, very assignment-oriented. So I'm turning in my answers:

1. Who's your sweetie?
Mr. Sandy
2. How long have you been together?
We met almost exactly ten years ago; that was the day, I knew he was my-ee-ine.
3. How long did you date?
About two and a half years before we became engaged.
4. How old is s/he?
Four months younger than I.
5. Who eats more?
You mean by weight, or by volume?
6. Who said “I love you” first?
That'd be me.
7. Who is taller?
He's 6 ft., I'm 5'4".
8. Who sings better?
Ha. I dunno. He was part of a madrigal group... but I kind of don't like the noises madrigal groups make, so it probably isn't a fair question.
9. Who is smarter?
He is. I'm no slouch in the brains department, but he's extraordinarily smart.
10. Whose temper is worse?
Mine. No contest.
11. Who does the laundry?
I do.
12. Who takes out the garbage?
Whoever notices it's full and empties it. We each do.
13. Who sleeps on the right side of the bed?
What are you saying, that there's a wrong side of the bed?
14. Who pays the bills?
I do.
15. Who is better with the computer?
He's better about how they work, and making them do things; I may have better Google-fu.
16. Who mows the lawn?
We each do, but he does it more often.
17. Who cooks dinner?
That's my job.
18. Who drives when you are together?
Almost always me. I like to drive.
19. Who pays when you go out?
It's all the same account anyway.
20. Who is most stubborn?
We can both be pretty stubborn, but we don't disagree about much.
21. Who is the first to admit when they are wrong?
Dunno... it's never happened. Har!
22. Whose parents do you see the most?
Mine, because they're closer.
23. Who kissed who first?
What is this, high school? Hmm. Maybe this thing got started in a high school.
24. Who asked who out?
Huh? We were 30 when we met. These questions had long since become absurd.
25. Who proposed?
Mr. S. did.
(You mean this meme is intended for married folks, and still has the question about who pays?)
26. Who is more sensitive?
Sensitive to what? I don't get it. So, probably him.
27. Who has more friends?
We probably have similar numbers of close friends, but I think I have more close-acquaintance-level friends. I could be wrong, in which case I admit it and I'll go back and change my answer to #21. I definitely have more online friendships.
28. Who has more siblings?
He's the youngest of 5, I'm the elder of 2.
29. Who wears the pants in the family?
We both wear pants, and there's more than one pair between us.

There ya go. I don't tag people for things... if you want to do it, go to town, and let me know you did so I can go read.

Friday, October 19, 2007

So where were we?

...before the gelato (ooooh, gelaaahto)?

Ah yes - not camping, is where we were.

Actually, I like camping. Some of my fondest memories are of camping trips. I've been a lot of places that way. Mountains and rivers and deserts and forests... all differently awesome, all wonderful.

Impossibly bright moon and stars on a cloudless New Mexico night, reflected in a shimmering lake black as the sky-- they aren't kidding when they call it the Land of Enchantment. Cowering in a tent during a deluge in Death Valley, of all places -- I think the night I camped there, the place got all its precipitation for the decade. Canoe camping along the Saco River, Maine (I hear this is something of a canoe freeway these days, but I'm talking 25 years ago). Hot springs in Thermopolis, Wyoming (is that a cool name or what?). Yellowstone and Rocky Mountain National Parks. Grand Canyon. NJ Pine Barrens. Adirondacks. Great trips, great memories. Stories to go with all of 'em.

One particular morning in 1989 I awoke at first light on a California beach, rubbed my eyes, rolled over to look out at the Pacific. And there were two beautiful naked guys. Blond surfers, getting into their wetsuits. I rubbed my eyes again. I decided to move to California.

Ah, youth.

So yes, camping can rock. Why then would I rather chew on tin foil than go canoe camping this weekend? Because the forecast is for a "100% chance" (hello? 100% is a certainty, not a chance) of heavy rain overnight tonight, and showers all day tomorrow. Damp sleeping bag, damp clothes, damp tent, damp firewood... then the temperature drops to the 40s for tomorrow night, so add cold to the damp, in case you weren't having enough fun already.

Also, I just can't crash on the ground and wake up well-rested the way I used to. And those pads for under your sleeping bag? They just suck.

I'll have to come up with a way to make it comfortable though. There's still more to see out there in the great wide world, and sometimes buildings just get in the way.

Trader Joe's Italian Chocolate Gelato

Let's see if this is any goohhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Wow.

Shhh. Nobody speak. Mommy's concentrating.

No sweetie, this is for grown-ups.

Right, like wine.

Better Him Than Me

Mr. Sandy has gone camping this weekend.

Canoe camping. In Vermont.

It is 6:43 AM. (If this doesn't get posted until much later, well, that's how it goes in Sandyville. Hopefully it means the girls are dressed and where they're supposed to be, not that I fell asleep drooling on the keyboard here.) He just pulled out of the driveway with the truck loaded up ... tent, sleeping bag, clothing, flashlight, food? I guess they'll stop for food on the way. I'm always about the food. Canoe, paddles, life preserver. Rain gear, I trust, based on the forecast. As we say in our house, he is "pants over diaper butt, ready to GO!" (Um, yeah. I'll explain that later, and probably badly, as a lot depends on the intonation and having a laughing toddler with diaper butt around to think it's hilarious.)

Camping this weekend. May I just say I'd rather chew on tin foil?

More later. Time to get those girls up.

Monday, October 15, 2007

*Now* it's fall.

I know that culturally fall starts Labor Day, and astronomically it begins with the autumnal equinox, but to me it still feels like late summer until some other things happen.

T-shirts are away, turtlenecks out; shorts away, jeans out. My summer "uniform" has given way to the winter one. The girls' drawers have been similarly rearranged. PJs with feet are back in play.

Mr. Sandy took the air conditioners out. The heat came on for the first time, and with it came the incriminating smell of burning dust. I'm a bad housekeeper, yes, I know.

Sunhats are put away. The girls wore fleece jackets to the bus stop this morning. We put Chapstick on their lips every morning now, and Vaseline every night.

The big canister of cocoa mix is out on the counter to stay for six months or so.

Stuff like that.

Oddly though, the pink impatiens are still going strong. That's good. A gradual change is better than if it were as though someone had thrown a switch. Maybe there's still time for me to dust a baseboard or two.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Mixed Movie Bag

Mr. Sandy and I watch a lot of movies at home because 1) we never go out and 2) knowing that, we splurged on a cool projecter and speaker setup. Now I can watch Star Wars 72 inches wide and loud enough to shake the foundation of the house. It is awesome. And it's paying for itself in babysitters not hired.

This weekend was kind of a cinematic mixed bag. Friday night we watched Lonely Hearts (2006), a 1940s period piece based on the true story of two Long Island homicide detectives (John Travolta and James Gandolfini) who track down and capture Ray Martinez and Martha Beck (Jared Leto and Salma Hayek). Ray and Martha, lovers posing as brother and sister, run a con in which they swindle young war widows they meet through the personal ads, and often kill them in horrible ways afterwards. There are no light moments in this movie. None. It's an awful story. One scene in particular contains some of the most disturbing sexual imagery I've ever seen, and I'm not prudish about stuff like that. Leto and Hayek crossed into some truly scary emotional territory to play those roles. Travolta's performance, as a gifted detective but damaged man with his own demons to confront, was terrific as well. Gandolfini plays a donut-snarfing stereotype; you mentally beg him to stop with the constant chewing, already. (Please! Just for ten seconds, could you not have something in your mouth! Gah!)

It's a very good film that I'm maybe not so glad to have seen.

For Saturday night I thought Steve Martin's Pink Panther (2006) could take us in the polar opposite direction. We looked forward to some silliness and laughs. I'm sorry to report that this one fell almost completely flat. There were a couple of weak chuckles, but the script was mediocre (it even tried to include a sympathetic/sad moment. Why, why?) and the bottom line is that somehow Martin's goofiness (think The Jerk) just doesn't fit Clouseau. Kevin Kline was OK as Dreyfus, but it wasn't enough. My favorite performance was by the heavy-lidded Jean Reno as Detective Ponton, assigned by Dreyfus to work with Clouseau and report on his whereabouts, but gradually changing his loyalties. He will reprise the role in the inevitable sequel, due out in 2009. John Cleese is going to be Dreyfus, which may make that worth seeing, but I have to say the overall effect of this one was to remind me what a true comic genius Peter Sellers was. As culturally dated as the Sellers Pink Panther movies are (Martin's Clouseau chats on the internet, and certainly doesn't have a "little yellow friend"/Asian sidekick, instead taking the occasional, mildly amusing jab at Ponton), Sellers's timing, facial and body language, and accent are just plain hilarious in a way that can't be topped. He accomplished more in two lines than Steve Martin did in all 93 minutes of this remake.

"I thought you said your dog did not bite."
"That is not my dog."

A matter of taste perhaps, but to my mind, Clouseau doesn't get better than that.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


I've told my girls that if they don't like something I make for dinner, they can ask me not to make it again, but they still have to eat it the first time. At the time, they agreed and choked down whatever it was that night. I figured my parenting mojo was working. Yay me!

Well damned if every dinnertime strategy doesn't backfire on me with that Peanut. The Bean, by far the more particular of the two of them in other ways, is so easy to feed. Peanut, not so much. Even the stuff she likes takes forever to get down her gullet. At two, she'd ask "what we have fo' dinnah?" and I'd say [whatever it was], and she'd wrinkle her little brow and shake her head slightly and suggest, "I don't -- like -- that?" And I'd think "my God she's gorgeous," then come out of my trance in time to say "Peanut, you DO like that. You had it two weeks ago and you liked it a lot." Now at three, she enunciates the question properly, and I still say [whatever it is], but now instead of hedging she just says "I wanted pasta!" Still gorgeous, but not so cute, especially after however much effort I've put into preparing chicken breast with herbed goat cheese and garlic (which they both ended up loving), or whatever the heck I've made. Then we get into the "Peanut, I don't listen to whining, go sit on the couch till you're done" loop.

Hence, the rule. Of course nobody likes everything -- that's OK, but you have to eat it the first time. The Bean is all over that (partly to show up her sister, I'm sure). She tries everything, likes most of it, explains what she doesn't like about some dishes (bbq sauce too spicy, texture of couscous too weird) and politely requests not to have them repeated. The Peanut, however, thinks she's playing me. She picks at meals she's always liked, and says she doesn't want to have them again. I can see her little goal is to whittle down the options until the only thing she hasn't rejected is: Pasta. And maybe turkey burgers. And chili (with "conebread"), and that goat cheese chicken, and pizza, and carrot soup, and flounder, and... actually, by three year-old standards, she likes quite a lot of different foods. She is just fixated on pasta.

At least it's whole-grain pasta.

Still, I see what you're up to, and it won't work, little one.

Boo! Time for a quiz, and an exorcism if you're so inclined.

Enough of my headache (returned) and exhaustion (profound). It is time for a silly quiz - What's Your Halloween Personality?

Mine: What Your Halloween Habits Say About You
You're a friendly person, but not the life of the party. You like making someone else's day - and you'll dress up if you think of a really fun costume.
You definitely think of yourself as someone who has a dark side. And part of having that dark side means not showing it.
Your inner child is stubborn and a bit bossy.
You truly fear the dark side of humanity. You are a true misanthrope.
You're prone to be quite emotional and over dramatic. Deep down, you enjoy being scared out of your mind... even if you don't admit it.
You are a traditionalist with most aspects of your life. You like your Halloween costume to be basic, well made, and conventional enough to wear another year.

I doubt it's because I prefer chocolate to gummy worms, but some of this is right on (I'm friendly with a dark side and a stubborn, bossy inner child, like to be scared, somewhat traditionalist). Of course some of it is also crap (I'm neither prone to overdrama nor a true misanthrope, though maybe kind of a curmudgeon). And how a person can be both friendly and truly misanthropic escapes me. Well. It's a silly quiz. Enjoy, and report back.

What do you do for Halloween? U.K. readers, has Halloween spread across the pond?

As a serious kind of kid, it was never my favorite holiday. I never really liked any sort of dress-up, and going to school in costume made me anxious. I don't even know if schools still do that, but I won't be sad if they don't.

As a parent it is a total hoot to see the kids enjoying it. We have good friends up the street, and team up to do dinner and trick-or-treat stuff together, and it's truly fun.

For some of the 1990s, I had a looooong highway commute to work from Amherst, MA to Brattleboro VT. Was I insane? Let's just say home life wasn't great, work life wasn't great, so those hours in the car may have been the healthiest part of the day. Anyhoo, I used to catch this dude's kooky radio talk show for sheer entertainment on the way home. This time of year it was always highly amusing to listen to his demented rants about how celebrating Halloween is opening ourselves to forces of evil, demonic possession, Satanic influence, &c. I kid you not. If you need an exorcism or know someone who does, check him out. You could get on TV!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Here's a kind of spirograph thingy. Eh.

In case there was anyone left in the known universe who doesn't think Tom Cruise is crazier than a shithouse rat: be aware he's building a bunker for when the aliens come. Course, maybe he'll have the last laugh. I dunno though, my pantry is preeettty well stocked from that time the canned tomatoes (no salt added, natch) went on that crazy sale, and also from the time I thought Stop&Shop was going to quit stocking cans of Goya low sodium red kidney beans and I bought every single one they had. What can I say -- I have high blood pressure and I make a lot of chili.

Check out the astronomy picture of the day. I'm going to put the link on my sidebar. Cool.

Also: the earworm of the last few days, to go nicely with my headache (which is just abating over the last couple of hours, tyvm), has been that "Tub Thumping" tune by Chumbawumba, or whateverthehell that band was called. I say was, because somehow I can't imagine they're still crankin' out da hits.

Monday, October 08, 2007


I don't know why I get 'em, but I remember having headaches even as a child. As a younger adult I had migraines. I don't get those anymore, so that's good. But sometimes -- dang. My head freakin' hurts.

Today is one of those days. I skipped the Advil and went right to the prescription stuff, which has kicked in, but I can still feel the headache as if it's hiding behind a heavy curtain which will lift in a few hours, and I'll be back where I started from.

There are all kinds of pain to be in, and most of them are worse than this. Still, it wears me thin.

Metaphorically only, of course. There really is no up side.

More Movies!

From the "everybody knows this already" department: Crash is a gooooood movie. One of the best serious dramas I've seen in quite a while. It's upsetting, doesn't have a lot of light moments, but the effect for me was more thoughtful than depressing. The movie follows a dozen or so characters (big cast, all terrific) as their lives are affected by a couple days' events on the streets of Los Angeles. It makes for a lot to think about: 21st century racism, isolation, prejudice, fear; the fact that everyone has more to them than first shows (and isn't that some of the oldest wisdom, "don't judge a book by its cover"? We all know to try not to do that. We all do it anyway). That you never really know what is happening in someone else's life is worth thinking about, and Crash is a great vehicle for it. Every character has something to identify with. Every one also has deep flaws.

Moralizing: We're all flawed humans. Treat each other kindly. Bad things may still happen, but to do otherwise is to live in a kind of prison.

Crash reminded me a bit of House of Sand and Fog, another excellent drama, this one based on a powerful novel by Andre Dubus III. House of Sand and Fog is quite sad, however, and though I recommend it I don't want to see or read it again.


Good news from the "sometimes even Sandy digs a chick flick" department: Mona Lisa Smile (2003) wasn't nearly as nauseating as I'd feared. Julia Roberts plays Katherine Watson, a new art history instructor at Wellesley College in 1953. An independent thinker from California, Miss Watson is unprepared for and ill-suited to the conservative, stodgy, stifling environment she finds at Wellesley, despite its being a school for the sharpest minds in the country ("I thought that I was headed to a place that would turn out tomorrow's leaders, not their wives").

Miss Watson proves herself a powerful instructor and role model. She teaches a lot, she learns a lot. It's a nice story, however stereotyped and stylized. Especially noted: the costumes are great. Maggie Gyllenhaal is lovely. Julia Stiles has a terrific voice. Marcia Gay Harden is funny, borderline freakish, as the chintz-loving elocution/deportment instructor.

The story is complete fiction -- I don't think that Wellesley College had classes in deportment and whatnot, as even then it was a place for serious education -- but it is true that in 1953, even women's college graduates for the most part "only" married and raised families. I suppose the question is there: how far have we come? Even in 2007, nobody asks men how they plan to balance career and family. But I don't have the energy for that today, and as Katherine Watson learns, we don't all measure by the same yardstick. Mona Lisa Smile is a good story, and a pretty movie, and I'm going to leave it at that.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

I gave my love a story... that haaaad noooo ennnnnd...

You know the scene in Animal House where Bluto Blutarsky (or whatever) comes down the stairs at a party and there's some dude strumming an acoustic guitar, soulfully crooning
"I gave my love a cherry
That had no stone,
I gave my love a chicken
That haaaad nooooo booooooone..."
and Bluto grabs the guitar, smashes it on the stairs, and hands it back with a muttered "sorry"?
At least that's how I remember that scene.

Well, I always thought that song was a joke, part of the genius of the script (another gem is the headline: "Sophomore Dies in Kiln Explosion.")

Turns out, as I was blissfully unaware until recently, it isn't. It's an actual for-real song, that real people sing. Incredibly, this can be done with a straight face. Just not by me.

I learned this because Peanut and I take a music class Wednesday mornings while Bean is in school. Each 10-week session comes with a CD of a reasonably pleasant mix of songs in different styles for the kiddos to learn. So I unwrap the new CD, pop it in, and what to my horrified ears should appear but this damn tune, in all its sincere, saccharine splendor. And I can't help but also hear the satisfying crunch of an acoustic guitar being smashed mid-verse.

Sadly, the Bean heard the song in the car today and has decided it is "soooooo beautiful." She sings it constantly, and... well... the kid can't carry a tune in a bucket.

I have the mental guitar smash going on infinite loop.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Leave a light on, just in case.

Can you watch horror movies? How 'bout alone, late at night? In a dark house? With your spouse on a trip to Far Far Away and your little ones sleeping upstairs and occasionally making vaguely unsettling gurgling noises over the baby monitor?

Something possessed me (ha! - I kill me. Double ha! ... right, not funny. Sorry.) to watch 1408 under those circumstances. Based on a terrific short story by Stephen King, it's about what happens when Mike Enslin, a jaded writer of cheesy "haunted inn" travel guides (played by John Cusak looking appropriately chunky), stays in room 1408 at New York City's Dolphin Hotel, over the strenuous objections of hotel manager Gerald Olin (played by Samuel L. Jackson looking appropriately stern). "Nobody lasts more than an hour," says Olin. Enslin scoffs, demands the key and checks in. He notes on his tape recorder that 1408's major threat appears to be its horrid decor, and blithely flips through a thick file of news clippings and grisly photographs of its previous unfortunate occupants.

Then. Chocolates appear on the pillow while his back is turned. Cute trick, thinks Eslin. But as the clock radio, untouched, begins to blast the Carpenters' "We've Only Just Begun," again and again and again -- well. He begins to realize that the manager wasn't yanking his chain. There's serious evil in 1408, and he'll likely die there.

The movie's got some flaws, but overall it's effectively creepy, and one of the best King adaptations I've seen. (The Shining, of course, is the gold standard. Actually, the others I can think of weren't so good, so maybe that's faint praise.) Anyway the original story, as always, is even better. I'm going to read it again, probably with another adult in the house.

Thursday, October 04, 2007


On the missing person - not much hope. There has been nothing in the Cape Cod Times (I won't link you to their website, which is astonishingly bad, for a news outlet) about the man who went overboard off the ferry for almost a week now. His cap has been found; that is all. Evidently he went off the starboard bow. Those propellers come pretty quickly -- I think if you're aiming to survive, you'd choose a different spot to dive from, but I don't really know. Anyway I'm guessing the outcome won't be a happy one. I happened to be in Falmouth (Cape Cod town closest to Martha's Vineyard) the other day and saw posters of his picture on the telephone poles in town. Sad.

On the casino proposal - some reason for optimism. News today is that Governor Patrick's proposal includes a provision for voters at the local level to have the final say on whether or not there will be a casino in their town. So at least there's that. It doesn't help Lakeville residents deal with a potential casino in Middleboro, but it's something. If a casino is approved locally, well, I'd say it's all kinds of stupid, be careful what you wish for, etc., but it's less horrid than the state just giving it the OK from above. People can still say no -- let's hope they do.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

On the way to the bus stop

Bean: Wouldn't it be nice if a nice girl monkey came to tell that skunk to stop messing up our yard?
Me: Um... sure. That would be nice. Why a girl monkey?
Bean: Because monkeys have hands like people and can pick things up, and feet like hands so they can climb trees.
Me: Good point. (forgets to ask why not a boy monkey)

On the way back from the bus stop, Peanut carrying acorns, me carrying my tea:

Peanut: What if someone put an acorn in someone's tea?
Me: Someone should not put an acorn in someone's tea.
Peanut: If someone did that, someone would have a time out.

Monday, October 01, 2007

More pissing into the wind

(submitted on, for whatever it's worth)


Hello -
May I just say that it is WAY TOO SOON to be displaying that stupid giant inflated Santa thing in the grocery store? People say that Christmas commercialization happens earlier and earlier every year, and that is certainly true at Stop & Shop, where you now have Christmas displays up and running within hours of the autumnal equinox.

It's gross. Please stop it.

The poor employee who was stationed in front of it, and taking the brunt of everyone's comments, said that everyone -- EVERYONE -- who came in was disgusted and complaining about it. I know I'm one of just a few who will take the time to write, but you know and I know that HUNDREDS of customers feel the same way. Hello? Do you care?

I would really appreciate Christmas displays being held off until after Thanksgiving. Otherwise it's one more reason I'm doing more and more of my shopping at Trader Joe's. (The other reasons include that they sell eggs for $1.19/doz. Where does Stop & Shop get off charging twice that?)

Thanks for reading.