Thursday, April 23, 2009

Birthday.

Here's the email my mom sent us today:
Henry is 7 today. This is what their night was like last night: Molly working on things for H's birthday, went to bed at 1; Willa awake at 1:20, talking, singing and in high spirits until 4; Henry awake for the day at 4:40. I called to wish him H.B. at about 8. He was very excited to tell me what he got from his parents, an Indiana Jones costume. It came with a shirt, pants, hat, side bag, and the best accessory of all, a whip. He put down the phone to crack the whip for me couple of times so that I could hear it. He is not taking it to school. He is in a running club that meets after school so the party is not today. He told me that they are preparing for a 1 mile run called the Menuda Run. Right now they are doing stations with obstacles. I told him that it sounds like conditioning and he said, "no, it's helping us get ready for the run." The run will have some obstacles, he believes. He is taking hot lunch today and they're serving chicken nuggets. He told me that the best part is that they come with hot sauce. Every day this week when he enters his pin number in the lunch line a message lights up Happy Birthday Henry. He's bringing cupcakes to give his classmates. This is a great day for a 7 year old. I hope you all have a day like this 7 year old.
Love,
Mom

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Also.

I want to go to The Dwelling in the Woods like ASAP.

Sporty spice.

Em and I ran a 5K on Monday night. The only thing this particular course really had to recommend it is that there was no entrance fee. The "race" went fine and we finished it and giggled quite a lot along the way, but about halfway through, the whole event liquified my insides. So it was not my most comfortable run ever and it produced what the Brit calls toilet troubles, but at least I didn't have to stop mid-run to drop a twosie.

The next day, I went to a free yoga class in my neighborhood (do you see a cheapskate trend here?). There's a new studio opening up about a 5-minute bike ride from home and they're doing free promo classes all week, so I biked over and did vinyasa for an hour and died. It was great. Even the instructor's hands-on adjustments made me want cry with joy. Look, I been knowing that I should be doing yoga, to shut up those mangy monkeys in the treetops of my brain, but I never get around to it. This class did that very thing (shutting up monkeys), as well as taxing me physically, so I think I'll sign up for the whole session.

Today I rode my bike to work for the first time this spring. To that I can only say GLORY BE.

And so far, this handmade deodorant is working. It's been about 5 days, and I have clearly done many sporty things while wearing it, so I think it's safe to recommend the stuff at BehaveLittles' etsy shop. If you click on the link you'll see that she is taking a small hiatus, but the good news is that she's looking into twist-tube packaging for her deodorant. I am all for that, since right now it comes in a tin and you have to rub it on by hand. My next etsy product review will be perfume oil from Sweet Anthem. It's all about stinking so good these days.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Amazon Fail.

There's been some booshit cooking at Amazon over the weekend regarding the removal of sales rankings from certain items deemed "adult." Here's what Amazon had to say about it:
In consideration of our entire customer base, we exclude "adult" material from appearing in some searches and best seller lists. Since these lists are generated using sales ranks, adult materials must also be excluded from that feature.
Amazon has since backpedaled somewhat and explained the ranking removal as a "glitch," but some authors have been receiving this "glitch" explanation since February. Some books have had their rankings restored, but it's pretty arbitrary. Jezebel has been following the mess (as have many other blogs).

Some examples of the items deemed "adult":

  • Changing Bodies, Changing Lives: Expanded Third Edition: A Book for Teens on Sex and Relationships by Ruth Bell
  • Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and A World Without Rape by Jaclyn Friedman and Jessica Valenti
  • Full Frontal Feminism: A Young Woman’s Guide to Why Feminism Matters by Jessica Valenti
  • Cycle Savvy by Toni Weschler (author of Taking Charge of Your Fertility, which should incidentally be required reading)
  • Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin
  • Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson
  • S.E.X.: The All-You-Need-to-Know Progressive Sexuality Guide to Get You Through High School and College by Heather Corinna
  • Bastard out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison
  • Ellen DeGeneres: a Biography by Lisa Iannucci
  • The Mayor of Castro Street: the Life and Times of Harvey Milk by Randy Shilts
Not "adult":
  • Sex toys
  • Playboy: the Complete Centerfolds
  • A Parent's Guide to Preventing Homosexuality by Linda and Joseph Nicolosi
  • The Complete A**hole's Guide to Handling Chicks by Dan Indante and Karl Marks
  • Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller (but Delta of Venus by Anais Nin is "adult

The lovely denizens of the internet have tagged over 1000 items at Amazon with "amazonfail."

You can sign the petition to reverse this stupid policy of censorship by people who clearly don't read anything, ever, here.

There is also a reasonably plausible theory about how this could have happened. Whatever the case, Amazon needs to step up and fix it.

Friday, April 10, 2009

For your enjoyment.

The Social Security Administration's popular baby names website is an awesome resource, especially if you are a fiction writer OR you enjoy knowing things like the 463rd most popular girl's name in 1952 (answer: Inez). It goes all the way back to 1880. Of course, it's based entirely on SSN applications and counts spelling variances as different names. But it's still pretty cool. (via Jezebel.)

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Cleaning house.

I am all for pulling up carpets wherever I find them and have done it throughout most of the house, but we still have carpet in the basement and in our upstairs bedroom. Neither area has flooring underneath the carpet that's worth a damn (I've checked), so for now there is a sort of oatmeal color downstairs and a very sad mint green upstairs that I successfully manage to ignore most of the time. But in an effort to improve our living environment, I rug-doctored last night and this morning before work. It was about as gross as you might expect. If you've never rented a carpet cleaner before, you haven't had the joy of seeing the cleaning water get sucked up into a reservoir tank, all filthy and silty after passing through the grody fibers of your carpet. I also extracted a pound of cat hair. I'm thinking of just building a second cat with it, one that sleeps quietly at the foot of the bed until we're ready to wake up for the day.

There has been a bit of spring cleaning urge in me for the past week. (If you like, you may read "spring cleaning" as "tax prep procrastination," and you would not be too far off.) I spent much of the weekend indulging it. But I did take one break to meet up with my friend Wendell at IKEA. That was nice and everything, but the big bonus is that she had her cousins Big W and Miss Lippy in tow, so we made each other's acquaintance in the meat world, and ate snacks and faffed about the marketplace for a good stretch. They are all as rad in person as you might expect from reading their screeds. (I already knew this about Wendell.) Plus, I got a sweet knife block from the outing.

Like I said before: the rest of you bloggers need to come to Minneapolis and holler at me.

Tonight I think I'll adjust my bike so that I can ride it for reals. Tomorrow should be plenty warm for riding (if you think 30 F in the morning is warm), and the alternatives have been making me crazy. I suspect that these first few rides are going to a) be hard and b) make me rethink my bob. My bangs are finally long enough to tuck behind my ear, but the Brit keeps telling me I look like Peter Tork (bless him).



Unrelated: think of some topics about which you'd like to hear the Brit hold forth. I keep threatening to make a jar full of topics for him to pick randomly and then extemporize a mini-podcast. We're both good at thinking up things to do but not actually doing them. Help me.

Friday, April 03, 2009

TGIF.

Oh hello internet. Since we last spoke, March has gone out like a lion, and then April came in like one, replete with what meteorologists like to call "wintry mix" and what I like to call "utter shite." Plus I caught a cold, one bad enough to keep me home from work. The upside to this is that I was encouched for the whole day Wednesday and much of Thursday, deep in the internet when I was awake and napping with the cat otherwise. Thanks to the surfing, I ordered some handmade vegan deodorant on Etsy. If it works, rest assured that I'll be yawping it over the rooftops and drumming up business for the crafter who makes it.

Mostly when I'm cruising around Etsy, I'm looking at rings (an overwhelmingly huge category, btw, even with all kinds of search qualifiers to narrow things down. You wouldn't believe how many "Twilight inspired" pieces there are on Etsy right now.). That's one wedding accoutrement that is important to me, especially since they stay with you, and I love the idea of someone making them for us. You may holla at me if you know/know of an awesome ringmaker. I've actually stopped writing this entry like three times (I started Thursday) to wade through some more ring searching.

Apart from rings, I have had to stop looking at wedding p0rn after a brief flirtation with it. It was giving me anxiety about something that I want to be fun. That said, I do feel compelled to repost this bouquet (clicking on it will take you to the photographer's site):

What, are you kidding me? That's kale, man.

In other news, I just went to pick up my spendy musician's earplugs and had a charmingly flighty audiologist who threw in a high-frequency hearing test for free. I had an audiogram a few weeks ago and everything looked good, but the ENT I saw afterward said that all the symptoms I'd been having--ear fullness, tinnitus, dizziness, hyperacusis or maybe technically recruitment--were consistent with hearing loss and that I'd probably lost some of my high-frequency hearing, outside the range that is normally tested. Since there was no *event* to connect this loss to (trauma, a loud concert, etc), she also said "we probably won't ever know what happened." It could have been a virus.

The custom earplugs were my idea, since I'm a musician and all. Regular earplugs just sort of muffle everything, whereas musician's earplugs basically turn down the volume, so the clarity is better. They're fitted exactly the same way as a hearing aid, i.e., your ears are gunned full of goo, which sets and makes an impression of your ear canal. Today's appointment was a follow-up to learn how to don and doff the earplugs and make sure they're filtering the decibels they're meant to filter. That was all fine. The extra hearing test confirmed that my right ear is rockin and my left ear is less so. The clinic only has one instrument for testing those frequencies, and they use it most for cancer patients who are having chemotherapy, since that can damage the ears and the high-frequency testing provides an early warning about this damage. So, I'm considering myself warned early and I'll go back for follow-up in 6 months.

People, please pay attention to your hearing. I was in music school for 10 years and no one ever talked about hearing protection (until, coincidentally, my recent teaching stint in Wisco), which is plain ridiculous. I don't think I could have prevented whatever jacked my ear in December, but the thing about hearing loss is once it's gone, it's gone. Those little hair cells don't regenerate. So I'm going to be extra careful from now on.

In conclusion: GO IOWA.