Friday, January 31, 2014


I woke up yesterday and was glad that I had two days off from work. I immediately felt guilty for feeling glad. I'm underemployed--I only work part-time. I need to work more; I need to make more money.

Guilt's second front: if I'm only working part-time, shouldn't I have a spotless home or shouldn't I be cooking Top Chef quality meals? Shouldn't I be deep into a novel or a collection of essays or poems? Maybe I could be doing more charity or community work or teaching myself new crafts or skills.

I consider guilt a negative emotion like envy. Guilt can paralyze you if you let it. It can be good if it inspires you, motivates you to do the hard work to realize your dreams.

I need to use my guilt--make it work for me.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Veronica Mars Re-Watch: Season Two Episode Nine

My Mother, the Fiend

As part of Veronica's detention, Vice Principal Clemmons has her alphabetize some school records. She finds her mother's file and learns her mother and teacher Mrs. Hauser were once suspended together 25 years ago. Veronica is determined to find out more.

The girls were suspended for spreading rumors about a pregnant student. Was it Celeste Kane? Keith discovers that an abandoned baby was found in the girls' bathroom at the Neptune High prom. Veronica learns that the child is Trina Echolls, who's back in town to direct a Neptune High School production of Hamlet. Trina's mother is Mary, a former student who now works at the school. Mary is deaf and Veronica's misunderstanding of her sign language is the episode's title. (Lianne was Mary's friend.) The father: the current Neptune High principal. Veronica is impressed with Vice Principal Clemmon's Machiavellian move to have her find the file and uncover the truth.

In other developments:

Logan's revenge on Weevil ends with Weevil taped to the school flagpole, like Wallace in the pilot. Despite a fist fight between them, Logan and Weevil tentatively agree to work together to find who killed Felix.

Beaver hires Mac to set up a website for his business, the Phoenix Land Trust. Because he's only 16, he wants Kendall to be the face of his company.

Veronica finds the rat in the Mars Investigation freezer. Keith tells her that he found it in the bus.

As a class project, Veronica and Duncan have to take care of a mechanical baby. But it's Meg who is pregnant with a real child.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Art Journals Revisited

Yesterday I pulled out an ART Journaling magazine. I've saved three: winter issues from 2010, 2011 and 2012. I guess I'm due to purchase another.

Later I got out my own art journal. It's almost four years old; the first entry is dated February 7, 2010. Last night I cut out some images I had collected and pasted them onto the pages. I added some stickers and a few labels, and drew some borders. No writing, but I can add that later.

I'm still a beginner at art journaling, even after four years. In fact, my thoughts are very similar to what I wrote here exactly three years ago. I'll just keep plugging away.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Winter Weather Woes

We're in a cold spell--temps peaking in the teens not including wind chills. Eleven inches of snow fell from mid-morning Tuesday through midday Wednesday. With continuing cold, the snow hasn't melted. Neighborhood sidewalks are clear of ice for the most part, but covered in dirt and salt. No matter how careful we are, we track some crap into our unit.

Spike has reverted to resisting our efforts to put on his Fido fleece. Sometimes he walks away from us. It doesn't save him but just takes us longer to get ready. To add to our walk prep time, we also have to apply paw protection. Spike also resists this. He acts as if we're torturing him. But it's well worth it to avoid getting salt in his paws--what we call paw emergencies.

It's sad but I'm really looking forward to temperatures possibly hitting the 32 degrees tomorrow. Another inch or two of snow is also predicted.

Unfortunately, we're only a third of the way through winter.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Veronica Mars Re-Watch: Season Two Episode Eight

Ahoy, Mateys!

Veronica's efforts to help Logan lead to a scary encounter with the Fighting Fitzpatricks, a local crime family in their bar, the River Styx. The Fitzpatricks are connected to the plastic surgeon who said Logan killed Felix. It's Logan to the rescue, but Veronica flips out because he has a gun.

Weevil confronts his fellow PCH-ers; are some of them selling drugs for the Fitzpatricks?  After talking to PCHer Thumper, Weevil is unsure if Logan actually killed Felix. Some PCHers kidnap Logan to question him about Felix's death. Logan says he can't remember what happened, but vows to get back at Weevil.

Keith is investigating the harassment of the parents of Marcos Olivares, one of the bus crash casualties. Someone is leaving toy yellow buses and the scent of their son's cologne in their home. They are also getting voicemail messages from him. The harassment started after the parents sued the school district for negligence.

Veronica learns that Marcos was Captain Crunk of Ahoy, Mateys, a high school radio show. The show trashed everyone at Neptune High. Veronica and Mac track down the co-host, Imitation Crab--Vice Principal Clemmons' son Vincent, aka Butters.

Duncan is having weird dreams of angelic Meg and vixen Veronica. Meg says Duncan is the only one who can save her. He finds and opens a "private and confidential" letter addressed to Meg. "Oh my God," he says.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Flotsam and Jetsam

Recently I was thinking that almost all of my writing has been here on this blog.  One of the things I like about blogging is its paradox: it's relatively permanent but posts are something you can quickly dash off.

The other day I saw a link on (now gone) describing Jekyll and Hyde weather (the article remains.) I was calling it ricochet weather; Jekyll and Hyde better describes the emotional aspects.

Today is National Popcorn Day. Jeff and I had some from Popcorn, Indiana.

I also heard that it's National Walk Your Dog Month. At first I thought that was silly because you have to walk your dog year-round. But I remembered: some people don't walk their dogs at all, just let them out in the yard. It's better to walk them.

I read another resolution article yesterday. I didn't find it helpful--just another affirmation of how hard resolutions are and how people blow them off. I can't read these articles anymore; too pessimistic.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Gym Trash Reading

I read an article that suggested a way to keep New Year's resolutions by rewarding yourself. Here's an example: If your goal is to go to the gym more often and you like trashy books, only let yourself read The Hunger Games at the gym.

That really bugged me: not so much the advice, but the description of The Hunger Games as a trashy book. I wonder if that's prejudice because The Hunger Games is a young-adult book.

I don't read books at the gym myself; I read magazines. I often take my own magazines and recycle them when I'm finished. It's also fun to see what the gym has to offer. My trashy reading of choice are the tabloids. 

I haven't seen any tabloids recently. This week I read a TV Guide: Sleepy Hollow was on the cover--and Marie Claire--the November issue. I learned that flowers are big in cruise wear this year. I'm not going on any cruises, but at least I know what I would wear.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Veronica Mars Re-Watch: Season Two Episode Seven

Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner

The mystery of the week is finding a child abuse victim. Duncan's been going through documents on Meg's thumb drive; Meg had been in contact with child services to help a boy between seven and 10 years old she had been babysitting.

Enter Veronica the babysitter. She gets jobs with Meg's babysitting clients. The first boy seems perfect, but draws a scary looking picture; the father is sketchy. The second kid is a terror. Another client is the Goodmans. (Woody is the baseball team owner and mayoral/county supervisor candidate--depending on the episode--who encouraged Keith to run for Sheriff.) Veronica snagged a sleepover date from Gia Goodman. Mrs. Goodman is vaguely super-creepy.

Veronica and Duncan break into Meg's bedroom to retrieve a notebook in which the child had written things such as "I deserve punishment." It's in Meg's air vent (a la Lilly.) Veronica realizes the abused child is a girl, Meg's sister Grace. They find her in a room in the back of her closet.

Mr. Manning returns home and catches Veronica and Duncan. Sheriff Lamb handcuffs them and puts them in the police car. Then Lamb checks out the secret room in the closet, releases Veronica and Duncan and parks outside the Manning home.

In other news:

Logan has moved in with Duncan--awkward.

The first Mrs. Casablancas signs over Dick Junior's and Cassidy's trust funds. But Kendall is out-of-luck. It looks as if Kendall is coming on to Duncan.

Logan needs Veronica's help--he claims he's been set up by the witness to Felix's death. The witness is a plastic surgeon, but Logan says he's not the man on the bridge. Veronica tracks the surgeon to a cigar store--known as a spot that deals drugs.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Spring Tease

This morning Spike took me for a walk around the block. I use that language deliberately. Spike has to depend on me (and Jeff) for his walks; he should get to choose the route (for the most part, anyway.) In bad weather, we may barely go half a block. On longer walks, Spike usually chooses to walk around the hospital.

Today was sunny with temperatures in the forties. I heard birds singing. It felt like spring. I had to remind myself that it's mid-January.

This won't last. I wish it would, but I have to prepare myself for cold and snow.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Veronica Mars Re-Watch: Season Two Episode Six

Rat Saw God

Lots of action in the teaser: Lamb defeats Keith in the sheriff's race; Wallace is still out-of-town and out-of-touch; a witness tells Lamb he saw Logan kill Felix; Dick and Logan talk--Dick doesn't mind that Logan had an affair with his stepmother (better Logan than the pool boy); Abel Koontz wants Veronica's help in finding his daughter Amelia before he dies; Deputy Sachs arrests Logan.

Logan finds himself in a cell with his father Aaron. Aaron seems anguished; he claims he didn't kill Lilly. He offers to help Logan find an attorney. Legal aid type lawyer Cliff also advises Logan to get a better lawyer, but manages to get him released on bail. Logan goes home to find his house on fire (possibly revenge from Weevil and PCHer's.)

In her search for Amelia, Veronica confronts Clarence Wiedman. Later she finds Amelia--that is Amelia's body in an ice machine at a cheap motel. Wiedman arrives, tells Veronica that Amelia had extorted more money from Kane Software. They work together to find Amelia's killer. Veronica doesn't have the heart to tell Abel Koontz that Amelia's dead; she says Amelia is trying to get back home to see him before he dies.

In the bus crash mystery: Lamb tells Keith that a dead guy on the beach had Veronica's name written on his palm. Veronica advises Keith that she thinks she was the target of the bus crash. Keith breaks into the bus and finds a dead rat taped underneath one of the seats.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Don't Mess with the Lady in Black...

...when she's on the attack.

Today, Jeff introduced me to the Burka Avenger, a Pakistani animated TV series. We watched the first episode; it's the only one we found translated into English (of thirteen.)

Jiya is a schoolteacher at a girl's school. But she needs help when evil Baba Bandook tries to close the school. Enter her alter ego, the Burka Avenger. The Burka Avenger's moves reminded me of those in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. I liked how she fought the bad guy's minions by dodging their attacks with fast evasive moves. I also liked how she hit the one minion with a book on a rope.

The show is fun. The theme song is catchy. It's great to have a superhero dedicated to girls' education.

Go Burka Avenger!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Watching the Globes

I've always been a sucker for watching the Oscar and Emmy Awards shows. Now more award shows are televised: Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild, Independent Spirit, People's Choice, MTV, too many music shows to remember. I don't watch all of them; I concentrate on the acting awards shows.

I heard on the radio today that these shows are ratings gold because they're live, and considered un-DVRable, especially with live-blogging.

It isn't the immediacy of the programs that appeals to me. I can't name just one reason why I watch. They make me feel closer to movies, especially now when I don't go out to the movies anymore. I love to check out the clothes. At the Globes, it's fun to see who's sitting with whom. Tonight, the long walk to the stage by many winners is kind of bizarre. I guess the show's producers didn't think people like Jacqueline Bisset had a chance.

At least, people look like they're having fun.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Veronica Mars Re-Watch: Season Two Episode Five

Blast from the Past

Wallace confronts his mother about his bio-dad. She claims he used drugs when working as an undercover cop. I loved the scene when Wallace sings "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" to bio-dad. But dad had tried to contact him. Wallace is devastated by his mother's lies and cover up.

Jackie visits a psychic and discovers that someone stole her credit card and maxed it out. She turns to Veronica for help. They suspect the psychic stole the card. The psychic hosts a local public access TV show. Veronica plans to go on the show to expose her. But Jackie has set Veronica up and embarrasses her.

In the sheriff's candidate debate, Lamb surprises Keith with the news that Keith had let the school bus driver off with a warning during a DUI stop several years earlier. Because so many people still blame Driver Ed for the crash, Keith loses his lead in the race.

Veronica plants a bug in Lamb's office and discovers he's blackmailing Terence Cook, Jackie's dad. Cook has some kind of gambling problem.

Veronica also hears a phone message of another student's. It's a call from her friend on the bus--moments before the crash, there was an explosion.

Wallace fights with Veronica about taking revenge on Jackie. He doesn't believe Jackie set Veronica up on the psychic TV show. When he learns the truth, Wallace dumps Jackie as his date to the Homecoming dance. At the dance, Veronica confronts Jackie when she sees Jackie with Logan. Wallace leaves in disgust.

This episode is all over the place. We get information on the bus crash mystery. Keith loses the election. He might have won if he had released the recording of the phone call, but refuses to compromise the bus crash investigation. Terence Cook is looking suspicious. Jackie continues to be a jealous bitch.

Then, there are some over-the-top reactions in this episode. Veronica almost plays the recording of Cook at the dance to get back at Jackie. Wallace not only leaves the dance but leaves town with bio-dad.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

TV and Film Time

I don't know if there's an official definition of binge (TV) watching as there is of binge drinking. We watched three seasons of Homeland in two to three weeks. We would have watched more faster but other obligations intervened. I remember going through DVD's of the first season of the Sopranos over one winter weekend, while eating ziti.

Back to Homeland: I had read that some fans had problems with the third season. I wasn't one of them. The show kept me off balance--I didn't know what to expect. But I know that I want more.

I caught most of The Magdalene Sisters last week. It was intense and frightening. I think what hit me most was how recent the horrors were. The story took place in 1964; the last of the laundries closed in the 1990's.

The other night we re-watched Being John Malkovich. It's billed as a comedy, and I laughed at some of the scenes. But it's also quite dark. Definitely intriguing.

It's embarrassing to admit watching the last movie: Snowmageddon. I didn't expect much with that title, maybe a little fun escape. I liked seeing David Cubitt from Medium and Michael Hogan from Battlestar Galactica. But that was it. The plot was silly; the characters were inappropriately dressed for Alaska. Hey, the fact that I mention the clothes shows how little this movie had to offer.

We need to make better choices.

ETA: How could I forget Knuckleball! This 2012 documentary focuses on the two active knuckleball pitchers in 2011: Tim Wakefield of the Boston Red Sox and R.A. Dickey (then) of my beloved New York Mets. Both pitchers turned to the unusual pitch to save their major league careers. In 2011, Wakefield was in his 17th year with Sox and won his 200th game. He retired in 2012.

As for Dickey, his star was ascending. He was the Mets Opening Day pitcher in 2011. He dominated the National League in 2012 and became the first knuckleballer to win the Cy Young award.

It was fun to watch some of the older footage in the film and hear from some of the earlier knuckleballers.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Week in Review

2014 started off well. Jeff and I had a New Year's Eve feast: lobster salad, filet mignon, duck breast, roasted peppers, scalloped potatoes and cherry sauce. For dessert, we had chocolate espresso cake and champagne (of course.)

For New Year's Day breakfast, we had scrambled eggs with lobster and duck bacon. Later that day, we went to a friend's open house.

After that, things went downhill. We got seven inches of snow Thursday night into Friday. It warmed up, then cooled down again creating ice patches. Monday it reached almost 60 degrees and rained all day. Now, we're in a polar vertex; it's dangerously cold. About half the gym parking lot was covered in ice.

I'm trying to stay positive. At least our sidewalks are clear. I've been able to make all of my classes and tutoring appointments despite the weather. It's going to warm up to 20 degrees tomorrow, and get progressively warmer each day. I can't imagine living in 50 degrees below weather.

New Year's resolution-type commercials are driving me crazy: The Special K diet, Weight Watchers online, Nutrisystem: complete with pictures of unrealistic diet results and disgusting looking food. I saw one Nicoderm commercial. Later I heard a story about how many people stopped smoking over the past several years. I guess now there's a much smaller "quit smoking" market.
Sunday, I actually heard a story about how to recover if you've haven't lived up to your resolutions. Sunday, January 5th. Are people just looking for excuses to blow off their resolutions? That's why I resist the idea of resolutions. It seems they are destined to fail. For me, it's the work towards the goals that's important.

I read a few interesting resolution ideas. Here's one about Drynuary. But Jeff and I top that. Our last drink was January 2nd (to finish a box of wine) and we won't drink again until Valentine's Day. Well, I won't drink again until Valentine's Day. Jeff likes to have a Super Bowl beer.

This cleaning project also sounds like a good idea. It's more about planning than resolving.

Finally, here's a monthly plan for self improvement.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

You Say You Want a Resolution

We all want to change the world.  (Apologies to John Lennon,)

Random thoughts on resolutions.

I heard on the radio yesterday that the number one resolution is to lose weight. Does that mean that being thinner is the greatest thing that we can aspire to? Or are we brainwashed from all the diet and exercise machine commercials flooding the airwaves.

Shouldn't we want something more? Aren't other goals more worthy or important?

I can't judge--I don't have lofty goals. I would like to lose weight too.

The idea of resolution is optimistic. This year will be the year that I'll do whatever.

But, it's also a little pessimistic too--I need a whole year to do whatever.

Haven't seen any Nicoderm type commercials. Are smokers no longer a prime market segment?

Will the gym be extra crowded when I head back this week?

Do people really give up on their resolutions by January 21?