- Fizzy Thoughts: May 2007

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I actually read Water for Elephants last month. I raved about it here. After I finished the book, I typed in this passage where the 90+ year narrator is speaking to a nurse in the nursing home:

"I'll have it in here then, Rosemary, " I say, thereby proving that I remembered her name. Keeping up the appearance of having all your marbles is hard work but important. Anyway, I'm not really addled. I just have more facts to keep track of then other people.
"I do declare you're as strong as a horse," she says, writing one last thing down before flipping my chart shut. "If you can keep your weight up, I'll bet you could go on another ten years."
"Swell," I say.

I just love this passage. It totally cracked me up. I can just hear that sarcastic "swell." I was actually reading this book in a hotel room in San Diego and I had to interrupt my mom's reading to read it to her. She cracked up, too. I think the author did a fantastic job of creating a voice for the elderly Jacob, and it added so much more to the story.

I'm excited, because this book is currently off on an adventure in Switzerland. And it may get to have more adventures, but more on that later.


Memory Palaces

Monday, May 28, 2007

Earlier this month I read The Madonnas of Leningrad. While the book didn't exactly knock my socks off, there was a concept mentioned that stuck with me. The main character used a memory palace to remember the location and description of artwork in the Hermitage. A memory palace is like a mnemonic device, only it seems infinately more appealing. I remember that old standby, ROY G. BIV. What a stick-in-the-mud he was. Or how about She Made Him Eat Onions (Superior Michigan Huron Erie Ontario). Gross! Or a local favorite...Kiss Paige Conn Or Forget Going Steady (Kingdom Phylum something Order something Genus Species). Paige was homecoming queen sometime prior to my high school years. I'm sure she'd be thrilled to know she's immortalized as a mnemonic device that doesn't even really help me remember some classification system I've never had a use for (obviously, science isn't my thing).

Anyway, doesn't a memory palace sound such much more, oh...romantic? I picture my palace as one of those grand old English monstrosities. I like a good old fashioned stone keep (with a modernized interior, of course. No way am I using a garderobe...as either a toilet or a closet, thank you very much). Here's a good rendition of the entrance to my memory palace. I need to hire a better gardener, though.

Actually, I'll take the gorgeous landscaping from Leeds Castle. For those times when you don't want to remember, but would rather stare out the window or go for a walk in the sunshine.

And let's not forget the portcullis and moat. Very important for keeping the bad guys out of the memories.

Who knows, maybe I would have been a little more into science if I'd had these palaces, instead of Paige, to help me study.


This, that and the other

Sunday, May 27, 2007

I finished reading Kiran Desai's The Inheritance of Loss this evening. My review is over at Readers Without Borders.

Hamburger will be home from Costa Rica in three days. Yippee!! Poor guy, sounds like his trip sucked, surf-wise. He's called practically everyday, so he's gotta be bored. However, he didn't get sick this year, which has got to be a first. Doesn't sound like he's interested in going back next year. We'll see what his attitude is next May, though.

It's Memorial weekend, so the tourist horde (you know, like the Mongol horde...only worse) has arrived in Morro Bay. Where it's cold and foggy. He he he (that would be evil laughter). I went to the grocery store yesterday and there were empty shopping carts everywhere in the parking lot. It was like driving through an obstacle course. I blame it all on the tourists. I mean we all know they can't drive once they hit the city limits, so I'm assuming they left their manners back home, too.

Kate and I had a pact to walk two miles this weekend. As of this afternoon, I fulfilled my end of the deal. Really, I should have walked lots more, but I was feeling quite lazy. But I still have tomorrow to tack on more mileage.

That's my weekend update. Very low-key around here.


I better start thinking of a talent routine

Friday, May 25, 2007

I received this in the mail the other day:

It's an invitation to participate in the National American Miss competition. No, I did not squeal for joy like Olive in Little Miss Sunshine. Actually, the envelope wasn't quite for me. It was addressed "To the parents of softdrink." So I called my mom and told her she had some mail here. We're both picturing a road trip in a yellow van. Or, we could just use Gunther, HB's surf van. I'm sure we'd have similar mechanical difficulties.

How the heck did I get on the mailing list for a kiddie beauty pageant?!?!?!?!


Whoa Nellie

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

And here we have a gem from Eurovision 2006. I think they're the love children of KISS and some of the Star Trek characters.


More Eurovision 2007

This was Israel's entry, the Teapacks singing Push the Button. Rap, folk, punk...evidently, they do it all.


Amiens, France - Summer 1990

Saturday, May 19, 2007

I was looking through my box of pictures from my summer in Europe, back in 1990 when my college roommate and I did the backpacking with a Eurail pass thing.

I can't believe I took this picture. It's got cool reflection action going on.


100 Things

Friday, May 18, 2007

So there's this thing that bloggers do. 100 things about me. I caved, so drum roll, please...

  1. When I eat M&Ms, I usually eat them in order of color, with the ugliest colors going first.

  2. Brown would be the ugliest M&M color.

  3. Followed by yellow. I do not like the color yellow.

  4. I once owned a yellow Honda CVCC. If you’ve ever owned one, you understand why I don’t like yellow. I once had a student who was convinced the car was a Pinto.

  5. HB called it a roller skate on wheels.

  6. HB stands for Hamburger, my boyfriend of 15 years.

  7. We met at a bar. We also met at a meeting of the Social Sciences Student Association. The meeting happened to be at a bar.

  8. I think society places too much importance on the institution of marriage. I don’t need a piece of paper to validate my relationship.

  9. I think politics has been sacrificed to image and morals, thanks to Watergate.

  10. Not that I think politicians have morals.

  11. But I think Nixon was a much better president than Bush.

  12. I also think President Bush is a scary, scary man.

  13. Politicians who talk about God scare me. Whatever happened to separation of church and state?

  14. I don’t believe in any god. Or goddess.

  15. My brother believes in God.

  16. My brother is on his third marriage.

  17. Make of that what you will.

  18. I usually avoid talking about politics and religion. Really.

  19. I wrote a paper on Emma Goldman for my historiography class in college.

  20. I was the only girl in 6th grade who did not participate in choir.

  21. I took flute lessons in third grade.

  22. Until we got to the part about learning to read music.

  23. Then I quit. Because I don’t understand music.

  24. I also quit the same job three times. I kept returning because the tips were good.

  25. But I hated being a waitress.

  26. I once had a customer stand up and yell at me in front of a packed restaurant for something that was not my fault. He made me cry, but the manager kicked him out.

  27. I love Elmo.

  28. But then, most people know that about me.

  29. I love him because he makes me laugh.

  30. Same goes for HB.

  31. They both have red hair, too.

  32. Hmmm…make of that what you will.

  33. I usually read the last few paragraphs, sometimes pages, of a book first.

  34. I like happy endings.

  35. No happy ending sometimes means no book.

  36. I love to read, but not the classics, whatever those are.

  37. I do not have a favorite book, so please don’t ask.

  38. HB calls me Softdrink.

  39. My niece calls me Juice.

  40. I have two blogs and neither one says much of anything interesting.

  41. I’m a pretty good speller, but my grammar is atrocious.

  42. And I don’t care.

  43. I wish I had the talent to be a writer.

  44. Then I could live anywhere in the world.

  45. I also wish I had majored in Library Science.

  46. Or English.

  47. I’d probably still be working for the county, though.

  48. If I wasn’t so attached to my paycheck, I’d go work at a bookstore.

  49. It would have to be Barnes and Noble, though. Have you seen the employees at our local Borders?

  50. I could very easily live without a television. HB could not. He has been in Costa Rica for 2 1/2 weeks and I haven’t turned on the TV since he left.

  51. I loathe reruns. Especially Seinfeld.

  52. HB can watch the same movie twenty gazillion times. That drives me crazy.

  53. I am neither a morning nor a night person.

  54. But it is very easy for me to stay up late if I’m reading a good book.

  55. If I was going to buy a new car, I’d buy a hybrid. Honda, of course.

  56. I don’t belong to Costco.

  57. Say what you will, but I love Starbucks.

  58. I also wish the chain stores would stop taking over the world.

  59. I’d really miss Starbucks, though.

  60. I’ve been to the original Starbucks in Seattle.

  61. Seattle has some very cool independent bookstores.

  62. Not to mention independent coffee shops. As well as lots of Starbucks.

  63. I could live there.

  64. I would also be happy living in London.

  65. HB wouldn’t. Ooops, that’s another fact about HB. Oh well.

  66. Green is my favorite color.

  67. But blue is usually the last M&M color I eat. Sometimes it’s red.

  68. The week before I started fifth grade I fell off my bike and scraped up my arms.

  69. In sixth grade it was the skateboard, and the arms again.

  70. It’s a good thing I never learned how to roller skate.

  71. The next time I fell off my bike I was in college.

  72. I scraped up my shoulder and my leg, and then rode 10 miles back home.

  73. I still have the scars.

  74. But I have never broken a bone.

  75. And I have no cavities.

  76. I think Kobe Bryant is the worst thing that ever happened to basketball. Bill Walton being hired as an announcer is the second worst thing.

  77. I remember listening to the Trailblazers win the NBA title in the 70s. It was on the radio, and we were in the woods in Oregon cutting firewood.

  78. Okay, the parents were cutting firewood. I was 7, so I was just hanging out. Evidently, I was into the game.

  79. I was on the girl’s basketball team in junior high. I scored one basket in two years, but I was almost always in the starting five.

  80. I passed Political Thought in college thanks to Cliff Notes.

  81. The fact that Cliff seems to have been replaced by Spark makes me feel old.

  82. My least favorite college classes were statistics, logic and astronomy.

  83. I was actually looking forward to taking astronomy, but the professor turned out to be an asshole, which is why it’s on the least favorite list. I’m still bitter.

  84. I swear a lot.

  85. My high school English teacher said a lot is not a word. Neither is alot.

  86. Refer back to #41.

  87. I went to college for 6 years, only to end up at a job not in my field.

  88. Same goes for HB.

  89. We met during his last quarter at Cal Poly.

  90. Despite having the same major, we never had any classes together.

  91. I don’t believe in ghosts or aliens.

  92. Although I might reconsider if you introduced me to one. Same goes for god.

  93. I love to travel, but I have no desire to go to Asia. Unless someone gave me a time machine. Then I would reconsider.

  94. I have tried haggis. In Scotland.

  95. Gross! The haggis, not Scotland.

  96. In junior high, we cleaned and cooked snails in science class. They tasted like garlicky erasers.

  97. It’s a toss up as to what is more disgusting…a tuna sandwich or an egg salad sandwich. Toss in a side of macaroni salad and a deviled egg and I’d probably hurl.

  98. I don’t do windows.

  99. I still celebrate holidays; I just ignore the religious meanings. I have no ethical dilemmas over this.

  100. I have staphyloma in my left eye. No, I’m not contagious.

Wow...you made it to the end? Give yourself a gold star.


Nose, meet book.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

I love National Geographic's photo of the day archive. Hear that, Nat'l Geo? I love you. So don't get all pissy because I'm posting one of your fabulous pictures, kay?

And look, here are the credits...

Safranbolu, Turkey, 1986
Photograph by James L. Stanfield
A student at a Turkish religious school buries his face in a book. (Photographed on assignment for, but not published in, "The World of S├╝leyman the Magnificent," November 1987, National Geographic magazine)

You know the phrase "nose in a book?" I think this is perfectly illustrates it. Either that or it was a very boring read.


Homes Sweet Homes

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I attended a training a few months ago where the trainer asked us to count up how many different times we had moved in our life. This was to include moves between houses in the same town. I have forgotten what the point of this exercise was (yeah, the training was that memorable), but my total was 19. And for some reason, I've found myself thinking back on many of these places in the last few months. So here it is, the list of all the places I've lived...

1. a house on some numbered street, Maywood, CA - since I didn't learn how to count until after we moved away, I think I can be forgiven for not remembering the address. This is the family (pre-me) in front of the garage, the only picture I could find that showed any part of the exterior.

2. an apartment above Kramer's General Store, Dufur, OR - population 500. This is when my parents decided to flee LA. Obviously, they went to the opposite end of the spectrum. Some might say they went to the ends of the earth.

3. the trailer park, Dufur, OR - yes, yes, you can make a trailer trash joke. Like the apartment, I have zero memory of this. I do have a picture of my brother and I standing in front of the trailer...he is holding his freshly caught fish, I believe I'm holding the fishing pole. What are little sisters for, huh?

4. the trailer, BFE, OR - ready to renovate the barn, our parents moved the trailer (and us) out to the boonies.

5. barn, BFE, OR - yes, I lived in a barn. Even after the renovations, it was still a barn. With bats. And we had an outhouse. A two-seater, which I believe puts us waaaaaaay above trailer trash in the social order. I'm convinced this is part of the reason why I don't feel a need to go camping. Oh, I almost forgot...we had farm animals! There was Rusty Nails, the horse. And Ham and Bacon, the pigs. And there were chickens without names.

6. farmhouse, Boyd, OR - you won't find Boyd on a map, at least a current map. It's a dead town, east of Dufur. The farmhouse was totally cool, though. Although I had just moved from a barn, so that might have something to do with the fond memories. My brother lived in the attic, the little room above the kitchen with no windows. Yes, it was his choice. He was a teenager at that point. I was about 6, I slept in the room next to my parents because it was very lonely and scary in the real upstairs bedrooms where my brother wasn't around to protect me from monsters. He totally failed in his execution of big brother duties. Oh, except this is the place where he taught me about indian burns and 52 card pickup. And he took my bike apart and then then put it back together without the training wheels. The jerk. Yes indeedy, lots of good memories here.

7. smaller farmhouse, Friend, OR - despite the name, another dead town, this one on the other side of Dufur. This house had blue siding and cherry tomatoes in the abandoned garden. My grandma had a dog she named Dufur. Years later, we had a dog we would name Friend. Total misnomer, that.

8. duplex, Fir St, Morro Bay, CA - our return to California. There was a fuchsia plant in the front yard and my best friend for 2 years lived in the other half of the duplex. Years later, our moms ended up working at the same school and retiring together. They go to the movies together every week. The duplex is still there, I drive by it out of curiosity about once a year. It looks short.

9. home, Los Osos, CA - the first (and only) house my parents owned. My mom still lives there. Actually, they may have owned the Maywood house...if they didn't, my grandparents did. I should ask my mom about that. I came home from school one day and my mom (who had always hated the closet dividing the dining room and living room) had taken a sledge hammer and knocked down the closet. Go Mom...way to force Dad into having to do some work around the house.

10. college apartment, SLO, CA - I lived here for two years. And I survived the first Poly Royal riots at this apartment complex. There's nothing like looking out your living room window to see police in riot gear.

11. London! Okay, it was only three months and it was a college program, but dammit, I'm counting it!

12. back home - I was broke after London and I had to finish college. Yes, I'm counting a place twice, but it's moves, not locations. Besides, doesn't just about everyone move back home at some point?

13. room in a house, Los Osos, CA - for about 3 months I rented a room from one of HB's former roommates.

14. Ironwood St, MB, CA - my first home with HB. Awwwww. It was a typical old little Morro Bay vacation shack. And it's no longer standing. :-( I went for a walk one day to find it had been replaced by a very large modern MB house, the kind that takes up the whole lot.

15. Tahiti St, MB - our move to the islands. ;-) This was the second house we rented. This one had insulation and a garage for HB to make surfboards. And a bad mold problem in the spare bedroom.

16. Oahu St, MB - homeowners at last! This is still our favorite house. It was the perfect size for the two of us, and we did so much work on this house. We got attached, although not so attached that we couldn't sell.

17. Rennell St, MB - a three block move. We actually walked the refrigerator (on a dolly) between the two houses. Another fixer-upper, this one with a two-car garage, which is a rare find in north MB.

18. Berwick 1, MB - out of north MB and into the high(er) rent district. Low rent house, but still a better neighborhood.

19. Berwick 2, MB - the current home sweet home. Never move across the street, it's the hardest move you'll ever make!

And here's hoping #20 is a long ways off.


Eurovision 2007 - Verka Serdyuchka

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

This is what I do when HB goes to Costa Rica...sit around and watch Eurovision entries on YouTube. The Ukraine is, hands down, my favorite. Although Israel's Push The Button was pretty damn funny to watch, too.



Monday, May 07, 2007

Why does Blogger offer to remember you if it always signs you out? Just one of many things I don't get. But that wasn't the point of this post.

Meet Pearl...

Pearl is the newest duckie here in duckland.

Pearl was a birthday gift from Mackenzie. I think she looks quite regal.


My sign

Friday, May 04, 2007

Brought to you by Andrea Micheloni.


May 1st

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Besides being May Day, today is also Loyalty Day. I'd never heard of Loyalty Day, but it strikes me as being a very American thing to do. Ooooooh, those sneaky commies, they have a holiday to celebrate workers and communism? The nerve! Well, we'll just take their holiday and make it a day to celebrate America, 'cause after all, we know what's right.

Pppptthpt. I much prefer a day dedicated to flowers, maypoles, and the workers of the world.

artist: Walter Crane

In a real sense, people who have read good literature have lived more than people who cannot or will not read. It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish. ~S.I. Hayakawa

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
~St. Augustine

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.
~Mark Twain

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