Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Punchline Tour

I Kid You Not

I call this piece "Stress in Repose on Wazamba Tube Adrift a Field of Rampant Spreadsheets"

We have a monthly department meeting here in the Land of Big Oil. To entice people to fail to skip it, there is birthday cake and a raffle.

The raffle usually consists of four gift cards to Starbucks, Jamba Juice, etc., and one coveted "get two free vacation hours" certificate.

Yesterday, they cleaned out the prize closet and gave everybody something with the company logo on it. There were many soccer-themed stress balls and apparently a more limited number of tape measure/levels.

Coincidentally, there are many women and only a more limited number of men in the department.

So the women got the balls and the men got the measuring devices.

Forty-two-year-old me bit twelve-year-old me's tongue really hard to stem the flow of inappropriate jokes.§

There are no such restrictions on you.

FOOTNOTE (crossed): Well, medium-sized oil.

FOOTNOTE (double-crossed): I won one of those a couple of months ago. They made me trade for a Starbucks card.

§FOOTNOTE (swerved): The only thing the little angel on my shoulder let me say was, "We are all now eligible for the St. Mary Stress Soccer League." It was funnier in person.

FOOTNOTE (paragraphed): Kim? Can I lob you a softball? OH! That's what she said!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Go. Look.

For those of you who aren't already VSL junkies, allow me to direct you to today's offering:, a graphic designer's website that specifically features "50 extraordinary and attractive billboards" and generally has a bunch of cool advertising and graphic design.

One of the billboards is a Denver Water advertisement,§ so I feel a sense of civic pride:

There are also two Mini Cooper billboards. This is my lucky day.#

I'm a dork like that.

FOOTNOTE (crossed): And I think you all should be.

FOOTNOTE (double-crossed): I also like the "44 advertising posters with clever ideas."

§FOOTNOTE (swerved): I have long thought this was a particularly good ad campaign, though I loathe being told what to do with my water.

FOOTNOTE (paragraphed): Any time Denver isn't in the news for housing terrorists of one kind or another, I am elated.

#FOOTNOTE (pounded): What with all the validation.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Dr Doom and the Very High Seats

Will the Dr. Doom Fan Club please buckle your collective seatbelts and keep all limbs inside the ride?

Dr. Doom attended his first football game on August 30 when the beloved Broncos played the new mini-rivals the Chicago Bears.

Here he is, outside the stadium:

Inside the stadium:

On the way in, he observed that, while he had Broncos shirt and Broncos jacket and even Broncos pants, he did not have a Broncos hat.

These are the things that must be remedied.

On the ramp, with new cap:

In the stands, apparently after the hot dog:

Dr. Doom didn't seem at all put out to be in stands this high off the ground:

Or this close to the top of the stadium:

To be fair, I doubt he was impressed by the view either, but I'd like to think you would be:

All in all, a successful first outing.

Particularly since, when he said, "AntiM, I wish we could ride back to the car in one of those," pointing at the bicycle rickshaws, "It would be much faster," I promptly turned around and hired a rickshaw for the boy.

Look at those big, blue eyes. If those big, blue eyes looked up at you and said "AntiM,"§ would you say no?

FOOTNOTE (crossed): Nothing like the hated Raiders, of course (*cough*23to3*cough*), but our idiot former QB is now throwing for the Bears, so we just don't think that highly of them.

FOOTNOTE (double-crossed): *cough*indulgent aunt*cough*... does anybody have a lozenge?

§FOOTNOTE (swerved): Even if your name is Kim or Laurie or Leslie or Sarah or Kari...

Friday, September 25, 2009

A Brief Respite from the Hilarity

Dear Friends,

Holly, my newly-minted stepsister-in-law has been Hodgkin's-free for 13 years.

Mom had Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma before she died nearly four years ago.

In a fit of bonding and in honour of the big ol' empty space where Mom used to be, I'm walking on Holly's team in Light the Night on October 1 in Wash Park here in Denver.

As my uncle, the motivational speaker§ says, "If you don't ask, the answer is always no."

I ask that if the cause speaks to you and the timing is right, please click the giant Light the Night button over there on the right and use me as a conduit to donate.

I'll be thankful if you would like to participate and utterly unruffled if you don't.

Thank you for your time. Now go ask someone to tell you a good priest/rabbi/bar joke.


p.s. -- next week I *promise* pictures of Dr. Doom and a completed knitting project.#

FOOTNOTE (crossed): One of the not-evil ones.

FOOTNOTE (double-crossed): The cleverly-named "Holly Holly Hodgkin's Free"

§FOOTNOTE (swerved): I am not making this up.

FOOTNOTE (paragraphed): Though I don't hesitate to point out to him that sometimes it's better to beg forgiveness than ask permission. In that case, the whole "no" question is moot.

#FOOTNOTE (pounded): Because it's been well established that knitting pictures make everything better.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Just so's you know my head hasn't exploded yet, here I am.

One of these days I'm going to load the last month's worth of pictures in one giant *blurgh* of photojournalism, but for now, let me tell you a little story and share a link.

Sunday was the Broncos home opener. I don't have a parking pass, but the boss's FIL has vintage season tickets and VIP parking. The boss took his son, but they live right on the very spiffy light rail line to the stadium, so they decided to go the public trasportation route.

Thus, I got the VIP parking pass.

We got to the lot I parked near the entrance, which makes for a longer walk, but a much quicker getaway when the game is over. This was really good thinking, only I forgot one key element: I pulled into the space head-in.

When we got back to the car after the game, I realised my error. Not only was I going to have to rely on the kindness of strangers to back all the way into the traffic lane, I was going to have to back to my right with an empty space on my right and a giant truck on my left... exactly the wrong configuration for my needs.

AND... it turns out that when you are flanked by two giant trucks -- even if one of them is a full parking space removed from you -- and your head is sunk deep in truck territory, it' really hard to see oncoming traffic anyway.

After a moment, I realised I drive a Mini Cooper.§

I backed all the way to the end of the parking space, turned the wheel hard right and proceeded to execute a perfect seven-point turn. When I had completed this feat, Kelley poked me and pointed at the small crowd that had gathered to watch the magic of the Cutest Little Car in the Whole Wide World.

Amazement, applause and quite possibly the best object lesson in why a tiny little car is one of the best accessories a sports fan can have.


An email exchange:

From: eBeth
To: Marin
Subject: Now here's a textile for you!#

From: Marin
To: eBeth
Subject: Re: Now here's a textile for you!

Holy cats. It's like my best dream spun out of my worst nightmare.

Plus... bulletproof shawl!

From: eBeth
To: Marin
Subject: Now here's a textile for you!

Surely there's a pithy maxim buried in there somewhere. If life gives you spiders, make a shawl....


I don't know about all y'all, but this makes way more sense than that lemon thing.††

†FOOTNOTE (crossed): Y'know... a pod of whales, an oodle of cupcakes, a *blurgh* of photojournalism.

‡FOOTNOTE (double-crossed): You may have noticed.

§FOOTNOTE (swerved): Two points for effort, Captain Obvious!

¶FOOTNOTE (paragraphed): If you think there's no such thing as a perfect seven-point turn, well... you really need to see me in action.

#FOOTNOTE (pounded): *WARNING!* Giant spider alert! Sarah should proceed with caution!

††FOOTNOTE (ddouble-ccrossed): I don't believe life has ever handed me lemons, but it's handed me innumerable spiders. Lemons would, in fact, be a nice change, and would require no sugar-coating (heheheh) to be a big step up.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Planks to Be Walked, Chickens to Be Stalked

As many of you are aware, Saturday is National Squawk Like a Pirate Day.

Red knows.

Marybeth is getting the picture.§


FOOTNOTE (crossed): I know you think it's TALK like a pirate, but have you ever heard a chicken talk?

FOOTNOTE (double-crossed): The chicken, not the chick. The chick is Marybeth.

§FOOTNOTE (swerved): Actually, Marybeth is giving the picture, which delights me to no end. I saw this on Facebook and was itching to steal it, then Marybeth emailed it to me and preempted any criminal activity on my part. Marybeth is my new best friend.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

State of the Onion

My office is roughly 2/3 of a block from the bathroom.

If you'll direct your attention the clever graphic below, I have drawn a rough diagram of my daily habitat.

The green star is me. The purple star outside the box is the bathroom. The red star is the coffee maker, the blue star the printer where my documents mostly show up and the orange dinosaur-looking thing is Hans.

[SUMMARY: With that, you know way more about my daily life than you want to.]

The series of events:

A vague notion that I have to pee. A vague notion that coffee would be good. The certainty that this print job is going to take several minutes, seeing as it's 180 pages long.

In a fit of efficient brilliance, I hit print, figuring I'd drop my coffee cup in the kitchen, cruise to the bathroom, pick up coffee and collect my printed document on the return trip.

In reality, I hit print, went to the copy machine, couldn't figure out what I was doing there, realised I didn't have my coffee cup and went back to my office for that.

[SUMMARY: It dont't get any better than this.]

I started out again, this time skipping the copy room and heading for the kitchen, where I dispensed coffee to cup, whitened it up and headed back to my office. When I hit the copy machine, I remembered I had to pee.§

I set the coffee down on the copy counter and went to the bathroom. On the way back, I was intently reminding myself not to forget my stuff at the printer and bypassed the coffee completely.

[SUMMARY: Still not getting better.]

I got back to my desk, started to sit down and bounced like a rubber ball as I remembered my coffee. I went back for the coffee, and circled the copy room for a moment trying to remember what it was I was not supposed to forget in the copy room. There weren't any papers lying around to give me a clue, so I went back to my office.

When I turned back to my computer, there was an email I needed to answer. About ten minutes later, Hans walked into my office with a handful of papers.

"These look like yours," he said.

"Oh, yeah. I printed stuff! Thank you!"

I set the stuff on the desk and continued with my email.

[SUMMARY: Multi-tasking may not be for everybody.]

About five minutes later, I turned without looking and bumped the coffee, spilling it over the freshly printed stuff. I sopped up the brown puddle with the paper towels I keep in my desk just for these moments,# sighed and took a sip of coffee. Which was cold.

Thus the sometimes-vicious cycle of life in the wilds of the office†† begins again. More prints, more coffee and someday I will spill again.


Wazamba - Parfume d'Empire

Marin says: "What are you sniffing these days?" asked Nathan.%

"Not much, really. I'm experiencing perfume ennui," I replied.

"I hate it when that happens," he commiserated.

The next day, Wazamba landed on my desk.

Out of courtesy‡‡ to my generous friend, I pounced, ravaging it like a starving beast ravages a plump gazelle.§§

Mmmmm... fresh-cut pine backed by a dollop of sweet-but-not-too, round, smoky, resiny incense. It mellows noticably but subtly to a gentler pine, not as citrusy-sharp, with the incense bubbling up just a little, but broadening rather than overcoming.

The smoke becomes more pronounced, but this is one of the best smokes I've sniffed -- not too campfire, not too acrid, just smooth and dry and a bit sweet, like the smell of an old church after mass.

Somewhere in here, I was thinking of applewood smoke on a BBQ. Turns out, the perfumer actually lists apple in the notes.

Now, we can chat about all the notes and bits, but there's something complete about this fragrance that wants the forest to be noted ahead of the trees. The word I keep coming back to is "enveloping." I find it cosy and comforting, and just a bit sexy, because smoke and incense usually have a little vavoom in their makeup. The sillage is poofy rather than trailing, more resembling a fog or a cloud than the stream of a peacock's tail carrying behind it.

The fragrance is incredibly long lasting. If I didn't shower, who knows how long it would have stayed? Eighteen hours after a light application, my wrists smelled like baking¶¶ and incense.

It is to be noted that Aaron (the filing clerk) walked into my office and went all dreamy and forgot what he was going to say. "Wow. It smells *really* good in here." Shanny liked it and confirmed that it goes nicely with R&B, Robert Cray-style.

So I've shaken my perfume ennui in favour of Wazamba monomania.##

It's a step in the right direction.

Parfum d'Empire says†††: An aromatic pine$ grove created around incense,$ sacred to all great civilizations. Incense, myrrh, sandalwood, cypress and apple$ fashion the enigmatic formula of this captivaing perfume. A voyage within...

Hans says: A spice. Like a cinnamon. It smells like the colour brown. Rich mahogany. Yeah, I get a spicy scent.

FOOTNOTE (crossed): Hans doesn't merit a star because, once again, Hans is leaving on a deadline. We had a deadline yesterday, we have another October 9 and now we have one October 30, the day Hans is leaving for Madison.

FOOTNOTE (double-crossed): Short lived.

§FOOTNOTE (swerved): You'd think this wouldn't be a memory item, wouldn't you?

FOOTNOTE (paragraphed): My obsessive nature doesn't only apply to hobbies and things people tell me I can't have; it spreads and permeates every little corner of my being. In this case, erroneously. That copy room haunted me all day.

#FOOTNOTE (pounded): Yes, I keep paper towels in my desk. For good reason.

††FOOTNOTE (ddouble-ccrossed): I watched a little Discovery Channel this weekend.

%FOOTNOTE (percented): In one of our rare moments lately -- werk is really eating into my pleasant social time.

‡‡FOOTNOTE (doubble-crossssed): Y'know... gentle, courteous attention much like what a six-year-old gives a big, beribboned package on Christmas morning.

§§FOOTNOTE (dervish): Huh. Maybe I watched more Discovery Channel than I thought.

¶¶FOOTNOTE (knock knock): I was really surprised to find it didn't have any vanilla in the notes.

##FOOTNOTE (pound the sistrum!): Wazamba Monomania would be a good name for a band. Particularly, as Grain de Musc so kindly provided, since a Wazamba is a sort of African sistrum.

†††FOOTNOTE (holy holy holy cats): Via the packaging. Their website is all in French and I couldn't figure out which button to hit to get to the next on the list of perfumes and I don't know French for "search" and I was looking at the parade of bottles at the bottom of the page going all Nancy Drew with the "it's a golden colour" and again with the "the label is dark brown" and I never saw a Wazamba bottle float by, which is a shame because I thought it would be funny to post the French, doubly funny if I posted the shipping particulars instead of the perfume PR.

Did I mention "obsessive"?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


I'm all featured and stuff. Garden Planters-dot-com likes my tomatoes almost as much as I do.

Though I'm pretty sure it was the cucumber-as-John-Holmes reference that drew them in.

[SUMMARY: Gardeners are a saucy bunch.]

Meanwhile, a kitcen appliance tragedy§ has stalled my cupcake quest: the dough hook of my Kitchen Aid mixer is somehow jammed on the thing. It won't push up, so I can't get the little knobby thing to travel the little groovy thing to take the dough hook off.

I was in full panic mode last night.

Having accepted a lost day of baking,# I'm a little more zen today.

[SUMMARY: All things are relative. Zen doubly so.††]

Do they have mixer repairmen?‡‡

FOOTNOTE (crossed): Apparently, I'm influential.

FOOTNOTE (double-crossed): The Google tracks of the wily gardener... it's all part of the circle of life.

§FOOTNOTE (swerved): I was distraught, in any case. Most of the world remained largely untouched by this turn of events. I believe Guy suggested, to my frantic Facebook post, "bigger hammer."

FOOTNOTE (paragraphed): The spring moves fine, I soaked the thing in hot water and ammonia, there's nothing visible wrong with it. It just won't budge.

#FOOTNOTE (pounded): And more than once contemplated whether cupcakes can be made either with a dough hook or in the fancy new food processor.

††FOOTNOTE (ddouble-ccrossed): Apologies to Douglas Adams.

‡‡FOOTNOTE (doubble-crossssed): And do they look like Gustavo Dudamel?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Do Your Civic Duty


Oh, not for any of those windbags, liars or foot-in-mouth experts on capitol hill. I'm baking an oodle of cupcakes some time in the next week and I'm interested in the general public's temperature on the final flavour slot.

1st cupcake recipe - Buttermilk cake with Spiced Vanilla frosting§
2nd cupcake recipe - Red Wine Chocolate cake with Mascarpone frosting
3rd cupcake recipe - Um... I'm leaning toward one of the following:

  • Cardamom & Orange cake with Lemongrass frosting

  • Cranberry cake with Dulce de Leche Pecan frosting

  • Carrot Cake cake with classic Cream Cheese frosting

  • Hummingbird cake with Marmalade frosting

Cast your vote off to the right% there, leave a comment... you may just influence what I bake, and isn't that what you've always dreamed of?#

FOOTNOTE (crossed): The proper term for a group of cupcakes. Y'know... like a pride of lions, a pod of whales, an unkindness of ravens... an oodle of cupcakes.

FOOTNOTE (double-crossed): And you guys too!

§FOOTNOTE (swerved): Like this:

As an aside to the footnote (supply lines are getting thinner and harder to maintain), when I searched my blog for "cake," it told me there were no posts that matched the query "cake." My blog is a lying whore.

FOOTNOTE (paragraphed): For those of you who aren't Southern, the cupcake book says hummingbird cake is a "classic recipe from the American South," and its ingredients include cinnamon, mashed bananas, orange zest, shredded carrot, crushed pineaple and flaked coconut.

%FOOTNOTE (percented): NOT a political statement.

#FOOTNOTE (pounded): When you wish upon a blog, makes no difference who you snog... lalala... hum if you don't know the words.

As another aside (I can hear you rolling your eyes), I wanted to add musical notes to that, but the latest version of Word no longer has musical notes. I don't know what I'm going to do when I want to sing to you now.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


...I'm supposed to be working.

Only, we had our fantasy draft last night and I got to keep the premier player in the whole of the NFL, but ended up drafting a stoopid quarterback and one player simply to have someone whose bye week is ten.§

Long night.

On the up-side, we've moved our league from CBS Sports to Yahoo, which doesn't just give us great savings, it gives us the ability to use the Toyota Logo Enhancer.

The BOB# is now represented by a demon sheep.††

I'm so happy right now, I could just go back to werk.

FOOTNOTE (crossed): Adrian Peterson, who I hope is man enough to carry my whole miserable team.

FOOTNOTE (double-crossed): Kyle Orton. I know. But I thought I should have at least one Bronco and Knowshon Moreno was gone. Besides, my brother kept saying, "Kyle Orton, still on the board," in a very sarcastic tone. I had to shut him up. If the boy ever learns to play, I'm going to look like a flippin' genius.

§FOOTNOTE (swerved): Hakeem Nicks of the Giants. I don't know either.

FOOTNOTE (paragraphed): As CBS charged us $170 for the privelege of being able to set our roster set times, apparently.

#FOOTNOTE (pounded): Beasts of Burden - my fantasy moniker. It's always fun if your initials spell something and "BOB" lends itself well to trash-talking. I once was beating everybody in the league so soundly, I wrote a little Christmas song and having a one-syllable name facilitated that nicely. Also? This year we have a new guy named Robert who is playing under the team name "Lesser Bob." Ask me how much I love that.

††FOOTNOTE (ddouble-ccrossed): I usually use Donkey from Shrek, but a donkey wasn't one of my options. Toyota has an elephant but not a donkey. This could raise political eyebrows among the conspiracy theorists. Oh... and for the record? Toyota offers both a knitting needle in a ball of yarn and a sock as background, but neither one showed up behind the sheep.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A Half-Hearted, Time-Saving Lick of the Pig

I know, but...

[SUMMARY: Defensive much?]

These days, I don't write blogs. I barely read blogs. In this economy,§ one must do everything in one's power to stay in the good graces of those willing to pay one.

Translation: Deadlines loom. Free time is short. Can't screw around.%

[SUMMARY: Excuses, excuses.]

I do have a couple of juicy tidbits I want to share, just to let you know I'm still out here somewhere and well, because they're funny or interesting.

Sarah, you're going to want to cover your eyes when we get to "interesting."

[SUMMARY: In the eye of the beholder, my friends, in the eye of the beholder.]

So on the funny front, a follow-up to the Lady Gaga fashion debacle of July 2009:


And something I find interesting, courtesy of Kathy-now-Kathryn:

Meet Heteropoda davidbowie.

Yep. You read that right. David Bowie gets his own spider. Be it Martian or Glass, it seems somehow glam-appropriate... if a little scary.

[SUMMARY: All day long, my head will be shrieking, "...but where are the spiders?"]

And, since I put it together last week, I can throw this in and complete my tour of the Six Scents line... just in time for the release of Six Scents, part II#, due in October.††


No. 6: Teen Spirit - Preen & Mark Buxton (Part 6 in the series)

Marin says: Bergamot.$ Definitely bergamot. Or maybe lemon of the verbena variety. It's thin and high and sour-citrusy... and as I found out later, may be the most interesting portion of the trip for me.

When the citrus starts fading, a touch of rose$ peeks through. It's very watery, both in that "barely there" sense and in that it smells like rain.$ Once the bergamot is completely gone and the sharper parts of the rose round out, it becomes a round, powdery floral, no particular rose in sight.

I think the "teen spirit" moniker is apt; this reminds me very much of something one gets at Walgreen's when one is a 16 year old girl. Love's Baby Soft. Something attributable to Brittney Spears.@ It goes distinctly soapy (must be musk$) late in the game.


Meh meh meh.

Six Scents says: "The idea we had with Preen, was to capture an English summer garden after the rain - light, natural, floral, fresh, but not sweet. Its sprakling top note, made of calabrain bergamot an a unique seashore accord‡‡ is wrapped with magnolia and Turkish rose. The tingling spicy scent of red pepper sustained by hazelnut leaf and rhubarb give the fragrance its natural depth.§§ Finally, a touch of violet wood for the long-lastingness and pleasurable feeling." - Mark Buxton, Perfumer

Ingredients: Hazelnut Leaf, Rhubarb, Bergamot, Seashore accord, Red Pepper, Berry Rose, Magnolia, Violet wood, Sandalwood, Musk.

Hans says: Ooooh, I like that. It smells like grapefruit rind. What do you call that? Zest. Grapefruit zest.¶¶

FOOTNOTE (crossed): You may have noticed.

FOOTNOTE (double-crossed): Mostly of the "funny cats" variety.

§FOOTNOTE (swerved): Oh, how I hate it when people use that phrase...

%FOOTNOTE (percented): Much.

FOOTNOTE (paragraphed): Who has the most interesting Twitter list. I did eventually have to remove Courtney Love from my follow list because she's patently bugshit insane and completely misses the seminal point of Twitter, which is its brevity, by posting roughly 20,000 words a day, 140 words at a time.

#FOOTNOTE (pounded): Electric Boogaloo.

††FOOTNOTE (ddouble-ccrossed): I can hear you cringing from here, Nathan.

$FOOTNOTE (on the money!): I'm not as proud of myself as I usually am. Picking out orange and rose seems a scant talent.

@FOOTNOTE (atted): Before her particular bugshit slut phase -- back in the Disney "I'm still a virgin" pink poofy feather ponytail days.

‡‡FOOTNOTE (doubble-crossssed): I'm officially a perfume snob. I completely dismissed this whole scent as soon as I saw the cutesy marketing ploy "seashore accord." Good thing I didn't really like the scent to begin with or I'd be torn by hypocrisy and existential angst.

§§FOOTNOTE (shaking my head, waggling my finger): If I had detected any of anything in this whole sentence, I may have been able to find something other than "meh" to say about it. Everything in this sentence sounds delightful.

¶¶FOOTNOTE (heads up!): Hans only got the first whiff. I should've made him hang out for the powdery part.