Friday, February 29, 2008

Tienes Huevos?

So, apparently we live a scant twenty minutes' drive from the Cowboy Capital of the World. Amazing. We're sandwiched between modern civilization and a place where they hold an annual Testicle Festival. Nope, I shit you not. These are the types of things I find out by editing the Convention & Visitors Bureau newsletter, and sometimes...well, sometimes I wish I didn't know.

Although I do find the logo rather amusing, I'm distressed by the assertion that "it's a cowboy tradition, eating these all-beef nuggets." All-beef nuggets!! Marinated overnight in wine, basil and garlic, breaded and deep-fried! I think I'd almost rather go to the Chinese restaurant I saw in Albany (CA, not NY) that served chicken uteri.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Secrets, Lies, and Frozen Pizza

Yesterday, I lied to my husband.

But let me backtrack a bit.

Yesterday SUCKED ASS. The day began with my annual poking-and-prodding appointment at the OB/GYN, and went downhill from there. There was a slight reprieve while I went to the gym for about an hour and a half, like putting the bad karma in suspended animation for a while (hmm...an interesting mental image...), though the gym was not entirely without its annoyances, such as the two young women working with a (male) personal trainer on free weights and balance balls. The two girls would periodically scream with exaggerated laughter, which is irritating even when your iPod is loudly blasting "Jesus Built My Hotrod" in an attempt to drown them out.

But overall, the gym was okay. Then, my plan was to take some long-overdue recycling to the NexCycle recycling trailer that's parked in one of the shopping center parking lots. I'd spent several minutes earlier that morning sorting the plastic, glass, and cans and putting them into separate bags and toting them all out to the car. So when I pull up to the recycling trailer, the dude is sitting in his car and says he's just going to lunch and will be back in 45 minutes. This annoyed me. Who takes lunch at 1:30? (Besides me, of course, since I'd just gone to the gym.) Needless to say, I had other things to do and wasn't going to rearrange my schedule just so I could be at the recycling guy's beck and call.

So then I made a brief stop at the grocery store before heading home to eat and shower. That's when the cycle of deceit began. I had purchased a Stouffer's French Bread Pizza as a mid-afternoon lunch/snack and proceeded to put it in the toaster oven. I took a shower, put on fresh clothes, and emerged just in time for the pizza to be done. I cut the pizza into easy-to-handle segments and brought the plate out to the TV tray I had set up in the living room. Then, inches from the tray, I somehow managed to drop the plate. (I drop things a lot. I often break them, too, but not this time, since there was carpet.) Predictably, the pizza landed mostly face-down on the carpet, smearing tomato sauce on a) the couch cover which I just washed last weekend and b) the clean pants I just put on. Pretty impressive, considering this is not a very large amount of pizza we're talking about.

After screaming loudly for several minutes, I cleaned up the pizza and sauce and threw the couch cover into the washing machine (AGAIN). Then I went into the new addition where I'd last seen the Dustbuster, so I could vacuum up the snowfall of crumbs which had also accompanied the pizza disaster. But, lo and behold, when I tried to vacuum up the crumbs, the Dustbuster made that sad little descending whine that means it's running out of juice since apparently nobody bothered to recharge it in recent memory.

So I put it back on the charger, screamed again, and then proceeded to crawl into bed and take a nap. But--and here's the lie--I washed, dried, and replaced the couch cover before Rob even got home, and the Dustbuster was charged up enough to vacuum the crumbs by early evening. There's no need for him ever to know I had an embarrassing pizza accident. It's just too mortifying to even think of telling him. And I won't hear the end of it, just like the time I dropped a full cup of coffee in the hallway and it splashed everywhere so thoroughly that we were finding coffee droplet stains months later. That happened years ago and it still comes up in conversation.

Anyway, now I'm about to do a thorough vacuuming of the living room with the giant Rainbow unit, so nobody will ever know. SHHHHH.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

My Life in Brief

Too busy. Life crazy. Here's a bullet-point summary of the couple of weeks since I last posted.

  • I freaking hate politics. This lengthy discussion demonstrates why quite nicely. Self-righteous at all? Nooooooo.
  • No tenemos tiempo de estudiar español. Therefore today's test will be crap, unlike last week's. Why, again, did we think this was a good idea?
  • I did not win this contest. Then last night I had a nightmare about the novel manuscript I'd sent to the contest. Bodes not well, but I'm still going to send out another query.
  • I hate it when I e-mail to ask for writer's guidelines and nobody bothers to reply.
  • I'm eating too much and not exercising enough. Although, to my credit, both days this weekend that we went out for giant meals, we didn't really eat much for dinner. Unfortunately, one of those meals (the Chinese New Year lunch) seemed to be MSG-laden because we both got headaches. Anyway, must go to gym tomorrow.
  • Romanesco CauliflowerOrganic Romanesco cauliflower = yum, once you rinse the tiny bugs off. We had never seen or eaten one of these before, but it was good in a frittata.
  • Soccer soccer soccer soccer.

So, yeah. More coherency is promised soon.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Image Gallery Goodness

After much toil and trouble (and finding out that I couldn't export JPGs directly from PDFs and expect them to work--who knows why), I've finally got my long-awaited image gallery! YAY! Celebrate with me, because it's totally awesome! Or don't. Or, if you find a problem, you can tell me about that, too, so I can fix it.

I have to tell you, though, the weird JPG/PDF thing really threw me for a loop. I was convinced that it was a coding issue, and I'd made some strange conflicting CSS rules in my awkward lumbering monster of a style sheet, but then--after a poor night's sleep from obsessing over it--I realized that there WAS one image displaying and it was directly from a digital photo. The other two test images I'd created in Acrobat from poster PDFs and then resized in Photoshop. And, for some mysterious reason, those images did not want to display on my page. Go figure. I'm just glad I figured it out--and glad it wasn't a CSS problem. Unfortunately, it took me all morning to figure that out, as I methodically removed items one by one from my style sheet to see which one might be the problem. Then, when none were the problem I was forced to conclude it was something about the images themselves.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Oooh, the Purtiness....

YEAH! I have absolutely, definitively found the image gallery I want to set up on my personal site. It's awesome. I love it. You can set up sets of images with captions. It's simple and classy. Best of all, it's really easy to set up (or it should be, anyway). That part is important, since I'm a computer dumbass. Also, the other good thing is that it doesn't involve server-side installation, or require PHP or MySQL. Those are things I would have to actually pay for with my web hosting provider. Plus they're things I don't understand or know how to work with, which usually makes things difficult. (I say usually, because I don't really know JavaScript but I can work with it on a very basic level, like installing scripts onto my web pages and even sometimes customizing them.)

Anyway, Lokesh Dhakar--the creator of the Lightbox image gallery, is my new web page hero. He rocks. And his blog is pretty cool, too--I like the little graphics that scale larger or smaller to indicate the number of comments on a blog post. Those are nifty. I'm looking forward to implementing Lightbox on my site and finally providing the long-promised image gallery.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Productive Procrastination

We all have our little ways of putting off the stuff we have to do. And the more stuff I have to do--the more I think about my to-do list, and add items to the list, and break items down into still more items; the more I look around my house and see tiny messes everywhere--the more creative ways I find of procrastinating.

My favorite methods of procrastination, though, are the ones which I can fool myself into thinking are actually productive activity. And, in fact, they usually are, to some extent. Just not productive in the sense of finishing up work or housecleaning.

  • Exercising. There's no doubt: exercising is good for you. I hear it's been medically proven or something. I can't say I love exercising, though I do enjoy it. But I enjoy it a whole lot more when I have, say, a long list of crap I gotta do at home or on the computer, and I decide that I'm going to take a break and go to the gym for an hour or two. This works particularly well when I have something I really don't want to do, or if I'm supposed to be writing but I'm creatively bummed out. Sure, I didn't get the stuff I was supposed to do, done. I was too busy attending to my health. Uh, yeah, that's it. And sometimes, on rare occasions, I get lucky and feel energized when I'm done, and get more accomplished than I'd originally planned. Like I said, though--those are lucky days.
  • Cooking. This might be my top-favorite-number-one way to procrastinate. I mean, firstly, I love cooking. Secondly, I love eating. Thirdly, my husband loves eating. If I cook, we get to eat cool stuff. And you gotta eat, right? Right. Also, ever since we've been getting our weekly CSA box, we have more interesting vegetables to experiment with. They're practically begging me to cook them. Cooking makes me feel like I've done a whole bunch of work, plus there's that built-in reward at the end.

There are some dubiously productive ways of procrastinating, too. Like blogging. This blog entry is pure time wastage. But if I'm blogging for the YA writing blog, I feel like it's somewhat work-related. Same goes for reading. I can sit on the couch for a long-ass time with a book and tell myself I'm just doing required research. After all, I'm a writer, right? I have to keep current in my field, right? Sure.

And on that note...time to get some actual work done. Really. I mean it this time. Here I go.