Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Knock on wood apparently what I should have done after that last post in which I was all like "Ooh la la, I love spring, la-di-dah, look at the beautiful sunshine streaming through my windows" because the weather was immediately like "Regulate!" and now it's going to rain for TEN DAYS STRAIGHT. Thanks, for that heartening news. Francis has already begun moping around with his furry face downcast because he cannot have his windows open during the day which, as he often reminds me, is one of his chief pleasures in his very simple life.

In a recent trip to Target (aka the danger zone) I spotted season two of "Psych" on sale for $19.99. While I admit to being something of a "Gilmore Girls" addict, with occasional stints of "Dawson's Creek" thrown in, I have taken a recent hiatus from both. Back in the day, during my first six months in Atlanta, when I lived alone and had very little going on in my life aside from occasional visits from Haynes (thanks buddy) - and when I also had cable - I was a dedicated follower of "Psych". For anyone who ever watched "The West Wing" (sigh...) one of the main characters on "Psych", Gus, is played by Dule' Hill (you'll know him as Charlie, President Bartlett's assistant.) The show is like a funny, witty, 80's pop culture reference-laden version of that show "The Mentalist" on CBS. Shawn, the other main character, is a hyper-observant person because he was trained by his cop-father. He pretends to be a psychic detective so people will take his observations seriously (despite how plain silly he is), and he and Gus are best friends since childhood, and partners in their psychic detective agency, called Psych. Shawn and Gus have a delightfully quick and witty reparte', and the cases they solve are always unique. If you're looking for a new show to netflix, I recommend Psych! Season Three should be coming out soon.

Shawn: "Well what about your teen wolf theory??"
Gus: "That's just fact! If any of us were in high school and some dude turned into a werewolf, we would not be cool with it just because he could dunk a basketball. I certainly wouldn't be making I-heart-wolf t-shirts."

Ok, that's all I've got. Enjoy your Wednesday!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Duly noted

Given the lack of comments on my excited post re: split infinitives, I take it my select group of readers (thanks you three) is not interested in grammar.

You know something I think is awkward? When you're walking down the hall at work, and you pass the bathroom door and someone is coming out. It is right up there with riding the elevator with someone you don't know in the list of awkward office interactions. Especially if that person is of the opposite sex. I mean, this person has just used the restroom, and then you're like "hey..." and they are kind of like "hi..." but you're thinking, I know you were just in there...I hope you washed your hands...Maybe no one else finds this uncomfortable but it just happened and I thought I'd share.

I am SO EXCITED that it's finally warm and sunny. This is my favorite time of the year. I get so excited just being alive when it's beautiful and warm outside. My apartment is on the second floor and surrounded by lots of leafy trees, so it feels like a treehouse when the windows are open - which they have been pretty constantly since it got gorgeous outside. I know you're supposed to go outside when it's nice, and I do, but something about being in my apartment with the windows open and the trees rustling outside and the sun shining in patterns across the floor, and my new pomegranate tea and vanilla apple air fresheners (amazing - Target continues to be awesome) just makes me so happy.

Ever since I had the Merry Maids come and clean (yeah, I did) I have been a straightening champ. It's been like two weeks and my apartment has been neat as a pin ever since. (If you've ever lived with me, this information is no doubt amazing - but believe it.) Francis feels like he has a whole new home. After I get the picture/painting collage I've been planning for months hung up, I will post some photos of our Treehouse (on Tremont street - coincidence? I think not.) My next project is getting out of bed on time in the morning. (Yikes.)

Ok, that's about all I've got today. Is it five o'clock yet?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Nerd alert, nerd alert

Since we had Mr. Henry for eighth grade English, and he got sick of trying to teach us to diagram sentences when we were clearly bad at it (and instead would make us bang our hands together and bark like seals because he thought our lack of grammatical knowledge made us ridiculous), I never learned what a split infinitive was.

Ok, it's possible that he did teach us that and I wasn't paying attention, or that I heard Ms. Exum talking about it in the hallway or something. However, I wonder about it every time I watch the Gilmore Girls episode where Paris is yelling at Bill in the Daily News office saying something to the effect of "Do you read the Washington Post, Bill? 'Cause they love to split their infinitives at the Post - but I don't! Fix it!" Since I read the Washington Post, I have been meaning to look it up for ages to see what she was talking about and today I finally did and was so pleased with my grammatical realization that I thought I'd share:

Split infinitive = breaking up the basic part of a verb (basic meaning "to run, to breathe, to eat") with some other part of speech. All the grammar websites say that the 'most famous' of all split infinitives is "to boldly go where no man has gone before," with the adverb 'boldly' interrupting the basic verb phrase 'to go.'

There's an on-going debate among "grammarians" regarding whether or not this type of phrase is grammatically correct. I realize I am nerdy, but I was excited to learn this. So excited that I followed it up with a realization about another grammatical phrase I've been perpetually unsure of - the dangling participle.

This one I'm pretty sure I did learn about in the past, but just forgot. This could be because it's often interchangeable with a grammar favorite, the misplaced modifier (word arrangement makes the sentence confusing or incorrect - She opened the refrigerator and saw the salad dressing.)

However, a dangling participle involves a specifically participial phrase, for example: "Turning the corner, the view was quite different." In this sentence, there's no noun that the participial phrase 'turning the corner' is modifying, so it makes it seem like the view is what is turning the corner, which is pretty improbable as a view is not really the kind of thing that turns corners. This type of phrase seems to be more straight-forwardly frowned upon by "grammarians."

Learning these things, the task of writing seems so much clearer.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Friday Afternoon Post

This day in history is back again - mainly because I'm busy today!

1492 - Christopher Columbus signed a contract with Spain to find a passage to Asia and the Indies. He sailed, as you might recall, with three ships (say it with me- Nina, Pinta, Santa Maria) and discovered something else, but figured Ferdinand and Isabella wouldn't know the difference. And there you have it - America!

1521 - Martin Luther was excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church. A direct result of a) being struck by lightening and b) nailing a list of 95 problems - of which his 'kicks' weren't one, to the church door at Wittenburg.

1704 - John Campbell published what would eventually become the first successful American newspaper. It was known as the Boston "News-Letter." Campbell was recently overheard muttering "I should have invented soup before my cousin" after news that many major dailies like the New York Times were on the verge of collapse.

1810 - Pineapple cheese was patented by Lewis M. Norton. Only one word for this one - SCORE.

1917 - A bill in Congress to establish Daylight Saving Time was defeated. It was passed a couple of months later. One more piece of evidence that even if Congress manages to make a good decision, they'll find a way to screw things up later.

1947 - Jackie Robinson (Brooklyn Dodgers) performed a bunt for his first major league hit. Hooray Jackie Robinson!! (Who else read In the year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson as a child? Ahh, third grade.

1961 - About 1,500 CIA-trained Cuban exiles launched the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in a failed attempt to overthrow the government of Fidel Castro. As this was an unmitigated disaster, Castro and his familia continue to rule over Cuba despite the fact that most of the people who live there would leave if their fishing boats could make it to Miami.

1967 - The U.S. Supreme Court barred Muhammad Ali's request to be blocked from induction into the U.S. Army. Really Muhammad Ali? You thought they'd let the best fighter in the country skip the war?

1970 - Johnny Cash performed at the White House at the invitation of President Richard M. Nixon. He played "A Boy Named Sue." Everyone at the event wondered why the president looked so uncomfortable when Cash sang the lines " Well, I grew up quick and I grew up mean, My fist got hard and my wits got keen, I'd roam from town to town to hide my shame."

2001 - Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants hit his 500th career home run, becoming the 17th major leaguer to reach the mark. Now he holds the all-time major league record with 762 home runs. I mean, steroids or not, I'm pretty sure I couldn't hit that many home runs.
Cartoon from

Also, today is Jennifer Garner's birthday. Wonder if she's 13-going-on-30? Happy weekend!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Family Affair

Brief post, just minutes after the last one, but I just discovered that my Uncle Scott's wife Ginger has a website! Ginger is a veritable renaissance woman (to his renaissance man - the two are artists, potters, bakers, caterers, and craftsmen/women - it's impressive.) The website for her studio Green Gate Gallery features pictures of her various cool artworks in clay and also on paper. So, if you feel the need for some cool art in your life, check it out!

(this is my personal favorite - the colors are so great! my living room walls have been waiting...)

Dress-up and maybe a little rant...

When I was little, I loved playing dress-up. (Shocking, I know.) I would spend hours pretending to be a grown-up, wearing flowing hand-me down dresses and sequined dance costumes with wide-brimmed hats and strand-after-strand of beads. I couldn't wait to get older so I could dress up like grownups did. I'd watch my beautiful grandmother carefully spray her hair with Aquanet hairspray, adjust the collar on her dress, and put on her pretty rings. I'd dutifully stand-by as she put on her bright coraline lipstick, hoping she would (as always) dab a little on my own tiny lips. Who wouldn't want to be a grown-up? It was so pretty.

I've often feared that adults have lost this in our casual culture of jeans and flip-flops - certainly my own go-to option when dressing on the weekends. In her book "An American Childhood," Annie Dillard describes watching her parents get ready for a party, or entertain their friends, and it's with this rose-colored view that adults lived in a whole different world from kids who wore cuffed jeans and played kick-the-can in the driveway. The show "Mad Men" has quickly become a huge sensation - but what is it about these mid-century characters that makes them seem so glamorous? In large part, it's the clothes. The guys aren't walking around in tshirts and cargo shorts - they're wearing sharply creased pants and tailored jackets. The women aren't wearing too-small tank tops and jeans with holes in them - they're wearing 'new look' circle skirts and coordinated sweater sets and broaches.

This post is inspired by my dear George Will's column at the Washington Post today, entitled "America's Bad Jeans." While some of it is a little heavy-handed, much of it resonated. "Denim," George says, "is the clerical vestment for the priesthood of all believers in democracy's catechism of leveling -- thou shalt not dress better than society's most slovenly... That heresy leads to denying the universal appropriateness of everything, and then to the elitist assertion that there is good and bad taste. " Now, I don't have a problem with jeans in a casual context (George hates them as a general rule), however I love the point he makes. As "anything goes" dress becomes an increasing uniform in our society, as he says, society can gradually deny that anything can be deemed "inappropriate," or alternately, appropriate for a given context.

(photo from some brand called miss you jeans. and yes, that is apparently caridee.)

I cringe everytime I see one of the many of my (adult) colleagues at work who daily wear ratty jeans and a top revealing various parts of their undergarments. Many of these people interact with clients and important members of our community on a regular basis. Why have so many Americans given up on looking even remotely dignified? If I walk into someone's office wearing jeans and a peasant blouse, will they or will they not offer me less respect and consideration than if I show up wearing a nice skirt and heels? I'm not talking about being the most gorgeous person in the office, I'm talking about looking professional. Perhaps they feel they're making some sort of statement by dressing so a statement that they aren't tied down by wearing...nice clothes? People wear suits for job interviews, but then push the very limits of the dress code once they get the job. It doesn't make sense. Do you not want people to take you seriously once you work for them too? The way you present yourself is the first indicator anyone has of the respect you think you deserve. Especially in an office environment, I don't see any excuse for this.

Our first lady, who despite whatever else I may think of her always keeps it classy with her wardrobe - please note she is working at a community kitchen here, but wearing a nice cardigan and button up shirt. Hallelujah. (photo from huffington post - eek.)

American culture so often demands that everything be 'easy' and 'comfortable' that anything but is practically intolerable. Is it really so terrible to take the time to put on a dress in the morning than hole-y jeans and a glorified tank top? I think this is a reflection of our culture in general. Bill Cosby has certainly caught a lot of flack for proposing this very idea, despite its clear legitimacy. I'm edging on a much broader rant here, but what I mean to say is - I'd love to see adults get back some of the dignity they used to have. In these days of grown-ups voluntarily signing up to make fools of themselves on reality shows and pitching fits that a four-year-old would be punished for if something goes wrong with their dinner order, I would love to see people offer themselves a little more respect. And as Stacey and Clinton would absolutely tell us, that can certainly start with the way we dress.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Ahh, springtime and baseball

You know how when you go to gas stations, sometimes they have big speakers everywhere with someone shouting advertisements for things their gas station sells. The Golden Gallon on Brainerd Road when I was in high school used to have one that started out with a guy shouting "Ahhhh, springtime and baseball!!" I don't know what that has to do with gas stations or what they sell in the convenience store, but it became a part of my vernacular anyway.

Today is Lookouts opening home game!! Katie and Lacey and I will be there with bells on. I am very excited because the Lookouts being at Bellsouth park means one thing - spring is here and summer is on its way. Even though I will be working this summer, I am still so excited about it. I've always had summer jobs anyway, so I figure it won't really be that much different! I'm so ready for walking across the bridge to Nightfall, half price wine night on the back porch at Mudpie, beverages and fireworks at the Lookouts games, the B-52's at Riverbend, driving down to Port St. Joe for the beach and some tradition, and every other wonderful thing that warm weather brings!

This past weekend we went to Augusta to visit Jason's family and to attend the Masters at Augusta National. Even though I don't know a whole lot about golf, it was such a cool experience to see the beautiful course (now joins the course at the Greenbrier as the prettiest I've seen) and watch players like Tiger Woods up close. Here are a couple photos (courtesy of geocities and as you cannot take cameras into the course):

They are very proud of their azaleas there. According to Jason, they sometimes spray the buds with ice in order to delay their blooming until time for the tournament. As a souvenier of the trip, I selected the Tervis tumbler complete with embroidered Masters logo (my mother will be v. proud of this as she swears by the Tervis tumblers. If you want to know more about them, ask her.)

It was a very fun weekend!

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Friday Morning Post

Wow. Sometimes I don't like Charles that much, but this time I'd like to shake his hand.

Today is crazy photo shoot day, so not much time for blogging. This morning we shot two leading young politicos - a Republican and a Democrat - and they were both charming and pleasant and got along perfectly with each other. A refreshing change in the somewhat (ha) acerbic political climate America is rocking these days. The shoot was so fun, because they were laughing, enjoying themselves and joking around, reminds me why this job is pretty awesome.

Now we're going to shoot the Riverbend guy, which will be fun too (p.s. guess who's coming to Riverbend this year? Here's a hint; "TIN ROOF - RUSTED.") Then later today the best of all, the man himself from the south's favorite local ice cream/dairy company here to ham it up with a few scoops - anyone with hints about how to keep ice cream from melting immediately under the bright lights of a photo studio is WELCOME to drop those hints here.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Pirates are defeated!

I like how Ron Paul is who he is. I think some of his foreign policy ideas are kind of far-fetched, and although it would be logical and awesome if we could, I don't think there's any way to get our economy back to a gold standard - Sorry Ron!

His book, 'Revolution,' is interesting. He is a genuine student of this country, government, and economics - in addition to being a medical doctor. Which is like a million times more than most members of congress could say. This is short - but the guy is just plain right about education - and most likely no one will pay attention. Fun fact - if you went to Auburn and ever passed the Von Mises Institute on Magnolia and wondered what it was, it is an economic think-tank named for and based on the principles of Ludwig von Mises, whom Dr. Paul mentions in this statement and is a big fan of.

My personal favorite essay of his (there are a lot) is 'What does freedom really mean?' He is eloquent and clear. Keep in mind that although Dr. Paul is a Republican, he is more against the war in Iraq than anybody else in Washington. Here's an excerpt from this essay:

"The problem is that democracy is not freedom. Democracy is simply majoritarianism, which is inherently incompatible with real freedom. Our founding fathers clearly understood this, as evidenced not only by our republican constitutional system, but also by their writings in the Federalist Papers and elsewhere. James Madison cautioned that under a democratic government, “There is nothing to check the inducement to sacrifice the weaker party or the obnoxious individual.”

In other news, the pirates (who have been previously mentioned in this blog) have been defeated by the crew of an American ship they tried to capture! News reports don't seem to have information about the methods utilized to dissuade the pirates, but I'm betting the crew went with a crocodile with a ticking clock inside of it.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Triumph the blog post

I have successfully defeated my inattentive nature and have completed the calendar for the May issue approximately two weeks before I usually do - hooray! This is quite the achievement, let me tell you, and I was only able to do it thanks to the snide comments made by one creative director to one self regarding the typical lateness of said calendar. He is currently on vacation, and will have a nice, finished calendar awaiting him upon his return. What then?

Hmm, not a lot else to comment on besides that pat on my own back, I do think this is awesome (scroll down to see the story and photo gallery) - I would totally ride this to work. Convenience/environmental friendliness without helmet hair, the silliness of a Segway and having to shower twice in one morning? Fantastic.

Probably the shortest post ever...

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Friday Afternoon Post

I recognize that it is not fair for me to get frustrated that people don't constantly write in their blogs to keep me entertained when I myself only write like twice a week. (I appreciate Erin and Lindsay who typically do a very steady job of supplying me with something to read!!)

So I am therefore publishing the Friday Afternoon Post even though as I type this I can't think of any real news to report (I'm sure whoever might be reading this is now gearing up for a fun time...)

I choose instead to utilize my training and background as an historian (look Dr. Sayel, I'm using my degree!) to provide you people with some THIS DAY IN HISTORY facts, with accompanying commentary supplied by the editor (self.)

ON APRIL 3rd...
1) 1829 - James Carrington patented the coffee mill. Many third world countries in South America, as well as the entire city of Seattle, have this guy to thank for the world-wide caffeine addiction he enabled. Thanks, James, for expediting the best part of waking up!

2) 1865 - Union forces occupy Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia. Contrary to popular belief, the Confederate States of America did in fact come to an end.

3) 1882 - The American outlaw Jesse James was shot in the back and killed by Robert Ford for a $5,000 reward. There was later controversy over whether it was actually Jesse James that had been killed. Soon after, Robert became the wild west's first spokesman for regularly updating your glasses prescription.

4) 1933 - First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt informed newspaper reporters that beer would be served at the White House. Thanks, Mrs. Roosevelt, for clearing the path for our president to give the Queen of England an ipod and the Prime Minister a dvd box-set. The White House, keepin' it classy since 1933.

5) 1948 - Harry Truman signed the Marshall Plan to revive war-torn Europe. The plan entailed the gifting of $5 billion in aid for 16 countries. Thanks, Pres. Truman for an historical event that I most likely will never be able to stop confusing with the Monroe Doctrine (they are not even remotely the same thing.)

6) 1968 - Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "mountaintop" speech just 24 hours before he was assassinated. In all seriousness, just plain thanks to Dr. King.

7) 1972 - Charlie Chaplin returned to the U.S. after a twenty-year absence. He was clearly waiting for a decade when ridiculous facial hair was a norm rather than a unique attribute.

8) 1998 - The Dow Jones industrial average climbed above 9,000 for the first time... "What goes up, must come down - spinning wheel got to go 'round..." Thanks Blood, Sweat & Tears.

9) 2000 - The Nasdaq set a one-day record when it lost 349.15 points to close at 4,233.68. It then made the comment "You think this is something? JUST WAIT!!" in a press conference.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Focus please - I am a camera.

1) Wild berry skittles...what was I thinking? Bleck. Double bleck.

2) Trying to organize notes and quotes and phone calls to write article about Alzheimer's is making me feel somewhat as though I have Alzheimer's. Blast.

3) Recommended La Altena (one of our favorite restaurants - delicious, cheap, and authentic [at least for Tennessee] Mexican food) to one of my bosses who is now a convert! Hooray for supporting local businesses.

4) Writer, regarding his interview subject: "It's kind of hard to call a grown man Scottie..." Me: "Well at least his name's not Bucky or something." Writer: "Haha...My dad's name is Bucky. What are you trying to say? [pause] I'm just kidding." Oh April fools day, how hilarious you are.

5) A certain professional football player and UTC alum in a press release regarding a recent award for his work with the Alzheimer's Association: "I am committed to help raise the awareness of the disease for the Alzheimer's do whatever I can."

Oh, really? How 'bout tell your agent I can have five minutes on the phone with you to get some comments about your work with the Association. I mean, I know you're not at spring training with your new team.

6) Chipper Jones is awesome. Here is a baseball player, probably going to end up in the hall of fame, record-holding batter, and yet he has stuck with the same team his entire career. Maybe he could have gone somewhere else and made a few million more dollars, but the team meant something to him, so he stayed, and now he's signed on to finish his career in Atlanta. Respect.

7) Breaking news courtesy of Kathleen Parker of the Washington Post, regarding our society's unhealthy thirst for information:

"Unchecked "infomania" -- yes, there's even a term for this instapathology -- can lead to a lower IQ, according to a 2005 Hewlett-Packard study. The research, conducted by a University of London psychologist, found that people distracted by e-mail and phone calls lost 10 IQ points, more than twice the impact of smoking marijuana -- or comparable to losing a night's sleep."

For real?? Perhaps NOW people will stop harassing me about screening phone calls and never checking my voicemail. Shhhh - I need gmail open at all times for work-related reasons...