Monday, February 26, 2007

I Have a Question for You

Someday soon, in theory, my third-place Jeopardy! money will come in. I'm figuring it's going to be somewheres between five and six hundred bucks after taxes. Here's the question: what should I do with it?

Some possibilities I'm considering:

1. Just putting it in my account/deciding that's where my frivolous William Daniels purchases came from. This is probably the most responsible course. I'm not a big fan.

2. An idea I used to have was buying some NCAA 1st/2nd round tickets for the sub-regional in Chicago, assuming of course my beloved Aggies play there. The problem is, my one basketball friend here discovered she has to go to a conference that weekend. I don't want to go alone, but that would have been pretty sweet.

3. The current frontrunner is buying a new TV. As some of you know, my current Picture Box--while having served me well for many a year--has a 13" screen. I've resisted getting a different TV for quite some time, since the picture's pretty good and it's a handy VCR combo and it's just so cute. But it hit me this afternoon, whilst I was watching selected scenes from 1776/eating a delicious sandwich, that (since it's widescreen) I was watching a picture that was about 12" by 4". That is not much John Adams for my gazing pleasure.

Suggestions? Recommendations? Complaints about my earlier recalcitrance toward buying a different television from anyone who used to live with me? Discuss.

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We got quite a bit of snow over the weekend, here in southern Wisconsin.

They're pretty good about plowing, though, and this is all the snow they shoved up off my parking lot:

(I know it's not a very good picture, but use that car in the lower right for a size reference.)

My roommate was very impressed by the big ol' pile and told me I should take a picture of it, so I did. She did not tell me that I should climb up there and make that wee snowman, but I did anyway.

Here's a zoom on my tiny snowman:

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

Look What I Won!

The ebay adventures driven by my marginally sane love for William Daniels continue.

I survived a down-to-the-wire bidding war for this baby today:

At first, I only bid $5, which on top of the shipping made a total investment of $10. But the more I thought about it, the more I became convinced it was worth. That's ebay for you--especially the part where you can convince yourself that it's worth just a little more, over and over. But seriously, even though it's not the ideal autographed 1776 picture (because there's relatively too little John Adams), $25 total for a nice picture from my favorite movie is not that bad. At least, I'm pretty sure it is not actually crazy.

I'm also willing to defend what I found and bid on immediately after I won the other picture:

The eyeliner, yes, is a problem. But that is the only element that makes this item any less than perfect. Again, I'm hoping to be the only bidder on this, which would allow me to spend a mere $10 on something that would bring me buckets o' joy. I'll let you know how it goes in approximately 4 days and 13 hours.

And if you outbid me, I'll probably have to cut you.

No, I'm afraid I'm serious. Watch yourself.
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Saturday, February 24, 2007

A Review of Captain Nice

I don't know if any of you have picked up on this, but I love William Daniels. The latest zany thing that love has led me to spend money on is Captain Nice.
It's this show from the 60's, a spoof of the Batman tv series. The hero is this shy police chemist who fights crime because his mom makes him. It was on for 15 episodes. . . . I did hesitate to buy it. Luckily, my parents remembered the show and said it was funny, so I took a chance.

It's so bootlegged it's not even funny; by which I of course mean, it's so bootlegged, it's pretty funny. You can sometimes see the tracking from the VCR off which the guy ripped the DVDs. Overall, video quality gets . . . a generous D+.

The show creator later co-created Get Smart, and it's pretty easy to see the similarities. The humor is usually silly, but occasionally subversively clever. Also, the main character has a quasi-girlfriend who totally digs him, but of whom he is either frightened or oblivious. The stories and writing I give a B+.

As for William Daniels, he's not as meek and mild as he could be. And . . . ok, I can't come up with any other decoy criticisms. William Daniels ROCKS IT, as he ALWAYS DOES. I LOVE HIM.


Overall grade: A.
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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Ridiculous Boyfriend Spotlight On . . .

Tim Gunn!

Tim Gunn is in his 50's, has grey/thinning hair, and is gayer than the day is long. But if this were "Reasonable Boyfriend Spotlight," you'd be reading a different blog, wouldn't you?

Tim Gunn is the most normal, wholesome, real reality TV star there is, and he's the star (in my book) of the best reality TV show there is.
If you haven't seen it (and it is on Bravo, so I can't blame you), Project Runway actually involves talented contestants (mostly--I'm looking you, Crazy Vincent) competing by designing and making clothes in a handful of hours per outfit. See, on Project Runway, instead of stabbing each other in the back (mostly--I'm looking at you, Wendy Pepper) they try to do good work, and even help each other.

But helping them all is Tim Gunn: mentor, teacher, user of medium-to-big-size words. (I can't really think of any right now, nor can I easily find the information on the series of tubes that is the internets, but it's true.)

I wish I had Tim Gunn around to, you know, tell me what outfits to wear, revise my papers, etc. I know that's not the traditional job description for a boyfriend, but I think we'd make it work.

P.S. Some of you may not know this, but this picture is hilarious.
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Today's Story of Disappointment (Currency Edition)

Well, I dropped in at the bank today--thought I'd get me a little cash and maybe one of those presidential dollars. Or two. I mean, if I'm going to get some John Adams dollars (and I am), I might as well get a Washington, just in case I feel like having the complete set.


I ask the cashier, "Do you have any of those George Washington dollars?"

"No," he says. "The government made a big deal about releasing them, but then they didn't give us a way to order any."

I expressed my disappointment, and he commiserated. Apparently, none of the branches of my bank have any clue as to how to get any of the new coins, nor do they have any idea of when they might get some idea.

I think the cashier put it well: "Good one, government."
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Monday, February 19, 2007

Good News!

I just found out that the high is supposed to be 40 tomorrow. Can you believe it? I'm so happy, I almost got choked up.
Blogging about it is my version of shouting from the mountaintops. Forty!
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Saturday, February 17, 2007

I Just Wanted to Share These Pictures with You.

I found these on Facebook, and they made me laugh.

(Powerpuff Snape and Dumbledore? That's just genuis!)

(I love how he looks really unhappy to be on the plane. Also, I want to see that movie.)

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Friday, February 16, 2007

Look What I Stole!

I was in an unfamiliar building on Wednesday, and as I was wandering around, hopelessly searching for the ladies' room, I saw this poster over and over:

Now, why they chose William Daniels for this poster is beyond me. Today, I saw another version with Patrick Dempsey. The theme? . . . I don't even have a joke answer. Because while Patrick Dempsey is widely considered attractive(whatevah), I would be completely unsurprised if I were the only person out of (this is a guess) 35,000 students at the University of Wisconsin who thinks that William Daniels is hot.

Whatever the reason, I appreciate it, as it gave me the opportunity to nonchalantly rip it off the wall. Then I taped it to the front of my France class binder.

Whenever I am mired in learning about France, it's reassuring to know that William Daniels will be there to comfort me.
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Another Complaint about the Weather

You know how when you eat a popsicle or ice cream or something, it can make your teeth hurt? Well, today I realized that my front teeth were aching because I had smiled outdoors for a minute or two. Not kidding.
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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Numismatics 2: First Lady Boogaloo!

Earlier, I remarked upon the new presidential $1 coins. Well, I was cruising around the US Mint site (you know, as long as you're there, you might as well) and my eye was caught by these:

These coins are those totally unspendable, buy-them-through-This-Special-TV-Offer type, but they are pretty interesting, with fun facts about the "First Spouses" on the back.

Again, though, the portraiture leaves something to be desired. I guess Dolley Madison is wearing a necklace, but it kind of looks like folds of neck fat. (Sorry, Mrs. Madison. I have nothing for respect for you, what with your saving that famous portrait from fire [which I knew even before the coin told me] and, of course, your snack cakes.)

Abigail Adams looks pretty cranky, but Martha Washington? Looks like she is about to CUT YOU.

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Ridiculous Boyfriend Spotlight On . . .

Ron Weasley!

Ron is the reason I read Harry Potter. Well, to be more accurate, the reason I started reading Harry Potter--now, of course, I'm ensnared by the . . . Potterness of it.

I resisted, naturally. Harry started getting popular when I was in high school and automatically averse to everything popular. My freshman year in college, however, I went to see the first Harry Potter movie and said to Nancy (who did read the books) afterwards, "So Ron and Hermione are going to get together, right?" And she said, "What?!" But I could tell the spark was there.

A couple years later, I watched the second Harry Potter movie, in which they really upped the romantic ante (Ron and Hermione share . . . an awkward handshake!). That's when I broke down and asked my sister if I could read her Harry Potters, just so I could see how the Ron/Hermione romance was developing. And I ended up reading all five of them in four days. (Awesome.)

As much I love Ron and Hermione together, it's primarily because I love Ron so much. He's so awkward and funny and a good guy, but never as big a deal or as important as Harry--but as hard as Harry's life is, I don't think he could make it through without Ron.

Secondarily, I want Ron and Hermione to grow up and get married and have babies with bushy red hair. (Awesome!)

(For my fellow Potter-people: I have a theory. You know how the sorting hat almost put Harry in Slytherin and almost put Hermione in Ravenclaw? Well Ron, with his being a good friend and [pretty] dependable but not obviously remarkable in any particular way, displays a real tendency towards Hufflepuff-ity. So, it's like, among the three of them, they represent all of the houses of Hogwarts! I'm pretty proud of that one.)

For the record--again--I'm going to be INCONSOLABLE if Ron dies in the last book. Take Harry, J.K., take Neville, take anybody, just please let my boyfriend Ron live! (Also Hermione would be nice, for red-headed, buck-toothed baby purposes.)
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Exciting Development in the World of Numismatics!

(I will admit that I had to look up the word "numismatics" on wikipedia.)

Today, the US Mint unveiled their newest coin, a dollar that features George Washington.

Yes, what I said when I first saw a headline to that effect was, "Uh, he's on the quarter. Duh."

But not so fast!

A la state quarters, these babies are going to feature each president in the order they served in office. It's as if I were working at the US Mint! I love the presidents in order!

Here are my favorite aspects about this plan:
1. John Adams Dollar!
2. Two Grover Cleveland dollars, one for each non-consecutive term! (I hope the picture is different on each one, though. Not like in that presidential knives set, where there were two identical Grover Cleveland knives. I mean, really, who needs two identical Grover Cleveland knives?)
3. I do enjoy my state quarters. There's just something satisfying about having them all in my little book, as a set.

These are the things about which, however, I am skeptical:
1. It's a good idea to try something new to get a dollar coin to work, but I don't know if even this is sufficient. As the article I linked to above says, for most governments successfully introduce a higher-value coin, the paper version of the same denomination has to get phased out. That is still not a step the US government wants to take.
2. Since people don't use dollar coins, how am I supposed to get dollar coins? Am I going to have to go to the bank and get a whole roll every time a new president comes out? I mean, clearly I'm willing to do that for John Adams, but James Monroe? The same enthusiasm just isn't there.

In short, I am enthusiastic about this development, but doubtful that we're ever actually going to see the highly anticipated Rutherford B. Hayes dollar.

EDIT: I've done a little more research on this and, quite unfortunately, it turns out that the portraits are . . . awful.

I mean, is it just me, or does John Adams look like he has a terrible little French-type mustache? And James Madison kind of resemble an angry donkey hand-puppet? Washington is definitely angry; Jefferson merely has bad bangs.
Concept? Great. Execution? . . . Questionable.
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Thursday, February 8, 2007


I did it--I signed up for Netflix. If they aren't misleading me, my first DVD (Disc 1, Season 1 of St. Elsewhere, starring William Daniels . . . old yet dreamy) should arrive on Saturday.

Naturally, once I started adding things to my queue, it became nigh impossible to stop. I have, yes, 134 discs eagerly waiting to wing their way to my apartment. (I couldn't help myself. Besides, one season of an hour-long show has six discs, and that adds up in a hurry.)

A few lucky members of my queue: Project Runway Season 1, Joan of Arcadia Season 2, Daria: The Movie: Is It Fall Yet?, Big Love Season 1, The Graduate (I've never seen it/William Daniels again!), Animaniacs Volume 2, Whose Line is it Anyway Season 1, Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers Season 1 Disc 1, Yes Minister (it's British), The Critic the Complete Series, The Brak Show, and on and on.

This is either going to be the best or worst idea I've ever had. (The smart money is on "worst.")
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Ridiculous Boyfriend Spotlight On . . .

Henry the Accountant!

Henry has been featured on no fewer than four episodes of one of the three shows I bother to watch (on broadcast TV, as opposed to the kajillions of shows I watch on DVD), Ugly Betty. (It's on tonight, by the way. If you see this post before 8/7 central and have never seen the show before, you should give it a whirl. It's cute and stupid. But it knows it's stupid.)

There's not really much to say about Henry besides the fact that he's practically perfect in every way. He's nerdy, sweet, somewhat shy, but brave enough to let our heroine, Betty, know that he really likes her. He is, in a word (coined somewhere on the internets), adorkable.

Betty is, of course, lucky that neither she nor Henry are real, or the two of us would have a showdown.

P.S. Oh my gosh, you guys, I just realized something. My favorite British monarch is, as you may know, Henry VII. Well, he was so all about saving and collecting money, and supervising those processes himself, that he has at times been called "The Accountant King." So I like two accountant Henries. WEIRD.
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Mostly, I Love Being a Grad Student

I found this book in the library about my main man, Henry VII. Not only was it written by Henry VII's poet laureate--that my advisor didn't even know existed (making me feel like a smart and lucky, mostly lucky, young woman)--it was published in 1858. There's even a little card inside it noting that the State Historical Society of Wisconsin obtained it on 31 March 1870 (see above).

And it's sitting on my desk! Why would they even let me handle something so cool?!
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Tuesday, February 6, 2007

This Headline MADE MY DAY.

Can the Longhorns beat the Aggies in anything?
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Now that the Fightin' Texas Aggies have won possibly the biggest pair of games in Aggie basketball history, the sports world in general is starting to cotton on to two major facts. I, of course, have known them for slightly over two years.

1. The Fightin' Texas Aggie basketball team is FOR REAL.

2. Acie Law IV is THE MAN.

(That's an old picture, from the night I figured out Acie Law IV is THE MAN, but it's a classic.)

Clearly, Billy Clyde Gillispie is also the man, but I think there was a better general awareness of that than the other things.

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Sunday, February 4, 2007

Sub-Zero Musings

I would like to share some of the thoughts I had as I drove home from a Super Bowl party tonight in the balmy -13 degree weather. (On Wisconsin!)

When I was a kid, I had this crummy bird call device made of a little piece of metal surrounded by a little piece of wood that you'd twist around it to make a terrible squeaky noise. The same noise that my steering column makes in this weather.

It might be nice to drive a stick shift car to give my left foot something to do--its toes had about 70% less feeling in them than the right toes.

After the car had been running for a few minutes: "Oh, I think it's starting to get warm in here. Either that, or I'm dying."
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Tabloid Fun

I was at the grocery store this evening, in a slow-moving line, and I pondered some things about the tabloids.

1. Usually, tabloid artists can come up with some pretty awful photos of celebrities, for which they can make up terrible headlines. Anything with pregnancies or incredible weight-gains, for example, is pretty easy to come up with. Also, one of the magazines alleged that Goldie Hawn's face is falling apart and you know what? It totally looked like it is. Bad face day for Goldie.

However, the current National Enquirer says that docs have spilled the beans about Katie Holmes' plastic surgery. They back this up with two photos of Katie Holmes looking exactly the same, except for some hair dye and lipstick.

OK, I know this is a terrible picture, but it's the best I could do. You're going to have to believe me. Exactly the same.

I really . . . I expected more from you, National Enquirer. I really did.

2. What really never ceases to amaze me is how magazines put scandalous break-up stories on their covers . . . about W and Laura. I was informed by one of them that the First Couple is SEPARATING! C'mon. Traditonally raised, meek and mild Laura W. Bush (as I like to think of her), separating from or, some weeks, blowing up at/leaving/throwing food at her sitting president husband?

I miss Bill, too, you guys, but no amount of wishing and hoping for presidential romantic scandal is going to make it happen.

3. The Globe has got the right idea--just keep getting mileage out of Bill!
On the other hand--Brad and Angelina are moving in together? How could that possibly not have already happened? Is the order of celebrity relationship milestones now 1) be seen in public together 2)adopt your partner's children 3)decide you're officially "going steady" 4)shack up ?

I mean, I've learn to expect that the rich and famous (who are, after all, basically trailer trash with money [see: Spears, Britney])
will have babies together without intending any real commitment toward each other. But . . . adoption? That's pretty much . . . impossible to do by accident.
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Saturday, February 3, 2007

Some of the Words I Wish I Got to Use More Often



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Thursday, February 1, 2007

Ridiculous Boyfriend Spotlight On . . .

I really had to give some thought to whom I was going to shine this week’s Ridiculous Boyfriend Spotlight upon. John Adams was an easy decision as Week #1, partly because of how awesome he is and partly because I’m going through one of my 1776 phases. But who to choose next? The Ridiculous Boyfriend Spotlight is an honor, and not one to be bestowed lightly. However, in view of his longevity as a ridiculous boyfriend--and also mindful of popular demand--I have decided that this week’s Riculous Boyfriend Spotlight shall cast its ludricrous yet heartfelt rays on . . . Darth Vader.

First, let us define our parameters. We are not, that is NOT, talking about Anakin Skywalker. Pretty? Yes. Whiny and annoying? Also yes. Besides, we saw him when he was a kid, and he was prone to using the word “yippee.” Darth Vader does not say “yippee.” When I say I have am totally crushing on Darth Vader, I mean black mask, James Earl Jones voice, flowing black cape, exquisitely evil Darth. Vader.

“Rachel,” you may be thinking, “you are totally cracked out.” Ah, my friend, this is untrue. Let’s think about this logically, using consensus standards of male “crushability,” if you will.

1. Tall, dark, and handsome? Darth is two out of three!

2. It is well known that many women are attracted to power. And Darth Vader? He can totally choke dudes using merely the power of the force. Awesome!

3. As Napoleon Dynamite sagely informed us, girls like guys with skills. Darth Vader: lightsaber skillz, piloting skillz, deflecting-blaster-fire-with-his-bare-hands skillz, and--lest we forget--choking-a-dude-from-across-the-room skillz!

4. Women also go for men who, beneath their tough or crusty or, in this case, evil exteriors have an adorable vulnerability. Like House, or Alex Karev from Grey's Anatomy, or Dr. Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady. Darth Vader, as it turns out, loves his boy. Ergo, he is, on the inside, a puppy dog. A huge, menacing, malevolent puppy dog. (Awwwwww.)

5. OK, so it isn't a "standard" measurement of hotness, but . . . he has his own theme song! And it's written by John Williams, so you know it's good.

Ergo, when you examine it objectively, my 10-year (and counting!) attachment to Darth Vader just makes good sense.
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