Tuesday, August 31, 2010


My first line of defense against BlogSpam (which, as those of you with Blogger blogs have no doubt also noticed, has gotten really persistent in recent months) is comment moderation on older posts. For some reason, the spam really loves old posts. Even weirder, the spam loves one post in particular: "If Only I Could Really Do Justice to His Adorableness . . . ", an entry I wrote three years ago about making my own South-Parkified Jim Tressel. At least once a week, I get some comment with poor English and a bunch of nonsensical links, trying to get me to buy or click or something, and I've always found it really weird. Do spammers love Jim Tressel?

If so, I guess spammers and I have something in common.

I didn't really examine the issue until I decided to write this post, but I have now decided that it's because of my use of a certain word that starts with a "diss" and ends with an "atisfied." (If I'm right, I don't want the spammers targeting this post. Although I guess that would be the best way to test my theory.) I guess the spammers are concerned that I'm not wholly content, and they just want to help.
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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Few Things

1. I just want to draw your attention to the sidebar link to Football Gal that says "Still Not Done with Conference Shenanigans." Or the link that I embedded right there. You know, just in case you're interested in that kind of thing.

2. A couple days ago I was making a cup of tea before work, as is my wont, and the kettle started whistling so I grabbed it and poured and I poured water straight from the kettle onto my left hand. I swore only a little, set down the kettle and the mug, shoved the hand under cold water, and . . . my hand was totally fine. Don't get me wrong, I'm very glad I didn't burn the dickens out of my hand, but the whole incident makes me think a little less of my kettle.

3. Project Runway continues to be really good, you guys. Last week they had to make outfits from stuff they bought at a party store, and for the most part the dresses actually looked really good. I was impressed. Also, Tim Gunn cracked up really hard at one point, and it was awesome.

4. Well, when I said "a cup" of tea, I really meant like 15 oz of tea, because I like really huge mugs. Look at this one I got in Dodge City:
It's practically the size of my face!!

5. And in case you're wondering, yes, that picture happened because I've finally discovered the camera in my computer. Neal has made me promise not to record any vlogs, though. (He thinks they're creepy.)
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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Pet Peeve #388

What happens when you click on your own Twitter profile:

Twitter. Listen. I am not a five-month old that you're holding up to a mirror. "Who is that tweeter? Who is that little tweeter?! That's you!"
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Sunday, August 8, 2010

Aggie Football Preview!

Yep, as is traditional*, I've written my Aggie preview post. But if you want to read it, you've got to go over to Football Gal; that's where it is. If you go and you comment, well you'll just make me the happiest football-blogging girl in the world.

*OK, I didn't really do one in 2007, apparently. I did do the pre-conference games preview, but that's a whole separate tradition.
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Friday, August 6, 2010

Project Runway Season 8

Yesterday I quasi-promised another book entry, but instead I want to talk about TV. Yay, TV!

Last weekend, I was babysitting, and the parents of my baby friend (we hang out and chill) have cable. Thanks to this, I caught most of the season premiere of Project Runway (my friend the baby was asleep by this time). It was pretty good times. Then I found out that Lifetime streams episodes online, so I was able to watch the part I'd missed of the first episode and, this morning, watch the second episode. This has been a revelation to me. I haven't followed the show for years, but I did love it in its heyday (Seasons 1-4, by my count). And I've surprised myself by getting really into it this time around.

Out of the 17 designers they began with, I loathed two of them instantly, deeply, and passionately (Jason and Casanova). But besides those guys, I think I like everyone else. I should be really annoyed by Ivy, but she's so happy. I can't dislike that cute little sprite! In the second episode, poor sweet Mondo broke down a bit about how he feels like people only like him for his talent instead of loving him for himself. I told him (OK, I told my computer screen), "Aww! I love you, Mondo!" That's the way this season is going so far.

One odd thing about this season is that the episodes are now 90 minutes instead of an hour. This is not universally popular, and it sounded like a bad idea to me, but I think it actually works. There's more footage of designer interaction (at their apartments, in the workroom, and most interestingly, backstage during the judging), which doesn't sound intriguing but sort of is; there's more time spent on each outfit on the runway, which is nice; and best of all, there's more quality Tim time! We get to hear him say more to each designer than "I'm worried" and "Make it work!" Although there's still a lot of those phrases, to be sure.

A final element that's going to keep me hooked on this season: Laura Bennett's blog. (Laura Bennett was "The Pregnant One" on Season 3.) Oh. My. Stars. She is so catty and so funny--and she's not just mean about the designs/designers, she also lays into the judges, the product placements, the challenge--the very conceits of the show itself. ("The episode begins with Sarah waking up and thinking that reality-TV competition shows might really be about contestant torture. She is also thinking that it is actually her parents who put presents under the Christmas tree, but she's not sure.") I am enthralled. Absolutely enthralled.

Anyhoodle, if you, like me, don't get to watch Project Runway on a television set, you can watch the first episode here and the second one here. If you are able to watch it on a television set, I'm still jealous. (This week's internet commercial breaks: makeup artist/supervillain Collier Strong* tells you to cover your lips with lipliner before putting on gloss, for some reason. Six times.)

*Observation that Collier Strong looks like somebody who's prone to holding the world hostage with his nuclear arsenal is TM Neal.

**I chose that picture at the top because it looks like a poster for a movie where Heidi is a young ingenue spy in over her head in a world she never made, while Tim looks like the evil, corrupt CIA head who pulls the world's strings from the shadows. I know that's a lot of cliches, but what do you expect from Hollywood?

Edited to add: I just discovered that Tim Gunn vlogs about each episode on his Facebook page! Watch the one for the first episode if you want to hear Tim Gunn say the phrase "crack-smoking judges" repeatedly. I know I did!
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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Books and Books in Brief

Again, I've read too many books since my last books and books to put them all in one post. There are four that I want to talk about at length, so I'll do that . . . let's say tomorrow? And the rest I'll try to put in nutshells here.

An Accomplished Woman, by Jude Morgan
This is a modern book written in the vein of Jane Austen, and it's very well done. It started kind of slow--it's one of those things where the protagonist keeps insisting and insisting she's not going to do a particular thing, when OF COURSE she's going to do it, because the narrative demands it, and I hate it when the author delays the start of their real plot that way--but once things get going, it's very entertaining. Not surprising, but entertaining.

She Looks Just Like You: A Memoir of (Nonbiological Lesbian) Motherhood, by Amie Klempnauer Miller
So boring. Not only is she fairly repetitive, but she focuses on the really standard problems and issues of parenthood--which would be fine if she had an interesting spin or style to put on it, but she just doesn't. She frets a lot over being the "other" mother, but in a dull way. To add insult to injury, she sometimes hints at interesting topics and deliberately skirts them (fleeting glimpses of her own possibly crazy mother go nowhere; there was apparently some drama when she and her partner first got together but she doesn't get into it). She doesn't even have any good stories about people looking at her weird because the baby has two mommies. Once you've read the title, you've gotten as much out of this book as I have.

Under Heaven, by Guy Gavriel Kay
This is a kind of fantasy/historical fiction work about 8th Century China, and I was bowled over by how good it was. Even though it was a little uneven, I thought it was, overall, beautifully and masterfully written. I feel like I can't describe it much more without giving things away, so I'll leave it at I loved it, and I'm definitely going to seek out more of his books.

The Tea Enthusiast's Handbook: A Guide to the World's Best Teas, by Mary Lou and Robert J. Heiss
This was the most pretentious book I've ever read, and I used to be in academia. Yeah. It's one-third pretentious instruction about tea (tea bags are evil, find a trusted tea dealer who imports directly from China, use the purest water possible BUT NO DISTILLED!) and two-thirds reference material about different types of tea. Admittedly, I found it a little useful when Neal and I visited a real-live tea shop, but mostly I thought it was inadvertently hilarious.

SuperFreakonomics, by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
Even better than Freakonomics. The first one starts strong and then gets weaker as it goes along; this one is really solid and really interesting all the way through. It's great.

The Pioneer Woman Cooks, by Ree Drummond
I've been visiting her website for a while, and I adapted/adopted her pot roast recipe, but once I brought this cookbook home, Neal has overtaken me as a Pioneer Woman recipe fan. A very few minutes of looking at the book convinced him that we needed to buy it, so we did. It's been a big success.

Olive Kitteridge, by Elizabeth Strout
Oh man, such a bummer. It's more like a collection of short stories than a novel, but the character Olive Kitteridge--who is a mean, depressed, rather horrible old woman from Maine--ties them together. Some people really like this book, because it is well-written and original. One of my co-workers recommended it to me, and I recommended it to my friend who likes depressing books. She's going to love it.

Ocho Cinco: What Football and Life Have Thrown My Way, by Chad "Ochocinco" Ochocinco
Prepare to be shocked: this book is pointless. It's written as if Chad is talking to you, so it's not very organized or purposeful. Also, Chad "Ochocinco" Ochocinco is a ridiculous manchild, as the book does not hesitate to inform you. I finished it, although I couldn't really tell you why.

Books I tried to read but gave up on:
A Scanner Darkly, by Philip K. Dick
The most painfully dated vision of a dystopian future I've ever read or seen.

The Postmistress, by Sarah Blake
I picked this one up out of morbid curiosity because a friend of mine hated it (and resented that all the critics who liked The Help also liked this). I got maybe 10 pages into it before I realized she was right--it just came off as stupid. All the dialogue and inner monologues were ickily unrealistic, and then there was a line about the new moon shining and that's where I stopped.

Up next time: two books I really liked, and two in series that I used to like that are now almost unbearably disappointing!
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