Monday, March 31, 2008

A Rose By Any Other Name

A few years ago, traveling on a local road I rarely travel, I passed by a beauty salon called Curl Up and Dye. I nearly ran off the road. Since then, I've heard of other, similar places with the same name. Morbid, I thought then, and morbid, I think now.

Tonight I spied a new sign on a local road I often travel: Eat Your Heart Out Catering.

Do people actually think before they name their shops, or are they just so proud of their own cleverness that they don't consider that potential clients might find their clever names ... sinister?

Unless your establishment is the Haunted Mansion at the Magic Kingdom, being cleverly sinister is not the best of ideas.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Efficiency of UPS

On Monday I ordered two books from Amazon, one a friend's recently published book of poetry, and one Tobias Wolff's hot-off-the presses collection Our Story Begins: New and Selected Stories. I've been waiting for Wolff's book partly for its own self and partly so I could spend the minimum $25 required to get Free Shipping and get my friend's book. Yippee! (Adding to the happy savings: by "preordering" the Wolff book all of one day early, I got another discount.)

I don't know how Amazon makes shipping decisions, but I'm always just a little disappointed when the shipper of choice is USPS. It's not that they're slow, because they're not particularly, but their "track this shipment" information decidedly lacks information. Usually there's a cursory note -- something like "carrier notified to pick up package." And then there might not be another notation until after I've opened the package and am turning the pages of the book.

Not so with UPS, which o happy day Amazon chose this time. UPS practically offers the phases of the moon and the state of mind of the truck drivers. Here's the books' travel history:

March 27, 2008 04:00:00 PM BITTY'S TOWN FL US Delivered
March 27, 2008 08:18:00 AM BIG TOWN NEAR BITTY'S TOWN FL US Out for delivery
March 27, 2008 08:12:00 AM BIG TOWN NEAR BITTY'S TOWN FL US Departure Scan
March 27, 2008 06:28:00 AM BIG TOWN NEAR BITTY'S TOWN FL US Arrival Scan
March 27, 2008 03:11:00 AM ORLANDO FL US Departure Scan
March 26, 2008 06:27:00 PM ORLANDO FL US Arrival Scan
March 26, 2008 08:24:00 AM CHATTANOOGA TN US Departure Scan
March 26, 2008 04:04:00 AM CHATTANOOGA TN US Arrival Scan
March 25, 2008 11:43:00 PM NASHVILLE TN US Departure Scan
March 25, 2008 06:28:00 PM NASHVILLE TN US Shipment picked up from seller's facility
March 25, 2008 12:21:08 PM US Carrier notified to pick up package

I was up early this morning, so I got to watch the package move from its arrival in Big Town through all the moves except "delivered," which happened when I was not online. It's like watching a loved one run a relay race, or checking in periodically with the Tour de France. Go, go! You can do it!

Now the first part of the excitement is over, and I can move to the second part. I must publish post, shut down, and drive home so I can turn the pages of my new books.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Nobody Wants to Have a Damned Meeting!

I'm on a committee. Generally, I find it kind of a silly one, but that's neither here nor there. Today we were to hold our scheduled monthly meeting.

I fouled something up, so we weren't going to be able to do what we'd planned. I sent my apologies around, and I presumed that we'd conduct some other business.


The speed at which suggestions to cancel the meeting appeared in my mailbox stunned me.

I show up at these silly meetings, assuming that everyone else is all rah-rah.

But what's now clear is that nobody, not just me, wants to have a damned meeting!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I am well and truly Lost now: Lost Madness

A "friend" just told me about Lost Madness at the Washington Post:
During the NCAA Tournament, college basketball freaks get to advance their favorite teams through a series of brackets. Now, it’s the “Lost” fans’ turn.

Introducing “Lost” Madness, a two-week competition where readers can vote for their favorite “Lost” characters in 32 face-offs featuring 64 of the key players from the Oceanic 815 universe. By the time it’s all over, a champion – otherwise known as the best “Lost” character ever – will emerge.
I call her a "friend" because a real friend wouldn't feed in to my obsession. No, no.

More on this later as time permits.

(But seriously -- between Jack and Cindy, who did you think was going to win? And while Locke and Sayid go head-to-head next time, Kate's up against...Vincent?? I smell a fix.)

Friday, March 07, 2008

People visit my blog. Who knew? And some self-pity, too.

This is kind of a shock. I'm barely reading my own blog, and four people showed up today.

Thanks, guys.

I wasn't going to blog any more for a while. I really don't have time, but here goes anyway.

I find myself in an odd position of having to keep my mouth shut about how I feel about having my son leave to risk his life for an immoral rich man's misadventure.* I'm not being silenced by neocons, although living in the red section of my red state, that's often how I feel about other issues -- silenced. Instead, I feel muzzled by what I can only think to call my own sense of decency. Except for talking to my friends -- bloggy and face-to-face -- I have to hold my silence. And I'm holding my silence with the people that I'd most like to talk to.

Let's start with Daughter. She's the most likely person I would talk to about such things, but this is her brother we're talking about. She's at least as invested in this as I am. Worse, her husband leaves for Afghanistan in a few months. So when we speak of this, I only say about a tenth of what I'm thinking.

Then there's Tall Son. Again, it's his brother, and it would be unfair of me to dump on him.

Then there's Indian Princess, Marine Son's wife, pregnant and with a not-quite-five-month-old at home. Enough said.

Mostly importantly, I have to remain silent with Marine Son. I'll be talking to him this weekend (by phone -- we're on opposite coasts). I have to say goodbye to him -- knowing that it might really be goodbye. (Of course, this is theoretically true of every goodbye, but usually we're not seeing people off on their trip into a circle of hell.) In such a conversation, it's not good form to express fury at the waste of it all. Not good form to complain. Not good form to say what I really want to say, which is I am terrified you won't come back -- or won't come back the same person. I am terrified you won't get to raise your children, you who have waited your entire adult life to have a child who could live with you. I am terrified for your younger children -- that they might never know you. I am terrified that you, who are one of the funniest, cleverest, noblest, most loving people I have known, will not

---it took me three minutes to type this word --


Anyway, that's a conversation I'm not allowed to indulge in. I know there are many people who do, but I can't be one of them. Except with a few friends. And except here.

What makes me uncomfortable is that this situation forces me to be dishonest, to be someone other than who I am.

But for the sake of other people's feelings, that's how it has to be.

*and if someone wanders in here and lectures me about the dangerous world we live in, that we have real enemies, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. -- I know that. I am referring to our vanity war, which has done nothing whatsoever to mitigate those problems.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

The Other Shoe Drops

So I've been having a good cry all afternoon, and I don't think it's going to end anytime soon.

I've known it was coming, but not quite when until this afternoon.

My son leaves for Iraq on Monday.