September 28, 2005

With families like these, who needs enemies?

I really did plan to start off the season of Amazing Race: Family Edition with a recap, but then I read B-Side's "live blog" post of the premiere and realized that there is really no point.

Aside from not noticing that the guys manning the hot dog cart were the great team of Drew and Kevin from Season One of TAR (who, I might point out, the Best Brother in the Whole Wide World recognized immediately), he pretty much nailed it, from Phil's eyebrow in overdrive at the start to how heartbroken the little kids from the Black family (you know, the ones who are, thus the only minority presence) were when they were eliminated.

But, not willing to let two hours' worth of notes go to waste, I'll hit on some highlights that stood out for me:
  • The Brother and I each picked a team during the family intros that we thought would be the first ones out. He picked the Schroeder family, who came in fifth. I picked the Weaver family, who came in third. We apparently suck at first impressions.
  • The team that came in first was the four sisters (whose last name I can't spell, let alone pronounce), who also earned the distinction of acquiring the most nicknames during the first episode: the "Desperate Housewives," "The Pink Ladies," and (more or less) "Team Silicone," from a catty comment another contestant made. If you look at their team photo in the link above, you can understand why eventually "The Pink Ladies" won out. They are from Illinois and have a very annoying accent. Oh, and they scream and squeal a lot.
  • Other team nicknames bestowed either on the show or by us last night: Team Rugrats (the Gaghan family); The Sopranos (the Paolo family - we just couldn't resist that one, especially since the dad's name is Tony and he works in "waste management"); and The God Squad (the Weavers, who invoke his and Jesus' name just a whole lot too often).
  • Most ridiculous quote: "Don't let the flag touch the water, honey. It's sacrilegious...or something." (From Mama Schroeder during the "Cross the Delaware River" task.) Last time I checked,the flag wasn't sacred nor was patriotism a religion...except in the red states, maybe.
  • I learned a new saying from Mama Soprano: "About as down as a pregnant ant to the ground." This described how they felt when they knew they were falling behind. I don't know about you, but trying to visualize a pregnant ant just isn't working for me.
  • This season we unveil a new Amazing Race recap feature: The Dude Count. Now, "dude" is an expression I would cheerfully eliminate from the American lexicon, so maybe it stands out more to me than the rest of you, but it was the clear choice after last night. The most blatant offenders are the Linz family, one of two all-sibling teams, three of whom are guys. This just isn't a "baby" crowd, so that count is out...for now.
    AR:FE Dude Count Episode 1 = 6. (This number may be an underrepresentation -- it took a while to emerge as my choice, and I was too tired to go back and rewatch the whole two hours!)
Who are you rooting for at this point? Rooting against? Thoughts on the whole "family style" thing?

September 27, 2005

Good night, sweet prince

Because I know you were all dying to know, this past weekend I finally bought a new alarm clock. I was amazed that I found one so quickly after getting fed up with my old one again -- I have actually been looking for a new one for a couple years. Yes, I'm quite picky and this one met all of my requirements, plus one I hadn't even anticipated.

This picture doesn't really do it justice, but here it is:

This has a pretty good description of it, though I bought it at Target (natch), not Kohls. What sold me wasn't the MP3 line-in (I don't have a player) but that you can select the color of the LCD display from a rainbow of hues. It keeps changing colors until you tell it to stop. Not surprisingly, mine is set to a lovely shade of violet.

My other must-haves were a loud alarm, a sleep radio function, a big snooze button and time setting buttons that weren't anywhere near that big snooze button. Oh, and inexpensive.

This baby's got 'em all.

I mention all this not just because I just knew you all wouldn't rest until you knew whether or not my alarm panic mornings were over, but because I'm about to reach over and set the sucker for the night.

I had planned to do an Amazing Race: Family Edition recap but, as much as I want to do it, I'm tired (early for me) and I'm going to sleep instead. I'll let Finn show you exactly how I'm feeling at this exact moment:

So, good night.

September 26, 2005

A bad influence

You know the saying that dogs and their owners eventually start to look alike? Well, I don't think that's true for cats and their owners (thankfully), but I do think that perhaps some of their characteristics start to rub off on us.

Case in point? Ever since Finn came into my life, I seem to want to nap more and more. We even like the same couch for napping.

So I present to you this tableau: Portrait of a Bad Influence.

September 22, 2005

Survivor moment that didn't air tonight...

...and, if I were Steph, I'd probably wish it had stayed that way.

Maybe it's just me, but I'm now thinking that "grinding the corn" might be a Guatemalan euphemism. Those Mayans were a wild and crazy people, you know.

September 20, 2005

Reality check

Tonight was a somewhat sad one for me: the season finales of both Big Brother 6 and Rock Star: INXS aired and each was won by the person in the final two that I didn't want to win. Damn.

This is what's known as "Reality Show Letdown" syndrome. And the only cure for that? A new reality show! (...or two...or, okay, three.)

Yes, thanks to copygodd doing recaps on it for TVgasm, I have been sucked into watching The Biggest Loser, a "new" show for me that I can really ill-afford to add to the lineup, but it's a force beyond my control. Go Jen!

Of course, Survivor: Guatemala started last week with a bang (and, if you check out the new feature "Survivors Strike Back," you'll see that Jenna Morasca agrees with me, though I wrote it before I read her first blog post) and a barf bag or five. But if anyone can tell me what the second twist we were promised in all the commercials was, I'd appreciate it. Obviously, having Steph and Bobby Jon join the teams was one, but what the heck was the other?

Then next week is the premiere of The Amazing Race: Family Edition, and even though I'm skeptical about having kids involved (and the fact that they'll only go about a quarter of the distance as the regular version, but will still win as much money), I'm looking forward to regular doses of Phil Keoghan in my life again. I do wonder what happened to Rupert from Survivor and his family being a part of it, but then CBS has tapped into the "returning reality stars" barrel quite enough already.

I'm sure that there are as many of you who are anti-reality TV as there are those of you who are into it. The former group: stuff it for now. For the rest of you, did you feel the same kind of letdown tonight? What reality shows are you into or are looking forward to most this season?

September 16, 2005

Not a good start to a Friday


Blind panic.

Blink at the clock in disbelief.

I'm supposed to be to work in 3 minutes.

I'm rooted to the spot on the edge of the bed as this reality sinks in.

Work is a minimum of 20 minutes away if I were ready.

I'm not.

I'm, a...well, advanced state of dishabille.

I've got a kitten to see to.

I've got bagels to buy to bring in with me.

I'm screwed.

Grab the phone and start calling in.

No one answers.

Look at laptop for reasons unknown.

Blink at the screen in disbelief.

Boundless relief.


Note to self: Buy a new alarm clock immediately, one on which the time cannot be changed by the slip of a hand reaching out with your eyes closed.

September 13, 2005

Trying to be positive...and failing

I nicked this link from copygodd: 25 Mind-Numbingly Stupid Quotes About Hurricane Katrina And Its Aftermath. (Personally I'd put #2 in the #1 spot because it is far and away the one that makes me maddest.)

Normally I'd just send you to his site for it, but he has this clown theme going on right now -- he changes blog schemes like the rest of us change our hairstyles (women)/underwear(men)/furniture(Rita) -- and, as I've told him, it's freaking me out so I can't do that to any faithful readers who might feel likewise.

Anyway, on a related note, because just enough time has passed for the scum to ooze out of the woodwork and find a way to take advantage of the basic goodness of people*, we have our first Katrina relief scams up and running. Lovely.

Because I'd like to end this on a happier note, however, please join me in wishing the best to Heidi Klum and her husband, Seal (one of my favorite singers), who just welcomed a baby boy into the world. (See, Flavio "Fuckwit" Briatore, there are famous-and-wealthy-but-decent men in the world who don't cheat on and dump a woman they've gotten pregnant, you jerk. Damn, so much for the more positive ending -- I just can't stand that prick.)

*Don't get me wrong, I still think the vast majority of people are terrifically stupid, but there is a level of goodness that occasionally manages to rise above the average duh-ness they exhibit on a daily basis, such as after a major disaster like this.

September 10, 2005


Don't run away -- you're in the right place, the decor has just changed a good bit.

Yup, thanks to the magical workings of two of my absolute favorite bloggers, copygodd and Bibb, the Ping has a brand new look! My favorite way to describe it is "purplicious," and I couldn't be more excited.

Sir copygodd ever-so-politely told me that my site rendered like crap and we were off and running, since he was willing to come up with a new scheme. I pulled Sir Bibb in by asking him to do a long-ago-offered new banner for me at the same time. It's not like these guys don't have enough to do on their own stuff, so I'm really indebted to them both and I hope you'll let them know if you like their efforts. If not, well, blame me because they both gave me editorial control and I approved it all.

I know posting here has been pretty light lately. I've been pretty busy and it has left me kind of tired at night. Plus, frankly, it's a lot more fun to play with Finn at the end of the day than to stare at a screen. Hmm, that reminds me, I have some great new pictures a friend took of him to post sometime soon...

In other news, I've finished my post-fracture physical therapy as of yesterday and I got a very good grade in my progress. I've still got a couple weeks of self-directed exercise to do, in order to improve the one area in my range of motion that's still got a hitch in its giddyup. Put your left arm back and up high like you were reaching for someone on a ladder to hand you a hammer or something -- though why you would do that is beyond me -- that's what I can't do. So I've got these nifty little bands to exercise with to help it along and we'll see how that goes. I still don't think there's much rock climbing in my immediate future, however.

September 04, 2005

Sir? That's a player's trophy, not an urn.

Thanks to the generosity of a good friend, today I got to go to the First Tee Open at Pebble Beach. It was one of those rare days on the links, where the fog had cleared, it was sunny but not hot, and it was breezy but not overly windy. In other words, damned near perfect.

What made it even better was that it's not yet a huge event, which means there aren't huge crowds. We started at the classic 18th green, and I was astonished at how few people were there. I've only been there before at big events like the US Open and the Pebble Beach Pro-Am where there are throngs everywhere, so it was a real treat to be there and have the place "to ourselves."

It was a Champions Tour event, which I guess means that it was all senior players so we weren't dealing with the "hot" players of today but instead the older players who've still got it, and probably a few who don't but are still out there swinging. They are paired up with junior players who I think qualify in various tournaments...I'm not clear on the details, okay, I was there for the sake of just being there.

Anyway, I got to see Gary Player, Hale Irwin, Tom Kite, Curtis Strange and Arnold Palmer, fairly up close and personal, and who knows when I might get a chance to see some of those guys again? (Arnie's about to turn 76, after all, and this might have been his last competitive round at Pebble Beach.) I also got to walk down the 18th fairway when the final group was on the green -- that was a treat because being out there is something you generally have to pay a couple hundred bucks, swing at little balls and walk around in goofy pants in order to do.

But a few downsides:

- It took more than half a tank of gas to get there and back, which will now cost me at least 30 cents more per gallon to replace. (Is everyone else enjoying that super-fun game of "Who's got the 'cheapest' gas in town?" by the way? If so, check out this little animated movie.)

- I had a wardrobe malfunction wherein I wore a pair of shoes I've never worn before in place of my customary weekend sandals (thinking with the weather there so iffy that I might need more on my feet than those), and ended up with sore feet and a bunch of blisters in places I don't normally get blisters. Not only did it impede my enjoyment of walking around as much as I would have liked, but the big one on my heel burst mid-stride and that's a pretty icky feeling.

- Even though I'm generally an "obey the rules" kind of person, I did bring along my little digital camera just in case there was something that just had to be recorded and wouldn't get my camera confiscated. Plus, since there were no A-level players there, the rules seemed to be a little relaxed and there were a lot of pictures being taken anyway. But I ignored the little "low battery" icon one time too many and my perfect shot of Arnie on the 17th tee didn't happen because the batteries were dead. I would have had a great (non-cat) picture to post with this, damn it.

- While on the 18th fairway, near the green, watching Hale Irwin finish up his winning round, this guy took a huge plastic bag out of his army jacket with one hand, while clutching his can of beer in the other, and started scattering the ashes of a dearly departed friend on the grass. That was distracting enough, especially when he ran out into the sand trap next to me to see if he could get away with dumping some in there, too, but remember that breeze I mentioned? Yeah. I kept hearing him vigorously brushing off his pants behind me and I didn't even want to think about where else the swirling air might have carried any stray bits o' Buddy.

- I put on a new moisturizer in the morning, which I thought had sunscreen because I usually only buy moisturizer with a minimum SPF15, but which had none. So I got a bit of sunburn on my face and neckline and my nose is a nice shade of too-rosy at the moment. Thankfully, it doesn't hurt much.

- I got the crap scared out of me by the Michelin Man. Yeah, there's a story there but I'm getting sleepy, so suffice it to say that I yelled at him and moved on.

Regardless of all my bitching, it was a great day (especially once I got back to the car and put my sandals back on!) and a really fun time all the way around. If you're a golf fan and want to see a nice event without the crowds and the mindless screaming of "Get in the hole!" after every swing, I would try to check it out next year.

Just wear comfortable shoes, for the love of all that's right and good in the world.