Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Dear Charlie:

List five of your weirdest habits:

1 - At work, I absolutely have to have my Outlook Inbox up first, then my WinAmp or Windows Media Player, and then my actual working program(s). If they get out of order on my toolbar -- like if I have to shut down one of those first two without shutting down a later program -- I have to shut everything down and bring them back up in order.

Part of this admittedly obsessive-compulsive behavior is simple practicality. At work, I always have my Outlook up, and when playing a CD or some mp3s, I want it effectively out of the way of my more changeable other duties. The only time I exit those first two programs is if something is wrong. However, my job is varied enough that I can switch from Word to Excel to our affiliation's specific program and back again. Same at the law firm for the last five years. I'd work on different programs there, but the Outlook and WinAmp would always be up and safely out of the way to the left of the toolbar.

2 - Back in high school, I started collecting books that I loved in my youth. I've always been a book-a-holic, of course, but I didn't have much of my own collection until I started stock-piling. At the time, I always figured I was picking them up for my kids some day, hoping they would be able to read the same books that fired my imagination and sense of humor.

And then, in college, I remembered that I didn't want kids! However, the habit has remained, and I still try to buy books that I once borrowed from my hometown library. I catch myself surfing Amazon.com for the titles I remember and looking up author pages for Betty Ren Wright and Beatrix Potter and Stephen Cosgrove and such. Every now and then, if I have the extra change, I'll buy a few and stockpile them.

I now have two Ruf-Totes full of books with no shelves, an entire bookcase full of everything Stephen King has published, and several other miscellaneous boxes of this-n-that, and no planned children on which to fob them off! Woo-hoo!

3 - I'm not sure if this counts so much as a habit or just more evidence of my intentionally undiagnosed ADD, but I collect hobbies. I will work gung-ho on a project until I've forgotten to eat, sleep, drink, or take a leak for hours on end...until I lose the fire. Now, as an adult, I have trained myself to remain on-task at work and at writing. But, at home and at play? Well, I tend to go where the mood takes me.

As such, I bake, cross-stitch, crochet in a pinch, quilt, embroider, draw - I've run the gamut of charcoals, pastels, water-colors, acrylics, oils, colored pencils, crayons, and chalks - play chess and mahjong, throw pottery and build sculpture, dabble in numerology and have an amusing interest in astrology, name a laundry-list of Greek and Roman gods, remember lots of elements from the Periodic Table by abbreviation and the chemical structures of several basic household substances, curse in at least 5 other languages, spout statistics and entertaining commentary on most teams in the NFL, do basic car maintenance and even a spot of repair if absolutely necessary (and if Dad's there to do all the hard stuff, heh), dabble at minor carpentry, work most computer programs and even troubleshoot in a pinch, play with basic woodworking - both functional and decorative - knock down buildings with a sledge hammer, etc. Hobbies. They come and go like the wind. Except football, of course. All have held my intense focus at some point. All still hold a little piece of my heart.

4 - I can read a book, listen to a song, or watch a movie over and over again without losing my enjoyment of said book, song, or movie. I once watched Pitch Black three times in a row. Loved it each time. I've read several of Stephen King's novels dozens of times each. I can listen to Nickelback's Animals five times in a row.

The first time I experience something, I experience the pure enjoyment of something new and amazing. The successive times? I'm usually studying the something. Trying to find exactly what works for me. Savoring. Turning it this way and that. Underlining key phrases, specific wording, particular favorites. That kind of thing. Every time I experience something again, I find something new to love.

5 - I hang up on someone if they haven't answered by the second "hello". I don't have time to listen to a computer telling me to hold the line. I don't have time for the multi-dialling telemarketers to get rid of the last schmuck so they can schmooze me. I greet twice and hang up.

Admittedly, I have hung up on perfectly legit callers, but if they're really trying to get ahold of me as opposed to butchering my last name or asking for some mysterious Mr. GutterBall - who obviously doesn't exist - they will simply call back and be a little quicker on the draw.

Okay, so there are some of my bizarro habits. I know, I know! Just when you guys were starting to think I was normal again!

I'm not gonna tag anyone else, though I'm curious as to what everyone else would say. If you wanna answer but don't want to use a whole blog entry on it, feel free to spam my comments section. Enjoy!

Monday, December 26, 2005

Hilarious Sidebar:

Okay, I know I lovingly promised details on the Chiefs game, and I know you are all just on tenterhooks to hear what I have to say about our much-maligned defense holding the highest-scoring offense in football to a mere seven points for an entire game...heh...but I have to veer off into an entirely different direction.

Last night, I watched what might be the best terrible movie ever made.

*allows moment of silence*

Yes, Dave and I became restless on that long Christmas day -- neither of us like Christmas much, so we weren't doing anything terribly fascinating -- and decided to go get some Chinese food and rent a movie or two.

Now, we both are cheesy B movie afficionados -- witness Black Cadillac and the terribly fun Jeepers Creepers II -- but I usually RENT them, while Dave usually BUYS them.

So, when he'd already picked out Romero's Land of the Dead to buy used, he apparently decided he was in the mood for a zombie flick night and picked up the unknown Undead, as well. I had my doubts, but hey, I'm game.

We watched Land of the Dead first. Nice. And then...Undead.

Now, this flick starts out just...bizarro. You get a lovely visual effects shot of a comet/asteroid impacting nothing and shattering into thousands of pieces, then heading straight toward Earth. And then? Well, a terrified-looking woman in a mortgage and loan office being smugly read the riot act -- in a smashing Australian accent -- about her responsibilities to her dead parents' estate, which is apparently more debt than farmland. Huh?

I admit, I was lost. We even watched it twice, just to be sure the DVD hadn't skipped. It hadn't.

Then, several admittedly well-done snapshots of the town of Berkeley that make you hope the meteorites hit the down dead-center. Heh. Luckily enough, they do. Right through a nice little ol' lady in her best Sunday dress. Woo-hoo!

Of course, she then stands up with a gaping hole through her mid-section and immediately sets out on the typical zombie quest -- the never-ending search for brains.

A few more people get skewered and turn into the walking dead, and then we're back to the poor already-terrified looking girl who has no idea that much more is wrong than the loss of her family farm. She and her gum-chewing idiot of a boyfriend are on their way out of town when they come to what looks like a car accident in the middle of the infamous short-cut. Boyfriend demands what kind of short-cut she's sent him on, then gets out to inspect the damage.

He gets bit. Of course. And before you can blink, he's a zombie and chasing after what we now realize is the heroine.

As the other "survivors" of the crash come after her, she taps into some here-to-fore unknown survivor ability in herself and splits one down the middle with The Club. Who knew The Club was so sharp? And just as her now undead boyfriend is about to get her, a triple-shotgun rig appears, all three barrels fire, and Mr. Chewing Gum goes scooting about twenty feet away in the dirt with three gaping holes in his chest.

I just about died laughing. I am SO not kidding.

Anyway, the shotty-toting guy ambles laconically away and, inexplicably, it starts to rain. No, it starts to rain acid. The heroine's clothes start smoking and she runs for the nearest shelter, which just so happens to be the shotty-toting guy's World of Weapons. Woo-hoo! Now that's my kinda guy!

Anyway, I won't do any more in-depth plot synopsis. For one thing, as funny as it would be, it wouldn't do the visual gags justice. Wah-hah! For another, it's not necessary to tell you what's so damn funny -- and bad -- about this flick. Let me give you just the bare necessities.

1) A cop that is damn near poetic with his use of the F word -- made better, of course, by the Australian accent. "Marion, you drop those guns or I'll fuckin finish you faster than a fuckin birthday cake at a fuckin fat girl's party!"

2) A flashback in which meteorite-stricken dead fish turn zombie and attack -- screamingly attack! -- the World of Weapons guy. "One day, you're just sittin in your boat and you're attacked by zombie fish." NO, you're NOT! Who does that happen to???

3) Hooded, glowing aliens whose purposes are not what they seem -- which is actually a pretty damn nifty twist that I wouldn't have seen coming if I hadn't been trying to figure it out -- and who apparenly have similar body issues as we do. Alien 1: "Put your clothes back on." Alien 2: *shrug* "I'm happy with my body."

4) Marion's endless supply of spring-loaded weaponry. I kid you not! Even after they've had to strip to the buff because of the acid rain eating through their clothes and find other garb to don, he flips up his brand-new slicker's tail and somehow throws out two more loaded pistols. One guy actually goes, "Where the hell were you hiding those!?" I had to laugh because that's exactly what I was thinking!

Oh, man, there is so much more that's just WRONG with this flick, but the directors/writers/editors/producers -- the Spierig brothers from...you guessed it...Australia -- do such a good job of never taking it too seriously that you laugh your ass off instead of rolling your eyes too much. And damn if I couldn't wait to see the end. I never once thought about turning it off because it was so bad, and I have SO been tempted to do just that with other flicks.

So, all in all, this was an amusing romp of a flick if you're into B movie zombie flicks. If not, give it a wide berth, because I don't think you'll think it's as funny as I do. Hilarious stuff!

And if you don't believe me, just ask Dave. After the zombie fish attack flashback, he actually fell off the couch from laughing so hard. I shit you not! Bwahah!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

My Dearest Charles:

See? SEE??

I AM good luck!

I thought about making a big poster that shouted "All I want for Christmas is a Wild Card slot!", but I thought that might be presumptuous. That was also before I learned that not only do the Chiefs have to beat Cincinnati -- which is like 11-4, might I remind you -- and San Diego must lose to Denver next week...but Pittsburgh must also lose...to...DETROIT.


So, our chance at a play-off spot is slim at best...and emaciated in all actuality. But who cares??

This game was AWESOME!

It was like the best line from Johnny Cash's classic, Boy Named Sue. It was kickin and a-gougin in the mud and the blood and the beer.

How cool is that??

There is no better way for a football fan to spend a holiday she doesn't like than by roaring her lungs out until she's hoarse, thumping on the back of the seat in front of her until she can't feel her fingers, and drinking WAY expensive beer and making funny/inappropriate commentary on every aspect of the game.


Okay, so it was cold. And wet. A steady, chilling drizzle soaked through my all-weather Chiefs parka, my water-proof Chiefs windbreaker, my long-sleeved denim shirt, and my beloved #58 DT jersey. It was very, very wet.

At one point, I think we even got some sleet, but I can't swear to it. By that time, I really couldn't feel anything. Woo-hoo!

God, I love football!

So, while I'll probably go over every fabulous play with loving and meticulous detail later, for now I'd just like to say thank you to Karla, the wonderful wonderful woman who shared her season tickets with li'l ol' me and gave me one of the funnest, most throat-trashing day I've had since...well....

Heh...since LAST Christmas at Arrowhead! Woo-hoo!

Thank you, Karla! You ROCK!!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

My Dearest Charles:

I am now officially a happy camper.


I'm goin to the Chiefs game! I'm goin to the Chiefs game! WOO-HOO!!

*dances some more*

Christmas Eve at Arrowhead! It's that time of year again!

*dances yet more*


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Wonderful Sidebar:

Thanks to my beloved sister's wonderful and incredibly timely gift, I ran out and purchased Serenity this evening. It may be the best money I've spent all year.

I positively adore this movie.

I know I promised a review months ago when I watched it in the theater, but I wanted to run through it again, just to make sure it wasn't a fluke. To make sure I really enjoyed the movie, not the atmosphere or the group I was with or whatever.

So, I waited until now.

This movie is an absolute jewel. It has action, adventure, gore, romance, science fiction, comedy...everything the body needs. Not only does this flick combine all these elements seamlessly and flawlessly, but it does so with a depth of heart and courage that proves the essential vitality of the human spirit.

You know the very instant the Captain goes from being the cantankerous leader of a motley flock of mercenaries to being an instrument of truth, a messenger, a true leader for a cause. You can see it in his eyes. You can hear it in his voice.

However, you also know the very instant the "bad guy" goes from being a pure instrument to being a true being. A being with will and emotion, with reason and free thought. A being who finds a question that stumbles him from his perfect and unswerving devotion to his path to a better world -- a world of which he admits he'll never be a part.

The two are perfectly set apart. They are perfect foils for each other.

And the crew and sundry other supporting characters are equally well-drawn, well-acted, and well-scripted. This is a perfect movie.

I adore it beyond all reason.

I love the way they talk. Their manner of speech is like a cross between back-country hick and Regency cant. It's proper...in a relaxed sort of way.

But even how they deliver their lines is both utterly convincing and strangely entrancing. I catch myself wanting them to talk more, just so I can hear them. I want to know how they'd say this particular phrase and wonder if they have a special jargon for that particular concept.

I catch myself wanting to write in that lexicon. It's just...fun. Like: "She is starting to damage my calm!" Heh. Love that line.

And then there's the story itself. It's just a damn good story with characters you immediately care about -- even if you don't fancy mercenaries as heroes -- and situations that bring out both their best and worst qualities...often at the same time. This is a journey in the truest sense -- a journey of mind, of spirit, of discovery, of retreat, of valor, of...of deliverance.

This is a hero's journey, and the entire cast goes along for the ride. And luckily enough...so do we.

Bon voyage, baby.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Dear Charlie:

So my Christmas tree lasted a whole day. Woo-hoo!

I'm not a Christmas person. I like the one day I spend with my family, but that's about it. The whole month of Christmas music, the incessant chipperness, the indefatigable (and usually forced) holiday good wishes, the shopping, the crowds, the traffic, the idiocy....


So, when it comes to putting up The Christmas Tree, I am obviously reluctant. In fact, I only put it up when the Chiefs need a little boost toward the end of the season, since it's all decorated in Chiefs colors -- red ornaments, gold rope, white lights, little gold-wire angel. It usually helps.

This time...not so much.

I put it up Friday evening before driving down to my Mom's house. Twenty minutes tops, people. I took it down the minute I got home and put all the leftover goodies in the fridge. It did last a full 24 hours, but if it's not gonna give my boys any good karma, I'm not gonna mess with it.

And boy, did they need some good karma today! GEEZ. What happened to the tight, leg-wrapping tackles that made us one of the best run defenses in the league for such a brief, beautiful span of time??

Don't get me wrong -- I adore Tiki Barber, and I love to watch him run. But watching him run ALL OVER US just about killed me! Oi!

And then, just as I was leaving Mom's house, the most bizarre thing ever happened. Laden with my bag of clothes (I stayed the night at Mom's last night, and I gotta have PJs and a change of underwear, ne?), my presents, and an absolute HAUL of leftovers -- more on that later -- I unlocked my car door, placed everything neatly in the passenger seat, locked the door, shut it...and realized that I no longer had my KEY.


Somehow, in the putting down of the baggage, my car key -- ignition, door locks, and trunk all in one -- came off the rest of my key chain and fell JUST inside the car in the floorboard. Seriously. An inch or two to the right, and it would've hit the ground outside and I'd have heard it. But no. INSIDE.

And all the doors are locked.

And my nearest spare...is an hour and a half away.


Long story short -- I know, too late -- we had to get someone to come out on a Saturday night the week before Christmas to get me into my car. Luckily, they didn't gouge us -- thanks, Mom, for the impromptu Xmas present to add to the one you already got me! -- and they didn't, I dunno, break my CAR or anything. Good times.

And to add the cherry to this surprisingly good evening -- and if you're wondering where the good came in, you don't know me very well -- I didn't get PITY TURKEY.


That's right. I said PITY TURKEY.

See, last time I was at Mom's was for Thanksgiving, and while I usually make quite the haul as far as leftovers...this time...I only got a single bag of dark meat and all the stuffing I could carry. The stuffing, I loved. The bag of dark meat?

Not so much. Though Dave ate the hell out of it.

PITY TURKEY. My adored brother get all the GOOD turkey. I got PITY TURKEY.

But not this time, Sonny. Oh, no. I got WHITE meat. And mashed potatoes. And rolls. And carcas soup. Mmmm...all the good stuff.



Anyway, a more eventful and fun Christmas, I couldn't imagine. I can do this kind of Christmas. Next weekend?

Hell, next weekend, I'm sleeping in for three days. Woo-hoo!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Dear Charlie:

Well, shoot.

Our season may have just been cut off. Dick Vermeil may retire at the end of this year -- and that's looking more and more likely as the year progresses. And with such blows to our collective pride/enthusiasm, we might not have another team as good as this one for years to come.

And the pundits will probably blame it all on "the same ol' Chiefs".


But we aren't the same ol' Chiefs. The Cardiac Chiefs. The Chefs. My boys have improved all out of mind. They have.

And I won't be a hopeless optimist and say we could have done so much better if not for our grueling schedule, which is one of the hardest of the season. I won't do that because that implies that the Chiefs never had a chance, weren't good enough to defeat anyone they came across. And that's just not true.

My boys can beat anyone.

Pundits will see that one missed field goal and say we should have dropped Lawrence Tynes. They will have overlooked the fact that Tynes has not only managed 2 field goals over 50 yards this year, but he has also only missed two -- before today, that is -- and those two in the same game and obviously due to some serious wind.

I should also mention that the home field kicker in that game also missed two field goals in that game. You shoulda seen that ball just hit the crosswind and sail.

Pundits will see this crucial loss and count us out -- out of the game, out of the play-offs race, out of the competition. What they won't see is that if not for two amazing plays, the 'Boys wouldn't have even been in this game.

Oi. Not to denigrate the Cowboys' game play. Once they got in, they stayed in. With a vengeance.


Boy, did they stay in.

But the Chiefs also stayed in. The 'Boys came from behind. The Chiefs came from behind. Back and forth through the whole game.

And with two quick-fire plays, we were an easy field goal away from tying it up. And anything goes in overtime, ne?

But...no field goal. No tie. No overtime.

And very likely, no play-offs.

After all, we still have to play the Giants -- egads, folks -- the Chargers again (always dangerous), and...the Bengals. Who are on the warpath at 10 - 3.

Our future opponents are a combined 27-12. Egads. And we're 8-5, having just dropped a heartbreaker in the Great American Match-up of cowboys 'n injuns.

The pundits will see an ended season and very likely an ended great run for the Chiefs. After all, Dick Vermeil likely will retire after this season. Our offensive line, while hale and strong and extremely productive now, is inching upward in collective years. They are, shall we say, chronologically gifted as far as football is concerned. Our defensive line is relatively young, yes, and it's finally getting back on its feet after a disastrous blow -- the loss of our beloved Derrick Thomas in 2000 -- but they still allow just enough big plays to keep us on-edge, to make the offensive line work extra-hard.

So, the pundits will write us off as done. I can see it now. I can almost predict the words, even.

But it isn't true. None of it is true. My boys will pull through. Maybe not this year, true -- though we still have a shot, no matter how small! -- but someday soon. We have all the right ingredients. We have a nearly flawless formula. We have the spark, the electricity, the desire.

All we need, folks, is the catalyst.

And I'm hoping that today's loss will be that catalyst, will propel us through the perfect formula I know we carry within our ranks. If nothing else, we can have the pride of winning the last three games of the season against two division leaders and our own division rival who is seeking its own play-off slot.


God, I love this game. Here lies honor, valor, and the warrior spirit.

I love it.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Wonderful Sidebar:

*dances and points to the Chiefs scoreboard in her sidebar*

Dear Charlie:

Here's a little recipe for you to go with the Song of the Moment in the sidebar:

The Perfect Modern Retro Teenage Make-out Song

1 killer guitar riff
1 punishing backbeat
3 verses of raunchy, sweaty lyrics about fast cars and sneaking out and making out
1 screaming chorus, repeated three times
1 whiskey-voiced lead singer

In a radio-friendly 3-minute running time, throw in the killer guitar riff, add the punishing backbeat, and hang-bang rapidly. Drop in the whiskey-voiced lead singer shouting the first verse of seemingly retro lyrics, raunched up to today's more demanding standards. Beat in the screaming chorus. Add the second verse, stirring more sweat into the raunch. Beat in the screaming chorus again. Crank up the heat for the final verse, adding in a touch of getting caught in the act. Finally, beat in the screaming chorus one last time.

Shake well. Cook at as high a volume as your speakers will manage. Enjoy.

I give you Animals, Nickelback's newest cash cow. I actually first heard it a week or so ago, but I haven't had a chance to really sit down and discover why I like it so much until now.

I like it because it's like one of those classic '50s love songs...with SMUT and a hard-as-nails, cutting beat. It's a trouble-maker guy, a sweet (but horny) Daddy's girl, a hotrod, a ride with some heavy-petting, and a Lover's Lane (of a sort) complete with getting caught in the act. It's the perfect formula...smutted up to today's less moralistic standards.

Sure, it's probably a sign of the decline of our decrepit morals and sliding grip on our youth's sexual urges, but hey. It's a killer song. I love it.

So there. Heh.

Friday, December 02, 2005

My Dearest Charles:

I can HEAR!!!

*does a little dance*

For the first time in over a week, I can hear out of my right ear! It's like everything's back to normal volume, and I'm back to not being able to hear myself breathe!


I also feel better overall. In fact...much to poor Pesh's dismay...I'm HYPER. And laughing.


And over-talkative. In fact, I'm quite sure I'm annoying the hell out of her. Heh. 'S a good thing I brought a book to hopefully keep from getting booted.


But I figured my beloved sister would like to know that I am among the non-hearing-impaired again. Yay!

*does another dance*

Oh, joy! Rapture! I got a non-suctioned ear drum!