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Entries from July 12, 2009 - July 18, 2009


Craptacular Reporting Pet Peeve of the Month

Dear Bloggers and Reporters Making Cutsey-Pie "Things To Thank the Moon Landing For" Lists:

I'm thrilled that you're typing about the space program.  I'd also like to preliminarily point out that I have a well-established track record of being very good at being very wrong.

That being said:

TANG WAS NOT DEVELOPED FOR THE SPACE PROGRAM.  STOP SAYING THAT IT WAS.  John Glenn drank it. But not Neil Armstrong. It wasn't even on the menu for Apollo 11.

(What was on the menu?  I believe an enormous helping of SUCK IT, COMMIES.)

If you really want to know which commercially available products we can thank Apollo for, try a little bit of this list.  Hideously cumbersome athletic shoes, for one.

and don't even get me STARTED about Velcro at:  mbe@drinktothelasses.com


Have a Drink, Have a Float

As we all know due to my recent extremely urgent tweet, I am nursing a sunburn.  This is what happens when you're the palest person alive and armed with SPF 75:  The sun prevails.

The tops of my legs are badly fried, as are my right arm, the tops of my feet, and the right side of my right boob.  I couldn't figure out the last one, until I remembered what I was wearing, which was a swimsuit.

This was covered by copious amounts of the SPF 75 and a life vest and a healthy layer of shame, as my lithium-crammed body is apparently formed from mashed potatoes.  Burned anyway.

Then again, I felt far more intelligent when we were rammed through the company's safety briefing, which assured us that we were NOT to drink ANY type of alcohol EVER, and then paraded us past a set of commercial refrigerators offering beer for sale, right next to the floating coolers.

low water at:  mbe@drinktothelasses.com


On the Waterfront

I'm afraid I have a deeply disturbing update to Sunday's terrifying receipt-based change of seasons.

Yesterday was our second wedding anniversary.  Somebody told me that the modern gift for #2 is plastic.  I suppose this means that I get a boob job, and Josh The Pilot gets a wife who's had a boob job.

As it happens, I landed in the traditional gift column, which is apparently nylon and petroleum-based plastics.  Josh revealed that he'd made reservations to go tubing on the Shenandoah River, which made me very happy, and that also, as an addendum while we were in the very act of walking out the door, that the rafting company did not permit bare feet on the river, which made me very sad.  My water shoes were left behind when I moved from Florida, along with my " WHAT TIME DOES THE 3 PM MAIN STREET PARADE START?" tee shirt and my Anti-Hurricane Automobile Diapering System and my sense of optimism and all the other things I thought I'd never need again.

That meant I had two options for shoes in the Shenandoah:  My sneakers, or these.  It was NOT GOING TO BE THESE, and I need my sneakers for the weekends, when I fight crime dressed as an enormous cat who wears sneakers.  We needed water shoes.

So we drove to this major huge chain store I shall generously refer to as "Bullseye."  We were running late, as we always do unless free food is involved, and I was careening through the aisles as well as a person with a post-op knee and hangover can, desperately searching for water shoes and finding none.  The situation was so dire that I broke the emergency glass on Getting Things Done and violated one of my major rules of social interaction, which is to have some.  I flagged down a store clerk and demanded the location of the water shoes, as all I'd turned up was two pairs of extra-large men's Speedo Surfriders for the low, low Bullseye price of eighteen dollars.

"Water shoes?" she said, as though I was in the market for actual hydrogen and carbon based footwear.

"Yes, you know-- that you wear... in the water?"  I clarified, steering firmly clear of the ultimate dirty c-word, terrified that we might end up with plastic for our second anniversary after all.

She suggested that I check the shoe section.  Well!  That certainly hadn't occurred to me.  I doubled back to the seasonal aisle, so frantic at this point that I not only stopped to ask another clerk, I interrupted two of them in conversation.

"Oh," one said, "we don't stock those anymore."

Normally this called for an extremely polite "Thank you," and an immediate departure when in a good mood, a clipped "Thank you" with accompanying tongue click if in a poopy mood, and a bordering-on-biatchy "In THE MIDDLE OF JULY!?" when one's shuttle to the put-in point was already warming up some forty-five minutes away in West Virginia.

"We have a couple pairs of men's extra-large over in sporting goods," she pointed out helpfully.

We screeched across the street to Le Mart de Wal, which at least had the decency to still display its wall of limited edition Americana-boxed Tostitos.  Since I never seem to know where to go when shopping for things to put on my feet, I took an enormous chance and aimed for an equally enormous sign which read SHOES, and I found... one pair of women's water shoes.  The rest of the stock?  A pair of fake c-words which would have fit me when I was perhaps a fetus.  I wear a medium.

Twenty minutes later we were across the border and I was gnawing my way through the plastic tie holding my blessedly stretchy $6 water shoes together.  A modern couple we are, indeed.

it's actually china, as I've discovered, but "plastic" makes for a WAY better story at:  mbe@drinktothelasses.com


All the Little Birds on Jaybird Street

If you'll look to your right, please, ladies and gentlemen, you will notice an addition to Blonde Champagne.  C'est Twitter.

When I was liveblogging The Most Metaest Blogging Experience that Ever Metaed, one of my fellow writers mentioned that she was "tweeting" the debate, which sounded terribly unladylike, but Rick Brookhiser gave her the Deep One-Nod of The Impressed.  I scurried to my laptop to look up "tweeting," but on my way there somebody gave me some wine, which meant I had no idea what "tweeting" was until my husband made sure I knew whether I liked it or not.

There was immense initial resistance to this.  First of all, I'm famously wary of new forms of social networking, as each one becomes a progressively more suckatious black hole for time.  That is why I have a Facebook account but no idea what the login and password are; Josh The Pilot manages my page.  Twice a month or so I'll walk up to him and his Face.... area, or whatever it is, and say, "Can I see Julie?" and he'll call up Julie The NephewsMama's page, where she sometimes types things like, "Almost drove off the road today when James said he saw a 'chick fight' in school.  Turns out his school's pet chicks were fighting over food." In these moments, and these moments only, Facebook is an acceptable part of life.

Second of all, Twitter limits the character amounts on each update.  This cramps my jive.  I am kind of a loquacious, wordy writer, never happy with one sentence when I can have a hundred and nine.  Screw you, Twitter.  (There, see?  It's helping my brevity of prose already.)

And let's not even start with the business of tweeting by phone.  I have figured out how to delete the messages other people send me and that's it.  A couple times Josh insisted that I text him for some reason or another, and I couldn't figure out where the comma was, or how to make a capital letter, or how to make the sentence stop, and then when I finally just trailed off with the mother of all ee cummings run-ons I couldn't figure out how to send it, and I wound up accidentally leaving the "texting" section of the phone or whatever, which deleted my "iamwaitingatthedoctorsofficewillbehometomakedinnerokloveyou" and then I had to start all over.  Then again, that entire exercise officially explains 99.99% of my students' papers.

What got me into Twitter is that it allows me to more efficiently stalk the people I already stalk the old-fashioned Google way, like Keith Lockhart and The Stig.  And Michael J. Nelson, who I tweeted and HE TOTALLY TWEETED BACK, LOLBRBROTFLMFAO and I haven't heard back yet from the time I wrote him back after he asked me to write him back.  It was like this, okay:

@michaeljnelson Am attending a speech from Apollo 11 crew.Collins used to fly the Starfighter.Will ask him if he heard jazz during refueling.

(For those of you who are not MSTies, The Starfighters is a classic episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000.  The mocked film in question contains very little plot, even less acting, a young B-1 Bob Dornan, and approximately 89 minutes of F-104 refueling footage, over which the United States Air Force has lovingly laid several layers of cool jazz with male chorus.  It's worse than it sounds.  YOU MUST SEE THIS EPISODE.)

Anyway, The Nelson wrote back:

@BlondeChampagne Sweet! Where are you meeting Collins?

This unsheathed a social conundrum of angst and indecisiveness not seen since The Failed Text Message of Doom.  First of all, what time had he... what's the past tense of "tweet"?  Tw-- never mind.  When should I write him back?  The tweet invited a response, did it not?  It wasn't as if he'd stopped at the "Sweet!" or tacked on a "FBI is en route."   He'd directly asked for further information.

The issue was:  How soon?  Suddenly I was asking myself questions I thought I'd laid aside with my bachelorettedom:  Is making contact right away creepy?  Should I wait an hour?  How about two hours?  Twelve sounds good.  Oh, but wait, a twelve-hour pause would make for like a 4 AM tweet, and that in and of itself was creepy, right?  If I waited 24 hours, would the invitation to answer him expire?  Because in Twitter terms, a day is like a skillion years, correct?

Yeah, this tweeting thing, big communications improvement.

Anyway, I also favor Twitter over Facebook since anyone can read the updates without signing up, so that you, The Readers, can check up on how many times I've masticated my most recent Cheeto.  My page is here, Josh the Pilot's page is here, and for good measure poor electronically assailed Michael J. Nelson is here.  I"ll be updating every time I... um, update, here on Blonde Champagne or my byline pops up elsewhere.

Or,  just go eyeballs-right to catch up.  Click on the "Tweet Tweet!" for a full listing.  And if you're already on Twitter, come follow me (CREEPY, this Twitter thing is); I'm "BlondeChampagne," since someone else on the face of the Earth summoned the nerve to have my name and also a cell phone.

So that last part is basically what I came here to tell you, and I managed it in a mere... 801 words.  See you on a tiny little screen sometime, deeply constrained.

140 at:  mbe@drinktothelasses.com



Printed on my Tarzzzzzay receipt this past week:  "Back to School special buys!"

Even when you're on the other side of the desk and you're teaching adults... it's still a horrible, horrible thing to see.

yep, not a parent at:  mbe@drinktothelasses.com