Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Another Step Closer to Old Fart-ness, a Useful List, and a Description of Ornamental Hermits

Well, another year has come and gone.... I am officially older than I was last year. The past few days have been spent offline-- doing as much as humanly possible to be a completely useless sponge on society-- dining, brunching, lunching, dining, then lunching again. However, at least I never followed through on having my midlife crisis.

And have we learned anything during the past twelve months?

1. That we shouldn't date graduate students who cannot do their own work
2. That you can gain much wisdom from kung fu movies
3. That cheese is good
4. That normalizing databases to 3rd normal form is very important in an OLTP environment
5. That 33 is considerably better than 23

Anyway, I've been mulling over possible choices for the upcoming year: should I dye my hair red? Should I move to Las Vegas? Should I quit my job and become a Gentleman Farmer or Itinerant Wanderer?

Speaking of changing jobs, I've learned of an interesting occupation that is, Sadly, no longer in vogue: the highly fascinating job of being an * "Ornamental Hermit". Apparently, at one time it was quite fashionable for members of the aristocracy to hire ornamental hermits to meditate in caves or retreats on family estates. According to Edith Sitwell, who wrote English Eccentrics, it was not uncommon during the reign of King George II.

Her book even contains a description of duties, according to the terms of one preserved agreement, which states that a hermit should "continue in the hermitage seven years, where he should be provided with a Bible, optical glasses, a mat for his feet, a hassock for his pillow, an hour-glass for his time-piece, water for his beverage, and food from the house. He must wear a camlet robe, and never, under any circumstances, must he cut his hair, beard, or nails, stray beyond the limits of...(the) grounds or exchange one word with the servant." The payment for such services was seven hundred pounds after seven years.

If such a position were still available, I would, of course, contemplate growing a beard.

I must certainly recommend Sitwell's book, as it also contains informative sections on Quacks, Alchemists, Amateurs of Fashion, Men of Learning, Travellers, and Marine Adventures.

* I am not making this up

Great News!

Another Meme! Because, Really, We Cannot Get Enough of Those! EVER.

Another meme from Jim Bliss, that mysterious young man from London-soon-to-be-Dublin. You can read his political musings and doomsday prophecies here.

Seven Things To Do Before I Die

  1. Travel to Italy, which I keep forgetting to do
  2. Write a novel that isn't too awful. Hopefully.
  3. Learn how to make a better gravy.
  4. Read Remembrance of Things Past. Or at least think rather strongly about reading it.
  5. Actually learn how to play chess in a non-laughable manner.
  6. Learn to paint well. Or at least well-ish
  7. Develop my full superhero powers.

Seven Things I Cannot Do

  1. Whistle
  2. Wear white shoes with a non-white outfit
  3. Eat lima beans. Or "beanie-weenies". Ugh
  4. Play the viola
  5. Vote for a Conservative Republican
  6. Resist fresh strawberries
  7. Grow a mustache

Seven Things That Attract Me to... (a man)

  1. A fat brain, if possible... not to be confused with a fat head
  2. A nice smile
  3. An ability to keep somewhat fit
  4. An interest in good books. Or at least good-ish books
  5. The ability to not be a needy control freak
  6. A sense of humor
  7. Charm

Seven Things I Say

  1. I'll have the berries, please
  2. Oh no! Not again....
  3. Okay, maybe I don't miss being a DBA
  4. Do you want to go to Haslam's? (bookstore)
  5. You should really read this
  6. I've got a great kung fu movie for you to try...
  7. They are making absolutely no sense whatsoever

Seven Good Books

  1. Tropic of Cancer -- Henry Miller
  2. Labyrinths -- Luis Borges
  3. Confederacy of Dunces -- John Kennedy Toole
  4. Crime and Punishment -- Dostoyevsky
  5. Just So Stories -- Kipling
  6. Catch 22 -- Joseph Heller
  7. Out of Africa -- Isak Dinesan

Seven Good Movies

  1. The Godfather
  2. Cinema Paradiso
  3. The Circus
  4. Brazil
  5. Apocalypse Now
  6. Dr. Strangelove
  7. Chinatown
Feel free to tag youself

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Another Post on Very Odd Art: It's Overdue

I returned from a date with a nice young man (who resembles a bouncer, but is, in reality, a writer and anarchist who enjoys opera) when I realized that Odd Art posts had been sadly lacking.

So, I pullled some "home decor" items from a terribly kitschy catalog that my good friend Carlos, the Puerto Rican With a Twist, had given me this week.

This riveting example of home decor combines the best of both worlds: classic painting and modern sculpture! Amaze your friends and family! Marvel at the life-like expression rendered in 100% designer plastic with antiqued finish! Ooh and Aah over the mysterious smile of the Mona Lisa as well as the completely outrageous price tag! No one will ever question your taste again!

This absolutely incredible example of wall decor will absolutely astound you with the fact that it is, indeed, a foot and half tall! Not only that, but it is also rendered in exquisite, 100% designer resin that had been numbered (in a limited edition quantity) and signed by someone you've never heard of! This is an absolute-not-to-be-missed-collector's item! Get yours now! While they last!

All the most Fashionable persons will tell you: what every home needs is a 1/4 life-sized model of a knight in designer resin. And, of course, no designer-resin knight is complete without a very large light bulb to combine the very best of classic Medieval art and contemporary lighting techniques. It's breathtaking.


I'm sorry that this post is so incredibly lame, but I just returned from a 6-course gourmet dinner/wine tasting & I'm ever so slightly tipsy after disussing "coming out" cards, vineyards, obnoxious Long Islanders, welding, roast beef, odd hair, and Fantasy Fest.

I promise to do better to-morrow.

Monday, January 23, 2006

A Shocking Statistic

Sadly, another year has come and gone -- and I still haven't got my very own pony.

When I was a very young girl, I always said that I would just die if I couldn't have one of my very own; but luckily, my immune system was strong enough to withstand the potentially debilitating effects.

However, it is a shocking fact that, all too frequently, other young girls are not so fortunate.

While it is true that only a very small percentage of six to seven year old girls actually die because they can't have a pony, it has remained a troubling statistic over the years. Although during the last quarter century, the increase in the rate of these deaths has been slow (perhaps reflecting a gradual decrease in awareness), the fact remains that young girls just die because they can't have a pony in only slightly less numbers than they die from running with scissors, not looking both ways, taking candy from strangers, and playing with matches.

In 2005 --in Florida alone-- an estimated 1,078 girls aged 6 to 7 pouted, cried, sickened, wasted away, and then died, just as they had threatened to do after being refused the simple and modest request for a pony.

Even the ones who don't just die can be at a much greater risk of health problems including, for example: melancholia, consumption, morbid vexation, the vapors, and woe. Other various depressive disorders are also not unheard of, although rare. Also, general unhappiness and low self esteem may linger for years, a problem that could potentially affect a significant portion of the population one day.

In addition, very young girls who just die because they can't have a pony can also have economic consequences as well. The fact is that early death due to this condition could potentially mean a severe drop in profits for the industries that specialize in pink hair bows, purple glitter pens, Barbie dolls, chapstick, jelly bracelets, pink plastic tiaras, and various other sundries. So a solution to the problem is not strictly limited to implications for the health of young girls -- but to the health of the community as a whole.

It is true that older girls are at much less of a risk than those who are younger-- but the danger remains. Year after year, they sulk and then waste away while parents mourn and ask "what if?" and "why oh why didn't we buy her a pony?"

Of course there is no easy answer. But perhaps, someday, there will be a cure.

Until then, the only hope is to persuade parents to buy ponies before it's too late.


p.s. my birthday is coming up next week

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Tu Tu

It's been quite the busy week-- between hanging out with my friend Bill at the Independant and attending speeches given by people with funny names I've barely had time to post!

As I no longer retain any hard feelings over Archbishop Tu Tu being chosen instead of me for the Nobel Peace Prize, I toddled on over to the University of South Florida to see what he might have to say. Of course, he gave no indication of recognizing me whatsoever, but you know how these celebrities are. Even Joaquin Phoenix doesn't remember to return my phone calls these days.

Anyway, Desmond Tu Tu was quite Charming and very, very short. He is also (apparently) quite amusing, as many in the front rows chuckled quite a bit. However, the acoustics were so awful, that the rest of us could only catch phrases here and there: "Forgiveness... peen mo shall er wah so.... Nelson Mandela.... for 37 years....far so many deen wah to.... WHITE!....jit go fun meet....BLACK!.....run wim too bah... gives the other the opportunity of a new beginnning.... yor foo bo see.... legacy of slavery.... Native Americans... min how far she wan to.... it's important for enemies to become friends... hee hee hee...."

At one point he seemed to be discussing obscure medical fetishes: "... enemas.... consider the enemas", when we finally realized he was saying: "animals... consider the animals...", among many other philisophical things.

Of course, he also may have been cursing fluently over the absolutely horrible parking situation at the University, but we'll never know.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Keeping Busy...

I have tried to keep busy during the past couple of days-- despite the horrific lack of a fainting couch on which to lie consumptively.

After all, an idle mind is the Devil's handiwork, and you can't make a silk purse out of a pig's ear after leading him to a stream and trying to make him drink... or something like that.

Anyway, I took the time to write a Great Tragic Opera while I was indisposed. Everything's sung in 14th century Italian and it has absolutely everything required for a really great opera: a beefy blonde soprano with braids, a chorus of Greek dwarves beating anvils, a mysterious letter sent terribly astray, dueling, sorcery, poison, love affairs, suicide, beheadings, insanity, stake-burnings, prison, abductions, stabbings, arson, treachery and unrelenting revenge.

Veleno e Decapitazione
(A Tragic Opera in Three Acts with Flourishes)

The mad Count di Vino, suspecting a gypsy has practiced sorcery upon his favorite chambermaid, has the old woman burned at the stake. Before she dies, the woman curses the entire di Vino line, down to the infant son, who has clubfeet and a harelip. Marcellina, the gypsy's daughter then takes revenge by trying to poison the Count's oldest daughter, who is spared when she elopes with the gardener and moves to Vienna. In her frustration, Marcellina stabs the Count's chambermaid, poisons the priest, has a love affair with the Countess, goes insane, kidnaps the Count's infant daughter, Julietta, and raises her with the gypsies to await a day of reckoning.

Act One
When the opera opens, many years have passed since these dire events occurred, and the scene opens in the middle of the gypsy camp. Julietta, who now weighs four hundred pounds, sings "Sono un fiore molto piccolo e fragile" (I am a tiny and delicate flower) as she is surrounded by a group of suitors, who take turns stabbing each other to win her heart. After half the camp is dead, Julietta promises to wed the first survivor who can successfully exact revenge on the Count, whom she does not realize is her father. Realizing the impending tragedy, Marecellina then burns herself at the stake in a fit of remorse. When she discovers this, Julietta attempts to stab herself, but misses. In a rage, she sets fire to the gypsy camp and poisons the remaining gypsies.

Act Two
The scene opens at the Count's palace. He and his remaining family are being entertained by a travelling chorus of Greek dwarves who beat anvils and sing "Tutto che va morire" (Everyone's gonna die). The Count's son, Leonardo, is now a blind young man who has escaped from prison, where he was sent for stabbing his mother. Unbeknownst to his father, Leonardo has abducted Julietta and imprisoned her in the tower room where she lives on bread and water. After the show, Leonardo poisons the dwarf chorus in the middle of the night and then asks Julietta for her hand in marriage. She agrees to marry him, but only if he will poison his father, cut off his head and set fire to the castle. Meanwhile, a local hermit mails a mysterious letter which is accidentally delivered to the butler instead of Julietta, for whom it was intended.

Act Three
The scene opens to a duel between Leonardo and his father the Count, who has discovered he is being poisoned. Leonardo stabs him and cuts off his head before setting fire to the castle, which holds the rest of the family. He is then arrested and sent to prison, where Julietta smuggles herself in a bread basket. They sing their undying love and then stab each other in a murder-suicide pact. As they lie dying, the butler delivers the letter to Julietta. In it, she reads that the Count was really her father. In a fit of remorse, she stabs herself, stabs the butler and sets fire to the prison while singing "O, merda! ché disastro!" (Oh, shit! What a disaster!)


I think it will be a hit.

Monday, January 16, 2006

I Need Electric Jammies....

It's getting a bit frigid here, which is just another example of the blatant false advertising practised by our tourist industry.

This is NOT bikini weather.

However, it is perfect for throwing snowballs, if we actually had any snow, and ice skating, if we actually had any ice. So it isn't a total loss.

On a side note, which has absolutely nothing to do with the weather, advertising or bikinis, last night I went on a blind-ish date with a young bearded person. We discussed film (making and watching), religion, franken-Uno, non-regulation bocce, the nature of science, the loathing of Dubya, facial hair, and odd haikus. In fact, we had an impromptu haiku contest, which he won, because he wrote something amusing about boogers, and all I could manage was a half-hearted something-or-other about coffee cups and mac n' cheese.

Our date was followed with interest by an Atheist discussion group who were playing with an atlatl at the next table over, and one of them gave me a business card after giggling at us.

The bearded man is nice, so we might possibly hang out again.

After all, he posted a charming photo of a pug in a wig, and everyone knows that I'm a sucker for small animals in funny outfits.

Here are some typical examples of online profiles:

Bachelor Number One: likes candlelight, long walks on the beach, fresh mountain air, golf, football and romantic evenings. And he WANTS 2 MEET U RITE NOW!!!

Bachelor Number Two: likes fresh mountain air, football, golf, romantic evenings, long walks on the beach and candlelight. And he WANTS 2 GO OUT SUM TIME?

Bachelor Number Three: likes romantic evenings, football, candlelight, long walks on the beach, golf, and fresh mountain air. And he LIKES 2 GO 2 CLUBS!!! DO U?

So now I'm just telling everyone that I loathe fresh mountain air and romantic walks on the beach. Do U?

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Tee Hee!

the best blonde joke I've ever read!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


I feel a bit Ill to-day.

Called in sick.

I hope it isn't Ebola, as that would be Most Inconvenient.

Spending my time: sleeping, hacking, sleeping, hacking, sleeping, hacking, sleeping
Prognosis: Horribly Sick
Outlook: Uncertain

In between bouts of sleeping and hacking, I did manage to watch Duel to the Death, which Amazon.com strongly advises me to purchase together with Magnificent Butcher.

I must certainly recommend Duel to the Death, as it is chock full of explosions and ninjas! Not only are there flying ninjas, ninjas hiding under sand and ninjas flying on the backs of kites-- but there are also exploding ninjas! Giant ninjas! Topless female ninjas!

In other words, a classic

Off to resume my current schedule of hacking and sleeping....

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Random Plug

My friend Phil has updated his page with more amazing photos from his various travels; alligators, boobies, anacondas, herons, iguanas-- you name it, he's seen it.

Anyone who likes wildlife or photography would probably find it interesting.

* An informative post coming shortly

Tagged For a Meme....

A meme from the Frog Princess:

Four jobs I've had in my past:
* Girl Scout cookie salesgirl
* Fry cook at McDonald's
* Filing assistant at a funeral home
* Movie theatre usher

Four things I want to do before 2006 is over
* make it to the annual springtime horse race/Jack Russell Terrier steeple chase
* Travel somewhere I haven't been before
* Prove my Magic 8 ball wrong
* Start reading Remembrance of Things Past

Four things I say a lot
* Do you want to play Scrabble?
* Haven't they ever heard of looking at the query plan first?
* The developer wants to do what?
* We need to differentiate between batch and OLTP

Four things I don't trust:
* People who have never coded in anything but COBOL and insist on using cursors rather than set-based operations at all times, even when I tell them not to
* Lima beans
* Protestant fundamentalists
* Homophobes

Four things I do trust:
* my family
* my friends
* a good book
* a good developer

Four people from history I'd like to meet:
* Charlie Chaplin
* Susan B. Anthony
* Teddy Roosevelt
* Frederick Douglass

Four best movies (I saw in) 2005:
* The Circus
* Fitzcarraldo
* The King of Masks
* Master of the Flying Guillotine

Four best books I read in 2005:
* Labyrinths by Luis Borges
* The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana (an illustrated novel) by Umberto Eco
* Memoirs Found in a Bathtub by Stanislaw Lem
* Battle Royale by Koushun Takami

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

National Trivia Day!

As everyone knows, today was National Trivia Day, which is a holiday so near and dear to our hearts.

I certainly hope that everyone remembered to celebrate!

After all, that game of Trivial Pursuit is just gathering dust in the hall closet. And those fuzzy hats and lederhosen are not going to wear themselves!

In honor of the holiday, I am actually donning my spectacles and posting for the second day in a row, which is really quite the shocking turn of events.

Trivial Pursuits and Other Important Facts (A Quiz)
educational answers below

1. What did Pope Pius IX send as a birthday present to Queen Isabella II of Spain (she displayed it in the Royal Chapel)?

2. 1975 U.S. Presidential Candidate, Emil Matalik, suggested what city as the ideal capital of the world?

3. During the mid-nineteenth century naval battle between Brazil and Uruguay, what was used as cannon shot, subsequently causing the shrapnel deaths of at least two Brazilian sailors?

4. According to Science News, what is the standard acronym for "pulse-modulated coherent Doppler effect X-band pulse-repetition synthetic-array pulse compression side lobe planar array"?

5. For several weeks in 1963, approximately 900 people in Uganda experienced an epidemic of mass hysteria, which caused them to do what?

6. The sleeve buttons on men's suit jackets were first implemented for Prussian soldiers by Frederick the Great in order to do what?

7. What world leader appeared as an extra in the film Bathing Beauty (starring Esther Williams)?

8. British philosopher Jeremy Bentham placed what type of object in every single room of his house, including the bathroom?

9. The act of opening a milk carton so badly that you have to try the other side is called what?

10. The children's author, Hans Christian Andersen, constantly carried a coil of rope with him for what reason?

1. the embalmed body of Saint Felix
2. Bennett, Wisconsin
3. stale Dutch cheese
5. run wildly through the streets while screaming and clutching chickens
6. prevent the men from wiping their noses on their sleeves
7. Fidel Castro
8. pianos
9. lactomangulation
10. He had a phobia of being caught in a hotel fire

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


My favorite blog post for today!

Monday, January 02, 2006

Happy New Year!

Well, there goes another year down the tubes! And, rather unfortunately, last year's resolutions were never quite followed to the letter....

But this year will be different!

I hereby promise, swear and do affirm that I shall faithfully follow each one of my New Year's resolutions:

1. Drink less caffeine (!!!)
2. Work out at the gym occasionally. Ogle the personal trainers!
3. Eat more things that are good for me. Like berries. And chocolate.
4. Refrain from belching in mixed company
5. Have more frequent dinner parties


The New Year celebrations were Fun and Charming and only slightly Alcoholic. A group of us ate terribly delicious food at Casa Tina's and drank Apricot Wheat Ale and Christmas Farm Ale at the Dunedin Brewery. Discussion ranged from the inadvisability of wearing adult diapers on the ski slopes and the lack of port-a-potties in Times Square to sexual innuendoes and the fact that so many Belgians are Absolutely Mad about comic books.

Christmas was also good, despite the fact that it will be our last one at the family stomping grounds (the parents are getting a divorce). I cooked a delicious Christmas Eve dinner, baked a total of eight pies (only stepped in one), gave many wonderful presents (including a real disco ball) and received many wonderful presents (including this and this).

However, I still have NOT received a pony!


Something less boring scheduled for tomorrow's post...