Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Trying Out The New Camera

Um, these are clouds.

South Beach hotel pool at dawn.
Leaving Costa Maya, Mexico
Downtown Miami at dawn


And they said it couldn't be done. THEY being the Carnival Cruiseship photo people. "You have to buy extras 'cuz you can't scan these," THEY said. "Watermarks will appear."

Hm, I thought. What if I take a picture of the picture? Voila.

New profile pic.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

I'm Baaaaack From Vacation...

...but don't think you'll get a full report on the cruise. Yet.

1. Came down with a cold on the last day.
2. Gasped for air during the entire 5-hour flight from Miami.
3. Got home with a 102 degree temp.
4. Found out I had to report for duty on Memorial Day (the day I so CAREFULLY planned for R&R) to (long story short) help sort through and box up a load of family crap in a mice-infested pro-shop (told ya it was a long story).
5. Had a tooth pulled today.

Any more questions?

By the way, I'll be uploading a new profile picture...which is a good thing because ever since I got this new monitor, my original picture looks like I have spinach stuck in my teeth. Trust me, I don't. Does it look that way on anyone else's monitor? If so, why didn't you say anything??? Bastards.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Off Until Memorial Day!

Many moons ago, I boarded the Windjammer Cruiseline's "Polynesia", a four-masted wooden sailing ship out of St. Maarten, for what I figured to be a real-life adventure. Y' in the commercial, where everyone pitches in to help sail? Yeah, right. The only part of the ad that lived up to its billing was the rustic accomodations. Like, rooms below the water level, for instance. And sailing? Well, when you turn on a motor to get from one place to the next, I don't call it sailing. In fact, neither did they. They called it "motor sailing."

Still...we visited some cool places that most cruiseships don't get to. Places like Anguilla, Nevis, and Saba. (Loved Saba!) Anyway, one day we were anchored off Anguilla, and to the portside was this tiny island--kinda like the one on the Windows wallpaper.

Cool, I thought. What a neat place to do some snorkeling. I mean, this spit of land was about the size of a couple of football fields. And so remote. Primitive.

Imagine the dismay when I got there and instantly ran into an American chick selling t-shirts... and took Mastercard as payment.

My point is that here I am, leaving tomorrow, and already I'm lamenting the pop culture events I'm gonna miss.

The Clippers playing game seven in Phoenix on Monday.
The Preakness on Saturday.
The Apprentice finale.
The American Idol finale.

And much you wanna wager I manage to somehow catch them onboard ship?

Sigh. It's really hard to get away from it all...but then, who really wants to?

Sidenote: Windjammer ships truly are a whole different experience. In the early 90's, the Fantome (sister ship to the Poly) went down with its captain and crew in a hurricane after getting the passengers to land in Guatemala.

(And, lest anyone misunderstand, no...I'm not cruising on a Windjammer this week.)

Crunch Time

It’s a good thing there’s a vacation at the end of this run-up to the cruise, because all the prep really takes a lot out of me, y’know?

I mean, first there was that nightmare trip to the outlet mall. Then, last night I made another run at a different mall. Now I’ve got such a mishmash of new stuff, I don’t know what to do with it all. Rest assured though, I’ve got plenty of shorts without tops, and a nice supply of tops that don’t match any bottoms. Yep. That’s the kinda shopper I am. I told you it wasn’t pretty.

And, so far, I’ve got seven pairs of shoes on my list. Can you spell O-V-E-R-W-E-I-G-H-T luggage premium?

Let’s not even discuss my carryon. That’s where I cram all the electronic paraphernalia with which I don’t seem to be able to travel anymore. Truly. There’s enough cable and wire in there to hook-up a remote island to the rest of the world. Just hope someone can lift it into the overhead bin on the airplane, cuz it ain’t gonna be me.

So, assuming I get everything packed, AND the suitcase actually zips, what’s left to worry about? Um, tickets, passport, cash…


Crap…Forget blogging--I’m off to the bank.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Here I Am! Over Here! {Waves Hand}

Women my age remember it clearly as the day one of life’s options ended.

That was the day we learned Paul McCartney (a.ka. “The Cute Beatle”) planned to wed Linda Eastman. Hell, I was so young at the time, I still believed in FOREVER…as in, once you got married, you were off the block until you died.

Well, sadly, Linda DID die. And that’s what it took to put Paul back in the dating pool. By this time, I was old enough (mature enough? well, maybe not) to realize that despite his availability, my chances of meeting, let alone marrying Paul, were pretty nonexistent. Yep, one of life’s sad lessons.

So I didn’t really begrudge him Heather. Even though she might have made a better sister to his kids than a stepmom. He deserved to be happy and if Heather fit the bill, so be it.

Then the sad news today. The when-I’m-sixty-four-year-old ex-Beatle and the model cum activist have separated. Two versions of WHY are circulating: 1) media intrusion took its toll (and to that, I say: HUH? When HASN’T the media intruded on Paul’s life over the past…oh…forty plus years); and 2) Paul’s kids drove them apart (and to that, I say: Were they worried about their cut of Pop’s 1.5 billion dollar fortune?)

I’m tempted to end with a Beatles' title parody, but that would be cheesy.

Y’know, like: She Loves You, No, No, No

Okay, so I caved.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Books, Books, Everywhere Books

So, I’m eating my Lean Cuisine (some sort of rotini with fake ham in a heart-attack sauce) and watching Deal Or No Deal (a REAL tear-jerker tonight) and I notice five, count ‘em five, books within a three foot radius. Two are on the sofa; three are on the coffee table. ALL of ‘em are splayed open, spines pointed to the ceiling. In other words, I’m reading all five at the same time.

Is this a sign of reader schizophrenia?

Okay, granted. One or two of them are close to the “never gonna finish” category. Those are the ones that sit around for months until I realize the commitment just isn’t there. Time to break up and move on (besides, my maid must be wondering why the damn thing hasn’t budged in half a year).

The others…well, you start a book upstairs, forget to bring it downstairs, so you start another one. Then you REMEMBER to bring that one downstairs, and well, you know…rinse, lather, and repeat.

Right? Doesn’t everyone do this? Like you’ve got one book next to the bathtub, one on the kitchen table, one in the living room…

Do you suppose they all get up and dance in the middle of the night? Switch places maybe?

Uh-oh. I sense a Rod Serling kinda nightmare coming on.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Shopping And Other Sources of Pain

As y'all may remember from previous posts, I missed out on the shopping gene.

I know. Sacrilege. But there you have it.

So, it may come as a surprise to hear that not only did I SHOP today, I went to (shudder) an outlet mall. Yeah, what was I thinking? Plus, I wore three-inch heels--obviously, the sign of inexperience.

Right off the bat, it took a half-hour to park. Little did I know when I first arrived (and graciously allowed a young man to take a spot we arrived at simultaneously--hey, I figured the Parking Gods would smile favorably and act accordingly) that I wouldn't see another one for eons.

I'd only been to this place once before, but with my photographic memory, zeroed in quickly on the precise area I wanted to park near. No luck. I ended up about a half mile away in a whole other WING of the mall.

Oh well. Nothing wrong with a little exercise.

But after hiking miles around the whole blasted place, standing in lines to pay, trying on things that didn't look remotely close to the way they should have, I'm back to on-line shopping from now on. Only, geez. What's wrong with Newport News and Victoria's Secret? I tried ordering stuff from them the other day and got delivery dates of mid-July! I mean, what's the point???

In other news, the current dental nightmare seems to be nearly over (to be followed quickly, I fear, by the NEXT dental nightmare).

See, here's the Reader's Digest version: Some sort of mutant bacteria (I'm not ruling out bird flu, ha ha) took hold around a crown I'd just gotten. When the endo guy saw it on Monday, he doubled up my antibiotics and said, you'll be fine in a couple of days and we'll do a root canal next week. Then, on Wednesday, I saw an oral surgeon about another debacle, and he took one look and said, WTF is going on here? Got the endo guy on the phone for me and talked him into doing the root canal that afternoon because, er, one-stop shopping and all--the sucker needed (cringe) to be drained. When I arrived at the endo guy, he was blown away by how bad the infection had gotten. (Okay, ready for the description? Skip to the next paragraph, if you're not. Picture a blister the size of a half dollar on the roof of your mouth...nice, huh?)

Anyway, blah, blah, blah....push, prod, poke...and it was done. I'm still on killer antibiotics, but the pain is now merely discomfort and I'm a happy camper.

Particularly since this all happened BEFORE my cruise, not during it.

One week and counting!!!!

P.S. Tylenol, Advil, Alleve...I got 'em all now.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


Hey, God? Randy here. Got a proposition for you.

I'm thinking we need an eleventh [no, not a tenth like it used to say here until Cristi pointed out my error--hey, chalk it up to impaired blood flow to the brain] commandment. I'll leave the wording up to you, but something on the order of:

Thou shalt not suffer pain while in the act of eating.

'Cuz sitting at the Sagebrush Cantina on a Sunday afternoon with a huge plate of Nachos staring at you when you're not able to eat them is plain wrong.

Just a thought.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Wha-Huh?? Code

Just thought you’d all like to see another fine example of your tax dollars at work. (Yep, that's what I'm here for.)

You may remember an earlier post in which I ranted about the gazillion sites I have to register my company with in order to conduct on-line transactions. That time I was bitching about Raytheon, Lockheed, et al. This time it’s the Feds.

DFAS (I forget what it stands for) used to have this really simple website where I could go and enter our “CAGE” code to check the status of unpaid invoices.

Not any more.

Today I had to register at two sites (which took much hoop jumping and promises of my first manchild). Okay, I can handle that (well, not really…the whole process took hours). But here’s the part that raised my blood pressure. The rules for creating a friggin’ password.

Copied and pasted, so, cross my heart, I’m not exaggerating or makin’ it up:

Minimum 8 characters
Must contain at least 1 capital letter
Must contain at least 1 lower case letter
Must contain at least 1 number
Must contain at least 1 special character
Cannot contain consecutive characters (abc or cba)
Cannot contain repeating characters (aa, bb, etc)
Cannot contain the same character more than twice
Entered password must be different from last 10 passwords used
Cannot be changed within 24 hours

Um, obviously the name of my dead dog ain’t gonna work here.

Okay, you try. Trust me, it’s not that easy. And I promise you won’t come up with anything you’ll, like, remember.

I know, I know. It’s to protect and secure our privacy.

Yeah, right. More likely, some evil genius who never cracked the logic problems in the Dell crossword puzzle books, is having his day in the sun.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Even The Roof Of My Mouth Hurts

Seriously, folks. Is there anything more painful than a dental nightmare? (I mean, besides childbirth, kidney stones and all the rest of the horrible stuff I've never experienced.)

Okay, so it turns out, it’s only some sort of infection. I won’t bore you (or gross you out) with the details. And granted, the endo guy said the pain will abate within the next 48 hours. But, Christ almighty. Why did the Tylenol stop working? Duh. Maybe because the plain old dentist, at an earlier appointment, excavated a UDO (hip terminology for Unidentified Dental Object—use it judiciously ‘cuz I just made it up) the size of Stone Mountain? (Large hunk ‘o granite, located outside Atlanta, Georgia. Look it up.)

And yes, to be on the safe side, I’ve scheduled a root canal…naturally, only four days before I embark on the next vacation, which seems to be cutting it close, but oh well. Couldn’t be worse than the tooth I may have EXTRACTED in yet ANOTHER appointment with yet ANOTHER dental professional sometime between now and the departure date.

And let’s not even discuss the bridge I have to look forward to when I get back.

Do ya think this is a case of ‘be careful what you wish for?’ Cuz I was kinda wishing I’d lose some weight before my cruise….

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Ya Learn Something New Every Day...

So, I’m in the aisle at Pavilions where they stock all the pain relievers. Geez, are there enough? I mean, how many ways can you package Tylenol and Alleve? And, by the way, which one is better?

On Thursday, the crown (and we're not talkin' tiaras) I got a couple weeks ago started misbehaving. Don’t know what happened exactly, except that I was in the middle of a perfectly nice salad Wednesday night, when I felt an ouch. By Thursday, it was a big ouch.

My sister-in-law gave me some Alleve which I quickly decided was one of the most wonderful drugs in the world. She offered the whole bottle to me but (who knew I was such an optomist?) I turned her down. I’ll pick some up if I need it, I told her. Well, being the MOM she is, she put six more in an envelope, sealed it, marked it “Alleve,” and gave it to me.

Thanks, Polly!

By Saturday, I was off to the market for more.

So, like I say, I’m in the aisle at Pavilions, trying to decide between Alleve and Tylenol (I ended up getting both) when I notice a little sign jutting out from the crowd. Instead of saying something like “buy one, get one free” it says: "Caution: Videotaping in progress." Huh? I look closer and sure enough. There’s a small hole to the side of the display, behind which must be a camera.

Of course, my first reaction is dismay as I’m not dressed for the occasion. Yes, I’ve got make-up on (don’t leave home without it) but I forgot lipstick and, damn, I just put my glasses on to read the labels. Is it too late to surreptitiously remove them?

‘Cuz see, I’m thinking either of two things: 1) some research group studying shopping behavior is gonna see this, or 2) I’m gonna end up in some commercial in Japan. (Japan, because I think they’d need a release form from me, otherwise.)

At the checkout stand, I decide to inquire about the videotaping.

Boy do I feel dumb when I hear the answer.

It’s to prevent tampering. Duh. Guess I forgot for a moment what kind of world we live in.

Too bad we don’t also live in a world with 24-hour dentists.

Friday, May 05, 2006


If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you know I am. There. I said it. I admit it.

Hi, my name’s Randy. I’m a disorganizaholic.

We who are thus afflicted have feeble ways with which to combat the worst of the side effects. For example, I keep my car keys where they belong—in the car. That way, no muss/no fuss, when I need them (namely, when I’m about to DRIVE) they’re close at hand.

Yesterday, for some unexplainable (inexplicable?) reason, I arrived home, got out of the car, went to the mailbox, and noticed I still had the keys in my hand. Naturally, being both disorganized AND lazy, do I walk the five or six steps back to the car and toss them inside? Nope. I get the mail, drop it on top of the trash can in my garage (where IT belongs, by the way), proceed inside and set my car keys on the counter in the bathroom off my bedroom.

A fine plan, I think. After all, how can I miss them when I’m doing my hair in the morning?

Flash forward.

I finish my hair, spy the keys, and pat myself on the back. How I love it when a plan comes together!

Five minutes later, five minutes later, I go to start the car.

No keys.

No FRIGGIN’ keys.

They’re not in my purse, they didn’t fall between the seats, they’re no longer in the bathroom…in fact, they are NO WHERE. I truly believe they’ve disappeared into some odd cosmic black hole. I trace my last few minutes in the house. Hair in bathroom, shoes in closet, pick up purse off bed, sort through mail on nightstand, go downstairs, get lunch, stop in garage, sift through more mail (throwing some away). I take the end of a mop and probe through the trash in the garbage can. Euw. No keys.

I’m about to cry.

By now, sweat is streaking down my face from running up and down the stairs, so I change into a T-shirt.

I call my office to let them know why I’m late. They laugh.

My rational brain kicks in. Obviously, I’m forgetting a crucial step in the route I keep re-tracing. I start eliminating rooms. Definitely didn’t go in the extra bedroom. Definitely didn’t go in the powder room downstairs. I try the freezer since that’s where I got my lunch. Nada. Nothing. Zilch.

I’m starting to think how much it’ll cost to have a key made. I’m starting to think how stupid I am.

The gardeners wonder why I keep opening and shutting the garage door.

Okay, so of course I finally found the suckers. And I’m afraid the ending is neither dramatic or aha-inducing.

The one place I KNEW I hadn’t been all morning was the laundry room and adjoining bathroom. Yeah, right.

As soon as I saw the pink scarf on the washing machine, I remembered. I’d plucked it off the kitchen table to see how it went with the sweater I was no longer wearing and zipped into the bathroom to use the mirror.

There were the keys. Right next to the sweater.

An hour of my life lost forever.

Now, would you like to hear how at noon I tripped on the way back from the microwave? Would you like me to describe what Lean Cuisine Chicken Alfredo looks like on blue carpeting?

Didn’t think so.

And how’s YOUR day going?

Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Waiting Game -- Phase Two

Picture this:

You write a book, you query a publisher, you submit the work, they make an offer, you accept, and a contract gets signed. Ever wonder what happens next?

Yeah, me too.

So far, apparently nuttin’.

Okay, kidding.

It’s only been a couple weeks, and I did snail mail the contract. Still…I’m anxious. Anxious for a release date. Anxious for the dreaded revisions request. Hey, I gotta life going on here. Sixteen days until cruise time, a couple months until Atlanta…and let’s not get started on the fact that my birthday “season” is practically around the corner.

A girl could get nervous if deadlines end up being closer than they appear in the mirror.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

In The News Today...

Did you see Mexico’s President Fox is ready to sign a bill legalizing small amounts of drugs for personal use? Yep, according to the L.A. Times, Mexico’s about a to turn into the college frat party of the century. Oh, don’t worry. There ARE some rules, for goodness sakes. You have to be over the age of eighteen, and you’re limited to amounts like a half gram of coke, several (whatever that means) doses of LSD, and a spoonful of heroin. (Can’t you hear the new version of that old Mary Poppins tune? Sing it with me, altogether now: A spoonful of heroin makes the medicine go down, the medicine go down…)

Before you go thinking this is crazy talk, consider this: the aim of the new legislation is to reduce drug trafficking. Y’know, the old argument about making it legal to remove the market dynamic. Me? I think old Vincente is being as sly as, er, a Fox. Yep, I think there’s a backdoor deal somewhere with the U.S. government. Frankly, the whole thing makes perfect sense, and here’s how we win:

The current influx of Mexican immigrants to our soil will be superceded by the outflux of American immigrants to theirs. What a swap, huh?

I don’t know about you, but I’ll take hard-working Mexicans chasing the American dream over low-life druggies any day.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

School Daze

L to R: Juli, Debi, Randy, and Martha
Four girls get together after...gulp...47 years to see wazzup. Seriously. We met in Miss Keefe's 1958 Kindergarten class. Here we can be seen comparing double chins, debating menopause remedies, and offering up guesses as to where our lives went wrong. I think, at least for Juli and Debi, it all started when they lost the 'e' in their names.

Monday, May 01, 2006

May Day

It's 8:30 a.m. on Monday morning here in Los Angeles. Let's see how the boycott's going so far, shall we?

Gardners on duty? Check. About eight of them just beginning their day in my townhouse complex.

Normal traffic on the way to work? Check.

Everybody present and accounted for in my factory? Check. The legal immigrants (we don't have any illegal ones) from Mexico, Guatemala, Sri Lanka, the Phillipines, Cambodia, and Viet Nam. All going about their average Monday.

So, what's it all about Alfie?