The Apple Store (U.S.) – MacBook

My friend and fellow geek Ms. Eclectic turned me on to some really cool software that, alas, is Mac-Only. I’ve been a pc baby since dirt, and I resisted, feeling like I was somehow crossing to the dark side, but Windows Vista scares the hell out of me, and I do recognize that Apple has long been the leader when it comes to tools for writing and publishing, so I talked to BossGuy and he fronted me the money for a 15″ MacBook. I got the mid-range model, with an 80 gig hard drive, and added an extra gig of RAM, and about a week after I placed the order, it showed up at my door.

I’m not using it as much as I should, because so much of my stuff is still on my Vaio laptop and my self-built desktop (which, I must add, has a cool green mod-light), but for the most part, I do like it. The box was cute, well, designed, and something to save. The laptop itself still strikes me as a bit toy-ish, but I’m getting over that. I do like the fast response time, and the hardly ever having to reboot.

Bang! Crash!

It has been a week of grey rainy weather, punctuated by thunder and lightning, with last night’s finale being spectacularly dramatic. By the time Fuzzy got home from downtown Dallas, it was too late to go to CSz, and though we did brave the weather, for a quick run to Blockbuster, Steak-n-Shake, and Starbucks.

We came home and sat in the dimly lit living room, and ate juicy cheeseburgers while watching Eragon on DVD, and I have to say, the flashes of lightning beyond our window only enhanced the experience.

Earlier I wished for a good horror movie, or thriller, to go with the weather, and ended up catching up on Lifetime TV’s Blood Ties series on TiVo, which is based on Tanya Huff’s series of novels. Christina Cox is excellent in the lead role, and my only wish is that every episode was two hours long.

Today, the sky seems unnaturally blue, the kind of blue you generally only see in the mountains of Colorado, where the air is thin, and you’re above the smog. I suppose it’s not actually any bluer than usual, and just seems like that in contrast to the previous week – rather like the TechniColor portion of The Wizard of Oz after the black-and-white Kansas scenes.

Tonight: 2 shows at CSz. Tomorrow: I put Fuzzy on a plane to Rochester, NY.

Thursday Thirteen – 0703.29

Thirteen Things about MissMeliss

13 Things That Begin with A with a nod to Janet for the inspiration.

  1. Acting: I don’t get to do much of it lately, except in improv and then it’s really short bits, but I still love the whole process of becoming another person for a while, and figuring out the subtext.
  2. Alliteration: As if the name “Miss Meliss” isn’t a dead giveaway.
  3. Alphabetizing: There’s something calm in an organized list, and then, I also spent a lot of time in libraries as a kid.
  4. Annie: When I was a little girl, this was my favorite musical. I still know all the songs, dialogue, and choreography.
  5. Animals: While I live with dogs, I like most animals, or at least most mammals. But then, I’m intrigued by sharks, too, and birds.
  6. Apples: There’s nothing quite as satisfying as the crunchy sweet-tartness of the perfect apple. I prefer Braeburns over most other varieties, and am happy to eat them alone, or with some cheddar. They’re equally good pressed into cider, or stewed into apple butter or apple sauce.
  7. Arches: They’re my favorite architectural feature, whether they’re filled in with glass, or simple brick with trailing vine. They’re something magical about them.
  8. Arguments: I don’t like fighting, but there’s something really satisfying about a good argument, even is sometimes it’s just arguing for the sake of arguing.
  9. Art Supplies: When it comes to visual art, I have almost zero talent, but I love art supplies. I have crayons just to have them. I love papers and pastels and colored pencils. I think it’s because they represent possibility, and innocence.
  10. Artichokes: One of my favorite vegetables – and so simple. A little steam, a little butter or mayo, and you’ve got a meal.
  11. Aspen Trees: I spent a significant part of my childhood in the mountains of Colorado, and Aspens are part of the landscape there. I love their white bark, and the way the leaves turn to gold.
  12. Aveda: My favorite salon, and my favorite line of cosmetics – I like them because they’re never pushy, they treat you really well, and the ingredients are organic. Also, nothing smells bad in that horrid chemical way.
  13. Avocados: I grew up eating these in salads, or just marinated in vinaigrette, long before I’d ever heard of guacamole. Later, I learned to like avocado ice cream, though it’s not my favorite flavor.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

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The Ultimate Dog Bed

Multimedia message

Originally uploaded by Ms.Snarky.

…for Zorro, an eight-pound chihuahua mix, is NOT the brown bed in which he was photographed yesterday (that one really belongs to Miss Cleo), but my backpack, shown here on my desperately-in-need-of-sweeping-and-an-area-rug office floor. Do note that he’s got the strap over his hind quarters.

I often wonder if he chooses his nap spots because he knows it’s far more pathetic to be curled up on a bag, or a pile of folders, or whatever, and therefore more likely to catch my attention.

In any case, he’s an able assistant, and does really good job of keeping that backpack on the floor.

Funny People

Friday’s zoo trip sent me down a meandering path of websites. As often happens, I first looked for further info about the lioness we’d taken pictures of, then about Bluebonnet the elephant, which sent me to various conservation sites, and then to the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus website, which in turn lead me to the Boss Clown Diary, a two-year almost-daily journal of the head clown from 2000-2001’s “blue” tour.

The clown in question David Solove wrote wonderfully engaging notes about each city he visited, via train or car, his feline traveling companion, Monkey, his clown friends, and general circus life.

As a result, not only do I want to go see the circus when it comes to town just in time for my birthday, in August, but I also have a new respect for clowns as performers. I never really appreciated their roles in either theatrical or American history before, but doing improv for almost a year has really changed how I look at a lot of things.

Solove has an email link on his website, so I sent him a note.
I hope he doesn’t mind.

Geek Celebrations (long)

Most people, I think, celebrate anniversaries with fancy dinners and elegant gifts, or at least jewelry. We did not. We talked about it, but decided it would be more meaningful just to spend time together, and so we did.

Yesterday morning, we drove to Fort Worth to meet Rana for brunch at a place she recommended when I asked for something “more foodlike than Starbucks.” The place was Yogi’s Deli & Grill, but it’s more of a bagelry than a bistro. Food was excellent. Company, even more so. We’ll definitely go back.

After that, we went to the Fort Worth Zoo, which we’d never visited. (We’ve not yet been to the Dallas one, either, but today at the salon my stylist, the pregnant but still perky Natalie, told me that she was at the Dallas Zoo last week, and found it to be depressing, and thought the animals seemed unhappy.) The animals at the Fort Worth Zoo, did not seem unhappy.

Here are some highlights. Pictures can be seen at UnCommonPlace:
Primate World was our first stop and the chimpanzees greeted us with happy tumbling and shrieking. One of the family groups was separated from the rest, and could only be seen from inside – the female was very obviously in heat. They waved through the windows and little kids waved back. The Silverback Gorilla was really the big draw. He sits in state like a zen master quite obviously passing judgement on all who enter his domain.

From there, we wandered past the warthog and the zebra to see the cheetahs, who were, as is typical of every cheetah I’ve never seen, stalking the perimeter of their enclosure. Most of the time, they were in the trees, so pictures didn’t happen, but we did see them, at least.

We visited the rhinos, briefly, also, then went to see the giraffes. I like giraffes. I do not like ostriches, which share the same living quarters as the giraffes, because ostriches are evil. Evil, I tell you. But giraffes are cool.

After that, we hung out with the elephants, who were all very happy and pleasant. One was merrily sand-blasting itself, also twirling its trunk and bobbing his head, as if dancing to that tune, “Da Da Da” by Trio – the one that Volkswagon used in their commercials in the late 1990’s.

We meandered past several other animals, mostly smallish ones, until we came to the muntjacs, which are tiny (Cleo-sized) barking deer. Imagine a large chihuahua with horns and hooves, and that’s a muntjac. Apparently they can be kept as pets. Fuzzy says that while this is true, we have two dogs already, and adding a prey animal is probably unwise.

The Sun Bears next captured our attention. Imagine something with the head and mass of a chow, the coat of a rottweiler, and the claws of Freddy Krueger, and that’s what a sun bear looks like. Also, they’re this wonderful chocolatey color, with a sun-shape in lighter fur on their chests, like the superman insignia. “Sun Bears to the Rescue.” The two we were watching were having a tiff, and kept growling at each other.

After the bears, we met the great cats. First was the white tiger, who was hiding at first, but then came out to pose, basking in the sunlight for all admirers to see and adore. Next a more usual orange tiger, who was extremely focussed on eating grass. And then, my favorites, the lions. The lion and lioness were separated, but while we were watching the lioness, who was also totally posing, sometimes being very kittenish, and other times completely in charge. We were drawn next door to the lion because he was being extremely vocal, roaring in a woof-ing kind of way, then chuffing loudly. (We noticed he’s directly across the road from the antelopes and deer, and I said it was evil to set up the zoo that way, so they can see and hear each other, but Fuzzy said it makes the animals feel more at home. BAH!) I had never seen a lion roar before – the power in those lungs was AMAZING. Then he went all catlike and scratched at his treestump and stretched, before turning his back on the humans. I have to comment, also, that the tigers were the only animals (other than the snakes and lizards) that had full-height cage bars. All the others had waist/chest-high walls to keep you from falling in the moat, and a moat with sheer sides.)

After the African animals, we took a snack break, nibbling on corn dogs and sipping soda, while black swans floated on a nearby pond, and a turkey struck up conversations. Turkeys are LOUD.

We then wandered through Raptor Canyon, at one point passing under a harpy eagle who was gnawing on a dead rat, in the center of the fence atop the tunnel. I put my CSz bandanna over my hair for that walk. We traipsed through the Great Barrier Reef exhibit, smiling at the blacktip sharks, and then watched the kangaroos taking in some sun – one was a nursing mother – and then we hung out with the Komodo dragon, before touring the herpetarium. We turned around at that point, as it was almost closing time, and walked back toward the exit, forgoing Texas Wild, and completely missing the Thundering Plains.

We drove slowly home, napped, ordered pizza, and finished out the day, though I did have a box of FLOWERS from Fuzzy waiting for me at the front door. Enough irises and red tulips to fill three vases! I think my mother helped him, but I’m not sure.

Today, we slept late, and then I had a salon appointment to refresh the red in my hair, and have the ends trimmed. Afterward, I sipped a frappucino in Barnes and Noble, while puttering on the macbook. While I was there, a guy came up to me and said, “Seriously, I don’t know which is cooler, your hair or your pink computer.” We chatted a bit about the techshell, and then he moved along, and Fuzzy met me about then.

We’d discussed a movie, but instead we went back to Fort Worth to CompUSA – all but two of the MetroPlex stores are closing, and there were deep discounts. I played with an iMac (I think I want one – they’re so CUTE) while Fuzzy shopped for monitors – he bought two – and then we went to Edohana, which is totally a Benihana wannabe, for dinner. Groups ahead of us were being told there was an hour wait, but there were only two of us, so we were seated with two couples and their adorable kids, and one of the mothers kept apologizing for her children, but really, they were well-behaved. The food was good, and it was a nice ending to a nice day. We’re both now puttering on our own computers.
And that, my friends, is how geeks celebrate their wedding anniversary.

CARMI: This One’s for You

Giraffe Reflection

Originally uploaded by Ms.Snarky.

Carmi is always showing off his photography skills in new and amazing – and often inspiring – ways. I don’t have his camera savvy or his eye, but when I saw the reflection of the giraffe in the pond water, I thought, “That’s the kind of shot Carmi would take.” So I tried it.

It was a cloudy overcast day, the water was murky, and Fuzzy was busy on a phone call, when I took this. Fuzzy has a much better eye than I do.

I’ll TUMBLR for ya….

Rana introduced me to this nifty site called TUMBLR which is part of the new microblogging phenomenon. We discussed it, and determined that it’s lack of comment features is a good thing, as it forces tumblr sites to act as aggregators, or indices, rather than stand-along sites.

Many of you know that I have this blog, my book blog, livejournal, and a new blogger account, as well as twitter and flickr. Driving content to any one of those sites is difficult. Giving family members who may not be net-savvy a location where they can find all my stuff is even trickier. And notice, even I forget my own sites – I didn’t mention my fiction blog at all.

So, here’s the deal: please add to your bookmarks. When you visit that site, you’ll be able to see headlines from ALL my various blogs, and then some.

As to the name…a commonplace was a sort of notebook used for jotting down notes, thoughts, quotes, etc, for later remembrance. Sort of half-way between a datebook and a journal. Because tumblr is designed for quick posts, and headlines brought in via RSS, it makes an excellent digital commonplace.


I’m not doing Friday’s Feast this week because the questions didn’t inspire anything in me. Anyway, I have something else I’d rather write about.

This weekend – technically Saturday – is my 12th anniversary. Our 12th anniversary. Fuzzy’s and mine. We’re celebrating tomorrow by playing hooky and going to the Zoo. Not the usual idea of a romantic day, perhaps, but romance is in the details: holding hands as we walk, the fact that he still flirts with me, flowers when we go grocery shopping, rearranging my office furniture after a twelve-hour work-day…the list goes on.

Anyway, we want to see the tigers.
We both like tigers.
Especially Fuzzy.

As for presents – I told him not to go crazy this year, that all I wanted was flowers, and I even enlisted my mother so that he’d get something simple and not a fussy bouquet, but I saw the debit card payments and he spent more on flowers than I spent on his gift, though I have to say, his is way cooler. He almost never reads my blog, but if I tell you what I bought, it’ll be the one time he DOES read it without me saying, “Hey, go read what I wrote.”

12 years. It seems like nothing, and forever. Some days I love the whole marriage thing. Others, I still wish we had separate apartments with a communicating door. As I get closer to 40 (a little over three years), I’m becoming more torn about the whole breeding thing. I mean, there’s a part of me that whispers about having a child, and then there’s a part of me that whispers back about how I can’t even share an OFFICE with the man I’m married to, and I don’t even particularly LIKE children, but then the first part whispers back AGAIN that it’s different when it’s your own.

But back to the romance.
Romance is way more fun.

After 12 years of having to specify brands on the grocery list because he still has no clue what brands we buy of certain things, and having to always be the one who puts the toilet paper on the roller and walks the two feet from the counter to the recycling bag with HIS empty soda cans, and remembers to call HIS mother, and is in charge of all bill paying and letter writing, the obvious question, half in jest, is “are you renewing the contract for another year?”

But how could I not? How could I not be totally in love with this man who let me take the leap into freelancing even though it cut our income by a third, because he couldn’t stand to see me come home from BigFinancialCompany in tears, who tells me I’m smart and talented, even when I feel like it’s a struggle to write a single sentence, who comes with me to CSz every weekend because he’s that supportive, and who gave up his bonus last year so I could have a new laptop?

Okay, he doesn’t buy me jewelry, but if there’s something I want, he just smiles and says, “if you think we can afford it, get it,” and when we were in Spring, TX, a few weeks ago, he held up a beach towel so I could change clothes in the parking lot without flashing everyone, and he buys Ruffles because I like them, even though he prefers Pringles.

Changing your preferred brand of potato chip is real love.

And after twelve years – I should know.