Category Archives: Media

We All Scream

I’ve started reading Snopes.com again because some of the stories flying around are just begging to be fact-checked.  Yesterday I discovered the Lionel Richie and Tyra Banks have teamed up to create a new ice cream flavor.

Points awarded since I KNOW who Lionel Richie and Tyra Banks are – lots of news stories I see online these days are peopled with folks I’ve never heard of (and frankly, don’t WANT to ever hear of).  The ice cream is called All Night Long and is vanilla with crumbled cookies, caramel and little chocolate fudge hearts.  Apparently Tyra Banks has an ice cream line called Smize Cream.  Who knew?  I had to look up Smize – something to do with her signature smile when she was on that model show.  I won’t be trying it any time soon as they only way you can get it is to have it shipped to you or to live in Los Angeles.  I am not paying shipping for ice cream.  Not moving to Los Angeles either.

Reading about this reminds me of when our own Beth-Ann won the Kemp’s Flavor of the Year contest with her Mini-Donuts Ice Cream (back in 2013) and when we all got together to celebrate and to try it out.  I know that they only do the flavors of the year for 12 months, but I’d love to see Mini Donuts come back.  I’m not even sure that Kemps did a flavor of the year this year or last?

Do you have a favorite ice cream?  If you had an ice cream named after you – what would it be?

VS versus VR

Two days ago I got the following text message from Nonny:

P a little surprised what a sweetheart I couldn’t remember the old Club was asking her about her interest but they seem to only be about the lieutenant who was across the room at the time she told me she thought you was hot start I agreed you could look at it and then she asked if I’d ever fantasize about sleeping with him sorry the TV is is making this I’ll hang up.

Now Nonny struggles with technology so as I began to read, I was trying to guess what she might be trying to say.  It wasn’t until I got to the fantasize part that I was really confused.  Then the last line about the tV made me laugh out loud.  She couldn’t figure out how to make the voice recognition stop recording when she realized it was picking up the tv.  Phew… my mother has never asked me about fantasizing about sleeping with anyone – and I don’t want that to start!

Then the same day I started VR for something and didn’t realize I had my phone set to Italian; normally it switches on by itself for my daily Italian lesson and then turns itself off when I’m done.  But I must have accidentally changed to Italian.  I don’t even remember what I was trying to say, but this is what I got:

Anonymous game ex fan Week and Hugh know Cost Wearing Nice T-shirt il Renzi stasera mangiare cioè stop period and Best me va bene anche a me Kiss Snapchat Giusy shorts T-shirt c’è in CAPS ormai Favorites schiena biologico Birthday Office

It must be a voice recognition foul up kind of week.  Two more on Wednesday that I caught on the blog right before I hit Post.

“And jam is also easier to make” turned into “And Jim is also easier to make”.

“I’ve never had a guy stand at the end of a row with a stick. Turned into “I’ve never had a guy at the end of a roller coaster”

I’m a little worried about what VR is thinking about me… fantasizing, making Jim and having a guy at the end of a roller coaster.  Yikes.

But when you think about the technology involved in these little tiny circuits being able to hear your voice, search the database for a match and then enter it as text in your application – it’s amazing that it works as well as it does.  What I really need is some kind of a cattle prod to zap me right before I hit “Post” to make sure I doublecheck what VR has done for me!

Do you have a technology currently bugging you?

Stylistic Differences

I was looking through a magazine the other day, and I ran across an ad for a Swedish Women’s clothing company. The styles were fanciful, with skirts, tunics, dresses, pants, and sweaters in wild prints and vivid colors that are worn in layers with leggings. The clothes looked really comfortable. I like wearing layers. Wearing such clothes, though, would be a real stylistic change for me.

In the winter I dress pretty low key, in pull over sweaters and cardigans with corduroy pants and sensible shoes. Nothing fancy. I want to be warm and comfortable. In the summer, I just switch to Capri pants and shirts. The only time I dress up is when I have to testify in court. My coworkers always notice and comment “You must be going to court today!”

Changing my clothing style so drastically would excite rather a lot of comment at my work. No one who I know of in town wears anything like the Swedish clothing I saw in the magazine. People might think I was having a crisis in identity. I haven’t made up my mind yet, but I think I could possibly venture out with maybe one new, wild, Swedish ensemble. We will see.

How would you describe your style? What is the most outrageous outfit you have ever worn? If you could, how would you change the style of clothing you wear?

My Favorite Insects

Having a lot of flowers and vegetable plants to care for has been a relief in some ways lately, since it has kept me outside the house and off my phone looking at news feeds and becoming more and more despondent. Between drought, excessive heat, the pandemic and all the associated idiocy, Afghanistan, and US politics, it has been a heart-heavy summer.

The other morning I was turning the sprinkler on the dahlias when I saw a perfect dragonfly perched on the fence. I like dragonflies. We only see them here when it is sufficiently humid. It is sometimes humid here in the early morning. I love the way they tear around. I also like hummingbird moths and their imitation of hummingbirds. They are a rare sight here, too. I saw a Tiger Swallow tail last weekend, and that always cheers me up. On the rare nights it has been cool enough to have the windows open and the AC off, I even have enjoyed hearing the crickets, unless they are frogs, but I think they are crickets.

What are your favorite insects? How to you cope with bad news? How can you tell a frog call from a cricket chirp?

Their Just Desserts

When I was growing up, families in my town who had a lot of money were often looked upon with distain if they demonstrated any public flaws or hoity-toityness.

In the current town in which I live, there are many quite well to do families who face similar scrutiny, none more than the following head of a local family who was recently discussed the media:

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/tommy-fisher-rio-grande-texas-private-wall-for-sale_n_60fb856be4b0733516268d21

I know there is a certain satisfaction to see such folks as the Fishers show themselves for fools. I know that one of my personal struggles is to not rejoice when this happens, but gosh, it is hard not to do so. Pride and greed are sure downfalls for many.

Who were the folks in your communities when you were growing up who were judged for their wealth? What are your favorite desserts?

Setting the Mood

Our daughter was excited to drive us around the Olympic Peninsula when we visited in July. She was equally excited to explore Olympic National Park, not only for the rain forest and the moss, but because of the podcast she chose for us to listen to as we drove.

Daughter thought that a podcast about true stories of people murdered by serial killers in National Parks would be entertaining. It really was, I must admit. There was very little traffic, and we were in pretty remote areas, and it seemed cozy, somehow, like listening to ghost stories in a nice warm room with a fire going and a storm raging outside.

How do you set the mood? What do you like to listen to when you drive or work around the house?

Tableau

The following link will take you to a fascinating photography event that happened just 90 miles east of us, in Bismarck. It involves a collaboration of many people to recreate, with some twists, a painting by Peter Breughel the Elder, and is influenced by the pandemic. A friend of ours, a costumer and retired drama coach and choir director, sewed a costume for the collaboration, and participated in the event. It involved using wet plate photography, something I don’t quite understand, but seems to be an old technique.

https://www.inforum.com/entertainment/art/7116663-Bismarcks-Shane-Balkowitsch-makes-photographic-history-with-wet-plate-collaboration

What painting would you like to recreate in real life? What would you like to set out to photograph? What are your favorite paintings?

Movie Wars

You all know I adore my mom.  And for the most part, we do quite well when we spend time together but the 9 days I spent in St. Louis did stretch our patience a few times. The place where we have the most friction is the television.  I’m happy to leave the tv off most of the time but Nonny has habits that she doesn’t want to relinquish.  This starts in the morning as she likes to watch the news.  I prefer my news in short, concentrated bursts and would really just like to read my news online.  Both the tragedy of the falling condo and the Bill Cosby reversal were in the news while I was there and both stories got re-hashed and re-hashed.  I was working in the morning so pretty much tried to tune it out but it was difficult.

The evenings caused more tension.  Nonny likes the Hallmark movies, especially the romances and the holiday films.  And I’m sure I’m not giving any of you news when I say that I detest the Hallmark Christmas movies (which are playing 24/7 beginning two weeks ago and through July).  This is not a secret to Nonny but despite my saying so more than once, she filed this fact away.  After a couple of nights we decided to switch back and forth.  First I would pick a movie, then she would pick a movie.  You’d think we’d both be adult enough for this solution, wouldn’t you?

She didn’t like Ant-Man and the Wasp at all.  I thought she might because the Ant-Man movies are much lighter than some of the other Marvel universe movies.  I was wrong.  She had trouble following the storyline and got impatient pretty quickly.  Then she chose one of her Christmas movies, although I know she’d already seen it because she recounted the plot to me in the first 10 minutes.  I pretty much ignored the movie, but she kept muting the tv during the commercials to “talk about it”.  I was more testy than I should have been.

I chose the old Woman in White with Alexis Smith, Eleanor Parker and Gig Young.  How could this go wrong?  Well, the thought the Sydney Greenstreet character was too creepy and complained that she just didn’t like movies where the bad guys held so much sway over the good guys.  She got quite crabby.  But not as crabby as I got when she chose another Christmas movie.  I will admit that I pouted and decided it was a good time to do laundry; that took me out of the condo (laundry machines are across the hall) several times.  Unfortunately she was convinced that I needed to hear the song at the end of the movie and called me to come back to the living room.  Twice. 

Luckily I found How to Marry a Millionaire with Lauren Bacall, Marilyn Monroe and Betty Grable – this turned out to finally be something we could agree on.  It was funny (with great costumes) and since Nonny had seen it before, she already knew the plot line.  It was nice to have something we both enjoyed as our last movie of my trip.  I’m not sure what would have happened if I had stayed in St. Louis longer.  Is there such a thing as bad-movie-induced-matricide?

What’s the worst movie or tv show you’ve been subjected to lately?

Annoying Coworkers

I have been fortunate in my work career to have mostly affable and supportive coworkers. True, there have been a couple of real negative doozeys, but I outlasted them. I am currently contending with an annoying coworker who really means well, and that is much of my problem with her.

The person in question doesn’t even work in my building, and works 100 miles away, only sometimes coming to my workplace every other month or so. Her job is to make my job easier, but that isn’t how it always turns out. She is to help make sure my testing computers are working appropriately, that the psychological test scoring programs are up to date, and that my testing forms and supplies are ordered as needed. She usually does a great job. She works really fast. She is friendly, competent, and energetic. We communicate most frequently via email and instant messaging.

I guess my main issue with this coworker is the manner she goes about doing things. Every time I encounter her, I have to bite my tongue and not ask her if she took her Ritalin (an ADHD medication) that day. I don’t even know if she has ADHD, but she is very impulsive, doesn’t listen, and can’t read the room, so to speak, on how she is coming across.

Last week she was very involved replacing our three aging testing computers with new computers, and transferring our scoring programs to the new computers. In the process, she managed to erase forever the testing results of hundreds of people we had tested over the years. There are hard copies of the results in client files, but at least we had them stored in the computer in case something happened to our paper files. She didn’t get the new computers hooked up to the correct printers appropriately , and I couldn’t print any interpretive reports, only dozens of pages of gobbledygook. She had already left to go back to Bismarck, so our tech guy had to fix it the next day. He told me he had warned her that what she did with the printer drivers wouldn’t work, but, as usual, she didn’t listen.

One day, after a particularly frustrating back and forth messaging fest over her insistence that a scoring program was installed on one of the computers when it wasn’t, she asked if I would go in to the testing room and take photos of the serial numbers of the computers so that she cold access them remotely to see the situation for herself. I was somewhat appalled that she would even ask me to do that, given how our messaging conversation was going. I guess she couldn’t tell that I was becoming increasingly agitated in my texting, spelling out words in all capitals and ending sentences with multiple exclamation points. I had enough by that time, and curtly refused. She came out the next day and got it all fixed. She apologized for not believing me and offered to buy me some flowers or chocolates. I told her it wasn’t necessary, and that it was enough that she had come out and fixed everything.

Tell about some of your more interesting coworkers. Have you ever felt like murdering someone at work?

Intro to the Classics

We had a lovely time last weekend with our son and his family. We were busy with cooking and eating and visiting and all the things you do when there is a three year old in the house. Grandson loves to dance and has a pretty good sense of melody and pitch, so I thought it would be fun to introduce him to some classical music.

We have a CD of Peter and the Wolf and The Carnival of the Animals performed by the Vienna Philharmonic and duo pianists Alfons and Aloys Kontarsky, with Karl Bohm conducting. Both are narrated by Hermione Gingold. I love her voice and expressiveness. She sounds so plummy, except when she drops into Cockney when she gets to the part where the wolf eats the duck “And he swallowed her rye tup!” The Carnival text was some cheesy poems by Oden Nash, but even that was ok with her narrating.

Grandson loved the stories. We acted out the motions of the animals with the music. He thought being the wolf was the best, even better than being Peter. It is so much fun to howl and roar, you see, even when you are being taken to the zoo. He especially liked marching to the lion’s music and roaring, jumping like the kangaroos, and waltzing like the elephants. I told him to imagine that the finale of Carnival was music for the monkeys in the zoo.

As we were saying our goodbyes on Monday, Grandson rather spontaneously called out from his car seat “Thank you for the lions and the wolfs, and the elephants, Oma”. I was pretty touched, and thought we had a pretty good intro to some good music.

What was your first introduction to classical music? What are your favorite classical compositions? How would you introduce them to a three year old?