Improbable Phrases

Who says that?

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Whose Idea Was That?

So, I do a fairly bad job at this whole blogging “regularly” thing. And then I make myself feel guilty about it. But then again, no one is making me blog. I’m doing it, supposedly, for me. Right? Of course right.

So! We’re all going to pretend that I haven’t ignored my blog for three weeks running. And I’m going to tell you about something else mildly shameful.

I’m buying more perfume.

Back in….January-ish, I decided to use some Christmas money to buy perfume online. It’s a twitch bit risky, purchasing something that you’ve never smelled, but I was determined not to go to Sephora as that it would just make me weep. The options! That aren’t really options because they’re too expensive! So I went to the next best place for occasional too-expensive-weepage. Etsy. And lo! There were perfumes in my price range. They were perfume…solids. I Googled this, and thought it seemed like a good idea. It was the consistency of and packaged like lip balm, which seemed a bit odd, but it was less expensive than conventional perfume. I bought two of them. They came in the mail. My thrill wore off fairly quickly.

My complaints are as follows:

  • I don’t like the feeling of putting pseudo-lip balm on my wrists.
  • They are melt-y.
  • For instance, I accidentally left them on the base of my lampstand and the heat of the bulb (8-12 inches above) made them soft in less than an hour.
  • The perfume itself was faint, necessitating a few applications.
  • Did I mention I didn’t like the feeling of the application?
  • The vanilla blend one was too vanilla cupcake-y.
  • Small amounts of the perfume solid would always get under my nails.
  • Ew.
  • My life is hard.

Anyhow, I’ve only used them a handful of times, icked myself out on nearly every occasion, and am now seriously considering throwing them out. They weren’t that expensive and it gives me no joy whatsoever to use them. Chalk it up to lesson learned.

And I went back to the internet, because I like perfume. With specific qualifications.

  • I don’t want to spend $100.
  • I don’t want to smell like baked goods or the fruits of the forest.
  • Lord preserve me from anything that is not a liquid.

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab makes perfume oils in the $20-$30 range. Which is nice. However, they have probably about 600 oils to choose from. Which was taxing. I managed to get the list down to nine oils and then had to get outside input. (Thanks Hannah!)

And so after all that deliberation, I’m going to buy Nyx, which is from the Excolo collection. I initially had a little being-poor-and-thrifty related guilt at buying perfume when I still have other perfume, but on further reflection: oh. for. pity’s. sake.  I have glorified lip balm. And I hate it. Bring on the oils!

I read:
Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal (Loved it. And since she’s a Chicagoan, I knew some of the places she talked about. Fun!)
Chalice by Robin McKinley (Used the Lion King principle of good ruler=healthy land, bad ruler=dying land. And no one had names, just titles. Was an interesting look at government, though.)
School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister (Full novel that read like a series of essays. Everything turned out so nice. It was very sweet.)
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (I was curious, turns out it is more than a little trippy.)
Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll (Did you know that the Disney cartoon pulls indiscriminately from both books in no particular order?)


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Not at all. But I like it.

When I was in college, I would occasionally have 12 page papers that I was expected to write. I genuinely hated these. Genuinely. And, to add insult to injury, the papers were generally due at the end of the semester. This was a time when I wanted to be DONE. I did not want to write about how Shakespeare’s use of Greek gods in metaphors proved…something I can’t recall now. This lack of love for all things papers would create a problem.  I would procrastinate much longer than was wise to start them.

During my senior year, I needed to be writing about some ESL concept or another. Which, hooray. I was so not starting that little barrel of fun until the day before. Having the patience and attention span of an addled goldfish, I wrote a quarter of a paragraph and then thought: YouTube. I wonder what’s on YouTube. Let’s go watch videos! And so I went to YouTube. And fiddled around looking at things that I had no business looking at whilst I had a PAPER DUE. In the course of things, I typed in “bilingual” (a portion of what the paper was about) and up at the top was a video of Eddie Izzard. My friend Anna had sent me a YouTube clip of him that I had sort of ignored. Maybe I was wrong! Maybe he was funny! Or better yet, maybe he would save my doomed paper!

Which, of course he didn’t. But I do love the bilingual clip.

I really don’t speak French. It’s moderately close to Spanish in the scheme of things, but not close enough to make any sense of it. Not that I can legitimately make any sense of Spanish either. Let’s call things as they are, shall we? But because of the miming, the cognates, and the awesomeness that is Eddie Izzard, this clip works anyhow, and I love it.

There’s something superior-sounding about French, especially to my Midwestern ear. It tends to sound good even if the content is completely ridiculous. The accenting and rhythm of the language is so suave. I currently have a couple French coworkers and even their broken English has this extrasexy tone to it. French is fairly awesome that way. Also, I’m fairly certain that the fact that I cannot understand any of it makes it possible for me to focus only on the rhythms. But it seems unfair to underestimate the way in which Latin-based languages tend to sound smoother than German-based languages. There are fewer vowel sounds and softer consonant sounds on the whole, and that lends itself to a less guttural -sounding language in general. See? I did manage to pull a little bit of something out of my ESL classes. Even if Eddie Izzard was more interesting than my papers.

Oh and this guy, too.

I’d apologize for the sound quality on the clip, but it’s the best of the three I could find. And it’s not so bad that you can’t understand what is being said. Well, maybe except for the French part. But if you don’t speak French it seems more than a little unreasonable to expect YouTube to teach you.

I read:
The Enlightened Bracketologist: The Final Four of Everything by Mark Reiter, Richard Sandomir and Nigel Holmes (Like March Madness brackets, only on more day-to day to day topics. For instance, Animal won as the Best Muppet.)

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Q is for QI

I found QI on YouTube in college. I love QI for a multitude of reasons. It is a show that expects you not to know things and as such, sets out to inform you. But in a funny way, since the panel is entirely composed of comedians, most of them with a background in or current tour of stand-up. They think on their feet and basically talk about everything. I love the randomness and the hilarious-ness. If only it was on American television, I could stop watching it in 10 minute or less segments on YouTube. That would be fantabulous. I’m going to include some quotes here. Basically, the ones I enjoy most.

Stephen Fry: What’s coconut milk?
Phill Jupitus: Tasty!
Stephen Fry: Where’s it come from? What’s it made of?
Phill Jupitus: Coconut cows!

Stephen Fry: If a lion mates with a tiger, you get a…?
Alan Davies: Scandal.

Stephen Fry: Who are the Lords of Shouting?
Jo Brand & Alan Davies: (hitting their buzzers) WE ARE!

Stephen Fry: Do you know what “biscuit” means? What its derivation is? “Bis” meaning…
Alan Davies: Eat, chew…
Stephen Fry: …twice…
Alan Davies: …bite…
Stephen Fry: …twice
Alan Davies: …sweet, hard, coffee cup.
Stephen Fry: …twice. [laughs] Sweet, hard, coffee cup?
Alan Davies: Cup. Coffee cup accompaniment.

Sean Lock: The huntsman spider is the only spider with lungs.
Alan Davies: So you can get it a birthday cake with a candle on.

Phill Jupitus: How big is it?
Stephen Fry: Vast, is the answer.
Phill Jupitus: Thanks for that. How big is it? [mimicking Stephen] Oh, very. I find to quantify its bigness would be doing it a disservice! Bigly big! The vastly big bigness of the dripping thing!

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Happy Father’s Day, or a Moose Once Bit My Sister (An Ode)

I remember telling someone once that I am closer to my father than any other man on earth. Daddy has been with me through so many things. He was there before and after all my surgeries, for all my major milestones, everything. He is one of the funniest people I know. My mother often rolls her eyes and tells us not to encourage him, but he goes on, with or without encouragement.

100_4013Great face, daddy.

He is also so patient, but certainly has his limits. I remember when I was in preschool, I was home with the chicken pox and he had the day off and so I was with him all day. We watched Sesame Street, played a game, watched Fifel Goes West, and then he announced that he and I were going to watch one of his movies. And thus at the tender age of four I was introduced to Monty Python and the Holy Grail. I really, really liked the cartoon with the jumping sun and clouds. When I brought up this memory with him a few years ago, he shrugged and said, “A man can only take so much.” Indeed. I don’t disagree with that. I have never seen Fifel Goes West again, and how many times have I watched the Grail? Clearly this was an example of exposure to good cinema.

HolyGrail027“Very small rocks!”

For all this, we’ve had our disagreements. Most notably, over the worth of Bob Dylan. Dad insists it’s good music; I can’t get past the scratchy, slurry tenor voice. The lyrics might be well-written, I can allow that, but performance has to count for something, doesn’t it? It’s pretty much the only oldies music we can’t agree on. When I lived at home and we would go on car trips, he would threaten to bring a Bob Dylan CD along, just to see how I’d react. Sometimes we’d just listen to the radio and, with a devilish smile on his face, he’d ask me if I knew who was singing a particular song on the oldies station. Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man, your diction drives me crazy.

Bob Dylan 5.3.66Hard core, right?

So here’s to you Daddy. I love you so much and am so blessed to have a father that I can be proud of. Keep saving lives and stamping out disease.

Love, Meg

I read:
Lirael by Garth Nix (See, it’s a trilogy. I wasn’t satisfied at the end of Sabriel, so I looked at the kitties, took a deep breath and read the next one. Somehow, this one was more light-hearted. But. not. much.)

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No! No Lollipops! No One Will Buy Them!

Earlier this week I realized that the Joanne Harris book that I have been waiting for was coming out next month. There is usually a lag of about 6 months between the UK publishing and the US release. There are varying reasons for this: American inability to understand certain British references, American inability to understand the metric system, and so on. Minor changes are made. But this time something odd happened. Harris published “The Lollipop Shoes” and then “Runemarks,” but “Runemarks” made it to American shelves first, back in January. Why? Because in addition to some textual changes that are common to books that bridge the UK/US divide, the marketing process involved re-naming the book formerly known as “The Lollipop Shoes.” Re-naming the book?!? People in America can wrap their head around the words “The Lollipop Shoes.” The issue here was that someone at a Barnes & Noble marketing meeting convinced people that the title would not sell because it sounded too much like chick-lit. Which is an interesting contention. When I first heard of the UK title I thought of the bright clothes that Vianne wore in the movie based on the first book, “Chocolat.” “The Lollipop Shoes” seemed sweet and fairy-tale-ish, but not anything completely insipid and mind-numbing. Besides, it was written by Joanne Harris, who I know does not do chick-lit. And, if you print: Author of Bestseller Chocolat, wouldn’t that clear up any Harlequin Romance-related misunderstanding? All this brings me to a musing: how many times have authors been asked to change book titles because there was a belief that it just wouldn’t sell? And how much does my own book browsing style contribute to that? I know that I won’t pick up a book and check the content if I have issues with the cover or title. So, is the delay on the US release of  “The Girl With No Shadow” aka “The Lollipop Shoes” partially the fault of me and others like me? If so, holy crap book-world, I’m sorry. But I don’t see myself changing my style. 

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This is Plymouth? We’ve Just Come from There. Back in the Boat, Lads, We’ve Gone ‘Round in a Circle.

I’m going to go see Eddie Izzard in May. But unlike most of his recent tour dates, (London, LA, NYC) this won’t entail me schlepping myself hither and yon. Because he’s *coming to Chicago!*

(cue the squeeing and jumping up and down)

Anna, Irene and I will be seeing him live and in person. It’ll be one of the funnest things that I have planned two months in advance. The organization, I feel, is almost as crazy as the opportunity to see him. And not on YouTube, or DVD. But live, in person. Did I mention, *in person?*

The thrill of it all.

For the sake of being list-y, I would like to list some of my favorite quotes from previous tours. Also, the title at the top is an Eddie Izzard quote.

  • You certainly haven’t been smoking in a bar in California! Because you can’t! Yes … no smoking in bars, and soon no drinking and no talking!
  • Thank you for flying Church of England, Cake or Death?
  • Two languages in one head? No one can live at that speed! Good Lord man, you’re asking the impossible! But, the Dutch speak four languages and smoke marijuana! Well … yes, but they’re cheating!
  • We stole countries with the cunning use of flags. Just sail around the world and stick a flag in. I claim India for Britain! And they’re going, “You can’t claim us, we live here! There’s five hundred million of us!”
  • I want to be a beekeeper! I wanna keep bees! Don’t wanna let them get away; I wanna keep them! They have too much freedom … I want bees on elastic, so when they get pollen, they come back here! My father was a beekeeper before me, his father was a beekeeper before him; I wanna walk in their footsteps … and their footsteps were like this: [running wildly from imaginary bees] ‘Aaah! I’m covered in bees! Aaah! Covered in bees!’
  • I’ve wiped the file? …. I’ve wiped all the files? …. I’ve wiped the INTERNET? I don’t even have a modem!
  • Religion and philosophy, philosophy and religion – they’re two words which are both … different. In spelling.
  • Racist people, interestingly are never as polite as smokers. Have you noticed that? Smokers always go, Do you mind if I smoke? Oh, you do? Okay, I’ll go outside and have a cigarrete. Racist people never go, Do you mind if I’m racist? Oh, I’ll go outside…
  • I am an evil giraffe, and I shall eat more leaves from this tree then perhaps I should, so that other giraffes may die.

I am so excited about this. Can you tell? Can you?!?