Category Archives: Brainworm

The Shift of a Compass

Let me preface this by saying I consider myself lucky to have friends. One can never have too many. Growing up they came and went out of my life with regularity, and some have passed on before their time. But I never regretted the time spent with any of them, whether in anger or laughter, in sadness and joy, in cacophony and silence. Every one was a blessing unto my life, even the ones who chose to leave.

Back in the days before social media, we were comfortable not knowing every particular tidbit from every particular friend. I had no ideas on their religious convictions (even when we attended the same church), their political leanings, their discriminatory views (and by this I mean likes and dislikes, not racial bigotry), and outside our high school football team, not even sport fandoms. Personally, I didn’t think it was any of my business, and if they liked the Dallas Cowboys, that was their cross to bear. But social media has made it easier to put one’s views out there. Sometimes that makes friends aware that they don’t have so many things in common with each other, and the dreaded happens.

In the interest of our friendship….

Those are chilling words to read on one’s media. At first it seems they are trying to cushion a coming blow, but that’s the masquerade. Those words come right before being told how “wrong” or how “bigoted” or how “evil” your statement is. It isn’t a way to soften the rebuttal but rather an implied threat. I don’t agree with you and our friendship will suffer for it. And I have to wonder why. Why would any friend consider a different opinion cause to sever all ties? I could understand if my opinion went against the law or broke social taboos but that wasn’t the case. It was a case of the mirror having two faces: two different ways of looking at one thing. Ignoring one face over the other simply because you don’t like it is a disservice to others and to oneself. Always remember: one must always play “devil’s advocate” and question everything; living in an echo chamber gets very old, very fast; and no one has a right to be offended. No friendship should ever be tested because of discourse. Differences of opinion are valuable, necessary, and natural. To think otherwise is to be myopic about the human condition.

And now that I have done my deep thoughts for today, it’s time for another cup of coffee 🙂

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Idiosyncrasies

We all have them. Some of us have more than our share. Some of us only have a few. I am far from being classified as suffering from OCD, but there are times when my family questions the lack of diagnosis.

They never question it when it comes to housekeeping, though.

For example, I have to drink hot tea from a teacup, with a saucer. Not so with coffee, though. I can drink coffee from a mug or travel cup or straight from the carafe with no issues. But hot tea MUST be served in a teacup, with a saucer. Oddly, the saucer doesn’t have to match the cup in pattern. Sometimes it looks like I am hosting the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party around here.

Then there’s grocery shopping. I have to group all the boxed goods together, all the produce together, and all the cold stuff together. I am not Jewish nor do I observe the whole dairy-separate-from-meat thing. But I want it organized so the kid bagging my groceries does it right, as in TO MY SPECS. Not the store’s specifications, but mine. Because I absolutely loathe to have canned stuff in the same bag with a box. But I don’t care if the eggs are with the pasta.

And of course…..books. I love books. Reading is the cheapest way to have a vacation. Even though I have both a Nook™ and a Kindle™, I still fall back on the feel and the scent of paper. But one thing I will never do to a book, no matter how old, how worn, or how torn, is dogear the pages or break the spine. Ironic, seeing as I have NO PROBLEM folding pages to create book art. But while I am reading a book? I treat it with the reverence due a reliquary. I even use coasters when I put them down.

And those are but a few of my not-quite-OCD quirks. I know I am not alone. Maybe I should found a group for this and get some support from other quirky peeps. But if we serve hot tea, I’ll bring my own cup, with saucer 😀


Sugar is the Best Hallucinogen

I love sugar. I really do. It’s not an argument about processed versus organic versus natural. I like sweet. Always have, and always will. And I especially enjoy it in chocolate or baked goods. And chocolatey baked goods. Ok, straight from the sugar bowl.

But there is now a Dark Side when it comes to ingesting the forbidden sweet late in the evening. I thought that when I ate cake while listening to Warren Zevon that it was a fluke. Seriously, who would ever dream of drinking at Trader Vic’s and annoying werewolves? Maybe some people, but not a whole lot. Late last night I had one Tim Tam™ cookie (biscuit, bickie, whatever they call it in Australia), and of course that set off probably my most ridiculous dream sequence ever, because it was about Johnny Manziel.

Johnny-manziel-rehab

You see, Johnny needed an interior decorator, which I’m not. But his problem was that he wanted someone to decorate his room so that no one could disturb his pet monkey. And he hired me because I was the only Aggie with an Anthropology degree who could possibly understand life with a monkey. And I looked around, and between the large ping pong table and the poker table, there was a monkey sitting on a huge L-shaped couch, playing Super Mario Brothers on a Nintendo thing (I assume) while Johnny was explaining how he wants to give the monkey room, so while brandishing a hockey stick (I did say this makes no sense) he opens another door and shows me a huge ballroom area with tall windows and marble floors and I tell him it is best to keep the monkey in the smaller room and for Johnny to move his stuff in the ballroom, to which he replied, “That’s awesome!! When can you do it??” And I kept telling him he needed a wrangler not an interior decorator and he asked what was the difference and before I could charge him some obscene amount of money, I woke up.

Aside the obvious weirdness of the whole scenario, I’m not even sure why Johnny would make an appearance in my subconscious. I’m more of the Jason Isaacs/ Bruce Willis/ Sean Bean school of thought, really. A dream with any or all of them would have been awesome. Can you imagine???

Maybe a dram or two before bed, and I just might 😀


Simple Observations on Southern Living

This weekend was full of surprises. I am not one who is fond of surprises, bad or good. But it’s an observation that the bad ones happen without consent, and the good ones always require planning.

In the years I have lived in Texas, the A/C unit has gone out a few times. And it is a solid observation that it always goes out during the weekend, when A/C repair is not available.

Iced tea comes with both sugar and ice. Though unsweetened is no hardship to order, it is an observation that you will be looked upon suspiciously by the server if you ask for no ice.

Country roads are narrow. Though usually two-lane roads, it’s an observation that it’s just a wide one lane road. One can drive down the middle, as long as A) you scoot back to you lane with oncoming traffic, and 2) wave as they pass you by. The latter is mandatory.

Wildflowers are abundant and pesky, in a charming way. It is an observation that a lady will always appreciate any flower picked for her over one bought randomly. It takes guts to go out and pick out flowers on the side of the highway instead of ordering them by phone. All Southern ladies know this. However, all will appreciate any and ALL flowers anyway.

Football is a big deal in the South. It is an observation that we will talk trash with each other over our teams, and in the same breath defend them to those outside of our state who know NOTHING about football etiquette. We can trash our own state teams, but it’s always State over Team*, any day.

Anyway, time for me to get going. It is an observation that my presence is required early in the kitchen on days ending in “Y”. That’s not a Southern thing. That’s a regular thing 🙂

*Except for t.u. That’s my exception and I’m sticking to it.


Anchors to Compasses

As some of y’all know, Eldest is serving in the US Navy. One of the things I had to get used to was dealing with the fact that she is an adult and I have no control over her wants for a tattoo. I admit it is…. difficult to untie the apron strings, and I have managed to do so. For the most part. Oh, like *I* am the only parent who has ever gone through this???

Yeah, I thought so.

Anyway, blogger friend XBradTC has a post about a Russian nuclear sub catching fire. The first thought to pop into my head was Red October. And then my friend Mark commented about reminding him of the movie Hostile Waters. And that brought to mind a survey done by USAA long ago about the best submarine movies of all time. I have told y’all how my mind wanders from one thought to another on skewed lines. This isn’t news. And I began to recall my favorites.

the-hunt-for-red-october

Das Boot is by far my favorite. I fell in love with Jurgen Prochnow watching his portrayal of Capt. Willenbrock (not his name in the movie but the real life character on which it’s based) dealing with the immense claustrophobic conditions and the grittiness contained in that sardine can. He broke my heart in Beverly Hills Cop II but I soon forgave him. The movie gave us a slice of that unforgiving life served raw and rotted. And the look on his face as he dies in the air attack has never been equaled.

In not-too-distant second place it’s Gray Lady Down.

Two words: Charlton Heston.

Sure, you have Stacy Keach and Keith Carradine and even Christopher Reeve. But none of them come close to Heston. NONE!! As captain of the “Gray Lady” he balances hope against certain death masterfully. And Carradine’s act of ultimate sacrifice makes me cry every single time.

I think the first submarine movie I ever watched was my third place contender, The Enemy Below. It was dubbed in Spanish, and let me tell you, the guy who dubbed Robert Mitchum’s voice didn’t even come close to doing him justice. Technically, the submarine was not the protagonist in this movie. But the cat-and-mouse plot between Capt. Murrell and Capt. Von Stolberg brings you to the edge of your seat, and you can’t help but admire the German’s brilliance.

Tied for third place is the film that got me thinking about all of this in the first place. The Hunt for Red October had everything you could want in a movie: mystery, subterfuge, action, drama, humor, frivolity, major eye candy (don’t judge me), and even a touch of romance. Oh, not the “chick flick” type of romance, but rather romance in the simplicity of Capt. Borodin’s wishes to live in Montana. Respect for each other is definitely earned by all of the characters as the leadership of the Russian sub lies to its crew in its fight for survival on both sides of the ocean.

Last but not least, I have to say the “guilty pleasure” addition to my list is Down Periscope.  Though the entire scenario requires a complete and thorough suspension of disbelief, it’s still manages to instill good lessons in raising morale and dealing with the worst hand ever dealt. Kelsey Grammer’s portrayal of Commander Dodge is beyond hilarious, from deadpan to outrage to outrageous. Forcing the XO to walk the plank was hilarious. Christening the Stingray as the U.S.S. Rustoleum was genius.

Well, now I am feeling nostalgic. I may dig up my VHS copy of Red October from the bins upstairs. Yes, I still have VHS, and that cassette is rather special, since it’s red instead of the conventional black. Besides, one can never have too much of Sean Connery 😉


Peas Rattling in My Head

I’m sure I’m not the only one that is constantly attacked by a random, aimless thought, right?

RIGHT??

I’m sure the age old question of why hot dogs come in packages of ten whereas hot dog buns come in packages of eight has been answered. I doubt it was answered to my satisfaction, but at least there is an answer.

Still, some things just mystify me. For example, my friend Car in made an observation over at the social-site-with-faces about the penchant for some celebrities to name their children in rather odd ways. So far I am aware of one child named after a fruit, one named after a plant, and one named after a compass. I don’t wish to know any more. Celebs: Y’all are already famous. Why must you burden your progeny like this?

Also, am I the only person who thinks Guy Fiery looks like a Troll Doll?

white haired troll doll

Seriously, the guy (rimshot) can market himself as a Troll Doll with tattoos and spiky white/platinum/ silver hair and make himself a fortune. I would totally buy one.

I wish dandelions were considered an ornamental by my HOA instead of a weed that must be eradicated with extreme prejudice and Round-Up™. Or at least classify it as a food. You can make a salad AND you can make wine from dandelions. That is worth its weight in rubies alone.

Anyway, time for me to skedaddle and finish making dessert for tomorrow. Chocolate mousse is on the cards, and hopefully there will be a bit left over for Easter morning pre-breakfast celebration 😀


How Movie Grief Could Have Been Avoided

I am getting rather cantankerous in my old age. I don’t go to the movies often, not just because it is outrageously expensive but also because the movie plots tend to get me mad. It is difficult sitting there and keeping quiet when all you want to do is scream about how a monkey could have done a better job of writing this massive waste of celluloid. Or worse, how the whole plots could have been resolved in FIVE MINUTES!!!

For example, take The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit trilogy. The first time I watched it it was all “Oooooh!!!” and “WOW!!!” and “ZOMG!!!”. But the second time all I could think about was how they could have just flown the eagles over the mountain and dropped the damn ring in there. I understand the concept of “allegory” but I also understand the concept of “logic”.

And then there’s Sleeping Beauty. Walt Disney loved to bring a fairy tale to life. Few people know he was actually involved in The Little Mermaid way back in the 1940’s. Dude was all about the “happily ever after”. But every time that movie comes on, all I can think about how all the angst could have been avoided if only they had sent an invitation to Maleficent!!! That’s it. She wouldn’t have even shown up anyway had she been invited.

And I don’t even have to explain my abhorrence for Fifty Shades of Grey. Or is it “Gray”? Sometimes English confuses me. But c’mon! A good looking guy tells you to sign a contract so he will own you and you have no rights whatsoever? Leaving the domestic abuse issue aside, the horrible writing, the impossibility of a 26 year old billionaire, and all the trappings, who would sign a contract to be treated like offal?

I should stop here. I know that Lent is having an effect on me. Ok, lack of chocolate is having this effect on me. Fine….FINE!!! Lack of wine, too. I have two weeks to go and miles before I am done. But I have patience, will, and time.

And a box of Peeps with my name on it 😀


The Art of the Insult

Before I begin, I wish to stress that this is a PG blog, and I do tend to monitor-slash-censor for the sake of my kids who do happen to read my blog. No I don’t force them to do so. Nor do I bribe them. I simply let curiosity get the best of them. I’m sneaky like that.

Anyway, I was watching TV last night, and heard a common and rather trendy insult being bandied about: douche bag. Now, being a gal, I am well aware of what an actual douche bag is. But I fail to see why it is considered an insult. A douche is designed as a cleansing agent, the bag HOLDS said cleansing agent. It is sterile and clean. The bag itself never becomes contaminated. It is an object that helps to aid in cleansing, people. How is THAT a bad thing? I think we are losing the art of the insult when we adopt terms from people who do not understand the true meaning of it. That’s just lazy. And we can and have done better than that. Shakespeare created hundreds of new words in his works, and we are letting them go to waste.

shakespeare insult lol

My blogger friend Nicki is a master of the insult. This blog post gives you an example of her linguistic prowess (warning: salty language). Just today she introduced me to another one at the social-site-with-faces. One I can’t repeat here, unfortunately. And let’s not forget our friend BC over at The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler!! As scathing as cursing can be, one doesn’t have to rely on cussing to get a good insult across. The classic “bless your heart” goes a long way towards insulting someone, but it’s rather colloquial. I used it on a friend from Philly and he thanked me for my kindness. Sigh….. My son once told a bully that he “had the vocabulary of a head of cabbage.” Before the bully could digest that, Son simply walked away and was never bothered again. Language can be like a scythe when used effectively.

So put some effort into using the vastness of the English language. Heck, just a little effort is all you need. Instead of calling someone a douche bag, call them a colostomy bag. Think about THAT for a moment, and appreciate the beauty of how devastating an insult that is 😉


Book List Challenge

A few days ago, our blogger friend Nicole posted her list of personal book likings and dislikings. She took her cue from Lynn over at Violins and Starships, which should win best blog name on the interwebs. Anyway, reading books is something I love to do. I also love to make art out of them, but that’s for another blog.

1. Your favorite book: Soooooo difficult, but I really can’t pick just one.

2. Your least favorite book: In the last decade, that would be The Da Vinci Code. I wanted to throw it away by the end of the second chapter.

3. A book that completely surprised you (bad or good): Hm…. I would have to say I didn’t expect to like The Giver, by Lois Lowry. I read it since Eldest was assigned the book for school, and found it well-written, even for adults.

4. A book that reminds you of home: Postal de Tierra Adentro (Postcard from the Inner Land), by C. O. Padilla. Literally, a book about my hometown.

5. A non-fiction book that you actually enjoyed: The Monuments Men, by Robert Edsel.

6. A book that makes you cry: A Knight in Shining Armor, by Jude Deveraux. Yes, it’s a romance novel. But I found the concept of souls meeting again, instead of bodies, to be enchanting.

7. A book that’s hard to read: Ulysses, by James Joyce. GAH!!

8. An unpopular book you believe should be a bestseller: I don’t really know of any.

9. A book you’ve read more than once: All of them, except Pet Sematary.

10. The first novel you remember reading: The Secret of the Old Clock, by Carolyn Keene. Yes, Nancy Drew was my portal into the world of reading.

Continue reading


Thursday Never List

I have noticed that several bloggers have a day set aside for blog linking, or lists, or other sundry stuff like funnies. So I decided to start my Thursday Never List™. One can never have too many lists, and at least this one won’t alarm the NSA.

One of the things my brother-in-law Draco and I used to like to talk about was movies. He has his favorites, and so do I. But we also had that list. You know, the movies we would never, EVER watch. EVER!!!! Invariably, one of us would screech at the other in disagreement over a classic, but for the most part we tended to agree on most movies we blacklisted. And so, in honor of my brother Draco, here is my list of the top five movies I’ll never, EVER watch.

kirsten stewart lol

#5- A Nightmare on Elm Street

It doesn’t matter which version, or sequel. I just don’t care to see some chick transmogrified into a cockroach while some dude runs around with finger blades. Though the blades are rather nice.

#4- Twilight

Seriously, who thought sparkly vampires and expressionless twits were a good combination?

#3- The Notebook

Nicholas Sparks writes the same book with a different title every year.

#2- Avatar

Not to be confused with M. Night Shyamalan’s torturous homage to Nickelodeon’s Avatar: The Last Airbender, this film is so riddled with politics and plot holes, I would just as soon clip my nails in a Cuisinart™ than watch more than the ten minutes I wasted.

Ok, this is where y’all will probably hate me.

#1- Top Gun

Can’t stand that over-rated, couch-jumping, peacocking whiner.

So, that’s my Thursday Never List. Feel free to admonish me for never having watched Top Gun. I get that a lot 😀