All These Things That I Have Learned May 3, 2013Posted by philangelus in music, sarcasm.
My Patient Husband and I were compiling all the rules we’ve picked up from music.
- Don’t pay the ferryman.
- Don’t talk to strangers.
- Don’t answer me (I guess that’s if you break Rule 2 and talk to strangers.)
- Don’t let it show.
- Don’t be cruel, and don’t bring me down.
- Don’t give up on us. (Similarly, don’t dream it’s over.)
- Don’t fall in love with a dreamer (especially dreamers who are dreaming it’s over).
- Don’t let the sun go down on me
- Don’t look back (and don’t stop thinking about tomorrow.)
- Don’t stop believing
- Don’t stand so close to me
It’s hard to keep track of all this advice, but don’t worry, baby.
Why all these rules? Don’t ask me why.
“Where have you been, young lady?” April 1, 2013Posted by philangelus in sarcasm, The New Novel, writing.
Where have I been? I’ll get you up to date.
1) I’m going to call PerNoWriLent an unreserved success. Although there were several times I wanted to take a day off (which would have turned into several days, which would have turned into a stall) I managed to nail my word count on just about every day of Lent. (Well, after I resolved to do Personal Novel Writing Lent, that is.) The upshot is I think I managed to do 35,000 words, and I’m now in the penultimate scene. The final scene will be easy to write, but the one I’m in kind of has me stuck. I may just slap something together and rewrite it when I get back to it during the editing phase.
Overall, I really think this book is good. I’m still in that ♥♡♥♡My Book♡♥♡♥ phase, not yet in the phase where I want to drop-kick the manuscript into the ocean but refrain for fear its foulness will slaughter the fish.
2) I finished knitting a pair of socks. The color scheme and pattern are based on Hobbits. Do these remind you of hobbits?
3) After some back-and-forth, Lee Jeans finally settled on jeans they thought would answer all my complaints in my Dear John letter. I honestly believe the cutomer service rep when she says they don’t want to lose a customer who’s been brand-loyal for 20 years. I believe them. I even told them I would trust their judgment and that if they had 98% cotton / double-seamed jeans, I’d be delighted to try them again. They picked them out for me, and mailed them, and guess what? Single seams up the inseam.
But yes, it’s all-cotton, so maybe that makes a difference. I don’t know. I’m honestly sick inside about that. They just don’t make the product anymore, and they want me (us) to like them, but the fact is, the product that worked when they made it correctly just doesn’t work when they make it the way they do now. One set of stitches up the inside isn’t the same as two, and what gets me is that they don’t even know it, and yet they still make the men’s jeans the same way they always did.
I wasn’t sure if I should just send them back. People here are telling me no, just give them a try. Maybe the all-cotton will make a difference in whether they tear themselves apart during regular walking-around.
4) I’m still working toward being able to jog a 5K by June. I don’t think I’m going to succeed, but I’m going to fail trying rather than just failing. I’m tired of failing because I gave up at things, you know? So now I’m just going to fail all the way.
Currently, I can jog 1 mile at speeds that would make your great-great-grandmother want to push me out of the way, after which I walk for a little while and then do another mile. Apparently the Couch To 5K program thinks we’re supposed to be able to do a 10 minute mile, though (hahahahahaha!!!!!! I mean, um, hahahahaha!!!) so I’ve started introducing brief sprintlets at 6mph into my standard one-mile jog at “glacial.” I’m up to 2.75 miles for the total workout, with over half a mile of that at walking speed.
In other words, don’t sign me up for any races yet.
Lee Jeans responds! March 7, 2013Posted by philangelus in sarcasm.
Tags: Lee Jeans
After my previous post, Lee Jeans tweeted me and asked me to send them an email.
Over the weekend, I sent an email explaining what I’d said here, plus including photos of the various ways their jeans had disintegrated after four months of normal wear (and one photo of a pair of their old workhorse jeans from 2003, for comparison purposes.)
Lee Jeans wrote back and offered me a free pair of jeans that they claim will be sturdy and live up to the reputation of the old ones. I thought about it for a couple of days, and just now I wrote them again and said yes, try me.
I don’t know if I’m holding out hope, though, because the customer service rep (who did genuinely sound upset on my behalf) linked to a pair of jeans she recommended. She told me it was double-stitched and 98% cotton (which is what you expect on a pair of jeans) but when I visited the link, it was 72% Cotton/27% Polyester/1% Spandex. And in the photographs, it’s quite obviously got one seam down the inside of the legs, not two.
(I did check the men’s jeans, which are 99% cotton, and the double seam is visible on the men’s jeans. Therefore it’s not just my inability to see the stitching on a computer monitor.)
A twenty-year relationship is worth saving, if they actually sell this product. I’ll keep you posted.
Updated: the customer service rep wrote back and said she had mistakenly linked to the wrong jeans, and was contacting someone else to find the actual set. That’s good.
Tags: crap, Lee Jeans, LL Bean
Dear Lee Jeans:
I discovered “Relaxed Riders” back in graduate school. Up until that point, shopping for jeans was a nightmare of multiple sizes and styles, me heading into the changing room with armloads of jeans while I tried to find something, anything, that would fit. But one day I pulled on the Relaxed Riders, and they were perfect. Lee knew I had hips. Lee knew I had a butt. Perfect.
From then on, whenever I wanted jeans, I went to the shelf, pulled out my size, paid, and went home. No try-ons. Always perfect.
I changed sizes a few times due to having five babies (up, down, up, way down, back to normal) but nothing changed. Every couple of years the old ones wore out and I’d replace them, but I have been brand-loyal for two decades.
Last year, I had to replace two pairs of jeans, and the new ones wore out within six months. The inseams pulled apart, and so help me, the denim got pilled. One of the belt loops pulled out of the waist (and I never wear a belt.)
What was going on? Had you changed my favorite jeans? Made the fabric thinner? Decided to sew the seams with lousy thread? No! Say it isn’t so!
Ah, but it is so, because I still have some of your jeans from back before I got married (never in high rotation because of their colors) as well as a pair from three pregnancies ago (will I ever fit in them again?) and guess what? Those seams are double-stitched.
The current jeans? Single-stitched.
So not only have you made the fabric thinner, but you’ve also eliminated the reinforcing on the part of the pants which gets the most wear.
Did you lower the price now that you’re saving money by using crap materials? Hahahaha, no, of course not. You just expect me to buy new jeans every few months. You have invented disposable pants.
I tried one more pair, three months ago. It had cute studs on the back pockets, and I thought maybe it woudl be stronger. Nope. The studs started falling off the next week (they’re all gone now) and the fabric is pilled (since when does denim pill?) and the inner seams are pulling apart.
Last week, I was putting away my husband’s jeans when I saw how sturdy they were, and I missed the good old days, the days when I could rely on you.
I checked the brand name. LL Bean.
I went to their website. The same price as your jeans, but with a lifetime guarantee. Two pairs were at my door in three days. They’re double-stitched and the denim is thick. They fit great.
Goodbye, Lee Jeans. I hate to go, but I’m not buying your disposable pants.
The Ash Wednesday Penitential Donut February 13, 2013Posted by philangelus in sarcasm.
I’m thrilled to spread the word that Dunkin Donuts is helping Christians to have a good Lent. In the wake of Advent’s “Locust and Wild Honey” flavored muffin, one of their Lenten offerings is the Penitential Donut.
This offering is specially directed toward those living in the world but not of the world. Here you are, on Ash Wednesday, wanting to fast, yet you have a staff meeting in the morning. Your team leader always provides yummy donuts, and refusing your usual donut will create uncomfortable questions in the workplace, calling attention to your fast. Tough dilemma. Well, Dunkin Donuts has the solution.
The Penitential Donut is made with no sugar and no oil, but plenty of whole-grain dust, and frosted with a thick coating of ashes. It is guaranteed that you will spend five minutes chewing every bite before being able to swallow it. With any luck, you may actually be chewing the same donut from Ash Wednesday until Good Friday. Instead of a paper napkin, it comes with a square of sack cloth.
Bring a Penitential Donut to work on Ash Wednesday or Good Friday, and as Jesus directed in Matthew 6:16, no one will notice that you are fasting, provided you don’t gag after your fourth minute of masticating.
For that extra dose of penance, they suggest you also avail yourself of an Ash Wednesday latte, brewed from the burnt coffee grounds remaining from last Palm Sunday.
Enjoy, and happy repenting!
The politics of beer January 29, 2013Posted by philangelus in food, sarcasm.
Over the weekend, my Patient Husband suggested we might watch Fugitive Alien and have a “Black and Tan.”
Now if you’re wondering what either of those are, Fugitive Alien is a Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode, described by the Mad Scientists as “a strung-together series of Japanese TV shows that when strung together in this way, make for some of the best TV has to offer.” (Next weekend, we’re watching Fugitive Alien 2, which is even better.)
We’ve seen these about eight times, which you might think should make us sad but instead makes us laugh. We now own digital copies, so they won’t ever wear out. Our grandkids will be able to watch the Fugitive Alien movies!
A “Black and Tan” is a drink that’s equal parts stout beer and pale ale. You pour the pale ale first, and then the dark beer over the top, so you get this mixture. It’s okay, but you can see the problem right away: if you’re making this at home, you need to open two bottles, so for my Patient Husband to have a Black and Tan, he requires my participation.
Fortunately, beer goes well with Fugitive Alien (or rather, Fugitive Alien goes better with beer), so I agreed.
On Saturday morning, I went back to the liquor store owned by the most knowledgable man on Earth, and he said, “You know, that’s the traditional way to make a Black and Tan, but it’s not the best.”
“You see,” he said, “Guinness is an Irish beer, and Bass is English.”
Cue Philangelus staring blankly. And then, recognition.
“McSorley’s is an Irish ale,” he said. “Most people migrate to using that.”
This was nuts. Even if the English and Irish have had their differences, does that really mean we can’t mix their ingredients? Who considers the politics of beer? Well, I mean other than the liquor store owner who knows everything? It put me in mind of Screwtape Proposes A Toast, where Screwtape checks out the wine and realizes it’s Pharisee, a blend of all different kinds of religious fanatics corked together in the same bottle for all eternity, each simultaneously afraid of and hating all the others.
I said, ”But wouldn’t that make it tastier, having the different flavors at war with each other?”
Now he looked at me as if I were nuts, and he agreed it might be spicier that way. I paid for the beer and went home.
We have one more Fugitive Alien movie to watch next weekend. While we’re listening to the Forklift Song and watching guys in leather space suits running away from cheap special effects, I hope the Black and Tan kicks up a good fight.
A cruel blow January 24, 2013Posted by philangelus in family, sarcasm.
This comes up often enough that I have to blog about it: how do you get an object out of a child’s nose?
The reason this keeps coming up is no one seems to know what to do when it inevitably happens. Now as a reasonable, sane adult, you’re thinking to yourself, “Why on earth would I take an ordinary household item, like a Cheerio, and shove it up my nose?” In response, I would have to say there are children out there who would stare in disbelief that you should even ask such a question. In their world, the question is, “Why not?”
When Kiddo#1 was a preschooler, we planted a little garden (by which I mean, nothing grew) and there were some leftover seeds. Among other things we’d planted peas, since they’re not hard to grow (see above) and because the packets had more seeds than we needed, the leftovers remained in packets on the counter.
My son came to me at some point and gave me to understand what we had planted in the garden was insufficient for his purposes, so he’d planted one by pushing it up his nose. I got a flashlight and there it was.
I’m not terribly smart, but even I knew that going in there with my tweezers would push it further. I was about to call the doctor (and get sent to the emergency room) when I remembered out insurance carrier had a nurse hotline. I called that first.
The nurse assessed the situation, then said, “There’s something to try before going to the emergency room. Sit him on a chair, and kneel beneath him. Pinch the opposite nostril shut (in other words, not the one with the obstruction) and blow into your son’s open mouth.”
I said, “You’ve got to be kidding me. That’s never going to work!”
Nurse: It’ll work.
Philangelus: There’s no way.
Nurse: Just try it. It’ll work.
Philangelus: You promise?
Nurse: Just go ahead and do it.
Philangelus: Hold on.
I set aside the phone, positioned my son, pinched the opposite non-pea-planted nostril shut, and blew really hard into his mouth.
The pea shot out of his nostril.
I grabbed the phone. “It worked!”
The nurse exclaimed, “It DID?”
I gasped. “You made me do that and you didn’t even think it would work?”
She said, “That’s what came up on the computer, and I had to read it to you.”
Feeling like an idiot, and at the same time glad I didn’t have to wait around in the ER, I said, “I guess in the hospital they’d have a machine that would have puffed in a measured amount of atmospheric pressure, huh?”
“No,” she said. “They’d have used a tweezers.”
And there you have it, folks: a blow-by-blow description of how to remove an object from your child’s nose. May you never have to use this information, but if you do, you’ll be glad. Really.
In which my cynicism astounds even me January 23, 2013Posted by philangelus in angels, religion, sarcasm.
Tags: advertising, app, cynicism, marketing, rosary
Yesterday I followed a Twitter link to a survey about the rosary. It began normally enough (age, gender) and then started asking whether I’d ever used a rosary aide.
The only “rosary aides” I own are rosaries (about eleven or twelve million at last count) and one audio rosary I got free in the back of the church (well, free with a three dollar donation, but I can’t wrap my head around that so I try to think of the donation as an entirely separate action from the receipt of the CD.)
The CD is a recording of six people in a room saying the rosary, and its purpose is so I don’t drive into a tree while fumbling with beads and contemplating the Scourging At The Pillar.
The first batch of heavy-duty questions asked whether I’d ever used an audio rosary with music and meditations. Um, no, sorry. I have books of meditations if I want them, and I also have this thing called a brain, which is full of meditations of its own and is sometimes receptive to ideas God wants to give me. Sometimes. Occasionally. Well, even a stone warms up if you sit on it for five years.
Regardless, I have something called “limited time” which means a 20-minute prayer should not take 45 minutes, or else I’d never do it and then my guardian angel would be forced to wake me up in the middle of the night again to make me finish. This isn’t good for my spiritual development for several reasons, the primary one that I’m not a nice person, even less so when someone wakes me up in the middle of the night for anything other than “I’m only two months old and I’m starving to death.” We’re supposed to respect angels as higher-order beings, and “So finish it yourself if it’s that important” isn’t exactly respectful.
We reached the survey’s true agenda: how much would you pay for a smartphone app that would assist your rosary-prayers? This even after I’d noted that a) I don’t own a smartphone and therefore b) I’d never purchased any apps for the smartphone I don’t own and c) No, I probably won’t be spending more than ten dollars apiece on the apps I’m not going to purchase for the smartphone I don’t own.
Penultimate question: If you believed an app would forward your spiritual life and bring you closer to God, how much would you pay for it?
I answered $5.
Final question, and I’m not making this up (although I’m paraphrasing because the question itself was about 300 words long): Some people think if they under-report their spending on these surveys, the products will be priced lower. So please be honest: if you really, honestly, truly believed that an app would bring you closer to Heaven and impact your eternal soul’s eternal destination and more closely unite your soul to God’s vision for your life, how much would you spend on it?
Once again, I answered $5.
That’s when I realized just how cynical I’d become. Because I know there’s nothing more valuable than growing closer to God. For one young man, the cost was selling everything he had and giving it away. And here I’m saying I’d spend about as much as I pay in library fines.
I’ve been exposed to so much advertising and experienced so many false promises about products, that even in theory, I couldn’t imagine this product actually delivering.
The more insignificant the product, the more outlandish the claims. So this lipstick will turn you into Miss America, and that diet snack bar will burn calories and lengthen your life by ten years. I’m more likely to trust a McDonalds ad saying “This food will taste okay and stop you from feeling hungry for three hours” than “Enjoy our juciest burger yet — two pounds of pure angus heaven!”
So if you claim your app is going to bring me closer to God, I’m going to react as if you told me your shoes will improve my marriage. The minute you say your app will advance my spiritual development and help unite my soul to the Almighty Triune God, my innate cynicism kicks in: “Yeah, your app is worth about five bucks.” Because even in fantasyland, I can’t imagine a product doing what it’s supposed to.
And that’s beside the point that really, an app can’t do that. Prayer and grace? Sure. But an app? A freaking app…? Oops, my cynicism is showing again.
Anyhow, thank you Advertisers for saving me a ton of money. If anyone needs me or my spare change, I’ll be the one with the string of beads.
If writers wrote every scene like a sex scene January 10, 2013Posted by philangelus in sarcasm, writing.
She shut the washing machine door with a gentle click, then extended her slender arm to the shelf where the detergent awaited. For two days now she’d hungered to tackle the clothes heap in the closet, her days filled with a longing to cast them into the laundry.
The linen-scented blue liquid only just filled the base of the screw-cap, but this would be enough. Wasn’t this after all a high-efficiency front-loader? But she didn’t need an instruction manual to tell her what her heart knew, unlike years past when in her youth she would splash out a whole cup of detergent.
Its glistening glory dripped into the detergent compartment, and she shut it with a gentle push of her fingertips.
And with determination, she turned the dial to “Normal Load.” At that point there was no return. With a soul filled with anticipation, she pushed the button marked “Start.”
Eeyore Arrives Too Late January 7, 2013Posted by philangelus in sarcasm.
Yesterday the kids took down the manger scene. What they left was the following:
It's hard to see, but it's a little ornament of Eeyore with a Christmas gift. Sitting in front of the empty manger, he looks like he's the last man at the party, or that he arrived too late and found everyone gone. Poor guy.