Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Travels with Kitten: And you thought KIDS couldn't follow simple directions...

When you travel, you can't help but observe others' actions of idiocy. My recent trip was full of them. Consider these:
  • On my flight to San Juan, as I went through security, the lady in front of me was having her carry-on literally taken apart. Reason? She tried to carry full-sized toiletries on the plane. I'm talking, large, economy-sized bottles of shampoo, mouthwash, toothpaste, sunscreen, perfume--you name it, she had it. Her mouth was agape as the security agent confiscated all but her bag. Yes, it may have been quite some time since she last flew, but hasn't the 3-1-1 rule been widely publicized? And did anyone alert her to said rule?
  • Before leaving the ship, our cabin steward left us extremely detailed directions on the whole disembarkation process. Now, one of those rules clearly stated that you could not take any produce item off the ship and bring it into the country. Well, as we were waiting in line at customs, a nice young agent happened to walk by with her nice young beagle, who happened to sniff the duffel bag of a nice young couple. The nice young couple had a gallon-sized Ziploc bag of bananas, oranges, and apples with them, directly from the buffet line. They didn't have it for long.
  • If you've never been on a cruise ship before, on the last night of your cruise, you have to put your luggage outside your cabin. The cabin stewards collect the bags, and when the ship arrives in port, sends them to a large hangar where the passengers can reclaim them upon disembarkation. This is supposed to expedite the check-out process. In the extremely detailed instructions that your cabin steward leaves you, it specifically and clearly states that you must put any needed documentation--including your PASSPORT--in your carry-on. Imagine the shock on the face of the woman I sat next to in the martini bar when she realized she had PACKED her passport, thinking she could retrieve it when she got her luggage back. In some cases, you can, but not always!
And I could go on and on, but I will spare you. But it just amazes me how reasonably functioning, intelligent adults can't follow the most basic directions...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Yo soy...

I'm back, kittens! Refreshed and relaxed from my southern Caribbean vaycay, and dreading the return to work tomorrow. Please forgive me for what is going to be an abundance of Spanish in this post; I spent the day in Old San Juan yesterday! It was beautiful and warm and colorful--and right now, here in Connecticut, it's grey and bare. Sigh.

Anyhoo, I'm stealing this meme from Emalee. I will tell you tales of my trip muy pronto. Ciao for now!

I am: Kitten
I think: that there is still a lot of good in the world, in spite of all of the bad things
I know: life is full of challenges
I want: to sleep in tomorrow morning
I have: lots of things to say
I dislike: war
I miss: various friends and family members
I fear: snakes
I feel: lots of emotions
I hear: the cars driving by my house
I smell: nothing. I have a clogged-up nose
I crave: love and affection
I usually: find excuses to turn up the car radio as loud as possible
I search: funny or profound quotations
I wonder: how some people just can't follow simple directions
I regret: I try not to regret too many things
I love: my family and friends
I care: deeply
I always: am driving someplace
I worry: about the future
I remember: things I really ought to forget
I have: a clogged-up nose
I dance: more often in private than in public
I sing: all the time
I don’t always: cook dinner at night
I argue: rarely; I try to avoid it
I write: on my blog
I lose: faith in others
I wish: we didn't struggle
I listen: to music all the time
I don't understand: why life is so hard
I can usually be found: in the car
I am scared: of what life can bring
I need: money so I can travel more often
I forget: important things
I am happy: most of the time

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Vacation's all I ever wanted...

Kittens, I am blogging from my cell phone--at the airport! This is just a quick, last minute post to let you know I'll be on vaycay next week--a cruise from San Juan!! I promise to catch up with y'all upon my return. Ciao for now!! :)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Saturday 9: I Started a Joke

It's been a while since I did a Saturday 9 meme. I just read Jodi's answers and she inspired me to do this one. Thanks, my friend! I've missed you!
1. Tell us a joke that you think is funny. If you don't tell jokes tell us why.
I don't really tell jokes. I just make observations about people and life that I think are funny. I think a lot of the traditional "chicken crossing the road" or pun jokes take too long to set up, and once you get to the punchline, you're half asleep.

2. Where do you buy most of your clothes?
Wherever there's a good sale. I particularly enjoy the outlets. Lane Bryant and Old Navy have awesome sales. And my friend Chantal and I love to peruse the clearance racks at Macy's for all the good deals.

3. Which famous person would you like to meet? Why?

Because he's really funny and a class act. And he seems like a really nice guy to boot.

I'd also love to meet Carol Burnett, since she was my first comedy hero. Oooh, better yet, to meet Coco and Carol at THE SAME TIME!!! SQUEEEEE!!! (Of course, the odds of that ever happening are very, very, very slim to none, sadly).

4. What is your ultimate ambition?
I enjoy what I do for a living, but I would love to be a professional writer or a librarian. Or both!

5. Do you like to live in the area of your country or would you prefer something a little different?
I'd like to keep my house here in Connecticut, and have a house somewhere in a warmer climate. I don't mind the cold and the snow, but it sometimes wreaks havoc on my mood. Maybe when I retire I'll become a snowbird...

6. Has a newspaper or television reporter ever interviewed you? If so, what were the circumstances and what did you think when you read or saw what you said?
Twice. I was once interviewed when I was in middle school for an article about our new principal. In high school I was interviewed with a group of friends about Pope John Paul II's visit to the United States. The reporter asked us our opinions on the Pope's influence on young people.

7. What was the last CD/mp3 album that you purchased? How did you like it?
Vampire Weekend, Contra. Love it! I love how the band incorporates so many different musical styles into one CD.

8. Write down 5 songs you often listen to or that mean a lot to you.
1. Diane Birch, "Nothing But a Miracle." This is my absolute favorite song of the moment. She's just got such an amazing retro-pop sound. I love anything retro.

2. Amy Grant, "Stay for Awhile."
I first heard this song during my freshman year in college. It became a part of the first mix tape I made that year. Back then, it reminded me of friendships in high school I was trying to hold onto. These days it reminds me of old friendships that I still maintain.

3. "Blessed," Elton John
I feel that this is God's song to me. I first heard it when I was going through a rough patch during my sophomore year of college. Whenever I had moments of self-doubt, this song would immediately come on the radio. Yes, I know it was popular at the time, and yes, I know the cynics will be very quick to point that out. But it's been fourteen years since I've heard that song and it still comes on the radio or my iPod just when I need to hear it most.

4. "These Are Days," 10,000 Maniacs
This was the theme song for my college orientation. I made some of my best friends in life during my college years. It still reminds me to treasure the present day, and to look for the good in each day.

5. "Hungry Heart," Bruce Springsteen

Because it's Bruce and I love him. And I love this song.

9. Do you are your partner usual begin intimacy?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

How to survive Conan withdrawal

So you've watched all the YouTube clips you could find and ripped 'em to your hard drive. Your DVR has gotten frequent replay of the last two weeks of Tonight Show episodes. You've downloaded all of the old Late Night sketches and specials available on iTunes.

After all that, how else do you survive seven Coco-free months--and potentially more after September if he doesn't land back on TV? (I won't be cynical, dammit! He WILL get back on TV, Rupert Murdoch-willing!!!)

Kittens and COCO-nuts, here are some suggestions on how to deal:
  • Become acquainted with other redheaded comedy pioneers. If you aren't familiar with the work of Lucille Ball or Carol Burnett, get to know them ASAP. (And let's be honest here--who hasn't seen an episode of I Love Lucy in their lifetimes?) Lucy's still on TV Land, I believe, but you'll need to do a YouTube search for Carol clips. I'm particularly addressing this to the younguns in the Peanut Gallery, who were not fortunate enough to grow up with either The Carol Burnett Show or Carol Burnett and Friends. I've still got Carol DVDs that I haven't watched yet. Now's the perfect time!
  • Feel free to steal my Conan playlist. I created it after his last episode of the Tonight Show. I selected some obvious ones here, but I also included tunes from artists who appeared on the show during its all-too-brief run on the airwaves (as well as a couple of tunes from Late Night):
  1. "Surrender," Cheap Trick
  2. "We're Going to Be Friends," the White Stripes
  3. "Sulphur to Sugarcane," Elvis Costello
  4. "You Never Know," Wilco
  5. "Need You Now," Lady Antebellum
  6. "Chasing Pavements," Adele
  7. "Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)," the Chipettes
  8. "Nothing But a Miracle," Diane Birch
  9. "Tik Tok," Ke$ha
  10. "The Night Chicago Died," Paper Lace
  11. "Cousins," Vampire Weekend
  12. "Where Do I Begin (Theme from Love Story)," Barry Manilow
  13. "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," the Rolling Stones
  14. "Long May You Run," Neil Young and Stephen Stills
  15. "Free Bird," Lynyrd Skynyrd
  16. "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday," Boyz II Men
  • Check out other quirky, offbeat comedy shows. I highly recommend Flight of the Conchords. And while you're at it, get the FotC soundtracks as well.
  • Go visit the blog of former Tonight Show blogger, Aaron Bleyaert. You can visit his blog here. He seems like one extremely cool dude. And he's starting a web show with other former Tonight Show staffers. Looking forward to that!
  • Try not to search Google News too much for all of the latest info. If Conan's name doesn't show up in the first few articles that come up in the Entertainment section, nothing big has happened.
And there you have it. I'm sure that my other darling kittens and COCOnuts have some suggestions out there...fire away!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

How to survive Glee withdrawal

Yesterday I read on the Entertainment Weekly website that there were 70 days till Glee returns with brand new episodes. Today, obviously, there are 69. So how does a kitten cope with the lack of new episodes? The possibility of Will and Emma becoming an official couple? How will the Finn-Puck-Quinn melodrama play out? And what about Sue?

Well, during my lunch break I came across an article on Yahoo! Entertainment: "Tips on Surviving the Glee Hiatus." Kittens, I present you with said list, as well as my thoughts on this advice:
  • Go back to high school with Popular DVDs: If I had Netflix this would be an option. But I don't. And I seriously doubt the remaining Blockbuster in my area would carry them.
  • Listen to the Spring Awakening soundtrack: Lea Michele, aka Rachel Berry, was nominated for a Tony for this musical. Alas, I am well over my iTunes budget for the month, so this will have to wait.
  • Watch encores of The Pregnancy Pact on Lifetime: NO. THANK. YOU.
  • Skip to the singing scenes on Pushing Daisies: See my comment about the Popular DVDs. Although I may have to succumb to this one, since I am rawther fond of Kristin Chenowith, and she's coming back to Glee for at least another episode--hopefully two!
  • Watch Jessalyn Gilsig die on Nip/Tuck: This clip had better be on YouTube! I can't stand Terri! I never liked her from the first episode. Will is too good for her; she's just so incredibly shallow and fake and possessive and...ooooohhhhh!!!!
  • Meet figure skater Johnny Weir: To quote the Yahoo! article, "There's little that's more fabulous on television these days than the over-the-top "Glee," but Olympic figure skating might give it a run for its money — especially the amazingly glittering and theatrical Johnny Weir." Well, I do have the Sundance channel, but rarely, if ever, watch it. I have seen Johnny Weir perform, though. He's all right; no Brian Boitano, though.
  • Rent Julie and Julia. The wonderful Jane Lynch plays Julia Child's sister in this movie, and is almost unrecognizable. I love Jane Lynch, I love Meryl Streep, and I frakkin' heart this movie. Rent it? I'll buy it!
Well, kittens, those tips are fine and dandy and all--but I'm a working gal. I don't have time to sit in front of the computer screen or the TV for so long and watch all that stuff! So here's how I've been coping:
  • Sister Kitten got me the DVD box set for Christmas. One of the best Christmas gifts I received this past year.
  • Sister Kitten also got me the two soundtracks. Do I have a tres fab sister or what? I much prefer volume one over volume two, though.
  • Jane Lynch is amazing in A Mighty Wind. She co-starts beside John Michael Higgins as a singer in a hokey folk band. A must watch; and she's killer at improv!
  • Watching Matthew Morrison perform at last year's Kennedy Center Honors. He sang "Springtime for Hitler" during the Mel Brooks tribute. (This song, for those of you who may not know, is the signature tune from The Producers.) And he dances, too!!! HE DANCES!!!!

  • Watching any Glee parody I can get my paws on. Witness this clip from Late Night with Jimmy Fallon:

  • Take comfort in knowing that Glee has a definite, guaranteed return date of April 13, 2010 on FOX.
A definite return date...

...unlike someone else who just left the airwaves... :(

Tomorrow, my guide for surviving Conan withdrawal.

All hail the wooden spoon

So I turned the PJs inside out last night and slept with a wooden spoon under my pillow...

And I had a two-hour delayed opening at work today.

Wooden spoons: they aren't just for cooking any more.

The Queen's Meme: The Blog Blizzard Meme

And now for another round of meme goodness with the Queen of Memes, my pal Mimi. Click the button above to learn more.

1. An unexpected blizzard occurs. The power goes out for 10 days. There is no food in the house, no gas in the car, no heat, no TV, no computer, nada! You are snowed in and can't get to the store for supplies. How would you survive? How would you get out of this mess?
No TV?!?! No computer?!?! Are you frakkin' KIDDING me?!?! How would I survive? Well, I AM the Bookkitten after all; I would survive by engaging in one of life's more traditional pleasures: reading. I'd read by candlelight. I'd read all of the books that are on my TBR pile--all fifty-plus of them.

How do I get out of this mess? Easy. I'm my Mama Cat's kitten. My pantry is stocked with lots of canned goods. I could easily survive on tuna for ten days, as well as canned corn, canned green beans, and virtually any tomato product. Mmmm, tomato sauce...

2. Tell us about your last snowball fight.
It was about seven or eight years ago, at BFF's old apartment. There was a rawther nasty snowstorm the night before. The plow wasn't gonna come for a while to clear out the parking lot, so we dug out with our shovels. We got into a snowball fight with the five-year-old boy who lived downstairs. His father joined in. And we played baseball with snowballs and shovels. It was a fun, sweet, happy time. :)

3. You have been asked to make a snowman. What is his name?
His name is Conan, and he has a poofy, snowy pompadour atop his head. :)

4. I have mountains of snow outside my door. I would like to make snow soup. What is the recipe?
Well, first of all, make sure the snow isn't yellow or brown. Only the purest, whitest snow will do. Make sure there are no footprints or signs of touch. Gently scoop the snow and slowly simmer it over low heat. Then add lots of carrots.

5. It is Day 5 of the Big Blog Blizzard. You have been hunkered down for a very long time and in danger of losing your sanity. Your blog neighbors (that would be us) come callin' to see if you're OK. We peek in the window. What do we see?
What are you doing in there?
I am pacing my living room, cursing the heavens, and signing loudly to myself. You will see me slowly go insane from lack of communication, information, and inspiration. But then again, since I don't have any electricity or phone, how would I know it was day five, anyway? I'd lose track of time.

6. Who is the flakiest snowflake in your life? Past or present.
I plead the fifth. I have at least one family member who reads this blog on a semi-regular basis, and I don't want her snitching on me. (Hi, Sister Kitten!)

7. You are Snow White. Which dwarf is your favorite and why?
Happy. At least he'd be able to entertain me during the storm. His name IS Happy, after all.

8. What is the most fun you've ever had inside during a snowstorm?
I don't have anything tres memorable, other than the joy that one experienced in elementary school when one had a snow day and could watch endless Brady Bunch and Looney Tunes reruns on TV. That, and Mama Cat made a mean grilled cheese sandwich.
9. What was Jack Frost nipping at?
My cheekbones. How do you think this kitten maintains a rosy glow? ;)

10. Due to blobal warming (that's blog + global for all you non-blog speakers) your snowman has prematurely melted. What was his last request?
*SIGH* For those COCOnuts who are reading this, you all know that this question hits all too close to real life for us. On a serious note, let me remind you all of his farewell Tonight Show speech: Work hard. Be kind. Don't be cynical. *SIGH* Is September here yet?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

And now, another check of the weather....

Yesterday, I wrote about how crazy the weathermen here in Connecticut get when there's even the chance of a mild snowstorm coming. Well, kittens, it's started up again--the local newscasts are gonna get started at 4 AM tomorrow. :P

Me? I wouldn't mind a day off. One of my friends on Facebook turns his pajamas inside out and sleeps with a wooden spoon under his pillow. That's supposed to bring a snow day.

I've never tried it before. The last time I did such a thing was when I hung rosary beads outside my dorm room window the day before my college graduation. When you do that, it's supposed to keep the rain away.

It poured like hell on my graduation.

So tonight, I'm going to try this and see what happens. I'll keep you kittens posted.

P.S. If any of you have tried this yourselves, what has been your success rate? I'm curious!

An afternoon rendez-vous at AAA

Last month I got a letter from the Department of Motor Vehicles, aka the DMV, aka the Happiest Place on Earth. Disneyland doesn't even come close to the wonder, beauty, and enjoyment that is this lovely state agency. The lines are just as long, and the employees are oh-so-friendly. And if you call them, they answer your call promptly--after twenty-plus minutes of hold time, three transfers to voice mail, and being put on hold a few times while the newbee searches endlessly for his supervisor.

Yeah, I frakkin' heart the DMV to pieces.

Fortunately, I don't have to go there anymore. Here in Connecticut, one can renew one's vehicle registration online, and get the registration sticker in the mail two days later. That's about as long as you wait for same sticker at a DMV branch, but at least you don't have to waste the gas to get there. And even better, with a AAA membership, one can go to AAA for license renewal.

Wait time at AAA? Ten minutes or less.

So my lovely letter from the CT-DMV said that my license was up for renewal on March 3rd--my birthday. I last had my license renewed in 2004, shortly after I returned home from a cruise. I went to AAA for that one, and I remember primping endlessly that day, fixing my hair and makeup just so, so I could get a halfway decent picture. I chose my outfit very carefully. When you have a picture taken that has to last you the next six years, you gotta look good.

Anyhoo, I went to AAA today to pick up the tickets for my upcoming cruise. I haven't told you kittens about that yet. My friend Chantal and I are leaving February 13th for a week-long southern Caribbean cruise. I can't frakkin' wait! But I digress...

So I went to AAA and checked in at the reception. In order for me to pick up the tickets, I had to hand the receptionist either my AAA card or my driver's license.

I handed her my driver's license, and told her I needed to have it renewed. I asked her when the best time was for me to come in.

She told me I could renew it on the spot.


I rapidly searched through my purse for my compact. I had to make sure I didn't look shiny. I powdered my nose, put on some lipstick, and thanked the Lord I was having a good hair day. I also thanked the Lord that I had my biannual dental checkup the day before; I felt good knowing my pearly whites were their whitest.

Soon enough, I found myself in front of the camera and smiled.

Less than five minutes later, I had my license.


Best frakkin' photo of me ever taken.

I wish I could post it online for all of you to see, but that would be illegal. But my point is this: Six years ago I agonized over my license photo, only to get a somewhat decent result. I hardly prepped for this one and my photo looks damn good.

And I'm really glad, because the next time it's up for renewal, I'll be forty.

Yep, the big four-oh.

I hope I look that good in six years...

Monday, February 1, 2010

And now, a check of the weather...

Here in the Nutmeg State, it's easy to get excited over a pending snowstorm. Especially if you happen to work as a TV weatherman.

Regardless of what state you live in, though, have any of you kittens noticed that no two meteorologists make the same predictions?

Take for example, the weathermen here in our fair state of Connecticut. We have one weatherman who gets excited whenever a FLAKE of snow hits the ground. It doesn't matter that there's a prospect of a flurry or six inches, the storm gets HYPED. The other weathermen seem to be more realistic and relaxed over their predictions. But the one who hypes it up most gets the most attention from the viewers--even if his forecasts aren't exactly accurate.

But the day before the storm hits, it's a different story. Maps are plastered all over local newscasts, dividing the state into three tiers. The northern third of the state is usually highlighted in white, which indicates that they're going to get the most snow. The central tier is highlighted in light grey, indicating that they're going to get a moderate amount of snow, and the final tier, the shoreline, is highlighted pink or green. Typically, the shoreline area gets either mixed precipitation or straight out rain.

And then there's the actual day of the storm...oh boy.

Local newscasts start at 4 AM. As soon as one school calls in a delay or a closing, the crawl immediately starts at the bottom of the screen. Reporters are outside, in different areas of the state, describing the condition of the roads, the texture of the snow, and insisting that if you don't need to go anywhere, stay inside.

And it doesn't matter if it's an inch or two feet. This happens EVERY FRAKKIN' TIME we have a snow storm.

Now, as I write this on the eve of Groundhog Day, I realize that the weather-predicting rodents are no different than their human counterparts. Punxsutawney Phil and his brethren have been predicting the possibility of spring's arrival for many years now. However, no two predictions are the same. Phil is like the weatherman who gets excited whenever one flake of snow falls to the ground. His cousins are like the other more realistic weathermen: laid back, whatever happens, happens.

And Phil is the one who gets all the attention.

Even if his predictions aren't 100% accurate.

So who shall I be listening to tomorrow for my weather predictions? Will it be Punxsutawney Phil, Chuckles, or Sir Walter Willy? I think I'm gonna go with Staten Island Chuck. For me, nothing symbolizes the arrival of spring than the prediction of a city-dwelling rodent living in one of the outer boroughs.

Good luck Chuck!