How to decide on a Halloween costume

I think I've got it! Thanks to Superman, the movie, I've been on the hunt for a new costume for Halloween ("I would've gotten away with it if it weren't for you meddling movie producers!") After lots of website searching (what NOT to wear) and soul-searching (What fun item do I want to build an outfit around?), I've finally come up with something.

Coming up with an authentic Halloween costume is a creative process, much like a painting, or a sculpture, or a new excuse to get out of a speeding ticket. The idea is inside you, and you just have to pull it out. First, start with a building block (a Lego will do). Okay, okay, the Lego thing was a joke. This is the building block: decide what fun new thing you want to try. List them out if you need to. Last year, I wanted to experiment with fake eyelashes, and it just kind of grew from there. This year's list was "Something with: a hat, or feathers, or a mask, or wings, or face paint". Next, throw your Lego at the list, and see which one it lands on. Ignore that. Pick the one that you secretly wanted it to land on, and go with that. This year was feathers. Now, at this point, everybody thinks that means that you have to be some kind of bird. Nonononononono. Lots of things have a boa, which is definitely fun.

So now we've got the boa. Then just build on what you have around the house. Some boots you have, that top you've been looking to wear, some scrap material. Check family member's houses also. All of last year's plastic fruit for my Carmen Miranda hat came from Mom's kitchen centerpiece. Add a Tupperware bowl, some purple scrap material, some fishing line to hold the whole thing together, and viola! Instant fruit hat. Same deal here. Mom's boa, my top, some material, fish net hose (oh yes!) and some material for a quick skirt, and your costume is practically complete.

Have you guessed yet?

Men in Trees

Okay, so I'm really getting hooked on that new show Men in Trees. At first, it was just something to pass the time until House came on. But I must admit that I'm getting attached. It's not Emmy winning, but it's cute. An old fashioned "root for the main character to find true love and a happy ending" kind of show. Like all those nights I stayed up to watch Caroline in the City because I wanted to see Caroline and what's-his-face finally realize what they had. Now, It's Jim and Pam on The Office (which, by the way, is ranked in my top three favorite shows. New season starts Thursday!)

Anyway, I think we need more shows like that. I'm so over the reality shows, and the dancing, cooking, and plastic surgery with the stars. I want to get back to the good old sitcoms, where the writing is funny and you can root for the main characters because they weren't doing anything illegal or cheating on their spouses. Give me good, happy tv watching. I hope Men in Trees makes it.

Rocking the very foundation of modern capitalism

I needed two textbooks for this semester's class (Accounting and Finance...boooo!), and the were about $350 at the bookstore. I shutter at paying that much for books that I will probably never read the first time, much less more than once. Sensing a challenge, I checked online. B&N...expensive, Amazon...expensive, the price of the others! Hooray! $65 a book. Not too bad when compared to $125 a book. (I pity the fools who bought their books retail from a bookstore...suckers!) I've always liked I've order several things from them, and have never been disappointed. The sellers of the about-to-be-my textbooks had only been members since July 06, so they only had a few feedback comments (I always check), but they were positive, and said things like, "Got my book right away...a pleasure to work with". I figure everybody's gotta start somewhere, so why penalize someone for being new to the selling scene? So I ordered my books and eagerly (snort!) awaited their arrival. Chris was a virgin, and because I'm a nice person, I clued him in to the cheap internet textbook scene. My confirmation email said that the books were being shipped media mail, and could take 4 to 8 days to arrive. Nooooo problem. So I wait. And wait. And wait. And no books come. We edging ever closer to the part of the syllabus that says "Read three chapters in your textbook every day", and still no books. I checked the status. It says they shipped. I email the sellers to see when they sent them. No response. Chris is having the same lack of response by his sellers (who, ironically, also started selling in July. Hmmmm). Today, I checked the feedback status of my sellers again. I ordered my books on 8/25, and all comments previous to that are positive. All comments after that are negative. It's like, on that very day, the bottom fell out of the textbook business. I see comments like, "Seller has not sent item neither responded to emails. Avoid seller completely!" and "DO NOT PURCHASE anything from this user...I waited 3 weeks and still nothing" and "This guy is a scammer! He never responded to my emails, and he never sent my books!" Now, talk like this makes me nervous. More nervous at the sheer volume of people who never got books. Really nervous when my reading assignment is due NEXT THURSDAY! I feel so used. So cheated. I've been buying online for years, and I've never been scammed before. And I feel really bad for bringing Chris into this, especially since it's probably warped his internet buying experience forever.

Funnier than solitaire

I found Dan Washburn's Sporting Life articles by accident. I was Googling job requirements for garbage men. (No, I don't want to be a garbage man...I was trying to make a point about wages vs job demand from the viewpoint of the Industrial/Behaviorist Economist for my take home quiz. Not knowing that much about the wages of garbage men, I had to look it up). It just so happens that Dan Washburn, a columnist (at the time of his articles) in Gainesville Fl, did a piece on the day in the life of a garbage man. So I read it. And I was hooked. He writes about weird sports that he participates in, such a bull riding, and cheerleading, and redneck Olympics. (He is undeniably bad at all of them, but that's what makes it interesting). It's kind of a Human Guinea Pig kind of deal, only limited to off the wall sports (and being a garbage man). I love reading about that kind of stuff. What better way to get the feel of bull riding without the rib-crunching danger of sitting on an actual enraged bull? Have someone else do it, then describe it in an article. I love it!

And so, because Hah-vard is officially back in session for another semester, and Stepherteeties will no doubt need something to pass those mind-numbing hours while her newest professor rants about social reform for the Supreme Court Justice, I bring you Dan Washburn!

Who wants to be "sexy Carebear"?

I've been going through the mass-market, completely unoriginal, Super Halloween costume websites looking for inspiration. I'm hoping that something will spark an idea that I can then make myself. I'm noticing a disturbing trend in the costume selection this year though. All the women's costumes are "sexy" costumes. They all have short skirts and midriff tops and high heels. You can't be a pirate, you have to be a sexy pirate. You can't be a queen, you have to be a sexy queen. You can't be a witch, you have to be a sexy witch. Even things that have no business being sexy are now sexy. (Storybook characters, for instance. Quit warping my childhood people!) That's all well and good, except that I can't be a sexy anything at work. I have a dress code, and even if I didn't, I can't show up as Sexy Evil Vixen Fairy and still have my co-workers treat me with an iota of professionalism. (As sadly evidenced by the girl last year who though "Hooters girl" would make a good work costume). And don't get me started on the freakish "Fairy" division. Pop wings on anything, and viola! Instant Fairy. There are woodland fairies, imp fairies, nature fairies, Green foilage fairies, spider fairies, Evil fairies, midnight fairies, colonoscopy fairies, IRS fairies, three-fingered carnival worker fairies, the list goes on and on.

Darn you Superman!

Halloween is one of my favorite times of the year for the simple fact that I am still secretly a child. I adore dressing up. Absolutely adore it. And I'm hardcore about it too. There are two rules to true Halloween costumes: 1) no one else can have the same costume (oh the embarrassment!) and 2) you have to make it yourself. I maintain that store bought costumes are cheating, and totally undermine the creativity of the season. I start planning next Halloween's costume sometime around January. Last year I was Carmen Miranda (which won the company costume contest, by the way) and the year before I was a lightening bug (complete with tap-on light taped to my rear). This year I was going to be SuperGirl. I had it all planned out, and it was going to be cute and creative, and fantastic. Then, horror of horrors, that stupid Superman movie came out, and Superman (and consequently, SuperGirl) costumes were EVERYWHERE! You can't turn around without seeing Superman stuff, which means that the number one costume this year will be Superman. Sure enough, a quick check of the generic, mass-marketed Halloween costume warehouse website (over 10,000 costumes!) shows that Superman costumes are indeed on the front page. So that idea is out. What fun is being SuperGirl if there are 5 other SuperGirls walking around. Now I am a measly 2 months away from Halloween and I HAVE NO COSTUME IDEA!


So Tony and I hooked up the old Sega Genesis (I say we, I mean he did it while I wasn't home one day) and we've gotten completely addicted to the old games. I must say, I'm still fantastic at Sonic the hedgehog. It's like riding a bike, you start playing again, and all the hidden rooms and tricks come back to you. We also have NHL Hockey 94, which is still fun after all these years. Sure, the pixilated characters are a bit rough around the edges, and the limited sound card is less than sophisticated, (the players "oomph!" when they get hit begins to sound like a bad porn video after a while) but where else can you play Quebec and Hartford? It's also something that my limited hand-eye coordination can handle, because there's only three buttons to push. My personal favorite, however, is the WWF wrestling. I'm always Hulk Hogan or The Narcissist, because those are the two that I can recognize the easiest. We played a hysterical 2 player game the other day where we were tag-teaming the Undertaker and Papa Shango, except we couldn't figure out how to tag or pin the other team, so basically we just stood around hitting and kicking (A and B buttons) until we pinned someone by accident. (We THINK it's B and C together while holding the down button, but we're not sure). Yeah, the new games are awesome to watch, and the graphics have gotten so real that they look like TV, but you need an 8 week class to learn how to play them. Give me the good old 16 bit cartridge games, where you can just sit down, randomly hit three buttons on a controller, and still score a goal in Quebec.

Who would have thought?

What are the chances of being stung in heart by a stingray? The last person to die by stingray was in 1945. 1945! That was like, a billion years ago, before modern medicine, so I can see that happening. Plus, I'm pretty sure dinosaurs were still roaming around then, so you'd have to be careful not to get eaten while you're rushing your buddy via horseback to your doctor's barn/operating room. But today? That's God telling you that you've cheated death one too many times, and by golly, this time there's no getting out of it.

"I had some dreams, they were clouds in my coffee, clouds in my coffee"

Al Pacino said "Vanity is my favorite sin".

I have to admit that it seems to be the one I'm best at. I'm hoping I grow out of it when I get old and wrinkled. Until then, I'm milking it for all its worth.

Speaking of, the wedding pictures are back, and while I can't post the professional pictures due to fear of being sued for copyright infringement, I will post some amateur photos, done by Mel. (See? Giving credit where credit is due). Anyway, after this post, I'll stuff my vanity back into the closet, but for now, feel free to oooooooh and Aaaaaaah over me. Especially the hair.