Yeah, That Looks About Right: Illinois Solutions for the State Budget Crisis

Looks like Illinois is finally coming up with creative solutions for the state budget crisis, but I’m not sure they’ll be successful.

I was driving my husband home from an appointment yesterday, and we passed one of those big old billboards announcing the lottery jackpot amount.

It looked a bit like this (*Note– this photo is just a women’s fiction author’s rendition. The AMA and Mr. Kiddoc both highly recommend against taking photos while driving at highway speeds.):

No kidding. The first placeholder (for the occasions where the jackpot amount reaches triple digits) was sporting what appeared to be a negative sign.

Now… if they can just get 20 or so “winners” to cough up 44 million dollars each over the next 10 months, we’ll just about break even for 2010.


Can We Twalk?

I love a good pun as much as the next person (okay… that’s not actually true. I love them wildly more than most folks, but that’s neither here nor there) but this whole twitter-speak practice of adding a “TW” into pretty much any word is getting on my nerves.

Don’t get me wrong… some of them are quite clever. Many of them, however, simply sound like Elmer Fudd hijacked everyone’s twitter accounts. And even worse are those terms that bear no resemblance to the original word whatsoever.

So, can we all weigh in here and separate the wheat from the chaff?

Here’s my votes:

Keepers (These are cute and/or practical and do not force me to blush or roll my eyes.):

  • Tweetup (for meet-ups with your twitter friends)
  • Twitching (for tweet-sized pitches, coined by the ladies of BookEnds)
  • Tweeps (twitter + peeps)
  • Twinfomercial (Okay… this one cracks me up. Cuz there are a good deal of self-promotional tweets out there, and some of them can get downright obnoxious.)
  • Twitterverse (akin to blogosphere)

If You Must (These I find iffy– straddling the border between punny and ridiculous. But I can deal if you’re a fan.):

  • Twibe (for twitter groups– twitter + tribe. We’re getting dangerously Elmer Fuddy-Duddy here. This goes for you, too, Twoup.)
  • Tweeple (twitter + people. For some reason, this one seems sillier than the shortened “Tweeps” above)
  • Twondering (twitter + wondering. I’m not sure why we need this word in our vocab, but at least the fact that it makes use of the “w” makes its meaning clear.)

Wait, Seriously? (These bug me. Or confuse me. Or both. Can we ban these please?):

  • Twiend (twitter + friend. Never mind that it looks more like Twi-End. By the time I’ve figured this one out, I will no longer desire to be twiendly.)
  • Twirt (twitter + flirt. Ick. Please, no. And how can you tell this doesn’t mean “Squirt” or “Dirt” anyway?)
  • Twollower (twitter + follower. Really? Is this necessary? I mean… never mind how you get tangled up in the “two” before you realize… this feels a lot closer to “wallower” than “follower. And who wants that?)
  • Twammer (twitter + spammer. This is just silly. If you must use a kitchy title for unwanted follower folk, I suggest Twespasser.
  • Pretty much anything that replaces a letter other than “T” or “W”, as it becomes either beyond silly or completely unintelligible. Or both. Yes, I’m looking at you Tweighborhood, Twint (for twitter + hint), Twumor (twitter + rumor), Twink (twitter + link), and Tweed (twitter + feed). Be honest… if I didn’t include what the heck those are supposed to mean, would you have interpreted them easily?

So… what twitter terminology do you love or hate? Let’s get this thing nailed down in the comments.

Well… That’s a Little Freaky, Frankly.

So, I had to coordinate a series of interviews today for a new doctor in my department. I offered to take her to lunch afterward, but she needed to leave for an afternoon shift. Which left me all ready to go to lunch, but completely on my own.

This doesn’t happen often. Due to the nature of my work schedule and home life, I am *never* left to my own devices but free to go out to lunch. So I decided to have sushi.

I heart sushi, but I rarely get to eat it as my husband has decided it’s a) overpriced and b) liable to give you worms. He will not listen to reason on either of these points. Never mind that I’m a doctor. He’s convinced. And he never sees any sense in giving up a good theory just because it isn’t true.

Since I was eating alone, I thought I’d bring a book in with me. Cuz, well… I like books. And cuz you never look pathetic eating alone if you have something to do.

As it happens, I was between books and ready to start something new. Next on the TBR deck? The Time-Traveler’s Wife. Yes, I know I’m a bit behind. 🙂

So I’m sitting, slurping miso soup and snarfing sushi, reading the opening of TTTW. And a thought pops into my head… I am channeling moonrat.

I finished the prologue and the first chapter between pieces of maki. Then I drained my green tea mug and made for the door.

I had only begun pulling out of the parking lot, when I was struck by a powerful urge for a Dairy Queen cone. And since I was already being decadent with the sushi-for-one, I decided to roll with that urge. I can’t remember the last time I had one.

I seriously considered tweeting moonrat to ask if she had a thing for soft serve, but I restrained myself.

A few hours later, while I waited for dinner to cook, I picked up the novel where I had left off… where Henry meets Clare for the first time (for her).

And I read this:

“Well, they have to eat each other; they can’t go to Dairy Queen and get a large vanilla cone with sprinkles, can they?” This is Clare’s favorite thing to eat in the whole wide world (as a child. As an adult Clare’s favorite food is sushi…)

Now, okay, fine… I went with a large chocolate cone, but it’s still a bit deja vu-ish, don’tcha think?

Another Mystery Solved!

My husband, affectionately known around these parts as “Mr. Kiddoc,” has baffled me for years.

He can make things disappear without a trace. Give him a set of keys or a remote control or a scrap of paper with a phone number on it and– in under a minute– it will be gone. He won’t even need to leave his chair.

Many times I’ve marveled at his ability to lose things. He can be holding his wallet one minute and asking for help finding it the next. And he has a bad leg… it’s not like he can speed in and out of my line of sight.

I’ve often told him the CIA should hire him to make things disappear.

Well, recently it happened again. He was sitting in the family room. I handed him the phone and a refrigerator magnet with the phone number of our local pizza joint so he could order our dinner. I then returned to the kitchen. Mr. Kiddoc never moved from the sofa. I could see the top of his head through our pass through.

And yet, by the time he hung up the phone, the magnet was missing.

We dug deep into the sofa cushions, but no dice. The magnet was gone.

A few hours later, I stumbled across it. About 15 feet away from where he was sitting, on the hearth of our fireplace.

I should add that the magnet is shaped like a slice of pizza and therefore disinclined to roll.

My BFF and I finally put it together. There is only one possible explanation.

My husband can create wormholes.

They are, evidently, quite weak, allowing only the transfer of small objects a few feet in any direction. But perhaps now that he knows, he’ll be able to hone his skills.

We can only hope he will use his powers for good. *snort*

Today, In a Nutshell… or Pages and Pages

Today has been an uberwacky sort of day. Here’s a little rundown of the highlights:

  1. Woke up. Late. (cuz I was up late coughing. It’s the end of a stinky virus)
  2. Scuzzled around like a madwoman and lead-footed it to work.
  3. Arrived to big banner announcing that the hospital is switching pager service providers, which means the stinging sensation deep in the ample belly of the gluteus maximus muscle will reach 10 out of 10 on the pain scale. Seriously… the task: every single pager used by every single person in the hospital needs to be collected and deactivated, and every single person must be issued a new pager, which must be programmed and updated in the paging system. All the while, making sure that everyone can be reached by SOME pager, since this is, you know, a hospital and sometimes sick people need stuff. As you might guess, this changeover is a recipe for disaster.
  4. Contemplated this process which made me cough until my head hurt.
  5. Entered the physician lounge, where lines were short, so I paged the doc I was about to take over for and suggested she come down to swap out her pager.
  6. Swapped out my pager and was given a shiny new one as they swiftly pulled the battery out of my old one, ripped the label off, and chucked it into a large box. I was told my long-range number had changed and would now be the hospital area code and pager prefix followed by “1123”
  7. Exclaimed, “I get the Fibonacci pager”
  8. Endured blank looks from pager swapper chicks.
  9. Marveled at my own geekiness.
  10. Was sent to another “station” to get my pager activated.
  11. Was told I was activated, received a test page, and congratulated myself on escaping the Great Pager Swap with minimal casualties.
  12. Flagged down the other doc when she arrived to switch out her pager. Bear in mind, she’d been working for over 24 hours. She gave the Pager Swapper Princesses the pediatric admit pager by mistake. (The pediatric admit pager is carried by the senior resident most of the time, but when the residents are unavailable because of lecture or rounds or whatever, we cover for pediatric admissions to the hospital.)
  13. Watched her eyes widen to improbable size when she realized her mistake, by which time the pediatric admit pager was de-batteried, stripped of all labels and chucked into the Big Box o’Pagers with no identifying marks.
  14. Assumed a cheery tone as I said, “No problem! All the pagers need to be swapped out anyway. So let’s just switch your old pager for a new peds admit pager.”
  15. Felt a steely burn as the Page Swapper Princess narrowed her eyes. “We can’t do that here. We can only accept physician pagers. All the other pagers are being swapped in a room in the basement.”
  16. Pointed out she had, in fact,  already accepted a non-physician pager. She was not swayed.
  17. Dragged the post-call doc into the basement (since pediatric hospitalists do not leave a fallen comrade on the field), on a quest for a room neither of us had ever heard of called “The Four Seasons”
  18. Exhausted practically every hallway and was preparing to check for Narnia-wardrobe type closets when we finally found the appropriate room.
  19. Explained the situation approximately 19 times and then waited while the Pager Swapper Queen and a swarm of drones attempted to sort out the pager perplexity.
  20. Finally got upstairs to our office about an hour behind schedule, where we ran into our education director with an interview candidate. He was glad to bump into us and informed us we couldn’t be paged. As in, AT ALL.
  21. Checked the system and, indeed, no pager listed.
  22. Called the operator for help. She tried to send me on another pilgrimage to the Pager Swapper Queen, but when I protested, she told me to hold on. After a few minutes of muffled murmurs, she came back on the line. “We did something,” she said. “Try it again.”
  23. Laughed until I coughed and then coughed until my head hurt.
  24. Practically fainted when Lo and behold and gloryosky, the pager worked.

In fact, it’s been going off merrily ever since.

So, um… Yay?

Tell Rudolph That Dolly’s Coming Back…

Don’t get me wrong… I love me some children’s Christmas classics.

I love Heat Miser and Snow Miser, Charlie Brown’s sad little Christmas tree, and Cookie Monster’s thwarted attempts to tell Santa what he wants.

I love Nestor the Donkey, the Grinchy grin, and every single act in the Frogtown Hollow Talent Contest.

I even love Rudolph, but it’s a troubled love. This particular claymation special brings up several issues for discussion:

First, why is everyone so darned crabby at the North Pole? Donner is downright hostile at the birth of his son.  The head elf is no Miss Congeniality either. And what’s with the anti-Santa?

Santa, as we know from Mr. Moore (or whomever) is a “right jolly old elf.” So why is the Santa in Rudolph such a heartless jerk?  Is it because of his eating disorder?

He’s constantly snapping at Mrs. Claus and the elves, who are nothing but nice to him. He’s just as bigoted as “all of the other reindeer” regarding Rudolph.  And he’s completely self-absorbed– he’s not worried that several of his reindeer are lost in the wilderness with a storm coming and a vicious monster on the loose, but he’s very, very worried about how he’s going to get around without Donner.

Really? And this is the guy who’s supposed to be judging who’s been naughty or nice?

How does Santa put on weight so quickly? Mrs. Claus is practically shoveling food into his mouth for months and yet “a few days before Christmas” when Rudolph comes home, Santa is still rail-thin. So how is he “fat Santa” by Christmas Eve?

And another thing that has bothered me since I was little… what is supposed to be wrong with the doll on the Island of Misfit Toys? There’s no apparent reason for her to be an outcast. Unless the creators were hinting she’s a cross-dresser, or she’s meant to be psychologically scarred or something, why is she a “misfit”?

I actually googled to see if anyone else knew what the dealio was. They don’t. It’s a universal mystery.

However, there is one thing I feel compelled to clarify. Several folks have publicly rebuked Santa for having sent these toys to the Island of Misfits. Although Santa is a grade-A self-important bozo as evidenced above, he did no such thing.

King Moonracer brought these toys to the island because they were unwanted by the children they belonged to.  I don’t think you can even blame Santa (or his poor unappreciated elves) for bad craftsmanship, as it has never been postulated that Santa’s workshop produces every toy ever made.

Santa is only brought into the whole situation since the King believes Santa could find suitable homes for the toys.

You might wonder, then, why King Moonracer doesn’t give Santa a jingle himself and ask. Or you know, stop by his workshop on one of the flights to pick up misfit toys.

Well, obviously Santa’s reputation as a creep is well-known throughout the frozen tundra. Would YOU want to ask that dude for a favor?

Even if you were an intimidating flying lion king, I bet you’d think twice about it.

The Sexiest Man Alive

On my way to work this morning, the disk jockeys were discussing the sexiest man alive. And it reminded me of a story…

First, a bit of background:

There’s an old movie my mommer especially loves called “Come Blow Your Horn” in which Frank Sinatra plays a playboy juggling dozens of women.

When his date rings the doorbell, he shouts through the door, “And for my third wish, O Genie, when I open this door, let the most beautiful woman in the world be standing on the other side.”

Fifteen years ago when I was an undergrad, I had a long distance romance with a guy at Stanford University. I met him online through a poetry “newsgroup” when those were brand new. Critiquing each other’s poems led to emails and then to letters and phone calls. I did meet him once on a week-long trip to California, but otherwise we weren’t even in the same time zone for the duration of our silly virtual fling.

He worked as the resident techy guru in the Stanford computer labs, which closed at midnight. Since I was in deep smit (and had a private dorm room), I encouraged him to call me when he got home, even though the time difference made it well after 2 am.

One night, my phone rang at 2:30 in the morning. Feeling cute I answered, “And for my third wish, O Genie, let the person calling me now be the sexiest man on the face of the earth.”

And a deep stranger’s voice said, “Damn, girl! What the hell kinda number is this?”

And I hung up.

So, in case you were wondering, the sexiest man on the face of the earth circa 1993 was evidently a deep-voiced, African-American man who was probably dating a student in the Florida Avenue Residence Hall at the University of Illinois.

Sadly, we may never know the identity of this sexy man. If you or anyone you know has any information on this gripping case, please contact me.

Let It Snow (In Designated Areas)

Yesterday, I left the house to run a few errands. It was cold, but not freezing when I left.

An hour or so later, errands done and bag of Chinese take-out beside me, I trundled home along the rural highway that separates Kane from Kendall county. It is the only road to my subdivision.

I had the radio on scan, cuz nothing compelling was playing. As I approached my subdivision, the radio switched to the “Holiday Lite”. I know this because the announcer boomed “Happy Holidays from your Holiday Lite-FM” and then a Christmasy musical flourish played.

As if on cue, a whirl of a dozen or so sudden snowflakes twisted over my windshield with the flourish. There was no other snow in sight. I giggled to myself as I broke for the turn into my subdivision, and turned directly into a wall of blizzard.

Well, okay, that’s an exaggeration as it wasn’t cold enough for the snow to stick. But it WAS snowing like all get-out. Visibility reduced, giant clumps of snowflakes, snowing.

I looked over my shoulder past the entrance to my neighborhood. Not a flake.

It was so odd and… bureaucratic. As though snow had been ordered for just my subdivision. Or like Kane County had signed off on snowfall but Kendall would have none of it.

Now, I love falling snow. Especially at night.

I love the way the snowflakes whisking past your car headlights creates the illusion of warp speed.

But I do NOT love the digging out of my car. Twice. Once to dig out my driveway, and then a second time to dig out what the snow plows dump there.

So, if we’ve reached a point where we can control snow locations, I’d like to submit my request to exempt my driveway this year. Mmm-kay?

I’ve just got to figure out where John Scalzi addressed this rejection letter, and I’m all set.

I Is Pleasantly Amazed!– In Deep Smit 11/07/08

Friday again! I almost missed it, cuz I’ve been trying to catch up on my NaNo writing.

This week, I passed a benchmark of sorts here on Trying To Do the Write Thing. I received my 1000th spam comment, blocked by my ever awesome Akismet Spam Filter.

So, for this week’s In Deep Smit, I thought I would celebrate by sharing my all-time favorite of those spam comments (I’ve removed all the links, natch):

Hello !

PAYDAY LOANS – Welcome please!

I am glad to find this forum !

– Welcome please!
CIALIS – welcome please!
XANAX – click here!
VICODIN – welcome please!

I am glad to find this forum !
The Pleasing text and design!

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Wow! Good resources here, Enjoyed the visit!
I is pleasantly amazed! Thank!!!

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Excellent webforum!
Excellent webforum!
Excellent site with fantastic references and reading…. well done indeed…!

cf christmas tree
horse farm
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What beautiful text and visitors! Greater thank you!

PAYDAY LOANS – Click here!

There was merrily!


PHENTERMINE – click here!
TRAMADOL – click here!
VICODIN – click here!

I simply mad about this forum!
The Regard! The Excellent forum! Thank you!

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I am glad to find this forum !
Forum – class!

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Excellent forum with fantastic references and reading…. well done indeed…
I simply mad about this forum!
There was merrily!

bear mountain
flower vase
horse racing result
iris flower

The Author, you – genius…

Yep, the author, me – genius.

I mean this spammer is definitely on the right track… if you’re going to try to sneak a few dozen links onto my page, the least you can do is try to butter me up while you do it.

Elevator Etiquette: A Rising Problem

Dear Citizens of the Industrialized World,

We need to have a quick word about elevators.

No, not elevator pitches.  I know that’s where you thought I was going with this, but my goal is much more simple.

Here’s a typical elevator:

While an elevator is a fabulous and useful piece of technology, it is not quite as advanced as some of you seem to think. In other words, it is not a magical one-way portal to another location. (Seriously.)

Also, elevators have been wildly successful in capturing the attention of the masses with their shiny metal facades and prominently displayed signage. The odds that YOU are the ONLY person who may have interest in riding one are pretty slim.

Therefore, I’d like to ask you to please refrain from THUNDERING on board the moment the doors open. It’s just possible someone might want to get OFF the elevator where you are.

At no point should your nose poke through the two-inch wide split of the doors while you wait to board, unless you are fleeing from Armageddon. And if you are fleeing from Armageddon, you really should take the stairs. 😉

Although I love a good challenge, I do not need to add Climbing Over You to my list of things to do today. I’d also wager that having your feet stepped on and your ribs elbowed isn’t on your top ten favorite things either.

So until they invent the Wonkavator, just hold on to your horses for a few seconds, m’kay?

With Grateful Smooches,

H. L. Dyer, AKA Kiddoc

Nutty Enough Already

So, today, I was making my way in darkness to work.  It is a long drive, even at 5:30 in the morning.  Usually I gratefully spend this time in my own head, thinking out plotlines or revision ideas.  But today was not one of those days.  Sliding through the darkness, my gaze focused where my headlights struck the bumper in front of me.

I found myself behind a pick-up truck for most of my commute today.  That, in and of itself is not remarkable, as I live far enough west of Chicago to be forced to crawl along the single lane highway behind oversized farm machines from time to time.  Trucks are the rule, rather than the exception, often slathered with bumper stickers stating “I Just Got a Gun for My Wife: Best Trade I Ever Made!” or “My Kid Beat Up Your Honor Student.”

Macho is definitely an In Thing in the rural area surrounding my ‘hood.  But this was the first time I’d seen it taken to this level…

Yes, that’s correct. This particular owner felt his truck required a swinging set of balls.

So, okay… this brings up a quirk I did NOT discuss during the Quirky Blog Chain last week.

When I’m driving behind a large truck or van, I get the sensation that I’m part of an elephant caravan.

The rear view of a semi looks vaguely like an elephant’s backside to me:

I know no one else has this problem but me, but there’s just no help for it.  That’s what I see (Please excuse the crudity of this model; I didn’t have time to build it to scale or to paint it):

For the record…

I do NOT need any attachments on trucks to make them look MORE like a giant animal in front of me.

And I do NOT need to wonder what, exactly elephant balls would look like anyway.

I’m just sayin’.

Hmmm… Is Sarah Palin Watching My Book Trailer?

My book trailer is posted on youtube.  Along with a shorter version.

I’ve discovered you can view various stats on your videos when you post them.

For my original book trailer, I have viewers from about 20 states so far, but mostly it’s just one or two random views.  Most of my viewers, naturally, are in Illinois.

But today I peeked at my stats and was quite surprised to see that Alaska is coming in as a strong number two.  I have half as many viewers from Alaska as from Illinois, and that’s including myself in the Illinois group (I haven’t found a way to copy the code for my video without accidentally triggering a “visit”)

I don’t know ANYONE in Alaska.  I don’t even know OF anybody in Alaska, except for the Palin family.

So… what other explanation is there?

Very Interesting… But Annoying.

Something odd is up with my blog stats today…

Last night, before I went to bed, I had only a couple of hits. Early this morning, there were a few more. Half an hour later… 2 hits again.

I figured I was imagining things. An hour later, a dozen or so hits. 20 minutes after that… 2 hits again.

And less than an hour ago, I was up to my usual range of 40 – 60 hits for a day. I looked at all the google search results that led folks here and read through the list of pages and posts that had been visited.

But right now? Stats back to 2.

Must be ghosties, I guess…

Back on the Chain Gang: My Life’s Quirk


So, Friday is here… which would ordinarily mean time for my weekly “In Deep Smit” posting. But it’s also my turn to post in our Blog Chain Gang. Photobucket

Luckily, this post can be a two-fer, cuz I’m Deeply Smitten with the current Blog Chain topic, started by Mary Lindsey:

What kind of quirky habits or rituals do you have regarding your writing?

(or regarding anything else, if that is more fun.)

Leah Clifford is the last link before mine, and next up after me is an awesome new Chain Gang member, Jessica Verday.  I have loved reading my chain gang’s responses to this topic. But now that it’s my turn, I am deeply grateful for the parenthetical part.

I am uber-quirky. But not when it comes to writing, I don’t think.

I don’t write in a scuba mask, or act out my upcoming scenes with sock puppets. I don’t tango with my teddy bear when I need inspiration or compose my dialog in pig latin.  I don’t do my best writing after stuffing myself to the gills with Olive Garden breadsticks*. (*To be fair… I don’t actually know this is true, since I’ve never tried it.)

Pretty much, I just write. Photobucket

BUT… I am plenty quirky, I swear!

Some of My Quirks:

  1. I could have been Weird Al Yankovick if I wasn’t all distracted by this doctor-and-novelist stuff
  2. I cook without measuring
  3. Richard Dawson’s family feud made a greater impression on me then you might expect
  4. I remember almost anything I hear or read
  5. I have a wide selection of hot beverages available at all times
  6. I have tumbling impulse-control issues

I have lots of other quirks, but let’s look at these for the moment.

I could have been Weird Al Yankovick. I compose parodies all the time.  Weight loss parodies.  Sports team parodies.  I planned an entire musical parody of West Side Story about rival health insurance companies.  I compose them in the car to whatever’s playing on the radio as a means of coping with road rage, such as this one I rattled off a while back:

*cue Beach Boys music*

Wouldn’t it be nice if you were driving
like you had a clue on how to steer?
And wouldn’t it be nice if I was home now,
‘stead of burning gas just sitting here?

Please choose a lane and stop this sudden braking,
there’s only so much stupid crap I’m taking.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you were not the
self-important bozo that you are?
and wouldn’t everybody else be safer
if they simply took away your car?

You probably shouldn’t have a license really
everyone driving here can see that clearly…

Maybe iiiiiif you weren’t such a stupid, selfish, shagging ass…
Maybe theeeeen you’d pull aside so everybody else could pass.
We could get past ya (we could get past ya)
And traffic’d move faster (and traffic’d move faster)

Wouldn’t it be nice?

I cook without measuring. This drives a lot of people nuts, I know.  But I can’t give you my recipe for fudge. Or garlic shrimp pasta.  Or almost anything, really.  Cuz I just do what seems like a good idea at the time.  A handful of this, a few shakes of that.  Saute until it smells right.  Yes, this means I can’t always exactly recreate a recipe, but that’s just one of those things.  My mother says it’s genetic; apparently her Busia (who was a cook for a Polish count) did the same thing.  The only reason we have the recipe for Busia’s Bread is because my mother and grandmother teamed up to wrestle each ingredient out of Busia’s hands so they could measure what she used.

Richard Dawson’s family feud made a greater impression on me then you might expect. This is another stress-saving defense mechanism, not unlike the angry car-composed parodies.  When someone is making me angry, and I cannot express that anger, I use visualization.  What do I visualize, you ask?  The big red “X” graphic from the old Family Feud right over their face.  Yes, of course it’s accompanied by the imaginary buzzer sound.  Trust me, this tactic helps.

I remember almost anything I hear or read. I do.  It’s a bit freakish, what I remember really.  It comes in handy, though, for identifying plot inconsistencies in storylines and also for annoying my husband. 🙂

I have a wide selection of hot beverages available at all times. This is also freakish.  In a really-great-hostess sort of way.  If you pop by, you will have your choice of a variety of coffees and flavored syrups for your espresso/cappuccino/latte or whatever. I’m partial to a sugar-free caramel latte myself…


Or you may select any of the 24 varieties of bagged tea in my mahogany velveteen-lined tea box.

Or if you prefer loose tea, I’ve got that too.  And your choice of plain or flavored hot chocolates.  Whipped cream and cinammon sticks, too, natch.  It’s a bit obsessive, sure.  But completely delicious.

I have tumbling impulse-control issues. Now perhaps the oddest of my quirks is one entirely confined to my own mind.  Whenever I find myself alone in a long empty corridor (as often happens working late nights in a hospital) I get a compelling urge to execute a dazzling front flip/round off/handspring/back handspring sequence.  I take a deep breath, and my muscles tense as my body pitches slightly forward in anticipation.  The problem is… I don’t know how to do any of those things.  Like, at all.

So, if you ever read a mysterious case where a pediatrician’s battered and broken body is found at the end of a deserted hallway without signs of a struggle, you will know what really happened.

I think that’s plenty quirky for me to get in one post.  But rest assured, there’s lots more where these came from. 😉

Wisconsin Travelogue– A Twitter-esque Eureka

So, I survived 36 hours sans internet this weekend.  And I realized what the theoretical point of Twitter is, although I don’t think it can work that way in practice.

One of the Blog Chain Gang, Leah Clifford recently posted her writing schedule and I had a Eureka Moment.  That’s what twitter should be like… except that you seldom have the time and/or opportunity to be twittering along the way when these sort of things go down.

My overnight trip with my mommer to Wisconsin would have twittered well, but for the fact I had no internet access or phone service and was too busy to be twittering it anyway.

If I could have twittered, it would have gone something like this:


  • 9:07  Mommer arrives and hands me mapquest directions to Mineral Point, WI.  They run two full pages not including the map.
  • 9:16  Missed a turn already due to gabbing.  Computing alternate route.
  • 9:31  Street not labeled.  Missed another turn.
  • 9:39  Back on track and painstakingly following directions.
  • 9:47  Realize we’ve passed “Peace Road” 3 times.  Not feeling remotely peaceful.  Begin dissecting mapquest directions.
  • 9:49  Mapquest directions definitively proven to suck donkey balls.  Wrestling atlas out of back seat.
  • 9:51  No major city nearby means no streets near us are labeled.  Flinging useless atlas into back seat.
  • 9:54  Moving to Plan B: Keep Going North and West Until We Get There
  • 10:02  Caught train.  Enjoying graffiti art.
  • 10:04  Noticed a graffiti artist has written “Snake” on several cars.  Now shouting “Snakes on a Train” each time.
  • 10:32  On identifiable road and pointed in right direction. Yay.
  • 11:28  Crossing Wisconsin border
  • 12:18  Amish man reined in 4 horses at the end of a driveway so we can pass.  He waves.  Waving back.
  • 1:12  Arrive in Mineral Point, WI where 2500 reported friendly souls should be welcoming us.
  • 1:14  Finish cruising main strip and pull into brewery parking lot.
  • 1:16  Mommer wants to check into hotel.  I asked for hotel address.  Turns out, she has not made reservations.
  • 1:19  Thumbing though printed guide to choose hotel at random.
  • 1:21  Driving aimlessly as Mommer has only printed part of the town map.
  • 1:26  Passing park featuring large resin lion with open mouth for you to stick your head in.
  • 1:34  Located hotel in question which seems vaguely terrifying.  Mommer is encouraged by the Mobil Travel Guide label on the door until I point out it’s from 1988.
  • 1:35  Heading back to main strip in search of lunch and advice from “helpful and friendly” souls purported to be Mineral Point residents.
  • 1:50  Mommer is ordering the specialty dish… something called “pasty” that rhymes with nasty. I’m sticking with roast beef.
  • 2:25  Mommer asks waitress where we should stay.  Waitress is not so friendly.  Or helpful.
  • 2:26  Turns out there’s no cell phone signal in Mineral Point, so we cannot call hotels.
  • 2:30  Heading for only hotel with more than 3 rooms in the area.
  • 2:45  Hotel has no rooms, due to the Mineral Point Cornish Festival this weekend.  Front desk guy also not helpful or friendly.
  • 2:48  Standing in lobby, trying to pick up wifi signal on palm pilot to search for hotels.  No luck.
  • 2:50  Mommer announces we’re going to the Dells.
  • 3:00  Found road out of town.  God affirms our choice almost immediately by showing us a sign. A billboard sign, actually for this place:


The Mustard Museum is home to… wait for it… Poupon U.


  • 3:18  Both Mommer and I suffering from severe heartburn.  Suspecting “friendly” Mineral Point people have tried to poison us.
  • 4:38  Arrived in Wisconsin Dells.  Staring nervously at the post-apocolyptically empty streets and shops.
  • 4:43 Searching for fudge.  For medicinal purposes.
  • 4:45 Discovered cell phones work in the Dells.  Calling Mr. Kiddoc to report our change in venue.
  • 4:51 Mr. Kiddoc now aware not to worry about us if Mineral Point is wiped off the map in a freak accident, which would serve them right anyway. nullMommer has run out of strip to cruise for candy stores.
  • Mommer pulls into parking lot to turn around and discovers it belongs to a “Gentlemen’s Club”.  Mr. Kiddoc reminds us to take pictures.  null
  • 4:59 Followed flashing “Fudge” sign, convinced that it could not be so cruel as to be closed.
  • 5:09 Medicinal fudge purchased and travel guides obtained.
  • 5:11  Plugging ear to block out vomiting sound effects from nearby “haunted house” while phoning hotels.
  • 5:16  Hotel on river is all booked up, which fundamentally conflicts with the 7 apparent tourists visible on the main drag on Friday evening.
  • 5:28  Hotel previously-on-lake-but-now-on-weedy-meadow has vacancy.  Woot.
  • 6:24  Heartburn worsening.  Cheezy souvenir shopping halted in favor of quest for antacid.
  • 6:41  Tums obtained and dispensed to all troops. Decision made to retreat.
  • 7:14  Checked into hotel on what used to be man-made Lake Delton.
  • 7:15  Troops have recovered enough for administration of medicinal fudge.
  • 7:20  View from room confirms that, when it comes to making lakes, God is much better at it.