Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Dear Bono: You're indoors. Take off the glasses, ass.

If I see the U2 Ipod commercial one more time, I'm going to...do something drastic. Dye my hair again. Something. "Uno, dos, tres." Fine, fine, fine. "Catorce!" Uh...what? One, two, three, fourteen? Who counts like that? I can count in several languages, and in none of them are the numbers ordered "one, two, three, fourteen." Evidently the Spanish have made some adjustments lately. I hear their alphabet now goes A, B, C, K. Oh, they're hip, those Spaniards, and Bono's the hippest of them all.

What's that you say? Bono is Irish? REALLY. Interesting.

Honestly, I don't understand the whole U2 craze. As I was thinking about it, I asked my music guru his opinion of them. "U2 does not absolutely suck, but they come pretty close." Word. Their songs all sound the same, and that sound? Not good. The music is generic and the lyrics uninspired. And before you get going, I realize U2's been around a long time, and maybe they did found the genre. But even if they were first...meh. Or actually, blech. It makes it worse—they started this lowest-common-denominator genre. It's like the first guy to make a disco record. Or the first Wayans brother.

As I write, I am listening to the one U2 song I can remotely stand, "So Cruel." I think I tolerate it because it is not, like most U2 songs, processed to the point of EZ Cheese. Don't get me wrong, it's still an American Cheese single, but that can make a decent cheese sandwich. (yes, I'm eating a cheese sandwich made from Kraft American Cheese. Take your metaphors where you can get them, kids.) Most everything else, though, is painfully boring.

And if it's not boring, it's fascinating in the way that plastic surgery gone wrong is fascinating. You know that woman's eyes aren't supposed to be touching her hairline, and yet you can't. Stop. Staring. "Hold Me, Kiss Me, Thrill Me, Kill Me" is like that. First of all, it's on the Batman Forever soundtrack. I watched that movie Sunday while Tex was reformatting my computer (it was on UPN, home of all quality programming), and let me tell you. No. Just no. I liked the movie in seventh grade when it came out, which is also about the last time that I liked U2. Keep in mind, this was also the year that I liked big fat scrunchies and Chris, who played chess at the library on Saturdays and made Cs in social studies (social studies!). What did I know?

Anyway, U2 has a new album coming out now, and based on the commercial, it sounds like the same pseudorock pseudoedgy schlock they've been putting out since at least 1993. If you like that kind of thing, feel free to download it and play it on their overpriced, underuseful Ipod.

Just don't expect me not to roll my eyes at you.

*Please note, I made two errors in this blog, and my co-workers caught them and taunted me mercilessly. Thanks, guys.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Committing hairy-kiri

I'm a smart cookie, and I'll tell you why: I know that I'm dumb, and I institute countermeasures ahead of time to prevent total embarrassment.

So when I showed up at Mary's this morning wearing a bandanna, she had no reason to suspect that I had orange and pink streaks in the hair underneath. I started wearing bandannas over my hair in college, actually around the time I dyed my hair for the first time, as a freshman. Not coincidental, and it came in handy today.

Evidently five years is enough time to forget why it's a bad idea to dye your hair on your own. The last time I did it, it turned out this weird red color that doesn't occur in nature, but fortunately it washed out before my supply of bandannas ran out. This time, I knew I was bored with my hair, but I didn't want to repeat the Red Tragedy of '99. I decided "just to highlight it." That was my first mistake.

Highlights are significantly harder than all-over color, because you have to carefully control where the dye goes. This was made infinitely more difficult by the tool I was given to work with. It looked like a fork gone retarded,tines sticking out in every direction and a little bowl in the middle to hold the dye. I managed to get dye everywhere—on my shorts, on the sink, on the floor (and then on the soles of my feet as I walked on it), on my forehead and shoulders. Everywhere but my hair. The great thing about this dye was that somehow it was hot pink, despite the fact that we were going for kind of reddish-copper highlights. I was cheered, though, to see that the cat had some lovely copper streaks. I soldiered on.

Anyway, after an hour of pulling that crap through strands of my hair and then waiting for it to set, I washed the dye out and toweled off my hair. I waited for the steam to clear from the bathroom mirror only to see that my hair had been attacked by a kumquat with a grudge. The highlights were hot orange and had banded together to form a malicious, indistinct blob centered slightly to the left of my part. It appeared to be gearing up to attack my eyebrow. "Down through the widow's peak, boys! We'll go across the stray eyebrow hairs and get that eyebrow! And after that, the eyelashes!"

It was obvious I couldn't show my hair in public. So I decided to correct it. You can see that hair dye seeps into your brain pretty quickly and makes you dumb(er, if you're me). This morning, before my bandanna'd breakfast at Mary's, I swung by CVS (Motto: taking over the world one prescription at a time) and picked up a box of Revlon hair color, the kind that had both the dye and the highlights all in one package. I ate breakfast with Mary and went home to deal with the insurrection on my head.

The application of the all-over dye from Revlon went fine—it turned the orange to something close to the color I had originally hoped for. It was kind of a blood red, I guess, but I hadn't solved the clump problem. This is where dumb idea number three made its way out from under the masses of over-processed hair. "Well," it suggested, with barely repressed glee, "why don't you use the highlighting kit to see if you can break up the clomp with lighter color? It'll be a multi-colored effect. Very hip."

Fine. I put the highlights in, using the oversized mascara brush Revlon provided.
It was a somewhat better tool than the fork of doom, but it didn't do much better with getting the dye all the way down to the ends of my hair and thus preventing the dreaded clump. I finally gave up and worked it down the strand with my fingers. It was at this point that the phone rang. I picked it up, holding it as gingerly as I could, and brought it to my ear. It was my mother.

"What are you doing?"
"Um...nothing?" I lied. I like to preserve my parents' illusion that I'm not totally abusing their intelligence genes.
"Oh. Well, Touching the Void is on PBS tonight. And something with Jon Krakauer."
"Great. I'll check it out." My eye started to sting. I flipped a lock of wet hair out of it.
"Yeah, I knew you had read Krakauer's books, so I thought I'd let you know."
"Oh, thanks. I'll be sure to watch it."
"Big plans for today? Isn't Tex coming over?"

This went on for two minutes, and in the meantime, dye was running into my right ear and, I think, the second set of highlights was plotting with the first. When I rinsed the dye out fifteen minutes later, not only was the problem not alleviated, it was worse. I had somehow managed to add flamingo-pink highlights to the reddish areas that the all-over dye had quasi-corrected, plus the orange had staged a mysterious comeback over my right ear.

So, torn between a temper tantrum, tears, and uncontrollable laughter, I put the whole mess in a bun, put my bandanna back on, and headed out to Walgreen's, because I obviously couldn't go back to CVS. Time was of the essence—it was 1:30, and Tex was due sometime between 2 and 2:30 to fix my computer. I quickly grabbed a box of Garnier Nutrisse dye in the darkest brown I could find. No muss, no fuss, and it supposedly covered 100% of gray. I could only hope that the dye couldn't differentiate between orange and gray or pink and gray.

I mixed the powder and the developing conditioner, forgetting the "concentrated fruit oil" in my haste. Squeezing the bottle a little harder than strictly necessary, I began to apply the dye to my hair, praying all the while that my hair wouldn't just rebel all together and fall out, leaving me as sad as Charlie Brown's Christmas tree. I was hurrying so much that I didn't notice when a drop of dye splashed onto my nose, leaving a little brown spot that I still can't get out, hours later. Finally the dye bottle sputtered its last, and as I looked down to pitch it, I noticed the little packet of concentrated fruit oil. Swearing, I drizzled it over my hair like dressing over salad and, spinning my gooey locks into a loose bun, went to throw clothes into the closet and dishes in the dishwasher. As if Tex doesn't know what a horrible housekeeper I am already.

At 2:25, the door to my apartment burst open. "Uh...hang on," I said, and spent the next minute fumbling for a shirt I could ruin by pulling it over my dye-covered hair. I finally located a Rice freebie and shrugged into it, and then permitted Tex to enter. He manfully refrained from laughing when he saw me, acres of oddly colored and dripping hair on top of my head, wild look in my eyes. Or, knowing him, he didn't notice. Either way, I was grateful.

Eventually I got the last round of dye rinsed out, and blessed Garnier for living up to its promise. Even if it smells like a chemical factory, my hair now looks essentially as it did when I started, three dye jobs and many dollars ago. It's maybe a little darker, and there's a hint of a red sheen toward the back where the stragglers of the orange army wander aimlessly, looking for their slain kumquat leaders, but I'm not going to have to wear a bandanna to work tomorrow.

What have I learned? It's a damn good thing I'm applying to English graduate school and not to beauty school. And I'm going to Hobby Lobby tomorrow to get more bandannas.

Monday, November 08, 2004


I haven't bought gas in almost a month. This is not because I have a fuel-efficient car; it's because I never go anywhere. Still, I think it's pretty awesome. Especially since I just spent $200 on four new tires and an oil change.

My brother, on the essentials: "If I've got a wife and a freezer full of meat, what else do I need?"

Lyra fell in the toilet this morning, bringing the grand total of Erin's cats who've fallen in the commode to two. Lyra was somewhat more blasé about it than Regan was. She pulled her front legs back out, jumped down, and attacked the shower curtain.

Five recent Google searches: "crank radio," "t.s. eliot criticism theory," "cool out," "huskers volleyball apparel," and "sarah connor." Two of those are potential Christmas gifts. The rest are just weird. Speaking of Christmas gifts, can anybody think of a good idea for my dad? He likes gardening and chewing out hunters who shoot at his house. Go.

On that last item, I originally wrote "and chewing hunters who shoot at his house." I like the idea of my dad employing punitive cannibalism.

Raspberries are my favorite fruit. Asparagus is my favorite vegetable.

According to Kroger-brand yogurt, "lemon meringue" is a fruit, and therefore eligible to be "Fruit on the Bottom." I'm not really complaining, although I think this could get out of hand if they continue down the pie path. Nobody wants mincemeat-on-the-bottom yogurt.

I got a haircut today, and evidently, in stylist world, "I need a trim; take off about an inch and a half" means "take off five inches and give me layers." My hair looks good now, but I think we all know it's going to be what my family calls "BIG hair" tomorrow morning. It's okay. I preemptively went to Wal-Greens and got a headband. Pillow, do your worst.
Suspect your lawyer and control your elephant

As most of you know, I started the full-time copyedit phase of my job; I spend six hours a day (on average) reading the Cause of Action book my company publishes. This is the third edition; it comes out in January. Contact me for ordering info if you are a Texas lawyer/law student or just phenomenally bored.

The Causes of Action book basically tells you all the major reasons you can sue someone and how to prove your case if you do. Sometimes this is irrelevant and mind-numbing (Usury, Abuse of Process, and Conversion), and sometimes it's fascinating, usually in a sick way (Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Defamation, and Fiduciary Duty). And sometimes you get a mixed reaction that makes you go, hm, this is why Law and Order has been on T.V. for the past 75 years. For example, Premesis Liability. Doesn't sound terribly interesting, and in fact I thought I was going to have to have an extra shot of caffeine to get me through it. However, included in Premesis Liability is the idea of Attractive Nusiance, whereby children wander onto property and drown in pits or get killed by arcing electricity because they don't know better. Then the premesis owner has to pay through the nose.

Right now I'm reading the Legal Malpractice chapter, which is interesting but it's not doing anything to convince me that attorneys are nice and/or competent people. There are a disturbing number of cases that are like, "Attorney conspired to lengthen trial to increase fees" and so on.

The best chapter I've read so far has been Animal Actions. Mostly it was people being bitten by dogs or attacked by rabbits or something, although I did learn that bees are tameable, and if your bees attack someone you're liable. But the reason this was the best chapter ever was because of what I call the "Siegfried and Roy" subsection on Wild Animal Actions. Unfortunately we mentioned no cases involving white tigers, but there was an elephant escape, a deer attack (yeah, I didn't know deer were particularly vicious), and a contrary, irritable, and nervous type of horse named Crowbar. Good times.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Geeker Joy: English Major Version

If you don't love PBS already, let me explain to you why you should. Three words: Regency. House. Party.

When I was flipping through the channels Wednesday night and ran across a servant in a wig going down the stairs of some dimly lit house, I thought, hm, maybe this is a production of some Victorian novel that I can watch for a point or two on the GRE subject test.

Oh, no. No, it's far better than that. Five men and five women from England are living for two months as if they're in Regency England. (If you don't know, the Regency era ran from 1811-1820. Think Pride & Prejudice, more or less.) They've been assigned roles, and they're supposed to attempt to make an advantageous marriage. I don't really see how any of them are going to be able to do that, given that they're only allowed one bath a week and no deoderant. Of course, there are 36 chamber pots in the house, so maybe B.O. isn't the real problem. The chaperones aren't helping, either, even though one of them is a real-life countess. (She hooked up with the Mr. Bingley character in the first week, I think. Good work there.)

The best part, though? There's a hermit. Evidently there was a "back to nature" movement during the Regency, so wealthy landowners would let part of their acreage grow wild and then hire a guy to be the hermit. Basically he would take port with the master once a week and jump out from behind the bushes to scare the ladies. This guy, who's played on the show by an artist, spends the rest of his time cooking things over and open fire and hitting on the chick who's playing the lady's companion.

I don't think I can really explain to you how great this show is. It hits on all my English major fantasies (guys in waistcoats, parasols, romance and complicated dancing) and is hilarious to boot. Need I remind you: hermit. Hermit hermit hermit. And also, snuff.