Sunday, March 30, 2008

Sunday Scribblings & 5 Minute Doodle: For the love of Zor

Today I checked in with Sunday Scribblings and the 5 Minute Doodle only to see that both topics this week are about space. What kind of freaky alignment of the virtual planets is going on here on the internets? Why is everyone thinking about space this week, and didn't The Universe notice that I wrote about it last week, and said it made my head want to explode? Do I really have to go there again? Argh. But then I remembered this story.

The summer before I started college in the big city, I worked construction in my hometown building a community daycare center. The center was being built mostly on donations so there wasn't a huge budget for a construction crew. I came on the scene after the walls were up to help wire the place, do some plumbing, painting, and finish work on the floors. It was just me and the foreman, and the occasional community volunteer.

The foreman on the job was a guy I'll call Aaron. He was sort of a drifter, with lots of odd tattoos and a wacky, asymmetrical buzz cut that included a long rat tail down one side. He had some strange mannerisms, but was pretty a laid back boss. His looks didn't phase me, as I had just come back from attending a year of technical school with a bunch of heavily pierced, dreadlocked, punk-rock lady squatters in Amsterdam. Compared to that bunch this guy was pretty benign.

We were working on pulling some wire one hot afternoon when Aaron turned to me and asked "Do you believe in aliens?". "Uhm, I dunno", was my honest teenage reply. I'd seen plenty of old Star Trek reruns, and my dad and I had spent many lazy Sunday afternoons watching Sci-Fi movies on TV together but I really hadn't given it much thought beyond that. Aliens interested me about as much as who'd be playing in the World Series that fall. Which is to say, not much.

Oh how I'd wish I'd come out swinging with some kind of definite answer, because my indifference was about to haunt me for the rest of the summer . See, it turns out Aaron and his girlfriend could channel for some creature named Zor from the planet Zordon. No, I'm not kidding. This really happened.

Aaron was fluent in many extraterrestrial languages, and would sometimes teach me the alien names for things on the job-site. It's really too bad I can't remember the Zordonian word for "hammer". He told me that I too could channel for extraterrestrial life if I just got in touch with my own inner alien. Inner what?

At least once a day he'd ask me if I'd changed my ho-hum stance on alien life. And each day I'd just respond with my same "I dunno". He was relentless in inviting me and my boyfriend to come watch him channel for Zor, which he did every Tuesday night. Sometimes he'd try to tempt me by letting me know that this week, he was going to channel for a different alien life form. As if Zor wasn't compelling enough.

It creeped me out a little, but I also thought it was funny. My boyfriend (now my hubby) and I seriously considered going, because we thought it would be so hilarious. But we never went. After a long hot day of work all my inner alien wanted to do was take a shower, grab a big bowl of ice cream, and curl up with a good book.

Near the end of my summer job, Aaron brought to work what he thought would be the defining piece of evidence in his quest to prove to me that aliens really walked among us. It was a coffee table book of photos of spaceships visiting earth. It was chock full of fuzzy black and white pictures with little discs hovering in the air. He was so excited to show me the book, he could hardly contain himself. I remember standing in the daycare kitchen with him as he flipped through the pages, pointing out to me all the different ships. See? See? How could I be do indifferent? Here was rock solid proof. This was in the pre-Photoshop era, and you could see how these photos had been altered using rough cut and paste techniques. It made me feel kind of sad.

"Take the book home", he urged, "read it and then tell me what you think". "Sure." I said, and he seemed satisfied. Finally, he had a glimmer of hope that I'd come around. That evening as I was gathering my things to take home I purposely left the book sitting there on the counter untouched. I left it there the next night and the night after that, and then the daycare center was done. He never talked to me about it again.

After our last day of work, Aaron mysteriously disappeared. No one in our town ever heard from him again. He probably just drifted out of town, on to another job. But I like to imagine that maybe he packed up his things, and blasted off to the planet Zordon where he happily works as an English translator for Zor and all of his pals.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Weeklies#2: Brrrrrrring back spring.

It has been a slow, strange week around here. Everyone in our house is getting over a cold, and the weather has been freezing and unwelcoming.What the heck happened to spring? It's like winter said "I'm not done with you people yet. Tee Hee!". Luckily Old Man Winter didn't freeze up my creative juices. Uhm...somehow that sounds kinda gross, even though I didn't mean it to.

Thing I made: Growing up, my mom had a copy of The Betty Crocker Cooky Book. I always loved looking at the technicolor pictures and awesome little line drawing illustrations. Last year, she gave me a copy she'd found at an antique store. I have lofty aspirations to make every cookie in this book from start to finish but I need to think about where I'd offload the results. I don't think our waistlines could handle it without some help. Anyhow, I wanted to try something new, so I made Jam Squares. They were quick and super tasty, great with a cup of tea. Here is a link to the original recipe. For Jam Squares, just replace the date filling with your favorite jam (about 1 1/2 cups).

Best food I ate: Yesterday it decided to snow in my city. Snow is not a common occurence here, and especially this time of year. Couple that with everyone in our house being sick, and you've got the perfect reason to make Chicken and Dumplings. I used the Everyday Food recipe. We didn't have frozen peas, and weren't willing to freeze ourselves to go out and get some so we added celery and finely chopped broccoli instead. It was an awesome meal, I'd highly recommend this recipe.

Best thing I saw on TV:
I recorded the movie musical Easter Parade last week. How much do I love Fred Astaire? This scene was my favorite. I love the colors, the use of props and of course the dancing! Even though Fred is dancing in order to steal a bunny away from this little kid, it still makes me feel happy.

Can't live without:
Gross as it may sound, my Neti Pot. If you've never used one I highly recommend it. I especially love the rhino horn, the monster truck of neti pots.

Music: Wow, here's 5 new-to-me songs. The first one, "Again and again", has been stuck in my head all week. Now it's going to be stuck in yours! I just heard The Heavy for the first time this week. I want the whole album. I love everything about "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa" by Vampire Weekend, the name of the song and how it sounds like a cross between Paul Simon and the Talking Heads. "The Headphone Song" is rockin. I love the synthesizer, makes me wanna dance around. With my headphones on. I like "Jodi" too, by The Dodos. I went to grade school with a Jodi, who always had to make sure her knee socks were folded as to be the exact same height, this song probably isn't about her. (Player has been moved to next weeklies installment)

Feeling happy about: Posting here more often!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Illustration Friday: Pet Peeves

I'm not one who is easily bugged. It takes a lot to get my knickers in a twist, but there is one thing that peeves me. Tailgating. I don't understand why people tailgate, it makes NO sense at all. Riding someone's tail isn't going to get you to where you are going any faster, and it is dangerous. In my city tailgating is an epidemic. It bugs me even more when it is done by an over loaded, jacked up gas guzzler, 6 times the size of my car. Maybe we all need to review the two second rule?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Sunday Scribblings: The Space Case

I checked in with Sunday Scribblings today, as I am feeling the itch to post to my blog more frequently. The writing prompt this week is "I just don't get it....".

Now folks, there's a lot of stuff I don't get. I'll be the first one to admit that. But nothing can keep me up nights, fill my noggin up with confusion juice until it is oozing out my ears, and make me hit my head up against the wall like trying to understand SPACE That's space as in the final frontier. Not the distance between your couch and the wall (that I get).

I get planets, stars, galaxies, and zero gravity. I know the moon is not made of cheese (although, damn that would be cool). The thing about space that gets me every time is the idea that it might end somewhere. Does this boggle you? Because I just can't get my head around it. I mean, how does space just end? And what is on the outside of space? What would that even look like? The alternative to this theory is that space is infinite, which is a more comforting option but that can get my mind going all crazy as well. What do you mean it never ends? I love the idea of infinity, but it is baffling all the same.

I make a point to not post other people's work here, but for this post I'm making an exception. Here is a drawing out of my hubby's childhood scrapbook. I love this drawing because it shows that he too, was mulling over this whole outer space thing, and seemed to come to terms with it. Only difference is he was 5. I'm 7 times that and I still "just don't get it".

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Weeklies: #1 Return of The Weeklies

Its been a long time since I've done an installment of The Weeklies. A long stretch of sleepless nights left me feeling like I had little to share here. But now, spring has sprung, we are sleeping better and inspiration is flowing. So, I'm going to attempt The Weeklies again. Whoo Hoo!

Thing I made:

I made an awesome breakfast of Grilled Chocolate Sandwiches from the new Everyday Food Cookbook. They were super easy, and looked fancy. I used a Newman's Own Semisweet Chocolate bar, and challah from a local bakery. Bread and melted chocolate? Yes please! I could pretty much eat this every single morning for the rest of my life until all my teeth rotted out leaving me unable to chew.

Best food I ate
Chocolate Grilled Sandwiches of course, and a wonderfully ripe and sweet mango.

Best thing I saw on the web:

This xylophone! A bird house and xylophone in one?! Does it get any cuter? I don't think so.

Can't live without:
Black Typhoo Tea, the return of night time knitting while watching TV with hubby.

Yes! The Music Player is back. Nothing says spring to me like a little Edith Piaf. I first heard of her back in art school when I was working in a cafe with Uncle Beefy. We played all sorts of music in that place from showtunes to punk (and sometimes had dances that went with the tunes). Still In Love rocks like some kind of old school tune. I like the happy sound of Bag of Hammers, just don't drop the bag on your foot (ouch). To Be Young gets stuck in my head. Makes me want to go on a road trip in an old red pickup truck. We've Got Everything is kind of hyper, but fun nonetheless.

(Player has been moved to the newest Weeklies installment)

Feeling happy about:
Figuring out how to knit in the round, and sweater patterns that are knit from the neck down! Wow! Who knew such a thing existed? Knitting Pure and Simple has an assortment of basic sweater patterns that are knit this way. I'm making one for a gift so that's all I can say, but I'll post photos later on.

Friday, March 21, 2008

5 Minute Doodle: Replace The Easter Bunny

Over at the 5 Minute Doodle the challenge this week was to replace the easter bunny in 5 minutes. That's a tall order, folks. I mean, who would want to replace such a cute and generous creature? The easter bunny once brought me a basket that contained a Hickory Farms Beef Stick Lollipop for goodness sake. I was 6, but it made a huge impression. Well, the only thing cooler in my book would be an easter egg vending machine. I have a thing for vending machines and automats in general. So I give you the Eastermat 3000. For all you lazy souls who'd rather leave your egg hunting skills and baskets at home, just stroll up to the Eastermat 3000, punch the button and there you go, instant Easter! Have a happy one.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

5 Minute Doodle: Nose Faucet

Here's a little 5 minute doodle I did for the 5 Minute Doodle Challenge over at Flickr. The challenge this week was to replace a body part with an object. Since spring is in the air, it is the time of year I wish my nose were a faucet with a handle I could turn to drain it when congested, or stop it when drippy. Aaa-Choo!