Monday, October 5, 2009

Always look on the bright side of life [whistling...]

I was only in my tweens when I was formally introduced to Msr. Python and his circus.  In fact, my uncle (who is actually an ex-uncle now, but that's not really the point of this post) introduced me to Monty Python, Anne Rice and Watership Down all in the same summer visit.  Now that I think about it, that really was a LOT for an 11 year old to take in, but hey--there was no Hannah Montana then, okay?

I had been babysitting my younger cousins (and brother) so my parents could go out with my aunt & uncle.  And, dutifully, I had just put them to bed, and was watching premium cable I couldn't get at home.  When my family returned, I was invited to stay up and watch a video they had brought home... It was "Meaning of Life."  Now I'm not going to lie to you, there was more than a few scenes that I was sent out of the room (which was ironic, considering I had watched "History of the Word: Part 1" not one year previous... Madeline Kahn's orgy song, anyone?)  But for the most part, I enjoyed it.  I LOVED IT.  It was just that right balance between slapstick and cerebral comedy my poor little brain had been longing for.  My father loved Benny Hill and seemed to play it at every opportunity, but to me Monty Python would forever remain my idea of British.

It was a few more years before I could really appreciate the humor of Monty Python, and not just because watching the scene with Mr. Creosote would make my mom barf every time it was on.  When I finally got to a wider population of freaks and geeks in high-school, I was able to connect with fellow Anglophiles.  It was glorious.  Funny walks in-between classes were common.  As were impersonations of the Seargent Major during drill and ceremony for JROTC.  And in college, I discovered the joy of the entire Monty Python collection for checkout in the library.

I have slowly begun the process of indoctrinating my chidren into the joyously racous humour of Monty Python.  We built slowly upon Hitchhiker's Guide, moving gradually to Red Dwarf and then some of the later individual projects like Baron von Muchhausen and Mom and Dad Save the World.  I think they might be ready for Holy Grail, soon.  And after that... perhaps something completely different. 

Happy Birthday, Mr. Python.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Emptying the Bag of Holding

If you had told me two weeks ago that I would now be looking forward to a weekend of Amish-like existance—no cell phone(s), no netbook, no camera(s), no watch—I would have laughed at you. These are things I can't live without! You can't reasonably expect me to go five minutes without having the ability to check my email (all three accounts).... I don't have to actually check it, I just want to know I can check it if I want to.  And that was when I realized I may have a little problem with a gadget addiction.

Wednesday night brought more revelations.  Sitting at dinner, my friend Angie asks if she can get something out of my purse.  I hand her the purse, and that's when it starts.

"GOOD LORD! How much stuff do you have in the purse?"
"What?" I say, defensively, "Not a lot. It's not like it's my gadget bag."
"Oh?" She's looking at me in disbelief.  "Prove it."

I can feel that familiar tingling in my stomach; it's the same tingling I used to get when I lost something in my backpack in middle-school and I realized I would have to empty it out to find whatever I had lost: progress report, homework, lunch money...  the knowledge that my entire life would be out on my desk or table for the world to see—to judge—and I couldn't do anything about it.  What would they think about me having a (*gasp*) PLAIN Trapper Keeper?  Would the popular girls know what that D20 was for?  Why didn't my mom buy me THIS year's Lisa Frank pencil case--the one with the sharpener built in? 

"I don't have to." I said, defensively. "You're not my mom."
"No, but I am the person sponsoring you on your retreat, and I need to know what I'm up against."

I looked around the table.  Everyone seemed encouraging.  Was this an intervention? Did I really have that much stuff in my bag?  I turned to my husband... he smiled and nodded.  Sighing, I opened my purse, which is actually a field messenger bag, and began to catalog the contents on the table:
  1. Dell 9 mini netbook, in bubble-gum pink with Hello Kitty, Cthulu and Puri Kura stickers covering the front
  2. Flip Mino, in white/pink, with matching tripod
  3. Pentax Optio Z10 camera
  4. Classic 60 Gb iPod in a Sushiwrap with earbuds
  5. iRiver H10 in LogicCase with folding earphones
  6. bluetooth usb mouse for the netbook
  7. Rumor cellphone (for personal use)
  8. Blackjack cellphone (for work)
  9. cosmetic case full of cables and connections for 1-8 as well as a back-up wired optical mouse in matching pink.
  10. wallet
  11. a small cosmetic case mostly filled with sharpies, but also with a tube of Rimmel lipgloss and Wet n' Wild eyeliner.
  12. my moleskine notebook
A small group began to gather around the table as the tingling in the pit of my stomach became more intense.  They stared in amazement.  One of the men commentted dryly that it was if someone had unloaded batgirl's utility belt.  I fought the urge to quickly throw it all back in my purse, and looked at Angie expectantly.  She smiled gently.

"Well, it's not the worse I've seen," she said with a laugh, "but I think we're definately going to have to go through your bags before you go."
I laughed, "actually, it's normally worse. I gave my PSP to my husband because he got me a DSi for my birthday. So I don't have that or the cables for it in here."  I gestured to my now deflated purse.

A hushed laughter went around the table, and instead of cringing I felt strangely ok with it.  A couple of the women asked me about how to spec out a smiliar netbook for their purses.  One of the men asked me which of the cellphones I preferred (the rumor, for the slide out keyboard, but I just LOVE having 3g).  One of the teenage kids and I had a brief conversation about PSP vs. DSi and whether or not we were going to get a PSP Go. Angie and I discussed my multiple MP3 players, and why it was easier for me to have an iPod and an iRiver instead of an iPhone...  and ... and it was okay.

It's okay to be a gadget otaku now.  And yeah, while I might be a little ashamed at the amount of pink on my gadgets, I am also comforted in the knowledge that my male children will NEVER touch them or steal them.  And yes, the thought of living without my 20+ lbs of gadgets for a weekend is still a little frightening to me, but I think I'm going to be okay.  Really, I'm just thankful I didn't bring my REAL gadget bag in....

Saturday, October 3, 2009

What if Turning Japanese isn't so bad?

I think I'm becoming addicted to Tokyo Flash.
At first it was just the watches, and it was fine.  It was fine because I had built up an immunity through years of Swatchs from the 1980's.  You think Wil was styling in his three watches?  I had FIVE.  FIVE swatch watches, and only ONE of them told the right time at any given time.  And there was no ankle wearing for me... no sir.  Three on one arm and two on the other

Incidentally, am I the only person here who thinks he might have had a thing for Batman? I'm not judging, I'm just a little overwhelmed at the amount of merchandise... it makes the comic-book geek in me swoon a little.

Anywho, Tokyo Flash beats out the swatch in two important areas: first (and foremost) it's Japanese, which makes it infinately better in my book.  Second, they're insanely difficult to read.  I mean, you have to dedicate a full fifth of your brain just to tell time if you buy some of these things.  And I LOVE that.  It's part of the coolness factor... just imagine it...

"excuse me miss, what time is it?"
[holds out hand with the "galaxy" on her wrist]
"um.... oh...."
"what's wrong? can't you see that it's 10:38?"
"ah, yes, of course, I can see that."

and that alone is worth the price of a Tokyo Flash.  Not to say that I have one... yet... but this is one of the arguments I plan on using to get such a watch for Christmas, or maybe my birthday.

But now, now, Tokyo Flash has other stuff, too.  There's stuff like hats, and jewelry, and clothing, and... and it's getting harder and harder to keep that Visa (with iTunes bonus points!) in my wallet, let me tell you.   I'm particularly in love with the bags and the hats at the moment. I know I don't wear hats to work, but a Matsuri Flat Cap would be awesome.  All I need now is a convertable to wear it in!