August 07, 2007

Baseball on the Surface of the Sun

So The Boy won a free pass to a Carolina Mudcats game this year because he read a bunch of books for the Muddy Buddy Book Club. Hublet realized last week that the last time we'd have to use the ticket would be this week, and specifically tonight, so he called and got us 3 tickets for tonight's 7:15 game.

How hot is it here? So glad you asked! It's 100 degrees. And with the heat index, it's more like 105! Perfect weather for sitting outside at a baseball game! Not.

I wonder if it's possible to attend the game naked, with a giant, portable, battery-operated fan? Because there's not enough fresh squeezed lemonade in America to keep me sufficiently hydrated and cool, people.

But because I'm always thinking of you, dear readers, if the giant Catfish mascot, Muddy, passes out while doing a dugout dance, I'll take a picture for you.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 02:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 03, 2007

Downhill Slide

Okay, it's officially August, the month that manages to nearly kill me every single year. So far I've planned a beach trip, a 6-year-old's birthday party, the replacement of the kitchen floor (prior to the celebration), and a short jaunt this weekend in order to celebrate my Mom's 70th birthday. Toss in a mother-in-law's birthday, a sister-in-law's birthday, prepping for back to school stuff, the start of the fall T-Ball season and my ongoing "oh dear God can we just be done with home improvements and MOVE" saga, and you can see why I'm tired just thinking about all this stuff. Oh yeah, and my paying job. Gotta do that too. Gah.

So instead, I'll ask how many of you have watched Mad Men on A&E;? It has the same sort of ironic distancing humor that Remember WENN had, only it seems darker. And as an aside - how many of the actors in this series are going to end up being hardcore nicotine addicts? Seriously, I've never seen so many cigarettes in my life, and even if you're just doing a puff or two for the camera, take after take, day after day...maybe they're using clove cigarettes instead.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 03:27 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 31, 2007

Dumbest Quote from Shark Week

From a fellow who had his entire left calf taken off by a bull shark while standing in waist deep water with a film crew in order to demonstrate that you can stand around in waist deep water with sharks and apparently not get eaten...

"There are no dangerous sharks, just dangerous situations."

This little gem caused both Hublet and myself to do a WTF? double-take. What makes the situation dangerous, pray tell? Perhaps the inclusion of a SHARK? Or several sharks? Who are in the process of looking for food?

That's like saying "there are no dangerous lions, just dangerous situations."

When you put yourself into the same space as a predator, and you happen to be made of stuff that the predator in question will eat in a pinch, then yes, I concede that the situation is a dangerous one. However, the danger is due to the presence of the predator, who is, by its very nature, dangerous to people, who should, by virtue of their more highly evolved brain, know better than to insert themselves into the dangerous situation, because the animals could pose a danger to the person, because the animals are DANGEROUS!

Now I'm dizzy.

Look, I'm down with the whole "don't get pissy at sharks for doing what sharks do" thing - you don't have to sell me on it, particularly if your only means of doing so AFTER we've just watched you get a body part ripped off in brilliant technicolor is to deny the nature of the animal in question. No, sharks don't set out to kill humans, but some of them will see if you're a tasty snack if you're in close enough proximity, which means that they're dangerous to humans.

I love shark week.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:47 AM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

July 26, 2007

Put Down That Ho-Ho! You're Making Me Fat!

I love obesity research, especially the kind of obesity research that enables me to blame other people for my own inability to resist the siren song of burritos the size of my head.

So now I can add being overweight to the list of things I don't have to take personal responsibility for.

Isn't the 21st century great?

On a completely unrelated, but interesting note, read this story about Oscar the Feline Harbinger of Death.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:47 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 23, 2007


Okay -

Read it.

Feel free to weigh in with opinions/reviews in the comments.

And I have one question (after the cut, for those of you who didn't spend 8 solid hours reading until your eyeballs were out on stalks):

How exactly did Neville end up with the sword? Are we to assume that it went to him in an hour of need - why wouldn't it have gone back to Harry, who was in dire-er straits?

Just a little niggle, but it did make me go "huh?" when I read it.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:27 AM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

July 18, 2007

Oh, Sure. Anything Goes.

Until the old people start doing it. And then you have to go and declare an emergency ban on public nudity.

Savor that phrase for a moment - "emergency ban on public nudity."

And also this one:
"Some cite a case in which a senior citizen from Arizona strolled through the center of town wearing only a waist pack and sandals."

Which elicits 2 responses from me:



Remind me to avoid Vermont in summer.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 03:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 10, 2007


I'm going to do it. I've been fighting myself about this since last summer, and I can't fight any longer.

I'm going to buy the family a Wii.

And by "the family," I mean mostly me and The Boy, although the fact that the Wii has Brothers in Arms and a number of good sports games will certainly appeal to Hublet.

See, I'm not an early adopter. I still have the PS2 that I purchased in 1998. I like it, it works, and as long as they continue to make God of War for it I will be a happy woman.

I had feared that the Wii would be too twee (say that 3 times fast), but this past weekend's Best Buy pilgrimage changed my mind. There were games I would enjoy! Games The Boy would enjoy! Games Hublet would play!

And at $250 it was a heckuva lot cheaper than the PS3, for which I see no interesting games. Plus, $600? For that amount I want the console to fix me a damn snack while I'm playing it.

In case you were wondering, I wasn't tempted by XBox, either. Halo is fun, but I can always cajole Family Friend Brad into toting his XBox over to the house if I ever get a hankering to get repeatedly killed by aliens. I kinda suck at Halo, actually.

So, yeah. A Wii.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 03:32 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

July 02, 2007

Worst Movie I've Ever Seen

The Fountain.

No, not an Ayn Rand movie, just a load of crap that tries way too hard to be "deep" and to "redefine the genre" and along the way turns a couple of my favorite actors--Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weiss--into weepy, leaking, unattractive and aimless globs of What the Hell?

We got the whole "death as an act of creation" thing about 20 minutes into the film. The film is 1 hour and 36 minutes long. Yeah. By the time the movie's over that dead horse has pretty well been beaten to a pulp.

At least Weiss gets to die. Well, maybe Jackman does, too, but I'm not sure, because the narrative was completely incoherent. Yes, interweaving three stories is fun--when done correctly. This movie doesn't do it correctly.

You know, when your entire reaction to a film is "How did this even get made, much less made with actors well above the straight-to-video-or-Sci-Fi-Channel grade," it's best just to seal the Netflix envelope and move on with your life.

On the other hand, I did enjoy Ratatouille, though Hublet wasn't impressed.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:05 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

June 27, 2007

My Damn Cat

She kills stuff. Lots of stuff. And I don't usually care, because I appreciate being able to walk across my back yard without sinking into the mole tunnels that criss-crossed it once upon a time.

But she has 2 particularly annoying traits - one, the fact that everything she kills must be dismembered and eaten on the sidewalk directly in front of our front door; and two, that when she kills rabbits, she only eats the head.

The second trait is why I'm cursing my cat this morning.

Yesterday, after I fetched The Boy from Y camp, we returned home to note the appearance of a dead rabbit: the body lay on the left-hand side of the sidewalk, and the neatly severed head was beside it.

I sighed and told a grossed-out Boy that I'd deal with it AFTER supper.

In the meantime, the cat returned to the scene of the crime and devoured all of the rabbit's head except for a piece of the upper skull that was about the size of a quarter. Okay. At least the rabbit wouldn't be looking at me as I disposed of it.

So after dinner and a bike ride, The Boy accompanied me to get the shovel, and insisted on "helping" me dispose of the rabbit.

I gave him his smaller shovel, and we divided the labor thus: I scooped up the bunny's body, and The Boy did the same with the cranial fragment, and we toted our laden shovels to the wooded area at the back edge of our property.

Since the ground's current parched state has rendered it concrete-like and impossible to penetrate with a mere shovel, I simply tossed the bunny corpse into the leafy wooded darkness with a flick of my wrist and that was that. Let the circle of life commence! Or conclude! Whatever. Beetles need to eat, too.

Then it was The Boy's turn. Except he flung his shovel upward instead of outward, and I was treated to the sensation of the topmost portion of a recently deceased rabbit's skull smacking me right between the eyes.


I hate my cat.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 02:38 PM | Comments (6)

June 19, 2007

Of Training Wheels, and The Blessings of DVD Players

The trip went off without a hitch. Well, without any big hitches. There was a brief moment of panic when I picked The Boy up on Wednesday evening and it was revealed that the portable DVD player was broken, but a quick stop at Best Buy ensured that the day--and 9 hours of car riding over the next 4--was saved.

There was also the slight problem of the 3-D IMAX movie at the Smithsonian's Natural History Museum that featured lions being lions. In 3-D. The Boy is an egalitarian at heart, and was all for giving those mean lions a whupping because they were eating those deer. The shark movie didn't bother him that way, probably because fish just aren't that cute and cuddly.

Hublet was pleased with his Father's Day gift of a Ric Flair and the Four Horsemen DVD, and The Boy seems tickled as well. I am bracing myself for another spate of unannounced elbow drops when I attempt to nap, but it's a small price to pay for happy menfolk.

There's been lots of talk lately about boys, and boyness, and boyhood and whether or not publishing a book for boys about activities that boys like to do is somehow evil and will result in The Handmaid's Tale coming true. Short answer - no. Others have given much better long answers than I.

Boys and girls are different, and that's a good thing. The sexes compete, and that's also a good thing. At least, it's a good thing when trying to convince a somewhat reluctant Boy to lose the training wheels. All it took was an offhand comment about how well that little girl--who's just The Boy's age--was riding her bike without training wheels, and he's now training wheel free. Nope, I'm not above some shameless psychological manipulation--I'm a parent, for crying out loud, and there are just so many hours in a day.

And if my playing to the natural boy vs. girl competetive streak in my son leads to The Handmaid's Tale, well, at least my boy's metaphorical Bicycle of Patriarchal Oppression won't have training wheels. Small victories, people. Small victories.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 04:12 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 13, 2007

DC Bound

Well, the family is off to D.C. for our first Official Big Arm Family Vacation Wherein The Boy Will Be In the Same Hotel Room With Us for Four Days.

On the bright side, going to bed around 9 p.m. will probably be good for me...

In the meantime, Hublet's been posting up a storm about his last days teaching in the hinterlands. Go check it out.

See you next week.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 08, 2007

Conversations With My Mother - Friday at Work Edition

Me: Hey, mom.

Mom: Hey hon. Look, I'm at this furniture store, and...

Me: No. Seriously. Do NOT buy any furniture.

Mom: But they have this beautiful Kincaide four-poster plantation bed in Queen size with -

Me: Mom!

Mom: The entire bedroom suite is only $2300! The bed alone is usually $2500! It's a closeout sale! Once it's gone, it's gone!

Me: All I asked you to look for was one of those cigarette lamps to go in my guestroom.

Mom: Oh, I got that - 30% off of $58 bucks!

Me: I have nowhere to put new furniture, mom. No. Where. Thus the whole "buying a bigger house" plan.

Mom: And then you can use this furniture! Oh, that woman over there is looking at the bed!

Me: What are you going to do, tackle her? I don't have $2300 bucks just lying around, mom. If I did, my car wouldn't still have that dent in it.

Mom: I have my cane. And I'll pay for it up front.

Me: And what if we don't end up moving for like a year or more?

Mom: It's such a beautiful set! And you can pay me back!

Me: But no space! Mom! There will be other furniture stores having closeouts. Where. Will. You. Put. The. Furniture?

Mom: (Sigh) You're right.

Me: Just relax, mom. Your shopping-fu will be needed soon enough.

Mom: Okay. Bye!

****30 Minutes and a Burrito the Size of My Head Later****

Me: Mom? Why are you calling my cell phone? I'm in the office.

Mom: Oh, you didn't just try to call and leave a message?

Me: I did last Sunday, not today.

Mom: You know, I think I'm going to buy this furniture. I'll break down the stuff in the guest room and put the new stuff in there and then you'll have your grandma's extra bedroom suite all ready to go for when you move!

Me: ...

Mom: We could go ahead and move it down there, and you could get rid of your old bed, move the other stuff into the guest room, and replace it with grandma's!

Me: But the room isn't big enough - oh, dear God. Fine. Fine. Really, I just wanted a lamp, mom.

Mom: It'll be great!

Me: (heavy sigh) See you later, mom.

Mom: Love you, sweetie! Bye!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:13 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 30, 2007

Heavenly Twins? Oh, Really?

You know, I like Star Wars just as much as the next kid who grew up in the 70's and 80's, and I am gratified that The Boy enjoys it as well (although the constant light saber battles in the backyard are starting to get old, especially when The Boy insists on "Forcing" his way "Up High And You Can't See Me" and the hapless Darth Vader, played somewhat resignedly by yours truly, has to wander fecklessly through the pine straw until The Boy drops a metal beam on his head), AND as an English major I understand that sometimes our need to interpret can get the better of us, but I've just gotta draw the line at the recent History Channel production Star Wars: The Legacy Revealed.

I mean, it's not that you can't draw the obvious parallels between Joseph Campbell and the Star Wars universe, or compare Luke to any number of reluctant heroes in myth and legend, but when you create a two hour special in which a roster of disparate, seemingly randomly selected people ruminate on The Meaning Of Star Wars and come up with gems like:

"Well, it's obvious that Luke and Leia are Apollo and Artemis, the heavenly twins,"

I've gotta politely ask you to put on the brakes.

Seriously, what do the following people have in common?
Camille Paglia
Newt Gingrich
Nancy Pelosi
Joss Whedon
J.J. Abrams
Stephen Colbert

Stumped? You bet you are! These folks, along with a host of nameless eggheads including the slightly over-excited chick with the Heavenly Twins fixation, are all Star Wars Pundits!

I know! Because we are All United In Our Love of Star Wars! It's the new Uber-Myth for our generation! Because all those old myths don't have spaceships! And Ewoks! And mentally challenged bits of CGI with stupid ears!

Sigh. And yet I watch it, because The Boy loves Yoda, and the two-minute clip of Yoda bouncing around like a crack-addled throw pillow makes him very happy.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 04:23 PM | Comments (13)

May 23, 2007

In Which I Sing the Praises of Craigslist

All hail to thee, Craigslist, enabler of junk-offloading!

Long ago, I purchased a Little Tykes 3-in-1 playset for The Boy. He has outgrown it, and in the interest of preparing the house for market I wanted to get rid of it. But it is large and unwieldly and I wasn't looking forward to disassembling the dang thing in order to tote it elsewhere.

So I figured I'd give this Craigslist thing a try. Snapped a couple of photos of the contraption on Sunday, and charged a ridiculously low price for the item, because I figure if you're going to have to pull this thing apart, load it up and haul it out of my yard it's going to make up the difference in cost. Hit the "post" button at 8:30 p.m. and went to exercise.

By 10 p.m. I had over 30 responses to the ad, including some from folks who wanted to show up at my house at 8 a.m. (with a trailer) on Monday to haul the thing away.

Those people were kind of scary - it's just a playset, after all.

I went with the whole "first come, first served" principle and so will be relieved of the plastic yard art on Friday afternoon.

Hublet's repsonse to this? "Wow, what else can we sell?"

Seriously. This could become addictive. It's like having a garage sale without having to be particularly organized about it, which is perfect for me.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:49 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

May 18, 2007

The More You Know...

Trying to take a shortcut to melting chocolate by nuking a coffee cup full of chocolate chips in the microwave?

When the time's up, don't grab the cup barehanded.

As a corollary - ceramic has a weird, almost adhesive quality when it is heated and then comes into contact with human flesh.

On the plus side, the cheesecake came out great!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 03:37 PM | Comments (2)

May 15, 2007

I Can Be A Hero, If Only In My Dreams

Last night I had one of those extremely long and involved dreams that seem to last for hours. This one was about a house party located in a combination house/restaurant. For some reason, I was getting a ride to the party from Paris Hilton, who was being extremely annoying, so I told her to stop being such a self-involved little twit. Then Paris burst into tears and spent the rest of the evening trying to get back in everyone's good graces by giving them tiny bottles of alcohol. And everyone at the party kept coming up to me and saying in hushed tones, "You made Paris cry!" and then grinning at me.

I woke up feeling powerful and refreshed.

Feel free to engage in gratuitous dream interpretation in the comments.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:44 AM | Comments (8)

May 07, 2007

Happiness Achieved; Blog Hit Hardest

You know, I've discovered an unfortunate truth: the more generally content I am, the less interesting I become. When I'm agitated or things aren't going well, I get hyped up and irritable and this fuels ranting and raving that can hopefully be considered entertaining.

Unfortunately for you, dear readers, I'm feeling pretty good right now. Oh sure, there's the constant underlying current of stress that comes from trying to get a handle on all the crap we've got to get done to put our house on the market and buy a new one, but it's not like we've got a deadline on that or anything. And closet cleaning hasn't inspired my Muse Of Rage, or her sister, the Muse of Humorous Anecdotes, and the Muse of Random Allergens, while definitely present for the cleaning and quite effective at making me sneeze, isn't much good for blogging.

I mean, politics are the same as usual, the academics I deal with are as nutty as ever, and there's a host of crap out there to get fired up about, but right now? I'm just kind of mellow. Sorry about that.

In the meantime, some advice: don't get arrested in Durham. Seriously.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:59 AM | Comments (1)

May 02, 2007

Not-So-Random Question

Dear Men -

Having seen one too many "male vitality" infomercials, Viagra and Cialis ads, and articles like this one, I have to ask:

When does it stop being all about your penis and its functionality or lack thereof?

I mean, if you want to be all obsessed with your parts, it's your perogative, but I've gotta tell you that when you start trying to drag us female types along with you in your quest for "the eternal ability to boink like bunnies" by creating magic libido enhancing/female weight loss pills, well, that's the point at which I may become violent.

People age and drives decline for a reason, guys, and at least one of those reasons probably has something to do with the ignominy of breaking a hip while trying to get your pr0n on at age 75.

The time comes when you just have to let go. Literally.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 03:06 PM | Comments (15)

April 30, 2007

I am the Zeitgeist, Goo Goo Ga Joob

Well, not so much. But I'm not the only person out there who's having flashbacks to pre-Reformation times with all of this talk of carbon offsets.

Read this.

The illustration is lovely as well.

In other news, the Z-Pak is truly a marvel of modern medicine. Tonsils are puss-free, and lymph nodes have been returned to their upright and locked positions. The only drawback is that it makes food taste kind of odd. But this, too, shall pass.

Tonight I shall take in a rousing game of T-Ball with my folks, and then I shall enjoy the latest episode of Drive with my nightly glass of wine.

April's almost over and life is good.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 02:55 PM | Comments (3)

April 25, 2007

Not My Best Month Ever

So now I have strep throat. Haven't had it since I was 12, and have no clue where I got it from, as no one else in the fam is sick. Yet. And at the risk of sounding like a pitiful whiny little beyotch, let me just say that 25 years is PLENTY of time in which to forget just how much strep throat sucks.

So let's recap, shall we? Euthanized dog, tore tendon, was laid low by strep. Hublet is slowly going insane because of a job interview, and taking me with him.

On the bright side, T-ball is turning out to be a blast, but it's not enough to overcome my irritation at April, the Cruelest Month.

Blogging will resume when I can sit upright for more than 10 minutes at a time.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:25 PM | Comments (5)

April 16, 2007

Lamest of the Lame

Blogging may be light this week, and not just because of my schedule.

Apparently, I am no longer the badass I once was.

Once upon a time, I played co-ed softball on a team called "the Gimps," and emerged virtually unscathed.

Once upon a time, I was routinely roughed up by a hyper Korean kickboxing instructor and managed to shrug it off.

But last week, my luck ran out. I was taken out of commission, not by flying fists or swinging bats, oh no.

I tore a tendon in my right hand by ringing a handbell.

In my defense, it was a really big handbell, and I have delicate, womanly wrists.

But still.

A handbell.

So the brace I have to wear makes typing a chore. As my job consists primarily of typing, this is problematic. Which means I will probably only type when I absolutely have to. Ergo, the blogging, it will be light unless I can persuade Hublet to take dictation.

However, feel free to point and laugh in the comments. God knows everyone at work has.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 03:50 PM | Comments (8)

April 09, 2007


We had to put old Gertie dog down today - she hadn't been able to eat anything without vomiting for about a week, and today she had a seizure and started vomiting blood. The vet had kept Gertie at her house over the weekend--funny thing about that dog, whenever she was around strangers or in strange places she was the model of limpid-eyed sweetness and the darling of all who saw her, but with me and Hublet, she fairly often resembled the devil.

I used to joke that I should have paid better attention to the sign on her kennel door when we got her from the SPCA - it said "Owner Deceased." I'm convinced that Gertie's first owner displeased her somehow, and she offed him.

Look deep into these eyes and tell me you don't think she could have done it.
This picture was taken a week ago, just before she went to the vet for the last time. Rest in peace, you stubborn old dog. There won't ever be another one like you.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:13 PM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

Stalwart Buttocks, Ho!

As you may have guessed from the title, Hublet and I finally made it to see (The) 300 in theatres this weekend. I loved it.

Manly men kicking ass in capes and underpants - check!

Limbs--Both Attached and Not! Flying! Through the air! - check!

Sweeping declarations of every single intention, delivered by bellowing men with the gravitas of Hamlet! - check!

Random crazy freakshow villains that seem to have wandered out of Lord of the Rings by accident - check!

And on a related note - seamless CGI! - check!

If nothing else, that movie was a visual treat. And not just because every single actor in the film appears to have done nothing but work out for 2 years prior to filming.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 04:57 PM | Comments (4)

April 05, 2007

Obviously, I Was Ghenghis Khan in My Former Life

And now I am being punished.

To recap My Week Thus Far:

Dying Dog
Everything I Touch At Work Turning to Crap

And at 2:30 a.m., Hublet and I were awakened by The Boy, who climbed into bed with us and proceeded to toss, turn and poke until I realized that not only was he going to bruise my kidneys, but also that he seemed really hot to the touch.

So, I'm working from home again, trying to finish the scary research release in time for the editorial cycle, while looking after a sick Boy and attempting to work out a payment plan with the vet so that my credit card doesn't implode.

Helpful Note to Readers - trying to learn how statistical regression analysis is done is easier when one is not exposed to the sounds of Dig Dug emanating from the TV in the den.

Oh, and the cat managed to come inside just long enough to vomit on the carpet. Three times.

I'd run away, only I can't afford to buy gas.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:53 AM | Comments (2)

April 04, 2007

A Week in the Life - Thus Far

Ah, Monday. After a weekend spent attending spring carnivals, toting a dog to the vet, waving palm fronds, and watching jousts at renaissance faires, I was ready for a relaxing time at work. Alas. Here's Monday:

1. Arrive to an irate email (cc'd to the freaking UNIVERSE) from an equally irate academic who insists that said academic's changes to a piece I wrote were not included.

2. Email back (somewhat snippily, and also cc'd to the freaking UNIVERSE) with attached document wherein academic's changes are marked, note that said changes were incorporated. Excise contested content and inform academic that ball is now in academic's court.

3. Get dragged into strange internecine departmental strife in one of the colleges, because a reporter had the temerity to call looking for an expert. Unsurprisingly, nothing is solved, the reporter is frustrated, and it's all my office's fault. Or something.

4. Realize that researcher with seriously big deal research coming out soon--which entails me coordinating with 2 other research institutions, a major journal, and a government funding agency--has not gotten me the promised changes to a release that has to go, AND that said researcher is now halfway across the globe, scheduled to return about 1 day before the embargoes lift.

5. The dog, who spent Saturday puking and receiving emergency fluids at the vet, is still not eating.

6. Find out that fun quirky research originally scheduled to be announced in May is actually being announced in 3 days, and we need a release for that.

7. Receive yet more changes from original academic who was complaining about changes--2 days after article was released.

8. Get another phone call from different reporter wanting the same expert who was involved in the earlier internecine academic douchebaggery.

9. Vow to start choking bitches from the Dean level downward.

10. Dog still not eating--now with Non-Drinking Action and a bit o' puke!

Tuesday -

11. More changes from academic A. The piece is no longer even available on the web. What. Ever.

12. Dog not eating. Not drinking.

13. Oops! Forgot that I had content for a web page due!

14. Vet wants to see dog. Grab crap for web page, decide to work from home.

15. Big deal researcher still AWOL. Other participants growing antsy.

16. Turns out latest version of big deal researcher's release isn't really the right version anyway. Vow to start choking self if the day does not end now.

17. Dog goes to vet for bloodwork, I.V. fluids and medication, and x-ray.

18. Oh, look! Email from another reporter wanting the same expert from the College of Academic Douchebaggery.

19. Vet wants to keep dog overnight. Promises to call after hours to discuss bloodwork results.

20. Miss Boy's T-ball practice while waiting for vet to call. He gets home from practice; guess what? Vet calls!

21. Turns out vet's treatment for dog's Cushing's disease has resulted in massive kidney damage and extended hospital stay that will probably wind up in euthanasia anyway, but what's another thousand bucks, right?

22. Go for relaxing walk, twist ankle.

23. Drink wine. A LOT of wine.


24. Arrive to find academic with quirky research waiting outside office, along with colleagues brandishing news articles concerning College of Academic Douchebaggery.

25. Guzzle coffee, force quirky research guy to come way, way down so that regular folks (like me, before I've had my coffee) can understand research.

26. Go to another meeting with a different academic about completely different research.

27. Email AWOL big deal researcher--wonder if 3rd world has good cell phone reception.

28. Coordinate more reporters with same expert. Giggle evilly to self the entire time.

29. Schedule more meetings, attempt to juggle random politics, crazy academics, and antsy reps from universities and government agencies while writing press release about research I just. don't. get.

30. Vow to choke next person who talks to me before Friday, I swear to God.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 12:21 PM | Comments (3)

March 27, 2007

Dear Everyone

Please stop using the term "mashup." It is neither fresh nor particularly descriptive. You aren't using it because it's the best word for the job, you're using it because you think it makes you seem hip and current.

Unfortunately, when everyone from new car reviewers to food marketers adopted the term approximately 5 minutes after it first appeared in Wired, it became neither.

So knock it off. If I want cloying, overly self-aware and ironic pseudo-slang passed off as descriptive language, I'll read the PMLA.

Thanks so much,

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:11 AM | Comments (6)

March 22, 2007

Long Week

It has been a long week. And a sad one. Yesterday I had to attend the funeral of a lady who was like a third grandmother to me--she babysat me from age 1 to age 9. I called her Grannybird. She was 95 and hale and hardy up until a month ago. I hadn't seen her in years, but visited with her before Thanksgiving, and had promised to bring The Boy by soon (he had a cold at Thanksgiving, and an assisted living home is no place for a small germ factory). Unfortunately, the next time we were in Winston, Grannybird was in the hospital.

When I told The Boy she had died, he said, "But I never even got to see what she looked like!" and cried.

Still, 95 years of a life well lived is something to be proud of.

So is 49 years, though the span is much too short. Weird how attached you get to people you don't really know, just because you read their blogs.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 03:32 PM | Comments (5)

March 19, 2007

Verging On Obsession

Watched the History Channel's blatant attempt to capitalize on Frank Miller this weekend--Last Stand of the 300. They did a nice overview of Spartan culture and Thermopylae and Themistocles and the Greek navy, and they actually had a budget of over a dollar to do it!

So what did they do? They filmed everything in weird blue and sepia tones, just like the movie based on the graphic novel, complete with total ripoff of the oracle scene--all blue and slo-mo and dreamlike. And while I appreciated the fact that this piece had much higher production values than the "Fat re-enactors in period military costumes" fare we usually get, the blatant copykat visual style kind of creeped me out.

As did Xerxes' hair.

And the pensive brown gaze of Leonidas. He was PENSIVE! Because he was SACRIFICING HIMSELF! PENSIVE, I SAY! By the 35th close-up, I was aware not only of King Leonidas' tendency toward pensivity, but also that he has 125 eyelashes on his upper left eyelid alone.

And the weird Moses-looking dude who apparently spent all his time standing on cliffs around Sparta, contemplating infants. Aaaaaaand scene!

And the sad, sad Persian who sat crying in the (CGI) rain. Seriously, who knew that the Persian Empire's biggest export was emo?

Overall, though, I enjoyed it. I'm going to see the actual movie this weekend, and I can't wait. Especially after reading this guy's take on why critics are so pissy about the whole thing. This excerpt just nails it:

The critics, however, were mostly hostile, and frequently venomous. Many reviews made the same points:

• “300” is not sufficiently ironic. It takes its themes (duty, loyalty, sacrifice, the preservation of Western civilization against enormous odds) too seriously to, well, be taken seriously.

• “300” is campy — meaning that many things about it can be read as sexual double entendres — yet the filmmakers don’t show sufficient awareness of this.

• All of the good guys are white people and many of the bad guys are brown. (How this could have been avoided in a film about Spartans versus Persians is never explained; the distinctly non-Greek viewers at my showing seemed to have no trouble placing themselves in the sandals of ancient Spartans.)

I guess they couldn't grok the fact that you can have a straightforward movie filmed in graphic novel style without a bunch of kitschy crap or world-weary ironic self-awareness slathered on in order to make it "acceptable" to the intelligentsia.

Sigh. The more I'm around the intelligentsia, the less apt their title seems to be.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 12:21 PM | Comments (13)

March 16, 2007

Haiku Friday

Here at work we have an email tradition - Haiku Friday - in which we spend time between managing freaks, professors and media by bitching about our lives in the form of traditional Japanese poetry. Because really, bitchery doesn't seem so petty when it's poetry. So here's to my Friday:

Twelve-thirty a.m.
The Boy appears with nosebleed,
Caffeine I.V., stat!

I posted this one at Emily's FFO thread:
Water falls from sky,
Drivers Panic! Traffic Jams!
Learn to drive, assholes.

Most neurotic prof
makes world-changing discov'ry
there goes my spring break.

The Boy and the dog
leak urine, blood and vomit
my carpets are dead

Supernatural -
last night's ep wasn't too great
but next week looks cool.

admins and department heads -
I wish to smite them.

God Of War is back,
Kratos slings his fiery blades
Hublet shakes his head.

Feel free to add your own...

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:20 AM | Comments (6)

March 13, 2007

Catching Up

I was greeted this morning by a random pile of entrails on the front sidewalk. Too big to be bird or mole--drat. This must mean it's rabbit season again.

The dog is at the vet for round 3 of tests, so we can determine which pills to give her to control the Cushing's. Woo.

We acquired a new betta fish on Saturday. The Boy has named it "Feather--that's a boy name."

If one more person tells me to be "intentional" about anything--strategizing, praying, or living--I will kill that person. Intentionally. Because it simply isn't POSSIBLE to unintentionally create a strategy or pray. It is possible to be thoughtful about these things, but apparently thoughtful isn't strong and verby enough for the Exhorters of Intentionality. Gah.

I can't wait to see The 300. Woo! Graphic novel-style visuals! Spartans! Ancient world ultra-violence! And I must confess myself bemused by all the freaking out about "OMG what does it MEEEEEEENNNNNN!" in reviews. Folks, it's a fictionalization of an historical event, filmed in a visually unique way. As a bonus, you can use it as a gateway to discuss current events, but I would caution you against letting your Inner English Majors get carried away, because that way lies poor argumentation, misuse of metaphor, random assignment of ciphers, and madness.

Here's the thing--Hollywood is perfectly capable of making a movie about the Iraq war that's actually set NOW and IN IRAQ. The 300 is not that movie. If Hollywood hasn't made a movie about the Iraq war, it's probably because they don't think it'll sell. Feel free to debate why that may be the case. It's a helluva lot more interesting than trying to figure out whether the Persians or the Spartans represent the U.S. in a movie made from a graphic novel written over a decade ago.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:24 AM | Comments (5)

March 08, 2007

Why I've Been AWOL

Let's see...

This week, I've had the dog's Cushing's disease confirmed, had a plumber out to stop the pipes in my home from exploding, got The Boy a haircut, new shoes, and his weight in Chick Fil-A nuggets--seriously, he ate FIFTEEN of those tonight; I foresee a growth spurt--practiced lifting handbells that are roughly the size of my child in rapid succession--ow--and oh yeah, worked almost 40 hours.

So there hasn't been a lot of time for me to pay attention to the world at large.

Though I did read this Inside Higher Ed article on KC Johnson's recommendation, and as usual, the comment section is way more interesting than the article could ever hope to be. The article in question is total garbage, not because anyone will disagree with the underlying "Rape is bad, mmmmmkay?" sentiment, but because she seems to think that the Duke lacrosse case is still a pertinent example of weird tribal racist sub-human male behavior--in athletes and fraternities, natch!--that leads to gang rape, based on the fact that the players hired a minority stripper deliberately. Lady, no. Whatever points someone could make to refute your underlying assumption that GROUPS OF WHITE MEN=BAD!RACIST!RAPISTS! become utterly unnecessary when one of your examples isn't even factually correct; i.e., the players actually specified a WHITE stripper.

This is pointed out in the comments section, which then devolves into "But they were DRINKING and HIRING STRIPPERS!" versus "So where in America does that justify a 20 year jail sentence?" and we go from there to "They're privileged white guys so it's just an inconvenience to have to spend a million dollars on legal fees" to "Doesn't this make the Champions of the Downtrodden wonder what would happen to a poor minority in this situation" to "Rape stats Lie!" to "I am SHOCKED AND OUTRAGED AT THE VICIOUSNESS ON THIS THREAD AND OMG THE HUMANITY!" That last one puzzles me--as Inside Higher Ed threads go, I think this one's been pretty tame...

Look, I know we all have a tendency to seize upon and interpret current events in ways that resonate with our world view, and to use these events to prove our larger social arguments. But here's the thing--when one of our pet examples turns out not to be such a good example, maybe we should let go of it and move on.

But what do I know? I'm knee deep in dead birds and dog piss.

Maybe tomorrow will be better.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:40 PM | Comments (2)

March 06, 2007

Ah, Augmentin. Balm of my Soul

Yep, that's two straight posts with titles lauding the efficacy of over-the-counter and prescription medications. My mother is convinced that I have a nose fungus, and that's why I keep coming down with sinus infections. I'm convinced that I just have tiny, tiny sinus cavities that won't drain and allergic rhinitis, which just means that while I don't technically have allergies, I have allergic reactions to just about everything in the air, which makes my sinuses run, and then clog, and then get infected.

Bottom line? Every two months I feel like I've been hit with a brick, get a low grade fever, body aches, chills, and the mother of all sinus infections.

In short, I spend 24 - 28 hours before the Augmentin kicks in feeling like these people look.

And that's no way to spend your days, people. Trust me.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 02:16 PM | Comments (1)

February 28, 2007

Dayquil, My Savior

Okay, I'm just gonna let this out: I am COMPLETELY OVER dog ownership. Seriously. I love dogs, but I will never, ever have another one, and not because I think that the one I have now, Gertie the Weiner-Beagle from hell, is irreplaceable. Nope. It's because Gertie the Weiner-Beagle and her 14 years worth of bizarre medical problems, food-related trauma, and random acts of stupidity have finally convinced me that I will be better off as a cat person, even if my cat regularly perfoms rabbit decapitations and snake ceasarians on my sidewalk, and has a sinking eyeball. Compared to Gertie, Keat is so low-maintenance as to be nearly invisible.

"So, what does this have to do with DayQuil consumption?" you may rightly ask.

Come with me, friends, on a journey to last night.....

Gertie has recently been diagnosed with Cushing's disease. Long story short--her body is producing many, many steroids, which cause symptoms like lethargy, increased water consumption, and lots of pee. The treatment is $5 per pill, AFTER a couple hundred dollars worth of testing and then another couple hundred dollars worth of re-testing to make sure we got the dosage right. Okay. The pills are only given weekly, so after the initial outlay, $20 bucks per month in the interest of clean carpets is something I'll be willing to do for a while--maybe. But that's neither here nor there, as we haven't gotten to the testing and treatment yet (by "recently diagnosed," I mean "this Monday.")

In the meantime, I've been offsetting the copious pee problem by sleeping with one ear alert for the tiniest bit of movement from under the bed, where Gertie sleeps. And therein begins our tale.

At 4:19 a.m., there was under-bed stirring. I checked the clock, deduced that if I let the dog pee now I'd have enough time for a decent REM cycle before the alarm went off, and so I followed Gertie to the kitchen, waited for her to drink some water, then let her out.

Then I waited. And waited. She'd done her business immediately, but seemed to be stuck sniffing a blade of grass beside the sidewalk. I opened the door, leaned out, and snapped my fingers at her, but was ignored. So I peered cautiously around, because I was in only a nightshirt and underwear, and then dashed quickly outside and, balancing on one leg on the sidewalk (didn't want wet feet in addition to cold feet), poked the dog with the big toe on my other foot. She moved away from what she'd been sniffing, and I recognized one of The Boy's shoes, which he had left on the porch after a mud incident. I checked the porch - both shoes were missing.

Suddenly, the jingling sound of dog tags could be heard approaching from the darkness, and the next-door-neighbor's dog came flying over, drooling and jumping and generally being a big, stupid, half-boxer mutt puppy who had apparently climbed out of his pen and was in the process of stealing The Boy's shoes.

He wanted the second shoe. He stepped on Gertie, who squeaked, and then it was on. The rest was a blur. Just picture a 30-something brunette woman in underwear roaring around the front yard brandishing a toddler size 12 shoe at a bounding, barking mutt, followed by a short brown blur of growling fur and teeth at 4:30 in the morning, and you'll get the general idea. Not a pretty sight.

Needless to say, impromptu front-yard dog aerobics in 30 degree weather at 4:30 a.m. make it a bit difficult to get back to sleep immediately. Thus the DayQuil.

And my decision to become a cat person.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 12:57 PM | Comments (5)

February 26, 2007

When Zombies Attack

So while everyone else was watching the marathon of self-congratulation that is the Oscars, I watched Land of the Dead, the final installment of Romero's zombie-fest. I felt it was an appropriate homage to Hollywood, plus I like zombie movies.

Or I DID, until this one. See, I was hoping against hope that all those quotes from Romero about "social commentary in the form of rotting corpses" wouldn't really pan out. Not because I don't think you can't read social commentary into Night of the Living Dead, because you totally can, and I actually enjoy reading articles about what our love of zombie movies tells us about society's hidden fears, but because if what Romero was spouting about his intentions with this movie were true, then it definitely ran the risk of being a bunch of heavy-handed stupidity.

And lo, about 20 minutes into the film, heavy-handed stupidity arrived, sat down on my sofa, popped open a beer, and proceeded to belch and scratch its way through the rest of the movie.

The premise was okay--bands of humans fortifying themselves against the dead, who, having been around for a while, are actually starting to learn again. Life goes on. Yadda yadda, insert tired, 60's era trope about "who are the real zombies, dude?" here.

But here's the thing--Romero tries too hard to force the viewer to identify with the populist everyman, whose entire motivation is to get the hell as far away from everyone else as possible. Dennis Hopper's character--the overlord in this little morality play--is completely one-dimensional, as though just putting a rich white guy on screen is enough to make the audience take one look at him and scream "THERE'S THE REAL EVIL, MAAAAANNN!"

And the ending? Where populist everyman DOESN'T destroy the zombies because "They're just looking for somewhere to go?" Um. What. The. Hell.

Note to everyone: Zombies will EAT you. They aren't sympathetic. Ever. They are the BAD GUYS. Populist everyman just watched a herd of them chow down on the "friends" that he had just finished passionately rousing everyone to save, and now he won't finish them off to prevent them from doing it again? So the living dead cheerleader figured out how to pull the trigger on an AK. Isn't that MORE of a reason to blow her head off? What, it's not enough that we're expected to understand the repressed rage of the undead at being considered second-class citizens, we have to leave them to create a zombie utopia in the ruins of a luxury high-rise?

What kind of dumb, half-assed moral relativism is this, anyway?

Plus the internal logic doesn't work--populist everyman seems to think that the zombies just want a home, dude. But that's wrong, because zombies have to eat, they only eat people, and if the people have fled, the zombies will have to follow them. I know, logic in a zombie movie. But I can only suspend disbelief so far--zombies existing and munching on human entrails? Fine. Humans suddenly deciding that the zombies are just, like, misunderstood ciphers for the underclass? Dear God, no.

Bottom line: If I have to choose between the soulless capitalist Dennis Hopper and an undead revolutionary, I'm going with Hopper EVERY TIME.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 12:07 PM | Comments (2)

February 22, 2007


Truly this week I got nuthin'. I can't seem to muster even a whiff of outrage at any of the "controversial" stuff I'm reading, aldaily isn't interesting, nor are Inside Higher Ed or the Chronicle. Pretty much it is the bleak midwinter, except for the part where it's 70 degrees outside today.

Perhaps it's burnout. I've read so many breathless accounts of The Horrors of Global Warming and It's All Our Fault that my only response now is something along the lines of "Call me when I need a boat and some SPF 100, 'cause I've got elsewhere to be." Note to everyone - telling people over and over again to freak out has the curious effect of numbing people to the thing they're supposed to be freaking out over. But maybe I just need some B12 to bring my Constant Panic Levels up to the normal range.

The Nifong situation has now devolved so far into self-parody that I can't contribute anything to the conversation except "read this blog regularly." As a corollary to that, the inability of the faculty involved in the "rush to judgement" to do anything beyond call KC Johnson a "right-winger" when he's a registered Democrat who supports Obama is just more of the same old, same old.

And to top it all off, Supernatural is a rerun.

I'd drown my sorrows in a Grande Skim Mocha, except I can't have chocolate.

Hopefully I'll be less morose tomorrow.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 03:04 PM | Comments (3)

February 20, 2007


Well, the play was fabulous. We had Promenade seating, which, if you read Hublet's posts, means that we were onstage with the actors during the performance. The setting for the first Act was a 1950's nightclub on New Year's Eve, so as we entered the stage we got champagne to drink, and we milled around--the actors made small talk and asked audience members to dance--until the performance started with a rousing chorus of Auld Lang Syne. I got to hold hands and sing with Antigonus, who later was eaten by a bear.

Actually being onstage made everything much more visceral--there was still a fourth wall, but it was like eavesdropping on someone's conversation instead of watching a performance. So Hublet and I stood up for 3 1/2 hours, paid $50 per person for the privilege, and enjoyed every minute of it!

And if you ever get the opportunity to do something like that, do it, but don't lock your knees--one chick passed out halfway through Act I.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:27 AM | Comments (2)

February 16, 2007

Great Shakes

To paraphrase Jane Austen, I am all excitement! This weeked Hublet and I will make our yearly sojourn to Davidson to see the RSC doing The Winter's Tale. You can see Hublet's account of taking a bunch of rural high-schoolers to my alma mater last weekend to see Pericles here, here, and here. Suffice it to say that Shakespeare's got nothing on a bunch of high school girls, drama-wise.

The RSC residency program at Davidson runs through 2008. It's not an understatement to say I'll be totally bummed out when it's over.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:08 AM | Comments (6)

February 14, 2007


So every day this week I've gotten mildly up in arms about something, but haven't managed to commit any of it to the blog.

Question - was the middle half of the homepage missing for a couple of days? I couldn't click on comments or see the text - it was like a giant tube of white-out had been smeared across the middle of the page. And I lack the blog-fu to figure out what made that happen.

Anyway, since I can't seem to gather my thoughts enough to create one coherent post about any one topic, here's a list of quick takes:

1. RE: the Edwards blogatrice incident - makes Edwards look like he didn't do his homework, makes me wonder if it's possible for politicians to co-opt the fringier online parts of their party in the first place, and why they would even want to, really. Seems like every time it happens there's fallout or trauma or payola scandals or something else that takes the spotlight off the candidate's message. And politicians can't afford that sort of crap.

2. Valentine's Day - it's all been said. February is a stupid month, and slapping a lacy, pink, candy-coated fake shell of a holiday on the bleak ass-end of winter sets my teeth on edge. I have no romance in me in February, nor do I want to experience anything lovey-dovey. The only thing I need heating up in February is an Irish coffee.

3. My colleague who cannot understand that in a press release, it's usually a good idea to answer the questions who, what, when, where, why and how at the BEGINNING of the release. What does one do with a person whose every release over a 2 year period ignores the standard format, even when said format is explained painstakingly by every person in the office? Further, what does one do with such a person when said person's response to each gentle correction is to burst into tears and shriek about how her family says she's a good writer? FYI - We had to table my suggestion involving the hot poker, as open heating elements are banned in the office.

4. The postmodern trend toward argument rehabilitation, as seen in the actions of academics and protesters at Duke. So now the words you wrote weren't actually what you meant--and you're literature professors. Okey-dokey.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 04:18 PM | Comments (12)

February 06, 2007


Things you don't want to hear in the morning, especially after a rough night marked by the spectral appearance of your son IMMEDIATELY IN FRONT OF YOUR FACE AT 3:00 a.m. and the resultant adrenaline rush that means you can't get back to sleep for an hour because you're lying awake and wondering where the external shutoff to your home's water supply is just in case the pipes freeze and burst, and then when you do fall asleep you dream you're a waitress with a broken leg and you're hopping around trying to take care of your tables but you can't find your pad and pen and everyone is pissed off at you...SO you end up getting about 4 hours sleep:

1. "The dog pooped in the floor." This little gem delivered to me as I tried in vain to get facial cleanser out of my eyes while stumbling around in the shower.

2. "Mommy, I dropped my squishy football!"
"In the potty!"
"Before or after you peed?"
"Before or after you flushed?"

Great. Did I mention I've been off caffeine for a month? Did I also mention that I am hearing the siren song of Starbucks right about now? Yeah.

I'm gonna get a cup of joe and lock myself in my office with my fuzzy blanket and socks (yes, I keep these things in a drawer for days like this) and I DEFY anyone to bother me!

So there.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:52 AM | Comments (3)

January 31, 2007

Serious as a heart...well, that might be in poor taste

In case you don't have kids or you've been living without access to any information medium for the past few days, February kicks off the American Heart Association's big fundraising drive.

As part of the effort, The Boy's school is going to participate in the Jump Rope for Heart event, and so The Boy is raising money. He even has a personalized webpage that will record donations in his name. We're trying to raise $100 for the cause before Feb. 12. Our family is small, and our goals are therefore modest.

I'm posting this for friends or family who may be inclined to donate a couple of bucks--or even for friendly lurkers who may have longed to show appreciation for my rapier wit (ahem) and the fact that I don't do ads, or readership drives, or any of that stuff. And no, you can't subtract money from the donations for posts of mine that you feel have been sub-par--a mean email will suffice.

You can go to this webpage and donate securely, and The Boy gets the credit, and maybe even a free t-shirt! It's the little things, folks. But seriously, even if you don't donate online, think about giving to your local participants--I don't know about you, but there are a few folks in my life who wouldn't be here if it weren't for the AHA's research. So good cause, yadda yadda, I'm done preaching.

CAVEAT: Apparently the online donations are for $25 or more, so if you want to give less, go local!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 02:29 PM | Comments (1)

January 30, 2007

This is Beautiful

My favorite items on this list:

The WTC towers fell in what was obviously a controlled demolition. The largest, messiest, deadliest, most witnessed, most mismanaged, most ill-timed, most poorly executed, and most uncontrolled controlled demolition in history.

And this:

The government planted explosives at the exact aircraft impact sites of the Pentagon and both WTC towers, the explosives and activity surrounding their placement went completely unnoticed, the rigging of the explosives was unharmed by the aircraft impacts, and they went off exactly when planned.

And this:

Somehow orchestrating the hijacking of multiple airliners to have them crash at explosive-rigged sites was more effective than just setting off the explosives by themselves in the first place.

Hee! Read the links associated with the list for maximum hilarity.

You know, the part of me that despairs at the gullibility of dumb angry people is horrified that these kinds of lists are even necessary, but the part of me that kind of likes to point and laugh at dumb angry people (yeah, yeah, I'm horrible, sue me) is happy that it exists.

Shamelessly stolen from here.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:34 AM | Comments (2)

January 24, 2007

Comments Up. WTF


Now comments seem to be working, AFTER I'd fiddled with everything I could think to fiddle with and resigned myself to creating a new blog from scratch.


Will try to post something mildly interesting/entertaining soon, but here's something to make you feel better about your parenting choices: I am incapable of suppressing my laughter when my son says "penis head." I know I should be an adult about it, but the first time he said it--and it was totally my fault for insisting that he start using the proper name for his piece-parts instead of "wee-wee"--I just guffawed.

If you've been around a 5-year-old, you know what happens when you give them that sort of response. But "penis-head" is apparently my poker face's Waterloo. Even typing it makes me giggle.

So, having lost the moral high ground without even a struggle, I had to settle for the "we don't say 'penis head, because it's ugly, and especially not in public" speech, and then leave the room before I lost all control of my laughter. Again.

Proof positive that someone with the mental age of 12 can at least try to raise a child.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:29 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

January 22, 2007

Comments Down

Hey all -

Sorry the comments are hosed - I've gotten some cool responses to my last post I'd like to share. Will do later.

In the meantime, if you need to get ahold of me, it's bigarm at bigarmwoman dot com.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 05:08 PM | Comments (0)

January 05, 2007

Funniest Thing I Read Today

"I know it's been a while, but listen -- I've been real busy with things. And I know a lot of y'all think I've been acting real trashy since Kevin and I split up, but listen, it was a ROUGH TWO YEARS THERE. Sometimes a girl just needs to take her vagina out for some air, and that's all I was doing, so maybe you shouldn't judge me so much because if you'd been married to Kevin Federline for however long we were married, you would go on a binge later too."

From here.

And in Other Cat-Related News, I think I finally managed to get 3/4 of a dose of peevish cat's medicine down her gullet. There was a combo of burrito wrapping and scruff grabbing and head holding, and she does this annoying tongue flapping thing, but it's improvement, folks! Improvement!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 03:29 PM | Comments (0)

January 03, 2007

Update and Question of the Day

So the cat has toxoplasmosis, which they pretty much all get at some point--no biggie, unless you're pregnant and changing litter boxes. Given my cat-filled girlhood, I've probably already had the virus anyway. So, we learn something new every day--sinking eyeballs can be a symptom of toxoplasmosis. Anyhoo, now in addition to the cream and the eye drops, I have to force 2ml of nasty liquid antibiotic down her throat twice a day. She is a very peevish cat. And will be for the next 28 DAYS, because that's how long I have to give her this medication. Dear God.

Question of the day, for those of you following the Duke lacrosse "thing"--is the DA fiendishly clever and cynical about vote-getting, or scarily incompetent? Neither answer will make me happy, btw.

Read this blog and decide for yourselves.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 02:22 PM | Comments (6)

January 02, 2007


Finally, a one-sentence summation of why Philip Pullman's books have really never done it for me:

"...while Pullman’s imagined worlds are powerfully eerie, his characters are flat, humorless and generally annoying."

Exactly. While it's a good thing to have humorless and annoying characters within a fantasy series, they're really only useful as foils. When you would happily watch any of the main characters in a three-book series drawn and quartered, however, that might indicate a problem with the concept.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:19 AM | Comments (5)

January 01, 2007

Cat's Eye

You know, I may not be the most attentive mom sometimes--after all, I'm the one who thought my husband was overreacting about the Boy's July head wound that resulted in 2 metal staples being placed in his scalp--but I'm damn near telepathic when it comes to detecting pet weirdness.

Well, except when the pet in question has managed to tuck a deer leg beneath my computer desk, but really, that was an anomaly.

So anyway, a week or so before we were to engage in our 2006 Christmas Extravaganza, I noticed that the cat's left eye looked, well, like it was sinking into her head. Not much, but something seemed off. But there was no redness, no discharge, she was eating and drinking and killing moles like there was no tomorrow, so I thought, "Maybe I just haven't paid attention to her in so long I've forgotten what she looks like," and moved on.

But then the eye looked normal. Then it looked all sinky again. Normal, sinky, normal, sinky. So when I took her to the vet to be boarded, I decided to go with my gut and ask them to check out her left eye. You should have seen the look the receptionist gave me when under SYMPTOMS I had written "Sinking left eyeball." Yes, I realize I communicate for a living. But I'm also more than a little evil, and like to present my more highly-paid fellow citizens with an occasional challenge. Besides, it was the most accurate description I could come up with.

Off we went to Asheville, and when I didn't receive a call from the vet, I figured I'd just have to contend with more strange looks when I went to retrieve the cat, which we did at the tail end of a marathon 6 hour journey on Friday, which included a pit stop by my folks' house to pick up the dog, unpacking and repacking the car in their driveway, and ill-considered Diet Dr. Pepper consumption that resulted in a cranky, tired, me with a full, full bladder when we popped into the vet's office.

Which was deserted. Seriously. The Boy and I wandered around for a good 5 minutes, opening the door repeatedly so that the electronic DING would alert the vet to our presence.

Finally, the receptionist's 9 year old daughter appeared and stared at us for a few minutes before leaving, ostensibly to retrieve her mom.

Five minutes later.

So we're paying the hundred and fifty bucks for the diagnostics and the boarding and the receptionist says, "The vet has some medications for the cat and she wants to talk to you."

Another 20 minutes pass. Lots more patients are coming in. Hublet and the dog are wandering the parking lot, and the dog is totally stressing out, because vet visits tend to be frequent and unpleasant for canines who will consume entire pounds of raw bacon at one sitting.

Finally, the vet comes in. To say that this vet is earnest is like mentioning that Napoleon might have been sensitive about his height. She's also about twelve.
She launches into a ten minute monologue about the third eyelid and the infection, and it takes her at least that long to get to the point, which is: third eyelid infected; this infection tends to be a symptom of something else, but I didn't do any more diagnostics because I wanted to talk to you first.

Sigh. As I am not the model of patience, my instinctive response was, "Well, you could have CALLED me and talked to me about it, and then I would have told you to go ahead and do a diagnostic and treat the cat so that I wouldn't have to drag her sorry ass back up here again, because my cat and car trips DO NOT MIX, like AT ALL, and you're not the one who has to drive around with a yowling feline acting like her intestines are being extracted through her nostrils every time we make this trip, plus I wouldn't have had to sit here for thirty minutes with a REALLY FULL BLADDER waiting for you to SPIT IT OUT ALREADY, and by the way, how much more is this going to cost, dammit?", but as I am a public relations professional, I managed to spin that a bit.

So, an additional $132 and fifteen minutes later, I retrieved a disgruntled cat with a really dialated left eyeball, drops and cream for said eyeball, and was given instructions to return to the office on Tuesday--which means Hublet will have to beat feet tomorrow to pick up the Boy, stuff the cat into a carrier, and drag her and her yowling self to the vet to discover whether or not I will have to adminsiter yet more medication to a CAT, which is about as much fun as stabbing yourself repeatedly in the eye with a nail file, especially when the cat has a tongue like a gecko's and the ability to lick eye ointment which makes her foam at the mouth like Cujo, and can I just reiterate that all of this could have been avoided with ONE PHONE CALL?!?!

I can? Good. Makes me feel better.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:59 PM | Comments (1)

December 31, 2006

Is it 2007 yet?

Oh. My. God.

Christmas has finally ended at my house--we just returned from visiting the brother and sister-in-law today and The Boy has officially run out of gifts to be opened. He's been doing this sporadically since December 15, so in my considered opinion it's about Freaking Time!

On a serious note: Best Christmas Ever! The Big Arm household has finally entered the era of high speed wireless internet access, and may I just say that the last barrier to my burgeoning internet addiction--crappy dialup on a desktop--is gone. I expect to have the cerebral shunt installed sometime in 2007, so that I can stay online all the time.

Also, I am apparently a total girl, because Hublet came through with some spiffy jewelry (that he purchased all by himself, with a minimum amount of trauma to his manhood), and I lurve it.

I spent the remainder of this afternoon de-Christmasing the house, because the Real, Live Tree that the Boy demanded had given up the ghost sometime around December 26, and was emitting a scent that was decidedly NOT on the Yankee Candle Company's inventory.

So, to sum up--sorry I've been AWOL, life is awesome, and I have managed to save the household and its occupants from Death By Fraser Fir Fumes.

2007 is already shaping up nicely.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:56 PM | Comments (0)

December 20, 2006

Of Mucous and Reindeer Heads

As you may know, we went to Camden this past weekend to see 26 of my nearest and dearest relatives at the yearly South Carolina free-for-all known as Aunt Pat's Christmas. These are the relatives that have been involved in assorted misadventures involving lion ownership, gunplay on the highway, moonshine and shotguns, and haunted houses. It's good to be a southerner.

The Boy had developed a slight cough before we left. But it was slight. Barely even worth mentioning.

We drove down Friday night, and slept in a hotel room with one of those stupid heater/air-conditioning units that doesn't have a thermostat, so you're up and down all night either turning it off or on or fiddling with the knobs.

I slept in the bed with The Boy and his slight cough.

The next day we visited my cousin on vicodin (the cousin, not us, although some vicodin would have been useful once we crammed all 26 of us inside a confined area), ate a big meal, opened some gifts, and then got back in the car and drove back to Raleigh to make it in time for Sunday's Bell Ringing and Preschool Christmas Pageant Extravaganza, in which I totally lost my place mid-piece, the piano accompianist totally forgot to show up in time to play the first piece, the organist got about 3 measures ahead--we had a guest organist, because our regular organist fell and broke his hand--and some other kid tried to take my kid's place as the third wise man, prompting the THAT MOM glare of doom from me until the situation was rectified. I did not spend 3 hours in a car with an excitable wise-man-to-be just to be thwarted by some random Kindergartener. Seriously. Talk to me about Christmas cheer and assorted mushy nonsense AFTER I successfully procure the video of the 3 kings that my mother threatened me about.

The Boy's cough was a little worse. And I was feeling a bit, shall we say, stuffy. But I soldiered on. After all, I had gifts to wrap and crap to bake and a house to clean and Target to visit.

Welcome to Monday. And a call from the school about my bronchially-challenged son. And a call from an astro-physicist about a seriously kickass discovery. And a call from some very earnest scientists concerning biomass, ethanol, and saving the world.

Yeah. But mucous takes precedence, so home I went. Then there was a marathon trip in which I tried to procure actual Sudafed, not the fake crap that doesn't work, then some baking, and Christmas card addressing, and cleaning, and more Sudafed for me.

Tuesday found Hublet at home with The Boy, and he was secretly happy about that, because his school is in the throes of pre-Christmas vacation gooberness. Cue more baking and Christmas cheer. And more Sudafed. And a call from my mom who has come down with whatever it was The Boy has.

Today finds me running dangerously low on Sudafed, freaking out about astrophysics, and preparing to head to The Boy's Kindgergarten to make Rudolph heads out of Wonder Bread, Peanut Butter, M&Ms; and pretzels.

So if you don't hear from me any more this week, it's because I'm either
a) Dead from Mucous and lack of Sudafed, or
b) Dead from Christmas cheer-related activities, or
c) Sitting comatose in front of the TV watching Little People, Big World and drinking Irish Coffees by the gallon.

Just so you know.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:32 AM | Comments (3)

December 15, 2006


Well, we're off to Camden for an overnight and then back here for bell ringing and Christmas pageanting and the whole middle America Norman Rockwell thing, provided I don't get all ENTJ, type-A out of control with the list-checking and the baking and the travelling and the volunteering, and start body-checking my fellow shoppers at the local Target...

See, that's why I went for a 30 minute massage at lunch today. Thanks for the gift certificate, Hublet! Because after a tiny woman with iron hands spends a full half-hour crushing the muscles in my neck and shoulders into buttery smoothness, everything--even an impending 3 hour drive with an irritable Boy who is most likely coming down with some hideous contagious illness that will infect every elderly person in my family--is just fine.

And as today is Hublet's birthday, I figure the least I can do is be relaxed for twelve hours or so.

Back Monday.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 02:11 PM | Comments (2)

December 12, 2006

Our Something, Who Art Located Somewhere...

So it's Sunday morning, and the family has managed to make it to church on time. This is a banner day, indeed, because it means that we're able to hear the scripture that the lesson will be based upon, instead of just wandering in to listen to Sermon Without Context. What can I say, I'm big on context.

So we listen to a sermon chock full o' real-life examples and touching homilies and all that, and it is a powerful sermon indeed, until about halfway through it when Hublet leans over to me and says, "I can't take it. He's doing it again and I can't not notice it, and it's driving me slowly insane."

I nod and sigh, because I know what he's talking about, and while it seems like a small, nitpicky thing on the surface, it really, really isn't.

Our preacher delivers his sermons without ever using a pronoun in reference to God.

Think about that for a minute, and ruminate on the cornucopia of stupid, awkward sentence constructions that result, constructions like:

"God says that God wants you to be happy! God knows God's will better than anyone else, and we should listen to God, because God says that God will always be with us!"

Again, seems nitpicky on the surface, right? But the problem is twofold:

First, it's jarring to listen to, and yanks you right out of the sermon, because it's like God has suddenly become a pro athlete who constantly refers to himself in the third person, and second, once you notice that the preacher is doing this, you start to wonder why.

And if you're me, this will piss. you. off.

What, exactly, is wrong with using the pronoun "He" in reference to God? We sing about God the Father in the Doxology, we recite the Lord's Prayer, wherein we accurately locate our deity in heaven and honor HIS name, so why, in the name of all that is holy (literally) can we not refer to God as He in a sermon?

Do Methodists actually think that God might be female? Have we suddenly co-opted the cult of Astarte, the multi-breasted earth goddess, and so must be sensitive to the needs of the she-deity? Are we afraid that women in our congregation just haven't realized that God might be male, and so our preacher is protecting us from a sudden shock? Is a pronoun not holy enough to confer the greatness of the Almighty? Is the preacher afraid that we may forget WHO HE'S TALKING ABOUT WHILE WE'RE IN CHURCH? What? What is the purpose of doing this? Just--WHAT? Grammatically it's a nightmare, theologically it's unnecessary if you're a Methodist, and medically, I believe the practice of removing pronouns from the sermon may result in spontaneous brain aneurysms in English majors within the congregation.

See, there's already a church for folks who like to be open about the gender of the Almighty--it's called the Unitarian church, and there are several conveniently located nearby.

As for the rest of it...God help me.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:13 AM | Comments (23)

December 08, 2006


I'll start this on a serious note - someone please get Lindsay Lohan checked into a facility somewhere. Erratic behavior, crazed drunken public displays, weird hyper-paranoid emails that display an amazingly over-evolved sense of self-importance--these things are funny, but not when the person doing them obviously needs help. So someone? Tackle her and chain her to a detox center for a year or two. And ship her mother to Zimbabwe while you're at it.

However, there is a silver lining to every cloud of drug-addled celebrity crazy. In this case, the ramblings of Lohan can be used as an effective teaching tool by high school english teachers on how NOT to structure an argument, spell, or play fast and loose with the rules of grammar.

Are you listening, Hublet?

Here's the text of the email.

And here, some people take a stab at editing/grading it. The beauty of the exercise is that even if you're a disaffected, non-academically-engaged 10th grader, you can probably locate at least ten errors in the missive. So Ms. Lohan is correct about her influence on the younger generation--she improves their self-esteem by making them feel smarter than she is!

Get some help, Lohan, before you're too far gone for even Al Gore to save.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:33 AM | Comments (2)

November 29, 2006

Random Weirdness

Those of you who surf at odd hours may have noticed the bizarro-world comment spam that appeared on the previous entry--Marc did, and commented that I tend to attract my fair share of weirdos. I usually keep all the nutbar comments around for the perverse humor I take from them, but I had to delete that one, because it was just too freaking long to deal with. Maybe I'll start saving them into a Compilation of Crazy, and publish excerpts every now and again.

I do tend to attract random weirdness on this blog, which I find sort of odd considering its relatively low profile. I mean, I would expect my more opinionated blog brethren and sistren to get a lot of trolls and cranks, but I'm not exactly what you'd call a magnet for controversy. But then again, this sort of thing happens to me in real life A LOT.

I don't know what it is about me, but people who are in the throes of emotional trauma or who have deep-seated psychological problems tend to home in on me like delusional pigeons. It happens to me a lot when I'm shopping--random people come up and ask me for advice, and then launch into these sometimes truly horrifying tales of woe, and I'm just standing there wondering how the hell I'm supposed to recommend a recipe for frozen chicken when this 80 year-old-man is telling me that it's the government's fault that he lost his wife and now he has to cook for one and doesn't know how to do it. See? Tragic, yes, but also delusional, because his wife, from what I could tell from his commentary had perished of old age, not black helicopter induced cancer. And that's a fairly ordinary 5 minute encounter in the frozen foods section of the local BJs--if you're me, that is.

It used to be that random children tended to flock toward me. This was when I was 20 or so and hated all things child-related with a fiery passion. My friends and I could be in the middle of a mall or restaurant, when suddenly a child would materialize at my elbow and either offer me a pre-licked lollipop or ask me to tie their shoe or introduce me to their Woobie Bear. And it was always me, never my maternally-inclined friends or any other convenient grownup.

Now it's random grown-ups. I don't think I have a particularly approachable air about me, I don't make eye contact with strangers, and generally these people have to go out of their way to get my attention, when there are 4 or 5 other more easily reachable folks nearby. It's either karma biting me in the ass or some weird vibe I put out. And it must be a vibe that translates to the internet.

On the bright side, it does provide plenty of blog fodder.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 12:30 PM | Comments (7)

November 27, 2006

Hey! That's Me!

Just got back and am digging out from under approximately 500 pR0n spam messages, to discover that a reporter from the NYT had tried to contact me last week about a story on the burgeoning field of Fat Studies. Yes, I used burgeoning. I am a bad, bad person, and will have lots of time to think about snarky word choice as I roast in hell.

Needless to say, I missed that boat, but she did quote my blog - thanks to commenter Weezy for bringing it to my attention.

The article is here (and you'll have to register). I am briefly mentioned on page 2. Weird.

Sometimes I forget that typing words and sending them into the void means that other people may actually read them.

But enough about me - well, that's a total lie, since this entire blog is about me, and sharing my unique flowerhood with the world at large, but anyway, you get the point.

I was all set to talk about the latest feminist manifesto from the latest feminist scholar when I came upon a set of reviews for her book here, but as I finished reading the oh-so-cleverly turned phrases and bits of navel gazing that pass for literary criticism these days I was left with a big fat feeling of "so what?"

Seriously, I have reached critical ennui with the whole "omgwtfbbq women should/shouldn't work/have kids/write vagina monologues/vote a certain way" debate, because it dawns on me that the debate isn't really about women anymore so much as it's about the fact that we all think happiness is a fundamental right, and one that we shouldn't have to work or sacrifice for.

All this puling about ladies with PhDs who are staying home or fighting the boardroom fight is merely projection on a truly cosmic scale. As though feminism's legacy, instead of the freedom to choose a course to pursue, is just a license to worry that what you're pursuing isn't valid, and to validate it by tearing down the other side. And you can't lay that off on society or the patriarchy, kids. It's all on you.

I suppose we should at least take comfort in the fact that we're doing what men have been doing since time immemorial. Ahh, I love the smell of gender equality in the morning. Smells like progress.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 04:28 PM | Comments (3)

November 22, 2006


Just popping in to say sorry I've been MIA, but it looks like it's gonna stay that way until after Thanksgiving.

However, I am looking forward to the holiday season, mainly because at this year's ginormous family Christmas gathering Hublet and I get to stay at my cousin's house in Camden, and my cousin and his wife believe it's haunted. Call the Ghost Hunters! So that'll be something different, and will help me keep my mind off of the fact that haunted or not, 200 year old homes are all DEFINITELY drafty. My wool socks are already packed.

I will be spending my post-turkey, pre-Christmas time cleaning the carpet and attending approximately 437 birthday parties for newly-minted 5 and 6-year-olds. From time to time I pause to ruminate on why I have no social life, and then I'm reminded that my social life currently consists of toting my son, aka the Life of the Freaking Party, to various indoor party palaces. Which, as long as there's an occasional foray to the local Pump it Up, is okay with me.

And I leave you with this quote to ponder:

“Proposing that Jane Austen was a lesbian or Sophocles a cross-dresser,” writes the literary theorist Terry Eagleton, “is one way for those who have nothing especially stunning to say about irony or tragic fate to muscle in on the literary scene. It is rather like being praised as an eminent geographer for finding your way to the bathroom.”

from this article.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:46 AM | Comments (1)

November 17, 2006

I Don't Even Know What Day it is

Suffice it to say this week has been hectic and strange, thus the lack of posting. And it won't get better - today we're heading out of town to attend Hublet's grandmother's funeral. She passed away from a stroke at age 97, and Hublet remembers her here.

Have a good weekend - perhaps my brain will be firing on more than one cylinder next week.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:34 AM | Comments (0)

November 16, 2006

Signs that perhaps I need a vacation

1. Painting the floor of my den. The CARPETED floor. With an entire quart of American Tradition flat latex in the subltly lovely shade of "Tea Biscuit." My bathroom, incidentally, looks very nice with what I was able to scrape off the carpet and apply to the walls. My hair looks good with its patina of Tea Biscuit, as well. Thanks for asking. And FYI? If the chick at the Lowe's paint counter asks you if you want clamps on the paint can? Say yes. Because my response--"No, I'll be opening it as soon as I get home"--while technically true, didn't take into account the many ways in which "opening paint as soon as I get home" could be construed by the universe. Joke's on me, I guess.

2. Getting a little too excited about gas station squeegee prowess as regards my sparkling windsheild and forgetting to, you know, remove the gas pump from my car before driving away. Hilarity? Oh, it ensued. Fortunately I did remember to put the car in Park before leaping out of it to replace the pump and my gas cap. It was a near thing, however.

3. Death of the TiVo! Loss of unwatched Veronica Mars! No TiVo or satellite TV for at least ONE WHOLE DAY! No, seriously. You don't understand. It's Thursday, and now I will have to settle for watching my misty-eyed manly demon hunters get all misty-eyed and manly on the craptastic tiny TV with NO SATELLITE CONNECTION and rabbit ears! I only have 3 shows that I watch regularly, people. And you don't even want to see what Hublet will become without access to cable sports and news. This is ugly.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 12:47 PM | Comments (2)

November 10, 2006

Friday Vent

No, not me. I'm actually feeling inexplicably chipper--well, okay, maybe it's not so inexplicable when you factor in the Grande Skim Light-Whip Mocha breakfast in a recyclable, earth-friendly cup I purchased this a.m.--but for those of you who aren't, Emily's new staple of Friday, the Friday F*** Off Thread, is up and running.

Vent about the piddly aspects of modern life that drive you around the bend. Even if you don't vent, reading the venting of others will certainly cheer you up. I know I always feel better afterward. Cleansed, even.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:56 AM | Comments (5)

November 09, 2006

Because the UN Said So, Dammit!

This article makes me laugh, because the basic premise is that Norwegians need to stop whining about problems with their government because the United Nations have ranked them as the best country to live in.

No, seriously. Here's the actual lede:

The United Nations ranked Norway as the best country to live in for a sixth consecutive year Thursday, prompting the country's aid minister to tell Norwegians to stop whining about wanting more.

More what, you ask?

Norwegians often complain of high taxes and of weaknesses in their cradle-to-grave welfare state, such as waiting lists at hospitals and a shortage of public care for both children and the elderly.

Seems to me they're actually asking for less, then, at least in terms of taxes. Fortunately, The Government™ has the solution - give more of your money!

Solheim said instead of complaining, Norwegians should work on solving those problems, and to share their wealth with poorer countries.

Proving that no matter where you live, politically tone-deaf politicians are a constant.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:55 PM | Comments (5)

November 07, 2006

Civic Doody

Voted. Rah. Not much else to say on that score--my county is pretty republican, except we have a democratic congressman. Typical North Carolina politics, really. Democrats here probably wouldn't pass muster with the Kos crowd--well, democrats who actually get elected here, anyway. I'm sure there are a few un-electable ones that those folks would love. But I digress.

The main reason I voted was to cast my ballot for our sheriff, who just amuses the hell out of me.

As usual, election day has me fantasizing about my dream government, which would consist of a bunch of people whose main salient features would be (in order):

1. Handling bad guys


2. Leaving me the hell alone.

Really, that's it. I'm not a complicated gal.

Sadly, I am apparently doomed to disappointment. At least our sheriff is interesting--I just hope he doesn't get emotionally invested in being a "character" and just concentrates on getting rid of the meth labs and cockfighting.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:06 AM | Comments (1)

October 27, 2006

Pumpkinhead, Ho!

I am tired, I hate rain, and I'm not entirely sure what the hell the little Greek chemist on my tape recorder is trying to tell me about cellulose as I sit here trying to transcribe the conversation.

But things are looking up - The SciFi channel will be airing its very own Pumpkinhead sequel on Saturday night. I must disclose my love for Pumpkinhead, though I refuse to acknowledge the original sequel, Pumpkinhead: Bloodwings, because What The Hell Was That Even About? In fact, until a friend of mine mentioned it yesterday, I had managed to forget that it even existed. Thanks for reminding me, friend.

However, this one will have Lance Henriksen in it, and I love him. He's what, 92 years old and still doesn't look much older than he did in 1989. So, yay! Bring on the cheesy Halloween goodness!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:56 AM | Comments (2)

October 24, 2006

Lite Tuesday Reading

This pretty much sums up my feelings about everyone and everything right now.

Not that I'm bitter.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 12:44 PM | Comments (8)

October 23, 2006

Thought for the Day

The amount of fun that you will have at a high school reunion is inversely proportional to how much of high school you remember.

Since I can barely remember the names of the people I work with on a daily basis, let alone the Drah-ma of decades past, I had a really good time. Also, the women were a lot better preserved than the men--it's all in the hair, people. You can be forgiven for just about anything if your hair looks good. That's why my entire anti-aging program can be summed up thus: moisturizer and hair dye. It works, and think of the money you save on plastic surgery!

And this is apropos of nothing, but on my way home from the aforementioned reunion I managed to see something stuck on a car that tops even the most vapid of bumperstickers: a pair of silver testicles (either fake, or pulled off of a local bovine and immediately plated in semi-precious metals) dangling from the nether bumper of a souped-up chevy caprice.

Yes, I just used the phrase "souped-up chevy caprice." Un-ironically. But I've got a question for the owner of the be-testicled vehicle: If your car really is as badass as you want us all to believe, would you need to adorn it with fake testicles? Yeah, that question's rhetorical.

In other news, The Boy is turning into a rather determined metrosexual. Today was picture day, and there was much sartorial deliberation, as well as a refusal to wear his hoodie because it might "mess up his hair." His hair that I have to style with gel before I blow it dry, by the way.

He also informed me in a solemn and somewhat shocked tone that the girls in his class keep trying to marry the boys. Apparently, if the girls DON'T like you, they threaten you with marriage. I will not opine on what this means for the idea of marriage for his generation, nor will I make the obvious jokes. His teacher had to make a general class announcement to the effect that no one would be marrying anyone in Kindergarten, and so the crisis was averted. For the moment, anyway.

Between the reunion and the threat of rampant kindergarten marriage, I have never been so glad to be pushing 40.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 02:52 PM | Comments (4)

October 19, 2006

Nothing Like That Has Ever Happened to Me

Thank God.

Funniest thing I've read this week:

The Night I Saw Prince's Penis

Check the comments for a horror story about Jane's Addiction's Perry Farrell.

Makes me unaccountably happy that the only concert I've ever had front row seats for was REM. Michael Stipe is many things, but at least he wears pants that contain his parts.

Hoo boy.

Via Defamer.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 04:39 PM | Comments (2)

October 17, 2006

What to Say, What to Say...

Gee. Should I blog about my fantastic weekend, full of actual white tablecloth food and then a fun trip to the fair with The Boy wherein we rode everything that held still long enough and managed to avoid the fried coke, or should I focus on the topical?

Decisions, decisions.

Let's see, we hit the 300 million population mark today, well, more or less--it was probably actually a while ago because of all the "folks we haven't counted," wink-wink. Cue the whining!

Madonna, ever the fashion-forward maven, adds a new accessory to her wardrobe: a small boy from Malawi! Cue the whining!

Ah, Durham, sweet Durham. You are such a wildly screwed-up town. Maybe we should give all the citizens 48 hours to evacuate and then just raze it and start over...but first, let's make all the profs at Duke read The Crucible, and see how many of them get the irony.

Hmm. Tough call.

The fair? A lot of fun, thanks for asking. I limited myself to my once-yearly corndog with mustard, which comes on a stick, thus allowing me to avoid worrying about the many and varied microbes on my hands coming into contact with my insides. Ick.

And The Boy, I am pleased to report, will ride anything. I have visions of amusement parks dancing in my head already.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 02:46 PM | Comments (5)

October 10, 2006

Betrayed by Ovaries, Part 1 Million

Ovaries are evil. They are directly responsible for bloating, the craving of spray cheese on crackers (which leads to bloating), and now for making us spend money trying to get all gussied up.

Although, there may be an upside. When Hublet sees how much I spent on shoes today, I can always just blame my ovaries:

"I wasn't in control--my damn ovaries took over just as I entered the DSW and I came out with two more pairs of shoes in addition to the cute pair of Candies I bought over at Kohl's--heck, you're lucky I didn't toss in that extra $50 pair of hooker pumps! My ovary-fu, it is strong. Lucky for you your wife has extra anti-ovary fortitude!"

Yeah, that'll work.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 03:12 PM | Comments (3)

October 06, 2006

No Friday Post for You

As you may know by now, stuff is blowin' up real good 'round these parts, and my job consists of getting people who know what they're talking about in touch with people who talk about what's happening. So. Am busy. And in no danger of succumbing to chlorine gas, thanks for asking.

Have a great weekend!

I'll be painting my bathroom and rewatching this week's episode of Supernatural until Hublet drags me forcibly away from the TV. Creepy clowns and angst. Good times, people.

Incidentally, Hublet and I celebrated 10 years of marriage yesterday with Chinese take-out. We'll be going on a real date to a restaurant with tablecloths and a decent wine list next weekend.

Yeah, my middle name is "Excitement!" Or "low maintenance," take your pick.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 03:30 PM | Comments (3)

September 25, 2006

Yearly Oxford American Lovefest

It's here! The Oxford American Southern Music issue with the included Southern Music CD, this year helpfully underwritten by CMT.

Hublet and I were discussing the OA yesterday on the way home from church, and decided that they could probably completely overcome their famous monetary woes (this is the only magazine that I've been a subscriber to even when they couldn't afford to actually produce the magazine for their subscribers) if they just became a quarterly and concentrated on their best niches: music, food, art and writing. Those are the most memorable issues, and you can tell that the writers and editors really have fun producing them. But I digress.

This year's CD is typically eclectic, with everything from Tex Williams (Smoke Smoke Smoke that Cigarette) to a classical piece by the south's only notable composer, Louis Moreau Gottscalk, to a song that those of you who grew up with Schoolhouse Rock will remember (Three is a Magic Number), to some random novelty song a grocer produced with Muhammad Ali (Theme from Ali and His Gang vs. Mr. Tooth Decay).

And Drivin' and Cryin', the theme band for my senior year of college, and the reason why my son's teacher will probably be calling me at home any day now.

We started listening to the CD on Saturday morning after our traditional weekend breakfast of homemade buttermilk pancakes and bacon, and had just finished listening to that weird Muhammad Ali song, when I heard the opening notes to Drivin' and Cryin's Straight to Hell. I was immediately all "Nostalgia!" and "Wooo!" and "Listen, dear!" and totally forgot that there was a 5-year old with a mind like a sponge in the room immediately adjacent to us.

I'm sure you can see where I'm going with this. And I'm sure you'll agree that you haven't really lived until you've heard your five-year-old son bust out with "I'm goin' straight to hell, just like my mama said..." at the top of his lungs in the middle of the den. He carries a tune well, though, I'll say that for him.

So the predictable conversation ensued about appropriate word usage, and we switched over to Three is a Magic Number, because at least that way he could learn a multiplication table, and I'd feel like I'd done the whole "teachable moment" thing and the problem was solved.

At least until Sunday morning, when The Boy requested "that heck song" on the way to church.

Sing it with me, y'all, 'cause that chorus is becoming truer by the day.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:37 AM | Comments (3)

September 19, 2006

Bow Before My Lame Lame-osity!

Yeah, I'm a lame-o. Between work, and being forced to confront my aging, and sundry weekend crap, I haven't really had the energy to comment on anything going on, much less attempt to be pithy or witty or even mildly amusing. I spent two hours yesterday discussing statistical modeling with profs in the stats department, for crying out loud. Excitement, she is not my friend just now.

Speaking of excitement and the current dearth thereof in my life, wanna know what the highlight of my weekend was?

My most spectacular post-church ass-plant in the church parking lot.

And it was spectacular, and completely the fault of my super cute brown sling-back heels, thank you very much.

See, we had parked streetside, since we continually arrive 15 minutes (or more) late to church. I mean it. We are ALWAYS 15 minutes late. No matter what.

So after church when I opened the rear door of the car for The Boy, I was standing in the grassy area between the sidewalk and the curb. After he was settled, I tossed my purse in after him and moved to close the door, which meant I stepped forward onto the curb, and the heel of one of my super cute brown sling-backs slipped off the curb and into the loamy soil of the perfectly manicured strip of lawn. Like a tiny yard piton, it anchored itself there, and the sudden sinking motion forced me to rock backwards.

And I just kept on rockin'. It was one of those slow-motion falls, where you have loads of time to consider your options as you travel from upright to butt-planted. As I toppled, I surveyed my surroundings, and determined that the door handle might possibly break my fall. However, the door handle was an insufficient anchor, and all I succeeded in doing was creating a noisy accompaniment to my fall as I flailed in the door's general direction.

Hublet and The Boy's attentions were finally turned to me as I landed on my butt in the grass.

Hublet managed a "Dear? What are you doing?" and The Boy asked the most salient question: "Mommy? Why is your foot in the air?"

Why, indeed, son. Why, indeed.


Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:36 AM | Comments (7)

September 12, 2006

Conversations with my mother

Date: Yesterday, 2:37 p.m.
Location: My office

Me: Hello?

Mom: Hi honey, just wanted to call and check in and see if The Boy made it to his Kindergarten class okay by himself.

Me: I assume so.

Mom: Didn't you watch him?

Me: Yes, I watched him go into the school, but since I lack X-Ray vision, I was unable to discern his progress beyond that point.

Mom: Well, they would've called if he had a problem.

Me: (Having sudden visions of The Boy huddled in a broom closet, crying) Mom. All he had to do was walk down two hallways.

Mom: I'm sure you're right. (Pause) Well, I also called to tell you that I went to the doctor today about my leg. It was bothering me so much last night I couldn't sleep or anything!

Me: What did the doctor say?

Mom: Believe it or not, I have shingles!

Me: Shingles?

Mom: Yep, and they put me on antiviral medication and told me not to get around anyone under the age of 12 months.

Me: Well I guess we're safe.

Mom: You know what the doctor said?

Me: What?

Mom: They're brought on by stress.

Me: Stress.

Mom: Uh-huh.

Me: Like for instance the stress of keeping your grandson for 3 solid weeks, 2 of them at our house?

Mom: ...

Me: Even when I told you I'd take the last one off?

Me: Or the stress of staking out the school's parking lot on the first day of school like you're in Starsky and Hutch?

Me: Or the stress of cleaning out every closet in my house? Or of calling an electrician in to change a lightbulb?

Mom: But I enjoyed the stress! Well, just wanted to check in! Talk to you later! Bye!

Me: (Heavy sigh.)

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 02:47 PM | Comments (8)

September 05, 2006

Hello, September.

Oh my GOD, but this month is getting off to a helluva start. My weekend involved reptile shows, a 1:00 a.m. paintball attack on the front door, and prepping The Boy for his Kindergarten launch, all while dealing with my mother.

And the Crocodile Hunter died. That just sucks.

So, because all of that is just too much to type out in the time allotted to me before I have to leave work to stop my mom from stalking The Boy as he makes his way to the YMCA after school program--seriously, she's gonna launch a stakeout on the bus line--I'll leave you with a few things I learned this weekend:

1. Don't trust a man with no fingers on his left hand when he says a particular snake won't hurt you. Those fingers didn't just up and walk off on their own, if you know what I mean.

2. Cost of treating a bite from a copperhead? $1,000, and you may not even need anti-venom. Cost of treating a bite from a cottonmouth? $24,000 and 24 vials of anti-venom. And the guy who told me this still had all his fingers, even the ones that the aforementioned snakes bit, so I figured he knew the deal.

3. There are basically two kinds of people at reptile and exotic animal shows: middle-class soccer moms with little boys who love snakes and overly tattooed goth/biker types. This makes for an intriguing mixer situation.

4. You have to poke a hissing cockroach pretty dang hard before it'll hiss at you.

5. Legless lizards are kinda ooky looking.

6. Zebras are very gentle when you feed them, unlike goats. I hate goats.

So that was a lot of fun, though Hublet still won't let me buy a corn snake. More tomorrow.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 12:23 PM | Comments (7)

August 29, 2006

I Hate Toys R Us

I do. And yesterday's lunchtime foray only reinforced this attitude.

See, The Boy will turn 5 tomorrow. We had the birthday party/family gathering thing last Saturday, but he'll receive his mom and dad gifts on the actual day of his birth. And all was well, except for the fact that I had yet to procure any Moon Sand, the miraculous re-usable sandlike product that has mesmerized The Boy, and that I'm sure he will spend exactly 2 minutes playing with before consigning it to the scrapheap of "huh, that's not quite what I expected."

But that's neither here nor there. The Boy had asked for exactly two items for his birthday--a Power Cranky and Moon Sand--and by God, he was gonna get a Power Cranky and some Moon Sand. Dammit.

Mom had given him the Power Cranky, and Hublet and I had gotten him a new bike, which just left the Moon Sand. I didn't want to order the $30 TV version of the product, because again, he will probably only play with this stuff for 5 minutes, so I hit the Internets to see if I could find a place to buy a smaller amount of the sand.

After visiting about 430 sites which said that yes, they carried Moon Sand, but that they were currently out of it until next February because of the high demand, I found myself hitting the Toys R Us site, where lo and behold, they claimed to carry Moon Sand. Since I didn't want to pay for rush shipping, I realized with a fair amount of dread that I would have to go to the actual store.

And so I girded my loins and headed to the local Toys R Us, where I proceeded to spend 15 minutes wandering around trying to find a person who could direct me to the Moon Sand, then another 5 minutes trying to explain to the employee what Moon Sand was, then another 5 minutes just WALKING from one part of the store to the other, then another 10 minutes scrutinizing the shelves I had been directed to for the Moon Sand, and then, after giving up, noticing the product on the shelves I was passing on my way out of the store. I had forgotten the cardinal rule of the Toys R Us--you are ALWAYS better off wandering aimlessly through the store than asking for help.

So, yay! Moon Sand! Now I just had to PAY for it. Oh, dear God. There were two lines open, during lunchtime, at a busy Toys R Us. One line was also the Customer Service line, so that was out, because nothing takes longer at Toys R Us than customer service. So I went to the second line, where I was "helped" by a girl who was either a) coming down off of a prolonged meth binge, or b) in the middle of said binge. Seriously. She greeted me with, "It's so HOT in here!" tried to scan the barcode on my Moon Sand with a stapler before she figured it out, and then entered the amount of cash tendered before her brain caught up with her fingers, which led to a very disjointed exchange about cost and change, followed by crazed giggling. Then she put the sand in a bag. Sort of. Actually she put it near the bag, on top of the bag, and then kind of wrapped the bag around it, because clearly OPENING the bag was proving too much for her limited motor skills, at which point I just snatched the bag, the sand, and the receipt and fled the store.

I wish I could say that this Toys R Us experience was atypical for me, but alas, it really wasn't.

And this Moon Sand had better live up to the hype. I'm just sayin'.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:03 AM | Comments (6)

August 16, 2006

Fun With Visitor Logs

To the person who found my blog by Googling

"Skanky girl in a cocktail dress crapping on a flight of stairs,"

I can only say "WTF?" Followed by, "DUDE! Get a hobby that involves fresh air and sunshine."

No, I have nothing further to say on that subject. But the above is a heck of a lot funnier than this article, in which feminists who dare to point out that Islam isn't exactly the most female-friendly religion in the world are demonized and called crazy by their fellow feminists.

Because they would rather support gender abusers than be seen as agreeing with the "wrong" political party.

Some days, the stupid? It overflows. And the supply seems endless.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 03:56 PM | Comments (1)

August 15, 2006

They Keep Sudafed Behind the Counter for a Reason

Woah. The extra-strength sudafed cold and sinus? Kicking my ass. So since I'm finding it difficult to focus sufficiently to post anything that requires even the tiniest bit of thought or motor control, I will instead share with you the odd thing I saw this morning on the way to work.

As I neared the penultimate intersection to my work, I noticed a man standing in the median, preparing to cross the street. He was wearing work boots, jean shorts, a white wife-beater t-shirt, and a gun and holster. That's it. No uniform, no other accessories of any kind.

The theme from Fistful of Dollars started playing in my head, and I imagined him sauntering into the Breugger's Bagels, fixing the women behind the counter with a flinty-eyed stare and daring them to scrimp on his cream cheese.

I mean, seriously dude. Raleigh has some questionable areas, but the Mission Valley shopping center at 8:00 a.m. is just not one of them.

I could write the whole thing off as a sudafed-induced hallucination, but I hadn't yet taken my morning pill.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:46 AM | Comments (3)

August 11, 2006

My Rules for Successful Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV

I've forgotten how much I enjoyed watching Farscape when it was on. I finally broke down and got the first season (purchased, not netflixed), and I've been watching an episode a night, and wondering how I'll swing buying season 2 in the near future. Perhaps an addition to my birthday gift from Hublet? My needs are few, and consist primarily of sci-fi and fantasy/horror tv show dvds.

Which brings me to my point. I've watched a lot of sci-fi over the years--one of my earliest memories was of telling my mother that when I grew up I wanted to be Lt. Uhura because she got to wear a red miniskirt and a cool earpiece and fly through space--and I've figured out that most good sci-fi shows are really only good for the first 3 years, and then the writers/creators start falling into traps like:

1. Redeeming the villain, because he was popular, and a bunch of teenagers want him to get together with the main character (Spike from Buffy, I am SO looking at you).

2. Writing themselves into a corner in terms of the Big Story Arc because they weren't really clear on how the big mystery would be solved in the fist place, leading to wacky plot-lines, no payoff for the audience and character decimation/assassination (cough, X-Files, cough, Lost).

3. Running out of ideas, because no one had thought anything through when they pitched the series--for example, the high schoolers have to graduate sometime, and then what--and the series creator has moved on to something else (Voyager, and again with the Buffy).

Of course there are exceptions, but after a while you get tired of being on pins and needles wondering when the show you thought was really cool in the first season was going to start going downhill.

So in my world, the perfect sci-fi/fantasy show would run three years, during which time the larger arc would be brought to conclusion (plotted out completely before the show is even pitched, let alone made), and within which you could have things like consistent character development, room for fun standalone episodes, and an audience who KNOWS that there will be a payoff at a definite time. Sort of like the original Star Wars trilogy, but without the stupid Ewoks. Babylon 5 did this, although they had a 5-year plan, and it worked out pretty well for them.

Then, if audiences were just DYING to find out what happened later, you could do a follow-up movie, a la Farscape or Firefly.

Yeah, I'm a dreamer, and also not worried about generating cashflow for a network or being an out-of-work actor.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 03:29 PM | Comments (7)

August 09, 2006

It Was Inevitable

As I draw close to the fourth anniversary of this blog--I, too, am amazed that I've been rambling on for this long without at least a movie deal!--I am pleased to announce that Hublet, always the cutting edge guy, has finally given in to the siren song of blogging and started his own little enterprise. I'm so proud.

You can find The Whining Schoolboy here. As you may imagine, Hublet will be blogging on the travails of teaching high school in a rural county. And the travails, they are many and varied indeed.

Please drop by and leave him a comment, if you can.

In other news, I've gotten rid of the ginormous monthly archive listing. They don't have a yearly archive option pre-made in MT, I don't feel like creating one, and all of my entries are categorized because I'm an uptight Virgo like that, so there you go.

Next I will probably hand-code my list of links, mainly because I can't remember my blogrolling password and haven't updated my links in like, forever.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:34 PM | Comments (1)

August 07, 2006

Of Boogie Boards and Rogue Grits

I have returned from the beach to discover that I have over 5,000 emails in my inbox. What are these emails? A whole bunch of undeliverable bounces, looks like, which is odd, since I haven't sent anyone anything. So I am deleting everything in my inbox. If you emailed me in the past week, I'm not ignoring you on purpose. Just resend it.

The beach was a fine, relaxing experience, except for the fact that I nearly succumbed to an attack by a rogue grit.

See, I like grits. I like them with cheese and salt and pepper. So I awoke on the first full day of our beach stay and started to prepare the grits like I always do, in the microwave. Then my mother said, "Hey! Those look good! Make us all some!" which meant that I had to cook the grits on the stove.

No problem, except for the part where I've become unused to cooking grits on the stove, which meant that I had the heat up too high, which meant that the grits thickened too fast, which meant that a giant glob of thickened grits exploded out of the pot and landed on the middle finger of my right hand, directly below my fingernail.

A little known fact about hot grits, for you yankee types in the audience--they stick. They stick like lumpy white blobs of tar. So when a boiling hot grit lump lands on your flesh, it adheses to your skin like superglue. By the time the pain registers and you attempt to dislodge the grit glob, the damage has been done. And so it was with my finger.

After soaking the affected digit in ice water for half an hour, I had developed a large blister on my finger. Well, I figured, no biggie. I could play in the ocean (which is nice, cool, water) with a blister. So I did. And that worked out okay until The Boy put a death grip on my hand while wave jumping that not only popped the blister, but ripped the skin right off of the burn. That hurt, by the way, and I deserve some sort of mom medal for not unleashing the expletives the incident required.

So, ow. But okay, I thought, this is salt water, so it should stay nice and disinfected. Not so much. By the third day my finger was all swollen and purple and it hurt.

There were band-aids and antibiotic salves and precious beach time spent wondering whether I'd be able to enjoy the whole vacation before gangrene set in, but mercifully, the wound cleared up just in time for me to rip the scab off in an unfortunate packing incident. That hurt too, but I am finally on the mend and expect the scarring to be minor.

I am firmly convinced that had the south properly utilized the evil power of hot grits, Sherman never would have been able to burn Atlanta.

And I will be nuking my grits from now on.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 02:14 PM | Comments (10)

July 29, 2006


Off to the beach for a week, where I will have zero access to computers, email or the time-sucking black hole that is the internet.

I might survive.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:54 AM | Comments (1)

July 24, 2006

To Ponder

My vacation starts next week, and between trying to get caught up at work and complete all the little pre-beach to-dos, I've got nuthin'.

This, however, is perhaps the stupidest, most exploitative excuse for a film ever. And also, what she said.

And now, Deep Thoughts, via The Boy:

"Mommy, what would happen if our behinds were in the front of us?"

"Mommy, what would happen if I put a giraffe in a box?"

Enjoy your Monday.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:33 PM | Comments (1)

July 17, 2006

The March

Finished reading Doctorow's latest last night, and I've really only got some half-formed impressions--well, beyond still being irritated at the lack of proper punctuation, because I am totally uptight about stuff like that--has anyone else out there read it?

I'm most intrigued by the relationship between Arly and Wrede Sartorius, even though the characters never interact--the tension between science and fate or science and religion. Neither character ends particularly well, in my opinion.

Gah. It's times like this I would actually enjoy being in a book club, although the rest of the time I would probably hate it with a fiery, passionate hate.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:24 AM | Comments (8)

July 13, 2006

Not Today

I have a bunch of stuff to share with you guys, including but not limited to The Boy's swim lessons, my reading of Doctorow's The March and mounting irritation with his refusal to use quotation marks, his annoying tendency to shift point of view in the middle of a paragraph apparently just because he can, and the character Pearl, her connections to Hawthorne's character by the same name, and what he's going to do with this--I fear it can be nothing good.

However, I won't share that stuff today, because I'm too sad.

An acquaintance from church is having a c-section today, and a funeral for her newborn daughter this weekend. I can't get past the fact that she had to plan both of them simultaneously, since she's known for some time what the outcome of this pregnancy would be. I don't think I would be as strong as she is, were I in her situation.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:30 AM | Comments (4)

July 10, 2006

Train Riding

Back from a weekend of riding the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad from Bryson City to the Nantahala Outdoor Center and back. And fyi, there were Crocs-a-plenty wading in the 45 degree water that flowed down the mountain.

The Boy shows no signs of outgrowing his love of trains. We will hopefully purchase a larger home in the next year or so, and I am already mentally setting aside a room for the tables and fake terrain of the truly train-obsessed.

Saw Superman Returns, and found the Christ imagery positively anvil-licious; folks, the mark of a good metaphor is that it kind of soaks into your consciousness, it doesn't come blaring onto the scene with a billboard and trumpets and then whack you upside the head with said billboard every five minutes. Geez. And did Brandon Routh speak more than 16 words during the entire movie? If he did, I must have fallen asleep. Everything else was sorta "eh," and Kate Bosworth is the blandest Lois Lane ever to blandly be imperiled. Blandly.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:30 PM | Comments (3)

July 05, 2006

The High Life

I must say, our little Fourth of July celebration here in upper redneckia is getting to be quite the high-falutin' affair, and I love it.

The day begins with a pancake breakfast at the local church (which we never get up early enough to attend). The breakfast ends at 9:00, and folks start lining the parade route. People drag wagons filled with water and lemonade along the street as the route fills, and then the parade proper starts at 10:00--frankly, I think an argument could be made for starting at 9:00, because it is FREAKING HOT in eastern NC in July, but anyway...

The parade has gotten much longer now, and we've added beauty pageant winners and the animal shelter (complete with festively bedecked canines) to the usual participants--the bag piper who leads the parade, local merchants, boy scouts, a random congressman and other elected officials, the high school marching band, fire trucks and classic cars. Plus, they all throw candy at the crowd, and the children darting into the highway in pursuit of jolly ranchers adds a certain unpredictability to the whole thing.

After the parade, everyone heads over to the old school where booths and a stage are set up. This year there were inflatables for the kids to climb/jump on/run through, and no one monitoring them. Can you say "free for all?" We could. The Boy got to see his buddy The Girl Next Door, and she proceeded to drag him all over the place while the adults sipped fresh squeezed lemonade and tried not to lose track of them.

Then we came home and there was much hilarity on the slip n' slide, followed by a nap.

The day was rounded out with hotdogs and margaritas, and then we indulged in the ultimate in redneck firework viewing: sitting in plastic chairs at the end of the driveway and ooh-ing and aah-ing at the town-sponsored show, and then at the neighbor a few doors down who had obviously acquired a bunch of South Carolina (illegal in NC, in other words) REAL fireworks. It was actually a nice show.

I do love the Fourth.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:54 AM | Comments (2)

July 03, 2006

Happy Fourth

Our Fourth of July checklist has officially been completed:

1. Flags prepped and ready for display - check.

2. Huge swaths of grass in backyard flattened and killed by constant use of SpongeBob themed slip n' slide - check

3. Boy bruised and abraded by overuse of aforementioned slip n' slide - check. Incidentally, has anyone out there been able to find a Bounce n' Slide from the folks at slip n' slide? I see them advertised, but cannot find one anywhere, and I think the cushioning would come in handy, if The Boy's ribcage is any indication...

4. California rednecks across the street shooting off $400 of fireworks at 10:30 p.m. directly in front of The Boy's bedroom window - check.

5. $13 blender and assorted margarita fixin's ready to go - check.

6. TIVO set to record the D.C. fireworks display in lieu of the Boston Pops travesty - check.

I think we're good to go! Have a happy fourth, y'all!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:39 PM | Comments (3)

June 30, 2006

Blame Netflix

I tend to be pretty forgiving when it comes to pop culture and my consumption of it--I had no problem with muppets in hoverchairs while Farscape was on, and I am currently watching Solitary, for crying out loud.

But lately, my patience with cinema is definitely on the wane, and I blame Netflix.

Back in high school, when the only thing that my friends and I were really able to do for entertainment was watch movies, we made our slow and torturous way through all the offerings at the local video store, even such gems as Virgin Among the Living Dead (featuring papier mache'-headed "Scottish" zombies with names like Guiseppe wandering through groves of olive trees) and The Stuff. No matter how awful these flicks were, we never dreamed of turning them off, because that would mean we had wasted a trip to the video store! Plus, I just had to know how the travesty would end!

Alas, those days are long gone, and I no longer have any qualms about yanking a movie out of the DVD player half-watched and sealing it back into its self-mailer with a disgusted flourish.

Case in point: A History of Violence, which isn't a long movie to begin with, was yanked and sealed about 50 minutes in. Its pacing from the first scene bothered me, because it went beyond the whole "visual metaphor for the slow pace of small-town life that can be suddenly shattered by violence" and straight into "I am David Cronenberg and I am really cool and I am making these actors do everything REALLY SLOWLY so that you the viewer will stop and think, 'wow, that David Cronenberg sure is cool with his existential use of SLOW ACTING AND SHIT!'"

So I was annoyed 5 minutes in, but figured "okay, let's at least get to the plot." And then we did, and it was cliche' after cliche' interspersed with soft talking and slow acting and tacky oral sex and by the time the main character was done with his front yard carnage and his blood-spattered teen was standing there looking shell-shocked Hublet and I looked at each other and went, "We're done," and we never looked back.

Before Netflix, I would have suffered through the second half of the movie because I would have felt the strange need to get my money's worth from the video store visit and selection. But Netflix has turned movie consumption into a never-ending stream of content, paid for out-of-sight with a monthly credit card charge, and so I no longer have any connection to the product that arrives in my mailbox.

I could get all hoity-toity here and say that Netflix has made me more discerning about the movies I will deign to watch, but that's not true. These movies are all flicks I wouldn't pay full price to see at the theatre, so I pretty much know what I'm getting. Really, Netflix has just made me more jaded and impatient with movies.

And we all know that jaded and impatient are probably not qualities I should be cultivating in greater degrees. But on the bright side, I think I'm finally cynical enough to pursue a career in movie reviewing!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:39 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

June 26, 2006

Place Your Bets

Okay, so two characters will bite the big one in the final Potter book.

Seems like at least one Weasley will have to perish--there are too many of them and they're all involved in the war...

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 04:33 PM | Comments (4)

June 23, 2006

Friday, Time for an Embarrassing Confession

I watch "Solitary" on the reality tv channel.

And I like it.

That is all.

Speculation on whether this means the apocalypse is nigh may now commence.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:18 PM | Comments (2)

June 12, 2006

No, Not Snakes on a Plane

Even better - Ants on a Keyboard!

My keyboard! Fire ants! Happy Freaking Monday!

So I did a bit of HULK SMASH! and waited for the facilities guy to arrive, which he did, toting a canister of some deadly chemical, which he proceeded to spray pretty much everywhere.

I asked him if there was anything dangerous about the chemical and he just said, "Eh, the smell'l go away in an hour or so--just don't put your bare feet in it until it's dry."

Well, fabulous. So here I sit in a drying puddle of something that is deadly to fire ants, scrupulously keeping my feet in my kicky summer slides and trying not to breathe while I watch the few remaining fire ants on my desk shrivel up and die.

But I'm not worried. Lightheaded and maybe a little itchy--and my lips feel strangely numb, but I'm not worried.

How's your Monday going?

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:16 AM | Comments (4)

June 09, 2006

A Week's Worth of Crap

In a day's worth of post.

First off, would the owner of the car with this personalized license plate:


Please explain to me what the hell that means? Personalized plates are goofy enough without also being completely unintelligible to everyone else. I thought the POINT of the personalized plate was to let the world know something important about you--you know, that your family has 3 automobiles, of which this is #2, or that your car is really fast (C-Ya) or that you're wacky or crazy or ditzy or you like NASCAR or whatever--but now I find that more and more I'm coming across people whose plates necessitate the owner's personal Rosetta stone to decipher, and as someone with more than a touch of OCD, this drives me nuts.

On a related note, what is up with the stick figure family representation decals on the backs of vehicles? Seriously, do you WANT the pedophiles on the road to know that you have preschool-aged twin boys, and that all they have to do to get a crack at them is follow you home? I'm sure you love your family, but TMI.

Watched Al-Zarqawi's hideout get blown up, and I just want to know how, exactly, there was enough of anything left to identify after the blast, much less that he survived for a few minutes afterward.

Going to see Cars this weekend. The Boy's excitement knows no bounds--he has been wearing his Tow-Mater t-shirt every day this week, and I am trying to ignore the fact that the character is voiced by Larry the Cable Guy, who irritates the snot out of me, AND that the lead car, Lightning McQueen, is voiced by Owen Wilson, who ALSO irritates the snot out of me. But I have developed a seething hatred for anyone involved in the Wedding Crashers, so there you go--Vince Vaughan, I am looking at you, one-note schtick boy. Fast patter gets really old really quickly. Really.

Reading the Oxford American's summer fiction issue. Why is it that in modern stories even when things happen it seems like nothing is happening? At least with southern writing you get a lot of pointless random violence to spice things up, but really, this magnifying-glass approach to character studies just grates on my nerves. There's no "there" there, beyond the fact that the author is using painstakingly lyrical language to describe character thoughts, and the language itself takes you right out of the story, because all you can think is, "Wow, it took him a while to come up with that metaphor, I'll bet," which seems to be all the author is aiming for now: a pat on the back for "original construction and imagery" while the characters and plot languish on the page.
Lately, unless it's genre fiction, I don't read it.

So there's my daily brain dump. Oh, and what she said. The thing that annoys me about the Dixie Chicks brou-ha-ha is that it was OVER THREE YEARS AGO! So if you're bringing it up now, the cynic in me believes that it's because you're trying to cash in, and I put you right on "ignore." Plus I am apparently not cool enough to be their fan any longer, so I guess it all works out in the end.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 12:34 PM | Comments (12)

June 05, 2006

Big Ball of Snot

I am a big ball of snot. Our entire "Hey, the kid's with the grandparents, let's party!" week was taken up with a stomach virus that segued beautifully into a sinus infection. At least the decongestant has some good side effects--I'm very alert and disinclined to eat.

And the comments are back, so that's a happy thing. One day I will convert to WordPress--I've downloaded the zip file and read the 5 minute install instructions and everything--but today will not be that day. So I soldier bravely on with MoveableType.

All of this to say that until the snot trauma subsides, posting will most likely be sporadic and probably a little difficult to read when it does occur: the decongestant keeps me awake, alert and hyper, but the synapses it stimulates tend to fire randomly, making logic difficult.

In the meantime, for your viewing pleasure, the scariest footwear I have ever seen. Ever. And that includes those platform shoes with the goldfish swimming around in them that Huggy Bear wore in I'm Gonna Get You, Sucka.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:13 AM | Comments (4)

May 31, 2006

No Fun League

So, my Memorial Day weekend, so bright and shiny and full of possibilities (The Boy is at the grandparents'), was spent lying on the sofa and trying not to puke.

The comments, they are still broken.

My stomach, it is still unsettled. Thus the appalling lack of witty. Or anything else.

One bright spot - Washington the Warrior on the History Channel. We're talking classic History Channel production, people! Reenactors writhing in pretend agony! Wooden character actors staring woodenly into the camera! And random slow-motion to convey Dramatic Tension! God, I love the History Channel's Documentary on a Budget stuff.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:44 AM | Comments (1)

May 24, 2006

Raid - A panacea for our times

When it comes to killing black widow spiders, I am not picky. I have been known to drown them with a garden hose, whack them with Hublet's size 13 lawn-mowing shoes, and spray them with whatever I can get my hands on that I think may be even remotely poisonous. And I do this more often than you might think, as the spiders really enjoy hanging out underneath the siding of our house.

So I know that a can of Raid can be a girl's best friend. I've used the following flavors of Raid in my black-widow killing projects: Raid for flying insects (the death to evil wasps flavor), Raid for ants and cockroaches, and once what I thought was generic Raid but turned out to be WD-40--it was dark, I was freaking out, I grabbed a can and let fly and I think it worked...the spider was definitely MIA the next day.

Anyway, hurrah for Raid! Because in addition to being airborne death to black widow spiders, it is also a damn fine way to deal with a cheating spouse!

Favorite quote, from doughty police Captain Marty Bruce:
"She came in and caught her husband with another woman and she grabbed a can of Raid and went at it."

Yeah, don't mess with an angry woman with a can of Raid in her hands. I've got the pile of dead spiders to prove it.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:12 AM | Comments (1)

May 22, 2006

No surprise here

Shamelessly stolen from Andrea. But I'm not apologizing--hell no! I don't have to apologize! I'm a smartass!

You are 85% Rational, 57% Extroverted, 85% Brutal, and 85% Arrogant.
You are the Smartass! You are rational, extroverted, brutal, and arrogant. In fact, you could very well be the anti-Christ, as you are almost the exact opposite of everything Jesus was supposed to be. While Jesus says love your enemy, you say love beating the crap out of your enemy. While Jesus raises the dead, you raise hell. While Jesus walks on water, you tend to sink. You probably consider people who are emotional and gentle to be big pussies who are obviously in lesser stature than you. You have many flaws, despite your seeming intelligence and cool-headedness. For instance, you aren't very nice. In fact, you're probably an asshole. And you are conceited and self-centered. Not only that, but you are very loud and vocal about all this, seeing as how you are extroverted. There is no better way to describe you than as a "smartass", I'm afraid. Perhaps just "ass" would do, too. But that's a little less literary and descriptive. At any rate, your main personality defect is the fact that you are self-centered, mean, uncaring, and brutally logical.

To put it less negatively:

1. You are more RATIONAL than intuitive.

2. You are more EXTROVERTED than introverted.

3. You are more BRUTAL than gentle.

4. You are more ARROGANT than humble.


Your exact opposite is the Emo Kid.

Other personalities you would probably get along with are the Capitalist Pig, the Braggart, and the Sociopath.



If you scored near fifty percent for a certain trait (42%-58%), you could very well go either way. For example, someone with 42% Extroversion is slightly leaning towards being an introvert, but is close enough to being an extrovert to be classified that way as well. Below is a list of the other personality types so that you can determine which other possible categories you may fill if you scored near fifty percent for certain traits.

The other personality types:

The Emo Kid: Intuitive, Introverted, Gentle, Humble.

The Starving Artist: Intuitive, Introverted, Gentle, Arrogant.

The Bitch-Slap: Intuitive, Introverted, Brutal, Humble.

The Brute: Intuitive, Introverted, Brutal, Arrogant.

The Hippie: Intuitive, Extroverted, Gentle, Humble.

The Televangelist: Intuitive, Extroverted, Gentle, Arrogant.

The Schoolyard Bully: Intuitive, Extroverted, Brutal, Humble.

The Class Clown: Intuitive, Extroverted, Brutal, Arrogant.

The Robot: Rational, Introverted, Gentle, Humble.

The Haughty Intellectual: Rational, Introverted, Gentle, Arrogant.

The Spiteful Loner: Rational, Introverted, Brutal, Humble.

The Sociopath: Rational, Introverted, Brutal, Arrogant.

The Hand-Raiser: Rational, Extroverted, Gentle, Humble.

The Braggart: Rational, Extroverted, Gentle, Arrogant.

The Capitalist Pig: Rational, Extroverted, Brutal, Humble.

The Smartass: Rational, Extroverted, Brutal, Arrogant.

Be sure to take my Sublime Philosophical Crap Test if you are interested in taking a slightly more intellectual test that has just as many insane ramblings as this one does!

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

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You scored higher than 99% on Rationality

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You scored higher than 99% on Extroversion

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You scored higher than 99% on Brutality

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You scored higher than 99% on Arrogance
Link: The Personality Defect Test written by saint_gasoline on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 04:09 PM | Comments (2)

May 19, 2006

Things That Will Never Stop Being Funny

Number one in a series:


It doesn't matter that it's been almost a decade since that cartoon was on. Whenever I catch it in reruns, I will always laugh out loud at SPOOOOOOOOONNN!

I'm also partial to, "Roof pig! Most unexpected!"

Yeah, it's sunny and 75 degrees today and I'm not that interested in writing about methane gas or tech-savvy librarians. Can you tell?

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 02:21 PM | Comments (2)

May 09, 2006

Mary Queen of Scots Does Dateline

Or something like that.

Caught a few moments of a show on the History Channel last night called Historyonics, which manages to take the usual low-budget production values and poor acting of HC shows, mix in a dose of camp, toss it in a pop-culture blender and create something that made me question my level of sobriety.

Now, I understand the whole, "We have no budget, history is boring, everyone knows these things are cheesy, why not embrace the cheese" feeling that must be underlying this little visual stretch exercise, but I've gotta say that embracing the cheese when you're talking about the beheading of Mary Queen of Scots is just, well, I don't know what it is, but I'm fairly certain that one of the adjectives you could use to describe it is WRONG.

During the five minutes I saw, we had a soundtrack courtesy of Queen--"Killer Queen" played in the background as Elizabeth I signed the death warrant, and "Under Pressure" was used underneath the Mary scenes--and then the supposedly deceased Mary walking and talking, 20/20 style with a modern interviewer, complaining in decidedly modern language about being framed.

Ah, all is revealed. This is a BBC production. Apparently they're bored with all their history and are trying to shake things up. Might I suggest that they go talk to Terry Jones, who managed a fun look at the Middle Ages without resorting to a pop music soundtrack and the cast of Blackadder?

Sigh. Yet more proof that I am tragically unhip to the "history simply can't be compelling without embellishments" jive. I miss my non-historically accurate portly reenactors and stilted dramatizations featuring dramatic pointing. Fogeydom, here I come.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 03:41 PM | Comments (3)

May 08, 2006

Sojourn in the Land that Time Forgot

So we went to Asheville this past weekend. I learned some stuff.

1. If you want a sibling to help you out but you're too damn passive-aggressive/lazy/foolish to actually ASK for help, then you don't get to be pissy about the fact that your sibling didn't suddenly discover his psychic abilities and offer to help you out.

2. It only rains in North Carolina when we have to drive long distances. As soon as we arrive at our destination, the rain stops. So if any of you are still suffering drought conditions, I will happily drive to your town and then circle it for hours--for a fee.

3. I cannot eat more than two meals in a row in restaurants before the sodium turns me into an angrier, hairier version of the Sta-Puft Marshmallow Man.

On a brighter side, we went to see Thank You for Smoking, which was hilarious. And we had the added fun of seeing it in downtown Asheville, which is quite the bobo and boho mecca. It is also The Land of The Aged Hippie. Seriously. I got sandwiched between a barefoot fellow who looked like Father Christmas by way of Haight Ashbury and David Crosby's stylist and a group of three hemp and sandal clad Social Security beneficiaries while I was waiting in line for a beer.

Naturally, they were all debating whether or not to go see Why We Fight, which led into a segue about whether or not they could vote for Eisenhour, which, okay, were they even old enough to vote back then and anyway isn't the point moot, but whatever, which then led to a discussion of organic produce and the environmental impact of whateverthehell on whateverthehellelse and all I could think was, "Help me! I am trapped in the vortex where Crunchy Cons and Flower Children meet and I may die of either the patchouli fumes or the stereotypes! Ack!"

And I was left with the cold feeling of sick dread in my stomach, wondering whether I too will ossify and get stuck in a random decade forty years in my past, convinced that trying to stay exactly the way I was when I was in my twenties is the only thing worth doing.

But then I drank my beer and got over it. Mostly. Except for the barefoot Father Christmas guy. Dude - you're BAREFOOT. In PUBLIC. That is a level of gross I simply cannot overcome.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 03:49 PM | Comments (6)

May 03, 2006

Irony and Eternal Damnation

I don't serve on committees for a reason. The main reason is that they tend to bring out my inner ENTJ, which in turn triggers my impatience meter, which culminates in my utter hatred for everyone and everything involved with the committee in question. So I avoid committees like the plague.

And yet I keep getting appointed to them, particularly at church, because we have some byzantine system whereby you innocently volunteer to teach a Sunday school class one year and then suddenly you're in charge of the preschool, on the administrative board, the education committe AND you have to figure out a strategy for implementing the "no molesting kids on church premises" policy. I'm not sure how I missed the explanation where I was told that chasing two year olds around the assembly hall for an hour each week meant I was signing my life away, but Hublet does accuse me of ignoring what I don't find interesting, so I'm sure it's my fault.

So anyway, I duly trudged off to my committee meeting this week, because as one of the few people on the committee who isn't a paid church employee, I'm the only person who can take meeting minutes. And I don't mind--at least I'm forced to pay attention, and so am less likely to inadvertently volunteer to patch the chapel roof or something if my mind wanders.

Now, I am not Donald Trump, but I am a pretty busy person and my days, they are very long. Because our church is in town, when I have a meeting I just meet Hublet at a nearby Chick-Fil-A and drop Boy with him so I don't have to drive all the way home and all the way back. This means that by the time the meeting starts at 7:00 p.m. I have been either at work or driving since 6:45 a.m., and am thus not in the mood to split hairs, dilly dally, make small talk, or do anything much beyond taking notes and then votes, in that order.

Which is usually fine, because our committee chair is a military man and he's all about the punctuality. Except for this past week, when people who hadn't been to any of the meetings so far showed up, forcing a 45 minute recap of everything--with some arguing added in for fun--that had been done up to that point.

So we got to the business of the meeting at 7:45. And then the real hair splitting began, and the arguing, and the confrontation--all over the wording of a freaking application form, mind you--and we managed to touch on homosexuality in middle schools, the definition of a minor, and whether or not you spank your children before I finally snapped and said, "The point is that no one should be boinking anyone on a church trip! Can we just finish what we're here to do?"

I didn't think retirees blushed. I also don't think that I'm like many people on that committee, and I'm pretty convinced that they all think I'm violently deranged and possibly a pervert. Oh well. You win some, you lose some.

My point? Beyond hating committees? Beyond the fact that if you're asking for my time you should try to be respectful of it? My point is that I have finally figured out why folks who say, "Oh, I can totally be religious without going to church" are full of crap. If you don't go to church, you don't have to deal with other members of your religion. And your faith will never truly be tested until you are locked in a room for two hours with people arguing over the proper use of the word "minor."

It's ironic that for someone like me church committee membership is probably the quickest route to hell.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 02:24 PM | Comments (8)

April 27, 2006


Yesterday work was pretty wacky; however, my small entryway table from home will be featured on an upcoming episode of Nova, so I guess that's a win.

Conversation with The Boy from our long, rainy trip home, and proof that intellectual stimulation is not what it used to be:

"Mommy, how come Spongebob Squarepants is a giant piece of cheese?"

"He's not, son. He's a sponge."

"No, his name is Spongebob. He's a piece of cheese."

"No, he's a sponge. A sponge is an animal that lives in the ocean. Spongebob is just a Sponge named, I guess, Bob."

"Sponges are animals in the ocean? What do they do?"

"They hang out and eat stuff, I guess."

"But why is he a spongebob?"

"He's not a spongebob, he's a sponge. His name is Spongebob. His name could be SpongeLarry or SpongeFred, he'd still be a sponge."

"SPONGE LARRY?!?!? That's just silly, mommy."

Just finished reading Manhunt: the 12-day Chase for Lincoln's Killer. My word, that prose is purple. VERY purple. The history is good, the book seems well-researched (and how sad is it that after reading history I want to go research it myself to be sure that no one's pulled a Bellesiles on me), but dear GOD! Some of the passages made me want to beat my head against a wall.

Watched Junebug on the recommendation of a friend who shall remain nameless because I am going to kill him. Talk to Hublet, friend--he was most amused at my reaction. Next time, why don't you just tell me to rent Old Yeller, Charlotte's Web and King Kong in rapid succession, mix it in with Fried Green Tomatoes and Doing Time on Maple Drive and then have a handful of quaaludes with a scotch chaser? Geez. Yeah, yeah, themes were artfully explored, it was fun to see Pilot Mountain, eccentric southern characters were colorfully eccentric, and the chick who was nominated for an Oscar deserved the nod. But still. Bambi and luudes, man. Bambi and luudes.

Perhaps that wasn't the best movie to watch immediately after The 40-Year Old Virgin.....

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 03:57 PM | Comments (8)

April 25, 2006

Passages from my fabulous new book

Because I was so inspired by the inspirationally inspirational story of Kaavya Viswanathan--and her $500,000 advance--I have finally done it! I have written a book! Wanna read some sample passages?

Okay, how's this opening grab ya?

"It's a universal truth that what rich guys really want is a wife."

Great stuff, huh? Whaddya mean it sounds familiar? Oh, oh, sorry. Yeah, that's one of my favorite books--I've read it so many times that I must have internalized that passage. Sorry! Hmm. Let me try again...

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times--oh, wait. Bad example. Wow! Must've internalized more than I thought!

Okay, last one.

In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth. No, wait, that has a familiar ring to it, too.

Um, how about "It was a dark and stormy night?" No?

"Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn?" Drat!

This writing stuff is hard! No wonder she copied--um, I mean "internalized."

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:58 PM | Comments (7)

April 21, 2006

See? This is Why I Will Never Be A Teen Heartthrob

Or Heartthrob-ette, or whatever.

I just never got the hang of posing with the " big Disney furry people." Heck, I didn't even know that Disney held a convention for Furries every year. Heh.

Seriously, that's the funniest article I've read in a while. And it brings back uncomfortable memories of young teeny bopper angst over Simon Le Bon and Adam Ant. Gah.

Fortunately, I have matured and moved on. I no longer have foolish crushes on celebrities. Nope. Not at all.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:45 PM | Comments (2)

April 18, 2006

Wacky Editorial Scoring Sheet, and Shallow Tuesday Schadenfreude

Hey, for all of you folks out there who are tired of reading the same old comparisons in the editorial pages: Bush = Hitler, Iraq = Vietnam, I am pleased to report that today's USA Today offers something refreshingly new!

Bush = Torquemada

Bravo, historians! Just when I thought you had succumbed to a collective creative stupor, you bust out with the Spanish Inquisition. Well played, slightly hysterical editorial contributor, well played indeed. Although I must ask myself if your intent was to force me to relive Monty Python sketches in my head for the remainder of the day, because that's really the only impact your piece had on me...

Perhaps we should develop a points system so that we can determine whether an article is worth reading without wasting our time actually reading the whole thing. For instance, if you scan an editorial and see the words Hitler or Vietnam in a piece about Iraq, you can probably rest assured that you've been there and done that. Join me, fellow readers and writers, in fighting the good fight against stale, hackneyed editorials!

I've compiled a brief list of folks that all you burgeoning editorialists can use in place of Hitler, so you don't have to try and be original! Aren't I just the sweetest thing?

Here goes: Ghengis Khan, Rasputin, Vlad the Impaler, Stalin, Chairman Mao, Attilla the Hun, William the Conqueror, Suleyman the Magnificent, Hirohito, Mussolini, and Nero.

There, that ought to get you started.

And now, to the shallow. I'm loving the mockery of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes that's occuring post-"Oh look! She text-messaged me during my interview and it Wasn't At All Staged Because We Are Truly in Love" Diane Sawyer interview:

Here's a good one.

Defamer always makes me laugh.

And let's not forget David Spade, who stated on his Showbiz Show that Katie will be allowed to speak during the Scientology silent birth, as long as she doesn't utter any "forbidden phrases," such as: "I want to see my family," or "Why is that door locked?"


Posted by Big Arm Woman at 12:08 PM | Comments (10)

April 13, 2006

Petty Grievances

So I know you've all been dying to ask, "Hey, BAW! What's annoying you today?"

1. Swimming portions of video games. Pointless, time-wasting and stupid. I'm looking at you, Lara Croft. And at you, God of War. Seriously. I understand, okay? Hold down the R1 button to charge the dash, then frantically jam the left controller forward and hit square and hope that Kratos doesn't get squished by the random mobile underwater wall. Boring and irritating, and it gives me thumb cramps. Plus, you can't kill anything while you're swimming. Can't I just solve a logic puzzle and then kill stuff? I mean, hello? The game is called God of WAR, not Aquaman!

2. Baby bunnies. Yes, I hate baby bunnies. Do you know why? Because they're stupid, and slow, and their tiny stupid slow corpses are littering our yard, because our cat is neither stupid nor slow. So we either keep the cat locked in the guestroom and listen to her yowling to go out and get no sleep, or we let her out and carnage (and eventual de-worming) ensues. Stupid bunnies.

3. This isn't so much annoying as it is puzzling. See, names are important. They color people's perceptions of you, and some folks believe that they even mold your destiny, which is why The Boy isn't named Thor, or Gollum, or Poindexter. So why would you choose Moses as a name? Talk about baggage--the kid is either gonna end up lost in a desert or in south Alabama on a former plantation that's fallen on hard times, having inappropriate thoughts about his sister and struggling to deal with both his mentally handicapped younger brother and his own suicidal tendencies. Because the only Moses-es around these parts tend to be Faulknerian characters.

And so with that, I am off to do the Easter thing with family. Back Monday.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:10 AM | Comments (10)

April 11, 2006

March Madness? Try April.

I realize this may come as news to a lot of you, but it turns out that our fine institution is in the market for a new basketball coach.

Now, I'm a bit of a Tobacco Road anomaly in that I don't pay much attention to college basketball. Actually I suppose that makes me more of a Tobacco Road apostate, but let's not split hairs. Anyhoo, Hublet, while not a rabid, foaming at the mouth obsessive, is, shall we say--interested--in the outcome of this search, so the last week has found me greeting the morning with the bedside clock radio, the TV news and the radio in the den (and the portable radio/cd player in the kitchen, you know, because walking that extra 4 feet to the den might result in his missing important coach search intel!) tuned to the Latest! Coach Search! Developments! Papal elections pale, PALE, I tell you, in comparison to this stuff.

But Hublet's transforming the house into a giant coaching news receiver is nothing compared to what's happening online. Fans on one of the big sites have spent their weekends (and presumably their workdays) obsessively searching for any tiny speck of information about who our next coach will be. And when I say obsessive, I mean that in the DSM-IV, OCD definition kind of way. Examples? Certainly!

Aside from the usual "insiders" posting rumors and wild speculation, some enterprising fans figured out how to use to track the movements of our big booster's plane, and so a large part of the weekend was spent discussing what a two-hour stopover in Memphis meant in terms of negotiations.

Then there was the whole "he's coming today to tour! no he isn't! yes he is!" discussion of yesterday that culminated in fans staking out the webcams and the actual parking lot of the RBC center and excitedly reporting that the Lights! Were! On! at 9 p.m. and there was No! Hockey! Game! OMGWTFBBQ!!!!! There were also reported sightings of a black Lincoln Navigator, which everyone KNOWS is the same car that our athletic director drives! I am amazed that no one ran a license plate check on it to confirm ownership, but I haven't checked those boards, so who knows? Maybe they did.

The most amusing part of all of this is the fact that the local news media are apparently monitoring this same message board, because their cameras are conveniently showing up at locations of interest shortly after they're posted online, and the on-camera sports guys are making sly references to their "sources" while pretty much quoting from the message board.

Actually, the truly amusing part is the fact that the fans on our message board keep expressing incredulity that the folks on the Possible Coach's Point of Origin Board are nowhere near as enterprising in figuring out what's going on.

Well, that could be because those people aren't completely batshit insane and verging on stalkerish, but who am I to judge?

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:02 AM | Comments (7)

April 06, 2006

Wow. Guess I Really Hated that Movie.

The good news - we have two fully functional toilets, hot water (not in the toilets) and a heat pump that actually, you know, puts out heat. Let the wackiness ensue!

The bad news - I need reading glasses, and Hublet and I watched The Wedding Crashers last night, which left me feeling rather homicidal. WHY was this movie popular? It wasn't just tasteless in that affected, "oh, we're such non-PC scamps" way, and it wasn't just predictable in the "boy meets girl under false pretenses, boy decides to come clean only to be superceded by girl's butthead boyfriend, boy wins girl at the end" way, it was also BORING. And badly written! Not even the creepily mesmeric effect of Owen Wilson's nose could keep my attention.

News flash, script folk! Giving your characters a distinctive "patter" does not translate into forcing them to recite self-congratulatory, profane, stream of consciousness soliloquies for Every Single Line They Utter, while the plot--what, there was a plot?--languishes pitifully forgotten in the corner. Creating characters who exist solely to make the writers look clever doesn't translate into interesting films. Or books. Or even party conversations. Here's a ladder, writers--get over yourselves.

And also, Will Farrell? Not that funny. So the scene with him? Could have easily been about a year and a half shorter. Ditto the crazy younger brother's scenes, Jane Seymour's boob scene, anything involving the fiance, the pasttimes of the wacky rich and powerful, and the endless montage of wild and crazy wedding crashing, replete with Implants A'Flappin'. And that's taking into consideration the fact that Hublet and I skimmed the second half of the movie on Fast Forward. Too long. Too, too long.

Wow, that's pretty much the whole movie, isn't it? They probably could have shortened this thing by an hour and a half with no problem. Come to think of it, wasn't this an episode of Three's Company?

I want my two hours back--and a written apology.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 02:04 PM | Comments (4)

April 04, 2006

What a Week. Already.

Blogging has been rather sporadic of late, and I'm sorry. It seems a number of things have conspired to suck the life out of my blogging energy, including yet more daycare trauma, everything in the entire house breaking, and my recent purchase of God of War for the PS2, but it looks as though things are getting back on a more even keel--well, maybe. Take a glimpse into my recent past and judge for yourselves...

So The Boy had a new daycare situation, all happy with his buddies from the Place That Suddenly Went to Hell. Unfortunately, this situation has also deteriorated due to a combination of bureaucratic screw-ups and his teacher's medical problems. Let's just say there's been stress. After some scrambling, The Boy is hanging with a sitter at his best buddy's house, which means earlier mornings, later evenings and a higher gas bill, but it's only for two months, so I guess we'll live.

While that was going on, Hublet came home one day to relax and await our late arrival. Suddenly he heard the shower come on in the guest bathroom. Only it wasn't the shower--it was the toilet overflowing because the rod that holds the floater in the tank had corroded and broken. So. Water everywhere. Then we tried to fix the toilet only to discover that we have some freaky sized toilet for which we need Super Special Parts, and so tomorrow we have a plumber coming. Yay.

Oh, and did I mention our heat pump has recently given up the ghost? Yeah. They came out to replace that yesterday, which was great, except...

The new thermostat is smaller than the previous one, so my wallpaper in the hallway now looks decidedly bizarre. House Beautiful it isn't, folks. Plus we discovered that the builders had mislabeled the breakers, so the installers managed to turn off our hot water heater, which I didn't realize until...

I got up in the 49 degree weather this morning (no heat pump, remember?) and leapt into my nice, allegedly hot shower to warm up and ended up freezing my ass off. Fastest. Shower. Ever.

Now my scalp itches because I didn't rinse all the shampoo out in my rush to just FINISH THE SHOWER, I am chugging Pepto Bismol to prevent all the hot coffee I'm drinking from burning a hole in my stomach lining, we're hemorraging cash, AND did I mention I still need to do our taxes?

At least The Boy is having fun with the grandparents this week.

I'm just looking forward to June. Come on, June!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:16 AM | Comments (3)

April 03, 2006

Things We do for Love

Example the first: sit through three hours of people singing in German in an uncomfortable seat with no leg room. You're welcome, Hublet. And now you may reciprocate by sitting through 95 minutes of Nathan Fillion killing slugs.

Random thought:

Dear Media -

I just thought I'd let you know...I'm fresh out of panic. Tapped right the heck out. I know this bums you out, because I'm not giving you the reaction you want to your latest overhyped, overblown freakout about the environment, or the government, or whatever, but I can't lie to you. If all the polar bears die from global warming and I get oceanfront property in Raleigh as a result, well, I'll just deal with it. Polar bears are mean anyway. Ditto if the sun burns out and we all freeze, or if Iran starts nuking the world, or whatever. I just cannot be bothered to panic. And if you don't start dialing down the OHMYGOD!!!!, I will be forced to dial my apathy-meter up to eleven.

How about this? If any of the aforementioned events actually occur, let me know. In the meantime, I need to paint my kitchen.

Big Arm Woman

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:33 PM | Comments (7)

March 30, 2006

Nowhere to go but up

If there was a way for me to get my daily horoscope broadcast over my clock radio when the alarm goes off, so that it's the first thing I hear in the morning, I'd be all over that. Mainly because I have a feeling that today's announcement would have been something along the lines of, "Beware small annoying crap!"

But alas, technology doesn't provide me with personalized horoscope announcements over the public airways, so I have to learn the hard way.

My day thus far:

  • Dog sleeps on my foot. Wake up at 4 a.m. when dog moves and my foot "wakes up." Spend 10 minutes wriggling toes and grinding teeth against the pins and needles sensation.
  • Never really get back to sleep until 5:30 a.m.
  • Wake up again at 5:44 a.m. when Hublet has to let dog out. Sigh and close eyes.
  • Open eyes again at 6:00 a.m. when alarm goes off.
  • Stagger to shower; pour giant glob of shampoo directly into left eye.
  • Hop around in a fog of pain and suds, cursing.
  • Convince Boy to substitute blue jeans for sweatpants in his sartorial repertoire. Bargain. Plead. End up taking along a pair of sweatpants "for later." Realize that verbal sparring with 4 year old over attire has made us late.
  • Prepare to leave. Fail to locate car keys.
  • Flail for 15 minutes before remembering that I cleaned out the car yesterday and came into the house bearing trash to throw away.
  • Remember haranguing Hublet to take out trash.
  • Remember today is trash day.
  • Run to curb, fling open can, start digging through coffee grounds, garlic peels, yogurt containers and assorted muck.
  • Locate keys, which now smell of garlic.
  • Wash hands vigorously.
  • Arrive at work late with headache and lingering aroma of garlic clinging to my person.
  • Brace self for remainder of day.
Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:54 AM | Comments (2)

March 21, 2006

Daily Kerfuffle

I must admit that I am inappropriately fascinated by the whole Isaac Hayes South Park thing, even though I haven't watched the show in forever.

And now this?

A "religion" shouldn't necessitate handlers who never let practitioners out of their sight and libel suits to keep the press in line, you know?

Hooray for the internet--all your dirty little secrets (and wacked-out conspiracy theories, and hoaxes, and decent cookie recipes even if they didn't come from Nieman Marcus) exposed!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 02:21 PM | Comments (2)

March 15, 2006

Hello Ambivalence, My old Friend

So. Received the Oxford American's fiction issue a few days ago, whereupon Hublet promptly handed it to me and said, "You read it and tell me if there's anything good," and then fled the scene.


See, I have this problem with most of what passes for fiction nowadays--I hate it. Unless, oddly enough, it's genre fiction. I think it's because the folks writing genre fiction, with a few notable exceptions (hellooooo, Anne Rice), are aware that what they're supposed to do is tell a good story, not fight the power, stick it to the man, or change the freaking world with their navel-gazing purple prose of doom.

So when I'm confronted with the "fiction edition" of a magazine, I get this horrible feeling in my gut, as though I'm about to be dragged kicking and screaming through a wasteland of ennui punctuated with meaningless acts of drug abuse, sex, violence, and cussin', perhaps with a sprinkling of "God is dead" and "the abyss is staring back at me" for good measure.

But I have a higher tolerance for southern writing, mainly because the southern tradition of ennui is old and established and doesn't suffer the taint of metropolitan settings. Don't ask me why despair is easier to take in a bucolic setting, it just is. Plus, southern writing has always had a firm sense of the absurd. Manly Pointer stealing Hulga's leg in Good Country People is as hilarious as it is shocking and dark.

So I opened the OA to a random story and started reading. Boobs. Boob art as a metaphor for a failed relationship in--you guessed it--New York City. There was a whiff of trying too hard to be Gabriel Garcia Marquez mixed in with a touch of genuine southern humor, and a line in which the narrator wondered how exactly he and his girlfriend had become these rootless, ennui-filled, boring modern people. Good question. I think the answer is they spent too much time reading modern fiction editions of magazines.

I really hate the fact that I hate what passes for incisive, cutting edge fiction nowadays.

I think I'll blame James Joyce and go stare into the abyss--and then possibly write a self-involved story about genitalia as a metaphor for modern relationships.

I bet it would sell.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 04:27 PM | Comments (6)

March 10, 2006

Let's Hear it for the Hublet!

Who won Teacher of the Year at his high school!

Yay, Hublet!

Of course, I am convinced that his win was entirely due to the Shakespeare Club and RSC field trip he took, but as maker of the publicity fliers for his Shakespeare Club meetings (sample: Hold on to your codpiece! It's the Shakespeare club!), I may be somewhat biased.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 12:50 PM | Comments (3)

March 09, 2006


Dear Person In Line Ahead of Me at My Favorite Purveyor of Burritos the Size of My Head:

In case it's escaped your attention, we are in a restaurant. It is customary, when in an eating establishment such as this, to pay for the food at the time you place your order; hence the cash register in front of you at the ordering counter.

So is it too much to ask that you prepare just a bit in advance for this monetary exchange, instead of acting surprised that the cashier would ring up your order and tell you the total, and then spending 2 entire minutes fumbling around for a wallet, and then another minute trying to figure out if you have cash or if you should use a debit card?

Because I think I can speak for the 20 people in line behind me when I say lunch hour is a finite period of time; namely, ONE HOUR, and we're HUNGRY, and those burritos don't pay for themselves you bonehead and I could be noshing on homemade tortilla chips right now instead of standing behind someone who has no concept of simple economic transactions, no idea about the status of his personal finances, and who apparently also lacks opposable thumbs, if that struggle to remove your wallet from your pants was any indication.

Oh, and ordering a burrito without rice, sour cream or guacamole? Next time, just go to Chick-Fil-A. They do chicken and bread really well, or so I hear.

Yours Truly,
Big Arm Woman

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 12:15 PM | Comments (8)

March 07, 2006

How's My Day Going?

So glad you asked.

Like this.

Surreal, frightening and a little bit creepy.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:05 AM | Comments (3)

March 06, 2006

Monday Bits

In what can only be described as a bit of divine intervention, our power went out last night during the Oscars, and so I was spared George Clooney's "Neener, neener neener" self-congratulatory "we're so cool and brave and daring" speech.

George? I will concede that you look nice in a tux, but that's it. If you want to do something daring, how about you adapt The Satanic Verses into a screenplay and star in it? Now THAT would be daring. Texaco isn't likely to issue a fatwa against you over Syriana, but I'm thinking some mullahs won't be quite so circumspect if you get wacky with the prophet.

Speaking of, I've been following the "student tries to run over people at Chapel Hill to protest treatment of muslims story," and I have to admit I'm surprised. Surprised that students aren't shying away from denouncing this guy, surprised that the campus is not yet awash in counselors and "vigils for understanding," and mostly surprised that the student rag ran its own controversial Muhammed cartoon. Of course, these are the students. The profs and administrators are behaving much more predictably, calling for students to remain calm, avoid retaliation, etc., etc.

Yes, we must stop the bloody campus anti-muslim pogroms now! What? There haven't been any? What. A. Shock.

Sigh. I'd ask why academic types seem so bound to assume that non-muslim students are always ready to riot at the drop of a hat when there's no evidence for it, but at this point exploring the default manichaeanism of their thought processes is useless.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:45 PM | Comments (7)

March 01, 2006

How? Just, How?

Dear Possibly Crazy Young Celebrity Chicks of Hollywood,

How is it not possible to realize that you're walking around with your breastesees hanging out during a photo op? Seriously, how?

I mean, okay, if you're Tara Reid then you're probably too drunk to feel the liberating breeze on your parts, or maybe you're just so used to being topless that having clothing ON is a bizarre change in sensation, but I don't think Lindsay Lohan is Tara Reid--for one thing, drinking involves ingesting calories, and it's obvious that Lindsay has been on a boycott of those for a while.

Is it the cocaine? The amphetamines? General mental decline? Does breast augmentation surgery desensitize those puppies so much that you can't actually feel the sudden blast of cold air?

I understand the need to be fashion forward if you're young and hot and trying to get movie roles that don't feature a volkswagon bug, but can't you at least get your stylist to use a little adhesive, Miss America style? 'Cause if I wanted to see nipples, I'd just buy the latest issue of MAXIM or something.


Posted by Big Arm Woman at 02:19 PM | Comments (3)

February 23, 2006

Just Me and My Microwave

Wreaking havoc, Goodfellas Style. Watch out, Boopsie! I'm coming for you!

Via Feral Girl.

Angel Dust

People Iced:Thirty Six
Car Bombs Planted:Two
Favorite WeaponMicrowave Oven
Arms Broken:Four
Eyes Gouged:Twenty One
Tongues Cut Off:Thirteen
Biggest Enemy:Boopsie

Get Your HITMAN Name

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:23 PM | Comments (2)

February 20, 2006

Home again, home again


Just got back from a fun-filled weekend in St. Louis at the AAAS conference, which for you humanities types is the MLA of science, except without the silliness and overuse of colons in the symposia titles.

A large paleontologically-themed time was had by all, as was toasted ravioli and decent beer from the micro-brewery down the street.

And yes, I did go up in the arch, where the day's conditions were accurately listed as "movement." It was a bit like being on a boat, only 630 feet in the air.

Side note - midwestern friendliness kinda creeps me out, and I'm not sure why this should be the case, as I am genetically southern and therefore used to that sort of thing. Maybe it was the accent...

More later, as I regain my brain and get out from under two tons of work-related crud.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:02 AM | Comments (4)

February 14, 2006

Gifts I Can Use

Oh, right. It's Valentine's Day. I have neither great love nor flaming hatred for Valentine's Day--I just think that if you're going to stick a random gift-extorting holiday in the middle of the bleak midwinter when everyone is feeling pale, doughy, cold and bloated, you should at least remind people that the gifts can be something useful, or that your beloved would really like.

So if your signifigant other shares any traits with yours truly (which might be a stretch, because I'm not like other girls, according to my co-workers, husband, and every other man I've ever known, but whatever...) here is a list of Valentine's Day gift-giving do's and don'ts:

Don't give me lingerie. Seriously. It's mid-February, I'm still coming off of the "pale, bloated and doughy need to hibernate with flannel and comfort food holiday binge," and I do not even want to THINK about what I will look like encased in satin, lace, or feathers. And if it comes with a thong? Oh, hell no. Even if you do give me lingerie, you will only see it as part of the lacy blur that races past you en route to heavy blankets or a flannel robe. Check the calendar, Romeo. February! It's COLD, dammit!

Same with chocolates. I love chocolates, but don't need any more help with the "bloated and doughy" thing.

No jewelry. I am hard on jewelry, so I will probably destroy anything you get me within 15 minutes of receiving it, I hate "accessorizing," and I always forget to wear it anyway. Plus, every time I look at it I'll be thinking, "How many pairs of shoes would that money have bought? Or DVDs? Or video games? Ack! The wastefulness of it all!"

Flowers? Eh. They're great to get when it's spontaneous; not so much when it's expected, and then they just die. And also I hate chrysanthemums. Violently. Tulips, please.

So I hate everything, right? Not exactly. Here's my idea of the perfect Valentine's gift:

1. Cook dinner.

2. Present me with my own copy of God of War.

3. Get the hell away from me for the rest of the evening.

My needs are simple, people. Possibly not very romantic, but simple.

You may send Hublet your condolences in the comments.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:16 AM | Comments (11)

February 08, 2006

Shakespeare in a Day

So Hublet and I spent this past Saturday down at Davidson with 10 teenagers from Sampson County, an Activity Bus that was possessed by Satan, a bunch of snooty high schoolers from Mecklenburg County, and the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Let me preface this by saying that I love theatre--I loved it even when my acting professor senior year wanted me to be Blanche DuBois because he felt that I needed to "explore my sexuality;" I loved it when I stage managed for a tiny start up theatre troupe in Winston-Salem where my "booth" was a choir loft in an old church, my cues involved poking the sound and light guys (who sat right next to me in the pew) with my elbows and pointing at my book, and my house lights were cued by tugging on a string which was attached to the finger of a guy named Bob who sat in the back of the church next to the light switch--and this weekend really made me miss all that.

Well, maybe not the part with Bob and the string, because that church had bad wiring and the lights would always short out halfway through the show and I'd be tugging the string and the lighting guy would be running to the basement to hit the breaker box and Bob would be snoozing and the actors would still be gamely plugging along onstage--I could have done without that drama, really. That and the fact that our opening night audiences were always mostly comprised of prisoners out on a good behavior field trip. But all the other stuff? Yeah.

Anyway, we were there to do "Shakespeare in a Day." The idea was to have 8 different schools perform one or two short scenes from either Romeo and Juliet or Midsummer Night's Dream. They would string the scenes together and end up with 25 minute versions of each play which would be staged in front of a live audience at the end of the day. Hublet's kids had gotten their lines down the week previously and done some rudimentary blocking, but he teaches English, not Drama, so we're talking bare bones here.

Hublet arose at 3:00 a.m., got to his school by 4:45 a.m. and they left for a 4 1/2 hour ride at 5. I met them at Davidson at 9:30, and at 10 we did a tour of the new performance hall at Davidson (which I would have killed to have performed on, by the way--holy cow!--you can do any show there with the exception of Phantom, because they can't fit the crane inside the building. But anything else is a go--they did Angels in America last year, complete with giant cracking wall and floating angel.). Then the RSC led the kids through dance and fighting workshops, did run-throughs of the scenes, then took them to the stage to do a tech run-through, then back upstairs to work on fine tuning, then back for a full rehearsal, then the curtain rose at 5.

The RSC staff were amazing! Imagine taking a year's worth of acting classes in two hours. They pulled great stuff out of the kids, and watching a bunch of sarcastic, "yeah whatever" kids transform into excited performers of Shakespeare was just beyond words. The staging was bare bones--we set Midsummer in a mall, and scene changes were marked by folks "walking" around the mall and striking "mall poses" every so often to the beat of the mall muzak. It worked really well--you could follow the change of actors and actions easily.

Most of the other schools were there with drama teachers. Most of the other schools had vibrant drama programs, and the kids knew their way around a stage. We had travelled the farthest of anyone else, and we were probably the only group there with a real honest-to-God pageant princess (Miss Teen something-or-other) among our number. We kind of stuck out, in other words, and consequently got taken under the wing of one of the program's directors, which was awesome, and had nothing at all to do with the fact that he found Hublet's "Randy Quaid quality" fascinating or that we bribed him with homemade Snickerdoodles. (NOTE: Hublet doesn't really look like Randy Quaid, but he reminds everyone--including random british people--of Randy Quaid. It is a mystery for the ages.)

None of the other kids sounded quite like ours did, either: listening to Antonio deliver Demetrius' line to Helena like this, "Ah luv thee knot thay-er fore pursoo mee kno-ut!" was jarring, but also hilarious and refreshing, and the kids just ate up the audience feedback.

The best part was seeing these kids from Sampson County get over their whole "red-headed stepchild" complex and realize that they belonged onstage just as much as anyone else. And our Rude Mechanicals doing Pyramus and Thisbe at the end just kicked all kinds of humor ass, even when our little Wall flubbed a line--she recovered and kept on, just like my fellow Winston-Salem actors used to when the lights would blow out in the church.

God, I love theatre.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:50 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

February 02, 2006

Snarky Question of the Day

RE: the whole Mohammed cartoon thing -

If no images of the prophet are allowed, then how do people know that the cartoons are of Mohammed?

Just wondering. I mean, we wouldn't want to have an embarrassing "Oh! Sorry I firebombed the EU headquarters--I thought you drew the prophet, but actually now that you mention it, you're right. It might not even be him! After all, it's not like we have a bunch of graven images lying around..." moment or anything, would we?


Posted by Big Arm Woman at 03:13 PM | Comments (1)

January 30, 2006

Embarrassing Gushy Nonsense

I love Emma Thompson. No, really. Love, love, LOVE Emma Thompson. Of all the female celebs out there, she's really the only one I'd like to meet for lunch. She's smart, and funny and doesn't seem stuck up or pretentious--Gwenyth "ANTONY Hopkins" Paltrow, I'm looking at you, sister--and I can totally see just hanging out and shooting the breeze with her and laughing my butt off.

Emma Thompson helped fan the flames of my Jane Austen habit.

Emma Thompson is the perfect Everywoman.

Emma Thompson is the reason that I can no longer stand to even CONTEMPLATE Kenneth Branagh. Honestly, leaving the fabulousness that is Emma for that beetle-browed E.M. Forster adaptation botching/couldn't do Austen if you beat her/goth wannabe strumpet Helena Bonham-Carter? The hell, Kenneth!

I should have known that the moment you broke it off with Emma there would be no leash on that pretentious streak of yours, and boy howdy, was I right! Frankenstein, anyone? Woof. And after you and Emma had done Dead Again, which I still love, definite cheese factor aside. You are dead to me now, Kenneth. But I digress.

What has brought on this embarrassing font of Emma love? Well, I took The Boy to see Nanny McPhee this weekend, while Hublet was down at Davidson doing the "Royal Shakespeare Company helps your high schoolers perform Shakespeare in a Day" prep class--remind me to gush about that later; I mean, the dang RSC tutoring a bunch of kids from Sampson County on performing Shakespeare! I would have killed for that experience when I was in high school, or in college when I actually did some acting. Yes, I am excited about this upcoming weekend, can you tell?

Anyhoo, I loved Nanny McPhee. Quite a bit went over The Boy's head, and I worried that the fact that Colin Firth's character spends a lot of time talking to corpses might bother The Boy, but he didn't even notice, and munched his popcorn and giggled at the silly stuff. Heh. I initially typed "stiff" for "stuff" back there. Heh.

And Emma wrote the screenplay, which I hadn't realized, and which just fanned the renewed flames of my Thompson lurve. Thus my undignified gushing in this post.

We will return to your regularly scheduled bitching and moaning tomorrow.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 04:28 PM | Comments (8)

January 25, 2006


Brokeback Squadron. Just, hee.

Better go see it now, before Tom Cruise sues somebody over it.

via Defamer

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:57 PM | Comments (2)

January 20, 2006

I seem to be on a roll

With the fluffy pop culture stuff this week. This is partly due to the fact that in real life, I am almost ready to strangle any number of department heads and development officers--the closest things to matter and anti-matter in academia--due to their inability to Listen To The Words That Are Coming Out of My Mouth and their tendency to put their own preconceived notions in place of my words.

Irony would like to point out the humor inherent in the narrow-mindedness of academics, and I would like to tell Irony to shut her cakehole. Grr.

Anyhoo, I came to two important decisions this week.

  1. I'm totally over Lost. I want someone to shoot, in order: Ana Maria, Jack, Kate, Charlie, and the entire Others/Deliverance subplot, and replace the entire thing with the Locke/Sawyer insult comedy hour. Bleh.
  2. This is my new TV boyfriend. Hublet gets Heather Graham, I get Jensen Ackles. I am ignoring the fact that there is some serious cradle-robbing going on there--it worked for Demi.

And also, I hate Magruder--the final boss in the Gun game. Quit shooting me, dammit! Plus, who has body armor in the old west? Yeah, you might have the voice of Lance Henriksen, but that's not enough to save me from irritation when I have to spend 30 minutes jumping around and trying to time my Dukes Of Hazzard inspired dynamite arrows to coincide with your walking over a freaking GEYSER! ARG!

Shallow? Hell yeah. And speaking of shallowness and the critiques thereof, read this post, to which I can only respond "Amen." Irony, she is a hard mistress, but I've learned she can be bribed with beer.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 12:03 PM | Comments (8)

January 17, 2006

Everybody's Doing It

So I did, too.

Welcome to the Republic of BigArmia! They keep telling me crime is a problem due to the lack of prisons. Bah. Our currency is the gun for a reason, people. Not my fault if my fellow citizens refuse to use the currency efficiently.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 12:24 PM | Comments (1)

January 11, 2006

Tea for two

Herbal tea always sounds like such a good idea, you know? "Oh, I have the sniffles and a chill--I know! I'll wrap my fingers around a nice hot mug of cinnamon apple nutmeg spice and be cocooned in healing herbal goodness!"

And the boxes always smell so nice, too. It makes you all excited as you heat the water, anticipating the fruity spicy goodness to come.

But the boxes lie, people. Herbal tea does not taste like the box smells--it always tastes like the freaking box, and for some reason I have remained unable, after 30-odd years on this planet, to remember that.

It's like every winter, when I'm cold and tired of coffee, my nose takes over and tells the rest of me, "No, this time will be different! Trust me! It won't taste like cardboard with a slight hint of chamomile--it'll be tastebud nirvana, and you'll be just exactly like all those people in the commercials, safe and snug inside your New England cottage, watching the perfect snowfall while a roaring fire keeps your feet warm!"

And instead I'm stuck in my cold office with frozen toes sipping lukewarm sugar cardboard water that still has the nerve--the NERVE--to smell like apples!

I am so going back to decaf Earl Grey. At least it tastes like something.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:37 AM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

January 06, 2006

Cry Freedom

Perhaps this is an example of how oblivious I am, but it took me two full days to notice the presence of an overweight woman dressed as the Statue of Liberty waving at passing cars from the grassy knoll in front of the local Texaco station.

Actually, now that I think about it, the first day (Tuesday) she was dressed as Uncle Sam, but it was dusk and I only noticed her because the star-spangled hat added enough height to make her visible over the cars in the other lane.

She was toting a sign the first night, but again, dusk, so I couldn't read it, and she hasn't had one since.

And it's driving me nuts, because I cannot for the life of me figure out why someone would decide to dress up like an icon of American freedom and stand at a random intersection all alone without any sort of signage explaining the gesture.

I'm fairly certain it's not promotional for the gas station or nearby shopping center, because there would be something announcing the purpose of the promotion. And hello? July 4 is a looooong way away.

Is it an ironic commentary on war, oil and freedom? She's standing near a Texaco, which has connections to Texas oilmen and by extension our president...

Is it a "thank you, servicepeople" thing? If so, she's about an hour north of where she should be.

Is it a symbolic reminder of our freedoms, yay America, thing?

Or is it an experiment for her sociology 101 class, and she's recording the reactions of the people nearby?

I really wish I'd been able to read her sign the first night, because now I'm thinking I'm going to have to pull into the Texaco station and ask her what the hell she's doing.

Has anyone else's town been set upon by random national mascots?

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 12:28 PM | Comments (4)

January 03, 2006

Fun New Links for a Fun New Year

Because it's always helpful to point this out:

Sometimes the media gets it wrong. I know you're shocked! Shocked! And sometimes their reporting is a bit hysterical! I know! Hard to believe.

Andrea's gone and made herself a new blog. I don't even have the energy to tweak my 3 year old graphics, let alone fiddle with a whole new bloggery thing.

Academics get large monetary grants to study stuff like this. Why? Because people really are stupid.

In 2006, guys can be jerks, like, instantaneously! Guilt free! Thank you, gods of technology, you heartless bastards. And ladies, if a shmuck named Andrew Weigle tries to hit on you, kick him in the nuts.

Hope your New Year's celebrations were celebratory, and stuff.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:15 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

December 30, 2005

And in other news, I suck at Candyland

All things considered, this has been a great Christmas. I mean, sure, we had to deal with the whole "drag the four-year-old all over North and South Carolina and create draconian gift-giving guidelines for our relatives while pretending to like congealed orange gelatin salad with (gag) Cool Whip topping and then rush home, clean like a maniac and collapse after too many Irish coffees on Christmas Eve and then cook like a fiend on Christmas Day and then wonder where the hell the past two months have gone, exactly, and ohmyGod are those WRINKLES on my FOREHEAD and more gray hairs and I'm getting old and one day my Boy will leave and I will grow old and feeble and die! die! die!" thing, but aside from that I had a pretty good time, enjoyed (mostly) my relatives, survived the Christmas Eve "family" church service and got gifts that I like.

Well, except that the track suit I got turned out to have low rise pants, which--hello? You cannot actually jog or do yoga in those unless you just LIKE sharing your buttocks with random passersby, but you do look tres spiffy if your definition of "exercise" includes a pedicure and a leisurely saunter to the hairdresser. Which, okay, I could live with that, and besides I run at night and maybe the reflection of headlights off of my scary pale butt-flesh could save me from being hit by a car...but maybe I'm overthinking this and should just see if a few well-placed safety pins might solve the problem.

And I am loving Gun, because in what other game can you run a side quest called "Save the Whore!" where the quest's title text--Save The Whore!--appears across the top of the screen for the duration of the quest and a helpful health bar labeled "whore" lets you know exactly how much saving she needs? And then when you rush into the saloon and kill the bad guys she gets all snarky and wanders off. Fun, fun game.

I am not loving Candyland quite so much, however, mainly because I cannot win at the damn thing, and it's getting annoying. I mean, all I'm doing is drawing cards, okay? There's no strategy involved! And I cannot win! My constant Candyland humiliation is only compounded by the Boy's "poor mommy" hugs. But I persevere, and at least he's getting a role model for losing graciously out of it. Well, mostly graciously. I haven't set the board on fire or anything--yet. At least it's not Chutes and Ladders, the longest, dumbest, most irritating children's game ever invented.

Enjoy the New Year, everyone!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:26 AM | Comments (7)

December 28, 2005

Yes, Dammit! I'm a blue-collar scholar!

In grad school we had a fellow TA buddy who liked to put aside his Shakespeare on the weekends in favor of NASCAR, wrestling, and Budweiser. We affectionately referred to him as the "blue-collar scholar." He's now an assistant DA for one of our nearby counties, and what a long, strange trip that was for him.

I'm remembering that term today as I peruse the blogroll after a long absence and check out what my virtual pals are reading.

See, the Christmas holiday usually affords me a lot of free time to read, but this year, my heart wasn't in it. Still haven't finished Jonathan Strange, and it's not because the book is bad, it's just that every time I pick it up and feel the heft of it, I get tired.

I even got a big ol' bookstore gift card, and have only managed to spend a small portion of it, 2/3 of which were a calendar for my office and yet ANOTHER Thomas book for my beloved Boy. I bought Eragon, just 'cause I've been curious for a while and hey! It's not like it was my $9.95.

And here's the sad part--the highlight of my Christmas reading experience was the autobiography of Ric Flair, the Nature Boy. Yes, the wrestler. I know. I will pause here while you mock me. But it was funny (sometimes intentionally), and it was truly a window into a world that, if you grew up in NC in the 70s and 80s, was always present in the background.

So while my fellow bloggers are busy parsing the readability (or lack thereof) of Heinlein and purchasing A Reader's Manifesto, I'm learning all about the crimson mask, and the proper way to walk the aisle, style and profile. Woo!

Just call me the blue-collar scholar, brother, and I will meet you in the squared circle! Woo!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 04:09 PM | Comments (9)

December 21, 2005

If Ever a World Needed Saving

This one is from Hublet--warning:

What you're about to read is not an uplifting holiday story, but it is real, and is what he, his school, and we've been occupied with for the past couple of weeks.

In the early morning hours of last Tuesday, a student of mine from second period snuck out of her grandparents’ house, walked across the street into the woods, gave birth, cut her own umbilical cord, left her child in the ditch, went back in her grandparents’ house and re-entered her bed, where she almost bled to death.

Her grandmother discovered her there and they rushed her to the hospital. It was not until she was in the emergency room that my student told anyone about the baby. I have heard that she admitted hearing the child crying as she left it in the ditch, and that she covered it in leaves, but don’t know this to be fact, yet. EMS workers rushed to the scene after her confession, found the child (the temperature that night had dipped into the twenties), and even detected signs of life. But it was too late. He or she was pronounced dead at the hospital.

My student now sits in jail, charged with second-degree murder, with bond set at $75,000. I know little about her family, but her mother is dead (apparently of overdose) and her father (an addict, I hear) is not around. Very few people were aware she was pregnant to begin with, including (apparently) her grandparents. I had heard the rumor earlier in the semester, but she was small and dressed in baggy clothes – in fact, she dressed much like a boy. If it was true, I had thought, then she was no more than 3-4 months along. I was wrong, it turned out. She had tried out for girls’ basketball about a month ago, and, when the coaches saw her lift her shirt to wipe some sweat, they sent her home. Two weeks ago, her drama teacher (who knew) told her to stop lying on her stomach as she sprawled out on the stage to watch a movie in class.

The news made its way through school over the course of Wednesday and Thursday, and it was unavoidable wherever one went. No faculty conversation went on long without reference to it. In second period, a wild sophomore section if there ever was one, I simply asked everyone to respect the situation, fearing off-color jokes or inappropriate remarks. Instead, there was a sobriety that I had not thought some of those kids capable of, even at such a time as this. The kids were clearly affected, and these were the first moments of seriousness I had ever seen from a couple of them. They were, and I suspect still are, shocked. An often-petty girl, who I have been butting heads with off and on all semester, suddenly seemed as mature as my best kids. “I’m really angry with her, but I’m also really sad for her,” she stated to the class after we all discussed the situation for a while. In summing up our feelings there was not much anyone, students and teachers alike, could add to that statement.

But it does not end with that statement, either. Unanswered questions, unutterable images, and unmerciful grief – these are left in the wake of such news. What kind of awful life has she had? Was this planned or not? Who is the father, and was intercourse consensual? Did she carry it out in cold blood, or was she in tears the whole time? Did she feel trapped into doing this, and if so, why? Did she feel like there was no one, NO ONE, she could have talked to, and given the child to (NC law, btw, states that one has seven days after birth to give a child to a responsible adult without consequences)?

I know few answers to any of this. What I do know, and anyone in contact with this story knows, is the hell that the imagination naturally leads us to. A wet, writhing, crying child died a miserable, cold death, with no one there to hold it or offer comfort. That is the singular, awful fact; it is comparable to the stories of cruelty Ivan Karamazov lists in unrelenting fashion for his priest brother in an attempt to disprove, or at least undermine, God. My student’s baby, a miracle of life, literally knew nothing on this earth but pain, misery, and suffering. We flinch from the images that come to mind, for to think on them for any amount of time is to shudder, or curse, or yell, or cry (I’ve done them all in the past week). I love my student, and I fear what the future brings her. But whatever the motives, whatever level of punishment deserved, whatever unimaginably horrible extenuating circumstances in my student’s background, the image of that child is what has been burned into my mind.

The people that dwelled in darkness have seen a great light. In this season of the religious calendar, we focus more on the main clause, and not on its subordinate – and perhaps rightly so. But this Christmas day my student will be in a jail cell, accompanied by her torments; her child never had a chance to know Christmas day at all. The web of sins is woven so densely that any attempt to fully understand this entire mess will, I am convinced, fall short. It is a mystery, answered only by the greater mysteries of faith, of virgin birth, and of resurrection. If ever a world needed saving, it is ours.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:25 PM | Comments (19) | TrackBack

December 12, 2005

I want my tacky, shiny Christmas!

I have to admit, I am decidedly lowbrow when it comes to Christmas decor. Sure, I can appreciate the homes that had an army of landscapers on ladders painstakingly tracing every branch of their 150 year-old oak tree with lights and importing German firs for use in the door wreaths, but while that stuff is pretty to look at, it doesn't stir my heart the way overdone, haphazard redneck decor does.

I love driving by homes that sport an army of inflatable characters on the lawn, with blinking mismatched lights clumsily strung onto any available surface. I appreciate the effort involved in getting those plastic reindeer and sleigh to balance on a rooftop, and I can even tolerate the "turn your garage door into a billboard with the amazing message projector" doo-dad, even though I secretly feel like that's taking the easy way out.

So I've gotta tell you that I'm a little disappointed in my rural county this year, because so far there's been a dearth of redneck chic, and far too much tasteful festooning of porches with garland, ribbon, and white lights. I plead guilty to the latter, but in my defense just let me say that I left a dead shrubbery smack dab in the middle of the front of the house so that it would look balanced when I put the light nets across the hedges. And we do have a multicolored lighted train in the front yard, with a blinking animated steam cloud. The Boy loves that train. So I am trying to pull my weight.

But the final straw came last week, when The Boy and I were headed home. We were stopped at the last light before our street, when I looked to the left and saw, alone and forlorn on a front porch devoid of any other light or decoration, a lighted palm tree. That was it. Just one lighted palm tree, and nary a sign of either a cleverly ironic motif or the homeowner's Hawaiian heritage.

Now that's just laziness, people. If the folks in question had decided that Christmas really meant pink flamingos, palm trees and a Tiki party, and had gone all out, I could have appreciated that. But one sad little lighted palm tree, all alone? It made me weep for the lost opportunity.

I pointed it out to The Boy, who stared for a minute and then said, "That lady shouldn't have a sad palm tree light on her porch!"

Indeed, son.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:23 AM | Comments (2)

December 09, 2005

Maybe it's just me

But I totally do not get the whole "omigod Narnia is, like, a christian allegory disclaimer" thing going on in the press and publicity for the movie. It's as though these people are shocked that biblical themes ever manage to find their way into literature or something. Which, as a lot of journalists hold degrees in english lit., frankly mystifies me.

The hell, people. Where were you in high school when we discussed the meaning of the Christ figure in literature? Does Bartleby the Scrivener ring a bell?

I mean, is it really so freaking amazing to realize that if you're watching a movie that contains the whole "good versus evil" motif you might be able to draw a parallel to, like, God and Lucifer? That sacrifice, betrayal and forgiveness--which happen a lot in literature, film and real life, by the way--are also biblical themes? And that this might explain some of the Bible's continuing appeal?

I am beyond tired of Hollywood missing the point--AGAIN--and figuring that making Narnia is going to tap into all that mysterious Christian money, you know, because there's an ALLEGORY in there, and we all know they just went nuts over that Mel Gibson Jesus movie, and then managing to piss off the holders of the aforesaid Christian money with condescending "It's got Jesus, so come on out of your holy survivalist bunkers and join the real world!" messages, while simultaneously trying to reassure "real people" that they should still go see it anyway, because it has this ass-kicking lion in it and big battle scenes, and no one will be handing out Jack Chick pamphlets in the lobby or anything.

It must never occur to them that "real people" and "those scary Christians" are one and the same a lot of the time, and that they all pretty much just want to go see movies that don't suck, with stories that resonate.

I hate Hollywood.

But I do plan on seeing the movie, if I can just find the key to the Big Arm Jesus Bunker's front door.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:05 AM | Comments (19)

December 01, 2005

My Eyes! My Eyes!

Well, actually my virtual eyes, since the offending scene in question will never (thankfully) be filmed. But just reading the description of this now has the images stuck in my head.

Pardon me while I go bleach my brain.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:57 AM | Comments (4)

November 26, 2005

Thanksgiving Pop Culture Update

So, I got to see two movies over Thanksgiving--Walk the Line and Goblet of Fire. Super brief synopsis: Johnny Cash - yay!; Harry Potter - eh. The latter kind of surprised me, especially as I felt myself getting irritated at Voldemort mincing about the graveyard like a great undead pansy. Don't get me wrong--I love Ralph Fiennes, but for some reason I wasn't so much afraid of the menacing evil as I was rolling my eyes at his incessant cape swirling and going, "Oh, please. Drama much?" And while I realize that they were condensing a 700-odd page book into 2 1/2 hours, the movie was still too long. Yes, the dragons were cool. But did the chase scene HAVE to resemble 2Fast2Furious on a broomstick? And go on for, what, a year?

And characterization, which had to take a backseat to all the crap that happens in book 4, suffered horribly. Ah well. Goblet of Fire is really my least favorite of the series so far, so that may have a bit to do with it.

But that is neither here nor there--what I really wanted to mention was the long, torturous gauntlet of previews for movies that, let's see...will suck like a nuclear powered hoover.

Did you know that Woody Allen has a new movie coming out? And that it's actually just a compendium of three movies that have already been done before, one of them by Woody Allen? Well, he does! Try not to wet yourself in anticipation for his upcoming End of the Affair/Fatal Attraction/Crimes and Misdemeanors movie called--I forget, because I was too busy trying to calculate Pi to the 100th decimal to fend off death by boredom. It has English Accents! And Unhinged Women! And a Murder Mystery! Woo! Note to Woody: I think that by 2005 it's safe to say that we've left no stone of your sexual peccadilloes unturned via your moviemaking. Please stop. It's just embarrassing.

Speaking of sexual peccadilloes, the Gay Cowboy Movie preview managed to do to our theatre what no movie I've ever attended before did--make over 100 people cringe palpably. It was hilarious. Note to Hollywood PTB--don't put the preview for Brokeback Mountain in front of a movie about a country singer who found Jesus and turned his life around. Gay Cowboy Movies are kind of a niche market, your leather and rawhide fetishes notwithstanding.

And speaking of Jesus--what the HELL is up with the Superman preview? Somewhere in space, Jar-El voiceovers about sending his only son to save humanity. Literally, he says, "So I will send you, my only son, to save them." Who knew that Jesus wore tights? I didn't. And also, hubris much? Dude. Green ROCKS can kick your ass.

King Kong will probably be excellent and I will not go to see it because the story just pisses me off too much for me to enjoy the Peter Jackson artistry. When they make one where Kong doesn't die, give me a call. I HATE dead animal movies, a result of being scarred for life at age 7 by Old Yeller. GAH!

Hope your Turkey Days were excellent!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 07:36 PM | Comments (6)

November 18, 2005

Ask and Ye Shall Receive, Part the Second

For Emily, a series of Haiku inspired by the beauty that is Paris Hilton's chihuahua. Although the request was for a REALLY LONG POST, because Emily is apparently both a sadist and a masochist, I feel your pain, readers, and I believe that the austere brevity of the Haiku is really the only form that will do these creatures (fill in your own blanks here) justice.

The smallest Hilton
Stuffed into a Prada bag
I hope she pees there.

A chihuahua's thoughts
"Hey, you dumb bleached blonde bimbette,
I HATE the club scene!"

Oops! Doggy misplaced,
Maitre d's scramble about
It sucks to be them.

Advice to Paris,
the next time you buy a dog,
lay off the goofballs.

The chihuahua shakes
if your owner was Paris
you'd need downers, too.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:19 AM | Comments (3)

November 10, 2005

Ask and Ye Shall Receive, Part the First

Okay, first the easy ones from Wednesday's All Request Hour of Power here at the Big Arm Blog-O-Rama:

1. Joshua asked for book/movie/tv recs. Hmmm...well, I can tell you what I'm watching and reading now, if that'll help.

  1. Reading: Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, which is totally Jane Austen meets Harry Potter, and a great read. Unfortunately, I have only been able to make it through about 20 pages a night, and at that rate I will be reading this book until 2008. It's long. In the queue--Flyboys by James Bradley, who wrote Flags of Our Fathers, about the flag raising on Iwo Jima. I also recently finished The Historian and I am Charlotte Simmons. Simmons was flawed and too long but interesting, and I really loved The Historian. I'm also a Harry Turtledove alternate history geek, so pick one of those and I've probably read it. Oh, and of course Terry Pratchett, and my pal Feral Girl has promised to lend me Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys.

  2. Watching: Supernatural, which is like the X-Files when it was fun--an interesting larger story arc but with self-contained episodes each week; Veronica Mars, although season 2 isn't quite as compelling as season 1; Lost, although I TiVo it and fast forward through the parts I find irritating, and there seem to be more of those this year; and The Showbiz Show with David Spade because it is dark and evil and makes me giggle.

  3. Movies: Have Finding Neverland and Kung Fu Hustle at home now from Netflix; will probably take Boy to Chicken Little this weekend, as he has been agitating for it for quite some time; am looking v.v. forward to Narnia, Harry Potter 4, and the Johnny Cash biopic in the coming month.

2. MMC wants to know what actor I would be shocked to discover is gay. As a former theatre dabbler, I could probably say "none" with honesty, but let me be serious. Hmmm. Harrison Ford would shock me, as would most of the stars of 80's action/adventure flicks with the exception of Captain Cult, Tom Cruise. Any leading man who came AFTER that time period is up for debate. We have a seriously femme bunch of leading men out there nowadays, with a few exceptions.
3. Teaching Assistant wanted to know what category, if any, I'd add to the sidebar. I should probably add one on Pop Culture, since I'm so dang obsessed with it.
4. Personal aside to Belle--let's do lunch.

As for Emily, Marc, and PersonFromPorlock's requests...stay tuned.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:51 PM | Comments (10)


Hey guys! Thanks for the requests--I've got a few items in mind for later today.

But first, a couple of notes:

1. Buy Joanne Jacobs' book! I haven't read it yet, but if it reads anything like her blog, it's bound to be both wry and informative. Wryly informative?

2. Hooray! They FINALLY killed the right character off on Lost! Woot!

3. Personal note to AOG--Dude. That's why our catbox has a big ol' lid.

More later...

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:46 AM | Comments (4)

November 09, 2005

Taking Requests

Yeah, a little frazzled, a little burned out. Just for a change of pace, I thought I'd entertain some requests for blog entries about particular topics. Hopefully the requests will be for easy things that I don't have to spend too much time thinking about, because frankly I haven't been able to tear my brain away from the biomarker BNP-32 for the past couple of days.

Best thing about my job? I get to talk about the interesting fruits of the scientific process, without actually having to do science myself. Is that great, or what? Reaping without sowing--the American dream writ large.

And here's a warning--if I get no requests, or if I don't like the ones I get (woman, thy name is fickle biddy), then I'm going to have to publish the rant about the rampant scatalogical misconduct of SOMEONE in my building. I guarantee you will be icked out, so consider yourself warned.

Soooo, any requests?

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:21 PM | Comments (10)

November 07, 2005

The Gauntlet

I have now been on hold with AT&T; for 7 minutes. The helpful voice recording that I encountered seven minutes previously (after punching in my phone number, language selection, menu choice, and the value of Pi to the 300th decimal point) had told me perkily that I would be assisted by an AT&T; representative in 8 minutes---ooh, which it has now been!

Don't think I'm not onto you, AT&T.; Your futile attempt to wear me down in the hope that I will reconsider my decision to cancel your superfluous long distance service will not work. For I am made of stronger stuff, and frankly, that perky voice on the hold tape is only reinforcing my will.

Later...much later...No, I do not want to change my plan. No, I do not want to do a pay-per-call plan at .10 a minute (taxes and fees still applicable, of course). I told you AT THE BEGINNING that I just wanted to CANCEL my long distance. That's all. Seriously. CAN. CEL. As in gone, poof! voila! Bye-bye!

Please quit talking to me in your impenatrable accent, "Lucy." I can sympathize with the fact that you're probably losing a lot of customers like me due to better deals from cell phone companies, but really, that is SO not my problem, and if you had a better wireless coverage plan, well then maybe we could talk, but you don't so, again, STOP TALKING TO ME AND JUST CANCEL THE DAMN SERVICE!

Yes, I realize that by cancelling my long distance I am inviting hordes of rampaging vikings to come torch my house, and that the world will end in a fiery cataclysm and that we will all most probably regret our rash, impulsive decision to sever our bonds with you, oh master AT&T;, but actually? I think I'm okay with that. So can you please CANCEL MY LONG DISTANCE NOW?

Cancer? Really? A lack of long distance has been linked to rare, bizarre, painful and terminal illness? Well darn the luck! I STILL WANT IT CANCELED!

And could you just pass along to your bosses how much hatred I have for upsells, resells, and high-pressure sells?


Posted by Big Arm Woman at 02:14 PM | Comments (6)

November 03, 2005

So, How've You Been?

I've been busy, and full of blog ennui--tired of getting irritated by the same old crap, tired of reading about it, watching it, and hearing it.

Plus, I managed to throw my back out while in the freaking SHOWER, so it's not like I'm having a banner week here.

I've also been obsessively watching the Ghost Hunters and that Most Haunted show, which is hilarious in the extreme. Let's see...we'll put a highly suggestible family equipped with "nostril cams" in a spooky old house, separate them, and laugh as they freak out all over the place. And you can't tell me the crew isn't above making things go bump in the night if the spirits aren't willing to cooperate. Good times, people. Good times.

Remember that guy who said we could cure aging? Well his Q&A; session is online. My take is that the guy is a "big picture person," meaning he's all about the grandiose and just believes that the details will take care of themselves.

As an ENTJ and a detail person, this annoys me no end, so perhaps I'm not the best one to judge, even though I pretty much already have.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 02:00 PM | Comments (7)

November 01, 2005

From the I Don't Get it Files

This has got to be the fastest celebrity-scandal-turned-character-rehab (no pun intended) thing I've ever seen. And I don't get it, because it's not like we should have been surprised to begin with. How do you THINK models stay thin? Drugs, eating disorders, plastic surgery, or a combination of all three, that's how.

Meanwhile I am battling a headache brought on by eye strain brought on by reading a bunch of meaningless crap, so I'm not able to draw any meaningful comparisons between the Moss affair and, well, anything else.

Sudoku, take me away!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:20 PM | Comments (3)

October 31, 2005

Paging Darwin

It's over, people. We have finally reached the point of trying too hard to save idiots from themselves. Sometimes, society just has to let go and allow people to be really, really stupid. If they win a Darwin award for their efforts, well, that's just too damn bad. With great freedom comes great responsibility, or something...

Case in point.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:29 PM | Comments (4)

October 24, 2005

End of Days

You know, one of my favorite pastimes is bashing Anne Rice's purple prose and over-the-top brood fests, but this is just too much, even for me.

Just...I'm out of words, except to note that reading the interior monologue of a (most likely) broody seven-year old Messiah might cause my brain to liquefy and run out of my ears. And I say that as a good--well, mediocre, probably--Methodist.

Although if she's actually allowed an editor to, you know, read over it first, it might make a difference.

On a related note, the emergence of the Olsen Twins from Hell makes me think that maybe our days truly are numbered, or if they aren't, they really really should be. Girls, if your biggest goal in life is to "stay white," well, I'm thinking you don't have anything to worry about.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:01 AM | Comments (8)

October 21, 2005

Quote of the Day

"It affects business because I can't whack away on my BlackBerry like I used to," he said. "It's just too painful."

Well, okay then.

Seriously - wimp. Talk to me after a marathon PS2 session, when not just my thumbs, but my entire HANDS are gnarled, useless claws.

Put THAT in your Blackberry and whack it!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:35 PM | Comments (1)

October 19, 2005

Damn Tricksy Weather

You turn your back for one minute--just one! And all of a sudden the little tropical depression is THE LARGEST STORM EVER IN THE HISTORY OF ALL STORMS!

I don't know about you, but I'm well and truly tired of the freaking hurricane one-upsmanship going on this year. And I don't even live in Florida.

Related note - sorry for the continued radio silence. I barely have time to remember to practice personal hygiene just now, let alone try and think up something pithy and blog-worthy. This should change soon.

But thank God our academics are hard at work on the thorny questions that plague mankind. Just makes you sleep better at night, doesn't it?

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:37 PM | Comments (2)

October 16, 2005

Tanka Trucks

Have you heard about the latest Japanese poetry craze? It's Tanka, which is Haiku but with two additional lines of 7 syllables at the end. So instead of the standard 5-7-5, you have 5-7-5-7-7. Lots of fun! Here are a couple of Tankas inspired by my weekend.

My only darling Boy
Decides "mommy" is passe';
Now he calls me "mom"
And he calls his father "dad"
What the hell? He's only four!

Is it just me, or
has anyone else noticed
that an '08 win
by Clinton means that we'll have
20 years of dynasties?

And is it just me
or does anyone else think
that 20 years of
prez-es from two families
is lame? New blood now--WALKEN!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:55 PM | Comments (5)

October 13, 2005


This is truly a got nuthin' week. And it's a shame, because with a little more time I would have liked to post about threatening grievous bodily harm upon a line-breaking second grader and her do-nothing dad, the slice-of-life goodness complete with pit bulls on flimsy leashes that is Selma's Railroad Days, and the fact that Batman has taken up permanent residence in our home.

But alas, work has been from hell, I haven't even had a decent lunch break to read other blogs, much less formulate my own, and when I get home I'm TIRED, dammit. The additional Batman wrangling is wearing me down as well.

Related note to self: Although you would think that "putting a blanket over your head and leaping blindly from a great height" is a self-evidently bad plan, you do need to spell that out to a four-year-old. Repeatedly. Perhaps I should put one of those # of days without a broken bone counters on my blog, because obviously it's just a matter of time.

SO. Here's some food for thought, kiddies. If education schools are vetting folks for being proper GoodThinkers before allowing them to teach, what do you think the end result will be? Here's a clue - don't look for our math/science scores to improve anytime soon, as everyone is too concerned with politics in ed theory to bother making sure that these future teachers can actually, you know, teach.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 02:12 PM | Comments (0)

October 11, 2005

Obviously, I'm not the target demogaphic

For this ad campaign. Because I have always hated Smurfs with a fiery passion. Fiery.

I always wanted Gargamel to rip the heads off of those useless blue pukes and tapdance on their stupid little mushroom houses until there was NOTHING LEFT.

Turns out that only the Belgians are capable of doing that. Huh. Go figure.

Full disclosure - I always rooted for Sylvester and Wile E. Coyote, too. And liked to pull the heads off of Cabbage Patch dolls.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 02:14 PM | Comments (3)

October 10, 2005

Monday Advice

If you haven't, then go forth and rent/view Bubba Ho-Tep right now.

I'll wait.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 04:14 PM | Comments (5)

September 22, 2005

No Surprise Here

All those political quizzes I take put me almost smack dab in the middle of everything. This one was no exception, though these things annoy me due to my tendency to "yes, but" or "no, but" almost all of the questions. Anyhoo - my results, in case anyone cares...frankly, I thought I was more of a pure capitalist than this.

You are a

Social Liberal
(63% permissive)

and an...

Economic Moderate
(56% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:23 AM | Comments (8)

September 20, 2005

Hating My Dog

I was going to do a big link round-up of the "Spectre of the N-Word and its Implications for Free Speech on Campus and Beyond," but couldn't find one of the main editorials I wanted to use online, so nevermind. If you want to read one of the articles that sparked the idea, though, go here.

Plus, I've been too busy today hating my dog. I have a long and storied history of hating my dog, because I am convinced that she isn't really a dog at all but a miniature hellhound trapped in the body of a weiner-beagle. I should have known when I looked at the sign on her kennel at the ASPCA which read "Owner Deceased." I believe she killed that owner, and has been trying to induce a brain aneurysm in me ever since I brought her home.

First, there were two or three vets who were convinced she had distemper or parvo and would die. Alas, no. $700 later, she was fine.

Then there were the recurring bouts of gout. Organic dog food--available from California via mail order only, natch!--solved that problem, huzzah.

Then there was the separation anxiety that only happened if I deviated from my regular schedule For Even One Minute. And the odd coincidence that her fits of destruction only targeted random things I really liked, rather than the door, floor or furniture. She would take favorite shoes from my closet and destroy them in the middle of the floor. She ate my Nightmare Before Christmas Burger King watch, which really hurt.

Not to mention her eating disorder, which has led to the consumption of a pound of raw bacon and a fun weekend spent toting her and her inflamed pancreas all over town in search of a vet open on Memorial Day, regurgitated Spaghetti From the Compost Pile (complete with ants), regurgitated beetles (I don't know--don't ask), and the regurgitated corpse of a baby bunny. That was last week. Whee! Naturally, enough of these substances stay with her that explosive diarrhea is the result. Spot shot and the rental steam cleaner are my only saviors.

We do not speak of the deer leg incident, which will forever live in infamy.

As Gertie approaches the twilight of her life, the random messes are becoming more frequent, so we've started leaving her in her kennel during the day with food, water, and lovely soft blankies. Gertie, naturally, hates this. She pretty much hates everything, and always has. Which is good, because when she likes you she has a tendency to pee on your feet (ask Brad and Feral Girl about that), but I digress.

So Gertie has started hiding in the mornings. Today, she hid so well that Hublet and I were convinced she hadn't returned from her morning jaunt, and canvassed the neighborhood. I left water on the porch, a spare key for the neighbor, and called her to ask her to check on Gertie. The Boy was rather concerned--though I cannot imagine why. She doesn't have much use for The Boy, and he is continually annoyed by her begging.

The neighbor called me two hours later--after I arrived an hour late to work--to say that she had wandered over to see if Gertie had returned, and had called her name. Gertie then appeared at the window inside the house, barking. My neighbors are fairly convinced that Hublet and I are flakes anyway; I'm happy to know that my stupid dog has cemented that perception.

I hate my dog.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 03:28 PM | Comments (2)

September 19, 2005


This article is great, though it makes me wonder just what I've missed by spending my whole life as a milquetoast Methodist. Not that I WANT to experience the lunatic fringe--I'm just wondering where these folks hang out. My favorite paragraph:

I am tired of hearing people I work with say that God is talking to them like He talked to Moses at the burning bush or like He talked to Abraham. I'm weary of people saying God speaks directly to them about mundane matters of reasonable human choice, so that their choices of toothpaste and wallpaper are actually God's choices, and therefore I need to just shut up and keep all my opinions to myself until I can appreciate spiritual things. I'm tired of people acting as if the normal Christian life is hearing a voice in your head telling you things other people can't possible know, thus allowing you a decided advantage.

I mean, if all this were really happening, wouldn't these people be picking better stocks?

via Andrea.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 12:59 PM | Comments (10)

September 14, 2005

Emily Post Has Nothing on Me

Okay, back and refreshed from the one-day pity party, starring me! Woo!

A few doo-dads I've been meaning to mention:

This is for those of you planning weddings. Two words: Reply card. Failing that, email address or phone number. See, sending out just the invitation with the words "reception to follow," but no indication of when or where or how you're supposed to convey your intentions concerning attendance to your hosts is, well, stupid. Because then your guests will scramble around to email you that they're coming, and will show up expecting the reception to be at the church because no alternate place was announced, and then they'll panic when they realize that the reception is being held elsewhere and they have no idea how they're supposed to get there because no one bothered to tell them ANYTHING beyond the fact that there was, indeed, going to be a wedding, but fortunately one of their other out-of-town buddies had been to that place once before and so they'll form a caravan and make it there and THEN have to wait 45 minutes to eat a meatball because no one knows what the bride wanted, then they still have to drive an hour home. Then they'll write mean things about your wedding on their blogs and really, you probably have enough on your plate without having to worry about stuff like that.

So two words: reply card. Or Emily Post. You pick.

Watched Supernatural last night, and think it has potential. Although on a related TV-viewing note: The Hell, WB? Putting Veronica Mars up against Lost? Are you TRYING to make my head explode? Arg.

And finally, I have some certificates burning holes in my pockets. Read any good books lately? I'll read anything from Terry Pratchett to straight history.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:00 AM | Comments (19)

September 13, 2005

Happy Birthday to Me. Dammit.

Today is my birthday, and I am old. Old and dried up and trying really hard not to think about it, because you know--OLD. As Hublet likes to tell me from time to time as we share poignant moments in The Boy's childhood: "Well, that's it. Now we're just gonna get old and feeble and die." Hublet also likes to remind me of the gaping chasm of 15 months that separates our birthdays. Hublet has quite a bit to answer for, actually. My birthday present had better be pretty damn good.

But I digress. I think I have successfully managed to postpone the cliche' of the mid-life crisis until now, because I was still safely in the "mid-thirties" zone. Alas, I have begun to slide into "late thirties," and it is pissing me off. Certainly I should be rich, famous and adored by millions by now, and certainly my bright idea to choose an English major should in no way be affecting my trajectory to fabulous success! Now that I think about it, maybe the suckiest thing about the late thirties slide is that my ability to delude myself is disintegrating. Drat.

Well, that's part of it. The other part is that my body is crapping out on me. Pretty much the knees and the ovaries have had it, or so the doctors say, so there will be no sibling for The Boy unless we opt to purchase one, and even if we did opt to purchase one, there's no guarantee that my knees would work well enough for me to trundle said sibling between points a and b. Oh, and may I just add that the fertility drug Clomid, while prescribed like Pez to women over 35 by OB/GYNs everywhere, is decidedly NOT candylike in its side effects. Or maybe I'm just so old that my body instinctively reacted to the surfeit of estrogen by Completely Freaking The Hell Out. And also? I now apparently have arthritis in the middle joint of my middle finger on my right hand. This is annoying, because the joint is getting bigger, and it actually HURTS when The Boy holds my hand and squeezes it. He's FOUR, and hardly Charles Atlas. Thank you, distaff side of the family, for bequeathing me arthritis and osteoporosis. Seriously. I'm thrilled. Would it have been too much to ask for the bodily decrepitude to wait a few years before piling on in a geriatric-making frenzy?

No two ways about it. Aging sucks. I cannot WAIT for forty. Bleh.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 12:18 PM | Comments (21)

September 07, 2005

You not make that to prate all day's work.

Worst. Phrasebook. Ever.

And here are some fabulous uses of the language by allegedly native speakers.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 02:35 PM | Comments (0)

September 01, 2005

And now for something a tad lighter

Because I need a distraction.

I have finally found it: the one bumper sticker in all of creation that I would allow to sully my vehicle, but only if I could turn it into a lighted message board on the roof of my car:

Forget world peace. Visualize using your turn signal!

It would also be nice if I could change the message depending on the offenses of the other drivers. Some alternate constructions I would probably enjoy using:

Visualize putting on makeup AT HOME!

Visualize your lane, and stay in it!

Visualize a new muffler!

Visualize tying down that crap in the back of your truck!

And finally, in the event my PSAs are ignored:

Visualize my middle finger!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 02:39 PM | Comments (8)

August 29, 2005

Monday Haiku

My Weekend:
All hail the Spot Shot
Removes paint stains from carpet
Caused by "helpful" Boy

The Hurricane
The Weather Channel
Sends their spastic broadcasters
To stand in the wind

Academic Nonsense
Hey, professor Best?
You are a raging nutball
Britain says, "stay out!"
(FYI - last link is subscriber only, sorry.)

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:40 AM | Comments (1)

August 22, 2005

Well Good Grief, I'm Mother of the Year! Not.

First off, let me just say trust Paglia to bring out the controversy/commentary. And also, kudos to the participants for managing not to devolve into a feces-flinging flamewar. That's a badly mixed metaphor, but that's all I've got today. Sorry.

My final take on the Paglia thing--in other words, my personal experience with which I will now bludgeon you--is this:

I've hung around the ivory tower, I've done the community theatre thing (alas, Guffman never did show up), and I've done the church thing. Ironically, the idea that I was part of a specially annointed and pretty dang smug about it clique was much more prevalent in academia and the arts than in the "faith-based community," or in my bucolic blue-collar neighborhood. So there you go. And that's why Paglia's article resonated. Ta-Da. Although I must say, if the best you can do as an artist is produce a jar full of urine with a plastic holy relic in it, well, maybe a little castigation is in order. Seriously, dude. It's called art class. Look into it.

Now on to more important things; namely, my utter failing as a mother.

We managed to get The Boy up and out of bed at a decent time this past Sunday, and I was pleased that he didn't reject my choice of attire--a white polo shirt and some cute navy and white houndstooth-patterned shorts. No ironing necessary! Cinnamon buns for everyone! Huzzah!

We made it to church in time for the sermon--lately this is quite the accomplishment for a number of reasons, most of them so snarky that my keyboard will burst into flames if I type them--and The Boy whispered to me:

"Mommy, these pants have funny underwear."

So I looked. Oh, dear. The cute little checked pants had little mesh briefs sewn into them. And a drawstring.

Then I noticed that whenever The Boy stood up straight his super cute white polo shirt rode up above his belly.

I had sent my child to church in swim trunks and a belly shirt.

Well. There goes any sartorial superiority about "proper church attire." Because unless you show up for worship in a tube top and speedos, The Boy's got you beat on the dressing down front.

I'm available to accept my Mother of the Year Award whenever you're ready.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 03:29 PM | Comments (4)

August 17, 2005


Okay, for some reason the comments pop-up box is hosed. If you click on the permalink for an individual entry, you can read the comments that way.

Do. Not. Ask.

Unfortunately, you can't add any comments. I have checked the permissions on all the comments files in MT and that's not the problem.

And yes, I am bitter about having to revisit the whole update/reinstall/give up and go to WordPress thing. Grr.

Email addy is on the right over there, if you've something to say.

UPDATE: Oh for crying out loud! Never mind. AAARRRGGGHHH.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 02:45 PM | Comments (2)

These are the People in Your Neighborhood

And some of them are kind of nutty. Hublet and I were chatting with our neighbor who lives at the end of the cul-de-sac the other evening. She had come out to ask us if we'd been struck by the doorbell ringing bandits yet--we hadn't, and all agreed that school starting again would be a good thing--who had paid her a visit at 1:30 a.m. Ah, the teen years. Those sad, lame, painful years of crushing boredom punctuated by moments of peer-induced panic, overlayed with a veneer of ironic detachment. Gah. My Darwin-inspired theory on teendom is that if you can make it through that, you're going to do just fine the rest of your life. But that's not the point.

In the course of our conversation, our neighbor casually mentioned that a fellow who lives up the street from her (his house is between hers and ours) had been seen on more than one occasion and by more than one cul-de-sac resident lurking around in the wee hours dressed in camoflage, complete with mask. Umm, okay. Why he would do this is a complete mystery, and I'm hoping that he's merely an insomniac reliving his glory days of playing "army" in the woods with his friends. Yes, I know that's unlikely, and yes, I am glad that we have a security system installed, as well as a seriously pointy cavalry sword. I am also pleased to report that his house is currently on the market. If anyone out there is looking to relocate to a starter home in a sleepy country development, CALL ME. Today would be nice.

Then I started thinking about the "nutty neighbor" phenomenon. Growing up, there were two folks in my neighborhood who were a bit off. I believe one of them was mentally disabled, because she would stand on the corner and ask my friends and I if we had any smokes every time we passed by going from one house to another to play. We were nine at the time, and while I'm sure there were some proto-delinquents out there puffing away at that tender age, none of my friends qualified. The second one was what my dad used to call a "professional crank." From what I could gather, he didn't like the gummint. His means of protest, therefore, was to mow his lawn clad only in a jock strap. Hilarity, of course, ensued. He did this fairly often, as well.

But bumming Camels off of nine year olds and doing the jock strap cha-cha on the front lawn as a form of tax protest are a far cry from wargames in the wee hours.

Did I mention that our neighborhood is quite the restful, bucolic sort of place? We have a pretty decent Fourth of July parade, too, and we're only 2 miles from the elementary school. House for sale, y'all! CALL ME.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:05 AM | Comments (1)

August 16, 2005

And Now, A Moment of Shameless Fangirling

For Michael Yon's Dispatches. I know, I know, the whole entire freaking world has linked to them by now, but dang! They are addictive, mostly because they offer a real behind-the-scenes feel for what's going on in Iraq, as opposed to the daily US Bodycount pie graphic that USA Today seems to feel is sufficient, but also because they are just really well-written.

And so I fangirl. Fangirl, fangirl, fangirl. And hope that Yon and his fellows manage to stay safe--the post about the really big IED that almost blew them all up is riveting.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:54 AM | Comments (0)

August 05, 2005


Yeah, content has been light this week, and will be non-existent next week, as I go forth to frolic in the Atlantic Ocean.

See you on the 15th!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 03:34 PM | Comments (0)

August 03, 2005

Hublet's Wednesday Review Corner--Oxford American Music Issue

Just got our latest issue of The Oxford American, the second since their most recent resurrection (BAW reviewed the Southern food issue in the spring, then threw the magazine away before I finished it – not that I would complain, of course). I must say they are 2 for 2 with two HR’s this year, perhaps because they decided to quit trying to be “The NewYorker-except-with-occasional-photographs-of-fields-and-shacks”. Yay for the OA! Anyway, this latest issue would be hard to screw up in any case, because it is the annual (except for those pesky non-publishing years) Southern music issue, complete with the expected eclectic group of songs on cd. This is probably the fifth such cd we’ve gotten from them, and each is a gem. There are 29 tracks this year, on what may be the best one yet. So far, here are my favorites from the ’05 collection (enclosed in the magazine if you buy it off the rack):

#4 – “Sally Jo” by Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder –I haven’t heard a bad recording yet from these guys.

#13 “Ballad of a Teenage Queen” by Cowboy Jack Clement – If you know the original done by Johnny Cash, you know it is a little bubble-gummish compared to a lot of his work. Typical of Cash, he sang background vocals for Clement on this re-recording, which is played at a slightly slower pace and with stripped down instrumentation. Wow!– suddenly the song becomes something totally different and profound.

#15 “Symphonique #6” by Moondog – I haven’t read the article about ole’ Moondog yet, but he is bound to be interesting from the sounds of this instrumental piece. It is like a cross between Beethoven, Dixieland Jazz, and Tango music.

#20 “Piece of My Heart” by Erma Franklin, who was Aretha’s older sister, and who recorded this song a year before Janis Joplin. Unbelievably good, every bit as good as Joplin’s version. It’s not often (thankfully) you’ll catch me singing, out loud, words like, “Didn’t I make you feel, like yooooooouuuuuu were the only man?” But I can’t help myself with this one.

#27 “Suspicious Minds” (Live Recording) by Elvis. I’ve always liked Elvis without loving him. But this recording blows me away. After cutting the record a couple of weeks earlier, he sings it here during his Live in Las Vegas concert in a way that gives me chills – when he sings, “We’re caught in a trap” over and over again, I believe the hell out of him.

There is also good stuff from Buddy Holly, Nat King Cole, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Johnny Winter, and Zora Neale Hurston (!) among others. And you shouldn’t miss a real gospel classic from 1950: “Jesus Hits Like the Atom Bomb”. Lawd Yes!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 04:11 PM | Comments (3)

August 01, 2005

Lame Monday Filler

Busy. Oh so busy. And tired. And those stupid Phil Collins songs from the Tarzan soundtrack won't stop running through my head. So here's a quiz you can take, and here are my results:

the Cutting Edge

(52% dark, 47% spontaneous, 22% vulgar)

your humor style:

Your humor's mostly innocent and off-the-cuff, but somehow there's something slightly menacing about you. Part of your humor is making people a little uncomfortable, even if the things you say aren't in and of themselves confrontational. You probably have a very dry delivery, or are seriously over-the-top. Your type is the most likely to appreciate a good insult and/or broken bone and/or very very fat person dancing.

PEOPLE LIKE YOU: David Letterman - John Belushi

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

free online dating free online dating
You scored higher than 83% on dark

free online dating free online dating
You scored higher than 16% on spontaneous

free online dating free online dating
You scored higher than 33% on vulgar
Link: The 3 Variable Funny Test written by jason_bateman on Ok Cupid

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:13 AM | Comments (4)

July 29, 2005

Quote of the Day

"What's the big deal?" he asked. "We're born naked into this world. Why can't we walk around in it without clothes from time to time?"

Umm, because you're goofy looking and scare young children? Or because aesthetically speaking, I don't need to see your pimply ass besmirching an art museum?

Seriously, folks. The human body is a lumpen meaty hunk given to unfortunate moments of unsanitary fluid excretion, that is riddled with bacteria, bumps, and inappropriate hair placement. I only want to see that when it's been airbrushed, toned and oiled, okay? The rest of the time I expect the sweet, sweet barrier of cloth to interpose itself between my overtaxed retinas and your flab. Thanks.

Guess this means I'll have to turn in my Crunchy Granola Let it All Hang Out, Dude membership. Drat.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:35 AM | Comments (4)

July 25, 2005

A Mile in Saddle Shoes

Perhaps Robin Ghivan has never been to church in the south. That's the only explanation I can give for her bizarre psychoanalysis of the Roberts family's sartorial choices, which Lileks skewers here.

But my response upon seeing the Roberts family was--eh. They must shop at Cameron Village, home to every upscale boutique in Raleigh. Ghivan acts as though bishop dresses and seersucker for toddlers is unusual. Pah. She should come to my church--the profusion of beribboned bishop's frocks and saddle shoes would probably cause her to foam at the mouth and fall over dead.

I'm just gonna file that bizarre article under Trying too Hard. Hey Robin? Better luck with the metaphors next time, sweet thang.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:46 PM | Comments (4)

July 21, 2005

Wednesday Links

My son has begun an illustrious career in fan fiction. I say this because he has already discovered the allure of the "Mary Sue," and insists that I add him into the plots of fairy tales like Jack and the Beanstalk and the Three Little Pigs. He looks to be specializing in "crossover" fan fiction, because not only does he make me insert him into the action, he drags people like Scooby Doo, Darth Vader, and Shemp from the Three Stooges into the mix. I'm so proud. Especially of the one where Darth Vader, Shemp and The Boy have to fight the giant who lives at the top of the beanstalk.

Ever have a day when you were so damn sick and tired of other people going on about their uniqueness and feelings and how everyone needs to "understand them" that you wanted to kick them in the eye? I have lots of those days. Here's a refreshing antidote/rant brought on by emotive commenting on supreme court nominees. It'll singe your eyebrows right off. And that's a good thing.

Erin's got two good posts up (just scroll down) on the current fights that FIRE is involved in. Apparently, mob rule is okay--as long as the mob does what the administration wants them to do. Gah. As tiresome as it is, you have to keep paying attention, because apparently some people never learn. Irony would like to point out that a lot of those learning-challenged types tend to gravitate toward academic administration. Thank you, Irony. That will do.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:09 AM | Comments (0)

July 20, 2005

Administrative Update

Thanks to those of you who told me the comments were hosed--I was beginning to feel very lonely and sad.

Looks like a spam attack broke my MT Blacklist, so I just deleted the darn thing, which is a nice stopgap--for the five minutes it'll take for the spammers to reappear.

I'm thinking that WordPress may be the way to go. I'm pretty sure my hosting company has the minimum requirements--the only problem will be finding time for the upgrade. I'm not about to try and load this stuff on dialup, so I'll have to use my lunch hour.

Bear with me, and if you have any suggestions, put 'em in the comments, or if those die again, just email me.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 02:50 PM | Comments (5)

July 18, 2005

Harry Who?

Bought it and read it. For those of you who are interested, my review appears in the extended entry, because it is CHOCK FULL OF SPOILERS!


For those of you who aren't interested, or aren't finished, a brief take: good setup, flawed or odd characterizations. Still looking forward to #7.

Okay, so Snape is evil, Malfoy is a craven coward, and Dumbledore is dead. We're all set for the great Horcrux Quest and Final Confrontation that will be book seven. Those were the good points, and the action, when it happened, was well done. The look into Tom Riddle's history was good as well. The last 5 or so chapters were the payoff. Harry seemed to be on a more even keel emotionally this book, but everyone else seemed off, and not in the "hormones do wacky things to teenagers" way.

Seriously, what happened to make Hermione and Ron dismiss Harry out of hand not once, but several times, and even when confronted with evidence? The Ministry battle had been a fiasco, but Harry is right more often than wrong, and Ron and Hermione know that. It just seemed as though Rowling had to make them behave that way just to advance the plot, which was unfortunate.

Why did Hermione screw up the questioning in Knockturn Alley? Is this the same girl who managed to lure Dolores Umbridge to her doom? Why did she refuse to offer help? You cannot expect the reader to believe that she was so undone by Ron that she forgot her best friend was preparing to battle the ultimate evil.

And Ron--well, why was he even in this book except to pledge undying loyalty to Harry in the last two pages?

Ginny gets the Mary Jane Watson role from the first Spiderman movie, and seems pretty blase' about it, really.

I got the sense that Rowling wanted to concentrate on Harry, Voledmort's backstory, and Dumbledore in this book, but was afraid that would be too dark. So you get the "lighter" romantic subplots, which wouldn't be a problem except that given the characters' circumstances lightheartedness is sometimes tough to achieve, which I think leads to some oddly out of character moments.

Overall, though, I enjoyed the book. Still not as good as Azkaban, but a fun read.

Now I just have to wait however many more years for the last one.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:54 AM | Comments (12)

July 15, 2005


I'm jittery today. And no, it's not because I'm afraid of anything. In fact, I'm a little bit jittery because I think I'm about to reach my boiling point with those who ARE afraid of everything that doesn't conform to their view Of How The World Should Be. So take that double-edged sword and fall on it, tiresome pronouncers of how the Other Side is the Harbinger of DOOOOOOMMMMM! You're mentally lazy and you suck. The end.

Maybe it's the coffee. Maybe it's yet another round of being disappointed that I feel disappointed about something that I thought I was done being disappointed about. How's that for oblique? But it's more likely the coffee. Maybe.

And I'm jittery/excited about the new Harry Potter book. Sorely tempted to drive 22 miles to attend a midnight party, in fact. But I'll probably wait until the last book is out and The Boy is old enough to read and possibly enjoy some of the Potter oeuvre.

Finally, I am beyond icked out at sockless men in dress shoes. And not because they are oh so daring with their bare man-skin ankle cleavage. No, I am icked because I know about men's feet and what they do in dress shoes. They sweat. They sweat like tiny workhorses with hairy toes. And because they sweat, they smell. So when I see unclad man-foot wedged into a wingtip, all I can think about is the soup of flesh and sweat going on in that unforgiving leather shell, and the resultant funk of forty-thousand years that will be visited upon that man's spouse, should he have one. Note to the brave un-socked--if you're still single, check out the hairless wrinkled toes that emerge after a day sans absorbent foot barriers. Breathe in deeply. Now think. Could there be a connection between that aroma and your current lack of matrimony? It's a poser, isn't it?

This article suggests "no show" man's socks. Which poses quite a different problem--how to avoid the bunchy sock-eating aftermath that occurs when shoes meet low cut socks. And why? So we can see your hairless ankles? It hardly seems worth it.

Ah well. The bright side is that naked man ankles are nowhere near as frightening as this. I am speechless, beyond suggesting an intervention.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:59 AM | Comments (0)

July 14, 2005

Embarrassing Personal Confession, Followed by a Lengthy Self-Justifying Explanation...Until I Give Up and Say "Screw it."

Hublet and I watched Brat Camp.

I'll pause here while you gasp in horrified dismay.

Here's a paper bag to breathe into--I hear it really helps with the hyperventilation.

Yes, I know. It's exploitative! It's eeeeeviillllllle! And it's probably not even that "real," given that these kids are baring their souls on national TV.


Even though the teenagers have been reduced to characters complete with helpful labels like "compulsive liar," or "hostile outcast" or "tried to stab his twin," and even though you spend a hell of a lot of time wanting to shake these kids, or their parents, or maybe all of them in a crazed and indiscriminate manner, it's fascinating. And sad.

But mostly sad, and not in the "poor production values, Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire" kind of way. It's sad because you wonder how these kids' lives would have been different if they had different parents. And that's REALLY sad, because you know that at least these parents care enough to try something, to finally admit that they need help, that they don't know what to do and that they're not so far gone that they're going to just kick the kids out and let them take their chances.

It's sad because as much as a 17-year-old's decision to be a complete ass is totally their own, and that they're ignorant, arrogant and possibly violent little assholes, you realize that parents can love their kids and still really suck at parenting.

As a parent, that's kind of horrifying to contemplate, in a "there but for the grace of God go I" kind of way.

Hublet and I were fascinated. I think it was cathartic for Hublet, as he kept saying about the "compulsive liar" whose parents were completely weak-willed and affluent, and who spoiled her horribly, "God, she's just like so-and-so the drama queen from last term!" And I'll be upfront about it: watching a spoiled, lying brat get her comeuppance--and from other brats, yet--was a beautiful thing. So. Catharsis. And schadenfreude. Lots of that. But also lots of "pleasepleaspleaseplease don't ever let that be my kid ohpleaseohpleaseohplease."

And there's the rooting for these kids to get over themselves and grow up a little. They're just kids, after all, some of whom have been dealt a pretty crappy hand, even though they think they're far too sophisticated and independent for the likes of, you know, authority. I'll pause here while we all take a moment to remember a firmly held conviction or two from our teenage years that now makes us cringe in horrified embarrassment. Yeah, that was fun, wasn't it?

So we'll watch next week, when Isaiah, the "hostile punk," tries to make a break for it into the Oregon desert winter. Personally I'm hoping they tackle him.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 02:51 PM | Comments (0)

July 07, 2005

Til Monday

Nothing to add today--the Command Post is a good central link dump for info on the London bombings.

Have a good, and safe, weekend. Back Monday.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 03:33 PM | Comments (0)

July 05, 2005

Boston Pops, What the Hell?

I'm wondering if they took the "pops" portion of their name a mite too seriously yesterday. Hublet and I settled down to watch The Boston Pops celebration and fireworks last night after a day filled with the hometown parade, much hilarity on the newly-acquired Star Wars-themed slip and slide, a trip to the Durham Bulls game wherein The Boy got to meet Spongebob Squarepants (Boy's verdict: "Spongebob was too big," as the mascot was far too wide for The Boy to embrace properly and I think he got a bit of a facial scuff from the polystyrene sponge head) and a trip to the end of our driveway to view the local fireworks display.

ANYWAY, we were all settled in to watch the Boston Pops and the fireworks--particularly the big 1812 Overture finale with stuff blowing up as the cymbals crashed--but do you know what we got instead?

Aerosmith! U2! Some freaking whiny country ballad piece of crap followed by R&B; garbage from a SOUND SYSTEM! What the hell?

So I thought, "Okay, a nod to the mod. I can deal with this for a minute, and then they will bring on the crashing cymbals!"

But the cymbals were never brought. Nary a crash. Nary a "duh-duh-duh-duh-duh-duh-duh-DUH DUH DUH!!!" The finale was some POS song I'd never even heard of, and by the time we realized that THAT was the finale, it was too late to flip over to PBS to watch a drunken Barry Bostwick announce the DC fireworks which I'm sure would have featured some suitably martial tune-age and stuff blowing up in appropriate 19th century fashion.


But other than that, we had a great weekend. And now I'm heading over to I-Tunes to download some 1812 Overture. And maybe some Anvil Chorus.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 12:02 PM | Comments (9)

June 29, 2005

Bring on the Crazy!

Scanning the blogroll today, and I have decided to declare Wednesday Crazy Celebrity Pseudo-Religion Day! And I ain't talkin' kabbalah.

First up, check out this link to a link-filled entry on The Religion Whose Name I Dare Not Speak Due to Overzealous Lawsuitage. Read it all, and be amazed/afraid.
(Found via

Then there's Emily's link to Mr. Cranky's take on Le Cruise. Read the comments at Emily's for a dose of the funny. And for the outrage, which is good in a different way.

Then, download this movie wherein Le Cruise demonstrates that we simply do not know the power of the dark side...poor Oprah.

And finally, go here for all things thetan. It'll make you hope that ol' L. Ron is roasting someplace sufficiently toasty, and that he took his damn aliens with him.

UPDATE: Just came across the Salon article. Another good 'un.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:39 AM | Comments (0)

June 27, 2005

The Pause that Refreshes

My weekend, that is. Didn't really do anything of note beyond a short trip to Target and spending some time outdoors blowing bubbles and watching The Boy improvise Kung-Fu in an attempt to pop them while yelling, "Sock it to 'em! Sock it to 'em!" the entire time. No, I didn't teach him that. Guess he's just expressing the boy gene.

But I did see Batman Begins, and I really enjoyed it. Yes, it's a little slow to start, but it's necessary in order to make Batman more than a sociopath with a cape. I mean, if you're a billionaire who decides to dress up like a bat and fight crime, I'm not gonna begrudge you a little backstory.

And I think Christian Bale is great as both Bruce Wayne and Batman. His perfectly even, white teeth--they mesmerize! Seriously, he's not campy (George Clooney, anyone?), overly goth-broody (Why, Val Kilmer, did you ever do that movie?) or the wrong physique (Michael Keaton had the attitude right, but you just didn't buy that he'd be able to kick serious butt).

The fact that there was a decided lack of crazy costumes and scenery-chewing fests by "legendary Hollywood Actors" was a huge relief, as well.

In fact, the only thing that detracted from the film was Katie Holmes. Not her acting--she can do "limpid, tragic puppy-dog eyes" better than anyone out there. And her role was pretty much what you'd expect as a chick in a guy film. No, the problem I had with Katie Holmes was that every time she came onscreen all I could think about was Tomcruisejumpingonasofaohmygod! Scientologyohmygod! Hasshebeenbrainwashedohmygod! Somebody do an intervention, stat!!!! My disbelief at her real life completely swamped any attempt at suspending it, and thus jarred me out of the film every time I saw her. Fortunately, Christian and his beautiful dentistry more than compensated for that. And I'm serious. When he has on the bat costume and he's grimacing at bad guys, the contrast between teeth and mask is frankly somewhat hypnotic. I guess I'd better stop now before I go down the Berenice path, a la Poe.

But still. I have a greater appreciation than ever for Hollywood publicists. If they were able to keep all that crazy under wraps for that long--well, my hat's off to you, sirs and madames.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:04 AM | Comments (3)

June 24, 2005

Boy, do I need a weekend

I currently have an alternate version of the song "I Feel Pretty" running through my head, and it goes like this:

I feel pissy,
Oh so pissy,
I feel pissed off and miffed and annoyed!

Feel free to continue from there. Why?

1. Flag burning amendment - WTF? Do our lawmakers have the collective memories of goldfish? This is just so, so NINETIES! And unnecessary! Why, you'd think those silly little dilettantes up there in DC have nothing better to do than try to fabricate laws that pay lipservice to half-baked ideas in the interest of re-election...wait a minute...

2. Supreme Court - Seriously, WTF? Crap like that made my family hole up in the mountains with plenty of ammo for a generation or two, spitting and cussing about the "gummint." Oh, but the government would NEVER abuse such power! Haaahaaahaaaaaahaaaahaaahaaaa! Ooh, that was painful.

But it's not all bad--The Boy actually enjoyed his swim lesson last night, venturing so far as to leap from the side of the pool into the teacher's arms. He still got really cold, but refused to come out and was swimming solo with a noodle by the end of the evening.

And I can sleep in tomorrow. And I'll probably finish up The Historian tonight. And there's always moonshine, shotguns and chaw, if the going gets bad enough.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 02:05 PM | Comments (2)

June 20, 2005

Country Come to Town

So, to Philadelphia and back we went. Saga? You say there should be a saga? Please...

We left at the behind-crack of dawn to get to the airport. Full disclosure - I am a big old FREAK about getting to the airport with plenty of time before the flight; like, a couple of hours worth. I know I'm being weird about that, thus the word FREAK in all caps in the preceding sentence. Seriously, tell me something I don't know.

Anyway, that paid off because we were stuck in the park and ride lot for 40 minutes because one diminutive elderly amputee in a wheelchair managed to tie up not one, but two shuttle buses. The first bus couldn't make the handicapped access ramp go back into place post-deployment and the second bus couldn't even get into the parking lot for ten minutes due to a "gate arm malfunction." Then the lip of the ramp wouldn't go down, then they couldn't get the chair attached properly to the floor of the bus and people were freaking out and it was this whole big thing where obviously no one was blaming the poor woman with one leg but FOR THE LOVE OF GOD you'd think that MAYBE SOMEONE ELSE IN A WHEELCHAIR had USED THESE BUSES BEFORE TODAY and it was 5:40 a.m. and I COULD HAVE CRAWLED TO THE TERMINAL BY NOW and AAAAARRRGGGHHH! Oh, and no more in-flight pretzels. Air travel sucks.

So, we made it to the flight and to Philly and to the hotel. That evening we had our frou-frou outing to the opera: La Traviata. Here are my impressions of the opera:

1. It is too long. Waaaaaaay too long. Yes, you're tragic. Yes, you're doomed. Yes, you show amazing vocal range for someone allegedly suffering from consumption. And yes, you're dying. Still. Some more. A lot. Oh look--you rallied! Oops, you're dead. This really should be a two-hour affair, tops. And while I appreciate the talent of the singers, it doesn't mean that I want to hear them riff a capella for ten minute stretches. I get it, okay? You sing very well. Can we move on?

2. Romantic lead guy? I have two words for you: sit ups. Oh, and Atkins. That's three words total. Your leading lady had sufficient lung capacity to blow you off the stage, and she was one eighth your size. You have a nice tenor, but I don't think its range is tied to your girth. It was difficult not to laugh, particularly when your costume designer made the inexplicable decision to dress you in pants that tucked into little boots. Was he or she trying to make you look like a gray wedge of cheese? And draw the audience's entire attention to your teeny tiny little man feet? What did you do to piss this person off, leading man? You need to make amends. Pronto.

3. Overall, it was a nice experience, but I'll just be re-pinning my Philistine of the Opera badge to my lapel and waiting for the touring company of Wicked to come to town. Hublet, on the other hand, has big Puccini plans. Sigh.

The rest of the trip was good--the conference sessions were actually worthwhile, we ate good food, saw some sights, and brought back souvenirs for The Boy, who was upset that neither Ben Franklin nor George Washington were trains. Then we took a cab back to the airport which was driven by an evangelical Kabbalaist. That was different. Really different. And we got to the airport 2 1/2 hours pre-flight. Yepper, big ol' freak. Me, not the evangelical Kabbalaist.

Now I am home, and tired. But I am reading The Historian, the newest retelling of the Dracula legend. I recommend it VERY HIGHLY. I'm 3/4 of the way through and it's one of those rare books where you can step back and appreciate the artistry and meticulous research of the writing and still be thoroughly engaged by the story. This book is awesome! And very refreshing after all the Anne Rice crapification of the vampire. Hello? Vampires are evil. E-ville. Not your buddies. The idea that ol' Vlad Tepes, a monster in real life, would graduate to being a monster afterward is unsurprising. But the idea that being undead is unclean, unsettling and gross, rather than ethereal, brooding and sexy in a misunderstood goth-boy kinda way? Refreshing. Ahhh.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 12:43 PM | Comments (10)

June 14, 2005

Goin' Fishin.

Thus far today I have dealt with talking Fruit Loops--the cereal, not the people with whom I work--mapping the location of the nearest Chuck E Cheese so that my parents can suffer through the experience with The Boy in my stead, writing possibly the least informative, most boring feature article EVER (and believe me, the bar is pretty damn high on campus during the summer break for that little achievement), and wondering whether my sinuses will drain sufficiently to allow me to travel via air without my head exploding.

Alas, I am overtaxed.

So here's a short humor piece on plagiarism from Inside Higher Ed. It's just so-so, but the first comment following it is comedy gold, people! Ahh, humorless academics. I love you so!

I am Philly bound. See you next week.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 04:02 PM | Comments (0)

June 13, 2005

Back Home

No, not dead, just basking in the post Day Out with Thomas lull and wondering when exactly my 3 1/2 year old became such a savvy consumer type. He had a freaking itinerary for us when we got there, and it was pretty darn efficient and had the bonus effect of netting him a few choice Thomas items. Alas, however, I think we may be on the cusp of outgrowing Thomas. He still loves his trains, but he also is making room in his life for Spiderman, Batman and Darth Vader--excuse me, Dark Vader. Although I think he says Dark on purpose because he thinks it's funny that I reply with "DarTTTTTHHHHHHH. Darttthhhhhhh! TTTTHHHHHH! TTTTTHHHHHH!" like some kind of crazed lisping tourettes sufferer. Ah well, a good time was had by all.

Except my sinuses. They did not have fun, unless you consider swelling and exploding "fun." Who knows? Maybe in sinus land that constitues a high old time. "High" being the operative word, since my sinus medication is making me more than a little bit loopy. So if my writing makes no sense, blame the Chlortrimeton.

Posting will be sadly deficient this week as well, since I am conference bound on Wednesday.

Finally saw Team America: World Police, the most gleefully vulgar movie I have ever experienced. I enjoyed it, guiltily, primarily because the soundtrack made me guffaw. It was also fun to see Parker and Stone work out all of their workplace issues via a puppet bloodbath. Maybe all those Outward Bound groups could take note...

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:55 AM | Comments (0)

June 08, 2005

Pets I Have Had, and Pets I Will Never Have Again

I'm pretty laissez-faire when it comes to pets--I like the furry critters and I'm not particularly invested in the whole dog v. cat debate--but I've lately determined that when the two animals currently cohabiting with Hublet, Boy and me shuffle off this mortal coil I won't be in a hurry to replace them. Why? Because when I look back at my personal pet history, I get the impression that the animal kingdom would have been better off without my interference.

Let's start with dogs; namely a black lab named Missy that my parents purchased when I was a toddler. One of my earliest memories is being knocked onto my behind in the kitchen by that dog, and wailing. One of my other earliest memories was the sense of elation I felt when Missy ran away. I still harbor an irrational hatred of black labrador retrievers. Hate them. I think Missy picked up on that vibe. But at least she escaped unscathed, unlike...

Cats I have known. First there was Jiggs, a mean as hell tomcat. We have a photo of 4-year-old me sitting on the porch steps with a fearful look on my face and holding an orange blur of claws and teeth at arms length. Jiggs was evil, and he ran away. Which would have been great, except that when I got a cat I liked, Sugar, Jiggs came back. And then Sugar had kittens. The first litter consisted of one sickly kitten that Sugar euthanized by crushing its windpipe. The second litter was healthier. We kept two, Snowball and Muffin (I try not to think about what happened to the other ones, it being the early 70s and the pound being just down the road). Snowball met an unfortunate end because he liked to sleep in the wheel wells of the car and my dad backed over him, leading to a super-traumatic ride to the vet and a giant guilt-trip for my dad. When Muffin--so named because we thought he was a she--reached adolescence, Jiggs reappeared again and in a Darth Vader-like moment almost ripped Muffin's tail completely off. Muffin lived, though, which is more than I can say for Sugar, who got hit by a car one Sunday while we were at church and dragged herself all the way home to die on the porch (the trail of gore proved that). How much pet-related trauma can one pack into early childhood? Quite a bit, if you have cats.

The luck with cats being somewhat sketchy, I moved on to fish. Killed the first ones by overfeeding them, then had a goldfish commit suicide by leaping from its bowl. Sigh.

On to gerbils. I hate gerbils. They're nocturnal, they aren't particularly fun, their tails come off at inopportune moments and they're nasty. Had two--ostensibly two males, until one of them gave birth and then ate the babies, yay--then Muffin ate one of the adults. The other one was understandably never the same. He or she finally perished of fits a few months later. And when I say "perished of fits" I mean it--I walked downstairs one morning to find Mickey (or Minnie--who freaking knew?) jerking and spazzing in the aquarium. Even though I was only nine at the time I was more relieved than anything. Gerbils suck.

Then dogs. Duffy was a great dog--a sheltie--who, along with Muffin, is really the only pet success story I've ever had. He died of heart failure at age 12. Muffin wandered off to die at about the same age.

Now I have Gertie and Kitana, the dog from hell and the most murderous cat in christendom. Between the random deer legs that the dog stashes in the bedroom and the headless rabbit corpses that the cat leaves on the porch, I think I'm done, petwise. When they're gone, that's it.

Although I've never tried my hand at reptiles...

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:43 AM | Comments (6)

June 03, 2005

Gag Order

Can we just rope off the entire area around the Michael Jackson trial and quarantine it on the grounds that everyone there is just too damn icky to be allowed contact with the public? Vaseline, Jesus Juice, co-sleeping, former employees with vendettas, parents willing to expose their kids to, well, exposure for money: there's not a winner here, folks, and frankly I would sleep better at night if none of this stuff were seeping into my subconscious. Because try as you might to avoid it, there apparently aren't enough channels on the satellite to get away from it entirely. Just, EWWWW, America! Ewwwwwwww!

In better news, I am awaiting delivery of two fabulous lightsabers to our home. The local gigantic Toy Conglomerate didn't have the colors requested by The Boy: red and green. Apparently I am Darth Mom and he is Yo-Boy. This should prove interesting, mainly because they didn't have these really cool lightsabers when I was a kid trying to be a Jedi. Back in the day we had to make do with the tubes from rolls of wrapping paper, and we were darn glad of those as we duelled uphill in the snow both ways to our one-room schoolhouse where teachers were allowed to beat us mercilessly and no one had invented Gameboy yet...and you kids stay off my lawn! Shamelessly reliving your own childhood through your children is a wonderful thing, and we should do it more often.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:20 PM | Comments (7)

June 02, 2005


As I sit here this morning feeling as though a small alien is well on its way to chewing through the lining of my stomach to sweet, sweet freedom and world domination (DAMN YOU, BURGER KING! DAMN YOOOOOOOOOOO!), I must admit I am less than full of pith and wit.

So here are some links.

An oldie but a goodie that gets resurrected every few months but that makes me laugh each time nonetheless - worst album covers ever.

An odd and oddly amusing campaign for organic produce that utilizes Star Wars -- and yes, I am a sucker for bad produce puns, even though I would rather be killed than consume tofu-- I present STORE WARS.

That's it for me today. There is not enough Pepto Bismol in the world, people. Seriously.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:12 AM | Comments (0)

June 01, 2005

Maxim of the Day

The best lesson to be taken from the whole Deep Throat thing?

Never, ever piss off a bureaucrat.

Take this one to heart, children, from one who labors daily in the bureaucratic trenches of state government. At the very least these words of wisdom will come in extremely handy the next time you have to renew your driver's license.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:53 AM | Comments (1)

May 27, 2005

If it's Memorial Day

It must be time for the hell dog's annual gastrointestinal meltdown.

Regular readers will recall that this time last year hell dog decided to devour one pound of uncooked bacon, with predictably hilarious results which culminated in $350 to the veterinarian for treatment of severe pancreatitis.

Yesterday when I arrived home after purchasing a rockin' pair of Spiderman roller skates chez Target for The Boy I noticed that the dog wasn't eating. As she normally devours everything that holds still long enough, I realized that something was off. She was quiet the rest of the evening, as well.

So before bed last night I leaned down and listened to her tummy. SOMETHING is definitely going on. So I dosed her with Pepto and sent her to bed. Hublet is under strict orders to keep an eye on her.

I'm more curious as to what, exactly, she ate this time. I think she's finding carrrion or equally scary stuff in the woods behind the house, because she recently came back inside after an outdoor jaunt and threw up beetles. Yep, beetles. As in black six-legged thingies with hard carapaces. Either she's possessed by the devil and that's a standard side effect, or she's finding "food" that just isn't what normal non-beetle creatures consider edible and eating it anyway.

After the deer leg incident, I'm going to go with the demonic possession theory. It's easier.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:27 AM | Comments (5)

May 26, 2005

Lost Finale

Is it wrong to laugh when someone gets blown to smithereens by a stick of dynamite? If so, I don't want to be right, because that was simply the BEST use of a post-modern wink at the audience EVER, and if the writers of Lost didn't intend that, well, even better.

Arnz (sp?) was totally a fan feedback character. He suddenly appeared, which meant his death was certain, and he articulated every major nitpick that fans have with the series, like "why are we focusing on just 6 or 7 people out of almost 50?" and "Where have you been getting enough food to stave off major weight loss, Hurley?" Plus, he was kind of an ass, which...writer irritation with fans, much? Projection much? Ah, that made me so very very happy.

I love a show that allows me to indulge my inner English major. My happy at the Arnz explosion even mitigated my irritation at the sudden appearance of random child traders. Lame. What, you have a happy ending with the infant so the other kid has to become imperiled in order to restore the "bad things happening to kids=high drama" TV series karma? Grr. Hopefully it was just a way to get the little kid off the show. But that was my only major nitpick; well, that and the fact that I was a bit disappointed that Jack didn't get blown up.

But there's always next season!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:28 AM | Comments (2)

May 23, 2005

Thumbnail Guide to the Sith

Went to see "THE MOVIE" this weekend. While Hublet believes that Anakin's new name should be Darth Dumb Jock, I enjoyed the visual payoff of the Vader transformation, although I still wasn't convinced by the emotional journey from light to dark.

For those of you who haven't seen it and don't want to be spoiled, I have placed my helpful Thumbnail Guide to Revenge of the Sith behind the cut. For the rest of you: read on.

Thumbnail Guide to Revenge of the Sith

In Space
Obi-Wan Kenobi - "Look Anakin, we have to fly through all this stuff to rescue the Chancellor! I sure hope we don't get horribly killed!"
Anakin - "Don't worry. You've got at least one more episode of this series, and I'm in all three of the next set. Let me take care of everything."
Obi-Wan - "If I didn't know better, I'd think you were making fun of me for being incompetent."
Anakin - "Me?"
R2D2 - "Go go gadget bot zapper!"
Obi-Wan - "Where'd he get that accessory?"
Anakin - "Dunno, but it sure comes in handy. Okay, let's crash land and invade an entire Star Destroyer with two people and rescue the Chancellor!"
Obi-Wan - "There's something funny about that guy, but I can't quite put my finger on it..."

On General Grievous' Ship

Grievous - "I am an asthmatic droid thing! ph34r ME!"
Random Droid - "We're totally being invaded by two guys and Inspector Gadget--wait, wrong movie."
Chancellor - "Yawn. Oh, help. Oh, oh. I am so concerned for my well-being. Help, I say."

Obi-Wan - "We need the elevator."
Anakin - "Watch me leap like a leapy thing!"
Obi-Wan - "Still with needing the elevator."
R2D2 - Go go gadget haxxor tool!
Anakin - "Aaaah!"
Obi-Wan - "What the hell are you doing?"
Anakin - "Demonstrating my l33t Jedi powers. I can jump into and out of elevators at will!"

Chancellor - "Oh, I am so glad you're here. Look out. Saruman is behind you. Wait, wrong movie. Count Dooku is behind you. Oh, oh. I fear for everyone's safety. Eeek."
Count Dooku - "Check my leet Sith powers! I can conveniently beat up one lame-o Jedi by tossing him around and crushing him with random bits of the ship!"
Obi-Wan - "Even though I am a revered Jedi master, I am still surprised that Dooku can attack me! I am actually somewhat lame."

Chancellor - "Kill Dooku, Anakin. He's, like, evil."
Dooku - "You're totally kidding, right?"
Anakin - "Oh, the moral conflict! I really shouldn't, but...OKAY!" [Cuts off Dooku's head] "Oh, I am so conflicted. Let's get out of here!"
Obi-Wan - [conveniently regains consciousness] "Oh, look! The elevator! Thanks for saving my incompetent Jedi ass yet again, super Anakin!"
Anakin - "You're welcome, except now we've been captured by Grievous."

General Grievous - "Moo-ha-ha, Hack, Cough, wheeze!"
R2D2 - Go go gadget lighting bolt/Swiss army knife!
Anakin and Obi-Wan - "Fighty mc fight! Crashy mc crash!"
Chancellor - [As ship crashes and burns] "In retrospect, perhaps I overestimated the Jedi. Fortunately my contract runs through Return of the Jedi, so I know this will turn out okay."

Back on Coruscant

Anakin - "My darling love who I love because she is darling."
Padme - "I am pregnant. And weepy. Very, very, weepy."

Anakin - "I had a dream. I had an awesome dream. Wait, wrong song."
Padme - "What?"
Anakin - "I dreamed you died in childbirth. And since I'm all Jedi-dude, we know my dreams come true."
Padme - "Hey, thanks for sharing that with the overly hormonal PREGNANT WOMAN! Sheesh."

Chancellor - "Herein I begin my plan to turn you to the dark side by dropping anvil-like hints that I am indeed the missing Sith Lord. Fortunately, you are too stupid to get it. Meanwhile, I shall wipe out the separitist droid army which I secretly control, and I will send the Jedi on all sorts of wild goose chases so that I can murder them later. I am very, very good at being evil."
Anakin - "huh?"
Chancellor - "Never mind. I think the Jedi don't trust you, so I'm going to appoint you to the council."

Mace Windu - "You can be on the council, but you don't get the title change."
Anakin - "I shall throw a tantrum!"
Obi-Wan - "Hey, chill out. It'll all be okay. Let me ignore the neon sign on your forehead that reads "Danger! Being Seduced by the Dark Side!" and send you to spend more time with the Chancellor to spy on him while I go on this wild goose chase that has been expertly set up by the chancellor so he gets to influence you more AND gets rid of General Grievous. There's something about that guy...but I can't quite put my finger on it."
Jedi Council - "We know! It's so weird!"
Anakin - "Uh. Okay?"
Yoda - "Going to hang with the Wookies, I am."

Padme - "I shall weep. Some more."
Anakin - "That's getting a bit irritating, you know?"

Chancellor - "Here's where I tell you that I am a Sith Lord, and that I have the power to teach you to save Padme, and you totally overlook the fact that as a Sith Lord I could totally be LYING, and that the dreams you're having about her death could be due to the fact that if you choose the Dark Side you'll totally cause her death. Man, you're an idiot. And I am very, very good at being evil."
Anakin - "I'm telling!"

Meanwhile on Utapau
Obi-Wan - "When Anakin's not around, I am suddenly a competent Jedi. Whoops! Lost my light saber! Well, almost competent, then."
Grievous - "I have the highest-tech high-tech body around, and yet my HEART has an easy access panel? Who the hell designed this outfit?" [Cough, hack, die]
Obi-Wan - "Ha! Hi-ho, Lizard thingy! Awaaaaaaay!"

Back on Coruscant
Mace Windu - "So the Chancellor's a Sith Lord? I KNEW there was something funny about that guy. Stay here. Do not, under any circumstances, follow me."
Anakin - "Okay." [Follows]

Chancellor - "Ha! I am evil! And now I will kill all the Jedi in the room who are wearing red shirts!"
Mace - "But I'm wearing earth tones, so I shall kill you!"
Anakin - "Killing is wrong! He must stand trial!"
Mace - "Excuse me, Mr. Whacking the Head off of Dooku guy? He shoots LIGHTNING out of his HANDS! How exactly do you expect to confine him long enough to get him to trial? Yoda was right--you ARE an idiot."
Anakin - "Nu-uh! I will stop you from doing murder!" [Accidentally cuts off Mace's hands]
Mace - "That's my lightsaber! The one that has Badass M****F**** on it! Aaaaaaahhhhhh!" [Is electrocuted and flung into the sky]
Evil Emperor - "Thanks for helping me murder him! Woo-hoo! And now, even though my head looks like a large buttock, I will finish turning you to the dark side!"
Anakin - "I am conflicted!"
Emperor - "Go kill some kids."
Anakin - "Okay!"

- "Enact special order sixty-six!"
Soldiers - "Okay!" [Kill all the jedi]
Dying Jedi - "We KNEW there was something fishy about that guy!"

On Kashyyk
Yoda - "Chewbacca! Piggyback ride, give me to the escape ship!"
Chewie - "I only have one line in this whole freaking movie! Raaarrrrrrrrrr!"

Meanwhile, back on Coruscant
Padme - "Oh, Anakin! I saw the Jedi temple on fire and I cried! But now you're back so I'm crying some more!"
Anakin - "Uh, okay. Look, I've got an errand to run."

Obi-Wan - "The Jedi in the temple have been murdered with a lightsaber! And all the Jedi are dead, except...I'd better look at the security video."
Yoda - "You need to look at the video to figure out who did this? Oy. Stupid you are."
Obi-Wan - "Anakin? Oh, man, now I've got to kill him!"
Yoda - "Right. Like screw that up entirely you won't, after being in denial all this time, you have."
Obi-Wan - "What the hell are you talking about?"
Yoda - "Confuse myself, I do. Go to kill the butt-head, I will."

Obi-Wan - "Padme? I can always find Anakin here. Oh, and you're pregnant. Wait a minute..."
Padme - "Anakin's evil? I must find him and cry all over him and make him see the error of his ways! But first, I must cry!"
Obi-Wan - "Anakin must know who the father of your children is!"
Padme - "You are an idiot."

Emperor - "Go to Mt. Doom--wait, wrong movie. Go to the Mustafar and kill all my minions there."
Anakin - "I'm on it!" [Kills everything that moves on Mustafar]

On Mustafar
Padme - "Anakin! You can't be evil!" [cries]
Anakin - "For the love of the Force, woman, stop crying!" [chokes her]
Obi-Wan - "Knock it off! I'm here to kill you!"
Anakin - "Since when did you become competent?"

Back on Coruscant
Yoda - "Kick your ass, I will, butthead!"
Emperor - "Yaaaaahhh!"
Yoda - "Yaaaaaahhhhhh!" [Falls from great height, escapes to Bail Organa's ship]
Yoda - "Suck, I do. Go live in a swamp, I must."

Meanwhile, Back on Mustafar
Obi-Wan - "If you try to jump over my head I'm going to cut both your legs off!"
Anakin - "Hah!" [Jumps, gets legs cut off]
Obi-Wan - "I told you so!"
Anakin - "It's only a flesh wound!" [Bursts into flame] "Come back here, I'll chew your kneecaps off with the power of the Dark Side!"
Obi-Wan - "Hah! And you thought I wasn't competent!"
Anakin - "If you were competent, you wouldn't leave me here to be rescued by the Emperor, you idiot. You'd cut my head off!"

Meanwhile, on Bail Organa's Ship
Padme - "I have no will to live! And also, even though I have only gained 10 pounds in pregnancy--with twins--I have just given birth to two full-term 9 pound babies!" [cries. dies.]
Bail Organa - "I'll take the girl and raise her as a princess."
Obi-Wan - "I'll return the boy to his family on Tattooine."
Infant Luke - "Hey! How come I don't get to be a prince! This sucks!"
Obi-Wan - "I detect a great and future whininess in the Force."

Back on Coruscant
Emperor - "Arise, Darth Vader. I saved you and got you this cool new outfit."
Vader - "What about Padme?"
Emperor - "She's dead, you idiot. What did you think would happen?"
Vader - "Nooooooooooo! Now I must be evil!"
Emperor - "It's hard, being the only smart person in the entire galaxy."

The End

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:02 AM | Comments (14)

May 20, 2005

Memoirs of a Food Service Flunkie

So I spent a good portion (okay most) of yesterday reading this blog.

Oh, the memories. I had an on-again, off-again relationship with the service industry during college which culminated in a summer spent as a Waitron at the Eseeola Lodge in Linville, NC. That summer was one of those that you mentally file away as "good fodder for a future novel, if only people would believe that this stuff actually happened." Some of the highlights:

  • Living in a condemned building behind the kitchen dumpsters that we euphemistically referred to as "The Last Resort." Seriously. The second floor shower was only prevented from plummeting into the hallway below by a thin, thin, layer of DAP adhesive. Showering was quite the eye-opener.

  • Drinking. A lot.

  • The second-string chef who grew his own pot and lived in a trailer in the woods, and by trailer, I mean a thing like the one Lucy and Desi were dragging behind their car in "The Long, Long Trailer."

  • Pulling my friend out of the box of fireworks after she fell into it clutching a string of lit firecrackers, and watching the whole thing explode. Did I mention we were frequently very very drunk?

  • Trying to understand the mumblings of Major Lane, the 89 year old Lothario who had a yearly rendezvous at the lodge (they would push their twin beds together in the room, much to the bemusement of the staff) with his 85 year old lover, a former Miss Sweden, at breakfast. Seriously, when he informed me that his oatmeal bowl wasn't sitting on a doily plate it sounded like this,"Heh hoi-ee haaaayyy! Hair hooo hoi-ee haaaayyyy!" Only Missy, she of the firecracker box incident, could understand a word this man said.

  • Having a slight mishap while french-serving the creamed spinach to General Westmoreland which resulted in the General wearing the spinach on his forearm. He was very nice about it, by the way.

  • Serving straight vodka to many, many middle-aged women at 10 in the morning at one of the myriad brunches they had catered at their summer homes. The rich? Drunk. Very, very, drunk. Though I suppose I'd drink too if I were pushing sixty and watching my millionaire husband making an ass of himself trying to hit on the 21 year old catering staff (males and females--who says the rich are discriminating?) at a party.

  • And then there was the drinking. Of which we did a lot.

That barely scratches the surface. I enjoyed that summer immensely, mainly because I was a 21-year old college grad with no firm plans, living in a beautiful part of the NC mountains where room and board were free and we had a base salary of $7.50/hr. Visitors were told that they didn't have to tip, but most of them did. I cleared enough cash to pay off my post-graduation "driving trip across America" credit card debt AND pay for a two-month return trip to Scotland. Most of the folks who worked at Eseeola wintered down in South Beach, FL at a different hoity toity hotel/resort. I was tempted, but ultimately went to Scotland and then back to graduate school. Even a couple of months showed me that the life of the itinerant resort waitron took a toll on a person. I doubt my liver would have survived more than a year of that lifestyle.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:10 AM | Comments (7)

May 18, 2005

Hold Me.

For those of you who are going to see Star Wars tonight, please tell me if this line:


Is actually in the movie. Many, many earth-shattering decisions in the Big Arm household (such as what Hublet and I will do with our rare free Saturday evening) hinge upon this fact.

Because if it is, indeed, in the movie, then we're just gonna go buy a new video game.

When I was nine, stuff like this didn't matter so much. Alas, I am no longer nine.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:31 AM | Comments (17)

May 17, 2005

Ahhhhh! Oh, Dear God.

Dear Natalie -

Yes sweetie, we know. We feel your pain. We saw you in The Specialist at the tender age of twelve and we know that you can, indeed, act. So to be forever marked out as the chick with a hairdo even goofier than the Double Doughnuts of Doom must be painful. And we know that Lucas' ability to turn even excellent actors into wooden automatons sleepwalking their way through scripts that read like bad 30's wrestling serials written by a drunken Faulkner wannabe must also be a drain on your psyche, if not your sanity.

But this? Dear God, Natalie. You didn't need to perform public penance for your acting sins by shaving your head--or is it a nod to the ancient egyptian form of mourning wherein all body hair was removed?

Fortunately you have the bone structure to pull off this little tribute to Sinead O'Connor until your sanity and your tresses return. It will all be okay in the end, I promise. You may even escape permanent character stereotyping.

But in the meantime, promise not to tear up any pictures of the Pope on national television, okay?

UPDATE: Just to head things off, I know that the hair is supposed to be for an upcoming role. But it kinda kills the joke, such as it is. Oh, okay, I give up. Got nothin' today.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:52 AM | Comments (8)

May 10, 2005

I've Been Memed!

By Tony, which means I have to do it--a girl feels strangely obligated to fulfill obligations to former 5th grade classmates, you know. Plus, it's a bookish-type thingy. So here goes...

1. You're stuck inside Fahrenheit 451. Which book do you want to be?
The Riverside Shakespeare. Yeah, I'm ambitious, but subsequent generations shouldn't be deprived of the ability to call one another "clotpoles." Failing that, The Chronicles of Narnia.

2. Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?
I had a passing crush on Fitzwilliam Darcy, but I don't count that because it didn't develop fully until after I saw Colin Firth playing the character. I have often wanted to be fictional characters, though, starting with Nancy Drew and culminating with Granny Weatherwax from Terry Pratchett's Discworld series. Hopefully I'll be a clever, crotchety old woman one day. I'm already practicing my "Hey you kids! Get off my lawn!"

3. The last book you bought was...?
How Few Remain, by Harry Turtledove. I loved The Guns of the South, and his alternate histories are so believeable--all the little character details...they're awesome! Also, Flyboys by James Bradley. I've got a serious WWII history jones.

4. The last book you read was...?
The Virgin's Lover, by Philippa Gregory. Again, fictionalized history. I am detecting a theme. Philippa Gregory does British history very well, although I was a bit disappointed with her characterization of Elizabeth--she wouldn't have been quite so callow when she took the throne. There were too many people with vested interests in her success to have left her so utterly untutored. The Other Boleyn Girl was a better effort, I think, but that might just be my preconceived notions about Elizabeth I talking...

5. What are you currently reading?
Currently finishing up How Few Remain, then Flyboys, then I plan to re-read book 5 of Harry Potter before book 6 comes out. I also want to get around to reading Wicked, which has been on my shelf for years...I have a bad habit of buying tons of books and then losing interest or forgetting about them for months at a time and then reading all of them in two weeks--lather, rinse, repeat. Speaking of, I think I have a Patricia Cornwell book languishing on the shelf, as well as the latest Tom Wolfe. Ah well, summer is upon us, and I'll have lots of reading time.

6. Five books you would take to a desert island...
Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion because I never tire of Mr. Darcy or Captain Wentworth. Return of the King because it's the best of the Tolkien trilogy, and Prince Caspian, because it's my favorite of the Narnia books and I can re-read it ad infinitum. Finally, De Tocqueville's Democracy in America, because I keep meaning to read it but never have time. On a desert island I'd definitely have time...

7. Who are you passing this stick on to and why?
My pal Feral Girl, because she's great to borrow books from and I need some new reading ideas!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 02:56 PM | Comments (7)

May 09, 2005

Movies, Movies, Everywhere

Fangirls the world over will probably lynch me for this, but I've gotta get it off my chest: Orlando Bloom cannot carry an adventure movie.

Now, that is not to say that Orlando Bloom doesn't do fresh-faced, naive ingenue well--he does. But that means that he tends to be good in second fiddle roles where he's overshadowed by folks like Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt or evil jewelry and lots of cgi. He's simply too pretty and wispy to be believeable as one who buckles a lot of swash and whose jawline alone is sufficiently strong enough to save the world.

And so that's one reason why I have trepidations about Kingdom of Heaven. Well, that and the fact that it's a giant epic movie about the Crusades, of all things, and as much as the media and Hollywood want to draw our attention to that time period, folks just don't seem to care all that much. Heck, I was training to be a medievalist and I didn't care about the crusades! Just...BORING! Sorry. But still--the crusades don't capture my imagination. Now Jedi knights, on the other hand...or sociopathic billionaires with a taste for vengeance...cinematic gold!

I want my summer films to be light and funny, or else heavy on the adventure with stuff blowing up real good. A movie that drops the ponderous weight of religion and history on the slender shoulders of Orlando Bloom--well, let's just say I'd rather watch Hayden Christensen's wooden Jedi sleepwalk through reams of poorly written angst. Because at least stuff will blow up at the end, and giant Wookies will rip the arms off of stormtroopers and use them as bludgeons. Or something. Plus, you can never have too much James Earl Jones with Asthma. Woo!

And as for the weight of history--if you want to make a summer movie about the dark/middle ages, the Black Plague is the way to go. But we've already had enough movies about the evils of rats to last us for a good, long time. Ben, anyone?

Administrative Update--the contact email address has changed. Please use bigarm at bigarmwoman dot com. I forgot to do the redirect on the comments this weekend, and couldn't figure out why no one had responded to Friday's post. Um, duh.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 12:06 PM | Comments (5)

May 05, 2005

TV Land

Longer, hopefully more entertaining post later, but I've just got to get this off my chest after last night's Lost:

Dear Shannon -

Die. Plzkthxbye!

Love, America

PS - Please take your loser Dr. "it's all about meeeeeee and I'll cure you if it kills you, unless I'm all mad at you in which case--what hippocratic oath" Jack with you when you do.

Oh, and on a related TV note - Veronica Mars? Best television evah. I came to it late but am totally hooked. Snappy writing, good acting, plots that don't make me want to slit my wrists...yay.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:57 AM | Comments (3)

May 03, 2005

Run Away!

Okay, I don't have much to say about the whole Running Away from Your Wedding at Age 32 When You Should Really Just Freaking PICK UP THE PHONE AND CALL IT OFF Affair, but I do have a couple of words of wisdom for the fiance':

Dude, just let it go. Seriously. And by "it," what I really mean is "her."

Now, I heard some excerpts on the radio of the TV interview that you (the fiance') gave yesterday. Okay, you made a commitment--check. You want her to get help--check. These are good things. But here's where I'm questioning your judgement.

See, your little bride-to-be just fled, in a premeditated manner, completely across the country in order to avoid marrying you. AND, she didn't just leave it at that. No, she also kind of set you up to take some heat for a "kidnapping." I have no idea why someone would do that, but to me it does indicate that at the very least she was having some, shall we say, doubts about the possibility of future marital bliss.

So when you finally see her again, what do you do? You run right up to her and give her the ring back and "make sure she put it back on her finger." Umm, dude? Can you see how that might come across as a little, erm, obsessive and controlling? You've got a chick who is kinda unbalanced making a break for it to Vegas because she's "feeling overwhelmed and suffocated" and you show up and immediately jam the symbol of "overwhelmed and suffocated" back on her finger.

Now I'm not the Amazing Kreskin, but I'm reading the signs here, and they don't exactly bode well. Your bride-to-be doesn't want to be a bride. Really. A lot. And you're either willfully blind to the fact or you think that you can force things to end the way they should. Neither option is a good one.

I'm wondering what other signs you want that prove maybe this isn't the girl for you? Lightning to strike the church?

Sometimes, running away is a good thing. And if I were you, guy, I'd run so fast that I'd leave skidmarks.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:13 AM | Comments (12)

April 28, 2005

Burning Question of the Week

Where did the freaking finger come from?

You know what I'm talking about--the infamous 1 1/2" fingertip that professional con artist Anna Ayala "found" in her Wendy's chili.

Where did it come from? I first thought it was the missing digit in the leopard attack case, but that proved false. Then there were rumors of an inside man from the coroner's office, but I haven't heard anything else.

Do these people not understand how important the origin of the finger is? I lie awake, wondering if somewhere out there a hapless fellow or femme is wandering, cold alone and partially fingerless...or, if somewhere a spirit cannot rest until it finds the theif who stole his or her HAIRY FINGER!!!

Sorry. Too many camp stories.

But I still want to know where one procures a random fingertip. It might come in handy someday.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:31 AM | Comments (10)

April 26, 2005

You're only as rich as you look

Or something.

Came across this post at Asymmetrical Info. this morning, and found it interesting. It reminded me of my favorite line from The Incredibles, when Syndrome reveals his plan to market superhero tech to the masses: "When everyone's a super, no one will be."

I'd been meaning to link to this post about racism and underqualified TA's that I found via Erin O'Connor, but forgot. I think, beyond the obvious examples of mismanagement and administrative fear on display, that the post does an excellent job of pointing out the lack of training most TAs receive.

I had one semester of TA training, which covered everything from prepping a syllabus to grading, and involved two weeks of "classroom observation" in which I watched a TA teach the course I was preparing to teach. That was it. Then I was set loose upon 2 classes of 20 or so freshmen for the remaining semesters of my MA. I had the grammar skills and lit knowledge, but since the Eng 111 course revolved around writing argument; well, let's just say that I understand how the judgement of a 21 year old with a scant 15 weeks of training might not be sufficient to the job.

Welcome to higher education!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:20 AM | Comments (8)

April 21, 2005

Got Nuthin'

Not an ounce of funny in me today. Nor yesterday, either. And the ranty mc rantitude is similarly petering out. I don't know if it's because there's so much to be annoyed at that I've shorted out my anger centers, or if it's a terminal case of SSDD, but there you have it. But here are a few items that managed to stir the venomous brew that is my dilapidated soul into a froth:

1. Paris Hilton, Would You Please Shut Up? No, please. I'm begging you. I did not care when you were poorly filmed in night vision having skanky malnourished sex with an extortionist. I did not care when you got a reality show. I did not care that you got a "screamer" role in a remake of a cheesy Vincent Price horror flick. And the words that I need to express my current depth of not caring about your stupid-ass announcement that you're de-friending Nicole Richie have not yet been invented, more's the pity. I would have enjoyed using those words. Loudly. In all caps and followed by fun profanity symbols. All I can say is that I hope whatever Nicole did to you involved scissors and boiling oil. Life is not a LiveJournal hissyfit, Miss Thang. Now put a sock in it. Love, America.

2. The pope? Catholic, with all of the "unpleasant" things that entails regarding personal responsibility and the fact that "Do Whatever The Hell You Want" and "Stop Oppressing Me, You Square" are not the eleventh and twelfth commandments. And also, read this.

3. Your official "I hate everyone and everything involved with education" article of the day is here.

Gah. I need a vacation.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:18 PM | Comments (3)

April 18, 2005

Pets, Films and Food

Morning arrived early to the dulcet tones of a puking cat. Huzzah! Yet more laundry and carpet cleaning for me! Anyone want a cat? She's not much trouble, but her palate tends toward various species of wildlife, with colorful and predictible results for carpeting.

And take the dog, too. I tire of her truculence and incessant shedding. Oh, and the barking. And the occasional episodes of incontinence. And the ill-considered eating which leads to pancreatitis and $500 vet bills. And the incidents involving leftover deer parts getting dragged inside my house. But other than that, she's great!

When these two kick off, I will not have another pet for a Really Long Time.

But enough about my two tiny, furry, money pits. I'm sure you're just dying to know what our weekend was like!

1. Managed to observe not one, but two groups of baby praying mantises emerging from their egg sacks. Very cool.

2. Watched Sideways. Didn't have high hopes for a movie that prompted me to yell at the screen "I hope he gets hit by a bus!" within the first ten minutes, but it turned out to be very amusing. Painful, but amusing. And yeah, both characters could benefit from being run over by a Greyhound. There's also my personal squick about movies (and books) featuring struggling writers. Those characters always come off as overwrought and pretentious, and you are too often able to see the author's hand attempting to make them somehow "noble." At least there was none of that pesky pseudo-nobility in Sideways. Snarky worked much better.

3. Received (and actually enjoyed) the latest issue of the Oxford American. Seems like they kicked the hipster wannabes off of staff and are getting back to what made the magazine interesting; read, NOT trying to be the New Yorker South. Also, Best Letter Ever from a reader who calls Kaye Gibbons "an ass." Thank you, letter writer! And I am dying to eat some hot chicken--the issue is all about Southern Food, which prompted Hublet to say, "I want some good Southern food, but not the kind that's bad for me." My laughter was long and loud.

But seriously, I could go for some fried okra right now.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 02:37 PM | Comments (6)

April 07, 2005

Lost Post

No, I didn't lose a post, I'm just posting about last night's Lost. I gotta give a big ol' HEART to a show that kills off characters I find irritating. If only Shannon had been with them...well, a girl can hope. Plus now we've got Crazy Locke of the One Kidney going all Kurtz in the jungle--good times coming, people! Of course, Avenger!Jack is going to annoy the piss out of me, sort of like he did last night. Seriously, dude. Here's a ladder. You can use it to step down off of the cross you're on.

But I love that I can't predict where the show is going. Unfortunately, the I've-been-burned-too-many-times-by-lazy-writers-who-write-themselves-into-a-corner-and-then-have-to-push-the-reset-button part of me still has moments of irrational fear that the final episode will involve Hurley waking up on his sofa and going, "Duuuuude! No more pizza before bedtime!"

Anyone got any good predictions?

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:51 AM | Comments (10)

March 28, 2005

Scenes from a small-town prom

Yes, Hublet and I spent an "Evening in Paris," and despite the titular similarity to a Paris Hilton porn video, escaped largely unscathed from a small town prom.

My first clue that the prom was small-town was that students were arriving BEFORE the prom actually started, at 8 p.m. This was due to two main factors: one, there are no restaurants above Golden Corral calibre in town, and two, the rich kids all leave for the beach after the king and queen are announced at 10 p.m., and so need to get their two hours of staring at each other in formal wear in early.

My second clue was the presence of random parents at the prom. Seriously. Non-chaperone parents, who just wanted to come and see their baby at the prom. Dear God. I would have self-immolated from the heat of my embarrassment had a parent attended my prom (actually, had I attended my prom to begin with, but whatever).

And then there was the music, an amalgam of country and rap that I shall henceforth refer to as "hick-hop." By the way, do ANY rap/r&b; artists make records by themselves anymore? It was always, "Artist soandso, featuring artist blahblah." Oh, and Beyonce'? Take five, sweetie. Seriously. If your life goal was to be in every single video ever featured on BET, well--mission accomplished. Take your flowing locks of indeterminate color, your personal wind machine, your hot pants and your body glitter and head for the caribbean. Bye! And look into taking Jimmy Buffet and Alan Jackson with you. Please? Love, America.

Hublet pointed out the People Of Interest, by table: there was the Loser table, with the pregnant chick, the failing guy, the practically 30 year old who hadn't yet graduated, and assorted other folk, the Jocks, the Geeks, the Exceptional Children--all neatly self-segregated into the same cliques they hang out in during the week, except with shinier clothes. Which sort of begged the question, why bother? But mine is not to know the psychology of the teenager, so whatever.

But it is over, and neither I nor any of the attendees are dead, so I guess that's okay. Hublet has been politely requested to hide in the men's room when they make assignments to the prom committee next year.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 12:21 PM | Comments (11)

March 22, 2005

You Were Wrong, Irene Cara

And here I thought I was going to live forever. Drat.

I am going to die at 88. When are you? Click here to find out!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 03:21 PM | Comments (2)

When In Doubt, Blame the Space Lasers

This week is shaping up to be from hell. Work is exploding in a fairly explodey way, my foot hurts, and I have to co-chaperone a freaking high school prom on Thursday night. Words cannot express my non-excitement at having to stand around in uncomfortable shoes for 4 hours, listening to crap music at high volume and averting my eyes from a bunch of dry-humping teenagers in ill-fitting formalwear. Geez. Whatever happened to "show up for 5 minutes, get picture made, adjourn to hotel for drunken all-nighter?" Yes, I can get behind that, primarily because I don't have a teenage daughter. And because my feet already hurt.

Just brace yourselves for a long-winded post-prom rant, is all I'm saying. My pre-prom rant is pretty damn long-winded, and I haven't even BEEN to the prom yet. Gah.

Anyway, came across this article via somewhere I don't remember--Fark? Who knows. It seems that Arafat was done in by--drumroll, please--Super Sekrit Lasers! To which I can only reply, "COOL! Where can I get one? And can I get a Super Sekrit Space Laser instead?"

Unfortunately, space lasers that can invisibly kill doddering despots don't exist. Which totally bums me out, because think of the applications--and I mean beyond the obvious, "Fry the guys you hate" ones. The existence of invisible destructo-beams from space could effectively absolve you of personal responsibility for anything! Overcooked steak? An errant beam must have struck it! Dead world leader? The next-door neighbor must have hacked the targeting beam! Car won't start? DAMN YOU, SPACE LASERS!

Well, never mind that the lasers don't actually exist. I can blame them anyway. I mean, if it worked for that Palestinian spokesman there's no reason it couldn't work for me.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:07 PM | Comments (5)

March 18, 2005

Some Days, Less is More

After trying and failing to get The Boy to go to sleep before TEN O'CLOCK last night, I finally was able to adjourn to the den with some decaf and channel surf. Before I finally settled on some old Spider-Man cartoons, I was briefly stunned into immobility by a movie on the Sci-Fi channel titled, MANSQUITO. Yes, Mansquito, about a scientist who, in an attempt to find a cure for the West Nile virus, accidentally turns herself and her assistant into giant mosquitos.

I stared at the screen in dumbfounded amazement as the Mansquito in question brutally murdered a whole bunch of folks in the hospital in an attempt to spirit away some woman who I assume was the scientist--best part of the five minutes? Young guy bursts in on Mansquito, yells, "Get away from her!" in the typically leaden way bad young actors do, is stabbed by Mansquito's giant proboscis (nothing phallic to see here, folks), does a fake blood spit take, attempts to shoot Mansquito with a tiny, tiny gun, and accidentally blows a hole in his foot. Which the director makes a point of showing. Why? I mean, it was kinda funny, and I liked the dude's shoes, but the floppy haired actor was already dead, so...

Okay, I'm analyzing Mansquito. I'll stop.

In slightly more highbrow news, Hublet and I are off to Davidson to see the Royal Shakespeare Company do Two Gentlemen of Verona this weekend. I wish they'd done the Shakespeare in Residence stuff when I was there--Dr. Lewis, the resident Shakespearean, was my advisor, and I think I took every class and seminar she offered. As a professor she was fairly scary, but I learned more about scholarly writing from her than from anyone else I ever worked with--with the possible exception of my MA thesis advisor.

And now for something slightly useful. Given my somewhat (ahem) obsessive qualities concerning pop culture, I think I might really enjoy this book.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:51 AM | Comments (7)

March 17, 2005

Not Irish. Not Catholic. Not Interested.

Plus it's snowing, I gave up alcohol for Lent and I've never been a fan of green beer anyway, leprechauns suck, clover holds bees that can end up squished between toes and fingers (voice of hard-won experience here), Lucky Charms cereal tastes like crap and I'm sleep deprived.

And so help me God, if one person tries to do the whole "you're not wearing green so I'm going to pinch you" thing to me--you'll draw back a nub. That's all I'm saying.

So, as I'm feeling particularly obstreperous today, here's an op-ed calling for the abolishment of tenure. I'm thinking such a move wouldn't necessarily change the face of the sciences that much--they're accustomed to continual cutthroat competition for research grants. But it might have a very interesting effect on the humanities.

Full disclosure: I would really enjoy sipping from my giant cup of schadenfreude while listening to humes folks squeal about the unfairness of having to actually justify their theoretical flights of fancy with, you know, "real" scholarship. Because I'm evil. But you knew that already, didn't you?

Update: I have now edited this post about 6 times. Perhaps I should add "illiterate" to "obstreperous" and "sleep deprived." Seriously, I can usually spell words like "schadenfreude" and I usually know the correct form of "abolish" to use in a sentence.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:33 AM | Comments (8)

March 15, 2005

An Omen?

This weekend was a fast and furious one indeed, involving reptiles and the vague threat of salmonella, death-defying bicycle stunts by boob-obsessed toddlers (and no, he wasn't breastfed until he was three, so move on), and very poor nights sleeping. For some reason, my brain waits until AFTER the workday is finished to come up with line after line of brilliant prose constructions that I should have included in the day's work but that alas! I didn't. And then of course I fall asleep and forget everything and the cycle starts all over again.

Anyway, on to the ostensible point of this post. Sunday morning we were awakened by a tap, tap, tapping noise. It seemed to be coming from the front porch. I went down the hall to inspect the front door and was greeted by a male bluebird who seemed intent on killing the window next to the front door. When he saw me, the bird flew off, only to reappear a few moments later at the window to our guest room. Psycho bird.

Feeling jovial, I said something about the bluebird of happiness paying us a visit. Then I noticed that said bluebird had pooped all over the Boy's bike helmet. When the bluebird of happiness craps on your bike helmet it's got to be an omen, right?

Incidentally, wouldn't that be a great title for a book of whining, self-indulgent essays?

The Bluebird of Happiness Crapped on my Porch; or, I Don't Know What I Was Expecting, but This Sure Ain't it.

Not that I expect to be forthcoming with a bunch of whining essays anytime soon, but if I ever do...I've got a great title!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 12:57 PM | Comments (2)

March 14, 2005


1. Got carried away with the Spam Killing. May have inadvertently bah-leeted or banned legit comments. Email me if you suddenly can't post--if you suddenly can't post Pr0N links, however, don't bother.

2. Went to Reptile and Amphibian day at Museum of Natural Science. Got to pet lots of reptiles, see the world's largest Alligator Snapping Turtle, and hold a corn snake. I've always wanted a pet corn snake. Hublet is rather opposed to the idea. Big fun. Lots of people. More hand sanitizer than you could shake a stick at--salmonella being the one large drawback to reptile ownership.

3. The Boy has discovered Wonder Woman. He really, really likes looking at Wonder Woman. He is also fascinated with being Batman, which means that everything is now a bat-arang. I see spackle in my future.

4. Watched Saw. A truly irritating movie. Note to Hollywood: pairing Marilyn Manson video-making cinematic technique with a pale script ripoff of Seven and adding more gore? Not enough to plug the plot holes, and not really entertainment. And also, Cary Elwes? Has let himself go. This is sad, because I don't want to see the Dread Pirate Roberts with a middle-aged paunch. I want my 91 minutes back, plus interest.

5. On the academic front, this is not at all surprising. What did we think would happen when we started privileging the provocative over solid scholarship? Whatever we thought, we should have known we'd end up with crap like this. At least I hope the guy is just cynically trading on the provocative. If he really believes what he's spewing...well, that's it for civilization, then.

Note to everyone: basing arguments on moral equivalence is not scholarship. 4-year olds can do moral equivalence. It's also like being 14 and suddenly realizing that OMG people can be hypocrites! Oooh, really? Welcome to reality and thank you for the oh-so-stunning revelation that your fellow man can suck. Here's the important but often overlooked by 4-year olds and adolescents addendum: just because you can suck doesn't mean you should. See also: just because everyone is doing it doesn't make it right. The fact that these things must be pointed out to the intelligentsia? Jesus wept, people.

UPDATE: Fixed dang link. Thanks, Michael!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:59 AM | Comments (6)

March 10, 2005

I Hate to Say I Told You So

But I did! I did! And on more than one occasion (Okay, so the second time it was just an addendum to the first time, but still)!

Bumper stickers are Teh Eville!

So put that on the back of your mobile signpost and smoke it!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:11 AM | Comments (6)

March 02, 2005

The Story that Launched 1,000 Bad Horror Novels

Is right here.

Money quote:

Controversial German artist Gunther von Hagens, known for his displays of preserved human corpses stripped of skin, wants to build a factory in Poland to mass-produce his art.

Fire up those keyboards, horror writer wannabes! Why do I keep flashing on Vincent Price in "House of Wax?" Or that super-cheesy 80's horror film, "Waxwork?" Yes, I did see it, and it has stayed with me. Move on.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:38 AM | Comments (11)

February 28, 2005

My Only Oscar Comment

Dear Fashion Designers:

About those mermaid dresses--please stop. Every two years they appear, and every two years they suck. Unless your name is Ariel and you hang out with a talking jamaican crab, you have no business doing mermaid chic. So save us all some time and stop with the mermaid dresses. Please? My retinas are begging you.

Big Arm Woman

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:42 AM | Comments (14)

February 24, 2005

Karl Rove - Freaking Genius

Look, I was sceptical of the whole Rovian superpowers thing. But I can admit when I'm wrong. Karl Rove is a freaking evil genius. All he's lacking is the sharks with freaking laser beam helmets, seriously.

What, you still doubt? Doubt no longer, small padawans, for I bring you the ultimate proof:

Author Regrets Secretly Taping Bush Talks

Do you see? The man releases "scandalous" tapes that only enhance Bush's image, the White House gets all "hurt and betrayed," while reaping the benefits of this "scandal," and then the fellow recants and vows to donate proceeds to charity:

But he said he canceled plans to be on "Hardball" on MSNBC Tuesday night to talk about his regrets because "it would only add to the distraction I have caused to the president's important and historic work."

"Contrary to a statement that I made to the New York Times, I have come to realize that personal relationships are more important than history," Wead wrote in a letter to the show's host, Chris Matthews, that MSNBC released to the public on Wednesday. "I am asking my attorney to direct any future proceeds from the book to charity and to find the best way to vet these tapes and get them back to the president to whom they belong. History can wait."

Connect the dots, people. Connect. The. Dots. At this rate, Bush will be nominated for sainthood and Rove will rule the world! Well, he already rules the world, so I guess I should just say he'll rule it longer, or rule it more, or, or, well, he'll be all Rove-happy or something. But you can bet it'll be evil!

Woah. I can only hope to someday attain this level of strategery. And evil!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:04 AM | Comments (3)

February 22, 2005

Happy Tuesday!

And happy reading. After an evening spent with a Boy who ate his weight in foodstuffs (including a chicken breast, 8 large broccolis, mashed potatoes, 2 chicken nuggets--on a plate with ketchup!--some animal cookies, a banana and 2 full glasses of milk) and got massive indegestion, my creative juices are at a somewhat low ebb.

So here are other folks doing a great job of posting about the topics I would be posting about if I were posting. Oh, and to those of you who sent me links recently--thanks a ton! Sorry I've not been able to write about what you sent, but don't think I don't appreciate it, 'cause I do. Good reading there.

Now on to the linky-dinky-dos.

Curious about how the Ward Churchills of the world get hired in the first place, with little-to-no attention paid to things like, oh, actual credentials? Here's a nice account of academic reality that pretty much mirrors what I know of the process.

Speaking of horses' asses, here's exactly the eulogy I would have written for Hunter S. Thompson, were I drunk and Californian. I used to use both Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Wolfe's The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test in my Freshman Comp classes, to demonstrate that informative writing could take many colorful forms. But I never idolized Thompson, because I've never appreciated the allure of violent, depressed, drunk and drug-addled writers, I guess. Explains why I'm no big fan of Hemingway, either.

Arguments for home-schooling? You betcha!
And finally, remember the Tard Blog, a blog by special ed teachers about their charges? There's a new teacher on the block, and a companion blog, Slow Children at Play, that will certainly increase your appreciation for the folks who really work in the trenches. I couldn't do their jobs, that's for damn sure.

UPDATE: Links work now--sorry!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:19 AM | Comments (6)

February 18, 2005

How to Tell if Your Parents Are Depression Babies

Me: Hello?

(Tinny Voice): Hey hon, it's mom.

(Other Tinny Voice): And dad.

Me: Where are you?

(Tinny Voices): Can you hear us okay?

Me: You sound like you're calling from inside a toilet bowl.

Mom: We're in the car.

Me: I figured. You only both talk at once when you're using the OnStar. Where are you going?

Mom: We aren't going anywhere.

Me: Where are you?

Mom: In the garage.

Me: At home?

Dad: Yep.

Me: You are both sitting inside the Buick in the garage calling me on the OnStar.

Mom: Well, we had a few minutes left over and they were just going to expire and they were expensive.

Me: Ah. Do you want me to send you five dollars so you don't have to do weird stuff like call from the car in the garage or call while squished into the doorjamb of the front door because that's the only place in the house that gets decent cell phone reception? 'Cause, you know, I can spare a few bucks.

Dad: No, we just don't want to waste the money. The car is very comfortable.

Me: You guys just get weirder as you get older, you know that, right?

Mom: That's our perogative, dear. Can we speak to our grandson now?

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:16 AM | Comments (4)

February 14, 2005

Scattered Thoughts and Musings

Went to see Hide and Seek this Friday. You know that movie, Secret Window, with Johnny Depp? Have you seen it? Then you've seen Hide and Seek. Seriously. They are the EXACT SAME MOVIE, even down to the good old fashioned "hit 'em with a shovel" method of removing the plot obstacle. And you don't even get the cold comfort of Depp cheekbones to make up for the blatant rip-off, either.

Netflixed Friday Night Lights and Resident Evil: Apocalypse. Guess which one Hublet watched with me and which one I watched alone? Friday Night Lights was good, but it's weird seeing Lucas Black as a high schooler. I'm still in Sling Blade mode with him. Resident Evil was refreshing, in that "I'm literally watching the movie of the video game, right down to the cut scenes" kind of Mortal Kombat I way. Stuff blew up real good, and people died horribly at a respectably brisk clip. A nice capper to a too-short weekend.

After following a vehicle that was so thoroughly covered with those stick-on "cause" ribbons that its paint job was completely obscured, I came to a realization: I am sick to death of ribbons: red ribbons for AIDS or heart disease, yellow for troops, weird star-spangled ones for God knows what, pink ones for breast cancer--seriously, people. Do we need to have stupid pieces of fabric pinned to our chests or stuck to our cars before we can officially be supporters of a cause? Plus there are so many now I have no idea what they even mean. Perhaps I shall begin sporting a ribbon in tartan, and when folks ask me what cause I support I'll just answer, "Oh, just freaking PICK ONE!"

And speaking of stupid pieces of fabric, I am over the politics/pubic area thing completely. Yes, our president's last name is Bush. And yes, we have a senator named Boxer. Do I have to point out that the attendant jokes are, how do I put this--beyond puerile, stupid, jejune and gauche? (Yes, I could probably use some more French there, but I made my point). Or that no one takes you seriously if you sport underwear with your favorite politician or your "fighting of the power" consists primarily of twat references? My grandmother would have been out there pimp-slapping some people for that sort of behavior, and I would have proudly held her cane while she did it.

No, I haven't fixed the comments. No, I don't have time right now. Them's the breaks.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 02:03 PM | Comments (8)

February 11, 2005

Thursday Night Hoops

Last night was the big faculty/student basketball game at Hublet's high school. I am pleased to report that Hublet is alive and fairly mobile today. Of course, they say that Day 2 is the worst day for recovery, so we'll see how mobile he is tomorrow.

After a mammoth battle, which got noticeably slower on hublet's side after the first half, the faculty were victorious, 49-41!

As you may imagine, the sixteen year olds were a bit put out at being beaten by a bunch of "old men," and so the hacking was especially fierce. For those of you keeping track, here are "The Road Warrior" Hublet's stats:

10 points
3 assists
5 rebounds
50% from the free throw line

and the bonuses:

a fat lip
a deep tissue bruise to the elbow
a blister-covered foot
various abrasions
affirmation of status as "middle-aged."

The best part? The Boy screaming, "Is Daddy beating his students?" from the front row of the bleachers.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 03:09 PM | TrackBack

February 10, 2005

Hump Day--One Day Late. Story of My Life.

What. a. week.

Highlights include:

  1. Watching Tennessee Governor Bredesen tell a whiny twenty-something who was complaining that he didn't have health insurance that he "looked eminently employable," and that he should therefore get a job, get coverage, and quit trying to suck resources away from the elderly and poor (this got applause, by the way, and the whiner actually POUTED as he sat down).
  2. Listening to a crazy woman rant about Tenn Care (Bredesen's state health care program) and trying to prevent her from disrupting a press conference. Note to crazy people everywhere--if you want to actually be heard, you might want to look into not being, you know, INSANE, and lying about being a) with the governor (sure, if I were a politician, I'd keep folks who were protesting my positions on my payroll...) or b) with CBS news. Holy Cow. Governor Bredesen actually spoke with her one on one later, but let's just say there were a lot of security folks nearby.
  3. Being randomly accosted by a former governor (Jim Hunt) who wanted to know why there was no Pepsi on the catering table at 9:30 in the morning, and watching a colleague sprint to obtain said frosty beverage.
  4. Listening to Tommy Thompson talk about preventative health care, slap around some reporters who were trying--very clumsily--to start a fight between him and the Bush Administration, and extol the virtues of pedometers.
  5. Having all of these things occur whilst being hopped up on DayQuil.

So my apologies for the lack o' posts. And no, I still haven't upgraded the blog to fix the comments. DayQuil. NyQuil. Need I say more?

In other news, Hublet will be playing in the faculty vs students basketball game at his high school today. My only advice to him: "Don't die." This isn't necessarily a sure thing.

And for those of you who are following these things, the cover of this month's Atlantic features Actual Human Remains. I'm thinking of sending the entire staff a gross of Wellbutrin.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:27 AM | TrackBack

February 07, 2005

And on the Eighth Day

God created the Island of Sodor. Imagine my surprise. The Boy had whipped out his Toddler's Illustrated Bible, complete with highly sanitized Old Testament (nothin' like the OT for some serious blood, gore and intrigue, but the kiddie version glosses over unpleasant facts about the patriarchs, such as who was a murderer, adulterer, etc), and was looking at the simplistic cartoony drawings of Genesis.

"Look! There's Thomas!" The Boy pointed at an illustration of some random biblical city. "And Sodor!" He pointed at an illustration of Adam, naughty bits tastefully obscured by blobs of green foliage. Hublet and I exchanged a glance. "Well," said Hublet, "Now we know what God was up to on that mysterious Day Eight."

And frankly, Sodor is remarkably free of the type of shenanigans that got the earth in trouble with God. Sir Topham Hatt hasn't ever orchestrated the murder of an engineer in order to sleep with his wife, no one seems interested in golden calves, and trains don't eat fruit. As earthly paradises go, we could do a lot worse than an island inhabited by a bunch of anthropomorphic steam engines.

NOTE: Still haven't fixed comments. Email is bigarm at doorstopkitty dot com.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:07 AM | TrackBack

January 28, 2005

Beer Can Save Your Life

Never, ever let anyone tell you differently. I tend to forego mixed drink cocktails when out and about in favor of the humble beer, and now I am heartened to discover that not only can beer build your bones, in the event of an avalanche it can provide you a means of escape.

Oh, sure, you'd have liver and kidney damage, but you sure wouldn't feel the cold!

All hail the humble hop!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 03:39 PM | Comments (0)

January 26, 2005

Damn You, John Cusak!

I was all prepared to write a searingly insightful blog entry today, but ended up getting one of the worst night's sleep EVER.


Because I had this dream where I was a stagehand for Saturday Night Live, and John Cusak was hosting. Normally, this would be very cool, as I have been a Cusak fan since 16 Candles. However, for some bizarre reason the dream-Cusak had decided that he would only host SNL if he were naked.

As you may imagine, this caused a dilemma for yours truly, the only stagehand available. I spent the entirety of the dream pushing desks, sofas, chairs and other handy pieces of furniture in front of the naked Cusak's naughty bits. And I woke up as exhausted as though I actually HAD been performing FCC-mandated physical labor.

Damn you, John Cusak, naked SNL host of Dooooooommmmm!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:52 PM | Comments (5)

January 20, 2005


Pursuant to the last entry, our local TV station has set up an open forum, roughly titled, "HEY! Traffic sucked! Whose fault is it?"

In 24 pages of responses, we've managed to refight the entire Civil War, be lectured about the tsunami, blame everyone from God to the DOT, get angry that anyone would MENTION God or the DOT, finger point, name call, type in angry all caps, and generally devolve into a flamewar that would have made the old Usenet forums blush.

If you've got a few spare minutes, skim that sucker. Good times, people. Good times.

Related note: Worst intro to a news report EVER, "Well, our fountain (outside the TV station--background for a live shot) is flowing the way traffic didn't yesterday evening!"

Dear God. Metaphor and Similie have given up and gone home for the week.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:31 PM | Comments (3)

January 19, 2005

What I Have Learned About the French Revolution

From watching the first hour of The History Channel's special on the same subject:

1. Bad Kings eat a lot, because Eating = Evil. But not the really EVIL kind of evil, more just the ineffectual stupid kind of evil.

2. Bad Queens smirk a lot over their shoulders, because Smirking = Self-Absorbed.

3. If you want to foment revolution and change the world, the best way to do it is by standing on a table and pointing skyward. Oh, and by wearing glasses.

4. Note to armies everywhere: If you know the populace is starving, and rioting in the streets for bread, you MIGHT want to, you know, put extra locks and guards on the munitions supply house. Just a suggestion.

5. The worst job in the world? Personal guard for Louis XVI at Versailles.

6. Second worst job in the world? Personal guard for Louis XVI in Paris.

7. Runner-up for worst job in the world? Head jailer at the Bastille.

8. Note to victims of mob violence--asking them to let you die won't necessarily end your suffering much faster. It will result in your death, however, which might be a plus, but you should really weigh that against the manner in which you will be killed. If you don't mind being eviscerated by a bunch of screaming fishwives and bayonette-toting locals, then go right ahead and ask for death. If you were hoping for a bullet to the skull, you might want to hold off on the request.

9. The best way to convince the audience that you're a Serious Scholar of French History is by pronouncing french names with a "proper french accent," even though you're originally from Hoboken and your only major publication is entitiled In Defense of Marxism.

10. The guillotine was invented by a doctor. A big, crazy-eyed doctor! Because you have to be insane to invent the guillotine, you see. CRAZY!

I can't wait to find out what else I shall learn about the French Revolution tonight!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:06 AM | Comments (7)

January 18, 2005


Comments are back - thanks AOG! Of course, now spammers can send comments again, but oh well.

Thanks to everyone who emailed me with boxer links. I have a pair on the way from OshKosh. Dang, boxers are expensive. So I only ordered the one pair.

The weekend was uneventful, except for The Boy's yelling, "Look at that BIG MAN!" at the Children's Symphony on Saturday as the conductor (a fairly stout black gentleman) took the stage. This wouldn't have been nearly as embarrassing had we not been on the SECOND ROW. Yes, the tiny Aryan boy just called you fat. My apologies. Please excuse me as I shut my eyes and will the floor to open up and swallow me whole.

Watched Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and then Dodgeball this weekend. Couple of notes: I like Jim Carrey when the director hog-ties and muzzles him--he can actually act when that happens. Also, Elijah Wood does creepy very well. And his high-pitched giggle? Oh, good Lord.

And Rip Torn is my favorite actor ever. Best lines from Dodgeball:

"You're about as useful as a poopy-flovored lollipop!"


"You look like a bunch of retards trying to hump a doorknob!"

Only Rip Torn could pull those off.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:43 AM | Comments (6)

January 14, 2005


Ahem. I would like to state for the record that NO ONE pays me to blog. No one. Heck, I don't even do the tip jar, and not because I'm just too lazy to cut and paste some code. Although the lazy, it does factor in.

Let me pause for a moment to bask in the aura of sanctimony and self-satisfaction.


Now that that's over with, I'd just like to add that if someone WANTED to pay me to blog, well, you know where the email address is!

See, I'm not one of those people who get all indignant and yell "sellout" while secretly being pissed that they weren't offered the opportunity to sell out. If the price and the cause were right--oh hell yeah, I'd sell out. Have you seen tuition costs lately?

But I'd tell you all if I did. And that's a BAW guarantee. It's apparently not as obvious to everyone that disclosure is the right thing to do as it should be.

This disclosure brought to you by the latest Innerweb kerfuffle.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:40 AM | Comments (0)

January 13, 2005

No, It's Not You

Comments are screwy. Looks like Blacklist has exploded. Although on the plus side I no longer have any comment spam...

If you need to contact yours truly, just use the address down there on the right hand side of the page.


Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:30 PM | Comments (0)

Story Time

At bedtime, I have taken to spending about 15 minutes lying down with The Boy, chatting about the day or telling Boy Stories. Conversations go something like this:

Me: What are you thinking about?

Boy: (furrowing brow) Ummm. Dat fan.

Me: The ceiling fan?

Boy: And bricks. And trains. And Snow Percy and Chocolate Percy and Dirty Percy can't fly 'cause they don't have wings.

Me: You're right.

Boy: Tell me a The Boy (note: The Boy always refers to himself in the Professional Athlete Third Person in these stories) story.

Me: Which one? (This is his opportunity to make up the story he wants me to "tell" him)

Boy: The one about The Boy and the red and blue chairs. And they have faces and eyes and noses! And they're MEEEAAANNNN (scrunches up face in mean expression)! And they're high up in the trees and The Boy is crying. And mommy and daddy are crying. And Keat is nice and Gertie is nice and Gertie doesn't bark. And then they throw The Boy in the jail!

Me: The mean red and blue chairs with faces throw you in the jail?

Boy: YEAH! (getting really animated) And then mommy and daddy come and mommy has to fight the mean chairs and everyone cheers for mommy!

Me: (Secretly very pleased with my role as Xena Warrior Mommy in this particular tale) Do I hit them?

Boy: YEAH! And mommy kicks the chairs and hits them and throws them in the sky! And beats up those mean chairs and they cry!

Me: Okay. Once upon a time there was a little boy named The Boy, and he was very brave and handsome and strong...(insert soap operatic story about evil plotting anthropomorphic chairs kidnapping The Boy and imprisoning him for reasons of revenge, complete with Lassie-like canine companion animal action and giant fight scene featuring yours truly kicking some chair ass!).

Boy: Tell me another The Boy story!

Me: We'll do another one tomorrow night. Go ahead and think about what you want it to be tonight and let me know tomorrow.

Boy: Okay...Thomas comes and there's Edward and Toby on the track and oh no! They're on the same track! And James! And there's a BIG CRASH!

Me: Goodnight, sweetie.

Boy: And Edward only wanted to help and now everyone's off the track and...

I leave him still busy creating imaginary carnage on the Island of Sodor. And wonder where the hell that part with the chairs came from.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:45 AM | Comments (1)

January 12, 2005

Oh Look! Another Opinion on CBS!

Do try to stifle your excitement.

Okay, so I read the report, which I admit held a bit of prurient interest for me. I'm not gonna bother with the whole "whitewash/greywash/great unwashed" debate. Instead, I shall pose a question concerning Heyward's not being fired.

As I said, I read the report, including the emails and memos Heyward sent. He did indeed keep making the point that they needed hard facts, corroboration, etc. But here's my question:

If you're a supervisor who is apparently ignored at every turn by your staff, are you actually effective at your job? And are you the kind of person who should be in charge of, well, anyone?

I'm thinking no. But that's just based on six years of experience in a giant state bureaucracy, so nevermind...

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:20 AM | Comments (0)

January 07, 2005

Call for Computer Advice

So it's tax time again, and Hublet and I have attempted to swing it so that this year we'll get enough of a refund to fund a new home computer.

Of course, nothing is ever simple in the land of computer choice, and particularly now that I have been sucked into the Cult Of Pod. But here's the thing:

I need to decide whether a laptop or a desktop is better for me--I'm leaning toward laptop for space and convenience, and I don't really game on the PC much anymore, Plus, I'm now torn between Mac and PC. And here's where it gets a bit annoying, because it seems nigh impossible to get objective comparisons. I mean, the newbie perception of Mac-ville is "Scary Cult People--eeeek!" and I don't know that I need a lot of bells and whistles, or the ability to sync every electronic device in the world with my computer.

Anyone on either side know of some good FACTUAL comparisons of laptops, without proselytizing on either side? Recs welcome. I am a simple girl, with simple needs.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:17 AM | Comments (23)

January 06, 2005

Thursday. No Clever Title.

Let me just get a few things out of the way:

1. Nothing, but NOTHING makes me more homicidal than bottom-feeding mouth breathers from the seventh level of hell who prey upon children. ESPECIALLY children who have just survived a tsunami. And since I have more than a passing knowledge of ancient torture methods and a bit of free time, I have designed a method for dispatching said soulless cretins that should prove extremely satisfying to me.

As you may be enjoying a meal while reading this I will refrain from relating the details of their punishment, but let's just say it involves molten lead, a rusted spike approximately 7 inches long (with a handle), an iron neck collar with serrated edges, fire, salt, 3 very hungry rats, a scalpel and suture kit, long bamboo strips, boiling oil, and a fairly dull hatchet. Car batteries are optional, and frankly, not even necessary once you get to the rats and oil. Imagine what you will.

Rant brought on by Emily.

2. South Carolina drivers are without a doubt the WORST in the country. And I have driven coast to coast, so I know whereof I speak. Yes, worse even than the ancient Floridiots who insist upon driving their 25 year old Buicks up twisting mountain roads at approximately 5 m.p.h. If there's a problem on the highway, you can bet it'll be traced to someone with that damn palm tree on their license plate. Arg.

3. Lost is back! Huzzah! Romance is in the air for Sayid, I think, which could mean that whatsherface is doomed, doomed, doomed. Perhaps they will kill off all the blondes on the island, which means Kate is safe. And I actually liked Sawyer in this episode. Liked him more than Jack, Mr. "I'm gonna be all noble and tell you that your past is your business and doesn't matter until I decide I want to know all about it and you won't tell me and then I'm gonna be all hurt and self-righteous" guy, anyway. I'm also waiting for Locke to go on that killing spree, or turn all Rambo and save the island or else turn into Kurtz from Apocalypse Now--he's already got the scarred bald thing working. And is it just me, or have any of you noticed that on television it's only okay for black people to be unironically religious? 'Cause if white folks are religious on tv shows like this one they're either pedophiles or David Koresh. An odd bit of typecasting, and I shall squelch the Inner English Major right now before I go off on some post-Orientalism rant about the dark-skinned Other being either angel or devil, but never human. Damn. Too late.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:13 AM | Comments (5)

December 31, 2004

Here at the End of All Things

Like many of you, I have a weird love/hate relationship with all these end of year retrospective/prediction shows and articles. They annoy, yet I cannot seem to stop myself from reading or watching. I am weak. Weak, I say!

And this weakness precludes my making a list of resolutions, since that implies a to-do list and weak folk such as myself simply cannot muster the energy to accomplish much. So my entry for the end of the year will be a list of Things I Will Not Do in 2005, where a lack of real effort will help me feel accomplished. Go, me!
So without further ado, here is the official Big Arm Woman List of Things NOT to Do in '05:

  1. I will not make a night-vision sex tape and distribute it over the internet.
  2. On a related note, my mammaries will not make any unscheduled appearances at events covered by national media. You're very welcome.
  3. I will not join an activist group of less than 7 people and publicly express the hope that my doing so will somehow remake reality.
  4. I will not eat falafel. Thanks, O'Reilly.
  5. I will try my damndest to avoid reading about or listening to celebrities weighing in about any topic other than entertainment. You're welcome, blood pressure,
  6. I will not partake of any food prepared by friends of Vladimir Putin during an election cycle.
  7. I will not give money or attention to anything having to do with the NBA, their valiant struggles to feed themselves on less than $20 million notwithstanding.
  8. I will not star in a reality TV show.
  9. I will not routinely stay up too late in order to view the ending of a David Spade or other ex-SNL cast member vehicle. Yes, this is a problem for me. No, I don't know why either. I said I was weak, okay? And Joe Dirt had Christopher Walken in it...and I can't NOT watch Chris Walken...and--can we just move along, now, please? Thanks.
  10. Finally, I will not succumb to the urge to don sackcloth and ashes now that the extended version of Return of the King is out and my four-year infusion of new LoTR footage has finally ended.
Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:46 AM | Comments (6)

December 29, 2004

Charity Stuff

If, like me, you're wondering how or where to give to the tsunami victims, and you want the lowdown on exactly how much of your money will go to the folks it's supposed to help, Charity Navigator gives you all the info you need.

So, if you give, you can be sure you're giving wisely.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 12:48 PM | Comments (1)

December 28, 2004

Back in the Saddle

Well, sort of. See, there was travelling. And then there was cleaning. Baseboards. With Clorox Clean-up spray and a toothbrush, because I have these weird hyper-cleaning frenzies that usually occur in conjunction with family get-togethers. Then there was cooking. And wrapping. And family. And leaving two cookies and a glass of iced tea on the front porch for Santa (The Boy hasn't grokked the whole "he comes INSIDE the house" thing yet), and Christmas morning. And Power Thomas. And the catapult (coolest toy ever--even has a counterweight for hurling those tiny rocks at the castle). And opening presents. And eating. And cooking. And more eating. And then snow. And sledding. And stir-craziness. And shopping. And staying up way too late watching all the extra footage in Return of the King. And red wine.

So I'm back. And kind of relieved about it, frankly.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:21 PM | Comments (5)

December 15, 2004

Santa's Boots are Big and Black for a Reason

This Christmas is the first one where The Boy has really started to get the whole Santa concept. Naturally, he's excited and so are we. As part of our giant pre-Christmas North and South Carolina travelling relative-palooza, we will be riding the Polar Express up in Dillsboro. In preparation, we've been reading the story to The Boy and listening to Liam Neeson's lilting Irish narration on the CD that was included in our version of the book. So every evening we sit in our cozy den, enveloped in the magical cocoon of childhood fantasy.

Except when one of our Inner English Majors makes an appearance, as Hublet's did last night. I was whipping up some chili in the slow cooker, and Hublet and The Boy were doing The Polar Express when I heard:

Hublet: ...factories where all the toys were made. Belching thick black smoke that polluted the atmosphere and created the greenhouse effect.

Me: Uh, dear?

Hublet: Those elves are sweatshop labor. Santa's a capitalist exploiter, that's what he is!

Me: Dear...

Hublet: Then Santa appeared! Look at these illustrations--it's like some pro-fascist propaganda poster! The adoring throngs, the larger-than-life Santa...

Me: Do you want me to read the book tonight?

Hublet: Oh, and the elves all let out a roaring cheer. Heil Santa!


Hublet: I'm just saying it's a little creepy, that's all.

Me: Yes, but perhaps we could spare The Boy the whole Triumph of the Will aspect of The Polar Express, okay? He's THREE.

The Boy: We get to ride the Polar Express!

Me and Hublet: Yes, we do.

The Boy: And then Santa will bring me a Power Thomas and a new bike!

Hublet: Made in a sweatshop by elves crushed under the jackboot of fascism.

Me: Stop it.

The Boy: I want to play with trains now.

So, no obvious mental scarring thus far. I can't say the same for me or for Hublet, however.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 07:52 AM | Comments (2)

December 14, 2004

Look! Below Rock Bottom! A Lower Place!

You know the one thing lamer than a plagiarist?

An anarchist. And the one thing even lamer than an anarchist? A SOUTHERN anarchist. Because while a sort of laissez-faire, apolitical, pseudo-anarchy is part and parcel of the southern character (think moonshiners), organized anarchists who spout off with stuff like:

Yet anarchist Steve Roberts, 22, of Winston-Salem, who says he did not take part in the protest, says the destruction of property pales next to the destruction of the human spirit by the political structure. "You can't change the system from within, because the problem is systemic."

Are, frankly, an embarrassment to the region. Not to mention overwrought. Oh, and wrong. Let's see how that whole "fighting the power" thing has worked out for our homegrown anarchists, shall we?

The vandalism occurred after about 200 protesters marched down Hillsborough Street just before midnight. Police arrived to find about 20 people in black clothes attacking the GOP building.

A man who lives on Forest Street, next to the headquarters, discovered two women near his garage shedding black clothes. He prevented them from leaving until police arrived. A young man also was arrested, and all were charged with the felony of causing malicious damage to property by use of an incendiary device.

Vanessa Zuloaga, 24, Melissa Brown, 18, and David Hensley, 20, all of Columbia, S.C., were jailed on $50,000 bail each. Supporters across the country contributed more than $15,000 over the Internet to bail out "the Raleigh 3," and they have been released. They are scheduled for a court hearing Monday.

Here's my question--if you're an anarchist, you eschew the capitalist system, and, like, money and stuff, right? So how do you explain the internet fundraising campaign? It just seems so, so, bourgeois! And is ANYONE surprised that Indymedia was involved? Me neither.

And because we live in an area surrounded by institutes of higher learning, we can't just get over the fact that a bunch of pissed-off ex-goths wanted to get drunk and do some property damage; no, we have to have a freaking panel discussion on What It All Means!

So what does anarchy mean? Well, as it's ANARCHY, it tends to mean whatever the anarchist being interviewed at the time SAYS it means. Pretty neat, that. Naturally, this being an academic-sponsored panel, no one was going to be so tacky as to, you know, form a judgement concerning the appropriateness of vandalism. Dude, keep your artificially constructed, like, limits, off me, man!

We do have this fun quote:

"Just like any social movement, it's multifaceted," McPherson said. "You can't characterize it by one event."

She said maybe the best definition of anarchism is believing in living -- or trying to live -- a nonhierarchical, nonauthoritative and noncorporate way of life.

Yes, because nothing says Fuck Whitey like refusing to buy that Tootsie Roll.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:38 AM | Comments (7)

December 12, 2004

Sounds of the Season

Well, it's been quite a week. I do apologize for the lack o' content, but things are settling in now, so life is back to normal--or at least as normal as it gets for me.

I've noticed a shocking dearth of Christmas Cheer around these parts, and so I will now do my part to remedy that situation by bringing you my own special Christmas Album!

Yes, straight from the heartland of Johnston County, it's a Big Arm Christmas, featuring such never-before heard favorites as:

Walking in a NASCAR Wonderland

It's Beginning to Smell a lot Like Deer Parts

Deck the Halls with Toddler Tantrums

The Twelve Disasters of Christmas

Frosty the Six Foot Inflatable Yard Art

I Saw Mommy Decking Santa Claus (over the Christmas Credit Card Bill)

And the original hit, "Screw you, Martha Stewart! I LIKE Canned Cranberry Sauce!"

Well I do, damn my unsophisticated palate.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:35 PM | Comments (3)

December 07, 2004

Sweeps Are Over--It's Reruns!

Look--things are out of control right now with the job transitioning and the shopping and the whole hoo-ha, so for your amusement here are a couple of holiday-themed reruns. Yes, I am lame, but I do this for free, people, so suck it up.

And so, behind the cut, you will find treatises on why Target is my Favorite. Store. Ever. and how NOT to decorate for Christmas.

Mayhap tomorrow I will have time for something original.

Oooooh! Shiny!

I've just gotta get this off my chest: I HEART Target. Why? Mainly because it's shiny. Rows upon rows of glorious consumer items, all arranged tastefully for your perusal. Bright lighting that reflects off of the polished shiny floor tiling, big bright signs adorned with smiling faces and colorful critters, and the aromatic scent of popcorn (unlike our local Wal-Mart or K-Mart, which always smell dishearteningly like fertilizer. I've gotta have a favorable nasal impression of a store, or I can't go there.). I can't even be ironic or sarcastic about this, except to say that Target's marketing department knows my demographic, and that I feel more than a little like a crow or a raven when I'm there, seduced and distracted by the shiny.

This time of year I find the siren song of the big red circle impossible to resist, because Target ratchets the shiny up about a million notches with the addition of: the Christmas section! Woo-hoo! The big corral of fake trees, all sparkly with their lights, whole kiosks devoted to baubles and doo-dads to clutter up the home, elegant gift bags, ribbons and matching tags and wrapping paper, for that coordinated under the tree look, and all conveniently located right next to the toy and electronics aisles. Wheee! I stand amongst the surfeit of shiny, inhaling the scent of popcorn and fantasizing about how this Christmas my home will be beautifully appointed, and the husband and I will smile and joke over our mulled wine whilst I effortlessly produce hand decorated gingerbread men for my darling rosy-cheeked toddler. The fantasy even includes my festive holiday apron--the one with the Shakespeare quote in gold (which I have never yet remembered to wear while making Christmas cookies).

Needless to say, my reality is somewhat different. The house is currently in that half-decorated, mostly filthy state, and I've given up trying to get EVERY SINGLE SURFACE disinfected for the guests before decorating--the rosy-cheeked toddler spends his time pulling stuff down, breaking other stuff, and crying when his father tries to stop/distract/remove him. Dinner is eaten in shifts because we cannot currently locate the kitchen table under the gifts that need wrapping and the cards that need mailing and the day's mail and paper and various other items we are trying to keep away from the small destructive one. The Great Shiny Shrubbery Project is in disarray because we only have about 15 minutes of daylight to work in when we get home and I discovered yesterday that a) I've hooked up the plugs backward and must now undo and redo them all and b) you can only run 4 shrubs per plug or the fuse blows. I'm tired and grumpy--and oh yeah, poor--and the only one really enjoying himself right now is the toddler.

Still, I see the light at the end of the tunnel. We've got lots of fun stuff planned, we've cut the travelling to the bare minimum to make it easier on ourselves, and if I can just get through this week, maybe the fantasy of mulled wine and gingerbread can be a reality. And in the meantime, there's always Target.


Red Rum. Reeeeddddd Ruuuuummmm!

When it comes to Christmas decorations, I'm a lowest common denominator kinda gal. If it lights up and/or is shiny or tacky or plastic--great! I'm not gonna strap eight tiny flashing reindeer and a glowing Santa to my roof, but I'll enjoy your home if you have. Wanna incorporate Frosty and Rudolf in your front yard nativity scene, gazing adoringly with vacant cartoon eyes at the baby Jesus? Fabulous! I'll slow down to appreciate the view, chuckle, and move on. Mix your media, mix your messages, plug it in and/or inflate it, and I'll take the long circuitous route home just to be able to tell folks what I saw on my drive.

However, there is one decorating element that does not fill me with Christmasy joie de vivre--red lights. I'm not talking about the bulb on your mechanical Rudolf's nose, either, or the occasional strand mixed in with all the other stuff. I mean the homes that do all of the window candles and trim in red. I know that red is supposed to convey the warmth of a cozy hearth, that it's one of the two main Christmas colors, etc., but I'm sorry, it just doesn't work that way when used on a large scale. It looks like your house has channeled the spirit of the Overlook Hotel, and frankly, it frightens me. Not from a "how gauche" perspective, but from an "AAACCK! Hell on earth! Axe murderers!" perspective.

My horror of the red stems from my fifth grade year, when for some light Christmas reading I picked up The Amityville Horror, and scared myself into a fugue state with it. The most lasting image from that book was the glowing red pig eyes that appeared in the windows of the home. After reading that book, every time I saw a lightbulb reflected in a window pane, I jumped, and it was in this heightened state of fear that my mom took me with her to visit a friend, who had incidentally done all of her window lights in red. I spent two hours convinced that I was surrounded by pig demons, and have never fully recovered from the trauma. To this day, houses bathed in the all over glow of red chill my heart.

So if you want to make your home into the Eye of Sauron for the holiday season, feel free, but don't be surprised if I give your expression of holiday cheer a pass.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 03:36 PM

December 06, 2004

Of Jobs, Abbott and Costello, and Deck-ing Up the House

I've been remiss in my postings of late, and there are many, many reasons, the first being an impending job change (a good thing!) the reasons behind the job change (a bad thing!) and the fact that when you work at a state funded university, everything that can go wrong in such a situation will go wrong (an ulcer-inducing, Thanksgiving spoiling, snatching employment from the jaws of un- thing!). More details on this stuff forthcoming...

And now onto The Boy!

For some strange reason, The Boy has substituted "how" for the ubiquitous three-year-old "why" as a response to every. single. statement. we. make. We've been trying to explain that the question he wants to ask is "why," but he's not getting that yet, which leads to conversations like this one:

BAW: We've got to put all the empty decoration boxes back in the storage container.

Boy: How?

BAW: No, you mean "why."

Boy: Why?

BAW: Right. You say "why" when you want to know how come something is done a certain way--wait. No. When you want to know why something has to be the way it is.

Boy: How?

BAW: No, why. You ask "how" when you want to know how something gets done.

Boy: How I say why?

BAW: You mean why you need to say why?

Boy: How?

BAW: Wait. You say...oh, forget it. Put those boxes back, sweetie.

Boy: How?

BAW: ...

The good news is that The Boy is enthusiastically "decking up the house." The bad news is that he has his own ideas of what constitutes "stylish"--his all-purpose word for acceptable fashion and home decor. Our tree has been festooned with manger animals, outlet covers and stray bits of shiny things, all of which are produced "very stylish."

It's shaping up to be a very interesting Christmas, indeed.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:29 AM | Comments (4)

December 01, 2004

And on the Last Day of November

My hell mutt gave to me...

Wait. Let me start this story from the beginning. As you know, I have been blessed with the most murderous cat in Christendom and a dog who might best be described as completely useless and from hell.

Okay. Everyone up to date so far? Well, yesterday I arrived home, looking forward to a relaxing evening (The Boy is spending a few days with my folks--when I asked him if he was excited about coming home today he actually pitched a tantrum, screaming "Noooooooo! I DON'T WANNA!!" and running from the phone. If I were a lesser person I would question my parenting skills...) so the odds of the evening being relaxing were in my favor.

Until I got into our bedroom and noticed some odd animal hair on the floor. My first thought was that the dog had suffered an anxiety attack and self-mutilated, so I dragged her out from under the bed and examined her thoroughly. Nope. No bald spots.

Next I retrieved the cat and examined her for signs of abuse at the hands (or paws) of the dog. Nope. No trauma.

So I looked more closely at the hair. It matched neither of my pets in color or texture. My immediate next thought was that the cat had killed a rabbit inside, but there was no other physical evidence. Ooookay, maybe she had killed the rabbit outside and regurgitated the remains...but that didn't fit, either.

So still puzzled, I went to get the vacuum cleaner to clean up--it was just a little bit of hair, after all. I retrieved the vacuum, wheeled it into the bedroom, and leaned down to the outlet located behind our computer, only to discover...


I have dealt with vomit, urine, and poop, both human and animal, and never been icked out. I have scraped the remains of every type of woodland creature off of our front porch mat without batting an eyelash. But I am here to tell you that seeing three-quarters of a deer's front leg, complete with shiny clean shattered bone at the top and intact hoof at the bottom located behind your computer, will reorganize your day quite a bit.

Naturally, I called Hublet to the scene. He stood there for a moment, absorbing the juxtaposition of high-tech 21st century imagery with Call of the Wild carnage, and then remarked, "It's like The Godfather."

So. Deer leg was disposed of. Bedroom was boiled, vacuumed, disinfected, wiped down with Lysol wipes, boiled and disinfected again. And for the rest of the night whenever there was a lull in conversation or activity, Hublet and I would just look over at each other and calmly declare, "Deer leg." Or, if we were a bit more icked out, "DEER. LEG."

Stupid dog.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:03 AM | Comments (14)

November 29, 2004

Ack! I Have Scrolled Off the Page!

Just a nice way of letting you know that this post is pure filler, people, as I am still in the throes of post-Thanksgiving What the Hell am I Doing I Haven't Shopped or Decorated and Christmas is a Scant 27 Days Away AAAAAAHHHHHHH! trauma.

Yes, I am feeling inadequate. I shall therefore go to Target on my lunch hour, spend money, and feel somewhat accomplished.

Feh. My Christmas Spirit seems somewhat tardy this year.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:33 AM | Comments (2)

November 18, 2004

A Very Long Day in the Life

It is currently 8:55 a.m. here in lovely Raleigh.

I have been awake for almost five hours, and the adrenaline surge is beginning to wear off. So let me catch you up on my life, starting at about 7:00 p.m. last night.

7:00 p.m. - Boy's bathtime. Boy is hyper. Boy is running. Boy is yelling about the daddy monster! I go forth and start the bath.

7:05 p.m. - Chase Boy. Catch Boy. Divest Boy of clothing as we run through four different rooms.

7:08 p.m. - Boy decides he needs to go potty before bathing. Can only reach potty by hopping from towel to clothing to potty, because he doesn't want to fall into the dreaded "Mud Pips." The Mud Pips in question are prominently featured, smelly geographical hazards in two episodes of The Backyardigans, The Boy's new favorite show.

7:12 p.m. - Boy finishes, flees.

7:13 p.m. - Trick Boy into bathtub by telling him that the pinchy bugs will get him unless he's in the tub. Running and laughing ensues.

7:15 p.m. - Boy in (now tepid) tub.

7:20 p.m. - Boy is clean and dry and still naked. He runs to door of bathroom, pauses, arms akimbo, and announces, "I am Nekkid Boy! Surge of the clothed!"
I correct him, "That's SCOURGE, sweetie." Boy runs off.

7:25 p.m. - Boy is in pjs watching TiVo'd Backyardigans and drinking milk.

7:30 p.m. - I go to run three miles.

8:15 p.m. - Boy is being truculent with Hublet. I decide to check email.

8:30 p.m. - More truculence.

8:35 - 9:40 p.m. - Parenting skills severely tested.

10:00 p.m. - I finally get to clean the kitchen.

10:15 p.m. - Pour glass of wine, watch Lost on TiVo.

11:40 p.m. - Bed.

4:18 a.m. - Am awakened by high-pitched buzzing in ears. Mosquito! Flail ineffectually at air in vicinity of ears.

4:20 a.m. - Hublet politely inquires about my actions. Informs me that I won't kill it that way, so stop flailing.

4:21 - 4:40 a.m. - Remain awake, listening for mosqito's return. Obsess about every horrible thing that could possibly occur in my life, ever.

4:41 a.m. - Hublet mutters, "Dammit! Now it's in MY ear!"

5:00 a.m. - Boy yells, "Mommy! Daddy! I need to come in your room!" Climbs into bed and takes 95% of space, an impressive feat for someone weighing only 29 pounds.

5:15 a.m. - Cat climbs on chest, says, "Mew." which translates into "I know you're awake, now make with the tuna so I can go out and kill something before you leave for work."

5:16 a.m - Ignore cat.

5:20 a.m. - Hublet gets up to deal with cat. I realize I have to pee, but refuse to leave the bed because I still have THIRTY MINUTES BEFORE THE ALARM GOES OFF, DAMMIT.

5:30 a.m. - Check clock, shift position to ease bladder pressure.

5:40 a.m. - Repeat.

5:50 a.m. - Turn off alarm, sigh deeply, prepare to greet the stupid day.

6:15 a.m. - Attempt to awaken Boy.

6:50 a.m. - Leave house fifteen minutes behind schedule due to grumpy sleep deprived Boy.

7:00 a.m. - Traffic jam.

7:30 a.m. - Drop off Boy at daycare. He's looking a lot more alert and chipper, at least.

7:45 a.m. - Realize, as I park in Egypt because I was fifteen minutes too late to get the good parking, that I left both my jacket and my umbrella at home. This is bad, because it's raining and chilly.

7:50 a.m. - Walk into work. Turn on space heater to dry off. Wish that Starbucks had a delivery service.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:20 AM | Comments (7)

November 12, 2004

Movies, Movies Everywhere

And I don't know what to see. We've had a running tradition for the past few years about holiday movie viewings: Hublet, Beloved Uncle and I have trekked cineplex-ward on the Friday after Thanksgiving to view a flick ever since The Boy's arrival has made moviegoing more of a tactical undertaking, and then Hublet and I have done the Guilt-Ridden-Parent Movie Day after Christmas, wherein we drop The Boy at the daycare one day during Christmas break and do things like go out to eat, see a movie, and last year's favorite--buy a car.

For the past few years, our choices have been simple: Harry Potter, Master and Commander, and Lord of the Rings. But this year? Yeesh. What to see?

There's the Lemony Snicket movie, which I'd normally be chomping at the bit to see, but Jim Carrey just puts me off my feed. And yes, I know that he's probably well-suited to be an over-the-top villain, but the hook--that he's at least 47 characters in one movie!!!!--worries me in the same way that Mike Myers in a fluffy cat suit worried me. And with good reason. This movie needs to NOT be about the guy in the prosthetic face; it needs to be about the characters in the story. Dammit.

The Incredibles: I HEART Pixar. Hublet, not so much. He's voting for Jim Carrey over fantabulous pixels. Hmmmmm. Also, the film is PG, which means The Boy is ineligible for viewing. So McDonalds? Why are you marketing it to the Happy Meal set, a great number of whom are under the PG age range? Seriously, I was all set to get the next Aladdin character, from a movie that The Boy could watch, and now we've got a tiny Mr. Incredible with Punchy-Punchy action! Guess I'll just have to go see it and figure out the objectionable bits for myself, darn the luck.

The Polar Express: I love the book. We're actually doing a Polar Express train ride in Dillsboro this December. But a computer rendered Tom Hanks--again, in the He Plays Lots Of Characters--WooHoo! mold (Hollywood, what the HELL is your problem?)--kinda creeps me out in the previews. I mean, he looks like a model for Kids, This Is A Pedophile 101. I'm hoping that's just me, but still--ICK.

Bridget Jones II: Read this review. Cry. Move on, secure in the knowledge that there's always Netflix.

After the Sunset: Yeah, I'll see that After You Kill Me and Prop My Corpse Up in the Theatre. Umm, No.

Seed of Chucky: Netflix? After all, Brad Dourif does his voice. I HEART Brad Dourif. Because I am a freak.

National Treasure: Dear God. No.

Elektra: Feral Girl informs me it has Goran Vijkni;ksdojfsoidjfsldg from ER. Next to The God of All Male Perfection (Hugh Jackman), Goran is a pretty. And I like Jennifer Garner. Hublet will be a big fat NO on this one, though. Perhaps I shall attend with Feral Girl and Company...

Ray: Hear it's great, don't care.

The Grudge: Saw The Ring. I'm just saying NO to round-eye remakes of Japanese horror flicks from now on. Seriously.

Saw: Netflix.

Alfie: Jude Law is just too mannequin-like for me.

Shall We Dance: No, we shall not. Nor shall we give JLo Any. More. Money. Ever.

Shark Tale: Let's see...Finding Ne-No.

Friday Night Lights: Hublet wants to see it. Perhaps I shall indulge him, and try to get past Manorexic Billy Bob.

Ladder 49: No. Because Joaquin Phoenix as Leading Man Just. Doesn't. Work.

Team America: Want to see it! Still! Looking like a Netflixer, though.

Sigh. Suggestions are welcome. My holiday tastes tend toward epic drama with testosterone, or fantasy.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:47 AM | Comments (11)

November 10, 2004

Kung-fu Grip

We interrupt the political turmoil to bring you this important announcement about:


Specifically, control-top pantyhose. More specifically, Victoria's Secret Control and Shaping Pantyhose; or, as I like to refer to them--the butt lifters of DOOM!

For those of you who are not interested in a prolonged discussion of the back end of the female anatomy and its susceptibility to being molded by spandex, please leave now.

Okay, are we alone? Good. I, like most women, keep a pair of control top pantyhose on hand for those occasions when I don't want the look of a form-fitting outfit to be ruined by anatomical imperfections. I don't wear them all the time because, hey, pantyhose suck, but they are sometimes necessary. So, I was in my local VS and decided that since winter was nigh and I had ripped my last pair of hose I'd grab a new one. This being Victoria's Secret there were at least 47 varieties of lifting, shaping, squashing, molding and flattening pantyhose available, and I ended up randomly choosing one based on the picture on the outside. Pantyhose objective achieved. There was much rejoicing. Huzzah.

I didn't realize that these were not your run-of-the-mill tummy tucking and thigh smoothing hose until I broke them out on Sunday. As I struggled mightily to get the hose ON my body without poking a fingernail through them, I realized that something was amiss--there was a strangely tight-feeling band located across my butt. I checked myself in the mirror and noted a two inch wide spandex band running across the back of the pantyhose. What strange device was this? From its current location, it was producing a double-butt effect that was bizarre, to say the least. Butt to the top, butt to the bottom, line of elastic bisecting the two: red butt, blue butt, in a way. Then I realized the spandexical elastical doohickey was meant to reside UNDER the cheekal area, in order to lift and separate. Oh goodie. Now I could have Shelf Booty! With kung fu grip! After another five minutes of struggling, realigning and tucking, everything was in its proper place and I was thanking the deodorant gods that I had chosen the Heavy Duty variety of Secret Solid.

I cannot do justice to the feeling of wearing butt-lift pantyhose except to say that it is roughly akin to walking around with someone constantly pinching your ass. The accompanying feeling of paranoia is also refreshing, as is the constant mental focus on the State of The Ass. And let's not even talk about bathroom visits and their aftermath.

Look, Victoria's Secret, if I want my booty lifted I'll do Pilates. And while we're at it, can we talk about why pantyhose aren't ever made for shortwaisted women (like me)? The ability to tuck the top of my hose into my bra is not one I'm celebrating. Sigh. Back to long skirts and knee-highs it is.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:18 AM | Comments (8)

November 09, 2004

Calling All English Majors

You know who you are, and if, like me, you married another English major, you probably have lots of books lying around that you keep meaning to tote to the used book store or donate to...well, SOMEBODY.

Here's your chance to help some folks out and clean off your bookshelves:

Books for Soldiers

A worthy cause, and definitely an easy one for the lit-nerds amongst us to help out with! Not that anyone around here is a nerd, of course.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 12:20 PM | Comments (1)

November 04, 2004


At about 4 a.m. I was awakened thus:


Cue nudging of Hublet to save Boy from Giant Grasshopper of Doom, and resume sleeping.

This morning The Boy had to inspect his bed for the Giant Grasshopper. Cue explanation of the difference between dreaming and reality, and the odd feeling you get when you aren't sure which is which.

Funny, but this whole week has seemed that way. I think I must have been expending a lot of mental energy bracing for drawn-out political upheaval, and when it didn't happen I was left feeling strangely disjointed and out of sync. Weird.

Fortunately, there is no shortage of drawn out political upheaval on the Web. Yay.

Just finished reading Saints and Villains, about Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I didn't mean to read it, just accidentally picked it up and got sucked in--it's like a black hole (except for the getting crushed by gravitational forces thing), once you cross the event horizon there's no going back. I have to say it's one of the best historical novels I've ever read. Good, good book. And frankly the perfect thing to read during an election season full of rhetoric about war and fascism and faith.

Again, last night's Lost was a good 'un. Who bopped Sayid? I've missed having a show to look forward to. Yay, Lost!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:50 AM | Comments (3)

November 02, 2004

Civic Duty

Okay, so it's 10:00 a.m. and I'm just arriving at work. Normally, I get in at 7:30. What, you may ask, makes today so different?

Well, I had to vote, and in order to vote, I had to do it first thing in the morning, due to toddler transportation logistics. And the toddler in question had to accompany me. So off we went to the polling place, conveniently located one mile from my home, at 6:45 a.m.

The line, it was long. REALLY long. Fortunately, I had brought coffee and a LeapPad. And at first, it seemed as though the fog was going to burn off and it was going to be a lovely sunny day.

But I was wrong. About so many, many things. Would you like a list? Sure you would. Here, then, is Big Arm Woman's Voting Adventure, 2004.

  • Arrive at polling place.
  • Park approximately 1/2 mile from polling place, which means I probably just should have walked the whole way, but oh well.
  • Take place in line.
  • Wait.
  • Drink coffee.
  • Make small talk with Yankee transplant in line behind me.
  • Distract Boy with LeapPad.
  • Spill coffee on shirt.
  • Also spill coffee on Boy's head.
  • More small talk, while trying to hide embarrassing coffee stains on left breast and offspring's blonde head.
  • Distract Boy with game of I Spy.
  • Distract Boy with antihill.
  • Distract Boy with trees, car, stick, rock, mud.
  • Put Boy on shoulders, which means forcing man behind me in line to hold coffee and LeapPad.
  • Finally reach paved area in front of fire station.
  • Wonder where the sun has gone. Feel hair swelling and frizzing due to the misty fog that has just arrived.
  • Listen with dismay as man exiting polling place helpfully informs us that it's 45 minutes from that spot.
  • Repeat distraction litany, finally locating Percy the Steam Engine in depths of purse.
  • Realize I'm in wrong alphabet line. Dammit. Stay there anyway.
  • 5 minutes from door, hear plaintive, "I haveta go potty, mommy!" Beg Boy to just hold on.
  • Explain that I'm a moron to woman checking us in, switch lines. People take one look at disheveled, coffee stained pack mule of a mommy and her equally coffee stained toddler who is grabbing his crotch and hopping, and let me cut to the front of the line.
  • Vote, all the while keeping one eye on hopping Boy. Hope that I actually marked the ballot correctly.
  • Collar random fireman, demand potty.
  • Use potty. Boy fails to hold wee-wee down in the proper position, and pees all over his pants.
  • Run half mile to car with soggy, pee-stained Boy.
  • Return home. Change Boy. Try to comb hair. Give up.
  • Notice that cat has puked on Boy's bed. Leave house without doing anything about it.
  • Drop off Boy, get to work.

Now to prepare for the recounts...

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:47 AM | Comments (8)

November 01, 2004

Notes from Halloween

Happy Monday post-Halloween weekend thingy!

Did you know that Richard Burr is the devil and that he will eat your children and give you cancer if you vote for him? Or that Erskine Bowles is a close, personal, pantywaisted Friend Of Bill who will take all your money and set it on fire? Neither did I until this weekend, when a bunch of extremely bitter sounding men and women called my answering machine (we stopped actually, you know, answering the phone ourselves years ago--thanks, telemarketers!) to tell me so. Ahh, the benefits of having a big fat "Unaffiliated" after your name on the voter registration record...

Insert rant about "who the hell does this crap convince, anyway," followed by rant concerning the idiocy of the "undecided voter" who manages to remain "undecided" until when, exactly? Thursday of this week? Dear God, make the crazy people stop.

Is there a "I hate you all and will kill people who annoy me in an indiscriminate fashion" candidate? 'Cause if so, THAT'S who I'm voting for, and then I'm getting the hell out of his or her way for four years or so.

And what does this have to do with Halloween, you ask? Well, nothing except to say that I really, REALLY needed a fun, horror-filled weekend to distract me from the non-fun, horror-filled election crap.

And I had one! There was pumpkin carving, trick-or-treating, candy eating, and horror flick viewing (I finally Netflixed The Ring, and my take is that the director Really, Really, likes those Tool videos on MTV2). So.

Tonight I shall watch Darkness Falls, because hey! Anya! And tomorrow I shall screw up my courage and brave the polls with a three-year-old in tow. Because I'm thinking we haven't even scratched the surface of scary this year.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:34 AM | Comments (3)

October 29, 2004


Things and stuff, people. I'm so mentally frazzled I can only respond to people as if I were Frankenstein's monster:

Halloween GOOOOOD!
FIRE GOOOOD! Well, if you're talking about The Fire, anyway. Otherwise, you know, FIRE BAAAAD!

Gah. Have a good Halloween!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 03:52 PM | Comments (1)

October 28, 2004

End of Days

Perusing Drudge lately is like reading headlines from the apocalypse--and I'm not referring to his usual hyperbolic, overwrought style, but to the actual content he's linking to.

Behold the four horsemen of the Drudge-alypse!

Famine! (Work with me here, folks--she's awfully skinny...)

And their lesser-known brethren:
Cosmic Upheaval!
Dogs and cats living together!

Dude. All we need now is a mass Jesus Sponsored Beam-Up, and it's all over but the crying.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:35 AM | Comments (2)

October 27, 2004

Election Observation

There has never been a more perfectly named person than Erskine Bowles. He looks EXACTLY the way one would expect an Erskine to look. I imagine his playground days were dark, indeed.

This should serve as a cautionary tale to mothers everywhere, btw. You may also want to avoid the name "Beulah" for a girl. Just take a moment to picture a "Beulah" in your head, and then move on. Names have power, people. Don't misuse it.

I now return to my default pre-election position of "LALALALA I CAN'T HEAR YOU!!!" Political discussion will resume during the post-election flood of freaking lawsuits.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:40 AM | Comments (5)

October 24, 2004

Attack of the Gasoline Powered Neighbors of DOOOOOOMMMMM!

When I was a child, there was an unspoken rule amongst the gentle inhabitants of WASP-y suburbia, Southern Chapter: No Mowing On Sunday. There was a little known corollary to that rule, governing the use of lawn mowers prior to 10 a.m. on Saturday mornings, but folks were apt to cut you a tad more slack if you fired up the ol' John Deere at 9:30 or so, particularly in the heat of summer. The No-Mow Sunday Rule, however, was unbreakable. You could rake, plant, seed, clip hedges, or putter all you wanted, but firing up the noisemaking lawn thingamajigs on God's (and in the Fall, the NFL's) day was seriously verboten. And there were consequences for the occasional scofflaw, as well: shunning at the block party! Pointed comments about your clover to fescue ratio! Anonymous lawn service cards left in your mailbox! So the No-Mow covenant was faithfully kept, and we lived and prospered in peace.

I never realized how lucky I was to live in a card-carrying No-Mow community until I moved to the city, and was exposed to heathens who had apparently never heard of the Sacred Sunday No-Mow, or worse, didn't care! At first I was merely politely shocked in the time-honored Southern tradition, and would purse my lips in a moue of disapproval at the tractor jockeys rattling by. Hublet and I soon moved out of the city, however, and I forgot my No-Mow trauma.

Then I had a child. A child whose Sunday siesta (from 1 - 3 p.m.) was a blessed, blessed respite for the entire family. I began to love Sunday afternoons with a passionate intensity formerly reserved for A-Team re-runs and the latest Doom release. As we lived in a quiet suburban development, our Sunday naps and the lazy afternoons following them were a thing of beauty.

And then, the barbarians arrived. First it was one guy who lived up the street a ways, so the faraway droning of the mower wasn't so bad--in fact, it was a nice background white noise that was nice for sleeping. In hindsight, I should have put the kibosh on the fellow at once, because the lack of consequences for this Sunday Mower emboldened others to follow suit. Soon there were leaf blowers, riding mowers, push mowers, power washers, tillers, chainsaws and more gasoline-powered, muffler-challenged Home Depot specials than you could shake a stick at roaring into my Sunday nap. And more importantly, into my DOG'S Sunday nap. See, The Boy can sleep through armageddon. The dog, however, is a high-strung, half-blind light sleeper with the World's Most Annoying (and Frequent) Bark.

Still, I soldiered on, putting the dog in her kennel and a pillow over my head. It wasn't perfect, but it was okay. Until today, when at approximately 2:37 p.m. I was awakened by the following:


Repeated every three minutes for half an hour. I finally gave in to the inevitable and got out of bed to see what the hell was going on, and about two minutes later a helmeted teenager on the World's Stupidest Looking Miniature Motorbike came zipping up the road, arms and knees akimbo. It looked like he was riding an electric blue roller skate suppository. Naturally, his very existence sent the Hell Mutt into a barking frenzy, and our nap time was over.

I carefully marked the driveway he pulled into when he finally ran out of gas (or got the bike lodged completely in his nether regions--both possiblilites being equally likely), and noted that he waved to his father, who was happily (and loudly) blowing pine needles around the lawn. Tomorrow I shall collect business cards from every lawn service within a 50 mile radius. And possibly a few business cards from the local bike (non-motorized) shops as well. And if that doesn't work, the block party is being held weekend after next. Woe betide the No-Mow Lawbreakers! The nappers shall inherit the block!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:09 PM | Comments (5)

October 22, 2004

Friday's Big Ol' Glob of Links

So work has exploded, and I'm stressed. Here are some fun things for you to read (readers Pete and Nancy--thanks for doing all my work for me!)

First, via Twisted Spinster, real, honest to God script pitches. Laugh! Cry! Understand why there's NEVER ANYTHING GOOD ON!

Next up, the (by now older news because I am slow and pathetic) Guardian Update! Couple of comments:

  • Fellow Americans, if you're going to vent your spleen to a newspaper, please do it coherently, because DUH--PRINT MEDIUM, and if not, please stop being on my side, because you're making my side look really, really stupid.

  • I find it amazing that The Guardian has managed to achieve the delicate balance between self-congratulatory verbal masturbation and doe-eyed "innocence"--(what? We had no idea people would take our lil' ol' idea seriously! Tee-hee!) without bursting into flame. Apparently, it is possible to fake humility in a completely supercilious, haughty, and condescending manner without getting busted by the Hypocrite Police. You learn something new every day.

Finally (via Pete), a take on THK's latest. My short reaction to that was this: "Oh, like we don't have every women's magazine in the country fanning the flames between the "working" and "stay-at-home" moms under the guise of "helping us with our choices," which is just code for "crippling us with self-doubt no matter which course we choose." Thanks for helping!"

Frankly, I think the most important thing I learned from the whole kerfuffle was "don't pay attention to heiresses." Ever. Seriously people, haven't we learned ANYTHING from Paris Hilton?

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:59 PM | Comments (6)

October 19, 2004

Thanks, Duran Duran, for Shining the Harsh Light of Reality on My Crow's Feet

I am old. I had successfully avoided confronting this harsh reality until last weekend, when I managed to pull a groin muscle by innocently frolicking in the surf.

And the unfortunate groin pull alone wouldn't have been enough to rip the veil of "no, really, I'm still young" from my eyes, but then I was listening to Bowling For Soup's latest single and it dawned on me that I totally got Every. Single. Reference. in the song, and that the main character in the song has disdainful high school kids, and my "youth confidence quotient" declined yet again.

The final nails in my coffin of denial were, in order, 1) My knees, dammit, and 2) Photos of Duran Duran on their latest promotional tour. The mighty have fallen, people. I was a hardcore Durannie (a Le Bon fan, thanks), and my friends and I parceled the D-squared hunks out amongst ourselves, leaving only poor Andy Taylor (the least photogenically gifted band member) bereft of our teenaged attentions. And now, well, the NERVE of them, aging like that! Don't get me wrong, they do still look good, but, but...they AGED! And now they look OLD! Which means that I, don't make me say it!

Old. Old, old, old.


Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:41 AM | Comments (13)

October 18, 2004

I'm Baaaack! Dammit.

I've had just enough vacation to completely resent having to come back to work. Plus, the next two days are meeting hell, as TPTB have discovered that a four year lag between planning and implementation tends to have a deleterious effect on outcomes. Somehow, this will be all my fault. Sometimes I wonder if working part time at a bookstore again might not be preferable to this crap...then I remember what that was like and get over it.

Brief notes from the weekend: Aquarium was fun. Shopping was fun. There was ocean frolicking, which has resulted in a sore foot and pulled inner thigh muscle--yes, I am officially Too Old to Frolic. Didn't get to see a movie, as we wasted hours of our lives watching the Red Sox SUCK. Side note: There is no scarier image than that of Stephen King yelling for the Sox. Seriously. Eeek.

On a more serious note, The Fire has a couple of pieces on the "climate of racial tolerance" prevalent at both Catholic University and UMass Amherst. Free speech isn't just the speech you like, guys. Seems like we keep on saying that, doesn't it?

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 12:52 PM | Comments (1)

October 14, 2004

Beachy. Just Beachy.

The fam is heading Beachward for a long weekend, and I couldn't be happier! There will be sand, and surf, and a trip to the Ripley's Aquarium to pet the stingrays, and dinner and a movie for me and the Hublet whilst The Boy hangs with the grandfolk.

Also, there will be sports. I say this as the spouse of a man who had two televisions on simultaneously in the den so that he wouldn't have to, you know, lose two seconds viewing of one game to check the score on the other. So yeah. Sports.

I am hoping to talk Hublet into seeing Team America: World Police, because I saw the little "making of" special last night and Trey Parker and Matt Stone just seemed so gleeful about blowing up puppets who looked like actors that I now want to partake of the puppet carnage. Plus--PUPPETS! Wah! And Kim Jong Il sounds just like Cartman! And I could really use a break from seriousness about now. So I'm twelve. Sue me.

Last night's Lost episode was most excellent as well, so I am in a properly pleased frame of mind for my mini-break. I do enjoy a series that can surprise me. And I'm looking very forward to the Farscape mini-series on Sunday as well.

Y'all have a good weekend.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:42 PM | Comments (3)

October 05, 2004

Diva Watch 2004

Okay, so first he was a blur of tracksuited fury in Taiwan, and now he's dissing Madonna?

Elton, it's called Xanax. Pronounced ZA-NAX. Take a handful and chill out, man--you're spending your Diva capital at an alarming rate, and I'd hate to see you suffer from Diva Burnout.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:21 AM | Comments (1)

The Lamest of the Lame

That would be me last night, as I stayed up until midnight to watch the finale of the World Series of Poker. Hey, where are you going? Yeah, I see you, backing slowly away with your hands spread out in front of you. Just knock it off. It's not like that, really! I mean, let me explain...

See, I tuned in with three players left: an obnoxious jerky guy, and a brother and a sister at the table, playing each other for a cool two million. Sibling rivalry at its finest. The sister took the brother down with a pair of sixes, and then there were two: the sister (named Annie) and the obnoxious jerk (whose name I have blocked from my memory) who was extremely given to jumping up from the table and pacing around "theatrically," because he suffered from the delusion that all his pacing and muttering and "barbed witty commentary" would psych out his opponent. Well, it didn't. And may I add that the announcers on the World Series of Poker are refreshingly snarky and disdainful? 'Cause they are. It's like pro wrestling commentary, and they didn't have a problem with letting the audience know exactly what they thought of Ramblin' Guy. Soooo, now I was all emotionally invested in the poker game, and muttering things like "C'mon, King! Gimme a face card!" and "Don't fold!" under my breath, and mocking Ramblin' Guy along with the announcers, and then Annie went all in with a pair of nines and she won! Ramblin' Guy went stalking off down the hall, muttering about how he had her but he didn't do thus and so on some particular hand--and he was still wrong, because Annie only showed him her low card on that hand to psych him out and it worked so IN YOUR FACE, RAMBLIN' GUY! Wooo!

Yes, I know. I am lame.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:11 AM | Comments (2)

October 04, 2004

Monday Post

Shaun of the Dead. Hee! Double Hee! Triple Hee with lots of entrails and the first onscreen representation of a woman actually ripping her boyfriend's leg off and beating the undead with it I've ever seen! And if that sounds odd, well, it's a British movie. There, that explains everything, doesn't it? Best quote, "Well, they were a bit bitey..."

I also watched Trekkies, via Netflix. Makes me want to attend another Trek convention--or go to StarBase Dental for my next cleaning. I enjoyed the way the actors are all so blase' about their encounters with the more "hardcore" fans out there. And Denise Crosby and Brent Spiner talking about the erotic art featuring Tasha and Data that fans have sent them--hilarious. The only drawback is that I've seen too many Chris Guest mockumentaries and kept flashing on Guffman and Best in Show, only to be reminded that the folks in Trekkies are REAL. Mostly harmless, though. So far.

All in all, a relaxing weekend. The Boy misses us not a whit, given his demeanor on the phone, although I think mom and dad are tiring quickly. Yesterday--the park! Today--the fair! Tomorrow--load the kid into the car and drive like bats out of hell to Raleigh!

I should be more excited about that, I think.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:52 AM | Comments (3)

October 01, 2004

Turning Mommy Off

My mom and dad have OnStar in their deluxe Buick retirement-mobile. I like calling them on the OnStar, because I fancy the idea of being the daughterly Voice Of Doom reverberating through the plush interior.

So I gave them a ring on the OnStar this morning, partly because of the VOD thing and partly because I figured The Boy would get a kick out of Mommy talking to him from space. And he did for a little while, until it became too difficult for him to hear his Toot Toot Chugga Chugga CD over the din of voices, and I heard the plaintive cry from the backseat, "Turn Mommy Off!"

Well okay then, kiddo. Believe it or not, I know exactly how you feel. It's a month until the election, and I'm getting blog fatigue, colleague fatigue, news fatigue, job fatigue--just pick something, and I can cite you numerous examples of how very tired I am of it. Seriously, it is not news to me that Kerry's orange, that Bush isn't exactly Captain Glib, that omigod people are trying to blow us up, or that the mainstream media is not exactly a Boy Scout. I am no longer amazed that my boss' intellect is roughly equivalent to that of a beanbag with hair, and that wealth does not correlate to smarts. I am beyond done with the hipper-than-thou smirkfest emanating from the entertainment industry and cannot even muster slight irritation at the sweeping condescension cum ignorance displayed by celebrities who desperately need to get out more. Like Neville in the immortal Gashlycrumb Tinies, I have succumbed to ennui.

I was even too ennui-filled to give this guy's inexplicably typo-ridden rage against the consumer culture and what it's done to the humanities a response. I got halfway through a response and thought, "Nope. No energy. I've heard it all before, the only thing different is what's to blame."

I'm fresh outta snark, fresh outta wit, and fresh outta steam--can't even come up with any suitably lame jokes about the End of Days, hurricanes, volcanos, earthquakes and Karl Rove. It's a sad day for the blog indeed.

And so I am going to follow The Boy's sage advice and Turn Mommy Off for the weekend. Hopefully a romantic zombie comedy and a date night will inspire me to return to form on Monday, full of piss and vinegar.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:25 AM | Comments (3)

September 30, 2004

Anniversaries HO!

Well, today marks two years of blogging. Umm, insert your own treacly drivel about self-actualization, soul searching, freeing your inner voice and sticking it to the man here. Me, I'm more about the fun, the folks I've "met" through blogging (or feel like I've met even if we haven't really corresponded all that often and I'll stop now because that's starting to feel just a tad stalkerish and, well, maybe I ought to get out more...), and the lower blood pressure that venting almost daily has given me. So.....go me!

My wedding anniversary is also drawing nigh, and Hublet and I will be celebrating with a child free weekend, thanks to my mom and dad. Have fun dragging Captain Truculent through the fair, folks! Our actual anniversary is October 5th. I think. Actually, I had to look at the cover of our wedding photo album to be sure of that--but I'm better than Hublet, who thought it was the 15th. Although the only reason I got it closer than he did is because we got married immediately after my Maw-Maw's birthday, which was October 4th, so I have an unfair advantage. ANYWAY, it's been eight years of marriage and eleven of "togetherness," and we're going to have a fun-filled weekend encompassing:

  • Shaun of the Dead

  • NC State vs Wake Forest (guy time for Hublet--I shall be at home, reclining in the La-Z-Boy with SoCom II, Cheez-Its and beer)

  • Dinner out at an intimate Italian restaurant, carbs be damned!

  • Relaxing conversation at a local wine bar.

  • Possible purchase of a storage shed and new screen doors.

So the last one isn't that romantic--sue me. I can't even remember my own anniversary, and I'm not what you would call a soppy sentimentalist. But for those of you out there who are a bit mushily inclined, I offer this strange but true story of Hublet's and my first meeting:

Hublet and I were both selected as Teaching Assistants for the MA program. After our first big orientation meeting the whole TA group was taken upstairs to get "cube assignments," meet the second year TAs, and get our payroll paperwork filled out. As I was walking from my cube to where I was told the Human Resources person was, I ran into a tall, thin, kinda quiet guy who stuck out his hand and introduced himself. I shook his hand, and a quiet, matter-of-fact voice in my head said "You'll marry him." Which was odd, because I'd never laid eyes on him before and I was happily dating someone else at the time. But four years later, marry him I did. Make of that what you will. And please refrain from the obvious "voices in your head" jokes, mmmmmkay?

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:13 AM | Comments (7)

September 28, 2004

Sometimes, It's Just Too Easy

As Lance said when sending me this article, "what is there to say, really?"

Well, a couple of salty phrases involving the high arts community, PT Barnum, and the old proverb about fools, their money, and parting, but this is a family-oriented article about a 4 year old girl, so I'll refrain.

Money quote #1:

In the beginning, her parents said, people bought her work without knowing her age. Then customers bought it because of her age. Some say she is a prodigy. Some say she is just

And some people are reminded of the artsy family in Beetlejuice, except that there will be no Harry Belafonte-themed payoff for the audience...

Money quote #2:

Mr. Brunelli is a painter whose photorealistic works are displayed in SoHo. He was drawn to Marla's work. He and his friend stared at it like children staring at clouds, seeing flamenco dancers and their vivid movements on the canvas.

Then the friend told him the artist was a toddler.

Hee. More power to Marla and her folks. And read the whole article--I have a feeling the reporter is in on the joke...

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:14 AM | Comments (4)

September 23, 2004

Thursday Roundup

Watched Lost last night and enjoyed it. A good premise and setup, although there is a part of me that clenches in dread at the whole "big scary unseen monster thing" aspect of the show, because that is waaaay too easy to screw up. Typically what happens with "unseen evil monster" shows is either the whole thing turns into the Island of Dr. Moreau with the attendant cheese factor, or you run the risk of what I like to call IT syndrome, in which the final monster (a spider with flashlight eyes? The HELL, Stephen King!) is a big letdown. But I will be watching next week, because the suspense was well done, the character dynamics look intriguing, and not at all just because there's a Hobbit on the island...

And here, submitted for your amusement: When Divas Attack! Do not taunt happy fun tracksuit man!

Also, Shaun of the Dead? Must. Go. See. It. I hope it is every bit as goofy and stupid as it looks.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:03 AM | Comments (6)

September 22, 2004

Not That She's Bitter

The most interesting thing about Naomi Wolf, according to Naomi Wolf, is Naomi Wolf. The original "It's All About Me" feminist is back with her latest treatise on feminism and the presidential race.

Now I will say this, a lot of her ideas about carefully cultivating the images of the women around the candidate are interesting and probably true. Unfortunately and as usual, she gets a bit out of hand with stuff like this:

The charges are sticking because of Teresa Heinz Kerry. Let’s start with “Heinz.” By retaining her dead husband’s name—there is no genteel way to put this—she is publicly, subliminally cuckolding Kerry with the power of another man—a dead Republican man, at that. Add to that the fact that her first husband was (as she is herself now) vastly more wealthy than her second husband. Throw into all of this her penchant for black, a color that no woman wears in the heartland, and you have a recipe for just what Kerry is struggling with now: charges of elitism, unstable family relationships, and an unmanned candidate.

Umm, no. Teresa's penchant for black and a double surname aren't turning middle moms against her--it's more that you get the impression that she REALLY, REALLY doesn't want to be doing all that campaign crap to begin with. And as far as I'm concerned, if she doesn't want to do it, she shouldn't have to. I'm a middle-American mom, albeit a pretty well educated one, and I don't sit around parsing the hidden meaning of faux cuckolding via a retained surname on the part of a presidential candidate's wife. Dear God. And I'd be fine with a candidate's wife who eschewed the process entirely. But then maybe I'm just a weirdo. Or a post-feminist. Pick one.

Anyway, one gets the sense as the article reaches its somewhat hysterical conclusion (Beware the Stepford Republicans! They are wily and only lie! The minute they are elected the world will end in a fiery cataclysm that incidentally follows all of the plot points of Margaret Atwood's Handmaid's Tale!) that Ms. Wolf is still somewhat less peeved at the Republican platform than she is that American women haven't listened to her. Because she, Naomi Wolf, is the One True Way.

In Wolf-land, that is reason enough to lament. Well, that and the fact that even after all these years, "modern women maddeningly long for men who are tender in private but authoritative in public." Damn stupid women.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:15 AM | Comments (9)

September 14, 2004

I Knew It!

I have long suspected, but never been able to prove, that Barbara Walters was actually a cyborg--a cyborg with super-special mind rays that cause human tear ducts to overflow.

But now, I have proof! And from the horse's mouth, so to speak:

"My claim to fame, the reason for my success, is that I do not perspire and I rarely have to go to the bathroom."

She must be a cyborg! Either that or a reptile/insect hybid...

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:41 AM | Comments (6)

September 13, 2004

You Say it's your Birthday

Well it's my birthday too, yeah! So no posting. Just playing with my spanky new iPod (Hublet came through big time!), cruising some blogs, and letting some posting ideas percolate in the sugar-addled brain pan.

Hope your Monday is a good 'un! And no, I won't be sharing my age. Suffice it to say I'm somewhere between the Olsen Twins and Methuselah.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 12:49 PM | Comments (5)

September 10, 2004

Um, Wow.

I'm not usually one of the "Blogging is the wave of the future/Die, old media, Die!/We totally Roxxorz" types, but I've gotta admit that yesterday's "Is it real or is it Memorex" forgery investigation that made the leap from blogs to the mainstream in under 12 hours by utilizing actual verifiable research as opposed to hearsay and innuendo was an amazing thing to behold.

Of course, the internet still being the internet, we will follow-up this fairly amazing bit of lay reportage with the inevitable Duelling Conspiracy Theories: Who was behind the forgery? Rove? The DNC? The Clintons, in an attempt to assure Kerry's loss and secure Hillary's nomination for '08?

And no, not kidding on the last bit--I've read all three theories put forward non-ironically in various comment sections. That's why I love the can snatch crazy from the jaws of sane every single time.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:49 AM | Comments (8)

September 08, 2004

The Things I Do For You

Yeah, you. I have just spared you at least a month of interminable heat, because I'm wonderful like that. No idea what I'm talking about? Read on and be edified in the ways of Fall.

Hublet: You know, the days are starting to be a bit less oppressively miserable.

Me: Don't.

Hublet: What? I was just making a comment.

Me: No you weren't. You were preparing a premature declaration of Fall, and I've already warned you about that.

Hublet: I don't just go around declaring Fall willy-nilly, you know. And besides, I only did that once.

Me: You've done it at least twice in consecutive years, and both times with disastrous results, so don't even think about it, is all I'm saying.

Hublet: I have no idea what you're talking about.

Me: Ha! You know good and well what I'm talking about: you sense a hint of reduced humidity, with perhaps something that MIGHT be a breeze, and you jump the gun and "declare Fall," and then we have a month of 90 degree weather in October and it's All. Your. Fault.

Hublet: It wasn't a month. More like a week and a half.

Me: Uh-huh, and you did it before our Maine vacation and it was like, a billion degrees up there and there was only one sad little tree with any fall foliage in OCTOBER, and it was All. Your. Fault.

Hublet: I refuse to shoulder the blame for Maine's lack of seasonability that year. As I recall you froze your butt off on our harbor sailing trip.

Me: Sure, because Fall had sensed that we were leaving, and was taunting us! Taunting, I say!

Hublet: You have lost your mind. And it IS less miserable outside. And look at this catalog, with the lovely autumn leaves all over it.

Me: Don't.

Hublet: It's seasonally appropriate, don't you think? For, you know, FALL?

Me: I am begging you, for the love of all that is holy, just...POSTPONE the declaration for a few weeks, okay? I really want to go suede boot shopping on my birthday, and if it's 900 degrees outside, it will totally ruin the mood. Please? For me? Pretty please?

Hublet: (long-suffering sigh)

Me: Thank you.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:53 AM | Comments (5)

September 07, 2004

Labor Day Blues

Oh, the plans I had for this Labor Day Weekend. Big plans! Exciting plans! Plans involving lavender paint, new screen doors and a spanky new storage shed! Woo! And then Hublet came back from Sampson County, rife with the Cold Spores of Doom, and all was lost. I spent the entire weekend either on the sofa, in a recliner, or outside in a lawn chair blowing my nose, hacking up a lung, and watching The Boy perfect full-speed pratfalls into the Jump-o-lene. And may I just pause to say, "All hail the fabulous Jump-o-Lene!" Because verily, it rocketh. The Boy has already figured out how to maximize his bounce (climb to the top of the Little Tikes contraption and leap into the Jump-o-Lene from On High! Woo-hoo!), and although his request for Mommy to bounce him ended in disaster (he flew backwards over the side and did a half-gainer onto his noggin) he was undaunted in his pursuit of The Perfect Boing.

And so the house is in disarray, the guest room is no more purple now than it was last Friday, and I am hopped up on DayQuil. However, I did manage to add to my List of Interesting Things To Know. Here, for your further edification and knowledge, is Stuff I Learned While on Some Pretty Good Over-the-Counter Drugs:

  • The last words of St. Thomas a' Becket were actually, "Pimp! Pimp!" directed at the knight who cleaved his skull in twain. And yes, he meant pimp as in "runner of whores," not as in "mack-daddy daddy-mack cool with 24-inch rims and gigantic sub-woofers." I really like Simon Schama's histories, if only for these fun little throwaway items.
  • From The Boy, the importance of having hands. Direct quote, "The big giant ball can't come to the Thomas party, because he doesn't have any hands! He just has to roll around, and he can't even clap." "That's kind of sad, son." "Yep. It's sad to have no hands. Cats and dogs don't have hands. Are they sad?"
  • Me and My Big Mouth, #3,472: "Mommy, I don't want to wear the seat belt." "Well, you have to, or mommy will get in trouble for not keeping you safe." "You get in trouble?" "Yep, the police will throw me in jail and you won't have a mommy anymore." "They'll throw you in jail and I won't have a mommy anymore! Hee-hee!" "You seem entirely too pleased about that, son." "Hee-hee!" "Just wear the seatbelt, okay?" "Hee-hee! They'll throw you in jail!"
  • Interesting fact about Wiggles music, #42: The syncopated rhythms of "Toot-Toot, Chugga-Chugga, Big Red Car" pound in exactly the right frequency to create the mother of all sinus headaches. Go on with your bad selves, you crazy Australians.
Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:45 AM | Comments (7)

September 03, 2004

I'll Just Have the Apple, Thanks

Um, ick.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:46 AM | Comments (1)

September 02, 2004

It Could Be Worse

Okay, so I've got a meeting from hell this morning. It could be worse--my finger could have eaten my wedding band.

Warning: Sad story and Really Gross Accompanying Photo.

Via reader Podwall, who refuses to suffer alone. As do I.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 07:52 AM | Comments (2)

September 01, 2004

Live From New York

Got a rather confused phone call last night from my pals up in NYC. Following is a transcription:

BAW: Hello? Hello?

Static, confused crowd noise, sounds of a struggle

Hyperbole: Like, ewww! Cut it out with the...HEY ASSHOLE! THAT'S MY PHONE!

More scuffling sounds, culminating in a thwocking noise and a high pitched squeal.

Irony: Hey, you there? You should be here. Hyperbole just took out some anarchist's gonads with her Blahnik slides. I've gotta admit I'm impressed.

BAW: Are you guys okay? Where are you? And why are you together?

Hyperbole: I invited Irony up here with me...I think I bit off a little more than I could chew with the whole RNC thing. Irony says I'm just overcompensating for the whole DNC protestor cage deal. And I think she might have a point. I mean, hysterical overstatement is fine when you can contain it inside a building, but we're moving into a whole new world here. I'll be right back--I think I see someone I know over there. Here, talk to Irony.

Irony: It's a moveable feast of crazy up here. And even though I'm here, it's still managing to be mostly Irony-free. Well, except for those Protest Warrior folks.

BAW: I hear you helped design the posters.

Irony: Yeah, well, I was prouder of the 4-person Communists for Kerry contingent. Unfortunately, some folks didn't get the joke. Philistines. Hey, here comes Hyperbole, and she's got some friends with her.

Hyperbole: You won't believe it! I found the twins!

BAW: They're letting Jenna and Barbara walk around outside?!

Hyperbole: No, you goober! Metaphor and Similie! They've been working the street theatre side of things! Here, Metaphor wants to say "Hi."

Metaphor: This trip is turning into a total bust.

BAW: What? But there are costumes! And interpretive dances! And, and, puppets! I would think you'd be in heaven!

Metaphor: I'd like to facilitate some of these idiots' trips TO heaven. The metaphors run the gamut from ham-handed to meaningless, with a brief stopover at "dear God this is stupid." I mean, Missile Dick Chicks? I cut short my Cabo San Lucas vacation for Missile Dick Chicks? I can't even come up with an extended metaphor that fits my own experience here! I'm completely blocked! Shut up, Similie.

BAW: What?

Metaphor: Miss Queen of Comedy over here suggested a high colonic to help with my blockage. Irony is much more practical.

BAW: How?

Metaphor: She's putting on some steel toed boots. Hey Irony? You got a pair in my size? Seriously, we literary terms need to stick together. Plus, I've got a bone to pick with the stilt-walking fake blood covered Uncle Sam over there. HEY, TALL BOY! YOUR METAPHOR IS PEDESTRIAN AND TIRED! OH YEAH? WHY DON"T YOU COME OVER HERE AND MAKE ME, YOU FREAKING HACK!

BAW: Hello? Hello?

Hyperbole: OMIGOD! Rumble in the Bronx time! Or, like, lower Manhattan! WOAH! I had no idea Metaphor took Tae Kwan Do! TIMBERRRRRRR! Hey! Did you just SPIT on my Chanel Suit? Oh, no you didn't!

BAW: Guys? Guys? Hey, are you okay? What's going on?

Hyperbole: Back off, Patchouli Girl! It's ass-kicking time!

BAW: Hello? Hello?

Line goes dead.

Keep watching this space. I have a feeling I'll be having a bail-posting fund raiser soon...


Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:55 AM | Comments (2)

August 30, 2004

Checking In

The Boy is three today, and we somehow survived his birthday party relatively unscathed. My father-in-law did manage to run into the new car while it was in the driveway, but the house remained standing, so we're still in the plus column. And so today I'm getting some much-needed R&R; at work, attempting to bring my hair down from DefCon 4 to a more manageable DefCon1 (humidity is a biatch), and regaling myself with Photos O' the Crazy from NYC. A small part of me remains amazed that the whole protest venue hasn't degenerated into a scene from Escape From New York, but the week, she is young. If I see Snake Plissken sporting a Che Guevara t-shirt, I'll be sure to let you know.

I'll have more than just a place holder for you tomorrow, I promise.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:07 PM | Comments (4)

August 24, 2004

Well Helloooooo Tuesday!

I'm tired. Tired in that shampooed-the-carpet-trimmed-the-hedges-washed-the-windows-painted-the-chairs-turned-the-house-upside-down-to-prepare-for-the-influx-of-relatives-this-Friday way that totally sucks the life out of you. Naturally, it's time to cue The Boy's New Bout of Sleepless Nights. Gah. So this morning, after an hour and a half struggle at 3 get The Boy back in his own bed, I looked at the alarm clock and decided, "Screw this. We're sleeping in." Called work, smiled smugly at Hublet as he left, and promptly had an anxiety dream wherein I left The Boy at home alone to drive into Raleigh and inform the daycare that we'd be late. Yes, there's a world of dumb in that dream, and fortunately I figured it out while dreaming and was able to yell at myself (as I sat in my winter coat behind a line of cars at the daycare that wasn't quite right) to wake up, wake up WAKE UP! Woah. So now I'm even more tired, but whatever. At least The Boy was able to greet the day with a smile.

I showered while he had cereal and watched some Wiggles, then I handed him his clothes and told him to get dressed. A few minutes later, a totally naked Boy appeared at the bathroom door, and informed me he had to poop. Fine. I told him to please go ahead, and continued getting dressed. Five minutes later I went to check on him, and discovered him flushing the toilet. "Wait, son," I said. "I need to clean your bottom!"

"I already did, mommy," he replied, and it was then that I noticed the small wad of toilet paper still wedged in his nether regions, and the smudges on his hands, legs and the toilet seat. My joy was boundless. After boiling the bathroom and disinfecting The Boy, we managed to get dressed and leave the house a mere two and a half hours behind schedule. Whee!

At least HE'S well-rested. I'm a whole other story, so forgive the lack of creativity. Instead, go read this post about theory, praxis, propaganda, and how it leads to babies getting tossed out with the bathwater.

Now if Winston and Co. would just hurry up with the intellectual class war discussion, I'd be happy. I have a few thoughts on that subject myself, and since school's back in session, well, it may be time to exercise the ol' grey matter a tad. I've certainly had my fill of other types of matter for the week.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:41 AM | Comments (4)

August 23, 2004


I haven't laughed this hard in ages--even if it turns out to be untrue, it's still great entertainment.

The VRWC must be powerful, indeed, to deliberately cause a "wardrobe malfunction" in order to distract the country from the Iraq war. Boy, am I in the wrong line of work. I want to be all-powerful like Karl Rove! I want to cause random televised disrobings--I already have a list of the celebs I would like to use in my evil plot. Moo-ha-ha! I will submerge the country in butt-cheeks and mammaries until the 2004 election is but a blip on the hive-mind radar! And then I shall Rule The World! Wooo!

SOMEONE involved in this Jackson story is a boob, but I don't think it's a politician.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:49 AM | Comments (5)

August 20, 2004

From the Penthouse to the Basement It's Not Very Far

Or at least I think that's how the song went...saw the video last night on VH-1 Classic's Alternative 70's and 80's show. I believe that was T'Pau's follow up to Heart and Soul, but I digress.

It's just that the sentiment seems right. Remember the woman who became one with her sofa? Yeah, here's the whole story (thanks to Podwall for the link, I think).


Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:50 AM | Comments (5)

August 16, 2004

Blue Monday

Well, the students are back--moved back on campus during a hurricane and a torrential downpour--and I'm already irritated by the campus traffic situation, particularly as I had to work all weekend. All of this by way of explanation for my current lack of a sense of humor.

And also? Don't play Inspector Parker on Yahoo Games. Seriously. It is the time sucking vortex of doom. Addictive. Reeeeeeeally addictive.

I am counting the minutes until lunch, when I will sally forth to Old Navy and procure another pair of Sherbet Orange socks for The Boy. He saw them while visiting my folks, grabbed a pair and hasn't had them off since except for the washing. I may as well get a spare pair, and see if there are any articles of clothing At All that will go with the orange socks. Because while I am glad that my boy has a sense of personal style, I am duty-bound to at least TRY to keep the rest of him looking somewhat normal.

Finally, because it's the second Monday of Hell Fortnight and I am too lazy to create the funny, I leave you with this article. Perhaps I shall Netflix Boxing Helena. Or not.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:46 AM | Comments (6)

August 12, 2004


Oh. My. God. Just...oh. My. God.

Most horrifying quote of the day, courtesy of the above article:

She died at Martin Memorial Hospital South, still attached to the couch.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:28 AM | Comments (5)

August 11, 2004

Taking a Village

Went to see The Village with my pal Feral Girl on Monday night, and aside from a couple of "the hell?" moments--Little Blind Riding Hood, anyone?--I enjoyed it, mainly because it seems to resonate with my current state of mind.

The central theme of The Village is protecting those you love and the lengths folks are willing to go to in order to do that. The film leaves you to decide if the protectors are deranged or not. Frankly, after the aforementioned Blind Chick Wandering in the Woods with Parental Approval thing, my vote goes to "these folks are certifiable." But on the other hand...

You understand the intent behind their actions, the desire to protect innocence and protect their families, no matter the cost. And the cost is high, much higher than any of them could have realized at first. The bottom line is you can't protect your children or their innocence forever. There are some things that can't be walled out, no matter how hard you try.

And boy, talk about topical and timely. Much moreso than any overtly political film currently out, because history is always much much larger than one person, whether that person is loved or hated. There are Bad Things in the world, and we can either face them or try to hide from them. Each course has its consequences. Me, I'd rather be in the world with my eyes open than wandering, blind and alone, in the woods.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:15 AM | Comments (1)

August 10, 2004

Diesel 10 and Freedom

So The Boy is spending four days with my parents. I miss him, but it's not paralyzing. Hublet seems much more bummed out. Me, I'm mostly wondering exactly what the hell I used to do with myself before The Boy came along. I mean, I'm BORED! Bored enough to rent Starsky and Hutch from Netflix (which I enjoyed, in the same way I enjoyed Charlie's Angels--a post-modern fun-poke at seventies TV fare: I mean, MIMES?! Yes, they went undercover as mimes in the original series...better Netflix the old episodes...wait, where was I?), bored enough to de-spam my blog on a dialup account, bored enough to do an extra mile on my run...seriously, WHAT THE HELL DID I USED TO DO WITH MYSELF? I was always "busy." With what? Age of Empires? Diablo? Doom? If I were Trollope, I could have written seven or eight novels by now. AAAHHHHHH! I'm wasting my life!

Sorry. Didn't realize that toddler withdrawal could spark midlife crisis trauma. Well, that and accidentally coming across Maureen Dowd on one of those rarely watched cable news channel late night interviews (accidentally drank regular Diet Dr Pepper instead of the Caffeine Free variety, so I was up late). Maureen, sweetie--STOP WITH THE BOTOX. Dear God, she should sue her plastic surgeon. I have never seen a blanker countenance with an angrier voice issuing forth from it. It was truly creepy and bizarre, and another on my long list of reasons to avoid plastic surgery.

Anyway, I'm rambling and disjointed and annoyed at my stupid office mates (see below). The Boy just called at work to inform me that Grandmommie let him unwrap one of his b-day presents early--the eagerly anticipated Diesel 10 (he likes the "mean guys"). His birthday is the thirtieth. I am powerless in the face of grandmotherly consumerism. Gah. At least she's not going to replace the gift, so I suppose I should be thankful for that. I am also feeling an unaccountable urge to repaint the den, buy new chairs, get a new kitchen floor and put up a tile backsplash. All by this weekend. Hurry up, Wednesday. Apparently I have more nervous energy than I realized...

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:46 AM | Comments (1)

August 09, 2004

Little Things

It's funny how the little things matter. Back in June, Hublet and I took our yearly child-free long weekend sojourn to Alexandria and DC. One of the main items on our agenda was a visit to the new World War II Memorial. Hublet being Hublet, he had decided to write a letter to those who served in the war and leave it as a tribute. Not being entirely sure where to place the letter, we finally decided to tuck it underneath a photo of a serviceman that someone had put in the North Carolina section of the memorial.

Imagine our surprise two weeks later when we got a photo and letter in the mail from a lady in Greensboro, NC, who had seen our letter and the serviceman's photo. She said she was moved by what Hublet had written and thought we might like a memento, so we now have a lovely 5 x 7 sepia-toned black and white picture of the letter and photo at the memorial. It's actually quite lovely. Hublet wrote her back to thank her and to explain that we weren't related to the gentleman in the photo, but that we wanted relatives of those who did serve to understand how grateful we were. A few days later, we received an email from this same lady, who said she had taken the liberty of tracking down the relatives of the serviceman and sent them a copy of the photo and letter, and that if we were amenable she would pass along our contact information.

This weekend we were out of town at the yearly Leo-birthday-fest (most of my family members have August birthdays). When we got home yesterday afternoon, there was a message on our answering machine from the serviceman's daughter. In a trembling voice, she told us that her father was the serviceman and that he had passed away last November, before the Memorial was finished. She wanted to thank us for what we wrote, for remembering her father, and said she would call us again soon. I hope she does.

Little things aren't always little, you know?

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:28 AM | Comments (4)

August 06, 2004

Yeah, Hi. Do You Mind Handing Me My Hamstring? Thanks.

In the interest of keeping up with The Boy's shenanigans, I decided upon a modified Pilates toning program. Trimmer waist, stronger tummy, more strength--sounded good to me! So I bought a generic beginner's tape and plopped down on the floor, ready to embark on the road to a taut and toned me.

But I forgot something; well, two things, actually. My hamstrings. See, I've never been stretchy, bendy or flexible. It was a problem when I was a skinny nine-year-old taking ballet ("STRETCH!" Miss Terri would exhort, grabbing my leg and attempting to push it higher, only to make me slide backward across the wooden floor on my other slipper as my hammies refused to give an inch), a problem when I was kickboxing at the local Tae Kwan Do dojon ("STRETCH!" Jung Ho would yell, putting his entire weight on my back and getting shot into the stratosphere by the resulting hamstring spring-back) and let's not mention the failed yoga experiment, lest we cause the serene instructor to cry.

However, hope springs eternal, and so I figured that maybe this time, with repetetive daily exercise, my flexibility would increase. Nope. Not a bit, not a whit, not an iota. I firmly believe that if I tried hard enough, I could snap my hamstrings across the room like giant rubber bands and put Hublet's eye out. And while this might be handy if I lived in a cartoon universe, in real life it's not so terribly helpful. I want to be lithe and catlike, dammit, not saddled with this body that makes creaking, popping, grinding noises every time my knees bend or my hips move (I have the distinct honor of being the "show-and-tell" object at our local hospital's physical therapy department, as my knees were pronounced "The gnarliest, crunchiest things I have EVER heard--do you even HAVE cartilege?" by my PT, who then called everyone else--patients, janitorial staff, and receptionists--to come listen to me doing deep knee bends).

Sigh. I shall perservere, in the hopes that I can one day bend in half like the noodle of an instructor on the Pilates tape. And I'll buy safety goggles for Hublet, in case that doesn't pan out.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:14 AM | Comments (3)

August 05, 2004

Giving a whole new meaning to the phrase "Self-Help Jesus"

Ya know, I bet attendance would go up if only we were able to purchase shoulder-fired missles from our local Methodist church. I can see the sermon title now:

"Hellfire and damnation--from your front porch!"

And just think about how much more exciting the weekly pot-luck dinners would be if they included live ammo! Woo-hoo!

Just...missing the point much, guys?

Via Citizen Smash.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:02 AM | Comments (1)

August 03, 2004

Real Life versus teh Innarweb

This is perhaps the most useful primer ever on the difference between real life and the internet (Link goes to a .mov file).

If you play Halo, you will find it even more amusing.

From Red vs. Blue

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:38 AM | Comments (1)

August 02, 2004

Hyperbole and Irony go to My Sofa

So I'm trying to figure out just how, exactly, one paints behind a toilet without involving a plumber, when the doorbell rings. Oh, dear. Irony and Hyperbole are standing on my porch glaring at one another. However, since they each have a six-pack (Bass Pale Ale for Irony and Blackened Voodoo for Hyperbole) I relent and let them in.

Me: First things first. Beer. Now sit down, and don't speak until I tell you. Irony, why don't you start?

H: That is, like, SO unfair! You totally like her best!

Me: What part of "zip it" do you not get? Drink your beer. Irony, sticking your tongue out at Hyperbole is not helping.

I: I just wanted to let you know that EVEN THOUGH I wasn't invited to the DNC I still managed to get some interesting work done this week with the ACLU.

Me: Oh, with the whole "We'll sign onto the terrorist watch list agreement that we spend all of our time railing against and then cheat by not reading it so we get to keep half a million dollars" thing?

I: Yeah, I really love it when our self-styled champions of truth and justice parse and lawyer themselves into heretofore unimagined levels of stupidity. And cupidity.

Me: I thought I recognized your handiwork there, I.

H: But, then the ACLU like, totally gave up the cash!

I: Sure, AFTER they made total asses of themselves. It still counts. Especially when, after they admit to attempting to have their cake and eat it too, they get all righteous about giving up the cash and conclude the whole affair with: "This is not about the money...It's about principles." Like, the principle whereby you signed the contract that contained the terrorist list clause in order to get the money while publicly opposing the terrorist list and figuring you could just cheat on a technicality by not actually reading the list? Except they got out-lawyered in the fine print. Whoo! Lawyer versus lawyer--always a gold mine of me-ness. It's a small job, but I like the symmetry.

Me: Very well done, Irony. Kudos.

H: Yeah, well what about me?

I: Please. They totally had you on lockdown at the DNC. I heard you got sent to the protestor cage on the second day.

H: Only AFTER I gave Teddy Kennedy his speech. Was that not priceless?

Me: I did appreciate the "only thing we have to fear is four more years of George Bush." My jaw actually fell off and I had to reattach it with superglue.

H: It did...I mean, ha! Nice use of me, there, BAW.

Me: I do try. So, they kicked you out?

H: I got totally blindsided by McAuliffe after the Kennedy speech. He plied me with apple-tinis and told me we were going somewhere special to "celebrate." When I came to, I was stuck in this cage with all these really angry people holding pieces of cardboard! My best pair of Manolos got ruined by some hairy chick in Birkenstocks! I am so totally sending her a bill. It was awful!

I: There's a good example of me in there somewhere, maybe.

Me: No, that's more "just desserts" territory. Not ironic, just a nice opportunity for some schadenfreude.

H: Well I've learned my lesson. I have erased every media contact's name from my Blackberry. They are dead to me. Can you believe it? All, "Hyperbole, sweetie, you're the best! Drink with us, Hyperbole!" As if. They just wanted to use me for a quick soundbite, and then when McAuliffe came over all, "We need to tone down the rhetoric," they totally tossed me aside. And I had such plans for Howard Dean, too! At least Sharpton's people let me slip him a few notes. You can always count on the preacher men. But I am soooo done with those media losers. Let 'em come crawling back to me during the RNC! Just let 'em!

I: I'm detecting bitterness in you. May I have a second helping of that schadenfreude?

Me: Irony...

I: Shoe, other foot. Life, it is good.

H: Just shut up and pass me another beer. I swear, there aren't enough pedicures in the world to correct the damage that woman did to my feet--hey! Is that Hugh Jackman?

Me: Yeah, it's his Inside the Actor's Studio interview...


Me: I'll just have another beer, then.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:53 AM | Comments (1)

July 30, 2004

Buyer's Remorse

Call it buyer's remorse: those moments when I realize that being an English major has utterly ruined my ability to enjoy anything without analyzing the hell out of it, driving myself crazy, and then missing the point of the entertainment entirely. Of course, being a blog-addict in an election year has only added fuel to the already blazing inferno of "What EXACTLY Did They Mean By That," but the English major provided both the tinder and the spark long ago. It's not enough for me to watch newscasts with my mind set on "dowsing rod" in order to glean the newsperson's "agenda," oh no, now it's bleeding over into my prime time geek fare, and it's Ruining. My. Life.

This Sunday evening I was enjoying my Tivo'd episode of The 4400. So far this show has managed an interesting blend of old fashioned mystery solving with a big dose of X-Files "the (larger) truth is out there," and since everyone's already down with the Aliens Exist thing we're not wasting time or insulting a character's intelligence by forcing her to be sceptical in the face of empirical evidence (problem with Scully, much, BAW? Why, yes. Thanks for asking.). This makes me happy.

However, because as a recovering English major I can never be truly happy unless I've probed the "meta," I find myself concentrating on the meaning of the Homeland Security office and its head guy. Yes, I suppose that Homeland Security would be the appropriate department to handle 4400 returned alien abductees were this situation to become reality. Okay, so no whiff of "being topical and sticking it to the Man" there. Moving on.

One of the subplots involves a reporter with more than a passing resemblance both physically and in terms of reporting style to Fox's Rita Cosby. This woman keeps broadcasting items that the Department Head would prefer she didn't, for valid reasons like a) Avoiding public panic and possible attacks on the 4400, b) It's interfering with the agents' ability to do their work. Plus, this reporter once leaked the name of a valuable witness in a case the Department Head (Dennis Ryland, played by Peter Coyote) was working on for the FBI, and he has a personal grudge.

Okay. Fast foward to a meeting between Ryland and the reporter in which he asks her to lay off and she says no in a particularly annoying and smirky way. Ryland lets her go, then calls a meeting with her producer in which he says that thanks to the Patriot Act, he no longer has to get permission to tap phones and basically make their lives hell. We like to call this Hardball, and it doesn't involve that goober Chris Matthews. I got all tingly inside, because here's where my inner English major went all haywire.

Reporter as a bad guy, check. Cipher for a Fox News reporter? This fits with my suspicions regarding Hollywood attitudes toward Rupert Murdoch. Plus, I like Ryland, and the writers have taken some pains to make him human and mostly likeable.

But now we have Ryland Crushing Dissent with the Patriot Act, another Hollywood bugaboo. And yet, as a viewer I was pleased as punch that he put the smack down on the Rita wannabe. So what's the deal? Who's the Evil Bad Guy here? Quien es mas malo? We're being put in the position of rooting for abuse of the Patriot Act to crush the dissent of a Fox reporter? Will there be sympathy for the reporter later? Is this some sort of bizarro-world republican/republican smackdown where we must choose between the lesser of two obvious evils? Are the writers similarly confused? Have I had too much Shiraz? I sat in my La-Z-Boy recliner, wineglass in hand, and examined my inner struggle. Because God knows, we English majors can't even be conflicted without writing a freaking dissertation on every emotional nuance contained therein.

Is it possible that a TV show in 2004 is less interested in an agenda than in telling a story using the societal conventions at hand? Is it possible that the election year is finally beginning to get to me and I'm cracking under the strain? Finally, is it possible that I am wasting entirely too much mental energy looking for Michael Moore in a late-summer replacement piece of fluff on the USA Network?

Please hurry up, November. I'm on my last legs, here. And I don't even want to think about what will happen when I watch this week's episode of Rescue Me.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:11 AM | Comments (5)

July 29, 2004

The Revolution is Here!

Yes, my children, it has begun. Thanks to this brave soul, the poor ignorant masses can now empower themselves and throw off the shackles of Hoobastank and Linkin Park!

Power to the people! Fight on, my nutty brother-in-arms!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:43 AM | Comments (2)

July 26, 2004

Monday List Thingy

First off, if you sent me an email over the weekend, it is gone, alas.

Things I did this weekend:

  • Left work early Friday to get home in time to awaken The Boy and prepare him for an evening of fun with friends at a Bulls game.

  • Discovered that Boy has fever of 103. Was mildly annoyed that Hublet didn't notice this, although Hublet swore nothing was wrong with him pre-nap.

  • Cancelled Bulls game plans.

  • Coddled Boy.

  • Put Boy to bed.

  • Set alarm for 4 am to check Boy's temp and give him another dose of Motrin.

  • Toted Boy to our bed, where searing hot feet, arms and legs scorched me for about an hour until Boy requested a return to cooler sheets.

  • Slept from 5 until 8.

  • Went to get haircut.

  • Ran many errands.

  • Watched Season 1 of Curb Your Enthusiasm, which actually made Hublet giggle, a rare event.

  • Watched Hugh Jackman's Actor's Studio interview. He is still the world's most perfect man.

  • Corralled toddlers at Sunday School.

  • Chased cat with broom until she dropped the dead baby bunny she was carrying.

  • Culled too small clothing from Boy's closet.

  • Cleaned.

  • Did Laundry.

  • Made dinner.

  • Rode bicycle.

  • Put Boy (now fever-free and feeling his oats) in room for being a truculent little poop-head.

  • Lather, rinse, repeat. 4 times. Boy is still truculent poop-head. All hail the incipient age of three!

  • Watched more Curb Your Enthusiasm. Cringed in horror at Bob Costas trying to be funny while interviewing Larry David.

  • Woke at 2 a.m. to let post-nightmare Boy into our bed.

  • Got up late.

  • Watched Hublet put Boy in room (at 7 a.m.) for yet more truculent poop-headedness.

  • Arrived at work completely unable to form coherent thought.

  • Read article by Richard (I don't have a problem with Christians! I don't! I don't!) Perlestein and attendant commentary. Was unimpressed.

  • Decided to post boring list as proof that this is a big, fat Got Nothin' Monday.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:20 AM | Comments (0)

July 22, 2004

Lesser-known Nature Facts

Here's a curious fact about a common household pet: betta fish can suffer from constipation. Why, BAW, you exclaim in wonder, how did you come by this amazing information? So glad you asked! We have two bettas, a red one and a blue one (named Red and Blue respectively by our two year old Master of the Obvious). I like bettas because they are pretty, low-maintenance, fairly long-lived and darn hard to kill. I buy my bettas at PetSmart and have them in one of those little "let's screw with their heads by putting them in the same container but separating them with a plexiglass barrier" mini-tanks. We've had this particular pair since last November, and they'd done pretty well until about a month ago, when Red started looking a tad peaked and hanging out at the surface of his part of the tank.

At first I figured it for a swim bladder problem, but then Red started to swell. And swell. And swell until he looked like Orson Welles in Touch of Evil. I feared that Red was not long for this world, but he continued to swim and eat, although listlessly. This continued until about a week ago when I came home to change the bettas' water and noticed that Red was much, much, thinner and that there was a gigantic betta poop-ball rolling around the bottom of his tank. After the water change, Red was like a new fish--puffing up at Blue, chowing down on his Betta Bites, and making those little slap-slurp noises at the top of the water.

I am pleased to report that Red is maintaining his intestinal regularity, and that I have managed to add yet another creature to my household whose emissions I must monitor.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:16 AM | Comments (9)

July 21, 2004

Hyperbole's Election 04 Update: Volume I

Like, hi everybody! Hyperbole here, guest posting from Big Media HQ, where they're throwing a little welcome party for yours truly! This is so totally exciting, really! Like, I'm just on cloud nine! Lucky for you, our lovely blog hostess has an inside track with me, and she wanted me to post occasional updates from the thick of things, 'cause she thinks that as the election draws nigh I'm gonna be really really busy!

Well, duh! I already am! It's so good to finally be recognized by the media for my talents, and, hey! My eyes are UP HERE, New York Times! Honestly, you wear one low-cut Galliano, and it's "helloooo boys" all over the place. Decorum, people, for like, five minutes, okay?

Umm, now where was I? Oh, right! I get to showcase some of my best work for BAW's loyal readers! I am sooooo tickled. Seriously. HEY! Who are you, Doctor Octopus? Watch the hands, LA Times! And no, you know I don't go bicoastal, so why don't you and your little NYT buddy bugger off?

Sorry about that. Sometimes it's hard to be me. Actually, just kidding. I LOOOOOOOOVE being me! Anyway, I decided to start small with my foray into Election 2004, to stick with what I know, which is celebrity culture. Didja like my Whoopi/Linda one-two dissent crush-o-rama and resultant kerfuffle? 'Cause I sure did! I mean really, we got the race card, the feminism card, the obligatory "intellectually/morally stunted republican" swipe, and the Tragedy of Weight Issues all wrapped up in one slightly oversized and saggy yet racially diverse package! And the cocktail flinging! Brilliant! And total improvisation! Some of my best work. At least Linda and Whoopi can take advice, unlike Tim "Mr. Chill Wind Cliche' Monger" Robbins. Just between you and me? He's had a LOT of work done. And it hasn't really helped him, poor fella.

So now I'm working on the Next Big Thing, Sandy Berger's pants-o-rama. We're just getting started, but I think that if you give me a few days I can talk the Republicans into throwing a full-blown "Oh-mi-god-the-democrats-and-their-pants-work-for-the-Taliban!" fit, which, if I play my cards right, should get Terry MacAuliffe's head to actually explode! Alert the paparazzi! I am soooooo psyched! And the beauty of all of this? No Irony to be seen ANYWHERE! I have totally banninated her ass from the premises, so take that, you shriveled, bitter hag! Oh, yes, thank you, I would loooooove another of those green apple martinis.

And my coups de grace? Coups de graces? Whatever. The Conventions! You know how no one really pays attention to them anymore, because they are totally dullsville? Well, that's gonna change. I have it on good authority that a certain someone (can't tell you, but the initials are HRC) may have a little "podium accident" that results in another certain someone (initials WJC) being unable to fulfill his speaking duties, leaving the first someone to bravely "pick up the pieces" and give a fabulously poised "off-the-cuff" speech that will totally embarrass the presumptive nominee. Oh, this so totally ROXXORZ!

Well, I've gotta dash! I've got a fresh apple-tini waiting, and an appointment with the Herald-Tribune's hot tub. Updates to follow! And eat your heart out, Irony!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:50 AM | Comments (2)

July 20, 2004


Woo! Got my 100,000th visitor today, from an excite search on "big woman."

Guess I'll hold off on the confetti for that one.

But seriously, thanks everyone for dropping by!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 03:56 PM | Comments (0)

Global Playground

You know, I complain about France as much as the next person, but I think I've finally put my finger on what it is about the country that makes me want to slap it around, and no, it's not their much-touted spinelessness or their bullheaded selfishness or even their escargot. Nope, I hate France because France is a big fat whiner.

Perhaps I am more sensitive to the whining because having an almost three-year-old around the house increases the whining exposure exponentially, but even so, my observations aren't wrong. Think of Europe as a grade school playground: The old Eastern bloc countries are the poor foreign kids who hang out together because no one else will talk to them; Germany is the proto-football jock who gets off on giving the little kids wedgies; Portugal and Spain are the pretty girls that Germany likes to tease and that the poor kids are afraid to talk to; Italy is the class clown with ADD and some other behavioral issues; Denmark, Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands are the average kids who like to play kickball; and France is the skinny rich kid with no athletic ability and an inexplicable sense of entitlement.

Now let's pretend that the kids decide, at the behest of the Nordic folk, to play kickball. France doesn't want to play, because France knows it will be picked last, so France proceeds to whine to the teacher (I think of England as the teacher--a stern school-marm on playground duty who is out of favor with the administration because she really doesn't understand why she can't administer a good paddling to that pesky Italy, dammit), who is unmoved. So France proceeds to try and piss all over everyone else's parade, crying foul and trying to change the rules of the game so that France can get on base. Finally, the Eastern bloc kids go up to Germany and offer to beat up France if Germany promises to lay off of Hungary for a week or two. Germany agrees, France gets a bloody nose, and England forces everyone to write 100 sentences about how it's wrong to beat up France (although England secretly thinks the brat had it coming).

Think I've had too much coffee this morning? Read this article, in which Germany and Hungary are laying the smack down on the French 35-hour work week in the name of financial solvency. And what is the French answer to Hungary's offer? Well, the Finance Minister calls it "a form of extortion that would be unthinkable over here". Yep, because another country would like to better its economy, and in order to remain competitive SOME of the French will have to work a 36 hour week. Quel horror!

I'm with old school-marm England on this one. Somebody needs a good paddling, and it ain't Italy.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:07 AM | Comments (0)

July 16, 2004

Hey, Friday! Let's all get paranoid!

Had very weird dreams last night concerning a rogue Secret Service plot in which the agents decided to "come clean" to me and Laura Bush while we were shopping (Do not ask why I was hanging at the mall with Laura Bush and a bunch of Secret Service agents: I fear it has something to do with the four tacos and a Benadryl I had last night).

Anyway, as an ever-alert citizen I realized that the rogue agents were only confessing because they were just going to kill us by injecting us with some sort of deadly toxin, so I made a pretense of needing to get something from my car, and when the First Lady and I got into the parking deck, I yelled, "RUN!"

There followed one of those long, dream-sequence pursuits in which I couldn't remember what my car looked like, I had to get past some sort of interior gate that only opened if it scanned your DNA (and I had to do it before the Secret Service jammed the computer with their super sekrit special key fobs--woah!), and ended with me and Laura Bush jumping into an orange van driven by a friend of mine and her husband, who for some reason were both sporting flaming orange hair.

The whole dream ended with me looking out of the van at a dispirited blonde female secret service agent slumped on the van's running board.

So I woke up feeling a bit disoriented and fearful. And then I read this.

Dear God. I think I'd much rather pull an A-Team in the mall parking lot against the Secret Service than fly in a plane anytime soon. I've got the paranoids something awful today, so I'll just be over here in the corner with some Pepto Bismol and a Starbuck's Tall Skim Mocha.

Y'all have a good Friday.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:32 AM | Comments (4)

July 14, 2004

This is What Happens When You Give Your Husband Your Blog URL

Apparently, Hublet has taken exception to my trenchant analysis of A Separate Peace, and has found the time in his busy, busy (he assures me this is so, even though he's on vacation) schedule to reply. So in the interest of fairness and marital harmony, here it is. Hopefully Hublet will be similarly inspired to vacuum the house...

P.S. I still hate that book.

Contrary to Big Arm Wyfe's assertion, A Separate Peace does not suck, and is in fact a moving novel, written with skill. I had not read it since 10th grade, so it comes to me fresh now. BAW is mostly upset, I think, with the narrator's lack of remorse for what he does to his best friend. She also finds the narrator unlikable. I happen to think there is plenty of evidence of remorse, though also a realization by the narrator that in the face of what he has done (and what a rotten person he is) remorse, by itself, is futile. I don't agree that the narrator is unlikable, but I understand he is not likeable in the way that, say, Huck Finn is likeable.

What is interesting to me is how Christian the novel is, though on the face of it Christianity seems to be just another adult convention that the boys in the book are repulsed by. Yet, there is redemption through the grace of the sufferer, a real peacemaker (not in the "I-have-a-trustfund-so-lets-go-to-Iraq-and-be-a-human-shield-oh-wait-this-sucks-I'm-going-home vogue) who is betrayed and sacrificed, the assertion that spiritual peace can only come with forgiveness, and an acknowledgement/confrontation with evil (shriek!). Granted, the novel never uses that word, but it is there.

I am dismayed, however, to find through a little web research that John Knowles, now deceased, based one of the characters (granted, one of the more obnoxious ones) on the vile Gore Vidal, with whom he attended private school and whom he befriended throughout his life. No doubt Vidal would have objected if the word evil had shown up in the book, unless it referred to a conservative.

Oh, and I notice a Tightly Wound reader has commented she would be tempted to smack me if I tested the kids by giving trivial questions from the novel, just to avoid the obvious Cliffs Notes variety. Smack me!?! Suddenly, I feel like Tim Robbins, as the chill wind of parental intimidation rushes over me - me, huddling as I am on my front porch, just trying to find the best way to leave no child behind (ok, except the one who keeps coming to class talking about the volume of drugs he did over the weekend, and which 8th-grade girl he wants to defile next). In any case, your reader can rest assured the test will not be unfair, and will not consist only of minutiae from the novel

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:37 AM | Comments (9)

July 13, 2004

Tuesday Haiku

Toddler loves PJs
He resists their removal
Gets dressed in driveway

Half-price wine Monday
Plus Italian carb-orgy
The bloating, it sucks

Crazy girl in-law
Forwarding posts from DU
Don't make me kill you.

Lunch with the Hublet
Baja Burritos are large
The bloating still sucks

Too busy today
Haiku is easy and quick
Be back tomorrow

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:10 PM | Comments (2)

July 12, 2004

Monday. Hodge-Podge.

Wow - quite the comments on the Friday Throwaway post, and flame-free! Sniff. Brings a tear to my squinty, crossed eyes, it does. Particularly in light of all the "Dear God What Is Up With You People And Your Comments" posts around the blogosphere. Of course, I had to de-spam 397 other posts to read those, but that's why I HEART MT-Blacklist.

I learned several things this weekend, and I'm in a sharing mood, so here goes:

  • A Separate Peace truly does suck. I had a vague memory of its suckitude from 10th grade, but I reread it on Friday and lo, it maintained all its previous sucky glory. Hublet is all set to torture his students with it this fall--apparently there's a Showtime movie, which he plans to watch and then use to prepare quizzes that focus specifically on what the movie leaves out, solely to suck the will to live out of those kids. I love my Hublet!

  • Parenting magazine should really just carry the subtitle, "A bunch of useless, vapid crap designed to make you feel inadequate about your choices." If I believed Parenting, I would think that there was an actual war on between working and stay-at-home moms. Umm, no. There might be a war on between a whole bunch of catty bitches who mask their insane envy of one another with the "work/home" dichotomy, but pretty much everyone I know is too damn busy trying to raise their kids to give a rat's ass about what other people are doing. Oh, and exhorting me not to feel guilty about eating chocolate? WTF? Thanks for the permission, Parenting. Stupid magazine. Bleh.

  • I still can't use commas for crap, but I am gratified to know that my MA advisor did coach me correctly in the avoidance of the dreaded splice. Go, me.

  • Never underestimate the use of the Anthropomorphic Boo-Boo to help a child get over a wound. Apparently when the Boo-Boo in question can TELL the child that it feels much better now that it's clean, dry and under a Spiderman Band-Aid, the child can relax.

  • The 4400 pilot episode was a good one. I hope it continues to be good: I need something to fill the void created by the departure of my beloved Buffy/Angel/Farscape/Justice League geek-friendly fare.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:03 AM | Comments (5)

July 08, 2004

Oh, Great.

Like I don't have enough to worry about concerning The Boy's future safety in the big, evil world, now I have to add sock stealing predators to the list. Thanks, world. Seriously.

Also, it would be nice if the folks making the dispensers for the foamy variety of bathroom soap actually constructed soap receptacles that, you know, DISPENSED SOAP without my having to get all kung fu fighting on their asses. I shouldn't be working up a lather while trying to work up a lather, if you know what I mean.

And those super cute "bubble goblets" from Crate and Barrel? Yeah, they hold A LOT more wine than you realize, particularly if you're used to drinking from garden-variety wineglass sized wine glasses. Which explains this morning's slight headache, and is a possible explanation for my inexplicably growing attraction to Tobey Maguire. I am such a hopeless geek.

Let me leave you with some friendly advice that comes from hard-won experience: If you get a coffee stain on your pants, and you think that you can just, you know, rinse it out in the bathroom, don't do it. Just live with the coffee stain. Because odds are that halfway through your "gentle rinsing," you will end up at the sink in your underwear trying to wrestle foamy soap out of the dispenser and then realize that your (light khaki) pants are VERY absorbent and that the "little spot" has now turned into a water-drenched crotchal area and that you have absolutely no way to get back to your office without everyone IN the office thinking that you left your Depends at home. So. Live with the stain, is all I'm saying.

Finally, I like Lileks best when he's screedy. I mean, sure, I relate to all the super-cute toddler stories and DirecTV travails, but sometimes I just want some down-home screedy goodness. And he's really good at it. Guess that's why he's paid to write and I'm paid to sit here in wet pants and attempt to learn php. Well, I'm not paid for the wet pants part, but you know what I mean...

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:57 AM | Comments (3)

July 07, 2004

Hah! I Knew It!

I AM an evil genius! This quiz said so! See:

Wackiness: 28/100
Rationality: 24/100
Constructiveness: 20/100
Leadership: 24/100

You are an SEDF--Sober Emotional Destructive Follower. This makes you an evil genius. You are extremely focused and difficult to distract from your tasks. With luck, you have learned to channel your energies into improving your intellect, rather than destroying the weak and unsuspecting.

Your friends may find you remote and a hard nut to crack. Few of your peers know you very well--even those you have known a long time--because you have expert control of the face you put forth to the world. You prefer to observe, calculate, discern and decide. Your decisions are final, and your desire to be right is impenetrable.

You are not to be messed with. You may explode.

Yeah, that's me all right. I'm a time bomb, baby! Not that I am secretly gratified to be an evil genius, or anything. That would be, well, evil. And possibly a little bit tacky.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 03:27 PM | Comments (7)

July 06, 2004

Better Now

So I don't know about you, but I had a great Fourth of July weekend. Not that we did anything spectacular, but there was lots o' fun involving:

  • The tiny hometown parade, where we stand and sweat in front of the local VFD and watch the high school marching band, some guy with bagpipes, a couple of goats, bicycles, scooters, some teenagers channeling their inner 2Fast 2Furious Vin Diesels via their cars, the sheriff, Bob Etheridge, and every emergency vehicle we have pass by.

  • Dinner out and shopping, where we ran into this guy pushing his chickens around the Best Buy in a shopping cart. I love North Carolina. No, seriously.

  • Fireworks! Yay! The dog was reduced to a glob of quivering protoplasm and The Boy feared that the tendrils of light might "get him," but otherwise it was fun.

  • Meeting a real, live blogger! Wow, they really do exist--it was a short visit over omelettes, due to the presence of The Boy, but a good time was had by all. (Unless he's emailed you and told you differently in which case, yeah? Well we didn't like him, either! So there!)

  • The ubiquitous Fourth of July grilled hot dogs.

  • Chillin' in the inflatable whale pool, complete with water spout, and attempting to show The Boy how to blow bubbles and put his face in the water. This worked out about as well as you'd expect.

  • Watching baseball. Who was playing? Does it matter? It's the Fourth of July, and it's baseball! You just watch and bask in the air conditioning while eating. American Zen, that's what it is.

I am rested and well-pleased with life in general. Don't worry, it won't last long.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:26 AM | Comments (3)

July 02, 2004

Letter to Sam Raimi

Dear Sam Raimi -

I heart you. I heart you with a big, smelly bunch of flowery hearts. Or, as may be appropriate in your case, a bushel basket full of newly harvested organs. I have hearted you ever since 1985, when a group of friends and I rented the first Evil Dead movie and watched it while getting drunk on California Coolers (orange flavored--the kind that came in the big soda bottle and that just screamed "high-class!" or "desperate high schoolers wanting to get drunk but whose only alcohol connection is at the local Food Lion, so whaddya expect?").

I have subsequently hearted you through two Evil Dead sequels, Darkman, The Quick and the Dead, Xena: Warrior Princess, and now Spiderman and Spiderman 2. Hearty Mc Heartypants! I heart your bizarro-world signature camera-work, your "firehose of blood" approach to horror filmmaking, and the way you always give Bruce Campbell and your goofy, dorky little brother Ted (I have a soft spot for skinny, slightly dorky men) cameos in your films. I heart the way you make cute references to your earlier movies.

Bless you, Sam Raimi. You are my hero. Did I mention I heart you? <3, <3, <3 -- those are supposed to be hearts, but they kinda look like hat-wearing asses. Not trying to say that my ass wears a hat or anything, 'cause that would just be weird. And let's just avoid the whole "asshat" thing, shall we? Umm, where was I? Oh, right. Yay, Sam Raimi!


Semi-related update: Think this post has nothing to do with book larnin'? HAH!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:17 AM | Comments (9)

July 01, 2004

Cat: 1,987,412 Nature: 1

I gave Hublet a call yesterday afternoon as I left work, to see if he was home and to do the daily "thank God another day of drudgery is behind me" check-in. Our conversation went something like this:

Me: So I'm heading over to get The Boy now.

Hublet: Okay, and could you.....Hey! Cat! No! Stop that! Ack! She's got a lizard. Bye!

Me: (To dead connection) Umm, okay? Bye?

I arrive home fully expecting lizard (and possibly Hublet) carnage, but none of that is in evidence. Instead, Hublet greets me with:

The cat is pouting in our closet.

Me: Why? Did you take her lizard playtoy away?

Hublet: No. I mean, I tried to make her let go, and then the lizard attached itself to her lip and she couldn't get it off and I had to pull the lizard off of her. She's embarrassed.

Me: Go, lizard!

The cat emerged from our closet at about 8:30 last night. We tactfully made no mention of the Lizard Lip Incident, but I imagine her pride remains wounded. And I'll bet the brave lizard in question got a hero's welcome back in Lizard City.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:58 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 30, 2004

Self-Expression is a wonderful thing

Except when it's 6:15 in the morning and The Boy is throwing a tantrum because the ONLY SHIRT IN THE WORLD THAT HE WILL WEAR IS NOT ON HIS BODY!!!!!!

So Hublet decided that today was the day for The Boy to learn that he wouldn't always get his way, sartorially speaking. As I mentioned to Hublet at the time, that's a mighty fine stance for someone who won't be spending 30 minutes in the car with a screaming toddler to take. So I did what any harried mother would do--I smuggled the Thomas shirt into the car and gave it to The Boy, and we had a lovely drive into town. Then I just had to call and tell Hublet, who was amused but agreed that this battle can be fought on Sunday, when polo shirts and shorts are the order of the day, period. At least on Sunday I won't be suffering alone, although I will probably have the Thomas shirt in my purse as a post-church reward for good behavior. I hope The Boy gets out of the Thomas shirt obsession phase before either a) I am forced to purchase 5 more shirts to supplement the over-washed threadbare remains of that one, or b) folks notice that my child looks like a crazy homeless person (because he only wants to wear the shorts that are too big and that I have to turn the waistband down on to keep them from falling off his body). I'm not holding out much hope, however.

Some odds and ends:
Reading: Finished The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory. Great eye for historical detail and a pretty plausible fictional take on real events, but she's a little too obsessed with the whole VC Andrews incest thing. That theme appears in some of her other books as well, if the overwrought book jacket blurbs are to be believed. Am halfway through The Golden Compass, first in the His Dark Materials trilogy by Phillip Pullman. It's taken me about half the book to get involved with the characters, but am enjoying it. Hooray for summer reading!

Hublet wrote a letter and placed it at the WWII Memorial during our visit there. I'd like to share, so it's below.

June 26, 2004

We were both born more than 20 years after victory finally came over the Germans and the Japanese. You protected our parents, who were still children, not fully aware of the shadows that hung over them, during the years when you took to the battlefields, the seas, and the air. We grew up luxuriously, at least compared to most of the world, and we were freely able to attend college, seek employment, get married, and have a child. These are all gifts from God, but they are gifts you helped procure for us long before we were even conceived. You, who died in so many awful ways; you, who saw the worst things men’s eyes could ever endure; you, who did the dirtiest, hardest, most hellish work imaginable; you, who had to kill, because there was no other choice; you, who left behind dead friends that you loved more than yourselves; you, who lost legs and arms and feet and hands; you, who returned to your loved ones in victory, though you left pieces of your hearts behind with those buried on Pacific islands, or in Europe’s fields, or in the boundless oceans.

You were not, and you are not, heroes of marble. You are heroes because you were boys, flesh and blood, having to do what none of you (or us) would have chosen in the best of worlds. But you did it. You fought to preserve what goodness there was, and for the potential of goodness even in the midst of darkness; nothing could be simpler than that, yet nothing could be more profound. We grieve, even now, for you the dead soldiers of World War II, and wish we could have met you as old men, surrounded by loved ones, serene in your twilight years. Your buddies, many who (we are so glad) remain with us, wish the same. Life is full of great beauty, wrapped in sorrow.

We often are told that no words can describe certain thoughts or feelings. But we have these words for you: thank you, we love you, and though we know we often take you for granted, we will never forget you, we promise. Our son will know about you, and his children will know about you, and we will do what we can to tell anyone else about the men and women of WWII, because we owe you. Thank God for you, and thank God for our country.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:48 AM | Comments (3)

June 29, 2004

Reason 112 why Sports and Politics Don't Mix

Watching PTI with Hublet last night, and the fellow guest-hosting for Wilbon was reading viewer mail about North Korea's dictator. Here's how that went (not verbatim, obviously):

Guest Host: So what are the odds that Kim Jong The Second will play pro...


Ah, ESPN's very own Jessica Simpson moment. Hublet and I fell out of our chairs laughing. Hee.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:15 PM | Comments (3)

On Dissent, the Status Quo, Trolling, and Perspective

Last time on Big Arm Woman, the blog:

BAW returns from her much-needed DC getaway to discover 86 spam emails, a weird anon comment about a post written nineteen months ago, and a lot of stuff about Michael Moore. Her curiosity piqued, BAW does a little digging and (re)discovers:

Professor Kirstein, who, despite his veiled allusions to persecution, seems merely representative of the status quo in anti-war academia. I found no instance of job loss, but I guess that it does take 19 months to respond to 10,000 pieces of email (and search your referrer logs, since I never actually emailed him)--particularly if you're as, shall we say, driven as Professor Kirstein seems to be. Well okay, then. Free country and all that. Bottom line: my mocking of his pedagogy still stands. ESPECIALLY now that it seems his pedagogy is all about being the brave dissenter. Talk to me when you've actually lost something other than free time by your "dissent." Or read this, and get some perspective on what persecution means.

So what's up with the Moore references? I fully expect the film to be popular--it will make the sort of people who hate Bush no matter what feel very good about themselves, and it will make the sort of people who hate Moore no matter what angry--but popular doesn't equal "correct," or "the final coming of the revolution," or "the complete and total vindication of the left" or anything else. Gasp! Military families might see the movie! And we all know that buying a ticket means buying into the ideology...except not. Excuse me while I go quake in fear at the UTTER DESTRUCTION OF THE RIGHT...okay, I'm back. Again, it's called perspective. I don't think America is evil, I don't think the END IS NIGH if Bush wins, and I don't think we'll be utterly destroyed if Kerry wins, either. I do, however, believe that people who hold the aforementioned views tend to be silly and have very little real experience with hardship. The political isn't personal, it isn't religion, and the folks who make it personal and make it a religion are in a hell of their own creation. That includes Mr. Moore, although in his case he has a very well-furnished hell, I'm sure.

Where am I going with this? Pretty much the same place this excellent piece over at Asymmetrical Information went (Irony just popped over to tell me to enjoy the comments section after the post--you'll get it after you read it). I'm tired of the increasingly shrill partisan hackery that passes for debate, I'm more than a little puzzled by a Professor's need to add "nyah, nyah, Michael Moore's movie is popular" comments to a post completely unrelated to that subject, I want to Just Get The Election Over With, Already and go on my merry way, poking self-important academics with a pointy stick and regaling all twelve of you regular readers with Tales From the 'Burbs. And so I shall.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:08 AM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

June 28, 2004

All Filler, No Killer

Just got back from a long weekend up in the DC area: wanted to see the WWII Memorial, which I thought tastefully and impressively well done (it was finished early and under budget, too, which in governmental timeline terms is like seeing a unicorn), and toured the Folger Shakespeare Library. Very nice, although we great unwashed weren't allowed anywhere near the actual First Folios or reading room or vaults. Ah, there but for the love of two letters of recommendation concerning my character and a dissertation go I...and The Boy is now the proud owner of a Stuffed Bard. Insert your own joke here.

Also went to see The Producers at the Kennedy Center. I must say Alan Ruck has a very nice tenor.

Have had to remove over 85 instances of poker spam, as well as the run-of-the-mill pR0n and Viagara crap. Thank God for MT Blacklist!

Also, does anyone know if closing comments on old posts helps stop the spam? If so, is there a plug-in that will do that for you so I don't have to manually go through almost two years worth of archives to do it? If it doesn't help, never mind. Although I would like to be spared the whole occasional crazy clown comment...

Speaking of, what's up with the O'Connor bashing in the comments of this entry? What, did the good professor forget the cardinal rule of academe: One Must Never, Ever, Change One's Mind or Position on An Issue, Lest One be Called a Hypocrite? I guess "live and learn" have no place in the University, then. Color me surprised.

Also, we have the reappearance of one Professor Kirstein on the scene. To be honest, I'm not sure what the story is there--I did a one-off post over a year ago and forgot about it--but when I'm back and have some time I'll attempt to discover the source of the Kirstein Renaissance, or whateverthehell is going on...

Enjoy your Monday--I'm here all week.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 12:15 PM | Comments (19)

June 24, 2004

My Super-Sekrit Identity Revealed!

Well, not really. But I've had more than a few folks asking me why I would pick the handle Big Arm Woman. Are my arms unnaturally shaped? Am I an Amazon? No and no. Am I from Montana? No, but now I know there's a body of water in Montana called Big Arm, thanks to a commenter. Did I just want to pad my hit count with the numerous searches for "big woman" or "big, healthy woman" on Google? Umm, definitely not, and I'm not really sure how to feel about that particular aspect of my alias: is it womyn empowering, or just representative of a lot of people with fat and/or submission fetishes? Let's not go there...

No, the handle has a much more mundane explanation. Several years ago a friend and I had a running joke about how we were going to create a comic with the most useless superheroes ever. It was inspired by our love of The Tick, and after several iterations my friend settled on Feral Girl and I became Big Arm Woman. We amused ourselves at work by creating an ongoing saga involving much smiting and rending of evildoers. An example is here. That site also holds several of the early versions of rants that appeared here after I decided to blog. And since I wasn't real keen on letting everyone in the world know who I am--why, so the hate mail could be personalized? So the clown-loving crazy mom ALL CAPS BRIGADE could hunt me down (and may I just say that being on the edge of the clown zeitgeist is not really number one on my Goals in Life List)? No thanks--BAW worked for me.

So, there you go. Mystery solved. Sort of. Well, until the day I decide to astound you all by revealing my real super sekrit identity as Paris Hilton.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:22 PM | Comments (11)

June 23, 2004

What is this, Mutual of Freaking Omaha's Wild Kingdom?

I have a cat. I love my cat, mainly because my cat is low maintenance to the point that I often forget I have a cat. But my cat is a freaking killing machine.

In the 5 years I've had my cat, I have stepped barefoot into a pile of mole guts, tripped over headless rabbit corpses, washed vomit-with-tree-frog-bits off the front porch, attempted to nurse a hummingbird back to health, and have scraped, buried and washed away the remains of more animals than you can shake a stick at.

But today, my friends, was the apex of What The Hell is THIS? Today Hublet came into the bedroom with the usual Daily Carnage report, with a twist. Seems the cat had bitten a snake in half. Well, okay. Nothing new there. The cat likes to play with wriggly reptiles until they stop wriggling. Except that the snake was pregnant. Ah. A new wrinkle!

One baby of the three or so I saw was alive and kicking, and had slithered into the grass. The front half of the snake was still sluggishly mobile. The entire effect was the most gruesome thing I'd ever seen outside of a slasher flick. Oh, huzzah.

Fortunately, I had to go to work. And Hublet is on vacation. Lucky, lucky Hublet. I told him to get the shovel, hose, and "carnage broom" and have at it.

The cat is resting comfortably among the shoes in our bedroom closet. Thanks, cat.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:46 AM | Comments (7)

June 22, 2004

I Love Summer; a.k.a. Too Much Free Time

I love summer. I love the haze, the heat, the humidity, the long days and the evenings spent half-watching baseball on the tv while catching up on fun reading. I don't know why I don't seem to have as much free time in the winter--my schedule stays the same--maybe it's just that time seems to move more slowly in the heat, and that I change my priorities from "clean kitchen floor" to "inflate whale-shaped baby pool complete with spout, fix lemonade, and hang with the family."

It also helps that Hublet is a school teacher and has summers off, so my share of things like cooking, cleaning, yardwork, grocery shopping, etc, is greatly diminished. I still do the laundry, though. Long story short: it's just better that way. Of course, Hublet being Hublet, he tends to embark on projects that stimulate his creativity and intellect, but that don't necessarily aid in the "getting daily crap done" aspects of home maintenance.

This year, we have decided to Clean Out The House and put unnecessary stuff in storage. When you have two ex-english majors in one house, books tend to be everywhere, and frankly one copy of The Riverside Shakespeare in hardcover takes up quite enough space without its twin. So, we dutifully went to Target and purchased storage bins. Hublet's one job this week? Sort the books and get them out of the guestroom so that my folks will have a place to sleep when they come down on Thursday.

To an average person, this task is straightforward: Take books off extra bookshelf that's been cluttering guestroom since October, shove books in bins, load truck with bins and bookcase, tote to storage, unload truck, come home, vacuum. But Hublet is not an average person. And so I arrived home yesterday to find that the guestroom had suffered a literary explosion, with little stacks of books on every available surface with the exception of the still-empty storage bins. Hublet had his last softball game of the year yesterday, so I didn't have time to inquire about the piles of print, but when we arrived home (after a fabulous 3-run homer hit by Hublet while The Boy and I were enjoying the amenities of the public restroom) he disappeared into the guestroom and emerged a few minutes later with several ink-stained sheets in hand.

"I need to know how much you pay a typist per word," he began, and it took me a minute to put the pieces of the puzzle together.

"Wait. What's your plan?"

"Well, I've created this system for all our books. They've been cross-referenced and indexed and numbered, see? And the number corresponds to the bin, and will go on the bin label, and I just need someone to put all this into an Excel spreadsheet so when we need a particular book we just look it up and Voila! We know exactly what we've got and where to find it!" He waved the papers triumphantly.

"I can do the data entry, I mean, how long could that take?" Then I looked at what he held. Dear GOD we have a lot of books, not counting the ones in the den, the ones used as decor, the ones in the bedroom, the ones in both bathrooms (what, you don't have a bookcase in your bathroom?) the ones still on the other bookshelf in the guestroom, the three bins of books in the guestroom closet, AND the 5 or 6 boxes of books in the attic.

"And I need you to rank these in order of importance--how likely are you to reread them? And also, did you forget about these?" He hands me a list of books I had purchased over the years and put aside to read "later" and forgotten about.

"Umm, dear? How likely are we to have an inhabitable guestroom by Thursday?" Mentally I was making my own "To-do" list: vacuum, dust, clean out refrigerator, mop, wash dog, brush and de-worm cat, put away laundry, hang picture, change bedding, clean bathrooms, sweep porch, water flowers....because I suddenly realized I'd have no help from Hublet's quarter while he was enmeshed in what has become The Great Summer Project of Ought-Four. He dismissed my concerns with a smile, an airy wave and a "Don't worry!" and then disappeared back into the guestroom.

The good news? I'll finally get to finish reading Simon Schama. The better news? It's just books, not an entire storage room of stuff to go through. Of course, my parents will probably be sleeping on the pull-out sofa this weekend. I wonder if there's an Organizers Anonymous chapter nearby?

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:14 AM | Comments (8)

June 10, 2004

Gratuitous Azkaban Post

Saw it today and liked it. I understood why the changes were made, for the most part, and I hope that future installments will go with the "tweak the story but keep the feel" method, as Goblet of Fire could easily go 9 hours if it were "untweaked." And I don't even want to think about Order of the Phoenix.

My one peeve: Dirty, long, man-fingernails. Look, they worked on Gandalf the Grey because he was a bedraggled traveller in a pre-industrial society. Dumbledore has access to grooming, and I think he'd use it. Gah.

Also, a related note about abridging texts for Peter Jackson: It is possible to rearrange and conflate certain elements of a beloved story without committing character assassination (cough--DENETHOR--cough--FARAMIR--hack, cough). Azkaban is a good example of the right way to do this. Not that I'm so geeky that I'm still irritated by that, or anything...

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:47 PM | Comments (5)

June 09, 2004


So we're off on the official Thomas the Tank Engine Tweetsie Railroad Pilgramage, in which we will drive for a total of 3 1/2 hours in order to spend 25 minutes on a train ride, get to see a fellow dressed as Sir Topham Hatt, and possibly procure temporary tattoos in the shape of steam engines. We will also be viewing Thomas videos on a big screen. Of course, The Boy has interpreted "screen" as "scream," and so he has an odd idea about the Thomas ride being very loud, what with the Big Scream and all. Hopefully the lack of screaming will not ruin his day.

Once again, we are attempting to "travel light." Let's see what this entails for the Big Arm Family, shall we?

  • One Extra Large Suitcase

  • One Medium Sized Dog Kennel

  • One Super Large Canvas Bag O' Toiletries

  • One Slightly Less Large Canvas Bag O' Trains, Track, and Acoutrements

  • One inflatable bed

  • One pillow with Thomas pillowcase

  • One Thomas fleece blanket

  • One Mandolin

  • One Dog, with Leash and Food

  • One Bag O' Fathers Day Gifts for the Grandpas

  • One Backpack with Thomas videos, the Monsters, Inc. DVD, various toddler toiletries, and emergency medications/first aid stuff

  • One Book Bag Containing Enough Reading Material for 2 People for 6 Months

  • One Portable TV/VCR

  • One Gigantic Purse

  • One Stuffed Puh-Dog, One Stuffed T-Bone, One Stuffed Curious George

Yep, we're mobile, and we only took 2/3 of our household along this time. We get a gold star.

Oh, and to the nice man with the WWJD sticker in the back of your window? Yeah, see, I'm not 100% on what, exactly, Jesus would do if he were around today, because I'm not omniscient, but based upon what I've read I SERIOUSLY DOUBT that Jesus would cut me off in heavy traffic doing 75 mph and then slam on brakes. I'm just sayin'.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:05 PM | Comments (5)

June 08, 2004

Insert Joke Here

This is just too easy. Let's see:

"Drop the Chalupa" joke setup - check.
Perp's last name ready made for mockery - check.
"Food Rage" tie-in for a longer monologue - checkity, check check.

Yep. It's Do It Yourself Comedy Tuesday. I'll be here all week.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 12:38 PM | Comments (1)

A Cornucopia of What The Hell?

First of all, I demand to know why Tara Reid was in my dream last night. It involved some wacky teenage horror-movie cum comedy shenanigans, and I had a really big axe and was gleefully killing bad guys. But Tara Reid? The. Hell. And now on with the post:

Everyone's been spending a lot of time lamenting or castigating the wackos that populate the fringes of politics. Well, folks, I'm here to offer you a little perspective. Internet Fandoms put those wackjob politicos to shame.

Read this (WARNING: contains gay hobbits, bizarre multi-gender love triangles, grifting, and inappropriate language). As an inveterate lurker, I remember reading references to a lot of this stuff on the LiveJournals of other fandom types. I figured they were just putting on a show for entertainment purposes--I mean, who knows why people do what they do on the internet? This also explains why I lurk. Read. Enjoy. Have a "what the hell?" moment, and then return to your regularly scheduled life, secure in the knowledge that no matter how crazy you think someone may be, there's always another person (or two) out there ready to crank the crazy all the way up to eleven.

Helpful glossary of terms for the non-fandom oriented:
LOTR (Lord of the Rings)
slash (category of fan fiction in which the intra-character relationships are homosexual)
LJ - Livejournal

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:35 AM | Comments (4)

June 02, 2004


Yes, I am posting a lot today. Need frequent breaks from the tedium of the project I'm working on. But here's the thing. Last week as I was driving home I got behind a car with a vanity license plate. No biggie, except that this license plate was emblazoned with the word EARHOLE. Earhole? That struck me as odd, and so naturally I became obsessed with trying to figure out the origin of the Earhole. My conclusions were not favorable to the driver. Either he was

  • An Ear Nose and Throat specialist whose idea for self-promotion turned out a bit goofier than he intended (Earhole? Why not ENT-man or Eyeball or Nostril? I seriously doubt those plates are taken).
  • A loser who reallyreallyreally wanted to be cool and put "Asshole" on his plate and when he was told he couldn't, cleverly decided to replace the "ass" with "ear." I bet he and his buddy Beavis really got a kick out of that one.
  • A sadist who knows how crashingly dull the daily commute is, and who wanted to torture his fellow drivers by getting a totally nonsensical license plate that would force the more anal-retentive among them to ponder its non-meaning to the point of insanity.
  • If it's the last one, I'm thinking of returning Mr. Earhole's favor by getting a vanity plate that reads Toenail. Or Uvula. Or Phalange.

    Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:01 PM | Comments (4)


Cost of overnight hospitalization for acute pancreatitis (canine): $347.50

Cost of previous month's treatment for severe gastroenteritis brought on by eating God knows what (canine): $260.67

Knowledge that The Dog From Hell is probably too mean to die, but that it won't stop her from depleting your savings account: Priceless.

And not in a good way.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:04 AM | Comments (1)

What I Would Have Posted About Memorial Day

If other things hadn't sucked the life out of me. I just finished reading Flags of Our Fathers, about the men in the famous Iwo Jima flagraising photo. It was fascinating, not just because I don't know much about the Pacific Theatre, but because it offers a lot of relevant insight into the ways in which the media create the story of war thorugh images. Particularly interesting is the revelation of jealous backbiting directed at the fellow who took the famous snapshot. Not that the book is a big lecture--quite the opposite. But you get just as much of a feel for the author's shamefaced realization that he was an idiot about his father's and his father's comrades' war experiences as you do information about the fight for Iwo Jima.

After reading this, Ghost Soldiers, and The Rape of Nanking (which has a 445 customer review flamewar going on its Amazon page), let's just say I can understand why my Uncle, who was in the Marines and drove the landing craft for the island fighting, doesn't particularly care for Japanese food or cars. He never says anything about his service, and he never says anything about the Japanese, but he draws the line at cars and cuisine. Given what those Marines went through, and the trouble many of them had with returning home to a "normal life," I think that's just as reasonable a way of dealing with it as any. And I feel pretty shamefaced about my reaction to his polite refusal to attend my high school graduation dinner at a Japanese steakhouse--that he should just "get over it, I mean, it was, like, FORTY YEARS AGO!" Gah. Seventeen year old girls should probably all be given a mandatory "get over yourself" bitchslap immediately preceding college. Actually, they should probably be given a preliminary "yeah, you're an adolescent. AND?" bitchslap on their fourteenth birthday. Not that it would in any way stem the tide of self-absorbed stupidity, but it might make them feel better twenty or thirty years down the road, when they remember the stupidity and wince.

And so, to conclude this somewhat disjointed post: read Flags of Our Fathers. Thank you, veterans and soldiers. And to those of you who think it's cool to advocate that soldiers kill their officers, or to compare soldiers to slaves (link via Baldilocks): drop dead. No, wait. Read the book, and THEN drop dead. Preferably from shame, but hey, I'm not picky.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:36 AM | Comments (1)

June 01, 2004

Trying to Forget Memorial Day

I know that the burning question on all of your minds after this long weekend is, "So, BAW, how was your Memorial Day weekend?"

Not so good. As you know, when last we saw BAW, she was struggling valiantly with an intermittently vomiting Boy, attempting to get numerous work projects done, and completing preparations for The Great Room Painting Project. Let's hop in the Wayback Machine and turn the dial to Friday, May 28th at 10:30 a.m., as BAW and a tired Boy enter their humble abode to discover:

An empty container on the floor of the den. An empty bacon container, that surprisingly enough, had previously housed ONE POUND OF UNCOOKED BACON. Where could this uncooked bacon be? Ever alert to danger, BAW noticed the conspicuous absence of The Dog From Hell, and the neat hole torn in the bacon package, through which said Dog had extracted the uncooked bacony goodness. A brief room-to-room search turned up the Dog From Hell, who was summarily tossed outdoors. The Boy was ensconced on the sofa with crackers and Gatorade and set to watching Thomas videos, as BAW searched the house for traces of bacon. There were none. "This will not be good," murmured BAW as she returned to the den.

Saturday dawned bright and cheery, mainly because BAW was meeting a friend at the mall for some shopping. Hublet expressed some dismay of the "What if The Boy vomits again?" variety, but BAW breezily reassured Hublet and leapt into the purple pickup truck, making haste mallward. If Hublet noticed the skidmarks BAW left on the driveway, he didn't comment. After a fabulous shopping trip and lunch at carb-conscious Ruby Tuesdays (and only one phonecall from Hublet), BAW returned home to find an improved Boy and a dog who was beginning to look a bit peaked. Alas, The Boy was unable to attend the birthday party across the street, but he did enjoy his dinner of mashed potatoes and apple sauce.

By Sunday, The Dog From Hell was looking peaked indeed. BAW was in the depths of painting The Boy's room in a shade of yellow that the manufacturers had misleadingly titled "First Light." What they failed to mention was that the First Light in question was that which would greet you if you lived on the surface of the sun. The Boy, however, was pleased. BAW was exhausted, The Dog was groaning, and Hublet was making unsuccessful attempts at yard work and preparing to teach an SAT prep course. The house resembled a military staging area if the troops in question were comprised of Thomas trains and Little People, but BAW resolutely stepped over the carnage in her quest to get at least two walls done. Sunday night found The Boy camped out on the floor of BAW and Hublet's room, a groaning dog under the bed, and a cat who refused to be dislodged at the foot of the bed.

On Monday, there was more vomit. From The Dog, this time. So there was a trip to the vet, a trip to Target and PetSmart and McDonalds while waiting to hear from the vet that The Dog From Hell had contracted acute pancreatitis from eating a pound of uncooked bacon, a trip home sans The Dog, some diarrhea (The Boy this time), the completion of painting, shelf and picture hanging, and room setting up, a quick dinner of whatever was handy, and a viewing of the Monster's Inc. DVD.

And so Tuesday finds BAW ready to return to work, mainly because meeting insane deadlines is so much more relaxing than being at home.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:00 AM | Comments (4)

May 20, 2004

Linky Dinky Do

Betcha didn't know that Gollum was multi-talented.

Well, he is.

The Towers are the players, y'all.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:08 AM | Comments (2)

Life, Truth, and a Confession

Lots of stuff to chat about today.

  • Good discussion at Critical Mass about the decision to go to grad or law school, protracted adolescence, life, the universe, and everything. I took a couple of years off before grad school, and I think that those years probably contributed to my decision not to get the PhD. There's nothing like the real world to finely calibrate the BS detector and give you a little perspective.
  • I was watching the Angel finale last night--liked it, for the most part--and the ubiquitous commercial came on. Apparently the folks at are no longer satisfied with pointing out that cigarettes can kill you because they contain nasty chemicals. Nope, now they have a whole commercial about how cigarettes can kill you because they are hot and can BURN YOUR HOUSE DOWN! OMGWTFBBQ3l3v3n!!!!!111!!! The evil cigarette companies aren't pursuing some sort of flame retardant safety cigarette technology which probably costs a whole lot of money to produce--money which is probably in short supply thanks to lawsuits and the efforts of organizations like They're EVIL! It's an EPIDEMIC! They must BE STOPPED! Reaching much, What next, cigarette companies come to your house in the dark of night and steal kittens for use in occult blood rituals? Shut up, Seriously.
  • Since we're on the topic of consipiracy theories, I'm sure you'll be gratified to know that the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy has finally been revealed. The truth is out there, people. Praise the Lord and pass me a kitten. Yes, I secretly work for Big Tobacco, we are trying to burn down your homes and ruin your lives, and it's all possible through the power of kitten blood! Mu-ha-ha!

And finally, I realize I may be stripped of my North Carolina citizenship for this, but I have a confession to make: I hate Carl Sandburg. I hate his cutesy, self-consciously folksy writing, I hate his stupid made up words like "slimpsing" and his ridiculous sentence constructions ("chubbed their chubs" indeed), and I hate the fact that his family bought a lovely antebellum farm house and proceeded to furnish it with milk crates. I have a firey, burning hate for Carl Sandburg, and I've been carrying this burden with me far too long.

That said, I will probably be reading his stupid story about the stupid rag doll and the stupid broom handle and their stupid weddding procession and who was in it to The Boy again tonight, and I will be forced to give voice to this hateful man's horrible made up words and twee style. Gah! Gah, Gah, Gah!

"But he's Carl Sandburg!" you will say. "He's a folksy treasure!" you will say. "He's salt of the earth and the kids love his Rootabaga Stories!" you will say. To which I reply, "Bah!" Kids also like to put buckets on their heads, sand down their pants, and ketchup on their garden peas. They are hardly arbiters of taste.

You are the bane of my nightly existence, Carl Sandburg. A pox on you! And a lesser pox on my mom, who bought the stupid book.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:34 AM | Comments (15)

May 18, 2004

Post-Weekend Jottings

Was out and about yesterday, sorry for lack of post, but I did learn something: when a friend describes an outpatient procedure as "Nothing compared to childbirth," smack that friend.

Anyway, I wanted to share with you the lovely way in which I was awakened on Saturday morning...

The Boy: Daddy? Are you going to go potty?

Hublet: Yes.

The Boy: Are you pee-peeing daddy?

Hublet: Yes.

The Boy: Tuck your wee-wee in, daddy.

Hublet: (Sigh) Okay, son.

The Boy: Are you pee-peeing daddy? Oh! You're doing pee-pee!

Hublet: (Deeper sigh) Sure am.

The Boy: Good job, daddy! You went pee-pee in the potty!

Hublet: Thanks, son.

Ah, the wonders of a surprise potty patrol. It's like the Spanish Inquisition, in a way.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:09 AM | Comments (6)

May 14, 2004

Better Late than Never

It's Friday, and I'm tired of being irritated. So here's something to brighten your day. Read and feel warm and fuzzy. Or give cash. I'm late to this bandwagon, but donations are open until the end of the day.

In other news, we'll be picking up the big boy mattress for the big boy bed this afternoon, which means The Boy gets to ride in the purple truck. Yes, I own a purple truck. It is very, very, purple--a no-frills Nissan we bought from a 7 fingered man in Rocky Mount after the untimely demise of our Maxima--and I dearly love that truck.

The Boy loves the purple truck because of the increased visibility from being up high and in front. We don't let him ride in the truck often because he has to be up front in his car seat (no passenger side airbag, never fear). But he's become a rather avid front seat driver.

This is all my fault for telling him that red means stop. So everytime he sees brake lights, I get "We need to stop, mommy!" Or, "We going too fast, mommy! We need to slow down!" It's like riding with a tiny 65 year old driver's ed instructor.

For the record, I do not drive like a bat out of hell. Also, I won't be informing my mother of this, because, as a frequent user of the Invisible Passenger Side Brake Pedal, she will be unduly amused.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:14 AM | Comments (4)

May 11, 2004

Meme of the Day

Call me sheeple, people.

List of books, ones I've read in bold, occasional opinionated editorial commentary in italics.

Can you tell I spent most of my time on Medieval, Renaissance, 19th century, and Southern writers and avoided anything modern like the plague, plague, plague?

UPDATE: Forgot to mention where I got the meme--sorry FAD!


Achebe, Chinua - Things Fall Apart

Agee, James - A Death in the Family

Austen, Jane - Pride and Prejudice

Baldwin, James - Go Tell It on the Mountain

Beckett, Samuel - Waiting for Godot

Bellow, Saul - The Adventures of Augie March

Brontë, Charlotte - Jane Eyre

Brontë, Emily - Wuthering Heights

Camus, Albert - The Stranger

Cather, Willa - Death Comes for the Archbishop

Chaucer, Geoffrey - The Canterbury Tales

Chekhov, Anton - The Cherry Orchard

Chopin, Kate - The Awakening - wanted to smack the protagonist often and hard. Was vv pleased with the suicide. I am not patient with angst, particularly when angst is drowning in lush tropical imagery. Oh, what EVER, lady. Drown already and let me get to Flannery O'Connor. Geez.

Conrad, Joseph - Heart of Darkness

Cooper, James Fenimore - The Last of the Mohicans

Crane, Stephen - The Red Badge of Courage

Dante - Inferno

de Cervantes, Miguel - Don Quixote --Only Excerpts, but in, maybe half a bold?

Defoe, Daniel - Robinson Crusoe

Dickens, Charles - A Tale of Two Cities

Dostoyevsky, Fyodor - Crime and Punishment

Douglass, Frederick - Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

Dreiser, Theodore - An American Tragedy

Dumas, Alexandre - The Three Musketeers

Eliot, George - The Mill on the Floss - The only unbolded work on this list that I actually regret not having read. Will probably read one day.

Ellison, Ralph - Invisible Man

Emerson, Ralph Waldo - Selected Essays

Faulkner, William - As I Lay Dying

Faulkner, William - The Sound and the Fury

Fielding, Henry - Tom Jones

Fitzgerald, F. Scott - The Great Gatsby

Flaubert, Gustave - Madame Bovary

Ford, Ford Madox - The Good Soldier

Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von - Faust - this is one of those works that gets referenced by so many other works that even though I haven't read it I feel like I've read it...does that make sense?

Golding, William - Lord of the Flies

Hardy, Thomas - Tess of the d'Urbervilles

Hawthorne, Nathaniel - The Scarlet Letter

Heller, Joseph - Catch 22 Hated it, btw. No, really. HATED it.

Hemingway, Ernest - A Farewell to Arms

Homer - The Iliad

Homer - The Odyssey

Hugo, Victor - The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Hurston, Zora Neale - Their Eyes Were Watching God

Huxley, Aldous - Brave New World

Ibsen, Henrik - A Doll's House

James, Henry - The Portrait of a Lady

James, Henry - The Turn of the Screw

Joyce, James - A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man - Read three pages and literally hurled it out my apartment window. I am allergic to Joyce, and he and his stupid moo cow can go blow. The only book I "Cliff's Noted" in undergrad.

Kafka, Franz - The Metamorphosis

Kingston, Maxine Hong - The Woman Warrior

Lee, Harper - To Kill a Mockingbird

Lewis, Sinclair - Babbitt

London, Jack - The Call of the Wild

Mann, Thomas - The Magic Mountain

Marquez, Gabriel García - One Hundred Years of Solitude

Melville, Herman - Bartleby the Scrivener

Melville, Herman - Moby Dick

Miller, Arthur - The Crucible

Morrison, Toni - Beloved

O'Connor, Flannery - A Good Man is Hard to Find

O'Neill, Eugene - Long Day's Journey into Night

Orwell, George - Animal Farm

Pasternak, Boris - Doctor Zhivago

Plath, Sylvia - The Bell Jar --only some of it. Made me want to stick my head in an oven, so if she was going for the evocation of empathy in the reader, I guess she was successful.

Poe, Edgar Allan - Selected Tales--all of them, actually, "selected" and not.

Proust, Marcel - Swann's Way

Pynchon, Thomas - The Crying of Lot 49

Remarque, Erich Maria - All Quiet on the Western Front - In 10th grade. I particularly liked the description of bodies and their parts entangled on the barbed wire. So did my 10th grade World History teacher--I learned as much about ballistics and shrapnel wounds as I did names and dates.

Rostand, Edmond - Cyrano de Bergerac

Roth, Henry - Call It Sleep

Salinger, J.D. - The Catcher in the Rye--read as a teenager, found it pretentious angst-twaddle then...would probably gouge out my eyes rather than read it now.

Shakespeare, William - Hamlet

Shakespeare, William - Macbeth

Shakespeare, William - A Midsummer Night's Dream

Shakespeare, William - Romeo and Juliet

Shaw, George Bernard - Pygmalion

Shelley, Mary - Frankenstein

Silko, Leslie Marmon - Ceremony

Solzhenitsyn, Alexander - One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich --may have read this, but can't really remember, so it doesn't count.

Sophocles - Antigone

Sophocles - Oedipus Rex

Steinbeck, John - The Grapes of Wrath

Stevenson, Robert Louis - Treasure Island

Stowe, Harriet Beecher - Uncle Tom's Cabin

Swift, Jonathan - Gulliver's Travels

Thackeray, William - Vanity Fair

Thoreau, Henry David - Walden --Almost threw this one out the window, as well.

Tolstoy, Leo - War and Peace

Turgenev, Ivan - Fathers and Sons

Twain, Mark - The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Voltaire - Candide - Only excerpts, and only in high school, so it doesn't count.

Vonnegut, Kurt Jr. - Slaughterhouse-Five

Walker, Alice - The Color Purple

Wharton, Edith - The House of Mirth

Welty, Eudora - Collected Stories

Whitman, Walt - Leaves of Grass

Wilde, Oscar - The Picture of Dorian Gray

Williams, Tennessee - The Glass Menagerie

Woolf, Virginia - To the Lighthouse - Virginia Woolf makes me itch. So many words, so little actually happening. That was the case with Mrs. Dalloway, anyway. Not a fan of the stream of consciousness stuff from across the pond. Faulkner, however, doesn't bother me when he does it. Don't know why that is.

Wright, Richard - Native Son

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:32 AM | Comments (5)

May 10, 2004

Welcome to Hell Week

Okay, posting may be light this week, and the posts you do get will most probably be quite vitriolic. This is Hell Week for me, including:

Tonight's visit from a friend I keep thinking I've gotten rid of, but who keeps getting over whatever the hell it is that I've said to her lately and calling me back and yes, I'm a big fat wussy loser and won't ever force the issue because it's one of those "we've been friends since we were 15 but I'm not entirely sure why" relationships and maybe she's stopped being a self-absorbed little twit by now and hope springs eternal and Oh Dear GOD screw it this is a big ball of suck. Run-on sentence ENTIRELY intentional. Gah. Double-plus Gah, even.

Now that the students are gone, I have to do all my work. For the next year. In about a month and a half. FWIW, I much preferred grading a billion exams in a day and a half to this extended deadline trauma from hell.

Softball season ruins our lives. Schedules are off, dinners are rushed, and there's just not enough Ben-Gay ointment in the world, thank you very much.

We have not one, but two End-of-Year Award events this week. So the same people get the same awards AGAIN and we have to pretend that our Vice-Chancellor is not a completely unfunny freak who insists on "entertaining" us with costumes and skits. For THREE HOURS.

On the home front, there's organizing and weeding out and renting storage and buying mattresses and preparing for The Big Boy Bed Shift of DOOOOOOMMMM! Plus now that the days are longer and the sun is out, I want to pave the driveway, replace the kitchen floor, paint the bathroom and put a tile backsplash in the kitchen. Oh, and repaint the front porch, treat the deck, relandscape around the back and finish the flower garden. NOW. And no I'm not being unrealistic. Shut up.

In addition to two nights spent with softball and one with a friend I don't know why I'm friends with, Hublet wants me to interrupt The Boy's nap on Thursday afternoon to tote him to Hublet's school so that a bunch of surly rural teens can look at him while they eat cupcakes. May I just say, "Yay?" Plus, I have to make the cupcakes. AND bake a stupid cake for the stupid end of the year awards events. I can't even eat the damn things. I hate everything, so there.

So instead of spending what little time I do have tackling the pile of work before me, or making lists to organize my life, I am whining on my blog.

And the unkindest cut of all? I won't be able to go view the World's Most Perfect Male Specimen this week, due to schedule trauma.

The only bright spot? I got Dance-Dance-Revolution for the PS2 for Mother's Day, and I am enjoying it very much. There's really not enough Ben-Gay ointment in the world, though.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:55 AM | Comments (2)

May 07, 2004

Hyperbole Update

Well, I gotta admit it--when Hyperbole's on a roll, she's on a roll!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:45 AM | Comments (1)

May 05, 2004

A Visit from Hyperbole

Well, it's been a while since I've had a chance to just kick back with a beer and relax...drat. Jinxed myself again. Someone's at the door...

Hyperbole: I feel dirty.

Me: Moreso than usual?

Hyperbole: Oh, are you channeling Irony now? I'm trying to be serious! Look! No outrageously exaggerated statements in what, two sentences now?

Me: A lot of exclamation points, though. Okay, okay. I'm here to help. What's the problem, H?

Hyperbole: Well, you know things have been going badly for me financially lately...

Me: How is that possible? Your Hollywood "crushing of dissent" contracts and your standing "chilling effect" contract with academe should have you rolling in it! And, hello? Election year? Did you even pay attention at all in that investment seminar you attended?

Hyperbole: Well, remember that super-hottie I hooked up with in San Cabo?

Me: You mean, Foreshadowing?

Hyperbole: Yeah. Turns out he only wanted me for my money.

Me: He ripped you off?

Hyperbole: Totally. Although I probably should have known something was up when he kept watching all those Lifetime Channel movies; you know, the ones where the man has a deep, dark secret and rips off the woman or betrays her or something? Oh, and taking notes on them. Lots of notes.

Me: Oh, good lord.

Hyperbole: Anyway, so now I'm kinda broke, and I took a couple of jobs that made me feel all dirty.

Me: Oh, no. No you didn't.

Hyperbole: Look, I was desperate! And, how'd you know it was me, anyway?

Me: Like anyone BUT you could come up with stuff like this. And it spawned a whole hyperbolic showdown all over the internet. I hope you're getting a good per word rate, here.

Hyperbole: Not quite good enough, I'm afraid.

Me: Don't tell me you had something to do with this, too. Dear God, woman, how many times do I have to tell you to stop working with this guy?

Hyperbole: At least one or two more, apparently. I just bought a new car.

Me: You're right to feel dirty.

Hyperbole: Hey!

Me: No, seriously. Actions, consequences. You needed cash, now I have to use a clorox-based eyewash for days in hopes that the searing agony will help me forget about these men and their self-important kerfuffling. And also, if I see the word McCarthy ANYWHERE in the next week...well, I know where you live, is all I'm saying, H.

Hyperbole: That'll be $25.

Me: OUT!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:38 AM | Comments (4)

May 04, 2004

This Is Why I Don't Visit My South Carolina Relatives

They tend to get into gunfights on the highway. Those of you who've been reading for a while might remember a couple of posts I did about the more, um, eccentric elements of my family and their penchant for shooting things. Well, let's add another little incident to the list, shall we?

Camden, SC is a sleepy little town with a nice historical section and a yearly Derby race as its only claims to fame. My aunt and uncle live there, along with his massively extended family (which includes the crazy gun-happy woman) and on my aunt's side, one of her sons, his wife, their two grown kids and their spouses and babies. My uncle is a big politico, so he knows everyone in the entire county, just about. So there's your background.

The incident in question involved my second cousin (aunt's grandson), who was returning home from a visit to the local Lowes hardware store. Apparently when he pulled out of the parking lot, he annoyed a gentleman already proceeding down the highway. This gentleman then took it upon himself to ram my cousin's truck repeatedly.

Then this fellow whipped out a 9mm and started firing at my cousin. My cousin called 911 on his cell phone and then whipped his own handgun out of the glove box and returned fire. In his defence, he said he was "only aiming at the wheels." Of course, I've known my cousin to be somewhat, umm, inflammatory on occasion. It is entirely possible that his actions escalated the whole incident--not to excuse the crazy raging man, but let's be clear: my cousin? Not an innocent babe, okay? Captain Road Rage fired a total of 19 shots at my cousin. Turns out he (Road Rage) was on drugs. Imagine that.

The cops were very nice to my cousin, but they did have to disarm him and remove the hunting knife he also carries (because apparently Camden is overrun by wild game--the hell?) from his truck. The local magistrate, however, was not quite so sanguine about the incident. I believe the conversation went something like, "Not having some g-dammned OK Corral in MY TOWN!" and he threw them both in jail.

My Aunt, who raised three of the wildest boys EVER--remember the lion incident? That was my cousin's dad--did manage not to drop dead from the shock. Her only comment was that she was apparently wasting her time worrying about the grandson currently in Iraq--the real action was here in town.

So. Yeah. My family.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:32 AM | Comments (8)

May 03, 2004

Generic Blog Entry

To explain my lack of a blog entry. Damn you, real life!

Had good weekend. Fun at zoo. Finger better. Life good.

I know you're waiting for this part, so here goes: BUT

Awoke this morning to discover that stove has been on all night, because apparently stove has decided to ignore that little contraption called the "off switch." Stove, or Christine, as we now call her, merely went into stealth mode after I lovingly prepared The Boy's chicken nuggets (now in exciting Veggie Tales shapes--but that's a whole other "The Hell?" moment) and turned her off. The control panel didn't indicate that the stove was on, but on it was.

So now Christine sits in the middle of our kitchen floor, after Hublet and I manhandled her out of her customary position and I squeezed behind her to pull the giant plug. As an aside - I really ought to move the stove occasionally when cleaning the kitchen. Ew.

The upshot is that now I don't trust the stove. I realize that's completely irrational, but nothing freaks me out like electric appliances with minds of their own. I have visions of the plug sliding itself across the floor and reconnecting with its outlet while we're away, and evil Christine melting a hole through the floor to FREEDOM!!!

I had the stupid stove repaired in January, because there was a connection problem with the broiler coil--it wasn't getting any juice. Well obviously that problem got solved with interest. Three strikes and you're out, stove, and refusing to STOP cooking was strike three.

Gah. And I had so many goofy blog-type observations prepared for today, too. Sigh. Off to Sears or Lowes or Oven Land or whatever the hell. On the bright side--we're all spared the meatloaf that was planned for tonight's tasty repast.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:22 PM | Comments (4)

April 30, 2004

Moment of Non-Zen

Okay, if it's going to take you 4 tries to back your gigantic POS-mobile into one of the teeny tiny transportation-mandated spaces here on campus, and it's lunch hour, and it's Friday, and there are buses and bikes and pedestrians and a line of other cars about A MILE LONG waiting to get past you and your gigantic POS-mobile, perhaps you could just PULL STRAIGHT INTO THE SPACE, LOSER! It's not like you're gonna be making any speedy getaways in that car.

Just a suggestion.

In more mundane news, Hublet and I will be toting Captain Underpants, a.k.a. Gordon Gekko, a.k.a. The Boy to tour the fabulous environs of the Asheboro Zoo tomorrow. I plan to enjoy the heck out of it and buy cheesy t-shirts for the whole family (what are they now, $50 apiece? For that money I could buy the Tolkien Studies book, but The Boy wouldn't look nearly as cute sporting a volume dedicated to JRRT as he would in a zebra shirt).

BTW, Clarabel has arrived! And I have discovered that if I want The Boy to poop in the potty, I have to bring the mountain to Mohammed, so to speak. In other words, he sits on the potty by his train table and does his business while not interrupting his more important business. I foresee porta-potties parked by his Laz-E-Boy recliner, and it is not a happy thought.

On the mixed emotions front, Erin O'Connor, one of the sharpest academic bloggers out there, has cut the cord on academe--or is in the process of the cord-cutting--to teach high school English. Here's hoping she continues her blog. And Graduate TA's everywhere owe her a debt of gratitude, as she will hopefully bring down the number of functionally illiterate college freshmen who traditionally populate TA classrooms. Yes, I do speak from experience.

And finally, a haiku about the joys of lunchtime Target shopping:

Shiny bullseye store!
Cannot resist your allure.
Thank God it's payday.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:21 PM | Comments (5)

April 28, 2004


Potty Update--Because you care, dammit! I know you do! The Boy stayed dry at daycare all day yesterday. Filled up his little sticker chart. DHL shipping assures me that Clarabel should be on my porch when we arrive home this afternoon. Am I wrong to be waiting for some mysterious other shoe to drop? 'Cause I am.

News, News, News. Whenever I watch the news I am struck by the overuse of the term "vicious" in reference to this campaign. Umm, guys? Not seeing vicious here. Seeing politics. Are our memories so short that we forget every four years or so exactly what politics entail?

Or maybe I'm a little jaded. To me, vicious politics are more along these lines:

May 1856 -- S. C. Representative Preston Brooks caned Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner on the floor of the Senate after Sumner made his famous “Crime against Kansas” speech. In the speech, Sumner harshly criticized many members of Congress, including Brooks’ uncle, South Carolina’s Andrew P. Butler.

Now if Tom Daschle and Bill Frist start throwing chairs at each other during Congressional sessions, well, then I'll give some credence to the whole "vicious" thing. And I'll probably follow CSPAN more avidly, as well.

The Finger of Doom has stopped its cursed oozing and looks a tad less swollen. Huzzah. And may I just say that Henckels knives are very good at cutting? Yeah. Nice, clean incision.

Reading: Have been thinking for a while about putting current reading lists on the blog. Haven't done it yet, but here's what I've got going on right now:

STIFF: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers Fascinating info.; but by an author who's a little too impressed with her own humor.

The Pity of War
Niall Ferguson has an engaging style, but I find that now as in 10th grade, the intricacies of the international relations make my eyes roll back in my head. Still, I struggle on.

Night Watch
Terry Pratchett is a god. Carry on.

The Warden
Ditto for Trollope.

And here's something I would dearly love to read, but...SIXTY DOLLARS! Dude. No can do right now. Although it's inspiring me to finally pull the trigger and finish The Silmarillion.

So, read any good books lately?

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 12:15 PM | Comments (10)

April 27, 2004

Burning question

So, how long does a cut have to bleed before I go get a stitch in it?

Last evening I mistook my left index finger for an onion, and gave it a mighty CHOP with a serrated knife. That freaking HURT, by the way. I managed to stanch the bloodflow by applying an Elmo tourniquet (a band-aid pulled VERY tightly), but the darn wound just keeps reopening and oozing. Needless to say, typing is not going well.

Oh, and I have to go get a filling replaced this morning as well. Color me cranky. It's probably a good thing that my typing is impaired--no doubt today's blogging would be evil in the extreme.

Brief update on The Boy and his potty, or The Rapacious Capitalist in my House: his reward for filling up his first potty chart (aside from stickers) was Annie, one of Thomas' coaches. It took him two months to fill those first seven spaces.

We told him that after he got Annie he could work on Clarabel, the other passenger coach. Well, if I was hoping for motivation, it worked.

Since yesterday at 5, he has added three stickers to his second chart (which he insisted I make, and oversaw the creation of, complete with photo of Clarabel), and he has a new mantra: "Wanna sit on potty. I want Clarabel."

He even pulled the chart off the wall and took it with him to daycare. I believe he will be able to put "goal-oriented" and "driven" on future resumes and not be lying when he does so.

The only problem? I had to order Clarabel since none of the local stores had her in stock. I've been preparing him for this lack of instant gratification, but we shall see.

And since I seem to be raising Gordon Gekko ("Greed is good. Greed works!"), we will be upping the ante for future "rewards."

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:23 AM | Comments (6)

April 22, 2004

Quote of the Day

Okay, it's a long quote, but apropos in light of what sometimes passes for "debate" in an election year. From Trollope's The Warden, in which the title character finds himself villified by the paper of record:

'Write to The Jupiter,' suggested the bishop.

'Yes,' said the archdeacon, more worldly wise than his father, 'yes, and be smothered with ridicule; tossed over and over again with scorn; shaken this way and that, as a rat in the mouth of a practised terrier. You will leave out some word or letter in your answer, and the ignorance of the cathedral clergy will be harped upon; you will make some small mistake, which will be a falsehood, or some admission, which will be self-condemnation; you will find yourself to have been vulgar, ill-tempered, irreverend, and illiterate, and the chances are ten to one, but that being a clergyman, you will have been guilty of blasphemy! A man may have the best of causes, the best of talents, and the best of tempers; he may write as well as Addison, or as strongly as Junius; but even with all this he cannot successfully answer, when attacked by The Jupiter. In such matters it is omnipotent. What the Czar is in Russia, or the mob in America, that The Jupiter is in England.

Nope, nuthin' new under the sun.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 12:52 PM | Comments (4)

April 20, 2004

Dirty Pants and a Bad Attitude

Yeah, that sums me up today. Dog from Hell has transitioned into full-blown middle-of-the-night diarrhea, Boy wanted to be contrary about his sartorial choices, and somehow I got chocolate on my butt between dealing with traumas one and two and getting to work. Yes, it is chocolate. Yes, I am postitive. Dammit. As I am still Atkins-ing AND have just retrieved these pants from the dryer, I have NO idea about the origin of the pants-o-cocoa, and I'm less than thrilled by the looks people give me after I tell them what I've been cleaning up and they notice the stain. Grr.

So off to Target I go, in search of some carpet cleaning goodness. My usual brand, Spot Shot, works very well on pet stains, but alas, a can doesn't last very long. So I pick that up, and get some oxygenated Woolite. And some Kaopectate for the dog. And of course the DVD for Master and Commander--only $15.99! And an Atkins almond brownie bar. Which, I just discovered, tastes like an oversweetened odor eater. Oh, the disappointment! Usually Atkins "candy" is pretty good, but this was just--gah.

Then off to McDonalds, where I have the misfortune to be behind some idiot in a white pickup truck with a personalized license plate "O2BINH20," a rack for waterskis, and a bunch of those fake bullet hole appliques on the truck. This caused me some cognitive dissonance. I wanted to lean out my window and yell, "What, you're a water sports thug? An OG with a jet ski? Please. You look to be about 38, a white guy sportin' some serious country-western facial hair, and this is the image you want to convey? And what the hell image is it, anyway?" I am always somewhat disturbed when I am confronted by too much post-modern pastiche on the part of my fellow drivers.

So now I'm back, and feeling compelled to share the ridiculous minutiae of my life. Can you tell that there are only three weeks left until graduation? Summer has never seemed so sweet.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:46 PM | Comments (3)

April 19, 2004


Okay, I hurt. We had sunny, hot weather this weekend, which translated roughly into:


So there was mowing. And digging, and pine needle strewing, and flower planting, and black widow spider avoiding, and impromptu lessons on earthworms, and exterior window washing/pollen removing, and numerous attempts to stop The Boy from destroying something as he "helped" us in his too big gardening gloves.

So I'm tired and sore, the interior of the house is still a wreck, and after all that it still doesn't look like I've really done anything with the yard. Plus I'm having some kind of weird reaction to the pine needles or the grass--itchy, bumpy ankles. Hello cortizone cream, my old friend!

Oh, and this morning the dog from hell decided to help us greet the day by garnishing the carpet with poop.

Well hip hooray and welcome to Monday. And if you tell me that things can only go up from here, I'll beat you to death with my tube of cortizone cream.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 07:53 AM | Comments (8)

April 16, 2004

Spring Fever

It is 70 degrees, sunny and fabulous outside. So why am I here?

I plan to remedy that right now. Have a good weekend, y'all. There's a tiny train at Pullen Park with The Boy's name on it.

Back Monday.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:32 PM | Comments (0)

We Interrupt This Blog

For a completely superficial announcement. Okay, so I'm skimming Yahoo news this morning, procrastinating doing some odious publication work, and I just have this to say:

Carson Kressley? Yeah. I know you spend all your time telling men how to dress and look their best, so I cannot understand why you have allowed yourself to be photographed for ads while sporting the WORST HAIR IN CHRISTENDOM! Seriously, what is that limp stringy crap dangling from your scalp?

Seems like your other four cohorts in metrosexual makeovers could at least find a moment to pull you aside and give you a real haircut. Dude, seriously. Bad. Hair. DECADE.

Oddly enough, you look a lot like Martin Fry. He also hasn't changed his hair since 1982. And I say that as a big ABC fan.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:33 AM | Comments (2)

April 13, 2004

The Hell?

Okay, so I'm trying to check Across the Atlantic, but I keep getting some stupid page for

This is bizarre. Blogrolling is showing them as updated, but I CAN'T GET THERE!


Did I miss something, or is my web browser possessed? Oh, and by the way, Go blow.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:32 AM | Comments (0)

April 12, 2004

Easter Update

Back from a short Easter trip to my folks' house. A large time was had by all, but especially by The Boy yesterday at our post-church Easter lunch.

The Piedmont Club had the Easter Bunny present for the meal, and there was Much. Excitement.

Here's the complimentary Polaroid:

Notice the slight Deer In Headlights look. We had dreaded The Boy's reaction upon seeing a giant bobble-headed rabbit, but he wasn't afraid. On the contrary, he chased the poor sap around the restaurant, and even when he was forcibly returned to the table kept yelling, "Hi, Easter Bunny!" at two-minute intervals.

A big day for toddlerdom, indeed.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:00 AM | Comments (4)

April 07, 2004

I Love Arts and Letters Daily

Because you can always find something good to read. This is a review of Revel's Anti-Americanism, and it's a good review. But the part of the analysis that caught my attention was this (it's a big chunk, so click to read it all):

Therein lies another exquisite irony: the costs of anti-Americanism will be borne not by Americans, but by others. And their numbers are vast: Cubans, North Koreans, Zimbabweans, and countless others suffer and starve under their respective tyrannies because the democratic world's chattering classes, obsessed with denouncing the United States, can't be bothered with holding their criminal regimes to account. Meanwhile, in Iraq, fascist rabble, with no discernible political program save a pledge to kill more Americans, try desperately to extinguish the slightest hope of democracy, economic growth, and stability for that long-suffering land; but the world, instead of helping to beat back the wolves at the door, basks in anti-American schadenfreude. How countless are the political problems, cultural pathologies, and humanitarian disasters that fester unnoticed, all over the globe, as the anti-American cult, wallowing in ecstatic bigotry, desperately scrutinizes every utterance of the Bush administration for new critical fodder.

Indeed, it is not the slightest exaggeration to say that in 2004, anti-American sentiment has become the biggest single obstacle to human progress. It sustains repressive dictatorships everywhere; excuses corruption, torture, the oppression of women, and mass murder; provides ideological oxygen for vile, stupid "revolutionary movements" like the Maoist insurgents in Nepal; and has even promoted the spread of disease (as when, for example, Europeans haughtily dismissed Bush's AIDS initiative as insincere - God forbid that they should concur with any policy of the wicked Bush, even at the cost of a few million more African lives). By focusing monomaniacally on "why America is wrong", instead of asking "what is right", the global anti-American elite has massively failed to fulfill the most fundamental responsibility of the intellectual class: to provide dispassionate, truthful analysis that can guide society to make proper decisions. And it has contemptuously cast aside the irreplaceable, post-Cold War opportunity to irreversibly consolidate the "liberal revolution" praised by Revel - in which inheres the only true hope of lasting, global peace and development - all in the name of redressing the gaping psychological insecurities of its members.

None of this is to say that criticism of specific US policies, or aspects of US culture, is not entirely legitimate (and of course, inside the US, the ability to speak out publicly against such things is a cherished, constitutionally guaranteed, and frequently exercised right). Indeed, one is struck, when reading this book, by Revel's repeated emphasis of this very point. The author is hardly a universal apologist for US actions; in fact, he gives many examples of areas in which he disagrees with US government policies. However, Revel's critiques of the US, especially for American readers, can be easily differentiated from those of the anti-American cultists: his criticisms are reasonable, fair-minded, and based on accurate information; whereas those of the professional anti-Americans are unreasonable, unfair, and based on the willful disgregard of all contrary evidence. Rather than legitimate criticism, what Monsieur Revel, and I, deplore is the quasi-religious, obsessive, fanatical brand of anti-Americanism: the kind that blames the United States for every problem, everywhere, first, always, and forever; the kind that automatically identifies with, and supports, any criminal political thug anywhere on the globe, just because he happens to declare himself opposed to the United States; the kind that in essence has no other values or priorities at all, save the insatiable need to denounce the United States; the kind that is congenitally incapable of self-criticism, but searches endlessly, with inexhaustible creativity, for additional evidence that it can use for its interminable, tendentious show trial of the US.

Now we return you to your regularly scheduled international newsfeeds of doom.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:03 AM | Comments (1)

April 06, 2004

Because Nothing Says Freedom

Like fake nipples and pubic hair. Um, Alannis? Thanks for proving once again that in order to shape public debate your mental age doesn't need to exceed fourteen.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:20 AM | Comments (1)

March 31, 2004

End of the World

It's a shameful, shameful day for southerners everywhere when the uber-mag of all things southern doesn't realize that Lard Is Flammable.

Dear God. And they have the temerity to call themselves Southern Living? They publish heart-clogging, tooth-decaying traditional southland recipes every single month--surely they are intimately acquainted with all the sweet mysteries of shortening! But apparently not.

I'm so disillusioned. What next? Recipes for UNSWEETENED TEA? FAT FREE BISCUITS?

Sorry, but if you're from the south and you don't know your way around a can of shortening (and that leaving the can or its contents near or around a heating element can be deadly) then I have no use for you.

Sigh. I can see where this is leading, you know. Right to endless supplies of drecky, middle-of-the-road table fare with no discernable regional oomph. Oh sure, you say. She's overreacting, you say. But when southern cooks lose familiarity with their friend shortening--well, soon everyone will by "frying" their chicken in the oven. And where will we be then? End of the world, people. End of the world.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:58 AM | Comments (8)

March 25, 2004

Ah, Haaah, Haaah!

Here's a little nothing for your Thursday afternoon, but it made me laugh:

Richard Simmons Cited for Slapping Man

Apparently, Captain Video there got huffy when someone made fun of his Sweatin' to the Oldies video. Dude, if you're gonna get slapped by Simmons, at LEAST make it worth your while!

It's not the videos that are mockable, it's the SHORTS! The tiny little 80's nightmare shorts! Gah. They still haunt my dreams...

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 02:57 PM | Comments (3)

March 23, 2004

Okay, Now This is Just Getting Silly

Apparently, not only is The Passion anti-semitic and even a little bit fascist (which made me think that SOMEBODY missed the point, or didn't see it, whatever), IT CAN KILL YOU DEAD, DEAD, DEAD!

Oh, the humanity! When will the eeeeeevillllleeeee stop? Damn you, Mel Gibson, and your crazed mass-murdering fascist movie about Jesus--um, wait. That's not what I meant.

What I meant was, people? Valium. Seriously.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 02:54 PM | Comments (2)

March 19, 2004

Food Snob Update

Was amused by this story because of the Whole Foods connection.

The reaction of the employees fits the stereotype, unfortunately--had the fellow in question come into a local Food Lion, he would have just gotten "help" leaving the store from a couple of bag boys.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:32 AM | Comments (1)

Another Childhood Memory Destroyed

Tomorrow at 1:49 a.m. is the Vernal equinox. As a kid I remember my dad telling me that you can stand an egg on its end during the equinox, and I remember standing eggs up every spring in a sort of bizarre fertility rite/science experiment.

I was telling a couple of friends at work about this the other day, and decided to Google it to figure out why the eggs stood up.

It turns out, alas, to be junk science. Apparently, we were just really good at balancing eggs.

Another piece of my childhood ruined forever. Damn you, science! Sob.

I won't even tell you about my Mary Poppins experiment involving a large umbrella, the deck railing, and an exceptionally windy March day except to say that I have very strong bones indeed.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:50 AM | Comments (5)

March 12, 2004


The world has gone insane:

Krispy Kreme Plans Low-Sugar Alternative.

Nooooooooooo! Look, I might be doing Atkins right now, but by God, when I get to the final phase I'm still gonna indulge in an occasional lard-based sugar glazed confection of doom, carbs be damned.

It's a doughnut. Stop trying to make it a health conscious snack. Grr.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:41 AM | Comments (8)

March 10, 2004

Gotta Love Tradition

In these turbulent and uncertain times, it's refreshing to know that there are some traditions we can cling to. I'm speaking, of course, about the Jayson Blair scandal trajectory, which is a refreshingly mundane take on The Average American Scandal. Let's recap, shall we?

  1. Blair's lying is discovered.

  2. Blair's employer tries to make it go away.

  3. Employer discovers that scandal won't go away; makes Blair go away instead.

  4. Blair writes "tell-all" expose, in which he reveals that other reporters (gasp!) faked datelines. No word on whether the actual stories were fabricated, but the "everyone else was doing it too" is a nice homage to the "poor me" tradition of sympathy mongering.

  5. Blair goes on Larry King to tell his side of the story.

  6. Blair goes through the entire deck of Victim Cards, using race, mental health, and addiction as excuses.

  7. Larry King nods sympathetically, whilst an aide wipes the drool from his chin.

  8. Blair vows to fight valiantly on, while America mentally lumps him into the Tonya Harding category of "Sad Wannabes Who Will Show Up on Celebrity Boxing."

Ah, tradition. Ain't it a wonderful thing?

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:09 AM | Comments (0)

March 08, 2004

Cognitive Dissonance

I had a post on Friday. I wrote it, and posted it, and the computer network here went pffft! and ate it all up. So now it's Monday, and I feel compelled to post, though I've got nothin', as the comedians like to say. I suppose I could at least explain the cause of my nothin'ness.

This weekend my folks came to visit--Dad's b'day was Sunday, but they came to keep The Boy while Hublet and I went to see The Passion and then oversaw the videotaping of the Miss Hobbton Pageant at Hublet's high school. I can think of no two events more certain to create a feeling of surrealism when taken together than those two, especially when they're separated by a mere 3 hours.

Let's see: scourging of Christ, then 4 tap dance routines IN A ROW. Via dolorosa, Simon of Cyrene, Mary's suffering? Casual wear competition, featuring contestants' reminiscenses of their "most embarrassing moments." Death on a Friday afternoon, temple being split asunder, Satan left howling? 3 way tie for Miss Congeni-freaking-ality.

Sorry. Can't make these two things fit in one brain on one day. I'm still digesting the movie, and part of that depends upon my ability to ignore the fact that there is a Teen Miss Relay for Life in Sampson County.

Back tomorrow.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:30 PM | Comments (1)

March 02, 2004


No, not the stinky kind, although I could probably do a post and a half about the faux sandalwood scented candles they have on display at Target right now. Good God, people, have mercy on my sinuses! Those candles not only do NOT smell like sandalwood, their alleged "fragrance" actually singes the nose hairs of anyone unfortunate enough to pass by the display. It is a horrifying olfactory experience, and I say, "FIE! Fie on you, Target, and on your cheap home fragrances of DOOOOOOOMMMMM!"

Ahem. So anyway, as I alluded to in yesterday's brief blurb, things around the Big Arm household have been in a bit of disarray--thanks, Mother Nature and your bastard stepchild bronchitis. Thus, I shall plead mommy and give you a brief list of items that may amuse or irritate--you pick!

First, may I just express my irritation that this headline: Bacteria Run Wild, Defying Antibiotics is COMPLETELY misleading?! Yeah, because not only does the article in question contain only one photo of topless bacteria romping drunkenly through human flesh, but also because the "Wild" bacteria can actually be contained and/or killed by a NUMBER of EXISTING antibiotics, just not apparently amoxycillin (or as I affectionately call it after last year's systemic head crud death illness--Pez). Ya know, NYT, if you want to cause a nationwide health related panic, you need stories that actually back up the hysterical headlines. Just sayin'.

In other news from the vat of fun that is my life, I will be spending this Saturday helping my hublet run the Miss Hobbton pageant. Welcome to rural NC, where tiny high schools in the middle of hog country have gigantic beauty pageants every spring. I can only wish that it were the Miss Hobbitton pageant, but alas, as hublet's students didn't even recognize the film from the "Make Reading a Hobbit" Library Association poster I bought him for his classroom, that hope is dead, dead, dead. As my sensibilities will probably be after this horror. Ack. Hublet has politely asked me to refrain from going all Simon on the singing contestants. Spoils my fun he does, precious.

And finally, something a little more on-topic for the blog:

In the "No, You Can't Make this Stuff Up and Will SOMEONE Please Pull These Folks' Heads OUT of Their Asses?!" category, a play against racism is pulled for racism!

In the "Hey! The Tests Aren't Giving Us the Results We Want So Let's Change Them, Education be Dammed!" category, the latest "tweaking" by the College Board.

There. That should hold you for a day or so.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:12 AM | Comments (2)

March 01, 2004

RotK Wins. Crisis Averted.

I'm returning from an extended weekend caused by snow and toddler bronchitis with the happy news that the Great Geek Uprising of 2004 has been indefinitely postponed thanks to the infinite wisdom of the Academy voters. Or, thanks to Emily's timely blackmail. Whatever. Put a W in the column and put your 20 sided die back in the case--no one's gonna need a saving throw today!

All hail Peter Jackson, great geek god! Say that last part three times fast.

Oh, and Atkins update: Have lost 6 lbs in first week. Yay. As an aside, I never even want to look at a salad again. Seriously. I hate you, crunchy rabbit foliage. Die.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:53 AM | Comments (2)

February 23, 2004

Worst. Dog. Ever.

Today's post is late because my pupils have only just now returned to normal (and no, it wasn't the pot. It was the opthamologist. I am happy to report that I have normal, healthy 20/20 eyeballs. The fact that they have to practically blind you to discover that is a bit annoying, though.). All hail normal dilation! And now, on to today's post:

My dog, Gertie, sucks. She has sucked for a little over a decade, and just when you think she has reached the pinnacle of suckitude, she manages to take it up a notch.

In her short time on this earth, Gertie has devoured weather stripping, eyeglasses, doorframes, carpeting, diapers both clean and soiled, chocolate, (highly toxic) acorns, a digital Nightmare Before Christmas watch, my friend's best silver hoop earring, and innumerable small, non-life threatening articles of trash.

As a dutiful owner, I have aided in extracting many of these items from the back end of the dog. When she was a puppy, in fact, I never left the house to walk her unless I had a roll of toilet paper with me. One never knew when one would have to paper, grasp, and pull a foreign object from the dog.

But yesterday, Gertie did indeed take it up a notch when she ate an entire tub of Vaseline. As you may imagine, petroleum coated hilarity ensued.

After sufficiently lubing her innards, Gertie spent a lot of quality time outdoors, leaking. The she spent a lot of quality time in the bathtub. I spent my time being thankful for the box of latex gloves I brought home from the hospital after The Boy's birth.

So if you're wondering why I'm not opining on academia, politics, or pop culture, it's because spending an entire afternoon dealing with greasy dog emissions kinda sucks the fight right out of a person.

I share with you because I refuse to suffer alone.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 12:59 PM | Comments (9)

February 19, 2004

Linky Dinky Do

Okay, since my first post was kinda suckful, here are some links to cheer you up:

1. Ever wondered what it would be like to be a video clerk in a store that stocks copious amounts of porn? Me neither, but this is an addictive read nonetheless. Via Jajdejo.

2. Academic laugh of the day--well, if wanting to put your eyes out with a nickel after reading something is funny--found in this email from an oh-so-self-righteous anti-bigot bigot who also seems to think she is ee cummings. Via everywhere.

3. Irony Alert! Sometimes it's fun to watch PC-ites self-immolate. Mostly it's pathetic, but sometimes fun. Via Sullivan

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:25 AM | Comments (1)

February 16, 2004

Post-Weekend Roundup

First, let me re-establish my redneck street cred:

"Junior! Wooooooo!"


"Wolfpack! Wooooooo!"

I've enjoyed a leisurely morning, thanks to a couple of inches of snow that delayed schools and daycare facilities. And then I go and read my blogroll. Farewell, blissful joie de vivre! Hellooooo, high blood pressure!

Nothing further to say about this dork except "Please put down the shovel, you sniveling moron." Oh, and, "Haahaaahaaahaa!" What an idiot.

Oh, and BAFTAS? Pbbbttthhtttppptpttth! Yeah, yeah, Master and Commander, Peter Weir, good movie. But best director? Russell Crowe's fat white ass! Yes, I am bitter. Damn you, BAFTAS. You suck.

Seven days and counting until I embark on an Atkins adventure. This is more to address the fact that 90% of my diet is potato than to address morbid obesity. I'm hoping to train myself to curb the carby crap. Plus, I like meat. And then there's that 10-15 pounds that stand between me and picture perfection. We shall see...and pissing off PETA is an added plus. Besides, what better heralds incipient spring than radical dietary change coupled with frantic jogging and weight lifting? Nothing, that's what! In the meantime, if you aren't going to finish those chili cheese fries, could I just...? Yeah, thanks.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:34 PM | Comments (8)

February 09, 2004


Just in case you need reminding that I am a geeky little LOTR fan, here's the daily happy posting:

'Rings' Director Takes Guild's Top Prize

Hear that, Oscar? I'm watching you. My only question: did Jackson wear shoes to the ceremony?

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:18 AM | Comments (2)

January 30, 2004


In my hatred of the Boobah. Ha! Take that, craptastic show! And that! And that!

I'm just disappointed Lileks didn't mention the fart noises. They are simply too jarring and bizarre for words. And when you have a toddler for whom bodily functions are an endless source of amusement at inappropriate times and in inappropriate places; well, perhaps the child development specialists who invented this dreck should be more circumspect, is all I'm saying.

It's just a matter of time before The Boy makes the "fart noise=flying" connection implied by the boobahs. I cannot wait for the subsequent hilarity to ensue. Not.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:54 AM | Comments (9)

January 29, 2004

Free At Last!

I have thrown off the evil fetters of being housebound with only a crappy dialup connection! Let the happy dance commence! And now, the braindump--little items I would have blogged about had I been able to deal with the dialup, but decided they just weren't worth the wait:

1. I love Terry Jones' series Medieval Lives. My thesis director and mentor remarked several times on meeting him and even collaborating with him on a couple of medieval-themed items, and it's refreshing to see an entertainer with a real love of the Middle Ages and a desire to get the facts right. Here's a review that points to a few criticisms of the series, and here's an episode guide. It's on the History Channel. I'd like the opinions of folks who spent more time on medieval history, in which I am deficient. I can quote Sir Gawain with the best of them, but have only really scratched the surface with regard to mores, customs, etc. Okay, I'll stop with the medieval geeking, now.

2. Charlize Theron will win Best Actress. How do I know? Because white trash roles always win (think Erin Brockovich, only less plucky and more dirty), lesbian roles always win (Silkwood and The Hours, anyone?), and women making themselves ugly always win (pick a Streep, any Streep, and add a bit of Kidman). Theron is playing an ugly white-trash lesbian with an added dash of serial killer. Ding-ding-ding! We have a winnuh!

3. The imp of the perverse has taken me over, and I want Howard Dean to beat the pants off of Kerry in several states, just to make things interesting. Is this a Dean backlash backlash? Who cares! I think I just want some screen (scream time? Yeah, yeah, I know you wanted to say it...moving on, now) time for someone else, especially since the spring and summer will be dominated by whoever wins. Plus, I've always had a soft spot for Lieberman. Although the Joe-mentum thing is teeth-grindingly horrible.

4. Boobah. I hate Boobah. Hate, hate, hate, hate. See, I can tolerate Teletubbies, aside from the part where the World's Ugliest Baby has his/her/its face superimposed upon the sun, but Boobah just sucks. It's slow, and boring, and the fact that the boobahs in question aren't even that cute and make inexplicable fart noises makes me want to kill them all. Seriously. Death to boobah.

5. On a related note, Hublet is experiencing belated grief over the death of Mr. Rogers. It is a very odd phenomenon. But Mr. Rogers, unlike any of the other toddler-themed entertainment out there, possesses the ability to help The Boy wind down for the evening. Bless you, Mr. Rogers!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:43 PM | Comments (1)

January 27, 2004

Things to do in Raleigh When You're Trapped, Trapped, Trapped

Clean the house. Repeatedly. With toothbrushes.

Watch Blue's Clues, Wiggles, Thomas, Mr. Rogers. Repeat cycle 4 times a day, until you feel your brain liquefying and dribbling out of your ears.

Put Beethoven's Fifth on and lead toddler in weird interpretive dance/sprint around the den in last-ditch attempt to tire him out enough for a nap. Tire self out enough for a nap, but not toddler.

Go outside. Fall down. Attempt to retrieve stranded weiner beagle from neighbor's azalea. Fall down. Figure "What the hell, let's go three for three," and attempt to check mail. Fall down and slide into ditch. Realize that comedic figures on America's Funniest Videos probably use winnings to pay hospital bills.

Remain in ditch as crazed neighbor from across the street does doughnuts on iced-over road, veering crazily hither and thither. Think fondly of civilized, heated, non-skid workplace, which is mercifully free of four wheelers, ice, and Mr. Rogers.

Watch in amazement as neighbors up the street ice skate down the middle of the road.

Drink hot chocolate until caffeine triggers urge to drag toddler around outside on pizza pan with dog leash attached. Fall down a lot. Amuse toddler.

Come back inside, thaw out, decide to clean house.

Repeat as necessary until sun makes reappearance.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:29 PM | Comments (5)

January 23, 2004

Promote Celibacy...

Join a Christian nudist camp. No, I'm serious. I can think of nothing more sexually unappealing than a bunch of pudgy, untanned, aging flesh squished into church pews singing "Rock of Ages." Gah. Just, gah. And that's not my inner prude talking, it's my inner aesthete. Again I say, Gah.

But here's my serious question about Christian nudist colonies--do they Lysol the pews between services? Because I have this mental image, and it involves sweat and nudity--and not in a good way--and so I'm just kind of following the train of thought into the next station, and...

Well, it all leads back to the unintentional promotion of celibacy by nudists, is all I'm saying.

I'll leave you with that lovely series of mental images for the weekend. And yes, you're quite welcome. I live to serve.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:27 AM | Comments (4)

January 21, 2004

Well, Here's Something You Don't Read Every Day

The words "offal-based delicacy" used unironically in a news article.

Ahh, haggis. I tried it while I was in Scotland, because the University was celebrating its annual Burns feast. I remember a dimly lit dining hall, LOTS of bottles of hard cider on the tables, and a bagpiper (bagpipe-ist? pied piper? whatever.)leading the chef out of the kitchen. The residence director recited a Burns poem, cut the haggis, and we all tried a bit. Tasted like liver pudding, I think. I had fortified my palate beforehand with a bottle or two of the cider, so the event is kinda hazy...then we all went drinking. Now that I think about it, it wasn't that different from the usual dinners at our hall. Not much to do in Aberdeen in January except drink and consume offal-based delicacies, really.

One question, though--what exactly would be in a vegetarian haggis, since haggis is all about the meat that you normally wouldn't eat?

And this amused me, as well:

Marketing could, however, prove a challenge. A recent poll of 1,000 U.S. visitors to Scotland, by haggis makers Hall's of Broxburn, found that 33 percent believed a haggis was an animal hunted in the highlands.

Yep, we tend to confuse Haggis with Snipe, here in the US.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:20 AM | Comments (7)

January 20, 2004

If it's Tuesday, it's Time for a List

Yeah, had the long weekend, complete with attendant Boy meltdown due to too much time at home. Nothing breaks a mom's reserve faster than a sad toddler's voice (complete with hitching sobs) emanating from the bedroom and saying, "Mommy (gasp) MEAN (gasp) to (gasp, hitch) me!" Well okay, if you're me it also kind of causes giggles, but it did result in the Boy getting five more minutes of mommy time at betime. I have no resolve in the face of my toddler's emotional blackmail. Dammit.

I'm not a big football person, but may I just say "Yay, Panthers!" Mainly because I want that tool who decided to substitute dipshit regional invective (hyuk hyuk, southerners are MO-rons and the Panthers suck!) for sports journalism to EAT IT! Not that I'm bitter. Oh, and not that I expect any better of the Patriots boosters in the press, either. Sigh. Yeah, yeah, NASCAR and fried chicken and marrying cousins, that's the south. Blah, blah, blah, come back when you've purchased a clue, loser.

And may I just say thank God that Captain Nutbar lost Iowa? 'Cause, yeah, thank God. John Kerry may be an Ent in human clothing (thanks, Dean's World for that everlasting yet surprisingly apt mental image), but I don't get the "he's nuts!" vibe off of him. Besides, it'll be fun to watch Kerry's handlers muzzle and hide his wife from the press if he gets the nomination. Miss Teresa does have a tendency to pop off.

And finally, a brief Haiku in honor of MT Blacklist, the coolest comment spam eliminator EVER!

Overrun by spam
Install script, order restored
Thanks, MT Blacklist

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:03 AM | Comments (1)

January 16, 2004

Reason 1,437 why I won't do plastic surgery

Because you can die. As in, cease to live. As in, become an ex-person. That's it, fini, hope you had a good run, too bad that elective surgery didn't work out, have a nice afterlife, see ya!

I firmly believe in plastic surgery as an important means to give the disfigured back their lives, but I also think that sometimes we forget that this is SURGERY, and that the human body isn't really designed to be flayed, punctured, deflated, lifted and tucked as a matter of course.

'Cause, you know, that whole DYING thing is sort of a bummer. I don't care if death by plastic surgery is statistically insignifigant, the fact is you can avoid it by NOT HAVING VANITY WORK DONE.

Of course, we're free to choose. But me, my golden years will be spent heading to Victoria's Secret for girdles and push-up bras and then to the drugstore for nightcream. Unless I skew the statistics by getting hit by a bus on the way, the mortality rate for Cetaphil use currently stands at zero.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:19 AM | Comments (4)

January 15, 2004

Okay, this is getting creepy.

Okay, for three days running now I have had the same daily horoscope appear on My!Yahoo.

Yes, I read horoscopes. Used to be quite the astrology buff and tarot card reader, because I discovered early on that it's easy to talk to anyone when you're talking about them, and the faux-mystical allure of astrology and tarot are surefire hits at parties. I still read them, 'cause it's fun.

Normally, this whole same horoscope thing would be an irritating glitch--I want to get to the part where I will be swept off my feet and have a chance at a lucrative career--but this one is odd, because it's actually applicable.

Of course, it's also boring as hell, because Virgo has the rap for being a staid little sign, and astrologers never give us the juicy drama queen stuff that they give Aries or Scorpio. Not that I'm bitter.

Anyhoo, here's the horoscope:

Too much reading might have you experiencing eyestrain and possibly even headaches, dear Virgo. It might help to have your eyes checked, but this is probably only too much stress. Relax your eyes for a while. You might have some trouble focusing on whatever work you do today but this is only a temporary condition. You should be back to your normal self tomorrow. Tonight: Stay home, listen to music and take it easy. -

True, all true. Have been planning a trip to the opthamologist for a while as all I do is stare at screens and I've noticed my vision changing.

So okay, little horoscope, you win. I will pull the trigger and go get my eyes checked. But you will stop me playing Return of the King when you pull that controller from my cold, dead hand! Take that, universe! Muh-ha-ha!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:35 AM | Comments (3)

January 14, 2004

Gratuitous Carnival Link

Is right here. Go forth, read, and enjoy.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:15 AM | Comments (0)

January 13, 2004


So, hublet and I finished Medal of Honor: Rising Sun. Overall, it was a fun game, especially the screen where you get to fire a machine gun mounted on the head of an elephant. I felt like the Haradrim on Mumakils (Oliphaunts, if you're a hobbit), but I digress. The problem was, the game only had eight missions, and since I tend to be a "Run around like a crazy person beating everyone to death with my rifle butt because I can't be bothered to stop and aim" type gamer (strategy? What's strategy?), we finished in record time. Hublet's only complaint? That because I run around beating people to death instead of shooting them I tend to get in his line of fire and become a "friendly fire" casualty. So okay. Bottom line: We needed to get another game.

Answer? Return of the King. This game is tailor made for gamers who run around crazily and beat or hack people to death. Which is why I never play Legolas--useless little elf-boy leaping around shooting people--and like being Gimli. Or Gandalf, who does this really cool spinny move with his staff and then whacks people with it...or Sam, who just runs around and uses a sword like a baseball bat...but I'm digressing again.

The point of this post (well, ostensibly, if this post HAD a point) is that Return of the King has a LOT of action, and it's really FAST action, so you have to keep your thumb in constant motion, and as a result I have the worst case of game-induced thumb cramp EVER. Seriously, ow. It doesn't help that my thumbs are double jointed and bend too far backward.

Perhaps a thumb-strengthening program is in order. Or perhaps I could just get a life. Hmmm. Anyone know where I could find some tiny little dumbbells (or thumb-bells - HEE! sorry, too much coffee) to strap to my hands?

After all, I can't let Hublet (who is playing Legolas in co-op mode with me) get a larger number of kills than I do as the doughty dwarf Gimli. Fate of the world stuff here, people. Fate of the world.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:08 AM | Comments (3)

January 09, 2004

Let it Snow!

Or flurry, or whatever. Bottom line, I live in Raleigh, where folks freak out when the white stuff even THINKS about falling, so I'll be spending the rest of the day at home with a stir crazy toddler.

In the meantime, enjoy the Pictures from an Institution posts over at Critical Mass, which capture the flavor of an MLA conference (or really any conference) quite nicely.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:11 AM | Comments (0)

January 08, 2004

Thumbnail Guide to RotK

It's a long movie, and you're busy people, I know. So to save you time, here's my Thumbnail Guide to Return of the King.

Spoilers (of a sort) inside:

Gandalf, Theoden, Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli go to Isengard. There they find Merry and Pippin.

Merry and Pippin - "Yo!"

Pippin - "What's this shiny thing?"

Gandalf - "Saruman is defeated. Let's go to Rohan!"

Pippin - "what's that shiny thing?"

Sauron - "RAAAARRRRR!"

Pippin - "my head!"

Gandalf - "Oh great, now we have to go to Gondor."

Meanwhile, somewhere near Minas Morgul...

Gollum - "Hee! I'm gonna trick them!"

Sam - "I heard that!"

Frodo - "Do I have to separate you two?"

Back in Gondor:

Gandalf - "Sauron is coming."

Denethor - "Talk to the hand, grandpa."

Pippin - "I'll be your servant, Denethor!"

Denethor - "Whatever."

Faramir - "Osgiliath is overrun."

Denethor - "So go re-overrun it."

Faramir - "But I'll die."

Denethor - "Whatever."

Gandalf - "Pippin, go play with fire."

Pippin - "Okay!" (lights signals)

Theoden - (sees signals) "Let's go kick ass! In three days or so, you know, whenever."

Meanwhile, back in Rivendell

Arwen - "I cry too beautifully to not be in this part of the film."

Elrond - "Why are you back here?"

- "I see dead people."

Elrond - "Wrong movie. And that was your future son. Guess I'll have to reforge that damn sword and take it to Aragorn."

Arwen - "I'll just languish here tragically, then."

Elrond - "Whatever."

Meanwhile, on a cliff near Cirith Ungol

Gollum - "I'll frame Sam!"

Sam - "I've been framed!"

Frodo - "I'm separating you two!"

Sam - (cries)

Frodo - (looks manic and tortured)

Meanwhile, back in Rohan

Elrond - "Here's your damn sword. And by the way, Arwen is languishing tragically in Rivendell, so hurry up and kick the ass of evil, okay?"

Aragorn - "How?"

Elrond - "I see dead people."

Aragorn - "Wrong movie."

Elrond - "Just go talk to the Evil Dead and get an ass-kicking army that you will inexplicably let go before they get a chance to, oh, I don't know, KILL ALL OF SAURON'S MINIONS, or anything useful like that."

Aragorn - "Okay."

Eowyn - "Hey! Where do you think you're going?"

Aragorn - "I'm not going to explain to you, because I am all mysterious and noble and stuff. By the way, I don't love you. Bye!"

Eowyn - "Fine. I guess I'll run away and join the Rohirrim, then."

Meanwhile, Back in Gondor

Denethor - "My son is dead! My poor, dead son is dead!"

Pippin - "He's still breathing."

Denethor - "No he isn't."

Pippin - "Yes he is."

Denethor - "Isn't."

Pippin - "Is."

Gandalf - "Shut up and kill some Orcs, you losers!"

Denethor - "I'm feeling chilly. Build me a bonfire!"

Meanwhile, at Cirith Ungol

Gollum - "Hee! I tricked you!"

Frodo - (looks manic and tortured)

Shelob - "RAR!"

Frodo - EEK!

Sam - (halfway down stairs, stops crying, decides to stab something instead, like Gollum)

Shelob - (stabs Frodo)

Frodo - (looks manic, tortured and then unconscious)

Sam - "I need something to stab now that I've stopped crying!" (stabs Shelob)

Shelob - "RAR?" (runs away)

Sam - "Oh no, Mr. Frodo is dead!" (cries and hides)

Orcs - "He's not dead, let's take him away and torture him!"

Sam - (stops crying, starts thinking about stabbing orcs)

Meanwhile, near Rohan

Aragorn - "I see dead people!"

Legolas - "Me too!"

Gimli - "Me three!"

Dead King - "That reference is so five years ago."

Aragorn - "Fight for me, and I promise I won't actually keep you around to do any really heavy fighting, like against Sauron's big-ass army that's still in Mordor, or anything."

Dead King - "You might be an idiot, but you do have a cool sword. Okay, let's go kick the ass of evil."

Meanwhile, back in Rohan

Eowyn - "I'm running away to join the Rohirrim! Wanna come?"

Merry - "Sure!"

Meanwhile, in Cirith Ungol

Frodo - (wakes up, looks manic and tortured)

Orcs and Uruk Hai - "Rarr! I'll kill you!" (kill each other)

Sam - "I need something to stab now that I'm not crying!" (kills orcs)

Frodo - "Sam, they got the Ring!"

Sam - "Nah, here it is. Let's go throw it in the volcano."

Frodo - (looks manic and tortured)

Sam - (manages not to cry or stab Frodo)

Meanwhile, Back in Gondor

Pippin - "Gandalf! Denethor is setting himself on fire!"

Gandalf - "So?"

Pippin - "And Faramir, too!"

Gandalf - (whacks Denethor with staff) "Bad Steward! No cookie!"

Pippin - "I told you he wasn't dead!"

Denethor - "Wah!" (throws self off of Minas Tirith)

Aragorn and Army of Dead - "Rarr!"

Witch King of Angmar - "Rarr!"

Theoden -"oof!"

Merry - "Rarr!"

Eowyn - "Rarr!"

Witch King of Angmar - "I'm mellllting! Mellllltiiiinnng!" (shrivels up and dies)

Aragorn - (to Army of Dead) "You saved the day. You can go now."

Gimli - "What about the REST of Sauron's army?"

Aragorn - "I figure we'll just ride over to Mordor ourselves and get killed horribly."

Everyone - "Okay!"

Meanwhile, over at Mt. Doom

Frodo - (looks manic and tortured, passes out)

Sam - "Oh great, now I have to carry his aristocratic ass up this sheer rock cliff. Why do I have to carry EVERYTHING in this stupid movie?" (picks up Frodo)

Gollum - "Surprise!"

Sam - "Ow!"

Frodo - (runs)

Sam - "I'm gonna stab somebody before this is over!"

Frodo - "Screw you guys, the ring is mine!" (looks extremely manic, disappears)

Gollum - (bites Frodo)

- (can't decide whether to cry or stab something)

Gollum - "I got the Precious! Neener, neener, oops!" (falls into lava)

Meanwhile, back at the Black Gate

Aragorn - "Whooee, that's a lotta army in there! Maybe I shoulda kept those dead guys around."

Everyone - "Ya THINK?"

Mt. Doom - Blammo!

Everyone - "Yay! I mean, oh no! Poor Frodo! But still, yay! Damn."

Meanwhile, on Mt. Doom

Sam - (cries)

Frodo - "Hey! I'm the one who got his finger BITTEN OFF! Why are you crying?"

Sam - "You better hope I keep crying, 'cause when I stop I'm gonna want to stab something, and you're the only living thing around here for miles."

Frodo - "Except those giant eagles over there."

Sam - "Great. Where were they 6 months ago? Bastards."

Later -

Aragorn - "Well, we didn't all die, so I'm gonna get married and be King!

Sam - "And I'm gonna get married and be Mayor of the Shire!"

Frodo - "And I'm gonna sail into the West with Gandalf, Bilbo and the elves!"

Sam - (sighs) "But first, I'm gonna have to cry some more and not stab anything."

Merry and Pippin - "And we're gonna smoke some pipeweed!

Everyone - "Yay!"

The End

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 02:15 PM | Comments (24)


Hey, Viagara comment spammers? Yeah, your friendly Big Arm Woman here, with a few tips that might help you in better planning your spammage:

See, just because an entry on my blog has the word "Suck" in the title, it doesn't follow that the entry itself is about sexual function.

And even if it were about sexual function, I'm not thinking that my readers would look to the comments section for help with their OWN sexual dilemmas. Seriously. It's just stupid.

I've heard that a lot of you spammy folk use overseas "help" to get the word out about your product. This might explain why you think any reference to "suck" must be sexual, or why you seem to feel that a blog written by a WOMAN would be the perfect place to shill for Viagara, or even why you believe that a site that enjoys mocking academics is the perfect niche market for sex aids (although given the recent MLA posts, you may have a point there).

You might want to look into actually making sure your "help" reads and speaks English, because these little faux pas (faux pases? fauxes pas? dammit!) are sure to be damaging to your delicately cultivated and hard-won status as purveyors of fine products.

In the meantime, I'll just keep deleting the comments, because I wouldn't want to add to your embarrassment by leaving them up in the wrong place on the wrong blog for all the world to see.

I'm here to help. Really. You can thank me later.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:50 AM | Comments (1)

January 06, 2004


One of the hazards of an extended blogbreak is the tendency for various events and items that you would normally blog about to build up to a critical mass inside your head, making you incapabale of concentrating on one of them long enough to form a coherent blog entry upon your return. Let's refer to this phenomenon as bloglock. And boy, do I have an advanced case. I think the only way to rid myself of the bloglock is to do a system purge, so that will explain the bizarre, varied and bulleted nature of this post. Hopefully tomorrow I will be able to focus my latent irritation on one topic. And now, on to Things I Did/Saw/Was Irritated By during my Christmas vacation.

  • Item the first - the ubiquitous Molly Ivins exhorting us all to create peace on earth by writing a check to a PAC or the ACLU. Yes Molly, giving cash to bloated self-important bueauracracies is EXACTLY the best and most expedient way to end hunger, poverty and strife. SO much more effective than actually, oh, I don't know, donating cash, food or clothing DIRECTLY TO A SHELTER, YOU STUPID BINT. This column made me laugh, which was a positive thing, since I'm sure my family would have been quite disappointed if my head had actually exploded prior to Christmas. Politicians will save the world--well, if you give the ones on the right side the money, that is. Whatever. Next!
  • Item the second - Return of the King. Saw it twice, loved it. Am already dying to see all the Samwise scenes they cut, because I KNOW they're there. Not that I am a crazed Sam fan, or anything. Didn't agree with Frodo telling Sam to go home, because it was a) out of character, b)amazingly improbable, and c)a blatant and unnecessary plot device (the Sam/Frodo/Shelob encounter in the book is every bit as exciting and demonstrates Gollum's perfidy just as well), but I'll get over it. But I want the extended Platinum DVD NOW! I wants it!
  • Item the third - The Boy. Dragged from pillar to post, The Boy was a model of excellent behavior--he slept without complaint in his little inflatable bed (he isn't out of his crib yet in our house, but there was no whining or wandering about when he discovered his bed was all unfettered), sat for over an hour in a boring adult restaurant with nary a complaint, was friendly and polite to everyone, and made mommy very proud--UNTIL Christmas Eve, when he spent half of the service wailing in the vestibule that he wanted to be with his daddy (who was reading at the lecturn) and spent the other half of the service lying at our feet as we stood at our communion station giving communion. When you've got a big ol' goblet of grape juice, you can't be leaning down to a haul a toddler to his feet, is all I'm saying. Fortunately, he escaped unflattened, and enjoyed his Thomas-themed Christmas very much. Especially once he figured out that he could make the ride-on Thomas go by merely pushing his foot down on the pedal, as opposed to leaning over and pressing his foot down with his hand, which resulted in a fine Quasimodo impression but which was probably not much fun.
  • Item the fourth - Dear Faculty Member-Type Person Walking Down Hillsborough Street: As far as I can tell, you are not a North African prince, nor is there a Grateful Dead concert scheduled for your lunch hour, so could you please do my retinas and fashion sense a favor and LOSE THE CAFTAN? Seriously. There is no excuse for that outfit. Especially when it's coupled with kneesocks, clogs, wire-rimmed spectacles and a she-mullet hairdo. I can smell the patchouli from here. What are you, forty-five? Fifty? Yeah, let me spell this out--IT'S OVER. Tell your fellow travellers at the Society for the Preservation of Ridiculous Hippie-Wear that you can all put away the tie-dye, hemp clothing and yes, even the flowing caftans, and go gently into that good night. Or not gently. We don't give a rat's ass, as long as you GO!

Ahh. I feel much better now. Cleansed, even.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:47 AM | Comments (7)

January 05, 2004

Not Dead

I'm Baaaack!

I just spent a blissful two weeks during which I managed to almost completely cut myself off from all news sources. And it wasn't even intentional, so I can't get all "I didn't watch TV so I'm your moral superior" about it.

Basically, with the travelling, the family-ing, and the festivity-making, my down time was rare and was spent either playing Medal of Honor: Rising Sun with hublet or watching the four hundred hours of stuff that is The Two Towers Platinum Edition Live-The-Movie DVD.

I had a couple of moments of blog-guilt, but they passed quickly.

And so here I am, rested and ready to plunge back into the blogworld, and what am I confronted with when I finally switch on the cable news networks?

Britney's "Vegas Wedding."

Oh, dear God. So I guess I didn't miss anything after all, did I?

It's enough to make a girl go back into hiding.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:55 AM | Comments (2)

December 27, 2003

No, I'm not a goofy Newbie

I just play one on this blog. Forgot that entries scroll right off the page after a week, and so when I get back to the computer after the whirlwind that was Christmas, I find a big empty space.

So consider this entry a placeholder until I find my bearings again.

In the meantime, go see Return of the King.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 04:37 PM | Comments (2)

December 18, 2003

Outta Here!

Okay, I'm definitely out of touch until after Christmas, and possibly after New Year's (although I doubt I can stay away that long). Travel, family do's, multiple viewings of Return of the King and the possibility of buying a new car are pretty much going to suck up my time for the next week or two.

I may update, but if not, see y'all in 2004!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 03:07 PM | Comments (2)

December 17, 2003

Blogosphere News Cycle

Feeling Christmasy and yet still addicted to blogosphere, I decided to share a little ditty that hopefully captures the life cycle of a big news story out here in blogville.

The Twelve Days Of Saddam - and yes, I know some of the lines don't scan. Sing them really fast and get over it. I'm doing this on my lunch break. I'm not Amiri Baraka, for crying out loud.

On the first day post-capture, the bloggers gave to me -
Saddam looking like Gimli.

On the second day post-capture, the bloggers gave to me -
2 Photoshopped Razor ads
Saddam looking like Gimli.

On the third day post-capture, the bloggers gave to me -
3 Howard Dean quotes
2 Photoshopped Razor ads
Saddam looking like Gimli.

On the fourth day post-capture, the bloggers gave to me -
4 conspiracy theories
3 Howard Dean quotes
2 Photoshopped Razor ads
Saddam looking like Gimli.

On the fifth day post-capture, the bloggers gave to me -
Five BBC spins
4 conspiracy theories
3 Howard Dean quotes
2 Photoshopped Razor ads
Saddam looking like Gimli.

On the sixth day post-capture, the bloggers gave to me -
6 ABC News polls indicating that Americans are stupid...(whew!)
Five BBC spins
4 conspiracy theories
3 Howard Dean quotes
2 Photoshopped Razor ads
Saddam looking like Gimli.

On the seventh day post-capture, the bloggers gave to me-
7 Kofi Annan fiskings
6 ABC News polls indicating that Americans are stupid...(whew!)
Five BBC spins
4 conspiracy theories
3 Howard Dean quotes
2 Photoshopped Razor ads
Saddam looking like Gimli.

On the eighth day post-capture, the bloggers gave to me -
Eight flaming FARK threads
7 Kofi Annan fiskings
6 ABC News polls indicating that Americans are stupid...(whew!)
Five BBC spins
4 conspiracy theories
3 Howard Dean quotes
2 Photoshopped Razor ads
Saddam looking like Gimli.

On the ninth day post-capture, the bloggers gave to me -
Nine instances of big media's ignoring the REALLY IMPORTANT STORY HERE
Eight flaming FARK threads
7 Kofi Annan fiskings.
6 ABC News polls indicating that Americans are stupid...(whew!)
Five BBC spins
4 conspiracy theories
3 Howard Dean quotes
2 Photoshopped Razor ads
Saddam looking like Gimli.

On the tenth day post-capture, the bloggers gave to me -
Ten blogroaches trolling
Nine instances of big media's ignoring the REALLY IMPORTANT STORY HERE
Eight flaming FARK threads
7 Kofi Annan fiskings.
6 ABC News polls indicating that Americans are stupid...(whew!)
Five BBC spins
4 conspiracy theories
3 Howard Dean quotes
2 Photoshopped Razor ads
Saddam looking like Gimli.

On the eleventh day post-capture, the bloggers gave to me
Eleven comparisons of Bush to Hitler
Ten blogroaches trolling
Nine instances of big media's ignoring the REALLY IMPORTANT STORY HERE
Eight flaming FARK threads
7 Kofi Annan fiskings
6 ABC News polls indicating that Americans are stupid...(whew!)
Five BBC spins
4 conspiracy theories
3 Howard Dean quotes
2 Photoshopped Razor ads
Saddam looking like Gimli.

On the twelfth day post-capture, the bloggers gave to me
Twelve newer stories (keep up, people!)
Eleven comparisons of Bush to Hitler
Ten blogroaches trolling
Nine instances of big media's ignoring the REALLY IMPORTANT STORY HERE
Eight flaming FARK threads
7 Kofi Annan fiskings
6 ABC News polls indicating that Americans are stupid...(whew!)
Five BBC spins
4 conspiracy theories
3 Howard Dean quotes
2 Photoshopped Razor ads
Saddam looking like Gimli.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:42 PM | Comments (2)


Finally, a website that will serve as a showcase of the selfishness of those self-serving rat bastard boomers.

Not that I, as a lowly GenX type person, am at all bitter.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:41 AM | Comments (5)

December 16, 2003

It's About Time

Let me just put on my "Yay, Peter Jackson" hat a minute and say that I've been hoping the critics were waiting until the final installment came out before giving The Lord of the Rings trilogy major awards. Because it deserves pretty much all of them. I want Jackson to get Best Director at the Oscars this year and if he doesn't I will gnash my little teeth and throw a tantrum, so there!

Please be a harbinger of things to come, NYFC. Please, please, please!

Yes, I am emotionally invested in something that has absolutely no bearing on my life. Is that a problem?

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:55 AM | Comments (2)

December 15, 2003

Eyes. On Stalks. Must. Stop. Reading

Gah. Have read punditry until my eyes feel like they're out on stalks. Am addicted. Must stop. Gah.

Gratuitous note from the weekend:

Dear Preschool Committee -

I realize that you want the entire preschool involved in the church Christmas pageant; however, next year you might want to consult the professional toddler wrangling association about age-appropriate props and routes to the stage.

Arming 15 2-year olds with hard cardboard stars glued to sticks and then forcing them to climb 2 flights of concrete stairs without a hand rail is a good way to give the preschool Christmas pageant a PG-13 rating for blood and violence. And getting said toddlers back DOWN the stairs is a good way to give 5 or 6 teachers heart attacks.

I realize that one could argue the "renewable resource" aspect of toddlers, but I don't think the Doritos "we'll make more" stance will be terribly comforting to the parents of toddlers who crack their skulls while attempting to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

Thanks so much for your consideration in this matter.

Big Arm Woman

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 03:37 PM | Comments (2)

December 12, 2003

The Twelve to Fifteen Days of Christmas

Traditionally hublet and I take the week after Christmas as a vacation week, in which we drop The Boy off at daycare one or two days and spend our time eating out, going to movies, and generally unwinding from all of the crap we had to deal with pre-Christmas. Wanna take a peek at my calendar for the next week? Let's start with last night, when I had to make 4 batches of sausage balls for the departmental "winter party" today. Here we go:

Dec 12 - Departmental party 3 - 5 p.m. Agnus Dei musicfest at church 7 - 8:30. Return home. Do laundry, make 2 dozen cupcakes.

Dec 13 - Haircuts for menfolk at the barber shop (much snot and hair will fly, as The Boy doesn't enjoy haircuts). Brief stops at Target, Best Buy, Kohl's, BJ's and the grocery store. Return home, decorate cupcakes with santa faces. Clean house.

Dec 14 - Arrive at church at 7:50 a.m. with decorated cupcakes. Ring handbells. Wrangle toddlers through their Christmas pageant. Feed them cupcakes. Ring bells again at second service. Load sugar-addled boy into car and drive home. Get back in car, drive back to town (20 miles away) for Christmas party drop-in.

Dec 15 - Hublet's b-day, for which his gifts have not yet arrived. Bake cake. Also, throw party at work for graduating work study student--get gift certificate and cake.

Dec 16 - Departmental luncheon, necessitating wrapping of 6 mini-gifts. Will spend entire luncheon making mental to-do list for home - last minute gifts, baking, tidying, laundry, etc.

Dec 17 - Fall semester graduation. Bridal shower and wine tasting from 7 - 10 that night.

Dec 18 - Clean house, change fish water, wrap gifts, pack.

Dec 19 - Work half day. Grab Boy, drag home. Stuff cat in carrier, drop off at vet. Stuff Boy, Hublet, Dog, small tv/vcr combo, luggage, and presents for half my family in car, drive 2 hours to Winston-Salem.

Dec 20 - Drive to Marshall, NC, spend day with every cousin I have. Let overeating and showering of Boy with gifts begin! Also, try to get Boy to sleep in inflatable bed with no rails in strange place for the very first time. Let sleepless nights begin!

Dec 21 - Drive from Marshall to Asheville. Eat. Repeat sleepless night.

Dec 22 - Spend whole day with inlaws. Woo. Orgy of gift-giving will commence; at this point The Boy will have gotten about 3 hours of sleep in as many days and will probably be constipated, feverish, and overstimulated.

Dec 23 - Rise at crack of dawn, attempt to cram 400 metric tons worth of Christmas gifts into car. Pray that Boy will sleep in car seat. Drive from Asheville to Raleigh. Unpack, do laundry, clean house, prepare guestroom, send Hublet to grocery store.

Dec 24 - My parents and uncle arrive. Attend 4 pm church service. Come home, put Boy to bed, drink Irish coffee until 1 a.m.

Dec 25 - Christmas! Yet another orgy of gift-giving. Make and consume Christmas dinner. Kiss parents and uncle goodbye, close door, collapse.

Good grief. Just typing that makes me tired.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:15 AM | Comments (9)

December 09, 2003

Tis the Season

For bizarre anxiety dreams brought on by Christmas preparations.

I am too exhausted to think today after a marathon dream in which I was forced to wrangle deadly pit vipers on the Australian set of the next Harry Potter movie. The folks in charge were awfully blase' about the fact that I had no clue what I was doing, and of course the stupid viper bit me.

Then I was forced to bench press 50 lbs--to gauge the progress of the venom--while waiting for Steve Irwin to arrive with the antivenom. And let me just tell you he took his sweet time getting there, the bastard.

None of this has anything whatsoever to do with Christmas, but I blame it nonetheless. Better posting tomorrow, after a (hopefully) more restful night's rest.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 02:18 PM | Comments (1)

November 25, 2003

Turkey Hiatus

Hublet, The Boy and I are trekking to Winston and parts South and West for our lovely Thanksgiving holiday, so I'm gone 'till next week.

I imagine things'll be slow round the 'sphere this weekend least for the 'Merkins (Americans, for those of you who lack the requisite southern accent).

Enjoy the football, food and feeding frenzy at the mall. I'll be relaxing with Master and Commander at the local mega-multiplex. Nothing gets me in the Christmas spirit like cannons going off and big ferocious sea battles, even if they are being fought by a rather bloated Russell Crowe. There's even a hobbit in the movie! Heh.

Have a good 'un!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 03:05 PM | Comments (1)

November 24, 2003

Calling Pele

It was time for the pre-Holiday hair appointment and highlights, a two-hour me-time extravaganza involving gossip, trashy magazines, and diet coke. I look extremely forward to these little outings. But this time, my stylist had a surprise for me. I sat down and she whipped out the "color board," which is a board adorned with samples of the hair colors you can choose from.

"We have a new product, now--it'll only take half the time to apply the color!"

"That's good," I replied, thinking that now I would have less time to worry about the chemicals seeping into my brain. "What is it?"

"It's called MAGMA."

"MAGMA? Well, okay." I pick a suitably magma-tastic sample from the red pallette, and the stylist pops off to whip up the color.

After the application, she asks me, "Do you want me to cover your head while this sets? If you get MAGMA on your skin, it won't come off."


"Nope. The color won't ever fade, either. That's why I didn't do quite as many highlights--if you don't like it, it'll be less to change."

"I promise, I won't be touching my head." Silently I add, "possibly ever again," and pick up a trashy magazine. Oh look! Willow married Wesley! Unfortunately, this isn't quite enough to distract me from the fact that I am sitting in a chair with a liberal amount of a chemical so powerful it was named after the earth's molten core on my head. I worry that my head is getting hot--is it just me, or is it the MAGMA? I have a sudden urge to consume poi and offer a sacrifice to Pele to spare my poor follicles. I am relieved when the fifteen minutes are up.

The stylist, wearing gloves better suited for handling uranium than washing my hair, lathers, rinses and repeats. The MAGMA looks lovely. The exposure to life-threatening chemicals has given my hair a lovely auburn tint, and as a bonus, those pesky gray strands are gone, gone, gone! HA!

I return home, and find hublet preparing for the big game.

"What do you think?" I ask, giving my MAGMA coated tresses a shake.

"About what?" he replies.

"My. HAIR." I grind out through clenched teeth.

"Oh. Looks nice."

"What about the color?" I persist.

"You colored it?" he asks, puzzled.

I master the urge to dump MAGMA on him, and go inside for some decaf.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:26 AM | Comments (5)

November 21, 2003

Friday Doo-Dads

From the "Ya THINK?" Department:

"If I were a guy and I'd heard all those things about a girl, I don't know that I'd want to take her out." -- MONICA LEWINSKY

Michele at A Small Victory sticks it to the Scroogy.

Everyone piles on Salam (I'm an Iraqi , I'm nobody; I'm an Iraqi with a blog, I'm famous; I'm a whiny Iraqi, I'm dead to you now--to paraphrase Dennis Leary) Pax. Some people are famous for being first. Often, that's not enough to sustain them. Ah well, such is the blogosphere.

Speaking of, my whole blogroll was completely buggered by the recent wacky hacky, so I'm recreating it. It's a good chance to add some folks I'd been meaning to, but it looks a lot shorter now. Yes, I have the memory capacity of a goldfish. I hope to have it up soon--if you notice that once you were there but now you're not, email me.

It's seventy degrees, clear Carolina Blue (forgive me, NCSU!) skies, and sunny. So if you'll excuse me, I have a life to get back to.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:43 AM | Comments (2)

November 17, 2003

So It's a Monday. Yippee Freaking Skip.

Back from a whirlwind weekend tour of Winston-Salem and Rocky Mt, Virginia. Hublet's 94-year-old Nana died this past Thursday in one of those horrible ironies of life--"Hey, Nana's 93 and she's living alone and she's got Alzheimers. We'd better put her in an assisited living facility so she doesn't fall down the stairs and break her neck or burn down the house..." 6 months later she falls at the assisted living facility, and pneumonia following surgery does her in.

She had a good life and a long one, though. But it's no fun walking through the doorway for the funeral of a woman who shares your last name--all you can think about is "Gee, one day a collection of ancient people will gather to stare at my waxy corpse before sticking me in the ground, and the placard over the door will look Just. Like. That. One."

I dislike considering my mortality, not so much because I dread or fear death; no, it's more that I dread and fear being old and alone and forgotten by family, much like a couple of members of hublet's family are. He doesn't come from a close-knit family background, and the idea that I could end up a widow with a son who sees me maybe once a year horrifies me. Horrifies me to the point that I want to have 4 or 5 more kids on the off chance that they won't ALL suck...but that's just the paranoia talking, and besides, The Boy's personality has been much improved ever since we got his bowels regulated.
Thank you, Phillips Milk of Magnesia.

So forgive the rambling nature of this post. I'm sleep deprived and discombobulated by the loss of my blogrolls. Bastard hackers. Like I don't have enough to worry about with my son growing up to forget I exist...

Beer. I shall go home and have a beer and things will undoubtedly look up tomorrow. After all, tomorrow is another day. And no snide comments from the peanut gallery, please. I reserve the right to channel my inner O'Hara whenever I please, thank you very much.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:42 PM | Comments (6)

Blogroll Absent

Have temporarily removed my personal blogroll and the North State Blogs blogroll links, because some little tool thought it would be clever to hackify the displays. Whatever. Will redisplay them later.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:14 AM | Comments (2)

November 11, 2003


Hey look, everyone! It's Irony! Come in, I. I haven't seen you around here in, oh, a day or so. What's up?

Irony: Can I borrow your gun?

Me: Umm, you aren't still mad at Hyperbole, are you? 'Cause you know, we can talk about this...

Irony: It's for me.

Me: Sit down right there. I'm not having the blood of a literary term on my hands, little lady.

Irony: It just all hit me suddenly--it's too much for one term to bear!

Me: What? What happened?

Irony: So there's this guy, right, and he's all afraid that Bush is some kind of weirdo who hijacked government, so he gives 15 million to an organization in order to make things go the way he wants them to, which, unless I'm wrong, is kind of like being a weirdo who's trying to hijack government by purchasing part of a political party. OW MY HEAD! Make it stop!

Me: Well, that's unfortunately not new or surprising, I.

Irony: Yeah, well couple it with Michael Moore dissing the average American he claims to champion as soon as he's out of earshot, with College Presidents' salaries reaching unprecedented highs as they jack up pricing and cry "poverty," and the UN talking about "regulating speech on the internet," and it all just adds up, you know?

Me: I don't think that last one is really ironic. It's just amazingly stupid, condescending and, umm--what's the word I'm looking for?

Irony: Wrong?

Me: That works.

Irony: Whatever. I need a vacation. Somewhere warm, with the sound of the ocean lulling me to sleep while I order the toothsome cabana boy to fetch me another margarita...

Me: Somewhere Irony free?

Irony: Well that won't really be possible, will it? Since if I'm there, the location in question will indeed have a certain je ne ce IRONY?

Me: I'm just trying to help. No need to get snippy.

Irony: Sorry. Look, I wasn't serious about the gun. My death would make Hyperbole entirely too happy, and so I'm determined to live as long as possible just to piss her off. But I am serious about the vacation.

Me: When are you leaving? Do you have a replacement?

Irony: Now and no. I figure you people should be good for a few metric tons of irony-laden crap without my help. And it's not like you have to be a brain surgeon to figure this out.

Me: Well some people have more trouble defining the Ironic than others...

Irony: Yeah, well, some people like to get naked and sing about India, too. So it shouldn't surprise you if those same folks aren't too clear on the definition of Irony. You'll be fine. I'll send you a postcard.

Me: Well, okay then. Have fun with the cabana boy!

Right. Like I have a pickup line that doesn't come across as sarcastic.... Later!

Me: Later!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 02:36 PM | Comments (1)

November 10, 2003

Why I'm Not An Activist

It's because I'm not hip and ironic enough, I think. Check out this photo from an "anti-wall" rally.

Now at first glance, I would consider this to be a "pro-wall" message, because most reasonable people don't support crazy-ass masked weirdos covered in dynamite. Ergo, if Hamas says "No Wall," NORMAL people should be Pro Wall. See?

Except apparently this guy ISN'T engaging in a tongue-in-cheek display of parody. Apparently this guy thinks that crazy-ass masked weirdos covered in dynamite speak rationally and are good role models. Ergo, if Hamas is anti-wall, we should ALL be anti-wall.

Pardon me, the mental disconnect has given me a headache and I need to go lie down. Maybe I'm TOO hip and ironic. Perhaps bone-headed and completely without irony are the necessary ingredients for protests these days. Either way, I'm left out, and I can't say that I'm too upset about it.

Photo Via LGF Via Indymedia...

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 03:17 PM | Comments (0)

November 06, 2003

Just Shut Up, Howard.

Please. Before that hole you're digging hits the molten core of the earth and we're consumed by the resultant explosion of lava.

The most annoying part of presidential campaigns to me is having to endure a parade of clueless losers pontificating on "The South," and their assumption that somehow we hopelessly backward yokels need their help to "improve." We aren't some monolithic "redneck nation," we don't all base votes on "God, guns, and gays," so if you don't have a better informed view of this region just do us all a favor and shut the hell up about it. Really. Oh, and while you're at it--LEAVE. Kthxbye!

And note to the democrats--when you're basing your soundbites about the South on a professional race-baiters demagoguery--it's over for you. Go away and leave us "gun-toting, God-fearing gay-haters" alone to sink in our swampy morass of ignorance and keep your moral superiority intact. You can't save us--I promise. Now will you leave?

Bunch of clueless tools.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:48 AM | Comments (2)

November 05, 2003

No, Really. Keep Your Street Signs.

We didn't want to visit you anyway. But here's an idle question for you--how come a town that actually passes an ordinance with this wording:

"Vote for Bolinas to be a socially acknowledged nature-loving town because to like to drink the water out of the lakes to like to eat the blueberries to like the bears is not hatred to hotels and motor boats. Dakar. Temporary and way to save life, skunks and foxes (airplanes to go over the ocean) and to make it beautiful."

gets called "quirky," whereas if this took place in the South it would be called "backward" or the "result of generations of isolation and inbreeding?"

And what the hell does "dakar" mean, anyway?
I've got relatives living in some pretty isolated mountain areas around here, but when I visit them, everyone speaks English and doesn't randomly invoke the name of the capitol of Senegala.

Just wondering, you know?

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:46 AM | Comments (7)

October 31, 2003

Yeah, And?

So I'm dating myself here. But I am a MASTER of meaningless trivia. Go me!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:56 PM | Comments (2)

October 30, 2003

I Want My Toaster Oven

Since I'm such the sheeple, I trotted on over to gender genie and ran 3 blog entries through.

The gender genie identified me as male all three times. When I submitted the correction, it called me "one butch chick."

Of course, I have been named an honorary lesbian by some of my fellow workers...

Does this mean I qualify for the free toaster oven?

Actually, I wonder if my writing style skews masculine because of what I tend to read--I read very little female-authored lit (Jane Austen and Florence King are the notable exceptions) and the remainder of my reading time is spent on history tomes which are mostly male-authored.

But the really burning question here, of course, is do I qualify as a metrosexual?

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:22 AM | Comments (7)

October 29, 2003

Chris Matthews on Fox

Yesterday evening I was flipping channels during the news hour, as usual, and noticed it was time for Britt Hume's "Grapevine" segment, which is always interesting, so I switched over to Fox News.

I was momentarily confused when I saw Chris Matthews' face, and a promo for his Hardball, or Straight Talk or Hard Talk or Hard Straight Balls Yelling or whatever show, so I hit the channel info button on the satellite remote to figure out just where I had landed.

Imagine my surprise when I realized that MSNBC is ADVERTISING on FOX. Does that strike anyone else as slightly bizarre? ABC doesn't advertise its shows on NBC, after all. I guess I figured that networks usually just pretended that no one else existed, much less advertised their shows on the competition's airwaves.

Maybe "bizarre" isn't the word I'm looking for here. Maybe "realistic" or even "desperate" would be better.

Me, I'm waiting for the ads for America's Funniest Home Videos to start popping up during Friends.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 02:44 PM | Comments (2)


Couple of a.m. goodies:, brought to you by the folks at The FIRE. I so love being on their email list...and that statement is made without irony. See, I can be serious!

New Carnival is up, just in case you missed the other 4 million links to it!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:39 AM | Comments (0)

October 27, 2003

Damn You, Trading Spaces

See, I had this whole clever rant planned out about how painting my master bedroom went from a simple sage on the walls to 3 colors, with striping (and did I mention I have 20 ft cathedral ceilings in there? Yeah.), and how none of this would have happened if it hadn't been for Trading Spaces, but frankly my fingers ache from all the aforementioned painting, I'm exhausted, my sinuses are acting up because of the fumes, and I just can't bring the funny, or anything else aside from this run-on sentence that is absolutely Faulknerian in its length.

So there.

I can't even give you a link to something funny. Must go now. Carpal tunnel is setting in. More tomorrow, after I spend many hours in a nice hot bath.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 03:32 PM | Comments (2)

October 24, 2003

Live and Learn

You know those pony rides at the fair, where little kids get to go around in a circle on ponies for about 3 minutes? You know how it looks like those ponies are moving very slowly? Well, they're actually moving at quite a clip. Know how I found this out? Because when you're holding a two year old in place while he clings to the pony with one hand and has your neck in a deathgrip with the other, you really have to trot to keep up with those tiny little ponies. On the plus side, he enjoyed the ride very much. And really, what's a stiff neck, muscle soreness and position as new stockholder in Ben Gay in relation to such happiness?

For those of you who want to read something with a tad more bite, Andrea Harris sharpens her incisors on the "'tard-o-phobes" in our society.

Read the comments, too; especially lovely is the question by one "alkali" who wants to know the "moral difference" between turning off a heart/lung machine for a brain dead individual and slowly starving and dehydrating a non-brain dead individual to death. Woo! Behold 21st century compassion and moral relativism! Oh, and note to the ACLU--you suck. Thank you and goodnight.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 02:02 PM | Comments (4)

October 22, 2003


I am taking tomorrow off with the family (minus hublet--alas, no paid days off to lowly second year teachers) to glory in the bright sunshine, crisp air and the smell of funnel cakes and roasted corn on the cob at the State Fair. And to let The Boy see exactly what all those animals Old MacDonald has on his farm look like up close.

This could either be a lot of fun or the cause of future therapist bills. We will, however, avoid the chickens. They are v.v. smelly to be so small. And loud. And kind of mean, really. Nope, no chickens.

Thanks for all the song suggestions--I'm finally going to break down and get "No!" by TMBG.

Dunno if I'll be posting tomorrow, but like I always say, nothing like time in the public arena to provide blog fodder...

Have a good 'un!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 03:33 PM | Comments (1)

October 20, 2003

Insert Your Own Joke Here

About France, justice, or any combination of the two.

Hee. Or, ick, depending on your perspective. Me, I'm just glad there were no cameras in the courtroom.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:39 AM | Comments (1)

October 17, 2003

Trick or Treat

You decide. Was cleaning out my hard drive and came across a little assignment I wrote for a writing contest several years ago. Got an honorable mention, but they never did publish it, even as filler. If you read it, you'll probably discover why.

It was for a ghost story contest. As some of you may know, I enjoy Stephen King and horror in general. But I can't write a serious scary story to save my life. Can. Not. Do. It, because goofiness always creeps in.

So, for some Friday funsies, I'll share the link to this story with you (I'd put it online to share with family members.)

Plus, it's better than ruminating upon China's forthcoming laser shooting war satellites of DOOOM!

Which, if true, is a lot scarier than anything anyone could make up.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:53 AM | Comments (5)

October 14, 2003

Hitting a Girl When She's Down

Okay, I admitted already that REM made me feel old. So is there a mass media conspiracy afoot to send me to my walker prematurely?

This article about the reunited Duran-Duran has just about done it--particularly this paragraph:

The clamor has evoked memories of when the British band were idols who attracted a devoted following of teenage girls and sold millions of records around the world.

Yes, back when we lived on Pangea, pre-ice age and continental drift, I remember my girlfriends and I carving Simon Le Bon's likeness into the cave walls with bits of bone and coloring it with ash. Then we'd brave the herds of roaming velociraptors to get to the local Record Bar to buy their latest release. Why, I still have my animal skin elf boots and ancient mini-pelt!

Dear. God. Note to baby boomers, my favorite whipping boys and girls: See, when you create a culture that worships youth, it's only fun WHILE YOU'RE YOUTHFUL! Thanks for nothing, you losers.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:41 PM | Comments (1)

October 13, 2003


Went to the REM concert last Friday night, and found myself confronted by reality. I hate when that happens. First of all, I had made sure to get tickets under the shelter, because sitting on the lawn was not appealing (Walnut Creek--oh, sorry, ALLTEL, geez--Amphitheatre is an outdoor deal). This should have tipped me off, along with the lack of any real desire to get there early and drink, that perhaps things had changed considerably in Big Arm land from the last time I saw Stipe and Co. in action.

See, I've loved REM since I was 14 and a friend got me a copy of their Chronic Town EP. I have an autographed copy of Murmur, gotten after standing in line for an hour at the Record Bar in Winston-Salem. I know all about Mitch Easter and his drive-in studio. I had front row seats for their Duke show on the Document tour. I drove out of a Hurrican Hugo-devastated Charlotte and to DC to catch the Green tour. I am a fan, even though I pretty much stopped buying their new stuff after Monster. And I associate REM with high school and college.

So imagine my surprise when I took my seat, looked around at my fellow concert-goers and discovered that they were old. Not Methuselah old, but middle-aged paunchy, graying, thinning, wrinkling, and generally beginning the downhill trek from downy cheeked youth to doddering old fart. Of course, then I was forced to realize that these were the same folks I'd been with for those Document and Green shows, and then mean old Logic leaned over and whispered to me that this meant I was therefore becoming aged as well. Sigh. Dammit.

The concert was excellent--Bill Berry came out and actually played a song with the band. Michael Stipe was his usual spazzy flailing self and the whole experience was well worth the $55 and trek through the drizzle. So what if The Tallest Man in the World was standing in front of me? So what if the pudgy drunken forty-something beside him was getting all ass-grabby with his woman (okay, there was a high ick factor, but I'm trying to purge it from my consciousness in order to save my sanity)? For a couple of hours, I was having fun listening to high school and college. Every song was a discrete experience from those years, and reliving it was enjoyable without being maudlin or overly nostalgia-laden.

Yeah, okay, I'm getting old. But not as old as all those OTHER people were. I mean, really, they were middle-aged! Since I fully intend to live to be 100, I've got a ways to go before I'm that old. Right? RIGHT? Shut up, Logic. I am NOT in the mood.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 02:45 PM | Comments (6)

October 10, 2003

Hazards of Big Hair

I live in North Carolina, one of the leading states in the Big Hair Nexus. Of course, our hair is not as big as Texas hair, and we are definitely not in the same league as Long Island hair, but we know our oversized coifs when we see them, and we know our way around those big aerosol cans of White Rain hairspray. So speaking as a denizen of Big Hair Nation (South), I can unequivocally state for the record that Big Hair can be not only a space sucking fire hazard, but potentially life threatening to innocent bystanders. At the very least, Big Hair confuses tigers, which is not necessarily a good thing:

"As Roy was leading Montecore out to stage front on a leash, the cat became fascinated and distracted by woman with a big hairdo in the front row. Instead of Montecore going down facing forward with Roy, he did a 90-degree turn and faced sideways towards the woman with the big hairdo. For whatever reason, Montecore was fascinated and distracted by the guest sitting ringside."

We all know what happened next. Apparently Roy was injured because Montecore the tiger wanted to get him away from the scene of the Big Hair, an understandable reaction in anyone, man or beast. Thankfully, Roy is recovering and Montecore is fine. But let this serve as a warning to the rest of you--Big Hair is not to be underestimated. If you see Big Hair, it is best to avoid it. Just turn and walk quickly in the other direction until the hazard has passed.

Via Drudge, who proves once again that truth? Way stranger than fiction. Oh, and I'm waiting for PETA to retract their "he was beating Montecore" statements in favor of a warning against the effect of Big Hair on our animal friends.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:25 AM | Comments (0)

October 07, 2003

Some Days

How's my day been? Thanks for asking!

  1. Hear beeping in hallway. Beeping is making dog freak out, so pull out step stool and hone in on source of beeping--ADT smoke detector.

  2. Unscrew smoke detector, discover it's hardwired into house.

  3. Call ADT, told to power down system.

  4. Inspect smoke detector again. For some reason, this sets off the fire alarm.

  5. Toddler wails.

  6. Dog cowers.

  7. Leap from step stool, narrowly avoid breaking neck, and turn off alarm.

  8. Fire department shows up. Tell them false alarm, as alarm goes off again. Try to be polite when fireman tells me he lives just down the road and attempts to make chitchat as toddler wails, dog freaks out, alarm goes off, and house looks like a small indoor tornado has just passed through.

  9. Hysterically inform ADT people that the damn alarm won't stop alarming.

  10. Get tech support. Go about REALLY powering down system, which results in a cut finger, blood everywhere, and my accidentally ripping the entire control panel out of the wall.

  11. Still there is beeping.

  12. Discover that beeping was coming NOT from the ADT smoke detector, but from the old one that I thought we had unplugged 2 YEARS AGO.

  13. Wait for maintenance man. Pass time by playing with choo-choo trains on floor with toddler, and wrinkling work clothes beyond recognition.

  14. Apply bandaid to finger.

  15. Maintenance man arrives, fixes everything in under 30 minutes for a mere $25. Huzzah! Conveniently forget that I wouldn't have had to spend $25 in the first place if I had just checked the CORRECT FREAKING SMOKE DETECTOR.

  16. Load toddler into car and head to daycare and work.

  17. Toddler, upset that his "day off" is turning into "day on," throws hissy fit in daycare driveway, running and flinging himself down on concrete. This adds to the trauma.

  18. Daycare workers must help me physically wrangle toddler and belongings in the door.

  19. My all day deodorant begins to wear off. I look and smell like a wino.

  20. Pry snuffling toddler off of my body so I can at least get a couple of hours in at work.

  21. Wipe previously missed droplets of blood and toddler effluvia off of sweater.

  22. Arrive at work.

  23. Devour pound of peanut M&Ms.; Fervently wish M&Ms; were beer.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 03:47 PM | Comments (4)

October 02, 2003

Dribs and Drabs

Hublet, The Boy and I are headed to the Redneck Riviera, aka Myrtle Beach, for a long weekend with some family. I will be incommunicado for the ENTIRE WEEKEND, which will be a good test of my ability to endure the privations of post-apocalyptic America, should it be necessary.

A few unrelated things before I go:

You know you're in a hurry when you get to the doctor's office a full hour and a half after dressing your child and realize that you put his shoes on the wrong feet. It did explain why he wanted me to carry him, though...

Obligatory Pop Culture Post Thingy:
Watched the season premiere of Angel last night. It was written by Joss Whedon and was therefore very well done. It put me in mind of what Buffy should have been when she entered adulthood, instead of that Marti Noxon crap we got instead. I will probably tune in again next week.

On a related note:
I think Stephen King is a good writer. English major types who like to read him try to get around admitting this by calling him a "good storyteller," which is poppycock. He's not sitting in your living room relating the finer plot points of Christine--he wrote. it. down. And did a damn fine job--parsing writing and storytelling leads to the kind of literary offal you find being lauded in the New Yorker, which is not only bad storytelling, but prose so fraught with baggage that not even Atlas himself could pick it up and make it move.

So give the man the damn award and move on. Thanks so much. Love, Big Arm Woman.

Back Monday.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 12:05 PM | Comments (9)

From the "Don't Dish it if You Can't Take it" Files

Remember a week or so ago when Tucker Carlson thought he was being funny and gave "his home number" out on the air, except the number was actually for Fox News' Washington bureau?

Uh-huh, so Fox posted Carlson's home number on their website. This is what we who traffic in practical jokes like to call "tit-for-tat."

But here's Carlson's reaction:

In an interview with The Washington Post, Carlson called Fox News "a mean, sick group of people."

Note to Tucker--loosen the bowtie. It seems to be depriving your brain of some much needed oxygen, because you're laboring under the delusion that while it's okay for you to play a mean-spirited prank on live TV it's not okay for the "prankee" to retaliate.

See also: Getting a taste of your own medicine, What's good for the goose is good for the gander, If you can't take the heat get out of the kitchen, etc, etc.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:52 AM | Comments (0)

September 30, 2003

Happy Blogiversary to Me

Happy Blogiversary to Me,
Happy Blogiversary, Dear BIGARMWomaaaaaaaaaannnnnn,
Happy Blogiversary to Me!

So I suppose the traditional thing is to launch into a navel-gazing post about the incredible journey of self-discovery that is blogging. Nah.

Blogging is fun. Reading comments is fun. Making comments is also fun. Fun, fun, fun. Mocking things I find silly is lots o' fun. There. That highbrow enough for you? And yes, I have been reading a lot of children's books lately--why do you ask?

I shall continue to bring the snark and the mock, and occasionally the serious post, in between bouts of potty training, pinkeye (me, again, this week. dammit.) and bizarre university goings on.

I hope you shall continue to read and/or enjoy, and leave commentary if you feel like it.

Finally, in a lame attempt to salvage this post from the Land of Maudlin Crap, a fun link for you to visit: Daunish Day, Dorm Linebacker

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:58 PM | Comments (7)

September 26, 2003


Okay, it's tequila. You know, tequila? One shot - no effect. Two shots - no effect. Three shots - you wake up the next morning and people are looking at you oddly and humming snatches of "Strangers in the Night" as you walk past.

"Quality" is not what you look for in tequila. It is designed to be drunk as quickly as possible, and to have its taste completely obscured by combinations of salt and lime. Tequila is anti-freeze with a twist. So when I read something like this:

Judith Meza Nixon, U.S.-Canada representative for the council, said there is evidence that handlers of bulk Tequila on both sides of the border could be eroding the drink's quality.

My first reaction is, "Eroding quality? From what? It currently has the quality of anti-freeze. Where is "down" from there? Battery acid? Fresh lava? Nuclear waste? And may I just add that the mention of a "sipping tequila" makes my skin crawl completely off of my body and hide in a corner of the room.

Next thing you know we'll be interviewing my cousin Otis about the "quality" of his moonshine:

"Well, the current Mason Jar shortage is definitely having a deleterious effect on my product's quality. It eats right through those plastic milk jugs, plus the shine gets tainted with all that PFC aftertaste..."

Whatever. Mexico is looking to create jobs and control a cash cow. The US is looking to keep jobs. Let's leave "quality" out of it. Pepe Lopez always has.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:13 AM | Comments (3)

September 19, 2003

The Wrinkle Manifesto

I have just recently reached a milestone in aging, and as such have spent a long time ruminating on my mortality. Well, that's not entirely true--I'm going to live forever, so really I've just been stressing about the appearance of fine lines and gray hairs and exactly what in the hell I plan to do about these developments. Then last night I watched Extreme Makeover, a TV show which could generously be called Extreme Vanity, or could ungenerously be labled Let's Find Some "Ugly" (Read: Normal Looking) People and Make Them into Someone Completely Different Just to Get Some Ratings and Possibly a Boost for the Plastic Surgery Industry because God Knows We Can't Just Deal With Aging and Getting Fat, We Must Worship at the Altar of Eternal Youth--Worship, Damn You! But the latter title doesn't fit neatly on the screen. Anyway, I won't bother describing Extreme Makeover, check it out for yourselves and be amazed or horrified--I'm sure either reaction will do nicely.

Once again, I'm going to take a moment to blame the damn Baby Boomers, the least gracefully aging generation EVER, for the ubiquity of plastic surgery day spas, laser hair removal parlors, and other purveyors of implants, transplants, lifting, separating, tightening, polishing, lipo-sucking, lip-plumping and any other thing you can think of to make yourself into an exhibit at Madame Tussaud's. It's called AGING, people! We all shrivel up and die, and let's just spend a moment thinking about how bizarre Pamela Anderson is going to look when she's 80 and still has perkier boobs than a 16 year old. How confused and horrified are future archaeologists going to be when they unearth an ancient coffin from 2003 and find it empty except for a femur, some porcelain teeth and two sacks of saline? And finally, does ANYONE think that Joan Rivers looks GOOD? I mean, okay, compared to a Balrog she's doing pretty well, but let's keep it within our species, please.

I don't have a problem with minor cosmetic alterations--highlighting the hair if you're prematurely gray, getting your teeth straightened or polished, etc--but letting someone hack off parts of your body just to try and avoid the reality of getting older is delusional. You are going to get old. If you're lucky, you'll get so old that you'll look like one of those dried apple people they sell at farmer's markets. And you know what? Looking like a dried apple is a good thing, because it means YOU AREN'T DEAD. Also? Having a face so tight that people could ice skate on it doesn't increase your sex appeal. Because we all look at it and go, "Nice mid-life crisis, dude. Guess what? You're still old. And now you're still old and if you smile you run the risk of your face snapping off and landing on my tossed salad." Note to Michael Douglas--the facelift didn't help you get Catherine Zeta Jones. Having more money than God? Much more helpful to you. Just thought I'd point that out.

So back to the major focus of this piece--me. After confronting Extreme Makeover, I have decided to enlist your help, because I have decided that the greatest danger I face is not aging, but being sucked into the vortex of cosmetic alterations. I have made a list of Things I Will Do to Age Gracefully. Here it is:
1. Moisturize.
2. Color my hair until I turn 60, at which time I will gradually do a Bob Barker and be gray.

That's it, because I don't want to be one of Those Women--you know the ones, with the extremely red hair or the platinum blonde hair that looks like it might break if you touch it and the permanently surprised look on the face that is considerably less wrinkled than the neck and hands? Yeah, Those Women scare me, because somewhere, deep down, they think they look normal or good, while people my age are horrified. If I'm going to horrify anyone, it's going to be because I look like a vengeful old crone, not an escapee from Spielberg's A.I. So here's to wrinkles! And if any of you catch me mentioning the words "Botox," "Tuck," or "Lipo," tackle me until the fit passes.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:30 AM | Comments (9)

September 17, 2003


Posting will be light today and probably tomorrow as we prepare the campus for any Isabel contingencies.

In the meantime, go here.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:17 AM | Comments (0)

September 12, 2003

Nervous, very very dreadfully nervous...

See, hublet went out to get something from my car Tuesday afternoon. When I went out for my run that evening, I noticed that the interior light was on in the car, because he hadn't shut the door completely. So I closed the door, ran, and decided to check on the car's battery status. It was dead. So I whipped out ye olde jumper cables and had at the car resuscitation process. Go me! Except when I finished, I noticed that the "key in the ignition/seatbelt off" warning beep hadn't stopped. I made sure everything was closed/sealed/turned off. Still with the beeping. I finally resigned myself to having to re-jump the car in the morning, and went to bed, leaving the mournfully beeping Mazda alone in the dark, dark driveway.

At 5:15 a.m., The Boy decided to greet the day with much wailing and demanding of a Thomas video. Hublet had to take 22 teenagers on a field trip, so he had to leave early. I had to throw on some clothes, get The Boy fed and clothed and packed up, run out into the light drizzle and re-jump the car. Cue the annoying beeping. As well as the large "drizzle hair"--my hair frizzes in moist weather. Hublet departed. I fed animals, secured the residence, and hopped in the car for my 35 minute commute. With the beeping. Beep. Beep. Beep.

I turned on the radio, but I could still hear the beeping. Beep. Beep. Beep. I tried to sing the ABC song with The Boy, but realized I was using the beeping as a weird metronome. I noticed that I was gripping the steering wheel rather too tightly. And still there was the beeping. Beep. Beep. Beep.

I dropped The Boy off, making sure to leave the car running. The beeping followed me into the daycare, and greeted me when I departed. I then headed for the Mazda place, beeping all the way. Beep. Beep. Beep. I began to have intense empathy for the narrator of The Telltale Heart. Beep. Beep. Beep.

By the time I got to the Mazda place, I had been in the car for 50 minutes. 50 minutes of electronic sound pulses designed to make the hair on your arms stand up and your eardrums bleed. The little mechanic man sauntered over, smiling. His a.m. joie de vivre was short-lived, however, as a crazed woman with very large frizzy hair leapt from the Mazda, shouting, "DO YOU HEAR THAT?!?! DO YOU?!?! MAKE. IT. STOP. NOW!"

It was the shortest visit to a car repair shop I've ever had. I was at work by 9 a.m.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:01 AM | Comments (1)

September 11, 2003


At 9:04 a.m. the phone rang. I was in bed; mom had taken The Boy after his 7:00 feeding and was doing what she seemed to love best, sitting with him asleep on her lap in the den and letting me catch a few more precious minutes of sleep. I answered the phone, planning a blistering, if incoherent, dressing-down to the telemarketer on the other end.

But it wasn't a telemarketer, it was my husband, telling me excitedly to go, turn on the TV, he'd just heard that a plane had hit one of the towers of the World Trade Center and that it might not have been an accident. I hung up and stumbled into the den and grabbed the remote and turned on the TV. It was on Fox News, and the images of the first tower were just coming in. I told mom what had happened, and then we sat in silence, watching palefaced journalists trying to filter through the morass of information and rumors.

They had a live shot on the towers, so we saw the second plane hit. Mom and I both gasped, "Oh my God!" and looked at each other. My thoughts were a jumble--this wasn't accidental, this was an attack, how many people, how would they get them out, where were the rescue helicopters, for Gods' sake--shouldn't there be rescue helicopters to take folks off the towers? How would they put out a fire that high up?

We sat there, transfixed, as information about other planes and the Pentagon came in, all the while watching the images of burning towers behind the anchorman's head. They had pulled back to a wide shot, perhaps so that we couldn't see the falling bodies. And then I saw the first tower fall. It took a moment for the journalists to catch up with what was happening behind them, but I remember gasping and telling my husband (who I had called after turning on the TV) and my mother (who had gone to make coffee) "My God! The tower just fell! It FELL!" And then we sat in silence, waiting for the inevitable to happen, and watching as the second one came down.

Everything else about that day is something of a blur. I remember looking at my two week old son and thinking that the world had changed, and that it might be up to him to fight for it. I remember going outside and noticing how clear and calm and silent everything was--I didn't hear birds singing or distant sounds of traffic or anything--and thinking that this might be the world holding its breath, waiting to see what was going to happen next. I remember the TV as our constant companion, speeches of leaders who rose to the occasion, and the roll call of the confirmed dead and the missing, and all of the children who would never know a father or who had lost a mother. I remember sadness, and rage, but most of all, I remember the feeling of solidarity I had with people hundreds of miles away.

Two years later, I still remember.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:23 AM | Comments (1)

September 08, 2003

Color Me Surprised

Let's get this straight--I don't like John Edwards, and it has very little to do with his politics. Nope, I don't like him because he comes across as a power-hungry freak who views being a senator for his home state as a brief necessary evil on his way to the presidency. Incidentally, every personal anecdote I've heard about him reinforces this view. Heck, he didn't even bother to spend his first senate term being a senator, he just leapt directly into the democratic primaries. Now he knows he can't win the nomination, and he's at least bright enough to understand that he might have a hard time keeping his senate seat, so he's making himself available for a VP slot. Whatever, Johnny. Your ambition is showing. Also, you aren't Bill Clinton--just thought I'd point that out. Thanks for letting me pay for your campaign, you tool.

The local rag has more.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:54 AM | Comments (1)

September 04, 2003

Crapped Elmos and Other Afflictions

Okay, I'm bummed out. Seriously bummed out. Everything I've come across recently about K-12 or Higher Education depressed the crap out of me. Click on those links at your own risk, people--they tend to lead you to the inexorable conclusion that we are all Dooooooomed! Although the snarky little flamewars that occur on The Chronicle's Colloquium are good for a laugh.

Then I read treatises on the "daycare/don't daycare/if you do (or don't) you suck/I'm a self-righteous twit and I hereby pronounce sentence upon you/you aren't a woman, don't judge me/shut up I hate you all" issue (although this thread is very civil and tame), and am even more bummed out. Yep, we're dooooooooomed, all right. Sigh. On to happier things...

So yesterday I went to fetch The Boy after work, and he was running around with his buddy Max. The game is called "Runnin!" (pronounced with a Forest Gump twang) and consists of, well, aimless running. When I showed up, The Boy paused, said, "Mama, Runnin!" and kept going. As I got his little Dr Seuss bookbag from his cubby, he finished his game and announced, "Mama Crapped Elmo!" This announcement was somewhat disconcerting, and also untrue. I stared at him, confused, and he repeated himself, "I crap Elmo!"

Quickly I ran through the litany of objectionable phrases that had slipped past my defenses in the past day or so, but nowhere did the phrase "I crap Elmo" occur. I hadn't even opined on Elmo recently, as he has been supplanted by "Thomas! Choo-Choo TWAIN!" in the pantheon of toddler idols. I looked around anxiously, and was planning a fast and surreptitious trip to the car when The Boy bent his right arm and thrust his elbow into my view. "Crap Elmo," he explained patiently, looking at me like I was a moron. Indeed, he had scraped his elbow. He fell on the way in from the playground, and didn't cry at all, according to his teacher, except when they tried to put a Band-Aid on him. The Boy has a completely irrational hatred of Band-Aids. Liquid bandages rule.

I duly exclaimed over the crapped elmo, and gave it the powerful, all-healing mommy kiss. With that, we proceeded home. But I have a new description for the bummier things in life--Crapped Elmo. I hope the Children's Televison Workshop doesn't mind.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 03:44 PM | Comments (2)

August 26, 2003

Eeewwww. Shudder. Eeeewwww

Spiders suck. They have too many legs and too many eyes, they liquefy their victims and suck out the goo for sustenance, and they're all hairy and weird and mean. Mean, I say! Spiders are ookiness of the first order. I don't squish them or go out of my way to kill them, but I do give them a wide berth. Ooky!

So you can imagine my level of freaked-outness (yes, that is an accurate phrase--it's at least as accurate as "ooky") yesterday when I went to deposit The Boy in his car seat, only to feel a sting on the pad of my index finger when I lifted the door handle.


It was big and reddish brown and hairy and it had little yellow spots on its belly and I found myself hopping up and down and waving my arms and making sounds like, "Ooohh arrrgh icck ugh yuck oooooh!" and flapping my hands around like I might take flight.

The Boy found my Ooky Spider Dance quite amusing. So I turned to him and held out my finger and said , "That big mean ugly spider bit mommy! On her finger! Big, mean spider!"

Then I paused for a moment and tried to figure out if the tingling in my hand was caused by the Evil Venomous Eight Legged Hellspawn on my car door or by the fact that I'd been flapping around for the better part of a minute. The Boy pointed at the spider and said, "Mean. Bit mommy finger." "You're darn skippy, son," I replied.

Now I had to figure out how to get the boy in his car seat without coming ANYWHERE NEAR the arachnid in question. I accomplished this feat by a yogic lifting motion that would have impressed Cirque de Soleil, but I managed it, all the while imagining that I felt hairy little legs attaching themselves to my toes, legs, arms and hands.

After I got The Boy firmly ensconced, I had to do another round of the Ooky Spider Dance until I calmed down enough to deal with getting the critter in question off my car. Finally I located a twig, severed the spider's strand of silk, and watched it crawl away.

Ick. I have two tiny little pinprick holes in my finger, and I'm still prone to bouts of the Ooky Spider Dance whenever I'm reminded of the event. Oh, and now I stick my car key under the door handle and wiggle it around to check for evil interlopers before I open the car door.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 02:41 PM | Comments (8)

August 20, 2003

Quickie Links for your AM enjoyment

Part III of the ongoing "Fredrick Lang--not a prick" saga is here.

Part oh-who's-counting of the ongoing "there are some crazy-ass people out there" blogwar is here.

The Carnival is here!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:17 AM | Comments (2)

August 19, 2003

Dribs and Drabs

A few things -

Part II of the Lang essay is here

Via Instapundit, an Edward Said smackdown. Hitchens puts his finger on why Said's "scholarship" is so bothersome--he might have a valid point about cultural misunderstanding, but goes so far off the rails in his loathing of the West that he ruins it utterly. The man needs to afford some of the "understanding" he longs for to the West. Otherwise he's just a raving hypocrite, albeit one with tenure...

Finally, remember the recent Dave Barry meme about poems featuring the phrase "the dog ate my mother's toes" by poets using the name Freemont? Well, I have been "selected as a semi-finalist in the International Poetry Competition." And I can see my faboo poem in print (for a small fee, natch!). Unbelievable. I wonder how many other "freemonts" got this email (assuming they didn't spoof their addresses)? FYI, here is my "Semi-Final" contender:

Misery Mine

The day is done,
And no one knows
Just why the dog
Ate my mother's toes.

We sit at night,
encased in woes,
My mom thinks life
totally blows.

She cannot run,
her walking slows,
stupid dog.
Missing toes.

-Freemont E Hall

Yes, I am heavily influenced by Seuss. How perceptive of you!

Good grief.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:23 AM | Comments (5)

August 14, 2003

The Real Gulf

Via Instapundit, I read this article by Ralph Peters on the differences between Europe and America. Da Pundit seems to think Peters paints with a broad brush--well, yeah, obviously any newspaper column that manages to summarize European decline and attribute it to a handful of causes is guilty of broad brushing. That said, the article still resonated with me, and not just because it appealed to my sense of national pride.

My undergrad institution actively encouraged JYA or Junior Year Abroad programs. It seemed as though they were intent on kicking every junior off campus and sending us to Europe or Japan. Like a lot of my friends, I took advantage of the program to get off campus and go somewhere with a lower legal drinking age. Those were my actual reasons, though I tarted them up to look much more serious on my application to the Beaver College Study Abroad Program. Granted, my desire to travel was real--it had to be to endure six months of beaver jokes--and a friend and I picked Aberdeen, Scotland as sufficiently exotic and still English-speaking. Of course, 2 weeks before my departure date the Lockerbie plane crash occurred, so my parents were a bit stressed. But that is neither here nor there.

My study abroad experience was excellent. The courses were absurdly easy (I think they only let the Americans take the "dumbed down" courses because they knew that our studies weren't our first priority), and I met and made friends with scots, englishfolk, a couple of frenchwomen, and a whole new group of Americans from all across the country. We had a blast, partly because it was so much fun to notice the differences between us. But BOY, were there differences, and the major one I saw was in attitudes about the future.

One evening before pubbing, a group of Scots and Americans were hanging out in my room, sampling Doritos and other American junk food (courtesy of my mom) and talking about future plans. To a person, the Americans' plans were grandiose, optimistic, and (statistically speaking) probably doomed to failure. But it didn't matter, because we believed that our dream futures were within our grasp, and that even if things didn't turn out exactly the way we'd planned, we'd still have happy and prosperous lives. Why not aim high? The Scots, on the other hand, seemed a little bit shocked by our attitudes. Their imagined futures were much more proscribed, and tainted by a "This is how it is. This is how it always was. Accept it." mentality. There was little talk of dreams. We (the Americans) discussed it later when we were alone, and shrugged it off as an example of typically Scottish gloom. Then we all went drinking and forgot about it, except to occasionally poke good-natured fun at the scottish world view (which was eagerly reciprocated by the Scots). The French girls, in the meantime, taught us how to make crepes, warned us not to go to Paris (the people there were categorized as insufferable snobs, which made all the Americans laugh) and breezily dismissed any serious talk of the future--things would go on as they always had, of course. There's a reason why "laissez-faire" is a French term.

The Peters article reminded me of this experience, and makes me wonder if it could be cast in a different light. I won't bother to go into the whole "are people a product of culture or is culture a product of people" chicken/egg debate, and I certainly won't pretend to categorize three separate nations on one large island based on a dorm room conversation, but Peters has a point when he describes the European desire for a safety net versus the American idolization of the individual. I've experienced that difference firsthand, and I don't see any easy way around it. For all of our Western Civilization classes and talk of America's drawing upon the Western tradition in forming its government and ideals, we aren't part of the same West that Europe is. And if you've studied European history, you'll see that the typical response to uppity rabble-rousing types (which is how they see us when they aren't freaking out about our military) who threaten the status quo is decidedly NOT laissez-faire. There's a real gulf of understanding here, and it won't be breached by Colin Powell or anyone else. More's the pity.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:51 AM | Comments (4)

August 08, 2003

Too Easy

And here I thought that Michael Moore was done promoting his "documentary."

Okay, that setup is too easy, but it's Friday.

Feel free to insert your own jokes here.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 12:56 PM | Comments (0)

August 07, 2003

The Department of Pointing and Laughing Department

I was wondering how long it would be before this happened. Yes Al, no one pays attention to you because all white people hate all black people. That's OBVIOUSLY the only reason you've been ignored. It couldn't possibly be because no one takes a has-been flim-flammer like yourself seriously. It's all so CLEAR to me now!

Californina. Wow. I'm thinking I might camp out in front of the TV with all the cable news channels on quick menu and a bucket of popcorn. That's entertainment! Also, it makes me happy to live in NC.

And England--in NC, we call that weather Summer. Not "global warming," not "the end of the world," and sorry to disagree with you, but I don't think you can really blame America for SEASONS. I'm a fairly mellow person (shut up!), but that crap makes me want to idle my cars in the driveway, open all my doors and windows and turn the AC on full blast in the futile hope that it will immediately cause the writer of that article to get a nasty sunburn. I said I was "mellow," not "mature."

On a related note, it must be nice to be George Bush, omnipotent weather god and all around unstoppable juggernaut of DOOOOOMMMMMM!!!!!!! I want to be an unstoppable juggernaut! That would be cool. According to The Guardian, all I have to do is work for an oil company...I wonder if Shell is hiring?

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 03:29 PM | Comments (5)

August 04, 2003


Not physically, unless you count the vague feeling of nausea that accompanies my recollections. Just--feeling a sad disappointment that has settled somewhere below my ribcage and that is making me feel off-kilter and a little bit ill. See, my folks came to visit us this weekend, and we've had a really good time: gone out to eat, indulged The Boy, and celebrated my mom's birthday early. And then last night as I was relaxing in the den with them and enjoying a glass of wine, talk turned to politics.

Ahh, politics. Now it's not that I'm unaware that my politics have diverged from those of my parents over the last few years, but we never really discuss our differences beyond the occasional sparring. And usually I'll divert the conversation or change the subject when it gets heated--it's only politics, after all. I enjoy ranting and raving about it, but at the end of the day it's not my whole life. Full disclosure: I'm registered as an Independent. I've voted for both parties in various elections, have voted in every election since I was eighteen, and like to at least pretend to being an informed voter. Currently, my leanings are more Republican, for two reasons: personal distaste for the politics of victimhood, and a belief that less government is better. Of course, I am apparently doomed to disappointment in this area, as GWB isn't exactly Mr. Cut the Deadwood in spending. Also, I'm generally satisfied with the whole War on Terror. 100% woo-hoo? No, but then, who is? We're talking broad brush here, people. Move on. If the Dems get their crap in order and offer me alternatives beyond "Bush Bad! WAAAH! Give me money!" they'll get my vote again. As for 2004, jury is out. Ta-da.

There are moments in life when you are struck forcibly by changes in relationships. Discovering that my father and mother, who I love, respect and consult about almost everything, actually believe that Iraq was all about the OOOOOIIIIILLLLL, that Bush was helped into the presidency by a vast Florida conspiracy, and that the BBC is a fine, upstanding journalistic body, had the same effect on me as being hit upside the head with a dead fish would. I couldn't even form coherent words, and my original reaction--Dear GOD, you've been reading Indymedia!--would have been lost on them. Highlights:

Dad: You watch too much Fox News.
Me: And CNN is so much less biased.

After that exchange, dad got mad and went to bed. Of course, dad's never been a fan of drawling sarcasm, and the leftover adolescent in me always falls back on that particular tool when arguing with him. No, you never do REALLY get mature or clearheaded about family spats, do you? Which left my mother to try and earnestly tell me that all Republicans want to eat the offspring of the poor, that the end of the world is nigh (the Earth Defense League told her so) and that Bush was secretly planning to go into Iraq all along to avenge his daddy.

There are honest differences of opinon to be had here, but arguing with someone who has managed to internalize every DNC soundbite over the past few years without ever questioning any of it is a losing proposition. I blog and read blogs--it's not like I don't come across folks arguing for and against this stuff every day. I've formed my own opinions about it, which should be obvious. But my disappointment that my parents should be sucked into the vortex of Tinhat-dom is deep and palpable. I just keep thinking that they should be smarter than that, which betrays my own prejudices, I know. And maybe as an adult I should have knocked down those parental pedestals a long time ago, but I didn't, and every time I see a crack in them it actually hurts me. So, no, this isn't just about politics. But I'm sick, all the same.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:26 AM | Comments (8)

July 29, 2003

Blah Blah Blah Blog

I think I've got End of Summer Blog Ennui, or ESBE for short. It's not like there isn't plenty of stuff going on in the world, and it's not like there isn't plenty of stuff that pisses me off for various reasons, but I can't summon the mental energy to marshal my thoughts and record my opinions, or to go searching for fun tidbits to share and giggle at. So, since we've recently discovered that all blogging is merely narcisstic self-absorption, I will subject you to what I believe are my Reasons for End of Summer Blog Ennui, or RESBE.

1. I'm tired. I spent all of Friday night tracking, corralling and trying to locate the owner of a stray Great Dane. Didn't realize just how small my house was until I had a creature roughly the size of a pony standing in my den. Short story: household uproar, calls to possible owner involving internet research, the phone operator and the sherrif, only to find out that possible owner had recovered HIS black and white male Great Dane 2 days previously. What are the odds that TWO people would lose something that LARGE? Dog ate, drank, and then left, as I had no means of keeping him confined. Still don't know whose he was, and hope he made his way to safety. Side note: The "fight or flight" response DOES activate when you are confronted by the sudden materialization of a giant canine not 5 feet in front of you at night.

2. I'm preoccupied. The Boy has recently thwarted all my efforts at "me time" by learning how to scale the dog's kennel, the bookcase, and the dryer, as well as by deciding that flight should be possible if you start out high enough. New daycare nickname: Gonzo, as in Hunter S. Thompson, not the Muppet. Plus, potty training. 'Nuff said.

3. I'm busy at work. Yes, the Great Summer Rush to Prepare for the Coming of the Students is in full swing, and even my lunch hour (when I traditionally like to do the bloggy thing) is being compromised with last minute doo-dads.

4. It's all been done to death. Guess what? Academics are still insane, the tinfoil hat brigade is out in force, politics are no sillier than usual, and blah blah blah Iraq-cakes. Yay! We're killing bad guys! My opinion on it? "Yay" pretty much covers that. Moving on.

5. Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness. Interface is driving me insane, and so I have become obsessed with running Lara Croft through her paces until she starts looking less like a spastic 4 year old in need of ritalyn and more like a sleek ass-kicker of doom!

Eh, I'm even to Ennui-y to do more than 5 items. Yeesh. Perhaps a vat of wine and some uniterrupted Tomb Raider time is in order. But first, I have to locate a bakery that will make a Wiggles cake. I'll be back on track soon, I promise.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:10 AM | Comments (2)

July 25, 2003


I have finally found exactly the response I've been searching for to that nauseating blend of European smugness and ignorance that irritates me beyond the telling of it.

Saves me quite a bit o' typing, actually. Read and enjoy. Cleanses the palate like a nice lemon sorbet.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:16 AM | Comments (4)

July 24, 2003

Okay, Ummm, Eww.

I don't have a problem so much with the bloody corpse photos being shown on t.v. I figured it would happen.

That said, I would have preferred that my first exposure to said photos had not occurred while waiting in line FOR LUNCH.

Thanks, Fox News, for ruining my traditional Thursday burrito.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 12:35 PM | Comments (2)

July 23, 2003

Ding, Dong the Dorks Are Dead

Forgive my schadenfreude, but it couldn't happen to a nicer couple of fellows. Of course, now I have that dumb song from the Wizard of Oz in my head, altered just a tad...

Ding Dong, the Dorks are dead
No more cutting off other people's heads
Ding dong, the wicked dorks are dead

Yeah, there are other verses. And I'll spare you.

Also, the Carnival of the Vanities is up! DaGoddess is our lovely hostess this week.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:38 AM | Comments (0)

July 18, 2003

Blair's Gandalf Moment

Watching Blair speak yesterday, I was struck by the resemblance of this portion of his speech:

I know out there, there's a guy getting on with his life, perfectly happily, minding his own business, saying to you, the political leaders of this country, "Why me, and why us, and why America?" And the only answer is because destiny put you in this place in history in this moment in time, and the task is yours to do.

With this moment from FoTR:

Frodo: I wish the Ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened...

Gandalf: So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.

At first, I thought it was just a neat coincidence, perhaps unfortunate fuel for the "This movie is a piece of warmongering propaganda" tinfoil hatizens, but upon reflection I reconsidered.

The reason those words leap out at me is that they address the reality of the existence of good, evil, duty, and identifying what's worth defending (and then taking the risk of acting on your beliefs) in a world where everyone is quick to minimize or hyperbolize reality to their own ends.

Brief, direct, refreshing.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:08 AM | Comments (3)

July 16, 2003

This is Why We Have HOUSES

I do not and will not EVER understand the need to camp. I think that insisting upon sleeping outside and cooking over a fire when our ancestors spent millennia struggling to get past all that is just a slap in the face to evolution. Oh, sure, now we can all be dilettantes about the great outdoors, but back in the day, people didn't have the option of packing it in and heading over to a Hilton if the going got rough. Me? I'll skip the rough going entirely and just go for the jacuzzi and room service.

Don't get me wrong. I like nature. I am awed by the mighty spectacle of our planet in all its varied majesty, blah, blah, blah Old-Faithful cakes. I just think that after I've spent a good day of "awe-ing," I should be able to sleep somewhere soft, temperature-controlled, and devoid of rocks/snakes/spiders/scorpions and various other large, toothy, clawed mammals.

Case in point. I do not EVER want my 6 a.m. wakeup call to be "There's a BEAR ON MY HEAD!!!" accompanied by the rending of my flesh. I'm just saying. Avoiding that sort of thing is high on my priority list. It's why we have houses. Oh yeah, and zoos.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:35 AM | Comments (6)

July 15, 2003

Aw, Poop.

Looks like Russell over at Mean Mr. Mustard is hanging up the keyboard to concentrate on, gasp, academics and real life!


Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:12 AM | Comments (1)

July 10, 2003

Death to Evil Sausage!

Okay, so sausage is high in cholesterol, fat and calories--there's no need to get violent about it.

This was probably one of those instances where the guy had a "Hey, y'all, watch this!" moment which went horribly awry. Moral? Do not hit the running Italian sausage with a bat. It might SEEM like a good way to bring the funny, but if your definition of funny doesn't include "being arrested for battery," you might want to rethink your course of action.

What is this world coming to when a fun-loving food item cannot run free on a baseball field without being assaulted by a bat-weilding maniac? It's the end of the world as we know it, people.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:33 AM | Comments (6)

July 09, 2003

Summer Reading

In lieu of independent thought today, I will be providing you with links. Hey, look--it's hot, I'm busy, and you're all on vacation anyway.

First, we have this item, in which a safe sex poster is criticized because the bull elephant is not wearing a condom. Yeah, the damage done by those "Playa Pachyderms" is terrible to behold. Now I realize that the Thai government probably wanted to feature a national symbol, but...on second thought, no. I can't go the reasonable route here. Elephants. Safe Sex. Not exactly chocolate and peanut butter in terms of "going together," is it?

On the home front, we have Andrea Harris' tireless campaign against the Anti-Potterite Culture Snobs--you know, the people who probably still carry a tattered copy of their SAT scores around, and who always find a way to bring their IQ into casual conversation, like this:

Guest at Dinner Party: Excuse me, would you please pass the salt?

Culture Snob: Interesting you should mention salt. We were discussing the lasting geopolitical ramifications of the SALT II treaty at my last MENSA meeting.

Guest: (Feigning interest and holding hand out for salt) Really.

Snob: It's so refreshing to spend time with other deep thinkers. Although you know what they say, a genius level IQ (mine's 150, by the way) doesn't always guarantee smarts! ha-ha!

Guest: Uh-huh. The salt? In your hand? That I need? Yeah, that. Thanks. (Snatches salt, quickly turns attention to other guests, mutters under breath) Freakin' poser.

Not that I am in any way speaking from experience. Moving on...

The Carnival of the Vanities is up at Winds of Change.

Read, laugh, get pissed off. Life is good in the summertime!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:27 AM | Comments (1)

July 07, 2003

Post-Fourth Wrap-Up

Had a good Fourth. Rescued a baby bunny from the clutches of my feline, took The Boy to see the local "parade," lost about 5 pounds via my sweat glands, got attacked by a million mosquitoes--they scoff at "Off"--while watching fireworks, and watched The History Channel's presentation of The American Revolution.

Spent some time wondering why we couldn't have scheduled the Declaration of Independence and its resultant celebration for, say, OCTOBER 4, then moved on.

Scanned the blogroll yesterday and came across Silflay Hraka's Unseen History.
After our recent trip to the National Holocaust Museum, and hublet's encounter there, the Ohrdruf photos really resonate with me, and make me grateful beyond words that I live when and where I do.

Then watched Mail Call last night, live from the Gulf. R. Lee Ermey gives me much joy--you can tell he just really, really loves his job, and his Corps. Plus, stuff blows up! Which is always a bonus in my book. Whoo!

Will get back into the swing later--but for now, am enjoying the post-Fourth, yay-America afterglow. I think a lunchtime trip to Target to drink in The Shiny will round out my weekend very well..

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:37 AM | Comments (2)

July 03, 2003

Ahh, Country Living

See, I have this policy to keep me from getting too citified--I never want to live more than five minutes from a cow. I know that sounds odd, but what it means is that I never want to be more than a five minute drive from some quiet, empty spaces, preferably with mellow bovine types roaming around and chewing. Teaching The Boy to moo at random roadside cattle helps me unwind on the drive home, and hopefully takes his mind off of the new and colorful phrases he may have absorbed when his mommy temporarily forgot he was in the car and unfurled some righteous anger at the moron in the blue van--yeah, I'm talking to you, buddy!--who cut her off on the highway.

Currently, I live about one mile from a lovely, cow-filled pasture. I am officially considered a rural dweller, even though I live in a suburban-type development. And there are times when I am forcefully reminded that yes, I am in the country.

The Fourth of July is one of those times. Okay, so kids buy fireworks. Woo. And they go out onto the road and shoot them into the air. Double Woo. I get irritated when they buy so many fireworks that they're still doing this crap in August, but hey! I feed the dog a couple of tranquilizers and we all cope.

The thing I don't get, and that seems a predominantly rural phenomenon, is the firing of guns into the air on the Fourth. I know that a lot of folks around me like huntin' and shootin'; heck, I was brought up on huntin' and shootin'.

But WHY fire randomly into the sky to celebrate the Fourth? What, you can't afford $5 for about a million sparkly noisemaking thingamajigs? You just want to make noise, waste ammo, maybe bring down a bat or two? Woo-hoo! BONUS!

Look, you can get just as injured setting off fireworks as you can with the shotgun--please do us a favor and pick the option that at least has some pretty colors involved. It's a little more normal, and won't result in my family hitting the deck and shouting "DRIVE-BY!" as you celebrate the nation's independence.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:28 AM | Comments (5)

June 25, 2003

New Carnival is Up!

In case you've missed the link on, oh, EVERYONE ELSE'S pages, the new Carnival is up and running over at the Single Southern Guy's place.

Drop by and give it a read!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 07:42 AM | Comments (1)

June 20, 2003

My Friday, or Why Today's Entry Will Probably Suck

For a while now, I have been plagued with sinus infections. Look at me crosseyed, and my head will fill with pus. This has only gotten worse as The Boy has matured into a full-fledged bioweapon, inundating me with diseases I haven't had since I was nine. So, I figured I'd try to find out why I am constantly draining. Allergies seemed a good explanation, so today I journeyed to the local Histamine House to divine the source of my hyperactive mucous membranes.

Did the standard scratch test: Nada. So they came back with SYRINGES FULL OF ALLERGENS and proceeded to make track marks all over my forearms. Still nothing. I have no allergies to anything on this earth. So why am I constantly full of snot?

Turns out I have non-allergic rhinitis, which means that we will never know what irritates my membranes, only that they are always irritated. That's a pretty good description of me in general, come to think of it, but without the "membranes" part--that's just gross. Also, I have a tiny (I like to think of it as pert, thankyewverymuch) nose, and may have some structural problems in my nasal and sinus cavities that interfere with normal drainage.

So now I have to go to the Ear, Nose, Throat person and see if there's a way to help me drain. At this point, my sentiments are something like, "If I don't need it, rip it out! Drill some new holes! Pull the adenoids! Yank the tonsils! It's a party in my head! WOOOOOOOO!" But this may be premature, and in any case, I will have to tone it down lest the ENT think I'm some sort of weirdo.

But I will do that AFTER my fun weekend getaway with hublet. We are off to DC to do some low-key museum-ing and sightseeing. The Boy will be hangin' with the grandparents. Of course, he has managed to develop just enough of a cough and runny nose to be considered sort of unwell, but there's no fever, so I can't tote him in for the standard virus and ear check. Give it 24 hours; it'll be a full-fledged ear infection with fever, and my parents will once again have to deal with their only grandchild being sick when they come to visit him.

But I will be in another city, eating meals that last longer than 10 minutes in restaurants that DO NOT HAVE BUFFET LINES OR PLAYGROUND EQUIPMENT ON SITE. I am content.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 03:34 PM | Comments (3)

June 18, 2003

Odds and Ends

Silflay Hraka has moved! Update blogrolls accordingly.

The new Carnival of the Vanities is up! This week's iteration is being hosted by Real Women Online.

The Group Captain liveblogged a very silly tv show; well, if by silly you mean "oh for the love of GOD don't these people have a hobby!" Anyhoo, the summary's worth a read, since for some odd reason BBC America didn't want to run it...

And look! They gave us a means for responding to the show--sort of. Suggestion for the BBC: Skydiving is a fun and exciting hobby, and the subsequent adrenaline rush will temporarily take your minds off of the fact that you have an unhealthy obsession with America, fueled by your own feelings of inadequacy and despair. Alternatively, valium is your friend.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:08 AM | Comments (0)

June 13, 2003

A Few MT Doodads

Couple of problems I'm having; maybe someone can point me in the right direction:

1. Where can I get the script that hides the whole blogroll, like a cut tag for a blogroll?

2. Why won't recognize my pings? Is anyone else having this problem? I checked their mail list and at least one other person has posted about this, but as yet there is no answer. Bleh.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 03:13 PM | Comments (4)

Gold Star

I thanked him over at the old Blogspot site, but once again I want to award the first official Tightly Wound Gold Star to Dean Esmay, who set all this MT stuff up on the server for me. Blech. Lots of folders and such--wouldn't have wanted to muddle through that alone.

And if you're still on Blogspot--join the jihad!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:03 AM | Comments (0)

June 12, 2003


I just read this on NRO, linked from Andrew Sullivan. At first I thought it was a parody, but no, it's not.

See, this is what happens when live political people start writing memoirs that include other live political people. This stuff makes feces flinging monkeys look classy. If it's true, I'm going to have to go be quietly icked out in the corner.
And then I'll probably be loudly icked out later, all over the blog.

Though I suppose it could be worse--Clinton could be dressing like a cowboy in a bar or ripping off all of his clothes in public for no reason a la Adam Ant...

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 02:20 PM | Comments (4)

Woo-Hoo! Free at Last!

Okay, so welcome to the new blog site. I promise to make everything pretty and get my blogroll and links (that means you, North State Blogs) up and running as soon as I figure out how to use MT.

I've gotten my archives moved over, so that's a good sign. Posting will continue in the meantime...

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:15 AM | Comments (2)

May 28, 2003

Good TV Well, if by

Good TV

Well, if by good you mean alternately horrifying and depressing. I've been watching the History Channel's feature on the Tsars of Russia. We hit the Romanov high spots--Ivan, Peter, Catherine and Nicholas and conclude with the Bolshevik revolution and the beginning of Communism--I guess the idea is we all know what happened next.

The main thing I took away from the series was that no matter who was in power, the one expendable resource they all counted on was the Russian people. They seem trapped in some sort of repeating loop of history--sieze power, become tyrant. Hand rule off to inept fool by accident. Another person comes along to sieze power, become tyrant. Lather, Rinse, Repeat. But what a fascinating country and history. May have to do some reading, as the only thing I remember from 10th grade world history was the Catherine and a horse story.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 05:45 AM | Comments (0)

May 08, 2003

Car Talk I'm feeling tapped

Car Talk

I'm feeling tapped out lately, and I think it's because by the time I finish my 30 minute commute with the Boy, I am done for the day. Here's how a typical afternoon drive goes:

4:15 - Leave Office
4:20 - Arrive at Daycare. Greet Boy by sweeping him into hug and kissing him, then put him down so that he can walk to car ALL BY HIMSELF.
4:25 - Stand by rear passenger door of car as Boy struggles valiantly to get into car seat ALL BY HIMSELF as other cars line up behind us in driveway.
4:27 - Use forearm to brace wriggling, screaming Boy as I secure him in car seat. Hand Boy pre-chilled sippy cup and peanut butter cracker, then get into driver's seat. Ignore peanut butter cracker hurtling past my head as Boy tosses it in a gesture of protest for not being given 45 minutes to explore the car before deciding to settle in for the drive home.
4:30 - 4:38 - Engage in following discussion while waiting to get onto highway:

    Boy - Wha Daaaa?
    Me - Car.
    Boy - Wha Daaaa?
    Me - Blue Car.
    Boy - Wha Daaaaa?
    Me - Blue Car.
    (Repeat exchange 43 more times. Brief pause. Then:)
    Boy - Va Vuuute! (Flails left hand skyward)
    Me - Yes, sweetie, that's a flag. Nice salute.
    Boy- Va Vuuute! (Repeats flail)
    Me - Salute!
    Boy - Wha Daaaa?
    Me - Still. A. Blue. Car. (Reach for Wiggly Dance Party tape, insert and hit "play." Blessed silence from rear of car.)

4:50 - Reach exit ramp. Sounds of struggling begin from backseat.

    Boy - eeeeeeeehhhhhh!
    Me - We're almost there, sweetie.
    Boy - eeeeeeeehhhhhh!
    Me - Just a few more minutes!
    Boy - eeeeeeehhhhhhh!
    Me - Look at the blue car!
    Boy - eeeeeeehhhhhhh!
    Me - Now look, you have to stay in that car seat and there's not a thing mommy can do about it until we get home, so you need to just deal with it.
    Boy - eeeeeeehhhhhh! Shrieeeeeeekkkkkkk!
    (Repeat variations 43 more times, until mommy snaps. Then:)
    Me - Okay, here's the deal. For reasons of your own safety, it is mandated by law that you sit in that seat, so that if mommy smacks into a wall or another driver, the EMS will be able to use the jaws of life and cut you from the wreckage and you will be able to go on to lead the life of a productive citizen and take care of your mommy in her old age. That is the entire purpose of the car seat--to make sure you're here to deal with me when I'm a mumbling, stumbling bundle of uncontrollable urges, okay? So you have to sit in the car seat. I cannot leave the driver's seat to unstrap you--you'll note that mommy is trussed into her seat as well--we're all TRAPPED in this TINY TIN CAN of cheap metal HURTLING down the highway at not NEARLY high enough speeds, and we MUST STAY STRAPPED IN! Strapped! In! To! The! Car! Seat! We are now approximately ONE MINUTE from our house, so the end of this torture is in sight! YAY! (High-pitched, maniacal giggle) Oh, look! It's our house!
    Boy - ...
    Boy - Wha Daaaa?
    Me - Mommy's youth and sanity, sweetie, passing away.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:06 AM | Comments (0)

May 05, 2003

Road Hazard Do you want

Road Hazard

Do you want to know why I have absolutely no memory of the last 5 miles of my drive home yesterday afternoon? Well, I don't care--I'm going to tell you anyway, and I'll tell you in three words:

Bobble. Head. Dogs.

You see, I was just tooling along in the purple pickup truck (don't go there--it's a long story involving a seven fingered man and a traffic accident, but it's been a reliable vehicle), reflecting upon my recent viewing of X2, when I noticed a green Chevrolet something-or-other in front of me. The Chevy was going a mite slower than the speed limit, and my annoyance began to grow, until I noticed the decor in the back window of the car. There, arrayed before me like some primitive dog-worshipper's shrine, was a line of 7 bobble-head dogs, craniums busily nodding to the rhythm of the road. Well, 6 of them were bobbling--one seemed to have gotten his bobble hung on something, and looked like the victim of a ninja neck-breaking attack, with his head cocked at an unnatural angle and his grinning face staring at something above me and to the right.

So I began studying the bobble doggies. They were all a different breed--there was a bulldog, a dalmation, a couple of indeterminate terrier-things (one of which was the wounded bobbler), a collie, dachsund, and I think either a rottweiler or pit bull. But in the center of the display, in the place of honor above the rear window brake light, was a tiny grey terrier. Now, perhaps because I had been hypnotised by the bobbling, I became obessessed with the grey dog's position: why did IT get the place of honor? Did the driver have a terrier? Had she lost a beloved pet and this was her way of commemorating the event? Did she in fact own real dogs in the models represented in her back window? Or did she spend a lot of time at truck stops and had absolutely no taste in tchotchkes?

These questions burned in my mind as I hung a right and the bobble Chevy continued onward--and they still do. Oh, bobble-head mystery woman! WHY must you torment me with your cryptic plastic dog decor? What is the signifigance of the breeds chosen? What is up with that one dog's HEAD? Where the hell did you even find this crap, and what possessed you to share it with the world at large? What does it all MEAN?!?!? Well, aside from the fact that bored english majors tend to read too much into things, I mean.

Sigh. A mystery for the ages.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 07:03 AM | Comments (0)

April 21, 2003

Southern Gothic III - Deliverance

Southern Gothic III - Deliverance

So my cousin Lee (you know, the one whose dog was devoured by his brother's lioness) moved up to the NC/TN mountains after he got out of the Marines. He married a nice mountain girl named Nellie, and took up carpentry, doing cabinetry and other work for all the rich yankees who build houses near the ski resorts up there.

Nellie's dad is named Otis, and he's a failed teetotaler who vacillates between being "saved" and making moonshine runs (Oh, and he got in trouble with the law once for growing a single pot plant in the flowerbed in front of his house. The DEA can't find the drugs pouring over the borders in a flood but they can harass one dissolute mountain man. And not find his still. Whatever, DEA.). But I digress.

Anyway, Otis has a bit of a hairtrigger temper when he's off the wagon, and like all good moonshiners, he's armed. Lee and Nellie have a house on land adjacent to Otis', and there's a creek running along the back of the properties. One night, Lee awoke to this screeching, grinding, crashing noise. Since they don't live near any large highways, this was worthy of notice, so Lee grabbed his rifle and his flashlight and went to investigate.

If you're unfamiliar with this part of the state, there's a large, mobile population of migrant workers that comes through during the summer to work the tomato farms. Most of them are illegal aliens, and very few speak English. What Lee discovered when he went out back was a car full of non-English speaking, drunk, and confused Mexicans. Apparently, they weren't paying attention, and the driver thought that the creek bed was an extension of the unpaved road they'd been driving on. He soon discovered otherwise.

The biggest danger here was not the carload of confused and frightened Mexicans, nor the lone mountaineer with a rifle. The biggest danger was that Otis, having been imbibing a bit himself, would interpret this event as a hostile takeover attempt and react accordingly. So it was without irony or overstatement that Lee trotted back up to the house, got the keys to his truck and told Nellie,"There's a carload of Mexicans in the creek. I'm gonna tow them out before Otis shoots them."

So Lee did, Otis' wrath was averted, and the workers, now very, very sober, drove off. Just another day (or night) in the holler.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:55 AM | Comments (0)

April 18, 2003

Southern Gothic II - A

Southern Gothic II - A Gun for Miss Emily

My Aunt Pat's first husband (and father to the three sons involved in the whole lioness fiasco) died when the youngest son was about 15. She remarried a fellow named Steve, who was a WWII veteran and active in local politics. Steve was also a widower, and he had one son and one daughter. The son is fairly normal. The daughter, however, is not. She is crazy in that uniquely southern way that inspires people like Faulkner to write dark tales of familial intrigue and violence. I say all of this not only by way of explanation, but also to make the point that I share NO DNA with this person. Thank you, God.

Linda was married and had 4 children--three daughters and a son. Before she was married she was athletic and adventurous; a cheerleader who counted skydiving and shooting among her favorite hobbies. After marriage and pregnancy, though, some odd trends began to surface. Linda became obsessed with collecting antiques, and living the "pageant lifestyle"--dressing up the daughters and parading them around in pursuit of crowns, scepters and sashes reading Little Miss Boll Weevil, or whatever. She also let herself go physically, replacing activity with food. Eventually Linda's collecting and controlling got out of hand, and she ended up driving her daughters into early marriages and her son into permanent sullen withdrawal.

Linda lives in a large home in a rural area. However, you cannot walk through the house, because it is crammed with antiques. She has something like 30 full sets of china, as many sets of silver, tons of furniture, etc. She even has a tractor trailer parked behind the house, also crammed with expensive antiques that are rotting, because they aren't being properly stored. She will not sell them. Meanwhile, the house itself is falling down around her, because she "cannot afford" to get things fixed. Her church buys her groceries. This weird combination of hoarding (if she sold her dining room table, it would fetch at least ten grand) and poormouthing finally broke her on-again, off-again marriage, and her husband left. Linda was furious.

Things came to a head one day when her oldest daughter called Linda and asked if she'd come over to help her (the daughter) out. Halfway there, Linda realized that her daughter would never, ever, call her for help. Her father (Linda's ex) must have put her up to it! With a screech of tires, Linda turned the car around and sped home. Sure enough, there was her ex's car, and he (and his new girlfriend!) were just leaving. Apparently, he needed to pick up a few belongings, and knew that Linda would never consent if she were home. He was right.

After a brief confrontation, Linda went inside and returned with her pistol, which she began firing at the tires of the ex's car. The ex and the new girlfriend made it out unscathed, but a little upset. It's not every day that a large crazy woman shoots at you in the driveway, after all. When word got back to Steve, he just shrugged and made the following reply,""Aw hell. She was just mad and trying to shoot his tires out. She's an excellent shot--if she'd wanted him dead, he'd be dead."

And that was that. Everyone in that area knows each other, and they know Linda, so they tend to be a little more blase about this sort of behavior than, say, I would be. Yep, gotta love the SC branch of the family tree. Next time, I'll round out the Southern Gothic series (for the time being--I have many stories, grasshopper) with a visit to the mountain dwelling branch of the family, where you'll get this quote explained:

"There's a carload of Mexicans in the creek. I'm gonna tow 'em out before Otis shoots them."

Yes, I have not one, but two relatives named Otis. Do not start with me.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 06:49 AM | Comments (0)

April 17, 2003

Southern Gothic Occasionally I am

Southern Gothic

Occasionally I am reminded that my family is not exactly run-of-the-mill. This usually happens when I visit my South Carolina relatives. I truly believe that something in the water down there causes insanity. Not the grand schizophrenic kind of insanity, but the random gun-firing, inappropriate pet-having, reckless endangerment form of insanity that's a little harder to pinpoint until after the fact, when upon reflection you realize that these people are quite possibly insane.

Case in point: We were discussing "grandparent stress," the disorder whereby grandparents cannot enjoy even ONE MOMENT of time with a grandchild without first envisioning every way their darling could be killed or maimed in any situation, and I remarked that my Aunt Pat wasn't as freaked out about stuff with her grandkids as my mom is. Pat replied that it was all a matter of perspective; after all, two of her grandchildren were almost eaten by her son's PET LIONESS once, so run of the mill problems like falling off the sofa just weren't a big deal.

Yep, my cousin had a pet lioness named Kimba. I remember her--I was about 10 at the time (my cousin is 15 yrs my senior), and Kimba lived in Jimmy's (my cousin's) garage when she wasn't escaping and terrorizing people. Jimmy's children were 2 1/2 and 1 then. Here's a fun list of Kimba's shenanigans:

  1. She escaped and scared the hell out of two fishermen, who were just sitting in the river in their rowboat when suddenly a lioness sprang from the long grass at the river's edge and charged them. Again, this is in South Carolina, not Kenya. I suppose we're fortunate that neither of those men died of a heart-attack.
  2. She almost ate my other cousin, Alan (the oldest of Pat's 3 boys) when she escaped (notice a theme, here) and hid behind the paddock at my aunt's house. Alan saw her out of the corner of his eye and ran like hell. He got into the house and closed the sliding glass door. Kimba hurled herself at the door so hard that she bent the metal frame, and Alan calmed her down by throwing raw hamburger and chicken from the fridge out to her.
  3. The final straw came when Kimba devoured my OTHER cousin Lee's (the youngest of the three) little dog.

It was then pointed out to Jimmy that his idea to keep a pet lioness on a chain in the backyard with two toddlers around probably wasn't such a good idea, as those two toddlers just the week before had gotten out of the house and wandered onto the dock and almost drowned. If they could do that, how could anyone guarantee that they wouldn't wander too close to the pretty kitty on a chain? So Jimmy gave Kimba to a zoo. And his children are both grown and relatively unscathed. At least, they aren't displaying overt symptoms of SC insanity yet.

I have firsthand memories of this animal, yet it all seems like a fuzzy dream. I blame it on the SC water. It has to be a mild hallucinogen.

Next time on Southern Gothic, this quote explained: "Aw hell. She was just mad and trying to shoot his tires out. She's an excellent shot--if she'd wanted him dead, he'd be dead."

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 05:29 AM

April 08, 2003

There's Someone for Everyone And

There's Someone for Everyone

And thank God I found mine sooner rather than later. Last night, after the usual ritual of dinner, war news, bath for boy and excerpts from the Wiggly Safari DVD before his bedtime, the hublet and I were relaxing in the den, reading, playing video games, and digesting the day. We were humming the last tune we'd heard from the Wiggles--the Crocodile Hunter song (click to listen to audio clip--it plays after a 15 second intro.)--and as we typically do (to alleviate the tedium of hearing the same song on infinite brain loop) we started making up words. A sample verse went something like this:

Hublet: Chemical Ali
Me: He's a dead man
Hublet: Chemical Ali
Me: He's a corpse!
Hublet: Chemical Ali
Me: Really dead, now
Both: Crikey he's so dead! Dead as a dead horse!

After we amused ourselves with variations on the theme, hublet looked at me and opined,"You know, I bet we are the only people in the whole world right now singing about Chemical Ali to the tune of a Wiggles song."

I think he's probably right. And I'm not sure how to feel about that.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 06:40 AM

April 03, 2003

America. Bringing the Sexy Since

America. Bringing the Sexy Since 1776.

Via Andrew Sullivan:

What, the man was asked, did he hope to see now that the Baath Party had been driven from power in his town? What would the Americans bring? "Democracy," the man said, his voice rising to lift each word to greater prominence. "Whiskey. And sexy!"


Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:34 AM

April 01, 2003

I am So Proud To

I am So Proud

To live in North Carolina, especially since our state motto has been changed to "You Want Fries With That?"

Yes, unfortunate denizens of the not-Carolina, tremble before the intestinal fortitude of our citizenry! And you, drive-thru workers of the world, realize that you cannot stand against the force of our redneck fry munching army! When we say curly fries we mean it, dammit! And don't quibble about the fact that we may have eaten some of the substandard potato product you first gave us. Just hand over the curly fries, and no one gets hurt. We are a strong people, and we require our carbohydrates. Do not thwart us. You will regret it.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:20 AM

March 21, 2003

Addicted Nothing original here today,


Nothing original here today, folks. Can't get the blog checking monkey off my back, I'm afraid. I'm spending all of my time at The Command Post--it's like 2, 2, 2 blogs in one! Well, more like 50 blogs in one, but the syllables didn't work out for the Certs commercial ripoff when I said it that way.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:31 AM

March 18, 2003

Self-absorption 101 I know this

Self-absorption 101

I know this has been done, but I'm sorry, I've just gotta get it off my chest. Let's kick it off with this quote:

When you get to the point that the war actually begins, that's a point when many... feel they have to take the strongest action they can personally take,"

And what might these actions be? Let's recap--first, the absurd:

  • In Portsmouth, N.H., protesters plan to make noise by banging pots and pans

  • Many groups plan to carry out die-ins, where activists lie on the ground to symbolize war victims and to block passers-by

  • Some students at Swarthmore College, in Pennsylvania, plan to lower campus flags to half-staff

  • In SC, they want to plaster a federal building with duct tape and plastic sheeting

  • And the ubiquitous naked thing--again, I respond with, the HELL?

Next, the mildly annoying:

  • In Seattle, envelopes with white powder and anti-war messages were left at six locations Monday, including a post office that was evacuated.

  • Eight anti-war opponents were arrested Monday in Traverse City, Mich., when they tried to block an Army Reserve convoy headed to a training area. One handcuffed himself to a truck and the other seven locked arms in front of the vehicle, police said.

  • Four others were were arrested in Lansing, N.Y., on Monday on charges of trespassing at a military recruiting station. During the protest, about 20 people splattered what they said was their own blood onto recruiting station walls and windows and an American flag.

And finally, reckless endangerment of the lives of ordinary folks:

  • San Francisco anti-war groups have laid out similar plans on a larger scale for the outbreak of war, including blocking traffic and an effort to shut down the Pacific Stock Exchange and some high-profile commercial buildings.

  • "The bare bones of the plan is to basically shut down the financial district of San Francisco. The way we see it is that we basically unplug the system that creates war," said Patrick Reinsborough, an organizer.

Sooo, blocking traffic that could result in the deaths of people who are forced to wait for police or medical assistance because of your arty "traffic jam for war" is just dissent, eh? Oh, you didn't THINK about that, did you? Or perhaps you just don't give a shit. I'm thinking you're leaning toward the latter.

And let's not forget the calls for actual attacks on military installations.

When it's pointed out that perhaps there are more constructive ways to protest, here's the response:

"What else are we supposed to do? Sit and say nothing ... and be silent? That's not very American."

Umm, no. But you could adhere to the "civil" part of civil disobediance, you know, the part where no one gets hurt as a result of your actions? I mean, I thought that was what being "for peace" was all about. Guess I was misled. It's obviously just all about you not getting your way and throwing a tantrum. Don't make me come over there and give you a time out.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:04 AM

March 17, 2003

Cho-sen for All the Right

Cho-sen for All the Right Reasons

Short posting today, as the bizarre confluence of green beer, shamrocks, and stuff getting ready to be blown up REAL GOOD is making me a little edgy. But--I did notice today that State will be hosting a Tunnel of Oppression during next week's Unity Week! My joy knows no bounds. In related news, Margaret Cho has been invited to campus to perform during Unity Week, "because her performance addresses such a wide variety of issues, including race relations and gender equity."

Nowhere in the article does it state that Ms. Cho is being invited to perform because she is actually funny or entertaining. She may well be both, but apparently these considerations are not important in light of the fact that she is both Korean and bisexual, and thus "a great figure to promote diversity."

And here I thought she was a comedian. Thank God for Unity Week; otherwise, I'd have been forced to evaluate Ms. Cho on the basis of her entertainment value, not her value as a disseminator of, well, campus lip service to diversity. I wonder how much the university shelled out for the experience?

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 12:11 PM

March 14, 2003

Gearing Down for the Weekend

Gearing Down for the Weekend

Since this week was Spring Break at State, I've not spent a lot of time on the "Hey, I'm stupid, look at me, and my shiny PhD" crowd. And this post will be no exception, so if you're here just for the ranty goodness, you may want to bebop on over to Big fun site, if you define "fun" as getting worked up about the learned class. For the rest of you, a mellow Friday post that will be absolutely Seinfeldian in its lack of real content. And it'll be bulleted!

  • How I know I live in the South--reminder #4,125: We have a possum. A full-grown, fairly slow-moving possum who likes to hang out on our front porch and rifle through the recycling on the deck. Every night about 8:30, the dog will go to the screen door and sniff the air. Soon after, we'll hear plastic being rearranged. I'll wander over to the door, flip on the deck light, and say, "Move along, possum." The possum will look at me, then meander/scuttle away until the next evening. If a possum's top speed is demonstrated by the way ours moves, well then it's no wonder they tend to populate the center line of the highways.
  • Yesterday evening I was outside with the boy, trying to burn off his excess energy before dark. He was excited about seeing birds flying overhead, and kept pointing skyward. I had been absently replying, "Yes, sweetie. Birds," but then I looked up and noticed that he was pointing at the moon, which was visible in the still sunny sky. I thought, "Oh! He's never really noticed the moon before!" and named it for him. Then he walked over to me and asked to be picked up. Even in my arms he kept stretching upward, pointing at the moon, and I realized that he thought I could lift him all the way up to touch it. And I would love nothing more than to be able to do just that.

Have a good weekend, everyone.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 07:56 AM

March 13, 2003

Take a Number. I'll Call

Take a Number. I'll Call You When I Care.

In this time of uncertainty and turmoil, isn't it refreshing to know that the Oscars are planning for every contingency? In the event that a tacky war breaks out before the broadcast, they're bandying about the idea of a scrolling news feed. Well thank God. I mean, I understand that the bad fashion, half-baked political commentary and sheer length of the Oscars can be paralyzing to the average viewer, but I had NO IDEA that we will be rendered completely incapable of SWITCHING THE CHANNEL or WATCHING ANYTHING ELSE until the ceremony releases us from its hypnotic thrall.

In happier news, Eminem will be "on vacation" during the Oscars, hence unable to perform his Oscar nominated song. Hee! Eminem might be a rat bastard, but that's why he's fun. I do believe his absence gave the program planner a bad case of the vapors.

Eh, showbiz. I'll check the web the morning after to laugh at the badly dressed. That's about all the energy I can muster for anything "Hollywood" anymore.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:43 AM

Dear Bill Clinton, Please stop

Dear Bill Clinton,

Please stop talking now.


PS - Could you please forward this message to Jimmy Carter? Thanks ever so.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:25 AM

March 12, 2003

Overthink So yesterday I'm in


So yesterday I'm in the car, returning to work from a dental appointment, when Young Turks by Rod Stewart comes on the oldies station (Ack--it's an oldie! Guess I am too, then. Dammit.) Anyhoo, I'm sort of half-listening, doing that whole "remember how we'd listen to this on the radio at the pool in '80-something," when I caught myself beginning to pay attention to the lyrics. Then before I knew it, I was engaged in this mental conversation:

Don't let them put you down, don't let 'em push you around,
don't let 'em ever change your point of view.

Riiight. They're SEVENTEEN! The only point of view they have is informed by watching MTV news, fer cryin' out loud...

Happiness was found in each other's arms as expected,
yeah Billy pierced his ears, drove a pickup like a lunatic, ooh!

Yeah, that's about right. Teenage sex, illicit piercings and a truck. My bumpkin high school in a nutshell. Billy--you're a moron.

But there ain't no point in talking when there's nobody list'ning so we just ran away
Patti gave birth to a ten pound baby boy, yeah!

Young hearts be free tonight, time is on your side.

Sure, time does tend to seem endless when you're an unemployed, umnmarried, high school dropout with a new baby, doomed forever to a LIFE OF GRINDING POVERTY because you couldn't KEEP IT ZIPPED OR KEEP IT COVERED for like the FIVE EXTRA MINUTES it would take you to at least get a DIPLOMA, YOU STUPID GIT! And what's WRONG WITH YOU, ROD STEWART, GLORIFYING THIS STUFF LIKE IT WOULD BE BLISS?!?!? Damn you and your satin stretch leopard print pants, Rod Stewart! Damn you!

And then the stoplight turned green, the song faded out, and I realized that I am, at the very least, in need of decaf. Or possibly valium.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 05:56 AM

March 11, 2003

Help! My Writing and Reasoning

Help! My Writing and Reasoning Skills are Being Oppressed!

Okay, I know I crib a lot from Critical Mass, but dangit! It's worth it. From today's entry, Erin O'Connor posts a response from a local organizer of the Tunnel of Oppression meme that has unfortunately taken hold on campuses as the ultimate diversity experience. We will leave aside the oftentimes absurd nature of the practice itself--go see one sometime if you have an hour to kill and have run short of bamboo to ram under your fingernails for fun--and let its defender speak:

it's people like you that don't allow us to move foward and add to the oppression in society. Being educated means being open to new ideas you may not agree with. As a scholar myself I ask you to look beyond the actors and role play and look at the real hidden meaning of this program and what it truely does. Because numbers don't like and when 750 students ATTEND a guys have no leg to stand on

It's a self-fisker, really, but that's not my point. What a lot of folks don't realize is that university housing programs, in a desperate bid to avoid privatization, have instituted "residence hall programming" designed to slap a veneer of scholarship over dormitory living. The culprits are almost uniformly Higher Ed majors, and the bulk of their "programming" consists of diversity training, because frankly, Higher Ed as a discipline has nothing concrete to offer dormitory residents. These programs are under the purview of Resident Advisors, Directors and Residence Life Coordinators, and attendance tends to be gained either through bribery or compulsion. So the idea that the mere presence of 750 bodies lends credence to something is patently ridiculous, particularly when the stated purpose of that something is to "move forward and add to the oppression in society." Okay, so I couldn't pass that one up. Fish, barrel, bang.

Also, I would lay money on the fact that the writer of this letter is probably a higher education major (AHA! Google proves me correct--the referenced document is standard in res hall programming, and NACURH is a national body for Housing professionals, much like the MLA for English majors. Added bonus--NACURH will be hosted by my university this year. Huzzah!) Like Liberal Studies, this discipline came about as a way to ensure job security for professors more than anything else. It's a weird hybrid of pop psychology, education theory, and a touch of statistics, and tends to produce "scholarship" of the poorly written, evangelistic variety.

Higher Ed as a discipline also proves the point that more is not always better, particularly where dogma is concerned. Replacing critical thought and literacy with activism should be disdained by the educated, but hey! If it's easy and gets you tenure, then I guess it's all good.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 06:19 AM

March 10, 2003

The Deadliest Continent Australia--designed to

The Deadliest Continent

Australia--designed to kill the unwary. At least, that's my impression of it from, well, everywhere. Any time you turn on a nature channel about deadly animals, you learn that most of them live in Australia, and not far removed from the average Australian. Let's see, they have the world's deadliest snakes (with, I think the exception of the black mamba), the world's deadliest spiders (funnel web, anyone?) and their bodies of water are populated with crocodiles, sharks, eeeville box jellyfish and some tiny little octupus that will Kill. You. Dead.

Usually, I dismiss that information with a "Wow! Remind me, when I visit Australia, to avoid the ocean/outback/ponds/lakes/streams/fields/woodpiles/backyards," (as of today, I believe my future trip will consist of touring one pub in Sydney) and amazement that the prevailing attitude toward these items by the residents is fairly breezy. I am also comforted by my geographical distance from the Australian Scary. But, ladies and gentlemen, we have been duped. The Australian Scary has become more than a mere collection of venomous fauna, has escaped its former pen, and now threatens the world. In fact, the Scary has arrived on these shores, even in my very home, and it is trying to end my life. The scary in question?

The Wiggles.

Specifically The Wiggly Safari, which features, in addition to the aforementioned Wiggly types, the presence of the Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin. Even now, the haunting tones of "Crocodile Hunter, big Steve Irwin, Crocodile Hunter, Action MAAAAANN!" from the Wiggly Safari's opening number echo in my consciousness, and they are driving me maaaaad, I tell you! Maaaaaaadddd!

Oh, it all started innocently enough. I noticed that my child would sit still for thirty entire minutes when The Wiggles came on The Disney Channel, captivated by four slightly goofy men in colored shirts, a pirate with a feather for a sword (do not go there--just, it's been done, okay?), a dog, a dinosaur, and an octopus with a disturbing penchant for plaid. And the songs were WAY better than that saccharine Barney tripe or the creepy songs of satan sung by The Little People. So, God help me, I encouraged Wiggly consumption.

But I fear I have gone too far, and am now caught in the Wiggle trap. In a fit of motherly dotage I purchased the DVD of the Wiggly Safari, thinking it might prove a nice break from repeated viewings of Baby Shakespeare and the Veggie Tales. And now, it is the ONLY THING MY CHILD WILL WATCH. EVER. AND DID I MENTION IT'S AN HOUR LONG? SO THAT ALL OF HIS ALLOTTED TV TIME IS SPENT WITH THE WIGGLES? I am spending hours of my life that I will never get back watching Captain Feathersword with a fake "cockatoo head" hat screeching "Pieces of Eight! Pieces of Eight!" over and over again. I can actually feel the brain cells running out of my ears.

That's not even the worst part. The worst part is that the songs, however irritating they become, are also impossible to remove from my head. They're on eternal loop. I have no escape. I am doomed. I can only hope that this blog entry will save others, for it is too late for me. Beware the Australian Scary! Beware grown men who hang out with plaid-clad octopi in straw boaters and patent leather! I can't believe I just typed that sentence! Save yourselves! Aaaaaaaaaa!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:03 AM

March 07, 2003

Behold the Power of Uterus

Behold the Power of Uterus

Maybe it's just me, but I didn't think that the way to liberate women from manichean stereotyping was by replacing one set of stereotypes with another. It's still just a bunch of gibberish. I've been thinking about that lately after the whole Lysistrata thing, and then I came across this article on a "progressive" website. Here's the most offensive paragraph (and I had a hard time choosing):

Liberation, the act of rescuing the damsel in distress, the art of war to free people seen as incapable of carving out their own destiny, is a patriarchal fallacy. The idea of liberating Iraq by force represents the systematic domination of male over female, the forcible rape and ensuing grief and shame of disempowerment that women have historically encountered as victims of male-perpetrated violence.

As opposed to the everyday reality of rape, grief, disempowerment and shame that women endure under Iraqi rule. By this logic, no population, no matter how forcibly repressed, has any excuse for not liberating itself. And no one can help them, either, because that's patriarchal. Instead, we should listen to our feminine side in the matter:

Embodied in the female experience is this notion of conscience. It is the intuitive, secret voice that whispers the directions for following a higher path. It is the dreamlike symbolism revealed through humility and introspection. Turning inward requires reflection and self-knowledge, faith in the unseen. It is the root system which takes hold beneath the soil before peering upward into the light. First we must go deep before emerging into the world.

Iraq, the religious and historical cradle of civilization, is a potent metaphor for femininity. It is the Fertile Crescent, the great mother womb which gave birth to inventions like the wheel, the art of writing and three of the world's far-reaching religions, Islam, Judaism and Christianity which share a common Abrahamic lineage. It is the home of archaeological treasures buried deep in the vast desert sands. It is the home of unheard weeping, suffering borne disproportionately by grandmothers, mothers and children.

The invasion of Iraq is a crime against all women, against all that is feminine and sacred.

Here's where I'm going to get a little wound up. Women aren't somehow "closer to the divine" than men. Iraq is a country with a history. It is not a womb, not a sacred repository of the earth mother, and not a cypher for the great and powerful holiness that is WOMAN. And while I don't doubt that there is weeping and suffering borne disproportionately by women there, it's NOT because Iraq will probably be liberated by force, it's because REAL WOMEN, with REAL, NOT FIGURATIVE WOMBS AND BODIES, ARE BEING OPPRESSED, TORTURED AND KILLED BY THEIR FELLOW CITIZENS.

Get your head out of your sacred womb, you stupid cow, and look at reality. You're so caught up in "big ideas" about patriarchy and earth mother symbolism that you cannot see how your pseudo-intellectual analysis and resultant paralysis lead to the continuing perpetration of crimes against living, breathing women. There is a fine line between deliberate ignorance and willful evil, lady, and you're walking it. No matter how enlightened you think your uterus makes you.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:02 AM

March 06, 2003

The Energizer Bunny of Stupid

The Energizer Bunny of Stupid

It just keeps going, and going, and going. Read this if you need a laugh. Me? I want a Hip Hop Against Racist War t-shirt. Sigh. Especially when its spokeswoman says stuff like this:

We feel that the nature and intensity of these attacks reveal the clear white supremacist sentiment that is driving the push for war by its supporters. In addition, the violence embedded within this attack reflects the real and present threat of violence that students of color feel every day at North Carolina State University.

Gee, I must have missed the "KKK Says Bombs Away" pro-war demonstration.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:11 PM

Holy Hobbit, Batman! I think

Holy Hobbit, Batman!

I think I missed something in my first reading of The Hobbit, as this book description reveals. The original page from Wal-Mart has been taken down, but TORN helpfully provides a screencap. Hee!

Sorry for the light posting--hope to get back to my regular raving tomorrow.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 12:44 PM

March 04, 2003

Bon Mot of the Day

Bon Mot of the Day

"War is Terrorism. Just ask those who have plastic and duct tape for windows."

Had to pass through the Free Expression Tunnel, or "The Goofy Gauntlet" this a.m. on the way to Kinkos and Starbucks, and saw the above painted on the wall. I am...puzzled by the sentiment, to say the least.

What does that mean? Does it mean that squatters in unfinished housing are war refugees? Does it mean that Iraquis only have plastic and duct tape for windows? Just--what? Does it mean that Americans are having war perpetrated on them? See, if War is Terrorism, then I guess Terrorism means War. Following that logic, an act of Terrorism is an act of War, and we are more than justified in defending ourselves, so going into Iraq to dismantle a regime that funds terrorism and therefore creates war isn't pre-emptive at all...oops. Maybe they didn't think that little trope through. Or maybe they just ran out of paint before they could finish the thought.

Or maybe, if you're in a confined area (like a tunnel) where paint fumes tend to be trapped, at 1 a.m. (when the slogan was painted--we're now datestamping our graffiti at State to prevent premature whitewashing), and you've never really HAD an original idea in your life, combining all the slogans you've ever heard into one gobbet of dumb and spewing it forth onto a tunnel wall seems like brilliance.

But then, I've had a LOT of coffee this morning, so maybe I'm just thinking too much. Gotta hate when that happens.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 07:01 AM

March 03, 2003

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise Actually, this

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise

Actually, this took about a whole minute longer than I would have expected. Perhaps the reflexes are slowing down in knee-jerk land? Yes, it's the ubiquitous "Look, there were racist slurs in the free expression tunnel about the war in Iraq! War is racist!" piece, written by someone in the "vaunted" and appropriately titled "liberal studies" program.

For the uninitiated, "liberal studies" is a catchall for folks whose attention spans are far too short for them to actually concentrate on one discipline. It's a mishmash of humanities courses, seasoned with marxist and feminist theory, whipped into a lather of reactionary and lazy scholarship, and half-baked for easy intellectual consumption. Yum-my. Here's a little taste from the aforementioned dish:

Since the United States embarked on its never-ending "War on Terrorism" in 2001, many of us who stood to oppose this endless war identified racism as one of the key components in the ideological backing for war. As war in Afghanistan turned into war in Iraq turned into war in Korea, we had our suspicions confirmed: The United States is much more interested in the economic, political and social control of black and brown bodies and their resources than ending "terrorism."

Note that the actual racism practiced by the people who flew the jets into large buildings is glossed over. See, if you're conducting a religious war against the infidel, it helps if a lot of the infidel happen to be white. That way, if the infidel get kinda pissy and start shooting at you, you can count on mental midgets in liberal studies programs to freak out and cry racism. See also how the racism inherent in the idea that black and brown bodies are always victims, never independent actors, is ignored.

Read the rest, if you're so inclined. But really, you don't have to. Here's the conclusion, just to give you some closure--or indigestion, if you'd like to continue with the belabored food metaphor:

Tuesday's messages were sad, frightening and telling, as the pro-war forces confirmed what we have known all along. War and racism are linked, and our world will not be safe until they are both eliminated.

No, that wasn't at all predictable. Just think--this guy's gonna have an MA soon. This piece could have been written by a random Chomsky generator. Explain to me again how academia is about rigorous mental discipline?

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 05:54 AM

February 28, 2003

Oh, for the Love of

Oh, for the Love of God, People

It's just a graffiti tunnel! Perhaps I should have saved the "Tempest/Teapot" post title for this one. Hold on while I take a deep cleansing breath.....okay, here goes.

From our campus paper, The Technician, this story regarding the "clash of ideological titans" in the graffiti tunnel. Note how the disagreement has now escalated into a full-blown "ohmygoditsahatefilledcampus" kerfluffle, complete with a Statement on Tolerance from the Chancellor.

To me, the money quote is this statement, prepared by the students who were confronted in the tunnel:

"As people who believe that white supremacy and heterosexism are fundamental stumbling blocks to any sort of meaningful humanity, we feel it is our duty to challenge racist and homophobic violence whenever we see it," the statement read. "We have come here today to demand that the administration of N.C. State denounce the environment of hatred and violence that faces its students every day." (emphasis mine)

Okay, look. There was apparently a threat of physical violence, which is criminal behavior and can be prosecuted as such. The slogans were offensive and in poor taste. But someone needs to explain how we got from that to the need for a definition of "meaningful humanity" from a sociology major. And how this one incident has now become indicative of an "environment of hatred and violence."

There are the usual calls for "mandatory diversity training," and a need for the university to "do more," while everyone mouths platitudes about respecting "free speech." No they don't.

Frankly, I think the training needed is a course in etiquette by Emily Post.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 07:05 AM

February 27, 2003

Oh, Hello Tempest! Your Teapot

Oh, Hello Tempest! Your Teapot is Right Over Here.

Reading this forum on childbirth and leave from The Chronicle of Higher Ed was eye-opening, to say the least. The article to which it refers was, to my mind, a pretty straightforward accounting of ways in which universities need to prepare themselves to meet the needs of students when the unforeseen happens. In this case, three female professors in a fairly small department were going to have overlapping maternity leaves, raising some legitimate questions about leave policy, preparation, etc.

However, as tends to happen when resident "deep thinkers" get hold of an issue, discussion soon devolved into name calling and disparaging comments toward those women who have the ABOSLUTE GALL to want CHILDREN when they're tenure track professors. Then of course we had to have the whole "what really defines a family" posts, the smug asides about family leave policies in Scandinavia and Canada, etc. etc. My personal fave was this one, entitled "use birth control." Here's an excerpt:

"Having babies is a choice -- already, people who have babies are getting tax breaks, getting hugely discounted insurance (forcing those more reproductively responsible to subsidise them), and often getting to slack off work for some 15 years using children as an excuse to reschedule meetings and avoid heavy committee work. This is NOT a women's issue -- it is a matter concerning a specific group of people taking advantage of the rest of their department."

Bitter, much? Her sentiments are breathtakingly condescending. I'm assuming that the writer, Lisa Jenkins, counts herself among the "reproductively responsible" here. Wonder if it's occurred to her that if all women were similarly responsible, she'd have no one to impart her wisdom to? Oh, but I'm sure she's merely referring to those within her profession. Because, after all, it's ALL ABOUT LISA. Sounds like the girl's got issues, to me. Speaking of issues:

"It seems to me that if employees want special "perks" for having a baby, then they should be responsible enough to schedule their baby having time, with their department.
With Ithaca, had the three faculty agreed to the dates when each want to be with child, and scheduled these dates with the department, the department wouldn't be so shorthanded."

Yes, because as we all know, the human body is a simple clockwork mechanism, and that's why everyone can schedule when they want children, and infertility doesn't exist, and all birth control is 100% effective. Let's see, set the timer for May 15, procure sperm, preheat the problem! Oh, and I'll switch the safety lock on, so that there will be no premature labor or complications. This is so easy! There's absolutely no excuse for anyone, anywhere, ever to have a problem with scheduling maternity leave! La, la, la! Look at the pretty green sky! At least, in my world, that's its color. Wheee!

I never cease to be amazed by people who cry freedom all day in their classrooms, but deny it to anyone who might inconvenience THEM by exercising free will. People who support all kinds of radical feminism, but who are enraged by women who then use their freedom of choice to "go traditional." Hey, professors? Here's a nice big cup of Get Over It. Will that be one lump, or two?

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 06:14 AM

February 26, 2003

War Bad! Arrrrrrr! I think

War Bad! Arrrrrrr!

I think I may have actually reached critical pissed-offitude today. Oh, it's been building for a while--a really long while, now that I think about it--but it's finally hit the whole cartoonish "head with exploding thermometers for eyes and steam-emitting ears" phase today. Why? First, let's just make a list:

  • From Cold Fury--this piece about "educators" deliberately villifying children's parents who serve in the military.

  • From Juan Gato--well, pretty much everything, but particularly the existence of the Wonder Twins Morford and MoDo,and their continuing, unreasonable belief in their own superiority.

  • Hollywood. My, they're full of themselves lately, aren't they? (via Andrea Harris)

  • And just read Critical Mass for a distillate of distasteful declarations from the dissolute dimbulbs who inhabit Ivory Tower land.

I could go into a lengthy analysis of knee-jerk anti-war leftism descending into the depths of contentless ad hominem crapola, but it's been done. Perhaps the problem is that we've been spending too much time trying to lend intellectual discussion to a debate which is quickly becoming a Usenet flamewar writ large, instead of, as we are taught in "Instructor 101," making our message "audience appropriate." So in the interest of time and clarity, here goes:

Grow. The. Fuck. Up.

No, really. You don't like Bush? Fine, whatever. Vote against him in 2004, write your congressfolk and senators, have bake sales to support his opponent. But stop letting your hatred of one man blind you to, well, everything else. The world has changed in the past 18 months, and the rest of us don't have time to wait for you to catch up.

Stop letting your belief that he "stole the election" send you into hyper conspiracy mode, wherein every single person who may have even considered voting for him somehow manages to be stupid, evil, yet diabolical enough to aid and abet the Wellstone assassination. Stop. It. NOW. And don't even try with the whole "nuanced debate" bullshit. Bush=Hitler? Where's the friggin' nuance? I see no nuance! I see a bunch of people so enraged by the fact that "our side lost" almost THREE FREAKING YEARS AGO that they're throwing a mass tantrum. I include Hollywood, France, The New York Times, and the current democratic petty obstructionism in that list. And when it's pointed out that their tantrum is actually having the opposite effect re: making war more likely, as well as being directly responsible for the subjugation of an entire nation by a fellow who would, incidentally, set their anti-war asses on fire as soon as they stopped proving useful, what happens? They get naked! What the fuck is that?

I'll tell you what it is. They're channeling my toddler. Scream and cry when thwarted. Reason doesn't work--the screaming merely intensifies, sometimes coupled with throwing things, or tossing a diaper at my head. Do you know what works? Ignoring the toddler. And it looks like the "eeeeville Bush Junta" (aside: stop with the junta, okay? Likewise with the whole hegemony thing. It doesn't make you seem smart or clever. It makes it seem like you just spent 10 minutes in a post-colonial theory course and you jotted down the glossary terms 'cause you thought it might help you get laid at the kegger later on) is going to do just that.

Everyone loses sometime. You can either accept it, learn from it and try harder next time, or you can throw a fit. But it doesn't change reality. No, not even if you click your heels together three times, hug your blankie and wish REALLY REALLY hard.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:25 AM

February 25, 2003

Damn You, February! Ya know,

Damn You, February!

Ya know, for the shortest month, this one does seem to go on and on and on. Sorry, Sartre, you were wrong. Hell isn't other people--it's February.

I hate you, February. I hate you with fiery, burning, lava hate. And a good thing, too, because that's all that's keeping my feet warm at work right now. There's a reason why I live in the South, February, and apparently you haven't been paying attention, because you Aren't. Leaving. Quickly. Enough. Oh, and the ice storms? The hell? Look, February, maybe you've had some hard times. Maybe people have been cruel to you in the past--calling you names, making fun of your relative size, or the way you spell your name (what IS with that "silent r", anyway?), whatever. Is that really any reason to act like a big bully, overstay your welcome, and piss all over my gardenia bush? I think not. You're never going to make people love you that way, February, especially when you try to force us to love you by tacking on that stupid holiday with the chalky candy so that we can all add tooth decay to the list of ills you bring us. I mean, the flu? Dude, that's just harsh. Get some counseling, February. You know, anger management? And maybe you should lay off the booze. You get ugly when you've been drinking.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 06:01 AM

February 20, 2003

Tina Brown is a Tiny

Tina Brown is a Tiny Moron

Don't believe me? Read her latest column, full of lamentation for how the poor fashion industry is suffering, struggling to regain its footing after its self-absorbed hedonism was so cruelly stopped by those insensitive jihadis. But that's not the really annoying part. This is:

IS IT JUST THE RESIDUE of fashion week that makes me wish there were more, or should I say any, gay men in the Bush Administration? At The Sunday Times in the Seventies one top editor used to shake his head when the paper became too humourlessly high-testosterone and say that what it needed that week was “more pooftah power”.

Behold the power of the gay! I know that in matters of dire national emergency, the best way to ensure the success of our nation is not to find qualified folks to lead, but to randomly select people on the basis of their sexuality! Because it's all about offsetting that deadly testosterone! Although, I do want to bitchslap Tina Brown. Could that be due to the Power of the Gay, or is it just that she's a twit?

In lieu of outright womanhood — except for Condoleezza Rice, who crosses the gender barriers by becoming the most zealous enabler — perhaps an injection of androgyny could be brought to bear on diplomatic relations in this moment of crisis. The Bush crowd’s only management style, like that of many who subscribe to the outmoded cult of America’s Toughest Bosses, is to unzip and thwack it on the table. As Senator Robert Byrd put it in his speech last week, they deal in “crude insensitivities”.

Yeah, gotta get in the gratuitious "slap Condi" moment. So now, not only is she inauthentically black, she's inauthentically female. And while we're flailing that broad brush of stereotyping around, let's do mention the whole BSD trope. It's all about the penis, people. Power to the penis! Wait a minute--there's a knock at the door....oh, look! It's our good friend Irony. Hi, I! What's up? Oh, yeah, I noticed she's talking about insensitivity by using a former Klansman as a mouthpiece--I was trying to ignore that. Hey, Irony, you look a little down. Beer? Help yourself. I'll be with you in a moment.

The offence of it is enhanced by the fact that we know how unauthentic Bush is in this role of macho man. Unlike the war vet Powell, who never swaggers, he has no credentials for talking the tough talk.

Is it just me, or is anyone else having Village People flashbacks about now? Macho man, pooftah power...once our Tina gets her tiny pointed teeth into an extended metaphor, she just doesn't let go, does she? Like a tiny, rabid chihuahua, she's just worrying this column to death. Really slowly. And not very effectively, either. But, like the aforesaid diminutive doggie, she's managing to be very annoying, all the same.

Bush never said that the trouble with the French is that they have no word for “entrepreneur” — that turned out to be an urban legend. But I wish we had a leader who did not believe that “nuance” was strictly for cheese eaters.

Behold the mighty TB! Clairvoyant, y'all! Able to see through the urban legend and into the very heart and soul of our leader! Down with the bi-lingual shizzy! Oh, hold on a sec--Irony? Why are you crying? Well, yes, I know you've been poorly utilized of late. I'm sorry. No, we do appreciate you, Irony. And we don't judge you based on crap like this. You don't have control over every hack columnist on the planet. Shh, shh. It's okay. Have another beer. Go to your happy place. Focus on the happy place.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 05:37 AM

February 19, 2003

We'll Be Back After this

We'll Be Back After this Brief Word from Our Sponsors

Sorry for the non-posting this week. I discovered today that the nagging, piercing pain in my ears was not, as I had previously thought, caused by the Toddler's new penchant for tantrums (helloooo, 18 months!), but by a double ear infection on top of a sinus infection and bronchitis. Given how short my fuse has been lately, a couple of days off with drugs and The Two Towers video game (woo-hoo! Go Gimli!) have been good for the soul.

I'll return to my regularly scheduled ranting and raving tomorrow.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 12:51 PM

February 14, 2003

Brushes With Mayhem, Part the

Brushes With Mayhem, Part the Second,
Hey! There's an ATF Agent in My Den!

One year after the Summer of Police Protection, the soon-to-be-hublet and I were finishing up our degrees and working at the local Barnes & Noble bookstore to help with expenses. The big exciting Raleigh news event that summer was the attempted murder-by-mail-bomb of a female BTI employee, which served to remind everyone about the Oklahoma City bombing, and brought the usual complaints about our store stocking The Anarchist's Cookbook. Incidentally, we had moved that volume behind the register after Oklahoma City, in response to those same complaints.

I was coming home from work one day about a week after the BTI bombing, and as I got ready to turn into my apartment complex I noticed an abandoned car at the bottom of the driveway. Something about the vehicle made me think "unmarked police car," but I didn't pay any more attention than that. So I pulled into my parking space, hopped out of the car, checked my mail, and opened my door, expecting my fiance' to be there.

He was there all right, along with two ATF agents complete with guns and those blue nylon "Hey! We're ATF agents!" jackets they wear. I took in the scene, said "hi," and retired to the bedroom to quiet Gertie, the barking wonder. About thirty minutes later, they left, and I wandered out to politely inquire of my fiance why he was being questioned by federal agents.

Turns out that he had sold the BTI bombing suspect a copy of The Anarchist's Cookbook, and furthermore, he was able to pick the guy out of a set of photographs. Long story short, the bomber had come to the counter, asked hublet for a copy of TAC, and made small talk while he looked it over. He then purchased it from hublet, pretty much guaranteeing he would be remembered. Then, he left the book and the receipt in his basement, which his wife remembered seeing after she got out of the hospital. Did I mention his wife was the victim? Well, she was. Lost two fingers and the thumb on her left hand, but all things considered, she was pretty lucky.

About 6 months later, hublet and I got a free night's stay in Wilmington while he testified at the trial. I talked to some of the other witnesses for the prosecution while we waited, and it turned out that this guy did something memorable or stupid at every store he went to. The lady from Home Depot who sold him the pipe he used for the bomb remembered him because he was talking so much; he had recently upped the wife's insurance policy to $250,000--the list went on. Frankly, all I could think of was, "He was gonna kill his wife for a measly $250,000? Chump. That won't even get you 4 bedrooms in Raleigh!" But I digress.

The next summer was the last in our trifecta of Mayhem--Hurricane Fran hit. After that, I decided that maybe a house would be a good investment. Preferably somewhere a little bit out of the way of tangentally related criminal activity or natural we moved. And I'm happy to report that neither the ATF, Raleigh PD, or FEMA have shown up at my door since then.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 12:48 PM

Best. Valentine. Ever. From my

Best. Valentine. Ever.

From my pal, this lovely ode:

Four years.
Can you believe
we've been together that long?
It's hard to even remember
what things were like before you.
All I know for sure is
I had a lot more room for pizzas and ice cream.
And look at you.
You haven't aged a day.
And your make-up is still perfect.
I love you, head in my freezer.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 06:34 AM

All Hail the Mighty Talbert!

All Hail the Mighty Talbert!

This man is an idiot. He's going to be successfully sued, and Shaw University will probably suffer for it. Read about his funny ideas concerning free speech and the importance of staff "loyalty" here and here. Now that he's finally stepped down, perhaps they could send him to work for Robert Mugabe. Sounds like they have similar ideas concerning freedom.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 06:32 AM

February 13, 2003

Brushes with Mayhem All this

Brushes with Mayhem

All this duct tapin', water buyin', orange alertin' stuff has made me reflect upon my own brushes with mayhem, and because it's my blog, I'm gonna share. Plus, I'm not in the mood for the stupid just now--somebody opened the floodgates yesterday, and I simply cannot process that much idiocy. So for your reading enjoyment, Part 1 of Brushes With Mayhem, or, "How far are we from Central Prison, Again?"

Graduate school marked my first foray into independent living. I was fortunate enough to move to Raleigh before the giant mid-nineties boom, so I was able to procure a 900 square foot one bedroom apartment in a decent, convenient location for $400 a month. Yeah, I'm old. And?

Anyway, my apartment complex was a good mix of graduate students and professionals--pretty peaceful, especially after the woman I affectionately referred to as Rodan moved out as my upstairs neighbor and a young married grad student couple moved in. It was a dog-oriented complex, so we all knew one another by dog names--oh, look! It's Maggie's mom! The new upstairs neighbors had a sweet but high strung dalmation who loved nothing more than to sit on my grumpy weiner beagle's head. Gertie (the weiner beagle in question) hated this dog with a passion, and we (the neighbors and I) would just stand around and laugh as the small brown curmudgeon tried to kill the gangly dalmation. All I knew about them was that she was from Iowa originally, and that he liked to skateboard and mountain bike. A lot.

So imagine my surprise as one fine summer afternoon I exit my car and stop at the mailboxes mounted on the wall of the entryway (it was all open air) to my building, only to notice two large men in dark suits sprinting toward me. I remember thinking, "Oh dear, this can't be good," because there was no way I could get to my door--which was about 5 feet away--and unlock it before they reached me. So I just decided to be nonchalant, and moved toward my apartment.

"Are you Wendy?" the shorter of the men asked when they got to where I was standing. "They told us that Wendy had brown hair and a dog." They must have heard Gertie barking through the door. Gertie was always barking. Still is, nine years later. Stupid dog.

"Um, no." It was then that I noticed the badges and sidearms. "Are you with the police?"

"Yes ma'am." They showed their badges and introduced themselves. "Does she live in this building?"

"Yeah, she lives upstairs, but probably won't be home for a few hours yet."

They thanked me, and returned to their unmarked car to wait. Later, I heard my neighbors return home, and shortly thereafter, two pairs of footsteps heading upstairs, a muffled knocking, and then voices. That evening, I was walking Gertie when I ran into my next door neighbor (who had an old, fat Cocker Spaniel that Gertie also hated. Detecting a theme here?) My next door neighbor always knew what was going on. I think she had the place bugged.

"So what's up with Wendy?" I asked. It turned out that her dad had just escaped from prison. NC Central prison, which was located about 3 miles from where we were living. And, oh, here's the kicker--Wendy's testimony sent him to jail, and he had vowed to kill her and her sister if he ever got out. So she--and we--were to be under police protection until they got the guy.

The irony was that Wendy's dad had no idea she was living in Raleigh. He headed out to Iowa, in fact, and Wendy told us later that her grandmother (his mom) had tried to find out where she was living--obviously to help with the "family reunion."

It took the cops about a month to track the fellow down. In the meantime, we moved a charcoal grill out to the parking lot and had impromptu cookouts with the detail assigned to our building. Once or twice the officers went charging around the underbrush near the apartment--guess they thought they saw something--but he never showed up, and was finally nabbed in Florida at his mom's house. Obviously, he wasn't too clever.

I never asked if he found out that Wendy had been less than 5 miles from him all along--she and her husband moved soon after her ordeal. It seemed like a random event, an interesting story to tell folks when making small talk. I mean, how many people have you known who were actually under police protection? I figured it would make a fun anecdote. Little did I know, the following summer would prove even more bizarre.

Next time, on Brushes With Mayhem: "Hey! There's an ATF Agent in My Den!"

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 12:23 PM

February 12, 2003

The Grandmother's Script Here is

The Grandmother's Script

Here is a list of phrases to keep on hand in the event that you become a grandmother. Because contrary to what you may think, your paranoia level ratchets up to about a million when you reach that stage of life, and you completely forget that you allowed your offspring to leave the house without a suit of armor.

"Are you sure he's warm enough?"
"Why is he crying? Did he get enough to eat?"
"No, I think he's (insert one: tired, hungry, wet, sick). Give him here."
"Is that water too hot?"
"Is that water too cold?"
"There's a draft in here, I feel it."
"I think he needs a hat."
"His little feet are cold!"
"He'll break his neck doing that."
"He's going to break his neck!"
"Why isn't he eating?"
"His room seems chilly."
"Don't let him play with that!"
"Zip his jacket all the way up. And here's a hat."
"I don't think he got enough at dinner."
"Don't get water in his ears! He'll get an infection!"
"Look out! He's going to break his neck racing around like that."
"Watch his head/arms/legs/body/face/other random part!"
"His little hands are like ice."
"Be careful!"
"Don't let him near the dog!"
"Get him away from the cat!"
"I think he's allergic to those animals of yours."

To grandmothers everywhere, and I say this with love: On behalf of me and my overfull, overheated, surrounded by pillows and safety gear toddler, thank you for your concern. You'll find the Valium on the counter. Feel free to help yourself. He'll be driving in about 15 years, and you should probably start preparing yourself now.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 07:52 AM

Saw Sneak Preview of Daredevil

Saw Sneak Preview of Daredevil

Eh. That's all. Just, eh. Maybe I'm too jaded by the whole angsty vigilante comic book thing now. Had some good moments--Michael Clarke Duncan was a nicely understated Kingpin, but still, overall, eh. It was free, though, so I'm not complaining. And the extended preview of X2 was very exciting. Deathstrike looks good, and at least from the preview, Halle Berry doesn't seem as stilted this go 'round.

Geek announcement endeth here. Now back to your regular programming, already in progress.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 07:19 AM

February 11, 2003

Yeah, You Heard Right. We're

Yeah, You Heard Right. We're Willing to be Slightly Inconvenienced for Peace.

This article made me laugh out loud; unfortunately, I doubt that was the writer's intent. Fave quote:

"We want to provide a visible statement to people that there are folks who are willing to inconvenience their lives in some ways in response to the way that the lives of so many other people have been inconvenienced," said junior Dave Allen, one of the event organizers.

Yep, that pesky war surely does inconvenience people. Way to show solidarity through braving mild irritations! Hee! I could launch into a doomsaying tirade about the youth of America, but the endorphins from the laugh attack have mellowed me out too much. Hee!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 12:15 PM

Because I Have a Sadistic

Because I Have a Sadistic Streak

I give you this little exercise in "poetry" from the Poets Against the War site. Come, join the fun, as Tightly Wound presents: Poetry Corner!

Ari Fleischer the President's spokesman says all Americans need to watch what they say

it's easy for George W. to watch
when Ari is speaking for him

and for Ari it's easy to watch because
it's on the news later

but fulfilling this need
is harder for me

I devised a rearview speech mirror
and affixed it to my skull

but no one wanted to talk with me
while I watched what I said

in despair I abandoned the act of speech
and devoted myself to a life of text

I wrote: The President's appointment was illegal.
and watched

I wrote: Wilfully causing the death of others is the supreme failure of the human species.
and watched

Ari, as my fellow American
I am watching what you say too

so far I haven't spotted
anything new

Anyone up for a round of scansion? I'll give you a cookie! And people wonder why students rate poetry lowest of all the literary forms they study. Note trite e.e.cummings "look how cool I am! I don't have to punctuate!" affectation, which lends that air of intellectual gravitas to a poem that basically regurgitates Commandments 1 and 2 of the Indymedia Bible. Yeah, I'm moved. Wow, before I read this poem, I had no idea that there was controversy over the 2000 election! Thank you, brave poet! And watch your back--I'm sure that Ari Fleischer has your house bugged, what with you being a fearless dissident artist and all.

Laura Bush should probably reconsider rescheduling that poetry symposium, for the simple fact that no one attending it would be able to recognize poetry if it bit them. Hard.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:24 AM

February 07, 2003

All Right, Dammit. That's About

All Right, Dammit. That's About Enough Out of You.

This'll be brief, as I'm pressed for time. Via the Corner, this lovely piece from the ASA about "the storm of attacks on intellectual freedom and the ebb of open public debate, in the name of patriotism and a war on terror."

Yep, this crap again. Note the use of "chilling effect," the academic's version of the overused "drums of war" trope. It's a collection of the usual suspects--profiling of international students, the eeevillle of Campus Watch--and actually has the gall to state the following:

University administrations are under pressure to silence faculty and researchers who take unpopular political positions. Organizations such as Campus Watch publish lists of faculty and students critical of US foreign policy, especially vis-à-vis Israel. They represent a broad trend among conservative commentators, who call for the censorship of faculty dissent and equate criticism of the government with being anti-American and anti-patriotic. We call on colleges and universities to resist external pressure to curtail academic freedom and to stop aiding federal agencies in the surveillance of teachers and scholars with scholarly or familial ties to other countries.

Look at all the pretty "red alert" words: Israel, conservative, censorship, dissent. It would be funny, except that they actually believe what they're saying. Yes, I stand outside of my office daily, pointing and laughing as the jackbooted thugs drag yet another unsuspecting professor away to the gulag. Hoorah for the suppression of free speech! Viva the quashing of dissent! Can I go kick a puppy now? Oh, sorry, just another fever dream brought on by overexposure to Brit Hume. Ignore me.

Again in the interest of brevity, let me get straight to the point. Dear ASA: Folks are paying attention to the crap you spew, and they're calling you on it. The ivory tower isn't so unassailable anymore, and that's as it should be. And your response is typical--"Ooooh! People on the internet are being disdainful of my intellectually superior beliefs! Our country is acting in its own self-interest, just like every other country ever! The sky is falling!" Get real, get a spine, and get your heads out of your asses. Oh, and you might want to try actually responding to the charges made against you in the name of the academic freedom you hold so dear, instead of running to mommy and crying McCarthyism. You are beneath contempt, you pathetic, puling little whiners, and if I were on your playground, I would take extreme pleasure in knocking your ice cream cone into the dirt. And then stomping all over it. But then, I'm funny that way.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 12:52 PM

Share the Pain I won't

Share the Pain

I won't suffer alone. Go here. And I don't want to hear about your resulting optometrist bills, either, so just stop it.

UPDATE: Okay, so they have a rotating photo gallery, and I'm on Blogger for Free, so no posty of piccy here. It's currently on Drudge's homepage, though, but look fast.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:34 AM

February 06, 2003

Ahh, Modern Politics Here's a

Ahh, Modern Politics

Here's a bit of advice from Clinton to John Edwards, hometown boy, on running for the Big Chair:

"So I told him ... that he'd been on TV enough to be hot. Which was good. But if I were in his position, I'd spend lots of time trying to think things through. ... I told him that I thought that my association with the Democratic Leadership Council, with the education commissions in the state, with policy boards, with these groups most of you had never heard of, had given me a chance over a 10-year period to decide what I really believed about the big issues facing the country. ...

"By the way, the great thing about this approach is that if you win, you don't need to wonder what you'll do. You've actually got something in place."

Yepper, THINKING tends to be a good thing. Interesting, though, how it comes in second to being "on TV enough to be hot." That low-level buzzing sound you hear? Ignore it--just the founding fathers spinning in their graves. I hear that sound a lot, nowadays.

Via Drudge.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 12:14 PM

Gimme that Old Time Religion

Gimme that Old Time Religion

Or maybe not. Via Andrew Sullivan, this lovely course description from Harvard. I thought at first it was a Poli-Sci course, given the reading content and speakers, but a glance at the top of the page shows it listed under religion. What religion would it be, exactly, that embraces Sissela Bok, Peter (bestiality is okay by me, and btw, let's kill people whenever they fall below accepted standards) Singer, and Noam Chomsky?

Ooooh, right. Multiculturalism. See, all this time I thought folks were being figurative when they described mulitculturalism as a religion for its slavish adherents and proponents. Silly me. But the funniest thing about the course description seems to be the professor's need to hype it like the latest release from Tri-Star:

Designed for students who hope to make a positive difference in a troubled world, the course in 2000-2001 received a CUE rating of 4.9; the instructor and the head teaching fellow won the 2002 Levenson Memorial Teaching Prize.

I loved it! It's much better than Cats. I want to take it again and again!

Of course, perhaps there's a reason for the shameless shilling: This is the last year in which Religion 1528 will be offered.

Wonder if that would have anything to do with the bright hot light of reality finally burning through the hazy fog of unworkable propositions and fuzzy thinking that this course has cobbled together? I can only hope.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 04:56 AM

February 05, 2003

Okay, Now This is Just

Okay, Now This is Just Irritating

Comments are back, only half have gone missing. The. Hell? Maybe if I turn my back and pretend not to be watching, they'll all return.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:01 AM

February 04, 2003

Well, Slap My Face and

Well, Slap My Face and Call Me Shirley!

Via Instapundit, Stanley Fish, my most un-fave academic, comes down on the side of common sense! I must therefore conclude that the world will be ending by midnight. Seriously, though, it's refreshing to see.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 05:08 PM

Hey Look! It's Monday, Except

Hey Look! It's Monday, Except on a Tuesday!

How's my day been? Thanks for asking! Here's a list:

  • Car needs inspecting.

  • Car can't pass inspection because check engine light indicates problem with emissions.

  • Car must go to shop.

  • Boy must go to daycare.

  • I drop boy at daycare, and car at shop.

  • Spend 30 minutes waiting for shuttle with man who sounds like Darth Vader. I fear for my health and sanity, as well as for his health.

  • Run through basic CPR in head while waiting for shuttle; eye Darth Vader anxiously, looking for bluish tint around mouth or other indication that he is insufficiently oxygenated.

  • Jump into shuttle when it arrives, thankful to escape Darth Vader.

  • Shuttle smells...odd.

  • No, REALLY odd.

  • Cannot roll down window, as it is now pouring rain.

  • Think culprit may be oddly dressed man to my left.

  • Think fondly of umbrella left in car at shop wih Darth Vader.

  • Think fondly of my car, with its non-smell, left at car shop.

  • Wonder why it's taking so long to get to work.

  • Realize that shuttle driver cannot navigate downtown.

  • Finally arrive at work--at university that shuttle driver couldn't seem to locate.

  • Get dropped off on corner, in rain.

  • Think not-so-fondly on stupid umbrella, left in stupid piece of crap car at stupid shop with mouth breathing freaks.

  • Run to building, stepping in REALLY DEEP, UNSEEN PUDDLE.

  • Get in, wring out sock, check messages.

  • Oh, look. The daycare called.

  • Call daycare. Pinkeye? Are you sure, because he has a blocked tear duct, and....other kids have had it? Oh. Let me make some calls.

  • Make call to car place.

  • Make call to doctor.

  • Make call to husband, who works an hour away.

  • Make call to daycare.

  • Arrange to pick up car, go to Very Important Meeting, pick up boy, go to doctor, and get home, while simultaneously arranging for husband to stay home tomorrow so that I can be here for Several Very Important Meetings coordinated with Important Out-Of-Town Guests Who Cannot Reschedule Because the Fate of Our Very Livelihood Rests Upon Their Input.

  • Look at clock--9:45 a.m.

  • Think of Army motto--we do more before 8 a.m. than most people do all day.

  • Wonder if Army would take thirty-something mom, as I have the "doing lots of stuff" thing down.

  • Sigh, and resume day.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 07:22 AM

February 03, 2003

Embarrassing Personal Admission, Followed by

Embarrassing Personal Admission, Followed by a Rant.

Ahem. Attention, everyone, for I have a confession to make: I HEART Sean Astin. There, I said it. He was a super cute Goonie, great as Rudy, and in my humble opinion, the perfect choice for Samwise, my most favorite of the hobbitses. You got a problem with any of that? Not that I'm defensive or anything...

So there's this press release, in which it's revealed that Astin is going to serve on the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation. Pretty bland, huh? I thought, "Oh, how nice. Sean Astin is trying to help out! This may actually make me heart him more. Yay little Sean Astin family guy man!" Okay, so my thoughts weren't terribly deep. Sue me.

Although, I shouldn't just toss that out there in jest, because there are apparently folks who would probably do just that, given their reaction to this nothing little announcement. Suddenly, poor Sean Astin has either become a Tool of the Man, or a cynical, calculating Machiavelli, because he's a-workin' for "the shrub!" And I can't decide what chaps me more, the idea that if you don't like a president, you aren't allowed to recognize that maybe some of his policies might be okay, ever (or risk getting your Moral Superiority Club card confiscated) or the idea that you can somehow divine the motives of a guy you'll never, ever know, by virtue of the fact that you've watched a couple of movies and seen an interview or two.

I just wanna watch my hobbitses running around and being hobbity. I don't want to hear Arathorn's son's views on petroleum, nor am I interested in the latest conspiracy theory involving New Line Cinema's attempts to squelch dissent and cover up the rampant homoerotic content of their films. Yeesh, folks. Movies. Just movies. And actors. Just actors. Not about you. Not at all.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 12:38 PM

Cause Nothin' Says Gritty Realism

Cause Nothin' Says Gritty Realism Like Stripper Ass!

At first I thought it was a parody. I mean, Come ON! Al Bundy as a tough guy cop? Re-doing Dragnet, which has become a kitsch staple? It had to be a joke. But then I saw the ads and realized that the studio heads were not only serious about this show, they wanted it to compete with the likes of NYPD Blue and all those other hard-hitting crime dramas. How did I realize this? Because the teasers were full of g-string bedecked stripper cheeks.

When did butt cheeks become the universal symbol for Serious Police Drama? What, it's not enough that you show people getting brutalized by criminals (and cops, for that added dash o' tough-guy cred!) each week, that everything seems to take place in a grimy back alley or flop house, or that your criminal extras sport enough faux dirt to qualify as walking pig wallows--you have to add in naked buttocks to prove that you're serious about realism? On what planet is the strip club the loci of Every Single Crime And Clue To Said Crime In The Entire City? It would be funny if it weren't so annoying, because then, in order to avoid the (logical) accusation that perhaps these shows are only about titillation, the writers throw in the gratuitous Lead Male Character Ass-Baring Scene.

Dear Writers: On behalf of America, please, stop doing that. Love, Big Arm Woman. I was scarred for life when Michael Douglas showed us his flat, droopy, saggy little booty in Basic Instinct, and I will never recover from or understand the cinema's need to go the Full Harvey Keitel, which it has done, unbelievably, more than once. Jimmy Smits? At least he's pretty well-toned. But Dennis Franz? Noooooooo! What, exactly, does that add to an hour of television? Do TV producers get a cut from the optometric surgeries required to repair the post-Franz Ass retinas? It's the only explanation I can come up with that fits.

Do real cops wander through a sea of bare buttocks on a daily basis, solving crimes, bravely angsting around bars and "fighting their inner demons," and then returning home to a softly lit sex scene with women who look like Sharon Stone, when they look like Homer Simpson? I'm thinking not. Note to producers of future "gritty, realistic cop shows": Just because you're pulling these shows out of your asses doesn't mean we need to see your asses, or their Hollywood doppelgangers.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:15 AM

January 31, 2003

BEHOLD! I am the Sun

BEHOLD! I am the Sun God

But you can just call me Cliff.

A friend and I have embarked on a strike/counterstrike operation, whereby we each send the other the most bizarre homepage links we can find. Yesterday, I sent her this one, (found on Dave Barry's blog) and behold, this day marketh the arrival of the Sun God.

I'm open to suggestions for others. No porn, please. We exchange these links at work.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:26 AM

January 30, 2003

Note to Poets Everywhere--Basically, You

Note to Poets Everywhere--Basically, You Suck

Found this little story via Drudge, and I'm pissed off. See, I'm what you might call a traditionalist when it comes to poetry: I cut my teeth on iambic pentameter, and I think that William Carlos Williams did more to utterly destroy poetry as a serious art form than any other human being, ever. The stuff being passed off in modern literary magazines is not poetry, it's short stream of consciousness essays arbitrarily cut into sections that "look poetic." The content may be relevant and interesting, but please, don't call it poetry. Pretty please? Because it isn't. Poetry. Just because you think it should be. Poetry is an exacting form, and the challenge is in being able to utilize the form and still get the message across. And that, in a nutshell, is why it's so hard for me to find modern poets that I like--the form has become sloppy, and the thought behind the poetry mirrors the form.

That's how we end up with poets like Amiri Baraka, and the latest hazardous waste from Pinter--when form and content are sub-par, the poetry takes a backseat to the "Poet as Personality." Here it no longer matters WHAT you write, so long as it is somehow controversial or shocking. The fact that the envelopes these folks are attempting to push are by now yellowed and frayed from age and overuse is beside the point. They're still out there, "shocking the bourgeoisie;" except that the bourgeoisie long ago dismissed them as harmless, irrelevant nutters and moved on.

Poetry used to be relevant to daily life. Books of poetry used to actually SELL and were appreciated beyond the tiny little circles of self-congratulatory critics and their "small but prestigious" college presses. But no more. And that's why the attempt to hijack the First Lady's poetry symposium is so ridiculous. There's someone in the White House who cares about the art form, and the choice of poets on the docket are a nice mix. So what do the participants do? Instead of helping to resurrect the country's enjoyment of a literary form that can be uplifiting, edifying and thought-provoking, they turn it into an "All about me"-Fest and ad hoc political protest. Let my next message to these hacks be perfectly clear: Drop Dead.

Walt Whitman's Civil War poetry is haunting and moving in ways that Adrienne Rich should weep over. Why? Because he was a nurse during the war. He saw it and lived it. If you wanted to protest the war in Iraq, why not do so by focusing on Whitman, who, by the way, the First Lady included? But noooooo. Sam Hamill, the brave soldier, instead calls for explicitly anti-war poetry to throw in his host's face, because obviously Whitman is too old and mainstream. Today's poets need to make their modern voices heard. They are boors, rubes, and egotists, little children at the adult dinner party throwing tantrums to get attention. And like little children, they received a "time out" for their trouble--the symposium has been cancelled. Way to strike a blow for poetry, morons.

I'll leave you with this excerpt from the article:

Marilyn Nelson, Connecticut's poet laureate, said Wednesday that she had accepted the White House invitation and had planned to wear a silk scarf with peace signs that she commissioned.
``I had decided to go because I felt my presence would promote peace,'' she said

Marilyn, I have no words. But I can suggest a couple of uses for that scarf.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 07:07 AM | Comments (1)

January 28, 2003

Now, Whose Son Are You

Now, Whose Son Are You Again?

Gratuitous Two Towers post. Read the mangled captions and laugh, laugh, laugh. Ah, who could forget Theoden's inspiring war cry, "Now for Rat!"

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:23 AM

January 27, 2003

Monday Musings Had a friend

Monday Musings

Had a friend over last night to watch the game. He's been our friend since the days of yore and grad school and he's a great guy, but politically we're divergent when it comes to things like money and national defense. Although we realize this, and so don't normally engage in political conversation, it does tend to come up, as it did last night. Generally, the hublet and I just let him ramble, though I do enjoy tossing an occasional barb his way just to egg him on.

So last night we're chatting, and amongst the usual rhetorical suspects, he came out with a couple of ideas that just really irritated me:

1. The idea that "most Americans don't get it--they don't understand what's going on" re: war, foreign policy, etc.
2. The idea that we need a "referendum" on well, everything in this country, apparently.

Let me answer the last one first. When I pointed out that we elect leaders to lead, and that if their leadership proves unsatisfactory we kick them out, our friend was not satisfied. He seems to think that every major policy recommendation should be subject to a popular vote. Ooookay, fine. It sort of goes against the point of having a Republic as opposed to a pure Democracy, but whatever. The reason I mention it is because he was simultaneously making point #1--that most Americans are too dim to know what's happening. So this begs the question, why have a referendum if the folks voting on it are too stupid to take their responsibilities seriously? Why would the "mass of dumbass" be better able to navigate the complexities of foreign policy than folks elected by that same mass to be directly involved?

But over and above this argument is the belief that underpins it--that while our friend is mentally engaged and capable--"the great unwashed" exists and is collectively stupid. Here's my question, then: WHERE, exactly, is this morass of stupidity located? I could argue that hublet's students are a tad uninformed, and that would be putting it lightly. But they're TEENAGERS, and we're supposed to be educating them. You could talk about graduation rates and those goobers that appear on Jay Leno's "Man on the Street" interview, but I could point to examples of intellectually curious non-college grads and the fact that folks who got the questions right probably weren't featured on The Tonight Show.

And as the above arguments from my friend demonstrate, an advanced degree doesn't guarantee superior intellect or information. It's a big country, full of the smart and the not-so-smart; those who want to engage in the big questions and those who frankly don't care. If educators and the media are doing their jobs by making the information available, then I believe those who want to engage in the debate will get said information. If they aren't, or if the information is laced with condescending disdain for the "average Joe," then who is to blame for the much lamented "dumbing down of American society?" Is the only lasting product of the intelligentsia going to be contempt for those who didn't make the cut?

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:45 AM

January 23, 2003

Notes from the Underground A

Notes from the Underground

A few items from a snow day--here in NC, that means about 3 inches. Whee! Day off!

1. Watching Kate Michelman's (sic) speech, I was struck by the similarity of her language to that of the accepted misogyny of the Middle Ages, wherein a woman's value was basically reduced to the produce of her uterus. More on this later, but I think I've finally figured out the main reason I can no longer stomach the feminism being fed to intelligent, liberated, thinking young women by the emaciated vipers in charge. Yes, I do have cabin fever. Why do you ask?


3. Is it wrong to derive pleasure from watching your son stagger around in the snow like that little kid from A Christmas Story? I mean, it was so cute, how his little arms wouldn't go all the way down. Hee! I am so going to hell, I'm sure.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 06:52 PM

January 22, 2003

(bad) Poetry Corner In response

(bad) Poetry Corner

In response to Andrea's call to mock the latest excrescence by Harold Pinter, I give you my take:
(Read the link to get the original; I'll not be sullying my sacred blogspace with the spewings of a doofus.)

Here he goes again,
The Crank with his mindless dreck
Spewing his knee-jerk crap
Getting published across the big world
Shilling for Stalinists.
The readers are all filled with dread
The ones who ask how this gets published
The others refusing to read
The ones who think he's lost his mind
The ones who wish that he'd drop dead

The Pinter writes words which suck
Your metaphors make no sense
Your metaphors self-contradict
Your metaphors--well, they're not
Your talent's gone out and your brain
Spits out non-words like "pong"
And all the blogs are alive
With the smell of a has-been's career.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:33 AM

If I Were a Cynical

If I Were a Cynical Person

I'd call this a most telling Freudian slip:

The Council on the Status of Women at N.C. State is hosting the 22nd annual Sisterhood Dinner featuring Crystal Kuykendall. The theme of this year's dinner is "Women Standing Strong in the Face of Diversity."

Yes, sisters, we are strong. Even in the face of such a terrible foe as diversity. The theme comes from the title of the featured speaker's speech. I'm thinking I'll give this one a miss if she can't even figure out that titling a pro-diversity speech "Women Standing Strong in the Face of Diversity" has connotations that contradict her point.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:29 AM | Comments (0)

January 21, 2003

Cruelest. Show. Ever. Is What

Cruelest. Show. Ever.

Is What Not to Wear on TLC. In the tradition of Trading Spaces, it's another Americanized version of a brit hit, but unlike Trading Spaces, it's essentially just a mean-spirited little bitchfest.

The premise is that a "fashion-challenged" person's friends get together and call the WNtW folks. Then, they secretly videotape the walking disaster going about her daily life. Finally, the WNtW "critics" ambush the woman in a public place and "tell it like it is," then give her money to go buy the "right clothes."

This is pure vicious cattiness dressed up to look like A Makeover Story. The difference is that in A Makeover Story the subject knows beforehand that she'll be at the mercy of stylists and consultants, and is excited about the change. In What Not to Wear, the poor woman is ambushed, insulted, and treated as though she's too stupid to walk and chew gum at the same time. Understandably, the woman gets a little testy--frankly, who wouldn't? She questions whether her friends really are concerned about her, and is therefore obviously resistant to change.

Here's the thing: If you really want to help someone look better, you might suggest a fun spa day and makeover together. If you feel the need to help your friend on national television, A Makeover Story is the way to go. Setting her up to be mocked, unaware, by a woman who looks as if she's been shellacked, her hairstyle and makeup are so hard, and a man who insults her fashion sense--in public, on television--while wearing ill-fitting jeans, 400 year old sneakers, and a Chippendale's-gone-to-seed hairstyle means that you aren't her friend. Particularly if you join in the mockery while making sure you're sporting your best (and only) Chanel suit for the cameras.

It's Junior High, televised. Color me unimpressed.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 07:45 AM | Comments (0)

January 20, 2003

Why I Don't Watch Awards

Why I Don't Watch Awards Shows.
My Eyes! My Ears! My God, Just Make it STOP!

Let me make this as brief as possible--awards shows are utter crap. They're all about the profit and the self-congratulations, and they're popular because hey! Everyone likes a freak show, particularly when the freaks are telegenic. But I'm not gonna pay my dollar anymore to see what's inside the garish canvas tent. Here's why:

Exhibit A: Every emaciated actress who insists on draping her bony ass in cleavage revealing dresses. (Cameron Diaz and Gwyneth Paltrow come to mind from last year's Oscars, if you need a visual reference. I've not been able to get past that photo of Lara Flynn Boyle this year to see if there were more crimes against humanity committed--I'm borrowing my husband's retinas to write this, in fact, as mine are now ash.)

Sweeties, the point of cleavage is HAVING SOME. And without implants, that means you actually have to have a body fat index of greater than -1. Those horrific jutting protuberances on your chests? They aren't actually breasts, they're part of your FREAKING RIBCAGE! Not sexy! Not sexy! Put on a turtleneck or something! Jesus, you could put someone's eye out!

Exhibit B: Tibet. It should be, like freed. Africa--did you know that people there are starving? Well, they are! And we should do something about it! OOOIIIIILLLLLLL! Please. Stop. It. Okay? Show up at protests, carry signs around, do whatever you want about your politics but at least TRY to do it in the proper forum. An awards show is not the proper forum for politics. It's like going to Disneyland and having to take a poli-sci exam to get in--incongruous and wrong. Oh, and about the opinions you're foisting on me? Tell you what--read a book, preferably one without pictures, and get back to me. I'll listen then. No, really. I promise.

Exhibit C: Helllooooo! Two Towers? Fellowship of the Ring? One more in the trilogy? Only the most ambitious film project EVER. Could we maybe acknowledge the fact that it has more going for it than a really great score? No? Okay then, bite me.

Andrea (sorry, no direct link to the post--it's all good stuff over there) had it right when she called celebs dancing monkeys. Bring on the dancing monkeys! And take the talking ones elsewhere--that Planet of the Apes shtick is sooooo dated.

UPDATE (or, the Wages of 12-hour Sudafed): The dancing monkeys should be credited to Rachel Lucas, although Andrea is writing along the same lines. Thanks for the correction, Brad!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 05:22 PM | Comments (0)

January 17, 2003

Laundry Day Seems that today

Laundry Day

Seems that today is laundry day, in that I've spent so much time cruising the blogroll that I can't just focus on one topic. Kinda like ADD for the blog-addicted. So, here's a laundry list o' things that are rant-worthy. Tiny little mini-rants, to get it out of my system and help me ease into a weekend of beta fish buying and movie watching. Anyhoo, here we go:

1. From Critical Mass: the New Age of Puritanism has arrived, shepherded in by none other than dingbat liberal feminists, who, instead of actually taking the responsibility for themselves that they claim is their right, want to use the legislature to protect them from themselves by declaring men some sort of hazardous biological waste. Here's a nice virtual bitchslap for Jennifer Reisch, the Abigail in this modern Crucible.

2. From A Small Victory: Delinking hissy fits in comments. Look, if you hate a blog, LEAVE. DELINK. WHATEVER. But don't delude yourself into thinking that channelling a mid-80s Valley Girl and posting a huffy self-righteous "You are SOOOOO off my read list" is going to have any effect whatsoever on the blogger. Maybe it makes you feel superior, but here's a news flash: It's not about you. Get thee to your own blog and stay there, you narcissistic shit.

3. From Pretty Much Everywhere: War, SUVs, and the vitriol of the stupid. At this point, I think the only way to resolve the whole war debate will be to just have the damn thing and get it over with. Then, we'll be able to better judge war's effectiveness as a part of our foreign policy. Everyone okay with that? Thought so. Moving on...

SUVs. Should stand for Shut Up, Vapidhead! Note to the preachy: you might be better served in the anti-SUV cause if you didn't actually OWN one. Or four. Or whatever--I know math isn't your strong suit, so don't worry about it. Here--have another Zima.

The vitriol of the stupid--see here. Or here. I could go on, but really, why? If we're lucky, their heads will literally explode. Problem solved.

Well! I feel refreshed and ready to take on the weekend.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:30 AM | Comments (0)

January 16, 2003

I Had Such High Hopes

I Had Such High Hopes

For the relaunch of the Oxford American, which once upon a time was my fave magazine. Of course, like everything else I enjoy, it tanked for awhile, but now it's back and we received our first issue this week. I was all excitement--I'd forgotten that I'd sent in my "resubscribe me in the event you get some cash" card, so it was like a happy mailbox surprise. Until, that is, I began to actually READ it.

Let me give you a little history--for a while, hublet and I had a subscription to The New Yorker. We thought, in our misguided youth, that it would be a useful way to keep up with new and interesting literature, film, etc., and that the essays and articles were well worth reading. Over time, though, I realized that the magazine was merely taking up space in my home, that reading it had become a chore, and that the content was predictable, insufferably smug, and not at all thought provoking. Reading The New Yorker was like hanging out with the same tiresome group of upper-crust snobs every night--eventually, all talk turned to how fabulous the club members were, and how idiotic, deluded and beneath contempt the rest of the world was. The stories were all the same--modernist pieces of angst exploration and navel gazing, with the occasional appearance of poorly written magical realism to "shake things up" and prove editorial hipness. The poetry, well, wasn't. And the overweaning attitude accompanying all of this was that if you didn't fall all over yourself raving about the annointed literary hoi polloi, you were a hick, a rube, and frankly, not worth thinking about.

I will admit that perhaps part of the problem was that I was approaching The New Yorker from an outsider's position. It's called The "New Yorker," after all, not "The Literary Magazine That Will Appeal to Southern English Majors Who Favor the Middle Ages and Who Only Visit NY Occasionally and Then Only for a Weekend." But really, that excuse didn't wash. Folks outside of NY read this magazine, not for the "goings on about town" section, but because The New Yorker touted itself as a cultural force. It had become the literary equivalent of the Emperor, and I could no longer escape the fact that it was quite naked (and kinda out of shape, now that I think about it). So, we let our subscription lapse.

Then we stumbled across The Oxford American, sort of a southern version of The New Yorker--fiction, music, essays--which was always a pleasure to read. The yearly Music Issue (with free sampler CD) alone was worth the price of subscription. Wasn't as pretentious, either. We were happy. And then the changes began.

At first, it was just futzing about with the design. The masthead went from folksy, friendly type to hard straight lines and bold faced sans serif type. The interior layout resembled that of Movieline magazine--slick and hip, and if things like legibility were impaired, well, it was a small price to pay for coolness. The content began a subtle swing, as well. I started to notice that most of the featured stories (which always had a flavor of the south that's hard to describe unless you're familiar with southern literature as a whole) were becoming southern fried versions of New Yorker stories, which is to say, they dealt with the south, but with an underlying contempt for the region--you could be a southern writer, but you had to be ironic and postmodern and kind of sheepish about it; I mean, they had slavery here, for chrissakes! The burden of being a good liberal writer in such a tainted atmosphere must have been ponderous, indeed. I wondered if the authors couldn't get published unless they had the good sense to be embarrassed about their southern heritage. Then the magazine went under, and I was strangely relieved.

And now it's back, with a "rant" (even so-titled, how very cutting edge) about the reverse racism of the term "white trash." Convoluted bizarre non-logic aside, I am beyond pissed off about the content. It's exactly the sort of thing a sociologist from NYU visiting Mississippi on a fact-finding mission would publish (after spending all of 5 minutes chatting with a waitress at the Waffle House) as proof that he "knows the region." Southern literature has grappled with issues of race, slavery, and poverty for well over 100 years, and in thought provoking, sometimes offensive ways. We have a handle on our history--we live it, sometimes relive it, every single day in all of its messy violent reality. We have been the battleground for civil rights since the Civil War, and I'm sorry, but the au courant white liberal guilt and southern self-loathing evident in "publishable" modern southern literature isn't gonna further debate, erase the sins of the past, or solve anyone's problems. It's kowtowing to post-modern lit crit sensibilties, plain and simple, and as a southerner, it just pisses me off.

We have a culture and a literary tradition all our own down here, and the fact that it isn't based on "What Would The New Yorker Do" is a POSITIVE. Otherwise, we're just watered down wannabes, which is what I fear the "new, improved" Oxford American may become.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 06:45 AM | Comments (0)

January 15, 2003

Quotable Huh? Where would I

Quotable Huh?

Where would I be without the Chronicle of Higher Ed to amuse me? Well, I'd be bored, for one thing, but my blood pressure would probably be much lower...
On to the fun! Here are this week's examples of scholarly logorrhea (dead tree version only, so quotes will be longish--nature of the beast, I'm afraid):

In the fall issue of Social Text (link is to a review of the journal, not the article itself--sorry for the confusion), leftist perspectives on September 11:

...the works are 'devoted to opening up both the analysis and the interventions, to complicate the terms of good and evil, under the shadow of which we are supposed to think our world and operate within it.'

Of note: the co-writers of this dreck are professors of art/public policy and cultural studies, with nary an english degree between them, apparently. Not that it matters--Stanley Fish is behind this project, and he's never been terribly concerned about things like clarity.

Don't think too hard about how one opens up analysis--to what? Analysis? So we're opening the thing itself to itself--do we then need to open up that analysis to more analysis? That should be illuminating. And good and evil need complicating? Sure, if by "complicating" you mean "turning any existing definition upon its head in order to either make an argument that the folks who died somehow deserved it or to engage in cutesy mental masturbation and demonstrate our intellectual street cred." And we're supposed to "think our world" "under the shadow" of "terms?" Well go right ahead. I prefer to think about the world while I actively engage in living in it. Thus far, my experiments in "thinking my food, clothing and shelter" have been unsuccessful, but your mileage may vary.

Here's the other item that I found befuddling, especially considering its context. In an half-page ad for Luce Irigaray's (Nooooooo! Sudden flashback to theory class, sorry) new tome, The Way of Love (sounds kind of "Xena and Gabrielle do Hinduism again" to me), there's and endorsement for it from Elizabeth Grosz. Here's what it says:

...No other thinker has managed to illuminate the challenge and the mystery that the other, the other of sexual difference, brings to all encounters, and to all knowledges...Irigaray opens up philosophy to the mystery of sexual difference, a mystery inscribed in but covered over in all of Western thought."

This is an ad, and we're supposed to intuit the subject of the book from this glowing (I think) endorsement, which tells us, among other things, that there's sexual difference in the world, and that sexual difference may color thought (maybe--still not terribly clear on the subject of the book. I wonder why that is?). Thanks, but I think I hear Patricia Cornwell calling. I wonder if her sexual differences color her books? Oh, who the hell cares?

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 07:21 AM | Comments (0)

January 13, 2003

This Man Must Be Stopped.

This Man Must Be Stopped. No, Really. Now.

Aside from the fact that John Edward's only actual qualifications for a presidential bid are:
a) He's a southern democrat, and
b) He's telegenic

He's also a dangerous moron. See this article from NC State's student paper, check out the reader comments at the end.

His proposals all sound pleasant, but that happy ringing you hear is the sound of All The Money In The World being spent on education policies that won't work, because as soon as he moves away from the idea that the schools need more money and into the realm of teacher quality and accountability, the NEA will obstruct his ass all over the place. End result? Your cash down the tubes, another generation of ill-educated students inexplicably earning diplomas, and more stories like these (link is to an Acrobat file) from the public school system.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 06:39 AM | Comments (0)

Self-Absorbed, Much? Funny nugget about

Self-Absorbed, Much?

Funny nugget about how Madonna & Co. have banned TV from their home because they want "to avoid seeing any unpleasant news stories about themselves." Yeah, I can see how that 24-hour bash Madonna station can get tiresome. Coupla notes here for the big M:

1. It's not actually all about you.
2. You might avoid bad press if you stopped being Geena Davis to Guy Ritchie's Renny Harlan.

Just a thought.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 05:54 AM | Comments (0)

January 10, 2003

Random "the Hell?" Moment As

Random "the Hell?" Moment

As I was sitting in the Jiffy Lube, reading Patricia Cornwell's latest on Jack the Ripper (because I finished Bruce Campbell's autobiography, am taking a break from Victor Davis Hanson and am not in the mood for Simon Schama just yet), I happened to glance up at the TV in the waiting room as The Price is Right was signing off.

Between the usual vapid game show host exhortations, like "See you next time" or "Thanks for watching," Bob Barker came out with "And remember to get your pets spayed or neutered!" The hell?

I have nothing against the sentiment, but the setting was bizarre...I had no idea that Bob was an animal rights dude, but apparently he's enodwed Harvard Law with half a mil for the study of animal rights. There's even a course offered now--an excerpt of the description follows:

We discuss the sources and characteristics of fundamental rights, why humans are entitled to them, why nonhuman animals have been denied them, whether legal rights should be limited to humans and, if not, what nonhuman animals should be entitled to them under the common law, and to which legal rights they should be entitled. Finally, we examine in detail the arguments for and against the entitlement of chimpanzees and bonobos to the common law rights to bodily integrity and bodily liberty."

I feel like I should have a big earth shattering point here about celebrity, causes, and individual choice, but I find that I am tired, and still a little weirded out. Plus, it's Friday.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 12:09 PM | Comments (0)

January 09, 2003

It's Called Sense. Act Like

It's Called Sense. Act Like You Have Some.

There are 3 certainties in this world: death, taxes, and the fact that there will inevitably be a wreck during the morning commute at Exit #298 that will block the two inside lanes and trap me, sardine-like, in a 45 minute hell-crawl to my exit, exactly one mile farther on.

I will not deny that this particular exit is especially dangerous--it has traffic entering the expressway and trying to accelerate at one end, and traffic decelerating to use the exit ramp portion at the other, and it's really not long enough to serve this function. But here's my beef: if you're using this entrance/exit at about 7:00 a.m. on a weekday, it's because you either a) live downtown and are heading out to work, or b) live in the suburbs and are heading to work downtown. So this exit ramp and its attendant dangers should not be a surprise to you, as travelling to and from work and home is a fairly routine business.

I further realize that this particular ramp should be lengthened/widened/fixed, and that the Department of Highways should "definitely be DOING SOMETHING" about it, but so far nothing has been done, and the ramp doesn't appear inclined to defy the laws of physics and magically fix itself.

So, could everyone just please NOT drive like morons when dealing with this situation? If you're exiting the highway, don't have an impromptu drag race to get in front of the folks trying to get ON the highway, only to discover that you've run out of room and must now slam on breaks and wrench the wheel to the right to make the exit. It's not productive, it's not polite, and it frankly tempts me to acts of road rage unparalleled in recent history. I'll say it once, slowly: To Exit The Highway: Go. Behind. The. Cars. Getting. On. The. Highway. Or. I. WIll. Hunt. You. Down. On. Behalf. Of. Everyone. Sitting. Motionless. On. I-40. As. A. Result. Of. Your. Stupidity.

No really, I will. I mean, what else have I got to do with my time while parked on the beltline?

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:58 AM | Comments (0)

January 08, 2003

Relative, Shmelative I was reading

Relative, Shmelative

I was reading about Michele's travails with the public school system's "zero tolerance" violence policy (which is translated "zero tolerance for the victims of school violence because we'd much rather blame you for being a quiet law-abiding citizen than confront someone who may actually, you know, react in a way that would make us uncomfortable--eek!"), and was getting depressed enough over the state of education in this country when my husband decided to add to my despair.

Hublet has recently changed jobs and become a high school english teacher. I am pleased to report that he made it through his first semester relatively unscathed, and that 14-18 year olds relate well to him--insert joke about relative maturity levels here; I certainly have. So this semester he's picked up a class of college-level seniors, and he's all excited about being able to teach British Lit., wandering the house pulling books off of shelves and muttering about how there's just not enough time. I heart my little lit-geek hublet, I do.

However, his excitement was somewhat dimmed when he picked up the "standard text" for literature as approved by the edu-honchos and noticed, next to an essay by Milton, a piece by Anna Quindlen. Now, here's the thing--content, politics, or anything else aside here, Anna Quindlen's name should NEVER appear next to Milton's, not because I'm trying to say she's a no-talent hack with a series of bizarre axes to grind, but because they are apples and oranges. However, in the relativist world of pc-mandated education, the fact that both writers produced essays within their lifetimes makes them equivalent.

Where do I even start with this? There's SO MUCH WRONG with a worldview that completely erases the great gulf of complex differences between the author of Paradise Lost and the author of Thinking Out Loud that I shouldn't even need to write about it. But apparently these differences are lost on the folks RESPONSIBLE for EDUCATING the YOUTH OF AMERICA. Who cares about any of that esoteric culture and history stuff? They both wrote, and this way, women writers can't complain about getting short shrift.

Would someone please explain that the reason women and minorities are underrepresented in the Western Canon is because they weren't taught to read and write on a regular basis until about 100 years ago? Why must we overlook the realities of history, which would incidentally give students a much larger appreciation of writers like Jane Austen and Frederick Douglass, in order to make everyone "feel good about themselves?"

Instead, students are spoon fed crap like The Country of the Pointed Firs alongside Sister Carrie, and told, when they notice the great gulf in quality, that these pieces of literature are merely "different, not better or worse than one another." Students don't buy this lie on an instinctual level, but because of the need by educators to help human nature overcome itself by simply erasing inconvenient facts like "for the most part, men produced better literature than women in the 19th century, and here's why," they are not given the critical vocabulary that would help them articulate their feelings. So they feel cheated and lied to, and become cynical A-seekers, divorced from the joy of literature.

When we read, we want a story that speaks to us on many levels. You may have to struggle with Shakesperean language, but once you do, the rewards are innumerable. No one sits down to read a novel on the basis of the race or gender of the novelist--well, except for the folks at the Department of Public Instruction. And that, friends, is the problem. Milton wept.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:28 AM | Comments (0)

January 07, 2003

Head/Posterior Separation Proving either that

Head/Posterior Separation

Proving either that it is possible for college administrators to see the idiocy of blanket pc policymaking, or that fear of negative publicity can force morons to act properly (your call, dear reader), here's an update on the UNC-Chapel Hill case from FIRE--for the original story, just scroll down. I'm not even gonna try with the whole Blogger direct link thingy. From FIRE:

Victory for Religious Liberty at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

CHAPEL HILL, NC -- The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (UNC) has reversed its threatened withdrawal of recognition and benefits from a student group, the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF). IVCF had been ordered not to use its religious beliefs as criteria for the selection of its own leaders. On December 30, 2002, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) drew widespread public attention to UNC’s denial of constitutionally protected religious liberty. On December 31, 2002, UNC Chancellor James Moeser announced that IVCF would not be punished for organizing around its beliefs.

"We are pleased with UNC’s decision, which bodes well for the constitutional and moral rights of UNC’s students," said Alan Charles Kors, president of FIRE. "The swiftness of this victory emphasizes the profound truth of what Justice Louis Brandeis observed so well: ‘Sunlight is the best disinfectant.’"

On December 10, 2002, Jonathan E. Curtis, assistant director for student activities and organizations at UNC, wrote to IVCF, stating that UNC objected to a provision in the IVCF constitution "that Officers must subscribe in writing and without reservation to ... Christian doctrine." Curtis told IVCF to "modify the wording of your charter or I will have no choice but to revoke your University recognition."

FIRE wrote to Chancellor Moeser, explaining why UNC’s threat was injurious to authentic liberty: "To insist that a religious student organization not discriminate on issues of faith and on matters of voluntary association that flow from its practice of its faith -- to insist, in short, that a Christian organization not be Christian -- not only deprives the individual members of that organization of their rights under the free exercise clause of the First Amendment, but also imposes upon them an ideology alien to their conscience, in violation of the First Amendment. [IVCF] has as much right to freedom of expression as the conveners of the discussions of the Koran at UNC-Chapel Hill had to their First Amendment rights." FIRE also cited Supreme Court decisions that explicitly prohibit institutions and agents of the state -- such as public universities -- from forcing a group to admit an unwanted person or from requiring that a group express allegiance to a particular orthodoxy.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:30 AM | Comments (0)

January 06, 2003

Nuggets O' Wisdom--Or, Why I'm

Nuggets O' Wisdom--Or, Why I'm Just Not Interested in Sociology

From the sociologist Richard Sennet (in the Chronicle):

  • The job of the state is to make sure that everyone has enough to eat, can get medical care when they need it, can get to work without risk.
  • Bet Adams, Jefferson, et al would be surprised!
  • Climbing the greasy pole of success should be left to individuals.
  • Okay, that's just eewwwww. Thanks for the image, dude. Plus, it's not even a good or accurate metaphor.
  • The most difficult kind of inequality for people to bridge is differences in ability.
  • Really? Never would have guessed.

There's more, you can read it yourself if you're so inclined. But basically it boils down to fuzzy recycled Marxism, disdain for capiltalism, ignorance of basic human nature, and statements of the blatantly obvious delivered as though they were divine revelations (see last item on list above for example). There's a reason why all the folks interested in an easy A gravitate toward Sociology, and it ain't the cool decoder rings you get when you join up.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:05 PM | Comments (0)

January 02, 2003

Carolina on My Mind Brought

Carolina on My Mind

Brought on in part by this post from Tony Woodlief, in which he threatens to bring the pain if students at the University of South Carolina don't stop trying to impersonate the REAL Carolina (that would be UNC-Chapel Hill to those of you from elsewhere), I must also point out that there are those of us IN North Carolina who are more than a little annoyed by the fact that every sports broadcaster on the planet seems to think that they can call ANY NC university "Carolina." See, no.

As someone who attended and works at NC State, let me just inform those of you out there who are or want to be sports broadcasters that if you refer to NC State as "North Carolina" or "Carolina," you will be set upon by a horde of red-clad alums who want to smack you around. And I can't say I blame them. For some bizarre reason, folks outside this state think that "Carolina" can be used interchangably for both UNC-CH and NCSU. It can't, and it's laziness, pure and simple. It's not like these universities have never been heard of for their athletic programs--are you familiar with basketball and football? Well okay, then. You should be aware that Chapel Hill doesn't switch uniforms from light blue to red for road games, so USE THE CORRECT NAMES when you call the games they play in. They're even printed on the helmets and jerseys, just to help you out.

This doesn't happen to Penn State and U Penn, or to any of the numerous California universities and teams, so what's the problem? We're being mocked and oppressed by the evil ESPN, that's what it is, and quite frankly, I'm not in the mood to take a dissing from a group of "commentators" whose idea of pithy play calling involves the constant, cutesy overuse of self-consciously "street" terminology. (Note to everyone everywhere--a stadium is not a house, nor is a ball a rock or a brick. If you want to spice up the lingo, you may want to try a Thesaurus.)

FYI, the team that crushed Notre Dame yesterday was NC State. That's EN, SEE, ESS YOU for the phonetically challenged, or just plain "State" if you're around here. You might want to have it tattooed somewhere, as NCSU will not be going away any time soon.

And as for you, South Carolina--don't even try. Because if you further confuse this issue, I will hurt you. A lot.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:14 AM | Comments (0)

December 30, 2002

Something to Chew On This

Something to Chew On

This stuff is happening in my backyard--did I mention my backyard was the bible belt? Double standard, much?

From FIRE:

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ and CHAPEL HILL, NC -- The InterVarsity Multi-Ethnic Christian Fellowship (IVMECF), a Christian group at Rutgers University, has been banned from using campus facilities and stripped of university funding because it selected its leadership on the basis of religious belief. In an identical situation, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (UNC) has threatened similar punishment for the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF) -- as well as for other Christian organizations at UNC -- because it also used religion as a criterion in the selection of its leadership. Both groups open their membership to all faiths and individuals, but they reserve the right to select leadership on the basis of agreement with their religion mission.

Double Standard against Christians at UNC-Chapel Hill

On December 10, 2002, Jonathan E. Curtis, Assistant Director for Student Activities and Organizations at UNC, wrote to the IVCF student leader stating that UNC had reviewed the group’s constitution and objected to a provision "that Officers must subscribe in writing and without reservation to ... Christian doctrine." Curtis then instructed her to "modify the wording of your charter or I will have no choice but to revoke your University recognition." The student was told that her group must comply by January 31, 2003. Curtis issued a similar edict to at least two other Christian organizations at UNC. "In short," Kors noted, "it is prohibited at this public university for a Christian organization to be Christian."

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 07:28 PM | Comments (1)

Sorry for the Light Posting

Sorry for the Light Posting

But reality has been hitting pretty hard this week, and I'm off to the funeral of a friend's father tomorrow--the second friend to lose a family member in as many weeks.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 07:02 PM | Comments (0)

December 27, 2002

If Hell has a Soundtrack

If Hell has a Soundtrack

It's provided by the Fisher Price Little People. I hate the Little People with the fiery hate of a million suns, primarily because the "children" singing the parts of the "little people" are not, in fact, children. So when they finish chanting their satanic Teddy Bears' Picnic "song," they "break into spontaneously joyful childish hysterics." There is nothing more cloying or grating than adults acting out a script of childhood. It is evil, and those damn people at Fisher Price should know better. Particularly since I must now be trapped in a confined area moving at speeds of over 70 m.p.h. while this crap plays, because the boy screams his head off if I change the music. Let's see....screaming, gasping toddler, or Little People on tape? It's a poser, kind of like choosing between ramming bamboo shoots under your fingernails and lighting them or having a sadistic Nazi dentist drill holes through your teeth.

And let's not even talk about the Little People videos, featuring the badly done claymation figures with freakishly large hands and really, I'm not going to talk about it. The nightmares have only just subsided to manageable levels. Ick. Thanks so much, in-laws, for gifting my impressionable child with the tools of the underworld. My only consolation? At least it wasn't Raffi.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 05:56 PM | Comments (0)

December 25, 2002

Okay, Umm, Back to Blogging,

Okay, Umm, Back to Blogging, and a Political Note (as well as a very unwieldly post title)

So that whole Christmas thing is over, and I must say it went well. Family came Christmas eve, we did the 4:00 church service (the family service, which consists of scripture readings, carols and communion held over the caterwauling of about a million children, mine included--I think there may be some goldfish crackers still lodged in the pew cushions, so "sorry about the mess, God!"), ate, put child to bed, and assembled necessary toys in time for me to relax with not one, but two big ol' mugs of Irish coffee. Yum.

Today went very smoothly, all things considered. The boy is old enough to know that presents are cool; the downside is he thinks they're ALL for him. So now the family is gone, I've digested most of the enormous Christmas meal I ate, the boy is abed, and I am free to catch up on the bloggage. Ridiculous how cut off I feel when I miss a day or so of blogroll reading. It's not like I'm living in a cave somewhere.

But I digress. The alleged point of this post was to be this:

Note to the Democratic Party--If you lose my dad it's all over for you, and you're damn close to losing my dad, you morons.

See, my dad is what you would call a Yellow Dog Democrat: a traditional southern liberal who associates republicans with rapacious big business and screwing over the little guy--namely, dad. I used to be just like him until after Clinton's first term, when I found myself becoming increasingly disgusted with the faux intellectual and moral superiority of the party, even in the face of proof of what a weasel their leader was. I ended up switching to Independent. But enough about me...

My dad has staunchly defended the democrats to me for the past few years, maintaining that their way was the only way to keep big business from destroying the earth (this is a way simplified version of his arguments, btw--dad's no dummy), because money=corruption=republicans, yadda, yadda. But lately he's slacked off supporting them, and I think he's well on his way to disillusionment. Know why? Because although my dad is still no fan of big business, he thinks the democrats have their heads in the sand about this whole war thing, and when he asks himself why, he's forced to admit that the PC lobby has hijacked the dems to the extent that they couldn't make a tough decision if they had to, for fear of pissing someone off.

You wanna make my dad REALLY angry? Cater to small shrill groups that can't seem to see the real problems the world is facing because they're obscured by the fact that a golf club is men-only. Make excuses for the deliberate, premeditated murder of innocents under the guise of "cultural differences." Sling the label "racist" around to tar anyone who votes differently from you, until the label really ceases to mean anything. And continue to preach about how our broken educational system needs more money and beaurocracy to fix it, when it should be obvious by now that those are non-solutions. Congratulations, Democrats! You're batting 1,000!

There are lots of folks like my dad out there--and the democratic party has always taken their support for granted. But if you kick a yellow dog enough, it'll bite you on the ass. Keep kicking, democrats. It seems to be working sooooo well for you.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 05:54 PM | Comments (0)

December 20, 2002

Oh Faramir, What Have They

Oh Faramir, What Have They Done to You?

Finally saw The Two Towers with hublet today, and enjoyed it very much for the most part, changes and all. I'm not a total book purist when it comes to Tolkein, and I think the changes Jackson's made in the story are defensible, except for this one--WHY did they tamper with Faramir's character? In the books, Faramir brings Sam and Frodo to Ithilien, realizes what Frodo carries, and then just lets them go. There's no weird detour to Gondor, Faramir's actions show him to be Boromir's foil so that you get more understanding of both characters, and most importantly, Faramir demonstrates that he should be the rightful heir of Gondor, because he is able to resist the ring like Aragorn.

Yes, the movie Faramir comes around in the end and does the right thing, but the change in the WAY in which he does so seems to weaken the character. And I can't figure out why they would make that change--it's not necessary to demonstrate that men are weak, and we'll be seeing Minas Tirith in Gondor a lot in the next film, so I'm just left scratching my head at the whole thing. Weirdness. Guess I'd better re-read the book before my second viewing. Yes, I am that geeky. And on the plus side, I love what they did with Gollum.

Off a-travellin' this weekend, so probably no posts 'till Sunday or Monday.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 07:08 PM | Comments (0)

December 09, 2002

One of Those Days Okay,

One of Those Days

Okay, so the slightly ill toddler has evolved into pneumonia-tending toddler. We called in the cavalry (my mom) to keep him at home so that I could make an appearance at that place I call work (hublet has no leave accrued) before I forgot what it looked like. Who knew that this would cause a cascade effect of trauma? Here's what happened:

No sleep for me or toddler due to phlegm (the toddler's, not mine, though he has been kind enough to cough in my face, use my chest as a kleenex, and stick his fingers in my mouth and nose, so I should be joining him in phlegmville soon).

In a rush to get to an early doctor's appointment, I forget to relocate the full-ish trashcan to the top of the counter--this will be important later.

At the doctor--trauma, trauma, trauma. Who knew that stethoscopes are the things that must haunt my son's nightmares?

Mother loses car keys at doctor's office. Frantic search ensues, while toddler (who is engulfed, Christmas-Story like, in his new bright yellow puffy coat) wails in the aftermath of the stethoscope.

We find car keys--I transfer car seat and toddler to mother's car, stuff puffy coated toddler into car seat, give mom presciption to fill, and head for work (with brief detour to Starbucks).

Arrive at work. Since it's exam time, there is no parking. Park in metered spaces and enter office, muttering about having to pay for parking when I already have to pay for parking in the form of a parking permit, dammit.

Find two messages from mother on phone. Seems she has no house key. I am instructed to call her on her cell phone and tell her how to get to my office to retrieve said key.

Mother's cell phone number is conveniently located at my home, and mother did not leave the number on the messages.

Call dad, give him 15 seconds to get me mom's cell number.

Call mom, explain patiently that while I have indeed called her on the cell before, it was from my home, where the number is posted on the fridge. Give her directions.

Meet mom and sad toddler in parking lot, give her instructions for disarming home security system and house key.

Go inside--deal with purchasing department, IS department, and a host of idiots.

Notice message light. Mom again--apparently CVS has no record of my son.

Call CVS--politely point out that they must, since they JUST FILLED A PRESCRIPTION FOR HIM BEFORE THANKSGIVING. Ask if I can fax copy of insurance card. Nope, fax machine broken. Ask if I can give numbers over the phone. Am informed that they need to see the card because there is information on the card that they'll see that I may not. Politely tell them that since english is my first language, I can probably locate this mysterious information unless it was written in DISAPPEARING FREAKING INK. Give them information, transaction is processed accordingly.

Drive to daycare, pay for a month that I will probably not even use, fill them in on toddler's health situation. Get lunch, return to office.

Call home. Apparently mom dropped and lost the housekey outside, and so had a frantic ten minute search while sad, tired, hungry, puffy coated toddler wailed, then found key and opened door to discover that the evil weiner beagle had upended the trash and flung it everywhere. Mom tossed weiner beagle outside--sensing that mom's a little tense, I inform her that it's fine, the dog's lived a good nine years, so whatever.

Talk to much happier toddler on phone.

Hang up, eat lunch, breathe sigh of relief.

Contemplate drinking beer at work.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:08 AM | Comments (0)

December 06, 2002

Plug, Plug, Pluggity Plug For

Plug, Plug, Pluggity Plug

For FIRE, which is linked above. If you think campuses are hotbeds of political protest, you may want to think again. Read this press release about the rewriting of some "free speech codes"--isn't having a code for free speech an oxymoron?--or lack thereof on college campuses, and you'll discover that in some cases, all those anti-establishment types from the sixties decided to enact their own establishments when they got old enough to be in charge.
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 04:59 PM | Comments (0)

Ahhh, the 21st Century. I

Ahhh, the 21st Century.

I live right outside of Raleigh, NC, and like everyone else in the area, we lost power due to the big ice storm on Wednesday. Fortunately, light and heat came back on last night at 11:00 p.m., just as I was weighing the odds of our perishing by Carbon Monoxide poisoning if we left the gas logs on all night. I can watch the news! I can read blogs! I can stay home with a slightly ill toddler because the Day Care has no electricity and is completely blocked in by fallen trees! Wooo!

I'm convinced that toddler is probably suffering the after-effects of the smelly candle light sources we had to resort to last evening. Bleh. Had to air the place out this morning, although in retrospect all those damn Party Lights candle parties I attended finally came in handy.

Will hopefully be back to blogging more interesting items soon.

Raleigh is still in some bad straits, though. I hope they get the lines back up by tomorrow.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:48 AM | Comments (0)

December 03, 2002

Oooooh! Shiny! I've just gotta

Oooooh! Shiny!

I've just gotta get this off my chest: I HEART Target. Why? Mainly because it's shiny. Rows upon rows of glorious consumer items, all arranged tastefully for your perusal. Bright lighting that reflects off of the polished shiny floor tiling, big bright signs adorned with smiling faces and colorful critters, and the aromatic scent of popcorn (unlike our local Wal-Mart or K-Mart, which always smell dishearteningly like fertilizer. I've gotta have a favorable nasal impression of a store, or I can't go there.). I can't even be ironic or sarcastic about this, except to say that Target's marketing department knows my demographic, and that I feel more than a little like a crow or a raven when I'm there, seduced and distracted by the shiny.

This time of year I find the siren song of the big red circle impossible to resist, because Target ratchets the shiny up about a million notches with the addition of: the Christmas section! Woo-hoo! The big corral of fake trees, all sparkly with their lights, whole kiosks devoted to baubles and doo-dads to clutter up the home, elegant gift bags, ribbons and matching tags and wrapping paper, for that coordinated under the tree look, and all conveniently located right next to the toy and electronics aisles. Wheee! I stand amongst the surfeit of shiny, inhaling the scent of popcorn and fantasizing about how this Christmas my home will be beautifully appointed, and the husband and I will smile and joke over our mulled wine whilst I effortlessly produce hand decorated gingerbread men for my darling rosy-cheeked toddler. The fantasy even includes my festive holiday apron--the one with the Shakespeare quote in gold (which I have never yet remembered to wear while making Christmas cookies).

Needless to say, my reality is somewhat different. The house is currently in that half-decorated, mostly filthy state, and I've given up trying to get EVERY SINGLE SURFACE disinfected for the guests before decorating--the rosy-cheeked toddler spends his time pulling stuff down, breaking other stuff, and crying when his father tries to stop/distract/remove him. Dinner is eaten in shifts because we cannot currently locate the kitchen table under the gifts that need wrapping and the cards that need mailing and the day's mail and paper and various other items we are trying to keep away from the small destructive one. The Great Shiny Shrubbery Project is in disarray because we only have about 15 minutes of daylight to work in when we get home and I discovered yesterday that a) I've hooked up the plugs backward and must now undo and redo them all and b) you can only run 4 shrubs per plug or the fuse blows. I'm tired and grumpy--and oh yeah, poor--and the only one really enjoying himself right now is the toddler.

Still, I see the light at the end of the tunnel. We've got lots of fun stuff planned, we've cut the travelling to the bare minimum to make it easier on ourselves, and if I can just get through this week, maybe the fantasy of mulled wine and gingerbread can be a reality. And in the meantime, there's always Target.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:18 AM | Comments (0)

December 02, 2002

Apparently, Too Much Turkey Causes

Apparently, Too Much Turkey Causes Hallucinations

I can think of no other explanation for this student's editorial. A couple of excerpts:

After recently seeing the documentary "Bowling for Columbine" by Michael Moore, I realize that the whole idea of "Happy Holidays" is a farce. I could probably stop here. But where's the fun in that? I did manage to restrain myself from putting sarcasm quotes around the word "documentary"--oops! Damn. Never mind.

I have a few reasons to believe this is true. As Moore brought out in his film, America is a nation consumed by fear. We are a nation consumed by money and guns as well. Aaaaah! I am afraid of everything, even money! I must therefore run out and buy a gun, to rid myself of the money! Which I fear! Did I mention that I am afraid? Maybe I shouldn't go out at all! Aaaahhh! Add these three together and it is seemingly impossible, even for a few weeks a year, for the country as a whole to be in good spirits, get along and spread the holiday cheer. And yet, somehow, we manage to perservere. Could it be because we, the sad, frightened masses, understand that Michael Moore is a paranoid egomaniac who wouldn't know a fact if it bit him on his ample ass? I'm just sayin'.

I am thankful for the country I live in, I appreciate the freedoms afforded to me and my family, and I am proud to say I am an American. However, it has become startlingly clear that our nation is in trouble. You may say that you do not live in fear, but you probably don't even know that you do. Do you lock your doors at night? Were you afraid to go to school during the school shootings? Did you worry a little about getting on a plane Sept. 13, 14 or 15 of 2001? Then you live in fear. Are you realistic enough to understand that there are people in the world who kinda suck and who have no problem taking your stuff or killing you? Then you're NORMAL. Being sensible about the real world is not the equivalent of quaking under the bed in fear. Of course, I can't be right, because according to Little Miss Brain Trust, I don't even know that I'm afraid. This fact would sort of negate the need for her essay because I cannot understand what living in fear is, but let's not quibble over details like facts. Lord knows she isn't.

Insert lots more "factual info" gleaned from that liberal Yoda, Michael Moore, add a dash of ignorant generalizing, and voila! You have the remainder of this essay. But in the holiday spirit, let me leave you with the writer's suggeston for facing fear:

I challenge the students and faculty on this campus, and the neighboring businesses, to take a minute to share the holiday cheer. Forget about the sensationalized crime on TV. Don't think about the fact that the kid down the street or two cities over could be thinking about taking a gun to school. Give him a Christmas card anyway. What I have begun to realize is that the more we ignore and avoid the problem, the worse it gets. Which begs the question--what exactly is refusing to think about a potential problem (like the kid down the street and his gun fetish) except avoidance? Pesky, spiteful logic! Fie on thee!

Maybe she's right, and I am afraid. Of her.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:17 AM | Comments (0)

November 26, 2002

Fantastic Voyage Well, we're off

Fantastic Voyage

Well, we're off for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend/Toddler Trek from Hell. The good news? Raffi makes my son cry, so we won't have to listen to that crap. The bad news? He recently discovered his "special purpose," so there's gonna be all sorts of opportunities for public embarassment. So to everyone who happens by--Happy Thanksgiving! And if you don't celebrate it where you live, well, go out and have one helluva Thursday. I may be posting, but it probably won't be much.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:50 AM | Comments (0)

Read This. Now. No, really.

Read This. Now.

No, really. From Critical Mass, perhaps one of the most articulate student expressions of what's wrong with higher education that I've read in a while. It's also helped me to clarify some of my thoughts about why I didn't stick it out in academia...

Like the letter writer, I went to college and grad school with the idea that I would become a professor, an expert in my chosen field. But the longer I stayed in school, the more aware I became of gaps in my knowledge. It is difficult to be a medievalist without a really good background in the classics, and I was sorely lacking--not because I wasn't a good student, but because the classics courses I took focused on anthropology, not content, course descriptions to the contrary. And like any TA, I didn't have the time to fill in the gaps on my own while keeping up with my other courses and that part time job I had to have because the "living stipend" for TAs was a joke (and didn't include tuition). I was frustrated by my own ignorance, and increasingly cynical about my ability to churn out A level work with a minimum of thought, by simply performing what we referred to as "english algebra"--take text A, plug in theory B, get 4.0. My Master's Degree is a testament to my street smarts--my ability to intuit the professor's biases and play to them--not my intellect.

The overt politicization of EVERYTHING, the competing schools of theory which are the intellectual equivalent of mental masturbation, the disdain of the "theory-heads" for the traditionalists, the balkanization of literature into tiny little cubby-holes dominated by special interests, and the inability of the freshmen I was teaching to even recognize a thesis statement--it all convinced me that a college education had become degraded to the point where a degree was roughly equivalent to a high school diploma from the 1950s. I got mad as hell, but decided to stick it out for the piece of paper, which I got. Pardon me while I celebrate. whoo.

Students go to college to learn, not to be indoctrinated. They shouldn't have to create their own supplemental outside reading lists in order to benefit from education--they have neither the time nor the information/experience necessary to do it. What, exactly, are we paying for when we send kids to college?

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 06:02 AM | Comments (0)

November 25, 2002

Thanks for Pointing That Out.

Thanks for Pointing That Out.

Dumbest thing I've read all week, from (where else?) The Chronicle of Higher Education (Chronicle Review Supplement, dead tree only).

In a story about bringing feminism to Valdosta State University in deepest darkest Georgia, the author describes a "speakout" held on campus with Kate Millett, feminist of doom. I'm skipping over all the hand-wringing that normally occurs in these articles about:

  1. The obstinate backwardness of the South

  2. The obstinate backwardness of Christians

  3. The obstinate backwardness of any person, place or thing that does not immediately fall to its knees screaming, "At long last I am delivered from ignorance into the warm, life-giving light of feminism!" when confronted with a women's studies program, because the condescending attitude that accompanies such remarks makes my head spin. So we're heading straight to the money paragraph:
  4. "Kate Millett participated in such a speakout with our students, at which they described their concerns about domestic violence and family values, hypocrisy in their religious communities, sexual harassment in the workplace, low pay and other issues. As we were driving back to her hotel, she said in that distinctive gravelly voice: 'Wow, there is a lot of reality here--what are you going to do about it?' Kate, everything we can."

    I am assuming that Ms. Millett is contrasting her experience in Valdosta with the one she had with Salvador Dali, where she experienced a lot of surreality, or perhaps she is comparing the experience to her daily life, which must be spent in some alternate reality where that remark passes for thoughtful reflection. I am further supposing that the author of the piece, in vowing to "do something" about all this reality, is going to try and align Valdosta State U with Ms. Millett's view of the universe, and will thus drag the entire town into la-la land. Well, thank God that they were there to identify and correct the reality problem.

    Interesting sidebar: see how the author ties domestic violence and family values together by grouping them within the same clause and tying them together with "and," instead of just putting down a laundry list of issues. Notice also the order in which the issues are grouped--I don't know if it's deliberate, or just a nice window into the writer's own priorities and motives. Ahh, feminism.

    Posted by Big Arm Woman at 07:06 AM | Comments (0)

November 18, 2002

If Only I Were In

If Only I Were In Charge

Bumper stickers would be banned. I do not care who you voted for. I do not care what radio station you listen to, what bands you like, or what sci-fi convention you attended to get that dumbassed "do not meddle in the affairs of dragons" bumpersticker. You are merely a ship (or in this case, a car) passing me in the night. And no offense, but I really cannot be bothered to give a rat's ass about you or your life. So stop trying to suck me into your head via tiny rectangular soundbites of stupidity, particularly when said soundbites make my head explode and I have no recourse for my rage.

This morning I was stuck in traffic behind a 40 year old Toyota that seemed intent on violating every emissions standard EVER. Pasted to the back of this charming vehicle was a red bumper sticker with a heart motif and white writing which read, "Better a bleeding heart than none at all." Because I have a toddler in my car during morning drive time, I was unable to reply appropriately. However, my toddler can't read--and come to think of it, I have my doubts about the owner of the aforementioned maxim, but since this is about making me feel better, I shall vent anyway:

Listen to me, you tin-headed little shit. You are not my moral superior because you ooze emotion over every single example of unfairness on the planet. In fact, you are the opposite, because you obviously lack the judgement necessary to make the tough decisions which will result in material aid to the disadvantaged. I'm sure it makes you feel fabulous to wail, moan and gnash your teeth about environmental injustice while you drive the Pollution-mobile, but I don't see your ass biking to work every morning to spare us your greenhouse gases--the very ones that are now filling my vehicle. The fact that you have bought into the idea that empathy is an either/or enterprise doesn't fill me with optimism about your reasoning skills, either. Either a bleeding heart or none at all, eh? Ummm, no, you freaking moron. The application of logic to emotionally charged issues isn't easy, but it is necessary, and a little more effective than that glib slogan on sticky paper that appears to be holding your vehicle together. You suck.

And don't even start with the free speech crap. It's not free speech, it's guerilla speech. You feel perfectly safe in putting any ill-considered idea on the back of your car, secure in the knowledge that you will never be taken to task for your ideas while simultaneously inflicting them on a helpless audience. I cannot pass you in a traffic jam. I cannot change the channel on your bumper. My only escape from your stupidity is by staring into the sun, which isn't even up yet. You do not have the right to force me to listen to you, and yet you are.

Perhaps if you were required to put your phone number on all the bumper stickers you display, you would think twice about broadcasting your idiocies to the world.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:01 AM | Comments (0)

November 15, 2002

Disturbed, yes. Surprised? No. Well,

Disturbed, yes. Surprised? No.

Well, looks like Duke is reorganizing its english major requirements. The entire department has been in a state of disarray for several years now--the defunct journal Lingua Franca published a scathing report a few years back on what Stanley Fish did to the department during his tenure as head which I'm gonna have to go locate again someday--so this editorial in The Chronicle is a nice surprise. Well, except for the actual requirements:

The English major has been sorely in need of reorganization and additional focus. Currently, the requirements are somewhat haphazard and do not provide students with sufficient guidance about what courses or types of courses to take. And the general idea of the English department to add coherency through clusters of three consecutive courses, each building off the one before, is a strong model around which to base a meaningful educational experience.

The English department should think very carefully about what types of clusters it offers. Currently, the proposed clusters--which include the history of the book, creative writing, theory of the novel, gender and sexuality, the science of literature and psychoanalysis and literature--seem somewhat tangentially related to the study of English literature per se. Perhaps the English department should consider clustering studies around time periods, nationalities, or genres of literature rather than on these more esoteric subjects.

Here we reap the rewards of multi-culti equivalence--don't want to appear ethno or gender-centric, so we can't possibly organize the large clusters around time periods dominated by white men! No one else will be represented! Never mind that confronting the realities of the past might be instructive in itself--we must reconstruct reality to fit our utopian vision, or to point out the eeeeevil that is the DWEM (dead white euro male). Bleh. It would be amusing if it weren't so damn stupid.

Call me old fashioned, but when I was an undergraduate whippersnapper, we had to take the large survey courses before we could even THINK about going in-depth. And then, in-depth really only concerned a particluar time period and country. I guess the philosophy of the time was that you needed a broad overview of literature before you could specialize--and at any rate, specialization was best left for the post-graduate career. Nowadays, you can just jump right in to any tiny marginalized aspect of literature with no idea about the larger themes, movements, literary works and historical events that surrounded or inspired it. The professor of the class bears the burden of providing all relevant background, instead of being able to count on a pool of students with at least rudimentary knowledge concerning the literature's situation in culture and history. And I don't know about you, but I can see a correlation between the idea of studying only the tiny bits of the picture that conform to a student's narrow interests and narrow-minded, myopic college graduates with little understanding and less tolerance. I'll leave you with this paragraph:

In this vein, one disappointing aspect of the new English curriculum is its de-emphasis on some of the central figures of English literature--Shakespeare, Chaucer and Milton. Currently, English majors must take at least one class on one of these authors. However, under the new system, one can major in English without having read anything by any of them. In order to ensure that English majors receive a complete education in the Western tradition, perhaps the English department should institute requirements stressing the importance of these authors.

Ya think? Naaaah, don't wanna hurt anybody's widdle feewings by stressing one author over another. Don't you know that Shakespeare and Amiri Baraka are both just poets? They're equal! It's all just a matter of taste anyway! Freedom of expression is what counts! Don't oppress me with your Elizabethan hegemony! Blah, blah, blah, sigh.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:31 AM | Comments (0)

November 13, 2002

Hearts and Flowers and Other

Hearts and Flowers and Other Stupid Crap

Inspired by this post from Critical Mass about competition within diversity movements on campus, I thought I'd share with you a conversation between myself and a colleague. This took place after the large Student Affairs beginning of the year program, in which we were told that Diversity (by which they meant specifically racial diversity, and even more specifically black/white relations) was going to be a major focus for the division this year (as opposed to every other year, but whatever).

Me: So, what's up with the big diversity thing this year?

Colleague: Remember that student who went all nuts about racial discrimination last year?

Me: But I thought she was crazy. As in, actually certifiable.

Colleague: Oh, she was. But it's apparently "indicative" of a "disturbing trend." My colleague is good at invoking air quotes via vocal inflection.

Me: Huh. Think we're overreacting much?

Colleague: Tell me about it. I mean, this year's diversity focus was supposed to be on GLBT issues. What do we have to do, threaten someone to get equal time?


Yep, it's all hearts and flowers until someone's pet issue gets the shaft. Can't we all just get along?

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 12:18 PM | Comments (0)

November 12, 2002

Blog, Blog, Blog... No, I

Blog, Blog, Blog...

No, I am not dead, merely medicated. Recently discovered Fact About Myself: As far as my body is concerned, Sudafed is the chemical equivalent of crystal meth. Wooo! I hope to have cleared my brain sufficiently of medication by tomorrow, because today I am too groggy and lightheaded to muster any sarcastic indignation at crap like a 30 person anti-war protest held on VETERAN'S DAY. Note to protesters--it's called decorum, and in civilized nations it takes precedence over that ironic symbolism you're so damn fond of.

Funny sidebar--30 protesters, 20-30 spectators. And get the closeup view of the photo--can anyone tell me what the hell Make It, Buy It, Forgo It means?

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 12:30 PM | Comments (0)

November 08, 2002

Quotes from the Underground In

Quotes from the Underground

In an article about college student presence at the recent Washington anti-war protest, a reporter from the Chronicle for Higher Ed (print version and paid version only--so no link, sorry!) interviewed some of the marchers for their thoughts. Here are some quotes you may find interesting:

Adam B. Harris, a senior from North Central College in Illinois: "'I don't have any hard facts. But I want to get educated about what's going on.'"
Nicholas Krehel, VP of Progressive Student Union at Sussex County Community College in NJ: "...celebrated 'the feeling that we're not alone in our radical--what's portrayed as radical--opinions. It's kind of a self-esteem thing to know that I'm not wasting my time. This is all I live for.'"
Tyler J Mintzer, Quaker Institution, Indiana: "'Personally, I don't think anything we do here is really going to affect whether or not we go to war...I mean, really, what impact can we really have? We're just in the streets being angry and rowdy, but we're not making our case...General Bush-bashing isn't effective.'"
Stephanie A Carrie, NYU: "'I don't support the whole anti-Bush talk. I mean, we're here trying to get him to help us. We're saying 'No More Hate' and 'I Hate Bush.' What the hell is that? I don't support that. We need to be cooperative. Otherwise we could become what we hate.'"

"The fate of the movement remains unclear. After the event, about 300 students from more than 30 colleges convened at a student-sponsored town-hall meeting on the campus of George Washington University."

"The chief goal of the meeting was to create an online discussion group ( to coordinate antiwar action among campuses. Organizers began by asking the crowd, "Would anyone like to say anything about the events today?' Not a single hand went up."

Sorry I have no pithy commentary, aside from the observation that Vietnam-era retread protesting seems not to be filling the purpose here. Which begs the question--should these kids be trusting anyone within the university over 30?

I'm off to take more cold medicine. Arg.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:19 AM | Comments (0)

November 06, 2002

Shut Up, The Truth Dot

Shut Up, The Truth Dot Com

Maybe I'm super-sensitive to this issue because I live in North Carolina, or maybe this is just another example of my increasing frustration with organizations that purport to speak to large issues but that really have a pointless, narrow and narrow-minded agenda, but I'm finding my ass increasingly chapped by the cloying ads from The Truth.

Tobacco is bad for you. Yep, got that. Cigarette companies lied. Yep, but we found that out, and I think they've been quite thoroughly bitchslapped for their actions.

Here's the thing, Truth Dot Com--your message is neither groundbreaking nor innovative. You are not "fighting the power" with the guy in a rat suit writhing around at a subway entrance. You are not edgy because you engage in cheap derivative street theatre to bring the message to the people that smoking is bad. I don't admire your courage for disrupting the corporate environment with news that was old TEN FREAKING YEARS AGO. You are childish and petty and whiny and every bad thing that makes me want to take your candy and push you in front of a bus.

If you want to be edgy, why don't you stop picking on a kneecapped industry and go after one that is unregulated and equally damaging--like, say, a Colombian drug cartel? I would pay good money to see the rat suit guy and all the other placard waving, flyer handing Truth Dot Commers standing outside a South American mansion screaming about the fact that the cocaine entering America is being cut with sugar. It would be a real test of your commitment to the truth to take on an industry that could actually defend itself--with bullets.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 07:08 AM | Comments (0)

November 01, 2002

Too Late for Halloween, but

Too Late for Halloween, but it sure scared me!

Derrida, the movie. You can even watch a clip! QuickTime format.

Oh, dear God.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:51 AM | Comments (0)

Stuff you WON'T See in

Stuff you WON'T See in the Student Newspaper

From State: Four charged in connection with laptop theft
Campus Police apprehended the suspects after investigators traced the stolen property from Jordan Hall to eBay.

Interesting aside that won't be mentioned anywhere--one of the suspects works in the Center for Student Leadership, Ethics, and Public Service.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:02 AM | Comments (0)

October 31, 2002

Well, If It's in the

Well, If It's in the Interest of Good Health...

I'm sure you've all seen this article, linked by Instapundit. Here's my favorite quote:

"Vibrators or personal massagers may have a broader appeal to people who use our massage therapy and physical therapy services for muscle relaxation. [Using a vibrator] can be a part of a holistic health approach," she said.

Bwaahhaaaahaaaa! If laughter is the best medicine, that article just added about 10 years to my life. Thanks, student health!

In a related story, my office received two giant boxes of Durex condoms yesterday. Why? No one knows, or if they do, they're afraid to own up. Winter's coming, kids! Gear up for indoor sports! Good grief.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 12:54 PM | Comments (0)

October 30, 2002

Color Me Surprised--Professors Opposed to

Color Me Surprised--Professors Opposed to Iraq War

From this week's Chronicle of Higher Ed, 13,000 Professors Sign Petition Opposing War With Iraq. You have to subscribe to get to the article online, and they want lots o' cash, so here are a couple of highlights from the print version.

From an interview with David Fox, prof. of geology at U of Minnesota Twin Cities and author of the petition in partnership with Katherine Fennelly, public affairs prof. at the same institution:

"Since 9/11, some people are afraid to speak out or say they do not support their government," he said. "There is widespread opposition to this war across the country, not just in the academic community." Here's my thing--NO ONE in the academic community has been shy or frightened about speaking out against war. The fact that you got 13,000 signatures of professors in about a month via word of mouth sort of makes the point. It's just the same old same old.

Check out the petition online. The arguments are the usual suspects, "Not Enough Proof," "Unilateralism Bad," yadda. freaking. yadda. You're entitled to your opinion, but please, for the LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY, STOP trotting out the tired "people are scared to speak" chestnut in order to make yourselves feel brave and groundbreaking. It is entirely possible that a large number of people either aren't interested enough to speak, or that they actually support the war. None of them, however, is going to sic the feds on your ass, although I have a sneaking suspicion that some of you would like that to happen so that you could feel vindicated and more important than you actually are.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 06:18 AM | Comments (0)

October 29, 2002

Well, good grief! Was minding

Well, good grief!

Was minding my own business and popped over to check my logs--whoa! Traffic! Thanks to all who found something worthy of reading here! Also, I'm adding this nothing post because Clayton Cramer suggested that blogger sometimes needs new posts on top of old for the archiving to work. Thanks for the tip! So, a post.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 12:56 PM | Comments (0)

October 24, 2002

I Just Want To Park

I Just Want To Park My Car, Okay?

Note to woman in giant Lincoln Town Car:

This is a college campus. Parking is therefore at a premium, and the Transportation Department in their infinite greed has made the parking spaces as small as possible in order to maximize spaces and profits and minimize convenience. However, the lot we pay to park in is designated for employees, and when we arrive each morning at 7:15, there are actually lots of empty spaces. So please answer me this question:

WHY do you INSIST on BACKING INTO THE SPACE DIRECTLY NEXT TO ME AT THE EXACT MOMENT THAT I AM TRYING TO EXIT MY CAR EVERY FREAKING DAY?!?! Why? Do you enjoy pinning me in, making me wait to open my door until you have backed up and pulled forward fourteen times in a futile attempt to position your motorized behemoth in the exact center of the space so that no one opening their car doors beside you will ding your precious paint? Are you a sadist, or merely too stupid to realize that there is no parking space on campus wide enough to accomodate your wish for a ding-free vehicle? Can you not move 1 space down from me, where there are NO CARS, and you may tweak your parking to your heart's content without inconveniencing anyone? Do you enjoy the look on my face every day when, after finally coming to a stop, you fling wide the door of the Lincoln and ding MY driver's side door?

I can only conclude that you are evil, Lincoln Town Car woman. Evil, and bent on shortening my life by regularly raising my blood pressure. A pox on you and your satanic conveyance!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 06:33 AM | Comments (0)

October 22, 2002

Well, This Is Typical Sometimes,

Well, This Is Typical

Sometimes, academics get so caught up in their images of themselves as groundbreaking freedom fighters who must defend their comrades-in-arms they kinda ignore the details--like, what exactly their comrades-in-arms stand for. Campus Watch has been at the center of a hullabaloo because it listed the names of professors who were apologists for Islamic terrorism. The New York Times ran a typically hysterical article about "dossiers" being compiled by the "pro-Israel research and policy group" which cited "eight professors and 14 universities for their views on Palestinian rights or political Islam." Actually, if they had bothered to read the statement of purpose, they would have discovered that "CAMPUS WATCH, a project of the Middle East Forum, monitors and critiques Middle East studies in North America, with an aim to improving them. The project mainly addresses five problems: analytical failures, the mixing of politics with scholarship, intolerance of alternative views, apologetics, and the abuse of power over students. Campus Watch fully respects the freedom of speech of those it debates while insisting on its own freedom to comment on their words and deeds." But I guess it just takes up less precious column space to reduce a statement of purpose to the sinister compilation of dossiers. Whatever. I mean, why quibble over accuracy when you can replace facts with loaded phrases?

And academia didn't fail to disappoint in its response. So now 100 professors have emailed Campus Watch, asking to have their names added to the list of the original eight in a show of "solidarity." As site founder Daniel Pipes put it (rather mildly, I think), "'Most of them are academics from other fields,' ... 'and I suspect that few of them actually read our statement of purpose, for very few of them understand what issues Campus Watch was created to address. Still, if they insist on declaring public solidarity with Palestinian or Islamist violence, this is important information for university stakeholders to be aware of, so we are posting their names.'" Read the rest, if you're so inclined.

Indeed, we now have professors of Computer Science who are apparently using their academic position to apologize for terrorism. Reading is fundamental, kiddies. Perhaps you should try it sometime. Then, after you've practiced, maybe we can move on to reading comprehension. From there, logic and actual tolerance may be in reach. Damn my cockeyed optimism.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 06:04 AM | Comments (0)

October 21, 2002

The Usual Suspects Okay, so

The Usual Suspects

Okay, so the Bali bombing occurred on October 12. It only took Berkeley 6 days to convene a roundtable discussion in order to blame the US. Who says that academia isn't on the ball when it comes to current events?

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 06:25 AM | Comments (0)

October 18, 2002

Well, That's it for Civilization,

Well, That's it for Civilization, Then.

As it's Friday, I don't feel like scouring the Web for silliness. Besides, The Corner has linked to a really nice piece on Campus Watch over at Sandstorm. So read that, while I provide a personal anecdote for your reading pleasure.

Yesterday, I read a piece by Mark Goldblatt about MoDo which had an interesting premise about the intellectual elite; namely, that to be a member, you should actually have intellect. The piece itself prompted me to send him an email with the subject line "Marry me, Mark Goldblatt!", but that's beside the point. It also reminded me of this experience: Hublet and I were at a friend's cookout one Fourth of July, eating burgers and shooting the breeze about politics with folks whose educational level was MA or better (hublet and I were flying under the radar, being politically to the right of these folks but also being polite southerners whose mamas told us never to belittle the people feeding you) when a friend's wife--a lawyer--responded to a particularly hysterical ad hominem screed against Republicans with: "See! WE are the intellectual elite in this country!" Hublet and I looked around and thought, "Well, that's it for the country, then."

BTW, Mr. Goldblatt did not issue a restraining order, but sent a nice reply in which he mentions this article he'd done for a book he wrote. Check it out. I'm amazed that a professor nowadays would have the temerity to write such a thing, much less get it published!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:36 AM | Comments (0)

October 16, 2002

Sometimes I digress. Today's post

Sometimes I digress. Today's post is one of those times.

Pampered Now. Can We Please Stop?

For the past few years, I've been caught up in a bizarre phenomenon that seems to coincide with becoming an independent female adult--invites to what I like to call "product parties." A product party is one in which you are invited to sit with a group of friends and listen to a sales pitch on cosmetics, or kitchen ware, or candles or home decor, oooh and aaaah over the fine quality and "reasonable" price, and then purchase something in order to fulfill your friendship obligation to the hostess of the event.

It started innocently enough a year out of school, when someone at work brought in a catalog for Party Lights. They had a Party Lights party at work, and it was all very exciting to a naive young girl like myself, who was totally caught up in the smelly candle trend of home decorating (classier than incense with its pseudo-wiccan college hippy association, but aromatic and mysterious and exactly the way you imagine that the homes of successful single women would smell). So I bought a candle. Then all hell broke loose. See, part of the "product party" spiel is to entice attendees to have product parties of their own, and apparently the Party Lights Proselytizers had descended upon Raleigh like a plague of nice-smelling, flammable sirens, calling the entire female population of the city to its death on the rocks of votive candle holders and "scent sampler" candle packs. I cannot even tell you how many parties I was invited to, nor can I relate the pressure to "help out a friend" by attending, or just ordering something. To this day, my hall coat closet smells like an air freshener warehouse.

Finally, the candle craze abated. However, it was replaced by a string of (mercifully brief) successors: Avon, Tupperware, Mary Kay, some weird home decorating firm that specializes in giant swags featuring fake magnolias, about a million random jewelry companies, that damn scrapbooking thing with the acid-free paper and the photo albums that cost a billion dollars each--the list goes on, culminating with my current arch-nemesis, The Pampered Chef.

I don't have anything agai