Thursday, January 31, 2008

More overacting from the animal world...

Remember this guy?

I have found his successor in an overly-dramatic lemur that I have decided to name Jeff. It's actually short for Jefferson, which is actually his middle name. His full real name is Harold Jefferson Graves. You can see why he'd just want to go by Jeff.

Harold is a name that's been in his family for a long time. Despite his dislike of it, his son is in fact, Harold Jr.

At any rate, here he is:

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The lighter side of teenage pregnancies...

Somehow, and this is a record for me, I have managed to see another movie - and it was good! That makes like two movies in two weeks, both of them good.

The latest was Juno. See it.

I know, you're all like, when did this guy become a movie recommender, right? I know!

But it's good. It's a feel-good movie about a pregnant teen, if you can imagine. It's smartly written and it has a soundtrack that's so good, I bought it on my way home from the movie that day.

One of my friends thought it was too hip for its own good. I felt it had the proper level of hipness. He also confided that he wasn't crazy about Knocked Up, though. I think he has baby issues.

Currently, I'm reading The World Without Us, by Alan Weisman. It's basically a book that entails everything we've done so far to the planet (and points out the things that we've probably already irrevocably fucked up), and what our legacy would be were the human race to disappear, completely in a poof, tomorrow.

Some things would be fine. Manhattan would crumble into the swamp fairly quickly, and a lot of urbanized area could probably revert to a wild state relatively fast, but there are other things that we've done, well, that there ain't no fixin' gonna happen.

One scary stat I picked up: Except for the small portion that has been incinerated, every bit of plastic that has been manufactured in the 50 or so years since we started doing so still exists. We're talking about more than 1 billion tons of plastic. It hasn't gone anywhere. All of those plastic grocery bags? In a landfill. Or a storm drain. Or more likely, in this 10 million square mile place in the middle of the Pacific where currents have caused plastic bags from all over the world to collect and swirl.

Doesn't that scare the (insert deity that you feel is a part of your being, or an expletive - for most of us, it's interchangeable in this situation) out of you?

I didn't mean to, but thinking about crap like this has made me greener, really focusing on reducing conspicuous consumption. I was never bad mind you, always somewhat environmental, but I am now even focusing more on stuff like taking my own canvas bags to the grocery store.

Anyhoo, sorry to be a downer, but it's what I've been thinking about, although if any of you were to use the "h" word in my presence, I would hit you. so. hard.

Also, I'm missing my bike. Will this winter never end?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Karma by any other name...

Now that the excitement is out, we can get back to normal life (until May anyway!).

This week TFN and I went to see The Orphanage. I really can't say too much about this movie without giving it away, but you should all go see it - it's an early front-runner for best of the year in my book. It's creepy without being violent, and the script is pleasantly unpredictable. Really, take my word for it, and know that it's good. The less you know walking in, the better.

I have become very much wrapped up in the idea that this year should be focused on living better. Physically, mentally, environmentally... just being better about stuff.

Part of this is the idea of paying it forward.  

Paying it forward is, for those who never saw the film or read the book, the idea that one should do nice for others with the intent that they will repay you by doing nice for the next person who needs it. The original pay it forward revolved around it being financial, but I don't think it needs to be.

A few years ago, TFN and I were both unemployed. During our financially repressed situation, a lot of great friends treated us to the occasional drink or dinner out. So many, in fact, that we lost track. We never did, nor could we ever hope to, return all the favors.

Unfortunately, we have now had the opportunity to pay this forward. Michigan is hurting, and a lot of my friends are out of work. The least we can do is pick up a few bar tabs here and there. It was done for us, and we count ourselves lucky right now to be able to do it.

You can call it what you want - paying it forward, karma, being a friend - but it really comes down to being there for the people who need it, in the hope that, while they may be there if you ever need it, also hoping you never will need it, and the help can go to someone else.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Exciting News!

If I had to pick one superstition I have, it’s the fear of jinxing myself. You know, when you say something that might happen, then it doesn’t?

It’s not really the superstitious aspect of it, though. It’s not that my course of thinking has to do with the idea that, should I say it, it will cause it not to happen. I just don’t like to talk about things I’m hoping for or want to accomplish before they’ve come to fruition.

It’s not that I am afraid of looking foolish, either. I do enough to make myself look foolish – you all should be aware this doesn’t really bother me.

I think the main reason that I don’t like to mention big hopes until they come true is that I don’t want to share my disappointments. I think I prefer to be disappointed about something, and then to move on, rather than allow friends to commiserate with me. If it’s really bad, I will lean on your for support; otherwise, let’s just share the happy.

So what the hell is the point of all this?

I signed a publishing contract for one of my short stories yesterday!

Come March, my story “Wendy” will be in Read By Dawn Volume III. It’s sort of been in the running to make the anthology since October, but I only wanted to bring it up if it happened.

So that’s my big excitement.

Celebrations were curtailed, however, as last night really belonged to my dear friends who got laid off yesterday. We’ll celebrate when we can all celebrate. Cool?

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

New Year's Resolutions Begin To Be Revealed

While I very recently said I didn't want to openly state many of my New Year's Resolutions, one that I will state has been my resolution to live greener. It's not as if it's a new development for me, as it's been something I've been pushing for for a while.

As part of the attempt to live greener, TFN and I looked into buying a membership in a produce club. Essentially that means that you buy a share in an organic farm, and every week during the growing season you get a share of the produce that comes from the farm (usually something between a 1/2 and a full bushel).

Your membership keeps the farm alive, and you get fresh organic veggies every week. It's definitely something we wanted in on.

Unfortunately, Metro Detroit's nearest produce club-associated farm involves an hour drive. Driving an hour every week to pick up our vegetables would really not do anything to lessen our footprint, especially when we do have the Eastern Market 15 minutes from our house.

Oh well.

On an unrelated note, I have a tip for dining out. If you want to go to a nice restaurant, and you want extra-special service like overly-attentive servers and all sorts of little treats coming from the kitchen "compliments of the chef", then there is a simple way to get this:

1. Make friends with a chef.
2. Have your friend who is a chef move away.
3. When your friend who is a chef comes to visit, go with him to the restaurants where he is friends with their chefs.
4. Voila! Special treatment.

I am now off to make friends with even more chefs...