Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Happy Valentimes

I love Pink Martini. They're the most NPR band that ever NPR'd and their lead singer China Forbes sang the theme song from the TV show Clueless. Their fifth album and first holiday album Joy to the World is available to purchase now on iTunes or at Starbucks. You can hear part of it on NPR. I highly recommend that everyone buy it and add to their holiday music collection, because this album is literally the Polaroid of perfection.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Today is Emily Elisabeth Day, or as my nephew called me today Cookie Monster (I do love cookies). Thank you for celebrating it by coming to my blog. Happy birthday to my fellow Nov. 28th birthdays, Jon Stewart, Anna Nicole Smith and Not Fergie or Will.i.am from the Black Eyed Peas. I'm going to celebrate it by changing the name of my blog for one of my favorite Parks and Recreation quotes.

Thanks to my four nephews for being especially adorable. It's been so fun seeing them in Houston during Thanksgiving week. I know every aunt thinks their nieces and nephews are the cutest and smartest kids around, but as far as nephews are concerned, they are all wrong. I'm sure your niece Torpal is very talented.

Thanks to  Gretchen and Giromide for tweets that made me laugh. Thanks to Srah for the birthday post. Don't forget to enter to win these November book giveaways at her blog! And check out the best collection of animated gifs on one post. I received a Gerald Ford magnet and postcard with a few POTUS and FLOTUS on it from her. The postcard now lives from on my refrigerator, with the magnet placed strategically to cover up Barbara Bush's scandalously uncovered gams.

I told Twitter this, but since I've met her three times, and most of the time she seemed really mean to both me and Henry Kissinger, I'm kind of obsessed with her. Forget Sarah Palin, Barbara Bush invented going rogue (I wouldn't be surprised if she ever bit someone).  The first time I met Barbara Bush she introduced me to the man who would soon be Teri Hatcher's ex-boyfriend. This will be a really interesting story if I ever meet Tony Parker.

Since today is my birthday, but this is also a post about Barbara Bush, here's a photo of younger me and a picture of two first ladies who seem like they would be much nicer to me than Barbara Bush.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Is that cross-hatching I detect?

I know this is an inaccurate, third grade interpretation of the "First Thanksgiving," but I'm a little proud of my paper cutting and drawing skills.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Eisenhower, Roosevelt, Harry S Turkey

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I'm drafting this turkey into military service.

According to my holiday source, today isn't an actual holiday, just the birthday of the non holiday deserving President, and Mighty Morphin Power Ranger, Zachary Taylor. So as part of my Unofficial Zachary Taylor Day celebration, I will just talk about another president during my annual holiday tradition of "informing everyone around that George H. W. Bush was the first President to give a turkey an official pardon, not Harry Truman or Lincoln." Gail Collins will back me up on this. And Gail Collins never lies. Gail. Collins. Never. Lies.

Before George H. W., there were events with presidents and turkeys on Thanksgiving, but they were rough sailing for those turkeys.

Turkey getting the Johnson Treatment before getting the Johnson EATment

Monday, November 22, 2010

You best put seat belts on your ears, cause I'm gonna take them for the ride of their lives!

It is Go for a Ride Day and I'll be doing that today driving from Austin to Houston for Thanksgiving. I'll be listening to the audio book of The Politician and shaking my head every time John Edwards does anything sketchy (like being inspired by The American President to get into politics, gross). Anyway, going for a ride...riding in my car, here's a slightly related song that I like.

She & Him - Ridin' in My Car

Claps-Giving Yay Ha-Rade

Since Christmas creep is in full force, and the dark cloud of CNN News Reports about People Shopping Day is almost upon us, I am declaring today the start of THANKSGIVING WEEK.

What: A week long celebration of Thanksgiving with occasional blog updates and watching football or episodes of Friends/The West Wing about Thanksgiving if you don't get football. It's also a good time for some Sarah Vowellish reading and thinking about genocide. It's a complicated holiday. That's why it needs a week or more.
When: Today until the end of Thanksgiving (realistically) or the end of November (ideally).
Who: Americans, flexible Canadians
Why: The last part of November is the best part. It's kind of cold and everyone's on vacation
How: Eat real Chex Mix, look up pictures of Presidents pardoning turkeys, help Save November (special thanks to Srah this month) and dress up your presidential action figures in faux "First Thanksgiving" garb.
Where: Your mom's house.

My family makes fun of me for doing what they call my "happy dance." The following doesn't quite capture my dance style, but they do adequately express that I am just genuinely pleased about this upcoming week.

Boss Zefron gif

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I have a title for this post.

Today is False Confession Day, which is either the weirdest and most fun November holiday or the one that makes me think about current human rights violations and the Salem witch trials. So I decided to go with the former, which is less crushingly depressing. These are my false confessions.
  1. The best book I read this year was Miley Cyrus: Miles to Go by Miley Cyrus. 
  2. I haven't written fan fiction about John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon.
  3. Pickles are not disgusting. They should be in all egg salad sandwiches.
  4. I didn't watch this video of Karl Rove and David Gregory dancing three times this weekend.
  5. I love it when people dress up animals in people clothes, but if animals could dress themselves, like if I had to watch an animated guinea pig in a Pixar movie put on a little coat, scarf and hat, I would probably barf.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Abraham Lincoln once said, "If you are a racist, I will attack you with the North."

Gettysburg Address from Adam Gault on Vimeo.

Today is the 147th anniversary of a speech which dedicated a cemetery for a battle where 8,000 men died. So maybe, my triumphant "I knew I didn't just imagine an episode of Animaniacs about the Gettysburg address" Google search wasn't the best way to start things off.

I'm sorry, Jelly Beans. I know how much the Gipper liked you.

Hey you, want to be as fashionable as Nancy Reagan1 and as stylish as a person with a homemade campaign button necklace?

Enter a comment, with your favorite Jelly Bean flavor or your favorite president, on this post from today through December 1st and you could win this2 necklace. It's perfect for when you're Reaganing or when you're just lying around in an evening gown and showing off your husband's monogrammed throw pillows. 

It's really just a campaign button that can be detached from the necklace and just worn on your shirt or trousers. But it is a pretty sweet button and this way it won't poke holes in your clothes. How much would you pay for this on Etsy?3 Maybe a $100? Man, the scam I could pull off with this thing. Enter to win and you could get this $1,000 necklace for free.

Pretend I posted this on Tuesday (Button Day).

1 Chicest FLOTUS of the 20th century, because Jackie Kennedy was mean.

2As with the other giveaway, you don't have to pick the Reagan related prize, you could choose an Obama 08 button (or Ford, Nixon, Mondale or Kennedy--although those are older and they might will definitely stab you in necklace form). But who wouldn't go with the Reagan one? (I don't like a lot of what he did as a president, I just think he was adorable.)

3I don't like or respect Etsy.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The winner of the Dorothy Every Time Smurf Girl trophy for Excellence in Female Stuff:

Today is a day for one of my fellow EliSZabeths (that's the name of our club) Elizabeth Cady Stanton. One great thing about the Internet is that you can read almost every book written before 1900. Here are a few of the things she wrote while advocating for women's rights and abolition.

Eighty Years and More: Reminiscences 1815-1897 by Elizabeth Cady Stanton

History of Woman Suffrage edited by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan Brownell Anthony

The Woman's Bible by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the Revising Committee.

This is a two minute biography, but there is also a Ken Burns documentary on Netflix Instant about Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. Here's another video on suffrage, that unfortunately forgot to mention ECS, but still rocks.

School House Rock - Sufferin' Till Suffrage

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Forget-Me-Not Day

Forget: From the Forget-Me-Not Wikipedia disambiguation page (my favorite type of page on Wikipedia) I learned that "Forget Me Not" was the title of episodes of Charmed, Psych, and Garfield and Friends. Those shows are ordered by how I watched them, from forced to by roommates, to enjoyed with family, to dreamed about.

Me: If I had a job for every time I almost emailed an HR department this week and said I've "attached me resume" me would have six jobs now.

Not: Yesterday I saw this headline on cnn.com, "20-somethings -- get ready for a 'thrisis'," or the start of an existential crisis all 29 year old people could expect on their next birthday. My only reaction: Nope. No. Not doing it. I accept and love and make up a lot of made up words but I am not a major source of news and Twitter updates.  It would be a lot easier to handle adulthood without associating it with the stupidest word I've heard in 2010. CNN.com is awesome. Not.

Day: I assumed the holiday was about one of the most fake looking flowers I've ever seen (or the 1822 literary annual).

Ace of Cakes fondant practice
But it is actually about remembering family and friends you haven't seen in awhile. So, here's a photo of two of my favorite family members I haven't seen in at least a month.

Baby nephew, Washing machine

I don't have a lot experience with vampires, but I have hunted werewolves. I shot one once. But by the time I got to it, it had turned back into my neighbor's dog.

I liked the required fiction reading from high school, but when it comes to reading any fiction written after 1960, I have had a harder time finding anything I liked. I can't really tell the  difference between good contemporary fiction and mediocre fiction, so I usually end up with the bad and mediocre and categorize all modern fiction that way (I do love the Shopaholic series more than I care to admit). I've tried to make an effort to try to read more contemporary fiction.

This year I read about 25 fiction books that were published after 1960, not counting the out-and-out lies in Miley Cyrus's "memoir." My method of picking these books has been to go to the new fiction section in the library and pick out the shortest or most notable books in the section. This week I checked out a Nobel Prize winner's works and the book I heard had won the Thurber prize. In case critically acclaimed or universally loved by all of Sweden and Norway isn't enough, I decided to also try what was popular. Which is why I have finally decided to bow to peer pressure and read Twilight.

The author is really taking her time getting to the vampires. 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

I also subscribe to USA Today and American Way magazine

Happy Magazine Day! Here are a few of my favorite magazines.
  1. National Geographic. I had a subscription for National Geographic magazine throughout high school. It was a gift from my grandpa. Through National Geographic I first learned about Ernest Shackleton, how awesome and gross things were when magnified and the giddy fascination of learning about strangers based on zip codes.
  2. Life. Every issue is available on Google Books. What Will Nixon Do With It?
  3. My HEB Texas Life Magazine. My favorite grocery store has a monthly magazine or a really big waste of paper for a page of coupons and super easy crossword puzzle. The letter to the editors are all in fawning praise of the magazine and the store and one day they will publish one of my letters (published letters get a gift certificate). But I'm just doing it because I love the magazine.
  4. The Pawnee Parks and Recreation Summer Catalog.
  5. Sassy  Magazine. Here's the ideal way to read Sassy. 1) Don't read it as a child 20 years ago. 2) Read a bunch of back issues in 2010 in the home of your sibling who read Sassy as a child. 3) Laugh forever.
  6. Bear Hugging and Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Weekly. For all your other November 7th holiday needs. 

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Diana Walker

If you're looking for something to do in Austin between now and December 17th, check out the exhibit of Diana Walker's photos at the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History. The CAH is next door to the LBJ Presidential Library; both are free. You can also visit CAH online and listen to Walker discuss her photographs. I recommend watching this one. Here are a few of her photographs.

Bob Dole and Gerald Ford
Ronald Reagan and Flopsie the Hat

George H. W. Bush in Saudi Arabia, 1990

Bill and Hillary Clinton

Friday, November 5, 2010

Who knows how words are formed.

In honor of Book Lover's Day (Observed) and a November bloggy giveaway idea I stole , I am giving away a book I love. Leave a comment on this post any time from now until November 30th and you could win my copy of For the Record: From Wall Street to Washington by Donald T. Regan, with my underlined passages of what I thought justified USA Today's front cover review of this book, "Spicy!" This book is also autographed. By me.

If for some reason you don't want Regan's book (like who needs two copies) you could choose another book that I love, The Word Museum: The Most Remarkable English Words Ever Forgotten by Jeffrey Kacirk. From this book you can learn that a "glee-dream" isn't just a nightmare about living at a musical high school. If the reviewers of Regan's book had had a copy, that book would have a much more interesting front cover. I didn't write in or underline anything in this book, but on the other hand, it will teach you NOTHING about the Gipper.

Book Lover's Day is tomorrow, but like refrigerator cleaning and donuts, books deserve more than one holiday.

I like Gretchen's suggestion, so if you want to, leave your favorite word in a comment. If you want the Regan book, be sure to include an exclamation point.

We're off cupcakes and we're back to donuts.

As evidence for the claim that America is the "Greatest, Strongest Country in the World," today is one of at least three holidays dedicated to the donut. The person from About.com who wrote the list of November holidays I used as a source, called November 5th  National Donut Day, which is wrong (except in the sense that we should keep National Donut day in our hearts all year round).

The real National Donut Day is in June and its origin honors the work of the Salvation Army more than the donut, which about.com and I would both agree is a real waste of the name. Today is actually Doughnut Appreciation Day, so update your calendars accordingly. I will certainly appreciate donuts today while watching this Good Eats episode, eating a donut and saying the pledge of allegiance.

"Hey dudes, I'll get you a couple 64 oz. colas to wash down this basket of donuts."
Also, you could celebrate Guy Fawkes day, if you prefer fireworks to donuts (or combine the two). I learned today that Guy Fawkes was also known as Guido Fawkes and Dumbledore's phoenix is named after Fawkes.

Blah, blah, blah donutos.

Mike Birbiglia - Dunkino Donutos
Funny JokesFunny VideosDaniel Tosh Stand-Up

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Nobody likes beets, Dwight. You should grow something everybody does like. You should grow candy.

To celebrate National Candy Day, other than through the candy I will eat, here's a video on how candy canes are made. Personally, watching this video is almost better than eating a candy cane. It's narrated by a British (or something) guy and I didn't get tired of watching it half way through only to leave it alone for a minute and coming back to see it sticking to the wrapper and grossing me out (when the crook is more saliva than sugar). Plus it's just fun to watch things like candy canes, laws, and sausages being made.

And now, the end of National Candy Day, when I'm tired of the candy I've chosen.

I'm done with you, Runts.

How I spent my November vacation

I can't top Srah's celebration of Sandwich Day. However, I did attempt to write a poem praising Thundercloud Subs and their egg salad sandwich, which is the last word in unhealthy egg salad sandwiches (I think the recipe is half eggs/half mayonnaise). Instead, I want to mention how I spent National Author's Day, November 1st. Each month the public library puts on free afternoon writer's workshops. I decided to attend the workshop that Monday. The workshop's theme was "Writing Inspired by Music."

My only impressions of writing workshops had come from writers discussing their experience (usually bad) in writing workshops and the show Home Movies. I didn't really know what to expect from a free writing workshop, but I definitely held some stereotypical and slightly mean expectations. In college I wrote things and read other things people had wrote, but they were usually articles about deviant behavior or six sigma management. The last time I had been in a room where I wrote fiction after a short prompt and read it out loud was sixth grade.

There were about nine others and most were regular participants in the monthly workshops. One was a college student, but the others were middle aged. I felt at the start of the workshop that I was only observing; I don't write enough fiction as the rest to justify calling myself an author. These were people who ran poetry festivals. Poetry for me has always been that thing you do as a joke. They were also doing NaNoWriMo and again, not as a joke.

One of the music prompts was the UT fight song. For most in the room, former UT students, the song inspired short stories and memories about football games. I couldn't turn my memory into a short story in the short amount of time (or a longer amount of time, honestly) nor could I read what I wrote straight from the page. What I admired about the authors in the workshop is that they could read what they wrote, fiction or real, right from the page.It just seemed brave. When it came to sharing on Monday I could only summarize what I wrote to the group. Here's what I wrote from the UT fight song prompt or what I think I wrote based on my handwriting:
The UT fight song doesn't make me think of UT, football or even one of their rivals, my alma mater. I had heard it for the first time this summer when I moved to Austin and was far from the UT campus. I was working for the campaign of a gubernatorial candidate* and my boss and several of my fellow campaigners were UT alumni. A few nights this summer, after hours of canvassing, my boss would strike up the UT fight song and blare it throughout the office. This was entertaining for two reasons: the hardcore UT fans would sing along and the one Oklahoma fan would glare at everyone in the room. As the daughter of a Sooner and the only Aggie (my sad little school is so obsessed with UT that it mentions the Longhorns several times in its fight song) I decided I would join Team Sooner. We would listen to the song and talk about the day's calls and campaigning and talk about the next day of canvassing. The UT fight song is not a clarion call for a university and its team, but for my group of Texas Democrats. UT's color is orange, but for me, the fight song's only color is Blue.
The writing workshop definitely took me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to meet nine really cool people with a passion for writing. I didn't have a chance to say it to the group on Monday, but Happy National Author's Day.

*More on this later. He lost and I'm mad at 52% of Texas right now, but now that the election is over, I have some things to discuss when I'm calmer.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Go Vote

Earn that free sticker, America.

After you vote, you may click "read more" of this post to see a cute photo of my nephew dressed as a shark. Or, if you will, after the jump, the shark.

First vote: 2028 presidential election

Save November

I went into the grocery store a few days before Halloween. In the middle of the aisle they had Halloween candy already on sale. Pile A candy. It's almost as cliché to complain about the early arrival of Christmas in stores as the early arrival of Christmas in stores. Except I will never get tired of those who complain about it. It's no wonder that by the time December actually comes, you can't swing a dead Christmas tree without hitting a panicky Fox News correspondent convinced someone's trying to destroy Christmas (Some blonde lady on Fox: He lives in the White House hint). If there was a war on Christmas, everyone would take up arms against it. If you really want to save Christmas, don't make every consumer celebrate it for 10 weeks. I am fine with Happy Holidays. I prefer that greeting in stores and out, because December contains more than one. And so does poor little, ignored November.

Since I have a November birthday, I feel attached to what I've thought of for the past two decades as "my month." I used to list out the holidays for each month, so I decided to revive the tradition for November. These are the holidays we'll be collectively ignoring for a month, because every radio station and convenience store decided it's time for Mannheim Steamroller on an endless loop. There is a war on November holidays and I am here to defend them, no matter how dumb they might be or how grim a reminder they are of our awful history toward Native Americans. The two sources I used listed two separate days as National Cleaning Your Refrigerator Day, but that's the kind of holiday you should celebrate more than once. Around Nov. 21, it gets a little weird.

November 1st - All Saint's Day, National Author's Day, National Family Literacy Day

November 2nd - Cookie Monster's Birthday, U.S.A. Election Day, National Deviled Egg Day, Look for Circles Day

November 3rd - Sandwich Day, Housewife's Day

November 4th - National Candy Day, King Tut Day

November 5th - Guy Fawkes Day, Doughnut Appreciation Day

November 6th - Basketball Day, Book Lover's Day, Saxophone Day, Carl Sagan Day

November 7th - Hug a Bear Day, Magazine Day, Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day

November 8th - X-Ray Day, National Bookstore Day

November 9th - Parade Day (I checked, unfortunately it does not seem to mean Parade Magazine day)

November 10th - Forget-Me-Not Day

November 11th - Remembrance Day, Veteran's Day, Corduroy Appreciation Day

November 12th - Elizabeth Cady Stanton Day

November 13th - National Indian Pudding Day, Sadie Hawkins Day, World Kindness Day

November 14th - National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day, Operating Room Nurse Day, National Reading Eduction Assistance Dogs Day

November 15th - America Recycles Day, Pack Your Mom Lunch Day (huh?), Clean Your Refrigerator Day, National Philanthropy Day

November 16th - Button Day

November 17th - Homemade Bread Day, National Young Reader's Day, Take A Hike Day, Have  Party with your Bear Day, World Peace Day, Electronic Greeting Card Day

November 18th - Occult Day, William Tell Day

November 19th - Gettysburg Address Day, Have a Bad Day Day

November 20th - Mexican Revolution Day, Absurdity Day, Beautiful Day, National Adoption Day, Universal Children's Day

November 21st - World Hello Day, False Confession Day

November 22nd - Stop the Violence Day

November 23rd - National Cashew Day, Go for a Ride Day

November 24th - Zachary Taylor's Birthday, Zachary Taylor Day

November 25th - Thanksgiving Day, National Parfait Day

November 26th - National Cake Day, Black Friday, Buy Nothing Day, Shopping Reminder Day, National Day of Listening

November 27th - Pins and Needles Day

November 28th - Make Your Own Head Day, Red Planet Day, Emily Elisabeth Day

November 29th - Square Dance Day

November 30th - Stay At Home Because You're Well Day, My Mom's Birthday

Great and not so great holidays and birthdays of awesome people, all. Even if November only had a few holidays, it deserves better than some pity Fall leaf wreath decorations, discount pumpkin candles and slightly creepy songs about harvest time. So I say, down with the Red and Green! Join me, my some Scorpios and some Sagittarius brothers and sisters. Let us scoff at the too soon dancing and rapping Santas piled high at the grocery store. Let us ignore aisles of mediocre holiday candy and put our fingers in our ears when every store we're in plays A Few of My Favorite Things. Now is the dawn of our Sweater Weather Revolution. Together, we will bring down the Chrismahanukwanzakah empire or at least tell it to chill for a few weeks. We are Autumn, hear us roar. TURKEY DINNER, TURKEY DINNER, PUMPKIN PIE, THREE MILES HIGH.