Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Michael Jackson Impersonator (in San Francisco)

Here's one of the photos mentioned in the blog. The rest can be found on my flickr page: http://www.flickr.com/photos/authorwannabe/

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Day 80's Pop Culture Died

If you read my previous entry, you know that yesterday I sold one of my favorite 80’s icons, a stuffed Alf I had sitting around for the past twelve years. Later that day I was saddened, though not surprised, to read that Farrah Fawcett, herself a 70’s/80’s icon (thanks to “Charlie’s Angels”) had passed away after a struggle with cancer. Then last night my husband broke the news to me that Michael Jackson had died.

My sister was the big fan in our family. Not only did she have fan buttons, but she glued sequins all over one of my mom’s old white gloves to make her own personal Michael Jackson glove. The zippered jacket she got as a birthday present from my aunt was her most prized possession during the height of his popularity in the 80’s. I have a picture of her wearing it unzipped with a white shirt and a skinny red tie underneath. We used to tease her mercilessly about her devotion. I remember her watching the 1984 Grammy awards with the same kind of interest she now dedicates to “Dancing with the Stars” or “American Idol.”

As kids we owned most of his music on cassettes. We probably all loved “Thriller” the best, especially the video!

One of my favorite Michael Jackson-related memories is the episode of “Silver Spoons” with Alfonso Ribeiro (before he was Carlton and a Tom Jones fan in “Fresh Prince”). He was playing Rick’s new friend, who, in an effort to be popular, told everyone he knew Michael Jackson (this was actually true since he danced in a Pepsi commercial with him). He hired an impersonator to come to a local restaurant, who ends up getting mobbed and Alfonso eventually confesses it was all a lie.

Speaking of Michael Jackson impersonators, my parents saw one once in California and managed to get a few good pictures. They thought he was the real thing until someone clued them in that it was only an impersonator. Judging by the photos, I guess I can see how they might have gotten confused, though I doubt the real Michael Jackson would have gotten that dressed up just to walk down the street, not to mention he probably wouldn’t go out in public unless he was incognito.

Say what you will about his fall from grace. He was still a record breaking rock legend who, at least in my book, will always share a pedestal with Elvis and the Beatles.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

me and Alf

me and Alf, originally uploaded by authorwannabe.

I should have known it was too good to be true!

I should have learned my lesson after the dvds I mailed to Alaska, or the game I mailed to Pennsylvania, but greed got the better of me again.

Yesterday I was bored at work and thought I’d put a few items up for sale on Amazon.com, as I had done successfully several months ago. Among other things I listed a book, a set of VHS tapes, a CD, and a Golden Retriever Lilkinz Webkinz. I’m not sure how I was suddenly inspired to list my stuffed Alf toy. There were other listings (of Alf for sale), as well as on E-bay too, though none seemed to be selling. Perhaps that’s what gave me the courage to offer mine up too, not thinking it would actually sell ($15 was my asking price).

Thus, I was very surprised, to say the least, when I checked my e-mail after returning from lunch to find that it had sold, and I was to ship it out as soon as possible. I spent the rest of the day agonizing about this moral dilemma. Part of me was happy to be getting paid $15 for something on which I only spent a few dollars for over a decade ago. The other half of me was sad to see it go after owning it for at least 12 years.

I definitely thought of backing out of the deal, but trying to be mature and adult about it, I thought, ‘well, a promise is a promise.’

I also drew strength from remembering how my husband had to give up his favorite Amiga computer (and monitor and games, etc.) when he moved to the states with me. Not only would postage be exorbitant, being on different voltage here, it wouldn’t work anyway.

Then there was my dad who lost some of his most treasured items when my parent’s basement flooded back in 2006.

After taking numerous amounts of photos with Alf and giving him one last hug, I placed him in the box, covered him gently with newspaper and taped the lid shut. He at least got to spend the morning in my air conditioned office before taking him to the UPS store at lunch.

The story ends when the nice lady (with whom I chatted about life in Hilliard since she lives there too) told me Ground shipping would be over $12 instead of $7 as I had calculated. I felt like I had just sold my best friend for $3! I think my co-worker probably said it best when he said, “Now you’re sentimentally scarred as well!”

I think I’m going to stick to E-bay from now on where you can set the amount of postage in order to increase your profit margin. I think I’m also going to stop selling my cuddly toys!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Dumpster Chairs

Dumpster Chairs, originally uploaded by authorwannabe.

This is one save I did make in time! (though I found both on separate occasions).

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

You Snooze, You Lose...

It’s Tuesday and that’s Trash Day for my neighborhood. Actually, in the 10+ years I’ve been married, Tuesday has always been Trash Day and I’ve already lived in 4 different neighborhoods in two different countries. That certainly makes it easy to remember since it’s pretty much second nature now.

Anyway, as I was driving down the road I scanned the piles of stuff people had left out. There wasn’t much of interest, but something did catch my eye, and it would be hard to miss since someone had pulled a whole desk to the curb, along with an old orangish colored desk chair. If I wasn’t already running late for work, I probably would have pulled over and had a closer look at the chair (since my husband mentioned wanting another one awhile back). Instead I made a mental note to come back at lunch and cross my fingers it was still there.

Sadly, luck was not on my side today as it was gone, but the desk was still there. I thought about it momentarily, but decided it would be too difficult to try to fit it in my Ford Hatchback. Plus, I wasn’t entirely sure where I would put it anyway, so I left it. When I passed again on my way back to work it too was gone, so obviously someone else had eyed this treasure and decided to haul it away (it wasn’t the trash men since they hadn’t come yet).

I will have to make it a point to ride my bike around the neighborhood on Monday nights to scout out any treasures that might be set out the night before (in many cases they’re put out over the weekend). I guess I can understand people not wanting to take the time to try and sell things, or perhaps they did, and failed, so they’re then relinquished to the scrapheap.

If I can’t use an item myself and don’t know anyone else who can, I usually try to sell it on Craig’s List since that’s free. Otherwise, there’s always second hand stores in the area that take used furniture and other items, or charities too I suppose.

One of my favorite books when I was kid was called Dear Garbage Man (by Gene Zion). According to the Publisher’s Weekly summary, “A very childlike sensibility underlies this book about Stan, the new garbageman, who finds items that are just too good to throw away.” Basically, he ties the objects to the truck, finds them good homes, then later discovers they’re back on the curb because they were broken to begin with. He means well, but his heart overrules his head, which isn’t always a bad thing, and that may be the moral message here. At any rate, it’s a cute book. Maybe they should come out with a second edition where Stan takes the junk home to his artist wife who makes beautiful sculptures out of everything and then turns around and sells them to a public for a small fortune.

Speaking of turning trash into treasure, have you ever seen “The Junk Brothers” TV program? I’ve only ever seen it once, but for those who haven’t, there’s a set of brothers who go door to door under cover of darkness stealing treasures out of peoples’ trash. They then return to the scene of the crime a day or so later with something fabulous made out of them. In the episode I saw they turned an old dresser into a desk and a set of fireplace tools into, well, I can’t actually remember, but it was something a little more visually appealing. I only wish I had that time and talent!

For now, dumpster diving will have to be a hobby at best, and one I will have to be much quicker at if I hope to be more successful!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

What feature would you like to have in your next home?

Question of the Week in the June 11, 2009 issue of Columbus Alive:

What feature would you like to have in your next home?

Self-Cleaning Everything!
(Adrianne Prescott, Display Account Executive)

I totally agree!

Someone else said a walk-in closet with a wet bar and another said a jewelry closet. I wouldn’t mind combining these ideas, but I don’t need a wet bar there (maybe in my own personal library since there’s nothing like reading while sipping a nice glass of wine). Really, it would be nice to have all my clothes in one room so I wouldn’t have to keep switching things back and forth between seasons. That would definitely be my highest priority.

If we’re talking luxuries, I wouldn’t mind having a room big enough to display all my books, and then have someone come in once a month to dust them!

I guess I also wouldn’t mind a bathroom with one of those nice big round whirlpool tubs (big enough for two so we could use that as our own inside personal hot tub). We currently have a whirlpool tub, but it’s rectangular and barely big enough for one person and not really as luxurious to use as you might think. Since you’re so close to the jets you feel more pummeled by them rather than relaxed or whatever you’re supposed to feel. We also have a hot tub, but can’t be bothered to maintain it for how infrequently we actually use it and for only about a half hour at a time anyway.

If we’re talking staff, it’s a toss up between my own personal chef/nutritionist and gardener. However, a chef is more useful on a day-to-day basis, whereas I think I would only need a gardener to come in like once a month and clear out all the weeds and debris. Obviously I would also like a housekeeper like Alice from "The Brady Bunch" or maybe Mr. Belvedere or Geoffrey (from "The Fresh Prince of Belaire").

Friday, June 12, 2009

boy on leash

boy on leash, originally uploaded by authorwannabe.

a good example of 'kinnearing.'

A couple interesting things I learned this week…

the art of “kinnearing”

Earlier this week I was watching a taped program - one of our favorites from the UK called "Graham Norton." He happened to mention this website:
http://www.yarnharlot.ca/blog/archives/2007/08/02/i_was_kinnearing.html making particular reference to the 'kinnearing' part since Greg Kinnear was on the show. Apparently 'kinnearing' is now a verb and others have made reference to that. It basically means 'shooting from the hip' and surreptitiously taking pictures of people without them realizing it.

I agree with one of the comments (on the blog) that the lomography company kind of invented it, but I still like the idea of 'kinnearing' and it's a fun word to say! I only wish I was better at it. I missed a lot of good shots at the recent Columbus Arts Festival because I either wasn't ready with my camera or didn't feel brave enough just to point it straight at someone. There's a lens you can buy from photojojo.com that makes it look like you're shooting something to the side of your intended subject. I doubt this lens would fit on my digital camera, otherwise I might seriously consider purchasing it.


the story behind the song…

They were childhood chums. Then they drifted apart, lost touch completely, and only renewed their friendship decades later, when illness struck.
Not so unusual, really.

Except she is Lucy Vodden — the girl who was the inspiration for the Beatles' 1967 psychedelic classic "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" — and he is Julian Lennon, the musician son of John Lennon.

They are linked together by something that happened more than 40 years ago when Julian brought home a drawing from school and told his father, "That's Lucy in the sky with diamonds."

Just the sort of cute phrase lots of 3- or 4-year-olds produce — but not many have a father like John Lennon, who used it as a springboard for a legendary song that became a centerpiece on the landmark album "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

story credit: http://new.music.yahoo.com/beatles/news/real-lucy-in-the-sky-with-diamonds-gravely-ill--61989942

Isn't that cool? I've been to Liverpool and own a bunch of books about the Beatles, but haven't come across that fact before.

Monday, June 1, 2009

How Should I Live My Life?

Every time I hear about someone dying young (i.e. before 70-80 years old) – usually unexpected, though sometimes from a long illness, I ask myself, am I living my life to the fullest? What could I do differently to be happier?

Like most people I suspect, I think I would be more content if I could just chuck my day job and live a life of leisure. However, anyone who knows me would say I wouldn’t be happy sitting around the house for too long (which is why I would get out and volunteer or get a part time job doing something I like). Given the current state of the economy, I’ll keep my day job for now thank you very much.

It’s those few precious hours after work and weekends that we must treasure. The way I balance my schedule now, I try to squeeze in at least an hour, maybe an hour and a half most weekdays to sit down with my husband and watch something on TV (or a dvd). If our cat comes and joins us, all the better. I also enjoy the brief 10-15 minutes when we sit down to dinner. Bonus time is when we’re both in the kitchen during the preparation catching up on each other’s day.

Even though I don’t have kids, there’s usually enough chores to keep me distracted from fully indulging in my hobbies, and this is something I’m trying to work on. I’ve decided that it’s okay if there’s cat fur and dust everywhere, as long as the dishes are done my husband is happy.

I also make an effort to try and keep in touch with people either by phone or e-mail. Even if we can’t always get together in person, I think it’s the quality of the time versus the quantity.

Would I have any regrets if knew I only had a week to live? Of course, but I know I’ve lived a good life filled with much happiness. I’ve already accomplished the important things – graduated from college, married a wonderful man who is the love of my life, live close to my family whom I see on a fairly regular basis, have a job that allows me free time for reading, web surfing, etc., have a nice house, enough money to travel and sometimes spend a little frivolously, adopted a cute kitty cat that rules our house!