Distracted By Something Shiny

...scribblings of random musings...

Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Okay, so I know this story is sad, or tragic, or scary or something, but I just love that the word "ninja" was used in a headline on sfgate:

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Ashley Parker Angel Has Issues

In the course of channel surfing, I have managed to come across "There and Back"--MTV's latest reality series--twice. And each time, for the five minutes (or less) that I watched it, I was left stunned.

The show is about former O-Town pretty boy Ashley Parker Angel. He's married now, and his wife's mom lives with them (or do they live with her?) somewhere in Southern California.

Here's what I saw on the eps I caught:

#1 - Wife telling Ashley that her mom caught him in the kitchen with "morning wood". Apparently Ashley was hungry, and naked, and went into the kitchen for some grub. Fine if you're living alone or with your partner, but when there's other people in the house, you might want to rethink your midnight snack fetching wardrobe.

#2 - Wife telling Ashley that her mom caught him in the kitchen wiping his ass. Oh wait, there's logic here. You see, he was going to the bathroom and discovered there was no toilet paper. So he went to the kitchen and saw the paper towels. But instead of grabbing the paper towels and returning to the bathroom, he just wiped right there. Which means he most likely walked from the bathroom to the kitchen with his pants down.

Notice that in each event, Ashley is in the kitchen, inappropriately nude, and (albeit unknowingly) exposing himself to his mother-in-law. And they all just laugh, as if this is the kind of thing that happens all the time.

That is one weird household.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Film Festivals. Wow.

I am absolutely amazed at the amount of work that goes into putting on a film festival. I never even realized. My office is abuzz with people preparing for the festival. There are so many things to do and everyone is SO GOOD at their jobs. Most likely if you are reading this blog (all three of you), you know where I'm working now. And if you're a stranger, well, sorry, I ain't telling. But I will tell you that programming is not just a matter of picking some movies to play and deciding when to play them. Granted, it is partly that, but is is soooo much more complicated. All I know is I have my piece of the puzzle that I'm working on, and in a couple months time it will all come together and be amazing. I'm just constantly impressed.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Okay. I Admit It. I Have Curly Hair.

I don't know why I fight it. I'm never going to have straight hair. I can fake it - pulling it back right after I shower and drenching it with hairspray or attempting to straighten it by blow-drying it for an hour, but really, it ain't gonna happen. The only time my hair will look decently straight (read: silky not frizzy) will be after a trip to the salon. So on the other 362 days of the year, I will succumb. Hi, I'm Tara and I have curly hair.

Monday, February 13, 2006

The Most Obvious Headline Ever

This is currently the lead teaser headline in the news section of the Yahoo! homepage:

Cheney apparently breaks key hunting rule

Yeah. It's don't shoot your partner.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Hooray for Frugalness

It will probably come as no surprise that I've never been much of a clothes horse (crazy talk, I know). I've just never really cared, especially about labels. The only name brand I visibly sport on any of my shirts is my French Connection shirt that reads "fcuk fashion" - and the reason I got it was to not promote the brand, but rather because it basically says "fuck fashion". I'd rather spend my money on other things... like French classes, apparently. But every now and then, even I have to shop.

You see, even though the dress code at my new job is "casual and comfortable", I figure I need some dress shirts anyway, especially by the time the festival rolls around. So I set out today for H&M. I'd hadn't been to the SF one yet, and was hoping their prices were going to be as reasonable as every seems to think they are. I got there, and it was packed, and I didn't even see anything that warranted a trip to the dressing room. Strike one.

So I left and crossed the street and entered Macy's, in case, by some miracle, they would have some tops that I'd like at a reasonable price. I don't think I've ever shopped for clothes at Macy's--I hate that they separate everything by brand as opposed to style. (I remember going in there once a few years ago and practically wanting to scream "I just want a pair of jeans!") I quickly browsed the fourth floor, saw a couple decent looking dress/work shirts, but when I saw the price tags ($50-$70 each), well, it wasn't long before I was back on the sidewalk. Strike two.

I started heading home, figuring the trip hadn't been a total waste (it was a nice day and I had walked the two miles from my house). A few blocks later, I happened to pass a Goodwill store. I popped my head in, and to my immediate right were racks and racks of dress shirts. In less than ten minutes I had gathered over a dozen articles of clothing--though thank goodness they had a dressing room, because I ended up keeping less than half. Long story short? I ended up getting five shirts for under $25. Sweet.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

En Francais, S'il Vous Plait

Woohoo, I signed up for French classes with the Alliance Francaise today! So that means I've got a new job starting Monday, I'm in the middle of my editing course and I'm going to start taking French classes in three weeks. I suppose a logical person would have started this earlier, and used their six months off of work (I bow to thee, unemployment gods) to do something constructive, but who needs logic?

I sat in a demo class (today was the AF's open house), and was really surprised at how much I understood (the teacher was speaking only in French). But when time came for me to introduce myself and explain why I was there--in French, of course--I could only manage to state my name and the fact that I lived in San Francisco before I started struggling to remember my long-lost vocab.

After an evaluation, it was suggested I sign up for Beginner Level 2. At first, I was frustrated--you would think six years of French (from 7th to 12th grade) would get me past the "beginner" level. But really, I haven't stepped inside a French classroom in eight years. So aside from watching Amelie repeatedly and spending a day in Paris a few years back, I haven't had much exposure to the language since high school. And when I read the description of their Beginner Levels 2, 3 and 4 ("You may have studied French a long time ago and are a bit rusty. With a little help from your teacher, your skills can re-surface faster than you think"), I figured it was a good fit...even if some of it is going to be review.

And to those of you wondering why I am taking French in the first place, I can only respond: Why not?

Say What?

So I was just sending out an e-mail with Yahoo, waiting for the usual "Your Message Has Been Sent" confirmation, but I didn't get it. Instead, I got this:

Um, yeeeeeeah. Right.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

Well, while I initially put my blackjack winnings from yesterday in my little personal fun fund--a few bucks stashed away for *me* - not bills, not groceries, but something for myself--it didn't take me but a few hours to realize that I wanted to get my hair done. After all, I hadn't gotten it highlighted since June, and my last cut was back in September or something. I was due. And, again, since I start my new job on Monday, I suddenly wanted to get it done quickly.

I called KRA Salon--the place where I've been getting my hair cut & colored for the past couple years--three times this morning before giving up and going to the back-up Zip Zap Hair--the place of my last haircut. Could they fit me in today? Yes? Excellent. Two hours later I arrived.

I must admit I was a pretty antisocial customer. Almost immediately after sitting down I pulled out my book--The Devil Wears Prada--and started reading. The only conversation I had with my male stylist (whose name I wasn't really sure of--I could have sworn the receptionist on the phone told me my appointment was with "Jane") was about what I was hoping to accomplish with my visit. So I told him I wanted to get blonde highlights, and that every time I get them I never seem to think they're bright enough. Okay, and he suggested doing two different tones of highlights, and got to work. And I read.

Part of me felt guilty. I mean, shouldn't I be all gossipy and talkative during my visit to a salon? But I quickly got over that guilt. I wasn't feeling particularly social, I didn't know this guy, and I was really enjoying my book. So the introvert in me took over.

Finally, after at least an hour and a half, he rinsed out the highlights and put me back in my chair. And I was freaked out at first--it didn't look any lighter at all. But once he started drying it, I did notice that it had lightened up. Though I think it may only be noticeable in bright light. Oh well. I really need to stop expecting my hair to be as light as Scarlett Johansson's or Gwen Stefani's when it's wet...or dry. It ain't gonna happen.

Oh, and my stylist? Turns out his name is James. Apparently I'm hard of hearing.

Thursday, February 09, 2006


I start my new job on Monday. So I figured that today would be the perfect time (and my last opportunity for three months - the length of my "full-time temporary employment") to take off in the middle of the week for a day trip and go... gambling. Though it was tough to be inside on such a beautiful day, don't worry - I'm no hermit. I have enough freckles (and "racoon eyes" from my sunglasses) from sunbathing over the past week to last me a month.

I asked Keith earlier this week if he felt like going, and he was down, so I made reservations on this bus that picks up just two blocks from my place and goes to the River Rock casino - about an hour north of the Golden Gate Bridge. $10 gets you a roundtrip ride and includes a tip for the driver. And when you consider that the toll for the bridge is $5 alone (if we were to drive up), it's not a bad deal at all. Plus they give you three $5 match-credit coupons when you arrive at the casino, so it's like almost like you're getting paid to ride the bus. Yes, that's my logic and I'm sticking to it.

So we get there and I blow five bucks on a slot machine, but only because I had just gotten some nachos and wasn't allowed to eat them at where I really wanted to be: the blackjack tables. Exxxxxxcellent.

I had two hundred dollar bills with me (all I was intending to spend), and went to the cashier to exchange one of them for ten tens (so I wouldn't go through all my money in one sitting, if my luck was crap). Keith was already playing and I joined him after circling the tables and discovering that there were, unfortunately, no $5 tables. My first $30 didn't last long, so I switched tables, hoping the next table would be luckier for me.

It was. Though I wasn't having much luck with doubling down. Every time I got two cards totaling 10 or 11 and I doubled down, I would get dealt like a 3 or a 4. And every time I had 10 or 11 and I didn't double-down, I would, of course, get a 10. And of course I wasn't winning every hand. But soon I was back to what I had started with, and then some.

Here's my thing: If I have chips in front of me, I'll bet them. So every time I had about $50 or $60 in front of me, I would turn five of my $5 chips in for one $25 chip, and stick it in my back pocket. I continued to do this after I started playing with my second hundred bucks, and what started as $200 ended up as $275. Woohoo. :)

But I still had over an hour before the bus would leave. Keith was playing Texas Hold 'Em, and I wanted, well, more. But I didn't want to spend any of the $275... so--and I realize this defines logic--I went to the ATM and took out $60. And I went to an empty table (the dealer's eyes pleaded for me to sit down), and slapped down $40. At first, I wasn't having much luck. She really liked dealing me 12s. And, invariably, when I hit on them I would get 22. But I few bad hands aside, my stack started piling up. As did the $25 chips that I kept putting in my back pocket. After playing for a half hour, I was out of money... aside, of course, from the green chips in my pocket.

My $60 had become $150. Which means, overall, I won $165 today. Not too shabby, eh?

Those Six Magical Words

Rumors have been flying, but she finally confirmed it today on Ellen: "I'm going on tour this summer."

And for those of you who didn't know I was a Madonna fan ("there are dozens of us! dozens!")... Hi, I'm Tara. Have we met?

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

An Educational Renaissance

Going to hear an author speak. Doing logic puzzles for fun. Enrolling in a UC extension course. Where was this thirst for knowledge when I was in college?

Okay, so what brought this on? Check it out...

I'm pretty happy right now because I went to see one of my favorite authors - Sarah Vowell - speak earlier this evening at A Clean Well-Lighted Place for Books. (All I can say is thank god for The Onion's event newsletter - I just found out about this yesterday!) But it got me thinking. I don't think five years ago I could have told you who my favorite author was... I doubt I had one (although I did become very fond of J.D. Salinger's short stories in college). And now I'm going to author readings? Hell, I even recently sought out a book club on craigslist - partly, I admit, to try to meet more people, but also because I figured it would expose me to more stuff to read. Right now (not including the book club book, which I've yet to get), I have four books (thanks to an Amazon.com gift certificate) on my bookshelf just begging to be read next. Actually, make that five, as I just picked up Sarah Vowell's latest in paperback today...

Okay, so I'm reading more. This is good. And I'm addicted to sudoku. Yep, that number placing logic game. I can be perfectly content sitting in a cafe, drinking coffee, listening to my ipod and doing sudoku puzzles. Or solving them on my computer. I've gotten pretty good at them. (And I'm not too shabby at cribbage or Scrabble either, if I do say so myself.)

Also, I'm currently enrolled in the UC Extension's professional sequence in editing. I'm currently in the first part the three-course sequence, at the end of which I will earn a certificate. I'm taking it online, and I'm excited - even about doing homework. Crazy. And this weekend I'm going to the Alliance Francaise's open house to possibly sign up for some French classes.

I think this is the first time in a long time -- or perhaps ever -- that I've actively sought out knowledge. Sure, I went to class in college, but I can't recall being really excited to learn at that time. But things have changed. Whether it's brain teasers or political essays (albeit with humorous slants) or trying to beef up my resume for a new career, I feel like I've been trying to jumpstart my brain. And it's a good feeling.

Good Thing I Wasn't Planning on Having Kids

Not that it should come as a shock, but apparently a recent study has concluded that raising kids is detrimental to your mental health.

So, if my not wanting kids because I have no maternal instincts ain't a good enough reason for someone, I suppose I can always tell them I don't want them for the sake of my sanity.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

*World* Champions?

Believe it or not, I watched the Super Bowl on Sunday. And it wasn't torture. But I must say I have issues with everyone (announcers, players, etc) referring to the Steelers as "world champions". Really. Let's be realistic. It's American football. The only reason you're "world champions" is because no one else in the world plays the sport.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Why I Sometimes Have No Faith In This Country (or: Why We Pretend to be Canadian When Travelling Abroad)

1) Bush is president.

2) Big Momma's House 2 (a sequel, for Pete's sake) was number one at the box office its opening weekend. It was number two last weekend, second only to When A Stranger Calls - "The call is coming from inside the house!" Oh come on.