December 02, 2005

Sarah: Visions of Sugarplums Dance... On my butt.

Every Christmas, I'm able to avoid many of the silly Christmas decorations. I don't have any Christmas tablecloths, resin snowmen, etc. My weakness? Christmas underpants. I have ten pairs. What adorns my bottom? Candycane stripes, elves, reindeer, gingerbread men, snowmen, and others. Oh, and my other Christmas splurge item? I own three Christmas cds.

Sarah: I'm Superficial.

Yesterday I applied for an editor position at The Superficial. Why? Because I read that site at least once a day, I want to be funny like them, and I'd love to be an editor. I don't know quite how the job would work, but I'm hoping that it's completely internet based. If that were the case, I could a) keep my current job (which I love), b) have an extra income from the part-time position that they are hiring for, c) have editorial experience, which I think is what I'd enjoy doing, and d) be considered funny, and possibly even have people other than my professors reading my work. So I'm hoping that I am seriously considered, but I know that the competition is tough, so I'm keeping my thoughts realistic.

The application process was fairly simple: Give some basic contact information, list websites you frequently read, write a short bio, and submit three sample posts. My sample posts are below:

While on tour together, Kelly Clarkson and Graham Colton found true love. I'm guessing this was not because of her fashion savvy.
"They have both lived in Dallas 'so they have that Texas thing in common,' a source close to the singers tells PEOPLE. "They're both very spiritual and mature for their ages. They are in a committed relationship."
One can practically bet money on a couple that has "that Texas thing" in common. Congratulations, Kelly. You've found what most of us can only dream of.
(Inspired by this article)

Matthew McConaughey is named the Sexiest Man Alive by People Magazine. And by "sexiest" they mean "the most orange".
(Inspired by this article)

Charlize Theron says she's tired of being noticed for her good looks. I want to like her, and I often do, but when the article says "it's part of her job to hide her looks," I think of another starlet, Eva Longoria. When actresses lament the burden that is their beautiful faces, it just makes people hate them. Well, that, and when they're complete bitches.
(Inspired by this article)

December 03, 2005

Lisa: 'Tis the Season

Last year we had just barely moved into our house, and I didn't really have my act together enough to put up any Christmas decorations besides the tree. Well, this year I am the master of my domain and I had the decorations up by the end of Thanksgiving weekend! I love how festive everything looks.

Here's the tree by the fireplace. We put it in the corner of the living room this year, instead of in front of the window, because we ended up bringing up the futon from downstairs for more seating. There just wasn't room for the tree in front of the window without major furniture rearrangement.

Here's the dining room table. I figure since its function is largely decorative anyway, having a large semi-permanent centerpiece will not be a problem.

I wanted to get a close-up on the ends of the runner, since I like it so much. I found it at the new HomeGoods attached to the T.J. Maxx near my house. Obviously, it's made for a bigger table, but we intend to get a bigger table eventually so that all works out.

On the IKEA cabinet under one of the Jamaica Trinnaman paintings I got for graduation, I put a bowl filled with cranberries in water. There are little oil lamps floating on top.

At HomeGoods I also found some garlandy stuff with red glass beads, and I strung it up on the dining room chandelier.

Last year, I bought a bunch of Christmas lights, but when we went to put them up, there were no plugs on the outside of the house! We asked our neighbors about our conundrum, and they recommended a little thingie that you screw in to a light-bulb socket that converts it into a plug. We used one during the summer to switch out our bare-bulb patio light for a string of lanterns:

Anyway, the same thing worked like a charm for the Christmas lights on the front porch! We just swapped out the light bulb in the porch light and went crazy.

Super fun! Plus, now I don't feel like all the neighbors are wondering why they let such undesirables move in.

December 04, 2005

Lisa: All Geared Up

I have been shopping around for the last few weeks, trying to find affordable running gear. Here are the basic outfits I came up with. The sports bras and tops are from Target, as are two of the pairs of pants. The other two pairs are from ShopKo. No cotton! Apparently, cotton is evil (at least as far as running in winter is concerned). Also, I refuse to wear those hideous running tights, unless someone gives me a really good reason why I have to.

I also wanted to make sure I had several options for different weather. I already had the green shorts...

and I had the windbreaker, too.

I found some good running shoes at the Nike outlet. The heels have some kind of spacey looking spring-esque cylinders, but the shoes feel pretty comfy. I'll give them a whirl. I got three different kinds of socks at Target, since I had no idea what I would like.

I already had this fleecy jacket from Old Navy that I think will work for staying warm, but I splurged on new gloves and a headband made from some special hi-tech material. They are just for runners, and they better be frickin' awesome.

So, I think I am all set! I hope I will be prepared for weather contingencies, etc. I'm sure as it gets warmer I'll have to get more shorts. Anyway, pre-training starts on Tuesday. Here's our schedule (a Word document) if anyone is interested.

December 05, 2005

Lisa: Dino-mite

I always intend to post cute or fun stuff I do for the library, so that I can remember it, but then I usually forget. (See how that works? It's a vicious cycle.) This time I remembered to take pictures, so you lucky people get to hear about my dinosaur storytime!

Here's the chair where I sit when I read the stories, and you can see the books and stuff that I have set out there. This time we read Find-A-Saurus, Ten Terrible Dinosaurs, How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?, and the awesome Dad's Dinosaur Day.

I set out a bunch of other dinosaur books for the kids to check out, too.

We always do songs and rhymes between the stories, and then usually one crafty project. On this website, I found a recipe for making dinosaur eggs, which I thought sounded fun.

You start with a mixture of flour, salt, used coffee grounds, and sand.

Then you add water to the mixture, to make it stick together.

I gave everyone a small plastic dinosaur (which were really hard to find for some reason--I finally had to get some at Toys R Us) and a scoop of Dino Dirt, and we packed the dirt around the dinosaurs. The eggs are supposed to look like rocks.

We let the eggs dry out for a whole week, until they were really pretty hard and rocklike, and then broke them open at the next week's storytime. Cute!

A few more helpful sites for dinosaur storytimes:
It's Storytime
SurLaLune Storytime
Milwaukee Public Library
BayViews Storytime Ideas
The Best Kids Booksite

Sarah: Duff... Man?

Not said by me, but still quote-worthy:
"Hilary Duff is not hot. Proof that it takes more than being blond and thin. I don't care how much she drowns herself in gloss, still not cute."

Pretty harsh, but not entirely untrue.

Sarah: Santa Baby...

Dear Santa,
I've been a very good girl this year, and have even made your job this year a little easier. At Lisa's brilliant suggestion, I've made an Amazon wishlist. You may have already noticed the link to this list on the left hand side of this page. I don't need a lot for Christmas this year, but I think it'd be great if I could get some running clothes and my textbooks for next semester. These items are on my wishlist with a "high" priority. I hope you drive safely on Christmas Eve, Santa. Oh, and make sure you look behind you if you need to reverse for any reason. I hear that really helps you avoid accidents.

Something to take note of: Lisa and I both have items from Bluefly on our wishlists. For the rest of this week only there is an extra 15% off coats and jackets if you buy directly from Bluefly. Worth looking into if Santa's considering getting us the coats on our lists.

December 06, 2005

Lisa: Pre-training, Day 1

This morning was officially the first day of pre-training for the marathon. Thirty minutes of walking at a moderate pace, so no big deal. We were supposed to meet at the Skyline HS track at 6 am, but unfortunately I was the only one who actually showed up. Not an auspicious start, LADIES. I got in to the track with no problem, but it was pretty dark and covered with a thin layer of crunchy snow. Luckily students started trickling in to the nearby buildings not long after I got there, so I didn't feel too freaked out about being alone in the dark in the middle of an empty field next to a deserted park and a gully. I don't know if the track is going to be a great place for us to train this winter, but I did notice there was a fairly well-lit sidewalk around the practice field that looked like it had been cleared. That path might be worth checking out. Anyway, I got around the track five times in 30 minutes at my "moderate" pace. My blue warm-up pants aren't remotely insulating, but the rest of my outfit kept me warm enough, especially once I got going. I did wear my parka over my fleecy jacket. Next time I am definitely bringing my iPod. I had Madonna's Like a Prayer stuck in my head the whole time.

132.5 lbs, 33% body fat

December 09, 2005

Sarah: Ping! My name. is. Ping.

(The title is a Mulan reference. I'm embarrassed FOR you if you didn't get it.)

Lisa wrote a cute entry a while ago, but when I was getting rid of spam from our site, I discovered it had been spam pinged 76 times. This is just sad. Spammers, leave my sister alone!!

Update: Today I found an entry by Lisa with 89 spam pings. Seriously out of hand.

Lisa: Pre-training, Day 2

WHAT: 30 minutes of walking in the freezing cold

WHEN: At six am, when I might mention it is extremely cold. I think I need to get some fleecy pants to wear over my running pants. Like a coat for my legs.

WHO: Lisa, Sarah, and Jessie (Yay! I was not alone! Jessie was on time, and luckily Sarah was sleeping at my house so I could wake her up and force her to come with us.)

WHERE: The neighborhood around my house, where the streets are quiet, flat, and relatively well-lit. Good for short distance walks/runs, but the area is probably too small for longer-distance sessions.

131 lbs, 32% body fat

Sarah: They're real people. Underneath.

Armando and I have started watching really bad horror movies. It's fun to watch something that makes you jump, but is also hilarious. So far I've refused to watch Frankenfish, but Armando kindly followed my suggestion and rented House of Wax when he came over to hang out on Saturday. I was certain this movie would be horrible. Why? Paris Hilton, for one. And no one can be smarmy and annoying quite like Chad Michael Murray. Ever since he called Rory "Mary" incessantly, I've hated him. So. We were primed for an awesomely awful evening. And House of Wax did not disappoint.

The movie was significantly better than expected (and way better than Boogeyman, also known as Darkness Falls Two: More of the Same). This is not to say that we couldn't see who was going to survive and who would die within the first 20 minutes of the film, or that the characters behaved like real people that might have seen a single horror film, or even had common sense, but it was entertaining. The deaths were scary, the antagonist was creepy, and I even was surprised by one situation. I don't want to give it away, however, because EVERYONE SHOULD RENT THIS MOVIE. You may think I'm insane, but you must watch the special features.

Information I learned from this dvd:
1. Spawn of Kiefer is a complete coffee fiend.
2. And the shortest person in the universe.
3. Paris Hilton is even more dumb than I could have imagined. But she does a pretty good job acting on the movie. Then again, she's portraying a rich slut, so perhaps it wasn't really 'acting' after all.
4. Chad Michael Murray may be a victim of typecasting: he perpetually plays a snotty, yet inwardly tortured punk kid.
5. Watching props fall on CMM's head is surprisingly satisfying. Possibly cathartic.

Four of the cast members (Spawn (aka Elisha Cuthbert), Chad Michael Murray, Paris Hilton, and Jared Padelecki (whose middle name is Tristan, and whose tv brother is named Dean, all of which is very confusing)) all sit on a couch to watch and discuss the deleted scenes. This was by far my favorite special feature. Spawn's coffee cup never gets more than a few inches from her face. JPad may or may not believe he is "down" (further supported by his robot dancing of the past). CMM always seems about two seconds from shouting "WHERE THE HELL IS MY AGENT?!" and walking offscreen. And Paris Hilton is either practically braindead, or heavily sedated.

Sample conversation:
PH: Oh yeah, that scene. They made us, like, do that scene over and over. And we kept having to like, go back? And do it over? Like, from the beginning. So I had to keep running. I was just like, so calm. So they made me run to get out of breath.
CMM: [staring at the tv screen]
Spawn: Oh my gosh, you guys. Oh my gosh. This was so. Funny. It wasn't on the script. He was just making it up? And we had to be serious. Oh my gosh. [Slurps coffee]
JPad: Oh yeah, it was, like totally so hard not to laugh.
CMM: You always say "like totally."
JPad: (flirtatiously?) Whatever. You're totally worse. You're all "like totally, like totally."
CMM: Yeah.
[Entire group watches tv as supporting cast member improvises a little song about the previous scene in the movie. It's actually fairly amusing. The scene changes, and the cast members seem about to discuss the next scene]
PH: No, he doesn't talk like that in real life.
[Awkward silence as the rest of the group thinks back to the conversation they were having five minutes earlier.]
Spawn: Yeah... He was acting. Making it up.

I could write more about the awesomeness, but I want everyone to experience it for themselves. Armando made me return it before Lisa had a chance to watch, though, and I was quite upset. Hopefully she and I will be able to arrange our own viewing.

Sarah: "I kissed Rory Gilmore and still got stuck with a James Van Der Beek cast-off."

Lisa and I discuss my review of House of Wax.

Lisa: So JPad and CMM totally flirt with each other.
Sarah: well, possibly. It could have been friendly banter, but I have a feeling that CMM does NOT heart JPad.
Lisa: Oh really? I am sure he thinks he is much better than him.
Sarah: He probably got passed over for the New York Minute role and has been bitter ever since.
Lisa: HA
Sarah: Or maybe I just WANT that to be the case.
Lisa: He chose Hilary Duff over MK&A.
Sarah: Plus, JPad got Rory.
Lisa: Hee. True, true. And CMM had to head over to the Creek to sex up one of Katie Holmes' sidekicks.
Sarah: lol. Which is sort of sad, really. Because that means he played second to James Van der Beek. Who is uggo. And a bad actor. And uggo.
Lisa: Hee. Totally. Beeky crying=audience laughter.

Lisa: Twinkletoes

Ever since Dance Dance Revolution came out for the Playstation and XBox, I have been bugging Blake every time we pass a game store to go in and ask if they're coming out with a dance pad for the GameCube. Of course, the game store employees always responded with a flat "No." Obviously they are hardcore gamers who do not consider DDR worth their valuable time.

Imagine my surprise when we were walking through the GameCube area at Best Buy last year, and there was a dance pad and a dance game just sitting right there on the shelf! It wasn't true DDR (it was a near-clone called MC Groovz Dance Craze), but it had to be mine. Honestly, the game was a bit disappointing, but I played it anyway, and I am excited to have the pad to use for the awesome Karaoke Revolution Party and as a second pad for the upcoming Dance Dance Revolution: Mario Mix.

I soon became fascinated with the fact that the Mad Catz dance pad has almost all the buttons of a standard 'Cube controller, and functions like a controller during gameplay. I wondered if the dance pad could be used to play other, non-dancing games. Recently, Sarah and I took the only course of action we could imagine: we challenged the GameCube master, Blake, to a dance-off. Of course, Blake absolutely refuses to play MC Groovz on the dance pad, so we had to be careful in how we posed the scenario.

Here was the setup:

Challenge #1: In the two-player dance mode on MC Groovz, Sarah and I (on the dance pad) faced off against Blake (playing on a regular controller).

Result: Sarah and I were strongly in the lead before Blake figured out how to perform some of the steps on the controller. For example, green arrows on the screen mean that you stomp on both of the indicated areas of the dance pad simultaneously. Since you can't move a joystick in two directions at once, Blake figured out (after some trial and error) that you have to move both the joystick and the c-stick, one for each foot. Once he figured these things out, he started closing in on our lead and we quickly moved on to Challenge #2.

Challenge #2: In the two-player mode on Soul Calibur, Blake (on the dance pad) was pitted against Lisa and Sarah (alternately, using controllers). We thought we would have this one in the bag, because although Blake has mad Soul Calibur skillz, playing on the dance pad would surely be a tough handicap to overcome.

Result: After an adjustment period of about three fights, Blake was using all kinds of combination moves and totally kicking our trash. He was hopping around on that dance pad like crazy, much how Pamie described Stee:

We are all horrible at the dance mat. And by that I mean "stee is awesome in ways we can't understand because his feet are bigger than the squares he's supposed to hit, and we don't understand why he can dance on this thing like a small boy trained in acrobatics, but the rest of us lumber through the 'easy' mode, hoping we don't look like total tools, knowing full well that we do."

Conclusion: You can take the controller away from the GameCube champion, but you can' he will totally slaughter you anyway. Also, I see now how Blake earned his high school nickname.

December 11, 2005

Lisa: Pre-training, Day 3

Today we had the most people yet! After some slight confusion as to which parking lot we were supposed to be waiting in, Mallory, Marci, Sarah and I met at the Olympus Hills Park for our walk. It said "closed for winter" on the signs, and the paths were snowy, but we decided to stay. There were several people walking their dogs, and some runners who were much more hardcore than we are were on the trails as well. It was cold when we started, but going up hills and up several sets of stairs soon got our blood going. We sort of did a figure 8 around the park's trails to get up to 30 minutes. Yay, us!

131 lbs, 31% body fat

December 12, 2005

Sarah: On the ball

I'm not meaning to gloat, I'm just so proud of myself, I had to share:
I am completely finished with making and purchasing Christmas gifts. I have three more to wrap (I ran out of cellophane at 1 am last night), and I'm waiting for one item to be shipped, and will then wrap that item. I also have purchased and wrapped my dad's birthday gift. I participated in a gift exchange with some internet friends, and the package I sent should arrive at its destination today, even though the delivery deadline is Dec. 16th. In short, I am more on top of Christmas than I have ever been in the past. I just needed to share my excitement.

Unfortunately, I still have items yet to be accomplished. Why are so many of my friends and family born around Christmas time? Still on the list:

Blake's birthday
Mal's birthday

Mom's birthday

Still, hurray for me! I won't be finishing gifts Christmas morning, like last year.

December 13, 2005

Lisa: Pre-training: Week 2, Day 1

This morning Marci and I walked on the track at her alma mater, Olympus High School. The track was dark and covered with bumpy, crunchy snow, but close to both of our houses. It was much warmer today than on Sunday, and we got around the track six times in our 30 minutes. Unfortunately Sarah was unable to join us due to her extremely painful unidentified floating tumor situation.

131.5 lbs, 30% body fat

December 14, 2005

Sarah: Biggie Smalls is the illest.

Armando picked me up from work to go to lunch:

Sarah: Hey, how's it going?
A: My hump. Myhumpmyhumpmyhump.
S: My lovely lady lumps.
A: There is so much bad music on the radio these days.
S: [Sarcastically] Sigh, It just hasn't been the same since Biggie died...
A: [Wistfully] I know...

December 16, 2005

Lisa: Pre-training: Week 2, Day 3

Unfortunately, when I go running alone everyone is subjected to an unflattering self-portrait. This is good for no one, people! This morning we were supposed to meet at Liberty Park, but due to extenuating circumstances involving alarm clock malfunctions and Lortab, it was just me.

Verdict: the sidewalks at Liberty Park were totally cleared, and going all the way around the park took almost the whole 30 minutes, so I think it will be a great place for us to train. It's a little scary alone in the dark, but no one menaced me or broke into my car or anything, so it was probably mostly in my head. Also, I still need to look into the fleecy pants option, because legs=cold.

129.5 lbs, 31% body fat

December 19, 2005

Sarah: And I thought Martha Stewart was the only person that used a bonefolder.

So, I know I have an Amazon wishlist, which I love, but I was completely overcome by the beauty of this site, and now I want the entire inventory. Everything is just so beautiful...
Lisa, you know how we were talking about how cool a bookbinding class would be? Well, it would be really cool. But you know how we can get our fix between now and when a class is possible? With their kits. Their pretty, pretty kits.

December 20, 2005

Lisa: Pre-training: Week 3, day 1

This morning Marci, Jessie, and I walked at Cottonwood High. At first we couldn't find the track, so we walked around the school instead. Actually, that worked pretty well because the school was well-lit and the snow had melted off the sidewalks. When we got around to the back of the school, we could see that the football field and track were sort of sunken down--the top level of the bleachers was even with the road behind the school. We found an open gate, headed down the steps, and went around the track four or five times. We are now at "fast walking pace," and I have to admit that it felt great--I could have kept going a while longer. It was more like exercise instead of some horrible punishment. I'm sure it helped that it was about ten degrees warmer than any of our previous training sessions. Anyway, yay us!

December 21, 2005

Lisa: Pre-training: Week 3, Day 2

WHO: Lisa and Sarah

WHEN: Today at 6 am. Do you realize how dark it is in December at 6 am?

WHERE: Sugarhouse Park

WHAT: Walking around the road that circles the park took about 25 minutes, and then we explored some little sidewalks around one of the picnic areas for the last five. The street was pretty well lit and clear of snow. We saw one or two other runners, but the park was pretty deserted. I think we'll be back here!

129 lbs, 31% body fat

December 23, 2005

Lisa: Pre-training: Week 3, Day 3

I snoozed my alarm for the first time on a running day this morning! Don't get me wrong, I am no stranger to the snooze button on regular days, but so far I have been good about hopping out of bed on training days when the alarm first rings. Maybe the fact that Sarah and I stayed up until 1:30 am watching Rounders after my concert had something to do with it. (Matt, call me!) Anyway, Sarah and I got to Tanner Park to meet Marci about 15 minutes late. The loop around the park is paved, and took us about seven minutes to walk all the way around at our "fast walking pace." Needless to say, it is not a big park. It was pretty dark, especially on the side of the loop furthest from the parking lots, and there were some muddy puddles to navigate around. I think it will be a good place for us to train once in a while, though, because it is so hilly. Also, if it weren't so dark I bet the view would be nice. The best news about this morning is that it was SO warm. I didn't need gloves or my coat! Not very Christmassy, but much better for early morning running.

130.5 lbs, 29% body fat

Lisa: They still haven't found/What they're looking for

I thought it was time for a few more treasures from the search keyphrases in our site statistics. And since I am a librarian by trade, I thought I would try to hook these people up with the information they were actually looking for when they found us instead.

  • pumpkin pocky
  • synonyms for boobs
  • joystick went crazy --I just liked this one. Joystick go CRAZY!
  • david boreanaz's email address --Let me know when you find it.
  • mallory at hooters
  • what shoes does chad michael murray wear in the movie house of wax???
  • swiffer diaper --?
  • yes we have no bananas lyrics one two three

    Good luck, wacky but intrepid searchers! May you find what you seek.

  • December 27, 2005

    Sarah: Deluxe Pictobox

    For Christmas, Armando gave me something small, metallic, and shiny. A pretty, pretty digital camera! Between the camera and my sudden urge to craft and/or improve my living space, you may be seeing some before and after pictures in the very near future. Let's see what I can accomplish between now and when school starts again!

    December 28, 2005

    Sarah: Crafty

    Doesn't everyone want a little extra income? I've been trying to think of a craft item I make that people would pay money for. Here's my list so far, but leave a comment if you have any ideas.
    I added potential price ranges, so please let me know what you think would be reasonable

  • Bath/beauty products $3-15 (I saw a 4 oz lotion bar selling for $9.50)
    (along the lines of what Lisa, Mom, Jessie, Mallory, and Marci recieved for Christmas)

  • Bud vases that hang in your window. $10
    I have yet to make up a prototype. This idea is still in my head, but I will post a picture when I make one (possibly this weekend).

  • Mosaic-ed items of some kind
    possibly picture frames, or this could be on a commission basis.

  • Marble magnets $5-10

  • Pins - 1.5 in. size $.30-.75 per pin
    (so far I've focused on celebrity faces, which I could not sell, but I could make some with words or drawings)

  • Record bowls (with their corresponding album cover made into a jewelry box) $10-25
    These have a hole in the bottom and are not for cereal. Dry foodstuffs or display items only.

  • Take-out boxes $5-15
    (again, like the girls got for Christmas - metal, for display or uses like holding pens)

    Does anyone have any ideas? Are you sympathetic in my quest? What would you pay me to make for you? What do people pay you to make?

  • December 30, 2005

    Lisa: Pre-training: Week 4, Days 1 & 2

    On Wednesday morning, Sarah, Jessie, and I met at Canyon Rim Park at 5:30 am to start the first of our 45-minute sessions. Besides a few dog-walkers, we had the park to ourselves. The basic sidewalk loop around the park took us about 12 minutes to walk, and we explored a few longer variations around the church next door and Canyon Rim Elementary School on the other side of that. We managed to completely freak ourselves out when we were walking around the side of the school through a little alley. Just as we were talking about spooky things you start thinking about when you're alone in the dark, the only streetlight in the alley went out, plunging us into darkness. OOOoooooOOOOO! Anyway, the only snag was that I didn't bring my headband thingie because I thought I'd be warm enough without it. I wasn't. Sarah lent me her scarf to wrap around my head, which looked awesome I'm sure. I think Jessie's new pedometer said we had gone about 2.2 miles.

    Here are Jessie and Sarah:

    Note my obvious chagrin that they are so photogenic so early in the morning:

    This morning we were supposed to meet at the Parley's Crossing section of the Bonneville trail. I waited for a while in the little parking lot at the south end of the crossing, but eventually set off alone. The whole point of this section of the trail is to allow bikers and pedestrians to cross the mouth of Parley's canyon, which otherwise is traversed only via a triangle of interlacing freeways going in and out of the canyon and across the canyon opening. The trail is parallel to freeway most of the way, so there is some ambient light, but there are no lights specifically for the trail itself. I would bet the crossing is one of the coldest trails in the valley, since runners are unprotected from the winds blowing out of the canyon almost the whole way. Luckily, this time I remembered my headband, coat, and gloves. There is also a wicked incline at each end of the trail, getting into or out of the canyon area. It took me a good 25 minutes each way to walk the whole length of the crossing, but I had plenty of graffiti to read. It was the usual stuff, like "Sheriff got a shotgun," "Beta Theta Pis think Delta Gammas are hot" (news flash!), and "Rotting human flesh this way."

    Here I am back at my car. I even put on tinted chapstick to combat that no-lipped look I apparently favor in the cold pre-dawn hours. I still have the giant, self-portrait-induced nose of doom though, so there should be something comfortingly familiar for you.

    12/28/05: 130 lbs, 31% body fat
    12/30/05: 128.5 lbs, 31% body fat

    Sarah: Crafty, continued.

    At Lisa's request, I took pictures of my craft items. I can't find my bag of marble magnets, so the list is incomplete. Also, this is my first time posting pictures, after a short crash course. Let me know what you think, upon inspection.

    Pins (some examples):


    (quarter shown for scale)

    Record bowl:

    (this one is more wacky-shaped than the other bowl i've made. All, however, would have a charmingly original, handmade, irregular shape. Oh, and yes, it IS a Barry Manilow record.)
    full of pins:

    Take out box:

    Jessie's suggestion to have this box as my trademark packaging was cute, but it'd probably considerably raise the cost of items. Well, by at least $3. Also, the boxes take a while to make. I like them, but they're a little labor intensive. Perhaps I can find a more efficient way to produce these.


    and a closeup, with a quarter for scale, to understand the size of the tiles:

    Ta-DA! I await your comments with baited breath.

    December 31, 2005

    Lisa: forte

    The other day someone whose intelligence I respect insisted that the preferred pronunciation of the non-musical forte is "fort." I had never heard this before, and frankly thought it sounded wack, but I figured I should do her the courtesy of at least looking it up. It turns out we were both sort of right.

    From Merriam-Webster online:


    2 : one's strong point
    usage In forte we have a word derived from French that in its "strong point" sense has no entirely satisfactory pronunciation. Usage writers have denigrated \'for-"tA\ and \'for-tE\ because they reflect the influence of the Italian-derived forte. Their recommended pronunciation \'fort\, however, does not exactly reflect French either: the French would write the word le fort and would rhyme it with English for. So you can take your choice, knowing that someone somewhere will dislike whichever variant you choose. All are standard, however. In British English \'fo-"tA\ and \'fot\ predominate; \'for-"tA\ and \for-'tA\ are probably the most frequent pronunciations in American English.

    Far be it from me to suggest that because something is common it is correct, but I think I will be sticking with the majority of my American compatriots and pronouncing the E. Anyway, "fort" just SOUNDS wrong.