Thursday, June 28, 2007

On meeting a mate

Apropos of my recent Huff Po piece on Holly Peterson's novel The Manny, I wanted to share some thoughts on a prevailing female fantasy: the idea that Mr. Right is somewhere out there in public.

'In public' is a really bad way to meet romantic partners.

In the book, wealthy Upper East Side working mom Jamie Whitfield hires a male nanny, Peter Bailey, then falls for him. Jamie and Peter first meet in Central Park, where Peter is teaching a group of underprivileged kids how to play chess.

It’s hard to imagine any Upper East Side yummy talking to a strange guy (however cute) in Central Park, much less asking him to babysit her kids.

The probability of meeting your future partner in public is pretty remote: only 9 percent of women and 2 percent of men say they’ve formed a relationship with someone they met in a public place (including a bar or club), according to the 1994 book Sex in America: A Definitive Survey. The majority of successful couples meet through mutual friends, school, church or work.

When the meeting place is Central Park, it’s even more unusual that the guy isn’t completely nuts. The one time I went out with a guy I met in Central Park, he turned out to be a professional harmonica player with a sister who used to be his brother. He spent a good ten minutes of the date making fun of my keychain. Need I say that we never went out again?

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

DIY Diaper Bags

Via Daddytypes, here's a craft for the non-crafty: a DIY diaper bag made out of an Ikea shopping bag.

I've always been a big fan of the sturdy woven plastic cloth that Ikea uses for their in-store shopping bags. That notion is clearly shared by millions of homeless people, since I see all of them carrying those rectangular red-white-and-blue plaid bags made of similar material.

Like everyone else of my demographic, I have the Skip Hop diaper bag in red canvas. I've found that lately, if I put a whole lot of stuff in it, the clip spontaneously detaches from the bag and falls off the stroller. Especially when I'm crossing the street, meaning that I trip and look like a moron. More so than usual.

Another issue: my Skip Hop smelled like feet last week. The smell bugged me for a day or so, then I did an excavation and discovered a forgotten banana in the bottom of the bag.

Somebody put it in there and forgot about it. I'm not going to say who. A great deal of Zout was required to get the banana stains out of my kid's spare outfits and sun hat; and I'm pleased to report that the Skip Hop survived its trip through the washing machine, despite the warning to hand wash only.

Perhaps the Ikea bag will prevent mid-street spills. For the banana troubles, I suspect I'm on my own.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Questions Answered

Thanks to Jordan for tipping me off to this site: Make Up Your Own Mind, a collection of questions that customers have asked of McDonalds workers in the UK. The questions range from sensible to aggressive to downright bizarre.

Some favorites:
"You know when the american bloke ate McDonald's and got very fat and nearly died? What was that movie called? I wanted to rent it but couldn't remember the name...

why dont you have a better selection of vegetarian/halal meals?

what are the chances of you being able to use halal meat and chicken in your shops i am fed up eating fillet of fish all the time i own an indian takeaway an know that it is lot easier to source halal meat especially chicken than to find non halal.booker cash and carry the biggest in the uk now only sell halal chicken because it is the same price and quality and allows more people to buy it.also you supply all hlal food in muslim countries so it cant be too much of a problem

we would like to know if its possile that there could be a halal range of food at mcdonalds because we enjoy mcdonald but cant eat certain food which is a real shame we also like to now if we couhave a new home devilivery system thanxs

why do mcdonalds not have any halal food items on thier menus? my best friend is muslim and she always eats at mcdonlads but can never eat anything but the vegetarian and the fish

why dont you serve halal food?"

To answer: Supersize Me; there will not be any halal food in the near future; there will not be any McDonalds delivery in the near future.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Big Fish

A Florida woman was knocked unconscious by a flying sturgeon while boating on the Suwanee river this weekend.

This is the second such injury a leaping sturgeon has caused on the river this year. The first victim lost her pinkie finger and a tooth.

NPR covered the story during last night's drive time; a reporter interviewed Captain Roy Brown of the Florida Fish & Wildlife Department, who was an expert on flying fish. (How do you find a flying fish expert? Are there any on ProfNet?) Captain Brown said that he had been injured by a leaping fish, too. The host did an admirable job of restraining his laughter and signing off so he could turn off the mic and crack up.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Sopranos Ends Badly

Just watched the Sopranos finale on HBO... and my word, was it disappointing. I haven't been so disappointed at a series finale since Seinfeld ended with the cast in fake prison.

So, the last scene shows Tony and Carmela and A.J. in the diner, and a Suspicious-Looking Hitman Type lurking in the background as Meadow rushes in the door.

Dave's current theory is that Meadow is running in with bad news. Debatable. I was all pumped for Meadow to walk in on her family getting whacked by the Suspicious Hitman Type. But maybe nothing happens? And maybe they all get whacked? Or maybe just Tony?

I'm imagining that if Tony gets indicted, his lawyer is going to get him off the hook again. The guy seems really good.

I was also kind of hoping that Tony would flip, just to save himself-- that would have been unexpected. But totally out of character, so ultimately not a possibility. The writers were clearly teasing us (the audience) with this idea, however-- when Tony got into the car with his friend the FBI agent, things looked set up for Tony to go over to the other side.

But. You can't just end a series with a blackout. David Chase, you have really pissed me off. A blackout? Seriously? You have got to be kidding me. What a cop-out. At least give me another montage of scenes from New Jersey, or a shot twenty years in the future with a gray-haired Tony Soprano watching Meadow's kids graduate from high school, or a shot at Uncle Junior's funeral, or Domenica having Janice committed because Janice is a Borderline Personality Disorder wacko like Tony and Janice's mom. Something. Didn't you see the end of Six Feet Under, David Chase? Now that was an ending.

Give me an epilogue. If I've committed to watching an entire series, I want it finished off with a glimpse into the future. I want finality. Uncertainty is for the birds. Life is uncertain; TV shows are about plot. Life has little to no plot, and I super-duper don't want my television to haunt me with unresolved narrative threads. We crave the narrative climax and the resolution-- they're part of what we understand storytelling to be, throughout the world and throughout cultures.

Freakin' TV. I hate you tonight.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Off-Label Cell Phone Use

Recently, I was home alone with the sleeping babe and I needed to take the garbage downstairs. Since we live in a loft, we don’t have a baby monitor. In an inspired MacGyver Mama moment, I improvised a baby monitor using two phone lines. I called my cell phone from the cordless home phone, and then put the cordless handset next to the crib. With the cell phone on speaker, I listened to the sweet sound of silence.

This make-do baby monitor would be useful for those times when you go on vacation and forget the baby monitor—just use two cell phones set on speaker. Most family cell phone plans have unlimited mobile-to-mobile minutes, so there’s no worry about running up the bill.