Aw, Shucks...

I was reading my Yahoo mail the other day and came across an email that really made my day.

"I just love your blog!"

Aw, shucks, thanks.

"I've been a lurker for months, and this is the first time writing to you."

Well, that's always nice to hear.

"Keep up the great work; I really enjoy the chuckles you provide."

Gosh, you're making me blush now.

Wow, what a nice surprise. Who the heck was this from, anyway? I look at the signature.

All the best, Maureen

Cool! Another Maureen! It's not like that name is popular.

at I'd Rather Be

Oh, crap.

I was reading my SENT folder, not my INBOX.


You Can Dress Me Up, But...

I'm lucky. Not only do I have a job I enjoy, an office close to home and the ability to "flex" my hours, but I also am allowed a very casual dress code. Being the Cardiac IT Geek at our hospital, I am often found crawling under desks installing equipment, taking apart hardware, or schleping systems from room to room. So I am in jeans and low-heeled practical shoes most of the time.

Okay, 99.999999 % of the time.

Techie AccessoriesIf I have a meeting to attend, I may throw on a blazer to "dress up" a bit, but mostly it's just jeans, turtlenecks, sweaters, or the odd cotton shirt with a cartoon or Star Wars tie. I even accessorize with the latest in geek attire; a pager, Palm Pilot, and USB flash drive dangling from my keychain.

Yes, I AM a Fashion Icon for Nerds n'est pas?

It is extremely rare that I have to wear something non-denim, but today was one of those occasions.

The distinguishd team of Royal College Reviewers (the medical governing body to determine if we are worthy to teach Residents) were visiting our program for Accreditation. Of course, everyone wanted to look their best.

Including moi.

I showed up bright and early in my light grey dress pants, deep grey turtleneck topped of with a charcoal blazer, heels AND silver jewelry that didn't have the name of a software manufacturer inscribed on the side. I was uncomfortable, but I looked acceptable.

So of course, I chose today of all days to

dump chili into my lap at lunch.

Gad... I am such a Nerd.

Well, At Least My Card Had A Christmas Vacation

Errant Envelope
A curious envelope appeared in our mailbox this past Tuesday. The handwriting was large and clear, but unfamiliar to me. (NOTE: I purposely blurred part of the address for this story). Interestingly, it was postmarked December 7, 2007.

Upon opening it, I soon discovered that it was in fact a Christmas card from my nephew and his wife in London.


Um. Okay. Then why the heck did it have "Missent to Bermuda" stamped on it?

Bermuda? Canada?

Well, they both DO end in "da"...

Royal MailI can just imagine the scene: the tiny, ancient Royal Mail© Post Office depot in Muswell Hill, North London. Inside, two senior mailsorters slowly sift through the immense Christmas workload scattered all around them:

"Blimey, Jasper.... will ya look at this..."

"Wot, Alfie?"

"This 'ere letter. Where the 'eck is "Canada" anyways?"

"I 'aven't the foggiest... but it rhymes with Bermuda. Close enough, innit?"

"Brilliant! Off you go, then." Alfie dumps the envelope into the bag headed south.

"Jolly good" Jasper adds, kicking a parcel clearly labelled FRAGILE out of his path as they depart for afternoon tea. *

I guess it could have been worse. It could have reached us sometime over the next few months after circuitous travels to Barbuda, Grenada, Rwanda and Uganda.

(And yes, I DID look those up as a matter of fact. Do you really think I knew that list by heart?)

My next question is, are there so many things mistakenly sent to Bermuda that they actually need a RUBBER STAMP to deal with them all?

So it took 66 days for it to reach us.

Perhaps next winter I can mail myself by Royal Mail and have a great vaca on the beaches of Bermuda for only 78 p.

*With apologies to my UK friends. Actually, I am making fun of Postal Workers, not the British. No apologies to my Postal Worker friends are necessary, because you guys would NEVER be able to figure out where I live to inflict any physical retribution anyway.

Set The Wayback Machine to 2002 Sherman

When I tell you that I am a Geek, you'd better believe it.

A Nerd. Dweeb. Dork. Whatever.

The fact is, I am a Geek with a capital G mostly because of Star Wars. I admit it.

Ray Park and meI swiftly graduated the Nerd Scale from simple fan to Convention Speaker in a few short years, working with the likes of Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia), Ray Park (Darth Maul), Dave Prowse (Darth Vader), Kenny Baker (R2-D2), Warwick Davis (Wicket), Lucasfilm staff and more. I was even invited to visit "Mecca" to all Star Wars fans - Skywalker Ranch in California. The opportunities that opened up were like an exquisite dream to a science fiction Geek like me.

But the Dark Side of fandom reared its ugly head while I was working The Star Wars Celebration II convention in 2002.

Upon arrival in Indianapolis, I shared a limo with Phil Brown (Uncle Owen), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) and their wives. Peter really is very tall, and has trouble walking on those long, bowed legs. We chatted on our way to the hotel, and it was nice to meet his wife who was very personable. When he climbed out of the limosine, Peter dropped his sunglasses. I retrieved them for him without so much as a "thankyou" from the big Wookiee.

Ah well, no biggie, I thought.

Like most people working the convention, I was extremely busy so I had to squeeze in opportunities to get autographs whenever I had a free moment. Carrie was extremely pleasant; we discussed our daughters who are very close in age. She signed a photo I had already had Mark Hamill sign. Since we had already met, I thought getting Peter to sign it too would be easy...

Um. Right.

Because I was staff, I didn't have to wait in the huge lines in the Autograph Hall. Peter's wife was helping him at his booth and she remembered me from the limo so we started chatting. I asked him if they were keeping him busy. Without looking up, he growled "Yes. And I am taking a break!" So I politely asked if I could just leave a photo for him to sign.

To my horror, he got up, leaned forward, lowered his 7 foot frame to my 5 foot 4 level, stared me straight in the eye and yelled "Are you deaf? I said I was TAKING A BREAK!"

Autographs"Uh... Um...." I was dumbfounded.

And oh so eloquent. NOT.

"Well? ARE you deaf?" He continued so loud EVERYONE could hear. Even if yes, I were deaf, I would have gotten the message. Loud and clear.

But shock kept me from forming actual words. All I could do was shake uncontrollably as tears welled up in my eyes.

"Errrr.... Ahhh...." Was all my brain could process.

Bravo. Way to stand up for yourself, Maureen.

My ability for a brilliant comeback, or heck, ANY comeback, as usual, failed me.

His wife was mortified... she took my photo and coupons (I paid, just like any other convention goer even though I didn't have to) and told me she would get him to sign it; could I come by to pick it up later?

Stunned, I just nodded and walked away...

Then I considered going back and telling him I didn't even WANT his stupid autograph anymore. But I left it, too scared to return and finally picked it up later that evening after he had left.

How brave am I?

Fortunately, he was the only celebrity that I've had a bad experience with. One of the sweetest people I've met was another Peter; Peter Diamond was a stunt coordinator for all the films, a Tusken Raider and also the Stormtrooper who falls into the chasm during the famous "swing" scene (he taught Mark how to do that trick). He saw what happened, took me aside, hugged me and told me in his crisp English accent that Mayhew was "just a hospital orderly whose height had gotten him the only acting part he ever had. He wasn't a true actor, and didn't appreciate how precious the fans were."

THAT Peter was a Gift. In his seventies, he was like having my own father there. When we parted at the airport after the convention, he kissed me goodbye on the cheek.

I was so sad when I heard he passed on a little while later.

So anyway, that was the day that will forever be remembered as:

" The Day I Got Chewed Out By Chewbacca "

Meanie Mayhew

Public Displays of Idiocy

Inflected Form(s):
plural id·i·o·cies
Date: circa 1529
: something notably stupid or foolish

Especially when practiced in public.

In front of your teenager.

Who will never let you forget it.

The latest display of my superior lack of intelligence? Well, let's rewind back to last winter when I was in dire need of a winter coat. Since my current frock no longer had a functioning zipper (which is preferable when it is - 40C) I HAD to purchase a new one. But I hate clothes shopping for the most part, so I usually go for ANYTHING with the lowest price tag.

Michelin Man

After an exhaustive search (okay two shops), low and behold to my wallet's extreme pleasure, I found a full-length, down-filled coat (with hood!) for a measley $ 37.50. Yup, originally priced at $ 150, it had been marked down 50% and then that day all coats were another 50% off.

But it wasn't perfect.

It was...... WHITE.

So even though it made me look like the Michelin Man, I couldn't pass it up. It felt like I was wearing a down sleeping bag.

Now, I usually stay away from real down as it has to be dry cleaned. Even though the garment quickly showed EVERY smidgen of dirt, I put off taking to the dry cleaners because:

1) If you haven't noticed by now, I AM a cheapskate

2) Every time I realized it needed cleaning, it was because I needed to wear it in arctic-like weather... so I couldn't do without it.

Finally yesterday, I could no longer stand the disgusted stares of strangers who must have assumed I crawled out of the gutter. With my teenage daughter in tow, I broke down and found a Perth's near home. I hauled the flithy garment onto the counter, aologizing for the spectacle.

As if to punish me for my obvious Reprehensible Garment Neglect, the clerk informed me it would be "at least a week to get it back".

A week? It was friggin' cold outside, and I had only my zipperless coat to wear. Geez. Well, I guess I had no choice.

"And it will be $ 25" she cheerily added.

$ 25 !!!!! That's nearly as much as what it cost!

Care Tag
Oh, and then the best part... it didn't need to be dry cleaned after all. It needed "Professional Wet Cleaning".

Um, what?

Stupid me ... I didn't even check the care tag, which the clerk proudly pointed out and explained slowly and in small words for my obvious low mental capacity.

White Coat

Yup. All along, I could have simply popped the damn thing into our large capacity washer and dryer and avoided all the embarrassment.

So I sheepishly pulled the coat back into my arms and took it home to wash.

Gad, I hate looking stupid AND cheap in front of my teenage daughter...

But I think, sadly, she is used to it by now.

Set The Wayback Machine to 1977 Sherman

Wayback to 1977
I was positive I was going to be expelled from high school that night.

My fate was sealed. Beyond a shadow of a doubt. Eleven years of good behaviour down the drain in an instant...

...all because I held the distinguished position of "Social Convenor" on Student Council in 1977. That meant I was in charge of organizing pep rallies, social events and dances. Responsible for everything from paying bills to booking help, drawing posters and hanging banners.

Dig that hoodie / overalls combo

For my first big school dance I had the incredible luck to sign an up-and-coming local rock band to play. A group that went on to sign with CBS and the producer for Aerosmith; their hits reaching platinum a few years later... but for reasons which shall become crystal clear later in this post, I'll decline to identify the band's name.

So the night of the big dance arrived. All the tickets were sold. The gym was decorated. The canteen was stocked and manned. The band had arrived but I still was freaking out that something could go wrong.

I met the four musicians at the door and directed them to the change rooms so they could get into their 70's platforms, sequined jumpsuits and rhinestone accessories. As their equipment was being set up, I supervised like a good Social Convenor should. Then the boys came out for a last-minute dress rehearsal.

And that's when I foresaw my Grade 11 butt getting ceremoniously booted out the front door of my Collegiate.

My life was over.

For as they joined me on stage to do the sound check, my eyes couldn't help but fall upon the lead singer and his er.... "revealing" one piece fish-net jumpsuit.

With nothing on underneath.


Except skin. Lots of skin.... and ... *shudder*

Did I mention it was "revealing"????

Yup. I got me a full-frontal close-up show of the "man" himself.

My sixteen-year old mind went blank. I think I stammered something incomprehensible. I really can't recall. All I remember is dashing off the stage as the band returned to their dressing room.

I watched in horror as the gym quickly filled with my schoolmates, all excited to see the live band and dance the night away. They pushed their way to the front of the gym as I screamed inside my head "NO! Not so close!"

Ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod.

My teachers... the principal! They were all there too.

This can't be happening.

Then the show started, the band took the stage with the lead singer now sporting his guitar. A low-slung electric that thank God covered his.... er, not-so-privates. The lights went down and they rocked the night away.

That dance was the biggest social event in years.

And no one was the wiser... except the Band and the Social Convenor.

Obviously I never did tell anyone about the "show" I was privy to until I graduated. I may have been naiive, but I wasn't stupid. They couldn't kick me out of high school if I was already outta there.

But I'll never be able to listen to that band's music without the memory of that jumpsuit burned into my brain...

Early To Rise

I'm a glutton for punishment.

Or a complete idiot.

Last month I came to the brilliant conclusion that if I was going to get everything done before the holidays, I had to get some extra hours in at the office.

Yes, I AM that concientious. Or paranoid I'd lose my job. Or both.

Suffice to say, only seven working days in December wasn't enough to clear my desk of all that "the-world-will-end-if-this-doesn't-get-done" crap. So I started pulling myself out of bed at the ungodly hour of 0530 and arrived at the office early each day.

An hour and a half early.


Actually, the advantages of getting up and on the road before any normal person soon became clear:

- No traffic (none, nada, zilch), saving me from all those crazy rush-hour drivers. I could have driven down the oncoming lane if I wanted to and no-one would be the wiser... (I said I COULD have. But I didn't.... Yet.)

- Travel time was cut to about one-third; from 30 to 10 minutes, saving mucho denaro in gas. (Take THAT, oil companies!)

- It was even too early for some traffic signals to be working at that hour; saving me from those dammed red-light cameras which are strategically placed on every route to and from work.

- I get the best parking spot, saving me a long walk from the upper echelons of the parkade (completely ignoring that much-needed exercise after the traditional excess that is the holidays).

- I get a lot more work done when I'm alone and without constant interuptions to help others with computer-related (non)crises, saving my sanity.

So now that I'm back to work after the holiday break, I'm still getting a jump start on the day. Sometimes I work, sometimes I blog...

And sometimes I just snicker at the reports on my radio about all the other commuters stuck in long, cold traffic jams.

Whilst I sip on freshly-brewed coffee behind closed doors in my nice warm office.

Set The Wayback Machine to 1967 Sherman

WABAC 1967
When I was young we lived so close to my elementary school that most days I could run home at lunchtime.

Yes, I ran... so I could spend every minute possible watching the noon-hour cartoons broadcast on one of the three (yes, THREE!) stations we received on our black and white console television.

I don't recall the lunches my mother lovingly prepared each day... I just remember munching on something while sitting cross-legged on the floor, laughing along with Yogi Bear, Pixie and Dixie (and Jinx the cat), Mighty Mouse, Rocky and Bullwinkle (with Sherman and Mr. Peabody, natch), The Flintstones, Jetsons, Tennessee Tuxedo, Underdog and Quickdraw McGraw. Cartoons were my favorite form of entertainment.

Actually, they still are. Along with the original Bugs Bunny episodes, those shows gave me some of my first artistic inspirations. During class I didn't doodle unicorns, flowers or hearts in my scribblers like the other girls. Nope, my margins were filled with portraits of Quickdraw or Boo Boo.

At one time I really contemplated becoming a cartoonist. I wanted a lightbox, tilted drawing table and tall chair to create magic with. I checked out books at the library on how to animate. I even tried my hand at a few original characters... but as I grew up, my priorities changed and the cartoonist inside me never did emerge as anything more than a silly fantasy.

Quickdraw McGraw
I wish I still had some of those early drawings... I still remember the curve of that horse's snout, the bandana and huge cowboy hat. I drew him so much I could do it from memory.

Little did I know that 40 years later, I would STILL be drawing him, wishing I had followed my dream of being an animator.

Ah well. At least I can still get my fix of some of those old shows watching the new Teletoon Retro station. I don't need 100 cable TV stations; heck, I don't even need THREE anymore. I just turn it on to Teletoon and I'm happy.

TeleToon RetroI only hope one day they expand their repetoire and add Quickdraw, Yogi and more to the lineup; just like it was in 1967.

Grrrrrrr.... and Brrrrrr

It's not a good sign when you come home from your first day back at work to a cold house.

And it's not a great sign when you spend all evening watching your thermostat slowly dip lower and lower... despite frantic attempts to follow complex instruction books and user manuals.

It's an even worse sign when you wake up at 4 am to a freezing house, even though you THOUGHT you had the problem solved at 1 am.

Yup, all the signs point to the feared "Furnace On The Fritz".

And the timing couldn't have been worse. Of course, this HAD to happen:

- In January... when it is - 20 C outside.

- Only days after extravagent holiday spending.

- On what would have been my second day back to work after two weeks vacation.

Thank goodness we have a never-fail low-tech Backup System:

... as I was assured by the heating company that the repairman will be here "sometime this afternoon".

Damn well better be. We bought our top-of-the-line, energy-efficient furnace from them just a little over a year ago.

Now where the heck are those marshmallows?

A New Year, A New Obsession

And so it begins... I've discovered yet another vice to squeeze into my already full life. I guess it's not enough that I am a wife, mother, full-time employee, collector, scrapbooker, pet owner, avid reader, webmaster and blogger. Nope.

Now I can add Digital Painter to that list.

Here is my second piece that I finished on my Wacom tonight, after three days work. Not counting the time spent doing my other family duties (which unfortunately haven't miraculously disappeared), I would guess that I worked on this a few hours per day. So this took about 6 - 8 hours total.

And in the true form of obsessive behaviour, I am already planning the next project in my head.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Yeah, I should be doing laundry, yardwork, cleaning the house or planning meals. But frankly, I'D RATHER BE BLOGGING... about things like this.

Wanna know more?
Click the "About Me" tab above.

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