Laughter & Maryment

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Location: Tampa, Florida, United States

A girl living in Tampa Bay for the last 11 years. I mostly fill my time with friends, creative hobbies like community theater and arts and crafts, movies and tv, and other random fun things to try.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Photo Catchup!

Ok, so I have a bunch of photos to share. I just haven't got caught up on all of them. Here's stuff from Morgan's Graduation:

Photos of the Shakespeare in Hollywood cast. I'm in one of them -- see if you recognize me!

Memorial Day Weekend's Bahamas cruise photos:

I think that does it for now!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

5 Second Rule?

On Monday, I had a lunch meeting at the College of Public Health at USF. Lunch meetings where lunch is provided is a rarity in these days of budget cuts. As it turns out, the delivery guy forgot out cookies. So the meeting attendees had all sat down to their lunches by the time the cookies made it to the room. Since I was presenting, and would be talking through most of the meeting, I opted to get a cookie before we began so that I would indeed get one. I stood up and went to grab an oatmeal raisin one. It was crumbly, and fell apart when I picked it up. It fell onto the floor and rolled under the desk where the food had been placed.

So while everyone watched, I had to crawl down on my hands and knees to pick up this fallen cookie (a majority of the cookie -- only a small crumb had remained in my hand). So I picked it up and threw it in the trash. The hostess of the meeting said, "Did you throw that away?" And I said, yes, it had been on the ground. She then dug the cookie out of the trash, wiped it with a dry paper towel, and handed it back to me!!

Everyone else at the table -- Ph.D.'s in Public Health, mind you, basically told me that with the 5 second rule, it was fine! When I asked, did the COPH faculty indeed endorse the 5-second rule, they confirmed that they subscribed to conventional wisdom.

Now, had she wiped the cookie off from the floor and handed it back to me, I probably would have just been grossed out a little, but it made my skin crawl that she'd fished it out of the garbage can to hand back to me. I sat there through the whole meeting and didn't eat it. At the end of the meeting, one of the non-Ph.D.'s in the room (representing the college's administration), offered me a replacement cookie out of the box. So all's well that ends well.

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Friday, May 15, 2009

Song Analysis File #2 -- Love In This Club as sung by Usher

Some of you may remember from my personal homepage that I had started a new feature that never really took off. That was the Song Analysis. Song File #1 was about Heart's "All I Wanna Do." What follows is file #2.

It has long bothered me that Usher's "Love In This Club" has masqueraded as a romantic song. The tempo, melody, and smooth R&B music all point to a tender, sweet song. The lyrics, however, prove otherwise.

The first words of the song are "I gotta do it for the ladies." Thanks, Usher. We always appreciate it. We know that singing this song has to be a real sacrifice for you and all the other men around.

The song starts out well, actually. Our hero (OH for short) tells his female of interest (FOI) that he intends to take her out and "do (her) right." Despite the obvious double meaning there, in context it looks like he's going to take good care of her while they're out together and follows up with a promise to keep buying her drinks all night. Of course, there is an ulterior motive for keeping her drinking, but for now, it still sounds pretty nice.

Mind you, we are unsure at this point whether they came to this club together or met there. From the "tell me what you're sippin' on" line, though, we have to assume he wasn't around when she ordered her (presumably) first drink. So I'm guessing they just met.

He then tells her that he knows she's dancing provocatively just to entice him. This is a pretty big assumption considering they just met. But all is forgiven in the next line, because apparently she's giving him the "come hither" stare across the dance floor, which moves OH to the hook, bringing him to tell us that "(He) want(s) to make love in this club." He repeats "in this club" 6 more times just to make sure we know the location he means.

In your car? No, in this club. At my apartment? No, in this club. Next door at the Irish pub? No, in THIS club. Just so we're clear.

Ah-ha! With the next verse, we become sure that they have just met in this club. (Whoa, so talk about an indecent proposal. Have sex in public? Dude, I just met you. What kind of girl do you think I am? Or how drunk do you think I am?) Anyway, the cue for this assumption is OH tells FOI that if she's with her friends, that's ok. They can hang out with his friends while OH & FOI get to know each other. Um, I hope her friends are more sober than FOI. And I hope they're watching OH's every move.

In the next bit, we find out that she's actually across the room dancing, and apparently making eyes at him from there. But no, he's on his way over. Are we sure that she's really making eyes at him, or is she really just watching him warily?

Then he says, "If we close our eyes it could be just me and you." Seriously? Have you ever been to a club? Even with your eyes closed, there's a ton of people around. It's loud, it's typically crowded with people, and other aspects make it undesirable for a tete-a-tete. Sorry, OH, but no, it couldn't. My imagination's not that good.

Maybe the music in this club is so loud, she can't hear him. That's why he has to say "in this club" six more times. Maybe he should just text her.

At this point in the song, Usher turns OH's narrative over to Young Jeezy. And he puts a nasty little spin on it that really brings this one home. So OH is what FOI wants and needs and apparently she doesn't get a choice in the matter -- "(she'll) take ev'ry dose of (OH)". The only thing his "medicine" is likely to cure is FOI's interest in going to clubs. Oh, and he'll "bag (her) like some groceries." WHAT? Is that romantic? Or even desirable?

But then he says "hit the club make a movie yeah rated R." Well, considering what we've been discussing, that's actually pretty tame. I was expecting something more NC-17. Especially if they're going to "make love" in all the places he mentions next: on the couch, on the table, on the bar, on the floor. How are they going to do all that without getting caught? Oh, wait, I forgot. "If (they) close their eyes, it could be just (him) and (her)."

The next line is just wrong. "You can meet me in the bathroom, you know I'm trained to go." Ok, the first half of that is just -- wow. Yeah, how romantic. Let's do that. Everybody knows how clean and sexy club bathrooms are. And then the second part is just laughable. I know that when I choose a man to make love with in this club, he's going to be potty trained. I mean, I have standards.

At least at the end, with the last verse, all pretense of this love making in the club being a secret falls away. OH basically professes his exhibitionist intentions to have her right on the dance floor, who cares who's watching. At least FOI finally got a little honesty. My advice to her is to walk out and get a taxi to take her home from this club, from this club, from this club!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Revisiting old fun: Marilyn's 2008 Graduation Video

I made this originally as a single DVD to be played at Marilyn's graduation party last year. By her request, I am posting it where she can always find it. Forgive me, but it's in 5 parts, spread out across 2 video posting sites and my own personal webpage. Don't ask.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3
I gave up on embedding it, but you can find it here.

Part 4:

Part 5:

Oh, Shut Up, Flickr!

So you may notice that all of my photos that I post here come out of my Flickr account. What Flickr doesn't tell you is that after you upload 200 photos, it starts to hold your old ones hostage. Yep. Only the last 200 you uploaded are available to be viewed with the free account. Funny, they don't mention that in the marketing.

About the same time I was exploring my alternatives, Marilyn asked if I could get her a copy of her graduation video to her. Since Flickr's marketing did say that it allowed for unlimitted uploads of videos, I decided to just do that. It would save everything, and while the price tag of $25 a year was a lot for a web service (in my not-so-humble opinion), at least it would be more private than posting it on YouTube.

So I purchased the one-year of service. And then found out that the video I had made was over 2 gig and videos can only be uploaded in 500 MB chunks. So I went about re-rendering the video in pieces -- one per song I had used. Then I uploaded them to Flickr. It gave me a hard time, and then cut off 2 of my videos at 1:30. Both of these videos had been under the 500 MB limit, so I was confused. It wasn't until I went to the Video FAQ that I found out that not only is there a MB limit, but there's also a time limit! Only 1:30 is allowed! Funny, they didn't put that in their agreement or in their explaination of the Flickr Pro features that I was paying for! So at this point, I'm just really frustrated with their whole thing. They say that they're trying to make sure that long videos aren't posted. None of mine are over 2:10. But with 1:30 as my limit, I'm screwed there.

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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Beneath a Marble Sky -- Whatever, John Shor

So back around Christmas clearance time, I picked up a book on the discount rack at Books a Million. A $4 book is rarely a bad investment, especially when the subject matter seems interesting. And yet, I feel I was ripped off. Just goes to show you that while I wanted to put it on the book swap anyway, I probably shouldn't have bothered to read it first.

So the book in question was called Beneath A Marble Sky, written by John Shor. It is a historical fiction novel about the building of the Taj Mahal. The main character is Shah Jahan's eldest daughter, Janahara. The reader receives glimpses into her parents' love life, the life in the court in Agra at that time, and the extensive project that became the Taj Mahal after the main character's mother's death.

As I have little expertise in the history of the place and period (sixteenth century Hindustan), I can only say that the story is pretty pure fiction. With the exception of very well-known historical events, I can find no evidence in my (limited) research to support most of the story. The main character is well drawn, especially for a man writing from a female perspective. Many of the other characters are too stereotypical -- Shah Jahan is always a loving and understanding man, her brothers are either endlessly loving or hating (depending on which one she talks about) and her mother is the wisest person in the world. Yet her two wise and loving parents manage to marry her off to a man who seems to be the most cruel and disgusting guy in Agra. (According to other sources, Jahanara never married.)

The book suffers from a myriad of problems: absolute characters, troublesome tripping over facts, and a lack of plausibility. The few things that I found interesting about court life in Agra were tainted by the idea that perhaps this writer didn't do any research aside from perhaps visiting the places in question. I was especially annoyed at how this Princess of Agra managed to travel to Goa and have no language barrier problem as she dined in a fisherman's hut on the coast.

Altogether, the whole setup is ridiculous. Early on, we are given to understand that Jahanara is telling her granddaughters the story of the building of the Taj Mahal, etc. The idea being so they will know their heritage and that their baby brother may one day be able to ascend to a noble position. Yet, the setup goes nowhere. In the end, there is no resolution. It leaves the reader quite unsatisfied, but relieved that the author didn't see fit to mess with history to the expected extent.

So not a book I would recommend to someone looking for a truthful story about North Indian history at the time of the Taj Mahal's building. I will give the author credit for his descriptions of the mauseleum and the Agra Fort. That at least proved somewhat truthful.

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