Saturday, October 31, 2009

Amber & Spooks

Was it a mistake getting my hair cut on Halloween?  I feel like that was asking for It.  But, I think it's okay.


Friday, October 30, 2009

Amber & Halloween Haiku

Pumpkins, ghosts and frights
Things that go bump in the night
And candy, of course

Amber & Tiggy Oddities

Tiggy faces some challenges in her life.  Being the only girl (besides me) in a house with three boys can be tough.  I would never begrudge her any of her coping mechanisms, no matter how strange they are.

(Photo from the geniuses over at

Tiggy has a shoe thing.  She likes to rub her face in a loving way on the outsides of suede shoes.  She also likes to rub her face on the insides of any shoes.  I'm not sure if it's about drowning out the smell of my feet with her cheek scent or maybe the opposite-- putting my feet smell on her face?  I do use a foot cream that has St. John'swort in it which does treat depression.  (Look an internal possessive, CRD!)

Amber & It Takes One

Exciting news! There are two full additional seasons of everybody's favorite criminal-working-for-the-good-guys show, It Takes a Thief, on Hulu.  I bet you can guess what I'll be doing this weekend.

Al Mundy was one of the first Hulu Heroes I discovered.  In season two, he says things like "swinging place" and refers to women as "birds."  He also wears alot of white pants.

Hulu is also featuring a modern day re-telling of sharp-dressed caper-creator working for the G-Men, somewhat against his will in the new series White Collar.

It's the same premise: cunning con-man gets out of prison, works with a disdainful cop, has secret heart of gold, smarter than the Feds, handsome, hair parted on the side, etc.  The new one stars that handsome man who looked really familiar and then I remembered he played the handsome spy on Chuck.

He's good at playing handsome men.  The pilot itself was pretty good--not great, but good.  I'd watch the second episode.  One highlight was that it featured Miss Diahann Carroll as the widow of an Old Time con man, donor of the thief's wardrobe, and owner of a fancy New York penthouse into which the thief moves.  Miss D added a nice touch of elegance to the show, as did the art forgery plotline and blue contact lenses worn by the lead.

 I sure love the handsome criminal shows.  Thank you, Hulu.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Amber & Too Much Hulu

Try this for a deep, dark secret: the great Associate Publisher, Kevin?  He doesn't exist.  I invented him.

Follow: I always loved publishing, so I studied, and apprenticed, and put my name on an office.  But absolutely nobody knocked down my door.  A female circulation director seemed so... feminine.  So I invented a superior.  A decidedly tall superior.

Suddenly there were cases around the block. It was working like a charm... until the day he walked in, with his brown eyes and mysterious past.  And before I knew it, he assumed My Boss's identity.

Now I do the reporting, and he sits in on long management team conference calls.  It's a dangerous way to live, but as long as people buy the magazine, I can get the job done.  We never mix business with pleasure.  Well, almost never.

I don't even know his real name!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Amber & My Birth Mom

Happy October 28th!  Today is my mother's birthday!  Happy Evelyn Anniversary!

Also, let us stop to note that it is the one year anniversary of the day that I realized I failed to commemorate the one year anniversary of this here blog.  That, mathematically, would have made it the two year anniversary of my journalistic career, had I remembered.  Such humble beginnings.  Last year, I did all kinds of fancy math and revealed my true identity.  This year, I am too tired to click over to Analytics.  Instead, I offer this birthday wish for both my mom and my blog.

And I throw in a little bit of this because it's been a hard couple of years for all us and we could use the comfort.

May my blog be like a kitty paw of comfort during your morning browsing.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Amber & Intertextuality

It's a Firefly reference in an episode of Castle.

Thank you, television, for acknowledging that the reason I watch this run-of-the-mill procedural dram is 20% love of the genre, 20% witty banter, 5% the cop's flippy hair, and 35% nostalgia for Nathan Fillion's best role ever.  Even better than Captain Hammer.  And thank you, Hulu, for making it possible.  (I'm so grateful for everything right now, especially acupuncture.)

Amber & She Just Won't Quit

She's slaying me with her cuteness. I want to put her in my mouth, but
my jaw won't open far enough. Why do we want to eat cute things? Or
squeeze them to death? Evolution works in mysterious ways.

Amber & Poochacea

The Sake for all that ails me.

Amber & Self-Avatar-It

I know what I look like. But, I can't seem to make an avatar that looks like me. CRD made this one of the two of us in the style of that show all the kids love these days.  The coffee is the only real give-away that it's me; the body type is 100% me, but the nose is not-quite-exactly-Amber.

I made this one.  I got to pick from lots of different faces and noses and eye shapes.  I still don't think it looks like me.  It has the right hair and bangs, maryjane shoes, brown eyes, and $35 jeans, but it's still not quite right.  It just doesn't look like me.

It sure is hard capturing my essence in pixels.  Maybe because there's no avatar setting to coat yourself in cat fur?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Amber & It Could Be Worse

I never made a music video about any of my cats.

I've got that.

Amber & Eyeballed

Imagine my surprise when I was watching Gossip Girl and Kim Gordon arrived to marry the mom and dad on the show! (I don't imagine you're surprised I watched GG-- I've been sick long enough to watch everything on the Internet, including the entire The IT Crowd series on Netflix Watch Instantly--more on that later.)  I remember there being some back-story about how the dad was a rock star and the mom was a groupie, but I was still shocked to see them put their money where their mouths were in the form of appearance fees for Mrs. Rock-N-Roll Family herself.  Back in the day, we used to see them packing up the Volvo wagon for the weekend, just like regular parents, only with skinnier jeans.

I was not surprised when the full band appeared to play the reception, after all they have that album from this past June and I bet a tour to go with it.

But I WAS surprised when Mark Ibold turned out to be the bassist in the band.  When did that happen?

You may remember I have a special long-term relationship with Mr. Eyeballed.  We used to live in the same neighborhood, and I would see him around all the time.  Once, I even helped him figure out how to use the peanut butter making machine at Commodities.  And then he used to tend bar all the time at Great Jones when James and I would have brumch there.

How we've fallen out of touch for me not to even know he had joined Sonic Youth!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Amber & Hallucicopters & Vulnerable Vultures

I have had a terrible, terrible TMJ-triggered headache since I sat down on the D train uptown after work on Friday evening. By the time I got to 125th Street to change to the A, I was seeing floaters and experiencing phonophobia. And then, when I got off the train in the 175th Street Station and took a breath of that fresh east side exit stairwell, the nausea began. Friday night and Saturday were pretty much a blur of trying to nap, alternating cold and hot compresses, jaw clenching remedy, lion pose and chest stretches. But then, last night at 2 am, I was awoken by the sound of helicopters right outside my window and a searchlight flooding in my window.

Now, it's completely true that, over the course of the weekend, my system was treated to a cocktail of 1 part anti-spasm Cyclobenzaprine, several parts muscle-relaxant, anti-spasticity aid Zanaflex, one part anti-inflammatory Diclofenac, and a dash of just about every over-the-counter pain pill that didn't contraindicate the blend and a spritz of peppermint oil for a wholistic flavor. And, its absolutely true that Wikipedia claims that...

Tizanidine use has been associated with hallucinations. Visual hallucinations and delusions have been reported in 5 of 170 patients (3%) in two North American controlled clinical studies.

But that's totally lacking citation. And, I confirmed the reality of the helicopter, which made rounds from 2 am until about 8, with tweets from both GoGetter122 and 5starr_Chick (you really have to scroll down; 5starr_Chick in particular is a tweety little bird). And there was this unanswered question on Yahoo! Answers, providing no explanation but assuring me that I wasn't imagining a helicopter in some drastic self-punishing hallucination. After all, what is worse for a migraine than a loud helicopter and a search light?

Really, the side effects I most worry about from the fistfulls of pills I have been popping (which are just now seeming like maybe they are starting to work a little bit, maybe? knock wood very quietly? please?) are vulture extinction, rabies, disruption to Zoroastrian Parsi cultural practices, and the ruin of Wisconsin brunch. No, really I swear I'm only a little doped right now and the persistent pain is pretty grounding. Wikipedia, my frenemy, tells me...

Use of diclofenac in animals has been reported to have led to a sharp decline in the vulture population in the Indian subcontinent, 95% decline in 2004, 99.9% decline as of 2008. The mechanism is probably renal failure, a known side-effect of diclofenac. Vultures eat the carcasses of livestock that have been administered veterinary diclofenac, and are poisoned by the accumulated chemical. At a meeting of the National Wildlife Board in March 2005, the Government of India announced that it intended to phase out the veterinary use of diclofenac.... "The loss of tens of millions of vultures over the last decade has had major ecological consequences across the Indian subcontinent that pose a potential threat to human health. In many places, populations of feral dogs... have increased sharply from the disappearance of Gyps vultures as the main scavenger of wild and domestic ungulate carcasses. Associated with the rise in dog numbers is an increased risk of rabies" and casualties of almost 50,000 people.

The loss of vultures has had a social impact on the Indian Zoroastrian Parsi community, who traditionally use vultures to dispose of human corpses in Towers of Silence, but are now compelled to seek alternate methods of disposal.

Diclofenac was shown also to cause harm to freshwater fish species such as rainbow trout.

See how horrible my headache is?

I'm sorry, Mr. Vulture. I feel really bad about putting my head pain first.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Amber & Perceived Values, Part I

How much do you think a pair of jeans should cost? I am stuck in Gap prices from 1992 when Y.T. Vega got an employee discount and I wore size 4: $35 seems like a reasonable price to pay for jeans to me. Now, I know they cost more. For example, I bought a pair of size 6 jeans at the Patagonia Avalanche sale in 2007 with my professional colleague, Laura (who is a super smart person and currently looking for work if you're hiring). On sale, they were $50, but they were organic cotton so it seemed worth it to me. And, earlier this year, I bought a pair of size 8 jeans at Macy's (who knew that tourist destination had so much stuff for sale?) for $39. They were on sale, though, too, and I had to dig through a giant messy pile to find my size. I felt like that effort was like the discount when you pick your own apples.

But, since, as I approach infinity, I appear to be expanding at a rate exponential to the metric expansion of the universe, I needed new jeans. I am pleased to report the discovery of the Levis website where you can find many different models of jean (505,501, 550, and other three-digit numbers that had no meaning to me as an infrequent jean buyer) on sale for a variety of prices, some of which are $35. Of course, sizing on the web could be an issue, but it worked out well for me. Of course, I may have a hard time convincing Pickles that I just bought myself two $35 pairs of pants rather than one $70 cat environment for him.

This also means, of course, that tomorrow I will wear new jeans that are ALREADY covered in fur. It's like buying the floor model coffee table that comes pre-scratched. You can avoid that awful "first time" moment.

Amber & Comfort Zone

Today is it. It's the perfect fall weather. Why am I so cranky when it is so lovely and totally within my four degree comfort temperature range?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Amber & Amtrak

Trenton-bound! Can I please not go anywhere for one day? My root chakra is killing me.

Amber & Royal Wedding

Last night, I ate too much. I made a boiled dinner in the crock pot, New Britain-style with a kielbasa instead of corned beef. It was pretty tasty which lead to over-eating. AND, right before dinner time, my friends Fresh Direct came and brought me some of their awesome full sour deli pickles. I only had two, but two plus boiled dinner is sure alot in my tummy, even with my pants unbuttoned.

While I sat very still, hoping my belly wouldn't burst, I watched Fred Astaire and Jane Powell in the delightful romantic dance musical Royal Wedding.

Fred and Jane play a avowed-bachelor and polyamorous-bachelorette brother and sister theatrical dance team. The siblings get an offer to take their show to London a month before the wedding of (then) Princess Elizabeth and (then and still) Prince Phillip. Of course, since it's a musical the siblings eventually final their place in the social order and settle into heteronormal monogomous marriages. But not before there are some amazing dance numbers, including this one where Fred dances on the walls!

I learned from Wikipedia...

The number was filmed by mounting the camera and operator in a cage which rotated with the room. The same technique would later be used to simulate a zero gravity environment in 2001: A Space Odyssey, to allow Lionel Ritchie to perform a similar dance in the video for Dancing on the Ceiling, to allow Clark Kent to walk up walls to change a light bulb in the pilot episode of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, and in the music videos for "Fly" by Sugar Ray and "Slash Dot Dash" by Fatboy Slim.

I learned so much last night. Least of all, one bowl of boiled dinner should be enough.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Amber & Features

I get positive feedback about the features over there in the right-hand column of this here site. Amber & readers seem to look forward to updates to the Tiggy of the Wink, enjoy seeing how many people Googled "watermelon cats" this week in the Amber & Search Traffic feature, and, on a couple of occasions, use the Amber & Shopping List as a gift-giving guide (thanks to James for the Earl Grey and to Amy for the tea bells).
But, these features are fleeting. There's no way to know if I already featured my clogs as Shoe of the Week, no way to search the archives to learn about past featured Plants. Plus, as one fiesty reader pointed out, there's no way to leave comments about the features. What if, as an example, I mark a pair of shoes for the bin but a reader can make a strong case for keeping them? Or if someone wants them for themselves? (Size 7, folks.)

Hence, I hereby resolve to start introducing changes to the features in the blog content itself. I can give a little backstory on each feature and save the changes for all important posterity. I even created new tags for all of the items. (See below.)

I hope this will make you happy, dear readers. After all, without you, I am nothing.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Amber & The Never Ending Laundry

It's really hopping here at Splashing Laundromat today. I had to wait for a washer to open up and am anticipating similar drying delays.

Maybe I should rethink the whole two costume changes per day Wardrobe Concept.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Amber & Travel

I've spent the day cleaning the mess that accumulates in an apartment inhabited by four cats when their owner suddenly becomes a frequent traveler. As frequent readers know, I was in San Francisco a short time ago for work and then also a day of recreation and Redwoods.

Then, I was home for one week, but never really got back into a normal routine or got on top of the entropy. And then, I traveled to the world of Freakshow Injuries when I got whiplash while blow-drying my hair. (No, really. I really got whiplash. Apparently, my muscles were cold and then I shocked them with heat and then moved in the exact wrong way. Beauty hurts.)

And then I had to take off, unable to turn my head to the right, to face my old nemesis, Washington, DC. The kitties were alone from Tuesday AM until Thursday evening on account of not being able to get a sitter. I left out tons of dry food, a day's worth of wet and seven water bowls (and two Woody paw-sip glasses full).

Photo by James, 2005

Mysteriously, when I got back on Thursday, there were no barfs at all, proving that no cat sitter vs. cat sitter makes no difference in kitty puke habits.

On Friday, I had more travel in store! I ventured to Brooklyn for a chiropractor appointment. Mysteriously (again), my left shoulder hurts like crazy since that visit, but I can totally turn my head to the right. Hello, right side of the world!

The sad and happy thing about my Brooklyn journey was that my chiropractor is in Amy & David & Hazel's old neighborhood. It made me sad that I haven't seen them in forever, but it made me super happy that they are such good people and, with a little effort and a little less travel ahead, I can see them soon. And maybe just in time for the second snow of the season.

By the way, I don't have any hot water today. Not ideal for cleaning nor for whiplash soreness. WTF, building? Why do we never lose hot water when it is warm outside? And why wasn't there even a warning sign this time?

You thought my hair was gross when I had to wash it with conditioner....

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Amber & Ammenities

Hotel George! Plus: Aveda products. Delta: A conditioner and a
moisturizer but no shampoo.

Amber & Departures

I'm off again. This time I am bound for my old homestead DC for a
Mother Goose gathering of the hens. I wasn't just here at Penn Station
BEFORE Kevin. I was here 20 minutes early. WTF?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Amber & Sponsored Links

You know how in Gmail the sponsored links change depending on the subject of your correspondence? I usually get ads for cat food online or yarn or couch cleaning services.

This is mine today. Can you guess what I was e-mailing about?

That's right. I hurt my neck while blow drying my hair. Damn you, Shane, and your ionic ceramic hair dryer recommendation. I mean, no one hurts themselves blow drying their bangs, so it must be your fault.

I am waiting for Sue from Dr. Cooper's office to call me back.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Amber & Sure Things

Today is world-famous blogger CRD's birthday. I am so honored to count such a famous journalist and proficient epicurean amongst the joys in my life.

Some little known facts about CRD in honor of his birthday? Sure. For starters, he was born on this day in the wilds of Africa and raised by a pack of elephants.

As a result, he often prefers to roam the desert shirtless, like his in situ family.

Sometimes, his naked elephant nature leads to naked bicycling while painted to remind himself of the African sky.Luckily, for us, Nick found CRD and brought him back to Barcelona civilization with him and his cousins, Kathleen and Grant.

From there, CRD went to London where he got a job as one of those guys who guards the palace, but it didn't last long since he always forgot to wear his uniform.
Nick then talked to his friend Matthew who got CRD a job at The New York Review of Books. Here we are in his cubicle on the day we met!

Some of his positive attributes include, but are not limited to, coming to visit you even when you live in the most godforesaken places.

Listening good when you are telling stories about your cats puking or boring work stuff that makes you angry.
He's a swell friend, as fine a specimen as anyone could ever want, and I love him.

I looooooove you (blink), CRD.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Amber & Old Friends

Kevin is an old friend.
I don't mean that, since he turns 36 years old today, I consider him an old gentleman. I still think of him as being young-- at least younger than me.

But, I have known him since Ye Olde Times-- half his life, actually. His friendship has been super important to me. And I just like him: he is smart, fun, caring, and has good hair. He also makes a swell Professional Colleague, as seen here in this photo taken by our other Profesh, Ed, at our biznuss lunch.

My friends are among my favorite things, and Kevin is among the favorites among my favorites.

Thanks, Kevin, for being borned.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Amber & Obstacles

You will not the absence of a plane at my gate. My flight has been
delayed FOUR HOURS. What kitty-hating madman is responsible for this?

Amber & A Turtle in the Bush

Yesterday, I went to a Mother Goose Inc. staff picnic in Golden Gate
Park. I had a hard time finding the picnic area, but it was lovely and
exotic in that West Coast botanical way. And, I made a turtle friend.
He was painted and enjoying the sunshine. Still, I would rather have
happened upon Tiggy sunning herself on a rock on Slowe Lake. A kitty
in the apartment is worth way more to me than a turtle in the bush.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Amber & Tree Friends


Amber & Trees

Sequoia means ever-living.