Friday, November 14, 2008


Available immediately: shared bedroom for female roommate.

Rent: $270/month
Utilities: $40-$50/month
Location: Convenient
Carpets: Dirty
Hot water: Finally fixed
Dead mice in the hallway: None at present
Landlord: Apathetic
Parking tags available: One
Likelihood that you'll ever find a parking spot: Slim to none
Bollywood movies available for watching: >140
Cable TV, TiVo, Wireless internet, XBox, and DVD player: Yes
Landline telephone: No
Upstairs neighbors: Uncoordinated tap-dancing sumo wrestlers
Upstairs neighbors' pets: Kangaroos on pogo sticks
Roommates: (1) one quiet Mongolian -- unless you're collecting the money for the bills, you shouldn't have any problems with her, (2) one cranky American -- don't talk to her in the morning or while she's watching a movie, and you should get along fine, and (3) one slightly psycho Argentinian -- at least you'll always remember to have a nice day, since she writes that at the bottom of all her angry notes. (e.g., "ROOMMATES, WHO TOOK MY FOUR APPLES FROM THE FRIDGE?!?! THEY WERE MY APPLES AND I WANTED TO EAT THEM. DON'T STEAL OTHER PEOPLE'S FOOD!!!!!!! HAVE A NICE DAY! :)")
Roommates who knowingly take other people's food: Zero
Roommates who put angry letters to the mailman in the mailbox: One.
Roommates who will blog about your eccentricities: Unknown. What's Mongolian for "cranky American"?

Saturday, November 01, 2008

the direct approach

I'm always looking for a chance to throw movie quotes into conversation. I'm not quite sure how I'll work this one in,

but I'll have to find a way. Such a good quote shouldn't go to waste.

Actually, my style of flirting is such that I probably would need to identify when I was attempting to flirt, if I ever did.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I think not

I usually think online quizzes are totally accurate and dependable, but every once in a while I have to wonder. Consider, for instance, the "What Spice Are You?" quiz. Here's what it says about me:

You Are Basil

You are quite popular and loved by post people.

You have a mild temperament, but your style is definitely distinctive.

You are sweet, attractive, and you often smell good.

This is clearly untrue. If post people really loved me, they would actually deliver packages to me and not just leave attempted delivery notices every time. But such is not the case.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


As previously mentioned, I watched my first Hindi film last December, and I was completely hooked. I started buying movies online in February, when I realized that the public library's selection of Hindi movies apparently consisted of all the rejects from someone's personal collection. To decide what movies were worth buying, I began looking at and then religiously following several great blogs on Bollywood films. I've found these blogs to be an invaluable resource for me, as well as a lot of fun to read. Now that I'm not such a complete newbie to Hindi films and have finally figured out how to take screencaps, I've decided to do a bit of film blogging myself. So as not to bore those of you who aren't interested, I've created a new blog specifically for this purpose. Join me there if you wish. It's

I'm starting with Mehndi Lagi Mere Haath, a 1962 film that's apparently too obscure to have a rating on IMDB, wherein we learn that the prejudice against girls who wear glasses reaches across cultures and decades.

So come take a look if you'd like.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

And even the disguise kit.

You know you're immersed in 1970s masala films when:
  • you can follow the plot of a masala film even if your DVD doesn't have subtitles. ("Okay, the girl is working for the criminals, but she's played by Hema Malini and looks to be the love interest, so she must not want to be a criminal. Oh, yep, she and her mom are both crying and explaining something. And they just said the word for "father." So the bad guys must have taken her dad captive and are forcing her to work for them to keep him safe. Oh yeah, that guy in the dungeon must be the dad, and here the bad guy is taunting him about the daughter and about how he's committing crimes in the dad's name. Here the two long-lost brothers are meeting for the first time for several years but don't recognize each other, so I bet the dialogue is full of infinite irony. And this is the part where the brother on the wrong side of the law changes his ways and starts working with the good guys to help free the girl's dad and set everything right. And it all ends happily. Fabulous.")
  • people give you funny looks when you quote your favorite movies.

  • you finish watching a movie and think, "I don't know, that might have been too realistic for me," and then you remember the part where the heroes ran through machine gun fire unscathed because they were carrying holy books, and all the parts where they dishoomed lots and lots of bad guys at once, and the unrealistic legal proceedings, and that really bizarre scene where the disabled soldiers started dancing with crutches to prove that they were capable of taking care of themselves, or something. But after further thought, you remain convinced that the movie was still too realistic.

  • you think modern actresses look unhealthy and anorexic, and you realize that your body image has improved a great deal.

  • someone walks into the room when you're watching a movie and says, "Wow, that's a crazy outfit," and you realize that 70s fashions look completely normal to you now.

  • you try to decide how you'd design your villain's lair if you became a smuggler or black marketer (the careers of choice for bad guys in India in the 70s, apparently).

  • you're surprised when a good guy on a TV show doubles over in pain after he's punched in the stomach, instead of doing a backflip in the air, landing on his feet, and dishooming the villain back.
  • you wonder why you don't have a selection of handy disguises ready at hand like everyone else seems to.
  • you expect every movie you watch to be made of awesome -- and as long as you stick with 70s masala, you're usually not disappointed.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

a sad realization

According to the Disney princesses quiz, I'm Sleeping Beauty. Clearly though, this is incorrect. Think about it: I can't sleep if there's light in the room, or if the neighbors are jumping up and down upstairs, or if anyone in my apartment is awake, or if the light rail outside the hotel is clanging its bell and making lots of noise, or if I don't have a mattress to sleep on. If I do manage to sleep under these circumstances, I wake up with a splitting headache or back problems. Much less 100 hours, I can't even sleep a full eight hours unless the environment meets my exacting requirements. Clearly, I'm not Sleeping Beauty; I'm the princess from The Princess and the Pea. That's right, the lamest princess in fairy-tale history. I'm too lame to even get a movie made about me.

Well, we can't all be awesome like Chantal (or Rosie, who is definitely a Sleeping Beauty).

Monday, September 22, 2008

better than flowers

No offense to anyone who loves the holiday, but I've always thought Mother's Day was rather boring and pointless. But now, after reading about some promotional events conducted by an enterprising group of drug dealers, I realize that I just haven't been celebrating it right. Don't you think Mother's Day would be more fun with a "crack scramble," where your neighborhood crack dealer spreads crack throughout the hotel parking lot and then everyone rushes to gather up as much as they can? That would certainly make the holiday more interesting. Another holiday that can easily be spruced up is Easter, made much more exciting when you're hunting for crack instead of stupid plastic eggs, with free food for everyone who buys crack.

Now that's the entrepreneurial spirit that makes America great.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

as my sister's roommate's mom would say

How awesome is the BYU football team?

So awesome.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

yes, I am a prescriptivist

So, I was watching some TiVoed Olympic coverage just now, and I heard something truly terrifying. According to the commentator, one of the divers "literally fell apart in the semifinals."

Really? That's horrifying! Was it like spontaneous combustion or something? Were little pieces falling off as he walked until there was nothing left of him? Did he explode upon impact with the pool?

I can't believe these wasn't more news coverage about this.

In other news, I learned from watching the Olympics that I apparently live in abject poverty. According to one commentator, one of the athletes was so poor for a while that he didn't even own an ice machine, if you can imagine that. I guess that means I've been poor my entire life.

Monday, August 25, 2008

current gripes

Dear Roommates,

The AC is fine --
Opening the back door too.
Don't do both at once.

Love, Cindy

Dear Gateway,

Your computers stink.
Crashing hard drives, cracked hinges --
Why does nothing work?

Love, Cindy

Dear Upstairs Neighbor,

I want to sleep now,
So stop stomping and jumping.
Silence is golden.

Love, Cindy

Thursday, July 31, 2008

lunch-break poetry


Softer than the floor,
Less lumpy than couch cushions,
Mattresses are great.

In the Style of G. Gavin Gunhold

Pain strikes, like a knife in my back.
Lying on the couch cushions, waiting for sleep,
I longingly think of the mattress I once owned.
Soft as an angel's wings, supportive as a knee brace, beautiful.

On camping trips, a sleeping bag and foam pad sufficed.
Pine cones occasionally intruded, but I slept well.
These lumpy couch cushions might benefit from a pine cone.
They couldn't get much worse.

I used to sleep on the floor, and then on an air mattress.
I fear my years are catching up with me.
No longer can I sleep on the bare floor.
No longer can I make do without a real mattress.
I am too old.


O mattress, queen of household furniture,
'though I am cheap like Scrooge, I must admit
That thou art worth a great expenditure.
I will obtain thee soon, if fate permit.

I tried to sleep on floors; I tried the couch.
I pulled the cushions off and on them slept.
But rest was hard to find -- my back cried, "Yowtch!"
And thinking of past mattresses, I wept.

Without a mattress, life is not the best.
I wish to read but have nowhere to sit.
I wish to nap but can obtain no rest.
Without a mattress, I have lost my wit.

Tonight, I hope a mattress comes to me.
Tonight, if all goes well, I'll be pain-free.


Some weeks now I've slept on the floor.
It's been longer than ever before.
With a mattress tonight
I'll be filled with delight.
My back couldn't take any more.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

hidden talents

As my mom can attest, I tend to think that things I haven't done before are really hard and that I won't be able to do them. Sometimes I'm right, but sometimes I end up being surprised at how easy something is. Take, for instance, housebreaking. I always thought it took some skill to pick locks, but yesterday I was able to break into my house in about 15 seconds.

I think my roommate was right when she said that we should use the deadbolt more often.

Friday, July 25, 2008


Have you ever thought to yourself, "I wonder what it would be like if Spiderman were a woman and she flew around doing Bollywood dancing with Superman?" If so, you should probably get your medication checked out. But also, you should check out this clip. (My favorite part is around 2:30 to 3:00, but it's all pretty fabulous. Even better than the flying couch in Rangeela.)

I haven't seen this movie, so I have no idea what the context of the scene is. But I think the people who made Superman Returns should have borrowed from this scene.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Occasionally, I read books that aren't trash. To mention a few recent reads:

In the category of books that make me laugh: Anything by P.G. Wodehouse. Fun, silly, improbable -- they're my cup of tea. As co-clerk Dave once astutely remarked, Wodehouse books manage to be light reading without being unintelligent, an all-too-rare trait.

In the category of books that make me think: The Great Partition, by Yasmin Khan. How do people go from being decently civil to killing one another by the millions? I still don't know, but this book about the partition of the Indian subcontinent gave me a lot to think about. Also, I'm now slightly less clueless about the history of India and Pakistan.

In the category of books that are just what they ought to be: The Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull. If you like children's fantasy literature, you should really check these books out. Imaginative and well-paced, they get the highly coveted Cindy Seal of Approval. I'm eagerly anticipating the release of the fourth book next April.

I could write a book

I have a confession to make. Sometimes I like reading really stupid and poorly written novels, especially sappy historical-fiction born-again-Christian romances. They're so dreadfully earnest in their horribleness. I think I'd like to write one myself. I've noticed that historical accuracy, theological soundness, attention to grammar and style, realistic relationships, and good plots are all completely optional, so I figure I ought to be able to handle it. You've just got to include lengthy descriptions of the characters' physical appearance, cutesy fighting/flirting scenes between the love interests, and a chapter in which either the hero or the heroine saves someone's soul. I think my novel will start like this . . .

"Mother, I haven't seen you since lunch. What are you doing out near the willow tree in this isolated part of our homestead plot of land here in the state of Kansas?

The older woman sighed wearily as she looked at her son, whose cleft chin and rugged good looks reminded her so much of her husband at the time she first met him. "Andrew, I am waiting for your brother to arrive. As you may recall, he left home five years ago, and we have not seen him since. I received a telegram from him one month ago saying that he would return on this date, and I am standing by this beautiful green willow tree awaiting his arrival. However, I feel a strange foreboding, almost as if this is the beginning of a story in which complications will arise. I only pray that I am wrong."

The young man looked admiringly at his mother, whose strength had helped the family survive during those bleak years after his father's death and whose looks still suggested the beauty she must have been in her youth. "Mother, at times like this, I can't help thinking of Father. It is a pity that he died 15 years ago, in the year 1832. I always remember the year because that was when Andrew Jackson became president. Do you remember those mysterious words Father uttered as he passed on to the next life? Sometimes I lay awake at night and wonder what they mean, when I'm not busy praying and thinking sanctimonious thoughts."

The older woman looked sadly at her son, noting the unshed tears in his beautiful hazel eyes, which were so like her dead husband's. "Yes, I do remember those mysterious words, which I need not repeat here because you no doubt remember them. If only we knew what they meant---"

She broke off speaking as her clear blue eyes detected a wispy trail of dust off in the distance. "Look, I think it your brother, Hayden, returning. But who is that with him? It looks like a girl. Why would your brother have a girl with him?"

Andrew's hazel eyes turned in the direction his mother had indicated. Looking closely, he could see the dusty wagon and its dustier occupants. "Mother, it is indeed my brother Hayden returning. But that girl does not look Christian. How could he have fallen in with an unbeliever, and how should we treat her?"

The mother sighed deeply once more. "I do not know, Andrew, nor do I know what his relationship is with her. But just remember my handy formula for dealing with unbelievers: 35% patronizing kindness, 43% concern for their immortal wellbeing, 15% sanctimonious self-righteousness, and 7% aloofness so as to avoid contamination from their sinful natures. You can't go wrong with that approach"

As Andrew looked at the approaching wagon and reflected deeply on his mother's wise counsel, he suddenly felt that his life was about to change. And how.


Well, I'm off to see my publisher. I think I've got a bestseller in the making.

Friday, July 18, 2008

probably true

Me: Maybe I've got plebeian tastes, but I find hip hop far more entertaining and interesting than contemporary dance.

Roommate: I think your use of the word "plebeian" automatically means that you're not.

a special message for Chantal

Don't stress out too much.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

akele hmmm?

In the Hindi movie I watched last night -- Akele Hum Akele Tum, for those who care -- the hero, an aspiring music composer, is forced to sell all of his original compositions to some villainous but well-known guys who put their names on his work and receive an award for a song he composed. It's all very sad. Except, well, have a listen to his song that those dastardly composers are claiming as their own.

Doesn't something about it strike you as a wee bit familiar? (If not, click here. Also, listen to the radio this December.)

I'm not sure whether this was an intentional, subtle acknowledgment of the rampant plagiarism that sometimes occurs in the film industry or whether the composer and producer thought that no one in the audience would be familiar with the original song. I'm leaning toward the second option, partly because the pathos of the situation is greatly reduced if our hero is himself plagiarizing other people's work and partly because, according to my internet sleuthing, at least three other songs in this film, as well the plot itself, also "borrow" heavily from other sources. Either way, though, I find this scene delightfully ironic. Indian cinema, I love you.

Bollywood: a tale of adoration and addiction

Our story begins on December 24, 2007, when my parents basically forced us to go down into the basement at my uncle's house and watch a Bollywood movie they liked, called Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. I was reluctant at first, but I was totally drawn in. The intense emotions, the songs, the dances, the seemingly intentional cheesiness -- it was strange and fascinating and surprisingly enjoyable. A few days later, we watched another movie, and I decided that my enjoyment of the first movie wasn't just a fluke. After several days of repeatedly watching the second movie over and over again, I decided that I loved Bollywood. The next two movies I watched weren't so fabulous, but not even the spandex horror of Dil To Pagal Hai or the boring melodrama of Yaadein could change my mind.

In February, I went online and, for the first time ever, bought DVDs for myself -- all Bollywood, of course. In the process of researching which Bollywood movies would be good, I started religiously reading the forum, where I learned a lot about films, stars, and more. I've now watched 32 Bollywood films, plus one from Kollywood, and my roommates have gradually become accustomed to my new obsession. They even recognize several of the actors, although they just say something like, "Hey, it's that one guy who was in that one movie, with the bad clothes."

Recently, I discovered the joy of 70s masala films, so called because they include a little bit of everything. Consider, for instance, the fabulous Amar Akbar Anthony. Song, dance, religious imagery, miracles, tearful reunions of long-lost family members, romance, evil stepmothers, murders, kidnappings, reversals in fortune, bar fights, disguises, comedy, lots of dishoom dishoom action, fabulous 70s clothing, burning houses, damsels in distress, villainous musclemen wearing high heels and bedazzled tanktops, an unsubtle allegorical message about Indian unity and religious tolerance, and, of course, Amitabh Bachchan jumping out of a giant Easter egg.

Seriously, even my dreams don't reach this level of inspired craziness and fun.

I'm Cindy, and I'm a Bolly-holic.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

my favorite new pick-up line

I'll let you know how well it works.

Thursday, June 05, 2008


From an old Iowa case:

Plaintiff is a widow living alone. She has no family. Her exact age does not appear but a former employee of defendants and a favorite dancing instructor of plaintiff testified "that during the period from 1957 through the fall of 1960 she was 68 years old."

Syester v. Banta, 257 Iowa 613 (Iowa 1965).

Now that's pretty amazing.

Friday, May 23, 2008

in the biblical sense

Flipping through a case just now, I was rather confused about a threat the defendant made to his neighbor. "Wait a minute," I thought, "this inner-city drug dealer's neighbor owned a donkey? And why would the drug dealer threaten to kick the donkey? It seems like kicking a donkey is . . . .Oh, I think he wasn't referring to a donkey after all."

Apparently I lead a sheltered life.

Saturday, May 17, 2008


This is pretty much what I'll look like for Rosie's wedding.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Bollywood wedding

I think I just found the perfect outfits for the bridal couple and the groomsmen.

These would be great for Rosie's wedding. And don't worry, Rosie -- I'm sure I'll be able to find a nice bridesmaid dress for myself. You don't need to worry about picking one for me.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

helpful hint for very tired travellers

When you get back to your hotel room after breakfast, you can go in, even if there's a "do not disturb" sign on the door. You put it there to stop the hotel cleaning staff, not yourself. Remember?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

helpful hint for tired travellers

If you wake up a few minutes after breakfast at your hotel has officially ended, and you manage to get there in time to grab some scrambled eggs and hash browns, only to discover that all of the silverware has already been put away, just remember this: those little coffee stirrers may be too flexible to make good chopsticks, but they'll do in a pinch.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Ben and Me

Today the judge asked me locate an obscure and rather abstract idea that he had read in "an essay or book" by Benjamin Franklin. In the process, I discovered that Benjamin Franklin wrote far too much. But I also learned a very interesting and little-known fact: Benjamin Franklin invented a time travel machine and traveled to the present day.

After else, how else could he so clearly describe many commenters on online message boards and blogs?

Rules for Making Oneself a Disagreeable Companion

RULES, by the Observation of which, a Man of Wit and Learning may nevertheless make himself a disagreeable Companion.

Your Business is to shine; therefore you must by all means prevent the shining of others, for their Brightness may make yours the less distinguish'd. To this End,

1. If possible engross the whole Discourse; and when other Matter fails, talk much of your-self, your Education, your Knowledge, your Circumstances, your Successes in Business, your Victories in Disputes, your own wise Sayings and Observations on particular Occasions, &c. &c. &c.;

2. If when you are out of Breath, one of the Company should seize the Opportunity of saying something; watch his Words, and, if possible, find somewhat either in his Sentiment or Expression, immediately to contradict and raise a Dispute upon. Rather than fail, criticise even his Grammar.

. . . .

4. When modest Men have been thus treated by you a few times, they will chuse ever after to be silent in your Company; then you may shine on without Fear of a Rival; rallying them at the same time for their Dullness, which will be to you a new Fund of Wit.

Thus you will be sure to please yourself. The polite Man aims at pleasing others, but you shall go beyond him even in that. A Man can be present only in one Company, but may at the same time be absent in twenty. He can please only where he is, you where-ever you are not.

The Pennsylvania Gazette, November 15, 1750

Monday, March 31, 2008

more Holi pictures

I'm proud to say that the pink on the left side of Rosie's roommate's face is my handiwork. (She was the one with the green powder, by the way. As you can see from the picture of me, she gave as good as she got.)

I should point out that much of the color had rubbed off our clothes by this point. You should have seen us earlier.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

by popular request

Here's a picture of my new haircut.

As you can see, I look quite different now.

Friday, March 28, 2008

What dreams may come

Last night I dreamed, at various times, about spies, escapes, secret passages, spacial anomalies, family intrigues, inheritances, poison, disguises, and faked deaths. Almost all of my dreams involved mortal peril, and the villains included Nazis, extraterrestrials, wicked stepmothers, an evil witch from the forest, some girls who were mean to me in 7th grade, and Amitabh Bachchan.

It's no wonder I couldn't get up this morning. I had a busy night.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

a noninclusive list of reasons why I'm happy right now

I'm on a business trip, which means that I get lots of free time to do whatever I want.

Contrary to my expectations, I'm staying in the beautiful Magnolia instead of the stupid Sheraton where we usually stay. I'm in a cute little pocket-sized room where everything is within easy reach, and I get, for free, wireless internet access, breakfast, fabulous smelling shampoo and other stuff, and, best of all, chocolate milk and cookies at bedtime. Also, the doormen here are much friendlier than at the Sheraton. I love this hotel.

I've got my laptop and a good selection of movies to entertain myself with, so I don't have to resort to watching 5000 episodes of Law & Order like I usually do on business trips. (There's not much on TV when we get done with work around 2 in the afternoon.)

I absolutely love my new haircut. Every time I look in the mirror I feel happy that my looks aren't breaking the glass any more.

Despite missing the freeway exit yesterday, I managed to make it to the airport on time, and we arrived here at the scheduled time with all of our luggage. I didn't even have water dripping on me during landing. So it was a pretty good day of travel.

Rosie is going to be returning Jab We Met to me on Sunday, so I can watch it again. (Hint hint, Rosie.)

Friday, March 14, 2008

Inspired by Crutches’s recent blog entry, I will attempt to quantify something that philosophers have been pondering for ages: What would Cindy’s ideal man be like?

This is a hard question to answer, but I’ll do my best.

On a niceness scale of one to Roger Hamley, he would rank between 92.5 and Crutches (the pseudonymous person, not the object).

On a cuteness scale of one to Shahid Kapoor, he would rank between puppies and, well, Shahid Kapoor.

On a scale of one to Miranda, he would be as fun to be around as Miranda.

On a scale of one to Einstein, he would be as smart as me.

On a scale of one to Bill Gates, he would be richer than a church mouse.

On a scale of one to the sound effects game on Whose Line Is It Anyway, his ability to make me laugh would rank between this Snide Remarks column and 84.2.

Monday, March 10, 2008

old people

My Old Person has been sick recently, so I don't have any stories about her to tell. But if you want to read some interesting conversations with an old person, you should check out Jeremy Blachman's blog entries about his grandma.

Most of their conversations are about movies, but today's entry is a conversation about prostitution. It's . . . interesting. Grandma doesn't take the side you might expect she would.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

a conversation at a party

Edna: Your roommate is always on the prowl.

Herbert: What do you mean?

Edna: He's always looking for new girls to flirt with.

Herbert: Oh, that's true. After institute he tries to get dates with random girls.

Edna: Tries?

Herbert: Well, the last few girls he's talked to have all turned out to be lawyers.

Cindy's roommate: What's wrong with lawyers, Cindy wants to know.

Cindy: Yeah, what exactly did you mean by that?

Herbert: Oh, well they just don't have time to date because they're lawyers.

Mabel: I'll have to start using that approach too. "Why did you think I was studying music, George? I'm totally a lawyer. But otherwise I would go out with you."

Cindy: This may explain some things.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

nipping it in the bud

Last night I dreamed that people kept mailing me drugs to help me get over my crack addiction. I was worried in the dream about what I was going to do with all the drugs without getting my friends in trouble for mailing them to me.

Also, I couldn't figure out why everyone thought I used crack. Just because I've mentioned it a time or two on this blog does not mean that I'm a user. I'd just like to take this opportunity to state for the record that I do not use crack, I've never used crack, and I don't plan on taking up the habit in the future. So please, stop mailing me drugs, everyone. Thanks.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

a deep dark secret

I always find it hard to play those get-to-know-you games where you have to come up with a fact about you that other people don't know. I don't really have that many deep dark secrets, nor would I want to share them in a game if I did. (I'll parenthetically note here how uncomfortable it was when a girl in one of my law classes used "my father is having an affair" as one of her truths in Two Truths and a Lie.)

But today, I thought of a deep dark secret that I'd like to share with you, my blog readers, because you're so special to me. So here it is: I was actually afraid of the floating green translucent special effects snakes in Doc Savage: Man of Bronze when I watched that movie as a kid.

Sure, I made fun of them with the rest of my family, but deep down inside, I actually found them scary. Yes, the special effects were really bad, and yes, such magical translucent floating green snakes probably don't exist -- but what if they do? For about a year after watching that movie, I was afraid to be in a locked room by myself. (It's true that the snakes seemed to magically be able to lock rooms that hadn't been locked in the first place, but I still felt more safe without the door locked.) Fortunately, my bedroom had the swamp cooler in it, and I knew from the movie that the best way to defeat the creepy translucent floating green snakes was with a fan or other wind-making device. So I planned out in my head how I would run over to the swamp cooler and turn it on if I got attacked by the magical floating green snakes, and that gave me some peace of mind.

Well, I feel much better now that I've gotten that off my chest. I've been hiding that shameful secret for years.

Now I'll have to think of something else to mention the next time I play one of those games.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

a conversation with the Old Person

Old Person: I don't like flying. It's too scary.

Me: When's the last time you flew?

Old Person: Oh, about sixty years ago.

Me: Wait, did you say sixty?

Old Person: Yeah, it must be sixty. I was pregnant with my son Joe at the time, and it's his sixtieth birthday this month. My husband liked flying, so he took me up on a little four-seater plane. It was really bumpy, and I got sick. It was a scary experience, and I haven't flown since then.

Me: Have you ever flown on a jet plane?

Old Person: No, and I don't need to. Maybe it would be kind of different from the little plane, but I don't need to go anywhere by plane, and I already know that flying is scary.

foredoomed to fail

In the course of one day of (attempted) air travel, my fellow passengers and I experienced the following inconveniences:

  • weather delays;

  • a computer problem that caused every Delta employee and every person in the airport, with the exception of the gate agent and the flight crew, to believe that our flight was leaving at 3:30 rather than at 2:30, when it actually left;

  • gate agents who refused to reopen the gate or tell the pilot about the computer problem "because of FAA regulations," even though the plane hadn't moved and it was the computer glitch that caused people not to be in the boarding area;

  • a flight that was allowed to take off with luggage belonging to passengers who hadn't made it onto the flight, in spite of FAA regulations;

  • a several-hour wait for the next flight;

  • more delays;

  • flight information that disappeared from the screens throughout the terminal and in the boarding area more than an hour before boarding began, causing several passengers to fear that they had somehow missed this flight as well;

  • a paranoid passenger freaking out because there were some Middle Eastern men on board

  • seat changes for "security reasons"

  • a lengthy de-icing process;

  • knocking in the engine;

  • an engine de-icing and testing process that took an hour and a half, even though we'd been told that we couldn't leave the boarding area because it would take only 20 or 30 mintues;

  • the sound of an alarm going off a few minutes after take-off;

  • the smell of smoke in the cabin area;

  • the sight of a flight attendant sprinting down the aisle with a worried look on her face;

  • an emergency landing that took a really long time, apparently because they had to get fire trucks into place first;

  • gate agents who had no idea what was going on or when we'd ever be able to make it to Oklahoma City;

  • after 12 or more hours in the airport, a return to our own homes if we lived in Salt Lake City or an uncomfortable night in the airport if we didn't.

Other notes:

One passenger received an email and a phone call from Delta telling him that the flight had been pushed back until 3:30, and when he checked in at the curb at 2:00 or so, they told him that his flight was leaving at 3:30. The gate area was crammed with people, due to the weather delays earlier in the day, so he decided to wait in the lounge until closer to the departure time. And then the plane left without him, but with his luggage.

Another passenger apparently was actually in the gate area and still missed the flight. Around 2:15 or so (if I understood her story correctly), she asked the gate agent if this was the correct gate for Oklahoma City. The gate agent said it was, so the passenger found a seat nearby to wait for departure. About an hour later, she began wondering when they were going to board the flight. She asked at the gate, and the agent said, "Oh, well that flight already left. You missed it." The passenger pointed out that the gate agent knew that she was on that flight and that she hadn't left the general gate area, so the agent obviously hadn't tried very hard to announce the departure. The gate agent refused to care.

After our second deplaning procedure on the second flight, the gate agents told us that we definitely wouldn't be leaving that night and they didn't know what would happen with rescheduling. They said the morning flight was booked, but ExpressJet might book an extra flight in the morning to take care of all of us. However, if this happened, it wouldn't happen until 3 or 4 in the morning, so they couldn't tell us anything at this point (around 1:30 am). When I called at 6 in the morning to find out what was happening, the Delta employees I talked to thought I was making up all this stuff about ExpressJet maybe scheduling an extra morning flight. They said that the next available flight was the 7:30 pm flight that night, so they booked me on that flight. However, it turns out that at one point an extra morning flight was indeed scheduled, for 8:15 am. One guy who had paid for a hotel room that night apparently went back to the airport for the 8:15 flight, only to discover that it had been canceled. Another passenger, somewhat luckier, got woken up by a phone call from Delta at 5 in the morning to tell him that the 8:15 flight had been canceled. So, the flight was apparently booked and then canceled before I called at 6. They evidently cited "crew problems" as the reason for the cancellation. I'm not sure what kind of crew problems arose between 4 and 5 in the morning, but whatever.

Of course, the people who were just in Salt Lake on connecting flights had a much worse time of it than the Salt Lake residents did. One guy was flying from Boise to Oklahoma City and ended up getting stuck in Salt Lake for 36 hours because of Delta's incompetence and ExpressJet's smoking engines. In exchange for all of this inconvenience, Delta very graciously offered him a $7 food voucher. That's right -- one $7 food voucher to make up for a 36-hour layover. Supposedly, Delta has a quota for hotel vouchers every night, and they'd already canceled too many flights before canceling our flight at 1:30 in the morning. They did helpfully volunteer to bring some little airplane pillows and blankets out so that people could sleep in the terminal, although of course they wouldn't be allowed back in the terminal if they wanted to fetch their luggage so they could brush their teeth or something.

Delta basically refused to take any responsibility for any of this because it was an ExpressJet crew and plane. Well, here's the thing, Delta -- it was your company we paid money to, and it was your name on our tickets, and it was your ticket agents and gate agents we had to deal with. So don't try to shirk all responsibility for the fiasco. Don't do business with ExpressJet if they're not reliable, but don't try to place all the blame on them when you're profiting from the relationship and you're at fault too.

I was supposed to arrive in Oklahoma City at 5pm Monday night. Instead, I got there around midnight on Tuesday. And I had the great pleasure of hanging out in the airport for 15 hours or so, plus driving to the airport twice and boarding airplanes thrice. It was great fun.

Monday, January 21, 2008

thoughts while chatting online with Gateway support

Dear Gateway,

I know what the problem with my computer is. I just need to buy a replacement fan. Why must you keep asking me irrelevant questions?

You don't carry replacement parts for a computer that you're currently selling? Nice.

But you will repair it for me for an estimated $300 plus shipping plus tax? That's generous.

You know, the last time you "repaired" my computer, it worked for about two weeks before dying again. So let me think, would it be worth that much money for me to send it to you so that your technicians can jiggle some things around and pretend that they're fixing things?

Tough one. I'm going to have to go with . . . not in a million years.

And I know all about your shipping scam. If I say I'll send it in for repairs, you'll tell me that I need to use a special box that costs $70 to ship it to you. You've tried that one on me before.

Don't even try to tell me that I can take it to a Gateway store for in-shop repairs. I know full well that your store employees aren't authorized to work on laptops. If you wanted me to fall for that one, you shouldn't have told Other Law Student Cindy that her warranty was voided because she had allowed unauthorized technicians -- your store employees -- to attempt to fix her Gateway laptop.

The day I give any more money to you is the day I have given up all hope of life ever having any joy again.

And you might as well stop calling me. I'm not going to answer my phone.


A One-Time Gateway Customer

Saturday, January 19, 2008

more thoughts while watching Yaadein

This Very Special Edition of my blog will allow you to vicariously enjoy the experience of watching Yaadein, minus the horror of all those transparent tanktops and other scary clothes. We'll focus on one of my favorite scenes: the anticlimactic crocodile scene.

To catch you up to speed, the hero is Ronit, played by Hrithik Roshan, and the heroine is Isha, played by Kareena Kapoor.

Without further ado, here is a Very Special glimpse of my thoughts during this fabulous scene.

What is this? Some kind of weird spring break scene?

Isha and her friends look awfully happy to be going to an island with danger signs posted everywhere.

And now they're running and screaming in terror. Is King Kong hiding out on the island or something?

So, they were scared because someone started playing clips of a crocodile walking around in a zoo? Okay. I do like the sound effects, but they might be more effective if the roars were coordinated with footage of the crocodile's mouth moving.

Wait, how did Isha get so far away from everyone else? They just got to the island a minute ago.

Wow, that's a nice stuffed crocodile. And I like the way they're cutting between the stuffed crocodile next to Isha and the crocodile footage from the zoo.

Hey, movie, the 1950's are calling. They want their special effects back.

You know, they should at least have attached a string to the stuffed crocodile's mouth so they could move it up and down. It's really hard to be scared of a crocodile that's not moving at all.
I think Kareena Kapoor would agree. The fake-scared looks in The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra were more convincing than this.

Oh, so now Isha's friends are leaving without her. Way to be manly, guys. Leave the girl behind with the scary crocodile while you race off in your boat.

Oh, but they're telling Ronit about it, and he'll be manly and save the day. It's a good thing he was hanging out by the docks on the mainland.

Never mind, it looks like Isha's going to take care of it herself. She'll get rid of the crocodile by . . . throwing her shirt at it? Um, okay.

And here's Ronit, looking muscular. Maybe now he'll wrestle the crocodile or something. That would be sweet.

No, I guess the crocodile is just going away. Maybe it was scared off by his massive biceps. Or by his sense of fashion.

Oh no, Ronit just found Isha's shirt. Maybe he'll think the crocodile ate her and he'll start crying manfully and stuff.

No, I guess not, because there's Isha. Sleeping? In a tree?
Oh, I think she fainted or something. In a tree.

Although she kind of looks like a lion's kill.

All right, so they're back in the boat again. I guess the crocodile didn't attack them after all. That was anticlimactic.

Dude, Ronit, we get the point. YOU HAVE BIG MUSCLES. WE KNOW. You don't need to keep flexing them every few minutes.

Heh heh. They're out of gas. Ronit, your little rescue attempt might have been a bit more impressive if you'd remembered to fill up the gas tank first.

Okay, I take it back. It is more impressive to rescue the girl by swimming back to the mainland with the boat in tow. I just hope the water isn't as infested by dangerous beasts as that island was.

And he's still swimming. How far away are they anyway?

Maybe there is a point to his muscles after all.

Still swimming. But look, there's a boat right there. Ronit, look to port! There's a boat. I bet they'll loan you some gas, or even give you a lift, if you ask them.

Okay, I guess he wants to do it the hard way.

So now it's dark outside? Seriously, how far away are they?

And it's morning again, I guess. Dude, Isha is still unconscious. When that girl faints, she doesn't mess around. Or maybe she woke up, saw that the man was doing all the work, and didn't see any point in letting him know that she was functioning again. I dig that.

Oh good, they made it to shore. And Ronit's in the hospital with a funky hospital cap on? Okay.

Wuss. Can't even rescue a girl without ending up in a hospital.

But it's all good, because now she knows she's in love with him.

Wow, that was so romantic, I guess.

But seriously, why didn't he wrestle the crocodile?

thoughts while shopping with the old person

So, you didn't like the movie Harvey because it's about a bunny rabbit? Um, okay.

Can we go home yet? We've been at Walmart for ages.
Okay, I guess we've only been here an hour, but it feels like ages.

I really doubt the sizes on this rack have changed during the last five minutes. There probably is still nothing your size here.

Yes, this is still a size XL, just like the last two times you asked me to look at it.

Sorry, Old Person, but I doubt that we'll find anything your size in the juniors' section.

Hey, there's a mirror.
Wow, I'm looking kinda fat.
And look at that -- pants with "Love" written at the waist line. Yeah, like anyone needs help spotting my love handles.

No, Old Person, I don't think you'll find anything you like in the boys' section.

You know, I suddenly feel a lot of sympathy for the Ghost of Marley, doomed to roam the aisles of Walmart eternally. No, wait. He wasn't stuck in Walmart. Lucky.

In fact, I bet Hell is a lot like Walmart. And all the catering in Hell is done by the McDonalds here.

At least I don't have to drag a mile of chains behind me. Not yet, at least.

Friday, January 18, 2008

thoughts while watching Yaadein

Dear Hrithik Roshan,

You are an attractive man. However, that does not excuse your many crimes against fashion.

The hats are a little goofy, but I'll let them pass.

This, on the other hand, is just not acceptable.

Please fire the person who told you that see-through tanktops are attractive and manly. They're not. And maybe you should cut back on the headbands as well.

Why don't you try something with sleeves? I promise, we won't forget that you have muscles.

And please, if you must wear clothes made out of black garbage bags, at least go with Hefty. I hear Hefty bags are less likely to rip.


A Concerned Fan

thoughts on the bus

Dear Drunk Guy,

Perhaps there was someone on the bus tonight who would have been charmed by your slurred speech, beer breath, and skill at boxing imaginary opponents. "My hands are really cold. Feel them. Go on and feel them" might have been just the right line to use to melt her heart into a sticky pile of goo.

But I was not that someone. Better luck next time.

Love, the girl staring studiously at the advertisements on the walls