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Name: Justine
Location: Annapolis, Maryland, United States

Justine, is a little bit more than you'd expect. This is where you are supposed to put your "elevator speech". What you'd say if you were in the elevator with somebody you wanted to connect with. I don't have an "elevator speech". If I ran smack-dab into one of my "heroes" I'd just have to smile and be polite and keep my yipper shut and that's probably for the best anyway!

Monday, August 31, 2009
It's a strange new world.
Saturday I discovered a new channel on my FIOS service. The world will never be the same.

No it wasn't the Oinky-Boinky Network. It was "SPEED" in HD. More importantly the program was the "Combined Daytona Prototype & Grand Touring Racing From Gilles Villeneuve Circuit in Montreal".

Two formats of cars racing on the same track at the same time. Amazing. Newbie dewbie here had never seen that before. There was all sorts of juicy yumminess on wheels! They had "driver cams", lots of driver cams!

I had that wide view on the television and the surround sound cranked to the max.

I folded laundry with my little feet heel toe shifting and my head bobbing along to the sound of roaring engines.

Oh Flappy My Paddle! That was fun!

For the two hour duration of the race I kept looking for something else I could do on the "chores" list in the living room so I could watch the race. During the commercial breaks I would jump up and hurry to put laundry away or load the dishwasher. Vroooooooom, vroom, vrrrrrrroooom. Oh lots of Stiggy looking figures snarfling hunks of metal on a rainy track.

I'd never seen a Daytona Prototype car before, way cool. Mush in the GT cars slugging it out and it was wayyyyy cool.

On Sunday they showed a simlar race the "American LeMans Series from MoSport Internation Raceway in Bowmanville Ontario". I watched a Corvette GT car embarrass the horse patookie out of a Ferrari that spent the whole day five feet behind and finished the race in a frustrated second.

Oooooo I've found something new to keep me fascinated. Way more fun for me than NASCAR, this racing is done on a nice curvy track.

I may be ruined for weekends now. :)



Daytona Prototypes racing in the American Le Mans Series.
It would be "cute" to say something like: "The Lowes car attempts to hammer the Patron Tequila designated driver!"
Friday, August 28, 2009
Sizzix is have a 70% off sale, run!
Run! I don't know which direction you should run in but run!

I ambled into the Sizzix sale page and ambled out with a sales receipt that said I had "saved 178$". No, I spent 75$, that is what I did.

Of course I purchased a nice selection of dies and a large sized alphabet series. The alphabet usually costs 150$ and I picked it up for 30$. But I still spent money.

My new Sizzix machine is making me an addict. I have textured all sorts of metal and paper. I even made a name sign for my cubby. (I've had a hand written name tag up there for a year.) My new name sign has Sizzix cut out letters and a polymer clay moon token with resistors for hair. It's cute but it's better than looking like leftover lumber.

Um, it looks like they're adding stuff to the sale daily. It runs through tomorrow.

I've heard rumors that Tim Holtz is going to be doing a line for Sizzix. Which is a good thing, these cutesy baby centered themes make me gag. :)

Shop happy!
Fan Girls Gone Wild!
There are some pretty strong Fan Girl reactions going on in London today.

A CNN report says one fan girl took a poster of her new "Top Dude" and :

. . ., clearly overcome by emotion, held the photo close to her chest -- then ate it.


What could cause this kind of hullabaloo? Is it a nude pictorial of Richard Hammond? A tastefully done portrait of Stiggy without his gloves? A series of glamour shots where James' hair is combed? It's not Clarkson in a Speedo is it?

No! It's the London Zoo prepping their gorilla group for the arrival of a new male gorilla later this year. The troop's silver back passed away last December and the zoo wants to introduce a new male. They thought it would be a good idea to do some ground work before the "new guy' hits the scene later this year. Apparently his pic went over well.

According to a report by CNN

. . . Zaire, Effie and Mjukuu, who were given posters of their prospective boyfriend for the first time Thursday.

One female gorilla shrieked in delight, while another wedged the poster in a tree to stare at it.

A third, clearly overcome by emotion, held the photo close to her chest -- then ate it.






Mjukuu aka "Jookie" studies the "new guy".
Stig Bop A Lula

Stig Bop A Lula,
I'm car crazy,
Stig Bop A Lula,
Don't mean maybe. . . .


Today's computer desktop is Stiggy in an Atom racing a yellow doodle a ma jig. Stiggy's white muzzle is in the foreground. His vizor is tinted a fetching polar blue. His right hand is casual on the wheel. On a hillside beyond the cars, sheep graze peacefully. Sheep care not for performance cars, save when they veer off the road and turn them into stew meat.

No shepard's pie tonight little sheepers, Stiggy is at the wheel.

Cue music, Wendy Carlos' Moog version of Bach's "His Sheep May Safely Graze"

Bucolic visions aside, the whole dream is just a scene on a computer screen.

I am back in my cubby on the digital plantation.

I'm also back from two weeks of being up & down with a bug that zapped me nigh on into a coma. My time sheet looks like a Keno bet slip with all the little marks on it.

The appropriate place to resume the blog seems to be to screech, "James May has more fun than I do!" and riff from there. However I'm not sure Mr. May has been in the party-hearty place. His attempts at a record breaking model railroad run were ruined by corn-holes stealing pieces of track and putting coins on the track to short out the connections.

Remember all those frustrating Christmas holiday hours when you'd get the rickety old model train out only to have it run two feet and stop? Remember all the cleaning the tracks with that funky eraser thingy? Remember your Dad creating makeshift track connectors out of wire and tinfoil? Remember how it made you froth at the mouth instead of have a Hallmark moment?

Oh yes, Mr. May called the vandals "scamps" and "oiks". That is why Mr. May is given fun oppotunities to play with toys in the media I. I would have probably used phrases like "slap them out of their wee soaked cheenos" when referring to the vandals. This is why I am safely tucked away in a job where keeping the "oiks" out of the files is an imperative. Electronically "slapping the wee out of" is part of my job.

I imagine that if the 400 people who helped Mr. May with his grand scheme get ahold of the vanldals they will create new and splendid rail tunnels through said vandals. Cue Ozzy Osborne singing "Crazy Train".

Working on a digital plantation for decades, I am used to being searched, audited, investigated, watched, monitored, xrayed, filmed, and on camera most of the working day. It's how the industry rolls.

Still, despite Cold War style security, a thief is running rife in the building. Over the course of a few months the thef has systematically worked their way through three of the floors. They've stolen, purses, wallets, MP3 players, cell phones, money, and winning lottery tickets.

The security system that keeps me from getting into the building with a pair of tweezers or out with any digital information device can't catch the klepto.

My thoughts are that we amp up the security cameras and use some bait. When the thief takes the bait, we won't call the police, we'll let all the people who've been robbed line up between the thief and the gates out. My odds are on the theif not getting out of the building in one piece.

Considering the things the employees of a computer center are entrusted with, having a theif in the ranks is an unsettling thing.

Almost as unsettling as Pepsi Products sponsoring someone convicted of torture. Yet, according to an email from Pepsi to me last week, the company feels that they trust the judgement of the NFL. The NFL has decided that since the convicted torturer makes them money, they'll pay him and play him. I have switched to Coke products.

Lately the news is chock-a-block full of people have done hideious and stupid things and act surprised when they don't get away with them. Keeping children in a shed in the back yard, killing your ex-wife and chopping up the body, torturing animals for fun, beating your date repeatedly, drag racing on freeway on ramps, eating huge quantities of sedatives, and taking anethesia outside of a hosital setting are all actions with consequences.

The more they show of Michael Jackson, the more it becomes evident that he was sick beyond belief. His parents shouldn't be raising more children, they should be in custody someplace for having engendered a twisted tribe.

It doesn't do any good to be amazed, I know. People are as they've always been.

The world of the fast car and a good road is so much simpler. Physics plays no favorites. The rules are obeyed. There is order among the noise and speed.
It's Not Unusual!
Tom Jones went for a spin as the Celebrity In A Reasonably Priced Car on Top Gear. Combine the long standing cool of Tom Jones with the intergalactic chill of The Stig and that car must have been iced over! :)

"It's Not Unusual" made its way onto the random MP3 player list again today. I've included the tiny quote for the "love of my life". He knows who he is.



Mr. Tom Jones International with Stiggy!


"It's Not Unusual"

It's not unusual to be loved by anyone
It's not unusual to have fun with anyone
But when I see you hanging about with anyone
It's not unusual to see me cry, I wanna die

It's not unusual to go out at any time
But when I see you out and about it's such a crime
If you should ever wanna be loved by anyone
It's not unusual, it happens everyday
No matter what you say
You'll find it happens all the time

Love will never do what you want it to
Why can't this crazy love be mine?






Mr. Tom Jones International with Stiggy!


P.S. Of course the Tom Jones standard "She's A Lady" made into the playlist. When I hear the hokey 60's expectations of a girl...I keep thinking the chorus should be "She's got rabies!"
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Something has broken, like the first morning. . . .
It's morning. I think. I've been in the car driving and now I'm at my desk at work. There are other people here, so I think it's morning.

Either that or it's Saturday night on a software installation weekend.

Um, the clock says a.m., I think that means the sun is up.

There is a lull in the action here, the scheduling department postponed the project I'm working on. I love waiting around to see what weekends they'll plan to ruin for me in the future. I have tickets to see "Big Bad Voodoo Daddy" live and I'm planning on going to the "White Rose Game room Show". I hope they can leave those two dates out of their diabolical plans.

My doc is pressing me to put in a medical note that I can not work past 2 a.m. without detriment to my health. Although this is true, it would cause me to get bounced out of here. These folks thinks that if you don't suffer you ain't doin' it right.

There are some things in the work now that would allow us to go home and check on system changes instead of sitting here for hours waiting for the machine to reboot. I hope that idea takes hold.

I just got the word that "overtime" is being curtailed until our budget gets all budgeted. That may take 90 days or more. Bummer too, if I work "comp" time I get straight one for one. If I work their damn stupid night watch I get time and a half plus a night-shift-differential plus ten percent for being scheduled to work weird hours. A girl can buy some serious crafting toys or car repairs with that kind of scratch.

Of course after working all night it takes me two months to get sleeping right again.

As I slurp along on a highly caffeinated cola beverage, I am disappointed to find that Rhapsody has lied again about my track licenses on the MP3 player. I am restricted to playing a single BBVD album and Dwight Yoakam signing "Who At The Door Is Standing?"

Somehow this mix of heart felt acceptance of the Lord & Savior combined with upbeat songs about being a sinful sot seems to have a message for me. That message mainly being, there is life going on somewhere where I am not.

This morning's check of the Top Gear website shows that the highly esteemed Mr. May is now building a world record model railroad run.

Somewhere in life I have f**ked up and f**ked up mightily. For all the fabulous things in life that I love and excel at, I'm sitting in a 8X8 cell for 40+ hours a week.

As if to emphasize my life's f**kedupedness my MP3 player has just defaulted to playing Tom Jones singing "It's Not Unusual".

James May has more fun than I do. This seems to be a sticking point in my focus today. Perhaps he is the "Dr. Venture" to my "Monarch". That's a sickening thought, that I rank down there with the butterfly themed screw up nemesis of a third rate super-scientist. When all along my heart burns with animated envy for Brock Samson, the vintage Dodge Charger driving, licensed to kill, "blond haired butter cream frosted murder cake" bodyguard for the Venture family.



Here Brock winds up to make himself a pair of alligator boots.
Venture Brothers airs on Cartoon Networks Adult Swim. Season 4 is coming soon.


Brock gave me such a salacious slice of vicarious revenge when he drove his Charger through an assembly room full of evil henchmen because they had "hit him with a truck". Brock fired up a cigarette with the Charger's lighter, turned on the windshield wipers to handle the blood spray, and used his turn signals to indicate which bunch of henchmen were next for the squashing.



Brock after his little drive through the henchmen.


I sense a thread of frustration running through my busy day.

Perhaps my package from Sizzix will arrive tonight and I can retreat into the studio for some dirty fun. The Sizzix machine arrived last night. Within twenty minutes I had nearly broken it. Apparently it does not work with embossing dies from 10 Seconds Studio as I had been told. I nigh on snapped the whole shebang to bits working on a piece of embossed paper.

My evil plans for easy metal embossing must be postponed until the embossing dies from Sizzix arrive tonight. I also have a set of alphabet dies coming as well.

I've got the color tests for the shadow box project under way. Tonight I can try the inks and stamps on the background color sample tags. Since I'm working on wood with this, I'll do color tests ahead of time to keep from having to do too much damage control on the shadowbox if I don't like a color combo.

Ohhh, it's time for another meeting. We're going to discuss when we will play "wait up all night for nothing" again.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Pluggin' Away
All three of the Top Gear lads have books out in time for holiday gift giving. There is also a Top Gear 2010 Calendar available.

Since an earlier post today gave Mr. May the spotlight, I will publish the jacket pics of the other 2 books on offer.

I will also say that, if you live on the U.S. East Coast, Amazon.CO.UK is a very reasonable source for books. If you use a credit card the conversion to pounds is automatic and reasonably fair. Shipping is also very quick.



Jeremy reprises the look he used during the Cadillac CTS test drive when he found out the camera man had barfed!




Ok, Richard got the good photog to take his book jacket pic. Respectfully I say: "Look at those eyes!"


On a side note, Mr. Hammond was reportedly returning home from a flying lesson when he was involved in a four car "traffic incident" while driving his AeroMax.

There is more info here at Jalopnik

There is also a brief article at the Telegraph Online. Looks like this took place early in August.

There is an article in the Daily Mail as well. I suggest you take a peep at it just for the pic.

Hmmm, with all this book writing going on perhaps I could write my own little car tome. "Bugger The Beltway: Everybody Has More Fun Than I Do!" Tales of a mid-career, mid-life woman who has just been set free from years of caring for others. Now that she's free to go anywhere she wants she hasn't got a clue how to get there!"



"Bugger the Beltway" The gripping tale of life through a Caddy windshield! Tales of drama, desperation, and parking validation!
Baby got Lego!
A pic from the Telegraph.Co.Uk Lego Land has officially added the TG3 to their display!


Pretty good Lego figures of the TG3 + Stiggy. They did a great job on Stiggy's "arm cross". Check out Jezza! Baby got some Lego back!
It's that time on the calendar again . . . .
Christmas shopping season is snuffling around the publishing houses and movie distributors. The Top Gear 3 have all got new books in the pipeline for the holiday gift giving season. Jeremy Clarkson is busy filming his holiday gift time DVD. Today's Top Gear UK web site has pics of Stiggy out with a slick juicy car and some clapped out club bims whilst helping Clarkson film his DVD.



James May's new book hits stores this month! Some whip wielding photog actually got James to almost look cheerful!


Richard even has a new book coming out in October. I haven't finished "Life on the Edge" yet. I keep skipping around the book. Maybe I'll just cut to the chase and start on "As You Do". I think reading about Hammond's illness is a bit much for me right now.

Saturday night at beddie bye time we had a power failure. Luckily I had the laptop on and it gave off enough light for me to get a candle lit. I discovered I had a bad batch of batteries that indicated they were "good" but wouldn't run a flashlight. My trusty Coleman Lantern was charged and I wandered around the house like a character from a Scooby Doo cartoon.

Because of the loud "POP" when the lights when out, I figured the air conditioner and fridge had tussled over the breaker box and the whole system had tripped off. Naturally the "snuggle uggums" who designed my kitchen put the breaker box BEHIND the fridge. I got to roll up the rugs and move the fridge before I tested out and flipped all the breakers.

Next step was to dig out the "emergency corded phone" and phone up BGE. Because they are BGE they are not permitted to operate in any logical fashion. Their response was that power would be restored in about two hours but since they hadn't seen the problem they didn't know.

After two days of tropical front rains the power system decided to go berserk after to rain moved out of the area. Who knows.

My former apartment was in a neighborhood that would go for up to 5 days without power. I am stocked with a backup cooler, a freezer with a bag of ready-ice waiting, a lantern, and backup radio.

I settled in to wait out the power outage armed with a vintage Walkman loaded with Stephen Fry reading me his novel "Hippopotamus". (The MP3 player is having problems with recognizing sync points so it was useless.)

By the Grace of God I had a small battery powered fan left over from devilishly hot drive in nights.

I chilled with Mr. Fry's voice in my ears for only 90 minutes until BGE got the power back on. I dutifully reset the smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms, verified the breakers were all on, checked the fridge, the attic fan, and the blessed sweet angel of mercy (aka air conditioner). I set the lantern, cell phone, and main battery "array" up to charge. Since it is "thunderstorm & hurricane season" there is no telling when the power grid is going to go bonkers. Best to keep the "emergency" systems charged up.

By the time I trundled off to bed and got to sleep it was after 2 a.m.

My "Jeeves" Voco clock called me Sunday morning, but "Jeeves" neglected to leave tea on the nightstand and I didn't wake up.

(If you haven't heard a Jeeves clock for yourself, click on the above link and give a listen. This morning Jeeves informed me that Mrs. Beckham was camping in my garden and he was going to give her tea before he phoned the police. Good man that Jeeves!)

Jeeves, having failed to rouse me from my slumber, allowed me to sleep until after noon. That left me running errands like it was NASCAR.

Hmm, when I re-read this I see my brain is muddled. I started writing about the plethora of Top Gear goodies coming for the holiday season and ended up talking about batteries.

I really can't get over how pleasant James looks on his book cover.

I went out to read the weekly newspaper columns from the TG3 to discover it is vacation time for Jeremy. (Yes he is all sorts of 'incorrect' but I love the way he writes.) James had some nice pics of his slot car track success.

The photos below are by Ian Miles and from Telegraph.Co.Uk



Slot Cars!




The highly esteemed Mr. May looking like my dream centerfold. A fully clothed guy with slot cars on a real race car track. Oooooo I want to play TOOOOOO!


Once again, I must lament that James May has more fun than I do.

Somehow, someway, through sheer force of will I want to catch him up and wave as I pass him by on the fun scale!

Since Christmas is coming I guess I could start by breaking out my Jackie Stewart slot car set for the train/car/farm garden.

Vroooooom vroom to you Mr. May!
Sunday, August 23, 2009
New Shadow Box Project


Goodies I picked up from Tim Holtz trunk show. Prepping to put them in a shadow box project.




Arsenal at the ready!
My small work table loaded with ink and paint and doo-dads. Always have to have a stack of doo-dads!


So much for having a neat and orderly workspace! :) Actually this is with everything out in working order. After the play everything does go neatly back in its place. Everything except things that are drying. Those stay out.

Tonight I opened up the old paint box and got the colors back to workable consistency again. Tomorrow the "Sizzix" machine is supposed to arrive and my first project with that will be embossing some metal for use in the shadow box project.

The second task with the Sizzix machine is finding a place to store it!

It's so hard to be a grown up and give yourself permission to play! Too much thinking about "putting up" and "cleaning up" and "what would company think?" in the back of the mind.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Tags Du Jour


Tag using rubber stamps, Rock Candy crackle paint, Fiskars corner punch/embossers




Tag using rubber stamps, Rock Candy Stickles, Rock Candy crackle paint.
This tag does not scan well. The texture and shine on the actual tag are interesting.


Digital camera kicked the bucket tonight. Only 6 months old. Took only 6 pics on the last set of batteries. Now camera won't start even with fresh full batteries.

The tags du jour were slapped down on the old HP scanner.

Hope all are crafting, playing, or enjoying the weekend.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Shunted Up The Chuff!

Shunted up the chuff?!?!
Oz Clarke tries some smooth moves in a tent with a tipsy James?


I comprehend that television programmes from the UK are different from American programs. First of all they add that "mes" on the end to make them sound professional and authoritative.

But what was the purpose of making James May camp out with Oz Clarke at the sight of one of Oz's "youthful conquests"? They are not teenage students making a film on an over-extended credit card. The show is "Oz & James Big Wine Adventure ", not "Wow Somebody Bonked Oz Once" or "France's Greatest Sex Lubes".

A scene of a confused and dazed Jame's talking to camera about how "Slippery Stuff" was originally designed to help divers put on wet suits would have been "adventurous". Oz & James sitting gingerly around a campfire cooking breakfast and expounding on the merits of the KY family of products versus the more exotic mail order fare would have been instructive at least. Watching middle aged men crawling out of a tent on a damp morning looking like they'd both been savaged by CJMTU was sad.

Instead of lube talk we are treated to the vision of our hosts ambling over to a hedge to have a pee. James even gets to show us the "tiptoe-wiggle-the-zips-too-short-package-removal-technique".

How thrilling to know UK guys fight the leg of their underpants like US guys do. I can't imagine what would have happened if Alton Brown's Feasting On Asphalt had started out with AB wrestling his leathers to shake the dew off his kudzu.

Oz stages a visit to the wine world's hoy paloy seemingly with the express purpose of embarrassing the hell out of James. He tops the abuse with a 'you can't drink you're driving' routine.

Needless to say James gets a bit grumpy.

Eerily close up shots of James driving the aged Jaguar through the countryside show James appears to have nystagmus. (spontaneous involuntary eye movements left and right) Sometimes he takes a good long blink to get straight. This isn't the usual "watching" the road. It's similar to the symptoms of someone I used to know. It doesn't help my impression of the program that now one of the hosts reminds me of a coworker who was bat shit crazy.

All these factors combine together to make me want to scream when Oz Clarke "treats" James to a wine spa day without asking him first.

Even my nearest and dearest girl buddies would not think to schedule any activity were we would both be in a hot tub full of grape extracts together without asking first. There are rules and levels of trust to be earned before one dawns a g-string and hops cheek to cheek into the foam. Especially a televised foam hop!

But Oz cares not, he schedules James for a filmed soak in the goo and a public buttock hosing off afterwards.

When James says he abhors pulic nudity and he hates to be touched, he is ridiculed again.

I am surprised that James didn't take Oz outside, bend him over the hood of the Jag, and put a wine bottle where a good proctologist would have been required to remove it.

I've only watched disk one of the set and I'm not too sure I'm going to watch the rest of it. So far the special feature "Oz & James Uncorked" is the only part of the set that seems like a real coherent program.

In one scene James is driving and the Jag is almost rammed by another motorist. James says "He almost shunted us up the chuff." Oz then has ten fits and falls in it about the "slang".

Oz is very lucky he's traveling with Captain Civilized. My girl crew would have given him a "Salisbury Sizzle" to go with his whine.


Shunted up the chuff?!?!
Watch while I shunt this bottle up Oz's chuff!

A grumpy looking James has a swig of something dark and warm before "recycling" the bottle.



** A "Salisbury Sizzle" is named after Salisbury State University. It is the act of taking an overly self-impressed horn dog man, handcuffing his right wrist to his left ankle, and leaving him to spend the night in the closed trunk of a Jaguar. The Jaguar is carefully parked near the victim's employment where no one will hear the victim screaming until morning when his coworkers come in to work.
Twitchin' for T!M

The Class Room
Queens Ink Classroom. I got to sit 3rd seat in on table on left.
Pic from Tim Holtz' Blog


There were 72 of us in each of the classes I took last weekend. We were cuddled up tight! :) Luckily for me, I snuggled in next to folks I had taken classes with before. We all caught up on things. A lot of us had lost parents in the last six months. We were the crafty walking wounded.

This class room was different from the usual studio space in the Queen's Ink store. Since the store is housed in hysterically historical Savage Mill, there is extra space available. Patty, The Queen herself, got us a large section of what was formerly an antiques store in a side building. Fabulously there were some antiques left to be relocated. During a break in class, I ambled back to look at the goodies. There was a fantastic Gothic revival dining room table and chairs! Also there was an incredible hall coat rack. The price tags were still affixed and made it evident why the antiques store was on the ropes.

Since the class was in its own little side building, we were treated to a audio visual treat. Tim has PowerPoint presentations of each step of the process. He projected the pics on screen as well as stood up and did the demos by hand. He wore a nice microphone set so all could hear him well. During the "working" parts of the class Tim and his right hand man Mario circulated through the room and helped out.

My embossed metal book snapped a stitch just as the covers were going on . Tim worked a crafty miracle and saved the binding. It wouldn't take a lot to make a new set of signatures to go into the book, but after 5 hours I wanted something nice to take home! :)

Tim has added a bucket load of demonstrations to his website TIMHOLTZ.COM
You can also find a lot of good demonstrations on YouTube under Tim Holtz as creator.

Tim said he is working with Sizzix to create his own line of dies and embossing dodiddies. Sizzix and grungeboard work well together.

I might have accidentally found a Sizzix "Big Shot" machine on sale 30% off on JoAnn Fabrics & Crafts web site. Somehow I might have accidentally bought it and a few texture plates to go with it. I'm just saying, somebody resembling me may have done it.

Somebody resembling me is also out in the studio looking for a place to put "one more thing". ;(

Last night's tag art may make it on the site tonight if it's dry. I tried out the new "Rock Candy" crackle paint and Stickles. I also discovered a stash of Fiskars "emboss&punch" corner punches that I've had for over a year and not used. One side of the gadget embosses part of a pattern and the other side does the cut out parts. Very cool indeed.

Oooo, I have to coolest toys! :) :) :)
Thursday, August 20, 2009
More inkiness

My handywork!
Curio Cabinet from year before last's Tim Holtz halloween classes.
It plugs in and lights up as well.



My handywork!
Tag play from 8/18.


Instead of ATC's I bought a box of large manilla tags from the office supply store. I use them to "play" with. I also have a few sketch books that I do collage, stamping, painting, etc in.

After the months it's taken me to get the art studio in shape, I'm taking the time to go out and play a bit!

Besides I have to use up some of my art supplies so I can get new ones! :)

Ok, you have to be a 'crafter' or "collage" geek to get that. It's one of those things!

Not much else going on. Been sick for the last 4 days or so.

Now back to my inky fun!
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Judging a book by its cover

My handywork!
Front cover of my class project


Saturday I had the luxury of taking a five hour book class with Tim Holtz. I started out with a stack of paper, some waxed linen thread, two pieces of flat brown metal, two small chunky canvases, and some ribbon. I wound up with a 4 inch square book with embossed metal covers.

Above is the front cover of the book. Below is the back cover.



Back cover


I had anticipated having plenty of class pics to post but that was not to be. I checked the battery on the camera before I left home and it read "full". When I arrived at class it came up "battery empty" and I got no pictures.

Tonight I put fresh batteries int he camera and took 4 pics. The camera now says "battery empty" again.

Pffffft is what I say to the camera!

Better pics after I get the camera sorted out.

I took another Tim Holtz class and came home with the project not quite finished. I will post pics when that is done as well. The class was a patchwork of different techniques for using Tim Holtz Ranger ink and paint products.

I came home with the obligatory crafty goodies. I've decided that since I've no place to put them I have to make a project and use them up pronto. I have an old shadow box frame in the stash that is about to get a makeover with neat new stuff!


8/19/9 Note
The interior of this book started out as flat pieces of paper and we made the signatures and sewed the book together.

The metal started out in flat, untextured, brown sheets. We embossed the metal and inked it. :) It took 5 hours start to finish but it was fun.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Help stop corporate sponsorship of convicted animal abusers!
I'm talking about throwing some public opinion at sponsors of the NFL team the Philadelphia Eagles!

They have signed Michael Vick. The man is a convicted animal abuser. He has willfully tortured animals for his own amusement.

Is that the kind of person we want corporations dumping millions of dollars into?

Sponsors of the team include Tastycake, MasterCard, Pepsi, 7-11, Budweiser, Comcast, Rite Aid, Snapple, Pepcid, KFC, Splenda, Best Buy, Aflac, and Triple AAA.

The team sponsorship page is here: http://www.philadelphiaeagles.com/team/corporatepartners.asp

If you're disgusted about this man being hired back with corporate funds, contact the sponsors directly and let them know that this is a bad use of their advertising dollars. As much as I like a Tastycake and some Splenda sweetened soda, I'm willing to boycott the products until they stop funneling money into an enterprise that hires men who torture animals for fun and profit.

A simple, polite email or phone call will let a corporation know that you're paying attention to where they spend their advertising dollars and you are willing to support good public policy on their part with your consumer green backs.

Michael Vick has a right to work, truly. I also have a right not to spend my money with companies who contribute to his salary. Capitalism & Democracy. Sorta like a "Coke & A Smile", aren't' they?

P.S. I've started emailing and phoning the customer relations departments of regional sponsors. It feels very scary to speak out against something as large as the NFL.
Friday, August 14, 2009
Branston Pickle Anyone?

You know you want it!
Sometimes you just gotta have it!!


Are you suffering through the American summer craving Branston Pickle?

Do you desperately need some "Hula Hoops" snacks? How about some "Sherbert Fountains"? "Jelly Babies"? "Ribena"? "Hobnob"s? "Flake Bar"?

Are you in dire need of some "Fairy Liquid" or "LemSip"?

Grieve no more gentle reader! There is a U.S. supplier for all your UK needs!

They are British Delights of
63 Power Road Unit 2 Unit D
Westford
MA 01886
978-392-0077
10am-6pm EST Mon-Fri


The can be reached on the web at : British Delights

I haven't tried the out yet but I've had a hankering for som HobNobs and Ribena so I might just send an order over the weekend.

While flicking through the various categories of available goodies I delved into the "Pharmacy" section and found not only the storied "LemSip" but "Woodwards Gripe Water".


Yikes!


The discovery that someone, somewhere else in the world calls tummy troubles "gripe" has been a happy thing. My grandmother and my mom both called the crampy horrible side effects of iron tablets "the gripe". When mom was on huge iron supplements in her last months I tried to explain to the doctor what she was saying she felt. Dr. Robot seemed to have had no contact with his own elderly relatives or was not receptive to issues of the human condition. It wasn't until Hospice arrived on the scene that we were able to get her some relief.

I thank God for the a little nurse nicknamed "Lady Bug" who empathized with mom's pain and did her best to keep her comfortable. It helped me get through the days at work to know Lady Bug was on the job keeping an eye on mom.

Love means doing the hard things and making the terrible decisions. It does not mean "never having to say you're sorry". Love makes you the sorriest human being on the planet some times. Reading an advanced directive and making decisions on feeding tubes and blood transfusions is the most harrowing thing I've ever done.

Sorrow aside, I believe that sometime next week I'll be sating my hunger for HobNobs and going through a large assortment of imported candies. I'll post back and tell if Ribena lives up to my memory.
Love Fool
Remember the song "Love Fool" by the Cardigans? Remember that catchy little ditty sung by what sounded like a breathless little girl? Remember the pleading chorus begging:

So I cry, and I pray and I beg

Love me love me
say that you love me
fool me fool me
go on and fool me
love me love me
pretend that you love me
lead me lead me
just say that you need me


It sounds like a cross between a love letter by a desperate psychotic and a suicide note from somebodies self-esteem. My buddy "C" says she sees it as a playful acknowledgement of how crazy love makes us. When I first heard it I thought the chick needed a serious intervention.

Love has taught me a number of brutal, cruel, scar inducing things. There have been times when I've suspected "love" was nothing more than a devil's minion in fancy costume. The United States Post Office reinforced my suspicions a few years ago when it issued a "Love" stamp with a cherub on it.

What the good old P.O. had failed to notice was that they'd "sampled" that putti from a scene of "The Assumption of the Virgin". That little charmer with black and red wings was an angel of death.



Isn't he cute?


This post is taking a maudlin turn. There are a great many things that lead me to my current despair on the subject of love.

To sum it up, I will quote a rubber stamp from River City Rubber Works, "If it has tires or testicles it's gonna be trouble"

Even now I'm entrenched in another set of intractable heartaches. I finagled, shopped, saved, and horse traded so that on my budget I'm driving a fabulously engineered forty thousand dollar car. It corners like heaven, it's the most sophisticated, performance car I've owned. Instead of being a joy to drive, it acts like a horse's ass. It has had bearing problems, water leaks, and mysterious electrical maladies that have driven me to despair.

I'm dating a bright, gentle, smart, witty man who accepts me in my current state of disrepair. We've known each other for 24 years and we've "got the back story" on each other. We can finish each other's sentences, prowl the hardware store together, and swap books. But he lives 140 miles away and I see him once a month. On top of that all the issues that drove us apart 15 years ago still exist. We are in a stalemate Most of the time I'm alone and on my own.

It's like the line from that horrible song "It's all very nice, but not very good.".

Now that I'm oogling a new car, the fancy, pretty, sports cars are all posturing and preening in their press photos. The issue remains that I had to buy a car before I'd saved up for one. My monthly health care expenses would stagger a moose. A brand new "judge" orange sports car is out of my reach right this minute. (Sure I could get the credit but I want to continue to live in a house with a non-leaking roof!)

It's the same old emotional twang I seem so familiar with. I love it, I want it, and I'd have to be nuts to get it.

Guess there's nothing left for this Friday afternoon but to karaoke,
"Love me love me
say that you love me
fool me fool me
go on and fool me
love me love me
pretend that you love me
lead me lead me
just say that you need me

I don't care for anyone but yooooooooooo!"


Unrequeted Love?
Challenger to Unrequited Love?
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Bugatti In My Bustle

Wrench me?
Top Gear UK, Richard Hammond confesses to being a Tool Addict.


I started a post yesterday but didn't get any farther than the obligatory mention of something Top Gear and delish. The subject of being a tool junkie.

I can prowl the Lowe's store with the best of them. I own an orbital palm sander, Makita driver drill, power screwdriver, ball peen hammer, utility hammer , and framing hammer. I keep admiring the brutal practicality of a shingling hatchet but "W" fears what sins I might commit with a tool like that at my disposal.

When I go off to artsy class I'm either armed with a cast iron punch/setter, or a Japanese screw punch, or my ever faithful 12 oz hammer for eyelet setting. I have an art studio full of punches, wire shaping jigs, cutters, setters, clay tools, and UTEE melt tools.


Big Tool
The wickedly efficient Home Pro Long Reach Eyelet Setter.
It punches and sets metal corners too. A MUST if you're going to do many book binding or eyelet projects.


Yesterday I was also going to write about the smothering heat and humidity squishing me into the pavement. The heat has broken a bit today, but it's too late for me. I'm fried like a piece of bacon. Yesterday's stifling humidity has given me a bad case of summer languor. The only thing that's going to replenish my tolerance for all things aggravating is a nice twelve hour sleep in a chilled bedroom.

Last night's stab at rehydration and eight hours of shut eye have only left me feeling more exhausted than ever. Personally I blame it on Chris Angel. A&E aired the season opener for "MindFreak" last night at 10 p.m. I just had to watch.

Magicians and Card Mechanics fascinate me. I like Chris Angel's Gothic violence-overdrive work and I love the classical style of Lance Burton.

Yeah I know it's all smoke and mirrors. But then again, so's a Ferrari!

Most every guy I've ever dated went through his childhood magic-trick fascination. I think it's a mandatory guy phase. Can you imagine a young James May doing card tricks for his family? Actually, neither can I, but I bet he did anyway.

As for the titular "Bugatti in my bustle.", I have to admit to being in a hideous mood today. I'm fried, hot, tired, exhausted, overheated, and ready to go home and crawl into bed well before sundown. Sadly the only thing waiting for me on my bed tonight is a set of Shabby Chic sheets. Sadder still, that's about all I'm up for.

The company I work for is bigger than huge. The main office complex is the size of a small state college campus. Because there are so many of us we have our own post office in the complex. As an extra nice service the U.S.P.S. has been having "Passport Days" this week. Yesterday my cohorts and I schlepped the 3/10 mile out to the car, drove the mile over to another main building and then hoofed the extra 1/2 mile from our "close up" parking space to the employee center.

When they snapped my new passport pics I looked as dazed, bedraggled, sweaty, and trommelled as I do when I'm traveling. Compared to my last passport photo from 1994, it looks better. Not that I'm aging like a cheese, but my last passport photo was truly awful. I had to hand in that old passport, I ogled its solitary stamp for admittance to the United Kingdom before I let it go.

It's been a long time since I've done much rambling. Too long I think. It's been three years since I could take a vacation. My last big flight out of town was a week long trip to Santa Barbara California for a stay at a fabulous place on a mountain overlooking the Pacific Ocean. When the fog drifted in, we were above the clouds. It was the first time I've ever truly seen the milky way.

The retreat workshops were so freaking intense that I slunk out to my rental car and spent some time down in town. Then and there I decided no more "retreats". Only artsy class trips.

Now that I've said that, I know that someday I'll wind up going on a vision quest retreat thing. I'm still staggering and stumbling around on the back side of the last three years, but shamanic practice hasn't finished with me yet. I may be getting a breather now, but the call hasn't stopped.

Back to the "passport getting" portion of the week. Since my cohorts and I were already in the "big building" on campus we took advantage of the "food court" for lunch. Dazed by the wide assortment of yumminess available, we staggered to the dining room and were blasted by a live brass and woodwind band playing "76 Trombones".

I know those of us in the outlying buildings don't get all the gossip, but when did we get a corporate brass band?

We chowed down to the stirring strains of "Exodus", "Stars and Stripes Forever" and some unrecognizable bits and trumpeting. It was a surreal experience.

Hmm. Perhaps I should get along to the titular "Bugatti in my bustle".

"Bugatti in the bustle" as opposed to "bee in the bustle" sounds more appropriate for me somehow. Although I've experimented with Victorian costume creation, I've never worn a bustle. Mother nature packed my trunk with so much good junk that augmenting it would break the bounds of modest refinement. Besides who can get into a multi point safety harness with a network of steel boning balanced on top their butt?

It's not whale bone or steel boning that is the unsteadying influece raising my hackles today. It's the humidity and exhaustion. That and the joker three cubes over who is having a melt down in a meeting and drowning out "The Who" in my headphones. If he's howling loudly enough the trounce Pete Townshend pumping through noise-cancelling headphones, he needs a tranquilizer.

"How High the Moon" by Les & Mary Paul cycled through the playlist today. The world is a sadder place after Les Paul's passing. Without Les Paul's "Log" there would be no PAF Humbuckers, no thundering Pete Townshend guitar riffs, no bass "plank" for the versitile Mr. Hammond to "spank", no Brian Setzer bashing his Gretsch White Falcon, and ultimately no "British Invasion".

I can't imagine George Harrison on Dobro and Paul McCartney on stand up bass cranking out "Love Me Do" in quite the same fashion as with their electrically amplified arsenal of axes.

All that rambling aside. Gotta go home and get some serious sleep tonight. Saturday morning is artsy class with Tim Holtz. I've signed up for several classes so I won't have time for my usual languid Saturday catnapping.

Won't have time for the laundry either. Next week may be 'laundry basket fashionista" week. I don't care. So long as I get to get all inky, painty, and gluey.

Oh dear, I've rambled on so much I didn't get round to writing bits for the pics I picked from BBC America's new Top Gear web site.

Remember that disappointing piece of electronic Bovril hoisted on the web a while back as the USA Top Gear website? Yes, you remember, the site that didn't have diddly about the UK Top Gear guys and was a total waste of bandwidth. Oh yes, we all know it was a vestigial stub on which to launch the unmaterialized Top Gear US programme's empire. The three guys they picked for the pilot show were patently offensive to start with. I'm rather relieved the franchise didn't sprout and torpedo the future of Top Gear UK on American cable television.

That lousy website was yanked down and replaced yesterday with a Top Gear page on BBC America. The new page isn't fleshed completely out yet but it's already easier to navigate. It's going on some jackassery about "Brand New Season 7 of Top Gear" coming on Monday August 17th. Since Series 7 has been airing in rotation all this year, it's not new.

I'm still frustrated as hell that we can't get any video off of the BBC UK site. I do pay a license fee to watch their programming through my cable bill every month so I'm not a total poacher. If they charged me a small subscription fee to get to the videos, I'd pay up and enjoy myself.

"Top Gear Magazine UK" arrives in my mailbox monthly and I pay up, marvel at the strange advertisements, and drool unrepentantly over the cars. Mama likes her car porn, oh yes she does.

If more Top Gear series were made available for U.S. DVD sales, I'd pony up at Amazon and wait for the post. (Pretend you don't see that tiny hacked DVD player under the entertainment center. No those aren't UK DVDs on my shelf, you are imagining things! If those were UK DVDs they would have been purchased through licensed channels with all fees being paid to the copyright holders. I may be many things but bootleg DVD supporter I am not!)

Not that I set out to break any laws or be seditionist or anything but a girl needs her comfort where she can find it. Since I won't be going to Skip Barber school this year, I have a need for video'd speed with Stiggy!

Earlier in the week, while in the throes of an attack of insomnia, I whiled away the late night hours watching Oz Clarke parboil the highly esteemed Mr. May in grape extracts. During the gratuitous buttock hosing off scene I averted my eyes. There are just some things that a girl does not need to see!

I will say that the programmes in the UK are a lot less "prim and proper" than they are here. I can't imagine U.S. network broadcasters showing the host "shaking the dew off his lilly". (Even from a back view.) Although if it had been cable network HBO they would have strapped Mr. May down, forced him to have a televised colonoscopy, and offered viewers a downloadable PDF format topographical map of his "gentleman's area".

Then again, I suspect I've always been a prude.

For snorts and giggles, I'll wind up today with the pics from the BBC America of our Top Gear cohorts.


Delivery Man!
The highly esteemed Mr. May delivers! The water, that is.



One!?!?!
What if you could have one? I mean the car!





Come Dancin'
Richard Hammon and Jeremy Clarkson go dancin' in the streets in a Challenger and a Corvette
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Hot enough yet?

Wrench me?
Top Gear UK, Richard Hammond confesses to being a Tool Addict.

Oddly enough I remember my first encournter with a "socket set" pretty well too!
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
STIG injured! F1 hopes dashed!
The man who assists the Top Gear White Racing Robot, "The Stig", has not been able to overcome a February neck injury and race in F1 for Ferrari.

"The Stig"s human assistant had been hoping to fill in for Fillipe Massa. Massa suffered serious injuries after being hit in the head by flying debris from the track.

Check out the news at Top Gear and "Stiggy's" Official Website.

http://sundayafternoonclub.blogs.topgear.com/2009/08/11/big-schu-its-all-over/

http://www.michael-schumacher.de/?page=index&lang=uk
Monday, August 10, 2009
Oh to be in the Computer Room now that summer is here!
Oh to be in the Computer Room now that summer is here!!!

Maryland has officially attained "Stinky Hot" status today. It's 95 degrees officially and the "Heat Index" is 103.

I know what a "wind chill factor" in the weather forecast is. But I'm allowed delicious speculation about how a "Heat Index" is calculated.

Perhaps the "Heat Index" represents how the temperature would feel should you realize that you are in a traffic jam behind the remnants of a Top Gear American Challenge on the Baltimore Beltway.


Hot



Perhaps it's the temperature The Stig's mechanical sensors pick up inside his driving jumpsuit.


Roasted?



Perhaps its the "glow" a cougar feels when confronted with a naughty email pic from someone on the Top Gear production staff.


Reign oer me!




Who knows? It's freakin' hot outside.



Let's Cruise!
Yes this is me! Topless but I've got on driving shoes and panties, and I've got the keys!


For all the sun's ferocity, I know of a place where it's a constant 65 degrees year round. It's not some wine cave in California either. It's the computer room. Those great big calculating engines generate enough heat to run a turbine but instead of using it, the industry standard is to run huge air conditioning units. Not air conditioning on the roof. No, these puppies are huge rectangular slabs of iron that rattle along in situ and force cold air up through sections of flooring. If a machine room hits 80 degrees, the equipment begins a safety shut down. Work is shuffled off and the mighty machines shut themselves off until the room cools down and a human minion restarts them.

The server rooms generate ten times the heat. You can usually guess which servers power email just by walking through the room and seeing which units kick off the most heat.

But that's my ramblings for today. Saturday night we worked from 9 p.m. until 3 a.m. It was 4 a.m. by the time I got tucked into bed and today I'm all out of whack on what time it is.

I'll just remind myself that even though the heat is disagreeable, things could be worse!

Chill out babe!
Friday, August 07, 2009
Friday afternoon .... encouragement

You know you want it!
You know you want it!





Evil Laughter? Oh yeah!



Two more pics from the Top Gear UK website.
That's the difference. . . .
For some reason lately my gazillion channel television cable box seems to be stuck on BBC America a great deal of the time. It seldom strays to "network" television anymore. I trim my viewing to DVR'd fare such as "Burn Notice", "Leverage", "Top Gear", and the vintage Robert Wagner goodie "It Takes A Thief".

In the car, the XM radio seems set on Radio1 (BBC Radio1 via satellite), Chill Channel, and "1st Wave" (Vintage new wave).

This influx of UK and off-mainstream media has led me to realize that popular American culture expects the proletariat to be stupid, ill tempered, and unable to string two words together.

The current vaunted American music trend has abandoned musical instruments in favor of an electronic beat and poorly rhymed words. The point of every track is complaining about the unfairness of life, casual murder, lack of self-esteem, anonymous casual sex, and an overall lack of respect for anything or anyone.

Hmmm, I may sound like my parents here for a few moments but I really am trying to compare music from the sixties, seventies, and the present. Alice Cooper was the poster child for parental paranoia but he always told tiny tragic stories with his songs. He eagerly and apologetically sang about being crazy.

What I hear on pop radio now sounds more like scared little children posturing and posing in a world they're trying to survive in. Modern standard lines like "I'm like off the chain.", "I bust a cap in yo' a**.", and "I f**k the ho's." is not the same as Alice's lamenting.

See my lonely life unfold I see it everyday see my lonely mind explode when I've gone insane . . .
I wanna get outta here I wanna get outta here I I've gotta I've gotta get outta here
. . .
I grabbed my hat and I got my coat and I I ran into the street
I saw a man that was choking there I guess he couldn't breathe
Said to myself this is very strange I'm glad it wasn't me
But now I hear those sirens callin' and so I am not free
I didn't wanna be I didn't wanna be I didn't wanna be see my lonely life unfold I didn't wanna be
Leave me alone I didn't wanna be don't touch me see my lonely mind explode when I've gone insane


Television doesn't do much for encouraging self-expression either. "Reality" shows pander to rude and cutthroat behavior. The overall message is be loud, rude, and violent. Scream and take what you want by violence. Do whatever you'd like to anyone. Moreover there is an expectation that contestants have no right to privacy, dignity, or self-respect.

I get so flustered at what I see happening that I can't even write properly about it.

On the ground breaking public television series on the "Civil War", the journals of civil war soldiers were read aloud. They were elegant, beautiful, and insightful. Bloggers try today to the same. Many just issue incoherent electronic screams. The overall impression is that the smaller the words, the more tiny the vocabulary, the more vulgar, and the more petty the sentiment; the better the blog is.

I'd chalk this up to me hitting peri-menopausal paranoia, but I've seen media venues where the lowest common denominator isn't carrying sway.

Most notably Radio1 and the leading UK newspapers. (TimesOnline, Telegraph.co.uk) Even their "wacky drive time" radio shows have on air personalities that don't swear, don't insult the callers, and do say "thank you". It's amazing and it's funny. They sent one personality out to different listener's jobs last week. There were web clips of leg waxing, cow poo shoveling, and other mischief. All light and fun. There was even talk of partying on Ibiza that didn't sound like a hungover description of a roman orgy.

In the last two years most of the local morning personalities have been canned because they had sunk to the bottom of scatological humor and listener abuse barrel and could no longer attract listeners or advertisers.

This morning, as I sat groggy headed and trying to rev up for a weekend of work, I read Jeremy Clarkson's review of a "Argo Avenger 700 8X8". He confesses to spending a vacation day at the beach getting drunk. But, he does it in such a calm and straightforward way, that instead of seeming like a "drunk a**hole" he seems like a well meaning typical person.


Yesterday, and I have no idea how this happened, I became extremely drunk. I started with a cheeky beer at midday and ended up on a beach, eight hours later, asking out loud if my lawyer had ever tried lesbianism. That drunk. So drunk in fact that as the sun started to go down, I decided that I could drive. So I did. Into the sea.
Before you all write to the Daily Mail, again, suggesting that I be sacked, again, I should explain that I wasn’t on a road, no pedestrians were present to run over, and that the vehicle I was driving was an Argo — widely known as an Argocat.
Jeremy Clarkson


I realized that an average American journalist would have written either "I got so s**t faced, man I drove in the water man." or "I have been drunk and I am now checking into rehab".

The UK media seems to have "gotten over itself". People have opinions, people behave much more like real people than the American "politically correct" public personas.

I have breakfast most mornings with a "Washington Post" reader. I rummage through the discarded sections looking for the cartoons. What I find, most of the time, is lead stories that harp at a near hysterical level about the immanent end of the universe. To grab attention each lead article is slanted to either ecstasy or Armageddon. Most of it, if you read it calmly, looks like blatant bulls**t.

Six months ago this paper pounded away on the total dissolution of the country. My friend was on the verge of hoarding gold and canned goods. The same paper had illustrations of Obama in messianic poses with a vaguely concealed halo. Yesterday it had sketches of Obama as the "Joker" from the Batman series and the world "Socialism" written in "blood" underneath. To them he was not only a "clown" and "joker", he was the antithesis of the virtuous "American Way".

Why would anyone want to take their news from an untreated bi-polar publication? It may not be able to control its behavior but I don't have to believe it when it yammers away in the public consciousness.

At this point, I want to yammer on with generalizations and sweeping statements that I don't have the patience to support in the rhetoric. I will stop here and say, "Boy am I glad I have the Internet and FIOS so I can get some fresh media."


Oh, baby I love your way!
The Top Gear Three keeping it fresh!
pic by Paul Vicente Times Online


PS. I have been reminded that I now buy my car parts from a government owned car company. That could explain why the whole damn thing doesn't quite work right.

OMBH: I'm sure Mr. Fry would find the company of JHMTU enjoyable. However, it seems that most who enjoy JHMTU's charms perish post haste in a terrible manner. I have too much esteem from Mr. Fry to wish him dispatched by slobbering aliens, temporal shift loonies, or Vermicious Knids. Besides he's in the middle of writing his mystery series "The Dongal of Donald Trefusis" and I want to get to the ending! :)
Thursday, August 06, 2009
James May is not Wordy!

This man is NOT James May with a short haircut!
Wordy baby!

This man IS James May
Slippery Baby!




Stephen Fry has joined "Adopt A Word" a UK charity for children who have trouble with speech and communication problems. The photo above is a pic of Fry from their website. He's modeling his T-shirt with his adopted word emblazoned upon it. "Wordy" may be taken by Fry but plenty of others are available.

Recently Fry remarked in his "Twitter" stream that someone had mistaken him for James May. As Fry continues to loose weight and tone up, he starts to bear a stronger resemblance to the highly esteemed Mr. May.

Fry visited May's plasticine garden and posted pics on his "Twitter" steam.
Is James May making a bid at U.S. East Coast employment?





Exhibit One: DuClaw Brewing Company's Real Ale Festival Sept 12th 2009.

Exhibit Two: James May's declaration of love for "Real Ale"

Combine the two with the recent JHMTU threat to May in his native UK and perhaps we have the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Speculation swirls that, perhaps, Mr. May is looking to diversify here in the wild and lawless colonies. Maryland, being a haven for small breweries, may offer the solution. May could open his own brew pub or sign on with any number of illustrious brew houses.

Perhaps he could add his own unique spin and find storage space for his vintage cars all at the same time. A destination venue in Baltimore, Annapolis, or D.C. could easily support a "Top Gear" or "Mays Motors" themed brew pub. May's cars, in all their states of glorious, unrepentant, wear and tear can be displayed, tinkered with, and written off as a business deduction.

Perhaps, once in the U.S., May could find time to work with food science guru Alton Brown. Brown and May have striking similarities. Both are science nerds with a voracious appetite for knowing how things work. Both men are motorcycle enthusiasts. (Brown has even done two successful "road" series.) Also, Brown recently joined May on the list of civilian flyers with their own planes.

If he were liberated from the UK class consciousness, who knows what kind of wit, whimsy, and wonder Mr. May could show us, the television viewing public.
I've lost the will to car shop

Don't worry we've got you covered.
It's time to call in the big guns!


Meet Brock Samson. Bodyguard to Dr. Thaddeus Venture and his two "death prone" boys, Hank and Dean. Brock drives a Hemi Orange 1969 Charger. He wears the same outfit every day. He has a Led Zeppelin tattoo and a mullet hair cut and he makes them both look good. He lives in the Venture Compound basement. He was trained by renowned OSI agent Hunter Gatherer. Brock has done his time in black ops and he's done his share of wet work. His body is a finely tuned "Swedish Murder Machine". He carries only a commando knife, a pack of cigs, and a Zippo lighter. He once fought a dozen Tijuana badas*es to retrieve a replacement part for his beloved car.

He's the kind of man I need in my car search.

Better yet he's the kind of man I need to send my car to the garrage with. Brock is the kind of man, though proficient in auto repair himself, who can convince a mechanic to find a pesky electrical problem in less than a week and without joyriding the car all over town.

After spending an unenjoyable evening car shopping yesterday, I'm in the mood to make a plea to Mr. Samson.

My car appraised for more than I owe on it. That's always a good start to car shopping. Finding another car that handles and zips as well, was a little more difficult. I wound up ambling through Toyota Avalons, Lexus-eses, Mercedes, BMW, and Audi A8s. I had leanings for the Toyota products until I realized the interiors were drapped in cheesy faux wood plastic and the cars were seriously overpriced for the amount of wear left in them. Granted you can roll one of those Japanese Foo Dogs for 200K easily. But that doesn't mean you want to drive the car into its and your old age. I don't want a 30K four year old car. I've already got a quarter of a million dollar fifty year old home and that's enough being on the short end of the stick for me, thank you.

I hit a bargain hunting apex when I located my current car. If only I'd hit on the reliability summit as well. I will say that since "Oliver" has been trade in evaluated twice this week, his performance has improved. Perhaps he has realized his next owner may be a heavy smoker who never checks the oil, doesn't go near a car wash, doesn't use floor mats, and may have cause to use the three child safety seat anchors in the back seat.

The car dealership we visited on Tuesday night was enough to scare anybody.

We cruised to a used car lot two blocks from the repair shop where I had to use the words, "I don't give a shit if you just locked the door. You knew I was coming. Give me my car back. I'm not driving this death-trap-piece-of-shit Stanza one more foot."

Tingling with the aura of having used the "magic words" I arrived to find used car salesmen sitting on the rail around the office like buzzards eyeing a busy intersection. Only one buzzard, er um salesman, found me a good enough prospect to float down and introduce himself. He used the remark, "You look like you just came from the mechanic. That car is too clean."

I snapped, "I keep my cars clean!"

He tried to sell me on a Jaguar straight out of the gate. However, not being the highly esteemed Mr. James May, I knew I could not muster the automotive repair wherewithall to own a Jaguar as a primary vehicle and actually show up anywhere on time.

We ambled through the lot until we came across a stable of Dodge Chargers. With very little fanfare, he gassed up the car, stuck a tag on it, and handed me the keys. He didn't ask my name, ask for driver's license or insurance information, or get the keys to my car. I just drove off into rush hour traffic in a fully loaded Charger with a full tank of gas.

The main interstate was a parking lot, thanks to a blockbuster film worthy accident, so I took the Charger down a twisty two lane. It had nice pep, plenty of interior room, great stereo, sleek looks, slick sunroof, and wind noise to make you think you were in gale force winds. Charger stayed a possibility on my list. The dealership did not. There were no prices on the cars and the price the guy quoted me on the car was 3K more than it should have been.

But it was a nice test drive interlude while I waited for traffic to ease. I also had the satisfaction of knowing that the traffic jam that had slowed me down from picking up my car was the same traffic jam I'd seen my service writer turn into when he left the Cadillac place. For all his self-confidence and vanity, he was sitting locked in on the same patch of pavement as before I'd gone for my test drive. Since I was going home, I was on the now wide open highway in the opposite direction.
Tuesday, August 04, 2009
Charge It!

Don't worry we've got you covered.
And we'll have fun, fun, fun til the bank takes the Charger away!


Who can forget the rallying cry of Wilma Flintstone and Betty Rubble? The trumpet fanfare and the synchronized shriek of "CHARGE IT!" came forth each time the ladies hit the Bedrock Mall.

I have a pre-approved auto loan and a mighty urge to be free of the shitty Cadillac electrical nightmare I'm driving. So I feel a bit like the bedrock trouble twins. My only problem is that at the end of the month I don't have a Fred or Barney to pay the bill. Of course I also have the double blessing of not having to sleep with a cave man to have a car. I just have to spend my days in a small windowless box keying in ZOS commands. It may be dreary but it beats the hell out of giving head to Fred Flintstone! Barney either for that matter.

Commenter onemockingbirdhill has made a special request that, should I select the Charger, I make a road trip to VA.

Don't worry OMBH if I wind up with a new oriole orange Charger we will motor furiously towards some fun in the Florida Keys. Maybe even a few days at Rat World in Orlando.

We'll rendezvous at a Waffle House somewhere on 95 and head hellbent for pushrods away from work, responsibilites, and JHMTU!

On a somber note, todays rental car is a Nissan Stanza that drives like a playskool plastic wagon. Everytime I turn the wheel the car acts like it's going to flip over. The mechanic has announced that the "check engine" light was a "history" code for a vapor leak and it would have gone out on its own. They can find nothing wrong with the car. Nothing except it lost fuel line pressure while idling in a parking lot! I reminded them that they've replaced the gas cap and vapor recovery solenoid in the last month. I asked them if they've got that solinoid grounded out so it's shorting out the electrical system. They said they'd phone me back. Then the mechanic has phoned and asked if he can drive my car home overnight to see if he can make it have a problem. My response was "f**k no". He can drive this piece of crap Sentra. I need the Caddy back so I can trade it in.

When Wachovia securities tied up all my mom's cash in bad investments and I had to get litigous to get them back, I composed the "f**ky f**ky" song Lily Allen has a similar song done with a catchy sixties happy beat. I have combined the two and the lyrics now include the words Cadillac and Fitzgerald Auto Mall.

I don't think those men at the garage understand what a menopausal woman, in grief over the loss of a parent, suffering in 95 degree heat with 80% humidity, is capable of when they start giving her the yank over a car.
Monday, August 03, 2009
Tension resumes in May camp, JHMTU threat returns.

Don't worry we've got you covered.
May discusses a job with Leno in the United States


Friday night the Tuxedo Inn staff learned that JHMTU (Jack Harkness Man Tart of the Universe) has found another corporeal body on our plane of existence. We learned of the renewed threat on Mr. May via media outlet Radio1.

It appears that JHMTU has regenerated and assumed the identity of cabaret entertainer and actor John Barrowman. On top of this, Radio1 morning radio personalities have begun a campaign to get the fake Barrowman's recording of "I Made It Through The Rain" into the top 40 requested songs on Radio1. Both the morning and evening radio personalities are encouraging requests for the song and are interviewing JHMTU in his guise of Barrowman.

Radio1 played snippets of the obviously faked song on their evening program on Friday. Anyone with any exposure to music would know the song could not have been a professional recording. It was flat, harsh, and blaring. If JHMTU had more time I'm sure he would have applied an auto tuner and brought it in line with the human actor's voice.

With access to BBC properties gained through this ruse, JHMTU could once again begin his hunt for our highly esteemed Mr. May.

Sources tell us that Mr. May is countering this newest threat by looking into taking a job with Jay Leno's entertainment empire in the United States.

Scientific studies show that JHMTU can not walk the streets of any American city, except San Francisco, without being recognized for the space alien that he is. Should he attempt to interfere with Mr. May in Burbank California he would immediately be seized by the INS and tossed back to the holding tanks at the MIB facility in New York City.

Mr. May, those of us at the Tuxedo Inn, would welcome you to our country.
Don't bring me second hand love . . .

Don't worry I've got roadside assistance.
Second hand love turns soggy on Richard Hammond


Pete Townshend is providing mourning music for us here today at the Tuxedo Inn.

Oliver the Cadillac will be leaving us soon, never to return.

Over the weekend the electronics began playing a merry game of "electronic ring around the rosie". Today he is in repose at the Cadillac dealership sucking up extended warranty dollars.

In the last 18 months I have worked my way through 3 automobile electronics systems by doing nothing more than driving the cars.

It is with a heavy sigh and no small amount of self-pity that I lament that men and motorcars have taught me to weep. Both have driven me nigh on mad with desire, passion, thrills, spills, and disappointment. It is so difficult not to be bitter.

Time has taught me patience, forbearance, understanding, basic principles of automotive mechanics, mysterious fingertip touch techniques for plying a stuck ignition (on both man and machine), and how to tend my own broken heart.

It is so frightening to get up and go back out into the world in search of what a woman needs, a reliable car that's fun to drive.

I've had a Honda self immolate, a Mitsubishi snap a timing belt straight out of the gate, a Ford with bad welds, and a Mercury with insane wiring. I have danced the lemon law samba without satisfaction.

Only my Toyota was loving and reliable. I also had it maintained at the local "foreign car" mechanic. He specialized in Ferrari, Lambo, and Mercedes. We went to college together and he helped put out the fire on the Honda. From then on he was my mechanic of choice. Even now, thinking of him ambling out to my tiny Toyota parked amongst the yellow Lambos makes me start humming "Sex Bomb". I'm doing it now. Rogn was Norweigan, blonde, angular, er um.... excuse me I'm vapor locking.

I wish I could "Rent a Stig" to take to the car dealer with me. He could appraise the car and then stand there silently while the salesman babbles and I'm out in the lot looking at cars. A "Rent a Jezza" wouldn't be bad either. he could brow beat the daft salesman until I get a decent deal on a halfway decent car.

I'm going to have to take the taxes and title fees I paid in January as a loss. It makes me insane. Since I just dumped my mad money into an extended warranty, I don't have a downpayment.

There's a new Charger, a new Camaro, and a plethora of Mustangs. Fresh four wheeled sex abounds in the market place and I'm going to be sloshing about in soggy, wheezy, wilted sloppy seconds.

To quote that old Juice Newton song, "Love's been a little bit hard on me."