off the top of my head

Hi! Remember me? Wow, it’s been ages since we last talked. It seems like years. Has it really been only a couple weeks? What have you been up to? Yeah? Man, I had no idea they could do that. With gouda even? Seriously, I’m constantly amazed by the power of cheese. I was thinking about you earlier today when I was going about my business. No, not that business. Sheesh. No, I think I was driving or ironing toilet paper or staring at my toes, or whatever it is that I do most of the time. It was getting close to lunch time, and I had this intense craving for ramen noodles. Which naturally led to me thinking about brains. And then zombies. Then mummies. And then dust bunnies. And then Welsh rabbit. So naturally I couldn’t help but remember that time when you got caught with the…ha ha ha, yeah. We totally don’t need to go there. Oh, you already went there. Again? Did they recognize you without your…Oh. Sorry about that. Didn’t mean to bring up such a sore subject. Right, right. I understand. Beach balls and ninjas. Say no more. Well, I’d better go. I have a lot of stuff I need to do. There’s a whole pile of lentils that I need to alphabetize. Good talkin’ with ya.

So, um, yeah. It’s been a while. Things have been crazy. Here’s a few things that I could write lots more about, except I should probably sleep instead:

    • We finally moved Theo into Phoebe’s room a couple of weeks ago. It’s been going really well.

    • I’m heading to Chicago next week for a conference. Solo.

    • I have a lot of stuff to do before I leave.

    • My poison ivy is still healing, over 4 full weeks after initial exposure.

    • Phoebe started preschool this week, and Theo started going to daycare 5 days a week. (Phoebe will be at the preschool 3 days, and at the old daycare with Theo two days.) This new schedule will give me 2 more days a week to do my work. Or alphabetize lentils.

    • I’m not really getting into Twitter. My romance with Facebook is flagging. I’m considering breaking up with both and taking up smoke signals.

    • I’d really hoped to resume last year’s “merry merry month of metablogging” this May. But seeing as I have so much going on, I probably won’t manage.

    • There are other weightier things on my brain that I can’t get into here. Imagine, if you will, my cartoon brain with a large cartoon anvil on top. Now put a cartoon elephant on top.

    • Finally, here’s a picture of Theo as a little baby with an octopus on his head. Actually, I don’t really have a lot to say about this.

Oh, and one more final last thing. Can you identify this movie quote?

When you can balance a tack hammer on your head, you will head off your foes with a balanced attack.

setting the machinery in motion

So, yeah. About that “deadline” we set for March 1st…didn’t quite make it.

Holly and I are still working out the kinks in the machinery of readying our 2009 Just Posts finalists for voting. The process is fairly laborious and complex. We’re sorting posts into categories, and fine-tuning our rankings based on reviewer scores and comments, plus our own scores and comments. We are then passing this data through a bayesian algorithm to map the data onto a multidimensional target, which we are modelling out of styrofoam, aluminum foil and chewing gum. Our elaborate system of gears, levers, pulleys and springs will then lob sporks and chopsticks at the target. We will analyze the configuration of utensils to determine the optimal set of posts. Unfortunately, we’ve run into a bit of a roadblock due to some disagreement over how best to use the trained gerbils.¹

So, it will be…a few more days.

While you wait, please study the following instructional video:

(It’s OKGO and their new video for This Too Shall Pass.)

¹ I’ll also be pretty busy with a few other things. My mother is arriving tonight for a week-long visit, for one thing.²

² I’m hoping that she can help carve some of the styrofoam and chew some of the gum. Or at least help us tally the sporks. (I’m afraid she won’t be much help as a gerbil handler.)

Borrowed Pants: Selected Texts from the Pants Archives

From my place in the seat of the Pants Institute, I am on occasion privileged to receive interesting pockets of Pants Knowledge from fellow Pants Scholars from the wider Pants World.

PoetTraveler of Reaching for my pen… recently left the following gem of Pants Lore in the comments of my about page, an article which surely deserves your clothes attention.¹

The quest for perfect Pants is a longstanding one. Many have searched for the ideal symbol of this emblematic icon. There has been much coverage on the subject. Some academics argue that perfection is impossible. Others say not so, it’s all down to genes.

Indeed, the great pants-philosopher, Levy of Denim, produced a schematic that took Plato’s theory of Forms further . For Levy, Pants was all about form. His addendum to Plato’s idea was not a re-butt-al, figuratively speaking. He postulated that Form clings to genes and to this day one of most widely used expressions in the field contains both a noun and an adjective incorporated in the effusive expression “I’m panting for more”.

– Excerpt from “Pantalonia – The Path of Bottomless Knowledge” –

After a brief discussion of the Text, he also shared the following:

Some dissidents – notably Diogenes of Sinope were critical of Levy of Denim’s association with Plato’s ideas. He accused Levy of being inelastic in his coverage, of dressing part of the Form concept in such a way so that it became an inelastic pro-position. Levy of Denim was noted for labeling his ideas carefully and when Diogene’s criticisms reached him he was said to have sighed and murmured “That Diogenes is not exactly a barrel of laughs” The ancient greek translation is inaccurate because of ambiguity in this context and another meaning could be “He’s not getting me over a barrel”, but there is no collective agreement on this possible alternative meaning and in any case Denim of Levy was, at that time, apparently happily married to Levytica, a seamstressed lady from Syracuse.

I expect you will agree that briefs of this fashion are a tight fit for the body of Pants Knowledge assembled in the Pants Institute, and should be stored in the venerable drawers of the Pants Bureau Archives.

This message was approved by the Ministry of Pants.

¹This pun was also borrowed from PoetTraveler.²
²Even more Pants material can be sewn, or um, seen here, as well as more of our off the cuff³ exchange.
³…or on the fly, as it were.

red socks fans

Not all of you may know this, but I’m a big fan of the socks. Living close to Boston, you hear a lot of people talking about the socks. People really get excited about socks this time of year. Especially red socks.

You’ll be happy to know that we have our share of red socks in this household. Phoebe and Theo each have at least a couple of pairs each. You can catch them sporting their red socks just about any day of the week. That’s right, plenty of red socks sporting events here!

One of these days, I’m going to have to learn more about the games that people play with their red socks. Or maybe it’s in their red socks. People get so excited about red socks game days. I can just picture everyone hanging out, wearing their red socks, playing boggle and parcheesi. Or maybe people take off their socks and throw them. Either way, what fun it must be.

I do get a little concerned, though, when I hear people talking about getting red socks tickets. I’ve gotten my fair share of parking tickets in and around Boston. I know that there’s always a danger that I’ll get a ticket if I forget to feed the meter. But do they really need to ticket people who forget to wear their red socks?

Well, I’d best get back to my laundry. Those socks aren’t going to wash themselves!

Theo sports the red socks.
Theo sports the red socks.

right from the start

I have given in to the urge to put together a sort of 2008 blog recap. Following in the footsteps of Mad, Magpie, Bea and Holly, I present to you the opening sentence of each first post of the month. (Or in some cases, a sentence fragment. Because I like sentence fragments.) (And I’ve also put the post title.)(In parentheses.)(Because I like parentheses.)

What this excercise has demonstrated to me is that my posts tend to lack interesting beginnings. I’d like to say that I’ll work on getting more interesting “hooks” for my posts. However, if I were to agonize about the beginnings of my posts, I would likely collapse in a heap of debilitating self-awareness.

On the other hand, I could try starting with the right opening sentences, and then work my way from there. What my openers above clearly lack, aside from elements that might intrigue a reader, is pants.

I offer to you an alternate universe list of post openers:

    January: The moment I walked in the room, I realized that I had worn entirely the wrong pair of pants.

    February: Hell hath no fury like a woman pantsed.

    March: You would not believe the number of people who have been trying to get into my pants this week.

    April: Today I invented a novel way of wearing pants.

    May: You can tell a lot about people from their body language, or from going through the contents of their pants pockets.

    June: I can’t remember where I left my pants last night.

    July: Shakespeare knew a thing or two about writing, but from what I’ve heard, he was a bit lacking in the pants department.

    August: My love of pants may finally have gotten me in trouble with the law.

    September: Last night I found a mysterious message, a poetic missive written in an elegant hand, stuck to the seat of my pants.

    October: On beautiful Fall days like this, I sometimes gaze out the window at the leaves falling gracefully from the trees and the pants falling clumsily from the waistlines of the passersby.

    November: I’ve signed on for NaPaWriMo (National Pants Writing Month) this year, which means that every day for this whole month, I’ll be joining the ranks of those who can’t help but write about pants.

    December: Today turned out to be an unfortunate day to go outside without my pants.

weaving out of control

overwhelmed and under pressure
buckling under, in over my head
fruitflies overtake an underripe banana

overeducated and underdressed
chronic overachiever feeling snowed under
underestimated tasks, schedule overloaded
commitments overlapping and under the gun
time to shave underarms when hell freezes over

overwrought and under attack
hot under the collar I overreact
overeasy eggs have undercooked yolks

overextended and underfunded
tree branches overhang, basement floor under water
the undergrowth is overgrown
overdue bills crackle under foot
in under the roof, squirrels overrun the attic

overprivileged and underproductive
an overstuffed sofa cushion under my butt
get over yourself and get underway
the monkey’s overboard and the undertow pulls

overtired and under the weather
overconfidence getting undermined
soft underbelly feels overexposed
overanxious thoughts swept under the carpet
laundry overflowing and no clean underwear

overwritten and underwhelming
an overzealous undertaking
overblown metaphors from under my hat
overcooked pasta with underseasoned sauce

election news in the Republic of Pants

Election day in the Democratic Republic of Pants is rapidly approaching, and excitement is growing over the race between the two major candidates, Trousers McPants and Corduroy O’Bloomer.

Speeches by both candidates have been striking some cords with large sections of the Pants Republic, leaving many pants feeling divided over the issues.

McPants has long suggested that the opposition pants are cut more for style than substance, and of a fashion that has not been worn long enough to stand the test of time. Recently, the McPants campaign has appeared at times to attempt to stain the very fabric of O’Bloomer’s character, bringing up associations with outfits that are considered inappropriate for the pair of pants that will cover the biggest seat of the Pants government. O’Bloomer’s campaign has responded that such threadbare associations are not material to the election.

At a rally last week, McPants promised that he would “beat the pants off” O’Bloomer, an off the cuff remark that led to outcries from the O’Bloomer camp. In response, supporters of O’Bloomer have suggested that Trousers McPants is not only cut of the same cloth as the incumbent, Jodpur Britches, but even getting to be frayed around the edges.

It appears that more and more prominent Pants Republic citizens are coming out of the closet to declare their belief that O’Bloomer is overall the stronger pair of pants, leaving some McPants supporters feeling that they’ve been hung out to dry. Among O’Bloomer supporters, the feeling is strong that if McPants wins the election, the population of the Pants Republic will be taken to the cleaners.

After the recent economic downturn, with recession looming and fears that the Pants economy is coming apart at the seams, citizens of the Pants Republic are eager to learn how the candidates will address the issues. As the Pants treasury does not have infinitely deep pockets, many wonder if the Pants government will need to tighten its belt.

Come hell or highwaters, one pair of pants will be chosen in the coming weeks. And right now, it looks like the Republic is ready to change its pants.


This post was written for this week’s Monday Mission, hosted by Painted Maypole, which solicits posts in the style of campaign coverage.