Toy Joy

I found these old pictures from March, 2010, of my visit to Toy Joy with my sis-in-law, and Sara of the Red Hair. I may have to change the name of the blog to “Weird things I found places”. Oh, wait, that doesn’t sound good. Well, I guess My Attempts at Cleverness will just have to suffice.

They have all this seaweed and crap hanging from the ceiling so it looks like you’re underwater! I totally want to do this.


I also want a horde of skeletons. Is that weird?


Great, now I also want hundreds of paper lanterns hanging from the ceiling, and an all Asian Christmas tree. I find the oddest things when I flip through old photos. Such as:


I love these glasses so much! I wonder if I can get my prescription put in them? Look out, Dame Edna!

September 29, 2011. Tags: , , . My Quest to be more Interesting, Random typing. Leave a comment.

Ring Revamp


My sister-in-law, Nikki, gave me a cool plastic ring awhile ago. It was brown, with a shiny, iridescent coating. Unfortunately, that iridescence came off, but I still like the ring. What’s my lazy solution? Nail polish! Here we have the ring “before”, along with the black nail polish, which will be the first coat.

I did not take a picture of the in between stage for some reason, but it was a beautiful, shiny black. Next layer: red glitter!!

Look at that sparkle! I left a little of the black showing through the glitter, but you could always use a third coat of glitter to cover that up, if you like. I love this, because it gives me all the bling of red glitter nail polish without having to actually do my nails! Lazy crafts for the win!

September 27, 2011. Tags: , , , , . Arts and Crafts, Thriftiness is Cool. 2 comments.

Our Ferret


Our ferret, named Ferret, passed away this morning. We’d had him for about 4 and a half years or so, and it was very hard to let go, but it was the best thing for him. Bye, sweetheart. Have fun with your brother.


September 25, 2011. Tags: . Random typing. 7 comments.

Horatio’s Two Cents

My fridge, Horatio, has a history of saying random things. I try to capture some of them for your amusement, when I can.

Horatio practices his second language…

…and gets philosophical…

…until Hubby gets involved.

September 25, 2011. Tags: . Random typing. 2 comments.

We got a car!

After we sold my Honda CR-V, and I mean immediately after, our only other car, a Ford Explorer, quit on us. (By the way, anyone want a giant SUV with no transmission? No? Really??). I did so much research my brain started to melt, but I found this little beauty at a local dealership:

It’s a 2004 Honda Element, and it’s orange! Look at those epic doors!!

I know she’s beautiful. Don’t be jelly! Doesn’t that picture look like it’s from a car catalog??

So far, I freaking love this thing. She doesn’t have a name yet, so we’re calling her Elephent the Element. See what I did there? Oh, I am endlessly entertaining. It’s so huge on the inside, I’m tempted to pull a heist! But I won’t. Probably.

September 23, 2011. Tags: , , , . House Stuff, Thriftiness is Cool. 4 comments.

Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week runs from September 24th to October 1st this year. You may have noticed my most recent post was a review of To Kill a Mockingbird, which is one of the most banned books of all time, which I even discussed in the post. Was this all a part of some subtle plan of mine to raise awareness about the dangers of censorship in our society? I wish. I can barely plan dinner from day to day lately, much less picking up a book WEEKS in advance of an event. But let’s all pretend that was on purpose, mmkay?

Banned Books Week is a celebration of our right to read, and to bring awareness to books that are challenged in our school systems. On their official website they list the ten most challenged books of 2010. One of them was Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, by Barbara Ehrenreich. I have read that book, and it’s fantastic. The excuses people use for challenging some of these books are so specious it’s insulting, however number 10 on the list is the Twilight series, so I can’t dismiss all the challenges.

Here are a few links for your edification:

List of Banned and Challenged Classics
Top Ten Challenged Books of each year 2001-2010
Why Books are Challenged
Why Specific Books are Challenged

I honestly don’t understand the reasoning behind some of these challenges. The Great Gatsby is a terrible book, but that doesn’t mean other people shouldn’t have access to it. By the way, I cannot honestly believe that anyone thinks The Great Gatsby is the best novel of the 20th century. Have these people actually read beyond the dust jacket??

Anyway, as I said in my blog post the other day, the people who want to ban books often miss the point of the actual book. To Kill a Mockingbird is a record of how black people were actually treated in the deep south during that time period, and the whole book is dedicated to showing this as injustice. Why would anyone, especially black people, want to ban it? Unfortunately, that was the case: “After unsuccessfully trying to ban Lee’s novel, three black parents resigned from the township human relations advisory  council.”

I wish people could look beyond the surface of the novel, and actually understand what it’s about. It’s unfortunate that people lash out in their ignorance. For that reason alone, I can’t imagine ever trying to ban a book.

Let’s all defy the people who would reduce our choice of reading material. Yes, even you Twi-hards. Let’s all read and buy and love books that other people think we aren’t smart enough or mature enough to read. Forget those people! Do what you want! (But, still do what I say, obviously). Read lots of books! BOOKS ARE THE GREATEST!!

September 21, 2011. Tags: , , , , , . Book Reviews. 8 comments.

To Kill a Mockingbird

Let’s just get all of this out of the way right now: No, I have never read To Kill a Mockingbird before. No, I did not have to read it in high school. Yes, I went to a normal high school. I don’t know why I didn’t have to read it. Anymore repetitive, asinine questions?? No? Good. The answers are now a matter of public record, so no one can ask me any of that ever again without getting redirected to the blog. Now let’s get down to business.

Some books are classics seemingly only because people are continuously forced to read them. It’s like group bonding through shared suffering, and has little to do with the actual merits of the book (I’m looking at you Great Gatsby, and Madame Bovary). This is not one of those books.

In case you don’t know, To Kill a Mockingbird is about a white family living in a small Southern town in the 1930’s. The whole story is told from the point of view of the youngest child, Scout. The father is a lawyer, who is court-appointed to defend a black man against rape charges from a white woman.

Much of the book focuses on  racial issues of the time period, and has often been banned for that reason. Yes, there is offensive language, but everything about it, including the way black people are treated in the town, is accurate to the sentiments at the time; there are probably still people in the deep south that feel that way to this day. The book shows the injustice and indignities black people have had to endure, and the entire book is dedicated to erradicating these wrongs. I have no idea why people would want to ban a book that is completely in favor of equality for all people. It just goes to show that people get distracted by bad language, and miss the point entirely when they focus on such useless minutea.

The plot builds slowly, according to modern standards, but the entire length is absorbing. The plot of the trial is skillfully woven through the entire novel, just hints and bits at first, until your shoulders are tense with anticipation of the verdict. Every part of the book has a purpose, and is written both fluidly, and realistically.

On the Clever Chick Scale this gets a “This book redeems the term ‘Classic'”. Oh, and I’m keeping it. Find your own copy!


September 19, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Book Reviews. 5 comments.

Underwater Cleanup


(Another story starting with) my sis, Beans, and her husband signed up for the annual Lake Travis Underwater Cleanup this year. They both have their scuba licenses and gear, and they suckered us into helping on the shore cleanup. Here’s Hubby in his free t-shirt, super excited to pick up trash.


The lake is so low due to lack of rain, I was finding beer cans they haven’t even made as long as I’ve been alive. The scenery was really pretty, aside from that giant block of Styrofoam down there.

I was honestly taking these pictures because it was so beautiful out. I wasn’t just making up an excuse for catching my breath.

Here’s the rant I was mentally writing while I was bent over, in the heat, clean up after lazy bastards: DO NOT BRING GLASS CONTAINERS to a ROCK BEACH!!!! I don’t care how smart, or coordinated, or lucky you think you are, you will break glass, and it will go ev-er-y-where. And people are walking barefoot!! This is a beach!! It maybe made of rocks, but it still counts. And guess how broken shards of glass fall between rocks; sharp edge up, primed for foot-stabbing.

If you are dumb enough to bring glass to the lake, and then clumsy enough to break it, for the love of Neil Patrick Harris, CLEAN UP AFTER YOURSELF. What kind of lazy, moronic, selfish jack-wagons are spending time at Lake Travis?? This is far worse than people who leave cigarette butts everywhere (although they should still be ashamed of themselves), because the glass can severely injure someone, who then has to HIKE BACK UP A BABY MOUNTAIN to get to their car!! The very worst human beings, honestly, are the people who bring CLEAR glass, then break it, and leave it behind. Do you think that’s easy to see? It is literally almost invisible!! And some of the shards I was picking up were the size of tennis balls; deadly, deadly tennis balls. That would destroy someones foot. I hope there is an afterlife, and those people end up walking over invisible stabby things for all eternity.

So, to lighten the mood, here’s Finley! He looks like an otter, but he’s some kind of fish, who wears scuba gear. Delightful!

And me and Beans, adorable as always. Overall, it was a great day, a fantastic workout, and I helped the community. Oh, and hung out with Beans, but whatevs. I think she left an ugly dog statue in my house as revenge, but I can’t find it. If I find it, I’ll take a picture and tell the story. If not, I think she’s just messing with me. What a cow!


September 17, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , . My Quest to be more Interesting. 6 comments.

Car-Related Nonsense

I was going to write a blog post about “How to sell your car”, but I thought, forget it. You people can figure it our your damn selves, the same way I had to. The last thing I need is people thinking I know what I’m talking about. (Oh fine. Here’s the link for Texas. People in states that are not spontaneously combusting can fend for themselves). When I sold my Honda CR-V, I had to remove all the stickers and other bits that gave it personality. One of those was my adorable little Darwin Fish.

You can see all the silver has worn off the lettering. What does it need? GLITTER. I like where this is headed.

Two coats of red glitter nail polish, and Darwin is blinged-out! Ready for my next car, whatever that may be.

If you find yourself having to remove stickers from your car, the easiest way I’ve found is to buy one of these little razor blades:

It’s basically a small plastic handle that a normal razor blade fits into. They cost about a dollar at Home Depot or Wal-Mart. This makes it much easier to get between the sticker and the glass, and also makes it more likely you’ll get the whole thing off. You can also open it up, and flip the razor blade around so that the sharp part is covered up while you aren’t using it. It’s a pretty clever little gadget. You can see I tested it thoroughly:

This is just one more random photo. This was my antenna ball, until we realized that her cowboy hat was catching the wind while I drove, causing her to whack the roof constantly. It made a very worrying knocking sound, so I took her off and kept her on the dash. A well-meaning car cleaner guy, who was removing a half gallon of spilled milk from my floor boards (don’t ask), armor-alled the dash board, thus giving my antenna ball her five o’clock shadow. My sister, Beans, (all of my ridiculous stories start with “My sister, Beans…”) got in my car at one point and wanted to know why the hell I have a drag queen/king antenna ball sliding back and forth across the dash as I drive. I told her the whole story, and we dubbed her Pearl, the tough, female, truck driver. We started doing a “Pearl Voice” that sounds similar to Sling Blade, but slightly less effeminate. Anything with my sister evolves into these long, drawn-out, inexplicable scenarios. We entertained each other for an entire afternoon doing impressions of Pearl. When I sold the Honda, I kept Pearl, and she will, hopefully, be a perpetual passenger in my next vehicle.

Now that my Explorer (briefly named Carthulhu), has ALSO bitten the dust, I am about fed up with cars. But I saw this on the road the other day, and it makes me feel slightly better about my problems:

I maybe going through issues, but at least I can still enjoy laughing at realize there are people less fortunate than I am.

September 15, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Arts and Crafts. 7 comments.

Book Review: Dead Until Dark

Dead Until Dark, by Charlaine Harris, is the first book in the series that the HBO show TrueBlood is based on. I’m going to start off by saying I am almost at the end of season 2 of the show, so NO ONE TELL ME WHAT’S HAPPENING!!! I hate spoilers! Don’t tell me what’s coming up in the books or the show. At all. I hope everyone is clear on that point.

The book is about a girl named Sookie Stackhouse who lives in a small town in Louisiana. She’s a waitress, and psychic, but hardly anyone knows she can read minds. The main premise of the books is that an artificial blood substitute has been created that can sustain vampires instead of human blood. As a result, vampires have come out of the closet (coffin?), and are now living openly in human society.

I have enjoyed both the first season and first book, and I’m withholding judgement (me?? I know, I was surprised, too!) until I finish season 2.

The show is kind of good/bad, like reading a trashy romance novel, even though I wouldn’t categorize the novels it’s based on as trashy at all. Season 1 seems to follow this first book fairly closely, but (I’m told) after that it gets kind of crazy. This is an HBO show, so there are boobs, like, every ten minutes, and everyone swears like they just discovered bad words.

This is supposed to be about the book, however, so I’ll get back on track. The heroine, Sookie, is actually a really charming character. She’s very practical, and no-nonsense, and she’s genuinely nice and thoughtful. Even though super-natural things are occurring all around her, and she falls for a vampire of all things, she has her head on straight, and keeps it that way.

I hate it when the main characters in books go haring off doing stupid crap that makes no sense simply to make the plot move forward. That may have been my problem with the Stephanie Plum novel I read recently. Sookie does not do that crap; she approaches everything with common sense, and a “Well, may as well get this done” approach. I appreciate that the author can write an intelligent character, and I plan to read more of this series, even if the show goes all to hell. On the Clever Chick Scale this gets an “I’m intrigued; let’s see what happens”.

September 13, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , . Book Reviews. 3 comments.

The Perpetual Clever Chick

Mi Madre found this letter she wrote to her mom back in the day when I was around 4 or 5.

“The times have really changed. I was singing ‘Mama’s little babies have shortnin’ bread’ to (my wonderful, amazing, clever daughter, who is the light of my life, apple of my eye, and my purpose for living), and she immediately sang ‘That’s enough shortnin’ shortnin’ bread, give those babies some carrots instead. They’ve got no added sugar…’ At this point she trailed off, not knowing what to rhyme with sugar. So I added ‘And they’re good for you, too. Then give ’em a nap, they’ll be good as new’. (My darling, astounding, genius child, whose very existence improves the world) approves of the new version, much more than the old.”

You can see that I have always been full of good advice. And instead of my name, I simply wrote what Mi Madre was actually thinking. Probably.

September 11, 2011. Tags: , , , , . Random typing. Leave a comment.

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