Thursday, October 26, 2006

I Miss the Lunch Lady

The lunch lady in my college knew the name of every single student. She would use your name every time you came in for a meal. When we went back for reunions, she still knew our names. I have often thought that memory experts should study her. I bet it would be profitable.

But no longer. Now we're just going to fingerprint students and debit their lunch accounts automatically. Big Brother wants your lunch money.

I watch way too much crime tv, so I can't help but wonder who else might be leveraging that gigantic database o' fingerprints (the reason, by the way, that if this happened at my college I'd expect to see a heavily used "opt out" program and perhaps a protest).

Not that it's even a given that they'll manage to store the data in a way that makes it useful for anything but collecting for Tuesday's mystery meat. My company has a biometric scan of my face, and lord knows we spend all day every day trying to get them to do efficient things with their information. The day they manage to do anything useful with my biometric data is the day we all start living in some kind of post-apocalyptic Keanu Reeves movie. (No, not that one. Probably Johnny Mnemonic.)

Anyway, peace out, Sheila. I miss you.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Knicker Vicar

Okay. I'm normally a careful reader, but when I first saw this story, my imagination just took off. I thought the vicar was taking orders and actually buying the ladies their knickers. As an agnostic, this gave me a special thrill. ("Hey, vicar, could you pop over to Frederick's of Hollywood and get me some thongs while you're in town? Yeah, the string bikinis--none of those granny panties you got me last time. Ta!") It was like a tarts and vicars party only better!

As it turns out, he is merely organizing excursions for the purpose of purchasing knickers. Very wise, vicar. After all, the appearance of impropriety is often as bad as the real thing.

I'll come out of the knicker drawer. I've fallen into the habit of buying underwear to cheer myself up. If I were ever truly happy, I'm sure the stock in my underwear drawer would be the first thing to suffer. I think this is a stupendous public service. I know he's not feeding the hungry, but really--this is a community service event I can get behind.

And by the way, for those keeping score, this is another BBC News story with a suspiciously good name--the Vicar's name is Rev Husband.


So this article is bad news for those of us who slave away at a chip plant, although as a carpet-dweller I'd be willing to bet I'm a lot better off than the folks who actually make the company go.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

So many questions...

The Supreme Court also refused to consider whether a Texas law making it a crime to promote sex toys shaped like sexual organs is unconstitutional.

What kind of sting operation is this? Is Texas all out of other crime? If so, shouldn't they be cruising the nation with a "lessons learned" Power Point?

It's illegal to "promote" the toys? Is it okay to manufacture them and own them? And the law only covers toys shaped like sex organs? So do the rubber duckie vibrator or the magic bullet have the Texas seal of approval? (Is there a Texas seal of approval for sex toys? Because I think there might be a market for t-shirts.) Is the idea that you can do what you want in the privacy of your own home as long as we can't deduce, from rifling your nightstand drawer, what you think of as a complete package?

We do all know that we can't tell that from a woman's vibrator, right? I mean, the rabbit is still one of the most popular ones on the market, and it's pink and features oscillating pearls. I think I speak for a fairly large percentage of women when I say we aren't hoping you'll be wearing pearls when your jockeys come off, and oscillating pearls are a wee bit over-the-top. I'm all for a constantly-evolving definition of masculinity, but unless you're Eddie Izzard, you probably want to steer clear of that presentation.

Maybe the point of the law is to protect your husband from feeling inadequate? Would that mean that the point of the law is that ignorance is bliss? ("What's wrong with my wife having a rubber duckie? What? She likes baths, man.")

Also, does the law mean that promoting this to the police officer would have been okay?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Obesity Is Someone Else

Apparently someone took a bathroom scale out on the streets of London and introduced four men to the concept that they were obese. Their reactions are spectacular. They all deny that they're obese. Not one of them thinks the Body Mass Index might have a point. Three of them happily pose for photos to prove they're not obese, one of them with a cheeseburger in his hand.

Now, I'm not saying they look morbidly obese. Most of them look fine. And nobody's saying the BMI is perfect. It's a universal rule of thumb, and as such it's probably going to be wrong once in a while. And hell, the article says that Brad Pitt is overweight according to his BMI. Whatever we may think of Brad, I don't think any of us want to accept that assessment.

But the wholesale denial was fascinating to me. Had they gone out on the street and weighed women, I wonder what the women would have said? My guess is that many of them would have agreed.

I still remember the day I discovered that I was obese. (I've been a healthy weight for 3 or 4 years now. But that first shock sticks with you.) So I can't say I don't identify with these men. And my coworkers were right behind me in my denial. They said, "Katy, there's no way you're obese." The big-boned argument? Yeah, we tried that. We found a test that used your wrist as a measure of your frame size and then adjusted your target weight accordingly. I was still obese.

But never in my life did it occur to me to publicly revile the BMI while holding a cheeseburger. I love the cheeseburger. That's some serious moxie.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Ah, Television, Source of So Much Happiness

I always wanted to watch Dead Like Me, but unfortunately it was originally broadcast on one of them thar premium channels, and I, gentle reader, am an extraordinary cheapskate. Besides, I'm such a telly addict that I can find plenty to occupy my time without HBO.

So when SciFi started broadcasting Dead Like Me, I had my Tivo sign me up. Which leads me to my question.

Is it wrong, d'you suppose, that the romping reapers in the opening credits fill me with a warm satisfaction? Seriously, it's like a burning conviction that all's right with the world. Is it just me?

Of course it is. I knew that.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Wow. Wonder What I'd Be Like Without It

Scientists (British scientists, naturally) have proven that a daily cuppa helps people recover faster from stress.

I love having an addiction that's encouraged by clinical studies.

You know what else I love? The researcher's name is Professor Steptoe. I mean, it's just too perfect, isn't it?

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Behold, The Personal Shopper

I never thought I would use the services of a personal shopper. I didn't think I was that kind of girl. There are just certain things you know you'll never attain in life. You know Annette Bening in "The American President," how she can dance gracefully at state functions and make clever jokes in French? Yeah, I'm not that kind of girl, either. I'm not a trophy girlfriend. I'm not a singer (I lipsynch "Happy Birthday"). I'm not the kind of girl you want behind the wheel of a bus that has to go more than 50 miles per hour. I'm not the girl who has the perfect comeback (the perfect comeback comes to me years later).

Besides, I'm a woman, and women like shopping, right? I mean, don't we? Well, okay, yes. I like shopping for certain things--the things I always buy. Funny how that works out. If you send me shopping, I'll shop for what I like, and I'll come home with the same things I've always bought. I have six pairs of jeans and forty t-shirts. It was time to call in the professionals.

Fortunately, Macy's has such professionals. For free. Yes, really. I grant you, these are not the kind of people who are going to make you undress in front of a 360-degree mirror and tear you down so they can build you up. But they are going to help you find something that makes you look fabulous, and it makes more sense than you might think.

If I went looking for something myself--say, a pair of pants that aren't jeans--here's how it would go down:
  1. Pick out 20 pairs of pants.
  2. Try them all on. Even though they are all the same size, some don't come up over the knee.
  3. Cry. Consider liposuction or crash dieting. Resolve to hit the gym.
  4. Go buy something easier to pick out, like underwear or a nightgown, or, better yet, another t-shirt.
With the personal shopper, it's more like this:
  1. Personal shopper presents a rack of whatever you said you were looking for in colors you said you liked.
  2. Personal shopper offers you champagne.
  3. You try on clothes and new things appear based on what fits and what you like.
  4. You have so many choices that you have to weed things out to fit your budget.
Did you notice that there was no crying? The whole thing was a very positive experience. I did not have to feel like I was some kind of freak--like no one makes pants for me because my thighs are misshapen in some new and awful way that scientists might need to study. The whole thing took three hours (if I had been more disciplined it could have been an hour), and I barely exceeded my budget.

Karen, my personal shopper, was warm and friendly and made me feel very comfortable. She brought me many items that were on sale. I got a lot for what I spent, and I feel terrific about everything I bought. I typically buy things one at a time in discount stores, and I'm sure the thrill of the hunt will be irresistible. But there is definitely something to be said for this kind of thing. Everything's up to date. Everything goes together. You can make choices to fill a certain gap in your wardrobe or to match something you have already. And you're not wandering through the store where you can run into another pair of jeans or another t-shirt--your whole trip is goal-oriented, so you're not distracted and can't fall back into your rut. It's not for everybody, but I loved it. I'll definitely go back when I can.