Monday, April 30, 2007

POIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINTS!

Everyone loves to play games online where you win points. Everyone. Watching that ticker go up and up and up and… Don’t even try to argue with me. It's exhilarating. I have wasted so much time on online games and quizzes, just from quitting the application, and then starting over, to regain those points I lost due to impatience and eagerness to get to the next screen. Must. Have. Every. Point. Possible. Today Christine emailed me a link to this game, courtesy of our friends at Starbucks:

www.PlanetGreenGame.com

I click on the link, and log in as Gretta. I am then asked to choose a character. I don’t want to be Gretta on this one, and be the obvious girl with the dark spazzed out hair. I pick the hot businessman. You know, animated hot. But since I had already logged in, I am Gretta The Animated Hot Businessman. After character selection, you next select your preferred mode of transport. Just to be a total pain in the ass, and do precisely what I know you’re NOT supposed to do in a game like this, I pick the SUV. I would see how many points I could LOSE in this game.

I am kind of confused on where to go, but figure my big SUV needs some GAS, so I click on the Service Station. My red SUV pulls out of the driveway and heads to the Service Station, where, as the gallons start ticking up and up and up, my score is ticking down and down and down. I get a huge laugh, when the tank is finally full, and the grand total on the pump reads $21.86. Am I playing the game in 1990? Anyway, I am supposed to Service My Car and Take a Test Drive, but I miss those instructions and just click “Exit Challenge”. My score is -440, and the Service Station icon is flashing on and off, in red. I do not realize, until later, that the red icon flashing on and off means I missed a crucial step at that location.

The negative score is not having the desired effect I thought it would. Losing sucks. I want the POIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINTS! So I pull a figurative 180, in my animated red SUV, and start actually putting some effort into winning points. I am also actually learning things along the way - helpful hints on how to be environmentally-friendly. I love accidental learning.


My favorite stop is the Building Supply Store – it is the MEMORY game! I win 1000 points, but lose 183 for a time penalty. I’m sure my memory would be better if I’d never had any Jim Beam shots in college. But I’ll take those points. I’m finally out of the negatives. It’s starting to feel like “Jeopardy”.

I try clicking on the little icon that resembles a bus, just to see what happens. I am told "Sorry, only walkers, skateboarders and bicyclists may ride the bus". Ouch.


I am very entertained by my visit to City Hall, as the mayor seems to have just returned from a lunch of Botox injections. Or is it restalyn? When the lips are all poofy? On closer inspection, I think she may have been one of my character options at the start of the game…Anyway, the mayor asks me some questions, and my “answers” are multiple choice. I love multiple choice. I rack up 1000 points for talking with the mayor. The points are ticking up and up and…

I’m too impatient to finish the game. I need to start over and choose the bicycle as my mode of transport.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Send me somewhere - QUICK! Okay, Planet Earth will do.

It has almost been an entire YEAR since I've left the country, and that makes me cranky. No, Vancouver, BC does not count (although it's lovely, it is just too close to Seattle to be considered "foreign"). It was a year ago that I finally made it to that exotic, off-the-beaten-path destination known as "Europe". That's right. I saved Europe as my second-to-last continent (still have Australia to go). When I first started traveling, in 1994, Europe held very little appeal for me. I figured I'd just make it there when I got too old to travel to third-world countries comfortably. My trip last year was for work, and focused on Spain, Portugal and one stop at the provincially charming St. Malo, France. I LOOOOOOOVED it. Granted, I was traveling uber-first class, on the Sea Cloud II:



I'm positively grateful for the experience, but my long-term memory is failing me and I feel like I haven't been anywhere in YEARS. Right now, the next overseas ticket I have booked is not until October - booooo! Although, it will be Prague & Budapest, and it will be FAB. What to do until then??? I'm watching the Discovery Channel, and vicariously traveling with the film crew of the series "Planet Earth". It's an awesome gig, and I don't have to pack, get visas, or even get off the couch. I missed the narration, explaining the first destination we visited, but it was in some crazy bat cave, where the entire cave floor is covered in hundreds of feet of bat guano. Even in my living room, I feel like putting on some rubber boots and a gas-mask. It looks awfully funky. And covering the guano, are thousands of cockroaches, who apparently dine on the guano. Super gross, and totally fascinating. AND THEN, we were magically whisked out of the nasty bat cave to the Gobi desert in Mongolia. No jet lag whatsoever. Mongolia is on my list of "need to get there!" places, although I do want to be able to stay in huts or something - rather than just in the SUVs that the film crew is using as base camp. After observing the Gobi wild camels, we are off to Africa to watch wild dogs hunting Impala, and lions hunting elephants. This is the part where I have to hit the "Mute" button on the remote, and avert my eyes. "Planet Earth" is a GREAT series, but I am still too much of a wuss to watch everything they film. I need the Discovery Kids version, where they show the hunt right up to the point of the kill, and then cut to a commercial for Play-Doh or something. The part, in tonight's show, that I LOVE is when the film crew rescues a baby Emperor penguin, in Antarctica, who has fallen into a small hole in the ice. In any other region, they make it a rule not to interfere with struggling wildlife (due to the danger of the animals losing their fear of humans); however, Antarctica is one place where humans are not a threat to the penguins, and so the crew could intervene and pull the little guy out to be reunited with his parents. From my couch, I got to be a part of that =) It's not typically the way I like to travel, but at the present time, it's the best I can do. You should come with us next time: Discovery channel - Sundays at 8PM.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Midwest Keeps Churning Them OUT!

Lending further support to my constant claims that the best people in the world come from the Midwest, is Jenna Fischer - the actress who plays Pam Beesly on my current obsession "The Office".

Jenna hails from St. Louis, plays Pam to understated perfection, and writes a totally adorable blog on Pam Beesly's MySpace page. I just read the BEST blog entry Jenna wrote, about her experience (along with some advice) getting started in acting. Growing up in the Midwest encouraged me to live in a bullshit-free zone (theoretically speaking), I positively cheered her story about a total piece-of-shit playwright, and I LOVE that she named him. Sometimes I think you need to name names. I'm still dying to know who the smarmy producer was who tried to get Sharon Stone to sleep with him, early in her career - total casting couch story. She wouldn't name names. Dammit. Here is the excerpt from Jenna's blog:

For example, it was my first year in town and I was part of a theater group. At a party for a new play opening the playwright came up to me and asked me if I was an actress. I said yes. He asked if I was interested in doing a part in his new movie. I was kind of floored. How did he know I was any good? I said, "What is it about?" And he said, "Well, you'd have to do a raunchy sex scene with nudity. Would that bother you?" I laughed and said, "I wouldn't do anything I wouldn't be proud to show my parents." He then said, "That was a test. You aren't a real actress. A real actress would never say that. A real actress would piss herself onstage if the part called for it. You aren't going to make it in this town. You should just go home." And then he walked away. I went back to my apartment and cried. Why was Shem Bitterman (that is his real name) such a dick? I have no idea. Stuff like that will happen to you if you decide to become an actor. People will roll their eyes when you tell them what you do. You have to develop a thick skin - without becoming jaded, guarded or cynical. That's a tall order. I'll say now what I wish I had said then, "Shem, sir, with all due respect, you are a fuckface and you can kiss my ass."

I not only love that she named Shem Bitterman (who, unfortunately, may also be from the Midwest...he went to U. of Iowa...must not have been properly cooked), I love that she said "fuckface". Perfectly acceptable, as she DID say "with all due respect". Although, with a name like "Bitter man", I am not sure there was much hope for him to grow up to be a charming individual. He should not be confused with the Pearl Jam song "Better Man". I liked to sing that as "Butter Mints". Can't find the butter miiiiiiiiiiints. Can't find the butter miiiiiiiiiiiiiints.

So, while I would love to attach a link that goes straight to the entire blog, we all know I am not web-savvy enough to pull that off. Lo siento. So here is a link to Pam/Jenna's MySpace page: http://www.myspace.com/pambeesley

If you are not watching "The Office" on Thursday nights, you must be asking yourself "do I really NEED to laugh so hard that whatever I'm drinking comes out my nose?" The answer should always be "YES".

The celebrity look-alike thing

Some of the text was cut off - it was:
Evangeline Lilly - 67%

Raquel Welch - 64% - I mean these are VERY general comparisons - she has ridiculous bone-structure. I'm not even sure if there are bones in my face.

Maria Menunous - 62% - again, very flattering, and also very not really like me at all.

And THEN, when I did the search again, Anastacia did not come up (I used the same photo), but I got Stefanie Powers 62% (I LOVED 'Hart to Hart'!), and Tyra Banks 61% (what???), and Demi Moore 61%.

Basically it is photos of whomever is tilting their head in the same direction you are.

This is the funniest website, and you can submit different photos, and come up with an entirely different group of "look-alikes". One of my searches included Keanu Reeves. Awesome. I absolutely lost it when I uploaded photos of my friends, and Christine was a 62% match with Haley Joel Osment.

Did someone say Self-Indulgent? Hysterical - my celebrity look-alikes

Friday, April 27, 2007

Indulge Mysel..My Charities

So, this whole blog business is totally self-indulgent, and I'm sitting here thinking "hmmm, what do I want to blather on and on about right now?" That is the whole point of these things, no? Yes.

Starting this thing up, I was just having so much fun playing around with the settings, and the font colors, and then adding links and stuff, and now I'm like "er...so now I have to write a journal entry?" I really just want to make more lists of my favorite crap...

I had diaries when I was little. A diary was standard-issue for grade-school girls. "Are you there, God? It's me Margaret", and I SO wanted to be like that. Little Miss Diary Writer. It felt more like a homework assignment, and I pretty much figured that someone would eventually end up reading it - so it couldn't REALLY be my "personal, private thoughts". My diary entries read like this:

Dear Diary, It was cold outside and we went out to play in the snow and grandpa helped us make a snowman and it had a carrot for a nose. See you tomorrow.

Riveting, poignant, revealing, I know.

So, in a pseudo-self-indulgent way, what I REALLY want to do right now is pimp a little for these awesome organizations that I love, and then I can be fully self-indulgent and talk about what I did with them:

1) www.LocksofLove.org

A very easy option for me to be a part of: I have good hair; they need good hair; I cut off 10 inches of the good hair, put in a ponytail, and mail it to them; they make a wig for a child who needs hair. This involves little-to-no effort on my part, aside from mailing the ponytail in the Ziploc bag, after suspending my vanity long enough to let someone cut 10 inches off of my hair. Okay, that part does involve SOME effort, since I look like a boy with short hair, and will fuss and whine about it for the weeks following the cut, until it starts to grow out. Who doesn't love a fussy whiner?

2) www.MakeaWish.org

Nationally, this is a fantastic organization. I LOVED the first Wish I got to work on - a 13 yr old boy with kidney disease, who was in line for a transplant. He was painfully shy, and very sweet. His first idea for a Wish was a backyard swimming pool. I explained to him that he lives in Seattle. His second idea was for an entertainment center. I managed to score one of those mocked-out massage chairs to go along with the flat-screen TV, stereo, X-Box, etc. His mom said she could NOT get him out of the chair; and when we went for a follow up visit, he was sitting in the chair, playing video games, and smiling. Later found out the transplant was a success =) And speaking of success...

3) www.DressforSuccess.org

For all the times I've been out, shopping, and become mournful over some unnecessary $400 dress that I couldn't afford, there have been thousands of women who were equally mournful about one work-appropriate outfit to wear to a job interview. A few months ago my awesome friends agreed to dig through their closets, and we ended up with a mammoth haul of suits, shirts, jackets, skirts, pants, etc. Those ladies are going to be looking GOOD at their interviews.

Getting started

Verdana font, Georgia Font - ew, no., Lucida - no, Trebuchet - oh I kind of like that. And it sounds French. We will go with Trebuchet.