joy magnetism: August 2008

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Sunday, August 31, 2008

"Who"se castle is this?

Magnet #191 - Martha Jones, in Germany

Oddest thing ever...watching Daleks speaking German, as Martha Jones did in Journey's End episode the last series of Doctor Who, when she went to that totally random German castle to help Osterhagen the world.

What? I said I'd have to stretch some of these.

Country #2 - West Germany

Yes, you read that right. That's how long ago the musical ambassadors trip was.

Not in any particular order, we did:
  • Heidelberg, went to a castle
  • Rode the Rhine, saw castles
  • Wiesbaden, haven't a clue what we did there, but I'm sure there was a castle
  • Berchtesgaden, remember when the boys in Band of Brothers cleared out Hitler's Eagle's Nest? That's where this is...and that place was big enough to be a castle.
  • Learned the German word for shit while playing video games at an arcade, but not the German word for castle...wait, unless it's schloss?
  • Ate wiener schnitzel for the first and last time (and EPCOT doesn't count, though they do have castles there.)
Yeah, there's a ton more we did in West Germany, but not that included castles...

Odd to think that I've been to a country that (I suppose, in name only) doesn't exist anymore.

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Saturday, August 30, 2008


Magnet #190 - Ede, Netherlands

Country #1 - The Netherlands

Just before my senior year in high school, a good friend of mine and I decided to join the American Musical Ambassadors. The AMA was an organization that took U.S. high school students on a whirlwind trip throughout Europe, performing in different venues along the way.

Think of it as a 21-day, 7-country...BAND TRIP. And, for those of you band geeks reading this post, you know what those away games were like.

This will be the start of a short miniseries to uncover how much I remember besides 50 kids running through Europe with the rallying cry of "AMA-Ho!" (Yep, it sounds so wrong now.)

So, after a 3-day intense rehearsal session in New York, off we went to Ede, for a host family stay and a concert in Ede.

Hazy memories of:
  • a lovely host family
  • cool bathroom fixtures
  • a community center dance where girls fought to dance the chicken dance with my supercute host brother Peter
  • tile (for some reason)
  • Dutch windmills
  • Dutch mom telling me that they don't really wear wooden shoes
  • acres upon acres of tulips (and maybe poppies)
We also hit Amsterdam, where I was intrigued by the Anne Frank Museum, thoughts of a red light district, and fell asleep on the canals tour. What? It was an overnight flight!

This is the only magnet that I have from that trip, and the only one that won't be a stretch during the next seven days. I looked up what it means, and Kok-Ede was some sort of food company, I think. And, if I take my iGoogle translator widget seriously, then voor grootverbruik means for bulk.

Well, of course. Somehow, I ended up with a magnet from the Dutch version of Costco.
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Friday, August 29, 2008

Bust a move

Magnet #189 - Joy in Presidents Park

A few years ago, we visited Presidents Park in Williamsburg, VA. And, I'm considering a trip to the one out in South Dakota.

I love presidential history - which is odd, given that I'm one of the most apolitical folks I know. I hate discussing politics with anyone - the Republicans think I'm on the Democrat side, the Democrats think I'm on the Republican side, and truth is, it's no one's business but my own. Despite the unending efforts of both sides to convince me, I'm not listening to anyone but the candidates. I swear, you'd think I was at the crossroads of Eden and Sodom & Gomorrah, with my soul at stake. Though, really, it's more like the crossroads of Salisbury, NC, and New York, NY...with my vote at stake.

But, I digress - this is a magnetblog, after all. Right. Presidential history - that means (mostly) dead presidents.

This place is loaded with them - it's basically a park where they have 20-feet-tall busts of all of our U.S. presidents placed along a meandering path in numerical order. Twenty feet! Forty-three of them! It's insane! I bet it's kinda scary to be in at night. I bet they all talk to each other when no one's around. I bet I'm creeping myself out.

Anyway. At the base of each president, they have displays that basically go through their fact sheets - personals, career accomplishments, presidential achievements and failures, fun facts, etc. And though you think you know all there is to know about your dead presidents...I'm sure you'd still find one or two things to learn, while you're peering up Harry Truman's nose.

Seriously, folks, it's the coolest place on earth. Or the creepiest.
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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Saving the world

Magnet #188 - Peace Corps

Growing up, my only exposure to the Peace Corps was really Steven and Elyse Keaton on Family Ties, two hippie Peace Corps volunteers, settled down to raise their three kids somewhere in Ohio.

So when my baby sister decided she wanted to volunteer for the Peace Corps, it took me a bit to realize she was serious.

She ended up going to Uzbekistan, for several months, but the Corps got evac'd in short order. While she was sad to come home, the entire family breathed a sigh of relief that she was actually coming back. I don't think my parents actually slept easy the whole time she was away.

Last Saturday, we saw her off again, our little rolling stone. Off to save the world in another capacity - an internship in Nepal, as part of her second year of grad school to get her MSW - Masters of Saving the World. Ok, really, it's Sustainable Development - basically teaching third world countries to help themselves.

Where all this very admirable do-gooding came from, I haven't a clue. I kinda blame my mom, though. When we were little, every time she'd ask us to do something, we'd all complain and she'd yell at us, and say, "I'm not asking you to save the world!"

Happy birthday, Julie!
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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Monet and Go Seek

Magnets #187a-l - Mini Monets

We all know by now that I'm a Monet fan. So much so, that Monet has his own little magnetboard exhibit at home. Here's my own little Monet mosaic, I suppose.

Many years ago, on a roadtrip out to Newport, RI, a friend and I did the Cliff Walk, and she took this picture of me. Ever since, it's been my most favoritest picture of me - ever. It's basically me, against the world.

Anyway, if you look at the second magnet in from the left on the bottom row, you'll see my most favoritest Monet - ever. It's Rocks at Pourville, Low Tide, 1882.

The two images look a little alike - the hazy little person at the center, and the waves crashing against the cliffy rocks. And I love the bluesy-purply color palette, not often found in Monet's work.

And so began my quest to see the painting in person. I had first seen this as part of an Impressionists screensaver, back when people were still downloading fun screensavers. (Remember Flying Toast?) I tried researching everywhere, contacting curators about it, and every so often, doing a generic Google search.

On a couple of leads, I had almost booked tickets to Birmingham, AL, and Maine to visit their art museums. Then, I became obsessed with what if it was in the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. But to no avail.

After a while, my search lessened, and I happened to mention my silly Quest for the Monet Grail on a message board...and within minutes, a friend of mine was like, "Ummm, I just saw that painting a couple of months ago at the Rochester Museum of Art."

This whole time, the painting's been in my backyard!

And, so, off I went.

Et Voila!
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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

America's Hometown Hero

Magnet #186 - The Jimmy Stewart Museum

The Britannica Blog is one of my new favorite blogs on my Google Reader, covering a wide array of fun and serious topics.

This excellent blog entry about Jimmy Stewart popped up, prompting me to use this magnet. I absolutely adore classic movies of all kinds - Cary Grant, Hepburn/Tracy, John Wayne, and of course, Jimmy Stewart.

The Jimmy Stewart Museum was a total find, and was tacked on to yet another roadtrip through Pennsylvania. And, his hometown of Indiana, PA, is exactly where you think good people like Jimmy Stewart come from. The museum itself, has several exhibits and much memorabilia of the different periods of his life - childhood, school, military, Hollywood. It's a must-visit for any fan...and makes you want to watch every one of his movies.

Feels like everyone's favorite Jimmy Stewart movie is It's a Wonderful Life. Not mine. It's not Rear Window or Vertigo. It's for sure not Harvey (which I can't stand). And, it's not even Philadelphia Story, though it comes in as a close second.

In the showdown for ultimate geekiness (Goldengait, I'm lookin' at you), my favorite Jimmy Stewart movie is The Glenn Miller Story, with June Allyson. I know! It's crazy! But, Glenn Miller was practically a staple in our household growing up - when we were babies, my dad used to hum "American Patrol" to us and make our hands dance.

I freakin' love the true story of everyman Glenn Miller just tryin' to make a livin' with his music, only to become one of the best-loved band leaders in the world. Every time I see it, I cry at the ending. The first time I saw it, I had no idea - I called my dad up and said, OMG, did you KNOW? And he's like, yes, Joy. Everyone knows - it's a true story, silly.

Well, I hadn't a clue. So. Freakin'. Sad. And, no, I'm not spoiling the ending - go. watch. it. Bring tissues.

Oh! And you can't really beat the Glenn Miller soundtrack, either. Yep, I suppose I am my father's daughter.

So, yeah, Jimmy Stewart. They don't really make actors - or movie stars - like that anymore.
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Monday, August 25, 2008

Eat this

Magnet #185 - Gourmet, EAT

Another day, another piece of magnetswag.

Today's magnet reminded me of a "new" summer show I picked up on BBC-A, called Skins. It's on its third series in the United Kingdom, and as usual, the U.S. is slow on the uptake. For once, though, I'm committed to following the U.S. schedule, rather than catch up anywhere online.

But, I'm not going to review it, because Alan Sepinwall, one of my fave columnists, is covering the show, plus, he's like a professional and all, so ya'll pay attention to him. All I can say is that I was all set to hate it, and probably would have not even bothered to watch, had Sepinwall not given it a fairly positive review.

To explain the magnet: there's this totally messed-up chick with an eating disorder, who was just released from her outpatient care...after having gained the required weight to be dismissed. But, she stuffed little hockey puck weights into her undies to weigh her down. After leaving facilities, she starts getting stalked everywhere she goes by the word EAT. Text messages, a plate full of fries. She thinks it's this guy friend of hers trying to save her, but it's not.

It'd be pretty funny, were her story not so heartbreaking.

So, that episode was followed up by a pretty good one this week as well, though I'll admit, I might have identified a bit too much with the band geek clarinetist with a rap star dad (and no, my dad's not a rap star). A drug dealer smashed her clarinet and I seriously gasped out loud right along with her.

Three episodes in, and I'm not quite sure if I'm completely on board or not. Or, maybe it's just because I'm just biding my time until the real tv shows start. But till then, there's no reason to love the ones I'm with right now.
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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Marathon man

Magnet #184 - The hurrier I go, the behinder I get

Congrats to Kenya's Samuel Wanjiru, for winning the country's first gold in the men's marathon, the final event of the Games.

But, for me, the real excitement (because I sort of get bored watching the marathons) was when poor Ejigu from Ethopia hurried and hurried, but on the last lap, he just started to fall behind.

In the end, he was overtaken by his teammate, Wordofa, who edged him out for the bronze.

He didn't hear us cheering him on, I guess.

Look, I'm not even going to try to be Bob Costas with his pithy closing's been a marathon two weeks, and shortly the closing ceremonies of the Beijing 2008 Olympics will begin.

Xie xie, China, for a fun two weeks. Ya'll get some sleep now.

And, cheers, London, we'll see ya in 2012!
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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Mad Ads

Magnet #183 - The Coca-Cola Company

Ads, ads, ads, ads. The Olympics have gone mad with ads. And I love them all.

There were about a dozen major sponsors,* and I bet without trying, you can remember the majority of them. Watch, I'll try: GE, Coca-Cola Company, Lenovo, McDonald's, and VISA.

OK, well, I didn't quite hit the dozen, but, that's pretty good recall, given the amount of money these companies dropped on the Games.

Think about it - add in the sponsorship rights. Add in the media placements. Add in the creative fees for the ad agencies. Add in the production money. Jeepers, we probably could have saved the world a few times over with that money.

And what did it get them?

Well, for Coke, McD's and VISA - they nabbed the top three unaided brand recall for Olympic viewers. Which basically means they had the commercials that people remember most.

Your turn:
Favorite ad (or advertiser) in the last two weeks?

*Kodak, McD’s, GE, J&J, Coke, Atos Origin, Manulife Financial, Omega/Swatch, Panasonic, Lenovo, Samsung, Visa
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Friday, August 22, 2008

My kind of town

Magnet #182 - Chicago, IL

Goldengait has an uncanny knack for seeing future magnetposts. Chicago's my hometown as well! I was born there, and moved down to NC when I was five. (And, yes, that's another magnet altogether...just as soon as I can find a magnet with either snow or kidnapping. /inside joke)

Anyway, as GG mentioned, Chicago is in the running for the 2016 Olympics, in company with Madrid, Rio and Tokyo. It's still early days yet, since the IOC won't be picking the host city the 2016 Games until October 2, 2009.

While I'm happy that there's a U.S. city still in the running, this is another bittersweet situation for me, since I helped out on the LA 2016 bid last year. They had some great marketing material that I wish had had the chance to see the light of day.

I'm up in the air, while I'd love to have the Olympics here, within easy reach, we've already been host to quite a few Games. Meanwhile, South America has never hosted the Olympics.

Oh, and is it wrong that I want Rio to win because it has the cutest Candidate City logo?
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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Next stop. NYC 2012. Ok, ok. Fine. London 2012.

Magnet #181 - London

Sooo, we're in the home stretch of the Beijing 2008 Olympics. Know how I know? Women's Beach Volleyball is finally done.

Sincere congrats to May and Walsh. Get some rest. After what must have been a trillion matches, you guys must be as tired of playing them, as we are of watching them.

I caught only the tail-end of the match, so we're taking a break and looking ahead...

I volunteered for the NYC 2012 Olympic bid - passed out flyers, wore the really cool swag, went to the organized press events, worked other sister events (sporting events, ya'll), stood in the Hudson River (!!!!), and argued with locals to convince them that, yes, they did want billions of people crowding our public transit and stopping our sidewalk traffic by staring up at the tall buildings.

It was a heartfelt campaign, and you wouldn't believe the work, money, branding, blood, sweat and tears that the City put into the Bid. So when we found out that London won, it was bittersweet.

Part of me was ticked off, especially after all the City's efforts. The other part of me was happy, because it meant we wouldn't have to deal with global eyes upon us, or with all the construction, security measures and tourists.

Of course, now? The other part of me is thinking, man, even with all the controversy surrounding China's opening ceremonies, no one can argue that they put on the best live show - ever.

How can London top that?

Uh-huh. No pressure there.
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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

After a while, Crocodile

Magnet #180 - South Africa

Nope. Never been. I think I picked this up volunteering at a travel trade show, might have been in the swag bag or something.

A little late, but apparently, on Monday night, Khotso Mokoena of South Africa picked up their only medal so far...a silver in the Long Jump, for 8.24 meters (No, I haven't a clue on the conversion).

Here's cool (if you don't want to read the longest non-paragraphed article ever written): When he jumps, Mokoena, whose name means Crocodile, always wears a lucky glove, an open-fingered number...lined with a bit of crocodile skin.

Well, count yourselves lucky, had the Crocodile not won this medal, the accompanying blogpost to this magnet would have been about the (ever-so-lovely) Thorsten Kaye's Shark Attack 2, which was set in South Africa.

Yes. I know. You didn't even know there was a first. Let alone a second. (And there's a third...but John Barrowman swears he only did it for the money.)

I made a cutesy favicon for joy magnetism. If Blogger doesn't override it, it should show up on your url box, your tab, and your favorites. Gimme a shout if it doesn't show up for you. Of course, I won't be able to help out tech-wise, but still helpful to know. (And again, thanking goodness that my name's not Delores. Heh.)

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Beach Volleyball...again?

Magnet #179 - Sunset Beach, North Carolina

No, no, not another "I don't like beaches" post...though we were frequent visitors to Sunset growing up, a friend of mine gave me this one.

Picked a beach motif today because I'm wondering if ya'll have noticed that the Women's Beach Volleyball portion of the Olympics seems to be on like every. single. hour. of every. single. day?

Feels like every time I turn it to any Olympic coverage at any time of day that the girls are always on the sand. Ew. Sand. And, though it's an exciting game, a friend of mine mentioned that it seems to be the same game every time you tune in, and you can't tell that it's a different match.

I suppose you could tell, depending on the uniforms...but, to be absolutely honest, I kinda just wish that the boys had equal time.
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Monday, August 18, 2008

Our own Olympic training

Magnet #178 - U.S. Olympic Training Center

We ended up in Lake Placid, somewhat on a whim, a bit of a stopover on a roadtrip through Upstate NY and Vermont. Actually, I think Lake Placid was on the itinerary, but our Olympic adventures were sort of a bonus.

We visited the Miracle skating rink, where the U.S. Hockey team won that infamous game against the Russians, moving on to beat Finland for the gold. And, we visited the 1932 and 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympics Museum, the U.S. Olympic Training Center, and even saw where the 1980 torch was lit. Through the trees, we could see the ski jumps, too.

For sure when I woke up that morning, I didn't think we'd be luging the Olympic course. Yes, yes, they tamed down the course for the tourists, but the adrenaline coursing through your veins as you decide that yes, you will spend that bunch of money to try your hand at an Olympic sport - holy crap. But, after a fair amount of convincing, my two roadtrip buddies agreed that we might never get the chance to do it again, so what the hell.

No fear, no regrets, dudes. I have to say, that was one of the funnest things I've ever done. Hearing the rush of the sled against the walls, and hearing the screams of my friends behind me (yes, I won gold) was just the most amazing thing ever.

We even got our own little podium shot with us in our USA jackets, and our little bouquets. All in all, a superfun, and very cold day.

Added the link to the actual podium shot...but not at actual size.
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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Baltimore boy done good

Magnet #177 - Fort McHenry, Baltimore, MD

One of my sisters has a blog called "I live my life up and down I-95," which she started because she spent a lot of time up and down the I-95 corridor. She lived up near Boston, I live in New York, my other sister lives in DC, and then our parents live in North Carolina. I suppose when you've got your favorite rest areas, and you know which ones to avoid, I-95 starts to feels like an old friend.

But one place that I've never stopped is Baltimore. No reason, really. It's always on the way to somewhere else, but it's generally not even a gas station stop.

My sisters brought this back for me from Fort McHenry. Birthplace of the National Anthem. Site of more than a few major battles in U.S. history.

I picked this magnet from Baltimore because it's also the hometown of Olympics golden boy, Michael Fred Phelps, who managed to score his 8th gold medal today. And, last night, after the preseason football game at the Ravens stadium, they broadcast the race on the jumbotron, and 70,000 folks cheered him on. That had to have been amazing...even though, I spent a bit of that race peering from behind a pillow.

I'm not even a big Phelps fan - definitely not as big as my DC sister. But you don't have to be, to be in awe of such an amazing accomplishment. Jeepers. And, yet, I still find myself wondering how he's displaying that stuff over at his mom's house.

Oh! And the best thing ever? Last night's "Congratulations, Michael" commercial. Visa was supersmart for getting all the spots in the can, and I can't believe the pinpoint accuracy the ad scheduling folks over at NBC are working with. Last night's was my favorite.

Where Morgan says, "But 8, 8 gold medals? Well...we're going to have to invent a new adjective for that one."
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Saturday, August 16, 2008

It's not Fandango's fault, I suppose.

Magnet #176 - Fandango

Nope, not a thing to do with the Olympics - unless there's an Olympic event to do with movie-watching. And there should be, methinks. I would totally place. Or, put forth a good time, anyway.

I picked this Fandango magnet for today, because it feels like the summer movie season is not just dying out, but fizzling in a major way. We started out the summer buying tickets weeks in advance, getting to the theatre 2 hours ahead of time, to buying tickets 30 minutes ahead of time and walking right in. And that should have been our first clue. The second, was the only two dozen people in the gross and uncleaned theatre #9 (Shame on you, AMC @ 34th street).

Anyway - I finally saw The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor last night. Ummm, NO. I've had my fair share of movie disappointments this summer, but The Mummy 3 beat Indy 4 for worst movie this summer. And that makes me sad - because I freakin' loved the first one, and liked the second well enough. But, my word, even Scorpion King was better than last night's movie.

I had written up a huge long review of it, but this is a magnetblog, so highlights only.

The good: Neat use of the Great Wall of China (though I was looking for the Olympic cyclists on it). Russell Wong. Cool soldier statues (even though the fight scenes were just stupid). Shirtless Brendan Fraser. Weird mystical spells. Russell Wong. Dramatic sets. Shirtless Brendan Fraser. Pretty good soundtrack. John Hannah (even though he was lampooning his original part.) Russell Wong. Shirtless Brendan Fraser.

The bad: Yeti. Craptastic dialogue. Yeti. Forced emotional scenes. Yeti. Silly storyline. Yeti. Odd and not seamless at all special effects. Yeti. Casting of Brendan Fraser and Luke Ford as father/son age. Yeti.

And let's not forget Maria Bello, the wrong replacement for Rachel "I've got an Oscar now, why should I do another Mummy movie" Weisz. Her costumes and hair were fabulous. The part and her accent were just stupendously not.

From Rob Cohen, I expected a hell of a lot better. From Miller Gough Ink, I expected a lot better. As it was, I enjoyed the end title animations better than the actual movie itself.

Please, never resurrect this franchise again.
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Friday, August 15, 2008

From Russia...with dolls

Magnet #175 - Russian matryoshka doll

I kinda wanted a Russian theme because of Nastia Luikin's all-round gold last night. Born in Russia, and raised here, she and her dad kinda sorta made me all teary-eyed, watching them during the medals ceremony.

This magnet kinda fits, cuz as discussed, some of those gymnasts are pocket-sized, and you could probably put a Luikin, within a Horton, within a Jiang. Or, actually, vice versa.

All this time, I'd thought my sister brought this one back from her time in the Peace Corps. Come to find out, she bought it at some Russian church festival in DC.

Wherever it came from it's quite cute, no? It's one of those Russian nesting dolls, where they have a doll within a doll within a doll. Supposedly, the Russians co-opted the idea from Japan, and applied to their own items - such as, (and how cool is this), the first Faberge egg that had the hen, chick, egg and yolk. Ok, I'll admit, seeing that one might freak me out a bit.

Although, you see these nesting dolls all the time, with not just cute babushkas, but animals and Santas...and even political leaders. This site - TolsToys - (Hee!) has some of the cutest sets ever. The ones that I giggled at though are the Democrats! Or Republicans! And even Madonna! (Hah! No, the other one!)
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Thursday, August 14, 2008

The only thing we have to fear, yadda yadda

Magnet #174 - ALG, you scare me!

I've decided that Olympic athletes scare me. No, no, I know they're perfectly lovely people, but they scare me. No matter what country, what gender, what age, what sport - they all have this grim look of determination on their faces. That, get out of my way, I'm comin' through, look.

It's a healthy fear, I think it's really just extreme awe at what these athletes go through to accomplish what they've accomplished. I also think it's probably because I've not been as passionate a competitor - at least not in 13 years of piano, or on the marching band field of competition. Shut. It.

Oh! But, here's something else that scares me. USA Today's Pop Candy did a blog entry on this guy who collects condiment packets. No, I'm being dead serious. You can see his packets page here (let it fully load, it's worth the wait) - and I swear I kept this page open all day yesterday because it was oddly soothing to see a full page of well...packets.

So, I thought I was weird about my magnets. This guy's cataloged all of his condiment packets. He has a swag section over at Cafepress. AND? Apparently, he gives away buttons, for anyone who has contributed a packet to his collection.

It's that last thing that's particularly intriguing. You almost have to validate your condiment packet in order for him to accept your donation! Do what???

When I started this blog back in February, I had mentioned that I probably had enough to keep this blog going for about two years. That was sort of my end in sight.

But I hadn't anticipated that everyone would want to contribute to my collection. It's been awesome, because, well, you know, I love magnets. But I don't give anything away in return...when people contribute, I generally use the magnet to blog against, and say that a friend gave it to me.

Now I'm ya'll want buttons in return? Ooooh, or how about a magnet that says, "I contributed to joymagnetism, and all I got was this stupid magnet!"

Hmmm, food for thought. See? Now I'm scaring you.

FYI, background on today's Angry Little Girls magnet, if you missed it the first go around.
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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Mystic swimmer

Magnet #173 - Mystic Pizza

Yep. That Mystic Pizza. We dropped by Mystic, CT, on our way home from a Mohegan Sun daytrip.

Pizza was pretty good, but don't expect Annabeth, Lily or Julia to serve you. Do expect them to be staring down at you from any number of movie paraphernalia hanging on the wall.

I was mostly disappointed in the homemade magnet, though. It's one of those plastic frames with a rather poor color copy of the restaurant graphic inserted. Oh, well.

I picked today's magnet, because apparently, we're playing a new game: how many magnets can I tie-back to the Olympics?

Somewhere in the recesses of my mind, I remembered that Michael Phelps has this weird diet of pizza and pasta. And I have this image in my head of him with a stack of steaming hot pizzas, with his almost-a-dozen medals round his neck. Heh.

Favorite quote today: Phelps, after his 200 butterfly win: "I mean, yeah, I did break the [world] record, but I think I can go faster. That's what I'm most frustrated about."
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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

We think we can, we think we can

Magnet #172 - You can because you think you can

Yeah, it's a slightly cheesy magnet, but this one kinda tickled me, after watching our men's gymnastics team take bronze. And no, I don't have nearly enough magnets to cover each day, I promise.

If you listened to any of the unrelenting commentary, you know that the odds were against the U.S. men's team. No one believed that the Hamm-less team would place, especially when they were fielding a couple of alternates, and not a whit of Olympic experience among them.

But, they managed to pull it off. I firmly believe it was through the sheer will of the pocket-sized gymnasts, particularly that Horton kid, who seemed to do a darn good job of keeping his teammates focused and superexcited. So, yay for the boys!

(Yep, I know other folks took medals, too, but my post got too ya'll can head over to NBC or SI for that.)
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Monday, August 11, 2008

What's the French word for gold again?*

Magnet #171 - Renoir's Le Moulin de la Galette, Montmartre

I haven't used anything from the fridge art gallery lately, so I picked this piece. I know nothing about it, except that supposedly Renoir and his boys used to hang out here at Moulin de la Galette so that they could select models for their work.

Oh, and that he did a couple versions of this, one of which belongs to the Musée d'Orsay, and a smaller version was sold at auction back in 1990 for something like $78 million...making it the fifth most expensive painting ever sold.

But, to tell the absolute truth, the only reason I picked Renoir for today is because I was too lazy to find another French magnet to use today. Why a French magnet?

Oh, just because I wanted to mention the fact that the U.S. won Olympic gold for the men's swimming freestyle relay - despite the trash talking that the one French dude was doing about how they were going to smash the Americans.

Heh. As Bob Costas said, au contraire mon ami.

eta, as of Nov 5:
*Ya'll wouldn't believe the amount of people who land on this magnetpost searching for the French word for gold. I feel terrible that I haven't provided it in this post until now, except for in this other, apologetic post.

Et voila, the French word for gold.

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Sunday, August 10, 2008

A box full of honey, indeed

Magnet #170 - Duran Duran's Red Carpet Massacre

A few weeks ago after a particularly craptastic day at work, I came home to a hand-addressed package with pretty, pretty handwriting. On the elevator ride up to my apartment, I wracked my brain wondering who I knew at this particular place, if it was something I'd forgotten I ordered, or, if perhaps it was a special surprise one of my friends had sent me.

It was better than that.

Remember my Friends of the band magnetpost on Duran Duran, where I said I'd run away with jaunty John Taylor if he asked me today?

Well, apparently, my people got in touch with his people. Because my people freakin' ROCK. Dudes. That package? Contained the RCM tourbook, and a signed copy of Red Carpet Massacre, as well as a very sweet With Compliments note from their people.

Holy. Freakin'. COW. This was better than being linked to on, or on Huffingtonpost. This was even better than the graduation Vermont Teddy Bear that VTB graciously sent (after this magnetpost) to the blogmocking cousin who dared to mock joy magnetism.

Look, rationally, I know that there's a stack of these CDs and books sitting around in some office somewhere - I don't care. It was totally sweet of their people to take time out of their day to send me something from the boys. While I'm a little embarrassed, it's still like the coolest thing ever, and I shall cherish it always. And, yes, I made a magnet out of the signed liner notes - it seemed quite fitting. It's in a little magnetic sleeve, and has been given a place of honor on one of the magnet boards. So, May and Sharon, if you're reading this...thank you very, very much.

And while I'm saying my thank yous, and without getting too maudlin, I get my fair share of readers, and it means a lot to me that you guys, my family and friends, and new friends, take time out of your days to read my silly little magnetblog.

Of course, I'm still waiting for John Taylor to show up at my doorstep. He has my address, after all. :-)

Happy National Duran Duran Appreciation Day!

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Saturday, August 9, 2008

The boundaries of space and time

Magnet #169 - American Museum of Natural History

I've never been a big dinosaur kid. In fact, my only real memories of dinosaurs from childhood was helping my sister learn her school play songs - Triceratops and Tyrannosaurus Rex.

So, really, there's no reason for me to be watching that new show on BBC-A - Primeval. Except that I have to admit to a certain amount of brainwashing. I watch tons of BBC-A, so every darn commercial break, there's at least one Primeval ad in the pod. And, if it's not a commercial, it's a behind the scenes look at the characters or their CGI work. But even when I'm not watching BBC-A, I just have to walk down the street in Manhattan, to see them taking over vacant storefronts. And really, how many times can I hear that one guy say that some. force. out. there. ripped the boundaries of space and time!

So, in case you've missed all the hoopla, it's all about this weirdo broken shards of glass anomaly in some weirdo forest in the UK. Oh, and weirdo dinosaurs coming through the weirdo broken shards of glass anomaly. And the weirdo mix of weirdo individuals that they've thrown together to investigate. A university professor, his assistant, a student of his, a zookeeper and then the rogue government agent determined to help them out with her boss fighting her the whole way. Oh, and the missing wife of the uni prof, whose camera they found when they went through the anomaly to investigate. The prof, by the way, went through the anomaly with naught but the clothes on his back and a special forces soldier. WTH?

The writing's kinda cheesy, the plotting isn't all that much better, the CGI's actually not bad, and I kept waiting for them to call Torchwood. That's all I got, having seen only the pilot so far. I'll keep watching for an episode or two more, because there's at least one or two cuteboys to keep me occupied. How sad is it that I recognize only the chick from S Club 7, and the guy who played the chaperone from The Prince & Me?

I don't really have a great track record with pilots...which is why I end up watching at least the first few episodes before adding or deleting from my TV dance card. So for now, it stays...after all, how will I learn it's not the Doctor himself who ripped the boundaries in space and time!

(Goodness, maybe now a whole new set of Primeval commercials will air!)
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Friday, August 8, 2008

Ancient Spanish secrets

Magnet #168 - Fountain of Youth, St. Augustine, FL

I don't remember the Fountain of Youth being quite so roadside attractiony when I was little and visited. But, I went a few years ago on a roadtrip with my parents, and man, this place got cheesy.

It's still an archeological park, and it sits on like 15 acres of different outlying buildings and little demonstrations and shows. They have a pretty big little shop, which had everything from the requisite cheesy kitsch to scabbards and stuff, if I remember correctly. The piece de resistance is the Spring House - a whole little cavern-ish diorama where you all stand around while a little lecture's given...and you're allowed to drink water from the Fountain. In little clear Dixie cups.

They claim that St. Augustine is the "oldest continuously occupied European settlement within our continental United States," and if you visit the Discovery Globe and the Navigators' Planetarium, it shows you how the Spaniards settled Florida and beyond. I completely learned a helluva lot watching the shows...with as much land the Spaniards conquered, it's amazing that Spanish isn't our first language instead.

For example, did ya'll know that they say the first Thanksgiving happened in St. Augustine, FL, in September 1565? Really, though, if they did have the first Thanksgiving there, is it possible that all the Pilgrimy stuff that we all wore growing up should have actually been palmetto-leaf outfits and lots of oranges?
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Thursday, August 7, 2008

Round and round

Magnet #167 - Binghamton, NY

Yep, another roadtrip, but this stop was semiplanned. The goal: to try and ride the carousels of Greater Binghamton.

Two reasons why:
  1. I used to be the editor of a trade newsletter/magazine called Carousel, which covered carnival news around the United States. (Stop laughing. I can hear you. And yes, that's another magnet.)
  2. Apparently, there are only 170 antique carousels left in North America. And this town has six of them...and all of them are listed in the National Historic Register.
C'mon. That right there is reason enough. I'm not even a big fan of carousels, but how can you pass up the chance to ride them!

Ummmm....well, we sorta did. We got there and managed to ride only two of the six. Yes, yes, I know, magically I ended up with a button-turned-magnet that states otherwise. (We made friends at the visitors center.)

Funnily enough, the price to ride the carousels was one piece of litter. But, it's like the honor There wasn't any litter at the carousel at the park. I promise!

Looks like that Keep America Beautiful campaign's workin' out well for them.
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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

There's always room for Jell-O!

Magnet #166 - Jell-O Museum

I'm not gonna lie. This museum's been on my to-do list forever, and I still haven't made it there. Kinda like the American Airlines museum down in Texas, or the SPAM museum up in Minnesota, or the Winchester house out in California.

But, a friend of mine went to the Jell-O Museum up in LeRoy, New York. By all accounts, a fun museum.

Though...really? They don't sell Jell-O?
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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Little America

Magnet #165 - Roadside America

During an unplanned roadtrip across Pennsylvania (the trip itself was planned, the stops along the way were...not), we stopped at this odd little building called Roadside America, in Shartlesville (no, I'd never heard of it, either), PA.

Once you get out of your car, you feel like you've stepped right into the 1950s. From the little old ladies running the register and the little shop, to the aged facilities, and the hand-penned signage and the cool, somewhat retro tchotchkes.

But this magnet does no justice to the largest miniature village in the world. I dunno if that's truly what it is, but take a gander at this and this and this and finally, this. C'mon. How freakin' awesome is this village.

The entire room is a diorama of the history of America. This guy basically carved and built all the buildings over a period of like 60 years - and there's about 300 buildings! And I'm not counting all the cars and people and animals and trees and grass and railways that he and his family maintained throughout the years, as well. It's massive.

But here's the absolute best part. So at the far end of the diorama, there's a small seating area, where everyone sits when the lights go down and night falls across the land. And then. And THEN! On the far wall, right where the Statue of Liberty is, a bright light is projected on to the wall.

And remember in grade school, when they used to have filmstrips for us? Dudes. A filmstrip starts playing, and a full moon comes up. And images of Jesus sitting and little children at his knee pops up. And a Verse comes up. And in a rousing fit of patriotism, the American Flag pops up as the you hear the strains of "God Bless America" begin to swell.

It's just fantastic - and just what you'd expect from what's arguably one of the last, great Roadside Attractions in America.
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Monday, August 4, 2008

Turn left! Turn left!

Magnet #164 - Lucy the Elephant

It's summer, and the best time of year for roadtrips and sidetrips, so I thought I'd do a little miniseries on Roadside Attractions.

For those of you who don't know, there are a TON of roadside attractions here in the States, so much so that there's an entire web site (and indeed, culture) devoted to these weird places of interest. These are the forgotten, or little-known, attractions that you find along the way to your real destinations. The serendipitous pieces of history that time and major highways forgot. The unplanned (or sometimes, planned, if you're me) detours that add on a couple hours to your trip. The wacky pitstops that, when you woke up that morning, you never imagined you'd be standing in the shadow a 65-foot elephant with a funny french manicure.

So, on Saturday, as we were headed down the Jersey shore, I was sitting in the backseat, minding my own business, when suddenly I saw a roadsign for Lucy the Elephant, with an arrow pointing left. As we moved through the traffic light, I was a little puzzled, and more than a little intrigued, when toward my left I saw one of those seats (a giant one, floating in the air) that you put on top of an elephant, peeping above the buildings.

I yelled out, "Turn left! We have to turn left!" I'm quite sure that my sister and her fiance thought I was joking, because of the Turn Left episode of Doctor Who, where Donna Noble changed the entire course of history by turning right, instead of left. When they realized I was serious, the fiance hurriedly turned left two blocks down, and we began to instinctively navigate back to where I saw the giant, disembodied elephant seat...with me bouncing in the backseat like a kid going to a candy store.

And what we found was Lucy the Elephant, of Margate, NJ!!!!

OMG. She was fanTASTic! How often do you accidentally run across a giant elephant on the way to wherever you're going? So we stopped. I'm sad to report that I did not do the tour of the inside of Lucy, but we did go into the little shop - hence the little magnet, which I freakin' love.

So why is there a 65-foot elephant in the middle of the Jersey Shore? Well, the real history's is here at her official site. But, basically, a real estate developer back in the 1880s wanted to attract attention to his properties in the area. And so he built a giant freakin' elephant to get people from far and wide to come.

And, 127 years later, it's registered as a National Historic Landmark, and people are still coming from far and wide to see Lucy.
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Sunday, August 3, 2008

Down the Jersey Shore

Magnet #163 - Cape May, NJ

Soooo, yesterday, if you'd said that I'd spend my sister's big birthday weekend down the Jersey Shore, I'd probably have laughed at you. Mostly, because ya'll know how I detest beaches. But also because for some reason beyond me, I didn't associate either Atlantic City or Cape May, NJ, part of the Jersey Shore.

Clearly, both are next to the water, but I just didn't think about it.

We spent much of today in Cape May - the only town in all of America designated as a historic landmark - looking at the supercute Victorians, visiting the lighthouse, running around the little shops, and yes, walking on the beach and even(!) dipping a toe or two or ten in the freezing cold Atlantic.

The best surprise of yesterday was a giant elephant (yep, I'll eventually get to that in a later magnetpost), but the coolest surprise of today was seeing a World War II bunker on the beach. I've been to Normandy, and seen the WWII bunkers there, so, seeing a bunker on a beach shouldn't have been so jarring. But, I honestly hadn't a clue that we had our own bunkers on U.S. soil. How cool is that. A little scary, but still cool.

Also a little scary? How much food one can consume in a weekend. Between the Philly cheesesteak taste tests between Pat's and Geno's in Philly (jury's still out), the Borgata buffet (pretty damn good, though the Bellagio's better), and seafood (seeing as how it was the beach) along the shore, I'm surprised I didn't just roll down the railroad tracks back up to NYC. Yikes.
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Saturday, August 2, 2008

No, really - talk about Cash in the Attic

Magnet #162 - Blue duck

If you've read any page on this blog, you know that I have a serious anglotelephile (teleanglophile?) habit. I can't stand Brit humor shows, but give me a drama or action/adventure, and I'm your gal. Which doesn't explain my newest obsession at all.

While I was home sick a couple of weeks ago, I was completely sucked into my new favorite show Cash in the Attic, with my new favorite presenter Alistair Appleton and my new favorite valuer Paul Hayes. Basically the Cash team comes to your home, rummages around for stuff to take to auction, and then auctions off the stuff to help raise money for a particular goal.

Seriously. I can't stop watching it. And BBC-A airs the hell out of them during the day, so when I get home at night, there's like five episodes all ready to roll.

Some of the homes are just full of crap. But some of the most gorgeous homes are just amazingly stuffed to the gills with...quality crap. What's funny is that it's really only in Europe that you'd have a beautiful serving plate from the 1700s just sitting in some box in the garage, or you've been using a 1800s sheet music rack as a TV remote holder and just not realized that it's worth hundreds of pounds. It's amazing.

Now, I'm dying to go to my mom's house in North Carolina. Our house is jampacked with flow blue plate sets and other treasures - the result of hot summers of antiquing, with me stuck in some dusty shop while my parents went rummaging around for yet another stack of blue plates. Now? I want to turn over every. single. plate. she owns. Of course, with my luck, the Georgian period plates are really the Bush, Sr. era. Heheh.

Hmmm. I wonder if this little duck magnet's worth anything. I really can't remember where it came from - either it was from Holland, or Dutch country. I turned it over, and it has no markings beyond the magnet. So, while it's supercute, I'd put maybe only 50p - 75p price band on it.

Do I hear 80p?
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Friday, August 1, 2008

Pure as the snow under that tire over there

Magnet #161 - SoapNet Pure

<---- The second in my SoapNet swag magnets.

Am I the only person on the planet watching that new ABCFamily series Secret Life of an American Teenager? It's this new family-oriented drama brought to you by Brenda Hampton - the same woman who gave us RevCam and the 7th Heaven bunch.

Secret Life has me puzzled as hell. I can't figure out if I'm offended by the exteme stereotyping in this "Brendavision" show.

At the heart of the show is a 15-year-old all-American teenage girl who got herself knocked up one awkward, misguided Band Camp.

The rest of the show is an extremely contrived community of high school students from all walks of life and religions, an intricately complicated set of parents who have either dated or married or are sleeping with each other, and a soundtrack and sets repurposed from 7th Heaven.


The born-again Christian family is the blondest blond family to ever blond. The neurotically perfect cheerleader daughter is sporting a purity ring, which drove her football jock boyfriend into the arms of the resident bad-girl.

The bad-girl who is pretty much the fallen Eve figure, a Latina chick who loves sex and isn't afraid to tell EVERYone, with a promiscuous flight attendant mother who not only leaves her daughter alone frequently, but tells her daughter that the married-to-another boyfriend is being allowed stay at the house while she's away. And, by the way, Brenda, I love the slightly Latin score whenever you pan across her inappropriate-for-school attire as she sways down the hall.

The pregnant girl's family was seemingly perfect, except that the father's sleeping with Latina chick's mom, and has now left to move in with Latina chick.

The foster kid with a heart of gold whose own personal traumas prevent him from connecting with anyone, except for his counselor, who just learned that the kid is about to be a father.

The requisite Catholic best friend can't believe she has a friend who's not only considering an abortion, but whose parents are possibly getting divorced.

The requisite African-American best friend who has quickly become my favorite because she doesn't do anything but advise the pregnant chick to tell her parents.

The pregnant girl refuses to talk about how she's pregnant. WTF? She's 15. And now, her new boyfriend that she's in love with and is in love with her has asked her to marry him. Again, WTF?

The Asian best friends of the stupid boyfriend who are dating each other, but who function as the chorus, a conduit of gossip, and a fount of sexual data.

And on and on the travesty goes.

So why am I watching? Well, for starters, it's summer.

But, really, it's because with each ridiculous word that comes out of the actors' mouths, I wonder just what the hell is Brenda's vision.
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