joy magnetism: May 2011

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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Smoke and Ike

Magnet #1194 - Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953 - 1961)

I've smoked maybe five cigarettes in my entire life - and not even whole ones. The first couple were in Europe, with the president of the Tri-Delts trying to teach me and failing miserably. The rest were in some smoky bars in North Carolina and New York. And all were in my 20s.

Scarily, it was the fault of those smoky bars (and probably a few beers) that actually had me craving the last of them. But overall, I just never could get the hang of it, really. Plus, I look funny with a cigarette, methinks. (What?)

My grandfather was a heavy smoker, who died at 56 from lung cancer. In this day and age, I feel like everyone in the world knows a smoker who died from cancer. Apparently, tobacco kills more than six million people every year - the World Health Organization (WHO) actually calls it the tobacco epidemic.

To be honest, I don't really care if others do it, it's their body and health. And while I'm superhappy I don't go to bars and come out reeking of cigarette smoke anymore, I find myself on the fence about the recent NYC ban on smoking in public parks and plazas. It just feels like the outdoors shouldn't be as regulated given that people can move about freely to get away from the offending smoke. I know, just saying that sparks several arguments right there.

Anyway, today is World No Tobacco Day, and WHO is using today to help promote the “WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control," a public health treaty whose mission is to make countries protect people from exposure to tobacco smoke, ban tobacco advertising and sales to minors and put health warnings on tobacco packaging.

So how does that tie back to our 34th president, Dwight D. Eisenhower? According to Fitness, Ike was a heavy smoker (four packs a day!), who was urged to cut back. He couldn't take counting out his allowed cigarettes and so he quit. Just like that. Never had another cigarette in his life.

I totally have reservations as to whether or not it was that easy for him to just quit, especially because he said that he just put smoking out of his mind.

Really? Just doesn't feel like it could be so, but hey, he did it!

Yay for Ike!
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Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day, indeed. Sniffle.

Magnet #1193 - Elvis Presley

Of course I had to buy this Elvis magnet from my Union Square magnet guy. How pretty is he? (Elvis, not the Union Square magnet guy.)

Elvis served in the Army for a couple of years from 1958-60, and then served in the reserves for a few more years after that. I mean, talk about a pretty boy in a pretty uniform!

I figured I'd use him today for Memorial Day, where everyone's supposed to find a vet and say thank you.

So, for any magnet-loving veterans (and those currently serving) out there - thank you!

As for us, we had a different sort of memorial day, a memorial service for Uncle Frank - my sister's godfather, and a close family friend who passed away last Tuesday.

It's actually the first time I've seen how Filipinos celebrate the dead up close, or rather, the first time I've seen it as an adult. Part of the process is gathering together with the family each night for nine days (harking back to the nine days the Disciples and Mary spent in prayer between Ascension and Pentecost Sunday) - where we pray for the soul of the departed, to help them get through purgatory.

That's nine days of folks coming to the house, bringing food and fellowship - sitting down together to recite the rosary and then the special novena prayers for the dead. And then we eat and visit with each other. In layman's terms, think of it as a nine-day wake.

So far, we're on day six.

I wouldn't have believed it last week, but my first stop when I get back to NY is actually to pick up a rosary from St. Patrick's. I'm not saying I'm back from my lapse-sation, but there really is something about having this routine of community prayer. There's still those couple of prayers and that one Filipino song that I'll never get the hang of, but if I'm to be honest, the week's been really eye-opening.

It sounds trite, but as with any passing, we're forced into focusing on what's important, and how we treat each other, and how precious time is here on Earth. It helps also puts a fine point on what we want our own legacies to be, how we want to be remembered, and what happens to those left behind.

Uncle spent his last day with his family, having lunch with my dad and some friends, doing some chores, playing some Scrabble, and then going to bed. And now here we are, saying good-bye to a good friend and a good man.

Note regarding yesterday's blogpost about those blasted birds:

They actually were Uncle Frank's birds that he gave my mom years ago before they moved to Las Vegas. He taught them how to sing and apparently really loved them. Today, after we came home in the middle of the day - the birds were singing a new - and very long - song.

I'm thinking that my dead Uncle Oscar (who hangs out at the rolltop in my room, according to my mother) may have a guest downstairs (hanging out with those cockatiels).

Man, it's getting crowded over here - at some point, ya'll know who we're gonna need to call.
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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Freakin' birds

Magnet #1192 - Blue bird

Dudes, I can't figure this little guy out. Where'd his other eye go? Is he shushing us with a wing to his beak?

I swear, he just ended up in my street fair basket because he too, was blue and cute. But that's about all I can figure why I own him.

Ya'll know I hate birds. Like, with a passion. (Well, except for watching and Tweeting the latest happenings from Hummingbird Hollow in my backyard.)

So we have these two cockatiels that live downstairs in the laundry room, Mom inherited them from some family friends who didn't want to take them out to their snowbird house in Vegas. They drive me up the wall. Seriously.

They look at me with evil eyes, and they know I don't like 'em. In fact, when I'm doing laundry and standing there - the male bird quickly moves to shield the female from me. He immediately puts himself in between the female and me. It's not like I'd hurt them or anything! Sheesh!

They also sing - loudly. A cacophony of chirping and tweeting. No rhyme or reason, they're just very, very loud in the morning and early in the evening.

Today, I found out that we could supposedly take them out of the cage and let them sit on our fingers. NO.

That's like my worst nightmare come true, those birds flying all around, and landing on me. Ugh.


Now. If somehow the door to the birdcage, the door to the garage and the garage door itself somehow magically opened all at the same, wouldn't that be something?
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Saturday, May 28, 2011

"The fairest isle..."

Magnet #1191 - Jamaica

"...mine eyes ever beheld."
- Christopher Columbus, 1494

What a supercool magnet my friend brought me back from Jamaica! I haven't been, and since it's an island, ya'll know it has little to no chance of me ever visiting.

I know, I can't help it. Ya'll know how I feel about islands.

But, apparently once you Visit Jamaica, you know. (Whatever that means, tourism tagline.)

I just went flipping through all the attractions and stuff and given that there's more than 500 years of European rule, an eclectic mixture of African, European and Asian cultures, and has more churches per square mile, I would bet that I'd never run out of things to see and do.

Here's something: Did ya'll know that most of the world's pimento comes from Jamaica? Bet you didn't know that when you woke up this morning.

And, oh my freakin' hell, Jamaica's home to the largest butterfly in the Western Hemisphere, the Giant Swallowtail, with a wingspan of 6 inches. Six inches, people! That's half a damn ruler!

Yeah, that totally seals the deal for me, because ya'll know I can't stand butterflies, either.

Let alone one with GIANT in its name!
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Friday, May 27, 2011

Get better soon, Simon!

Magnet #1190 - Duran Duran

What? I said I had a ton Duran Duran magnets, folks. I wasn't kidding. I'm a child of the 80s, so of course I have a ton of buttons.

The boys have been having a tough time of it, having postponed several dates on the European leg of their All You Need Is Now tour due to Simon's ongoing vocal issues.

They broke the news today that they're postponing the next two dates - London and Brighton as well. The boys seem totally gutted in their interviews and their Tweets, and their blogposts.

Sad news all around, for the band, and for the fans.

Awww, another heartfelt blogpost from JT. What is it about that guy that makes him my favorite above all others?
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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Blue and cute

Magnet #1189 - Blue fish

Or whale? Or dolphin? I dunno. I just liked him cuz he was blue and white and superdupercute.

Believe me, those folks at that street fair saw me coming a mile away and handed me one of those little trays pretty darned quick.

And? It got filled pretty darned quick.

I'm toying with dropping by a flea market or two while I'm here in town to see if I can find any fun and/or vintage magnets. The odd part is, I don't really have anywhere to store them - since I've been home in NC off and on these last couple of months, I haven't had a chance to get a new magnetboard, which means all my new magnets keep cropping up, and are sitting in one big box at home, plus another plastic giftbag, and another tin here in NC.

I'm almost afraid to pick up another magnetboard from IKEA, for fear that I will actually need more than just one.

Sigh. At what point do I become that crazy lady down the hall with the magnets?
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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Clay critters

Magnet #1188 - North Carolina Black Bears

I couldn't resist picking this magnet up at the Charlotte airport to close out my latest Escape Home to NYC trip.

I've seen black bears in North Carolina in three places: Dan Nicholas Park down the road, the Asheboro zoo, and Grandfather Mountain - all of them were captive, though, so I totes don't count 'em. But people are sighting random bears all across North Carolina, so one day, I want to find one in my back yard. I'll be waiting.

Huh. So here's something that could potentially be scary for me - as a magnet collector.

I've found the wholesaler for these magnets I keep seeing. It's called Clay Critters, an 18-person company out in Indianapolis that produces all those cool (and expensive) airport magnets.

Totally afraid to look at their catalog for fear that I might find enough items in there to qualify me for wholesale buying.

And then this blog would never. ever. end!
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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Krabby joy - Escape Home to NYC, Part 2, Day 6

Magnet #1187 - SpongeBob SquarePants

I'll confess. I've never watched a full episode of Spongebob. I know! There are whole religions out there devoted to this guy and I can't be bothered to watch a few minutes.

I really only bought this tiny, tiny magnet at a street fair a few weeks ago because it reminds me of a colleague of mine, whom we call SpongeRob NoSocks. Annnd, you can figure out how he got that moniker...and probably guess that he's part of that Connecticut crew on the New Haven line. I wonder if Don Draper would ever go sockless in loafers. Heh.

Anyway, feeling pretty krabby today because it's my last day in town for a while. (Ok, fine, for only a couple of weeks, but I'm getting my pout on here, so shuddup.) I mean, it's been a fantastic trip, filled with tons of New York minutes and fun quintessential New York. It's just tough to leave.

(Plus, I hate packing. No, seriously. If I could be one of those people who are like, we'll just buy everything when we get there? I would SO be that girl.)

To distract myself while doing the dreaded packing, I find myself stuck on Boomerang, my favorite cartoon network. They tend to air all the classic cartoons I grew up watching, versus all the crazy, hip and cool stuff that Cartoon Network airs.

And SpongeBob would not be part of that bunch. Tonight was Scooby-Doo, the Clue Club, Thundarr the Barbarian, the Hair Bunch, etc.

I honestly don't even know when we found time to watch them - they weren't all on the Saturday morning rotation, probably more the USA Network cartoon block or elsewhere.

But man, every once in a while, it's good just to relive your childhood and leave the tv on Boomerang for a couple of hours.

Or, you know, days.

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Monday, May 23, 2011

Sheepish - Escape Home to NYC, Part 2, Day 5

Magnet #1186 - Cardiff map

Author @katharineashe is off and away to Cardiff, Wales, Tweeting along the way. Definitely give her a follow!

That is, if you don't have anything against romance novels (you shouldn't, if I'm friends with you), good Tweeting (you shouldn't, if I'm friends with you), or Cardiff (and I say again, you shouldn't, if I'm friends with you).

Actually, I'm pretty loose on that last point, particularly with my UK buds - never have I ever seen folks be so puzzled over why I want to visit Cardiff. And more than once!

I'm working on our London itinerary for next month, and like the last trip, it includes a daytrip out to Cardiff, and that's where all the making fun starts and ends.

It's such a cultural thing over there for everyone to pick on Wales. I dunno how it started, I don't want to know. But it always cracks me up when they bag on the sheep in Wales.

They usually back off when they find out our trip is Doctor Who- and Torchwood-centric. We're planning on finding the same locations we found last time, see the same buildings (with the exception of me actually making it into Cardiff Castle and the Senedd building this time), and probably have some Wagamama. Because that's how we do.

To be honest, Wales for me is gorgeous. Yes, it might be a less densely populated and they certainly have their own way of life and language, but I still love what little I've seen of it. Of course, me being me, I also love the train ride through the countryside, away from the hustle and bustle of London. It reminds me of the train ride down to North Carolina, just 10 hours shorter.

Actually, now that I think about it - the way that people slam on Cardiff is a bit like the way folks make fun of the rural South.

Only with cousins, instead of sheep.
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Sunday, May 22, 2011

LEGO Buildings and Lions - Escape Home to NYC, Part 2, Day 4

Magnet #1185 - LEGO

While I love LEGOs, I'm not like the hugest LEGO fan out there. I didn't really grow up putting them together, and played with them only once in a blue moon. In fact, I think that's why I have so much more fun with them now as an adult.

I inherited a LEGOs set at my old office, so when the kids come in, they'd playdate with me on my cube floor, and we'd build fun stuff. The box wasn't a full-on set, just randoms, so we'd really have to get creative with what we built.

Lemme tell you, if you think advertising creative folks are hard to get along with? Try getting in the way of a 4-year-old's LEGOvision.

If you've read anything from this blog, you know that I'm a big architecture buff, so of course, I'm loving all the architectural sets LEGO's released over the last couple of years. Naturally, my two fave sets are Frank Lloyd Wright's Guggenheim and Fallingwater. I had so much fun putting them together - even as friends and family sat and wondered how old I was. Still. C'mon. They're superduper cool!

My other LEGO fave is the touring Towering Ambition architecture tour that we saw in Chicago. It's currently at the National Building Museum in DC, so if you get a chance to go, you must. It's a cityscape of tall and taller famous buildings from all around the world, all made of LEGO blocks. Freakin' fantastic. And don't even get me started on LEGOLand - I just walk around for ages looking at all of their outdoor diorama displays!

It's been a LEGO-filled weekend, too. Today, I finally braved the Rock Center crowds again to visit the store - they have a new tiny Andy Warhol display, which is superdupercute.

And this weekend, I basically hung out at the New York Public Library for their Centennial Celebration. They commissioned a LEGO artist to put together half-sized Patience and Fortitude, the library lions. Even with 60,000 pieces, they were a tad bit on the small side, but still, damned cool.

I just love my shot below of the awesome Library Lion, reading @MichelleKnudsen's Library Lion, flanked by the LEGO Library Lions. So funny.

It's like the Best. Shot. Ever.

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Saturday, May 21, 2011

To live and die - Escape Home to NYC, Part 2, Day 3

Magnet #1184 - Die in Manhattan

My sister bought me this fantastic Mad Men magnet, and I can't think of any other truer sentiment for the End of the World.

Or Rapture.

Or End of Days.

Or Apocalypse.

Or whatever it is.

Or wasn't.

All things considered, there wasn't any other way I'd rather have spent the last day on earth, than Saturday morning cartoons, diner breakfast for lunch, dragging a friend to the NY Public Library's Centennial Celebration and showing him around one of my favorite buildings in town, giving the same 5-cent tour to another friend who's lived here most of her life and never been inside, discovering a new (to me) Cuban restaurant serving $6 Happy Hour Mojitos (so going back!), and some late-night shopping at Macy's.

Yep, a little tv, food, architecture, history, fun and friendship.

Best day ever, and quintessential New York.

Seriously. If the End of the World had happened while I was drinking those Mojitos last night? I'd have been perfectly content.

Now, we just have to wait til October.

Or you know, 2012, if you're Mayan.
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Friday, May 20, 2011

Bearly making it - Escape Home to NYC, Part 2, Day 2

Magnet #1183 - Yosemite Bear

How cool is this bear magnet that my friend brought back for me from Yosemite?! Superdupercool.

Even cooler? The bear spins around. I don't quite get it, but it does. And it cool.

Day 2 in NY has me sitting in a temp office cube, a far cry from Yosemite's open spaces. I'm hoping it was just the caffeine, but it's so weird being in an office setting right now, particularly after not being in one for the last nine months.

Once, I used to have this cuteboy assistant account executive who sat over the wall from me for a couple of years. A few weeks after he left for bigger, brighter things, he said to me, "You know what I miss? I miss hearing your giggles over the wall."

It's something that I'd forgotten about myself. That I have the (possibly crazy) talent of entertaining myself with absolutely no one around me, entertainment which leads to a lot of giggles. A lot of the time. Yes. I'm THATcrazychick in the corner cube, amused by everything and no one.

I remembered it a couple of weeks ago, when I drove yet another account executive nuts, as he kept asking what was so funny.

You know what? Haven't a clue what it was, but I pretty much guarantee you it probably wasn't as funny as I thought it was at the time.

It never, ever is.

By the way, just to go back to bears for a second. Every freakin' day across the South lately, it feels like we keep getting bear sighting stories. I think they all know I'm on the lookout for my very own bear, and are showing up in every place that I'm not. Just to taunt me.

And, since I'm on the bear kick - I posted this before, but I don't think I embedded the actual video. My favorite sleeping bear scene of. all. time. Following by my new favorite sleeping puppy scene. of. all. time. Both of which came from one or the other or both sisters.



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I'm goin' up - Escape Home to NYC, Part 2, Day 1

Magnet #1182 - Christina's World

Headed to NYC today for another quick trip home while my dad's recuperating. Yes. Insert all the regular squees of, dare I say it, JOY, here.

If you get over to the MoMA, definitely check out Andrew Wyeth's Christina's World. I was gonna do a whole blogpost about it, but after I listened to the curator podcast of about it, it was pretty clear that I wouldn't be able to do it justice.

Suffice to say that this piece is one of Wyeth's most recognizable, and is of his neighbor, a woman stricken with polio, meant to be inspirational, rather than sad.

As for me, this painting always makes me think of the opening scenes of one of my fave movies ever, SpaceCamp, where babyAndie's sitting in the grass, looking up at the stars as John Glenn passes over her. (The 2-min mark below.)

Lately though, it's represented all the farmland I have to drive through in NC, before I ever get to a single real stoplight. Seriously, it's getting to the point where I almost don't stay stopped at stoplights, so used to momentary (but complete, duh) stops at stop signs, am I.

The truth is? I love it. Much as I complain, I love driving through rural NC - with all its cows and horses and goats and donkeys and more cows. Wait, did I mention I pass a lot of cows? Well, I do. Pass a lot of cows. Cows, I say.

It's a gorgeous countryside this time of year - with everything blossoming and lush and green and with moderate temps, etc. Honestly, it's not til you get to the urban jungle of NYC that you realize how lovely NC really is.

Mind you, on my first day back home in NYC today, I realize, I'm still a helluva lot more comfortable walking or training or bussing to my destination on concrete sidewalks - even with cars who don't necessarily slow down at intersections at all.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Pretty boys, pretty...castles

Magnet #1181 - The Consort

Whoa. Probably should have labeled this one NSFW, though really, it's not all that bad. Really.

It's another one of the magnets my friend brought back from the Romantic Times convention last month.

I know, right?

I think I've said it before, but it's one of the reasons I miss publishing. Or, really, my little Loveswept cube, where behind me sat stacks and stacks of manuscripts and galleys full of happy endings.

And everywhere else, were pictures of the cutest cuteboys of the cute, the models we were using for our cover art. Best part of the job, sifting through lookbooks and cuteboy collections looking for appropriate pretty boys to adorn our covers.

I know. Terrible objectification of men. I won't lie, it was a bit like Playboy (Playgirl?) without the full-on nudity or the articles. We didn't even get to learn if they liked long walks in the rain or reading sociology in their spare time. We just matched the boys up to the manuscript description, picked 'em for their pretty looks, and moved on to the next month's covers. (Mind you, I also had to pick pretty girls, too, but honestly, it was not nearly as engaging.)

Fun stuff. A far cry from all the business-to-business corporate stuff I deal with nowadays.

Still, I would definitely think twice about reading this book in the subway - truth be told, I tend not to read my romance books on the train to begin with, when they show even the slightest of skin. I did it a few times, but man, it's awkward when you're reading a love scene and realize that the dude next to you is reading it, too. Ewwwwwww.

Of course, now, I'll be wondering exactly what books those people are reading on their secretive eReaders across from me on the train. Hmmmm.

And possibly, ewwwwww.
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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

With the birds

Magnet #1180 - Queensboro and Brooklyn Bridges

From yesterday's underwater access points, to two of our bridges high off the water - I figured I'd just minithon the other of my BNT magnetset from Fish's Eddy.

One of my favorite things to do in the city is walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, from one end to the other, stopping along the way to check out the amazing views, looking between the planks at the water and/or cars below, reading all the plaques by the caissons, and imagining all the freakin' work that went into building such an astounding bridge.

Oh, and it doesn't hurt that there's some really good pizza at Grimaldi's, or chocolate from Jacques Torres, and the really cool Brooklyn Bridge Park waiting on the other side. (Clearly, there's more to do in Brooklyn, but I'm saving some of it for an Explore Brooklyn Day, hopefully soon. Hmmm, maybe this Saturday. And yes, there's an Escape Home to NYC sequel in the works - yay!)

The Queensboro Bridge, (aka, the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge or even, the 59th Street Bridge) on the other hand, I can't even remember if I've been across. I must have, right? I mean it's a major thoroughfare! I just know it's the bridge that's right beside the Roosevelt Island tram - everyone knows it - it's the tram where Spider-Man saves Mary Jane?

Yep, that's another fun thing to do in the city, especially, if you're my mother. It's her thing. She loves making everyone take the tram to the island, pop a quarter on the bus and ride it around the little island enclave, and ride the tram back. She seriously loves it.

In fact, I'm going downstairs right now to show her this Spider-Man/LEGO video below, because she will. love. it. And say, "When can we go again, Joy? Can we go there again when I go back to NY, Joy?

Hah. I was wrong.

Mom: "That's smart! You should do that! Without copyright infringement, of course. I just love riding that thing - it's so exciting!"
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Monday, May 16, 2011

With the fishes

Magnet #1179 - Lincoln and Holland tunnels

Hey, did ya'll know that the Holland Tunnel (which connects downtown Manhattan to Jersey City) was supposedly the first underwater vehicular tunnel in the world when it was built back in the 1920s?

Ugh, can you even imagine slowly put-putting through the dark hole in the ground as one the first cars traveling through it?

And I didn't realize that the Lincoln Tunnel (which connects midtown Manhattan to Weehawken), was built as a WPA projects in the 1930s. Apparently, nowadays, the tunnel supposedly hosts more commuters via the bus routes into Port Authority than the trains do running into Penn. That seems weird to me, at least until you walk around the smoggy floors of the PA, waiting for the buses, that's when you believe it.

When we were little and on roadtrips, we used to love all the tunnels we'd pass through on our way to our destinations. The ones through the mountains meant we were halfway to Chicago. The ones under the Hudson meant we'd reached New York City.

And every time, my mother would yell, wake up, girls, it's the tunnel!

That's why I was excited when a friend bought me this superdupercute BNT (that's Bridge & Tunnel for the rest of America) magnet set from Fish's Eddy.

They've always held a certain they do when you're little. Even now, as I pass through either the Lincoln or the Holland, I'm a little more alert, always looking around, watching the lights as they pass, the curves of the ceilings, the little walkways for the workmen, the lights of the cars ahead. It's still pretty cool.

The best story, though, is when we roadtripped with the BFF up to NYC, when we were in seventh grade. And we had told her all about the supercool Lincoln Tunnel, that you have to go underwater - under the Hudson River! - to get to NY. The only trouble is...we got her so excited to see the tunnel, it was a huge letdown for her when she couldn't actually see the fishes in the water.

Apparently, she was expecting a Sea World-esque see-through type tunnel. Oops!
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Sunday, May 15, 2011

When you're smiling...

Magnet #1178 - Eeyore

I smile a lot. No. I mean, really. A lot.

Someone posted a Facebook photo album this weekend, and don't you know - every damn photo, I'm laughing like a damned hyena. (Mind you, there was wine involved, so thank goodness the photos aren't worse than what they could be, but yeah, I was a pretty happy camper that night.)

But, even without wine, I'm generally a pretty smiley chick. You have to be to keep the doldrums at bay, and to get through whatever it is you have to get through.

I mean, look at Eeyore here. It's why I picked him up at that street fair last week, cuz he's one of my faves. He knows. Sad about the world, but somehow he's still got a sad little smile on his face.

Some of my old colleagues used to get superticked off at me because even when I'd be delivering bad news, somehow I'd still be smiling. I can be pissed off as hell and still be smiling.

In fact, that's how you know there's trouble, when I can't muster up a smile for you. When that happens, just shut up, back away slowly and don't make any sudden moves. And give me some space.

Sooner or later, I'll be smiling again. Maybe not at you, but surely, at something.
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Saturday, May 14, 2011

The sky is my father

Magnet #1177 - Navajo Sand Art, Father Sky

The Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House is the home of the New York branch of the National Museum of the American Indian. A must-see if you're in downtown NY, and as part of the Smithsonian, it's free!

Really interesting exhibits and the building itself it totally gorgeous, both inside and out.

I picked up this magnet - a Navajo sand art painting magnet with Father Sky depicted. From what I've learned, sand art paintings are used in holy ceremonies where Earth people and Holy people come together.

In fact, the Navajo destroy their sand art upon completion, releasing the spirits into the wind (I assume). Kinda freaked me out that I had not only kept one of these paintings, but that it's in the form of a magnet!

But, the site I linked to earlier mentions that the Navajo fear having the correct version of any of their holy people in just anyone's hands. So, these pieces, and any of the ones found available for commercial sale, have important mistakes on them, so that they're not accurate depictions of the real thing. Whew.

When I learned that, it sort of made me feel a lot better, because I also felt just a little oooky having bought a magnet of one of entire culture's holy figures.

Of course, now that I've read up on this stuff, next time I'm back home, I'm totally heading back to the museum to go see if Mother Earth is there on sale, because now it's freaking me out, not having a complete set. Every image I've seen of Father Sky, he's usually standing right beside Mother Earth.

Maybe he's lonely. Maybe it's the reason for the last year of insanity. Maybe if I right the balance, things will go swimmingly.

What? I know I'm not Navajo, but whatever you believe in, don't go tempting the fates of someone else's culture or beliefs.

I learned that the hard way - having left my ATM card in an ATM, after kindasorta mocking the creepy music and the creepy guy following us around the Joseph Smith birthplace we just had to visit in Vermont.

But maybe that's another magnet...
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Friday, May 13, 2011

Goodness in mankind. Right?

Magnet #1176 - Malist

Another one of my Nicola and the Newfoundlander magnets that I got last year at the Union Square Holiday Market. You know I love 'em!

Except that I'm mad at myself for buying this particular word magnet. While I love the image, I hate the word. Malist means someone who believes the worst in the world, that it's evil.

While I do believe the world is ending and quite frequently say so, I don't believe that the world or mankind at its core is evil. I just don't.

The definition that Nic & the Newfie give - presumably an older definition of the word (it being "reclaimed," and all) - is that it's "one who thinks this is a terrible world, but not the worst of all possible worlds." Which is a slightly more hopeful definition, I guess.

I hope it's that second definition that drew me to this magnet in the first place. Because the alternative would make me a sad sack of a soul, and I reject that, too.

Although, one thing that's made me think of the first definition lately is the plethora of articles, blogposts and Tweets I've been reading about the Facebook/Google snafu this week. Like watching a train wreck, I can't stop myself from clicking on the Twitter links - on my search column, for most of this evening, it's been at least a Tweet a minute. (It's Friday night, how are people still so engaged over this story?)

No, I won't go on about it - it's a magnetblog, after all - but I think what scares me most out of the whole embarrassing and quite disappointing fiasco, is the thought that this isn't the first (or the last) whisper campaign ever to be mounted. This one just has high-profile players who managed to get caught, is all.

Which only makes me wonder with a sick, icky feeling, what other negative "news" content out there in mainstream or social media was ruthlessly whispered into someone's ear.

Or emailed, as the case may be.
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Coke goes green

Magnet #1175 - Green Coke

Well, sorta.

I picked this magnet up last week at a random NYC street fair I stumbled onto. Dudes, a whole kiosk of magnets. Or, Heaven, as I like to call it. I mean, it's truly a miracle that I didn't walk away with many more magnets than the half dozen I bought.

Love that this Coke bottle's green - it's the whole reason I bought it. It totally cracks me up, because The Coca-Cola Company has a superstrict set of brand guidelines - for corporate and all of their brands. Everything.

I mean, sure, TCCC has green glass-bottled Coke and are working toward a 100% plant-based green plastic bottle, but this baby 2-liter green bottle magnet?

Totally unlicensed. This green bottle is enough to make any self-respecting brand cop's head explode.

Ah, street fairs, how I love you.

Anyway, it's the 125th anniversary of The Coca-Cola Company, and to celebrate, they put on a huge 3D projection show at their Atlanta headquarters. I love corporate projection shows, having used it for a few clients of my own...but damn, ya'll, I can't even imagine the production budget on this night:

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Yes, we have bananas

Magnet #1174 - Bananas

My dad's bananas have always been a part of my life - not even kidding, I mean, they're the entire plot of the lullaby my dad sang to us when we were little.

For as long as I can remember, every meal with rice my dad has (that's pretty much lunch and dinner), he eats a banana with his rice. Always. In fact, I can probably count on two hands the number of times I've seen him eat a meal at home without a banana.

Even when we go out to eat in a Chinese restaurant, my mother always has to smuggle the banana in her bag, so that he can eat it with his meal.

Every week, we'd have to pick up bananas - no grocery run was complete without them. I think he should have bought stock in Chiquita back in the 70s - with as many that he's bought, it's a wonder they don't have his portrait somewhere as most loyal customer. And lord help the soul who buys yellow bananas. His bananas always have to be slightly green, slightly yellow.

The bananas here on this magnet? They would be unacceptable. Completely. Too yellow. Like, don't even bother getting in the car with these things.

Of course, we're not just talking bananas with rice here, people. There's also the plantains. Plain and fried. Covered in flour and fried. Doesn't matter, it's always fried. Just like 80% of his other food. Fried.

Don't get me wrong, fried plantains are great. My dad makes supergreat fried plantains...but ya'll there's a reason he's going into Duke Hospital for a (possibly double) stent today!
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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

NCMA - Go. Now.

Magnet #1173 - NC Museum of Art

Keeping this entry short and sweet - if you're ever in Raleigh, definitely check out the NC Museum of Art. Small, but nice collection, and a great venue to wander around. Love it.

This magnet's the second magnet from their gift shop, the first was a gorgeous Rodin one.

Picked it because the entire family decamped to Durham today, in prep for heartpatientdad's procedure tomorrow. I'm not sure if Durham's big enough for the entire family, but we'll see who's left standing after this week.
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Monday, May 9, 2011

"The nicest person you've ever met..."

Magnet #1172 - George Herbert Walker Bush

Is it weird that I kinda believe PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem when he calls Bush the First that? I mean, honestly, in this presidential portrait, the dude actually looks like the nicest person ever.

So, tonight, along with Frank Chirkinian, Ernie Els, Doug Ford, Jock Hutchison, and Masashi "Jumbo" Ozaki, the World Golf Hall of Fame inducted George Herbert Walker Bush (1989-1993).

Here's why.


I know my limitations - and going on about golf is certainly not one of them! Though the write-up is actually an interesting read - I had no idea he was so involved in the game. I mean, I have a vague recollection of Bush on a golf course, but I feel like that's every U.S. President ever. Isn't it like a requirement or something?

Anyway, I'm just happy to have found something apolitical to magnetblog about for a more recent president! I feel like from Bush on, it's almost impossible not to get into their politics when talking about them, and honestly, I don't have the heart for any Dem/Rep debate.

It's a magnetblog, after all!
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Sunday, May 8, 2011

Every step you take

Magnet #1171 - Dylan's Candy Bar Steps

Thought I'd go with a sweet magnet for Mother's Day.

One of my favorite places in New York is on the Upper East Side in the 60s, Dylan's Candy Bar. I've magnetblogged about this candy store before, but there's really nothing like going to visit.

I love that you get totally overwhelmed by the candy, the people and the candy-related soundtrack. It just makes you happier walking in.

So when I saw that there was a Dylan's Candy Bar at the Galleria in Houston, we immediately veered into the store. I made a beeline for the magnets, of course. They were all branded New York, rather than Galleria, and this was the only magnet I saw without NY listed.

I also love it because one of my favorite parts of the store itself is the candy staircase. So damn charming.

And sweet! (See what I did there?)
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Saturday, May 7, 2011

And then there were none

Magnet #1170 - Coney Island

And so, my friends, my Escape Home to NYC ends today as I hop a train down to NC in the morning.

I overdramatic have I been over this trip? It's only because I had packed to be gone for three weeks, not three months, and I was going a little stir-crazy in NC. But, this trip has reaffirmed my crazy NYC love.

I can tell ya'll, I am avoiding packing for NC to the bitter end - lunch, walk, nap, cleaning, Tweeting, texting, whatever possible to not have to pack.

And speaking of packed up...I love this shot of Coney Island, and I'm deathly afraid that this desolation is what I'll find if I head back out there, just based on all the reports over what's been dismantled, what's staying, what's being built, etc., I'm sure it's fine, but I'm really just afraid to see what we're all going to be left with in the end.

I can tell ya'll I've ridden only two rides out there - the Cyclone that I've magnetblogged before, and this Wonder Wheel in the background. I'll confess, for a while there, the only thing I knew about the Wonder Wheel is that some very naughty folks filmed some very naughty things that you stumble upon on those naughty cable access channels in the middle of the night.

I mean, it was all I could think of upon boarding the clackety-clack cars of the Wonder Wheel, what those folks were doing in there. Like, I totally had to check out the cleanliness of the seats before I sat down. (Ewwww.)

Of course, those thoughts were quickly replaced by worry, as I wondered if we would actually make it through the ride. I had no idea that the cars actually swing around and out, making it look like you're about to fly off the wheel itself. Dudes, I hate when coasters or rides are made to look like they're about to fly off the track. Freaks me out - every time!

And it was so long! It went on forever! Yeah. Probably wouldn't re-ride that ride again if given the chance.

What I do want another crack at are those swirley coils that you have to get the stick down from the top to the bottom. Damn, can I waste a ton of money trying to win that thing.

I've won it once or twice, and won some big stuffies from it, but man, every time I get in front of one, I just have to keep trying and trying. And, just when I think I've got it,


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Friday, May 6, 2011

Oh, how nifty, look who's 50! Happy birthday, George Clooney!

Magnet#1169 - Houston Astronaut

I love this Houston magnet - totally bought it in the Houston airport, though I'm wishing that one space store had been open, cuz I think they would have had such cooler magnets. Like a NASA one that says, It's not Rocket Science (except that it is)! Eh, maybe next year.

Anyway, I'm using this magnet today because it's the closest magnet I had at the ready for George's birthday.

Ya'll know how much I love my boyfriend. But, I will readily admit: I totally fell asleep during Solaris.

I'm sorry, George. Do you hate me?

Please don't. I've watched all of your other movies and own them, too. Including Red Surf. And dude, I oughta get a medal for that one.

Anyway, happy 50th birthday!

Love and kisses,

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Thursday, May 5, 2011

A toy surprise in every meal!

Magnet #1168 - Happy Meals

Another Ann Taintor magnet I picked up - I think at Alice's Tea Cup last week.

I know, why they have Ann over there, I haven't figured out, but it was cute, and I wanted it. However, I do need to be careful or I'm likely to end up with the entire set of her magnets, including the ones with the chicks complaining about their hubs and kids.

I just loved this one, because even at my advanced age, I'm still buying Happy Meals wherever I can. Can't help it - I love the toys. Honestly. It's a magnetblog, tell me you're surprised. At all.

Once when I moved out of an office - I had a special (small) box just for all my Happy Meal toys. The thing was, I had only been in that job for like nine months, so I can't even imagine how many McDonald's trips that box equaled.

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Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Magnet #1167 - Chrysler Building

Picked up this magnet from a new Union Square magnet vendor.

I know! The horrors! As it turns out, just like my tv and film boyfriends, I'm a fickle, fickle girl when it comes to who sells me magnets. If they've got 'em, I'll buy 'em.

Ya'll know how much I love the Chrysler Building. It's one of my favorites here in town, and this is such a great shot. Figured a New York magnet was in order, since we're headed back from Houston today.

Can I just say? Nothing beats that first glimpse of the city skyline for me - whether I'm coming up on Amtrak on the Jersey side, driving up the NJ Turnpike, or on the flight path approach into JFK or LGA, I love seeing that skyline.

Yes, it's changed over the years, buildings have come and gone - but thankfully, mostly come. But, no matter what vantage point, no matter which part - it's the greatest skyline in the world.

Seriously - I grin like a crazy fool when I see it. I hope the day never comes when I don't.
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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Desserts come first

Magnet #1166 - Compagnie Francaise

Another magnet from my Union Square magnet guy - it's a turn-of-the-century advertising poster created by T.A. Steinlen for the French Chocolate and Tea Company.

It's basically his wife Emilie and daughter Colette, having their coffee and tea (from the French Chocolate and Tea Company), plus their cat, who, by his perch on their kitchen table is meant to show how much of the family.

Honestly, I'm just using it for today, because I'm staring at a Pico's leftovers box full of chocolate-y goodness, wondering if I need to get up and walk over there and knock out the rest of the contents.

It's the remnants of the Bestest. Dessert. Ever. Called a Diplomatica, it's a flan top half with a brownie bread pudding-y bottom, with pecans on top, drizzled with caramel.

It. Was. Amazing.

Like, had I known that that was waiting for me at the end of the meal, I would have just made it the meal - and then been able to eat the whole damn thing.

Clearly, I need to get back to North Carolina, because I will totally need to be rolled down the train tracks on Thursday...between today's Diplomatica, yesterday's dark chocolate chipotle cake, and the pecan pie the night before, I think I've cut a dessert swath across Houston to last me a while...

Or at least until next year's OTC, anyway!
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Monday, May 2, 2011

Unrealized potential

Magnet #1165 - James Dean, Giant

Bought this magnet from my Union Square magnet guy - it's James Dean in Giant, where he plays arguably his best role, as a bitter ranch hand who turns into a wealthy oil wildcatter. I figured it was a fitting magnet for our first day at OTC, the Offshore Technology Conference (#OTCHouston), one of the largest oil & gas industry trade shows.

James Dean was only 24 when he died, and had only three movies to his name, and yet it feels like every girl goes through a James Dean phase at some point in their lives, no?

It's partly the "every girl wants to reform the bad boy" mentality, but for me, he was just awesome. And awesomely hot.

I'm sure my parents wondered if I'd done the math and knew that he'd died back in the 50s, but I was certainly the only one my age who totally had some iteration of his boulevard of broken dreams poster on my wall. I still own his movie set, even though it's been years since I've cracked them open. If I were totally honest, I'm sure if I look hard enough, that poster's somewhere, too.

I still get mad that he died so young - I mean, he had two Oscar noms in three movies. Amazing. He was amazing. Just like River Phoenix and Heath Ledger, so much unrealized potential. Argh.

"Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die today."
- James Dean

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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Creating tomorrow in advance

Magnet #1164 - Kankin

I usually like to use a Joy magnet for my birthday, but I figure this might work as well - a friend got me this from her trip down to Cancun. Apparently, Kankin is my Mayan Zodiac sign.

I go back and forth believing in astrology and mysticism - even as I know it's a bit flighty to believe in the stars, there's just something there that can't be ignored.

Born today, May 1, I'm right smack in the middle of Taurus, so it makes sense that the sign fits me so well. Really, have you ever met anyone more stubborn?

I grew up reading my horoscope religiously, always creeped out by how true my day's events matched up to the generic blurbs. I say religiously, mostly because I once got in trouble with my high school speech & debate teacher for reading my horoscope every day, instead of the Bible.

And I believe it enough to find out when people's birthdays are, so that I can look up their signs to get a little more insight to their personalities and their traits. It totally helps figure out how best to deal with people when you're having issues (or not) with them.

For sure, I believe the whole mercury into retrograde thing - this very laptop conked out 2 hours before it went into retrograde, and she's magically worked since the day I picked her up - the day mercury went out of retrograde. (Though, don't think I'm not still angry at Best Buy, but that's a different magnet.)

But the Mayan calendar is something that I'm not at all versed in - other than everyone seems to think that the world is actually going to end in 2012, per the Mayan calendar. And, believe me, I tried looking up explanations of the calendar, but all the numbers and sets of days and year cycles pretty much made my eyes roll back into my head.

So that leaves me with this pretty cool magnet.

According to this Mayan Astrology site, I'm supposed to be made of both earth and sun - which is funny, given how much I don't really like the sun at all. It also says that I would be more comfortable in caves because it's like the womb of mother earth - my hermit-like habits notwithstanding, I totally get freaked out walking around in caves.

My totem animal are yellow dogs, because they're the symbol of loyalty and inner strength. I'd like to think that might be fitting, although I've never had much use for the color yellow. Or dogs, really, if I'm honest.

Since it didn't quite fit, I looked at Muwan, the next symbol, starting tomorrow - they're basically rain and clouds and water, with an affinity for storms (that's me), and the totem animal of owl, who has the power to see truth (that's usually not me - ever).

So yeah, a little bit of this, a little bit of that, I'd bet that's pretty much how you can read any astrological sign - standard or Mayan. Especially since there's a lot of traits that overlap between the two.

Eh, whether you believe in it or not, for me, it's still fun to look to the mysteries of the universe to unravel the mysteries of,
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