Over 45


Okay, this ad showed up in my browser, on I don't know which domain or from what ad network:

Clearly the ad worked in catching my attention, because my reaction has been "WHAT THE GD F---?"

Yeah, I have no idea what the "God Vitamin" is, but I completely and totally do not believe that "Scientists" recommend it.

And to only people over 45? What about all of us under 45?

Who writes this crap and what the hell is it supposed to be saying?

Asking the right questions


Six years ago, my mother's husband's sister died. Really, though, it's easier to just say, "An aunt of mine died."

An aunt of mine died. There. I said it that way.

She died.

One of the things that annoyed me most about her death, I mean, aside from the whole death thing itself, was the callous nature of the dissemination of her death. Look, I understand that her death was "unnatural," and I understand that sugar coating what happened doesn't change what happened, but it's still hard when a loved one passes away and people are callous about the whole thing.

(Wow, my site is all about death recently. Maybe a "Kitt, better to embrace life going forward than mourn its loss looking backward" is in order.)

12% more plot


At any given time, I have four books going. There's my non-fiction book (currently the Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan). And the fiction book I'm reading (currently The Gun Seller, by Hugh Laurie, but previously the Septimus Heap series). And the iPod book I'm listening to (currently, Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan). And finally, the books on CD that I listen to in the car.

Yeah, those.

I just finished reading Eclipse, by Stephenie Meyer, the third book in the Twilight Saga, which focuses around Bella Swan, a worthless, clumsy, awkward, ugly teenager (her own words) who has caught the eye of the perfect, gorgeous, perfect, good smelling, perfect (except for the (spoiler alert) vampire part) guy in her new school. Did I mention the perfect part? The perfect hair. The perfect teeth. The perfect skin. The perfect smile. The perfect smell. Annoyed yet? Yeah, me, too.

There are currently four books in the series, with my having read the first three. I enjoyed the first part of the first book where Bella and that perfect guy Edward (the vampire natch) actually start the falling in love process. Yeah, that part where he brushes the hair from her face, where he rests his hand on the back of her neck and leans in close for the first touch of his lips on hers, okay, yeah, when an author gets that part right, oh, I can forgive a lot of other crap in a book.

Which is pretty much what these books are. 95% crap with 5% plot. The plots of these books could be very good, if only there actually WAS a plot. Most of the books made me want to find the fast forward button, wondering how much I could skip of the "He's so perfect, I'm so worthless" crap that filled most of the book.

That was the first book. Very much the second book.

There might have been more of a plot on the third book, if only I could have gotten over the "long second" and "quick moment" and "short pause" and "infinite second" and "minute that dragged on" and other impossible time dialation phrases. Every third sentence included some time reference that just droned on and on and on. I was incredibly inspired to get Who Writes This Crap? up and going just so that I could list all of the time references in the single track (that's 4 minutes of listening pleasure) I was listening to.


The end of the third book switched perspective, from a purely Bella Swan first person perspective to a Bella Swan first person and Jacob Black first person perspective. I find the switch disengenious mid-series, and think of Meyer as a lesser author for the need. Not that I particularly thought of her as any sort of good author to begin with.

Kris has listened to the fourth book, though mostly out of desperation for listening material rather than any sincere desire to complete the books. After this third book, I couldn't believe I had tortured him so much. He said that, since I've read the first three, I might as well read the fourth book. It does, he said, have 12% more plot than the previous book.

Great. 6% plot and only 94% crap. Such an improvement.

Crap redux


Yesterday's garage sale was harder on me emotionally than I expected it to be. I managed to deflect much of the impact by playing with Mirabelle, but the fundamental issue was still there. Non-eloquently speaking, the garage sale was about selling off an old woman's lifetime of cruft. She had children and grandchildren who could manage to do the actual work, which is good. I can't imagine the emotional weight of disposing a lifetime's worth of memories in a weekend.

Which is not to say that's what really happened, but in some way it was. Beth's grandmother was the original owner of the house, it having been built by Beth's grandfather. Every detail of the house was an imprint from their actions, each nook and cranny and built-in. So was all of the stuff we piled on tables, or hauled out of boxes, or rummaged through in the garage. It was years and years, decades rather, of stuff accumulated into a big pile, to be disposed by strangers, bought by strangers, taken away by strangers.

I came home and looked at all of my stuff. I've been following the William Morris quote with my crap: "Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Much has memories attached to it.

I tried to clean out some of the stuff, but wasn't completely successful. I'm more motivated now, after the garage sale. I'd rather be the one to throw out, give away, sell or otherwise divest myself of my stuff, than to know 30, 50, 80 years from now some stranger is going to do it, some stranger is going to look at my possessions and think, what crap.

P.S. Andy's home. Arrived today.

Grandma's stuff


Beth hosted today's multi-family garage/estate sale at her grandmother's house today. Martha, Chookie, Brynne, Megan, Mark, Steffi and I all contributed stuff (gah, I so want to write "crap") to the furniture, knick-knacks, memories and crap piles of Beth's grandmother. I arrived at 8:30 in the morning to find Beth coordinating the sale with a half dozen early buyers rushing in to get the best selection on the garage sale deals. Little did they know that all the good stuff was buried in the bottom of the boxes scattered around the house, garage and driveway, to be pulled out at various times during the day to refill the stashes. We're sneaky like that.

Steffi had by far the best crap. She managed to sell 80% of her stuff by noon, including still-fashionable clothes and many useful household times. Martha had the best sell today with the sale of a bridesmaid dress with matching shoes. Mark and Megan freed themselves from various pieces of garage-sale-bought furniture, some of the items selling for as much as they bought them for. Brynne and her mother brought stuff over for the sale, but didn't stay to watch the items disappear.

When I arrived in the morning, there was a woman who had started piling items to buy. For the next hour, she would walk to the back of driveway, pick through a pile or two, walk back to her pile near the front, and repeat the process, her pile growing by the minute. After buying all of her piled stuff, she left, only to return a half hour later to begin the piling process again. She wouldn't move more than about 10 feet without finding something else to buy.

One woman I tried to help in the morning had just bought a partial set of dishes. They were cute dishes, 4 plates, 4 saucers and a couple cups, but nothing spectacular. I brought her newsprint to wrap her new dishes in, handing her a sheet before pulling another out of the pile and reaching for a plate to wrap.

You would have thought I was stealing the woman's child. She grabbed the dishes and made to slap my hand away, as she snatched the paper from my hand to wrap the dishes herself. Uh, okay, I thought, backing away slowly. I hadn't realized you were so attached to your new $5 set of dishes. Uh, enjoy!

Other people were also of note in an odd sort of way: the guy who sat staring at a box of 100 manilla folders, debating if they were were worth the 50¢ asking price; the old lady who sat in the back corner for hours looking through four giant sewing boxes for that one particular button; the man with his eight year old son buying a pile of items hand selected by the child; the young girl letting me know the items on the table marked "GOOD OLD STUFF: MAKE OFFER" were not for sale; the guy who refused to buy the trash can I had for sale because I said it was $3 instead of $1 (because $3 was sure to break the bank, you know).

I did find a number of interesting maps that might make fun buttons. I'll try them out and see.

Part of the excitement of the day was the indoor cat which had escaped the confines of its house, only to spend the next six hours stuck between the exhaust manifold and the engine compartment firewall. Neither car owner, nor the cat owner, nor animal control could extract the cat from the hole he had wedged itself into. After hearing the cat howl for hours, Mark went to save the day, pushing the cat forward through the engine compartment instead of pulling it backwards from its wedged spot.

Shame no one told him to CATCH the cat once it was released. Cheers went up after Mark extracted the cat, and disappointment followed when the cat ran off. Again.

I spent much of the day with Mirabelle. We opened and closed doors. We opened and closed water sprinklers. We opened and closed more doors. We went up stairs, and down stairs. We went inside and outside. Mirabelle went up and down, depending on her placement relative to my head. We had a good time.

In the end, I made about $5. Mark and Megan made a couple hundred dollars. Beth maybe three times that. More importantly, all of us have less crap than we did before.

And that's a good thing.