Archive for December, 2006



What I Did On My Christmas Vacation

Truth be told, I mostly worked. I was on duty from 3-11 p.m. on Christmas Eve and worked 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Christmas Day, so I ended up spending the night at the hotel. Highlights from the rest of the holiday include:

Participating in a Cheer Off My 12-year-old cousin Mayme, who’s 5’6″ and 100 pounds, challenged me to a cheer off. It was kind of like Bring It On, except with way less athleticism. At the end of the second round, I concluded my presentation with a cartwheel that ended in a front split. It was awesome. Then Mayme did something that reminded me of krumping, and she was declared the winner. I pouted to my aunt, the judge, “How could she possibly have won? Her cartwheel was crooked, and her overall cheering was substandard.” Sandy replied, “She’s 12; you’re 32. Of course we’re going to let her win.” To which I replied, “That’s my point! I’m a 32-year-old woman who’s 4’11″ and weighs 160 pounds. And I did a perfect cartwheel and the splits. And she won by virtue of her age? I don’t think you’re looking at this the right way.”

An Evening With the Pontani Sisters At about 1:00 a.m. everyone had gone to bed except for me and Nathan, the husband of my cousin Kim. Just to be clear, Nathan’s a bit of an odd one. At one point he announced that he had developed a Q-Tip addiction, so he was going to sue the company like people who sue McDonald’s because they get fat from all of the fast food they eat. Nathan decided we should watch his CD/DVD of The World Famous Pontani Sisters’ dance instructions to Los Straitjackets’ Twist Party. When that was over, we watched the same thing again with the volume muted on the DVD while listening to the Lady Sovereign CD. About ten minutes into our second viewing I asked, “Is this supposed to be like watching The Wizard of Oz while listening to The Dark Side of the Moon?” He said it was, but it really didn’t work out quite like he’d hoped. Not long after Kim got up for a glass of water and I told her what Nathan was doing. “Oh, yeah,” she yawned. “He did that with a Barney DVD once.”

Roswell Revisited Nathan got a remote-controlled UFO for Christmas. Every time he would fly it near me, I’d yell, “Roswell! Roswell!” This is only funny to me because I think The X-Files‘ “Jose Chung’s From Outer Space” is the second-best episode ever.

In other news, the following things have happened to me in the past three days:

  • I got sick yesterday and puked my guts up right before I left for work. Then I puked at work. Fun, fun, fun!
  • I heard about a job opening for a GM at a hotel in my hometown, which I promptly applied for. My current GM got wind of it and offered me a raise and a new job. It’s almost like I pulled a power play!
  • Today I fell down the stairs in my apartment. I was going downstairs to get some clean towels, and I totally missed the top step. I slid down more than half the steps before I jerked myself to a stop on the handrail. I think I might have sprained something — possibly everything — in the process. Also, the carpet burn on my left ass cheek hurts just as much as you imagine it does. It looks so easy when people fall down stairs on TV. I need a stunt double just to get fresh bath linens.
  • And last but not least, last night I dreamed that Annika and I got into a huge argument wherein I insisted that gazpacho was not soup, as soup is never intentionally cold.


Kyli’s Christmas Kids

Look at the little one! He’s so ready to tussle!


Hello, World! There’s a Dream I Keep Dreamin’…

11:11 pm · category: Embracing My Inner Geek

… Come on, get creeped out!

Twice in recent memory I’ve had very vivid dreams in which Danny Bonaduce has played prominent roles. One of them even involved a bus and a band. (Granted, it was a short school bus and my high school jazz band…)

Does this mean that Danny Bonaduce is my spirit guide? And if so, does this mean he’s leading me to hell?



Who Shot Kennedy? Nobody. Dammit!

9:29 pm · category: Embracing My Inner Geek

I introduced my aunt Sandy to the Buffyverse. She, in turn, turned her two daughters on to the two series. When Sandy’s older daughter Kim began watching the DVDs in earnest, her young children fell in love with Buffy and Angel. (If this were a pyramid scheme, I’d be a thousandaire by now!)

Kim’s kids love Buffy. Antigone has been known to pack a bag of “weapons” before she goes outside to play. Simon once made a valentine for Cordelia, whom he consistently referred to as his girlfriend. Sandy has a paperweight that bears a remarkable resemblance to the Orb of Thessulah, and Tig had dibs on it.

Over the last year or so Kim and the kids have watched Buffy and Angel chronologically, usually viewing an episode a day while Kim walks on the treadmill. Sandy and I exchanged the following emails as the trio viewed the end of Buffy‘s seventh season:

Sandy: So Kim was watching the episode where Xander gets his eye poked out, and Simon ran from the room screaming. He loves that Xander. Kim had to calm Simon down and tell him Xander would be okay before she could coax him back to watch the rest.

Me: Poor Simon! How do you think he’ll react in the last episode when Spike flames up and crumbles into dust?

Sandy: I know! And what about Anya? And Amanda? WHAT ABOUT AMANDA?

Me: Right! And Chao Ann! And Kennedy!

Oh, wait. Kennedy didn’t die. DAMMIT!

Sandy: Kennedy is dead to me.



The Body

The last time I saw Jordan, we had the following conversation while sitting on the couch watching Total Recall:

Me: If I’m ever on a trip and my plane or car or boat disappears, don’t let them declare me dead unless they find a body. Because I might still be alive.
Jordan: Okay.
Me: I’m serious. If they don’t find a body, I’m not dead.
Jordan: All right. I can handle that.

Which is why I made him the beneficiary on my life insurance policy.

Just think! I could support the band from beyond the grave!



Oh, Christmas Tree

10:15 pm · category: A Couple of Pussies

I’m singing it in a very melancholy way. It’s practically a dirge.

I bought my Christmas tree and trimmings eight years ago, and that was the one and only time I put it up. After that, I always had a roommate so we used her trimmings on a real tree. My stuff was in storage –

– until last Saturday, when I drove 40 miles to get them out. I put the tree up late that night. Even though it took almost five hours, I was thrilled because it was so lovely when it was done. I went to sleep a happy woman.

I woke up a very cranky woman, because I found the tree lying on its side and the decorations strewn from one end of the house to the other. I should have realized something was up because there was a toy soldier in my bed. I yelled at the cats, although they seemed (typically) aloof.

So when I got off work Sunday night, I put the tree up again. This time I put it on top of two boxes, so it was about four feet off the ground. It looked even better the second time. I stayed up late just so I could enjoy it. The cats weren’t at all interested in the tree, preferring to instead groom each other. (That’s so cute!) I went to sleep an even happier woman.

I woke up devastated. The tree was again lying on its side, but this time it had been knocked four feet to the floor. The decorations were everywhere, and all but a couple of balls were shattered and ground into the carpet. The cats couldn’t even pull off plausible deniability because they were too busy swatting the few balls that weren’t destroyed.

It’s going to take me hours to clean this mess up and pack everything away. I’m so upset about the destruction and the fact that I can’t have a Christmas tree that I actually cried on the way to work today. I’m not big with the kitten love right now.



Nee Roberts

2:02 am · category: Embracing My Inner Geek

I have concluded that the only circumstance under which I would not take my husband’s last name is if it’s Grady. Because then my name would be Bradi Grady, and that’s just stupid.

However, if I marry a man whose last name is Brady, I’m totally taking his name. Then I would be Bradi Brady, and that’s just hilarious.

And if I were to marry a man whose last name is Roberts, I’m utilizing the hyphen. Then I’ll be Bradi Roberts-Roberts, which is awesome.

On a related note, please learn how to use the hyphen correctly. It’s not the same thing as a dash, people!



The Guy From All Three

12:44 am · category: Aunt Doodie, Embracing My Inner Geek

My aunt and I were watching NCIS a few weeks ago. A guy appeared on screen. (That happens on television more often than you’d think.) She pointed at the TV and said, “Hey! Is that–”

I interrupted, “The guy from all three? Nope. Wasn’t him. Kind of looked like him though.”

Which, when you think about it, is rather disturbing.

(This is the “guy from all three.”)



This Is How It Started

I was teaching school (the day job) and coaching the quiz bowl team (the fun, non-paying job). It was my second year coaching the BKHS team, and we were coming off a banner year. My team had flipped from three male starters with one lone female to its mirror image, thanks to pesky things like graduation.

That second year, we won more than one game because we had three devastatingly attractive young women as starters who looked like they had just stepped out of a Seventeen spread. (Do they even print Seventeen anymore? Hmm. I had subscriptions to YM and Sassy, myself.) It was enough to stop most (predominantly male, as is the norm) quiz bowl teams in their tracks. And that, of course, allowed our team to lay the smack down and take an early lead while dazzling the opposition with our deadly beauty and brains combo. (I’m trying so hard right now not to use the phrase “girl power,” because I suspect the young women to whom I’m referring would probably find it unseemly and inappropriate.)

We faced the Benton High School team several times at invitational tournaments early on in that competitive cycle, and they whipped us every time. Now, this was a team that was physically our opposite: three boys and one girl. I once saw this team throw a bonus round in which it was called upon to identify four members of the Backstreet Boys on “the principle of the thing” (Read: quiz bowl cred. And yes, there is such a thing. Shut up.) despite the fact that the team actually had all the information needed to take a significant lead going into the third quarter of a close game.

The Benton team was something of a thorn in our side. They were good. They were solid. They had been playing since elementary. And they were from a much larger school with a much larger intellectual pool from which to draw. My team captain and her second-in-command, meanwhile, had been recruited at the beginning of their senior year. And to complicate matters, my literature guru and the Benton captain had started making eyes at each other.

Things got tense. I don’t care how many episodes of Friday Night Lights you see, you will never witness competition among high school students so highly charged as among quiz bowlers. We’re talking challenge upon challenge upon challenge, and all of it is copyrighted, documented, and known beyond a shadow of a doubt by someone who’s still a minor. But academic competition is both cut-throat and commiserative. Teams fight to the death in a match, and then they meet up in the echoing hallways of schools that should be barren on Saturday afternoons so they can clue one another in on helpful hints for the next match, like the Heloise’s of academia.

At any rate, my lit gal started long-distance dating the star player of the Benton team. One day her frustration at our lack of measurable improvement and her desire to be 80 miles away with her boyfriend was palpable. I don’t remember exactly what happened. We probably forgot who invented Coke (Pemberton) or what number potassium is on the periodic table (19) or who wrote Silent Spring (Rachel Carson) for the millionth time. It ended in a mini kersplosion. “God,” she muttered. “I wish I was on the Benton team.”

Our captain was dumbfounded. She was straight-laced, focused, and didn’t find much of anything funny. But her academic indignance and acumen emerged and she spat, “You’d never make it on the Benton team! You’d just be an innocent bystander!”

I don’t know why, but it was the funniest thing I’d ever heard. A few years later, “Innocent Bystander” was the name I chose for this (mostly crappy) blog.


See, this is why I don’t write stories or tell jokes. I can do a great set up, but the ending/punchline always sucks. Stupid inverted pyramid.

Edited to add that this post refers to the old blog called Innocent Bystander.



Word to the Wise

7:02 pm · category: Embracing My Inner Geek

Do not challenge me to a game of Trivial Pursuit:90s Edition. I will kick your board game-playing ass six ways from Sunday.