Lolly Spot

Musings about politics, movies, music, art and all the other important things in life.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Pottery for Christmas

Yes, I haven't written in a while. Blame it on football, or blame it on pottery. Either way, I've decided to post some pottery pictures, just in time for Christmas. If you see something you like, let me know.

The prices are suggested. If you like something and think the price is too high, make me an offer. While I like being able to pay for my pottery habit through a few sales, I'm really just happy that the pots are going to a happy home where they are loved.

4 1/2" high mug - $10
4" mug - $10
French butter dish (1st view) - $20
French butter dish (2nd view)

8" bowl - $20
4" rice bowl - $15

10" bowl (4" deep) - $35

9" bowl (2" deep) - $30

Vases ( 4" & 6" high) - $30 (both)

6" tray - $15
More to come.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Mad for "Mad Men"

If you're one of those people who think "Mad Men" is boring, you will find this post boring too. I adore "Mad Men." I started watching it during it's first season and was immediately hooked. I just happened upon the second episode accidentally, and wondered, "What's this?" It took me a little while to figure out its regular broadcast day and time, so I missed a few episodes that first season. But with a little help from Netflix, I managed to see every episode in one long marathon session. (My younger sister later gave me the complete first season as a lovely boxed set for my birthday. I can't say she's my favorite sister, but that certainly didn't hurt her standing. Thanks, Amy!)

"Mad Men" is now in its fourth season, and we've almost reached the final episode. Quel dommage! The fifth season won't come around until next summer, so I'll have to get by re-watching the first three seasons. Yes, I have all of the available DVDs now, and if I play my cards right, some loving friend or family member will give me the fourth season as a birthday gift or Christmas present. (Is a blog post too big of a hint?)

As good as the previous seasons have been, I think this year is the best. That's a pretty high bar, since the first three seasons have won three back-to-back Emmys for best TV drama. But several episodes this year have just made my jaw drop - not from shock or sheer audacity, but purely due to fantastic writing and acting. I have to single out the seventh episode this year, "The Suitcase," in particular. Jon Hamm as Don Draper is a great actor, and as a heterosexual woman, he's also very easy on the eyes. But he was truly amazing in that episode, as was Elisabeth Moss, his co-star who plays Peggy Olson. The raw emotion was heartbreaking. To top it all off, most of the episode took place in Don Draper's office, with just the interplay between Hamm and Moss. There were no car chases, bomb explosions or gun fights, but this episode was anything but boring.

If you love great characters and incredible writing, you owe it to yourself to watch this show from beginning to end. Just make sure you rent it from Netflix, because I'm not loaning you my DVDs. Well, maybe not.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Time Travel and Other Scary Stuff

I've been a fan of science fiction and fantasy since I was a kid, largely because my older brother was such a huge fan of the genre (or genres, depending on how much of a sci-fi purist you are). Time travel was always a favorite theme and I loved getting lost in plots that involved a paradox, or two or three. Now that I'm a little older and time passes much more quickly than it did when I was 15, I am dealing with a different kind of time travel: the time travel that involves disappearing time.

Today is a very good case in point, or as Rod Serling would say, "Submitted for your approval." I usually have a To Do list for most of my day's work, a list I rarely complete. This morning, I had a couple of conference calls and a meeting; this afternoon was pretty open. So I figured I would get through several items on my ever-growing list and maybe make it shrink for a change. Hah! I did complete several projects, but somehow during the day, I managed to lose three hours of time. I felt like I was getting a lot accomplished, but I looked at the clock on my computer at about mid-afternoon (or so I thought) and it was actually 4:57.

It may sound like it isn't much of a big deal. We've all had those really busy days when you are running from one thing to the next and barely have time to eat a bite for lunch. But this was scary. My time gauge went completely out of whack.

See, I spent so much of the first part of my working career being acutely aware of time. Television news producers live and die by time. You are always aware of impending deadlines - the next next big story, the next newscast, whatever. You're always balancing chunks of time to fit your 30 or 60-minute news "hole." Here's a minute and a half for a story on a kidnapping, here's 30 seconds for a car chase (more if there's good video!), here's two minutes for the weather report and 20 seconds for the heartwarming tale of a duck being rescued from a storm drain. You always know how much time has passed and how much time is left. It's an occupational hazard that didn't go away when I left television news.

Until today. Blame it on too much to do in too little time or getting wrapped up in my work. I guess my biggest fear is that it really is a sign of old age. Ouch! That means it can only get worse from here on out.

Monday, September 20, 2010

I Love Technology

I've been working in the information technology industry for nearly a dozen years and I love almost every aspect of it, especially the toys. I'm not one of those people who can't live without technology, in fact, I relish the feeling of unwinding and unplugging on the weekends or on vacation. But when it comes to getting my job done, or even staying connected with friends and family, I just adore the tech toys.

So today, my bosses gave everyone at work the latest (and for many, the greatest) tech toy: a 62GB iPad. I've only had a chance to play with it for a few hours and I already love it. Not only can I read and write e-mail, browse the Internet and play games, I can watch movies from my Netflix account, read e-books (not that I will EVER give up my "real" books) and even write blog entries. Yup, I'm writing this on my new toy.

The on-screen type pad is a bit frustrating -- just like the one on the iPhone, so I've ordered a bluetooth keypad to go along with it. I am sure I'll find other issues with it. But right now, I like it so much, I think I may leave my laptop at home when I travel from now on, unless it's absolutely necessary. Have I mentioned how I love this new toy?

If you have one and would like to share tips and tricks, I'd love to hear them. I'll keep you posted on whether I still love my new toy in a few weeks or months. Right now, it's like Christmas morning -- for the big kids.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Voting Rights

On this day 90 years ago, women won the right to vote in the U.S., when the 19th amendment became the law of the land. Since I know a lot of uppity women, it's hard for me to believe that our female ancestors put up with the nonsense as long as they did, but obviously they were much more patient than I am. It's also easy for me to wonder about their attitudes since I'm sitting pretty on this side of history.

I'm not the only one. Many, many women take the right to vote for granted. It may be lack of interest, but I hope you know the history of women's suffrage in this country.
Drawing depicts a hunger strike; from The Suffragette, 1909

Not only did it take eons before women won the legal right to vote in every state, many women were arrested when they marched, demonstrated or staged non-violent protests in favor of a woman's right to vote. While in jail, some women resorted to hunger strikes to protest their arrests, only to find they were often force-fed, a fairly horrific practice in the early 20th century. There weren't I-Vs then, so the practice involved running tubes up a woman's nose and pumping food into her stomach. Some women died as a result.

Given what these women endured just to earn the right to vote, we should pay them the respect of exercising that right. Do you know a woman who isn't registered to vote? You can do it online now. It's quick and it's easy, so you don't have an excuse. The second step is to study up on the candidates. Before most elections, local newspapers will print election guides telling you where candidates stand on a variety of issues. Finally, find out when election day is and VOTE! It doesn't take very long most of the time, and nowadays you may be able to vote early and avoid lines or send in a mail-in ballot and avoid lines altogether.

Happy Equality Day!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Funniest. Show. Ever?

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
The Parent Company Trap
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

I'm a huge fan of the Daily Show and already think our democracy may rest solely on the genius and talent that is Jon Stewart. Now comes this opening bit from Monday's show that is one part humor, one part analysis and one part sheer insanity.

If you ever encounter anyone who tries to argue any redeeming value in the idiocy that is Fox*, please point them to this. I especially like the logic in the idea that they must be evil or stupid at Fox. If you can honestly argue for a third alternative, I would welcome hearing it. Sincerely.

*I cannot in good conscience refer to Fox as "news" since I was an actual journalist for 10 years. What they do can only be classified as "entertainment programming." (Not that I find anything they do entertaining.)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Eye on the Ball

For someone who loves to discuss politics, these days I'm finding I'd much rather talk about football. Not that there's anything wrong with that! After all, the Utah Utes are going to have a fantastic season.

But instead of talking about the work that still needs to be done to drag our country out of a recession, or what we need to do to work toward renewable, sustainable energy sources to keep our laptops powered or the number of wars that are being fought around the world and all the people who are being displaced by them, we are talking about the culture wars.... again! The freaks have co-opted that national microphone and have found something else to use as a bludgeon to try and stop inevitable change.

So I'd rather talk about football or pottery or even my niece's first birthday, which is coming up in two weeks. (She's very cute, by the way. Here's some evidence, if you really need it.)

It's really easy to understand why people don't want to talk about politics when everyone on t.v. seems to be shouting, angry or simply deranged. It would be nice to bring civility back to civil discourse.

In the meantime, I think I'm going to focus my energy on helping other people instead of fretting about the decline of the western world. Our church is planning a big service day on Sunday, September 26th. Instead of "going" to church, we will "be" the church by helping other people that day: serving food at the soup kitchen, doing yard work, making sandwiches, collecting food. It's a program called "Faith in Action." Maybe it will help me focus on what I can do to make the world a better place.