Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I'm not dead yet

Just realized that I haven't posted here forever.

Haven't posted on the main borgwoman blog much either.

I have another blog, but it let's just say sometimes it isn't for nice people.

I have just seen the movie Premonition, and I will probably put a review of it in the borgwoman blog soon.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

British Airways Ride the Rocket Contest

This was back in 1998, but I didn't have a blog back then, so I'll write about it now.

I was in a Star Trek club, and I went to visit some friends in another Star Trek club. And while I was there, someone mentioned that British Airways was having a costume contest. I had won a few things with the borg costume, so I thought, why not?

So I looked on their website and found out the where and when and all of that. From what I read it looked like they would allow a maximum of 500 entries, but they would be giving away 50 pairs of round trip tickets to London. So, that would mean if I got to the place on time, I'd have a 1 in 10 chance of at least winning a pair of plane tickets. The chance of winning the all expense paid trip was slim, but at least I had a good chance of winning plane tickets.

And then I got to thinking, that if I could come up with a costume for my husband, that would increase our chances of winning to 1 in 5. I thought my husband does a good fake British accent, British Airways contest, and the costume theme was space traveler....

How about Dr. Who?

But, my husband wasn't interested. We didn't have the scarf back then, but I thought trying to win plane tickets to London was a good excuse to get one. But he didn't want to do that. The contest was in September, in Dallas, and he just couldn't be bothered to put on warm clothes, even for that.

Okay. But he's sure that we're going to win with just my costume. Me, I'm not so sure. The contest is like two days after a local sci-fi convention, and I thought I might have a lot of competition from that. Maybe some locals, and maybe even some non-locals who might stay in town a couple of extra days to be in the contest. Still, if I can just get to the place before 500 other people show up, I've got a 1 in 10 chance of winning. Good enough.

So, we wait for it to be that week of September. And I went to the sci-fi convention. I think it most have been a Stellar Occasions, but maybe not. Maybe it was Uncommon Con. I'm not sure, and it's been a while. Anyway, I went to the convention and had a bit of fun. There was a guy in that costume contest who went as the Death Star.

Now that is an interesting costume. He's all dressed in black, and he has this big Death Star on his head. Little Micro-Machine spaceships are sewn onto the costume, mostly on his hands and arms. The Rebel fighters are on one hand, and the Empire ships are on the other hand, so that he can simulate a space battle by waving his hands in front of his face.

So the day after the convention, when I should be looking over my own costume and making last minute adjustments, my husband has the brilliant idea that if he also enters the contest that we will improve our odds of winning. 1 to 5 is better than 1 to 10, don't you think? Well, that's great, except that the contest is the next day and you don't have a costume. Never mind, we'll go to some costume shops and look around.

So we go to a costume shop, but nothing speaks to him. So we get back in the car and I ask him where he wants to go next.

Now he's decided that he wants to be Arthur Dent from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.That's another character that he could use his fake British accent on. Only this particular character doesn't wear a coat and a scarf, he wears pajamas and a bathrobe and slippers.

My husband sleeps in the nude, and owns none of these items. Still, they are easy enough to find, and we were able to get most of his costume at a Goodwill. To finish the look we also bought a matching towel, a newspaper, and a fish-shaped eraser (a babelfish).

So I get up early on that Tuesday, the day of the Ride the Rocket contest. We have to go to Dallas and get a parking space and all of that. We get there about twenty minutes later than I had planned, only to hear--"Why are you here this early? The contest doesn't start four three more hours." So we explained that we were just trying to make sure we were in the first 500. "Not to worry, we've had this contest before, and we've never had more than 300."

Great. Now our chances will be more like 1 in 3.

We went to look around at the British Airways stuff. My husband and I used to watch reruns of old British comedies and we like a lot of British things. So after the co-pilot and flight attendant got through saying all the stuff that they were supposed to say, we all stood around and talked about British TV and stuff like that. They complimented my costume and asked my husband who he was supposed to be. My husband said Arthur Dent from Hitchhiker's Guide, and they of course got it immediately, and he joked around a bit about the end of the world coming and all of that in his fake British accent, and they thought he was very funny. Unfortunately, they were there to tell people about British Airways and were not the judges.

The co-pilot proceeded to tell us a funny story. The British people of course speak English, but there are a few words that they use commonly that we don't, and there are a few words that we use commonly that they don't, and there are a few words that we both use but mean totally different things depending on what side of the ocean you happen to be on. So about twenty-five years ago, on the co-pilot's second trip to America, he's writing something and decides he needs an eraser. So he goes into a store that looks like it sells stationary and such, but he doesn't see what he needs right away, so he asks the girl at the cash register for some rubbers. That is what they call erasers. But of course, the girl at the cash register doesn't know this and assumes that the man is asking her for some condoms, which they don't sell at that store. And since it wasn't a drug store or someplace where a person would normally buy condoms, the girl was a bit uncomfortable talking to a man who'd just asked her for rubbers. So she told him that they did not sell that sort of thing and tried to help the next costumer. And the co-pilot has no idea why he's being dismissed like that, and tries again to find the erasers on his own, but he doesn't see them, so he asked again for the rubbers. Now the girl is getting upset, tells the co-pilot that they don't sell that sort of thing here, and if he doesn't leave she's going to get the manager. And he says she'd better go and get the manager cause he's not going to be treated this way anymore. And the manager comes and hears the story and tells the co-pilot that they don't sell rubbers at that store and if he didn't stop harassing the employees the police would be called. And the co-pilot got very angry and started yelling that if one could not buy rubbers at a store that sold stationary then where was a person supposed to buy them. At some point the pencil with the worn at eraser came into the conversion, and the manager figured out what the co-pilot wanted, and they all had a good laugh about it.

So that was all a lot of fun. But we still had about two and a half hours to kill. We wondered around a bit, but didn't find much to do. There were a lot of restaurants around, so I think that we went in somewhere and got a soda, but that was about it.

Well, it was September, in Texas, and it did start to warm up. Now, while the borg costume does somewhat give the appearance of me running about in my underwear, I am in fact, totally covered. I am so completely covered that the only bare skin showing is in fact my face. And in some places, the costume has three layers of fabric, and that is before the plastic and metal parts are put on. So I did start to worry about getting too warm. The nice flight attendant and co-pilot said I should stay inside with them for a while.

I believe there ended up being just over two hundred and fifty people in costume. But it was better to get there three hours early for no reason, than to get there too late or be told that they weren't going to see any more people.

There were some interesting costumes that I would not have thought of. We were instructed to come as a favorite space traveler, and my mind automatically went to aliens and science fiction. Other people had different ideas. A few guys came as astronauts, cosmonauts, and test pilots. A father and son team came wrapped in aluminum foil and had paper plates and other things taped to their clothes. The dad was Sput and his son was Nick. They were Sputnik. I thought it was cute.

Some people came as dumb things that they made up. A couple of ladies spray painted a lot of things silver and gold, and they said that they were from Planet Mom. Okay, but their costumes weren't much better than the Sputnik team, and the idea wasn't as cute. And they didn't have a story about Planet Mom. You can be from Planet Mom, but you should have a back story in case someone asks, and you should have a few jokes ready. But they didn't. They just kept saying they were from Planet Mom and thought that was funny. It wasn't.

The really cool costume that I would not have thought of was Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors. This lady had sewn most of a costume that looked like the plant, and then she had cut out the bottom of one of those green 20 gallon tubs that you put ice and sodas in. So she looked like she was walking around in a giant flower pot. I so wish I had a picture of that one.

There was something I don't know how to describe. He was on very tall stilts. Sort of a giant robot mouse.

Someone from the club showed up as Seven of Nine. Now, the girl had Seven's waist, but she needed some fake boobs or something. And of course the girl smiles too much to look like Seven, even if you knew who she was supposed to be in the grey spandex.

Someone else from the club went as a Vulcan, complete with very well done latex ears.

Another club person came as Marvin the Martian. That woman I know has much better costumes, but they involve to much prep time, and she had to go back to work after lunch.

There were a lot of people wearing whatever they planned to wear for Halloween. Other people made up stuff that didn't look too bad. But I was surprised how many just regular people there were compared to club and convention people.

But there were a few convention people. A couple of the local Klingons showed up. The DeathStar guy was there. Some really good looking Star Wars people showed up. I think that they might have been from Squadron 501, or whatever it's called.

So we finally get started with the contest, and we get numbers and line up. Now, we were practically the first ones there, but it was almost three hours before we were able to do anything like sign in. So we got numbers thirty or forty something. So we were in line for a while, but not too long.

The judges were from some local country and western radio station, and they did not have a clue.

They were nice. If you had something to say, they tried to play along. If you didn't have anything to say, they tried to help. But for the most part, they didn't seem to know who anyone was supposed to be, unless it was just really obvious. Marvin they got, which was good because two of them showed up. I think Sputnik had to be explained to them. I'm not sure that they got what I was supposed to be or not, but they did seem to like me and went along. My husband, they did not get, which was too bad because his little act was very good.

We waved at some TV cameras. We were on the news. Cool. Wish someone had thought to tape it.

It took a while to get through all two hundred fifty something people. We went to talk to some of the club and convention people while we waited.

Then they started calling out names of the winners. We were not too surprised to hear my name called, but we were very happy. The Klingon won, the DeathStar won, both Marvins won, the Little Shop of Horrors plant won, and the guy on stilts won. And I guess someone explained Sputnik to them, cause they also won. I think that astronaut and test pilot guys won.

We were surprised by a few that did not win. Seven of Nine did not win. The Vulcan did not win. I guess maybe they were too subtle. But the real surprise was that the Star Wars people did not win anything. Someone said that the judges didn't like them for buying or renting professional costumes, and may even have been disqualified. But I am pretty sure that at least one of those costumes was made by someone in the 501, so that really sucks.

But the real surprise came when my husband's name was called. We were sure that the judges didn't have a clue. How did he win?Turns out that the British Airways people had a talk with them. So he got unofficial votes from the flight attendant and co-pilot. So the judges said, okay, and gave him a pair of tickets.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

New Year's Eve Party

It started out slow, but then, doesn't it always? Four of us watched Galaxy Quest while we waited for the others to show up. The cat found us dull and fell asleep.

Other people came in, most bringing food, and one guy brought fireworks. The cat woke up and I gave him a few pieces of ham. Unfortunately "Mom" did not make an appearance, so I hope she is alright.

The cat decided we were not that interesting, even if we did have ham. He left the house early, without maiming anyone. That usually doesn't happen.

The next movie shown was Bubba Hotep, which I didn't really care for the first time around, so I went in the other room. The other room has a seven foot Christmas tree covered with little spaceships. Somehow a number of odd conversations started in this room.

At some point we were trying to explain Furries to a certain redhead. Really, you would think by now a certain redhead would know everything, but apparently not. She was also totally baffled by the concept of Japanese animated porn. Three guys in unison said the word "hentai", but then insisted that they weren't the only ones who knew what it was. So then the game was that whenever a new person came into the room, we would just say the word and see if the new person new what it meant. The first girl just burst out laughing. Her husband came in, one of us said the word, and he just sort of shrugged and said he'd need a little more to go on to be helpful in the conversation. The fireworks guy was the last to come in, the redhead said "hentai", and he asked her how many hours she required.

Somehow the word "queef" was added to our vocabulary as well (by another redhead).

Someone had given the redhead (the first one) a cake loaded with alcohol, so she decided to bring it to us. A bit after that someone was tossing around some magnetic spheres, and we all decided to see how many silly things we could say about balls.

Isn't that much more fun than watching Bubba Hotep?

Later, I learned that there are songs about STDs. Not songs about doing anything fun that might lead to having STDs, but just songs about having STDs. One of them was sung to the tune of the Beatles' "Yesterday," by the husband of the second redhead.

Then we headed outside for the countdown and the fireworks. Fireworks are illegal, and I don't see the big deal about them anyway. I don't know why everyone wants to see them so bad that they'd risk getting fined two thousand dollars. But whatever. I don't even touch the sparklers. Test me for gunpowder if you like. I was not involved.

Then it was back inside for more ridicules conversations.

There is usually a couple at the party who try to get everyone to dance. But I heard that they recently split, and while they are both good friends with our hostess, neither one of them came to the party. So, there was no dancing (unless it was in the living room during Bubba Hotep and I did not see it). Still, even without the dancing, I managed to not get home until three in the morning.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

The gay guy at Galaxy Fair 94

I'm sure that gay guy had a real name, but I don't remember what it was, and he might not want it in some strange woman's blog anyway, so let's move on.

So I was setting up stuff in the art room, and gay guy walked by wearing mostly black leather and a dog collar. He was being led around on a leash by a blond girl who later turned out to be his sister. And he told me right away that he was gay. I wondered at first if had been overly friendly, but apparently that is just what he does. Right away he's like "Hi, I'm gay." So that way he doesn't waste time trying to be friends with you if you can't deal with it. Pretty soon after that, religion came into the conversation. I'm a Christian, and maybe I should say that right away so I don't waste time trying to be friends with you if you can't deal with it. Anyway, we went on to talk about the art and whether or not he liked this or that costume and the usual stuff that you talk about at conventions.

So that was nice. Catch you later.

So later, I am in the costume contest with the borg costume, and I do just this tiny bit of the When Harry Met Sally restaurant scene as part of the show. And it was a lot of fun, and I tied with a friend for Best Trek.

So after the contest, I run into to this gay guy again. And he is like, you were all talking about being a Christian, and then you get on stage and have an orgasm.

And I'm like, I didn't know Christians weren't supposed to have orgasms.

Friday, December 22, 2006

A mostly uneventful couple of days

Well, my husband's schedule came in the mail a couple of weeks ago, and I was momentarily excited. He was supposed to work in someplace called Brownwood. Now, there are several places with similar names in Texas, and I had this one mixed up with someplace else entirely.

Brownsville is in the very southern tip of Texas, about an hour or so from South Padre Island. Now that would have been an excellent place to go right before he has all this time off. Work a couple of days in Brownsville and then drive to South Padre and spend a few days on the beach.

And then I think there's a place called Browntrail, which is in a more northern part of the state, but not in the Panhandle area. It is very near the New Mexico border. Again, he could work a couple of days and then we could have driven to someplace interesting in New Mexico for a couple of days.

But no. This was Brownwood, about three hours away from us in the middle of nowhere. It isn't particularly near anything interesting. So it was basically drive there, try to find a nice motel and a couple of nice restaurants, work a couple of days, and drive back.

So I would have skipped the whole thing and let him go without me, except that he remembered something funny about the last time he had to go there. It had an Underwood's Cafeteria, though at the time he was there it was closed for remodeling. My husband and I both have less than pleasant memories of being forced to eat Underwood's barbecue, and we were wondering if the place was as bad as we remembered. There aren't many of these places around anymore, and in fact this might be the only one left. So we decided we would go to this place for lunch on Tuesday or Wednesday, just for laughs.

We were running a bit behind schedule on Tuesday, and after getting a room at the Days Inn, we barely had time to get a sandwich at Subway. And of course the restaurant would be closed before he got off of work Tuesday night, so we'd have to go to Underwood's for lunch Wednesday.

Wednesday, at a little after eleven, we pulled into an almost empty parking lot and read a sign that said they were closed on Wednesdays.

We had a good laugh and drove down the street to have some tamales instead.

He got off work early that night, but not early enough to pack and head home. So we went to Starbucks and then drove around for a bit to look at Christmas lights.

It was almost a wasted trip, except that he did make some money, and I knitted about half of a new scarf.

The next day we stopped at the Dr. Pepper bottling museum in Dublin. The line was not running, which now only happens on Wednesdays, and maybe not even on Wednesdays if some machine is being repaired. The "Dublin Dr. Pepper" (made with Imperial Pure Cane Sugar) in the newer bottles are now bottled in Temple with the Dublin recipe. We were each given a bottle to drink on the tour, but I don't really care for the drink myself, so mine is still sitting unopened in the kitchen. I would have made an exception and drank that one, but I still had the peppermint shake left over from lunch.

Anyway, we were the only two people on the tour, which surprised me at first, until I realized that they probably only have customers during the summer and on Wednesdays. And, with the line closed down, there's not that much to see. The man who owned the place the last time we took the tour died in 1999, and it's really not the same tour when given by a college kid.

Never mind. Christmas is just a few days away, and it's time to wrap presents.

Happy Holidays.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Missing an old blog buddy

Cabinboy has not posted anything since September.

I know that it is none of my business. He's a grown man, and it's a free country, and he's allowed to stop blogging any time that he wants to. I just wonder what happened to him, that's all.

It's not like he said he wasn't going to blog anymore. That would be nice, if people would leave a note saying that they're too busy to deal with the blog for the next year or so. But I guess they rarely do that. Just one day he didn't blog for a while, and then his next post was about his dog dying. And then the post about the dog was removed, and then nothing.

His mom hasn't posted anything on her blog since then either.

It's silly to think that anything happened to them. It's silly to be concerned about people I have never even met. I should get over it.

I wonder what happened to Cabinbabe too.

Happy Holidays, wherever you are.

Friday, December 1, 2006

The end of North Hills Mall

Okay, so it is not the end of North Hills Mall, since that happened a number of years ago. But tonight on the news they said it was actually going to be torn down. It is in violation of some code, it's a hazard of some sort, and the owners have about two months to have it demolished.

The building has only been totally vacant for about two years. I don't remember how long ago the mall closed, but they kept trying to do something else with it for a while. I think for a time part of the movie theater was converted to have live plays, but I never went there to see any. I can't imagine that the place is falling down or anything like that already, and I think the building is only thirty years old anyway. It seems so wasteful to tear it down. Surely it could be fixed up and made into something else.

The really odd thing about the whole North Hills Mall thing, is that it is about a mile away from the North East Mall, which is so busy that about ten years ago they evicted people from their homes to add on to the mall and make more parking spaces and two new shopping centers.

Both malls are located right where three freeways converge. North Hills Mall is in North Richland Hills, and North East Mall is in Hurst. If it were not for all of the bridges and overpasses in the way, you could probably see one mall while standing in front of the other. And I believe that they were both built at about the same time. The North East Mall was the larger mall, with the standard anchor stores such as Sears and Wards and Dillard's, while the North Hills Mall had some less familiar anchor stores that were maybe supposed to be a bit more high-scale. And the North Hills Mall had a Luby's Cafeteria and a food court right near the main entrance, while the North East Mall originally sold food throughout the mall. Both originally had movie theaters, though not of the same company.

Funny thing, but when I was a kid, I never realized that the two malls were right next to each other like that. I mean, they are not actually on the same freeway, and you can't see one while you are in the parking lot of the other one. And when I was a kid going to the mall, I was too busy talking in the back seat to pay attention to where were were driving. And we never went to both malls on the same day, so it was about ten years before I knew where they were in relation to each other. When I was younger, I preferred the smaller mall, since both had movie theaters, but only the smaller one had the food court. And I didn't care one way or the other about the anchor stores. I liked the smaller stores and candle shops, and things of that kind were in both malls.

But the North East Mall, the one that was larger to start with, continued to grow despite the closing of Wards and later the United Artists movie theater. The North Hills Mall also lost one of its anchor stores, and it seemed to be in rapid decline after that.

Anyway, it just never made sense to me why the people at the North East Mall didn't just buy out the smaller mall and fix that up rather than evict people from their homes to add on the mall they already had. So the little mall is about to be demolished, and the stores nearby are also losing business and closing, while the larger mall just gets larger and the traffic becomes more of a hassle. I just don't get it.