Wednesday, May 31, 2006

As Advertised: Goldie Reads Chick-Lit On a Dare

I sometimes do strange things to myself.

For example, a few weeks ago, I saw a discussion on Michele's (yes... again!) about the recent plagiarism debacle. Here's what it’s all about:

U.S. publisher Random House on Tuesday accused a Harvard student of "literary identity theft" in the debut novel that turned the teenage author into a literary sensation.

Indian-born Kaavya Viswanathan, 19, has acknowledged unintentionally imitating passages from two novels by author Megan McCafferty -- "Sloppy Firsts" and -- "Second Helpings." Viswanathan has promised to amend future editions of her novel, which is on The New York Times bestseller list.

McCafferty's publisher said more than 40 passages in Viswanathan's debut book, "How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life", contain either identical language or common scene and dialogue structure to the two McCafferty's works. "This extensive taking from Ms McCafferty's books is nothing less than an act of literary theft," said Steve Ross, senior vice president of Crown Publishing Group, a unit of Random House which published McCafferty's works.

Everyone else expressed their opinion and went on their merry way, forgetting all about this particular news piece. I, on the other hand, made the following promise in the comments section:

I'll dedicate my summer to reading all three [books] (I just bought a nice wicker swing to do that in!) Then I'll come to my blog and tell you what I've found. Because I'm really curious by now.

With that, I embarked on my experiment, like I had nothing else to do. My goal was to read all three books in question - "Opal Mehta", "Sloppy Firsts", and "Second Helpings" - and make my own conclusions about what happened here and who was to blame.

The reason I decided to go this inane route was, mainly, numerous comments that went like this:

"I have not read either of the books, but to me it is an open and shut case. This is clearly plagiarism."

"You do not have to read either of the books to know what happened here."

Etc., etc.

What was even worse, I found myself having an opinion of my own, even though I hadn’t read any of the books either. This scared me to an unreal degree. So, I got my hands on all three books, and, trying my best to remain unbiased, entered the wondrous world of chick-lit, and not just any chick-lit, but one of the high-school variety. It was a whole new realm to me, full of romance, stereotypes and the color pink, as well as, inexplicably, multiple occurrences of the word "vagina". I had never encountered anything like this before... ah, who am I kidding? I've read a book or three. But this time, it was serious. I could not quit; and, I had to come back with an informed decision - who stole from whom and which book, if any, does not suck?

Will Goldie survive her harrowing journey into the high-school romance world? Stay tuned...

The Goldie has spoken at 10:10 PM

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

My Little Aromatic Friend

Things I learned this weekend:

1) The day you decide to finally take the dog to the park, it will be ninety degrees outside and no one will be able to move, let alone go anywhere.
2) The dog that is exhausted from heat, will loudly protest when you try to hose him down. He will, however, eventually realize that it is for his own good, and will run off to play.
3) In a 1/3 acre backyard, there will be exactly one piece of miscellaneous animal crap lying in the most inconspicuous place.
4) It takes five minutes for a small dog to locate the above mentioned piece of animal crap, rub his face in it, and roll in it thoroughly. All this while you’re thinking your pet is happily frolicking in the grass.
5) Laundry-room sink is a perfect spot for an emergency dog bath.
6) Dogs don’t like to have their face shampooed. It does not work anyway, so don’t bother.
7) It helps immensely to have neighbors that are long-time dog owners.
8) The only way to get the smell of excrement out of the dog is rub him with 2.5% vinegar.

I hope your Memorial Day was better than mine!

Coming up soon: Extreme sports! Goldie reads chick-lit on a dare!!! Stay tuned.

The Goldie has spoken at 9:12 AM

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Your child may not be as talented as you think he is...

... if he comes home from a talent show rehearsal, and asks you: "Mom, are teachers allowed to say "half-assed job" in school?"

Personally, I'm glad ChinchillaBoy and his best friend got kicked out of the show. Watching little kids, grades K-4, perform on stage is very low on my list of favorite things to do on a weekday evening after a full day of work. Plus, the teacher's right. It would have been embarrassing. I mean, two little suburban white kids performing a 50 Cent song? even after they spent an hour editing it, replacing the word "shit" with "stuff" and so on? gimme a friggin break...

At least they didn't follow my suggestion and name themselves Poser Posse... that would've been embarrassing as heck.

The Goldie has spoken at 10:59 AM

Friday, May 19, 2006

Organizational Changes

Like many people already had, I've gone and reshuffled my blogroll. A few of you folks have changed your names or moved to a different url. A few folks I had to take off. Everybody posts their delinking rules, so here are mine:

If the link to your blog isn't working, I'm taking you off.
If you haven't updated in over two months, I'm taking you off, unless you're my bestest friend or I am your biggest fan, in that case, I'll give you an extension. (That said, good-bye Fat Dude! Hope that married life treats you well. I really liked your blog back when you actually wrote stuff in it *sniffles*)
If you have delinked me, I will delink you, unless I'm your biggest fan and then I'll swallow my pride and stay linked to you. Also unless you're one of those people that had me linked under "Orthodox Blogs" and then finally realized what a worldly person I am and took me off their list. That was actually a huge relief because *whispers* I can use bad language on my blog now. Thanks, guys.
If you are a big-time blogger with incoming links in the thousands and you don't know that I exist and I cannot bring myself to read you on a regular basis, then off you go.

I have also added a few neat blogs. Some of these bloggers were nice enough to actually add me first and I didn't notice until today, because I was so mired in DOG. (My bad, Carson!)

Another really cool blog I have added today is Blog Laughs. I like the idea behind it, and I really enjoyed it when I finally got to reading it last night. The author is someone I've met in the blogosphere before, but now he returns with a novel concept. With a team of trusty reviewers *wink wink*, he reviews and rates various humor blogs. Be sure to check it out! Blog Laughs.

I'm out... have a great weekend.

The Goldie has spoken at 3:56 PM

Partners in Crime

This story is loosely based on real events… last night’s events, to be exact.

It was a typical spring day in Cleveland – cold and damp. The rain was banging on the windows of a gray colonial house, while the tree branches brushed back and forth frantically against the glass, like a hyperactive housewife that has read too much Flylady.

The house itself was empty except for two animals. One was a yellow puppy who saw everyone as his friend and looked at the world with wonder and curiosity. The other was an aging male chinchilla, with razor-sharp wit and teeth to match, experienced and cynical. In normal circumstances, these two were unlikely to ever meet, much less become friends. Yet there they were, having an intense conversation.

“How many times do I have to tell you?” – the chinchilla inquired, his whiskers bristling. – “We need to get rid of the enemies.”

“You mean the humans? But why? They are very nice people, Nicky.”

The chinchilla hopped up and down in rage. “How many times do I have to tell you not to use that stupid name they gave me?! For the last time, my mother named me Furry Delight! And, you will address me as “Sir”! I’m older than you; besides, I was here first! Which is why I get to choose the rooms I will have for myself when the bipeds leave. You get what’s left. Is that understood?”

“Yes, Mister Furry Delight, Sir!” – the puppy was sitting straight, trying not to look worried.

“Now, to your misconception about them being, quote-unquote, “nice people”. Yes, they may look nice. But what are they really? Why, nothing but our captors! Like animals, they lock us in cages,” the chin had been listening to his youngest owner’s hip-hop CDs a lot lately. “They hog all the food and give us some lame pellets and dry hay and maybe a few raisins a day. But have you seen what they eat? Steak! Shrimp salad! They drink fine wine! And when I try to come and get some of it, what do they say? “Get out of the pantry, Nicky!” “Get away from that food, Nicky!” “Scram, Nicky!” Can’t you see how evil they are?”

“But they play with us… they take me for walks… they give me treats…” the puppy timidly offered.

“AND THAT IS NOT ENOUGH!” – thunderously retorted the chinchilla. “I see where you’re going with that. You’re willing to sell yourself into slavery in exchange for some play time and a couple of walks and a treat or two. You, sir, are a sellout!”

“I am sorry, Mister Furry Delight, Sir,” stammered the poor puppy. “What can I do now?”

“You can listen to me and do what I tell you to do. And don’t talk back!” - and Furry Delight showed his teeth. The puppy’s apology seemed to calm him down somewhat.

“Okay, here’s the plan. When they come home today, they will feel sorry for me sitting in the basement, so they will open the basement door. That is when I attack. I will bite them on the feet. If they try to catch me, I’ll bite their hands. If they get too close, I bite their faces, their private parts and whatever else I can get my teeth into. I want to see human blood flowing! I want to hear humans screaming for mercy! They will run, but they cannot escape from Furry Delight. Like their death, I will be upon them, no matter which way they turn. Are you with me, dawg?”

“Sir, yes, sir!”

“Now, let’s review your part. When they walk in, you start crying. They will feel sorry for you too (like the pathetic creatures they are) and they will let you out. But they won’t spend any time with you, for they will be busy running away from me. That is your cue. How much can you crap at one time?”

“I can cover the whole first floor, Sir.”

“Good. Now, you start with the dining room. When you’re done there, go into the library, then the family room. Don’t waste your time on the tiles, just do the carpet – it’s more damage that way. Don’t stop for nothing, don’t slow down. Just keep running and crapping. Can you do that?”

“I think I can, Sir.”

“Good. Will your crap be liquid enough and stinky enough?”

“I don’t know, Sir. How can I tell?”

“Hmmm. Here, have some raisins. And here’s some chinchilla food for you. Hey, you can eat some of my bedding for good measure. There, now you’re good to go.”

“But, Sir, after I crap everything out, and you bite everybody, what happens next?”

“Are you even listening to me, fool?! What happens is the humans move out. They leave. And we stay. And we get the house and all the food all to ourselves. Now, I get the basement and the second floor. I don’t want the first floor, ‘cuz it will smell like dog crap. You can have it. Oh, and I get to cut every phone cable in the house. They never let me do it, the human bastards. Well, they’re going to pay. They’re going to regret they kept old Furry Delight away from the cables. They will be, “Oh Nicky, please chew on the cables, please!” But it will be too late for them. Too late!!”

“But, Sir, what will we do when all the food in the house runs out?”

“Don’t you worry your silly little head, little dog. You are lucky to have someone smart to do all the thinking for you. I know where they keep their credit cards, so relax. Wait… I hear a key in the door! Quick, on our positions! Remember, we start as soon as they let us out.”

And that was pretty much how yesterday’s evening went in the Goldie household.
We haven’t moved out yet, but that’s only because we’re tough. After all, we grew up in Russia. Bet ol’ Furry Delight didn’t count on that, huh?

The Goldie has spoken at 12:47 PM

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Kids... - 2

I love my son ChinchillaBoy.

I love him so much that I have set nearly all my passwords to his name. That included my email password, my eBay password, my Blogger password, etc. Notice that I said “included”.

It was bound to happen, and last night, it finally happened.

Mr. Goldie and I are out at a bowling tournament with our friends, and all of a sudden my cell phone rings. What do you know, it’s ChinchillaBoy.

“Mom, there’s this guy on eBay selling all the Wacky packages ever made, for $50,000 only. And you know what Wacky packages mean to me.”

Lately, ChinchillaBoy has taken to collecting the Wacky packages.

“Forget it, ChinchillaBoy, I’m not buying.”

“Mom, I know. But I emailed the guy from your account, and now we’re chatting through your email. Is that okay?”

I almost dropped a bowling ball on my foot.

“No, that’s NOT okay! Get out right now. Do NOT agree to anything. Do NOT buy anything. What are you doing in my email account anyway?!?! You have your own. I’m changing the passwords as soon as I get home, you hear me???”

“Yes, yes, Mom. I’m not gonna buy anything. Okay bye.”

So we continue to bowl in the tournament, and then go out to party with our friends, and have a great time.

This morning, I wake up and of course the first thing I do after feeding the dog and walking the dog, and having a cup of coffee, and walking the dog again, is I get on my email account to change my password. But first, I decide to check the email.

And this is what I see….

ChinchillaBoy wrote:

I have 3 questions, could you drive to (city name edited) ohio, are the cards in mint condition and what are the other random items? Also, how big an offer would you accept because i dont have 50,000$ and my son REALLY wants this for collecting. He isnt spoiled but this is the last gift we are ever going to give to him if we win the bid.

The seller wrote:

what is your phone number? This is far too big a lot and far too serious an amount to discuss this via email. If these were all MINT, the asking price would be $100,000. I gave a break down of the sticker conditions in auction description and I put a link to my grading site. I will be adding some scans of stickers from the lot today.

BTW - I can drive to Ohio, no issues there.

ChinchillaBoy wrote:

How much would one set of each series cost for me?

The seller wrote:

I would have to wait until the auction ends as I won't commit to pulling one of each set until I assess if someone wants this entire massive collection. Depending on condition you seek, series 16 alone is like a $2500 set, the other sets series 1-15 have a variety of varation cards so if you wanted all variation cards in let's say Ex+(some soft/rounded corners but otherwise nice looking stickers), series 1-15 would be another $2500 with all puzzles included so the run would be around $5000 but I want to assess how much a similar run just sold for on ebay as I believe the seller listed it for $7500 and got it.

ChinchillaBoy wrote:

I just need the 16 series, no extra series after that... if the sheets are uncut and cant be cut ill have to pass because we cant afford that.

The seller wrote:

You inquired about buying a $50,000 auction and you can't afford $5000 for series 1-16? There are 2 uncut sheets in this auction that have nothing to do with the single stickers that make up series 1-16.

I am not going to sell series 16 by itself.

Thanks for your interest

ChinchillaBoy wrote:

Sorry i didnt read your reply to my question before asking, ill consider it.

The seller wrote:


We can chat after the auction at some point. Your original inquiry was about buying the entire lot. That is clearly not something you are seriously considering so I am perplexed why you asked.

Even after the auction, I will not be interested in selling the series 16 set alone. If you are interested in buying a large chunk of the 15,000 stickers, then let me know. Otherwise, feel free to write me after the auction with your specific set needs and I will price for you.


Goldie wrote:

Good morning,

I apologize for the previous email exchange, my 10yo son got into my email account yesterday while I was out and wrote all of the previous emails. I am changing the password as soon as I finish typing this message.

As you probably understand, I have no intention to buy a full set of Wacky packages for $50,000 or any part of it for $5,000 or any similar amount - I just do not have that kind of money laying around. I apologize if my son has accidentally misled you to think otherwise. Sorry about the inconvenience this has caused.


I honestly don’t know whether to laugh or cry or freak out.

ChinchillaBoy does not talk to me now because I told him I’d written to the guy and apologized. He says I suck. And he doesn’t even know I’m posting the whole exchange on my blog! I say he’s lucky to have a mom with a sense of humor and the ability to own up to her own mistakes. Setting my passwords to his name was beyond dumb. Don’t ever do that, people!

In other news, I accidentally stole some 7th-grade girl’s homework assignment and have no idea how to get it back to her… more on that later.

The Goldie has spoken at 10:58 AM

Thursday, May 11, 2006


Two weeks ago my son LilProgrammer performed foot surgery on himself with a kitchen knife. In the bathroom. He then went to school and all around continued his business as usual.

I found out two days later when I was doing his laundry. I wondered what the deal was with all the bloody socks, and he told me. He's tried to cut off a couple of plantar warts. Sure enough, the warts grew back.

I took him to a foot doctor. The foot doc did something, whereupon LilProgrammer's left foot got infected. We went back and the foot doc did something else, as a result of which LilProgrammer now has open wounds on his both feet and hobbles around the house.

In the face of all that, he is happy that he gets to miss school, constantly reiterates that he is "feeling fine", and insists on making his own food and carrying it upstairs with no help.

At the same time, ChinchillaBoy spent the last evening lying on the couch complaining of terrible pain after he got bitten in the ass by our pet chinchilla. Yes, you read that right. The little adorable furball actually broke ChinchillaBoy's skin. Maybe he thought ChinchillaBoy was about to sit on top of him. Or maybe the dog's rambunctious ways are rubbing off on the chin. We do not know because he cannot tell.

Kids. Never a dull moment.

The Goldie has spoken at 5:46 PM

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Calling All Teachers!!!

I have a question for all my teacher friends. Suppose one of your students graduates. Next, suppose that the student's parent gives you a present on the last day of school. Once again, the student graduates and you will never see him again, so it is a present from the heart, no strings attached! (hee hee) My question is, what would you prefer to get? (Preferably in the $25 range.) Please let me know, either via email or comments. I usually give small boxes of chocolates from Trader Joe's, but this time my kids are graduating each from his respective school and I want to give something nice and memorable. Thank you in advance for your feedback.

The Goldie has spoken at 4:52 PM

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