Monday, December 29, 2008

Daddy Gets An Ipod

© 2008 Leighann Lord

My Dad gave me my first real radio for Christmas when I was nine years old. It had AM and FM stations as well as a tape deck. I couldn't wait to tune into my favorite stations and tape (yeah, I said tape) the latest songs. My Dad had other plans.

When I liberated the radio from the Christmas wrapping and factory packaging, I tossed it all aside never giving a second glance to the papers bundled at the bottom of the box; the directions. My Dad took the radio, handed me the manual and said, "Read this first."

"But I already know how to use a radio," I said.

"Read it anyway."

I pouted but he was unyielding. This was rare since I was, and still am, a major league Daddy's Girl. But my Dad was always perturbed by my Mom's complete lack of technical know how. He wanted me to be able to walk into Radio Shack knowing exactly what I need, how to ask for it and how to get out of there without giving them my phone number.

Thanks to my him, I now have the amazing ability to breeze through manuals for software, electronic gadgets and household appliances. I know how to set the clock on my DVD player, and I'm not even baffled by the Daylight Savings time feature. I guess my super hero name would be Gadget Girl. I'm more than a little annoyed that many manufacturers no longer even give you a manual, instead choosing to let you download and print out the PDF, shifting paper and ink costs to the customer.

So it was with pleasure that I gave my Dad his first Ipod for Christmas. I enjoyed giving him something that he would never buy for himself. Always on the cutting edge, my Dad had been dropping hints for several months that he wanted an Ipod. He even suggested I get myself a new Ipod and let him take my old one.(Did I mention I was a Daddy's Girl!) But I would never give my Dad a second hand Ipod even if the first hand was mine.

My old 20 gig is on it's last legs. It's ongoing problems include a loud whirring hard drive, short battery life and the persistent appearance of the Apple icon. My Dad deserved better.

Part of me relished the idea of turning the tables and making my Dad read the manual before donning those cool and ubiquitous white head phones. But it's Apple. There is no manual. For Microsoft Windows users, the lack of a manual can be disturbing. We are completely unprepared for the intuitive simplicity of Apple. We look for the trick. We wait for the other shoe to drop. We expect Rod Serling to step from behind a curtain and begin narrating our personal "Twilight Zone" moment. Apple? Plug it in and go. It's madness, but the good kind that one can get used to.

In no time my Dad downloaded his entire CD collection and started rummaging through mine. He didn't find much, since he's not a big Prince, Dave Matthews Band or Eminem fan. (I don't know why, but that angry little white boy amuses me.)

As a life long Jazz man, my Dad hit the jackpot browsing through my husband's CDs: John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Max Roach, Stan Goetz .... Judging by his musical tastes it's easy to believe that my husband was born out of his time. Perhaps he was reincarnated from with his love of jazz intact. His penchant for fine cigars, stingy brim hats straight razor shaving lends credence to this theory.

It's worth noting here that although we've been married for over seven years, my husband and I ardently maintain separate music collections. We share vows, a home, and tax returns, but co-mingle music? I'm just not ready for that level of commitment. Baby steps, people. Baby steps.

At the moment, it's looking like my Dad's Ipod Nano is swiftly reaching capacity. I completely underestimated how quickly and easily he would embrace the technology. A man who's loved music for the better part of 70 years probably needs an 80 gig. I guess I know what to get him next year.

Thank you for reading The Urban Erma.

Please feel free to subscribe or visit again soon to find out about news, Leighann's TV appearances, live stand-up comedy shows or to join the mailing list.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas for the Kids?

Okay. Fine. Be That Way
© 2007 Leighann Lord

This year my family decided to only give Christmas presents to the kids. That sounded great until I realized I wasn't one of the kids anymore.

On my Mom's side of the family my cousin and I have been it's youngest members for a long time. It seems like we've always been "The Girls." We were The Girls even after we both got married. But then she had a daughter and things changed, and now we're formally and firmly in the adult wing of the family.

Sometimes change is slow, and the longer it takes for that change to happen, the more comfortable you get where you are. Eleven months younger than my cousin, I was comfortable being the baby of the family. No I didn't get money in my birthday cards anymore, but I still felt favored; that is until the new people started showing up.

My cousin's daughter is breathtakingly beautiful and smart, with a glare that could wither Medusa. And yet, it was hard watching her get all the clothes and books that used to be mine. Of course, I'd have trouble squeezing into a 3T, and I prefer Stephen King to Dr. Seuss, but that's not the point. Sitting at the kid's table had it’s perks. Without the responsibilities of adulthood you are free to be unrepentantly selfish. I miss that.

I think I feel a second childhood coming on.

Happy Holidays Everybody!

Thank you for reading The Urban Erma.

Please feel free to subscribe or visit again soon to find out about news, Leighann's TV appearances, live stand-up comedy shows or to join the mailing list.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Warning: "Twilight" May Be Hazardous to Your Relationship

© 2008 Leighann Lord

"I’m an evil, evil woman; but I wanna do a man some good. I’m Gina Lollobridgida. I ain’t Red Riding Hood."
- Blossom Dearie

I am the evil woman of which Blossom Dearie crooned. I did a terrible thing. I dragged my Husband to see "Twilight." My Beloved – bless his heart – is many things, but he is absolutely not in the demographic for a teenage vampire love story.

There are two forces at work here. First: I don’t get to go to the movies as often as I would like. Oh, I have big plans. I see trailers, read reviews and say, "Ooh, that looks good. I want to see that." But the movie is almost always out on DVD before I can even get my coat on. Second: I’ve got a thing for vampires. I’ve read every Anne Rice novel, watched every episode of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (as well as the movie), enjoyed tax cheat Wesley Snipes in "Blade" and remember that long before "24" Keifer Sutherland was one of the "Lost Boys." I’m even a fan of the cool and culty "Life Force" which explores the extraterrestrial origins of the vampire legend. Yeah, that’s how I roll.

So for me it was only natural to get caught up in the "Twilight" hype. I read the book before hand and was well aware that the movie might not live up to my literary expectations; but like a moth to a flame I just had to see this one on the big screen and my poor husband got caught in the crossfire. I enjoyed the movie, flaws and all but for every familiar line, scene and action at which I swooned, my poor Husband groaned and checked his watch. As I filled in plot gaps from memory, he sighed and rubbed his temples with disgust and incomprehension.

As we left the theater – me with a delicious after glow and him with a headache — I said, "How’d you like the movie?"

"I have to pee," he said.

I guess we won’t be seeing, "Moonlight."

"Maybe you should read the book," I suggested. "I can re-check it out of the library for you."

"Dear God, no!" he said. "In the name of all that is good and holy, please don’t."

He didn’t actually say that. He just gave me a very pained looked and made an alarming choking sound that I have tried my best to translate. It was then that I realized I had sorely tested the "for better or for worse" portion of our wedding vows. This movie choice might actually be grounds. Do people divorce over irreconcilable movie choices? Had he ever been so cinematically cruel to me? Do the "Star Wars" pre-quels count?
("Damn you, George Lucas! You lost me at Jar-Jar.")

When we got home, as a peace offering, I turned on ESPN hoping an infusion of testosterone and sports scores would make him more communicative and forgiving. It seemed to do the trick. But this isn’t over. I fear there’ll be a mandatory Mike Myers movie in my future.

Thank you for reading The Urban Erma.

Please feel free to subscribe or visit again soon to find out about news, Leighann's TV appearances, live stand-up comedy shows or to join the mailing list.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Perfect Purse Part 2 - I Am Not Alone

© 2008 Leighann Lord

I am grateful to learn from my Loyal Readers that I am not alone in my pursuit of The Perfect Purse. In a previous article about the solemn search I mentioned that my requirements were few. The bag needed to be fashionable, functional and affordable. I lied. Well it wasn’t so much a lie as it was an incomplete truth. Yes, I said it needed to big, sturdy and black, but there’s a little more to it than that.

Loyal Reader Robin shared her difficult experience finding her Perfect Bag; one that, of course, zipped closed. This is an absolute necessity for me as well. I neglected to mention it before because I assumed it was a given. Who wants their stuff on display? Open top bags are designed by pick pockets for trusting souls who still leave their doors unlocked, their keys in the car and think a "Don’t feed the bears" sign is a tactful way of saying the bears are watching their weight.

An open bag is asking for trouble. It’s not that I don’t trust people, it’s just that I don’t trust people. Okay, fine: People are basically good, but why tempt them unnecessarily by flashing the contents of my purse like it’s a goody bag?

Loyal Reader, Pat, suggested I get over myself, E-Bay my unused Coach Bags and go get a Tumi. Tumi’s are supposedly very good quality bags, stylish too. I had a set of Tumi luggage once. It didn’t work out as well as I’d expected. After a few months of hard travel the bags got old quick and fell apart like aging second rate strippers... I mean exotic dancers; all flash and no stamina. My Tumi luggage bypassed my Handbag Graveyard all together and went straight to the trash.

Given Tumi’s less than stellar suitcase performance it’s hard for me to believe their handbags would fare any better; but on Pat’s earnest suggestion I went to the website anyway. The handbag section featured an interesting bag called the Voyageur. It was big, black and looked lusciously sturdy. "What’s up sexy?" Affordable? Not so much: $395. Ouch! But then again Christmas is coming and my in house Santa is usually quite generous.

Tumi’s website provided views of the bag from five angles and even let me preview it in four different colors. Nice, but this bag is not the one. Major flaw number one: No dedicated exterior pockets for cell phone, water bottle or umbrella. Major flaw number two: the color of the interior lining is the same as the exterior. A black bag with a black lining means black accessories blend and disappear. I know what you’re thinking, but I’m not picky, I’m precise. Call me crazy, but the more expensive something is, the closer to perfect it has to be. And so The Handbag Hunt continues.

That’s how I ended up in New York & Company leering longingly at big red, zipper top bag attractively positioned underneath a 50% off sign. Okay, the bag’s not black, which decreases is practical functionality by more than half, but red is my favorite color so it’s not like I’ll "never" use it.

"Another bag?" my Husband said.

"No, two. It came in red and silver, and they were 50% off. I couldn’t just leave them there."

"No, of course not," he said, "but I thought black was more ... uh ... 'functional.'"

"It is."

"So why you’d buy it in red?"

"Red’s my favorite color."

"And the gray?"

"It’s silver," I said.

"Right. Silver. Why’d you buy the same bag in silver?"

"It’s my second favorite color."

"It is?" he said.

"Yes. It was one of our wedding colors."

"Right. And what about the Tumi? Do you still want that one?"

"No. I think I’ll pass."

"Are you sure, I’ve been making space in the attic. If we get a smaller Christmas tree I think we can manage."

"Well, there’s always Valentine’s Day," I said.

"Yes, then you can use your new red bag."

"Yes, but by then it won’t be new."

t that point I saw my Husband’s temples throbbing ever so slightly. Best not antagonize Santa so close to the holiday. I’m sure in the long run he’ll just be happy that a $395 bag is off my Christmas list. I’ve been a good girl this year, but I don’t know if I’ve been $395 good.

Thank you for reading The Urban Erma.

Please feel free to subscribe or visit again soon to find out about news, Leighann's TV appearances, live stand-up comedy shows or to join the mailing list.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Perfect Purse, The Holy Handbag

© 2008 Leighann Lord
I have been on a life long quest to find The Perfect Purse. My requirements are few but specific. The Bag has to be fashionable, functional and affordable. I don’t mind paying for quality, but buying a beautiful bag to hold an empty wallet seems supremely counter productive.