Saturday, January 29, 2011

Panties Act as GPS!

     The never-ending subject of panties captures your attention again. This time, the ever-handy panty helps to guide an arctic expedition to its ultimate destination. (Get your mind out of the gutter right now.) This is an article I found on gizmodo.com, which I think has some very good articles on the usefulness of panties.

     I am happy to say that panties have been responsible for guiding people to where they need to go. (Why does everything sound like a double entendre?) Like seeing eye dogs, compasses, and GPS systems, panties are an inexpensive and clever way to find your way home. (Oops, there it is again!)

     The Catlin Arctic Survey Team takes this low-tech apparel to help them find their way in the freezing waters of the Arctic. Lacy panties at that. I am pretty sure they are not Manties. (See earlier post) The panties billow out like a sail, or wind sock, attached to a ski pole to guide the team to the North Pole. As you can imagine, the magnetic field disallows the use of a compass. The GPS freezes in that cold weather. I can just see the conversation.

     Navigator # 1: "Damn. Our GPS is frozen. How are we going to find ourself around this God-forsaken ice shelf?"

     Navigator #2: "I know. Let's use my handy-dandy compass I got when I was a girl scout."

     Navigator #3: "You know compasses don't work here. We are near the North Pole. Where did you study science anyway?"

     Navigator #2:"You don't have to be mean. Hey I have an idea. Let's use my panties."

     And so, in MacGyver-like fashion, the Panties Directional Guides were born. I'm ordering one for my car antenna.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Look! Up in the Air! It's a Bird! It's a Plane! It's Panties!

     As I promised you in my last blog,  the subject of panties can be a fascinating one. This is from an article By Charlie Sorrel, who wrote about Flying Panties.

     "Flying panties?" you say in disbelief. "Where on earth could you find flying panties?"

     And of course we all know the answer, where all the cool things are....in Japan. If you should happen to be in Tokyo on March 6th, look up into the sky. You'll see hundreds of pairs of panties. The panties are made into ornithopters, which will all be launched at the same time.

     OK you are not sure what an ornithopter is, but you know panties flying around when you see them. Ornithopters are flying machines that flap wings to fly, instead of using a propellor. These machines are powered by rubber bands. Kits will be on sale to make your own to let fly on March 6th.

     The author goes on to say that it is a promotional stunt for publicity for a Japanese manga cartoon. Just in case you wonder, other flying machines will be launched at the same time but I don't think they will be nearly as interesting.

     As for me, I am wondering if any studies have been done on which panties fly best? cotton or nylon? manties or panties? thongs or briefs? high rise or low rise? There is much more to be learned about panty aviation.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Under Where?

     OK, once again the topic of underwear has crept up on me and formed an uncomfortable wedgie that will not go away until I have blogged useless information to you, the reader. Only then can I ease my mind of the images and the What ifs? that assail my imagination.

     First on my list of hot researched topics is something called "manties." These are promoted on a website for panties for men. They are panties that any woman would be proud to wear, satiny-looking and ruffly, delicate and ultra-lite. But they are for men. As the advertisement states, Panties are for women; Manties are for men!

     They are suggested for use on wedding nights, anniversary gifts, even retirement gifts. They even have the Manties of the week collection, so that you can have a pair for every day.  I admit I am having a chuckle or two picturing my husband strutting around in Manties. Especially on our wedding night.

     Now that I have totally grossed you out, be sure to tune in the next few days for some interesting information about panties used for technological purposes, aerial races, and sold on auction!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

To Pee or Not to Pee

     I get a bit of flack from reviewers every now and then for mentioning the "p" word. I don't get it. We all do it, it is part of daily life, get over it. The latest information I have found, though, is that it is being used for fun and games. Let's travel to Japan, where "Streaming Video" has taken on a new meaning.

     I credit this information to my sister, who sent it to me earlier this month. It seems that the Japanese, according to some sources, have developed video games in the bathroom.

     "So what?" you say. "My kids do that all the time."

     According to my excellent sources, these mini-games are hooked up to the urinals and the speed of the game is controlled by the player's urinary efficiency. Yup! The more powerful your stream, the more points you get. A sensor inside the toilet will send the urinary stream information to a screen above the urinal for a visual display.

     One of the games I have heard about is "Mannekin Pis" which is a pee calculator.

     Another is "Graffiti Eraser," where players try to blast graffiti off a wall with the power of their stream.

     The other one is "North Wind and Her" where the participants try to "pee like the wind" and attempt to lift a woman's dress with their powerful urine streams.

     I have some concerns. Obviously this whole system is gender impaired because of the differences in the female anatomy. We have no "hose."

     In addition, how will they account for splashing? Powerful streams can be rather random in their landing.

    

Monday, January 17, 2011

Trashy Words

     It seems that Lake Superior State University in Michigan has the last say on which words should be eliminated from our vocabularies. The annual list that they compose is a variety of overused and misused terms that they deem no longer worthy of being said or written. I'm kind of liking this idea.
     Leading the list for 2011 is viral, which I am in agreement with. Videos go viral, songs go viral. In fact, the use of the word itself has gone viral. The word epic was a runner up. I do hear that a lot.
     There were some cliched terms that I would have flushed a long time ago....the wow factor, aha moment, and BFF. The use of Facebook and Google as verbs also received disdainful notice. Come on, now? Haven't you ever googled something? 
     Man up got a thumbs down which they labeled as a stupid phrase for men and especially for women. Other phrases that made the list are the American people,I'm just sayin', and live life to the fullest.
     Don't blame me for this news. I'm as guilty as heck for repeating some of these annoying words. I'm just sayin'... 

   

Back in the Real World

It's Not Nice to Fool With Mother Nature!
     This past weekend I went to the SCBWI Conference in Miami for children's book writers. It was a wonderful experience and the shot in the arm that everyone needed. With Bruce Hale as the "go-get''em keynote speaker, we were, as a writer would say, "hooked."

     It only got better. I learned about tweeting and twirping and facebooking and publishing and such. I caught up with Elaine Landau, our 340+ books to her credit author, who just amazed me by presenting me with a book that was dedicated to ME....moi....little 'ol Jeanne Kraus. Wow!

     The Dragonslayer Ball was also a hoot, all these people, many famous and not-so-famous writers, dancing in costume and acting pretty much like, well, like fools. But it was fun!

     I got home, came down from my conference high and just spent 20 minutes on the phone with a man from the Southeast part of the world (he had  a very heavy accent) that wanted to help me open a credit card. Part of the conversation went thus....

     Man:  "Con I ask you if you dibiglleliiigutinhagen flor?"

     Me: "Um, what did you say?"

     Man: "Do you filanthrogin finapplinhoppicanten?"

     Me: "Yes. Whatever."  I guess I will find out what I agreed to in the next few days. Meanwhile, I am writing.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Book Talk

     I had a new experience this week. I went to a Book Talk. "Hah!" you say. "New experience, indeed. Why, I have been to millions of those. I watched Oprah all the time. I got books coming out the wazoo...."
    
     Before you get carried away with colorful and possibly offensive language, let me reassure you that this was not just a book talk, in the theoretical sense of the word. This is a the kind of book talk that if you look it up in Webster's New World Dictionary, you will see a picture of my book, Wrinkles, Waistlines and Wet Pants.

     'Tis true.  I went to a Book Talk all about my own book. What a cool concept and what an honor it was. First of all, having 10 or so women all in the same room who were willing to read my book ahead of time and talk about it. Positively. Laughing. Enjoying themselves and making me laugh at their comments and stories. It is what authors dream about. Instant audience. An audience that related.

     They were there in the moment with me. Did I have to tell them the significance of Wet Pants in the title? No! Did I have to explain my uber-embarrassing life episodes that glue my stories together? No! They had stories of their own that rivaled the most humiliating of mine. I could have written a book that night.

     Funny thing about the book talk. It was a bit more talk than book. Oh, we talked about some of the situations in the book...Did you really get a hunk of beef stuck in your throat? How do you pee in a thermos?... but they connected so much with my experiences that I learned a lot about them. The other great part about a Book Talk is the fantastic feast that went with it. Thanks, girls! You made my day!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

SCBWI Conference

     Next weekend is the Florida Conference for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. I always look forward to it. The workshops are great and the speakers are so motivating that I come home and write, write, write for weeks. Where else can you be surrounded by gifted creative writers and illustrators for a whole weekend?

     It never fails to amaze me. Elaine Landau is always there, working away on her laptop, adding to her 300+ nonfiction titles that the kids in my school just love to read. Frank Remkiewiecz, illustrator,  is usually there with his Horrible Harry and Froggy Books that I love so much. They are both so kind and supportive. Both Elaine and Frank have given me free books for my school which they generously autographed. It can't get any better than that.

      Besides our regular authors that attend every year, like Joyce Sweeney, Donna Gephart, Alex Flinn, Laurie Friedman and Gloria Rothstein, there will be authors there that we don't get to see often. This year, Bruce Hale will be back to entertain us and teach us, and hopefully to do his Elvis impersonation at the Saturday Night Costume Ball! I've hobnobbed with Dave Barry,  Kate DiCamillo, Lee Bennett Hopkins, Pat Street, David Diaz and Carol Nevius.

     We "catch" colds from one another.  Can we catch talent? All I know is if one of our authors sneezes, I hope to be there downwind to snatch up any droplets of talent that I can. One thing for sure...authors are extremely generous and giving of time to share with those who are in the pre-author status. They give back to their craft over and over. Miami, here I come!

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Mystery of Facebook

     Computers are mysterious contraptions indeed. I still can't figure out how all the information travels around in outer space and gets sucked down to each of our computers. I figure it is one of those things I will never understand, like a fax machine. Anyway, one thing that I can do on the computer is to eliminate my excessive emails from my inbox. I try to do that periodically so that I don't have thousands of emails cluttering up my computer's memory. This last time, while I was at it, I thought to myself..."Hmm. I have a lot of posts on Facebook. I should get rid of them, too."

     I started working on them one morning. I "hid" many posts that were no longer pertinent to my life and continued in this fashion for about 3 hours. At the end of the time, my neck and shoulders were cramped and I had a headache. I started to wonder if all of this work was necessary, especially since the same Facebook comments kept reappearing.

     So I called Jeff, my oldest son. "Promise not to laugh..." I started out my conversation.

     "I can't guarantee that, Mom. I most likely will laugh. Is it a question about technology?"

     Doggone him. "Well, I've been cleaning up my Facebook posts. But I keep going and going and it feels like I am deleting the same posts over and over again. So I am wondering if I am doing it wrong."

     "Why do you want to do that?"

     "I don't know. Don't I need to make more memory room? Clean up my computer? "

     "Mom, Facebook messages..." here he sought for an explanation that I might be able to grasp. "...don't go anywhere. They are on the Facebook server. They are not on your memory. Leave them alone."

     That was a new concept. I can not get a handle on all those messages being nowhere. This technology stuff is too confusing.

     So I will go back to deleting old emails and letting my Facebook messages pile up till they come spilling out of the computer screen and down onto the floor, across my office and out the door into the neighborhood. It's technology.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Drums of War


     Today, I have discovered how techno-useless I truly am.
      “Not true,” you say. “You already know that. We all know that!”
     Well, today I reached the true depths of techno-despair. George and I  tried out our new Tom-Tom, instrument of torture we received as a gift from my eldest son Jeff and his fiancĂ©e Shannon.
     The first problem we  had with said Tom-Tom is that I wanted to change the voice to a manly one with a British accent.  I was not able to accomplish that feat. We settled for the robot woman voice that was installed in it already. Some things are just too much work to change.
     We were set for our little journey across town. As a precaution, I had looked up our destination on MapQuest and had the map with us. Once in the car, I took charge of the Tom-Tom and tried to input our destination address.  The realization that it would have helped to read the directions did not deter us from attempting to use it.
     I finally got it together and sat holding this little wonder of technology that was going to get to our desired location. George looked at me with irritation.
     “Can you put it on the windshield so I can see it?”
     I was annoyed. “But then I can’t see it. The sun is blocking it out from my side.”
     Nevertheless George had his way and we put the Tom-Tom on the windshield. It fell down. We both scrabbled to get it off the floor. Once again he put it up. It fell down.  I did not mention that it had been just fine when I was holding it in my hand.
     He finally got it mounted on the windshield but now the screen had gone blank. My husband was now done with the Tom-Tom.
     I took the little thing and reset it, amidst a few colorful words.  Voila! It worked. It actually was pretty amazing. We were fascinated with our new toy.
     After our errands,  George asked, “Can it get us back home again?”

     Common sense told me that it could. Jeanne-Sense told me that I did not know how to make that happen.
     “Can you just get home yourself?” I asked him.
     “Yes,” he answered. He drove us home, minus Tom-Tom help. Next time we will use it for both ways. Baby steps.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

My Bucket Runneth Over



The Limited Bucket List of Jeanne Kraus
1. Dave Barry
        2. Ellen DeGeneres

     My Limited Bucket list. There are really only two things on my Bucket List. One, to meet Dave Barry and have lunch with him. O.K., I met him and got his autograph. We did not technically have lunch together but we were both at a reception where food was being served. I’m counting that. It was good enough for me. Plus he signed his books, writing "Dear Jeanne. You are a goddess!" Wow!If you notice, in this picture he is holding MY pen in his hand. Unfortunately, I am so overwhelmed that I have a dying cow look on my face. Dave, on the other hand, looks great, considering that he just was held responsible for one half of my Bucket List. 


My other item on my Bucket List is to be on the Ellen Show.  I have made some efforts to contact Ellen, but I am definitely going to have to do more work than I did to locate Dave Barry.  First of all, I have some really good reasons for wanting to meet her.

          Ellen DeGeneres is awesome. What I like about her is that despite her enormous popularity, she hasn’t become  a typical Hollywood fake personality. She appears to be the genuine thing. I mean, I think she is who she appears to be. And I like that about her.
         She’s an animal lover, as am I. I love her animal videos and posts. She loves children, which she also showcases a great deal on her show and on the internet. Her sense of humor allows her to think on her feet and see the funny side everywhere. No wonder I am her biggest fan. She gets the absurdity of everyday life. Not everyone can do that.
         Unfortunately, one thing is  lacking. On the Ellen show, she has a parade of young talented kids on her show, singers, musicians, dancers, scores of very young children who are already making a difference in the world. I love it; I am a veteran elementary education teacher and bringing out the best in kids is an ongoing and wonderful part of my job.
         However, Ellen has under-represented the Baby Boomer segment of society, specifically me.  I have written a totally hilarious book designed for Baby Boomer Women, (Wrinkles, Waistlines and Wet Pants) which is also illustrated by my Baby Boomer sister. I sent her the book and several letters, and she has not invited me to be a part of her show. 

     I do understand she probably didn't get the letters. I mean, there are probably millions of staff members sorting through her fan mail. But Ellen is missing a really good chance to stand up for Baby Boomers everywhere. 

     And I am the obvious choice for an honor of this magnitude.
First, there is the Bucket List issue. No one messes with someone else's Bucket List. Dave Barry is resting easy now that I have achieved meeting him. Ellen deserves the same.
     Secondly, many of her new talents are young children. They have  whole lifetimes to make it to the Ellen Show. I am 60. The children have  headstarts on me by decades. It’s really not my fault that I was a late-bloomer.
DO THE MATH, ELLEN!
How long will Jeanne Kraus be around?