Friday, December 15, 2006

Christmas Letter 2005

Attention People of Earth:

As 2005 draws to a close, Domus Cornelius is still standing.

Our second burglary in as many years has led to more enhanced security for the New Year. We now have bars on the windows, deadbolts on the doors, and venomous spiders lurking within every crevice. The skulls of our would-be robbers now line the electrified front yard fence facing the middle school across the street. The neighbors assume we’re too lazy to take down our Halloween Heads on Pikes display. Heh.

In an effort to replace her stolen photography business equipment, Cornelia has found work at a local bookstore. The only downside is that Sulla’s biblioholic mama is on another continent and cannot take full advantage of the employee discount. (They miss you terribly, Mom.) Cornelia is enjoying the work, and has already begun buying new equipment.

Cornelia’s photography business continues to grow, and has even found an unlikely bounty – a mother-daughter team of apprentices, who learn eagerly and work cheaply.

Sulla’s stuff, which has once again been deemed too uncool to steal, remains intact, beyond the usual loss and damage from his clogging-manatee-in-china-shop nature.

Sulla emerged from the latest reorganization at work as the “old man” on the team, and is now refreshing his programming skills. His position keeps him chained to his desk through all but the most Transylvanian of hours, but his ever-patient honey hasn’t yet changed the locks; she lets him in the door each night, and sends him off the following day with many hugs and kisses.

After a very busy summer, Sulla and Cornelia managed a few short vacations – a day trip to Catalina with friend Marcia, three quiet days in Solvang, and the occasional exotic getaway jaunts to the Barnes and Noble at the Ragnarok Town Center. Their only brush on the wrong side of the law was a wrong turn at the Mexican border, en route to the "ugliest state park in America" – which, trust us, lived up to the hype – but the officer took pity on us when he saw our not-quite-helpful Mapquest directions.

Thanks to a crack team of health professionals, we’re feeling and faring much better than we were this time last year. 2005 has been a year of tremendous growth for us both, and we have much to be grateful for.

Have a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year. Sulla reminds you to back up your crucial data often, to avoid opening email attachments you didn’t ask for, and to do some research before forwarding that Virus Alert message. is your friend.

You really care? Okay...Christmas Letter 2006

Oh my.

I haven't checked my site in a couple of days. I didn't get any comments the day I posted so I figured there was no interest.

I'm going to have to hunt down last year's "heads on pikes" letter, but I promise to post it.

Here is this year's. Like I said - probably won't live up to the hype.

In the comments, if you'd like to share your favorite - or most hated - moments in Holiday Letters, go for it.

Merry Christmas, blessed ChrisWanzaaKuh. Grab the Festivus pole while I air my grievances....


I’m told it’s time for another year-end letter. This version does not feature Sulla’s disastrous early attempts at haiku, double dactyl, sestina, or iambic pentameter. The Country ballad? Don’t even ask. So, put on your prose hats for our look back on 2006.

Cornelia’s silver VW New Beetle, which was never the same after 2004’s twin terrors of Interstate 405 and the repair shop that “fixed” it, finally breathed its last in February. We promptly turned around and purchased…a silver VW New Beetle.

Cornelia learned her new car is sturdier than the old one when she backed it into the flowerbed in front of our house. (The flowerbed lost.) Our city, in an effort to make our little corner of Ragnarok prettier, offered a home improvement grant which let us not only repair the flower bed, but also paint the house. Our stale-pumpkin-tart color scheme is gone; the cool spearmint-green with a dark green trim is a vast improvement. Our friends at first had trouble finding us because “look for the place with the butt-ugly paint job” no longer applied.

Our extreme home makeover has impressed the neighborhood burglary community so much that they’ve left our stuff more or less alone. Yes, we’ve had our first burglary-free year of our marriage (knock on wood), so our only property loss came from Sulla’s tendencies to (1) forget where he left things and (2) drop electronic stuff into, um, water.

Cornelia’s photography business continues to grow; she had more jobs than she did last year, and expanded her services to selling landscape photography to local stores. Cornelia isn’t pulling a profit yet, but she’s covering expenses, and has almost finished replacing her burgled equipment. Word of mouth remains her only advertising, and that keeps her busy enough.

Sulla has been an overtime machine this year, outlasting many of his younger and saner coworkers. He earnestly hopes it won’t last forever. His company did assign him a laptop this year, though, so he can work from home or the intensive care unit.

In spite of Sulla’s crushing schedule, Cornelia has managed to pull him away from the veal pen for a few short trips out of town. She has always been the more eager traveler, so when Sulla was stuck at work she occasionally imported friends from out of state. But next month Sulla and Cornelia will enjoy their first major vacation - Sulla’s first since high school - when they travel to China. Cornelia won’t let him bring a computer.

She did make him buy a camera, though. Apparently his cell phone isn’t sufficiently camera-like for traveling. He picked up a point-and-shoot that (1) includes a strap to connect to his jacket so he won’t lose it, like his mom used to do with his mittens, and (2) is waterproof. Cornelia knows her honey.

All in all, we’re relatively healthy and we still like each other; the rest is gravy. Next year promises to be turbulent, but “happily ever after” is how we’ve determined to face whatever life throws at us. It’s worked pretty well so far.

With love, from Sulla and Cornelia
December, 2006

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Christmas Letters

We were too broke for Christmas cards our first year together, but last year we sent some out. My wife asked me to write it, so I threw something together.

My first draft was not serious. I expected her to say, " 'heads on pikes' has no place in a Christmas letter!" and hand it back for a rewrite...or give up and write it herself.

Instead, she loved it as is, and before I could ask what she thought, it had been mailed to a dozen or so friends and family.

As feedback poured in, there was a lot of outrage - that so and so got a copy but they didn't, and they'd BETTER be included this year.

Why? I assume because the family letter tradition has become, "here's why OUR family kicks YOUR family's ass." My family grew up laughing at letters like this, and fantasized about writing the anti-letter. When my turn came, I went with it.

Who knew? It worked. This year I'm screwed - how do you fake disinterest?

So I Iron Chef'ed it. One hour, one page, stop when the clock goes Ding.

Time will tell.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Food pr0n

I used to joke at restaurants that if the burger I ordered didn't make my arm go numb, I'd want my money back.

I've just met my match: The Heart Attack Grill, in Tempe, AZ.

Not only do they have a "quadruple bypass burger," their waitresses are nurses. Not just ANY nurse, neither: Shannon Tweed candy-striper Showtime After Dark HELLLOOOO NURSE! nurses.

If you FINISH one of the restaurant's cholesterolic WMDs, "Helllooo, Nurse!" will wheel you out to your car.

A director of a nursing advocacy group, Sandy Summers, is outraged - not for the health of the restaurants' "patients" but for the objectification of the "nurses" as smokin' hot dispensers of tender loving care with a heaping side of lard-fried taters.

Priorities. "Eat what you want, Jabba, but keep your eyes to yourself. Perv."

I imagine Summers is a ninja with a tongue depressor.

(hat tip Ace)

Monday, December 11, 2006

Boo Terfly is a LIER!

A certain gerbilly butterfly said she'd be posting on my site as soon as a certain dreaded Hoffy visage fell off the home page.

I don't see no steenking flutterby.

I'm so ronery...

My boring so-called blog

My co-conspirators at Teh Squeaky Wheel have far better blogs than I do.

They write because they have interesting things to say, independent of Gerbil Nation.

Me, I have the most fun playing off other people. Spouting off on my own blog was never part of my plans; I signed up for this domain name years ago, but I've done squat with it.

I feel like Howie Mandel. "Okay, someone give me an occupation. Okay, now give me a situation. Cool - now give me something funny to do!"

I'm just not funny on command. My humor tends to pop up when least expected...and desired.

Inappropriateness is half the fun. When a tree falls inappropriately in a forest when nobody's around, then it's just wasted effort.

I want to be the tree that falls in the forest, right on top of the Prius parked next to a Hummer. If there's one thing Nature abhors more than a vacuum, it's a smug little hybrid.