No, as a matter of fact I don’t have a life.

December 25th, 2007 | Uncategorized

cat toy

Here’s what I’ve spent my Christmas doing so far: creating a consumer product review video for you of this cat toy I bought yesterday.

Warning, it’s completely laced with profanity.

93 Responses to “No, as a matter of fact I don’t have a life.”

  1. Nina says:

    *laughing a lot* That’s fantastic. This is one of the best incarnations of “jew at the movies on christmas” I’ve attempted in years. Thanks for sharing.

    Happy every-holiday to everyone.

  2. R says:

    lol…lol you even have tree which is more than i do.

  3. feygele says:

    I’ve got to echo Nina here. (It could only have been better, were I eating Chinese food while watching this. You know, because it’s Christmas and all.)

    Thanks for the laugh!

  4. Deb says:

    Sipping an eggnog watching this…….what a hoot! Happy “every-holiday” Alison and to you all all out there!

  5. DSW says:

    fucking hilarious!

  6. Aunt Soozie says:

    How wonderful…
    not one, not two, but three new posts to read.
    Ahhh…I so needed to laugh today.
    My new kitten and I loved this review…although she was a bit taken aback by the language. So, the toy was only 13.99…was the rest shipping?

    will my new kitten stop biting me, trying to attack my feet and ankles and stop annoying and terrorizing my grown cat? Will she learn that it’s not a good idea to scale my bare leg as I sit at the computer…using her claws to assist in the climb? Should I ask Lynda Barry for a hat? Buy a remote control cat exerciser? a mouse on a wire? Is this normal kittenhood or have I a monster in my house? (inbetween raising hell she’s loving, sweet, cuddly, and/or sleeping and hasn’t missed the litterbox once…)

  7. Feminista says:

    awwww,what a cute kitty. She seems to be enjoying it,so if it’ll mean she stays away from wool products,I’d say it’s worth it. As long as she doesn’t manage to chew on the wire.

    Nice hardwood floors.

  8. chicklet says:

    What a bummer! Youtube is telling me I have to subscribe to see the video. Annoying.

  9. holidays are hell says:

    Well, Alison, I myself have so little of a life that I spend it reading your blog and wishing we were friends. And, unlike you, I haven’t written anything worth critical acclaim, I don’t get to hobnob with fellow genius’, and I certainly don’t look as adorable in a cap with my cat.

    which is all to say, remember it could be worse.

    merry merry!

  10. Maggie Jochild says:

    Let’s hear it for not having what “they” call a life.

    And for all the vocabularians who aggregate here, you can go to Free Rice and play endless rounds of guessing the correction definition. For each correct guess, they’ll donate 20 grains of rice to United Nations hunger efforts. I won’t say how many grains I wound up with before I quit, but I will say I reached a vocab level of 49. Quite the brain work-out, and for a great cause.

  11. holidays are hell says:

    and if this weren’t bad enough, I made a grammatical error.

    I meant geniuses.

    sheesh. no wonder we’re not friends.

  12. Aunt Soozie says:

    that is so funny. Tame videos can be viewed by anyone on youtube… but to see naughty videos you have to subscribe. Alison’s language must have sorted her cat toy review onto the naughty list.

  13. we have even less says:

    We simply had to document our cat’s reaction to the exciting new sounds and sights. She came running to watch as soon as your video loaded. We all thank you for the biggest laugh we’ve had all day. Merry Xmas, and gesundheit!

  14. kate mckinnon says:

    I play Free Rice every night until I get to 50, and it knocks me back down. Which happens fairly quickly after arriving. If you check the box and have the game remember you, it starts beating you up the second you arrive onto the site. No nice easy warm-up. It was my incessant playing of Free Rice that allowed me to translate Michelle Pfieffer’s character in Stardust, Lamia, as “vampire.”

    Alison, that video was funny. And your house looks… cold. And your kitten is cute. Hey you guys, what is that on Suzanne Somers’ lip in Ellen Forney’s new Lustlab cartoon? You can check it out on her blog, which is reachable here:

    I’m trying to puzzle it out and can’t. It looks like she is eating a moth, or has a little bow in her mouth. I’m missing some critical clue.

  15. DSW says:

    it’s a lip piercing.

  16. Wendy says:

    oh my god…
    You get to 50 on free rice every night!!!???

    I love that game, but I can usually only get to 48, I’ve only been to 49 a few times, and I have never been to 50.

    Congratulations, you rock.

  17. geekyfemme says:

    the only toy my cat will play with is a fake leather mouse that sometimes looks real to me. I wish she would play with a toy that does not in any way resemble a real mouse.

  18. kate mckinnon says:

    Of course, two lip rings. I totally did NOT get that. Ha! Now it’s obvious. Thanks.

    Wendy, you will definitely get to 50. You will start to learn the words, and when they pop up again you are going to remember them. It really does help pound those words into your brain.

    It won’t let you stay at 50 very long though, I’m lucky to last three turns. I play til I hit it, and stay til I’m knocked down. It’s usually a good twenty minutes of brain activity, nice and thinky right before bed.

  19. FREE RICE! Oh my god, I’m addicted. I kept going and going until I hit vocab level 50, best level 50. Then I quit while I was ahead.

  20. Ellen O. says:

    I’m addicted to Free Rice too. But hey — learning new vocabulary and donating food ? Could be far worse additions. Have only made it to 49 without cheating.

    I’ve noticed that the correct answer is often the longest definition, such as “pollenated by insects.” I also know much more about body armor than before I started. My favorites include “vair” – (squirrel fur), “raddled” (worn out) and grimalkin (older female cat).

  21. ahahahahahaaaa! I played again and held on at 50 for a long time, trying to get higher. Then it occurred to me to stop and read the FAQs and see if it was even possible to break 50. It’s not.

    I am the championnnn!

  22. towheedork says:

    15 minutes of miring myself at 44-45. Y’all need a coat-check girl?

  23. Feminista says:

    U didn’t get 50, BUT I did play for awhile and reached 33,000 grains/points,which translates into about 15 lbs.of rice. Thanks to my bro-in-law the biochemist for th’ quick calculation.

  24. Feminista says:

    Um,that should be I not U above.

    And mid-40s isn’t bad. Certainly much more than Regis,Kelly or W would get. We may not be rich,but we’re smart,and we’re on the right,er,left side. Yay Orangists!

  25. towheedork says:

    3760 grains and I’ve 49ed a few times, but am still sadly averaging 47. Shakespeare has saved my butt more than once; the architectural terminology and local names are doing me in, tho’. Will continue to flounder for the cause. 🙂

  26. towheedork says:

    And here I always thought Zax was strictly Seussian. Huh.

  27. Deena in OR says:

    Couldn’t quite crack 50. Man, that’s addictive. I’ve forwarded the link to all the word geeks (read: my close relatives and my supervisor) in my life.

    Alison, I’m not surprised at your consistent 50’s. Particularly when one considers the impressive range of AngloSaxonisms at your command (teasing, teasing!!!)

  28. kate mckinnon says:

    Alison, now what you have to do is let the program remember you, and now each time you log on it will begin battering you with obscurity immediately. It continues to get more challenging, I promise you. And they have a team of geeks on the case adding more words for people like us. Complacency is not an option. Declarations of championship are fleeting.

    Go forth and Fulgurate! (emit flashes of brilliance, like lightening.)

  29. meg says:

    I get 50.

    and, yes, I’m proud. 🙂

  30. Okay, I signed in so it’ll remember me.

    And now I’m properly humbled.

    My favorites are the obsolete articles of clothing–surtout, capote, farthingale–which I think I must know from reading too many Victorian novels at an impressionable age. What a pleasure to be able to put that pointless knowledge to use.

  31. lurkalot says:

    Yes! A the bits of armor, stored from medieval romances and the biography of Eleanor of Aquitaine read a dozen times in the 8th grade. Missed “mazzard” because I didn’t see any answer corresponding to Bertie Wooster’s use of that word.

    Oh, so briefly achieved 50.

  32. lurkalot says:

    AND the bits of armor . . . .

  33. Ellen O. says:

    Here is my lexiconic confession…

    Occasionally in FreeRice I choose the correct answer but don’t actually know what either word means. Such as profligate = dissolute. As a child, I acquired the bad habit of skimming over words I didn’t know without looking them up (because I didn’t want to tear myself away from the story.) Often, I only had a sense that something was negative or positive.

    Also, I often muddle series of words, such as “puissant, picayune, and pulchritude” and “indolent, insolent, obdurent, obtuse, and abstruse.” Playing this game has been a good opportunity to straighten them out. It makes me want to read a “Latin for Dummies” book. (Does one exist?)

    May you all be free from periphrasis on this brumal day.

  34. Blushing Girl says:

    I have to say, seeing that you’re wearing an ear-warming hat indoors on Christmas Day made me really happy I’m in Northern California. I love the way the cat wanders over while you’re trying to make the toy work, and immediately lies down in the box. Children and cats… we should just give them boxes. (I’m off to check out Free Rice…)

  35. iara says:

    Here’s to not having a life! Here is to free rice! Here’s to making it to 50 and to many pounds of rice. And, above all, here’s to triple-treats from AB during the holidays!

  36. Aunt Soozie says:

    Ellen O, me too…only I sometimes attribute my correct guesses as tapping into some unconscious absorbed knowledge or maybe ESP. I like the ESP theory better though. As a child I used to read the dictionary…my mother would joke about it. I think that old habit has helped me with words too…not with grammar though… Sometimes I still find myself, when looking up a specific word, getting drawn in and reading other entries.

  37. Deena in OR says:

    Blushing Girl-boxes and children and cats, indeed! I watched my 2 year old nephew open gifts yesterday and chuckled to see how my brother and his wife had conditioned him…if there were items that needed to be liberated with sharp instruments, they had taught him to climb into the box that the gift came in and wait and watch until they extricated the toy. Pretty ingenious, actually.

  38. andrewo says:

    Alison you might invest in a laser pointer (about $8.95?). My cat enjoys chasing the red light around though after a while (a) she figures out I’m controlling it somehow (b) she gets bored if i try it too often.

  39. The Cat Pimp says:

    The best I could do at the rice game was 45. I feel like such a drooling prole.

    Its comforting to know that I am not the only person to unbox a new gadget in a fuisillade of profanity and invective.

  40. martinet says:

    Oh, lord. I’m now addicted to Free Rice, thank you very much.

    Although I did find out that “testa” means “seed coating.” Appropriate for a game that DTWOF led me to, I suppose. Does this mean that Mo has a hard shell? Or one that can crack to allow for growth?

  41. Feminista says:

    Her full name then is Monica Testa.And I would go with the thought that our heroine is capable of growth. I don’t recall hearing about what brand of Euro-American she is. We do not that she’s not Jewish,her mom is territorial about the crossword puzzle,both her parents are good liberals,her brother Scotty is the token golf-playing conservative,and her niece is sweet. I think it’d be great to have the Testas and the Krokowskis meet.

  42. anon-eponymous says:

    How about a real, live, mouse? Much more environmentally friendly than some battery-powered, radio-controlled bit of plastic. Bio-degradable, too.

  43. Lori from Strand says:

    Everything I’ve ever bought from Sharper Image was crap! I’m glad you cat killed it! What a cutie!

  44. a lurker says:

    there is a new Latin for Dummies book out, interestingly. given sort of a short review in the human interest/current events portion of a New Yorker from maybe two months ago? so it can’t be too old, although I can’t remember exactly how long ago it was.

  45. Wolfblade says:


    Dude, lame! Although, it is fun to see the confused reactions on my sister’s face as I yell out things like, ” ‘Sebaceous?!’ What the hell sort of word is ‘sebaceous’?” at the computer.

  46. violetta says:

    29 !!! well English is not my mother-tongue…what if there was the Italian version “RISO LIBERO” !?
    It’s funny,
    I know words like acrophobia, secular and feral, but I ignore terms like ‘dull’ or ‘sloppy’… what do they teach in Italian public school???

  47. meg says:

    once I clicked the ‘remember me’ button, my reality dropped – seems to between 45-49, NEVER 50. dammit.

  48. Alex K says:

    “Jaggery” can’t mean sugar. That’s just silly.

    I hate bouncing back to 49.

  49. Kate L says:

    The Feline Frolic video reminded me of the Confuse-A-Cat skit on the old Monte Phyton Flying Circus TV show!

    Does that show my age???

  50. Feminista says:

    Kate L,don’t worry. My niece and nephew,ages 24 and 20 respectively,are great Python fans and can quote the skits with impunity.

    Violtetta,no need to worry either. I’m sure you did better than many North Americans who grew up here. Sadly,we have a near-epidemic of reading-challenged citizens. A recent survey found that 27 % of all Americans didn’t read a book in 2006.

  51. Feminista says:

    Thant’s Violetta,ma donna.

  52. towheedork says:

    Between the buttkicking of Free Rice and PBS showing Word Play, it was a humbling evening of word-media Dec. 25. Some people can solve the NYT crossword in TWO MINUTES? Um. Declarations of drooling prole solidarity on Alison Bechdel’s blog might be unfitting. But here we are, drooling away and giving rice, anyhow. 🙂

    If only I’d had access to Amphigorey in my formative years! It would have given me a better position on that damn rice game. I just borrowed it from the library and, wow, horizons are being expanded. I’d only known Gorey from his illustrations in John Bellairs’s books. Truly I was missing out.

    And I can report that the video that started this all takes
    about 45 minutes to load when one commands 46.6 blazing dial-up; it was worth it. Cat Exerciser indeed. Which of you got more of a workout?

  53. Andi says:

    Free Rice! I made it to 49 and then was so stunned that I promptly screwed up until I was back down to 45. As a teenager I played tennis, and during each match, whenever I made a good shot, I’d stand there and say, “Hey! Look at that!” only to get whacked by the ball being returned. So much for the competitive spirit.

    Hey, now that Alison is playing, look for Free Rice words in DTWOF.

    Here are some ideas…

    Sydney – “Bush has really anothropophagized the Constitution.”
    Ginger – “C’mon students, use your prosencephalons!”
    Stuart – “Hey, anybody seen my plastron?”
    Lois – “Did you see that carabao on the front lawn?”
    Mo – “God, Cheney is so pharisaic.”


  54. Andi says:

    sorry, that’s “anthro”… not anothro!

  55. meg says:

    the definitions are a bit general at times, gotta say.

    like ‘growth’ for ‘tumor’… humph

  56. Duncan says:

    Feminista, there was a period of five years when I didn’t drive a car. That didn’t mean I was “driving-challenged,” only that I didn’t need to. When it came time to drive again, voila.

    Similarly, even if I deplore the fact that Americans don’t read — despite the plenitude of literary greats as Ann Coulter, David Walsch, and Rita Mae Brown — “don’t” doesn’t equal “challenged.”

  57. Suz says:

    Rita Mae Brown? For the cats that talk books, or have I missed something?

  58. Anonymous says:

    This quiz is almost as addictive as free rice

  59. ksbel6 says:

    I can’t believe none of you are StarTrek fans…AB, when you have the batteries in backwards you have reversed the polarity…many a StarTrek mission was saved by “reversing the polarity in order to change the space/time anomaly” that always made me laugh as I could picture a big huge battery in the middle of the ship being taken out and flipped 🙂

  60. ksbel6 says:

    Free Rice…41 and stayed there for a long time…that must be it for me.

  61. Ginjoint says:

    Anonymous, that geography quiz is awesome! I did better than I expected, but I’m still weak, with a level of 6.

  62. --MC says:

    The wire part of the toy looked appealing, but the wheeled part makes such a loud noise, our own cat would give it wide berth. It sounds like a lawnmower.
    I got her one of those fishing toy things once, with the pole and the wire with the feather at the end, and Isha played with it until she entered a state of hyperplay — she wanted to keep chasing it, but she was winded! Had to breathe huskily for a couple of minutes until she caught her breath. I’ve never seen a cat play to exhaustion before.

  63. Angi says:

    Your cat is braver than mine are — both would be very intrigued by the whirlygig at the top, but the little motorized car at the bottom would have sent one into the basement to hide under the oil tank with a VERY puffy tail, and the other to crawl onto my shoulder and look from a safe and high distance. Ah well. What is $20 wasted for the love of a sweet cat?

  64. Jana C.H. says:

    I made it to Level 11 of the geography quiz, but I expected better. Part of the problem was the scale of the map, but I confess I don’t know the Central Asian republics as well as I should, and with some of the islands I consider myself lucky to have gotten the right ocean.

    Jana C.H.
    Saith JcH: Cartographers do it to scale.

  65. AnnaP says:

    I absolutely hate Free rice, it is extremely addictive and I totally suck in it, my best was 35.

  66. notpeanut says:

    I think Alison already uses free rice words in D2WO4– I learned “jejune” from Mo.

  67. Feminista says:

    Agree with you Jana on the probs with the map scale and the more obscure islands and -stan nations.

  68. Jana C.H. says:

    In case these quizzes send us too far off-topic (though the English language is never off-topic around here), I’ve re-posted the links to both quizzes over at Maoist Orange Cake

    Yes, I’m hyping my blog! Why not?

    Jana C.H.
    …hoping to catch the over-flow…

  69. Jana C.H. says:

    At least I’m not hyping my individual blog, The Flying Sasquatch


  70. Feminista says:

    I got to level 10 (very difficult),being most challenged in Africa and the islands around Indonesia and Micromesia. And Jana,you’re never off-topic,but always amusing.

  71. Deb says:

    OK……………after reading all this about Free Rice, I looked, played and got hooked! Made it to 50, then realized I had been sitting there for a LONG TIME. Goddess!! I actually learned some new words! Cool!

  72. Jain says:

    I am taking Free Rice and the Geography site Right Off my bookmarks as soon as winter break’s over, and the ever-diligent schoolteacher life resumes.

  73. Dr. Empirical says:

    I kick ass at the science words (those little bumps around your nipples are sebaceous glands BTW) and my Dungeons and Dragons years gave me a good medieval vocab, especially arms and armour, but Alison’s strong point, the Victorian words, are my weak point. Outside of the Reverend Doctor Dodgeson, Victorian literature is a closed book to me.

    Any recommendations?

  74. LA says:

    Don’t feel bad. At least your cat didn’t get diapers from “Santa” like my Jack Russell, Guy did. He is now vowing to leave old Santa a box of Depends to go along with his cookies and milk next year…

  75. geogeek says:

    Dr. E: I got a lot of the Victorian vocab from growing up with Dickens other Victorian plays, and later from reading everything George Eliot ever wrote and loving it. I never got quite as interested in Austen, though she’s also pretty good. THen of course you could alway take a stab at Henry James. THe 18th century novels are about the last place I have left where I am forced to look up words. If you’re more of a science geek, go back to the original scientists of the era, they’re an excellent read and frequently you say to yourself “How clever!” about their analogies and reasoning – and sometimes “So that’s who said it!” about useful turns of phrose for expressing scientific ideas.

  76. Deena in OR says:

    Off thread-
    Alison, nice promos on Alien Boot Camp!

  77. Dr. Empirical says:

    geogeek: I’ve read a few Dickens, and have a few more sitting in the “to be read’ section of my library. Austen and Bronte don’t much interest me, and the one Henry James I read in High School induced seizures of boredom, but that may have been a response to being forced to read him by one of the worst teachers in my educational career.

    I’ve also read some Darwin, but I always reacted to the things he got wrong, or the many times he stated the very obvious, without acknowledging that it may not have been obvious at the time. Maybe it’s time for a re-analysis.

    One thing I’ve always meant to do is read some of the scientists that have since been debunked, like Lamark. I think I’ll seek them out instead of waiting for them to come to me.

  78. Tera says:

    for some reason every time I heard you use profanity I got a little shock. I guess it’s because you are so intellectual and articulate in your posts. It made the obscenities all the more enjoyable!

  79. Alex K says:

    @ Dr. Empirical: Trollope; the six Palliser novels, with the possible exception of CAN YOU FORGIVE HER? (which might better be named CAN YOU BE BROUGHT TO CARE ABOUT HER?), are grand fun, and will have you Wiki-wacky looking up details of Wilhelmine / early Victorian political skulduggery.

  80. andrewo says:

    Alex k you could not be more right about “Can Your Forgive Her?” I had a hard time forgiving Trollope for that one. “The Eustace Diamonds” was fun, but I’ll take Dickens or Eliot any day over Trollope (though I did meet someone on the subway recently who was working his way through the entire Trollope canon — oog).

  81. iara says:

    Speaking of reading lists, I am finding it more fun to work my way through the Fun Home canon right now!

  82. Silvio Soprani says:

    Although the Masterpiece Theater made from Trollope’s BARCHESTER TOWERS was really excellent. Donald Pleasance played the Warden. (I think the whole thing was made in the 80s but I could be off by 5 years or so.)

  83. Lizzie from London says:

    Have enjoyed Wild Rice (hover round the 50 mrk) and have pased it on to lots of friends – so exponential time wasting going on.

    Re Victorian literature: Barchester towers and all those are great. I never got on with the political ones but then I’m not very interested in politics and the British system really.

    Try Henry James again, Dr. Emprical. Start with something like The Bostonians. The late (great ) ones require a tuning in to his prose style but they are wonderful subtle studies in the way people try to control each other – and often succeed. The Golden Bowl is particularly chilling on this front.

    Wilkie Collins The Woman in White and The Moonstone re gripping, and Basil is fabulous melodrama.

  84. Anna says:

    This has nothing to do with rice nor Victorian literature. But I was just pageing my copy of Fun home and a chair in the page 75 caught my eye.
    Did they have Eero Aarnio`s chair at the library?

    Just a curious person from the country those were designed asking…

  85. Kevin says:

    So what’s worse? spending Christmas making the video or my watching it on New Year’s eve? At least your cat played with the damn thing, mine never touch any toys I bring home, preferring to rip into the wrapping paper, boxes etc.
    Happy Holiday(s) anyhow and a festive turning of the calendar.

  86. etb says:

    Having discovered that Utilikilts are real, I was laughing all week. I thought it was just another instance of AB’s sense of counterculture. Too funny! Their website features brawny men doing manly things in kilts, like welding or getting tattooed.

    Free Rice is very fun–thanks for mentioning it.
    But I have a niggling complaint. They say “demimonde” means “mistress”. humph.

  87. Jana C.H. says:

    etb– I noticed the same; “mistress” was the only definition they offered that even came close. I can’t think of a one-word English translation for “demimonde”. It would take a sentence, or maybe a whole paragraph.

    Jana C.H.
    Saith Floss Forbes: If you don’t know the tune, sing tenor.

  88. Feminista says:

    Yes,eth,there really is a Utilikilt. I’ve seen several 20- and 30-something lads wearing them in Portland,OR. Given that UK’s HQ is in Seattle,and young Portland men are SO hip and cool,it makes sense. And they’re more comfortable than pants.I’ve often pitied men for their limited fashion choices. Wish more women’s clothing were designed for durability and comfort,though.

  89. Ian says:

    Happy New Year everyone! !Un bueno ano nuevo!

    For the non-stereotypical cat lovers (and AB who I think will appreciate this one) here’s a fab animation on YouBoob:

    Delightful …

  90. Yeah, that cat animation is pretty funny, Ian. Someone else posted it here a month or so ago.

  91. Ian says:

    I’ll never keep up with this zeitgeist thingy, will I? *blushes* Oh well, what’s wrong with a few repeats? ;0

  92. Dr. Empirical says:

    I’ve seen utilikilts for sale at music festivals, but they’re rather expensive, and also require the purchase of an extra-wide leather belt.

    Thanks to everyone for their VicLit suggestions! I’ve spent my vacation going through the stack of over 100 consecutive issues of Fantastic Four I assembled over the past year or two. When I’ve finished that I’ll be ready for weightier fare.

  93. Silvio Soprani says:

    The Utilikilt seems to be a clever evolution of an earlier trend–sometime in the early 90s I remember seeing 20-something yr old men at music festivals wearing long skirts–elastic waist, gathered, so wide enough to sit down cross-legged without revealing everything.

    But these skirts did not have pockets. Nor did the sarongs that were also getting popular with men in the later 90s.

    I suppose it was only a matter of time before men missed their pockets. I know, speaking as a female, that the absence of pockets makes any garment a non-starter for me.
    Many people used to wear those waist-pouches, but they were a little too Shakespearean for me.