December 30, 2008

Is it just me?

Or is this the goofiest/creepiest looking MF you've seen all day? Possibly year? Even dumber; his name is CHIP SALTSMAN. I think he's in the wrong line of work, frankly.

December 29, 2008 we return to our show...already in progress...

It's mildly disorienting returning directly to work after an "away" xmas visit. For one, I was totally gearing up to sleep right until noon when my cell phone alarm jarred me back to work reality. Two, Everyone was steadily pulling down holiday decorations and stacking Christmas cards and we're still in December? Maybe I'm lazy or old fashioned, but the work on my desk is still 2008. I'll take down my lights in 2009, when my 2008 workload has left. Three, I ate way too much. My mom booby trapped every room of her house with Reese's cups, potato chips, and varying cakes and cookies. The refrigerator was a smorgasbord of meat trays and cheese wheels and beer!?

Anyways I don't really feel like I vacay'd at all. It's more like a nap where I ate alot and dreamed I fed deer in my yard. If it was a dream, then why do I feel so full? :)

December 24, 2008

Jesus is the reason

2008 Lists

Before I trek off to the internet-less mountains of Covington I thought I'd make some lists. It's the end of the year, I've been a good girl writing blogs with sorta real content - so here goes:

This is by no means all the music I was listening to this year - These were just some diamonds in the treasure chest of 2008. Most of these I loved the whole cd, so it was difficult to narrow down extreme favorites.

Leslie's 2008 Most Played Selections
1. Bloc Party - Ion Square
2. Shiny Toy Guns - Richochet
3. Kings of Leon - Sex On Fire
4. Paramore - Decode
5. Mates of State - Get Better
6. LadyTron - Burning Up
7. SantoGold - Lights Out
8. Vampire Weekend - A Punk
9. Pumpkin Soup - Kate Nash
10. Gnarls Barkley - Charity Case
11. TV On the Radio - DLZ
12. The Pierces - Secret
13. Coldplay - Life in Technicolor
14. Beck - Profanity Prayers
15. Beyonce - Single Ladies
16. Common (ft. Lily Allen) - Drivin Me Wild
17. Q-Tip - Gettin Up
18. Black Ghosts - Anyway You Choose to Give it
19. Black Kids - I’m Making Eyes at You
20. Metro Station - Shake It
21. MGMT - Electric Feel
22. Natalie Walker - Shadow
23. My Morning Jacket - Evil Urges
24. Belle and Sebastian, - Boy with the Arab Strap
25. Jose Gonzales - Teardrop

Looking forward to some new Deftones, Third Eye Blind, and hopefully Doves (where are you guys?!)

The NorVa’s Calendar was disappointing overall for 2008. 5 concerts is an all time low for me. Considering how much I enjoy them. The selections this year were just bad.
Some glimmering exceptions I actually attended this year -
Flogging Molly, Shiny Toy Guns,Dresden Dolls, Explosions in The Sky & Third Eye Blind

Some events of NOTE
Winefest - Spring Edition - Twice a year opportunity for public intoxication. Can’t be missed. Shouldn’t be.
Virginia International Tattoo - No idea how much planning goes into something, until you see it’s people in action.
India Fest - Henna tats will make you want real ones.
Barack Obama! - Nuff Said.
Spirit of Norfolk Cruise - Always wanted to see the other side of Norfolk. Unfortunately it’s alot of construction and storage units.
Nags Head - Was a nice break from work and a torturous cut-off from the internet and my local fanfare.
OEF Triple Threat Summit!- 3 cities, 3 girls, 3 Days.
That’s just how we roll. Trains, Metros, and automobiles.

December 22, 2008

Not so stolen...

Over the weekend, I temporarily misplaced my debit card. In a moment of extreme paranoia, I called and reported the card stolen only to find the card chillin in my purse a mere hour later. I tried to call back and report “Dumbass” vs. “Stolen” to no avail. Thus began the cardless waiting game and right before the holidays none the less.

I’m still not entirely sure it’s a bad thing, considering my alpha Christmas list has been handled already. Actually handing cash over at Bottom Dollar last night made me realize that maybe I should purchase milk instead of martini olives and evaluate how much groceries to purchase immediately preceding a homecoming.

I always buy enough perishables to feed an army, go home and come back to the creatures from Little Shop of Horrors singing “Feed Me Seymour” in my fridge.

Anyways mess ups teach you how to do it right the next time, or so one of my friends said a long time ago...I think. Something like that. Whatever. :)

December 19, 2008


I bought 6 tix to our company's raffle. Recession schmession! I'm winning this year people. The 5 year drought will end today.
That turkey is mine!

December 17, 2008

Shake Your Maraccas, SHAKE THEM NOW!!

So this past Monday while wearing a particularly fragile shirt, I marveled at how I made it through the day stain free. No mustard, no chilli, no soda. While I don’t try to be a messy eater, somehow food seems to launch itself at me, or I fling myself into it. One way or the other, I wear it.

Testing my limits of luck and endurance, I picked up a barbeque sandwich from Dog’N Burger. It was a testament to deliciousness in foodkind. In a particularly out of character move, I sat down to eat in the kitchen. LJ (4) oogled at the sandwich and gave the extremely cute face, but his mother hates it when I spoil his dinner so I did the firm “NO” and took on a sorta hunchback position to further enforce the NO. (I resembled Baby Cat when someone attempts to take her chicken or turkey) LJ responded accordingly by telling both his parents on me, and then THEY reacted by staring at my sandwich and requesting pieces too. I normally purchase for ALL when I go out to eat, but I had a Chic-Fil-A vendetta against Tiesha and Co., so I ate the sandwich slowly, methodically, and tormented them with jokes. It FELT right.

An evening stable at my house is Dora and Diego hour. It’s a win win. They teach me Spanish and LJ dances. I went to get Terry (5 months) so we could shake our “maracas”. Basically Dora tells you to do something, waits, and then repeats the command louder. Not wanting to upset Dora, I sorta twisted round and round with Terry and was sorta mimicking the maracas with his hands (no I was not shaking the baby!). After after about 20 minutes of Dora we sat down.

and............... Terry threw up everything he’d eaten for the day err week all over my shirt.

The Moral:
Don’t eat in front of others unless you have something to share (oh and it angers the gods when you don’t do EXACTLY as Dora Says.)

December 10, 2008

Christmas is so gay.

My sister and I happened upon these gems at the local home & garden store (which is mostly a Christmas store, actually). This iPhone picture totally does not do them justice. "Clint", the gay cowboy merman (left) is 8 inches tall. There are several more, and I definitely plan to at least pick up Jack Hammer before the season is over.

I don't know why I love these things so much. They're just totally random & I think the perfect example of how ridiculous Christmas really is.

And yes, that is leather-pants-era Elvis serenading the fellas. And yes I purposely have him straddling a red chrimmas light.

From Leslie's Despair Calendar....

I was hanging my multicolor light set around my bulletin board when I noticed this months artwork from my despair calendar. This isn't the exact same one, but I whipped this one together real quick for your viewing pleasure.

Made me laugh. :)

December 4, 2008

Pony-o-rama December 2008

1. Overdrafts
Last month I was certain Wachovia was involved in a coup to make Leslie bankrupt. I watched helplessly as my bank seemingly re-ordered the timing of my bills for maximum overdraft penalties. I’m currently working on a chart to illustrate my mood swings as related to cash flow and the devastation of needlessly lost monies, in addition to a chart on friends “helpful” budget advice as I lay motionless in black hole of despair.

2. Twilight
Since Harry Potter ended - I’ve been floating aimlessly on a sea of books that I seem to purchase and never read. I read (past tense) literature in college. I know great works when I see it. Life doesn’t allow me to sit still and look up all the words I don’t know in a Jane Austen novel or let me spend time wiki-ing the foreign policy alliterations in Persepolis. Enter Twilight -- it’s no Harry, but it’s a fun easy read. It’s the Gossip Girl of my otherwise smart TV lineup. It’s the chocolate in my diet of apples - and it’s the reason I’ve been coming to work sleep deprived from reading the past few weeks.

3. The Po-Po
Sigh, I have long running issues with law enforcement.
This morning FEDERAL FBI AGENTS..stopped me outside my townhouse to ask about my neighbor. She did something VERY bad apparently. Prior to the agent’s questioning, I dropped all my stuff and just stood still and the lady cop (who did not look like Scully btw) was like "No, no, we just want to ask you some questions - you can hold your purse!" I’ve become such a ball or paranoia, I assume I’ve unwittingly done something wrong first.
I have one unpaid parking ticket and a few late medical bills. I keep wondering if that puts me in the same group as drug dealers and armed bingo hall assailants.
I suppose I should practice making wine with apple juice and old socks. At least then I can still carry on my happy hour traditions in the big house.

4. Gaming Systems
I want a Wii or an XBox. I have no time, less than no money, but I want one. I played Rock Band last March and have been hooked ever since. I want to play D.C. vs. Mortal Kombat. and then I want to play House of the Dead, and then I want to play Guitar Hero. I remind myself it’s a WANT, not a need. Then I look around my room for things to sell on Craigslist.

I can’t stop watching this show. It’s become my latest “where did this show come from” find. The good - It got me away from L&Order marathons. The bad - I worry no doctor I see is as good as House. What if my bug bite is not a bug bite, but a rare strand of Red Pine Chicken Paratoxia?

6.Pumpkin spice & Chai tea
Last year for Christmas, my friend Sunny gave me a gift certificate for Starbucks....and a year long addiction to pricey warm beverages.

December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving Recap

My holiday was good. Since Mom didn't cook..there was no overeating! Malcolm was extremely pleasant (at least to my face). Mom gave away the Elvis lamp and the upstairs was actually WARM thus proving my theory that the lamp was inhabited by my Aunt Nancy’s restless spirit. Remove the spirit the upstairs gets warm.

I returned early to the 757 on Saturday. I was going to stay right up until Monday morning, but it was callling for a “wintry” mix. Here that equals cold wet rain, in the Highlands that means slickery roads and overall trouble. Afton Mountain (in Charlottesville) proves to be particularly challenging as the fog is like driving through a dense bag of cotton balls.

Mom and I ate dinner with Malcolm’s son Howard and his wife’s family. While I felt a little nostalgic for the days when my mom was the house matron/hostess, I didn’t have to worry about my mother burning her fingers (and other parts) from spilled turkey juice. There was little talking, so in these quiet moments of eating I wondered why I only eat Stove-Top stuffing once a year when it’s so easy to make and so readily available.

Judy has taken up photography on some of the hardest of animal subject material. Her Nikon Coolpix probably imagined it would have been shooting Christmas trees or flower gardens but instead is being used for Hummingbirds and Deer. She’s getting the animals near her, I’ll give her that - but they are green and brown blurs.

The deer are actually quite fascinating ALIVE. I’m used to seeing them in varying faces of death on the side of the road and in my Uncle’s truck. My mom has 7 deer. 3 Does, 3 Bucks, and 1 little one. The does (& child) play along the side of the house at dusk. They routinely eat all the bird food as well as the medley of foods Judy leaves out for them at night. The bucks stand cautiously near the edge of the woods keeping vigilant. I credit the bucks for being 10x more wary than their female counterparts. Just because my mom is fantastic doesn’t mean everyone is.

Case in point:
I never pictured myself to be the Jane Goodall type, but when random hillbillies rode through to spotlight the deer - me and Malcolm ran to turn on the porch lights like action heros. I felt a little crazy activating my cars alarm system and flashing the porch lights but it did the trick and the deer scattered, foiling the would-be assassins plan.

I believe there’s no dignity in shooting a deer in someone’s yard. It’s like hunting a domesticated cat. What does it say about you slaying something that will walk right up to you, especially near a neighborhood filled with sleeping Grands and childre? I couldn’t even give them a poaching or hunger benefit of the doubt. Call me crazy, but if you have enough money to buy a .22, a compound bow and arrow, and a 2009 F150 with halogen beams - then you probably aren’t hunting for food purposes.

We avoided black friday shopping altogether and I felt good about that. There’s nothing I can think of that I want so badly as to risk getting trampled over. I was shocked that in the news footage in NY after that man was killed people were still shopping and looking over their purchases. I would have thought Wal-mart might’ve closed the store but..not so much.

Instead me and mom drove right past Valley View mall - straight to the movies then off to Hollins for dinner. Twilight was good save for one scene, that I laughed loudly and disturbed some of the nearby teens. This maybe the one instance where the book provides some much needed insight - I didn’t think it was acted badly at all. I do however think it’s hard for people who aren’t awkward to “be awkward”. Especially when awkward is more or less an internal for clumsiness.

In summary, Stuffing is wonderful. Spotlighting neighborhood deer is a sport for the morally inept. A discounted GPS probably isn’t worth dying or trampling someone over. Teen movies are teen movies. My mom is also not a photographer. :)

November 26, 2008

I am not a photographer.

I got to thinking yesterday about those holiday photo "cards" you get in the mail of people's kids; and for some reason decided it would be fun to make something like those but with my pets (since I have no kids). When I got home from work, I constructed a "studio" in my kitchen consisting of a red fuzzy blanket & some Christmas-y colored embellishments. It was pretty much a total failure. My sister, who promised to be my pet-wrangler, mostly just laid on the floor (inexplicably). Pancakes refused to go anywhere near the "set"...Lil had to be bribed with catnip, and Rufus refused to come out of his dressing room. So here's some results for early holiday enjoyment:

The only way to get Lil anywhere near the set was to spray concentrated catnip all over it.

Pancakes wouldn't sit nice on the blanket, but he would lounge everywhere AROUND it.

She actually looks like she's smiling here, huh? That's my layabout sister under the smiley face.

I like this picture of Lil.

This would have been a really nice picture of Pancakes; but again, I am not a photographer.

The only halfway decent picture of the whole session.

November 25, 2008

Lord of the Puppies

Things are kind of quiet at work today; I presume most non-essential personnel have already started their holiday. I decided to check out Puppy Cam this morning to break the monotony. To my horror, as Hench described before in a text message, the puppies had gone all LA riots on the Pee Pad. I took a series of screenshots to document this dark day in puppy history. Also; someone was pooping in picture #3.

November 24, 2008

OEF Scientists - Christmas Embargo

After putting together hundreds of charts for my day job, I'm beginning to see the merits of these things. It's simple really, you plug in data and look for disparities. Sharp inclines or declines are signs of major change. A steady line or overall even-ness indicates a balance or a plateau. In order to charge the charts, you look at the factors involved and try to figure which aspects of it you can change. This year I decided to take a look at Christmas and analyze where my money is going and what kinda input I'm getting for my output.

Here are my findings:

The number of presents given to the number of presents received is staggering. That little slice of pie is less than the desert cup at KFC.
Plan to fix this: Give less presents.

The reason I'm not getting as much presents as I'm getting is simple, note the crap- present-people spike. I give these people nice presents and get LOTIONS - those are not presents..they are punishments. I'd rather have nothing than lotion.
Plan to fix this: Give less presents.

Finally, I'm getting crappy presents because the value of good presents vs. my actual present budget is pretty horrid.
Plan to fix this: Give Less Presents.

The holidays are tough. I figure I can buy a Cube of Mt. Dew and mail everyone I know a soda. No one is left out and nothing says Leslie like Mt. Dew.

Thank goodness I have the technology.

November 17, 2008

My .15 Seconds of Internet Fame

I've been a fan of Cake Wrecks for a few months...and my Monday was instantly awesome when I discovered that a wreck I submitted---this lil wonder here from my local ACME supermarket, was actually featured today.
I agree with some commenters that it's not a total executional wreck, aside from the smudged eyes & bleeding smile---but it's the subject matter that's baffling. Who's looking for an ear of corn cake?
This guy doesn't look particularly might have made sense in say, July, when Jersey is bursting with this type of corn.

November 13, 2008

Lil Bit, the foster wonder!

We had a foster dog last weekend! We only had him for 42 hours, but we still had him!

His name was Lil Bit. He is a Dachshund-Beagle mix, and he only weighed 13 pounds!

Isn't he adorable?

I picked him up on Friday night after work. He was so small, the transport lady brought him in a cat carrier.

He marked up our house, and humped everything that moved. Anytime somebody sat on the couch or the floor he would hump that person's back, and if anyone stood still, he would hump a leg. And he would hold on tight with his two front paws. I started spraying him with a water bottle, like you do with cats, and he would get this wounded look on his face, and slink away.

He also liked the cat tree, and jumped in it several times:

Shortie hated him because, well, all the humping.

The cats hated him too, at first. Then Barney got sick of Lil Bit coming into his territory (the bedroom) and chased him out and down the stairs.

When I realized it was really quiet downstairs, I peered over the railing and saw Barney just laying in front of the tv in the living room. He had been hiding behind a chair in the bedroom until then.

I leaned over a little farther and saw Lil Bit sitting on the arm of the couch, totally "treed" by Barney.

This is Barney:

On Sunday we took him to an adoption event, where this little Italian boy fell in love with him after Lil Bit licked his face. After much begging and pleading from the little boy, the family decided to adopt him.

They were the cutest family! The boy was 8 and his little sister was 5. Lil Bit was the 8 year old's birthday present. As I was leaving their house after the "home visit" the little girl hugged me, she was so excited.

And Lil Bit? His name is now Scooby!! Hahaha.

I hope he will be a good dog for them, and will stop all the humping. It might mess the kids all up.

Current Events

hot.cold.PEOPLE - A Craigslist like rant

I realize the double entendre in the title. I'd just like to take a moment to rant about a major issue I'm having with people of the opposite internal body temperature.

I grew up in a colder part of Virginia. School bus temps hovered in the 20/30's usually from the 2nd week of September on. That kinda cold requires coats, socks, thermal gear of sorts and at times those heat pockets that hunters use to keep their toes from growing numb. In the beginning, you shiver. You keep quiet and hover together, but after a few months of this - you start to adapt. I rarely if ever am cold.

Then I moved here. There's not really snow. Cold here is 40 degrees. I usually love the winter because I can hide my god awful shorts (which have been cut increasing worse as years go by). I go outside and love the cold (when it's not raining abysmally like today). I come to work and my office is 88 DEGREES. I'm wearing a turtleneck, a peacoat, scarf and gloves and get hit by equatorial-like heat wave. I immediately remove the clothes I can remove and try to get cozy in my office, but it's still 88 degrees in a turtle neck.

So today after a 3 month long heat endurance-a-thon with my coworker, I finally broke. Once she restored the heat to 90 after I turned it down to 70; I actually began to peel off my clothes.

"Burr, I'm so chilly" - she says.

I look at her with sweat dripping off my nose, REALLY?? I'm sorry, I'm going to start removing clothes. If you don't leave the thermostat alone I'm going to take off my clothes.

"The heat's been off for like..AN HOUR" - she says.

"I'm am really going to take off my clothes. I'm starting with my shoes. Your choice." And I meant it. I mean it.

Cold natured people, here's the thing: I'm sorry you are cold.
Here's what will help: don't wear shorts, short skirts, or blouses that require camisoles without camisoles. Coats are cute, fashionable, and fun. I don't want you freeze to death.

Questions I can answer about me:
75 degrees indoors is acceptable.
I don't want to run the AC in the winter either.
Am I cold with my sleeveless shirt? NO. I have a coat for outside and it's 88 in here.
I'm not having hot flashes or have any sorta sickness. It's hot in here!!

Sweat is for places that are not work. Heat is fine, but if you are THAT cold you need to go crawl under the house with the other vampires, find some blood and get it checked.

I realize that this is not a very nice blog, but I'm hotter than the pie maker at the end of Sweeney Todd.

An Email Forward posing as Content

Cattina sent me this and it reminded me of how my mom speaks in a voice for Baby Cat aka B*tch . And how G does a killer "Lil"...

I totally didn't write this and don't know who did but I think it's funny.

From a Dog's Diary

8:00 am - Dog food! My favorite thing!
9:30 am - A car ride! My favorite thing!
9:40 am - A walk in the park! My favorite thing!
10:30 am - Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing!
12:00 pm -Lunch! My favorite thing!
1:00 pm - Played in the yard! My favorite thing!
3:00 pm - Wagged my tail! My favorite thing!
5:00 pm - Milk bones! My favorite thing!
7:00 pm - Got to play ball! My favorite thing!
8:00 pm - Wow! Watched TV with the people! My favorite thing!
11:00 pm - Sleeping on the bed! My favorite thing!*

From a Cat's Daily Diary

Day 983 of my captivity.****
My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects.

They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I am fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets. Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength.

The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape. In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the carpet.

Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates what I am capable of. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a 'good little hunter' I am. Bastards.

There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of 'allergies.' I must learn what this means and how to use it to my advantage.

Today I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking. I must try this again tomorrow -- but at the top of the stairs.

I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches. The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released - and seems to be more than willing to return. He is obviously retarded.

The bird has got to be an informant. I observe him communicating with the guards regularly. I am certain that he reports my every move. My captors have arranged protective custody for him in an elevated cell, so he is safe. For now................*

November 10, 2008

Carolannarama, November 2008

I skipped this for '07, and I apologize for the lackluster showing here. I've been trying to get this done for almost a week, but I kept getting sidetracked. Anyway, enjoy.

1 . Fuzzle

I spend waaaay more hours than I'd like to admit playing this game on my iPhone. Sadly, that has not improved my score much.

2. Orange Soda

For the last few months, I've been on quite the orange soda kick. Not all the time, mind you. I'm still a mostly-Pepsi drinking gal, but Orange soda is creeping up in the ranks. As pictured here, A-Treat is the best orange soda on the planet. A-Treat is a soda maker based in Allentown, Pennsylvania and they make all kinds of crazy flavors like mango & grapefruit soda. If you ever find yourself in Pennsylvania, stop in a beer distributors for a sixer of A-Treat. You won't be sorry!

3. Puppycam!

Holy crap. Ever since Hench e-mailed me this link, my officemate Heather and I have been transfixed. We have identified distinct personality traits in the puppies (Purple can be an aggressive jerk, and Blue is a mellow fellow). I can't get enough of their fat little bellies. Gawker had an insightful commentary about the puppies and their meaning. All I know is that this is way better than owning an actual puppy. There's no chance of stepping in an illicit pee whilst wearing just socks on the way through the kitchen.

4. Charlie Gibson

Charlie is my man when it comes to network news. By the time network news rolls around, we've all read/heard about any pertinent news of the day, so we're not here to learn anything really. I just like Charlie & his tagline, "I hope you had a good day."

5. Glitter

I get tasked with lots of random things at the hospital; and among them is to decorate bulletin boards. This has fostered a rather alarming penchant for spray-gluing & covering things in glitter. The housekeeping people are thrilled with this.

6. Cringe

Back before the internet made it so easy & graphically pleasing to reveal your soul; people had to write in diaries & crap. This book is a compilation of teenage diary/journal entries with present-day commentary from the authors. Genius!

7. Kings of Leon

Just nice rock & roll, man; though I do enjoy all the lore about them. The drunken fights & songwriting.

November 4, 2008

5 Degrees of Long Line Wackadoodle

Hour 1: The Pro
I say to the people around me, "I've voted here before at least 6 times. It never takes more than 45 minutes. PLUS, we're here before the lunchtime push. This'll take an hour tops."

Hour 2: Denial
Upon seeing a disheveled red-eyed UPS truck driver emerging from the building shouting "6 HOURS! 6 HOURS!" My patient-energetic heart simply ignores Mr. UPS man. How can MY little precinct take 6 hours. I also ignore the Channel 13 News Team asking people how long they have been in line, in favor of discreetly listening to my ipod.
If I had a time machine Id watch this.

Hour 3: The Insanity of Hope

At this point, I'm in the elementary school with what felt like 2000 people and children and their grandparents cram/jammed in a little hallway. I start texting my friends for encouragement, but find that my frustration manifests in ugly ways. The smell of crayons and sweat and glue and rain all meld together. I wonder why my friends were in and out of the polling office in 2 hours or 2 minutes and I have been put in the purgatory mother of all hellish waiting lines. Hallway after hallway of people standing and people are texting me about HOPE. Wha....!!

Hour 4: Leslie vs. the Volcano.
If you have walked to the edge of a precipice, you mas well dive in. Me and the members of the line are no longer voters. We are a tribe. When one becomes tired, we find them a chair. If one becomes hungry we get them water. And if one tries to LEAVE, we remind them not of the election..but of how FAR we have come; how many hallways traversed, how many hallways unseen.

Hour 5: The Prize
When passing through the final gates, me and my tribe were rewarded with a small 2-inch trophy. Any other election this would be trivial, minutiae even but today it's an honor bestowed as a right of passage. The "I VOTED City of Norfolk" Award. I returned back into the sunlight to show off my badge to the "fresh meat" outside. I will have it laminated tomorrow.

I have never stood in line this long for anything. Not registering for class, a concert line, or even the COOLEST ride at any amusement park. It was an excercise in patience and I will sleep well knowing I did my part. Now I can complain.

November 3, 2008


The Philadelphia Phillies are WORLD FUCKING CHAMPIONS.
I've never claimed to be any sort of super sports fan or aficionado, but I do enjoy rooting for the home team. I was scorned in '93 at the tender age of 14 when Mitch Williams gave it up to Joe Carter; and I'd be lying if I didn't get a little misty last week over this whole thing.
It occurred to me, that through all of the BS that has transpired; between my 4 siblings and myself, that we were all doing the same exact thing at the same time---watchin the Phils win the World Series. And how different are since the last time that happened. It's so pithy, but still true.
I have a favorite Phillies/family memory that is decidedly un-PC. My dad had a VHS recording of when Michael Jack Schmidt retired (I think). We were watching it probably in '93ish, when Darren Daulton was the current catcher and resident giant hunk of manmeat on the team. On the tape, during the ceremony, a young Dutch Daulton came out to present something, looking about 14 years old and scrawny. Before I could even remark; my dad just said, "Yeah, that's when he was gay." It's totally wrong, but still hilarious and silly.
Oh, and that time that Mickey Morandini had an unassisted triple-play. That was kind of cool, too.

My TV Saving Grace

Mitch Hedberg had a joke about eating a good food with a bad food, and when they get to your stomach the good food would cover for the bad food. If this theory were to be applied to my television-watching habits; Mad Men has a lot of 'splainin to do.
I finally got around to watching the Mad Men Season 2 (and possibly series, boo) finale last night; and the scene with Peggy & Pete (pictured here, Elisabeth Moss & Vincent Kartheiser) makes me want to cry all day it's so good.
If they cancel this, and HBO or Bravo doesn't pick it up right quick, there will be beatings. That is all.

Leslie's um..diary:

Caffeine Intake -

1 - 24 oz 7-11 Pumpkin Spice (Obama Cup of Course)
1 - 20 oz Mt. Dew

Attempted Kisses made on my persons by Coworker Senior Gramma/Great Aunt types - 3 overall (only one today).
Declarations of Love by coworkers - 4 overall (one today by same C.S.G.G.A.T)

Coif/Mane Scale - 1 star (out of a potential 5) - I slept in much too late to fix it and at this point am happy I could find my brush.

Nothing extraordinarily spectacular is going on today. Most of my friends are just praying to the heavens that they can get out and vote in some sorta timely manner and that nothing goes wrong. Dems are accustomed to losing and coming close to the dream but never actually getting their hands on it. It's a cautious excitement going into Nov. 4th. I have put my pins and propaganda away for the moment in favor of a silent eye gesture until Wednesday. Hopefully then, I'll be moonwalking around my building, with a matching Jacko "yeehee, wooooo" sound.

It'll be sad not to see Tim Russert with his dry erase board tomorrow, but I have no doubt Chuck Todd will make us proud.

In the less monumentally important world changing news front, I'm working on acting like a feeling-non-robotic-part of the human race. I realized this morning I wasn't reacting appropriately when people use the "Love bomb" on me at work. A senior member of the human resources staff affectionately called Huggy Bear gave me a big unexpected hug and kiss (slightly west of my cheek) and then said she loved me. To which I responded, " well... - enjoy your coffee!!" and sorta fell out of her office." EEK! Another coworker looked at me and said scoldingly "Lessssslie??, Hug Her.." I did, but was totally bewildered at the whole interchange.
There's no crying in baseball (unless you were a BoSox fan prior to 2004) and no love declarations at work!

Co-worker P had/has a very noticeable sore throat issue and keeps saying she wants to take off tomorrow. To which I respond.."Do it. It's a good idea."
Then she responds.."well I think I will."
Then I say, "you should."
And she says, "well maybe".
At this point I'm thinking I'm not being asked, I'm just merely a sounding board while she voices these ideas out loud. It's not that I don't care, but P's work attendance really doesn't affect me at all and I have trouble fostering concern when I actually just don't care. Am I robotic?

Will be glad to get tomorrow over with for better or for worse.
Vote Yall!

October 31, 2008

Obamathon 2008

I have voted in every election I've been eligible to vote in. So it's always baffling to me when people say "I'm voting this time because it's IMPORTANT." Every election is important! Every election has been important. These issues however are a whole other blog.

I went to Harbor Park Tuesday with 22,000 other "socialists". I'll admit I passed a large portion of the line to find my friends at the front (sorry Norfolk's finest). I walked 2 or 3 miles to avoid traffic (no different from the Y except wearing much cooler clothes) and stood for 5 hours with my friends to see Barack Obama speak for 45 minutes. Was it worth it - totally. Was it important..yes. Was it historic..only if you make it that way.

Am I wearing my Obama t-shirt to the polls next week? Yes, but only under my work shirt. :)

October 23, 2008

Lame Poetry..October Edition

An Ode to My Favorite Day of Week

Thursdays are nice.

I've been hit on twice and I'm drinking a latte, a Pumpkin Spice.

No powerpoints in sight, I get paid late tonight, and Happy Hour will make me feel alright.


October 21, 2008


If I knew more about how to make a tag, I'd file this under blog content stolen from another blog that I thought was funny. I use trade gothic (and several other gothics all the time) so this one in particular cracked me up.

What does your font say about you?

October 15, 2008

Pardon the Dust..AGAIN

Much like with hair, blogs get restless and need a yearly sprucing. So check out OEF's next incarnation..

As I told my counterparts, I've been locked in a creative cave for more than a few months. Freelance, Lavaponyland, work crapola, & voluntary political endeavors have put a serious kabash on my daily journaling (complaining).

So we've done abstract and illustration - some nostalgia was in order.

October 14, 2008

Covington in 48 hours or less...

I made my annual October trip home this year and brought my friend Shei along for the ride. Given that we both had time limitations it was a quick day trip which was nearly canceled at least 23 times due to flake and commitment issues on both parties parts. As evidenced by said pictures though, all cancellation scenarios got resolved and we made it to Covington and back with time to spare.

There were pretty trees, lady bug swarms (again), an Indian (that Shei tried to charm into giving her free, an obese cat, desensitized deer, a pedicure, a fattening hotel mirror, and a "Leslie's in Covington Alert".

The lady bugs are starting to look orange this year, which a parks and rec's flyer attributed to the extended summer sun messing with their pigment. I think the deer have gotten used to my mom putting things out for them, and have realized that they are safe from hunters when they are in neighborhood yards. My cat has given up on going outside due to all the new animals in the area that either create new smells or view her as a Thanksgiving morsel - thus forgetting to attend to her physical fitness.

(I realize this post is moderately incohesive and disobedient of simple grammatical structures, but I'm tired and really wanted to post SOMETHING.)

Good times!

October 1, 2008

I needed this.

I had to put my cat, who went by too many names to mention---I called her Ging, to sleep last night. She was 16 and pretty frickin' awesome. So, needless to say, I'm pretty bummed out, but my office-mate Heather sent me a link that has brightened my day.

Passive Aggressive Notes is a website showcasing "painfully polite and hilariously hostile writings from shared spaces the world over". I have always been a fan of signs; handwritten, computer-generated, industrial, from god, whatever.

I learned at the waterpark that if you have a sign, no matter how preposterous the concept, you are right. This may not be true, but it's one of those things that I came to believe at a young age, and therefore will never let go.

Also, I'm always intrigued when I come upon a random sign prohibiting a certain behavior, because it makes me wonder what had to happen for a sign to be made. I also feel a certain amount of pride when a sign is erected because of some foolish behavior of mine.

A big draw on Passive Aggressive Notes is office-related signs/memos/notes. I am totally guilty of crafting overly complex signs & notices for mundane things---and I don't care how annoying they are. I love making them! You'll never stop me!

September 17, 2008

Not Much Up

I've been feeling sort of blech lately. Kinda tired, a little coughy, generally uninterested in things. But while uploading some pictures from my memory card today, this picture of Rufus made me laugh out loud.

Caption contest?

September 11, 2008


Click on image to enlarge....
Attention OEF Readers (but just the ones that actually like me..)

I'm celebrating my Birthday with several friends (you may know) at Baxters, this Saturday from 9 to whenever.....

It's casual..think Happy Hour on Saturday. I'd love to see some peeps that haven't came out in awhile. Presence not "presents" is all that I'd like. Buying me or one of the other virgos a shot would be fantastic, but not required.

All zodiac signs are welcome, but extra hugs should be given for those who have August and Sept. Bdays.

Air Hugs!

September 2, 2008

Dinner table guffaws

Eating dinner with my family tonight, with television on, this ad made all of us totally lol. The hug picture got us. Good one, Barry!

August 13, 2008

Ask a 20 year old..

One of my close friends has a 20 year old sister, who in turn has 20 a posse of 20 something friends. That attend TCC, VCU. and ODU respectively. I ran into one of the posse members at Macarthur and here is a rough draft of our exchange.

L: Hey B, how’s it going?
B: Good, bored here (at mall) stressing school.
L: You have a full course load?
B: Yeah, I’m taking alot of electives, my mom says I’m a professional student.
L: No problem with that! Stay in school forever, the job market stinks. (This has been my answer to any question regarding college since 2002).
B: You should go back.
L: Really? I’ve been thinking about it for awhile. (Now here I ask a rhetorical question, I walked right into this trap but my reasoning for college or not again would be an essay so I follow by saying:) Are you sure I’m not too old? - (29 to her fresh 20)

B looks uneasy. Moves back from me a few feet and says.

B: Well YOU MIGHT BE, there’s alot of younger folks at TCC.
L: Really?! Not any older people there just going to school to learn a trade or something?
B: No..not really. I mean you shouldn’t quit your job. I mean, YOU DON’T WANT TO BE ON WELFARE.

I capped only the words that I heard. Translation: OLD and UNEMPLOYABLE.

If you want support ask your mother, if you want what you “should” do ask your friends, BUT if you prefer an emotioinal kick in the junk then ask a 20 year old.

I think I will torment her by inviting her to Baxters and laughing when she’s not allowed in. I mean there’s alot of “OLDER” people at bars. She’d feel odd.

August 12, 2008

Dear Diary

Acts of Douchery - August 2008 Edition

At G's Suggestion last year I began keeping a running log of infringements committed UPON a one miss Leslie Paxton at work. I thought it might be good to have such things documented for as far as I can see, some of that stuff is (and if is isn't it should be) illegal. I'm still gainfully employed by same location, so I still can't publish my "douchery" log. I won't ever publish that stuff probably as I will need to work until I'm 70 (80 if social security poops out on our generation). Yes, I read all that stuff I get from my IRA provider.

Since I have nothing good to say lately I thought I'd point out some of my own personal badness in hopes of somehow improving my non blogging situation. Life after all is both light and DARK. Shit happens.

I went out to eat at Mike's Pizza yesterday. It was delicious. $10 dollars of delish to be exact. The day before $7 dollars of delish at KFC. The day before that $8 dollars of tasty goodness at Arby's and the DAYS before that countless Dog-N-Burger visits. If it wasn't bad enough that this is was financially immature and destructive behavior, it's also not too good on my health. The quick high of an Italian sausage pizza is quickly being replaced with dread over lazy bloaty feeling, heartburn, and declining balance in my checking account. I'm still running, but for the first time ever - I'm actually having to ice down my knees to calm their pain screams at night. It's looking like I'll need to out "think" my appetite rather than out "run" it.

LJ (aka fantastic god-son nephew 4-year old sunshine) went running with me yesterday and pointed out that I am an "dolt". A mispronunciation of "adult". "You're a dolt. You're a dolt. You're a dolt. AUNNIE PAGGIN." He pointed out a few minutes later after picking him up to tag a stop sign, "you're big and strong too." Which made me feel less like a "dolt" or "adult" for that matter.

I took a monumental step towards building a website. I bought my domain name. is mine. I am going to dedicate a complete blog on my quest to get this thing running real nice and professional. In summary though, it's going to COST.

I'm humming George Harrison from my mux tape as I ponder my webpage.

I got my mind set on you (x 4)
But its gonna take money
A whole lotta spending money
To do it right child

Its gonna take time
A whole lot of precious time
Its gonna take patience and time....

With that I'll leave you with a finger wag from the Colbert Report - if only because it made me crack up.

Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice said this in an interview with "My Hollywood crush? I've got lot's of them. Doesn't everybody like Denzel Washington?" Colbert issues a wag of his finger to Denzel, for distracting Rice from her duties.

August 5, 2008

The Fruity Mix

I'm killing two (or more, not sure yet) birds with one stone in this post. 1) I made a muxtape a few months ago after a tip from Brendan, and planned to yammer on here about it, and (2 I was driving home from work today, totally ADD-ing it up by skipping through songs lightning quick on the old iPod until I found one I'd like to sing.

The songs I usually want to sing are admittedly fruity. And, no, I don't mean "gay/homosexual" when I say fruity. Though, some of these songs are pretty gay. Take that however you want. Let me meander into a third bird, with a quick waterpark anecdote, to help explain.

A huge perk of working in the ticket booth at the waterpark was control of the music. We had a programmable six-disc changer ('member those?) that, if my boss/best friend's mom had her druthers, would play nothing but Boz Scaggs, Hall & Oates, and Jimmy Buffett non-stop. But we were precocious teenagers, and she tolerated our need to feel important, or interesting, or to curry favor with some hot lifeguard with a penchant for a particular Phish song.

One bright, shiny morning at the Jersey Shore, it was my turn to pick the music. There were only a few ground rules when it came to music at the waterpark. Not to loud, not too angry, definitely no curse words, and nothing that; should Jane (boss/friend's mom) be in a bad mood, would send her over the edge and sentence us to the locker booth for the rest of the summer.
That morning I thought I'd followed the rules, but I received life lesson/phone call from my manager, Katie, informing me that the "fruitiest song (she'd) ever heard" was playing and could I please change it immediately?

I remember the song, and though I liked it before this incident, I am still kind of embarrassed when it comes up on the iPod. It was "Accidentally Kelly Street" by Frente, and I have absolutely no defense for liking it. (Especially after I watched the first 25 seconds of the video I just linked.) It was this moment in time that I became self-conscious about my taste in music. For years after, I tried to craft my "public" musical tastes to whatever I thought made me look the coolest---Which is a totally fruity concept on it's own.

Anyway, a few years later, at that same waterpark, my bosses daughter & her friends were old enough to work, and had taken control of the music situation the same way Katie & I had before them. And they liked N*Sync. A lot. By the end of the summer, I'd gone Stockholm Syndrome, and believed that I also liked N*Sync a lot. When I returned to college that fall, I was in a record store with a friend, an english-department type, when "Just Got Paid" came on over the in-store. She was aghast that I was singing along, both shocked that I would know the words and be so bold as to let that fact be known in public. It was in this moment I let my fruit flag fly. I acknowledged that the song was indeed fruity, and I did indeed kind of love to sing it, but that doesn't cancel out all the "legitimately cool" music I like.

So yeah, here's my fruity mix. I'll try to keep the fruitiness rationale to a minimum, but will probably fail.

The Dismemberment Plan - The Ice of Boston : Mostly talk-singing, and at one point the protagonist impersonates his mom.

The Format - Dog Problems : I'm pretty sure they use a tuba in this song. Also, I imagine that this band would be the product if Rufus Wainwright & Ben Folds had a baby. Kind of over-dramatic, but definitely quirky. I love, love, love to sing this in the car.

The Bogmen - Suddenly : An oldie from DOX, a teeny-tiny radio station run out of a room over a guy (who I would come to work with as an adult)'s garage. The protagonist impersonates his girlfriend impersonating her roommate on the phone. Also mostly talk-singing and general silliness.

Material Issue - Going Through Your Purse : Another DOX gem. I actually always linked this song with "Suddenly" in my mind. Talk-singing. The lyrics are exactly what the title describes; a guy listing the things he found in his girlfriend's purse.

The Avalanches - Since I Left You: Creepy/haunting chorus floating amid a bouilliabase of sounds/music/talking. I'm not even sure this counts as a song, but I adore it.

Gomez - Cry On Demand: This song isn't all that fruity, actually. Besides the fact that the phrase "boo-hoo" features prominently in the chorus. Very fun to sing, though.

Mike Doughty - Real Love / It's Only Life: A remake of the song made famous by CeCe eniston in the early 90's. Some would find this provocative because it's a white guy playing an R&B/dance song on an acoustic guitar. I can't front: I loved this song in 7th grade. Also? I once had an AOL instant message conversation with Mike Doughty---someone on AOL's Soul Coughing message board posted Doughty's screenname, and I added him to my buddy list. Now, this is like, actual America Online, not AIM. Totally fruity.

Ween - Your Party : I'm pretty sure Ween meant for this song to be fruity with it's smooth saxophone stylings. Also, it's by Ween, whose only other song I know is called "Piss up a Rope", which cracks my shit up, and songs that are "funny" are automatically fruity as they are not serious musical compositions. Or something.

Animaniacs - Nations of the World: Besides being from a long, long defunct after-school cartoon that wasn't even that great in the first place (save for the They Might Be Giants stuff)...As a pre-teen I took this song as a challenge, and decided to memorize it. I had index cards and everything. I succeeded, and yes, I can still rattle off all the words, and yes, I understand how exponentially fruity that makes me.

Of Montreal - The Repudiated Immortals : There's not much I can pin down about this song as being particularly fruity, but this is precisely the kind of song that would cause Jane (waterpark boss) to make a face like she smelled a fart. I love this song to pieces because of all the doubling/tripling/whatevering of the vocals.

Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine - Sherriff Fatman : Ridiculous/awesome band name. Talk-singing. References to things relevant to England in the 80's. Just the kind of song that gets you looks from cubicle passersby.

Iron Horse - Float On : Bluegrass version of the Modest Mouse song. Banjos involved. Heather and I like to sing real loud in the office.

So there you have it. I don't think I've made much sense, but this was fun.

July 31, 2008

Sign my..retirement card?

I spent my whole day running around trying to get fellow associates to sign a card I drew for my retiring friend only to find out three of my other friends (coworkers) were leaving unexpectedly too.

Anyone know any good ruby shoe salesmen?

No place like home.
No place like home.

July 23, 2008

Mailbox, Open Mailbox

Saw this via Gizmodo. Wingdings makes it, though I would have liked to see my friend Trebuchet MS.

June 20, 2008

The "Carol-Ann"/Duck Captioning

I read G's comment to Aflac (which had absolutely nothing to do with ducks) and thought I would contest her statement to Bobby G's sandwiches.

I will state that if I had a time machine, I would go back in time 7 years to the ODU wine shop and order "The Carol-Ann". This sandwich taught me that yes bread is important, there are other meats besides turkey, and sandwich can be topped with sauces not just mayo.

After about 4 visits of following G and just saying - "I'll have what she just said."
I went in alone by myself and just looked puzzled at the selections (as I never actually paid attention to what went on G's sandwiches). After letting me try and guess, the guy just said -- "you want what your friend gets right?" and then "What's her name?". Hence the Carol Anne was born.

Interestingly enough my duck picture which I showed off at Happy Hour seemed to bring up other intriguing topics. Do ducks like milk? Do ducks have a tongue? Will ducks slurp at milk in a bowl? What are the ducks names? What are their feelings on smoking?

So readers I offer another challenge - caption those ducks!

June 19, 2008


Last week during the heat wave, this duck (and accomplice in background) tried to get into our building through the rotating doors. Most of us speculate that the animal was suffering from heat dementia as most of our building's inhabitants spend their days trying to get out, not get in.

On a cute side note, Mary from PR set out a bowl of milk and crackers on the back stoop where the smokers hang.

Me and other coworkers speculate they are here as vendors trying to sell insurance.

June 18, 2008

Hench ate a pickle once

I was once again cruising the popular stuff on delicious and came across this site, which is basically a portal to run filters on your pictures. Yes, I can totally do this stuff in Photoshop without the help of a website, but as I was trying it out, I chose this photo of Hench from our January summit (the NYC leg) and I just like it. It looks like she should live in that Waking Life movie.

June 16, 2008

Pretty Words

Found this website wandering around delicious the other day. The first thing that came to mind to plug in was Annabel Lee by Edgar Allan Poe, as I knew there were lots of repeating words to make for good word cloudiness.

We had to read this poem in tenth grade I think, and I always liked to read it out loud, as it could be kind of a tongue twister, and well, I'm just kind of nerdy like that.

June 5, 2008

The takeover, the breaks over...

It’s been a little over two months since my last blog - as G pointed out last night, “I’ve wrote say, the last NINE entries.” Long story short, my place of employment was purchased by behemoth in the brokerage industry and has left me and several of my colleagues left wondering where, if, and how to fit in. With the new found heat coming down on me, my creative writing time had the kibosh put on it with the quickness. I probably should have made an announcement of blog hiatus or seasonal blog leave but like most storms (career or creative) usually if you lie still and be a little patient it will blow over.

I was told to “embrace the change”. I embraced as people quit, as they let go, as they left. I embraced as the work coming through my office resembled graphics less and less and paperwork more and more. I embraced as my hours turned from 8-5 to 8-8. I embraced my lunches disappearing.

Now, six “where are you??” text messages later --I’m HERE. Hope I haven’t been gone too long.

May 19, 2008

data can be fun

This new site from the makers of I Can Has Cheezburger? had me snickering today. Mostly the music ones; as the ones where people are just trying to be funny on their own (aside from the pee one) are usually lame. I may have done better than Math 097-098 if they'd used some kick-ass Venn diagrams like this one.

Via Gawker, I think.

May 16, 2008

No one likes a mustache

Big bro Brian & some work pals in some unidentified foreign country. He asked me to remove a hanger-on.

May 12, 2008

Comedy, Tragedy

I've been trying to watch more movies lately, having reinstated my Netflix membership for the third time. I've quit twice before. When I first signed up, I was doing the 3 movies at a time deal, but that was far too overwhelming. I felt pressured to watch them and send them right back, to get my money's worth. The second time I think I went to 2 at a time, and instead of not watching them and sending them back and feeling guilty about not having watched; I forged some slap-dash movie copying operation where I would file the movies away to enjoy at my leisure. This lasted for about 12 movies before I tired of the operation, and to date, about a year and a half after the halt of operations, I may have watched 2 of these movies. 1.8, actually, as my copy of Match Point self-destructed at the penultimate scene. The rest are gathering dust in a card-file box under my bed.

So I've been doing better this time 'round, actually watching movies on a much more manageable one-at-a-time plan. This weekend I watched one Netflix movie, then one on actual TV, so I feel kind of accomplished.

The first, Death at a Funeral, was super funny. Like, screaming/laughing so hard my dog left the room in annoyance funny.

The second, An American Crime, was super depressing and scary. But I will say that I much prefer this version of Ellen Page to the Juno one, mainly because she barely spoke. The subject matter, though, was just kind of haunting. Afterwards I immediately took to the internets to read as much about the case as I could find, and in light of my recent neighborly issues, I'm going to be a little more selective about who I flip off in the old neighborhood.

April 16, 2008

just for fun

This cartoon is in absolutely no way a political statement or a support/dis of any candidate.

I listen to the Howard Stern show each day, and of late, the sound effect employed by Mr. Eric "Fred" Norris that cracks my shit up the most is the one I drew this picture in honor of.

I guess it Obama's current/former minister, Reverend Wright, exclaiming "Obama is a long-legged mack daddy!", which Fred will slip in whenever Mr. Obama comes up in conversation or when Robin is reading a news story about him.

Anyway, I've been trying to fiddle with my Bamboo more, and the idea of a pimp running for president is kind of amusing. I am very proud of myself for drawing this completely from scratch, aside from using a shape for the belt buckle, and some doofy font for the actual quote--which I realize I f'ed up (he just says "long-leg").

Anyway, I wouldn't mind if some people sent me some suggestions for other things to draw. Song lyrics (an old past time), random notions, household objects, etc.

**Update: In the great tradition of my personal lack of journalistic skillz, it wasn't Reverend Wright that called him a long-leg mack daddy, it was a different guy called Reverend Manning.

April 11, 2008

We've got so far to go...

About a month or so ago, I set out on a mission to toilet train my cat, Pancakes.  I bought something called CitiKitty, which is basically a tray that you place under the toilet seat with segmented rings that can be punched out one by one until your cat is making their poops and pees in the toilet.

BUT FIRST!  There are steps before you get to the rather graphic stage that I arrived at today (see pictures).  I started by placing the litter box adjacent to the toilet for a few days, then gradually raised it a few inches every few days by placing it on all manner of boxes, cake pans, etc.  By the time it was level with the toilet, as recommended it was very much a nightmare version of the princess and the pea.  Once the litter box was level with the toilet, I switched them to the flushable litter that we would be using in the actual toilet phase.  

I wholeheartedly support the idea of flushable litter.  Basically it is made out of teeny-tiny granules of paper that are sort of grayish and sort of look like actual cat litter.  It's better for the environment, better for the cat, better for the toilet---but when coupled with cat pee, you end up with cat pee-scented cement.  So I'm not so sure how flushable it would really be outside of this toilet-training scenario without some rather gruesome chopping maneuvers.

So once they were used to the new litter, I introduced the actual tray in the toilet while leaving the litter box in place.  At this stage, Pancakes mostly played Tasmanian Devil with the litter in the toilet, spraying it all over the bathroom, but still using the actual litter box.  From all the literature I'd read, if you have multiple cats you should go a bit slower with the training process, so we hung out in this phase for a few weeks.  

Next, I emptied the litter box of litter, but left it in the bathroom.  Miraculously, no one peed in the empty litter box.  Rufus mostly sat in it and cried.  Pancakes continued to distribute the litter into all corners of the bathroom from the toilet for awhile, but eventually started peeing in there.  I suspect Lil may have made a few deposits, but I can't prove it, as her pee output compared to Pancakes' is like comparing a shot glass to a Super Big Gulp.  The boy can pee is all I'm sayin.  

So today was the big day when I turned my toilet into the obscene thing you see in these pictures---I cut out the first hole, and judging by Pancakes' reaction, I think we're gonna be in this phase for awhile.  He spent about a half an hour just sticking his arm in the hole, getting freaked out when he hit water, retreating wildly, and then immediately going back for another fishing expedition.  

So there you have it...I'll try to keep you updated on our progress.