Showing posts from July, 2007

A Concert in Two Days

Once again, equilibrium will be restored to my life and sense of self will recover, and I will have gotten this week's payroll stuff done... And then on Thursdy night, we have our Parsippany Veteren's Park concert. We will be there, Car 65 will be there and Car 69 will be there. I will be there with camera and flavoured water. I'm not sure who will be playing... Maybe I can find out on the Parsippany Web site... Stil no new date - that was 40s swing that they were suposed to play that Thursday that we were cancelled! I hope they have them back - I love Swing music!
Well, I should be feeling great in two evenings from now! I can't wait to go!

Foods and Flavours

I'm watching the last few minutes of 60 Minutes, an informative show that I never watch, except for Andrew Rooney's five minutes. He is always worth watching.
In a rare case, I actually disagree with most of what he is saying. He doesn't mix flavours. I mix all kinds of strange flavours and oddly enough that works for me. It is amusing that I'm one of the fussiest eaters alive and I mix peanut butter with bologna. How does that work? I have no idea. My grandmother used to spread peanut butter between two slices of Oscar Meyers bologna and I loved it!
Don't worry, most people have that reaction...

Andrew Rooney is right, though - everything has flavours in it. I'm okay with that, especially in water - water is boring, terribly boring. I love sugar in the worst way and I suppose I'm a total victim of that. I love juice, I can take soda (only clear soda, like Sprite or Fresca), or tea. Lemonade is great, and I have even begun to enjoy iced tea. But drinks need fl…

A.W.A.D. - Words with Double Connections

What do you call a town full of twins? DupliCity! And what do you ask twin witches? "Which witch is which?" Well, there'll be no witches in an Ohio town named Twinsburg next week, but if you happen to be there, you'll think you're suffering from an acute case of diplopia.
Every August, thousands of twins -- from infants to octogenarians -- converge there to celebrate Twins Days Festival To mark the occasion, this week we'll feature words with double connections.
(di-PLO-pee-uh) noun
Double vision.

[From Greek diplo- (double) + -opia (vision).]

(DID-uh-muhs) adjective
Occurring in pairs; twin.

[From Greek didymos (twin). Ultimately from the Indo-European root dwo- (two) that also gave us dual, double, dubious, doubt, diploma, twin, and between.]
(MAK-uhl) noun
A blur, as from a double impression in printing.

verb tr., intr.
To blur.

[From Latin macula (spot or stain).]

double entendre
(DUB-uhl ahn-TAHN-druh) noun
A word or phr…

The Old & The New

I'm watching "9 to 5", filmed in 1980 with Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Dolly Parton and Dabney Coleman. I really find it staggering - they had no computers, not even the basic ones with monochromatic monitors. They did have electric typewriters, a copier the size of a cow, and as noisy as any unbelievable machinery in a factory. The sorter is this enormously long thing attached to the back of the machine. A nightmare. Now you can have a single tray copier that sits on your desktop.
I knew that technology had made leaps and bounds, but wow... Time clocks with key punch, typewriters, no computers, dictaphones, those enormous phones, the hair--- aaaaaaaa! Absolutely a nightmare. What a horror. And ye gods... harassment was unreal!
I realise Dabney Coleman is supposed to be a totally oversexed bigoted ass, but this sort of thing was not unknown or unheard of and even commonplace. He hit on his secretary all the time, spread rumours that he was sleeping with her. She wasn't sl…

A.W.A.D. - Quotation Words

Guest Wordsmith Fred Shapiro (fred.shapiro writes:
My recently published book, The Yale Book of Quotations (Yale University Press), is intended to supplant Bartlett's Familiar Quotations and the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations as the most authoritative quotation dictionary. It is the first major quotation book to emphasize modern sources, including popular culture, children's literature, sports, computers, politics, and law. The Yale Book of Quotations is also the first quotation book of any sort to use state-of-the-art research methods to comprehensively collect famous quotations and to trace quotations to their accurate origins. The Yale Book of Quotations includes hundreds of very famous and popular quotations omitted from other quotation dictionaries, and corrects the standard accounts of how many important quotations originated.
(This week's Guest Wordsmith Fred Shapiro is a librarian and lecturer at the Yale Law School. Anu Garg is traveling.)

Another Action-Packed Weekend!

What an amazing weekend this was! It was fun-filled, action-packed and educational. And the weather is PERFECT.
Yesterday we were up around 0630. I had breakfast and we showered, dressed and I talked Luis into coming with me to my parents' house. He did and fixed their computer (again) and then did some other stuff to it while Ray and I went to the Costco to get paper goods. We picked up toilet paper, paper towels, shampoo and Jelly Bellies (a very important part of a well-balanced diet). We also stopped at Willowbrook and grabbed a bite to eat. We did not tell Luis about that part of our trip out.
We came back home and Luis still was doing things to their computer so Ray and I were talking while playing with the dogs - they had the two pugs, Skippy and Harley. Skippy is pretty young, maybe two years old, but Harley is quite old and deaf, but a very sweet dog none-the-less. I really like dogs, in general, but my favourite breeds are dachsunds and pugs. They are much more special and…

The Stupider They Are...

...the harder they fall!

Paris Hilton is an idiot. She actually got what she deserved (and not all of it, at that) and she talked about the experience as though she'd been locked up in solitary in a high-security prison. She wasn't hurt, the food wasn't great but so what? Most places don't feed their inmates or army personnel fine cuisine. Somehow it seems like she had a very light prison experience.
Somehow she supposedly got God, is into learning, wants to help people. Why do I not believe her? Maybe she seems incredibly insincere to me. And she is still a professional partier and still as dumb as a week-old box of rocks! I can't imagine that anyone is actually fooled by any of this.
I just find all of this amazing. I can't say that I have never used something to my advantage. That would be lying, and who'd believe it, anyway? I had gotten pulled over two years ago, out of state, and "accidently" gave the cop my blue light permit. Oops. I got off o…

Summer Concert Madness Begins!

This year there are four summer series concerts happening.
Nevermind. They cancelled it at noon - unbelievable. There were a couple of black clouds but that was it. I was really bent out of shape that they cancelled it. How stupid. It's humid out but it is normally like that in July! Now I have to wait until 2 August for the next one - unless they move this one to next week. Right now it is listed as "to be determined".
Well. What a bummer.

Quiz - Annoying Coworker?

Quiz: Are You the Annoying Co-Worker?
Kate Lorenz,

Every office has at least one jerk, pest or loudmouth who drives the rest of the workers crazy. Could it be you? Take this quiz to find out how annoying you might be:
How many of these statements describe you?
1) You make provocative statements to "foster dialogue" or needle others.
2) You often find yourself delivering a discourse consisting solely of buzzwords and catch phrases.
3) You make up nicknames for all of your co-workers and refer to them only by these names. (e.g. "Good job, Chachi!"; "I'm going to have to disagree with you there, T-bone!")

4) Your office is completely decorated in your children's pictures and artwork. 5) You have plastered your cubicle with photos of yourself taken with famous people. 6) It is your trademark to recite rhyming or other cutesy messages as your voice mail greeting.7) The questions you ask at meetings are preceded by long monologues of your views…

The Joys of Commuting!

I was up at 0430, showered and dressed by 0530, and out the door at 0540. I should have gotten work at 0600.
One itty-bitty problem... those thunderstorms that would be before noon where well before noon. It was not yet 0545, and the sky was nighttime black, lightning occuring off to the south, thunder rumbling. The moment I got onto Route 80 West, the sky opened up and it poured. It poured like crazy. The visibility was so bad I had to slow down considerably. I thought about pulling over but I have never felt safe doing that. If the visibility is that bad, another car might slam into me. So I was down to 40 miles per hour, but I'm okay with that. Other people didn't like it but hey, too bad. My safety comes first.
So I got into work but it was still pouring out, so I had to retrieve my umbrella from the trunk (yes, I'm an idiot). I managed to get it out, but by then the rain and humidity has undone my hair. I worked very hard on blow drying it so it would look nice and it w…

Lists: Books, Movies, Telly, Songs, etc.

Lists, lists and more lists: Many, many of my favourite things!
Disclaimer: These lists are not in order. The top item is not my all-time favourite. Also the lists are subject to change.

Top Ten Groups:
Barenaked Ladies
Depeche Mode
Myleene Klass
The Beatles
Led Zeppelin
Adam & The Ants
Spit Enz

Top Ten Songs:
Hallelujia - Jeff Buckley
Hotel California - The Eagles
Flying Horses - Doc's Rythm Cats
Kiss Me - Sixpence the Richer
Bank Job - Barenaked Ladies
Every Little Thing She Does is Magic - The Police
Shadows & Tall Trees - U2
Rave On - Boddy Holly and the Crickets
Clocks - Coldplay
9 Crimes - Damien Rice

Honourable Mention:
How We Operate - Gomez
Nights in White Satin - The Moody Blues
Grissom's Overture - John Keane
Between A Man and A Woman - U2
She's So Heavy - The Beatles
Shiver - Coldplay
Don't Panic - Coldplay
Is Your Love Strong Enough - Bryan Ferry

Top Ten Albums:
The Wall - Pink Floyd
X & Y - Coldplay
Gordon - Barenaked Ladies
Ghost in the Machine - The …

Made in Sheffield

If you are thinking I 'm talking about metal working, I'm not.
Sheffield in Great Britain was the birthplace of many bands - Cabaret Voltaire, The Human League, ABC, Comsat Angels, Pulp, Artery, Kraftwerk, ClockDVA, Def Leppard, 2.3, Heaven 17, Vice Versa, The Extras, I'm So Hollow, to name a few. A lot more came out of that city than most realise.
I loved this kind of music when it came out in the late 70s. I hated the music of the time - the Disco stuff (I still do; it is useless and not worthy of the label "music") - I loved The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Van Morrison. But the radios had all gone over to Disco music and it was dreadful. The music, the clothes, nothing very good came of that decade. But music suddenly got a slap in the face when the Sex Pistols came along.
I like the Sex Pistols and I certainly appreciate what they've done for music as a whole. But I did not love them. Their music was a little too hard for me. They paved the way, however, for tons…

A.W.A.D. - Creative Legal Language

Guest Wordsmith Judge Bruce M. Selya (honorable_bruce_selya writes:
My love of language can be traced directly to the Providence public schools and, particularly, to Classical High School -- where four years of study in Latin was compulsory and some study of Greek was encouraged. I became fascinated with the origin and evolution of words, and the flames of my interest were fanned during my years at Harvard.
When I was fortunate enough to receive an appointment to the federal bench, I saw an opportunity to attempt to change the drabness of the prose in which judicial opinions historically have been couched. "Legal language" tends to be both stiff and prosaic, not to mention dense. Thus, if court opinions can be thought of as word pictures, many opinions over the years can be characterized as word pictures painted in various shades of gray. I thought then -- and still believe -- that interesting language and sound jurisprudence are not mutually exclusive.
My opi…

Watches - by Andrew Rooney

I am always telling employees that one should never feel uncomfortable about correcting others (nicely, politely) on the pronounciation or preference of one's name. I hate it when people call me "Ashley". My name is Aislinge, not Ashley, and while I do allow people to call me "Ash", I will always correct those who call me Ashley. Aislinge doesn't translate that way. (Don't even think of asking what is does translate to from Gaelic to English. Not happening. Some wiseass will call me that.
Now, that is not the focus of this post. The focus is watches - a topic that Andrew Rooney talked about in one of his monologues. The same one I was watching about DNA testing. He pointed out that too many people have too many watches. He is not wrong. It's just funny that he had a whole five-minute piece on this.
I have several watches. Most of them are not actively being used. I have mostly digital watches but I so have a couple of regular face watches - I guess th…

60 Minutes

I'm actually watching 60 Minutes. The show, the story part, not just Andrew Rooney. I'm crazy about him and the more I read his book, the more I like him and find him enjoyable. He looks at life a lot like I do.
But back to this. On this 60 Minutes, they are discussing the DNA process. Apparently, too many people come up with partial matches. So many alleles in common, and it is not a direct match, but it indicates a direct relationship. Twenty alleles out of 26 in common is a first line relative - parent, sibling, child. Some of the problem is "genetic surveillance" - if you get a close partial match, then the whole family will be scrutinised. Now, take the DNA database... most of the people in it are criminals. Let's face it, it makes sense that the citizenry most likely to be in the AFIS and DNA databases are people who have been through the criminal system. If you look at the largest group in prisons, it is African Americans. If this DNA thing gets out and pol…

A Fun Day

Yesterday was an enjoyable day.
We went out for breakfast, the four of us - me, Luis, his father and his uncle, Iggy, who is here visiting from California. He's similar to Luis' father but he's normal (no schizophrenia) and funny and does not need to tell endlessly long, boring stories and be the only one talking. This is a refreshing change from Luis' father.
After breakfast we went to see the 3,000-year-old petroglyphic rocks, one of my favourite things to see in Parsippany. Most people have no idea that these are here, just off of Park Road, tucked in some small woods to one side of a house on a dead end road. I've known about them for maybe three years now and I love to go see them once each season. The rocks don't change but the woods do, the leaves turn colours, drop off and snow comes, then buds will adorn the trees in mid-Spring. And before you know it, we have come full circle to the green, leafy canopy over the boulders again.
Luis and Iggy climbed up th…

Where Fools Rush In...

How is it that people put in time and effort to think about buying a car, purchasing a house but just just blindly go into procreating? They even have mixed feelings or are generally uninterested in having children, but find themselves in the unique - ha, ha - experience of being pregnant. Ignoring for the moment the value of being a little more careful when it comes to having sex, how about still being rather callous about what is - or should be - a major life-changing decision?

I'm very close friends with Tom and Alayna, who have Matthew, their almost two-year old son who started out on the wrong end of the 8-ball but who is really turning out to be quite a kid! Alayna had a difficult pregnancy after a snafu happened (which can't be discussed). They were married on 11 September 2004; they were pregnant by March 2005, and parents by 7 September 2005 - they were 39-years-old, knew from the get-go that they wanted children, so the condoms or whartever birth control they were usi…

A Big Storm

And we missed it!

Lauryn and I went to Rockaway Mall and had a lovely time chatting, shopping and having an Indian dinner that was so good, it was practically criminal! Spicy, delicious, good food, great company - what more could one ask for?
How about the monstrous thunderstorm that rolled in as we were arriving?
It was beautiful - we heard the thunder crashing in FYE as plain as day - that is a big building to hear thunder clearly reverberating. But while we were both sorry to miss it, we were having too much fun to leave.
Having Lauryn to talk to has made a huge difference. Seeing things through her eyes is interesting; she has a lot of history about the squad and her own years of experience with riding, the socio-political set-up, the bullshit that people go through... She knows a lot about it, having done it so long. She has a lot of insight to things there. And who else to talk to about that and the calls and the thrill of being an EMT?
We had a really amazing call on Sunday, an 11-y…

An Afternoon of Pain

I love my dentist. He's bright, he's funny, he's very good at what he does.
This is my fourth crown and I can't say that the crown experience is all that and a bag of chips. But he does a stellar job and he doesn't do a shaddy job at all. But I was unprepaired for the amount of pain that this afternoon brought.
He has numbed my mouth for all of my crowns. When I went in today, he was ready to dig in and I shut my mouth. Where's the novacaine?! He seemed shocked that I'd want it, and told me this would be better if I could feel the bite. There were a lot of adjustments to make and every time he popped the temporary cap off and on and off, the pain was something. It was unbelievably sensitive when it came off and then zinged like crazy when it went on. And then finally all the adjusting was done. He put in the adhesive and popped the new crown on and YOW!
Fucking YOW! It was unreal.

Tears in my eyes. Sensitive or discomfort does not come close. It was agonising. …

The Heat of New Jersey

It is over 100 degrees outside.

For those of you working in the Celsius system, it is over 37 degrees - ouch. It is brutal outside and that is not even with full humidity. At 50% humidity it is really disgusting. Yesterday was not a breezy, easy day. Sunday was hot, but it took a back seat to this. At least the humidity was even lower and there was a lovely breeze to boot.
It is cloudy out now. It won't do anything, at least that is what my body is telling me, but then again, one never knows. And while the weather for tomorrow is not exciting, it is better than it was this morning, which was supposed be in the 90s - now it is expected to be 86 degrees. 30% chance of precipitation tonight; 60% tomorrow and tomorrow night.
We'll see. I have become very jaded in my years. The weather is an unstable and constantly changing creature, just like language. It's nice to have someone make an attempt to figure out the weather and what we are in for in the next few days, but the truth is…


The English language is a beautiful and rich language, and it was long before today's youth showed up to butcher it. Oddly enough, the language, like a living thing, changes and evolves as time moves along. Sometimes it seems to move in a good direction, and sometimes, not so much. But it changes whether we will it or not.
What kills me, though, are euphemisms. You have to love a language where a sexual organ or money qualifies for an inordinate amount of euphemistic words and phrases to describe it. And there is a clear relationship between the importance of the word and how many euphemisms it rates. Money, vaginas, penises and breasts are absolutely at the top of the list of words with the most euphesims.
Let's keep it clean; terms for money:

bean (as in bean counter)
boffo (abbreviation of box office, referring to money collected at theatres)
case note
dead presidents
peso (which is not …

A.W.A.D. - Words of Diplomacy

If you've ever wondered whether a diplomat had anything to do with a diploma, the answer is yes. The word diplomacy comes from diploma (from Greek diplo- double), which is, literally speaking, a document folded in double, those documents being the letters of international relations. And that's how a diplomat is related to diplodocus, the dinosaur. The name of those herbivorous giants of the Jurassic era literally means two beams: a long neck and a long tail (Greek dokos: beam).
That's the joy of words. Begin with an ordinary word and you don't know where it might lead you to and what connections it might show. This week we feature words related to diplomacy. Enhance your savoir-fairein any diplomatic circle with these words from the world of international relations, treaties, and agreements.
(day-TANT) noun
An easing of tension between rivals.

[From French détente (loosening, relaxation). Ultimately from theIndo-European root ten- (to stretch) that's also the so…

A Good Day

Some days are good. Today was one of them.

There were no calls last night for the four hours I was on - as it turned out, there were no calls anyway. I suppose that this is fairly standard for Independence Day. I think most people go away, and the ones remaining, while stupid enough to purchase and set off fireworks aren't quite stupid enough to burn off a hand or face. Just as well.
Around 0300, I headed to bed. As I was walking to the bedroom, a flash of bright white-blue light lit up the floor outside of my office... ooooooooo... I stopped, looked at the window of the room, waiting... sure enough, the not-so-distant rumble of thunder sounded soon after. Another moment or two of waiting and more bright lightning lit up the sky outside, outlining the trees. I went to bed and read for a bit, listening to the thunder. It was a good storm. It was not as incredible as most early-morning storms are... many of them are very fiery and loud, boiterous affairs that shake the windows and cra…

Good Stress/Bad Stress

I don't mind telling people when I am stressed out, but that does not always mean that this is a bad thing. There are plenty of stresses that are good stresses. Going out on a call is high-stress, and that is a good kind of stress, the kind that makes you think of what you'll need to do. Being on calls with patients that are challenging is a good stress. It is a matter of what makes you think, act, not just knee-jerk reactions.
Work offers a lot of stress. More so than many jobs. But mostly that is good stress, too. I love learning, I love talking to employees, I love getting problems that I can sink my teeth into. Some of the work stresses are not good, like when I made that error on the figures for one of the H-2B visa programs. That was not good stress. But mostly, I find that the stress I have is the kind that invigorates me and makes me feel good, strong!
Hence, good stress/bad stress!

Happy 5th of July!

Today - such as it is at 0216 - is my parents' 32nd wedding anniversary. And I'm so proud of mine and Luis' 17+ years together! When compared to that (yes, comparisons are odious, as so many people said, but it is the human condition to do so), seventeen years is rather insignifigant. But I am not worried that we will not make it to the number of 32. We have a good life together.
How Ray and my mother are still together is kind of a mystery to me, but I'm happy that they are. I know marriage is not at all easy, but why do people think that it is? I find that to be mystifying that people don't think that a relationship isn't work. Sure it is. The pay is different and the benefits are a completely different kind than major medical and dental (oh, and 401(k) - very important). But there is still a great payscale if you work hard and the benefits are huge. So worth it.
Sometimes it is hard to find that, or it is difficult to get along. It is amazing how many people h…

The Truth About Cats & Dogs

That's me. I can be so confident and I love my work. But I have so many issues about the way I look. How many friendships was I the short, dark, not cute and blonde creature? Actually, I wasn't short - I was tallish and gawky and not cute and petite and pretty and perky. Happiness and confidence in anything came later. I was good close friends with a would-be model named Andreann. She was Greek. She had long blonde hair that turned to spun gold in the sun. She had a cute, pretty face and about five or six inches less than I. But when we did homework, I shone. When we walked down the street, I was invisible.
A strange thing happened.
She married young and as far as I know she is still married to this guy. We hated one another. I was her best friend and he was competition. So was I to him. And I was ten times more intelligent than he probably ever was. But that wasn't his interest, any more than mine was to be a model. But that doesn't mean I didn't want to be pretty.

A Very Wet 4th of July

Happy Independence Day!

I wonder what the Founding Fathers were really thinking on the 4th of July. I suspect that sneaking fireworks out of the neighbouring state, which doesn't allow its residents set them off but encourages New Jersey residents to purchase, transport over state lines and set off their fireworks, and getting arrested for having M-80 like explosives was not what they had in mind.

Well, despite the weather tonight, there were plenty of people firing the illegal goods and keeping the police at a run. We heard them all over town looking for this or that fireworks going off. They even called out District Four for "smoke conditions" over North Beverwyck and Lake Shore. We had seen the puffs of smoke over that direction with the light detonation sounds of explosives going off.
Remember the old days when people had sparklers?

The rain started around 1730 and then turned into a surly drizzle that continued on and off (mostly off) until around 2145, when the sky ope…

July is Off to a Good Start

Of course, July is only two days old. So that may not be saying much. But it really is. Even if the rest of the month is mediocre or long or stupid or whatever, it's still good to have the first two days be pleasant. I want to try to post something every day or close to it. Communication is very important.

The first thing I need to do is write to Molly. I miss her like crazy and I haven't written anything to her in a while. Not good. Not worth it. I sometimes let life get in the way of normal... well.. living. In this case, I really have to step back from all the things that are getting in the way of normal life, and make this up to her. I miss her. A lot. More than I'd realised.

Few people in my life have made the difference that Molly has. And she's put up with me writing endlessly about emergency calls, situations at work... all the weird and wacky shit that so often comprises my day-to-day living.

I love the EMT thing and will be doing a lot of it this month: JULY


A Day On The Course!

Well. I like to live and I like to do all kinds of things and so I finally took Mark’s offer to work on the Grounds for a morning. I came in to work today through the Grounds entrance at 0550 and met Reta, one of our turfgrass interns there. We got the equipment we needed to change cups on the course and headed out to the first green, Lower course. I knew that this would be work. But I had no idea that this would be that hard! Yikes. It was an enormous effort.

There is an apparatus like a wide jack hammer and it takes a nice big round chunk of the green out, leaving a perfect hole. Put the cup in, step on it, twist and turn, voila, it’s done. That was easy enough, putting the cup in. Taking the chunk out and then filling the original hole – that was the effort part. And now… I am so PAYING for it. My back is killing me. But guess what. I loved it! I loved it and I learned even more. I even noticed a fungus on the greens and that impressed Reta. I love learning. I loved working outside …