Sunday, 31 August 2008

Saturday Six: Episode #1

I found it! April 2004, if you can believe it! I have years - YEARS! - of blogging ahead of myself to try to catch up to the currect time I began answering the Saturday Six and Sunday Seven.

My friends will tell you that I’m usually running about ten minutes behind schedule. I’ll take advantage of that lovable tardiness and turn the Friday Five into the Saturday Six. Give ‘em a try.

1. Name the last movie you watched on DVD.

The last movie I watched on DVD was The Fifth Element, just yesterday (30 August 2008). I love that movie.

2. If you could spend one day as:
A) a member of the opposite sex
B) a member of a different race
C) a member of the opposite sex AND different race
D) an animal…

which would you pick and why?

I would have to go with being a member of the opposite sex; I'm the most curious about what it is like to be a man and have to conform to their way of doing things. It would make understanding my husband a lot easier!

3. If you won the lottery and received $200 million dollars in one lump sum, who would get the first check you wrote?

Luis, then my parents. I owe them money and with 200 million dollars, getting out of debt would be much more important to do first. After that, I would invest heaps of it but do some minor spending. Maybe a total renovation of the house and a thorough check of my car. No, I would not buy a new house and I would not buy a new car. I would, however, pay this house off in full, buy a really nice apartment not too close to us (maybe Milwaulkee...) and put Luis' father in it.

4. If you could change careers, what job have you secretly been wondering about?

Well, a CSI investigator. That always seems so interesting.

5. Describe your earliest memory.

When I realised that I am. When I realised that I can think silently without verbalising anything.

6. What deceased relative would you most like to sit down to dinner with and what would you most want to ask them?

My Pop-pop, and that second part is a tough one. I'd want to ask him a lot of things - does he love me, family history, etc.

Sunday Seven: Episode #158

This week’s question was inspired by one of those “fun facts” columns in a local news weekly.

There’s no list for you to look at; instead, this week’s question requires that you have a look around your own home!

THIS WEEK’S QUESTION: Name seven things in your home that you have at least seven of.

1. Yankee (and other companies') candles
2. Sensa pens (I have a massive collection)
3. Boxes of Twinings Lady Grey Tea Bags
4. Remote contols to all entertainment-related electronics
5. handwritten letters that need answering
6. pairs of clogs (what? Too much?)
7. Old Farmers Alamanac issues (more like 100+ - the collection begins in 1814 and ranges to 2008)
8. (BONUS ITEM) Parsippany's Rockaway Neck First Aid squad shirts

That was too easy!

You Are the Best, Daniela!

For some reason, there is no way to get the image as a whole. But it is cute none-the-less!
Happy Labour Day to you, too!

Wednesday Weirdness #181

How often do you talk to your siblings?

Never. I haven't any.

2. How well do you deal when given an ultimatum?

About as well as anyone should, given those circumstances. Employees love that. They like to threaten to leave. Well, I tell them, "You need to do what is best for you." Please feel free to leave if you don't wish to be here. Good luck and best wishes and don't let the door... well, you get the idea...

3. Have you ever dated someone or had a lover who had an emotional or mental disorder?

I wonder sometimes. I really do. If I did, I was unaware of it at the time.

4. How do you feel about crossdressing?

Whatever floats your boat. As long as I'm not required to do it, too. Although you can't blame men for wanting to be on our side... we have far more choices than they do.

5. Have you ever lied about the number of sexual partners you have had to someone? Why?

No, but the number is not so high as to be scary and not so low that I am embarressed.

6. Does your significant other have the same political and religious views that you do? How often do you discuss politics and religion with them?

I'm not sure we see anything the same way, although in that, Bush has made us closer in that we both hate him quite strongly. Good for Luis. Not that he voted for him either time.

7. What sport, if any, do you find to be most boring?

They are all boring. Horse stuff and golf is like watching paint dry. Football, baseball and basketball - yawn. I can suffer through a very minimal amount with Ray, but that is really all. The Olympics might be it and even then, he is the curning candle approver.

8. Have you ever honestly peed in the pool?

Sure. Anyone who tells you they haven't urinated in a pool is likely, well, lying.

Really Pissed About St. Peters Roman Catholic Church

We had a call last night for a patient at the Saturday night mass at St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church in Parsippany. The poor patient, very sweet, was having some pain. We showed up, got in to the patient and began a rapid assessment.

I had noticed when I came in with a woman who'd been waiting outside with us that the priest had not so much as hesitated or slowed in his sermonizing to the waiting masses. While we were trying for a blood pressure, I heard a funny pop sound and realised that the stops on the organ had been pulled but before I could verbalise it, the organist began banging away at the stupid pipe organ and Mike could not hear the patient's bp too well.

As we worked on the patient and loaded him up to go, I noticed with increasing dismay that the clergy and the participants and viewers alike showed no interest in us or the patient. It was really quite shocking and not just a little sleazy. So this is the spirit of love that Catholics espouse but clearly don't practice.


Finally Found a Friday Meme!

August 29, 2008 - Four For Friday

Q1 - School Bus: In order to meet the demands associated with its $17 million budget deficit, the Humble, Texas, Independent School District is now selling advertising space on their school buses. According to local news reports, auto dealers, hospitals, homebuilders, parking lots, and other businesses are among the first to advertise on the buses. Do you think it's okay for school districts to use their busses as rolling billboards? What if the advertisements appeared inside the bus as well?

Wow. These are certainly well-thought out questions. I'm definitely going to enjoy this one on Fridays!

No, I don't think it is okay to use the outside of the school busses for advertising. I get too much advertising thrown at me everywhere I go now. No, it is never effective with me. I'm too pissed off at the company doing this to buy their products. But this is odious. Pandering to advertisers because the school system is unable to sustain itself. And why is that? Let's look at all the illegal residents with kids in the school systems in Texas (far more than what you will find here, I guarantee you that). Why should we have to subsidize this.

Q2 - Sponsorship: Michael Jordan has Nike. Tony Stewart of NASCAR fame has The Home Depot. If any company or brand could sponsor you, whom would you want as your sponsor?

Okay, lots of rules here. I would want Yankee Candle or Iluminations or maybe ebay to sponsor me. However, if any of them sponsor any kind of religious groups, then I would not use them. I cannot in good conscience condone that. For example: Dominoes Pizza supports anti-abortion church doctrine. I can't give them anything at all. It works out well, though, because their pizza tastes awful anyway!

Q3 - Engrish: Professional golfers on the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) tour have been told that by the end of 2009, all players who have been on the tour for two years must pass an oral evaluation of their English skills or face suspension. Do you think it's right for the LPGA to demand that their players speak English?

That is ludicrous. I don't think this is right at all. The LPGA doesn't have the words English Speaking anywhere in the title so no, I don't agree that they should be able to do that. How complete unprofessional.

Q4 - Vice President: Earlier today, John McCain announced Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his vice presidential candidate/running mate, while last week Barack Obama announced Delaware Sen. Joe Biden as the Democratic nominee. Did you follow the vice presidential candidate selection process? How important is the VP candidate when you cast your vote?

I don't follow anything political at all and know nothing of either vice presidential candidates. How amazing. I have never heard of either person. I am surprised that Hillary wasn't chosen for the Democratic ticket, but hey, that is okay with me as well. I wasn't too thrilled about her anyway. John McCain is a fossil that will likely want to continue the war efforts in Iraq and while I am not totally sold on Obama for president, he at least is on the far side of 80 and not as abysmally stupid as McCain seems to be. I guess I will have to vote for Obama. They are all lying political slaves so I suppose when you really get down to it, what difference does it make?

QOTW - 2008/08/25

And the Question of the Week is… Are you an extrovert or an introvert? Do you think people can be both?

My answer:
I am very much, as a matter of course, an extrovert, happy to share everything, discuss anything, and outgoing and friendly and fun. I am seemingly ubiquitous. People find me to be very approachable, open and always ready for conversation.


Put me in what I consider an unusual social situation, and suddenly, as though a switch has been flipped, I'm a complete introvert. I can't explain it and while I'd like to know what it is about those settings that does that, I really have no idea. It is highly annoying. I hate being that way. But there it is!

So my answer is yes. I am both an extrovert and an introvert... I suspect that we all have that something that flips the switch.

Farmer's Caledar - August 2008

'Sometime around the middle of this month, the hummingbirds will have departed, and, once again, I won't know it. At this place last year we had a pair. They turned up in mid-May, poised on blurred, invisible wings before the first garden flowers, dipping and sipping fastidiously at the red plastic hummingbird feeder at the window, zooming away. They loved the bee palm best, and the phlox, but they also loved the brightly colored feeder, Which I kept filled with a sugar-water solution. It holds about a cup. Early in the summer the little birds were at the feeder constantly, emptying the reservoir in a single day. By early August, their visits had dropped off, and I filled the feeder only every three to four days. Perhaps the pair was in training as the time of their southern migration approached. The frail and tiny hummingbird is among the hardiest of birds. It's a marathoner, an epic migrator, making its way from New England to Central America.

'That's a long haul, and it takes a long time. Thus, the hummingbirds get an early start. By mid-August, I realized that our pair was gone, the feeder unvisited. I wondered exactly when they had taken off and where they were when I missed them. That happens every year: I wait for the hummingbirds to decamp, but the event remains unrecorded. It's hard to watch for an absence.'

Due To Budget Cuts


Dress Code:
1) You are advised to come to work dressed according to your salary.

2) If we see you wearing Prada shoes and carrying a Gucci bag, we will assume you are doing well financially and therefore do not need a raise.

3) If you dress poorly, you need to learn to manage your money better, so that you may buy nicer clothes, and therefore you do not need a raise.

4) If you dress just right, you are right where you need to be and therefore you do not need a raise.

Sick Days:
We will no longer accept a doctor's statement as proof of sickness. If you are able to go to the doctor, you are able to come to work.

Personal Days:
Each employee will receive 104 personal days a year. They are called Saturdays & Sundays.

Bereavement Leave:
This is no excuse for missing work. There is nothing you can do for dead friends, relatives or co-workers. Every effort should be made to have non-employees attend the funeral arrangements in your place. In rare cases where employee involvement is necessary, the funeral should be scheduled in the late afternoon. We will be glad to allow you to work through your lunch hour and subsequently leave one hour early.

Bathroom Breaks:
Entirely too much time is being spent in the toilet.

There is now a strict three-minute time limit in thestalls. At the end of three minutes, an alarm will sound, the toilet paper roll will retract, the stall door will open, and a picture will be taken. After your second offense, your picture will be posted on the company bulletin board under the 'Chronic Offenders' category. Anyone caught smiling in the picture will be sectioned under the company's mental health policy.

Lunch Break:
* Skinny people get 30 minutes for lunch, as they need to eat more, so that they can look healthy.

* Normal size people get 15 minutes for lunch to get a balanced meal to maintain their average figure.

* Chubby people get 5 minutes for lunch, because that's all the time needed to drink a Slim-Fast.

Thank you for your loyalty to our company. We are here to provide a positive employment experience. Therefore, all questions, comments, concerns, complaints, frustrations, irritations, aggravations, insinuations, allegations, accusations, contemplations, consternation and input should be directed elsewhere.

The Management

Tips for The Ladies

Aspire to be Barbie - the bitch has everything.

Take life with a pinch of salt... A wedge of lime, and a shot of tequila.

In need of a support group? Cocktail hour with the girls!

Go on the 30 day diet. (I'm on it and so far I've lost 15 days).

When life gets you down just put on your big girl panties and deal with it.

Let your greatest fear be that there is no PMS and this is just your personality.

I know I'm in my own little world, but it's OK, they know me here.

When life gives you lemons - turn it into lemonade then mix it with vodka.

Remember every good-looking, sweet, single male is someone else's ex-boyfriend!

Now smile and send to any girl wasting time at work, suffering from a hangover, or just suffering from work, that might need a reason to smile!

A.W.A.D. - Fancier Words

Once in a while delivery of this newsletter is delayed and messages start pouring into my mailbox complaining of withdrawal symptoms. "Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind," British writer Joseph Rudyard Kipling said, and that might help explain why some of us get so hooked on them.

As time passes, we experience symptoms of mithridatism, the condition of immunity acquired by taking gradually increased doses of something (coined after Mithridates VI, king of Pontus, who tried to build immunity against poisoning). Slowly they take over and we realize we need words with even greater potency, words that are unusual, esoteric, or even preposterous, to get a still greater high.

Are you one of those for whom the dictionary might be better characterized as addictionary? Help is at hand. Consider this week's words as extra high doses of your daily fix. These are words that ask, "Why use a simple word when a fancy one is available?"

PRONUNCIATION: (dak-TIL-uh-gram)
MEANING: noun: A fingerprint.
NOTES: The study of fingerprints for identification purposes is known as dactylography or dactyloscopy. Dactylonomy is the art of counting on fingers. Dactylology is finger-speech -- communicating by signs made with fingers.

ETYMOLOGY: From Greek daktylos (finger or toe) + gramma (something written).

MEANING: noun: A copy or a transcript.

ETYMOLOGY: From Greek apo- (away, off, apart) + -graph (writing).

PRONUNCIATION: (ahr-juh-LAY-shuhs)
MEANING: adjective: Made of, resembling, or relating to clay: clayey.

ETYMOLOGY: From Latin argilla (clay). Ultimately from the Indo-European root arg- (to shine; white), that is also the source of words such as argentine (silvery) and argue (from Latin arguere, to make clear).

PRONUNCIATION: (pli-uh-NEK-see-uh)
MEANING: noun: Excessive or insatiable covetousness.

ETYMOLOGY: From Greek pleonektein (to be greedy), from pleion (more) + ekhein (have).

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Saturday 9: Just Our Choices In Music

1. What was your first favorite song?

I think it was The Beatles Abbey Road - the whole album.

2. Who was your first favorite female singer?

Hmmm. Um... Kate Bush.

3. Who was your first favorite male singer?

Bono from U2.

4. Who was your first favorite band?

The Beatles

5. Who is your all time favorite band?

There is no such thing, because there are excellent bands all the time. I can't give any one band that title.

6. Who is your all time favorite male singer?

Same as above.

7. Who is your all time favorite female singer?

Same as above.

8. What is your all time favorite LP/CD album?

Hmmm. Pink Floyd's The Wall. It was a breaker for all kinds of things.

9. What was your first favorite radio station?

WLIR, 92.7. I had to do all kinds of crazy things to get it to come in well. It was hard to get (it was out of Long Island) but I could get it in and I recorded all sorts of things on tapes to have. I miss LIR. I know it is under different letters now and I don't know if it plays Alternative and punk any more.

Catching Up on Thursday x3 Memes

Yes, well, I'm behind on a few different Memes...

3x Thursday: 08/14/y2k+8: How Do You Handle...
1. Do you freak out about the little things or the big things? Why?

Oh, the little things the most, because the little things are what crop up the most and cause the most stress in some funny way. The little things are often the final straw in some weird way, so that is what makes the load too heavy.

2. How do you handle death and dying?

Death and dying is not a big thing in my world. EMTs see people in all different stages of dying or dead. Some are dying right there in your rig without any fanfare, others are dying slowly by inches but we won't be walking them to the grave on this trip. It is a part of life. I am upset when someone I know dies. But it is different.

I handle it by celebrating life. Sometimes that is in a good meal, or making love, or just being. Being sad, being happy, just being.

3. How do you handle being yelled at by someone? What do you do about it?

I listen. I don't by nature yell at people; so I am unlikely to yell back. I will often speak calmly and quietly to the yeller. Eventually they realise that I am not going to change my tactic, and so eventually cease yelling.

3x Thursday: 08/21/y2k+8: Personal Favorites
1. What are your favorite colors?

Well, I have a few. Wine colour (like a deep burgundy), hunter or forest green, cerulean blue, silver, blue-grey.

2. What is your favorite kind of clothing to wear? Why? What's your least favorite?

Favourite clothing; EMT pants (I think in normal life they are called cargo pants), casual tops. I love wearing clogs. I have hiking boots that I am attached to as well. I enjoy casual dress the most.

Least favourite; anything dressy. Anything fashionable - high fashion, I should say. High heels are definitely way up on the list of things I refuse to wear. I like being alive.

3. Do you like to take showers or baths? Why/why not?

I like showers for fast in and out cleaning and getting the day started. Showers are quick, invigorating and pleasant.

I love taking a bath in a gigantic swimming tub. Baths are a leisure time kind of thing, though, something for destressing and relaxing and reading a book. Scented bath water, soft music without lyrics, lit candles. A huge tub with bubbles and ambiance. Time to spare. A novel, not a learning kind of book.

3x Thursday: 08/28/y2k+8: Alone Time
1. Do you ever get a 'break' from people (Say your S.O. goes on a personal vacation or something)? If you do, do you like the time alone? Why/why not?

I get breaks from my coworkers, my other partners on the rig and my husband. I like that. I need alone time and I need downtime from people I love the most. My husband doesn't go on a lot of business trips but the four to eight times a year that he does travel are wonderful and appreciated by both of us.

My coworkers and I don't always interact. I don't have to deal with them each and every day necessarily - but we get downtime from one another. And I appreciate them that much more as well.

I need alone time more than other people, in general, do. I am by nature a loner and my job tells me that as well as my need to have my own room at home and my hammock in the back yard. My best success is my last and my current job... where I am the HR department, a department of one. In a group setting, I am not at my best.

2. Do you think being alone is a bad thing? Why/why not?

No, I think it is important to have alone time. And I never worry or obsess the way many women do about being alone. It simply is not a concern that I have. My personality is strong. I need alone time to keep it balanced. I need alone time when I am upset to allow myself time to process those things that are upsetting. And sometimes I just need to not deal with people. I need to regain my perspective, something I cannot do with others around.

3. Everyone gets lonely sometimes. How do you cope with being lonely? What do you do to make that feeling go away?

I usually read. I am never alone or lonely when I am with friends found in novels!

Catching Up on TMI Tuesday Memes

TMI Tuesday #147 - "Out" Magazine Edition
1. What is your favorite song to have sex to?

Our sex life is not so planned that I usually have music playing. But if I did, it would be Crystal by New Order. There is something intensely sexual about that music.

2. What is your vision of hell?

I don't really have one. Maybe Utah.

3. In the film made of your life, who will play you?

Molly Ringwald or maybe Ally Sheedy. I've been told that I look like them (I can't imagine how, but I have heard it more than once).

4. What is the one thing you most urgently need to tell your mom?

It would not matter. She would not recall or make sense of it at this point.

5. What will be carved onto your tombstone?

Ooooh, an epitaph... Gods. I don't know. That needs thought. I really don't know. Maybe "he who dies with the most money is still dead". How does that sound?

And the bonus: What is your drag name (which would be, first name: the name of your first pet; last name: the name of the street you grew up on)?

[Editor note: I know this doesn't fit the theme but I have been saving it a while so I'll use it.]

Pussums Rice Street. Yikes. How scary is THAT?!

TMI Tuesday #148
1. Are you truly politically correct? Be honest.

Gods, no, never. It just is not in my nature to be that way.

2. Will you ever streak in public during rush hour?

Not unless I lose a considerable amount of weight. Then I would do it but only with a mask on, so that I would not be recogniseable. I could not allow that sort of publicity and keep my job!

3. Would you ever do something sexual in public (more than 20 people around)?

I'm open-minded but not that open-minded!

4. Do you ever not have good table manners?

Most of the time, I would imagine. One of the reasons you cannot take me anywhere.

5. Do you ever fantasize about a public sexual act? Describe.

No. I just don't have any desire to do stuff for public consumption.

Bonus (as in optional): Have you ever gone through a true sexual fantasy? Describe.

Yes, I have. But I need not describe it to prove it. It's mine to remember.

TMI Tuesday 149- When you wish upon a star edition
You find a fairy. With a wave of their wand they can change anything for you. What is the one thing you would change about your body?

My weight. I would have slender arms, a flat belly, shapely legs, perky breasts. This is not a difficult one. If I could really only change one small part, my arms... my upper arms... would be it. Even if I lost all the excess weight, the upper arms would still be huge and flabby - those are genetic.

What is the one personality trait you would change?

Hmmm. That is not nearly so easy as the physical item to change. Ummm... my inability to focus. I don't know if that is really a true personality trait, though. If it is not, then I guess I would change my great discomfort in being at dinner events.

What is the one thing about your job you would change?

Filing. I hate filing. Really, really hate filing.

What is the one thing about your home you would change?

The flooring in the living room. It is all but destroyed at this point.

What is the one thing about your Significant Other you would change?

I would be hard pressed to really do that. True, there are things about him that make me crazy, but then to change one of them would be to make him someone other than Luis. I suppose his lack of interest in oral things would be it. He likes to get but not give. And when he does, he is not into it, so he is not good at it.

Who is the one person you would poof out of your life and why?

Oh, my. The list is long and I cannot really put most of them in print. I would not do that to them nor would I put myself in a position to have that become public knowledge. I may not be politically correct, but all people have value, even if not to me specifically.

Who is the one person you would poof back in and why?

Oh, wow. Any one person? Well... I have a few people. I think Steven Sudol would be my top choice. He did in January of 1996 and I miss him terribly. I think I'd like to have my grandfather back but that would be weird. He lived a full life. Steve died at age 42.

Last Sunday's Meme - Sunday Seven: Episode #157

THIS WEEK’S QUESTION: Name seven cool movie gadgets you’d like to own.

Oh, my. I know Luis could come up with this in seconds... I will need to give this a lot of thought.

1. Star Trek: transporter technology
The things I could do if I could just transport myself by scrambling my atoms and then reassembling them in a new location in just moments! Never again to fly hours and hours to get somewhere. Oh, that is magic!

2. Eureka: Smart house
Technically, this is likely to be DQd from the list as Eureka is not a movie but a telly show. Still... this is a great house! It's a little flaky to have a house that does things for you automatically and talks to you, but you can get accustomed to it. It's pretty amazing, however, especially the outside... it looks like a really beaten up old nuclear shelter. Go inside, and it is a palatial estate designed to accomodate you specifically!

3. Iron Man: The suit
I get the super strength thing and wanting instantly arming missiles and such; but the HUD and the computer technology and the flying capabilities make this the suit to own now! And it looks great, streamlined, cool colours, it is something on my list of unreasonable gift ideas.

4. The Fifth Element: The Nucleolab in NYC
The machine itself must have a name... let's see. Ah, yes. No name... It's the tubular machine that they put the one remaining hand from the Mondoshawan's ship in to rebuild. It spits out Milla Jovovich wearing a few strategically placed bandages and a helluva body! Pretty amazing! I'd like that. It actually rebuilds the entire body. starting with a single DNA cell and building the entire creature. She did start out naked - a plus for Luis. I don't need to be sexually attracted to women to know that there is nothing wrong with Milla Jovovich naked!

5. Monsters, Inc.: The door technology
All monsters had access to different kids' doors through a machine that suddenly turned a regular wooden door into an actual access point into the kids' rooms, via the closet. How cool would that be? If I can't have the transporter, I will take that.

6. Pleasantville: The remote control
That remote put the brother and sister into Pleasantville specifically, not a place I would have on my list. Jack the technology to allow one to go into the show of his or her choice, and that is a different story! The caveat: you are faced with mortality - so if you put yourself into one of the Friday the 13th movies, you had better be prepared to go in as the one surviving person!

7. Star Trek: Transdermal translator technology
I think that in the movies and the original telly shows, the technolgy was part of either the com badge or the older handheld units they had but in the books, they had gotten to injected transdermal units that were able to give you total lingual command in Vulcan or Rihannsu or whatever languages were available. For me it would be Spanish - I could talk to almost any of my employees with that! I would also want Hindi and Russian, for patient care. And then I could travel anywhere in the world and install that as well!

Patrick's Answers:
1. The Magic Remote Control (from Click) - How awesome would it be to freeze everything when you need to or fast forward to see what happens next
2. Cloaking Device (from Predator) - Yeah, there are plenty of times when I wish I could be invisible. (Or more invisible than I already am!)
3. Phaser (from Star Trek movies) - Okay, I’ll admit that I’d keep mine on Stun…but that would still be cool!
4. Neuralizer (from Men in Black) - One corny joke too many? I’ll make you forget I ever said it!
5. Holodeck (from Star Trek movies) - So I could program any location, complete with people of my own choosing to spend time with whenever I wanted? I may never walk out of there!
6. Memory Recorder/Player (from Brainstorm) - I’ve always thought this was one of the coolest devices ever invented, but it almost requires an invasion of privacy to really experience something new.
7. Transporter (from Star Trek movies) - So I hit a few buttons and in a matter of seconds I could “beam over” to any location from any location? I’m so there!

Saturday Six: Episode #228 (I missed it last week)

1. On an average night, do you tend to get more sleep than you need, less sleep than you need, or just about exactly how much you need?

Thanks to modern chemistry and pharmaceuticals resulting from said chemistry, I get right around 8 hours of sleep.

2. Do you have trouble sleeping well in a bed other than your own, i.e., a hotel room?

Gods, yes. It's like sleeping on Beds by Torquemada. Horrifying. In Texas we got very lucky - I slept like a baby on the teeny beds that we had there. Luis had his little single bed and I'd mine, so after a conjugal visit in one of the single beds, one of us returned to the correct bed and it was delightfully soft and comfortable. Not like hotel beds. Even with the adventures in pharmaceutical-induced sleep, I wake up in pain and earlier than 8 hours - the beds are torturous.

3. Do you have trouble sleeping in a sleeping bag or tent?

Oh, cringe, cringe. My idea of roughing it is a three-star hotel! A sleeping bag or tent would be crippling on a long-term level!

4. Take the quiz: What Does Your Bed Say About You?

I think I did take this... let me check... yes. Under Tuesday, 26 August.

5. Has anyone ever told you that you snore? Did you believe them at the time?

Luis has said so, although he made it clear that I am not a mega-decibel snorer but a mild one, and it is only when my allergies are acting up - I wheeze. Lung issues are my forte... I get chest infections and suffer from them for weeks. I go crazy to keep chest infections from occuring for that reason.

Luis snores enormously and loudly when he is fat. The moment he loses the weight, the snoring stops. Amazing!

6. When was the last time you woke up in the middle of the night thinking you had overslept? How many hours did you have left to sleep before you had to get up?

That never happens. On the nights that I am riding, I am awake most of the night anyway. I certainly don't wake up early thinking I've gotten too much. Yikes!

Saturday Six: Episode #229

1. What was the last meal you ordered in a restaurant?

Hummus and bread for an appetizer and thai chicken pizza for the main dish at California Pizza Kitchen for lunch today.

2. What was the last meal you cooked for yourself?

Good gods, I've no idea. I never cook.

3. Who was the last person you shared a meal with?

My husband. We had Chinese take-out for dinner. Lunch was with my father.

4. Take the quiz: What Pasta Dish Are You?

I did. See the posting under the same title. I posted that earlier this evening.

5. If you could only have one pasta dish for the rest of your life, which one would you choose?

Uh, well... I don't know. Penne pasta with red sauce.

6. Check your pantry: counting products like soups that contain noodles, dry pasta and boxed meals like Hamburger Helper, how many items do you have that contain some pasta?

I haven't the faintest idea what is in the pantry and it is a big pantry, and since I cook nothing, I'm not worried overly about the state of noodles, dry pasta and boxed meals in there. I'm sure they are all fairly represented in that huge pantry.

Saturday 9: The Labour Day Meme

1. What are you doing special this weekend for Labor Day?

I'm really not. I'm working this Monday, trading in for the next. I need to take off the 8th and 9th to take my dad in to have his hip - the left one - done. The right is done. I will be on the duty rig from 1500 to 1800 tomorrow and then the back-up rig from 1800 - whenever the fireworks are over.

I missed the fourth of July fireworks, so I guess I make up for this tomorrow.

2. What was your best vacation this past summer?

I didn't take vacation during the summer. I never do. I always take it in May and October. I usually take a couple of days in May and always a full week in October. That's my time of the year.

3. Did you do anything special for the 4th of July?

I made the ENORMOUS mistake of going to Philly with my mother. Ray and I were ready to strangle her. We were supposed to stay until midday 5 July but came home the morning of the 4th.

4. What did you do special for Memorial Day?

We were in Houston, Texas, which was fine with me. I had a great time. I loved it and as much as I enjoy being in parades (and I do) this was much, much more fun!

5. How was the weather? Tell us where you live and how the weather was as compared to summers past.

The weather was so far outside of the normal range for us... I live in northern New Jersey, which is normally hot and humid. June was normal; July was hot, but not really humid; and this brings us to August. Normally August is by and far the hottest month of the summer and usually terribly humid. Normal humidity would be 50 - 60%; August can easily get into the 70s or 80% range... but this year it was between 25 and 38% - WOW! It never reached 100 (38 Celsius); it rarely made it past 92 degrees (35 degrees Celsius). It was DELIGHFUL!

6. Did you discover a new favorite summer drink?

Uh, no. I don't discriminate against any drinks based on the season.

7. Did you enjoy this summer’s Olympics?

I did indeed and I'm still enjoying them. I'm only up to Thursday, 14 August. I've got ten days worth of events to go through.

8. I am from New England (Rhode Island). Lobster rules supreme in the summer. Is lobster part of your summer ritual?

No, but I don't care for lobster. I'm not too far down the coast from Rhode Island.

9. What was the best single day of your summer?

The best single day of my summer? How can that be? I had many wonderful days this summer, just as I always do. I can't rate any one day as the single best day of the whole warm season! How sad would that be if out of a 90-day period (roughly) I could have only one solitary day that stands out head and shoulders above the rest. I certainly wouldn't brag about it.

What Kind of Pasta Are You?

When you go out to eat, you:
Eat whatever you want
Try to eat healthfully

Where do you go to get the best pasta?
An authentic Italian restaurant
To your own kitchen
A chain restaurant

Pick a spice level

What food group do you like best?

You Are Cheese Ravioli
Compared to most people, you are incredibly laid back and fun. You love loud, crowded dinner tables and cooking with a crowd. For you, a meal is more about the overall experience than the actual food. You enjoy fun foods. You love theme dinners and funky appetizers.

What Does Your Birthday Mean?

Have you ever wondered what your birthday means? Take this fun quiz and find out some interesting facts about your personality traits, likes and dislikes. Have your friends take it as well and see how you match up!

Question #1 - What month were you born in?
January, February, March
April, May, June
July, August, September
October, November, December

Question #2 - On which day of the month were you born?

Question #3 - On what weekday were you born?
Monday, Tuesday
Wednesday, Thursday
Friday, Saturday, Sunday
Don't know

Question #4 - What is your current age?
Older than 30 - Yeah, slightly. Try 40.
24 - 29
18 or under

Question #5 - What time of day were you born?
Between 12:01 and 8:00 am
Between 8:01 am and 4:00 pm - not too vague, right? I was born at 10:39.
Between 4.01 pm and 12:00 am
Not sure

I never did get the results. Stupid page!

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Sales Gimmicks Galore!

Here is a Web site to avoid at all costs:

One of many, I'll grant you that. It looked like this:

Take a Free IQ Test
The Average IQ is 100.
What is yours?
Find out now.

I took the quiz, but judging by the questions I had a bad feeling - after ten actual intelligence-type questions, there would be little traps at the bottom for this or that information. When I completed the test, I had to register to get my results. Had I known the cheating, lying Web site would not give them to me without successfully sucking me into getting some rip-off "free" thing, I would have closed the page prior to filling it out. As it was, I did not give it the correct mailing address or phone number. It is unacceptable and unreasonable to think I would willingly do that.

After about fifteen pages of sales items and then lists and lists of items per page (busily skipping to the bottom and clicking SKIP instead of SUBMIT), I got finished clicking NO on about twenty-five items and a little message came up. It informed me I had to say yes to one item and then I could skip filling in the info. Sensing a trap, I closed the page.

OK, well, they redeemed themselves to one extent: I got an e-mail from them in my Spam folder (good old Yahoo!, they never go wrong! I very much love my Yahoo! service. Highly recommend them!) from these people:

Thank you for taking our Free IQ test. Your IQ Score is 139

I'm not unhappy with that. Granted, an IQ test in real life likely consists of far more than 30 questions, but for a quickly done test, and seeing that the average is low, like 100, I will feel good about my 139... maybe even gloat, a teensy bit.

But I assure you, Dear Reader, that when I get home my briefly swollen ego will return to its rightful and shrunken size... Luis is likely a 180. Try living with that and NOT think you are an idiot. (Of course, you do know what they say about that fine line between genius and insanity... at least I can spell, though!) See for my spelling test results.

Sometimes First Thing is Best!

I just want to catch up on a couple of questionnaires before hopping in the shower!

The Back To School Test
When you went back to school, how long did it take for the initial excitement to wear off?
A few days
A few hours
A few weeks

What did you like best about going back to school?
Getting away from your parents
Seeing your friends again
Learning... seriously!
There's nothing you liked about going back to school
What new school supply did you enjoy getting most?
A new backpack
New school uniforms
New crayons
New pencils
New notebooks

When you were starting a new school, what were you most afraid of?
Finding your class
Making friends
Getting along with your teacher
Remembering your locker combination

How did you like to decorate your locker?
With a mirror
With pictures of your friends
You didn't decorate it
With a collage

What Your Back to School Personality Says About You
You are laid back and fairly dispassionate. Traditional concepts of success are not important to you. You are most likely to succeed if you simply do what you love. Doing things you find boring dooms you to failure. Your greatest skill is making something out of nothing. You don't need much to feel inspired. Your biggest stumbling block in life is worrying about what other people think of you. Their opinions matter even less than you think. You're not quite sure what you're thankful for in life, it doesn't seem like there's a lot to be thankful for these days.

My Thoughts
This was completely off. I am laid back to some degree, and I always succeed doing something I love. After that, it is all wrong. I am thankful for many, many things now and am in one of the happiest times of my life. Things are so good right now, and have been for some time, I want to pinch myself and make sure I'm not dreaming.

My point was I loathed school. People who feel nostalgic about high school are a cipher to me. I hated it. Going back meant time for a ten-month round of torture at the hands of the other students, some of the teachers and the "faculty" such as the guidance councelors (not unlike an unmarried marriage councelor...), who were all of the opinion that I was destined to work in a Walmart-type establishment for the rest of my working career. (Take that, losers! Had you bothered to talk to me for a moment instead of the teachers or others with no clue how to discern their lack of interest in teaching from what appeared to be scholastic apathy on mine, you might have learned something - like how to actually councel.)

Twenty-plus years later, I'm still a little bitter about school. Not the lesson I wanted to learn.

Do You Make Common Spelling Errors
For each pair of words, pick the one that is spelled correctly:





















Your Common Spelling Mistake Score: 85% Correct
Your spelling is excellent. You don't fall for common spelling pitfalls, and you spell almost everything correctly.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

People Googling Themselves

Yes, Joe Autera, I know you do this.

How do I know this, you may ask? Well, two reasons. I know I do it (my name is unique enough that it pops right up) and also I have coworkers who are easily as paranoid as you (I do realise it goes with the territory but is fun to tease you about), and do the same thing.
I find it amusing that I create all that work. I'm content to stay with FaceBook, although I'm amused that some of my employees took me off of their friends list. I won't hassle anyone for what they put there. But I can understand that, too.

Anyway, yes, you made the list! You were terribly influential to my inauspicious start and one of the key people who helped me to become an executive where I am now. And my current coworker may grumble from time to time, but he doesn't worry about having my support on a lot of key issues. We have an excellent working relationship and had I not had that with you, it would not have been so easy.

Many, many thanks. You cannot know how much I love what I do and how strong I have become in this area.

I think it also turned me on to being an EMT - you know how much I love the police! Definitely my parents had a role in it - they always made it very clear that the police are there to help everyone. But what I learned from you about what it means to defend something, such as the country and all the whackjobs like me in it... you were my first close encounter with that, from your side of it.

And, of course, the war stories.

Still... it would be nice to actually have a dialogue with you! Is there any special reason why you won't get in touch with me instead of leaving me an annual comment? Or comment a bit more consistently! Anything!

What Religion Should I Be?

What is God like?
You don't really concern yourself with the question of God
There is no God
God is the Trinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost
There is only one true God
There is one supreme being manifested in many gods and goddesses
God is everywhere
Figuring out more about God (and if there even is a God) is part of your spiritual journey

What is the purpose of life?
Your life's purpose is whatever you make it out to be
To have faith in God and to be forgiven for your sins
To obey God and live your life as ethically as possible
Your purpose in life is to avoid suffering and reach enlightenment
To gain escape ignorance and illusion
Bringing peace and justice to the world
Finding inner peace and harmony
To submit your will to God to go to heaven after you die
What happens after you die?
No one knows for sure.
Nothing, you're dead
You cease to exist.
Reincarnation until you reach enlightenment
You go to heaven or hell
You don't focus on that much. You just focus on living the best life you can right now.

Which of the following practices do you find the most spiritual?
You don't really buy into the whole spirituality thing
Cultivating detachment
Building community
Celebrating religious holidays and customs

You Should Be An Atheist
So it's not really a religion. But that's the whole point. You don't buy into the whole God thing... or you just don't care. You may feel very alone in a world full of religious people. But just remember, atheism has a long and rich intellectual history.

What Piercing Are You?

What's sexy about you?
Your individuality
Your body
Your attitude
Your personal style
Your mind
Your smile

What's the best thing about having a piercing?
Showing it off
Feeling a little sexier
Enhancing your best features
Enjoying how it looks
Looking a little different
Looking stylish no matter what you're wearing

You could never be friends with someone who...
Is rude
Is shy
Doesn't love fashion or art
Is scared of breaking rules
Doesn't like to flirt
Is overly normal

Your perfect Sunday morning involves:
Sleeping in until it's dark again
Going out to brunch at a place you'd like to be seen at
Waking up next to an attractive stranger
Getting up early and hitting some sales
Catching up on some beauty sleep
Laying in bed with hot tea and a book

If you wanted to get yourself a treat, what would you indulge in?
A new pair of shoes
A new book
A trip to the spa
A fancy restaurant meal
Some art supplies
A new swimsuit

You Are a Lip Piercing
You are rebellious and defiant. You resist conforming and following rules. You're the type to get pierced anywhere you want, and you're not taking your piercings out for anyone! Reflective and philosophical, you've spent a lot of time thinking about how you'd like to live your life. And it just so happens that your preferred lifestyle is pretty far outside the mainstream. While people may find you standoffish, you aren't necessarily rude, mean, or judgmental. You just don't try to fit in.

And that's enough to scare most people away!

What Does Your Bed Say About You?

How often do you make your bed?
Whenever you think of it
Every day

How often do you wash your sheets?
Once a month
Once a week
Not very often

How many pillows do you like to have?
3 or more

When you are lying down in bed, what side are you on?
The left side
The right side

What type of bed do you like?
A firm bed
A soft bed

How thick is your quilt or comforter?

What Your Bed Says About You
Outward appearances are very important to you. You do your best to look good and have an attractive home. You try to be an organized person, but you often fall behind. Certain parts of your life tend to fall into chaos. You are very high maintenance. You like everything a certain way, and you're grumpy if things aren't the way you like them.
In relationships, you tend to kick back and let the other person be in charge. You tend to be a dreamy, head in the clouds type of person. You think in terms of possibilities. You are a total homebody. You are happiest when you're at home.

How Friendly Are You?

You get invited to a lot of parties.
Strongly agree
Not sure
Strongly disagree

If someone deserves a complement or praise, you give it to them.
Strongly agree
Not sure
Strongly disagree

You find it easy to be yourself around both friends and strangers.
Strongly agree
Not sure
Strongly disagree

Your friends talk to you about their personal problems.
Strongly agree
Not sure
Strongly disagree

If you see a new person in a social situation, you will introduce yourself and your friends.
Strongly agree
Not sure
Strongly disagree

You try to listen to and understand other people's points of view.
Strongly agree
Not sure
Strongly disagree

You try to keep in touch with all of your friends, even if they aren't good at keeping in touch with you.
Strongly agree
Not sure
Strongly disagree

If someone calls you or visits you, you give them your full attention - without being distracted.
Strongly agree
Not sure
Strongly disagree

You encourage people to join you in your hobbies or activities.
Strongly agree
Not sure
Strongly disagree

You are never quiet and reserved. You have no trouble talking to people.
Strongly agree
Not sure
Strongly disagree

Your Friendliness Score is 63 (Friendly)
No doubt about it, you are a good friend and a friend to many. You're one of the first people your friends call when they have news. You are quite popular, and your circle of friends is always growing. And while you are always making new friends, you are careful not to leave your old friends behind. While you are a great friend, you're not perfect. Sometimes you slip a little. Make sure to listen to your friends and make time for them. Occasionally they feel a little neglected.

What Coloured Glasses do You See the World?

First thing in the morning:
You're optimistic and happy. You love how morning feels.
You're up and ready to get the day going. You have a lot to do.
You slowly wake up and start the day. You give yourself time to adjust to being awake.
You wake up naturally as sunlight enters the room. You feel happy to be alive.
You leap out of bed. You're excited to see how the day will turn out.

At work, you:
Get really into whatever you're doing, and the time flies by.
You get things done at a slow and steady pace.
You try to get your ideas and contributions noticed.
You happily switch between projects. You love multitasking.
See what needs to be done the most, and help other people whenever they ask.

When you're very hungry, you tend to:
Act on whatever intense craving you happen to be having
Eat something light and wholesome
Eat whatever is close by
Indulge a little, but don't go overboard
Create a new dish or try a new restaurant out

During the day, what mood do you tend to be in?

When things go poorly, you:
Hardly even notice, because your life is so great otherwise
Still can see the bright side
Can only hope that things will get better
Feel a fire to make things better
Can end up getting very angry

When you're hanging out with your friends, you tend to:
Be the ringleader
Host everyone at your house
Make everyone laugh
Prefer to just talk
Suggest something to do

What is the best way for you to relax?
Your most relaxed when you're out with your friends
You don't ever really relax
You relax best by spending time alone
You find being out in nature to be relaxing
You're laid back enough as is - you don't need to take time to relax

Last thing at night:
You reflect a little before falling asleep
You are tired but looking forward to tomorrow
You are relaxed and ready for bed
You tend to crash out of pure exhaustion
Your mind is still racing, and it's hard for you to sleep

You See the World Through Yellow Colored Glasses
You live your life with optimism. You remain happy through the bad times, and your outlook remains bright. You judge all interactions through the lens of hope. You try to see the best in people, and you give them the benefit of the doubt. You face challenges with a spirit of adventure. Things are what they are, so you might as well make the best of them. You see love as the utmost expression of personal joy. You tend to be attracted to lively, friendly people. At your worst, you are a bit petty and jealous. You want to be everyone's shining star. You are happiest when you're daydreaming or thinking up fresh ideas.

What Role Do You Play?

When you're on top of the world, you are:
Charming, witty, and everyone's favorite person to be around
Envisioning new ideas and taking steps to make them happen
Able to help people tap into their potential for greatness
Developing a strategy for a big project
Getting difficult things done and making progress
Able to take time to observe and collect your thoughts

Which of the historical figures are the most inspiring to you?
Frank Lloyd Wright
Thomas Jefferson
Theodore Roosevelt
John F. Kennedy

When you're at you're lowest moment, you are:
Bored and frustrated. You don't like being stuck in an environment that doesn't stimulate you.
Totally scatterbrained. You tend to mentally "check out" and become unreliable.
Lonely and alienated. You have trouble finding people that truly relate to you.
Needy and demanding. You can monopolize people's time.
A busybody and a nuisance. You can't help but tell your friends how they should be living their lives.
Argumentative and belligerent. You're not exactly sensitive to other points of view.

What career field would you like most to try?

Which of these is the most true about you?
You eventually master any skill that you begin to learn
You love to talk - whether it's spreading gossip, relating news, or telling stories.
You get frustrated by people who aren't well educated or don't care about knowledge
Your compassion and love for other people has no bounds.
You will fight for what's right and for the people you love
You need to be around other eccentric people in order to be truly understood.

What makes you the happiest in life?
When you are able to tell other people what to do
Being the center of attention
Anytime you are able to study and learn
Mentoring or helping someone
Working hard, especially when the work is physical
New creations and accomplishments

You Are the Philosopher
You love thinking things over and developing theories. Learning is very important to you, and you pursue knowledge relentlessly. You love to talk about the things you know, often in more detail than people would like to hear. And you know a lot! You're always taking on new subjects, interests, and hobbies. You are at your best when you are left alone to ponder your newest ideas and experiments. You tend to withdraw from environments that are loud, contentious, or passionate.

Monday, 25 August 2008

A Very Pleasant Evening

I can't say much about it, but after a very fun and satisfying day at the Employee/Caddy Appreciation Day, there was a small get-together to celebrate a colleague's rise to a new position. I don't often feel inclined to hang out with coworkers, but the more practise I get, the easier it becomes.

I have no idea why I'm so ill-at-ease at these sort of soirées, but I am. It is downside, as I find myself going to the various events and then being very uptight and nervous and inevitably, when I do open my mouth to say something, it is the wrong thing. So I tend to become very quiet, and that makes others notice and I don't know - it is just bad all over.

But this night, I was more relaxed and more intune with the conversations. The ones I knew nothing about I did not involve myself with those. The ones I know very well, I say something to join the conversation, but I keep it short and simple.
And it is always good to be able to speak and joke freely wth the other executives, behaviour not often seen in the office - not that we don't joke and kid around with one another; but it is more refrained and not inappropriate.
All-in-all, it was nice: good food, good friends, good conversation.

Friday, 22 August 2008

A.W.A.D. - Physical Words

A popular admonition goes, "Don't judge a book by its cover." Yet we do that all the time. We ascribe qualities of character to people based on their physical characteristics. And our language takes shape to reflect that attitude. Are cross-eyed people shady? I don't think so. At least, not any more than the straight-eyed. In this week's AWAD we'll look at more of these words.

MEANING: adjective: Of questionable character; dubious; disreputable.

ETYMOLOGY: From French louche (cross-eyed), from Latin lusca, feminine of luscus (one-eyed).

MEANING: noun: A beggar; vagrant.

ETYMOLOGY: From French clocher (to limp), from Latin clopus (lame).

MEANING: adjective:
1. Nearsighted; unable to see distant objects clearly.
2. Shortsighted; lacking foresight; narrow-minded.

ETYMOLOGY: Via Latin, from Greek myopia, from myop- (nearsighted), from myein (to close) + ops (eye).

dexterous or dextrous
PRONUNCIATION: (DEK-struhs, -stuhr-uhs)
MEANING: adjective: 1. Skillful or adroit, mentally or bodily. 2. Right-handed.

ETYMOLOGY: From Latin dexter (right-hand, skillful).

MEANING: adjective: Clumsy with both hands. (Literally, with two left hands.)

ETYMOLOGY: From Latin ambi- (both) + sinister (on the left side).

A.W.A.D. - Real World Words

A.Word.A.Day subscribers read this newsletter for many different reasons. For some, it's the joy of learning fascinating stories about the origins of words (their etymologies). For others, it's discovering unusual words, whether it's their meanings or sounds or spelling.

Many, especially students, read it to increase their vocabulary for one of the many standardized tests or for personal enrichment. Those readers sometimes write back to say, "OK, so this word resistentialism is interesting, but I'd like to see words that I can use more often in my daily life."

Each word featured in AWAD includes examples taken from newspapers, magazines, and books to illustrate it and to show that it has been used in the real world.

Still, we take their point. This week we present words you might encounter in your next test.

MEANING: adjective: Talkative; wordy.

ETYMOLOGY: From Latin loqui (to speak). The word loquacious has a negative sense, but a positive word to come out of the same Latin root is eloquent.

MEANING: adjective: Southern.

ETYMOLOGY: From Latin auster (south). That's why Australia is so named, but that does not apply to Austria, in central Europe. Austria's name is a Latinized form of its German name Österreich (eastern empire, referring to the eastern boundary of the Frankish Empire at one time).

PRONUNCIATION: (noo-GAS-i-tee, nyoo-)
MEANING: noun: Triviality; futility.

ETYMOLOGY: From Latin nugax (trifling), from nugari (to trifle).

PRONUNCIATION: (ep-i-fuh-NOM-uh-non, nuhn)
MEANING: noun: 1. A secondary phenomenon, one resulting from another. 2. An additional symptom appearing during the course of an illness, but not necessarily related to it.

ETYMOLOGY: From Greek epi- (upon, after, over) + phainomenon (that which appears), from phainesthai (to appear).

MEANING: Lasting a very short time.

ETYMOLOGY: From Latin fugere (to flee) which also gave us other words such as fugitive, centrifugal, refuge, and subterfuge.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Final But Festive - Like Funerals with Champagne!

It's a line from this week's Eureka. I love it. Sheriff Carter and his sister were talking about the upcoming wedding of Dr. Nathan Stark and Allie, and his sister said, "I love weddings! They're final but festive - like funerals with champagne!"

The episode turned out to be very sad, but the comment was very funny, and we laughed. Good thing. The ending was a total surprise. Usually it is hard to pull off surprising ends to shows... there so many shows out there and only so many directions one can go. This was the last direction we had considered.

And they made Dr. Stark suddenly human. And the moment he became human, he was gone! Criminal...

IOC Orders Investigation Into He Kexin's Age

The International Olympic Committee has ordered an investigation into the age of Chinese gymnast He Kexin, The Times of London reports. Faced with almost insurmountable evidence which suggests that He is two years younger than the birth date listed on her Chinese passport, the IOC has launched an inquiry that could result in the stripping of He's gold medals.

This news comes on the heels of another Times report that details the findings of a New York computer security expert who found official Chinese documents that list He's age as 14 years and 220 days. Mike Walker used a Chinese search engine's cache feature to find He's actual date of birth on spreadsheets from a Chinese government website. The spreadsheets were taken down off the site recently and He's name had been removed.

Assuming the IOC is committed to a real investigation and not some dog and pony show, the revelation that the Chinese government covered up the ages of gymnasts could end up being the defining moment of these Games for the host country. Officials wanted the Olympics to be a coming out party for a new China. But while the Games have been a huge success, there is a legitimate possibility that China's legacy from Beijing '08 will be that of a massive government cover-up, not the magical Opening Ceremony or the transformation of Beijing or anything else positive.

All the good work China did to put on these Olympics could be forgotten because of an unnecessary, arrogant move by the government. Why risk everything to put a 14-year old in the competition when they could have replaced her with an of-age 16-year old gymnast? Sure, He is a better gymnast than the Chinese gymnasts who were eligible to compete, but with the judges they had at the Olympics, would it really have mattered?

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

What Do You Mean, You Won't Start?!

That was what I was saying to my car about an hour ago, not even.

I left work, drove to Marco's to treat myself to some really excellent pizza and when I got in my belovèd Acura and turned the key in the ignition, it made a sickly "whiiirrr" sound and that was it. The radio and temperature control systems came on but the important thing did not happen, the engine did not turn over.


I've been down this road before: it is either the battery or the alternator. Having had an alternator replaced in every older model car I've ever owned, I know the drill with a crappy alternator. It usually tries to take the battery with it. So you figure the last time I owned an old car was more than ten years - or just ten years - ago. Back then an alternator was a buck twenty-five... Tony tells me that they start at two hundred now. Ouch. And then the labour... ouch again.

And we will not even consider if it is neither the battery or alternator because I'm normally a happy person and the thought of it being something far worse than an alternator or battery is agonising... to the bank account.

I did get a jump start - I always have jumper cables with me, although usually the shoe is on the other foot - i.e., I'm the one lending another person the cup of electricity, as it were. I'm not unhappy at having to get the car jumped, but I am very happy I'm super-careful about having all the safety things like tire-changing materials, a donut, and jumper cables. I ate one slice of pizza, letting the battery rack up more and more of a charge, then finally limped home. I considered other options, but felt that home was the best one, having little trust for anyone other than Tony Zizzo, and also I could just get another jump did I need one.

Luis came home from work at 1720, and I know that this was hard for him. On Monday he did not get in until after 2030. CLS just released CollectionMaster v.7.2 and that means long hours for him as the key developer dealing with client issues and update headaches. But last night he'd gotten in around 1730 and I called him when I'd gotten in and asked him to do his best getting home at a good time so we could drop off my baby at Zizzo's.

I wanted him to follow me in case the alternator died completely while on Route 80 East. Tomorrow I will have his vehicle to get to and from work and I'll take him in and pick him up. I did not want to wait until the weekend and chance 1. breaking down on Route 24 (too many people get killed on 24 - poor shoulder space and racing vehicles) and 2. having to pay to have my vehicle towed. I need to look into roadside assistance. I dumped AAA some time ago. My Acura is a 2001, so it is no longer covered under Acura's roadside program. Grunt.


Tomorrow should be interesting when I find out what the cost'll be.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Perspective By The Light of the Silvery Moon

The sun shall not smite thee by day;
Nor the moon by night.

These magic words. Sometimes people are laid heavy under the full light of the moon or made tiny by the endless vast dark night sky. But when I need to see the hidden power of what others call God or need to regain my perspective, I go outside at night. Skywatching, star gazing, it gives the world the rightness that it needs for me to go on.

I've been reading Camilla, a very good book, but in some ways, a very hard read. It has thrown my perspective off and as we've logged no calls, I needed to find another way to once again feel that. So I found a long-sleeved light sweater, and went into the backyard to lay in the hammock and look upon that bright, beautiful full moon.

(Technically, it is not a full moon any longer. That moment came and passed at 1716 this evening. But people mostly have no idea that any thing, including the truly full moon, are fleeting fast moments.)

As I lay with my eyes closed in that weightless feeling in the cool night air, I heard the late night orchestra of the cicadas, a beautiful accompanment to the silver light of the moon splashing upon me in the gently swaying hammock. For a few moments, the earth was still with my mind, the many thoughts and worries and even the lesser things, such as my physical state, were not a concern or even existing. It was all good and light and lovely, and as I rested there, I could feel myself giddy with happiness and smiling.

How can anyone feel smited by the white light of the moon?

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Saturday 9: Children and Age of Bloggers

Saturday 9: Children and and Ages of Bloggers

1. Do you worry about your next birthday?

No, as always, I look forward to it.

2. Have you ever lied about your age in the recent past? If yes why?

No. Never. Not to hide my age, nor to advance it (I have never been a drinker of alcohol, so I never lied to make myself 21).

3. Have you ever lied about your age when you were young? If yes why?

Oh. I jumped the gun on this one.

4. How much older have you been a person that you were romantically involved?

Not much. Maybe three or four years at one time?

5. How much younger have you been a person that you were romantically involved?

Same, no big age difference.

6. Have you ever been consider a sibling, rather than parent of your child?

Oh, I've no idea. I doubt it.

7. If you have had children, did you factor in age when deciding to have a sibling?

I haven't any. But if I did, I would put at least five years between them.

8. If you have not had children, are you happy with your choice and/or fate?

YOU HAVE NO IDEA! And you clearly haven't read my blog!

9. Do your siblings have kids? Are you close to them? Their ages?

No kids. No siblings. Now nieces and nephews. Life is GOOD! I have a small number of cousins. That's it.

What Does Your Driving Say About You?

When you're driving, you tend to:
Crank up your music, and try not to feel frustrated
Relax and enjoy the scenery
Get agitated about how other people are driving

How fast do you drive?
You usually are at least a few mph over the speed limit.
You rarely speed, and if you speed, you only speed a little.
You routinely drive 5-10 mph over the speed limit.

If someone is trying to get ahead of you without a lot of space, you:
Let the driver in but feel grumpy about it
Speed up so that the driver can't get in
Let the driver in

Have you ever flipped someone off when you're driving?
It's happened a few times
Not that you can recall
Of course

How do you feel about traffic cops?
You don't mind them, as long as they're not pulling you over.
They are just doing their jobs.
You can't stand traffic cops.

When you're driving, do you tend to get distracted?
You occasionally get distracted by a song on the radio or people in the car
You never get distracted
You are easily distracted by your own thoughts or any outside noise

If someone in your car complained that you were driving recklessly, you would:
Change your driving but not let them ride with you again
Ignore them
Calm it down - they're probably right

When you're in your car, do you feel like no one can see you?

What Your Driving Says About You
You are a creative, resourceful person. You can easily entertain yourself, and you make the best of any situation. You tend to go by what you feel - not by the facts at hand. As a result, you tend to make a lot of uninformed decisions.

You are a very fair person. You treat everyone equally, even when it's difficult to do. You can be a rather tense, grouchy person - but you try to maintain your dignity. You have the utmost respect for authority figures. You feel that rules - and their enforcement - are important.

You are somewhat focused, but you are also a bit scatterbrained. Distractions can get you in trouble. You are a very responsible and conscientious person. You often consider the feelings and needs of others. Your ego is normally in check, but sometimes you get a bit egotistical. You tend to be a little self-important at times.

What Font Are You?

Do you ever shout to get your point across?

Is modern architecture and design your favorite style?

Do you consider yourself a born entertainer?

Are you very picky about what fonts you use?

Do you consider yourself upper class?

Are you a geek?

You Are Times New Roman
You are formal and conservative. You're concerned with how you appear to others. For you, maintaining a good reputation is important. You want people to trust you. Elegant and classy, you always maintain your composure. You are never crass. You are professional, competent, and upstanding. And it shows!

Friday, 15 August 2008

Olympics 2008 - Part III

Once again, another night was enjoyed with hours of unfettered Olympics! This year is the first in many that I have kept up amazingly with the Olympics. There are days worth of action - more than mere hours! Luis hasn't gotten through Sunday and I'm already up to Tuesday.

I finally got to watch the men's 4x100 meter men's relay which was an outrage! The teams all did beautifully, but there was more to it than that. The French team made the huge mistake of actually stating to a newspaper that they were going to SMASH the United States team, that's what they came to the Olympics to do. Now, a healthy dose of competitive spirit is one thing; but this is a truly unbecoming thing to say, and not merely a pep-inducing way to speak. And when you make gauntlet-throwing statements like that, you are likely to pay a price for that. A rather high price... This is unadvisable in so many ways.

And I don't care that it was the French. It would have been totally unprofessional for any country's representatives to make such a confrontational statement to a newspaper. And normally I would be happy for anyone that won, but I would have not been too happy if they'd won anything over silver. Did they deserve to place and win a medal? Yes. But winning the gold after behaving so unprofessionally would just be wrong...

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Why Do Divers Always Shower

Over the last three nights, NBC has led its primetime Olympic coverage with synchronized diving. According to the stacks of letters that have poured into the Fourth-Place Medal Investigative Unit Headquarters, you've all been watching but are baffled by one facet of the competition. In that case, you're in the right place. After successful forays into the cases of Cullen Jones' disappearance and the identity of the hot Paraguayan, Fourth-Place Medal will today tackle the mystery of the showering divers.

After completing a dive, competitors swim to a ladder, climb out of the pool and head immediately to a bank of showers that sit adjacent to the diving boards. Then, in full view of the crowd and NBC cameras, they shower off. Divers keep their suits on, of course, usually appearing only to rinse off their hair and arms. Oftentimes, the divers will receive their scores while still showering off. What's the purpose of this?

Theories have ranged from 'to get the chlorine off' to 'they want to have fun' -- seriously, that last one is a direct quote from NBC's diving analyst, Cynthia Potter. Neither are the reason.

Divers shower in between each dive to keep their muscles warm after getting out of the pool. The temperature of the pool water and the air are usually different (the pool is usually around 80 degrees, with the air temperature between 68 and 72 degrees). This difference can cause muscle tightness. To combat this, divers warm up in either the showers or a hot tub.

Mystery: solved. (Although we're still a bit unclear as to why the showers are out in the open. The water cube cost over $200 million to build. They couldn't have put a privacy wall in?!)

Olympics 2008 - Part II

Yes, once again I am watching the Olympics, soaking up the good stuff. Diving has begun and the Chinese team has done an amazing job on the qualifying rounds. Now the United States team is on the floor, but one of them, Samantha Pezsek, did not go out onto the floor. No one seems to know why yet.

The lead girl made a big error, she was two feet out of bounds. Ouch. And the announcers are not helping. Comments such as "there is no doubt that the United States will qualify" are heaping yet more pressure on these athletes. How do they know that? There are a gazillion factors to this kind of competition and they are already at a disadvantage by being down one team member.

The second one up landed out of bounds and that is a big hit. A bigger hit than the first one. The first girl lost 0.3 points and this one lost 0.5 points. That is not at all good. Let's see how number 3 does... She's very long. Tall, but very slender. Wow. She was very close to being out of bounds, but appears to have been just inside. She finished without issues. Well. That was lucky. There is one more up, let's see what happens.

Johnson, the favourite, is next. The third girl was very long; Johnson is the opposite. Short and stocky, like a barrel. What a dichotomy that is. A study in contrasts.

She did a great job, coming very close to the edge at one point but not over. She was very, very strong. Good thing, with the errors that the first two committed. But they look stronger. And there is still the horse, uneven bars and other fun things.

Funny thing about the U.S. team... they are all different body types, but they are all similar in colouring. They all have straw coloured hair and blue-grey eyes. What is up with that?

Uh-oh, George W. Bush is on, for a live interview... well. If he sounds stupid with a scripted teleprompter, image how mentally stunted he sounds live, just answering off-the-cuff questions. He doesn't look smart, either. He is staggeringly awful. Stuttering and stumbling over answers. Duh, er, um... If you don't have a good television presence, how can you even have a shot at this?
Whoa. He really is stupid. He brought up religion in a conversation that had nothing to do with it.

Well, time for me to get ready for tonight.

Are You Sexually Powerful?

Hmmmm... what do you think?

What does it take to make great sex happen?
The right mood and the right person.
It takes a lot. Great sex doesn’t happen all that often.
Not much. It can happen at any time.

If something is safe, but sexually taboo—you:
Shy away from it
Are all about it
Secretly desire it

How likely are you to feel sexy?
Not very likely—you don’t consider yourself sexy
Somewhat likely—you feel very sexy sometimes
You always feel sexy!

If you catch someone checking out your body in public, you’re likely to feel:
Slightly flattered
Annoyed or embarrassed

If you see your partner talking to an attractive person, you feel:
Indifferent—it’s not a big deal
Turned on.
Insanely jealous

What influences your sexual morals?
Your life experiences
What sexual morals?

If you had one word to describe sex, it would be:

You Are Extremely Sexually Powerful
Your sexual power is obvious - you don't do anything to hide your sexuality. In fact, if there's such a thing as a person with too much sexual power, it's you. Your life and thoughts are dominated by sex. And while it's good to be sexually liberated, you're starting to have a one track mind. You don't always have to use your sexual power. There's more to human interaction than getting naked!

Happy Blogaversary!

To the coolest Blogger ever!

To the blogger who makes me think and consider things in a different light, and brings out the kinder, gentler me (there is one in there somewhere and she finds that one every time!).

I expect to see many, many more posts this year!
That is a really cool basket. What a neat and thoughtful idea that truly is! Good luck to all the readers out there who enter in to win!
And many happy returns!

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Olympics 2008 - Part I

We are recording and watching the 2008 XXIX Summer Olympics and enjoying it, a lot.

As usual, Luis is not as fussy about what he watches as I am, and that broadens his scope quite a bit. But I'm not unhappy with what I watch. He'll also watch something purely for the sexual thrill (yikes... I need some intellectual or other component to any viewing, not just sexual). But I guess that is good for him.

I enjoy the gymnastics, swimming, diving, some equestrian, and that is pretty much it. That sounds so limited, but it is a lot. Luis watches that and the volley ball (there is the purely sexual part - loves the bikinis; I have the theory that the bikini became the uniform to up the viewership), weightlifting, fencing, cycling and rowing. There is probably more, but I don't know what it is.

So a last night we were watching some of the Olympics and the women's weightlifting. My goodness. The physical prowess of these women is staggering, but there is a high price to be paid, to me. The women were no more than 48kg (105.6lbs), and were able to lift as much as 113kg (248.5lbs). Ye gods! They can bench press more than I weight - by 70lbs! That is incredible.

On the other hand, except for one contestant, they were all the most genetically and aesthetically unfortunate women I've ever seen! They had thick, stocky bodies, bulky arms and homely faces. Some had bad hair on top of that. And they can lift a guy up in the air! What do you think their parents are thinking? Their mothers are thinking, "How am I going to get her married with a face like that and no boobs? And what man wants a woman who can bench-press him?!"

They were flat as pancakes, other than slightly overdeveloped pectoral muscles. And I found myself wondering if it was a criteria that they had to be quite ugly to boot. But they really lifted some scary weights.

The swimming has been interesting - to a point. The men's swimming has not been as interesting as the women's. The 400m race underscored how amazing Michael Phelps is as a swimmer. He was lengths ahead of the rest and the other athletes must have been thinking, "Why bother? I may as well hand this guy the medal." There are still more races to see but he seems to be the defacto winner. I'm not saying he isn't a hugely amazing swimmer or that the watching isn't worth it, but it is obvious that no one is as fast or good a swimmer as he is.

The women's swimming was much more interesting to watch as each race had at least three women were right up with each other to the end. It was a photo finish for some and that makes it infinitely more amazing to watch. The women and the men are all super-fit. You can see what muscles in each sport gets the most developed. With swimmers, their shoulders and lateral muscles are huge - and the women, as in weightlifting, give up having breasts for the most part. Would I love to have a lot less body fat? Sure, I would, who wouldn't when overweight? But I like looking unmistakeably like a women and while they are incredibly fit, they tend to look bulky and masculine, with no breasts and huge upper bodies. But then, look at speed skaters. They are all buttocks and thighs. I wouldn't want to look that uneven for anything.

The equestrian has shown Dressage, but if you have ever watched Dressage, you'd know it is one of the dullest things anyone can sit through. Luis was sleeping through it and admitted it was dull. I used to work with a very talented Dressage rider and she said it was like watching paint dry. When the jumping comes, then I'll watch the equestrian side of the Olympics.

As usual, so far, I'm enjoying the Olympics!