Sunday, 31 January 2010

Oh, The Irony

I took a shift today to cover for a friend, and thinking I would boost my call numbers for January, having missed the first two weeks of riding. Especially since I was supposed to ride the full 12 hour shifts the first two weeks in January.

Ironically, there were no calls to make up for... turns out the Thursday night crew had no calls the first two weeks in January. Not so much the first weekend shift - that was 2 and 3 January - we ran three calls in the darkness of night; one in the late morning on Sunday. But nothing happened the 7th and 14th. So today we took three calls - or was it four? and I boosted my numbers - by those three or four calls that I could have lived without.

Although one person actually signed a TRO - a nice change. I can't tell you the number of abuse calls where no one will give the perp up. SIGN IT! This is to save you from having another individual do this AGAIN! So I would have to say that this was satisfying.

Having one sign off and one cancellation was rather nice, too.

Four calls. That's right. And the back-up crew took one. I suppose the bigger irony is that 65 had no crew until 1530 so we took two of their calls. Well, at least I may have logged double digits for this month. Let me think... four calls the first weekend, one each the last two Thursday shifts (including three call sheets for the four-hour fire last Thursday) and four calls today.

Oooohhh, that means I logged a whopping 11 calls! No, 12. Wow. It's not as good as last May and August, when I logged 22 calls, but for me this is good! Yahoo.

Before you criticise, EMTs live for this. We go through all kinds of training to save people's lives, and while we don't log nearly that many life-threatening calls, we log calls - something - and we do something for the community. You can't beat that. It's a good feeling, too. (Unless it is a domestic and the person doesn't file a TRO... then it is just frustrating as all get out.)

Well, I have a weekend shift on Valentine's weekend. That should be an active weekend... Groan...

Oh, look. It's 1811... I'm done!

Uncle John's Legendary Lost Bathroom Reader

I love these books. There are buckets of them - Presidential trivia, New Jersey facts, etc. These are a nonstop source of weird and interesting factoids and tidbits. And if you are wondering about the name, these books are designed for the loo. That's right - why load up your bathroom with periodicals when you can put one 675 page book with one-page, two-page or more sections. I believe four pages is the maximum for any given topic, but they will break up bigger ones into different areas of the book.

Before you wrinkle your nose at the idea of people reading in the loo, stop. Most of us do. I do - for the more, uh, time-consuming trips and only at home. Unless I'm lucky enough to find reading material in other homes, which even then, one tries never to do that in other homes. (The only thing that I really hate in other homes is when there is no spray. We all want to think that we won't stink up another's loo but inevitably if one has to defecate, it will stink. Provide spray for those of us who don't want to kill the next person inadvertently.)

Anyway, there are a gazillion little tidbits in these books and I thought it would be nice to share them one post at a time. (I've been instructed time and again about the multitude of posts that are inappropriate and need to be avoided and I am taking it very much to heart. However, writers who are good need to write about what they know. Since about 45% of my writing material has been DQd, I am trying to expand my horizons to ensure that I'm avoiding that which I enjoyed writing about... and knew... Look, don't ask - it's an open sore. Just accept it.) So here is this post:


Colors have a lot more impact on our daily lives than you might think. Here are some things researchers have found out about people and color.

Blue has a tranquilizing effect. Bridges are often painted blue to discourage suicide attempts. And according to one report: "When schoolroom walls were changed from orange and white to blue, students' blood pressure rates dropped and their behavior and learning comprehension soared."

Researchers say blue is the #1 color for women's sweaters, because women think men like it. (They're right: it's U.S. men's favorite color.)

Red is a stimulant that can cause "restlessness and insomnia" if it's used in bedrooms.

According to marketing studies, red makes people oblivious to how much time is passing. That's why it's "the color of choice for bars and casinos."

Women tend to prefer blue-toned reds, while men like yellowish reds. Businesses keep this in mind. For example, the Ford Mustang, which is targeted to men, is orange-red (called "Arrest-me" red at Ford) the Probe, targeted to women, is offered in more blue-red shades.

Because it reminds people of fields and foliage, green makes us feel secure. Researchers say it's a good color for bedrooms; and green kitchens reportedly make cooks more creative.

Studies show that "people working in green environments get less stomachaches than people in areas where other colors predominate."

It's the color most likely to stop traffic...or sell a house.

But yellow also represents "caution or temporariness-- so car rental agencies and taxis use it, but not banks."

Too much yellow makes people anxious. "Babies cry more and temperamental people explode more in yellow rooms."

I loved reading this. I have a good knowledge of colours and actually used that knowledge in my home office and elsewhere. I still need to have the master bedroom repainted, because it is a weird washed out burgundy colour, which is a terrible colour for a sleeping room. (Maybe it inspires sex, but that has not ever been an issue - I'm married not a parent, ha ha...) I want to have it painted a pale blue-green colour, hopefully one that will work with the sun-faded bedroom carpet. That will be some neat trick, I know.

My offices are a pale yellow - inviting for short periods of time, and then it is time to go. The kitchen is beige, but the rooms beyond - the eating area is pale yellow and the sun room is a pale blue, are both great rooms now. I love those colours. Luis' room was painted by the previous owners and is weird - one wall-papered wall and two blue walls and one grey wall. I can't wrap my head around that, so I spend very little time in it.

Here are some more fun facts that I have read about colours:

1. Red is an angry colour. Police do not pull over more red car owners just because... but a dark blue speeding Corvette will not be as tempting a prize as a cherry red speeding Corvette. It likely works that way for all vehicles... I have noticed lately that bright yellow cars have become popular... I wonder what statistics say about that.

2. Orange and brown are hungry colours, but they are fast-hungry colours. If you go to McDonald's, you'll know the colours are yellow, orange, red and brown. Those are "hurry-up-and-eat" colours.

3. Your fine dining establishments are decorated in dark browns and burgundy tones. These colours are hungry colours, too, but not designed to rush you out after five or ten minutes. These are more pleasant, stay and relax hungry colours. I know that I love the food and (as long as it is not too formal) the dining experience, but once I am finished eating, I really want to leave.)

4. Black is only slimming to a degree. Wearing black all the time won't hide the extra 40lbs I often carry about. (I just had to throw that in...)

5. White is a sterile colour. Hospitals all used to have every room in white, but I'm guessing that some psychologist suggested that patient rooms use muted colours. It's depressing being in an austere white room all the time. Every house I've lived in has had colour - maybe not when we moved in, but painting the white rooms was top of the list anytime they showed up.

6. When I was a kid, my parents would paint my bedroom when I went to my grandparents' house in Truckville, PA. My mother bounced between light blue and then (for reasons passing understanding) red and white. As in the north and south walls were white and the east and west walls were red. Sounds pretty cool, right? My friends thought so, but my parents and I couldn't figure out why I'd be bouncing off the walls when they'd gone to red and white.

When I was 14 or so, my mother learned how to do people's colour palettes and professional make-up. She did the four seasons type colours - I'm a winter, someone with red or auburn hair and green eyes with pale skin is usually an Autumn. I wear "winter" colours well - navy blue, white, chocolate brown, black, blue-reds, purple, hunter green, burgundy. I look awful in russets, yellow, light blue, pink, orange, orange-red, anything neon, icy tones. We also learned about rooms and the moods created by colours, and this is when we realised that a red and white bedroom is a HUGE mistake.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Images from Yellowstone National Park Part 1

I never did post images while I was in Montana - but Sunday, 28 June 2009 was one of the LONGEST days I'd every had and I was not on call! And here it is, a bit late, but it is never too late for the best things in life!

It was just one day, but what a day! It was the best day, the most incredible day. It was the third day of my Montana trip - granted, it wasn't in Montana for the most part. It was, in fact, a three-state day - Montana, Wyoming and Idaho (although we were so late coming out of Yellowstone that only the tiniest amount of time was spent in Idaho.

David and I woke up around 0300, left the house at 0430 and arrived at the North Entrance in Montana around 0800. There I am standing in front of the North Entrance. It was gorgeous - the mountainous landscape, the crisp, clean air, it was nothing like New Jersey. Late June here is hot and often humid. There was not a bit of humidity and early in the morning, the temperature was just about 60 F/17 C. We drove through into the Mammoth area and at first it was just mountainous area with a river alongside us. In front of us was Mammoth Hill, which looks just like a sleeping [woolly] mammoth. I could see the head with the huge flapping ear, the shoulders sloping down to the rear of it. The Mammoth Hot Springs are fed by the Norris Basin waters and while outside of the Yellowstone caldera, they are still as active as anything else in the park.

We came to the main park area, and had breakfast just across the square from the Mammoth Hot Springs. It was a lovely meal, just a few people besides us. The building was yellow outside and quite lovely inside. The building itself is a complex, and modern-looking, but the restaurant was more old-style building and quite historical. We ate very well, knowing we'd burn off the energy fast.

When we walked outside, there were elk everywhere, hanging out on the lawns of the houses, walking about the roads, laying on the hills and walking on the hot springs areas. They really had very little fear of us. They wouldn't walk up to any people, but they did not run off, either. Clearly the animals are well aware that they are not in danger from us. There were even smaller yearlings about that had no fear of us.

The springs themselves were so different from anything I'd ever seen. The mound that is Mammoth Hot Springs was a long, low, flat-topped hill comprised of white and orange areas. There were some red spots from the metals and the algae that grows in the hot water. There was steam rising off the many layers of the hill. Some areas had bubbling water and others had small rivulets of hot water. The colours and odor of sulfur were strong. I walked all over the boards to see everything I could of the springs. These were the first hot springs I'd ever seen, so it had to be scrutinised carefully. As strong as the sulfurous rotten egg smell was, I was not going to let that bother me.
6,200 feet above sea level, far from any ocean, the magic of finally seeing that which I have studied, read, dreamed and avidly look upon pictures was finally in front of me. Heat and steam rising off the acidic water flowing over the travertine-created the white steps of the hot springs. Welcome to my first trip to an active volcano.

The top of the Mammoth Hot Springs is the closest I will ever get to seeing the Moon up close. If you ignore the colour of the tree in the foreground and the mountains in the background, it is the uniform grey and silver and cratered surface of the Moon. I know NASA won't be calling me anytime - who wants to put a 42-year-old with muscular dystrophy on the Moon? - but this was close.

I have to go back. I saw just the smallest fraction of the park for the 14 hours we were walking in it; and the eight and a half hours on the road. There is so much more to see.

From the Mammoth Hot Springs, we went through the mountains and on our way, we saw elk, wolves, a prairie dog... the wildlife was so rich. We hoped to see a grizzly or back bear but luck was not on our side for that. I did see plenty of pine trees scarred by wandering bears who stopped to hone their claws.

We stopped at the Upper Falls, then wended our way down to the Bleached Cliffs. The Bleached Cliffs are etched from the Yellowstone River flowing through it. The yellow colour is from the rhyolite. I stood there on the platform above the Lower Falls looking over a vista that has no comparison anywhere on Earth. It was incredible. Magic. And it was, for that moment, mine.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

My Old Friends

Last night I walked out to the mailbox, looked up into the night sky and saw planets and stars, and my old friend, Orion.

I love the night sky and I needed to see it. Orion's belt - and Orion - is only visible in the autumn and winter. Orion is comprised of Beteguese, Rigel, Bellatrix, Mintaka, Alnilam, Alnitak and Saiph - also known as Alpha Orionis, Beta Orionis, Gamma Orionis, Delta Orionis, Epsilon Orionis, Zeta Orionis and Kappa Orionis. The middle "star" of Orion is not a star but really the Orion Nebula.

I love Orion and I whispered, "Hello, Orion, my old friend." I've been looking up into the night sky for years seeing Orion rise in the autumn and set in the late winter. And of course, there are always planets to see as well as the constellations - Jupiter is delightfully visible and has been for months. Venus will reappear as the Evening Star in a couple of months.

In my lifetime I've seen a total solar eclipse, a partial solar eclipse, Halley's Comet, Hale-Bopp Comet, the breakup of Shoemaker-Levy 9, almost all of the planets (eight of them, and since I would agree that Pluto is not a planet but a Kuiper Belt object, that is okay), multiple lunar eclipses - total and partial, and the first transit of Venus across the Sun on 6 June 2004. The next one will be 6 June 2012, and intend to see that one, too. I have a high-power telescope and a Sun filter so I was able to watch it. I've seen sunspots and Mercury. There is nothing like astronomy to bring out the magic. I believe in the Universe. God has nothing on the Universe.

The transit of Venus last occurred 121.5 years prior to 2004's transit. Every transit has a gap of exactly 8 years, then doesn't occur for 105.5 or 121.5 years. The last transit was December 1882. Transits of Mercury happen much more frequently, 7, 13 or 33 years apart. Transits of Mercury are visible in May or November and the next one will be 9 May 2016, UTC (we are UTC-5).

2017 will be the next time there is a full solar eclipse visible in North America, and not in Hawaii - for reasons passing understanding, solar eclipses always seem to happen in some god-forsaken place. This will be a nice change. I may have to get a flight to southern Ohio or Indiana, where the best totality will be.

We need to have one in New Jersey!

If You Could Have Anyone... the world, who would he or she be?

In the early 80s it had to be Harrison Ford. Everyone raved about Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) but I thought Han Solo was the hottest thing around. And he was. Harrison Ford is quite a bit older but still very good-looking.

But if I had my pick of the pack, I would have to spend time with Colin Firth. He is really charming, attractive and was wonderful in Bridget Jones' Diary and Shakespeare in Love, a movie to which I can recite the lines. I know he was a wanker in that movie, but still - what a wanker! And he's been in many other movies: he was in Valmont, which was no where near the quality that Dangerous Liaisons was, but Colin made the movie. As in was very good.

(Oh, yay... a call has gone but not to us!)

Mel Gibson was kinda hot... but not so much after finding that one, he is stupendously religious and two, a rabid practical joker. Practical jokes are never funny to me and I would hate meeting him. I have a super low opinion of people who pay practical jokes.

Antonio Banderas? Used to be hot, discovered he likes plastic women. No, off the list now. Alec Baldwin? Yes, in his younger years. Now, that doesn't mean that older men aren't on the list... but he did not turn into a "distinguished" man. Harrison Ford is 67 and except for the bad haircut, he's still hot. But Antonio and Alec are not getting better like fine wine (a subject I am totally unqualified to comment upon, since all wine tastes aweful to me).

Colin Firth is 49 and aging nicely.

Jonny Lee Miller is good looking and I knew I knew him from something other than Hackers and I did - it was the telly show Eli Stone! And he has definitely aged well. Of course he is 37, which isn't older (at least not older than me, who will be reaching the older but not wiser age of 42 on Tuesday. (I still prove every day that age clearly does NOT confer wisdom.)

Ralph Fiennes (pronounced Ray, I think) is also a very good looking man. It's hard to believe Joseph Fiennes (Shakespeare in Shakespeare in Love) is his brother, they don't look anything alike.

You know who else is hot? Alan Rickman! Maybe it is the bad guy thing, but I also loved him in Blow Dry. It's a British movie, and perfectly wonderful. He does make a terrific bad guy in the Harry Potter movies and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Not the best movie, but surely the best Sheriff of Nottingham.

And that concludes the hot guy list.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Famous People Who Shouldn't be Allowed to Name Their Children

More People Magazine fodder:

In Passages, they list:

It's a boy for country star John Rich nad his wife, Joan, who welcomed their first child, Cash - yes, Cash Rich - in Nashville Jan. 10.

Country singer Clay walker, and wife, Jessica, had their second child together, daughter Mary-Elizabeth, in Houston Dec. 27. The couple have son William Clayton, and Clay has two girls, MaClay DeLayne and Skylor ClayAnne from a previous marriage.

(It's good to see the current wife put her foot down on the ruinous ego trip that Clay has with putting his name into all of his childrens' names.) So let's see what other nightmare names have been given to unwitting children in 2009... and past.

Here's one: "On November 19, a couple welcomed their baby girl into the world. They then decided to name their baby after the unusual place of her birth -- her parents' car.

Tony Richardson and Samantha Smyth had originally planned to name their child Tilly, but changed their minds after the baby was born in their seven-seat Kia Carens when they arrived at a hospital in Poole, England, just a little too late.

"We have decided she doesn't look like a Tilly and settled on Kia," Richardson said.

"I don't think we would have used Volkswagen or Citroen," added Smyth."

What do you call some of the most unlucky people in Britain?

Justin Case, Barb Dwyer and Stan Still.

It sounds like a bad joke, but a study has revealed that there really are unfortunate people with those names in the UK. Joining them on the list are Terry Bull, Paige Turner, Mary Christmas and Anna Sasin. And just imagine having to introduce yourself to a crowd as Doug Hole or Hazel Nutt. The names were uncovered by researchers from parenting group after trawling through online telephone records.

Retired airman Stan Still, 76, from Cirencester, Gloucestershire, said his name had been "a blooming millstone around my neck my entire life". "When I was in the RAF my commanding officer used to shout, 'Stan Still, get a move on' and roll about laughing," he said. "It got hugely boring after a while."

But 51-year-old Rose Bush, from Coventry, West Midlands, said she loved her name.

Pearl Button
Jo King
Barry Cade
Carrie Oakey
Priti Manek
Tim Burr

"I always get comments about it but they are always very positive," she said.


Researchers also scoured phone records in the US and found some unlikely names there too.

Spare a thought for Anna Prentice, Annette Curtain and Bill Board the next time you sign your name.

A string of Americans also have very job-specific names, including Dr Leslie Doctor, Dr Thoulton Surgeon and Les Plack - a dentist in San Francisco. A spokesman for said: "When the parents of some of those people mentioned named their children, many probably didn't even realise the implications at the time. Parents really do need to think carefully though when choosing names for their children. Their name will be with them for life and what may be quirky and fun for a toddler might be regretted terribly when that person becomes older or even a grandparent perhaps."

Notable Names of 2009

From the newsmakers that took flight—Falcon or Sparrow, anyone?—to the stories that captured our imaginations, here are the names that thrilled us, stunned us, and grabbed us in 2009.

At close to midnight, Nicole Richie and Joel Madden welcomed son Sparrow James Midnight. (Older sister Harlow Winter Kate was born in the winter of 2008.) Mama Nicole said of the choice, "I liked the way it sounded with Harlow, and there's the Captain Jack Sparrow connection." Naming stylistas will notice both Harlow and Sparrow end in "–ow." Do you think their names are "Ow!" or "Wow!" in turning heads?

The name that kept the nation's parents riveted to the TV and scanning the skies for hours, was not Max, king of the wild things, but Falcon.

Falcon Heene, the 6-year-old-son of storm chasers and would-be reality TV stars Richard and Mayumi Heene, was thought to be lost in a wayward weather balloon. The story had a satisfying, if unsettling ending. Like Max, the mischief-maker of Where the Wild Things Are, Falcon was safely playing at home the entire time and hiding in a box in the attic.

Now that more and more boys and girls can share the same names—think Taylor Swift's face-time with Taylor Lautner—one thing's for sure: There will be more same-name couplings in the future.

Kelly Hildebrandt and Kelly Hildebrandt met through Facebook, after noticing they had the same name. (His middle name is Carl, while hers is Katrina.) The couple struck up a correspondence and conducted a long-distance romance before getting hitched in 2009. (Indeed, they almost missed their honeymoon when the cruise ship thought "Kelly Hildebrandt" had been booked twice.)

Along with Riley and Riley, Ashley and Ashley, Jordan and Jordon, Cameron and Cameron, Chase and Chase, Jamie and Jamie, Sam and Sam, Mackenzie and Mackenzie, Rowan and Rowan, and Addison and Addison, Chris and Chris Reagan and Reagan, what other first-name couplings could you see in the not-so-distant future?

On movie posters, the full title is Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire, but Precious soon found itself on the lips of Oprah and Tyler Perry, who offered glowing word-of-mouth for a film about an abused, overweight, and illiterate teenager and its lead actress, Gabourey "Gabby" Sidibe. At Sundance, Precious won the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award in drama, along with a Special Jury Prize for Mo'Nique's performance. Precious has been a top-1000 name since it first appeared on the popularity chart for girls in 1978, gradually climbing to #378 in 1996, before finding its current rank of #791.

There were no fewer than three celebrity tykes named Charlie in the past year—thanks to Rebecca Romijn and Jerry O'Connell's daughter Charlie Tamara Tulip, Julie Chen and Les Moonves' son, Charlie, and Jeremy Sisto's daughter, Charlie Ballerina. Make it four if you count Tiger Woods' son, Charlie, born on February 8, 2009.

When Heidi Klum and Seal named their second daughter Lou Sulola Samuel, skeptics initially hesitated to report the name, thinking it was a mistake like Ickitt for Mia's son, Ikhyd. (It wasn't.) Lou joined her older sister and brothers, Leni, Henry, and Johan.

Other multi-syllable monikers beginning with "S" that shone this year: Seraphina Rose Elizabeth, daughter of Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck, and Satyana, daughter of Alyson Hannigan and Alexis Denisof. Sporty Spice Melanie Chisholm did it in two words, Scarlet Starr, and Tommy Hilfiger welcomed son, Sebastian.

Or maybe it isn't. Not if you're Octo-mom, Nadya Suleman, who already had six children before delivering octuplets Noah, Maliyah, Isaiah, Nariyah, Makai, Josiah, Jeremiah, and Jonah in January. (All eight children bear the middle name, Angel and the last name, Solomon).

Or the eight children of Jon and Kate Gosselin from Jon & Kate Plus 8: twins Cara and Madelyn, and sextuplets Alexis, Hannah, Aaden, Collin, Leah, and Joel, whose parents faced the end of their reality TV series while embroiled in a bitter divorce in the second half of the year.

And the hardest working name of 2009? Not Bronx Mowgli (the son of Ashley Simpson-Wentz and Pete Wentz), Nakoa-Wolf Manakauapo Namakacha (the son of Lisa Bonet and Jason Momoa), or Petal Blossom Rainbow (the daughter of Jamie Oliver and Jools Norton). Instead, the title goes to Java Sumatra, the daughter of Josh Holloway and his wife, Yessica Kumala, a native of Jakarta, Indonesia. The triple-play name delivers: It's a cup of coffee, an Indonesian island, and a programming language all rolled into one.

The runner-up who almost ran away with our hearts? Bandit Lee Way, daughter of My Chemical Romance lead singer, Gerard Way.

That's about all the bad baby/people names I can take... And from 2008, is this post: 20 Worst Baby Names ( - shows all those weirdo names, like Moxie Crimefighter.

Ten Plastic Surgeries in One Day

If it were ten people, each of whom had one plastic surgery that day, I would shiver a bit and then leave it alone.

If it were something like having a mole or a birthmark that one did not like, I would not even shiver. I have had moles removed for health risk reasons, and I can certainly understand being self conscious about something right on one's face that either makes the owner uncomfortable about or that others ask about. OK, then this is the right thing to do.

I mean one person having ten totally ego-driven surgeries in ONE DAY.

My weekly sleaze, People Magazine, had in it as the main article a woman named Heidi Montag. I've never heard of her. Having now heard of her, I wish I hadn't. There is something really psychologically wrong with this woman. I am not a fan of my face and I know no one will offer me an opportunity to be in a movie or on the telly or certainly as a model. I have a Jay Leno chin (look at my drivers license or any image of me), a long face, etc. But as much as I don't look like a model it is my face and wouldn't be weird if I suddenly showed up with... some other face.

Well, this woman said that she had a Jay Leno chin (it was similar to mine), Dumbo ears, flat chested... the list was endless. They show her original face next to version 3.0 and you are looking at two different people: one real and smiling (because she could) and one stiff and fake (I'm guessing that the passe act of smiling is no longer possible). She has turned herself into a completely different person. That is just wrong.

She had:

1. Mini brow lift
2. Botox in forehead & frown area
3. Nose job revision
4. Fat injections in cheeks, nasolabial folds and lips
5. Chin reduction
6. Neck liposuction
7. Ears pinned back
8. Breast augmentation (again)
9. Liposuction on waist, hips, inner and out thighs
10. Buttock augmentation

What isn't sick about this? Breast augmentation is common enough, and we live in a society that definitely devalues women with very small or no breasts. Having not seen photos of Heidi's full body, I cannot comment to whether or not I personally agree that a breast augmentation was warranted or not. Having seen version 2.0's breasts, I absolutely would argue that a second augmentation (making them even bigger) was a waste. Now it looks like someone halved a basketball and stuck them on her chest. Awful.

She didn't tell her family because they weren't supportive. OK, this is a lose-lose for her. One, if you are hell-bent on doing this, then do it and tell them you don't want to hear it if it isn't positive. Two, they are going to see you or this article (whatever comes first) and figure it out. Especially when a stranger who used to be their family member shows up. I don't admire that at all.

Her husband did not want her to have all this work done. Apparently some thought he was pushing for this.

She plans to have more surgeries:

People Magazine: Does that mean, aside from your breasts, you're finished with plastic surgery?
Heidi: "I'm just starting. As you get older, there are so many different treatments--all the big celebrities get their spider veins removed. Let's just say there's a lot of maintenance. Nobody ages perfectly, so I plan to keep using surgery to make me as perfect as I can be. Because, for me, the surgery is so rewarding."

Yikes. I guess if she's happy not being human, then live it up. Or let one of the surgeries kill you, as that does happen. Either way, there is help for this kind of psychiatric problem!

We Finally Saw "Avatar"

It was not all that and a bag of chips. Too much hype, not a great plot (your standard human greed theme) and the volume contributed to its getting only a mediocre review from me.

We decided to go to the 23:40 showing. It was 22:45 when we got there and got on the line waiting for the movie. The 20:15 showing was not out yet, and we estimated that with a 2:50 running time and the usual insult of watching adverts for upcoming movies it would be 23:10 - 23:25 before the previous showing would get out? Then the cleaning staff would whip in and do their thing and we'd be able to sit.

Standing in line was its own trial and I won't bore with the details of it.

The story was as weak as I had read, and the graphics were amazing - the first of the kind. Seeing the scenes on the planet, where they bond with and ride six-legged horses, winged creatures and with the tree of life is incredible. The darkened forest with the glowing areas is stunning. It was hard not to raptly watch the characters running through the woods, riding up to the floating mountains, etc. For that I have to give the movie very high marks.

But the 3-D was mistake.

It started out well enough, but the motion and the blurriness of the screen if you weren't looking dead center caught up with me and I began to feel sick. By the time the movie reached the part where the gung-ho kill-everything-in-our-path colonel was planning how to exterminate the 2,000 warriors that came to fight us off, I had to leave the theatre or end up ruining a lot of other movie-goers viewing pleasure. In short, I really did not want to end up getting physically sick in the close quarters of the theatre.

I told Luis to stay and went out into the hallway. It was a relief to be out of the confines of the theatre and the absolutely mega-decibel volume. I forgot to bring earplugs with me and I see no reason under the sun why the volume had to be as loud as it was. I have excellent hearing, but after sitting through the noise, my ears and head ached.

Sensory overload.

Given the opportunity, I should have seen Avatar in the regular theatre. I would have enjoyed it more. The IMAX screen is not large enough. (Motion sickness - such as in a car - is a result of the mind's inability to rationalise the motion of the outside against the stillness of everything inside the vehicle. I get severe motion sickness in the back seats of vehicles - too much that is not in motion. In the front seat or as the driver I'm much better. In the better IMAX theatres, the screen reaches from the very low floor to a very high ceiling and is very wide - much wider than the width of the seats all totaled. In the Rockaway AMC IMAX, the screen is not even a 70mm, and the lack of motion outside the visible screen conflicted with the outrageously obvious motion of the movie, grossly overemphasized in 3-D rendering. I was fine for the first 90 minutes ad then it started out slowly and then reached a level that was too much. Closing one eye or both did not help. And finally, when things were being blown up and the chairs were shuddering from the sound concussions, I ust whispered to Luis, "I'm going out, you stay."

He loved it and was glued to the screen. I had a book with me if I got bored, but frankly, at 02:16, I was completely contented to sit on the bench outside and across the hall from the theatre in the deserted hallway. I could hear every line of dialogue anyway, and the booming and crashing of the final battle. I did not miss anything. The movie ended at 0238 and I did not peek in to see the credits (normally something I feel strongly about) and Luis was quickly to see if I was OK.

I can honestly say I survived it.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Birthday Wish List

Okay, so I'm tacly and avaricious! I can live with that.

I'll be 42 on Tuesday, 26 January, which should be a national holiday! I love my birthday. It's good to be me - most people hate his or her birthday because he or she is aging. Bad attitude. Sure, you are aging. Life means aging. I have no problem. Aging means I'm alive and being alive is great! So here is my list and if you wish to get me something on it, you cannot imagine how much I will appreciate and love it!

Updated 3 January 2010; 12:52

1. DVDs:
Watership Down
Princess Diaries 2 (I have the first one)
Drop Dead Dive Season 1 (may not be available yet)

2. National Geogrphic Magazine:
Info: Key: 9H4H295; 888.225.5647;
a. Silver and Garnet Mandala Earrings (72059 - $35.00) and Necklace (1072689 - $75.00) - Set - $95.00
b. Santiago Travel Boots (1072595) $229.00 (size 39 (European size for US 8)
c. Scottish Walking Wool Sweater (1074882 - BU burgundy) $159.00
d. Stellarscope star finder (1073535) $49.00
e. Rainbowmaker (73648) $39.95 (two, please)

3. Franklin Covey
Info: Customer #11005020; promo code: 79148; 800.654.1776;
a. Burgundy Storage Cases (3) - Classic size (#19079) $9.95 each
b. Burgundy Storage Sleeve (10) - Classic size (#25131) $8.95 each

4. Levenger catalogue
Info: Cus #AC0055396378; Promo 9NCB07A; 800.544.0880;
a. Multicoloured Annotated ruled pads (Junior - $14.00/3; Letter - $20/3) #N9-ADS3595
b. Nantucket Laptop Lifter $68.00 #N9AD6040

5. Crate & Barrel
Info: Cus #0031858056; Key #3Z069; 800.323.5461;
a. Elodie Hurricane glass (RW149) $39.95
b. London Hurricanes (1 of each) - 6" diameter (RW219) $24.95; 8" diameter (RW218) $39.95

6. Yankee Candle Company; 800.243.1776
Autumn Leaves Reed Diffuser (1166315) $19.99
Large Jar Candle - Fireside $24.99

7. Board games/Games
1. Quadominoes
2. 3-D Monopoly

8. Taylor's of Harrogate Teas
Flavours (bags or loose):
Naturally Decaffeinated Breakfast Tea
Pure Ceylon Tea
Earl Grey Tea
Scottish Breakfast Tea
Lapsang Souchong Tea
Harrisons & Crosfields Royal Imperial Tea
Cardless Electric Kettle by Toastmaster
Note: (I don't like green or herbal teas)

9. The Puzzle Warehouse
The Dog Show (3,000 pieces)
On Thin Ice (3,000 pieces)
Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn (4,000 pieces)

10. Signals
1. OM carved wood medallion #HG9242 $44.95
2. Crystal prism Hurrican lamp #HD4862 $29.95
3. Sterling-dipped four-leaf clover necklace #HG9972 $49.95
4. Exclusive Language Watch (Gaelic) #HE9383 $39.95

11. Fluorite (Crystal) Balls
It doesn't have to be fluorite, I love garnet, volcanic rock (snowflake or rainbow obsidian), etc., but fluorite is one of my favourites! E-bay is the best place, and there are three really great sellers:
1. Amy Zhang - CrystalArtWorld
2. Heather Murphy - Crystal Quarry
3. Lv Xin Wei (吕昕蔚) - Rikoo (she's in China, so there will be a circa 3 week lead time)

A great fluorite sphere!

Happy Holidays, Mr. Autera

20 December 2009

My friend Joe,

How are you? What's new in your world?

You won't write back, or at least you haven't, but hey, you never know. Maybe the fates will allow me the pleasure of a response. You need not give me any gory details (although "gory" won't bother me) but it would be nice to know you are doing well. How old your kids are, it's been a really long time. The usual pleasantries.

Since you are mum, however, I will supply the details for now.

Of course, you remember our working days at PNY Technologies. Those were fun times! And I learned a few things... like never keep my back to the door. When I first began my current position, my desk was tucked back away from the door... I don't know how to describe it. People walked in and startled me all the time, just like you used to. Even Rey could never quite sneak up on me the way you and your little cat feet did. (I did throw that ream of paper at you after I threw it onto my cubicle desk that one time, didn't I? Should've aimed for your head!) So about two years ago, I had my entire office rearranged so I can hear everyone approaching my office and they are visible the second they step into the doorway. It works very well!

Luis and I moved to the other side of town about seven years ago, to the Lake Hiawatha side of Parsippany. It's nice - big house, quiet neighbourhood, first aid squad house right across the street. That means I commute 18 miles to my main job and about 18 yards to my unpaid job. I like to think of EMS as my unwind from the regular stress of my full-time job... except I don't consider what I do stressful. Last week two people were fired. People tell me I'm heartless and I grin back and say, "Tell me something I don't know!" My manager tells me I'm really, really good at firing---

There goes my pager. I'll be back! (11:54)

(13:08) It is time for lunch, before we end up with another contestant. I'll be back soon.

3 January 2010

OK, I lied. It was two and a half weeks ago that I went out on that call... hmmmm. A little late...

I rode Thanksgiving (one call at 1820), Christmas Eve (two cancellations and one real call between 1800 - 1900) and New Year's Eve (not a single call - not one!) and this weekend for 24 hours (I'm on until 1800 tonight - it is now 13:21) and we paid the price for running the holidays, with four calls, three in the wee hours when it was under 14 degrees and the wind chill brought it down to below zero - awesome - but for getting through three major holidays, it is a good price. The last call was quarter to 11:00, daylight hours. Refreshing. I usually only see darkness riding in the winter but every six weeks we have a 24 hour rotation.

My personal favourite this morning was the drunk Mexican whose friend struck the patient with a bottle - point-blank in the forehead. No transport, as usual. Unreal.

I love EMS, it is the adrenalin junkie in me. Not that my job hasn't its share of adrenalin filled moments, but not like racing to a possible heart attack or an MVC. I've had my share of fatalities. Someone said to me, "Oh, you must be used to that." And I said no, you never get used to that. If you do, it is time to stop. It is not the dead person... it is watching the reaction of the survivors that tears your heart out.

Life is good. I'm very happy. Luis and I have our 20th anniversary coming up in March; my 42nd birthday is 26 January - wanna make me happy? Send me birthday wishes! It will make my day. I love my jobs, and I love my life. I sometimes miss PNY but I will never go back to corporate America. This is so much better!

I hope you are well and have a happy, healthy new year and new decade!