Showing posts from April, 2010

To Know Erma is to Love Her

When I came home from work this afternoon, there was a pile in front of my door! A huge pile - Amazon boxes galore! I love coming home and finding a pile there. A pile of any packages is great, provided they have my name on them. But Amazon is of course the guru for books, movies and music.

Today's pile included three or four books by Erma Bombeck, the woman who in the 1970s put the honest humour of child raising out there. She sees raising kids the way that most women do but won't tell you. She has no preconceptions that the kids are angels, because we all know that those moments of angelic quality are fast and fleeting.

Right now I'm reading The Grass is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank, which focusses more on the rush to the burbs in the mid- to late 1940s. I had not realised that there were no suburbs until the 1940s. Did you know that? Why would you? Suburbs and developements have been around all of my life. I live in the proof of this. This house we live in know has…

These Are Not Articles, They are Scams

For reasons passing understanding, these all end up coming through a blind-e-mail address I have set up for something else. But these scam e-mails show up all the time telling me I can have half of an outrageous sum of money (like $23,000,000) and all this money is in some gods-forsaken country in Africa, where there is not that much income to be found in it and five surrounding nations.

My favourite is the one that swears me to secrecy, let's see if it is here... Of course it is:

I am an investment consultant working with International Commercial Bank Accra Ghana. I will be happy to work this deal out with you if you have a corporate or personal Bank Account and if you are capable to keep TOP SECRET. I need strong Assurance that you will never let me down, as I can arrange and provide you details/documentatal proof so that funds ($8.5million) will be transferred into your account as the next of kin to the late depositor whom you share same last name with. During one…

A Quick Note

The sun is rising off to the northeast and in the clouds are streaks of blood red. A testament to man's determination to pollute aimlessly in the pursuit of money, but at the same time a stunningly gorgeous site.

I'm up. It's all of 05:50 and after a night of riding the ambulance I realised that if I'm up, why not stay up? Why go in at 10:00 when I could go in at 07:00 and be out - presumably - at 15:00 or so? It's Friday, might as well get some hammock time this afternoon and relax before I call it a night. At least this weekend is mine and doesn't belong to the squad. Next weekend will come all too soon, and I will be doing this again!

So... high-ho, high-ho, it's off to fun I go!

Another CO Alarm

Carbon monoxide alarm activation.


This one belongs to Car 65 (we're Car 66) and District 2 (we work with Districts 4, 5 and a small portion of 6 - their territory covers a sliver of ours), so I am not going out for this one. That's fine. CO calls are usually short, but as tonight at 19:40 proved, not short enough. At least this one wasn't.
We rarely see patients with CO poisoning. Anyone who has inhaled too much carbon monoxide will have a cherry red colour and while the person's blood saturation level will show 99 - 100%, the pulse oximeter cannot tell the difference between oxygen and carbon monoxide atoms - it just can read if the cell is carrying the amount of atoms it should be. (I bet you didn't know that...)
EMTs are a special sort of weird. We know that this is something we shouldn't see but on the other hand, we want to see this stuff! We train for it and we are interested in it and sometimes you think it would be cool to see a gun shot wound or a C…

The Beauty of the Full Moon

That's right. Just when you thought I might shut up about astronomy and the Moon, you're wrong!

The Moon is the only satellite we've got. Jupiter has 63 known satellites. Saturn is up to ummm... 54 moons? Hold on... No, 62. Damn... just one less than Jupiter and it has those gorgeous rings. Now, that is saying something! But if you lived there, which would be no small feat, most of those moons would be invisible. Actually, all of them would be, since the atmosphere is not clear like Terra or Mars. Here, we just have this big silvery Moon that fills the sky with her brilliance and is 400 times smaller than the Sun but allows for solar eclipses - because it is a distance of 400 times closer to us. The weird little coincedences that give us the magic of the solar elcipse... that is never more than seven minutes of totality and always happens in some gods-forsaken place that is nowhere near northern New Jersey. The closest I can expect to see this happen is Christian County, Ke…

I must be Crazy...

Remember this morning's lofty goals? Not happening. There is no way to find enough topics - and the time - to put up as many meaningful posts as I'd like. The days are too long and tonight has proven to be the standard in full-moon fare. Don't misunderstand; you don't need just crazy people to make the full moon nights what they are. Sometimes it is all medical, sometimes it is all substance abuse, most of the time it is a mix. It's just more.

So tonight we had one medical call and one CO alarm, which undoubtedly the fire district at the scene is still playing with - people do the strangest things. I'll just leave it there. CO alarms are normally a show-up-and-get-dismissed-immediately kind of thing, but tonight we were standing there talking and talking while the firemen were in and out and doing things. This is a standard stanby at a scene where the firefighters have the work.

Still, that is about 90 minutes of my life that I will never get back. Guess that bea…

The END is Near...

Yes, I'm up too late. And I'm shakey, so I'm bolting some food down so I can be unshakey enough to get in the shower...
In the month of April, I have posted 25 separate posts. Of those 25, eight of them are articles. So the question before me is this: can I put up a minimum of 5 original posts for the rest of April? Or can I pull the rabbit out of my hat and put up 13 original posts so that the eight articles are just interesting extras and truly on average I will have posted 1 posting a day?
I like the latter myself.

Rules: no posts about work; no posts that are less than a goodly length paragraph. I have a post from Boston that was a little short... but maybe I can (or already have and forgotten) beef it up a bit; no posts comprised solely of images - the images must fit with enough text that they are not touching.
If you, my crazy and dedicated readers feel there should be more rules or something I have not covered yet, you can e-mail me at Thanks!
This …

Emptying The Mind of STUFF

If you like mindless rambling and aimless writing, this is the post for you.

I received my Stash Tea catalogue. Every time I look through it I want to buy everything in it. For reasons passing understanding, I never do. It has all kinds of lovely tea pots, loose tea, bagged tea, mugs... all things I enjoy, but I never buy anything. Doesn't sound like me. At some point I'll break down and buy something... maybe...

I received my 3 May 2010 issue of People Magazine, and I dog eared all the items I want to post about. This is not a two or three item list... so be prepared.

In mailbag, there was this letter under the heading same-sex marriage:

"This controversy over who is entitled to get married is becoming ridiculous. Face history and face facts. Homosexuality has been around for centuries and will be around for centuries to come. There are so many other needs to be addressed in this country. Why not let gays commit to each legally and get on with their lives." Leslie Parad…

ARTICLE: Jellyfish Survival Story

In December, a ten-year-old Australian girl named Rachel Shardlow was attacked by one of the most venomous creatures in the world, the deadly box jellyfish. And, Rachel wasn't just stung. According to CNN, the box jellyfish completely enveloped her until she lost consciousness.

Normally, when a person meets a box jellyfish, the result is near instant death for the human. But Rachel not only survived her encounter; several months later, she's doing reasonably well. Her surprising story of survival has led at least one professor to credit her with being a medical marvel.

In an interview with Australia's ABC news, zoology professor Jamie Seymour said that Ms. Shardlow's injuries were "horrific." The doctor added, "Usually when you see people who have been stung by box jellyfish with that number of the tentacle contacts on their body, it's usually in a morgue."

Just how unlikely was Ms. Shardlow's survival? Again, according to the professor, "…

ARTICLE: Habits that Can Age You by Twelve Years

Bad habits can age you by 12 years, study suggests By LINDSEY TANNER, AP Medical Writer - Mon Apr 26, 6:26 PM PDTCHICAGO - Four common bad habits combined — smoking, drinking too much, inactivity and poor diet — can age you by 12 years, sobering new research suggests.

In this Tuesday, June 3, 2008 file photo, an employee takes a drag on a cigarette at Morgan's Place bar and restaurant in Harrisburg, Pa. Four common bad habits combined — smoking, drinking too much, inactivity and poor diet — can age you by 12 years, sobering new research suggests. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File) The findings are from a study that tracked nearly 5,000 British adults for 20 years, and they highlight yet another reason to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

Overall, 314 people studied had all four unhealthy behaviors. Among them, 91 died during the study, or 29 percent. Among the 387 healthiest people with none of the four habits, only 32 died, or about 8 percent.

The risky behaviors were: smoking tobacco; down…

So Much To Say, So Little Time...

...before I go to bed.

What were you thinking?

Celebrity Apprentice aired last night. I have to say the end was satisfying (no one was fired) but I really had to say that I've reached the conclusion that two hours is too long. It could be pared to an hour and a half and be fine. I know there is a lot to show, but some of it is minutia and too much at that.

Also, after how many seasons of both The Apprentice and Celebrity Apprentice, is the mystery there? True, the winner - or the departed - is the unknown, but the behaviour in the end is always the same. Usually there is one good person who is really great throughout and then the rest are howling, bloodthirsty mobsters. The last time - no, the season before - there was Trace Atkins, a sweetheart of a man, who lost to some schmuck who would sell his family to win. I can't remember the schmuck's name and he is not worth the space in mine or anyone else's brain, but Trace was a great guy and should have won. Sometimes sellin…

Wrap Your Arms Around Me

I concede that you were right about this place
I can make a perfect likeness of your body if I trace
I can hold you until you turn out the light
and I can't see

Do you believe that we are all innately good
Do you think that you would love me until tomorrow if you could
Would you please turn down the radio
so we can speak

I put my hands around your neck
You wrap your arms around me
Put my hands around your neck
You wrap your arms around me
I put my hands around your neck
And you wrap your arms around me

I regret every time I raised my voice
And it wouldn't be that bright of me to say I had no choice.
I can kiss your eyes your hair your neck
until we forget

I concede that you were right about this place
I can make a perfect likeness of your body if I trace
I can hold you until we turn out the light
and I can't see
I can't see.

Memory and Music

After I finished listening to Bill Engvall this morning, I put on Barenaked Ladies (yes, that is the name of a musical group). I love Barenaked Ladies and I haven't really listened to them in some time.

I'm happy I did. I know the lyrics to a huge percentage of their songs, and I remembered them all. It's amazing what the brain holds on to. What is more amazing is how memories are evoked by certain songs or odors or visuals - although more often than not visuals do not actually stir memories.

The song that really got me today was When I Fall. I was listening to that song when I pulled up to this house around 0700 the morning of 1 October 2002 with my parents van loaded with two cats, their things, and all the kitchen stuff. Talk about a big moment. We had sold our house on the other side of town and bought this one. I sat in the van with this song playing and cried... not sad crying, just a strong emotional response to this. I know, we moved four miles away but it is still a…

ARTICLE: America's Most Stressful Jobs 2010

"With unemployment high, many people with jobs are grateful to get their weekly paychecks, but that feeling alone doesn't take the stress out of the daily grind.

To get a sense of the most stressful jobs in America, looked at 21 different factors that can cause stress on the job, and ranked 200 professions by how significantly these demands factor into the average workday. Factors that weighed into stress levels included work environment, job competitiveness, opportunity for advancement and even perceived risk of unemployment. CareerCast has also included a range of unemployment each profession faces around the country, a number which contributes to perceived risk of unemployment.

Here are the most stressful jobs in America:

1. Firefighter
Stress Rank: 200
Stress Score: 110.936
Unemployment: 0%-4%
Hours Per Day: 11
Time Pressure: Very High
Competition: Low

"Firefighters frequently work irregular or unusual hours, or remain on call throughout the night. They risk hea…

Bret Michaels in Trouble

I saw something in my People Magazine that Bret Michaels had emergency appendix surgery, just around the time he was supposed to go onstage. Good thing he did not and it hadn't ruptured in a huge arena. He was hospitalised and was in good condition. Now I found this on Yahoo! News:

"Bret Michaels Remains in Critical Condition

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- Rocker and reality star Bret Michaels is still in critical condition after suffering a massive brain hemorrhage, according to the star's Facebook page. "There are several incorrect reports on Bret's condition," said a note posted to the star's official page. "Bret remains in critical condition at an undisclosed location. Further tests are being ran and information will be updated in the coming days. Thank you for your support, thoughts & concern."

On Friday evening, some online reports stated that Bret had stabilized and regained consciousness - and was even talking. Radar Online reportedly spoke to…

Awake But Not for Long!

Friday, 23 April - I was up at 07:19, now it is 22:37. This habitual lateness thing would really be awful if I wasn't having so much fun at dinner. It's easier for me, I guess, since Luis is the one who has to get his butt out of bed in time for the conference to begin tomorrow at 08:30. I can sleep in, but I doubt I will. As mediocre as the free breakfast can be it is a complete breakfast and I don't mind the offerings. (This morning I went for the omelet with ham, tomato and green and red sweet peppers, a banana and some tea. Nothing like all protein to start the day.) Then I'll return to here, straighten everything up and then sneak into Faneuil Hall again... to Gems & Minerals by Geoclassics. Got to get more!

Today I bought two necklace earring sets, one with mother-of-pearl leaves and one with silver outline and gold-coloured leaves. While I never wear gold, the plating is accent to the silver, the main colour of the set. I also got a pair of silver square ear…

Awake at 07:19

I guess I should map out my day, since I'd like to do the Duck Tour first, soak up as much as I can from that, plus see many great parts of Boston. I did enjoy the duck tours the first time I did it - they imparted to us so many interesting factoids, such as in Boston alone (in 2005) there were over 200 Starbucks and over 200 Dunkin' Donuts, almost all of them in really close proximity (not really 200, but you get the idea). A little scary.

I guess this qualifies as sleeping in late. For me, by definition, it does. I rarely get up this late. Funny what late means to different people. All programmers appear to have the same setting - wake up at noon, program and play all day, until bleary-eyed, they see it is 05:00 - time for bed.

It seems most people I know, from the squad and other walks of life are as much diurnal as the majority of this group. Up at nine if they REALLY need to be up then, but still feeling energetic at midnight, which is now 2.5 hours after my bedtime instead…

Now I Understand...

Some concepts are tough to get until the right event happens.

I actually have a fan. She's a really great person, and one day, home not feeling well, she read my blog - the whole thing up to 2008 - that is a LOT of reading. Now I get it! People really do read my blog! Who knew? I was told that over and over again, but thinking, "no, who would be able to get through it?"

Well, how cool is that? Someone does get through it!

This is wonderful and weird at the same time, but more wonderful. All those thoughts thrown out into the void that is the Internet have been read! How is that not neat? How can you not like that? There are many reasons for writing a blog and it is not just to empty my head of all those stray thoughts that clutter it up, but to know that someone out there (besides your spouse or friends or family - or coworkers) get it. Get what is running through your head!

I had a wonderful night. I met not just the person who reads my blog but 12 or 13 other completely fu…

Boston Trip & Day One (Seriously Condensed)

Hard to believe that this time yesterday we were happily driving along Route 84. It was a good trip up, with Luis asking me every 20 minutes, "Are we there yet?" Mostly he sat in the back watching Castle and I sat in front with the music on and singing with it. I mostly drove around 70 miles an hour, so it wasn't an endlessly long journey. We did hit some rush hour traffic on Route 90 but it was minor and did not last long.

Driving in Boston proper is a wholly different animal and I won't bore you with the details and multitudinous four-letter words over that, but 20 minutes to get to a place that should have been five minutes away is just nuts.

We got to our room around 1944 and that was that. No socialising (not that I'd have been good company after touring the inroads of the city), partying, no going out. We wandered downstairs, ate dinner there and then changed to go for a swim. We spent about an hour in the pool and then another half hour in the hot tub (not r…

This Week's Celebrity Apprentice


When these people fight, they don't kid around. I should really say "when these women" fight. The men were all working together really well, but the women did nothing but bicker. Pick, pick, pick. Every conversation started out well but deteriorated quickly. Holly Robinson Peete is pushy, pushy, pushy and even suggested that Donald Trump is favouring Sharon Osbourne by not giving her the axe for being sick. I really don't care for this woman.

Now, personal feelings aside, let's look at this carefully. I have a sneaking suspicion that Cyndi and Bret were brought in as the extreme ADD, bouncing off the walls people and then Curtis and Sharon for the sharp, hard-driving focus. But Holly and Bill and a lot of the various contenders really have no idea how to deal with other personalities. I'm one of those ADD, gets excited fast and cuts off everyone. Snap your fingers and tell me to focus! If someone tells me I'm doing it, I'll make a better effort to …

ARTICLE: 9 Ingredients to Avoid in Processed Foods

"If you know me at all, you know that I’m an advocate for whole, unprocessed foods. However, many of us inevitably turn to packaged or processed foods when we are short on time. Maybe we grab a frozen dinner or pizza for a quick dinner for our family. Maybe we grab a quick nutrition bar to satiate our hunger until we can sit down for a real meal. Or maybe, we just don’t like to cook. Whether we like it or not, packaged and processed food has become a huge part of our food industry and, as a result, a part of many of our diets.

Although there are some brands that I hugely advocate for, there are many more that border on outright unhealthy and “scary.” Many packaged foods that seem healthy often contain fillers, preservatives and other ingredients you don’t want in your diet. It is always preferable to choose products that have only a handful of ingredients, all of which should be recognizable. One test to know whether an ingredient is healthy is to ask yourself whether your grandmo…

National Geographic ARTICLE: Pop Cultures

This just supports my argument:

"Refrescos in Spanish, mashroob ghazi in Arabic, kele in Chinese: The world has many words, and an unslakable thirst, for carbonated soft drinks. Since 1997 per capita consumption has nearly doubled in eastern Europe. In 2008 Coca-Cola tallied soda sales in some 200 countries. Even the global recession, says industry monitor Zenith International, has merely caused manufacturers to lean on promotional offers and try cheap social networking ads.
But some are sour on all this sweetness. U.S. obesity expert David Ludwig calls aggressive marketing in emerging nations-where people tend to eat more and move less as they prosper-'deeply irresponsible. That's the time of greatest risk for heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.'
As that thinking catches on, places including New York and Romania are mulling levies on sugared drinks. Others are arguing that taxing a single product isn't the fix; promoting healthy lifestyles and zero-calorie drinks …

There's Always Stuff... blog about.

We went to the mall today. I really needed to have my eyebrows waxed (hey, if you did not want to know, why are you reading this?), stop in at Yankee Candle Company and get my eyeglasses adjusted. The wonderful guy at Lens Crafters told me I need new glasses, so I will do that after Boston. He's right. It's been about three years, so I am overdue for them.
While in the mall, we saw closed stores (including a wonderful jewelry place - very disappointing) and school displays. And fat people. If you want to see what a fat nation we are, spend ten minutes in any food court of any mall.
There were also a million and one teenagers. Ugh.

You know I think kids are best when sautéed and I stand by that assertion. Crying kids, whining kids, stubborn kids, pissy looking kids, kids running loose down the hallways, kids yakking away - it was sensory kid overload. There were even two little monsters running loose in the place where I was getting my eyebrows waxed! Who goes for…

Celebrity Apprenitce Continues...

Every week another one bites the dust.

The first week it was Carol Leifer. The teams had to develop a menu and serve people in a diner-setting and make as much money for their charities as possible. This also meant that someone had to be the server and/or busser. Cindy Lauper was a terrible server, but she worked her butt off to do it and really gave it her best effort. Carol was useless. She proved right off the bat that she was there to put in the least amount of effort and had no drive whatsoever. I would imagine that being waitstaff was also not a task she relished. I'd never heard of her to begin with, but they said she was a comedienne. Probably someone who is not accustomed to doing the hard work that bussing tables and serving customers really is.

The second week it was Sinbad's turn. This has to be the fourth or fifth season that Donald Trump's Celebrity Apprentice has aired and I don't know if he never actually saw this show, or what the deal is, but his manage…

High Marks for "Clash of the Titans"

Anyone in my age group is likely to recall the 1981 movie Clash of the Titans, which was campy but had Harry Hamlin running about in a teeny loincloth with thick hair, that determined strong jaw and looking quite fit.
This is much better.
The cast was excellent: Sam Worthinton, who was much more interesting in this role than the avatar roll; Ralph Fiennes as Hades; Liam Neeson as Zeus and a host of others. They all looked the part, where dressed right for everything and Sam looked preat as Perseus in those little Roman skirts...
There was one scene early on where Perseus with his family rounds a bend of an island in their fishing boat and looks up at the panoramic blue sky... where a boom is visible for the length of the scene, just hanging a little right of the center. Oops.
The movie was a good pace, mostly true to the original film and to mythology although where the blue-eyed tree-like creature came into it I'll never know. I can't place that creature at all. Calibos was all h…