In:

Conversations: A compliment...?

The Scene: I am relaxing on the sofa reading a book. I've braided my hair into two braids for the first time in FOREVER, prompting lots of Pippi Longstocking and Heidi comparisons, but I was feeling very cute and adorable. Bob comes home from work.

Me: Hi!

Bob: Hey!

Pause

Bob: (notices my hair) You braided your hair well.

Me: ......Thanks?

In:

The Ugly Blankets

Aaaaand by popular demand.....







The first Ugly Blanket.








The second Ugly Blanket.






The third Ugly Blanket!

In: ,

Telemarketers Suck

I learned something depressing the other day. The FTC does not cover business-to-business telemarketing under their anti-telemarketing laws. There is no 'Do not Call' list for business (by the way, the time you have to allow is 31 days for that list to take effect if you add your personal number to it).

I was particularily perturbed by this since I have been plagued by phone calls from the Yellow Pages Online while at work in my office for months and months. These are the people who call incessently for a while, then when you finally get really mad they stop for a month or two (just long enough to make you feel safe), then they start calling again.

Months ago their sales pitch involved starting out by cheerfully suggesting they are simply verifying some information. If you didn't catch on immediately, they went on to tell you about your amazing free business listing and transfer you to go through their automated answering service.

Then they must have gotten in trouble, because they started asking your title in the company, then saying, "I assume since you are the (insert title here), you are over eighteen and authorized to make changes to this account".

HA!

Now they start out right away by telling you that they're "updating information on your FREE online business listing".

This was the conversation I had with them today:

Telemarketer: Hello, this is ******* from the Yellow Pages Online. I am calling to update your free online business listing-"

Me: Wait a second. Your company has consistantly called this office even though I have repeatedly informed you that we are not interested in your offer and do not want to receive any more calls from you.

Telemarketer: (Flustered... he must be new) But this is for your free online listing that you-"

Me: I am aware of what you're offering, I've heard it countless times. Now this is a busy office and I don't have time to do this.

Telemarketer: But- but-

Me: We're not interested, now-"

Telemarketer: (Accent kicking in a little more now) But we chose you because you good business people! This free online listing only for good business people!

Me: Thank you, but NO.

Telemarketer: But it's free for fifteen days!

Me: (HA! He screwed up! Free for fifteen days, then you send us an OUTRAGEOUS bill!) Thank you. No. (I hang up the phone decisively)


I was chatting with Office Manager Hugh about this insufferable company, and he mentioned that a woman who worked her a few years ago had once accidentally signed up for this thing. It took a couple months for Hugh to realize what he was being charged for, and when he did it took forever to cancel. No one would answer his calls, when he left messages no one returned his calls, when he finally did get ahold of someone he was tranferred around fifteen times.....

The moral of this story is: never accept a free online business listing from Yellow Pages Online, no matter how sneaky and persuasive they are.

In:

Movie Quiz Answers!

1. Black Comedy / Generation X / Wrath / Thug / Rotoscoping = Sin City!

2. Orgasm / Sado Masochistic / Self Injury / Sadistic / Personal Secretary = Secretary!

3. Disturbing / Sword / Violent Movie / Good Versus Evil / Based On Comic Book = The Crow!

4. Zombie / Car Crash / Soft Drink / Dress / London = 28 Days Later!

5. Male Nudity / Campy / Payback / Homage / Vendetta = Pulp Fiction!

6. Hyperrealism / Topless / Queen / Harem / Seige = 300!

7. Obscene Finger Gesture / One Day / Mini Skirt / Teen Angst / Suicide = Empire Records!

8. Action Heroine / Spin Off From Video Game / Female Nudity / Killer Dog / Based On Video Game = Resident Evil!

9. Animal Killing / Blood / Painting / Katana Sword / Gunfight = Eqilibrium!

10. Convenience Store Clerk / Long Take / Silent / Anti Social / Underage Smoking = Clerks!

In:

Cinderella


Just got this in my email, and thought I would share. =)


Cinderella is now 95 years old. After a fulfilling life with the now dead prince, she happily sits upon her rocking chair, watching the world go by from her front porch, with a cat named Bob for companionship.


One sunny afternoon out of nowhere, appeared the fairy godmother. Cinderella said, "Fairy Godmother, what are you doing here after allthese years"?


The fairy godmother replied,"Cinderella, you have lived an exemplary life since I last saw you. Is there anything for which your heart still yearns?"


Cinderella was taken aback, overjoyed, and after some thoughtful consideration, she uttered her first wish: "The prince was wonderful, but not much of an investor. I'm living hand to mouth on my disability checks, and I wish I were wealthy beyond comprehension."


Instantly her rocking chair turned into solid gold.


Cinderella said,"Ooh, thank you, Fairy Godmother!"


The fairy godmother replied,"It is the least that I can do. What do you want for your second wish?"


Cinderella looked down at her frail body, and said,"I wish I were young and full of the beauty and youth I once had."


At once, her wish became reality, and her beautiful young visage returned. Cinderella felt stirrings inside of her that had been dormant for years.


The fairy godmother spoke once more: "You have one more wish; what shall it be?"


Cinderella looks over to the frightened cat in the corner and says, "I wish for you to transform Bob, my old cat, into a kind and handsome young man."


Magically, Bob suddenly underwent so fundamental a change in his biological make-up that, when he stood before her, he was a man so beautiful the likes of him neither she nor the world had ever seen.


The fairy godmother said, "Congratulations, Cinderella, enjoy your new life." With a blazing shock of bright blue electricity, the fairy godmother was gone as suddenly as she appeared.


For a few eerie moments, Bob and Cinderella looked into each other's eyes. Cinderella sat, breathless, gazing at the most beautiful, stunningly perfect man she had ever seen. Then Bob walked over to Cinderella, who sat transfixed in her rocking chair, and held her close in his young muscular arms. He leaned in close, blowing her golden hair with his warm breath as he whispered...


"Bet you're sorry you neutered me."

In:

Ugly Blankets

I was at my parent's house the other day, and my eighteen year old sister told me cheerfully that she had some extra yarn to give me. She brought out four different kinds of yarn in four different colors and four different textures. "Great!" I said. "I can start a new Ugly Blanket!"

Ah, the Ugly Blanket. My favorite handwork passtime. ^_^

I believe I've mentioned the Ugly Blankets before. I crochet a little - a very little - and all I know how to do are granny squares. So my method of making crocheted blankets is to crochet a giant granny square. When I was a kid and was involved in 4-H, I made a great baby blanket out of tons of granny squares stitched together. It was pale pink, had fringe and everything (I even got a blue ribbon at the fair with it), but since then I've become very lazy and can no longer be bothered to put that much effort into it. I can also seldom be bothered to actually go to the store and get my own yarn, especially in the days that the Ugly Blanket was first born, so I accepted partial skeins from my family.

The resulting blanket formed from laziness and donated yarn was hideous. And wonderful.

It was a gift for my dad, who loved its hideousness as much as I did. It was a good size to drape over yourself while sitting on a chair watching a movie. It was a myriad of different colors, but amazingly enough was all the same texture.

The second Ugly Blanket somehow got put into use before it was finished. I was planning to make the second one even bigger, but like I said, it was appropriated before it was ready. This one was not only many different colors, this one had different textures.

The next Ugly Blanket didn't begin until I had moved out. This Ugly Blanket was my masterpiece. It was tons and tons of different colors (no two colors the same!) and was big enough to drape over my queen size bed. Fantastic!

I'm excited about this latest Ugly Blanket, thugh it is still in the early stages of development. In the spirit of Ugliness, I have decided to post the rules of creating an Ugly Blanket, should anyone want to follow in my footsteps.

  • The Ugly Blanket must be a giant granny square. If it is not a giant granny square, you were obviously not lazy enough for the blanket to be truly Ugly.
  • As long as the blanket is only one granny square, it can be as big or small as you want. Baby Ugly Blankets are quite charming.
  • Ugly Blankets can have as many different textures as you want, but keep in mind that transferring from thin, $2 yarn from Rite Aid to bulky expensive chenile yarn, while hideously ugly, can be kind of a pain.
  • You are permitted to use the same color more than once, but there must be at least two rows of different colors between same colors.
  • Matching colors may not be touching. If the blanket matched, it wouldn't be an Ugly Blanket, now would it? Try keeping a skein or two of bright solid colors to crochet in between matching colors.
  • All the colors in use for the Ugly Blanket can of course be pretty colors that you enjoy and find aesthetically pleasing, as long as the end result is not aesthetically pleasing in the slightest.

Go wild with your Ugly Blanket! Experiment with different colors and types of yarn! The only bad Ugly Blanket is a matching Ugly Blanket, and that is not an Ugly Blanket at all!

In:

Lyrics

I've been listening to Regina Spektor lately, and I've become curious about the lyrics to one of her songs.

"I have dreams of orca whales and owls/
but I wake up in fear..."


.....



........



Why?

What the hell is she dreaming that involves orcas and owls???

In:

Meme Time!

Five Things In My Closet

1. Erm... clothes. Mine and Bob's.
2. Shoes. Lots of shoes. ^_^
3. Jigsaw puzzles.
4. Old photographs of parties... with plenty of blackmail material. (hehehe.... ^_^)
5. Magic: The Gathering cards. Hell yeah!

Five Things In My fridge
1. Cherry Coke Zero. Can't leave the store without it.
2. Barbeque sauce. MMM!
3. Despite Bob's protests, a giant tub of mayonaise.
4. Butter.
5. Several tupperware containers holding God knows what. I'm scared to open them.

Five Things In My Car
1. Lots of CDs. And none in the correct cases. Open a Rammstein CD case and you'll probably find Regina Spektor, Children of Bodom, and Foreigner. The Rammstein CD will be in the Wolfsheim case along with Metallica and Hammerfall.
2. Roadrunner road atlas for Kitsap County. An essential for my job.
3. Various hairpicks and pens.
4. A book or two.
5. A stash of fast food napkins (in case of emergency ^_^).

Five Things In My Purse
1. My wallet.
2. A sketch in red pen that I did at work.
3. My cell phone.
4. A granola bar.
5. Compact mirror and lipstick. Have I used either since I put them in my purse? No.

In:

World of Warcraft Fan Art!

This started out as a sketch I did at work. Then I took it home and cleaned it up. ^_^



Here's a link to the gallery page: remember to click on the pic for a full size version!

In:

Remember Remember the 5th of November...


Anyone who's seen the movie 'V for Vendetta' knows at least about the existence of Guy Fawkes and the significance of the 5th of November.


British real estate agent Noelle whom I work with mentioned in passing, "fifth of November... that's quite a special day in England."


Although I knew the basic outline of the story, I asked her to elaborate.


She told me that the government in England was so bad at the time of the "gunpowder plot" that Guy Fawkes (among others) decided to blow up the Parliament building. The plot failed, but the people were behind Fawkes and what he tried to do. The next year, on the 5th of November, people across the country burned bonfires in honor of Fawkes. The government tried to put a stop to it, but they failed. Eventually they made the 5th a holiday, and though they didn't come out and say the holiday was for Fawkes, the people knew.


Noelle told me that children in England today will celebrate the 5th of November by creating effigies of Fawkes; usually out of their father's old clothing stuffed with sawdust. They will stand on street corners or go door to door saying "penny for the fox". If the person petitioned agreed with what Fawkes tried to do they'll give the child a penny. That night the children build a bonfire and burn their effigy while celebrating. Noelle told me that she would have hot chocolate and toast marshmellows over the bonfire.


Anyway, some fun information for you. I might just draw up my own effigy and burn it in the woodstove tonight with some hot chocolate... sounds like fun to me. =)


In:

In My Sister's Country


'In My Sister's Country'

Lise Haines


I have abandoned my star system of rating books. That works for movies, but I think that books are to complex to be summed up in a short series of symbols, even for a brief opinion of how much I liked the book. So no more stars for me!


This book was one of those books (for me) that you start reading, and realize halfway through that you don't actually want to be reading it, but you can't put it down. Following the life of a teenager's whimsical, sometimes desperate actions as she goes through life dwelling with her viciously manipulative older sister, this book grabs you by the throat and doesn't let go, even after you've read the last word on the last page.


From the tragic, terminally ill figure of her mother and absent cold, clinical father, to the shallow friend and impossible older sister, this book weaves in and out of desperate sadness to a sick kind of levity, but over it all weighs an oppressive feeling of... truth. The book is fictional, but the story is told in such a way that you can imagine Molly out there somewhere really going through everything detailed in the pages.


It's hard to swallow at times, but the book is a quick read at only 304 pages. I finished it in under a day. It's worth it.

In:

Movie Quiz

Stole it from Mom!

Pick out ten favorite movies, then look them up at Internet Movie Database. In the overview at the top of each movie's page, there are "Plot Keywords," usually five of them. (Plus more, if you click the link.) Take the first five, and post them. Then you, the lucky reader, gets to try to guess which movies are described.

1. Black Comedy / Generation X / Wrath / Thug / Rotoscoping
2. Orgasm / Sado Masochistic / Self Injury / Sadistic / Personal Secretary
3. Disturbing / Sword / Violent Movie / Good Versus Evil / Based On Comic Book
4. Zombie / Car Crash / Soft Drink / Dress / London
5. Male Nudity / Campy / Payback / Homage / Vendetta
6. Hyperrealism / Topless / Queen / Harem / Seige
7. Obscene Finger Gesture / One Day / Mini Skirt / Teen Angst / Suicide
8. Action Heroine / Spin Off From Video Game / Female Nudity / Killer Dog / Based On Video Game
9. Animal Killing / Blood / Painting / Katana Sword / Gunfight
10. Convenience Store Clerk / Long Take / Silent / Anti Social / Underage Smoking

Wow.... some (most) of these are WAY hard to figure out! So, to aid in your guesses, here are the taglines from each movie (also on the movie's main page on IMDB... interestingly enough, I don't think I would necessarily consider some of these the actual taglines). Try to figure it out from the keywords first, though! ^_^

1. "Hell of a way to end a partnership."
2. "Assume the position."
3. "It can't rain all the time."
4. "His fear began when he woke up alone. His terror began when he realised he wasn't."
5. "Girls like me don't make invitations like this to just anyone!"
6. "Prepare for glory!"
7. "Open 'til midnight."
8. "Everyone died. The trouble is, they didn't stay dead."
9. "In a future where freedom is outlawed outlaws will become heroes."
10. "Just because they serve you... doesn't mean they like you."

In:

New Drawing

Title: "I'm Guessing No Three Wishes....?"

Media: Paper. Pens. Sharpies.



TaDA!





See the bigger, better version at my gallery in DeviantArt!

In:

Solitaire

I was listening to some music on iTunes last night, downloading a few songs from 'Song of the Day' cards from Starbucks, and I decided to play a little game of Solitaire.




When I was younger and lived at my parents' house, I would sit in front of my computer in my windowless, basement bedroom and play Solitaire for hours and hours. Literally. I would just zone out and think about other things. It was kind of like meditation.... in a way..... ^_^





When I won a game within the first five minutes, before my second song was finished playing, I was actually a little irritated. Since when has it been so easy to win a game of Solitaire? Never, that's when! I closed the program, then brought it back up. Sure enough, again I won quickly. As I watched the little cards cascade down from their piles on top of the screen, I began to reminisce about the good old days...





In the good old days, you would sit for hours and never come close to winning. You would acquire superstitious habits relating to the game such as:



  • Under the options tab, the scoring had to be set to 'Vegas' and the deck options 'draw three'. Otherwise the cards would just keep going and going and going. They were laughing at you.


  • The deck you chose had no influence on the cards. You could pick whichever one you wanted (I liked the old school bats ^_^). Although sometimes you would change the deck to see if you could fool the cards into letting you win.


  • If there were multiple places clear to place a king, you must always place this card as far left as you can (my grandfather and I disagreed here.... he thought you must place the kings as far right as you can. Obviously he was wrong).


  • If there were multiple cards to turn over, you must start with the left-most card and work your way right.


  • A long and complicated rule.... Once a card was resting in one of the four piles at the top of the screen, you could not pull it back down. Even if, for instance, you had a five of spades in its neat little pile, and just dealt is a four of hearts, and right behind the four is an ACE, the last ace you need! It was important to resist the tempation to bring the five down and place it on a six of diamonds just so you had a place to put the four so you could get to the ace. Although the program allowed you to do that, it was cheating. The Solitaire gods frowned on that, so if you did it, you would lose.


  • And finally, if, just if, you did manage to win, you must allow the cards to finish cascading down the front of your computer. And keep in mind that this took a long time in the old days of brutally slow computers. If you (god forbid) clicked and halted the cascade of cards, you would never win again.


  • Finally, after winning, you must not test the Solitaire god's patience. As soon as the cards finished cascading, and the dialog box popped up asking you if you want to deal again, you click no and immediately exit the game, thanking the Solitaire gods for showering you with their favor.


Ah, the good old days.... I'm sure everyone remembers Solitaire supersititions.



......



Right?



............



Right?!

In:

New American Plan: Sharks!

I read an article today that I found both amusing and sad at the same time.

The article details how an Iraqi fisherman caught a shark in a river approximately 160 miles away from the ocean. Barriers in the river usually prevents sharks from reaching the river - the fisherman (and his sons) had never seen a shark, and only recognized it from programs they had seen on television.

This was the amusing/sad part of the article:

"Locals blamed the U.S. military for the shark's presence.

Tahseen Ali, a teacher, said there was a "75 percent chance" Americans had put the shark in the water.

"This is very frightening for us. Our children always swim in the river and I believe that there are more sharks. I believe that America is behind this matter," said fisherman Hatim Karim."

Funny because "pfft, yeah, right, we put sharks in Iraq's rivers!"

Sad because "wow.... they hate us so much they're blaming everything on us."

Who knows. Maybe we did put the shark there. But one thing seems obvious to me; we're doing a lot more wrong than that in Iraq.

In:

Conversations - What's For Dinner?

Bob and I are on our lunch breaks, chatting on the phone.

Bob: So, what are we having for dinner?

Me: I have no idea.

Bob: Oh come on, what do you feel like?

Me: ...... Italian Chicken Sandwiches? (As in from Burger King... food of the Gods!)

Bob: ..... Anything else?

Me: Brightening up considerably. Dominoes Pizza? (BETTER food of the Gods!)

Bob: ...... Anything else?

Me: Well, no.

Bob: Those are pretty much your two fallbacks, huh?

Me: Yeah, pretty much.

Bob: Maybe I'll just bring something home.

Me: Oh. Okay.

No Dominoes for me.....

In:

Conversations - At The Office

I am at work, it's about 9:45 Friday morning. I wander out of my office, Starbucks coffee in hand. I see office manager Hugh standing in the middle of the room looking dazed. I walk up to him and sigh.

Me: Hugh, my brain just isn't working yet this morning.

Hugh: ......

Hugh: (pulls his wallet out of his pocket) Do you want more money?

Me: ....

Me: ..........

Me: ............... What?

Hugh: ......

Hugh: ......... I mean.... I'll buy you more coffee if you want to go get me coffee.

Me: (laughing) Looks like my brain isn't the only one not working this morning!

In:

For My 100th Post...

A Cyanide and Happiness comic!!!!


Cyanide and Happiness, a daily webcomic
Cyanide & Happiness @ Explosm.net

In:

Okay, We're Now Officially Baby Factories

I was looking up Bitch magazine (feminist response to pop culture... great mag!) and skimming their blog when I ran across a blog entry about a Washington Post article called:

"Forever Pregnant
Guidelines: Treat Nearly All Women as Pre-Pregnant
By January W. PayneWashington Post Staff WriterTuesday, May 16, 2006


New federal guidelines ask all females capable of conceiving a baby to treat themselves -- and to be treated by the health care system -- as pre-pregnant, regardless of whether they plan to get pregnant anytime soon...."


I realize that the article was published well over a year ago, but it bears mentioning anyway.

The article talks about how women should be conscious of their health, and should "take folic acid supplements, refrain from smoking, maintain a healthy weight and keep chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes under control." Uh.... yeah... obviously it's a good idea to stop smoking and take care of yourself. But they don't tell you to do it because it's smart and good for you, they tell you to do it for your future unborn children, whether you want them or not.

"Preconception care should be delivered by any doctor a patient sees -- from her primary care physician to her gynecologist. It involves developing a "reproductive health plan" that details if and when children are planned, said Janis Biermann, a report co-author and vice president for education and health promotion at the March of Dimes.

"The recommendations say we need to be opportunistic," or deliver care and counseling when opportunities arise, said Merry-K. Moos, a professor in the University of North Carolina's maternal fetal medicine division who sat on the CDC advisory panel. "Healthier women have healthier pregnancies."

So, as a woman capable of reproducing, federal guidelines recommend that medically I be seen not as myself, but as a "pre-pregnant" baby factory. Great.

It's not that I don't understand that unhealthy, accidental pregnancies are a problem, and I agree that there should be information out there and readily available for women. But I find federal guidlines that ask that women be considered "pre-pregnant" for the time "between first menstrual period and menopause" (so what, you should be seen as "pre-pregnant when you're twelve???) absolutely, incredibly, offensive.

I will continue to drink, I will not be taking folic acid supplements, and if my doctor mentions a reproductive health plan it'll be the last time she sees me.

I am NOT pre-pregnant.


.....

Actually, I should amend one of my statements - I will not be taking folic acid supplements because I'm pre-pregnant. I learned that folic acid is actually pretty good for you... studies have shown that taken in the proper quantities it can help reduce risk of heart disease and cancer. ^_^

In:

Rent

This is what paying rent feels like:


Cyanide and Happiness, a daily webcomic
Cyanide & Happiness @ Explosm.net

In:

Pledge of Allegiance

"I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. "

Every morning when I went to public school the entire class rose, put their hands over their hearts, and repeated this pledge. Bob and I were talking about this last night. I had asked him if he believed that school sanctioned religious icons should be permitted on public school grounds, and it led us to begin discussing the obviously religiously-bent pledge of allegiance. We didn't spent too long discussing it; I mentioned that I didn't believe children should have to say the pledge, that it creates obedient brainwashed drones, that sort of thing, and Bob decided to look it up in the internet.

We learned some very interesting things about the pledge.

The pledge was originally created for an advertising campaign. Yes, every morning children recite AD COPY. In 1892 Baptist minister Francis Bellamy was approached by the owners of a children's magazine called 'Youth's Companion' who asked Bellamy to write the pledge for their advertising campain. The original pledge read: "I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." Much better. I wouldn't mind repeating that. The pledge was first used in public schools on Columbus Day in 1892.

All was well for a while... .

In 1923 the National Flag Conference called for the words "my flag" to be changed to "the flag of the United States." The words "of America" were added a year later. The reason given for this change was so immigrants knew which flag they were pledging allegiance to.

In 1940 the Supreme Court ruled that students in public schools could be compelled to recite the pledge of allegiance, even Jehovah's Witnesses, who considered the flag slaute to be idolatry. After this ruling there was a surge of violence against Jehovah's Witnesses, and the Supreme Court reversed the decision in 1943, stating that "compulsory unification of opinion" violated the First Amendment.

it wasn't until 1945 that Congress recognized the pledge as the official national pledge.

Interestingly enough, before World War II the pledge would begin with the right hand over the heart during the phrase "I pledge allegiance". The arm was then extended toward the Flag at the phrase "to the Flag", and it remained outstretched during the rest of the pledge, with the palm facing upward, as if to lift the flag. Heil, Hitler? During WWII the custom was changed.

It wasn't until 1951 that anyone even officially suggested that reference to God be added to the pledge. The Knights of Columbus felt that the pledge was incomplete without religious reference, and in New York ('51) the Board of Directors of the Knights of Columbus adopted a resolution to amend their recitation of pledge of allegiance at the opening of each of the meetings of the 800 Fourth Degree Assemblies of the Knights of Columbus by addition of the words "under God" after the words "one nation." In the following two years, the idea spread throughout Knights of Columbus organizations nationwide. The words "under God" were from Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, which the Knights felt lent it authority.

The Knights tried for a long time to get the US to adopt their new wording, and finally George McPherson Docherty, a Presbyterian minister, talked to President Dwight Eisenhower and convinced him. In 1954 it was signed into law.

So we went from "I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all..."

to

"..."I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. "

This might not seem such a bad thing, but with the words "under God" the pledge seems to imply that religion is an essential part of American life. For example, President George H. W. Bush has stated that atheists are not "citizens" or "patriots" because "[t]his is one nation under God." (American Atheist News Journal, Robert I. Sherman) ..... excuse me? Do I not have the right to freedom of religion?

I say the pledge, as it stands now, adopted officially by the United States Government, is a slap in the face to those of us who are excercising our freedom of religion to be atheists, polytheists, agnostics, and every religion that "under God" would not apply to. Thanks a lot for endorsing monotheism, America. You suck.


(Check out the Wikipedia article where we did most of our research)

In: ,

Dreams - Zombie Sharks and Aromatherapy Time Travel

Last night I had a crazy dream:

Normal evening at home, except Spike (Buffy the Vampire Slayer Spike, that is) came over to hang out with me. We talked, had a drink, and I was fully intending to fulfill my long-held fantasy of having intimate relations with Spike when he had to leave. Damnit.

Next I found myself in an Umbrella Corporation headquarters. I was in a huge room with several scientists observing an infected zombie hammerhead shark. The aquarium was one of those giant floor to ceiling wall of glass aquariums, the better to observe the zombie shark's behaviour. The shark began pounding its head against the glass, and the glass began to crack. I turned and fled from the room, telling all Umbrella Corporation employees that I came across that the headquarters was about to be flooded and the zombie shark was about to escape. I made it to the elevator and got away.

Safely (or not) back at home, I became aware that a group of people were coming to raid my home and kill me. I had a perfect hiding place, but for it to be perfect there was a series of actions I had to take, including closing a certain window in the room I was going to hide in. I completed everything but closing that window, and by the time I remembered it was too late. The villains had invaded my home and captured me. I told them that before they killed me, I had to visit my sister. Being the kindly sort of murderers they were inclined to grant my last request, and took me to see Caroline.

I told Caroline what was going on, and asked for her help. She gravely informed me that she had aromatherapy time travel. With painstaking care, she laid out four gauze pads and four tiny vials. From each vial she poured exactly four drops onto each of the four gauze pads. I sniffed each one (they all smelled really good), and....

...went about my business until I realized that I had traveled back in time! I rushed about the house completing all my hiding preparations, and this time I remembered to close the window. Success!

When I woke up at one o'clock in the morning I immediately woke Bob up to tell him my dream. He was not as interested as I had expected him to be, and kept mumbling something about me waking him up, and it being one o'clock in the morning....

In:

Resident Evil: Extinction Review

Resident Evil: Extinction

R
** out of ****
2007


Check it out, it's the return of the movie review! ^_^


I wish I was happier to be reviewing this film, but as far as disappointments go, this one was pretty high up on the scale. High being bad. I was so excited to see the new Resident Evil movie. Even though Resident Evil: Apocalypse was nowhere near as good as the first one, it was still more than entertaining with great action sequences (despite my issues with Milla Jovovich as an action hero) and Nemesis! I mean, the first Resident Evil movie is the movie I put in when I want to watch a movie but don't know what I want to watch. I've seen them both thousands of times. Of course I was excited about seeing Extinction!


Premise: Zombies. Lots and lots and lots of zombies. The infection spread through Raccoon City, through North America, through the whole world. Imagine that; what a surprise. Anyway, a small band of survivors led by Ali Larter as Claire Redfield carefully caravan their way through the Nevada desert, dodging some pretty sickly looking zombies. Milla Jovovich as the infamous Alice, enhanced soldier newly endowed with psionic abilities, meets up with them. Suddenly not only are they dodging zombies, they're dodging the Umbrella Corporation who is looking reclaim Project Alice, and don't care who they kill along the way.



Fairly decent premise. Looked like it could potentially be a good movie. And now here is my list of complaints. Be forwarned, there are a few spoilers in here.


1. TERRIBLE writing. The dialog, especially for Claire Redfield and Alice was just awful. This is unusual for the Resident Evil movies. Neither of the other two suffered from bad writing.

2. Ali Larter made a god-awful Claire Redfield. To be fair, Larter is not my favorite actress anyway. I didn't like her at all in Heroes. And the writing was poor, making her character completely one dimensional and uninteresting. But Larter still sucked.




3. Ermm... how about the glamor shots all the way through the movie? The women traveling caravan style without showers look way dirty from a distance, but zoom in close and you'll see that their makeup is 100% perfect, and their faces 100% clean!


4. This is a big one right here: All the people traveling in the caravan have lived through basically the end of the world. Presumably they've all seen hundreds of people bitten get sick and turn into the ravening undead. So WHY THE HELL don't ANY of them seem to notice when one idiot gets bitten and tries to hide it? "Gee, L.J. is looking pretty sick. Doesn't that seem kind of familiar?" ....... "Nah, don't be silly. He just has a cold or something."


......



NO.



5. Claire Redfield: Badass, hardened caravan leader one minute. The next; "I just don't know if we should go to Alaska, let's have everyone vote cause I just couldn't possibly make that decision, even though up until now I've been the hardass commander and everyone does what I say without question!"


6. Bitten soldier Carlos decides to sacrifice himself to help the others before he turns into a zombie. Walks down the line of three tearful women bidding farewell. Two of those tearful women being hard soldier types. GAG ME.


7. Bitten soldier Carlos decides to sacrifice himself to help the others before he turns into a zombie. Alice, apparently struck by the thought that she'll never see him again, gives him a huge kiss. Gee, that was nice, Alice. I bet Carlos would have liked to get some BEFORE he was dying. I mean, come on! You've been through two movies together!


8. Every single time we see a scene in one of the Umbrella Corporation underground bases, it has to do the special computer map thing from the first one and play the exact same music. The first time, it was clever. The 3,000th time, it was boring and annoying. Believe it or not, we no longer care how deep they are underground!


9. The head chairman of the Umbrella Corp wears sunglasses. Underground. Inside. All the time. Is he blind? I seriously doubt it. Just incredibly lame.



10. It has been years since the second film. Alice has been dealing with manifestations of her telekinetic powers for that whole time. She pulls a really cool stunt in the middle of the movie - like awesome cool stunt. But suddenly when she's in the middle of the battle with the end boss, all she can do is throw him across a room and suddenly she has a migraine? PFFFFT!


11. End of the movie, Umbrella Corp is having a board meeting. Board members use projections of themselves to attend. Alice projects herself into the meeting, all threatening, and tells them she's coming. "And I'm bringing some friends." It'll be, like, so awesome! We can, like, party, and, like, invite boys over....


12. AND THE THING THAT PISSED ME OFF THE MOST: Alice has been portrayed in both movies as a hardened soldier. Even in the first one, before she had regained her memories, she handled dead people and zombies like a pro, and didn't let anyone mess with her. Second movie she's even more of a hardened soldier. She's been through a ton, and now she's an enhanced super-soldier. Wow. Yep, badass. SUDDENLY in the third movie, she's super nice to everyone. Except for two scenes her fighting prowess seems to have deserted her. AND she takes shit from Claire Redfield. WHAT?!?! Alice would be like the crazy awesome bitch from hell at this point. After being on her own for the few year gap between the second and third movies you would think she would have gotten even more bad ass, not more LAME. Come ON!




And that concludes my rant.

On the other side of things, there were some awesome fight scenes. There were some very cool special effects. And hell, it's a zombie movie, so it's worth watching. And Milla Jovovich does have some moments where she's ridiculously cool. Just be prepared.



In:

Conversations - Brain Combos!

The Scene: Bob and I have just walked out of the house on our way to the gas station to get Subway sandwiches for dinner. I ask Bob if we can take his car. Bob has conveniently forgotten his keys inside the house. I do not want to drive, so we start walking to the gas station/Subway.

Bob: So what do you think the maximum IQ is?

Me: Mmm, I dunno. A little over 200?

Bob: Yeah, probably....

Long pause.

Bob: Hey, what kind of IQ do you think we'd get if we combined two brains?

Me: .........

Me: What?

Bob: What kind of IQ do you think we'd get if we combined two brains?

Me: Well, I guess it would depend on the brain. Maybe 200? Actually no, combining two brains? You're combining the reasoning power of two brains! Probably close to 300 hundred or more!

Bob: I think you're wrong. If you're combining two brains something is going to get lost in translation, and what if the brains disagree with each other? Things would take longer to figure out. I'd say definitely under 200.

Me: But are we talking about two separate brains in one body, or experiment tank, or whatever, or are we talking about the power of two brains combined in one?

Bob: The power of two brains combined in one.

Me: Then they're not going to have separate thoughts and be disagreeing with each other. You'd definitely get an IQ of over 300.

Bob: No, I still think putting the power together would cause problems and you'd get an IQ of less than 200.

Me: Bob?

Bob: Yeah?

Me: I can't wait to post this on my blog!


***

Upon further reflection on this odd question, I have realized that the IQ of the combined brains would be affected by the gender of the person that they came from. I have prepared some helpful charts to illustrate my new theories:














In:

Birthday!

Everyone at my office has been so sweet to me today. ^_^ The title company we work with here sent flowers and a cake (!), my bosses called to wish me a happy birthday and got me gorgeous earrings, new real estate agent Noelle found out it was my birthday and immediately went out and bought me this beautiful little compact mirror, AND Brenda ordered a special cake custom decorated for me from one of our clients who has a custom cake baking/decorating company (featured in the photo).


Maybe it's not so bad going to work on your birthday. ^_^

I feel so fortunate to work in such a friendly, almost family, environment. It has it's down sides of course, but all in all, I can't think of any office that I would rather be a part of.

..... I don't know what I'm going to do with all this cake...

.....

Oh yeah. Eat it. ^_^

Even though none of my coworkers even know this blog exists, love to everyone I work with. *hugs*

In:

Maya the Personal Trainer

Maya is a bitch.


Who is Maya, you ask?

My is my new personal trainer.

My new virtual personal trainer, that is.

So there's this "game" for X-Box, Playstation 2, or PC called Yourself!Fitness. Yourself!Fitness is a virtual personal trainer. I have it for the X-Box. If a virtual personal trainer seems silly to you, think about all the workout videos that have been made over the years. Maybe you've even owned one or two. Now think about this virtual personal trainer. Enter your vital statistics into the program, decide what area of fitness you want your long term goal to be, and the program will customize your workouts to help you reach your long term goal. At regular intervals through your workout, friendly (demonic) personal trainer Maya will ask how the last segment felt. Tell her "No sweat!", "I was working hard," or "I couldn't keep up" and the program will adjust the difficulty of that segment accordingly for your next workout. Every day is something different - while working towards your long term goal the program will focus on different areas of your body. Upper body strength, core body strength, lower body strength, cardio, etc. Tell the program what kind of workout equipment you own (hand weights, stair stepper, etc) and Maya will incorporate those into your workout. Add to all that a meal planner and a yoga section, and you have a pretty slick program.

It's the workout video of the new generation.

However.

I hate Maya. Maya is cheerful 100% of the time. Maya says annoying things like "I want to see a lot of energy in this move! Keep it up!" Yeah right, Maya. YOU CAN'T REALLY SEE ME! Maya has a perky butt. Since Maya is not a real person, Maya will never get tired, no matter how exhausted you get. Maya never sweats. Maya is obviously perfect, probably has a gorgeous virtual mansion with an expensive virtual car, and a perfect virtual boyfriend.

But I work really hard with Maya. And I'm sore. All over. Which is definitely a good thing. So I'm not going to go homicidal on Maya.

Yet. ^_^

In:

Cross Stitching!

I was going through a drawer in an old four-drawer storage unit that got dragged out of my closet when I was making room for Bob's stuff, and we all know how fun going through old drawers can be! I found movie ticket stubs from when matinee prices were $4.50, a couple of old concert ticket stubs (Dimmu Borgir, Type O Negative, Dropkick Murphys... so much fun!), notes for stories had started writing years ago, boomarks, cards from my 21st birthday, old photos... and among the many other exciting relics of my past, I found an old cross stitch kit that I had started years and years ago.

It was an underwater scene, stitched on dark blue aida cloth. I immediately picked it up and tried to resume where I had left off. I quickly discovered that my younger, less competant self, had made multitudes of mistakes. If I wanted to do that undersea pattern, my best bet would be to simply get a new piece of aida cloth and start over.

So I put it away.

BUT.

Cross stitching was not to leave my mind so quickly!

It's not very often that I get really into the "womanly" arts. I crochet sometimes. As proof I have made several enormous granny square blankets. And by "enormous granny square" I don't mean lots of normal sized granny squares put together, I mean one enormous granny square. Because that's all I know how to do. ^_^ All three enormous granny square blankets are hideously ugly... which I did on purpose. Yes, I found the ugliest yarn that would clash the most and made blankets out of it. I have dubbed them "The Ugly Blankets". They are awesome. But the point is I'm not a real handwork kind of girl.

Anyway, the idea of cross stitching stuck in my head for a whole hour or so until Bob and I ran off to Michael's to find cross stitching kits. We found a bin of teeny tiny ornament sized cross stitch kits on clearance for $1, so we grabbed one that featured a little chipmunk and two bees. Then we got a bigger but still small/beginner level kit that featured a ridiculously cute little kitten hanging from a tree branch with the words "Hang In There!" on the bottom. Yes, we've now moved past motivational posters to motivational cross stitch projects.

I successfully completed the chipmunk. It's hanging on my bulletin board until I can find a teeny tiny frame for it. And hell yes I'm framing it. It's a huge accomplishment! I've been working hard on the kitten, and I'm maybe close to halfway finished. And it looks fantastic! Woot for my new favorite hobby!





The photo is the "Hang 0n Kitty" stock image from the Michael's website.

In:

To Clean, Or Not To Clean

My place is a mess. It's not dirty and disgusting, but my god is it messy! Stuff ALL over the place, on the floor and every semi level available surface. It was great when I got back from Boston, Bob had picked up a lot and it was actually clean. Two minutes later I had trashed it. I'm not quite sure how I managed to trash it so quickly - I'm just talented I guess.

Anyway. I haven't really cleaned the whole place since I got back. Sure, the living room, dining room and kitchen have all been clean, but not all at the same time. The bathroom looks like a tornado went through it, and you couldn't see the floor in the bedroom. At all. Actually, it was getting kinda hard to find my dresser, too. Bob (now officially my boyfriend and officially moved in! O_O) casually mentioned cleaning a couple of times, and on the weekends I said I would clean. My good intentions were usually thwarted by the siren call of World of Warcraft.... Obviously not my fault!

It had gotten so messy that yesterday I mentioned I was planning on cleaning and Bob's face lit up like I had told him that we had won a million dollars. He let out a startled, yet hopeful, "yay!".

And for once, I did not disappoint! After hours of arduous labor, by the end of which I was sweating like I had just finished a 40 minute cardio workout, my whole BEDROOM was clean! Yep, all the dirty laundry was waiting in neat piles next to the washing machine to be cleaned, new sheets were on the bed, I had moved the bookshelf into the back room (and put all the books back on it!) then moved Bob's dresser in to replace it, and I hung up all of Bob's clothes in the closet. Dresser tops and nightstands were cleaned off, and I vacuumed!

When Bob got home from work his eyes bugged out and his jaw dropped. Then he laughed delightedly. "It's so... CLEAN!" he exclaimed, sweeping me into his arms. "You're amazing!"

I'm skeptical about the amazing part. I think that if I can managed to get the whole house clean at the same time, then I'll be amazing. ^_^

In:

The Latest from The Onion



I get all my news from The Onion!

Heartbroken Bush Runs After Departing Rove's Car
August 31, 2007

WASHINGTON, DC—A confused President Bush broke free from the restraint of Secret Service agents this morning and ran in pursuit of departing deputy chief of staff Karl Rove's car for several blocks down Pennsylvania Avenue before being outdistanced by the vehicle.

Bush sits in disbelief as his longtime buddy disappears forever and ever and ever.

"Why can't I go with him?" Bush tearfully asked advisers as the longtime Republican strategist's sedan disappeared over the horizon. "When is he coming back?"

White House staff were deeply moved by the scene, saying that despite their best efforts, no one was able to explain to the president that he would no longer be able to remain at his chief adviser's side. Onlookers were clearly choked up as a tearful Rove, trying to close the car door behind him, told Bush in a stern, commanding tone to back away.

"Go on…you hear me? Get out of here, I say!" Rove said. "I don't love you anymore, understand? Now get! Get!"

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice witnessed the emotionally charged moment. "We knew that deep down [Rove] still cared, that he was only pretending to be mad at the president," she said. "But he had no choice. Leaving was the only way to avoid the ongoing Congressional inquiries."

Rove reportedly tried to prepare Bush for this inevitability in late July by taking him on a special fishing trip so they could spend some quality time together and he could also give Bush a brief rundown on how the presidency works. Rove said he "didn't have the heart" to break the news to the president, who fell asleep in their rowboat with the fishing pole still in his hands. On his last day, nearly two weeks later, Rove spent the whole morning with Bush before the tear-jerking exit, ruffling his hair, telling him to "be brave" and "listen to Cheney," and explaining that he was going to have to be "the man of the White House now."

Rove was finally able to leave the White House, despite Bush's heartrending stalling tactics.

Though Rove's resignation had been imminent for weeks, Bush appeared oblivious to the situation, which is evident in photos of him smiling as if nothing were wrong until the moment he discovered several suitcases near one of the West Wing's back-door exits. According to high-level administration sources, Bush asked Rove, "Where are we going?"

While sneaking the departing official out to a waiting town car, Secret Service agents were briefly able to deceive Bush by telling him Rove was just running down to the cellar to get him some ice cream. But when Bush heard the car's engine start in the driveway, he burst outside to stop Rove.

"I'll never forget the sight of the president, watching Rove's face in the back window becoming smaller and smaller as the car pulled away forever," Rice said.

The president continued to ask about his former adviser throughout the day, often clutching Rove's day planner, dialing his extension, and blinking uncomprehendingly when told that Rove was never coming back.

White House press secretary Tony Snow was finally called in to attempt to convey the reality of the situation to the president, but he was unable to do so.

"He kept looking up at me with those wide, innocent eyes, and I didn't know what to say," Snow told reporters. "Maybe someday when he's older, he'll understand how the public lost trust in his big buddy after a series of crucial political missteps, and how firing those attorneys and the..."

At this point in the briefing Snow fell silent, overcome with emotion, and moving many in the press room to tears.

White House officials say they would like to give President Bush more time to process the loss before pressuring him to appoint a new deputy chief of staff, since he does not yet appear ready to confront the concept of a "new Rove."

In:

Chew Toys


I read an article today that made me smile.


I learned that football star Michael Vick is pleading guilty to a federal dogfighting charge. Outraged fans are sending in Vick jerseys (often accompanied by monetary contributions) to dog shelters with suggestions that the jerseys be used as bedding for animals or as rags.


Artist and college student Rochelle Steffen has taken it a step further. She has taken her entire collection of Michael Vick trading cards and given them to her 6 year old Weimaraner and Great Dane puppy to chew and maul as they should so desire - then she took the damaged cards and posted them on eBay. So far the lot of 22 cards, worth $1 to $10 each - are going for $445. Steffen plans to donate the money raised by the cards to a human society of the winning bidder's choice.


How's that for innovation?


In a note accompanying the auction Steffen says that she means the chewed cards to be a form of artistic expression, and means no harm. She also hopes to bring more attention to the abuse of animals involved in dogfighting. "The money donated to local shelters makes the whole idea of selling the cards worthwhile," she says.


I think it's a great idea! ^_^


Among the anti-Vick paraphernalia recently released is a t-shirt that reads "Ignorance Breeds Ignorance. Neuter Mike Vick". I got a laugh out of that too. ^_^

In:

How Money is Like Divinity

Bob and I were talking about money the other day. This is what he had to say:

"Money is like divinity. You can't see it, but you have to believe it's there, and that one day you'll be graced by its presence."

Never have I heard a statement more true.

In:

Pics!

After a long grueling night of Photoshop (thank god for automated batch jobs) and Java uploads, all 280 or so photos are online!

http://photoalbums.fotopic.net/

In:

Adventures in Boston

Okay, here's a real post. ^_^

As much as I would like to puncuate this post with various photos of our exciting adventures in Boston, I have yet to retreive the 280+ photos from my camera. That is going to take a loooong time and I haven't quite managed to bring myself to do it yet.

Little sis Caroline and I departed for Boston on the 9th. We stayed with our absolutely fantastic relatives Aunt Karen and Uncle Don (and three Maine Coone cats... Annabelle, Gussie, and Sadie) who own a lovely house in Boston. We stayed in their large, picturesque guest bedroom which featured amenities such as two beds, an air conditioner, and a private bathroom. Heaven! Especially that air conditioner, let me tell you!

Thursday: This was the day we arrived, and we didn't really do anything. Ate dinner, went to bed.

Friday: Recovery day. Caroline and I ended up going with our cousin Jared and his friend Anne to see The Bourne Ultimatum in the theater that evening, then after we dropped Caroline off at "home" I went with Jared and Anne to a bar and had a few... certainly not more than a few... drinks to celebrate my arrival to the east coast.

Saturday: Caroline and I went with Aunt K and Uncle D on a "duck" tour of Boston. Ducks, in case you are one of the unenlightened, are World War II era amphibious landing vehicles which have been converted to serve as tourist attractions for a quick guided tour of the city, which includes a trip into the Charles River. Amphibious, remember? ^_^ Aside from the horrendous lack of leg room (once again proof that tall people are discriminated against) the tour was uber touristy but way fun. I have some fantastic photos... still on my camera. It was a blast going from the road to the river.

Sunday: I went with Jared and his new girlfriend Tunisha (absolutely no idea if I spelled her name correctly) to an Irish festival in Canton, right outside of Boston. We arrived at about three in the afternoon. Our goal in going to this festival was to see Dropkick Murphys, who were playing at 9:15. I was massively excited. I adore DKM, and to see them in their home city was an amazing opportunity. The entire festival ended up being a blast, and although I missed Tempest (played at 1) I did get to see Enter the Haggis - great band, and a fantastic surprise, I had no idea they would be playing! Dropkick was awesome, of course. I was in the mosh pit for the entire two hours that they played, reminding me why I lugged my steel toed boots along for the trip. It was a long day, but totally worth it.

Monday: This was the day that we planned to figure out the public transportation system and take ourselves to Harvard to see the Harvard Museum of Natural History. We had debated about whether or not it was worth it, but in the end we decided that it was. And it was great! Harvard Yard (which henceforth I must pronounce "Hah-vahd Yahd," or my aunt might kill me) was beautiful and worth seeing all by itself (once again, photos to come). And the natural history museum had an absolutely astonishing collection of glass flowers which were so delicate, inctricate, and realistic that you couldn't even believe they were glass. The other highlight of the HMNH were the dinosaur bones. Having never seen real dinosaur bones, and having once when I was very little had an interest in becoming a paleontologist, I was very excited for this part. The triceratops skull alone was worth the trip!

After the museum our cousin Josh picked us up and took us on another tour of the city, taking us through areas such as Beacon Hill, Newbury St, Back Bay, etc. Then we went back to Josh and Jared's place for dinner, movies, and games. I wish we had a bit more time to explore Harvard (Hahvahd) Square - that would have been awesome.

Tuesday: Two more museums today - the Musuem of Fine Arts and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. The MFA was HUGE - almost too huge. Getting through all of it became more of a chore than a pleasure, towards the end. And they're constructing a whole new wing! If we had more time in Boston, it would have been nice to thoroughly explore the first floor of the MFA, then wait a day and come back for the second floor. It was still amazing - seeing all the ancient Egyptian, ancient Roman, and ancient Greek artifacts, sculptures, and sarcophogi was absolutely amazing. The Asian wings were stunning, too - and all the buddhist and hindu sculpture was beautiful and awe-inspiring. One of my favorite parts of the whole museum were the rooms that were modeled after an ancient Chinese home.

After a while my brain started to go numb - it got harder to appreciate these amazing things we were seeing. I think the final straw was when Caroline and I were on the second floor and walked into a room that every inch of wall space had been covered by paintings. The "Eighteenth Century Masters" room was overwhelming in the worst way, leaving brains already tired from assimilating everything on the first floor staggered and unable to appreciate the glory and beauty that each of these paintings contained.

Time to go!

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum was a refreshing change. I was a little worried that after the MFA I would be completely uninterested in another museum, but I shouldn't have stressed. For one thing, Isabella Stewart Gardner herself was such an interesting person that her museum is bound to catch and hold interest. As soon as we walked into the museum (modeled after a Venetian palace), we were greeted with a cool, quiet, sparsely populated atmosphere, much more pleasurable than the hot crowds in the MFA. We had lunch on the museum patio cafe overlooking the gardens, then ventured further into the museum, three floors constructed around a stunningly beautiful garden courtyard, filled with flowers, fountains, mosaic, and sculpture. Visitors are prevented from entering the courtyard, so whenever you are drawn to a balcony or bench to view the garden you're struck by the peaceful, tranquil, uncluttered, uncrowded, beauty. As stipulated in her will, Gardner's collection is still arranged just as she left it. Much of her collection is unlabeled - from the museum website, "Although Mrs. Gardner arranged some of the galleries by period, much of the collection is displayed in more personal, visually stimulating ways that mix objects from different cultures and periods. To encourage visitors to respond directly to the visual qualities of the works themselves, she left most of the objects unlabeled. Many of today’s visitors enjoy the personal aesthetic contemplation this affords, while others prefer to explore the galleries with an audio tour."

All in all the Gardner museum was striking and fascinating experience.

Caroline and I decided that since we probably wouldn't get another chance to explore the city, we needed to go out and ignore our aching feet. We hopped on the T (public transportation rocks in Boston!) and jumped off at the Boston Commons, a lovely (and enormous) park. Right across the road were the Boston Public Gardens, in which reside the famous tourist attraction swan boats! We spent a bit of time on Newbury St, then decided to go to the Prudential Center. After some confusion (yes, I did lead us in the wrong direction) we finally made it, purchased t-shirts and keychains, then hopped back off the T to return to Aunt K and Uncle D's house.

Wednesday: Another long day ahead of us! Josh and his long term girlfriend Amanda took Caroline and I on a 14 hour day trip to Cape Cod. We started off in Chatham, where the infamous flick Jaws was filmed. Incidentally, there is currently a great white shark in the waters off the gorgeous, sandy Chatham beach! After spending some time wading in the warm waters and enjoying the sand, we headed back to the car and continued to Provincetown. What a cool place! For those readers who live near me, I can describe it as a much bigger, happier, gay Port Townsend. Otherwise I would describe it as a riotous, colorful, cheerful, small town. It was massively crowded, but somehow even though I despise crowds, I didn't mind being surrounded by people here. I absolutely loved how liberal it was - rainbow colored flags hanging over the streets on off of buildings, child sized t-shirts in the windows with such slogans as "I Love My Two Mommies" and "I Love My Two Daddies"... I would adore living in a place like that. The town is chock full of fun and interesting stores, galleries, and restaurants - you could spend days in that town.

We had dinner in Plymouth, home of the Mayflower (which is very cool) and a small rock with 1620 carved into the side. No, it's not the rock, that rock doesn't really exist. I'm sure many a tourist has been disappointed to venture into the huge open monument constructed to house the rock, then looked down into the pit to discover that said little piece of stone sitting in the sand. Dinner was awesome, however, and after that we were profoundly grateful to be returned home to our beds.

Thursday: Although there had been another day trip planned for Thursday, we collectively decided to call it off. Caroline and I were exhausted and in no shape for another long trip. Instead we passed a relaxing day doing nothing, getting ice cream from "The Bubbling Brook", driving around looking at houses, and finally retiring to the den to watch Deja Vu, then off to bed.

Friday: The day of our departure was both disappointing and happy - it was sad to be leaving Boston and our wonderful family members after what felt like such a short time, but at the same time it was exciting to think about getting home. We arrived at the airport at about 3:30PM, had no trouble getting through security and onto our plane. As soon as all passengers had boarded, however, the captain announced that we had been grounded by bad weather in Atlanta. This was immediately cause for great concern, since Caroline and I had under an hour in Atlanta before our connecting flight to Seattle. They refused to let us off the plane, and two hours after we were supposed to take off, we finally taxied out. When we arrived in Atlanta at about 11PM our flight to Seattle (which had also been delayed) had been gone for a mere twenty or so minutes.

At the Delta information counter we were handed a receipt that said "gee, sorry about your interrupted travel, the next flight you can be on is the 9:57. In the morning." The Delta rep at the counter didn't seem to be able to tell us angry and confused girls anything else regarding our predicament. At another information counter, a vaguely sympathetic Delta rep said "Delta won't put you up because the delay was weather related. You have nowhere to go? Sucks to be you. Enjoy spending the night in the airport." Near the point of tears, frustrated, and angry, I finally found a Delta rep with a soul.

The woman was obviously tired and about to go home. Carring her shoes in one hand and her purse in the other, she had stopped at an information counter to help another woman who had also been stranded in Atlanta. I was hesitant to approach the counter because I didn't want her to be stuck at work any longer than she had to be, but I ended up going up anyway. I handed her the receipt and new itinerary we had been given, and told her I had no idea what to do with these pieces of paper. Instantly she got to work, smiling wearily. She told me that we were confirmed on the 9:57, but what she was putting us on high priority standby for the 8:30. She patiently answered my silly questions about how standby worked, and assured me that my sister and I would not be separated. Before I knew it she handed me two sets of boarding passes - one confirmed for the 9:57, and and the other seat requests for the 8:30. Then she set off on a quest to find us blankets which took her a good fifteen minutes. Caroline and I thanked her profusely, but soon she was back again with four bottles of water, two for each of us.

I am profoundly grateful for this woman. Just knowing there was someone who seemed like she really cared about what had happened to us made the whole ordeal seem less frustrating and more bearable. I wish I had gotten her name so I could send an email to the company or something. I wish I had thought of that so she could have gotten some recognition for her kindness.

Saturday: Lo and behold, after a mostly sleepless night in the Atlanta airport we made it onto the 8:30AM flight. By 11ish we were met in Seattle by Bob, and by 1:30 I was home. Finally. =)

In:

Honey, I'm Home!

This is my first blog entry since I have returned from my eight-day-long vacation to Boston.

Am I going to write about the three beautiful museums I was fortunate enough to visit? No.

Am I going to write about gorgeous Cape Cod and adventures in Provincetown? Nah.

What about the ordeal at the Atlanta airport? Of course not.

Kristin posted several quiz results, and I immediately decided that I absolutely had to know what my answers would be. So, yep - this is a quiz result post! ^_^


You Are Cheesecake

Rich, sweet, and simply perfect.
You're not boring - you're just the best!


MMMM cheesecake!

You Are 60% Gentleman

Generally you act like a gentleman, but sometimes you're careless with your manners.
Most people know that you're trying your best - and that's usually good enough.


Ooh, yowch.... only 60%....

Your Vampire Name Is...

Seductress of the Mountain Ash


Hell yes it is!

You Are Greg Brady

Outta sight! Suave and all American, you tend to be clean cut and upstanding.
You're friendly with most people and a huge flirt (sometimes even with family members!).


.......wow. ^_^

Your Heart Is Blue

Love is a doing word for you. You know it's love when you treat each other well.
You are a giving lover, but you don't give too much. You expect something in return.

Your flirting style: Friendly

Your lucky first date: Lunch at an outdoor cafe

Your dream lover: Is both generous and selfish

What you bring to relationships: Loyalty

In:

Photo Galleries

I've gone back to Fotopic.net (a photo hosting service in the UK) to create a space to build online photo galleries for all the photos I've been taking recently. I had my online art gallery hosted there for a very long time... I stripped most of the art off of the site in a fit of "I Suck", and the few sketches that are still there are veeeeerrrry old.

But, out with the old and in with the new! I have a couple photo collections posted right now from July 25th and July 27th, both days featuring Handful of Luvin concerts. ^_^

Fotopic is going to be great when I get back from Boston and have masses of photos to show everyone! ^_^

Anyway, check it out! http://photoalbums.fotopic.net/

In:

Incompetance on the Beach

In a town called Surf City, New Jersey a $71 million dollar beach replenishment project occured in March. During this replenishment project, the United States military took sand from an offshore site and brought it on down to Surf City. The fact that there are World War 1 era explosives all throughout this sand is quickly discovered. And the U.S. military scratches it's collective head and says, "oh yeah, I guess we did use that sand as a dumping ground for our bombs a few decades ago."


Surf City looses tons of tourism business as the military works to remove all the old bombs. More than 1,100 explosives were recovered from the sand, and even after tbe beaches were deemed safe to re-open (on Memorial Day weekened, no less), people have discovered at least a dozen more.

The army is concerned enough about this that they now have a full time ordnance specialist at the beach to take care of any unearthed munitions.

So after making a massively ridiculous mistake, costing the town unknown amounts of tourism business while the beaches were closed, and now talking about another beach closure this winter to sweep for more bombs.....

... the military wants the town to help pay for it all.

Read the article here.

In: ,

Ummm.... 17?

So I was perusing the headlines today and I came across an article called "Arkansas Couple Welcomes 17th Child". I had the same reaction that I usually have when I see something referencing people having unusually large numbers of children: Come on... was that really necessary?

People don't generally think of the U.S. as having an overpopulation problem, but guess what? It does. The U.S. is the only major industrialized country still growing. Between 1990 and 2000 we grew by 13% and that's a lot. Just because it's said that the entire population of the world could fit in Texas (I'm skeptical of that, by the way) doesn't mean anything. Obviously we need more than just a space to set up camp. Natural resources are going down the tubes at insane rates, and that's not a good thing.

We have about 292 million Americans. According to the Negative Population Growth organization's FAQ, there should only be 150 to 200 million. This number was arrived at by surveying scientists for over 30 years, so this isn't just some random number they pulled out of their hats.

Check out the Negative Population Growth organization - very interesting.

Anyway, when you're considering overpopulation (as far as resource consumpion goes) as the large problem that it is, reading about some family having seventeen children and already talking about having more is sickening. It's completely irresponsible. So thanks a lot for doing your part to add to our overpopulation problems. Honestly I think maybe we should start taking a look at China. We need to find some way to limit family size. This is ridiculous.

.....

Okay, I don't actually think that we should take population control tips from China. I'm just frustrated.

Here's a couple "fun facts" about this family in Arkansas that the article mentioned:

They've gone through approximately 90,000 diapers. Hmm... think about 90,000 dirty diapers. That's a lot of waste. Something tells me they use disposable.

Their home is 7,000 sq. ft. Engery hog!!!!!!

The family does approximately 200 loads of laundry every month. Thats a lot of water to waste.

Just think about that. A family with seventeen children. Think about everything else that they use in huge quantities. Think about the garbage they must generate.

Oh, one more thing (pet peeve coming up): the article mentions that all the children are homeschooled. And you know that those have got to be the weird homeschooled kids that make formerly homeschooled people like me embarrassed when I have admit to where I received my early education.

Italy is paying women to have babies. Let's give these people Italian citizenships so they can bump up Italy's population, not ours.

I found a fantastic article from 2005, when the 16th kid was born:

God Does Not Want 16 Kids
Arkansas mom gives birth to a whole freakin' baseball team. How deeply should you cringe?
By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist
Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Who are you to judge? Who are you to say that the more than slightly creepy 39-year-old woman from Arkansas who just gave birth to her 16th child yes that's right 16 kids and try not to cringe in phantom vaginal pain when you say it, who are you to say Michelle Duggar is not more than a little unhinged and sad and lost?

And furthermore, who are you to suggest that her equally troubling husband -- whose name is, of course, Jim Bob and he's hankerin' to be a Republican senator and try not to wince in sociopolitical pain when you say that -- isn't more than a little numb to the real world, and that bringing 16 hungry mewling attention-deprived kids (and she wants more! Yay!) into this exhausted world zips right by "touching" and races right past "disturbing" and lurches its way, heaving and gasping and sweating from the karmic armpits, straight into "Oh my God, what the hell is wrong with you people?"

But that would be, you know, mean. Mean and callous to suggest that this might be the most disquieting photo you see all year, this bizarre Duggar family of 18 spotless white hyperreligious interchangeable people with alarmingly bad hair, the kids ranging in ages from 1 to 17, worse than those nuked Smurfs in that UNICEF commercial and worse than all the horrific rubble in Pakistan and worse than the cluster-bomb nightmare that is Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise having a child as they suck the skin from each other's Scientological faces and even worse than that huge 13-foot python which ate that six-foot alligator and then exploded.

It's wrong to be this judgmental. Wrong to suggest that it is exactly this kind of weird pathological protofamily breeding-happy gluttony that's making the world groan and cry and recoil, contributing to vicious overpopulation rates and unrepentant economic strain and a bitter moral warpage resulting from a massive viral outbreak of homophobic neo-Christians across our troubled and Bush-ravaged land. Or is it?

Is it wrong to notice how all the Duggar kids' names start with the letter J (Jeremiah and Josiah and Jedediah and Jesus, someone please stop them), and that if you study the above photo (or the even more disturbing family Web site) too closely you will become rashy and depressed and you will crave large quantities of alcohol and loud aggressive music to deflect the creeping feeling that this planet is devolving faster than you can suck the contents from a large bong? But I'm not judging.

I have a friend who used to co-babysit (yes, it required two sitters) for a family of 10 kids, and she reports that they were, almost without fail, manic and hyper and bewildered and attention deprived in the worst way, half of them addicted to prescription meds to calm their neglected nerves and the other half bound for years of therapy due to complete loss of having the slightest clue as to who they actually were, lost in the family crowd, just another blank, needy face at the table. Is this the guaranteed affliction for every child of very large families? Of course not. But I'm guessing it's more common than you imagine.

What's more, after the 10th kid popped out, the family doctor essentially prohibited the baby-addicted mother from having any more offspring, considering the pummeling endured by her various matronly systems, and it's actually painful to imagine the logistics, the toll on Michelle Duggar's body, the ravages it has endured to give birth to roughly one child per year for nearly two decades, and you cannot help but wonder about her body and its various biological and sexual ... no, no, it is not for this space to visualize frighteningly capacious vaginal dimensions. It is not for this space to imagine this couple's soggy sexual mutations. We do not have enough wine on hand for that.

Perhaps the point is this: Why does this sort of bizarre hyperbreeding only seem to afflict antiseptic megareligious families from the Midwest? In other words -- assuming Michelle and Jim Bob and their massive brood of cookie-cutter Christian kidbots will all be, as the charming photo suggests, never allowed near a decent pair of designer jeans or a tolerable haircut from a recent decade, and assuming that they will all be tragically encoded with the values of the homophobic asexual Christian right -- where are the forces that shall help neutralize their effect on the culture? Where is the counterbalance, to offset the damage?

Where is, in other words, the funky tattooed intellectual poetess who, along with her genius anarchist husband, is popping out 16 funky progressive intellectually curious fashion-forward pagan offspring to answer the Duggar's squad of ├╝ber-white future Wal-Mart shoppers? Where is the liberal, spiritualized, pro-sex flip side? Verily I say unto thee, it ain't lookin' good.

Perhaps this the scariest aspect of our squishy birthin' tale: Maybe the scales are tipping to the neoconservative, homogenous right in our culture simply because they tend not to give much of a damn for the ramifications of wanton breeding and environmental destruction and pious sanctimony, whereas those on the left actually seem to give a whit for the health of the planet and the dire effects of overpopulation. Is that an oversimplification?

Why does this sort of thoughtfulness seem so far from the norm? Why is having a stadiumful of offspring still seen as some sort of happy joyous thing?

You already know why. It is the Biggest Reason of All. Children are, after all, God's little gifts. Kids are little blessings from the Lord, the Almighty's own screaming spitballs of joy. Hell, Jim Bob said so himself, when asked if the couple would soon be going for a 17th rug rat: "We both just love children and we consider each a blessing from the Lord. I have asked Michelle if she wants more and she said yes, if the Lord wants to give us some she will accept them." This is what he actually said. And God did not strike him dead on the spot.

Let us be clear: I don't care what sort of God you believe in, it's a safe bet that hysterical breeding does not top her list of desirables. God does not want more children per acre than there are ants or mice or garter snakes or repressed pedophilic priests. We already have three billion humans on the planet who subsist on less than two dollars a day. Every other child in the world (one billion of them) lives in abject poverty. We are burning through the planet's resources faster than a Republican can eat an endangered caribou stew. Note to Michelle Duggar: If God wanted you to have a massive pile of children, she'd have given your uterus a hydraulic pump and a revolving door. Stop it now.

Ah, but this is America, yes? People should be allowed to do whatever the hell they want with their families if they can afford it and if it's within the law and so long as they aren't gay or deviant or happily flouting Good Christian Values, right? Shouldn't they? Hell, gay couples still can't openly adopt a baby in most states (they either lie, or one adopts and the other must apply as "co-parent"), but Michelle Duggar can pop out 16 kids and no one says, oh my freaking God, stop it, stop it now, you thoughtless, selfish, baby-drunk people.

No, no one says that. That would be mean.