Monday, December 26, 2005

Auld Lang Syne

This blog is taking an extended vacation beginning on Tuesday, possibly the longest 'vacation' the blog has taken with me still being in the country (the other major hiatus was when I was in France for two months). I hope those of you who celebrated yesterday (and continue to celebrate this week, as the case might be) had a good holiday and quality time with your loved ones.

I will blog back at you in 2006. Happy New Year and all the best to you and yours for the upcoming year.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas

Good tidings we bring to you and your kin;
Good tidings for Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

All I want

My brother and I were recently discussing what we want, or rather what *I* want. It came in the middle of a conversation on "Battlestar Galatica", so there was no actual depth in the discussion at first. I mentioned along with wanting the new season of BSG to start RIGHT NOW, I would also love world peace, and my brother pointed out that would mean people would stop having to act like people.

So all I want for Christmas this year is for people to stop acting like people. We spend too much time picking at each other, too much time thinking about what we don't have compared to what other people have, and not spending enough time to understand where someone else is coming from and why they act the way they do. Understanding doesn't necessarily mean agreeing, but it can be a way of developing respect for another person's viewpoint or background or actions and finding common ground -- in other words, a way to get along with someone you'd really like to avoid spending time with or talking to (I'm thinking of Ann Coulter's nastily titled book, "How to Talk to a Liberal... If You Must" as an example).

My New Year's resolution (seven days early! Go me!) is to be more patient and to listen more so I can hear where people are coming from. It never kills a person to be nice to someone, no matter how much you don't want to be. So, really my resolution comes down to: I'm going to try harder to be nice and understanding with the people who make me nuts.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Top Sekrit (tm)

I've been having problems with blogger lately, and I think the NSA has been thwarting my efforts to rabble-rouse (or something) by making it very difficult for me to spread my propaganda. And speaking of the NSA and the secret spying program, my knee-jerk response that all things Bush does are inherently TeH Evil (tm).

However, on an intellectual level, the program makes me uncomfortable. I'm probably a minority opinion on this, but honestly, I don't feel like the 'war on terror' is something anyone can win and to claim that it's possible is misleading. For that reason, I'm reluctant to suspend my civil rights for some phantom enemy who is a) more creative than Bush (or any other president, for that matter) will ever be, b) not afraid to die, and c) whose only goal in life is to kill other people.

Plus, the program just doesn't make sense to me. If only four warrants out of thousands had been denied, what's the problem? The courts are obviously not standing in the way of the 'war on terror'. And if you can get a warrant retroatively up to 72 hours after beginning spying, what's the need to circumvent the courts entirely? To me, it sounds like a power-grab, an expansion of executive privilege, and it's disturbing to me. I don't want this nebulous 'war on terror' to be the raison d'etre for every decision every succeeding administration makes from here on out. It's almost like you can go out into a crowd, wave an American flag, repeat catch phrases over and over again, and equate criticism with unpatriotism, and everyone falls neatly into line without actually considering the consequences or even the reality of the situation.

In our local paper, nearly 60 percent of people polled in an unscientic poll said they'd be willing to give up their civil liberties in order to win the 'war on terror'. Count me in the other 40 percent.

Monday, December 19, 2005

The happiest time of the year?

I didn't watch "Christmas Blessing" last night because I was heavily absorbed in a new biography of Queen Isabella (betrayal, murder, and treachery in medieval England -- yum!), but I got a general synopsis of the film over here. Apparently the little boy from the song -- Nathan -- is all grown up and having a nervous breakdown about being a doctor. He runs home, discovers things are a' changing, but still manages to fall in love. But then, disaster strikes! At Christmas time! To wit:

Nathan scarcely has begun to try letting go of the past when he discovers that not one, but two of the people he loves most suffer from life-threatening medical conditions that only a Christmas Eve transplant can resolve.

This Nathan kid can't catch a break. First his poor shoeless mother is dying on Christmas Eve when he's a wee one, and now the two people he loves most BOTH HAVE TO HAVE AN ORGAN TRANSPLANT AT THE SAME TIME ON CHRISTMAS EVE?

Y'know, despite my better judgement, I really, really want to hear what NewSong came up for this particular movie. If you have the lyrics, I'd be much obliged. If you feel creative and want to make up your own lyrics based on the synopsis and the original song, then that's fine too.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Christmas under siege?

Every time I read a news story about people thinking Christmas is becoming increasingly threatened by 'secular forces' (and this is where I have an image of an army wearing baclava helmets marching upon a Christmas tree), I just want to scream, "GET A GRIP PEOPLE. HAVE YOU BEEN IN CIVILIZATION LATELY?" The stores are swatched in red and gold, and easy listening music stations go to 24/7 Christmas carols, depriving some of us from our daily Lionel Ritchie fix. From Halloween on, you cannot escape this holiday, no matter how much you want to.

I admit, despite enjoying hot apple cider, finding the perfect gift for someone and receiving Christmas cards, sometimes I really want to. Christmas isn't under siege, but it's taking a good chunk of the population hostage -- even the ones who celebrate.

The thing is, there is nothing inherently offensive in Christmas to non-Christians. Or at least, the non-Christians that I know. Most of us have no problem wishing Christians who celebrate 'Merry Christmas' because it's important to that person. And we're not particularly offended if someone wishes it to us back if they don't know where we stand on the holiday. But there is a distinction I do want to point out.

I don't go around wishing non-Hindus Happy Diwali. Most people would say, "Huh?" anyway, but that's not the point, because nothing's stopping me from saying it. It's easy to say, "Well, no one knows when that holiday is, so who cares?" Well, it's a major holiday, celebrated by a huge chunk of the world's population. You can say the same about Ramadan, or Channukah. These are holidays that are important to people, but most Muslims aren't going to wish Happy Ramadan to non-Muslims and Jews will keep their Happy Channukahs to other Jews. What's the point of wishing a 'Happy insert-holiday-of-your-choice-here' to people who don't celebrate?

The Fainter put it best yesterday. She says it's like being at a birthday party, and being genuinely happy for the person at the party, and wishing them a happy birthday. But if someone else came up to you and even though they knew who the guest of honor was, said, "Hey, happy birthday" to you, that'd be kind of weird.

That's how Christmas feels. It's there, you can't get away from it for three months of the year, so you might as well go with the flow, whether you want to or not. My point is, if you know for sure someone doesn't celebrate, why wish them a 'Merry Christmas'? Only do that if you're willing to have them wish you a 'Happy Diwali' back. My guess is most people who complain over whether a tree should be a "Holiday spruce" or a "Christmas tree" wouldn't be particularly happy to be wished a "Happy insert-non-Christian-holiday."

Saturday, December 17, 2005


I finally got most of my holiday cards and packages mailed out today. When I reached the post office around 10:30 this morning, it was jam-packed, and I figure the wait was probably an hour or so. A nice guy pointed out the self-serve kiosk, and OHMYGOD, it is the best thing ever. You can weigh your package at the kiosk, print out the appropriate postage, and also for international letters. Plus, you can buy regular stamps (only holiday ones, unfortunately). Best part? You can charge it all to your credit card.

There was a bin for packages so I could just drop my package in after putting the postage on it, and then I put the cards in the regular stamped mail box. I was in and out of the place in about 20 minutes -- no waiting in line. For all the crap that gets heaped on the USPS, I thought I'd point something really good that they've done.

Now you know what that extra 2-penny increase in January is going to pay for.**

*No, I don't work for the USPS, I only use their services
** Or is it a 3-cent increase?

Friday, December 16, 2005

The Bush Shuffle!

Kerry might waffle, but Bush shuffles! During Bush's interview with Brit Hume on FOX News Wednesday evening, Hume asked Bush what was on his iPod and so it begins:

Bush : Beach Boys, Beatles, let's see, Alan Jackson, Alan Jackson, Alejandro, Alison Krauss, the Angels, the Archies, Aretha Franklin, the Beatles, Dan McLean. Remember him?

Hume: Don McLean.

Bush: I mean, Don McLean.

Hume: Does "American Pie," right?

Bush: Great song.

Hume: Yes, yes, great song.

Unidentified male: . . . which ones do you play?

Bush: All of these. I put it on shuffle. Dwight Yoakam. I've got the Shuffle, the, what is it called? The little.

Hume: Shuffle.

Bush: It looks like.

Hume: The Shuffle. That is the name of one of the models.

Bush: Yes, the Shuffle.

Hume: Called the Shuffle.

Bush: Lightweight, and crank it on, and you shuffle the Shuffle.

Hume: So you -- it plays . . .

Bush: Put it in my pocket, got the ear things on.

Hume: So it plays them in a random order.

Bush: Yes.

Hume: So you don't know what you're going to going to get.

Bush: No.

Hume: But you know --

Bush: And if you don't like it, you have got your little advance button. It's pretty high-tech stuff.

Hume: . . . be good to have one of those at home, wouldn't it?

Bush: Oh?

Hume: Yes, hit the button and whatever it is that's in your head -- gone.

Bush: . . . it's a bad day, just say, get out of here.

Hume: Well, that probably is pretty . . .

Bush: That works, too. ( Laughter )

Hume: Yes, right.

Original transcript here here, though I found out about it in a hilarious WP politics chat over here.

My favorite moment:

Boston, Mass.: This country is a wreck.

If we look at our leaders... torture, spying on Americans, bribes, fraud, outing of CIA agents, lying about stock deals, lying about wars...

If we look at ourselves.... our kids are fat, on prescriptions, and 1 in 20 can't read. We've got global warming, high prices, low wages, no health insurance, a housing bubble, and the gap between rich and poor is extreme.

Dana, make it all better, please. I can't take much more of this.

Dana Milbank:
On the positive side, Speaker Hastert has saved Christmas by renaming the "Holiday Tree."

So. Happy. [/Katie Holmes]

When I first started yoga over a year ago, it was because I was stressed to the gills and having hip problems, and wanting to just make it all go away. Since then, I've gotten a lot better, and I've developed some favorite poses.

My favorite pose back when I started was Warrior II. I still have a fondness for the Warrior series, but lately, I've been preferring Plank Pose which, mho, is the quickest way to flat abs, and I also really like Downward Dog because I feel strong in that pose and am very proud of myself that I can hold it for long periods of time (our yoga instructor is very big on holding very a looooooooong time). However, I do have a new favorite: Sideways Plank pose.

I like Sideways Plank because not only does it tone, but it involves balance, and it's just really difficult to stay up -- it requires strength and concentration both. I'm getting a lot better at holding it, and I don't fall over any more -- or at least, it takes more than 30 seconds before my whole body starts shaking and I need to come down. This is another really good pose for abs.

I'm not terribly good at most of the balancing poses. I'm unable to hold Half Moon at all, for instance, but I'm slowly improving on Eagle Pose. Of course, it should be no surprise to anyone -- especially people who know me well -- that the pose I most look forward to is savasana or corpse pose.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Boob tube thoughts

Y'know, I wonder why television programs don't schedule their programs to run during commercial breaks, rather than all of them taking the commercial break at the same time. I'm a channel-flipper through breaks, and I suspect most watchers are, and I wonder if the networks would get more eyeballs if they just managed to pace an interesting scene or development at the point everyone else is taking a break. I do know that's why some of the networks start their programming at the :59 mark or end at the :01 mark -- to throw people off their stride.

Incidentally, I saw part of "E-Ring" yesterday while flipping and OH MY GOD, how terrible is this show? It's impossible to take Benjamin Bratt seriously, and really, how much drama is there in watching people run around the Pentagon? I think what really killed it for me was when there was a special ops mission going on in Kazakhstan, and all of these Pentagon types were sitting there watching on some kind of big movie screen. All that was missing was the overpriced popcorn.

I do, however, have a massive crush on "Grey's Anatomy." I didn't like it when it first aired, but it's starting to grow on me. I love the humor, the acting, the characters, and the way when it hurts, it really hurts. "Grey's Anatomy" doesn't take itself seriously, which is what I like about it. "ER" always came across as incredibly serious and self-centered, whereas "Grey's Anatomy" isn't afraid of being funny. In fact, I'm starting to like "GA" better than "Desperate Housewives", the latter which has recently made my 'endangered shows' list.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Speaking of cold...

Despite the fact I have an aversion for cold, I seem to be into stories that take place in very cold locales, such as Mount Everest, and now Antarctica*.

I just finished reading "Endurance", a book about Ernest Shackleford and his crew's amazing survival story of being stranded on Antarctica after his ship is crushed and destroyed by the ice. Imagine it's 1914, and you're stuck in the middle of, well, pretty close to nowhere, and all you have are three open boats, no land in sight, frigid temperatures, and all around you, a wild and freezing sea filled with killer whales and sea leopards. Survival under those circumstances is really mind-boggling.

While I found the book could have been more descriptive in places and I didn't like how it gave the ending away on the back cover, the book itself was gripping and the diary entries used to pepper the narrative are quite often very funny. What amazed me was how these men seemed to maintain their spirits and discipline in the face of incredible adversity. For that alone, it's an amazing story. Here are some interesting links:

Frank Hurley's expedition photographs. This includes pictures of the ship -- the Endurance -- being crushed and toppled, plus some amazing pictures of Antarctica itself.

Here is a site with some excerpts from the books and NOVA did a documentary on the expedition, and its write-up is over here.

* 'Antarctica' is seemingly my 'Hemingway' of geographic spelling.

Monday, December 12, 2005

These shoes were made for walkin'

You all know about about my deep-rooted version to all things related to "Christmas Shoes", so imagine my horror at the news CBS is airing a sequel to the damn thing called Christmas Blessing and just to put the coal in the stocking touch to all of this, NewSong -- the group responsible for the original treacle -- will perform the title song during the movie. For those of you who can't wait, CBS has a copy of the song* on the website (see above link).

My favorite Hollywood Christmas anvil moment came during this evening's ep of "Seventh Heaven" (which I was watching in between commercials for the Elton John concert), when Glen Oak has a power outage on Christmas Eve, and all the lights go out. Sandy converts to Christianity and a second later, then lo! Behold! LET THERE BE LIGHT. Then there's bizarre image of panning away from the Camden residence (the only light in the otherwise dark town) and then slowly the light spreads across the town and then the camera pans back until suddenly, we're in outer space, looking down at the glowing earth and it is good.

I may just have to let the little urchin from "The Christmas Shoes" off the hook and set the Camdens as my new whipping boy(s). Subtle, "Seventh Heaven" has never been, but boy. Oh. Boy.

* And no, I haven't listened to it, but that's more due to my aversion to Real Player rather than a fierce allergic attack to anything 'Christmas Shoes' related

Sunday, December 11, 2005

How do you solve a problem like google?

A few months ago, I went on a date and over lunch, the guy asked me casually, "So, you knew so and so?"

My heart completely stopped. He was referring to a good friend of mine from college who had died of cancer. For a moment, I was estatic. He knew her name, he must have either known her in person, or read some of her sports stories in the newspaper, and if nothing else, we could swap stories. I remember leaning forward and asking, "How do you know her?"

And he shrugged. "I don't. I just saw her name somewhere and thought you might know her."

And in that moment, I knew he had googled me, that he had found the memorial site for my friend, and had read the piece I'd written about her there. I was crushed and he quickly moved on to another subject.

Looking back, I know he exhibited a lack of social graces and tact. There's nothing wrong with googling someone; he just picked the wrong thing to ask me about. I never asked him if he had googled me, and I never told him that I googled him. But ever since that incident, I've felt uneasy over the whole subject of googling. When meeting someone new, it's nice to get the intelligence, but at the same time, how do you use that information? I'm not sure I'd ever bring it up in a conversational setting.

The other thing is this blog. This blog will be five years old in January. I've been blogging since before blogging was cool, before I knew what I was doing or what the consequences of having a blog could be. That means there are five years worth of stuff people can read about me, and the five-year old in me thinks that's unfair. I think this also stems from my misplaced belief that this blog only has five readers and I know who you all are, and I think of this space more as a 'reading corner' for a few people, rather than the much wider audience that troops through here every day.

I can't solve the blog problem without stopping the blog, and that's not going to happen. I've resolved to think of it as a "Hey, this is me" snapshot at any given moment in time, and while it's never a complete picture of what I'm thinking of, what is here is honest and in my voice. So, my attitude really should be: "Take me or leave me." Still, it's not easy to reconcile.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Sock it to me

Years ago, I think it was my 21st birthday, my mom gave me socks. Now some of you would say, "Oh that's a terrible present," but there are two things you must know about me: a) even when it's 80 degrees out, I'm freezing and b) I like warm things. Hence, I've routinely received things like flannel sheets, blankets, sweaters, warm pajamas, socks, and mittens as gifts. In college, I'd routinely ask -- as I'd hunch over and brave the blizzard winds -- just how did the pioneers make do without polar fleece? I mean really, can you people imagine what life before fleece was like? I can't even think of it. If I were a pioneer, I'd probably have to be somewhere like, I don't know, Hawaii, or Mexico, because I wouldn't have been able to take the long winters a la Little House on the Prairie.

Anyway, I mention the socks because they are AWESOME: two pairs of fleece (one pair green and one pair red), and the other two pairs were brown, with thick soles, and just really warm. My feet were incredibly happy wearing these socks as I trudged through the New England winters. I still have the socks, and today I'm wearing the red fleece ones because it's freakin' cold here. And I know, I know, all you Midwest and New England types are probably laughing because it's in the 20s here in Red State, but in my defense, I was just at a cafe with NO SOCKS* on and really, even you hardy New England/Midwest types would be cold with NO SOCKS on when the temperature is rapidly dropping below freezing. I'm just sayin'.

I should also mention my pajama top is fleece too. And that I'm sitting here typing to you with a chenille blanket around my shoulders. I also have flannel sheets on my bed, a wool blanket, a soft pink blanket of some unknown material, and a quilt. I'll probably throw another blanket on there for good measure. Back in New England, I routinely went to bed with my robe on over my pajamas. Also, I never sleep without socks on.

I don't like the cold at all, but I do like the things that keep us warm.

* Lest you think I'm completely crazy, the lack of socks was due to the fact I'd gone to yoga this evening, and I was wearing black cropped length yoga pants and my socks were white, and I so didn't want to pull an Urkel. I never did take off my jacket though during dinner, as I was wearing a t-shirt over a tanktop, so at least I exhibited some sense then..

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The eye of the beholder

Following up on yesterday's post, here's an article from the Washington Post on eyebrow threading.

I should also mention (as The Fainter recently found out) that the salon we go to has the 'tough love' philosophy when it comes to the eyebrow care; getting berated for plucking (baaaaaaaad!) and going more than 3 weeks without a stop in at your friendly neighborhood threader is a cardinal sin. During the 20 minutes the stylist is yanking your eyebrows out hair by hair from the follicle, she's also lecturing you on any number of beauty sins and what an awful person you are for letting yourself go like that. It's the newest wave in beauty marketing: Guilt and shame.

Incidentally, I did momentarily contemplate posting a picture of my eyebrows earlier this evening as Harry requested, but then I realized that it would also involve posting a picture of me, and OH MY GOD, you guys would know what I look like*.

We can't have that now, can we?

* Real Life people excepted, of course
Blog re-run

T'Other Liz reminded me recently I had yet to rant about "The Christmas Shoes" carol. Since I've done it before here and here, I'll just point you there.

I'm still waiting for someone to adequately explain me the appeal to this sentimental treacle though. Guest blogger for a day anyone?

Monday, December 05, 2005

The eyes have it

My God-given eyebrows and I parted ways more than ten years ago, sometime during my freshman year of college, to be more precise. I didn't realize there was such thing as a 'sculpted brow' until the age of 18, and those were the years when big round framed glasses were in, and I have a small face so pretty much all you could see of my face were the glasses anyway. But in case you were wondering, my God-given eyebrows are thick, unruly, curly, and rather mannish.

Anyway, off I went to college and my roommate had such pretty eyebrows and it was such an awakening. Every morning, she'd stand in her little cubby and pick at her eyebrows, and unlike mine, her eyebrows never misbehaved. And in a sad, sad case of trying to imitate her lovely arched brows, I think I plucked most of mine out. Thank God for the big round glasses!

The following summer, my aunt declared the glasses to be object non grata, and persuaded me to switch to contact lenses. My mother, on the other hand, concerned about her eyebrow-less daughter, found someone who could 'fix' what was left of the eyebrows and hence became what is now an addiction to lovely, perfect eyebrows, especially now that I can no longer hide behind big round glasses. I started off getting my eyebrows waxed, but for the last three years or so, I've been getting them threaded.

Threading is... well, exactly what it sounds like. The stylist takes an ordinary spool of thread, loops it around her fingers and through her mouth, and at some point, lassos each individual eyebrow hair and pulls it out by the root (there's an interesting bobbing head action involved as well, but my eyes are closed for much of the process). The thread itself is taut, so it's a similar sensation to feeling something with an edge scrape across your skin. In addition, at some point, the stylist asks you to pull your own skin tight; the tighter you pull it, the less it hurts (and when I talk about hurting, we're not talking massive amounts of pain; something similar to plucking, but for longer durations of time -- say 5 to 10 minutes an eyebrow. The more hair, the more the pain).

The positives of threading is that you end up with lovely eyebrows that are very nicely shaped and very rarely does skin crack or get pulled off or loosened. With wax, the pain is over quick, but it can pull at your skin and leave it feeling raw.

Visual aids of eyebrow threading, courtesy of Google, over here.

Saturday, December 03, 2005


So, today the Boy Toy (as Sarah calls him) called about meeting him for lunch.

"How much time do you need?" he asked.

"I only need an hour to get married, I mean ready."
Let the world go by

I had such a relaxing night yesterday and I really appreciated it. The last few weeks have been so helter-skelter, running around, that even though I had five days off for Thanksgiving, I was anything but relaxed, and this week, I haven't been feeling well. So it was so nice to just sit back on a Friday night and really not worry about much at all.

I wrote for a couple of hours -- something I haven't done in a long time -- and then I popped a bag of popcorn and watched a movie. The movie was just so-so (I must lack the taste buds that deem movies like "Sideways" and "Lost in Translation" as good or better; I was still wearing my socks when both movies ended, though something like "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" completely knocked them off), but it was the idea of just sitting back, not paying attention to the phone or email and not at all feeling rushed, that was the best part of the evening. I finished off the night by reading a few pages in "America, The Book", which is hilarious in spots (but not uniformly so), and then slept until 8 am! Yeah for 8 am!

Best. Friday. Ever.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005


Seymour Hersh writes about President Bush and the Iraq War in the New Yorker over here.

The former senior official said that after the election he made a lengthy inspection visit to Iraq and reported his findings to Bush in the White House: "I said to the President, 'We're not winning the war.' And he asked, 'Are we losing?’ I said, ‘Not yet.'" The President, he said, "appeared displeased" with that answer.

"I tried to tell him," the former senior official said. "And he couldn’t hear it."

Incidentally, I saw Bill O'Reilly on the Today Show this morning, and he was hilarious. Over the top, very much so, but how much of that is an act and how much is real? I was surprised to hear him criticize Bush, and I actually chuckled when he called Senator Clinton's letter to her constituents 'dopey' (I have no idea what the letter is about as I've been rather busy as of late and have been unable to keep up with my 20 newspapers a day). O'Reilly amusement aside, never fear, this is still a liberal blog, but I like to be fair and point out when I've heard something from 'the other side' that was surprising and/or interesting.

And just when you thought it was safe to turn on your television again, Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie are baaaaaaack.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Holiday fic

Today's bloggity is inexplicably delayed due to technical difficulties. Somewhere out there in cyberspace, there is an email floating around with tonight's content. Unfortunately, it hasn't arrived, and I'm not sure what authorities to contact to report a missing email. I assure you, however, that it was a very excellent post, full of wonderful, humorous and insightful comments, and not a turkey to be seen.

In lieu of that, I'll make an offer here that I've made in other venues:

Leave me a comment, and I'll write you a holiday fic of at least 500 words in any of my regular fandoms (Star Treks except TOS, X-Files, X-Men, Without a Trace, JAG, Commander in Chief). All you have to do is give me a character, a fandom, a scenario, a pairing, etc., anything you'd like. If there's something you'd like to see and I haven't specifically mentioned it here, ask anyway and I'll try to oblige. Pretty much no restrictions. I'm planning on posting the finished stories sometime between December 20 and the 23rd.*

And since this is a fannish post, I leave you a link to 10 reasons to watch "Commander in Chief".

Okay, so I haven't posted anything in any fandom in a really long time, but this is a painless way to get back on the writing bandwagon.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Turkey Link of the Day

For those of you who need MORE in the way of turkey coverage, go here. Flash and sound very necessary. Many thanks to Rocky for providing today's turkey coverage.

When I got back last night, the food situation was a wee bit dire. I'd raided the parental kitchen and pantry, but rather haphazardly, so that meant there were no real obvious options for dinner. So I got a little creative and came up with a twist on quesadillas that, amazingly, turned out pretty well.

Mediterranean Quesadillas

2 flour tortillas
1/2 red pepper
1/2 small onion
1 small tomato
1 tsp olive oil
pinch each of oregano, basil, and chives
salt and pepper to taste
shredded mozzerella cheese

Set oven on broiler mode

Mix all ingredients except for the cheese and tortillas in a bowl. Then fold the tortillas each in half and break them so you have four halves. Spread some cheese on the two of the slices, spoon the veggie mix onto the tortilla, spread more cheese on top, and then cover with the other half of the tortilla. Put on cookie sheet, stick in broiler for one minute or until golden brown, and then flip the tortillas so the other side can brown as well. Serve immediately.

Sunday, November 27, 2005


I hoped everyone had a most excellent holiday weekend with their family and friends. I certainly did, car troubles aside, and much food was consumed -- including things made by yours truly that were neither burned or otherwise tragic victims of my culinary skills -- and thankfully, I have heard of no stories of turkeys falling from the sky.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Pop culture

What I'm reading: America, the Book, Live Your Best Life

What I'm listening to: Something to Be, Confessions on the Dance Floor, Breakaway

What movies I'm watching:
Sideways, 21 Grams

What "must see" shows I'm watching
: "Desperate Housewives," "Grey's Anatomy", "Gilmore Girls," "Commander in Chief", "CSI", "Without a Trace"

Monday, November 21, 2005


I have no details on the aforementioned Turkey Drop, except for the radio station doing a live broadcast from the Honda dealership and apparently, this was the second time such an event had been carried out. From that little fact, I deduce no one was killed the first time, and since our local television news "OH MY GOD MOVIE THEATERS ARE DIRTY" stations didn't report on any deaths by falling turkeys, I'm forced to conclude that somehow they pulled this thing off. Still. Stupid.

In lieu of falling turkeys though, The Fainter and I went to the Renaissance Fest on Sunday, where turkey legs were consumed with great gusto by people who weren't us, and where somehow goth Vikings with an S&M bent frolicked with fairies pixies and where gypsies seemed to walk hand in hand with the Knights of the Round Table. AND OH THE CLEAVAGE WE SAW. We heard rumors about people who come dressed up as Storm Troopers or in Star Trek uniforms, but we didn't actually see one. I did, however, see a Roman centaurion. 'The Renaissance' is apparently a lot more loosely defined in time than I've ever given it credit for.

Anyway, a good time was had, the highlight being the "Joust to the Death". Really, there was jousting, all with horses, trumpets, swords, Henry VIII, favors, and a whole bunch of princesses named Bridget waving bras and panties around. I AM NOT MAKING ANY OF THIS UP. The Fainter felt she had reached a whole new level of ridiculousness. Me, I promptly launched into the story of how Henry VIII fell off his horse during a joust, Anne Boleyn got freaked, had a miscarriage, and that was effectively the end of their marriage. Obviously, one of us has less of a grip on reality than the other, but at least neither of us came dressed as a Storm Trooper.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Tis the season

I'm convinced there is something in the air in November and December that makes otherwise rational people go completely insane. Maybe it's the fact Christmas carols are now on 24/7 play on radio stations (and some even started back before Halloween!) or maybe it's the cold or maybe it's the eggnog or the rampant consumerism, but whatever it is, it isn't pretty. Yesterday, though, I heard something on the radio that absolutely took the cake. A car dealership here is sponsoring 20 free turkeys for Thanksgiving. And I thought, "Oh, what a nice idea. I'd really go for that if, y'know, I actually ate turkey." And there I was, basking in the warm of humankind's generosity, so much so that I almost missed the next part of the message:


I had, and still have, no words.

Thursday, November 17, 2005


It's cold here in Sweat Sock City and if there's something I just can't abide, it's COLD. In fact, I think I'm rather like an amphibian, needing my ambient temperature to be around 80 degrees. At the office, in the AC, my finger nails turn purple and my hands are blocks of ice. I don't like cold, Sam I am, and the fact that I'm actually from Vermont is no evidence to the contrary. In fact, I often argue, I was just as cold in Vermont as I am here, it's just that everyone else was cold with me. Here, the mercury drops down to freezing, the wind is blowing hard and cold, and everyone's excited, saying, "It's so nice out!" And I just want to grab them and say, "Have you BEEN outside?"

I'm just saying that two days ago it was 90 degrees and today when I woke up, it was 31 degrees. The weather is Red State's only competitive advantage and if I have to live in the land o' Bush, well, they can dang well turn up the thermostat.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


Because the last post was so obviously digging at the bottom of the bloggy barrel, I thought I'd give the Republicans in Congress a hand for eliminating the 'bridges to nowhere' out of the highway bill and instead, the money will be spent on other projects in the state of Alaska. Doesn't look like Rep. Ted Stevens who threatened to quit if the money was taken away from the bill is going to quit though. Dang, that could have been a fun one to watch.

I thought this editorial proposing a privacy amendment was excellent. Seriously. I'm a supporter of Roe, but even I'm not sure whether it's a Constitutional right (well, I think it's my Constitutional right to have a say in what I will or will not do with my body, but I don't think that's written into the Constitution). So why not, for once and for all, end all arguments over whether the average American bear has a Constitutional right to privacy by codifying it into the sacred text?

Bob Woodward has stepped into the Name Plame Blame Game. What I do find interesting is that Woodward says his source is not Scooter Libby, the guy recently indicted. Libby learned of Plame from Cheney, but would Cheney really be so stupid as to tell Woodward first? I don't like Cheney at all, but I also think he's smarter than that. This is a verrrrrrrrrry interesting development, to say the least.
Material Girl

Madonna has a new album out, "Confessions on the Dance Floor" and I heard the first single today, "Hanging Up" and liked it a lot. I've always been a big Madonna fan, especially much of the material from "True Blue" and "Ray of Light". I hear this album is Madonna back to form after the politicized "American Life" (which I know nothing about other than it was controversial for the anti-war stance she took). Anyway, I was definitely bopping in the car and for that reason alone, I think I'll pick it up; for my long drives, it'll be fun to have some upbeat music.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Discussion points

I missed Friday's news round-up because I was busy partying my weekend away, so much so that when Sunday night came around, I was a boneless sack in front of the television, watching that weekly crack fix: "Desperate Housewives" and "Grey's Anatomy". I did, however, fold laundry while watching television, so I feel slightly better about my whirl of gaiety this weekend. However, this weekend's events have sparked four questions:

* At one point did you officially add someone to your cell phonebook rather than just relying on the 'incoming calls'/'outgoing calls' list? Two months of phone calls, maybe? Or maybe six months?

* At one point, do you decide you're officially exclusively seeing someone? I mean, is there a number of dates? Number of hours? Months? Weeks? The count is getting up there -- on any measure, especially hours -- and I need to figure it out.

* And as an addendum to the previous question, if you're not exclusively seeing someone and the subject of exclusivity never comes up, do you tell them if you're going on a date with another person? Or just keep it to yourself? Past experience tells me the latter, but honesty and guilt make me want to admit the former.

* Also, how do you know when you've met 'The One'? Is there an overarching symphony playing in the background or more of a rational, "You're pretty cool, you're everything I'm looking for, you'll do." Obviously, I haven't got a romantic bone in my body, otherwise I'd be hearing violins and swooning over the roses, rather than thinking my way through a checklist.

This all fits into the "when do you tell someone about the blog?" post from a few days ago. I am ashamed to admit that while I may be in possession of mad HTML skillz, I flat-out told The Guy (tm) I used to do web design but no longer am in the business (which is kinda of true, as the site is here, and not being actively (re)designed, but that's more of a Clintonesque semantic twist, I think). And obviously, there are some posts which obviously I wouldn't want a (potential) significant other to read, ESPECIALLY in retrospect (which begs the question of why I post these things publicly anyway, but I'm a blogger, and thus must navel-gaze like nobody's business).

Your thoughts, dear readers, are much appreciated.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

The patter of little feet

The NY Times had an article last week about rowdy children in cafes. Today, at lunch, we had a similar experience when two children, between the ages of 5 and 7, were running around like no one's business, banging on the piano, climbing on the railings, and generally making a nuisance of themselves. I get that kids will be kids, but what drove me nuts were the parents sitting back, eating their lunch, and every now and then, making a half-hearted effort to rein their children in.

At one point, the kids were banging on the piano about a foot and a half behind me and when the parents -- who were looking right at me -- didn't do anything, I turned around and told them to stop. I don't like disciplining other people's kids (unless I'm the babysitter, which isn't something I've done in a long time), but this seemed to be extenuating circumstances. I got a dirty look from one of the people in the parents' party, but I didn't care. The kids could have hurt themselves on that railing or even on the piano (I pinched my thumb trying to close the cover), plus it was a buffet-style restaurant, so the kids running around made for an unintended obstacle course diners would have to navigate.

When I expressed my annoyance to my uncle, he said with a knowing smile, "We'll see what happens when you have kids." That's always the thing that sticks in the back of my mind -- I don't have kids, so maybe my impression of the "sit in your seat and eat otherwise we're leaving" attitude is way off base. I don't think I was wrong to be seriously annoyed though.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Link of the Day

On this past week's "The Apprentice", everyone was running around clueless about "Star Wars", and in the case of one group, not realizing Darth Vadar was a central, if not the main character. How can there be such a dearth of pop culture knowledge among otherwise supposedly intelligent people? Maybe they should have watched all six movies at the same time. If I were The Donald (tm), I'd fire the whole lot of them. Not know who Darth Vadar is, SHEESH!

Friday, November 11, 2005

The new crack

I've discovered Sudoku. I've only heard about it, never actually tried it myself, until I found this online version at the Washington Post. My brain is completely tied up in knots, but I guess that's what I get for starting at the hardest possible level. I may never ever leave the house again.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Oink oink

I love this editorial by Richard Cohen about Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) throwing a hissy fit on the floor of the Senate if his famous $230 million 'bridge to nowhere' is taken out of the highway bill and and the money is diverted instead to New Orleans, where God knows, they need the funds. You can read more on Stevens' remarks here.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Stupid headline of the Day*

This story takes the cake: "Proposition 2 a winner." Please. Since when is condoning discrimination by a 3 to 1 margin a winner? Stupid, stupid, stupid.

* Can this count as Thursday's HotD, Jessica? (g)

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


I'm pretty sure that when you get your hair professionally dyed, it should stay dyed and NOT bleed all over the place whenever you get a little drop of water on your hair, yes? To say that I'm unhappy about the nice purple stain on the back of my commemorative World Series t-shirt would be an understatement, not to mention the stain on the beach towel I used to dry my hair, and OH, the nice chemical odors that CONTINUES TO LINGER, even though I washed my hair TWICE and conditioned it. Not. Happy.
Miss Manners, maybe

Yvonne asked an etiquette question and it's a good one, and I think the answer would be highly personal depending on the blogger. See, it goes without saying we bloggers like attention, are shameless navel-gazers, and want to be read and adored and we want to be talked back to. At least that's the theory and every blogger is different.

The cool thing about blogging is that we can talk to the world at large without any real fear of consequences. I don't actually ever expect to run into someone who reads this blog regularly (unless you're my mother, in which case, HI!) and I would be honestly weirded out if someone found my blog and then met me and associated the two of us together since I try to keep at least some modicum of privacy. If this happened to me, I'd probably think the person was a stalker, especially if I had not told that person I had a blog (and generally, I don't tell people about the blog except some close RL friends).

So my advice is, if you think you've met a blogger in RL and even if in a non-stalkerish way and also in a way that is completely unrelated to the blog, I still wouldn't say anything at all unless the person ventures out information about the blog. In fact, until you get to know the person better, I'd say nothing and maybe down the line, if all is well and good, then you can admit the truth if you want to. (And of course, all of this is moot if the person posts their full name, picture, etc., on their blog and at that point, I think it's fair game to say you read their blog, because really, there's nothing stalkerish about that and the blogger is being quite obvious about wanting to be found out). But in general, I wouldn't say anything, because strangely, despite all the soap boxing, blogging is kind of a private thing.

Any other bloggers have thoughts?

Monday, November 07, 2005

Festival of Lights

Last week was Diwali. Here are a few pictures I took this weekend.

One of the hallmarks of the holiday are little oil lamps which are set throughout the house. Here's a close-up of one of the lamps.

I love looking at the little lamps burning all in a row.

A close-up of one of the lamps.

Not to mention eating lots of good food! The more colorful items on the plate are sweet and sticky and utterly indulgent. I, however, prefer the spicier items.

Every year, I draw little pictures on the tile with sand for Diwali. Here is just one tile I did. I did other tiles in yellow, blue, purple, or a mixture of all of those colors. It's pretty painstaking work, and I do have a small little brush and pan so I can scoop up any designs I mess up or any excess sand.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

'tis the season

Apparently, these days the Christmas season starts right after the last of the jack o' lanterns have been extinguished. The local easy listening radio has already started playing Christmas carols. A little too early for the drummer boy to come out and play, I think!

Friday, November 04, 2005

Friday round-up

November didn't start off so hot for President Bush, as it turns out more Americans than ever just don't approve of the job he's doing. This, by the way, isn't a "I told you so" moment as we still have three more years of Bush, and while I cannot be convinced that he isn't anything BUT incompetent, I'd like to think he isn't going to completely fiddle while Rome is burning -- unfortunately he hasn't given any evidence to the contrary. Without some significant quality action that a) shows he's actually in touch with people, that b) he cares about the integrity of his staff and c) that he's capable of solutions other than cutting taxes, and d) skips vacations for the next three years, it's quite possible we'll see that rating continue to slide south. The Times of London nicely recaps Bush's Very Bad Month here.

Meanwhile, Jimmy Carter isn't being shy about where he stands on the Bush Administration (how much you want to bet Jimmy Carter wasn't among the 130 at the dinner for Prince Charles and his wife?) and shock! The CIA has secret prisons around the world and gasp! the 't' word might actually be taking place. Dude. Maybe the ethics training Bush ordered will help. Still, Republicans are pretty pissed off at Democrats for this week's closed session meeting, that apparently was a year in planning.

Tom DeLay may have found a judge after a merry-go-round whirl of 'blink and you'll miss 'em' Democrat and Republican shuffle. Scooter Libby pleaded not guilty to perjury and obstruction of justice. As for that other little legal matter -- the appointment of a new justice to the Supreme Court -- Slate has rounded up a bunch of articles here and NY Times full coverage is over here.

Going back to Rome burning, the French are rioting and apparently have been for a couple of weeks. Not to be out-done, there are protests in Argentina as well. There was looting in New Orleans after Katrina, but gosh darn it, Michael Brown looked good; who knew the key to hard-working fashion are rolled up sleeves? Not so interested in fashion was Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall who faded in a navy blue ensemble next to Laura Bush' gown. Camilla is no Diana, nor would she want any comparisons, so my guess is the dud of a gown was a calculated one.

Maureen Dowd talks about feminism here -- and I'll be honest, I couldn't get through it -- but she has another thing or three to say to media guru Howard Kurtz over here.

Meanwhile, a Zogby Poll shows that Americans overwhelmingly want to elect Matt Santos to the White House. You'll have to check out the West Wing live debate on Sunday to see if Santos (played by Jimmy Smits) can outsmart the whip-smart Alan Alda. Still, viewers seem to prefer Geena Davis' version of the West Wing.

All in all, not quite as exciting a week as last. Will Karl Rove resign? Will Bill Frist calm down? Will the $800 gazillion bridge to nowhere in Alaska remain in the highway bill? Will Kevin Federline's rap rise up the charts? Stay tuned.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Accomplished day

I got my hair trimmed and colored today, so for the first time in a very long time, it's all black, and my kind of grown out layers are nicely back in line. Having a coupon for the free color was the best part. Still not sure how I feel about the cut. The stylist assured me long was better for my hair being thick and curly, but I've always had this impression that when you get your hair done, it has to be DRAMATIC so people notice, y'know, nothing short of hacking off 10 inches or something like that (which, btw, I HAVE done). And I do find it harder to deal with when it's short -- more opportunities for Insta!Puff and unruliness. At any rate, I'm liking the fact my hair is actually all one color now.

On a less frivolous note, I sent in my absentee ballot today. There were a ton of constitutional amendments I'd never heard of, but at least I got to vote against Proposition 2. It won't make any difference, but I felt very strongly that I had to register my opposition to formalized discrimination.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Those crazy, crazy kids

People who aren't me are trying to write a 50,000-word novel during the month of November. For those of you playing the home game, that 1,667 words a night (or day). After three years of this mad fest -- twice I actually completed the dang thing -- I'm sitting this round out. I'm putting this in writing and in public just so I don't change my mind because I know someone (initials j.p., natch) will remind me the month is still young...

Strangely, I think of this blog as being private. Never mind that it's online for God knows who to read, and here I think it's private. So even though I don't know most of you who read this blog (introduce yourselves!), it doesn't bother me at all -- mostly because I have control over what content actually appears here. But I always feel some trepidation over letting Real Life people know about this blog. It's not like there's anything terribly controversial here (other than being a liberal in a Red State but pretty much everyone who knows me know that about me) and no deep secrets or revelations or even feelings here. But still, I don't know. I just never know when it's the right time to tell a Real Life person about this blog, if indeed I should ever tell the person.

Monday, October 31, 2005

All hallow's eve

You know you have a good friend when you hang up on her four times (five, actually, but she'll insist she hung up first that last time) in two hours and she still (mostly) takes your phone calls. Florida Girl and I have been friends for 10 years now and we've had some very strange conversations over the years, but tonight's took our intellectual discourse to a whole new level. Since this is a family blog, I can't tell you about the underwear conversation, but I can relate this snippet:

Me: So I was babysitting, and when I went to the bathroom, the dog didn't even notice me. I just walked right by it, me, a stranger, and the dog didn't even lift its head as I walked by.

FG: What kind of dog was it?

Me: I don't know, it was a DOG.

At some point, I think I even described it as a 'yellow' dog, but FG said as a descriptive, I was falling pretty short of the mark. There was also a bit about trick o' treaters at FG's place and how a neighbor came up to her door:

FG: She says she lives across the street from me. I've never even seen her before. That's what happens when you have bad eyesight.

Me: You don't meet your neighbors when you have bad eyesight?

FG: No, they're blurry. Blurry people with dark hair. Who knows who lives across the street when you have bad eyesight?

FG is possibly the only person in the world with whom I can have such ridiculous conversations. One of these days, when this blog is no longer so Disneyfied, I'll think about telling you about FG's theory about the world economy and underwear. Fascinating stuff, but maybe you just had to be there.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Dear Seema

It's always easier to give advice than to take and follow advice. Lately, I've been dispensing advice with all the heart of an ice-cube and just as chillingly rational too. For all I know, I could be spewing words and directing people the wrong way. Or I could be right, and be responsible for putting people onto the right path. Advice giving requires acknowledging the other person might have issues you don't know about, might have reasons for not acting on your advice (ie 'been there, done that'), or simply may not be able to act for reasons you don't know about.

It's easy to say what someone should do or not do when you're on the outside looking in. But when you're the takee, it's a lot harder because sometimes advice means change, and no matter how resiliant and adaptive you can be, change is never easy -- especially when it means acknowledging your own behaviors and character might be self-sabotaging. The other thing is, making these changes takes a long time. It's not something a person just wakes up one day and says, "I will now be like THIS" -- it's a series of small steps, and each one is just as difficult as the preceeding one. Acknowleding that, I think, is a major step in the right direction.

And since I'm doling out the tough love as of late, anyone want some? (g)

Saturday, October 29, 2005

November blog sweeps

I suddenly have so many ideas of things I want to blog about; lately the pickings have been slim because I have a rule about not blogging about personal personal stuff, work, or about family or friends*. I also don't want to talk about politics that often because I'm aware not everyone who reads this blog is a raging liberal like yours truly, and besides, I'm kind of lazy in having to keep up with all the Stuff (tm) that's going on**. The same thing goes for a subject-matter blog, where trying to keep up with all the news on one subject would drive me crazy. Plus, there's that rule of blogging I violate on a daily basis: I average one post a day, if that. Convention dictates that bloggers need to blog about 12 to 15 times a day, but that's impossible with the day job; I'm pretty sure my employer would not be happy if I started blogging on the job.

That being said, I'm following the cue from the television networks and trying to come up with a November-sweeps schedule, in an attempt to boost this blog's ratings***. Here are some of the Very Important(tm) topics I'm contemplating:

  • Why 'Top Sekrit' or 'Lost' diaries make for Very Bad Historical Fiction
  • Why I hate call-waiting and think it's the worst invention EVER
  • And while we're on communication devices, what's up with the lack of cell phone ettiquette?
  • Is Starbucks price-gouging their coffee?
  • And while we're on food, does anyone else think Subway sandwiches, while low on the caloric intake are kind of soggy and blah?
  • I only have two feet, which means I can only wear one pair of shoes at a time. So why do I have nine pairs of shoes sitting in my foyer, including two pairs of sneakers? BTW, this doesn't include any shoes that may or may not be lurking in my hall closet or in other locations across the state.
  • And speaking of shoes, why is that I walk into my huge walk-in closet every morning and think I have nothing to wear? I may also have other closets in other locations across the state.

These topics, and MORE, coming in November!

* The RL family and friends who do make an appearance in this blog have been warned ahead of time and on occasions, their appearance has even been discussed before the actual blogging occurs.
** I am contemplating a Friday round-up of the week's news, just so I can be lazy one day of the week and snark
*** I'm joking. Really.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Hear all about it

What a news day. Seriously, if I were still a reporter, I'd so want to be in DC just going after the news coming out of the Capitol (though a Washington Post reporter recently said after covering a president having an affair with a thong-wearing intern, everything else was rather anticlimatic). But still, wow, what a day.

First Scooter Libby, whom no one has ever heard of before, has been indicted in Plamegate, but Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald isn't saying if anyone else might soon join Libby. In other words, Bush's brain can't relax. Meanwhile, Valerie Plame is out of a job.

Second, bye bye Harriet. There are any number of reasons why she withdrew from consideration, and at least the White House is white-washing Miers' lack of qualifications, choosing instead to follow the exit strategy proposed last week by Charles Krauthammer. I do feel sorry for Harriet. She was thrown into the fray, so obviously in over her head, and the President did her loyalty and friendship no favors by keeping her as long as he did. Now it's a question of who's going to sit in for the murder boards next. In the meantime, may I suggest Patrick Fitzgerald?

The President's Very Bad Week (tm) continued, when the grim milestone of 2,000 dead Americans in Iraq was reached. If you're curious, here is the Iraq body count.

Jeb Bush, who unlike his brother, is a pro at the hurricane thing, had his hands full this week with Wilma. Meanwhile, Newsweek took forecasters to task for their hurricane coverage. All this, while sad sap Nicholas Cage takes to the airwaves in The Weatherman; just how many movies a year does that guy make, huh?

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Hail to the chief!

Some of you already know "Commander-in-Chief" is my new favorite show, mostly because it's pure fantasy and I'm also a feminist at heart who can't believe Pakistan has had a female leader before us. Anyway, The Nation has a commentary on the show over here that sums up my feelings entirely:

... President Allen is sending in the Navy to rescue a Nigerian woman scheduled to be stoned for sex out of wedlock, sending in the Air Force to restore democracy to an unnamed Latin American country by threatening to destroy its coca crop, and using her summit meeting with the arrogant and sexist Russian president to win freedom for imprisoned dissident journalists. Can a woman be tough enough to lead the free world? Take that, misogynists and drug lords and enemies of free speech! In future episodes Mac will capture Osama bin Laden, rewrite the Iraqi Constitution and raise SAT scores by 75 points--all while dealing with a sullen teenage daughter who wishes Pat Buchanan had her mother's job.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

High exposure

Eigar isn't Everest, but still Richard Bangs' expedition looks interesting, because unlike Everest -- which I have never come close to seeing -- I have been to the Matterhorn and Jungfrau and so Eigar doesn't seem to be as distant a dream as Everest.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


I thought I'd mention the Washington Post has politics chats at 11 am ET M-F, which are very illuminating and interesting. If you can't make the actual chat -- which can be slow -- do what I do: read the transcripts. I also like the advice chats -- relationships, career, financial, auto -- and of course, it's nice to see the reporters on feature stories being made available. Lately, because of this feature, I find myself spending more time at the Post than the NYT -- especially since the Post seems to really be capitalizing on the web and offering *more* for free than the NYT, which now charges to read columnists. Not sure Maureen Dowd is worth $50/year. Maybe Friedman, but not sure about Dowd.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Proposition 2

Very Red State is having its referendum on banning gay marriage in two weeks. I'm not sure I'll be able to vote against it, having been completely out of it, thus forgetting to apply for my absentee ballot. I know the proposition will pass and I'll be like one of 10 people in the entire state who thinks banning gay marriage is a Very Bad Thing (tm). It's not so much that I'm for gay marriage, but rather I'm strongly against the constitutional amendment.

I find it disheartening that people think it's okay to disenfranchise an entire section of our population. I find it sad that people think it's okay to deny productive, good people equal rights. I also don't buy the whole 'sanctity of marriage' argument because for one, you can't blame people who can't get married for the fact that 50 percent of marriages end in divorce. Unless heterosexual marriages start falling apart the very minute two men or two women are allowed to legalize their commitment to each other, I'm going to remain skeptical of this particular argument -- especially as J. Lo and Britney Spears seem free to marry and divorce as often as the seasons change and Dr. James Dobson doesn't seem to care.

And let's be frank. Unless you're gay, this issue has very little bearing on your personal life. If someone can give me one good and profound reason why two men getting married will RUIN their lives forever and ever, well, I'm listening. Heck, I can't even think of a good or bad reason -- unless you're related to me or a friend -- how a heterosexual marriage affects my life. Even if one has strong religious convictions on certain issues, that does not make it RIGHT to codify discrimination into a document that spells out inalienable rights. I find it appalling and I wish more people would as well.

Friday, October 21, 2005


I haven't had much to say about the shennagins besetting the Republican Party lately because a) I've been busy and b) GO HOME TEAM! But now that I have a few minutes, oh my God, WHERE TO START? So, by category:

Things that make you go HEM...

Did you know Harriet Miers has a blog? Me either. Poor Harriet -- she got completely eviscretated by Slate today, including a psycho-analysis on her finances and another questionnaire she ought to fill out, given the mess she made of the first (and doesn't Leahy and Spector's letter sound just a bit like a teacher asking a student to re-do their homework? I thought so). And what does it say about Miers when even reliable Bush-cheerleader, the Wall Street Journal, calls the nomination "a blunder of the first order"?

Mugging for the cameras...

Tom DeLay was arrested in court today and you'd think it'd be a Very Awful Day for Mr. DeLay, but his Harris County mug shot says he's having a good old time. I don't get what he's in trouble for (last I heard, being a bully isn't against the law), but if he does end up in jail, I bet that smile runs away from his face real quick.

Playing the Plame game

Looks like Rove and Libby are in a heap of trouble, maybe Cheney too (but I suspect that's wishful thinking on the part of many, many people). I get allegedly leaking classified information is what they're all under scrutiny for, but I'm still confused about what Judith Miller's role (non-role?) is in all of this. The NY Times talks about it here, and Judith Miller continues to be obscure over here; I bet Clinton's wishing he had a Judy Miller on his side during Monica-gate. Meanwhile, special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has set up his own website here, but what it all means, I couldn't tell you.

I hear rumbling that Frist is in trouble too for some Martha Stewartesque deal, and here's Senator Judd (R-NH) getting richer. Have I missed anything?

For once, the Democrats are doing the right thing and keeping their mouth shut. To quote Napoloen, "Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake."

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

This is how a heart breaks

I was going through my old writing notebook from a few years ago and I found the following sentence written in the margins: "The hardest part about breaking up is getting your stuff back." I think someone in my writing group actually said it and I merely recorded it prosperity. I've always been meaning to write a story with that as the opening line, though, but I've never quite gotten around to it.

What I'm learning is that really, the hardest part is moving on and letting go and not necessarily in that order either, nor do I believe it's the same thing. You can move on, but still be emotionally attached to the idea of a person, or you can let go of a person, but still be emotionally attached to the relationship you shared, which makes it difficult to form new ones. Plus, it's all easier said than done. I admire people who can just put themselves out there within days and think twice. I unfortunately have a nasty habit of thinking twice, and then thinking that over twice, and before you know it, I've gone nuts and in turn, have driven most of my RL friends nuts in the process.

But I think there comes a time, a moment, a person, and you realize that yes, it's okay to let go/move on and that it's time to stop second guessing what's happening to you, around you. So it took me a year to get my metaphorical 'stuff' back, and oh boy, did it suck along the way -- so much so that one of these days I'm going to write a book: "How Seema Got Her Stuff Back." In the meantime, the whole unconditional, unemotional move-on/let go feels awfully good. Thanks all for being

p.s. Go Home Team!

Monday, October 17, 2005

Defeat, from the jaws of victory

Nothing like 2 outs, 2 strikes, top of the 9th and then comes Pujols, with a home run to take away the two-run advantage of the Home Team. So disappointing. Seriously. I honestly thought we had it, but alas. I have spent SO much time at the ball park this week that I'm at this point 110% emotionally invested in the outcome and anything other than victory is unthinkable. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!
Play ball!

I was so wound up from yesterday's ball game that I neglected to come on and blog last night. Admit it, you all missed me TERRIBLY. Anyway, the game was going along just fine until the ninth inning, when suddenly everything seemed to go to POT and there were runners on base, including one at third and I had nightmares of a tied-up score. I think my exact thoughts were, "OH MY GOD, WE ARE GOING TO BE HERE ALL NIGHT." But Home Team didn't let me down, and they tagged the guy at third out at home plate, and despite some controversy, managed to keep their cool. And then came the MOST SPECATULAR DOUBLE PLAY EVER and the game was over and we were up by 3. I nearly fell out of my chair, and then, I was on my feet with the rest of the crowd, cheering and clapping.

Will tonight be the clincher? I'm almost too stressed to watch.

Oh, I should mention: there's nothing cuter than the Kiss Cam zeroing in on Former President Bush and Barbara Bush. TWICE they've been zinged by the Kiss Cam. Such good sports.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Yo, Jerie!


I'm just sayin' ;-)
Game day

I had a "Sports Night" marathon last night and rewatched my favorite episodes -- mainly the last five of the first season. When I watch those eps, especially "What Kind of Day Has It Been", I realize just how underutilized the wonderful Felicity Huffman is on "Desperate Housewives." The break-up with Gordon ranks right up there with Sally Field losing it all in "Steel Magnolias" as one of the few scenes that gets me right there every single time I watch that ep.

I may have posted this snippet of dialogue before, but I love it THAT MUCH, because it's one of the most brilliant moments of the show, and possibly Felicity Huffman's finest moment on that show:

DANA: I think I'm funnier than you've given me credit for being in the past.

GORDON: Here's what I've been thinking the past few days--

I'm just saying that if you're calling off the engagement because you don't think I'm funny enough--

GORDON: Would you stop.

DANA: Are you angry right now?


DANA: Are you mad at me?

GORDON: I'm not--

DANA: First you spend six months making me feel guilty for liking my job, then propose to me, two days later you tell me that you've slept with the woman who wants my job, I say fine. I say "fine". Six days after that you tell me you want to break off the engagement? Here's the thing: I think only one of us should be angry at a time, and I have a hunch it's gonna be me.

I think you're hung up on Casey.

DANA: That's what this is about?

GORDON: That's what this is about.

DANA: I'm not.

GORDON: You are, and you don't cover it well.

DANA: This is a cheap excuse to get out of marrying me which you never wanted to do in the third place, and the only reason you proposed in the second place was out of guilt for having slept with Sally in the first place.

You say fine? I sleep with Sally and you say "fine"? Casey sleeps with Sally and that's a different story.

You're calling off the engagement cause I wasn't mad enough when I found out you were sleeping around? How 'bout if we do the whole thing again and I just beat the living crap outa you?

::sigh:: I miss Sorkin.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Friday round-up

I usually watch the "Today" show every morning as I'm getting ready for work, but I'm rather bummed I missed this segment. However, I did catch the Duggar family talking to Katie and Matt about their sixteenth child.

Check out modest swimwear out there. One question: if you wear something like this, why on earth would you need a slimming version?

In other news, I have tickets to both of this weekend's home games. GO HOME TEAM!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Big Yellow Taxi

I went on my first taxi ride in just about forever yesterday, and I should apologize since my headline is misleading: the taxi was actually green. I was supposed to take a cab from the airport over to my final destination, ie the office. I should have figured out something was up when I told the cabby the address. He kind of gave me a blank look and repeated the street name over and over again.

Luckily, I had written down directions from the airport to the office before leaving in the morning so I directed the cabby down the street and asked him to get on the highway heading west. For reasons still unknown to be, he decided to get on going EAST. And when I pointed this out to him, he agreed to turn around, but seemingly was oblivious to the CONSTRUCTION in the city (Big City to the North can certainly give Sweat Sock City a run for the money when it comes to moving major arteries around!). Anyway, cabby gets off the highway as I ask him to, but discovers he cannot go west. Excellent. So we end up going further East ("Look, kids, SKYLINE!") and finally, get off and manage to get on a west-bound ramp. OH THE DRAMA.

Then I tell the cabby expressly, "I want to get off at exit 39 and oh, by the way, that over there is the building I want to go to." There was plenty of pointing to go along with the verbal -- which is an improvement over many situations, as my brother says to me quite often, "Use your WORDS." Anyway, cabby somehow misses exit 39 and we end up on another highway. I say, "TURN AROUND. WE ARE GOING THE WRONG WAY." Does he turn around? NO. Meanwhile, I'm starting to panic. I'm due for a meeting at noon (lunch beforehand), and I had planned my trip with an ample cushion for exactly this kind of situation. But, pray tell me, how does a normal 15-minute car trip suddenly turn into an HOUR?

So while I was watching my cushion of time evaporate, the cabby finally realized we had to turn around. I happened to look at the meter by then, which was dismally climbing up with every wrong turn. And what do you know, once we're back on the right highway, he gets off at the WRONG EXIT. We then proceed to drive around in a shopping center for 10 minutes, all the while my office building is in plain sight, and YET THE CABBY CANNOT TAKE ME THERE. Did I mention it was a $2 charge just to sit in the taxi? That every quarter mile is 40 cents? OH THE BILL.

Finally, he flagged down a fireman who directed us to another road that would take me to my office. The cabby finally deposited me in front of the building, and I honestly felt like stiffing him his tip because all of his errors ended up costing me $10 to $20 in additional cab fare. However, I was just eager to get out of the car and up into the meeting, so I did the nice thing and gave him a nominal tip. I made it into the lunch with about 15 minutes to spare. Oh! I forgot to mention the cabby gave me his card so I could call him when I needed a ride back. Thanks, but no thanks. The rest of my business trip, thankfully, was cab-free.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

You gotta believe

I was lucky enough to score a pair of tickets to the division championships on Sunday, and after eighteen innings over SIX HOURS, the home team ran away with the win and is now headed to the play-offs (and hopefully, I will get lucky with tickets there too). I made two predictions during the course of the game: one, when the team was losing 6-1, I said there would be a 9th inning rally (I was early by one inning, but the score did tie up in the 9th), and that it would be all over by 6 pm. Regardless, Best. Ball. Game. Ever. People, this could be LOVE.

But I admit, during the first eight extremely dismal innings and as the pitchers kept getting rotated out, the following bit of dialogue from the "Sports Night" pilot popped into my head.

<Dan: Lambeau, 3-com and Foxboro. Casey's got Tampa Bay and the mighty Bengals of Cincinnati.

Dana: What's in Cincinnati?

Dan: Well, the mighty Bengals, for one thing.

Dana: Ah.

Casey: They're going to cut Santori.

Natalie: The place-kicker?

Casey: He's made eight field goal attempts in three games and has connected on a grand total of none of them.

Elliot: Oh, I've met him, he's a good guy.

Casey: He can't kick.

Natalie: He is a good guy.

Casey: He can't kick.

Natalie: He'll get picked up by another team.

Casey: No, he won't. You know why?


Casey: 'Cause he can't kick.

Dana: All right, commercial one, then on to the dugout report.

Elliot: I saw him kick in practice.

Casey: At this level, they pretty much want you to be able to kick in a game.

Home Team, I totally apologize for doubting you. You can hit and you can pitch.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

On the town

Last night, we hit the town for dinner and drinks, and for most of us, it was the first time in a very, very long time we were going to take in the bar scene. The night started off classy enough, with tapas and sangria. And then there was the unfortunate incident when I bit down on a RAZOR BLADE -- nestled nicely in some vegetable pilaf. We managed to get the pilaf knocked off our bill and an extra pitcher of sangria for the table, but still. Dinner was pretty much over at that point (though they were all amazed that I kept munching away on the marinated mushrooms after the razor blade came to light).

We then decided to be bold and head downtown. The kindest thing one can say about Sweat Sock City downtown at night is that it's not very... alive. Sweat Sock City downtown's waking moments are literally between 5 am on Monday morning to 6 pm Friday evening, and even by 3 pm, most places have shut down for the day. It's hard to find somewhere to eat dinner there, I mean, hard for a major metropolitan area. Anyway, so off we went, enduring all sorts of parking hijinks, and we ended up in a bar.

Where the waiter actually laughed at me when I asked him what was non-alcoholic on the menu. In the end, I got water.

We then decided to head up one block to Main Street to check out the sights, and OH THOSE SIGHTS, sights we never expected and hope never to sight again. Honestly, not to put too fine a point on it, it was like we had suddenly entered a meat market of the type we had never seen before. Despite the fact it was freezing out, there were women barely clothed. What was the most astonishing fact were the skirts -- we're talking two inches of material at best; the best analogy I can think of are those skirted swimsuits you see at the beach -- but of the shorter variety. While we were gawking, one woman's 'skirt' flew up and revealed her matching thong underwear; we suddenly knew way more about this random woman's physique than we -- or even she -- had ever wanted to know. In addition to the preponderance of teeny tiny should not be legal skirts, there were a lot of strapless and plunging tops that seemed to defy gravity.

The whole time, I was hunched over, arms crossed against my chest, thinking, "OH MY GOD, AREN'T YOU PEOPLE FREEZING?" I grew up in New England, so warmth ALWAYS trumps high fashion. Plus, in cropped pants and a nice blouse, I was way overdressed for this scene, as were the rest of my friends. We ended up checking out one bar that didn't have a cover, spent about three minutes in it, and left. The music was pulsating, kind of like a audio strobe light, the air was thick and smoky, and just so many people everywhere. We escaped to the coffee shop next door, and the air felt so clean, and it was just so nice to be away from that music.

We ended up leaving shortly after. I don't think we spent more than two hours and we all left feeling incredibly... icky. I'm not sure what people see in the bar scene because the type of language, the attire, the attitudes and behaviors were so incredibly off-putting to me. I mentioned to my cousin that maybe I'm getting too old for this kind of thing, and she corrected me gently. "We're too classy, you mean," she said.

All in all though, we had a good time, and there was plenty to laugh at -- it took us a long, long time to get over the barely butt-covering skirts -- as the people watching opportunities were excellent. But really, as we were walking back to the car, and the wind was picking up, all I wanted to do was the hand all the women a nice big overcoat.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Cupcake time!

Bloggity might even be more sparse than usual this weekend due to the arrival of a college friend this afternoon. I can assure you, that though we have a jam-packed weekend of Stuff (tm) to do, there will be time for cupcakes. And for my Sweat Sock City friends, you will finally have proof that, yes, I have always been this neurotic.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

TV Watch

The new season has started, and while I'm still hanging on to some favorites from last year like "Desperate Housewives", "Without a Trace" and "CSI", I've also added two new shows: "Commander in Chief" and "How I Met Your Mother."

The latter is such a cute little comedy. It's funny, the acting is very good, and I actually laugh at some of the gags. And I have a very low threshold when it comes to obscene humor, so I'd daresay this comedy might actually even be family-safe, since nothing that's happened in the two episodes I've seen has made me want to run and dunk my head into a vat of bleach.

I like "Commander in Chief" for acting and yes, the set-up is schmaltzy, and there's a generous dose of suspension of disbelief required for key story points, but the presence of Geena Davis just transcends it all and I'm not even a Davis fan. I also think Kyle Secor, as the First Gentleman, is absolutely adorable. Plus, it's more of a political intrigue, rather than issues-based -- which got old real quick with "The West Wing" -- and that appeals to me.

Shows I've dumped this year: "NCIS", "ER", "The West Wing", "The Apprentice", and "The Amazing Race" (family edition and racing across the US not doing it for me; I liked this show because, y'know, it featured people bungee jumping off cliffs in New Zealand or going on a safari in Kenya).

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

What is the world coming to?

So, just days after the birth of little Superman Cage, along comes the news Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are expecting. You know, this creeps me out in so many ways, and the scary thing is -- and I'll admit to you, dear readers, because you are kind and understanding people -- at one time, I had the MOST ENORMOUS CRUSH ON TOM CRUISE.

Listen, you would have crushed too, if you were 10 years old, and you went to the movies, and there was "Top Gun", with planes buzzing up against a cloudless blue sky, and in the middle of all that flying was Tom Cruise, who apparently taught George W. Bush how to swagger, and who also, singlehandedly resurrected the Righteous Brothers into the best pick up line ever. Those dimples! That buzz cut! That volley ball scene! That SHIRTLESS, SWEAT-GLISTENING, VOLLEYBALL SCENE! Boys of summer, indeed.

My crush on Tom Cruise lasted throughout college, even though some people pointed out very helpful that despite those dimples, twinkling eyes, and blindingly white smile, he was short. Which I always thought was incredibly insane thing to say. First, Tom Cruise, while short, will always be taller than yours truly. And second, what difference does it make if he's short? It's not like I was ever going to meet him and run off with him. Because a) he had a wife at the time, and b) I was too young for him.

Eh, scratch that last one.

I'm just saying, that before the whole couch-jumping, chest-thumping, crazy-in-love Tom emerged, I kind of crushed on the guy and while it's been many years since I've felt quite the same about the man, I do feel nostalgic for the non-crazy, nice guy action hero I'd gotten used to. Tom Cruise, still short, but now weird as heck too. Ah for those days of yore, when celluloid fantasy still trumped the flesh and blood.

Monday, October 03, 2005

It just goes to show

While I'm so underwhelmed by the SCOTUS nominee, I have been trolling right-wing blogs to get an idea of what the feeling is out there. And this thread at Red State totally amused me as it goes to prove that no matter how dignified the debate is or how serious the subject, all discussions eventually lead to one person calling another a Nazi. My one word on this: really, would Bush pick someone who wasn't a conservative? Would he really give the left a gift in Harriet Mier? I don't think so. Still, the right's apoplexy is rather fun to read.
Things that make you go huh

So the president just went and nominated a random somebody for the Supreme Court and I'm surprised at just how little I care. I've made my peace with the whole "let's overturn Roe" movement, and even though I totally don't agree, I understand that there are people out there who think abortion is an issue of greater consequence to the American public than the rebuilding of the Gulf Coast, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, health care benefits, poverty, and alternative minimum tax -- just to name a few.

Also, just when I thought celebrity baby names couldn't get weirder than Apple, along comes Nicholas Cage to prove me completely wrong. Meet Kal-El. Now there's a kid who is most certainly going to get beat up in middle school. Let's hope he inherited the superhuman genetic make-up of his Krypton ancestors.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Two random things

I'm a firm believer that when you can't take something anymore, suddenly the solution magically arrives and voila, problem fixed. Of course, that doesn't mean things don't suck in the meantime. But I think getting through the suckiness makes one appreciate the unsucky times that much more.

Second, Mozilla keeled over and died this morning, which means I'm using the Spawn of Microsoft, IE. I MISS MY TABS! How do you IE users browse without TABS? It's so uncivilized. I'm curious as to whether the new version of IE will incorporate tabs. It took some getting used to, but multiple windows are hard -- and annoying -- to deal with.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Coffee break

I tried to blog several times over the last couple of days, including the latest misadventures in the kitchen (think: explosion) and blogger kept eating my posts. Bad Blogger, no biscuit! Anyway, I'm still picking bits of things out of the carpet and I have cabinets to wipe down, and the blouse that unfortunately got assaulted during the explosion -- happened to be drying on the back of a dining room chair, and then kerplooey happened and a blouse that was clean a few seconds before, well, not so much now. I'm thinking those cooking lessons I was considering a few months ago would be a very good idea.

Lesson 101: Cooking soup without it exploding EVERYWHERE*

*I'm just going to leave that to your imagination, as I've written the post up several times, and blogger just seems to keel over and die every time I try to publish it. I think the description is pretty self-explanatory.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Random fact

Today, I spent many, many hours pouring over a map of Louisiana. When I came to Terrebonne parish, I discovered a town called Waterproof. Seriously, one of the more ironic names around. I'm also fond of Cut And Shoot, Texas, and there's also Truth or Consequences in New Mexico. No other particularly weirdly named places come to mind at this time.