Saturday, April 29, 2006

Pain at the pump

Gasoline prices are upward and onward, which means everyone in D.C. -- including the President, who really should know better as he's an oilman -- is running for cover, calling for investigations and rattling sabres. The truth is, there's nothing anyone can really do to bring down prices in the near future. That's the beauty of capitalism and the open market; trader A has a barrel he's offering for $70, and trader B is willing to pay $70. Voila, it's done.

Of course that's a simplistic explanation. There's a lot that goes into the price of crude, including the 'fear factor' or 'risk premium', the fact that we just use, use, use, and that oil is a lot harder to get out of the ground today than it was yesterday. This is also the summer driving season, when everyone jumps into their SUV and drives across the country. Demand goes up, supply goes down, and prices go up. It's the way of capitalism and as long as there are buyers, the marketplace will act accordingly.

Related linkage:

I smell gas: why high prices make politicians stupid

Going a short way to make a point.

Friday, April 28, 2006

The more you know

When putting a fraud alert on your credit report, you only have to call one of the three major credit reporting bureaus. If your alert is successful at the first one, they will notify the other two. And then send you complimentary copies of your credit report from all three agencies.

This is what I learned this week.

And amazingly, for me, the panic level is extremely low. Like maybe a green on the Homeland Security scale?

Monday, April 24, 2006


One of these days, when life isn't so crazy and doesn't involve so much in the way of planes, I'll update with real content, I swear, I promise, I will. But in the meantime, other places to go, to read, to enjoy.

Why I Shut Down My Blog -- the flip-side of blogging, but not what you might think.

The Wait for Baby Brangelina (note from me: $5 million? $5 MILLION?).

Saturday, April 22, 2006


Wow, it's been a long time since I updated. I'm breaking the Blogger's Cardinal Rule: Thou Must Bloggeth Every Day. Actually, that might be the second cardinal rule; the first one would involve blogging multiple times a day -- something I haven't also done in a really long time.

I've been offline because of travel for the last few days, but as far as I know, there are no more trips in my near future. Which is a good thing, because my backpack, laptop bag, and suitcase have taken up semi-permanent residence on my living room floor. It's like take one set of clothes out, replace another, refresh toilet bag, and whoosh, off I go again.


I've updated the links bar on my blog; my RL friend, Sarah, has joined the blogging ranks over here. I've taken off a few dead links and blogs I don't read anymore.

Sunday, April 16, 2006


Today, when coming back from my uncle's place, I stopped at the gas station. In front of me was a mini van, steel blue, and with Mexican license plates. But what really caught my attention was the large green bumper stickers on the rear-end and passenger side doors of the car. The lettering, in silver, read "Herbalife." It amused me, and I wondered if this guy and his family (wife, two kids) were one of the Herbalife success stories or had they just gotten involved in the "work from home" business recently and in a fit of enthusiasm, papered their Windstar with bumper stickers proclaiming their dubious product to the rest of the world?

Seeing this van also reminded me of this investigative report on work from home scams.

Whatever the case is, hope it's working out for this particular family, because they did look sweet.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Uncle Sam taketh

I'm e-filing this year, as I did last year, but I'm not in the majority of Americans who are getting a huge tax refund. I ::gulp:: owe money. The crazy thing is, I'm so used to getting refunds, that when I did my taxes on Sunday, I assumed I was getting money back. Somehow that "You owe" turned into "You're getting". Easy come, easy go, right? I'm just glad that I'm anal-retentive enough to wait a few days to double-check my return, otherwise I'd probably be blogging at you from prison.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Give and take

I'm feeling very procrastinatory lately, and not much is getting done. No, let me correct that. A *lot* is getting done, but there are also a lot of things I'm letting slide. The laundry room, for instance, filled with laundry. I look at it every single day and think, "I should do something about that," and yet I don't. Somehow, clean clothes keep appearing, miraculously, and I put off the laundry for yet another day.

The dishes are the same way. They multiply like no one's business, both dirty and clean. I feel like every time I empty the sink, voila, there are more dishes. WHERE DID THEY COME FROM? My shoes are breeding too. I'm the rare woman who doesn't collect shoes, and yet, I have shoes everywhere. My closet also keeps giving -- I keep discovering clothes I didn't know I had, didn't know still fit, didn't know looked cute on me. It's amazing. I have the magical closet.

Life has been really busy lately. I haven't meant to neglect this blog, but that's way it goes sometimes. I've been working later hours than usual, have been traveling A LOT for both personal and work, and somehow, there just doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day to get everything done. I did try going to bed an hour later yesterday -- around 11:15 -- but the morning hurt. Eight hours minimum of sleep is important -- I need close to 9 to feel human -- and so the dishes keep piling up, the laundry baskets are overflowing, but I am well-rested.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Sooo out of it

So I was scanning the headlines on Yahoo! new today, and I saw this one: Bow Wow and Ciara split, and I kept thinking, "Who are these people? Why do I care?" And because I so didn't care, I clicked on the link and discovered the Ciara is "the First Lady of Crunk & B". CRUNK AND B? What is that?

Sooo out of it.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Gator tales

So I survived my kayaking through the bayous of Sweat Sock City yesterday, and there were gators, alligator gar fish, egrets, blue herons and even a bald eagle. We paddled for about 4-5 hours, covering about 5 miles on the bayou. It was very serene, very calm, and the day was perfect -- no clouds, deep blue sky, temperatures in the 60s -- with the exception of the really strong winds. I was rather pathetic for my first hour, battling against both the wind, and the fact we were headed upstream. While I did eventually figure out how to control my kayak, I did plow into other kayaks regularly, and on more than a few occasions, bumped into the bank, and once, had to duck because I couldn't avoid a low-hanging tree branch quick enough.

I apologize for not having any pictures to share with you; I think the batteries in my digital camera are dead (I hope that is in fact the problem).

I have a couple of funny stories though. The first time I saw an alligator gar fish, I literally thought it was the Loch Ness monster. Yes, yes, I know, that's Scotland, and this is not, but the thing was maybe 6 or 7 feet long, and did a little dolphin-like surface bob, and so I just saw the hunched length of its scaly back. At first I thought it was an alligator, but the guide said no, that an alligator wouldn't have moved that nimbly and would have stayed on the surface longer. We saw the alligator gars on and off throughout the day, always with the splash of white water. One time, the thing actually surfaced beneath my kayak (after banging into another kayak) and I yelped. Luckily, our kayaks were very stable and the surfacing only caused the boat to rock a little bit.

The second story is a bit more freaky. We'd not see much of the alligators during the day because it was a rather cool morning, and the bayou waters were warm; we did briefly see one alligator surface and we kept our distance for a few minutes and then it went back below the water. Two women in a tandem kayak told us that they'd seen a 12-foot 'gator a little bit ahead of where we'd turned around, and so we were kind of bummed that we didn't see it. As we were paddling back downstream, the wind suddenly picked up, as did the current, and two of us were head of the guide and another kayaker. Our guide called out to say he'd found an alligator sitting on the shore, and the two of us should turn around and come see it.

So, me with my mad kayaking skillz, turned my kayak around with some difficulties and paddled back up to where our guide was. From the distance, I could tell it was a baby alligator, which is a lot less scary than a 12-foot 'gator, but face it, it still have teeth. As I was paddling, the wind and current were blowing me closer to the bank, and I tried and tried to turn the kayak away from the shore, but to no avail. As I drifted closer, the baby 'gator slipped into the water, and seconds later, I crashed into the bank. And as I looked for a place to stick my paddle to push back into the water, I saw a pair of eyes staring at me. And then another pair. And then another pair. I yelped again. Louder, btw, than the gar fish yelp. I had just crashed into a nest of baby alligators.

"What should I do?" I asked the guide.


And so I stuck my paddle into the water and rowed furiously away. Because we all know where there are babies, there are mommas. The guide and another person in our group drifted a little closer to the nest and checked it out and confirmed that there were indeed three baby gators sitting there and we figured that the one we'd seen on the shore was going to join its siblings.

Back at the picnic site, we joked about the nest of 'gators, how we were going to blow it up into a fish tale, that by Wednesday, it'd be a nest of 12-foot gators swarming around my kayak. So I thought it was best to tell the story NOW, as accurately as possible. By Wednesday, surely I'll be more heroic than having to be told to paddle away. Maybe by Wednesday, I'll not only have stumbled up on a nest of 12-foot gators, I'll have wrestled them into submission and I'll claim dead batteries as the reason for no photographic evidence.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

How does that go again?

This weekend, I'm going to try kayaking for the first time. I've canoed before, but never kayaked, so I figured before the sun gets too hot and high in the sky, I'd give this a try. Most outdoor activities usually come to a grinding halt sometime in May or June. This kayak outing is at a nearby bayou -- fancy name for swamp -- and apparently, there are alligators. I voiced my concern at the pre-trip meeting and the guide looks at me quite seriously and says, "These are tame alligators."

Saturday, April 01, 2006

The Office

I love the comedy show, "The Office." I know a lot of people who are purists think the British version is quite superior (and it's actually airing on PBS these days, though I have't caught an ep yet). Anyway, I love "The Office" because it reminds me of the craziness when I worked at Very Big Publishing Company. It's incredibly over-the-top, but the thing is, it's not far from the truth. Anyway, the cast pulled an early April's Fool joke on Thursday with some interesting versions of "The More You KNow" spots. I saw the one with Ryan where he said "There's nothing wrong with being 5'9". That's average." You can see all of the PSAs over here.