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January 31, 2008

not enough hours in the day...

it took me a long time to get moving today, and then, after i finally thought i'd get out of the house on time, i remembered i had a presentation to give this afternoon and had to look at least somewhat presentable... so, i had to shave.

and, then i panicked because the only khakis i have that really fit were dirty, and i knew i couldn't wear jeans. thankfully i had a pair of dress slacks.

of course, the dog didnt want to scarf down his food like he usually does, and took his good old time, which gave me enough time to stress, but not to make coffee.

so, i rolled into work about 7:50. so much for being early. i had a cup of machine coffee and a slim fast, and then at 10, when i got hungry, 2 generic poptarts.

sutekh just came around the corner to ask about lunch again, but i'm going with my swedish friend today, so he'll have to go alone.

i've spent the last 45 minutes or so setting up the laptop and doing screen captures for my presentation this afternoon. now the software is slow, and i'm doing a step by step so I can make handouts, so it's taking forever.

and it's cold. brr.

alrighty... i've got a half an hour till i have to leave for lunch... thank god it's almost Friday.

oh, and another high school friend just contacted me through facebook. holy crap. they're everywhere.

better sleep w/ feathers.

I folded up a featherbed (ok, those things are too thin in my opinion to be called featherbeds, but still, that's what they are) and slept on that last night. it was a big help -- my shoulders weren't sore in the morning, and i don't remember waking up with pain and numbness in my arms, so that's good too. I'm going to give it a few days to really see if I see great benefits.

Chester, however, is still annoying. And he's got a scab under his chin, which I'm betting came from a fight with Zig. He is quite annoyed at the scab and keeps scratching. I'm leaning towards letting him heal on his own, but I'll be keeping a close eye on it. Since it's under his chin, he cant lick it very well (actually, it's kind of not on his chin and yet not on his neck.)

January 30, 2008

oh yeah, i almost forgot

Happy Belated Birthday to Mr. Pickles!

We had a great little get together over at Pickle Manor, with no cat chasing involved. Mr. Anderson and his new lady friend came by, and Max and I all gathered to sing Happy Birthday with Kelmeister and eat some cake and drink decaf. It was all lovely.

I loved the art that Mr. Anderson gave Mr. Pickles... It was beautiful.

And then we all sat around watching American Idol... which was hilarious. Actually, watching almost anything with the Pickles is more fun.

Happy Birthday, Mr. P.

i swear, one of these days, alice...

I think I'm experiencing another MaxPower-level Mood Swing.

I didn't sleep well last night. Haven't been. Hopefully, tonight, I can try something new. Between either my arm going to sleep or hurting, or both, I just haven't been able to find a comfortable position on the new bed, aside from flat on my stomach or back.

I've noticed Nala sleeping on his back a lot, too, but I've heard no complaints, only praises of how great the new bed is. I'd hate to see what the Ultra Firm would've done to me, if the Luxury Firm is this bad. I suppose it could be mis-labeled, too. I'd have to go back to the store to check that out.

I'm hoping if I throw one of those feather mattress pads underneath me, I'll alleviate the lack of padding and be able to sleep again for longer than 45 minutes or an hour before waking up and rolling over. If that doesn't work, the next step will be one of those memory foam pads.

The next step after that is separate beds.

Another thing that's bugging me again is the fact I'm getting crap emails again from organizations I am totally against, because some bugger got his email address off by one digit. I'm the original, he's the +1, and because of that, I get spam for every "moral" and "Family Values" cause, and it's REALLY tempting to put them on the filthiest pr0n spam mailing lists.

The latest? World Marriage Day spam from the Cowtown Diocese.

My dad would tell me I'm too easily aggravated. And, he might be right. I think I might need a massage and a beer and a comfy couch.

January 29, 2008

i am, apparently, a mor0n....

My mom sent me a clipping from the hometown paper with a feature story on a band. Odd, I thought. But, then I recognized the name of the band, since Chloe's Dad often wears the band's t-shirt. As I read further, I recognized that I knew at least one of the band members, again, friend's with Chloe's Dad.

Apparently, the band started in Athens, at OU. Hm, I didn't know that. Then, I got distracted and didn't read the whole article.

Today, I went to their website (since I can't get to myspace). They sound really good. And, they're playing SXSW. And, their website is very flashy. Nice, but yet clunky. The music isn't loading the next song and some of the sections don't load right. So, I look at the footer to see who I should contact about the broken-ness of the site... and I see the words "designed by calculat0r".

No, it couldn't be.

Um. Yeah. It is. Their site designer is the radio station's old GM.

Small world, there you are again.

Go check out "The Story Of..." (thestoryof.net, or on myspace). I'm seriously thinking of buying the album.

Note to self: next time Chloe's Dad talks about a band -- LISTEN TO HIM!

January 28, 2008

joomla, anyone?

I'm trying to test Joomla for content management over on another site. I kind of like the admin interface, but it seems overly complex. My main problem right now is comment management, and I've seen 3 comment plug-ins, but I'm not sure which, if any, would be best.

The goal would be to have comments be easy to use for readers, and managed through the Joomla admin pages, with editing, spam controls, etc.

I'm just playing with the system now... I'm not 100% sold, but since it's a 1-click-install, and it seems to be better than the latest version of MT4, and it plays well with others, it could be a good fit for what I do.

If only I could get comments working, I'd start giving it a try.

Anybody have any comments or opinions on Joomla? Or other cms's, for that matter?

the pain, the pain!

30 minutes on the treadmill, at my highest speed, at an incline (which I never do), has come back to bite me, not in the ass, but in the calves. I can barely walk today, even though I felt awesome Saturday night and half of yesterday.

I worked this weekend, too... this is becoming the norm, but I think because I'm so far behind.

Sutekh wants to go to lunch today, which probably means crap food, and I won't get anything done at lunchtime.

January 27, 2008


So, I'm back at work again today (hooray for projects that KICK MY ASS.)

I'm taking a quick break before I code some more, only to put out a call for help, in a sense. I'm playing with Joomla on another one of my sites, and I'm looking for a comments plugin, but havent seen one that has consistenly good reviews. Joomla seems overly complicated compared to other blogging software, but I'm seeing it in terms of content management over multiple blogs, sort of like my friends are using for their family blogs, allowing management on a grander scale than say, MovableType, which I've seen getting horrible reviews in version 4.

Why Joomla and not something else, like Drupal or Plone or something? Well, simply because it's one of my host's "one click" installs. I thought I'd give it a shot on one of my sandbox domains before rolling it out anywhere useful.

Also, it doesnt have a good importer, so I'm not sure whether it's right for me anyway.

Back to work, for now.

BTW, god bless Half Price Books, where I found a book that led me to the answer I needed for work. Ok, not THE answer, but an answer. And by led, I mean, more inspired me to find it on my own. Yes, $16 wasted.

January 25, 2008

friday... sorta...

So it's Friday.

and i dont have much to say other than a) i didnt sleep well, and b) i can't wait to go home and chill for a while.

Oh, and happy birthday to JK-not-Rowling. May his birthday wishes come true. All of them. Yes, those too.

January 24, 2008

f*ck you, spell check, i'm not that old.

I came to a realization today that spell-check is actually wrong quite a bit.

Seriously. I know I make a lot of mistakes, but I still take a great deal of care in my typing, trying to make sure I keep the mistakes to a minimum.


I was a champion speller in my middle-school days. I used to know when words were spelled right, and lately, thanks to some jackass, I'm faced with spell-checking that is WRONG.

I am not going crazy. Someone made the decision to change the spelling of some words, and the old spellings are no longer valid.

In other countries, it would take a court order. Here, they just decide on a common misspelling and that's where the language goes.

I know I'm not the only one facing this, am I? (And yes, I guess I could install some alternative dictionaries, but I am just pissed that I should even HAVE to.)

I'm not old enough that the language I learned to speak (and spell, HA!) should have become archaic.

didnt start well...

woke up, more or less, on time.
got up, more or less, on time.
was thinking, "wow, i'm actually going to be ready when i should be!"
and then panicked "oh, shit, i've got a presentation today, i have to look presentable."

so, i took the time and tried to find pants that fit and a shirt that wasnt too wrinkled, and to shave.

and then i wasn't on time.
i forgot the dvd's i needed to mail.
i forgot the library book i need to return.

i didn't have time for coffee, or food...
i got to work and found out my presentation was cancelled. again.


January 23, 2008

not that it's been good

ok, so my mood went from ok to homicidal in like 3 minutes.

i've gotten nothing done today. i'm worried about tomorrow, because my day was shot, due to software installs and uninstalls and disk cleanup (which took all friggin morning) and then a doctor's appointment which turned out well, followed by lunch and 30 minutes of crap meeting.

the doctor's appointment was good, but weird, since we ran into someone we knew from high school.

lunch was tasty, but screwed up.

now i'm finally at my desk and my mood just went kablooie.

for no reason.

waste of paper

lots to blog about, but i'm going to rant for a minute.

i give lots of money to my old school. i volunteer time, knowledge, money, and web expertise for the alumni society that i'm part of. i do this out of love.

i do not care in the slightest about the college of communications or school of journalism unless it somehow affects the radio station i was once part of. i think they waste money every time i get a letter in response to my monthly gift to tell me what's going on.

i also get a letter from the department of development telling me that my gift was received. while this is appreciated, an email would suffice, and not cost another 41 cents to mail (or is it 42? i don't remember) and paper to print. not to mention the two envelopes (one for the next gift, one for mailing).

if the development office had a way to manage gifts online, it could cut down significantly on the costs of mailings and cut down on paper waste. i immediately recycle every single letter i get from them. rip. toss.

oh, and another thing? quit asking me to be a mentor. i've done it. it sucks. i will never do it again. maybe i had bad experiences, but i don't want to watch another kid throw their potential down the toilet. i think if i want to do that again, it'll be my own kid, not somebody else's.

January 18, 2008

fondness vs. fear

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

I don't hate winter. Really, I don't. What I hate is the inconvenience of winter (shovelling, layering), but most of all, I hate driving in winter. HATE.

Thus, when it comes time to think about vacation, and one of my favorite places to go is Maine, I'm stuck only going in the warmer months, and not necessarily whenever the tickets are cheapest.

My favorite places to go are 2-3 hours drive from a major airport, on two-lane highways over mountains and through passes. In warm weather, it's beautiful and lush and green. In cold, it's still green, but gray, too, and you run the risk of blizzard conditions in October.

I cringe just thinking about driving a rental car in a blizzard when there's 20 miles between houses in some places, let alone towns.

To my dad? It's an adventure. To me, it's a teeth-gritting headache. I lost all confidence in my winter driving when I was 19, and I haven't gotten it back while driving a fishtailing lightweight pickup truck.

That's all I had, really. I'd love to take advantage of cheap airfares, but driving in blizzards make me ill.

chili wars: the prequel

Chili is made, and man is it hot.

I should've told the fabulous Mon and Patrick to bring their fire blankets. I didn't mean for it to be this hot. Nala thought it was "hot, but good". I thought it was on the edge of being too hot. He suggested cutting it in half and adding more un-spiced ingredients, but I let it go as is. I'll have to rely on condiments to cut it.

I'll pick up some sour cream on the way home. I already have cheese.

I told Nala, at least I probably won't eat 4 bowls.

I'll pick up some cold sodas, too. I already have milk.

To do: biscuits & clean house (vacuum, mattress to basement, boxspring to garage, misc mail sorted, mixer put away.)

January 17, 2008

shave and a haircut

I was supposed to demonstrate some software in a cross-departmental staff meeting this afternoon, with several big wigs and folks I don't know. Yesterday, I got a haircut, and last night I started my "I need to not look like a hobo" shaving ritual.

Now, I almost never use an electric razor anymore. I don't know why, because for about 15 years or so, I almost never used a safety razor. But, no matter which I choose, my skin is always irritated, and after shaves either make it worse or make me break out.

Any time I have a big to-do and need to shave, I try to shave the night before, and that will give my skin some recovery time, as well as giving me an opportunity to shave AGAIN in the morning for any stubble I might've missed the first time around. It's kind of overly complicated, but it works for me. I end up not being as blotchy, and my skin has had some recovery time.

This morning, thanks to a neighbor who is oh-so-generous with skin care product samples (bless him), I tried some after-shave care lotion which didn't sting. I haven't gone through the rest of the bag yet, but my skin feels better than with any run-of-the-mill cheapo product, so if I don't break out soon, I'm going to count that as "buy this stuff, it really works."

Now I wonder what Nala's cholesterol conditioner would do for my goatee.

January 15, 2008

bed relocation

Last night, due to my fight with the cable box, nothing was accomplished in terms of getting the house ready for a new bed. None of the cleaning, tear apart, moving, etc. So, that's what I did this morning.

I moved the twin downstairs for craigslisting and bulk pickup.
I changed the twin frame to a full frame.
I cleaned up the laundry (clean and dirty) which was scattered.
I cleaned up the paperwork which was scattered.
I put away the dvds. I picked up the trash.
I stripped the bed, and folded the blankets and made a stack of pillows.

I moved the full mattress and box to the guest room and set them up on the frame.
I moved the full footboard and rails to the guest room.

I picked up the dust bunnies.

Really, all that needs to be done now is vacuum and scrub the floor. Or at least vacuum.

hd... someday...

Yesterday, I picked up a new HD cable box and came home to install it. No problem at first, but my $7 package of additional channels wasn't showing up. WTF. So, I spent over half an hour on the phone with support. They cycled the box. They checked the account. Everything was as it should be, I just didnt have the channels.

Apparently this also happened to my coworker. The tech had to come out. Because I'm not getting 4 channels.


So, at the same time we're getting a new bed delivered, the cable tech is coming out to check stuff.

Another problem I found was, if I try to use the HDMI connection, the cable box freaks out and stops ALL output signals, throwing up a warning message until someone hard boots it. Somewhere along the line, they have disabled this feature, and it's infuriating. Nala's gonna have a talk with the tech today and see what's up. We still get signal over the 3-color component input, but I'd much rather use the HDMI for consistency among all our components.

More news later.

January 14, 2008

it's time to dump, i think...

I've been thinking about my need to downsize my collections to manageable status, and I've determined the following:

1) I must get rid of all DC Direct.
2) I must get rid of most Batman Animated.
3) I must get rid of all dupes of JLU.
4) I must get rid of all dupes of Superman Animated.
5) If I continue The Batman, it must only be ONE version of each character (aside from Unmasked), and be the most show-accurate.
6) The Doctor Who line should probably NOT include playsets or XL figures from now on (which I know I will regret).
7) I should get rid of any other toys that don't belong.

If I sell off the rest of the DCDs, and the JLUs, and 50% of the comics, I might make enough cash to redo the downstairs bathroom, or to buy some decent furniture, both of which are more important to me than plastic sitting on a shelf.

Not even a new laptop is as high, oddly enough, as having a beautiful, comfortable home. So much higher than my collection of heroes and villains.

I like nice things, and to have nice things, something must get sacrificed, and that will be hero-plasticos.

I'm putting a 12 bin limit on the collecting, to start with. If that seems too high on further review (I can't remember what I have -- it's in storage...) then I will drop it down to, perhaps, 6. Maybe less if it's not boxed.

I have no need for zillions of plasticos. Maybe someday, if space, money, and my mood allows, I'll be a completist in many lines again, but if so, Nala has permission to strike me down with a few words: "clutter. gadgets. simplicity. new (bed/tv/kitchen)."

ugly information graphics

Something that hadn't crossed my mind ever, till today, when I viewed a graph online which was unreadable, is the usage of informational graphics (graphs, etc) in websites and textbooks.

Usability and accessibility guidelines state that if information is conveyed by color, it must a) have sufficient contrast to differentiate between items, and b) the information must be conveyed in an additional manner.

This would, I hope to think, apply to today's textbooks. One problem I had in school was the inability to distinguish between data of one type and data of another in the same graph or map or other info graphic, because it was only conveyed with color. Being that colorblindness is covered under the ADA, I can't imagine textbook publishers NOT dealing with this issue.

Teachers often didn't believe that I saw color differently, and simply dismissed my complaints as attempts to gain points on quizzes and tests. It was only when I got to college (and ADA was in place) that I thought that it might be time to get my optometrist to sign some paperwork.

It's so frustrating if you're in the situation and the teacher doesn't believe you or doesn't care.

new bed

I've been starting to clean up the bedroom a bit, but didn't get too far. Tonight, I'll be packing up the library books and the cat hammocks and putting away some more of the clothes which never got unpacked. In the guest room, I'll take the mattress and box downstairs and put away the rest of the linens which have been left out, and the suitcases and the art, which should leave space to move the full sized bed into that room on Tuesday.

The twin mattress is still in good shape and I'll probably craigslist it. The twin box can be demolished into pieces and put in the pile of construction debris to be taken to the dump. The simple bedframe from that can be used for the full sized bed, and we can craigslist or dump the rickety headboard/footboard/rails from the current bed, too.

Ok, off to lunch now... HD TV here I come.

home theatre extravaganza...

So, Nala decided to buy the Bose system we both looked at. I was out of the house when he set it up, and he's not sure that it's configured properly, but it doesn't seem that we're getting the $500 worth. I left him a note saying I'll defer to him, but for $500, if it doesn't work as expected, take the thing back. I'd be willing to spend some time in configuring it (or trying), but it comes down to "are we getting $500 of premium sound?" -- if not, then we don't need to upgrade.

But, I'm not convinced there's not another way to hook it up.

Also, this weekend, we upgraded to an upconverting dvd player and HDMI connection. MUCH better. Love it lots. It even seems to interface with the TV to tell it what size display to do.

Love it. Love it. Love it.

Next (today), I will be upgrading to HD Cable service.

I've started looking at HD TiVo as well, but without their lifetime service anymore, I'm not sure I'm ready. I also need to call them and find out if they work with OpenCable cable cards, so we would no longer need the box. Keeping OnDemand functionality is a big deal to me, and I don't want to still have to have another box to do that.

Also of note, new (Series 2 or later) TiVos connect to your home network (wireless optional) and have varying levels of media center options, including the ability to connect to remote media libraries. Newer TiVos even give you an expandability option (of course, Series 1 had those too, by adding a second hard drive, which I never did WHY?)

Stay tuned for more home theatre fun!

Update: At lunchtime, I got the new HD cable box. Tonight I've gotta buy another HDMI cable and take one back to W-Mart.

January 11, 2008


why would you, on the day a dog was to be put down, go to the trouble of posting a flyer with a photo of said dog, for information on adoption.

i kid you not. read all about the nice doggie, and then get your hopes up, only to read "this dog is scheduled to be put down 1-11-08"

thanks, ass hat.

i didnt need another dog, but i thought of someone who might have liked her.

January 9, 2008

i am becoming my parents?

am i? really?

i got thinking about this recent change in attitude, and i'm wondering if it finally hit? but then, i'm wondering if, as a culture, we are just simply repeating the same patterns over and over -- consume consume consume, panic and adjust lifestyle, consume consume consume, panic and adjust.

30 years since the last energy crisis, and here we are again talking about sustainability and environmental protection. and i see my (hypothetical) kid resenting me until his mid-20s, at least, before starting to see the same patterns and such.

speaking of which, when is battlestar due to return to scifi?


I went back to work around 7 and stayed till 11:30, but still didnt get everything done.

I got home, tried to sleep but couldn't. Then the storms came. Coworkers said they came much earlier, but I didn't hear the howling wind till 12:30. It was scaring the cats. Chester was needy, much more so than usual.

The paranoia that I have, coupled with the sounds outside, the humidifier, the snoring, and the need for sleep, compounded itself and made me unable to sleep at all.

Then, at 1:30ish, the phone rang, just as I was starting to finally drift off. "Dave?" the voice asked. "No. You have the wrong number," I said. "Are you sure?" he queried. I can't remember what I said in reply, or if I just threw the phone down defeated.

Are you sure? It's my phone, asshole, and it's been my phone for the past 7 years, and there's no Dave here.

A few minutes later, Chester was needy again, and I heard what sounded like a cat screaming, so I had to go downstairs and check on Sieg, who was needy, too, but didnt want anything to do with upstairs. He just was shaken up, and needed attention. Hoont, however, never got out of bed. I swear sometimes that dog can sleep through anything.

So, I imagine I finally got to sleep around 2. And I get up at 5:30ish, usually. Today, I killed both alarms and set another one for 6:30. I made myself late for work, and it's a very groggy day so far, but I'm here.

Tonight, I've gotta pick up the pieces of the trees that are now laying in our yard, and think again about calling the city for tree removal. And then come back to work, again.

Gotta get the project done so I can sleep again.

January 8, 2008

sometimes i wonder...

my grandparents were huge proponents of sustainability and even, to an extent, they could be accused of supporting communal living -- trading with friends and neighbors for produce, meat, and dairy products.

as our country (and world) is faced with an emerging energy and environmental crisis, my mind wanders into familiar territory... things i learned growing up, and things i now read about more and more. how do you heat your home? how do you stay warm? how do you entertain yourself? how do you feed your family?

sometimes, my dad doesn't seem so crazy, what with his dreams of solar and wind power, even back in the 70s. remember those "underground" houses? yeah, you know what? they don't seem so odd when you think about energy efficiency.

I was telling Nala about the "chest refrigerators" I've read about, and how a friend of a friend has now made one using even BETTER parts than I first heard of, making it 90% more efficient than a standard refrigerator, for less cost.

If you think about this for longer than a minute, you start to see some long term benefits. If you built yourself an "underground" house, (no jokes about living under a rock, please), your heating and cooling bills and overall energy usage would be greatly reduced simply by the insulation of the earth. Add to that energy efficient windows and doors, and using multiple insulating techniques for any exposed walls and roofs (depending on the materials used). Don't forget about the "natural" insulation of such things as hay bales. (We used to insulate the outside of our kitchen walls that way, along with the crawlspace walls, too.) Now, convert the whole house to use energy efficient lighting, and explore geothermal heating and cooling, supplemented by solar heating as well.

Take the energy reduction another step further -- build your kitchen with the chest refrigerator/freezer model in mind. It's the one device in your home that runs all day, every day, yet nobody is taking this challenge on. Nobody.

Consider the benefits of a dual-energy range, or even a supplementary wood stove, which could help offset heating costs and also allow you to do some cooking. (I grew up with wood heat, and I know the benefits are high, but also know you're adding pollutants to the air... not sure what the balance would be between this and using coal-produced electricity... also gives you the benefit of heat if your primary source of heat were to fail.) A coworker pointed out, manure can be burned for heat, too, although this, to me, seems like it might be going too far.

Underground living would allow you the benefit of more land for agriculture. Of course, to maximize your usage of your home-grown foods, you would have to consider both canning and freezing methods. Canning is probably more energy efficient, since you're using energy once and storing the results in a cupboard, instead of a freezer, but I'm not sure how that works out long term. Someone with a brain for energy usage should tackle that calculation... a pint of frozen green beans vs. a pint of canned green beans... calculate the energy usage to store them over 6 months.

And then there's the whole issue of composting toilets, which I recently discovered. There is a company who makes them now, who guarantees NO SMELL. Talk about cutting your water usage, damn. And as for hot water heat, see above mention of solar, and supplement it with one of those heat-on-demand thingies.

Back to the point -- are we that far from a real-and-true energy-based crisis? I'll bet we're closer than you might think. Economic downfall is just around the corner. Everything we do is influenced by oil prices, and if folks cant get to work, or buy groceries, get ready to return to the late 1800s/early 1900s. Get ready for your "victory gardens," too, only this time, it'll be victory over our own cultural stupidity and gluttony. Be prepared to protect them with a shotgun, because folks, we're in for an adjustment, and it ain't gonna be pretty.

Jesus, that sounds like Nala-preachy, only not as coherent.

ouch, again.

this mid-60s weather is so odd. of course, my sinuses hate it, and are protesting by putting me in pain that won't be stopped by even double-dosage of any over-the-counter stuff.

in other words, i hurt.


I got a Christmas photo card from my cousin's family yesterday. Apparently, they spent their holiday in the Dominican Republic. If you're going to go away, why not go somewhere warm? I imagine they stopped to see his dad in Florida though, either before or after. That's always a big party, too.

Speaking of family trips, I wonder if the annual Aspen trip is on again this year. Someday, I want to go, just to experience that, too, but with my aunts and uncles now in their "golden years," there probably won't be too many yearly ski trips in the future.

I also got the annual Christmas letter (including photos) from another aunt and uncle, with updates on their kids, son- and daughters-in-law, and grandchildren. Those are always fun, but it also kind of takes the personal touch out when they're typewritten (I remember the days of handwritten letters -- someday I'll get back to that.)

This, of course, reminds me that I failed to send every birthday card (or even e-Card) around the holidays. So many birthdays, so little time.

SO... before I forget... Happy Birthday to The Cousin, and to Ben J, who share a birthday tomorrow. And this is also a reminder that Mr Pickles has an upcoming birthday as well, and I believe that Max Power has one coming up, too.

January 7, 2008

laughing to myself

So, my maternal ancestors had some weird family names. Sure, you had the standards, but there are several unique ones that rise to the top when I consider possible kid names.

Now, one of them, translated, means God. Interesting. Another means "The Greatest".

I actually laughed out loud when I read the meanings. What fun! My possible most favorite name for a kid turns out to mean "The Greatest God." Talk about a name to live up to.

taking advantage of warm weather

Ok, now we're having a freaky weather week, but it did give me time and motivation yesterday while we were having plumbing drama, to take down the outdoor Christmas decorations and move some more crap around in the basement. Sure, there's still a lot of things unsorted, but it's generally in stacks.

There's a "cookout and kitchen" stack. A "Giga misc" stack, a "Nala misc." stack, a "Christmas" stack, a "Halloween" stack, and then the packing boxes stack, and the "Nala TF stack."

Well, depending on what my tasks are for the next project (the foyer/stairwell/hallway) I'd like to get the garage cleared out now that there's some basement space, and get the garage attic crap taken to the dump. This will allow for some things (like, oh, I dunno, outdoorsy things) to be kept in the garage ATTIC so we can USE THE GARAGE.

And of course, this makes room for the great MARCH SORTING of COMICS AND ACTION FIGURES before the April Toy Show.

In unrelated news, I started a recycling box and a "yard sale" box this weekend, and got two boxes of books put away. There is progress being made, even if it doesn't involve drywall and paint. Unfortunately, I'm a month behind in this type of progress.

Also, I'll be working overtime for the next week, so I'm grumpy. I'm also still kind of sick (cold isnt going away) and I somehow threw my neck out.

January 5, 2008

the season of giving has ended

The giving season has ended and I've wrapped up most of my charitable contributions from the last year.

This year, I tried out some new organizations committed to a greener environment and more sustainability, along with the usual suspects.

I gave to 5 health organizations: MDA, American Cancer Society, and the Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, the Lupus Foundation, and the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation.

I gave to three media organizations: ACRN, WOSU, and The Underground.

One of the organizations I contributed to turned out to also be a part of the media. In a small world moment, I had given to Simply Living which also runs a local low-power FM station, for whom a friend and fellow ACRN alumnus works.

But, it's the new year, and I'm down to only contributing to myself (and ACRN) for a while. 5 more months, I believe.

January 4, 2008

twist on a class meme

People in the media who dressed and talked like me were not portrayed positively, if you mean poor farmers in backwoods places. If you mean white people, then yes.

I grew up in a single family house, which my parents owned, and I think it was paid off before I graduated from high school. I didn't have my own room till I was 13. I had a hallway. Then, when I was 13, we finished a room in the half-story which became mine. It still didn't have a door, but I did haul the phone in from the room next door. I won a 12" black-and-white television from the local NAPA store, which I couldn't use till I had my own room. It was the same as the living room television we had had, and we only got 3 channels.

I was painfully aware of how much (or little) heating bills were for my family. It was called chopping wood every summer and hauling it to the house every winter. There was only one small baseboard heater, and that was near the bedrooms/bathroom just in case the fire went out at night.

We had more than 500 books in my home as a kid, and was read to by my mom when I was small. I had sax, trombone, piano, driving and swimming lessons before 18, three of which I quit.

There was original art in our house when I was a kid, but it was my mom's art (or mine). As I got older, there was a little more of mine, and then, my dad bought some from a friend of mine.

I didn't go to private high school. My grandmother offered to pay -- I turned it down.

I was not in the same social class as my high school teachers.

My clothing was a mix, always. My grandmother was a thrifting queen, and my mom made almost all my clothes till high school. Looking back, it made me the butt of a lot of jokes.

My mom went to college for Art Ed, but quit when she and my dad were married. My dad went to college after I was born, and finished at least one program. To my knowledge, nobody in my family is an attorney, doctor, or professor. My uncle, by marriage, was a professor many years ago, though, so I'm not sure if that falls into the "in your family" category, especially as he lives very far away, and I only ever saw him every couple years.

I never went to summer camp. I never had a private tutor, because I was a tutor. I never took an SAT or ACT prep course. I did take the PSAT and some practice ACT tests. When I was a junior in high school, my dad bought me the best car $1500 could buy, which wasn't much, but it got me where I needed to go, and lasted me until 1993 when I was happy to trade it in for a pregnant roller skate.

For college costs, depending on where you cut off "college" and what you call "costs" -- I had scholarships for years 1-2, and then worked for 3; the parents paid for 4-5; and then I've paid ever since. I didn't have a credit card until college, which may or may not have been before I turned 18. I don't remember when I got it, but I believe it came with 2 two liters and an umbrella, which I needed. As far as knowing about financial stuff, I still couldn't tell you about mutual funds and IRAs.

Family vacations involved staying at hotels, sometimes. Others, we stayed in the back of our car or with family, depending on where the trip was. Vacations often revolved around learning. My parents took me to museums and art galleries all the time, and usually as focus of the trip. My family never went on cruises, and we never flew. Until 1999, I had only flown commercially once, when I was a lap child. I barely remember it.

January 2, 2008

rockin crazy nye

New Years Eve was crazy.

First, we both had to work. Then, we rushed home, cleaned up the house, and started getting ready for our friend K to come over, but then got a message she wouldn't be coming. So, we relaxed and started getting ready for our evening full of parties.

Sunday, we were invited to a progressive dinner at our neighbors. That's right, another neighborhood party. We weren't sure what to expect, but we got dressed up (for our later party with our old neighbors), and when MW arrived, we decided to take a bottle of wine over just to say hi, since we'd have to leave soon anyway. Well, the neighbors were fabulous, and we had a great time eating homemade bread and drinking some really good wine. And, again with the gift bags! We are set on moisturizers thru NEXT year. :)

We left the new fabulous neighborhood to go to the old fabulous neighborhood, where our old friends had cooked up a delicious food extravaganza. We added 3 bottles of wine and some beers to the mix, and spent the evening chatting with friends old and new. Nala went home early, having caught another cold, and hurt his back, so MW and I stayed to watch the ball drop. The conversations went on well past midnight and lots of fun was had, and there are so many stories to be told.

I always forget how much fun their parties are till I get back to one. And MW ran into her neighbors from across town! Small world!

We got back at 3am, and MW was ready to crash. I still had energy to burn, but managed to sleep a few hours until it was time for the dog to go outside at 6:30. MW rested (I'm not sure she slept much, really) till about 11, and then made her way home.

It made me happy to hear everyone say what great friends we have, and how "adult" the parties are these days. Gone are the days of binge drinking and rabble-rousing (ok, not completely gone, sure, but mostly gone), having been replaced with quiet conversations over drinks and delicious homemade foods. Our hostesses outdid themselves with the giant buffet, and our neighbors were gracious hosts as well...

It makes me excited to think about this year's Labor Day party.