Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The best line of the week.

"Princess needs a little bitch."

* Names withheld to protect the guilty.

Office Politics

Sometimes working in an office just makes me sad. What's been going on here lately isn't unique. The boss retires, people play for power, there's a little reorganization, and things continue on. What makes me sad is how feelings flare, how people act out when they feel threatened, and how everyone has an agenda. Maybe it's just that I try to live in some state of feigned ignorance that people really do like each other and really are in it to do a good job above all else. Then again, I even notice a bit of panic in myself, as I wonder how the organization will emerge from this period of transition and what my place will be.

Then I realize that I'm just over a year from graduating, and I too may be moving on in the not too distant future, towards paths unknown. I don't know whether it's the uncertainty, or the sadness at watching the friends I have made scatter, but I just feel melancholy.

Someone's getting fired...

You're a mean one, Mister Grinch...

CANBERRA (Reuters) - One of the world's top shopping mall owners has paid A$50,000 ($38,000) to the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Australia after mall wheelchairs were taken from two brothers with the disease, forcing one to crawl to his car.

The other brother had to be carried to the car by his sister.

A security guard at a Westfield shopping center in the southern city of Melbourne stopped the brothers when they attempted to take the wheelchairs, which belonged to the shopping mall, outside.

"Westfield apologizes for the circumstances which led to the incident and deeply regrets the indignity suffered by the brothers," the company, which is the world's top shopping mall owner by market value, said in a statement.

Monday, January 30, 2006

A new look!

HUMONGOUS GIGANTOR thanks to Miss Zoot for the brand spankin' new design that I'm diggin'. Feel free to drop me - or her - a line!

Risky or Funny?

One should always consider what one says before one says it.

Yeah, so I threw caution to the wind and roasted my boss this afternoon at his farewell party. I told him I would miss the days he would come in and say "I'm cranky and I'm going to be a jerk today." I told him I wouldn't miss how he changes every flight I book 12 times, and his really loud train clock that chimes, clangs, whistles and bangs every hour on the hour.

Go figure.

They say talking to yourself is the beginning of insanity...

Lately I've been reading blogs written by mothers who make up crazy little songs about poop to entertain their children. This proves that insanity is definitely something that you inherit from your children. However, I'm not sure you always need wee ones running around to be borderline mental.

As most of you who read here know, my fiance and I are about 1.5 years into a 3 year long distance relationship. I'm grateful for every minute that we get to spend together, but the fact is that we're apart an awful lot of the time.

Enter: My Insanity. Lately I've developed a really odd habit of "talking to him" before I go to bed. No, this isn't the phone call where I actually talk to him. This is where I wander around my apartment and crawl into bed, wondering aloud if he's sleeping peacefully and dreaming sweet dreams. Or where I say "gosh I need to snuggle up with you right now cause my body pillow just isn't the same." This conversation (and I use the term LOOSELY) usually takes place for 10 minutes or so before bedtime.

PS To top it off, last night I was preoccupied while I was brushing my teeth and I used his tooth brush.

MFU's and other fun.

Originally uploaded by littledevilworks.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

A neat story...

Courtesy of Anu Garg at A Word A Day.

We all believe the first climbers to scale Mt. Everest (in 1953) were Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, but that may not be true. In 1924, two other bold adventurers, George Mallory and Andrew Irvine, attempted to reach the top of Mt. Everest. They were last sighted near the summit by the expedition's geologist, who was 2000 feet below them.

In 1999, Mallory's body -- still intact after 75 years -- was discovered by a group of climbers. Were Mallory and Irvine on their way up or coming down? We don't know, and perhaps never will, unless other climbers find their cameras that may yield clues. Mallory's grandson, George Mallory II, reached the summit in 1995.

When asked why climb a mountain, Mallory's famous answer was, "Because it's there."

Where were you when the Challenger exploded?

In every generation, there are a few events which stun a nation, and leave an indelible mark on children who are just old enough to realize what they have witnessed. For my father, it was the assassination of President Kennedy. For me, I will always remember where I was when the Challenger exploded - in my second grade classroom, watching the launch on tv, the launch that contained the first American schoolteacher.

Fallen Challenger Astronauts Honored

By MIKE SCHNEIDER, Associated Press Writer Sun Jan 29, 4:54 AM ET

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - The twelve children of the Challenger astronauts were toddlers, teenagers or starting careers as pilots when they gathered with family to watch the shuttle launch just a few miles away on a chilly morning they would never forget.

Seventy-three seconds after launch, the shuttle blew apart into blasts of flame and zigzagging smoke contrails. Seven astronauts died in the explosion, and the images of the shuttle bursting apart were replayed over and over to a shocked nation.

"It's been more than 20 years and I think about it every day," said Richard Scobee, an Air Force pilot whose father, Dick Scobee, was the shuttle's commander.

"Our lives were shattered, but over the years that followed the families persevered with tremendous success," June Scobee Rodgers said. "I believe those parents launched aboard Challenger would be proud of their children."

Rodgers, along with NASA associate administrator Bill Gerstenmaier, laid the wreath at the base of the Space Mirror Memorial, a tall granite-finished wall engraved with the names of the Challenger astronauts, the seven astronauts killed when space shuttle Columbia disintegrated over Texas in 2003 and the three Apollo 1 astronauts killed in a fire during a 1967 launch pad test.

About 250 people attended the 20th anniversary ceremony to honor Dick Scobee, pilot Mike Smith, astronauts Ellison Onizuka, Judy Resnik, Ron McNair and Greg Jarvis, and Christa McAuliffe, who was supposed to be the first teacher in space.

The investigation into the Challenger accident revealed a space agency more concerned with schedules and public relations than with safety and sound decision-making.

The explosion eventually was blamed on a poorly designed gasket in one of the shuttle's solid fuel boosters which hardened in cold weather. The temperature at Challenger's liftoff was 36 degrees. Engineers for a NASA contractor had protested launching at that temperature, but they were overruled by their managers under perceived pressure from the space agency.

"It is our responsibility, individually and collectively, to make good decisions," Gerstenmaier told the audience. "As engineers, the machines we build can do great things but can also cause great harm."

Rodgers said the Challenger accident hadn't changed her opinion about the importance of space exploration.

"Without risk, there's no discovery, there's no new knowledge, there's no bold adventure," Rodgers said. "The greatest risk is to take no risk."

Friday, January 27, 2006


Hooah Bar
Originally uploaded by littledevilworks.
'Hooah': Odd Cry Becomes Soldier Shorthand

BAGHDAD, Iraq - In the U.S. Army, which has so many acronyms, expressions and opaque phrases that it seems to deserve its own language, there is one word that is quite possibly uttered more than any other.

That word is "hooah." Pronounced HOO-ah.

Attend a company command meeting and you'll hear hooah uttered as often as a 15-year-old says "like" or "you know." Head to the post exchange and buy a Hooah Energy Bar or Hoo-Ahhs wet wipes or HOOAH2O water.

It's not just in Iraq. At U.S. bases around the world, hooah seems an inseparable element of Army life.

Just don't try to define it. And definitely don't try to figure out where it comes from.

"I believe it came from hurrah. It basically means everything from 'yes' and 'yes, sir,' to 'that's great,'" said Capt. James Lowe, public affairs officer for the 506th Regimental Combat Team. "You could use it as a generalized cheer. It's one of those multipurpose phrases — when in doubt, say hooah."

That doesn't even begin to cover it.

They shout hooah to get motivated, and they whisper it when they concur with something someone just said. Hooah means you understood something, or is the proper reply when someone says "thank you." On the other hand, it may also be used to say "thank you."

Hooah is a catchall phrase that will get you out of any situation, particularly when receiving a scolding from a higher-ranking officer.

Take this conversation, overheard recently outside the mess hall at Camp Rustamiyah, on Baghdad's eastern outskirts:

Soldier 1: How you doing?

Soldier 2: Fine. How you doing?

Soldier 1: Hooah.

For the different branches of the military, each vastly competitive with and jealous of its distinctions from one another, hooah has become something of a sore point. Marines and sailors have their own saying, more of a "hoo-RAH" or a "hoo-yah," which they claim is entirely separate in origin.

The Air Force brass once reportedly got so irked about sharing "hooah" with the Army that it tried to get airmen to shout "Air power!" instead. But "Air power!" did not have the same potency as "hooah," and has been largely abandoned.

Sgt. Joe Carter, a 23-year-old from Kennett, Mo., recalls how, after arriving at basic training, he and other young Army recruits attended a motivational talk from their commander.

"When we first got there, the commander gave a speech, and at the end he told us, 'I want to hear a loud and thunderous hooah!'" Carter said. "We were real pumped and amped up."

Yet the use of hooah by the uninitiated is generally frowned on. Carter recounted that a drill sergeant barred him and his fellow recruits from saying hooah until they had finished the basic course and earned the right.

And civilians uttering hooah are generally looked upon with either disdain or the astonishment of a person who has just heard a koala bear recite lines from e.e. cummings.

As with any good word, the origins of hooah are highly disputed.

Some claim it derives from the military acronym HUA — Heard, Understood, Acknowledged.

Another tale: When Army Rangers landed at Omaha Beach on D-Day in 1944, a sergeant ordered them to scale the cliffs looming above them and neutralize the German pillboxes perched on top. One soldier, aghast at the idea, responded, "Who, us?" Soldiers ended up following the order, in what became one of the most celebrated acts of World War II.

Then there's the theory that hooah comes from hurrah and hooray, themselves believed to be bastardizations of the sailor's cry "huzzah," which dates back to the 16th century.

With the Internet widening the forum for debate, blog entries suggesting definitions of hooah have been met with dozens upon dozens of comments from those who think they know better.

With all the derivations that exist, a few souls have tried to come up with an official meaning. One such half-serious, half-humorous definition, listed by the Urban Dictionary, reads in part: "U.S. Army slang. Referring to or meaning anything and everything except 'no.' Generally used when at a loss for words."

Lt. Col. Brian Winski, commander of the Army's 1st Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, who sometimes says "hooah" so often it seems to have entered into his subconscious, isn't entirely satisfied with that definition, but says it will have to suffice.

"That's about right if you have to really box it in," he said. "I guess that's about as close as you could get."

**This should not be confused with WHO-AH DUDE.


I have been inundated with Spam lately. Let me say a few words about this:

I do not need information on how to increase my penis size. I am very happy with it already. Thank you.

I am not interested in your new deal, or your new account. I already have too many passwords to remember.

I do not know anyone named Nefertiti Vanderbilt, and frankly I have nothing but contempt for her parents for giving her such an awful moniker.

I do not need $100USD of Ice Cream. I am working out like mad and trying to avoid being fat. Leave me alone dammit.

Scientific Love

And the most important trait in a mate is...

TORONTO (Reuters) - When it comes to romance, women prefer someone who tickles their funny bone while men opt for those who catch their eye, according to an international survey released on Wednesday.

The survey, conducted in 16 countries by Canadian romance publisher Harlequin Enterprises, asked men and women on six continents about traits they liked or disliked and how they went about trying to meet Mr. or Ms. Right.

The poll revealed differences between countries in the way people tried to impress the opposite sex.

Australians and British men frequently admitted drinking too much, while about half of German and Italian men said they had lied about their finances. Spaniards were the most likely to use sex to catch someone's attention.

Eighty percent of Brazilian and Mexican men said they had lied about their marital or relationship status, as did 70 percent of German women, the survey said.

When it came to meeting that special someone, a majority of respondents preferred to rely on friends for introductions. The Internet was not a popular hunting ground except in Portugal, where about half the surveyed men and women opted to find people online.

Both Spain and France suffered a gender gap. Thirty percent of Spanish men, but no Spanish women, looked for love online. In France, 40 percent of men but only 10 percent of women attended parties, bars and clubs to meet someone, but they did have one thing in common: both sexes rated looks as more important than their counterparts in other countries.

When it came to that first meeting, a majority of men polled said beauty was more important than brains, while women put a sense of humor at the top of their list.

Physical attraction was the top priority for men in France, Brazil, Greece, Japan and Britain. And while 40 percent of Portuguese men rated intelligence over looks in a first encounter, no Australian men did so.

In the United States and Canada, humor was considered the most important trait by both men and women, getting 63 and 73 percent of the vote respectively.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Prancing Dancing Sheep

Operatic sheep really do grow golden fleece

CANBERRA (Reuters) - Pampered Australian merino sheep who listen to opera have again produced a bale of the world's finest wool, matching the record set by the flock last year.

Impeach Bush

Impeaching Presidents — and Messengers: Bush, The New York Times and the Patriot Act

Thursday, December 22, 2005 - 12:00 am

When the U.S. Senate last Friday refused to renew the liberticidal Patriot Act — with its provisions for spying on Americans’ use of libraries and the Internet, among other Constitution- shredding activities — it was in part because that morning’s New York Times had revealed how Bush and his White House had committed a major crime.

By ordering the National Security Agency to wiretap and eavesdrop on thousands of American citizens without a court order, Bush committed actions specifically forbidden by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Passed in 1978 after the Senate’s Church Committee documented in detail the Nixon administration’s widespread use of U.S. intelligence agencies to spy on the anti-Vietnam war movement and other political dissidents, FISA “expressly made it a crime for government officials ‘acting under color of law’ to engage in electronic eavesdropping ‘other than pursuant to statute,’” as Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies, told the Washington Post last weekend. And the FISA statute required authorization from the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in each case to make such domestic spying legal. Bush and his NSA sought no such authorization before invading American citizens’ right to privacy — a blatant flouting of the law that made both wavering, pro-war Democrats and libertarian Republicans mad enough to vote against extending the hideous Patriot Act, which will now expire at the end of the year

Bush not only acknowledged, and defended, this illegal eavesdropping in a Saturday radio address, he went further in a Monday morning press conference, saying he’d “suggested” it. But as Wisconsin Democratic Senator Russ Feingold — who, together with conservative Idaho Republican Larry Craig, led the filibuster that defeated the Patriot Act’s renewal — said this weekend, “This is not how our democratic system of government works — the president does not get to pick and choose which laws he wants to follow.”

Now that's what I call STONED.

2 Tons of Pot Found in Border Tunnel

SAN DIEGO - Authorities said they discovered more than 2 tons of marijuana in a cross-border tunnel that began near the Tijuana airport and ended inside a warehouse on the U.S. side.

The 2,400-feet long passageway is longer than most of the 21 cross-border tunnels that have been discovered since authorities began keeping track after the Sept. 11 attacks, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said.

Quote of the Day

"I love you, and because I love you, I would sooner have you hate me for telling you the truth than adore me for telling you lies."

-Pietro Aretino, satirist and dramatist (1492-1556)

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Words to which I aspire...


Self-confident assurance; poise.
Great coolness and composure under strain; "keep your cool" [syn: assuredness, cool, poise, sang-froid]

[French, from Old French a plomb, perpendicularly : a, according to (from Latin ad-. See ad-) + plomb, lead weight (from Latin plumbum, lead).]

Lack of Substance

Not too much to report this week. I've got a houseguest who's on a TOTALLY different schedule than mine so mostly I'm sleepy, grouchy and exhausted. I love her, but she gets up at 4am and is asleep by 9 and it doesn't mesh well with my schedule that keeps me up until midnight.

Other than that loads of stress for school (so much to do before Feb 16!) and at work (boss is retiring at the end of the week and brilliant University has yet to find a successor). Everyone is snippy and the future is uncertain here at work.

*tries to hang in through hump day*

Big Eyes

Big Eyes
Originally uploaded by littledevilworks.

Darwin Awards Finalists

Hiccups lead to two deaths

BOGOTA, Colombia (Reuters) - A Colombian man accidentally shot his nephew to death while trying to cure his hiccups by pointing a revolver at him to scare him, police in the Caribbean port city of Barranquilla said on Tuesday.

After shooting 21-year-old university student David Galvan in the neck, his uncle, Rafael Vargas, 35, was so distraught he turned the gun on himself and committed suicide, police said.

The incident took place on Sunday night while the two were having drinks with neighbors.

Galvan started to hiccup and Vargas, who works as a security guard, said he would use the home remedy for hiccups of scaring him. He pulled out his gun, pointed it at Galvan and it accidentally went off, witnesses told local television.

"They were drinking but they were aware of what was going on," one witness said.

Weirder and Weirder

Michael Jackson Spotted in Robe and Veil

MANAMA, Bahrain - Pop star Michael Jackson was spotted shopping in a Bahrain mall on Wednesday, hiding his face behind a veil and donning a black robe traditionally worn by women in the Gulf.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Oh the headlines!

Today I will collect all the amusing headlines I can find. Check back for updates and feel free to add your own in the comments!

PS These are real headlines found on the likes of Yahoo News, CNN, etc. I will NOT be including any from The Onion.

1. Man Has Cardiac Arrest at Cardiologist Ball - Bet that came as a surprise to everyone.

2. Australian whale vomit find worth a fortune - Maybe if it was in the shape of Jesus? Or the Virgin Mary.

3. 8 Nabbed for No Pants Subway Ride in N.Y. - I discussed this yesterday. What exhibitionism!

4. Plane passenger executes bite-and-run then jumps - Like we don't have enough to worry about when flying.

5. Groping breasts and other adventures - Mmmm other adventures...

6. Kevin Federline Tries His Hand at Rapping - As opposed to what? Loafing? Spending?

7. Government support for mail-order brides - It's a sad commentary when the government wants to provide lonely farmers with Mail Order brides.

8. Britney, Trump and the Pox - Your latest gossip on how Britney and Trump bring the Pox to the world. We always knew she was nasty.

9. How to Squelch Your Inner Jackass - There are so many people I could recommend this to, but I'd probably be out of a job.

10. We're Pigs in Space - Well I've heard of the lack of gravity, but I didn't think it gave us snouts.

11. Bat Love Life, Size Does Matter - Hey baby, how big is your bat?

12. Runway Surprise: Where's my Flight? - As opposed to Runway Surpise - she's not wearing underwear!

13. Crime Blotter: Strippers Cop a Plea in Spanking Case - 'Nuff said.

14. Full Coverage: Heaven - Get the lastest on the news in Heaven, St. Peter's mood, who's ahead in sports the Angels or the Demons, and what your commute to the Pearly Gates looks like...

The hottest new merchandise.

Thanks to Chris over at Rude Cactus I found a funny for the day.

1. Go to Google.
2. Type in "Fuck you Dubya"
3. See what you get!

Or just click here for the first entry.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Cabbie Blog

Cabbie Blogs About Driving Taxi in NYC

NEW YORK - Welcome to the world of Melissa Plaut, a taxi driver who chronicles her chaotic, adventurous job in a blog called "New York Hack."

With words and digital photographs, Plaut offers a glimpse into the life of the New York cabbie, from the locker room where she and other drivers wait to begin their shifts to the pit stops they make and the gridlock and grueling 12-hour night shifts they endure.

It is difficult work, and Plaut says she doesn't like it most of time. The blog, which she started in August, "has really helped me cope with the job."

It has also given her readers — including some far from New York — a taste of the Big Apple. Her Web site gets between 400 and 900 hits a day.

Plaut, 30, is an unlikely representative for the roughly 42,000 licensed taxicab drivers in New York: Just 197 are women. She hears some variation of "Oh, a female cab driver!" as many as 20 or 30 times a night.

The daughter of teachers, Plaut grew up in suburban Pomona, N.Y. After graduating from the University of New Mexico in 1997, she moved to New York City, where she got a job as a writer and copy editor at an advertising agency.

She started driving a cab about a year ago after being laid off, which she says was a blessing. She couldn't bring herself to return to office work, so she stopped trying to figure out what she was going to do with her life and decided to "treat it as an adventure."

"Hopefully it's not what I'm going to be doing for the rest of my life," she said.

Plaut spent roughly $400 to get through the licensing process, which includes a medical exam, fingerprinting and three eight-hour sessions of taxi school. After passing a test and an English proficiency exam, she officially became a New York cabbie — a move that didn't exactly thrill her parents.

Check out the New York Hack.

It's Like...You Know...

I always think of the short-lived Jennifer Grey show, post-botched nose job, that was set in Los Angeles. To me, the title and the show are the epitome of the arguably true stereotype of what it's like to live in LA. And my friends, last night I succumbed.

Last night my houseguest and I went to see a movie at the Culver City mall. We needed a bite to eat beforehand, so we stopped at the food court. And ordered. SUSHI. Then we put it in my purse, and ate it in the theater. Yes you read that right...WE ATE SUSHI IN THE MOVIE THEATRE.

It's like...you know.

The Movie Reviews

Yes, I'm falling down on my movies duties. I know it. So here goes the list of the last few weeks:

Desperate Housewives, Season 1, Discs 1 & 2 - So I wanted to know what all the fuss was about. And you know? I don't get it. Sure it's decent entertainment, and funny, but I'm not sure why the world has gone gaga. And I find it HYSTERICAL that my parents banned us from watching soap operas as children, but are hooked on this, the grandmomma of all soaps.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - I have to say that I was mildly disappointed by this one. Johnny Depp was pretty good, but I think I liked Gene Wilder better.

The Usual Suspects - This is one of my favorite movies of all time, and I just watched it this weekend with Wes. I think Kevin Spacey is brilliant in this flick. Love it!

Be Cool - The sequel to Get Shorty had a few good moments, but wasn't super. I could take it or leave it.

Casanova - I saw this one in the theatre last night and I have to say it was fabulous. Heath Ledger is having a great year, and Sienna Miller was quite good. The scenery was beautiful and I really enjoyed it.

Those crazy New York subways...

How Is This Awkward Subway Ride Different From All Other Awkward Subway Rides?

Byline: Mark your calendars, kids, because this Sunday is No-Pants Sunday.

It means a wacky group of improvilicious New Yorkers will descend upon an unsuspecting IRT Sunday afternoon, and, in a series of steps apparently choreographed with Busby Berkeley-esque precision, they’ll remove their pants and then ride the 6 as though nothing is out of the ordinary.

These seems an excellent opportunity for exhibitionists and voyeurs alike, which makes it a good thing. But we also don’t see what’s quite so special about it. It just happens the once, and just on one subway train, which makes No-Pants Sunday, best we can tell, not terribly unlike any other Sunday.

If they knew how to zap away, Eternal Sunshine-style, all recollection of the pants-free folks we’ve previously encountered on the subway, well, now that would be special.

I guess Sally was right.

"Between men and women there is no friendship possible. There is passion, enmity, worship, love, but no friendship."

-Oscar Wilde, writer (1854-1900)

Friday, January 20, 2006

Just Ducky

Just Ducky
Originally uploaded by littledevilworks.
It's weekend! I have plenty to do, but I'm happy it's finally weekend. This little devil has some homework, some web work and some movies to watch. And a houseguest arriving on Sunday to clean for.

Even so, it's just ducky that it's weekend!


Yes I meant that extra F. You can substitute in whatever friendly F expletive you like.

I have a few questions for my Friday afternoon. Feel free to chime in if you have the answers.

1. Why do the shortest weeks feel the most interminably long?

2. Why do professors persist in assigning homework for the first day of class, before they post the syllabus or hand out the course readers? INEVITABLY this means that for the first few weeks you're running behind.

3. Why when one exercises regularly and watches what one eats for TWO WHOLE WEEKS does the scale not budge even half a pound?

4. Why OH WHY did I teach my lovely fiance to play Literati like a Scrabble demon so that he soundly whoops my ass each and every time we play?

5. Why is it that no matter how I book my boss's flight, no matter how many times I ASK HIM when he wants to travel, he always changes the flights at least TWICE and it costs me money each time?



These and other questions brought to you by the letter F. You may now resume your afternoon activities.

Thursday, January 19, 2006


MBAs are hot, again.

Salaries and signing bonuses of fresh graduates took a double-digit jump in 2005 to a record average $106,000 and signaled an end to the "perfect storm" of sour news this decade that included the dot-com bust, the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and a subsequent recession, said Dave Wilson, president of the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC) that oversees the test for aspiring graduate students in business.

Corporate recruiters had disappeared from campuses. But, Wilson reports, "The MBA is back as the currency of intellectual capital."

The $106,000 salary and signing bonus was up 13.5% from 2004, according to a GMAC survey of 5,829 2005 grads. Salary alone increased to $88,600, surpassing the previous high of $85,400 set in 2001. The 2005 salary still trails 2001 by about $4,000 when adjusted for inflation, but the inflation-adjusted record will likely be broken this year.

Absolutely effen crazy.

Arctic Temperatures Blanket Russia

MOSCOW (AP) - Arctic temperatures blanketed Russia for a fourth day on Thursday, sending electricity use surging and pushing the death toll from the cold wave to at least 31 people as even hardy Russians struggled to cope with the big freeze.

Temperatures in Moscow plunged overnight to as low as minus 24, said Tatyana Pozdnyakova, a Moscow weather forecasting service official. The temperature was the lowest recorded on Jan. 19 since 1927, she said.

Seven people died of exposure in the Russian capital in the previous 24 hours, city emergency officials said, pushing the nationwide death toll from the Siberian cold wave that swept into Moscow late Monday to at least 31.

At a zoo in Lipetsk, south of Moscow, director Alexander Osipov said monkeys would be given wine three times day, ``to protect against colds,'' the RIA-Novosti news agency reported.

Electricity use surged to record levels and towns and cities struggled to keep indoor temperatures up. Children stayed home from school and drivers struggled to start cars.

But thousands of religious believers along with winter swimmers plunged into icy waters nationwide for an annual ritual marking the Russian Orthodox Christian holiday of Epiphany. Many dipped into holes cut into thick ice on rivers and ponds in the ritual that commemorates the baptism of Jesus Christ in the River Jordan.

Taking a dip at 24 below zero ``is the most intense feeling,'' one man in the Ural Mountains city of Yekaterinburg told Channel One television.


A Manly Yarn

NEW YORK (Reuters) - If you're stuck for entertainment in New York on a Friday night, and as long as you're man enough, try learning to rib at "Boyz Nite" at a Greenwich Village venue from 9 until late.

That's rib as in knitting the cuff of your sweater.

Knit New York, a wool and craft store in Lower Manhattan, is fighting the stereotype that knitting is the province of women. "Are you strong enough to knit and man enough to purl?" says an advertisement for Boyz Nite on the shop's Web site.

The store draws dozens of men to its weekly men's night where beginners and experts gather to exchange tips over beer and hot dogs.

"Believe me, we love women," said store manager Josh Bennett. "But it's like when guys get together to watch a football game, they have all that in common so there's that sense of excitement. After a long week, you can come and work on your project have a couple of beers and hang out."

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Gotta love the Darwin Awards...

The Winner

When his 38-caliber revolver failed to fire at his intended victim during a holdup in Long Beach, California, would be robber James Elliot did something that can only inspire wonder. He peered down the barrel and tried the trigger again. This time it worked.

My Favorite Runner-Up

After stopping for drinks at an illegal bar, a Zimbabwean bus driver found that the 20 mental patients he was supposed to be transporting from Harare to Bulawayo had escaped. Not wanting to admit his incompetence, the driver went to a nearby bus stop and offered everyone waiting there a free ride. He then delivered the passengers to the mental hospital, telling the staff that the patients were very excitable and prone to bizarre fantasies. The deception wasn't discovered for three days.

The Secret to Exercise

At least for me, I've discovered in the last 2 weeks, is a good book. I've therefore established a "no free reading books unless I'm excercising" rule (translation: anything that doesn't include schoolwork). It seems to be working well: I'm now 125 pages into a good book, and I'm motivated to do my 25-30 minutes on the treadmill each day (leaving a mile behind me on the "track"). Wow something good for me mixed with something good to do. Who knew?

Those dangerous terrorists...

NEW YORK - At New York's Kennedy airport today, an individual later discovered to be a public school teacher was arrested trying to board a flight while in possession of a ruler, protractor, set square, slide rule, and calculator.

At a morning press conference, Attorney General John Ashcroft said he believes the man is a member of the notorious Al-gebra movement. He is being charged by the FBI with carrying weapons of math instruction. Al-gebra is a fearsome cult," Ashcroft said. "They desire average solutions by means and extremes, and sometimes go off on tangents in a search of absolute value. They use secret code names like 'x' and 'y' and refer to themselves as 'unknowns', but we have determined they belong to a common denominator of the axis of medieval with co-ordinates in every country. As the Greek philosopher Isosceles used to say, 'There are 3 sides to every triangle'."

When asked to comment on the arrest, President Bush said: "If God had wanted us to have better weapons of math instruction, He would have given us more fingers and toes."

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Supreme Court Upholds Oregon Suicide Law

By GINA HOLLAND, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 29 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court on Tuesday blocked the Bush administration's attempt to punish doctors who help terminally ill patients die, protecting Oregon's one-of-a-kind assisted-suicide law.

It was the first loss for Chief Justice John Roberts, who joined the court's most conservative members — Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas — in a long but restrained dissent.

The administration improperly tried to use a federal drug law to pursue Oregon doctors who prescribe lethal doses of prescription medicines, the court said in a rebuke to former Attorney General John Ashcroft.

The 6-3 ruling could encourage other states to consider copying Oregon's law, used to end the lives of more than 200 seriously ill people in that state. The decision, one of the biggest expected from the court this year, also could set the stage for Congress to attempt to outlaw assisted suicide.

Crop circles are Chuck Norris' way of telling the world that sometimes corn needs to lie the fuck down.

This and other nonsense can be found at Chuck Norris Facts courtesy of the WineGuy.

The Knitting Olympics

The Knitting Olympics
Originally uploaded by littledevilworks.
I have decided to challenge myself and participate in the 2006 Knitting Olympics courtesy of the Yarn Harlot.

My project: A cute little felted bag.

Between work and school work and a million other events, this ought to be quite the challenge for me to complete by the time the torch goes out!

"Meetings and more Meetings"

Byline: The Bane of Any Manager's Existence

First on the agenda: are meetings too long?

Marc Abrahams
Tuesday January 17, 2006
The Guardian

Do you believe, as someone somewhere perhaps does, that meetings, meetings, meetings, followed by more meetings are altogether a good thing? If so, Alexandra Luong and Steven G Rogelberg think you should think again. In a newly published study, they say: "We propose that despite the fact that meetings may help to achieve work-related goals, having too many meetings and spending too much time in meetings per day may have negative effects on the individual."

Luong is an assistant professor of industrial and organisational psychology at the University of Minnesota, Duluth. Rogelberg is an associate professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Their report appears in the journal Group Dynamics: Theory, Research and Practice.

It begins with a somewhat brief recitation of the history of important research discoveries about meetings. Here is a capsule version of their tale.

Discovery: The majority of a manager's typical workday is spent in meetings. This was reported by an investigator named Mintzberg in 1973.

Discovery: The frequency and length of meetings have grown considerably in the last few decades. So declared the team of Mosvick and Nelson in 1987.

Discovery: A scientist named Zohar, in a series of reports published during the 1990s, found evidence that "annoying episodes" - which are sometimes also known as "hassles" - contribute to burnout, anxiety, depression and other negative emotions. Zohar advanced a theoretical framework that may one day help to explain why this is so.

Discovery: In 1999, a scientist named Zijlstra "had a sample of office workers work in a simulated office for a period of two days in order to examine the psychological effects of interruptions. [They] were periodically interrupted by telephone calls from the researcher." This had what Zijlstra calls "negative effects" on their mood.

Luong and Rogelberg used those and other discoveries as a basis for their own innovatively broad theory.

They devised a pair of hypotheses, educatedly guessing that:

1. The more meetings one has to attend, the greater the negative effects; and

2. The more time one spends in meetings, the greater the negative effects.

"It is impressive," Luong and Rogelberg write in their summary, "that a general relationship between meeting load and the employee's level of fatigue and subjective workload was found". Their central insight, they say, is the concept of "the meeting as one more type of hassle or interruption that can occur for individuals".

Rogelberg has delivered this insight in a talk called "Meetings and More Meetings," which he presented to a meeting at the University of Sheffield. He also does a talk called "Not Another Meeting!", which has been well received at two meetings in North Carolina.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Definitely good advice.

If you wouldn't write it and sign it, don't say it.

-Earl Wilson, columnist (1907-1987)

Does this mean I have to stop gossiping???

Look Ma! It's ice.

Ice Sculptures
Originally uploaded by littledevilworks.
"A general view of visitors walking around giant ice sculptures in a park in Harbin, northeast China's Heilongjiang province, January 5, 2006. Harbin on Thursday held its 22nd annual Ice and Snow festival."

Deep Thoughts

There are four ways, and only four ways, in which we have contact with the world. We are evaluated and classified by these four contacts: what we do, how we look, what we say, and how we say it.

-Dale Carnegie, author and educator (1888-1955)

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Two productive days and now I'm ready for my day of rest.

I declare Monday a full on "stay in my pajamas and keep my lazy ass on the couch day."

Yesterday was laundry and homework day. I'm really not excited to start another semester - and the homework is just beginning. Let's hope this one goes at superspeed.

Today was web design and cooking day. I'm currently just about done with the parts I can do, and I'm just waiting for a meeting with the owner. The chili is simmering on the stove for dinner. (and plenty of meals in the next few days!)

So bring on the movies and the pajamas... I'm ready to relax.

More to report after I watch!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Starbucks is evil.

No, this isn't a diatribe on the American corporations that drive out the little guys and become ubiquitous, this is more of the aftermath of Supersize Me.

I don't believe it's right to hold McDonald's or any other company responsible for how heavy Americans are becoming. HOWEVER, if you're going to say fast food is the enemy, you might as well add Starbucks to the list.


I have developed some handy guidelines for mitigating the damage:

1. Never order anything Venti. Nobody needs that much of anything. (Hot tea or plain coffee are the exceptions, although a boatload of caffeine can give you the shakes.)

2. Go with skim milk every time - save on fat and calories!

3. Skip the whip. ALWAYS.

4. Eat the baked goods at your own peril. Even the lowfat items will kill you.

These rules will help you eat/drink/live better. They will also suck the fun right out of that Starbucks run.

***written by the girl with the Starbucks credit card who can't live without a good chai every now and again***

Friday, January 13, 2006

Quote of the Day

A good scare is worth more to a man than good advice.

-Edgar Watson Howe, novelist and editor (1853-1937)

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Fire! Fire! Water! Water!

This entry addresses two topics.

1. I work in a very interesting place, a research institute. My job title is Project Specialist but really I do everything from wrangle the directors to supervise events. This means that on any given day, it's anyone's guess what I'm going to be up to.

2. As a lot of my friends will attest, I often utter the phrase "that's so bloggable!" This means that I spend a disproportionate amount of time each day thinking in blog entries and headlines.

So, without further ado, I give you tonight's headline, courtesy of a late night at work for an event:

Caterer Sets Kitchen Ablaze

A fortune.

"Hidden in a valley beside an open stream...this will be the type of place where you will find your dream."

I could be wrong, but I don't remember a stream in Riley, Kansas.

Wordy Thoughts

Only when covertly playing Literati with one's fiance during the work day can one use the following sentences:

"Wow, I am in the midst of a veritable vowel frenzy."

"Hmmm don't mind me, I was distracted by the consonants."

Yes yes I know. I'm a word geek.


Altman to receive honorary Oscar

Robert Altman has been praised for his innovation.

Film director Robert Altman is to receive an honorary Oscar for his life's work. Altman, 80, has been nominated for best director five times but failed to win.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences praised a "career that has repeatedly reinvented the art form and inspired film-makers and audiences".

The films which earned him Oscar nominations were Short Cuts, Gosford Park, The Player, Mash and Nashville.

Altman is one of four film-makers who have been nominated on five occasions but never picked up an award.

The others are Martin Scorsese, Alfred Hitchcock, Clarence Brown and King Vidor.

His next film, A Prairie Home Companion, is due to be released in June.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Have you ever been this tired?

This Tired
Originally uploaded by littledevilworks.
Ok so I'm not quite THIS tired, but there are days when I've felt like this. Sweet dreams!

Geek Chic

Levi Unveils iPod-Ready Jeans

By Elizabeth Millard
January 11, 2006 8:33AM

"As people carry multiple gadgets, you're going to see more clothing makers thinking about how to serve that market," said Scott Jordan, founder of SCOTTeVEST, a maker of gadget-friendly vests, jackets, and pants. "There's more consciousness now about what people are carrying, as well as what they're wearing."

Levi Strauss has announced a new range of jeans specifically geared toward iPod users. They come complete with built-in headphones, joystick, and even a docking cradle.

The RedWire DLX line of jeans, due to be in stores by the end of 2006, will be available for men and women, and tentatively priced at $200.

The jeans will have a special side pocket where an iPod can be stored. And a remote control that comes with the jeans will allow the user to control the player without having to take it from the pocket

Repeat after me...

"This donut has NO nutritional value."

That's what Wes taught his 7 year old niece to say over Christmas. Not that she knew "what a nutrition is."

Well after two days of false starts, I finally started working out today. Twenty minutes on the treadmill boosting my heart rate. I skipped the weights as I already had to purchase and lift (multiple times) 2 metric tons of soda, water and ice today.

Of course then I killed all the calories I burned by eating a bagel. Do you know how many calories those things have? Food like that should be marked DANGEROUS.

This recent health kick brought to you by the influence of Supersize Me, the most disturbingly disgusting movie I have ever seen.


A coworker adds: "Isn't a nutrition a new type of particle? If so wouldn't a microwave be a nutrition accelerator?" He won't comment himself so I'm going to call him WineGuy from here on out.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Where the Wild Things Are

WB acquires "Where the Wild Things Are" rights

POSTED ON 01/09/06 AT 8:30 A.M.

Variety reports that Warner Bros. has acquired the rights to distribute "Where the Wild Things Are," a film based on the classic children's book by Maurice Sendak.

Previously, Universal Pictures had planned on producing and releasing the project but when it stalled, the rights went up for grabs.

Spike Jonze ("Being John Malkovich") is expected to direct the live-action feature which will also house a lot of CGI-effects. Jonze co-wrote the screenplay with Dave Eggers. Tom Hanks, Gary Goetzman, John Carls and Sendak will be producing the project.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Knitting Humor

Originally uploaded by littledevilworks.
I was suprised when I opened the mailbox the other day to find this little gem from JET. It's a quite amusing and warm-hearted look at the crazy world of knitting and even after only reading a few pages, I identify with some of the things she says. I also went to check out her blog today, The Yarn Harlot, and it's a great read with plenty of pretty project pictures. I'd highly recommend!

Delurking Week

Originally uploaded by littledevilworks.
You've seen it, you've heard of it... if you're here and you enjoy, delurk leave me a comment dammit!

Laughter and Tears

Jay Leno
Originally uploaded by littledevilworks.
Last night my parents, Wes and I went to the Comedy and Magic Club in Hermosa Beach. Jay Leno performs there on Sunday evenings, and tests out materials for his upcoming shows. Being a longtime Tonight Show fan and loving my daily dose of Jay, I couldn't resist. We had a great time! Both the comics who opening for him were great, the food was good, and he was, as always, very funny. I highly recommend it as a great night out!

The second part of the entry refers to the fact that real life has started again today. Early early this morning I had to put Wes back on a plane to Kansas and return to my office and my life as a part time student (classes begin tonight). Needless to say, I'm pretty depressed. Even though we've spent the past two weeks entirely together, I know that when I get home tonight it's just going to feel very empty there. Guess I just keep my fingers crossed that the next two years pass at lightning speed.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Wine Party and Hot Massage Stones

Wine Party
Originally uploaded by littledevilworks.
Last night Wes and I attended a small wine soiree at a friend's house. I confess I'm not much of a wine drinker (and I was designated driver), but it was fabulous. We sampled a Cabernet, a white, some mead that Wes brewed, some amazing Port, and a taste of Absinthe (whew! that packs a punch). Conversation was great and it was a great success. Thanks to the party host!

Today was the day that Wes and I enjoyed the Christmas present his mom gave us - spa treatments at Le Petite Retreat in Los Angeles. We started with a Peppermint Ginger Plunge and moved on to a Warm Stone Deep Tissue Massage for couples. It was amazing..... now we're home all relaxed and limber and curling up to watch a movie.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Batman Begins

Originally uploaded by littledevilworks.
As unexpected as it is, this is quite possibly the best movie I've seen this holiday season. It comes in a close tie with Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I know without a doubt this is the best Batman movie I've seen. I was just really taken by how well they explained the Batman character, and I loved how they mingled science and ninja arts to create what in the comic books was always magic and suspension of disbelief. Combine that with a great score, really excellent acting (even Katie Holmes did decently, but I LOVED Michael Caine) and I just walked away thinking this movie ROCKED.

And yes I'm behind the times... I Netflixed it because I missed it in the theatre.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

A different sort of career...

Baby, you can park my car...

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Take a few leggy California blondes, throw in a passion for luxury cars, plenty of parties, and a distaste for parking your own car.

What have you got? A multimillion-dollar, female valet parking business, where struggling models and actresses dressed in bikinis, miniskirts or lingerie and Santa hats park the cars of the rich and famous in the Los Angeles area.

Beverly Hills, California-based Girls Valet Parking opened for business less than six months ago. This week, it took over its rival, Valet Girls, and announced plans to expand to San Francisco, Las Vegas, San Diego and Phoenix.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

MRI's and TD's

Well today was quite an interesting day. I took a sick day off of work to enjoy my first MRI. I have to say, other than being a little nervous that I needed one, it wasn't too bad. Sure it was loud in that annoying tube, and I kept my eyes closed for most of the hour I was in there, but they strapped me in and covered me up and I've certainly spent worse hours of my life.

The second part of the title refers to the touchdowns that weren't quite enough to win a third National Championship title for USC. I'm disappointed that they didn't win, but it was an amazing game and both SC and UT played their butts off, so I can't say it was a bad game to watch. Actually my favorite part by far was how Pete Carroll handled the end - he was gracious in defeat and classy.

So now we're just chillin', watching a little tv and snuggling on the couch. Night night all!


Rose Bowl Pits No. 1 and 2 Teams Tonight

PASADENA, Calif. - Heisman Trophy winners Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart will try to lead top-ranked Southern California over Vince Young and No. 2 Texas for the national championship in the Rose Bowl on Wednesday night.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Artic Survival Tips for the Young Explorer

The "blue" in the ice of a moulin indicates ice safe to drink. The white ice (at the arctic sea shore) contains salt and in a survival situation is not safe to drink. The blue ice is aged and the salt content is apparently gone from it. Melt it in your hand and drop the drops into your mouth. If you eat it as ice, it will help lower your body's core temperature which can hasten freezing to death.

Happy Holidays to All.

Byline: You know you've wanted to.

Angry passengers sue after plane delay

BERLIN (Reuters) - Six German airline passengers who said they were being held against their will on an aircraft stuck on the runway for hours during a snowstorm have filed "false imprisonment" charges, German police said Saturday.

The passengers filed charges against the pilot of a British Airways Berlin-London flight that sat on the runway for seven hours before it could take off, a federal police spokesman said.

Passengers boarded the plane at Berlin's Tegel airport at 7 a.m. Thursday, but snow and ice delayed their takeoff. At 11:30 a.m. a man named Ingo Q. called a police emergency hotline on his cell phone and said he felt as if he was being "held hostage," the tabloid Bild reported Saturday.

Police boarded the plane and Ingo Q. ran forward and screamed "I want to get out of here." But only three people who only had hand luggage were allowed to leave the plane.

Shortly after noon, Ingo Q told police again that he wanted to leave the aircraft, still waiting on the snow-covered runway. Ingo, his wife and another couple from Biesdorf near Berlin were allowed off the plane at 12:48 p.m., and it finally took off at 2:36 p.m., seven hours late, Bild said.

The Berlin police spokesman said it was an unusual incident. "The plane stood there for a long time ... It's difficult to say whether the passengers are allowed off or not. It's something they have to work out with the captain."

Happy New Year!

Wes & Laura
Originally uploaded by littledevilworks.
Happy New Year folks! I hope that you all enjoyed the holidays with friends and family and had a great time!

As I mentioned in my previous post, the main excitement of the season for me was getting engaged, but I realized I probably could do another post about what we did over break.

I left on Dec. 23 and headed for Virginia to spend the holidays with Wes' family. We had a great time! We ate lots of good food, spent time playing with the kids, and enjoyed spending time with the family (though I seem to have lost a bit at cards).

Wes proposed Christmas morning in front of the family, and we were all super excited. For those of you who may be wondering, we won't be getting married for a few years, until we finish school and can live in the same city.

On Dec. 27 we both came back to LA for a little R&R and to tell my parents. We spent New Years rockin' at the Big Bad Voodoo Daddy show at the Walt Disney Concert Hall and ushered in the new year to swing tunes.

A few other highlights of the break:

* We shopped for engagement rings and found the perfect wedding set! Now we just have to find a wedding ring for Wes.

* The movies! We watched/rented: Sling Blade, Addicted to Love, Reservoir Dogs, Happy Endings, Boondock Saints, King Kong and Harry Potter. Of those I have to recommend Happy Endings (a weird little movie with an awesome soundtrack) and Harry Potter. I found Kong to have great special effects, but to be way too long. Boondock Saints was a hilarious rental.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

What I did on my Christmas Vacation (In Pictures)

Some of you may be wondering where I have disappeared to for the last 9 days. I wanted to post sooner, but I needed to take care of a few things first.

This year I spent Christmas in Virginia with Wes and his family. We had lots of great food, lots of great company, and lots of presents.

Originally uploaded by littledevilworks.

This is the last present that I received, a jewelry box that Wes made for me. It's beautiful, although it created a little trouble, as can be seen below.

Originally uploaded by littledevilworks.

When I opened the jewelry box, I was sort of shocked to see a Zales box inside. I wondered what might be going on, and I soon found out.

Originally uploaded by littledevilworks.

But the real suprise came a few moments later....

Originally uploaded by littledevilworks.

Of course I said yes!!! A few days later we flew back to LA and visited a bunch of stores where we bought this.

Originally uploaded by littledevilworks.

PS I had to wait to tell my parents before we posted.