Tuesday, July 31, 2007

This is me.


"Maybe we should just get a goat."

Sometimes I do my rendition of 4pm coffee hour here at the office and make up a pot of flavored coffee. Today, in lust for my Bahamas vacation next week, I decided to prep with some Vacation Villa Vanilla. When I announced the fresh steaming pot of java, I got the following responses:

Coworker Miss J: I just can't do flavor. I need straight caffeine. Oh and a little bit of whipping cream.

Me: Well Coworker Miss D likes 4 kinds of cream in her coffee....

Coworker Miss L: Maybe we should just get a goat. Do you think we could get a project to fund that? We have one of everything else here....


Theme song for 2007

I'm not that into celebrity gossip, but it seems there's only one word that's being uttered these days and it brings me to the theme song for 2007:

Amy Winehouse "Rehab"

They tried to make me go to rehab
I said no, no, no.
Yes I been black, but when I come back
You wont know, know, know.

I ain’t got the time
And if my daddy thinks im fine
He’s tried to make me go to rehab
I wont go, go, go.

Got a problem with drugs or alcohol? Homophobia? Racism? Rough life as a teenage star/celebrity/debutante?

Just go to REHAB!!!



This week is SHARK WEEK on the Discovery Channel and we've been tuning in. (I know it's not that smart to be watching sharks right before you go on a cruise but I digress...)

Sunday we were watching a special called Robo-Shark where they put a robotic shark with a camera among real sharks to try to observe their behavior without human interference. Once of the things they were doing was profiling Bull Sharks, one of the most deadly sharks in the ocean. The interesting thing about Bull Sharks is how adaptable they are - they can exist in salt water or fresh water, and typically find their way up streams and into lakes were other sharks wouldn't venture. One of the most interesting things they showed was bull sharks getting into tussles with Nile crocodiles. At which point I turned to Wes and said "What's the difference between a crocodile and an alligator?" And he responded "Look at those crocogators!!" Well actually he responded with "I think it has to do with the nose... let's watch the crocogators."

We all know of the famous crocodiles:

* The croc from Peter Pan who takes Captain Hook's arm

* Crocodile Dundee (ok maybe not a famous crocodile!)

So what's the difference?

Wisegeek puts it this way:

The first difference between a crocodile and an alligator is that they are from different families of crocodilians. Crocodiles are from the crocodylidae family, while alligators and caiman are from the alligatoridae family.

Hmmmm, somehow that doesn't seem to help.....

In terms of physical differences the easiest way to tell the difference between the two is that a crocodile has a very long, narrow, V-shaped snout, while the alligator's snout is wider and U-shaped. Because of the wide snout of the alligator it packs more crushing power to eat prey like turtles that constitute part of its diet. The narrow crocodile snout, although still very powerful, is not really suited for prey like turtles but is very versatile for fish and mammals.

Ahhh well that helps. You're right honey... it's all about the nose!

Another physical difference between the crocodile and the alligator is that the crocodile's upper and lower jaws are nearly the same width, so the teeth are exposed all along the jaw line in an interlocking pattern, even when the mouth is closed. They also have an enormous 4th tooth on the lower jaw that is accommodated by depressions in the upper jaw just behind the nostrils.

An alligator, on the other hand, has a wider upper jaw, so when its mouth is closed the teeth in the lower jaw fit into sockets of the upper jaw, hidden from view. Only the teeth of the upper jaw are exposed along the lower jaw line. Even the enormous 4th tooth on the bottom jaw, which is exposed in a crocodile, is hidden in the alligator.

Another physical difference is that crocodiles have a lighter olive brown coloration, while alligators appear blackish. Alligators also prefer freshwater while crocodiles like brackish water and sometimes even ocean.

How about some pictorial examples? (I learn by seeing...)

I see a Crocogator!


Monday, July 30, 2007

It's my party and it's over now.... Phew.

It's been a long Monday. I got up early and came in a bit on the early side, because today was the annual Summer Intern luncheon (also known as the day where I run around like a chicken with my head cut off setting up, cleaning up and everything in between!). Basically each summer we have 30ish interns who, for the past two summers, have been more or less my responsibility. I don't supervise them, or give them work assignments, but I'm more of a friendly logistics officer starting with fielding resumes and finishing up with sending them off with gifts at the end of the summer.

All I can say is that I'm glad it's over. Today is the most work of any single day in "coordinating" this program, and it's exhausting. On the upside - my work week is downhill from here. Meaning that after I've kicked Monday's @$$ everything else should be relatively easy.

Hope y'all had a good day and I'll update more tomorrow.


Sunday, July 29, 2007

Finally, some knitting!

Since Wes has joined me and we've been going out and doing things, I haven't spent as much time knitting. This weekend was spent catching up on chores and errands, getting ready for our trip and knitting! My progress:

Charity Blanket #11 - Red, White and Blue (started July 4th!)

Socks and a hat for Tadpole. Nina's included for scale - look at how tiny those socks are!


Friday, July 27, 2007

21 Grams

This is an absolutely fascinating theory. I did see the movie of the same name, but I believe that the origins of the legend are even more interesting.

From Snopes.com:

Claim: A physician once placed dying patients upon a scale in order to measure the weight of the human soul.

Status: True.

Origins: Most of those of a religious bent believe in life everlasting for the faithful, a continuation of the life force that reaches far beyond the limitations of mortal flesh. In such belief systems, death is not an end but a transformation: though people shed their corporeal selves at the moment of demise, that Scale which made them unique beings lives on to rejoin the Creator. We call this intrinsic personness "the soul," an entity described in the dictionary as "The immaterial essence, animating principle, or actuating cause of an individual life."

Yet as much as we believe in the concept of "soul," this life spark remains strictly an article of faith. As central as it is to our perception of ourselves, it can't be seen or heard or smelled or touched or tasted, a state of affairs that leaves some of us uneasy. Without the soul, dead is dead. But if it could be proved to exist, a great deal of anxiety over what happens to us when we die would be vanquished.

Enter Dr. Duncan MacDougall of Haverhill, Massachusetts. The doctor postulated the soul was material and therefore had mass, ergo a measurable drop in the weight of the deceased would be noted at the moment this essence parted ways with the physical remains. The belief that human beings are possessed of souls which depart their bodies after death and that these souls have detectable physical presences were around well before the 20th century, but claims that souls have measurable mass which falls within a specific range of weights can be traced to experiments conducted by Dr. MacDougall in 1907.

Dr. MacDougall, seeking to determine "if the psychic functions continue to exist as a separate individuality or personality after the death of brain and body," constructed a special bed in his office "arranged on a light framework built upon very delicately balanced platform beam scales" sensitive to two-tenths of an ounce. He undertook to measure 6 terminally ill patients immediately before and after their deaths. His results?

"[S]uddenly coincident with death . . . the loss was ascertained to be three-fourths of an ounce."

Dr. MacDougall admitted in his journal article that his experiments would have to repeated many times with similar results before any conclusions could be drawn from them. Nonetheless, MacDougall believed he was onto something — four years later the New York Times reported in a front-page story that he had moved on to experiments which he hoped would allow him to take pictures of the soul: Dr. Duncan MacDougall of Haverhill, who has experimented much in the observation of death, in an interview published here to-day expressed doubt that the experiments with X rays about to be made at the University of Pennsylvania will be successful in picturing the human soul, because the X ray is in reality a shadow picture. He admits, however, that at the moment of death the soul substance might become so agitated as to reduce the obstruction that the bone of the skull offers ordinarily to the Roentgen ray and might therefore be shown on the plate as a lighter spot on the dark shadow of the bone.

MacDougall seems not to have made any more experimental breakthroughs regarding the measurement of the human soul after 1911 (at least, none considered remarkable enough to have been reported in the pages of the New York Times), and he passed away in 1920. Nonetheless, his legacy lives on in the oft-expressed maxim that the human soul weighs 21 grams. (At the moment of death, MacDougall's first test subject decreased in weight by three-fourths of an ounce, which is 21.3 grams.)

What to make of all this? MacDougall's results were flawed because the methodology used to harvest them was suspect, the sample size far too small, and the ability to measure changes in weight imprecise. For this reason, credence should not be given to the idea his experiments proved something, let alone that they measured the weight of the soul as 21 grams. His postulations on this topic are a curiousity, but nothing more.


Encyclopedia Entry: What is Wrong with the World Today.

See also: @$$hole and filthy human being.

Prankster dentist wins in court

OLYMPIA, Wash. - An oral surgeon who temporarily implanted fake boar tusks in his assistant's mouth as a practical joke and got sued for it has ended up with the last laugh.

Dr. Robert Woo of Auburn had put the phony tusks in while the woman was under anesthesia for a different procedure. He took them out before she awoke, but first he shot photos that eventually made it around the office.

The employee, Tina Alberts, felt so humiliated when she saw the pictures that she quit and sued her boss.

Woo's insurance company, Fireman's Fund, refused to cover the claim, saying the practical joke was intentional and not a normal business activity his insurance policy covered, so Woo settled out of court. He agreed to pay Alberts $250,000, then sued his insurers.

A King County Superior Court jury sided with Woo, ordering Fireman's Fund to pay him $750,000, plus the out-of-court settlement. The insurance company won the next round, with the state Court of Appeals saying the prank had nothing to do with Woo's practice of dentistry. On Thursday, the state Supreme Court restored Woo's award.

In a sprightly 5-4 decision, Supreme Court Justice Mary Fairhurst wrote that Woo's practical joke was an integral, if odd, part of the assistant's dental surgery and "conceivably" should trigger the professional liability coverage of his policy.

Dissenting Justice James Johnson said the prank wasn't a dental procedure at all and only "rewards Dr. Woo's obnoxious behavior and allows him to profit handsomely."

The oral surgery on Alberts was intended to replace two of her teeth with implants, which Woo did. First, though, he installed temporary bridges that he had shaped to look like boar tusks, and while Alberts was still under anesthesia, he took photos, some with her eyes propped open. Before she woke up, he removed the "tusks" and put in the proper replacement teeth.

Woo says he didn't personally show her the pictures but staffers gave her copies at a birthday party.

Woo's lawyer, Richard Kilpatrick, described the surgeon as a kindhearted, fun-loving man who was chagrined that an office prank turned out so badly. He was delighted with the high court's decision, Kilpatrick said.

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Thursday, July 26, 2007


My love, bless his heart, is a morning person. Not just a "enjoy-your-morning-and-
hum-along" morning person, but a "get-up-at-6am-
as-you-go" kind of guy. I'm really more of a night person (read: DO NOT DISTURB BEFORE 9AM). As you can imagine this leads to a few problems. But my number one gripe about getting up so damn early in the morning is that I'm hungry all day long. I eat my Powerbar at 8:30am and I'm STARVING by 11. I eat lunch at noon and then I'm STARVING by 3. When I start my day a little later, this never happens.

This post brought to you by my grumbling tummy.


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Discovery Channel

Lately Wes has me hooked on the Discovery Channel. As RockStarMommy pointed out today, one of the biggest and hottest bad asses on TV is Bear Grylls in his show Man v. Wild. The premise of the show is to take Bear, a ex-UK Special Forces guy and drop him somewhere remote with only a knife, a canteen and some flint. From there he has a couple days to find civilization. Throughout the process he uses his survival skills - subsisting on plants, animals or whatever he can find out there (read: drinking his own urine or squeezing water from elephant dung) to get out of the jam he's in. He also sometimes throws himself in new jams (Scotland bogs, quicksand, frozen lakes) just for the hell of it, and to show you how to get out. I have come to the conclusion that if I were lost in the wilderness, I would die in 3-6 hours. Unless of course I were lost with Bear, but then I would be perpetually grossed out. Hmmm.....

Another good show is Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe. Basically Mike takes it upon himself to spend a day doing all the dirtiest jobs in the world, the ones that most of us wouldn't think of doing. Past jobs include the sewers of San Francisco (complete with cockroaches and rats), dairy farming, cleaning out the engine of a ship, and many, many others too stomach-turning to recall (I must have blocked them.) This is not a show for the weak of stomach but it is awfully fun to watch. Of course, Mike Rowe also has a few hidden talents. For instance - he's an opera singer!

Here I thought the summer and all the reruns were going to be boring!


Dark Humor.

Found here.


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Topics not for discussion over wonton soup.

Today was the monthly administration department luncheon at a local Chinese place. I use the term "work luncheon" very lightly because although there was work content discussed, it was more of a morale boost and good eats than anything else. However, I've found that there are certain things that are best not to discuss at a work lunch. Of course, somehow these things get brought up each month anyway:

* My high school nickname: Fluffy

* My pole dancing lessons

(which leads to me being called Fluffy the Pole Dancer)

* How searching for "Japanese female robot video" really just produces tons of porn hits on Google. Even if what you're searching for is really work related content.

* How I always seem to be saying or doing something embarrassing when one of my bosses comes to find me.

Topics that are okay for discussion:

* What my new married name will be.

* How the wedding planning is going.

P.S. Do you know how hard it is to find images of wonton soup with only ONE wonton? Apparently the Chinese food place we dine has a one wonton regulation - any more and the cook must be shot.


Crafty Goodness

Just found this here. Check out all the other adorable stuffies!


Monday, July 23, 2007

Whoa these hot summer nights!

A little excitement over here Chez Moi...

*sirens wailing, getting noticeably closer*

Me: Oooo they're coming for me.

Him: Fire trucks are coming for you?

*sirens so loud we can't hear each other*

Me: Holy #$%&! They're right here. Where's the fire?

Apparently right here:

Fire trucks: 5
Paramedics: 2
Lookyloos like us: Lots
Source: Kitchen fire

Oh, and a mug bigger than my head:

It doesn't get better than this folks!


Standing on line for nothing?


For weeks now I've been reading/seeing/hearing about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I can state with a fair amount of certainty that it is the most anticipated book of this year. I witnessed the lines around the building at various book stores, some even a few days before the release at 12:01am on Saturday morning. I have friends who pre-ordered and lamented that the book didn't arrive until today (if you shipped it to work). The lucky readers who got their books on Saturday and read all weekend long vs. the unlucky ones who didn't get a copy and have to wait until the bookstores restock.

Which is why I found it ironic and sort of wryly amusing that as I stopped off at the neighborhood Ralph's on my way home, there was a table with at least 50 copies of the book, untouched, over by the bakery.


High-Tech Squirrels Trained to Conduct Espionage

"In the July 20 issue of the Washington Post, columnist Al Kamen reports that the BBC has translated a story headlined 'spying squirrels,' published in the Iranian newspaper Resalat on the use of trained animals to conduct espionage against their country: 'A few weeks ago, 14 squirrels equipped with espionage systems of foreign intelligence services were captured by [Iranian] intelligence forces along the country's borders. These trained squirrels, each of which weighed just over 700 grams, were released on the borders of the country for intelligence and espionage purposes.' According the story the squirrels had 'GPS devices, bugging instruments and advanced cameras' in their bodies. 'Given the fast speed and the special physical features of these animals, they provide special capabilities for spying operations. Once the animals return to their place of origin, the intelligence gathered by them is then offloaded. . . .' Iranian police officials captured the squirrels before they could carry out their assignments."

Found on Slashdot.


Deep thoughts on words.

Conversations with my love about our vacation:

So we'll sleep in till 8am, have some breakfast and de-boat. Hmmm, I guess that's disembark...except its deplane. Too confusing.


1. To disembark from an airplane.


1. To go ashore from a ship.
2. To leave an aircraft or other vehicle.
3. To remove or unload (cargo or passengers) from a ship, aircraft, or other vehicle.




Wes' contribution: "Deboat is down at Dedock just down at deend of deroad."

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Oh no.

Roman Catholic Cardinal Supports Merger of XM and Sirius

Lord knows that XM Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio need all the help they can get to convince the federal government their proposed merger isn't anti-consumer and anti-competitive. But help from a representative of the Almighty?

Both XM and Sirius together have announced that His Eminence Edward Cardinal Egan, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of New York, supports the planned merger. In an opinion piece published in the New York Post, Cardinal Egan said the Catholic Channel and Sirius Satellite Radio "present a unique opportunity for the Church to speak with people -- Catholic and non-Catholic alike. I would urge all those who are considering the merger between Sirius and XM to see to it that this dialogue of faith can continue."

Now I could be wrong, but the Cardinal really has nothing to do with whether this merger goes through. Add to that, I could really care less whether the Church approves what radio looks like in the U.S. And this is the important news that the Cardinal feels compelled to write an Op Ed piece about? What about world hunger and poverty, genocide and wars?


Sunday, July 22, 2007

A Good Weekend

Wes and I got to spend our first weekend together in a while. Friday night we laid low, ordered some yummy Thai food and watched the movie The Covenant. It wasn't a great movie, but it whetted our appetites for some magic.

Saturday was double feature day. We joined up with Knitmeister S and Blogless Will for a morning showing of Transformers followed by an afternoon showing of Harry Potter. Both movies were excellent. Transformers was good old fashioned summer fun (Yeah Bumblebee!) and Harry didn't disappoint either. Thought I'm not into the Harry Potter books (thus avoiding the lines this weekend for #7) I do enjoy the movies.

Saturday night we met my parents for a great Italian dinner to celebrate Dad's 61st birthday! I got him a few good reads: Wicked and Wild Trees, which he's planning to take with him on their trip to Canada this week. It was a lot of fun.

Today was exercise and outdoors day (since yesterday was sit on our ass, watch movies, and eat food day!). We started this morning with a workout. He, who has been training for a while, ran several miles this morning. I, who am a total workout wimp, walked a mile on the treadmill, cycled 2.5 on the bike, and did the weights circuit in the gym, followed by situps. I feel sore already, so tomorrow ought to be fun. This afternoon we headed out to pick up a few things in Target (why are there no 1 piece swimsuits for women this year?!? but that's a subject for another post...) and then went Geocaching a bit. Unfortunately for us it was a beautiful Sunday afternoon and what we were looking for was mostly hidden in parks overrun with children and people. We did manage to find one however, and find a nice bench to chill on for a few.

Tonight we're home watching more movies (The Clearing starring Robert Redford, Willem Defoe and Helen Mirren - it was interesting), some Man v. Wild, and have a little dinner. The only good part about starting a new week is that we're a little closer to our cruise!

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Friday, July 20, 2007

What the knit?!?

This display of public graffiti knitting and one cool jaguar brought to you courtesy of Knittaplease.


The Concert


Former THE CRANBERRIES singer DOLORES O'RIORDAN's U.S. solo tour is in doubt after her drummer reportedly collapsed on stage on Thursday (19Jul07). Sticksman Graham Hopkins suffered a seizure on stage at the gig at Los Angeles' House of Blues, according to audience members, who discussed the horrific incident on a Cranberries fansite. ZombieGuide.com user 'New Zombie' reports, "The drummer had a seizure right on stage during the third song. They killed the lights and lowered a screen. He had to be taken by ambulance to the hospital after what seemed like 20 minutes of medical treatment while he was laying on stage." The website claims O'Riordan's tour has been cancelled because the band do not have a replacement drummer.

As I mentioned a few posts down, I was in the audience for this last night. It was terribly sad and a little scary, but the band and the House of Blues staff handled it well. Except for a few bad apples in the audience, everyone was sympathetic and behaved appropriately. My best to the band and a speedy recovery for the drummer.

UPDATE: From Hotpress

Graham Hopkins was admitted to hospital after suffering an on stage collapse at a Dolores O’Riordan gig in Los Angeles’ House Of Blues.

Posting on the Zombieguide.com fan site, a member of the crowd reports: “They killed the lights and lowered a screen. He had to be taken by ambulance to the hospital after what seemed like 20 minutes of medical treatment while he was laying on stage.”

Having been hospitalised in the initial aftermath, we're very pleased to report that Graham has now been discharged.

It’s not the first time that the Kilkenny drummer has suffered an onstage incident, with his former band Halite having to be put on ‘hold’ while he underwent medical tests that proved to be inconclusive.

An official statement on the continuation of the tour is to be released shortly, as Dolores & her team assess the situation.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Basket Case

At lunch today, a coworker shared a little bit about her obsession with Longaberger baskets. They are beautiful handcrafted baskets (each one is signed by the basket maker) from a small company in Ohio. They are gorgeous, if a little pricey. It's also a little bit like Tupperware used to be - you can only buy through a representative. And the shot you see below is their corporate office. All hail baskets!

P.S. My coworker says they offer classes in basket weaving. Do you think they take place underwater? Teehee..... couldn't resist!



One of the things I love about Wes coming and staying with me is that we always find things to do and see when he's in LA. I do go to the theatre and concerts when he's not here, but it's just so much better when I can share things with him.

This time he found the Dolores O'Riordan concert at the House of Blues. If you don't recognize her - she used to be the lead singer for the Cranberries, and is now moving on to a solo career. Not only do I love her voice, but I've also never been to the House of Blues for a concert. So it seemed like a perfect outing!

I'm looking forward to a good dinner and some great music with my sweetie.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Things that sound dirty but aren't...sort of.

In general, watching the Discovery channel is a good time. But it can be even stranger when drunk. Last night we opened a bottle of Wes' blueberry mead and watched a few of our favorite shows...Man v. Wild and Dirty Jobs

"So I'm putting the filler wand in the bunghole until it foams."

See Wikipedia for the definition: A bunghole is a hole bored in a liquid-tight barrel. The hole is capped with a large cork-like object called a bung.

"So when you're baling hay, you line the hay up like lines of coke."

Again, from Wikipedia: A windrow is a row of cut hay or small grain crop. It is allowed to dry before being baled, combined, or rolled. For hay, the windrow is often formed by a hay rake, which rakes hay that has been cut by a mower into a row.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

My yarn idol.

Batten down the hatches folks, I just found out that my yarn idol will be speaking in the Los Angeles Area. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, none other than the Yarn Harlot herself will be at the LA Public Library on September 15. I can't wait!

*jumps up and down until she gets tangled in a ball of yarn and trips*


Nothing to do with anything.

This little gem showed up on my reader this morning courtesy of my favorite yarn store. It doesn't have a thing to do with knitting (not even fun fur!) but it sure brings back fun memories. Happy Tuesday!


Monday, July 16, 2007

The Smells of Summer

The past few weeks, it has gotten very warm in LA and I've started wondering what I think of as the smells of summer. Yes I know it's a city, but we still have some nature here!

The smells of summer, to me, in no particular order are:

Warm asphalt - this also happens when it first rains, just the first little drizzle

Eucalyptus - there are groves of trees in my complex

Charcoal from BBQ's - what says summer better than a BBQ?

Berries - blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries.... and cherries! (not a berry but I love 'em!)

So what smells mean summer to you?

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All Hail Hell Monday

Well, it's Monday again. I had a great weekend, but I can't believe I'm back at work. What's up with that?

Friday night was a R&R night. I called Wes shortly after work and found out he had left a day early to join me here in LA! He spent most of the next 36 hours driving, but I spent it doing some stuff to prepare for him. The rest of the night was spent watching HBO's Elizabeth with Helen Mirren and Jeremy Irons. It was really excellent. I also cleaned the bathroom and kitchen and living room.

Saturday I got up around 10am and watched another DVD (Big Love) and finished cleaning. I knitted a little bit and then I MIGHT have taken a nap. I woke up, showered, read a little more of Wild Trees and then headed out to meet my friend. We headed up to the Beverly Center for shopping and some dinner and then went to a concert in Hollywood. After a bumpy start (I forgot the tickets, she forgot her jacket) we ended up shopping for a bit. I found a few new tank tops in some great colors. Then we had a yummy dinner at P.F. Chang's (I love that place!) and headed out to Hollywood. We ended up at The Gig watching a great "new to us" band, Natives of the New Dawn. They were having a CD release party and were great! Afterwards we hung out for while with the band... never underestimate the weird things that happen on the sidewalk outside the club (on Melrose) at 1am.

Sunday was final prep for Wes arriving - getting him fresh sheets and towels. He showed up at noon! We mostly hung out yesterday as he was still tired from driving cross country. We watched a few movies and some tv, had a good dinner of leftovers, and went to bed early.

Today it's back to the work grind. Then tonight we're having dinner with my cousin, the one I mentioned here that I haven't seen in forever. I'm a little nervous and excited. Can't wait for the work day to be over!

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Monday Morning Sickness

No I'm not pregnant. I'm just feeling sick after reading this article:

Nev. couple blame Internet for neglect

RENO, Nev. - A couple who authorities say were so obsessed with the Internet and video games that they left their babies starving and suffering other health problems have pleaded guilty to child neglect.

The children of Michael and Iana Straw, a boy age 22 months and a girl age 11 months, were severely malnourished and near death last month when doctors saw them after social workers took them to a hospital, authorities said. Both children are doing well and gaining weight in foster care, prosecutor Kelli Ann Viloria told the Reno Gazette-Journal.

Michael Straw, 25, and Iana Straw, 23, pleaded guilty Friday to two counts each of child neglect. Each faces a maximum 12-year prison sentence.


Saturday, July 14, 2007

Gadgets making us stupid? or lazy?

Gadgets Have Taken Over For Our Brains

skotte writes "According to a Trinity College survey released Friday, the boom in mobiles and portable devices that store reams of personal information has created a generation incapable of memorizing simple things. In effect, the study argues, these devices have replaced our long-term memory capabilities. 'As many as a third of those surveyed under the age of 30 were unable to recall their home telephone number without resorting to their mobile phones or to notes. When it came to remembering important dates such as the birthdays of close family relatives, 87 per cent of those over the age of 50 could remember the details, compared with 40 per cent of those under the age of 30.'"


Friday, July 13, 2007

They said it couldn't be done...

The yarn: Cascade Fixation, approximately 4 1/2 skeins. The pattern: Knitted Tankini in Stitch & Bitch Nation. Color design: my own.

A little bit of elastic and a water test, and I should be good to go!


Friday the 13th

So far this Friday the 13th hasn't been that ominous. *knock on wood* I know I probably just jinxed it. I slept almost 12 hours last night, and woke up ready to tackle the day. My morning meeting was canceled, which left me quite a bit of time to get the piles on my desk sorted and remove some of the clutter from my todo list. I had a great sushi lunch at our neighborhood place and then came back for a conference call (which I had no input on so tons more got cleared out of my inbox... thank heavens for laptops!) and now I'm just tying up loose ends and making my todo lists for Monday.

Tonight is a mostly relaxing night where I plan to watch DVDs, straighten/clean the house for Wes' arrival (he should be arriving sometime this weekend!) and finish up the knitted bikini and make some headway on other projects. Tomorrow is a knitting and cleaning day, and a concert in Hollywood tomorrow night with my workmate. Then Sunday is final prep for Wes, and enjoying his arrival.

I also need to curl up and get some good reading done on next week's bookclub selection, Wild Trees by Richard Preston. So far it's an easy and enjoyable read.

AND I'm one week closer to our vacation - I'm so ready for the Bahamas.


Sex causes heart attacks?

Sex to Earthquakes: What Causes Heart Attacks

Anger really can trigger a heart attack. But then, so can getting sick, being too hot, being too cold, air pollution, lack of sleep, grief, overeating, natural disasters, exercise and sex.

In fact, simply waking up is the worst thing you can do if you're trying to avoid a heart attack.

Heart attacks, strokes and cardiac arrests seem to come out of the blue, but actually most occur upon waking up in the morning, according to the July 2007 issue of the Harvard Heart Letter.

Before waking, our bodies release stress hormones into the bloodstream to give us the energy to get out of bed, but this also stresses the heart slightly. That nudge can cause a cardiac event if one's arteries already are rife with festering cholesterol-rich plaque.

The dehydration that normally occurs after a night of sleep also puts a plaque-plagued circulatory system at risk. Also, heart medications wear off during the night.

A bout of anger can increase the chances of having a heart attack up to 14-fold for two hours following a flare-up, the Letter states.

Strenuous exercise such as shoveling snow or running can be a trigger, but exertion is much less likely to cause trouble in people who exercise regularly. So stay in shape, the authors advise.

Infectious diseases such as pneumonia and the flu can also trigger heart attacks and strokes.

The fact is that most people sleep too little, rise and shine, make love, shovel snow, eat too much, overheat, argue and recover from the flu without getting a heart attack.


Thursday, July 12, 2007

Suggested Reading List

I'd need 25 nightstands to host this books recommended on this list, but it's a great resource. It lists books I've heard of, books I want to read, and titles I don't even recognize. For brevity's sake I won't post it here, but check it out. And then head to the library!


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

What's wrong with this picture?

Automatic toilet tissue dispenser ready

ROSWELL, Ga. - Richard Thorne grins as he waves his hand under a toilet paper dispenser in a women's restroom. The machine spits five sheets of tissue into his grasp.


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My Word Made the Cut

New dictionary includes 'ginormous'

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - It was a ginormous year for the wordsmiths at Merriam-Webster. Along with embracing the adjective that combines "gigantic" and "enormous," the dictionary publishers also got into Bollywood, sudoku and speed dating.


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Random Facts I learned today.

1. "The forest canopies of the earth hold roughly half of all the species in nature."

2. "They hold it as a rule of thumb that if you fall fifty feet to the hard ground you will very likely die."

Both quotes courtesy of Wild Trees by Richard Preston.

3. Did you know that Diet A&W Cream Soda has caffeine? I didn't. Who knew?

4. How to prevent my Firefox window from automatically resizing when I surf. Yes I'm a geek but it's VERY annoying.

From Grupenet:

In Firefox, go to “Options” under the “Tools” menu. Find your way to the “Content” section in the Options. Next to the “Enable Javascript” option you will see an Advanced button. Click on that and in the dialog that pops up uncheck the Move or resize existing windows option.

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105 balloons put lawn chair pilot in air

BEND, Ore. - Last weekend, Kent Couch settled down in his lawn chair with some snacks — and a parachute. Attached to his lawn chair were 105 large helium balloons.

Destination: Idaho.

With instruments to measure his altitude and speed, a global positioning system device in his pocket, and about four plastic bags holding five gallons of water each to act as ballast — he could turn a spigot, release water and rise — Couch headed into the Oregon sky.

Nearly nine hours later, the 47-year-old gas station owner came back to earth in a farmer's field near Union, short of Idaho but about 193 miles from home.

Couch is the latest American to emulate Larry Walters — who in 1982 rose three miles above Los Angeles in a lawn chair lifted by balloons. Walters had surprised an airline pilot, who radioed the control tower that he had just passed a guy in a lawn chair. Walters paid a $1,500 penalty for violating air traffic rules.

It was Couch's second flight.

In September, he got off the ground for six hours. Like Walters, he used a BB gun to pop the balloons, but he went into a rapid descent and eventually parachuted to safety.

This time, he was better prepared. The balloons had a new configuration, so it was easier to reach up and release a bit of helium instead of simply cutting off a balloon.

He took off at 6:06 a.m. Saturday after kissing his wife, Susan, goodbye and petting his Chihuahua, Isabella. As he made about 25 miles an hour, a three-car caravan filled with friends, family and the dog followed him from below.


Monday, July 09, 2007

Slow News Day

Today wasn't so much a slow news day, as a long day with not much free time for me. Hence, no news to report. Mostly I spent the day in meetings, taking minutes, and trying to make sense of the conversation going on around me. (The conversation was, for the most part, academic and not very familiar to me.)

I don't know what it is about taking minutes at all day meetings, but I am always mentally fried by 4pm. Maybe it's the long day with unrelenting concentration, but I just feel totally wiped even though I've barely moved all day long.

I finished with the meeting around 4:30, finished up a bit of paperwork and got out of there. Ran over to pick up my friend and we headed up to House of Blues for a concert tonight. We had a great (and even reasonably priced!) dinner, but the concert wasn't to be. The singer in the band who was supposed to leave us tickets at will call never came through. It was kind of a buzzkill to have driven all the way up there to then head home again, but dinner was great and I'm pretty happy just hanging on the couch, so I guess it was ok.


My new motto.

What do you think?


Sunday, July 08, 2007

Weekend fun

So far this weekend has been great! Yesterday I slept in a little, then headed over to the yarn store for some knitting and helping out. After knitting for a few hours, I got the call that my glasses were ready, so I eagerly went over and picked them up. So far they appear to be the correct prescription so I'm good to go!

I came home in the evening and watched Deja Vu with Wes. It was a really good movie - a little mind bending which is exactly how I like them. While we watched I experimented a little bit with crochet and made a cute hat for Tadpole.

Then I crawled into bed and finished my book, Wicked by Gregory Maguire. I really loved the musical when we went to see it, so I wanted to read the book. The book is considerably darker, with a much less Disney-like ending. The book was great though. Much more detail into the characters and the story making it much more complicated.

Today it's off to see Ratatouille, have some ice cream and then meet some friends for dinner.

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Friday, July 06, 2007

You're like a man reposessed!!!

WineGuy sent me this clip today indicating that it reminded him of a typical day at the office here. I had forgotten how much I loved this show and Balki Bartokomous. Some of my favorites:

"You can't squeeze water out of a sponge!"

"The bibi in the babka goes boom."

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Thursday, July 05, 2007


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Monday Redux

Does anyone else feel like we got royally screwed by having to do Monday all over again today? There I was yesterday enjoying my holiday, feeling like it was a Saturday. And here we are on Thursday, back to getting up early again. WTF?

Otherwise it's quiet here. Most people took vacation days today. I'm saving mine for our vacation to the Bahamas in August, but I should have called in. Many of our vendors don't seem to be working either, so it's kind of a loss as a day.

Of course I'm really just waiting until after work. I'm heading out for a much needed haircut and then over to a concert at an independent coffee house with a friend. I should be able to drag some knitting in there and enjoy a nice evening and still get home early enough to crash for a while before bed.

Hope y'all had a great holiday and are surviving your second Monday!