Monthly Archives: June 2010

And the bad news is…

5 Cups of Coffee a Day Fight Alzheimer’s Disease. Five cups? No freaking way! First of all, I don’t like coffee, and second, if I drank that much coffee, or enough tea to equal the amount of caffeine in that much coffee, it wouldn’t matter that I would be alert and functional and remember everyone’s name because I’d have to live in the bathroom 24/7. Sorry, researchers; keep trying.

I love the t-shirt, though.

A Nice Day

Right now I am desperately in need of an ordinary day – a day in which I do not have to go out and deal with official type people or sit at home and wait on someone to come fix something or wait on a phone call or just anything the least bit out of the ordinary. Yeah, I know. My life is good. Really good. There’s nothing in my life that I should be wasting time complaining about but still. Sometimes when I have too many days in a row when out-of-the-ordinary things are happening I start to feel like I need a nice, boring day in which absolutely nothing happens and I don’t have anything to do except routine things and most of all I don’t have to wait on anything.

Right now I’m waiting on a call back from our cable company because they couldn’t do what I requested when I called this morning because – of course! – something is wrong with their computers. What is the deal with everyone’s computers always being screwed up all the time? I know computers are quirky and difficult. And I know that computers constantly breaking down keep a lot of people employed and I appreciate that but why are they always down when I need something done? Is it that I always just happen to call on one of the rare occasions when the computers are down or not working properly or are they actually down so frequently that it’s almost inevitable that they will be down when I call?

I don’t have anything to do that waiting will get in the way of and I did give the cable company my cell phone number so it’s not that I’m trapped; it’s just that I hate waiting. I hate spending all day wondering when the phone is going to ring. Yeah, I know… such a hard life. Grow up, get over myself and all that. But still, after dealing with AT&T all week last week and the Tag Agency and just general stuff on Monday I’m craving a nice boring day like some women (okay, me too) crave chocolate.

It is a beautiful day. The sunlight shining through the trees in my yard is especially lovely this morning and it’s not too hot yet. If I must wait, it’s a great place to wait.

Comic Sans Forever

Awesome!. I love, love, love that! And I like Comic Sans. Okay, to be honest, I don’t like like it but I don’t hate it. I think it’s a nice, casual font that’s okay for most purposes. Of course you shouldn’t use it for your resumé or a college research paper but why get upset when you see it on the Internet and bake sale posters and such? All the hate for Comic Sans that I’m always seeing just makes me want to use it.

Thanks.

Art and Art

A couple of things from Lost at E Minor:

1. I like this satirical cereal box. It’s not too different from some real kids’ cereals, just a little more in your face and honest, and when I was a kid I would have totally wanted some of the stuff.

You know… I know that too much sugar is not a good thing. Kids are getting fatter. But every time I hear someone all full of angst about children’s nutrition I think, “Leave the kids alone!” I hate to think of kids growing up without the childhood pleasures of candy and sugary cereals. The problem is that kids are experiencing these pleasures too much and not getting enough exercise. When I was a kid I got candy or other kinds of fattening snacks once or twice a month. Nowdays most kids get something like that as a bribe to “be good” every time they go into a store (whether they’re actually good or not.) Still, I think the way some people are trying to go about fixing the problem is wrong. I think most people – both kids and adults – will react to the efforts of the food nannies by doing exactly the opposite of what they’re told is good for them.

* * *

2. Completely unrelated, except in that I found the link to it on the same site, is the art blog of Benjamin Edmiston. Some fairly interesting and colorful, collage-like paintings. In particular, I keep looking at Iceberg

What Next?

This has been the most annoying day I’ve had in a long, long time! First, when I got in the car I discovered that the driver’s seat was wet. Someone was driving it while wearing wet clothes but I won’t name names. Then I found that the road that goes from the road we live on out to the main highway was closed. I’m not sure why; the part that sometimes floods when it rains was open. Hopefully they’re fixing the lousy resurfacing job they did last week.

The first thing I had to do in town was go to the Tag Agency to register the new boat. I had already been there last week but the computers in OKC were down so they couldn’t do anything. So I went back this morning expecting that everything would go quickly and smoothly because it usually does if the computers are working. I told them what was going on and they took my papers and shuffled through them for a while and finally told me that some of the numbers didn’t match. So I had to go back to the place where we purchased the boat (which, fortunately, wasn’t too far) and get them to fix the paperwork. There is separate paperwork for the boat and the motor and the lady at the tag agency had neatly organized and paperclipped them into two neat little stacks – one for the boat and one for the motor – but the guy at the boat place mixed them up again so when I got back to the Tag Agency the lady there had to spend what seemed like 15 minutes or more getting them organized the way she wanted them again and she expressed displeasure at the boat guy having messed them up. After that they took the paperwork and communicated with OKC and they did whatever it is they do and after well over half an hour (It normally only takes about 10 minutes.) they finally came back and took my money and gave me stickers. Success at last.

A short distance from the Tag Agency I had to stop and wait on a train. I had to go to Wal-mart and by this time it was later in the day than I like to go there and the aisles full of wide, slow people with wide, dancing, whining children but I was good. I managed not to bark, snarl or growl at anyone. After just about forever I finally headed for the checkout and got in what looked like the shortest line. Things were moving right along until the checker got to some bath towels that wouldn’t ring up, that the person two places in front of me was buying, and the person she sent for a price check apparently had to walk all the way to China to find the price. It actually took longer to get through the checkout than it had taken me to shop.

But eventually I did regain my freedom and was looking forward to finally seeing my home again and then I had to wait for another train, which was twice as long as the first one. After the train I slowly made my way through the rest of town and the last traffic light was actually green so I thought things might be looking up. I had forgotten all about the road being closed. So that was one last annoying thing and I’m still a little bit afraid to relax. I’m sitting here waiting for the next prank the universe decides to play on me today.

One Person’s “tasteless”…

… is another person’s brilliant marketing strategy. Seriously, except for the PETA banner, which I hate just on principle, none of these bother me. I like #2 and #4. It has always been normal for advertisers to do this sort of thing. People these days are just too sensitive. Remember, boys and girls, “laughter is the best medicine” and the world could really use a 3 dose per day refillable prescription.

Winter Fashion

This outfit is interesting to me, aside from the head piece. Well, that’s interesting too but in a different way. The rest of it… dare I say, it’s not all that bad? It looks like the kind of thing you might put on a 4-four-old and, though it definitely looks odd on an adult, considering some of the stuff people wear in public, I have to say, “Why not?”

Fashion Fail - Yarns Revenge
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In fact, I’d be much more likely to wear this than I would that.

Quotes From Here and There

I almost forgot. It’s Friday. I have “duties”. Only three quotes this time and the last one from half an hour of desperate searching for “just one more”, immediately before posting this.

But I have to admit at times hearing a 15 minute discourse on bunions, or on how annoyed they are with the lawyer they are trying to work with over something, or a long monologue on their garden…and I just start to sort of feel sad, like I’m just a giant ear without a mouth or something.here

I would happily trade off eight Congressmen for the guys who redid my roof this month.there

Because I was willing to wait, I didn’t have to wait. Life is filled with these paradoxes.here

Ewww

Why do I keep finding weirdness today? Perhaps the Internet has become sentient and it’s trying especially hard to entertain me today. Anyway… Here’s another of those things that I really didn’t need to know about a famous person. With that mental image in my head now I’m sort of glad I don’t watch her in anything regularly. (Seen on Twitter)

What?

This is the weirdest thing I’ve read all week. (Well, except maybe my AT&T story) I mean, seriously! Selling meat door to door? It sounds like an episode of the X-Files. What kind meat was it, I wonder. Was it pork? You know they say human meat tastes a lot like pork. And that would be a perfect way to get rid of the body if you were in a part of the country where there are a lot of inbred people who might buy meat from a door to door meat salesman.

Service? We are not familiar with that word.

Our phone – the old-fashioned one that is attached to the wall – quit working last Saturday evening. No dial tone. My husband went to the AT&T website to report our problem. They said it would be fixed on Tuesday. By Tuesday evening our phone still wasn’t working so my husband called them again and they had never heard of our problem.

He was told that our phone was just off the hook. Hello? No dial tone? They say we’re not getting a dial tone because the phone is off the hook. WTF?! Have the people at AT&T forgotten everything about old-fashioned, attached-to-the-wall telephones? So anyway, they enter another trouble ticket, which, as far as they’re concerned is the first one and say that someone will be out to fix it on Thursday between 8:00 and 9:00 AM.

Thursday, of course no one shows up between 8:00 and 9:00 to fix the phone. Silly me. Why would I expect people to actually show up at the time they say they’re going to show up? How could I possibly believe in something like that? Such a silly old woman I am becoming! It’s like I still believe in service but of course “service” is not in their job descriptions anymore. Like many other companies, AT&T has renamed their customer service department, “Customer Care.” That’s appropriate. They want us to know they care about their customers but the notion of service is so old-fashioned. Lots of empty caring is the 21st century way.

So I wait… and wait… and wait… Sometime around 4:00pm my husband called them again and, after repeating that they are sure our phone is off the hook, they say someone will be there by 7:00pm. As that time approaches and no one has shown up to fix our phone husband calls again, is told, again, that our phone is off the hook but that the phone repair guys work until dark. There’s still time for them to come out and fix it. They didn’t.

I was so pissed off I couldn’t even pay attention to the lousy stuff on TV last night. My mind kept wandering back to AT&T and how I’d like to go out and find the nearest AT&T truck and kidnap them and bring them to my house and force them to do their jobs.

There was one good thing last night though. I have been reading The Line of Polity so after fooling around on Twitter for a little bit I got ready for bed and settled down for some stress relieving reading. I knew that Neal Asher wouldn’t fail me and that in just a few pages I would encounter something appropriate for my mood. And sure enough, I soon come to a fairly detailed description of one of the characters having his facial injuries treated by an “autodoc” – (“Your face looks like it’s exploded,” said Stanton. “It always fascinates me how they open you up to make even minor internal repairs.”) I was sort of hoping for a dismemberment scene but that would work. I went to sleep last night imagining everyone at AT&T who’s involved in our trouble call, plus all their managers, having similar procedures performed on them, without the benefit of anesthetics. I went to sleep with a smile on my face, I did. Thank you, Neal Asher!

And now… more waiting.

UPDATE: I probably should mention that cell phone service is extremely spotty at our house so being without the old-fashioned telephone is a serious inconvenience.

UPDATE II: Yay! It’s fixed! The guy came at sometime around noon and took only 10 minutes to fix it. It was a tiny part in the little box on the outside of the house that he said rarely goes bad. I guess I’m just special. Now I’ve got to try and come down from stressed out mode to normal chillin’ out weekend mode.

Showing my age?

I guess this is just because I’m of a different generation but this remark seems very odd to me:

I didn’t even check for free wifi at my aunts church, I have to assume that if you expect your parishioners to stay in church that long you HAVE to give them free wifi right?

WiFi in church? She’s joking, right? It seems to me that churches would want to make sure that there was NO WiFi or cell phone service in the church. If you go to church you’re supposed to be going for reasons other than texting and updating Facebook. On the other hand, maybe they think young people wouldn’t go to church if they have to be disconnected from the rest of the world for an hour or two. Still, I think it’s a little bit sad that there might soon be no place in the world where you can go and be truly isolated.

Actually, there is a place like that. Unfortunately, it’s my house.

Familiar Sounds

I suppose I am excessively proud of myself when I am able to identify the composer of a piece of music that I’ve never heard before. People who know more about music than I do seem to be able to do it with ease. Me? I’m honestly just guessing and it’s always fun to guess right.

I turned on the radio and they were playing a piece that made me immediately think of William Grant Still. I’m not all that familiar with Still. I have one CD of his music and haven’t heard much more than that. Unfortunately, He Who Shall Not Be Named turned off the radio before I could hear the end of piece so I looked it up later on the radio station’s website and it turns out that I was right. It was Miss Sally’s Party by William Grant Still.

I couldn’t find Miss Sally’s Party on YouTube so here is part of his Still’s Symphony No. 1

Random Linkage

One brave thing – Funny, cute.

Where cursors come from

Weird bet – very interesting story

Merging galaxies – I haven’t read the article yet but there is a beautiful set of simulations.

Dessert – Amen, sister!

Musical Tesla coils – Freaky awesome! (via)

Dinosaur Tracking – a Smithsonian paleontology blog

Clockwise and counterclockwise waves – fascinating

World’s Most Insanely Luxurious Houses – Wow. I have always had a strong desire for a luxurious dream house but I think these are a bit much, even for me. And a 15,000 square foot “eco-mansion”? Please!

Singing in the Rain with Stormtroopers

The Compulsive Copyeditor – a language and grammar blog

Wild Delmarva – Beautiful nature photos, lots of birds

ALT/1977 – what modern products might have looked like if they had been invented in the 1970′s

Ask Sister Mary Martha – a Catholic advice blog; surprisingly interesting

Oh Gizmo! – a gadget blog

The Heart Calculator – What will your heart do today?

Tasty Flags – food arranged to resemble national flags

So Hard to Say Goodbye

Here’s another one from The Oatmeal: 10 Reasons to Avoid Talking on the Phone. Wow! It’s like they were reading my mind. Those are exactly the reasons I hate talking on the phone – especially, 3, 7, 8, 9, and 10.

To be fair, number 10 can be even worse in person if you’re trying to conclude a visit with family. There is a time honored, highly complex ritual that must be followed or else the universe will implode or something like that. First, long before you actually intend to leave, you must offhandedly say, “Well, we should think about hitting the road pretty soon.” At this point in time there should be no interruption in the flow of conversation. All parties should continue as if this remark had never been made. You may repeat this once or twice more but never more often than every half hour.

Finally, at a suitable pause in conversation, say, “Well, this has been fun but I really have to be going,” and stand up. Do not move toward the door. Just stand up and continue the conversation. After 20 to 30 minutes you may either begin inching toward the door or start a round of hugging. If it’s wintertime you may begin gathering coats and putting them on. If this takes less than 15 minutes you’re not trying hard enough.

Once you make it to within 6 feet or so of the door start talking about how great it was to see everyone and how great the food was and and be sure and say “We’ll have to get together more often.” Express sympathy and concern for any illnesses or personal problems that have been talked about.

Getting out the door can be awkward since it means you are committed to leaving. If you have kids they will take care of this problem by dragging you out the door. Once you are outside, do not get in the car yet. You have at least another half hour before you can approach the car. First compare the current weather with the weather earlier in the day and then remember a few more things you meant to mention or didn’t get the chance to ask. At some point, probably at several points, during the ritual your kids will whine, “I thought we were leaving.” You can use this as another excuse to stay a little longer as you discuss how impatient kids are and how different things were when you were a kid.

Finally, you start another round of hugging and get in the car. Roll down the window so you can talk. Now you will talk about the car and cars in general and, if you’re more than an hour away, the details of the upcoming trip and the weather you expect on the way. This final phase shouldn’t take more than 15 or 20 minutes but this varies greatly from family to family and partly depends on the time between visits. If jumper cables are involved it could be another hour before you leave. When you finally pull out of the driveway don’t forget to yell “goodbye” and wave vigorously until you’re well out of sight.

Compared to saying goodbye on the phone… well, to be honest, I’d rather do the long, drawn out, in person goodbye ritual than talk on the phone.

Lawyers: The Other White Meat

The quickest way to become famous on the Internet? Just be heavy handed in trying to protect your reputation or your trademark. Congratulations to Thinkgeek for taking full advantage of the opportunity.

First spotted here.

UPDATE: I wonder how long it will be before I receive a cease and desist letter for the title of this post.

The Disaster That Keeps on Giving?

So… how about that gulf oil spill? This will be the first time I’ve really said anything about it because I don’t quite know what to say. Undeniably, it is a huge disaster. I don’t think those of us who do not live in the area can fully grasp the enormity of it. The media, of course, are trying their best, working their little ratings starved hearts out, trying to help us understand. But frankly, I think their efforts have the opposite effect. Every day they tell us “It’s bad! It’s bad! It’s bad! You don’t how bad!” After more than two months I’m starting to feel like, “Yeah, whatever. Next.” I don’t want to be that way but how long can a person stay in disaster mode when you’re not there on the scene. After a while it starts to feel like just another show.

Perhaps they’re sensing that some of us might be losing interest and moving on with our lives. They’re starting to bring out The Children. A while back CBS had a girl from Long Island on who has been selling her drawings of birds to raise money to save wildlife in the disaster area. They took her down there for a visit and (“Oh joy! Ratings! People are gonna love this!”) got her to cry on camera over an oily feather. Such a sweet sensitive child. Or maybe she was just tired and had been out in the hot sun too long with strange people with cameras following her around. And then there’s the daily count: Day 63, Day 64, Day 65. I’ll bet they’re practically peeing their pants in excited anticipation of Day 100. It’s gonna be BIG!.

But wait there’s more: There could be a methane explosion that could kill millions. Honestly that is scary and it makes me angry too, that once again we’re looking at a disaster that could have been avoided if someone had listened to engineers and scientists. But then, that is a common theme in disaster reporting too: “They knew! If only The Powers That Be had listened!”

When I started this I wasn’t planning for it to come out so cynical. I know it is a huge environmental disaster. Honestly… I know. I’m angry and impatient. I often think, “Why don’t they just stop the damn leak already?!” even though I know that they are trying. For the most part, I’m not really thinking of this in terms of “bad guys” and “good guys”. It’s just another huge disaster that happened that possibly could have been avoided. But I am getting annoyed with the standard disaster reporting and beyond that, I don’t know what to say.