Wednesday, August 31, 2005

It's Official...

Gas is now over $3 a gallon all over this area. That is more than a gallon of milk if you buy the brand that's on sale.


Our American Atlantis

I always wanted to visit New Orleans. I wanted to see and feel the history there, but I guess now it will never be like it was and I've missed out. I've been riveted by the coverage of the destruction along the Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama coasts. It's terrible. I just made an online donation to the American Red Cross. It doesn't seem like much, but maybe it will help get clean drinking water and food or some other stuff to the people who need it. My heart goes out to all the people who have lost so much and who have a long road of rebuilding ahead of them. The destruction is vast and the clean-up seems insurmountable. Many people are not only without homes but also without jobs to go back to. It's just staggering to think about all the problems that have to be solved.

I've heard a few people say that this is a lot like the big Tsunami. Just think how deadly it would have been if Katrina had come without warning and people had not evacuated. But I can't help but be a little bothered by the people who did stay when they were told to leave. I can see how some might have been 'stuck' due to not having transportation or money to leave, but surely there was public transportation available at no cost? And David said something last night that I never even considered because I tend to be a Pollyanna. He said that a lot of the people who stayed behind did so because they knew that they would be able to loot and steal stuff while most people were gone. Okay, I know I'm treading on dangerous territory here. I am a little torn between sympathy and disgust. I feel bad for the people who have no food or water and have to steal it to survive, but I also feel some disgust that they didn't leave when they should have.

And while I'm at it let me step even further into dangerous territory. I have to wonder why we should rebuild New Orleans in the exact same place and in the exact same way. It seems like it was a bad set-up to begin with, building a coastal city below sea-level. I just don't think that it's a wise idea to rebuild that way. I know that moving an entire city sounds ridiculous, but let's think about the future. Who's to say that another storm won't come along and destroy it all again? It seems like a waste of resources to rebuild exactly the way it was. And look at our American history and see how people have constantly moved on to more fertile fields. There are the ghost towns of the Old West that died away because the gold mines or whatever dried up. And there are dead or dying towns all across our country that have lost their reasons to exist. People moved on. Americans have always had that pioneering spirit to move on from less than satisfactory places. I think it's a genetic predisposition because we all have descended from nomads. We all are immigrants from somewhere.

Maybe we should allow the Old New Orleans to go down as the Legend of the Great Sunken City, like the legend of Atlantis. I know it has been so many people's home, and their heritage is there and their roots run deep. I know I might sound heartless to even suggest this. But in order to survive people must adapt to new conditions. We have to learn from our mistakes and try not to repeat them. And I look at the Israelis who have been forced from their homes in Palestine as a similar situation though their impetus was political and religious instead of environmental. We Americans have a history of being tough and resilient and clever and resourceful. Now is the time to put all of that to work again.

And lest anyone thinks I'm a cold-hearted, unfeeling bitch to think this way, please reread the first paragraph.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Fill'er Up!

As promised here's my post on alternative fuels. It seems particularly timely now that gas is going to go through the roof because of Katrina's possible damage to the Gulf of Mexico oil refineries. I'm sorry this isn't going to be one of my better documented (with links) posts, but there's been another unrelated subject that has taken up most of my internet research time for today. And a lot of my information comes from David who listens to talk radio during the day while he's driving from job to job. I guess this is more of a rant. So off the top of my head here goes.

The environmentalists have succeeded in stopping the building of new oil refineries over the last twenty or so years. They've also kept new domestic oil exploration and drilling to a bare minimum. So now we are facing a choice of remaining at the whims of the Arab and Argentinean oil producers or doing something for ourselves. I do care about the environment, but I'm no tree-hugging hippy whacko. (No offense to them. I have good friends who are.) I have no problem with oil companies drilling in Alaska or even here in TN where we have oil and natural gas just waiting to be tapped. But that's not really what I want to say. I want to indict those large, powerful environmental groups for not putting their money where their mouths are.

What I mean is, I think they should do more to encourage and support and market alternative fuels. Instead of spending all their time and money on protests and destruction of property and whatever else the do they should be investing in the development of new fuels. What good is there in yelling "don't do this" and "don't do that" without giving people an alternative? Parents know this. They know just telling children not to do something isn't as effective as telling them what to do instead. And no, telling everyone to ride a bike isn't going to work either. You have to give people viable alternatives.

Well, a while back David and I were watching a show on the History Channel about the development of the diesel engine (probably an episode of Modern Marvels, but I don't remember). We were fascinated to learn that diesel engines can run on just about any kind of oil there is. Even vegetable oil. You can refine the vegetable oil (taking out the glycerin) so that it burns better in an engine. This is called 'biodiesel' and it's available in limited areas, but it's usually mixed with petroleum-based diesel fuel. But on this show there were people who had made slight modifications to their engines that allowed them to use 100% vegetable diesel. (Much better, more detailed information can be found if you google 'biodiesel.')

I have also seen a show about how difficult it can be for restaurants to dispose of their used cooking oil. The land fills don't want it because it clogs them up. The sewers can't handle it for the same reason. This set my little Hoe brain a-churning with ideas. Now, I'm not a doer. I'm a thinker. I'm not an entrepreneur or a starter. That's David. But here's a free business plan for anyone out there who has the gumption and drive to pursue it.

Well, hello? Here is this huge resource just screaming to be exploited. Why don't some of these environmentalists jump on it? They could strike lovely deals with McDonalds and all the other fast food chains to take away their used oil and then refine it into biodiesel. Build the freakin' refineries for it and get rich off the biodiesel. And they could use the glycerin to make their funny soaps on the side! Hey, it's great, don't you think? Now, I'll admit this is a very over-simplified concept and that I have no idea how difficult it might be to implement this plan. But dang, it's an alternative. It's more than I hear of Greenpeace or the Sierra Club or the Nature Conservancy promoting. Oh, but, no, I'm not the only lazy thinker around. It's so much easier to protest and holler and carry on than to actually DO something to solve problems.

So there it is. Since I don't have the incentive and resources to build vegetable oil refineries and make deals with restaurants to obtain their oil (thus keeping it out of the waste system, another environmental plus!) and to market biodiesel and strike deals with the auto makers and to use government resources like the SBA and whatever else is available, then I guess I'll leave it up to someone else.

But don't say that I haven't at least offered something.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Even the best fall down sometimes...

So I guess I shouldn't feel so bad when my sorry ass f*cks up. I just discovered that I missed not one but two deadlines for art related stuff. One was for the Dogwood Arts Festival thing, and the other was for the Tennessee Valley Fair Photo Show. I was going to enter the 'Armor Petals' picture for the DAF thing, but the deadline was Friday. Oops. Oh, well, no rebellious offering from me this year. I can hear the old snotty hens clucking already.

Last year I had a good showing at the Fair. I received a first place, 2 third place, and 2 or 3 creditable ribbons. I forgot that I needed to send in an entry form back in the middle of this month. Oh, well, I didn't have enough pictures prepared for it anyway. Maybe next year.

And I suppose these latest blunders serve to either illustrate exactly how badly I need an Assistant or to adequately scare off any potential qualified Assistants. Who would want to help someone as scatter-brained as I am? I probably couldn't offer enough compensation to make it worth the trouble.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Redemption: What's Your Price? (or there's a little Stepford in all of us)

Yesterday I was reading madman's Friday post (no longer available), and it is in a similar vein to what I have been thinking about recently, the idea of what you've done that you didn't expect you'd do when you were much younger.

(For the perfect song to accompany this post click here.)

I think we all have a price at which we can sell some aspect of ourselves. Remember that movie, Indecent Proposal, where the wealthy John Gage (Robert Redford) offered a million dollars to Mr. and Mrs. Murphy (Woody Harrelson and Demi Moore) for a night with the wife? (It's been on TV a lot lately.) That is an extreme example of selling yourself and the price you're paid not being nearly enough. But all of us at various times have 'sold' or traded our time or some other facet of ourselves in exchange for something. It might be the salary you're paid for the hours you devote to your employer. Maybe it's the love you get from your partner that insures your fidelity. It could be some material possession like a house or a car that 'buys' your commitment. Some people are cheaper than others. But you can look at most our relationships as being largely based on the exchange of goods, services, or more nebulous things.

When I was a teenager I thought that my price to get married would be an excessively large diamond. I was brainwashed by those commercials that told me that the size of the diamond was determined by how much the man loved the woman. But then I grew up and fell in love and all that diamond business meant nothing. My wedding set does have diamonds, but it's not something gaudy and expensive. And over the years I've noticed a trend that the larger the diamond the less successful the marriage. Go figure.

I am my husband's second wife. He was married to the wrong woman right out of high school and was divorced before I even graduated from high school. (We didn't live in the same state back then and hadn't met yet.) There was some 'baggage' from that marriage and another previous relationship that was put up on the bargaining table when we started talking about getting married. The 'price' for me marrying him was that we would live in a different house with all new stuff. I didn't want to start my married life surrounded by things he had shared with another woman. This was our beginning.

Then when I unexpectedly ended up pregnant with our third my price went up to a newer, bigger, and easier-to-live-in house. I essentially traded my independence and part of my personal potential to be a stay-at-home mom, so I wanted and needed a better place to do my job. I don't mean that to sound negative at all because in selling off much of my independence I gained more 'free' time to explore my creative side. The secret to successful trades is for each party to feel like they are getting a good deal. I guess you can call that relationship or personal free-enterprise.

And I'm definitely no Stepford wife. I'm not that good. I've always loved Amelia Earhart's quote, "I cannot guarantee to endure at all times the confinements of even an attractive cage." And I'm reminded of an article I read last year about the reinstatement of the strict, conservative Sharia' laws and how some Muslim women might find it comforting and secure in these uncertain times. I wish I had bookmarked or saved it somehow because I can't find it now. I'm not defending or condemning any of that. I'm just saying it's another example of trading independence and freedom for security.

Most recently I exchanged some of my 'right to complain' in my marriage for a red Corvette convertible. Does that sound cheap? I guess that's a matter of perspective. I'm not trying to devalue the gesture of David buying me my dream car. I know he wouldn't have done it if he didn't love me. But I think I was born lacking some part of the romantic gene because I also see it as a practical move on his part. How can I complain about some things now? That sort of idea. Not that I've sold off all my power and influence in my marriage. Oh, no, there's much more bargaining to come, I'm sure.

So I'm curious, and I wonder, what's your price? And how has it changed over the years? What bargains have you made in your life? What bargains do you foresee in your future?

And maybe it's all about redemption anyway. What does redemption mean?

REDEEM 1 a : to buy back : REPURCHASE b : to get or win back
2 : to free from what distresses or harms: as a : to free from captivity by payment of ransom b : to extricate from or help to overcome something detrimental c : to release from blame or debt : CLEAR d : to free from the consequences of sin
3 : to change for the better : REFORM
5 a : to free from a lien by payment of an amount secured thereby b (1) : to remove the obligation of by payment (2) : to exchange for something of value c : to make good : FULFILL
6 a : to atone for : EXPIATE b (1) : to offset the bad effect of (2) : to make worthwhile : RETRIEVE
synonym see RESCUE

But maybe redemption is only a hallucination? Or delusion? Or dream?

(to be continued... or probably not)

*This is an inferior version of the post that blogger lost yesterday when I clicked 'save as draft' so I could come back to finish it later. But now it seems that it has turned into something bigger than I can handle in one post.

Friday, August 26, 2005

More funny links...

borrowed from tayser:

Exceptional talent with a crochet needle, I especially like the 'Accidents.'

Hillary in 2008? (funny JibJab style video - it's not credited to JibJab, but it looks just like their stuff)

Thursday, August 25, 2005

This is cool!

Spot the Fake Smile

I just saw this over at tayster's world. I got 16 out of 20 correct, which is about how I thought I'd do. Some of the 'smilers' are pretty funny. Especially, #13, who looks like a freakin' vampire!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

$#@&%#!!! Sploggers:

Blog spam makes me want to cuss up a storm. I'll try not to, but I do feel more freedom to use expletives online than in my general speech. I have to censor myself around the kids instead of saying everything I think. Here, I can let my words flow. That got me thinking about which 'bad' words I use (verbally and written) and why. By far my most common one is 'shit.' I know I say it way too much, probably several times every day. Drop something, "shit." Forget something, "shit." Hurt myself somehow, "shit." It just comes out automatically before I can stop myself. (Bad oral sphincter, you could say.) And 'shit' can be so expressive and imply different thoughts depending on the situation. A moderately loud 'Shit' was the first thing I said as I saw the redlight-running car crash into the left front of my month-old (to me, it's a 1998) Corvette. It was said in that tone of "OH MY GOD I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS IS HAPPENING! I JUST CAN'T HAVE ANYTHING NICE WITHOUT IT GETTING MESSED UP!" Yep, that one word really can mean all of that. If I haven't said 'shit' about something in a day, then that's one exceptionally great day.

Online I feel much freer to use the word 'fuck' than I do when speaking. Actually, it's pretty rare for me to say that out loud. It just doesn't roll off my tongue so naturally. It's good for serious emphasis in an adult conversation, but I won't say it in front of my kids. And I appreciate when other people don't use it around kids. It's an adult word. And it loses its 'punch' when it's overused. To me it usually implies disdain. (I'm talking about everyday speech, not talking dirty in certain situations.)

And then there's that 'c' word. I really hate it and only use it in the most extreme cases, like about truly disgusting people. That word has the onomatopoeia of a rapist. It's too much like the hateful grunt of a rapist as he's slamming himself into someone, not because he loves them and wants to physically, emotionally, and spiritually bond with them, but because he hates them. The physical impacts of the sex act are not different from him ramming his first into their face or kicking them in the guts. Sorry that's so graphic, but that's what the word means to me when I hear it. (No, I've never been raped, and apologies to anyone who has if I've struck a bad nerve.)

So, anyway, this post was supposed to be about those fucking spam bloggers. I've noticed that there is a new option for a word verification for posting comments. I've turned it on now to see if it will help cut down the blog spam.

Final Round of Questions

Okay, here are the last of the interview questions for the personal assistant position. Thank you to all who have endured this process.

1. In my previous post there is a list of countries. How would you have listed them? Alphabetically? Randomly? Geographically? According to their size or population? By language? Or by some other method?

These last two questions are those typical, dreaded interview questions:

2. Why do you think you are the best candidate for the job?

3. When can you start?

World Wide Web

My hit counter tells me the country my visitors come from. For the last couple of weeks I've been noting all the different places. This is truly a World Wide Web! I've had visitors from these countries:

Serbia and Montenegro
Czech Republic
South Africa
Trinidad and Tobago
New Zealand
These Canadian Provinces- Yukon Territory, Ontario, Alberta, Quebec, Northwest Frontier, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia.

Pretty cool! Even if they don't actually read it they've at least gotten here for a quick look. Amazing!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Round Three Interview Questions

You may skip up to 3 questions, but I'd rather you didn't:

1. What is the weirdest thing about you? I don't know. Everything?

2. What book are you reading now? answered this in a previous post, but I haven't gotten to read much the last few days

3. What's on your mouse pad? picture of a car just like mine

4. What's your favorite board game? Scrabble

5. What the worst feeling in the world? Being forgotten

6. What is the first thing you think when you wake in the morning? what time is it, am I late?

7. What embarrasses you? And how do you handle it? being wrong or saying things wrong. try to correct myself and laugh it off

Upcoming Posts

This is mostly a note to my unorganized self. I really need that assistant! These are the main subjects crowding the burners in my mind. Yep, that's one of those fancy commercial-style 6 burner stoves in there! LOL
(Or maybe I should say these are 6 plots that I'm digging through?)

He's a Real Cool Cat- my dad

Alternative Fuels

Sploggers and Bad Words

You'll Be Blessed- my youngest

Redemption, Dreams and Hallucinations

Round Three of Interview Questions

You think things are wild now?

The Duel between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton

Well, if you dig a little bit into our own American history you can find out that things have changed little in regard to the behavior of our leading men (and women). This is the stuff that isn't taught in school, the personal conflicts and humanness of our Founding Fathers (and Mothers). We tend to think of them as these great, mythical heroes who never told a lie or slept with anyone other than their spouse. Well, the truth is much more interesting than the myths. Here is an excerpt from the PBS program linked above:

NARR: To respond to the frenzy of character assassination, American politicians began turning to the political duel. Many of the great men of the day had their own set of dueling pistols custom made.

These "affairs of honor" had far more to do with playing politics than with actually shooting anyone.

JOANNE FREEMAN: You were not necessarily counting on the fact that you were actually gonna end up with a gun in your hand shooting at someone. You were counting on the fact that you were gonna have a chance to prove that you were willing to die to defend your character! So the code of honor really is being manipulated as a political tool among national politicians in this period, to a really extraordinary degree.

NARR: The more combative a politician, the more likely he was to be involved in duels. And no one was as combative as Alexander Hamilton. He was involved in eleven affairs of honor. One of his early duels was a window into the world of sex, politics and dueling among America’s founding fathers.

The duel was triggered by an adulterous affair of Hamilton’s. Hamilton himself described what happened the first time he went to visit a young woman named Mariah Reynolds.

I inquired for Mrs. Reynolds and was shown upstairs. At the head of the stairs she met me and conducted me into the bedroom. After this I had frequent meetings with her.

NARR: When Mrs. Reynolds husband, James, learned that Hamilton was sleeping with his wife, he blackmailed Hamilton. Hamilton paid a huge sum of money to buy his silence -and more visits to his wife.

But then James Reynolds was arrested for using Hamilton’s money in a shady business deal. To prove he wasn’t involved in the shady dealing, Hamilton was forced to publish his own account of the affair.

The charge against me is a connection with one James Reynolds for purposes of improper monetary speculation. My real crime is an amorous connection with his wife. This confession is not made without a blush.

JOANNE FREEMAN: He basically argues that, yes he's an adulterer. But that's what he's done as a private man. As a public man in office he's never been dishonest and he's trustworthy. So what he's done should have no bearing on his public career because in public office he's fine. Whatever he does outside of office, well, may be unfortunate, but it has no impact on you, and you can continue trusting me as a public servant.

NARR: But in the 1790’s, that argument was not enough to save Hamilton’s reputation. To restore his honor, Hamilton challenged a man who had attacked his character — Virginia Senator James Monroe — to a duel.

JOANNE FREEMAN: A duel was really a sort of game of dare or counter dare. It really was a case in which one man would step forward and say I'm willing to die to defend my name and the other man would have to step forward and say, I will meet you. And that, as a matter of fact, that was a phrase that they would use. Ritualistic phrase. I will meet you as a gentleman.

What strikes me here is that at least they admitted to their 'amorous connections' unlike our 42nd President, Bill "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky" Clinton. When people talk about integrity these days they mean "incorruptibility," but I think that when we are talking about people there is no such thing as incorruptibility. Vulnerability is one of the essences of being human. We should probably think of integrity more in the way that our forebears saw it, as honor and honesty and a willingness to admit one's faults and to take responsibility for them.

I got started on this topic because I was looking for a quote from this program or maybe another I had watched about the Burr/Hamilton Duel. In the show there was a tavern scene where a group of men were discussing a battle and one of them said something to the effect of "it is a soldier's job to die." I had wanted to find that quote in response to Cindy Sheehan. I do feel sympathy for her losing her son. That is a parent's worst fear, to lose a child in any way. But I think that people's expectations have become 'soft.' I asked David last night if he remembered watching this show I was thinking of (he didn't remember, he probably didn't watch it), and I explained to him why I was trying to remember it exactly. He doesn't always 'get' why I think about such things. I was trying to explain about the Cindy Sheehan thing and how these days men are more afraid to die. He said, "Women have always been afraid to die too." I said, "Well, everyone these days is more afraid of death than back then. Women died in childbirth all the time back then. Now days see much less death in our daily lives and have become more fearful of it." (Why did he think I was talking bad about males? I was saying 'men' as in mankind. And Americans in particular because there are many places in the world where death is still very prevalent on a daily basis.)

While looking for that particular quote, which might have been entirely fictional, I found some other very good ones. Many of them seem particularly relevant to the Iraqi pursuit for a Constitution.

"If it be asked, What is the most sacred duty and the greatest source of our security in a Republic? The answer would be, An inviolable respect for the Constitution and Laws — the first growing out of the last.... A sacred respect for the constitutional law is the vital principle, the sustaining energy of a free government."

Alexander Hamilton, Essay in the American Daily Advertiser, Aug 28, 1794

"If mankind were to resolve to agree in no institution of government, until every part of it had been adjusted to the most exact standard of perfection, society would soon become a general scene of anarchy, and the world a desert."

Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 65, March 7, 1788

"In politics, as in religion, it is equally absurd to aim at making proselytes by fire and sword. Heresies in either can rarely be cured by persecution."

Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 1, October 27, 1787

"It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is to-day, can guess what it will be to-morrow."

Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 62, 1788

"The fundamental source of all your errors, sophisms and false reasonings is a total ignorance of the natural rights of mankind. Were you once to become acquainted with these, you could never entertain a thought, that all men are not, by nature, entitled to a parity of privileges. You would be convinced, that natural liberty is a gift of the beneficent Creator to the whole human race, and that civil liberty is founded in that; and cannot be wrested from any people, without the most manifest violation of justice."

Alexander Hamilton, The Farmer Refuted, February 23, 1775

"There are certain social principles in human nature, from which we may draw the most solid conclusions with respect to the conduct of individuals and of communities. We love our families more than our neighbors; we love our neighbors more than our countrymen in general. The human affections, like solar heat, lose their intensity as they depart from the centre... On these principles, the attachment of the individual will be first and for ever secured by the State governments. They will be a mutual protection and support."

Alexander Hamilton, speech at the New York Ratifying Convention, June, 1788

"There is a certain enthusiasm in liberty, that makes human nature rise above itself, in acts of bravery and heroism."

Alexander Hamilton, The Farmer Refuted, February 23, 1775

"This balance between the National and State governments ought to be dwelt on with peculiar attention, as it is of the utmost importance. It forms a double security to the people. If one encroaches on their rights they will find a powerful protection in the other. Indeed, they will both be prevented from overpassing their constitutional limits by a certain rivalship, which will ever subsist between them."

Alexander Hamilton, speech to the New York Ratifying Convention, June 17, 1788

"To grant that there is a supreme intelligence who rules the world and has established laws to regulate the actions of his creatures; and still to assert that man, in a state of nature, may be considered as perfectly free from all restraints of law and government, appears to a common understanding altogether irreconcilable. Good and wise men, in all ages, have embraced a very dissimilar theory. They have supposed that the deity, from the relations we stand in to himself and to each other, has constituted an eternal and immutable law, which is indispensably obligatory upon all mankind, prior to any human institution whatever. This is what is called the law of nature....Upon this law depend the natural rights of mankind."

Alexander Hamilton, The Farmer Refuted, February 23, 1775

"To judge from the history of mankind, we shall be compelled to conclude that the fiery and destructive passions of war reign in the human breast with much more powerful sway than the mild and beneficent sentiments of peace; and that to model our political systems upon speculations of lasting tranquility would be to calculate on the weaker springs of human character."

Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 34, January 4, 1788

"[The Judicial Branch] may truly be said to have neither FORCE nor WILL, but merely judgment; and must ultimately depend upon the aid of the executive arm even for the efficacy of its judgments."

Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 78, 1788

"[T]he present Constitution is the standard to which we are to cling. Under its banners, bona fide must we combat our political foes — rejecting all changes but through the channel itself provides for amendments."

Alexander Hamilton, letter to James Bayard, April, 1802

(Sorry that was kind of long and disjointed. This post, as well as many others, could be considered a quickly composed first draft which probably and sometimes unfortunately won't ever be further revised.)

Monday, August 22, 2005

Taking a dive...

I'm drunk, but not from drinking or smoking anything. I waited too late to pick up my Effexor refill yesterday. The pharmacy closed at 5. I got there at 5:10. Whenever I miss a dose, the next day I feel really drunk, dizzy, sleepy, stumbly. It's so weird that when you first start taking these medications it takes a few weeks for them to start working, but miss one dose and you're screwed. I'll go get it in a few minutes, but right now I'm indulging in some ELO, Livin' Thing in particular. Why isn't orchestral rock acceptable anymore? I love it:

Sailin' away on the crest of a wave
It's like magic
Rollin' and ridin' and slippin' & sliding
It's magic

I do feel like I'm on the crest of a wave, rollin' and ridin' and slippin' and sliding, but not in the way I'd like. Magic? Well, chemistry maybe.

And you, and your sweet desire,
You took me, ohhh higher and higher baby,
It's a livin' thing,
It's a terrible thing to lose
It's a given thing
What a terrible thing to lose.

I'm takin' a dive. Dive, dive... (echo)

Yeah, it feels like a dive off the raft into the roiling waters.

Making believe this is what you've conceived
From your worst day, I'm takin a dive
Moving in line when you look back in time
To the first day, I'm taken I'm taken

And you and your sweet desire,
Don't you do it , don't you do it,
Taking me ohh, higher and higher baby
It's a living thing,
It's a terrible thing to lose,
It's a given thing
What a terrible thing to lose

I'm takin a dive. Almost there... hey...

Takin' a dive 'cos you can't halt the slide
Floating downstream, I'm takin a dive
So let her go don't start spoiling the show
It's a bad dream, I'm takin', I'm takin'

No, you can't halt the slide. You can't build a dam strong enough to stop the downstream flow. Insidious water always finds its way. I often dream of the ocean and the sharks swimming there waiting for me to fall in.

And you and your sweet desire
Don't you do it , don't you do it
Taking me higher and higher baby

I'm taking a dive...

It's a livin' thing...

Is that a phallus hanging out your window or are you just glad to see me?

I was reading mr g's post about his cross-country trip, and that made me think that I should share some of my traveling stories. In the Summer of 1999 I took a solo vacation driving out West. I drove on Interstate 40 all the way to New Mexico where I took another road south to Roswell. I'm not some alien loving freak, but I had always wanted to see Roswell just for the pop culture aspects of it. That, and I was a big X-Files fan too. It was a quick tour. I stopped at the International UFO Museum & Research Center and then drove on out to White Sands National Monument, another place I had always wanted to see. I love the desert and White Sands was absolutely beautiful. Oddly enough, soon after I went there it started showing up on all kinds of tv shows. Tom Green did a show there, and someone else (P. Diddy maybe?) did a music video there. I drove to lots of other places too that I might write about someday, but not today.

In general my trip was safe. I didn't have many moments of feeling insecure being a woman traveling alone. But there was one event that really shook me. On my way back home I was driving through an empty part Oklahoma when a big truck kept playing that passing game. I tried to ignore him, but he was persistant. We were the only two vehicles on the road for a long span of time and distance. Finally I thought maybe I should look at him to see if he was trying to tell me that something was wrong with my car. Well, as he slowed down for the umpteenth time I went to pass him and looked up at his window. I didn't look very long because all I could see was what looked like a huge dildo stuck out the window. I mean if it wasn't a dildo then this guy would rank up there with John Holmes. It was huge! And it scared me to death. (As I've previously suggested I'm very susceptible to phallic suggestion but not when it's used as a threat!) I stomped the gas and sped up to about 90 or so. I thought if a state trooper was around and pulled me over I'd just tell him I was trying to get away from that giant dildo trucker. Give me a ticket if you want, even cart me off to jail, but just make sure that maniac leaves me alone! But there weren't any cops around, and eventually I saw in the rearview distance that the truck pulled off an exit. I was so relieved! I know most truckers don't engage in such games, but when one does it really makes you feel leery of them.

Well, that wasn't quite as interesting as mr g's story, but I've wanted to tell it for a while just because it does seem kind of funny now.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Harry Potter Horoscopes by Madalyn Aslan

(This was from a newsletter I get from AOL Horoscopes. Whether or not you 'believe' in or like astrology this is an interesting article.)

According to a recent interview, JK Rowling thinks there are about 3000 wizards in Britain. This is good news! Divination is alive and well in our world, just as it is in all of her books. Everywhere you turn in the Potter series, there are references to astrology and divination... take a look!

The Four Elements

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry's four houses correspond to the four elements, just like the signs of the zodiac. Gryffindor is fire, Hufflepuff is earth, Ravenclaw is air and Slytherin is water. If you are familiar with Hogwarts, you will find its houses fit their elements perfectly. Harry is of course the fire sign of Leo, and in the Gryffindor House of fire.

Birthdays Past & Present

My young wizards' guide What's Your Sign? paid homage to Leo Harry Potter when his series was born, and pre-birth was linked to him in a way that still tickles me today. Its original editor Tui Sutherland had the same birthday as Harry...and the same as Harry's creator, JK Rowling who gave Harry her own birthday, July 31! More evidence that we all revolve around the Sun and its sign Leo.

Not coincidentally, Daniel Radcliffe who plays Harry in the movies is also a Leo. In fact, there are more Leos than any other sign in the Harry Potter series.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was born Saturday, July 16, 2005, in the Sun sign of Cancer. It is no coincidence that its birthday is – day of all days – the day Saturn left Cancer. Excellent timing, JK Rowling! The book has a Cancer Sun sign and there's nothing better for Cancer than the day Saturn leaves it. (Plus, Saturn won't return to Cancer for another 29 years.)

The Half-Blood Prince's luck and destiny (Jupiter) is in Libra which rules partnerships. And more characters end up partnered in this book than in any other: Harry and Ginny, Ron and Hermione, and Bill and Fleur. Dumbledore's bad luck is inextricably linked to the book's partnership-oriented Libra Jupiter good luck. As JK Rowling says of Dumbledore, "Where is his equal, where is his confidante, where is his partner?" Thus, the tragedy.

Without giving any more away, find which character – and its actor Muggle in the movies – shares your same sign and birthday.

Astrological Players By Sign

Aries – Fred and George Weasley
Aries is the first sign of the zodiac and must always be first in everything. Fred and George Weasley were born the first of April and are inventors, making things exist for the first time ever and before anyone else does. They exemplify Aries pioneering boldness, drama and fun to a Tee, including their ambition to open a joke shop so as to sell their inventions. Frequent shenanigans get them into trouble and they are always at odds with authority.

In Filch's office again for being caught in an escapade, they notice a drawer which says Confiscated and Highly Dangerous. This to Aries is just pure invitation! Aries ignites, burns, enthuses and then – like its animal the ram –charges. Fred and George are truly irrepressible, born of fire.

Behind-the-scenes Aries Muggles in the Harry Potter films are: Emma Watson who plays Hermione, Gary Oldman who plays Sirius Black, Emma Thompson who plays Professor Trelaway, Katie Leung who plays Cho Chung, Julie Christie who plays Madame Rosmerta, Robbie Coltrane who plays Hagrid and Mike Newell, the director of Goblet of Fire.

Taurus – Professor Pomona Sprout
Professor Pomona Sprout is the perfect earthy witch: born under the primary earth sign of Taurus. With her roots and fingers in the soil, she teaches class in the Hogwarts greenhouse. Taurus likes to be obvious and simple, on many complex levels! Just look at Tauruses Sigmund Freud, William Shakespeare and Karl Marx. Pomona is taken from the name of the Roman Goddess of fruit trees, and Sprout is exactly what it is. Taurus believes in reaping what you sow, both literally and figuratively.

Taurus has a brilliant earthy sense of everything (including humor) and so has the actress who plays Professor Sprout, who was born on the same day as Professor Sprout in the book – May 15. Who says astrology isn't sprouting its seeds here?

Behind-the-scenes Taurus Muggles: Miriam Margolyes who plays Professor Sprout (and was born on the very same day as her!) and Zoe Wanamaker who plays Madame Hooch, the digital compositor for Chamber of Secrets, and the visual effects master for Prisoner of Azakaban.

Gemini – Draco Malfoy
Draco Malfoy, born June 5, is a brilliant example of Gemini twin double-sidedness. Not only does he function as Harry Potter's "other" side and nemesis, but JK Rowling keeps us guessing which side Malfoy is truly on all the way through six of her seven books! He also has the looks of an angel – the traditional blonde hair which none of the other characters have – but behaves like an angel's opposing twin. Another example of the twin flip side of Gemini.

Gemini's ruling planet is Mercury, the winged messenger who delights in stirring up mischief, and rules motion, speech, speed and change. Hence the word "mercurial" which is so true of Malfoy. Gemini is wicked fast and smart. Remember how fast Malfoy is on his broomstick?

Behind-the-scenes Gemini Muggles: Jason Isaacs who plays Draco Malfoy's father Lucius whose birthday is just one day after his fictional son's! And talk about ruling motion– the motion control previs supervisor for all the Harry Potter movies is a Gemini.

Cancer – House Elf Dobby
Cancer rules the home so naturally JK Rowling gave her one Cancerian birthday to the house elf, Dobby, whose birthday is June 28. Just like the Cancer crab with its shell of protection, Dobby is over-protective of Harry, worrying and fussing over him constantly. As I describe in my young wizards' guide What's Your Sign, Cancer can sometimes be the sign of Chicken Little, stressing over the sky falling down. Dobby is similarly annoying and endearing, loving and crabby too!

Cancer's ruler is the Moon which rules all that is underneath – our subconscious feelings. Dobby is emotional and gives into his subconscious fears, both of which worry Harry. At the same time, he rescues Harry from the abusive Muggle family and returns him to his deeper self and true home.

Behind-the-scenes Cancer Muggles: Matthew Lewis who plays Neville Longbottom, Fiona Shaw who plays Petunia Dursley, the prosthetic makeup and creatures assistant, and the recently-born Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

Leo – Rules All Harry Potter
Leo is royal and courageous, represented by the lion, king of the animals – so it is fitting that Harry Potter has more Leos in it than any other sign. Harry Potter is the most powerful wizard at Hogwarts... and not only is he a Leo but so is his master creator, JK Rowling – with the same birthday of July 31 – and so is the actor who plays him, Daniel Radcliffe! The astrology doesn't stop here...Harry's first true girlfriend Ginny Weasley is also a Leo, as is Neville Longbottom – both of whom, as befits Leo, have fought bravely to defeat the dark side.

Leo's ruler is the Sun which rules the solar system and around which our universe revolves...and of course our entire universe does revolve around Harry Potter! Leo JK Rowling values courage above all other virtues and this shows in all the dynamics of the Harry Potter series.

Behind-the-scenes Leo Muggles: Very few! Except for the stars above, I couldn't find any Leos working behind the scenes – such as sound, costume, etc – of any Harry Potter films! If you are a Leo and behind the scenes, you are either in the wrong job or you got your birth date wrong.

Virgo – Get -it-Right Hermione
When a Virgo cares, they criticize. Virgo's primal urges are to improve and to make better... and this includes their nearest and dearest. Hermione, the smartest and most critical girl at Hogwarts, exemplifies the traits of her September 19 birthday completely. Thus her constant haranguing of Ron over not being a "proper perfect." As we see in The Half-Blood Prince, she cares about Ron very much. And yes, like many Virgos, she's also modest... coming from humble Muggle parentage.

Virgin in the strictest sense means purist and Hermione's about as purist as one can get. Passionate about rules and about what is right, her Virgo self makes it impossible to slack off. Remember, the worker bee is the busiest, most useful insect of all. It pollinates.

Behind-the-scenes Virgo Muggles: Rupert Grint who plays Ron Weasley, Tom Felton who plays Draco Malfoy, Stephen Fry who does the UK audio narration (and is an excellent director in his own right) and the camera pilot.

Libra – Professor Minerva McGonagall
Professor McGonagall is the Head of Gryffindor house and a Deputy Head of Hogwarts. Her sign of Libra is represented by the scales of justice found in every court of law in our Muggle-Land. Libra is famous for being fiercely fair and well-mannered, with charms galore. This October 4th born professor is so fair when it comes to the behavior of her students, she will punish those from her house even when it could mean losing the House Cup. As strict as she is, she is well-liked.

Professor Filius Flitwick is the only other character that JK Rowling made a Libra, giving him the birthday of October 17. Of course, he is Professor of Charms at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Behind-the-scenes Libra Muggles: Jan Hart who plays Professor Quirrel, Mark Radcliffe – no relation to Dan Radcliffe! – who is the executive producer for all the films, digital artist and sequence supervisor, and sound effects editor.

Scorpio – Molly Weasley
As is said about those born late October to mid-November, "Never underestimate a Scorpio." And this is precisely what must be said about Molly Weasley, born October 30. Even though she is a devoted mother – the name Molly suggests the expression "mollycoddle" – home schooling her seven children in addition to taking in Harry and Hermione – she is, like any Scorpio, never to be crossed. She will knit sweaters while enforcing rules, losing her temper and sending Howlers.

Scorpio is the only sign of the zodiac that has not just one, but three, symbols to represent it! They are: the scorpion, eagle and phoenix. Powerful Scorpios can choose which they want to be. Take note – Molly overcame her scorpion fears about her family dying by joining the Order of the Phoenix.

Behind-the-scenes Scorpio Muggles: John Cleese who plays Nearly Headless Nick, Robert Hardy who plays Cornelius Fudge, Jamie Yeats who plays Marcus Flint, Chris Rankin who plays Percy Weasley, and the special effects technician!

Sagittarius – Hagrid
Sagittarius is ruled by Jupiter, the most giant planet in our whole solar system. Jupiter is 1300 times the size of Earth and weighs twice as much as all the other planets combined. Thus the half-giant Hagrid could only be Sagittarius! His birthday is December 6. Rowling has given him Sadge's other defining characteristics too... he is kind, innocent, open, and just a bit irresponsible. Plus he has a yen for crossbreeds (Sagittarius itself is half horse, half-man), fun and ale.

Sagittarius is a fire sign and thus impulsive. Like the centaur charging happily forward, Hagrid can be indiscreet and foolhardy – trying to raise a baby dragon and illegally creating a dangerous crossbreed he named the Blast-Ended Skrewt are two examples – but we can't help but love the jolly giant!

Behind-the-scenes Sagittarius Muggles: Kenneth Branagh who plays Professor Lockhart, Gemma Jones who plays Madame Pomfrey, Alfred Enoch who plays Dean Thomas, Prisoner ofAzakaban director Alfonso Cuaron and many of the risk-taking stunt doubles!

Capricorn – Professor Severus Snape
Professor Severus Snape's birthday is on January 9, and as you know, he had a very difficult childhood and worked for the dark side. Only 36, he seems older – terse, unfeeling and sinister. Capricorn is famous for being born old and growing younger as they age, as well as for being excellent and exhaustive at work. Snape sacrifices, is a brilliant wizard and potion-maker and a tireless worker for the Order of the Phoenix. Also black is Capricorn's color and Snape has black eyes.

Capricorn's ruling planet is Saturn, the fatalistic taskmaster and no-fun teacher... which is exactly what Snape is. He makes students' lives, particularly Harry's, a torture with his bullying and bitterness. I won't give away what he does in The Half-Blood Prince, but it ain't pretty.

Behind-the-scenes Capricorn Muggles: Maggie Smith who plays Professor Minerva McGonogal and Ralph Fiennes who plays Lord Voldemort. As with Leo, Capricorn is king of his mountain and leader-in-control and therefore hard to find behind the scenes and not center stage.

Aquarius – Arthur Weasley
Arthur's birthday is February 9. He is the head of the pure-blood Weasley household and an officer at the Ministry of Magic. Just like a true Aquarian, he is visionary, open-minded, easy-going, individualistic, doesn't care what others think and is curious – especially about Muggles! He reveals his humanitarian side best by supporting everyone in an environment where everyone takes sides.

Aquarius is ruled by Uranus*, the spirited born-free planet. It is definitely the rebellious oddball of the solar system. It is the only planet that lies on its side instead of standing straight up. Probably to get a totally different world view – like Arthur has! He doesn't care about being poor at all.

Behind the scenes Aquarius Muggles: Bonnie Wright who plays Ginny Weasley, Warwick Davis who plays Professor Flitwick, John Hurt who plays Mr. Ollivander, Terence Baylor who plays the Bloody Baron, Roget Lloyd-Pack who plays Barty Crouch, Composer John Williams, the second assistant director, and the costume supervisor.

Pisces – Ron Weasley
Ron Weasley, who, along with Hermione, is Harry's best friend, was born March 1. Pisces is represented by the two fish which live completely underwater and find it impossible to keep their feet on the ground – as they don't have feet, they have fins! Ron's eyes in the book are a beautiful shade of Pisces water-blue and everything he has is secondhand, including his wand. This makes it difficult for him to succeed as a wizard although he is a wonderful friend.

Pisces' ruling planet is Neptune which rules dreams and illusions. Water symbolizes feelings and the subconscious and, again, Ron has a hard time keeping his straight. He hides his feelings about Hermione for so long that we're all relieved when they finally get together in Book Six.

Behind the scenes Pisces Muggles: Alan Rickman who plays Professor Snape, Julie Walters who plays Molly Weasley, James and Oliver Phelps who play Fred and George Weasley, Miranda Richardson who plays Rita Skeeter, David Thewlis who plays Remus Lupin, Oliver Wood who plays Dudley Dursley, as well as the studio manager and stunts person for Prisoner of Azakaban.

About the Author
Madalyn Aslan has been reading palms and studying astrology since she was a child. She is the author of a book for children, What's Your Sign? A Cosmic Guide for Young Astrologers, as well as Madalyn Aslan's Jupiter Signs and CosmoGirl Astrologer – plus several columns on astrology. Her work has been published in six languages.

*That always cracks me up! I'm an Aquarius and I pretty much fit the description.

Saturday Poetry Slam

The Ebb and Flow

Lavalamps and Jellyfish
Undulate and Pulsate
Breasts and Balls
Mushrooms and Penises
Slow Motion Semen
Eggs and Sperm
Cellular Division
Blood Cells and Plasma
Glass and Bubbles

Temperance (Haiku and Tanka)

Sweet romantic love (5)
Slow profound higher union (7)
So intense I weep (5)

Hard fast piercing lust (5)
Penetrating to the core (7)
Chemistry rules me (5)
Attune and anneal and try (7)
Almost as hot as required (7)

I'm sure some of you can appreciate how hard it can be to compose anything, let alone crappy poetry, when there's a whiny 5 year old climbing all over you and crying in your ears and trying to pull you out of your seat.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Fun MeMe Friday...

I borrowed this from eatmisery:

1. Nervous habits? chewing gum, shaking foot or leg(s), or rubbing something between my fingers
2. Are you double jointed? no, but I'm flexible
3. Can you roll your tongue? yes
4. Can you raise one eyebrow at a time? yes
5. Can you blow spit bubbles? yes
6. Can you cross your eyes? yes
7. Tattoos? no, but I've wanted one for at least 21 years
8. Piercings? 2 holes in each ear lobe
9. Do you make your bed daily? no, I'm a slob

10. Which shoe goes on first? right one I guess but I've never really noticed
11. Speaking of shoes, have you ever thrown one at anyone? yes
12. On the average, how much money do you carry? $10-$20
13. What jewelry do you wear 24/7? earrings in top holes, but I don't wear my wedding rings at home so they don't get too dirty
14. Favorite piece of clothing? don't really have one

15. Do you twirl your spaghetti or cut it? twirl
16. Have you ever eaten Spam? Yes
17. Do you use extra salt on your food? Not usually
18. How many cereals in your cabinet? right now 3 or 4
19. What's your favorite beverage? sweet tea, Southern style
20. What's your favorite fast food restaurant? Taco Bell
21. Do you cook? Yes, but I hate it.

22. How often do you brush your teeth? once or twice every day
23. Hair drying method? air-dry usually
24. Have you ever colored/highlighted your hair? yes, but not for a year or so. I'm letting my gray go natural because I like it.

25. Do you swear? not that much
26. Do you ever spit? sometimes, but not in public

27. Animal? can't pick one, but I like birds and butterflies
28. Food? chocolate
29. Month? May, probably
30. Day of the week? Saturday, probably
31. Cartoon? Aqua Teens
32. Shoe brand? Not into brands
33. Subject in school? English in high school; Psychology in college
34. Color? the many shades of red
35. Sport? figure skating
36. TV shows? Ghost Hunters
37. Thing to do in the spring? plant flowers
38. Thing to do in the summer? enjoy my gardens and swim
39. Thing to do in the autumn? drive in crisp air
40. Thing to do in the winter? admire the naked trees

41. In the CD player? in car, No Doubt; in computer, Led Zeppelin; in home stereo, Tom Jones, hehehe
42. Person you talk most on the phone with? David and my dad
43. Reading? Robots and Psychopaths by Chris
44. Do you regularly check yourself out in store windows/mirrors? no
45. What color is your bedroom? calming sage green and tan
46. Do you use an alarm clock? not unless I have to get up at an unusual time, I usually wake up when I know I need to
47. Window seat or aisle? Window

48. What's your sleeping position? either side and sometimes on stomach
49. Even in hot weather do you use a blanket? yes
50. Do you snore? they say I do
51. Do you sleepwalk? no
52. Do you talk in your sleep? not usually, but I have woken myself laughing in my sleep
53. Do you sleep with stuffed animals? no
54. How about with the light on? no, I prefer it real dark
55. Do you fall asleep with the TV or radio on? only if I'm especially tired
56. Last interesting person you met? I don't meet that many people in 'real' life because I'm a homebody, but most people I do meet are interesting. That old muscle flexing man at Walmart was pretty interesting! Many interesting people online.

Thursday, August 18, 2005



Do you like clip art? Do you like freebies? Well, I do. I use clip art in my work sometimes, and most of it I have gotten from Dover Publications for free. You can sign up for a weekly sampler of free clip art (click here). I've also purchased a few book/cd collections of clip art from Dover, but they also offer lots of other kinds of books. They periodically offer free shipping and percents off your orders.

Arachnophobes Beware:

As I've previously mentioned it seems that this is another Year of the Spider. I had thought that maybe it was going to be something else, but the spiders aren't done with me yet. I've gotten much confirmation on figuring this out in the form of seeing many more spiders and some unusual ones. What the Spider does is weave webs. And interestingly enough, this World Wide Web is quite like the Dreamcatcher that the Native Americans designed. Here are some pictures I took this week of some of my spider friends.

Black and Yellow Argiope, Argiope auranita, with prey, poor little thing has lost a leg somehow. There are a couple of these spiders near my tomato plants. Around here they are commonly called "writin' spiders" because of the zigzag patterns in their webs. When we were kids we always heard that if you saw your name or initials in a web that you were going to die soon. But I've also read that in some areas the folklore is that the name or initials would be of your future spouse. Like they say, "Life's a bitch, then you marry one and die." Or something like that.

Triangulate Orb Weaver, Verrucosa arenata, actually there are two of these near my house, this one with a yellowish back and another with a whitish back

Green lynx spider, Peucetia viridans, I like the violetish color on its legs, and this was the first of this species I'd ever seen. It was on a rose bush, and yesterday it caught a Japanese beetle and was ingesting it. I tried to get a picture, but none of the shots came out good enough.

Another Green lynx spider, with prey, this is not the same one as above. This one was on a hydrangea bush.

Round Two

Here are the round two interview questions for the Assistant position:

1. What is one of your favorite movies and why?

2. What is one of your least favorite movies and why?

3. Answer those same questions about TV shows.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Art is Art and Fart is Fart: Or Everybody's Shit Stinks

I'm thinking about entering a picture into the Dogwood Arts Festival 2006 print contest. I entered a picture last year, and it was the only digital composition entered. They don't say that digital isn't allowed, but some of the other entrants 'dissed' my entry. So this year I'm really wanting to do something rebellious and possibly inflammatory to even further alienate myself from the stodgy Knoxville arts scene. The picture that won last year was a pretty watercolor that was in the Thomas Kinkade vein, and that's all well and good and I recognize the talent and skill that it takes to do that. But to me, it's boring.

That said, I am opening myself up here to criticism by posting my own picture and asking for suggestions for a title. I have a title for it in mind, but I'd like to hear some other ideas. It looks much more vibrant on paper, and I'm planning on outlining by hand the darkest lines to make it 'pop'.

Name this picture: (click the picture to see it enlarged)

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Tuesday Tidbits

It's been an ever busier Tuesday, and I will catch up on reading blogs tomorrow. But here are a few morsels of Hoeness until then...

- the correct shipment from Corel was here before noon today. That was FAST!! They sure did make up for sending the wrong thing and making me stay on the phone for over half an hour yesterday.

- most of today was spent getting a bunch of tomatoes ready for canning. I forgot how long it takes to do all the prep work. Here's a fun little tip in case anyone didn't already know it. To make peeling tomatoes (and peaches) quicker and easier pour boiling water over them and let them sit in it for about a minute. The skin just slides right off. (But it still takes a long time to do a sink-full of Roma tomatoes.)

- and here is some insect pornography for your viewing pleasure (or disgust)...

Butterfly lovin':

Grasshopper lovin':

Monday, August 15, 2005

Monday Madness

Where is everybody? As busy as I am? Okay so this is what I've done today so far:

-looked up and emailed info requested by accountant on Friday
-spent 34 minutes on phone with Corel about receiving wrong order (This is EXACTLY why I hate the telephone!)
-got 941 payroll tax deposit ready to take to bank
-caught up data entry into Quickbooks
-filed some piled-up papers
-left message for David about another question the accountant had, still waiting for reply...

Still have to

-eat! have only had coffee so far today and stomach is not happy
-go to bank
-get birthday cake for the Youngest who's real birthday was the 6th, but the kids were gone to FLorida then with their grandparents so we're having his cake tonight.
-get yet more school supplies and some office stuff at Walmart

Blah, blah, blah...

Don't forget to answer Round One Interview Questions and send in your Requests and Dedications for the Lyrics blog.

Have a great day! (if it's possible to have a great Monday)

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Round One

For those applying for the Personal/Administrative Assistant position here is the first round of interview questions:

1. When listening to music which element do you pay attention to most? (Melody, Rhythm, Lyrics, etc.)

2. Considering your answer to the first question what instrument would you be? And why?

Friday, August 12, 2005

New Pet

click on Spike and he'll do tricks for you

adopt your own virtual pet!

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Politics, straight-up and not on the Rocks...

I don't like political music. I don't want to hear people singing about social injustices or whatever their pet political subject might be. I found it quite disingenuous for Green Day to sing about not wanting to be an American Idiot when it was all those American Idiots that made them wealthy and famous. Sure, they have a their right to sing about whatever they want to, and I have a right not to like it. So now the Rolling Stones are releasing a new album that has a politically critical song and there's a big to-do about it. It's mostly just buzz to promote their tour and album release. Like they say, even bad publicity is good. But I heard on the radio some of Mick Jagger's quotes about how they really didn't need to do an album and tour, that they could have just 'called it in.' He said they don't need to money to support their families and whatever and that is was just for fun. The dj who was talking about this said something that I wish I could remember exactly because I totally agreed with it. She said something about if they didn't need the money then why was it necessary to charge $400 for tickets to see them. Good point! I'm not paying hundreds of dollars to see ANYONE, especially not some dried up old fucker singing about how bad my country is. Sorry, Mick, but I think you and your Rolling Stones have tumbled into a big pile of shit and now you're stuck in it. I won't be lending you a hand, or a dollar, to help you out of it either. You should have stayed with singing about sex and drugs and love and longing. That's the stuff of Rock 'n' Roll.

click here for Yahoo news article about this

another article

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

(Not Quite) Blinded by the Light

Don't you just hate when you've missed your moment?

It seems my

has become

so this isn't the great post I had hoped it would be. I shouldn't have left it so long, and we all know that bulbs always burn out at the most inconvenient time. And some of the stuff that was lit up wasn't worthy of writing about after all. So briefly, here are some of the salvaged fragments of the broken tungsten filament. (for a great explanation of how light bulbs work click here)

Sexy Baptist Singles: I think it's my Tennessee Bible Belt upbringing that causes me to cringe a little when I read that. When I was a kid the Baptists were the last of the denominations that would embrace the word 'sexy' or anything that involved sex in any way. The words 'Baptist' and 'sexy' just don't seem to belong in the same phrase because the Baptists have been the primary advocates for the Abstinence Movement even before it was a Movement. When I was a kid even married sex was somehow dirty to the Baptists. Why is it okay to advertise Sexy Baptist Singles when it's not okay to go to Disney World? I'm sure that dating site isn't affiliated with the 'official' Baptist Church, but still, it seems so contradictory to me. Why not advertise 'Attractive Baptist Singles' instead? Oh, yeah, sex sells! Even for the Baptists!

disclaimer: I'm married to a sexy Baptist. I mean no offense to Baptists whether or not they are single or sexy or both.

I watched the movie Constantine last week. I wasn't familiar with the comic that it was based on so I had no preconceived notions of what it should be like. I've read that fans of the comic (Hellblazer) were disappointed by the movie. Well, that usually happens with movies based on novels or comics. I try to enjoy movies for what they are, their own telling of a story, regardless of where the story originated. I like religiously themed movies like this even if they aren't theologically correct. Hey, it's entertainment. My primary requirement for a good movie is that I can suspend my disbelief which means basically that the characters matter to me and that I don't focus on the unreality of the story but do develop empathy and involvement. (for a better explanation of suspension of disbelief click here) I have a problem with some sci-fi movies that very blatantly violate basic facts, like some Sci-Fi channel movie that was on the other day about killer spiders. When some men in business suits investigated a space craft crash without any protective gear they lost me right there. Makes me wonder how some of these movies get made in the first place.

Anyway, I liked the imagery and set design of Constantine. The look and atmosphere of a movie are usually more important to me than the dialog or other elements. I'm a very visual person so if it doesn't look interesting then what the point in watching? It's a visual medium after all. And Keanu Reeves is nice to look at too. A lot of people don't like him and say all of his characters are the same. I happen to like his characterization and style. Take a look at a bunch of Robert Redford movies and you'll see that all of his characters are pretty much the same too. (I'm not dissing Redford. I had a crush on him for years until he turned into a piece of roughly tanned leather.)

Okay, back to Constantine, although its ending was predictable I still enjoyed the ride. It was fun and entertaining. I enjoyed the theme of Good vs. Evil as it was presented in an old-fashioned sense but with a modern tone. If you like religiously themed movies in the vein of The Omen, The Seventh Sign, Stigmata, End of Days, etc. then you'll probably enjoy this one. I'd give it 3 stars out of 5.

(That was a sorry-ass movie review, but if you want a real review there are plenty to be found.)

Now on to the more nebulous subjects of God, Good and Evil, and Light and Mirrors. I had promised some such garbage about God as a Disco Ball and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. But now I'm not sure that I know exactly what I was getting at there. Maybe I should light one up and see if it helps illuminate the shadowy convolutions of my brain. In the meantime I'll just post this much and hope that I see the Light again.


My dad finally got his results back on his biopsies. They finally got a clear boundary on the large melanoma on his back, so no more carving there! And one of the lymph nodes they removed had one cancer cell in it. The other was clear. So that's mostly good news. He has an appointment next week to find out what happens next. I know he's relieved.

For anyone who's interested in the weather, here is a cool blog:

Tomorrow is the first day of school! Yay!! Of course, the kids aren't nearly as happy about it as I am, but they've been in Florida for the last 4 days so they can't complain about anything. Got to help them get all their stuff together so our morning tomorrow goes relatively smooth.

And don't forget! Submit you Requests and Dedications for the Lyrics blog! (previous post)

Requests and Dedications...

I meant to post this before, but I forgot. The Lyrics of the Moment blog is open for requests and dedications. If you want a song posted just leave a comment here or there, and I'll post them, as long as I can find them. Thanks!

Monday, August 08, 2005

Trash to Treasure: Or Let There Be Light

I've been at it again. I have a thing for old lamps, the tackier the better. When one of our neighbors first moved in a couple of years ago I went over and met her. She was showing me their house since I had never been in it before. She caught me eyeing a couple of old lamps that were just sitting by the door and asked me if I wanted them. I said, "Yeah, if you don't want them. They're cool!" She said she hated them and was going to throw them out. One of the bases was broken so that it wouldn't support the glass globe part. I told her I really liked them and would figure something out to do with them. So, finally, after a couple of years I've done something.

This one has its original base. All I had to do with it was rewire and clean it and find a shade for it. I found this wicker shade at Walmart. It fits great. But I have to embellish things, so I added the beaded fringe.

This one was more work. The wooden part that replaced the glass globe is a big hunk of turned wood that the guy who sold us our hardwood floors gave us. I think it's maple by its grain and hardness, but I'm not sure. I had to drill a hole through the middle of it to get the wire through. I'm amazed at how perfectly it fits together. I wonder if that guy made that piece for a lamp but never did finish it. The shade is from Lowes. Again I had to add beaded fringe. I don't care if it's in style or not. I love it!

Ha! Evolved again!

Now I'm a Slimy Mollusk. Kind of yucky sounding. I would have thought that insects were more advanced than mollusks, but then again, octopuses and squids are supposed to be kind of intelligent. That reminds me, Octopussy was my favorite James Bond movie.

Not feeling well today so...

Here are some pictures from the Day Out With Thomas last weekend.

My youngest thought he was in Heaven to see Thomas 'in person.' This was after we got to ride in a car pulled by Thomas.

Side view. Yes, Thomas is a real engine!

Thomas made of Legos. That's half of my oldest on the far right. He enjoyed all of this for his sister and brother, but he thinks he's a little old for Thomas.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Martha, Martha, Martha!

I hate Martha Stewart. I've hated her for really a long time. She's a thief and a liar, no better than any other even though she thinks she's above the law. She's the most incredibly arrogant and pompous person I can think of. I've heard several people, mostly other women, say that they think she was treated unfairly just because she is Martha Stewart. Well, I say that she has gotten off ridiculously easy just because she is Martha Stewart. These Martha defenders say that she was targeted because she is a successful businesswoman. No, she was targeted because her success came partly from unethical business practices. The defenders also say that what she did was no big deal. One commentator on FoxNews today, Mercedes Colwin, even said, "It was only $50,000." Excuse me? That's more than the median income in this country. I'd say $50,000 is a lot of money to most people. And if Ms. Jane Average embezzled $50,000 from her employer she'd be sitting in more than a Camp Cupcake or palatial house arrest. Some would object to comparing her crime to embezzlement. Well, they would be partly correct because she was convicted of lying to federal investigators, a lesser charge than she could have received for the insider trading. Well, whatever. She has gotten off extremely easy. Her 'house arrest' would be a great vacation for me! Hell, do you think I could get that if I go down to the Family Dollar store and steal $50,000 worth of shit? Well, maybe not Family Dollar because their whole store inventory might not be worth $50,000. Anyway, a better punishment for her would have been to give her house arrest in an 'average' American home (like mine). Let her do laundry and dishes and mop the floors and take care of kids and try to cook some fabulous dinner all at the same time. She'd lose her mind! She makes me sick. She's brazenly violated her parole so she's got 3 more weeks of 'palace arrest.' Oh, boo hoo hoo. In her next life she's probably going to be some poor third world peasant whose job is to rake cow or llama shit into a compost pile. We can only hope!

Friday, August 05, 2005

Strange Encounters

The 'Blinded by the Light' post is coming, but right now I have to go with the flow.

I just got back from yet another shopping trip to Walmart. Seems like I go almost every other day. I took my oldest who needed some school supplies and wanted to pick them out himself. We were looking in the aisle with organizers and stuff and I was trying to decide whether or not I'd actually use one if I got it. My son said that he didn't think I would and that it would just be a waste of money. (He's 9 and a half going on 30!) Just as I was putting it back on the shelf this old dude comes up and starts talking to me. This has been happening a lot lately, random people just coming up and starting to talk. Very strange business to me because I'm not an especially noticable person. I don't dress or act in a way to call attention to myself and all that.

So when this happens I like to be nice and let them talk. If I'm in a hurry I might tell them that I have to go, but usually I just let them get to a finishing point and say something like, "well, you take care now." I couldn't understand everything that this old man was saying partly because he sort of mumbled and partly because I think I'm going deaf. I did catch that he was 71. And he kept saying something about babies. Then he said, "Well, me 'n' Woman, we just celebrated 48 years together." And I shit you not, he raises up his sleeve and flexes his right biceps muscle! And grins real big! I felt my eyebrows involutarily raise. I wondered if this was some kind of old dude pick-up move to prove his virility or something. Wow. It was weird! So he finally stopped mumbling about babies and whatnot and wandered off. I asked my son, "Why do you think that old guy started talking to me?" He said he didn't know.

That made me remember something that happened when we went to NC last weekend. On Sunday morning we were eating breakfast at the Waffle House and my oldest had to go to the restroom. As he came out a young guy, about 22-23 at the oldest, went in. Then that guy came out and started talking about how he had left his wallet in the restroom and was so glad that it was still there. My son said he saw it but didn't touch it. This guy was just talking about all kinds of stuff and then whips out a tattoo shop's card and he said, "Oh, you'll like this." He showed it to me and it was a flaming skull. Yeah, it was cool, but why would he think I'd like it. It's not like I look like I like flaming skulls. Then he starts showing me all of his tattoos on his arms. I said 'me' because he had singled me out and wasn't paying attention to anyone else. I clearly got that feeling that he was flirting, but WTF? I'm a plump, plain middle-aged woman with a generous bit of gray hair. I rarely wear makeup, and I don't dress real spiffy. I'm kind of frumpy! And I was sitting there with my 3 young kids and husband. Weird.

I think maybe I get attention because I look pregnant. I have a belly, but the rest of me isn't all that big. The belly comes from having three c-sections and a hysterectomy, or at least that's my excuse. But hey, anyone who's had their gut cut open 4 times should be given a little slack. (pun not intended) Even if I lost a bunch of weight I'd still have a pregnant looking belly. That's just the way it is. So that's another part of this puzzle. Do men find pregnant looking women attractive? Even if they aren't really pregnant? What prompts a man to stop and talk to a woman like that? Flexing his biceps and showing off tattoos? Flaunting his plumage whatever his age?

Now I've got perplexia.

invita Minerva:

"Minerva being unwilling." This simply means "uninspired." Minerva is the Roman goddess of wisdom and patroness of all the arts, someone you want on your team at all times. If she deserts you on a given day, your work will be uninspired and your excuse will be invita Minerva. Critics might also use this phrase to describe an artist or work of art lacking inspiration. However, this excuse won't cut a lot of slack at the workplace where, like Alfred Alistair Cooke, they believe "A professional is someone who can do his best work when he doesn’t feel like it.”

EDIT: I just realized that I forgot to credit my source. The above is from

The Body Snatchers have landed...

This is a strange plant that was growing up in the Smoky Mountains. I'm sure I've seen them before since I grew up going there, but when I was younger I didn't pay much attention to the flora like I do now. I'm trying to identify this plant. It reminds me of the movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers (that's a link to the 1978 remake which scared me deeply when I was a kid) because of the pods. If anyone knows what it is let me know. Thanks!

While looking up plants I found this one that has a great name!

Clitoria mariana L.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Blinded by the Light (teaser)

I so want to do this great post about religion and tolerance and all these things that are clogging up my mind today. I'm going to tie in Chris's story and a review of the movie Constantine and "Sexy Baptist Singles" and God as a Disco Ball and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and a few other weird Hoe tidbits. But I'm just not up to it today. Sorry.

But to get you primed and in the mood go visit my lyrics blog to read the lyrics to Blinded by the Light written by Bruce Springsteen.

I hope I haven't set the bar too high. I wrote about half of it yesterday while I was stuck in the Purgatory of a hospital waiting room, but it needs revisions and additions. More soon!

Many thanks!

(I'm a little scattered today. I want to thank Chris for the very cool story he wrote! Please check it out!

Hurry up and wait...


5:08 am ....Woke up.
6:12 am ....Left house to pick up my dad.
6:37 am ....Picked up my dad.
7:01 am ....Arrived at hospital to check in at Day Surgery.
9:04 am ....Dad goes into nuclear medicine for lymph node mapping.
10:19 am ....Dad gets back from testing.
12:30 pm ....His surgery is supposed to start.
2:30 pm ....Getting impatient waiting for surgery.
3:00 pm ....Dad gets a Valium to calm his nerves. (remember he hasn't eaten or drunk anything or had a cigarette all day)
4:00ish pm ....Surgeon comes to apologize about running late but still can't say when he'll get to Dad. Dad is asleep.
4:20ish ....Dad wakes up and is disappointed to have missed getting to talk to (fuss at) surgeon.
5:00ish ....Dad decides that he's leaving if they don't come get him by 6:00. Nurse overhears us complaining and calls doctor.
5:15ish ....More calls back and forth from nurse to surgeon.
6:00ish ....Dad gets up and tells the nurse to give him his clothes and stuff so he can leave. Phone rings. They are on their way to get him.
6:12ish ....They take him to pre-op.
7:58 pm ....Call from OR saying they have just started on him.
9:00ish ....Surgeon comes to tell me that everything went well, gave me pain med prescription for Dad, and said we'd get results on Monday. Another seemingly insincere apology for making up wait.
9:04ish to 10:10ish ...Got get prescription filled before pharmacy closes.
10:15ish ....Got to recovery room and wait for Dad.
11:33 pm ....Finally leave hospital.
12:45 am ....Get home exhausted.

I'd love to meet one surgeon who doesn't have the God Complex.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Day in the life...

It has been a busy day! This morning I had to take my oldest to the orthodontist because one of his front teeth has come in too far back. They are going to put braces just on the four front teeth to get that one back in line. Other than that his teeth are in good shape.

Then I had to go to the post office to mail all of our tax stuff to the accountant. We got an extension until August 15 back in April, so finally getting all that stuff together yesterday was a huge accomplishment. That was what that 'day of reckoning' was all about. They had given me a deadline of August 1 to get it done. I'm so terrible about that stuff. That's another reason why I need an assistant.

Then I dropped 4 rolls of film to be developed while I went to Krogers for groceries. (Yeah, I know this is boring. I'm just trying to make myself look useful.) I went to Blockbuster real quick to rent three movies, Constantine (I like Keanu Reeves), Hide and Seek, and The Life Aquatic (I like Bill Murray). Then I did that grocery shopping. So $154.04 (for groceries) and an hour and a half later I went back to Walgreens to pick up my pictures that I haven't even looked at yet.

Okay, I just looked at them and they developed them kind of dark. At least I can adjust that on the computer. blah, blah, blah Other than that they turned out pretty good. I'll post some as soon as I can.

Tomorrow my dad has his surgery to map and remove some lymph nodes to see if the melanoma has spread. I have to get up real early to take him. And we'll be there all day since it's outpatient surgery. So wish us luck and I'll try to post an update sometime tomorrow night.

Perplexia and Cavity Confection

attention: EDITED (Good lord, I'm an idiot! It was supposed to be conFection... no more posts before coffee in the morning!)

On our drive to NC on Saturday David was talking about something that I've since forgotten because he said a word that so tickled me that I can only remember it and not the context. The word was 'perplexia.' That describes my state of mind 90% of the time.

And here's something that goes in the file of 'funny things kids say.' While we were packing for our trip I was asking my daughter if she had packed everything she needed. Hair brush? Yes. Toothbrush? Yes. Toothpaste? Yes, momma, I 'packed the big tube of cavity conFection.' Okay, a little explanation here, she had heard her older brother talking about cavity protection toothpaste. As kids are prone to do when they are young she got a little mixed up. Talk about perplexia! Am I really bad and sick to think and say that sometimes I like to pack a big tube of cavity conFection? (and I probably don't have to but will say that I'm not talking about toothpaste)

Monday, August 01, 2005

One more thing...

A little blog business, I've updated my links. If I've forgotten anyone who wants a link let me know, and if I've linked you and you want it removed also let me know. Thanks! My 'favorites' folder isn't very well organized so that's why I might have missed someone. See, I need that assistant to get me better organized!

Today's Harvest

I've got to get a better digital camera. The little ones are Romas. They are great for canning.

Wanted:Personal/Administrative Assistant

Job Description: Part time. Making phone calls, filing, organizing, doing whatever I need you to do to keep me from having a mental breakdown.

Qualifications: A stable work history, attention to detail, strong verbal and written communication skills, initiative, very organized, good telephone skills, patience with procrastinators and goof-offs.

Benefits and Compensation: Depends on experience. Good working environment (laid-back and relaxed). Casual dress code (pajamas okay). Access to company Corvette after probationary period.

Qualified Applicants please leave brief resume. Have references available. Cunning linguists and massage therapists encouraged to apply.

Manic Monday...

Our little trip to NC was great. I'll have more about that and pictures very soon. But right now I'm overwhelmed with stuff that needs to be done. A procrastinator's day of reckoning...

Start on the outside and find a path to the center. Yep, that's what I need to do.

This puzzle is from Dover Publications.