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  • It's my party

    Mister and I have been married for 14 years now.

    And we still like each other. Pretty good for my family.


    It's a love thang.

    So I'm trolling on Fark the other day and found this little gem: a gingerbread ghetto. I think I'm going to try to make one of my own, maybe a college frat house or something. Check out the other pics--they're awesome!

    What's all this?

    All right. Enough with the sobbery. Time for some funny.

    Was patrolling the Obscure Store as I do during my weekday, and there was this lovely little story about a firecracker nun who got tired of hearing the daily swearfest on the playground. She decided to implement a zero tolerance code for swearing, and just to make sure everyone knew of which words she had banned, she read from a prepared list. There was some panty-bunching among the parents, to be sure, but most approved. How modern!

    Wait... Modern, at a Catholic school? Yup. The world has gone mad.

    So on the OS, we were tossing about some of our favorite naughty words that would slip under our parents' radars, mostly because they were Britishisms. Well, at least in my house--my parents had no idea what we were saying.

    Thanks to the many wonders of the internet, you no longer have to wonder whether you should belt someone upside the chops for calling you a "ginger tosser" or a "watery tart." Click here for a lovely list of my favorite Britishisms, as provided by The Zoo.

    Reality Check

    I was driving to lunch today, singing along with Mama Cass, contemplating our upcoming move to who-knows-where and the injustice of it all when I passed by a local cemetery. I always try to pause my thoughts and mouth for a few seconds when I pass a cemetery. I don't know why; it just always seemed like the right thing to do.

    My eyes were drawn to a small group of people huddled against a bitter wind paying their last respects to a departed loved one. I offered a mental salute and silent wish for better tidings as I continued on my way.

    About 45 minutes later I passed by the same place again. As I was slowing for the traffic lights, I noticed the crowd had left, all except for a lone woman seated very close to the smallest casket I've ever seen, her hand resting on the lid and her eyes looking off into the distance.


    It's only a bunny

    You know you're having a rough day when your loaf of bread and the neighbor's blacktop rake don't quite do the job, forcing your neighbor to use his Lincoln Continental to kill the rabid fox in your trailer park.

    Click this link.

    I am so easily amused. What's funnier is that this isn't Florida, but New York. Priceless!

    Nora The Cat

    I was vegging on the 'tubes today, and found this little gem on Yahoo. Nora the Cat plays the piano. It's so amazing! She's actually watching people playing the piano and taking cues from them. The neatest 4 minutes I've spent in a long while.


    Blue Light Special

    I love K-Mart, and K-Mart shoppers are "my people." I also love Florida.

    Why? Because only in a Florida K-Mart will you find flaming lingerie. Yep. You heard me right.

    **Just to clarify: I was nowhere near Florida on the date in question.**

    Hi Ho, Hi Ho

    Mister is up for a promotion in a few months, but in the meantime has lost a paycheck perk. He can't compete for reinstatement of this perk for six months. This really didn't matter too much in the grand scheme of things as we have always lived within our means and put back a small chunk of paycheck every month.

    A couple of weeks ago, shortly after Mister returned from The Land of the Freakin' Hot Sun, a friend of mine suggested to me that I get a job where she works because it's easy and the pay is good. I considered this, just because I like money and having more is almost always a good thing. Mister, on the other hand, simply couldn't see the point. We don't "need" the money. Plus, I'm still in school full time. When would I have time for me?

    However, we had a disaster with our last tenant which will cost us more to fix than was defaulted to us by the security deposit. Still, we have the money to cover it, thanks to our savings.

    Then Mister comes home from work yesterday with an odd look stuck on his face. After dinner he explains that with this promotion comes some staggering responsibilities, the most important of which already has begun despite his not yet being promoted: digging deep to pony up.

    Becoming a member of The Top Three apparently entails tossing money onto the table at any given moment for any possible cause: fund-raisers for the office, legitimate charity, a round of drinks, and so on. Mister does not have a "mad cash" account, and now needs one. This seems to be not doable on one paycheck.

    Plus, there is the imminent threat of a move, possibly back to the fiery chasm from whence we came but hopefully to a foreign clime, which will also take money although we will be reimbursed somewhat eventually.

    And so I will get myself employed for the first time in 4 years (although that job was just a temp thing as well). I can't currently work in my field, as I am taking classes full-time during the day. This will be interesting to say the least.

    Oh, the huge manatee!

    Our local television news crew has posted this story about the Virginia Tidewater and an alarming situation. It's so terrible, I am having a difficult time expressing myself. I think I need a tissue.

    Please brace yourself for the awful news. It's unfathomable how this could happen, but it appears to be true. Heating bills have gone up a bit locally, and it appears to be directly correlated to the sudden drop in temperatures along the coastline.

    It's just so horrible! How could this possibly happen to us? How are we to ever recover from the shock? Will we ever recover? Is this a trend--colder temperatures and higher heating bills, and in November, of all times?

    I just don't think I can take it!

    If we took a holiday


    Just thought you'd like to know--I'll be away from the computer for about a week. I'm taking a break from the cyberworld in order to enjoy some time with my family.

    Take some time to unplug and enjoy some of life's simpler pleasures yourself this weekend. Perhaps we'll chat over some tea when I return.

    It's like, you know, totally me.

    This is so me, I almost squeaked. Except the "rational" part. I do think before I act, mostly, although few could say I'm truly rational. Most would say "completely nutty."

    Try it yourself!

    What Your Handwriting Says About You

    You are highly energetic. You are a passionate, intense, vigorous person.

    You are somewhat outgoing, but you're not a natural extrovert. You think first before you act. You tend to be independent, rational, and logical.

    You are extravagant, over the top, and indulgent. You set trends and influence people.

    You need a bit of space in your life, but you're not a recluse. You expect people to give you a small amount of privacy, and you respect their privacy as well.

    You are somewhat traditional, but you are also open to change. You listen to your head and your heart.

    You are a decent communicator. You eventually get your point across, but sometimes you leave things a bit ambiguous.

    Could it be.... Satan?

    You are The Star

    Hope, expectation, Bright promises.

    The Star is one of the great cards of faith, dreams realised

    The Star is a card that looks to the future. It does not predict any immediate or powerful change, but it does predict hope and healing. This card suggests clarity of vision, spiritual insight. And, most importantly, that unexpected help will be coming, with water to quench your thirst, with a guiding light to the future. They might say you're a dreamer, but you're not the only one.

    What Tarot Card are You?
    Take the Test to Find Out.

    Geeks of the world, unite and take over!

    According to Wheaton, November 3rd is World Wide D&D Gaming Day.


    As per our regular schedule, it's one day before my regular gaming day. I love life!

    PS-still no campster.

    when you're smiling

    I got a little froggy today.

    I was going through some old paperwork a couple of weeks ago, preparing to shred a year's worth of junk mail when I discovered two things:

    1. Mister's government-issued credit card had expired and I had no way of getting him his new one in less than 24 hours so he could use it to get home [thank my lucky stars I'm a saver (occasionally)], and
    2. I had 4 points added to my license for "following too closely" and smashing up Mister's car back in January 2005. (Y'all remember that month: I mailed a clock that was mistaken for a bomb and Mister got put into protective custody by the Army, I crashed the car, the computer and the washing machine died, my living room furniture needed de-puking, and my team didn't make the Super Bowl.)

    Discussing this a few days ago with my neighbor who had just crashed her car earlier, she said not to worry, the points will drop off my record after awhile, or I could just take a defensive driver class and get it done sooner.

    Before I checked the prices of those classes, I decided to check out the time it takes for points to drop off your record here in the lovely "commonwealth" of Virginia. Turns out that tailgating nets you 4 points for 3 years. That means after January of 2008 (coming up shortly-stay tuned!) I'll have a points-free license!

    [time to cabbage patch--bbs]

    That was fun! I'm so excited that I don't have to take that class after all. Now, if that dealership would just finish with my van so I could do a celebratory parallel parking maneuver.

    "Five" is right out!

    Still no campster.

    I got a late voice mail today. There are "more problems" with the van/gas tank/economy/world, and I need to call them to "discuss things."

    Oh goody.

    The End is Nigh!

    Wait, what?

    Mister has returned. It was a long slog which nearly didn't end. The pre-scheduled airlines couldn't find him a flight out of Baltimore for at least 16 hours. Mister bought a ticket on a second airlines and was home in less than 2 hours.

    We dropped off his restricted equipment and then scooted on up to the football game to surprise The Girl, who couldn't go with us to pick up her dad because she had to march. We arrived just in time to see the half-time show. It was fantastic, but then again, I'm biased.

    It was a very long week that ended well. A good night's sleep and he's right as rain today.

    Feel free to call or stop by to say hello this weekend.

    As World Turn

    So I get the family campster back today. I notice that the dealership kindly put gas into the new tank that was roughly equivalent to a large loogie, so I stop off at my local "Arm and a Leg" to fill 'er up.

    $45 later, and I'm about to pull back onto the main road when I notice two things:

    1. an intense reek of gasoline, as though I had spewed gas inside the van, and
    2. the gas gauge itself hasn't registered the proper amount inside the tank.

    So I call the dealership back and tell them the gauge isn't working. He said, drive for about 250 miles and then bring it back in on Monday, he can't look at it until then. I forget to mention the smell.

    Six miles later, the smell is so strong, I have all the windows open and I'm still about to pass out. I make it home, and a neighbor tells me to put something under the van and then run the van for about 20 minutes to see if it's leaking. I could only take 10 minutes because of the smell, but it didn't matter since the gas was dripping out of the tank like crazy.

    I call the dealership and tell them to pick up my van, and to do it before 7 pm. The tow truck arrives (I love them, too, btw) and the tow operator puts my van up on the truck. While the van is tipped forward, gas leaks out of the van so fast it's unbelievable. A quick check of the tank reveals that the fuel lines were not put on properly. In fact, one part was just hanging there.

    This, after the dealership representative told me he had his "top men" working on it. Top men, eh? As in Raiders of the Lost Ark "top men"?

    I'm so ticked off, I even said, "Feck!" in front of my kids. Actually, what I really said while I was jumping up and down like Yosemite Sam was, "Feckfeckfeckfeckfeckfeckfeck bugger!!"

    Stay tuned. I should be hearing from them tomorrow.

    And stop calling me Shirley!

    Today was a trip: bizarre and yet surprising not really too far out of the ordinary.

    Journey with me as I go back in time.... /doodly-doo, doodly-doo, doodly-doo/

    I woke up later than I wanted to this morning after tossing and turning all night. Just as I'm finally with-it, the phone rings. It's The Girl, and she needs a "please before school starts" rescue of forgotten gym clothes. I get there with only moments to spare, and The Girl is saved. Yay, me!

    The Boy gets to the bus on time, but not until he's dumped a bunch of flour on the table (school project) and forgotten breakfast. At least he brushed his teeth.

    The Baby gets to the bus on time, but that was because she missed being able to walk to school with her friends. Don't get me started about this bus thing.

    I get ready for school and, with absolutely perfect hair, leave early enough that I just might make it to class with time to sit and study a little. Yay, me! Only along the route, I got side-tracked by an errant piece of metal shelving in my driving path that decided my gas tank needed an extra hole. So I missed an entire day of biology, lecture and lab. Boo!

    The state patrol sends out their "motorist assistant" who informs me that there is nothing The State can do about it, act of god, blah blah blah, don't abandon your vehicle. My insurance company is very accommodating and sends out probably the fastest towing service I've ever experienced in all 18 years of my driving experience. If you're in my area and need a recommendation, email me--this company rocks!

    My lovely friends arrive to rescue me, one still in her pyjamas and with a daycare kid in tow. I love them so much!

    A local dealership kindly finds me cheaper parts for my car vs new, while my insurance company kindly reminds me that I have to pony up the deductible first, and then they pay whatever is over the deductible. Boo! If you want to know what a used gas tank and install costs, email me. Put down your coffee first.

    However, they'll have it done and back to me by Tuesday at the very latest. Yay, I guess.

    Onward home so that I may tighten my budget and squeeze the blood from every last penny we possess, which was not as difficult as I thought since I had forgotten that I had already paid a number of this month's bills. Yay, me!

    The Boy returns with his loaner trumpet and says his band instructor insists he is to never return with that particular trumpet again, meaning I have to go get another loaner from the music shop. Before I leave yet again, I decide to check the mail box. I'm expecting packages, you know.

    I didn't find my packages, but I did find my grant rebate from the college, which will pay for the van, an upcoming band trip deposit, and our trip to the mountains. Yay, my college! (BTW-the music shop is in possession of no other loaner trumpets, so The Boy must use one from the school until his own is repaired--this is not why I pay $5/month for instrument insurance!)

    When I saw the numbers on that check, I hyperventilated. All I have to say about that is, "Yay, my kids!" They remembered what to do for me whenever that happens!

    There is hope for the future, and so all is well with my world. Tonight I can sleep (I use that term loosely here) and start my daily drama over again tomorrow.

    West Virginia Surf Report

    I found this little gem courtesy of my dear friends at Fark. You absolutely must visit this site. If you're trapped in a cube farm or visiting the public library, I suggest waiting until you're home because you might get your sanity questioned or at the very least thrown out of the building.

    It's called "West Virginia Surf Report." And it's as funny as you'd expect!

    A sample from the post, "Alli Side Effects In Layman's Terms":

    While no one likes experiencing treatment effects, they might help you think twice about eating questionable fat content. If you think of it like that, alli can act like a security guard for your late-night cravings

    You see, when you think about it, shitting yourself is actually a positive.

    Boldface is the company's wording, the rest is Jeff's people-speak.

    This site is just so darn funny! There are other funny reports, such as his reviews of KFC's dinner bowls and Wendy's Baconator sandwich. This guy is completely fried. And so therefore, I'm going to add him to my links. Well done!

    you like me--you really like me!

    To my very special friend, Beav, who inadvertently reminded me to save my changes in order to activate them by offering some html advice, I extend a very warm fuzzy and a cuddly thank-you.

    Sometimes, I really am a 1st level Barbarian with a combined Wisdom/Intel score with modifiers of +1.

    Anyhoo, it is plain to see that my "new" site is mostly operational. Or at least it's more operational than most NCC-1701's at the beginning of most Star Trek movies. No need for Scotty here, although I could probably benefit from a good night's rest and/or a margarita. Since for me the sauce is a no-go, I'll just grab myself a good kip and call it a night.

    Thanks for the patience!

    PS: Good news, good news!

    I have recently discovered the secret location of my Jackass: The Movie(s) research notes. They were right where I had left them, although I can't actually recall where that was right now. I have them with me now, and will be organizing them in some sort of chart so that they may be posted to the other website, which I have just remembered is not on my links list right now. Dammit! More work. Freakin' Blogger!

    Construction time again

    Freakin' blogger!

    They tell me to pick a new template. I read that they will save my old template, in case I don't like the new one. I pick a new one (exactly like my old one--I really liked the color scheme), and then discover that I had to save the old template, not blogger.

    So now all my links are gone. My email is gone. My counter is gone. Hell, I added a properly formatted home link, and it won't even work.

    bugger bugger bugger bugger bugger feck!

    So, check back with me next week. I don't have time this week to fix this piece o'crap. I'll try to have it back up and running by Wednesday. Until then, enjoy the repeats. Add some comments to some old posts.

    That, apparently, is the only thing still working here.

    EDIT: Still working on the details. Home link still doesn't work, can't get my countdown clock to load in, etc. But most of the links are back, at least the ones I could remember. Oh, and apparently, I'm no longer Mystique, I'm Spiderman. Great. Just great.

    didn't see that one coming

    So I'm fueling up the family campster the other day and I notice this ultra-huge mcmansion of a truck pull in to the other side of the pump. The driver's door opens, and out pops... someone shorter than me!

    I'm a towering 5'2" and this lady barely came up to my nose. Driving a jacked-up ginornormosity. She was also wearing a name tag which had her last name on it: "Midgette."

    Can we say, "overcompensation"?

    Bad, bad, wicked Zoot!

    Turns out I really am a complete and total idiot.

    So I miss Pirate Day because I think it's Dec. 5.

    Well, it's not (scroll down).

    But you know what is on Dec. 5?

    International Ninja Day.

    You just know they're making a special place in
    Hell just for me right now.

    Sing with me now!
    "na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na, hey hey hey, you're a noob!"

    Bloody hell!

    Feck feck feck feck feck.

    How the hell did I manage to screw this up? Jesus Christ, you'd think I'm a moran or something.

    For some reason, I had it in my head that International Talk Like A Pirate Day was Dec. 5th.

    It's #%$&@#% TODAY!

    And I missed it. Merlin's pants!

    That's it. I'm walkin' the plank.

    Your message intrigues me and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

    Iranian leaders declare that one day, lad, all this will be yours.

    In all seriousness, Iranian leaders are claiming that in the not-too-distant future, G-Dub and his cronies will be brought up on human rights violations and war crimes for activities in Iraq.

    This is interesting on many levels, and I will be watching this closely.

    Because the mind is a terrible thing

    I do not watch a lot of television, and I haven't watched MTV since about 1989. Thanks to Fark, I was tempted into watching the Britney Spears clip from the MTV music awards held recently.

    Never mind that she has agreed that being barely dressed and gyrating around the stage is how she bests sells her music. Never mind how she did look pretty good compared to some who'd given birth to two children in a short span of time, and when compared to some of the anorexic waifs the media has labeled 'beautiful.'

    What kept me shaking my head in horror was just how stoned she appeared to be. She could not complete any of the dip-type moves; it seemed as though she had a steel rod inserted the length of her spine. She could barely keep her feet, either, and would stagger in a tipsy fashion whenever she was required to walk from one space to the next. Long before the end, it was obvious she wasn't really singing.

    Yes, I know many stars lip-synch at awards shows. I also know that some choose to sing. I'm thankful she was not one of them. Adding 'remember the lyrics to my own damn song' to her mix last night would have been the ultimate disaster, although it's hard to imagine anything worse.

    I just find it so very sad and pathetic that a person with so much potential could have thrown her life away for.... What? What did she gain with all the drugs and the alcohol and the head-shaving crazy? If she can't perform live without allegedly doping or being drunk, should she have custody of her kids?

    One of the Farkers likened Ms Spears' life to a train wreck. I would have laughed if it wasn't so very sadly true.

    The right help is out there if she really wants it.

    I'll have that in the can


    I am in a strange mood.


    I have a brother named for an obscure Canadian hockey player from the 1950s, a sister with no middle name, a sister named after an uncle's unrequited love, a sister named after a guy my dad met somewhere he can't recall, and a brother who wasn't named after anybody in particular although my dad is pretty certain those are "family names," whose obstetrician during the birth was rip-roaring drunk.

    I'm probably the lucky one of the bunch. I was named after the soon-to-be-ex-wife of a "beloved" uncle. The uncle in question was a drug pusher and an alcoholic who liked to wake up to a nice, cold 40 oz every day, and whose skin is such an unusual color it can only be described as 'Christmas red,' and who really freaks my kids out just by smiling at them. The now-remarried ex-wife, I've heard, has long since become a lawyer.


    Well, I did warn you.


    So I wake up early on a holiday. Can you believe it?! A whole summer goes by with practically every flippin' day an unintended sleep-in (darn snooze button), and I wake early on a holiday. God hates me.

    I decide that the only way to make it worse for myself is to take the monkeys to Busch Gardens. On their last official business day of summer. When it's about 90F outside with only light winds off the mainland and not the ocean.

    The kids seemed rather excited to go, actually. They were ready before I was, and even ate breakfast faster than usual. At the toll, we found ourselves one car back from a carload of family friends, so I had some grownups to hang out with, and my kids had someone else to annoy.

    The park was divided into must-do's and borings, and then we set off. The really neat thing is that The Baby has finally grown that last half-inch and is now tall enough to ride all the coasters, including the new one. Boy, did she have a great time. We all did. It was a lovely day, which we ended by having a lovely barbeque at a lovely friend's house to celebrate the return of her lovely spouse from an unlovely remote PCS.

    Sometimes yesterdays can be so perfect. I'm really glad that happens.

    This is Irony

    Thank you, Fark.com for demonstrating once again that the true meaning of 'ironic' does not include rain on your wedding day.

    The headline: "Lightening Strikes National Weather Service Building."

    The clicky: click!

    Sometimes, the headlines just write themselves.

    Irony has left the building

    Here's some bizarre for you:

    I'm currently taking "History of African Americans to 1877" at my lovely local community college (cheap tuition, FTW!). The room is nearly full, and I am one of four non-black students. To me, this is sad, because the history of the United States of America isn't just "from whence the white folks came." Having a well-rounded history of all "main players" on the stage of America's development would be cool.

    I expect I'll be waiting for that "History of Indigenous Peoples of North America" class for awhile, though. They're still waiting for long-deserved sovereignty, which I think should come first, but that's another rant for a different kind of day.

    Where's the irony, you ask? Patience, child.

    Every class has a "suck up." Many of my fellow students from previous semesters might be inclined to suggest that usually the suck up is, in fact, me. Not this time. You may be surprised to learn that the suck up in this particular class is in fact one of the non-black males.

    A heavily-tattooed white male, with bleached-out hair, earrings, and flip flops, who also happens to be a complete dumbass for a history major. A guy who doesn't know where Mecca is (I think his closest guess was France).

    I'll admit that I didn't know, either. The difference between Sucky Boy and me is that I kept my ignorant mouth shut. Bless him, he's young. But I believe it's too late for him to grow more, usable brain cells.

    as the brains asplodes

    Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

    Once upon my younger days, basic math was so simple. Logical diversification was so logical. I was a geekier geek.

    Now I am refreshing the memory, dusting off my skilz, and reopening portions of my brain that have been closed off for over a decade. After a day of consultation, negotiation, and calculations, I not only have character, I also have game.

    From now on, I am no longer just Uber Mom, Warrior of Higher Education and Keeper of the Younglings. I am also Brenys, Elfin Ranger, Bowyer, and all-around butt-kicker. I even have a Wand of Cure Light Wounds with 20 hits on it. Take that, Superman!

    Yes, my friends, I am embarking on a new D&D adventure, the first in over 13 years at least, and also the first in which I do most of my thinking for myself. Male geeks will understand this, knowing full well the lengths to which they had gone to encourage a nice-smelling female to hang out with them.

    Another first is that I am introducing one of the Younglings to the game. Still being a preteen, The Boy doesn't have the attention span for a full day's gaming, but he'll build up to that. He nearly held out for a full character completion (Human Wizard). I am so excited for him. Although he is heavily immersed in the Yugi-Oh! world, I am certain he will enjoy this gaming format so much more than any other he's played. The teamwork and patience required for adventuring will build his own personal character while he develops his D&D character. The creativity that goes along with "old school" gaming will hopefully add fuel to his already active imagination and expand his world.

    It's "Game On"!!!eleventy-one!!!

    Hi ho, hi ho

    Well, it's almost that time again. College.

    In less than two weeks I'll be starting another full-time schedule. I have to take additional science and history courses in order to transfer as a "junior" to a 4-year university to complete my Bachelor's degree.


    Biology, sociology, African-American history. I'm pretty sure I'm going to be needing some serious "down time" by the end of the semester. But then I'm just going to repeat this mess again in the spring with more biology, more history, geography and "advanced communications," whatever that is.

    Yessir, That's My Baby

    Indeed, today is a very special day for The Baby. She's the only Southpaw in our house, the only Lefty down the family line after my mom. Six children, fourteen grandchildren, and only one Lefty.

    No need to feel sorry for the two of them, because while they are part of the 10% of the population that is left-handed, today is their official special day.

    Beginning in the 1970's, the Lefthanders International group has annually sponsored a special Lefty Day on August 13. So give your special Lefty a hug today and celebrate!

    Damn Legos! Somebody better clean up this mess...

    Finally, something older than me: Lego bricks!

    Happy 75th birthday to the best babysitter in the world evar !!eleventy!


    Just in case you haven't heard, today is Frank Zappa Day in Baltimore, Maryland.

    Although I don't know much about Mr. Zappa other than he really should have gone easy on the mary-jane while his wife was preggers, I think this is pretty far out, man.

    So enjoy today, August 9, 2007, Frank Zappa Day. Do something Zappa. Just don't forget the cheese puffs, dude!

    Fun with Bullets!

    The actual story is here. But lemme sum up:

    A Navy Sailor was trolling online trading insults with an online persona who dared to refer to the Sailor as a 'nerd.' Like that's a bad thing. Anyhoo, the Sailor immediately takes official time off from work in order to visit his family, and on the way there he stops off in Texas and burns the other guy's trailer down.

    Interesting, to be sure. But it all sounds so bad, doesn't it?

    I think the story has more life if one utilizes a writing technique called "bulleting" to tell the tale. "Bullets" are often used in military performance evaluations.
    They are not complete sentences, just fragments of ego-puffing fluff designed to make even the slackingest slacker look pretty good. The most mundane and/or unimportant actions are tarted up, turning a boring fiscal year of coffee making and lunch runs into National Importance.

    So, in the grand tradition of at least the US military and Department of Defense, I give you:

    Fun with Bullets

    "posted photos online showing the welcome signs at several states' borders" becomes
    -accurately documents time-sensitive mission events
    "obtained [the victim's] real name and hometown from [a] web page" becomes
    -demonstrates ingenuity in fact-finding
    -finds quickest solution to mission problems
    "....took leave from his post....and started driving" becomes
    -follows protocol and regulations to the letter
    "....caught up with [the Sailor] after talking with people in several states and Spain..." becomes
    -a real "people" person
    "....was sentenced to seven years in prison after pleading no contest to arson and admitting he set the blaze" becomes
    -responsible; a future leader
    See how fun that is? Bullets turn any bad situation into a great one!

    Wil Wheaton and the Truckload of Money

    As you all know, I am a "born again" fan of Wil Wheaton's. His "Wesley Crusher" was my favorite Star Trek character ever, mostly because McCoy was so damn crusty and Dax disappointed my imagination when she fell for Warf instead of Bashir (actually, I fell for Bashir and couldn't understand why no one else adored him as I did). I enjoyed the films Wheaton made in his younger days, although missed most of his more recent films because I lived out of the country for awhile. This lapse caused me to forget that I thought he was awesome.

    I found Wheaton's blog quite by accident about a year ago and renewed my fansome ways by checking his blog nearly every day. About a month ago, Wheaton presented his readers with a short-lived opportunity to help him test a new payment system for ordering his newest book not yet published. For only a few short hours, those who wished could purchase a professional photo and he would personally sign it then drop it into the mail. The only caveats were that you couldn't live outside the US because he didn't want to deal with bizarre postage and that you absolutely could not pay any other way than PayPal.

    Naturally, I spent my $15 and purchased my photo right away. I may have been within the first 10 purchasers, unless not all purchasers left a comment (my comment was 6th, I believe).

    Afterwards, I thought to myself that if he only sold 10 photos in that short time, he at least grossed enough cash to pay for dinner and a movie with the clan. However, given the comments throughout the day, many more than just a mere 10 fans were delighted to have been able to purchase this "exclusive" item, while many, many more were disappointed they missed the boat.

    I felt bad for the second group. There I was, anxiously awaiting the arrival of my first piece of fan memorabilia, and there they were, sad and pathetic. This made me wonder exactly how much Wheaton could have made if his primary goal had been to fill his garage with cash in exchange for losing an entire weekend and feeling in his hands signing photos of his own face and then stuffing them into envelopes.

    I've figured it this way:

    $15[(Sign + stuff + peelandstick)X] - (Y + Z) ,

    X=# photos sold, Y=total postage, Z=photo print cost

    Granted, all he wanted to do was test the payment system to determine it was suitable for his needs as a small-time author/warehouse middleman. The Italian in me, however, saw the potential in the bigger picture, no pun intended.

    No matter what the overall financial outcome for Wheaton regarding this little experiment, the only part that matters is this:

    I got my picture finally! Woot!!eleventy!

    And I have discovered that my kids are not Trekkies. Where have I gone wrong?

    Strange things are afoot *Updated*

    My cat snores and talks in her sleep.

    Just thought you'd like to know.

    PS--apparently, this particular post is
    my official 100th post, once unpublished
    drafts are taken into consideration.

    You can't handle the flute!

    OOOH! This is totally awesome! I swear, sometimes teh interwebtubes is just wicked cool. I grew up on a steady diet of The Muppet Show and being woken up at about 4 am every morning to my baby brother turning on Star Wars.

    My dad had a video-disc machine and this DJ system of four six-foot speaker towers (one per corner) and an amplifier/equalizer system that took its own circuit in the fuse box--serious sound. The den was directly underneath all the bedrooms, and when Mad Dog would get the urge for some Star Wars, saying "this one goes to eleven" doesn't even touch getting jolted out of sound sleep to the sound of the Fox Studios drumroll. Hell, reveille wasn't that impressive.

    But this is... Gad, I love this guy. The fact that this guy not only blended the two main themes from my two favorite non-Star Trek televisimatic funtime, but adding the beatbox is fantabulous.

    This is the guy's home page. Lots more video fun to be found.

    And also for your viewing pleasure, a truly funky white boy, playing music (sort of).

    STFU Museum... Wait, what?

    Found this through the good people of Fark:

    The great State of Arkansas has opened a museum in the quaint little town of Tyronza celebrating an organization which brought together the sharecroppers of the region in order to better protect their jobs and job safety. Oppressed tenant workers and day laborers across Arkansas joined, both black and white, and invited women to join, encouraging them to accept some leadership roles.

    This organization was run on Socialist principles, which ultimately led to its downfall during the 1950s McCarthy era. During their 20-ish years, they endured heavy criticism, arrests and even a few beat-downs. But endure they did, until advancing technology, subsequent mass migration of farm workers to the cities, and the anti-Communist/anti-Socialist mindset of the 1950s made the group "increasingly irrelevant."

    The organization called itself "Southern Tenant Farmer's Union." The museum is named for the group, and the article shortened the organization's name into a quaint acronym: "STFU."

    Hope you enjoyed this little foray into history. Now GBTW!

    Many thanks to the Arkansas Times for posting a well-written article.

    It's my birthday! *Updated*

    Today is my birthday!

    Here was me, back when I was 17.

    Here's me, 17 years (and 3 kids) later:

    I'm on the left. I'm also the only one who's sober.

    update: Tom on mySpace declared my birthday as being the highest traffic day for mySpace ever. I totally rock.

    This hardly helps.

    You Are a Christmas Sweater!

    Over the top, colorful, and totally flashy.
    You're not afraid to be a little tacky.

    A damn christmas sweater. Further proof that if there is a god, s/he does not like me. This is so very wrong, wrong, wrong. I am not tacky! I am... Ummm, uh, well...

    As you were.

    Oh, the irony

    Kill da wabbit, indeed. Click this, read, then scroll down to my previous post.

    the one about a very big pain and the boy who looks like a chick

    Peeps, I have misplaced the notes I made for my compendium site "Jackass: The Research." I had watched both movies--within 24 hours, mind you--and had made a note of every joke, every stunt, every bad prank and at what time in the film they occurred.

    Recently, I engaged in a bit of "Home Makeover." My dining room's far wall was a literal bank of technology and looked a mess. I bought cabinets to replace the desks and downsized a ton of junk. One does not realize the massive amount of rain forest one accumulates over the years until one has to remove 90% of it en masse.

    And now the notes are gone.

    What this means for you is that you will have to wait longer for my research site to be ready. What this means for me is that I will have to watch those damn movies again. I think this time I will actually watch the 'unrated' versions, since that is what most teens and young adults are watching. The plan is to also eventually watch the regular seasons as well, at least until my brain explodes.

    By the way, has anyone invented the Brain Cleanser Brush yet?


    On a side note, I wanted to point out that while Swangirl's Cygnet no longer looks like Ty Pennington, he now looks like that little yellow chick from the Loony Toons cartoons. You remember the one with Foghorn Leghorn in the rickety henhouse who decides to schmooze up ol' Prissy because her henhouse is all nice and cozy--"I need your love to keep me warm!" But Prissy says she can't marry him unless he makes nice with her son, Egghead, Jr. The kid proceeds to outwit, outmaneuver, and blow up Foghorn until he declares, "I've got my bandages to keep me warm!" as he stomps off into the sunset.

    Check this out:

    Maybe it's just me, but...

    It probably helps (me) that Egghead, Jr was my absolute favorite character from the Warner Bros/Loony Toons stable of cartoons ever. My favorite individual cartoon, however, will forever be the "Spear and Magic Helmet" bit with Bugs and Elmer doing the opera.

    It just keeps growing and growing...

    For your viewing pleasure, Swangirl sent me an updated photo of her little Cygnet. Boy is he getting big! At least he doesn't look like Ty Pennington anymore.

    And just think, pretty soon, he'll be driving! I'm thinking he's gonna get tired of all green pretty soon. You might want to start planning for the revolt, Swangirl!

    Today and when he came home from the hospital


    PS: Confession time: this particular post is actually my 100th post, not the one previously posted as the 100th post. I'm a dork, and that's all I have to say about that.

    100th Post

    In celebration of my 100th post, I am inviting all of my lovely readers to first check this article about a couple who met at a bar and decided to get naked on a rooftop. The reason this made news is because they fell off the roof, did not die immediately but were unable to get up, and then died enroute to the hospital.

    I'm waiting for the laughter to taper off before continuing....


    Okay, you feel better now? Me, too.

    Alrighty, then. Here's the situation: I put my feet in my mouth at the Obscure Store by stating that there are tons of adventurous places to get busy without the added threat of dying with your pants down. I've thought of a few; I'd like your suggestions as well. Feel free to post comments anonymously if you need to.

    My ideas:

    • limo
    • tent
    • sailboat (docked or open water)
    • elevator
    • supply closet
    • public restrooms (beware of police)
    • corn field (beware of harvest and cow-tippers)
    I'm sure mine are rather mundane compared to getting the sexy on a rooftop, especially a roof that slopes. However, the point is to get the sexy without the death.

    Which brings to mind "Rosencrantz and Gildenstern are Dead," a fantastically great movie which has absolutely nothing to do with this particular post, or even anything in particular:

    You can have the love and the blood without the rhetoric. You can have the blood and the rhetoric without the love. But you can't have the love and rhetoric without the blood; blood is compulsory.
    It's just one of my favorite quotes, and I love to toss it out whenever it makes the least sense.

    I only hope my Veruca don't want one

    Oh, Fark, you are so magnificent. Being a lo-skilz geek, I check out the articles posted there as some are not "not news"-worthy enough to make the main page, but are still relevant to geeky Farkers. Take this gem, for instance:

    Sony is busy creating a television so thin, it's bendy and can be sewn into clothing. Mister will be so pleased!

    Just imagine it: you're walking the dog, and suddenly you recall that rerun of Will & Grace you wanted to catch was starting in 5 minutes. Damn! What to do, what to do! No problem, you've got your Sony t-shirt television charged up and ready to go!

    Somehow, just like that other technical marvel, the mobile phone, I anticipate that this will only end well.

    Drunken Dumbass-the newest "DD"

    In March, Vivica A. Fox was sentenced for driving while intoxicated. She has reemerged into the spotlight to share her story and to offer advice.

    Ms. Fox declared that she had made an "unfortunately judgment" and also took full responsibility for her actions, which clearly sets her apart from 99.999997% of all other wealthy and/or celebrity individuals in America. Celebrities are, according to Ms. Fox, "...not above the law." She says she has learned her lesson.

    But what exactly was that lesson? Did she learn that by traveling 80 miles per hour down a freeway put the lives of everyone who shared the road with her in jeopardy? Did she learn that she put her own life in jeopardy?

    Sorry to disappoint, but what started out so well as a turning point really isn't one after all.

    The lesson Ms. Fox learned was that all the rigamarole involved with being convicted of drunk driving is a pain the rump. Her regrets fall mostly on her driving record, about which she lamented the conviction would remain for up to ten years.

    Bless your heart, you poor thing. I'm so sorry that your error in judgment is going to remain on your record for a decade. On the other hand, I'm sorry you weren't stopped sooner. I'm sorry you weren't stopped before you got into your vehicle. I'm sorry you surround yourself with weakness.

    Who are these friends, coworkers, cohorts, people, that they would let you walk away from them knowing you were not in a fit state to drive? Do you still associate with them? If so, why? It's obvious to me that your celebrity has dazzled them into cowed submission, or ramped up their primeval greed. These people are not looking out for you, Ms. Fox. Indeed, they are looking out for themselves: how much can we gain by being with Vivica A. Fox, super-beautiful super-celebrity?

    The lessons to be learned from your experience do not stop at keeping a tidy driving record.

    Because the mind is a terrible thing

    I have officially and irrevocably lost my ever-lovin' mind. How is that possible, you ask, especially when there is much evidence to suggest I never had one to begin with?

    This parent, feeling sorry for her younglings who have to miss out on visiting grandparents this year thanks to some war over oil--I mean turrurists, took the opportunity of a sale and a lovely day to purchase a gaming console, some accessories, and a pair of games: the PS2, a wireless guitar, two microphones plus SingStar, and Guitar Hero 2.

    I just have to say that if I hear "Shout at the Devil" ONE MORE TIME this week, there will be the devil to pay.

    Holy freakin' cow, I had no idea just how damned annoying that game really is! "Shout, shout, shout, shout at the devil!" I disliked that song when it was popular; I detest it now. If I were the praying type, I'd be asking for the gift of hacking so I could rip that damn song off the game.

    Plus, the kids just couldn't get enough of it. I think there's a subliminal hypnosis in the game, mostly because when I told them it was time to shut down, I got little opposition, just a quiet, "Oh man..." Is this game why teenagers have such a vacant expression these days?

    Ah-ha-ha-ha-ha! Holy crap, this is funny.

    I swear, I laughed so hard. Mary-Mother-of-Jesus, this is good.

    Some of you may recall I was a huge, nearly-orgasmic fan of Eddie Vedder's. Gawd, I still go all light-headed just looking at those lovely curls...

    Anyhoo, fan that I am of Pearl Jam, I am helpless without a lyric sheet. However, any real fan of Pearl Jam knows that in the end lyric sheets are useless as Vedder really never sings any song the same way twice.

    This site, Misheard Lyrics, posted their interpretation of "Yellow Ledbetter" to youtube, and I found it via the blog "Fresh Hell" and through them, VH1's "Best Week Ever" blog.

    Enjoy. Just put down that drink first, okay? KTKSBY

    Monty Python and the Holy Grail: The French Taunter

    Bwahahaha! You must watch until the very end. You must!

    Found me some funny

    Well I must say, this blog's a real downer. What the hell is going on here?!

    So, in the spirit of lifting spirits, no one does it better than Monty Python. Join me whilst we cruise the bookseller's....

    I have watched The Holy Grail since I was in grade school. I got sent to the principal's office for yelling at a boy I was trying to beat up, "Running away, eh? You yellow bastard!"

    I was also quite embarrassed in my teenage years to suddenly learn that spankings and oral sex were nothing to be asking for in polite society. Fortunately, my sister and I talked so fast and with a pseudo-British accent that most people didn't understand us, and those that did simply didn't believe their ears.

    This fansite is a compendium of Python fun. I check this place out from time to time if my spirits need a lift but too many kiddies are running about. Hope you enjoy!


    the war at home

    On Wednesday last, Reality crashed down on me like a ton of bricks, a nine-pound hammer, like the sky is falling.

    Mister had called to share his latest karaoke exploits and to ask about the children. Thankfully, no one had been injured or required the emergency room in a while (touch wood!). However, within 5 minutes of the conversation, something new happened.

    It was about 10pm his local time. This crazy siren went off, somewhere behind wherever Mister was standing to make the call. Mister said, "Uh, I gotta go," and the line went dead. I sat there on my comfy chair, just staring at my phone.

    What did that siren mean? What was going on? Can I call someone? Who would know? What do I do?

    I cried for a few minutes, because it instantly occurred to me that the call could very well be our last conversation. But then I pulled myself up hard, because The Girl would be home soon and I couldn't let her see me like that. You see, I have to be strong for everyone: my mother-in-law, who fears for her only son; my mother, who understands all too well that death is a reality of war and that warfare can turn a man's heart to stone; my children, who really have no clue; my friends, who suddenly don't know what to say anymore. There's no one here to be strong for me, so I guess I'll have to save that for later, like so many other things in my life.

    All evening and into the night, I stayed by my phone and checked my email, hoping for some contact. Morning came and went. I spent the day with the phone in my hand and my computer waiting whilst I tidied up a bit in the event I had visitors. Finally, around 2:30 Thursday, the phone rang. I nearly jumped out of my skin. He was fine, claiming "that happens all the time, hardly worth mentioning." Utter tosh, but I was so relieved just to hear his voice I didn't press the issue.

    Later that night, I found myself sleepless again. Thoughts of what are, what might have been, what may very well be, kept haunting and taunting me. I know that thousands of soldiers, Marines, sailors, and airmen have come and gone in the theater, but too many have returned not as passengers but as cargo. As soon as my eyes close, I hear that siren again. Sleep is no longer a refuge; my room is no longer a sanctuary.

    Would that I could speed time along, but like so many other things, I'll just have to wait for that, too.

    And now for something completely different

    I'm losing sleep again, and have had something of a 'downer' weekend.

    • had to cancel a mini-vacation because the money was needed elsewhere
    • worked my ass off in the garden only to find my ass is still right where I left it
    • cleaned up my living room only to have that fixed for me by The Mess Brigade
    • Memorial Day... 'nuff said.
    So I decided we all needed a bit of cheering up, so here's one I prepared earlier, saving it for a rainy day (or mood):

    Original title: Lift! I need lift!

    Saw this on a Caturday thread on Fark. Wanted to share with you. Hope you laughed as much as I did. If not, get a sense of humor.

    It's a homemade pet carrier!

    The rest of this guy's blog is just damn funny, and informative as well. I don't know this guy, but I thought you should experience his blog. Reminds me of a program I saw on PBS once, "The Red Green Show." These two guys were members of a hunting lodge, and their slogan was "Duct tape: the handyman's secret weapon!"

    Memorial Day; Yorktown, Virginia

    Today I visited the Civil War federal cemetery in Yorktown, Virginia. There are soldiers from both sides, white and black, buried there. I had been there before; it's just up the road a bit, off the beaten path and quite serene. I returned at the behest of my fellow OS&RR peeps who were interested in learning whether the parks department allowed flags on the grave sites of CSA soldiers, as well as Union soldiers. The answer, to a small degree, is yes.

    *Clicky picture for embiggened view*

    As you can see, it's not that big for having over 2100 buried there. Only about 750 are identified. The stones contain the plot number for the stone, and any known information about the interred. Far too many of those buried, over 1400, are unknown. Many of the unknown are buried together. This particular cemetery also did not "segregate:" Blacks, Whites, Union, Confederate, are all buried together inside the walls of this somber site, although there are only 10 CSA soldiers here.

    There is a second cemetery for only CSA soldiers at a "nearby" location which is not on any map to which I have access.


    I took the kids with me on this trip for a history lesson. It was very hard for me. Our lesson ended early; I could not carry on. All I could do is allow my heart to cry for these men. I cannot be prevented from hoping for peace during this strange era of aggression and fear, nor can I keep myself from feeling a sense of loss as I look across the rows of flags and stones.

    Will my soldier's mission end like this?


    Yorktown is the scene of a few military "firsts":
    • first land mines (planted by CSA)
    • first aerial reconnaissance (conducted by Union)
    Yorktown was also the scene of the last siege during the Revolution, and the first siege of the Civil War. Initially, the Union attempted to keep their war dead buried in a uniform fashion with as many details as possible carved into wooden headboards. As the war progressed, soldiers from around the peninsula were sent to be interred there. After a fast-and-furious skirmish, many were buried where they lay with nothing more than a large stick to mark the location.

    About a year after the war was over, the war department decided to exhume the war dead and give them proper burials in a federally-funded cemetery. Not all could be identified. In some cases, several soldiers were buried together. Soldiers from about 50 burial sites around Virginia were also re-interred here.

    Only 10 of the soldiers interred in the "official" cemetery are Confederates, and their stones are marked as such. There is no official list of the war dead buried in the Confederate cemetery, nor is there a burial count. According to the historian Jim Bishop in his 1955 book, The Day Lincoln Was Shot, he states that the US "would never official count the Confederate dead, would never even keep records of the Confederate wounded." Although private historians have these numbers, the United States of America does not recognize them.

    Why this is so is simple. The United States of America never did recognize the formation of the Confederacy, and never looked on the seceded states as being anything other than anarchist militants. In today's terminology, the Federal government exercised martial law in order to stamp out the rebellion. Those who engaged in the rebellion, therefore, deserved no recognition for their part.

    This is rather cold-hearted, in my opinion. The Confederate soldiers were of two groups: draftees with no choice and volunteers who believed in their cause. This mirrors the state of mind of the Union soldiers, who could have been divided into two identical groups. I hope none of them died in vain.


    There are many ills that are still injuring this great nation: racism, religious bias, poverty. Worst of all is apathy. Visiting this cemetery has brought to mind that there is still hope out there, if only we'd look into ourselves to find it. The saying really is true: it only takes one person to change the course of history. Let it begin with us.

    I can bring it!

    In honor of the Third Annual Towel Day as well as the 30th anniversary of the greatest sci-fi movie evar--Star Wars, I made a two-in-one photo. I'm half hitch hiker, half evil.

    Now it's back to the fjords! Happy Towel Day, everyone!

    PS to Beav: I may have not posted about Towel Day first; you are definitely a more organized Geek than I. However, I do believe I posted my towel photo first. I've shown you mine...

    Oh yeah, and if any other hoopy frood would like to post their Towel Day fun, send it in an email. If it's SFW, I'll upload it for you.

    Geeks of the world, unite!

    The answer is 42. Don't forget your towel. Join me!

    My very own Vogan poetry; you have been warned.

    Fleetly brazen wood carving
    Do not want
    Shelter theoretical melodrama
    Read the manual, stupid

    "So long and thanks for all the fish."

    *edited 25 May 1:15pm

    Brave little toaster

    I decided to shirk work, eg finishing my flower garden, to go try out The Griffon divecoaster at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg.


    That was absolutely awesome. I got to go in the front row, and it was amazing. I really thought I'd be scared, but while I was in line I took stock of all the really crazy things I've survived (see list below) and kept calm, even as I "dangled" for a few seconds face down and parallel to Earth.

    Crazy things I've survived:

    • rolled a car down a hill with no seatbelt on
    • walked on the roof of a one-story house
    • the third floor of our townhouse in England (eventually)
    • hanging my own christmas lights on my house
    • rollercoasters:
    • Millenium Force (front row)
    • Wicked Twister
    • Magnum XL
    • Mantis
    • Wildcat
    • Raptor
    • Meanstreak
    • other rides I can't remember
    • Alpengeist
    • Apollo's Chariot (do NOT sit on the far outside ever again)
    • Big Bad Wolf (okay, that one's not so scary)
    • Loch Ness Monster
    King's Dominion - Richmond
    • Drop Zone -Yes, I did that.
    • Anaconda
    • Berzerker -Yes, I did that, too. I think I actually went unconscious for a moment.
    • Hurler -a wooden coaster that totally kicks your ass.
    • Rebel Yell -a wooden coaster that totally kicks your ass frontwards and backwards.
    • Ricochet
    • Volcano
    • Italian Job Turbo -okay, the only "thrill" about this ride was the start--the rest was way lame, and the line for it was completely exposed to the hot, hot sun.
    About that Griffon. Woo Hoo! Unfortunately, there is no good warning about the g-forces that pull on the internal organs as the coaster swings out of the dive. At the end of my very short ride, two fellow passengers were hurling into the nearest trash bin, and many people were checking their pants to see if they'd wet themselves (including me).

    Info to shelf for later: there's a restroom right outside the ride's entrance. Either use it before taking the ride, or be prepared to buy an extra-long t-shirt from the kiosk next door to the restrooms. Or simply go on water rides until you're soaked first. Just a thought.

    *Edited 8:25 pm EST

    People with teenagers

    I meant to blag about this last week, but I forgot. I do that alot.

    Hear ye, hear ye, people with teenagers!

    We discovered the hard way that here in the lovely state of Virginia, anyone aged 14 or older can deny medical treatment at any time.

    My teenager was knocked off her bike by a slow-moving minivan whose driver was clearly being stupid (but wasn't charged; I'm still not over that). I was in another part of the county attending a soccer game as I am a single parent this year. Neighbors took charge, some staying with her while others took off in hopes of finding me (have I ever mentioned how much I love my neighbors? I do love them, they are the best!).

    Visually, she was unhurt, but her helmet was cracked and she had a scrape on her hip. The paramedics offered to take her to the ER, but she declined. Neighbors protested, but she insisted she was fine. Paperwork was produced which she signed, and that was that.


    No one ever expects their child to be hit by a car. Of all the warnings I've given my kids over the years, it never occurred to me to say, "Oh, and if you ever get hit by a car, even if you feel fine, go ahead and let the paramedics take you to the ER."

    On the other hand, no one ever mentioned that here in Virginia, a 14-year-old is expected to know what's best for themselves.

    If you have kids, it's in your best interest to check out the rules regarding this issue in your state. Knowing ahead of time that your kid can deny medical treatment will help you determine the best course of action in guiding your kids through their teens. Kids do not think about the future in terms of medical health, and so would not think of this as a big deal. But suppose that a few years from now, The Girl has back trouble, and it's linked to this accident? What recourse will we have then? Probably none.


    What the hell is wrong with people?! Does no one ever learn from Springer?

    There are a lot of freaks out there. You've been warned, so tread lightly here. The squeamish need not continue; I may get ugly.

    I read Dear Abby and the old Ann Landers column nearly every day, because it's funny/pathetic to read true-life stories of how petty or shallow people can be. For instance, in today's column (5/21) in Abby, this guy is whining because "the girl of his dreams" has no desire to become college-educated. Here's how it is, dumbass: if the girl you've dreamed about has a college education, and the girl you're with does not and probably will not, then she's not the girl of your dreams. Step out, move on, give the girl a chance to find someone who truly appreciates her spirit, personality, and contributions to the world at large.

    Also in today's Abby column there is a letter from a woman who was fondled by a slightly older cousin when they were teens. As adults, apparently they can't stay away from each other and are now going to have a baby. I'm sorry, if you're smart enough to write to Abby for advice, I assume you're smart enough to know you shouldn't be having sex with a relative, no matter what kind of history or attraction there is. Ew.

    After the revulsion, I'm left with pity for that poor child. When I was going through therapy, the one thing that really got to me was this: you can't pick your parents, only how you deal with them. So on the one hand, this child will be able to hold its head up, safe in the knowledge that it didn't ask to be born. On the other hand, this child will go through life knowing that everyone knows his parents are related by more than just having a child together.

    Here's the other thing: there are over 6.5 billion people on this planet, over 300 million in the US, Louisiana plays host to over 4 million of that number. And these two idiots could only find each other for booty calls?!

    I've said it once, I'll say it a thousand times: you are required to take a test to drive a car, but any schmuck can create a baby.

    You're so immature!

    Okay, so I'm driving along in the 'hood, and I see a billboard for a local technical college. It got me to thinking about juvenile stuff.

    The billboard brought to mind the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, better known as MIT.

    The college advertised on the billboard is the Tidewater Institute of Technology. What are they better known as? "TIT"?

    PS: for a "technical" college which trains computer nerds and Microsoft slaves, they don't seem to have a website. Irony?

    And Leon's getting larger!

    Okay, so I'm fat.

    With each kid, I packed on an extra 20 lbs that I just didn't bother to remove (except with that first one--I really wanted to keep my job with the Air Force). Then came those birth control shots which packed another 20 lbs on in one month that made me so depressed, I nearly couldn't function for the next 3 years. No parties (and I loves me a party, esp when I'm the hostest with the mostest and everyone adores me for it), no outings, no fun.

    Then we moved to Hampton Roads in Virginia (it's a region, not a specific place). There are tons of things to do, beaches, fun fun fun. And here I am, overweight, no energy, and ashamed of recent photographs. I was also diagnosed with a degenerative kidney disease, and my blood pressure is now dangerous without meds.

    So I discuss this with my doc, who turns out to be a 0% bodyfat vegan health nut who rides his bike 20 miles per day regardless of rain, snow, or alien invasion. He claims that a woman of my stature (or lack of stature) should be about 100-110 pounds. My response? "Dude, I just wanna see 150 again."

    So we try South Beach. It worked for a short time and I lost about 20 lbs, finally seeing under 200. But South Beach was a pain to follow. I quit that, but realized my stomach was smaller and so willed myself to not stuff myself with every meal. I've not seen 200 again.

    Then we try 40/30/30, but that's a pain, too. All that counting. I'm good at maths, but damn!

    Now I'm trying WeightWatchers. I'd done it before, but had no motivation at the time. Now that my life is at stake, I'm willing to apply myself. I've cranked up my water consumption, which has really improved my skin tone, by the way. I'm not so good at writing down everything I eat, but I'm more conscious now of whether I eat enough veggies each day. Going out to eat has become a trial, especially with my buffet-loving monkey kids, but we're all working together to help Mom get healthy. What I eat, they eat. Nobody's special around here.

    My total loss so far is only 5.5 pounds after two months. You might think that's really sucky, but I haven't been this "thin" in a long time. Think about that for a while as I carry on.

    Why has it taken me so long to lose just over 5 pounds?

    There are lots of things I can blame. I have a torn tendon in my right foot that flares up from time to time. Shortly after beginning WW, my foot began to torment me, so no exercise. Also, I've been trotting all over the county for my kids' soccer events 5 days a week after school as a single parent, so planning dinners has been tricky.

    But ultimately, the blame is mine. I could have been doing qigong and stretching exercises until the swelling went down. I could have been packing meals-to-go so that we could all eat in the car. But I didn't.

    The good news is that I feel bad about that. The better news is that the swelling has gone down, and I'm ready to start something new to work up a sweat.

    I love to dance. Mister and I took some lindy-hop lessons and they were so much fun. I like to boogie around the house while I tidy up. I actually liked "Sweatin' to the Oldies" with Richard Simmons, except he's such an annoying little git. I recently purchased an exercise program which uses salsa dance as exercise, and I'm really excited about trying that.

    Plus, summer is here, and my bike is calling me. With Mister gone, the monkeys and I will be doing a lot of family biking this summer to pass the time in the evenings.

    Who knows? Perhaps before the end of summer, I'll be seeing that 150 on my scale. Maybe I'll get really lucky and see an even smaller number. Keep up with me while I journey down the numbers.

    Food is my life. I love food, I dream of food, I love feeding people, and very little warms me like having someone tell me how yummy my food is. Cheesecake is my vice. I recently made an all-natural, full-fat classic cheesecake that is 3 inches tall in the middle and so creamy, so yummy, it truly is sinful. I've only had two skinny slivers of it, because I know what's in there, and how devastating it can be. Plus, it's so indulgent, a skinny sliver is enough for anybody!

    But I need alternatives. I need cheesecake the way a meth junkie needs another fix. So I found this recipe on the Reader's Digest website that I plan to try soon. If you try it before I report on my attempt, let me know about it.


    You Are 50% Weird

    Normal enough to know that you're weird...
    But too damn weird to do anything about it!

    Take this test to see how weird you are. My friend Steve From Canada is 80% weird. The only shocking thing about that is that I was expecting him to be 100% weird.

    Celebration time, come on!

    Summa cum laude.
    Woo Hoo!

    That's me with one associate's degree in early childhood development, one professional diploma, and two professional certificates. So I'm taking the summer off, and will start back up in the fall in order to pursue my bachelor's degree.

    I'm planning on throwing myself some sort of party soon, so check back for the details.

    Many thanks to everyone who's given me support over the last couple of years, especially my husband who's helped me manage the kids and my mom who never gave up on me.

    Jim never has a second cup of coffee at home!

    I received this in my cybermail yesterday:

    Do you know what this is?

    That's right. It's a clean room and a made-up bed.

    You know what else it is?

    Proof that Mister is only a slob when he's at home.

    I've got only one thing to say about that: Grrrr!


    So here is what Eric's "apartment" looks like from
    the outside. The facility is called a "CHU" (chew)
    but I don't know what that stands for. Anyone?

    I thought they looked like a storage building, but
    the kids decided that they look like bathrooms
    at a gas station. Either way, Mister's just glad he's
    got air conditioning. He had to buy the mosquito
    netting for the door. And no, there are no windows
    and no plumbing.

    Warm love, hugs and sunshine to everyone!

    Save Ensign Crusher

    I don't normally promote stuff, but I'm a huge fan of Wil Wheaton. Many of you may know that Star Trek brought me and Mister together. The early years of our marriage were spent in front of the tube watching reruns of ST:TNG, still debating over who was more annoying: Troi or Riker, and whether or not I'd look good in Geordy's gold banana clip--I mean, eyewear.

    Wil Wheaton has been nominated for Best Celebrity Blogger in the annual Blogger's Choice Awards. He's currently running second to Rosie O'Donnell.

    Honestly, I don't care what her politics are, but her blog is nowhere near as interesting as Wil's. She posts a lot of youtube crap, some cute pictures from her life, a few insights and a few rants. She has a rather long list of other places she thinks are interesting, and you can find out about her cruise and her foundation. She appeals to a rather select (albeit populous) portion of America. The comments posted by her fans, however, make me wanna puke. I really didn't think people could gush that much and still have their intestines intact.

    Rosie's regulars appear to be the shmaltzy, soccer-mom crowd. My kids play soccer; I am not a soccer mom. I am also not involved in a non-traditional relationship, although I support anyone who is. I just don't want to read about it every other day. I can't depend on visiting Rosie's blog every day, or even once a week, and find something that appeals to me.

    Wil, on the other hand, posts information that eventually will appeal to somebody. I'm not into poker, but if I wait a day, there may be some snippet of his family life that's always interesting, or some fun thing he's found on the internet, something geeky, an excerpt from his online commitments, or a reminder to check out some of his camera-time. He's always funny, and if he doesn't appeal to me today, he will tomorrow.

    So here's the situation: Wil is currently being crushed by about 4k votes. Wil does not have a national television program to use as a promotional device, unlike Rosie who does have and has used The View to promote her site both for readers and for votes. Wil also does not actively promote this competition on the site that he maintains, nor does he use his connections as a free-lance writer with world-wide popular websites to promote the competition.

    Wheaton fans on Fark attempted to help him out, but that apparently caught Rosie's attention and she stepped it up a notch. (Please note: Farkers are nothing like a pro-Rosie crowd, and the comments many left after voting were rather nasty and/or beyond the pale. I don't recommend reading the comments left for either blog on the competition site, unless they've been sanitized by the site mods.)

    Take a few moments to go to the competition website. Check out the two blogs (W / R) if you want to make sure you're voting for the site that appeals to you most. They allow you to vote for more than one blog in each category, you just can't vote for the same blog twice.

    Because little pitchers have big ears

    So I get a call from a friend from WayBack, a guy who I really thought was probably dead since nothing I knew could locate him, and we're yapping about the old times. Suddenly, I'm deluged with inquiries from The Boy. Among other things, he wants to know if I got arrested for "that."

    Me: "What is 'that'?"

    Him: "What you were just saying. You know, when you kidnapped somebody."

    The Voices in My Head: "Holy crap. I need to STFU."

    So I found myself explaining the situation, trying my best to edit for content on the fly and failing miserably. In the end, no matter how I tried, the story still stands as was: technically, if you really, really have to be pissy about it, I sort-of kidnapped my friend.

    But it was for his own good, dammit! The man was married to a stone-cold slab that made Martha Stewart look like a porn queen and he needed some fresh air, so to speak.

    All I can say about that now is that by the end of the night, Brian had a greater appreciation for bath tubs (esp. when full of ice, beer, and a half-naked beer girl), the American flag (esp. when worn as a string bikini by said half-naked beer girl), vodka jello shots (esp. when served by said beer girls whilst on your knees), and his way-cool friends who thought enough of him to yank him out of a mall parking lot (whilst wearing pantyhose masks and not even really stopping the van, no less) and force him to dance and drink the night away at their expense.

    Oh, and Brian, sorry for leaving you behind. You wouldn't leave with me, and I felt you were probably drunk enough that either 'it' wouldn't work or you wouldn't remember if 'it' did. Forgiven?

    Yippy Skippy

    I have survived finals week.

    Nothing else is relevant.

    Twenty-Twenty-Twenty-Four Hours Ago-oh-oh

    There are things in life that are a must-do. I've decided that this one is the ultimate:

    I wanna be Forensicated!

    Trolling Fark, I found this article about British police and a new service fee: pay us, or you have to risk picking up your stolen vehicle yourself. Oh, and we will only check for clues after your check clears. What? You didn't pay? Sucks to be you. Hope that works out well for you and your insurer.

    You only have to read the first three or four paragraphs. The rest is redundant and/or tripe, as per typical British news reporting.*

    Just so you know, 105 UK pounds is nearly $200 USD. A fee to get policemen to do their damn job, which is already paid for by taxpayers. Lovely.

    Also, FYI: the British do not engage in solid registration of vehicles the way Americans do. When you purchase a vehicle, you get a certificate that lists you as the "keeper" of the vehicle, which is supposed to remain in the vehicle at all times. If you sell the vehicle, you just fill out the tear-off portion at the bottom and mail it into their version of the DMV. And yes, forgery is easy-peasy one-two-threesy. When it comes to who owns what vehicle, possession is 10/10ths of the law.

    The Social-Welfare State comes at a price. Apparently, that price is 105 pounds Sterling.

    *Compared to US news reporting, however, it's almost downright intelligent!

    Swangirl's Cygnet Has Arrived!

    Hello everyone! I received this in my email on the 18th, but my system has been down for repairs.

    Here is Swangirl's Cygnet, Sean Patrick. He arrived peacefully and in good health, at 7 pounds and 12 ounces and 21" long.

    Congratulations, Swangirl and family!
    Best wishes from Soo and the entire Obscure Store Gang!

    Please feel free to leave a comment. Just click the comments link, say what you want & include your name or your internet handle, and post as "anonymous." You shouldn't have to sign up as a blogspot member just to post to my board. If the site demands it, copy and paste your comment to an email directly to me, and I'll add your comment for you.

    edited 23 April

    This can only end well, take 2

    So I'm trolling on Fark and discover that the Gods of the Olympics Committee have decided that Chicago will host the Olympic Games of 2016. Yes, I can see how this could happen.

    Because everyone knows that if China can clean up their act (aesthetically, not morally, of course) then bringing the Olympics to a vermin-infested sinkhole like Chicago will smooth out this rough city like a fresh round of Botox on Joan Rivers.

    Let's see about Chicago. What's Chicago really, really like?
    Statistics are from 2000
    /doodly-doo, doodly-doo, doodly-doo/

    • population of Chicago (city only): nearly 2.9 million and growing
    • families with children living in poverty: 84,598
    • families earning less than $10k per year: 68,431
    • adults, age 25+, 9th grade or less education: 225,497
    • grandparents caring for minor grandchildren: 41,328

    Crime statistics aren't that great, either:
    Statistics are from 2003

    • murders are 2.70 times national average: 598
    • all violent crimes are 2.18 Xs national average: 37,684
    • all property crimes are on par, actually: 144,622
    • there were no forcible rapes in 2003.
    Okay, so there is a bright side to Chicago. Sure, you're twice as likely to get murdered, robbed or assaulted, but you're less likely to be raped.

    Yay, Chicago!

    PS: You must click on Joan. I dare you. I triple-dog-dare you.

    Many thanks to About.Com and CityRating.Com for their lovely statistics reports!

    Like you mean it!

    There are few things that baffle me more than city folk and their trucks.

    Exactly why do yuppies need an Expedition, Suburban or Tahoe when it's just the couple, a kid or two and/or a dog in the city?

    Why does my (guy) friend, who lives in an apartment and works only for the military--a very large organization in possession of its own fleet of utility vehicles--need an oversized pick-up truck with 4-wheel drive in the city?

    Why does a soccer mom need a truck-like vehicle with enough horsepower to pull the moon out of orbit, just to drive from dance recitals to Wal-Mart?

    Exactly when do you need that 4-wheel, or even all-wheel, drive feature in the city?

    These are the people who, with a jacked-up truck and 4-wheel drive, will slow down to about .2 miles per hour to drive over a speed bump. These are the people who will swerve to avoid a shallow pothole like they're driving a low-rider pimpmobile. These are the people who take up two parking spaces because they can't maneuver their tank in a modern parking lot, and don't even get me started about parallel parking!

    And then today, on my way home from class, I saw it: the first real, proper use of an SUV in the city. It was marvelous. It was stunning in its simplicity. It made me want to trade in my sturdy minivan immediately.

    I'm waiting in lane one of a five-lane intersection. The direction of traffic is separated by a thin strip of curb. Up ahead to my left, in lane five, a large, white SUV was waiting in the left-turn lane for the light to change.

    Opposing traffic cleared.

    All of a sudden, the driver of the white SUV changes his/her mind, turns the wheel hard to the left, drives over the curb and executes a near-flawless illegal u-turn. Impressive!

    There is hope for humanity after all.