House Sitting

It seems I will be house sitting for my boss while she is at the beach next week.

There are only 2 bad things about this. 1) Next week we are apparently having record highs and she doesn't have air conditioning and 2) I won't be going to Richmond that weekend, which is unfortunate because my mother really wanted to see her sister.

The good thing about it is that I will have money to get my car realigned. Yeah, I fell asleep driving home from Blacksburg Sunday and ran off the road. I didn't wreck and I woke up as soon as my tire went into gravel. I've been told I was lucky because if both my tires had gone off I probably would've flipped the car. I know, fun. But my car is now slightly shaking at high-speeds - doesn't that mean it needs alignment? At least I think it's shaking - maybe I'm being paranoid.

I'm also paranoid that one of those new traffic light cameras caught me running a red light - I didn't run it-run it... I thought I had time and I went through a yellow and it changed to red. Think that'll cause me to get a ticket?

I'm not going to think about it.

and a $35 tab.

Yep. I had to test that quote. Still funny to me and now I'm sober. I can't claim the quote. That was my twin.

I believe some of our escapades from this weekend will still only be funny to me, so I'll refrain. Promise.

It was a nice weekend - not long enough. And I needed to tend to the ever growing number of dandelions in my yard. Thank G-d it rained or my flowers wouldn't have been watered.

Friday was quiet and Saturday Cat and I headed up for Blacksburg for a benefit concert. The "all day music festival" usually raises money for Push America, but this weekend they also used it to raise money for the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund. It was a lot of fun.

I was surprised to see a huge line outside the venue to get in. I'm just not used to lines and I'm not a fan of large crowds. I'm not claustrophobic or anything, I just prefer to not deal with large groups of people. We got there in time for Carbon Leaf, but the place was packed already. There was no way to get down to the stage area because the stairs were lined with people (who were NOT going to move) - I'm sure that was a fire hazard. The balconies were lined 3 - 4 rows back with a tiny walkway between them and people standing on tables behind that. Yeah, I wasn't fighting that.

They put on a great concert, as they always do. They dedicated songs to the victims and sang Gloryland. Terry told us that they'd donated their fee (which is quite large nowadays, I'm sure) and any money they would have made from the show to the Memorial Fund. That's how nice they are.

Some were very surprised to see us. Although, I guess I'd be surprised to see me too.*

We hung out for a little bit and then headed over to Squires to look at some of the memorial materials. It was amazing. Paper lined the hallways and hung from the stairs - all with signatures from colleges, universities, elementary schools, and other countries. We then tried to hike our way to the drillfield but it was a little far for us**, we got to the War Memorial, stood there for a second then turned around and went back to the concert (fully intending to get the car and go back later).

There was still a good number of people there, some guy complimented me on my lipstick. Found out that there's a new book being put out by Tolkein's son using his unfinished manuscripts - kind of excited to go get it and read it (yes, I'm a dork and I'm proud of it). Hey, I'm not getting through Underworld*** so I might as well start something else. Hung out for a little bit - it was really... nice, really nice. I think nice describes it well.

Then it was getting late and I'm getting old so we walked to the car and headed for the drill field. We also went up to the memorials Sunday with my mother, but I think I preferred being there late at night. It was more peaceful. The only lights on were the street lights, some spot lights on Burruss and the candles flickering, the only sounds were the rustling of the plastic wrappings on the flowers and occasional sniffle.

They also have the white boards in the middle of the field covered by a tent. There are memorials for all the victims (including Cho's family - the most powerful message there was on a single index card - "I forgive you... "). There were still the large, white boards for visitors to leave condolences. Cat and I left ours and headed to Backstreets for some food before we headed back home.

Sunday we took my mother back up there and then I spent most of the day avoiding doing the stuff I needed to do - i.e. filling out some forms, working, cleaning, etc.

Should be a good week.

There are no pictures from this weekend - another memory card error.

*If you don't know why, I'll tell you later.
** It's actually not that far, but I think you understand why it was for us the other night.
*** I don't know why the book is taking me so long, I honestly love the subject matter and his other books, I just can't seem to get into this one.

According to my boss: I thought too far outside the box.

I dunno about you, but if I'm gonna go "outside the box," doesn't matter how far I go. She should've given me degrees instead of just saying "think outside the box." She should've said, "think outside the box, but only a little bit."

She was the one talking about die-cutting the cover in odd places that completely messes up our graphic standards.

Another comment was, "well, that's definitely outside the box."

Don't tell me to go there, if you really don't want me there. Don't lead me to believe with bad jargon that I can do something cool.

Okay, I'm done. What I did was pretty cool though. I toned it down and the client loved it. Yeah, I'm good like that. ;)

Seung-Hui Cho "could have gone into his dorm with 900 people instead of going into a classroom," the governor said.

Kaine: No way to know what could've been.

Tech spokesman Mark Owczarski said Thursday that the families of all of the students killed during the shootings -- with the exception of the shooter Seung-Hui Cho -- would have their tuition and fees refunded.

Other students' requests will be handled on a case-by-case basis, he said.

Tech: Policy on refunds is flexible.

• Are you going to make me wait until 1pm for lunch today you horrible, horrible, sadistic woman?

• Nah, we could go around 12/12:30. I'll make an exception since it's Friday. :p

• Well good, ‘cause I need to be out of there by 1:00 in order to make it to the 2 o’clock free crack giveaway across town!

• Latte through the nose HURTS.


• The radio played George Michael's "I Want Your Sex" this morning. I have an older sister (12 years) so I have a great appreciation for all things George Michael and Youthquake. I'm sure she'd love that.

• People who have the equivalents of Guitar Star, Guitar Hero or Hot Mama probably aren't. I saw one this morning with BSNSMAN, I think I feel sorry for his family.

• My mother told me never to get a personalized license plate because it was easier for serial killers to find you.
• I never spell license right on the first try.

• The painting of our porch and trim is taking a lot longer than I anticipated, and leaving a very fine white dust everywhere.

• I got to level/question 101 on that game. I don't think I can go any further without wasting a very large amount of time. This is why I don't play video games. I can stop once I finish and I never have to do it again... I just have to finish.

• Our neighbors puppy (a Bernese Mountain Dog) named Milly got her head stuck in the fence earlier this week. Her cries are heart-wrenching. My sister held her head until the family came home and took the fence apart.

• I nearly wrecked this morning because I was looking at a business who'd put the VT Ribbon graphics on their windows and a car stopped at a green light. I didn't though.

• I thought I broke my toe. False alarm.

• I'll be in Blacksburg tomorrow for Sud Flood.

• Didn't get to Here's To The Hokies yesterday. I'm a baby and it was cold and rainy. Hopefully it'll warm up for tomorrow.

• I have turned my TV off before midnight every night this week.

• Happy Friday. :)

Okay, this is impossible... I'm not getting anything done.

The Impossible Quiz

Yard Work

So I know that at least 2 people that read my blog know their way around a yard - and I'm hoping any random people happening upon this page do to.

I need help. My yard isn't pretty. And every other yard in my neighborhood is. They all have lush green grass - one guy just killed all his and put down sod. Short of doing that I need to get rid of dandelions and crab grass. I think the clover could stay (if it's possible to pick and choose), the rabbits like it - course they also like my pansies and my dahlias.

I'd preferably like a fix that's not poisonous to everything else - something natural. I think my main goal is to get rid of dandelions and make my grass greener.

In other news, my porch is getting painted. It's looking very nice. We just need to replace part of the screen - the nasty wind we've been having blew porch items into it and ripped it.

(Oh my leg has stopped twitching... for now.)

I know that for some reason someone at KFC thinks it'll be cool to put one of those mosquito ring tones in the some buckets of chicken.

They've got a commercial now for this. That ring tone is HORRIBLE. My sister and I thought it was just our TV, we both looked at each other like "what the hell was that?" But then we've heard it 2 times since. And if you have your TV up it'll make your ears bleed. Thank g-d I don't have dog.

I DESPISE this commercial. Not only is the acting bad, but it makes my head hurt. My only thought is the people who thought this was cool, can't hear that sound. Think of the highest pitch, shrillest noise you can think of - it's like one step below a dog whistle... but worse.

The good thing is that my TV upstairs is so old that it can't produce it.

33 Stones

When she heard someone had taken that stone from the semicircle that has drawn thousands of mourners to the Drillfield, she fired off an e-mail to The Collegiate Times, Virginia Tech's student newspaper. Cho was a Hokie, too, Johnson declared, a troubled member of the Hokie Nation, but a member nonetheless.

"You don't get to pick who's in your family," she declared.

Student takes on heavy burden: appropriateness of Cho's stone.

My right leg keeps twitching. It's been doing it off and on for about 15 hours. It was bothersome... now it's worrying me because it won't stop.

Also, I have things to do this week.... YAY! For the first time in a while the week isn't dragging by.

That's all.

So I needed toothpaste yesterday. I never seem to remember what toothpaste I use, so I end up buying a different one each time.

As I meandered down the isle, I ran into something and was completely startled by extremely loud bird chirping... I believe it would be a common sparrow singing. I know because I listened to about 20 different bird calls trying to figure out what was outside my window.

Seems Crest has a new toothpaste - Nature's Expressions. There is a display at knee-level on the second shelf from the bottom. There's a tube of toothpaste wrapped in a fake vine, which I nearly obliterated when I ran into it. And... a motion sensor thingy so when I walked by and ran into the toothpaste tube, birds started chirping at top volume.

Yeah, it caught my attention, but I also nearly broke it. And it scared the hell out of me because I started looking around for a trapped bird. I didn't buy it... I bought some Arm & Hammer toothpaste.

I think I need to start making lists.

I also needed gum and I couldn't find what I usually buy. All I know is what brand it was and what color the package was. I think they changed packaging on me, so I bought a flavor named Mint Mojito. The gum tastes more like Key Lime Pie. It's not bad - it's one of those things you keep eating to figure out if you like it or not... or in my case chew.

Some guy with an MBA and a small working knowledge of HTML is annoying.

He wants the code formatted "correctly" because he uses source code a lot. Yeah, 'cause I was going to make sure me and the programmer gave him HTML that looked like it came from Word or Publisher.

*rolls eyes*

Disclaimer: I'm sure he's a very nice man. He seemed nice in the meeting. Just a tad annoying.

This weekend wasn't nearly long enough.

Alumni Weekend proved to me that I can't exactly stay up all night anymore on Friday and Saturday and drink and be functional.

It was awesome to see everyone. And the people that didn't get to come (that means you Kara [and Jenny and Cang]) were sorely missed. Alas, my telekinetic abilities haven't improved since last year... I couldn't make anyone fall down the stairs.

The sushi was fantastic as well.

Nanook is a gentle beast... greatest dog ever (even with the drool).

I miss Nes' quick thinking and witty comments.

The "art opening" was disappointing, but what was more disappointing was to hear it was that way because the professors are so burnt out on pushing people to do their best work.

The funeral Saturday was nice.

I had much more, but I can't think of it now. But the new camera sucks. Well, I'm hoping it's the memory card that sucks. I'm getting a new one and hopefully my problems will stop. So there are no pictures from this weekend.

Hokie Hope Day

Upping the ante, Hawass on Sunday told his country's parliament that he "will never again organize antiquities exhibitions in Germany if it refuses a request, to be issued next week, to allow the bust of Nefertiti to be displayed in Egypt for three months."

Egypt Vows "Scientific War" If Germany Doesn't Loan Nefertiti

Press Conference this morning:

They said all slain students would be posthumously awarded the degrees they were pursuing.

In addition, the university announced that Virginia Tech's 26,000 students will be given a choice whether to return to class for the remaining weeks of the semester when courses resume on Monday.

"We're going to encourage them to continue with class," said Mark McNamee, university provost. "But also do it in the context of what they're capable of."
I think that's fantastic.

The Blame Game

First off, I apologize if the VT posts are getting daunting to anyone that regularly reads this. I can't help it. It seems that writing about it is helping me deal with it a little. Maybe I'll try to make this my last.

Secondly - I wish the National media would stop showing that evil, little creep. He's everywhere. Now all they have is a split screen - you can't watch anything because there's his damn photographs and video everywhere, even when they're interviewing victims. They're burning the image of him in everyone's minds - he's unimportant - the people that are important are his 60+ victims and their friends and family.

There was a psychologist on Anderson Cooper 360 and he begged everyone to stop showing those clips. This horrible kid looked up to those Columbine shooters, he wanted the fame and the martyrdom and everyone is giving it to him. He doesn't fit the profile of normal college shooters, he fits the one of high school shooters, I'd be inclined to think he's been thinking of this for years.

If the administration and faculty and hell, high school teachers are at fault - then perhaps every single one of us is.

My best friend is a 7th grade English teacher, some of her kids are reading at 5th grade levels or can't read at all - and she's so overworked with having to write papers and lesson plans and being required to advise clubs that she has no extra time to work with troubled students or students falling behind. Teachers are so overworked and our school system is so taxed, I think it's hard for them. Hard for them to reach out to students or hard for them to intervene.

We've also created a politically correct society where this kid's freedom of speech is protected - no matter how violent or hateful (Re: horror films and Neo-nazis in Skokie respectively ). His right to express himself is protected. His plays and short stories are just as disgusting and disturbing as any horror movie. But he never did anything. If the school had started monitoring him or expelled him and someone found out, I'd be willing to bet the ACLU would have swooped to campus faster than the vulture-like journalists that are there now.

This kid managed to fall through the cracks in each instance. But how would any of you have stopped him?

I think it's not only human nature to want to blame someone, but I think everyone wants to think this was preventable (and I'm not saying that is wasn't). People argue that maybe if this gun law was passed or that mental health law was passed or if he'd been whatever that it wouldn't of happened. People can't handle the idea that the faculty, students and police involved did everything they could have and it still happened. I don't think as a society we like to think that evil can happen and that it's our job to pass laws to stop and prevent it.

As one of the English faculty points out - "Look, all our hearts are broken. There's no need to add to the pain with guilt."

I would hope people could learn from this and place blame the one and only place it should be at this point - on him. Firing President Steger and Chief Flinchum and others will only ruin more lives.

The only people I've seen handling this with decency is the local media. K92, a local radio station, announced this morning that they will not say the killer's name or play any audio clips of his videos... I think Q99 is doing the same - the other stations I don't know about because I don't listen, but I'd assume they're doing something along the same lines. As they pointed out this morning - we don't care about him, we care about the victims and they are going to be the only people we talk about.

I realize the national news channels want their ratings - but the degree that they are showing this is sick in itself.

AdRants Comment

So, being very unlike me – and by that I mean confrontational – I posted a comment similar to my post below on the AdRants post that got under my skin.

I received a very nice email from the man that wrote that post. I feel kind of bad now. I don't know if I should've said what I did, but I have now. I still don't necessarily agree with him on the way he did it, but the explanation was appreciated.

In terms of the graphic, it was not my intention to make light of the situation but, rather to illustrate the supreme personal nature of it and how it affected many people personally. Coupling that with my apparently political rant may not have been the best choice but it just moved me at that moment.

Carilion Victims

Last I heard the two victims at Roanoke Memorial are still alive, but in serious condition. Both are in very bad shape and the girl who was in pre-op with my mother has horrific gun shot wounds to her face.

Good news I guess is that they are both still alive. My prayers are that they stay that way. But that poor girl will surely have many more surgeries to endure.

No clue yet on the four still at New River Valley. For those that don't know - the most critical cases were sent to the Carilion network of hospitals - not Montgomery Regional or Lewis Gale, with the most severe going to Roanoke Memorial.

Disclaimer: Image isn't Roanoke Memorial - it's at Virginia Tech.


I think that if my boss had said "think outside the box" to me one more time I was going to scream. Luckily Frances came to my aid, I heart her.

I liked this, mainly because I agree with him and he says it so much better than I have been.

People's Weekly Brief: Virginia Tech Survivors Deserve Peace and Honor, Not Speculation

And there’s an instinctive drive to place blame… a desire to say that if only certain actions had been taken then we could have prevented the loss of so many lives. No sooner did the magnitude of the incidents at Virginia Tech become apparent late Monday morning than the questions started to surface.

Were all reasonable actions taken following the first of the two attacks? Should the campus have been shut down and classes been canceled after the first bodies were discovered in the residence hall? During the past year were there opportunities to remove the killer from the student body as a result of past infractions or improper behavior?

In the brief time since the tragedy, there has been a steady drumbeat of speculation, second-guessing and hyperbole. Even before the evidence has been fully gathered, investigated and analyzed there has been no shortage of “experts” willing to venture into the media to offer up opinions of what went wrong.

How about this for an idea: How about we honor the grieving families, survivors and student body through our thoughts and prayers and otherwise respectfully keep quiet while allowing the FBI, state and local authorities to finish the investigation without throwing speculative spitballs at everyone from the campus police to the university president.

This Is Upsetting

I read this post tonight over at AdRants.

I'm in shock. Now first off, I think everyone has the right to their opinion. He has his. He has different experiences from me and probably came from a different kind of upbringing - so he thinks things differently. Although, I don't think anyone (including me) appreciates blanketly being labeled a idiotic moron just for disagreeing with someone.

My views on gun control are different than his, but that's not what upset me about his post.

No, what upset me is he has used a horrific event to step onto his soap box. He has used an event that is rippling and affecting thousands of lives in this Valley. Virginia Tech is the community of Blacksburg, people from all over the Valley send their children and loved ones there to learn and to teach and to work.

He never acknowledged our heartache, our horror. He trivialized the event with a flippant "Wait until your kid gets shot by some student in a bad mood with a gun."

And in my opinion, shame on him. It's shameful that not even two full days after these senseless acts that someone would use them as an avenue for their opinions without acknowledging the horror or the sadness... and in the vile way that he did it.

I hope you feel you got your point across.

Update: I actually posted a similar comment to this post over at AdRants. I got an email back too. Perhaps, I myself, lashed out a little - tired of all the finger-pointing and politics I've seen on the news. He seems like a nice man.

Real Heroes

Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

Perhaps I was too callous yesterday. The issues irritating me last night are inconsequential to the events.

If it was a perfect world no one would remember that madman's name. Several times I've heard people mention William Morva. How many people remember his name, but can't recall the names of the brave deputy and security guard he shot?

My father knew a lot of the faculty in the engineering department. Thankfully, none of his friends were killed, we don't think any were injured. But he had met Liviu Librescu. I hope the heroic stories like his, Derek O'Dell and law enforcement's are what are burned into people's minds. After all the senseless violence, stories like his remind me of the goodness inherent in most people. I can't help but be completely overcome with sadness at the thought of wonderful people and students with so much of their lives in front of them being taken away with such senseless acts of evil.

I pray the violence is over... words from me seem useless right now.

Update: Unfortunately, I've found out that my father knew Kevin Granata. My prayers go out to the close friends and family of this brilliant man.


What a horrific day.

We got to Roanoke Memorial at about 9:50 this morning for my mother's shoulder surgery. There in the waiting room was the breaking news that there was a shooting at Virginia Tech. At that point it was only 2.

We watched as the events unfolded. I can't tell if it was 2 or 3 or 5 victims that were brought to Memorial. First it was 3, then 2... then 2 more but I don't know if it's the same 2. One of the victims was in anesthesiology with my mother, she'd been shot in the face. My mother, being an old ER nurse listened as the nurses and doctors swarmed to her aid. My mother said that she was so proud of how everyone handled the situation. And that's a high compliment from my mother. My mother prayed for her as she went into surgery.

My biggest problem now is the journalists tearing into the VT president and the police officers. I've heard the exact same information that everyone else has. Maybe more as I've been in front of the TV since 10:00 this morning and I've seen it unfold.

Campus police and administration never make snap decisions - and they usually make cautious ones that don't close school down. 2 hours to inform the entire student body of a possible domestic shooting if the building has been secured is understandable in my opinion. Especially when they were in the midst of questioning a suspect and locking down an elementary school. When we had women getting attacked on campus, it took DAYS to inform the campus and the emails always down-played the incident.

Yes, a shooting is completely different. But it takes time to find things out and they still don't know that the incidents are related. I'm sure that if the President and Chief of the VT Police could, they would go back and change the decisions they made.

This isn't the time, but Monday-morning quarter backing is real easy once all the facts are out. At the time I'm sure no one had any idea this kid was planning to lock himself in an academic building and go on a shooting spree.

Some people are tacky as well - one guy actually called into the radio and said he was a UVA fan but he'd pray for the victims. What was the point of that? And Liberty issuing that statement? Tacky.

My heart and prayers go out to the victims and the victims' friends and family. I still can't believe this has happened. I'm still hoping and waiting to hear that friends and friends' children are okay.

This Past Weekend

I've reached my quota of hurting myself. And these are bad even for me.

Saturday I fell down the stairs. I was carrying laundry - a rather large load of sheets - and my foot slipped on the top steps and I fell all the way down. I'm quite bruised. All over.

Sunday I cracked my head on the corner of a booth. I have a large 2 inch long lump on the back of my head. I saw stars and had a headache for several hours.

Today I was in the pre-op room with my mother and I bent down to get something out of her purse. As I came up, I hit my head on the very hard corner of the plastic container that houses the rubber gloves. I have a very large lump on the right side of my head.

I have a headache and feel rather wousy.

See, cats are smart. And normally not noisy.

We have 3 dogs here today and the new one (which is being dog sat) has started howling - and everyone has joined in. It's LOUD.

Mystery Cat Takes Regular Bus To The Same Shops

Bus drivers have nicknamed a white cat Macavity after it has started using the No 331 several mornings a week.

The feline, which has a purple collar, gets onto the busy Walsall to Wolverhampton bus at the same stop most mornings - he then jumps off at the next stop 400m down the road, near a fish and chip shop.

The cat was nicknamed Macavity after the mystery cat in T.S Elliot's poem. He gets on the bus in front of a row of 1950s semi-detached houses and jumps off at a row of shops down the road which include a fish and chip shop.

Driver Bill Khunkhun, 49, who first saw the cat jumping from the bus in January, said: "It is really odd, the first time I saw the cat jumping off the bus with a group of passengers. I hadn't seen it get on which was a bit confusing.

"The next day I pulled up on Churchill Road to let a couple of passengers on. As soon as I opened the doors the cat ran towards the bus, jumped on and ran under one of the seats, I don't think any of the passengers noticed.

"Because I had seen it jump off the day before I carried on driving and sure enough when I stopped just down the road he jumped off - I don't know why he would catch the bus but he seems to like it. I told some of the other drivers on this route and they have seen him too."

Since January, when the cat first caught the bus he has done it two or three times a week and always gets on and off at the same stops.

Passenger, Paul Brennan, 19, who catches the 331 to work, said: "I first noticed the cat a few weeks ago. At first I thought it had been accompanied by its owner but after the first stop it became quite clear he was on his own.

"He sat at the front of the bus, waited patiently for the next stop and then got off. It was was quite strange at first but now it just seems normal. I suppose he is the perfect passenger really - he sits quietly, minds his own business and then gets off."

So apparently a cow abduction video has been posted to Google Video and since it's Friday the 13th, I thought I'd share it.

And to tie it back to advertising/design: I'm a dork, so one of the best sites ever - Yeah, I love it. The companion site with the aliens (Brittlactica) wasn't that great and it was too over-the-top in my opinion. But cow abductions? Fan-ta-bulous.

I saw this tonight. It just came on during the last commercial break for Grey's Anatomy.

Those are FUGLY shoes. Especially the last ones. I'm not the Queen of Fashion or anything, but those are fugly shoes... and even fuglier with that dress (which is cute).

Worse, now that damn song is in my head. If I have to suffer–you do to. That's the rule.

Anyone ever heard of BNI?

I got invited to a "Visitors Day" meeting for the local chapter - by a friend of mine, of course.

Siamese Twins

I was watching a special on TLC last night about a form of Siamese Twins. It was called "Born With Two Heads." There was a fully formed child with a second head that was actually a parasitic twin - parasitic because it actually didn't have any organs itself and was feeding/using blood from the fully formed child.

Being an identical twin myself, those shows make me EXTREMELY grateful for everything. It definitely puts my job problems, car troubles and other frustrations into perspective. Mainly because I could have been like that. I just can't imagine being attached to my sister... sharing a kidney or a brain.

That's mainly it, I'm really glad I'm not a Siamese Twin.

Oh what's the saying? 90% of all statistics are made up, including this one.

Jesus Tomb Film Scholars Backtrack

Our phones here say it's Friday. It keeps messing me up. It also says it's the 6th.

I confuse easily.

I just figured out that Friday is going to be the 13th. That explains so much.


I think I need to go back to bed and start this whole week over.

Now I need two new tires. WTF? I just put new tires on my car, well two new tires, in September.

But I had another one replaced after a flat tire about a year ago. This couldn't be patched because it apparently had holes in the whitewall/blackwall - whatever that thing is called. They said it was quite dangerous.

So shouldn't I only need one? No, I need two. One apparently has very little tread and the other one has the thread almost showing. What does that mean? It can't be good. My least favorite thing is taking a car in for regular maintenance (oil change) and getting slapped with all these things wrong. It's only got 40,000 miles.

I looked up the Goodyear Eagle RS-A, which are the tires they've been putting on my car, and apparently it's a crap tire. Several reviews said that they either fell apart or wore worn (despite regular maintenance) after 7,000 - 20,000 miles. I want a different tire. That's ridiculous.

So I looked up tires and found a Bridgestone (Potenza G 009) that is basically the same level tire (high-performance, all-season) but it's got a better rating and it's less expensive. But they can't put that on my car. Only the Goodyear one and something by Uniroyal which I can't even find reviews on. Ford sucks, they are no longer doing my maintenance.

Best part was when I called the other tire stores for pricing and told them what was on my car, they kind of snickered and then agreed with me after I told them about the reviews I'd read.

And question: do I really have to have an alignment if they just did it 7,000 miles ago??????

Doug (one of the "GE Guys") and I started talking about photography because I have to go teach Troy's wife how to use a mac (we were talking about Photoshop and he didn't know I had my degree in photography).

Turns out he's taken some classes and he's got some 4x5s that he said I could borrow. And apparently his father has some 4x5s that he might be looking to sell and if so, he's going to bring them so I can look at them!

Plus he said he's got some infrared film he'd let me have. I swear I didn't even ask - he offered when I said I'd never shot with it.

This has made like my year. And these events actually eerily mirror my horoscope today. Interesting.

I had to edit this - I had way too many exclamation points.

p.s. Why do I always get a splitting headache after client meetings even if they're not at all stressful to me?

Old Mill

I know how to create all my effects with an enlarger - show me patience while I experiment doing the same in photoshop.

That or I could just pull out my darkroom equipment. Damn oil and silver prices.

Deer Carcass

Unfortunately, I wasn't prepared to go climbing down a very large embankment in the freezing cold or I would have a better photograph.

She was only half-decomposed.

Can't really tell from that one.

Try this.

Look! I covered them and everything and they still have frost on them.

The ones on the side of the house faired better last night - I covered them with sheets instead of plastic.

I don't understand, the plastic has always worked before.

Maybe they'll perk up today since it's going to be in the low sixties.

I don't think anything else could go wrong this morning. And as I type this I'm frantically knocking on wood so that nothing else will.

I overslept this morning and despite my best efforts felt as if I was moving underwater. And on top of getting ready I have to take all the covers off my plants that I was protecting from the bitter cold last night (and which I've been doing ever since last week - it's too cold).

And it's not working. I pulled off the covers and all the pansies look sick. They're all drooped over and kind of wilting. And they have been for the last couple of days. I called my mother about it and she insisted they would perk up in the sunlight. They kind of did, but then they fall right back over at night. The other plants look alright but the hydrangeas' leaves are turning brown.

So much for covering them.

So that made me run late and even though I was only about 15 minutes late, my boss was actually here early. For the past 4 months she's not been here before 10:00, and the day I'm running late she's been here since like 7.

As I made my way upstairs, I heard the most horrible noise. I thought it was something the GE guys were doing - well, I hoped it was something they were doing. Nope. One of our back up drives is dying. And making a horrible noise while doing it. Doug thanked me for fixing it. I told him I didn't fix it, I just stopped it. And our printer is now giving me error messages. Oh, and our phones don't work (at least I'm not the one that has to fix that). I don't like being IT.

Alright. I'm stopping. [/whining]

Update: The printer is now co-operating, the phones are working and I have momentarily fixed our back-up situation and have ordered a new one. Although in other news, my back turn signal is out which makes my front one spaz out.

Oh, and I have nothing to do. I am contemplating moving from my nice, awesome office to the not-so-awesome, freezing one downstairs in hopes that my boss will remember that I work for her and give me something to do.

But in the very good news category: it's getting warmer so maybe I can save my half-dead pansies.

Update 2: Actually, I believe it's not that my boss has forgotten that I'm her employee, she seems to have forgotten she has an agency...

Cockatoo adopts a bowl of Creme Eggs

Like every devoted mother bird, Pippa the silver crested cockatoo is ready to defend her clutch of eggs to the death. Sadly for her, however, they will never hatch. For Pippa has adopted a bowl containing 20 Cadbury's Creme Eggs, which her owner Geoff Grewcock had intended to hand to friends and family over Easter.

Protective: Pippa won't let anyone near her Cadbury's cream eggs. The confused Cockatoo thinks she can hatch them

The 17-year-old bird squawks and flaps whenever anyone approaches. "When I first saw her perched there I thought it was hilarious but now I'm a bit worried about her," he said at his home in Nuneaton, Warwickshire.

Mr Grewcock runs the Warwickshire Wildlife Centre and had kept Pippa there until two years ago when he decided to take her home as a pet.

He added: "She's always been a bit nuts but this is beyond belief. If you try to take one of the eggs she goes absolutely crazy.

"Now I'll have to go and buy some more so that my family have something for Easter Sunday - I'll be keeping the new batch well hidden."

Even Mr Grewcock's 12-year-old niece Megan felt the cockatoo's wrath when she reached for one of the eggs.

"She wouldn't let me have it," said Megan. "She went mad and started making a lot of noise -it made me jump."

Prompted by seeing that a remake of the old Tootsie Roll® Pop commercials has been posted on MySpace (they've got it on their cool new videos).

I searched and found one of my all time favorite commercials on YouTube. It's so dumb, but I laugh every time I watch it.

*The audio/video sync is messed up, but all the ones I found were like that*

So it seems the GE guys have the day off. This prompted my comment to Richard this morning on the phone that I should have the day off.

Especially since I have nothing to do. Maybe if she gave me logos to concept instead of to freelancers, I could be busy.

Anyways, to paraphrase:

Me: I should have the day off. I'm religious.
Richard: No you're not.
Me: Yes I am.
Richard: No you're not.
Me: Yes, I AM.
Richard: Kym... screaming his name in the throws of passion isn't religious.
Me: *GASP* I'm offended.
Richard: No you're not, I'd hear it in your voice.
Me: Yeah, well... okay.
Richard: Now see, I've given something you can go blog about.
Me: I'll just go do that.

Richard is also the man behind the brilliant idea that I should shake my keys. And he likes to argue with me...

Now I find out that our email people are off today too and we are of course having problems with it. Well, we have been for several days but I had no idea that my contact didn't work there anymore. No wonder he wouldn't return my calls.

On a side note, Firefox is telling me that okay should be Tokay - and apparently that's a gecko. Even Firefox knows how much I like the little guy. I wish I could find a recording of that Virginia Ham radio spot.

Update: It's 2:15 and I am going home. One of the GE guys came in to get something and he poked his head in my office and asked me why I was here and if we were all Jewish. I told him no and refrained from commenting that he knew my boss...

My friend SB posted this on her MySpace page. It's heavy for a Friday morning and made me a little overwhelmed.

Talk about unplugging.

It's 7 and a half minutes, so it may take a while to load.

Does anybody recognize the song in the background? I've been trying to place it all morning.

But we all knew that, didn't we?

One of my Mom's best friend got messed up on his taxes from his 401K withdrawl. He didn't know you had to pay taxes on it. Or he thought he already had and he hadn't, either way he has to now.

So my sister, an accountant, said she'd do it for him. He instead went to H&R Block (which he had to pay for). This is where he found out about his problems. Well, most people can't pay $2400+ right then and there. So I'm pretty sure they can fill out a form for an extension and another one for an installment agreement.

I know this because I had to do it the first year I freelanced and nobody told me about estimated taxes. So I'd told him about that before he went to H&R Block, because I thought my sister would do his taxes.

So he went, and he asked about the installment. The tax guy he went to looked at him and said, "They like you to pay it all at once." And hands him his slip or something.


I've got the forms and my sister and I will have to figure it out tonight. Well, SHE will figure it out...


My friend posted this, and I had to share.

Via The Joke File.

Boredom Hurts

The website for the new Ford Escape is kind of lame ( - so are some of the videos... but some make me laugh a lot.

*Disclaimer: I'm not bored - I have just been perfecting the art of procrastination. As my mother used to say, "if you're bored I've got something for you to do."

ColorJack: Design Tools

I could play with that for HOURS.

Via giantmonster!

I seem to have another, well, not-so-good reputation.

One of locking my keys in my car. With the ignition running.

It usually happens when someone in the car is trying to have a conversation with me or I'm on the phone. Usually the conversation is more interesting to me than getting my keys out of the ignition.

I think it's because I, for the most part, drive by myself. And I try to not talk on the phone when I drive. I hate it when an idiot in front of me can't drive and then I pass them and see they're on a cell phone. And I don't feel right getting irritated at them if I do it. So I try not to.

Well, I've now locked my keys in my car with it running twice now. And almost done it several more times. (By the way - you also can't talk to me when I try to parallel park. If I have silence you will be amazed at how well I do it. If you try to talk to me, it'll take me 10 minutes.)

So I went out to dinner last week with one of my best friends. He usually drives, but this time I did. When someone's in my car I put my purse in the backseat and when I got out of the car (with my keys) at the restaurant, I went to get it. He stood there with his door open. So this is the general gist of the conversation that followed:

Me: What are you doing?
Him: I'm not closing this door till you have your keys.
Me: I have my keys. They're in my hand. You can close the door.
Him: I'm not closing this door until you're completely out of the car and you shake your keys.
Me: I'm just getting my purse.
Him: And I'm not shutting the door.
Me: That isn't necessary, I've got my keys.
*Gives me a look like "yes it is."
Me: Fine. *rolls eyes*

So I shut the back door and shook my keys at him. If an action can drip with sarcasm, that one did. Even though I was laughing, because it was, in all honestly, very funny. So now I have to shake my keys when I'm totally out of the car and he will then shut his door.

I can't blame him though, who would want to get stuck in a restaurant's parking lot with your keys locked in the ignition?

My sister thinks it's a brilliant idea and has started making me do it too. But he wants all credit for the idea.

It's a good thing my insurance company reimburses me for having to call a locksmith. I hope there's not a cap on how many times I can use it in a year...

Now I don't care who you are, that's funny.
Copy reads: Do you miss the good old cowboys?

Via 2wenty 4our

Teachers drop the Holocaust to avoid offending...

When I was in school - if you didn't want to dissect the frog, you left class (and got an F). The class didn't stop dissecting the frogs.

Not exactly the same thing, but similar. If you didn't like it you left, the teacher didn't stop teaching something.

Of course, I had a football coach for one of my World History classes. And if you'd made derogatory comments about any ethnic group, he would've probably not only kicked you out of class but kicked your ass as well.

Rocket Man...

Jetpacks - seems there's a new jetpack on the market. ;)

Go Them

I don't know how big Tesco is... but it made me happy. It reinforces my Utopian ideal that perhaps, someday, when a community protests a Wal-Mart the city council will listen and tell Wal-Mart to go away.

Or a railway.

Chocolate Village Wins Battle With Tesco

This has put a line in the sand - people like Tesco who think they can come and sell alcohol without consulting the communities cannot. It’s not that we are opposed to drinking alcohol - this isn’t a moral or religious stand. But there is a tradition here and we would like it to be respected.

Banner Ads

I don't know if I'd trust that guy with catering my wedding.

I'm just saying.

My boss has just discovered Eddie Izzard.

She is now lending out the "Dress To Kill" DVD to anyone she knows.

That's your interesting factoid this morning.

In other news, I'm light on work... again. But our production meeting this morning gives me hope - everything is bottlenecking at my boss and hopefully by the end of the week I will have stuff to do.

And most of it consisted of yard work. I planted a ton of pansies, and weeded. Weeding takes me forever because I always think I'm done and then there's ONE more.

That and I have a rekindled loathing for crab grass.

But the other highlight besides the pansies (don't worry, pictures I know you want to see are coming) was buying a lawn mower.
I'd been trying to talk my sister into us getting an old-fashioned push mower - no gas, no electricity. She wouldn't listen to me because I don't actually cut the grass very often. But I insisted I would if we had a push mower.

My reasoning - I'm clumsy. A gas mower would kill me. And the electric one we have now has a 40ft cord on it that is beyond annoying. My solution - push mower. I used to mow the grass with one when I was like 12, I remembered them being fun.

So we were in Lowe's and she bought one. Needless to say she won't be needing to go to the gym a lot for a shapely back and shoulders.

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