To Blog Or Not To Blog, Extra Considerations

In my very first post ever, To Blog or Not to Blog, I discussed my trepidation with starting a blog, but I sure didn't consider it's affect or risk to my job until I read this article! Not that I particularly care, well maybe I do, I wouldn't want to lose my job because of my blog, but the part of me that despises my job would secretly cheer. This makes me consider whether me recent post, Blogged Down, was putting my job at risk. While, I admit I felt the post was risky because it was controversial and talking about my boss from work, but I didn't mention names and only a few co-workers whom I trust and are friends even know I have a blog. So did I put my job in danger? I really don't know, it's an interesting slant on blogging though. I think all bloggers should check this article out for consideration, especially those who still hold onto full time jobs. Sigh, I wish I wasn't one of those people, but girl gotta pay her college loans off before she goes back to school and racks up even more college loan debt. (Girl = Me)

One For The Toe?

Ever wonder what the Steelers are going to call this year's quest for their sixth Super Bowl ring? Last year was "One For The Thumb", so will this year be "One For The Toe" or "One For The Other Thumb" or maybe even "One For The Ring-Finger Of The Other Hand"... hmm, I have not heard anything yet. Well, until the jury's out on that one, please enjoy with me a reminisce of the past and possibly a glimpse into the future.

Excuse me while I wipe the drool from my face for this next vid clip.

I know, I know. Anthony Smith's just a rookie so he'll need time to learn our complicated defensive schemes, but I can't help it. I want him to start the regular season! It doesn't help that Carter and Clark have been poor replacements for Hope's sorely missed presence. Can you imagine Polamalu and Smith out there together? It'd be Tasmanian Devil meets the Juggernaut! I may have to wait a year before they put Smith in there as starting Free Safety to compliment Strong Safety and insanely talented Polamalu, and I'll be drooling over clips and hits like this until then.

Life's Kicking Me In The Ass

Sorry for the lack of posts this week, with my grandma sick and in town and as I just found out, was rushed to the hospital last night for a heart attack, and then the stress of studying for the GREs, which I definitely do not feel prepared for, working on two different very demanding non-profit fundraisers (Gulu Walk and Connections), preparing for some other big, last minute developments, and then today, out of all things, I get pink eye. WTF? Can you get pink eye from stress? So basically I have barely had time to read for fun, mediate, work out, write or blog - my major relaxants in life (not that I can do any of those things with a burning left eye). Even when I'm watching my precious football games (yes, even preseason football games are precious, I mean how else are you going to sniff out your sleeper candidates for your fantasy football team?) I'm trying to fit some GRE studying in during the commercials.

So, life's definitely kicking me in the ass right now. I'm sure there's other things that are stressing me out as well that I'm just forgetting and probably neglecting.

So anyways, these vid clips are my cop out for blogging on something even remotely interesting. I think they're so freaking cute, but I'm a dog nut, so I'm not biased. Hope it entertains you as much as it did me!


I Want It That Way

I had so many different things to say about this video, but ultimately I think it speaks for itself. So I'll leave it at that. Enjoy!


That's What I Like To Hear!

Maybe it's because I set such high standards for myself (often impossible standards) that makes me really respect Big Ben's high standards he sets for himself, but whatever the reason, I loved this article on him and the fact that he is able to dream up great things for himself. I believe if you can't dream it, you can't achieve it.

Some of my favorite quotes from the article on Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

"I don't talk about my goals, but they are cranked up a little bit," Roethlisberger said as he prepared for the Steelers' third exhibition game at 8 p.m. today in Philadelphia. "I got a little ahead of schedule by winning a Super Bowl."

Just a tad. It wasn't enough that he became the first quarterback to have a 13-0 record as a starter and that he did it as a rookie. He followed by becoming the youngest starting quarterback to win a Super Bowl at age 23. No quarterback in the game's history had such success in his first two years as a pro.

What's left? Survive a near deadly motorcycle accident and go on to win a second Super Bowl eight months later?

"I hope a lot's left," Roethlisberger said, pausing in the final days of training camp in Latrobe. "I would love to accomplish a lot. I would love to get more rings than any other quarterback in the history of the league. I'd love to be the greatest to ever play the game. That's an awesome goal."

And a little bit on why I Really Love Big Ben, there's being a great player, but then there's also being a great person.

He signs one or two of his Nike shoes after many practices and gives them away to fans or sick children. He seemed to have more time to talk to reporters than he did in training camp last year, when the same reporters -- and coaches -- talked about how poorly he was playing. He attributes the new outlook to the accident, not that he's any more easygoing on the playing field.

"People say, 'Why do you still get mad on the field?' Well, I get mad because I set my bar of excellence high. But once I step off the field, if you watch me on the sideline, I'm laughing with Hines [Ward], and we're having a good time."

The accident "really has done that. It has made me realize how lucky I am and how blessed I am to be alive. Every day, I wake up and say thank you for being able to be here. I've always been thankful I've been able to play the game, but now I'm thankful to be alive. To be able to do this again just adds appreciation to it."

You go gettem Benny Boy!


My City's Angrier and Drunker Than Yours!

So, How Angry Is Your City?

Current habitation:
  • Cincinnati, OH is #34 on the list, though I'd think it'd be higher! But maybe the city just makes me that angry, which is why I need to get outta here!
Previous habitation:
  • Minneapolis, MN is #77 on the list, which makes sense since people are pretty mellow and super nice there. Interestingly though, it's Twin City, St. Paul is #54! I find that very odd. I'll have to ruminate on that one to figure out why.
Possible future habitations:
  • Denver, CO #26, Yikes! With all the mountains in the area you'd think it'd be more peaceful
  • Boston, MA #39, maybe they're so angry over the ridiculous housing costs
  • Columbus, OH #53, at least it's better than Cinci!
  • Austin, TX #81, the happiest city yet and actually our #1 pick on where to move if I get into school there
  • Pittsburgh, PA #90, with the Steelers winning Super Bowls and such, what is there to be angry about. Now, were Big Ben more permanently injured in his motorcycle accident, that city could have easily shot up to the top 20s.
This list ranked 100 cities based on high blood pressure.

And, How Drunk Is Your City? (I have a feeling these two lists may be related in some way)

Current habitation:
  • Cincinnati, OH is #16 on the list, we have to do something to drown the miseries of living in such a horrible city.
Previous habitation:
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN is a whopping #2 on the list! Well that explains why Minneapolis has such non-angry people, but adversely, could it also explain why St. Paul has such angry people?
Possible future habitations:
  • Columbus, OH #3, man, I'm picking the BEST places to apply to for grad school
  • Boston, MA #4, they probably have to drink away their sorrows of being ridiculously in debt from their overpriced housing
  • Austin, TX #5, another grad school choice gets in the top 10, I've got my priorities right
  • Pittsburgh, PA #8, with the Steelers winning Super Bowls and such, Pittsburgh has a lot of celebratory drinking to take care of. Now, were Big Ben more permanently injured in his motorcycle accident, that city would have had a lot of depression to drink away, so they would still be in the top 10.
  • Denver-Boulder, CO #15, come on Denver, I thought you'd do better than that! I mean with all the mountains there for us to go skiing drunk on
This list ranked 35 cities. The cities were ranked in five areas: state laws, number of drinkers, number of heavy drinkers, number of binge drinkers and alcoholism.

Thanks again to The Burgh Blog for sharing these links.

Sucker For The Eskie

I've seen and gleefully commented on Jeff's Eskie from his blog, Syntax of Things, in the past, but this is just too precious that I just about died when I saw it! Now, I truly doubt My Eskie would sit for this shot, so I'm Very impressed with his dog rearing skills as well.

Here some shots of my girl for comparison.

Here's my Dixie being a little hoochie-mama. We call her a slut for touch because she will do just about anything to get you to pet her, from pawing to shoving her nose under your hand, to creeping slowly into your lap with this utterly devastating expression on her face that's like Please love me! She even used to dig on us, but that stopped real quick when we'd instinctively react by jerking our body up so she'd go flying across the room.

And here's Dixie in her usual form. Sure, she acts like a Princess around the house, but get her outside and she's a wild child.

Yes, I'm very doubtful I could get her to sit still enough for me to put stuff on and around her (trust me, I've tried). I guess that's what I have my Sheltie for!

To add to my Eskie delight, Jeff has sent me a link to this previous post of his. It's the story of his Eskie and the heartbreak he had from the news of the coming baby. It's great, innovative, and again, I'm very impressed... I mean, how did he get Homer to sit at the computer?!?! I may never know.

Mish Mash of Betterness

Whew, man, looking back at my posts this last week or so, I've had a bad time recently! You all must think me a horrible grump. :)

Well, after much cuddling and loving from my hubby last night and also a very good conversation with my office manager this morning face to face - much better than the evil, cold email method of communication - I'm feeling much better! My office manager has redirected my concerns to our HR in our main office and he said that this issue came up with other branches so it's not just me and that the company as a whole needs to make a decision on it. I told him I didn't mean to offend anyone and he totally was understanding and cool about it and actually very light-hearted. He said that he loves philosophical debates like that and thought I had really good points, but with his position he just can't get into debates like that. So we'll see what our HR decides ultimately on this matter, but overall I feel good about it. He was understanding and respectful when talking to me and that felt good.

I found some interesting articles today I wanted to share with everyone. First, just to prove to you I can still be somewhat of a grump even on better days, an article on the devastation in Darfur.

More than 200 women have been sexually assaulted in the last five weeks alone around Darfur's largest displaced camp, Kalma, an alarming trend that is yet another sign of the region'’s plummeting security situation.

The situation is so dire that about 300 women convened a meeting in Kalma on Aug. 7 to plead for more help from the outside world -- particularly from African Union troops mandated to protect civilians.

"This is a massive spike in figures. We are used to hearing of 2 to 4 incidents of sexual assault per month in Kalma camp," said Kurt Tjossem of the International Rescue Committee, which collected the figures.

The numbers from Kalma, in south Darfur, are one measure of Darfur's downward spiral, which is also being reflected in rising attacks on aid workers and in numbers of people fleeing their homes for displaced camps. The signing of a peace deal on May 5 has done nothing to halt the insecurity. Since the beginning of July, 14,780 newly displaced people have arrived at As Salaam camp in El Fasher, some after having spent two days on foot or riding donkeys to escape violence in north Darfur. They are among 50,000 people who have been displaced across Darfur in recent weeks. Last month alone, nine humanitarian aid workers were killed and 20 vehicles were hijacked in Darfur.

The women of Darfur are particularly vulnerable. They have no choice but to leave their camp confines in search of firewood - expeditions that force them to walk several miles into the bush. If men went instead, they would be killed. "We have chosen to risk being raped rather than let the men risk being killed,"” one woman said at the Aug. 7 meeting, summarizing how hopeless their plight has become. [...]

What little protection exists in Darfur could be diminished further on Sept. 30, when the AU'’s mandate ends. This will leave women even more in danger of attack and weaken international organizations'’ abilities to deliver services to those in need.

This is so upsetting that such genocide and violation of basic human rights can go unnoticed and without more national support. These people are utterly defenseless. Can you imagine having to choose between the death of your husband, son or father and getting raped? And then walking out there knowing that you're going to get raped? These women are brave beyond words.

On a lighter note, but also in the news:

A Jeannette woman couldn't listen to the 'meowing' coming from her neighbor's house anymore.

The woman filed suit against a teenaged boy who she claims 'meows' whenever he sees her.

A district judge in Jeannette must decide whether the alleged 'meowing' is a harmless taunt or grounds for misdemeanor harassment.

Police charged the 14-year-old boy, saying he "meows" whenever he sees 78-year-old Alexandria Carasia.

Oh yes, this is some serious business here. This will set the bar for meow harassers everywhere, much like the Roe vs. Wade case did for abortion rights. This is huge. Thanks to The Burgh Blog for the article! It's given me a whole new perspective on meowing, I'll be keeping a closer eye on my kitties from now on. Meowing for food will be acceptable, but meowing to taunt will be nipped in the bud! I wonder if a water bottle spurtz would have worked on the 14-year-old boy?

And... just because I mentioned him in my post yesterday and then came upon this article on Bookslut... Inside the Alleged Mind of Bill O'Reilly.

Have you ever heard of Spoetry? Anybody? Anybody? No? Well me neither, but thanks to Angie I have been enlightened, appalled and disturbingly entertained by Spoetry, which for those of you who don't know, is Spam Poetry.


Blogged Down

Don't you hate it when you are busy and miss a couple of days checking your Bloglines and you have, hmm, about 300-500 feeds that are new? Yikes! And then you don't want to just not skim through them because what if you miss an important article or post? I usually start by clicking on the ones that I know I can afford not to skim (like the news blogs, etc.) and then I hit up my Have To reads, and then go from there. But it's a process and sometimes it stresses me out keeping up with all my blogs and then to blog on top of that! Whew, I'm blogged down. It is a lot of work keeping up with blogging and blogs. It's definitely worth it, but when life starts taking it's toll on you with the long to do lists, it can feel overwhelming. Anybody else feel this way or is this a clear sign of a newbie?

*Warning, possibly controversial rant*

On other matters, and I hope that any co-workers who read this won't mention this to me at work because I don't feel like being called out as "that" person, but I'm really really irritated that my work has decided to call our winter party our "Christmas" party. I work at a medium sized company, maybe 40-50 employees in my office with other branches elsewhere, you'd think we'd have some sort of political correctness or some consideration? But no, I also work in a company where, so it seems from my observation, 80-90% are Christians, and many are Very devout Christians. Now, I won't get into my views on religions or my spiritual beliefs, but I can easily say that I am in the minority here. I guess you could say I celebrate the "secular" version of Christmas, but growing up I had no idea it had any religious connotations and felt that it was a celebration of family and giving, and to me it still is. My office manager, a Very Catholic man (you can tell by his six children!) and a very nice man acted very offended that I suggested calling it a Holiday party. He stated that doing so would "erase" the traditions of Christmas (and he threw in Hanukkah and Kwanza for a tiny bit of political correctness because if you don't celebrate Christmas than you Have to at least celebrate one of those, right?) How is that erasing the traditions of those holidays? I really don't understand his perspective. One of our practice managers whom I first brought up the issue to stated in an email "as much as I would'’ve liked to make this Christian -– I really wasn'’t trying to. I was referring to the secular Christian holiday -– Santa etc." Hmm, I think intention sometimes leads to action. Who Doesn't call that time of year Holidays? Don't all the stores now-a-days say "Happy Holidays" rather than "Merry Christmas"? My office manager even made a comment about how the government has "Christmas" listed as a government employee holiday, I suppose to prove that it's okay to use the word since the government does. Hmm, I believe he's talking about the same government that still has "In God We Trust" on our distributed money. Yeah, so they're a really good frame of reference.

I get really emotional on this topic and get very frustrated how easily some Christians forget about being considerate to other religions and spiritual points of view. It's fine if you believe that your religion is the Only right one, but to disrespect others' beliefs is very upsetting to me. In the same manner that my office manager was offended by the idea of using "Holidays" instead of "Christmas" I often hear Christians get Very mad if I suggest taking "In God We Trust" off the money. They start ranting and raving about that being an American tradition even though that was only added to our money during the Communism scare. However, I don't suggest putting "In Buddha we trust" or "There is no god" or anything like that. I simply suggest taking it off and having nothing there, or having a non-religious related statement on there like "Go America, We Rock" or something, right? But no, it's Offensive to some Christians whom I've talked to take "In God We Trust" off our money. Now does that make sense? In the same way that calling our winter party "Holiday Party" does not erase the meaning of Christmas to true believers since it really isn't related at all, they will still celebrate Christmas with their family and friends, taking "In God We Trust" off our money will not erase people's belief or trust in their god, so why are people so afraid of it? I truly don't understand, if taking it off won't alter your faith whatsoever, what do you have against it? And if taking it off Does alter your beliefs and faith, then perhaps you need to reconsider your beliefs. It is not invalidating your faith if you Truly believe, and do you truly need validation from our money?

I know this is a hot topic, and I'm not dissing anyone's beliefs, I'm just frustrated at the lack of consideration Some Christians display to other people's beliefs. And I'm sure other religions show lack of respect to different beliefs other than just Christianity, but I, as a citizen of the United States, encounter this mostly from Christians so that is my frame of reference. I hope I didn't offend any of my readers and if I did, let me know how so I can be more careful in the future!

So, again, if you work with me and are reading this and wish to discuss anything with me on this subject matter, please do so privately since I do work with mostly Christians and do not feel comfortable possibly pissing off most of my office with my different beliefs and opinions. :)


Update: Hah, to further my point of Some Christians being afraid or offended by Not using Christian terminology for situations and items intended for the general public, my office manager has included this paragraph in a response to my feelings on the matter:

The problem is that there are people on both sides of this issue who feel that their beliefs are being infringed upon -– a rather sticky situation. As you saw in the media last year, there is a growing contingent who celebrate these December traditions that believe the imposition of "“Holiday"” is an attempt to suppress their beliefs. This is clearly evidenced by the controversy with the Sears & Target stores (do a Google search on "“Christmas controversy").

Of course I was aware of this controversy headed by our favorite conservative O'Reilly, but I feel that this elaborates on my point and confusion as to why people are offended by not announcing Christian proclamations and holidays in public forums. I Really don't get it and I feel this "contingent" my office manager is mentioning is an extremist contingent and may not represent the general public of Christians. Argh, I know I should let it drop and I will not respond to his most recent email because I obviously don't want to get him all fired up over it since it's obvious where he stands, but it baffles me the way he views suppressing people's beliefs. I feel that his view of suppressing beliefs is so entitled. You can't say Praise Buddha on our money but we HAVE to be able to say "In God We Trust" on our money otherwise our rights and beliefs are being infringed on and suppressed as Christians. Just like they HAVE to be able to see "Merry Christmas" everywhere otherwise their beliefs are being trampled on and discredited. When did it become neccassary to have Your own personal religious beliefs attached to every public forum possible? I don't see any of my beliefs on a banner in stores around my cultural or spiritual holidays. Isn't it enough for you to believe your beliefs personally and privately? Why Must it be displayed everywhere publically? To me, that reads as insecurity or lack of faith, or perhaps that entitlement I mentioned before. Why is it okay to have religious statements attached to public non-religious businesses?

Am I the only one that this doesn't make sense to or am I in crazy land?


The Future Face Of The Vikings

Tarvaris Jackson, the rookie QB from Alabama whom many thought was quite a reach for the Vikings to grab in the second round of the draft has turned out to be quite a pleasant surprise! With a 95.8 passer rating this Saturday against My Steelers (I know, the game was a killer of conflicting feelings for me... at least it was a meaningless game) Tarvaris completed nine of 11 passes for 80 yards and a touchdown.

Bottom line, he looked good, calm and solid. Meanwhile, McMahon who was slated to be our No. 2 QB behind veteran Brad Johnson was a mess! The debate, as this article outlines, is whether Tarvaris is winning the No. 2 spot or McMahon losing it. Probably a little bit of both.

Well that's convenient, another QB with the number 7 on his chest (like Big Ben #7, for those of you who didn't know). I just have to wait a couple of years to be sure, and then his jersey is mine! I lucked out, I was on the verge of buying the Culpepper jersey last year but didn't because honestly I wasn't a Huge fan of him, especially at the beginning of last season. He was useless with out Randy Moss and I truly don't find Culpepper a super accurate QB, he's just got that huge arm, which worked well with the talents of Moss. Thank goodness I held off on buying it though!

I did just buy a Polamalu jersey though so let's hope he sticks around for the Steelers for quite a few years to come. Since I already own Big Ben's jersey (of course!) it was between Polamalu and Hines Ward and although Hines is more of a sure thing to stick around I couldn't resist and get Polamalu. And I'm excited because it's an actual woman's fit versus my Big Ben jersey that is Huge on me since I bought it as soon as he was drafted and they only had two sizes of jerseys, male large and male medium - though it is very nice for those cold outdoor winter games when I can wear a hoody under it! It'll be Very useful on New Year's Eve when Pittsburgh will be visiting Cincinnati for the season closer since I've Got Tickets to the game!! Wahoo, I'm totally going to get clobbered by Bengals' fans, lucky for me I'm married to a 6'3" Steelers' fan who will hopefully keep them mean Bengals' fans at bay! :)

Case of the MUN-DAYS

For those of you who don't know, I volunteer for my county's Rape Crisis Center. I volunteer for 12-hour shifts and go to the hospital any time a rape victim is taken there and take counseling calls for rape survivors, child sexual abuse survivor, and families of survivors. So, I tell you all this so I can complain. I was on call Saturday night and Sunday day (the shifts go from 6pm-6am and 6am-6pm), I was very fortunate to not get a call. However, last night I get a call at around 3:30am! Luckily I'm a light sleeper and heard it because my phone was across the room. I get up and check my phone, having a nagging sense that it was the volunteer at the Crisis Center (which works in conjunction to the Rape Crisis Center, they have the hotline number monitored 24-hours a day and they get called when there is a rape or for a counseling call, then they call the Rape Crisis volunteers). I call back to inform the volunteer that I'm Not on call. It has happened before and is Very annoying but this time was more so because she wouldn't believe me, the little rascal! I keep insisting that I'm not on call and she keeps insisting that I am, saying my name is in the box (our schedule is in calendar form, with night shifts on one side, then day shifts on the other side of the paper). I asked her to flip the calendar over and she still insisted I was on call. So I had to get out of bed, go downstairs, find my calendar and Read to her the names of the people on call!! At that point a light bulb must of went off in her head because she quickly became apologetic. So, I'm all understanding that people will make mistakes, but first of all, is it Truly that hard to Read a Calendar? And second, I was telling her to flip the calendar over since I knew she was reading the Day Shift side and she just wouldn't listen to me. To volunteer for the Rape Crisis Center is no simple thing, you have to give your shift requests nearly a month in advance and you must stay available at a moment's notice during your shift. I gave up a Anna Nalick concert this weekend because I found out about it too late and was already scheduled to be on call. These are the sacrifices I'm happy to make because I believe so strongly in the cause. However, I am Very irritated indeed when I'm disturbed when I am Not on call and beyond being disturbed because someone can't read the calendar (and personally if it were me I'd check and double check to make sure I was calling the right person before I called and woke them up in the middle of the night), I was so annoyed she wouldn't listen to me and flip the darn calendar over. Insisting that I was on call as if I wouldn't know when I'm on call! I take my job with the center very seriously, if I'd been on call my phone would have been by my head, my clothes laid out, and I would most definitely have known that I was on call.

Needless to say that I barely got sleep the rest of the night, it takes me forever to fall asleep in general, but when woken up that much I was restless the rest of the night. My hubby and I had planned on getting up early to go running, but of course he knew I wouldn't get back to sleep (he knows me too well) so that got thrown out the window and now I'm tired and cranky.

Yes, I have a case of the Mun-days.

So, I felt the need to compile a short list of things that annoy me to the point of, well, blogging about it. If you're in a cheerful mood, sorry for this post as I am clearly not!

1. People who cut in front of me with no blinker and last minute so I have to slam on my brakes
2. People who get into car accidents before I've even had my breakfast and keep me from getting my breakfast by making me wait to get by them. Come on, we're all adults here, can't we learn how to drive?
3. Newly stripped roads that are not yet paved, getting dust and rocks all over my newly cleaned car
4. Waking up early
5. Janelle from Big Brother 6 and 7 and the fact that the world seemingly loves this shallow, mean person. I've actually gotten into a "heated discussion" about Janelle on somebody's blog (who shall remain nameless) in which I expressed my surprise in him remarking in a post that she's the best Big Brother player of all time since she did not in fact Win BB6, in which he heatedly replied that I just didn't like her because I was jealous she had big boobs and women never like other women with big boobs (you'd think he were her boyfriend or something...) To which I replied that I in fact did not mention her breast size and have friends with generous sizing of boobs and that that is a sweeping and incorrect generalization to say that women don't like women with big boobs. I compared it with the generalization I could have made that men Only liked Janelle Because of her big boobs, but of course I would never make such a generalization. I proposed to this particular blogger that I did not like her because she was shallow, petty and selfish and that I used to enjoy Big Brother, but season 6 was so high schoolish and just ugly in the manner in which people treated each other (Janelle often being the ring leader) that I was repulsed and cannot watch the show anymore. So I likened people loving Janelle to teenagers loving the popular kids in high school even though they know they're mean because they want to fit in and feel "in" with the cool kids, so they overlook their ugly side and idealize the popular kids. Anyways, he did not post this last comment I made on his blog, hit too close to home perhaps?
~Sorry, don't mean to offend any Janelle fans, I'm just really annoyed more at this particular nameless blogger than anything! The big boobs comment just put me over the edge this morning! Big boobs tend to do that, I've noticed.
6. Waking up early
7. Going to work
8. Monday morning meetings (seriously, these just need to be banned, what could make you dread coming into work Monday morning more than a meeting nearly first thing?)
8. Mondays (or Mun-days)


Clouds for Elizabeth

To return the wonderful gift of your cloud pictures, I have stolen this cloud picture from The Daily Dish. I saw it and thought immediately of you so I had to post it.

I know it's not as nice as your cloud pictures that you actually took yourself, but I thought it was pretty so I thought I'd share.


Povertyneck Hillbillies Thwarted By Big Ben

The long anticipated music video of the Povertyneck Hillbillies song "Mr. Right Now" with special guest appearance by Ben Rothelisberger is finally here!

I'm not sure what was worse, the singing, the lyrics or the "Hillbilly Shake". Yeesh, it looks like they're paralyzed, but only in their mid-section, kind of how you'd imagine Frakenstein would attempt to freak Mrs. Frakenstien during a hip-hop song... not so sure that move will catch on. Thank god they didn't make Ben do it in the video, I don't know if I'd be able to look at him without having nightmares.

My favorite part, of course, was seeing Heinz Field and Ben's Superbowl ring, and of course Ben's attempt to check out a girl at the picnic, that was too funny! Any scene that had Ben in it passed, but the rest was, um, let's just say the name of the song says it all...

Did the singers of the band ever consider that maybe they didn't get the girl because they're wearing cowboy hats and their dance is a stiff hump-a-thon with the air?


Snazzy New Look!

I got creative and experimented with a new look for my blog. Unfortunately it seems to Not work in Internet Explorer... soooo if you want to check out the new digs I suggest using Fire Fox! It also works in Netscape and I have no idea about any Mac browsers since I'm a PC loser.

I'm currently trying to pretend that I'm a programmer and figure out why the look isn't coming through in IE, hopefully I'll have it fixed soon for you IE users out there!

Thanks much for you patience and let me know what you think. I like it so far, I feel it's more me and a little more original than those Blogger offered templates.

Enjoy (as long as you're not in IE, that is).


The Time Has Come To Act

Peace talks continue between the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) and the Ugandan government, and during this precarious time, it's more important than ever to show your outrage of the use of the child soldiers by the LRA. For an overview on the situation in Uganda as well to sign a "Children should never be soldiers" declaration, please visit World Vision.

Here's a couple of the things you can do:

  • Check out Invisible Children's website for a bunch of things you can do to support the ending of use of child soldiers in this war, from hosting video viewing parties of the documentary created by the founders of Invisible Children to purchasing items made in Uganda to help support the restoration of a torn country from war. They also have a World Tour to show the video and raise awareness. And they did this amazing event called The Global Night Commute in which they encouraged people from around the world to walk to a pre-determined spot and spend the night outdoors, much in the fashion of what the Gulu Walkers (see next bullet point) have to do every single night! The Invisible Children group are a young and inspired bunch that are determined to reach out to young people and get them to ACT.
  • Participate in the Gulu Walk on Saturday, October 21st, a walk to raise money and awareness for the children in Uganda who have to walk approximately 4 hours a day (2 in the morning and 2 at night) in order to sleep in a public area where they will be safe from the LRA kidnapping them and forcing them to fight. For the children, these walks are tiring and dangerous on their own and the places they end up sleeping typically have no adult supervision, which results in rapes, fights, and other unhealthy behaviors amongst the children. This keeps them from a greater evil, but is still not a good solution for these children. The only solution is to raise awareness over the atrocities bestowed on the children of Northern Uganda and to advocate to stop the war! I did the Gulu Walk last year and had an amazing time, they do this internationally (including in Gulu itself!) so I'm sure you can find one in a city near you. Check out the website to find out.
  • Lobby for Northern Uganda at Washington D.C. I'm Very tempted to do this even though I don't have much vacation time left for work and I'm not sure how I'd get there (we're trying to save money right now). There can't be anything more amazing than going to the heart of our government itself and demanding that we stand up for these innocent children. I think this would be one of the most amazing options from my list, and I truly encourage anyone who can to make the trip to D.C. I'll let you know if I'm able to pull this one off and get my arse over there! For more information on lobbying in D.C. please check out here, over here too, and one more.
Now go out there and BECOME THE STORY!

Okay, okay. I Give In, But In An Affectionate Way, I Swear...

I really resisted posting this post even though I thought the exact same thing when I first saw this picture from the game pics on ESPN.com. However, I'm breaking down, there are too many good posts on this (like here and here), and it's an affectionate jab. You Know that I love Big Ben with all my heart (sorry hubby), and I'm very glad that he's comfortable cuddling up with a fellow heterosexual man, I respect that in a man (and I'm actually being serious here). Truly, Ben seems like a great, warm guy, that picture just demonstrates this too well.
Here, to counter the warm fuzziness of the first pic, I'll post this pic where Ben's applauding like he'd just killed his prey and is about to eat it, also thanks to ESPN.com.

Did I mention GO STEELERS?!?!


On The Verge Of Blocking Text Messaging FOREVER!

I had a very frustrating day today. We were having our first official Book Club Meeting today at noon, I was very excited. I had three women commit to going and my friend who is organizing this with me had gotten one lady last minute to come. Our book, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. It was a good and interesting book, and one of the ladies to come had some particular interest in autism as she will be doing a walk for autism very soon, I thought the conversation would be lively and passionate.

So I'm driving to the host house, my friend who has been organizing this with me, and at 11:30am I get my first text message: Mai, i'm really sorry but i don't think i'm going to make it today. I'm really sick. I am sitting there reading this, annoyed that once again a friend is canceling plans with me in what I see as a copout way, through text message. I feel disrespected that she didn't have the nerve or decency to call me. Truthfully, had she called me rather than "texted" me I feel I would have been much more happy in giving her the benefit of the doubt. At least I would have felt like she cared about her commitment with me.

So fine, I'm irked, but I'm still pretty cheerful and excited about the meeting, two wonderful women were still going to come and it would still be great. At 12:00pm, nearly right on the dot, I get my second text message. This time from one of the other ladies that was supposed to come. i have a migrane, i am going 2 skip it says in elegant text fashion. Now I'm very upset, if she really had a migraine, why is she texting me right at the time she was supposed to be there? Again, had she called me and explained why she was calling last minute (when we were all supposed to be there), I would have felt much more forgiving. I walk in disappointed but still determined to enjoy the ladies who do come. Four women can come up with enough discussion to make it interesting.

My host's friend comes, and while she didn't read the book since she was invited last minute, she's super cool and seems very excited about the Book Club. So we are having great conversation, eating pizza and snacks waiting for my last friend, who ends up not being able to make it either. I'm in utter disbelief that All Three Ladies who I invited each cancelled on me. Is it me? Do I smell bad or something? Our poor host had more than enough food for six people set out, the three of us did our best to eat the missing ladies' share, which is probably why I am now suffering from a tummy ache, but we left a shameful amount of food untouched.

I'm truly not trying to gripe or make anybody feel bad if they are one of the ladies mentioned above and they read my blog, but I'm very upset, hurt and disappointed. It's bad enough to me to be so blase about breaking commitments with friends, especially so last minute, but in the manner in which they did it felt extremely disrespectful to me. I'm at a loss as to how to handle it. To call them out would make me out to be the bitch, but to not leaves me festering. Where is the line of standing up for your feelings with your friends and just being bitchy and demanding with your friends?

I'm very frustrated over the whole situation. I feel this situation represents my comments in my previous posts Is Technology Killing Our People Skills?, Technology Gone Too Far and Manners, Celebs and Parenting way too closely for comfort. Here we are, three wonderful women who I find intelligent, fun and interesting, and yet they don't have the manners to either keep a commitment or to cancel it respectfully. Yes, it's harder to call me to cancel it and feel the guilt of hearing the disappointment in my voice, but it's also respectful. I have, in the past, taken the easy way out in situations with friendships, and I have felt shameful and cowardly because of it, which forces me now to do my best to be respectful towards people even when it's hard. Are people so afraid of disappointing people that they would rather disrespect them then face the disappointment? I'm baffled at the disregard people seem to have for other's feelings. I truly did not expect this from these wonderful women.

The meeting ended up mostly chatting about each other, getting to know the new girl, who was really great and brave. She came to the meeting, having not read the book, barely knowing the host who invited her (they knew each other vaguely a long time ago and then ran into each other last night and she agreed to come, and - Shockingly - actually DID come).

I'm sorry if this post comes off bitchy and angry, I just find it ironic that I just wrote those posts about the text messaging issue and manners and here it is, popping up in my real life wreaking me havoc. To add to it, later that day I got a text message from a friend whom I asked to call me about some plans, and then I called another friend to discuss plans, left her a voicemail, and got a text message in return. Seriously, when did Calling someone become such a chore?

This is why I'm seriously considering blocking all text messages from my phone. One of my friends has them blocked from her phone and she told me she hates text messaging. I wasn't necessarily a fan of it, but I thought that it was a bit harsh to hate it as much as she professed she did. However, I find that sentiment starting to resonate in myself and I find myself growing to despise text messaging too. How much more impersonal and distant can we get ourselves from each other before we realize that we have no actual human interaction and everything done between two people is through some computerized contraption?

Argh, thanks for hanging in with me through this angry post, I tried to wait a couple of hours to calm down and watch the Steelers' first preseason game, which I thought would cheer me up, but our Secondary was pitiful for the most part and frustrated the hell out of me. At least Ben was looking good and Anthony Smith was Dynamite! Can you imagine him and Polamalu playing together? That will be one unstoppable pair! I'm very excited to see Smith's progression. Steelers lost, and although it's just a meaningless preseason game, you always want to win, right? Ah, well. I still have the Vikings' first preseason game to look forward to!


More On Being a Steelers Fan

As seen on today's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and then again on Deadspin, meet the Steelers' nun fan. You know how every athlete seems to thank god for this or that win, etc. Well, now we officially know whose side god is on, the STEELERS. Thanks to this nun doing god's will, showing the Steelers god's support for them, and getting an autograph for god while she's at it!

Aw, you gotta love Steelers fans, I know I do!

And if I had to guess, I would say these little guys are Steelers fans too... okay, well, maybe not, but they're so darn cute I had to post the picture. These are the smallest monkeys in the world, seriously, I don't think you can argue with me on this one.

Manners, Celebs and Parenting

Thanks to a friend, I came upon this article: The manners revolution starts here: Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton and their ilk have made it cool to be rude. At first I thought she was trying to tell me something, but then I realized that she's just about as blunt as I am, so if she thought I was a rude, entitled, spoiled brat, she would have already said so to my face!

The article discusses how in general our society has stopped perceiving manners as something they wish to obtain. According to Dave White, back in his youth the celebrities were classy and acted "well breed" and their fans would aspire for this. If nothing else, even if they'd never be rich or famous, they could act with class and dignity (which, ironically, I've also just encountered this scene in The Remains of the Day, when Stevens encounters the people from the small town of Moscombe who believe that they can have dignity as well, and not just the rich, influential people. They aspire towards this "dignity" because they respect it in the "gentlemen" that they've seen.) However, White has seen a decline in this, starting with the celebrities.

Celebrities reign in the art of rudeness
Lindsay Lohan is as good a place to start as any, really, so why not? Now that her formerly behind-the-scenes misbehavior has come to light ‚— and I‚Â’m not talking about rampant partying, either. She's 20, for crying out loud. It's her job to party. I'm talking about professional disregard for others on sets and reports of her treating nightclub employees badly ‚— in the form of an open letter from the producers of her latest film, we can use her as a lesson in what we've all become.

While I'm no expert in this matter and have not put much research into the case against celebrities to fully agree with him, I have had a distaste in my mouth for celebrities, Hollywood and that whole world that our society is seemingly obsessed with for a while now. I care about a very few select celebs whose art I respect and whom I like to follow (such as Natalie Portman, Our Lady Peace, Ben Rothelisberger), but do I care if they're married, dating so-and-so, etc.? My overall answer is no, ultimately I do not. I respect these people for their art, their skills, and what they provide me in entertainment and emotionally with their work. Am I interested in whom they marry, what they do, etc.? I can't lie, yes. Was I disappointed when I saw a photo of Natalie Portman smoking? Sure was, though I don't judge her, but as a person I'd respected highly for her work as well as her intelligence and the manner in which she carries herself publicly, it was disappointing to see her smoke, but it didn't affect my admiration for her whatsoever as a person or an artist. Of course I was devastated by Ben's accident and rejoiced when Raine Maida's (lead singer for Our Lady Peace) babies were born. But that's the extent of it, I don't notice much what they're wearing, do not base how I act or what I say by how they act or what they say. My interest in them primarily centers around their art and skill.

However, I know people who read celebrity blogs, such as Bricks and Stones, and at their urging, I've glanced at them, but I can't seem to get myself to care about the fact that Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie aren't friends anymore. I don't respect their work (if they even truly have any work to show for), I don't respect their lifestyles or how they present themselves, and therefore I literally could care less about what they're doing. And talking to celebrity obsessed people, they don't necessarily respect these people either, so why the obsession? Why the emulation? You could say that so-and-so person's insecure and that's why she is obsessed with emulating the celebs, but this is too wide-spread to pin it on one person's insecurities. There's something making our nation insecure and unsure of itself, something making us forget our morals, discipline, manners and dignity. Something pushing us towards materialism and selfishness. The now now now attitude is prevalent everywhere you go, I find it in myself even though I don't buy into the whole celebrity crap. I'm impatient and have very high expectations for everything and everyone. If something doesn't blow me out of the water then I find it a waste of my time, I have to work to appreciate the smaller things in life, the subtle beauties in our world.

I've also noticed a related change in the approach to parenting. When was it the new idea in parenting that you were supposed to be your child's friend?!?! Are we that insecure and desperate for acceptance that we are at the mercy of our children's acceptance? You're not supposed to bring a child into the world or your life to have a new friend or to obtain acceptance from the poor kid, you're supposed to raise this little person to be a responsible, polite, capable, well-adjusted adult. Instead, I see (on TV or in public with random children, mind you, I've been fortunate enough that the few people I know with children are responsible parents) parents spoiling their kids rotten, going into debt to buy them all the little toys and designer clothes they want. Not saying "No!" and letting them run the house. When did this become acceptable parenting? I feel strongly that this is a form of neglect on the parents' part, do they not see that their children will be miserable and insatiable as adults? What is Going On with this country? Now, as a disclaimer, I don't have children, so of course I don't know how it is to be a parent, blah blah blah. And to some degree, I do respect that and hold my judgment on many matters when it comes to parenting, but in the same instance, should we not judge a dictator of a small country who murders mass amounts of his people because of their race? Sure, we've never been a leader of a country, but there are some things that are so over the line that it's even obvious to us that it's ridiculously wrong. That's how I feel with this new "parenting style", it's so obviously and overtly wrong and horrible for not only the children but our country in general (can you imagine an America filled with only spoiled brats? I think we'd self-implode).

These are just my disorganized rantings and thoughts, but I do feel strongly about this subject and it worries me greatly. I'm fortunate that my husband values discipline and family as much as I do (we've had plenty of practice on our three dogs and two cats). We've discussed being parents often and in detail, and are pretty much on the same page. Our marriage will always come first because with no marriage there's no family, and it's good to teach your children that they're not Always first. We've already accepted that our children will hate us at times, think we're losers and totally lame, lie to us, go behind our backs and rebel. These are normal, healthy growing pains that every child is entitled to, who am I to take that away from them?

Update: This was too ironic not to mention... for those who read the article I linked to in this post, the author, Dave White, mentions this incident he had with a driver of a Hummer. Now I also can't stand Hummers and also feel that the owning of a Hummer is pretentious and ridiculous. However, the day after my post, I stopped McDonald'slds for a Happy Meal because I was in a bad mood (see On The Verge Of Blocking Text Messaging FOREVER post), and how can a cheeseburger and free toy Not cheer you up? I chose to get a boy toy because I was feeling rather aggressive and edgy (again, see On The Verge Of Blocking Text Messaging FOREVER post) and what do I get? A toy Hummer. Oh Lordy, this is what we're teaching our little boys they want when they grow up. I almost threw it out the window, but first, that'd be littering which is a huge No No for me, but also, it was just too ironic and funny so I still have it on the floor of my Mazda 3 Hatchback, a much better car in my humble opinion... well at least more affordable in any case!


Technology Gone Too Far

As an addition to my previous post Is Technology Killing Our People Skills?, you have got to check out this story, thank you to Ed for supplying the link. A woman was FIRED from her job through a TEXT MESSAGE. Yeah, I'd say that's taking it a bit far with technology.

The text message said: "We will not require your services anymore...Thank you for your time with us."

Cold. Real cold.

For Self Esteem Purposes Only...

... Okay, and it's really fun to play with, too!

Check out how magazines photoshop pictures of models. It's surprising, and yet not. I think the breasts are the hugest touch-up, so to speak (they're at least double the size!), but they're all pretty big differences. Wow, these "perfect" women are actually just Normal Women! Shocking.

Browse the rest of the website and they'll show you un-photoshopped pictures of celebs. Here's a sneak peek of Cameron Diaz (who I like, so I'm not trying to put her down or anything, but I think it's a great thing to see these "stars" who are up on pedestals in real life looking like normal people):

In the site's "About" section, the site creator, Niva Kedem has this message:

This website was created to show the world the truth behind the models and movie stars glamour Images.

I dedicate the website to all the women that look at the mirror and think that the girl in the poster is much nicer; I also dedicated the website to all the men that believe Pamela Anderson is more beautiful than their own wife or girl friend, or the girl next door.

There is a beauty in every woman; you just need the right make up artist/photographer/graphic designer to show it better :-)

Cool website, to say the least.


Gearing Up

Yup, it's that time of year again... Football Season! As I gear up for the Steelers' first preseason game (this Saturday at 4pm on the NFL Network) I can't help but to reminisce over the last two Amazing years the Steelers have had since My Big Ben has graced the team with his maturity, presence, skill and athleticism. Having watched Ben throughout college at THE Miami University and having met him, I can say that Ben is one of a kind and is a special player who is devoted and a great representation of the Steelers' integrity that they're so well known for. I'm going to untack my Terrible Towel from my basement wall (where it hangs next to the large Steelers' Super Bowl XL banner), get out my Big Ben jersey and enjoy the best time of the year... FOOTBALL SEASON! I have no doubt my Steelers will repeat with another Super Bowl win because, obviously, they're the best team ever... and try to tell me otherwise and that's terms for elimination of our friendship.

I'm so excited I could pee my pants! This picture just makes me tear up... yup, you did it Ben! Youngest QB Ever to win the Big One! We're so proud!

I'm also participating in two Fantasy Football teams, one of which I got corralled into being Commissioner for, which I've already muffed up by making it unnecessarily difficult for people to sign up for our group... doh! I told them I didn't know what I was doing. Ah well, when it comes to the game, I'll kick all of their arses. I have made it to the playoffs every year that I've played... watch out, here I come!

Just a fair warning, my posts on Fridays and Saturdays may begin to find themselves football related, and posts on Monday most definitely will! You know a football fanatic when she has the preseason schedule tacked up in her cube... :).

Oh My

News Gone Wild is right. Check out these opening paragraphs from an article on Joe Francis by reporter Claire Hoffman:

Joe Francis, the founder of the "Girls Gone Wild"” empire, is humiliating me. He has my face pressed against the hood of a car, my arms twisted hard behind my back. He'’s pushing himself against me, shouting: "This is what they did to me in Panama City!"

It'’s after 3 a.m. and we'’re in a parking lot on the outskirts of Chicago. Electronic music is buzzing from the nightclub across the street, mixing easily with the laughter of the guys who are watching this, this me-pinned-and-helpless thing.

He has turned on me, and I don'’t know why. He'’s going on and on about Panama City Beach, the spring break spot in northern Florida where Bay County sheriff'’s deputies arrested him three years ago on charges of racketeering, drug trafficking and promoting the sexual performance of a child. As he yells, I wonder if this is a flashback, or if he'’s punishing me for being the only blond in sight who'’s not wearing a thong. This much is certain: He'’s got at least 80 pounds on me and I'’m thinking he'’s about to break my left arm. My eyes start to stream tears.

There has been much discussion in blogosphere of the horidness of Francis' actions outlined in this article but also of the objectivity of Hoffman's article and whether or not it was right to publish it. It is obvious that a victim of an attack cannot stay objective to the attacker, and that is where the controversy over her article is coming from. This article probably would have been better classified as an editorial or a personal piece rather than a "news" article, but I wouldn't have had it written by another reporter as the Morning News article suggested. I do respect the integrity of journalism, but at the same time I wouldn't want to lose the impact or the power of the article.

Nonetheless, I don't think anyone will disagree that Francis is creepy and gross. 'Cuz he is... ewwwww.


Melting Pot of Literary News

Insert mass amounts of money here please, but wait, for a book?!?!

According to Bookslut, Cold Mountain author Charles Frazier will be getting paid "$8 million, 17 NFL teams, and the state of Delaware for his new novel, Thirteen Moons." The real question is, what NFL teams, that would be the difference maker for me if I were signing a book deal. But seriously, wow, and this coming from a guy who had to self publish Cold Mountain and sell it to Indie bookstores before it was picked up by the big guys. I'm very excited to present you with Thirteen Moons' first review by Kirkus, in which Kirkus states that Thirteen Moons is "One of the great Native American, and American stories, and a great gift to all of us, from one of our very best writers." This book has been on my Amazon Wishlist since June when I first heard of it, I loved Cold Mountain and the setting and plot of Thirteen Moons sounds too delicious for me to have to wait until October for (*insert pout here).

Beware! The more you know, the more you are permanently harmed.

As seen on The Millions, the "Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries." This list was constructed by the conservative weekly Human Events and has left some distaste in my mouth by some of their choices. As The Million says, "That the list also lumps books like Mein Kampf together with The Feminine Mystique should also make people queasy." The top ten include:
  1. The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Freidrich Engels
  2. Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler
  3. Quotations from Chairman Mao by Mao Tse-Tung
  4. The Kinsey Report by Alfred Kinsey
  5. Democracy and Education by John Dewey
  6. Das Kapital by Karl Marx
  7. The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan
  8. The Course of Positive Philosophy by Auguste Comte
  9. Beyond Good and Evil by Freidrich Nietzsche
  10. General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money by John Maynard Keynes
I also like the comment on The Millions, "I have to assume it wasn't a mere oversight that Ann Coulter's books didn't make the list." Hmm, I would think not.

Here are some interesting comments about these "harmful" books.

It's like your inside a real bookstore, but you're not. Ah, virtual bookstore, that's the word I'm looking for.

Browse inside HarperCollins' books with their new "Browse Inside" feature. This will allow users to flip through pages of books online, starting with titles by Isabel Allende, Geraldine Brooks, Paulo Coelho, Bernard Cornwell, Michael Crichton, Karen Kingsbury, C.S. Lewis, Lisa Scottoline, Robin Sharma, and Rick Warren, but the plan is to roll it out to all of the publisher's titles.

In the future, authors will be able to link to "Browse Inside" pages from their blogs, and HarperCollins also hopes to allow users of social networking sites such as MySpace to link to pages from favorite books.

Reading's so dirty!

Please vote for your favorite Naughty Reading Entry over at Edward's Champion's Return of the Reluctant. You know I did!

Wog Girl Meets Flash Flood.

A great interview of Amra Pajalic on Flash Flood's blog, two of my favorite bloggers! Check it out.

The End

That's all I've got for now, I may add more later, but since it's 4:30pm it's not very likely.

I'm Married to a Tri-athlete!

A personal shout-out to my hubby, who completed his first Tri-athelon yesterday in Lakeside, OH. It was slightly longer than a sprint, with a 3/4 of a mile swim, followed by a 15.5 mile bike and finishing with a 3.5 mile run. He was first to finish out of all of the other first-timers with a time of 2 hours and three minutes. He didn't walk once. I'm beaming with pride and inspiration to get back on track with my marathon training. His devotion and strength were beautiful to see and I'm impressed beyond anything.

Sorry, I'll stop gushing, I'm just so darn proud of my honey!


Lion-Eating Poet in the Stone Den

Often I've tried to explain the Chinese language to folks. They get lost on the concept of the four tones and the fact that the same sound can literally be four different words in Chinese depending on what tone is used. I usually give the example "ting" which said in one tone means "stop" and in another tone means "to listen", but perhaps I should have been using "shi". Nonetheless, this video, provided by my wonderful brother, demonstrates this four tones concept perfectly, so I thought I'd throw it up here so I can direct people here if they are ever confused again. It really should clear things up for them.

Also, check out this article on Alan Moore, author of V For Vendetta. It's interesting, to say the least...

Update: Another interview with Alan Moore in which he discusses his "fairy-tale porn" Lost Girls... this man is fascinating! In a really creepy, crazy way, that is.


Crap, Gotta Read That!

Yes, I told you it was video clip day! I've been planning on reading The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri, but now that it's becoming a movie I have to read it before the movie comes out. It didn't say when it comes out, but I best be reading it soon if they already have a trailer.

Anna Nalick Teaser

Oh, how I love Anna Nalick, such soul, and on this video she seems super down to earth! I think today will be a video clip day. Enjoy and please go out and buy or legally download her CD, Wreck of the Day, you won't regret it.

A Music Video Without Bitches and Hoes?

I was a fan of the band before this, but I love this video (which in turn makes me love the band even more). What? A music video without half dressed (or barely dressed) women shaking their booties? Nooooooo, I can barely believe it can be done! But Death Cab for Cutie has done it for their song "I Will Follow You Into the Dark" and it's creative, sweet and some kind of wonderful... enjoy!


Oh Happy Day!

A new short story from Edward P. Jones (author of The Known World) in The New Yorker: Bad Neighbors

I've read it and it's excellent. It's still sitting with me in that uncomfortable way, deep in your stomach where you want to read it again immediately and then maybe even another time just to fully absorb the story into your system so that it is a part of you. Yes, it's that good, I loved it. Scoot scoot and read it right now!

Thanks to Moorish Girl for bringing it to my attention.

Update: I'm at 27 visits for my blog for today! I've never broken 30 visits in one day and I have a feeling today will be my day (well, if by the end of the night three more people don't visit my blog, I'll visit it three times my damn self). Wahoo, this is very exciting and a good day for people to visit my blog since I've gone blog crazy today... oddly enough, I've gotten a good amount done at work too. Hmm, is mai wen learning time management? I think so! Happy Day Indeed, it's even pint night at Fox and Hounds, and you know what that means.

Update #2: Wahoo, 35 visits, and I didn't even cheat, I swear! Thanks folks for stopping by, it makes all the hard work worth it. Also, I've been spammed. Does that mean that I'm moving up in the blog world too? I'm not really sure how blogs got spammed, but I'll take it as a compliment from Mr. Spammer. Hey, I take what I can get.

I Might Have Texas Pride Someday...

Sweet, one of the places I'm considering for grad school... Austin, Texas.

James Hynes presents a literary guide to West Texas (for more, also check out Bookslut and Maud):

I am not a Texan. Mind you, I'’m not apologizing, though maybe I am being a little bit defensive. Texas was its own country once, and Texans have never come close to getting over it. Just last week, on North Lamar here in cosmopolitan Austin, I saw a homeless guy wearing a black T-shirt that said, in big white letters, "Fuck y'’all. I'’m from Texas." Which is a hilarious and even charming sentiment from a homeless guy, but not so funny when it comes from, say, the president of the United States. But there you have it: Dagoberto Gilb has pointed out that Texas literature has more of a national character than a regional one, and all I'm saying is, as your tour guide to West Texas literature, I'm a foreigner, a native Michigander, an NPR listener, a daily reader of the New York Times, a Midwestern college-town liberal, a wearer of Birkenstocks, an atheist. A Yankee, in short. So the selection of books that follows is by no means an official one. They'’re just the books about West Texas that I love.

In that spirit, I thought at first I wouldn'’t mention Larry McMurtry at all (just like I'’m not going to mention Cormac McCarthy, except in passing), but then I decided that was just too willfully idiosyncratic, like writing about Elizabethan England and not mentioning Shakespeare.

Too funny. Great, now I'll have some great Texan reading to prepare me, a born'n'raised Northern Yankee, for the Southern Comfort. Hey, I have pride, maybe I'll finally be able to attribute it to something and make it Texas pride. More on Texas from native Maud Newton.

Fuck y'all, I'm from Minnesota... um, yeah, doesn't have the same effect. I won't even try Ohio.

Mel's Mug Shot

It was bound to happen. Someone so uppity to say that the mother of his children is going to hell because she believes in a different sector of religion than he does. Um, yeah. I'd say karma will come and getcha.

This here is Mel Gibson's mug shot from being arrested after drunk driving. I know that Mel will be getting extra criticism due to his extremist beliefs, but to add fuel to the fire, did Mel have to demand the arresting officer to tell him whether he was or was not Jewish and that he furthermore needed to impart the information that all the world's wars are begun by those of Semitic extraction?

Damn, boy, you need to know when to stop!

Uh, did Mel really say: "What are you looking at, Sugar Tits?" to a female sheriff's deputy?

Recycled and Refreshed

This was on Faster Than Kudzu way back in May, and I'd saved it somewhere (this was before I was a blogger myself) and just found it. It was one of those things I'd stashed away thinking, if I had a blog I'd so post this, and now I do and I've refound it and still love it! If you've seen this before, revisit and enjoy. If this is the first time you've seen it, try to come up with your own "What you say, What they hear" and leave it in my comments section. (P.S. I didn't come up with the ones below, these are the ones that were on Faster Than Kudzu)

What you say: I'm a writer.

What they hear: I sit at a typewriter with my hair pushed back and my glasses low on my nose and tappity tap into the night. I crabbily repel all humans who attempt to contact me, forgetting what time it is, eating take-out, showing up at engagements absent-minded and preoccupied and late. I may smell. I may have a cat or a basset hound. I live "on the bluff" in a dramatically shaped house. My family finds my habits alternately endearing and infuriating. I have complicated relationships. I frequently pull one last page out of my typewriter and slam it down on top of a pile of other pages and say, "Finished!"

What you say: I'm a novelist.

What they hear: I'’m a psychiatrist. I understand people. I tell Stories. I understand YOU. I may put you in one of my Stories. I live in a fantastic world of my own creation, and yet my characters are always fantastic versions of my own family. Go ahead. Say something witty. Tonight I will graft you into my epic. I have an Imagination. I am Imaginative. I also have Morals and there are Issues that I care about. My Novels focus on these Moral Issues and make Serious Points about the Issues that I care about, driven by the fantastic characters which are all based on you.

What you say: I'm a fiction writer.

What they hear: I buy and read magazines no one has ever heard of because they are technically literary journals (even though I call them magazines) and the reason I buy and read them is either because I am published in them or I want to be published in them. I write things no one can understand, largely because I was influenced by my endless and unprofitable stint in graduate school, which I enjoyed so much that I became a professor. If you attempt to read my work you will be stymied immediately by my nontraditional punctuation, my reference to obscure middle eastern politicians, and my insistence on using the format of a musical sonatina. If you aren'’t stymied, I may become irritated.

What you say: I'm an author.

What they hear: I write books with titles like "How to Improve Your Community in Five Easy Steps" and I appear on Oprah and I wear coordinated suits and I am very VERY WISE. My signature is worth money. My friends speak to me deferentially and my family has a giant portrait of me in the living room. In the portrait I am wearing Chanel. I have never written a lick of fiction and I think it's frivolous and exasperating when people do. What matters is truth, and I have the truth. Ask me anything. I am well read and I probably have a degree in sociology or communications.

Remembrance of a Friendship

So, one my best friends from high school is high tailing it outta Ohio as quickly as she can to become a Broadway star in New York. First, I selfishly thought about how pathetically thin my group of friends is becoming as people leave me here (how dare they!), but then I began remembering all the times said friend and I had and thought I'd dedicate a post to her and our many experiences together. So this is for you girlfriend, glad you finally figured out what a blog was and that you check it regularly, not every six months like a website! Don't worry, if I didn't work with a bunch of tech geeks I wouldn't have known either.

Buffy, Buffy, Buffy, and no, I'm not talking about my cat, I'm talking about Buffy the Vampire Slayer whom I named my cat after. I remember talking to you on Tuesday nights before the show, theorizing what would happen that night on the show, then staying on the phone with you, silent during the show only to burst into quick discussions of I can't believe she did that! and Who does that monster think he is messing with Buffy? during the commercial breaks. Afterwards of course we'd have to lament over the show and mourn until next week came. I remember I even got into trouble once by my then boyfriend, now hubby, for talking to you during a whole dinner at O'Charley's on the phone about Buffy. But hey, I had my priorities! Plus, I think I was probably getting back at him for taking me to O'Charley's to eat when he'd previously Dumped me there!

I remember you flattening me during a Powder Puff practice even though WE WERE ON THE SAME TEAM! I'm Still sore from that...

I remember all the secretive sex talks we'd have backstage when rehearsing for Fools with two other unnamed cast members (but you know who I'm talking about, you're fellow stars...) when we were supposed to be practicing your lines. Oh, and the infamous boot that I got for flashing the cast (Damn you Hagaman!)... M. Walnut, do you want it? Huh, do you want it? And the cast parties were probably the craziest parties ever with a bunch of Sober people! That's theater people for you. :) Remember the hot tub? Holy cess pool of people! Something had to be going on under that hot, bubbly water...

And Calculus with Ms. Schmidt. Remember how mad she was at you for graduating early but not at me because I did post secondary and I wasn't wasting a semester doing nothing? But you didn't care, you rarely let what people think about you bother you, my strong Amazon Woman! Some day I aspire to be as strong as you. Plus, you took your lazy time seriously and I Know you enjoyed every minute of it!

From visiting each other at school and getting drunk with you for the first time (in college, not in high school, you were a good girl back then...), to weddings, to movies at my house, to discovering I must have some creepy old men attractant somewhere on me (I mean, what the heck?) and to just talking with you until my throat's swollen, you have been a staple in my life for some time now. You know all my secrets and pains and I know yours. These are the bonds that bind us together for life.

I am sad to see you go but excited for this journey for you. Even though I wasn't able to see you in Fuck Me, Eat Me (or whatever that play was named! It had Fuck in it, that's all I know) I will come to New York to watch you perform on Broadway, I know you'll make it!

You Go Girl, I'm proud of you! You will always be an honoree member of the writing group/book club, thanks for coming out for that and for hooking us up with replacement people to fill your void, although you know Nobody could ever really fill your void. You leave a very unique void.

Even Dailyer!

In response to my " now I feel as if I have to put something important here" comment in my last post, I am now posting the most important post of my blog. Read it, memorize it, do it. Yes, finally there is a drinking game for those of us getting too old to drink with the athleticism of flip cup or beer pong (you could strain your wrist, you know!). A game with the perfect combination of humor, drinking and politics. It's the Daily Show Drinking Game! The rules are simple, take a drink every time:

  • Jon says "Meet me at camera three"
  • Anyone notes that the Daily Show isn't actually daily
  • when Jon references the fact that his audience is (supposedly) made up of nothing but stoners
  • When Canada is mocked
  • When, during an interview, Jon precedes a question with "let me ask you this"
  • When complex graphics or charts are used to make a point (the Evolution Schmevolution giraffes, etc.)
  • The word "taepodong" is mentioned.
  • Jon does the "rub the eyes with his fists" and says...whaaaaaaaaa??
  • Jon points to the camera/audience
  • Jon cracks up (do 2 shots if it's during the Colbert Report check-in).
  • Jon remarks that he's terrible at impersonations.
  • Any time the Mess O' Potamia graphic is used.
  • Any time Samantha Bee makes noises instead of using words.
  • Jon covers his face with the script sheets
  • Jon tells the audience to "settle, settle"
  • Rob Corddry mentions Boston, Massachussetts, or the Red Sox.
  • Jon mentions his kids while interviewing someone who has kids.
  • Every time a correspondent wears "that" khaki fishing vest.

  • And from one reader: " ...and to top it all off, you must be naked for The Moment of Zen."

  • And one from Me: anytime Jon calls an organization the acronym NAMBLA, if anyone watched the show the other night you would have gotten WASTED!
Man, I miss Colbert's This Week in God skit, I know Rob Corddry does it now, but it's just not as good (no offense Rob... if you ever read my blog, which you won't). If Colbert comes back to do a guest skit of This Week in God I'll drink a whole gallon of beer, I swear, I'll do it! Just make it happen and it's a done deal. Ah, I can here the blabbity boops in my head now...

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