unbound @ seema.org

Saturday, April 24, 2010


The Funniest Protest Signs. There are some really good ones in here, and not all are what you might expect.

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0 comments | 9:38 PM |

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Came across this site while searching for blogger alternatives: Clients from Hell. My favorite, posted on April 3, 2010:

Client: “Make the numbers in our phone number capitalized to stand out more”

Me: “That’s not possible…”

Client: “Just hold the SHIFT key and type our phone number!”

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0 comments | 11:09 AM |

Moving tips

Here's a post on migrating to WordPress from blogger, which is what I'm leaning towards right now. Just as an FYI, there might be an "intermediate" step before the final URL change. A lot going on in RL right now so unfortunately, this hasn't been a priority and I'm feeling curiously unmotivated to figure out how to actually do all of the things I need to do to migrate the blog prior to May 1. So my current plan is just to back-up this one and then maybe use a different service for a couple of months until I figure out what the final solution is going to be. I just need time to think!

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0 comments | 10:54 AM |

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


I thought some of you would be amused by this - "The Most Ridiculous 'Very Special' Episodes ever"; view clips and summaries here.

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1 comments | 7:47 PM |

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Hillary has always been my girl, but I'm increasingly impressed by Nancy Pelosi. What she has done, how she has done it, is nothing short of impressive. She knew what she wanted, she stuck by her principles, and she worked tirelessly to get it done, even when it seemed that defeat was certain.

In her way stood a series of obstacles that would give most normal people a migraine so intractable that insurance companies would deem it a pre-existing condition. There was Bart Stupak and his faction of anti-abortion Democrats. There was the equally large bloc of pro-choice lawmakers who threatened to revolt if Stupak's demands for restrictions on insurance coverage of abortions prevailed. There were the unions, livid at the idea that the House might entrench the Senate's tax on high-cost health plans. There was Dennis Kucinich. Each week seemed to bring an explanation of some obscure parliamentary manoeuvre that had been proposed and proved impossible.

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0 comments | 9:00 PM |

Monday, March 22, 2010

A subtle distinction

Communism is a political/economic system and socialism is an economic system. Here is a decent essay on the subject.

The core belief of all socialists is that human beings thrive or die depending on their social relations. As such, socialists believe that our actions are shaped by our social structures, not by an inherent human nature or individual choices. [...] The core belief of all socialists is that human beings thrive or die depending on their social relations. As such, socialists believe that our actions are shaped by our social structures, not by an inherent human nature or individual choices. [...] Communists ... advocated an all-powerful state, in which a central government wields total control over its people - the economy, the media, industry, education, etc. This is contrary to many socialists who believe that control of these things should belong to people on a de-centralized local level, rather than a centralized national level.


0 comments | 10:08 PM |

Sunday, March 21, 2010


House Approves Health Overhaul. Just wow. I never thought this day would come. Unbelievable. Amazing.

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0 comments | 10:49 PM |


Should you buy or rent? -- good question given the current state of the economy and the "deals" that might exist out there.

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0 comments | 9:18 AM |

Friday, March 19, 2010

LotD version HCR

The healthcare bill: 10 things you need to know. This is a pretty good briefing on what is actually in the 2,700-page bill.

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0 comments | 9:13 PM |


I should have been looking for a job but ended up spending too much time reading this blog and got exposed to things like a gigantic baby tattoo on a parental arm and a placenta shake for the first post-partum meal (REALLY? People do this????) and all sorts of craziness (mostly grammatically incorrect) related to kids (I need to know about pink poop why?), belly casts, and "push" gifts, all courtesy of Facebook.

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2 comments | 10:12 AM |

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Why you've never really heard the 'Moonlight Sonata'. This intrigued me because I played "Moonlight Sonata" at my very last piano recital and believe you me, I heard it a lot that year. I may have even had a professional tape recording of it for inspiration (yes, this was in the days BEFORE CD players). So I found this article intriguing but especially cool are the sound files that showcase the difference between modern pianos and those from the classical/romantic eras; that sound is distinctly different. I'm ashamed to admit that I prefer the more modern sounding pianos, but it could also be that's what happens when you spend six months with a piece of music.

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0 comments | 10:42 PM |

Sunday, March 14, 2010


I don't post or frequent the group any more (Real Life(tm) interference, unfortunately), but today's plug is for the good folks and good writing over at alt.startrek.creative which is where I got my start in fanfiction and where I met some good friends. So if you're a Trek fan, if you are looking for that sense of community, and want to experience the full range of creative output, this is the place for you.

On a somewhat related note, I finally have my computer up and running! Hooray! It's been in a box since in the move due to a lack of a computer desk, but after coming back to the States, a solution was found, and a couple weeks later, the computer was set up. It's SO good to have all of my files back and all of my software (including AIM! I can chat again!), and of course, rough drafts from God only knows when. Maybe something will spark...

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0 comments | 4:32 PM |

Sunday, February 28, 2010


I really like the reviews at The Bollywood Ticket; their review of My Name is Khan echoes what I would have written, so go there for an articulate, spot-on review of the Shah Rukh Khan/Kajol film.

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0 comments | 1:45 PM |

Friday, February 26, 2010


Carly Simon names who's "So Vain." I kinda wished she hadn't; part of the fun of the song was the mystery.

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0 comments | 7:49 PM |

Monday, February 22, 2010


Whoa, didn't see this coming: Scott Brown supports the new job bill. I'm guessing the GOP didn't see it coming either...

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0 comments | 10:10 PM |


Fareed Zakaria on why declaring war on Iran is a Very Bad Idea (tm).

The United States is being asked to launch a military invasion of a state that poses no imminent threat to America, without sanction from any international body and with few governments willing to publicly endorse such an action. Al-Qaeda and its ilk would present it as the third American invasion of a Muslim nation in a decade, proof positive that the United States is engaged in a war of civilizations. Moderate Arab states and Muslim governments everywhere would be on the defensive. And as Washington has surely come to realize, wars unleash forces that cannot be predicted or controlled.

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0 comments | 10:02 PM |

Sunday, February 14, 2010


A provactive article in the NY Times: How Christian were the Founders?. From my perspective, this rewriting of textbooks in public schools is super scary and while I'm a big supporter of public education, this is the first time I've wondered about private school -- provided there is such a thing as secular private school. Other than that, it means keeping a close eye on what's taught in public school and what's not and addressing appropriately. Still I find it quite alarming that people with no real educational background are dictating curriculum for the vast majority of the country.

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0 comments | 5:57 PM |

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Slate has an interesting article on how insurers reject you. Definitely makes you think about the need for reform, especially in light of WellPoint's 39% rate increase. I love their explanation for the rate increase:

WellPoint defends the hikes as a prudent business move. In a letter to Sebelius, Brian Sassi, head of WellPoint’s consumer business unit, said that because of the recession, healthy people are dropping insurance or opting for cheaper plans. That lowers premium revenues, reducing the amount of money available to cover claims from those who remain.

I'm not sure there are many people out there who can easily absorb a 39% rate increase and I bet some of those people who are still left are going to drop out or opt for cheaper plans, creating a vicious cycle that we'll probably see repeated with other companies over time if something isn't done to keep costs down.

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0 comments | 8:21 PM |

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


It always drives me nuts when it gets cold or snows here in Sweat Sock City, people scoff and say, "So much for global warming" or variations on that theme. So I was happy to see this entry tackling that very subject.

It's not hard at all to get temperatures cold enough for snow in a world experiencing global warming. According to the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, the globe warmed 0.74°C (1.3°F) over the past 100 years. There will still be colder than average winters in a world that is experiencing warming, with plenty of opportunities for snow.

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2 comments | 8:50 PM |

Friday, February 05, 2010


Five myths about America's credit card debt. Interesting reading, nothing more or less than that. Myths 3 and 5 were the most interesting to me.

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0 comments | 12:01 PM |

Saturday, December 19, 2009


Here is a recipe for Star Anise Lace Cookies from Gourmet magazine (sniff, sniff). It's a super easy, kind of odd recipe, but they do come out super thin and almost lacy (in a circular lace pattern). It's not at all a typical cookie and I think it would be really good as an accompaniment with a fruity ice-cream. My one complaint is that it 'feels' very buttery and I'm tempted to reduce the amount of butter from 5 tablespoons to 4 next time around. Still, taste-wise these are fantastic cookies and probably will add a good bit of originality/creativity to a traditional cookie spread.

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0 comments | 10:26 PM |

Friday, December 18, 2009


Top music in 2009. The article confuses me somewhat in the way it's written but eventually it gets to the point and gives a tentative placement of top albums, songs, digital albums, etc. There seem to be a lot more categories now for "top" now than back in the day when I used to really pay attention to this kind of stuff. When I was a kid, I loved listening to Casey Kasem and the Top 40. Now, it seems to be all Ryan Secrets All The Time (tm) and it's just not the same. But it was kind of neat to see the listing of music for 2009, especially since one of my faves, "Poker Face" by Lady Gaga, is high up on the list.

I think it's a crime that Pink didn't make the list though. She had some great stuff this year. Also, kind of over that "I Gotta Feeling" song by the Black Eyed Peas. Miley Cyrus is okay -- I do bop in the car when "Party in the USA" comes on, but I am getting increasingly tired of Taylor Swift. Kings of Leon as well -- not a fan. Was also surprised to see Britney didn't make the list. Both "Womanizer" and "Three" are totally infectious and fall into the "I AM STILL STUCK IN TRAFFIC SO PLAY SOMETHiNG SO I WON'T LOSE MY MIND" category.

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0 comments | 10:39 PM |

Wednesday, December 09, 2009


There are tons of stories about the White House Gate Crashers out there, but I chose this one for the LotD. Why? Because the reporter actually got the name of Michaele Sahali's outfit right. It's a lehnga, NOT a sari as people have been calling it. So kudos to the reporter for getting it right and not following every other story's lead.

... Ms. Salahi strutted onto the South Lawn in that bright red lehenga, she and her husband breached far more than a secure perimeter.

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3 comments | 9:35 PM |

Tuesday, December 08, 2009


This is sweet story about twins separated at birth in China and adopted by two different families in the US, yet somehow they were aware of each other. This is an interesting twist on the nature versus nurture debate.


0 comments | 8:28 PM |

So say we all

"Battlestar Galactica" has been named the 5th best show of the decade. Very cool that the show gets some respect. And oh! On January 22, "Caprica" starts on SyFy (does the new name bug anyone else? I mean, REALlY) so I'm definitely looking forward to seeing that.

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2 comments | 8:18 PM |

Monday, December 07, 2009


Here's a personal angle on the current health care debate: Health Care and Cancer: Reforming the Odds in a Costly System.

The enormous expense of cancer care – particularly for diagnoses with the worst prognosis – is a driving force in the relentless rise of health costs. Is this huge investment of resources a sensible approach to diseases for which there is no cure and for treatments that often extend life by only a few months? To me, of course, the answer is quite clearly yes. But my disease, though not curable, is treatable, and fortunately, new treatments are waiting in the wings. That is not the case with many other cancers.

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0 comments | 9:25 PM |

Saturday, December 05, 2009


Andrew Sullivan eloquently expresses his reasons for Leaving the Right.

But there has to come a point at which a movement or party so abandons core principles or degenerates into such a rhetorical septic system that you have to take a stand. It seems to me that now is a critical time for more people whose principles lie broadly on the center-right to do so - against the conservative degeneracy in front of us.

A manifesto of his reasoning follows and reading through it, it reminds me why I can never vote Republican, not when the standard bearers are people like Palin, Limbaugh, Glen Beck, etc. The tent is becoming increasingly small and exclusive but I suppose that also helps the echo chamber. I'm glad that people are starting to take notice and distance themselves from certain people and their whacked out, uninformed statements.

Of course all of this is a moot point as I've never claimed less than being a left of a center Democrat, but there have been times in my New England past when a Republican candidate appealed to me over the Democrat. At the risk of contradicting myself, I would prefer less government spending -- don't even get me started on the bailout! -- but I would rather spend money on health care reform than these wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

I can't say that I'm thrilled with Democrats either. I accept Obama's Afghanistan surge because I know it's what he needs to do. I don't like it though, but I understand it. I am mortified with the Stupak amendment included on the House version of the health care reform bill. I hate that we bailed out the car companies even though on a deep down level, I understand that too.

The point is, as much as the Democrats have done things I don't like, it seems like they're the only choice. Claiming Independence as a voter makes no sense when the differences are so stark. You can be a conservative Democrat, but it doesn't seem that there is such thing as a liberal Republican and I think the GOP is going to pay for that if they continue to hail Limbaugh and Company and/or seriously parade Sarah Palin as a contender for 2012.

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0 comments | 6:37 AM |

Friday, December 04, 2009


Nepal holds highest cabinet meeting. Can't get any higher than Everest, I guess,though I worry about decisions made in oxygen-thin atmosphere.

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0 comments | 10:11 PM |

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Point and Counterpoint -- Sort of

"60 Minutes" this past week had an interesting story on The Cost of Dying.

By law, Medicare cannot reject any treatment based upon cost. It will pay $55,000 for patients with advanced breast cancer to receive the chemotherapy drug Avastin, even though it extends life only an average of a month and a half; it will pay $40,000 for a 93-year-old man with terminal cancer to get a surgically implanted defibrillator if he happens to have heart problems too.

Eugene Robinson asks in his column today "How much expensive, unnecessary, high-tech testing and treatment am I willing to have our out-of-control health system pay for to save one life, if the life in question might be mine or that of a loved one? The honest answer, I think, is: a whole bunch."

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0 comments | 10:15 PM |

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Can you imagine? Couple wedding cake was a fake. How awful for this couple.

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0 comments | 8:44 AM |

Friday, November 13, 2009

LotD the second

Palin Book Fact Check. Shouldn't be surprising she plays fast and loose with facts. It'd be nice if she could go away and take Carrie Prejean with her.

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0 comments | 8:08 PM |


Carry On Bag etiquette -- definitely a must-read prior to the holiday traveling season. It will make your life so much easier.

My tips --

1. Leave the laptop at home. It's really, really, really not worth dragging it through security and depending on airport and/or destination, there could be a possible of confistication.

2. Wear shoes that can easily slip on/off. Forget the laces. It takes too long. And oh, wear socks. Your feet will appreciate it.

3. Don't wear anything with metal on it. Seriously. This could include the belt buckle, the hairpin in your hair, the fastenings on your jeans. The list is endless and I've been pulled aside so many times for the rivets on my jeans. So now I go with plain old khakis.

4. Take out your baggy if you're carrying on your bags before you get to the security line. I used to keep my toiletry baggy in th front pocket of my carry-on suitcase, but it took too long to get out, so now I carry the baggy in my purse and it's much quicker to take out.

5. You have to take your jacket off before going through security. If there is anyway you can avoid wearing a jacket, I totally recommend it. The more things you have to take off/take out for security, the longer it's going to take to get through. So minimize.

6. On the plane, if you're carrying on, you're allowed one carry-on bag and one personal item for most airlines. If you have a suitcase, it better fit in lengthwise in the overhead bin or frequent flyers like me will glare at you for taking up more space than you're supposed to. Your personal item should fit in your seat pocket or under the seat in front of you.

7. If you're in an aisle or middle seat, don't buckle up until your entire row is seated. The sooner you can get up and out of the way, the sooner your seatmate can sit down, the better. Plus, on a personal level, I hate getting buckled up and comfortable only to get up every 10 seconds to let someone in.

8. If you're locking your bag, use a TSA-approved lock. Those are locks that have a specific marking on them and can be opened by the TSA if they need to look in your bag. If you use any other kind of lock, such as a pre-9/11 lock, they'll cut it off to look inside.

9. If you do persist on bringing your laptop on the airplane, I would suggest NOT working on anything related to your job. As someone who traveled a lot to areas where my industry had major operations, I can't even tell you how many times I looked over at a computer screen and saw confidential details on a company's workings. So if you're going to bring the laptop, at least watch a DVD or play games, and don't work on confidential things.

10. Carry some snacks in your purse. Continental will serve a snack, but it's usually not vegetarian. Other airlines will either give you peanuts or charge you. All of which is fine as long as you don't get delayed or re-routed due to weather. I've been stuck on the tarmac for hours and having a couple of granola bars helped. This is especially helpful if you are flying to any part of the country that might experience a weather delay (read: Northeast, Midwest), but in winter you can never tell.

Enjoy the holiday traveling season!

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0 comments | 3:57 PM |

Thursday, November 12, 2009


This story in the WSJ re executives who got laid off and are still living large, even turning down job offers, seems so far removed from reality. It's hard to imagine keeping on with $130 haircuts or the Starbucks habit when you no longer have income to support it. It doesn't seem very smart to me, but then I get my hair cut at Haircuts for Less and similar ilk and I find Starbucks disgusting so my coffee habit is usually limited to Taster's Choice with the occasional splurge on McDonald's McCafe.

What's crazy is a couple of people in this article have turned down job offers. In this kind of economy, who knows when the next offer is coming? It just seems enormously irresponsible for people who are otherwise pretty smart.

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2 comments | 6:56 PM |

Sunday, November 08, 2009


Going somewhere? Here's an article on the Best and Worst Airlines for Lost Luggage. Next thing you know, they'll be charging you a fee not to lose your bags.

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0 comments | 1:36 PM |

Thursday, November 05, 2009


Interesting article, or rather book review -- Flesh of Your Flesh.

How is it that Americans, so solicitous of the animals they keep as pets, are so indifferent toward the ones they cook for dinner? The answer cannot lie in the beasts themselves. Pigs, after all, are quite companionable, and dogs are said to be delicious.

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2 comments | 10:28 PM |

Story time

I read Stephen King's "Premium Harmony" at the New Yorker magazine here (free to read, so go ahead, click). I discovered the story at a time when I'm having a short story renaissance. I used to love short stories -- reading and writing them -- and then I got derailed by the idea of novels and longer stories and it's been years since I've written a short story of any merit. The Stephen King story, however, has merit.

For a short story, King has managed to infuse his characters with, well, a lot of character. The conversation -- rapid fire, not bogged down with unnecessary details or action 'moments' -- sketches out the characters well. There are snatches of humor here and there, moments of poignancy, and above all, illumination of character -- something incredibly hard to do in the space of a short story. The interesting thing here is that King doesn't bother making his characters likeable; in fact, he puts so much effort in making them unlikeable, and yet, still very realistic. King also managed to draw all the little threads, all the little details, together in the final graf, which was excellent. He followed the old adage to a t: if there is a gun over the fireplace in the first act, it should be fired by the third.

While I enjoyed the story, I did find it a bit... outlandish, out of the realm of reality at moments. But it wasn't so much that I was distracted and tempted to hit the back button (and all you internet fiction readers know about the back button!).

All in all, an enjoyable story, well written, a bit on the quirky side, but if you're looking for a quick read over lunch, I recommend Premium Harmony.

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0 comments | 10:20 PM |

Sunday, November 01, 2009

LotD the third

Happy first day of NaNoWriMo!. Good luck to all you aspiring novelists out there. I did this three years in a row, finishing the project my second and third times (eh, that's finishing the word count, not the actual novels -- which are big honking stinking piles of putrid trash on my hard drive, but hey, at least I tried!). If I didn't have so much going on in November this year, I'd give the 50k word marathon another shot, but alas, I don't think so. Maybe next year...

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0 comments | 9:01 AM |

LotD the second

One Hundred Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do. I have to say, I have been on the receiving end of many, many of these before. Especially the wobbly table thing. I hate the wobbly tables so many restaurants seem to fix with a wadded up piece of napkin. Or getting your plate taken away before your companion is finished. Or having a lunch with a good friend constantly interrupted by a bored waitstaff who wants to join in (we didn't come to catch with you, oh random waitperson who we just met for the very first time). First fifty in the linked to article, the next 50 are promised to be forthcoming.

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0 comments | 8:57 AM |


Interesting Ed-Op in the NYTimes from a rancher's perspective: The Carnivore's Dilemma.

... there are numerous reasonable ways to reduce our individual contributions to climate change through our food choices. Because it takes more resources to produce meat and dairy than, say, fresh locally grown carrots, it’s sensible to cut back on consumption of animal-based foods. More important, all eaters can lower their global warming contribution by following these simple rules: avoid processed foods and those from industrialized farms; reduce food waste; and buy local and in season.


0 comments | 8:54 AM |

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Vanity Fair on the Gosselins here. As with anything else Vanity Fair touches, a pretty insightful and revealing article on how Jon and Kate have eclipsed even Brad and Angelina in their "celebrity". Interesting, but still scary.

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0 comments | 11:50 AM |

Tuesday, October 06, 2009


I found this article about the subtitle of Sarah Palin's new book amusing. So much for going rogue.

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0 comments | 6:55 PM |

Monday, October 05, 2009


Back from another business trip and came across this article on how airline fares might be leveling off soon. I've been appreciating the lower fares lately. Even with the 2-week advance purchase for today's plane fare, it still came in under $200 and that was insane, especially on a sold-out flight. I was anticipating having to pay $400 to $500 for the ticket, but no -- paid $178 round trip two weeks out. So I guess the message here is, if you're going to go on a vacation and need airfare, buy soon!

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0 comments | 8:52 PM |


You know that effect in black and white pictures when one element, such as a rose, is the only thing in color? In the example I suggest, it would be a black and white picture with a red rose in it. I've been wondering how to do that effect for years in Photoshop (I have version 7.0) and had tried a couple of different tutorials to no effect. And then I found this one, and it's super easy. Try it if you have the software (not sure if it works in stripped down versions of Photoshop) for really cool effects.

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0 comments | 12:08 AM |

Sunday, October 04, 2009


Marek Edelman, the last surviving leader of the 1943 Warsaw ghetto revolt against the Nazis, died Friday at the age of 90. You can read about the uprising in his words here. It's an amazing and tragic story.

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0 comments | 7:54 AM |

Friday, October 02, 2009


It's World Vegetarian Week!


0 comments | 10:23 PM |

Thursday, October 01, 2009


Scary article from the NY Times - Driven to Distraction - At 60 M.P.H.. Honestly, I can barely flip radio stations and drive at the same time, let alone check email/voice mails etc. I suppose most people who are like me put the cell phones away while driving, while everyone else is talking on the phone or texting and thinking they're doing just fine.

It scares me I'm on the road with people who are this reckless and careless. As my earlier saga with the car illustrated this past summer, people are trying to save themselves 10 to 20 minutes but in the meantime are costing the rest of us time and as this article points out, sometimes something much worse.

The article also comes with a game to test how distracted you are while driving and texting. I failed miserably. I can't text when I'm parked and concentrating 100% on the text, let alone while driving.

However, as I said, I think people who realize the dangers have already put away their cell phones. Everyone else thinks they're invincible or better than everyone else and nothing you say will ever convince them otherwise.

Scary stuff.

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0 comments | 6:36 PM |

Friday, September 18, 2009


Calling to Follow Up? Hand Me a Fork. I always wonder if I should do this and I never do, just like I don't do the 80 million other things one is supposed to in order to get a job. I feel validated on this one now. YMMV.

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0 comments | 5:35 PM |

Friday, September 04, 2009


This is story about Cameron Todd Willingham prompts the horrifying question: did Texas execute an innocent man? It's a long and engrossing read, very well-written, and there's some ambiguity as to the final conclusion of what happened here, but thought provoking. There are follow-ups to this article including a rebuttal from the prosecutor here and the author's response here.


0 comments | 4:02 PM |

Monday, August 31, 2009


The coldest, driest, and calmest place on Earth has been found. No surprise that it's in Antarctica, and apparently the views of the heavens are wonderful. Of course, you've got to brave -94 F temperatures and a 13,000+ foot hike to get to the top.

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0 comments | 9:51 PM |

Sunday, August 30, 2009

LotD - Health Care Round-Up

Scary op-ed here about the effects of medical bills on people's marriages. I remember this kind of story being prevalent in the LTC market back when I worked for Very Big Insurance Company. Again, there's got to be a better way.

A study reported in The American Journal of Medicine this month found that 62 percent of American bankruptcies are linked to medical bills. These medical bankruptcies had increased nearly 50 percent in just six years. Astonishingly, 78 percent of these people actually had health insurance, but the gaps and inadequacies left them unprotected when they were hit by devastating bills.

I find this above fact just... wow. Mind-boggling. Given the subject of this op-ed, I wonder where are the "family values" reflected when a wife chooses to divorce her husband in order to save their future together?

I also found the dichotomy in this article about Senator DeMint from South Carolina. He's fighting against health care reform, spreading lies about what the bill actually says, and yet, the average rate of uninsured people in his state is higher than the national average.

The subject of health care in Mr. DeMint’s own state rarely comes up either. But South Carolina, much of which is poor and rural, faces some particular challenges. Its unemployment rate of 11.8 percent exceeds the national rate of 9.4 percent. And 16.2 percent of the population has no insurance, more than the national average of 15.3 percent.

Rather, voters seem more interested in whether Mr. DeMint might run for president.

Reminds me a lot of that book -- "What's the Matter with Kansas?" -- which had people voting emotionally on their anti-abortion stances to their own economic disadvantage.

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3 comments | 9:00 PM |

Monday, August 24, 2009


The Washington Post has an insider's view of last year's attacks in Mumbai here.

I arrived in Mumbai on the Sunday evening before these attacks and Monday mid-morning, we stood outside of the Taj Hotel and looked out across the sea from where the attackers arrived on Wednesday afternoon. It was chilling to download my photos several weeks later, in the safety of my home in Sweat Sock City, and the first two or three pictures were of the Taj Hotel -- royal, majestic, and without blemish, and no indication either of what was to come.

After that day of pictures, the only images of the Taj Hotel from then on were of smoke billowing out of the windows. The horror of what was happening inside could only be imagined; the WaPo article referenced above tells one out of what must have been hundreds of stories of those terrible days.

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0 comments | 8:32 PM |

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Wow. Just. Wow. Here's a job tip NOT to follow. I am curious to know how successful this candidate is in looking for a job, i.e. does he/she get called back for a second interview or receive a job offer after pulling something like this? Just. Wow.

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0 comments | 8:13 AM |

Monday, August 10, 2009


Writers may appreciate this blog: Mighty Red Pen; I learned the difference between comprise and compose here. And a blog dedicated to instances of apostrophe abuse here; this last one is a much needed public service.

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0 comments | 9:08 PM |

Saturday, August 08, 2009


It's not so much that my computer is slow, but my ISP is super slow. So much for high speed internet. I tested my connection here. I had thought about dropping down to SBC's $15 plan at lower speeds, but kept the $25 because I thought it would be too slow to stream video etc. Well, apparently according to speedtest.net, a turtle could outrun my connection. My upload speed is 0.31 mb/s and my download speed is 0.94 mb/s. Average for my ISP is 3.25 mb/s and for my region, 5.73 mb/s. Still faster than dial-up, but what's the point of high speed if it's just a smidgen faster? I'd better compare those numbers to what SBC says I'm getting for the money.

Cable is not an option as my current location only provides for DSL. But I'll be moving in a few months, so perhaps there will be another option then.

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0 comments | 8:00 AM |

Friday, August 07, 2009


Here are some ideas on how to to expand the Cash for Clunkers program. I have a whole apartment full of stuff that I'd love the government to give me a rebate on so I can get something shiny and new. So how about it, Uncle Sam?

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0 comments | 6:20 PM |

Thursday, August 06, 2009


Wow -- online speak has come a long way. I'm not a texter, so I haven't seen most of these. Almost scary. I shudder to think what this is doing to our grammar and spelling skills.

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0 comments | 8:46 PM |

Monday, August 03, 2009


More workplace linkage. This time, meet Evil HR Lady. Interesting reading.

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0 comments | 9:48 PM |

Sunday, August 02, 2009


What happens when you're juggling two cell phones while driving? Apparently you end up in a swimming pool.

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0 comments | 11:30 PM |

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Interesting blog, especially in this employment environment - Ask a Manager. Some good advice/insight there.

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0 comments | 9:58 PM |

Sunday, July 26, 2009

More on Health Care

The NY Times editorial breaks it all out -- a lot easier to understand without the rhetoric and hot blood of either side. What caught my eye was this paragraph: Right now employers are free to change or even drop your coverage at any time. Under likely reforms, they would remain free to do so, provided they paid a penalty to help offset the cost for their workers who would then buy coverage through an exchange.

This actually happened to me at a previous employer. Our good health plan was switched and we were told that 95% of our doctors etc., would remain the same. But lo and behold, when I went to use the plan, I soon learned that it was literally the Edsel of health insurance plans. No one would take my insurance except for a few clinics scattered here or there. My colleagues, including one who had a brain tumor, found themselves in the same boat. We couldn't even find a dentist who would accept our insurance. The irony of all this? Our premiums actually went up while our coverage, in theory, went down. Our employer argued that they kept the coverage the same -- which could be true, but we couldn't actually prove this because no doctors would accept our insurance.

Flash forward a year, and our employer was forced to change our plan because the outcry was so much. We ended up getting a better plan, and again, premiums went up, but at least this time, we had doctors and dentists who would accept the plan. I would have gladly, for that year, taken an offset payment and gone with a private insurance plan on an exchange or elsewhere rather than paying for something I clearly could not use.

I have no idea if Obama's plan is the right one, but I do know inaction isn't the right way to go. I'm in favor of doing *something* -- such a complex subject and so many opinions, it's hard to know who's right and who's wrong. I only know I have had enough experience with the existing system to know it can't go on like this.

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2 comments | 9:20 PM |

Thursday, July 23, 2009


I'm really, really glad Bush and Cheney are gone, and especially Cheney. Back in 2000, I thought he'd be the voice of reason, the experience to shepherd Bush through the presidency, but by 2008, I was convinced he was nothing short of the boogey man, albeit with a man-size safe and a cunning ability to make his own house "disappear" from Google maps. That being said, Time has a fascinating article on Bush and Cheney's final days in the White House. It's almost like Bush had finally come out from under Cheney's thumb, but it was too late; the damage was done.

But the fight over the [Libby] pardon was also a prelude to the difficult questions about justice and national security inherited by the Obama Administration: How closely should the nation examine the actions of government officials who took steps — legal or possibly illegal — to defend the nation's security during the war on terrorism? The Libby investigation, which began nearly six years ago, went to the heart of whether the Bush Administration misled the public in making its case to invade Iraq. But other Bush-era policies are still coming under legal scrutiny. Who, for example, should be held accountable in one of the darkest corners of the war on terrorism — the interrogators who may have tortured detainees? Or the men who conceived and crafted the policies that led to those secret sessions in the first place? How far back — and how high up the chain of command — should these inquiries go?

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0 comments | 10:28 PM |

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


I'm having massive computer problems tonight, but I had to share a link with you that I found awfully provocative. I'm not sure whether I agree with the article or not but it made sense. I'm imagining anyone who suggests rationing health care must be getting a lot of hate mail. An unpopular argument, for sure, but I found it intelligently put.


Health care is a scarce resource, and all scarce resources are rationed in one way or another. In the United States, most health care is privately financed, and so most rationing is by price: you get what you, or your employer, can afford to insure you for. But our current system of employer-financed health insurance exists only because the federal government encouraged it by making the premiums tax deductible. That is, in effect, a more than $200 billion government subsidy for health care. In the public sector, primarily Medicare, Medicaid and hospital emergency rooms, health care is rationed by long waits, high patient copayment requirements, low payments to doctors that discourage some from serving public patients and limits on payments to hospitals.

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0 comments | 10:34 PM |

Thursday, July 16, 2009


I had a severe headache and vomiting on Tuesday. I knew it was most probably a migraine brought on by heat and stress, but I just wanted to double check. So I turned to Dr. Google and found this site --- FreeMD(r). Basically, you can be seen by a "virtual doctor". It's an interesting concept. The virtual program interviews you, and then after getting enough information, gives you a possible diagnosis, tells you if and how quickly you should see a doctor, and presents it all in an easy to print out form just in case you need it as a reference. I checked my headache (I was right -- migraine) and also just for fun, my lower back pain.

My lower back pain, incidentally, was caused from poor posture in an abs class some time ago and can be relieved with a good yoga class. So I was pretty sure the issue is a tight back muscle, given that yoga pretty much fixes the problem. So after the migraine diagnosis, I ran the lower back. And lo and behold, it diagnosed me with "acute back strain or sprain."

Anyway, I thought it was a neat tool. What I like about it is that they give you an idea of how serious your problem is. For instance, for the lower back pain, they recommended seeing a doctor within the next two weeks; for the migraine headache, they recommended I see a doctor within 8 hours. Luckily my headache was gone in that time!

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0 comments | 8:20 PM |

Monday, June 15, 2009


Interesting article about the costs of healthcare in the New Yorker.

"Health-care costs ultimately arise from the accumulation of individual decisions doctors make about which services and treatments to write an order for. The most expensive piece of medical equipment, as the saying goes, is a doctor’s pen. And, as a rule, hospital executives don’t own the pen caps. Doctors do."

Full article here.

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0 comments | 5:00 PM |

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Before you buy

True Car gives you values of what people are paying for cars in your zip code. It allows you to customize the car and then shows the bell curve of what a good price is, what a great price is, and you can deduce from that information when you're being taken for a ride. Just another tool to go along with the Kelly Blue Book, CarFax, Edmunds, and Consumer Reports, but this one really helps demystify what a good deal for a car is.

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0 comments | 11:24 PM |

Sunday, May 03, 2009


Going Dutch -- How I Learned to Love the European Welfare State.

"... does the cartoon image of it — encapsulated in the dread slur 'socialism,' which is being lobbed in American political circles like a bomb — match reality? Is there, maybe, a significant upside that is worth exploring?"

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0 comments | 9:54 PM |

Thursday, April 23, 2009


I'll be out of pocket for the next 10 days or so, but in the meantime, entertain yourselves with Etiquette Hell. There are some classic stories on the forum, as well as on the website itself. Much fun.

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0 comments | 6:46 PM |

Monday, April 13, 2009

Amazing Performance

I can't embed the video, but you really have to check out this video of Susan Boyle. Absolutely amazing rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream" from Les Miserables. And a good lesson on how/why not to judge a book by its cover, so to speak.

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0 comments | 9:39 PM |

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Baseball link today -- unassisted triple play. I'm actually looking for a triple play in which no one touched the ball. It's a question in George Will's most recent column and I just can't think of how on earth this is possible. Any help would be most helpful and welcome.

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0 comments | 11:25 PM |

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Who are all these people

Line of Succession to the British Throne.Countess Wilhelmine von Wuthenau-Hohenthurm probably has just about the same chance of being queen of England as Prince Charles has becoming King. I can just hear the introduction now: "I'm Countess Wilhelmine von Wuthenau-Hohenthurm and I'm 1,596th in line to the throne of Britain. Nice to meet you."

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0 comments | 6:59 PM |

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


New Mexico bans the death penalty.
"Faced with the reality that our system for imposing the death penalty can never be perfect, my conscience compels me to replace the death penalty with a solution that keeps society safe," [Governor Bill] Richardson [said].

Only 35 more states to go...

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0 comments | 9:01 PM |

Monday, March 16, 2009


I've been re-learning the art of web design and what makes a good site, and uh, what makes a site suck. So I've been hanging out at the site where I first learned, years, and years ago, Webpages that Suck and stumbled across the worst websites of 2008. Oh. Gosh. Anyway, it's worth a look if you, like me, are looking at redoing your website or just want to tidy your site up a bit.

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0 comments | 7:44 PM |

Sunday, March 01, 2009


Baconnaise -- the taste you've been waiting for all your life: bacon flavored mayonnaise. There's a Baconnaise Lite as well as regular flavor. I'm still wondering how this product is vegetarian-safe. I guess it doesn't really matter -- it combines two things I really, really, really dislike into one. Baconnaise as a dip for artichokes/Brussels sprouts/squash/pumpkin/zucchini/broccoli would have me running for the hills (or at least the nearest vegan restaurant).

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2 comments | 9:54 PM |

Friday, February 27, 2009


The Facial Hair Society -- just... well, no words.

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1 comments | 11:04 PM |

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Twelve step program?

Yes, I'm on Facebook, but thankfully, I didn't say yes to any of the questions in this article about How to Identify Facebook Addiction.

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0 comments | 9:49 PM |

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Definition of a fan

This article about the Chris Brown/Rihanna thing from last week made my jaw drop, especially the quote at the end of this paragraph:

A source close to the investigation told E! News that Rihanna told police Brown threatened to kill her and then choked her until she lost consciousness. His camp never responded to repeated requests for comment on the allegations.

But Clinton Brown predicts that Chris' true fans will stick by him through what could understandably be thought of as the beginning of the end of his rampant popularity.

"If you are on his side, you are on his side," he said. "Just because someone trips, if you are truly a fan, you are not going to demonize him instantaneously."

But he added, "This music industry is very unforgiving when it comes to having indiscretions. He will continue to be a good person. He loves people. And like most of us, most humans, things will occur. And hopefully a person won't be judged simply on that alone."

Just to be clear, we're talking about an alleged threat of murder and the infliction of severe injuries that landed Rihanna in the hospital for 5 days. We're not talking about a minor misjudgment here, not the same likes as Hugh Grant or any number of other idiotic things celebrities do. Sheesh. I can't imagine still wanting to be a fan of someone who threatened to kill someone else. Well, OJ does have fans, so I guess it's possible. Clearly, Clinton Brown and I have very different ideas on what the impact of this 'indiscretion' will have and really what it shows about a particular individual. Thanks, but no thanks.

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0 comments | 6:19 PM |

Sunday, January 11, 2009


I've found this Creative Writing Prompt site helpful in clearing away cobwebs.

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1 comments | 9:38 AM |

Friday, January 02, 2009

The end of an error

Jan. 20, 2009. Good riddance. Bob Hebert adds up the damage.

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0 comments | 9:34 AM |

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


As the year draws to a close, it's always good to get a retrospective on things that made our jaws drop. I especially liked the article on "Dumbest Moments in Business 2008," especially the part when the auto CEOs returned to Washington DC in hybrids. What's that they say about first impressions again? Zzzzz....

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0 comments | 12:30 PM |

Sunday, December 28, 2008


By Saying Yes, WaMu Built Empire on Shaky Loans. To wit:
As a supervisor at a Washington Mutual mortgage processing center, John D. Parsons was accustomed to seeing baby sitters claiming salaries worthy of college presidents, and schoolteachers with incomes rivaling stockbrokers’. He rarely questioned them. A real estate frenzy was under way and WaMu, as his bank was known, was all about saying yes.

Yet even by WaMu’s relaxed standards, one mortgage four years ago raised eyebrows. The borrower was claiming a six-figure income and an unusual profession: mariachi singer.

Mr. Parsons could not verify the singer’s income, so he had him photographed in front of his home dressed in his mariachi outfit. The photo went into a WaMu file. Approved.

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0 comments | 1:59 PM |

Saturday, November 08, 2008


Anyone else miss the election? It's like Tuesday night happened and now it's like, okay, what next? No more stupid remarks? No more wardrobe issues? No more "he said, she said"? Whatever will all the pundits do? And more importantly, will we ever see the CNN hologram again? I suppose January is the next moment of excitement...

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0 comments | 6:03 PM |

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Interesting -- 10 Reasons You're Not Rich. The car one has always been obvious to me, but there are other reasons in there that I never thought about. Worth reading in these tough times. Also, all the money you've lost? Where did it go?.

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0 comments | 7:55 AM |

Friday, September 12, 2008


Factcheck.org -- good source to check to see who is really telling the truth and who's not during this election season. Though I don't hold out much hope -- people still think Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9/11.

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0 comments | 1:04 PM |

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


That this was coming was nothing short of obvious: these countries are building their economies on $100/barrels of oil so if demand falls, their only option is reduce production. OPEC decides to curb overproduction. And no, offshore drilling is not the answer.

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0 comments | 9:27 PM |

Monday, September 08, 2008


The Anti-Wedding -- When two intrepid women set out to slay the Wedding Industrial Complex, things get complicated fast.

If you need a login for Washington Post, go here.

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0 comments | 9:01 PM |

Sunday, September 07, 2008


The Vanishing Republican Voter

Measured by money income, Washington qualifies as one the most unequal cities in the United States. Yet these two very different halves of a single city do share at least one thing. They vote the same way: Democratic. And in this, we are not alone. As a general rule, the more unequal a place is, the more Democratic; the more equal, the more Republican. The gap between rich and poor in Washington is nearly twice as great as in strongly Republican Charlotte, N.C.; and more than twice as great as in Republican-leaning Phoenix, Fort Worth, Indianapolis and Anaheim.

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0 comments | 10:01 PM |

Saturday, September 06, 2008


A visitor from another planet who dropped in on the Republican campaign at this point would very likely assume that the presidential nominee was a guy who had spent his life as a prisoner of war until he was released just in time to pick Sarah Palin for vice president.


He’s been a military man or a senator for virtually all of his adult life, and listening to him talk, you get the definite impression that the two great threats of the 21st century are Islamic extremism and the appropriations committee.

Link: McCain's Grizzly Problem.

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0 comments | 4:50 PM |

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


I'm taking a break from all things Palin-related because I've found something BSG-related -- What the frak?. Great picture of Katee Sackhoff. Anyone want to write 500 words on what she's thinking or looking at? You know you want to...

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0 comments | 10:31 PM |

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Writing prompts

I found this writing prompts website the other day and it actually helped me get out a 250+ word story that's growing quite large by the day. I just needed some help to get back into the groove. I wanted to take a writing class this fall, but I think my travel schedule is too hectic to contemplate the possibility in a cost-effective way. So I'll put that off until the spring and see how it goes with the writing prompt exercises.

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0 comments | 4:51 PM |

Sunday, August 03, 2008

It's not Everest

But K-2 is a mountain to be feared as well, and actually might be just as difficult if not more to climb than Everest. To wit, 9 climbers are known dead on the mountain.

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0 comments | 8:57 PM |

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Does Your Mama Know?

You can find the complete soundtrack for Mamma Mia! on YouTube. I'd advise skipping any with massive amounts of Pierce Brosnan singing. It's not... pretty. But the rest of the album is just so much fun. Can't stop playing it in the background. All the songs can be found here. No movie video available yet -- just 30 second clips here and there -- but it's really the music that's most fun. The rest is just window dressing.

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0 comments | 9:09 PM |

Sunday, July 27, 2008


10 Bank Breaking Money Myths -- interesting article. I've heard of a lot of these lately, especially those about home ownership versus renting and the ability to deduct mortgage. It's only been recently through my own home-search that I've realized that those were myths in fact, and that renting is by far the better option for me. Also, the carrying a balance to maintain credit score? Amazing how many times I've heard that one as well. The only thing carrying a balance does for you is rack up the interest so that you're financing that Starbucks latte for years and years.

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0 comments | 11:10 PM |

Friday, July 25, 2008


Forget the critics -- if you're a fan, you'll like, if not love, the movie. Seriously. It's good, nearly everything I was hoping for. No spoilers. Just go. Take it from a fan girl. It's pure fun and nostalgia and even a bit scary all nicely wrapped up with Easter Eggs for fun.

And oh -- here's a link to Rebecca Traister's essay on Scully. Must read.

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0 comments | 11:37 PM |

Monday, July 21, 2008

Grammar Lady

The woeful misuse of the apostrophe drives me absolutely bonkers. It's nails on a chalkboard to me to see someone write you're when they really mean your or vice versa. Who's versus whose is another good one, but I cut people some slack on that one because it's way more confusing than the previous example. More recently, I don't like the practice of adding an apostrophe to make dates plural such 1960's; I always think that something ought to belong to 1960 when I see that. Also, abbreviations with random apostrophes -- such as SAT's instead of SATs. Since so many people do these things with apostrophes, I decided to do a bit of research and find out what the actual rules are.

Turns out, I'm mostly right. The apostrophe for dates and plural abbreviations can be accepted in some places by some people, but the more proper way is to omit the apostrophe in cases of plural abbreviations and dates unless there's the potential to cause some confusion such as multiple A's -- so it's A's, not As or if there is punctuation (ex: periods) within the abbreviation. A good write-up on the rules are here. Here's another post on the same subject. And there's apparently an Apostrophe Protection Society, complete with examples of apostrophe abuse.

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0 comments | 9:37 PM |

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Holy crap

Have you heard about this? You know, it's one thing to be anti-abortion, but anti-contraception?

"[...] Department of Health and Human Services draft provided to Reuters this week carries a broad definition of abortion as any procedures, including prescription drugs, "that result in the termination of the life of a human being in utero between conception and natural birth, whether before or after implantation*."

* emphasis mine

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0 comments | 8:32 AM |

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


This link about commercial fishing and how fish are treated is deeply disturbing. Today someone told me crabs are also boiled alive and they flail violently as the water gets warmer; to me this is a response to a stimuli they perceive as threatening and dangerous -- I'd call it at least *fear* if not pain. It seems impossible to me that these animals don't suffer. They do, maybe in a different way than humans, but still they suffer.


0 comments | 6:25 PM |

Sunday, June 29, 2008


I still haven't received my stimulus payment, which is insult added to injury, since I didn't get a refund (wah!) either. But I was amused at how people are spending their stimulus payments. Mine, which I haven't received, has already been spent on a new starter and battery for my car, and the leftover went to an oil change and my recent excursion to Calgary. I don't think this is what W had in mind.

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0 comments | 10:23 AM |

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Tacky LotD?

Is it just me or is this article about wedding registries super tacky? To wit: For some reason (or lack of reasoning), many brides think they need a place setting, glassware, and appliances from several different shops. And when they receive the gifts and know they won't use them, they feel guilty for returning them. The fact of the matter is that you can't keep every gift, and you're really not expected to. Don't feel bad about making returns. Everyone does it. How about this -- don't register for stuff you don't need so your guests don't waste their time buying something you won't use?

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0 comments | 3:15 PM |

Friday, June 20, 2008

More Oil & Gas stuff

I read this article last week in Calgary called "The Cost of the Next Barrel of Oil." The article is now only pay-per-view and/or available through google cache, but the really interesting part of the article is here. It talks about where oil companies are going to look for the next barrel, the issues, struggles, successes, and results of it, and some of the trends going on. Example:

"Cost of technology in the Gulf of Mexico: The added depth adds to the cost. While it costs around $1-million (U.S.) a day to hire a rig to explore in shallow water, Chevron is spending about $1.6-million a day for a deep-water drill ship to work on its Tahiti prospect; it costs around $200-million to drill a single well in the area. Analysts estimate that to produce a barrel of crude from the ultradeep area would cost above $50 a barrel."

It's definitely worth a read, but click fast -- who knows when it will turn into pay-per-view only.

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0 comments | 8:19 PM |

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Shattered illusion

It just occurred to me -- that title sounds a whole lot like a Lifetime movie coming to a television screen near you, probably starring Tori Spelling and Melissa Gilbert and maybe even Melissa Joan Hart as a bonus. That being said, this isn't a post about a Lifetime movie or even about any of those actresses. Instead, it's about David Copperfield and how he flies* -- see film complete with cartoon re-enactment below. The actual video of him flying, which is completely shmoopy and Lifetime-esque, is here. I've got nothin' when it comes to the mullet. Like I said, shattered illusion.

Find more Magic Tricks videos

* I cannot possibly allow the very obvious grammatical error in the video title to invade my blog


0 comments | 8:38 PM |

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