Thursday, May 29, 2008

Definitely an Engineer

I was giggling through most of this -- yes, definitely an engineer!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

San Francisco

We're back from our long weekend in San Francisco! What a great time -- the weather was perfect, we saw cool stuff, had great meals, rode cablecars and streetcars. Lots of fun. My feet are sore from walking so much -- they aren't kidding about the hills!

We had a lovely hotel up on Nob Hill, just a block or so off from the main cable car routes, and we walked along the waterfront to see the sights on Friday, then went to Alcatraz for their night tour. Saturday we went to Chinatown and the Farmer's Market and then to a fabulous dinner show at Teatro Zinzanni, and on Sunday drove up to Muir Woods to see the giant redwoods and drive along the coast highway.

Absolutely fabulous!

And Who Supports the troops?

Irony Alert
The [veterans' benefit] measure would guarantee that veterans who have served for three years since Sept. 11 will receive tuition assistance that could pay for the most expensive public universities in each of their states. The bill would also extend unemployment benefits and provide money for levee construction in New Orleans. Bush has spoken up against the bill, saying that the expanded veterans' education benefits would motivate people to leave the military rather than re-enlist.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Cool New Toys

The Adorable Husband is going to be seriously unproductive at work today. Why? Last night he bought an Apple iPhone, and he's going to be playing with it all day, I'm sure.

It is amazingly cool. Apple has definitely clicked with the consumer on design. The iPhone, like the iPods and other apple gadgets is sexy. Smooth and rounded and comfortable and just a joy to hold.

And the iPhone? Live maps, watch videos, get email -- it's absolutely cool. We're heading to San Francisco today, and having the turn-by-turn maps available in an instant is going to be a huge help!

Now I want one. I have absolutely no need for one at all, really, but I waaaant one.

And Flying Keeps Getting Better

Apparently, American Airlines is going to charge for checked baggage -- even the first bag. Quite a few airlines have started charging for a second checked bag, but the first?
Passengers will be charged $15 for their first piece of luggage. The airline, blaming high fuel costs, also plans other fee hikes, domestic flight cutbacks and layoffs.
With oil prices hitting new records almost daily, the nation's largest air carrier, American Airlines, announced drastic steps Wednesday to "remain viable," including charging new fees for all checked baggage, slashing domestic flights and laying off thousands of workers. ...
How does this sound lik e a good idea? All I can see as a result is people now trying to carry on everything they own in as large as bag as they can possible sneak through security. It's already bad enough that people's carryons are reaching the size of steamer trunks, but now let's actively discourage people from checking luggage! Yes, that's the ticket!

My immediate response to this news was "well, I won't ever fly American". And I won't.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Banking Good Karma

My sister was fired on Monday from her job as a home healthcare nurse (there is a very long story here, which has a good dose of karmic retribution, but you'd have to ask her about it). She called me in tears around noon.

It's tough getting fired. No matter what the reason, no matter what the circumstances, you feel like shit.

Which is why it's so satisfying that it took her less than 16 hours to get another job. Not even a whole day. Made a phone call, did an interview, starts on Friday.

Sunday, May 11, 2008


Stolen Mac helps nab burglary suspects
A remote desktop access feature found in some Macintoshes is being credited with leading police to two suspects in the burglary of an apartment in New York.

In addition to flat-screen TVs, iPods, and DVDs, the thieves made off with two laptop computers, one of which belonged to Kait Duplaga, an Apple store employee, according to a report in the New York Times on Saturday. While police in White Plains, N.Y., were coming up empty with their investigation, Duplaga learned that her computer was being used on the Internet and turned on the Back to My Mac feature installed on her Mac from another Mac, according to the report.

The feature allowed Duplaga to see immediately how the computer was being used at the time, as well as operate it remotely. Recalling that she had a camera installed on the computer, the fast-thinking Duplaga snapped images of one of the burglary suspects before he realized what was happening, according to the Times. Duplaga showed the image to friends who recognized the suspect as someone who attended a party at the apartment.

The photo lead police to arrest two suspects on Wednesday and recover nearly all the stolen property

Friday, May 09, 2008

Barbie Mommie

This is just weird on so many levels. Yeah, I know that you want to have some sort of assistance discussing things with your kids, but --a cartoon-ey, Barbie-esque mom explaining plastic surgery? Is this really necessary? Well, maybe it is. But I can't shake a feeling "eeeuuuuu" over this. Especially considering the perky illustrations.

"Being a doctor, I can't deal with the political or philosophical arguments" surrounding cosmetic surgery, Salzhauer said. "I have to deal with reality." The book, he said, gives parents "a vehicle to explain the plastic surgery process to their kids" who may be too young to understand why a parent is choosing to undergo an appearance-altering operation.

The bulk of his practice, Salzhauer said, consists of women between 20 and 40 undergoing what he calls "mommy makeovers": breast implants, breast lifts and tummy tucks.

And that's where you lost me. Oh, let's perpetuate this bizarre and false ideal of women's beauty, where bared midriffs at age 40 are normal and women well beyond their teenage years are wearing spandex pants and sporting perky breasts. When did it become so horrific to get older that attractive women in the prime of life have to have "adjustments" because they don't look like Barbie?

I don't know whether to laugh or cry," said Diana Zuckerman, president of the nonprofit National Research Center for Women and Families, after reading "My Beautiful Mommy."

"This is disturbing on so many levels," she added. "For one thing, it perpetuates a completely unrealistic ideal" of female beauty: the large-breasted, wasp-waisted, midriff-baring Barbie-doll look.

Is framing this to children as "beautiful mommy" just going to reinforce the idea that if you're not thin and beautiful that you should change? That you are not as good? I just don't like the message here. Of course, leaving forty behind me has probably biased my view just a wee bit!

(I haven't actually read the book, just clicked through the few illustrations offered.)

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Severe Irony Impairment

Like Nancy Pelosi, or don't like her, but she's certainly doing her job to consolidate Democratic power in congress, and deal with those across the aisle.
House Republican leaders say she shuts them out of the process. They used delaying tactics yesterday, preventing House action on housing foreclosure legislation to protest her refusal to let them amend that and a pending Iraq War spending bill.

During an angry exchange on the floor, House Republican Leader John Boehner shouted that "the majority has an obligation to treat the minority with respect.'' ...
Um. Yeah. Just like the Republicans did when they were in the majority. It's ok if they use delaying tactics, that's just "good politics", I guess. But put the shoe on the other foot? Whoo-boy. Irony impaired is the least of it. Politicians in general make my teeth itch.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Idiocy on Parade

A substitute teacher in Florida (that bastion of clear-thinking. NOT!) has been suspended and one of the reasons is an accusation of -- get this -- wizardry.

Doing a simple magic trick to break the ice with the class he was substituting for is apparently enough reason to dismiss him. Ooh. Making a toothpick "disappear" for a room full of school kids is, apparently, verboten. Because, you know, it's...(insert ominous music here) wizardry.

Really? I mean...really? I simply cannot imagine that anyone actually said this. I can't imaging any situation in which this is something that would be taken seriously. Well, maybe in a mental institution, or the back-room of a sci-fi convention after too many Jell-o shots, but accusing a teacher of wizardry. I first thought this was the Onion, but no. It's from Land-o-Lakes, FL, Rushe Middle School. A real person actually made the complaint.

"I get a call the middle of the day from the supervisor of substitute teachers. He says, 'Jim, we have a huge issue. You can't take any more assignments. You need to come in right away,'" he said.

When Piculas went in, he learned his little magic trick cast a spell that went much farther than he'd hoped.

"I said, 'Well Pat, can you explain this to me?' 'You've been accused of wizardry,' [he said]. Wizardry?" he asked.

I can't honestly tell if the school district was seriously considering this complaint, but it was apparently mentioned. The school district has said that there are other reasons to dismiss him, which are perfectly reasonable. The fact that they actually seemed to treat this as a serious issue -- at least enough to mention it without prefacing the entire encounter with "can you believe what someone said? Really?" is what makes this so laughable. The principal actually requested that he be dismissed.

Thanks a Lot

If you are one of the lucky ones who will get a check for the "economic stimulus package" this month, I just wanted to pass on this little info:
For a typical motorist -- someone who drives 15,000 miles a year and gets 25 miles to the gallon -- the cost of gasoline has gone up $600 in the past year -- the exact amount of the individual rebate. Of course, without the stimulus, people would have squeezed spending elsewhere to pay for gas.
I know you're supposed to spend in on stuff, and go out there and stimulate the economy, but most people are going to use it to pay bills, or make up for shortfalls someplace else. Making up for the gas price increase is at least useful, I guess.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Spellcheck Failure

This shouldn't be as funny as it is, really. But, having seen actual business documents with some of these problems, I had to share.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Wichita, woe is me

I got stuck in Wichita. I'm sick, and my plane is late. If the decongestants fail while I'm on the plane, I may be in the headline news tomorrow because someone will die. Maybe me, maybe some poor innocent bystander who complains about my snuffling.