Note:

This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Pit

I have been wanting to try The Pit out since shortly after it opened. It was on my own "short list" for places to go for Tim and I's anniversary earlier this month, but chose Bogart's instead.

We took a chance and decided to give it a try last night. We were pleasantly pleased.

So The Pit is a barbeque place.

Like Wilbur's BBQ. If you haven't had Wilbur's then you have really missed something quite good. Tim and I used to live in Goldsboro -- in our other life -- and Wilbur's was our regular place for BBQ. In fact, when we lived in our double-wide, it was just a hop-skip-and-a-jump away...

I haven't had great BBQ since moving to Raleigh. Tim and I frequented B's in Greenville, NC. But nothing in Raleigh has compared to Wilbur's nor B's. And that includes atmosphere. B's was like being at somebody's country house...

But the pitmaster of The Pit is Ed Mitchell, who owned and pitmastered Mitchell's BBQ in Wilson...another home turf for those of us who lived in Eastern NC (that would include Tim and I).

So this was not a yuppie-fied version of BBQ. This was true-blue Eastern North Carolina BBQ, mudder-fudder!

But for BBQ to be good, one has to be in the BBQ mood. And last evening, we were.

The Pit is located in downtown Raleigh. In fact, it's in the same location that Nana's Chophouse used to be in. This is significant *for me* because Tim and I had our anniversary dinner there three years ago and the very next day, I was stricken with my mysterious illness that put me out of a normal life for nearly four months. Doesn't sound long, but when you feel chronically ill every hour of every day - and no one can fix you - it's an eternity.

ANYWAYZ, I remember the location well. In fact, nothing has changed much in the interior decor. But the atmosphere is much livelier. How can it not when serving BBQ?

And the best part of this BBQ place? A wondrous wine selection, beer, and a frickin' BAR! You can't find that at Wilbur's, B's or any BBQ place here in Raleigh. I don't know why it is, but booze is rarely-to-never served at BBQ places.

I enjoyed a nice glass of a Spanish red (can't recall it now) with my $12 whole hog order, which included collards and mashed potatoes and gravy.

CJ enjoyed a half rack of baby backs and Tim feasted on BBQ chicken with his candied yams and baked beans.

Before our entrees, I munched on crab fritters while everyone draped butter over their hush puppies.

I saw Ed Mitchell speaking to the table next to me with envy. Who the fudge are they? Look at us! We *really* like BBQ!!

Anyway, despite the double in price than B's or Wilbur's, the food was exceptional. It is definitely the best BBQ I've had since G'ville and G'boro. In the words of the gov-nah of CA, "I'll be bahck."

The Pit
http://www.thepit-raleigh.com/
328 W. Davie Street
**RALEIGH**

Periostitis

It seems that I have managed to alleviate the pain from my left foot. There are hints of it, depending on what shoes I wear, but for the most part, running hasn't aggravated it.

This, I believe, is due to the fact that I have switched from my ClimaCools (those are shoes) to my Adrenalines (and those are shoes). Plus, I'm using my orthotics.

So the only pain I was dealing with for awhile was the heat and humidity.

But for the past two weeks, another pain has hit me: shin splints.

I think it's the shoes. The Adrenalines are pretty old. I have no idea how many miles I have on them because I rarely used them up until recently. But I did purchase them shortly before buying the orthotics and I am pretty sure that was at least three years ago.

But the shoes are heavy. I feel like I have two weights on the bottom of my foot when I wear them. Then with the orthotics in them, they are even weightier.

Plus, with hot feet, they feel more hot in these. And more, how to put it, claustrophobic in them. I mean, there is literally no ventilation...at least not compare to other shoes, especially my ClimaCools.

I'll have to go back and try the ClimaCools again, since those were fairly new. When I bought my orthotics, the PT guy said that virtually any shoe should work for me because the orthotics would take care of my fucked up feet. But I ran with those in my trail shoes and my ClimaCools and I still had the foot pain. I am hoping that since it was early on in the left foot pain problem, that I just didn't give it a chance to kick in.

I'll have to see if I can take a break from running to heal up. I know I have made it worse by not changing shoes, or continuing to run because it was difficult to run Saturday with the pain.

Now, I am making an assumption it is the shoes. It could be a number of other things: over-training, tight calf muscles, running too fast (I can't imagine that this could be it :-)). But with a rest day or two, the over-training should be ruled out...and then the shoe change.

I'll be glad to rid me of those Adrenalines anyway. They smell.

What Were You Thinking?

Dear John,

I do not hate you. I do not even dislike you. I think you are a brave soldier, despite what others want to categorize your "stay" at Hanoi Hilton. I have always admired that aspect about you.

And I have respect for you independence. You had that reputation. HAD. That's what Arizonians, and others, appreciated about you. And despite the fact that you have caved into the amoral pit that politicians are stereotyped to have, you still did things that you felt strongly about...and you managed to clinch the Republican nomination, despite being called out early on during the primaries.

But my , what the hell were you thinking when you made your vice president selection?

Seriously. I am not sure you can clinch this president thing. Obama is just too powerful. And I mean that in a sense that he has charisma, he has vision, he has sparked something in a nation that I have not seen in my lifetime. And I am enthralled by his magnetism. I mean, I haven't drank the kool-aid yet, but it is an amazing thing to see...

But if you had any chance of being the dark horse -- as you were during the primaries -- you have managed to fuck that all up with Sarah Palin.

Sure. She's a looker. But you republicans are all in the 'old boy' network. You don't elect women, no matter how competent they are. And especially if they are, um, attractive, well, that makes them even more 'stupider'.

Was your message intended to be a mockery of Obama's lack of foreign policy experience? Because you really screwed that one up. It ain't funny -- to select someone with even less experience than your opponent.

And as a somewhat moderate republican, you pick one of the worst representations of a true, idiotic republican: a god-fearing, bible-thumping, abortion is wrong even in the case of rape and incest, anti-environmentalist, proud NRA member.

I am dumbfounded. I am flabbergasted. I can't imagine why you would ruin your reputation and your chance at the white house. Was there a plant in your VP search party? Did someone from the other side come in under a ruse and managed to convince you, and supposedly the other brilliant advisors, to pick an unknown, ill-qualified candidate?

And it makes you really appear like the bush administration: you think we are stupid. Not just "we" but us women-folk. By selecting a woman, you think that you will appeal to the Hilary fans.

Really? That women just pick women for the sake of having a woman in office? They are polar opposites on agenda! Suddenly, all of us pro-abortion women are going to vote for a woman despite her fucked up plan to have every woman lose their right to choice?

John. John. John. You have really disappointed me. Don't get me wrong. I'm quite happy that Obama has it in the bag now. But for you to leave your legacy like this... you let your people down.

Sincerely,
butcept

Friday, August 29, 2008

Talk Dirty To Me

I enjoy listening to talk radio shows. I can't live without Keith and the Girl on my run. And in the morning, here in Raleigh, I listen to Bob and the Showgram.

Most people would not admit to it. In fact, I think most people like to proclaim how lame the show is and never listen to it (but have an opinion) or are closet listeners. And since I could care less what others think, I listen and ENJOY the show.

They make me laugh. Bob is one funny guy. And if you can tell a tale that keeps me in tuned...and you can make me laugh...you have my attention.

However, Bob is a complete 180 degree personality from mine. And when he gets on his pedestal on issues I disagree with, then I have to roll my eyes and turn it off.

And today was one of those days. It's not that I get angered by his statements. It's that they are exasperating. It becomes silly. As silly as talking to some of my family members about politics. It's shocking to hear stupid, ignorant statements coming out of their mouths as TRUTHS. That's what bugs me.

So today, the first statement was Bob stating that Obama is not a great speaker (what?!) without the help of a teleprompter. Um, no matter who I was rooting for throughout the primaries, the last thing anyone would say about Obama is that he's a bad speaker. He's one of the greatest orators of our time. And teleprompters? Who gives a shit? I believe that's been a mainstay of our era...so it's a moot point.

But he was relentless when Mike argued that, he has seen him twice live without any teleprompting, and the dude still was awesome. NO HE'S NOT. HE'S NOTHING. Just ignorant statements by someone who has made his mind up about something and has no proof backing it. You know, just state an opinion. But don't speak as though your vapid statements are facts.

BTW, Bob said to watch his speech now because it's the last time we will see Obama...implying McCain will win. I'm watching it now and well, that stadium is packed. And apparently, there are a ton more outside of the stadium. And the Obama fever I sense from people who favor him is unlike anything I have ever seen or experienced in my lifetime. I have to think that this is what JFK and MLK Jr. had over their time. It's quite chilling, in a superb way.

Okay. That's the politics. Here is the next thing that makes me shake my head: Guitar Hero is a message from the devil.

You heard it right. Bob feels strongly that Guitar Hero is evil and allows one to communicate the devil's message.

He received Guitar Hero as a gift. He played it and loved it. But because there are pentagrams within the game, and the music is, um, what do you say, _like_ devil's music, and apparently, the point of the game is a duel with the devil (ala Devil Went Down To Georgia), he promptly returned it for a refund.

But Kentucky Kristin mentioned a _Christian_ version of the game, where it's Christian music vs. rock-n-roll, so now he's stoked about getting that one so that he's not playing with or for the devil. Well, I can tell you one thing right now: LAME-OH. CHRISTIAN MUSIC GUITAR HERO? I can't think of any other marketing line that would make me want to throw up more...oh wait...BUY MAXIM. That would make me hurl. And I'd love to hurl on the editor and writers of the unsexiest women in the world...but don't get me started on that thread again. I might not be able to be as restrained as I was before.

And as I turned the radio off to listen to Obama's speech, they were then talking about Harry Potter. Another funny idea from Bob: Harry Potter is evil...devilish ideas come from this book. If you read it, your promoting the devil. And if you let your children read it, you're a bad parent.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

What Was I Thinking?

Today it's my turn to figure out what the hell I was thinking.

I know what I was thinking: when my alarm went off at 6AM, I was thinking: I really want to sleep. But I need to get up and run through my neighborhood. So in my head, I am mapping out a hilly five mile run through the 'hood. My neighborhood will cover a training run that says "hilly". Actually, anything in Raleigh will cover that.

However, since it's easy to validate why I _shouldn't_ get up to run -- and today, I didn't make a run date with $Bill and Frank -- I had no reason to stay motivated for my early morning run.

I decided that it would be too hectic for me to run, get ready, and get to work by my 8 AM meeting without a lot of undue stress. Undue, since I had nothing going on for the afternoon (except for a 3PM meeting), so I had an open day to run my hilly five miles.

That's it. I am going to relax a bit more in bed and simply get ready to make my 8AM meeting and run later in the day. All in all, I thought: maybe I will just skip my workout today.

I felt tired. Not _that_ tired. But sore. But not as sore as other days.

So the torment in my head begins: run, don't run. I can't make a decision even with something like this...especially with something like this. I over think. I ruminate. This follows me throughout my morning.

So I decide to put it in my calendar: Out of the office from 11 AM to 12:30. There. It's in my calendar. I will do it.

Then Sam IMs me and asks what my workout is. I think she wants to do lunch. I tell her my workout. And I half expect to drop it and say "screw it! let's hit la sheesh!!" But I don't and instead, she says she will go run too.

We waste more gas by driving separate cars to the gym. I'm committed now because I'm going to run her mile with her and show her to track, so she can do her strides.

The first mile, well, it wasn't easy. I thought Sam did great since I was huffing and puffing up those hills. When her mile was over and it was time for her two mile walk, I decided to do the same until I could show her the entrance to the track at a nearby school.

Once we parted ways, I continued. And it was not easy.

It was humid. I felt extremely weak.

It figures as I didn't eat well for an 11ish morning run. I was superb for a 6:45 run, but not for something later. I didn't bring water either. I didn't expect it to be as humid as it was.

I ran and ran and then when I thought I was close to the big hill within my trail, I walked. I was spent. I seriously thought about going back the way I came, shortening the run, and calling it a day. The only problem is that going the other way to cut it short is UP UP UP.

So I decide I'm not a wussy and continue to run. I stop to walk up the hill then I run down. I get my second wind because after the hellacious hill, it's all downwards.

It felt nice. But as soon as it flattened out, I was tired again. And I have a loong way to go.

I pulled through -- sweating like a pig. During my run, I was lucky that when I walked, no one was around. When I ran, I passed people. But there really wasn't anyone around. I couldn't figure out why NO ONE was around. The playing fields were empty (I think they were closed for watering/seeding), the tennis courts, etc. It was like a ghost town! I wondered if somehow, I fell into a time warp.

But I didn't. And despite having a pretty yucky run, I did do it.

I Just Called...

I had a phone conversation with my five year old earlier in the afternoon. She has become a phone addict and I receive about three phone calls from her daily, not including any text messages she may send.

Most phone calls go like this:
Me: Hello?
Her: HI MOMMY!
Me: Hi baby! How are you?
Her: Good.
...
...
...
Me: Did you want to talk about something?
Her: Did _you_ want to talk about something?
Me: Not really.
...
...
...
Me: Okay baby, I love you.
Her: Bye Bye.

Today it went like this:
Me: Hi baby!
Her: HI MOMMY!
Me: How are you today?
Her: GOOD!
Me: What are you doing?
Her: Getting ready to go to the doctor's office [it will be her five year old check-up].
Me: Are you nervous or excited?
Her: I'm not nervous!
Me: You don't need to be - the doctor is so nice.
Her: I don't think I will cry if I get a shot.
Me: Really? That's great!
Her: Yeah, cause I'm five now.
Me: Well, it doesn't matter if you do. Shots can hurt but they are good. They keep you from getting sick.
Her: Daddy said if they give me a shot, he will hold my hand.
Me: Well that will help a lot. Besides, you did that for daddy, right? [Tim had an appt. a few days ago in which he got a shot. She was with him.]
Her: No, I didn't get to hold his hand because the doctor stood in front of me.
Me: Oh, how rude of him! Well, I wish I could be there with you but I have a meeting.
Her: I'm sad that you have a meeting.
Me: Me too.
Her: If you didn't have a meeting then I wouldn't have to call you back to tell you about my doctor's appointment.
Me: Yeah. And I could hold your hand. But I can hold you tonight when I get home.
Her: yeah, you will know I got a shot because I'll have a band-aid. We can watch Spongebob and I can sit in your lap...if Spongebob is on.
Me: You can still cuddle with me. I'll hold you like you're a baby.
Her: Okay.
Me: I love you!
Her: Bye Bye.

Well, the end result is that she had to endure three shots. She could be brave for one of those shots, but THREE was a bit much to endure. She told me, when I got home, that she cried. I told her I would too if I had to get three shots!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Maxim Fuckwads

Yes, I said it: FUCKWADS. The people of Maxim magazine, or whoever was the idiot behind "The World's Unsexiest Women" list.

Who the fuck would even come up with such a dumb-ass top ten list? I mean, there are some really ridiculous top ten lists out there, but this one takes the cake.

First off: has one, or two fuckwads, been able to evaluate every woman in the ENTIRE world to determine who would be the unsexiest?

Second: who the fuck are you to judge who is sexy and who is not?

Third: you are a fuckwad...and your buddy is a fuckwad for validating this...and then maxim magazine, YOU ARE ALL FUCKWADS for printing it.

What crawled up your tight ass and died that you had to publish such a hare-brain, negative, catty article? Jealous? Pissed? WTF is your problem? Because you certainly have one to put something like this out there.

I think it's lame and pitiful. And unfortunately, you all, who printed this, probably feel really good about yourself...and profit for such negative publicity based on aesthetics. You couldn't do something different and provide newsworthy, meaningful, life-enlightening articles. Probably because you just don't have the intelligence to actually THINK about really remarkable issues that could affect people positively.

Nope. Let's be Beavis and Butthead and call people "unsexy". People we get to pick! Brilliant. I think Pulitzer has your number.

And if you believe that...

...which I bet you do because you guys are FUCKWADS.

BTW, I've created a special tag JUST FOR YOU.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

What Was She Thinking?

My running, especially my long runs, have improved recently. I attribute it to better nutrition (pointed out by my coach) and better weather.

Saturday I ran eleven miles. I did pretty well with that run, which is the longest I've had in awhile (I did run Coach Bubba's 20K in February).

Sunday I walked around Umstead and took a short hike with Mia and Brenna the dog. I felt really good Sunday, as though the eleven miles had no major effects on me.

Then Monday came and I had a short four mile run that didn't feel that short. I thought I had a great pace and yet, it was as slow as my slowest miles in a long run.

So now comes today: Tuesday Track Workouts. Last Tuesday, I had a pretty tough (IMO) workout: 2x2 miles, after a 1.5 mile warm-up (you heard that right). And yet, I feel like I rocked on that workout.

So today's was 4x1 mile repeats @ 8:30 pace. I felt confident that I could do this, after last week's 2x2 miles.

My Ironman timex is not working. This watch is my pride and joy, especially for my track workouts. But since I am too lazy/whatever to get the battery changed, I keep using my GPS watch. It doesn't show splits well nor overall time.

So with my first mile today, I had no real clue as to how fast or slow I was going. I would look at my current pace, but it fluctuated so much that I couldn't see what my overall average was.

The end result: 8:40. A few seconds over my goal.

Let's try again!

I reset my watch so I can now follow my split. And because I can't think straight this week ($Bill suggested that the eleven mile run is the culprit), I couldn't mathematically figure out what my per 400 time should be. $Bill told me but I forgot...and somehow managed to bungle the number he _did_ give me and thought I should be going for a 2:03 mile.

That was hard to obtain. I managed to do a 2:03 for the first 400 but the next few, I would be a few seconds over. I kept thinking "Geez, this is really hard! And yet I did so well last week. What is wrong with me? Is it the humidity, like $Bill said? Or do I just suck?"

When I timed the second mile: 8:16.

Uh-oh. I did the math problem wrong. That was way too fast.

So I figured it out: 2 minute per 400 equal an eight minute mile. If I did 7 seconds...as in 2:07...then 7*4 (four revolutions on a track equal 1 mile) equals 28 and thus, something close to seven should do the trick.

It took me close to one full 400 to come up with that when I caught up with $Bill on his recovery and asked him what he told me my 400 times should be: 2:08, 2:08. 2:08, 2:06.

I know I did that for the third one, at least the first two 400. After that, I was too busy concentrating on just finishing.

I was tired. My legs were tired. My breathing had to be patterned. I started counting, but instead of my usual 1-2-3-4, I was at 1-2-3, 1-2-3...what was up with that?

$Bill and Frank are very supportive. But I have to say, I was not very happy to see them finished with their workout with me having one more mile to go.

So then I started thinking about my coach. Why on earth would she have me do such a killer track workout after my eleven mile run??? And why does $Bill get to finish WAY before me? That just isn't right!!

I finish up the last two with 8:29s each.

I go back and e-mail Coach B: what were you thinking????

And she said: I was thinking: I'm going to make you stronger.

And I am. :-)

Mi-Mi's First Day of Kindergarten

Today was Mi-Mi's first day of Kindergarten.

There is a staggered entry for Kindergarten. And in this case, it starts with just one day this week and then she starts back next Monday, this time full-time.

Also, she does not have a class assigned yet. At this particular school, she goes in today, does 'things' (I assume, read, write, etc), and then she's assessed on her abilities and then placed into a class with other children that are in her 'range'.

So I have been really worried about her and Kindergarten.

Mi-Mi has been with the same general set of people at her daycare and pre-school. She's familiar. She's comfortable. She's queen of the facility.

Now she must start all over with new people, new faces. She's not ever been very good with NEW.

I didn't go with her today. I tend to feel more anxious and I think it rubs off on my girls. And when I am anxious, I tend to get, jittery and, well, it comes across as pissy. That's the last thing that Mi-Mi needs today.

So, the fabulous father that he is, Tim followed the duty of escorting her to her classroom. He wrote a nice note about the big day and sent it to me and family:

Just dropped my baby girl off for her first day of kindergarten. She told me this morning how excited and nervous she was - said she couldn't sleep last night and wasn't very hungry for breakfast. She picked out her outfit last night after Cindy gave her a bath. She got up early without help, and came down looking for me. First thing she wanted to do was pack up lunch in her little Barbie backpack. I helped her get it out and we opened the lunch box part to get started. I saw a little slip of paper in it and went to throw it away and then saw there was writing on it. It was a note from CJ that said "good luck Mi-Mi love CJ". It had a little crayon heart on it and I damn near dropped a tear.

I hung on thru he morning as she and CJ got ready. CJ helped her with her backpack and we all got to school and walked in together. CJ wanted to go with her to get everything set, so she tagged along for some of it. We got her picture taken, and went thru several stations for different paperwork stuff. She would answer their questions and tell them her name - all in that little un sure voice. Held my hand tight but didn't waiver. At the last station the lady asked if she was nervous and I told her yes, but excited as well. Told her not to worry if she got a few tears. Lady said that was normal and they get it everyday from kids and parents. I joked that I thought I could make it. But, the time came to give Mi-Mi big hug and kiss bye. Told her I loved her and would see her soon and to have a great day. She hugged and said o.k. in that same little bitty voice. I watched her walk away with that big damn book bag and now I'm out in the truck writing this thru the tears like a big old baby..


When I got home, I asked Mi-Mi how her first day was.
GooooOD.

Did you cry?
No. All of my teachers were very nice.

Do you know who your teacher will be?
No. They did not tell me. I think they all will be my teacher.

Later I asked if she read.
Yes, I read them everything!

Time just flies. I still remember taking CJ to her first day of Kindergarten...and here she is, helping Mi-Mi as an experienced 5th grader.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Recycle Me

As I was sorting my recyclables into the City of Raleigh green bins, I started thinking "What do my neighbors think when they see my recyclables?"

Not that I care...but I do tend to look at my neighbors bins as I pass by them. "Wow! They drink a lot of OJ." Or, Budweiser? Really?

So every week, I wonder if my neighbors look at my bins and try to figure me out.

One bin is almost always entire full-to-overflowing of Le Bleu bottled water. I LOVE Le Bleu. No other bottled water tastes quite the same. Forget Dasani, Evian...they do not hold a spring to what Le Bleu provides. I buy them by the caseloads...and I drink A LOT of them. So does Tim. So does CJ. So does Mi-Mi.

One bin is dedicated to paper products. So all those cases of Le Bleu I buy? The boxes they are contained in go into this one. Then my weekend subscription to the N&O. And believe it or not, sometimes those older issues of Playboy (Tim reads them exclusively for the articles; I, on the other hand, prefer the pictures). All of our coffee boxes (for our Keurig) and A LOT of paper towel and toilet paper tubes.

My third and final bin contains tins and glass. So, a few soda cans appear in there; canned tomatoes or veggies...but the majority of it are the bottles of wine. And on a good week, Tim's liquor bottles are in there...and maybe a few bottles of Corona Lights. Hey! there ARE seven days in a week!

I usually place one of the other bins on top of the bottle bin, so the neighbors don't obtain too much information about me. Unless they snoop.

And of course, it's not like I care...

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Maternal Instincts

I read this story and was just amazed. These are the stories I would prefer to see on the front page. And humanity in an animal. Why can't this happen to humans?

read more | digg story

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Anti-Phobias

As I ran my first two miles, of an eleven mile run, my mind wandered to my phobia posts. It seemed that I am fearful of everything. So I tried to think of things that I wasn't afraid of.

I started with small things:
cats - now that I'm a kitty owner, I shouldn't be afraid of them. The truth is: I don't really enjoy other people's animals...just my own. It's not that I don't enjoy them or like them, but inside, I think they could bite me. So I just don't try too hard.

which then reminded me of horses. I am afraid of those too. Have you seen these things close-up? They're big. And years ago, I tried to get over my fear by taking horse riding lessons. That was a hoot. Not for me but for anyone watching...

And perhaps one day I'll add video to youtube, where CJ had a pony ride. Just walking beside a pony freaked the hell out of me.

So I thought about inanimate objects, like, um, a watch! Yes, I'm not afraid of those. But then again...the battery seems to drain relatively fast on me, so then I wonder if I have some super-kinetic power that absorbs battery. While that doesn't mean I am afraid of them, it does show that I think too much about watches and super-kinetic powers I may have.

People? Um, anyone that really knows me will know that people, even friends, are all out to kill me.

Riding bikes? I love riding bikes! As long as I don't ride any where near dogs. I got chased by dogs on my bike in the Philippines. I fell off and at the last minute, the dogs were called off. Otherwise, they would have mauled me to death. True story. And I don't exaggerate.

Food? I LOVE food!!! But don't try to give me something and pretend it's something else just to see if I'll like what you gave me. Like squirrel. You like squirrel. I don't know if I like squirrel and I don't want to know. I'm happy living my life without ever eating squirrel. Don't tell me I'm eating chicken just to 'pull one over'. It won't be funny. I'll hate you for it.

I love running! I'm not afraid of running! Except at Shelley Lake, since the day my car got broken into. And during races. I'm afraid of running during a race. I mean, I'll do it, but it scares me. I don't know why. The technical term is "anxiety" but I know what fear feels like.

Cockroaches...oops, no. I'm scared of those.

I know: the dark -- if *I* turned the lights out.

Going into empty rooms or closets. As long as it's not _after_ watching scary movies.

House noises. That's what they are: house noises.

I think I can come up with more. I just can't believe I have to think about it so hard to figure out what I'm _not_ afraid of...

Oh yeah, the reason I thought of these phobias was because I stepped over a dead field mouse, hoping it was just a big ugly leaf.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Who's It Going To Be????

Who is going to be Obama's VP pick?

That is the question of the day, the month, several, to be exact...who the hell is it????

I read a little bit about Obama's "short list" on CNN: Evan Bayh (who?), Joe Biden (um, I thought he was a republican), Wesley Clark (hey, I know that name!!), Hilary (surprise?), Chet Edwards (isn't he a country & western singer?), Chuck Hagel (again, who?), Tim Kaine (blah-blah-blah), Bill Nelson (I think Tim knows him), Sam Nunn (NOOOOOOO!), Jack Reed (won't he be busy with the next season of "24"), Bill Richardson (couldn't get a single vote in the primary), and Kathleen S-E-B-E-L-I-U-S (careful to spell that correctly)...

Um, if it wasn't apparent before...I don't know any of these names.

Well, correction. I know Wes Clark. In fact, I wanted him to be elected Prez at the last election. But he's not a rich man, especially politically, so he had no chance. But I stayed on his mailing list and occasionally, read his articles. He's a good man. I think he would do good things for the nation.

Bill Nelson I heard of many times from Tim and his family. They worked on his house/lawn while he was governor of Florida. They have nothing but good things to say about this man. But that's as far as it goes for me. I know nothing else about this man.

I knew Sam Nunn was a prick when he was in the Senate.

And as for the rest, um, what to do? What to say? Who the hell are they? Is this going to be another James Stockdale "Who Am I" speech. BTW, I think James Stockdale was an amazing man, to endure the shit the media put on him after that showing.

Anyway, I'm also on Michael Moore's e-mail list...you know, the one for close friends...;-) And he made a public appeal to Caroline Kennedy, who is heading the group to help select the right candidate for Obama's VP.

His appeal?

OBAMA-KENNEDY.

Now, wouldn't that be interesting...

The Owl Did It!

The Michael Peterson case. This is the case of the Durham writer who was found guilty of murdering his wife Kathleen.

This was huge news for Triangle residents. And almost instantly, the media portrayed this as "he's guilty" and the sheep followed suit.

I have not felt he was guilty. There was, to me, not enough evidence to show guilt. I am not going into all the details as to why the sheep followed Mary the media. If you want to know and figure out for yourself, there are plenty of articles to make you believe he's guilty. But there are a handful of us non-believers, the "atheists", who believe otherwise.

And about a year after he was found guilty, I read the "Owl Theory" in Raleigh's MetroNC. It was pretty fascinating in that, I read it as an alternate theory to how Kathleen Peterson died...that one could come up with _anything_ else just as plausible as Michael Peterson killing his wife with a poker stake:

read more | digg story.

But the theory went away until just recently, where the "Owl Theory" is not really just a tale but an actual postulation as to Kathleen Peterson's death:

read more | digg story

The sad thing is that if it is true, no one will ever believe something like this is possible. And at this point, is there anyway to prove such a thing?

Unfortunately, Michael Peterson, IMO, will be one of many innocent men and women who are put behind bars in order to hurry up and shut a made up case by keystone cops and the gung-ho idiots that support that kind of behavior.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

More On Phobias...

Reading the comments on esoteric phobias reminds me of other things I don't like...whether it's a phobia or not:

- changing light bulbs or breaking light bulbs: i used to get shocked a lot as a kid, changing light blubs in lamps. I swear I would change them unplugged and yet, I still got shocked (this may be a mucked up memory now). But breaking light bulbs (accidental breakage) gives me a ringing in my ear and a head ache. So for the most part, I am afraid of changing light bulbs and I'll leave a room if a light bulb breaks

- mice: i am scared of mice. I will be the stereotypical female standing on the table if a mouse is around. I will be like George from the Seinfeld episode, where a fire breaks out with kids around and he screams and does his best to get away, no matter if it means leaving children behind...my kids will be all alone if there is a mouse in the house...I will scream bloody murder and run (if I can move) out of the house...

- frogs/toads: I think I'm almost over this fear. I used to scream and freeze if there was a frog nearby...much like the mice thing. In the Philippines, the frogs/toads are HUGE. They would be creamed by cars in my neighborhood. Yuck. And then I saw a filipino movie with a big ass toad/frog (like gigantic...like godzilla) and it scared the shit out of me, so it continued. I think I am growing out of it, although i don't need anyone to shock me with a real life frog and go HEY! Here's a frog! I would probably revert to my phobia...

- deep water: this may be a legitimate phobia. I can die content that I never scuba dived. Don't need it in my life nor do I want it; NOR do I envy anyone that does it. Good for you if you can do it. But watching real-life documentaries of under water stuff, like finding the titanic, or looking for Atlantis...while I can watch it, it scares me to watch it as though I'm watching a scary movie. My breath shallows and I'm anxious. When I lived on Guam, I once got into a small boat with friends of mine and had a panic attack with the changes of color within the water. The darker, the deeper and where I was, these were like spots of deep blue around the other blue. And reading about the Mariana Trench, which is the deepest trench in the entire world, fascinating but scary as hell for me.

- drainage grates: again, I think I can deal with these better than before but I usually avoid drainage grates...i recall being frozen mid-pace if I came upon a grate. I notice that I have been able to deal with them better -- even running over them as of the last few years -- but my youngest is afraid of them, so I think this is a legitimate fear.

- revolving doors: i read this on one of the comments...I have it too. I can go in but I want to hurry and get through. If I didn't, I would probably panic. If given a choice, I go through the regular door...

- big lizards: again, growing up in the Philippines, I saw some men with a dead monitor lizard that was the size of a dog (well, in my mind, it is the size of a deer, but again, I was a kid then)...OMG, that was the weirdest thing to see...it was supersized...I was used to seeing small lizards, even catching them as a kid...and geckos were part of the normal household...but this thing was not supposed to be this big. And thus, seeing monitor lizards or the Komodo Dragon makes me gasp. Recently, there was the story about the divers who were stranded on an Indonesian island populated only with Komodo Dragons just freaked the hell out of me.

Splurge

This morning, during my run with Frank, I was going on about the over-spending of rich people.

Of course, I know nothing about rich people except my own stereotype-casting in my head. But it made for a good topic.

I was trying to figure out why rich people feel the need to spend more for items than not. One example I had thought of was: why don't they shop at Target? Do they really need to purchase an item of clothing for $2500 vs. $25?

I mentioned that, for me, getting something at a bargain is, well, like a little high for me. If I purchased something for $10 that was originally 50-100, I don't care if it's Target or Macy's, I'M THRILLED!!!

Can rich people experience this type of thrill? Or is just the instant-gratification 'thrill'?

One of my points -- conversations during runs can get so titillating -- was whether I would become this sort of person if I were to become rich. I told Frank that I couldn't imagine that I would buy shoes for $500 even as a rich person...to which he said "my wife would! she loves shoes!"

Well, I do too but I still think I would be a scrooge when it came to spending big bucks on shoes.

But I understood what he meant: his wife has a weakness for splurging on something. I told him I know I have one and I just have to think about it.

I think I have it. I would splurge on my hair. What, you say? HAIR?

Yes. Hair!

Granted, I've already spent nearly that much in one sitting and by god, i didn't think it was worth it and will NOT do that again (unless I'm rich, of course). But I love doing lots of things with my hair. And color on a dark haired person like me is not cheap. And I like, well, MULTIPLE, colors in my hair.

Then there's the cut and blow dry. I love that. That's my splurge. Must get my hair washed (my most favorite part of a hair appointment) and then styled via blow drying.

And then I'd have to pay to get it conditioned occasionally because it's not that healthy to have this hair colored that many times with that many colors.

So I found my rich-person splurge! I wouldn't blink twice at paying $500 in one sitting to get my hair done.

But for $575, I might have a problem...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Roseanne Barr? Where Is She Now?

I just read Roseanne Barr's blog posting on Jon Voight. It's quite funny. And it suits her -- I can hear her nasally, whiney voice saying this out loud.

And, much like she usually does, she is getting flack for her posting. I have to say, I wish I could write some of the stuff she writes: meaning, that I could talk about the things that I want to talk about, and point out the unethical behavior that some people utilize in their day-to-day lives. I KNOW THINGS and I can't talk about them. Unlike Roseanne, I don't have a ba-billion dollars handy to live off of so I can out the bitch(es).

But within her rant against Jon Voight, Roseanne goes off on Brangelina. It's quite seethinglyn funny:
jon voight your evil spawn angelina jolie and her vacuous hubby brad pitt make about forty million dollars a year in violent psychopathic movies and give away three of it to starving children trying to look as if they give a crap about humanity as they spit out more dunces that will consume more than their fair share and wreck the earth even more. (just sayin'). Also miss jolie says she likes mccain too and hasn't decided who to endorse....huh? Aren't you supposed to be somewhat enlightened, or do you not know that the african daughter you hold in every picture had parents who suffered and died because of the republican party's worldwide economic assault on africa over the last few decades since reagan? whaaaa...??????!!!! (for that matter, the thai and cambodian sons you are photo'd with weekly too who's pictures you sell to raise money to help the poor? Their families are victims of America's right wing military incursions too.


And then, due to the media flack on her, she retorts:
all celeb news is calling me to come on their shows and talk about my "attack" on brangelina. They say nothing about my attacks on howard dean, pumas, obama, hillary, maureen dowd, bush cheney, pelosi, congress, religion capitalism and satan though.


I so agree with that. Why do we need to give a shit about the Brad and Angie show? Who cares what Roseanne Barr has to say about them? Fucking ridiculous.

BTW, I want to just say: how can you be such a humanitarian and yet lease a French Chateau that can house a village for all those ba-billions of dollars you have? More hypocrisy. But I'm not rich and I guess if I lived a pampered life, I would want to continue to be pampered???

Nah. If I had a ba-billion dollars...one of the first things I would do would be to build a big, magnificently ornate, brick and iron fence around this dude's house on Town and Country Lane, where the McMansions are being built right behind his small abode with his above-ground pool. THAT IS WHAT I WOULD DO FOR HUMANITY...among other things, of course.

Talk About A Bad Day...

This day, actually, takes place over the last half of yesterday and the first half of today. And it's not over...

Although I think the bad luck started earlier in the day, I will start with the "bug bite".

Actually, I have no idea what bit me. I thought for sure it must be a wasp or a bee. I was getting the mail and suddenly, the top of my left foot felt like I had just dropped a lit cigarette on top of it. Burning, fire, extreme, shocking pain.

I look down and immediately notice a red dot -- the apparent bite mark. I hop inside the house and Mi-Mi, who had walked the very same area just seconds before, was waiting for me, wondering what was wrong with me.

I then googled stings, mainly to find out what it was: a bee or a wasp? I knew wasps could have nests in the ground - and I searched (carefully) for one but didn't see anything.

Anyway, I followed ehow.com's steps to treat the sting: ice it, put neosporin on it, take ibuprofen. Within 10 minutes of this, I conked out.

Fortunately, the house didn't fall apart during my "nap".

Afterwards, I checked my voicemail messages and found out that I had missed an appointment. My doc was calling to find out why I hadn't shown up, as it was not normal for me to be late (Tim: did you hear that???). Great. Now I have to deal with a missed appt. and I'm not in the mood for this...and of course, I feel bad for not knowing about it.

And my house key is lost. Mi-Mi somehow lost the key in the seconds that she opened the front door and I hopped in. It's gone. I have no clue where it is.

And not that this is totally a bad thing, but CJ and I stayed up watching The Big Blue, which was the never-ending movie. It was fine, not great, but damn, it was long. I looked at the box and while it didn't state how long the movie ran, it did state that it had "49 minutes of additional footage". Sigh.

Then today: I have to get up early, yet again (I like to sleep!), for a mammogram appointment. After that, I'm going to work (working from home this week) since I have several meetings.

I leave early for the mammogram -- plenty of time. I hit the road and I realize that I am thinking the appt. is at Raleigh Radiology but I'm sure I was trying to make it for Wake Radiology. Where the hell is it? Blue Ridge? Which Blue Ridge? Lake Boone Trail sounds familiar.

I call Tim to see if he can check my work calendar. No go; no answer.

I drive to The Atrium, which is where I _think_ Wake Radiology is. I walk in and well, there is no indication of any Radiology in this building. Walk out.

Decide to use the GPS to find Wake Radiology. I find it and realize that THIS was the place that I had my last mammogram. Why did I think it was at the Atrium? Oh, because I had chest x-rays there...years ago. But, um, there is nothing radiological in that place. My mind is now confused. I'm frazzled. But somewhat relieved because I'm confident I have found the right place.

But I am wrong. The person states she doesn't have me listed as having an appointment. Is it "Raleigh Radiology" she asks? Yes, I say but inside I say "I'm an idiot and she knows it."

So I ask her "that's the one on Blue Ridge, right?" She says yes.

I get back into the car and then use the GPS for Raleigh Radiology. It has two locations "Blue Ridge" and "Lake Boone Trail". Great. Did I pick Lake Boone Trail?

So I call 411 to find out where the appt. is. And the stupid 411 guy says "what location? I have Blue Ridge and Lake Boone Trail. Um, that's what I'm trying to find out -- is there a central number. He ignores the question ("uh, vanilla, chocolate, strawberry"...old beavis and butthead attribute) and repeats the locations to choose from. I say "give me Blue Ridge", exasperated more at him than me.

I call Blue Ridge and they confirm that I have an 8AM appt. with them at the Blue Ridge location. Thanks. It's now 7:58.

The GPS, however, takes me to a different Blue Ridge location. I'm driving in circles and end up at one of the medical offices that has no indication of being Raleigh Radiology.

Now, I've been to Raleigh Radiology before but because I thought for sure the mammogram center would be somewhere else, I didn't go right to the place I knew where Raleigh Radiology was. Why? I don't know. Because I'm an idiot.

I finally go to the Raleigh Radiology place that has always been in one location and walk in. I know that THIS is not the place I had intended to make my mammogram appt. because I had mammograms at WAKE RADIOLOGY. Again, I curse myself for being an idiot. I remember making the appt. and being just satisfied as hell that I was making it at, what I thought, was the WAKE RADIOLOGY place.

Now, it's 8:15. I'm late. I'm frazzled. I even doubt that I have an appt. now and fortunately, the nice woman assures me that I am indeed listed.

And all this time? I feel ill. My tummy hasn't been agreeing with me all day. I think it's gas, or something. And then I think it feels kind of crampy. It'll go away. It's not that bad.

I get the mammogram done -- which, BTW -- the stupid machines MUST be made by men. Making us contort just to get that image of a boob. You bastards! And just in case you didn't know, flattening your boob as flat as a pancake doesn't mean something gets pushed into your chest, like a board. It means that the radiologist pulls the boob, places it between two things VERTICALLY, and one thing smushes it down to the the other thing. So: Pull boob into thing. Thing is perpendicular to my body. Other thing smushes boob (as flat as a pancake) into the first thing. The things are PERPENDICULAR TO MY BODY.

Men. You still don't get it. All you have to do is cough.

I digress.

Once the boob thing is over, I now feel much shittier. My tummy cramps are worse and by golly, I've just had a shitty time. All I want to do now is curl up in bed, rest, hope my tummy feels better, and cry.

I call to let everyone know I'm on my way home: cancel the sitter. Tim says he's taking the girls out for breakfast and I mention that I have on last errand to run before getting home.

Errand is done. I get home. All I can think about is crawling into my freshly made bed. Curling up and soothing my belly cramps. And maybe just cry for the stress I've put myself under this morning.

I get to the door and it's locked. I look for my house key when it dawns on me: it's lost. BAH!! I'm now stuck outside of my house. My cozy bed is waiting for me. And now I must wait for the brood to arrive from breakfast to let me in.

They finally arrive and I'm pretty pissed. Not at them -- at the whole fucking day. And it's only 9:30. I curl up in bed. My tummy cramps are gone but now I feel achy.

So, I thought this was a wasp sting until Tim allowed the idea of a "spider bite" to enter my head. So after my snooze, I google spider bites and find a lot of gruesome pictures of spider bites that go untreated. Of course, this is rare. But the symptoms include "stomach cramps, headache, and fatigue".

GREAT. I have all of that.

The problem is I OFTEN have that. So how do I know I'm not just projecting my shitty day into these symptoms???

I don't. I called the doc and left a message.

And my foot itches like crazy.

And it's only 1:30 PM. The day is not over. I still have room for more bad day shit to happen.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

That's Why They Have Bells!

I didn't quite understand why nearly every cat collar I looked at had some kind of bell thing on it. I thought it was cute, but really? Is this some sort of mass marketing way of stereotyping cats? They need bells?

Well, that question came from a very naive cat owner. I now know why they have bells. So you can find the darn thing, or at the very least, be warned that they are about to attack you before you go down the stairs.

The girls have taken the collar off. I have at night, otherwise, Sunkist comes jingling into my bed around 1AM, which wakes me before he pounces on my hand to play.

And when that collar is off? There is no way we can find him. Not that we often look (we do) but you know, it's kind of nice to know where he's at so we don't step on him.

So far, Sunkist has been quite a delight. Those kitties sure are sneaky, quiet buggers.

Of course, I'm not sure if I'm doing proper cat training. But Sunkist likes to pounce on my hand and attack it. So I just give him a little shake and join in the fun, despite lots of bite marks and scratches. Will this make my cat a biter? I think so. But I don't want it to be so.

The cat can eat too. Who knew they were such voracious eaters. I pour a little bit of the cat food into the bowl, maybe every few hours (more than I feed my dog) and he's there, practically eating it out of my hands before I get it into the bowl.

Do cats figure out their names? I see nothing when I call out "Sunkist"! He does respond to my "pst...pst...pst" but only sometimes. He does follow me around, or Tim, or the girls, so he does have some attachment to us, even if it is just to attack my foot.

He plays with Brenna and the funny thing is: Brenna seems to think she's as agile as the cat. So when the cat FLIES across the room, jumping up on the couch or ottoman as it flees from Brenna, Brenna tries to do the same thing. The problem is that Brenna is a big dog at about 60+ pounds and 60 lbs + behemoth <> agile.

The cat and Brenna play fight. It's not easy to watch because Brenna's head is bigger than the entire cat. And she puts her mouth onto one little kitty paw, it looks as though I'll soon have a three-legged cat, but she let's go and just continues with the head or the next paw.

I don't know how Brenna endures the kitty teeth and scratching on her face. It's hard enough for me to endure when I hand wrestle her. Which, I told the girls, I don't mind the pain (I do have a tolerance for some pain...remember the back tattoo??). So when Mi-Mi gets the wrath of Sunkist, who starts biting and playing with her, she scoops her up, places her in my laps and says "Here's mommy. She likes pain."

The Amazing Finish

I missed the last few medal winning moments for Michael Phelps. Yeah. Yeah. How is that possible? I did _miss_ it.

But in this day and age, missing it is temporary. And sometimes, all we care to see is one of those best moments. I'd have to say that this is definitely one of those moments.

I got this off a newsgroup, where the poster got it from the NBC site, so you'll have to install MS Silverlight's plug-in. But it's sure worth it...this is truly amazing: Phelp's Gold Medal #7 .

And then here's a slideshow to illustrate the play-by-play.

Pretty cool...

Monday, August 18, 2008

Eat Concrete

When I first moved to Raleigh, I didn't know what Goodberry's was. Well, I thought it was an ice cream place, but everyone was like "ooooohhhh....not _ice cream_ but frozen custard! it is soooooooo much better than ice cream!"

Well, quite honestly, I wasn't sure what that meant...and "frozen custard" didn't sound as appealing as "fudge brownie ice cream" from Baskin Robbins (which, sadly, no longer offers it in the store).

But one day, Tim and I ventured to the closest Goodberry and decided to find out what all of this meant.

Unfortunately, there was no instructions. So as I walked up to the window, I had no idea what I was supposed to do. I think I asked for chocolate ice cream.

Several times later, I heard someone in front of me order butter pecan. I like butter pecan so I thought that sounded cool so I ordered the same: "Butter Pecan please!" I say happily satisfied that I knew what I was talking about. The custard-order-taker then asked "Do you want that as a concrete or a sundae?"

Huh? Did she say "concrete"? What does that have to do with ice cream, um, I mean, custard?

I didn't get it. I didn't get it for quite awhile. I never understood why, when handing me my *frozen custard*, they tipped it over.

Whatever. The ice cream is good.

But finally, it all clicked...well almost. I thought: is it because it's like the consistency of wet concrete? And I asked a seasoned Goodberry patron friend if that was the case, to which I remember that asinine tone, as though I am a total idiot for not knowing, that yes, a concrete from Goodberry's is simply mixing stuff in to make the custard flavor of your choice...ala 'carolina concrete'.

And while I love goodberry's and manage to take all my out of town guests for some concretes, I don't find it that much different than ice cream. In fact, the "Chocolate Devotion" creation from Cold Stone Creamery is much more rich than any ice cream/custard I've ever had.

But it doesn't take away from my favorite concrete at Goodberry's: Chocolate with banana and heath bar.

Kiteophobia

I have it. Kite-oh-phobia. The fear of kites.

Laugh if you must, but I have it.

And I did think it was pretty weird. And so did Tim. But it became less, or more...depending how one looks at it...when we heard CJ mention that she's also scared of kites.

It wasn't like this was a known bit of info in our household. When CJ was quite young, Tim thought it would be fun for her to fly a kite. I mentioned nothing to CJ, as not to make kite-flying scary to her as it was for me. She didn't say much about the event but years later, she mentioned to us that it made her feel scared to fly kites. Tim gave me the bug-eyed look, like 'how can that possibly inherited?'

But it is and CJ and I are not the only ones.

I've mentioned before that I often read the Mental Floss feeds. Today I read about unusual phobias. And while the article does not state anything about the fear of kites (as I had hoped), I considered e-mailing them to tell them about mine and CJ's.

But lo and behold, as I start reading the first comment to the article, I noticed that one of the readers had the fear of flying kites! I was instantly connected to a stranger and to me, this validates that there *is* some odd sense in some of us, to the fear of flying kites. Mine includes seeing others flying kites.

The stranger-I-connect with states his fear was being whisked away with the kite. Mine is not so much that, but just the awe (in a scary way) of it being so far up in the sky. It's the same way that I feel about others flying theirs...and it might have something to do with how I am scared of my balloon flying away. Okay, I don't have balloons anymore but if I _did_, I would be afraid of letting it go and would have a death grip on the string.

With a kite, however, I refuse to hold one or be near one. If I am too close to someone flying one, I have to not look at it.

I tried to find out if this was an actual condition...an actual named phobia, but I didn't find it. And even under the unusual phobia website, with 'made up' phobias, there is no indication that anyone else, except me, CJ and "Witty Nickname", are afflicted with this condition.

BTW, I do have an actual phobia, Acrophobia - an irrational fear of heights. Mine is not too irrational, but it is pretty strong. I remember riding the ferris wheel, as I did every year, at the HOG (happening on the green) one year at Clark AFB in the Philippines. As the ride went up for the first time, I had an instant feeling of fright and crouched onto the floor. I remember not even planning for it -- it just happened. I've never ridden a ferris wheel since.

And once in high school, friends and I were climbing up to a platform that goes to a small water tower. I got to the top of the platform and instantly crouched to the ground, frozen. It seems that I forget, or give into peer pressure and find myself in these situations.

My last house, I had to really concentrate on my steps. I had 13 steps. I could care less that the number was unlucky...it was the steepness of it all that freaked me out and I lived with those steps for 10 years!

Some people think I should cure this fear. I ask those people "Why?" What would make life better for me to NOT be scared of heights? I can go up stairs -- if they are not in an open area...and no one rushes me from behind (in that case, I just stop and tell them to pass me). I can even ride roller coasters. I can fly in a plane. Nothing irrational about that. But as soon as I'm on top of some place, looking into the vastness, I get a little queasy, my breath stops, and if I don't concentrate really hard on not panicking, I'll crouch to the ground and become frozen in place.

I'm okay with just avoiding those situations. I'm happy living with my acrophobia...and my kiteophobia.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Yes Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus

If you believe that, then you must believe there is a Heaven and there is a Hell.

As for me, I'd like to believe there is a Heaven...that's my choice. But as for Hell, I think we're in it.

I thought about this for many, many years and it's become my edict. The stuff that happens here is what I think hell is. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, can be worse for people who suffer atrocities. You think the Holocaust wasn't hell? And what makes anyone believe that the perpetrators would burn in hell? Hell is not a relief for you and I - if you truly believe its definition - so to take solitude that bad people end up in hell, well, defeats the purpose of hell's intention, doesn't it?

I have a sick relationship with bad news. I don't want to know it, because it affects me. Some bad news affects me more than others and they stick with me forever. Stephanie Bennett, Jake Robel, those teenaged girls, Jennifer Ertman and Elizabeth Peña, that that asshole finally died (good riddance!) for.

There are more stories that haunt me from my early 20s. And these stories have all lead me to believe that nothing these victims went through, and what their families will continue to struggle with, can be worse than hell. This life, is hell.

So another story that will haunt me is the story of Dylan Groene. Dylan was nine years young when this other fuckwad sexually TORTURED him before finally killing him.

And the asshole taped the whole thing.

And then showed the entire encounter to Dylan's younger sister, eight year old Shasta.

Weeks earlier, this son-of-a-bitch stalked Dylan and Shasta's family: big brother, 13 year old Slade, mom Brenda, and mom's fiancee Mark. He broke into their home and bludgeoned them to death (this is the element of surprise that makes me the paranoid person that I am).

He had taken Dylan and Shasta outside before doing his dastardly deed. I can't imagine what their mother was thinking before she died. But I'm sure she wouldn't have wanted to be the outcome that came.

So this sick fuck is on trial. Why, on god's green earth, does this man deserve a fair trial? Die Motherfucker Die -- yes, it's a song and I know it, and I play that in my head when I think of this asshole and that last asshole that finally was executed.

But I'd rather see this man die a slow, tortured death. And in no way, could he gain excitement from the shit he did to these two young kids. Hell is on earth. Let's give this man a taste of hell.

Shasta survived this ordeal. Thankfully, a small miracle was bestowed upon her in this horrific time of her life. She was recognized at a diner and the wonderful patrons called the police. Otherwise, her hell would have continued. Those people, and anyone afterwards that is helping her deal with her own Holocaust, have major brownie points into heaven...that's if, there is one.

Book Review: Lulu Meets God and Doubts Him by Danielle Ganek

I needed a book that wouldn't attempt to stand up to my last book, The Pillars of Earth. I could read "The Iliad" and be disappointed after that magnificent Ken Follett book (it took me a few days to recover from missing the characters). So I picked out a new one, a "quick" read of 277 pages vs. the 900+ I lovingly endured with Pillars.

And technically, it was quick for me. It was on the library's "Seven day loan" shelf and I challenged myself to reading it completely in seven days. Well, it didn't work out: I missed it by two days but still, a pretty good record for me.

And this one did a great job of keeping me entertained. A story of a gallery girl - sort of an administrative assistant for art galleries. This one is Mia McMurray, a wanna-be artist who struggles with her own sense of where she goes in the art world.

What inspires her, in more ways than one, is the painting by Jeffrey Finelli titled, well, "Lulu Meets God and Doubts Him". The painting is amazing, but Finelli is an unknown, um, "emerging" artist. But it depicts a beautiful 9 year old girl (his niece) with a slight smile...which mesmerizes everyone who sees it.

But it doesn't become a priceless piece of work until he is killed -- runned down by a car as he smokes a cigarette outside the opening of his art at Mia's gallery (the one she works at, not owns).

The story then delves into the business, and politics, of the art world. Finelli becomes an instant "hit" upon his death and there is a clamor of people wanting to buy any of his paintings. Then the elite of the elites, and wannabe elites, clamor for THE painting,.."Lulu Meets God".

Ganek shows how fake people can be, trying to act as though they are well-versed in the art world, with folks who are also trying to appear well-versed in the art world. Personally, if this is based on any fact of how art worlds work, I have no plans on being a part of that. It doesn't appear to be a part of "wow, this painting moves me" but more about "if I own this, I will be the envy of the art world".

But we meet Lulu, the inspiration to THE painting. And we see this world all through Mia's eyes.

Mia seems to be a sort of an 'eeyore' character: gray, just going through life with no real goal, or at least, no passion to pursue that goal. She's a depressing character without being to effective of making me feel sorry for her. Instead, I want to kick her and tell her "quit being so morose! do something with your life!"

But regardless of Mia's take on the art world, I was still entertained and am now ready to dig my heels into another rapturous novel.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

What Is This Strange Stuff?

So I'm heating up a microwaveable dinner for Mi-Mi for lunch. She's picked out a Banquent "Salisbury Steak". This was one of the ones I picked up for me.

As I cut it up for her, I sink into my "mmmmm...how I love this stuff". TV dinner salisbury steak is one of my comfort foods...I LOVE it. I ate it all the time and I still have a soft spot for it.

And yet, what is it? It's a big meat patty. I've never bought ground beef and made a patty that even resembles what it is in that plastic tray. The texture is quite odd too. And the taste? That ain't no fancy angus.

But it is one of the oddest things that I still like...LOVE...to this day.

What is your favorite strangest meal? TV dinner or not...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Here's A Map Of Nations That Don't Use The Metric System

I saw this in article in my Mental Floss feeds (an amazing magazine that I have never read...only its articles). I don't have much to say about it. I think the chart speaks for itself.



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Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

The hubbub over China's decision to use a "plant" in place of the young Yang Peiyi, the cute girl who actually _sang_ is, well, odd.

Not odd because they did such a thing...well, that is odd, but more odd at the Westerners (i.e. USA) reaction to it.

Thank the media for jumping ALL OVER THIS as a news story...but as unfortunate it is that China chose to do this, I can't help but think -- it's "our" fault.

"They", the Chinese, felt the need to find some one beautiful enough to represent their country. Why? Hmmm...could it be all of the beauty we advertise in our own right? I am being strictly 'armchair' in my assessment, but who else in the world advertises beauty as much as Americans do?

Thin. Tall. Blonde. Dark. Beautiful. Every single advertisement for _anything_ is based on beauty...beauty define by those first five words in this paragraph.

We the people of America perpetrate it. Sadly. We do nothing to change the ideology of this persona. We bitch and moan "it's not fair", "that's not what the average woman looks like" but nothing dramatic is ever done to change that and then we get hot and bothered when a country, like China, uses that notion.

It's sad. It's sad that we have perpetuated this image and that a country has to amend its glorious world moment to "show well" among other countries. It is extremely apparent that this ideology has infiltrated its way as the common 'look and feel' of beauty.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Edwards Affair

Well, well, well. I guess John Edwards is just human. But I have to say, I am extremely disappointed.

And this comes from a gal who could care less about Monica Lewis and the infamous blow job.

I felt the same way when Clinton was running for President the first round, and he and Hilary did the 20/20 special (or whatever news-sensationalism-program) about whether he and Gennifer Flowers had an affair...and Hilary was like: 'don't vote for him if you think he did' or something like that. And the entire time I thought, it's none of your business...

And for the most part, that is how I feel still. Whatever YOU may think, you hypocritical bastard or bitch, I care not...a man and his affairs have nothing to do with his politics. It is something he and his wife/significant other has to deal with and IT'S NOT OUR BUSINESS. And it shouldn't be our business but the fucking media MAKES it our business as though it is OUR RIGHT. You are an idiot if you believe you have the right to know about who is doing who.

Off my soapbox and on to Edwards...

So despite how I feel, I am greatly, greatly disappointed that Edwards is "one of those guys".

I think it's just so "common" to have an affair. You just take yourself out of the honorable list.

I had a vision of what I thought of Edwards...different than any other politician...different than any other man...and other father...any other husband. Devotion to his family...having an affair breaks that rule.

It doesn't break any of his other rules: fighting for the lower middle class but it sure the hell knocks the wind out of those (dare I speak for them?) who believed him to be an indelible, human-for-the-greater-good human being...ala Randy Pausch?

I'm sad and heartbroken. In my mind, his political career is over.

And, as with all men who have affairs, why? Your lust is _that_ uncontrollable, that you give up a series of 15 minute interludes to shame your name? I just don't get it.

Maybe I need to have that superlust for another man to figure out how powerful a feeling it must be...

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Book Review: The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

Wow.

I will not be able to come up with the words to describe my feelings for this book...but a few that I can think of: incredible, extraordinary, beautiful, heartbreaking, horrific, tragic, heroic, amazing, poetic.

Reading this book -- which is not a book I would have ever picked up on my own volition -- made me appreciate the skill to read and comprehend. It was one of the greatest privileges to read and enter this world: medieval England. It was even more great to get to know the people in this book, who I will miss immensely and will cherish, as I cherished the characters from Jane Eyre.

The book is described as a novel about cathedral building. The author himself alludes to that as well. I found this book, however, so much more than cathedral building: the story revolved around the building of a cathedral. However, for me, the story is about the characters, many of who were written in first person account, so that we could know each one inside-and-out.

I learned details of the way they thought, how things appeared to them, and the experiences that they encountered. And there are many experiences that were so difficult to read. The cruelty of William Hamleigh -- who is one of the characters in which we get to know from first-person account -- was enraging and sickening.

Other people we get to know personally: Tom the Builder, Jack, Aliena, Prior Philip and Ellen. There are so many more people that intertwine but these are the ones I really got to know.

What is fascinating about this book is that the women characters are strong women. Aliena, the young 'princess', who's father gets ousted as the Earl and she strives to survive, getting knocked down to rock bottom while caring for her younger brother.

Agnes, Tom the Builder's first wife, is a stout woman who follows her man as he lives out his dream to build a cathedral. I grieved for Agnes when she died and because Follett is beyond exceptional in his writing, I think of Agnes throughout the book, remembering her...still grieving her death.

Ellen, mother to Jack and second wife to Tom the Builder. Exceptionally strong, wild, strange. She is considered a witch to the people during these times...and she uses it to her advantage. We aren't given a straight answer to whether she really *is* a witch but I savored the idea because she is one of the 'good guys' and freaked the bad guys out with her curses.

Lady Regan Hamleigh, William Hamleigh's mother, is yet another strong woman but evil. She is smarter than her dunce husband, Lord Percy, and the equally dunce son, William. She steers the manipulations that these men, along with other corrupt men, to gain power.

Prior Philip, the supposed 'hero' of the book (there are so many), is a devout man of god. He is introduced to us as a humble prior of a very small, but successful, priory in the forest. But over time, he moves into other territories...all in the name of god. But he finds, even though he is doing god's work -- and he truly believes he is -- he has to 'play the games'...the politics...the corrupt bishops...to get things done for god.

And all this takes place during war time and the similarities of the effects of war during the medieval times to this day and age are eerie and sad. And although it is fictional, Follett's book was published in 1989, well before any of us would think we would be at war with anyone.

I memorized the page number for this passage. It was when the town of Kingsbridge had to put up a fence around its township, to prevent an attack (yet another) from the brutal William Hamleigh. Jack, Ellen's son who becomes the master builder for the cathedral in Kingsbridge, converses with Prior Philip -- remember, a man of peace but knows the brutality of William Hamleigh -- about how Kingsbridge will forever be a fortified town...and Prior Philip contends, at least until Jesus comes again. And here is how Jack replies:

"You never know," Jack said speculatively. "There may come a time when savages like William Hamleigh aren't in power; when the laws protect the ordinary people instead of enslaving them; when the king makes peace instead of war. Think of that -- a time when towns in England don't need walls!"


Except for the last line, it just rang all too real for the time I live in now.

And by the way, I don't want a wall...except to keep men like dubya and cheney out.

I feel fortunate to have been exposed to this book. I thank book club for that -- especially Kerry, who had managed to influence a few majority to read this tome: 973 pages long. We'll discuss it next month.

And I'm afraid that nothing I read now, meaning immediately after this book, can stand up to this.

It's been an awesome year of reading for me. To have three of the most amazing books I have ever read, ever, in less than a year! Jane Eyre, The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night-Time and now this. I am extremely lucky.

And I want more.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Hypocrit Thought For The Day

I walked into my gym around 6:40 AM. I noticed a spin class and someone was pedaling hard. I thought to myself "who on earth would get up this early and do that???" And then I thought, "Um, who would get up this early to run six miles of hilly terrain?"...me!!!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Ding-Dong

The sound of the doorbell when the pizza delivery man has our prized food in hand. In our case, we have no front porch, so a pizza man can't get to the door bell...and now, we have no door bell. Tim took it down a couple weekends ago while I was busy painting the kitchen walls -- for the third time but I think we found the color we wanted. It was a piece of shit (the doorbell, that is).

So I have to tell pizza delivery folks that they need to go through the garage. And sometimes, I decide to just wait outside in the driveway for them.

I did that yesterday after giving Stromboli's Express a try. I'm in love with Domino's Brooklyn style pizza, but I wanted a salad with my pizza and since I was just too damn lazy to go to the grocery, I searched for a pizza place that offered salads too.

Placed the order. Told 45 minutes. About 46 minutes later: no pizza.

This is unusual for us as our deliveries come in a snap. It's like: order, hang up phone, delivery! But we had used Stromboli only once before and my memory of it was that it was good...and I had no memory of any concept of time.

So I take Brenna the dog out and let her sniff the grounds while I wait for a car with a Stromboli sign.

I wait. And I wait. And I wait.

Where the f**k is he? I'm freakin' starving!

I wait some more. And more. So much more that I'm beginning to think that they lost my order or forgot about me. I am toting my phone in case they need to call...but no one calls.

Finally, I see a small blue honda driving slowly towards me. I assume it's him even though there is no indication that it is a stromboli delivery...or a delivery of any kind! But the driver is wearing a red shirt and I think that's their uniform.

He drives over into a not-quite-a-cul-de-sac section in front of my house. I know it has to be him, trying to read the addresses. He swerves by me and I wave to him -- I think, indicating that I am who you are looking for. So, not the wave "hello" but the wave "i'm here!"

He turns around and goes back from where he once came.

Hmmmm...I am pretty sure that it's him and now I think, he's not going to turn back around because he will soon figure that I was the one he was looking for and since he dissed me, he's too embarrassed to come back to face me. I am thinking: don't be embarrassed! Bring me my food! I'm hungry and I don't want to start over!! Look! I have money and you'll still get my big tip!!! Come back!!

What felt like eternity, which may have only been 10 minutes...I see the blue car come back. I am relieved! Ahhh, I think. He's figured it out -- the wave, me standing out there like a doofus. He knows its my house now.

But then, he drives right by me again. I wave at him once again and what does he do? He waves back to me, as he drives past me.

So now I think I've made a mistake and I am slightly embarrassed that I waved at a "neighbor", thinking he was the pizza guy. He must think I'm a doofus!!!

So I'm back to feeling glum about my missing food. But wait, the blue car does another u-turn and is parked next to my neighbor's house. I walk up and down, wondering, if this indeed is the pizza guy. It's gotta be - why is he driving my street in circles?

So I stand prominently...kind of gesturing to him...feeling silly doing it because I'm still not quite sure if it's the man I want. Five long minutes and my phone rings.

"hello?"

"hi...this is with stromboli's express. I am on your street by i'm at 6408 [i'm the next number] and I can't seem to find your number."

"are you in a blue car?"

"um, yeah...?"

"look in front of you: the girl with the dog."

"Oh! Okay...sorry."

He still got the tip that I had set aside for him...I like to tip the delivery guys generously...I think that's why I get my food so fast...and by golly, it just makes me feel good. But I don't think this KID will get a clue

Another Asshole That Should Die

I read about this case -- where Texas has defied the World Court on execution of this good-for-nothing. And when I read the brief statement of his doing:

They were drinking after initiating a new member and intercepted 16-year-old Elizabeth Pena and 14-year-old Jennifer Ertman, who were taking a shortcut home across a railroad bridge in Houston. The gang members attacked the girls for an hour before strangling them and letting their bodies decompose in a field. Their remains were found four days later.


It sounds gruesome? Not even close.

I read about this case a year or so before. There's a site devoted to folk on death row, detailing their crimes. And I mean DETAILS. Many entries for one man can be pages long.

This asshole and his cohorts were one of those cases. And it was more than an hour of CONTINUOUS torture, CONTINUOUS gang rape, CONTINUOUS beating...the details of what those girls must have gone through, based on their injuries, is so much more gruesome than that little paragraph, which is bad enough.

I used to feel somewhat like 'switzerland' -- the morality of killing someone (death row) vs. paying for your crime. Over the years, I've sided one way or the other, depending on the case. I've written to governors to allow DNA testing before executing death row inmates and I would, in this case, implore the governor to pull the trigger.

This man and his stupid friends deserve no life. The horrible, brutal actions they put on these two girls used up any nine lives they may have had.



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Sunday, August 03, 2008

Great Clips

Not so great today...I've taken the kids to this place before and it's been fine.

Today I wanted to get Mi-Mi's hair cut. It is ratty and nappy and she doesn't comb it...and neither do I. So I decided it was time to cut it short and headed to Great Clips for a quick, cheap cut.

And that is exactly what we got.

I stood and watched and after I noticed it was not going well, I wasn't sure how to handle it. I can be a real douche bag but I couldn't today.

This woman took clipping shears -- clippers...the kind used to shave the back of a man's head -- to cut her hair! I have never seen that done and I thought that perhaps, she would clean it up with scissors afterwards. She did no such thing.

Mi-Mi had to stand while she sat in a chair and clipped it. At some point, I was just ready to go and find another place to fix it. Which is exactly what we did.

I drove across the street, to Supercuts, and explained what had happened. The girl was super nice and fixed it quite nicely. She was shocked and also said she had never heard of anyone using clippers on a little girl.

So all in all, I spent more money on a five year olds haircut (but it's still WAY LESS than what I pay for mine) and now, I have this cute little bob head girl...Tim calls her Katee, for the girl on So You Think You Can Dance...